Ashes to Ashes: Season 1, Episode 5

The up and down season continues on Ashes to Ashes. After last week’s kickass episode, we’re back to another snoozer. In fact, I’m so disappointed with last night’s episode that I’m not going to write up one of my infamous 15,000 word summaries. Instead, I want to talk about the series in general: its strong points, its weak points, and where I think the whole thing is going. But I can’t just jump in to that. I have to give you some sort of write up of last night’s episode. So let me quickly get that out of the way first:

DCI Hunt and the gang are out to bust a drug dealer and pimp called Simon Neary. They’ve followed him to a hotel, and Hunt is certain that the briefcase that Neary carries is full of either drugs or cash to buy drugs. Technical problems with the team’s surveillance equipment cause an overconfident Hunt to hastily break down the door of Neary’s room. But instead of finding heroin, cocaine, or a giant pile of £50 notes, they find a young man… and a bunch of assorted sex toys. Neary, it seems, is gay.

Hunt goes back to the informant that gave him the tip about the “drug deal”, and this leads to yet another classic Gene Hunt exchange:

Hunt: Reeks, you maggot! I gave you a fiver for solid information and you, you give me a suitcase full of dildoes!

Reeks: Dope!

Hunt: Dildoes! The biggest of which I will shove so far up your ass it will give your tonsils a treat if you don’t give me something better!

Reeks tells Hunt that he (Reeks) is honestly out of the loop with Neary and his gang, but he’s heard rumors about a Neary-brokered gun deal going down soon. This leads Alex onto yet another tangent: if she can stop guns from getting into London, maybe she stop the gun that shot her from getting into the city, too. And so she can then go home.

Most of the remainder of the episode involves Hunt and Drake working on Marcus, Neary’s boyfriend, the same guy that the crew busted in on at the hotel. As you might guess, Alex is the only decent, “progressive” member of the crew. Gene and Ray simply can’t understand why someone would want to be gay; Drake, being from 2008, simply accepts Marcus’s homosexuality and tries playing the “good cop” angle with him.

As you can probably guess, Hunt and company eventually catch Neary (although perhaps not in the way you’d expect). While the episode was decent television (far better than just about anything on American TV these days), there wasn’t much to like about this episode… except a scene where Ray (of all people) is tasked to go undercover and hit on Neary (so that Marcus will see it and realize that Neary isn’t the great boyfriend he thinks he is). Ray, although completely uncomfortable with the entire concept, nevertheless does a pretty good job of flirting with Neary… until Simon whispers something into Ray’s ear which causes him to freak out:

Ashes to Ashes (Ep 5, 1)

Oh, and since no episode of Ashes to Ashes is ever complete without Keeley Hawes dressing up like a tart, let’s go ahead and get that out of the way:

Ashes to Ashes (Ep 5, 2)

* * *

Don’t get me wrong… I’m a red-blooded American male that enjoys watching girls dressed up like tarts on TV. I think that Keeley Hawes is kind of hot, too, in that “she’s not a supermodel, but there’s just something about her” kind of way. You’d think that seeing Keeley Hawes in skimpy outfits every week would be be win-win…

But it’s not. It’s just so… blatant that it’s getting old. Consider the “bra scene” I posted a picture of in last week’s recap. The exact same shot I posted at the last graphic in that recap was featured prominently in the “On the next episode” teaser at the end of episode 3. It was also featured prominently in the “Last Time…” recap at the beginning of this episode.

To the people at Kudos Productions and the BBC, I say this: we get it. Keeley Hawes is hot. She looks good in skimpy outfits. We all know that sex sells, and I’m sure you’re picking up additional viewers because of it (note: they are). But it’s getting a bit… contrived, don’t you think? What’s up next week – is a mobster going to celebrate a birthday, which causes DI Drake to work undercover by jumping out of the cake? Are the Triads going to try and corner London’s silk market, which will somehow lead to Drake wearing a skimpy kimono as she chases one of them into a walk-in freezer? A sudden rash of armed robberies at a nudist colony, perhaps? Maybe the IRA will bomb a latex factory, which causes Alex – just arrived back from the nudist colony – to be covered from head to toe in liquid latex… OK, I’m being silly, but you get my point.

