Friday, April 30, 2010

"Slayage" 8.1


The new issue of Slayage, 8.1, now subtitled "The Journal of The Whedon Studies Association," is now available.

Mark Sheppard


With Mark Sheppard's return to Supernatural as the demon Crowley in last night's "The Devil You Know," I was reminded again of what a superb character actor he is, especially in fantasy and science fiction:

--in Chuck as the Ring Director
--in Leverage as Jim Sterling
--in Dollhouse as Tanaka
--in Battlestar Galactica as Romo Lampkin
--in Burn Notice as Tom Prescott
--in 24 as Ivan Erwich
--in Firefly as Badger (my introduction to Sheppard)

Whatever the episode, whatever the show, he usually steals every scene.

A Polka Dot Cow

Lots of reasons to love Fringe's drug-inspired (the whole diegetic diversion is the result of Walter's bong-hitting on his eponymous drug mixture) "Brown Betty."

But Walter's beloved cow Jean going polka--who wouldn't love that?

Bigotgate

The Daily Show's hilarious report on Gordon Brown's open mic mistake.

My favorite moment (6:55 in) when, thanks to Daily Show Soul-o-Vision, we get to watch "Brown's political career leave his body."

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Clustershag to 10 Downing
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Quote of the Day (4/30/10) (Annie Dillard Week)

If there is such a place as "on top," if there is a sensation of riding a life span's crest, it does not last ten or twenty years. On the contrary, the crest is so small that I, for one, missed it altogether.

You are young, you are on your way up, when you cannot imagine how you will save yourself from death by boredom until dinner, until bed, until the next day arrives to be outwaited, and then, slow slap, the next. . . . Life by its mere appalling length is a feat of endurance for which you haven't the strength.

But momentum propels you over the crest. Imperceptibly, you start down. When do the days start to blur and then, breaking your heart, the seasons? The cards click faster in the spokes; you pitch forward. You roll headlong, out of control. The blur of the cards makes one long sound like a bomb's whine, the whine of many bombs, and you know your course is fatal. (Teaching a Stone to Talk)

Thursday, April 29, 2010

"Jonah Hex"

Could be good--could be very good.

"How I Met Your Motherboard"


This website--a respository for our earliest computer memories--is a brilliant idea.

But the title--the title is beyond brilliant.

According to Tom Waits


I'd rather have a bottle in front of me than a frontal lobotomy.

"Fringe" the Musical

Tonight is "Brown Betty." Will it go down as as memorable as Buffy's masterful "Once More with Feeling"?


The previews suggest it may be more like The Singing Detective.

"A Serious Man"


The film for last night's final meeting of my Coen Brothers' course was A Serious Man, and we may have saved the best for last.

On this, my second viewing, Serious became one of my favorite Coen films--right up there with Miller's, Man Who Wasn't, and No Country.

Andrew O'Hehir in Salon, nails it:

They're known for creating mannered, sardonic fictional worlds shaped as much (or more) by film history as by real life. But in recapturing the vanished realm where they grew up -- a self-enclosed world of Midwestern Jewish suburbia -- the Coens have crafted perhaps their most original work, one that presents itself, early on, as middleweight middle-American domestic comedy before revealing a strange and secret power that's closer to magic or myth.

Quote of the Day (4/29/10) (Annie Dillard Week)

A ripple of wind comes down from the woods and across the clearing toward us. We see a wave of shadow and gloss where the short grass bends and the cottage eaves tremble. It hits us in the back. It is a single gust, a sport, a rogue breeze out of the north, as if some reckless, impatient wind has bumped the north door open on its hinges and let out this acre of sent familiar and forgotten, this cool scent of tundra, and of November. Fall! Who authorized this intrusion? Stop or I’ll shoot. It is an entirely misplaced air—fall, that I have utterly forgotten, that could be here again, another fall, and here it is only July. I though I was younger and would have more time. The gust crosses the river and blackens the water where it passes, like a finger closing slats. (Teaching a Stone to Talk)

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Ken Auletta Talks E-books with "Fresh Air"


An interesting conversation indeed.

Werner and Waldo

Werner Herzog reads Where's Waldo?

You heard me.

"Thing In Cave Not Finished With Eric Yet"

This is one of my all-time favorite Onion titles.

"The Greatest Pun of All Time . . ."

. . . Stephen Colbert declaimed it last night, in a story about giving sheep crystal meth in order to test tasers (???), and it was "baaad."



And the celebration that followed was the most-delightfully-over-the-top spectacle on TV this year.


