Thursday, April 24, 2008

Earth Kicks Ass

Welcome to the Peverett Phile, the web's most updated blog. If you're wondering, what's up with the green text, well, this is the Phile's green entry. Everything else is going green, so why not the Phile? So, last weekend we went to KSC, Kennedy Space Center, and I was so excited, I thought we were going to KFC. I love those chicken legs and bisquits. And that mash potato and gravy. Hmmmm. This year, for the first time in yonks, I am not going to be working Star Wars Weekends. Bounty hunters can take a break from looking for me this year.
Edward Laurens, the father of the chaos theory, died last week. His services will be held someplace completely random. There’s a woman on YouTube talking about her divorce. She signed a prenup, married a Broadway producer, got divorced and now she’s unhappy with the settlement. When I heard this I was shocked. A Broadway producer marrying a woman?!? You don’t want to fight with a Broadway producer. He might send some of his powerful Broadway friends to mess you up — like the cast of “Cats” or something. Sens. Clinton and Obama debated in Philadelphia. Their 21st debate. Which to me, is about 16 too many. On the Republican side, John McCain has been feeling a little left out. He organized a debate against himself. The good news is the opinion polls show he leads himself 52 to 48 percent. Huge earthquake in the Midwest. A 5.2. A 5.2 in L.A. is like when Nicole Richie’s stomach growls. Last weekend, Chelsea Clinton tried to help her mother attract the gay vote in Pennsylvania by visiting several lesbian bars. When asked to comment afterwards, Chelsea said, “I’ve never seen so many women with my mom’s haircut.” President Bush made a special taped appearance on the game show “Deal or No Deal.” Afterwards Bush said, “I like this show because randomly pointing at boxes is how I make decisions, too.”
Pope Benedict finished off his visit to America yesterday with a mass at Yankee Stadium. After the mass ended, the Pope was traded to Cleveland for two outfielders and a designated hitter. Paris Hilton has signed up to star in a new TV show about taking care of your pets. In the first episode, Paris shows herdog the proper way to hump someone’s leg. The Pennsylvania Democratic primary is over. It all came down to the Amish vote. Hillary won. They say that in order for her to stay in the race, she had to win and win big. And she did. The numbers are still coming in, but at last count she led Barack Obama 54 percent to 46 percent. Which, I guess, is big. But she still has almost no chance of winning the nomination. I don’t know anything. This is just what I hear on television. The candidates have been on pretty much every TV show. Even Tyra Banks became an important stop. It got as weird as it could get short of all three candidates showing up on Maury for DNA tests. All three candidates showed up on Raw. WWE. That’s the wrestling show. I’m not kidding. Each made a ridiculous wrestling-themed statement. McCain said, “Whatcha gonna do when McCainiacs run wild on you?” I don’t know . . . organize a bingo game? It was so nice out today that the Pope is coming back. It was so nice, Donald Trump opened the sunroof to his hair.
It was so nice, Hillary Clinton wore her pantsuit without the pants. It was so nice that Amy Winehouse gave that thing on her head a flea dip. Finally, Tuesday was Earth Day. Politicians all across America did something to mark Earth Day. For instance, President Bush was photographed with a shovel, and former President Clinton was photographed with a hoe. 


From the home office in Groveland, Florida, here is this week's top ten list...
Top Ten Signs Katie Couric Doesn't Care Anymore
10. She now does the broadcast in her bathrobe and curlers
9.  She introduces the new members of her news team: Jim Beam and Jack Daniels
8.  Reports the over/under on how many days she has left
7.  Has listed her anchor chair on eBay
6.  Was eating a hamburger off the floor during live broadcast of the Pope's arrival
5.  Laughs out loud every time she says "Putin"
4.  Asks every guest, "Do you know what the hell is happening on "Lost"?"
3.  "Tonight's top story: Some stuff I found in my pocket"
2.  Tapes entire week's newscasts on Monday
And the number one sign Katie Couric doesn't care anymore is...
1. Just repeats everything Brian Williams says about three seconds later