In Life On Mars, Sam Tyler has no idea why he was sent back to 1973. During the course of series 1, he gets closer and closer to what he thinks is the reason, but this develops over the course of 4 or 5 episodes, and is ultimately rejected. In Ashes to Ashes, Alex thinks everything is the reason she was sent back in time. If 1981 Drake were to hear that Roundtree were developing a new flavor of Kit Kat candy bar, she’d immediately have a trippy flashback to her dad buying a Kit Kat on the way home from work the day he was murdered. If only she could stop Roundtree from introducing that new flavor if Kit Kat, maybe, just maybe, he dad wouldn’t stop for one on the way home – thus, changing history’s timeline and helping Alex find her way home! It’s tiring. But I guess that Alex has a different personality than Sam, so I guess that I can deal with it. But still, she’s supposed to be a psychologist and everything – you think she’d know better, right?

Thankfully, Caroline Price (Alex’s mother) made only a brief appearance in this episode. Many of the fan sites I’ve visited seem to actively dislike the whole “Alex has Mommy Issues” storyline. It didn’t bother me at first – in fact, I didn’t even really think about it until I read about it on a fan’s blog – but I can see where it would annoy some. It’s obvious to the viewers that Alex has gone back in time for some reason related to her parents, so I suppose that it only makes sense that she would run in to her mother there… and yes, I can see where Alex would have “Mommy Issues”. Of course, it’s highly convenient that Alex would be placed on Gene’s team, which, for whatever reason, is always running in to Caroline Price. You see this conceit in a lot of TV shows and movies – someone keeps running into someone else in a city of 10 million people. It boggles the mind that it could happen with a police force numbering in the thousands. Aren’t there corrupt cops in other London police districts that Caroline could be busting ? I guess that Kudos isn’t above using that tired old cliché.

But the writers need to tread carefully with this storyline. I can see this getting very old, very quickly. When I was a teen, I had a friend that hated her life, and talked about suicide all the freaking time. One night, she called me and said that she had swallowed a bunch of pills. I asked what type of pills they were (Valium), how many she’d taken (11 or 12), and how long ago she’d taken them (around 10 minutes before she’d called me). I just told her to take a spoon, stick it in the back of her mouth, throw the pills up and go to sleep. I became a pariah for a while when everyone at school found out what I’d said. I was the “uncaring friend”, the “jerk that told her to throw up just to get her off the phone”. No one ever stopped to listen to my side of the story: that when someone calls you and talks about suicide, you take it seriously. After the 300th time they’ve called you and talked about suicide, it just gets old. It’s not that you don’t care, it’s that getting a phone call like that drains the life (and adrenaline) out of you. And once someone has pulled that stunt 300 times, well… you just start to ignore it. And I hope that doesn’t happen to Alex – that she whines and whines about her mother so much that everyone just presses the fast-forward button on their DVR remotes.

Another thing that bothers me is the lack of (for a better word) the “supernatural” in Ashes to Ashes. In Life On Mars, 1973 Sam started hearing the voices in 2006 Sam’s hospital room almost immediately. He was routinely “visited” by the Test Card F girl and a lecturer from Open University (a British “distance learning” institution that used television-based courses from 1971 to 2006). He seemed to be in almost constant contact with either the 2006 world or the “supernatural” world. Yet, while Alex has seen The Clown on several occasions, and seems to have regular conversations with her 2006 daughter, Molly, when she’s alone, she hasn’t been contacted once by anyone from the present day. Of course, in 2008 she was dying alone in an abandoned barge on the Thames, so it’s possible that she hasn’t heard any voices in 1981 because no one’s found her in 2008 yet. But still, it seemed like there was always contact going on between 1973 Sam and “what was not 1973″. Ashes to Ashes seems to be missing this… a lot!

