Friday, January 31, 2014

Now they're making cheap Chinese monkeys

Remember years ago when stuff made in China was considered cheap crap?

Of course, then, China was what we now call Taiwan. And what we now call China was called Red China. I never was clear which China was making the cheap crap. I figured it didn't matter because anything made outside the US was probably cheap crap. I was only 6 or 8 or something, so I could have been wrong. Probably not, though.

Anyway, I still think a lot of cheap Chinese crap is cheap Chinese crap. Back then, we bought the stuff because it was cheap (price). And, we complained about it because it was cheap (quality). Today, we buy the stuff because it is cheap (price), but we don't complain as much because we've lowered the bar. Witness: Obama was reelected; you don't get a lower bar than that.

So, what brought this up? Well, the Chinese have developed a way cut and paste DNA to genetically alter things in the lab. And, they've made monkeys using this process. Which means, we'll soon be overrun with cheap Chinese monkeys.

On the other hand, they might not be generally available. Cheap clone monkeys? I'm thinking MSNBC might buy them all. That way, they'll have an endless supply of anchors for their shows.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Snow Day

[Geeks of Doom - Facebook]

Yeah, I know. We aren't used to snow around here. We have no plan to deal with it. And, since the roads ice over, we're slip-sliding all over the place in large vehicles weighing several thousand pounds.

I'm a 100 miles southwest of Atlanta, and the roads here were iced over. That means when you travel at a snail's pace, foot off the gas, but have to press the brakes for a stop sign or a pedestrian or another car or something, you start sliding and skidding, traveling forward at about 20° off-center. Not a good feeling, particularly if you're not used to it.

Schools closed, many businesses and agencies closed, and a lot of people had a vacation day. Some of us worked. And, because a lot of people didn't show up (some nearby counties closed all their roads), we actually got some stuff done.

Go ahead and make fun of us. We can't handle snow. And we have no desire to learn. We can handle hurricanes. Heck, we play football in hurricanes here in Georgia (Yes, I was at that game). You won't see any hurricane-related scandals here. But snow? You can keep that stuff.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Angry Birds and Bad Piggies

So, what level of Angry Birds are you on? Three Stars on all levels? That's great.

I'm not the one thinking so (though that does impress me). Obama's NSA thinks so.

Seems that Angry Birds is one of the methods the NSA is using to gather data on you.

The New York Times reported this week that the NSA and other spy agencies are able to access and exploit the data that many smartphone apps, including Google Maps and Angry Birds, collect.
The N.S.A. and Britain’s Government Communications Headquarters were working together on how to collect and store data from dozens of smartphone apps by 2007, according to the documents, provided by Edward J. Snowden, the former N.S.A. contractor. Since then, the agencies have traded recipes for grabbing location and planning data when a target uses Google Maps, and for vacuuming up address books, buddy lists, telephone logs and the geographic data embedded in photographs when someone sends a post to the mobile versions of Facebook, Flickr, LinkedIn, Twitter and other Internet services.
Now, before you get all angry at Obama or the NSA, you need to take a breath. They say they don't really use the data or even look at it if you're not a terrorist. Apparently, they can tell before they look at it. And, of course, just because Obama lied about Benghazi, about Obamacare, about jobs, about the deficit, about, well, everything else, doesn't mean he's lying about this. And even if he is, you still shouldn't blame him.

Blame the people that voted for him. None of what we know about Obama and his ilk is new. We've known it all along. So, yeah, blame the people that voted for him. Those are the real Bad Piggies.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Attack Cows

A report from Germany says that cows blew up a shed at a farm in Rasdorf.

Methane gas from 90 flatulent cows exploded in a German farm shed on Monday, damaging the roof and injuring one of the animals, police said.

Why were cows collecting the gas? What do they have in mind? Are they plotting against us? Did we dodge a bullet here, and the cows tip their hand by accidentally blowing themselves up?

