Saturday, April 30, 2011

Shameful and Wrong for NATO Strike to Kill Gaddafi Grandchildren

I just want to express my outrage that a NATO air strike killed three of Gaddafi's grandchildren in Lybia.

Does not matter if this was intentional.  Does not matter if Gaddafi deserves to die.  Does even not matter if Gaddafi is in some sense responsible because he chose to be physically close to his grandchildren at the time of the strike.

What matters is that innocent lives were taken.  If the motive was to protect other innocent people, that does not matter either.  There is no system of ethics known to humanity which says it's ok to kill innocent people in order to protect other innocent people.

That the United States is fighting along side of NATO makes this even more repugnant to me.  I am an American, and I'm furious and ashamed that my country had any part in this.

There are bad people in the world.   There are murderers.  Some of them are in control of nations.  You don't stop them by becoming a murderer of innocent children yourself.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Fringe 3.21: Ben Franklin, Rimbaldi, and the Future

Well, Fringe 3.21 tonight had everything from Walter doing his best Ben Franklin to Olivia making like Sydney from Alias (with an ancient drawing of Olivia in play), and a promised surprise ending that wasn't about a person or place but a time.

The word about Fringe in its first year was that time travel would not be one of the themes explored.  That expectation was already broken with an excellent, personal time travel story last year - a  pretty much stand alone story- what I called Strangeness on a Train, episode 2.18, with Peter Weller.   But now time travel, to the future no less, has been woven into the central, war-between-the-realities narrative of Fringe, as Peter ends up 15 years into the future in our reality.  

We know this because he's near a September 11, 2001 memorial plaque in New York - this didn't happen on the other side, "over there" - and it's by a plaque dated September 11, 2021.  And there seems to be some horrendous new mass destruction going on in this future.  

How Peter got there is less interesting, I'd say, then the fact that he's now there.  But his journey entailed Walter flying a kite to attract electricity; Olivia making Sam work with her, at gun point; and Sam bowing out as Olivia, at Walter's coaxing, uses telekinesis (one of the original Fringe golden-age science fiction themes from the beginning) to open the doomsday device here on this side by shutting off the device on the other side on Liberty Island through the sheer power of her mind.

One of the great problems with time travel - in additional to the tantalizing, mind-numbing paradoxes - is how, if you've traveled to the future, can you communicate with people back in your own time.  At least when you travel to the past, you can leave a note - or an ad in a newspaper (as Isaac Asimov had his hero do in The End of Eternity, my favorite time travel novel).

And, to make Peter's situation even more interesting, he's not only in the future, he's in his future - that is, he seems to be 15 years older.

Will be fun to see what Peter - and the future versions of our other characters - do about this, and other crises that beset them, next week ...

And coming this August ... my essay  The Return of 1950s Science Fiction in Fringe in this new anthology ...




See also Fringe 3.1: The Other Olivia ... Fringe 3.2: Bad Olivia and Peter ... Fringe 3.3: Our/Their Olivia on the Other Side ... Fringe 3.5: Back from Hiatus, Back from the Amber ... Fringe 3.7: Two Universes Still Nearing Collision ... Fringe 3.8: Long Voyages Home ... Fringe 3.10: The Return of the Eternal Bald Observers ... Flowers for Fringenon in Fringe 3.11 ... Fringe 3.12: The Wrong Coffee  ... Fringe 3.13: Alternate Fringe ... Fringe 3.14: Amber Here ... Fringe 3.15: Young Peter and Olivia ... Fringe 3.16: Walter and Yoko ... Fringe 3.17: Bell, Olivia, Lee, and the Cow ... Fringe 3.18: Clever Walternate ... Fringe 3.19 meets Inception, The Walking Dead, Tron ... Fringe 3.20: Countdown to Season 3 Finale 1 of 3
 
See also reviews of Season 2: Top Notch Return of Fringe Second Season ... Fringe 2.2 and The Mole People ... Fringe 2.3 and the Human Body as Bomb ... Fringe 2.4 Unfolds and Takes Wing ... Fringe 2.5: Peter in Alternate Reality and Wi-Fi for the Mind ... A Different Stripe of Fringe in 2.6 ... The Kid Who Changed Minds in Fringe 2.7 ... Fringe 2.8: The Eternal Bald Observers ... Fringe 2.9: Walter's Journey ... Fringe 2.10: Walter's Brain, Harry Potter, and Flowers for Algernon ...  New Fringe on Monday Night: In Alternate Universe? ... Fringe 2.12: Classic Science Fiction Chiante ... Fringe 2.13: "I Can't Let Peter Die Again" ... Fringe 2.14: Walter's Health, Books, and Father ... Fringe 2.15: I'll Take 'Manhatan' ... Fringe 2.16: Peter's Story ... Fringe 2.17: Will Olivia Tell Peter? ... Fringe 2.18: Strangeness on a Train ... Fringe 2.19: Two Plus Infinity ... Fringe the Noir Musical ... Fringe 2.21: Bring on the Alternates ... Fringe 2.22:  Tin Soldiers and Nixon Coming ... Fringe Season 2 Finale: The Switch

See also reviews of Season One Fringe Begins ... Fringe 2 and 3: The Anthology Tightrope ... 4: The Eternal Bald Observer ... 7: A Bullet Can Scramble a Dead Brain's Transmission ... 8. Heroic Walter and Apple Through Steel ... 9. Razor-Tipped Butterflies of the Mind ... 10. Shattered Pieces Come Together Through Space and Times ... 11. A Traitor, a Crimimal, and a Lunatic ... 12, 13, 14: Fringe and Teleportation ... 15: Fringe is Back with Feral Child, Pheromones, and Bald Men ... 17. Fringe in New York, with Oliva as Her Suspect ... 18. Heroes and Villains across Fringe ... Stephen King, Arthur C. Clarke, and Star Trek in Penultimate Fringe ... Fringe Alternate Reality Finale: Science Fiction At Its Best


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The Plot to Save Socrates



"challenging fun" - Entertainment Weekly

"a Da Vinci-esque thriller" - New York Daily News

"Sierra Waters is sexy as hell" - curled up with a good book




Enjoy listening to audio books? Get a free audio book copy of The Plot to Save Socrates - or any one of 85,000 other titles - with a 14-day trial membership at Audible.com ...

