The 39 Articles of Religion form the basis of Anglican doctrine. They were drawn up by the Church of England in 1563, and all priests of the Church of England were required to subscribe to the 39 Articles by an Act of Parliament in 1571. The 39 Articles distinguish the Church of England not only from the Catholic Church, but also from the Protestant churches in Europe at the time. They’re required reading for anyone interested in Anglicanism:
Article I: Of Faith in the Holy Trinity
There is but one living and true God, everlasting, without body, parts, or passions; of infinite power, wisdom, and goodness; the Maker, and Preserver of all things both visible and invisible. And in unity of this Godhead there be three Persons, of one substance, power, and eternity; the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost.
Article II: Of the Word or Son of God, which was made very Man
The Son, which is the Word of the Father, begotten from everlasting of the Father, the very and eternal God, and of one substance with the Father, took Man’s nature in the womb of the blessed Virgin, of her substance: so that two whole and perfect Natures, that is to say, the Godhead and Manhood, were joined together in one Person, never to be divided, whereof is one Christ, very God, and very Man; who truly suffered, was crucified, dead, and buried, to reconcile His Father to us, and to be a sacrifice, not only for original guilt, but also for all actual sins of men.
Article III: Of the going down of Christ into Hell
As Christ died for us, and was buried, so also is it to be believed, that he went down into Hell.
I rarely use this blog to announce bugs in Microsoft products, but there’s a new one out there, and it’s really nasty. It uses Word 2000, 2002, 2003, and 2007 to call up a weakness in jet.dll:
Last week… Symantec researchers analyzed an exploit that circumvented the .mdb file format blocking in Outlook by simply renaming the file to a format the e-mail client accepted. “In fact, it is possible to call msjet40.dll directly from Word, without using Access at all,” claimed Symantec’s Florio in a Thursday post. “In this attack, the .doc file uses mail-merge functionalities to import an external data source file, and so it effectively forces Jet to load the malicious Access sample.”
Windows Vista and Windows Server 2003 SP2 are immune to this attack, as they use a different version of jet.dll. Microsoft is working on a patch, but in the meantime they “strongly suggest” that admins disable Jet or block .mdb attachments at the gateway.
I’m not sure what I think of this week’s episode of Ashes to Ashes. On the one hand, I really couldn’t stand the main plot of this episode. On the other hand, the entire episode was kicked off with some of the best “chills and thrills” of the series so far. On to the summary:
The episode begins with an America’s Most Wanted-style reconstruction of a heinous crime: Gil Hollis (played by Matthew Macfadyen, Keeley Hawes’s real-life husband and co-star in Spooks) is a man from Birmingham that spent eight months sitting in a bathtub as a publicity stunt to raise cash for the starving children of Africa. However, he is robbed by “a man and a woman in balaclavas” as he’s going to deposit the cash. The reconstruction is beautifully (and hilariously) done, complete with actors playing hilarious caricatures of Gene, Ray and Chris. Everyone at the station gets a right kick out of it, however Alex watches from home. As Gil’s story continues on Alex’s TV, the Angel of Death interrupts the regularly-scheduled program with an important message:
He tells Alex that he’s going to take the life of someone. Alex sees herself on TV in an autopsy room with the Angel. A sheet is pulled back from a body, but she can’t see who it is. The Angel begins laughing maniacally as he writes a question mark in blood on the calendar written on the TV screen (shown above). After the Angel disappears from the TV, Alex runs to the calendar she pinned to her wall to keep herself sane… only to find the same question mark written in blood:
After the opening credits roll, the gang’s at the station. Hunt is his usual grumpy self, now that there’s considerable public pressure on him to solve the Gil Hollis robbery. Chris rolls Shaz into the main office inside the very tub that Gil used for his stunts. Gene starts taking an involuntary collection, as requested from his superiors, to replace the money that was taken from Gil. While all this is going on, Alex hears water dropping and sees small puddles on her desk from drops falling from the ceiling. She offhandedly tells Shaz that someone needs to take care of the leak, but Shaz doesn’t see any water anywhere. Foreshadowing, perhaps? Hmmmm… Gene and Alex then have an awkward moment where Gene asks her out to dinner that evening. It was painful, given that Gene Hunt is such a badass in everything else, that he’d be so aloof in asking Alex out. In any event, she agrees.
