Thursday, December 31, 2009

How to prepare minority schoolchildren for the techno-future

Why...don't teach them a damn thing about science.

Berkeley High May Cut Out Science Labs
The proposal would trade labs seen as benefiting white students for resources to help struggling students.
By Eric Klein

Berkeley High School is considering a controversial proposal to eliminate science labs and the five science teachers who teach them to free up more resources to help struggling students.

The proposal to put the science-lab cuts on the table was approved recently by Berkeley High's School Governance Council, a body of teachers, parents, and students who oversee a plan to change the structure of the high school to address Berkeley's dismal racial achievement gap, where white students are doing far better than the state average while black and Latino students are doing worse.

Read the complete article at the link above.

So instead of helping black and Latino students realize that their futures lie in science and technology, they are going to eliminate the science programs altogether, so that the more motivated children won't be able to learn what they need to know, and the whole student body will sink together. Better than the cream - of all races - rising to the top, eh?

A sad day for the United States when the kids who value education are sacrified so that kids who don't care about it at all won't feel inferior.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Enough with the Post-Apocalypse Movies Already!

I have got to admit that I'm getting sick of these post-Apocalyptic movies .... Denzel Washington is in one now, I keep seeing ads for it, and there's a few others I can't bring to mind right now (I'm busy watching my Vikings lose... I knew Favre would let us down!)

I suppose all the filmmakers have read all the 2012 books predicting the end of days...

Can't we have some nice, uplifting movies instead? That's what we really need right now, especially if the world is gonna end in 2 years!

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Read None But Lucifer

"None But Lucifer" is a somewhat famous novelette written during the 1950s by Horace L. Gold, publisher and editor of Galaxy magazine, and L. Sprague DeCamp. It was published in novel form in 2002, but E. L. Gold, Horace's son, has also made it available on the web as part of's Science Fiction Musuem.

Before I share with you the link to get to the site where you can read the story for free, let me share a couple of tidbits.

First, here is Isaac Asimov talking about the story, very briefly, in "Horace", an essay published in his Asimov on Science Fiction anthology:

In his greatest story, "None But Lucifer," (the most terrifying story I ever read in Unknown) I was pinned to the wall by the manner in which everything worked for the worst. Imagine wishing to have a beautiful girl love you madly and never wanting to leave you; and imagine getting that wish and ending up hating it because she literally couldn't leave you, couldn't even go into the next room, and you couldn't get rid of her.

And here is how it is described by Horace Gold's son, Eugene:

You can purchase it in a nice print volume here:

And finally, here is the link to the Science Fiction Museum where you can read it, and other classic SF works, for free:

And I include the first four paragraphs of the novella.

Hale had plenty of reason for panic. Most men, lying sick, broke, and alone in a cheap, filthy rooming house, would have been terrified. But Hale wasn’t. He was sick, broke, and alone, all right—only that was exactly how he wanted to be. A long time ago he had planned it. Having achieved what superficially appears to be an easy goal, he felt rather successful. He waited impatiently for the next step in his campaign.

He listened to the stairs. He had been listening since early morning. His hungry, wan face brightened. They were creaking, in the exact manner he had anticipated.

The two pairs of feet plodded irresolutely toward his door. Then they halted. Hale listened impatiently for the creaking to resume. Instead he heard muffled, excited whispering.

He fought down his exasperation. If he had dared to expose his eagerness, he would have cried: “I know it’s you and your wife, Burke, coming to dispossess me, if you can get me out while you put a slug in my lock. Don’t worry about that. Don’t waste time thinking up clever schemes to lure me out. I’ve waited for years for the courage to put myself in this position. You’re not going to fail me because of a little pity, are you? Please, destiny’s getting restless.”

So give yourself an extra Christmas present this year, or an early one for next year, and take a look at this classic.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Racism is Where You Want To Find It

Some film critic is calling Avatar racist because the blue people on the planet are "tribal", and it is a white man who saves them....

But here is my question... who is the white man saving the blue people from? Why, other white men, of course!

So how can that be racist? It's the story of a bunch of techno-loaded people invading the land of some aborigines, just as happened in the past on Earth, and those techno-geeks had the most technology, so they were able to massacre the indigenous populations. The indigenous populations had no chance.

