Monthly Archives: April 2010

Why Do the Dr Who Producers Do This Stuff???

I’m totally fine with the new Doctor and the new Companion. I’ve got a few issues with the setup and the episode, but overall, fine.

However. I should know better by now than to ever watch any BBC promotional materials.

(SPOILER FOR LATER IN THE SEASON and objection follows)

Later in this season, Professor River Song (aka That Archaeologist Chick Who’s Really Bernice Summerfield*) shows up and drives the TARDIS (which companions have done before, I’m not complaining about that), and then announces that the whole iconic vworping/screeching sound of the TARDIS is produced by the Doctor always leaving the brakes on during flight.

Oh, how many things are wrong with this, if it’s not some kind of nightmare/dream sequence.

The most important thing is: you should not squander the heritage of the show on a cheap laugh. You are saying that poor dead Delia Derbyshire’s Ron Grainer’s work is useless, that all the shivers up the spines of all the fans are also useless. The sound of the TARDIS is iconic. Devaluing it like this is a great big two-fingered salute, right in our faces. What would be funny in a fanfic is not funny at all, when it’s canon.

The secondary factor is that learning such an important thing from a secondary character (and especially a character that’s a copy of a fanfic character**, fergoshsake) increases the insult for the fan. If we’d learned that from the Doctor, the Master, or even some member of a rival time race, that would be different.

I was so excited about this show, ready to love it again; and now we are told that the Force is just midichlorians. In a promotional clip. Freakin’ shoot me in the heart, won’t you?

Man, I hope it’s a dream.

* In the New Adventures Doctor Who novels published by Virgin Publishing, Bernice “Benny” Summerfield was an alcoholic archaeology professor from the future, who spent some time off and on as a Companion to the Seventh Doctor. For some unknown reason, this annoying chick created by Paul Cornell struck a chord with the other New Adventure novelists, and she kept appearing again and again.

After the BBC took back the novel licenses from Virgin, Virgin kept publishing New Adventures about the characters who weren’t from the TV show. Which meant mostly Summerfield. Then, after Virgin stopped publishing the New Adventures, Cornell and his cronies thought up a non-Doctor Who universe that was still populated by Summerfield and her annoyingness, and published that as novels from Big Finish.

And now on the TV show, totally coincidentally, there’s a female archaeologist professor from the future named River Song, who’s also an off-and-on Companion of the Doctor, and also is very annoying. They gave her some kind of heroical tragic ending in her first episode that didn’t actually involve going away and never being seen again, and now we are going to see her again and again in the upcoming seasons, during events that happened sooner in her personal timeline. Probably this is a sign that we need more mortification and penance in our fannish lives.

However, some fans take the cheery view that Summerfield has been removed from canonicity by her replacement, River Song, and that now all the Summerfield novels and audio plays can be totally disregarded. Since this would make life a lot cheaper for those of you who are completist fans, I recommend this view of things.

** The people who write the various Doctor Who novels like to claim that they are totally canon, especially if they used to write on the show or write on it now. Doctor Who fans have various levels of acceptance of this claim, from eager credence to total refusal to accept any of the novels as canon (except maybe one or two). Since the novels do all sorts of horrible things to favorite TV characters, include all sorts of overcomplicated arc plots, destroy the universe several times, kill and resurrect people fairly often, have good guy characters commit war crimes and crimes against humanity, and give the Doctor some fairly offensive political opinions, it’s difficult to argue that they are totally unlike the current seasons of the TV show. But since most people couldn’t be bothered to read most of them, most people don’t actually care about their version of Doctor Who. All the publisher drama also took a lot of credibility away.

Personally, I say it’s all professional fanfic, and less credible fanfic than even the least credible Star Trek novels ever were. Some of it is very well-written, entertaining, and creative; but from the very first novel, it went off the reservation so far that it never found its way back.


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Steampunk for Fashionistas

As the steampunk/goth coalition continues to conquer the fashion world, I offer you some steampunk fashions from actual Real World clothing stores. (For some reason, they cling to the idea that they are “military” fashion themes, but 19th century-WWI military is what they’re thinking of. Just admit you long to be Jaegers and aviators, already….)

This coat looks rather nice, and doubles as a Jaegercostume.

A nice jacket. This one’s a lot cheaper.

I am an extremely wealthy aviatrix and captain of industry.

I live next door to Jane Austen and the Great Sophy is my fashion guru.

(They want you to wear this with a deliberately holey t-shirt. If you do this, anonymous wellwishers will knock you over the head and steal your nice coat.)

