Monthly Archives: September 2013

NCIS – Whiskey Tango Foxtrot

To be continued

As season beginnings go, this was pretty good. They avoided the issue of Gibbs seemingly shooting Fornell by having one of those ‘to be continued’ endings. Oh, well.

Abby, Ducky and Palmer

Almost no one was at their post, as season ten ended with lots of badges being handed in. They were obviously handed back out again after a suitable amount of action, but it was quite sweet to find Ducky at Gibbs’s desk, ordering Abby and Palmer to do their bit. And poor Palmer, who – just like me – is not good with hunger strikes.

Director Morrow

The early fireworks made me wonder just how many actors they were trying to do away with, but we still have some left. Am thinking they will have to kill Ziva now, because with a kill list that long and most of the agents needing to survive, they probably will kill any volunteers. But DiNozzo is showing worrying signs of being smitten. He’s not allowed to be!

DiNozzo

Parsons stopped being obnoxious, which is good, as I liked him. But he looks so like McGee, they could do with wearing name badges. Doing ‘the right thing for the wrong reason.’ Even with a farfetched plot, I didn’t quite get why Gibbs went away, or why he wore such strange clothes to ‘blend in.’.

Gibbs

I’m quite looking forward to next week, and not just for the ‘to be continued’ reason. But they need to keep this up. No soppyness. No slacking.

Window

I worried about Kate the goldfish for a moment…

(Photos © CBS)

Down to Downton again

Downton Abbey 4, Lady Mary and Branson and children

Ah well, not much to say about the new Downton Abbey season (it must be the fourth…). It was ‘fun’ enough, if fun is everybody being miserable. Mary does determinedly depressed better than anyone.

It has sort of set the scene, though. And I never thought I’d say Thomas did a good thing. But there you are.

I still want to be Maggie Smith. She gets to be quite normal (in comparison, I mean), as well as outrageous. Here’s to grandmothers!

NCIS for the forgetful

If you’re like me, you forget. Here is what CBS are doing to bring you up to speed on season ten of NCIS, just before you settle down to watch the start of season eleven.

People should do more of this kind of thing. (Maybe they do?)

Vance and Gibbs

Not many sleeps until they’re back…

A very happy 80th birthday to David McCallum!

We’ve had a run of blog posts featuring digits here, so what’s one more among friends?

It’s a very special day today. David McCallum is 80, and who would believe it? He looks as fresh as he has done for years, and as Ducky he certainly doesn’t look anywhere near retirement age. As David he clearly shows he doesn’t do retirement. (If it was me I’d want to rest and do nothing.) Filming can’t always be a bed of roses, but I hope there will be many more years of both David and Ducky on small and big screens.

Thanksgiving at Ducky's © CBS

I’d normally have opted for a picture of David McCallum, but this one of Ducky is suitably festive for a birthday. Let’s hope he doesn’t have to work out anything complicated to do with the numbers of candles on his cake.

Skål & grattis!

Cake at 79

It was a family birthday this weekend. Or rather, it wasn’t. But with the Hungarian Accountant visiting, his sister felt some slightly premature birthday cake for their mother would be in order.

I have never experienced birthday cake with these people before. Would you expect integers (yes, whatever they are) to have much to do with birthday cake? Or any other cake, for that matter?

So people sang. The birthday child blew out the candles like a pro. There were nine candles; seven blue and two pink ones. Before any cake could be cut or eaten, she had to work out what each candle ‘was worth.’ Apparently this is a family tradition.

You should never speak of a lady’s age, but for the purposes of this mathematical candle calculation you need to know she’s 79.

How much for each blue candle, and how much for a pink one?

Oh yeah, it has to be the solution the Hungarian Accountant’s sister thought of. Not just any that works.

Less of the picnics

It’s not often executive producers on television write letters to the fans of their shows to let them know what’s going on. Here is Gary Glasberg explaining what might happen now that Ziva is leaving. (He hadn’t expected it either.)

Gary Glasberg letter

I think the picnics and barbecues that didn’t happen were Gary’s private ones over the summer. At first I thought he was pulling my leg by suggesting NCIS would be a picnic this season. But what must have happened was a lot more thinking and planning and writing to ‘get rid of’ Ziva.

And I can’t say that this letter makes me believe it’s going to be easy. (Whatever happened to people simply resigning and going to work somewhere else?)

On your six, boss!

40 years on

Today it is forty years since the coup in Chile. While it isn’t primarily a ‘cultural’ memory, it was nevertheless important for me and many others. We might not have known all that much about Chilean music before the day Allende and countless others died, but we soon learned.

My Chilean music

What was so lucky in such dreadful times was the fact that many of the big names in Chilean music were abroad on September 11th. That way they survived, and they were well suited to carry on the fight with the help of their songs.

Whether groups like Quilapayún and Inti-Illimani would have toured Sweden had there been no coup I don’t know. But the way things were they came, and we saw them, and we shared in what they had to offer.

Many other people also came. First it was the more public figures. (I remember when Peruvian peasant leader Hugo Blanco came to my small home town, staying with the friends of a friend.)

By Christmas 1973 those friends were hosts to many political leaders, both Chilean and from other parts of Latin America, who had already sought refuge in Chile, and who had been forced to leave yet another country to be safe.

And then there were people like Víctor Jara who died in Santiago. They have not been forgotten.