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Bones 6.20: This Very Statement Is a Lie

Bones 6.20 flirted with the dizzying, irresistible paradox of the liar, as the case at hand takes the team to a group dedicated to radical honesty, or always telling the unvarnished truth, no matter what.

This would rule out or not permit any lies, of any sort, including the white lie, which serves as a social lubricant in our world.  Actually, more than that.   Would you tell someone that he or she had only three months to live, if you were 100% sure that there was absolutely nothing that could change that? Perhaps yes, if you wanted the victim to have the opportunity to make the most of each remaining day.  Perhaps no, if you didn't want to put a pall over the remaining days.  It's complicated, and great books have been written about it, ranging from James Morrow's City of Truth novel to Sissela Bok's nonfiction Lying: Moral Choice in Public and Private Life.

On Bones 6.20, the fun begins with Bones asking Booth if he's ever lied to her.  "No," he replies.  Sweets, who has previously introduced us to the radical honesty program - which is real, check it on Wikipedia, which I assume presents a truthful account - says he thinks that very statement by Booth to Bones is a lie.   That is, Booth lied to Bones when he said he never lied to her.  Or at least, Bones and Sweets think so.

That part is easy, non-paradoxical.  But consider the following:  "This very statement is a lie."   If the statement is true, that means that the statement is indeed a lie, which means ... we can't or shouldn't believe it ... which means it's not true.    But if the statement is not true, or false, that means the statement is not a lie, which means the statement is true, which means the statement is indeed a lie ...

That's why it pitches us into a paradox ... because, whichever interpretation we take, that the statement is true or false, leads us to the opposite view, and back and forth, forever.  Sort of like infinite regress, and one of the reasons I chose that name for this blog.

On Bones, Booth does divulge that he sometimes goes commando, and he does admit to Bones that he committed a lie of omission, when he didn't tell her how much he appreciated Bones' support when he and Hannah split up.  But is a lie of omission really a lie, or the same as a lie of commission?

Well, I can go into that, if you like ...

See also Bones 6.1: The Linchpin ... Bones 6.2: Hannah and her Prospects ... Bones 6.3 at the Jersey Shore, Yo, and Plymouth Rock ... Bones 6.4 Sans Hannah ... Bones 6.5: Shot and Pretty ... Bones 6.6: Accidental Relations ... Bones 6.7:  Newman and "Death by Chocolate" ... Bones 6.8: Melted Bones ... Bones 6.9: Adelbert Ames, Jr. ... Bones 6.10: Reflections ... Bones 6.11: The End and the Beginning of a Mystery ... Bones 6.12 Meets Big Love ... Bones 6.13: The Marrying Kind ... Bones 6.14: Bones' Acting Ability ... Bones 6.15: "Lunch for the Palin Family" ... Bones 6.16: Stuck in an Elevator, Stuck in Times ... Bones 6.17: The 8th Pair of Feet ... Bones 6.18: The Wile E. Chupacabra ... Bones 6.19 Test Runs The Finder

And see also Bones: Hilarity and Crime and Bones is Back For Season 5: What Is Love? and 5.2: Anonymous Donors and Pipes and 5.3: Bones in Amish Country and 5.4: Bones Meets Peyton Place and Desperate Housewives and Ancient Bones 5.5 and Bones 5.6: A Chicken in Every Viewer's Pot and Psychological Bones 5.7 and Bones 5.8: Booth's "Pops" and Bones 5.9 Meets Avatar and Videogamers ... Bad Santa, Heart-Warming Bones 5.10 ... Bones 5.11: Of UFOs, Bloggers, and Triangles ... Bones 5.12: A Famous Skeleton and Angela's Baby ... Love with Teeth on Bones 5.13 ... Faith vs. Science vs. Psychology in Bones 5.14 ... Page 187 in Bones 5.15 ... Bones 100: Two Deep Kisses and One Wild Relationship ... Bones 5.17: The Deadly Stars ... Bones Under Water in 5.18 ... Bones 5.19: Ergo Together ...  Bones 5.20: Ergo Together ...  Bones 5.21: The Rarity of Happy Endings ... Bones Season 5 Finale: Eye and Evolution


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The Plot to Save Socrates



"challenging fun" - Entertainment Weekly

"a Da Vinci-esque thriller" - New York Daily News

"Sierra Waters is sexy as hell" - curled up with a good book




Enjoy listening to audio books? Get a free audio book copy of The Plot to Save Socrates - or any one of 85,000 other titles - with a 14-day trial membership at Audible.com ...
 

Monday, April 25, 2011

The Event 1.18: VP, President, Spanish Flu

An outstanding episode 1.18 of The Event tonight, featuring the desperate action after the VP poisons the President, which gives him a serious stroke.   As I've often said, The Event is at its best when it takes its pages from 24, and it did that tonight with real flair.

The key is that President Martinez catches a glimpse of the VP as the President's going down, which tells him that the VP as responsible.   The President in his hospital bed, barely conscious, communicates this to Sterling, who in turn tells the Chief of Staff.   But how to prove this?   As the Chief of Staff tells Sterling, anything short of absolute proof will mark Sterling as a nutcase.

Time's ticking - with the President sinking, the VP is due to take over as President as per the Cabinet's majority vote.  In some of the best sequences of the series, Sterling tries and comes close, but fails to get enough evidence to even present to the Cabinet.  They select the VP to serve as President (but nitpick: Sterling as National Security Adviser shouldn't have voted - he's not a member of the Cabinet). Dejected, Sterling at the last minute discovers potential evidence that he had with him all along - the coffee stain, from the poisoned coffee, on his shirt.  The President splashed coffee on Sterling when he was falling.   (Here's a nice touch to make up for the nitpick: the VP asks Sophia why the poison didn't kill Martinez immediately.  She replies it's working as intended, and we later find out out that the poison's being metabolized in the President's body, to leave no trace - which could only happen if he's still alive.)