And speaking of “lots”… this episode in particular was heavy on the ham-fisted moralizing. Yes, Kudos, we get it: homosexuals used to have a bad time of it. Although life in 2008 is far from perfect for most gay people, we get that heterosexual people in 1981 weren’t much more evolved than medieval peasants. I’m surprised that Ray and Chris didn’t want to have Marcus burned at the stake for “gaycraft”, or waterboarded in Holy Water… or something. Drake’s “you can’t ‘catch’ gay” speech at the station might have been innovative TV in 1981, or even 1991. But the same speech today just made me roll my eyes. It came off like something cribbed from an after school special. Imagine watching a prime-time drama in the USA in 2008 and hearing a character say “black people are people, just like whites! They have families! They have dreams!”. Yes, we all agree on that. Even the most racist among us know that black people are indeed people. We finally gave up the fiction that they might not be in the 1960s; hearing a speech saying just that 40 years later would be a bit… childish, I think. And the scene at the end of this episode – where Alex spots Kaposi’s sarcoma on Marcus, thus foreshadowing the arrival of the AIDS epidemic in Britain – was just the little bit that pushed me over the edge. There was a film about the AIDS epidemic called And The Band Played On (based on a book of the same name). The film was nothing more than two hours of self-righteous speechifying by Matthew Modine’s character. This episode of Ashes to Ashes wasn’t nearly as blatant as And The Band Played On, but it was close, even though in 2008 it didn’t even have to be.

All this moralizing is in direct opposition to what made us fall in love with DCI Gene Hunt in the first place. Hunt is unabashedly of his time. He’ll slap a suspect around, then slap a female police officer on the ass on his way out of the interrogation room. He drinks whiskey and smokes cigarellos at his desk, then goes to a smoky pub for a lunch of sausages and mashed potatoes drenched in gravy. He thinks that John Wayne was the perfect male role model and his car really is an extension of his penis. He lives in an age before low-fat diets, carb counting menus, sexual harassment lawsuits, political correctness seminars, smoking bans, drug tests and talking about your feelings. Hunt doesn’t even know what “saturated fats” are, much less give a damn about them. Hunt has a dark streak in him, a prejudice that automatically assumes that “darkies” are criminals, that “poofters” are depraved perverts and women police officers are only there to get him coffee and jiggle on demand. But yet, there’s an inherent goodness in him, an ability to see past his own prejudices and eventually do the right thing. Hunt’s the kind of cop that would beat a black suspect senseless, but once he found out that the black guy was framed, he’d dedicate himself to finding the actual perpetrators with a vengeance like something out of the Old Testament. As mentioned in previous recaps, Hunt also has a spidey sense and intelligence that Ray and Chris lack. Sure – Hunt would immediately suspect an illegal immigrant of a crime, but he’d also be the first to get a gut feeling that something wasn’t right about his suspicion. Where Chris and Ray would keep working immigrant until they found something they could hang on him, Hunt would realize that something didn’t add up. All this over-the-top moralizing in Ashes to Ashes creates a tension that wasn’t quite there in Life On Mars. We loved Hunt because of who he was: a simple-minded badass. But now we’ve got the writers making us feel bad for liking him.

OK, so that’s about it for today. However, I did one to point out one last thing about Ashes, and it’s not necessarily a bad thing. The writers have a true gem in Montserrat Lombard, who plays Shaz Granger in the show. She’s a young WPC (Woman Police Constable) that apparently has a little “thing” going on with Chris. She’s cute, she’s bright and she knows far more about the world than you’d expect her to. And she’s woefully underutilized in Ashes to Ashes. She’s mainly used for comic relief – like last week when she ruined Ray and Chris’s big reveal by knowing the name of an obscure left-wing group. She’s also used as a foil with Chris; where Chris represents the “old school” way of thinking, Shaz gently explains the “modern” view of things, like women’s rights, to him. The only problem is that that’s all her character is used for. In last week’s “reveal ruiner”, she was sitting at her desk when Chris and Ray came in with big smiles on their faces. They’re proud to have figured out that “RWF” stood for “Revolutionary Worker’s Front”. But before they can tell anyone that, Shaz says “RWF? You mean the Revolutionary Worker’s Front? My dad was big into the trade unions, so that’s how I know”. Shaz then walks off, only to more or less disappear for the rest of the episode. It’s a shame, because I think Shaz would make a great addition to the show. Well, more than she’s used now, that is.


Madness – “One Step Beyond”
Simple Minds -“I Travel”
XTC – “Sgt. Rock”
Killing Joke – “Turn To Red”
Donna Summer – “I Feel Love”
John Davis & The Monster Orchestra – “Love Magic”
The Human League – “Don’t You Want Me”
Sarah Brightman & Hot Gossip – “I Lost My Heart To A Starship Trooper”
Soft Cell – “Where Did Our Love Go?”

Welcome to Heathrow!

So… I was watching a downloaded version of the British show Dispatches last night. It’s a news\documentary program, similar to 60 Minutes or 20/20, although unlike those two shows, Dispatches focuses on one topic per episode.

