Wish I'd Said It

Weeds are flowers too - once you get to know them.

- A. A. Milne

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Emma Faust Tillman

Emma, of East Hartford, Connecticut, was an amazing woman.

For four days, she was the oldest known living person. She inherited the crown last Wednesday when 115-year-old Emiliano Mercado del Toro of Puerto Rico died. Emma, at 114, died on Sunday.

But that's not the most amazing part of her story.

Emma had two siblings who lived until they were 102.

But that's not the most amazing part of her story either.

Another of Emma's sisters lived to 105.

Wait. There's more.

One of Emma's brothers hung around the planet until he was 108.

I sure hope someone had the foresight to sneak a bit of Emma's DNA for research purposes.

Monday, January 29, 2007

Blogs = Brain Porn

What are blogs if not splayed frontal lobes, offering a free peek to every passer-by?

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Battlestar Galactica

A few months ago, the son of a friend gave me the url for a website that was a storehouse of tv shows - some old, some pretty new. (I'll pass along that link at the end of this.)

Initially, I amused myself in off-hours by watching every episode of The Trailer Park Boys. The picture quality isn't great at this site but I enjoyed watching episodes I'd missed and re-watching some faves.

I'd heard some buzz about Battlestar Galactica over the last year or three but too late (I thought) to hop on the bandwagon. The series was well along by the time it flitted across my radar. (I know. I'm so darn hep. Anybody see that moving episode of Dobie Gillis last night?)

Anyway, this site has the first three seasons of BG and I started watching them a couple of weeks ago. I'm hooked. Despite the fact I never like Edward James Olmos, who plays the taciturn Captain; despite the fact some episodes lapse into melodrama; I'm well and truly caught.

The basic premise is a grabber: Humans created robot-like creatures called Cylons which eventually turned on their makers and all-but destroyed them. Only 50,000 humans are left, housed in a rag-tag flotilla of space ships, under the aegis of a single, beat up old battleship. The surviving humans are being hunted down relentlessly by Cylons, many of which have adopted human forms and infiltrated some of the ships.

The plot device that gives this series some extra pizzaz is the indication that some Cylons are becoming more human - are exhibiting signs of conscience. Is it possible they'll eventually find some common ground? Tune in next week....

Other random pluses: Mary McDonnell is terrific as the fragile, but tough-as-nails President. Donnelly Rhodes, a fine Canuck character actor, has a recurring role as a cigarette-smoking doctor. (Yeah, really!) The music is excellent, from the theme, to the insistent, throbbing drums that inject adrenaline into many of the chase and battle scenes.

If you liked Star Trek in any of its incarnations, you'll enjoy Battlestar Galactica - a terrific space opera with good and bad good guys and bad and good bad guys.

Check out lots of tv shows at TV Links.

Monday, January 15, 2007

It was inevitable

It took until mid-January but winter has arrived. It's arrived in the form of freezing rain and school closures. Which, of course, means that my basement wreck-room is infested with teenagers at 9:00 a.m. on a Monday.

This is SO wrong.

9:00 a.m. on a Monday is supposed to be a quiet time. Just me and my parrot, Lucy. Although Lucy isn't always quiet. But at least her silence can be bought with a peanut or pumpkin seed. Albeit temporarily. Try tossing food at a herd of teens and the volume level only rises.

I can't get too upset though. I remember the joy of an unexpected day off school. The commotion and disruption of my usual schedule gives me an excuse to slack off as well. I think I'll play some Dragon Warrior VIII. I finally got my own PS2 for Christmas. Son #1 bought it for me. He's a good boy. I think I'll keep him.

Then maybe I'll watch an episode or two of Battlestar Galactica. I was going to write about that show today as a blog entry. Guess it'll wait a day or three.

If the freezing rain lets up enough and the salt trucks come by to do their thing, I might just go out to eat. A new joint opened up in town with a terrific special: a Donair (spiced beef/onion/tomatoes/yummy sauce served in a wrap), plus an order of fries and a can of pop for $3.99. And the fries are good too - real taters, not reheated, previously-frozen sludge sticks.

