Earthly Amusements Triumphant

The cable truck and the Kingdom Hall.

The Kingdom Hall was across the street from our house in Leoti, Kansas (112 N St, Leoti, KS 67861. It’s a home now. Interesting fact, there are technically two locations with the same address in Leoti, one block East and one block West from 4th Street on Avenue N. One of them was probably always a house. The other was not. -ed.) The Jehovah’s Witnesses came by our house after every service to tell us the wonders of their God Jehovah and how we were all going to miss out on resurrection if we didn’t come across the street and worship with them. Didn’t join them in denying all earthly pleasures so that we could ascend to heaven after death or whatever the particulars of their belief were at the time.

I had been forced to go to the Methodist church with my grandparents for as long I as could remember as a child. I hated church and wondered at why everyone else thought that god and church were so important. Why they all seemed so happy believing this stuff that seemed so transparently fake to me. Their insistence that the beliefs weren’t fake were as terrifying as an eternity of torture in Hell was to me.

I never wanted to believe the afterlife crap. I never wanted to believe it because I have an active imagination and the idea that you could live forever in bliss or in torture, either one, scared me more than anything else these church goers said. I didn’t and still don’t want to be confined to eternal existence. Yes, I said confined. Confined to an eternal, unchanging existence.

Infinity isn’t graspable by most human minds. If it was they would all be terrified by the notion that you could be mentally present for an eternity. Time itself collapses under the requirements of accommodating eternity, infinity. Eternity/infinity never ends. Do you understand never ends? Your favorite movie watched endlessly forever? Every movie ever made through the span of millennia strung together end-to-end in a loop is still not enough. Gone everywhere, seen everything, done everything once, then what? Do it all again? How many times? Eventually everything would become boring after you’d seen or done it a hundred or a thousand or a million times, and you would have to find a way to kill yourself anyway.

I considered it a blessing and a high irony when the Kingdom Hall building was purchased by the newly created Leoti or Wichita county or Great Plains cable company. Leoti had a cable company once, believe it or not. I may not remember what the outfit was called but I do know we couldn’t afford to have cable entertainment installed and that the Jehovah’s Witnesses stopped coming by regularly after they were no longer going to church next door to us.

If Jehovah’s Witnesses are capable of self-reflection and if they thought about their behavior dispassionately, they’d understand that forcing their believers to individually proselytize to people who told them not just once but a hundred times that they didn’t want them ringing their doorbell after church; that regular, predictable torment of the non-Witnesses next door tends to make these people want to take their years of frustration at finding their Watchtower garbage littering their front porches out on believers of the same stripe. If Jehovah’s Witnesses took this real human reaction to being forced to say FUCK OFF and GET OFF MY PORCH every week for years just because the Witnesses weren’t allowed to take no for an answer, maybe they’d understand why the group seems to be so persecuted. It kind of goes both ways. Persecute us with your delusions of true belief and we will persecute you in return.

It seemed like justice delivered to me watching that cable installer’s truck coming and going from the temple that had been founded on the principle of denying Earthly pleasure in favor of an everlasting afterlife. To see those parsimonious simpletons and their wrathful, imaginary god be replaced by a very real entity offering all the available Earthly amusements for a set dollar figure; even if that dollar figure was too high for us to afford. Such is the way with worldly things, the cost is higher than you want to pay in the end.

Facebook

NBC App Wants Feedback?

I’ve been catching The Rachel Maddow Show via her audio podcast for years now. I occasionally watch the partial video podcast too, but only on days when I want to see what she’s talking about. Wednesday was one of those days.

There was some bit or other that was visual later in the show on September first, and so consequently not in the video podcast which is generally the first thirty minutes of the show or the first story, whichever comes out to about half of her airtime, and I thought I would try to catch that bit on MSNBC’s website (they do eventually get a transcript up. Not really useful for a show conducted in a visual medium. -ed.) While looking around on MSNBC.com I noticed that there was an NBC app that they said I could watch the show on, so I downloaded and installed the app.

The Rachel Maddow Show is indeed on the app, but the ability to search for clips from that or any show is almost non-existent, the same problem that I run into on the website. The content is almost always more easily found on YouTube than it is on MSNBC.com or NBC.com, even when NBC puts the video on YouTube themselves.