Meanwhile, Sean and Vicki discover Sophia's secret weapon - after it is en route to the United States.  Sean repeatedly asks why Vicki is helping him.  She doesn't tell him.  A good guess might be that he saved her life, she's attracted to him, some combination of the above.  But the identification of the secret weapon gives her a much more powerful motive: the weapon is the deadly Spanish flu, which could well kill Vicki's child if let loose in the U.S.

So The Event is throwing some excellent punches as it ends up this season.  Just four episodes left.  On the basis of tonight's, I'm hoping there'll be more next season.

See also The Event Debuts on NBC ... The Event 1.2: Aliens! ... The Event 1.4: 24 Back in Action! ... The Event 1.6: Not Only Aliens, Immortals! ... The Event 1.7: The Portal and its Implications  ... The Event 1.8: The "Republican" VP and the Anti-24 ... The Event 1.9: "Native Populations, Indigenous People" ... The Event 1.10: Satellite ... The Event 1.11-12: Hardball in Fiction ... The Event 1.13: A Little to Close to the Reality ... The Event 1.14: Upping the Ante ... The Event 1.15: Bluffs and Stakes ... The Event 1.16: High Placed Sleeper  ... The Event 1.17: Target Martinez



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The Plot to Save Socrates




"challenging fun" - Entertainment Weekly

"a Da Vinci-esque thriller" - New York Daily News

"Sierra Waters is sexy as hell" - curled up with a good book

The Killing 1.5: Memorable Moments

As I've said before about The Killing, one of its best, heart-rending threads is the way it shows the impact of Rosie's murder on her family.  Last night's episode 1.5 was especially powerful in this regard, showing the impact on her younger brothers.   The younger one at one point says his parents no longer care about them - the understandable reaction of a child that young, trying to make sense of how deeply his parents are in trauma.  It was a rare, even unique, moment on television.

The father's reaction after seeing his daughter in the funeral home - stopping the car, going into the men's room at a gas station, so as not to let his wife see him break down - was also heart breaking and memorable.

Meanwhile, the police investigation continues, with attention now being paid to Rosie's teacher.  He's lying about all sorts of things - but to cover up a murder?   I'm thinking his lies are more likely due to his sleeping with Rosie or one of her friends than his killing her.

Sarah's relationship with her fiance continues to be strained.   He knows that she won't be able to be with him until this crime is solved.   But what will happen after that?   I'd hazard a guess that Sarah won't ever want to leave her police work - even if she did, long enough to get married, would her new husband be happy with her continuing this kind of work afterward?

The political part of the story is also developing well.  Turns out the labor leader was responsible for the plant in Richmond's organization.   I'm still thinking the killer resides there, also.   And it's his top female aide and bed partner ...

See also The Killing on AMC and The Killing 1.3: Early Suspects



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The Plot to Save Socrates


"challenging fun" - Entertainment Weekly

"a Da Vinci-esque thriller" - New York Daily News

"Sierra Waters is sexy as hell" - curled up with a good book
 

The Borgias 1.5: Machiavellian Politics and Marriage

A saucy, nasty, conniving episode 1.5 of The Borgias on Showtime - in other words, just like the previous, which I take as a plus.  This one paid more attention than usual to Rodrigo's children, one of whom has a meeting with Niccolò Machiavelli in Florence.

That would be Cesare Borgia, who gets some savvy advice from Machiavelli about how to navigate the treacherous political currents of Florence and other Italian power centers, the goal being to keep Borgia's enemies from inviting/allowing the big French army into Italy.  And Cesare and  Machiavelli make a deal.  This is well before Machiavelli wrote The Prince (distributed in handwritten form in 1513, not published until 1532, five years after his death) - still a relevant handbook for governing after all of these years.  It was good to see the young Machiavelli.

Romantically, Cesare is after Ursula, the woman he met at Lucrezia Borgia's wedding to Giovanni Sforza last week.   Ursula is married, but wants Cesare.  Her husband insulted Cesare's mother at the wedding.  The combustible combination is all Cesare needs to get what he wants.

Juan is having no luck at all.  Even Rodrigo is loathe to insist that Juan marry the unattractive, politically expedient offering ... but politics almost always rules in The Borgias.

Lucrezia's marriage was completely political, and her husband's an insensitive brute.  But she's a Borgia, and soon figures out a way to keep her husband out of her bed.   She can now spend some time instead in the arms of Paulo, the stable-hand.  Wild horses can't keep the Borgias from getting what they want.

But the forces arrayed against them are powerful and not without their own cunning, and it will be fun to see how this plays out ...

See also The Borgias Sneak Preview Review



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The Plot to Save Socrates


"challenging fun" - Entertainment Weekly

"a Da Vinci-esque thriller" - New York Daily News

"Sierra Waters is sexy as hell" - curled up with a good book




Enjoy listening to audio books? Get a free audio book copy of The Plot to Save Socrates - or any one of 85,000 other titles - with a 14-day trial membership at Audible.com ...


 

Treme is Back!

Hey, Treme is back on HBO for its second round, with its patented, appealing mix of food and music.  Almost all the characters are back - including that guy in the Second Line dancing and leaning into the camera in the opening credits, who's actually not a character but a real person.  Yeah, they're all back, except for John Goodman's Creighton Bernette who "fell" off the ferry at the end of the last season, or 7 months ago.

So it's now 14 months after Katrina, and New Orleans is rebuilding, but not fast enough.  And the city seems more beset by crime than 7 months ago.  Indeed, it looks as if crime will be one of the major themes this year, with David Morse as tough but sympathetic police brass in a bigger role than last year.  He closes the episode leaning over a slain woman in the street, especially aggravated that a kid with a trumpet has to see it.

The music's as good as ever, beginning early on with Annie playing fiddle with the subdudes from New Orleans now in Connecticut.  She's soon back in New Orleans, eventually playing along side Sonny, but they're not (yet) back together romantically.   She's still with Davis, but Davis's true love is Janette, up in New York cooking up a storm but not enjoying it (hey, Anthony Bourdain the chef and writer co-wrote the story for tonight, so you know it's got to be teeming with inside info about cooking in the Big Apple).

