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Win One, Lose One

December 21, 2015 at 4:00 pm
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The Jets won on Saturday night, defeating (and eliminating) the Dallas Cowboys.

The Giants lost on Sunday morning, going down to the undefeated Carolina Panthers.

Saturday’s high was followed by Sunday’s low. Life in the NFL is never dull, I will give you that. Life is magical… but full of pain.

Saturday’s game was not all thrills and cheers, however, and Sunday’s was not all gloom and doom (though it ended that way). Truth be told, Gang Green’s 19-16 win over Dallas was a lot closer than it should have been. The Cowboys, without Tony Romo, have been a shell of themselves this season. The Jets should have rolled right over them, especially since the ‘Boys were playing with their third-string quarterback, and soon replaced him with their fourth-stringer, a kid who had never thrown a pass in the NFL before. The kid threw three interceptions, yet somehow moved Dallas as well, and kept them in the game till the end.

(One has to wonder whatever happened to Matt Cassell, the ineffective third-stringer he replaced. Cassell was pretty good just a few years back, when he filled in for an injured Tom Brady for the Patriots, but since moving on via free agency he just seems to get worse and worse).

Anyway… the Jets should have crushed Dallas in a laugher. But at least they hung on and won, and thereby kept their playoff hopes alive. At 9-5, they are tied with the Chiefs and the Steelers, and two of those three teams will get a wild card slot. Unfortunately, New York has the toughest schedule and the worst tie-breakers of the three, so their chances are slim… and pretty much gone if they lose to the Patriots next week (unless Johnny Football somehow manages to upset either KC or Pittsburgh, and I’m not holding my breath). But at least Todd Bowles will finish with a winning record in his first year as coach, whatever happens.

Which brings us to Sunday, and Big Blue’s 38-35 loss to Carolina.

That had to be one of the strangest games I have ever seen in half a century of watching pro football. The first quarter and the fourth quarter featured some pretty exciting football, but in between came the second and third quarters, which were nightmares for any Giants fan.

The G-Men left two touchdowns on the field in the first half. On the fourth play of the game, Eli Manning hit Odell Beckham Junior in stride for what should have been a 52-yard touchdown… but Odell dropped the ball. And early in the second quarter, Cam Newton threw what should have been a certain pick-six right at Giants CB Dominque Rogers-Cromartie… who dropped the ball. Turn those two drops into catches, the Giants have a 21-7 lead midway into the second quarter, and we have a whole different ballgame

Coulda, shoulda, woulda. Sadly, the drops were dropped. The game was tight right up until Giants RB Rashad Jennings fumbled in the second quarter. That seemed to change momentum. Suddenly the Giants could not do anything right, and the Panthers could not do anything wrong. Cam and his crew shredded New York’s defense (worst in the NFL), and the score mounted. 14 -7. 21 – 7. 28 – 7. 35 – 7. By that time, I was feeling suicidal, Cam Newton was on the sideline icing his knee, and Troy Aikman was suggesting that it might be time for Carolina to pull him out and let his backup finish the blowout.

Not so fast. With twenty minutes left in the game, late in the third quarter, Eli and the Giants woke up, and started fighting back. A nice drive ended in a touchdown pass to tight end Will Tye made in 35 -14. Then Rashad Jennings broke through the middle for a long run and it was 35 – 21. Carolina drove back and seemed to be about to make it a three-score game again, but the field goal attempt was blocked by Dominique Rogers-Cromartie, and a few plays later Eli hit Shane Vereen and it was 35 -28 and we had a game again, and I was screaming just as loud as the crowd at MetLife Stadium. Especially when the Panthers went three-and-out, with JPP blocking Cam’s third-down pass with his “club” (the massive cast on his mangled hand). Then came another drive, but Carolina stiffened and it came down to a fourth-down play in the Red Zone… and Eli hit Odell Beckham Junior for the tying score. 35 – 35.

That was one of the most amazing comebacks I have ever seen a football game. Offhand, the only games that compare are the “Midnight Miracle” of last decade, when the Jets rallied on Monday Night Football to defeat the Dolphins, and that long-ago playoff reversal where Frank Reich led the Buffalo Bills back against the Houston Oilers.

I have to say, I am proud of the way of the Giants fought back. Most teams would have packed it in at 35 – 7. The comeback is a credit to Tom Coughlin, and the fighting spirit of Big Blue. And I want to single out three players, who screwed up early and made up for it later. Rashad Jennings lost the fumble early on that started the Carolina scoring spree… but his gutsy breakaway TD run in the fourth quarter ignited the comeback. DRC dropped the pick-six in the second quarter… but blocked the field goal in the fourth that really got things rolling. And Odell dropped the 52-yard touchdown in the first quarter… but caught the tying fourth-down touchdown at the end, when everything was on the line, and set things up before that with a long catch-and-run to get the Giants to the red zone.

