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May 2004 Archives

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May 31

Came home to find our neighbor had cut our front lawn. Thanks guys!

Now that we got home, Whitlock and I could could catch up on our recorded television. Started with the CSI episode "No More Bets". A youngish man appears to be interrogated by mysterious figures who are not the police. This gentleman is soon found dead.

This man and his partner figured out a way to scam the roulette wheel. The partner is also found dead in his apartment. A college student name Sanders originated the plan. They were hitting Sam Braun's casinos, supposedly because the old school technology was easier to beat. Sam Braun now emerges as a prime suspect.

However, Maury Chaykin plays an apartment manager. Knowing he's as ubiquitous in the movies as Paul Guilfoyle once was, he plays a much larger role. Chaykin goes by the name Greene, but his real name was Sanders. He tried to scam the Braun casinos once, but got caught and had his hand mangled. Now his son cooks up a scam with his college buddies. When his friends get too greedy, the son panics. Maury kills his accomplices with the aim of framing Sam Braun.

Went on to the Tripping the Rift episode "Aliens, Guns and Money". Bob needs a repair real bad and the ship makes an emergency landing on the planet Harmonia 7. T'nuk stays with Bob while the rest of the crew scare up the repair.

Harmonia 7 is gun crazy. Anti-gun protestors are shredded in the streets and this episode has lots of gratuitous violence. Chode tries to buy the part he needs, but has no cash and is forced to go to the ATM machine where he is robbed by children.

The gang also runs into the most ardent pacifists on the planet who also have no compunction about employing violence themselves. The crew explain their plight to the planet's leader who will pay the money they need to buy the needed reapir part in exchange for the "services" of Six and a aprley with the pacifist leader who also happens to be his son.

Watched the Cold Case episode "Hubris". A college professor lost everything when he was the prime suspect in the murder of a student he had an affair with. Now he wants to reopen the case because a similar murder has turned up in the suburbs, which could clear him.

Suspicion falls on a former student who was in love with the first victim and also knew the second victim. Their big break comes when a belly ring belonging to the second victim is found pawned by the second murderer, an ESOL student of the professor. The professor committed the first murder, then hired his ESOL student to commit the second when he found the former college student obsessed with the second victim.

It was a little too convoluted for me. The cops have a silly scene looking through Cliff Notes for where the college student stole a particular line for a love letter. They should have used the Internet like everybody else.

Baltimore Federal Building.
May 30

Today we had lunch at the inner harbor. Miranda played in the fountains in the middle of Light Street. Whitlock petted a couple of puppies. We stopped in front of the Federal Building and its roller coaster-like sculpture.

Miranda and I left Whitlock to wander the dealers room while I took her to children's programming. We watched Filk Guest of Honor Heather Alexander sing some songs for an hour. Then we had a talk by Clifton McNally about keeping kids safe from abductors.

After the women went to bed, I looked for a game of Counting Zzzzs/Sheep. I found the Jack of Slack Dave Wendland and played a game. Larry Schroeder stopped by to talk and complain about the DJ for the rave that never showed up. Fortunately, someobody brought a techno CD, Larry connected it to the sound system and the kids were happy. The Queen, Joan Wendland came by to lead us to the Japan in 2007 bid party, featuring chocolate Godzillas. I talked to Diane and Lee Weinstein. Diane and discussed how silly it was to schedule us for kaffeeklatches and autograph signings when we weren't published authors.

West Baltimore and the land of the parking garages. Click on the picture for an annotated view.
Miranda in her bathing suit getting climbing the ladder into the pool
Miranda, pool bunny. Miranda at the black fountain
Have to stop at every fountain. Miranda at the Gallery fountain
This is at the Gallery. Miranda sleeping with the Day After Tomorrow clock in her hand
Miranda's found a new sleeping buddy.
May 29

Whitlock and I found it very difficult to get out of bed. We had donuts for breakfast and went to Burger King for lunch. Our hotel room had a view of West Baltimore from which I could spot four parking garages.

Miranda went to the pool. Whitlock thought she'd only stay for thirty minutes because the water was so cold, but she spent a couple of hours there. Meanwhile, I saw some Knossos members including world-famous media fan Martin Morse Wooster, Wendell Wagner and Gene Pappas. Mike Pennick introduced his boyfriend. We're so happy for him.

In the evening, we ate dinner at City Lights. The hostess was nice but the wait staff and the owner were pretty snitty. The food was good. Afterwards, Miranda played at the black fountain near the Light Street Pavillion, then we went to the Gallery where she played in some more fountains. Then we walked back to the hotel. The Bank of America building closes after 8 so we had to go to the sidewalks.

