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June 18, 2008


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Sandy holds that it's not the bald, but it's the pinkie ring that indicates true evil. Just look at mobsters.

When Stark and that girl reporter fell off the bed, I immediately thought of Daniel Craig and Eva Green in Casino Royale, after he's recovered from the damage inflicted upon his testicles by the villain.

Yes, they took liberties with the canon, but I couldn't care less. Who cares if Jarvis is the Avengers's human butler in the comics, and an AI in the film? It's like the X-men movies: I'm more interested in the essence of something than in its specifics.

Happily, I have no clue about the Iron Man canon, so no worries here. I just go for the luscious visuals. :)

I didn't mind the liberties they took in the first X-Men movie, but the third one seriously pissed me off. Consolidation and timeline tweaks are one thing, but they just ripped the heart out of the whole Scott and Jean love story and the Dark Phoenix saga and turned it into a stupid Wolverine thing. Absolutely awful.

Gack... That 3rd X-men movie... In this case, they also ignored the essence. I could have stood making the Phoenix story into a Wolverine thing, but it was a lousily told story. I also absolutely hated the way they dismissed Cyclops's existence.

Frankly, the only thing I liked about that cinematic mess was the Beast. (What can I say? He's always been my favorite mutant.)

(Complete spoilers for the third X-Men movie and the original Dark Phoenix saga from the comic here.)

No, it should not have been a Wolverine thing. He was barely a part of the Dark Phoenix saga. Having Wolverine kill Jean instead of having her kill herself takes away her agency as a human being and a power in her own right and turns her into just another female victim who has to be saved by big ol' Wolverine. The original scene where she's barely holding on to her sanity as she falls inevitably into the Jean->Phoenix->Dark Phoenix progression and kills herself in front of Scott to prevent herself from doing further harm is vastly more tragic and powerful. Wolverine should have been nowhere in sight, let alone involved. That was the tragic culmination of a doomed love affair and it was not with Wolverine.

I could have lived with quite a few changes - taking Lilandra and the rest of the aliens and the whole off-planet aspect out didn't bother me too much. I could even have lived with Magneto as the prime-mover villain of the piece instead of the Hellfire Club (though I did miss the whole S&M subtext of the Club.) I'm a big Magneto fan. But inserting Wolverine into Scott and Jean's love affair and last days together was going too far.

Note that I'm not overfond of the late 1980s print retcon that made it a separate non-Jean Phoenix who died, either.

You have just given me the first good argument I've encountered for going to see the movie.

(Okay, I knew I liked RDJ anyway, but that wasn't enough. RDJ and the slash just writing itself? I AM SO THERE.)

Susan... Like I said, X3 was lousily plotted. It felt like they had the scripts for two movies, but just enough money for one movie. I completely agree that it should have been about Jean & Scott, but the movie version of Wolverine was the main attraction for many people. As for the Phoenix turning out to not really be Jean Grey in the comics, I absolutely HATED that. Still, when Grant Morrison was writing the comics a few years ago, he had Jean/Phoenix die again and her last words were to apologize to Scott for making his life miserable because all she ever did was to die on him.

Rikibeth... Remember that sometimes a cigar is just a cigar. So is a pajama. No, it's not a cigar. Sometimes a pajama is just a pajama.

One thing that REALLY bugged me in Iron Man is that Stark has come up with an incredibly powerful source of electricity, and he doesn't even consider using it to help people whose lives his weapons had destroyed. I'd think they'd like having that arc reactor keep water pumps functionning.

Serge: Don't have a problem with that part; for whatever reasons, they've already determined that the arc reactor is unfeasable as a monetized power source. Why? Who knows--though once it's clear that it can be used to power incredibly powerful weapons of destruction, him keeping a lid on it makes even more sense; you don't want it "getting into the wrong hands".

I really enjoyed Iron Man too...though -decidedly- not for Susan's reasons.

