Tuesday, March 30, 2010

"Healthcare Reformageddon"

Tom Tomorrow nails the absurdity. (Click on the image to see a larger version.)

Alien vs. Pooh

A new AVP. The best "versus" since Bambi vs. Godzilla.

"'Lost' Series Finale To Make a Killing"

TMZ has the story.

Dreaming "Zombieland"

Finally saw the enjoyable Zombieland yesterday.

Last night I basically dreamed it--all night long.

I have no imagination.

Quote of the Day (3/30/10) (Books Week)

The books which seal off the long perspective, which sever us from our losses, which represent the world of potency as a world of act, these are the books which, when the drug wears off, go on the dump with the other empty bottles. Those that continue to interest us move through time to an end, an end which we must sense even if we cannot know it; they live in change, until, which is never, as and is are one.
--Frank Kermode, The Sense of an Ending

Monday, March 29, 2010

"LOST" Opening Credits "Buffy" Style

Tip of the Hat to Rhonda Wilcox.

The Dude Abides

"The Rage Is Not About Health Care"

Frank Rich's column yesterday in The New York Times is well worth a read.

Quote of the Day (3/29/10) (Books Week)

Of all the ways of acquiring books, writing them oneself is regarded as the most praiseworthy method. At this point many of you will remember with pleasure the large library which Jean-Paul's poor little schoolmaster Wurtz gradually acquired by writing, himself, all the works whose titles interested him in bookfair catalogues; after all, he could not afford to buy them. Writers are really people who write books not because they are poor, but because they are dissatisfied with the books which they could buy but did not like.
--Walter Benjamin, "Unpacking My Library"

Sunday, March 28, 2010

"Ab Aeterno"--the TVGasm Recap

It's up.

I especially liked this rendering of Richard and Isabella's first conversation:

Richard's got this plan to get the doctor, and since 19th century Canary Island healthcare is so much like modern America's, he's going to be bringing his whole life savings to pay for one freaking visit.

Isabella: Our life savings will only cover the co-pay! Here, take my cross. It should cover like 4 days worth of antibiotics.
Richard: I'll be back in two shakes of a puppy's tail, my dear. Don't you go dying on me, aight?
Isabella: We will always be together no matter what!
Richard: Live together, die alone!
Isabella: You will see me in the next life, if not this one!
Richard: I'll see ya in another life, brothah!
Isabella: WAAAAAAALT!!!!!!1!

Sacrilege on NPR

On Wait, Wait, talking about the interesting study that showed that the amount of food on Last Supper paintings over the centuries has increased by almost 70%, made two sacrilegious, but hilarious remarks.

Many churches are going to the double-stuffed communion wafer.

Regarding Jesus' likely increase in weight as the result of more food:

Judas was heard to say 'We're going to need a bigger cross.'

Quote of the Day (3/28/10) (Books Week)

Why does it make us uneasy to know that the map is within the map and the thousand and one nights are within the book of A Thousand and One Nights? Why does it disquiet us to know that Don Quixote is a reader of the Quixote, and Hamlet is a spectator of Hamlet? I believe I have found the answer: those inversions suggest that if the characters in a story can be readers or spectators, then we, their readers or spectators, can be fictitious. In 1833 Carlyle observed that universal history is an infinite sacred book that all men write and read and try to understand, and in which they too are written.
--Jorge Luis Borges, "Partial Enchantments of the Quixote"

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Bill Maher Tries to Give the Dems Some Backbone

Maher can get on my nerves sometimes, but this New Rule from last night's Real Time is a profane--inspired by Tiger Woods' sexting--masterpiece:

New Rule: You can't use the statement "there will be no cooperation for the rest of the year" as a threat if there was no cooperation in the first half of the year. Here's a word the president should take out of his teleprompter: bipartisanship. People only care about that in theory, not in practice. The best thing that's happened this year is when President Obama finally realized this and said, "Kiss my black ass, we're going it alone, George W. Bush style."

