Friday, September 30, 2005

The Night Stalker


  • From the narration it is immediately apparent that this incarnation of Carl Kolchak is a much better writer. The character from the original show was a bit of a melodramatic hack. But it worked fine for his subject matter.

  • The opening sequence was much more effective and tense than that of Supernatural, the other new show this one will be compared to.

  • The paper this Kolchak works at is much more mainstream than the paper the original Kolchak worked at.

  • There is immediate and predictable sniping between Kolchak and Perri Reed (Gabrielle Union) as they fight over whose story it is. Ho hum.

  • The story begins with the murder of a pregnant woman. Her body is found with the fetus torn from it. We are obviously supposed to be reminded of the death of Lacy Peterson. Tacky, tacky choice of subject matter.

  • Kolchak is smug. He's shown to have better gut instincts than the black chick who is the senior crime reporter. Of course she needs this white guy's help to write a story. She’s only been doing that on this paper for the last four years without his ass to tell her what an angle is. Amazingly, she isn't terribly hostile about him invading her territory, though she does initiate a background check on him that temporarily lands him in jail.

  • The cinematography reminds one of The X-Files. Obviously it’s no accident, but it’s a good move. The story feels more mature than the episodes of Supernatural, and part of that is camera work.

  • The easiest way to set up a story of horror is to show women and children in danger. In the first 15 minutes of Night Stalker, a woman and her unborn child are killed, then another woman is attacked and her ten-year-old girl is abducted. Off to a great start.

  • There’s a brief cameo of Darren McGavin, the original Kolchak, in a newsroom scene, but it looked superimposed. I thought he was dead, but he’s apparently still among the living.

  • This new Kolchak has a dark secret. He's suspected of killing his wife. In the original made-for-TV movie, Kolchak's stripper girlfriend was killed by a vampire, but I don't believe he was actually a suspect.

  • This new Kolchak has the same joyless driven nature as Fox Mulder. But Mulder was occasionally amusing in his a deadpan way. It remains to be seen if Kolchak will develop a sense of humor.

  • Surprisingly, like the original Kolchak, this one doesn't use a gun. I am wrong (so far) on one of my hunches. For some ridiculous reason, when going in to the monsters' lair, he arms himself and his companions with electric cattle prods, of all things.

  • The Perri Reed character isn't a black version of Scully (so far), which is good. It's been done. She's not ultra-skeptical or science-oriented. Betcha she turns out to be a church-gal, though.

  • The first episode ends with no real resolution of what the monsters were. They seem to be werecoyotes that target pregnant women. Why? Who knows? Surprisingly, Kolchak chooses to not to report the supernatural angle of the story and writes it up as a simple unsolved kidnapping. It is Reed that argues that the public has the right to know the truth. A little role reversal there just to let the X-Files fans know they are going to try not to be exactly the same, I guess.

The Verdict:
  • It didn’t suck, and it has potential, but I think it’s on the wrong network. I don’t think ABC will stick with the show and give it time it will need to grow an audience the way that UPN or WB would.

Thursday, September 29, 2005

The Sham of Female Power on Battlestar Galactica

Tricia Helfer, AKA Number Six, at Dragon Con 2005I remember back in the early 80’s when I was still reading comics there was a move towards making them more “adult.” They started calling comics “graphic novels” and they upped the violence. And when they upped the violence, all of a sudden there was violence against women that wasn’t there before. Every woman -- heroine, villain, or “civilian” -- was now a potential rape victim, an actual rape victim, or was in an abusive relationship. On the surface you had mentally and physically strong women that could stand toe to toe with men. But it was a lie. Women were being impregnated by “alien entities” (Ms. Marvel), having their bodies taken over and being made to sleep with villains (Storm), being beaten by their spouses (The Wasp), or were victims of childhood sexual abuse (two characters in The New Mutants). That’s when I abandoned comics. As a woman, I couldn’t support this. The writers of these books had made it plain that not only was I not their target audience, they had open contempt for my gender.

Twenty years pass. It’s December 2003 and I’m watching the Battlestar Galactica miniseries. I hear that Starbuck is now going to be a woman and I’m not happy. Two strong black men, Col. Tigh and Lt. Boomer, have now been replaced with a white man and an Asian woman, respectively. I’m not happy, but I watch it anyway because I want to see how bad it’s going to suck. The show starts with a blond bimbo vamping some guy while his space station gets nuked. Wow, this is sucking more than I thought was possible!

Then it gets good.

Baltar turns out to be complex, both funny and wretched. The female president is kind, but not weak. Adama is wise, but still military. Everybody doesn’t get along and everyone isn’t good at his/her job -- just like in real life. Galactica goes on to become a full-fledged series. I start to like the show, but there are nagging undercurrents that remind me of those damned misogynist comic books.

On the surface Galactica has a host of strong female characters. Strong to the point of being emasculating ball-busters. But with the exception of Laura, the mother figure, this so-called female strength is all sexual, and in a show designed to appeal to males, it is inevitable that the women’s sexuality will become a liability for them.

Let’s look at the so-called empowered females of Battlestar Galactica:

Laura Roslyn: She’s the president, but she has terminal breast cancer. So part of her femininity is destroying her.

Starbuck: She’s the best pilot in the fleet, but she’s a whore, a victim of child abuse and according to the podcast of The Farm, the Cylons removed one of her ovaries.

Number Six: She’s physically powerful, but she can’t get Baltar to love her and that’s all she wants. The Number Six on The Pegasus, “Gina,” has been routinely gang raped, according to the podcast.

