Sunday, December 31, 2006

Nothing Profound

For a while, I'd hoped that my last post of 2006 might be something special -- some grand look back at the year, as it pertains to me, or my readers, or what-not. But I discovered a profound lack of anything profound to say. Not to mention, for this blog, it would be just as appropriate to go out this year the same way I came in -- talking about random crap. And so...

Why the hell do people call good food "rib sticking?" That makes no sense to me at all. If your ribs are sticking into your stomach such that they can actually come into contact with your food, you have far more important issues demanding your attention than the quality of your meal.

Is it supposed to refer to the actual eating of barbeque ribs, the way the sauce is sticky and gets all over your fingers? Is there no other food considered "good" anywhere on the face of the Earth?

Is it supposed to be some kind of very subtle dig on the anorexic? Something like, "looking at you is like looking at an x-ray, but perhaps if you would stick some of this food to your ribs and cover them up... by which I mean from the inside, you know -- ingestion?!"

Happy New Year, everyone.

Saturday, December 30, 2006

Daa-Dum.... Daa-Dum... Daa-Dum....

I recently mentioned that Maximillian from The Black Hole was one of the top three things to scare the crap out of me as a kid. I also mentioned that number one was Jaws. Far and away.

I have absolutely no idea why this was the case. I lived in Indiana until I was six, Ohio for eighteen months or so, and then Colorado -- so it's not like there was really any shark-infested waters around for me to be scared of.

I suppose I credit John Williams for a large part of it. Because even though I had never seen any part of the movie until well into my teens, I knew the music. And just those two repeated notes on the low strings were enough to send me running from the room.

In fact, the music was so effective, that I didn't even make it through the movie Airplane! until some time in my teens as well. In case you don't remember, the very opening of the movie is Jaws parody, with the tail of the plane sticking up through a cloud bank as the Jaws theme plays. I remember one of my uncles watching television when I was maybe about six or seven, and running in terror from the room when that opening came on. I'm pretty sure he was even calling after me, telling me it was a joke, it was just an airplane and not Jaws, or some such.

Probably I was screaming or something and couldn't hear him.

Friday, December 29, 2006


Some time last week, I made myself a sort of "New Year's Resolution in reverse." Well, I don't really know what you'd call it, but it was a commitment to get something done before the arrival of 2007.

It was that damn Runelords book. I was lost somewhere in the middle of volume two (of four -- sigh), and vowed that I would not still be stuck on it come January 1st.

Well, one good thing that comes out of back-to-back blizzards and being snowbound is that you find yourself with a lot of time for reading. So I dug in (to the book; tunneling out my car was a separate matter). And sure enough, this week, I finished the book.

I'm not sure I can say it got better, but it did seem like the things I found bad about the writing were not so hard to take when I was just barreling through it. And the things I liked became a little more pronounced.

I'm still not recommending this series to anyone. I know I'm not picking up book three until I've read a few other things first. Maybe not even then. (Though it helps that, according to Amazon, volume three is less than 3/4s the size of two.) I guess I'm still holding out for that synopsis to miraculously appear online somewhere.

Anyway, the slate is clean, so I can start the new year with a new book. I've heard wonderful things about Max Brooks' World War Z, for example...

Thursday, December 28, 2006

"Let's Go!"

Some say they just don't make video games like they used to. Agree or disagree, I'm at least happy there are folks out there keeping the classics alive, through things such as this online version of the original Lemmings.

I remember my friends and I getting a demo of Lemmings in advance of the product's release many, many years ago. It was just four levels, one for each of the game's four difficulties. But those were the only four levels we had until the full game hit, so we played the hell out of them, over and over and over again. And when it seemed as though we'd played them out, we invented new ways to attack them, such as trying to complete all four levels without killing any Lemmings (which, for at least a few levels, was not the expected way to complete the level -- but not impossible).

I spent huge amounts of time on Lemmings. And now I can do it again.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Re-run from New York

Every now and then, something happens to remind me of the time long, long ago, when Saturday Night Live was actually funny more often than twice a season. Today, it was the death of former president Gerald Ford. I heard about it on the television news first, not from, but still, the instant thought that sprang to my mind was an image of Dana Carvey, Brokaw-ing: "dead today at the senseless age of 83." (Well, 93, as it turned out.)

Part of me wonders if Saturday Night Live, like The Black Hole, is something that I just enjoyed when I was younger, and doesn't stand up to scrutiny now. But then I watched that clip of Dana Carvey again, and I was rolling.