Two months ago, conservative Fred Barnes wrote, "The health care bill is dead with not the slightest prospect of resurrection." Well, if it's dead, you just got your ass kicked by a zombie named Nancy Pelosi. Seriously, the last time a Democrat showed balls like that John Edwards' girlfriend was filming it. Make all the botox jokes and she-shops-too-much jokes you want, but this is the biggest political victory a woman has ever achieved in America. Yes, Nancy Pelosi likes nice clothes. So does Sarah Palin. The difference is Nancy Pelosi pays for hers.

But even before the Democrats got to take a single victory lap they were already being warned not to get used to the feeling, and not to get drunk with power. I disagree. All you Democrats: do a shot, and then do another. Get drunk on this feeling of not backing down and doing what you came to Washington to do.

Democrats should not listen to the people who are now saying they shouldn't attempt anything else big for a while because health care was such a bruising battle. Wrong -- because I learned something watching the lying bullies of the Right lose this one: when they're losing, they squeal like a pig. They kept saying things like, the bill was being "shoved down our throats" or the Democrats were "ramming it through." The bill was so big they couldn't take it all at once!

And I realized listening to this rhetoric that it reminded me of something: Tiger Woods' text messages to his mistress that were made public last week, where he said, and I quote, "I want to treat you rough, throw you around, spank and slap you and make you sore. I want to hold you down and choke you while I fuck that ass that I own. Then I'm going to tell you to shut the fuck up while I slap your face and pull your hair for making noise." Unquote.

And this, I believe, perfectly represents the attitude Democrats should now have in their dealings with the Republican Party: "Shut the fuck up while I slap your face for making noise -- now pass a cap-and-trade law, you stupid bitch, and repeat after me: 'global warming is real!'"

The Democrats need to push the rest of their agenda while their boot is on the neck of the greedy, poisonous old reptile. Who cares if a cap-and-trade bill isn't popular, neither was health care. Your poll numbers may have descended a bit, but so did your testicles.

So don't stop: we need to regulate the banks, we need to overhaul immigration, we need to end corporate welfare including at the Pentagon, we need to bring troops home from... everywhere, we need to end the drug war, and we need to put terrorists and other human rights violators on trial in civilian courts, starting with Dick Cheney.

Democrats in America were put on earth to do one thing: drag the ignorant hillbilly half of this country into the next century, which in their case is the 19th -- and by passing health care, the Democrats saved their brand. A few months ago, Sarah Palin mockingly asked them, "How's that hopey-changey thing working out for ya?" Great, actually. Thanks for asking. And how's that whole Hooked on Phonics thing working out for you?

Another Republican Idiot

The other day I went to look at their platform for the Democratic Party for our nation. I couldn't understand any of it. I don't speak any French.

The much-talked-about-for President former Minn. Gov Tim Pawlenty. He must think his audience to be woefully ignorant.

Quote of the Day (3/27/10) (Books Week)

One man is as good as another until he has written a book.
--Benjamin Jowett

Friday, March 26, 2010

Juliet Landau

For those who don't think Facebook is cool: I just became friends with Drusilla!

From Andy Borowitz . . .

Elsewhere, Sarah Palin campaigned for John McCain today in a bid to shore up his support among morons.

"Put Down Your Pitchforks, People"

A moving piece from David Frum's wife.

Heard on "Supernatural"

She was the love of my life. How many times do I have to kill her?
--Bobby on his dead, cremated, now zombie wife in "Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid"

Not many shows where these words would even make sense, let alone be terribly moving.


I see that Onion TV Club's Todd VanDerWerff gave last night's episode of FlashForward a "D."

That was kind. It was pretty much unwatchable. What a disappointment this series has become.

Seinfeld After "Seinfeld"

Nicole LaPorte (in The Daily Beast looks at Jerry Seinfeld's legacy in the wake of The Marriage Ref.

"LOST" vs. Saul Bass

Lost vs. Saul Bass from Hexagonall on Vimeo.

In case you don't know who Saul Bass is go here.

Brilliantly clever, but once again allow me to point out that LOST can not be credited, as this video does and books like BenBella's Getting Lost: Survival, Baggage and Starting Over in J. J. Abrams’ Lost do, to J. J. Abrams, who was there at the beginning and then took his leave. Every serious viewer of the series knows this.