New blood Jon Seda's in town, playing Nelson Hidalgo, an investor from Texas, and catching LaDonna's eye with his dancing.   Antoine is still in need of a "real" job, and waxing philosophic about his trombone (he laments that he'd have had much more "pussy" had he taken up with the trumpet instead - I wonder, though - after all, the trombone is longer).   And Albert is still fighting housing probems - being vacated from his digs when its rightful owner comes home.

Coming home - that's what everyone was hoping for last year.  Sometimes you gotta be careful about you wish for.  But I'm glad my wish that Treme get back on the screen came true ...



5-min podcast review of Treme

See also Treme! ... Treme 1.2: "If you ain't been to heaven" ... Treme 1.3: Fine Sweet and Sour ... Treme 1.4: New Orleans, New York, Nashville ... Treme 1.5: Delicious! ... Treme 1.8: Passions and Dreams ... Treme 1.9: Creighton ... Treme Season One Finale: Happy Sad Life

And: My Favorite Moment in Treme (Season One)



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The Plot to Save Socrates




"challenging fun" - Entertainment Weekly

"a Da Vinci-esque thriller" - New York Daily News

"Sierra Waters is sexy as hell" - curled up with a good book




Enjoy listening to audio books? Get a free audio book copy of The Plot to Save Socrates - or any one of 85,000 other titles - with a 14-day trial membership at Audible.com ...
 

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Game of Thrones 1.2: Prince, Wolf, Bastard, Dwarf

Game of Thrones proceeded tonight on HBO, with episode 1.2 which continued setting the table and raising the stakes all the around.

Bran lives, but is in what we would today call in a coma.  What he may or may not remember of Jaime Lannister's throwing him off the ledge is not clear - or even if he'll ever awaken - but that's still enough to get Jaime or his sister and lover the Queen to send in an assassin.   Bran's direwolf dispatches the assassin, which alerts us to the great value of direwolves, and Lady Stark to the likelihood that Bran's fall was no accident.   Indeed, she's sure the Lannisters had something to do with it.   She's off to King's Landing to tell Ned, and does not yet know what we will see at the end of the episode:  Bran has opened his eyes.

Meanwhile, at King's Landing, we get the best story of the episode, also involving a direwolf, actually two.   The King's arrogant young Prince with Ned's older daughter Sansa happen upon  Ned's younger daughter Arya dueling with wooden swords with the butcher's boy.  The Prince seeks to discipline the butcher's son for striking Arya with the wooden sword, Arya objects, one thing leads to another and enrages the Prince, and soon Arya's direwolf is sinking its teeth into the Prince's wrist to prevent him from really hurting Arya with his real sword.  The direwolf escapes at Arya's command, but all of this leads the King to decree that at least some Stark direwolf must die, and Ned takes it upon himself to kill the only other Stark direwolf on the premises, which is Sansa's.   The tension is now beginning to rise between Ned and the King.   And apparently the death of this direwolf is responsible in some way for awakening Bran in Winterfell.

On the continent, Daenerys gets some welcome instruction from one of her lady slaves in how to please men in general and her husband in particular - it entails a little of the old face-to-face, which as I mentioned last week, seems new to just about everyone in this world, with the exception of Daenerys' exotic erotic adviser.  And up north of Winterfell along the wall, we find Jon and Tyrion - the bastard and the dwarf, as they happily call each other - beginning to form a friendship.

Especially helpful, that, because, as they say, winter is coming...


5-min podcast review of Game of Thrones

See also A Game of Thrones: My 1996 Review of the First Novel ... Game of Thrones Begins Greatly on HBO


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The Plot to Save Socrates


"challenging fun" - Entertainment Weekly

"a Da Vinci-esque thriller" - New York Daily News

"Sierra Waters is sexy as hell" - curled up with a good book




Enjoy listening to audio books? Get a free audio book copy of The Plot to Save Socrates - or any one of 85,000 other titles - with a 14-day trial membership at Audible.com ...
 

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Friday Night Lights 5.2: STATE!

That's what Coach Taylor wrote on the blackboard at the end of last night's episode 5.2 of Friday Night Lights on NBC - "STATE" - as the Lions were about to go out and play their second game.

The episode, football-wise, was about how the retrograde forces in Texas high school football - the team beaten by the Lions in episode 1, the Commissioners on whatever committee only happy to do the losers' bidding, the powers that be, those threatened by the Lions - are not going to sit back and accept the Lions as winners.   So the Lions don't show up in the rankings, even though their victory last week moved the loser down in the rankings.  And Luke's fine tackle is ruled otherwise, with Luke suspended for this next game.

In that context, Coach writing "STATE" on the black board was a perfect gesture of defiance to top off the episode.  We'll soon find out if the word was more than a gesture - if the Lions really have the stuff to get to the top this year.

Otherwise, Julie's at college, flirting with her teaching assistant (a boring history of Texas class, apparently required of all students), Tami's finally raising a little interest in the East Dillon faculty, and Becky sweet steers Luke away from getting into a fight with the new guy - the basketball player - on team.    But she demurs from spending any more nighttime time with him - she's still hung up on Tim Riggins, and Luke did make her pregnant.

Volatile ingredients for the season, and I haven't even mentioned Vince getting all those letters of interest in his junior year from colleges ...

See also Reasons to Watch Friday Night Lights and Friday Night Lights Final Season: Sneak Preview Review and Friday Night Lights 5.1: Football and Family

And coming this summer, my "Friday Night Lights, NBC, and DirecTV: How an Unlikely Partnership Saved a Great Show and Pointed the Way to the Future" in this brand new anthology ...



Friday Night Lights Companion

Friday, April 22, 2011

Fringe 3.20: Countdown to Season 3 Finale: 1 of 3

First, let me mention that that guy with grey hair, in the coming attractions for next week's Fringe - on screen for a split second or two?  I've never seen him before, and think he'll therefore play some major role in the resolution of this season's story.

