September 16 Permalink
Women's football league suspends operations. A sad day for soccer and women's sports. I'd watch the Freedom-DC United doubleheaders with world-famous media fan Martin Morse Wooster. On Saturday afternoons, I'd blob on the couch watching the 4:00 game on Pax. Maybe the WUSA should have stayed with their 1:00 slot so as not go against the MLS game. Add an 11:00 EPL game and another 7:00 MLS game, you could have an all-day soccerfest that eight people in the United States would watch. The other seven folks and I will miss the WUSA.
Some of the players will go to the W-League, the WPSL or to coaching. Others will get on with their lives. Turns out Nomar is one of those other seven people.
From Idle Words, some good advice, although I don't expect to be running 15 miles anytime soon:
Driving down to Boston yesterday, I came up with a new personal credo: "Never drive for four hours after a fifteen mile run". My leg kept cramping up in the locked and down position, jamming itself against the accelerator for minutes at a time. Thank God I was driving a Saturn - the car that will not accelerate past seventy five™.
Some historical advice from Abraham Lincoln couresty of Max Sawicky.
If, today, he [the President] should choose to say he thinks it necessary to invade Canada, to prevent the British from invading us, how could you stop him? You may say to him, "I see no probability of the British invading us," but he will say to you, "Be silent; I see it, if you don't."
The provision of the Constitution giving the war-making power to Congress, was dictated, as I understand it, by the following reasons. Kings had always been involving and impoverishing their people in wars, pretending generally, if not always, that the good of the people was the object. This, our Convention understood to be the most oppressive of all Kingly oppressions; and they resolved to so frame the Constitution that no one man should hold the power of bringing this oppression upon us. But your view destroys the whole matter, and places our President where kings have always stood.
Write soon again.
The Civil War was an undeclared war, but its difficult to declare war against your own citizens. Undeclared ones on the other hand...
Didn't get to do editing for Silver Screen Test because facilities didn't bother to tell me I couldn't get the time I wanted. The Montgomery Community Television schedule page currently has the show at the following times for September:
Mondays at 4:00 p.m.
Tuesdays at 5:30 p.m.
Fridays at 2:00 p.m.
September 15 Permalink
Miranda is home sick today. She wrote a little assignment where she said she identified with a character in a story that had a favorite blanket (not Linus). However, the current lingo for this is now "Making a self-to-text connection."
September 14 Permalink
I've officially given up on understinding the football season. The Indigenous Persons snuck by again. With one more victory, I'm ready to accept that this team can win 6 games. Two more and I'm ready to put them in the 7-9, 8-8, 9-7 morass where you find most of the NFL. A 9-7 record also means you're a playoff contender. I'm pretty sure now they're not pathetically bad.
I'd previously represented Philadelphia as the class of the division, but now they're 2 games behind Washington. Sean Salisbury thinks Donovan McNabb is showing very bad throwing form, but what do you expect when you enlist a Dead President as a personal trainer?
Last week I thought Tampa Bay was the class of the conference, until they were beaten as well. Right now, all I'm definite about is that the all-white uniform does not look good on Washington. It will take a pretty bad loss now for them to stop wearing this outfit.
September 13 Permalink
Watched the Peacemakers episode "Legend of the Gun". This was their best episode. The main plot was just chasing after a crafty gang of stagecoach robbers. They used suspense tropes effectively to create the mood and you never knew if the badguys would suddenly appear. Instead of the desert landscape cliche since in most Westerns, this show takes the characters into the British Columbia woods. The forest creates more hiding places and lends a European medieval feel at times. The suspense probably was a budget constraint, eschewing expensive action scenes for cheaper spookiness. I like to see good writing overcoming other limitations.
The secondary plot starred James Remar as Cole Hawkins, a gunfighter with too many dime novels written about him. Will Hutchins, a boy of Silver City, is fascinated with the legend of Hawkins. He's also smitten with Amy, Katie's younger sister. This is not Tom, the boy who wanted to take her to Denver. The episode ends with Hutchins shooting Hawkins in a classic gun battle when Cole wouldn't even draw.
September 12 Permalink
Leonard Pinth-Garnell at the Corcoran.
Watched the second episode of the second season of MI-5. Siddig or Dr. Bashir plays an Algerian professor whose family was killed in a carbomb because the extremists knew he was working for the government. Siddig infiltrates a Birmingham mosque that has been taken over in fact by a radical Afghan.
