I have moved on from S.E. Hinton to John LeCarre and am now reading The Spy Who Came in from the Cold. The 1965 movie with Richard Burton is my favorite spy film, it is so unremittingly bleak, unsentimental and unglamorous (which was a welcome switch from all the 007 nonsense going on back then).
Last night I watched a remarkably clever 2007 episode of Dr. Who: Blink (it's only 50 minutes - watch it!). Not only is it a stand out Dr. Who episode, it's great science-fiction. But then, I'm a sucker for a good time-travel story... I also like the way the Doctor isn't really the main character in the show; he just sort of informs it and others have the lead roles. Interesting, even somewhat bold for a television series - you have to have a long-established, well-known character in order to get away with that.
I really like the term given to the weeping angels: "quantum locked." In others words, if observed they're immobile, an idea associated with a theory called the Quantum Zeno effect. An advanced, abstract idea - but yet again those astonishing ancient Greeks were there first! Really, was there ever so brilliant a group of people alive on the earth at any one time?
Time-travel stories: One of my favorites is the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode "Cause and Effect." Remember that one? The Enterprise keeps blowing up? My wife finds it somewhat tedious - and it is - but I think it's fascinating nevertheless. And, like all great science-fiction, it contains the necessary element: the wonder of it all.
I recall very well when I was first fascinated by a good time-travel story. It was the Richard Matheson-written Twilight Zone episode "The Death Ship," which I'm sure I saw as a re-run in 1965 (it first aired when I was six - I wouldn't have appreciated it if I saw it then). The plot: A space ship crew lands on a planet where they find their wrecked ship and their dead bodies. Why? How? Great stuff... The captain of the crew was played by Jack Klugman, and it is a truism that Jack Klugman - Jack Klugman! - stars in the Zone episodes that are among the very best. I don't know why that is... it's kind of like the rule about the even-numbered Star Trek movies being the best ones.
When I was eight I saw a low budget movie entitled The Time Travelers (1964); it was goofy and dated. At the time I thought it was amazing. When I saw it as an adult I found it intriguing but, overall, pretty sad. (Although it seems to have an enthusiastic fan base, judging from the IMDb message board.) Once again, I'm a sucker for a time travel story. I wouldn't mind seeing it again when they get a cleaned-up version on DVD.
Anyway, I like to think about time travel. In 2001 I even wrote an article on the subject that got published in a national Civil War reenacting magazine. The article is called Time's Arrow. In it you can read my goofy theory of Human Chronal Orientation. (I'm a Type III.) Hey - disprove my theory if you can!
I can't leave this topic without mentioning the oddest of all time travel mechanisms, the one Christopher Reeve employs in the chick flick Somewhere in Time (1980). He dresses himself up in 1912 fashion, locks himself in a room and - to wonderful John Barry incidental music - convinces himself he's really living in another time. Ha! What a conceit! A horrible film, but as a reenactor I had to see it. The whole illusion is shattered and he travels back to the present when he finds a 1980 penny in his pocket... (!)
Still, there is one question raised by this film that I have always wondered about: can a man really die of a broken heart? I'm sure the answer is, directly, no. It was first raised for me in a 1956 production of Notre-Dame de Paris (The Hunchback of Notre Dame) I saw as an eight year-old. In it, Anthony Quinn crawls into the catacomb where Esmeralda's body lies and wills himself dead. I cried my eyes out at the idea.
Weight: I lost a measly .8 pounds last week - yikes, I'm at a plateau! I need to either exercise more or eat less, not an appealing decision. Total weight loss in six weeks: 10.8 pounds.
Have a great Memorial Day weekend!
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