The Colbert ReportMon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
Current Events - Taser-Armed Robots & Meth Sheep
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Heard on "The Colbert Report"

Stephen Hawking warns against contact with aliens. Sounds like someone's running for governor of Arizona.

Darlton's Lair

A tantalizing photo.

Quote of the Day (4/28/10) (Annie Dillard Week)

Creation itself was the fall, a burst into the thorny beauty of the real” (Pilgrim at Tinker Creek).

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Heard on "The Colbert Report"

Maybe we shouldn't educate women. It worked great for Sarah Palin.
--Stephen considers whether the Taliban might be right

Colbert and Friends

Stephen takes on the paying-for-healthcare-with-chickens controversy.

The Colbert ReportMon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
Indecision 2010 Midterm Elections - Sue Lowden
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Quote of the Day (4/27/10) (Annie Dillard Week)

I dreamed that I floated at will in the great Ether, and I saw this world floating also not far off but diminished to the size of an apple. Then an angel took it in his hand and brought it to me and said, “This must thought eat.’ And I ate the world.” (Pilgrim at Tinker Creek)

Monday, April 26, 2010

Addy Smiles

Sad But True

Bart Responds to Threats Against "South Park"

Harnessing Old People

I found Jon Stewart's interview with the anti-Malthus/anti-Population Bomb Fred Pearce (embedded below) very interesting and this quote--from a Salon interview with Pearce highly important.

We have to harness older people as a resource. Their wisdom and knowledge is a huge resource, whether it is middle-class professionals becoming consultants when they retire, or looking after grandchildren so their own children can work. They are the social glue running things. All of this needs to be harnessed. Yes, the old will have to work longer. Why not? We will need to work harder on medical technology to ensure that the old stay fitter longer. Much of the reproductive revolution happened by keeping young kids from dying. Now we need another revolution to keep the old fitter for longer.


The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Fred Pearce
www.thedailyshow.com
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Quote of the Day (4/26/10) (Annie Dillard Week)

Flung is too harsh a word for the rush of the world. Blown is more like it, but blown by a generous, unending breath. That breath never ceases to kindle, exuberant, abandoned; frayed splinters in every direction and burgeon into flame. (Pilgrim at Tinker Creek

Sunday, April 25, 2010

"Double Jeopardy"?

In "Fun Run" (The Office [4.1]), Michael Scott
accidentally hits Meredith with his car. In the aftermath:

Ryan Howard: Did this happen on company property?
Michael Scott: Yes, it was on company property, with company
property. So, double jeopardy, we're fine.
Ryan: I don't ... I don't think you understand how jeopardy works.
Michael: Oh, right. I'm sorry: What is, "We're fine?"


Tip of the Hat to Douglas Howard

Quote of the Day (4/25/10) (Annie Dillard Week)

I was standing lost, sunk, my hands in my pockets, gazing toward Tinker Mountain. . . . All at once I saw what looked like a Martian spaceship whirling towards me in the air. It flashed borrowed light like a propeller. Its forward motion greatly outran its fall. as I watched, transfixed, it rose, just before it would have touched a thistle, and hovered pirouetting in one spot, then twirled on and finally came to rest. I found it one spot, then twirled on and finally came to rest. I found it in the grass; it was a maple key, a single winged seed from a pair. Hullo. . . . O maple key, I thought, I must confess I thought, O welcome, cheers. . . . And now when I sway to a fitful wind, alone and listing, I will think, maple key. When I see a photograph of earth from space, he planet so painterly and hung, I will think, maple key. When I shakes your hand or meet your eyes I will think, two maple keys. if am a maple key falling, at least I can twirl. (Pilgrim at Tinker Creek)

Saturday, April 24, 2010

"NY Times" Takes a Look at "The Daily Show's" FOX News Reporting

A thoughtful piece on The Daily Show as a media watchdog.

Below is one such pieces, a brilliant rejoinder to the sickening Bernie Goldberg.

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Bernie Goldberg Fires Back
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Heard on "Real Time"

The problem with the tea party movement, besides their almost universal rejection of dentistry, is that they want money for nothing and chicks for free. They want a deregulated free market and their jobs to stay here in the US; they want guaranteed health coverage regardless of preexisting conditions without a big government mandate; they want to call themselves teabaggers and people to keep a straight face. And of course they want big tax cuts along with deficit reduction. I can't even think of a suitable analogy for that disconnect--it's like thinking getting a handjob will clean your garage.
--Bill Maher, "New Rules"

Quote of the Day (4/24/10) (Annie Dillard Week)

“We are most deeply asleep at the switch when we fancy we control any switches at all. We sleep to time’s hurdy-gurdy; we wake, if we ever wake, to the silence of God. And then we wake to the deep shores of light uncreated, then when the dazzling dark breaks over the far slopes of time, when it’s time to toss things, like our reason, and our will; then it’s time to break our necks for home. (Holy the Firm)

Friday, April 23, 2010

Chicken Care

This was inevitable, I suppose, and now it's here.