MI-5 know the cleric is planning suicide attacks, but they also don't know whether they can trust Siddig. He stays out of contact for several days until he sneaks himself into Tom's room. A teen boy will set off a bomb the next day and Tom is ready to send in the special forces. Siddig thinks he can make the boy change his mind and beats up Tom, who is starting to look like Jim Rockford.
Siddig shoots most of the cell that will take the bomber to the target, but the boy escapes to a schoolyard. Siddig yells the children away while special forces make the scene. Siddig tries to talk the bomber out of pulling the cord, but he ends up blowing up both of them.
On the horizontal side, Tom beds a physician and the CIA liaison looks like Emily Procter.
The Enterprise season opener,"The Xindi," was surprisingly unbad. Their only lead on the attackers of Earth is a mining colony with a Xindi laborer. While Archer and Trip try to interrogate him on the location of the Xindi homeworld, the mining boss is actually running a scam to impress more laborers. The space marines help rescue Archer and Trip, but the Xindi later dies of his wounds. The alien gives them the coordinates of his homeworld, which mysteriously turns up a planet destroyed for over a hundred years.
The Xindi consist of five separate races including at least one reptilian, one insectoid and one aquatic. Phlox identifies independently the mammalian and the reptilian species which he characterizes as similar to the closeness of Neanderthal and a human. Of course, this is patently ridiculous since reptiles and mammals are much more distantly related than Neanderthals and humans. Also, an insect exoskeleton could not support a body large enough to support a single intelligence. Instead, for variety, I might have chosen a bird-like sentient.
T'Pol's been sexed-up even more, as if that was possible. Her make-up's more human. In an early scene, she didn't wear a catsuit. Later on, Whitlock said she looked like Batgirl in the Columbia blue outfit. She and Trip get sort of naked as they apply Vulcan neuropressure on each other.
Stephen McHattie did a great job as the alien foreman. The varieties of Xindi reminded me of Babylon 5. If the rest of the season is this good, I can almost forgive the previous two years.
September 11 Permalink
Montgomery County dedicated its September 11 Memorial today to the 11 county residents who died in the Pentagon. It has this feature:
Two round columns form an entrance and frame a square column into which is built a "book that, when opened, reveals a bronze plaque listing the names of those lost and a statement from the County. A unique design in the roof includes a solar lens that captures the passing sunlight and will, on the morning of September 11, briefly illuminate each of the 11 names.
World-famous media fan Martin Morse Wooster directed to me to this commentary by David Owen in the Financial Times. He was recalling his first baseball game at Wrigley Field in 1986.
In comparison with the rowdy, thuggish football crowds I had been used to, it was like wandering into a kindergarten populated by adults. There was little or no bad language, not much chanting, and refreshments, as I recall, could be ferried to your seat. Most of all, I thought I detected a general indifference as to whether the(ordinarily inept) hometown Cubbies actually won.
By the time we reached the seventh-inning stretch, cueing a mass rendition of Take me out to the Ball-game, a particularly schmaltzy ditty, I thought I was an extra at the teddy bear's picnic. I had witnessed more mob hysteria at a county cricket match, never mind my teenage lair at the covered end of Bristol City's Ashton Gate. There, had the seventh-inning stretch existed, the ditty of choice would, at one time, have been a stentorian chant of Dicks Out!, targeted, lest anyone misunderstand, at the unfortunate Alan Dicks, City's then manager.
Why the difference? I now think Chicago was simply my first exposure to a society in which sport was a branch of the entertainment industry. Going to the baseball was scarcely different from taking the kids to Disneyland, rather than being a lightning rod for untold, pent-up frustrations.
I can't prove it, but I would bet that a good proportion of that baseball crowd were relatively well-heeled white-collar workers, after a bit of good, clean fun in the sunshine with like-minded, consenting adults. If anyone was desperately pining for a Cubs victory, they were in the dug-out or short trousers.
In the menacing football-stadium atmosphere that I took for granted in England, by contrast, one felt that nearly everyone in the ground wanted one side or the other to win with an intensity that could all too easily boil over into profanity or violence.