Sharon: She’s also physically powerful, but she’s “a woman without a people.” She appears to have truly turned against the Cylons, but outside of Tyrol, Helo and Adama, no human trusts her. Sharon is also the victim of an attempted rape and she’s spending her pregnancy in a prison cell.

Cain: As an admiral, she wields great military power and has rank over Adama, but he still holds the all-important moral high ground. We know that Adama would never sanction rape as an interrogation tool on the Galactica. The fact that a woman is in charge of the Pegasus and she condones this makes Cain doubly odious.

Yep, all a sham.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Release The Kraken!

From National Geographic News:

A set of extraordinary images captured by Japanese scientists marks the first-ever record of a live giant squid (Architeuthis) in the wild.

The animal—which measures roughly 25 feet (8 meters) long—was photographed 2,950 feet (900 meters) beneath the North Pacific Ocean. Japanese scientists attracted the squid toward cameras attached to a baited fishing line.
Read more

Oh, and if you're a true geek, you should be able to tell me what movie the line "Release the Kraken!" comes from!

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

“Surface” Episode 2

Okay, I can see why the kid kept the baby sea monster. It actually is cute. He thinks it’s an iguana, but it looks more like a baby sea dragon.

I should qualify this by saying the creature looks cute now. It’s gonna get BIG, as we all know. I cracked up at the end of the episode when a fishing boat of shark-hunting Aussies was swallowed whole.

The picture on the right is dark, so go here to see more photos and a video clip from the show.

Monday, September 26, 2005

Jeter Received Racist Hate Mail

From Yahoo News:

Yankees star Derek Jeter is the latest athlete to receive a threatening letter warning him to stop dating white women.

The letter was mailed to Jeter at Yankee Stadium and called him a "traitor to his race," according to a story in Monday's editions of the Daily News. It warned him to "stop or he'll be shot or set on fire," said a law enforcement source who the newspaper did not identify. It was not clear whether the source was speaking on condition of anonymity.
Doesn't the genius who wrote the letter know that Jeter's mom is white?


Read more

Sunday, September 25, 2005

BSG: Pegasus

Admiral Cain
This was a tough episode for me. The episode had a lot of drama and it ended on a cliff hanger that was the natural culmination of many various storylines, but it exposed some ugly undercurrents that have been bothering me since last season. I’ll come back to that thought.

What I Liked

  • I always like when the producers of the new Battlestar Galactica pay homage to the original show. They did it in Final Cut by unexpectedly playing the original Galactica theme, they did it last season by introducing the dilemma of what to do with the inmates on the prison barge and they did it in this, the season finale, by reintroducing Cain, one of the most popular characters from the original show. But of course, this ain’t your father’s Commander Cain. This is Admiral Cain, and he is now a she.

  • I don’t like the fact that we have yet another gender switch of a popular character, but Michelle Forbes, AKA Ensign Roh from Star Trek: The Next Generation, was a good choice. She was one of the few bad eggs in the clean-cut Star Trek universe, so she fits in well in the anti-Star Trek universe of Galactica.

  • Discipline on the Galactica has been consistently shown to be lax, ever since the 2003 miniseries. The repercussions of that lack of discipline comes back to haunt everyone in the episode. Admiral Cain reviews the Galactica’s logs and, as is her right, makes drastic changes to correct the problems as she sees them. Apollo is demoted as CAG and he and Starbuck are reassigned to the Pegasus because both have proven to be insubordinate to Adama. An aeronautical engineer is sent to the Galactica because he is more qualified than Chief Tyrol to supervise ship repairs. And so on. It’s hard to argue with her reasoning.

  • Baltar is given something useful to do. He’s sent to the Pegasus to study their Cylon captive, which happens to be another Number Six replica, of course.

  • Tyrol and Helo work together to save “Caprica Sharon” when they are made aware that the Pegasus’s interrogation expert uses sexual assault as one of his tools. For them Sharon is a woman, Cylon or not, and they’re determined to defend her. When they end up killing the interrogator Thorne, it’s -- like most of the best writing on Galactica -- a natural culmination of how these characters have been scripted from day one in the series.

  • Even Callie, who shot “Galactica Sharon” to death, is appalled when the Pegasus’s crew openly brags about what appear to be regularly scheduled sexual assaults on their captive Cylon. Does Callie consider Cylon women to be “real” women? Who knows? But what Callie does know is that once that behavior is condoned, it doesn’t stop. It’s one tiny step from raping the enemy to raping somebody else. Military women know this. You’ve got as much to fear (if not more) from the men in your own unit than from the enemy. I bet the female fighter pilots on the Pegasus don’t frolic around in their mixed gender quarters dressed only in towels. Not if they know what’s good for them.

  • Tigh’s drunkenness actually becomes useful in this episode. He befriends the XO of the Pegasus by offering him moonshine and the other XO reveals a chilling tale -- he got promoted to XO when Cain executed the previous one for disobeying a controversial order. She shot the other guy in the head with his own pistol.

  • When Tyrol and Helo are taken to the Pegasus, tried and sentenced to death, Adama demands that they be tried by an independent tribunal. Cain says no, and she reminds him that he himself dissolved the Quorum’s independent tribunal (in the episode Litmus from season 1) when he didn’t like their verdict last time. And Tyrol was a defendant then too. Again, I love when bad decisions come back to haunt people on this show.

What I Didn’t Like

  • We’ve got yet another gender switch -- Cain is now a woman. They should’ve stopped this mess with Starbuck.

