Saturday, September 09, 2006

Camera Obscura - "Simpsons" Meet "Star Trek"

Here are a brief collection of movie bits and tv items for a Saturday morning Camera Obscura - events this week have again conspired to keep me places not close to a computer/

Many people are remarking on the 40th Anniversary of Star Trek's arrival on television. What better time to note that indeed, we all continue to boldly go where no - "D'oh!!" - has gone before. Yes, it's The Simpson's theme and the Star Trek theme, all with the help of a Theremin and YouTube.

And an interesting blend of Episcopalians in Georgia and Buffy The Vampire Slayer has been reported by Reel Fanatic.

Just about every DVD in release this week and next week can be found here. It includes links to the re-release of the original "Star Wars" trilogy from laserdisc to a new DVD release. It is an untinkered with collection, as most space fans have asked for.

I'll get some work done and be back here soon!!

As always, thanks fer having that Cup of Joe.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Meanwhile, In The News

CBS floats a lighter than air bit on a movie star's baby appearing in Vanity Fair. Wow. Shocking.

Meanwhile, ABC reveals Pakistan is giving safe haven to terrorists.

Volunteer Voters has links to others on this peace settlement.

At KnoxViews, R. Neal pegs the problem.

And in the Iraqi parliament, they are working on a plan to split the country into three divisions, which aims to dampen the growing civil war.

OK. Feel free to go back and watch Katie Couric get chummy with another celebrity.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Near-Sidewards Crablike Skidaddle

A blogwoman who is a lifetime member of Target (goes there for special occasions, like an anniversary) who is also a bona fide Busy Mom had an "encounter":

Toothless mountain man: "Ya wanna look at each other's stuff? I'll look at your stuff and you look at my stuff, and, we won't have to give any of it away."
Me: ... (!)

Heh Heh.

I've had those kind of moments when you look around to see if some TV show is filming your reactions. When you see there isn't, you begin a near-sidewards crablike skidaddle. (A difficult yet urgent form of movement.)

There was a moment this afternoon when I almost had to make the "
near-sidewards crablike skidaddle" as I was perusing jars of salsa at the local market. Off to my left, I hear a woman say "you know, everything in here is getting more expensive."

"Hmmm ... yes, everything is getting more expensive...." I say in hopes of appearing agreeable and non-threatening while carefully, without making eye contact, I attempted to ascertain just who owned the voice.

"It sure is" she says.

"Yes. Yep. Uh-huh." and I am gaining some confidence this is just normal 'howdy-do-stranger' banter which used to occur with somewhat more frequency here in America, and then go back to studying salsa labels.

"You know, you can make some really great food by just adding salsa," says the lady, who, sensing my guard has been dropped, literally zoomed across the 15 feet which had separated us, "For instance -"

With my ninja-like reflexes, I immediately pivot and turn to both face the stranger and establish the necessary stance for a '
near-sidewards crablike skidaddle'.

The woman before me has long, straight white hair, looks to be somewhere between 60 and 70, but I see no tell-tale military camouflage outfit, nor a hideously streaked with some food or grease threadbare T-shirt with an obscure and oddly out of date catch-phrase, like 'Sit On It, Turkey!!.

In fact, the hair and fairly calm features make her look a little ... well, witchy was the word I thought, or maybe just earth-mothery.

She continued, saying "You can make a really good meatloaf, just find some salsa you like, and mix it in with the breadcrumbs and mix it into the groundbeef. Something with plenty of onions and peppers in the salsa, and then a pinch of salt and a pinch of pepper."

Now, the way she said that bit about the pinch part for some reason shifted my view back to the "witchy" perception.

Thankfully, she followed that suggestion with, "Of course I always add some brown sugar, and a little Worcestershire Sauce for a glaze while it cooks." and I realize we are having a plain old share-a-recipe conversation, which, again, used to occur with some frequency within the aisles of a market in America. (And before I forget to mention it, I think "worcestershire" would make a great first-round spelling bee word.)

At this point she starts to back off, smiling very sweetly, and adds, "It saves time and tastes good, try it out sometime."

So I casually (yet again, with ninja-like subterfuge) shift my near-sidewards crablike stance into a jaunty one bent-knee at ease. And thanked the lady.

Figured I must have some reason now to just buy the dang salsa and quit pondering over it and get outta there before I actually made a friend. No sense in getting carried away.