I couldn’t find the current episode of Rachel’s show that day. So I gave up and finished listening to the audio podcast. The next day it was the same problem when I thought I would start with the NBC app instead of heading straight to the podcast. I could find yesterday’s show (now I had forgotten what it was I had wanted to see in that show) but not that day’s episode. Back to my podcast app then.

What good is yesterday’s news? It is of little use unless you are constructing a narrative that spans the subject in question, as Rachel did when digging up what the news was on the day that Roe versus Wade was decided by the supreme court. I don’t need to see yesterday’s news if I’ve already heard that news. I had heard it. I heard it elsewhere.

Today I opened the app to watch Rachel Maddow for September 3rd, 2021. It isn’t available on the app yet. The feed helpfully says “finish watching” on the episode I’ve already seen elsewhere and queued previously. When I scroll through to the end of the episode, the app queued all the ads from the episode for me to watch just to finish the show. If I wanted to check that I’ve seen the end of the days news from her, I have to watch five thirty second ads.

I’m not going to watch five ads, not even five ten second ads. I won’t remember what the first two ads were about by the time I get to the fifth one. No, I’m going to close the app and do something else. Everyone would close the app and do something else.

When I exit the video stream, the NBC programmers incautiously ask me for for feedback on my dissatisfaction. My feedback? You might want to change the way that scrolling feature works. You won’t retain too many watchers if you don’t. You might want to rethink not putting the latest news show on the feed. Everyone will have seen the episode elsewhere before they will see it in the app, making including all of your news programming in the app pointless, those viewers permanently lost.

Also? The feedback page errored out when I went to send this novel to you. You might want to fix that issue as well. I hope you enjoy reading this as much as I enjoyed writing it.

Postscript

The reality of the situation is even more ridiculous than I described. I have to have a cable subscription to be able to access MSNBC content on my phone. Never mind that the content comes with ads embedded, ads that they pretend pay for the content (clearly the ads do not pay for anything. So why must I watch them?) I have to pay the middleman, the cable company or some similarly set up other middleman, in order to watch content that is available on the web for free if I simply wait a few hours and then go to a pirate site to download it.

I don’t mind paying for entertainment, I do that all the time. I do mind being charged for access to information that is necessary for the proper functioning of a self-representational governmental system. Access to current news is essential unless we are all going to just bow to the man and let him make our decisions for us.

Cable Wars

I haven’t mentioned this on the blog, but I’ve been watching The Walking Dead since 3rd season rolled around.  I dismissed the concept when it was bandied about before production started, because I didn’t think you could do a television series that could be kept interesting throughout its run based on the the general idea of a post-apocalyptic setting.

The Wife has worked on zombie films in the past. Our garage has been turned into an effects studio and art studio more than once when the demands for getting effects completed for the films she has worked on grew larger than could be completed on set; if the film even actually had an official set they were shooting on.

So when The Walking Dead was proposed as a TV series, it crossed the radar here at the house simply because of the subject matter. When the series failed to disappear as I predicted, I decided to give it a viewing just to see what it was about. I binged-watched the first two seasons on Netflix, paid for the few of the third season episodes I had missed on Amazon, and started watching the show live after that.

I’d say I love the show, but really I’m just there for the characters and for Greg Nicotero‘s excellent effects work. The storyline has been inconsistent over the seasons and really could do with some long-term plotting in advance of shooting, in my completely amatuer opinion.  If there is storyline plotting across seasons, it isn’t apparent in the progression of the story. However, it is one of the few things I do watch on television these days, my tastes ranging to the truly eclectic corners of rarely watched channels available on cable television.

I used to watch a lot of programming on BBCA, having a long-term love of a wide range of BBC programming including the recently relaunched series of Doctor Who and the even more recently canceled Top Gear. I was forced to give up BBCA last year because of costs increases phased in by my local cable provider.  That and the Science channel (which I wish had more actual science on it) and several other channels I watched more than the more normal fare available on basic cable were priced out of my reach in the latest price increases rolled out by US cable providers.