Meanwhile, about tonight's episode:
  • Walternate indicated at the beginning that he extracted half of Peter's DNA from Peter and Fauxlivia's baby - maybe Walternate can combine that with some of his own DNA to recreate enough of Peter's DNA, so that, even if Peter Bishop dies, he can be re-created.
  • Is Sam Weiss good (working on our side) or bad (working for Walternate)?  I think he's good, but have no evidence in support of this, just that I like mysterious people who can save the day working in bowling alleys.
  • Olivia so happy to be with Peter at the beginning of the episode was a nice, classic heroic way to start her and Peter's story tonight:  you ever notice in great epics how the worst things happen just when the protagonists are finally happy and at peace with their personal conflicts?
Season finales of this magnitude can sometimes entail the death of a major character.  If we are to believe Waternate, our very world could be the victim.  And then what?  Some or most or all of our major characters get over to the other side to continue the fight there?  This would be a highly original turn.  I wouldn't rule it out.  But I don't think it's going to happen.

What about the loss of a major character, then? Peter is the obvious choice - but as I indicated above, Walternate's possession of half of Peter's DNA (plus Walternate's own DNA) could well mean that our Peter in effect cannot be killed (unless that DNA is also destroyed).  I don't think Peter's going to die, in any case.   Who, then?  Sam's death would have the least impact on our characters, but is he an important enough character to really matter?  Broyles already died once on the other side - killing him again on our side would be too much.  That leaves Walter, Olivia, Astrid, and Nina.   All except Nina have doubles on the other side ... which means any one of them could be killed, with their character from the other side then coming over here and taking up the lost character's life ...

How about Walter's cow?  Does she have a double on the other side?

More next week ...

And coming this August ... my essay  The Return of 1950s Science Fiction in Fringe in this new anthology ...





See also Fringe 3.1: The Other Olivia ... Fringe 3.2: Bad Olivia and Peter ... Fringe 3.3: Our/Their Olivia on the Other Side ... Fringe 3.5: Back from Hiatus, Back from the Amber ... Fringe 3.7: Two Universes Still Nearing Collision ... Fringe 3.8: Long Voyages Home ... Fringe 3.10: The Return of the Eternal Bald Observers ... Flowers for Fringenon in Fringe 3.11 ... Fringe 3.12: The Wrong Coffee  ... Fringe 3.13: Alternate Fringe ... Fringe 3.14: Amber Here ... Fringe 3.15: Young Peter and Olivia ... Fringe 3.16: Walter and Yoko ... Fringe 3.17: Bell, Olivia, Lee, and the Cow ... Fringe 3.18: Clever Walternate ... Fringe 3.19 meets Inception, The Walking Dead, Tron
 
See also reviews of Season 2: Top Notch Return of Fringe Second Season ... Fringe 2.2 and The Mole People ... Fringe 2.3 and the Human Body as Bomb ... Fringe 2.4 Unfolds and Takes Wing ... Fringe 2.5: Peter in Alternate Reality and Wi-Fi for the Mind ... A Different Stripe of Fringe in 2.6 ... The Kid Who Changed Minds in Fringe 2.7 ... Fringe 2.8: The Eternal Bald Observers ... Fringe 2.9: Walter's Journey ... Fringe 2.10: Walter's Brain, Harry Potter, and Flowers for Algernon ...  New Fringe on Monday Night: In Alternate Universe? ... Fringe 2.12: Classic Science Fiction Chiante ... Fringe 2.13: "I Can't Let Peter Die Again" ... Fringe 2.14: Walter's Health, Books, and Father ... Fringe 2.15: I'll Take 'Manhatan' ... Fringe 2.16: Peter's Story ... Fringe 2.17: Will Olivia Tell Peter? ... Fringe 2.18: Strangeness on a Train ... Fringe 2.19: Two Plus Infinity ... Fringe the Noir Musical ... Fringe 2.21: Bring on the Alternates ... Fringe 2.22:  Tin Soldiers and Nixon Coming ... Fringe Season 2 Finale: The Switch

See also reviews of Season One Fringe Begins ... Fringe 2 and 3: The Anthology Tightrope ... 4: The Eternal Bald Observer ... 7: A Bullet Can Scramble a Dead Brain's Transmission ... 8. Heroic Walter and Apple Through Steel ... 9. Razor-Tipped Butterflies of the Mind ... 10. Shattered Pieces Come Together Through Space and Times ... 11. A Traitor, a Crimimal, and a Lunatic ... 12, 13, 14: Fringe and Teleportation ... 15: Fringe is Back with Feral Child, Pheromones, and Bald Men ... 17. Fringe in New York, with Oliva as Her Suspect ... 18. Heroes and Villains across Fringe ... Stephen King, Arthur C. Clarke, and Star Trek in Penultimate Fringe ... Fringe Alternate Reality Finale: Science Fiction At Its Best


                 Special Discount Coupons for Angie's List, Avis, Budget Car, Garden.com, eMusic







The Plot to Save Socrates





"challenging fun" - Entertainment Weekly

"a Da Vinci-esque thriller" - New York Daily News

"Sierra Waters is sexy as hell" - curled up with a good book

A Conversation with Dominic Chianese, The Sopranos Uncle Junior: The Complete Video

Dominic Chianese talks to Paul Levinson and David Lavery ... mostly about The Sopranos, a little about The Godfather, and his life as an actor ... May 23, 2008, The Sopranos: A Wake, conference at Fordham University


transcript
of the interview

see also

The Sopranos and Hamlet

The Sopranos and the Closure-Junkies

The Sopranos, or the Tiger?

The Sopranos Ninth of Nine: The Anti-Ending Ending

The Sopranos as a Nuts-and-Bolts Triumph of Non-Network TV my 2002 article

also -
Sopranos Symposium at Fordham University, May 22-25, 2008: Final Program


The Sopranos Podcasts - listen to reviews and analyses



And coming in Summer 2011: The Essential Sopranos Reader  (University of Kentucky Press) ... papers and essays from the May 2008 Sopranos Symposium at Fordham University


Thursday, April 21, 2011

Bones 6.19 Test Runs The Finder

A fun Bones 6.19 tonight, as series creator Hart Hanson introduces us to a new team, which could well have its own show, if the currents of public approval go the right way.