The doublebreasted, silver-buttoned, Confederate gray hoodie. For men. Alas, no “property of VMI Phys Ed Dept” is emblazoned across the back. (Note to fashionistas: That wasn’t a serious suggestion.)

Fitted and befrogged leather jacket. Sharpe on a motorcycle.

I couldn’t wear this jacket, but it looks mighty cute.

This waistcoat seems… um… unnecessary?

This tailcoat cardigan is apparently the product of going out drinking bowls of punch with 18th century reenactors.

(The sad thing is, it doesn’t look half bad with indigo blue jeans in the pictures. It really does look nice from the back. If it didn’t have the front panel that looks so odd, I’d find it fully acceptable; and it looks pretty good in the closeups, even so. Anybody want to knit me a tailcoat sweater?)

Possibly the most Gothic t-shirt dress I’ve ever seen. Holy Equus, that’s creepy. (If it were a dinosaur skeleton wreathed with flowers, however, that would be okay as a T-shirt. I can’t ever see it as a dress.)

Sort of a WWII miniskirt. If you have to do it, this isn’t too horrible looking.

I told my dad about these fashions, and he was sure they couldn’t bring back these standup collars on shirts. Apparently, fashion defies mere good sense. At least when it comes to what women will stand.

Union army-like blue jeans. With buttoned flies and pantslegs. For women of course, since you couldn’t force men to wear this stuff. The front just looks persnickety, but the back looks horrendous.

In general, the fashionistas seem to be pushing extremely skinny khaki trousers and shorts and puttees, or bizarre brown and black versions of various 19th century military pants.

The accessories include all sorts of army boots, including ankleboot versions of them. Um. Well. I guess the army surplus look is always bound to come back. Either that, or people bought their imitation cavalry boots and pilot boots in the last couple seasons, and are done with looking snazzy.

There are some relatively sober versions of these fashions out there, too — normal looking peacoats, fitted clothing that doesn’t have all the frogs and epaulets and such. It’s a very strange time in fashion, though, and you might very well find some fun stuff out there. It doesn’t seem to have hit the malls yet, though.

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Quixotic Pronunciation Proposal of the Day

Given that people are determined to use “to image” as a verb, and not in some photographic sense, I believe that it is time to do the usual sort of accentual shift that so often distinguishes a Latin or Greek verb or adjective from a noun.

Yes, I believe the thing to do is to pronounce “to image” as “i-MADGE”. Then it would sound like English instead of Buzzwordian.

However, if you really want to sound pretentious, you could pronounce it “i-MODGE” or “i-MOZH”.

It’s a pretty baffling verb form, in all seriousness, and seems to have been designed solely in order to avoid saying what one means by it. If you mean “to imagine” or “to picture”, why not use those words instead? In that way, you can avoid messing up “to image” as a shorter way of saying “to produce a visual image, photographically or otherwise”.

Maybe I don’t need to complain about it, though. It seems to be dying out, these days.

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So This Is Where the Kids’ Shows Were Hiding….

Apparently, a good chunk of the obscure syndicated shows I liked, back in the nineties, are over at Sync TV. I’m just not sure if they’re still in business.

They’ve got the great old B&W Japanese show, Gigantor. Gigantor. Gigaaaaaaaa-a-antor. Gigantor’s a great big robot, he’s at your command, Gigantor the space age robot, his pow’rrrrrrr is right in your haaaaaaand….

Roswell Conspiracies, with its great Robert Forward arc story and some very fun, very weird sf/f.

Princess Gwenevere (although for some reason it’s the international version Princess Starla — probably because of rights issues with Avalon: Web of Magic).

Highlander: The Animated Series, another arc show (and more interesting and beautiful than you’d expect, thanks to those freaky French animators).

Kong, another show that kinda grew on you.

Also, Book of Spells, a show I’ve heard about but never seen.

I’ve seen the animated Babar, but not the animated version of Redwall.

And so on…. Take a look. Unfortunately, there seems to be no way to register anymore.

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When Related Series Get a Bit Too Incestuous.

There’s a kids’ book series called Avalon: Web of Magic, which actually bought the rights to certain elements of the old cartoon show Princess Gwenevere and the Jewel Riders (aka Princess Starla, in the UK and other countries).

What I didn’t realize is that it’s so closely related, that they actually have songs from the Princess Gwenevere show available for download on the Avalon: Web of Magic website! (Repurposed as being sung by some of the Web of Magic characters, who are totally different personalities….) It’s a pretty darned successful series of books, from what I gather, so I guess it worked out for them.