Of course, in the end all the heroics came to naught. The Giants tied the game, but they left Cam Newton almost two minutes, and the worst defense in the NFL (unsurprisingly) failed to hold him. Boom boom zoom, down the field came Carolina, and with seconds left a field goal made it 38 – 25, and all the G-Men had for their efforts was another agonizing fourth quarter loss. Their fifth of season, I believe. Yes, technically they are still in contention for the NFC East title… but don’t believe it. It’s over.

Still… that rally was one for the ages. I wish we had capped it with a fairytale ending, but it was nice while it lasted.

Congrats to the Panthers, and especially Cam Newton. He’s this year’s MVP for sure.

((I have not addressed the war between Odell Beckham Junior and Josh Norman. I will, but in a separate blog post. Save your comments for that one. I do not want discussion of that issue to overshadow a great game)..


Giant Robots!

December 20, 2015 at 6:09 pm
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Those kaiju better watch out before they come bothering our world. It appears that both the United States and Japan are ready with the first generation of jaegers.

The US has issued a challenge.

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The Japanese have accepted.

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I think it would be cool if they staged this at halftime at the next SuperBowl. They did have two giant robots fighting at the first SuperBowl, after all, so bringing them back for the fiftieth would be only appropriate. (And they did have a giant golden robot tiger last year).

Cmon, NFL, get on it.

Come Meet the Giant

December 15, 2015 at 3:35 pm
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The Iron Giant is here!

There’s still a few more days to meet the big guy, down at the Jean Cocteau Cinema.

We playing the signature edition of the Brad Bird film — newly remastered and restored, with two new scenes not included in the original theatrical release — this afternoon at 4:30, tomorrow at 1:30pm and 8:00 pm, and Thursday at 3:00pm and 7:00pm.

The Giant himself will be at the theatre to welcome patrons to all our shows. And yes, in between movies, you are welcome to have your picture taken with the big guy.

Okay, it’s true, our Giant is not as big as the one in the film. And, hey, he’s not even the biggest giant in Santa Fe, since Meow Wolf installed their mammoth thirty-footer down at Silva Lanes. But he’s taller than YOU are, f’rsure, and he has a lot of personality. We love him.

The Iron Giant was made for us by Fred Barton, the “Robot Man,” same dude who made my Robbie. If any of you need a robot, Fred’s the guy to see.

Monday Night Victory

December 15, 2015 at 3:16 pm
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Hey, hey, hey, whattaya know… the Giants finally broke their losing streak and won one, a 31-24 victory over the Miami Dolphins on Monday night. They actually came from behind, taking a lead early in the fourth quarter and than HOLDING IT, grounding out the yards with runs and short passes, moving the chains, eating the clock, keeping the ball away from the Miami offense until it was time to kneel down.

If they had done the same things in the four games they blew earlier this season, Big Blue would now be 10-3 instead of 6-7. They would have long ago wrapped up the pathetic NFC East and would be looking ahead to the playoffs. But no…

Instead, well, hard as it is to believe, even at 6-7 they are still tied for the division lead with the Eagles and the Redskins, and still have a slim chance to win the division. “Slim” because they have by far the hardest schedule of the three leaders in the last three games. The schedule favors the Potomac Drainage Basin Indiginous Peoples. But this is the NFL, so anything could happen. Even the Cowboys have a tiny sliver of hope, if the other three teams all collapse.

Let’s enjoy last night before worrying about next week, however. Eli Manning played the best game I’ve ever seen him play, completing something like 85% of his passes and tossing four touchdowns without an interception. And Odell Beckham Junior was just sensational. He has become the best wideout in the NFL, I think… at this point in time, at least. Why the Fish did not triple team him every play, I have no idea. It’s not as if the G-Men have any other threats. It does make one wonder how great the Giants offense could have been if only Victor Cruz had been healthy this season.

On the defensive side of the ball, however… well, JPP showed flashes, but aside from that, things looked pretty grim. And the injuries continue to pile up, especially among the linebackers. We’re down to fourth string guys now. Any more losses, and they may be asking Harry Carson and Lawrence Taylor to suit up again.

The Giants desperately need to add some stud linebackers and pass rushers in free agency and the draft. Meanwhile, however, we have the high-flying Carolina Panthers and Cam Newton coming to town next week. Maybe if Eli and Odell can duplicate this week’s heroics, we can look forward to another shootout like the New Orleans game… but we all remember how THAT one ended.


More Hugo Musings

December 14, 2015 at 11:31 pm
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Speaking of awards, nominations for the 2016 Hugo Awards will be opening soon… so maybe I should post a few more thoughts about some works I think worthy of consideration.