That would be fine with me.  Walter Sherman (Geoff Stults) plays an Iraqi war-vet, whose brain injury of some sort has given him the power to find missing things (based on Richard Greener's The Locator book series).  Latulippe, his sidekick, is played by Saffron Burrows, who put in a good year with Jeff Goldblum on Law & Order: Criminal Intent last season.  Leo Knox (Michael Clarke Duncan), the legal advisor, completes the trio, and they put on a pretty good show of wise-cracking and action.

The connection to Bones starts with Booth, who served with Sherman in Iraq.  They had a bad interaction, which Bones of all people gets Booth to better understand and come to terms with.   Bones does this because she's soon very kindly disposed to Sherman - he found a long-lost newspaper clipping of her and her mother.

The case involves a map - apropos the Finder - to a sunken 1774 galleon.  Its resolution hinges on different systems of longitude, and the fact that the Jesuit system was unexpectedly used in the case of this map.  The Finder at this point looks to be a different kind of narrative tangentially connected to Bones, and I'm certainly up for seeing more.

See also Bones 6.1: The Linchpin ... Bones 6.2: Hannah and her Prospects ... Bones 6.3 at the Jersey Shore, Yo, and Plymouth Rock ... Bones 6.4 Sans Hannah ... Bones 6.5: Shot and Pretty ... Bones 6.6: Accidental Relations ... Bones 6.7:  Newman and "Death by Chocolate" ... Bones 6.8: Melted Bones ... Bones 6.9: Adelbert Ames, Jr. ... Bones 6.10: Reflections ... Bones 6.11: The End and the Beginning of a Mystery ... Bones 6.12 Meets Big Love ... Bones 6.13: The Marrying Kind ... Bones 6.14: Bones' Acting Ability ... Bones 6.15: "Lunch for the Palin Family" ... Bones 6.16: Stuck in an Elevator, Stuck in Times ... Bones 6.17: The 8th Pair of Feet ... Bones 6.18: The Wile E. Chupacabra

And see also Bones: Hilarity and Crime and Bones is Back For Season 5: What Is Love? and 5.2: Anonymous Donors and Pipes and 5.3: Bones in Amish Country and 5.4: Bones Meets Peyton Place and Desperate Housewives and Ancient Bones 5.5 and Bones 5.6: A Chicken in Every Viewer's Pot and Psychological Bones 5.7 and Bones 5.8: Booth's "Pops" and Bones 5.9 Meets Avatar and Videogamers ... Bad Santa, Heart-Warming Bones 5.10 ... Bones 5.11: Of UFOs, Bloggers, and Triangles ... Bones 5.12: A Famous Skeleton and Angela's Baby ... Love with Teeth on Bones 5.13 ... Faith vs. Science vs. Psychology in Bones 5.14 ... Page 187 in Bones 5.15 ... Bones 100: Two Deep Kisses and One Wild Relationship ... Bones 5.17: The Deadly Stars ... Bones Under Water in 5.18 ... Bones 5.19: Ergo Together ...  Bones 5.20: Ergo Together ...  Bones 5.21: The Rarity of Happy Endings ... Bones Season 5 Finale: Eye and Evolution



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The Plot to Save Socrates



"challenging fun" - Entertainment Weekly

"a Da Vinci-esque thriller" - New York Daily News

"Sierra Waters is sexy as hell" - curled up with a good book




Enjoy listening to audio books? Get a free audio book copy of The Plot to Save Socrates - or any one of 85,000 other titles - with a 14-day trial membership at Audible.com ...
 

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Chinese edition of New New Media just published

Pleased to announce that the Chinese translation of my New New Media (Penguin Academics, 2009) has just been published! This is the seventh translation of one of my books in China by the eminent He Daokuan, and the second translation of New New Media (the first was in Polish this past Fall). More about New New Media ... details and statistics on all of my translations.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

The Event 1.17: Target Martinez

Hey, I'm still enjoying The Event - and last night's episode 1.17 had some good punches.

Sophia's proceeding with her plans to clean the Earth of as many humans as she can, to make room for her extra-terrestrials.   The Event in this respect has now become even more like V - but dealing with these issues on a much higher level (Presidential).  Sophia realizes that she has to get rid of US President Martinez - literally.  He's now saying to his advisers that a state of war exists between humans and Sophia's people.

Her plan involves enlisting the Vice President.  He at first resists in a good realistic portrayal of what a VP might really do in such circumstances.  But before the episode is over, VP Jarvis is slipping some poison into the President's coffee.

Martinez also has a problem with his wife Christina.  Is she an alien?  Her paperwork - a file on her past - has some holes.  Martinez eventually confronts her.  And she reluctantly admits that she came from the Dominican Republic not Cuba.   Crisis averted?  Not quite.  We can see in her expression that she's still lying about something.  And Martinez is no dummy - he still knows that Christina did not agree to the DNA test, which has no bearing on whether she came from the Dominican or Cuba, but could reveal that her parents were not of this planet.

The forces against Sophia could use some help.  They pretty much boil down to Leila, and now Jason, recruited when Dempsey takes his own aged life, to demonstrate that he's really on the side of humanity.   Good to see The Event keep raising the ante as it hurtles towards the end of this season, and what may be the end of the series.


See also The Event Debuts on NBC ... The Event 1.2: Aliens! ... The Event 1.4: 24 Back in Action! ... The Event 1.6: Not Only Aliens, Immortals! ... The Event 1.7: The Portal and its Implications  ... The Event 1.8: The "Republican" VP and the Anti-24 ... The Event 1.9: "Native Populations, Indigenous People" ... The Event 1.10: Satellite ... The Event 1.11-12: Hardball in Fiction ... The Event 1.13: A Little to Close to the Reality ... The Event 1.14: Upping the Ante ... The Event 1.15: Bluffs and Stakes ... The Event 1.16: High Placed Sleeper




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The Plot to Save Socrates


"challenging fun" - Entertainment Weekly

"a Da Vinci-esque thriller" - New York Daily News

"Sierra Waters is sexy as hell" - curled up with a good book

House 7.19: Rules

A medium seismic House 7.19 last night, with the fate of Masters in the balance.