Among the freebies in our convention bags was a Day After Tomorrow digital clock. Miranda slept with it as if it was one of her new sleeping buddies.

May 28

Took the family up to Balticon. For the first time in several years, I will not be running the trivia contest or be in any programming. Whitlock is very happy about that. Miranda and I ate pizza somewhere around a quarter to ten.

May 27

This is where I draw the line

...The governors of both states had side bets: Georgia had to send peaches to North Carolina if Barrino won, and North Carolina had to send blueberries to Georgia if DeGarmo won.

May 26

Passing a quote I found on Susan Mohn's blog:

"To announce that there must be no criticism of the president, or that we are to stand by the president right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public." - Theodore Roosevelt (1918)

Joel Achenbach on cicadas:

But they teach us something. They remind us that the world isn't about just us.

As the human population grows and our technology expands, it is easy to assume that we have dominion over the planet. And then these cicadas crawl from deep in the ground and pay no attention to our needs and wants and various crises.

The cicadas force us to think in a different increment of time. Every cicada year is like a time capsule. People talk about what they were doing in 1987 or 1970, and someday we will look back on 2004 and try to remember exactly what we were thinking about, what our obsessions were, how we looked, how we dressed. And although we can't predict what the world will be like in 2021, or 2038, or 2055, we know that each emergence of Brood X will be into a different world, perhaps radically different by 2072, when something as basic as "old age" among humans may be viewed as pathological.

When you think in bigger increments of time, you invariably slam into some humbling thoughts. The things that are most precious to us, including our lives, are impermanent.

Jon Couture gets a birthday card from his girlfriend and her mother.

May 25

Return of Hawaii Winter League baseball possible in 2005. Unfortunately, the Kauai Emeralds will not return.

Now to people who make money from their blogs. From the Washington Post. The Post's first article on her. The original blog cached is at The Lost Washingtoniette. More detail from The National Debate and Daze Reader

Here's an interview with Stephanie Ready on the hiring of Ashley McElhiney as the first female head coach of a men's basketball team. Ready is now an assistant with the Mystics. It's pretty easy to see her as Wizards assistant, then Wizard's head coach within ten years. This is assuming the standard Wizards trend of continuous losing. If they actually reached the playoffs, the head coach would might stick around.

May 24

Doug Pappas died last week while hiking in Big Bend National Park. He will be missed by many. Here are stories from the Denver Post, Baseball Prospectus, SABR, Jay Jaffe, Baseball Primer Clutch Hits and Joe Sheehan. In the brave new world of blogging, the blog becomes the person. Now that Doug is gone, his Business of Baseball Weblog stays frozen forever at May 18.

May 23

The cicadas sound like an alien spacecraft. Even in some of the most asphalted shopping centers on Rockville, with nary a tree in sight, you can still hear them.

Watched the Angel episode "Power Play". The whole gang believes Angel has turned seriously evil. He's working with Senator Brucker to help her win the campaign by convincing her opponent he's a pedophile. The Senator is played by Stacey Travis who is more matronly than the bombshell she was in Hardware.

Illyria and Spike go demon hunting in an amusement park to find Drogyn. He is convinced Angel has turned evil. Illyria sits in Spike's apartment playing Crash Bandicoot and protecting Drogyn when Hamilton comes in and drags Drogyn away.

Back at Wolfram and Hart, they've captured Lindsey who explains that Angel is trying to get into the Circle of the Black Thorn, a secret society of the most powerful people. Angel gets initiated by biting the neck of Drogyn. Senator Brucker is among the members.

So the gang has a confrontation with Angel in his office, then Angel creates a magical shield over the place. He's really working for the good and wants to destroy the real powers from the inside. So this is the setup for the finale with everyone going in on it.

May 22

Yelena spent the night. Then this morning Yelena's mom took Miranda and Yelena to Yelena's soccer game. While I went grocery shopping, Whitlock picked Miranda from Yelena's house and took her for a play date with Erika.

Which left us home to watch the Angel episode "The Girl in Question". In the main plot, Angel and Spike go to Italy to pick up the body of the capo of a demon clan. Apparently all they needed was the head. Brought back to the family the capo could be restored if brought back to Los Angeles quickly enough. Unfortunately, both Angel and Spike are obsessed with seeing Buffy again. They engage the Rome office of Wolfram and Hart which looks identical to the Los Angeles branch, except that people speak Italian. Angel and Spike mess up the entire operation and even get themselves blown up by a bomb.