I talked about the two Dramatic Presentation categories in previous posts, and also mentioned NEMESIS GAMES by James S.A. Corey as a possible contender in Best Novel. Tonight I want to draw your attention to a couple of possibilities for Best Related Work.

Now, I will freely admit that Best Related Work is not my favorite Hugo category. It is kind of a grab bag category, the place fandom puts stuff that it likes that doesn’t fit anywhere else. Nobody really seems to have a clear idea what a “related work” is… but past nominees have included biographies, autobiographies, essays, critical works, encyclopedias, science books, graphic novels (before there was a graphic novel category), and other, stranger things.

This year, I think there a couple of strong ‘related works’ worthy of attention.

THE WHEEL OF TIME COMPANION was a mammoth concordance of facts about the universe and characters of the late Robert Jordan’s epic fantasy series, edited and assembled by Harriet McDougal, Alan Romanczuk, and Maria Simons. It’s a labor of love, and everything one could possibly want to know about Jordan’s universe is in there.

Robert Jordan was a giant in the history of modern fantasy, but during his lifetime he was never nominated for a Hugo, for a Nebula, for a World Fantasy Award (the entire WOT series was nominated at Loncon after his death, but lost). The COMPANION is worthy of consideration in its own right, I think… and a Hugo for Harriet, Jim’s widow and Jim’s editor, would be a splendid way to acknowledge his contribution to the genre he loved so much.

Biographies and memoirs have often contended and won in this category before: Jack Vance’s memoir was a recent winner, as was a brilliant biography of Alice Sheldon. The first volume of William Patterson’s Heinlein biography was nominated (though it lost).

This year we have something different: Felicia Day’s delightful look at her life, YOU’RE NEVER WEIRD ON THE INTERNET (Almost).

No, Felicia’s not an SF writer like Vance or Heinlein or Pohl… but she’s certainly an SF person, the queen of the geek girls, an actress, a gamer, a producer. Her whole life has been lived in and around the worlds of SF and fantasy, and her credits include EUREKA and THE GUILD and DR. HORRIBLE’S SING-ALONG BLOG and SUPERNATURAL and… Her book is a lot of fun, witty and wise and insightful… and besides, if she was nominated, maybe she’d come to Kansas City, and it would be a hoot and a half to have Felicia at MidAmericon.

So there you are. Two books to consider when nominating for Best Related Work. I am sure there’s other good stuff out there as well… let’s get some of it on the ballot this year.


December 14, 2015 at 4:06 pm
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Just a reminder… THE EXPANSE premieres tonight on the SyFy channel.

For those who came in late, this is the big new space series based on a terrific series of novels by James S.A. Corey, who is really my friends Daniel Abraham and Ty Franck in disguise.

I’ve seen the first two episodes, and they’re terrific.

But don’t take my word for it.

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If you like episode one tonight, you won’t have to wait long for episode two. SyFy plans to broadcast that one tomorrow night. Then you’ll be all caught up on what the fans at the Jean Cocteau Cinema saw December 3 at the Official Red Carpet Premiere (how could you miss it?)

Pinto Vortando says, “This is a very brave show. Pinto will be watching, and you should too.”

P.S> If you like the show, you will like the novels even better. And you can order signed copies of all five from the Jean Cocteau at

Jets Soar

December 13, 2015 at 4:32 pm
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Okay, not bad, not bad… the Jets won their third in a row this morning, by the convincing score of 30 – 8. Fitz was solid and efficient at QB, the running game was cooking (especially Chris Ivory), Brandon Marshall and Eric Decker had strong games at wideout, and the defense looked hellacious.

It is enough to give a boy hope.

Of course, it was against the Tennessee Titans, so one cannot read too much into it.

Speaking of the Jets… I never got around to posting about last week, and their overtime win over the Giants. Every four years I face a Sunday like this, when my two teams go head to head. (I hope someday to see them go head to head in a Subway Superbowl, but I am starting to think I will never live that long). When that happens, I basically just root for a good game with no injuries… well, unless one team is in contention and t’other ain’t.

Jets/ Giants 2015 was certainly an exciting game, and Gang Green gets props for hanging in when things looked dark… but, really, it was more a case of the Giants losing the game than the Jets winning in. The G-Men had a ten point lead in the fourth quarter, and managed to blow it… as they have in four or five other games this season. Sadly, the Giants D does not seem capable of holding a lead, and while the Giants O can certainly put up points, they don’t seem capable of running out the clock to close the deal when that’s what is required. They keep trying to pass when all that’s needed to win is some good runs to move the chains and eat the minutes.

It does boggle the mind to realize that the Giants could still win the NFC East (though I don’t think they will), even with all those fourth quarter collapses. Everybody in the division seems to suck this year. The East champion could well have a losing record. Maybe it will be the G-Men. We’ll see how they do against the Fish tomorrow night.

