By Steve Eggleston

The last 2 weeks have been momentous in the media world, as three major multimedia companies, including the nation’s largest newspaper publishing group, announced they were spinning off their print operations, and a fourth completed its previously-announced spin-off of the second-largest newspaper publishing group:

  • On July 30, Cincinnati-based E.W. Scripps announced that, as part of its takeover of Milwaukee-based Journal Communications, set to close in 2015, it would be spinning off the combined companies’ print properties, along with the print properties’ associated electronic properties, into a liability-free company with $10 million in “seed money” and the Journal name.
  • On Monday, the Tribune Media Company completed the previously-announced spin-off of the second-largest newspaper group into Tribune Publishing. Notably, Tribune Media kept ownership of the electronic presence of the newspapers, and burdened the new print company with $350 million in debt and $120 million in office space lease costs through 2017.
  • On Tuesday, Gannett, publishers of USA Today, announced that it would be splitting off the largest newspaper group in 2015. Much like the Scripps/Journal deal, the newspaper side will retain the Gannett name and the newspaper-specific digital properties, with the broadcast company assuming all the current debt.

These moves are on the heels of last year’s successful spin-off of Rupert Murdoch’s newspaper empire, headlined by The Wall Street Journal, from his larger multimedia empire. A New York Times article from last year announcing the Tribune spin-off explains why this is happening:

Despite the immediate interest from bidders, Tribune faces a tough market for newspapers, especially large regional dailies that have been hit hard by changes in advertiser and consumer behavior. In October, The Tampa Tribune sold for a scant $9.5 million; Philadelphia’s newspapers sold for $55 million in April 2012 after fetching $515 million in 2006.

Some investors are so concerned about print that they will not buy any companies with publishing stakes, according to Reed Phillips, a managing partner for DeSilva & Phillips, a media banking firm. “Shareholders aren’t rewarding companies for being diversified anymore,” he said. “Print media, there’s a real negative connotation.”

He said investors wanted to see companies that were exclusively focused on print and were trying to show how they would make a profitable transition to digital. “They’re going to have to be transformed,” said Mr. Phillips about these print companies. “Then investors may get re-excited.”

Given the economics of newsprint have only declined since then, there continues to be no upside for a vertically-integrated multimedia company to include newsprint. To put it bluntly, the population of those who like the feel of newsprint rather than staring at a screen is dying off quite quickly, and the fixed costs of delivering that newsprint are skyrocketing.

Another reason the multimedia companies are splitting off their newsprint operations is the FCC’s antiquated cross-ownership rules, which between 1975 and 2007, and again since 2011 following a court order, prohibit a single non-grandfathered company from owning both a newspaper and a TV or radio station in the same market. That was a stated factor in Gannett’s divesture of its print properties, and was likely a factor in Scripps/Journal’s divesture of their print properties.

Louise Pendrake (Lulu): This life is not only wicked and sinful. It isn’t even any fun.

Jack Crab: No, I reckon I reckon not, Mrs Pendrake.

Louise Pendrake: (Lulu): Yet, if I was married and could come here once or twice a week, well it might be fun. But every night, it’s just boring!

Little Big Man 1970

Some of the best Doctor Who episodes of the Russell P Davies era were written by Stephen Moffat.  Blink, Silence of the Library all Steven Moffat so when he took over the reigns of the series with Matt Smith I expected great things.

Unfortunately while Matt Smith is a first-rate Doctor Moffat has rightly gotten a reputation as a one trick pony.  It’s time paradox, time paradox, time paradox.  One Sally Sparrow story is fine now and again and lot of the Moffat stories would stand very well alone.  However if every story seems to be a temporal paradox as Louise Pendrake put it, it’s just boring.

That’s why I was so pleased with The Bells of St. John.

Yes it’s highly likely this entire season is going to be, once again a giant temporal paradox all over again, everything we’ve seen of Clara suggests this kind of thing, but for now, this one episode we have what appears to be a linear story.

That’s why I’m willing to overlook the book written by Amy Pond,  the “best help line in the universe.”  (almost certainly it will be the Doctor who arranges to give her the number) because of what comes along with it;  a nice linear semi plausible story.

We have the Doctor determined to keep Clara alive.  We see the moral outrage of the Doctor as he realizes what his happening to people, we see the first-rate effects of the landing on the airplane and we see people reacting to the landing of the TARDIS and the Doctor playing it up as an act.  (Shades of Big Finish 4th doctor adventure Energy of the Daleks) and the riding up the Shard really works.

But most of all we have a story with a clear and distinct, beginning, middle and end.  A clear villain and threat and an actual resolution.

The best test of a cook is to see how they do something basic.  This episode contained the basics of the storytelling craft and Moffat and an excellent cast pulls it off.

I suspect the next 7-8 episodes will not contain a lot of linear stories, certainly not ones written by Moffat so I might as well enjoy it.  You should enjoy it too.

**********************************

Olimometer 2.52

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This week’s subscription Commentary talks about Culture and how the small things can be missed using everyone’s favorite obsessive compulsive detective Adrian Monk

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Olimometer 2.52

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I do not approve, I understand

Spock, Star Trek A Taste of Armageddon 1967

One of the shows of my youth I still have a soft spot for is Daniel Boone staring Fess Parker.

Although wildly A-Historical in some places and with no respect for timelines (back to back episodes take place as far as 30 years  apart with no cast aging) it is a good wholesome show that is not only entertaining but promotes solid messages without sacrificing drama or realism.

