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Will Durst: 2010 Predictions

January 10th, 2010 admin No comments

All right, it was a hecka long holiday season. I’m tired and you’re tired. And neither of us has the energy to go through the whole post- modern deconstructionist explanation as to why you’re reading a predictions column here. Yes, I’m doing a predictions column. What’s the matter with you people? It’s the beginning of a new year. Hell, it’s the beginning of a new decade. That’s what journalists do: prediction columns. It’s a festive tradition. Like mistletoe or Hopping John or calling hospital emergency rooms when Uncle Bud goes missing in the wee hours of Boxing Day. And no, I don’t care that we’re already deep enough into January that most of our resolutions lie broken on the calendar floor like branches of a discarded Noble fir on the shoulder of a logging camp approach road. C’mon people, what am I, flying solo here? Deal with it. Or don’t. Because here they are: a list of predictions of what we can or should expect from various people during the 1st year of the second decade of the 21st century.

I PREDICT THAT IN THE YEAR 2010:
The Airline Industry will make every effort to rid the skies of the most dangerous security threat known to man: panties.
Charlie Sheen will attempt to hire whoever is responsible for Tiger Woods’ damage control.
Steve Jobs will evacuate a series of smooth, light and aerodynamically curvaceous clumps of waste, which will be reported upon at great length.
Barack Obama will finally purge himself of that overabundance of expectations for a bit of Congressional assistance.
Tiger Woods will win the Masters evidencing such a triumphant links return that other PGA wives will be encouraged to take 9 irons to their husbands’ Escalades.
Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi will direct his security detail to check out the firm responsible for Charlie Sheen’s damage control.
Termed out California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger will band together with Jean Claude Van Damme and Steven Seagal to form The Seniors Action- Star Film Series.
The US Congress will outline a plan to fix the Social Security problem once and for all that may or may not involve raising the retirement age to 83.
In order to thwart further underwear bombing plots, the TSA will perfect the speedy implementation of the two handed wedgie.
The Teabaggers will actively set out to find someone in their movement involved in popular culture sufficiently to help them vet a new name.
Law & Order Producer Dick Wolf will create his own network and fill each and every prime time slot with Law & Order & Law & Order spin-offs including a posthumous CGI enhanced Law & Order featuring fan favorite Jerry Orbach.
Joe Biden will undergo intense personal training to learn how to shut the hell up during moments of silence at Arlington National Cemetery.
Hillary Clinton will finally spit out that piece of meat stuck in her craw.
Jerry Brown will receive a clean bill of health from his paleontologist and go on to win the California gubernatorial election after being recognized as the biggest goober in the race.
George Steinbrenner will convince the Commissioner to award the 2010 World Series championship to the Yankees before the season starts to save wear and tear on his expensively fragile lineup.
CEO of the CIA, Leon Panetta will get a piece of meat stuck in his craw.
Former Vice President Al Gore will continue to cultivate a high profile in order to finally realize his dream of becoming a permanent cast member on Saturday Night Live.
Sarah Palin will actually finish, nah, never mind.

Will Durst is a San Francisco based political comic, who writes sometimes; this being a sterling example.
Catch Durst in stand- up mode at The Pipeline Café in Honolulu on Wednesday, January 13th.


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Guy Who Sang ‘Ghostbusters’: ‘Memba Him?!

January 10th, 2010 admin No comments

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In the ’80s, Ray Parker Jr. became famous with songs like “The Other Woman” and the theme song to the hit film “Ghostbusters.” Guess what he looks like now! …

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RED Scarlet and Bomb EVF surprise hands-on!

January 10th, 2010 admin No comments

We just got a terrific surprise at the Engadget CES trailer: Ted Schilowitz from RED popped in with a RED Scarlet and the Bomb EVF for a quick hands-on! Our video producer Chad Mumm basically attacked him, as did the rest of the crew — pretty much everyone surrounded him as he pulled the Scarlet out of its pack. Chad actually shot video and did a little interview — we’ll get that up ASAP, but check out the pics in the gallery below.

Continue reading RED Scarlet and Bomb EVF surprise hands-on!

