Scottish Manes.

On our Star Wars podcast a few weeks ago, I was threatening that I was going to write a monograph about Ewan McGregor’s hair in films, and I’m sure Benjamin Light thought I was just joking. He probably – rightfully? – hoped that I was.

Scottish manes.I wasn’t. Thought Catalog was nice enough to publish a piece by me the other day: A Selection Of Films Rated On The Quality Of Ewan McGregor’s Hair In Them.”

Here’s the sad thing: I could have gone on and on, and in quite a big of greater detail than I did. Their might be a strange little e-book on this topic in the future so, you know, beware.

* * *

At some point, I feel like I could write another piece (though a much shorter one) on the hair of prominent comic book writers, especially those in the Marvel bullpen. In short: They’re all bald! Sometimes they have the wall of hair on the side, a power move that I’m sure is called “The Captain Picard” in barber college. Sometimes they just go for the shave and shine, electing to try to convince us that they chose to shave their head, not that they were losing a war with genetics. (“Make it SO!”)

I can see you!

Oh well. These are the people who decide who of our favorite four color heroes will die (like Peter Parker recently) or get raped and stuffed in a refrigerator.

FYI: TV Tropes informs me that it is actually referred to as “Bald Of Awesome.”

* * *

Benjamin Light informed me tonight that Ewan McGregor was rated as #5 on GQ‘s list of Most Stylish Men. I could tell you who was rated higher than him, but it’s bullshit. At least it wasn’t Michael Fassbender or Channing Tatum.

Men in suits.

Fucking Channing Tatum.

* * *

The blog is just days away from ending!

And, as always, I’m going to ask and suggest that you check out our podcasts…

Podcasts!

Time Travel Murder Mystery is on a very short hiatus currently, but I imagine that you can expect new episodes again in early January. Meanwhile, Greedo Shot First, our Star Wars podcast for people who hate Star Wars fans, is still going strong. I believe that the subject of our next episode will be a rewatching of The Empire Strikes Back. The haircuts in that movie were really just so so.

Also, big Star Wars news today.

We’re talking about it in the latest Time Travel Murder Mystery episode. In short: We’re excited.

This image is a funny internet joke, but as Benjie Light just pointed out to me, it’s nothing compared to this…

Updated to add: The latest report (as of the day after this big announcement) is that the story will “all original,” whatever the hell that means.

Three days.

Three days. That’s how many are left in 2010.

That is so wild, right? The end of the science fiction year that wasn’t too science fiction-y, sadly. Or maybe it was and I just wasn’t paying nearly enough attention. Or maybe I’ve just gotten so accustomed to the very pedestrian and incredibly mundane and boringly sexy science fiction-y aspects of my normal life?

from here.

I’m sure it’s something like that. Absolutely. Definitely. Whatever.

Also, this:

from here.

In this year, in this world of internetting and bloggery and social media, I had five very simple goals that I laid out at the start of 2010 and wanted to complete by year’s end. In order of my own personal interest and their importance, they were:

1. Not going to tell you (you’re not ready for this one yet, folks)(and neither am I).

2. Not going to tell you (forthcoming).

3. Not going to tell you (total abysmal failure).

4. Not going to tell you (worked, but was embarrassing and not worth mentioning again).

5. Getting 2,010 tweets in 2010!

The fifth one is the one that I’m going to definitely accomplish. Unless I lose both hands sometime in the next three days. Or lose my phone or computer or both. Or unless an EMP just wipes out all technology in the country/world.

But, well, I just don’t twitter much. And getting 2,010 tweets in 2010 was a silly, frivolous goal that I jokingly threw out on my twitter sometime back in… I don’t know what month, but sometimes those things you only jokingly declare are the ones that stick with you. It was somewhere around the start of the year, I believe, and I think I had less than a thousand tweets then and was probably tweeting an average of four to five tweets a month, roughly.

And eventually I just thought, yeah, I can do this shit, why not? Because it’s stupid? Stupidity has not stopped me from doing anything ever in my life.

Also, this is the 825th post on your friend neighborhood Counterforce. That’s wild. We didn’t make it to 1000 posts this year, but that’s perhaps for the best.  Personally, I’m just shocked that I managed to ramble on for nearly 2,010 tweets. I mean, what a silly declaration. Thinking back upon it, at first I was like this:

And then I was like this:

You understand.

Oh man, how creepy is this photo below?

Right?

Also, New Year’s Eve is almost upon us. Time to celebrate!

Also, this is fog porn:

from here.

And this is the first x-ray picture of a lightning strike:

from here.

Speaking of “science fiction,” the recent Doctor Who Christmas special was fucking wonderful.