Tip of the hat to Tyler Hall

Quote of the Day (3/26/10) (Books Week)

As I take up my pen I feel myself so full, so equal to my subject, and see my book so clearly before me in embryo, I would almost like to try to say it all in a single word.
--G. C. Lichtenberg

Thursday, March 25, 2010

"Fesh Air"/"South Park"

Terry Gross talks to Trey Parker and Matt Stone.

"LOST" in the Garden

Screen capture from "Ab Aeterno"

"The End"

So now we know the title of the final episode of LOST--the series finale:

The End

Quote of the Day (3/25/10) (Books Week)

I perceived that to express those impressions, to write that essential book, which is the only true one, a great writer does not, in the current meaning of the word, invent it, but, since it exists already in each one of us, interprets it. The duty and the task of a writer are those of an interpreter.
--Marcel Proust

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

British Conservatism

This is from David Cameron, likely successor to Blair and Brown. Can you imagine a Republican leader saying this?

No-one should be in any doubt that the Conservative party abhors homophobia, that we support equal rights, that we support civil partnerships, that we think that part of being a strong central right party in Britain today – one of the bedrock issues is being in favor of proper equality for people whether they are straight or gay, or black or white, or men or women, or whether they live in the town or the countryside or whatever God they worship - important points.

Tip of the hat to Andrew Sullivan

Jeff Jensen, Madeline L'Engle, "LOST"

OMG. What if he's right?

In Madeleine L'Engle's A Wrinkle In Time, there's a young boy — supernaturally bright and powerful — who falls prey to an evil, disembodied mind known as IT. He turns out okay, and lives to save the day in other books. But in a subsequent series of books that take place many years after the events of A Wrinkle In Time and its sequels, we learn that this protagonist has gone mysteriously missing, allegedly on a secret mission. He never again appeared in L'Engle's books. This young man's shares his first name with three different characters on Lost: Charles. (Think: Charlie, Charles Widmore, and Charles, the son of Desmond and Penelope.) But L'Engle's Charles preferred to be called by the combination of his first and middle name: Charles Wallace. Wallace: the name at No. 108 on the dial in Jacob's Lighthouse. Now, last week, Charlotte Lewis made a return appearance in the show. Charlotte's father was named David Lewis. David Lewis is a famous philosopher who championed a theory of alternate/possible realities known as modal realities. Lewis' theories were pretty radical. He argued that even fictional fantasy worlds like Lost could exist somewhere within reality. Now, given the knowingly ironic Lost/Supernatural overlap represented by Mark Pellegrino, is it possible that ''Wallace'' is actually Charles Wallace from A Wrinkle In Time? Could he be the one that Hurley needed to bring to The Island? Is he locked up inside that room on Charles Widmore's sub? Or could he already be on The Island? Could he be... Jacob?

Nikki on "Ab Aeterno"

A wonderful read from the always insightful Ms. Stafford.

Quote of the Day (3/24/10) (Books Week)

There are books that one has for twenty years without reading them, that one always keeps at hand, that one takes along from city to city, from country to country, carefully packed, even when there is very little room, and perhaps one leafs through them while removing them from a trunk; yet one carefully refrains from reading even a complete sentence. Then, after twenty years, there comes a moment when suddenly, as though under a high compulsion, one cannot help taking in such a book from beginning to end, at one sitting: it is like a revelation. Now one knows why one made such a fuss about it. It had to be with one for a long time; it had to travel; it had to occupy space; it had to be a burden; and now it has reached the goal of its voyage, now it reveals itself, now it illuminates the twenty bygone years it mutely lived with one. It could not say so much if it had not been there mutely the whole time, and what idiot would dare to assert that the same things had always been in it.
--Elias Canetti, The Human Province

Tuesday, March 23, 2010


I gave up on 24 some time ago, but Doug Howard offers this recent update:

Had to mention this. I was watching 24 last night, and CTU has yet another terrorist mole working for them. I told my wife that they must have the worst Human Resources department in the world. They're a highly classifed govt. counter terrorist agency, and every year they get infiltrated by someone working for the other side. There's an idea for a spin-off--CTU HR.