RED Scarlet and Bomb EVF surprise hands-on! originally appeared on Engadget on Sat, 09 Jan 2010 20:24:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Fils Sound Film transparent speaker hands-on (video)

January 10th, 2010 admin No comments

Korean gadgets these days are either gunning for next-to-nothing thinness or mind-boggling transparency, which is marvelous. Today we came across another Korean company (and an old friend), Fils, which does transparent “sound film” speakers in many forms: photo frame, umbrella, curtains, cap, hoodie and even model yacht (yeah, seriously), all thanks to the highly-flexible piezoelectric film. Sure, the sound quality was hardly top-notch, but apparently Fils is hooking up with a few big-name Korean electronic companies (TVs?), so we’re all going to suffer soon whether you like it or not. Cheer yourself up with the video after the break.

Continue reading Fils Sound Film transparent speaker hands-on (video)

Fils Sound Film transparent speaker hands-on (video) originally appeared on Engadget on Sat, 09 Jan 2010 19:56:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Dan Persons: Mighty Movie Podcast: Praise the Lord and Stoke the Conflagration: Kate Davis and David Heilbroner on Waiting for Armageddon

January 9th, 2010 admin No comments

I’ll admit I have little patience for people who confuse religious mythology for real-world politics. You want to believe that, when the earthly going gets tough, you’re going to be zapped up to heaven and have a front row seat for the conflagration and the return of your deity? Cool, swell, no skin off my nuts. You want the U.S. to model its domestic and foreign policies on such fantasies, that’s when I politely have to object.

Which is to say that I probably couldn’t have 2010-01-08-babtism_river_jordan_310.jpgsat where the directors of WAITING FOR ARMAGEDDON did while interviewing people who dearly believe in the looming spectre of the End Times — including a couple who have come to their beliefs after, ahem, “scientific” analysis and a guy who leads tours through Israel and gets all giggly at the thought of the razing of the Dome of the Rock — and not wound up stabbing a pencil in my brain. I’m just not that strong.

Fortunately, directors Kate Davis, David Heilbroner, and Franco Saachi are, and their forbearance pays off in a documentary that gives you a good look into what a vocal and influential segment of our population believes is the world’s ultimate destiny, and what the risks may be in trying mold our politics to that worldview. It’s an important film for anyone concerned about the continuing incursion of religion into our public policy, and a balanced warning in particular for those who have noted the religious right’s involvement in Middle East politics without considering its possible costs.

Click on the player below to hear my interview with Kate Davis and David Heilbroner.

More MMP on HuffPost:
Scott Cooper on Crazy Heart
Kevin Heffernan on The Slammin’ Salmon
Aites and Ewell on Until the Light Takes Us

Check out the Mighty Movie Podcast homepage.

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Waylon Lewis: Is Avatar a "Recruiting Film for Eco Terrorists?"

January 8th, 2010 admin No comments

Red County Blogger: Avatar is Subliminal Eco Propaganda!

avatar green eco
~
…Actually, what Dr. (of what) Richard Swier says is far worse, and far more laughable:

“AVATAR – Recruiting Film for Eco-terrorists?”

Dr. ThinkTooMuchOughtaGetOutsideForSomeFreshAir’s whole article is about how Avatar has a hidden “let’s live in harmony with our own planet earth for the sake of our children” agenda. Say it ain’t so!
.
My guess: James Cameron will repent right around the same time that Tiger Woods gets himself some Brit Hume-worthy forgiveness.

avatar republican red county green eco propaganda

Excerpt via Red County:

I saw it as pure eco-propaganda released to coincide with the end of the U.N. climate conference in Copenhagen. Just like Copenhagen this movie is a flop in terms of content and outcomes. However, AVATAR and Copenhagen are both successes because they are part of the never ending propaganda movement to “save the planet” from you and me, the evil human beings. Just as AVATAR is science fiction, human caused global warming science is a fraud. But both live on in spite of bad reviews, scientific facts, and negative public opinion.

AVATAR is pure eco-propaganda designed to subtly and not so subtly force the environmentalist agenda on us all. The story line in AVATAR is simple: Humans invade the pristine planet Pandora with the intent to take all its natural resources for profit.

