Sunday, October 07, 2007

Currently Meme, Featuring Two Whos For The Price Of One

Current clothes: Gray sweats, black Farscape t-shirt, white socks. No shoes.

Current mood: Lazy and procrastinatory. Last night's zombie-comedy-and-Indian-food expedition notwithstanding, this has felt very much like the kind of weekend for lying around watching DVDs and maybe doing random very small tasks around the house, rather than working on any of the more ambitious projects I ought to be doing.

Current music: The Who, The Ultimate Collection, disc one. I read an article a few years ago where some teenager who'd barely heard of any band formed before about 1990 was sent to various classic rock concerts and asked to report his opinions. He seemed fairly lukewarm towards most of 'em, as I recall, but he thought the Who rocked. I regard this as objective proof that the music of the Who is of timeless, ageless awesomeness. As if any such proof were actually needed.

Current annoyance: The fact that aforementioned unproductive mood has persisted for over a week now.

Current thing: Doing damn little, as per above.

Current desktop picture: A black-and-white Doctor Who wallpaper I found somewhere on the internet. It features the First Doctor standing in a wood looking, well, very First Doctor-ish, with Barbara and Ian (and the TARDIS) looking on.

Current book: The Last Resort by Paul Leonard. Yes, it's yet another Doctor Who novel. I do read books without the words "Doctor Who" on the front, honest. But I'm trying to get through these Eighth Doctor novels sometime before we end up on Doctor Eleven. I'm only a few chapters into this one. So far it's kind of confusing, but interestingly imaginative.

Current song in head: "Don't Let Him Go" by REO Speedwagon. Oh, the embarrassment.

Current DVD in player: Disc 1 of Crusade. I've actually seen five episodes of that now, though; I was told to watch them in a different order from the one on the discs. Sadly, the best things I can say about it so far are that it has one appealing character, and that sometimes it comes very close to being good. In the other DVD player is disc 2 of season 2 of Farscape. (Hi, Dad!) And in the VCR is a tape with a couple of episodes of Cosmos. I stumbled across the boxed set somewhere for $14, new. Even for a semi-obsolete format, you can't beat that with a stick. And, man, call me a sap -- a nerdy sap, even -- but I still find that show incredibly stirring. Dr. Sagan isn't exactly telling me anything I haven't already known for most of my life, but I still keep sitting up, leaning forward and going, "That is so cool!" Cosmos, to be honest, is probably responsible for me being where I am right now, as reading the companion book in the 7th grade was highly inspirational for making me want to study space science in the first place. I actually find myself vaguely tempted to pick up a copy for my nephew, as all kids ought to have the opportunity to let Carl Sagan inspire them to grow up and study science. And, Carl's wardrobe choices aside, the show is, all things considered, remarkably un-dated.

Current refreshment: Mint-flavored tea.

Current worry: I'm feeling too lazy to be worried by anything right this very second.

Current thought: "Don't let him go. Don't let him go!" Aargh. *bashes brain* Play some Who instead, damn it!


  1. Hey I like REO Speedwagon!

  2. I always remember the way Carl Sagan said "The primordial soup" and "billions and billions" hehehe

    p.s. yes The Who is better that REO Speedwagon but I still like 'em.

  3. Actually, I kind of like 'em, too, although I'm mildly embarrassed about the fact. But that particular song just really is not that pleasant to have stuck in one's head.

    You know, I believe Sagan never actually said "billions and billions," exactly as Kirk never said "Beam me up, Scotty" in the original Trek. Still, the way he spoke and the kinds of words he liked to use were easy to mock, sure. Regardless, that dude was freakin' inspirational. He really was.

  4. He definitely said "primordial soup" because he had the tone on the word soup and you are right he never said that although I could swear he did. Wikipedia says he used the phrase "billions of stars" So I guess I don't remember the billions and billions just billions hehehehe

  5. Also like "play it again, Sam" in Casablanca.

  6. Actually, I just watched the episode where he was talking about primordial soup, and he didn't use that phrase, either! He does call it a "soup," several times, so you may well be remembering the inflection right. But he doesn't use the word "primordial" in front of it. And he certainly uses the word "billions," just not that particular phrase.

    Interesting how the human mind can convince itself it remembers hearing things it didn't quite actually hear, isn't it?

    The Casablanca thing is a good example, too. I thought of it myself after I posted the comment.

  7. Are you sure I remember the primordial soup distinctly!!!!!!!!!! ok maybe he doesn't say primordial in front of soup but he uses that word in the episode for sure and the word soup :)

    I remember watching that one in Mr. Hart's biology class in high school.

  8. Geez next thing you'll tell me is Paul Revere never said "the British are coming" or Marie Antoinette never said "let them eat cake" or George Washington never said that thing about the Cherry tree.

  9. Yes, he says "primordial" and he says "soup," but he doesn't say them together. I was listening for it. :)

    Also, I know you were probably joking here and already knew this stuff, but let's see...

    From Wikipedia:

    "Revere certainly did not shout the famous phrase later attributed to him ("The British are coming!"), largely because the mission depended on secrecy and the countryside was filled with British army patrols; also, most colonial residents at the time considered themselves British as they were all legally British subjects."

    From an article on the cherry tree story:

    "[T]he whole story is a moral lesson invented by the patriot’s first biographer – a former Anglican pastor and itinerant Bible salesman named Mason L. Weems."