But she doesn’t agree with Hunt about Gil Holis. She initially thinks that Gil could perhaps remember more about the event using a walkthrough. So Drake and Hunt take Gil back to the crime scene, where Gil is not only unhelpful, he actually makes things worse by confusing the details. Were the robbers driving a Datsun or an Allegro? Gil doesn’t really know, because he is painfully obsessive compulsive. He’s so OCD that he can barely remember anything clearly, and his nervous tics and habits annoy the gang. Gil does, however, demand that Gene stop the car when they round a corner and see a particular billboard. Gil runs off to touches it. A group of ska kids see Gil, and start taunting him from a street corner. Gene shushes them with the threats of an ass beating.
Back at the station, the gang work through the robbery using Matchbox cars and a map of the area. Alex then speaks, setting off this gem of a conversation:
Alex: That’s an unusual MO, a male and a female…
Ray: Yeah – a bird doing blags… It’s very disturbing.
Chris: Do you think she wears heels or comfortable shoes?
Alex (to Hunt): I propose, given your reaction to the gender balance of the gang, is that this is their first job?
Hunt: Wot, new kids on the block?
Alex: Now that is a good name for a boy band!
Shaz hands Hunt a piece of paper
Hunt: Chris take that, list of dodgy second-hand car dealers in East 17…
Chris: All right! Backstreet boys!
Ray: Yeah… let’s get ’em busted…
Alex: Oh God, I’m going to scream.
Alex tries a sort of “hypnosis session” with Gil. She has him relax completely, and Gil suddenly remembers the female robber’s eyes. Dark, cold, eyes. Alex goes to the records room to look for possible female robbers with dark eyes. The Angel of Death watches over her in the room, but she doesn’t see him. I think she feels him, though.
Alex then proposes that Gene go on TV as a personal appeal for information. Gene absolutely declines. So you know what’s coming next:
Gene’s TV debut is disastrous. He looks completely uncomfortable, he flubs his lines, he won’t look directly into the camera, he uses Alex’s psychobabble without regard for what it actually means, and the interview eventually goes off the rails completely. Gene’s boss calls immediately after the interview is over, loudly berating him for his performance. Because this was all Alex’s idea, Gene puts the blame squarely on her shoulders.
Back at the station, Gene nurses a whiskey while the cleaning lady dusts his office. He rambles on to her, until he finally demands that someone turn off a boombox that’s blaring ska music. He then has a flash – because of road construction the day of the robbery, the robbers would have had to go past the ska boys’ corner. Hunt and the gang (and some backup) then go back to the ska boys and arrest them all, in an ugly scene all too familiar to anyone that knows anything about Brixton in the 1980s.
Back at the station, a near race riot breaks out. Hunt slings two of the ska kids across desks and up against walls, and suddenly threatens to staple another ska kid’s hat to his head with an industrial-strength staple gun. Hunt’s sheer anger at the ska kid scares the wee outta him, and the kid says that Holis came through, then went back behind a billboard for a few minutes, then took back off again. Hunt orders Gil back to the station for questioning immediately. Gene asks him why he went behind the billboard – to take a pee. He asks him if he took the money with him – of course he did. He asks why the ska boys remembered him going behind the billboard to pee, but don’t remember the supposed getaway car coming through 10 minutes later… Gil has no answer. Questions continue. Gene asks why Gil didn’t mention taking a pee during the walkthrough. Gil says that he can only remember the robber’s eyes, so Gene stages a line-up… and Gil picks Shaz as the robber.
This sends Hunt off on one of his rages. He takes Gil back to the interrogation room, where Gene and Ray use some good, old fashioned violence to get answers from Gil. Seriously, Gene pops his shoulder out of joint twice. It looked painful. Under extreme duress, Gil doesn’t change his story one bit. Alex screams at Gene to stop, asking him where the evidence is. In one of Hunt’s best lines ever, he replies that “evidence can always be found to back up my instinct”. Gene orders Ray to take Gil to the cells.