Here in the US, cows are best known as advertising icons for a chicken restaurant. Well, that and giving milk. And...

Oh. Yeah. Hamburgers.

Maybe that's it. Maybe they don't like being in sammiches. So, why are they collecting their farts to blow things up in Germany? Well, what's the most famous sammich in which you'll find cow parts? That's right. Hamburgers. And where is Hamburg? Yep, in Germany.

So, what do we do? Nothing. The hamburger was actually invented in the US, not in Germany. Stupid cows don't have any idea what they're doing.

I'm not saying it's okay that cows are blowing things up in Germany. I'm saying that the Germans got it under control. They don't need out help. If any country knows how to wage war on a group, it's Germany. That's why the terrorists don't attack them.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Coca-Cola hacked!

You heard about the data breach at Target. Then, the one at Neiman-Marcus. But now, Coca-Cola has been hacked.

Think about that for a minute. You might have Coca-Cola in your refrigerator. Which means there's hackers in your house. Or your Westinghouse!

And, if you don't, there's still the chance you've ordered a Coke at a drive-thru. That means you ended up with a Quarter Pounder, Large Fries, and Russian Hacker in the bag.

Hit the break room at work? Put a dollar in the machine, and it dispenses a security threat in a 20-oz bottle.

There's no hiding any more. Hackers are in your wallet, on your Facebook and Google machine, and now in your soft drinks.

The only place they haven't hacked is your bathroom. When that happens, it's really going to hit the fan.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Classic Doctor Who Season Five

The fifth season of Doctor Who saw another cast change, as well as a few recent discoveries. Two recently discovered serials (or nearly-complete serials) were released on home video in 2013. The season featured two battles against the Cybermen, and two against robot yetis. More on all that in just a bit.

There were 7 serials (the fewest in any season so far) consisting of 40 episodes. 21 episodes are missing. Only two serials are complete, and one of those was only made complete in 2013 after the discovery of a copy of the episodes in Nigeria. One serial, Fury from the Deep, is missing all its episodes, the last serial to have no surviving tapes. Only two more serials after this season are missing any episodes; the rest of the series is complete.

Victoria Waterfield (Deborah Watling) left in a late-season adventure, and Zoe Heriot (Wendy Padbury) joined The Doctor and Jamie as the season concluded.

There were one production goof that caught my eye and ear. Jamie, who's from 18th century Scotland, used a 19th century phrase, "gives me the willies" in The Abominable Snowmen (6 episodes, 5 missing).

By the way, the yeti in The Abominable Snowmen and in The Web of Fear (6 episodes, 1 missing but reconstructed by BBC) -- the second and fifth serials respectively -- reminded me of Ro-Man from Robot Monster, except for lack of a diving helmet. I don't like abominable snowman shows unless I have Joel or Mike and a couple of robots helping me watch it.

The third serial, The Ice Warriors (6 episodes, 2 missing) has been released on home video with the two missing episodes animated. Unlike the Season One Reign Of Terror animated episodes, which looked like graphic novel style, the animation of The Ice Warriors is more like Johnny Quest or Adult Swim's Sealab 2021 animation. The Web of Fear was also released on home video in 2013, but with reconstruction, not animation for the missing episode. I wish they had animated it.

To me, the most interesting serial was The Enemy of the World (6 episodes). Patrick Troughton played the villain as well as The Doctor. Even though the characters looked alike, they didn't. Troughton's talents as an actor made them appear to truly be different characters.

In the season's 6th serial, Fury from the Deep (6 episodes, all missing), Victoria decided to remain behind, tired of the constant danger The Doctor found himself (and his traveling companions) in. As has been the pattern, in the next serial, The Wheel in Space (6 episodes, 4 missing), The Doctor gained a replacement companion for the one just lost. Zoe Heriot (Wendy Padbury) stowed away aboard the TARDIS after the defeat of the Cybermen, and would be part of the crew for the next season.

