Thursday, April 17, 2014

Odds and Ends

I recently watched the second season premiere of Wonder Woman and Jessica Walter was guest starring as Gloria, who helped the villainous Dr. Solano. She got to both kiss Steve Trevor Jr. and fight with Diana Prince at her new 1977 apartment. (Gloria ran away before Diana could turn into Wonder Woman.) As they fought, Diana protested, "You're a woman. We shouldn't be enemies." Gloria scoffed that "Women are natural enemies." She's very calculating and devious, and could have been a good villain in her own right, if developed more.

To my surprise, I found out that there's going to be a local production of William Gillette's Sherlock Holmes play in Dallas, so I'll have to try to go see it. I've already read the play, but it will be interesting to see how it's performed, and what modern influences will be present, like when I saw Crucifer of Blood with a Holmes modeled after Robert Downey Jr.

Also, I read that Nicholas Meyer is putting together a period drama with Sigmund Freud helping to solve crimes. Meyer is the Sherlockian who wrote The Seven-Per-Cent Solution with Freud curing Holmes's cocaine addiction. I hope this show won't be as hero-worshiping of Freud as Meyer's book and movie were. Freud's not that great, and his psychiatric theories are woefully outdated and sexist bunk. Hopefully Meyer can see these flaws himself now with the passage of forty years. But the show might end up being about serial killers like every other damn show these days.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Winter Soldier

I found out that the Russo brothers from Arrested Development directed Captain America, so I decided to give it a chance and see it today. I didn't bother to pay for the 3D version, though. It was pretty good, though nobody ever explained why the guy was called "The Winter Soldier" instead of "Hand of Hydra" or whatever the Nazi scientist said when working on him. Also, was his metal arm part of increasing his speed and strength, or was it because he was badly wounded when they found him? Oh well. Maybe it will be explained later.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Comparing Sherlock and Elementary

I just saw this February article on Tor. It's fairly balanced, pointing out flaws in both shows. I do hate what Elementary did to Irene Adler; it's slightly better than BBC Sherlock because Irene is the mastermind, and nobody's puppet. But she's as stupid a mastermind as the psychotic Jim Moriarty, who'd gladly destroy himself and his own criminal empire just because he got obsessed with Holmes. It's a wonder anybody follows his orders; if it's just for the money, then where does he get the money from, when he so shittily implodes his own crimes to play mindgames with Holmes?

As I said, I hate Elementary's Irene also because she was the one who came to New York and sent Moran to harass Holmes, basically putting Holmes on her trail to fuck up her criminal scheme. I hate the psychotic idea that she can't keep away from him, though I admit to not watching the episode where she returned. Also I won't give credit to Elementary anymore for transgender Ms. Hudson as long as she's an offscreen character. No progressive points for you until she comes back on a recurring basis!

Stormy weather

Well, April showers have begun, and hopefully they'll bring May flowers. I had a scare last week, though, when I was out in a rainstorm that I didn't think was severe. Then I got a weather alert that a tornado was in the county. The tornado didn't hit, but there was a lot of hail and I had to hide out in a restaurant for a while before a break in the storm, when I decided to go home. Oh well.

I finished the first Bess Crawford mystery A Duty to the Dead, and was very disappointed. Bess is a great heroine with depth and courage, and also a charming recklessness that leads her into trouble. The book explores interesting themes like soldiers suffering from shellshock, and people being shut up in mental asylums for bogus reasons. Really nice period detail, and Bess even talks to the servants a lot because that's how she grew up in India. The rich Graham family show that there's even more ways to deeply screw up brothers and that powerful people can buy silence. But the mystery turned out to be about finding a serial killer, even though they don't call it that. I hate serial killings, but I had to continue reading to the end. I had to know that poor Peregrine Graham would be saved.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Peter Pan

I first read J. M. Barrie's novel while I was writing Dirty Little Secret, my epic Arrested Development fic. Those who read it will know that Gob's got strong opinions about Peter Pan, and the author's psychological issues about family. I do personally think the novel is a lot darker than the Disney animated film. For one thing, Barrie lists "murder" among the mundane things that kids keep in their crowded imaginations, and Peter Pan is described as rather selfish and sadistic in the book. He starves the Lost Boys so that they'll fit into the tree holes, and apparently he kills some boys now and then. He also forgets friends and enemies alike, especially after he kills them. He is much more callous and less heroic in the book than in the cartoon. Peter Pan lets people get into danger, and then saves them at the last minute to show off how clever he is. It's not because he actually knows about moral right and wrong. He can be quite a vicious kid, and Barrie comments often that the other children are cruel and thoughtless too, including the Darlings who blithely stay in Neverland for what seems like months, not worried at all about their parents. It's certainly much longer than the few nights that are depicted in the films.

Cosmos

I recently caught up on the Cosmos episodes so far. I liked the episode on evolution where Neil told the story of how wolves turned into dogs. Glad he included the part of "self-selection" and the wolves choosing to domesticate humans (much like cats have trained humans to be their servants). I've said before that I don't understand why creationists insist that apes shouldn't be around anymore if humans descended from them. Dogs clearly descended from wolves, and yet both species exist today.

Then Neil contrasted how polar bears evolved from brown bears (grizzlies) through natural selection, and he rebutted the Intelligent Design argument that the human eye is too perfect to be randomly created. Anybody who wears glasses or contacts can tell you that the eye is not perfect at all, and human eyesight is very poor compared to other animals' eyes, like those of raptors or fish. Humans don't have the best sense of smell, sense of hearing, and plenty of other stuff. It's only our brains that helped us dominate the planet, when physically speaking we're pretty disadvantaged and underpowered. Not that creationists will listen to Neil, of course, but perhaps there are some rational folks who can be reached by this show. Plus science doesn't have to be incompatible with religion. Some scientists are religious, but they know that their faith can't and shouldn't be proved. Religion is personal and shouldn't be publicly argued or shoved onto other people at the expense of education.