Did you get the Pandora analogy? You know, by extracting natural resources we are opening Pandora’s box and thereby releasing all the evils of mankind. When Pandora closed the box she left only hope inside.

Several times in the movie the comment is made that planet earth is a wasteland and that is why humans are seeking minerals on other planets like Pandora. Of course Pandora is inhabited by primitive tribes of the Na’vi race (akin to the “Elves” of the Earth Liberation Front) who are in touch with nature and their “mother” planet. The Na’vi physically link, much like a computer, with various animals, plants, and of course trees, all kinds of trees. Trees and animals are the spiritual symbols of environmentalists, particularly those groups involved in eco-terrorism…

can’t get enough? Click here!

Don’t bother with outraged comments. I’m filing this one under “comedy.”

Bonus: “Proud Flag-Waving Communists and Socialists March in Copenhagen to Stop Global Warming”

And the Avatar trailer, for the two of you who, like me, hadn’t yet seen it:

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William Bradley: Doctor Who: The Long Goodbye

January 7th, 2010 admin No comments

“He will knock four times.”

And so, the finale for the great tenth Doctor, played by David Tennant, came round at last. It was the end of a long goodbye, which itself was part of a long goodbye.

For those who have not seen it, there are spoilers ahead.

After something of an uncertain start in “The End of Time, Part 1,” the finale in “The End of Time, Part 2,” over New Year’s weekend, was much more assured.

Before dealing with the Doctor’s death — yes, he regenerates, but he regards it as the death of a self, namely his, referring to his regenerated self as “a new man” — let’s deal first with the storyline.

“He will knock four times.”

The Narrator, played by former James Bond Timothy Dalton, it swiftly turned out, was far more, the head of the Time Lords. Time-locked by their fellow Time Lord, the Doctor, for their atrocities at the end of their epic war with the Daleks, they sought a way out, finding it by causing the sound of drums to be permanently implanted in the mind of the young child who would become the Master. That enabled them to track him through time and space, finding him on Earth, manipulating him to use his powers and the technology he’d seized from the foolish billionaire who’d had him resuscitated in a harebrained scheme for immortality.

In the meantime, the Master has captured the Doctor and Wilf (81-year old Bernard Cribbins plays the sky-gazing grandfather of former companion Donna Noble; his character shares a bond with the Doctor), only to have them escape in comic fashion to the Vinvocci ship there in orbit above Earth to salvage the tech stolen by the billionaire. The Master, who has turned everyone else on Earth (besides Donna, who is immune since she’s part-Time Lord from the relaunched Season 4 finale, and Wilf, who was inside a special chamber) into a replica of himself — even Barack Obama! — turns all the resources of Earth to searching for the Doctor but cannot find him, as he’s shut down all systems on the ship.

The Doctor and Wilf — who has again been visited by the vision of the Woman in White, urging him to take up arms — have another heartfelt conversation. Wilf, like the Doctor, certain that the Master will be the cause of the Doctor’s prophesied death, urges him to take the old revolver he kept from his 1940s service with the British paratroopers. But the Doctor, who hates guns, will have none of it. Even if it means his death. Besides, he has nearly gotten through to the Master at the beginning of the episode, when he said it would be his honor to travel the universe at his side. Isn’t it enough to see the universe rather than try to own it, he’d argued. And the Master had seemed very intrigued, till the drumming in his head took over again.

The tenth Doctor begins his finale with a lighthearted attitude.

Then the Master broadcasts that the Time Lords are returning, which prompts the Doctor to return to Earth in a fun action sequence. The Doctor, who now takes Wilf’s old revolver from the paras, pilots the alien ship while Wilf and one of the Vinvocci — in a big nod to Star Wars — man the guns to shoot down the torrent of missiles that the Master unleashes against them. As the ship roars over the English mansion in which the Master is about to greet the return of the Time Lords, the Doctor leaps out, revolver in hand, and crashes through the skylight. Yet he’s too physically stunned to fire, and the Time Lords are arriving. Wilf, meanwhile, prevails upon the Vinvocci to land the ship so he can help the Doctor, only to flee at the Doctor’s suggestion, though into an isolation chamber to the Doctor’s dismay.