I would definitely watch that show.

Quote of the Day (3/23/10) (Gerard Manley Hopkins Week)

Be thou then, O thou dear
Mother, my atmosphere;
My happier world, wherein
To wend and meet no sin;
Above me, round me lie
Fronting my froward eye
With sweet and scarless sky;
Stir in my ears, speak there
Of God’s love, O live air,
Of patience, penance, prayer:
World-mothering air, air wild,
Wound with thee, in thee isled,
Fold home, fast fold thy child.
--Gerard Manley Hopkins, "The Blessed Virgin Compared to the Air We Breathe"

Monday, March 22, 2010

Fessing Up

I meant to acknowledge Fess Parker's death last week.

Huge impact on me--as Davy Crockett--when I was a boy. Like many in my generation, I was a fanatic DC follower. Had the rifle, had the coonskin cap, had the buckskin clothing, had the boy crush. Was obsessed with The Alamo and its defense.

Who knew that I would end up in Tennessee--for 22 years of my life so far.

New Addy Photos

Senator Corker Is Delusional

It is so reassuring to know that one of my Senators is insane.

Teabaggers’ New Protest: “No Government Takeover of Congress”

From Andy Borowitz.

WASHINGTON (The Borowitz Report) – Just hours after the historic vote on health care reform, the Tea Party movement has taken up a new battle cry, protesting what they believe is a “government takeover of Congress.”

Thousands of self-styled Teabaggers marched on the Capitol today to make the point that, in the words of one of their number, “Voting has no place in Congress.”

“Our forefathers designed Congress to be a place where people talked and talked and never got anything done,” said Teabagger Tracy Klugian. “This whole voting thing that happened on Sunday was tantamount to a government takeover of Congress.”

He said the Teabaggers “would continue protesting until Congress stopped passing laws and got back to the business of being Congress.”

The protest march began at the Capitol and then moved to the U.S. Postal Service, where the Teabaggers protested a government takeover of mail.

The SC4 Final Poster

Fred Barnes, Prophet

What is it about these neo-cons that makes them such terrible, terrible prophets?

Fred Barnes, doing a Bill Kristol, in January:

The health care bill, ObamaCare, is dead with not the slightest prospect of resurrection.... Democrats have talked up clever strategies to pass the bill in the Senate despite Brown, but they won’t fly.... ObamaCare went into the emergency room in Massachusetts and didn’t make it out alive.

New Nathanael West Book

Laura Miller reviews it here.

"Recon" Recapped

TVGasm's usual hilarity ensues.

Quote of the Day (3/22/10) (Gerard Manley Hopkins Week)

When I consider my self being, my consciousness and feeling of myself, that taste of myself, of I and me above and in all things, which is more distinctive than the taste of ale or alum, more distinctive than the smell of walnut leaf or camphor, and is incommunicable by any means to another man (as when I was a child I use to ask myself: What must it be to be someone else?). Nothing else in nature comes near the unspeakable stress of pitch, distinctiveness, and selving, this self-being of my own. Nothing explains it or resembles it. . . . searching nature I taste self but at one tankard, that of my own being. The development, refinement, condensation of nothing, shews any sign of being able to match this to me or give me another taste of it, a taste even resembling it.
--Gerard Manley Hopkins

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Health Care Passes

1031 CST.

OMG. I thought this would never end, and although it is not quite over yet, it's going to happen.

And I hate the Republicans more than ever.

Quote of the Day (3/21/10) (Gerard Manley Hopkins Week)

O the mind, mind has mountains, cliffs of fall
Frightful, sheer, no-man fathomed. Hold them cheap
May who ne'er hung there.
--Gerard Manley Hopkins, "No Worst, There Is None. Pitched Past Pitch of Grief"

Saturday, March 20, 2010

SC4 Program

A full draft of the SC4 program is now up. Go here.

