The most important thing is that we need to be a party that is inclusive and tolerant. We can be those things and be the party we always have been. We need to think about the environment - Teddy Roosevelt was a great environmentalist and people forget Reagan was the one who dealt with the ozone layer with the Montreal protocol. We also need to talk about healthcare honestly - Nixon almost passed universal healthcare. We need to have an talk about immigration and realize you can’t just deport people. We need a comprehensive answer. We also need to stay out of people’s bedrooms. The party that is for small government shouldn’t be over-reaching into people’s private lives.
Mainly, we need to be a party where people know what we are for, not just what we are against.
”—Arnold Schwarzenegger answering the question “What are your thoughts on the current state of the Republican party?” on an IAmA on Reddit today
“Leo, we need to be investigated by someone who wants to kill us just to watch us die. We need someone perceived by the American people to be irresponsible, untrustworthy, partisan, ambitious, and thirsty for the limelight. Am I crazy, or is this not a job for the U. S. House of Representatives?”—C.J. Cregg, fictional Press Secretary, West Wing, “Ways and Means” (S03E03)
Not only will we be treated to a ‘new’ TARDIS during The Snowmen (Christmas Day at 5.15pm), but the episode will premiere a revamped theme tune and opening title sequence.
We can’t give too much away about the new-look titles except to say they are wonderfully dramatic and striking, with a couple of unexpected touches. In short, they’re a perfect way to welcome back the Doctor!
And fans of the famous Doctor Who theme tune needn’t worry… This new arrangement remains true to the original, written by Ron Grainer back in 1963, but on Christmas Day you’ll hear it as it’s never sounded before. This latest version is more thrilling and powerful but retains that slightly scary quality that remains stirring no matter how many times you catch it.
“I try to write every day. I used to try to write four times a day, minimum of three sentences each time. It doesn’t sound like much but it’s kinda like the hare and the tortoise. If you try that several times a day you’re going to do more than three sentences, one of them is going to catch on. You’re going to say “Oh boy!” and then you just write. You fill up the page and the next page. But you have a certain minimum so that at the end of the day, you can say “Hey, I wrote four times today, three sentences, a dozen sentences. Each sentence is maybe twenty words long. That’s 240 words which is a page of copy, so at least I didn’t goof off completely today. I got a page for my efforts and tomorrow it might be easier because I’ve moved as far as I have”.”—Roger Zelazny
“America’s Internet started out as No. 1 in speed. It now ranks 26th, far behind the networks in Bulgaria, Ukraine and Lithuania. Americans pay the sixth highest median price in the modern world for Internet data — 16 times the rates paid by South Koreans, according to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. Just as serious is the problem of coverage: in France, South Korea and other modern countries a superfast Internet is or will soon be available everywhere. In America, AT&T’s fiber optic lines stop short of homes and small businesses, while Verizon plans to end its fiber-optic installation work once it reaches 18 million residences. As of now huge parts of the United States will never get on the information superhighway but will rather slog along on the digital equivalent of a country road. This presents a genuine economic threat to America: the future industries and jobs that require a universal ultra-high-speed network, after all, will most likely be developed somewhere else.”—Break Up the Telecom Cartels - NYTimes.com (via rickwebb)
So here’s the thing: it’s been very hard not to get a bit hipster about Doctor Who. And that’s very silly, because as an American, it’s not at all my place. There are a finite but large number of British folk my age and older who saw it before I did, and that’s all there is to it.
But still, I’ve been seeing the #newtoWHO posts and indeed, these people are new to Who. And good on them, I say with no irony. Good on them. Those of us who were with the show in the late 1980s weren’t enough to keep it going and that’s all there is to it, and it would have broken my heart if the show had come back only to vanish again. And it didn’t because there are people, so very very many people, who have discovered it since its return, and good on them.
But this was supposed to be about how I discovered Doctor Who, and the answer is threefold: Lionheart, PBS, and siblings.
