Opinions, Etc. 12.10.03

In Memoriam:  Senator Paul Simon, notable for being the only Democrat I ever voted again when he ran and beat Chuck Percy for a Senate seat.  Actually, the main reason I voted against the guy was that he screwed the pooch when running for Governor of Illinois in 1972 and made a statement in front of reporters that he’d raise taxes.  I thought that someone that stupid couldn’t ever do a good job in the Senate.  He proved me wrong.  Thanks for your years of service, Senator.  You’re one of the good pols.

In Memoriam II, But Premature:  JenniCam goes dark on New Years’ Eve.  If your kink is voyeurism, you’re already wearing (or not wearing) black as I write this.

And so you see that despite relocating the Wednesday crapfest to Black, nothing much is going to change.  Well, some things of course are changing, namely the fact that I’m not going to write about wrestling in here.  Hell, it’s Haley’s gig now, and he can see how much I’ve suffered over the last couple years trying to cadge actual wrestling news for Wednesday.  Good luck, John, you’re going to need it, and it looks like you didn’t get lucky considering the Lionel Tate story didn’t make the news until after you submitted.

As for this, I’ll start off with a relatively short one this week, get some material loaded that Anderson didn’t do, then hopefully get together a Mailbag of non-wrestling-relateds and so forth, then grow larger as time goes on.  Easing into something is the best thing to do sometimes.

THE WHITE SHIT

Well, we here in the Midwest finally got a taste of what the East Coast got over the weekend.  I somehow made it home through six inches of snow, icy roads, and twenty-five-mile-an-hour winds.  Look, I’m still a city boy at heart.  I’m not used to driving through rural bad weather.  It’s still disconcerting to me to see a couple of overturned trucks, cars blown off the road…you know, the usual among the urbanly-challenged during such weather conditions.  Fortunately, the Damn Vaninator recently had a brake job and has good tires.  So, Yr Humble Scrivener made it home alive.

I do have to give credit to my apartment complex, though; they plan snow removal better than the Junta planned the invasion of Baghdad.  They’ve got it not only down to a science, but also to an art.  Parking is carefully allocated and removal of the white shit carefully done in stages.  Full credit and mega-pimps all the way for that.

No pimps to cnn.com, which covered the snow on the East Coast like the Apocalypse, but not a peep about this storm.  Their bias is showing again.

LET’S TALK A LITTLE FOOTBALL

No, pro football.  Anderson said everything I wanted to say about the BCS yesterday.

Angel Camacho, good Chicagoan that he is, scribbled a little note to me:

Hi Eric, you probably don’t remember my e-mail to you earlier on this year, but during the Bears training camp I asked you what you thought our chances were this year.  Do you remember what your response was?  You guessed that the Bears would be 6 – 10 and that Rex Grossman would be starting by game 13.  Well they’re currently 5 – 8 and Rex is starting this week – the 14th game!!  All I got to say is…. Dude you’re uncanny!  Even though you’re off by a week, the Bears could still conceivably finish 6 – 10.  Since you’re on a roll, any predictions for next year, and who we should get for head coach?

Let’s see…ViQueens, Redskins, at Chiefs.  6-10 is a definite, so I’ll crow about that one.  Being off one week with Grossman can be explained by Fucking Kordell having one good week recently, which no one could have predicted, so I’ll crow about that one too.  As for next year, that’ll depend on what happens with Grossman over the next few weeks, whether Justin Gage continues to develop, and whether or not they can get a defense together that’ll gel.  Coach for next year?  Jauron’s not going to save his job with 6-10, Dave McG’s gonna get canned in Phoenix but will never come back after the way McCaskey treated him, and Jerry Angelo’s pet boy is headed for the Sugar Bowl, so he’s gonna stay at LSU.  I have no clue.  It may be someone to mollify the longtime fans, considering the positive press the White Sox received by bringing in Guillen.  How about Richard Dent being a possible candidate?

THE KISS OF DEATH

So Al Gore’s come out and endorsed Howard Dean.  Oh, poor Governor Dean.  Let’s face it, would you want to be endorsed by a man who let a complete retard, his snake of a brother, and a bunch of “insiders” who made Hitler’s crew look like high-born moralists steal an election out from under you?  We won’t even mention the Buddhist nuns thing or letting himself get smeared with the Bubba brush.