As a new grandfather, I checked out the cost of "birth-normal": 2166 chickens.

Collected Works

I have been working to assemble all my "collected works" (yes, I am that pretentious--and sixty years old).

Not counting the books I have written with Lynnette Porter (Unlocking the Meaning of Lost, Lost's Buried Treasures, Saving the World: A Guide to Heroes, Finding Battlestar Galactica) or Joss, but counting all my essays and reviews in periodicals, essays in books, and some unpublished stuff, these amount (so far) to 1,355 pages and 513,997 words.

The Dude

Made out of videotape.

"Hammer of the Gods"

Zach Handlen's splendid Onion TV Club characterization of last night's god-filled Supernatural:

It's sort of like Neil Gaiman by way of Tobe Hooper.

Quote of the Day (4/23/10) (Annie Dillard Week)

[Language] is like a beam of light on Venus. There, on Venus, heavy atmospheric gravity bends light around the entire circumference of the planet, enabling a man, in theory, to see the back of his own head. Now, the object of every artist's vision is, in one sense, the back of his own head. But the writer, unlike the painter, the sculptor, or composer, cannot form his idea of order directly in his materials; for as soon as he writes the least noun, the whole world starts pouring back onto his page. So fiction, using language like a beam of Venusian light to see the back of its own head—to talk about its own art—makes a very wide tautological loop. It goes all around the world of language's referents before coming back to its own surface. (Living by Fiction)

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Our Girl, Her Girl (Sarah and Addy)

Addy in a Bumbo Seat

Stewart Schools Oliver on Political Debates

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
United Kingdom General Election
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Silent Spring, Early Spring

The prospect of a "silent spring," brought poetically to our attention by Sara Teasdale--

There will come soft rain and the smell of the ground,
And swallows circling with their shimmering sound;

And frogs in the pools singing at night,
And wild plum-trees in tremulous white;

Robins will wear their feathery fire
Whistling their whims on a low fence-wire;

And not one will know of the war, not one
Will care at last when it is done.

Not one would mind, neither bird nor tree
If mankind perished utterly;

And Spring herself, when she woke at dawn,
Would scarcely know that we were gone.



--and then ecologically, emphatically by Rachel Carson, was instrumental to the new Earth-consciousness of my generation.

Now, it seems, it may not be a silent spring that we need to worry about. An increasingly early spring may well be devastating.

Quote of the Day (4/22/10) (Annie Dillard Week)

Thought itself is impossible, for subject can have no guaranteed connection with object, nor any object with God. Knowledgeable is impossible. We are precisely nowhere, sinking on imaginary seas themselves adrift. Then we reel out love’s long line toward a God less lovable than a grasshead, who treats us less well than we treat our lawns. (Pilgrim at Tinker Creek)

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Congrats to Chloe!


My friend Marc Dolan reports on FB:

I'd like to congratulate Ms. Chloe O'Brian on her recent promotion to Director of CTU-New York. I'm aware how many petty bureaucrats, moles, and just plain loose cannons there are in your agency, and I feel much better as a Brooklynite knowing that the safety of New York is in your able hands.


I gave up on 24 but am glad to hear about Chloe's promotion.

Directing "LOST" (or Whatever Became of Stephen Williams?)

Television series directors are a pretty much anonymous lot, seldom even discussed in the now-emergent discussion of small screen auteurism.

From the beginning, LOST's go-to helmer has, of course, been Jack Bender, who was the first to direct an episode after the pilot (which was directed by Jaybrams), and has done 36 episodes, including every season-ender (and all but one season premiere).

But a prominent number 2 in the director pecking order has been, since Season One, Stephen Williams (26 episodes), who surprisingly has not directed a single episode of Season Six. Wonder why that is? Instead, the series has had to use first-time (on Lost) directors like Mario Van Peebles and Stephen Semel and brought back (for the first time since "Numbers" [1.18]) prolific TV director Daniel Attias.