So if you remember the old show, and would like a downloadable copy of the songs… there you go.

(Shaking my head at the weirdness of the world….)

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Bah. No Star Hill Ponies. But There’s a Canal Show.

Here’s a fun stop motion show called Joshua Jones, which looks like it’s by the same people who did Star Hill Ponies. Check out all the cool little details!

Anyway, here’s the long, “saga cell” version of the Star Hill Ponies opening credits. I guess there are DVDs, but not in the US.

The grey pony is Molly, and the brown bay is Dylan. They’re Welsh mountain ponies. Scruffy is a Shetland (and he’s evil). They were all running wild over the hills until Baz (the freckled girl) wished for ponies, at which point the three of them just showed up one morning at the farm. The other characters are a wise odd job guy who acts as Baz’ go-to horse guru; Mrs. Horace Morris, the neurotic local gentry; and the would-be surfer teenaged boy in town. (He’s comic relief and a good deal older than Baz.)

I love the dad’s wooly-pully sweater.

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The Survival of Violets

Between the gas station and the road from Hills and Dales,
There always have been violets growing in the early spring,
As timely as the robins to return after the snowmelt,
Despite all salt and gravel, cherrypickers, and construction.
But last year, they dug up the roadside — not just once, but twice,
And filled in brand new soil and sod there — not just once but twice.
Even the shape of the ground is not the same.

This morning there were violets abloom within the margin.
I swear there was no sign of them as late as yesterday.

If there is hope for something that’s as fragile as a violet,
I tell you, we have all we need, and we will find a way.

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Vocational Calvinism

Well, I was going to bed. I did try. But I read something from the good Adoro just before bed that won’t let me rest, especially because she’s made some remarks along these lines before. (It’s not even so much what she says, as the implications that arise from the way she says it, particularly in connection with stuff other people say.)

The subject is vocations. The strict definition of “vocation” is wide open, because it’s just “A call from God to a distinctive state of life, in which the person can reach holiness.” (That’s Fr. Hardon’s wording.) A “state in life” can be all sorts of things, from marital status to occupation. (Being a “student” or an “artist” or a “youth” is a state in life.) So you can see that this definition can be used on all sorts of levels, depending on what’s important at the time.

Generally, Catholics mean the canon law kind of “state in life”: marriage, the religious life (though technically, the religious life and the clerical life are two different states), and possibly the single life. But you can never assume.

Most recently, certain folks in the Church have taught that everybody has a vocation, and that the single life can be a vocation from God (although less good than matrimony, and still less good than the religious life, because it’s not as hard or productive or as much like life in heaven as either). The hierarchy of these good things is not emphasized by these folks! Heh.

Traditionally, however, there have been only two types of vocation-vocations recognized: some kind of religious/clerical life, and marriage. In this view, it was usually accepted that not everybody “had a vocation”. (Though of course all people are called to love, to be holy, and to be chaste according to their state in life, etc. Also, all Christians are called to be Christians, to declare the good news, and so on.)

The problem is that Adoro leans toward folks who opine both that everybody has a vocation of one of these two kinds, and that if you don’t end up married or in some form of religious life, you have failed your vocation or your destined mate is dead or something else has Gone Wrong with Destiny. She has brought up, in the past, those folks who opine that if you’re not married by thirty, you should get thee to a nunnery forthwith. (Which is just about the worst thing you could do to a serious nunnery.)

I say that this is nonsense. Well-intentioned nonsense, but nonsense still.

The whole point of a vocation of any kind is that the person is “called out” — from a mass of people who are not called! The Jews were chosen to be the Chosen People, and all the other nations of the earth weren’t called. It didn’t mean that they weren’t loved, or that they didn’t have a destiny. It just meant that they weren’t the ones called. They had a place in God’s plan, but the “Chosen People” place just wasn’t it.

Similarly, God “called out” the Church, from both the Jews and the rest of the nations of the earth. The Church is supposed to go about calling people from all the nations, and to do its best to get everybody baptized, etc. But it’s plain that the Church is also the little house in a world of storms, the little leaven in a great big mass of dough, the little pinch of salt. Not everybody is going to get “called out”, at least not in a single generation and at this time. This doesn’t mean that everybody who’s not called is doomed. Many will come from the east and west who weren’t called, and there’ll be plenty of tooth-gnashing among those who were called and didn’t answer adequately. But the whole point is that not everybody is a member of the Church.