Meanwhile, the Jets are in strong contention for a wild card… but they need to beat the Cowboys on Saturday, since the last two games (against the Pats and Bills) will be tough.


Awards Season

December 11, 2015 at 3:34 pm
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Awards season is upon us.

The Golden Globe nominations have just been announced. And once again GAME OF THRONES is a finalist in Best Television Series – Drama. Congrats to David Benioff, Dan Weiss, HBO, and our amazing cast and crew. This year we are up against OUTLANDER, MR. ROBOT, NARCOS, and EMPIRE.

Will we win? Maybe. We’ve been nominated before, but never won — but that was true of the Emmy Awards as well, until this year, so maybe this time will prove to be the charm in the Globes as well. Actually, none of the nominees in this category have ever won, so someone is going to be taking home a Globe for the first time. I’m glad to see OUTLANDER getting some recognition, after being snubbed by the Emmys; it’s a superb show. Never watched the other three, so it’s hard to say how they stack up.

Sad to say, none of our actors were nominated. Boo, hiss. Lena Headey deserved a nod for sure, and some of our other regulars as well.

For a full list of those who were, go to:

OUTLANDER did very well with noms for Tobias Menzies in Supporting Actor and Catrionia Balfe in Lead Actress, both well deserved… but the Hollywood Foreign Press should really have made it three by nominating Sam Heughan too. He was amazing as Jamie Frazier.

The film nominations were a mixed bag, in my opinion. Very pleased to see MAD MAX:FURY ROAD up for Best Drama, and Bryan Cranston nominated for his performance as Dalton Trumbo in TRUMBO… a superb film that deserves a lot more attention than it’s getting.

Also pleased to see the nominations for THE MARTIAN… but wait… THE MARTIAN is up for Best Comedy or Musical?????? Was that for Mark Watney’s toe-tapping rendition of “Get Me Home Before I Starve To Death?” Or maybe that ever popular musical number, “Growing Potatoes in Poop, Heigh Ho?” I mean, c’mon guys, a nomination is a nomination, but…

Meanwhile, on other fronts, the Writers Guild of America also announced their screenwriting nominations. GAME OF THRONES is up twice. David Benioff and Dan Weiss and Bryan Cogman and Dave Hill are up collectively as a writing staff, up against the writing staffs of MR. ROBOT, MAD MEN, BETTER CALL SAUL, and THE AMERICANS.

David and Dan are also nominated for best single episode for “Mother’s Mercy,” competing with episodes of NARCOS, THE LEFTOVERS, THE GOOD WIFE, MAD MEN, and BETTER CALL SAUL. For a complete list of finalists, go to:

Finally, we also have acting nominations from the Screen Actors Guild, which can be found here:

SAG gave GOT three nods: Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama, Outstanding Action Performance by a Stunt Ensemble… and Peter Dinklage for Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Drama.

My congratulations to everyone who was nominated. You deserved it! And my condolences to all those who were not. You were robbed!

Signed Books For Xmas

December 7, 2015 at 4:49 pm
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December 7. Pearl Harbor Day. The Day That Will Live in Infamy.

Also… getting closer and closer to the last day you can order signed books from the Jean Cocteau Cinema and have any hope of getting there in time to pretend they came from Santa Claus.

We’ve uploaded lots of cool new selections to the Signed Books page, from our recent events.

Like Neal Stephenson’s visit, for instance.

And many more.

For all you WHEEL OF TIME fans out there, we also have hardcovers of the new WHEEL OF TIME COMPANION signed by all the authors.

And of course, from last week’s EXPANSE premiere, we have the complete set of Expanse novels by James S.A. Corey, suitably defaced by both Ty Frank and Daniel Abraham.

Lots more titles too, including some by the Martin guy.

Check them all out at

Big Ass Spider

December 7, 2015 at 12:03 pm
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No, not the movie (we showed that at the Cocteau when it was first released).

I am talking a REAL big ass spider, which has newly taken up residence in the parking lot of the former Silva Lanes, just off Rufina, outside what will soon be Meow Wolf’s amazing art space.

That’s my friend and euro-minion Jo standing underneath TaranTula, for a sense of scale.

The Silva Lanes/ Meow Wolf complex is still an active construction site, so you can’t get too close… but the spider, and her friend the giant robot, are visible from the street, so do swing by and take a look if you’re in the neighborhood.

Construction continues apace. No opening date set yet, but Meow Wolf is now talking February. I had the pleasure of taking some of the producers from THE EXPANSE through the exhibit last week, and they were as blown away as I am every time I see the site anew. Whenever it finally opens, it ought to be amazing.

You can learn more about the project and even buy a lifetime membership direct from Meow Wolf at

Meantime, ‘ware the iron spider.