And then there's the wave of critics' reviews for the recent DVD release of the complete first season of SNL, with the original cast. We're talking nothing but A+, 5-star, must-buy reviews.

Sure, every once in a long while, SNL shows a hint of brilliance. (Everyone and their brother is posting YouTube links to Justin Timberlake's special "holiday gift," so it would be redundant for me to do so.) But I've long since given up watching the show on a regular basis. It's still in the TiVo Season Pass list. I figure I'll hear by Monday or Tuesday if there was anything worth seeing in the most recent episode, and then backtrack and catch it before it gets automatically deleted.

If you thought this was going to actually be a post about former president Gerald Ford, I'm sorry to disappoint. But what do I know about him? I wasn't really speaking intelligible words when he was president. I know Chevy Chase did a memorable impression of him, much-praised for the prat falls, despite no attempt whatsoever to actually sound like Ford.

You know, from back in the days when SNL was relevant and funny.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Escaping The Black Hole

I didn't realize that my casual mention of The Black Hole a couple days ago would touch a chord among some of you, but then you never know.

I know I loved The Black Hole as a kid. I saw the movie a few times. I had the 45 record/storybook combo (you know, one of those "turn the page when you hear the chimes ring like this..." jobs) and must have listened to/read that a few thousand times. And Maximillian totally terrified me. Up until about age 7, the top three things that scared me were (in order) Jaws, Darth Vader, and Maximillian.

As with most things that evoke a strong reaction in you as a child, I look at it now and wonder what the hell I was thinking.

Mind you, I haven't actually seen The Black Hole since about that time, but I don't think I need to to start picking it apart. For starters, just what was so terrifying about Maximillian? Surely it couldn't be the fact that he'd probably helped Reinhardt lobotomize the entire crew of the Cygnus -- I wasn't really old enough to understand what a lobotomy was. It must have been that he had food processors attached to his motionless arms... oooo. Maybe if you didn't walk away from him fast enough, he might float into you... oh no!

But being scared shitless of Maximillian isn't the most puzzling thing about The Black Hole when I look back on it now. I wonder more what it was I ever saw in the movie. It's boring as hell! I think more happens in 2001: A Space Odyssey -- you know, the movie they stylistically ripped off for their ending. I was way too young to understand any of what that ending was all about. Maybe like 2001, you need to be stoned out of your mind to be entertained by that.

I was definitely too young to appreciate that.

Anyway, fond memories of childhood, which I don't think I'll risk ruining by actually going back to watch The Black Hole again today.

Monday, December 25, 2006

Christmas Christmas Time Is Here...

I hope all of you (who celebrate it) had a good Christmas this year. Mine was great. A nice, long day at my parents' house with all my brothers and sisters, and my grandmother in town visiting as well.

We observed a number of holiday traditions in our family, including a big group effort on a jigsaw puzzle. Unfortunately, this year's puzzle was obnoxiously difficult, but it didn't take much away from the festivities.

Now that there are no "kids" in the family, Christmas is a very different affair. It used to be things got started around 7:30 or 8:00 in the morning. This year, I was specifically told, "don't come before 10:00." Ah, sleeping in. I can totally get behind that as a new family tradition.

Of course, one other big change this year was the massive amount of snow on the ground. True to form for Colorado, it did not actually snow on December 25th. But with more snow still left from last week than normally falls during the average snowstorm, I think it can reasonably be declared a "white Christmas."

Now begins that last dash for 2007!

Sunday, December 24, 2006

What a Concept(is)

Many of you have some days off here at this time of year, and possibly quite a lot of time on your hands you're not used to having to fill. Well, if you've got spare time, here's a way to completely wipe it out: Conceptis Puzzles. It's a web site loaded with all sorts of logic puzzles. You can play puzzles you've heard of (Sudoku) and puzzles you probably haven't (Pic-a-Pix, Slitherlink?), you can play online and off, you can pay to play or play the free weekly puzzles (check the link on the main page).

Yeah, this thing is a black hole to free time. I don't mean in a lame Vincent/Maximillian sort of way.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Constant Comment

My thanks to one of the old Virginia folks, who recently pointed me to this source of mirth. Some of the hysterically funny people behind Mystery Science Theater 3000 have not stopped mocking movies just because their show isn't on the air. They've taken their act to the net, where you can download their special form of DVD commentary for your MP3 player and synch it up to a movie for loads of laughs.