The second season closed with a two part “origin” story The High Cumberland that partially re-wrote the 1st season pilot (removing Albert Salmi’s character who departed after season 1) and explain how Boone met his wife Rebecca (played by Patrica Blair one of the least appreciated beauties in television history). They were later re-edited into a feature film shown in Europe.

The plot revolves around Boone’s attempt to get his supply wagons through to the newly founded fort at Boonesborough before winter. After many false starts and harrowing adventures Daniel and his wagons (including indentured servant Rebecca Brian) are approached by a pair of men from the settlement of Ninety Six. Their own wagons had not arrived and they offer a considerable amount of money for Mr. Boone’s supplies. Despite their entreaties and their description of the situation for the settlers at ninety six Boone politely refuses each time.

As the men leave the outspoken Rebecca challenges Daniel on his refusal citing the dire conditions at Ninety Six. He replies that those people are not his responsibility, the setters at Boonesborough are. They put their trust in him and their welfare is his responsibility above all else.

Rebecca continues saying those people at Ninety Six are going to have a hard winter and he replies: Then let the people who are responsible for them take care of their own. His responsibility is to the lives entrusted to his care.

Which brings us to Chris Christie and Chris Bedford’s excellent piece on his chances in 2016 at the Daily Caller.

I’ll be talking about it in more detail later but for now I’d like to focus on a particular bit in the piece:

As the Wall Street Journal’s editorial board pointed out, the bill contained “$150 million for Alaskan fisheries; $2 million for roof repair at the Smithsonian in Washington; and about $17 billion for liberal activists under the guise of ‘community development’ funds and so-called social service grants,” among a slew of other waste.

“Far from being must-pass legislation,” the NYC-based Journal continued, “this is a disgrace to the memory of the victims and could taint legitimate efforts to deal with future disasters.”

Yet Christie described those who stopped those who tried to stop this wasteful spending hidden in this bill as having “failed that most basic test of public service.” and is demanding millions of dollars more for his battered state.

Why?

The answer is very simple. Chris Christie sees in the job he is in. Governor of NJ. He knows the rules of Washington, he knows the fiscal situation and has not been shy about speaking to it time and time again.

But all of that doesn’t matter, his responsibility are the people of New Jersey and the people still recovering from Sandy. That’s why, in my opinion what drove him the week before the election and what still drives him now.

You may think it’s not a valid excuse (that’s a fair debate) you might think he’s playing with other people’s money (you’re right) you might think it’s about his re-election (well DUH!)

To the people who still aren’t settled who have for some reason decided that the President has absolutely no responsibility for a natural disaster affecting multiple states he like Boone from the TV show is the person responsible for getting them back again.

And if Christie believes this as well then it’s not going to matter what anybody says, he’s going to just charge forward on the Sandy stuff and all the blogs and comments in the world won’t move him one bit.in the world won’t matter.

Clarke Hayden: “Money respects money. Even more so in a bad economy.”

The Good Wife Waiting for the Knock 2012

A few months ago I was talking to Joe Mangiacotti of Out with Joe telling him about the TV show Last Resort about a rogue group of US submariners who steal their sub after disobeying an order to fire.

When I told him the pilot ends with the sub firing a nuke warhead at the US he was incredulous saying something along the lines of:

Do these people really believe that Americans are going to watch and support a TV show where soldiers are firing on their own country?

Yes they really did, but via live at five they don’t anymore:

Freshman dramas Last Resort and 666 Park Avenue will not move forward at ABC.

The network has opted to cancel both underperforming series, despite picking up two additional scripts for both.

This should be no surprise.  Anyone who has followed movies over the last few years has seen picture after picture depicting US troops through the liberal mindset crash and burn losing tens to hundreds of millions for their studios.

Yet the same types who were sold on throwing their money away on those movies somehow bought the idea that it would sell in the more competitive Television market with 100’s of other choices just a click away?

Why did they think it would be different?  Because their entire world lives within the bubble of the Murphy Brown effect.

Ladd Ehlinger explains:

For those too young to remember, Bush the Elder and his Vice-President, Dan Quayle, were both pilloried by the popular sitcom starring Candice Bergen week in and week out for months on end. But it was not just “Murphy Brown,” it was a huge chorus of pop-culture voices all singing the same tune, that Bush and Quayle were stupid, or evil, etc.

So when I say “Murphy Brown effect” I refer not just to the sitcom, but to the entire pop-culture chorus.

And that effect drove the four most important words from these the hollywood reporter article:

…the critically acclaimed drama starring Andre Braugher and Scott Speedman, is averaging 7.3 million total viewers and a 1.7 in the demo. Thursday’s episode notched its lowest-rated hour to date, attracting 5.8 million viewers and a 1.2.

…the critically acclaimed drama.

Media is all about opening doors to the right people. It’s the reason why so many idiots are willing to lose fortunes making Tina Brown and Arianna Huffington richer. As long as the critics come from that same Murphy Brown bubble, Hollywood will continue to market to those fools in the mistaken belief that it will make them.

It is the other side of the Murphy Brown effect.   Ladd is right about how it tilts elections:

Until conservatives bigwigs recognize the fundamental power of pop-culture, and start investing in the arts (movies, television, music, etc.) to counteract this trend, they will continue to remain irrelevant, continue to lose their country, and continue to lose elections.