That must have been one helluva conversation on the phone, huh?  “Uh, hi, Al.  How’s everything?…Endorsement?  Really?…Well, I do appreciate it, but…No, you don’t have to go out of your way or anything…No, really, I’m fine.  Poll numbers look good and all, and I know what a busy schedule you have…Look, you really don’t have to…Oh, well, if you want.  Look, I have to go tell my workers.  Say hi to Tipper and the kids for me…Yeah, thanks.  Bye.”  Then he starts wondering about how much the anti-depressants that his staff are going to be prescribed will up his group medical premium for next year, contemplates suicide, and then decides that if he could weather the whole Confederate flag thing, he can weather this too.

And the backlash has already started.  Joe Lieberman…you remember him, the guy who, like, ran with Gore in 2000…got really pissed off.  This was definitely a major-league backstab.  “I don’t have anything to say today about Al Gore’s sense of loyalty” means one thing:  he’s a f*cking disloyal slimeball who’s jumping on the bandwagon of a guy who happens to be ahead in the polls and willing to stab his pals in the back to do it, except that Lieberman’s too nice to use that sort of language.  He’s not nice enough, though, to attack Dean directly through Gore:  “I was surprised about the decision. I was surprised that Al Gore didn’t notify me before I learned about it from the media — that would have been the right thing to do. I was surprised that Al Gore would endorse a candidate who stands for so many things that Al Gore has not stood for.”  John Kerry, though, showed me again why I’m glad he’s my candidate by going for the gut and targeting Gore’s loyalty:  “I was sort of surprised today, actually, by the endorsement, because I thought that Joe Lieberman had shown such extraordinary loyalty in delaying his own campaign, that it surprised me.”  That’s beautiful.  Using one candidate to go after another through a third figure is a wonderful piece of roundabout assault.  It leaves his hands perfectly clean, increases his moral stance, separates himself from Gore and indirectly from Clinton, and leaves less room for a Junta assault against him should he be the candidate.

Now, everyone knows that Howard Dean isn’t my first choice (he’s my third, actually, behind Kerry and Clark).  However, I don’t like to see him being prepared to go down in flames like this.  Prediction?  He wins New Hampshire, which is a freak show anyway, and then gets mashed a couple weeks later.  However, should he win the nomination, I will support him wholeheartedly, because anyone who can drive the Junta out of Washington is my guy, period.

ONLY IN SAN FRANCISCO

If the focus within the Democratic Party wasn’t on the Gore announcement and on the debate, it was on the San Francisco mayoral election, which good Democrat Gavin Newsom won in a close vote.  Not against a Republican, though.  It was against a Green Party candidate even more liberal than Newsom.  Of course, this is San Francisco, where the conservatives consider Folsom “just a bit too outrageous”.

Now, sometimes the Greens can go a little too far (like getting 2% of the vote in Florida in 2000, which is a good portion of the reason we’re in this mess we’re in now).  Matt Gonzalez, the Green Party candidate, ended up assaulting Newsom on the fact that Newsom wanted a ban on “aggressive panhandling”.  Is this really a campaign issue to get behind?  Does anyone like pushy beggars?  Here’s a little secret, neocons:  liberals don’t like pushy beggars and welfare leeches either.  Well, this liberal doesn’t.

However, I do like the fact that Gonzalez made harvesting of tidal energy a campaign plank.  I’m sure there’s a Barry Bonds/McCovey Cove joke to be made there, but I’ll be damned if I can find it.

MURDER IN THE CATHEDRAL

Ah, here’s something none of the Black guys have covered yet:  Sharman Networks’ outright murder of KaZaA Lite.  For those of you who are P2P newbies or clueless, KaZaA as downloaded from Sharman is chock-full of spyware, adware, and just plain nastyware, and the program won’t work without that -ware being active.  It’s how Sharman allegedly makes their money (although I’m sure they get kickbacks from the RIAA in return for becoming a locus for their “righteous” indignation and providing a convenient collection point for lawsuit fodder).  What KaZaA Lite/K++ did was take all of the spyware out, keep all the functionality in, and provide extra functionality that you’d have to pay Sharman for.  Naturally, it became pretty damn popular among KaZaA users.  It’s been estimated that KaZaA Lite/K++ composes about half of all FastTrack Network clients.

Unfortunately, the boys behind K-Lite/++ did this in such a manner that Sharman could throw DMCA and other assorted copyright-infringement threats at them.  So, in the interests of pragmatism, over the weekend, the boys C&Ded their way off the Net.  The program’s still available from numerous mirrors, but there are problems.  The latest version of K-Lite/++ was based on KaZaA 2.43.  KaZaA has already released 2.5, and with another revision, they could easily lock out the non-KaZaA users with a minor protocol change, just like they did to Morpheus shortly after Sharman purchased KaZaA.