  • In The Living Legend, the two-parter from the original show that this episode is based on, Cain, played by Lloyd Bridges, was a much more charismatic and interesting character. He was a tactical genius and a “fly by the seat of his pants” type of guy. The new Cain is a flat character -- a mean bitch with no redeeming qualities.

  • Since original Cain and Adama were the same rank, there was a rivalry there that can’t exist in the new show with Admiral Cain outranking Commander Adama.

  • Also missing from this new version of Living Legend is the history between some of the characters on the two battlestars. In the 70’s show, Cain and Adama knew each other on a personal level. This Cain and this Adama seem to know of each other. Also, original Starbuck’s love interest, Cassiopeia, was the original Cain’s ex-lover. That extra drama and backstory stuff is lost.

  • There’s no Sheba counterpart on this Pegasus. In the original Living Legend, Cain, like Adama, was a single parent with a fighter-pilot child whom he was very proud of. Now, it would’ve been bad to introduce yet another ball-busting chick to this show, but couldn’t the new Cain have had a son that would’ve been a decent love interest for Starbuck and a rival for Apollo?

  • Starbuck doesn’t seem happy to be assigned to the Pegasus. Come on, Kara -- why the long face? That’s an entire battlestar full of men you haven’t slept with yet. You should be ecstatic.

  • Cain claims that she found the Galactica by perusing Cylon ships that were, unbeknownst to her, chasing the Galactica. She claims to have been fighting Cylons the whole time. Isn’t the Pegasus one of the newer battlestars with networked computers? Why wasn’t her ship or her Vipers affected by a Cylon virus when the attack on the colonies went down? Why haven’t they been affected since?

  • Where the hell has the Pegasus been getting its water, food and fuel from since the colonies fell? I couldn’t tell if the Pegasus had its own set of satellite ships like the Galactica does, but I think it doesn’t. They don’t seem to have the burden of protecting civilians.

Fears, Questions and Hopes for Next Season

  • Where the hell is Tom Zarek and what is he up to?

  • Can we see what the Quorum of Twelve does on a regular basis, please?

  • Again, where exactly is the fleet? Is there a coherent plan to the jumps they make?

  • Doc Cottle said last episode that Laura has only a month to live, so are they really going to kill her off when the show returns in January, or will they do some hokey mess and give her a miracle cure?

  • If Laura only has a month to live, why isn’t she forcing Vice President Baltar to absorb all of her administrative knowledge so that humanity will have the semblance of a functioning civilian government when she passes away?

  • The season finale ends with the two battlestars poised to fire on each other. I suppose the Cylons will conveniently show up now so everyone has to work together.

Saturday, September 24, 2005

Armed and dangerous - Flipper the firing dolphin let loose by Katrina

From The Guardian:

It may be the oddest tale to emerge from the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Armed dolphins, trained by the US military to shoot terrorists and pinpoint spies underwater, may be missing in the Gulf of Mexico.
Yeah, right!

Read more

Friday, September 23, 2005

“Go” Bag

Because of the recent hurricanes and the ever-present threat of terrorist attacks, I decided I needed to prepare a “go” bag. The idea with a go bag is you stuff a backpack ahead of time with everything you think you’ll need and leave it by the door so you can scoop it up while you’re fleeing for your life.

This is some of what FEMA recommends you need in a disaster kit:

  • One gallon of water per person per day

  • At least a three-day supply of non-perishable food

  • A first aid kit

  • Non-prescription drugs

  • Mess kits, or paper cups, plates and plastic utensils

  • Fire extinguisher

  • Compass

  • Matches in a waterproof container

  • Toilet paper

  • Feminine supplies

  • Household chlorine bleach

  • Sturdy shoes or work boots

  • Blankets or sleeping bags

And a whole lot more.

The full list is here.

So if you set aside everything you’ll really need, you’re talking about a couple duffle bags, right? That’s not very convenient unless you can count on some young people with strong backs in your family. And of course, the more people you've got, the more water and food you need to go around.

Still, psychologically, you feel like you’ve got a fighting chance to live if you get some of this stuff together while you still can. Since I’m too lazy to buy all this stuff separately and assemble it, I took the easy way out and bought a pre-made “go” bag from these people.

This is what I got in my bag:
  1. 1 - Adult Size Backpack - (Durable and High Quality! #1 Emergency Backpack Available)
Warmth and Weather Protection
  1. 2 - Large Emergency Space® Blanket

  2. 2 - Emergency Rain/Wind Poncho Adult Size

  3. 2 - Hand or Abdomen Warmers
Light and Heat
  1. 1 - 12 hr. Instant Green Light Stick

  2. 1 - 12 hr. Instant Yellow Light Stick

  3. 1 - Survival Candle 36 hours

  4. 1 - Box of Waterproof Matches

  5. 1 - Flashlight (Solar, crank and battery - never out of power)
News and Communication
  1. 1 - Radio (Solar, crank and battery - never out of power)

  2. 1 - Whistle / Compass
  1. 1 - 54 Piece First Aid Kit

  2. 1 - Large Ace Bandage

  3. 1 - Large Cold Compress
Water, Water Purification and Air Filtration
  1. 1 - Bottle Germicidal Tablets – 50 Tablets

  2. 3 - Purified Drinking Water Squeeze Boxes

  3. 5 - Dust Masks
Food Items
  1. 1 - 2400 Calorie Food Ration Bar

  2. 1 - Government Issue Survival Candy
Hygiene Items
  1. 12 - Wet Wipe Packets

  2. 2 - Tooth Brushes with Toothpaste

  3. 1 - Pack of Tissue Paper
  1. 1 - 13-Function Swiss Army Style Pocket Knife

Not bad, huh?