In some ways, it's actually better than the TV show, because they no longer have to wrestle with clearing the rights to show a movie. They just post the commentary for the movie they want.


Friday, December 22, 2006

Tales from the Internets

Part of the fun of having a Precision Counter is reviewing the bizarre Google searches that have brought web surfers into my tiny sphere of influence.

It's also creepy at times.

Here are some of the highlights of late:

who did baltar choke? - I honestly have no idea. No, really. What episode is this talking about?

mormon subtext in Napoleon Dynamite - Wow. Suddenly, it makes so much more sense to me!

oreos past expiration date - Sorry, but my regulars have helped me conclude there's no such thing.

buca di beppo sick - Hey! Them's fightin' words!

the runelords synopsis by book - I'm not the only person who wants one.

how to pronounce heimlich - When you're choking, it doesn't matter.

mind tricks-jockey and horses - This blog isn't that eclectic, buddy.

It's not only the "weird" searches that catch my eye. In a way, I find the "normal" searches more strange. For example, how many pages of Google search results do you have to scroll through to find your way to my blog when you're looking for:

"prison break"
relationship "bill buchanan" "karen hayes"
"weird al" "taylor hicks"
amas de casas desperadas de colombia

I wonder if any of these people have become regular readers...

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Blizzard Entertainment

An array of pictures I took this morning...

Sucks being him:

(Not that you could tell, but those are cars buried behind him.)

My apartment complex:

The nearby four-lane street:

Some guy:

Wednesday, December 20, 2006


As many of you have probably heard, Denver is presently being pummeled by the biggest blizzard to hit it since March 2003. And since I was still living in Virginia in 2003, this is the biggest blizzard I've seen in over a decade.

I went into work for half a day, then skidded home in second gear maybe just a little past the time where it was a good idea to be out and about. Fortunately, it was a drive home without real incident... at least until I got to the parking lot of my apartment complex.

The "driveway" in slants downhill, and had not been plowed all day. (Understandable, I suppose, since at that point in time, we were projected for at least another 24 hours of non-stop snow.) Coming to a stop on this slope was a bit of a challenge, but not unmanageable.

The problem was, turning the car into a parking space was. I'd try to steer my way in, then lose traction and slide uncomfortably close to another car. I'd try to back up for another run, but there was no traction to pull back. So I'd straighten out as best I could, then try another space a little farther down the hill... only to repeat the same process all over again.

Finally, I just settled for a fortunately empty space more or less directly in front of me, at the bottom of the hill. Well, empty except for the half foot of snow already in it. And there my car will rest until the snow stops, the drive is plowed, and the sun comes out. Because I guarantee you, there is no way my car is going to successfully back out of this spot and get back up the hill until then.

On the bright side, once safely home, I was able to enjoy the beauty of the snowfall, in a way that only someone not obligated to travel in it can. Some very funky drifts had formed over the wall facing one of the sidewalks in my apartment complex.

I'll take being snowbound for a couple days over a being in a hurricane, hands down.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Something's Fishy

It's that time of year, so just like last year, and many years before that, I watched my favorite Christmas movie, Scrooged.

Afterward, I began playing the new Legend of Zelda game, Twilight Princess. I've not been Wii'd upon yet (I bought it for the GameCube), so I don't have to worry about things like this happening:

I only have to worry about an epidemic that has been spreading through fantasy video games -- fishing. A short while into the game, your character acquires a fishing pole and uses it to catch a fish to catch a cat to return to a shopkeeper ("that wriggled and wiggled and jiggled inside her..."). I was a little nervous to see that my first fish caught opened up a "fish journal" in which all the different fish I'll catch throughout the game will be tracked. Apparently, you have to fish a lot in this Zelda.

Animal Crossing, World of Warcraft, Zelda... what's with all the catching fish? This is not a particularly exciting activity in real life. Why would I want to spend time simulating the experience in a video game?

Fishing aside, though, I'm liking the game so far.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Blood in the Water

Tomorrow, with little fanfare, M. Night Shyamalan's Lady in the Water comes out on DVD. Every time a movie hits DVD, it's time for most entertainment web sites and magazines to run an all-new batch of reviews for the film, even though the last batch of reviews (when the film was in theaters) is barely four or five months old. I won't bore you with my own re-review (but if you want to read what I thought, here you go), but I have to say I've been struck all over again by the venom of the reviewers who didn't like this movie.