Ten in one go

I can recall hearing people who watched several seasons of NCIS in one go, say that it was much better that way, than when taken once a week for years. I can sort of see what they mean now.

We spent the last couple of weeks wading though most of season ten to prepare for the new season start in two weeks. It has taken diligence and perseverance, but that’s something Daughter and I possess when it has to do with NCIS.

And I discovered two things. 1) It really is better to get a complete view by watching episodes close together. 2) By having too little time, as well as little inclination, to watch episodes a second time throughout the season, most of them felt almost brand new, and I’m sure that added to the pleasure now.

So, taken together, there is more cohesion than I’d imagined. You still notice that some episodes are better written, by someone with a good background of what’s gone before. But still.

(When I offered the Resident IT Consultant to share the last remaining episodes he was adamant he couldn’t be bothered. So no repeats for him.)

Here’s to eleven!

Abby

(Fun link to a very brief summary of the last ten years. At least once you’ve suffered through the ad at the beginning.)

2013 Last Night of the Proms

There was more than one lark. And what is the world coming to when you just have to mention that we had to wait until 2013 for the first woman to conduct the Last Night of the Proms? Last night’s Last Night made too much of Marin Alsop’s uniqueness. Katie Derham who presented – very nicely – for the BBC, while wrinkling her brow in a manner that will lead to wrinkles later, had to mention it all the time.

And here I am, doing the same. Oops. I found out yesterday was the Last Night and who was conducting, purely by reading the interview with the First Female in my morning paper. Had it been Karajan there would have been less fuss. Actually, maybe not. Dead conductors probably merit media fuss as well. (Which brings me to the brief excitement the Resident IT Consultant and I experienced when Katie announced that Vaughan Williams was entering the stage.)

Proms 2013

You know me. I’m no good with classical music knowledge. So I don’t really know why a counter tenor like Iestyn Davies has to sound like a woman (nor why there was virtually no mention of him in the programme). The Chichester Psalms were nice enough, although not very Leonard Bernstein-y.

They had a headless tuba player, as far as I could see. And even before they showed us what the orchestra and chorus (BBC Symphony Orchestra and BBC Symphony Chorus) looked like when not wearing their fine clothes (relax, I don’t mean in the nude), I had wondered what they look like out of them. Perfectly normal, is the answer. Loved the Union Jack turban as worn by one member of the chorus.

Nigel ‘No-Adjective’ Kennedy even dressed down in the second half, wearing something footballish (?), while still sporting his sticky-uppy hair. Although, I’m not sure what to call the glorified, torn binbag he wore in the first act, either. Different. That’s what it was. Refreshingly so. As was the tea he brought on stage.

Not sure what Marin Alsop thought as she seemed to be conducting a different piece of music to what Nigel was playing. I kept hoping he’d get on with the Czardas, while Marin probably wondered when – and whether – he’d rejoin her and the orchestra. Caterwauling is what it sonded like. And he stabbed a balloon.

The hit of the evening was surely mezzo soprano Joyce DiDonato who seemed to be coming and going all night. Loved the blood red dress in the first half (but the ‘draped flag’ for Rule Britannia was a bit meh) and would like to know how it stayed up. She knew how to play the audience. Flirt a bit. Wiggle your hips. Throw roses. Sing beautifully.

Marin Alsop’s speech was too long and too much about herself. Too serious. (Quite American, that.) But at least we’ve got this First Female business out of the way.

What do they do in Glasgow and Caerphilly when Land of Hope and Glory is on? I understand there are sensibilities to consider, but am curious.

It took a while, but we finally got to Auld Lang Syne. I think I especially enjoy it because it shows how well an audience can sing when there is neither orchestra nor choir helping out. And no rehearsing beforehand.

(For anyone who doesn’t feel there’s enough Last Night of the Proms here, this weblink should provide what you need.)

The Eccleston reign

Would fish fingers and chips – bunged in the oven – have made a difference, I wonder? I’ve been informed this is how mothers coped with Saturday dinners in the olden days of Doctor Who. Because it’s astonishing quite how many episodes I never watched as the Doctor returned to the home screens eight years ago.

I think I plonked Offspring down in front of the box to watch, because it was what you did. Generations of British children watched the Doctor and the Daleks from behind their sofas. I don’t think I really expected to watch. I had no proper upbringing that led me to want to do it. So I probably watched a couple of episodes to keep people company. And I caught glimpses of the Tardis and stuff as I dashed in and out of the room.

I have long been under the impression that I watched every other episode of season one. Now I know better. I didn’t. Not by a long shot. I ‘met’ Captain Jack Harkness only by hearing him talk soothingly to Rose, as she sailed across the London sky. I have a lot of weird, half-fake memories. Sat through the ‘are you my mummy’ episodes to keep Daughter calm. But they were creepy.

In fact, I didn’t care that Christopher Eccleston stopped Doctoring, because I simply didn’t know the man well enough to miss him. And he was followed by the lovely David Tennant, so was easily forgotten by me.

Luckily the lapses of yesteryear have been rectified. I have just watched every single episode of season one, up to and including the Christmas one where David Tennant mostly slept on the job. They were pretty good, on the whole. And I’m beginning to see why some fans moan these days. They really did write them better before. They just did.

Never mind who was the Doctor. It’s who wrote the script that matters.