Andrew tells them Buffy is dating The Immortal, a being of questionable alignment. The Immortal also had a threesome with Darla and Drusilla in days gone by. Andrew tells Angel and Spike to move on from Buffy as he goes out with two Italian blondes. Angel and Spike return to Los Angeles to find the capo's head has been delivered to the Los Angeles office, courtesy of The Immortal.

In the B-plot, Fred's parents arrive and Illyria impersonates Winifred for their benefit. Illyria wants to stay in Fred form, but Wesley wants none of it. She goes back to blue adding,"As you wish," suggesting that Illyria is in love with Wesley and referencing The Princess Bride.

Went on to the CSI episode "Turning the Screws". A roller coaster runs off the rails and demolishes a car in the parking lot in the process. There are six dead bodies, but the operator remembers only five persons in the car when it loaded up.

The sixth person also worked at the park and liked to take his dates up for sex on the coaster. The autopsy reveals he died several hours earlier, then dumped in his car's trunk. The derailment into his car exposed the trunk and the body.

The culprit was a kid who worked the merry-go-round and was tutoring a girl in math. The girl went on a date with coaster boy. The tutor got jealous and loosened the nuts on the car, but that wasn't enough to kill them. He offed coaster boy and dumped him in the trunk. He never bothered to go back and fix the coaster car.

In the B-plot, a 13-year-old girl is found dumped with no signs of sexual assault. Her single mom is a cocktail waitress who works odd hours. Turns out mom was dating a landscaper, but got intensely jealous of the daughter when the new guy lavished attention. One day he drove her home from school and mom lost it, offing her with a shovel through the vertebrae.

Took a little time to watch live TV and DC United's 2-1 loss to Colorado. I'm afraid an Abe Pollin Washington Wizards complacency has set in.

Next we watched the CSI: Miami episode "Rap Sheet". Gunshots ring out at rap concert. The headliner has a bullet in the shoulder, but it's his bodyguard who winds up dead. By the way, the rapper named 10-Large is portrayed by Xzibit, but his performance on this program was one of the lamest I've ever seen. It was like the Mosquitoes from Gilligan's Island or any of a number of fake rock bands appearing on 1960s sitcoms.

Horatio thinks he's in the middle of a rap war when someone takes a shot at 10-Large and Horatio in broad daylight. Turns out the victim had previously worked security for a sports broadcaster, but was reassigned due to an argument. Looking into the sportscaster's On-Star system reveals he hit a kid changing a tire. The victim knew about it and the sportscaster had another security guard kill him.

In the B-plot, Alexx has a body fighting out of a bag in the morgue and we all get Tru Calling flashbacks. Because of shock and getting doused with water from a hydrant she hit, the paramedics thought she was dead. At her accident scene, Delko and Speedle find another woman's body, catapulted into a tree.

The two women had just moved in together. The survivor's ex-boyfriend came over and had a fight with the new girl, killing her with a corkscrew. Lover comes home, drags her to the jeep, but gets into a bizarre accident.

Finished off with the Enterprise episode "The Council". Archer and Hoshi appear before Xindi Council. After much wrangling, the Reptilians agree to side with the Humanoids and Arboreals to delay deployment of the weapon. It is a ruse to kill Degra and then join with the Insectoids to deploy the weapon themselves. At the end, the Reptilians kidnap Hoshi. In the B-plot, T-Pol, Malcolm, Mayweather and a red shirt visit a sphere to find vital information.

May 21

From Kurt Vonnegut:

If you die horribly on television, you will not have died in vain. You will have entertained us.

Speaking of combining death and television, the 2004 LaPlaca Results are final. I came in 37th out of 47 entrants. I'm happy just as long as I didn't finish last. I was also the highest of those who correctly picked six losers or fewer. Sometimes you grasp at straws.

Sally Ride teachers in top hats on stage
Sally Ride teachers sing their farewell to Principal Evans.

Yelena and Miranda
A large long-haired black and brown cat

Pandamania on the northeast corner of 9th and G, N.W.
Elephant with Metrorail map on it
Metrophant on the northwest corner of 9th and G, N.W.

Whitlock and I took Miranda and her friend Yelina to the sock hop at Sally Ride Elementary. Principal Kenneth Evans is retiring so the teachers sang a musical tribute to him to the tune of "Hello Dolly" along with a Power Point slide presentation of actual photos. Yelena will spend the night with us.

I went to the Knossos meeting at Mel Dickover's house. The book was The Case of the Toxic Spell Dump by Harry Turtledove. I didn't read the book but everyone who read it seemed to enjoy it. Mel has renovated his kitchen and powder room into hypermodern styles. Someone had trouble looking for ice because nothing looked quite like a refrigerator or freezer. Mel's cat Aphrodite made an appearance.