The episode I watched last night was all about the horrible state of Britain’s airports (well, specifically, the airports owned by BAA, the private company that runs Heathrow, Gatwick, and Stansted airports, among others). At one point in the show, a YouTube video was shown of the unbelievably long security line at Heathrow. I freeze-framed the opening shot to get the name of the video… which is “The World’s Unofficial Longest Line”… and I believe that the subject matter lives up to the promise of its title:

Hotel Babylon (Series 3, Episode 3)

Can money really buy you happiness?

It’s crunch time for Charlie. Hotel Babylon hasn’t hosted in a major event in some time, and the board of directors are on Charlie’s ass to get something big in the hotel, pronto. Luckily for Charlie, Emily has worked her magic: hotel tycoon Donald Stern (Gary Waldhorn) has a daughter named Naomi (Katie McGuinness), who’s getting married to American billionaire Earl Archer (Michael Landes). Because Naomi spent most of her life in her father’s hotels, she wants the wedding held at another hotel… and Hotel Babylon fits the bill perfectly!

Emily breathlessly tells Charlie the good news, but in all her wisdom didn’t bother telling anyone else. So now the staff of Hotel Babylon have to work overtime to make this the “society wedding” of the year. Charlie is happy that the hotel will make a lot of money off the event, but isn’t happy that Babylon’s hotel planner is out of the country on vacation. He’s also not happy that a book launch arranged at the hotel for black weight-loss guru Brad Shelford (Don Gilet) will now be rushed out of the way for the wedding. Nevertheless, Charlie agrees to holding the wedding at the hotel, and comes down to meet the Stern family:

Hotel Babylon (S3, E3 - 01)

Just as the family is meeting Charlie, Naomi squeals with delight at the sight of Emily. And now we see how Emily got the wedding for Babylon: she went to school with Naomi. So Emily once again uses her social network to assist the hotel. Which is fine, I guess, but at some point Emily’s going to run out of friends. And we’ll see how well that works. And poor Anna – the girl can smell money. Really. When the Sterns arrive, Anna flits all around them like a butterfly, giggling like a school girl on ether at their jokes, and trying to fit in as best she can (and, of course, she can’t).

Daniel and Charlie go to his office for a chat. Daniel, as a hotel tycoon, gives Charlie a bunch of useless “tips” for running a hotel. Meanwhile, Jackie and the housekeeping crew clear the 9th floor for all the wedding guests… by “inspecting” them with a Geiger counter. They said that some Russian diplomats had stayed in the rooms earlier that week, and that they had possibly been contaminated. In the staff canteen (cafeteria), Jackie and a member of housekeeping staff claim to have cleared the floor in a record 7 minutes. Meanwhile, Charlie comes in and announced that, due to the expected onslaught of tips, that he’s arranging a “trunk” (tip pool) for all the employees so that everyone can make a mint off the wedding. The staff have to decide who to trust with all the money. Geno is out, because the staff thinks he can’t count. Tony volunteers, but Jackie reminds everyone of just how much Tony “looks out for himself”. The staff settle on Ben as the “gatekeeper” for all the money.

Earl Archer soon arrives, and Anna fawns all over him. Emily appears and introduces herself to Earl as the wedding planner. Earl thanks them both, and hands each a couple of £20 notes. Anna is more than happy to take them, but Emily looks slightly annoyed. Her look turns to worry as Daniel shows up. Daniel says that things are hectic, but going well, and that it’s all worth it for his daughter, to which Earl replies that he (Daniel) coddles her too much (and he doesn’t say that in a joking voice, either. He’s serious). The look on Emily’s face says that she’s worried about her friend marrying a jerk. Anna, looking only at dollar and pound signs, is oblivious.

The tips start pouring in as the wedding couple hold a reception. Tony reminds Ben that he’s in charge of the money, and that the staff will “stuff him in the boot of an unmarked car” if anything happens.

Meanwhile, in another part of the hotel, Brad Shelford is holding a pre-book signing pep talk. At the end of the talk, he looks across the room at his girlfriend – a gorgeous blonde, kind of a “prettier Cameon Diaz” – who salutes him. James interrupts the book signing to introduce himself to Shelford and tell him that he’s available any time to discuss his dietary needs. As he’s walking away, Geno and celebrity chef Otto Clark stop him. Isn’t it odd, they wonder, why James, the dedicated epicurean, is so nice to an “anti-food zealot” like Shelford? James shrugs off their concerns. Geno sees Shelford kissing his beautiful girlfriend and wonders what he (Shelford) has that he (Geno) doesn’t.

