Daily Archives: February 1, 2007

Stranger Than Life

If you’ve been hanging around this place for any length of time, you’ve probably got a pretty good handle on my tastes in entertainment. I like pulp adventures, science fiction movies, superhero comics, horror novels, and British comedy. In the simplest possible terms, I’m a geek. But aside from the social stigma of daring to like such things, what is the connection between them? Why is the core appeal of all these various genres?

A blogger named John Seavey has a pretty good idea:


Sidney Sheldon

Ah, man, here’s another one: the writer Sidney Sheldon died Tuesday, aged 89. I’ve never read any of his novels, but I Dream of Jeannie, the ridiculous sitcom he created back in the 1965, has always been a favorite of mine. Growing up, it was part of my afternoon block of “must-see” syndicated re-runs, which also included (on a rotating basis over the years) Gilligan’s Island, The Brady Bunch, Hogan’s Heroes, Bewitched (that other sitcom about a hot blonde with magical powers), Get Smart, Laugh In, and, of course, Star Trek. As a little kid, I grooved on the slapstick of whatever trouble Majors Nelson and Healey got themselves into. When I got a little older, my interest in Jeannie became a little more, ahem, adult in nature. Let’s just say that, If nothing else, Sheldon deserves our respect for bringing us the sight of Barbara Eden in diaphanous pants.

Ah, the glories of a misspent youth…


Palate Cleanser

Here’s a joke I just received from The Girlfriend’s dad that I thought was pretty funnny:

A C-130 was flying on a mission when a cocky F-16 pilot flew up next to him.


The fighter jock told the C-130 pilot, “Watch this!” and promptly went into a barrel roll followed by a steep climb! He finished up with a sonic boom as he broke the sound barrier.


The F-16 pilot asked the C-130 pilot what he thought of that.


The C-130 pilot said, “That was impressive, but watch this!”


The C-130 droned along for about five minutes, and then the C-130 pilot came back on and asked, “What did you think of that?”


Puzzled, the F-16 pilot asked, “What the hell did you do?”


The C-130 pilot chuckled. “I stood up, stretched my legs, went to the back, took a leak, then got a cup of coffee and a sweet roll.”

Ah, military pilot humor…


Molly Ivins

I just learned from Scalzi that the columnist Molly Ivins has died. According to her obit, it was breast cancer and she was 62, about the same age as my mom.

This is really shaping up to be a crappy day.

In an occupation filled with self-important, mean-spirited blowhards who aren’t nearly as funny or smart as they think they are, Molly Ivins was a class act. Yes, she was unabashedly liberal, and yes, she was unsparing in her criticism of those politicians she thought were in the wrong, but she was also a sharp thinker who was motivated more by common sense and heartfelt populism than cynical partisanship. She took plenty of shots at Bill Clinton during his time in office, too. And she was damn funny when she did it. I’m going to miss her columns, which so often seemed to say (in folksier language, of course) exactly what I was thinking and feeling but couldn’t quite articulate.

I’m sure everyone who writes about Molly today will link to these items as well, but here is a tribute to her by her editor at Creator’s Syndicate, from which you can navigate to all her 2006 columns, and here is her final column, a protest against the president’s “surge” plan. Personally, however, I much preferred an earlier one that included this cri de couer:

What happened to the nation that never tortured? The nation that wasn’t supposed to start wars of choice? The nation that respected human rights and life? A nation that from the beginning was against tyranny? Where have we gone? How did we let these people take us there? How did we let them fool us?


It’s a monstrous idea to put people in prison and keep them there. Since 1215, civil authorities have been obligated to tell people with what they are charged if they’re arrested. This administration has done away with rights first enshrined in the Magna Carta nearly 800 years ago, and we’ve let them do it. [Emphasis hers.]

Yep, there she goes again, saying what I’ve been thinking in better language than I’ve managed to summon on my own.


Whose Brilliant Idea… ?

I’ve just been reading about the guerilla marketing campaign for Aqua Teen Hunger Force that went horribly wrong yesterday, and I honestly can’t decide who is more foolish: the marketers who didn’t stop to consider the ultra-paranoid times in which we live before they started planting mysterious devices all over urban settings, or the ultra-paranoid public who apparently believe that al-Qaeda has started decorating its bombs with blinking LED cartoon characters.

I really hate the 21st Century sometimes…