But that same effect blinds filmmakers not only to their errors like Last Resort but the possibility of profit wealth and fame from a conservative slant.

Just imagine if we had enough people in media who could positively buzz a conservative show to anything resembling critical acclaim and the money to back such ventures. Suddenly conservatives on the west coast would not worry about their next job if they spoke out or approved a script because there would be an outlet that could deliver profit and audience to their endeavors.

Every day we don’t fight the culture war on the turf of the arts, we are Israel letting Hamas shell us without response.

The arts are the ground where we must fight.

Friar Tuck: I’m sorry my Lord, the maid has sought sanctuary in a consecrated place.

Lord Germaine: Nonsense…

Friar Tuck: Violation of sanctuary is punishable by Excommunication!

Sir William: Excommunication!

Lord Germaine: How dare you threaten me! Once again Friar, stand aside.

Sir William: Wait Germaine, our very souls may be at state.

The Adventures of Robin Hood 1955 Episode 4 Friar Tuck

It is has been a truism that stories, poems and histories have a big effect on culture and actions. When the age of movies and television came those same effects came through. My own favorite show of the era was the Adventures of Robin Hood starring Richard Greene. I always try to encourage modern lefties to watch the show. It’s usually not hard since once they find out Ring Lardner one of the blacklisted communist writers was involved it becomes almost a duty for them. Of course while Lardner tries to give his anti-capitalist message he finds himself over and over instead giving the message against modern relativism, as the church (specifically the Catholic Church) becomes the classic protector of the downtrodden against an increasingly immoral state.

When watching most TV series from the 60’s you can’t help but notice that the moral norms of traditional Americanism. Hard work, church and earning your own way are emphasized, as is the idea of personal honor.

With the advent of the counter-culture all of these were questioned in TV and movies with unsurprising results culturally.

I thought of this when I saw Ladd Ehlinger Jr.’s piece today on the subject of the movies.

Unfortunately, most people who read conservative blogs are people whose minds are already made up. Collectivists know this, which is why they rule the world of entertainment. They are also extraordinarily good at giving their own “kind” a shot. Take a look at most indie films out there (the world where all filmmakers start) and most suffer from severe economic restraints: no name actors, simple stories with one or two locations. “Art” films. But they get reviewed, they get distributed, they get “out there” because collectivist media knows how to fight through fiction.

Which leaves conservative filmmakers at a severe disadvantage. How do you get the word out about your micro-budget indie conservative film (because no one in H’wood will invest studio bucks into your stuff, when there’s all those anti-war movies to make), when you don’t have name actors, and the only media philosophically inclined to notice you has – for lack of a more delicate term – its head up its own ass reading and writing intricate articles on the latest conservative concept on income tax restructuring (which changes few minds, if any), or the latest liberal outrage of the day?

Just a thought: if you really want liberty to win, you need to beat the creators of today’s “Murphy Browns” and “Bourne Identities.” Not the obscure bloggers of Media Matters or the morons at MSNBC. You do this by giving more air to conservative “fictioneers” than to their opponents (like Michael Moore’s jockstrap), even if reporting on the latest jockstrap’s stupidity gets you more hits or ratings.

It will take time, but it can happen.

It can not be overestimated how important this kind of thing is, consider this speech from Lord of the Rings, Return of the King.

the Lord of the Rings series is the classic tale of Western Civilization and values, I think it is no coincidence that the movies came out before the start of the war on terror. Think of how many people were inspired by these pictures at a time when it was needed most.

The problem is that we can’t count on movie makers to be finding more classic conservative stories to adapt. We are better off supporting our own writers and movie makers as Ladd suggests.

If we want to win the culture wars, we have to fight on the field where the war takes place.

And in that same spirit, I bring you this video from the band Madison Rising:

Sitcoms don’t last forever and this week I think we saw a preview of the final episode of the Big bang theory:

let’s recall the path we took to get here. At the end of Season 3 Amy Farah Fowler is introduced they meet, the next season there is this exchange when Sheldon finds Amy wants him to meet her mother:

Sheldon: I don’t want the next level. I like this level. Fix it for me

Leonard” How am I supposed to fix it

Sheldon: Simple you want a girlfriend, Amy wants to be someone’s girlfriend, take her off my hands, I give you my blessing.

Leonard: That is insane.

Sheldon: You’re right that will never work. Amy finds you tedious.

This isn’t to say that the series shouldn’t go in that direction, it should and it will be very funny. I’m just predicting that when the series finally ends (6th season, 10th season 15th season who knows?) It will likely end with not the final resolution of Penny and Leonard but with the wedding of Amy Farah Fowler to Sheldon Cooper. The final scene being Sheldon’s mother turning to the rest of the group saying “If you science boys want proof on the power of prayer, there it is.”

Was not only the best single episode I’ve seen in the series (and I’ve been watching since 1981) but could easily been a season or series finale.

Four comments:

Arthur Darvill is in my opinion the best companion The Doctor has ever had.

Karen Gillian was always a good companion but she and Arther Darvill click. They NEED to be in another series together once they leave this one.

When Catlin Blackwood grows up it will be an incredible loss for the series.

If Alex Kingston was any hotter you could replace the furnace in your house with her.

And Matt Smith continues to out Doctor everyone in sight.

And Stephen Moffat has solved a huge upcoming problem for the series in spectacular fashion.

