Wednesday, January 29, 2003

Lesson in cool from Peter O'Toole: Mr. Chips politely declines an honorary Oscar, saying that at seventy he's "still in the game" and would rather "win the lovely bugger outright." He's asked for a ten-year deferment on the lifetime achievement award.

The Vatican is looking to name a patron saint of the Internet before Easter. It's a safe bet that Archie McPhee will have a glow-in-the-dark, monitor-top likeness of the winner available in time for Christmas, and that I'll be first in line to buy one.
Posted @ 10:22 AM

Sunday, January 26, 2003

Saw The Hours last night, an excellent film littered with Oscar-caliber performances. It's also an emotionally and intellectually meaty picture, one that leaves you pondering over it long after you've left the theater.

The main thing I'm still trying to figure out is this: why in the hell were there fourteen stuntpeople listed in the credits? I can only think of three stunts in the whole thing, and two of those were benign enough to have been done by the actors themselves. I've seen Schwarzenegger films that claimed fewer stunt players.
Posted @ 9:36 AM

Friday, January 24, 2003

Expect to see the occasional Salon link around here again, as they've adopted a most equitable ad-based system for viewing their premium content. The skinny: look at a multi-screen commercial (clickthrough time is about ten seconds) once, and you've got access to the good stuff all day.

I stopped reading Salon after they moved most of their content to subscription-only status, and didn't realize I'd missed it until this change in policy let me back in. Sure, Garrison Keillor's Mr. Blue column is only an archived memory, but on any given day there are usually a couple of items that'll get a person thinking or laughing.
(thanks to John Scalzi: Whatever for pointing me to the story)
Posted @ 12:53 PM

Thursday, January 23, 2003

If you found the pic below a tad, well, underwhelming, maybe this one will make up for it: two Clark Kents meet.
Posted @ 4:54 PM

Wednesday, January 22, 2003

Took me a bit longer than I thought it would, but here, as promised, is the shot of me in my accidental Trek outfit.

Am I ready for Starfleet or what!
Posted @ 8:44 PM

Monday, January 20, 2003

Remember the original Trek episode "Shore Leave", the one where anything the landing party thinks of comes to life? One of the constructs the planet spits out is an old adversary of Kirk's from his Academy days, a guy named Finnegan. Well, somehow, without intending it, I dressed like that guy today.

I got this great silvery-gray pullover thing for Christmas, and today was the first time I wore it. It's got a bit of a scoop neck, so it really needs something underneath. Not wanting to go with a turtleneck today, I opted for a plain black t-shirt.

It wasn't until I got to the office that I realized that the lines of the pullover are virtually identical to those of an Original Series uniform top. With the black t-shirt and the black Dockers I'm wearing today, my resemblance to a TOS-era Starfleet cadet is uncanny.

I'll try to get a picture of myself in this get-up and post it later today. You'll swear it's 1967 and I just came off the set in a custom-tailored uniform from the Desilu wardrobe department.

And no, I'm not proud of this. Not in the least.
Posted @ 3:34 PM

Sunday, January 19, 2003

If you're looking for open-minded, clear-headed, genuinely balanced reasoning on the upcoming war with Iraq, you'll want to read Tim's thoughts on yesterday's protest demonstrations in San Francisco. As food for thought goes, this is a big, juicy sirloin with all the trimmings.
Posted @ 11:43 AM

Friday, January 17, 2003

Here's a weird coincidence: I had a dream featuring James Earl Jones this morning, the first appearance ever for the consummate actor in my subconscious. Just now, I found out that today is his 72nd birthday.

I wish I knew what, if anything, that meant.
Posted @ 3:49 PM

The Morning News becomes more intriguing by the day, and I've yet to go further than its front page. One of their writers, Dennis Mahoney, spent yesterday updating his site one hundred times, from the time he woke up until a half-hour before midnight. This marathon provided a number of genuine laugh-out-loud moments and a glimpse into the mind of a man who would dare to take on such a Herculean task.

Not only is he daring, but I must deem him a damn good guy. His forty-second post of the day mentioned a trip to the ATM. He closed it by pointing out that the phrase "ATM Machine" is redundant.