May 20

Got a picture this morning of the neighborhood Pandamania entry. Since the gallery isn't up yet, I can't explain why there's an Aztec calendar stone on it when it's in front of Pepco. There's a still a Party Animal in sight of the panda. It's Metrophant which was originally at the Farragut North Metro Station, but is now in front of the Martin Luther King Library.

Maciej Ceglowski describes being in Warsaw when Poland joined the EU and the crowd sang "All You Need is Love".

This performance mortified me on an unusual number of levels, so that it took a while before I noticed that the formerly sleepy crowd was now grooving, and singing along (at least to the chorus). Even the anti-EU sign guy seemed to swaying in time to the beat. I couldn't quite get over the shock of it - four hundred fifty million people were being asked to put their faith in the lyrics of a guy who thought Yoko Ono was hot.

May 19

Another blogger unhappy with his performance on Silver Screen Test. Does this mean if you want to do well on my show, don't waste your time blogging? On second thought, Tim Young came out a winner.

Witness the mess that is DC United. While the game was going, I managed to keep Shrewsbury Town from dropping from Division Three into the Conference in Soccer Cards. It went right down to the last game where the Shrews managed a draw with Derby while my two competitors for the drop zone both lost. Because of that wonderful performance, I got an offer with Huddersfield Town, a better team in Division Three.

May 18

Woke up with a terrible cough and cold, so I stayed home. Then I learned the terrible news about Sunderland. Slept about nine hours during the day so I could watch television in the evening.

Started with the CSI: Miami episode "Not Landing". A small plane crashes on Miami Beach killing only the pilot. At first it looks the fuel tank was disabled, but the pilot actually died from carbon monoxide poisoning before that ever happened. The airpark he took off from is lined with huge houses of other pilots. Everybody is sleeping with everybody else's spouse, just like Knot's Landing, hence the title of the episode. The killer was a lover of the victim who showed him a plan for a fuel cell that he went ahead and patented.

In the B-plot, a parking valet is found dead, then as Alexx is turning the body over, an explosive goes off on his person. Turns out the valet was killed by a brain anuerism. The explosive was in a cellphone the valet stole. The guy who owned the cellphone was an explosive nut who just liked blowing up things. Alexx got very mad at him. Certainly, he committed a felony for possession, but he didn't intend for the explosives to be stolen or near anyone who could be harmed.

Went to the Enterprise episode "E2". When the Enterprise reaches the mouth of a sub-space corridor to speed the rendezvous with Degra, they meet the Enterprise. When the ship went through the corridor, they came out 117 years earlier, so this is the crew 117 years older.

Trip and T'Pol's son Lorian now commands the ship. He is played by David Andrews who played Frank Borman in From the Earth to the Moon and Officer Fromansky in the CSI episode Paper or Plastic. Because the writers couldn't come up with an interim climax, Lorian steals parts of Archer's ship so that his ship can rendezvous with Degra. Eventually, with repairs from Lorian's ship, Archer's ship goes forward to make the rendezvous.

Crew members check out who they married and Malcolm finds he never married. Is this where he comes out of the closet?

May 17

For Orioles, Bullpen is a Start. Boswell is thinking Lee Mazzilli is running contrary to the Moneyball crowd by ignoring the left-right percentages. But in the 1950s section of the New Bill James Historical Abstract, advocated using the relief ace for the 8th and 9th inning everytime the game was close and he wasn't tired. But for those 3-run leads, don't waste him. Bill James also advocated something similar in the Managers book. The 1994 Expos had a bullpen of 5 right-handed relievers and all the announcers thought Felipe Alou was playing with a built-in disadvantage. But if your entire bullpen is pretty good, why worry about percentages.

That's the way I play OOTP. I have a ten-man staff - four starters and six relievers. Three of the relievers are interchangeable aces, the other three I get nervous when I put them in. I think it can work in modern baseball. By the way, I came in third last year, seven games back. I have to run a program that calculates win shares before going on to next year.

I don't know about you, but I find it creepy to hear someone talking on their cellphone while sitting on the toilet in the men's room.

Miranda performinger her dance
A Bird's First Flight

Went to Miranda's ballet recital. Each of the student's performed a one-minute piece they choreographed themselves. Miranda's was called "A Bird's First Flight" about a baby bird learning to fly. She wore one of Whitlock's old blouses along with scarves as wings. The music was Bach's Brandenburg Concert No. 1.

Miranda's pretty good in terms of strength and jumping, not so much in grace and flexibility. One girl had "The Ride of Valkyries" to accompany a dance about a garden. I thought, this is where the Apache attack helicopters come in.