Along with the arrival of the Time Lords through an event horizon reaching into the mansion there is, overhead, the arrival of the massive Time Lord planet Gallifrey itself, which will clearly rip the Earth apart. Not that the Time Lords care, as their plan is to ascend beyond the physical plane of existence, and to hell with the billions of people on Earth, not to mention the trillions elsewhere who will perish as the space-time continuum is destroyed.

At first, the Doctor is bound to shoot Dalton’s Time Lord President, who chides him as a murderer at last. Then he thinks to shoot the Master, for the link is in his head. As the Master sadly realizes. Then he spies the Woman in White, immediately recognizing her (for I think she’s his mother) and she looks toward the contraption that facilitated the Time Lords’ arrival. Which he then destroys with a shot.

The Master rules the Earth in “The Last of the Time Lords.”

Dalton’s President makes ready to kill the Doctor as he and his cohort begin to recede back into the Time Lock, but the Master, angry at having been manipulated through his life, and more than a little sympathetic to the Doctor, attacks him with energy bolts. The President falls, the Time Lords and Gallifrey fall back into the Time Lock, and the Master disappears.

The epic crisis has been weathered and overcome, and the show is only two-thirds through. Roll credits? Sadly, no.

Relieved to see that he has survived, contrary to his understanding of the prophecy seemingly linked to the four-fold drumbeat in the Master’s head, feeling increasingly confident, the Doctor looks around as the musical score swells and then plunges as he hears a quiet knocking sound. Four knocks. And again, four knocks.

It’s Wilf, knocking on the glass of the isolation chamber. He’d like the Doctor to let him out. But to do that, the Doctor must enter the chamber himself and let Wilf out, and in so doing take a massive dose of radiation.

Fond as he is of Wilf, the Doctor rages at first against this monstrous irony, and at Wilf, at first seeming to agree with Wilf that he should leave him to his fate inside that chamber he never should have entered in the first place. But he can’t, in the end, leave Wilf to die, so he enters it, freeing Wilf, taking what both believe will be a a highly lethal dose of radiation.

The original 1963 theme for Doctor Who.

When he emerges, the Doctor seems fine. But then his wounds of battle fade and, despite Wilf’s enthusiasm, it’s clear to the Doctor that the regeneration is beginning. He takes Wilf home in the Tardis and, telling him he will see him one more time, sets off on what he calls his “reward.”

And what is his reward? His reward is a reward for Doctor Who fans as well as the Doctor, for he is off on a sentimental journey, seeing important people in his life one last time before his regeneration into the eleventh incarnation.

He sees former companion Martha Jones and Mickey, who began as Rose Tyler’s feckless boyfriend and became much more. And Captain Jack Harkness, the intergalactic con man-turned-immortal, chief of the new Torchwood. (Torchwood, of course, being the arguably more adult spin-off of Doctor Who, name of the Torchwood Institute established by Queen Victoria to combat extraterrestrial menaces, and, originally in the real world, an anagram used to hide production of Doctor Who.) And Wilfred and his daughter, with Donna in the near distance. And the great granddaughter of Joan Redfern. And, finally, inevitably, Rose.

Martha, looking smashing if hard-edged in black leather, and Mickey are on the run, hunting and being hunted by a rogue Sontaran. They are also, surprise, married. And, unknown to them, about to be shot by that self-same Sontaran. Till the Doctor knocks him cold. Martha and Mickey see the Doctor, staring at them, perhaps disapproving. Then he goes.

In another nod to Star Wars, the Doctor finds longtime associate Captain Jack in a Whovian version of the Star Wars bar scene. Jack is drowning his sorrows, still recovering from the shattering events of Torchwood’s excellent “Children of Earth” miniseries. He gets a note from the Doctor, standing at the other end of the bar. The note contains the name of the man next to Jack, the young ensign from Who’s “Voyage of the Damned” Christmas special two years ago. Jack, ostensibly omnisexual but really a gay character, salutes the Doctor and chats the young fellow up.

