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Saturday, May 22nd, 2004

Time Event
10:43p
Two of hearts

I got off to a late start today, as always for a stupid reason: I caught the beginning of an episode of Quack Pack and wanted to see the whole thing. Quack Pack, people will dimly remember, was a 1990s attempt to ``update'' Donald Duck and vague extended family. Rather than being a hapless schlub who burns off audience sympathy -- and his karmic edge -- with short-sighted and foolish displays of temper that come back to haunt him, Donald's become a hapless schlub fate conspires to irritate until he comes to see satisfaction swiped away. They handled the problem of Huey, Dewey, and Louie being genial but fairly interchangeable personalities by updating them to argumentative, sarcastic but fairly interchangeable personalities. And Daisy Duck? Instead of being a stereotypical bland, demanding girlfriend she's cast as a bland, flighty, self-absorbed TV reporter girlfriend.

Anyway, the episode was the only one I've seen the whole way through, and the only one I've actually thought about. Now my personal superpower comes into play; when I think about a particular episode of a show, that tends to be on the next time I catch that show. I don't know, I've always had it.

The episode featured a mad scientist who, as they are wont to do, figured out a ray beam for rearranging molecules. Nifty power, although he only uses it to trap Donald in concrete, which seems to be under-applying the transmutative potential; and to merge Dewey and Louie (I think) into The Duck With Two Heads. Also two feet and two hand-wings. I can't help it; I've always thought two-headed creatures are interesting. I blame it on seeing Ray Milland at an early age. It's a shame the story didn't extract the fullest possible humor from the setup. Aesthetically I also think it's a shame Dewey and Louie were so symmetrically matched. Granted they're about the same size by design, but there should be some good fun to be had from mixing and matching body parts that just don't match up.

Bizarre on my part? Yes, but not fundamentally stranger than thinking satyrs look pretty neat. The cartoon ends with classic nightmare fuel; various ray gun mishaps leave Donald Duck in place of Mad Scientist's arm; that's about the only way to end this premise, really.

I note for reference the Mad Scientist episode of Timon and Pumbaa -- one of the handful of episodes of that show I've seen -- first gets Timon and Pumbaa separately mutated into monsters. Timon ends up rather chicken-like, and I think it's at worst a lateral move. He had an offbeat charm. The punch line ending there, of course, is Timon turned into Pumbaa's tail, which is again solid nightmare fuel. Keep up the good work, Disney. You'll hit every corner of the Transformation Stories Archive yet.

Anyway, you can see how this all got me off to a late start today -- wouldn't you wait to see Donald Duck turned into a living ventriloquist doll? -- but as for a late start to what, I'll report tomorrow, unless something more interesting happens.

In other news Singapore tourist authorities have organized a mass skydive to be held in (over?) Marina Bay around August. They're hoping to help make the city a center for ``extreme'' sports. This explains why they put so much effort into the Reverse Bungee Jump down at Clarke Quay. I still think Singapore striving for ``extreme sporting'' is kind of like Bob Newhart going to a rave, but the people directly involved seem enthusiastic about it.

Trivia: In steady fluid flows the streamlines and the paths particles take are identical. The converse is not true. Source: A First Course In Fluid Dynamics, A.R. Paterson.

Currently Reading: The Collected Works of Paddy Chayefsky: The Screenplays -- The Hospital, Network, Altered States, Paddy Chayefsky.

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