"This world is a great sculptor's shop. We are the statues and there is a rumour going round that some of us are some day going to come to life." -- C.S. Lewis

Notice To Readers...

Moving To The Front Page: As of today, I'm moving my Brave Sir Blogger blog to the front page of The Coffee Shop Times.

I just haven't had the time to maintain The Coffee Shop Times in it's original Webzine format. So, in the interest of keeping my most frequently updated material on the main URL, converting CST to a blog just makes sense.

Please update your bookmarks and join me on the front page!

Douglas Barricklow
Brave Sir Blogger


Friday, May 26, 2006

Duh!!??: I agree with Outdoor Photographer magazine. How could this have not been invented sooner? An umbrella that attaches to cameras during downpours.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Separated At Birth: Didn't Grey's Anatomy kill off Taylor's character last week?

Idol Chatter: I was one of those who thought Chris Daughtry was the most talented vocalist and performer in the American Idol competition. I thought he was the first authentic rocker in the Idol Final 12. Bo Bice was a likeable guy, and I cheered for his success on many levels; but I always thought he was at his weakest when he performed straight-ahead rock numbers. He was Vedder or Cobain-lite. The soul wasn't quite there. But Daughtry has heavyweight pipes and an edge that Bo lacks. It's an Idol cliche to say this, but Daughtry really did "own" songs when he covered them.

That said, who doesn't like Taylor? His story is all the more fun thanks to Simon passing on him at the cattle call. Simon's response to that the other night? "That's showbiz." Well said.

I'd like to hear Taylor cover a Janis Joplin song on his first album. And maybe a twist on Joe Cocker's cover of The Beatles' "With A Little Help From My Friends." And I'm no record producer, but I think it's time for someone to reinvent Poison's "Every Rose Has Its Thorn." Why not Taylor? (Or Daughtry, for that matter.)

I don't have much to say about Katherine McPhee. Good for her, I guess. I see her as a Linda Ronstadt clone. Tape an "X" in the middle of the stage; tell her to stand on it; and cue the band.

I won't be surprised to see Paris Bennett on the charts in future years (and decades). Kelly Pickler and Lisa Tucker are also loaded with talent. They just weren't yet savvy enough to pick the most flattering songs for themselves. And, as they mature as performers, they both could produce future hits.

Thursday, February 2, 2006

Airbag Justice: Could have been staged. Hope it wasn't.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Coach Humor: Slate's Timothy Noah recently asked readers to submit stories of coaches past. If true, this one's a dandy:

The single best coach story I heard concerned a college football coach who purportedly made his players run wind sprints while each one held a single grape between the cheeks of his buttocks. The unfortunate soul who came in last had to eat the grapes. Haunting though this story is, I can't verify it.

Of course, it may not be true. Follow the above link and check Noah's update to the story to judge for yourself.

Ain't It Orange News: I can't not post this. Austin's world famous movie review Web site, AintItCoolNews.com, has created the animated gif of the year.

Harry Knowles-in-a-suit on the UT Tower. Clever. Creative. And so true, true.

"Hook 'Em 2006" rolls on... : )

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

24 and Torture: As controversial as torture has become in our national polemic, it remains quite popular among producers of our pop cultural offerings. Take Fox TV's hit serial thriller 24: If there's ever a plot need to pump a character for information, a nice round of torture always looms as a ready option. In an interview in yesterday's Slate, James Surowiecki asked 24 writer and producer Michael Loceff about the show's willingness to write torture scenes into the script:

Slate: One of the places where 24 and the real world have intersected most powerfully is on the question of torture. On 24, torture is regularly used in interrogation. Some critics believe that 24 actually plays to our desire to witness torture, that it is, in some sense, "torture porn." How do you make sense of and justify the role of torture in the show?

Loceff: I absolutely do not believe that the show is, in any sense, torture porn. This is something we talk about a lot. Torture is of no interest to us as torture, and we're not anxious to show it, nor do we want to watch it. We don't want to go to any level of great detail in depicting it, and there are many times when we will pull back from the original idea because it seems too much. I think its real use in the show, aside from its narrative function, is to create dramatic conflict, conflict not just between two people but within characters as well. If you look at any given torture scene in the show, you'll find that there's something in it that shows someone's distaste or disgust. And Jack Bauer's decision to torture people for information in the past has cost him, because it's shown other people just exactly what he's capable of. Jack himself is appalled by what he feels he has to do, but he's also convinced he has to do it. That is a real dramatic conflict.

Slate: One of the familiar critiques of using torture as an interrogation technique is that it doesn't work. On 24 it tends to be very effective.

Loceff: I don't know that torture works, and we don't write it because we think it works. So, I don't think any of us are trying to make a statement about the efficacy of it one way or the other.

Well, if Jack Bauer is indeed "appalled" by torture, he maintains a good game face. And setting the issue of "torture porn" to the side, 24 is certainly guilty of portraying torture as just another weapon in any good guy's crime fighting arsenal.

As a fan of the show, I resent being put in a position in which I find myself recommending to my TV set that, well, yes, Jack needs to go ahead and torture this bastard of a bad guy--and the more thoroughly, the better!

Copyright © 2006 The Coffee Shop Times

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Brave Sir Blogger is:
Douglas Barricklow

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