For you see, I started watching Doctor Who in, oh, the late 1970s. I couldn’t tell you exactly except to say that it was certainly before 1980 because I remember when I started seeing the new intro in 1980. I suspect it was a couple of years prior, at which time I would’ve been 9ish… sounds reasonable. At such a time, we Americans that were lucky enough to have access to Doctor Who did so by watching it on our local Public Broadcasting Service station — in my case, OETA channel 13 in Oklahoma City (I lived in a suburb of same.) Lionheart was the distributor for BBC programs (or, if you prefer, programmes) including distributing it to PBS stations in the US. As for my siblings, well, they introduced me to many fine shows that Lionheart had brought to our shores: Monty Python’s Flying Circus (arguably quite a bit earlier than it would have been age appropriate, but that’s siblings for you), The Goodies (look it up), and so forth, and yes, Doctor Who. (And a bit later, Blake’s 7. And so on.)
So, as with anyone who discovered Doctor Who in such a way, Tom Baker was my first Doctor. Indeed, I saw some of his episodes, particularly those with Sarah Jane, quite a few times, as they looped them again and again as their catalog of episodes slowwwwly expanded. And then one day, the confounding happened, and the Doctor fell from a radio tower and he regenerated. Now, bear in mind I’d seen Robot — quite a few times, in fact — so it wasn’t as if I hadn’t seen the other end of this process. But I don’t think I ever quite grasped what was going on. But from this end… it was clear. The end of the show as I knew it. Except, of course, then they looped back to Robot and started again, because they didn’t have the next season yet, did they? And I wondered and wondered until that day that finally it continued. Castrovalva — I still love it so. I adored this new Doctor and the new Master (only introduced two stories prior) and the 2/3 new companions (again introduced in the last couple of stories) and the new titles sequence and the new version of the theme. And then it happened again and I loved this new Baker (although some of the stories, not so much.) And again. I’d lost access to PBS but a college friend kept me going through taped episodes.
And then it stopped. After Survival, it, well, didn’t survive. And that was that.
Well, I bargained and negotiated and wheedled and traded and via friends got to see quite a few of the Third Doctor stories and a few of the First and Second. (Since then, I’ve gotten to see all the First Doctor stories that can reasonably be viewed. Largely true of the Second Doctor, since there are so few that fall into that category, I suppose…) And then came the FOX movie, which was a big viewing event for us, and then, and then… well, you likely know the rest. Rose, and so on.
But when I was #newtoWHO… Tom Baker’s Doctor was witty, and peculiar, and quirky, and occasionally dark, and brilliant and brave and compassionate and moral. Everything a budding young anti-authoritarian pacifist (and an old grizzled one, I might add) could want in a hero. And he was my hero, and so have been all the rest, and when someone asks me which Doctor I prefer, I say with all honesty, “I love every one of them.” I’ve listened to Big Finish audio dramas. I voraciously read the Virgin novels (I’m afraid I haven’t managed to do the same with the BBC novels… yet.) You get the idea. And every time I am amazed at this character, this story, this idea all over again.
“I remain the optimist: you just do your best and hope for the best. But it’s an evolving state of mind. I still totally believe in individual rights and individual responsibility and in choosing to do good. On the liberal side of things, they go to an extreme of how people need to be led, and they can’t handle freedom. Pure libertarianism believes that people will be generous and help each other. Well, they won’t. I wish it were so, and I live that way. I help panhandlers, but other people are, “Oh look at that—why doesn’t he get a job?” While I believe in all that freedom, I also believe that no one should suffer needlessly. A realization I had lately: it is impossible to follow the teachings of Jesus Christ and be a Republican. It’s philosophically absolutely opposed—if they could only think about what they were saying for a minute. That’s when you get caught up in the webs of what people call themselves and how they behave. You just become adaptable and try to lead a good life in ways that make sense, regardless. Because I know at the end of it, if I’m going to meet Jesus or Allah or Buddha, I’m going to be all right.”—Neil Peart on introverts, learning to improvise, and why people should be nicer to one another
BBC AMERICA announced it is co-producing BBC One’s The Musketeers, a new drama inspired by the classic novel by Alexandre Dumas and written by Adrian Hodges (My Week with Marilyn, Survivors, Primeval).
The Musketeers is a fresh and contemporary take on the beloved story and characters created by Dumas. It tells the story of a band of brothers, highly trained soldiers who are assigned to protect King and country. Courageous, impulsive, ready to fight any battle, if the cause is just.
The series shares Dumas’ original 17th century setting and will feature a fresh story each week across its 10 x 60-minute run set for 2014.
Now this — this excites me. Dumas has had a tough time of it in the visual media, but surely the Beeb (and her American cousin) can get it right.