Saturday, May 14, 2005

Pretty good news

As I shook the cobwebs from an early afternoon semi-nap (I was home because of a hangover as a result of trying to drink my entire house on Thursday) I went to the computer to see if there was anything interesting going on in the world. Check this out:

Look about a quarter down the page

I was expecting FOX to sign on for a half-year, sort of like "this is your last chance, don't blow it" sort of thing. I was hoping for a year commitment and deep down I thought that they'd just can the show. And that's what I got, a full-year (despite reports, on the same site, yesterday that it was going to be a two-year deal ... weird.)

According to most reports I read, AD was teetering on the edge of being cancelled and that there were a lot of indications that despite public statements, FOX wanted to get rid of the show because of crappy ratings.

The one part of the story that I found interesting is "(FOX President Peter) Liguori, bless his perceptive little heart, has faith that the show will do well in a different time slot." I wonder where they'll put it? I think it would be suicide to put on after "American Idol" or before "24", but where? That's the million dollar question.

Last night I finished the "DaVinci Code" by Dan Brown. Really fun book. For the last two years, all I've heard is what a terrific book this is and how good the writing is, etc. I wasn't really buying into the hype and figured I'd read it when I get a chance. I'm glad I got the chance because for one of the few times, the hype was actually right.

I'm not going to really get into the plot too much because while it is a bit complex to explain without giving away spoilers, I will say that this is one of the few fiction books that really moves along at a pretty quick pace. The action moved and didn't leave you hanging.

Brown also did a fantastic job at keeping four seperate plots going and jumping from plot to plot without the reader getting too frustrated. This is in contrast to Richard Russo's "Empire Falls" which had two simultaneous plots where he would build one story line to a creshendo only to immediately switch to the other plot, leaving the reader frustrated and confused. Sort of like the literary version of blue balls.

In any event, the Catholic Church has been pretty pissed about this book, and I guess I can see why, but ultimately it is a work of fiction and if your belief is shaken by a few hundred pages of theory, speculation and secret societies, than chances are your belief wasn't very strong to begin with. That being said, the book does make some pretty interesting arguments and will inspire me to look at DaVinci paintings with a bit more of a critical eye.

By the way, art history teachers must be CURSING this book. Junior Robert Langdons and Sophie Neveus are probably littering their research papers with ham-fisted theories about DaVinci and other masters.

And from one master we go to another:

This is today's Marmaduke strip. Looks Brad Anderson has decided to steal a page from "Blondie" and do a ruined bath panel. I'm not really sure what the joke is in this strip. I guess you can say that the joke is either: "Marmaduke thinks he's people!" or "Once again Marm's feel is under such a tyranical rule, that these poor bastards can't even take a bath without the dog ruining it for them."

Personally, I think Anderson wants us to believe the former, but my cynical brain prefers the second interpretation. Look at Marmaduke's face, he is absolutely giddy that the sister, Barbara, is so pissed off that she can't even gather the strength to get Marmaduke out of the tub. She has to call her mom to do the dirty (Get that? That's irony, mofrackies) work.

Quick tangent, Marmaduke's family has a name: the Winslows. And each member of the Winslows have real first names, and they're not dad, mom, sister and brother. They are: (in the same order of oldest to yongest) Phil, Dottie, Barbara and Billy.

In any event there seems to be something more interesting in this panel, if you really feel like decontructing it. Marmaduke may not be the one to be blamed. First, let's look at her lament, "Mother! I want my bubble bath back."

The last line suggests that she had possession of the bath initially and that Marmaduke stole it from her. How did this happen? Barbara doesn't look wet, which could be suggested very simply with a bathrobe and a towel rapped around her head. In fact, she looks as if she was about to climb into the tub, but had to get something or use the toilet.

Perhaps Barbara was doing something and left the tub unattened and Marmaduke ambled by and saw the warm water and decided to hop in (which runs counter to his anti-bath stance that he has had since the birth of this strip). Why does he do it? Because he's a dick or because he feels that he's in need of a bath? I think the former.

While Barbara should have a lion's share of the blame, Marmaduke knew that he didn't draw this bath, someone else did. Jumping into the tub is akin to scoffing down the bake sale cupcakes or jumping on Phil's lap as he tries to watch the "big game".

Despite being a family of enablers, I believe that the Winslows are under the crushing paw of a meglomaniacal ruler. Marmaduke needs to be euthanized.

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