February 1st, 2004

krazy koati

A holiday movie

In Singapore today was a public holiday, the Hari Raya Haji -- a good occasion for Muslims who are able to make a pilgrimage to Mecca. For those who don't go, it's a chance to sample food and buy pirated software and DVDs from sidewalk stands.

Television, as it will on such occasions, therefore runs movies with no obvious or logical connection to the holiday. Holiday movie specials include ``Wild Wild West'' -- the movie that made giant steampunk scorpions rampaging through ``Gunsmoke'' territory popular again; ``Spy Kids'' -- the movie which made ``Spy Kids 3'' such a disappointment; ``Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom'' -- the movie which taught me not to go into temples of doom; and (tomorrow) ``Armageddon'' -- for which Bruce Willis was strapped to an asteroid and blown up by a nuclear bomb, as he deserved.

The connection to the holy days of Islam? Beats me. But then WTAF-Channel 29 in Philadelphia used to run ``Race For Your Life, Charlie Brown'' on the day after Thanksgiving, and the connection between that and Thanksgiving was similarly tenuous. But last week's airing of the 1968 ``Planet of the Apes'' for the Chinese New Year was so nearly sensible it makes it hard to resist searching for a theme.

Trivia: The speed of nerve impulses was first measured by Hermann Ludwig Ferdinand von Helmholtz, 1841-1894, who was inspired by a biology teacher who held up the speed of the impulse as something science could never measure (because of the shortness of the gap impulses travelled over). Source: Asimov on Physics, Isaac Asimov.

Currently Reading: Shakespeare's Kings: The great plays and the history of England in the Middle Ages, 1337-1485, John Julius Norwich.