This misuse is a pet peeve of mine as well, and I dropped him a note about a related term I hate even more, the grammatical abberation "PIN Number." Despite being not quite to the halfway point of his goal and getting inundated by a constant avalanche of e-mails, he took the time to respond to my message. If that doesn't show him to be a good guy, I don't know what does.

Sleep well this weekend, Dennis. You've earned the rest.

Jody and I had a little contest going based on my symbol for anarchy, which, as I revealed earlier this week, is Ernest Borgnine in a tutu. She wrote about this, then wondered which of us would be at the top of Google's listings for that phrase after a week or so. Well, she did the search yesterday and found that her site came in right on top of mine.

The thing is, she said she was going to search for the phrase. To me, that means you put your search term in quotes. Jody didn't. When she e-mailed me to crow about her victory yesterday, I noticed this difference in methodology and went to Google to try it my way. With the quotes, the HoC topped the Dumptruck.

Two different search strategies, two different results. We've called the contest a draw, with the "real" result unknowable. No bragging rights won or conceded this time. We'll have to wait for the next such opportunity to see which of us rules the hit roost for absurd phrases.
Posted @ 11:51 AM

Thursday, January 16, 2003

Hail and farewell to the Firefly: Immediate Assistance campaign (the button to their site that appeared ever-so-briefly on the right side of this page is now gone). They fought the good fight to help keep Joss Whedon's compelling, promising new show on the air, but it appears there will be no last-minute reprieve for the crew of Serenity.

That's a damn shame. Firefly had a great cast with wonderful chemistry, intriguing plots, and a refreshing take on the space genre. It didn't get the chance it deserved, falling prey instead to Fox's penchant for smothering sci-fi shows in the cradle. Its successor in the 9 pm Friday timeslot, the Miami Vice retread Fastlane, shows what that network is really about these days.

So long, Firefly. You'll be missed.
Posted @ 10:36 AM

A lot of blogs I frequent link to the Morning News, and though I kept meaning to give it a look, I hadn't gotten around to it. Frankly, between the new job (I'm just a few days shy of the three-month mark), the holidays, and the search for new digs, I've barely had time to keep up with my regular daily site visits, much less look at new ones.

A Metafilter link yesterday to a Morning News piece has convinced me I should get off my duff and finally give the place a good long look. "Madelyn Murray O'Hair in Hell" casts the famed atheist and tenacious defender of the First Amendment into a Pit she never believed existed. To heap even more confusion on the woman, Hell doesn't look anything like what her enemies must have described to her as the place she'd spend eternity.

If Kevin Guilfoile's wry, witty tale is indicative of the fare served up by the Morning News, I may well become a regular reader. The story is the first in a series, so if it hooks you as it has me, be sure to check back for more.
Posted @ 9:39 AM

Tuesday, January 14, 2003

Each year I look for two signs confirming that the holidays are well and truly over: pine trees lying by the roadside awaiting disposal, and the return of the Onion from its winter break.
Posted @ 4:36 PM

Monday, January 13, 2003

Tell the truth: you've used it, haven't you? Even though you knew how others frowned upon it, despite your better judgement, you just couldn't resist. You thought it'd show the world how cool and edgy you were, but in the end you just looked like a fool.

I can say this because I was an offender once. When I was starting out, trying to define my own identity, I dabbled in it. I was never a heavy user, but I got smart and went straight. I saw the error of my ways. I quit cold turkey before it could take hold of my soul.

Thousands, maybe millions of others weren't as lucky. They still use it, every day, and it taints everything they touch. It's too late for those poor bastards, but maybe it's not too late to save the innocent.

We, as a global community, need to crack down on this. If we stand together and say no, not now, not ever, we can stamp out this scourge before it destroys all that's good and right in the world.

Join in the crusade. Help save us all. Help save yourself. Become part of the movement to ban the comic sans font.
Posted @ 2:21 PM

Sunday, January 12, 2003

There's a great interview with James Marsters, Spike on Buffy the Vampire Slayer in case you didn't know, in the New York Times Arts section today (registration required, you know the drill). It gives a telling glimpse into the workings of this creative, energetic actor's mind.

