I became insane with long intervals of horrible sanity.
Edgar Allen Poe

The trouble with fighting for human freedom is that one spends most of one's time defending scoundrels. For it is against scoundrels that oppressive laws are first aimed, and oppression must be stopped at the beginning if it is to be stopped at all.
- H. L. Mencken

Many people would sooner die than think; In fact, they do so
-Bertrand Russell

What I have been telling you, from alpha to omega, what is the one great thing the sigil taught me — that everything in life is miraculous. For the sigil taught me that it rests within the power of each of us to awaken at will from a dragging nightmare of life made up of unimportant tasks and tedious useless little habits, to see life as it really is, and to rejoice in its exquisite wonderfulness. If the sigil were proved to be the top of a tomato-can, it would not alter that big fact, nor my fixed faith. No Harrowby, the common names we call things by do not matter — except to show how very dull we are ...
-James Branch Cabell

December 19, 2017 - 2:44 p.m.

The Power of the Doctor

I started to go to bed at 12:30 last night. I somehow managed to not get there till after 2:00 and then to be extra stupid, realized I hadn't taken my meds and had to get out of bed and get it and set them out for the week and then once in bed I wasted time on my phone. Why? I'm an idiot. Well that's something to talk about in therapy.

Amazon Prime Videos sent me an email asking if I forgot about their channels. In addition to what's on regular Amazon Prime you can add premium channels like HBO. The channels cost extra and I don't want to pay that but they give you a week's free trial. That's great if there are just a few things you want to watch on a given channel. I decided to look what they had. One channel is britbox, as you might guess it's new and classic shows from BBC and ITV. They have classic Doctor Who. I have seen all of them that were ever broadcast in the US and watched many again when basic Amazon Prime carried them. That might not have been enough to draw me in except there was one special serial, The Power of the Daleks. That was the first episode featuring the Second Doctor, Patrick Traughton. BBC did something idiotic in the early 70s, they destroyed the tapes of many of the early episodes of Doctor Who to save storage space. There was very little left of the Second Doctor's seasons. From what I had seen he might have been the best Doctor; he was certainly one of the best. One of the destroyed serials was The Power of the Daleks; so how was I able to watch it? A viewer made an audio recording of it and the BBC used that as the audio track for an animated version. This could have been epic if they had spent the money and hired great animators. They didn't. What they made was closer to a graphic novel with limited animation. Making it in black and white was clever as the original was in black and white but that was the only good artistic decision made. Part of what made Troughton great was that he used facial expression better than any actor that played the Doctor. He could convey volumes without speaking. The animators didn't have him change expression at all. It looked like he was smiling in dire situations and grimacing when being light-hearted.

I think they might have screwed up his regeneration. It showed a closeup of his face but when they finished he was in Troughton's clothes. Yet he was still wearing Hartnell's ring which fell off because it was too large for the diminutive Troughton.

Despite these failings I still enjoyed it. It was a classic Doctor Who story. It had people that were heroes, villains, and fluctuating between the two. I would love if they had done it right. They are doing something similar now for Shada a Fourth Doctor serial written by Douglas Adams. He recycled the story as Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency. There was a strike at the BBC during the initial filming and it was never finished. They are filling in the missing scenes with animation and the voices of the original actors.

There is one problem, I don't see how to cancel britbox after the week is up. I did this before and had no problem but now I don't see where to do it. I have until Sunday to find out how and not get charged for the next month. I'll force myself to find it today. I have to force myself as this is the kind of thing that triggers my anxiety. I'll consider it training to help me handle the bigger issues.

I was going to get serious and write about Chanukkah and modern politics but instead I'm going to stick to Doctor Who. It is perhaps my favorite TV show. There are so many episodes and two separate series so it's hard to think of as a whole. What I know for sure is that being a Whovian is part of my identity. On FHDC I was DrWhoFru. I was a charter member of the Doctor Who Fan Club of America. I bought an all zone DVD so I could watch the new series as soon as it came out on British Zone DVD. I often quote it. So instead of telling people how to live their lives I'm going to rank the various Doctors. I have not seen the most recent so she will not be on the list. I'm making two separate lists; classic series and new series. The format of the show changed as did the target audience. They are closely related but separate beasts; same genus, different species. I am ordering by the character of the Doctor, a mixture of the conception, writing, directing, and acting. It is not the order of how good the series was with each Doctor. The Doctor's number is in parenthesis.

Original Series

  • Tom Baker (4)
  • Patrick Troughton (2) - Jon Pertwee (3) [tie]
  • William Hartnell (1)
  • Colin Baker (6)
  • Sylvester McCoy (7)
  • Peter Davidson (5)

New Series

  • Peter Capaldi (12)
  • David Tennant (10)
  • Christopher Eccleston(9) - Matt Smith (11) [Tie]

It's tougher to rank the order of the overall series quality as it had as much to do with Executive Producer/Showrunner as the Doctor. The original series kept improving through the Troughton Era. There was a drop when Pertwee started but then picked again. It peaked during the Tom Baker era but once John Nathan Turner took over it continuously declined. The last season was almost unwatchable even though McCoy was a fine Doctor.

The New Series started improving during the Tennant Era and very uneven during Smith's tenure, including some of the best and worst episodes. It fully hit its stride during the Capaldi years.

I'm not going to rate the companions, but Sarah Jane Smith was the best of them all. The producers and fans knew this, it's why she got her own show and a special place in the new series. In the second series Clara is far above all the others. She is a similar physical type to Sarah Jane; I wonder if that was deliberate.

My plan for today is a trip to Aldi and watching The Sea The Sea - Holiday Party on Concert Window. It's at 8:30 EST. It is worth watching just for the mashup Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas/What A Wonderful World; It is pure magic.

I signed the Pro-Truth Pledge:
please hold me accountable.

Memories: Not that Horrid Song - May 29, 2018
Wise Madness is Now In Session - May 28, 2018
The NFL and the First Amendment - May 27, 2018
On The Road Again - May 26, 2018
Oliver the Three-Eyed Crow - May 25, 2018

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Horvendile December 19, 2017
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