I don’t care if you have a coupon for a free hour at the Midnight Bunny Ranch in Nevada redeemable only during the show, Sit down and watch tonight’s episode instead.

Update: Seriously how can you not like something like this:


Update: OK it was six thoughts so sue me.

…It means that you can accidentally wake up your father at 3 a.m.coming home from hanging out with your college pals.

And because a Dr. Who marathon happens to be on, I don’t get angry, I come downstairs and watch it for a bit and enjoy.

And even better season premiere tonight at 9 p.m. same day as England, how cool is that?

One of the most important figures in the history of the Dr. Who series was the Character of the Brigadier. Nicholas Courtney played the character since 1968 both on TV and in the Big Finish audios the last 60’s and had previously appeared in the series with the first Doctor as a different character.

Late last year he shot a piece for the DVD version of the Doctor who movie.

Last Week Nicholas Courtney died at the age of 81. Despite decades of acting before being cast in Doctor for millions around the world, he will always be the Brigadier, the ultimate stoic Brit, courageous in the face of danger, unwavering in his loyalty and devoted to his duty. As Tom Baker said:

‘Of all the characters in Doctor Who there is no doubt he was the most loved by the fans for his wonderful portrayal of the rather pompous Brigadier,’

and he continued having visited him just before his death:

‘The lady in charge said he was very stoical. And indeed he was. It was so distressing to see him so weak and yet so strong in resignation. My jokes were received with a generous effort from Nick to smile.’

Stoical , weak yet strong in resignation. That sounds just like the Brig.

Nicholas Courtney will be missed, but in video audio and fiction Brigadier Alister Gordon Lethbridge-Stewart will live forever.

But I have to agree with hyacinth girl concerning Pete Postlethwaite:

Spielberg called him the best actor in the world, a statement I cannot dismiss as hyperbolic; he was an amazing actor. He was anyone, anything, any time — for someone with such a distinctive face, he had the uncanny ability to blend into and become a part of the fabric of any film he was part of, while never becoming invisible. He simply was whatever character he was cast as, and he never once seemed to be acting. You believed he was whomever he claimed to be, and he was riveting.

My primary memory of him is from the Sharpe Series as Sgt Obadiah Hakeswill. He was also excellent as a lawyer in Amistad and as George Merry in the best version of Treasure Island there ever was (with Charlton Heston as Long John Silver).

I do not ever remember him giving a bad performance and thanks to the miracle of video he will be enjoyed many generations after his death.

Thanks Pete, well done!

While everybody has been so fascinated by the rating for Sarah Palin’s new show (which broke all of TLC’s ratings records) I found the following story at the same site much more interesting.

According to months of data from leading media-research company Experian Simmons, viewers who vote Republican and identify themselves as conservative are more likely than Democrats to love the biggest hits on TV. Of the top 10 broadcast shows on TV in the spring, nine were ranked more favorably by viewers who identify themselves as Republican.

Even more funny is what the article says about shows democrats:

Dems are more likely to prefer modestly rated titles.

Like Mad Men.

The Emmy favorite has struggled to get a broad audience on AMC. It scores through the roof with Democrats (does anyone in Santa Monica or on Manhattan’s Upper West Side not watch it?), but it has one of the weakest scores among Republicans. The same is true for FX’s Damages, Showtime’s Dexter, HBO’s Entourage and AMC’s Breaking Bad.

And this quote made me laugh out loud:

That also goes for the soft-rated, critically beloved 30 Rock. Its score is highly polarized in favor of Democrats. The only show on NBC’s Thursday night comedy block that Republicans rate highly (slightly better than Democrats, even) is The Office … which happens to be the one bona fide hit in the bunch.

30 Rock is not a bona fide hit? You’d never know that from watching Morning Joe or MSNBC.

Let’s put it another way, if your desired audience is the critics rather than the general public, you are a likely a democrat.

This reminds me of the old Crime is down and prisons are full bit. Our friends on the left couldn’t figure out that crime was down because we were locking up criminals!

The point is that if you make shows that appeals to conservatives odds are you are going to have a hit because we are a center/right nation. If you decide to make a show that appeals to the MSNBC crowd, you will be the darling of Hollywood and the papers but don’t expect to get the same ad rates that NCIS and company manage.

Remember you can make a living with a niche market, you can’t win elections with one.

Starting at 6 a.m. this morning BBC America is once again having a marathon of Dr. Who.

They are advertising it as all of season five starting at 9 a.m. but they are actually starting with the last David Tennant Story The end of time to include the regeneration and the story behind it.

My review of the entire Series 5 starts with The Eleventh Hour and continues through The Beast Below, Victory of the Daleks, The Time of Angels, Flesh and Stone, The Vampires of Venice, Amy’s Choice, The Hungry Earth, Cold Blood, Vincent and the Doctor, The Lodger, The Pandorica Opens, and The Big Bang.

Of course if you want NEW stories there is always Big Finish as the Telegraph has reported:

The Tardis has landed in late-Sixties Soviet Russia. The Doctor and his companion are on the trail of an alien weapon that has fallen into the hands of the Soviets. They are in a speeding van being chased across a frozen lake. Just as they seem doomed the van is beamed aboard a space ship.

There is, however, no Matt Smith or Karen Gillan here. In fact, there is no frozen lake, no van and no spaceship, for I am in a recording studio and late-Eighties Dr Who Sylvester McCoy, and his companion Ace, played by Sophie Aldred, are conjuring the scene in a soundproofed booth.