Quote of the Day (3/20/10) (Gerard Manley Hopkins Week)

As kingfishers catch fire, dragonflies draw flame;
As tumbled over rim in roundy wells
Stones ring; like each tucked string tells,
each hung bell's
Bow swung finds tongue to fling out loud its name,
Each mortal thing does one thing and the same;
Deals out that being indoors each one dwells;
Selves xxx goes itself; myself it speaks and spells,
Crying What I do is me: for that I came.
--Gerard Manley Hopkins, "As Kingfishers Catch Fire"

Friday, March 19, 2010

Heard on "Real Time"

The last Texan to pay attention to text books was Lee Harvey Oswald.
--Bill Maher, "New Ruling" the Texas School Board Textbook Revision

NBA Time Travel

The Onion has the scoop.

Quote of the Day (3/19/10) (Gerard Manley Hopkins Week)

Not, I'll not, carrion comfort, Despair, not feast on thee;
Not untwist—slack they may be—these last strands of man
In me ór, most weary, cry I can no more. I can;
Can something, hope, wish day come, not choose not to be.
--Gerard Manley Hopkins, "Carrion Comfort"

Thursday, March 18, 2010

A Michael Scottism

I know it's illegal in Pennsylvania, but it's for charity. And I consider myself a great philanderer.
--Michael Scott, "Casino Night" (The Office)

Tip of the hat to Doug Howard

The Most Interesting Man in the World (ctd.)

In the latest installment we learn:

He wouldn't be afraid to show his feminine side--if he had one.

His mother has a tatoo that reads "Son."

Heard on "The Colbert Report"

Fleischer already has years of experience representing a client who always does whatever his Dick says.
--Stephen Colbert explains why Tiger Woods' choice of former Bush administration Press Secretary Ari Fleischer as his spokesperson makes perfect sense.

To make sure he does not insult minorities, Glenn Beck broadcasts at a frequency that can only be heard by white people.

Quote of the Day (3/18/10) (Gerard Manley Hopkins Week)

And for all this, nature is never spent;
There lives the dearest freshness deep down things;
And though the last lights off the black West went
Oh, morning, at the brown brink eastward, springs --
Because the Holy Ghost over the bent
World broods with warm breast |&| with ah! bright wings.
--Gerard Manley Hopkins, "God's Grandeur"

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Quote of the Day (3/17/10) (Gerard Manley Hopkins Week)

Degged with dew, dappled with dew,
Are the groins of the braes that the brook treads through,
Wiry heathpacks, flitches of fern,
And the beadbonny ash that sits over the burn.

What would the world be, once bereft
Of wet and wildness? Let them be left,
O let them be left, wildness and wet;
Long live the weeds and the wilderness yet.
--Gerard Manley Hopkins, "Inversnaid"

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Six Degrees: "Justified"/Joss Whedon

Watching FX's terrific new Elmore Leonard-Comes-to-TV Justified ...

Produced for TV by Graham Yost. And what is the connection between Yost and Whedon?

Yost wrote the inadequate script for Speed. Whedon was called in to script doctor, rewriting almost all the dialogue, but got no writing credit.

I will let the following passage from the forthcoming Joss tell the rest of the story:

In the “In Focus” interview Whedon discusses the Writers Guild of America’s decision (despite an early poster, still in his possession, showing Whedon to be the writer) to give sole screenplay credit for Speed to Graham Yost. Whedon recalls Yost once saying to him “You would have done the same thing”—i.e., taken sole credit if it was offered. Then and now, Whedon’s disagrees, citing 1) his willingness (at John Lasseter’s request) to allow the animators writing credits on Toy Story; 2) “entire episodes of Buffy that I have written every word of that my name is not on.” Which episodes those are I simply do not know, but again and again in DVD commentaries Joss’s collaborators—Marti Noxon, Jane Espenson, David Fury, Doug Petrie, Drew Goddard, Drew Z. Greenberg, Tim Minear, Jeffrey Bell—owned up to his uncredited contributions to their episodes, their scripts.

"LOST" Spin-Offs

Buddy TV has 16 ideas.

"I Can't Believe It's Not Buddha - Raj Patel"

The "Colbert Bump" is taken to a whole new level. Colbert claims to be not just a king-maker but a deity-maker.

