followup on johnny rico

In case you’re wondering what happened to Casper Van Dien after he made Starship Troopers, apparently he got himself into a unique domestic situation — married to a crown princess of Serbia and Montenegro (and former cast member of Dynasty) and raising five kids from three different relationships.

Naturally, he’s going to be starring in a new reality series:

Dec. 07, 2004

Lifetime vows regal look at ‘Princess’ life

Lifetime Television is getting hitched to royalty with “I Married a Princess.” The cable network has ordered 13 half-hour episodes of the reality show produced by New Wave Entertainment. “Princess” is set to debut in the second quarter. “Princess” features married couple Catherine Oxenberg (“Dynasty”), whose mother is HRH Princess Elizabeth of Yugoslavia (now Serbia and Montenegro), and Casper Van Dien (“Starship Troopers”) and their “blended family” of five children — from three different relationships — as they deal with the obstacles of family life. The series also will follow them to Hollywood premieres, film and TV production sets and royal events.

– from the Hollywoood Reporter

Brad DeLong on the Iliad

Brad DeLong has such an excellent post on the topic of war, excellence, and heroism:

Let me put it this way: who would you rather have standing beside you when spear meets shield–Achilles, Hector, or Odysseus? With Hector, the man of honor, you will wage war when you should–but you may well lose. With Achilles, the man of skill, you will win–but you will wage war all the time, whether or not you should.

With Odysseus, the man of strategy, you will wage war only when you can win–but will you always be happy with your victories?

I think I would take my place beside Odysseus. But who should I take my place beside? It is an interesting question…

The question for my readers is this:

Who would you rather have standing beside you when the horde of chitinous bugs comes swarming up out of a cave? Lt. Rasczak, Dizzy Flores, or Carl Jenkins?

(Update: Carl Jenkins. You know — Doogie Howser.)

what i saw in new york city

I was in New York City for the first time over Halloweeen. It was pretty okay. I would describe it as just like Chicago, only on an island and with a 200 year headstart. The downside of having such a large population is that even though the assholes-per-capita number (0.053) is probably the same as other places, you’re running into them more often simply because there are more of them.

The best thing I saw in NYC was the public library, specifically, the Newton exhibit. If you’re at all the kind of person who would totally spazz out upon seeing, for instance, a first edition of the Principia interleaved with Newton’s handwritten notes for the second edition, you should certainly go.

And, if like me, you found the scene in Quicksilver where Newton stuck a knitting needle in his own eye unbelievable, you will be thrilled to see the actual notebook he was taking notes in while he was doing it, along with a hand-drawn diagram of where he was putting that needle.

It’s on until February 5th.

with all deliberate haste

There are some interesting insights in this essay by Paul Graham, on why American things (cities, buildings, cars) can be so ugly.

We don’t especially prize design or craftsmanship here. What we like is speed, and we’re willing to do something in an ugly way to get it done fast.

He does get a little self-contradictory in parts, though. Americans lack taste, and therefore tend to build things quickly and superficially, but Americans have taste, so they’re increasingly choosing things like iPods and imported cars.

Still, some things to think about.

a most illogical holiday

What do Dorothy Parker, Ayn Rand, and Mr. Spock have in common? All starred in some of the least successful holiday specials of all time.

(via Crooked Timber)

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