Next I’m going to buy a case of MREs and keep some in the car, some in the house and some in the “go” bag.

But you know what’s going to happen, right?

When the shit hits the fan, I’ll be caught in an elevator in midtown and all of this preparation will go for naught.

Oh, well.

Thursday, September 22, 2005


Surprisingly, Invasion turned out to be the most disappointing of the three network Sci-Fi shows I mentioned last week. Because it was placed after the premiere of Lost in the schedule, I suppose I was expecting some of Lost’s creepiness, diverse, strongly written characters and sense of mystery.

Instead, I was given the umpteenth iteration of Invasion of the Body Snatchers.

Come on, people. Break some new ground.

It’s Science-Fiction -- you’re supposed to take chances, get it?

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Model Behavior

Heroin Chick
Kudos to British retailer Burberry, Swedish-based fashion giant H&M and French fashion house Chanel for all dropping supermodel Kate Moss. Moss, famous for embodying the “heroin chic” look, has long been dogged by rumors of being a drug abuser and she finally got busted. British tabloid the Daily Mirror has printed photos of her doing blow and her contracts has gone kaput.

I have my doubts about things like whether the fact that Rafael Palmiero in particular takes steroids really has made any young male do the same, but when you put a drugged up chick forward as a standard of beauty, well, people (teen girls) are going to kill themselves to achieve that look.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005


I watched the premiere of NBC’s Surface last night. The pilot centered on four characters -- a young boy, a woman and two men -- who separately encounter mysterious sea creatures of apparently extraterrestrial origin. They’ll eventually come together to fight the aliens, I guess.

What I Liked:

  • The idea of extraterrestrial sea creatures certainly hasn’t been done to death -- outside of The Abyss and Seaquest, I can’t think of any other examples where that was the main focus of the plot.

What I Didn’t Like:

  • The sense of tension that was being nicely built was shot to hell when one of the scientists gave a briefing about the growing threat and unveiled a freaking molar that was about 7 feet tall. ROFL!

  • None of the main characters are likeable. The woman seemed bitchy and self-centered.

  • The show tries to evoke a Spielberg-like sense of wonder, but that’s played out and so 80’s.

  • The kid who took the alien egg into his house really didn’t strike me as stupid enough to do such a thing. That wasn’t like taking in a cute mammal. We’re talking slime, you know? Who the hell would do that?

The Verdict:

  • It won’t last unless the characters get more interesting. I am curious enough to want to get a good look at one of the creatures to see if they’re hideous or cute.

Monday, September 19, 2005

Writers Needed For New Star Wars TV Show

From SyFy Portal:

George Lucas has begun searching for scribes to produce scripts for his upcoming television series based on the Star Wars film franchise, according to an exclusive report at IGN FilmForce.

Yo, how do I apply???

Read more

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Bush's "bathroom break"

From ABC News Online:
A photographer has snapped United States President George W. Bush apparently writing a note to ask whether a toilet break is possible during a United Nations meeting.

Mr Bush is said to have written the note to his Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice.

"I think I may need a bathroom break? Is this possible?" a Reuters news agency photographer caught him writing during a UN summit.

George needs to ask "Condi" if he can pee?


Read more

Saturday, September 17, 2005

BSG: Flight of the Phoenix

Boomer comes through in the clutch.
After weeks of poor shows, they finally got back to what was missing. It’s spooky. It’s almost as if they read the comments I had on the last show. It’s not a great episode, but it addressed many questions that have been dangling, and some I didn’t think to ask.

What I Liked

  • Helo is a complete pariah. When he enters a room, everyone gets hostile. Again, this makes total sense. Even if he wasn’t a proven “Cylon lover,” he’s been separated from them too long. Most of the pilots who knew him are dead.

  • Chief Tyrol is a pariah too. As he should be. It was his Sharon that shot Adama. Like Helo, no one can trust him. The goodwill he enjoyed with his staff is gone and he can barely get anyone to do any work for him.

  • Helo and Tyrol get in a fistfight over Sharon. I’m glad the obvious tension that would exist between them over was addressed.

  • Belief in Earth still isn’t for everyone. When one of the female pilots gripes that they’re going nowhere and Kara insists that Earth is out there, the pilot retorts that she doesn’t buy some “half-assed planetarium light show.”

  • Kara gets dissed by the same female pilot when she says she’s going to go look for Helo: “Good idea. Maybe that Cylon whore taught him a few new tricks.” Everybody knows Kara is a ho.

  • Callie is released from the brig and is given a big welcome back party, complete with moonshine. This makes total sense. Callie is a hero to pretty much everyone for shooting Sharon. Not only was Sharon a Cylon, she wasn’t well-liked by the enlisted people in her department even when they thought she was human.

  • Gaeta blows up at Tigh when Tigh orders him to go through the Galactica’s programming line by line to find and eradicate the Cylon virus. As if that’s trivial! Dick.

  • Lee’s target in the shooting range has a picture of Sharon on it. ROFL!

  • When Helo showed Sharon the lines of code from the Cylon virus, her disoriented reaction made me think for a second that it had reprogrammed her. Good red herring.

  • Tigh helps Tyrol with his project by supplying an engine. He takes a jar of moonshine in return, of course.