    And from The Straight Dope:

    "While Marie Antoinette was certainly enough of a bubblehead to have said the phrase in question, there is no evidence that she actually did so, and in any case she did not originate it. The peasants-have-no-bread story was in common currency at least since the 1760s as an illustration of the decadence of the aristocracy. The political philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau mentions it in his Confessions in connection with an incident that occurred in 1740. (He stole wine while working as a tutor in Lyons and then had problems trying to scrounge up something to eat along with it.) He concludes thusly: "Finally I remembered the way out suggested by a great princess when told that the peasants had no bread: 'Well, let them eat cake.'""

    Life is so full of disillusionments. :)

  10. And Holmes never said "Elementary, my Dear Watson."

  11. John,
    That's a good one! I looked it up and see that Holmes never uttered that combination in any of the books.

    I noticed there is quite a list of famous "misquotes" where it's been changed and the misquote has been absorbed into our culture.

  12. Well, technically, Holmes never said anything, being a fictional character.

    Much was made by Straczynski et al. about the network's handling of Crusade -- airing episodes out of order, etc. I think, when viewed in the right order and with this in mind, it's a slightly less confusing series, but it's not much better. If anything, I found myself liking it a little less the second time around, which was no small feat, let me tell you. I feel like it took the weaknesses of Babylon 5, multiplied them tenfold, while also dumping the series-long arcs and deep foreshadowing that made B5 so entertaining (until the 5th season, anyway).

    Am I right in thinking that one appealing character is Galen? (I think the captain also has his moments, thanks mostly to Gary Cole.)

  13. Oh, and here are a bunch more misquotations, for your reading amusement:

  14. Fred,
    Thanks for the link, I'm not sure why this thread amuses me so much.

  15. I saw on that Wikipedia link Fred posted that they had links to commonly misquoted people. I clicked on Dan Quayle and the stuff that he actually said has me rolling.

    Especially "What a waste it is to lose one's mind. Or not to have a mind is being very wasteful. How true that is." I remember this was in a speech he gave to the United Negro College Fund.

    And this one which I don't remember but...
    "I have been asked who caused the riots and the killing in LA, my answer has been direct & simple: Who is to blame for the riots? The rioters are to blame. Who is to blame for the killings? The killers are to blame."

  16. Ok back to work time!

  17. Yes, Fred, thanks for the link. Heck, now I'm feeling disillusioned. :)

    I think I'd argue that fictional characters are perfectly capable of saying things, though, and do so all the time. :)

    And, oh, man, I remember when quoting and misquoting Quayle was something of a national pastime. The guy made it easy.

  18. Fred: Switching subjects... I was just talking to the friends who lent me the Crusade discs -- they're huge Babylon 5 fans and know way more about the show than I do. And hearing them talk about the stuff JMS has apparently said about the show's problems and the way the network kept meddling with it suddenly makes sense of a lot of things that otherwise leave me scratching my head going, "How the hell is this so bad?" And it seems as though it was eventually supposed to have a story arc, too. Alas. I sigh for what might have been. Mind you, I still don't think it would ever have been as good as B5, but there does seem to be a decent show buried in there somewhere. Deep.

    At this point, I'm pretty much watching it just for Galen, so, yes, your guess is entirely correct. :)

  19. There's no doubt a lot of the problems with Crusade stem from network interference. But a lot also stem from miscasting and poor (or at least poorly thought out) writing. I liked Babylon 5 a lot, and I think in many ways it still holds up very well. But I think it would be wrong to pretend it didn't have problems or bad episodes and ideas.

    Have you seen any B5 episodes? Crusade takes off from a plot point at the end of B5, but I guess it's pretty standalone. It doesn't require too much, if any, real prior knowledge. I just find it strange to start with the universe through the spinoff. (It would be a little like watching Torchwood as your first foray into Doctor Who, to put it into perspective.)

    B5 stumbled, but it got a whole lot of things right. Crusade, on the other hand, is pretty much only about the stumbling.

    I still haven't seen either Legend of the Rangers or the new Lost Tales.

  20. I've seen all of B5. And I agree that bad casting is part of the problem with Crusade... I can think of at least one actor on there that I'd kind of like to smack right now. :) On the other hand, they've also got good actors they're utterly wasting. I mean, Daniel Dae Kim is an amazingly good actor, but you'd never know it from this show.

    And, yeah, B5 certainly had its share of problems... JMS's writing, particularly when it comes to large-scale story arcs, can achieve heights of brilliance, but there are also times when his dialog, exposition, etc. are wince-inducingly clunky. Crusade showcases that clunkiness in full force, but, y'know season one of B5 was pretty clunky, too. Based on what I've seen of Crusade so far, I don't think it would ever have hit B5's heights -- you're quite right about B5's weaknesses being magnified in it -- but it might have been watchable, given a chance.

    I will say that it seems to be getting at least somewhat better as I go along, although that is perhaps not saying all that much.

    I have seen Legend of the Rangers, and it was bad. I was talking with someone else about this a little while ago, and she made the comment that Crusade, while not exactly good, did have its moments, but Legend of the Rangers showed no sign that it was ever going to have any moments at all. I have to agree with that.

    I have Lost Tales for when I finish Crusade. I'm told it's better. We'll see.

    Oh, and, interestingly enough, I do know someone whose introduction to Doctor Who was via Torchwood. Surprisingly enough, this seemed to work just fine. :)