My review of Steven Moffat’s surprise Doctor Who episode with Paul McGann

Summary: The prospect of his death won’t make the Doctor fight the Time war but what about someone else’s?

Plot:   A young gunnery officer send out a distress signal as she is crashing, the ship indicates she needs a doctor and to her surprise the 8th doctor appears. On hearing she saved all the others on the ship he invites her aboard leading her to the back of the ship to the TARDIS. When she realizes the Doctor is a Time Lord she closes the door refusing to go with him. His protests that he has nothing to do with the time war do not move her as she compares them unfavorably to the Daleks. Will the Doctor be able to save her or will her ship continue to plunge toward the planet Karn and what will the sisterhood have in store with them?

Writing:   Stephen Moffat has created a gem, he brings out the best of the 8th Doctor while illustrating just how far the time lords have fallen. It’s one of the tightest written pieces he has ever done.

Acting:   Paul McGann soars in only his second television appearance. reminding all what they are missing if they haven’t been getting the big finish episodes. Emma Campbell-Jones is completely believable as Cass and Clare Higgins as great as you might expect from an award winning actress.

Memorable Moments: everyone else was screaming, Who can tel the difference, bring me knitting, the Big Finish Companions become Canon

Oddities:  The suggestion is that regeneration almost totally random but Romana was able to shop bodies at will.

Pet Peeves:  Why couldn’t the doctor simply open the TARDIS door and dive in or materialize the TARDIS around the ship?

Great Quote(s):

8th Doctor:Well look at the bright side at least I’m not a Dalek

Cass:Who can tell the difference anymore?

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Ohila:We restored you to life but it’s a temporary measure, you have a little under four minutes.
8th Doctor:4 minutes? That’s ages. What if I get board or need a Television or a couple of books. Anyone for Chess? Bring me Knitting!

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8th Doctor:You’re the sisterhood of Karn. Keepers of the flame of utter boredom
Ohila:Eternal life.
8th Doctor:That’s the one.

Final Verdict: 5 Stars you don’t get much better than this.

It would be unfair to rank this with the Matt Smith episodes because Moffat didn’t have to stretch it to a full episode but if I was to rank it, for the season, it would be 2nd in the season and 3rd overall in the Matt Smith era.

1. The Bells of St. John
2. The Crimson Horror
3. The Power of three
4. The Name of the Doctor
5. The Snowmen
6. Nightmare in Silver
7. The Doctor, The Widow and the Wardrobe
8. Dinosaurs on a Spaceship
9. Journey to the Centre of the Tardis
10. Cold War
11. A Town Called Mercy
12. Asylum of the Daleks
13. The Rings of Akhaten
14. Hide
15. The Angels Take Manhattan

Ranking in Matt Smith Era to this point (top 10 shown)

1. The Bells of St. John
2. Let’s Kill Hitler
3. The Girl who waited
4. The Doctor’s Wife
5. The Pandorica Opens
6. A Good Man Goes to War
7. The Eleventh Hour
8. The Big Bang
9. The Crimson Horror
10. The Lodger

Illinois may be the Land of Lincoln, but it is also the land of the corrupt George Ryan, Rod Blagojevich, Tony Rezko, and Jesse Jackson Jr.

In Chicago, thirty-one alderman have been convicted of crimes since 1972.

From “Honest Abe” to a national joke: What went wrong?

The root of the problem is ethnicity and Chicago. While the Irish were never the predominant group of immigrants in what has been the most populous city in the state since the 1840s, unlike the Germans–who were more numerous–the Irish spoke English and quickly inserted themselves into politics and government work. But in the old country they were reluctant subjects of Great Britain–government to them was an alien and often hostile force. So what’s the harm in stealing from it? That attitude crossed the Atlantic. Polish and Italians who came later had similar grievances. Poland was carved up by Russia, Prussia, and Austria in the 18th century–it didn’t regain its independence until 1918. Until sometime around 1980, there were more Poles living in Chicago than any city in the world–including Warsaw. The Italian immigrants who came to Chicago were mostly from the southern part of the peninsula or from Sicily–parts of Italy that didn’t care much for its royal family, the monarchy was abolished in 1946.