Tony has a “gut feeling” that something isn’t right with Donald Stern, so he calls a friend to see what’s going on with the hotel magnate. Emily, meanwhile, is sitting at the dinner table with the Stern party, enjoying a rich dinner and champagne. Anna, once again trying to inject herself in with her social betters, attempts to hand Naomi some shoes that have just arrived via courier. Emily tells Anna to take them up to the bride’s room. On her way up, Anna runs into Charlie, who suggests that they “meet” in the bride’s room. Before he goes, though, he takes a long, hard look at Emily partying it up with the guests.

Brad has moved into the bar, where he’s enjoying a drink with his hot girlfriend. Geno starts talking to him, and soon falls under his spell. Brad gives Geno an autographed copy of his book. James comes over to review the menu (and again is strangely defensive of Shelford), when Brad’s girlfriend comes back from the restroom and whispers something in his ear. The two take off upstairs, Brand’s menu still unchosen.

Charlie meets Anna in the bride’s room, where she is admiring Naomi’s wedding dress. The two talk about getting married, and Charlie says that he’s never thought about getting married. Ever. It’s obvious to everyone (except Charlie) that Anna wants to get married. Charlie tells Anna that he wouldn’t want to “change what we have” (a romantic “friends with benefits” situation) with any talk of marriage. You can almost see the wind come out of Anna sails when he tells her this. She’s obviously disappointed, but won’t tell him directly. She bolts from the room as quickly as she can.

Hotel Babylon (S3, E3 - 02)

Geno, apparently, has fallen for Brad’s spiel hook, line and sinker. He uses his time during a break to visit Brad’s website… only to find pictures of James. James, it turns out, used to be quite fat (look for the horrible Photoshop job they did making James fat!). His main weakness was “macaroni cheese”. Geno, of course, shows the entire staff the website, and everyone gets a laugh out of it.

Meanwhile, up in Brad’s room, his girlfriend, Carla, has plans to go out. The two have a heated discussion about it, and it’s made clear that Carla has “been out” many times before. In fact, going out on the town and spending huge wads of Brad’s money seems to be her primary activity. She asks him for some money. He hands her a wad of £20 notes. She says it’s not enough (this is after she spent £8000 on a necklace and £3000 on a ring earlier that day). Brad opens his wallet and hands her some more money. Before putting the wallet away, Brad stops and looks at a picture of his “old family”. Brad, it seems, was married and had a family before. Carla tells him to look at the picture and remember how unhappy he was back then. But was he really that unhappy? He was certainly obese back then… but he had beautiful children and a wife that loved him. James knocks on Brad’s door to ask him once again about the menu. And once again, Brad blows him off. James thanks him for staying at the Babylon, calling himself a “loyal acolyte”.

Otto then catches Ben taking some money from the tip pool. He threatens to tell the rest of the staff… unless Ben hands him £3000 from the tip pool (which is odd, since Otto is a “celebrity chef” and everything). The two have a long conversation where Ben tries to do the right thing but ends up being persuaded by Otto into giving him the money. Otto heads back to the kitchen before leaving, and just then a huge room service order comes in. Otto makes a nasty comment about it and then leaves. James becomes concerned when he hears which room its for. Can Brad be falling off the wagon?

Back at the front desk, Ben tells Anna that tons of complaints have been coming in about noise on the 9th floor. She goes up to check it out. Tony, meanwhile, asks Ben about the tips. Ben says they’re “a bit light”, which Tony doesn’t believe. Tony also knows from people at other hotels that Otto has a gambling problem, and often borrows money from other employees and doesn’t pay them back. Just at that moment, Charlie walks by, and Tony tells him that something is definitely afoot with Donald Stern, and he’ll have all the details later.

