2008 04 24
Battlestar Galactica: A complaint

In the fictional world of Battlestar Galactica it is a fact of no little consequence that Cylons are virtually indistinguishable from humans, right down to the cellular level. And yet they’re different in all kinds of ways! For example, when they get killed, their consciousness gets uploaded so that they can just jump right into another body. But if they’re indistinguishable from humans right down to the cellular level then by what mechanism is this accomplished? And this is just the beginning of the features that supposedly make them very different from humans. The writers of the show seem to me to be making a really stupid move somewhere in the vicinity of this common mistake.

I’m not sure why this irritates me so much. I can suspend disbelief for an impressive variety of fictional worlds. But this! This I can hardly stand. Perhaps it’s because the mistake here is one that I see in serious contexts, whereas journalists don’t typically go around talking about star trek transporters as though we have currently working models. Anyway. Yeeeeearg.

Howls of outrage (29)

2007 05 06
Yes, Prime Minister

It’s a real pity that Netflix has chosen, at this stage at least, to do its new on demand service through Internet Explorer. If I understand correctly, this means that you’re screwed if you use Linux, which we do on the hand-me-down laptop in our bedroom (and which actually has the more reliable internet connection). Still, it’s nice to be able to click on a movie and have it start playing – usually without much fuss – almost immediately. And they’re not charging extra to watch a generous number of hours, at least yet.

The offerings are still a bit spotty, I notice. But more than spotty, they’re peculiar. If you were digitizing movies for a new service, would one of your first choices be “Real Genius,” the 80s film starring Val Kilmer? No, it would not. I wonder what’s up with that.

Television offerings are similarly thin and idiosyncratic. But! I recently found they have all of the British television show “Yes, Prime Minister.” This is good. I can watch them now whenever I want, and I can watch them over and over again without even worrying about returning them in the mail.

The only complaint I have about “Yes, Prime Minister” so far is the laugh track. I hate laugh tracks. They make me laugh less, since I hate having it implied that now is a time I really ought to be laughing.

Howls of outrage (14)

2006 12 11
Trailer Park Boys

Posted by in: Pop Culture, Television

The Dagger Aleph is right: The Trailer Park Boys is pretty funny. She’s put up a clip on her site illustrating its virtues. It’s very much worth watching, but if you’re at work you might wait until you get home.

A single voice crying in the wilderness (1)

2005 06 01
Classic Canadian Comedy

Go here, scroll down to “Bob & Doug McKenzie – Great White North” and click.

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2005 04 29
Our Very Own Brainman

Posted by in: Anecdotal, Television

I turned on Letterman the other night to find the camera showing the back of his guest’s head with Dave in the background. My heart leapt to my throat as I wondered if what I was seeing really was…really was…No, it couldn’t be! Is that Chris?!

Turns out the closely shorn pate was not Chris’s, but Daniel Tammet, pukka savant. Tammet is autistic, and apparently memorized Pi, in only a few weeks, to an INCREDIBLE twenty-two thousand, five-hundred decimal places. He said it took him something like five hours to recite, which means in those few weeks he couldn’t have gone over the number that many times in order to memorize it.

While I know Chris doesn’t have those skills to that degree, I think his friends and family ought to cut him some slack. What with blogging and memorizing Pi in his spare time, it’s a wonder he’s as far as he is with his dissertation. And thus we hope he’s relaxing and dancing with wolves up north.

Howls of outrage (5)

2005 03 17
The Newsroom

Thanks to Netflix, I finally managed to watch the first nine episodes of the old (90s) Canadian T.V. series, The Newsroom. I’m happy to report that it was every bit as hilarious as I remembered it. If you like dark comedy centred around the ugly side of human nature, The Newsroom is probably your thing. Some of the jokes probably require Canadian citizenship to get, but human ugliness seems to be universal, so most of the humour translates just fine.

I’ve had only one Netflix disappointment so far: They didn’t have Le Confessionale, which is a pity, since it’s a great movie. But neither did my video store, so what can you do? My damn video store didn’t have the seriously awesome Johnny Dangerously, and now it’s sitting on our DVD player just waiting to be enjoyed.

Howls of outrage (3)

2005 01 06
Better Watch the Daily Show Tonight

Posted by in: Television

Crooked Timber tells you why.

A single voice crying in the wilderness (1)

2004 11 28
Ali G

Posted by in: Pop Culture, Television

Get your Ali G on here.

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2004 10 19
Let’s Fix, Robots

Posted by in: Pop Culture, Television

Before there was the Daily Show, there was Phil Hartman. Today I was reminiscing with a friend about a scketch that you can find in “Best of Phil Hartman Saturday Night Live.” It is one of the funniest things I’ve ever seen. As luck would have it, it can be found on the internet here. I have also tucked it under the fold. I suggest you read it aloud and in your best robotic monotone.
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A single voice crying in the wilderness (1)

2004 07 21
The Office

Posted by in: Pop Culture, Television

Last week I finally got around to watching the entire first season of the BBC’s comedy show The Office. I thought it was very funny. My enjoyment was marred only by the fact that I had to turn up the volume really high since the sound quality is poor and I can’t understand British people when they talk quickly.
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Howls of outrage (6)