So fun and smart and a nice little twist on Dickens’ A Christmas Carol cause, hey, why can’t the ghosts of Christmas’ past, present, and future be time travelers and holograms?

Michael Gambon was brilliant, but ruthlessly mean and joyously funny in places. And while the show did play around with some of it’s own rules towards time travel (and that’s why we have rules about time travel, folks: so they can be broken!), I found the idea of one watching their own past and memories change before their very eyes to be fascinating. Plus, the interesting but slight references to “the silence.” And I had to love the nice little nods to the recent JJ Abrams Star Trek movie with the copious lens flares on display of the crashing starship’s bridge.

Honestly, it was just nice to have Doctor Who back. The trailer for the upcoming season at the end of the special was a nice little tease as far as potential goes. Can it be April already?

Also, I’m worried that this (below) is what women must think of me whenever they see me…

from here.

Sigh. And I’m just trying to be normal and cool and down to earth and approachable. We can’t all be perfect, can we?

from here.

Oh well. Remember this always:

from here.

This is a picture from Tron Legacy

…which I hear was pretty terrible, but that Olivia Wilde was the best part of. Is it me, or is Olivia Wilde totally the new Angelina Jolie?

I mean that based on a lot of things, like her acting ability, her potential, the type of roles she’s taken in the past, but also based on her seemingly having that same ability that Angelina Jolie has to turn straight girls a little curious.

You know?

This is an abandoned theater in Detroit:

from here.

This is a monolith:

This is some good solid crazy fun rough housing:

And this is some old school adorable chillaxing right here:

The last six months or so on this blog and in my life have been… weird, to say the least. I’d go into more details here, but quite frankly, I don’t want to. I’ll just say that due to illness in my family, my life got a bit… derailed and I’m astonished that I’m seeing the end of this year without having gone totally insane. Or maybe I have already gone totally, stupendously insane and it’s just helping me see the end of this year more clearly? Like 3D glasses? That’s a comforting thought, right?

Anyway, at some point this will all be over and I’ll get back to some kind of semblance of “normal,” whatever that is. Are we still doing that? “Normal?”

Hopefully, if we’re lucky, we’ll be right back to asking “Who’s your daddy?” in no time flat.

This is what religion looks like:

from here.

And this is my basic worldview in a nutshell:

This is an example of the happy medium between sanity and fear:

This is an example of how Batman is both a master of surprise and also quite probably a huge pervert:

And sadly, no matter what we say or do, Lost is still over and done with:

Oh well. Three days to go. And then…

Fingers crossed about something exciting happening in those next three days (after all, a good deal of people on this planet thought that their magic wizard man came back from the dead in that same amount of time) but not holding my breath. Exciting, but not too exciting. Wow me, thrill me, blow my mind, fuck me over and fuck me up (but in a good way, please), but remember that when the sun comes up, I’ve still got bills to pay and TV shows to catch up with. Three days to go, promises to keep and miles to go before we sleep, and a long journey sprawling ahead of us through mountains upon mountains. This is both the place we made together and the journey we started together and I’m gonna be there with you. And wherever we end up, whatever new definition of home or normal we excavate, when we do we’ll turn to each other and say, “This must be the place!”

The Next Generation.

One of my favorite internet cartoons is Garfield Minus Garfield, which you had to have heard of by now. If you somehow havent’, and if the title doesn’t explain itself, then…

“Garfield Minus Garfield is a site dedicated to removing Garfield from the Garfield comic strips in order to reveal the existential angst of a certain Mr. Jon Arbuckle. It is a journey deep into the mind of an isolated young everyman as he fights a losing battle against loneliness and depression in a quite American suburb.” That’s how the site describes him, and it’s a brilliant study, or alternate take on a beloved classic.

I’m not against the idea of remixes or mash ups or anything like that in theory. Sometimes they’re good. Sometimes they’re brilliant. Sometimes they’re smelly fountains of crap. But I feel that sometimes – and the keyword here is obviously sometimes – they can be an amazingly interesting new form of exploring art. A new art of their own.

Recently I discovered the works of two guys named Jan Van den Hemel and Andrew Hussie who’ve done some work re-editing and creating something new out of old episodes of Star Trek: The Next Generation. By basically taking bits of pieces from throughout the show and remixing them into something new, they’ve created a kind of hilarious and filthy new thing. It’s the Sealab 2021 or The Grey Album treatment and it’s… just perfect. The episodes are short, most just over a minute but none longer than four minutes, and there’s about 25 or so of them now. If you watch them all, there’s kind of a contuing story, when the edit series cares about it, but usually, it doesn’t. Here’s just a few of my favorites to brighten your day, starting with episode 9, “A Fistful Of Explosions.”