The Doctor next arrives outside a large church. It’s Donna’s wedding day. He still can’t see her, as it might bring her memories flooding back and burn up her mind, but he can and does see Wilf and and his daughter, Donna’s mother. Wilf is, naturally, delighted. Even more so when the Doctor presents a lottery ticket for Donna’s wedding present, purchased with a loan from Donna’s late father.

Next the Doctor is in a book store where an author is signing copies of her book. Someone we haven’t met but who looks familiar named Verity Newman is signing copies of her book, A Journal of Impossible Things, based on a journal owned by her great grandmother, Joan Redfern. Joan was the nurse in 1913 England that the Doctor, living as a human to try to avoid a confrontation which can’t be avoided, fell in love with. (Verity Newman is named after Verity Lambert and Sydney Newman, the first producers of Doctor Who, back in 1963.) The journal of his dreams belonged to the man Joan knew as John Smith, and Verity has written a book based on it. The Doctor wants to know if Joan was happy in the end. She was.

The Doctor and Rose say goodbye at Bad Wolf Bay in the Season 2 finale.

Finally, the Doctor goes to London in January 2005. It’s right after the New Year and he’s watching, only watching, someone he’s not yet met at that point. It’s Rose, his former companion and lost love. He’s failing now, and standing in the shadows as she passes by, coughs and staggers a bit, drawing her attention. He tells her she’s going to have a great year ahead, for it’s the year she meets him, albeit in his earlier ninth Doctor incarnation, none of which he says. She’s fresh, bright, and charming, and clearly ready for the adventures she’s about to encounter. She disappears into her building with a final smile.

Is it all quite sentimental? Yes, highly so. And wonderful nonetheless.

And now it’s time. An Ood appears in the street before the Doctor, telling him that his people will sing him to his sleep. The Doctor enters the Tardis, which sails into space above the Earth. He cries out that he doesn’t want to go. He’s not going quietly, there’s no peaceful acceptance of the inevitable, or British stoicism. He’s angry, frightened even. There’s much more he wants to do. And the regeneration comes on.

It’s violent this time, perhaps because of the radiation he’s carried within. Actually, it’s like the quickening in Highlander, a light show with crackling energy pouring out of him, causing explosions. David Tennant’s face disappears in the flow of energy and becomes that of Matt Smith.

The eleventh Doctor has arrived. He’s younger, confused and excited all at once as he grasps what has happened to him and is happening now. The violence of his regeneration has shattered the Tardis’s systems. The little blue police box, that old-style phone booth that is so much bigger on the inside is hurtling downward toward the Earth, crashing.

The new Doctor is thrilled. He shouts out: “Geronimo!” Clearly the Doctor has a new catchphrase to replace the tenth Doctor’s “Allons-y.”

And the episode is done.

“Allons-y,” incidentally, is French for “Let’s go.” “Geronimo!” is something frequently shouted as one takes a great leap. It comes from the American paratrooper tradition, inspired seven decades ago by a Western film about the great Indian chief.

What to make of the farewell of the tenth Doctor, played with such verve and grace by David Tennant, probably the most popular of all the Doctors?

Well, it wasn’t brief. But for all its drawn out nature, it was in many ways so much the better. Tennant is so good in the part that it’s sad to see him go.

In a real sense, the tenth Doctor’s finale has been going on for more than a year, even longer than the ending(s) of Lord of the Rings: Return of the King.

After taking over from the very fine Christopher Eccleston, who relaunched the series as the Doctor with writer/producer Russell T. Davies at the helm, Tennant had three full seasons (the Brits call them series), and another year of specials. The latter because he took to playing Hamlet for the Royal Shakespeare Company, a filmed version of which also aired on the BBC during the holidays.

He could have had his finale with the end of his third season, in a three-episode arc with a conclusion aptly titled “Journey’s End.” All his companions joined together, in a frankly overly complex plot, to help him fight a threat to “reality itself.” And the Doctor was shot and nearly died/regenerated. Yet he continued on, this time alone — with latest companion Donna returned home with memory wiped to avoid her own demise — through five more special episodes.