"We Will Keep Control"

Watching what passes for campaigning these days, which is really just political party humping and grinding, Republican Sen. Dole exclaimed "We will keep control!!!"

She was chastising Democrat Sen. Schumer while some network goober played referee in a game of Bait the Question.

The question - not about the nature of issues facing the country, not about the failure or successes of either elected official, not about the massive public disgust with failures in Congress. Nope. It was a question of "Will the Republicans or the Democrats have control of the Senate after the elections this fall?"

Even the goober reporter knows the Public Good is a moot point. This is a billionaire's game of Party Politics and the Public Good is of no concern.

The response emphasizes that a political party runs America, aided by the party's donors and members. The clubs which are in charge have no desire to represent you unless you donate large cash sums. The emphasis is that the Time of "citizen-led legislature" has been long over and is not about to return.

"We will keep control."

In fairness, if you examine what that Royal We has done what will be found?

Tax cuts for the billionaires - check. Border Security and Immigration Reforms - ask after the elections. Minimum wage increase - ask after the elections. Social Security and Pension Reforms - no on S.S;, and companies now have years to comply with changes to Pension Management, insuring maximum profitability for corporate shareholders and the continuing decrease of Pension benefits to workers, all in a densely worded document which will allow a politician of either party to proclaim on the campaign trail "your money is safe!" without ever having to define "whose money" they mean. Health care reform - yes, pharmaceutical companies keep their control of Medicare and health insurance payment burdens have been removed from corporate concerns and are now the worker's "right". Federal deficit - highest growth in American history!! Housing and job growth - yes, the price of an average home is the highest in American history and there are more service jobs for illegal immigrants than ever before!!

But, Joe, the elections are about National Security and the Global War on Terror, which has been the tent-pole, the star attraction of the GOP for five years. We're winning that one aren't we?

Er. Um. I know we are "staying the course so we can fight them there on our terms rather than fight them here on their terms." Yep. Oh, and "we cannot cut and run."

So ... that means we are still in house to house, town to town, hill to hill battles in Afghanistan and Iraq. Years and years of hearings and trials for former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein are underway, the illegal heroin business in Afghanistan is booming, and Iran is emerging as an atomic superpower in the middle east. Terrorist bomb attacks and plots are now taking place in Britain, India, Saudi Arabia - so, nope, not here in America. Oh, and that whole WMD thing wasn't the point anyway, so we don't have that to worry about.

In terms of public safety, the illicit pleasures and poorer sections of New Orleans have been eliminated and the land is ripe for corporate investment, as soon as the government contractual fraud funding is complete. Any citizens forced to flee have been merged into surrounding state budgets for them to care for.

The Patriot Act has been reauthorized so it can circumvent the Constitution, phones and email are under constant surveillance, and the airlines now rigorously check shoes and liquids.

Education? No child has been left behind, all the test numbers are new and totally misunderstood by the public in general and soda pop machines are quickly fading from campuses everywhere.

On the thorny issue of campaign financing scandals, lobbyist reforms -- well, looking at the race in Tennessee for the battle of the Senate seat, Democrat Harold Ford Jr has raised about $4.5 million and spent about $3.3 million, and Republican Bob Corker has raised $5.5 million and spent about $1.8 million. The edge goes to Corker, who has plenty of revenue left to whip away at the godless, liberal democrat Ford in advertising spots and exiting Senator Bill Frist is hard at working campaigning in Iowa.

Outside Tennessee, the battle is truly fierce in states like Pennsylvania, where incumbent Republican and cheerleader Sen. Rick Santorum is trailing in the polls, but has raised $18.3 million so should have plenty of chance to catch the current poll leader, Democrat Bob Casey Jr. who has raised only $8.4 million.

Congress itself is poised to return for a few weeks, where they will consider a bill to commemorate the victims and events of 9-11-2001. That should coincide with multi-media programs via news networks, DVDs and movies to remind everyone of how afraid they should be, and bring support to the side of Defense Secretary Don Rumsfeld, who has successfully been able to stay in his position on the cabinet for a historic length of time.

In short, I think Sen. Dole is right. They are in charge. In glorious, terror-alert colors of half-witted, ill-thought and fear-filled charge.

The old military terms apply - the GOP has SNAFU. The Democrats have FUBAR.

The American Citizen - go back to work, move along, nothing to see here. "We will keep control."