Now off to the TARDIS to land on Season Six.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Where I get it from

The stereotype that older people shun technology isn't always true. I got a healthy does of that this past week. Let me explain.

This past week, I took some time away from work to travel to southeast Georgia to visit my daughter, son-in-law, and grandson before they traveled back to the Boston area, where my son-in-law is attending business school. And, while I was there this past week, I learned a little about myself and my fascination with technology ... through someone else, someone a little older.

My daughter wanted to spend some time with her grandmother. Now, my mother got a Kindle Fire tablet -- the bigger one -- at Christmas. Not for Christmas, but at Christmas. She got it for herself. And, since she's been an Amazon Prime member for some time -- she saves a shipload of money on shipping because of how much she buys via Amazon -- she was happy when she discovered she could also watch movies and TV on her tablet, since Amazon Prime includes a decent library of video content.

She asked me this past week if it was possible to get Amazon Prime content from her Kindle Fire to her big screen TV. "Not exactly," I told her, "but you can get Amazon Prime content to your TV by using something like a Roku box. Just like your Kindle Fire can play Amazon video content, a Roku box can play Amazon content on your TV."

"The same stuff? Same movies and everything?"

"Yes, the same stuff. It's all from the same content library."

"If I get a Roku, will you help me hook it up?"

"Yes, ma'am."

Next day, I hooked up her Roku (it's easy). I helped her create her account (again, easy). Gave her the remote and showed her how to browse the Amazon Instant Video channel (app) on the Roku box. I pointed out how to tell what content was Prime (the little Prime triangle at the top left of the content thumbnail) and what you had to buy or rent to watch (no triangle).

So, she sat down and started finding Amazon Prime content she wanted to watch and added those titles to her Watchlist. Around two dozen. She also bought some movies she liked.

Next day, she wanted to know if there was a way to get her DVDs where she could watch them through the Roku. Seems she has several movies on DVD that aren't available through Amazon Instant Video, Prime or not. So, I told her about the VUDU Disc to Digital service. And she pulled out boxes of DVDs and, in about 30 minutes, found 14 that qualified for conversion. And, of course, added the VUDU channel/app to her Roku.

She authorized her WatchESPN app against her Comcast XFINITY account, so now, when college football starts up again, she can watch all the games that ESPN carries. She set up a Pandora account and added that app to the Roku so she can listen to her Statler Brothers. She added a classic western movie channel/app so she has her Roy Rogers any time she wants. And, though the Roku she got doesn't support YouTube, she has Dailymotion installed.

So, to summarize, a 78-year-old woman in southeast Georgia is sitting in her recliner, streaming movies, music, and other online content using technology and devices that didn't exist when she younger. Like, when she was 70.

My sisters don't know quite what to make of it. They're not too sure about all that streaming of stuff off the Internets and what not using all those fancy devices and such. They're content to watch what the cable tells them, to post pictures of cats on the Facebook, and to run kids off their lawns. Their mother? She'll just let the dog deal with the kids on the lawn. She's busy watching stuff she likes on her big color TV.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Classic Doctor Who Season Four

The Classic Doctor Who fourth season was, as the third, difficult to watch. Part of it was the storylines, particularly early in the season, but most of the problem is that most of the episodes don't exist. None of the serials are complete.

As mentioned before, the missing episodes have been reconstructed by fans using the audio from the TV broadcast (which still exists), while stills from (or representing situations in) the episodes are shown. The reconstructions are augmented with text describing the action where it's not obvious what is happening.

There were nine serials, consisting of 43 episodes. Four of the serials were missing all the episodes. That accounted for 18 of the missing episodes. The other five serials were missing a total of 15 episodes. None of the serials were complete. Only 10 episodes exist.

The other reason that Season Four was so hard to watch were the stories. William Hartnell's last full serial, The Smugglers (4 episodes, all missing), was about pirates. It was the first episode for new companions Polly (no last name, played by Anneke Wills) and Ben Jackson (Michael Craze). Since the Ben character was a British seaman, the pirate smugglers and ship setting fit right in. For him. I'm not a fan of the Rum And Sodomy stories, but I managed to stay awake through them.