So if everyone were called to be either married or a religious, that wouldn’t constitute a calling. They wouldn’t be a chosen people; they would be an alloted and divvied up personnel resource. The last names “A-M” and “N-Z” are not callings.

“Male” and “female” are not callings. “Red hair” and “black hair” are not callings. They are part of our DNA, and part of God’s plan for each individual, but they aren’t something you are called away from all others to accept.

Of course it’s possible to refuse a call; but this whole business of calls being heard “too late” and thus “ruined” is nonsense. If God really wants you to do X and you’re willing, a way will be found. If God really wants you to hear His call, He’ll shout in your ear. You can turn Him down more or less decisively, with more or less knowledge of what you’re doing, but that’s the only way a vocation can really be stopped.

The whole idea that people must have a vocation one way or the other is really just a desire by many people for God’s plan to be simple and binary. God isn’t that boring a Creator.

But it’s also a dangerous idea, because a lot of people seem to think that “vocation” and “God’s will for you” are synonymous. That’s been taught to a lot of us for years and years. If you’re assuming that every possible decent state of life and transition state is a vocation, it’s a reasonable thing to say. If you’re assuming that only marriage and religious life are vocations, it becomes pernicious and scary.

The old Baltimore Catechism was very clear on this: it’s a grave sin to compel someone to enter a state in life to which they are not called, just as evil as to deliberately stand in the way of a vocation. And if it’s evil to do it to other people, surely it’s evil to do it to yourself. (Or at least really, really imprudent. Like kicking yourself in the head.)

So if you believe that everyone has a Vocation to one of two states in life, and that a Vocation is the only possible fulfillment of God’s plan for you — well, it suggests that if you don’t feel a Vocation coming on, you should slit your throat because you’re doomed and damned and being punished already anyway… or at least you suck so much that God can’t be bothered to think of an alternate vocation plan for you. (I know this isn’t what people mean to say; but it’s a very clear implication. How could you possibly reason otherwise, unless you take it as some kind of “Victim Soul — Please Kick Me” thing?)

Very Calvinist, really: God predestines some to be the vocational elect, and others to be vocationally lost. So I roll my eyes at this idea, which seems more born of depression than of good discernment.

Think about it. If God could go after Father Corapi, He can get a vocation accomplished with anyone. And the Church has traditionally discouraged the whole “each person has only one true love soulmate in the whole world” idea, because it discourages marriage and encourages fatalism and over-pickyness. We’re not Elfquest elves, and God is not named Wendy Pini.

The other pernicious thing about Vocations equaling “God’s will for you” is that it assumes that anybody who dies young is basically a cosmic failure, and that God couldn’t plan anything nice for the occasion. This is stupid. Yes, sin entered the world and messed everything up; but then we immediately hear the Proto-Evangelium, God’s announcement that He does have a Plan B!

God is perfectly capable of planning for the effects of free will, evil, sin, and death. He’s not a freakin’ amateur, people! He not only has a Plan B for everyone, but a Plan ZZZZZZZZZZ-6,000,000. I’d really like to see someone _try_ to get outside God’s plan. You couldn’t do it by going outside the bounds of the cosmos or eternity or even going to Hell, so how the heck are you going to do it by dating the wrong guy or playing D&D too much? Sheesh.

Let me sum this up.

There is dignity and worth in being called to do something special for the Church. There is also dignity and worth in not being called to anything unusual. Some people are called to special, set-apart vocations or states in life, and other people just ain’t.

All the distinctive states in life are part of God’s plan, and you can be holy in them. “The baptized is not only incorporated into Christ, but also invested with rights and obligations… By living out the duties and rights proper to his or her state, the individual cooperates with grace and realizes his or her supernatural destiny.” (That’s from a canon law commentary book I found by searching around.)

Why is this so difficult a concept?

So my longwinded point is this: So what if the single life isn’t a Vocation with a capital V? Wherever we are, whatever we do, whether in life or death, we are called to the vocation of serving the Lord. Isn’t that enough to be worrying about, without kicking ourselves (and others) about having or not having a big V Vocation?

Discernment is one thing. Talking like perfectly good states in life are some kind of garbage dump for hopeless, helpless losers* is quite another. It’s tiresome, and fills me with suicidal and homicidal thoughts. So… tone it down, folks.

That goes double for anybody saying a bad word about my pants.

* And as all you old Dragonball Z watchers know, the Chinese Hell of the Yama-King is actually HFIL, the Home For Infinite Losers. (Yes, the American dubbers got a bit creative, trying to make it work for little American kiddies watching that show on Cartoon Network.)

