Drive’s Dead

Filed under:Television — posted by Anwyn on April 26, 2007 @ 4:22 pm

Cancelled. Now let’s all dry our tears and go see Nathan Fillion in Waitress. Or if Fillion’s not your type, go see Keri Russell in … Waitress.

H/t Ace, his anti-Firefly, anti-Fillion trolls and the silly commenters who actually liked Drive notwithstanding. Ace says Captain Tightpants can’t catch a break, but really, I’m hoping he wasn’t shortsighted enough to think this show would be the break he absolutely must catch. It was bad without much chance of picking up.

Never Get Involved in a Land War in Asia

Filed under:Miscellaneous — posted by Anwyn on April 24, 2007 @ 11:13 pm

Especially if you’re the U.S. Air Force.

The result, Moseley said, is people being assigned to jobs they weren’t trained for. He cited Air Force airmen being used to guard prisoners and serve as drivers and cited one instance in which a female Air Force surgeon was assigned typing chores.

“We got her back,” Moseley said at a breakfast with a group of reporters.

Flying’s a double-edged sword. If they don’t need fliers and those who support fliers, what do you do? Whatever you can, apparently. On the other hand, if they do need fliers, it’s not exactly like they can pluck up an infantry grunt and chuck him into the left seat. Job security?

So much for Gulf War circa 1991.

Meanwhile, Back in Indiana

Filed under:Miscellaneous — posted by Anwyn @ 11:06 pm

Indiana to Arizona: Stop sending us your superfluous culturally maladjusted, nicotine-addicted, cell-decorating criminals.

Arizona to Indiana: We’re not sending you any more of our prisoners cuz you don’t keep close enough eye on ‘em.

This blog to Indianapolis Star: You wrote a whole article about this that couldn’t even establish the facts of the riot? Was it Arizona incitement to all prisoners against guards? Arizona provocation to Arizona-Indiana infighting? Indiana ganging up on Arizona? Indiana just taking advantage of the Arizona opening?

Doesn’t that stuff go on in prisons whether the incarcerated are from different states or not?

My Prediction Hangs in the Balance

Filed under:Television — posted by Anwyn @ 10:42 pm

Bye-bye, Heather Mills. You were plucky, but your insistence on doing tricks on your bad leg, including standing one-legged with the good leg up in the air, which unsurprisingly led you to a fall, made you seem a more ungainly dancer than you were.

Other couple in the red light: John Ratzenberger and his partner Edyta. If they go out next week I’m out one couple who were supposed to be in my top five. Oh well. As a record, 4-1 ain’t bad.

RIP, Blue Angel

Filed under:Sad — posted by Anwyn on April 21, 2007 @ 9:22 pm

Public, awful death abounds this week.

The crash took place in the final minutes of the air show, said Lt. Cmdr. Anthony Walley, a Blue Angel pilot. The pilots were doing a maneuver which involved all six planes joining from behind the crowd to form a Delta triangle, said Lt. Cmdr. Garrett D. Kasper, spokesman for the Blue Angels. One plane did not rejoin the formation.

Walley said the name of the pilot would not be released until relatives were notified. A Navy statement said the pilot had been on the team for two years — and it was his first year as a demonstration pilot.

“Our squadron and the entire U.S. Navy are grieving the loss of a great American, a great Naval officer and a great friend,” Walley said.

Update: Lt. Cmdr. Kevin J. Davis, in one of his first airshows as a Blue Angel.

Portrait of an American Hero

Filed under:Sad — posted by Anwyn on April 20, 2007 @ 8:36 pm

Liviu Librescu, senior researcher and lecturer in engineering at Virginia Tech, killed while blocking the classroom door from the murderer, was laid to rest today in Israel.

A Holocaust survivor who left Romania for Israel and then the United States. Killed saving the lives of his students. May his memory live forever. May his rest be peaceful and never alone.

Tolkien’s Children of Hurin

Filed under:Authors,Cool,Tolkien — posted by Anwyn on April 18, 2007 @ 9:15 pm

Christopher Tolkien’s master-stroke of editing and piecing together his father’s fragmentary work was released yesterday to much “fan”fare. TORn covered and assisted the line at a Manhattan Barnes and Noble where fans lined up to buy copies signed by both C. Tolkien and illustrator Alan Lee. Andrew O’Hehir, who’s been covering matters Tolkien for Salon for a long time now, has a thoughtful, in-depth review, focusing largely on the startling difference in tone between this tome and The Lord of the Rings.