I'm not looking down my nose at anyone who didn't think this was a cinematic masterpiece. You're entitled to your opinion. But I feel like the critics were particularly bitter about this movie the first time around, and they're being even harsher now.

The criticisms seem to stem around "what an ego-maniac this guy is." You know, as if he didn't write, direct, act in, and produce four movies that were generally well-liked before this one. (Okay, The Village was a rough spot for some people.)

I just don't get it. But maybe that's because I really, really liked Lady in the Water, and have been waiting for it to hit DVD pretty much since I walked out of the theater.

Anyone else have an experience where your opinion of a movie and that of the collective mass of critics seemed so mismatched?

Sunday, December 17, 2006

The Lost Ending

This weekend, I caught up with the new SciFi Channel mini-series that aired last week, The Lost Room. I'd originally taken interest in watching it because it stars Peter Krause of Six Feet Under and Sports Night (two excellent shows). But my interest built as I heard a few people give generally favorable reviews of the mini-series.

Five hours and forty minutes of this six hour event were really good. It was an intriguing concept, well-executed, fairly well-written, very well-acted, well-paced, and fun to watch. I found it had a good "can't put it down" quality to it, that made me want to cram it all in as quickly as possible to see how it ended.

And then, in the last 20 minutes, the wheels just came completely off the wagon. I don't know what the hell happened. Suddenly, new concepts were introduced into the story that had no prior set-up. They seemed to almost violate the "rules" of the show's premise. An apparent conclusion was suddenly thrust onto the story, but without any real explanation of how it all worked out the way it did.

Maybe the writers pitched a four part mini-series, got chopped down, and didn't know how to fit their story into less time. Maybe someone thought there was a chance a full television series would follow this up, and the writers couldn't quite bring themselves to end the story in a satisfying way. (Not that they left it in any open-ended way that a series could easily pick up.) Maybe they just plain didn't know how to end their story. Whatever it was, the ending sucked out loud.

In a way, it was like Deja Vu all over again.

Still, if you missed The Lost Room and later have the chance to catch it (likely, since SciFi Channel is running it every other hour), it's probably worth your time, even with the crap ending. It's that interesting along the way, with interesting ideas, twists and turns, and straight-up fun. Maybe just invent your own ending.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Proper Balance

Every now and then, I guess I need to be reminded that that most classic of German board games, The Settlers of Catan, despite its many strengths, is not actually to be played by four players -- regardless of what the box might tell you. Play with three players on the standard board, or five players on the "5 or 6 player" board, and everything should work out fine. But four players on the basic board is simply too cramped for its own good.

I've never played a four-player Settlers game that didn't have one of the "players" serving as more of a witness than anything else. You can't always tell for sure when the game begins, but one player will quickly be cut off from expansion by the road-building of others. He'll happen to be the one to have his numbers starve in the early game. And that's it. There's simply no recovering.

Shocho brought over a special deck of cards for Settlers to tonight's gaming. They're meant to replace the dice, with every number represented on the cards in its proper mathematical proportion. This had some pros and cons to it, but of course, one player's numbers can still somehow refuse to come up (in this case, because they're shuffled to the bottom of the deck).

Bottom line -- Settlers with four? Just don't do it.

Friday, December 15, 2006

The Eye of Jupiter

I thought Battlestar Galactica's last episode for the next month or so was good, but not really their best. They packed a lot of plot into 60 minutes (minus commericials), which had its good and bad points. Many ongoing plots got pushed a little further along in this episode -- the Starbuck/Apollo relationship, Sharon and Helo's baby, the quest for Earth, Baltar's "reunion" with the fleet, D'Anna's spiritual quest.

But it all came tumbling out so fast, I didn't feel that the character moments Galactica is most strong at always got "room to breathe." For example, things in the Baltar/D'Anna plot were so focused on their need to get down to the planet that I didn't really feel the weight of Caprica Six's isolation from the two of them. She spoke of it, but it felt a like a bit too much "telling" and not enough "showing."

Still, there were other moments that landed solidly. I thought the best scene in the episode was the one between Helo, Sharon, and Adama. Helo's accusation, "I thought you of all people would appreciate what it's like to lose a child" -- chilling and heart-breaking at the same time. Yet still maybe topped by Adama's response.