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This Whole Social Media Thing Is Way Out of Hand

One of my favorite webcomics announced that, oh, they’re not going to update us on the webpage or the Twitter or whatever. You need to put them up on Facebook, because that’s where the updates are going until the webcomic starts up again.

First of all, you can’t even see Facebook unless you join.

Second, when you could see Facebook, it was always super-annoying.

Third, I seem to remember when joining Twitter and following this webcomic’s Twitter feed was everything. And when following it on Myspace was everything. And its RSS feed. And its blog. And its Livejournal. And…..

From the point of view of somebody who works for an advertising agency, it’s all money in the bank for us. And I get why the webcomic is doing it, because it’s a business and they like to monetize as much as possible. But what’s in it for normal people, that they swarm and abandon so readily? Is it just a matter of having fun for a while, and then getting bored and moving on? Because otherwise, I don’t get it.


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Must… Resist… Urge to Buy….

So I will resist the urge to shop by shopping online for desirable things which, nevertheless, I will not buy! (Probably!)

Check out this fine resource for those who want to wear something just a bit different. There’s stuff here for both men and women, but the guys will just have to have to look up their own stuff. They have a few different styles of hats. Just a few. Heh.

This is a super sweet hat
, and for once I like the feathers. It’s pretty nice in this style, also. I also like the gorgeous Italianish snood, and the ‘reta’, although I wouldn’t need all the crystals and goodies. For all you folks who like veils, check out SUPERVEIL! (Okay, a 1640’s veil/hood.) And the beanie veil! (Yup, that’s period, too. I like the little art example.)

Sadly, this wonderful company is in Australia!

However, here’s a company in the US that also has some very nice stuff, and not just hats, either. But first, take a look at SUPERDUPERVEIL! This simple version of the attifet is also pretty nifty.

Here’s the rest of their catalog. It’s interesting how they don’t just silently fluctuate between “stuff we sell to people who care about history” and “stuff we sell to people who just want a basic Renfaire costume that looks okay”. Instead, they come right out and say which is which. That’s being fair to their customers and showing respect for their own knowledge. And yeah, if you want to just go out clubbing or get married in something freaky or romantic, it’s a good thing for such clothiers to be able to use their creativity to its full extent while still providing quality.

It’s interesting how nice women’s hats are creeping back through fashion’s back door; some women wear them out clubbing now, even if it’s more as a novelty thing than just a piece of clothing. Guys seem to be having the same kind of back door fashion revival, although they seem to take it more seriously.

On the “funnier now that I’m middle-aged” front, I see that some of the outfits encourage the use of those “arm guard” things with the grommets and lacings, to present the appearance of lower arm fitted sleeves without actually having to, you know, tailor them. But there are also some outfits which do this to the upper arm, and it’s noted that you could accessorize many outfits in this way.

I don’t think it’s a coincidence that they show older ladies wearing the upper arm “fitted sleeves”. Because tying a bracer around your upper arms (on top of your sleeves) would definitely disguise that older female tendency to arm sag. (Yes, I’m sure this is a fairly old idea in the Renfaire or Goth world, but I’m not au courant with fashion anywhere.)

Any bets that the fashion designers will put out something like that in the next five years? Especially now that “steampunk fashion” seems to have moved closer to the awareness of the mainstream?

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If David Had Been a Percussionist

To labor is not my wish;
To strike the tabor all the day, my one desire.
To sport is not my wish;
To strike the tabor all the day, my one desire.

Even in the days of my youth
Neither honey nor playthings did I require.
I would take up a stick and a discarded pot
And strike until a blister arose on the flesh of my hand.

When I returned to my house, my foolishness was revealed;
the teacher of the law made me stay behind as punishment.
For I struck the table with my hand, creating rhythms,
And made the teacher long to dance before the Lord.

When I return to my house after work in anger
At my master who bites like a snake and stings like a viper,
I go behind the house and find my tabor,
And strike it, yea, as if its head were his.

This may give us some insight as to why God chose a string player instead…. :)

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A Movie to Watch for Fantasy Reasons

If you’re not familiar with the works of Edward Eager, Toledo’s answer to Edith Nesbit, this post won’t mean much to you. (Although it may give you an idea about what to read next.) Eager’s primary career was as a theater writer; he only turned to writing children’s fantasy when he had kids himself. Unfortunately, he passed away in 1964, when he was barely in his fifties. What a shame for us. However, he did manage nine books in ten years of novelizing, which isn’t shabby at all; and seven of them were fantasies. Seven. (You can read more about him at this excellent fansite, Daily Magic.)

