Category Archives: OPINION/REVIEW

The New Music of the New “Doctor Who”: Two Takes

Funny. I enjoyed the episode “Rosa” and thought it bodes well for future episodes.

Perversely, though, I very much dislike the new main theme and musical underscoring for basically the very same reasons that the author of the article, “As the long-running science-fiction television series begins a new chapter with a woman in the lead role for the first time, its theme tune more or less restores the original musical conception,” prefers them. I feel like the main theme has been orchestrally eviscerated and abbreviated, and the aimless underscoring so enjoyed by the author reminds me of the musical underscore work Dennis McCarthy did on “Star Trek: The Next Generation”, which was aimless, meandering, athematic, amelodic work which I loathed.

Some people apparently appreciated McCarthy’s work, and I’m told that his style was deliberately chosen by the producers, but I always felt that it made the series seem cheap and cheesy. What I enjoyed of the series was in spite of his work, or especially among the episodes he didn’t score. (The memorable Borg theme, for example, is not McCarthy’s but is the work of Ron Jones.)

I miss Bernard Herrmann, but at least we still have luminaries like Danny Elfman and the great John Williams for memorable film and TV scoring.

The article referenced can be accessed below:

“As the long-running science-fiction television series begins a new chapter with a woman in the lead role for the first time, its theme tune more or less restores the original musical conception.”


REVIEW: The Curious Case of Anthony Scaramucci’s ideas on Interest Rates, Deflation, and Tax Policy

“ ‘Google before you tweet’ is the new, ‘think before you speak.’ ”~ Jonathan (Jon) Parker, via Joe Newton [Best attribution I can find – Mike].

As a layperson, I have serious doubts about the ‘Big Picture’ economic, tax policy and financial opinions of Anthony Scaramucci. (The Curious Case of Negative Interest Rates, By ANTHONY SCARAMUCCI (NY Times Dealbook), MAY 8, 2015)

Notwithstanding that Mr. Scaramucci is richer, more famous, and better-looking than I am, I still think his premises are flawed or simply wrong, and his conclusions are thus similarly wrong.

My eyebrows first rose when his new definition of “negative interest rates” began to sound a lot like the old concept of “deflation”.

“Negative rates imply that the money in your pocket today will buy more goods tomorrow. Think of money as just another fungible asset: A $20 bill today is still a $20 bill tomorrow or two $10 bills a year from now. Interest rates, on the other hand, reflect the opportunity cost of spending that money today relative to tomorrow. When rates are negative, the $20 bill is still worth four $5 bills in the future, but its utility value (i.e. what it buys) increases with time.”

This is actually a classic example of a deflationary ‘vicious cycle’; not ‘negative interest’.

My doubts were further fed by this absurd-on-its-face statement:

“John Keynes, you see, was actually wrong. His famous utterance, “In the long run, we are all dead,” isn’t true. Like it or not, the long run is upon us, and we are all very much alive (aside from Keynes).”

Mr. Scaramucci obviously misses the point here: In the long run, Mr. Keynes died. In the long run, Mr. Scaramucci will die. That he fails to grasp this point does not bode well for his further ruminations. Continue reading

Rand Paul and Rachel Maddow Revisited: An early visit to the philosophical underpinning of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act

There’s been a national discussion about the so-called Religious Freedom Restoration Act signed into law in Indiana and pending in Arkansas.

What is interesting to me, and which has not to my knowledge been mentioned elsewhere, is that I have heard the logic used to defend and justify this law, and the ‘need’ for it, before. It was not well articulated, but you can hear the underpinnings of the reasoning there.

I first heard them almost 5 years ago.

It was in a famous – some might say notorious – interview that Rand Paul gave to Rachel Maddow when he announced his candidacy for the Senate seat from Kentucky. You can see and hear it here: Rachel Maddow’s interview with Rand Paul, 05/19/10 @ 10:10 PMUpdated 11/07/13 08:56 AM

This interview led to a commentary on my third-ever radio show.


2010-MAY-24: Welcome to the Mike Honig Show: Thinkwing Radio

It’s hard to do a really topical show when it runs only once a week, but I’m going to start a little differently today, because I want to talk about the Rand Paul controversy, what I think it’s really about, and what I think it means.

[On May 19, 2010,] I was watching when Rachel Maddow asked Rand Paul the question about the 1964 Civil Rights Act, and whether he could support that today. Continue reading

George Eads Leaves “CSI”. Will we be seeing him starring in “CSI: San Diego”?

The way “The End Game” ended, and with all the scuttlebutt about “CSI” being canceled because it’s a mature series with all the syndicated reruns they need and has gotten too expensive to make, I’m theorizing the following:

  • Talks about continuing “CSI” are ongoing, last I heard. Cost of production is the primary factor.
  • Finlay has been written out of the picture for as long as desired, whether permanently or temporarily. That’s a 6-figure budget saving.
  • George Eads is out of the picture. Another 6-figure budget saving.