Since it was such a plot-driven episode, though, I feel like my ultimate judgment of how I like it will depend on how the cliffhangers are wrapped up in the next episode(s). It was certainly not a "bad" episode, but I can't help but compared it to last season's mid-year cliffhanger, Pegasus. And that's probably unfair, since Pegasus was quite possibly my favorite episode of the show.

Battlestar Galactica has managed to set a very high bar for itself, I suppose.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Dumber Than Advertized

Because of a recent drop in available parking passes at the lot at my office, Shocho and I have recently had to polish up our parallel parking skills on nearby streets in downtown Denver. Shocho won't dispute this: we both basically suck at parallel parking. It's either a driving skill you have, or you don't. And it's not easily acquired if you don't.

Which, for a while, made us both jealous of that new Lexus in the commercials... you know, the one that can park itself:

But that was until a friend of mine showed me the truth about this wonderful self-parking Lexus:

I guess it is still a Lexus, which is nice. But whatever you're paying for this feature? Wrong.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

The Passage

I'm going to backtrack a few days and talk about the Battlestar Galactica episode that aired last Friday while I was out of town.

The writer of this particular installment, Jane Espenson, was a former writer on Buffy the Vampire Slayer. The Buffy fan circles have been talking about her "upcoming script" (and the fact she's already been hired for another, later in the season) for a few weeks now. It maybe had me wondering just a little bit if this was going to be a more light-hearted installment, an attempt to do something vaguely comedic, like the first season's arguably weakest episode, "Tigh Me Up, Tigh Me Down." It was a much better episode, as it turned out. But it brought very little humor (as per Galactica usual) and nothing but the heavy stuff.

I'd cite only a few flaws with the episode, but they're all incredibly minor. At the beginning, I was a little nervous that the set-up of the episode, about the fleet needing to traverse the nebula, was a little to "Star Trek-ish problem of the week." But just like the good episodes of Buffy would do (and as good Galactica episodes have done), the problem turned out just to be grease to get a very character-driven story under way. I need not have worried.

It maybe seemed a bit emotionally manipulative to find out so much about Cat in this episode, only to have her die at the end. But really, only a bit. Cat was a well-established character that has been around for several seasons. And what can I say, but there was something very impactful in her swan song. I think a lot of that had to do with her excellent final scene with Edward James Olmos, again delivering the goods in a brilliant scene as Adama. This was a much more successful exit of a recurring character than, say, Billy in season two.

Finally, and once again a minor complaint -- this episode didn't pick up on the Starbuck/Apollo thread left in the previous episode. I suppose their relationship has been a very long-running, continuous story that has historically not necessarily been addressed every week. And this episode was clearly more self-contained in nature. So it's not really surprising that thread wasn't picked up on. But I couldn't help missing it -- last week's episode left some real unfinished business (pun definitely intended) that left me wanting to see more.

Still, a very solid episode that in my mind made it easy to see why Jane Espenson was already hired for another. I look forward to that.

In the shorter term, though, we have this week's final episode for the rest of the year. Odds are the ongoing Baltar/Cylon plot will come to some delicious cliffhangery crossroads.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Reading Sinkhole

I enjoy a good book, but over the last few months I've been experiencing a frustrating slowdown when it comes to reading. It's because I started reading the fantasy series The Runelords, by David Farland. This is a four book series (well, now five -- I heard another book was recently published) I picked up because of rumors that a film was in the works.

The concept is really pretty intriguing. In this fantasy world, a person is able to use magic to give one of his physical attributes to another person. He can donate his strength, or intelligence, or sight, hearing, smell, stamina, speed, you name it. The recipient then has the attributes of two men. The "runelords" of the title are powerful people combining the attributes of dozens or hundreds of people, who must mantain vast "harems" of mostly invalid people who have donated their various attributes. These attributes must be given voluntarily, but some runelords bribe and blackmail people into donating.

This backdrop all makes for some pretty fascinating questions about the nature of morality. It raises interesting situations of evil vs. good that must engage in necessary evil. In short, the concept and the story of the first book-and-a-half that I've read thus far have been great.

But the writing is dreadful. The characters aren't very well-drawn, the dialogue creaks, and the pacing is pretty rotten. You have to slog through 50 pages or more sometimes to get to an interesting event.

And therein sits my frustration. When I get to one of those one-in-50-pages events, it's fascinating. I get stoked, and want to keep reading. And then I have to trudge through the bog that is the next several chapters. I lose interest. I'll go days without reading a single page.