You know, the ironies are tremendous.  Pretty much the sole reason why KaZaA has four million users is because the program makes it easy to infringe on someone’s copyright.  The Dutch creators of KaZaA sold out to Sharman because they were getting battered by copyright infringement court cases.  Sharman is headquartered on the lovely island of Vanuatu in order to frustrate copyright-infringement suits.  And now they have the nerve to use copyright infringement to take down people who simply don’t want the invasive, privacy-destroying crap that Sharman throws in there.

Personally, I’ll still use K-Lite/++ until it stops working.  After that, I’m never using it again.  Of course, the only reason I ever use FastTrack in the first place is because it’s the best place for music files.  And I’m not the only one who feels that way.  There’s going to be a lot of people joining me in the abandonment, a lot more than Sharman can even conceive of.

If the RIAA wanted to kill KaZaA, they couldn’t have done a better job than Sharman did in cutting its own network’s throat.

AND SLICK RICK COMES THROUGH FOR ME AGAIN

Did you miss the four-hour Battlestar Galactica revival like I did?  Well, don’t you worry none, because Slick Rick his own self has your ass covered:

Regarding destroying childhood memories, I can say unequivocably, upon watching the entire 4-hour production, that you have nothing to worry about. I ruined more of my childhood memories by re-watching the original series reruns. I had no concept of what a formula-loving whore Glen Larson was when I was a kid. Some episodes I can still watch, others are like the worst of the third season of ST:TOS. I doubt I could ever watch an episode of Buck Rogers in the 25th Century these days.

It was totally formulaic, but at the time, SF on American television had been pretty rare for a number of years, with only a bunch of short-lived, rather uncreative series.  Doctor Who was still a year away from its first opening of popularity on US TV, and Star Trek:  Phase II was still an unfounded rumor.  So formula was welcome.  And I can watch an episode of Buck Rogers these days, so long as it’s 1) first season and 2) has Pamela Hemsley in it as Ardala.  Meow.

There are changes to the original story. Every one of them makes sense, and makes the whole tale more interesting, and provides more potential for a real series, with character development and change.

Credit Ron Moore for that.  He had a habit of churning out good tales with good character development during his Trek days.

Regarding the “Seven-ization” of the Cylons. Exactly one of the 12 models of Cylons is a hot babe. The single member of the model 6 series that has a particular interest in Baltar is nothing like Seven. The viewer can’t even predict her motives based on her being a Cylon, because her actions appear to be more motivated to her feelings for Baltar than loyalty to her race.

But there’s still the fact that the Model 6 exists, and Moore knows what Seven did for Voyager.  The temptation’s there.

Centurions still exist. Instead of being omnipresent, mindless cannon fodder, they appear only twice, in the CGI form, and the implication is that they are truly dangerous. The fighters (Cylon Raiders, if you weeel) no longer host a triumvirate of inept pilots, but are themselves sentient Cylon organisms.

This is coming damn close to Moore saying, “Folks, this is what I wanted to do with the Borg, but Berman, Piller, Taylor, and Braga wouldn’t let me do it.”

I got my hands on the script months ago, and all I will say is this: I saw potential in it, done right. It was. The only thing that differs materially from the script I saw is the identity of the Cylon “sleeper” as revealed by another member of that model in the the closing scene. I won’t reveal it, but it makes the potential for a series even more interesting.

The effects sequences were MUCH better than the old series, and far better than existing reviews indicated. There was a reference to explosions “fading to white.” there is one instance where a massive attack “faded to white”.  Dramatically, it was entirely appropriate. I can’t really say more than that without spoiling it.


Well, it’s been twenty-five years.  What Dykstra did with the money he was given was damn sweet for 1978.  They can only help but not be better.

There were a plethora of auditory and visual “tips of the hat” to the old series. This was done in such a way that someone who saw the original series would catch the reference, but it wasn’t so blatant as to be jarring to a new viewer.

In closing, I sincerely hope that this becomes an ongoing series. Most of what SciFi is doing these days isn’t even close to “science Fiction”, and BSG could very well turn that around. It’s a stronger concept than the original, certainly.


Well, SciFi Channel hasn’t done much with any other sort of series idea (anything successful by their standards, that is), so it should make series if they can shut Olmos up for a minute about how it sucks.

That’s it for this week.  Next week, more of the same, only different.  Until then, ta.