Alan K. Henderson's Weblog


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Saturday, October 31, 2009

Seventh Annual Blogger Costume Party

This year's theme is Alfred Hitchcock.

Little Miss Attila awaits rescue. (Lifeboat)

Mark Steyn recruits Ingrid Bergman to spy on a group of Nazis in Rio de Janeiro - he suspects they're plotting something in connection with the 2016 Olympics. (Notorious)

Tyler Cowen still prefers old-fashioned film cameras. (Rear Window)

Steve Green
wishes he hadn't gone out for that country stroll. (North By Northwest)

Iowahawk is his own mother! (Psycho)

Tammy Bruce has absolutely had it with PETA. (The Birds)

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Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Must Reading

Dismantling America, Thomas Sowell's latest article.


Heroes - Town Without Pity

(Episode: Strange Attractors. Spoilers ahead.)

Bennett's plan to get Jeremy in the clear shatters. The boy has a rap sheet (details unknown), and the sheriff will release the boy only to next of kin. He enlists Tracy to pose as his aunt. After some difficulty they succeed, but angry townsfolk confront the three. Jeremy touches one belligerent man on the chest; the man collapses, bleeding at the nose. Jeremy refuses Bennett's pleas to heal the man, and turns back toward the jail.

Before the release Tracy encountered Samuel. The two are transported back to the carnival. It is uncertain if his ability to manipulate earth can effect a sort of teleport, or if this was the work of the power of one of the other carnies. Samuel tells her that the carnival could be Jeremy's home. He gives her a compass to "point the way."

The next morning, Bennett and Tracy find Jeremy dead in the street. Without the sheriff's knowledge Deputy Gill took him out of the jail and had an accomplice drag him to death. Tracy tells Bennett not to call on her again, and while in her car alone she pulls out the compass.

In the final scene Samuel appears in town and causes the sheriff's office to collapse.

Meanwhile, Matt thinks he's found a way to incapacitate Sylar's mind - with alcohol. But he is ultimately duped; Sylar "slipped into the driver's seat" after Matt passed out. Undoubtedly Sylar will now put full effort into finding his body - and his powers.

The sorority sisters kidnap Claire and Gretchen and bring them to a slaughter house for a creepy treasure hunt; the first to find it gets to sit out Hell Week. After Gretchen is nearly struck by a hanging chain, Claire suspects that someone is trying to kill her - possibly someone with powers. Gretchen responds with one of the best one-liners of the night: "That sounds like some crazy-ass conspiracy theory... which pretty much describes your entire life."

The four girls gather together, and separate again - at which time Gretchen is attacked again, strangled by a chain. Claire fights the assailant, and is impaled against a metal hook or something on the wall. Claire still manages to land a blow that shuts off the attacker's invisibility. Exposed, Becky flees. The other pledges enter, not seeing Becky but seeing Claire impaled - and they witness her healing.

What is Becky's next move? What is the Sylar mind's next move? Will Tracy join the carnival? Will she meet the Sylar body? Will Bennett suspect mutant foul play regarding the sheriff's office collapse? Stay tuned.

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Monday, October 26, 2009

Random Holiday Thought

Could Hollywood possibly find a way to do a Halloween-themed movie that doesn't involve bloodshed? Why do all the seasonal flicks have to be about mass murder?


Newt Gingrich Will Never Be President

The Los Angeles Times speculates on a possible presidential run.

If he does run in the primaries, he's gonna be among the first to drop out. His endorsement of a hard leftist in an historically Republican Congressional district has forever doomed his presidential potential. I can't see a way for him to regain the trust of the party's base.

Update: Heh.


Saturday, October 24, 2009

Breakdown Of A Media Miscommunication

A weird satirical piece about alleged quotes from Obama's college thesis somehow got passed off as news. Link via LGF.

In comments I delved into the story, barely staying within character count limits. Given the site's seething Limbaugh Derangement Syndrome - Charles Johnson lashes out at Rush's handling of the story - I am not taking my commenting privileges for granted. My entire comment appears below.

