Friday, July 11, 2008

A Boring Day In Downtown Pittsburgh

Stupid biased media, misrepresenting the facts in order to make evil shine. From the Psychosis-Gazette:

At 7:46 p.m. yesterday the concrete wall below Stanwix Street began to crumble, then quickly burst, black earth and slurry streaming down into the pit.

Several dozen construction workers perched above the hole let out a cheer as the metal teeth of a 500-ton tunnel boring machine saw daylight for the first time since January, when it began its journey from a hole next to PNC Park.

And with that, the German-made machine completed one half of a tunnel under the Allegheny River, a $435 million project that eventually will bring light rail service to the North Shore.

Don't fall for the spin! That was no cheer that people heard. See this video for the real story:

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

The First Cylon Was Created On Earth

They were created by man:

Once the world's most famous robot, a 7-foot aluminum man that smoked cigarettes, called people "toots" and appeared on the silver screen with a legendary showgirl somehow slipped into obscurity.
If they built this thing today, they would hand a gold chain around his neck, give him a Jersey accent, and name him "Guido". As it happens, he was called "Elektro". And he must have had an electric libido:
In 1960, Elektro starred as "Sam Thinko" in the film "Sex Kittens Go To College," alongside B-movie bombshell Mamie Van Doren, a bevy of topless dancers and a trained chimp.
Never heard of that movie before, but it has it all the right ingredients to qualify it as one of the greatest films of all time, as evidenced by the trailer:

A Guido robot, a sexually aroused monkey, hot delicious blonds, and horny Uncle Fester? That just screams "Winner!".

Toss in Conway Twitty, however, and it all goes flaccid. Conway Twitty? For crying out loud!

Perhaps one of those scientists in the movie got the idea to cross Mamie Van Doren with Elektro to create the Number Six model of Cylon. That makes perfect sense, in a suspension of disbelief, mixing of fictional realities kind of way.

The Big Kahuna Dangles, Hangs High

Oh yeah baby.

Sorry -- I meant to refer to this. Not having experienced it myself, I can't say whether it would be exciting or terrifying. Probably both. The initial shock would shake me up a bit, but after a minute or so, I'd be chilling and getting a thrill from the blood rushing to my head. And then lapsing into apathy when the numbness set in.

The closest to this that has happened to me was back around 1991 at King's Island near Cincinnati. The coaster (not an upside down one) braked when we were at the highest peak on the tracks. It would not have been bad were it not for the oncoming storm. Nothing like being stuck on metal high above the ground when lighting is imminent.

In fact, I have never been able to cross the Ohio-Pennsylvania border without encountering heavy rain and lightning. Why is that? At least my car never got stuck upside down. Facing backwards, however...

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Adama Is A Cylon

WARNING: This post is speculation, but may get a little spoilery down below. You have been warned.

The identity of the Final Cylon on Battlestar Galactica has been keeping me awake at night. Well, not really, but I have stayed up late a few times just scanning the blogs to see what the rest of the online BSG fanbase has to say about Galactica's journey to Earth and the missing piece of the LastSupper puzzle . I'm not sure that I care all that much about the irradiated planet that the fleet has found and identified as Earth. I'm more interested in that thirteenth seat at the table. I have gotten so interested, in fact, that I believe I have figured out who the missing person/Cylon is...or perhaps I should say, who they are.

The clues have been there all along, though some things were kept obscure until fairly recently. And based on the revealed spoilers for the upcoming Caprica series, the Cylons' origin fits in nicely with my theory.

I believe that, as Leoben Conoy told Laura Roslin back in Season One, "Adama is a Cylon". I do not, however, believe that the Adama in question is Bill. Or Lee. Or Lee's estranged wife, Dee. Or even Lee's dead brother, Zak.

The only remaining unrevealed Cylon, the last of the Final Five, is Bill's father, Joseph Adama. AND Romo Lampkin -- because they are both the same man. How so?

Consider what we know about the allegedly deceased father of Admiral Adama from the BSG series. He was a lawyer who lived on Caprica. He was a good father to his son. He specialized in civil rights law and worked primarily as a defense attorney. He had a good grasp of human nature.

And he had a protege by the name of Romo Lampkin.

Lampkin's background is sketchy. He suffered tragic loss throughout his life: first his parents, when he was a child; then, years later, his wife and daughters during the Cylon attack on the colony Gemenon. He still has his wife's cat, Lance, when he signs on as Baltar's lawyer. And he seems very interested in Lee Adama, in an almost fatherly way.

Or grandfatherly.

He also has visions of Head Lance after the cat has been killed, much like Baltar's Head Six or Caprica Six's Head Baltar, or Starbuck's Head Leoben. This seems to happen a lot to Cylons, or people who spend too much time with Cylons.

(SPOILER ALERT) Early reports about the Caprica pilot reveal that Joseph Adama was around when the Cylons were created. (It was my understanding that Cylons had been around for much longer; perhaps they were originally simple robots, but were improved and upgraded when AI technology became viable for use in everyday machines.) Adama lost his wife and daughter (Tamara) in a suicide bombing carried out by a monotheistic terrorist group. Daniel Greystone, the creator of sentient machines, downloaded both Adama's daughter's personality as well as his own daughter's, who was also killed in the attack, into robots -- the first Cylons. This apparently makes Joseph Adama freak out. (I don't blame him, if her new body looked like a walking toaster and said "By your command, Daddy" in a buzzy mechanical voice.) Thus would the creations that would eventually become Humanoid Cylons receive their original personalities. There is also one other whose personality was electronically downloaded. Should Caprica continue for any length of time, we may learn more about downloadable people and how the skin jobs got started.