Joshua... On the other hand, the one that keeps Stark alive is a breakthrough that fixed the problem that the big glowing thingie had. Still, this IS a comic-book, which means that we can't have everyone have the same superpower that the hero has, otherwise we'd have a bunch of Iron Guys and Iron Gals and Iron Pets. It's disquieting enough that the next movie may have Stark's buddy use the spare suit as the War Machine.

This sounds like a pretty good recommendation, even if I leave out the swooning, so when I get space on my Netflix queueueue, I'll add it.

Sometimes a pajama is just a pajama, but honestly, as a straight guy (Josh and Jeff, too), would you get a male friend of yours pajamas? Do your male friends get you pajamas? Do your co-workers get you pajamas? Does anyone outside your family or your love life ever get you pajamas?

I suppose you could argue that Tony did it because he thinks of Obadiah as a father figure, but really, that makes the homoerotic daddy-boy subtext even creepier. And there's no evidence that Obadiah raised him personally for those few years, as opposed to just running the company.

On RDJ: You should see him -- in what is essentially a bit part -- in Ian McKellen's Richard III. If you haven't seen that, go thou forth and rent it, for McKellen is a brilliant Richard, in a superbly set production (in a world of the 1930s) that should qualify as sfnal.

I have in fact seen that RIII, both in the stage version and the later film version. I liked the stage version much better; I thought the film overdid it. The stage production was just superb. I drove all the way from San Francisco in four days to get to the theater (in Brooklyn) in time. But that was long enough ago (1992) that I don't remember RDJ in it. What role did he play? Did he have a goatee?

McKellen is always smashing. I've seen his one-man Shakespeare evening as well (on Broadway long ago), and of course his King Lear last year, also in Brooklyn. What a memorable day that was, on several levels.

It's still playing on Tuesday night in North Haven ($6 bargain price.) Want to go to the 9:20 showing with me? I'll be totally fried after a long day of orientating our new employees, but I can find the energy for a little heavy breathing.

Susan, I want to heartily second your endorsement of the film and RDJ. Favreau & Co were close enough to canon that most fanboys and fangirls are satisfied that the material was treated with respect.

And Sam Jackson as Nick Fury?!? - YES!!

I'm glad to hear that. I remember how much pure fangirl squee I felt during the first X-Men movie, and I'm glad the Iron Man fans got the same.

Adding Samuel Jackson to - I assume - the Avengers film along with RDJ as Tony Stark will probably lure me to the theaters for that one, too.

Susan... Would I get pajamas for a male friend? Probably not, but only because I'd wind up up getting something that doesn't fit. I'd probably give my friend a gift card to a pajama-selling place and let him choose exactly what he wants.

Susan... I remember how much pure fangirl squee I felt during the first X-Men movie

As for myself, I remember being worried throughout the whole movie. It took the 2nd viewing for me to enjoy the wonderful job they had done at introducing not one single anomalous character, but a whole world filled with anomalous characters.

It's a fun, fun movie.

(On the proofreading thing: I could just about buy the idea that some subeditor had done it deliberately as a pun. I know what subeditors can be like.)

Spesking of proofreading, Tor should get someone to proof their cover blurbs. I'm not impressed when I idly pick up a book to see if it looks interesting and the first sentence of the cover blurb includes a misspelling of "cuckolded". Take a look.

Paul A... In the movie Ridicule, someone quotes Voltaire as saying that puns were the death of Wit. Mister Vee was probably jealous because he could never come up with a good one.

Susan... Oops. I went and looked. It took me a moment to figure out why it looked too busy. By the way, the French word is 'cocu', which is probably one of the rare instances where my native language came up with a word shorter than its English counterpart.

Thanks for the recommendation - went to see it with my darling this weekend and we both enjoyed it a great deal, handwavium and all.

Clifton.. Handwavium? What handwavium? I thought it was upsydaisium that powered the armor.

No, no. On the evidence, it's a rare isotope of glowythingium.

On the other hand, some clues lead me to believe that the power source is plotonium.

Clifton, you went viewing with your darling to the Iron Man show?