Quote of the Day (4/21/10) (Annie Dillard Week)

Yesterday I watched a curious nightfall. The cloud ceiling took on a warm tone, deepened, and departed as if drawn on a leash, I could no longer see the fat snow flying against the sky; I could see it only as it fell before dark objects. Any object at a distance—like the dead, ivy-covered walnut I see from the bay window—looked like a black-and-white frontispiece sheet through the sheet of white time. It was like dying, this watching the world recede into deeper and deeper blues while the snow piled; silence swelled and extended, distance dissolved, and soon only concentration at the largest shadows let me make out the movement of falling snow, and that too failed. . . . It was like dying growing dimmer and deeper and deeper and then going out. (Pilgrim at Tinker Creek)

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Mayor Wilkins

Wonderful to see Harry Groener--the wonderfully evil Mayor of Sunnydale in BtVS Season Three, in an hilarious bit part as Ted's mother's fiancee Clint on this week's How I Met. (He had played the role in a 2006 episode as well.)

Heard on "The Colbert Report"

Risky investments are like risky sex. It's more exciting. If you make the banks wear a condom you won't be able to feel it when they're fucking us over.

Fear Itself (TVGasm Recaps "Everybody Loves Hurley")


I really liked this imagined exchange between the Locke-ness Monster and Desmond in TVGasm's latest recap:

Mocke: Why aren't you afraid of me?
Desmond: I've come to understand that there's nothing to fear, but fear itself.
Mocke: I hate to break this to you, but I AM FEAR ITSELF.

Quote of the Day (4/20/10) (Annie Dillard Week)

No one has ever seen fish.
Fish secrete highly reflective compounds
That act as a skin of mirror.
It is thought the fishes’ sides
are painted in landscapes,
mountainous. (Tickets for a Prayer Wheel)

Monday, April 19, 2010

Time-Lapse Tokyo

Get up and go from Stefan Werc on Vimeo.

Where Our Words Come From

A fascinating chart from Manisha Verma (via Andrew Sullivan).

Addy at Her Mom's Wedding Shower



Sarah's caption on her blog:
And Addy, the star of the event and of every day in our lives. She later threw up all over this outfit.

Eyjafjallajökull


This is what the unpronounceable volcano in Iceland used to look like before its eruption put an end to European air travel.

Later: According to Colbert, "Eyjafjallajökull" is Icelandic for "you'll be sleeping in the airport."

Tip of the Hat to Matt Yglesias.

Plush Smokey

On a recent Lost Podcast, a fan inquired about why there had not been a plush Smokey. It would be so cute!

After all, it is possible to buy a Cloverfield monster.

Who would win in a fight between them? I'd pay to see that movie (which would have to be better than Freddy v Jason and Alien v. Predator).

"LOST" Nuptials

On the April 15th Official LOST Audio Podcast (available here)--at the 14:07 mark, Darlton field a request for advice from a viewer whose friends inadvertently scheduled their wedding to conflict with the series finale.

They are not alone. My daughter Sarah and Jason Porterfield, both huge LOST fans, are also to be wed that day, May 23rd.

"The Case Against John McCain"

Bill Wyman, who contributed to my Seinfeld book, pounds the nail in the coffin of the man who could have been POTUS.

Our Vampires, Ourselves


Latest proof that Nina Auerbach was right (tip of the hat to Andrew Sullivan):

Our vegetarian vampires, I think, are afflicted with the same crises of conscience that we are as first-world twenty-first century humans. We eat too much, we shop too much, we use too much fuel, water, land; we mistreat the animals on which we depend for food and the other peoples whose labor produces for us the cheap abundant goods we have all grown so used to. The vampire’s insatiable hunger for blood mirrors our insatiable hungers for food, wealth, property, and possessions. Contemporary vampire fiction mirrors our collective anxiety about our need for self-discipline and a return to a more humane approach to our fellow beings: Now, the vampire, the most appetitive and unrepentantly murderous of our culture’s mythic archetypes, restrains himself in our popular fiction. He has become a “vegetarian” of sorts, the vampire version of a Whole Foods shopper, who prefers humanely raised meat, free range eggs, sustainably farmed produce. From the shimmering pâleur of the vampire radiates something new and hardly otherworldly: an aura of white liberal guilt.
Emily Colette Wilkinson--

"Mad Men" Expiration Date

A bit of a whopper, but a smart move if you ask me.

Keith Olberman talks to "MST3K" Folk

Quote of the Day (4/19/10) (Annie Dillard Week)

There is no such things as an artist; there is only the world lit or unlit as the light allows. (Holy the Firm)

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Clip from "The Last Recruit"

Academic Immaturity

Trashing rival scholars on Amazon. Who knew? Normally, academics are such grownups--not.