A foul smell permeating London and parts of England over the past two days is due to farmers on the European continent spreading manure in their fields, forecasters and British farmers said Saturday. The agricultural odor is inescapable in central London and smells vaguely of farmland or even garbage. Forecasters said a stiff breeze from the east is carrying the smell across the North Sea from Belgium, the Netherlands and even Germany. They said the smell is likely to hang around through the weekend as the easterly wind continues. "You can't say it's going to smell for two days, but the wind is coming in from the same direction," said Chris Almond, a forecaster with the Met Office, Britain's weather service. "It's not really until Monday, Tuesday that we'll see a change in the wind direction, with a more marked improvement in air quality."
He said the smell had probably been stagnating in those countries for a few days, resulting in a more pungent aroma once the winds brought it to England. The National Farmers' Union blamed the smell on the muck-spreading by Dutch farmers, who it said are banned from the practice in the winter and are now spreading it "en masse."
Although the smell may be unusual, the phenomenon of European air spilling its contents over England is not, forecasters have said. "We quite often get pollution in the form of haze coming over when we've got these winds from [an] easterly direction, particularly when the winds are coming off the near-continent," he said.
Almond said the smell is in much of central and eastern England, and has reached as far west as Devon, on the southwestern tip of England, where his office is located.
London newspapers reported the smell on their front pages Friday afternoon, with one paper branding it "Le Stink." The farmers' union used the odor to make its case against a similar winter ban proposed on muck-spreading in Britain. "This is what happens when farmers are forced to empty their slurry store all in one go at the same time instead of being able to apply it little and often during the winter," spokesman Anthony Gibson said. "While we are obviously very sorry for any unpleasantness caused to people living in the South East, we are grateful to the Dutch farmers for laying on such a pungent demonstration of what could happen every spring here in the UK if the government presses ahead with its ill-conceived proposal to implement a blanket ban on winter slurry spreading across most or all of the country." Maybe one of the Spice Girls threw her underwear out the car win... Never mind this joke is going nowhere.


The Supreme Court of Canada declares that though women are indeed legal "persons," they are nevertheless ineligible to serve in the Canadian Senate. The Court agreed that the term "person" applies equally to humans of both genders, but the British North America Act referred specifically to "fit and qualified persons" -- necessarily excluding unfit and unqualified people (aka females).
The present incarnation of actress Shirley MacLaine is born.
Cosmonaut Vladimir Komarov soon becomes the world's first space mission fatality after his Soyuz parachutes become entangled four miles above the Earth.
A mission to rescue 53 American hostages from Tehran fails; 8 US soldiers are killed.
An IRA bomb causes $1.5 billion of damage in central London when it destroys several square blocks. One person is killed and 40 injured.
The Unabomber strikes, killing a timber industry lobbyist. Gilbert Murray is killed in his Sacramento office, opening mail addressed to the man he replaced.
A petri dish arrives in an 8x10 manila envelope at the Washington, D.C. offices of B'nai B'rith International. The dish, labeled "anthracks," drips a liquidy red gel which is later determined to contain a relatively harmless strain of Bacillus cereus.


Newton and the Apple
The story we heard: You've probably heard of Isaac Newton. He's pretty much the Jesus of physics. In the late 17th century, Newton practically fucking invented science. The discoveries we can thank him for include the laws of motion, the visible spectrum, the speed of sound, the law of cooling, and calculus. Yes, all of goddamn calculus. One wonders if anybody in history ever had a thought before Newton. Probably his most famous discovery, however, is the law of gravity. The story goes that Newton, a modest mathematician and professor of physics, was sitting under the shade of an apple tree one sunny day, when an apple dropped from a branch and bopped him right on the head. While most people would merely think "Ouch! Son of a bitch!" and stare warily upward for 10 minutes, Newton's first instinct was to formulate the entire set of universal laws governing the motion of gravitating bodies, a theory so sound that it went unchallenged and unmodified for over 200 years. The truth: Newton never mentioned the thing with the apple, and in fact it was another guy named John Conduitt who first told the story some 60 years after it supposedly happened. Even then, he was decisively vague about whether Newton actually saw an apple, or whether the apple is a metaphor that he used to illustrate the idea of gravity for people less intelligent than he was (read: everybody): "Whilst he was musing in a garden it came into his thought that the power of gravity (which brought an apple from the tree to the ground) was not limited to a certain distance from the earth but that this power must extend much further." You'll notice that even then we don't get the thing with the apple actually hitting Newton in the head, it got added somewhere along the line to add the element of cartoonish slapstick to his genius life. Future versions will say that Newton then vomited in agony. I like to think complex discoveries happen this way, with a sudden light bulb popping on over our head. Kind of makes it seem like it could happen to us one day, the next great idea will just occur to us while we're wasting the afternoon on a park bench. In reality, Newton spent the best part of his life formulating and perfecting his theories. When we have kids, we're going to tell them the truth, dammit. Just Newton, hunched over his piles of papers covered with clouds of tiny numbers. Just months and years of tedious, grinding, silent, lonely work, until he had a nervous breakdown and finally died years later, insane from Mercury poisoning. Welcome to the real world, Logan.