Alex thinks that Gene is out of control. She talks to Evan White for advice. He recommends that she turn to her superiors. He soon appears at the station, where Evan gives Gene a good dressing down. As his speech is ending, Caroline and Gene’s boss walk in. Caroline has her moment of fun dressing down Gene, which causes Alex to ask her to leave (showing her torn loyalties). Gene’s boss orders him to take some leave. As Gene leaves, he and Alex argue the entire way out of the building. He ends up rudely canceling dinner with Alex, which causes her to kick the side of his beloved Quattro. Alex goes back in the building and gets the cold shoulder from everyone there.
Alex has drinks with Evan later on. He pours them a couple of drinks while Peaches & Herb’s “Reunited” plays in the background. Alex can’t stop laughing about how cheesy the song (and Alex’s approach) is. Evan asks her if they’ve met before, somewhere in the past. Alex says that they’ve met in a different life, and tells him that he was there during a bad time of her life (the day her parent’s car exploded). Alex then gets a flash of Gene Hunt in her head, which she mentions. As soon as she mentions Hunt’s name, Evan becomes uncomfortable and says that he has to leave.
The next morning, Gene arrives back at the station, saying that he forgot something important when he left the day before – a bottle of Scotch. As he’s walking towards the door, he spies something on a videotaped new story about the Holis robbery: a stick-up Garfield plush toy in Hollis’ car window (like this) seems to have dried blood inside the suction cups. He tells the crew to have Alex look in to it when she gets in. The cops apparently have the plush in possession, because the next thing we see is Alex standing in front of the crew, asking everyone about the Garfield toy. She then notices an odd smell… the Garfield toy apparently smells faintly of a chemical toilet.
The gang rush down to the construction scene, where Alex orders Ray to stick his hand in the chemical toilet to look for the gun. Ray passes the job on to Chris, who bravely puts his arm in the muck… and finds a gun. The crew then head back to Luigi’s, where Hunt is eating a “steak and chips” pizza, to inform him that Gil apparently was behind the entire thing. Alex tells Gene that Holis has apparently fled, and the crew leave Luigi’s to look for him… only as soon as Gene tops the stairs, a gunshot rings out which smashes the wine bottle Gene was swigging from. The crew flee back downstairs, while the gunshots continue to ring out. Eventually the shots stop… and there’s a silence… and then Gill yells for Gene to come out. Alex, fearing the Angel of Death, begs Gene not to go talk to him, to which Gene replies that “[he] is not dying in a trattoria”.
Gene goes outside to talk to Gil… Alex follows. Gil laments his entire life, talking about how his wife left him during the stunt and how she thought that Gil cared more about black kids in Africa than his own children. It gets kind of sad at the this point, if it weren’t for the barbed insults Gene shouts back at Gil. Alex tries to talk Gil down, and he ends up throwing the now-empty gun at Gene and taking off. Shaz takes off after him at top speed. Gil runs back to the billboard, where he takes out a pocket knife to pull the stolen money out of a hollow beam. Shaz yells at him to stop, and he turns around, just as Shaz lands on him. The knife penetrates Shaz’s belly, and she hits the ground just as Gene and Alex show up. The poor thing just lies there on the ground, freaking out and crying for her mother. Shaz suddenly sees the Angel of Death, and cries out that she’s afraid of clowns. This causes Alex to scream at her, telling her that she must fight back, no matter how much it hurts. Alex tries CPR as Shaz drifts away. Chris, who has been watching this on bended knee, tries talking to Shaz, then just starts bawling.
Before anything else happens next, the thought hits you: “Man, Gil’s now a cop-killer. They’re gonna beat the shit outta that guy“. And that’s exactly what happens:
As the ass-kicking starts, Alex goes back to work on Shaz. The editing in this scene is fantastic – fists fly in every direction: Chris’s on Gil and Alex’s on Shaz. Chris screams as he beats Gill, Alex screams at Shaz to keep fighting. Shaz suddenly takes a deep breath, and Alex is filled with joy at having beaten the Angel of Death. She’s also filled with anger at the ass beating that Gene and crew just dealt out. She apologizes to Gil for the abuse, who tells her not to worry about it, that life just sucks for everyone.