Rather perversely, most of the cost that I pay for my cable subscription goes to fund the incredible price tag placed on live broadcast of sporting events.  The last time I ever watched a sporting event of any kind on television was the first Superbowl that the Seattle Seahawks qualified for, because the Wife loved the Seahawks when fantasy football first appeared back in the 1980’s.  She never watched a game in her life before that Super bowl, and I had to explain the most basic facts about gameplay (4th and ten? What is that?) to her in order for us to get through the game. That was also the game that was stolen from the Seahawks with a bad call by a referee, reminding me precisely why I hated sports in the first place. Reminded me that arbitrary interference by non-players on the field can alter the outcomes of games in ways that are patently unfair. So that was the first and last game ever watched in this household, and the common joke that my TV is broken it won’t display sporting events has held sway ever since.

Consequently the news that my local provider may be removing AMC from the list of channels I can currently afford has gotten under my skin.  I remember when Paramount pulled Voyager from syndication and insisted that Austin had to create a broadcaster for UPN (and the local cable companies had to then carry that broadcaster) in order for fans of the show to be able to see it. That is the number one reason I stopped being a Star Trek fan, a change in my preferences that was solidified by the creation of the Abramanation.   I also remember when Time Warner threatened to stop carrying football games because of the costs that cable provider refused to underwrite for the NFL.

We are in the midst of yet anther cable war, with the various parties attempting to get more of the piece of the pie than they are currently getting, and I really don’t have time for any of them. I am unconcerned about the profits of the various corporations who want to prove to their shareholders that they have the clout to get what they want, so buy our stock. All I want is to be able to watch the programming that I am interested in, however that content is delivered.  KeepAMC or TV on my side (one of the worst programmed sites on the internet, hands down) a pox on both your houses.

I have been threatening to cut my cable and get all my entertainment directly from the internet for a couple of years now. If my cable company really was on my side as their website claims, I would be able to watch the shows I wanted to watch without having to pay extra for programming I don’t watch. The cost of providing me access to old and independent films and even well-produced television series runs about $8 for Netflix, why do I have to pay upwards of $100 dollars to my cable company for virtually the same menu of items? If AMC really wanted me to watch their programming, they’d make it available directly from their website and not force me to subscribe to a cable provider.

Those are the facts of the case, not the crap that they offer as excuses through their proxies. If AMC is priced out of my ability to pay for it as the rest of their network currently is, I will be cutting the cord like so many other Americans have done. I have no use whatsoever for continuing to pay for cable access that is limited to programming that I don’t watch anyway.  Paying too much for that already.

Postscript

I cut the cable right after TWD made itself not worth watching anymore. Haven’t looked back. The Wife’s prediction about the future of entertainment has proved out, though. She said that subscription services would spring up for each and every company that had content it thought it could draw viewers to their websites for, and that is what has happened.

Every single content library on the planet now is largely restricted; you have to pay the rights holders for access to that content directly, and you have to keep paying for it if you ever want to see it again. Netflix has been gutted, requiring them to keep making content of their own in order to have new content to show. Ditto for Amazon, who only has a larger library because, hey, it’s Amazon, everyone goes there to shop. I can’t say I like this new arrangement any more than I did cable services, but at least I don’t have to be fucked for over a hundred dollars a month just to watch something at all.

Having to manage subscriptions is a pain, though. It is easy to forget just who you are paying what to, causing you to waste money for access to content you no longer watch, or want to watch. This development makes the purchase and maintenance of your own digital library a defensible act. Pay once, have the content always at your fingertips. I’ll take option C, please.

Blatant False Advertising and Dereliction of Schedule

Feedback letter for Discovery Science;

I want to start this off by saying, I watch Science Channel quite a bit. I like a lot of the programming on the channel; Wormhole, Prophets, Futurescape, Firefly, How it’s Made, etc. Idiot Abroad and it’s spin-offs are interesting from a cultural perspective, if not actually science.

There are also several programs on the channel that I avoid like the plague; Punkin, Oddities, etc; programs that I would not qualify as Science, and if it were up to me I wouldn’t be airing these programs on a channel that I owned and was identified as Science Channel.

Then there is crap like what aired Friday. Earlier this week I was enticed into setting up the recorder for a marathon of Strip the City, it was even advertised on the channel as being featured. Friday morning I tuned in for the re-airs of Prophets and noticed a quiet little banner in the corner suggesting that there was a bible marathon being featured instead of Strip the City. When I checked the schedule, Strip the City was still listed, so I did not cancel the recording.