The trick may be to ease out the door without any of those urchins downstairs noticing. Four bucks for a big lunch is a great deal but even Simple Math says that $4 X Umpteen Urchins = a Big Dent in my wallet.

I know. I'll withhold Lucy's lunchtime peanut. Her squawking will cover the sound the front door opening and closing.

Wish me luck.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

2006: Britney's Smile, Global Warming, There Ain't No Heaven and Much, Much More!

Holy moley! I know it’s partly a factor of aging but 2006 zipped by like I was standing still!

Hmmm...judging by my waistline, there might be something to that. Right now though, it’s time to gaze into my rearview mirror and mull the year past - to offer insight and explanation to those confused by world events as well as opining about the weird, the wonderful and the wacky. And yes, I’m doing my Top 5 Songs of the year again. You’re very welcome.

Things in the Middle East are still bad. People want what they don’t have and don’t want what they do. Outsiders meddled, fuelling resentment which, for some misguided souls, took the form of blowing themselves, and others, up. Prediction for 2007: More of the same.

It’s January 2nd as I write this in southern Ontario, Canada. The usual high temperature for these parts in early January is about -3 Celsius. Ski resorts should be in full swing. Today is 6 C, the creeks, rivers and lakes are ice-free and there’s not a flake of snow in sight. I’m beginning to suspect there just might be something to this global warming stuff. In my own wee, selfish speck of the planet though, as I fish for steelhead instead of huddling around the fireplace, it’s hard to see it as a Bad Thing.

Okay, we’ve covered the dry stuff. Let’s move along to what matters: Entertainment.

Britney Spears wins the Twit(ette) of the Year award not just for her parental, um, skills but also for text-messaging her divorce plans to her hubby and then having her vertical smile photographed and displayed across the net.

A word or two about links before we go any further. I don’t know how to make a clickable link that opens a new page in your browser. That’s partly why I don’t often embed them in my posts. However, there’s going to be a few of them coming up and I want to apologize in advance. Just remember that you can use the back button on your browser to return to this page.

I didn’t read a lot of books last year but the best of those I did was Victoria Strauss’ The Awakened City. If you like, you can read a review I wrote of it.

TV worth watching: The Trailer Park Boys, The Office, The Colbert Report and I’m beginning to get hooked on Battlestar Galactica.

I dislike music videos unless they're a straight-ahead filming of the artists playing the song. I have no desire to have someone else’s interpretation of the song inflicted upon my brain. My brain suffers too darn much inflicting as it is in this multi-media universe. Therefore I never watch MTV or MuchMusic. So why Frank, you ask, are you about to link to a bunch of YouTube music videos?

I’ll tell you. I don’t how to link to just audio files even if I could find them. The videos are easier to find. So if you want to just hear my top 5 pop songs of 2006, click the link and then close your eyes.

I’m cheating from the get-go. Two of Pink’s tunes are tied for my #5 spot: Who Knew because it’s a fine song and Stupid Girls because of its important message to young girls.

For mindless, feel-good fun and a harkening back to the disco days of the Bee Gees, check out the #4 song by the Scissor Sisters, I Don’t Feel Like Dancing. (If you’re not already heartily sick of it, that is. Yeah, it’s one of “those.”)

The last three picks were very tough. A good case could be made for each as #1. Snow Patrol’s Chasing Cars is as simple, dramatic and fresh a love song as these old ears have heard in a long, long time. And I'll be darned if I didn't stumble over a video montage from Grey's Anatomy highlighting the song. It's very well done and moved me to tears which says a lot about how good the song is and probably the show too (which I haven't seen) but even more about stupid male menopause.

Song #2 defies categorization. Chances are you haven’t heard this one and I strongly urge you to check it out. The video is lame but I'd be interested in what you think of the tune. Initially I didn’t like it but its insistent rhythm and eerie vocals grew compelling. It’s a somewhat bizarre mix of gospel and techno-trance called No Heaven by talented Montrealer DJ Champion.

Song #1 has been played everywhere and is no doubt familiar to all. Except for its superb production values it wouldn’t be out of place if it came from Detroit in the 60s. Gnarls Barkley’s Crazy is pure pop perfection.

Everybody dance and bring on 2007!