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Monthly Archives: January 2005


January 20th, 2005 - 4:07 pm

HundredPercenter has shots of the protests in Washington today.

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How Does One Say. . .

January 20th, 2005 - 2:10 pm

. . . “MSM” in German?

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January 20th, 2005 - 12:48 pm

We know from their own admission, that CNN cozied up to Saddam for “access.” Well, guess what: Some international (AFP) reporters are awfully cozy with the Palestinian Authority:

The story of candidate [and Agence France-Presse journalist Majida al-] Batsh, who wound up withdrawing her candidacy weeks ahead of the vote, highlights many concerns about the identity and political affiliation of several Palestinian journalists employed by international news organizations and TV networks to cover the Palestinian issue. It also underlines concerns about the credibility of much foreign news coverage in general in regard to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

In addition to her work at the French news agency, Batsh was also a reporter for the PA’s official organ, Al-Ayyam,. In other words, she was also on the PA’s payroll, since the Ramallah-based newspaper was established and is financed by the PA. Al-Ayyam’s editor, Akram Haniyeh, has been listed as an adviser to Yasser Arafat.

But Batsh was not the only journalist at AFP who was working simultaneously for the PA. One of the agency’s correspondents in the Gaza Strip is Adel Zanoun, who also happens to be the chief reporter in the area for the PA’s Voice of Palestine radio station.

The AFP bureau chief in Jerusalem, Patrick Anidjar, refuses to discuss the issue, saying, “I don’t understand why you have to have the name of our correspondents.” Pressed to give a specific answer, he says: “I don’t want our correspondents’ names to go into print. I don’t want to answer the question. What is this, a police investigation?”

There’s more from new-to-me blogger Melanie Phillips.

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Live on Tape from Washington. . .

January 20th, 2005 - 12:37 pm

. . .it’s hecklers!

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My Bandwidth, My Rules

January 20th, 2005 - 12:08 pm

New trolls — well, troll, singular — the last couple weeks. Not a new one — I recognize the style. Deleted some off-topic comments, left up the others.

But now he’s gotten boring and insulting again, so away he goes.

Oh, he IP-hops across Brazil and rarely uses the same fake email address twice, so keeping up with the poor soul will cost me a couple minutes a day. But since I, being a right-wing capitalist pig, mostly waste my time sipping rare liquors and lighting Cuban cigars with 30-year Treasuries, I have a couple minutes a day to spare.


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January 20th, 2005 - 11:08 am

So much for my hopes that last two election debacles had taught the DNC any valuable lessons:

Howard Dean’s hard-charging race to head the Democratic National Committee is gaining early momentum that recalls the streaking start of his 2004 presidential campaign.

On Tuesday, the former Vermont governor announced he had the unanimous backing of the Florida delegation to the DNC and also the support of Democratic chairs in Mississippi, Utah, Oklahoma, Washington state and Vermont. He plans house parties around the nation later this week, like the ones he used while trying to gain the Democratic presidential nomination.


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“OK, so that happened. . .”

January 20th, 2005 - 11:01 am

The swearing in is done, the speech has been given, and the parties will go on until dawn. Well, the parties might, but President Bush will probably still be in bed at ten. Go figure.

My biggest hope for Bush 43.5 is that it doesn’t suck as much as most second-term administrations do. We can probably count on seeing:

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Swearing In

January 20th, 2005 - 8:15 am

Speaking of inaugurals:

KIEV, Ukraine Jan 20, 2005

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January 20th, 2005 - 8:08 am

Correction: Live audio blogging, from the Inaugural .

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Air Warfare By the Numbers

January 20th, 2005 - 8:03 am

More Air America woes:

Air America apparently is not flying too well in Philly. The liberal talk network’s home since Aug. 30 is WHAT-AM (1340), which airs shows by Al Franken (noon to 3 p.m.) and Randi Rhodes (3 to 7 p.m.). Arbitron ratings for fall were released last week. Though specific numbers are not available for Franken’s time slot, a check of Rhodes’ finds that WHAT’s ratings have dropped.

