Sunday, September 06, 2009

A Sunday Review

TV this week:

  • 10 Dollar Dinners: "Savory Savings" - Salmon cakes, orzo, and asparagus. I think I would like to try that meal. I think I wouldn't mind even trying to make it. Though... canned salmon? That just seems odd to me. I understand the need to keep it under $10 for the entire meal, but I'm not sure as a Northwesterner that I can approve of canned salmon, even for salmon cakes. But I still want to try the recipes.
  • History Detectives: "Stalag 17 Portrait; Seadrome; Black Tom Shell" - That portrait, and the book it was in, were incredible. The historical value of that book is amazing. I'm glad we got to see some of it. The second story was interesting, especially how the technology later was used to create oil platforms. The concept of "rest stops" in the middle of the ocean is truly amazing. The third story was an encore, but a good one. I'd never heard of the Black Tom disaster before I first saw this segment. I still think the shell itself could have been in the disaster, just not the timing mechanism.
  • Ghost Hunters: "Civil War Spirits" - Fascinating history on that first place. I wish I could see the actual flashlight and was sure that it didn't have any timer or anything on it. A lot of this show depends on how much you trust the investigators, and even though I trust Jason and Grant to a certain extent, this is an entertainment show with the goal of selling ads. Another cool location for the second place. They've been hitting the historical spots this year so far. I wasn't impressed by the stories of the house, virtually everything could have other explanations. Old house, settling, high EMF in areas... not much there. And the TAPS guys agree with me.
  • Dinner Impossible: "Feeding Frenzy" - Philadephia Zoo. Feeding humans a menu based on what the animals are fed. The shopping trip was an utter disaster, wasting over two hours before Robert had even begun. Robert generally doesn't do as well in challenges where he loses too much time just getting ingredients. The food looked overall fine, except for the crickets. Chocolate covered, maybe, but NOT in a jello shooter or frozen pop.

Here are reviews of the DCBS comic book shipment that arrived September 1st, of books originally released August 19th and 26th:
  • Wednesday Comics #7 - More Aquaman! Yay! I have to admit, the humor in Metamorpho is growing on me. I like the grenade in Sgt Rock. This rag needs even more Aquaman.
  • Blackest Night: Superman #1 - Nasty. Um, when did Superboy come back? Clearly I'm not keeping up with the Super-family enough, because the whole Krypton thing made no sense to me, either.
  • Justice League of America #36 - This makes entirely too much sense. Linking Amos Fortune and the Royal Flush Gang, and then expanding them. Add in Roulette and ... well, what? I'm intrigued.
  • Super Friends #18 - "Hey, dopey fish!" Good-bye! Me no like this book. Me no think you should buy it. Hello!
  • Tiny Titans #19 - Wow, way to get a song stuck in my head, guys! Fun, cute, not enough Aqualad. In fact, no Aqualad.
  • Doctor Who Ongoing #2 - Yay, films! Nice recovery from the cliff-hanger. I wonder if everyone got back what was stolen from them? Didn't like the new cliff-hanger.

  • Wednesday Comics #8 - No Aquaman, but it looks like he'll be making an appearance in Hawkman soon. Deadman isn't the sharpest tool in the shed, is he? I'm surprised at how much I'm enjoying Supergirl, even without Aquaman.
  • Black Night: Titans #1 - Eeeeuuwwwww. What is it with lovestruck Titans kissing their deceased girlfriends? Yuck.
  • Green Lantern #45 - Not terribly impressed with this one. Now that we've got a bajillion characters on the stage, I'm bored with all of them.
  • Justice Society of America #30 - This one is getting interesting, but that's got to be one of the stupidest cliff-hangers ever.
  • Batman Brave and the Bold #8 - Ah, China. And Yeti. And one very cold Batman. It's always fun to see who they bring in next.
  • Doctor Who: Cold-Blooded War - I am sometimes amazed when I am reminded that the Draconians only appeared in one Doctor Who story. It sure seems like they were in a lot, because they were such a well-developed concept (with great costumes). Nice to see them again!
  • Usagi Yojimbo #122 - Another good Usagi story. Always consistent, always fun, I love this book.
  • Incredibles #0 - Ok, good story I guess, but is there a bit of an implication that Jack-Jack's abilities are not ... um... natural by birth? Or is something else going on there?

This week's movie was Braveheart. Yup. Finally saw it. Initial thoughts? It's about an hour too long, and it is so incredibly historically inaccurate that it's hilarious. Unintentionally so, I think, but hilarious nonetheless. Half the fun of this movie for me was looking online to see just how much it got wrong. Still, when you consider that it's based on a roving minstrel's version of history and not real history, it's not totally bad. Just amusing. but the implication that Edward III was Wallace's son is just a lovely touch of absurdity.

Moving on, I know people consider the battle scenes to be pretty good, but I was a bit bored through them. I've never been a big fan of battle. Then there were the characters. Despite the length of the film, some of the supporting characters were hardly developed at all, leading to a bunch of cardboard stereotypes running around the screen.

I guess I just wanted more from a movie that won an Oscar. Pity I never saw it in the theater, as I bet the cinematography would have made me like it more on a big screen, but even if it was playing at a local theater I wouldn't try to see it now as I can no longer sit for that long without pain (and certainly not in a theater seat, ow!).

My library book this week was From the Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E.L.Konigsburg. It was oddly jolting to read this and think about the modern world in the context of this book. It is set in 1967 when the book was written, and it amazes me what is different about that world, and what is the same. The edition I read of the book was a 35th anniversary printing with an afterword from the author that includes a very unsatisfactory "sequel" that detracts from one of the lessons of the book (about secrets, and keeping them). Oh well, the sequel is so tongue-in-cheek it hardly matters anyway. But the afterword talks about the changes in New York from 1967 to 2002, and how they wouldn't affect the story as much as you might think. The book itself was great fun, and I think kids of all ages would enjoy it. Definitely a book for the young-at-heart. ...Although it is sobering to think of how old Claudia would be today.

Agatha Christie this week was The Hollow from 1946, also published as Murder after Hours. A troubled weekend at the Hollow turns deadly, but everyone has a motive. I had this one. I knew the murderer, and I had the motive and the method and everything down. There were a couple of things I didn't quite understand, but I was sure they would fit in just fine once the reveal came along. So I confidently read on... and I was completely wrong. BAH! I'm never going to be able to fully solve one of these, am I?