After that comment I noted the date of Jumping In Pools' post: August 25. How did a nearly two-month-old post on an obscure blog make the news? I wonder if they have any tips for making my obscure blog more noticeable...

Note how the MediaMatters video concludes [link to MM post cited in LGF, link here]:

RUSH: I have had quotes attributed to me that were made up, and when it was pointed out to the media that the quotes were made up, they said, "It doesn't matter! We know Limbaugh thinks it anyway." Sort of like Dan Rather said, "I don't care if these documents are forged. I know that Bush did what he did at the National Guard. I don't care if the documents are forged." I don't care if the Limbaugh quotes are made up. So, I can say, "I don't care if these quotes are made up. I know Obama thinks it. You know why I know Obama thinks it? Because I've heard him say it."

Rush begins with a jab at MSM hypocrisy, opining that they'd never let him get away with employing the rationale of the race libelers and the Ratherites. Unlike those fake stories, Rush sez, the jumpingpools piece has an element of truth - Obama didn't write that, but he thinks that. Rush continues:

Again, 2001, FM radio station interview in Chicago when he was a state senator in Illinois.

OBAMA 2001: If you look at the victories and failures of the civil rights movement and its litigation strategy in the court, I think where it succeeded was to vest formal rights in previously dispossessed peoples so that, uh, I would now have the right to vote, I would now be able to sit at a lunch counter and -- and order and as long as I could pay for it I'd be okay. But the Supreme Court never ventured into the issues of redistribution of wealth and sort of more basic issues of political and economic justice in this society.

RUSH: Now, he's talking about the Warren Court "never ventured into the issues of redistribution of wealth." So we've got a supposed piece from his college thesis at Columbia where he complains that the Constitution didn't talk about the distribution of wealth. So we know that it's on his mind. So even if he didn't say it, I know he thinks it. That's how it works now in the media. And I do know he thinks it because I just heard what I heard, and so did you. Let's see.

The conclusion of the segment also catches my eye:

RUSH: I'm also told that the blog containing the passage on Obama's thesis is a satire blog. [He's misinformed there - the post was satire, no the whole blog] So I shout from the mountaintops: "It was satire!" But we know he thinks it. Good comedy, to be comedy, must contain an element of truth, and we know how he feels about distribution of wealth. He's mad at the courts for not going far enough on it. So we stand by the fabricated quote because we know Obama thinks it anyway. That's how it works in the media today.

Once again Rush satirizes MSM journalistic standards (where emphasis is added).

One thought: isn't this a weird topic for satire? Good satire combines truth with outrageousness, like Doug Adams' Vogons. [For the uninitiated: Vogons] The part of the jumpinginpools quote I heard wasn't all that outrageous. Aren't all welfare statists miffed that the Founders didn't put redistribution explicitly in the Constitution? Doesn't the alleged quote sound like something a lefty academic would actually write?

Then I remembered something: I hadn't read the original blog post. It turns out to be a mixture of newsy-looking stuff and gems like this:

Entitled Aristocracy Reborn, this paper chronicled the long struggle of the working class against, as Obama put it, "plutocratic thugs with one hand on the money and the other on the government."

The title should have been a dead giveaway - leftist central planners would never identify themselves as aristocrats (even though they are). The "plutocratic thugs" line also seems too honest to be real. [I mean that the line too honestly reflects leftist perceptions, not that those the left perceives as "plutocratic thugs" really are plutocratic thugs.]

There's also a line about the "single mother of four working three jobs" - that should also have been a dead giveaway.

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Henderson Prize Announcement

Th next one will be awarded November 9.

No fair guessing in comments who's getting it. Shh!


Yet Another Take On The Mao Remark

From Charles Krauthammer:

She’s been attacked for extolling Mao’s political philosophy in a speech at a high-school graduation. But the critics miss the surpassing stupidity of her larger point: She was invoking Mao as support and authority for her impassioned plea for individuality and trusting one’s own choices. Mao as champion of individuality? Mao, the greatest imposer of mass uniformity in modern history, creator of a slave society of a near-billion worker bees wearing Mao suits and waving the Little Red Book?

Mao or no Mao, you can't expect statists to inspire individual achievement.