So what is so racist about showing a "white man" realizing that what his people are doing is wrong, and try to help the indigenous population fight back?

It's not as if the two populations were equal in armament, so that it was only the "brains" of the white man that saved the stupid and inferior blue people. No, the blue people don't have the kind of armament that the invaders do, so they needed help.

But some people...and I'm pretty sure this reviewer was white...just want to find racism wherever they look.

What the movie really is about, is a castigation of the European explorer and how he took over every country he found, at the expense of the indigenous population! With a little nod to those individuals who didn't believe what they were doing was right, and attempted to protect the rights of those individuals...until finally enough of the Europeans had their consciousness raised, and started making amends for what their ancestors had done.

The minority will get nothing that the majority does not give it. Just ask the women in any Muslim country, if you can find them, hidden as they are in their own homes or behind burkhas that cover their entire faces. Blacks in the US today would not be where they are - in an unsegregated country where anyone with a good education can get a good job - if the white majority in the late 1960s and 1970s had not given it to them. Why? Of course this backfired when the welfare system was created that gave women more money if there was no husband in the picture....which destroyed black families and got us started on the descent into the welfare state and the entitlement generation - of blacks and whites and every other minority that comes here solely to get into our welfare system - who are sucking this nation dry.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Irwin Allen's City Beneath the Sea

Below are two excerpts from Irwin Allen's City Beneath the Sea pilot for a TV series from 1969.

Glenn Corbett stars as the commander of Triton Tower, General Matthews, with James Brolin as Tyler, Lawrence Montaigne as an amphibian (and Mr. Spock clone), Doctor Aguila, and Lloyd Bochner as Temple, the villain. Also in the cast was Cecile Ozorio as the security chief, and Francine York.

The second video repeats the last 4 minutes of the first video, then gives the final four minutes, where Matthews dispatches Temple.

As an aside, Glenn Corbett is about the stiffest actor I've seen

This video is the complete version - all 9 minutes of it! with the very ending and credits that the video above lacks. However, I think the two vids above are of slightly better quality.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

OT: NCIS and NCIS: Los Angeles Call For Tolerance

Both NCIS and NCIS: Los Angeles have new episodes showing today, and, perhaps coincidentally, both shows have the same theme. Muslim soldiers in the US Army are hazed and mistreated and when they turn against their fellow soldiers, it's their fellow soldier's fault.

Well.. that wasn't precisely the theme of NCIS - turns out one sibling, a Christian, kills the other one because he converted to being a Muslim.

In NCIS Los Angeles, the Muslim member of a unit is suspected of setting bombs to kill his squad mates because they let him get disfigured in an explosion. He doubltless will provde to be innocent by the end of the episode...

But let's talk about tolerance... not for Muslims but from Muslims, shall we?

The suicide rate for women in previously secular Arab nations that have now gone Sharia law is growing, because once again women are being turned into dirt - regarded as less than dogs.

And I'm supposed to be tolerant of this religion? I don't think so.

(Don't get me wrong, I'm an atheist. But I'm an atheist woman who can do what I want because I live in the secular USA. And I'm grateful for that.)

Sure, Christian men, and even atheist men, rape and kill women all the time... but when they do it the rest of the Christian community looks on in outrage. Not so in Muslim communities, eh?

Will Men (And Women) Learn From the TIger Woods Debacle?

I wonder, sometimes, what Tiger Woods is doing, while he's holed up in his mansion avoiding the paparazzi, and perhaps watching the news coverage of newscasters (many of whom have probably had affairs themselves) smirking as they tell of each new mistress of Tiger's. Apparently some of them didn't come forward voluntarily, their names were leaked by other people who knew about the affairs, but never blabbed...until there was a chance to make some real money out of it by selling their stories to the tabloids.

Will Tiger commit suicide? That'd probably make the newspapers happy.

If he'd only had one mistress, or even two... things would not have gotten so far out of hand. But the fact that he apparently had thirteen or so..

And now of course the latest woman is older than he is. Oh gasp. Oh horror! She's a "cougar." God I hate that term. What's a guy that has an affair with a woman forty yeasrs older than him? Gramps?

No, I don't really have much sympathy for Tiger Woods. If it'd been one woman or two... but he's just had too many. And apparently he's a jerk in other ways as well. We've all seen the tantrums on the golf course. And apparently he doesn't tip.

