Music to kill by

Here is my list of the Top Ten songs (with links to videos) that provides the perfect theme music to play in the head of any serial killer while he or she goes about their work:

10) Every Breath You Take – The Police

9) Eyes Without A Face – Billy Idol

8) If I Was Invisible – Clay Aiken

7) Evergreen – Barbra Streisand

6) Love Is A Stranger – Eurythmics

5) Gotta Get Back – Shelby Lynne

4) A World Without Love – Peter and Gordon

3) Makin’ ItDavid Naughton

2) The Look of Love – Sergio Mendez and Brasil ’66

1) Possession – Sarah McLaughlin

Grocery Store Artifact: Unfortunate Halloween toy

The Pez website lists this candy dispenser as the “Glow in the Dark Mummy” but to me it says “Blackface Minstrel Pez“.

I may be seeing controversy or insensitivity where none exists or was intended, but the resemblance to the unlamented cartoon caricatures of people of African descent is uncanny.

Dead or Alive: Chichén Itzá edition

Whenever I see photos of the Great Ball Court at Chichén Itzá, I don’t see those big stone rings up on the walls as goals to shoot a ball through, which seems to be the accepted use. Those rings are pretty small and placed really high up from the ground. The rings being so far above the court would lead to some frustrating and extended games for players and spectators alike. A missed goal probably means the ball flies over the wall and keeps landing in the spectator seats. I don’t see how anyone could win at a game like that.

I’ve always thought of the rings as anchors for a net or barrier, something that would separate the opposing teams during play, somewhat like a volleyball net.

I’ve read plenty of educational entries in books, articles and on the internet that states the rings are the goals and not anchors, but I have never read or seen any of the scholarly source material that concludes how the game was set up and played from the available evidence. As far as I can determine it is just another one of those accepted facts that everyone “knows” is true because every resource claims it is.

I could be entirely wrong, but it never hurts to always look at things with new eyes.

Science rules!

Cause ev’ry girl crazy ’bout a sharp dressed man

Found in San Diego in a collection of old photos.

Unfortunately, the Date and Place Taken fields of this souvenir photograph on the reverse were left blank. So the subject and origin of this photo will probably remain unknown.

Text on the reverse:
Taken by the Photomatic
International Mutoscope Reel Co., Inc.
New York City

San Diego still better than any place in Maryland

My Dad was out camping when the fire got a little close and was told to evacuate by the Rangers.

So they packed up all the horses and came home. This is what the highway looked like on the way back.

At the grocery store I work our sales have doubled above normal for this time of year all week, and we have been out of water, eggs and bread for days. As fast as product comes in and gets out on the sales floor it is sold. I’m seeing a lot of panic-buying, but also many people are purchasing stuff for friends who are displaced from home and for donations to disaster relief. 300,000 people being displaced requires a lot of food to migrate and the supply system can’t adapt quickly enough not to have shortages.

Everyone in my family is okay and not affected by the fires except for sinus headaches due to the particulate matter in the air caused by falling ash and soot. Others are not so lucky.

Stargate: M*A*S*H-lantis

For those too young to have seen the show in it’s first run, M*A*S*H was a powerhouse of Thursday television night for over 11 seasons, based on the hit movie of the same name. The show was a dramatic comedy about the staff of a mobile army field hospital in Korea during the 1950s. The show exposed the sometimes ridiculous and more often terrible effects of war. While set during the Korean conflict, the film and television show is considered by many to be an allegory for the Vietnam war, which was fresh in the public consciousness during the life of the show. The show is still being broadcast in syndication and is available for purchase on DVD.

“Dreams” was an episode of that seminal television show that was initially broadcast on February 18, 1980. It was generally well-received for it’s anti-war message and is fondly remembered by fan of the show for it’s stark emotional portrayal and the effects of the conflict on people, both military and civilian.

In “Dreams”, the hospital staff endure various nightmares as they attempt to come to grips with the horrors of war and the traumatic disruptions to their personal lives and psyches. M*A*S*H was not the first to explore this plot device and was not the last, as it is a handy way to explore characterization and give depth to a story. The “Nightmare” plot is one of several common and easy story devices used over a wide range of media. Many examples can be found to have been utilized time and again over the years in various print, comic book, movie and television stories. Another familiar story device is that of enemies being locked or trapped someplace together, who later come to a grudging understanding of each other, though usually the status quo of their mutual enmity returns by the following episode or chapter.

The recycling of the “Nightmare” plot was baldly evidenced in the October 19, 2007 episode of Stargate: Atlantis, “Doppelganger”.

Stargate: Atlantis is not the most original show, being somewhat derivative of the final seasons of Earth: Final Conflict given the similarities of the predatory villains. But I like the various Stargate series and SG: Atlantis it has a sense of humor about it in the Been there, Done that portrayal of recent addition Amanda Tapping to the show as Colonel Sam Carter.

What is most disappointing as a fan is that the recent episode of SG:A is unoriginal and very similar to the M*A*S*H “Dreams” episode from start to finish. Several of the dream sequences were even in similar settings (namely, the water sequences of Nurse Margaret O’Hoolihan and Scientist Rodney McKay and the military personnel in a hospital setting). The episodes are similar enough that one could easily label it a direct rip-off and even though the basic premise of each show is similar (military personnel in a foreign setting), and it was clearly inspired by the M*A*S*H episode. It would be too charitable to call this episode of SG:A an homage to the war drama. I prefer my Science Fiction to be a bit fresher in practice and this episode came off as formulaic at best.

If you have the means to do so and a little time I urge you to watch the two episodes in their entirety for the geek of it, but here is a little sample from the finale of both of the shows to illustrate their similarities.