Blacks from the Deep South began migrating to Chicago in large numbers during World War I and the flow didn’t end until 1970. Victims of Jim Crow laws and worse, some African-Americans fell to the temptation of Chicago corruption too.

What about the rest of the state? Well, like an honest kid taking a test in a room full of cheaters–who gets a “B” while the cheaters get “A” grades, some downstaters threw up their hands and joined in the thievery. When he died in 1970, Illinois Secretary of State Paul Powell, who was from small town just north of the Ohio River, over $800,000 in cash was found in shoe boxes in his hotel suite near the state capitol.

In short, corruption has become a habit in my home state. In a small way, I’ve benefited from it. A great uncle of mine worked for the Cook County Forest Preserve District. He had dinner with my parents at our home–and he had such a wonderful time–he promised my parents a gift. The very next day Forest Preserve workers delivered a picnic table–with county markings on it, to our home. Many times I’ve eaten on that table.

I am a Catholic who writes for a living in the hope that my readers will like my writing enough to allow me a living. The extent of my knowledge of the faith is my life, the example of my family, what I’ve and seven years of Catholic Elementary School

You are an Archbishop a leader of the church with degrees and education far beyond me.

However for all my ignorance compared to you of the faith, let me say this concerning a quote of yours to BBC Breakfast:

“On the one hand we must work to follow Christ, but on the other hand we have to face all of the ambitions of modern living.”

We must work to follow Christ, we might fail, we might sin, we might not understand but we must work to follow Christ, and aid other people to do so.

Following Christ is how we in fact deal all of the ambitions of the modern are or any age.

There IS no other hand!

That is all.

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Mr. Rickey, I thought when I signed the contract I signed for one thing. There is a ‘W’ column, and there is an ‘L’ column. I thought it was my obligation and duty to put as many as I could under that ‘W’ column.

Leo Durocher Nice Guys finish last.

Kirk: Mr. Spock, have you accounted for the variable mass of whales and water in your time re-entry program?

Spock: Mr. Scott cannot give me exact figures, Admiral, so… I will make a guess.

Kirk: A guess? You, Spock? That’s extraordinary!

Spock: [to Dr. McCoy] I don’t think he understands.

McCoy: No, Spock. He means that he feels safer about your guesses than most other people’s facts.

Star Trek IV 1986

I read (via Glenn) Tunku Varadarajan’s piece on Cricketer Sachin Tendulkar impending retirement a particular phrase jumped out at me.

In purely sporting terms, however, he is but a shadow of his old self, in which he shone as one of the three or four finest players cricket has produced in its long, languorous history. He is now merely a “good” or “better than average” player. Had he been only 24 and this proficient, he’d be an honest contender for a place on the national team. But he is now so much less good than he once was that, when he plays, the more dispassionate among us can see only an ugly gulf between Sachin’s apogee and his plateau.

Now I presume Mr. Varadarajan is a fan of Cricket in general & Mr Tendulkar in particular but that phrase in the middle of a piece on Mr. Tendulkar and graceful exits says more about Mr. Varadarajan that it does about Mr. Tendulkar and the team that plays him.

I freely admit that the source of my sparse knowledge of cricket  is an interest in the origins of baseball & my Doctor Who fandom (5th Doctor don’t you know) but I think I can explain the fallacy of this piece by quoting the Bill James Baseball Abstract (1985) page 359 where James critiques a negative evaluation of Brooks Robinson by another writer (full disclosure I’m a HUGE Brooks fan).

an analytical structure that reduces the player’s rank (of all time greats) for several years in a row, as it happened at the end of Robinson’s career, is irrational, because it assumes that the player is being used by a team for several seasons although he has negative value (not to mention that Robby was being used by a team that was winning 95 games a year). If a team is willing to play a player, then by definition that player must have value.

