Thursday, January 18, 2007

R.I.P. Robert Anton Wilson

Alas, the late Mr. Wilson was a science fiction writer that inspired conspiracy buffs the world over long before Chris Carter ever created Fox Mulder. His best known work was The Illuminatus Trilogy, a series of novels he co-wrote with Robert Shea which attempted to combine almost every conspiracy theory of the late 1960s into one story arc.

He will be missed. And not just by conspiracy buffs.

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R.I.P. Yvonne DeCarlo

Okay. I'll admit it. The first time I read about the death of the late Yvonne DeCarlo, the first thing that came to mind was “Lily Munster's dead.”

Granted, Lily Munster -- the vampirish hausfrau of the TV series The Munsters, was a memorable TV character, but she's not likely to be the type of character Ms. DeCarlo would prefer to be remembered for.

However, I'd like to think that she would be preferred to be remembered for Lily Munster far more than she would prefer to be remembered for, say, the frumpy landlady she played in the 1980 horror film Silent Scream, a film in which she had to play third banana to TV actress Rebecca Balding's scream queen and horror queen Barbara Steele's psycho killer.

But then I could also remember her for her role as the lovely widow woman in the 1963 John Wayne film McLintock!, in which she basically plays fourth or fifth banana to John Wayne, Maureen O'Hara, Stephanie Powers, and a host of other character actors. And I'd like to think that she would prefer that role over that of Lily Munster. Even if McLintock! is one of the few John Wayne movies film critics don't like to talk about...

Anyway, Ms. DeCarlo will be missed, even by those of us who no longer care for The Munsters.

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Who Killed the American Car?

I suppose this should be the point where my inner Monty Python fan notes that it's not quite dead. However, given the inroads made by foreign car manufacturers in the last half-century, one can't but wonder if the demise of the American car is likely to happen in the near-future.

In any event, the announcement Toyota made a few weeks ago about its goal to become the world's largest car manufacturer in 2007 makes me a tad worried. What makes me even more worried is the fact that no one in the press is ridiculing such a goal.

Oh, well. If the torch is indeed passing from GM to Toyota, does that mean we'll be seeing an influx of Japanese electric cars? Or will Japanese car manufacturers show the same disinterest in such technology that American car manufacturers display?

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Wednesday, January 10, 2007

All the Things That I Have Seen

1. Bones: The First Season.

Self-hating geeks. Temperance “Bones” Brennan and her FBI partner want madly to be the new Mulder and Scully but they're not quite there yet. And trying a bit too hard to get there as it is. The type of show in which the character who flashes a clerk at the airport is considered “normal.”

2. Boston Legal: The First and Second Seasons.

AKA The James Spader Show. Okay enough as long as actor James Spader is on the screen but often boring when it comes time to hear another of William Shatner's endless Viagra jokes.

3. Grey's Anatomy: The First and Second Seasons.

The new Ally McBeal. Sandra Oh has a nice sense of comic timing but unfortunately, many of the show's funniest scenes are meant to be taken to be seriously.

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A Tale of Two Sitcoms

1. Black Books: The Second Season. Surprise, surprise. The second season of Black Books is actually pretty good. Or maybe I'm just getting used to the eccentric cast. Or maybe it's because they avoided doing another wicker toilet joke this time out. Anyway, I liked the second season better than the first season. The jokes seem to be better. The characters more polished -- or as polished as they can be in this setting. I can't wait until the third -- and unfortunately, last -- season.

2. Stacked: The Complete Series. Pamela Anderson pokes fun at herself. Yet again. And hangs out with a “wacky” bookstore crowd which is by no means as funny as the Black Books cast. Not bad but not particularly memorable either.

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All the Trailers That I Have Seen

1. Spiderman 3.

Yes, it's interesting. But then it's a Spiderman movie. 'Nuff said.

2. Ghost Rider.

Nicholas Cage as a comic book character even most comic book fans have never heard of. Okay, I have heard of Ghost Rider but I have never considered him an interesting character before now. And the movie seems unlikely to change my mind.

3. Bridge to Terabithia.

Which is apparently located right next to Narnia. This is the remake of an old movie, but will it be as successful a remake as the recent Charlotte's Web movie? Heaven knows.

4. Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer.

What, no Doctor Doom? We all knew a sequel was coming. I just didn't expect to see it so soon. The trailer is better than it deserves to be, but I don't see this attracting the same hoopla as Spiderman 3.

5. The Simpsons Movie.

What? They released another trailer. D'oh!

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Dueling Quotes

The truth is out there.
--Fox Mulder, The X-Files (1993)

I don't know what that means.
--Temperance Brennan, Bones (2005)

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Bienvenidos, 2007!

Gee, I thought you'd never get here.

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