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Thursday, October 22, 2009

The Monty Python Theory

Glenn Reynolds postulates:

You know, I think I was right when I said that there’s a Monty Python clip for everything this Administration does. . . .

Looks like the Monty Pythonization of politics goes beyond the Executive branch:

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Jews For Pork?

James Taranto has a modest proposal:

But if they [the ADL] really want to combat the stereotype that Jews are good with money, why not publish a list of wasteful projects supported by Jewish members of Congress?

What brought this on was two South Carolina Republicans who took this approach to praise Senator Jim DeMint:

There is a saying that the Jews who are wealthy got that way not by watching dollars, but instead by taking care of the pennies and the dollars taking care of themselves. By not using earmarks to fund projects for South Carolina and instead using actual bills, DeMint is watching our nation's pennies and trying to preserve our country's wealth and our economy's viability to give all an opportunity to succeed.

This is the Kobayashi Maru no-win scenario. You can't say bad stuff about Jewish culture, and you can't say good stuff either. And if you cite the Protestant work ethic instead of the Jewish work ethic, you offend Jews and other non-Protestants. I'm sure Bill Donohue and Richard Dawkins will back me up on this.

I wonder what Mao would say...


Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Heroes - Sylar's New Home

(Episode: Tabula Rasa. Spoilers ahead.)

Samuel attempts to nudge Sylar into regaining his memories. He catches glimpses of a few memories - belonging to Nathan. Lydia's precog radar is quite selective; she sensed Bennett's renewed interest in heroes, but she's totally in the dark about the source of Sylar's identity crisis. (I thought was a Sullivan family member - she isn't.)

The heavy artillery is brought out: a guy with the ability to cause people to see their past in reflective material. In the hall of mirrors Sylar sees several of his past murders, and the accidental killing of his mother. He calls himself a monster.

Samuel arranges for the officer pursuing Sylar to win tickets to the carnival. He eventually encounters Sylar in the hall of mirrors, sometime after the memories incident. Sylar tries to warn the cop off, trying to save his life. He accidentally shocks the officer, but not lethally. Sylar refuses to kill, but Edgar comes in and kills the cop in his signature fashion.

Sylar is now part of the family, but Edgar is not happy - he is jealous of Lydia's interest in Sylar.

Bennett and Peter track down an old Company subject, a boy who can heal. They teleport to Georgia, where they find dead bushes, a dead bird, and Jeremy's dead parents. Jeremy's power has a flip side: he can drain life as well. Jeremy threatens with a shotgun. Bennett approaches him up the stairs unarmed. Peter teleports between the two, and the shotgun goes off, firing into Peter's chest. Bennett encourages Jeremy that he can still heal if he controls the power; Jeremy heals Peter. Peter absorbs the power and takes conventional transportation to DC while Bennett stays behind. Bennett rigged a couple of things to make the death look like asphyxiation, to save the kid from legal trouble.

Before his trip Peter had told Hero about Emma's power. She wants it to go away; Hiro initially has difficulty engouraging her to accept it. A talent show flier gives Hiro the idea to put on a magic show for the hospital children. Emma walks in and he calls on her to assist in his next trick - placing a sheet in front of her and making her disappear. He makes time and everything but him and Emma freeze, and she is awed seeing the colors frozen in time. She is encouraged to give the abilities another chance, and she hides behind a privacy screen to complete the trick.

Afterward, they talk in the hall, and Hiro involuntarily vanishes. Earlier he had spoken of a wrong he sought to correct: Charlie Andrews' death. She tells Peter when he arrives.

Will Hiro save Charlie? Will Sylar see any Sylar memories that do not involve bloodshed? What is the Parkman-hosted Sylar consciousness up to? Will Bennett enlist Jeremy in the mutant-hunting business? Will they use his powers to give the Georgia peach crop a little boost while they're around? Stay tuned.

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Monday, October 19, 2009

Two Different Takes On Anita Dunn's Mao Remark

Sure, I could probably cherry-pick all sorts of useful tactics from a variety of lowlifes. (Aren't a lot of conservatives touting Saul Alinsky these says?) But if I have the opportunity to address the topic of philosophy before high school students, I want to name names that I want the students to remember, names of thinkers whose overall work is praiseworthy. Names like Thomas Jefferson or Thomas Sowell. If I mention villains, I will mention them in context with their villainy.