Slightly odd wording, Marilee? But sure; my wife is a long-time SF fan, even though she's not much for comics, and we were in the mood last weekend for some not-too-difficult fun. (We also went to see Kung Fu Panda which was a lot of fun too.)

Besides, we loved the Iron Man theme song:
"Iron Man, Iron Man,
Does whatever an iron can -
Presses shirts, any size,
Sends them back, Martinized!
Look out, there goes the Iron Man."

Speaking of music, I did like the bit where he's listening to Suicidal Tendencies' 'Institutionalized' while he works on the engine; that gives a nice extra angle on the character.

Serge: when Stark first shows Obadiah his reactor, I think he is talking somewhat confusedly about using it as a new power source to do good with, but of course right after that he gets shut out of the company...

On peaceful usage of glowythingium -
I agree with Clifton about what Tony's saying to Obadiah. Keep the time frame in mind, too. He makes the new suit fast; I think the second flight-test is done on day eleven. How much longer after that is it that the suit is complete, and then how long before the whole thing with Obadiah comes to a head right after he returns from his first mission and sends Pepper to get the computer files? Given that he's a weapons guy (though he is specific that his suit is not for the military) I think he could be given, oh, a couple more weeks to come up with some non-military uses.

But it's also a defect of the genre: superheroes have to be dramatic and they have to be individuals. Spiderman never thinks of the possible medical uses of his webs, and would anyone go see a movie (or read a comic book) where the central action is Peter Parker carefully using webs to, say, hold wounds closed? It's not very visually exciting in a genre that demands good visuals (comics and movies both, actually.)

Arriving late to the thread...

The original scene where she's barely holding on to her sanity as she falls inevitably into the Jean->Phoenix->Dark Phoenix progression and kills herself in front of Scott to prevent herself from doing further harm is vastly more tragic and powerful. Wolverine should have been nowhere in sight, let alone involved. That was the tragic culmination of a doomed love affair and it was not with Wolverine.

Although I'm sure it would still annoy you, you can insert Wolverine into the final scene without making it completely suck like it did; Jean begs Scott to kill her; we look over her shoulder and watch Scott try and fail, because he loves her too damn much; then our camera refocuses from the foreground to the background where we can see the Wolverine*...

Back on Iron Man I've noted elsewhere that the Ten Rings terrorist group aren't familiar with the A Team or Norse myth, or they'd know that locking engineers in caves full of equipment inevitably ends with them forging their revenge, then flying away on swan's wings, or at least building a cabbage firing bazooka.

Also, having been captured by terrorists, having a big hole put in his chest, his only companion for several weeks dying and so on, I'm willing to give Tony Stark several months to work out his own problems before insisting that he find peaceful uses for his reactor.

And they have a fight and tear up the set. Honestly, can we get a new plot here?

I was recently reading Austin Grossman's Soon I will be Invincible, and Dr Impossible, the villain, notes at one point that although his plans are all about science, technology and outsmarting people, somehow it always comes down to punching. So he does something about it.

(I wrote a review of Iron Man on our pseudonymous shared movie blog, but generally felt that everyone else on the internet had said what I wanted to say. If I update it when the DVD comes out, I'll be sure to include the slash just writing itself in it, and credit it, assuming I remember)

* I mistyped that as Wolvernine, who presumably is the ninth clone**
** Could you create more Wolverines by cutting bits of him off and letting them regenerate full bodies?

Susan... it's also a defect of the genre: superheroes have to be dramatic and they have to be individuals

On the other hand, that is why comic-book characters can be so interesting. From the late 1980s until 1993, my comics reading went down a lot, and what I did read I read more out of habit than out of pleasure.

Then 1993 happened.

That's the year that Kurt Busiek and Alex Ross unleashed their 4-issue History of the Marvel Universe, but seen from the point of view of a normal person, who reminded me that those characters are awesome.

There was so much energy in New York. As if fireworks had been going off for months...

The birth of the Fantastic Four.



The return of the Submariner.

And of course the biggest blast of all... The showstopper that lit up the world like a dozen Fourth of Julys rolled into one...

"There he is!"