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Sunday Sermonette Number 2 (maybe 3)

The Sundays which fall in a holiday weekend are a bit better than other Sundays. A typical Sunday is a quieter day when you step outside - the usual stench of the Rat Race which runs Monday thru Friday is dampened, lessened somewhat since humans sleeping a bit later, or as in the South, lowered anxieties accompany the Faithful Flocks who make their way to the Church of Their Choice. This particular September Sunday is caught in the midst of a the Labor Day Holiday, and here in East TN, the silence is sweetened by the satisfaction of football fans who saw Their Boys win and slumber on more deeply, or wake a bit more quietly.

I always welcome this Sunday morning silence.

Religious or not, most humans seem to take one day a week to drift a bit.

The blurred confusion which circulates in the news about the state o' the world is still there, yes, and I often think the planet would truly benefit if even the 24/7 television world were to simply shut up as well - say from about 5 a.m. til about 3 or 4 p.m. every Sunday. Voluntarily, I mean. Everyone gets forced into too much these days, and I refuse to advocate more forced behavior. I just think the planet would benefit from a touch of self-imposed silence.

Maybe that's why Sunday mornings are so pleasant - most humans take some down time, or ponder the Creator from pews and pulpits, or prep a leisurely plate of brunch, or roll over and dream for a few more moments.

For this Sunday, I do have a few thoughts on worldly matters and the manipulations and machinations from the Powers That Be. But those are all on a back burner, concepts are slowly stewing away, perhaps for a post later today or tomorrow.

Front and center today, though, are a few manifestations of the Oddness of early September 2006. And so I offer to share some of these stray bits of strangeness which I have found in the last day or so.

From West TN, the mighty Newscoma includes a report on Bigfoot sightings in Arizona. The headline for the latest news reads "Bigfoot Kept Lumberjack As Love Slave." What might that be like? Just how does Bigfoot enslave the love of a burly lumberjack? Just how does the mythic creature get his/her Love jones on? If there is just one Bigfoot, isn't there a tragic quality to the creature who has no mate, no peer, no equal, forced instead to hold captive an unsuspecting lumberjack?

The Bigfoot story, from Weekly World News, reminds me of the pics and stories they used to run about President Clinton meeting with our Alien Overlords. So I wonder, if maybe the current administration, itself alone and unloved in a hostile world, might should reach out to Bigfoot, co-mingle their alienations, and send the creature out into the diplomatic world. Maybe for example, a country like Iran or Lebanon could benefit from a visit from Bigfoot. A newer, gentler myth of monstrosity could behoove them.

On the topic of monstrosities, I can confirm I have never, ever, never wondered what might happen if someone made a line of perfumes and scents based on the fantastical creatures from the mind of writer H.P. Lovecraft. But these folks here have.

For the scent of the haunted city of Arkham, makers say it is:

A shadowy, unapproachable forest of maple, birch, dogwood, cypress and pine softened by a garland of New England wildflowers: bergamot, columbine, rue anemone, blue violet, creeping phlox, bloodroot, toadflax, and pixie moss.

I was thinking of contacting them and offering to work writing ad copy for them for today's modern-now-a-go-go youth -- I think ad ad reading "Smells Like Teen Nyarlathotep" might capture the national attention. Imagine a reality show, "The Next Pickman's Model."

Since it is a Sunday, I was more than a little disturbed to discover the new craze among Southern Evangelical Christians is Christian Wrestling. I mean, 'Rasslin'!

I had thought at first glance this was a story about the North Carolina singer/comedian Rev. Billy C. Wirtz, who had a tune back in the early 1990s called "Sleeper Hold On Satan."


Seems there are even two Christian Rassling Leagues.

I'm not going to sit here and listen to a shirt-and-tie preacher. But I might listen to a guy in spandex because he's like me',” said Timothy "“T-Money"” Blackmon, who wears tight black shorts with a "T“"” on one buttocks and a dollar sign on the other."

Ooops. That story has ruptured my calm Sunday.

Time to sign off and go make some waffles, maybe some biscuits, while the dogs hover near my ankles hopping for dropped morsels. And then a nap.

POSTSCRIPT: I am not sure what the hell is going on in the United Kingdom right now, but for the last four or five days hundreds and hundreds of U.K readers have been arriving here on this Cup of Joe after Googling for that old "Cats That Look Like Hitler" post. That can't be a good sign if Europe is pondering that guy, even in cat form.

Besides, for all those folk who've been visiting - they have yet to leave a single comment. That's just rude.