Random Musings 9-11-2009

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    Gov. Granholm recently proposed an executive order to eliminate the Department of History, Arts and Libraries. This order would transfer most functions of the library of Michigan to the Dept. of Education, but also cut such services as interlibrary loans through the Michigan elibrary.

    Fortunately, Granholm has modified her executive order so that the Michigan eLibrary will continue to receive funding and support. At least for now.

    Through the Michigan eLibrary, people can not only check out materials from libraries across the state through an inter-library loan system; they can also access various databases and other research information online. I use it all the time.

    Libraries provide an invaluable service, especially in tough economic times. People can save money by checking out books, DVDs, magazines and other materials. The Library of Michigan’s Return on investment calculator gives an idea of the amount of savings libraries provide. You can view the calculator here:

    http://mel.org/files/calculatorcode.php

    Some people may think the Internet has made libraries superfluous. They’d be wrong. For example, the Detroit Public Library has special, computer-based resources that aren’t publicly accessible on the Internet. One such resource is a business database called Reference USA. With it, people who want to start a business can conduct market analyses, among other things.

    And librarians can help people separate the wheat from the chaff among “information” floating around on the Internet.

    To learn more about efforts to protect Michigan libraries, visit http://www.milibrariesforthefuture.com

    Fair warning. Spoilers follow.

    Later this month, two of the shows I watch, Heroes and Smallville, will be returning for their fourth and ninth seasons, respectively. Both shows need improvement.

    Heroes main problem is Sylar. He’s overused; and I think there’s a danger that he’ll become the Joker of Heroes — the mass murderer who should either have long since been locked away for life or killed.

    It’s one thing if the relationship between Batman and the Joker involve mythic archetypes and not stories meant to be set in a realistic milieu; but most stories in comicbooks today take place in the more-or-less real world. And in the real world, the Joker wouldn’t keep coming back.

    Likewise, Heroes is presented as taking place in the real world. So why is Sylar still around? To use a Buffy term, he was the Big Bad of season 1. His story should’ve been done at the end of that season.

    Which brings me to the season 3 finale. An ending so annoying (and lacking in story logic) that I doubt I’ll pick up the season 3 DVDs. Sylar, who had recently gained shape-shifting abilities, killed Sen. Nathan Petrelli. Then, under the direction of Nathan’s mother, Matt Parkman gave Sylar a telepathic command to not only assume Nathan’s form, but to believe he was Nathan.

    WTF?!?

    If the Heroes producers figured Zachary Quinto’s movie career was likely to take off, and they wouldn’t be able to use him as a regular anymore, they could have come up with a better (and more logical) way to rid of him (while leaving the door open for his return): Sylar escapes, without killing Nathan. One of the tropes of superhero comicbooks has the bad guy captured, only to escape at the end. It doesn’t mean he’ll be back the next issue; just that he might return some day.

    It’s not too late to undo this whole Nathan/Sylar mess. All it needs is one scene involving Nathan’s mistress. The mistress, played by Victoria Principal, wakes up and finds Nathan in the shower. She tells him of this horrible nightmare she had about himself and Sylar.

    By the way, I write “comicbooks” as one word because as two words, the adjective “comic”  modifying “book” suggests all examples of that medium are humorous in nature. Or that they’re kids’ stuff. They aren’t. Just as is the case with traditional books, comicbooks range in focus and subject matter. They aren’t all cut from the same cloth.

    As to Smallville, please let season nine be the last. Not that the show doesn’t have its strong points, but as Cornelius Fortune has said in conversations we’ve had about that show, if the producers think they’ll be getting yet another season, they put off introducing necessary elements of the Superman mythos. Every time things seem headed in that direction, the producers never follow through.

    By the way, yes, glasses as a disguise can work, if you follow a few simple rules.

    1. Don’t wear a mask. If you do, everyone knows you have another identity.

    2. Don’t even hint that you do have another identity.

    3. DON’T hang out with the same people in both identities. That’s just asking for trouble.

    Copyright 2009 Patrick Keating

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