Among total listeners ages 12 and older, the station managed a 0.5 rating in fall 2003; it got a 0.3 this time. The “cume,” the cumulative number of weekly listeners, fell from 22,000 to 17,800. By comparison, Sean Hannity and Dom Giordano on talk rival WPHT-AM (1210) had a 4.4 rating and cume of 217,800 weekly listeners; the top afternoon-drive station was WBEB-FM (101.1), with a 7.6 rating and a cume of 441,100.


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Help Wanted

January 19th, 2005 - 7:34 pm

Hey, anyone care to recommend a nice bed & breakfast in London?

We don’t (yet) have a preference for any particular part of town, just a nice B&B with decent Tube access.

UPDATE: Got so caught up searching for places to stay – thanks in no small part because of some fine suggestions – that I forgot all about blogging tonight. Anyway, it’s midnight, so I’m going to take my book and go to bed.

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January 19th, 2005 - 2:25 pm

Sekimori has done it again.

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False Alarm?

January 19th, 2005 - 2:23 pm

Let’s hope so:

BOSTON — The Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency has been placed on standby, and public safety officials are meeting at the bunker, officials said Wednesday.

There have been reports that the FBI office in Boston received a call from an FBI office in California warning officials about a suspicious person that may be in the area, according to the Boston Herald’s Web site.

There have been no specific threats made, but FBI agents in Boston have been put on alert, and officials started to gather at MEMA at about 1:30 p.m.

NewsCenter 5 and TheBostonChannel.com will have more information as it becomes available.

UPDATE: Jeff Quinton is live-blogging the local coverage.

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All’s Fair

January 19th, 2005 - 12:11 am


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Required Reading

January 19th, 2005 - 12:04 am

Pejman Yousefzadeh on the uneasy web alliance between certain libertarians and conservatives.

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January 18th, 2005 - 11:55 pm

This is my niece, Naomi Davis:


Feel free to ooh and ahh and ootchie ootchie goo all you like.

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Post-Modern Warfare

January 18th, 2005 - 11:14 pm

We call the French “cheese-eating surrender monkeys.” The Germans, for all their fearsome reputation, haven’t thrown a winning war since 1870. It took Italy two wars before it could beat godforsaken Ethiopia. Poland owes its national existence to the kindness of strangers negotiating around a Versailles conference table. The last time the Spanish won a war, they were fighting each other – and so ineptly that the damnable, sad affair was half-fought by foreigners.

But make no mistake: The Europeans are good at killing. Revolutionary France started the first modern revolution in warfare by inventing the mass army of conscription. A Brit, James Puckle, invented the machine gun. Put the two together, and you get the First World War – global war and “total war” being two other European gifts to the world, wrapped into one shiny little conflict.

From tanks to civilian bombing to Hitler’s ovens, Europe has given the world more ways to kill more numbers of people than probably any other continent. In fact, Europeans named Lenin and Hitler invented those human abattoirs we call “totalitarian states.”

Not that each and every one of those items is a bad thing. Were it not for the tank, Europe might still be fighting on the Western Front, nearly 91 years after the Great War started. Civilian bombing certainly shortened that war’s popular 1939 sequel. Despite some local atrocities, it’s hard to argue that European colonialism wasn’t more civil for western Africa and the Middle East than the local governments they have in those places today. And how did European nations become global empires? In no small measure because of their talents for killing.

Anyway, that’s what popped into my head after reading the most recent post here by Will Collier. After reading an article showing that the Netherlands (former owners of Indonesia, one of the world’s largest Muslim nations) could be majority-Islamic fairly shortly, Will said:

What happens 20 or 30 years from now, when demographic trends could well result in “minority-majority” (or even outright majority) status for the Islamic cohort in western Europe? If they’re faced with the options of dhimmitude or flight, where will the native Europeans flee to?

Why, here, of course.

What Will left out is the third option. If somewhere down the road the worst should come to worst, Europeans could always stay home and fight. And don’t think they couldn’t.