Just to catch a glimpse of him... Always in motion, always looking forward, like a force of nature in chain-mail... Never a hesitation or a backward glance...


Although I'm sure it would still annoy you, you can insert Wolverine into the final scene without making it completely suck like it did; Jean begs Scott to kill her; we look over her shoulder and watch Scott try and fail, because he loves her too damn much; then our camera refocuses from the foreground to the background where we can see the Wolverine*...

Yeah, it would still annoy me. That retains the other huge element of the suckage, which is that Jean shouldn't beg anyone to kill her. She makes a decision and kills herself. Having someone else kill her instead steals her final moment of strength and character and makes her weak and selfish; how cruel is it to ask someone who loves you to do the dirty work? It's like suicide by cop, another horribly selfish act that forces someone else to live with the burden of having killed.

What I loved about that moment was that Jean didn't force anyone else around her to make that terrible choice. She was strong enough to see what had to be done and do it herself without burdening Scott and Professor X and her friends with even more anguish by having them do it for her.

Could you create more Wolverines by cutting bits of him off and letting them regenerate full bodies?

I wonder how big a chunk is needed, or if it has to specifically include his brain. There could be metaphysical issues: can his soul be divided? Where in his body does it reside, exactly? Hmm.

The ramifications of this are interesting. The Doctor [Who], for example, regenerates...what if his body was divided neatly in half, one heart to each side? Would we get two Doctors? Though the implication of (at least) last weekend's episode ("Turn Left") is that there are deaths so final or abrupt that there isn't time for regeneration to kick in, which probably would include being bisected!

Death never seems to stop the Master, of course.

By 1993 I was out of Marvel and most other comics reading, and I was never a Captain America fan, so alas, the impact of the above is wasted on me.

What I did pick up in the mid- to late 1990s was Strangers in Paradise, which is of course not a superhero book at all. I'm also a long-term (starting with original issue #2) Elfquest fan and have a substantial collection of Tomb of Dracula from the 1970s, though I was too young to read it when it was new.

In the Marvel Universe, I read some Doctor Strange and X-Men and some of the X-Men spinoffs before it went crazy in the late 1980s. They lost me 'round about the Mutant Massacre - maybe 1987? - when I got annoyed by both the style of the art and the direction of the storyline. I was also a college student then and had no budget for comics, though I did pick up the event graphic novels like Dark Knight and Watchmen.

Lately, I'm slooooowly collecting the Modesty Blaise strips in the nice editions that have been coming out the last few years. I'm drawing that out as much as I can, because when I run out of them, I've run out of new MB material permanently. I'm in no hurry to get to that point!

1987 is also when I dropped away from the X-men too, for various reasons. The whole thing felt tired. And maybe Marvel realized the same thing because, after I left, they wound up having Wolverine's Past turn out not to be false memories, and they introduced a bunch of new characters like Sabertooth. Still, I didn't go back to reading that comic-book until the first movie came out in 2000.

As for Captain America... I actually started reading him regularly a few years ago, when they started doing some really interesting things about him and what it means to love one's country.

Doctor Strange?

That being said, I do wish there were more non-F/SF comics out there. When I was growing up, I didn't have access to comic-books, but the local daily paper carried comic-strips. They didn't publish Modesty's adventures, but there was quite a diverse menu: humor, adventure, fantasy, SF, the whole gamut.

I guess there just isn't much of a market for things that aren't related to F/SF. And, much as I like going to the comics store, I am a bit embarassed by the predominance of improbable breasts on covers. I don't know if that's an improvement on the 1990s, where the average cover showed a very muscular guy gritting his teeth. (Dentists must love working on those guys.)

Clifton, your phrasing reminded me of the Tennesee Waltz:

I went dancing with my darling to the Tennesee Waltz

so I made my rephrasing fit the lyric line.

Ah, now I get it. I never heard that song or line, so I didn't recognize the wording as an allusion.

For what it's worth, I missed the song allusion too. I was wondering if "darling" was some sort of code.