Knight’s Castle (1956) was a sequel to Half Magic, and featured their kids. (Although the story stands alone, so much so that the connection took me a while to figure out, when I was little.) The kids find magic, and among other things, use it to get into the Ivanhoe story they’ve just watched in the movie… Except they find that it’s several years after the film, and everybody’s moved on with their lives! The result is unfair and pretty funny.

But I’ve never seen the 1950’s technicolor Ivanhoe that the kids went to see at the movies, and I’ve always wanted to “see” this part of the book. Also, any movie with Robert Taylor and Elizabeth Taylor must be decent. But somehow, I’ve always missed it.

However, this month on TCM, they are spotlighting Robert Taylor as their actor of the month on Tuesdays. His 1950’s Ivanhoe doesn’t run tonight; but it does run next Tuesday, the 20th, at 11 PM EST. It really does look pretty gorgeous. TCM says that the American studios had tons of money in English banks that had been collecting interest all through WWII, and which English rationing regs still forbade them to transfer out of the UK. So they were determined to use their money up, and threw it about with abandon. They even built their own castle for this puppy, which is probably why it was so prominent in the imaginations of the kids in the story.

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Steve Canyon at Miami U… er, Maumee. Right. That’s It.

If you’ve never been exposed to the artistic genius of Milton Caniff, here’s some on the blog of a guy who does Star Trek for a living. Caniff was primarily known for his action/adventure comic strips, Terry and the Pirates and its followup in the fifties and later, Steve Canyon. Here you see the softer side of Caniff, and of steely-eyed Air Force pilot Steve Canyon. (And if you know what happened to Summer in the end, don’t tell the kiddies.)

Caniff had a lot of love for both Miami University and Ohio State, so it’s fair to say that Maumee is a sort of blend of them. (It might even include the old Toledo University, which however is by the Ottawa and not the Maumee.)

There are a lot of earlier action strips on that blog, all under the Steve Canyon tag. So feel free to ignore the softer side if you like!

Also, there was apparently a Steve Canyon TV show back in the early sixties. Here’s a post about that. It’s like NCIS, the X-Files, JAG, and all your other cool shows rolled into one. Except that it’s about the Air Force, and is thus much cooler. This is apparently what I Dream of Jeannie was riffing off. (Which actually makes that sitcom a lot funnier, now that I think about it.)

You know what Stargate SG1 really needed? A crossover episode with Steve Canyon. Yeah. Because the only thing wrong with Stargate was that THEY NEVER WENT TO WRIGHT-PATT. How likely was that?? Whereas Steve Canyon was stationed at Wright-Patt, and thus clearly superior.

However, Ray Bradbury apparently wrote a TV episode of Steve Canyon, and there were plenty of pre-Star Trek actors looking mighty young, so I guess that’ll have to do. :)

You can buy DVD’s direct from the Milton Caniff Estate. Pretty awesome. I never even knew this TV show existed, and I guess I know what I’m going to have to do.

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Well. Hasn’t This Been a Lousy Day.

Let’s tabulate this, shall we?

Stupid economic crisis all over. Greece and Iceland bankrupt, everybody else working on it. Terrorism and junk going on all over the world. Usual bad stuff. Big huge US deficit and spending, and landmark law nobody fully understands! Yay!

Then Iran is playing with happy little nukes, and Russia and China want everybody to let them. Yay! This distracts a bit from Iran’s people trying to bring down their government, of course.

We sign a treaty making nice with the Russians over our nukes, with not much guarantee they’ll be nice back. Yay!

Obama puts out a kill on sight anywhere order on an American citizen. Not a very nice American citizen, but still, that’s not the kind of executive order we do on anyone, much less citizens.

An entire plane full of Poland’s leaders just happens to go crashysmash in Russia. And Putin is going to head the investigation. Yeah.

Meanwhile, Putin is pressuring Ukraine and Georgia, and encouraging Kyrgyzstan to kick our base out so that we don’t get any ideas about pressuring Iran or Iraq or anybody in Central Asia, because of course Central Asia is full of happy peaceful democracies that never do anybody any harm.

North Korea continues to be a loose cannon, and China continues to be an Asian hegemonic power full of frustrated single men, which is rapidly building up its armed forces and military equipment.

Oh, and there’s an epidemic of superbad wheat rust building up in Africa, which will probably hit the whole world in the next few years, causing untold amounts of famine and misery.

I really don’t like living in a combination of a Tom Clancy novel with an Allan Drury worst-scenario novel. Don’t like it a bit.

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