Problem is, the fight wouldn’t be the pretty kind where you see a few bold arrows drawn on the map, confidently slicing through history and the enemy lines. We’re not talking Desert Storm here, which you could draw with five arrows and lasted only 96 hours. We’re not even talking about the Liberation of France in 1944, which took slightly more arrows and just six weeks. Oh, no.

We’d be talking about city fighting. But not the kind of city fighting you saw in Saving Private Ryan, where the likeable, well-trained and battle-hardened soldiers could call in an air strike just when all seemed lost. Thanks to modern Europe finally putting “ain’t gonna study war no more” into nearly full effect, they hardly have any battle-hardened soldiers. They hardly have any soldiers left at all.

The city fighting we’d see in Europe would look like what we saw in Sarajevo ten years ago. You know, ragtag bands of men with no uniforms, stolen weapons, and a desire to kill anybody who looked Muslim (or on the Muslim side, European). Holland and Denmark would fare worst. They’re both tiny, both have very high (and increasing) Muslim populations, and neither country has much of a modern military tradition. In this worst-case scenario, the likelihood of ethnic mob rule ala Bosnia seems high.

Want to take the worst-case a little further? Both countries border Germany, which might feel the very legitimate need to march in to restore Ordnung. I think we all know what usually happens once the Germans start goose-stepping through their smaller neighbors.

No, the result wouldn’t be World War III (or V?). But Europe could very well become Bosnia on a continental scale, with all the devastation, mass graves, and ethnic cleansing that implies. You can bet, at best, there would be a whole lot of people put at gunpoint onto refugee boats bound for North Africa and the Levant. Assuming, of course, the Europeans win in such a scenario. If not, the poor refugees would speak languages much like our own, and be bound for our own shores – just like Will suggested.

Me, though, I’d put my money on the Europeans winning a war of mass, mechanized murder.

After all, they invented it.

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Dhimmitude Or Diaspora?

January 18th, 2005 - 7:25 pm

Something’s been bothering me since reading Christopher Caldwell’s piece on the Netherlands in the wake of Theo van Gogh’s murder. It’s this bit:

The question naturally arises: If immigrants behave this way now, what will happen when they are far more numerous, as all authorities have long promised they will be? It has been estimated that the country’s two largest cities, Amsterdam and Rotterdam, will be “majority minority” very soon (Rotterdam is today at 47 percent), and already 65 percent of primary and secondary students in both cities are of non-Dutch parentage. London’s Daily Telegraph, citing immigration experts and government statistics, reported a net outflow of 13,000 people from Holland in the first six months of 2004, the first such deficit in half a century. One must treat this statistic carefully–it could be an artifact of an aging population in which many are retiring to warmer places. But it could also be the beginning of something resembling the American suburban phenomenon of “white flight,” occurring at the level of an entire country.

What if a considerable fraction–even a large minority–of that 13,000 really are fleeing from Islamic radicalism? What happens 20 or 30 years from now, when demographic trends could well result in “minority-majority” (or even outright majority) status for the Islamic cohort in western Europe? If they’re faced with the options of dhimmitude or flight, where will the native Europeans flee to?

Why, here, of course.

Lots will go to Canada, I would guess particularly the Scandinavians, and plenty more will go to Australia. But the majority will be drawn right here to the USA. After all, we’ve got more room, more money, more opportunities–and most importantly, we’re the most able to protect our own. Not unlike their ancestors’ cousins of past centuries, the majority of those who give up on Europe will come here.

And then what? What will we do with them? More interestingly, what will they do to us? Will the ‘blue states’ fill up with UNphilic Euro-refugees and get bluer? Or will the refugees, haven been driven from their homes by radical Islam, lean more towards the ‘red’ Scots-Irish motto of nemo me impune lacessit?

I don’t have any idea. You don’t, either. It’s silly to even project current political trends in this country 20 years from now. In 1985, the South was still a province of the Democratic Party at virtually every level below the Presidency, and California was reliably Republican. Nobody really knows what the political maps will look like in 2025, much less how those maps might be impacted by a new wave of European immigrants.