Back at her place, Alex watches the TV, where her father is reading one of the Narnia books to her as a small child. She turns the TV off at a knock on the door. It’s Evan, who’s come over to see if she was OK. Alex starts babbling the truth to him, saying that no one died today, which proves that she’s in control, which means that she can save the life of her parents in two days, which means that she can go home… “to you and my parents”. Evan obviously doesn’t know what the hell she’s talking about, so he tells her not to think so much.
At the station the next morning, Gene apologizes to Viv, who had complained mightily about Gene allowing Chris and Ray to beat up on Gil. Viv says that it’s OK, that “you [Gene] had your reasons”.
Although I’m not nearly as impressed with Ashes to Ashes as I am with Life On Mars, I’m still eagerly awaiting the season finale THIS THURSDAY!
MUSIC HEARD THIS EPISODE
The Clash – “Police On My Back”
Michael Jackson – “One Day In Your Life”
David Bowie – “Fame”
Peaches & Herb – “Reunited”
Gioachino Rossini – William Tell Overture
Marshall Hain – “Dancing in the City”
The soundtrack to the TV show Ashes to Ashes was released in the UK on March 17th, 2008. Here’s a track listing:
1. Introduction – Dialogue: Alex Drake
2. David Bowie – Ashes To Ashes
3. Visage – Fade To Grey
4. The Human League- Love Action
5. Duran Duran – Girls On Film
6. Dexys Midnight Runners – Geno
7. OMD – Souvenir
8. The Stranglers – No More Heroes
9. The Clash – I Fought The Law
10. Heaven 17 – (We Don’t Need This) Fascist Groove Thing
11. Interlude – Dialogue: You’re Nicked
12. Edmund Butt – Gene Genie (Gene’s theme from `Ashes To Ashes’)
13. The Passions – In Love With A German Film Star
14. Altered Images – Happy Birthday
15. Joe Jackson – It’s Different For Girls
16. Flying Lizards – Money
17. The Beat – Doors Of Your Heart
18. The Ruts – Staring At The Rude Boys
19. The Teardrop Explodes – Reward
20. Tenpole Tudor – Swords Of A Thousand Men
21. Bryan Ferry – Let’s Stick Together
22. Ultravox – Vienna
23. Edmund Butt – Title Music from `Ashes To Ashes’
24. Epilogue: Dialogue: Fandabydozy
You can buy it from Amazon UK for £8.98 here. I mention it today because it’s now “out there” (wink-wink!)
When you’ve got nothing else to post… post another beautiful picture of Amy Winehouse:
Winehouse is suffering from a bacterial infection called impetigo. The disease, which is normally found in grade school children, is “usually caused by the same streptococcus strain that causes strep throat, Streptococcus pyogenes“. Interestingly, the disease is spread by either “direct contact” or by “nasal carriers”. So, ummmm, you could get it by sharing a straw with an infected cokehead. Would Amy do that? Naaaaaaaaa!
Did you know that the FX series The Riches was back for a second season? Neither did I! In fact, I missed it completely, and didn’t even know they were coming back until I saw it… uhhhhh… available for download at a completely legitimate website. Ahem. I don’t have time to do a big write-up today, so I’ll just give ya a quick summary I ganked off Wikipedia:
On the behest of Wayne, Dahlia and the children hit the road with Cherien’s mother, and Nina, who has decided to leave Eden Falls. Wayne stays behind to clean up the mess created by Pete Mintzy. Meanwhile, Hugh offers Wayne a part of a lucrative land deal.
The episode was pretty good. They tried to cram a lot of stuff into this episode, and it suffices to say that, after this, life will not be the same for the “Rich family”. It just couldn’t. Here’s why:
Charlie has only been the manager of Hotel Babylon for a few episodes now, but he’s already feeling the strain. The latest reports from the home office show that the Babylon is hemorrhaging money – especially when compared to the Hotel Babylon franchises in New York, Paris, Rome and Barcelona. The home office is really tightening the belt on Charlie, which makes it all the more difficult to attract the high-end clientèle that Babylon relies on. And sadly, the Babylon’s latest big event can’t be publicized: an auction of extremely high-end jewelery. We’re talking about top-shelf stuff here, with single stones costing millions of pounds. Tony is a bit wary. He’s heard through his concierge network that someone is planning to rob a London hotel in the near future. Charlie – who has been in prison, remember – is wary too, but tells Tony to keep working on it and get back in touch with him is something concrete shows up.