In 2008’s Christmas special, “The Next Doctor,” he went to Victorian London at Christmas time, only to be caught up in a wild adventure involving another fellow who believes himself to be the Doctor. (And who was naturally teased as Tennant’s replacement.) An air of melancholy sets in amidst the picture perfect Christmas setting as we learn why this man has come to believe he is the Doctor. And again as the Doctor refuses, at first, to share a Christmas dinner, preferring his growing loneliness.

For Easter 2009, the Doctor, again traveling alone in the Tardis, had a rather madcap adventure involving a red London double-decker bus, a desert planet, and an aristocratic young cat burglar. A perfect companion for the Doctor, actually, in the form of Michelle Ryan (who clicked in a way she did not as American TV’s Bionic Woman). Yet, despite their chemistry and good teamwork, the Doctor turns down her request to “Show me the stars.” He’s lost too much with previous companions, and doesn’t want to risk having his heart broken again. And as this rather picaresque adventure ends, with Lady Christina driving off into the sky, an air of foreboding as a woman tells the Doctor, like the Ood two years earlier, that his “song is ending.” And then: “It is returning. It is returning through the dark. And then, Doctor … Oh, but then … He will knock four times.”

David Tennant is Catherine Tate’s English teacher, two years ago for Comic Relief.

November’s special, “The Waters of Mars,” found the increasingly melancholy Doctor on Mars on a very special day in history, that of the mysterious destruction of humanity’s first Mars base. He sees the onrushing doom, keeps saying he has to leave what is “a fixed point in time,” which he dare not change. But in the end, he snaps and goes back and saves people who were supposed to have died, a pair of “little people,” as now arrogantly he calls them, and one decidedly not, one of the most famous women in history, the Mars base commander, whose death inspires her granddaughter to pilot the first interstellar mission.

There is a cost, a terrible one, and a terrible lesson, and by the end the Ood are there on a snowy London street, with the Doctor saying he’s gone too far, wondering if it’s his time to die.

Then of course we’re to “The End of Time,” and the great misdirection move that is the return of John Simm as the Master. As a political writer, I loved Simm as the manic politician who tricks the voters into making him prime minister of Britain. His performance then was operatic, as it is here. If he hadn’t been made insane as a gambit by the leader of the Time Lords, he could have been a great ally of the Doctor’s, rather than his nemesis. Which is only part of the pathos of this ending.

“The End of Time, Part Two,” which got predictably high yet non-record ratings in Britain, set a record for BBC America getting a total of 1.47 million viewers over the three weekend airings on the channel. This is the largest audience ever for a show on BBC America, beating “The Waters of Mars,” which was shown just before Christmas.

So we know there is a large and, at least in America and probably elsewhere, growing audience for Doctor Who with David Tennant. But for the eleventh Doctor, played by relative unknown Matt Smith? We don’t know.

Here is the new Doctor.

His beginning seemed fine, if necessarily brief. He’s in his late twenties, to Tennant’s late thirties, and we know that his first companion is played by a 21-year old redhead who looks like a teen.

Of course, the Doctor can be any age, so long as he has the spirit and intellect of the thing.

New showrunner Steven Moffat has written some of new Who’s best episodes, winning three Hugo Awards in a row for such classics as “The Girl In the Fireplace” and “Blink.” His temperament is rather darker than that of Russell T. Davies, who re-launched Doctor Who with a certain splashy ebullience that sought to overcome lapses in logic with dash and energy. And usually worked well at that.

“Don’t blink!”

Davies will run the new season of Torchwood, after his own highly successful walk in the dark with the last year’s brilliant “Children of Earth” miniseries.

And Moffat is likely to embrace the verve as well as the vicious in his version of the show. The eleventh Doctor’s energetic new catchphrase “Geronimo!,” along with glimpses of him in preview footage as something of an action hero indicate that the show won’t be all intellect. And composer Murray Gold is staying on. He’s contributed much of new Who’s sense of splash-and-dash, as well the hearts-on-sleeves quality of much of show with the tenth Doctor.

The science part of the science fiction was never the strength of the Davies-helmed new Who. Tennant’s tenth Doctor sometimes waved off an expected wave of Star Trek-style technospeak either with a bit of inspired babbling or with a humorously dismissive “wibbly-wobbly, timey-wimey” non-explanation.