Anna goes upstairs to check out the noise… and finds a “hen party” (bachelorette party) in full swing. The bride to be is nearly passed out of the sofa… and who’s the ringleader of the other girls? Yep – Emily. All dressed up in toilet paper (??), she leads the party girls out of the room to “take the party to the street”:

Hotel Babylon (S3, E3 - 03)

I hate her. I especially hate her after she sprayed some hotel guests with a fire extinguisher on the way out to “take the party to the street” (what does a rich, private school graduate know about “the street”, anyway?). Luckily, Jackie and Anna stop her and pull her into an empty guest room to sleep off the drunkening. Emily passes out on the sofa. On the way to the elevators, Anna asks Jackie about Charlie and his feelings about marriage. Jackie tells Anna that Charlie isn’t the marrying type. James, meanwhile, has delivered the room service to Brad. James tries cheering Brad up… mainly by using quotes from Brad’s own books. Brad appears to be happier after the talk… but is he?

The next morning, Jackie and Anna go to wake Emily up. She’s indeed nursing a hangover from hell. As the three of them make small talk, Emily reveals that her father is Damion Rushbie, another British hotel magnate. The three walk down to the staff canteen, where Emily gets a standing ovation for her “performance” the night before. James, having gotten himself a light, sensible breakfast, walks around the dining room… only to see Brad wolfing down a full English breakfast. When James asks Brad what’s going on, he announces that he’s decided to change his life yet again. Brad realized that he was happier when he was fat, so he kicks blondie to the “kerb” and invites his family to the hotel… which is kind of bizarre, because his wife is apparently happy to see him. I don’t know about you, but I don’t know too many big black women that would tearfully embrace a husband that walked out his family as soon as big money and white women came calling… but then maybe that’s just the company I keep.

Otto walks through the front door of the hotel with a giant scowl on his face. Tony sees him and asks if his “winning streak” is continuing. Tony knows who took the money. He’s also found out about Donald Stern, too. Apparently Stern made some huge investments in hotels and resorts in Eastern Europe, and apparently no one in Eastern Europe can afford to stay there. They’re all failing. Badly. So badly, in fact, that Stern is broke. Tony hands Charlie a press release that will be released Monday, announcing Stern’s bankruptcy.

Charlie calls Emily into his office, where he tells her that he’s canceling the wedding and asking the Sterns to leave. Emily is, of course, horrified. Not only are these people A-list guests, they’re her friends. Charlie says that the hotel can get most of their money back by making the guests pay their bills from the night before and also from the £45,000 deposit… only Emily tells Charlie that she waved the deposit! Emily says that they need the wedding, as rich people talk and the wedding will be in the newspapers. Charlie asks her how they’re going to pay for the wedding without the deposit. Emily says that they’ll “do what they least expect”.

Tony then forces Ben to show him the tip pool. It’s obviously light. Ben doesn’t want to rat on Otto, so Tony calls a staff meeting about it. Ben admits to taking £250 for a plane ticket for his mother, so that she can visit his ailing grandmother in Antigua. Geno points out the there’s far more than £250 missing. Tony, who has been watching Ben and Otto like a hawk, takes Ben aside, where he admits that Otto blackmailed him into giving him the £3000.

Charlie takes Donald aside and confirms that he’s not only broke, but that he used Emily to get a decent rate on the hotel and also wave the deposit. Donald claims that no one else in his party knows about it, and that he did it because he loves his daugther and he didn’t want Earl Archer finding out. Charlie isn’t unsympathetic to his situation, and with the ceremony taking place in less than 20 minutes, he feels like he has no choice but to let it go ahead.

Back in the canteen, Tony confronts Otto about the missing money. He denies all knowledge of it at first, but then admits it… just as Charlie walks in and tells everyone to stop arguing over the money – the hotel will keep all the tips to help pay the bill. Tony backs Charlie up, saying that he’s sure that Charlie will work out some form on compensation. And he does – after the wedding dinner (which has been downgraded to “shabby chic” fish & chips), Charlie announces that all of the staff will get a bit of a holiday, as the staff from one of Stern’s hotels will take over two days while the Babylon’s staff enjoy first-class dining, massages, room service… Ahhh, it must be nice!

Otto, by the way, refuses to “put his name” on the fish and chip dinner, and storms out of the restaurant… but not before hacking a plant to death with one of his precious knives (something no real chef would ever do). Good riddance – Otto was a jerk!

The episode ends with Anna leaving the hotel… looking good, too:

Hotel Babylon (S3, E3 - 04)

Charlie stops her in the lobby and tries to talk with her. He asks her if he said anything to offend her. She say no, that he only said what he thought. It’s apparently over between Anna and Charlie.