By my quack sociologist interpretation, this reflected the doubtless hefty proportion of fans then labouring in dead-end jobs in a class-ridden society, with slim hope of change or advancement. For many of them, a football match must have represented a vital escape-valve.
As a child of the 1960s, I caught the tail-end of this era. But the gentrification of football crowds in recent years, particularly, I suspect, of followers of the top clubs, seems to be nudging the prevailing atmosphere closer to that I experienced at Wrigley Field. Today's better-off football fan still wants their team to win. But, I surmise, victory is less likely to be so all-consumingly important if you have a flash car to drive home in and a job with prospects to go to on Monday morning. And of course in the new generation of English stadiums, more fans are accommodated in conditions akin to Wrigley Field.
September 10 Permalink
Here's a map of Europe with the native names of the countries on it.
I'm not watching the Enterprise season opener tonight, leaving that for sometime this weekend. While is Earth reeling from an unprovoked attack from the Xindi, the aliens launched a pre-emptive strike based on what humans will do sometimes in next 400 years.
September 9 Permalink
For Back to School Night, I got to see the inside of portable classroom. Miranda left a note for us on her desk, to which I wrote back something Linus' mother might have left in his lunch. The Spiritwear this year includes a Sally Ride Elementary baseball jersey.
September 8 Permalink
I've been watching Playmakers. Russell Hornsby as aging running back Leon Taylor gives the best performance. Karen LeBlanc as Leon's wife Robin is the only significant female prescence. I would have selected the coach's wife instead to focus on. She would have a more ordinary existence in that her husband does not have as many women throwing themselves at her husband and she nevers sees him. If you're a sports fan, you're probably watching it anyway. If you're not a sports fan, it will probably confirm your worst preconceptions so you should probably skip it.
September 7 Permalink
Caught the CSI episode "Forever" on a rerun. A horse trainer is found dead with her charge in the cargo hold of a plane. The audience obviously figures someone is trying to frame the horse.
Nothing makes sense until the horse dies suddenly and an autopsy reveals a packet of uncut Central African diamonds in her uterus. The steward had been smuggling diamonds for his mother, a jeweler. The trainer was in on it, but when the horse was getting too sick, she backed out and the steward shot her with a horse-size dose of a tranquilizer.
In the other plot, a very troubled teen-aged couple are found dead half a mile apart, apparently in a suicide pact. This also doesn't lead anywhere, especially when trying to figure out why the girl didn't stay with her boyfriend. Then Greg discovers baby spit from their child. Turns out the girl's mother saw the baby as a second chance to do things right. The mother actually encouraged them to commit suicide, even driving them to the site. The girl changed her mind and crawled trying to get her mother to help her.
September 6 Permalink
Watched the second season opener for MI-5. Tom's girlfriend and daughter did not get blown up by the laptop, it was a dud. However, the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland and his two daughters were killed. Ellie finally decides she has to dump Tom.
Elsewhere, Patrick McCann is ready to defect, but his IRA guys get to him first. The plot goes to a Serbian named Miroslav Gradic, whose two sons were killed in a NATO bombing. He's in the UK, having set off a bomb at a military installation and ambushed a convoy.
Zoe has to befriend Gradic's contact in the Serbian embassy, Rado. The mathematicians figure out he's been sending messages through the classifieds, identifying specific targets. The next one will be the Cobra meeting where the bigwigs, including the Prime Minister himself, are convening. For a moment, we believe they're stupid enough to stay in place as a target. However, Cobra has chosen another location and Gradic is sent to Egypt with trumped-up pedophile charges.
September 5 Permalink
If the Ball Coach keeps it up, the Indigeneous Persons can win six games this year, but I'll hold off judgement until I see more games. After all, the victories last year against Seattle, Indianapolis and St. Louis that were grounded in the run, didn't result in philosophical change against the Giants. Since I counted this game as a loss before-hand, I'll raise my win prediction to four games.
The Giants have several pundits picking them over the Eagles in the NFC East this year. I think the schedule primarily explained the record in 2002. The NFC South and AFC East schedule will be much more difficult. If Spurrier maintains his running posture, I would expect New York, Washington and Dallas to be mired in a morass of 5-7 wins with Philadelphia winning the division easily.
Watched the Peacemakers episode "Dead to Rights". It starts with the humorous product placement of a Coca-Cola billboard that will put money in either the city's or the mayor's pocket.