Susan: There is actually a reasonably early issue of Spider-Man where Peter Parker realises that he could make some money licensing his webbing stuff as an industrial adhesive, only to be foiled because one of the features that makes it good as superhero-webbing-stuff is a deal-breaking flaw for an industrial adhesive.

I don't recall that he's ever investigated the medical applications - but if he did explore the application you suggest, I'd want to know just what that stuff is made out of, and whether it's safe putting it on open wounds.

Paul, now that I'm allergic to tapes and adhesives, I'd want to know what his stuff is made of, too!

At the opposite of Peter Parker and his one big idea, we have Reed Richards, whose Baxter Building has had to be rebuilt from scratch who knows how many times. The FF were able to afford the frequent modeling because Reed has licensed many of his inventions. But there is no sign that those products have made it to the mainstream at all. This makes you wonder if he's sold the rights to his never-crashing computer O/S to an outfit that belongs to MicroSoft, who of course has no intention of releasing the product.

The bottom line is that comic-books are built on a conceit. If even a fraction of what happens on Marvel's Earth were followd to its logical conclusions, the planet would become unrecognizable, as happened in Alan Moore's MiracleMan, The appeal of comics - for me anyway - is that they happen in a world like ours, and we accept that conceit, just like we accept Opera's conceit that the Hero may have just been run thru by a sword, but that won't keep him from bemoaning that state of affairs at the top of his lungs, and this for many minutes. That's the approach that Kurt Busiek's comic-book AstroCity takes.

Scientists are exploring using spider silk for sutures and for ligament/tendon repair; apparently it combines a tensile strength stronger than steel with biodegradability. Goats have been bioengineered to produce the protein synthetically in their milk, since spiders can't/don't spin it fast enough.

I speculate that if they could put it in the body for sutures it's probably safe enough as a wound dressing or substitute skin. Of course, Spiderman's particular spider silk might not be suitable for this because it's deeply contaminated with handwavium.

Although I hear that Spider-Man has actual biological spinnerets these days (unless the inevitable reversion has happened already), traditionally his webbing-stuff is an artificial imitation that may or may not have any chemical similarity to real spider silk. Details are sketchy: the invention of the web-spinners is the one-panel-wonder of his origin story.

(Every great old superhero origin has a one-panel-wonder: an amazing idea, which really needs more exploration, that gets casually thrown in as an aside, usually in a single panel. The all-time classic, of those I've seen, is Gardner Fox's origin story for DC Comics' Hawkman, in which the one-panel-wonder is Hawkman's superpower itself. The story spends several pages explaining why he took up costumed crimefighting, the significance of the hawk motif, etc., and a single panel on "our hero quickly fashioned an anti-gravity belt out of a mysterious metal that he just happened to have lying around in his lab". They really don't write 'em like that any more.)

Every great old superhero origin has a one-panel-wonder

Today, they'd write a whole 12-issue series about it, and would cross-over with all of the publisher's other comic-books. And we'd get to choose between 3 covers for each issue.

Doctor Who s04e13 spoiler:

Bxnl, V nz jrveqyl cerfpvrag. Nccneragyl jvgu fbzr uhzna vachg naq fbzr fgenl ertrarengvba raretl, lbh pna va snpg trg n jubyr Qbpgbe sebz whfg n unaq. Unys-uhzna, ohg fgvyy gur Qbpgbe.

A spoiler? I guess I'd better catch up with this season's episodes first, right?

Yes. Really huge spoiler, else I wouldn't have rot-13'ed.

I've been asked by my wife to purchase the DVD of Iron Man. Ce que femme veut, Dieu le veut. Maybe I'll ask her about the pajama scene's subtext.

I gather it's not because she's a Marvel universe fan? :) I've got that DVD on my wishlist as well.

I'm fascinated by the bit in French. Is it a proverb?

Yes, Sue has always been more a Marvel fan than DC's - probably because they had more complexity built into them. She hasn't read comics in a long time because she's very specific about the kind of art that she likes. But she loves the idea of comic-book characters, larger than life and yet still human. And she too enjoyed that scene of Downey Jr in a muscle tee and taking a swing at that anvil.