As part of the cost-cutting measures, Charlie tells James that a “independent sommelier” is coming in to rate the Babylon’s wine cellar. James is adamantly opposed to an outsider coming in and rating “his” cellar… until he meets the sommelier – the sultry Heidi. After some initial friction, James and Heidi really hit it off. Really. You can almost smell the sexual tension between the two.
Meanwhile, the housekeeping staff are in an uproar, as they haven’t been paid. Is this a simple mix-up, or is there something sinister happening at the home office?
Charlie goes off to investigate the screw-up, just as Hutch (Kwame Kwei-Armah), a diamond merchant that’s become friends with Charlie over the years, shows up, slinging cash in every direction. The staff are happy to see Hutch – who wouldn’t be happy to see a customer throwing £20 notes all over the place? – but there’s something “up” with Hutch. He wants to get out of the diamond trade, you see, and the auction is his last big hurrah. One of the stones up for sale was stolen from a Jewish family during WWII. Hutch has lined up a deal with the family, who now live in New York. They will pay him £10 million for the stone, so if Hutch can buy it for £5 million, he’ll instantly double his money – which will allow him to go and do “bigger and better things”.
However, it’s not entirely clear that the auction will take place at all. Mr. Murray, owner of the auction house, has been lurking around the hotel, sneaking in to guest rooms (and even Charlie’s office!) and, generally, poking huge holes in Babylon’s security. He accosts Charlie about the lack of security, who really doesn’t have an answer for him. The new guy – Jack Harrison – offers to look into getting some extra security for the auction. Which he does… but that will cost £20,000, and the home office has frozen the hotel’s “contingency fund”. Oh, and while they sent a memo about changing the dates the housekeeping staff get paid, they can’t promise that the housekeeping staff will be paid the next day.
With the fate of the auction up in the air, the housekeeping staff ready to quit, and his friend Hutch leaning on him to make the auction happen, Charlie calls his old cell mate Terry McCaffrey (Alan Ford):
Terry is a loan shark. He offers Charlie £50,000 at 10% interest (for a single days’ loan!). Charlie, feeling that he has no other option, takes him up on his offer.
As you might guess, things go downhill from there. Terry’s men infiltrate the hotel, and start harassing staff about getting their money back. When Jackie goes to investigate after a maid is attacked, she is attacked too. This causes her to freak out… and kill one of Terry’s men! As you might guess, this is just too much for Jackie… so she quits! I had no idea that Natalie Mendoza was quitting the show! What a shame! Also, although the auction goes off without a hitch, it turns out that “Heidi” wasn’t an “independent sommelier” but a con artist. She arrived at Babylon the day of the auction, knowing that the staff would be busy keeping the diamonds secure. She claimed to have a delivery of wine for James, but instead rolled a pallet of empty wine cases into the cellar and made off with Babylon’s wine collection (valued at £500,000!).
Luckily for the hotel, Jack suspected that something was “up” when he checked Heidi in. She’s Australian, you see, and she used the word “super”, which Australians apparently never use. Whatever. She set off his “spidey sense”, and he managed to save the hotel’s valuable wine collection. And Hutch won the diamond, so he’ll be able to start his new life. And when Terry comes back to the hotel for the final “leg breaking” time, Hutch comes through with a check for Terry. Charlie was apparently wanting to quit Babylon anyway, but Hutch’s gesture endears Charlie to him, and so our hero is conflicted. Charlie finds Anna and asks her if she’ll drop her boyfriend to be with him. When she says no, Charlie makes his decision. He calls a quick staff meeting before riding off into the sunset:
I knew that Max Beesley (Charlie) was leaving, but I had no idea it would be so soon! So – how’s Hotel Babylon going to be without Charlie? Pretty piss-poor if you ask me. It’s not like Beesley is Laurence Olivier and Babylon is Hamlet. But still, without Charlie, the show lacks a central character. Jack is all well and good, but he’s hardly a Charlie, is he? Oh well, season 3 of this show will be my last, if it’s not the last for the show in general. It’s still entertaining, but it’s lacking… something. Just for kicks, though, here’s a cap of Anna trying on a dress that Ned bought her:
No, I didn’t forget to do a recap of last week’s Hotel Babylon. I’ve been busy working on some things for clients and helping Lisa’s dad take down his old deck. And, truth be told, I just didn’t care for this episode at all. There are two sure signs that a show is going downhill: when “cute” children are added to the cast and when music numbers are added to pad out the show. Last week’s episode of Babylon had both.