But somebody ought to start thinking about it, both here, and across the pond. Just in case Holland is the canary in Europe’s coal mine.

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Smoking Gun

January 18th, 2005 - 7:03 pm

Here’s a big, loud dog that didn’t bark in what CBS’s Rathergate report.

So, putting aside the typos, the superscripts, the signatures, the wrong header and address, and all the previously dissected items susceptible to subjective interpretations, how do I prove this memo is a fake? Easy

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Excuses, Excuses

January 17th, 2005 - 10:49 pm

CBS News tries to explain away why you can’t cut’n'paste from the PDF file of the Rathergate Report:

According to Linda Mason, a CBS News executive who served as a liaison between the network and the independent panel, an attorney from the law firm called her on Wednesday and asked that the digital restrictions be made – including the prevention of copying and pasting. The fear, it seems, was that an enterprising ne’er-do-well could copy the text into a new document and begin circulating a faked version of the report.

“The bloggers and anybody else can do what they want with it,” Ms. Mason said. “It’s out there for the public to see. We’re not trying to hide anything.”

Well, of course we can do whatever we want with it or anything else — that point was proven mere hours after Dan Rather broadcast his questionable-at-best story.

If it weren’t for blogs, however, there probably never would have been any Rathergate, or any PDF files documenting just how badly CBS screwed up. Instead, we’d have yet another media fable enshrined as common knowledge. And very possibly, we’d have a new Administration to make the whole point moot.

So what’s going on here then, anyway? Simple: CBS knows that bloggers cut and paste; CBS made cut and paste difficult to do. In other words, CBS stuck a very small finger in the very big eye which now holds their CBS Eye to account.

How charmlessly childish of them.

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New Blogs

January 17th, 2005 - 10:40 pm

New to me, anyway. Check out this post at Sisyphean Musings, then click here and just read and scroll.

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Mail Bag

January 17th, 2005 - 12:26 pm

Tom Pachinski emailed, wondering if “America has already become a dhimmi nation?

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“Let Freedom Ring”

January 17th, 2005 - 11:10 am

Just in case you forgot what made Martin Luther King, Jr. so special:


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January 17th, 2005 - 11:01 am

I once described Syria as “terror’s psychopathically incompetent kid brother,” but it looks like things are worse than I thought.

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A Public Service Announcement

January 17th, 2005 - 12:35 am

No, Ted Kennedy, you’re wrong.

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Required Reading

January 17th, 2005 - 12:23 am

It’s Lileks, so you’re going to read it anyway. Still. . .

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The Problem With Kids These Days

January 16th, 2005 - 11:31 pm

Twixters” are the new worry of the usual worrywarts:

Everybody knows a few of them—full-grown men and women who still live with their parents, who dress and talk and party as they did in their teens, hopping from job to job and date to date, having fun but seemingly going nowhere. Ten years ago, we might have called them Generation X, or slackers [or "Steve" –Ed.], but those labels don’t quite fit anymore.

Apparently, there are millions of these grown-ups kids now: Putting off marriage (women now marry on average at 25 and have their first baby at the same age; ten years ago, the average ages were 21 and 22 respectively); putting off real careers; putting off wearing regular-size pants that don’t hang down below their ass cracks, etc.

The story continues:

The twixters aren’t lazy, the argument goes, they’re reaping the fruit of decades of American affluence and social liberation. This new period is a chance for young people to savor the pleasures of irresponsibility, search their souls and choose their life paths. But more historically and economically minded scholars see it differently. They are worried that twixters aren’t growing up because they can’t. Those researchers fear that whatever cultural machinery used to turn kids into grownups has broken down, that society no longer provides young people with the moral backbone and the financial wherewithal to take their rightful places in the adult world. Could growing up be harder than it used to be?

Well, no.

Learning to pay the rent on small-market radio wages supplied me with more “moral backbone” than all the homework (not to mention marching and rifle drills) assigned to me at Missouri Military Academy. It’s not like the twixters aren’t working or paying the rent, as snipped bits of the story make plain. Really, it’s hard to argue there’s anything inherently wrong with enjoying your twenties – Whomever knows, I certainly did. And yet. . . I can’t help thinking that this time, the worrywarts have a point.