And then episode 10, “It’s Not Lupus.”

And episode 12, “Bridge Buffoonery.”

And last, but not least, of what I’d like to share with you, episode 15, “That Jean-Luc Picard.” I hope you enjoy and if you need more of a chuckle, I’d check the edits’ creator’s websites or their youtube page for more of the videos.

When in Rome…

“Vivo!”

-Caligula (his last words, screamed out as he was being murdered by his own soldiers, which translates as “I live!”).

About a week ago I was bored at work (which really isn’t news or anything new) and my boss and I got to talking about old TV shows. Eventually it came to her saying to me with quite a bit of disdain, “You’ve never seen I, Claudius before? Really?”

I just shook my head and shrugged. “The Roman?” I asked, seeking clarification, but pondering for a moment if it was a show about Hamlet’s stepdad (though in addition to playing the Master in Doctor Who, Derek Jacobi, who plays Tiberius Claudius Caesar Augustus Germanicus or Claudius I in the miniseries, did go on to play Claudius in Kenneth Branagh’s 1996 version of Hamlet)(Brian Blessed, who is wonderful as Augustus in the miniseries was also wonderful as the ghost of Hamlet’s papa).

“Yes, the Roman,” she told me and thrust a VHS copy of the first two episodes into my hand (thankfully, we have a VCR at work)(old school). “You’re in luck,” she said. “This is the unexpurgated copy. The stuff they couldn’t show on PBS.”

“PBS?” I asked, already doing a bit of online researching as we talked, finding out that this BBC miniseries was based on the novels by Robert Graves. “Like Masterpiece Theater?”

“That’s right,” she said.

Me: “What could possibly be in a BBC miniseries that couldn’t be shown on PBS?”

Her: “Tits. Lots of them. You’ll love it.”

Well, it’s a week later and I’m several episodes into the twelve part  miniseries and enjoying it quite a bit. First, you should probably know that my boss was quite right about the casual abundance of breasts on display: Everything frome a topless quartet of beautiful African women dancing for the pleasure of the Roman court in the second scene of the first episode all the way to a character casually pulling out the breast of a female guest of an orgy in third episode seeming specifically for the camera to take notice of. Ah, good times.

But, especially, the drama on display with these crazy scheming Romans is just amazing. The cast is top notch, with the aforementioned Derek Jacobi as the eponymous Claudius and Brian Blessed as Augustus, but with the added talents of William Hurt as Caligula and Siân Phillips as the ruthless and calculating Livia, wife of Augustus, and called Augusta by Claudius. And George Baker, Patrick Stewart, Simon MacCorkindale, Ian Ogilvy, and John Rhys-Davies are all in there too, all of them joyfully chewing up the scenery in the way that only fine British actors can.

Plus, for me, there’s just the fact that one of my favorite movies is The Lion In Winter, that perfect center point where trash talk, infidelity, scheming, and what would be today called sociopaths who are horny to keep their power meet up quite nicely with brilliant acting. Peter O’Toole and Katharine Hepburn give performances so good in their roles of Henry II and Eleanor of Aquitaine, so infused with majesty and venomous power, that you can almost suspect that they’re about to just orgasm  in the middle of scene after scene. Either them, or myself, on the edge of my seat as I watch them, riveted. I don’t know what others call that, but I call it art.

But as for I, Claudius, in it’s own fine, wonderful way, this excellent show is just pure trash. And I love me some trash TV.

Henry the VIII aside, do you get the impression that Jonathan Rhys Meyers is really just playing himself in The Tudors?

And it has to make you wonder when you watch shows like it or Rome (and I’d like to see a similar fate to Mussolini’s befall whoever chose the bottom line over renewing Rome) or whatever the hell is going on with The Tudors, if all of the past rulers of the Earth were insane, murderous, sexually insatiable monsters by divine right. But, I guess years of inbreeding and never being told “No” might due that to you.  But, while I love the tales of the greeks and the way the mortals wrestle with their metaphorical gods, I think I prefer the gluttonous Romans, because their lives do make for some good, dirty storytelling, don’t they?

It’s just like they say, all roads lead back to Rome, la città dei sette colli.

My favorite Roman emperor, as I said, is probably still that bizarre little imp Caligula, but possibly also Constantine (the Great), but I am also fascinated by Nero, but mostly because he was, in all likelihood, The Beast (666!). If I had to guess, I’d wager that Julius Caesar would be Benjamin Light’s choice, and my friend who I just discussed this with tells me that he’s a Marcus Aurelius fan, seriously, but right now I want to ask you: Who’s your favorite Roman emperor?