A trucker is driving down the highway when he hears a loud thump under his semi. He stops to check the damage, then calls his boss. “I hit a pig on the road, and he’s stuck under my truck,” he explains. “What should I do?” “Shoot it in the head,” answers theboss. “Then pull it out and throw it in the truck.” The driver does it, then calls his boss back. “I did what you told me,” he explains. “So what’s the problem?” snaps the boss. The driver replies, “I don’t know what to do with his motorcycle.”


Is there a real disadvantage to going first on "American Idol" or is it just speculation? On the girls side, Asia'h and Kady sang first and second and were eliminated as quickly. Also eliminated were Luke, who sang first, and Danny who sang third. But it took the elimination of Michael Johns, considered by some one of the strongest competitors, a couple of weeks ago after he'd sung first to get the attention of major media. How could it be that someone who'd never spent a moment in the bottom three could suddenly find himself on the chopping block? I think people may have finally noticed his Robin Williams-like hairy arms. But ratings on the show do tend to tick up as it progresses, meaning many of the folks who are watching when it ends and the phone lines open missed the first few performances. How can they vote for those people? (The same way they vote for politicians without knowing anything about them *badump-bum*). Well, far be it for me to bitch about a problem without offering the solution, too. Nick Straguzzi, who co-founded and analyzes "American Idol" data so the likes of you and me don't have to has found that in 69 finals episodes, 20 singers in that lead-off spot have been voted off. That's seven more than would be expected based on statistical probability. This year, in the first six weeks since Top 12 competition began, four times the number one slotted performer has been in the bottom three, twice being eliminated. "The No. 1 slot is by far the most dangerous for finalists," Straguzzi says. I would add that the next few slots beyond that don't fare much better. But a possible solution is really quite simple. It doesn't take long to record a live show and have it available for streaming online, hell pirates can have a TV show online within minutes of it's ending. So why doesn't "American Idol" stream the full performances on their website? I know they worry that it will hurt the ratings of the show, so make them available only during the two hours the phone lines are open for voting.  They could eliminate the judges' commentary and all the other fluff and they should find that most viewers will still want to watch the whole show on television when it originally airs. But for those who were out or late getting home, they'd then have an opportunity to go somewhere and see how Michael did on that performance. More of us have computers than DVRs still and this would go a long way to addressing what even executive producer Ken Warwick says is "a little bit" of a disadvantage to those contestants performing first.