When I got back home this evening from a rare pleasant outing with the family, what do I find? Four hours of bible myths on my recorder, mislabeled as a program that I found vaguely interesting from architectural perspective; bible myths that not only am I not even vaguely interested in, but aren’t even vaguely science related.

Why is this crap on the Science Channel? Why was the schedule not updated to show that the programming had been changed? In a sales environment, this type of behavior is called a bait a switch and is illegal. Since viewing is tracked through the cable boxes, Science Channel gets to claim that everyone who tuned in to watch Strip the City were actually interested in watching 4 hours of bible myths instead.

Next time please be more conscientious about altering the guides and schedules to accurately reflect what you are airing at any given time. I will be forwarding this message to my cable provider and the FCC. Thank you for your attention.

Sincerely

Hooray for ISP & cable provider choice!

I’ve never been happier than I am right now, to not be a Time Warner subscriber.


To: Grandecom
Subject: Thank you!

Just got word that Time Warner is about to stick it to the local customer base (http://www.businessinsider.com/time-warner-cable-putting-more-bandwidth-hogs-on-a-diet-2009-4)

I’d like to take this time to thank Grande for NOT doing this to it’s subscribers, and to suggest that this should be your marketing focus for the foreseeable future. (My wife is once again offering her services to Grande if they need help with this…) 40 gb a month is a ridiculously low ‘maximum’ cap on usage. They should be run through the ringer for this action.

So, thank you, thank you, thank you. I look forward to seeing Grande’s gain in market share in the near future.

Sincerely,
R. Anthony Steele

Attn: EUReKA; God is not in the details

I posted a positive review of this program a while back, but I feel I need to revise my opinion somewhat.

The show progressed well through the end of the first season, but the finale left a few ends untied; ends that have gotten more and more unraveled as the second season progressed. There were some good episodes as well as bad (as in any series) the science was much flimsier in this season than in last, but they added insult to injury when they wrote and filmed the episode God is in the Details.

Where was this church and it’s religion in the first season and a half? Why do, suddenly, half the people in Eureka find the need for religion, including main characters that have never voiced any belief previously?

Seriously, can we stop catering to the ignorant amongst us, please? Not everyone needs religion.

Scientists do not run to the comfort of religion when presented with the inexplicable. That is antithetical to their nature. The entire episode was so weak on a workable plot that I wondered why they even bothered to film it; I really wish they hadn’t.

That episode combined with the weakening of the character of Allison Blake made the final half of the second season virtually unwatchable. Here’s to hoping the writers come back with some better material next season.

Bread and Circuses

… Already long ago, from when we sold our vote to no man, the People have abdicated our duties; for the People who once upon a time handed out military command, high civil office, legions – everything, now restrains itself and anxiously hopes for just two things: bread and circuses

(Juvenal, Satire 10.77-81)

Early this week came the news that the NFL network and Time Warner (alternate story) couldn’t come to an agreement concerning the airing of football games on Time Warner cable. This lead to several long discussions of bread and circuses; the NFL being the modern day equivalent of Roman gladiator games when it comes to distracting the masses. Politicians at the state house are assuring the voters that they will get their football, even if it takes legislation to achieve this goal.

Strange, but the government was no where in sight when Paramount yanked my (at the time) favorite entertainment off of the syndication market and insisted that a local affiliate for their national network had to step forward in order for Austin to be able to see the next season of Voyager.

Obviously, one man’s entertainment is another man’s waste of time.

On Friday, as I’m listening to the same talk program, the subject seems to revolve around the latest farm bill, the billions wasted on farm subsidies so far, and the billions more that our beneficent DC politicians are willing flush down the toilet next year.

[Ostensibly to aid in ethanol production. An ill founded idea, to say the least. There isn’t enough arable land in the US to grow sufficient corn to meet the requirements for a real ethanol fuel economy]

As I’m listening to self-proclaimed farmers stand and deliver on why their handouts are better than those demanded by everybody else, the phrase bread and circuses floats through my mind, once again. This is their bread, they’ve sold their votes, their very existence, to the government in exchange for a few measly handouts from the government.

But, more than that, the whole basis of cheap, plentiful food and cheap mindless entertainment (bread and circuses) revolves around government subsidies to agriculture and government interference in the media.

