Twenty years ago, author Douglas Adams and photographer/naturalist Mark Cawardine traveled the globe in search of some of the most endangered species imaginable. This resulted in the superb book Last Chance to See, which I highly recommend, due in equal part to the extremely interesting content and the wonderful way that Douglas Adams looked at everything. I had the pleasure of experiencing it originally as an audibook read by Adams himself, which I believe increased the enjoyability immensely. He's downright hilarious. If you haven't read it, I suspect you'd like doing so.
In any case, long-time friend of Douglas Adams, Stephen Fry, has set about attempting to revisit all of the endangered species Douglas did twenty years ago in order to see how they're doing today. He's joined by none other than Mark Cawardine himself, lending an extremely knowledgeable air to the whole endeavor as he once again attempts to photograph these rare, splendid creatures. The BBC has filmed each leg of the journey, and has been broadcasting the resultant documentary, likewise entitled Last Chance to See. Thus far, it's been equal parts educational, hilarious and heartbreaking.
The programme is available via iPlayer, unless you happen to live outside the UK. If, like me, you don't actually have access to all the fine programmes the BBC airs, it can quite easily be acquired via the usual dark underbellies of the Internet to which we all frequently turn in order to acquire content that licensing issues prevent us from accessing legitimately. Three episodes have aired thus far, and it really behooves you to make the effort to track them down. You'll thank me later.
I'm not what you would call a "Doctor Who fan," but we've been watching all of the recent series on our Roku Netflix box lately. There are a lot of pretty cheesy episodes, but I've generally enjoyed most of them.
However, the other night we watched an episode entitled "Blink," from season/series 3 (episode 10), which I believe originally aired in 2007. Holy crap that was a good episode. I mean, not a "good -- you know, for Doctor Who" type of good, but a seriously fantastic hour of television. The story is great, the writing is great, the villains are great. It's scary. It's clever.
I heartily recommend that you're watching "Stephen Fry in America", one of the finest television programs about the great country of America that this American has ever seen.
Mr. Fry travels around the country in his London taxi cab, talking to interesting people and learning about life in our country. As one who has spent almost all his time in a very limited area of this country, the things Stephen sees are pretty fascinating to me, as are the people he talks to -- almost all of which are the types of people one wouldn't expect a traveler from another country to want to talk to. Four of the six episodes have aired, and thus far Mr. Fry has visited whiskey factories and corpse farms, been forced to endure riding a horse, seen a deactivated Cold War missile silo, designed his own flavor of ice cream with Ben & Jerry, had a deep-fried southern Thanksgiving and done heaps of traveling and even more monologuing.
Unsurprisingly, this fantastic look at each state of America comes not from American television, but from those nice blokes at the BBC, meaning that if you don't happen to live within broadcast range of the BBC, you'll have to resort to the usual sneakiness involved in watching television from another country. It'll be well worth your time, I promise.
Also, I fully expect Jim Dale to go traipsing around London in his NYC Yellow Cab ANY DAY NOW.
Gots stories to share. Might have to videoblog or something. Because that's SOOO much easier, right?
1) We're going to Australia at the beginning of March. Two weeks. Four days of which are earmarked as "Australiany Stuff" days, while most of the rest of the days are "Work Days" for D at her new Australian employer's facility, leaving me free to explore the undoubtedly vast assortment of daytime television in OZ. (She'll be working from home in the States after that, though.) Awesome. Suffice it to say that my life's dream of opening the first Outback Steakhouse franchise in Australia has rapidly taken a turn towards plausibility. (I'll call it "The Original Outback Steakhouse" and cash in on all those American tourists looking to do "Australiany Stuff.")
2) Got the stinkeye from an elderly gentleman at the grocery store the other day. Thought it odd. Then ended up behind him in the checkout lane to hear him railing about men who carry bags.
<blockquote>Guy: "They have a name for bags you carry your stuff in: PURSES. You really have to wonder about any man carrying a bag. I mean, that's what wallets are for. What would YOU think if you saw a guy carrying a bag?"
Checkout Guy: "That he has too much stuff to fit in a wallet, or he doesn't want to sit on his wallet?"
Guy: "Uh-huh. 'Too much stuff.' Sure."
Checkout Guy: "What about backpacks? Men carry those."
Guy: "I'm not going to carry a backpack, either. That's just not the kind of man I am."
Checkout Guy: "OK. Have a nice day."
Me: "Hang on, I have to fish my wallet out of all this stuff in my PURSE."
Checkout Guy: "Ha! Nice. :)"</blockquote>
I had one of those light-bulb moments as soon as I heard him start his railing against bags, because it perfectly explained why he was eyeballing me earlier. The funniest bit to me was that the ignorantly intolerant man in question happened to be a man of color with a wife of, shall we say, "much less color." You'd think that someone who has probably had to put up with a lot of intolerant, ignorant bullshit over the years would be a bit more hesitant to engage in the same behavior himself, but whatever.
3) Now I've plumb forgotten what else I was gonna tell y'all.
4) Oh yeah, now I remember. Pretend I spent a bunch of time making a graphic advertising my new show instead of just telling you the title: "Danzig with the Stars."
5) In addition to posting being hard, so has been answering email and replying to comments. Of which many, many "Emma Watson 3-D boob-related" ones have come in. (Over 50,000 people have viewed that post since Christmas, 109% of which are ardent that I'm a big fat idiot.) I'm not ignoring anyone, just extremely apathetic.
6) I forgot to take a brain-related drug to which my body is addicted the other day, resulting in a couple days full of little mini brain seizures. Talk about a crazy sensation. Know when you're nodding off while watching TV or something and suddenly jolt awake? Imagine that like 10 times an hour. Fun.