Originally broadcast at the 2007 Christmas Special on the BBC, Season 4 (or Season 30, depending on who you ask) kicks off with "Voyage of the Damned" on the Sci Fi Channel. Apparently, showrunner Russell T. Davies wanted this year's "Doctor Who" Christmas Special to have a disaster theme, so he used a name from one of the most famous disasters in history. The episode begins where the season 3 finale left off, right after the Doctor's previous traveling companion Martha Jones leaves him after they defeated his arch-nemesis, the Master (and after the events of Time Crash). It seems that the Titanic (or rather, a Titanic) crashes into the hull of the TARDIS when he forgets to raise the ship's shields. We quickly learn that the Titanic in question is an intergalactic space cruise ship that is taking some tourists on the "Earth experience." Granted, it is traditional in the long history of "Doctor Who" that most of the alien species in Whoniverse look human, but I do wish SOME sort of explanation was given regarding this, such as the cruise ship's travel agency changing everyone's appearance and language (with the exception of a short, red individual named Bannakaffalatta) to give them a richer Earth experience. Oh well. There's always fan fiction However, as with all the Doctor's experiences, he can't be in a place for ten minutes without the Earth or the universe being in danger. Apparently the former owner of the company named Max Capricorn is trying to bankrupt his former business and has bribed the ship's captain to magnetize the hull so that meteors could collide with it. The result would be a catastrophic collision between the cruise ship and Earth that would destroy both. Australian pop star and actress Kylie Minogue is the Doctor's ad-hoc companion for this episode. She plays a hostess on the ship named Astrid Peth (I had hoped there would be more to her character since "Astrid" is an anagram of TARDIS, but apparently that was just a coincidence). It wouldn't be the first time a pop star was the Doctor's partner on the show, since previous companion Billie Piper (who played Rose Tyler on the first two seasons of the relaunch) was one in England before joining the cast. So disaster strikes; and to make matters worse it seems that the robot butlers of the ship (dressed as angels and armed with homicidal halos) have been given orders to kill all the inhabitants of the vessel (a very "Robots of Death" moment for fans of the classic series). Clive Swift of the Britcom "Keeping Up Appearances" plays Mr. Copper, a tour guide with a very skewed view of Earth's history and culture, and relatively known Brit actor Bernard Cribbins makes a cameo (he will appear again in the next episode.) Both Bannakaffalatta (whom could be described visually as "mini-Darth Maul") and Max Capricorn are cyborgs. I wonder if it's a subtle set-up for the return of a certain "Doctor Who" cyborg adversary at the end of the season? Well, perhaps not. The Whoniverse has an overabundance of killer robots and cyborgs anyway. The episode is a disaster movie in the vein more of The Poseidon Adventure than of Titanic (with a little Ghost thrown in for good measure). Astrid is not the first Who companion to die, but it's a shame the character couldn't last longer so the audience could grow more attached to her. It seemed kind of silly that Queen Elizabeth, without seeing anybody on the spaceship, knew who the Doctor was and that he was the one to save Buckingham Palace from impact of the falling cruiser. It does make sense that she knows who the Doctor is, given his involvement in British history, but...ah well. It's the Christmas episode. For that, we will engage in the cutting of the slack. To be honest, I didn't like the episode overall. David Tennant was excellent as the Doctor, as usual. The supporting cast was also superb. The visual effects of the crashing ship were stunning. However, a good television program always begins with the writing and with that, the story fell flat. Russell T. Davies, while I appreciate his role in bringing back "Doctor Who" to the airwaves, just can't write science fiction. He writes wonderful characters, but his sci-fi plots seem hackneyed. The previous Christmas Specials played up the humor of the series and allowed for the sci-fi aspect to be somewhat deemphasized (these specials are intended as lighter, more family-oriented fare anyway). As a result, Davies' inadequacies as a sci-fi writer weren't as visible and the previous specials were better viewing as a result.
Still, I'm looking forward to the season. We have the return of the Ood, the Sontarans, the wonderful Catherine Tate as Donna Noble and...well, that would be telling.


See, this is why I like Zack Snyder so much. He's always involving the fans, and he does it in the right spirit. Now, he's partnered with YouTube to encourage Watchmen fans to enter a new contest and submit commercials for Veidt Enterprises. His intro video explains all, and from there you can see what Veidt product moves you. Snyder has supplied all the product framework, all you creative types have to do is cobble together a commercial. The ones he likes best will win all sorts of prizes (which hopefully you'll give to me), as well as a chance to appear in the actual film. There are two samples up now for you to get an idea; one is for Veidt's Nostalgia cologne (80's flashback indeed!) and the other is for a sneaker. If anyone enters, please keep me updated! I want a Peverett Phile reader to appear onscreen! More information on rules and such can be found at It's nearly as fun as the grindhouse trailer one Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez did. Watchmen opens on March 6th, 2009.


The Spirit
There's a teaser trailer that shows the titular hero living with some cats, then putting on his trademark fedora and bright red tie to dash over city rooftops with feline grace and agility. He then uses up one of his nine lives when his neckwear snags on someone's fire escape.
Green Zone
A spy snuck onto the set of the new Matt Damon film, took some nice photos and claims that the American military is not helping the production because it is critical of the Iraq invasion. So instead, the shoot has to disguise Moroccan military equipment to make it look like it's U.S. made. Wait a minute. Morocco has an army?
Enchanted 2
It's no surprise that Disney is planning a sequel to last year's monster hit, but the debate is whether it will feature Amy Adams or if it will have a brand new starescaping from a totally different animated world. Personally, I'd like to see characters escape from the only X-rated cartoon ever made, Fritz the Cat.
Henry Poole Is Here
In the trailer, Luke Wilson's home becomes a site for religious pilgrimage when he finds the face of Jesus in his stucco finish, which, of course, finally proves that God does indeed hate aluminum siding.

Well, that's it for a very green Phile. Next week, it's the start of the second May Movie Month with Iron Man
. So, spread the word, not the turd, and remember... Tomorrow! Tomorrow! I love ya Tomorrow! You're always a day a way!

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