Hartnell left the series at the conclusion of the next serial, The Tenth Planet (4 episodes, 1 missing). The missing episode from that serial is the last one, where The Doctor dies after battling the Cybermen. He is, of course, replaced by The Doctor. A clip of the regeneration (they called it "renewal" at the time) exists, so the grainy black-and-white footage of the closeup of Hartnell's face, illuminated by a bright light, morphing into Patrick Troughton's face still exists.

Troughton's Doctor took some getting used to, but he actually eased viewers (okay, me) into it by getting used to it himself. He looked himself over, checked out his surroundings, and referred to his previous incarnation in the third person. It was as if he was getting his bearings, clearing his head, trying to remember things, trying to ease himself into the situation. He did a good job on that. I accepted him as The Doctor about the same time he did. In his first serial, The Power of the Daleks (6 episodes, all missing), the Daleks seemed to recognize him, so that emphasized that he was, indeed, The Doctor, despite the appearance and personality changes.

The Highlanders (4 episodes, all missing) was the only historical episode of the fourth season featuring the Second Doctor. It took place after Battle of Culloden (1746), where the Duke of Cumberland defeated Charles Edward Stuart. The serial introduced Jamie McCrimmon (Frazer Hines), who would become The Doctor's long-time male companion. Make of that what you will.

The Highlanders was another Rum And Sodomy episode, with much action taking place on British ships.

A science fiction staple I hate is Atlantis. I've never seen a good TV show or movie featuring characters from Atlantis. And, the serial The Underwater Menace (4 episodes, 2 missing) was no exception. It would have been tolerable had Joel and the Bots been there to enjoy it with me. As it was, it was as bad as Undersea Kingdom, minus the MST3K crew.

The Macra Terror (4 episodes, all missing), was the first one to feature an image of The Doctor in the opening theme. The next-to-last serial, The Faceless Ones (6 episodes, 4 missing) was actually pretty good, despite most of the episodes only being available via reconstruction. But the real reason I bring it up is because that's the episode where Polly and Ben leave The Doctor. The action took place immediately before and ended on the same day as Season Three's The War Machines, meaning that, as far as the normal Earth timeline is concerned, they never left. Which means Ben never went AWOL, and was spared the lash, or whatever the 1966 equivalent was.

That meant that the season would end with the entire cast -- The Doctor and his companions -- all being replaced. Another companion, Victoria Waterfield (Deborah Watling), was introduced in the final serial of the season, The Evil of the Daleks (7 episoded, 6 missing). That episode also featured the second appearance of a Beatles song. Paperback Writer was playing on a jukebox during a 1966 scene (yes, the song was current for the time in the story). In Season Two's The Chase (1: The Executioners), The Doctor and his companions watched The Beatles perform Ticket To Ride on television.

One other thing about The Evil of the Daleks: Jamie, who's from 1746, understood what The Doctor meant when he said some items were from the Victorian Era. In case you forgot, she didn't take the throne until 1837.

One final note: Patrick Troughton died here in Columbus, Georgia, in 1987. There are rumors he was having sex with a fan at a sci-fi convention being held in town when he had a heart attack, but I can't confirm that (the having sex part; I can confirm the sci-fi convention was in town). Troughton was a notorious horndog, but that doesn't mean he was using his Sonic Screwdriver when he died.

I'm not from Columbus, by the way, but I moved to this area some years ago. And not because of the Time Lord-killing sex. That's a bonus.

On to Season Five.

Friday, January 17, 2014


Nick Robinson is BBC2's political editor. He'll appear on issues discussion shows on that UK channel discussing issues (duh).

Well, the other day, he had a miscue when one of his mobile devices started playing a ringtone, Queen's Fat Bottomed Girls, according to The Guardian.