An interesting fact about Joseph Adama is his off-world origins. He immigrated from Tauron and changed his name so everyone would think he was Caprican. Just the sort of thing a skin job would do.

Unless I missed something, there has been no mention in the series of how or when Joseph Adama died (if there is, then my theory is shot). If he was around at the creation of the Cylons, he may have found a way to download his personality into a new body when he was at or near death. Or into a machine, until a body (Romo Lampkin!) could be made. He could then keep tabs on both his son Bill and his daughter Tamara as they grow and develop. The same technology that saved his daughter could also save him.

Recall the scene in "The Son Also Rises" where Lampkin interviews Caprica Six in her prison cell:

Lampkin continues with his next question, "Well, because of this evolutionary move, fashioning Cylons to be capable of experiencing it. I don't know if it was engineered as a tactical imperative, but ...It's not for the faint hearted, is it?" Caprica Six agrees with her reply, "No, its not." Then,Lampkin asks,"Maybe, you should have been nicer to your mechanic?" Caprica Six doesn't say anything, trying to avoid the question, thenLampkin continues, "Well, perhaps Cylon love, is not the same as human love? Perhaps, it's designed to hurt a little less?" Caprica Six is resentful with her reply, "How would you know?"Lampkin replies, "I loved a woman ...beautiful, beautiful woman ...,but so serious. This frowning face, trapped in the middle of a daze. She had a way of walking ...procession, as if she ran away to her own execution. ...Yet, ten years and it fell apart under it's own weight." Caprica Six is moved by his words and asks, "Is that what you wanted?"Lampkin replies, "I thought, that if I could get over her, I could get over anything. Come on, be a man ...stand up to any and all kind of punishment. I clung to an empty spinning bed for months ...and that ...that was when I, finally, realized how much I loved her. If I needed all that strength? WHAT was the point? I needed to be with her."
Is the father is talking to the daughter about her mother? ("Oh, and how are things between you and that boyfriend of yours?") He seems awfully interested in Cylon origins, though he was ostensibly there to talk about Baltar. That was a curious tangent...unless there was deeper meaning.

Romo Lampkin had stated that he hated Joseph Adama, but also respected him because he learned everything about the law from him. Or had everything from Adama's brain downloaded into him. Self-hatred is a pretty common trait on BSG, too, so Lampkin's hatred of Adama fits right in.

Let us consider the words of the First Hybrid from the Guardian basestar in Razor:
At last, they’ve come for me. I feel their lives, their destinies spilling out before me. The denial of the one true path, played out on a world not their own, will end soon enough. Soon there will be four, glorious in awakening, struggling with the knowledge of their true selves. The pain of revelation bringing new clarity and in the midst of confusion, he will find her. Enemies brought together by impossible longing. Enemies now joined as one. The way forward at once unthinkable, yet inevitable. And the fifth, still in shadow, will claw toward the light, hungering for redemption that will only come in the howl of terrible suffering. I can see them all. The seven, now six[4], self-described machines who believe themselves without sin. But in time, it is sin that will consume them. They will know enmity, bitterness, the wrenching agony of one splintering into many. And then, they will join the promised land, gathered on the wings of an angel. Not an end, but a beginning.
He/it is talking about the union of the rag tag fleet and the rebel basestar that finds Earth in "Revelations" after the four hidden Cylons revealed themselves. The "fifth, still in shadow" is Lampkin/Adama. Speculation: He feels guilty for having his daughter downloaded into a robot body. She and her colleagues resent what has been done to them, leading to the First Cylon War. The human race suffers because of him. Romo Lampkin, trying to make amends (redemption), gradually reintroduces himself to the Adama family by pretending to be an old associate of Joseph Adama. He is in shadow because of his new body: No one can recognize him as Joseph Adama.

And now for a word about skin jobs. The original versions of these Cylons were apparently based on actual human personalities. Number Six, as I implied above, would seem to be Tamara Adama. Six once told Baltar that the Seven were programmed not to think of the Five. Was Daniel Greystone responsible for this programming? Did he want to hide the skin jobs' origins from themselves? Hopefully we'll get to see that covered in Caprica.

Note also how loyal Saul Tigh is to Bill Adama, even after he finds out that he's a Cylon. He must have been placed close to Adama for a reason, perhaps to protect him. Was this Joseph's way of looking out for his boy?

Finally, there is D'Anna's knowledge of the Final Five. She saw five faces, yet she told everyone that four were in the fleet. What about the fifth? Did she know him/her to be dead? Or did she just not recognize that one? She might have known the face of Romo Lampkin, who presumably lived on New Caprica during the occupation. She would not have known the face of Joseph Adama, if he had downloaded into a body with a different physical appearance. Everything fits.

I rest my case.

The End Of Politics

No, I haven't been blogging about politics, or much of anything, lately. The blogging method of fisking by excerpting and commenting on news articles and op-ed pieces is pretty much spent as far as I am concerned. There has to be a better way to get my point across.

Most of us are familiar with the method of laying newspapers around the floor to house train a puppy dog. I might try blogging that way. Since I don't want to waste a penny of my money on print media, I could print out an editorial, say, this one from the Psychosis-Gazette the other day, and lay the print out on the floor. (Alternatively, I could do this with pictures of Reg Henry from the P-G site, but I wouldn't want to desecrate the image of his nice shiny head.) Then, I would drop my pants, crouch down over the screed, and defecate upon the printed word. A still camera mounted nearby would photograph each step of the action, and I could then download the images to my computer for some fun photoblogging.

Yeah, I could do that. But my shit is a private matter, and I don't want pictures of it going out over the Internet, even if it's in a good cause. So you'll just have to dream.

Meanwhile, the major party presidential candidates will continue to bore us to death by being nice to one another when what we really need in this campaign is some good old-fashioned vitriol.