So if a player has value the question becomes: ‘What is that value’?  Is it as a draw selling tickets such as Babe Ruth for the Boston Braves? You’ve got to figure a legend like Tendulkar must sell tickets which can’t hurt when you have to sell tickets for a five day test.

But cash aside the real value of a player, if your goal is victory, is this measured by only one standard: Can I put a better player on the field who can help us win given the budget the team has?

And that’s where Brooks Robinson circa 1975 comes in.

That year Brooks had one of his worst years at the plate as a full time player.  In 539 at bats he hit only .201 with 6 homers and 54 RBIs a far cry from his 1964 MVP season when he hit .317 with 28 HR & 117 RBIs.

Yet his fielding stats were still impressive, his fielding percentage was a full 25 points above the league average at .979  range factors he would win his final gold glove at third and his WAR rating (wins above replacement) was 1.8  It was the lowest of his career but still positive meaning he had more value than a the player (Doug DeCinces) who would eventually replace him.

In 1976 & 77 his final years in the Majors as a part time aged 39 & 40 player Brooks Continued to out field DeCinces Aged 25 & 26 (.969 vs .941 in 76 & 1.000 vs .958 in 77) and didn’t have a lower range factor than him till his final year in the majors. But that defense couldn’t make up for a huge difference at the plate for those two years ( .211 Avg .307 slugging vs .234 Avg .357 slug in 76 & .149 Avg .255 slug vs .259 avg .433 slugging in 77) that finally caused him to be replaced.

What significant about those numbers is this:  DeCinces batting numbers in 76-77 those years are OK but nothing particularly special, one might even consider them below avg for a major league hitter but Brooks numbers at the plate were just plan awful.  Certainly not up to the standards of a player at the major league level.

If after 1975 Brooks Robinson produced merely average numbers at the plate such as he did in the 1972 season (.250 Avg with 8 HR 64 RBI and a slugging percentage of .342) he likely would have continued to start at third until his fielding numbers dropped or he decided he simply didn’t want to play anymore.

That brings back to Sachin Tendulkar Let me remind you of Mr. Varadarajan description of his current skills as a cricketer:

Had he been only 24 and this proficient, he’d be an honest contender for a place on the national team.

So Mr. Varadarajan doesn’t say Mr. Tendulkar skills have deteriorated to the point where he is a liability to his team. He doesn’t say he is still a good batsman but a liability in the field. No he says without equivocation that a 24-year-old with Mr. Tendulkar’s current skills would be an honest contender for the National Cricket Team of India.

For my readers who likely know little about cricket, A cricket team consists of 11 players not counting the bench.  There are 1.237 BILLION people in India. a large number of which likely dream of being on the National Cricket team when they were younger just as I dreamed of being Brooks Robinson as a kid.

I submit and suggest that if his skills are good enough to make the national team given the talent pool in India not only does he belong on the team but unless he just doesn’t want to play anymore he has no business retiring as he would be a solid player on any professional team in the country that would have him.

The problem here isn’t Mr. Tendulkar’s lack of skill but the expectations and others.

Mr. Varadarajan et/al might be disappointed that when Mr. Tendulkar he  goes to the Cricket Pitch he is no longer seeing the Babe Ruth or Hank Aaron of Cricket, but if they are seeing the Tony Oliva or Mike Napoli of Cricket neither they nor India’s team are being cheated.

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Olimometer 2.52

Today starts a new week meaning a new chance to make not only the weekly paycheck to cover the mortgage and the Magnificent Seven but a new batch of news and events worth your time and effort.

We will as always do our best to bring you the best commentary and coverage of the weeks events as we can. And in return we ask for your eyes and patronage from 17 of you to the tune of $20

If you think that’s an equable exchange, please consider hitting daTipjar below