Martha Masters is on the last day of her Internship with House.  He's been impressed with her intelligence and powers of analysis.  Not so much with her insistence of coloring within the box, as House puts it - her unwillingness to work outside of the rules.  But he's willing to give her a chance - until she again refuses to bend the rules, and allow House to stipulate that she completed all 10 of her LP procedures, when she only completed 9.  House withdraws his offer, and Masters has to work hard to return to his good graces.

A case at hand provides more opportunity than she might have wanted.  Her patient needs an immediate amputation of her arm to save her life.  She wants to wait until she completes a sailing competition, and convinces her parents.   Masters' dilemma:  let her patient have her way, and likely die, or bend the rules and use some kind of subterfuge to get the patient into surgery?

After much soul-searching, Masters breaks the rules par excellence, in a move House would have been and is indeed proud of.  She introduces a drug that causes a heart problem in the patient which requires surgery.  She lies to the parents that the problem was caused by the cancer which requires the amputation.  The parents agree to the amputation while the patient is under anesthesia in surgery.

In one sense, this is every patient's nightmare - the surgeon doing something you didn't want while you're under anesthesia and the knife.  But Masters has also very likely saved her patient's life.  House is now happy to have on his team-

But Masters decides she'd rather not go any further down the road of practicing this kind of ethically wrenching medicine.  She declines the offer, and leaves (presumably) the show.  A fine, satisfying, realistic conclusion to a good arc on House.

See also House and Cuddy on the Other Side in Season 7 Premiere ... House 7.2: House and Cuddy, Chapter 2 ... House 7.3: The Author and the White Lie ... House 7.9: The Vilda Chaya ... House 7.11: The Patient's Most Important Right ... House 7.14:  House, Death, and Cuddy ... House 7.16: Broken Hearts and their Repair ... House 7.17: Deadly Healthy Diet ... House 7.18: Thirteen Mysterious
And see also House Reborn in Season Six? ... 6.2: The Gang is Back and Fractured ... 6.3: The Saving Hitler Quandary ... 6.4: Diagnosis vs. Karma ... 6.5 Getting Better ... 6.6 House Around the Bases ... Four's a Crowd on House 6.7 ... House 6.8 and the Reverse of Flowers for Algernon ... House 6.9: Wilson ... House 6.10: Back in Business ... House 6.11: Making Amends, Mending Fences, and a Psychopath  ... House 6.12: The Progression to Mensch ... House 6.13: Cuddy's Perspective ... House Meets Blogger in 6.14 ... House 6.15: About Taub ... House 6.16: Revealing Couples ... House 6.17: Socrates on Steroids ... House 6.18: Open Marriage



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The Plot to Save Socrates

"challenging fun" - Entertainment Weekly

"a Da Vinci-esque thriller" - New York Daily News

"Sierra Waters is sexy as hell" - curled up with a good book

Monday, April 18, 2011

"Sunshine's Mine" on Songs of Love for Japan compilation

Delighted to announce that my "Sunshine's Mine," recorded way back in 1966 at Associated Sound Studies in New York City, is on the Songs of Love for Japan compilation album, which went on sale today at 10am Eastern time, and will continue for 72 hours. All money from sales of the compilation will go to help Japan. Details over here.

Other artists include Tori Amos, Sara Bareilles, and Josh Ritter ... I'm thrilled to be in such good company ... a total of 100 tracks by 100 artists, all to help with Japanese relief efforts. (You can hear "Sunshine's Mine" over here.)



"Sunshine's Mine" is not only on the full 100-track compilation, but on the special 20-track compilation available just for today. You can see the complete list of 100 tracks and the special 20-track artist and song list over here.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Game of Thrones Begins Greatly on HBO

Game of Thrones began tonight on HBO.  It's adapted from George R.R. Martin's work.   I reviewed his novel set in this world back in 1996 - see the link to my review below - and enjoyed it.  But I'm going to review this series in its own right, and try not to let what I know about the story influence me overly, though it no doubt will.

Here are the basics of the complex, powerful plot.  King Robert - of the Seven Kingdoms, in a place much like medieval England - wants Ned Stark, Lord of Winterfell, the northern kingdom (he's also Warren of the North) - to become his "hand," or right-hand man.   Stark has five children, and a bastard son.  Before the first episode is over, the King's brother-in-law - brother of the Queen - will push Stark's youngest son out a high open window, because the boy saw the brother-in-law schtupping his own sister, the Queen (good to see Lena Headey of The Sarah Connor Chronicles and The 300 in this role).

Here, let me mention that there's lots of fine female nudity in this episode - and I presume series - if not quite as good as yet as on HBO's  Rome, I'd say better than Showtime's The Tudors.  And there's also a lot of love-making - to be genteel about it - and the characters talk about it a lot.   And, so far, they mostly seem to do it the really old-fashioned way, from the back.   I say mostly, because the Queen's other brother, a dwarf, is seen in bed with a bevvy of beautiful, procured women, and it's not clear how they did it in bed.

Meanwhile,  speaking of nudity, love-making, and politics, beautiful Daenerys is across the sea - in the equivalent of Normandy - and obligated by her brother to marry the young King of a fierce horsemen people, much like the Huns or the Mongols.   She's Tagarian, and her brother yearns for the throne now occupied by Robert.  A few years before the start of our story, the pair were driven from the Seven Kingdoms, when the King and his supporters swept the Kingdoms of Tagarians.