"LOST's" Sideways World

Here's what imfromthepast thinks:


* Ethan Goodspeed is an OBGYN in LA, having not grown up on the Island.
* Ben Linus lives with his old, sick father, Roger. Roger mentions DHARMA and the fact that they went to the Island and subsequently left.
* Alex and Danielle live in LA, not on the Island.
* In 2004 the Island is underwater and has vestiges of DHARMA on it, indicating a DHARMA presence before the sinking.


I propose that the first five seasons of LOST are in fact the “Alt” as in an altered timeline. The Flashsideways that we have been seeing depict the original, unaltered timeline.

How would that work?

Ben didn’t grow up on the Island, he and Roger left for some reason. What if they were evacuated? But not due to Jack and company trying to blow up Jughead, but because of the drilling at the Orchid setting off the Swan. The difference is because Ben was evacuated, he doesn’t grow up to turn the donkey wheel. Without the donkey wheel turning there were no time travelers. No time travelers means no Jughead.

Ergo, the Flashsideways depict the original, unaltered timeline and what we have been watching for five years has been the result of the time traveling in Season 5.

Back to Ben being evacuated. If he was evacuated then it stands to reason that Chang and Co. figured out Radzinski’s drilling was mucking everything up on their own. Why not? It’s not as if they had Sayid the Hostile and LaFleur and Juliet the Traitors-in-Their-Midst to worry about. So if they figured it out on their own they probably ordered the evacuation, but couldn’t stop the Swan from exploding because they didn’t have Jughead.

Maybe that’s why the Island sunk, because of the chain reaction set off by drilling at the Orchid.

So since the Island sank in 1977, then it wasn’t there for Danielle and her crew to wash up on, thus they made it back to civilization and Alex lives a normal life.

The Flashsideways are not depicting an alternate timeline where Jughead was detonated, it is in fact depicting the original timeline where none of the time traveling and Incident stuff in Season 5 took place and the Island sank as a result of the DHARMA Initiative drilling at the Orchid.

For some as-yet-unknown reason, Jacob and/or the Man in Black decide on a do over, (perhaps Jacob in his capacity as the Guardian of the Island) and cause the time traveling, which in a chicken-or-the-egg scenario cause the real Alternate time line, ours, to come about.

We’re the Alt.

Hurley, Richard Alpert

TVGasm's recap of "Dr. Linus" is now up.

Here's how they remember a conversation between Hurley and Alpert:

Hurley: Dude are you a Timelord?
Richard: No.
Hurley: Sooo then...are you a Cyborg?
Richard: No, I'm not a Cyborg.
Hurley: Vampire?
Richard: No, but do I dazzle you?
Hurley: Kinda. Cylon?
Richard: Frak no.
Hurley: Alien?
Richard: No, but check out "V" Tuesdays at 8 EST on ABC.

I also liked this summary of Alpert's reasons for wanting to kill himself:

Inside the Black Rock, Richard breaks out a stick of dynamite from that endless supply of sweaty TNT the ship apparently has, and he asks Jack to light the fuse.

He told Jack that at first he was afraid, he was petrified - he had spent his long ass life thinking he could never live without Jacob by his side, but lately he's spent so many nights thinking how he'd done him wrong, and he grew strong, and now he's learning how to get along.

Quote of the Day (3/16/10) (Gerard Manley Hopkins Week)

Man, how fast his firedint, ' his mark on mind, is gone!
Both are in an unfathomable, all is in an enormous dark
Drowned. O pity and indig ' nation! Manshape, that shone
Sheer off, disseveral, a star, ' death blots black out; nor mark
Is any of him at all so stark
But vastness blurs and time ' beats level. Enough! the Resurrection,
A heart's-clarion! Away grief's gasping, ' joyless days, dejection.
Across my foundering deck shone
A beacon, an eternal beam. ' Flesh fade, and mortal trash
Fall to the residuary worm; ' world's wildfire, leave but ash:
In a flash, at a trumpet crash,
I am all at once what Christ is, ' since he was what I am, and
This Jack, joke, poor potsherd, ' patch, matchwood, immortal diamond,
Is immortal diamond.
--Gerard Manley Hopkins, "That Nature is a Heraclitean Fire"

Monday, March 15, 2010

Peter Graves Goes to His Grave

My friend Marc Dolan was moved by the news of Mission Impossible' Peter Graves's passing to write on Facebook:

Graves who (along with Robert Wagner, George Peppard, Robert Vaughn etc.) probably had more influence on the formation of my consciousness during childhood than was healthy for a future intellectual.