No one believes that we will starve to death if agriculture subsidies were ended; just as the availability of the NFL network on Time Warner cable by itself does not affect the quality of life of the average citizen. But the lack of cheap food and entertainment will eventually lead people to question what it is we need all this government for; and that is a question that those in power would rather we didn’t ponder.

Rest assured, the Bread and Circuses will continue for as long as Caesar has the means to fund them.

Connect America = Control of the Internet

It’s not making much news, but Hillary Clinton has a proposal that should have all of us running away from her in abject terror.

No, it’s not the completely predictable proposal to force us all to pay for health insurance (that’s a yawner, from where I’m sitting) it’s the story being reported in this AP news story:

Presidential hopeful Hillary Rodham Clinton on Wednesday called for a national broadband Internet system and permanent research tax credits…
“The nation that invented the Internet is now ranked about 25th in access to it,” Clinton said in her latest speech directed at the middle class appeals.
Called “Connect America,” Clinton’s broadband network would give businesses incentives to go into underserved areas, support state- and local-based initiatives and change the Federal Communication Commission rules to more accurately measure Internet access.

Can we say FCC as a national internet service provider (ISP)? If a federal agency is given authority over the internet, can there be any doubt that they will become the ultimate ISP, and govern the internet as they govern television and radio broadcast. Even beyond that, rules changes allowing FCC regulation of the internet will give the FCC regulation of cable television as well.

Let’s imagine, shall we, that the self same government agency that has so famously declared certain words as unspeakable over the airwaves, and certain body parts as unviewable on television, can now determine what will or will not be acceptable on the internet.

Obviously there will be no more porn (and no more porn channels on pay-per-view, either) but that’s just the start. How about access to information on sex education? How about medical journals? And why stop there? How about an internet ‘fairness doctrine’. Political forums would be subject to requirements concerning equal times on the forum for dissenting views, or be faced with closure.

But that’s also only the surface. This is where the real money is. Access to all materials that have ‘cloudy’ licensing issues will be blocked. Peer to peer will be history. Torrents a thing of the past. If you want music or movies, software or whatever, you will have to go to the license holders and pay whatever price they ask. No more testing on the QT to make sure the product will work for you, not unless you can find someone with a duplicatible hard copy. No more catching that missed episode of you favorite TV show by accessing a torrent file.

“Follow the money” the saying goes, and I think I can spot where the money is coming from, and where it will be going, if Hillary gets her wish on this issue. Forget socialized medicine; we’re talking basic information access here.

But that’s also just the tip of the iceberg. Putting the gov’t in charge of internet access puts us in the same category as China; where anything the gov’t doesn’t approve of will be blocked. It opens up the door to a 1984 type scenario where information and history are completely malleable, where truth is whatever those in charge deem it to be at any given moment (we have always been at war with Eastasia…) because they can simply dictate that the records be changed, and there won’t even be the gaping holes in the photographs next to Stalin to point out that something is missing.

Is anyone still so naive as to think that once the camel’s nose is under the tent that the whole camel won’t shortly follow? That giving the gov’t the ability to provide access to the internet won’t eventually lead to active control of content? It’s happening now everywhere the gov’t is involved; the internet will be no different, and is already no different in places where internet access is provided at gov’t expense; the attempts to control content in libraries are a shining example of this.

We should run screaming from suggestions such as the one floated by Ms. Clinton. Better yet, we should vow never to listen to (much less elect) someone with such a shaky notion of what real freedom is.


I left that screaming tirade just the way I wrote it. Get a load of that guy, would you? What I find amusing is the fact that no one coined the term Hillary Derangement Syndrome in her entire time in politics, but they sure are quick to jump to the defense of demonstrably insane conservatives by calling their opponents insane.

Mea culpa review 2018. I have eaten a Big Bowl of Crow since publishing this and other thoughts on many subjects. Here is the text of the AP article I was whingeing on about. I can’t find it anywhere on the internet, but I just happened to have saved a copy,

The Associated Press Go to Google News
Clinton: Internet Access Key to Economy
By PHILIP ELLIOTT – Oct 10, 2007

MERRIMACK, N.H. (AP) — Presidential hopeful Hillary Rodham Clinton on Wednesday called for a national broadband Internet system and permanent research tax credits, while also quoting comedian Stephen Colbert for the second time in a week in a swipe at the Bush administration.