And what of the advice itself?

In 1947, when Mao Tse Tung was being challenged within his own party on his plan to basically take China over, Chiang Kai-Shek and the nationalist Chinese held the cities, they had the army. They had the air force. They had everything on their side, and people said how can you win? How can you do this? How can you do this? Against all the odds against you, and Mao Tse Tung said, you know, you fight your war, and I'll fight mine, and think about that for a second.

Most fights against the odds lose. Mao's remark offers no guide to bettering those odds. In endeavors of competition, I'd turn to a different Chinese source for that sort of thing.

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Thursday, October 15, 2009

Quote Of The Day

From KLo:

Rush Limbaugh is not an acceptable sports investor because of his politics. How else to interpret the state of a sports world where Keith Olbermann can be on Sunday Night Football and Rush Limbaugh's hard-earned money can't be spent as a partial owner of a team in a sport he loves?

Mark Steyn has commentary here and here.

Any bets we'll be seeing pro-Limbaugh signs at future Rams games?

If the Left wants to have a dialogue on race so badly, why don't any lefty noteworthies do some serious dialoguing with Limbaugh? Or is lecturing more your style?

Update: Another great quote, linked by Tammy Bruce:

What is even more pathetic is that the NFL has shown greater tolerance for murderers, drug dealers, rapists, and dog killers than a talk show host.

Update: It gets better. The article Tammy linked is here. Author Elisabeth Meinecke quotes an unexpected Limbaugh supporter - Keith Olbermann:

"There're now gonna be character tests for sports owners? There'll only be three of them left," Olbermann said. "Unless they beat the Vikings Sunday, as of next Thursday, it will have been a full year since the Rams won a game. My God, if Limbaugh wants to buy them, far be it for me to tell him he’s flushing his money down a rat hole."

Hm, I wonder how Ted Turner would score on that ideology test. He'd probably get a Nobel Peace Prize.

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Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Heroes - Night Of The Living Sylar

(Episode: Hysterical Blindness. Spoilers ahead.)

Peter and Emma, each in their own way, have disconnected themselves from the outside world. We already know his struggles. Emma blames herself for a yet-unexplained death. The two meet again, as Peter saves her from getting run over by a bus - and absorbs her ability.

(Due to last season's events he can absorb only one power at a time, which means he lost Edgar's super-speed.)

They meet again, as a children's chorus sings the theme to The Greatest American Hero. He tells her about people with abilities, and she seems to eventually believe him. He asks her out, and she shies away.

Later at home she discovers that her ability can be used as a weapon - the lights from her cello playing crack the wall in her apartment when she gets angry.

Peter gets a visit from ailing Hiro in his last scene. If the plot is consistent, Peter now has Hiro's time-travel power.

Meanwhile, Claire and Gretchen visit Mrs. Bennett's old sorority. During a conversation a flagstaff nearly misses a girl Claire is talking to; Gretchen is the only one near the flag. Afterward, Claire confronts Gretchen with an earlier discovery - her obsession with Internet pages about Claire and about Annie's death.

Gretchen knows she's suspected of having to do with the flagstaff mishap, and she denies it. She does confess to being absorbed with Annie's death - and to having a crush on Claire. She kisses Claire, and before they can say anything about what just happened the sorority gals show up to announce that both have been accepted.

Samuel is plotting to separate heroes from the rest of the world and bring them to his fold. We learn through flashbacks his agent regarding Claire: sorority official Becky, this season's Person Who Deserves To Be Bitten By Mr. Muggles. Becky can turn invisible. She's been socially isolating Claire from her rooommates, pushing Annie out the window and creating wedges between Claire and Gretchen. Becky dropped the textbook that drew Claire's attention to Gretchen's surfing, and dropped the flagstaff to draw suspicions toward Gretchen.

The "Stepford" quip about the sorority is more right than Gretchen realizes...