Here’s a summary of the plot:
There’s a new phenomenon called “Princess Scrunchie” that’s taking British schoolgirls by storm. “Princess Scrunchie” is supposed to be bigger than Harry Potter and Hannah Montana put together, you see. And Hotel Babylon has been tasked with holding auditions for a West End musical based on the Scrunchie character. Thus, the hotel is overrun with cute little blonde English girls doing their best JonBenet Ramsey impressions. One girl stands out, though: Tony’s daughter, who has snuck away from school to audition for the show. This is somewhat surprising, as while Tony has mentioned his family on several occasions, we’ve never seen them before.
Gino’s brother Ginelli also shows up. He’s younger and much better looking, and he can charm the knickers off any girl he wants. He also tends bar in a style that would make Tom Cruise’s character in Cocktail hide his head in shame. Early in the episode, Gino asks Ginelli for help, as the hotel is packed with booze-hungry reporters; Ginelli takes over the bar completely, drawing a crowd with his “mad mixing skillz”. Charlie sees this, and appoints him “junior bartender”. Gino sees his little brother taking away the livelihood he’s spent years putting together.
Charlie has also been interviewing trainees for a management position… only we didn’t know this until Jack Harrison, the final candidate, shows up. Charlie gives Jack a test: be the sole point of contact for Mr. Delaney, one of the hotel’s most difficult guests. Mr Delaney is rich and American, and probably in the IT industry. He vaguely reminded me of Larry Ellison (especially when he demands a Japanese tea service in his room, complete with geisha girls and musicians performing “authentic” Japanese music). Will Jack fold under the pressure? Or will he thrive – and eventually take over the show from Max Beesley (Charlie), who has said that this season will be his last on Babylon?
The only bright spot in this episode comes once again from Anna. She’s hurrying to the morning meeting after doing some light shopping when she faints… only to be “saved” by a handsome young man. As luck and lazy writing would have it, “Mr Wright” (get it?) is staying at the hotel. He even comes to Anna’s rescue again later in the episode. But then Mr Wright is called away unexpectedly… is this the end of a short romance? Or wil he come back to be with Anna? The answer:
Most of this episode revolves around Tony and his daughter. At first, Tony is adamantly opposed to his daughter being in the play. Even after she and Tony have the “but I really want to!” talk, he’s still opposed to it. But then he sees how awful most of the competition is, and he truly believes that his daughter is the best singer of the bunch. But there’s trouble afoot: the mother of the most popular girl – Scarlett Adams – is sleeping with the producer. And Scarlett herself gets the rest of the girls drunk to sabotage their auditions. All this sets Tony’s “justice meter” off, and, incredibly, he interrupts the auditions to bring attention to the shenanigans! Sure, like that would happen in the real world! At the end of the day, though, Tony and his daughter are brought closer together, and isn’t father-daughter love more important than being in a West End play? Is it? I’m seriously asking here.
James and Jackie help Gino by coming up with a bunch of cockamamie plans to “persuade” Ginelli to leave of his own accord. The plans don’t work, but Ginelli gets the hint and leaves anyway. And Jack finally blows his stack on Mr Delaney; of course, rather than Mr Delaney complaining to Charlie and Charlie escorting him of the hotel property, Mr Delaney is “impressed” with the boy’s backbone and actually likes him. Couldn’t see that coming from a mile away, could ya?
Hell’s bells… it was bad. So bad that I just can’t write any more about it. So here’s another picture of Anna (Emma Pierson) as a “palate cleanser”:
The episode coming up this week (well, later today), should be much more interesting. Alan Ford (“Brick Top” from Snatch) guests as some shady character, possibly a loan shark, and Hotel Babylon might be the target of robbers!