As for the French bit, yes, that is a proverb. Obviously whoever first said had a significant other who didn't take no for an answer. Heh.

It seemed to me to have the feel of a proverb, but I'm not confident in my sense of such things in other languages.

Susan... I've got that DVD on my wishlist as well.


You might want to check your mailbox's contents on Monday evening. Some Rixo fans wished to show their appreciation of your site.

Err, don't do that. My wishlist is what my mother uses to shop for me, and since the DVD's been on there for months it's likely to make an appearance in gift wrap at Christmas.

Oops. Too late.

You can take it off your wishlist. She isn't shopping Amazon this early, is she/

You don't know my mother. She probably finished her Xmas shopping in August. I maintain a private wishlist for her year-round so she can shop whenever she likes. And she LOVES shopping online; like me, she hates to go to malls. She uses the list to send me stuff in the mail all the time - last week, it was the two volumes of League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, which must have caught her eye for some specific reason, since they'd only been on the list a week or two.

Susan... I probably should have asked first, but I wanted us to surprise you. Then, after mailing it, I started worrying about what if someone else gets hold of the list.

Ah. I do almost all my shopping online, but that's mostly because I don't walk well.

Most, if not all, of my own online shopping is books. If I think I can find the book at one of the local stores, that's what I do, because of the experience of picking up the book before I buy it. In some cases, I buy then I touch(*). That usually happens for books available only thru the sites of European bookstores. Or from small presses. Thus, last night, I bought Michael Burstein's hardcover of I Remember the Future. Yay!

(*) Hmm. That doesn't sound right, does it?

Iron Man and Extraordinary Engines received -- thanks, guys! I'm honored by your generosity.

You're welcome. :)

That's the least we could do to thank you for your site. It was either that or a Segway.

I LOVE Segways!


(Okay, maybe you had to be there...)

It's true, faithful readers of Rixo. After a rehearsal for her presentation, some of us were chatting until Susan saw someone zoom by on a Segway and she started to shamble off after it.

LOL They look so useful until I remember that they operate on balance and mine doesn't work right!

I got to ride a Segway at Darkovercon last year. It was wonderful fun. I've been hoping to repeat the experience ever since. But yes, it's controlled completely by balance and subtle shifts of weight. I had a great time riding hands-free at high speed up and down hallways!

Susan... it's controlled completely by balance and subtle shifts of weight

Your training as a dancer would come in handy. Me, I'm not so sure I'd do well, but I might surprise myself.

There are places where you can rent them, if you want to experiment. There are even places that let you do Segway parties! It took me maybe half an hour to get the hang of it, and then it was pretty easy. Standing still was actually the hardest.

Susan... Standing still was actually the hardest

That's something I'm not good at doing. Sitting still, yes, but standing? If I'm in line for something, I fidget, or I pretend to be tilting around the vertical axis coming out of the ground where my feet are, if my feet can be made to stay in one spot.

Doom on a Segway! Every time you tilt on the vertical axis the Segway moves in that direction.

I don't know if any of this is a good thing or a bad thing, but here goes:

Variety is reporting the rumor that Emily Blunt is in talks to play Natasha Romanoff in Iron Man 2. Romanoff is a Soviet super spy who doubles as Black Widow, a beauty in a skintight black costume that is enhanced by high-tech weaponry. She would join the previously-announced villains Mickey Rourke and Sam Rockwell in the sequel. Again directed by Jon Favreau, the Marvel Studios film sees the return of Robert Downey Jr. and Gwyneth Paltrow, while Don Cheadle is replacing Terrence Howard.

Mickey Rourke would be the Crimson Dynamo, a Russian with a nuclear-powered suit, and Sam Rockwell would be Stark's business competition. Oh, and Samuel L. Jackson may not return as Nick Fury.

Since I don't know who most of these people (actors) are, all I can say is "whatever." I don't even know who most of the characters are; I never read Iron Man.