The Democratic front-runner and New York senator said that if elected she would invest in high-tech fields in order to sustain the high-tech jobs that are critical to economic prosperity and strengthening the middle class.

“The nation that invented the Internet is now ranked about 25th in access to it,” Clinton said in her latest speech directed at the middle class appeals.

Called “Connect America,” Clinton’s broadband network would give businesses incentives to go into underserved areas, support state- and local-based initiatives and change the Federal Communication Commission rules to more accurately measure Internet access.

“I see this problem in New York. A lot of the utilities don’t want to connect up our isolated, rural areas. And they also don’t want particularly to go into our underserved, poor, urban areas because there’s so much money that can be made in Manhattan and our suburban areas,” Clinton said. “It was like when we had to electrify the country in the 1930s. Utilities didn’t electrify places because it wasn’t cost effective for them to do so. Well, we’ve got to play catch-up.”

Clinton said the Internet is the new necessity for economic development.

“In the 19th century, we invested in railroads. In the 20th century, we built the interstate highway system. In the 21st century information economy we need to invest in our information infrastructure.”

Clinton also advocated making permanent the research and experimentation tax credits, which more than 15,000 companies have used since they began 1981.

“We cannot rebuild a strong and prosperous middle class if we don’t have a new source of new jobs,” Clinton said. “Our country is a country of innovators. We’re not acting like it right now, but we have all the potential to get into gear quickly.”

Clinton also repeated a pledge made last week in a speech to the Carnegie Institution for Science to give researchers increased freedom and to end the politicization on science. She cited Colbert, the Comedy Central news anchor with a pseudo-conservative personality.

“To paraphrase Stephen Colbert, that great philosopher, this administration doesn’t make decisions based on facts, it makes facts based on decisions,” Clinton said to laughter. “By ignoring or manipulating science the Bush administration is letting our economic competitors get an edge in the global economy.”

Later Wednesday, Clinton lashed out at Republican activists for questioning the financial need of a 12-year-old who spoke up on behalf of Democrats who sought an extension of the State Child Health Insurance Program. Bush vetoed the bill that would have done so.

Some conservative bloggers suggested the family of Graeme Frost had granite counters in its Baltimore home and could afford health insurance. The family said its counters are made of concrete.

“I don’t mind them picking on me; they’ve done it for years,” Clinton said to laughter from the audience at Symphony Hall in Boston. “You know, I think I’ve proven I can take care of myself against all of them.

“But President Bush and the Republicans should lay off Graeme Frost and all the other children who are getting health care because we have decided to do the right thing in America,” Clinton said.

Associated Press writer Glen Johnson in Boston contributed to this report.

Hosted by Google
Copyright © 2007 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

Reading back through that press release, I can’t tell the difference between what I think the internet should be now, and what she was talking about then. Since the Orange Hate-Monkey has nixed the net neutrality rules that we fought so hard to see put in place, we are now dominated by corporate information providers who can shut any or all of us off for whatever reason they like even though the internet is the only way to get some forms of business transacted these days. If the FCC ran it, and that isn’t even what she was talking about but let’s go worst case, at least they would be required to provide me with internet access. Corporations do not have to suffer the indignities of serving the poor and undeserving, even when denying service is the same thing as signing a death warrant. 

So, what are the best Stargate episodes?

I have a confession to make. I generically despise television series that pimp themselves out to movie fans; production studios that try to milk a few more dollars out of a franchise (I even hate the word franchise when applied to entertainment properties) as if a cherished memory is nothing more than their cash cow to be milked at whim.

It definitely explains Nemesis and Enterprise. But I digress.

I liked M*A*S*H, watched it every time it came on for the entire length of it’s run. I didn’t know until later that it had been a film first (no theater in the home town) and after watching the film, it did make me think “Oh, that’s what they were trying for”. But I think it was the dismal failure of the Planet of the Apes television series that informed my decision to stay away from any series that attempted to copy a hit film.

When Stargate SG-1 was rolled out, I took one look at the ungainly plastic snake-heads that the antagonists wore, and just gave up on the whole series (not to mention that it was on a subscriber channel on cable TV. I don’t have money for pan-and-scan versions of feature films, either. Yes, I’m a film snob) and I would never have looked back.