Quote of the Day (4/18/10) (Annie Dillard Week)

When I was young I thought that all human beings had an organ inside each lower eyelid which caught things that got in the eye. I don't know where I imagined I'd learned this piece of anatomy. Things got in my eye, and then they went away, so I supposed that they had fallen into my eye-pouch. This eye-pouch was a slender, thin-walled purse, equipped with frail digestive powers that enabled it eventually to absorb eyelashes, strands of fabric, bits of grit, anything else that might stray into the eye. Well, the existence of this eye-pouch, it turned out, was all in my mind, and, it turns out, it is apparently there still, a brain-pouch, catching and absorbing small bits that fall deeply into my open eye. (Pilgrim at Tinker Creek)

Saturday, April 17, 2010

"Exhibitionist Zoo Elephants Waiting For Crowd To Gather Before Screwing"

This Onion story explains a lot.

Quote of the Day (4/17/10) (Annie Dillard Week)

The future is the light on the water; it comes, mediated only on the skin of the real and present creek. My eyes can stand no brighter light than this; nor can they see without it. . . . We can’t take the lightning. But we can take the light, the reflected light that shines up the valleys on the creeks. (Pilgrim at Tinker Creek)

Friday, April 16, 2010

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Best "Supernatural" Episodes


As chosen by TVGuide.com readers. A good slideshow.

"Rise of the Female Nerd"

Amanda Marcotte's piece has TV, once more being way ahead of the movies.

"Fringe" the Musical

Apparently this is going to happen.

Quote of the Day (4/15/10) (Architecture Week)

A building is akin to dogma; it is insolent, like dogma. Whether or no it is permanent, it claims permanence, like a dogma. People ask why we have no typical architecture of the modern world, like impressionism in painting. Surely it is obviously because we have not enough dogmas; we cannot bear to see anything in the sky that is solid and enduring, anything in the sky that does not change like the clouds of the sky.
--G. K. Chesterton

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Why Desmond Ran Sideways Locke Down

Jeff Jensen has a theory:

Okay, fine. What's your "genius" theory for why Sideways Desmond ran down Sideways Locke?

Again, another scene that left me chilled and baffled, which made me dig it even more. I think we have to wonder if Sideways Desmond is now fully self-aware with all of his Island memories, past, present and future. I don't think Desmond ran down Sideways Locke for revenge. I think it's possible that Desmond tried to kill Sideways Locke to prevent Fake Locke from migrating into Sideways Locke's body, but that strikes me as cruel that Desmond would basically murder an innocent man just to prevent his future corruption. So I'm thinking the most likely scenario for a hero like Desmond is this: I think Fake Locke has been inside Sideways Locke all along, and Desmond tried to kill him to force Fake Locke back into the Island world.

Or maybe Desmond is just a really bad driver. He is from Scotland, you know. Maybe he's not used to driving on the proper side of the road.

Today's Addy


Whedon to Direct Avengers Movie

BUFFY: Ok. College is good.
XANDER: Ok, uh, once more with even less feeling.
BUFFY: No, really! I-I mean, Willow's in heaven and Oz has this really cool house off campus with the band.
XANDER: And you're sitting here alone at the Bronze looking like you just got diagnosed with cancer of the puppy.
BUFFY: It's just... there was this vampire, and she took me down, and I just... I don't know how to stop her.
XANDER: Then where's the gang? Avengers assemble! Let's get it going!
From "The Freshman" (BtVS 4.1)


OMG!

Wonder Woman was a mistake from the start. This is a marriage-made-in-Marvel-heaven.

"Seinfeld" Meets "LOST"

Last night's LOST was not the first time The Seinfeldverse intersected with another TVverse. Jerry's patented "swirl", after all, somehow showed up on Battlestar Galactica.



Hilariously, last night's Hurley-centric LOST had the philanthropic Hugo Reyes supporting The Human Fund, a made-up charity liar-extraordinaire George Costanza (pictured) created on the NBC sitcom masterpiece! ("The Strike," 9.10)

"Everybody Love Hurley" Easter Eggs

Quote of the Day (4/14/10) (Architecture Week)

We shape our buildings: thereafter they shape us.
--Sir Winston Churchill

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

"Twin Peaks" at 20


I cannot believe I missed the 20th anniversary (April 8th) of Twin Peaks. Where would contemporary television be without it?

Colbert and WikiLeaks

Colbert's interview with Julian Assange was startling in its real aggressiveness.

The Colbert ReportMon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
Julian Assange
www.colbertnation.com
Colbert Report Full EpisodesPolitical HumorFox News

Eloise's Brooches (on "LOST")

Tip of the Hat to TVGasm. (The recap for "Happily Ever After" might be Ack's masterpiece.)