Sylar emerges from his would-be grave. A cop sees him. A disoriented guy in dirt-covered clothes and a bloody t-shirt with a bullet hole in it kinda looks suspicious, so he's taken in. Sylar has amnesia, most of his consciousness currently residing in Los Angeles. A psychologist, Madeline, tries to coax memories, with little success. The arresting officer sends her away, and informs Sylar that they found his police records - Gabriel Gray, wanted for murdering his mother. Under stress, Sylar uses force projection to slam the cop through the glass barrier. He escapes, and hijacks Madeline's car with her at the wheel.

They eventually stop, and she talks him into surrendering. Police cars show up, and the pull guns. Sylar's hands start sparking, and they shoot him in the chest. The force throws Sylar into Madeline, and both tumble down the hillside. She witnesses his regeneration ability and tells him to run. The cops pursue with dogs (unaware of her abetting his escape), and eventually lose his trail; undoubtedly the dirt with Sylar's scent is manipulated by someone who can do that sort of thing. Sylar stumbles across the Sullivan carnival where Samuel welcomes him to his "new home."

Will the writers get it right and have Peter absorb Hiro's power? Will he absorb a properly-functioning time travel ability, or the messed-up version that's slowly killing Hiro? Will Gretchen be too terribly disappointed when and if she finds out that Claire likes kissing guys (like she did when she was hiding in a swimming pool last season)? How will Becky separate the two if they're part of the same sorority? Will Angela have some prophetic dreams about Nathan/Sylar's fate? Will Fox News report rumors that Nathan is secretly meeting with a secret girlfriend in South America? Stay tuned.

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Monday, October 12, 2009

Columbus Day Has Come And Gone

Here's an old Jim Borgman cartoon.

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The Latest Media Slur

In this LGF post, commenter " metrolibertarian" repeats a false accusation against Rush Limbaugh, that he characterized basketball as "a sport of gang members." In Comment 121 I addressed the claim:

[responding to metrolibertarian] That's not an accurate statement:

LIMBAUGH: It's not reasonable that you should understand the insanity that local and state and federal bureaucracies are doing. It's perfectly normal and understandable that none of what they do would make sense to you. My question -- OK, a 1 cent sales tax to fight gang violence. What do you spend the money on to fight gang violence? Afterschool program -- don't we already have afterschool programs? Don't we already have -- what do you call it, extracurricular events? Midnight basketball -- I mean, we've done it all. We've taken the favorite sport of gangs, and we put it at midnight to get them on the basketball court. We had 100,000 new cops with Clinton -- we've done it all. And the problem still is out of control. Liberalism doesn't work.

Ironically, Media Matters (who transcribed the cited quote) vindicates Limbaugh. The phrase "sport of gang members" would imply a sweeping generalization about basketball, that B's membership is dominated by G. Limbaugh said the reverse, that G plays basketball more than any other sport. And it's true - most American gangs are inner-city phenomena, and the sport played by most inner-city folks, criminal or otherwise, is basketball. There isn't room in the inner city to play any other major sport.

Limbaugh simply questioned the notion of using the gangs' sport of choice as a means of dissuading them from crime.


Saturday, October 10, 2009

Final Thoughts On Obama's Nobel

If anyone should feel offended, it should be Hondurans, whose lawful impeachment our President refused to recognize, and the protesters in Iran, whose cries for freedom our President snubbed.

More thoughts: I haven't taken the Nobel Peace Prize seriously since I researched its history in 2002 - but I feel offended anyway. Why? Isn't that like being offended by the Lenin Peace Prize? No. The now-defunct Lenin Peace Prize was meaningful only to Communists. The Nobel pretends to be meaningful to everyone.

I don't take the Nobel seriously, but the Nobel committee does - and I expect its members to act like it. The lamest of Nobel awards have always been able to point to some concrete endeavor - League of Nations actvities, the Paris Peace Talks, the Oslo Accords. Never before has the Nobel been awarded for such vague and nebulous excuses. No formal peace plans. No signed treaties. No formal campaigns of some nature. It's a most blatant political charade.


Friday, October 09, 2009


The Nobel Committee has sunk into absolute self-parody and irrelevance by awarding the Peace Prize to Barack Obama.