  • Everyone freaks out when Laura goes to smash the bottle of champagne to christen the new stealth ship. Can’t waste good liquor!

  • Good tension at the end when Starbuck tests Tyrol’s hybrid stealth fighter and she disappears from screen. Tyrol’s face when he thought that he had killed the fleet’s best pilot was special.

  • No Number Six! Baltar actually acted sane in this episode.

What I Didn’t Like

  • It looks like there’s some sexual tension building between Dualla and Lee. Where did that come from, and how does that make the story better?

  • Despite the fact that the writers did a good job of showing that everyone is bored, tense and needs something to believe in, I think people pitched in to help with Tyrol’s project too readily. They’re all working like dogs. Who would have the time and energy for that?

  • What are the odds of creating a space-worthy craft that is welded together? I bitched before when Starbuck flew the Cylon Raider that had a freaking hole in it into space in last season’s Act of Contrition, and I’m bitching again. I hate bad science. In real life we’ve seen two space shuttles blow up because of compromised heat shielding. You just can’t weld shit together with hand tools and expect it to withstand space travel!

  • Adama seemed pleased that Sharon came through and sent out a virus that disabled the Cylon ships. Dude, she still can’t be trusted.

Friday, September 16, 2005


I watched the premiere of Threshold on CBS, and it didn’t suck as bad as I thought it would.

The pilot episode centered on a risk consultant woman (her only friend is her white French bulldog -- my pooch is so much more handsome) who developed the protocol that the government will use in a “first contact” scenario. When a naval ship encounters an unidentified flying object and all communication with them ceases, the feds bring her in and essentially kidnaps a handful of other people who are to be her assistants.

The group goes out to the ship, poke around, and discover a video tape that makes their noses bleed. They also encounter the sole survivor on the ship, a guy whose DNA has been altered. When the team is forced to evacuate the ship because the North Koreans are coming (wait a minute – why are we scared of them? It’s our ship!), the survivor breaks loose, attacks some people, is shot four times, but survives. He later tracks the consultant woman back to her house and attacks her.

That’s about all that happened in two hours on the show. It’s implied that the aliens are hostile and they may come from fourth-dimensional space, as opposed to another planet. They also seem to be reprogramming human DNA, as opposed to possessing people or inserting worms or insects in their bodies.

The verdict? I still don’t think this is a good show, but it didn’t insult my intelligence.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

The President's Speech

The president spoke from New Orleans tonight. This is the fourth time he's been there since he belatedly got interested in the Hurricane Katrina disaster.

So, George promised everything to the audience:

  • New Orleans will be rebuilt.

  • Evacuees will be given first dibs on rebuilding jobs.

  • Evacuees in shelters will be offered job training.

  • People moving back to New Orleans will be encouraged to buy homes instead of rent. Low cost mortgages will be provided.

And so on. Everyone will have food, clothes, shelter, medical attention and a job.

This is great stuff. These are the most liberal plans ever to escape from his mouth. But where is the money going to come from? We're talking a price tag of $200 billion. He doesn't dare raise taxes, so what programs will get cut?

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Horror in Fall Lineup

In addition to the Sci-Fi shows that are debuting this Fall, there are two Horror-genre shows as well.

Supernatural (WB): “Two brothers, Dean and Sam Winchester, travel the country looking for their missing father and battling evil spirits along the way. Ever since they were little their father has been consumed with an obsession to find the evil forces that murdered his beloved wife, and recruited his two young sons to help them. They have grown up as hunters of the supernatural. Sam escaped this way of life after high school, and now has a happy life with his girlfriend, Jessica, and a promising future career. Dean, however, stayed behind with his father to join him in his ‘hunting.’”

This debuted last night. I found it boring. The brothers weren’t personable enough and the monster in the first episode wasn’t scary or unique enough to make me want to see more. This show is likely to be cancelled by November.

The Night Stalker (ABC): Shame on you if you don’t know the premise of this show or that this series -- the original one that is -- is the father of The X-Files.

Anyway, for those of you who really are too young to know this show, this is the (new) premise:

“Crime reporter Carl Kolchak is partnered with Perri Reed at The Beacon, a Los Angeles newspaper. Together they investigate a string of strange murders...all of which may be related to the death of Kolchak's wife 18 months earlier in a similarly bizarre manner. A murder that the FBI considers Kolchak the primary suspect.”

Reasons why this remake will flop:

  • Stuart Townsend is playing Kolchak. Townsend (AKA "Lestat" from the lackluster Queen of The Damned) has the distinction of having been the original choice to play Aragorn in Peter Jackson’s Lord of The Rings. After a single day on the set he was fired and replaced by Viggo Mortensen.

  • The original Kolchak was an over-the-hill hack writer. He was often scared shitless of the monsters he faced, but he only armed himself with a camera or a blessed magic item. That was the charm of the show. Since they’ve gone with a much younger man, expect this Kolchak to actively seek to kick monsters’ asses.

  • Gabrielle Union is the love interest. It’s doubtful that this will go over well on mainstream TV.

Like the Sci-Fi shows I mentioned yesterday, I’ll watch these at least once and report back, especially if they really suck.

Summaries are taken from

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Sci-Fi on Mainstream TV

It seems that the major networks -- ABC, NBC and CBS -- have rediscovered the Sci-Fi genre this Fall. Some say it’s because of the success of Battlestar Galactica, others point to ABC’s Lost, though that is more properly categorized as Fantasy.