Quote of the Day (4/13/10) (Architecture Week)

The principle of the Gothic architecture is infinity made imaginable.
--Samuel Taylor Coleridge

Monday, April 12, 2010

Conan on TBS?

This is a bit of a shocker.

Quote of the Day (4/12/10) (Architecture Week)

Architects, painters, and sculptors must recognize anew and learn to grasp the composite character of a building both as an entity and in its separate parts. Only then will their work be imbued with the architectonic spirit which it has lost as “salon art.” . . . Together let us desire, conceive, and create the new structure of the future, which will embrace architecture and sculpture and painting in one unity and which will one day rise toward heaven from the hands of a million workers like the crystal symbol of a new faith.
--Walter Gropius

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Jack

Dreamed last night that I was back in high school, with Jack Nicholson as class clown and my BFF. Good times.

Quote of the Day (4/11/10) (Architecture Week)

An architect should live as little in cities as a painter. Send him to our hills, and let him study there what nature understands by a buttress, and what by a dome.
--John Ruskin

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Addy Smiles

"Family Feud"

from Andrew Sullivan's Blog:

An Insight Into The Right
09 Apr 2010 01:14 pm

It comes from Family Feud, and a contestant is asked to say things that apply to Ellen Degeneres. Gay? Yes. Funny? Yes. Married to Portia? Yes. Then the father says that "she doesn't like her country very well."

Ellen? Cheery, inoffensive, humorous. Idol-mainstream, all-American, beloved chat show icon, Ellen?

Translation: she's a lesbian and all homosexuals are anti-American.

Sometimes the real view comes seeping out into plain view. On national television. That guy voted for Palin. You know it.

Quote of the Day (4/10/10) (Architecture Week)

The physician can bury his mistakes, but the architect can only advise his clients to plant vines.
--Frank Lloyd Wright

Friday, April 09, 2010

Heard on "Supernatural"

Castiel (very drunk): I found a liquor store.
Sam: And?
Castiel: And I drank it.
--"99 Problems"

Quote of the Day (4/9/10) (Ralph Waldo Emerson Week)

Is it so bad, then, to be misunderstood? Pythagoras was misunderstood, and Socrates, and Jesus, and Luther, and Copernicus, and Galileo, and Newton, and every pure and wise spirit that ever took flesh. To be great is to be misunderstood.
--Ralph Waldo Emerson

Thursday, April 08, 2010

"Fringe" Retro Credits

Last week's Fringe, "Peter," was a flashback episode--to the 1980s. Its flashback diegesis even affected the credit sequence, which took on a retro quality.



Here's the normal, 21st century credit sequence:



This was not the first time a show's credits were thus altered. When (in "Superstar," 4.17--written by Jane Espenson), Jonathan Levinson cast a "Mary Sue" spell that enabled him to not only replace Buffy as Sunnydale's vampire slayer but star in The Matrix and coach the US Women's Soccer Team to the Olympic Gold Medal, BtVS famous credit sequence fell under the spell as well. [See Chapter 19. "Buffy’s Mary Sue is Jonathan: Buffy the Vampire Slayer Acknowledges the Fans" by Justine Larbalestier in Fighting the Forces.]

The Passover Tornado

It has been a year tomorrow since the terrible tornado hit the 'Boro.

Here is a good compilation video. (I recommend muting unless you want to have it accompanied by Christian Rock.)

Rilke and the Dude



Tomorrow (April 9th) I am giving two guest lectures/talks: on Rainer Maria Rilke (pictured) in my colleague Jimmie Cain's European literature course AND on The Big Lebowski at Watkins College in Nashville.

At this point in my career I love being the person who does such things.

Domino's Vobiscum

The Pope gets reemed by The Daily Show.

Highlight: Jon's suggestion that Dominos has shown greater contrition than the Vatican and all they were guilty of was making "shitty pizza."

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Pope Opera
www.thedailyshow.com
Daily Show Full EpisodesPolitical HumorHealth Care Reform

Quote of the Day (4/8/10) (Ralph Waldo Emerson Week)

Things are in the saddle and ride mankind.
--Ralph Waldo Emerson

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Heard on "Happily Ever After"

I'm talking about spectacular, consciousness-altering love. Do you know what that looks like?
--Sideways World Charlie Pace

Jeff Jensen's Theory Kit

SPECIAL LIMITED TIME OFFER! Construct your own crazy Doc Jensen Lost theory with my new ''Doc Jensen At Home Theory Making Kit!'' Just send me $299.99 and I'll send you a notepad, a pencil, a list of Wikipedia links, and a copy of Richard Linklater's 2001 movie Waking Life. Compare Desmond's Sideways journey in "Happily Ever After" to the Dazed and Confused director's acclaimed trippy semi-animated navel gazer. Bonus points if your 4000 word essay includes references to the film criticism of Andre Bazin, the revolutionary politics of Situationist International, and the book The Society of the Spectacle. Order your kit today!