Except…

Last year, a friend of mine was turning off her cable access so that she could save some money, and she asked me to dub the Stargate SG-1 episodes for the last half of season 10 so she could see them. She had been watching the show since it first aired on Showtime, and she was damned if she was going to miss the last few episodes. Having a lot of free time on my hands these days, I readily agreed to take an extra hour out of my day on SciFi Friday to dub the new episodes as they aired.

The first episode to air was going to be the second half of a two-parter, and SciFi ran a marathon before it that included the first half. So I set the DVR to record SG1 all day, and wandered in at some point to make sure that the recording was going off as planned…

…and I didn’t leave. I watched the entire marathon, and the new episodes. Even stayed to watch Stargate Atlantis afterwards. I kept wondering, how did the show get here, and how did it get to be so good…? So I started watching the earlier episodes as they aired at other times on Sciffy; but they don’t air them in any logical sequence, and I still couldn’t figure out the progression. When did the show get good?

I liked Atlantis, so I picked up a copy of season 1 on DVD; just 3 seasons, that’s easy enough to catch up on (and I pretty much have) but how did we get from plastic snake heads to exploring another galaxy? So I picked up some of the early seasons of SG-1, and continued to watch the hodge-podge of episodes that Sciffy chooses to air.

It was when I was explaining to my friend, as we were sitting in front of one of the re-runs, about how I had seen the episodes that started this particular story arc, and I had seen how it ended, but I had never seen the middle before; it was then that I realized that I was hooked on the show. Damn it all. From the quiet reserve of Teal’c, to the wisecracks of Jack O’Neill (two L’s) and his Atlantis doppleganger John Shepard, the chapa’ai has captured my attention.


“Then, it’s a teenage thing; pimples, rebellion, life-sucking.” -John Shepard

So, I’m watching yet another marathon, another one touted as being “The Best of” Stargate, and I can’t find it on Sciffy’s site, even though they’ve been advertising it all week.

These were the episodes (the numbers are from the Wiki entry):

If you look at the numbers, you can get a sense of what viewing order I’ve seen all 10 seasons in. All of them are very good, but I don’t know if I’d call them the Best. Window of Opportunity reminds me of Trouble with Tribbles, in that Tribbles is hands down the funniest (on purpose) of the classic Star Trek episodes, and it was voted the best as well. But I don’t agree that Tribbles is the best Star Trek episode. I don’t know if I’m even that interested in singling out one episode that would be my hands down favorite, of any series that I’ve ever watched.

As an example, of the episodes aired the two part Lost City would be my favorite; but even those two episodes don’t stand alone as well as they do book-ended with the episodes that precede them in the story arc, and the episodes that follow them in the next season. Window of Opportunity is funny precisely because we already know the characters involved well enough to appreciate the quandary they are in. Without the context of several seasons of familiarity, a good portion of the humor is lost.

Star Trek isn’t complete without Spock’s Brain as well as Trouble with Tribbles. The same is true of Stargate, apparently. At least classic Trek is easier to collect.



Another post with a mysterious amount of traffic; 6589 at this count. Has to be a webcrawler program setting it off, although it has scrolled off the most viewed list lately.  This one at least makes sense, it is a post about a popular subject. Or was a popular subject not so long ago.  You couldn’t get me to watch a show on syfy these days.  When they canceled Stargate Universe (Season 1 & 2 links) while keeping wrestling in the lineup, I swore off ever watching that channel again.

PBS airs A Brief History of Disbelief

I’d like to extend a thank you to my local PBS station for airing A Brief History of Disbelief. I generally feel that I am drowning in religious programs, even on cable channels that should not have a religious view. This program was like a breath of fresh air. I look forward to seeing the next two episodes.

YoutubeA Brief History of Disbelief

I managed to capture and watch all three episodes with the DVR. Very enlightening. I understand that there are 6 additional hours of programming. I would be interested in seeing these as well some time in the future.


h/t to the WaybackMachine

Starting with the teachings of Democritus, Epicurus and Lucretius, and traveling forward in time through the first appearance of truly atheist works in the writings of Baron d’Holbach, and the founding of the United States on Deist thought; to the spreading of disbelief (whether you call it atheism or not) in modern times, it is definitely a ‘rough’ history, but a thought provoking one. I recommend it to anyone who might be curious about the subject.