May 16

Cut the grass short in the front and long in the back in an effort to slow down the weeds. Call it a mullet lawn. Also saw my first cicada. People have told Whitlock that because our house is so new, the cicadas are either dead or wherever they dumped the original soil. But that still doesn't explain why we haven't seen much from the undisturbed woods.

Watched the Cold Case episode "The Plan". A mysterious note arrives from a boys military academy with the words,"The Plan. 1.Ignore 2.Reward 3.Secret 4.Test 5.Escalate 6.Destroy." In 1999, the swim coach died in what was termed an accidental death.

It doesn't take long to find out the victim was molesting boys. Three of them each admit to killing him. Turns out they did it together. But he wasn't quite dead. The older cadet who found him was also a victim of molestation and dealt the killing blow. He sent the note because he wanted the coach's crimes to be exposed. Only the older guy is charged, and two of the kids go free. The third shot himself and the episode ended with him in intensive care.

May 15

Another taping of Silver Screen Test. Overall it went well. There are some problems I'll have to fix in editing. My thanks to the crew of Jimmy Albert, John Buckley, Yen-Ming Chen, Bill Davenport, John Eftimiades, Adam Fine, Mariusz Korwin-Piotrowski, Andrea Lamphier, Bob Mattia, Tchad Moore, Larry Sheingorn and Jennifer Walden.

Finished the Angel episode "Time Bomb". Illyria rescues Gunn from his suburban basement hell. Now the demon that's been cutting him up wears the necklace and is cutting itself up. So back at Wolfram and Hart, Wesley's trying to figure out what to do with Illyria and Angel keeps asking. She is suffering through some weird timeslip, but ends up killing, Spike, Wesley, Lorne and Angel before going back in time again, sweeping the living Angel along in her wake. It ends up with this gun that we thought was going to kill Illyria, but really eased the pressure by taking away some energy from her and making her more physically stable. Yeah, I know, it was just an excuse for splashy special effects and thinking that the main characters were killed off early.

In the B-plot, Jamie Bergman, Miss January 1999, Mrs. David Boreanaz, comes in pregnant, saying her spawn is holy to the Fell demons. In exchange for the child, the demons promise to make whole her brain-damaged husband. Gunn gets some idea that it would be helping the bad guys to do this. At the end, Angel comes in and lets the demons have the baby.

Watched the Tru Calling episode "D.O.A." A doctor dies on the street of a heart attack. Tru and Jack discuss both reliving days. She's relieved to know she's not alone. The doctor asks,"Help them," and both Tru and Jack go back.

Jack gets the location wrong and they're unable to stop the doctor from dying. Davis is very suspicious of Jack's mistake. Tru goes back and finds several lives the doctor touched. There's his receptionist, the junior college student and his son. The receptionist was really in love with him and the juco student tells her that he was also in unspoken love with her. Jack and Tru stop the bus the juco student rides from getting into a traffic accident. The son was an art painter who had become estranged from his father because the profession was not believed to be proper. Then the son finds his father had been buying up his paintings in secret. So he is a better father for not accepting his son, then secretly propping up his career?

The last person was a patient who got a misdiagnosis. Tru gets to her before she dies from a suicide attempt. Jack tries to stop Tru and reveals his true colors as her evil opposite.

In the B-plot, Lindsey gets a marriage proposal from Randall, the Irish investment banker. It's only been a week since they started dating again, so the first time around she turns him down. In the replay, Harrison confronts Randall at his office to discover the Irishman will be transferred to London in a week and wants Lindsey with him. Harrison tells Lindsey to marry Randall.

So I didn't know it was a two-episode night and missed the finale.

Which brings us to the CSI episode "Dead Ringer". We see the CSI crew running at night. Through exposition we find out it's the Law Enforcement Desert Relay whereby different units from various cities form 20-person teams running 6 miles each. At first I wonder why they are running in the dead of night when I realize nobody wants to run in Nevada during the day.

With the pack spread out, Grissom is in a pickup accompanying Willows when he sees the inert body of one of their competitors off the road. The victim is a badass from the Los Angeles County Police Department Special Enforcement Squad AKA SES. We meet this guy Mendez from SES who explains that Coleman, the dead body, just came into SES and Mendez is being kicked upstairs to lieutenant.

Coleman died of cardiac arrest and dehydration from a drug called furosemide. Catherine meets up with a red herring who kept trying to get into SES, but Coleman got in because he was good runner, just a ringer for the race. Turns out Mendez did the deed by planting the drug in the energy bar. Later, off the record with Grissom, Mendez says he didn't mean to kill Coleman, just make sure he didn't run a better time than he did in the leg of the race he'd run for eight years.