Dr Who may have been successfully resurrected on television in 2005, but it had already reappeared six years earlier in the shape of audio plays released on CD, a format that has been thriving ever since. Big Finish Productions has created more than 180 plays featuring “classic doctors”, as the pre-2005 Doctors are known.

And if you want them in America you can get them mail order from Mike’s Comics along with figures, books and all the Doctor Who stuff you will ever want, just in time for Christmas!

As he is won’t to do, Glenn Reynolds notes sales on Amazon and mentioned that the Andy Griffith show is discounted. To nobody’s surprise Glenn’s readers who have noticed Griffith’s shilling for Obamacare have been unimpressed.

Reader Jim Breed writes: “Does the Andy Griffith series have the episode where Andy approves as Dr. Obama gives Aunt Bea the blue pill?” Heh.

And reader Paul Beardsleee writes: “I always enjoy seeing your pointers to Amazon deals. I think I’ll pass on the Andy Griffith Show boxed set. Seeing ‘Sheriff Taylor’ shill for Obamacare makes me wonder whether Barney Fife needs to go all Serpico on his boss.”

Griffith’s fame comes from a time when there was less separation from the public image and the private beliefs of actors. Griffith make a famous video in favor of then candidate Obama with Henry Winkler and Ron Howard before the election and he donated his time to support Obamacare on the air.

Now the Andy Griffith was a pretty good show and at his age (84) I suspect he isn’t all that much worried about the bit of residuals those sales will bring, but I’ll wager a few other members of the cast and their descendents might not be so happy.

Update: Literally a bad link, was linked to the picture of a link, fixed, Thanks Dave

How Old was the doctor when he “borrowed on a finders keepers basis” the Tardis?

answer 236 years old

How do we know.

In The Pirate Planet episode one Romana states he has operated his TARDIS for 523 years. In the first episode of the Ribos operation she points out the Doctor is 759 years old.

When you see polls of the most popular doctors William Hartnell seem to be often forgotten, very few of his episodes survive as a whole and although we have seen glimpses of him in the current series he remains largely ignored as the generation that watched his episodes are in their late 50’s or above.

As I discovered the series with Tom Baker I had not seen him period, my first glimpse was an image in The Brain of Morbius, the Five Doctors featured a different actor in the role. It wasn’t until I saw the three doctors on WENH 11 that I actually saw him perform in a limited role.

Every other actor who has been on the show has had the burden of living up to an iconic role, but each one of them also had the advantage of an established franchise. An actor who is cast as a companion of the Doctor has a ready source of income for their entire life, the actors who play the doctor even more so. Doctor Who is a multi million dollar worldwide industry that supports and entertains millions upon millions of people.

None of that would be true without the performance of Hartnell. He had none of the history to carry him nor the existing fan base. Like any actor with a new series it was up to him as the primary star to carry the show. A show totally unique in the history of Television. He needed to carry off the role of an almost all knowing and commanding presence while still being appealing to young children. And all of this is done without the special effects and CGI of the modern days.

The combination of knowledge and courage combined with a fatherly figure made him iconic. It is very true that excellent writing and the creation of the Daleks made a huge difference, but if Hartnell failed this would be at best just another set of $1 DVD in a bin if the episodes were saved at all.

Get your hands on an episode or two if you can. Ignore the limited special effects and lack of CGI look at the performances, and let yourself appreciate the grand bequest given first to the British people and then the world

All in the family was a staple in my house for many years when I was a kid. This week an episode called “The commercial” came to mind.

Edith is ambushed at the launderette by a man who tears Archie’s favorite shirt in half. It turns out he is from a detergent company filming with a hidden camera and they are shooting a commercial. They hire Edith to film the commercial but when the time comes to pick which half is brighter and cleaner she keeps picking the half washed in her brand. When told to pick “New Improved Sudi sudds” she just can’t bring herself to lie.

Archie, desperate to salvage payday and the residuals from the commercial tries to explain why she has to lie:

They gotta give the lie, equal time with the truth.

Apparently Archie was ahead of his time. Not only did he predict Reagan’s win in 1980 but he apparently saw this ruling coming down the pike from the 9th circuit:

A panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals sided with him in a 2-1 decision Tuesday, agreeing that the law was a violation of his free-speech rights. The majority said there’s no evidence that such lies harm anybody, and there’s no compelling reason for the government to ban such lies.

The dissenting justice insisted that the majority refused to follow clear Supreme Court precedent that false statements of fact are not entitled to First Amendment protection.

The act revised and toughened a law that forbids anyone to wear a military medal that wasn’t earned. The measure sailed through Congress in late 2006, receiving unanimous approval in the Senate.

What a boon for the cheating husband, he doesn’t have to rely on the “Oral Sex isn’t sex” defense he can BS his wife on first amendment grounds.

I talked to a friend, active tea party member and regular reader of this blog today. She will be making her TV panelist debut on WGBH Channel 2 Boston at 7 p.m. on the show Greater Boston talking about Illegal Immigration and defending the conservative cause.

As a conservative Tea Party person on public TV she will of course be matched against two liberals to challenge her. Pretty heavy stuff for her first time on the firing line, but I’m sure when the show comes on tonight I’ll see she acquitted herself splendidly.

7 p.m. WGBH if you are in Boston, the panel discussion should be online at the link above after it is broadcast.