This reminded me of a moment during my first fall at the University of Florida when a fellow PhD student, Dick Bolling, bemoaned, sitting over his typewriter,

Everyday I write more and more like Lorne Greene.

Bob Barker

Last week I taught (again) Updike's "A & P" (1960), and I offered as proof of Sammy's (the narrator's) sexism the following comment:

You never know for sure how girls' minds work (do you really think it's a mind in there or just a little buzz like a bee in a glassjar?).

Watching this montage of Bob Barker at his most disgusting, we are reminded that television hosts, even legendary ones, were once equally sexist.

Aztec Pilots

What people don’t understand about killing the pilot is that, since the time of the Aztecs, the first pilot has always been killed, the heart ripped out of it, and stored in a volcano.—Tim Minear, Dollhouse Consulting Producer, Writer, and Director, from “The Making of” featurette

SC4 Program

The program for the fourth Slayage Conference on the Whedonverses is almost ready and should be posted this week.

Quote of the Day (3/15/10) (Oscar Wilde Week)

The one charm about marriage is that it makes a life of deception absolutely necessary for both parties
--Oscar Wilde

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Walt Whitman's Commandments

This is what you shall do: Love the earth and sun and the animals, despise riches, give alms to every one that asks, stand up for the stupid and crazy, devote your income and labor to others, hate tyrants, argue not concerning God, have patience and indulgence toward the people, take off your hat to nothing known or unknown or to any man or number of men, go freely with powerful uneducated persons and with the young and with the mothers of families, read these leaves in the open air every season of every year of your life, re-examine all you have been told at school or church or in any book, dismiss whatever insults your own soul; and your very flesh shall be a great poem and have the richest fluency not only in its words but in the silent lines of its lips and face and between the lashes of your eyes and in every motion and joint of your body.

This is from the "Preface" to Leaves of Grass

Tip of the hat to Andrew Sullivan.

According to Dwight Schrute . . .

The eyes are the testicles of the face.
--Dwight Schrute (The Office), on the parts of the body most vulnernable to attack

Quote of the Day (3/14/10) (Oscar Wilde Week)

The books that the world calls immoral are books that show the world its own shame.
--Oscar Wilde

Saturday, March 13, 2010


Just saw this terrific WWII film, directed by Robert Aldrich, and starring Jack Palance, Lee Marvin, Buddy Ebsen, and Eddie Albert.

Before this, I had only known Palance as a villain, from Shane to Batman, but he is excellent here as the heroic Lieutenant Costa.

"Gilmore Girls"/"My So Called Life"/"Castle"

Keiko Arena (Gilmore Girls' Lane Kim) meets My So-Called Life's Devon Gummersall (Brian Krakow) in this week's Castle.

Why I Like "Castle"

The always hilarious Nathan Fillion reacts (in "The Mistress Always Spanks Twice") to the realization that Kate Beckett knows just a bit too much about S & M.

"Why don't honest journalists take on Roger Ailes and Fox News?"

A terrific piece by former NY Times editor Howell Raines on Roger Ailes, FOX News, and the failure of contemporary journalism.

Quote of the Day (3/13/10) (Oscar Wilde Week)

It is through art, and through art only, that we can realise our perfection.
--OScar Wilde

Friday, March 12, 2010


Colbert revealed this week who it was that former congressman Massa had been tickling. And he had, Colbert insisted, "asked for it."

Conan on Tour

When I heard that Coco was going on tour, I was hopeful he might come to Nashville. Alas, he's doing Bonaroo instead:

June 11: Manchester, Tenn.
Bonaroo Music Festival

Separated at Birth

Colbert compares the Turd Blossom (Karl Rove) to a ham with glasses.