In the B-plot, a Laughlin, NV cop named Senteno is found shot to death along with Fielding, a female cop from Bakersfield. It looks like a murder-suicide with her holding the gun.

Senteno's widow is brought in and she readily admits to putting up with her husband's indiscretions. Cute moment where Warrick says the woman always knows, but Sara thinks not. It doesn't look like Fielding is Senteno's lover because her fingerprints are only on the door, the doorknob and the gun. On the other hand there a lot of other fingerprints from Lopez, another female Bakersfield cop.

Lopez's room is a mess and a very expensive nightie is torn to shreds. She turns up in LVPD and is very surprised to find Senteno is dead, as well as Fielding. Lopez admits to the same time next year affair with Senteno. She adds that her husband Archie is also in town and he trashed the room and the negligee.

Archie is in the drunk tank and admits to the trashing, but not to murder. He saw Fielding in the bar and got very annoyed that she was keeping his wife's secret as well. While trashing the rooms, Archie had gotten Seteno's home phone and had a long talk with Mrs. Senteno. She sped to Las Vegas and shot her husband and Fielding. Fielding was only there to warn Senteno that Archie was loose and got shot because the wife thought she was the other woman.

In the C-plot, Coleman's ATM was used to withdraw $300 nine hours after his death. At first they get a fast food worker, but he only admits to getting the money for a quickie with a hooker. I just want to know how a married burger flipper has $300 bucks to blow. Turns out the clocks were messed up by daylight savings time and there was a guy running a scam on an ATM machine. He had a device to read the cards and to videotape the pin number. With this info, he'd skim $300 at a time. Turns out he stole them all from cops in town for the con.

May 14

One of Al Franken's memes was that Colin Powell could have been elected the first African-American president because he was a general. Al thought the Jews should try to find a candidate of their own from the ranks of the military and groom him for a presidential run. Maj. Gen. Antonio Taguba has made news for Filipino-Americans, but he is junior to Lt. Gen. Edward Soriano. Unfortunately, like me, they were born in the Philippines and do not fill the natural-born citizen requirement. Until a Schwarzenegger Amendment is added to the consitution, Filipino-Americans will have to look elsewhere.

May 13

I've been calling Fraught on the new Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy movie, but now they have a blog where you can follow every fraught-filled day.

May 12

From Greg Costikyan:

Literature is another one of those value-laden terms that applies to an artform. Terms like these come in threes, invariably: They read sci fi, you read science fiction, I read speculative fiction. They write doggerel, you write verse, I write poetry. They go to the movies, you watch films, I enjoy cinema. They read trash, you read fiction--I read literature. It's all the same stuff; the different terms imply value, nothing more--and value is inherently subjective.

May 11

I read Serial, a graphic novel by Max Allan Collins, Gabriel Rodriguez and Ashley Wood based on CSI. The A-plot is a series of murders patterned upon the Jack the Ripper spree. With my knowledge of the case, it was fun figuring out where the killer would strike next. In addition, there's a Rippercon going at the same time and all the attendees are suspects. It kept my interest, but it's not worth $19.95. It's not something you can look at over and over again for the details like The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. Read it at the comic book store.

May 10

Finished reading The Demolished Man by Alfred Bester. The set-up is a murder committed in a society with telepaths that make getting away with a crime impossible. Although information gathered from a telepathic probe is not admissible as evidence in court, such probes can lead to evidence which is admissible.

With my standard of police procedurals being CSI, I think this novel fell short. The Freudian explanation for the motive seemed contrived to me. The killer is a plutocrat who seems too unstable to effectively run a business.

On the other hand, the style is breezy and cinematic so this is not a difficult slog to read. I can imagine how the story might be updated for a current film with the emphasis on the privacy issues of telepathic authorities. Though I can't say I liked it, the experience was innocuous enough and I'm intimidated enough by the book's reputation to recommend it as "required reading" because it is one of the classics of the field. I'm not saying this emperor has no clothes, but you should judge for yourself and it's probably a sign of literary diversity in the genre.

May 9

For Mother's Day, Whitlock and I walked through downtown Rockville while Miranda was in Sunday school. This entry from last October pretty much covers what we saw.

We rented Brother Bear. It's set in an Inuit type community before the extinction of the mammoths. A young man gets magically turned into a bear and learns lessons of responsibility.

Given the year of release, there are the inevitable comparisons to Finding Nemo. The fish story was a greater technical achievement, packed in every second with something funny or interesting that you have to see it more than once to catch everything. In addition, this sheer volume of content, makes it appealing to a wider audience. On the other hand, the bear tale had more fully-fleshed three-dimensional characters.