This is a real news story, not The Onion.

I have long been critical of the Nobel committee for awarding untested peace plans. Obama hasn't even done that.

Adding to the farce, the deadline for the nomination process was February 1. Obama had been president eleven days.

At least they didn't give him the Nobel for Economics.

Update: I just emailed this rant accompanying a link to this post. The first sentence is the subject title.

Has any element of Western civilization ever been this freakin insane? Where's my Oscar? Where's my Deming Prize? Where's my Heisman? You don't have to do a damn thing to win a prize. Pay up. I deserve it. Everybody deserves it.Prizes for everyone! A trophy in every garage!

Update: In record time, WBAP Dallas/Fort Worth has cranked out a Nobel parody song. All WBAP parodies listed here. I like this line" "Better grab it and go, I think Oslo knows the Olympics nixed them too."

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Thursday, October 08, 2009

Hey CNN, Fact-Check This

Now that you're done fisking Saturday Night Live, how about turning your attention to The Onion?

“Seniors!” House minority leader John Boehner (R-OH) said. “Run for your lives! Obama is coming to kill you! He will kill all of you!”

(Latter link via Dodgeblogium)



Somali pirates mistake a French warship for a commercial freighter.

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Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Heroes - Nathan Petrelli's Chappaquiddick

(Episode: Acceptance. Spoilers ahead.)

This episode's theme is turning over new leaves - and old ones. Hiro makes numerous time-travel attempts to stop the self-destructive behavior of a suicidal coworker who has a penchant for photocopying his butt when he has too much sake. Hiro finally stops Tadashi from jumping; he confides in his terminal illness, and offers two bits of advice: 1) do something you love, and 2) don't keep secrets from family. Hiro follows his own advice and confesses to his sister about his terminal illness. During the conversation, a sudden headache makes him teleport involuntarily, in front of Kimiko and Ando.

Tracy sees New York governor Robert Malden and quickly gets her old job back. She has second thoughts; prodded by her recent traumas what she wants in life is to help others and not play moll to a self-serving politician. Stress temporarily destabilizes her physical form - her hands uncontrollably turn into water for a moment - and she decides to quit Malden's service.

Claire tries to encourage her dad to overcome his current unemployment. The pep talk lifts his spirits, but what starts the wheels turning is a visit from Peter. Peter exposes his arm to show the compass tattoo, which has now mysteriously vanished. Bennett seems to have no interest in Peter's adventure, but in his last scene he is sifting through news stories, including one titled "The Compass That Saved The World."

We see another glimpse of Lydia Sullivan's precog ability - she knows that Bennett has renewed his interest in people with abilities. We also see that Edgar doesn't share his brother's vision of expanding their little mutant commune.

Angela decides to help "Nathan" get over his "midlife crisis" with a box of boyhood memorabilia. A baseball cap triggers a horrifying memory flash - a bleeding woman in a swimming pool. It was his old girlfriend Kelly Houston, who had allegedly left home for London, never to be seen again. Her mom Millie is a longtime friend of Angela's. He visits Mille briefly. A walk by the pool, armed with the area gets the whole story: the two were on the diving board together and both stumbled into the pool; Kelly's head hit the edge of the pool, the blow killing her.

Nathan learns the truth from Angela; the Haitian had covered up the memory, of course. (Too bad the Kennedy clan didn't have a Haitian to help them cover up skeletons...) Nathan confesses to Millie, who says she doesn't believe him, and tells him to leave.

In a parking garage Nathan calls the police department and asks for homicide, and abruptly changes his mind and puts away the phone. A man, who we find is working for Millie, assaults and kidnaps Nathan, takes him outdoors somewhere, tosses the unconscious man into a shallow grave, shoots him several times, and covers up the grave. At the end of the episode Sylar emerges from the grave.

If the shooting turned off the Nathan delusion, and if Sylar's mind is in Matt's body, then the Sylar in the grave must be an amnesiac.