The Painting in Widmore's LA Office

The scales in The Locke-ness Monster's Cave. Is Widmore working on behalf of the white stone or the black stone?

Rabbit Angstrom


Clever pun in "Happily Ever After," last night's LOST. The rabbit Widmore and company are using in their experiments is named Angstrom. Rabbit Angstrom is the eponymous hero of a series of John Updike novels chronicling the adult life of a high school basketball star.

"Happily Ever After"


Written by Darlton. Directed by Jack Bender.

These are magic credits to LOSt aficionados. LOST's dream team has so far given us:

Episode # | Airdate | Title
1.23 | 5/18/2005 | Exodus (I)
1.24 | 5/25/2005 | Exodus (II)
2.23 | 5/24/2006 | Live Together, Die Alone, Part 1
2.24 | 5/24/2006 | Live Together, Die Alone, Part 2
3.22 | 5/23/2007 | Through the Looking Glass
3.23 | 5/23/2007 | Through the Looking Glass
4.1 | 1/31/08 | The Beginning of the End
4.5 | 2/28/08 | The Constant
4.13-14 | 5/29/08 | There’s No Place Like Home (II, III)
5.7 | 2/25/09 | The Life and Death of Jeremy Bentham
5.16 | 5/13/09 | The Incident, Part I
5.17 | 5/20/09 | The Incident, Part II
6.1-2 | 2/2/10 | LA X
6.5 | 2/23/10 | Lighthouse
6.11 | 4/6/10 | Happily Ever After

"Happily," the biggest game changer of the final season, was a worthy addition to their collaboration. When Desmond flashed on "Not Penny's Boat" in the Sideways World, Season Six's two parallel narratives began to merge. Critics of the Sideways World should now officially shut up and wait patiently for the reunion that is sure to come. [Later: Here's how Jeff Jensen put essentially the same challenge in his EW recap:

For Sideways skeptics, I'm guessing the episode either won you over or scared you away for good. Let me more provocative: If you've been a Sideways hater, and you remain one after last night's episode, you may as well call it a wrap on your Lost interest and skip ahead to the rest of your post-Lost life.


Noel Murray has his usual excellent recap here.

"Say Anything"

Once upon a time, before he sold his soul, John McCain was a friend of The Daily Show.

Last night's brutal, brilliantly-titled piece on McCain stands as the final kiss-off. He's now dead to them.

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Say Anything
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Quote of the Day (4/7/10) (Ralph Waldo Emerson Week)

When Nature has work to be done, she creates a genius to do it.
--Ralph Waldo Emerson

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

TVGasm Recaps "The Package"

Go here.

Quote of the Day (4/6/10) (Ralph Waldo Emerson Week)

A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, adored by little statesman and philosophers and divines. With consistency a great soul has simply nothing to do.
--Ralph Waldo Emerson

Monday, April 05, 2010

Addy on Easter



"Especially the Old Testament"

Science was my favorite subject in school--especially the Old Testament.
--Kenneth the Page, "Kidney Now!" (3.22)

"I'm Dick Whitman!"

About to (fake) die from strawberry poisoning, Kenneth the Page discloses the truth about himself ("The Ones" [30Rock, 3.19]).

Mad Men's Whitman--aka Don Draper, aka Jon Hamm--puts in more than one appearance in 30Rock S3--as Lemon's love interest.

Quote of the Day (4/5/10) (Ralph Waldo Emerson Week)

It was a high counsel that I once heard given to a young person, ‘Always do what you are afraid to do.’
--Ralph Waldo Emerson

Sunday, April 04, 2010

"Deadbeat Dad"


Last week's Supernatural, "Dark Side of the Moon," should count as an important contribution to the now decades-old (or is it centuries-old?) "God is dead" theology.

As a college undergraduate back in the 1960s (that Time cover appeared in 1966, a year before my freshman year), under the first-hand influence of John Reinhardt and wide-reading in Friedrich "God is dead" Nietzsche, I read everything I could get my hands on from the likes of Harvey Cox (The Secular City) and Emory University's Thomas J. J. Altizer.

As part of my own spiraling religious crisis, I plunged into the writings of Dietrich Bonhoeffer (pictured).