David Tennant’s farewell to Doctor Who.

Davies’ Doctor Who excelled not so much as accurate scifi as emotional storytelling within a science fiction frame.

With Tennant as his Doctor, he had someone with crackling energy, a lover of life who pursued his immense curiosity with the enthusiasm of a child. And an actor who also explored what it might be like to be a 900-year old being who travels constantly across time and space, exploring, winning and losing, his two hearts bursting and breaking along the way.

Someone who, himself homeless with the loss of Gallifrey, adopted Earth as his home away from home, revering humanity with all its pinnacles and pitfalls.

This is why this Doctor clings to this life, though he knows he will regenerate. This is why, to borrow from Dylan Thomas, he does not go gentle into that good night, and, instead, burns and raves at close of day as he rages against the dying of the light.

This Doctor’s journey has ended, and those of us who have watched it unfold, imperfect as it has been at times, are the better for it.

You can check things during the day on my site, New West Notes … www.newwestnotes.com.


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The Inebriation of Mimi — Mariah’s Sloshy Speech

January 7th, 2010 admin No comments

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Mariah Carey was busted for BUI in Palm Springs last night — babbling under the influence — as she made a drunken mess out of herself while trying to give an acceptance speech at an awards show. At last night’s Palm Springs Film Festival, Mimi took …

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Midday Open Thread

January 6th, 2010 admin No comments
  • Robert Borosage and Roger Hickey at the Campaign for America’s Future had a dialog on how progressives can learn from the frustrations of 2009. [Video here.] The main points:
    1. Change is brutal, and will always be resisted by powerful entrenched forces. …
    1. No matter how popular a reform idea is, like the public option, it still faces the buzzsaw of the United States Senate.
    1. Progressives cannot wash their hands of the political process. We have to organize more, independent of the political parties.
    1. This is still the best opportunity in 30 years for progressive reform.
  • All Together Now: Shut Up You Lefties!
  • Kevin Drum answers the question of How Big Finance Bought Uncle Sam:

    Now if the aerospace lobby had told us after the 1986 Challenger disaster that the key to better performance was to turbocharge the engines and quit performing preflight inspections, everyone would have agreed that they were crazy. Yet that’s essentially what the finance lobby has done over the past decade, and in some weird way we were too mesmerized to recognize it. Within months of a near catastrophe caused by one of the industry’s brightest stars, the lobbyists were busily making certain that it would happen again—and that when it did happen, it would be bigger and more disastrous than ever.

  • The Best and Worst Jobs for 2010, according to The Wall Street Journal’s Sarah E. Needleman.
  • I’ve often thought that maybe, just maybe, if someone made a movie about the effects of nuclear weapons, Kids These Days™ might take an interest in nuclear abolition. So I’m pleased that David James Cameron is considering just that for potential post-Avatar plans:

    … on Dec. 22, the Oscar winner visited Tsutomu Yamaguchi, an ailing 93-year-old man who survived the U.S. bombings of Nagasaki and Hiroshima. … The director told a Japanese paper he’s not certain he’ll make a nukes-themed film — but if he did, it would be “uncompromising.”

    – Plutonium Page

  • Frank Munger of the Knoxville News Sentinel has been following the transformation of the US nuclear weapons complex from strictly defense to more diverse functions. Today, he has an article about how Y-12 workers have developed a more effective way to detect tiny amounts of bomb-grade uranium:

    Engineers have come up with a way to make a small amount of U-235 appear much larger. At least it appears that way to radiation detectors, and that could be critically important.

    According to officials at Y-12, the project could change the way monitors are tested at border crossings and airports and make sure the detection systems work properly. This, in turn, could enhance global efforts to stop the smuggling of nuclear materials with bomb-making potential.

    – Plutonium Page

  • In a Charlie Rose BusinessWeek interview with Paul Volcker, The Lion Lets Loose.
  • Chase Davis at California Watch says Politicians rely on county parties to funnel contributions, avoid campaign limits.
  • Gee Oh Pee Chairman Michael Steele steps back into the 19th Century to punctuate his bullshit:

    Our platform is one of the best political documents that’s been written in the last 25 years. Honest Injun on that.

