The Avengers

Over several years I have been collecting the DVD set of the original 1960’s Avengers. I have been looking at some of the last Patrick Macnee/Linda Thorson episodes this weekend. And then realized that I am missing one last set of DVDs, the one with the final episode. Arrrggghhh! I was hoping I wouldn’t have to go out this weekend.

The Avengers
is one of my favorite TV shows of all time, especially the Diana Rigg episodes. Didn’t really care for Tara King as a sidekick for Steed. She was too young for the part. But, it was the writing, more than anything, that left me with such fond memories of the original airings and made me glad to find the DVDs. The stories were often over the top and silly, but they were so well done, the silliness was part of the flavor.

On a message board over at IMDB Someone asked a question about who would be good actors to play Peel and Steed in a new series. I don’t think we can bring back Peel and Steed. They were defined 40 years ago by the original actors and that’s done. The best you can do today is develop a new show with the same quality writing and let a new generation of actors define a new set of characters.

I don’t have enough familiarity with the modern crop of British actors to suggest a “Steed” character. I wonder how the guy who played Hamish has matured? I can’t see someone like a Hugh Grant carrying it off. It’s got to be someone who acts in their thirties and has the “gravitas” to carry off the physical activities. Maybe one of the MI 5 actors?

The “Peel” character is the tricky one. I think Thorson’s main problem, aside from her age, is that she didn’t have the same physicality that Diana Rigg did. And it seems to be harder to find actresses with a physical presence today, many seem to want to waste away into good-looking wraiths. Jessica Alba, Geena Davis, Uma Thurman, Brigid Fonda; all have done good action roles. I liked Halle Berry as Jinx but I don’t know if she has that right degree of “physicality” I am looking for. Again, I think the actress as to be acting as a thirty-something; the character has to have some life experience under her belt before tackling Intercrime, or the Cybernauts, or the Hellfire Club…

An interesting project, to be sure. I thought the Avengers Movie, from several years ago, was rather poorly done, mainly in the writing. As I remember it, Fiennes as Steed and Thurman as Peel did well fitting into the characters as defined. And letting Connery ham it up as the villain was in character for the series. It was certainly silly enough. The Writing, and Directing, just sucked.

White Hats

I think I have heard of this being done on a small scale, but why doesn’t the good hacker community, the ‘white hat hackers’, write anti spam-bots that will go out and clean up all the hi-jacked systems that are sending out spam because some little virus told them too. Distribute the good viruses the same way bad ones are done and you should reach most of the infected boxes in a hurry. And the good bots could close all the trap doors and do stuff to prevent a PC from being re-infected, inoculate them.

And just to make sure the user knows, after all the clean-up is done, a little message pops up to tell the prat what was done to help them out.

I’ll bet the white hats could stay ahead of the black hats, easily. Wish I was a hacker…

Government Priorities

I believe that one of the government’s greatest responsibilities is to protect its citizens, the People that the Government is for, from the inhuman entities that rule most of society’s financial life. I speak, of course, of corporations.

On the whole, I support the principle of corporations. A corporation provides a means for a group of people to create and develop goods and services that can’t be done by individuals, even individuals trying to work together as a group. But they need to be watched closely, monitored and reined in at all times. Unfortunately, it appears that the group mentality needed to make a corp work overrides a lot of the individual cares and concerns that the government should be concerned with. There is plenty of historical precedent with the manufacturing industries, the rail industries, the mining industries, the shipping industries, the banking industries the insurance industries, the petroleum industries, the agriculture industries, the textile industries… Are there any industries that haven’t abused the group power of corporation?

At the simplest level, I think it starts when the person who hires an individual isn’t the one who pays the individual. The hirer is an agent for someone else and may have the power to hire/fire/promote/ individuals, even say how much they will be paid, but the wages come from somewhere else. This is the beginning of a corporation. At this point the worker starts to lose the ability to negotiate face to face with the persons ultimately in charge since the they are distant or a distributed group.

At this point, the government should be providing some oversight, ensuring basic employee rights and minimum wages.

Once a corporation is selling stock for public ownership the government should be monitoring these public companies to make sure they are not lying to the public and that they are following generally accepted accounting principles. As someone who worked for WorldCom, I really, really would have liked to see a little more oversight of public companies.

There are plenty of historical incidents that demonstrate that corporations do not act in the best long-term, or short-term, interests of the citizenry. And that Corporations will use their money to buy social and political influence to weaken whatever monitoring is in place.

Once the People have been badly burned and have put strait-jackets on corporations to prevent them from repeating the sins of the past, everyone starts to game the system and tries to come up with a strait-jacket work-around. What’s even more mind boggling is that these are individual citizens that are working to screw the rest of the country. Part of the game is to avoid taking responsibility for the negative impacts that the gaming will produce.

to be continued

More Inquiry

Inquiring Minds have several other big hitters.

There was a Canadian TV show that sort of stays on on the web even though the show is defunct.

And CSICOP has a page for sceptical investigators. (CSICOP is a good organization for learning how to debunk the alternate realities that some people create.)

I really want to get one of those Darwin Fishes, but I don’t ornament my car, so it doesn’t do much good.

Strange links

I used the phrase “Enquiring Minds want to know” in a previous post and thought that “Enquiring Minds” would be a good blog title so I googled and found this site:alt.usage.english.FAQ.

I found they have lots of interesting tidbits of english usage and origins of phrases and words. I thought their explanation of using verbs with group nouns (e.g. company, herd, flock, pod) was very edifying.

I didn’t see an EM blog pop out of the google search but I didn’t look past the first page and it had 44,000 hits.

Oh yes, The EM phrase I started with was a result of the National Enquirer ad campaign in the ’80s.