Wow – that was fast!

Diablo Cody… Topless!

Diablo Cody is a blogger, author and screenwriter that recently won an Academy Award for Best Screenplay for her film Juno. Out of college, her first jobs were doing secretarial work at a Chicago law firm and later proofreading ad copy.

She would turn her time as a secretary into a blog called Red Secretary, which detailed the (fictional) life of am English-challenged secretary living in Belarus, using events directly pulled from, or inspired by, her time at the law firm. She then, on a whim, stripped at an “amateur night” at a Minneapolis strip club. Finding that she enjoyed the experience, she quit her day job and began stripping as a career. This resulted in a book called Candy Girl: A Year in The Life of an Unlikely Stripper. She has since written for several magazines while working on Juno.

Anyway, shortly after the Academy Awards, several nude pictures of her leaked on the Internet. You can see one of them after the jump. Honestly, they’re not all that interesting – aside from the pierced nipples. I’m just posting the picture here for… ahhh… historical reasons:

Continue reading “Diablo Cody… Topless!”

Odette Yustman

Odette Yustman

Wikipedia sez: Odette Juliette Yustman (born May 10, 1985) is an American actress. Yustman was born in Los Angeles, California. According to the actress, her mother, Lydia, is Cuban, and her father, Victor Yustman, is Italian/French born in Bogota, Colombia, and raised in Nicaragua. Yustman is fluent in Spanish.

The Border Fight

As you might know, most of the states in the southeastern United States are gripped in a drought of Biblical proportions. Most locations in those states had a rainfall deficit of around two feet (61cm) – or more – last year. My home state of Georgia was especially hard hit. The city of Atlanta has grown almost uncontrollably in the past two decades, from barely over 1 million residents in the early 1980s to just over 5 million souls today. This has put an incredible strain on the area’s reservoirs. Lake Lanier, the Atlanta area’s main source of water, fell to its lowest level ever in December, 2007. Wikipedia notes that

[T]he record low lake level had revealed parts of the lake bottom not seen since the 1950s, when approximately 700 families were moved from the area to create the lake. An abandoned stretch of Georgia Highway 53 ran along one edge of new shoreline, and concrete foundations from homes and part of what was once the Gainesville’s Looper Speedway were uncovered. More recent additions to the lake including discarded trash, boat batteries and even sunken boats were discovered, and local efforts to clean up the lake bottom were organized. Several automobiles, some stolen, and also discarded firearms were also recovered by law enforcement officials.

Georgia is rapidly running out of options to bolster its dwindling supply of fresh water. Things are so bad, in fact, that the Georgia legislature is looking to a historical anomaly for help: its border with Tennessee.

When Tennessee was admitted into the Union in 1796, the United States Congress declared the border between Tennessee and Georgia to be the 35th parallel. In 1818, a surveying team was sent out to mark the border. The team made a surveying mistake which caused Tennessee’s border to be extended south by 1 mile. A mile might not sound like much, but it makes a huge difference: the Tennessee River makes a bend in the area that should belong to Georgia, and if the state had access to this sliver of land, it could go a long way in helping out Georgia’s water situation.

GA\TN Border Dispute

Tennessee lawmakers have made light of the situation, but Georgia is, apparently, deadly serious about the matter. The legislation passed by the Georgia legislature orders Governor Sonny Perdue to set up a “border commission” to investigate the matter, and to pursue the matter all the way to the Supreme Court if necessary.

What the Supreme Court might think about the matter is anyone’s guess: although the (incorrect) border has been recognized by both Georgia and Tennessee for almost 200 years, this isn’t the first time Georgia has challenged the border. Georgia previously made half-hearted attempts to correct the error in the 1880s and 1940s. And although Tennessee adopted the 1818 survey results as law, Georgia never has. In fact, according to Georgia law, the border with Tennessee always was (and still is) the 35th parallel.

It’s also unclear how long it would take the Supreme Court to rule on such a matter. Although the Court has original jurisdiction in matters between the states, the Court could opt to appoint a “special master” as a fact-finder. So the dispute could go on for years. Peter Appel, an associate professor at the University of Georgia School of Law, says that both sides have good arguments: “On one hand, where the boundary was set in 1818, the states have been living with it for all that time. On the other hand, the survey is off, and the fact that time has passed doesn’t mean a state has ceded the land. It’s a really tough one to speculate on.”