In addition, there was no real villain because the conflicts were largely internal. Brother Bear was classically the Joseph Campbell journey of the hero as the journey of self-exploration. Although the characters practice a shamanistic religion, you can easily make parallels to Christian sacrifice.

If you read most reviews, the film was panned, which I just don't understand. It's not Finding Nemo. The songs are kind of weak musically. I like it better than The Little Mermaid. In terms of solid family entertainment, Brother Bear hits the mark.

The DVD contains commentary by two moose voiced by Rick Moranis and Dave Thomas in their MacKenzie Brothers mode. It's Mystery Science Theater 3000. Unfortunately, I didn't have time to watch it. This may be worth buying the DVD for.

May 8

Cut the grass. There was sod behind our neighbor's yard that was dumped by someone else in the neighborhood. The dumpers are having a deck built and had to get rid of the grass. I've appropriated some of it to fill in the bare spots.

Another depressing performance for DC United. They let 90 minutes of great play get washed away by a penalty kick in stoppage time.

Watched the Tripping the Rift episode "Power to the Peephole". The crew visit Floridia 7 where there's an election between the Dark Clowns and the Confederation. The Clown has hired Chode to find dirt on George Goodfellow, the Confederation candidate.

While Gus, Whip, Chode and Six work on getting compromising photos, T'nuk is taking the Monica Lewinsky route. In the throes of passion, Goodfellow puts a loyalty disk in Six. T'nuk discovers that Goodfellow has replaced his real family with robots, which is what eventually does the candidate in.

Went to the Enterprise episode "The Forgotten". The ship meets with Degra and a Xindi arboreal council member. While Archer convinces them about what's really happening, they are interrupted by a Xindi Reptilian ship that Degra blows up. Meanwhile, Tripp has to write a condolence letter to the family of a dead crewman, but his feelings towards his dead sister get in the way. Nice acting by Connor Trinneer.

May 7

Spider-Man ads on bases don't fly. They backed off on this one just like the plan last year to put the All-Stars in the same uniforms.

Went to the Ginohn First Friday gathering. Saw John's brother Tom who is getting more media attention since the recent article about his reign as King of the University of Maryland. Also saw Marlene and met her boyfriend Kevin. Cooperjohn read a political parody of "Jabborwocky" by the campfire.

May 6

Sunderland is in the playoffs. They beat Norwich who celebrated anyway because they won First Division when West Bromich Albion lost.

I really haven't got much of a problem with the Spider-man promotion except for advertising on the bases. Spider-man could throw out the first pitch for all I care.

Finished editing two more episodes of Silver Screen Test.

May 5

The Revenge of Bingbong. This is why Doug Glanville and Curt Schilling are two big leaguers with geek cred.

May 4

Miracle Max

Which Princess Bride Character are You?
this quiz was made by mysti

Watched the Tru Calling episode "Rear Window". Tru meets a woman at the diner named Chris Berenson. That night, a man is brought into the morgue, also with the name Chris Berenson. Tru and Davis suspect identity theft on the part of the man.

The woman admits to the identity theft. When Davis and Tru confront the man, he claims he's the one being robbed. Davis checks the DMV and Jack follows the woman. This confirms that she's the thief.

The woman gives a sob story and Tru has her give lots of cash to the man. But the man discovers the cash is counterfeit. He returns to the woman's apartment where he's confronted by Tru's upstairs neighbor who has become obsessed with the identity thief. Tru stops the fight. The woman is arrested at a rent-a-car where she's trying to use Tru's credit card.

Davis finds out Jack got a letter from the Schenckman Center, a mental institution. Davis calls a friend there and finds out Jack had told them he also re-lived days.

As this series winds down, Whitlock has been impressed with the acting of Eliza Dushku, Shawn Reaves and Zach Galifianakis. I like that Davis is sort of like us, a nerd who can live in the real world.

May 3

Take the 100 Acre Personality Quiz!

May 2

My foot's much better. The bugbite part went away and it just looks like an ordinary mild case of athlete's foot.

Harold Reynolds did some insane diatribe against on-base percentage by saying Corey Patterson, Juan Pierre and Jimmy Rollins were better than Frank Thomas and Jason Giambi because they scored more runs and scored more frequently per time on base. He left out that there may not be anybody behind Thomas and Giambi to drive them in.

So the entire point could be boiled down to that Patterson, Pierre and Rollins are better than Thomas and Giambi because they're not as slow. Never mind that Frank and Jason have won 3 MVPs and are building Hall of Fame resumes. C'mon Harold, those three guys aren't even better than you or Kruk!

