Archive for June, 2010

The Justice Department said the suspects were supposed to have recruited intelligence agents but were not directly involved in obtaining U.S. secrets themselves. They were charged with acting as agents of a foreign government,…

Well, duh. I am astonished. In a country that lived through so many years of a cold war you’d think journalists would know that ‘deep cover’ spies act as handlers rather than Tom Cruise-esque villains. ‘ Not directly involved with obtaining

US secrets themselves’ means they didn’t put on nightvision goggles and a catsuit in order to penetrate secure facilities with a thumb drive. ¬†Nobody actually does that. Spies look for

disaffected/disgruntled/moneystrapped citizens of the target nation who already have placement and access to sensitive information. Then they pay those people to put papers from their desk into a briefcase and drop it at a pre-arranged location. The ‘drop’ is just about the most glamorous bit of espionage activity that actually happens in the real world.

Now, at this point I must say I am not impressed with the tradecraft of anyone who puts ’99 Fake street’ when buying a drop phone. Sure, when it’s your hundredth drop phone, I imagine one’s creativity could become strained. But ‘Fake street?’

It will be very interesting to see if any treason or espionage arrests come out of this busted spy ring. I hope none do. If you can level such charges and make them stick it’s likely already cost some American asset his/her life. Hopefully we caught these folks before they could do

any real damage. And, on the other side of the coin, I hope they were actually spies and that the charges are not trumped up bits of fluff designed to spur political change of some sort.

I'm so so sorry.

Sigh. Another dashed hope.

The Riverworld books by Philip Jose Farmer were very good. Classic Sci-Fi a little more on the cutting edge than most for their time. Cool characters, interesting and consistently imagined world, great fun.

Unfortunately, the made for TV movie produced in 2010 was none of these things. The dialog ¬†was atrociously stilted. Painfully stupid event followed painfully stupid event. Just awful. I would blame the actors, but I can’t imagine a good way to deliver most of the drivel they were forced to mouth. And there were quite a few who had done great work in the Battlestar Galactica reboot, so I know they were capable.

You can never magically put a book on screen. Changes have to be made. Why anyone would make some of the changes made by the people who put this show together is unfathomable though. Turn Burton into the villain of the piece at the outset? Really? Completely abandon the confusion, the ‘figure out the world with the characters’ portion of the story, the problem solving and making of friends, in favor of random undisguised infodumps? Set us in a world that doesn’t make any sense, at all, why? Farmer’s world made sense. I know it did because I read the books. It was internally consistent. No such claim can be made for the movie. And as far as I could tell, the changes were made either because they happened to have people in conquistador costumes hanging around at the set next door (and hey, waste not want not right?) or because it was too difficult to imagineer sets that actually worked with the story.

Ahhhg, so painful. It could have been soooo good and yet was so bad.

Lawsuits for dummies

Or BY dummies I suppose.

Woman asks google for directions from one place to another on her blackberry. Gets directions. Follows directions down a road with no sidewalks. Gets hit by a car. Sues google.

So many things wrong with this I find myself nearly mute, though I wish to comment. What. An. Idiot. And a selfish idiot at that. I suppose we could attribute a certain low cunning to the idiot in question. Google, after all, has deep pockets and may settle out of court.

Why is she an idiot? Several reasons. One, for getting hit by a car as a pedestrian. Not hard to avoid. Another, for thinking that the magic google-magic would keep her safe on a road she could plainly see didn’t have sidewalks, and which she is now claiming was obviously unsafe. Obvious to everyone but her at time apparently. Yet one more, for behaving in a manner that would end society in a heartbeat if everyone followed suit. Really, idiot? You wish to live in a society where Google is responsible for YOUR actions? How about YOU be responsible for your OWN actions.

Oh and you, her friends who urged her to sue. You’re stupid too.