Friday, December 24, 2004

A Wizard of Earthsea

Ursula K. LeGuin was for a long time my favorite author. I identified with her concept of the importance of names, for one thing, and just loved the way she wrote. So when SciFi channel was to air The Legend of Earthsea miniseries, I asked a friend to tape it. Alas, he had retired his VCR for a DVD player, so I missed it.

Seems I did not miss much. Ms. LeGuin is not happy with the results:
The books, A Wizard of Earthsea and The Tombs of Atuan, which were published more than 30 years ago, are about two young people finding out what their power, their freedom, and their responsibilities are. I don't know what the film is about. It's full of scenes from the story, arranged differently, in an entirely different plot, so that they make no sense. My protagonist is Ged, a boy with red-brown skin. In the film, he's a petulant white kid.

Thursday, December 23, 2004

Alleged president renominates 20 judges

Alleged president Bush has announced his intention to renominated 20 candidates to the federal appeals courts when Congress convenes next month.

In a gesture of fairness, he will also renominate 62 candidates left over from the Clinton administration as soon as this happens.

Laugh tracks and appointment TV

I generally have stopped noticing whether a show has a
laugh track or not. I suspect the perpetrators have got
better at it, but more to the point I don't watch sitcoms
because I can't stand the inane premises, or the inept
characters. What's the point of watching shallow
characters do stupid things?

My appointment TV includes "West Wing", although I think
the writing has deteriorated since Aaron Sorkin left, "NYPD
Blue" which also has it's ups and downs, and, perhaps
surprisingly, "Joan of Arcadia." Having a high school
senior in the family perhaps makes it close to home. While
it is somewhat formulaic, it's usually thought-provoking,
and almost always good for a few tears.

We are antenna bound, so we don't get the cable or
satellite programs. I enjoyed "Band of Brothers" when it
was on the Toronto broadcast station, and I recently
borrowed "Angels in America" from the library. I give the
latter kudos for high production values married to good
writing. (I guess I'm in agreement with the "experts" on
that ...)

The CSI / Law'n Order dramas are not my cup of tea at all.
I think CSI stretches the boundaries of what is possible
while making it seem too real. It bothers me that many
viewers probably believe that the investigative techniques
they use are real. I doubt they all are. Unlike, say,
Star Trek, or X-files, where you know they're making it up,
the devices and technical terms have a misleading
contemporary (false) reality to them. It legitimizes the
concept that forensics is a science, while it is more of an
art that uses scientific methods. As such, errors creep in,
or worse, deception. These shows would not be a problem if
they did not pose the danger of spilling fiction over into
reality, say, for example, in a real jury trial.

If I really have NOTHING else to do, I'll watch Fear Factor
until they start eating bugs or worms, or Maximum Exposure
to see grainy video of REAL characters doing stupid things.

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

Gag reflex of the year

The alleged president (re)joins an illustrious roster that includes Adolph Hitler, Joseph Stalin (also twice), Gen. and Mme. Chiang-kai Shek, Nikita Kruschev, the Ayatollah Khomeini, and The Computer.

Time Person of the Year archive

They did not use "Person of the Year" before 1999. Until then it was Man, Woman, Machine (computer) or Planet (endangered earth).