Tagged: Apple Watch

Mindy Newell: Chariots Of The Gods

“Space travelers in the gray mists of time? An inadmissible question to academic scientists. Anyone who asks questions like that ought to see a psychiatrist.” • Erich von Danniken

“It’s just one more thing to remember to charge throughout our busy days.” • Joseph Volpe of Engadget.com critiquing the Apple Watch

Well, I finished rewatching Ronald D. Moore’s Battlestar Galactica.

The most popular question (dissatisfaction?) I remember floating around the message boards connected with the finale of BSG was: “What, or who, was the returned-from-the-dead Kara Thrace, a.k.a. Starbuck?” And I also remember that there was a lot of frustration and unhappy people who were really angry with Mr. Moore for not giving a black-and-white answer. I suppose these dissatisfied viewers wanted to see an extension of Kara’s final scene with Lee Adama in which, in their imagination, she would say – sort of a SPOILER AHEAD! –

“When my Viper crashed on Earth, there was a light, and as I walked towards it I saw my mother and my father and Kat and they told me that I wasn’t done yet, that I had to go back and complete my destiny. But my body was burned up so God created an avatar for my spirit, my soul, to inhabit so that my journey could be completed. Now I have. I have led you to Earth and humanity has its fresh start, but it’s time for me to leave for good, Lee. The lease on this body is up and I have to return it. Besides, Sam is waiting for me on the other side. So goodbye.”

Those of you who are BSG fans know that is not what Kara said to Lee – not in any overt way. But still, if you were paying attention, that is what she said, that is what happened to Kara Thrace. Im-not-so-ho, of course.

The other question that floated around the message boards, and one with which I agreed, was: Would the survivors of the twelve colonies really give up all their technology in their quest to start anew? I mean, not even a radio? That seemed a little “out there” to me. Wouldn’t it be important to stay in contact with the other colonists as they made “homesteads” around the globe? I mean, these were people who complained about the accommodations aboard the various ships on the fleet – were they really going to go without bathrooms?

Besides, if we are all descendents of the Cylon/Homo sapien hybrid named Hera, then an inherent need for technology is wired into our DNA – after all, anyone who is everyone is talking about that “godsdamned” Apple Watch and how they can’t wait to get it – oh, and by the way, Mike, you didn’t mention in your column that there is going to be an “upscale” model (read: diamonds and gold and sterling silver) costing around $17,000 or so, for those gazillionaires who want to play Dick Tracy.

Still, I loved the idea that the people of the colonies were the “gods” aboard the chariots of Erich von Danniken and the *ahem* Ancient Aliens of the History Channel. And it left me wanting more, more, more

So I watched The Plan and Razor and then put the sequel/prequel, Caprica, on my Amazon “watch list.” I watched the pilot episode Saturday.

Caprica did not feature huge space battles and interstellar travel so it never had the fan base of BSG; most of the audience did not have the patience for the acorn to take root and grow into a mighty oak tree, patience being a virtue that was apparently swallowed up into a black hole at the beginning of the 21st century, and thus it was prematurely cancelled by the Sci-Fi network.

(This, I think, was the beginning of the end of the Sci-Fi Channel, which once upon a time featured shows like Stargate Sg-1 and Farscape and BSG, and then changed its name to SyFy and now airs movies about mutant sharks caught in tornados and WWE exhibitions. Well, some of those wrestlers could be classified as aliens.)

It was an example of a – dare I use the phrase – thinking man’s exploration of science and God and the intersection between both. Yes, so was BSG, but Mr. Moore sneakily slipped that in between the (admittedly terrific) special effects of nukes exploding and Cylon raiders.

Mr. Moore said that Caprica is “about a society that’s running out of control with a wild-eyed glint in its eye… meant to explore ethical implications of advances in artificial intelligence and robotics.”

Too bad Mr. Moore never got a chance to complete the series.

I could have viewed it on my Apple Watch.


Mike Gold: The Watch’s Comics Roots

Wrist RadioTime for a bit of a comics history lesson… but first, a word from our sponsor.

Monday Apple revealed its latest toy, the Watch. Like most Apple products, it looks pretty cool but seems overpriced, and like most Apple products, once you look at what you’re getting it’s not really overpriced, just expensive. That’s true with the Watch, but I’ll admit it’s doubtful I’ll buy the first generation version.

Apple WatchThis is because for the past many decades my watch choice decisions were limited to “Timex” and “Swatch.” So $350 – or, more likely, $700 for the version I deem best for me – is a lot of money. But there are no shortage of watches with such a price tag: Movado, Breitling, Panerai, Invicta, the $600,000 de Grisogono Meccanico dG S25D… and the most recent and the one with the best name – Shinola.

No shit folks: a Shinola watch runs about $850, give or take a couple hundred depending on the model. Their high-end watch runs $1,500 – maybe more; that’s the best offered at the Shinola shop in Manhattan’s Chelsea district when I was there a couple weeks ago (to buy shoe polish). But I digress.

The first Mickey Mouse watch was manufactured in 1933 by the Ingersoll Company, which probably is not related to our ComicMix columnist of the same name. It was part of America’s first massive, integrated merchandising campaign based upon a cartoon or comics character, and was set up to take advantage of the Century of Progress World’s Fair in Chicago. The whole operation was set up by a man named Kay Kamen – a true legend. According to Tomart’s Disneyana Update, “Kay Kamen invented the whole licensing industry. Not just for Disney, alone; others followed suit.”

Thirteen years later, visionary cartoonist Chester Gould “invented” the two-way wrist radio as a fictional tool for policemen in general and his Dick Tracy in particular. This triggered a merchandising blitz of Mickey Mouse proportions and became the reference standard for cool gizmos. Actually, in Chet’s story the watch was a deus ex machina – Gould had Tracy in one of his classic deathtraps and the detective used his watch to summon help.

His editor rejected the concept. Deploying a deus ex machina usually is a cop out, something the writer pulls out of his ass to resolve the problem. Think of Green Arrow’s quiver. Gould’s defense was that there was an actual two-way wrist radio invented by Al Gross, the guy who created the Walkie-Talkie. Al also developed the garage door opener, the cordless phone, and the cellphone, but he couldn’t acquire financing to put them into production and his patents expired. He, himself, expired in 2000.

Amusingly, Apple offers as one of its many, many “watch faces” the animated visage of Mickey Mouse (above). I strongly suspect that decision had a lot more to do with marketing concerns than historical tribute, but, knowing Apple, I wouldn’t be surprised if the subject came up.

As for Dick Tracy, well, I’m sorry to suggest that his most famous crime-fighting tool is now available to every Tom, Dick, and Henrietta who has between $350 and $17,000 to spare. I assume the high-end version incorporates both transporter and phaser technologies.

That original Mickey Mouse watch cost about $3.50, which would be a bit over $61.00 in 2014 money. Today, Ingersoll offers an “exact” replica of the original model – but with modern mechanics – for a mere $299.00. And it’s just a replica.

Hey, it looks like that Watch isn’t so expensive after all!