Ted Danson (D.B. Russell) is the highest-paid member of the cast right now. There has been talk of him leaving after this season. Two possible scenarios here:

  • He leaves, saving a big 6-figure payroll;
  • He takes a pay cut and stays put; still a 6-figure budget saving;
  • Danson leaves and Marc Vann (Ecklie) takes over as head CSI; again a big budget saving.

I actually like the possibility of Vann taking the lead as Ecklie, if that’s how things turn out. He has a lot of plusses:

  • He’s a known and established character;
  • He has a known and highly evolved chemistry with the rest of the cast/characters;
  • Marc Vann has shown himself to be a capable actor who can carry significant chunks of a story, and do it as an authority figure;
  • Ecklie has been shown to have a lot of shades to his character, and that opens many story options.

I think that the way they wrote George Eads out of the series also opens up some other doors which I suspect are being explored, such as the possibility of a “CSI: San Diego” spinoff.

While there has been nothing on the internet about such a possibility, “CSI: San Diego” would make a lot of sense the way things have been left.

  • Cast costs would be relatively moderate for at least the first several seasons;
  • George Eads, the actor, has a following who will at least give the show a chance;
  • Nick Stokes, the character, is well established and needs no introduction or tedious back-story narrative to bog down the series’ first few episodes.

If this spinoff is actually being considered (and if it’s not, it should be), casting would be key. A good ensemble cast is not easy to assemble. Getting the right chemistry among the characters AND the actors is an almost mystical process, and would make or break the show.

Having heard nothing so far about a “CSI: San Diego” starring George Eads, it’s probably a longshot to see it in the fall line-up, but a January premier might be possible. Let’s see how things play out…

What Would Happen To The Earth If The Moon Was Destroyed?

It’s a common theme in science fiction: The Moon is destroyed or suddenly pulled from the Earth’s orbit. What would happen to the Earth?

It occurs to me that while discussion of the Moon being destroyed usually focuses on things like tides and debris raining down on earth, a more serious possibility would be throwing the earth out of its current orbit.

The Moon doesn’t actually orbit the Earth. Actually, the Earth and the Moon orbit around a common point known as the epicenter.

Given that the Moon is so large that the Moon and Earth represent a virtual double planet, the sudden destruction of the moon could very well send the Earth into an orbit further from, or closer to, the Sun, depending on where the Earth was in relation to its orbit around that epicenter. Since it would move tangentially away from that point, the end result is unknowable … but it would be bad.

Very bad.

Imagine a cue ball suddenly caroming around a pool table… But not to worry. We’d all be dead by the time it hit anything even without the impact of any debris from a shattered Moon, since it would probably be like a case of cosmic whiplash as the Earth suddenly took off in a whole new direction while none of us were belted in.

The result would be a VERY short science fiction story, but a great disaster movie.

Thumbnail Reviews: “Gotham” and “The Flash”

Superheroes are always ‘made for TV’, and there are almost always some around on the nets.

As a science fiction and fantasy fan, I’m always ‘up’ for some good make-believe and I sample, but I’m hard to hang on to as a viewer.

I like “The Flash” (aka, Barry Allen) okay, and it’s showing some promising twists. It’s lo-calorie fun, but it’s not must-see TV for me. Tom Cavanagh plays an interesting, creepy Dr. Wells who is not what he seems. The pilot shows Barry Allen’s mom dying in some sort of weird indoor cyclone. For those familiar with old “Flash Comics” canon, it looked like [SPOILER ALERT POSTED IN WHITE TEXT] she was somehow killed by ‘Reverse Flash’, a character who is costumed in yellow with red trim. (The reverse of Flash’s red with yellow trim.

I can only watch so much DVR in one day, though, and we’ll see if “The Flash“continues to make the cut for me.

“Gotham”, though, is … Amazing! A prequel in the Batman legend focused on then-detective James Gordon, it’s dark, intense, smart, well-acted and well-written. All the starring roles are well-cast (some better than others), and even the small parts are competently acted.

Sean Pertwee is the darkest “Alfred the Butler” you’ve ever seen. He’s definitely one of the ‘good guys’, but they’re hinting at a past. I’m starting to bet on UK Special Forces

A standout is Robin Lord Taylor, and this may turn out to be his role of a lifetime; a tough thing when you’re still a young actor. (His age is not disclosed in his bios, but I would guess middle-ish 20s…Unless that’s what he WANTS us to think!)  Taylor has created a Penguin character that is uniquely engaging; an obvious psychopath that you still find yourself wanting to like. (That is, after all, what successful psychopaths do.) This is the first time that I have ever found the Penguin to be something other than a ridiculous character. Others have said that Taylor’s Penguin is the dark, bloody heart of “Gotham”, and I agree.

If Taylor doesn’t get at least an Emmy nomination, then TANJ! (Or as Larry Niven often notes in his books, There Ain’t No Justice)

I don’t think  that “Gotham” will be triaged from my DVR any time soon.