Here’s the low down on these shows:

Invasion (ABC):
“Man has searched the skies for centuries and has never come up with conclusive evidence to prove the existence of other forms of intelligent life. What if we have been looking in the wrong place? What if there were other forms of intelligent life already living among us? What if perceived natural disasters were really diversions created to conceal clandestine alien activities?”

Surface (NBC):Surface is an expansive drama and undersea adventure that centers on the appearance of mysterious sea creatures in the deep ocean -- and tracks the lives of four characters. They are: Daughtery Carstarphen, the young oceanographer who discovers the secret; Dr. Aleksander Cirko, the government scientist who tries to keep things under wraps; Richard Owen, the Louisiana fisherman who loses his brother in a suspicious diving accident; and Miles, the young boy who brings the creatures ashore.”

Threshold (CBS): “Revolves around a female government contingency analyst who leads a team of scientists and military personnel who get in contact with a mysterious alien lifeform.”

Will any of these shows make it? I highly doubt it. I’ll watch the pilots of each, however. If they’re worth talking about, I’ll review them here.

Monday, September 12, 2005

Katrina Affects ABC's "Invasion"

From SyFy Portal:
Hurricane Katrina's devastation of countless lives across the southeastern United States has caused ABC to rethink the opening scenes in its new SF show, "Invasion," according to TV Guide.

The series premiere starts out with a hurricane running amok through the Florida Everglades.

After pulling promotional ads featuring the stormy start, ABC is in the process of evaluating just what changes should be made to that episode in light of Katrina's impact on the national consciousness.

Read more

Sunday, September 11, 2005

BSG: Final Cut

Xena does Sci-Fi.
The last four episodes of Galactica have eroded the good feelings I had about the second season of the series based on episodes 1-4. It's just an ordinary sci-fi show now and with each passing week the characters are getting less real and more like caricatures.


What I Liked
  • It's mildly amusing that Baltar is pissed that reporter D'Anna Biers initially ignores him.
  • The 911-style impromptu memorial shrine with photos and personal mementos created by the crew and last seen in the mini-series still exists somewhere on the Galactica. Evidently the crew maintains the shrine on their own and they replenish the candles periodically. People seem to go there to pray and be alone when they have downtime.
  • They've finally given first names to some familiar characters. Gaeta's first name is Felix, Dualla's first name is Anastasia.
  • Starbuck is miffed that she isn't a suspect in the attacks on Col. Tigh.
  • After Ellen's urging, Tigh agrees to be interviewed by Biers to get out his side of the "Gideon Massacre" story, i.e., the shooting of unarmed civilians by Marines in episode 4, "Resistance." Biers cleverly softens him up by getting him to drink. He quickly becomes agitated by her questions, throws the glass and shoves her. All caught on tape.
  • There is a tense moment as Louanne "Kat" Katraine, high on stimulants, crash-lands her Viper. That's some good continuity there. In an episode last season (was it "33"?) Starbuck, Lee and some others had to take stims in order to stay awake for days and do their shifts. Kat, if you recall, is one of the "nuggets," so it's not surprising that she feels the pressure acutely.
  • The original Battlestar Galactica theme plays in the background of Biers's finished video. That was a nice gesture for the old school fans.
  • I was actually surprised at the end when three of the human Cylons we're familiar with -- Doral, Sharon and Shelly -- view the footage in a private theatre and reporter D'Anna Biers is revealed as a Cylon.

What I Didn't Like
  • The reporter films some footage in the pilots' quarters and we get to see Starbuck, Lee, Kat and other people frolicking around in various states of undress. I guess that was supposed to be sexy. YAWN.
  • Palladino, the Marine in charge of the supply run that turned into the Gideon Massacre, turns out to be the guy stalking Col. Tigh. He was leaving threatening messages in Tigh’s quarters and sabotaging his shuttle. He duct tapes Ellen and puts a gun to Tigh's head, but can't pull the trigger. Palladino is arrested. Too easy. Someone else takes the fall for Tigh's incompetence.
  • Why would Palladino tip his hand by leaving a bad poetry on Tigh's mirror? Too theatrical.
  • Starbuck recognizes the message scrawled on Tigh's mirror as the work of "Kataris," some famous Caprican poet. I guess this is supposed to show she is an educated, sensitive ho, not just a fighter pilot ho.
  • I really didn't think we'd see another human Cylon again so soon after Simon was revealed in episode 5, "The Farm." It was too soon. They need to spread out those revelations.

  • Is this as good as this series is going to be now? Please let the answer be no.

Saturday, September 10, 2005

Dr. Arrested For Telling Cheney to Fuck Himself


Some doctor who was pissed at the federal government's response to Hurricane Katrina got himself in trouble.

As he stood about 10 feet away from Cheney and his friend and some camera operators from CNN and other media filmed the scene, Marble suddenly yelled, "Go fuck yourself, Mr. Cheney! Go fuck yourself, you asshole!"

Hey, at least Marble was polite. After all, he referred to Cheney as "Mr. Cheney."
Read more:

Friday, September 09, 2005

South Africa's "Dr Death"

Dr Wouter Basson, evil bastard.
I was looking at BBC's site to get an international perspective on the Katrina tragedy when I came across this shocker. Dr Wouter Basson, head of "Operation Coast," the South African apartheid government's "secret" biological and chemical warfare program is free after a 30-month trial.

Here's some of the stuff "Dr. Death" was accused of:

  • "Operation Coast" sought to create "smart" poisons, which would only affect blacks, and hoarded enough cholera and anthrax to start epidemics.

