Archive for February 3, 2008

IDK Patch

February 3, 2008

Warren Ellis pointed to a mystery patch that Bruce Sterling posted about. Click on any of those links to see the original (I see the Flickr post has a Copyright symbol).

I’ll just use this bit for a point:


So that sent me off on a bunch of Googling.

I think that animal is a Manta-Ray. Similar logo:

Logo source

And look at this:

Photo source

So, having believed I solved that, I did a text search and came across something called the Manta Ray Battalion. But it’s JROTC, for pre-selecting Special Ops cadets.

What about those eleven stars in the logo? OK, let’s get weird a moment. There are reports of silent triangular craft spotted all across the U.S.. Curiously, this report calls it a Manta Ray.

OK, enough with the X-Files. Let’s get back to the military. Here’s a credible report of something called a Skyray.

And then there’s an articulated balloon called an Air Ray.

Anyway, that’s my contribution to banging up against the mystery.

The truth will probably all turn out to be something very mundane.

Blog Notes: Super Bowl

February 3, 2008

6:06PM EST. The iconic manila envelope Apple MacBook Air TV ad just ran.

Apple started early.

Oh wait. This is Fox. Apple’s practically subsidizing Murdoch with the jillions of Air ads that have been running all week long.

OK, I guess there won’t be a Super Bowl surprise after all.


With the Writers Guild getting closer to a settlement, I guess it’s on for a February 24th Academy Awards telecast and an Apple surprise spot.

No more blogging today.

I use this as an excuse to run another Pamela Adlon photo.

Quitting Smoking Can Make You Die

February 3, 2008

If you use Chantix.

Anti-smoking drug may be tied to suicide risks

WASHINGTON – Government regulators said Friday the connection between Pfizer’s anti-smoking drug Chantix and serious psychiatric problems is “increasingly likely.”

The Food and Drug Administration began in November investigating reports of depression, agitation and suicidal behavior in patients taking the popular twice-daily pill.

The agency’s announcement comes two weeks after Pfizer added stronger warnings to the drug. In doing so, the company stressed that a direct link between Chantix and the reported psychiatric problems has not been established, but could not be ruled out.

This is a new medicine that’s being touted all over the place these days. It binds to sites in the brain that nicotine usually occupies. Apparently it’s also binding to places it’s not supposed to. Or not binding to all the sites it’s supposed to — so that there’s a subliminal crash from the nicotine withdrawal. Reading the list of side-effects sounds just like the symptoms associated with quitting cold turkey. So the only advantage to this pill is that it puts money in someone else’s bank account.

Scalzi Asks Scab-Picking Questions

February 3, 2008

John Scalzi was in blog lockdown while he finished his latest book for a deadline (he made it).

During that time, he gave his readers questions to discuss.

One of them was of the soul-scraping variety:

Your question for the day: You get to go back in time and tell your 15-year-old self one thing. What is it?

I replied. So did many other people. Get an insight into your fellow human beings by reading that thread.

Scalzi is also the proprietor of the legendary Being Poor thread. All hyped up for the Super Bowl? Deflate yourself of that emptiness by reading that. You won’t be the same afterwards. Unless, you know, you’re an irredeemable dick.

Blog Notes: Blog Stats

February 3, 2008


Now you can see what sort of traffic this blog gets.

Just click on Blog Stats on the lower right side, then the links on that page.

Why not? Isn’t this the Age of Transparency or whatever? (Scalzi published his income to his readers. If you’re expecting that, bend backwards and kiss your waste egress!)

The old blog still has a higher readership than this one. That doesn’t bother me. I see what they’re looking at and I don’t want those people here.

What bugs me about the stats is that 2% of you are labeled as “addicted.” Stop that!

The photo is from the best episode of Lucky Louie, the third one. That’s the wonderful Pamela Adlon, who was the best thing in that series. Sort of a lower-class Felicity Kendal. I was waiting for a chance to use it. This seemed the best time.

The Avengers: New And Classic Theme Visuals

February 3, 2008

The world went insane during the 1970s. It even affected the theme to The New Avengers, the very flawed re-birth of the classic series, The Avengers.

I can’t think of a worse combination than military drum and disco, can you? Here it is:

When CBS aired the series, they did a very cheesy animation for the title and shredded these visuals. Transatlantic insanity! That entire opening lacked the panache, sophistication, and utter cool the height of the Steed-Peel series had:

Patrick MacNee and Diana Rigg were a hell of a lot younger than I am right now, but they still looked like adults — not adolescents.

Imagine the horror: Tom Cruise as Steed and Katie Holmes as Mrs Peel!

At least Katie would smile — something Uma Thurman forgot how to do in that dreadful feature. Here’s the trailer. Pixelated to hell. But the movie itself was as badly resolved too!

Obviously the motive for the film was money.  They certainly didn’t understand the original and iconic charm of the TV series!

The Return Of The Saint: Ersatz Videos

February 3, 2008

Apparently the British Suits pulled a DMCA and had the video of the opening theme visuals to Return of the Saint removed from YouTube.

I thought it was a ghastly series.

For one, it starred Ian Ogilvy. I have nothing against the lad except that’s what he bloody looked like at the time — a lad!

Second, it was the slow death of the Disco Era and the theme music reflected that. Here’s the polyester-laden theme (I suppose taken from a soundtrack CD, not the series itself, because it doesn’t properly finish) over a montage of stills:

These are the actual theme visuals, over which was placed an even worse theme by the French:

Yeah, the opening theme visuals were really that bad.

The Saint: Opening Theme Visuals

February 3, 2008

I never watched this as a kid when it was on one of the networks.

But before the plague of Rupert Murdoch, the pre-Foxed Channel 5 in NYC ran an episode of The Saint every night for several months and during those sleepless nights I’d tune in. I really looked forward to the ones in color (even though my TV was B&W) because of the killer theme.

Here’s the very James Bond-ish B&W version:

I still love the gimmick of ending the teaser by mentioning the character’s name — Simon Templar. Some of these were very clever in how they achieved it.

“Oh, I’ll be right back, Horace. I must use the sandbox.”

“Millicent, put your bladder on hold. Look who that is in the corner: Simon Templar!”

(Of course I made that up!)

Now here’s the color theme visuals:


5-4-3-2-1 Oh-Oh!

February 3, 2008

A 2001 ad that used Thunderbirds to make a point.

Cute but implausible. Everyone knows Tracy Island would never be a vacation destination!  Nice effects, though.