But I must say the "media" is really beginning to sicken me, as they are enjoying this so much. And I bet at least 10 authors are out there now paying Tiger's harem for their "exclusive" stories, so they can get their books out by Christmas.

As someone at another site has said, there are heros, and then there are celebrities. Tiger was never a hero, he was only a celebrity, and now the media that built him up is voraciously tearing him down.

And then there's Tiger's women, each of them probably going to make a fortune out of this debacle. Now, I don't think they should be stripped naked, tarred and feathered and run out of town on a rail --- Tiger went after them willingly -- but the fact that they're willing to sell their stories for monies, just makes it clear that they are prostitutes, whatever else they are.

But here's the question. How many people who cheat on their spouses are going to stop now, because of what they've seen? Of course, the average person has little to fear from the paperazzi, but what about the actors, and athletes, and politicians who cheat on a regular basis? Now that they see that the media will tear them down in a heartbeat, will they stop their cheating ways?

Monday, December 14, 2009

Planet 51: A for Animation, F for Everything Else

I loved the animation and visual design of Planet 51, but two-thirds of the way through the movie, if I hadn't been there with someone else, I'd have walked out on it. Boring. Worse than boring, annoying.

The plot
The plot is not only simple but simplisticly accomplished. Captain Charles T. Baker lands his ship on ... Planet 51, whose history parallels that of Earth and who has now reached the equivalent of the 1950s, complete with alien invasion movies. ANd indeed, the planet has apparently long been bombarded by space probes from earth, and has put together a team of soldiers to deal with the anticipated invasion.

Baker steps onto the planet not expecting to find any signs of life - when he does he doesn't try to contact it, but instead runs for his life. Even after his initial panic is over, he still doesn't go out and try to be a representative of Planet Earth, instead he just wants to get back to his spaceship and go home.

He enlists Lem to help him, and even remains hidden in Lem's car while demanding that Lem go out and disperse the crowd around his spaceship so he can get back into it!

While I thought Dwayne Johnson (The Rock) did a credible acting job in Race to Witch Mountain, his voice work here is sub-par. Of course, it isn't helped by the fact that his character, Captain Charles T. Baker, is a complete wimp. Baker lands on the planet, walks out, sees a bunch of aliens, and runs for his life. That's not how an astronaut is supposed to act - he takes off his helmet, says Hi, I come in peace. Kind of like my hero, Buzz Lightyear.

Later on in the movie, it also transpires that Baker got by on his looks and his charm, which is a slap in the face to all the astronauts who worked their butts off in school and college, and NASA to be astronauts. Of course he "redeems" hismelf in the end, because he has to pilot the spaceship instead of the autopilot when the location where the ship is kept is about to explode.

Equally, Lem, the main character (Justin Long - Mac from the IBM/Mac commercials) is a teenager who gets a job at a planetarium, and is too shy to ask the girl he loves out for a date. At the end of the movie, he kisses her, ya da ya da.

General Grawl, played by Gary Oldman, is a heroic figure in more ways than one. HE's the handsome 51-er (or whatever that planet is called), dashing, etc., and truly believes that Baker is an evil alien come to take them over. But on two occasion he's made to act really stupidly, which just diminishes the character. Oldman's voicework is excellent, though.

John Cleese's voice work is excellent, as one might expect.

There are a few funny bits, and a few salacious bits put in just because.... (the Rover character leaks oil when he's really scared, a character doesn't want to be probed so carries a cork around that is supposed to be inserted into a certain orifice in the nether regions - disgusting and totally unnecessary, the astronaut stands up, completely nude, tho thankfully we only see his chest from the back, and a character says, "I wondered where his antenna were." or something similar to that.

So overall, a disappointing experience. I may see it again, just to enjoy the animation and set dressing...although more than likely I'll wait for it to be shown on TV, as it isn't worth paying more money to see it again.

Dwayne Johnson ... Captain Charles T. Baker (voice)
Jessica Biel ... Neera (voice)
Justin Long ... Lem (voice)
Gary Oldman ... General Grawl (voice)
Seann William Scott ... Skiff (voice)
John Cleese ... Professor Kipple

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Gene Barry, star of Original War of the Worlds, RIP

(War of the Worlds)

in The Adventurer)

Just read the news that Gene Barry has died at the age of 90.