So it is that, while I haven't quite been able to make myself quit reading these books, I've finished nothing else for several months now. I tried looking for a synopsis of the books online, thinking maybe I could get the story (which I like) without having to put up with the rest of the writing (which I don't), but I came up empty.

Has anybody else read these books? Want to fill me in, or compare your experience to mine? Or can anybody find the synopsis that eluded me?

Or, failing all that, can anyone think of the "magic thing" to say to snap me out of reading this so I can move on to something else?

Monday, December 11, 2006

May I Take Your Order?

Haul yourself down to the Heart Attack Grill in Arizona, and "treat" yourself to a Quadruple Bypass Burger. Stand up and salute (or rather, lay down and gasp) at what makes America great (or rather, fat).

Sunday, December 10, 2006

The Amazing Pool

If you've watched The Amazing Race this season, then you've had to hear about how Tyler and James kicked a drug addiction at least every other week for 13 solid weeks. Still, they've been one of the more likeable teams this season. And tonight, I found them particularly likeable, because they won me some money.

I took part in a pool for The Amazing Race this season. Everyone participating bought in before the first episode aired, drawing a random number from a hat. Each of us was then assigned a team by that number, based on the order the Race teams were introduced in the first episode. (Incidentally, this was the same order they were all shown in the opening credits all season long.)

Well, I drew lucky #10, which meant my fortunes were tied to those of the ex-druggie models all season. I didn't win as much money as they did, of course. But hey, a win's a win.

Other people in our pool were not so fortunate, in more ways than one. I'm not just talking about the people who didn't win the pool -- there were people along the way really torn about the teams they'd drawn. I mean sure, you want to win the pool... but if the cost is cheering for Lyn and Karlyn or Rob and Kimberly to win? Yikes. It added an interesting aspect to watching this installment of the Race, that's for sure.

Most everyone involved in our pool seemed to enjoy it, win or lose, so I expect we'll be running it again when the "All Stars" version of The Amazing Race starts up in February.

We'll see how it works out for me next time.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Street Signs

Hello, all! I have returned for my latest work trip, and am once again ready to inflict my "Maneuvers" upon you. I'll start with a short snippet from the Denver Airport I caught on my trip. There's a poster near the baggage claims that caught my eye:

For those of you who aren't Denver locals, E-470 is a toll road. So, this is an advertisement for a toll road. I find that, in and of itself, to be a fairly strange thing. I can't imagine seeing commercials for the New Jersey Turnpike, for example.

Secondly, this is a really weird ad for a toll road. Sure, I know the message is "drive the toll road, get where you're going faster," but I still say showing a woman in a bubble bath is just not the right way to promote a toll road.

Though, as I implied, I haven't really seen many toll road promotions before.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Deja Vu

No, not the Denzel Washington movie again. Rather, another work trip. Again, to California.

Try to contain yourself.

Anyway, once again, you can expect that Heimlich Maneuvers probably won't update until the weekend. Until then... teehee... "good night and good luck," "and that's the way it is," "here it is, your moment of Zen."

Monday, December 04, 2006

"Baby, you're the greatest."

Having learned the lesson of just how addictive VH-1's many "top 100" shows can be, TV Land has decided to throw its hat in the ring with the "100 Greatest TV Quotes and Catch Phrases." The shows don't start airing until next week (when I presume you'll get to actually see them all ranked in order), but they've published an alphabetized list of their selections now.

Shocho has opined that whenever someone compiles a list like this, they wouldn't get it perfect even if they could, because introducing imperfections gets people to talk about it. I know I certainly have some issues with this list.

First of all, I don't think that famous historical quotes that just happened to be broadcast on television belong on this sort of list. I think these shouldn't have made the cut:

"Ask not what your country can do for you..."
"Have you no sense of decency?"
"I'm not a crook..."
"One small step for man..."
"Senator, you're no Jack Kennedy."

And I'm not entirely sure that a line from a single episode of a TV series should get lumped in with the catch phrases, unless they really broke out into mainstream culture. I might make allowances for "No soup for you!" from Seinfeld's Soup Nazi, but I'm not sure Marcia Brady's "Oh, my nose!" was one of the 100 greatest things ever spoken on television. And I don't just think that's a generational thing, either -- I know the list wouldn't be right without real classic lines like "And that's the way it is", "How sweet it is!" and "You've got spunk..."

