Doctor Who and the Curse of the Fatal Death

One of the many things I admire about British television is its ability to do a little good. Case in point: the comedy versions of shows done as part of charity events. You never see these in American TV.

Here’s one of my favorites:
Doctor Who and the Curse of the Fatal Death (YouTube, with an ad in front)

Rowan Atkinson as The Doctor, Jonathan Pryce as The Master. Written by Steven Moffat, who is the current producer of Dr Who.

Footnote: Now that you’ve seen “Let’s Kill Hitler”, watch this again and see how the distinguished Mr Moffatt stole from himself.

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This comment thread is open for anything you might have on Hurricane Irene.

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Will the Vikings save us from the coming zombie apocalypse?

I like ships of all kinds – airships, steamships, cruise ships, you name it – so I read Wooden Boat magazine, among others.

So it was with interest that I noticed that in the current issue – July/August 2011 – the “Around the Yards” section, which is about wooden boats under construction or restoration, mentions mostly Viking longships. Does this mean something?

  • In Tonsberg, Norway, a re-creation of the Oseburg Ship. The original was buried for over a thousand years.
  • Staying in Norway: Over in Haugesund, Dragon Harald Fairhair, the largest modern Viking longship in the modern era, is under construction.
  • Meanwhile, in Anacortes, Washington, F. Jay Smith at Aspoya Boats is building a 56′ Norse ship, a replica and expansion of the Danish Skuldelev 6. This will be used for educational purposes.
  • In Waterford, Ireland, the Waterford Museum of Treasures has commissioned a Viking longship of their own. This one is another Skuldelev 6 replica. Once the hull is completed, the remaining work will be performed in public view under a shelter at the ruined medieval Greyfriars church, all in time for this year’s Tall Ships Race, (which I see, just ended).
  • For something a bit more modern, we take you to San Diego, where the San Diego Maritime Museum is building a replica of explorer Juan Cabrillo’s flagship the San Salvador. This is expected to launch in 2013. You can visit the construction site starting this month.
  • And also in San Diego, this reporter was recently photographed at the wheel of the HMS Surprise. Despite no experience conning anything larger than a kayak, there were no injuries and damage was minimal.
Posted in Miscellany | 2 Comments


I’m going through and deleting dead or Horribly Mutated links.

(Horribly Mutated: like the one that used to point at a science-fiction quarterly (which I support and recommend) and now points at a place that builds custom-tuned Loud Exhaust Pipes (which I abhor and do not recommend).

Basically, if a link still works and still refers to the expected subject matter, it stays.

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Brain Drain (or lack thereof)

I have (people tell me) a first-class mind.

Which shares a skull with a world-class snot factory.

Which drains into channels in that skull that drain badly.

I dare say my stupidest cat, with only 47 brain cells and no opposable thumbs, could build a much more efficient drainage system out of 14 random Legos and a few inches of old duct tape.

Juzd sayin’. Bass me doze Gleenex.

Posted in Miscellany | 2 Comments

Post-Vacation Round-Up

We just returned from a two-week driving vacation, in which I escaped the Day Job, which is based in the Bay Area – though we ourselves are elsewhere – by cleverly going to the Bay Area. We also visited friends in Southern California both on the drive up and the drive back.

Personal highlights include:

  • Being photographed manning the wheel of the HMS Surprise.
  • Touring submarines and an aircraft carrier
  • The Winchester Mystery House
  • Avoiding the Day Job. I nearly forgot what I do for a living.
  • A lovely seaside hotel in Pismo Beach

Surely there must be more but I am fried. Fried!

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Post Super-Bowl Round Up, From One Who Cares Not

  • Four Shillings Short was in town, as Mr Tuerff reported to us – almost too late – so we went to see them, because they are amazing musicians, and great people as well.  Afterward we retired to Seamus McCaffrey’s for pub food. The game wasn’t officially over, but the Packers had it wrapped up late in the 4th quarter. I was aimed at a TV with a really shaky digital decoder, so it was more fun watching the psychedelic effects as the decoder failed to keep up with the signal, than watching the actual football game.
  • By the way, it is completely freakin’ insane that the Green Bay Packers are the only team in American professional sports who are owned by the community. I say all pro sports teams should be owned by shareholders in the community.
  • I had a MonkeyServants comic written but not drawn for the occasion. Real Life and the Day Job caused it to remain undrawn, so it is in the bin for next year.
  • Best Poll award to James Nicoll, who posted the following poll on his LiveJournal:

    Who do you favor in the Superbowl?


    In case you missed the joke here: two real teams, one plays hockey, the other proper football, what we North American heathens refer to as “soccer”.

  • That is all.
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Tools Never Die

Heard this story on NPR this morning: Kevin Kelly, of Cool Tools, opines that anything we ever invented is still in use somewhere on the planet.  Robert Krulwich worked pretty hard to disprove that notion, and in the end, could not.

It is a sign of my particular nerdiness that I immediately thought of an invention we had completely abandoned: the Saturn V rocket. But even then I forgot about hobbyists and museums. The Cosmosphere in Kansas will build you an Apollo capsule if the price is right – as they did for Apollo 13 (indeed, they restored the original Apollo 13 capsule Odyessy). And a number of hobbyists have built or are building working models – both emulated and in hardware – of the Apollo flight computers. Indeed, I have this emulator right here on my Mac.

So old tools never die. I find that comforting.

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I know I promised a MonkeyServants cartoon on Friday. I even posted a cell-phone picture of it here. Not the same as actually scanning it, of course.

I blame my sinuses.

In the meantime, a Car Talk Puzzler, or would be had I sent it to them:

Back in the 1980’s I saw a car on the road. The license plate was “ML8 ML8”. I read the plate, looked at the car and broke into a big grin. It made perfect sense.

What color was the car?

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I voted for human beings

I voted for human beings.

I might not agree with them all.

Not all of them ran for office with completely noble motives.

Every one of them will make mistakes.

But they’re all human.

No monsters, ogres, zombies or demons.

I voted for human beings.

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