Any coverage by the Old Gray Lady is a big deal, and I hope this one presages wonderful things to come in Marsters' career.
(link via Whedonesque)

We're in grave danger of spiraling into a whole mess of metareferencing here, kids. On the heels of discovering I'd unintentionally aped Tim on the whole weird search terms thing, our mutual friend Jody posted an unusual search hit of her own, including a link to Tim's search term post, a scant 90 minutes after me. What's more, her immediate previous post to that one, at 12:07 EST, was a link to me on the whole purple lightsaber thing.

My theory? Blogging is slowly causing us to merge into a single hive mind, like bees or the Borg. I'll let you know if I suddenly get the urge to produce honey or assimilate the Federation.
Posted @ 12:00 PM

Saturday, January 11, 2003

It has always puzzled me that there is a single, universally recognized symbol for anarchy. The idea that there should be one unified and, more to the point, unifying anarchy emblem just goes against the whole spirit of the thing.

Whenever I see somebody sporting the circled A, I chuckle at the irony. Here's someone who desperately wants to go their own way, free of society's rules and constraints, yet they choose to air that sentiment by wearing a badge that's recognized and approved by the Establishment.

It seems to me that, if anarchists truly want to live up to their ideals, any symbols used to express anarchy should be exclusive to each individual, and should change at the individual's whim. Sure, it'll be much more disorderly and confusing that way, but isn't that the whole point?

While I'm not an anarchist myself, I've had my own anarchy sign for years. A new one will supplant it every now and again, but my old standby always reasserts itself eventually. That sign is the image of Ernest Borgnine in a tutu. You can't get much more anarchic than that.

Now go out there and think up your own symbol for anarchy. Or don't. It's anarchy, baby!
Posted @ 12:46 PM

There are search terms that people use to find this site all the time. John Basedow. Wil Wheaton's wife. Purple lightsabers. Searches including the words "cheer" or "oily" (the latter always associated with Mr. Basedow) are also quite common.

I understand these searches. I'm comfortable with them. I look on them as old friends.

Occasionally there will be one that I find inexplicable, but not too often. No matter how odd the term might seem, the reason it brought the seeker here eventually becomes clear.

That said, I have no earthly idea how this phrase led someone to my doorstep:

nathan looks like a big cube of poop

Contemplating the why, how, and who of this phrase is too disturbing to even attempt.

P.S. After posting this, I hit Tim's site and saw his comprehensive anniversary list on the very same theme. An odd conincidence wrapped around a weird subject. I have to go lie down now.
Posted @ 12:41 PM

Thursday, January 09, 2003

The woman who has accounted for a sizeable number of search engine hits here on the House of Cheer, Wil Wheaton’s wife, Anne, spoke for herself over on Wil’s site a couple of days ago.

Not surprisingly at all, her post displays wit, charm, and spirit at a level right up there with Wil’s. No wonder he adores her so.
Posted @ 10:16 AM

Tuesday, January 07, 2003

In a rare sweeps month ratings ploy worth watching, Christopher Reeve will guest-star on Smallville in February, playing a scientist named Dr. Swan (an homage to longtime Superman artist Curt Swan). As a fan of the show, Reeve, and the Superman mythos overall, I couldn't be more thrilled.

Did you buy any compact discs from a retail store between 1995 and 2000? Would you like some cash? Then check out the CD MAP Settlement site. Seems we're all entitled to some green because of unfair pricing practices in which the recording industry engaged during the late 90s.
Posted @ 1:56 PM

Sunday, January 05, 2003

Stuart over at feelinglistless named the HoC his blog of the day on Thursday (bottom of the entry), my first such notice from someone not previously known to me. Glad to have caught your attention, Stuart. All you loyal readers of this here site should give Stuart's blog a look; he's got good stuff over there, and I can think of no more sincere way to thank him than to bump his hit numbers up a tad.

Stuart found me via and its random blog selector, which he has as his start page. A random blog to start your day on the Net sounds pretty cool to me. I'll have to set at as the start page on one of my browsers.
Posted @ 1:02 PM


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