I got a big kick out of seeing the exact same line, with different emphasis, making it onto the list twice: "Hey HEY hey!" courtesy of What's Happening!!, and "Hey hey HEEY!", courtesy of Fat Albert.

I also found it interesting to see what the modern "instant classics" were in TV Land's view. "Denny Crane", "Here it is, your moment of Zen", "I'm Rick James, bitch!", and "Tell me what you don't like about yourself" all made the list, among others.

Maybe Shocho's theory is spot on: try to provoke discussion.

Did it work?

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Grab Your Number Two Pencils

I think that posting links to personality tests is pretty much the nadir of blogging. It's lazy and uncreative.

But some days, you just don't have anything else to talk about.

And sometimes, the test is really just too "up your alley" to say no to, like "What Buffy character are you?"

Though I'm a little weirded out that I got Adam (the season four Big Bad), of all people:
Like Adam, you're calm, and dispassionately work to achieve your ends.

Also, you may just have a nuclear core.

I'm not sure that's very accurate, but hey -- when are these things ever accurate?

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Unfinished Business

Last night brought a pretty good installment of Battlestar Galactica. All of the flashback material, filling in parts of the "missing year" in season two's finale, was excellent. The boxing material in the present I found more hit and miss -- pun not intended. Let's take the pieces one at a time.

The real meat of the episode was exploring the falling out between Apollo and Starbuck. This was absolutely top notch material, about as good as Galactica gets. And it felt particularly welcome to me right now: Lee has gone without a really good episode for a while (the horrible "Black Market," the basically-abandoned "fat Lee" storyline), and some of Starbuck's recent material hasn't played as strongly as it could have (her story with Leoben down on New Caprica). We found out here what happened to cause their estrangement, and it fits perfectly. We now know exactly why Kara was so reluctant to call Lee for help to save Anders' life.

The plot between Laura and Admiral Adama was just as compelling in its own way, even if it was not as important to the episode. It was great to see them let their guard down in the flashbacks, almost to the point of letting themselves actually begin a romantic relationship with one another. I think it really would make you look on the eight episodes so far this season in a different way, if you watched them again.

The flashbacks delivered lots of other fun, minor moments for the fans. A sweet little story for Tyrol and Callie. A scene showing Baltar back when he was still riding a wave of popularity as president. Colonel Tigh and his wife Ellen, long before everything went sour. Even a brief appearance by Duck, the man who became the suicide bomber in this season's opener. Really, the only thing missing was an explanation of how Starbuck and Tigh -- formerly so at odds with one another -- had come to be friends on New Caprica.

But as I said, I found the boxing material in the present a bit of a weak link at time. Sure, the episode had to have some kind of framing device to get at the flashbacks. And at times, the idea really worked. Adama's fight with Tyrol culminated in another fantastic, put-a-lump-in-your-throat speech from Edward James Olmos. And Starbuck embracing her rage by challenging Lee was fitting as well.

But the material before that? Helo boxing Lee? Huh? Why? Two people I don't even know fighting each other? Why should I care? What the hell does Hotdog have against Starbuck? (And not that Starbuck isn't butch, cause she can hang with the best of them -- but is Hotdog really such a wuss that he loses to Starbuck in about 90 seconds?) And how falsely shoehorned into this storyline was Roslin? She's got some relative that used to box or something, which doesn't really tell us anything meaningful about her character, but is a convenient excuse for why the president of the colonies attends an amateur boxing match without any sort of guard.

So I guess I'm saying this was 75% of a really great episode. The flashbacks were all great. The second half of the boxing material (from Adama's speech until the end) were great. I just was a bit unsure of the set-up at first.

Friday, December 01, 2006

The Horror, The Horror!

Your regularly scheduled Battlestar Galactica commentary will appear tomorrow. I got home just way too tired to watch it and still find energy to say anything meaningful about it afterward.

Until then, with thanks to Brad, I offer you a fan trailer for "Office Space," re-imagined as a suspense thriller. These sorts of "tonal shift fan trailers" have been making the rounds a lot lately. I still find them funny, because they underscore things about movie trailers we've all known forever:

1) You can put a trailer together to make a movie look like damn near anything. (Usually, this power is used to make a bad movie look good, but here the power is put to another use.)

2) The selection of music is key to setting the mood. Film composers have incredible power over how an audience responds to a movie (which is why the good ones have such a great reputation).

Anyway, enough flapping my keys. Here's the stuff: