Wednesday, September 27, 2006

When Teddy Bears Attack

Because some things are so bizarre that they simply must be blogged about, here's a recent news article:

Teddy Bear Slaughters 2,500 Trout

I'll be back after BotCon!

Friday, September 22, 2006

BotCon Cometh

In less than a week now, I will in KY to attend this year's BotCon. There will be no blog update for Friday, September 29th, as I will be at the convention. I do expect to post highlights on Monday after I return.

In the meantime, my brother (who will attend with me) and I are coordinating our schedules so that we can catch all the parts of the convention that are important to us, while leaving some time to visit with the rest of my family in Louisville that weekend.

Without question, my wife is taking the more "spiritual" route. She and my mom will the visiting the Abbey of Gethsemani, where noted author and Catholic thinker Thomas Merton spent so many years.

I am already reading on the message boards that some fans are already packing. I'm not quite there yet, but I do need to spend this weekend getting things in order. We have our plane tickets, but we need to make plans to get us to the airport, to have our cat taken care of, and financial arrangements to put in order so we have ready cash for when we're out of town without easy access to an ATM we won't have to pay stiff fees on using (needless to say, we expect to buy a few things at the convention). I need to make sure that the situation at my day-job is set up for my two-day absence next week. Also, I need to work ahead a bit to make sure that my weekly podcast does not get interrupted by the fact that I will be out of town next weekend. So much to do, so little time!

But, as short as that time is, BotCon is not here yet. I'll have my regular blog updates next week on Monday and Wednesday.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Game Show Theory

I was speaking with a friend the other day, who happens to be involved in an inter-religious dialogue group. She told me that the theme for this year's gathering would discuss pluralism, and that (among other things) one of the participants was looking to write a sketch based on the game show Let's Make a Deal. That got me thinking....

Now, I don't pretend to understand "game theory," and I expect I'm taking the concept behind Let's Make a Deal in a wholly different direction than is intended by the participant in the inter-religious dialogue, but thinking through the mechanics behind the show, I'm working on a concept that I'm going to call "game show theory."

Using Let's Make a Deal to illustrate the concept of pluralism, the subject ("contestant" just doesn't sound right, even considering the whimsical nature of this enterprise) begins with a certain belief system. We'll call this "Religion Number 1." Monty Hall now gives the subject the option of keeping the belief system he/she already has, or trading it in for another belief system, which we'll call "Religion Number 2." The subject does not know the intricacies of this belief system until he/she has decided to choose it, at which point the subject may decide whether or not the new system (assuming it was chosen) is right for him/her. The subject may choose to "walk away" and keep his/her present belief system at any time, or the subject may hope that Monty Hall will make an offer for a "Religion Number 3." This process may repeat for as many times as the subject wishes, so long as Monty Hall keeps making new offers. However, at some point the subject dies, at which point no new offers can be made.

Alternatively, pluralism might be likened to Deal or No Deal. There are many religions to choose from, and the subject chooses one. That religion is the subject's to keep, unless he/she decides to make a deal for another offer. The subject then learns about some of the religions that were not chosen. As these religions are eliminated, the "banker" proposes a deal for a new religion, using the information learned about the eliminated religions in an attempt to make the deal more appealing to the subject. The subject may then accept the deal, or continue to eliminate other religions in an attempt to get the best possible final result. However, the subject may come to regret his/her choice, as the options-not-chosen are revealed and eliminated.

Of course, there are a number of flaws to both of these analogies (not least of which being that these games don't enable a person to go back to a religion he/she once abandoned, which of course happens in real life all the time), and I don't really think that matters of religion are as simplistic as "just choose one." These matters are tied up in cultural backgrounds, life experiences, and (dare I say it?) the calling of God. But the fact that there are all these competing belief systems out there is a fact of life that believers of all stripes must deal with.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Woo, hoo! Soundwave!

There have been rumors for a little while now, but finally we have the support of actual pictures. Despite the fact that Hasbro told fans not that long ago that there were "no plans" for any further Generation One reissues (which wasn't surprising given how badly many of them warmed the shelves at Toys R Us last year), we'll be getting at least one more highly sought after "reissue" in the near future: Soundwave. Check out the pics at tformers.com.

These pictures confirm a few details about the reissue.
  1. The toy will indeed be using the "Soundblaster" version of the mold, which features room to hold not just one, but two cassettes.
  2. The two cassettes to be included will be Laserbeak and Ravage, arguably the most popular of the cassette figures.
  3. The reissue will be in the original "Soundwave" colors (despite using the "Soundblaster" mold variant).
I haven't found a firm release date for this toy, although it is suspected to be available in time for Christmas at Toys R Us (the toy may or may not be exclusive to TRU, as the other reissues have been) for about $30 (which is a far fairer price for this toy than it was for most of the other reissues we've seen previously!).

Wednesday, September 6, 2006

Green with Envy

It was recently reported that the Hartmans (the same brothers who were selling the G2 Protectobots and Stunticons on eBay recently) are going to be selling off their entire collection of Transformers (long understood to be one of the most complete in existence) at Botcon at the end of the month.

They just released these pictures of parts of their collection.

It's a Transformers fan's fantasy come true. Wall-to-wall Transformers on display. Like going to Toys R Us, but instead of being cluttered up with all those other toy lines, it's just Transformers everywhere.

Sadly, I doubt I'll have the funds to purchase so much as one of the toys from this particular collection. Still, one can drool over the pictures....

Tuesday, September 5, 2006

Second Chance on Some G2 Auctions

Since yesterday was a holiday, consider this my Monday entry. :)

For those who were interested in the Hartman Transformer auctions earlier in the year, here's a "second chance" to get a couple of those toys. Although these two auctions are, in fact, being held by the Hartmans, the toys are, apparently, from someone else's collection (in other words, no, the original buyer did not flake out, nor is he turning around and reselling).

Drag Strip (see entry for first auction)
Streetwise (see entry for first auction)

As before, expect these auction bids to go quite high. The bids are already at $200 for Drag Strip and $102.50 for Streetwise, as of the time of this posting. I will not be following the end of these auctions here on the blog.

Friday, September 1, 2006

Star Trek: The Special Edition

Surprisingly, it seems that the 40th Anniversary of Star Trek has not gone unnoticed by the folks at Paramount. Starting on September 16th, the Original Series (that is, the one with Kirk and Spock from the 60's) will be returning to broadcast syndication. For the first time in 16 years, those who do not have cable or episodes on DVD will be able to enjoy these episodes.

But there's a twist. It turns out that these episodes have been given the "Special Edition" treatment (to use the term used for George Lucas' re-working of the original Star Wars trilogy before the prequels were completed). All 76 Original Series episodes have been re-worked with new special effects and CGI work, and will be broadcast out-of-sequence one episode a week. We'll see if the new effects are enough to bring viewers back to the franchise, which has been laying low since the demise of the often-ridiculed Star Trek: Enterprise and the lower-than-desirable box office figures for Star Trek: Nemesis, the 10th and latest theatrical feature.


In totally unconnected TV news, it appears that the best thing about The Apprentice has, herself, been fired. I'm actually pretty upset about this turn of events....
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