No big deal, right? People forget to put devices on silent all the time. I've been in meetings where suddenly some loud song snippet started blaring from someone's pants. You, too, probably.

So, if it's not that big of a deal, why am I wasting your time writing about it? Well, it got me to thinking. What might be some ringtones of others in the news media?

Most of us might not be familiar with media reporters or pundits from outside the U.S., but I'm certain Anderson Cooper, Chris Matthews, Bill O'Reilly, and others could be subject to having some ringtones that might tell us more about them than we want to know.

So, I'd like to know what you think might be the ringtones of some political reports ... or of some politicians. Or suggested ringtones for them.

Have at it.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

The robots get their own Wikipedia

Did you hear about RoboEarth? It's like Wikipedia for robots.

Think about that for a minute.

Wikipedia is used by a lot of people as information on which they base their thoughts, actions, and attitudes. It's a real-life example of people thinking that because it's on the Internet, it must be true.

And, of course, that's bunk. Because I can put stuff on Wikipedia. Me! I mean, have you ever read the stuff I write? And Wikipedia will let me put stuff out there for other people to use.

And I have put stuff on Wikipedia. And you can, too. And, some of you have.

Pity the poor souls that don't know any better than to believe anything I write. Or that some of y'all write.

Anyway, now the robots got their own Wikipedia. And that's a scary thing. What if some robot edits an entry on humans saying that robots are supposed to kill all humans?

Okay, I admit that there could be a benefit if some humans left the gene pool, but all humans. 100% of humanity wiped out? I'm not in favor of that.

That's probably about 20% too many.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

What is this "Internet" of which you speak?

From 1981, a news report about getting news online (via instructorSLitz).

[Direct link]

I had forgotten how prevalent Radio Shack/Tandy computers were back then. I saw a Color Computer (original) and a Model I.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Third World iPhone

I saw a report in The Times of India's business section that iPhones sales in that country are slow, and Apple is looking to improve sales by bringing back the iPhone 4.

In case you forgot, or just didn't know to begin with, the current iPhone, the iPhone 5s, is the 7th generation of the iPhone. That makes the 4th generation iPhone 4 really old in the smartphone world.

But, in poorer locations, you're less likely to have people buying a $649 smartphone -- that's the price of an iPhone 5s without a carrier subsidy. In Third World countries like India, Apple doesn't sell a lot of their higher-priced phones. So what are they going to do? Well, I told you already: they're bringing back the iPhone 4. Pay attention.


There's an aspect of the story missing. Guess where else you can buy an iPhone 4? Walmart. Really.

The iPhone 4 is one of the phones you can get as part of their Straight Talk no-contract service.

Which means India just got downgraded to Walmart status. Is it any wonder other countries hate us?

Monday, January 13, 2014

This Belongs to Who

Saw this on the Facebook (thanks, Paul Mitchell).

[Google maps]

That's a lot fancier than the one I'm used to. I suppose I'll get caught up after a while.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Classic Doctor Who Season Three

Watching the original Doctor Who series from the beginning is a very strange experience. I've not seen the new show (the 2005 revival), and, as I mentioned before, I only had previously seen some Tom Baker (mostly) and Peter Davison (very few) episodes on PBS back in the '70s and '80s.

I've now watched all of the first three seasons, featuring William Hartnell as The Doctor. And the third season was the most difficult to watch. Partly because of the 10 serials (45 episodes), only three (12 episodes) are complete. There are five episodes that still exist from three serials, and four serials (13 episodes) that are completely missing. So, of 45 episodes, 27 are missing.

Of the missing episodes, the sorta-standalone Mission to the Unknown, was animated by the BBC for inclusion on a home video release. The others have audio tracks available, and have been reconstructed using stills and snippets of video from the episodes, along with the occasional home video fill-in (some actually well done, some not).