Quote of the Day (3/12/10) (Oscar Wilde Week)

All that I desire to point out is the general principle that life imitates art far more than art imitates life.
--Oscar Wilde

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

A "Prairie Home Companion" Joke

Did you hear about the paranoid dyslexic?

She thought she was following someone.

Jon Stewart vs. Marc Thiessen

Jon vanquishes the loathsome Marc Thiessen.

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Palin 2012

Via Sullivan, via Dvorak.

An Unfortunate Name

Hat tip to Andrew Sullivan.

Two New SomeECards I Would Like to Use

Just waiting for the right occasion:


A useful new Urban Dictionary word:

Quote of the Day (3/10/10) (Oscar Wilde Week)

A man can't be too careful in the choice of his enemies.
--Oscar Wilde

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

"Dr. Linus"

Tonight's episode of LOST was directed by . . . Mario von Peebles?

Smokezilla Passes Overhead

"Chuck vs. The Beard"

I have not been into this season's Chuck as I was the first two.

Until this week's episode, which I finally watched on Hulu. Morgan now knows Chuck's secret.

Chuck himself (Zachary Levi) directed this episode.

Good recap from Ken Tucker here.

Poster for Slayage Conference on the Whedonverses 4

First look (designed by Flagler University student Elaine Damasco). Only a first draft.

From Stuttgart

That's me, giving my keynote in Stuttgart. Behind me a shot from "ABQ" (Breaking Bad (2.13). Take note that both I and the air-traffic controller are wearing headsets.

Thanks to Kim Akass for the photo.

Quote of the Day (3/9/10) (Oscar Wilde Week)

A cynic is a man who knows the price of everything but the value of nothing.
--Oscar Wilde

Monday, March 08, 2010


My daughter Rachel reminds me that "Arzt" means "doctor" in German, so Doc Arzt, who will appear in tomorrow night's LOST, actually means "Doc Doctor."

She suggests, too, because she is my daughter, that he may be related to Catch-22's "Major Major."

Heller's novel, of course, suggested the title of a Season Four episode.

TVGasm's "Sundown" Recap

TVGasm's "Sundown Recap" is up. My favorite observation:

And as is Lost's way, instead of just answering the damn question, Dogen tells Sayid this whole big story about how he came to the island! In a nutshell, Dogen was a banker in Japan 15 years ago, got drunk, picked his kid up from baseball practice, and then got him killed in a bad accident. So Jacob showed up and said he'd bring this kid back to life if Dogen went to the island and never left again!

(This may or may not have been a message to all the Lost cast members who have gotten a DUI!)

My Favorite Image from The Oscars

Quote of the Day (3/8/10) (La Rochefoucauld Week)

We should often feel ashamed of our best actions if the world could see all the motives which produced them.
--La Rochefoucauld

Saturday, March 06, 2010

The Sacred Mushroom and the Coroner

When I was still living at home and attending, for my first two years of college, Venango Campus of Clarion State College (1967-69), I met, through my favorite professor John Reinhardt, the Venango County coroner. (I wish I could remember his name.)

He was a very, very learned Jewish MD who could read several ancient languages including, if memory serves, Aramaic, Greek, Latin, and Hebrew, and was an amateur biblical scholar. I was astonished to learn that he had written a treatise--at one time I owned a carbon copy of the manuscript--arguing that the "Christ" was actually a name given by an hallucinogenic mushroom-taking religious cult to the visionary guidance they received from their psychedelic experiences. Already well on my way to becoming a fallen catholic, I was, of course, fascinated.

And I was especially fascinated when, in 1970, world-famous philologist and Dead Sea Scrolls scholar John Marcus Allegro (pictured) published an ultra-controversial book making essentially the same argument.

Quote of the Day (3/6/10) (La Rochefoucauld Week)

Language tethers us to the world; without it we spin like atoms.
--La Rochefoucauld

Friday, March 05, 2010

The Republicans Play the Rapture Card

The Daily Show is almost always fun, but occasionally a segment immediately strikes me as a masterpiece. This is definitely one. Put it in the vault.

Quote of the Day (3/5/10) (La Rochefoucauld Week)

Hypocrisy is the homage which vice renders to virtue.
--La Rochefoucauld