  • Roger Schuler at Legal Schnauzer (and here) writes that Alabama’s Economy is Imploding Under Governor Bob Riley.
  • Ezili Danto looks at Avatar from a Black perspective.
  • Nathan Hodge of Wired magazine’s Danger Room slams David Ignatius:

    What government agency doesn’t need a good public affairs officer? It’s a rough world out there, with lots of critics. You never know when someone might try to cut your budget or demand a Congressional investigation.

    So much the better if your PAO has a twice-weekly column at the Washington Post, and does the flacking for free. I’m speaking here of David Ignatius, Post columnist and author of spy novels. Let’s examine, shall we?

    Read the whole thing. – Plutonium Page


Karen Porter Sorensen: for the Love of all Things Slow: Reflections on a Too Fast World

January 6th, 2010 admin No comments

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It’s 2010, already. Unbelievable isn’t it – how quickly time passes? I’m taking time to reflect on the previous year and thinking of resolutions for the new one. I live in New York, one of the most hectic, fastest-moving cities in the world. I love the city and chose to move here, but lately I have been feeling the urge to just ’slow down.’ Everything is always moving in fast-motion guided by the notion that time= money. At my job, my co-workers are always multi-tasking and rushing to cram into a single day what realistically should be done in a week. My friends are always making plans, on top of plans in the fruitless effort to have more fun. Personally I always feel in a rush: I eat fast, think fast, talk fast and walk fast. Perhaps I am just worn out and need a radical lifestyle change. Maybe after nine years, it is finally time for me to throw in the towel and leave NYC to move to the country.

If I had it my way, tomorrow I would not wake up at the crack of dawn to travel to work on the packed subway car at rush hour. I would unplug to move at my own speed letting my inner rhythm guide me throughout the day. Well, at this moment living in a cottage in a remote village in Ireland is still just a dream but here are some thoughts on ways to slow down.

When I told my friend about my goal to slow down, she said that there is a book called In Praise of Slowness: Challenging the Cult of Speed, by Carl Honore who offers some inspiring examples of a growing worldwide ’slow’ movement.

“It is a cultural revolution against the notion that faster is always better. The Slow philosophy is not about doing everything at a snail’s pace. It’s about seeking to do everything at the right speed. Savoring the hours and minutes rather than just counting them. Doing everything as well as possible, instead of as fast as possible. It’s about quality over quantity in everything from work to food to parenting.”

Honore, who lives in London, said last spring the city held the first Slow Down London Festival where the city’s residents were offered a rare opportunity to take a break from their rushed lifestyles. Personally I would love for the Festival to come to NYC. Are there are other New Yorkers out there who feel the way I do and want to slow down the pace of your lives just a little? If you’re like me and wishing to lower your life’s speed limit, here are some thoughts for inspiration. First a list of things to observe when you need inspiration, and second a list of activities to follow that will help you reset your daily metronome.

Slow things to observe for inspiration:

  • Clouds floating
  • Plants growing
  • A seed starting
  • Syrup pouring
  • Honey squeezed
  • Sailboats without wind
  • Snails
  • Sloths
  • Worms
  • Herons
  • Small children walking
  • Old women sewing
  • Pregnant women
  • Ice cream trucks
  • Kiddy Carnival rides
  • Noh performances
  • Isicles dripping
  • Candles burning
  • The tide coming in
  • Snow falling

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Slow down activities:

  • Slow-dance
  • Walk through snow
  • Row boats
  • Listen to someone you love
  • Eat pomegranates
  • Ride the bus
  • Travel by hot air balloon
  • Talk to people with southern accents
  • Make wine
  • Hand-sew
  • Bake bread
  • Walk home
  • Make sun tea
  • Bake a cake
  • Hand-make clothing
  • Visit cemeteries
  • Wait in lines
  • Soak in the bathtub
  • Pick berries
  • Bird-watching
  • Paint portraits
  • Ride Ferris wheels
  • Watch Tarkovsky films
  • Save money
  • Sip hot tea
  • Make snow angels
  • Walk in the woods
  • Ride Gondolas
  • Slow-kiss


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