What’s really interesting is to consider what would happen if the Supreme Court decides in favor of Georgia. Several small Tennessee towns – East Ridge, East Brainerd, and St. Elmo – would be swallowed whole into Georgia. Residents of parts of Chattanooga and East Ridge would become Georgians, and a large chunk of Memphis would become part of Mississippi. A large chunk of Lookout Mountain would also become part of Georgia. It’s worth nothing that the Supreme Court would definitely take the chaos any border change would cause into account.

But even if Georgia did get its original border back, that doesn’t necessarily mean that water would instantly flow – the Tennessee Valley Authority would have to approve any widescale tapping of the Tennessee River, even if the land were to become Georgia territory. It’s not at all clear how the TVA would rule in that situation. One would think that the petition would be denied, but then Georgia could take them to court over “sour grapes”.

Finding a Remote MAC Address

It’s not often that you’ll need to know the MAC address of a networked device. Maybe you want to set up a MAC filter for your wireless network (which is pointless, since MAC addresses are sent in clear text, but I digress). Or maybe you want to set up QoS rules on your router. In any event, you need the MAC address for a device, but you just don’t want to walk all the way across the house to get it… or maybe the device is difficult to get to – perhaps locked away in a server room, and you don’t have a key.

All you need to do to get the remote IP address is to ping the device (Start > Run > CMD > ping [ip address]) and then run the ARP -A command at the command-prompt:

Microsoft Windows XP [Version 5.1.2600]
(C) Copyright 1985-2001 Microsoft Corp.

C:\Documents and Settings\jcofer>arp -a

Interface: — 0x10003
Internet Address Physical Address Type aa-fb-c8-34-da-7a dynamic

Windows will make a list of all the computers you have connected to recently. As you can see in the example above, my local IP address is The only computer I’ve connected to lately was – which has a MAC address of aa-fb-c8-34-da-7a.

BREAKING: Brett Favre Retires!

From here:

GREEN BAY, Wis. — Brett Favre has decided to retire from the NFL after 17 seasons.

FOX Sports first reported today that the Green Bay Packers quarterback informed the team in the last few days. said that according to Favre’s agent, Bus Cook, the quarterback told coach Mike McCarthy of his decision.

Cook said in a phone interview today with The Associated Press’ Jackson, Miss., bureau that Favre told him the news Monday night .

“Nobody pushed Favre out the door but then nobody encouraged him not to go out that door either,” said Cook.

He said Favre was tired and “the Packers have got future plans and whether those plans included Brett I don’t know. ”

Holy Crap!

From this article on Yahoo Sports:

PITTSBURGH (AP)—Ben Roethlisberger signed an eight-year extension worth $102 million with the Pittsburgh Steelers that makes him one of the NFL’s highest-paid players.

The deal includes more than $36 million guaranteed, and keeps Roethlisberger with the Steelers through 2015.

“Ben has been an outstanding leader on the field for the Steelers since his rookie year and we are very happy to know that he will be our quarterback for many years to come,” Steelers president Art Rooney II said Monday in a statement.

Roethlisberger turned 26 on Sunday and said the contract was a great birthday present.

“This is about being a Pittsburgh Steeler for as long as I can be. I love Pittsburgh,” Roethlisberger said. He said he “wanted to be like the Dan Marinos, like the John Elways, guys who played with one team their whole career.”

The Pro Bowl quarterback led the Steelers to a Super Bowl victory two years ago and has been the starter in all four of seasons he’s been with the team.

Roethlisberger threw 32 touchdown passes with only 11 interceptions in leading the Steelers to the playoffs this season, bouncing back from an injury-marred season.

He was hurt in a serious motorcycle accident in the 2006 offseason, then underwent an appendectomy. Although he started 15 games, his play was subpar. He threw 23 interceptions, three more than he had thrown in his first two seasons, and Pittsburgh failed to make the playoffs.

This season, he led the Steelers to a 10-6 record and the AFC North title before they were eliminated by Jacksonville in the playoffs.

Roethlisberger was the third quarterback taken in the ‘04 draft, behind Eli Manning and Philip Rivers, and the 11th choice overall. He started 13 games his rookie season and was voted offensive rookie of the year, the first quarterback to win the award since it was first given in 1957. The next year he led the Steelers to a Super Bowl victory.