Update: The video is online here

…again this week and remembering what I wrote the day after Christmas last year when I first saw it:

There is every probability that this was written just after his election and that Russell T. Davies was and/or is a member of the hopey-changey Obamacult. I suspect British actors are even farther left than Hollywood so it would be no surprise. It is also possible that he is making fun of said cult but I doubt it.

Alas the shooting schedule and the filming didn’t account for the crash and burn of international opinion of the president, it gives the episode an anachronistic quality will make many conservatives laugh at the reminder of those foolish messianic days.

Wikipedia states that Shooting began in March of 2009 (for non controversial stuff it’s an ok source). That likely means the writing took place right after the election.

It was something to see the change in international opinion since the episode was broadcast, in just 7 months his domestic popularity has also dropped like a rock.

At the time it was on, I was annoyed, couldn’t I escape the Obama Messiah syndrome even in Doctor Who? Today looking back seeing that the nation has been mostly cured of that odd illness it brings a smile, like that of a person remembering a rough patch that is behind him.

The end of the obamacult has been a healthy thing for a society. Let’s hope the media remembers the lessons learned.

Bad Lawyer tells the story of a Judge in Washington State that is in some trouble:

[The] court ruled Thursday that King County District Judge Judith Eiler violated rules requiring judges to be ‘patient, dignified, and courteous’ to defendants, lawyers and others.

Five justices, led by Justice Jim Johnson, ruled in favor of the five-day suspension plus censure. But four others insisted that Eiler should be subject to a 90-day suspension recommended by the Commission on Judicial Conduct.”
___________________________
I’ve witnessed this routine many times over the years. As I’ve said previously, there is some frustration on the part of some judges that they are powerless to actually affect behavior of the defendants who appear, oftentimes, again and again before them. The judges aspire to say something that might register in a positive way on these folks that will work to the advantage of the justice system and the community. This is especially true in “small law” courts.

At Simple Justice we see that Judge Judy is to blame.

Nowhere in the judges’ handbook does it require jurists to employ sugarcoating or gobbledygook in the performance of their duties. But when you put on a robe, part of the deal is that you exercise discretion and hold that sharp tongue. It’s not that judges don’t think that people are idiots, but they can’t say it. They just can’t.

The problem, of course, is that Judge Judy is unbelievably popular, maybe even one of the best things to happen to the legal system, as far as the public is concerned, in a long time. People love to watch Judge Judy jump to baseless conclusions and rip people’s lungs out through their nose. Swift, brutal justice. How fun! Unless you happen to be the one whose nostrils are at stake

How many people back in the 60’s took up Science because of the Professor from Gilligans Island or Scotty from Star Trek? If you decide to get into the law because of Judge Judy, it just might not be what you imagine to be. etiquette

but even though I resent the anti Palin stuff, why not focus on areas of agreement? After all some things just can’t be argued with:

The team also declared the show’s upcoming spoof of “Return of the Jedi” would be the show’s last full-episode “Star Wars” parody, a venture that’s generated healthy DVD sales for 20th Century Fox TV. In addition to increasing the creative team’s workload, the more recent prequels, MacFarlane explained, would be “too expensive” to recreate.

The problem is, we try to be as faithful as possible to the look of those movies; to do that with the prequels, I don’t think TV budgets have reached that level yet,” MacFarlane said.

Added Alex Borstein, who plays Lois: “That, and they sucked.”

Emphasis mine, well actually emphasis pretty much everybody.

Ok to any of my readers and all my pals who didn’t take my advice to watch Series 5 of Dr. Who on the BBC site before they were taken town, here is your last chance for you to watch them all free.

Series 5 of Doctor Who staring Matt Smith and Karen Gillian here is your chance. Starting at 9 a.m. EST they will be playing them in order starting with The Eleventh Hour and finishing with the US premiere of the finale : The Big Bang.

If you haven’t seen them I suggest you do so now, if you’ve missed any here is your chance to catch it.

Oh and one thing. The 11th hour is actually much longer than the time slot allows so it is likely they will have the cut down version. That is a shame since the cut version loses a full quarter of it’s run time and highly suffers for it.

I will be putting up quick reviews of the episodes during the day.

The Eleventh Hour is an excellent introduction to the series: Matt Smith plays the “confused” and newly regenerated Doctor with Pizazz, Karen Gillian is at her sexiest in the whole series in her police outfit, her young cousin makes a first rate Amy and the supporting characters are a lot of fun, I expected to see a few more of them to return during the series.

If possible find the full version as classic scenes such as the “food scene” and the “clothes scene” are cut mercilessly in the shortened version.

A regeneration episode is one you want to lead strong with, some succeed (Castrovalva) others don’t (The Twin Dilemma) the Eleventh Hour does.

Ranking Uncut ***** Easily in the top 3 of the season
Cut *** 1/2 Drops it like a rock not quite to the bottom.

Next Episode: The Beast Below

Update: Combom notices

I wasn’t a big fan of Silence in the Library/Forest of the Dead when they first came out, There were many better episodes that season.

But with Series 5 behind us the pair of them take on a whole new meaning and Alex Kingston’s performance looks both better and more poignant. Kingston’s River Song has (along with Arthur Darvill’s Rory) have been an incredible addition to the show. Darvill’s character is the geek that so many of us who watch the show are. Song’s character transforms the Doctor into the Geek for us to identify with.