The season featured massive turnover in the Doctor's companions. Season Three began with Steven and Vicki, but that didn't last long. Vicki (Maureen O'Brien) left after the Siege of Troy (the 4-episode serial The Mythmakers, all missing), being replaced by Katarina (Adrienne Hill), who was killed off four episodes later during the 12-episode serial, The Daleks Master Plan (9 episodes missing). That serial was notable for the introduction and departure of Sara Kingdom (Jean Marsh), who traveled with The Doctor and Steven, just like a companion. Sources vary on whether or not to count her as an official companion. She was around longer than Katarina, who was officially a companion, so I say she counts.

"Mission to the Unknown"

Another thing about that serial was actually its prequel, Mission to the Unknown (reconstructed by BBC animation). After the first serial, the standalone episode was broadcast as part of the Doctor Who series, but none of the Doctor Who regulars -- The Doctor or his companions -- were in the episode. That episode was followed by the serial that saw Vicki leave, then the 12-episode The Daleks Master Plan was aired, using plot points from Mission to the Unknown. I don't know why they didn't include the standalone into the Master Plan serial, unless it was because they were planning to spin off characters and situations, and separated it from the rest of the serial. I'm just guessing.

Another companion, Dodo (like the bird), joined at the end of The Massacre of St Bartholomew's Eve (4 episodes, all missing), an historical serial about, you guessed it, the St Bartholomew's Eve Massacre. At the end, they tied Dodo Chaplet (Jackie Lane) to one of the characters in 1572 Paris, and had her accidentally joining The Doctor and Steven around the universe.

There was one other historical episode, but it was awful. Atrocious. Even -- dare I say it? -- bad. The Gunfighters (4 episodes) took place in 1881 Arizona, in the little town called Tombstone. Yes, it was their Gunfight at the OK Corral episode. Star Trek did a better job with it. They got it all wrong, from the reason for the gunfight, to the participants, to who was killed, to ... well, they got it all wrong.

Oh, and the usual horrible British-as-Western accents. Apparently, the BBC couldn't find anyone who could do an American accent free to appear on Doctor Who. And, the writers couldn't find their Encyclopedia Britannica to look up anything about the Gunfight.

Steven (Peter Purves) left at the end of the next-to-last serial of the season, The Savages (4 episodes, all missing). Dodo left at the end of the last serial, The War Machines (4 episodes), which took place in 1966 London. Two characters from that serial, Polly (Anneke Wills) and Ben (Michael Craze), accidentally left with The Doctor as the episode, serial, and season ended.

A little more about The War Machines. The plot was to hook up computers from all over the world together (pre-Al Gore Internet?). Oh, and the central computer decided to take over the world and enslave humanity. Kind of a pre-Terminator Skynet. And, next time you're on Jeopardy and the answer is "The only serial of the classic Doctor Who series where The Doctor is called 'Doctor Who,'" you'll have the question ready.

Oh, that season was hard to get through. Some of the stories were okay, but the reconstructed episodes are often hard to follow. I find it necessary at times to read synopsis after reconstructed episodes to make sure I didn't miss anything. I often do.

Funny thing, though. I had understood that William Hartnell left at the end of Season Three. I wasn't expecting him at the opening of Season Four. Well, now I am.

Time to tune the Roku to the TARDIS and see how that worked out.

Friday, January 10, 2014

Apparently this is news

I saw a report that the producer of Girls went on a tirade when asked about nudity on his show.

Hey, nudity. That's always good for a laugh. So, I clicked the link and read the story. When I was done, I knew less than I did when I started.

First, what's Girls? I mean, I know what girls are; I've even helped produce one. But, apparently, Girls is a TV show on HBO. Now, if I had cable, maybe I'd know more about what's going on. But I'm kinda thinking not. I used to have cable, but didn't subscribe to HBO. And, a long time ago, when I did subscribe to HBO, I found that I rarely watched it, which is why I dropped HBO. And, later, dropped cable.

But, here's what I can tell you. It's a TV show on HBO. That's pretty much it.