Did Millie know the truth of her daughter's disappearance all along - and does she have her own motives for keeping it hidden? Did Nathan/Sylar's murderer leave the cell phone? Will Sylar start calling the numbers on speed dial? Who will be the first to discover he's back to his original physical form? Where did Hiro teleport to? Will Tadashi swear off sake and photocopiers for good? Stay tuned.

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It's That Time Of Year

This week the Nobels are being handed out. I can hardly wait to find out who won the absurd Peace Prize.

If there were a genuine peace prize out there that went strictly to people who measurably made some corner of the world more peaceful, would any events of the past year qualify?


Monday, October 05, 2009

Heroes - The Lunatic Is In My Head

(Episode: Ink. Spoilers ahead. This episode aired last Monday.)

During a drug bust Matt discovers that Sylar can use Matt's own powers - against Matt, who hallucinates evidence of a child kidnapping and murder. Fortunately Matt can use his mojo to make his partner (and the suspect) forget what happened. But now he knows he can't be sure what's real and what's not while Sylar is in his head.

Claire eventually lets Gretchen in on the secret, and Bennett comes to trust Claire to handle Gretchen on her own.

A new hero emerges - Emma, a deaf woman who sees sound waves as pretty colors. Others do not see the colors.

Samuel undertakes his mysterious mission to meet Peter, posing as fictional accident survivor William Hooper. A process server brings papers to Peter; "Hooper" claims Peter's bravery dislocated his shoulder. The two meet twice; in the hospital, and later in the park, where after a somber conversation about grieving "Hooper" drops the case and shakes Peter's hand. Before the second meeting Samuel sneaks into Peter's apartment and "photoshops" himself into a news photo of the accident, having supplied himself with a batch of ink before his trip into the city.

Samuel proceeds to visit a mansion, and asks the lady of the house if he can take a look around the cottage; his parents were once household servants. The lady politely refuses. Later, Peter and other rescue workers arrive on the scene; the mansion has been completely engulfed in a sinkhole. Samuel watches from the shadows as Peter discovers a tattoo on his arm (undoubtedly from ink transmitted by Samuel's handshake) - a wildly spinning compass.

Will Peter remember the real-life compass that behaved in the same manner? How long will they drag out the purpose of Samuel's mission? Will Emma's cat ever cross paths with Mr. Muggles? Stay tuned.

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Friday, October 02, 2009


Top 10 Reasons Chicago Didn't Get the Olympics


It's Rio!

The 2016 Olympics will be held in Brazil's shining tourist haven.

On behalf of American taxpayers, I'd like to thank the International Olympic Committee for sparing us.


Speaking Of Forked Tongues

Giant rattlesnakes invade Florida. Hopefully this will be a boon to restaurants and bootmakers.


Green Man Speak With Forked Tongue

Environmentalists vs. Indians. I'm siding with the Indians.


Thursday, October 01, 2009

Olympic Battle

The fight for the 2012 games is down to the wire. Who will win - Chicago, or Rio de Janeiro? C'mon, do we have to ask? It would take Olympic-sized graft to get the IOC to pick a gray metropolis over a city with sparkly beaches. Does even Obama have that much graft - or that many dead Chicagoans stuffing the IOC ballot box? We'll find out shortly.

My preference is Tegucigalpa, Honduras. Stick a needle in the eyes of all those tinhorn dictators (and our tinhorn president) who sniffed at its lawful impeachment proceedings.

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Heroes, Season Premiere

(Episodes: Orientation, Jump, Push, Fail. Spoilers ahead.)

The episodes aired last week Monday. I've been busy, so I'm just starting to catch up on Heroes. I have not watched this week's episode yet.

We're introduced to a new set of characters - the Sullivans, a carnival-operating family of mutants. The elderly Arnold has an ailing time-travel ability (never demonstrated). Samuel has telekinesis; according to Heroes wiki, the ability is limited to "earth and other minerals." Whatever tattoo ink he uses conforms to those limits, as he uses it to put a choke hold on Edgar, who has super speed.

Lydia Sullivan presents a plot conundrum. She appears to have an Isaac Mendez-like precog ability that manifests itself in images; she beings out the images with tattoo ink injected into her back. Heroes Wiki says she is an empath - the same power as Peter's. That would explain how she can manipulate the ink like Samuel. Precog she would have acquired from someone else. But why doesn't she have Arnold's?