  • Naked black men were tied to trees, smeared with a poisonous gel and left overnight to see if they would die. When the experiment failed, they were put to death with injections of muscle relaxants.

  • Weapon ideas included sugar laced with salmonella, cigarettes with anthrax, chocolates with botulism and whisky with herbicide.
Despite calling 153 witnesses, the court was unable to put this guy away.

Oh, this is the best part -- South Africa's biological warfare program was developed with the assistance of British and United States intelligence services.

Were these two governments using South Africa to field test these bio weapons in case they needed to exterminate their own blacks?

The South African research is surely in the hands of these two governments, right?

That's just great.

Read more

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Beren on K9 Karma!

Back on April 3rd I reported that Beren was filmed at Scout NYC for an Animal Planet show. I finally saw him on TV today!

He's in an episode of K9 Karma called "Now and Zen." Beren is the Frenchie in the Black CBGB t-shirt. He's all up in the camera for a couple shots. Yay! I'm so proud!

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

One More Prediction

I left out one prediction yesterday. This is a no-brainer.

Lt. Gen. Russel Honore has a bright future in the Republican party if he doesn't self-destruct. Either that or Hollywood should give him a call.

As soon as he set foot on the scene in New Orleans, shit started getting done. I don't know if a word he says is true, but he speaks with passion and conviction and he demands respect.

Simply put, he looks like he knows what he's doing and he's not afraid to get his hands dirty.

Appearances are everything, after all.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Things to Come

I predict the following things will happen in the months to come as a result of the Hurricane Katrina Disaster:
  • We will find out that a scary number of felons, sex offenders and mental patients escaped into the general population in the chaos of the storm and their records have been destroyed.
  • Some children who are not orphans will be declared as such because they can’t be identified.
  • Someone will claim a baby that is not theirs and the birth parents will have to get a DNA test done to get their child back.
  • Some evacuees will assault people then declare themselves “not guilty” because of post traumatic stress disorder caused by the hurricane.
  • The true body count will never be known.
  • Lawsuits will be filed against Mayor Nagin, Governor Blanco and FEMA on behalf of those murdered, assaulted, or denied medical attention in the Superdome and the Convention Center, and those who will be “forcibly” removed from their homes.
  • Someone will organize a pop album featuring a dozen or so well-known artists and proclaim that the proceeds will go towards the relief effort. Rappers, many of whom are from the South, will drop the ball and fail to do the same thing.
  • Displaced teens put into new schools will have violent encounters with “indigenous” students.
  • Public sympathy will gradually turn against the evacuees in as little as three months if they fail to find jobs and move out of the shelters.

I’ll check back in with this list once a month until January and discuss which of these predictions have come true.

Monday, September 05, 2005

Hustle & Flow

Terence HowardI finally got around to seeing this movie today. I can't understand why this story of a pimp having a mid-life crisis was well-received at the Sundance Film Festival and got favorable reviews from Rolling Stone, Village Voice, New York Times, USA Today, both Ebert and Roeper, Time Magazine, etc.


What did these people see that I didn't see?

What I saw was a movie about DJ, a man in his mid to late thirties who makes a meager living by pimping three not very attractive whores, one of whom can't whore right now because she's about 8-months pregnant and another who has a toddler. The only one in the household consistently bringing home the bacon is DJ's teen-aged white whore, whose name I've already forgotten. In exchange for whoring, the women get to live with DJ in his dilapidated house in a poor neighborhood.

An old father-figure (Isaac Hayes) tells DJ that a remote acquaintance of the pimp who is now a major rap star will be back in town on the 4th of July and needs a supply of quality weed. DJ gets it in his head that this is his big chance. He runs into a small-time recording engineer and convinces the man to help him make a demo. The pair are joined by a white guy who likes rap and knows how to play piano and use a sampler.

The trio build a home studio at DJ’s place using the money DJ's white whore earns by screwing men in their cars. All she asks for in return is a little attention and a chance to sit with the AC on for awhile. Aww!

When DJ's song needs some oomph, he gets the pregnant whore to sing some of his lyrics and pressures her until it comes out right. When the whore with the toddler gets sick of the changes in the household and mouths off at DJ and the other girls in her frustration, DJ does the manly thing and puts her ass out on the street. He picks up her son in his walker and puts him on the sidewalk as well.

The engineer neglects his wife and leaves her in the dark to speculate about what he’s doing in a house full of whores. One day she decides she’s wrong to be upset about her man’s sleazy new friends so she makes sandwiches and comes over to feed everyone. Aww!

DJ's big day arrives. The pregnant ho gives him a thick gold chain and a medallion she bought him for good luck. Evidently her pimp needs this expenditure of money from her more than her unborn child does. She gets a big wet kiss in return.

DJ goes to the rundown club to supply weed to the rapper in the hope that the rapper will remember him and listen to his demo. The arrogant rapper doesn't know him from Adam, but he does appreciate the weed. DJ manages to keep the conversation going most of the night and he finally gets the rapper to take his demo tape. But when DJ goes to the men's room he finds the rapper passed out on the floor and the demo tape in the toilet. DJ beats the rapper bloody, shoots one the rapper's bodyguards, flees to his home and is arrested and sent to prison.

But all is not lost for our hero! The unappreciated white ho, on whose tricks the studio was built and the demo made, takes charge and shops the demo around to local DJ's and radio stations. DJ's song becomes a hit and by the time his bid is up, he's already famous enough that two prison guards give him a demo tape to listen to as he's walking out of prison. The viewer is left to muse on whether DJ will arrogantly flush their tape down the toilet too.