I looked into it a little bit, and best as I can tell, it's set in the largest melting pot of America and is about four white, heterosexual women. Like Sex in the City, but not because, well, it's just not. Lena Dunham is the star.

I know, "who is Lena Dunham?" I don't know. Some liberal feminist chick who who wants to promote diversity and same-sex marriage by starring in a show about four white, heterosexual women. And, she apparently walks around naked in the TV show a lot. Having never seen the show, I can't vouch for this. But, apparently, she walks around enough for a reporter to ask about it and the producer to go nuts about the question.

Apparently, seeing Lena Dunham naked is enough to cause people to want to watch the show. Which is silly, because the Internet is crawling with pictures of Lena Dunham naked. No, I'm not gonna give you a link. If you know how to use The Google, though, you won't have any problem. But, let me offer this warning: those pictures of Lena Dunham naked? They look like Lena Dunham. Only without clothes.

You have been warned.

Anyway, she's apparently somebody, and when someone else gets his panties in a wad about a question about her, it's news.

It's days like these when I'm searching the skies, hoping to see a meteor headed this way.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Why I use an iPhone

Picard uses Android. I'm more of a Capt. Kirk guy.

By the way, how much does he pay for that Data plan?

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Classic Doctor Who Season Two

My venture into the world of Doctor Who (explained here) continued into the second season. I was under the weather in the days after Christimas, and spent lots of time doing nothing but relaxing. TV was always an option, and I watched several episodes of the show.

The second season was 9 serials comprising 39 episodes. Almost all the episodes exist -- only 2 are missing.

The cast changes started. The entire complement of companions was changed by the end of the season.

Carole Ann Ford, who played Susan Foreman (the Doctor's granddaughter) left early in the season because she was displeased with the development of the character. They wrote her out by having her fall in love with a farmer and having the Doctor decide she needed her own life, so he left her behind as she pleaded with him at the door of the TARDIS.

In the next serial (The Rescue, 2 episodes) introduced Vicki (no last name) played by Maureen O'Brien. I read reports that the producers wanted her to cut her hair and darken it, leading her to tell them that if they wanted someone that looked like Carole Ann Ford, they ought to sign Carole Ann Ford. She kept her hair.

Late in the season (The Chase, 6 episodes), Barbara Wright (Jacqueline Hill) and Ian Chesterton (William Russell) left the show. The Doctor allowed them to take a Dalek time machine and return to their own time. Sorta. They returned to 1965 London, having left 1963 London two years earlier. I wonder how they explained their disappearance from the school where they were teaching, along with one of their students. I also wonder how they knew the song Ticket To Ride. During the first episode of the serial, they all watched The Beatles performing that song on television. Barbara and Ian seemed to know it. Considering they left Earth in November 1963 before With The Beatles (the group's second UK album) has been released, and over a week before I Want To Hold Your Hand was released, there's no reason for them to be familiar with the song. Unless The Doctor had one heckuva iPod.

They picked up an astronaut, Steven Taylor (Peter Purves), who stowed away aboard the TARDIS after the most recent defeat of the Daleks (The Chase). Purves got the job after having appeared as a rube from Alabama atop the Empire State Building earlier in the Dalek series that saw Barbara and Ian leave the show (The Chase).

The season had three historical serials, The Romans (4 episodes, during the time of Nero), The Crusade (4 episodes, 2 missing but reconstructed via stills and the audio soundtrack, dealing with Richard I and the Third Crusade), The Time Meddler (4 episodes, set just before the Battle of Stamford Bridge).

There were two serials featuring the Daleks, The Dalek Invasion of Earth (6 episodes, ending with Susan's departure) and The Chase (6 episodes, ending the Ian's and Barbara's departures). The Dalek Invasion of Earth would later be the basis for the Dr. Who movie, Daleks - Invasion Earth 2150 A.D. starring Peter Cushing (the RiffTrax crew recently had fun with that one).