I hope Kingston stays a while, she adds an incredible dimension to the series that we haven’t seen since Romana.

Kingston current performances combined with Stephen Moffat has really raised the series. They are so good they even make two year old episodes better.

at the final shot of the two towers from this embed at Little Miss Attila’s site. I won’t give the other side the satisfaction, I’m just pissed they haven’t been rebuilt. As a computer guy I did get a real kick out of seeing the old punch cards. There was still a single card reader when I started at Raytheon in 1985.

Nor does the Anchoress links to Burke’s marvelous series (that deserves more attention) cause shock, as a regular reader and as a person who is into history I know the vast contributions that the Church has given civilization.

But this should be required watching for school students everywhere. You can find more here. I suspect it would get more respect from the tea parties than from elsewhere.

Now if they only would release Steve Allen’s Meeting of Minds….

I don’t want to give away any spoilers to those who want to wait the 3 weeks to see it in the US but here are my thoughts.

The episode was absolutely nothing like I expected.

I always liked the character of Rory, I liked him even more after this one.

The tone was the exact opposite of the previous episode.

There was an Inigo Montoya Moment and a side reference to something from the Princess Bride.

There is a significant contradiction from a particular 5th Doctor episode that will have to be explained or resolved.

Something happens in this episode that has never happened in the 47 years of the series, thinking back it’s actually amazing that it has never been the case.

Alex Kingston has the best part in television.

I absolutely loved the ending.

My wife and I watched the final episodes of Saving Grace last night.

The first was actually pretty stupid and seemed to both of us generally a waste of television time. You really get the feeling that the writers needed a filler since they weren’t ready to end the series not expecting to be canceled.

As for the last episode I thought there was too much filler and the resolution was hurried. SPOILER ALERT.
Continue reading “Grace Unsaved, my take on the Saving Grace finale”

Go and set up a Proxy server and watch the first part of the two part Doctor Who finale RIGHT NOW! It it too good to wait for.

91.103.185.182 port 80. Go and grab it before it wears off.

Don’t wait the three weeks for the US version do it now! It’s that good!

If you absolutely insist on watching the episodes before it first they are available on that site too. The world cup has nothing on it.

…about what it was exactly it was that made the 9th Doctor decide to leave the series after only one season:

“I was open-minded but I decided after my experience on the first series that I didn’t want to do any more,” he said.

“I didn’t enjoy the environment and the culture that we, the cast and crew, had to work in.

“I thought if I stay in this job, I’m going to have to blind myself to certain things that I thought were wrong.”

Now that is a VERY interesting statement since it directly contradicts Russel Davies interview of last year:

Was Christopher Eccleston always only going to do it for a year?

That was always the plan, and then the plan got fumbled because the newspapers found out about it. Can you imagine what a shock that regeneration would have been if they hadn’t known? We got better at that over the years, found ways to keep other secrets. Nonetheless, Chris Eccleston is just a blazing comet of talent, and we are lucky to have had him for even a short time. I’m so grateful to have had him.

Someone is not telling the truth. And fans would like something a more definite answer:

I’m a tad frustrated by this. A bit like the Katy Perry storm in a bra-cup yesterday, this is only half a story. The whole story would be exposing exactly what Eccleston had a problem with that caused him to quit – and why does this conflict with the reports that he only intended to do one season anyway? Somebody needs to pin him down and get a straight answer.

I think not, I suspect a more definite answer will get him blacklisted.

Via Sparky mark at the Doctor Who Livejournal forum

I was channel surfing a couple of days ago and on RTV (retro tv) They has the pilot episode of the old Daniel Boone TV series staring Fess Parker.

Aside from being politically incorrect in many ways there is something that anyone my age or older would have not found odd.

An attack on the fort is launched by British and Indians to keep the colonists from advancing into Kentucky and building a new fort (which would eventually become Boonesborough). If you look at the scenes of the attack the majority of them come from the first rate movie Drums Along the Mohawk from 1939 staring Henry Fonda that I’ve mentioned before.

For decades this was very common, particularly in TV shows (F-Troop, McHales Navy, et/al) for various action scenes or crowd scenes to be recycled from previous movies. In an age before VCR’s, DVD’s, Blue Ray and live streaming it wasn’t all that noticed.

Those days however it is rarely done. One quick example. The movie Amistad has one small scene at the end showing a moment of the US Civil War. It didn’t get even a minute of screen time but I didn’t recognize any movie it came from and suspect a 2nd unit crew spent a day making that shot for that. Why? Because it they took a shot from say Glory a million movie fans would have recognized it like a shot and razzzed them about it.

Does this matter at all? Not really, it makes me feel like the old wizened retired artillery colonel who recognizes the horse holders but it’s an anachronism that will someday be unrecognized.

I’ve very happy that he’s been checking out the the revised Dr. Who series including the new season with Matt Smith this year. I totally approve both of him checking it out and the series in general.

I haven’t talked much about the Matt Smith episodes because there is a three week gap between England’s broadcasts (which I have watched using a proxy server) checked out the new season of Dr. Who that I think has been absolutely fantastic.

Matt Smith soars in the role. He reminds me of the best parts of Jon Pertwee & Tom Baker only younger. The Eleventh Hour ranks as one of the best re-generation episodes of the entire series. You have to go to Castrovalva to find one as good.