Why would anyone think this is a good movie? A selfish man makes money off of weak women whom he can't even say thank you to for helping him start a presumably lucrative career. That's the whole thing in a nutshell. In fact, he doesn't thank the pianist or the engineer either. The only one who gets a thank you from DJ is the father-figure whose reward for introducing DJ to the rapper is to have his club shot up.

The one good thing about this movie? Terence Howard is very handsome, even with the stupid poofy Southern curled hair. But he's a better actor than this role shows.

Sunday, September 04, 2005

Hurricane Katrina's Wall of Shame

Wall of Shame.
New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin (Democrat)
Told people to evacuate New Orleans, but provided no means for the 250,000 people without transportation to do so. Sent people to shelters that had inadequate food, water and sanitation to support them. Nagin made broadcasts on the radio during and after the storm, but he didn't have the balls to show his face at the Superdome or the New Orleans Convention Center where people were living in slave ship conditions. Contrast him with Rudolph Giuliani who was on the scene during 911. He didn't actually do anything, but if your constituents don't see your face during a crisis, don't be surprised when anarchy ensues.

Louisiana Governor Kathleen Babineaux Blanco (Democrat)
Mobilized the National Guard too late. Slow to ask the federal government for supplies and troops from other states. Too scared to visit the squalid refugee centers. Even lame Governor Pataki of New York made sure to get his ass to Ground Zero quick in the aftermath of 911.

FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) Head Michael Brown (Republican)

Claims to not have known until Thursday that thousands of people were at the Convention Center, despite the fact that the media showed people arriving there as early as Tuesday and reported that no one was in charge. Brown turned away trucks of water sent by WalMart. When Al Gore arranged a chartered flight to rescue approximately 100 elderly patients from a New Orleans hospital, FEMA threw up roadblocks that delayed the process until Saturday, endagering their lives even further.

Secretary of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff (Republican)
Finally arrived in Louisiana on Sunday. Apparently didn't know he was supposed to be in charge. Continued to insist all week that evacuations were taking place in an orderly fashion and that food and water were on the way while people were dying of thirst and diabetics were going into comas. At a press conference today he praised his staff for doing a "fantastic job." He says that 10,000 people were rescued in the last two days, but his own agency's press release says the number is only 4,500.

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice (Republican)
Was spotted in New York late last week enjoying her vacation, buying $1,000 worth of designer shoes in a midtown store and catching a performance of Spamalot on Broadway while elderly people and babies were dying of dehydration and living in their own filth in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama, her home state.

United States President George W. Bush (Republican)
Placed an emphasis in every press conference on the specific number of soldiers he was sending to the affected area, and how they had orders to shoot to kill desperate people who were getting food and water for their families by any means necessary, as opposed to talking about how many doctors were being sent, how much medicine was being sent, how many civil engineers were being sent, etc. Chose to make scheduled stops in Arizona and California to pump up support for the war in Iraq for most of the week. Finally got his ass to the affected areas on Friday for a sanitized photo-op with two clean, calm light-skinned girls from a suburban neighborhood in an attempt to dispel the appearance of a racial aspect to this tragedy.

Saturday, September 03, 2005

Live from New Orleans

Keep checking this guy's blog to get insight into what's happening in New Orleans from a guy who's stuck in the middle of it.

The blog probably won't be up for much longer. He'll be evacuated at some point or his blog will get so many hits that LiveJournal will shut it down.

Friday, September 02, 2005

Michael Moore to George W. Bush

A letter to Dubya from Michael Moore re: Hurricane Katrina.

And don't listen to those who, in the coming days, will reveal how you specifically reduced the Army Corps of Engineers' budget for New Orleans this summer for the third year in a row. You just tell them that even if you hadn't cut the money to fix those levees, there weren't going to be any Army engineers to fix them anyway because you had a much more important construction job for them -- BUILDING DEMOCRACY IN IRAQ!

Read more.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Our Tsunami

Five-month-old Heaven Girod is handed over to a National Guardsman as she is being evacuated from a flooded area in New Orleans August 30, 2006. 30 Aug 2005 REUTERS/Rick Wilking.
Where do I begin with this one?

I don't understand this. What went wrong here?

Watching the events of the past few days unfold has been bizarre. By the time Hurricane Katrina touched down on Monday, people had been warned to evacuate for 3-4 days already. Yet thousands of people are supposedly dead, just like in any Third World natural disaster. They're saying this disaster is second only to the 1906 San Francisco earthquake in devastation as far as America goes.

But concerning this death toll, why is it so high when there was so much warning? I can understand the people who got stuck in their cars. The roads were clogged and they were inching along too slow to escape the storm. But why were so many people trapped in their homes? Not all of these people were procrastinators. It looks like most of the people who got trapped had no transportation. The evacuation plan apparently consisted of telling people to go to shelters or flee to another state, but if they had no car, too bad. There weren't buses or vans canvassing communities in an organized fashion to evacuate people who didn't have the means to reach a shelter. They were just assed out.

Price gouging on gas has begun. I filled up last week and was appalled when the total came to $50 even for about 17 gallons. And the price then was $2.97. Now it's over $3.50 up here. Some bastard down in Atlanta is already selling gas at $6 a gallon for premium.

As for the asses who fired on the military helicopters that are trying to rescue people... WHY???

But the best thing I heard today was that Germany and some other countries are sending us monetary aid and supplies to deal with this crisis.


The worm has turned for the USA.