In addition to War of the Worlds, he was most famous as Bat Masterson (with the bowler and umbrella that you'd swear was the inspiration for John Steed!), and as Amos Burke in Burke's Law and The Adventurer.

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Journey to the Center of Rick Wakeman

Radio is the theater of the mind. You don't need to watch TV or a movie, you close your eyes and imagine what you're seeing.

Here is a radio show called Crimes Against Music: Journey to the Center of Rick Wakeman.

It's a spoof on prog rock - concept albums like Jeff Wayne's War of the Worlds, etc.

Stars English singer-comic Mitch Benn, with a guest-star turn by Benn's friend, Rick Wakeman (keyboardist for Yes before making it big on his own.)

A lot of the early humor is very British humor, very topical (Alan Tichmarsh is a gardening host, yet here he is the Prime Minister of England, the Oracle is a palm computer (page loading...while they're waiting for news on what to do) but it really picks up when the Fellowship are shrunk and sent into Wakeman's brain in an attempt to save him.

Monday, December 07, 2009

Star Trek: The Legacy Continues -- This Enterprise is a space ship

Click on photos for larger versions.

When the United States shuttle program started, the first shuttle, used for test flights, was called the Enterprise, and when it was unveiled, on September 17, 1976 Gene Roddenberry and the cast members from Star Trek were there, except William Shatner) .

The name earned criticism in some quarters, as "stuffed shirts" thought it brought the shuttle program into the realm of fantasy. On the other hand, many more people were disappointed to learn that the space shuttle named Enterprise was just a test vehicle, none of the actual shuttles would bear the name.

Richard Branson of Virgin Galactic has remedied that snub. This Enterprise is a spaceship, not a starship, but the honor is much appreciated among Trek fans.

English billionaire Richard Branson, owner of Virgin Atlantic Airlines, is also the owner of Virgin Galactic. His SpaceShipTwo rocket plane "drew hundreds of paying space tourists and travel agents, rocket geeks and glitterati to the Mojave Air and Space Port."

See the link for the complete article.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Calling All Muggles: Dec 7 HP and the Half-Blood Prince DVD Release Party


Monday, Dec. 7th Event to Feature Prizes, Magician and Games
WHAT: The magic of Harry Potter will descend on the BLOCKBUSTER
location at 2133 Collier Pkwy. in Land O’ Lakes on Monday, Dec. 7 as
the store hosts a midnight DVD release party for “Harry Potter and the
Half-Blood Prince.” In addition to being the next chapter in the
highly popular series of films based on J.K. Rowling’s “Harry Potter”
novels, the movie is the highest grossing film of 2009 and is among
the top 10 highest grossing films of all time.

Activities at the event include:

The opportunity for loyal Harry Potter fans to be among the first to
rent or purchase the movie on DVD or Blu-ray, while supplies last.
Those who can’t stay until the midnight release are invited to reserve
a copy for purchase with $5 down.
The chance to win Harry Potter prizes
Special appearance by radio station WFLZ 93.3 FM and WXTB 98-Rock,
magician, games and contests.
Register to win a Samsung Blu-ray player and Harry Potter and the
Half-Blood Prince Blu-ray DVD and lots of other prizes.

WHEN: Monday, Dec. 7

8 pm: Event begins
Midnight: “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince” DVD and Blu-ray
available for rent or purchase while supplies last. (Those who can’t
stay until midnight can reserve a copy for purchase with $5 down.)

WHERE: BLOCKBUSTER, 2133 Collier Pkwy., Land O’ Lakes, FL

HOW: Admission is free and open to the public.

OFFERING: “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince” will be available
for purchase or rent while supplies last at participating BLOCKBUSTER
stores and online at on the movie’s nationwide
release date of Tuesday, Dec. 8. Fans can reserve their copy in
advance by putting $5 down at any participating store.

In addition to the single-disc DVD, BLOCKBUSTER will be offering
several special editions: a two-disc DVD version and a
Blu-ray+DVD+Digital Copy Combo Pack. Also available at BLOCKBUSTER
stores starting on Dec. 8 will be a Harry Potter Years 1-6 Giftset,
featuring all six of the Harry Potter movies, on DVD or Blu-ray.