There has only been one episode (this week’s Vincent and the Doctor) that I would consider mediocre and one episode that was pretty much good but had a poor resolution (Vampire’s of Venice) but other than that is is really first rate.

He is also spending some time with the wife in Baltimore. It is unfortunately just as cheap to go to Baltimore to watch the Red Sox than it is to go to Fenway and pay the prices there.

Ah the joys of being a Red Sox fan.

McFarline has had no problem going after the church, God, family, and has crossed the line of decency so many times that nobody who hasn’t already made a fuss has any business complaining about going after vets?

Of course it would be interesting if he would go after Islam the way he goes after Christianity but then again he already dodged these guys once, maybe he doesn’t want to risk it again.

So let me demonstrate how it’s done:

My favorite of the cartoons

The irony is despite the image in pop culture among liberals I have more to worry about from that photo than he does from Vietnam vets going after him.

I say we don’t allow liberals to score cheap point by going after him since they never complained about anything else he did.

Years and government might change but the intransigence of the government and civil service bureaucracy remain eternal hopeless. Or at least it will be on screen as the original creators of the spectacular British series Yes (Prime) Minister are going to have another go at it.

They say that whoever you vote for the Government always gets in. That was the running joke behind Yes, Prime Minister, the Eighties comedy that did its eloquent bit to undermine our faith in the possibilities of political change. And now, whoever we voted for yesterday, Yes, Prime Minister is itself back, this time as a play receiving its first previews in Chichester next week.

Unfortunately for us in the states this will be unlikely to cross the pond. With the base writing team on the job we know the quality will be there. Will this lead to a new series? Time will tell.

Here is a glimpse of the old one if you haven’t heard of it:

This is a tough act to follow. I wish them luck

…the reason why I enjoyed this episode so much, I mean in addition to the fact that Matt Smith makes a simply wonderful Doctor who unlike the 9th and 10th is not constantly tortured in the way he looks at things.

What made the episode special is the Doctor dealing with young Amelia Pond.

After these scenes with young Amelia the Doctor is getting ready to leave

With glee she runs to her room, packs a bag and waits for his return.

Since 1963 little kids have dreamed of having the doctor land in their yard and visit them. They have imagined that the doctor would take them away in the TARDIS to see all of time and space. Millions upon millions of Britons and people from the Commonwealth have dreamt those dreams.

And in that moment watching that scene they smiled and ever so briefly imagined that they were kids again and it was them sitting waiting to go.

I must admit I imagined it too.

Morning Joe gets full marks for reporting on the South Park business, pointing out the threats, the difference between the way Mohammad was treated vs Christ, the foolishness of pretending that what was said wasn’t a threat, and the extra censorship on the rebroadcast. All very important, glad to see it happen.

However it was put under Wille Geist’s “News you Can’t use” section.

News you can’t use? Let me get this straight, Bill Clinton tries to link the Tea Parties to Tim McVeigh, that is fine. Radical Islam who you might have heard has a bit of history, “warning” south park is News you can’t use?

I suppose I should take what I can get from MSNBC, ya gotta walk before you run.

Update: Glenn has the line of the week: “Those who have no backbone will do the bidding of those who do.”

During the Doctor Who special I mentioned yesterday they showed a clip from episode 4 of this year. (Not broadcast in either England or the US yet). The episode features the return of Alex Kingston as professor River Song who keeps meeting the Doctor in different relative timelines.

In the clip she points out something called “blue stabilizer” and insists they are needed to land TARDIS. When the says the ship has landed the Doctor disagrees pointing out there was no “Woosh, Woosh”. Song replies “It’s not supposed to make that sound, you leave the breaks on.”

Now this post isn’t about the canonity of that statement (Cough: episode 1 of the Pirate Planet 4th Doctor and Romana: Cough) nor the fact that the sound is the most unifying item in the show, constant since that first episode back in 1963. it’s about something more interesting.

Update: Well Luke cancels out the hole premise of the post in comments, but he’s right.

Shortly after the show I googled the phrase “you leave the breaks on” and the word “Tardis” to see what people were saying about it. Nothing, no results at all. I ended up falling asleep on the couch waking up just before 5 a.m. the next morning, the machine was on standby so I logged back in and repeated the search and this blog entry came up:

There’s a section in the special where they talk about the TARDIS, and they inserted the cutest scene where River lands the blue box and Eleven starts wondering where a certain noise was and he made the little sounds. Then River was like, “It’s not suppose to make that noise. You leave the breaks on.” Eleven replies, “It’s a brilliant noise.”

Mind you this was the ONLY entry that came up. Nothing else. Now I don’t know this blog from Adam but I do know that within a few weeks there will be hundreds upon hundreds of web sites with that phrase in it and by the end of the year it will be thousands or more.

It’s very rare to see the very first entry on something that will become part of Science Fiction pop culture, so proprietor of the blog Timey wimey, take a bow you, are the first ever blog to use the phrase. It’s an odd and in the scheme of things unimportant distinction; but it’s all yours.

I would think that most Doctor Who fans already know this but a few might not or might not have bothered to set up the Proxy server to watch it already, but if you get BBC America then tonight at 9 p.m. you will get your first full episode of Matt Smith as the 11th doctor after a brief taste during the regeneration scene last year.

If you are a reader here and have never seen the series or considered watching it give yourself an hour tonight. Or if possible give yourself two because at 8 p.m. EST there will be a review to get you caught up into exactly what the series is.