Tom Tyler, a half-Native American blanket trader, is found dead with an arrow in his burnt body. A second body is found to be Twyla, the reporter from the pilot episode. The town requests Army help in hunting down the indigenous persons responsible for the murder.
Finch and Katie discover first of all that Tyler and Twyla were lovers. Also, they were both killed first by a derringer before being shot with arrows to implicate the Arapaho. Burning the bodies with kerosene would help to hide the evidence. Tyler, being part Crow, was shot with Crow arrowheads from his own house, rather than with Arapaho weapons born by the locals.
The Army contigent is led by Major Hansen, a former comrade of Marshal Stone in the Civil War. Hansen is of the "Only good Indian..." variety. Stone learns that the prime suspect, a renegade named Yuma, was only a witness to the murder. The killer was Post, an assistant editor at the newspaper who was in love with Twyla. Post joins the Army posse, but is captured at knifepoint by Yuma. Post confesses and Hansen shoots Yuma dead. Stone intends to bring Hansen to justice, but the Arapaho kill him instead.
Probably the best episode, it brought relations with the natives into relief. Hansen didn't dislike just Indians, but also Chinese as well. I was surprised he didn't unload with the N-word. Although Twyla was only in the first episode, her death hit me pretty hard as a viewer. I expected her to be a semi-regular.
Continued with MI-5's episode #6 which ended the first season in Britain. Patrick McCann, a brutal IRA member, has information on an attack by an al Qaeda cell to attack a nuclear power plant. In exchange, he wants a blind eye turned for 30 hours. Harry doesn't believe the nuclear attack is real, but Tom goes over his head and even feeds him false information.
The IRA planned to bomb a railway station. MI-5 clears the station of persons with only structural damage. McCann turns over the info anyway in the form of a laptop computer. It's enough to stop the al Qaeda attack.
However, unbeknownst to McCann, his IRA buddies had planted a bomb in the laptop. Tom's girlfriend and her daughter are trapped with it inside his home. This is where Season 1 ended in Britain with this cliffhanger. Fortunately, in the U.S., one only has to wait a week.
Harry finds out about Tessa running bogus agents. She counters with information that he could have fought his way out of an IRA ambush a quarter century before, but fled in cowardice.
September 4 Permalink
Don't like the white pants the Indigenous Persons are wearing. I think the all-white look goes with a more futuristic uniform like the Broncos or the Eagles. The current Washington design is kind of stuck in 1980 and the white shirt should have burgundy pants. An all-white kit might work if the helmet had a speeding W with a trailing feather.
September 3 Permalink
Mostly finished editing episode #15 of Silver Screen Test. I still have to re-record about five seconds of recounting the correct answers because the audio clock was on at the time. I got through the first PSA break on episode #16.
September 2 Permalink
The celebrity guest stars this time on MI-5's episode #5 were Tim Piggott-Smith and Nicholas Farrell. TPS is Hampton Wilder, a former MP now born-again and out of prison, but implicating the current defense minister Dick Maynard, played by Farrell, in an arms deal out of revenge. Wilder plea bargained treason down to embezzlement. The key is Sergai Lermov, the Russian arms dealer who was involved in the initial deal. Tessa was Maynard's lover and works to have Lermov killed. MI-6 leaks Wilder's memoirs, but implying that MI-5 leaked it. Maynard is forced to resign, but gets a nice professorship at Harvard. Turns out he was a CIA agent all along.
September 1 Permalink
Watched the Peacemakers episode "No Excuse". The mayor, in a subplot to win the state Republican Convention, finds a dead body while leading a tour of GOP bigwigs. The victim was killed in Miss Luci's brothel and Marshal Stone is forced to hold her in jail as a material witness.
The madam's been covering for one of her girls, Molly, who fled to Colorado from a violent husband in Boston. Unfortunately, he tracked her down and beat up on her again before she stabbed him several times. When Molly is discovered as the culprit, she jumps into the river instead of risking her life with an unsympathetic all-male jury. Finch rescues her from the rapids and pleads with Stone to bring her to trial. Katie knows Molly won't get a fair trial and likewise pleads to let her go. Stone eventually decides to let her escape.
Finch's English accent has fortunately returned. Katie's little sister wants to go Denver with her boyfriend and Goodyear makes newfangled rubber condoms.