So bear with me while I go into Premature Old Fogey Mode.

The problem with young people these days… is old people. Specifically, their parents. Why, back in my day (really, I’m suffering a bad case of POF tonight) growing up was A Good Thing. By that I mean: being a kid was fine and all, but the really cool stuff was either reserved for adults or considered a special treat.

A few examples.

If I wanted to go on a ride, I not only had to be a good boy, but I had to wait for Memorial Day weekend when Six Flags finally opened. Today, The Home Depot has race car shopping carts. And don’t tell me you haven’t seen some infantile parent pushing their kid around in one at 50 miles an hour. Thirty years ago, I got waffle prints on my ass from the wire mesh shopping cart seat – if I wanted to ride like a child rather than walk like an adult. Today, the choices are between walking endless miles of plumbing supplies, or riding around in a daddy-powered racer.

Then there are clothes. Oh, I don’t mean to bitch about Big Pants and the return of Hippy Chic – youth fashion is nearly always stupid and embarrassing, if only in retrospect. But I do mean to bitch about children dressed like grownups. The little girls I knew wore sexless Oshkosh B’Gosh overalls, not today’s Wee Tramp outfits. [ED. NOTE: Ask any male between the ages of 30 and 50 about the 14-year-old girls these days, and each honest one will say, "Where were those girls when I was that age?"] Now, when a twixter gets married (at age 37 or whatever), there are usually half a dozen tots present in tuxedos, all turned out sharper than the groom. I wasn’t allowed my first tux until I was 15, and then only because there was a formal dance requiring I wear one. We were once expected to be old enough to at least act grown up before we were allowed to dress the part.

Then there are my two pet peeves: Restaurants and movie theaters. Time was, a child screaming during the opening credits meant a quick visit from a politely-perturbed usher – if, that is, the parents didn’t deal with their child first. Either way, problem solved and quickly. Just last year, I had people (not the parents!) in the theater hiss at me for daring to suggest to the parents of a screaming five-year-old that they ought to remove him from the show until he calmed down. Meanwhile, the 15-year-olds spent most of the movie text messaging one another, the glow of their cell phones dragging my eyes away from the flick. And don’t even get me started on restaurants. If I don’t go to Olive Garden anymore, it’s not because of certain Eurocritics; it’s because most chain restaurants have become indoor playgrounds where Mom can get a nice Chardonnay. Back in the day, I’d have gotten a stern look threatening the worst if I so much as squirmed in my high chair.

And we wonder why some kids today don’t want to grow up? We’ve taken all the incentives out of the process. We’re subsidizing childhood, then scratching our heads at why it lasts so much longer.

The other half of the problem might seem at first glance to contradict the first half – but that doesn’t make it any less true. And that is: kids today aren’t treated enough like, well, kids.

When I first heard the term “playdate,” I thought it was a joke. Me and Kevin Kahlmeyer didn’t make dates; we’d ask Mom if the other could come over and play. “Spending the night” was a bigger deal, requiring permission from both Moms. But everything still had an ad hoc spirit to it. Poor kids today need to carry PDAs to figure out where they’re supposed to be and when.

Then there’s the safety issue. I’m completely convinced that I’m a good driver today because, as a kid, I wasn’t required to wear my weight in safety equipment when riding my bike. Kids today aren’t learning those lessons – so it’s really no wonder that they’re spending their money suping up their Honda Civics (or Honda Piper Cubs, as I like to call the ones with those massive, wing-like rear spoilers) instead of putting their cash away to make the down payment on a house. I suffered enough skinned knees (and just once, a skinned face) to teach me that getting there safely is at least half the thrill. To support my point, I remember reading in Reason a few years back that people who drive safer cars tend to cause more accidents than people driving non-Volvos.

In other words: We do our kids a disservice by keeping them in cocoons. Of course, I say all this as someone who hasn’t yet had to raise any kids. Perhaps, I’m just a childless crank bitching about those more fortunate.