“The Children of Húrin” will thrill some readers and dismay others, but will surprise almost everyone. If you’re looking for the accessibility, lyrical sweep and above all the optimism of “Lord of the Rings,” well, you’d better go back and read it again. There are no hobbits here, no Tom Bombadil, no cozy roadside inns and precious little fireside cheer of any variety found here. This is a tale whose hero is guilty of repeated treachery and murder, a story of rape and pillage and incest and greed and famous battles that ought never to have been fought. If “Lord of the Rings” is a story where good conquers evil, this one moves inexorably in the other direction.

Readers of The Silmarillion, which seemed at the time of its publication the end of all things Tolkien but proved to be merely the beginning of Christopher Tolkien’s work of editing his father’s legacy, know that LotR notwithstanding, Tolkien was very occupied with themes of hubris, falls from grace (or characters without grace altogether), and dark, inexorable destinies. The jagged yet constantly descending roads these characters take in their slides toward doom are indeed startling, but though as O’Hehir says the darkness will “surprise almost everyone,” the surprise for those left out by “almost” is more and more coming to be that Tolkien had it in him to write the happy-ending stories of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings at all. He could only do it by omitting utterly one of those occupying themes, hubris, from his three central characters of Frodo, Aragorn, and Gandalf, thus avoiding for them the dark destiny but reserving for them nevertheless places in grey twilight as their reward. When all’s said and done, Lord of the Rings is not a happy story, but at most grimly optimistic, to use Andrew’s word. In the end the individual matters only insofar as he or she did duty in the larger battle against evil, or failed in that duty.

Judging by the reviews, it looks as if The Children of Hurin will be a stark illustration of how to do your duty and fail miserably in life all at the same time. In a phrase, it’s Tolkien, painfully aware of the human condition, to the core.

I Am the Monarch of the Sea

Filed under:Movies — posted by Anwyn @ 3:33 pm

… but apparently not even appearing in the fourth Indiana Jones movie. John Rhys-Davies, famous as Gimli in Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings, but forever Sallah in my heart, has been “written out of Indy 4 in favour of a younger cast.” Cinematical speculates that if he was “written out,” does that mean he was previously “written in?” I doubt it–I’d guess “written out” in this case means that they will mention him in passing in the script rather than ignore the fact that he once existed.

I get that, just as with the abominable last three Star Wars movies, there was the need to reach out to the younger audience, those benighted souls who’ve perhaps grown to late adolescence without even seeing Raiders. But it seems to me that one good way to do that would have been a cameo by an actor from three of the highest-grossing, most wildly popular films of all time.

Alas. Was there anything better than Sallah’s bustling anxiety to be of help, his deep sense of honor and friendship? “These are my friends. They are my family. I will hear of it, if they are not treated well.”

Also, he once shook my hand.

***

“That is for Fayah. And that is for your children. And this is for you.” She kisses him; he is transported. Indy and Marion take leave. As they walk away, Sallah sings.

“A British tar is a soaring soul, as free as a mountain bird …”

***

H/t: J.

Update: See-Dub brings to light the actor’s controversial social positions. I doubt those are popular at Skywalker Ranch or Playmountain Compound. More reasons to love Rhys-Davies.

Geeks in Uniform

Filed under:Cool — posted by Anwyn @ 9:35 am

I’ve known some cute gaming geeks in my time. Representative sample, serving in Iraq:

Any good commander knows that to stay sharp, the boys and girls have got to get their game on from time to time. Hence Ziggurat Con.

Ziggurat Con, being held June 9 from 1200 to 2100 hours at Camp Adder/Tallil Airbase, is open to all allied military personnel and civilian contractors in Iraq.

“Here in Iraq, we do many things on the different Forward Operating Bases to help keep our spirits up,” said SPC David Amberson, the Con’s organizer. “Here at Camp Adder/Tallil Airbase, we have lots of sports activities — baseball, football, dodgeball, kickball — and we work with many marathons across the US like the Boston Marathon. This is a great way to improve morale among the troops, but what about those who prefer Role-Playing Games?”

But of course these gamers can’t go down to the local Wizards and Warriors and pick up books, dice, or figures.

The largest problem with running a Con in Iraq, of course, is that there are no local stores or game publishers, and few game books on the post. Even dice are in short supply, with many soldiers breaking the unwritten taboo held by many gamers and (gasp!) sharing dice. Thankfully, many game publishers have also lent their support, and have agreed to supply game products to help the Con along. aethereal FORGE, Sovereign Press, Final Redoubt Press, Goodman Games, Paizo Publishing and Steve Jackson Games are among those that have thrown in their support for the convention. But Amberson indicated that the soldiers could definitely use more

Good for the publishers. But if you’ve got some game stuff lying around and care to use it to support the troops, ship it!

For more information, contact SPC David Amberson at the following address: david.amberson (at) iraq.centcom.mil

Donations can also be sent to SPC Amberson directly at the following address:

SPC David Amberson
A Co 86th Sig Bn
APO, AE 09331

“We thank you all back home for supporting us, and we promise that we will try to come back home safe and sound,” said Amberson.

