"It is easy to confuse what is with what ought to be, especially when what is has worked out in your favor."
- Tyrion Lannister

"Lannister. Baratheon. Stark. Tyrell. They're all just spokes on a wheel. This one's on top, then that's ones on top and on and on it spins, crushing those on the ground. I'm not going to stop the wheel. I'm going to break the wheel."

- Daenerys Targaryen

"The Lord of Light wants his enemies burned. The Drowned God wants them drowned. Why are all the gods such vicious cunts? Where's the God of Tits and Wine?"

- Tyrion Lannister

"The common people pray for rain, healthy children, and a summer that never ends. It is no matter to them if the high lords play their game of thrones, so long as they are left in peace. They never are."

- Jorah Mormont

"These bad people are what I'm good at. Out talking them. Out thinking them."

- Tyrion Lannister

"What happened? I think fundamentals were trumped by mechanics and, to a lesser extent, by demographics."

- Michael Barone

"If you want to know what God thinks of money, just look at the people he gave it to."
- Dorothy Parker

Friday, December 11, 2009

Whatever doesn't kill you makes you stronger*

We end "beautiful woman month" with Tabrett Bethell who portrays the Mord’Sith Cara on the television series Legend of the Seeker. The show is produced by Sam Raimi who previously had done the Xena: Warrior Princess and Hercules shows, as well as the Evil Dead and Spiderman movies. The show is based upon Terry Goodkind’s Sword of Truth book series.

The Mord’Sith are a cult of elite warrior women who dress in skin-tight leather outfits and have an S&M motif going on. According to Wikipedia:
They were created to defend the master of [the land of] D'Hara, Lord Rahl, from creatures or people with magic. A Mord’Sith has the unique ability to capture others' magic and use it against them.** A Mord’Sith is selected from the gentlest and kindest girls in D'Hara and is trained from a young age on three levels. Each time, she must be "broken." The first breaking is a time during which she is tortured to the point of obedience so strong that she would do absolutely anything her master/mistress tells her, without question or hesitation. This part of the training breaks her of her sense of self and personal desires. During the second breaking, she is forced to watch as her teacher slowly and brutally tortures her mother to death. This is to break her of compassion. The third, and arguably the most difficult, breaking is when she is given the instrument of torture*** and must inflict pain and suffering upon her own father until she finally kills him. When she has completed this task, the Lord Rahl instills in her the magical ability to take the magic of anyone who uses magic against her. Once a magical being uses magic against a Mord-Sith, she can inflict intense pain upon him/her with a thought. He/she has no defense.
The show recently had an episode which explored how Cara was "made." Indeed as a child, Cara was so gentle and kind that when her father took her and her sister fishing, she became incredibly sad and shed a heartbreaking tear when she saw the recently caught fish stuck in her father’s water bucket. Her father saw his daughter's distress and returned the fish to the river. And then the Mord’Sith came, took Cara and made her one of them. From Wikipedia:
When Mistress Denna failed to kill Richard Cypher [aka the Seeker], Cara was personally recruited by the evil ruler Darken Rahl to eliminate the Seeker once for all. But instead of fulfilling her mission, Cara was forced to work with Richard to save herself, which ultimately led to the Seeker fulfilling the prophecy, killing Rahl and ending his reign of tyranny. From the Underworld, Darken Rahl commands the Mord'Sith to dispose of Cara for her role in his demise. They beat her and leave her for dead, after which Richard helps Cara. Deserted by her people and sworn to protect Richard, the heir to the title Lord Rahl, Cara joins the Seeker and a wary Kahlan and Zedd on their new quest. Richard trusts Cara, and believes her unique abilities could prove invaluable in finding the Stone of Tears and defeating the Keeper of the Underworld.
The show's hero Richard is good-natured and believes people can change if given a chance, even Cara. His companions Kahlan and Zedd are more skeptical.

You have to wonder why they need to take the "gentlest and kindest" girls. Maybe they need to have those qualities for Darken Rahl to be able to instill his magic in them. Creepy.

*unless it breaks you.
**magical jujutsu
***The Agiel. The only weapon Mord'Sith carry is an Agiel, which has the power to inflict unbearable pain, break bones, or kill with only a touch. An Agiel appears simple. It is a plain red leather rod, about a foot long, and about as thick as a finger. It also inflicts pain on the Mord-Sith in charge of the torture. Mord-Sith use the same Agiel that was used on them in their training. Simply holding her Agiel causes the Mord-Sith terrible pain. The power of the Agiel stems from the bond of all D'Harans to the Lord Rahl.

Sunday, December 06, 2009

You know Tiger Woods is spoiled when he cheats on the Swedish Model. 

My favorite character in the BBC Robin Hood series was Isabella, played by Lara Pulver. Pulver will be playing an intern in the film "The Special Relationship," which stars Hope Davis as Hillary Clinton, Dennis Quaid as Bill Clinton, Michael Sheen as Tony Blair and Helen McCrory as Cheri Blair.
Back in the Saddle Again.

The Baffler is back.

I, For One, Welcome Our New Overlords
(or We'll Make Great Pets)

Especially when they are dressed as sexy minxes. The ABC television series V has ended for the moment but resumes in March. It's a remake of an Eighties miniseries in which alien visitors come bearing gifts and talking of peace. But ultimately they are only interested in planetary imperialism, regime change and taking our natural resources.

In the current series, Party of Five's Scott Wolf plays a George Stephanopoulos-like TV news anchor named Chad. He gives the aliens good PR in exchange for access. And yet he's skeptical. Chad inquires on-air, "Is there such a thing as an ugly Visitor?" Morena Baccarin (above) plays the aliens' maximum leader Anna. Says Baccarin: I am not Obama.
I don't think we're saying Anna is President Obama. But she is the leader of her people, and she is coming down to Earth and offering healthcare, and offering cures for diseases, and things that sort of clean out and give people hope, and there are definite parallels to be drawn and our intentions are to create a show that people relate to. And I think this is something that's been on people's minds, even before Obama... finding hope again, and healthcare, and finding a leader, and someone who can save us from the hole we've gotten ourselves into.
Their plans for invasion include using the regular or Swine Flu vaccine, I forget which. Jonathan Chait argues the show plays into the Teabagger's ideology.
They target the young by enticing them to join an idealistic (but, in reality, sinister) youth group. A few perceptive humans warn of the dangers of hopping on the bandwagon before we know what the bandwagon is really about. The alien leader, Ana, promises to use futuristic technology to heal humans. "You mean universal health care!" gapes a reporter, who, naturally, has been co-opted by the aliens. Anna soothes skeptics by declaring that accepting change can be difficult. A small band of human resistors forms. The lead character is skeptical--what proof do you have she asks, besides some scary thing "you read on the internet." But the seemingly hysterical message from the internet is true! The charismatic new leader is masking her true identity! The death panels are real! Etc., etc.
If this scenerio really happened, I'd probably be gung-ho about the visitors as I'm enthusiastic about Obama. But then again I have always been the one to accept candy from strangers.

An interesting subplot of the show is about a group of alien traitors trying to undermine Anna's plan of domination from within. Will they succeed? Tune in and find out!