It would be a shame to lose Samuel L. Jackson, though. I've liked him ever since his turn in Die Hard with a Vengeance, which is one of my favorite action movies.

Susan... I expressed some doubts because of the 3rd X-men movie, which lay the landscape thick with extraordinary characters, and gave them all short shrift. (A few weeks ago, a twenty-something co-worker, while fixing my laptop, discovered that I read comics. We got to talking about that last X-men and he had that very problem, and even went on to say that this wasn't its only problem. I was shocked. So much for assuming that young men are happy as long as there is plenty of sound and fury.)

In case people are interested, Iron Man 2 started filming this week. In spite of what I had heard, Samuel L. Jackson (comic-book fan) is back as Nick Fury, with Mickey Rourke as the Crimson Dynamo, and Scarlett Johansen as the Black Widow.

I fear they will try and jam too much and too many characters into the film, a problem with X-men:The Last Stand and also Spiderman 3. On the other hand, those films had other problems; there was plenty of room and screen-time for both General Zod and Lex Luthor in Superman II.

Neil... The cast is still manageable in Iron Man 2. As for the 3rd X-men movie, it had so many fantastic beings in it that most were given short shrift. Ask Susan about their handling of Jean Grey. On second thought, don't ask Susan about their handling of Jean Grey. By the way, it looks like the Wolverine movie is going to make close to the same mistake as X3. "When will you people ever learn?" Magneto asked.

I'm just pleased that RDJr has grown his beard back in for the role. Yummy!

I thought you might say that, Susan. By the way, his "Sherlock Holmes" movie looks interesting although, alas, he doesn't sport the style of facial pilosity you find so delectable.

I will probably see Sherlock Holmes if it gets adequate reviews, since his lack of facial hair will be compensated for by the fact that the subject of the movie is interesting. This will obviously be a big movie year for me: I plan to see at least three!

(Okay, and I want to see the scene where he ends up naked and handcuffed to a bed.)

Filming for Iron Man 2 has started. I drool politely over this.

Susan... naked and handcuffed to a bed

... by Mrs. Hudson?

What's your third movie, Susan? Also, can one drool politely? I guess it's possible, considering that Nicole Kidman was able to politely die from consumption in Moulin Rouge.

I sincerely hope not by Mrs. Hudson.

I've already seen Bolt this year, will see Watchmen tonight, and then Christmas Carol in November plus Sherlock Holmes whenever.

Right, Watchmen. I'm very curious as to what you'll think of it.

Why not Mrs. Hudson? Did Doyle ever say how old she was? She might be a young widow, played by Gabrielle Anwar as a Eurasian beauty rescued from a house of sin in India by a valorous young officer of Her Majesty's army.

In the upcoming movie she's played by the close-to-60 Geraldine James. So I think not Mrs. Hudson.

Susan... Being sixty is not that old. Says the guy who is only a bit more than 6 years away from that age. Still, the movie being aimed at wider audiences, I expect that no mature person will be involved in any tied-up scenes.

You were the one who suggested a young widow as a suitable person for handcuffing Mr. Downey to a bed.

Personally, I think someone a few years younger than him would be exactly right for such activities. Someone about my age, for example.

Susan... Oh, I know I suggested a young Mrs. Hudson, but that's not what they had cast, thus my later comment, As for your idea of a woman only a few years younger than Downey, it almost sounds like you'd volunteer for the job of tying him down. What some people will do for Art...

One more thing... A 4o-year-old widow is young, from where I'm standing.

Interested in an Iron Man 2 photo of Robert Downey Jr in armor, Susan?

Meh. I like him better out of the armor. Interesting to see how they do the motion capture parts, though!

"Holmes! Does your depravity know no bounds?!"

Weird. The link for the above 'Holmes' comment isn't there.

Serge, I've had that problem intermittently. It seems to happen in Mozilla and not in Firefox 3.

Live link created above.

Or, um, not. That's weird. It's in the comment but isn't appearing. Here's the Holmes link until I get this fixed:


Mary Aileen, I'm using Firefox 3.0.10 and am not getting links or direct connections.

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