Iconocrypt


Nine glyphs: (1) a woman's face made of smoke; (2) a creature's spindly tail; (3) a cross-section of an apple showing odd seeds; (4) a palm print; (5) a frog; (6) a daisy or similar flower; (7) a seahorse; (8) a butterfly; (9) a leaf

Here’s a round of quick bits on Fringe since I’ve yet to post a proper review.

On last week’s episode we finally heard — but didn’t see — the mysterious William
Bell via an old videotape. Even if you weren’t aware of the recent casting news, it was easy to recognize the voice of Leonard Nimoy, soon to be seen as Spock for perhaps the final time in Lost and Fringe co-creator J.J. Abrams’ Star Trek film.

Finding It


Phillies logo with name over liberty bell

The Phillies won last night — and it had nothing to do with this post.

I wrote a blog entry titled “Losing It” upon their dropping the first game of the
season, you see. And while I’m not superstitious it’s curious that right after that all of my entries to date here disappeared. Never mind that the rest of the post was positive, despite its name.

So as I retyped lost entries, I decided to see whether I could turn the tides of fortune. The only question was, Should the opposite of “Losing It” be “Finding It” or “Winning It”? The Phils were down 3-0 going into the 9th inning when I began writing the meat of this post, so “Winning It” felt inappropriate, and I definitely had some material on the subject of finding.

Rocking It


Concrete, a stone humanoid figure, standing in arid landscape with a satchel of small plants

How did I celebrate Earth Day?

I left my canvas bag at home so my glass bottles got double-bagged in plastic at the supermarket. All while I was driving my grandparents’ enormous Grand Marquis.

Booty Call


I hadn’t submitted anything to The Late Show with David Letterman’s online Top
Ten Contest worth posting in a while — until the batch of entries for this week’s subject. Note: They’re sort-of raunchy. I don’t want to offend anyone visiting or get this blog flagged for adult content on the basis of a few lame one-liners, so if you’re easily shocked please just don’t read my...

Top Nine Punchlines to Dirty Pirate Jokes

9. “And he said, ‘How do you think I became first mate?’”

8. “Oh... That dinghy!”

7. “It were so dark she never saw me comin’!”

6. “This one ain’t hollow.”

5. “So now my ex marks the spot!”

4. “A squid.”

3. “That’s not why they call it the poop deck.”

2. “But the bad news is, that wasn’t no mermaid.”

And the Number One (and Most Obvious) Punchline to a Dirty Pirate Joke...

Norse Code


I still haven’t done a proper essay on Lost. Perhaps with only a clip show airing this week I’ll be able to collect and condense my thoughts. Meantime, I’ve decided to perform a little public service to viewers frustrated by the lack of Norse mythology in last week’s episode.

Anyone who bothers to check titles of upcoming episodes of Lost and is at least passingly familiar with Star Wars got a chuckle at the name “Some Like It Hoth”. (While I haven’t started actively looking titles up myself, I discover them when reading Jeff Jensen’s column on the show at the EW website [bad link] or from commenters on Nikki Stafford’s blog as we discuss.) It’s no surprise that most informed fans assumed “Hoth” was a reference to the ice planet depicted at the beginning of The Empire Strikes Back, which indeed it turned out to be. But a respectable handful of Lost followers either already knew or learned through research that Hoth is one of the many variations on the name of the Norse god also known as Hod or Hodr, who was tricked by Loki into killing fellow god Baldr. They were rewarded with bupkis last week.

We’ve seen hieroglyphics and other references to Egyptian culture and mythology on Lost. The Dharma Initiative is named for a central tenet in various Indian religions. Several allusions to Judeo-Christian messianism have been made, including the presence of an actual, apparently resurrected character named Christian Shephard. And the Island’s mysterious smoke creature has been referred to as Cerberus, which is the name of the three-headed dog that guards the entrance to Hades in Greek and Roman mythology.

There must be a way to tie Lost to Norse mythology. I shall now attempt to do exactly that through free association. (Don’t knock it. Stephen Colbert makes his Oscar predictions this way [bad link], and it’s served him well.) Although the following is obviously the product of my own cultural environs, anything particularly foreign to you should be clear in context.

Ready?

Harry Kalas 1936-2009


A close-up of Harry Kalas wearing headphones in the broadcast booth of a stadium, looking out at the field
Photo: George Widman / The Associated Press © 2002.

Harry Kalas died on Monday.

If you live — or if you once lived, anytime in the past 38 years — in what they call the Greater Philadelphia Area, you’ve probably heard and almost certainly heard of Mr. Kalas. “Harry the K” was the voice of the Philadelphia Phillies for nearly four decades, so established, so resonant, and so loved that his collapse in the visitors’ press box before Washington’s home opener shocked and saddened millions.

Football fans will recognize Harry’s voice from narration on Inside the NFL. He also
did voice-over work for commercials, including the TV spot for last year’s football movie Leatherheads. But he belonged to baseball.

Up and Down


I still don’t know whether all of my posts were erased by a problem with Blogger’s software or servers, as some belated April Fool’s hack, or what. Sigh.

Past entries are being re-entered, and this time I’m saving the HTML for each one in offline documents so that I can hopefully get them right back up if this happens again, but I’m also looking into other hosting options. (Extra weird? Today, all of a sudden, I’m finally able to paste text into the regular Compose window.)

The Blogger Help Group has a page titled My Blog Is Gone whose first sentence is “We’re hearing that cry of dismay a lot recently.” Although my blog isn’t actually gone, I’m not exactly reassured by reading that, nor by seeing accounts of hijacked blogs in the Help Forums. I wouldn’t presume that this was malevolent, necessarily; since my password is entirely nonsense, however, Blogger needs better security, more failsafes against massive technical glitches, or both.

Losing It


The Phillies lost the first game of the season tonight. I know there’ll be 161 more, but
it’s always nice to get a win Opening Day — especially when you’re the defending World Series champs and you have a history of bad Aprils.

Three 'Garfield Minus Garfield' strips

So when is losing a good thing?