Monday, January 31, 2005

tv and movies

Okay. Call me a sissy or something like that. I didn't go to the Pedro the Lion show. The weather wasn't even an issue. By mid-day, the temperatures were in the mid 40's, we never got that second round of precipitation, and the roads were never really an issue to begin with. I was just feeling really lazy, and I wanted to lay on the couch. Plus, the old man in me was saying "Hey, dumbass, you've got to work at 7:00 am, so it wouldn't be that clever to go to a rock show in Chapel Hill".

Lucky for me, I got to watch some good tv, some bad tv, and I pulled out one of my favorite movies. Thanks to the wonders of DVR, I was able to watch a show on Discovery Channel about tsunamis while I was recording Arrested Development, then watch Arrested Development while recording a Discovery Channel show about Pompeii and Mt Vesuvius .
Quick analysis is as follows. Tsunami show = awesome. Arrested Development = great. Pompeii = terrible.

Unfortunately, the tsunami show isn't going to re-air, but the crappy Pompeii show is going to be on all month. The Pompeii thing sucked because they wasted about 2/3 of the 2 hour program doing a dramatic interpretation of what happened that day 2000 years ago. The acting was like community theatre, the special effects like a really bad '70s B movie. Overall, that portion of the show looked like a cable access show. Really, we don't give a rats ass about the conversations that may or may not have taken place between the people. They could have made this into a one hour straight up informational, educational piece about volcanoes in general, and this one in specific.

The tsunami show of course had some focus on the recent south Asian tsunami, but it was more broad than that. I learned some stuff about some other causes of tsunami. We're most familiar with those caused by earthquakes, like the recent one, but there are many other causes. The one they wanted to talk about the most was landslides. These are particularly dangerous because they can generate (and have done so) waves of up to 500 meters in height. Yes, that's right. 500 meters high! To you and me, that's more than a quarter of a mile! In contrast, the southeast Asian tsunami, and most tsunamis are about 10-12 meters in height. In July of 1958, Latuya Bay, Alaska experienced an earthquake of about 8.0 magnitude (the USGS says 7.7, some reports say 8.2), and a resulting landslide, which caused a megatsunami believed to have been 1,720 feet high. You can read more than you care to know about that here.

This program proved to be both extremely informative, and enthralling all the same.

Before calling it a night, I popped in one of my favorite movies of all time, His Girl Friday, which I'm sure I could write a book about. Cary Grant's elegance and comic timing, and Rosalind Russell's perfect balance of harsh and soft, somber and hilarious make this movie such a joy to watch. Their chemistry is freakin' amazing. Every time I watch it, I enjoy it even more than the previous time.

I've got three new ones from Netflix on deck for tonight and tomorrow: Knife in the Water, The Philadelphia Story and Some Like it Hot.

Now Playing: Morrissey -- Bona Drag
Morrissey Bona Drag

1 comment:

doug said...

yeah! I've seen that tsunami show (or one similar) on Discovery, and it was really amazing - I actually (shame on me) didn't know about the landslide ones until I saw that show - wasn't a boat carried over a small hill or something (or is this playing the telephone game with the internet - website idea?). Anyway, one semester when I was teaching my geology course, about half my students had seen that show for some reason (I think all the football players saw it at one time), and so all they could talk about all semester were tsunamis. And that's my story.