There's also a supernatural facet to all of this.   There are fossilized dragon eggs on the mainland - Daenerys gets one as a gift for her wedding.  And north of Winterfell is a wild, mystical, deadly land - north of the wall - peopled or zombied by "white walkers" (some kind of cold humanoid demons) and replete with dire-wolves.    Six of these baby wolves are now in the hands of Stark's children.  They - the wolves - grow up fast.  And one has seen Bran,  Stark's youngest son, pushed out of the high tower...

An altogether excellent start of what promises to be a superb series.  I'll be back here next week with more.


5-min podcast review of Game of Thrones

See also A Game of Thrones: My 1996 Review of the First Novel


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The Plot to Save Socrates


"challenging fun" - Entertainment Weekly

"a Da Vinci-esque thriller" - New York Daily News

"Sierra Waters is sexy as hell" - curled up with a good book




Enjoy listening to audio books? Get a free audio book copy of The Plot to Save Socrates - or any one of 85,000 other titles - with a 14-day trial membership at Audible.com ...
 


 

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Saturday, April 16, 2011

Fringe 3.19 meets Inception, The Walking Dead, and Tron

Weelllll ... what a Fringe 3.19 tonight ... certainly original and surprising in plot, but highly derivative in its structure, or on the other hand paying homage to a fine recent movie, a top-notch current television series, and a classic movie which has come back with more stories recently.

The surprise is Bell, last seen and still in residence in Olivia's body, now a cartoon figure in Olivia's mind - or rather, the way that Fringe represents the contents of Olivia's mind is, mostly, through animated figures.   Walter and Peter discover this when they enter Olivia's mind in search of Olivia, which is necessary to get Bell to leave so Olivia can take charge of her body once again.  And when Walter and Peter find Bell, a cartoon, in Olivia's mind, they turn into virtual cartoon figures, too.

So, at this point, we have Inception (entering someone's mind) and Tron (the move from physical to virtual worlds - a Second Life right before our eyes.   How does The Walking Dead come in?  In this world of Olivia's mind, first some flesh-and-blood zombies (or maybe they're alive) and then some cartoon zombies who are 100% zombies chase our heroes.   Totally unnecessary plotwise, but, hey, I'm a fan of The Walking Dead, and the TV series is after all an adaptation of the comic book series.

On the subject of homages, Bell aka Leonard Nimoy also says "aye, aye, Captain" to Walter, in a sly reprise of Spock to Kirk.

Also worthy of note are the WTC Twin Towers.  Why would they be in Olivia's mind?  I thought at first that maybe the mind was Fauxlivia's, but an equally good explanation is Olivia recently saw the WTC when she was "over there".

As to plot: Bell apparently takes his final leave, but since he doesn't like goodbyes, anything is possible in the future.  In the more immediate up ahead, Olivia thinks someone will kill her ... but how she got knowledge of her own future is anyone's guess...


5-min podcast review of Fringe

See also Fringe 3.1: The Other Olivia ... Fringe 3.2: Bad Olivia and Peter ... Fringe 3.3: Our/Their Olivia on the Other Side ... Fringe 3.5: Back from Hiatus, Back from the Amber ... Fringe 3.7: Two Universes Still Nearing Collision ... Fringe 3.8: Long Voyages Home ... Fringe 3.10: The Return of the Eternal Bald Observers ... Flowers for Fringenon in Fringe 3.11 ... Fringe 3.12: The Wrong Coffee  ... Fringe 3.13: Alternate Fringe ... Fringe 3.14: Amber Here ... Fringe 3.15: Young Peter and Olivia ... Fringe 3.16: Walter and Yoko ... Fringe 3.17: Bell, Olivia, Lee, and the Cow ... Fringe 3.18: Clever Walternate

See also reviews of Season 2: Top Notch Return of Fringe Second Season ... Fringe 2.2 and The Mole People ... Fringe 2.3 and the Human Body as Bomb ... Fringe 2.4 Unfolds and Takes Wing ... Fringe 2.5: Peter in Alternate Reality and Wi-Fi for the Mind ... A Different Stripe of Fringe in 2.6 ... The Kid Who Changed Minds in Fringe 2.7 ... Fringe 2.8: The Eternal Bald Observers ... Fringe 2.9: Walter's Journey ... Fringe 2.10: Walter's Brain, Harry Potter, and Flowers for Algernon ...  New Fringe on Monday Night: In Alternate Universe? ... Fringe 2.12: Classic Science Fiction Chiante ... Fringe 2.13: "I Can't Let Peter Die Again" ... Fringe 2.14: Walter's Health, Books, and Father ... Fringe 2.15: I'll Take 'Manhatan' ... Fringe 2.16: Peter's Story ... Fringe 2.17: Will Olivia Tell Peter? ... Fringe 2.18: Strangeness on a Train ... Fringe 2.19: Two Plus Infinity ... Fringe the Noir Musical ... Fringe 2.21: Bring on the Alternates ... Fringe 2.22:  Tin Soldiers and Nixon Coming ... Fringe Season 2 Finale: The Switch

See also reviews of Season One Fringe Begins ... Fringe 2 and 3: The Anthology Tightrope ... 4: The Eternal Bald Observer ... 7: A Bullet Can Scramble a Dead Brain's Transmission ... 8. Heroic Walter and Apple Through Steel ... 9. Razor-Tipped Butterflies of the Mind ... 10. Shattered Pieces Come Together Through Space and Times ... 11. A Traitor, a Crimimal, and a Lunatic ... 12, 13, 14: Fringe and Teleportation ... 15: Fringe is Back with Feral Child, Pheromones, and Bald Men ... 17. Fringe in New York, with Oliva as Her Suspect ... 18. Heroes and Villains across Fringe ... Stephen King, Arthur C. Clarke, and Star Trek in Penultimate Fringe ... Fringe Alternate Reality Finale: Science Fiction At Its Best


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The Plot to Save Socrates




"challenging fun" - Entertainment Weekly

"a Da Vinci-esque thriller" - New York Daily News

"Sierra Waters is sexy as hell" - curled up with a good book




Enjoy listening to audio books? Get a free audio book copy of The Plot to Save Socrates - or any one of 85,000 other titles - with a 14-day trial membership at Audible.com ...
 
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