The really cheesy giant ants (the Zarbi) in The Web Planet gave me a chuckle.

The giant butterflies (the Menoptra) in that serial were also kinda funny, as were the Optera (not really caterpillars), who where wingless butterflies with faux Japanese accents. Maybe the accents were supposed to be faux Chinese. It's hard to tell which particular Orientals were being insulted by the actors, but I lean towards the Japanese.

I gather that the Daleks are the most popular villains in the Doctor Who universe. I still think they're silly, and get tired of them wanting the Doctor and his companions to be exterminated, exterminated, exterminated.

Oh, well. I'll watch Season Three and see what happens. I know that the Second Doctor is in Season Four. I'm curious to see the regeneration, which so far, hasn't been mentioned. Every threat to the Doctor's life has seemed to be permanent. Perhaps they hadn't thought if it yet, and won't until they figure a way to write out William Hartnell.

For now, it's back to the TARDIS.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

The joke's on me

I've been trying to come up with a way of poking fun at Obama's slipping poll numbers. I've considered and rejected some really lame ideas. So far, the best I've been able to come up with is along the line of this:
News From Next Year

WASHINGTON, December 31, 2014 (AP) - The president's poll numbers have held steady for a year despite Republican claims that the president's policies have been increasingly unpopular. Polling services stopped conducting polls regarding the president's popularity in January, a move roundly criticized by Democrats.

"Our own internal polls show that the president's policies are increasingly popular," said outgoing Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. "Hardly a day goes by that I don't ask my staff 'How's the president doing?' Support for the president is at an all-time high. Trust me on this."

Despite record number of uninsured Americans, Obamacare's popularity is high among House Democrats, according to Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi. "It's a shame that Republicans have been sabotaging the Obamacare Website by running ads all summer and into the fall. It's caused people to lose their benefits, and then they have the audacity to blame it on a law nobody read."

Even with the popularity of Obamacare, the president's approval rate has stayed in the 30s since polling stopped.
Anyway, I was thinking about something like that. But, I won't finish it.


Turns out Obama's pollster beat me to it. Really.
Reporters should go the next “year without reporting any public polling data,” Joel Benenson, president and CEO of Benenson Strategy Group, said.
It's so hard to make fun of people that parody themselves.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Global WarmingTM flips the sun!

Have you noticed the change in the sun lately? It's upside down!

No, really.

According to a report in The Independent, NASA says the sun has flipped upside down.

What they don't go into a lot of details on is: why did the sun flip?

Well, I'll tell you why. Global WarmingTM.

That's right, Global WarmingTM is so bad, it flipped the sun upside down.

Now, I know what you're thinking. There were more record low temperatures in 2013 than record high temps, so that means Global WarmingTM is on the decline. Well, no. And yes.

It got so hot here on the earth that the heat had to go somewhere. And where did it go? To the sun, of course. There's heat there already, and heat attracts heat. So, all the Global WarmingTM jumped off the earth and headed to the sun at an estimated 300,000 miles per second. So fast, it hit the sun so hard it flipped it upside down. And, with all the Global WarmingTM running off in space, it got cold and we got all those record cold temperatures.

So there you go. Proof that Global WarmingTM is real.

Now, go buy yourself some carbon credits, because they keep temperatures down. Because if you don't, it'll get so hot that, within 20-25 years, Global WarmingTM will get so bad, it'll flip the sun upside down again. And who knows what could happen then.

Resolutions for 2014

In the new year, I resolve to...
  • be tolerant of other people’s point of view
  • be tolerant of liberals
  • not call everyone who voted for Obama a moron
  • drive the speed limit at all times
  • say nice things about Democrats
  • not make fun of rednecks
  • not call everyone who voted for Obama a dumbass
  • not make fun of yankees
  • compliment people more often
  • not call everyone who voted for Obama an idiot
  • become a serious blogger
  • sprout wings and fly
I have an equal chance of success with all of them.