Via Bonus Ace, via Yeah, Right, Whatever.

Obama’s Officially a Political Hack in My Book

Filed under:Jerks,Language Barrier,Politics,Priorities — posted by Anwyn @ 8:28 am

When you care enough to make the “larger point,” even when the “larger point” has squat-all to do with the atrocity at hand. Obama in a talk that began with Virginia Tech but somehow managed to wander back to his pet themes:

“There’s also another kind of violence that we’re going to have to think about. It’s not necessarily the physical violence, but the violence that we perpetrate on each other in other ways,” he said, and goes on to catalogue other forms of “violence.”

There’s the “verbal violence” of Imus.

Whether it’s deliberate or just thoughtless, I hope he finds out shortly that trying to divert attention and emotion from the cold-blooded brutal murder of 32 people back to an already-punished verbal insult, however racially charged, backfires. And there was more:

There’s “the violence of men and women who have worked all their lives and suddenly have the rug pulled out from under them because their job is moved to another country.”

As Ben Smith at Politico says:

Many politicians would avoid, I think, suggesting that outsourcing and mass-murder belong in the same category.

Via Ace.

And I Ain’t Old Either

Filed under:Cool — posted by Anwyn @ 8:21 am

She’ll never be a liberal because she knows what left-wing collectivism did to her native Russia. She listens to hip-hop. She uses MySpace. She lives in New York City. Altogether politically savvy and hip. Must be one of those meddling kids. The best part?

She’s only two years younger than me. Happy birthday, Karol!

Bonus Karol: Check out the cute lil’ brand-new American citizen.

Lighter Side

Filed under:Television — posted by Anwyn on April 17, 2007 @ 10:49 pm

There is some justice in “reality” TV: Clyde “The Glide” Drexler is out of Dancing with the Stars. Well, I take that back: if there were justice he’d have been out three weeks ago. Both supermodel Paula Porizkova and Miss USA 2004 Shandi Finnessey had the potential to improve, whereas Clyde was a nonstarter. But his name recognition was higher with the audience. And he’s a man–the lack of true dance flair doesn’t show as egregiously on the men as on the women. Ah well. Sayonara, Clyde. Why did you even do the show to begin with? You clearly did not care about doing a good job, from day one. The night you told your partner you were more of a game guy than a practice guy, I heard the swish of air as thirty or so former Portland Trailblazers nodded emphatically.

Lisa Rinna appeared tonight previewing her Roxie Hart, which she will take to Broadway opposite her husband, Harry Hamlin, in June. Not bad, Lisa. Loosen up a bit and see if you can’t sing it a key higher. You sound growly.

Chicago is really keeping it all in the family–John O’Hurley, of Dancing’s first season, just ended his run as Billy Flynn. Between his run and Hamlin’s, the role will be picked up by (!) Joey Lawrence. Well, they can’t say they haven’t had good dance training.

With Sympathy and Frustration

Filed under:Priorities,Sad — posted by Anwyn on April 16, 2007 @ 5:38 pm

Deepest condolences to the families and friends of the victims of the worst shooting spree in U.S. history, on-campus or off.

Allah has the huge round-up of the press coverage.

The two sides of the gun-control debate are already at it–more gun control and the gunman wouldn’t have been able to do it; carry policy on campus and the gunman would have been shot before killing so many people. While I consider the first of those two positions dangerous nonsense, until now I would have said sure, I support a university’s being able to allow or disallow otherwise legally owned weapons on campus. I’m not so sure any more.

Even more frustrating to me was the authorities’ decision not to cancel classes in the wake of the first shooting at the dorm, before the rampage in the classroom building. In the middle of Allah’s string of updates is this little gem from ABC:

“According to Dr. Charles Steger, president of Virginia Tech, the administration locked down Ambler Johnston Hall dormitory after the first shooting. But classes weren’t cancelled because it was believed to be a domestic dispute and campus police thought that the shooter had left the campus.”

Hindsight is 20/20, but a domestic dispute involving a fatal shooting in the hive domicile that is a college campus wasn’t reason enough to put out a warning immediately to all on campus? Especially in a place where the “no guns for the law-abiding” policy precludes any opportunity for effective personal or group defense?

When you’ve disarmed the enclosed population by fiat, it’s only right that they all be aware if an armed and dangerous person is present. That’s a basic minimum. All high school, junior high, and elementary school administrations know this–that’s why they lock down if they hear fireworks close enough to campus to make them think it’s gunfire. I pray university authorities never have to learn this particular lesson again.

Cross-posted at Electric Venom.


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image: detail of installation by Bronwyn Lace