But I still can’t help feeling that we’re not raising kids to become twixters – we’re creating twixters from about the age of two. We don’t treat kids like kids while they’re kids, and we’ve taken away most of their inducements to blossom into adults. The result is as odd and off-putting as the word coined to describe them.


On the other hand… who knows? Maybe they’ll grow out of it.

UPDATE: Ed Driscoll concurs, and with better examples.

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January 16th, 2005 - 10:41 pm

Yeah, I’m blogging tonight. But a story grabbed my attention, and the resulting essay is long-winded, even by my standards.

Back in about 45 minutes, half a martini, and an additional 450 words from now.

NOTE: “Now” is 10:42pm Mountain.

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I Swear, There Are No Cute Robot Dogs

January 14th, 2005 - 8:13 am

Just a friendly Vodkasphere public service announcement here.

I mentioned a day or two ago that the new “Battlestar Galactica” series was my favorite TV show of 2004. That might have sounded a little odd for many reasons, but especially so considering the show doesn’t premiere in the US until tonight (January 14). But thanks to an oddball contractural agreement, it’s been playing in the UK since last fall, and the episodes aren’t terribly hard to find online (no, I’m not going to give you directions, so don’t ask).

Frankly, I didn’t expect to like this show at all. I’d watched the 1978 original avidly, and loved it–but what the hell, I was in the fourth grade back then. As one of Pixar’s execs noted recently, kids have no taste, and will watch pretty much anything (no link and no name, sorry; I think I read it in an airline magazine). The Sci-Fi Channel, which is responsible for the “BG” remake, runs the original shows all the time, and at 36, I can barely stand to watch them. Take away the neat-looking spaceships, and it’s just standard-issue 70′s television. In other words, crap (although I still think Lorne Greene was great as Adama–sue me).

Listen, you’re just going to have to trust me on this one, because I was thinking the same thing you were a few months ago: “‘Battlestar Galactica?’ C’mon, that’s a punch line. It’s the definition of suckage. What, are you going to tell me to watch ‘Buck Rodgers’ next?” Full disclosure: I have neither a Tron costume nor (ahem) a Lego Star Destroyer in my house. I’m not saying any of this out of loyalty to nerd-dom.

When the “miniseries” version of the new “BG” came out in late 2003, I tuned in mostly out of sick curiosity, i.e., “Let’s see how much this sucks.” I was pleasantly surprised to get adequate entertainment instead. It wasn’t great. At four hours minus many, many, many commercials, the thing dragged a lot. Some of the acting was good (Edward James Olmos as Adama, Mary McDonnell as a Secretary of Education suddenly elevated to the presidency), and some not so good (the new Apollo was almost as wooden as the original). But it wasn’t bad.

So I, ah, arranged to view the first couple of episodes when they showed up online in the fall… and I was astonished by how good they were. At forty-odd minutes a show, they had a speed and vitality that was missing from the miniseries, and the writing was so much better than the original show, there wasn’t any point in quibbling about Starbuck being a girl and Colonel Tigh becoming a bald white dude (okay, I’m still a little torqued about that one, but let it pass).

Anyway, I’ve gone on way too long here, but the bottom line is: Check it out. The premiere two episodes run back-to-back tonight on Sci-Fi, and they’re terrific, especially the first one, titled simply “33.”

I’ll guarantee you this much: it’s a hell of a lot better–and more grown-up–than any ‘reality’ crap you’ll find on the tube tonight…

UPDATE: As a reader points out, I completely goofed up the Pixar thing above; his name is Craig Good, and the interview was on NRO. I mixed it up with a Brad Bird interview I read on an airplane.

Also, Ain’t It Cool News collects a whole bunch of positive mainstream press reviews of the show here. Pretty strong endorsements, especially considering every non-geek critic over 30 had to have been pre-wired to hate this one.

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January 14th, 2005 - 12:12 am

Late night tonight and a busy day Friday. Odds of blogging: Slim.

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