So our coming of age forces us to a true recognition of our situation vis-à-vis God. God is teaching us that we must live as men who can get along very well without him. The God who is with us is the God who forsakes us (Mark 15:34). The God who makes us live in this world without using him as a working hypothesis is the God before whom we are ever standing. Before God and with him we live without God. God allows himself to be edged out of the world and onto the cross. God is weak and powerless in the world, and that is exactly the way, the only way, in which he can be with us and help us. (Letter of July 16, 1944.)


I was fascinated with Leon Bloy's notion that:

God is absent in the towns, in the fields, in the mountains and in the plains. He is absent in law, in science, in education and in morals. He is even absent in the lives of the religious for they, who still want to be his friends, have no need for His presence. God is absent as never before. . . . To be absent has become one of the qualities of God.


So when, in a conversation with God's BFF Joshua in heaven last week, an angry Dean deems the divine being nothing more than a "deadbeat dad," should we not count this as yet another metaphorical way of understanding god's absence?

Back in the fall ("Free to Be You and Me") (as I wrote at the time), "we learned from Raphael that God has been gone for the entire 20th Century (off on some kind of vision quest or just deus absconditas). How else to explain the century's horrors, the archangel wants to know."

Surely the deadbeat dad will return by season's end, a deus ex machina, not a deus absconditas, a hero-deity, capable of defeating Lucifer

Quote of the Day (4/4/10) (Ralph Waldo Emerson Week)

Every word is a fossil poem.
--Ralph Waldo Emerson

Saturday, April 03, 2010

On "LOST's" Last Night . . .

From The Tail Section:

BC announced that in addition to an hour-long retrospective and the two-hour series finale on Sunday, May 23, we’ll also get a special late-night edition of Jimmy Kimmel Live at 11:35pm. The long-time Lost supporter will have masterminds Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse as guests to discuss the end as well as several of the show’s stars. So buckle up for FOUR hours of Lost that night
.

Think Geek DHARMA Alarm Clock

I got to get me one of these.

Quote of the Day (4/3/10) (Ralph Waldo Emerson Week)

Poetry was all written before time was.
--Ralph Waldo Emerson

Friday, April 02, 2010

"Peter"

Well "Peter" was the best episode yet of Fringe and one of the best hours of television this year.

Addy's Almost Giggle

Read about it here.

Philip Pullman Brilliantly Defends Freedom of Speech

The author of the His Dark Materials trilogy responds to a question about the offensiveness of his new book, The Good Man Jesus and the Scoundrel Christ, at a conference at Oxford University.

"Clash of the Titans"

Stephanie Z. (Salon) no likey.

Stewart, CNN, the Contemptible Erick Erickson

Jon Stewart has a long history with CNN. His rise to prominence really began when he single-handedly destroyed Crossfire in 2005.

Here he takes on CNN's recent hiring of crazy blogger Erick Erikson.

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
CNN Hires Erick Erickson
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How to Handle a Racist C-Span Caller

Jon Stewart explains.

Head on "The Colbert Report"

No one maintains order like Scientologists, except for Republicans. You talk smack about these guys and you're persona non grata at every bondage-themed strip clip in Hollywood.
Stephen Colbert, discussing recent charges of of abuse again Scientologist leaders

Heard on "Supernatural"

Like Disneyland, but without all of that anti-Semitism.
--Ash, a resident of Heaven, explaining the nature of the place to Sam and Dean in "The Dark Side of the Moon"

Quote of the Day (4/2/10) (Ralph Waldo Emerson Week)

To believe your own thought, to believe that what is true for you in your private heart is true for all men, that is genius.
--Ralph Waldo Emerson

Thursday, April 01, 2010

Riley Finn Meets Tom Cruise


Beginning to see ads for this new Cruise vehicle.

And yes, that is Riley Finn (Marc Blucas)--perhaps the most despised character in all of Buffy--in a major role!

When I looked him up just now on IMDB, I learned that he's practically my homeboy--born in Butler, PA, only an hour and a half from Oil City, PA.

That Annoying "V" Countdown Clock



Colbert's clueless take on the ridiculous V countdown clock desecrating the broadcast of LOST this week. Starts 2:33 into the clip.

The Colbert ReportMon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
Tip/Wag - Hutaree Militia & ABC
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Heard on "The Colbert Report"

Stephen commented last night that since the federal government raided and arrested the Hutarees, "technically they weren't paranoid."

Quote of the Day (4/1/10) (Ralph Waldo Emerson Week)

Imagination is not a talent of some men but is the health of every man.
--Ralph Waldo Emerson