May 1

Even the playoffs look seriously in doubt for Sunderland. The home team that's really around home has hopefully bottomed out by rallying from an awful first-half performance. Meanwhile in baseball, this game appeared to take about the same time for each inning as a half in the soccer game. The play of the game was when Alex Escobar threw out Tejada attempting score on a fly out. Harold Reynolds noted that Jody Gerut waved Escobar to catch it since he had the better arm. At that moment, though, it looked like Gerut was flailing and had lost the ball.

Watched the Cold Case episode "Maternal Instincts". In 1989, a mother goes to answer the door, then we find her son crying over her bleeding body. The case is reopened because the now 17-year-old boy, a juvenile delinquent, has some memories that might solve the case.

Inquiries in the neighborhood reveal she came from Virginia, but a woman from Virginia with the same name died seven years earlier, so the woman was traveling under an assumed name. When they find her real name and her husband, he claims to be infertile and that any child she bore was not his. Also the autopsy determined she never gave birth.

So the trail leads to a couple who lost a child at about the right time and who are the biological parents of the juvenile delinquent. The victim convinced the husband to kidnap the boy, but left him behind. But the killer was a doctor who had an affair with her several years earlier. Now he was divorced and wanted her to run away with him. He strangely left the boy alive.

The murder victim had a manipulative chameleon-like personality. To a grocer in Philadelphia, she appeared an innocent in distress. To the doctor, she was an insatiable sex addict.

The investigation was supposed to prove to the juvenile delinquent that people actually cared about him, but he steals he a car anyway. He meets his biological family while being frogmarched.

Went on to finish Prime Suspect 6: The Last Witness. Samira, a Bosnian immigrant is found brutally tortured and murdered. Tennison takes over the investigation from Finch, one of her subordinates. After the body is identified, he links it to Kasim, a small-time Bosnian cigarette smuggler whose girlfriend, Jasmina, was the sister of the victim.

Careful viewing of closed circuit surveillance tapes leads to Zigic, a security guard and former Serbian soldier. The sister identifies him as a soldier who saved both girls lives by telling them to hide in a pile of dead bodies. However Tennison also learns that before her death, Samira called to Jasmina to say the she saw "The Devil", the head of the Serbian Paramilitary Unit that continually raped them both.

The first half ends with Jasmina killed in the hospital where she works despite all the police around. Tennison suspects the interpreter Lukic, is the Devil. Police get a tip to the whereabouts of Zigic and they managed to disarm and capture him.

Tennison's boyfriend Robert has a tip verifying Jasmina's story of a previously unreported massacre. At this point, British Intelligence steps in to say that Lukic has brought in bigger war criminals and is in the country under the protection of the government. Tennison and Robert go to Bosnia and Jane gets a severe reprimand when she returns.

Zigic confesses to both murders. Tennison's travels in Bosnia lead her to suspect that Lukic is actually named Jankovic and that he killed the real Lukic whose identity he took. Jane tricks Lukic's wife into revealing his British government protection. She plays the tape for Zigic who then reveals where the real Lukic was buried.

Meanwhile, Robert attends the funeral of the sisters and hints to Kasim that Lukic/Jankovic was behind the murder of Samira. Kasim's gang kidnaps Lukic/Jankovic, with the intention of putting him on trial in Bosnia. The police catch up with them, but Tennison arrests him in his house for the murder of the original Lukic. He makes a vain attempt at escape by holding his stepdaughter hostage.

The Undertow...
Full Bloom Desktops|
Very Random Text|
Troy in 15 Minutes|
And We're Proud of That Pride|
Home Test for Parallel Universes|
Customer Reviews: Solid Gold S.E.P.|
Didgeridoo Sound Healing|
Hugo-Nominated Short Fiction|
Rubbing Bald Heads|
The Time a Land Forgot|
Halliburton Pulling the Plug on GI Communications|
How Old Do You Think I Am?|
Who's Behind The Beatings?|
Ken Bereskin's Wildlife Photos|
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100 Mistakes to Choose From|
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Good "Ol Girl Who Enjoyed Cruelty|
Pac Manhattan|
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College Quiz Bowl|
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Media Matters for America|
Think Again: Al-Qaeda|
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CD Jewel Case Calendar|
Lifetime Television Plot Generator|
God Bless the Children of Iraq|
Dreaming of the Bitter Sea|
Trachtenburg Family Slideshow Players|
Marian Koshland Science Museum of the National Academy of Sciences|
What I Didn't Say|
Moiré Phenomena|
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Supermodel Personals|
Ice Age Floods Institute|
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Last revised May 31, 2004
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