Samuel is seeking out a time traveler, as Arnold's power is fizzled. Somehow he gets his wish. Hiro involuntarily travels back to the carnival, when it was in Japan 14 years ago. He meets Samuel, who knows who he is, and who convinces Hiro that he can change individual historical events while avoiding the temporal butterfly effects that dominated earlier seasons.

Hiro changes one event. It was this day when he, Ando and Kimiko visited the carnival, and Hiro caused an accidental Slushy spill that ruined Kimiko's dress. She blamed Ando for the incident, and hated him ever since. Present Hiro gets in the way of the flying Slushy. The accident prevented, Kimiko and Ando fall in love at the carnival, and have been a romantic couple for 14 years. One wonders why they never got married; maybe it wasn't expedient during her father's lifetime, given Ando's low spot on the totem pole.

"Nathan" - who is really Sylar - is starting to discover Sylar's powers; he accidentally telekineses a coffee cup and pops off an electric charge from his hands. We don't know quite what's going through his head. He tries to contact Peter, who won't respond to his phone call. Earlier, Nathan speaks to Angela about feeling detached from his past; knowing the truth, she tries to convince him it's a normal midlife crisis.

She contacts Matt Parkman, telling him of the conversation, and trying in vain to enlist him into reinforcing the Nathan delusion on Sylar. The experience has left a side effect on Matt; in Star Trek terms, he has Sylar's katra. (One suspects that the irony is intentional; Zachary Quinto played Spock in the Trek reboot.)

Sylar appears in several "hallucinations." He wants his original body back. Living in Matt's head, he knows that Matt has been trying to get away from his powers. Sylar needs Matt's ability to get back, so he's manipulating Matt to accept his powers again.

Claire is in college now, in Arlington VA. Her dorm-mate Annie is an overconfident Type-A sort who makes the late Arthur Petrelli look like a slacker. Claire meets Gretchen, an Austin native who remembers Claire's name from the news about the cheerleader murder. After a party, Claire discovers Annie has plummeted out the dorm window to her death.

Gretchen wants to investigate; both suspect a murder, and Claire doesn't remember seeing a suicide note that the authorities found on her pillow. Gretchen suggests testing the suicide theory by dropping a cadaver of Annie's weight out the window. Claire talks Gretchen out of swiping a cadaver, but when everyone's asleep Claire (surprise) uses herself as the crash test dummy. The fall does indeed look like a suicide - but Gretchen has now witnessed Claire's power...

Following the theme of killing off annoying characters...Danko saves Noah from drowning in his car at Tracy's hand. He wants to team up with Noah to kill Tracy. Noah in turn tries to get Tracy to back off from Danko, promising to make Danko forget about her. He keeps his promise, with help from The Haitian's ability. Tracy shows up at Danko's, and discovers quickly that Danko has no memory of her. While at the door Edgar Sullivan shows up in Danko's apartment, kills Danko with Gurkha knives, and fights Tracy until he finds he can't kill her.

Ed runs off, and Bennett eventually arrives. He examines the scenem, and finds the intruder's apparent interest: a key, located in Danko's abdomen. (Say what???) It leads to a safe deposit box, which Bennett retrieves with Peter in tow. Edgar shows up, and Peter gets his power and drives off Edgar. The box contains a compass that seems to detect people with abilities; it spins crazily in Peter's hand but acts normally in Bennett's. Edgar eventually gets the compass, wounding but not killing Bennett. (Edgar did not want to kill again; Samuel had coerced him into the mission against Danko.)

At the end Lydia displays three faces on her back: Claire, Sylar and Peter. Why these three?

Update: I forgot to mention one key plot development - Hiro is terminally ill, apparently tied to the artificial reacquisition of his powers via Baby Parkman's ability last season (the nosebleeds started then), and apparently something diagnosable by a conventional doctor. Will Hiro find a cure?

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Outlawing Charity

Babysitting your neighbor's children can get you in legal trouble in Michigan and the UK.

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