Monthly Archives: September 2008

no, thank YOU

This being a road movie, the primary entertainment is in watching our heroes encounter the better and worse sort of locals, and this film doesn’t disappoint. From a bar fight provoked by vacuous, bitchy college girls to a great cameo by John Heard as a cocktail party blowhard, from the traditional running-away-while-zipping-up-one’s-pants fiasco to a totally gratuitous tornado, this movie doesn’t disappoint. It’s not as flat-out wacky as National Lampoon’s Vacation, of course, but — here’s the interesting thing — it manages to explore exactly the same issues around the Iraq War and the cost that soldiers are shouldering as Kimberly Peirce’s Stop-Loss, with about a tenth as much melodrama.

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Posted in filmmaking, soldiering

jelly baby?

I like Eccleston partly because his name reminds me of Eccles from The Goon Show, but mostly because he understands that what made the old series so exciting was that every actor who played the Doctor (at least during my years of fandom — Tom Baker through Sylvester McCoy) took the sometimes ludicrous SF content seriously and threw himself into every situation with absolute commitment.

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Posted in filmmaking

you kidnapped my guitar

I’d watched the first episode of the fourth season of House, M.D. before, but watching it again I’m impressed by the brilliant simplicity of its medical plotline. I’ve always been afraid to try writing a spec episode for House because … Continue reading

Posted in adventure, California, filmmaking


Holy shit. All right, so I was reading here about Timur Bekmambetov’s new, improved (?!) Moby-Dick, and in one of the comments there was a peculiar link to the WB’s website with a picture of Lauren Graham and the tagline — my jaw dropped — “MILF and cookies.”

And it’s not just used in an advertising link — it’s the official slogan of the WB’s new webcast of full episodes here!

Does Lauren Graham know about this?

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Posted in advertising, filmmaking, tasteless, women

witch just goes to show….

But whether it was God or some clever ancient lawmaker who first outlawed witchcraft, there are surely very good reasons for it — reasons that ought to appeal to the stoutest and most scientific skeptic. Namely, witchcraft is fraud, pure and simple. Witchcraft was to the ancient world what astrology, homeopathy, “energy work,” Scientology, and the Atkins diet are to our own era — a dishonest attempt to use confirmation bias and other psychological effects to convince people that they can have something for nothing, that the world doesn’t work the way it appears to, that there’s a “secret knowledge” that’s available only through initiated practitioners and that can enable one to step around the rules that apply to everyone else.

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Posted in economics, religion, women | 1 Comment

typing by ear

Here’s something I noticed today: I type aurally. That is, I type like someone transcribing for closed-captioned television; I type what I hear in my head. There’s a narrator (me, presumably), and my hands type, usually by muscle memory, whatever … Continue reading

Posted in linguistics

numbers don’t lie, but they’re not always good at explaining why grandma has to live with us

But I.O.U.S.A isn’t just concerned about today’s debts. As becomes clear towards the end, the real killer isn’t what we owe now; that’s salt peanuts compared to what we will owe in the next forty years or so as the population ages and we’re forced to spend more and more on pensions, medical care, and prescription drugs. Here’s where I sat up in the theater, gooseflesh all over. Because today’s total national debt is already more than half our GDP, and this film’s projections, if they’re in any way remotely accurate, predict a national debt in the coming decades that will actually completely dwarf our GDP, many times over. Remember when you were a kid, and they had those diagrams — “How many Earths could fit in side the Sun?” This is like that. And when that happens, we will literally have no more money left for anything but paying Social Security and the national debt. No national defense. The fucking Canadians will just come across the border and make us all wear flannel and replace our table sugar with maple syrup. Jesus.

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Posted in economics, filmmaking | 1 Comment