Ed. Note 2021: website and blog appear to be at least partially out of service. Best info today found by starting at Wikipedia. The Hoagland link below was working for me in June 2021. [JTC]
2002 nonfiction book by astronomer Professor Phil Plait, Ph.D.
Leading debunker of unscientific nonsense ideations
Dr. Philip Cary Plait is an astronomer at Sonoma State University in California devoted to ferreting out examples of what he calls "bad astronomy" both in science and in the media, including
the movies, TV, and the news. His site is a treasure trove of informationand
torn-apart mis-informationabout science in general and astronomy in particular.
There are mini-tutorials, debunkings of popular misconceptions and obfuscations
Here is a Wikipedia site available in 2021 with info about the person cited as a conspiracy shyster on Dr. Phil Plait's site: Richard C. Hoagland [JTC].
(see in particular his many pages ripping a new one for Richard Hoagland, purveyor of most of the "face on Mars"
silliness), links off to NASA sites, and lots more.
As Dr. Plait himself says, "Recently, I have become more interested in the history of science, including how science has been misused and misrepresented. As television and movies have become better
and better at shaping our views of the world, it is becoming more and more important
that we understand what it means to be scientific. Like it or not, those that
understand science and technology will always have the advantage over those
that don't. If everyone had even a basic grasp of scientific principles, this
planet would be a better place." Amen to that.
My Architect: A Son's Journey
A film directed by Nathaniel Kahn
Starring: (archival footage) Louis Kahn, Philip Johnson, I.M. Pei.
A deceptively simple film
that packs a wallop. Architect Louis Kahn built relatively few buildings during
his career, but they are almost universally regarded by his peers and colleagues
as being among the great works in architecture of the last century. But this
film documents the efforts of his son, Nathaniel, who was only twelve when his
father died, to try to come to grips with Kahn's enigmatic personality. This
ends up being an intensely personal film about a man, Nathaniel Kahn, searching
for his father by interviewing those who knew him and by visiting the buildings
Louis Kahn erected, including the amazing capital of Bangladesh. Louis never
married or even lived with Nathaniel's mother, who is also interviewed in this
film - because he already had a wife and a daughter. In fact, Kahn maintained
three separate families, all living within a few miles of each other in Philadelphia.
In the end My Architect is about the compromises families must make if
they wish to remain stable and how love and respect can triumph over contemporary
morality. What emerges is that Louis Kahn, despite his love for his son, would
not or could not make any compromises. This is at once sad and uplifting. Even
those closest to him, his lovers and children both legitimate and illegitimate
who could have been hurt the most by his inattention, display their love and
admiration for him and the sheer joyous genius of his work. Now in his forties,
Nathaniel is on good terms with his half sisters and even interviews them for
the movie. If this were a work of fiction you'd throw up your hands and scoff.
But it is fact, it's all true - and it's a remarkable film.
Official web site: http://www.myarchitectfilm.com/
MXC (Most Extreme Elimination Challenge)
Thursdays at 10 p.m. (EST)
John Cervenka - Guy LeDouche and Captain Tenneal
Christopher Darga - Kenny Blankenship<
Mary Scheer - All Female Voices
Victor Wilson - Vic Romano
Remember Woody Allen's first
film, What's Up, Tiger Lily? It was a Japanese spy movie that Allen overdubbed
with new dialog, to frequently hilarious effect. That's the same technique that
the producers of MXC - originally Most Extreme Elimination Challenge
- have applied to a Japanese reality series called Takeshi's Castle.In
the original show, contestants comprised of two teams are physically and mentally
challenged and eliminated through crazy and challenging games. Like the Woody
Allen movie, MXC has retained all the format. There are two competing
teams per week such as City Kids and Country Kids, Dentists and Explorers, and
Organized Crime versus Weight Loss Industry. The teams compete outdoors in a
series of obstacle-strewn games such as the Log Drop, in which contestants have
to make their way across a series of huge rollers, usually falling into a pool
of scummy-looking water long before they reach the finish line, or Sinkers and
Floaters, which involves running across a scummy-looking pool on a series of
rocks, some of which are stable and some of which are just floating. This simply
has to be seen to be believed.
The two original hosts, dressed
up in some sort of weird quasi-historical robes that make them look like Carol
Burnett doing Scarlett O'Hara curtain rod and all, have been renamed Kenny Blankenship
and Vic Romano. Kenny and Vic, along with special correspondent Guy LeDouche
and Captain Tenneal, host the various sequences and provide often off-color
deadpan voiceover remarks during the contests. And in fact it's the writing
that really elevates MXC to the level of prime satire, because it's consistently
clever and snappy. Timing is everything, and MXC's producers know it.
If Firesign Theatre had ever been able to make it big on TV, they would have
done something like MXC. This is the funniest show on the tube right now, IMHO.
Don't get eliminated!
Ed. Note 2021: A link (now removed) led to a major movie studio, where the search box provided no results for "MXC" and variant search strings. [JTC]