Overheard recently at the Eureka branch of Pete’s New York Style Pizza, while waiting three hungry kids for the waitress who was speaking to a customer on the telephone.

Customer: Wah wah wah (think adult voices in the Peanuts cartoon)

Waitress: Sorry sir.  None of our menu pesto pizzas has artichokes.  However, you can add a topping.

Customer: Wah wah wah wah.

Waitress: That one has tomato sauce, not pesto.  We have only two pizzas with artichoke hearts, and they are both tomato sauce not pesto.

Customer: Wah wah wah.

Waitress: Well sir, you can order one of the pesto pizzas and add artichoke hearts as an additional topping.

Customer: Wah wah wah wah wah.

Waitress: The only special pizzas we have with artichokes are the tomato sauce pizzas.  You can also substitute pesto for tomato sauce, but that will be a little extra.

Customer: Wah wah.

Waitress:  No, we would have to charge extra.

Customer:  Wah wah wah wah.

Waitress: Sir, you can order any of our pesto pizzas and just add artichoke hearts.

Customer: Wah wah wah.

Waitress: Yes sir.  You don’t have to have all of the toppings.  But if it’s not one of the specials then we have to charge for additional toppings.

And it went on.  With her on-the-job training I should invite the waitress to join the Community Park Board.

….

Great deal in Eureka at Flips for Kids, the children’s gymnasium in Myrtletown.  For a reasonable price you can leave your kids there on Friday and Saturday nights from 6 to 9.  Lots of kids show and they play while you have some adult time.  Some friends treated my wife and me to a splurge dinner – our first visit to Restaurant 301.  Pricey, but I loved everything I tried.  I’d never tasted anything like their carrot lime soup!  I also recommend the duck, though I wonder why we can eat that fowl medium rare but not chicken.  They have a huge wine list, including bottles priced as high as…. $25,000.00.  Our waiter said that he has yet to sell one of those bottles, and mentioned that they were sweating hard during that last earthquake.

And the kids, they didn’t even miss us.

….

I guess I’m in the minority, but I’m actually enjoying the Battlestar Galactica spin-off prequel Caprica, which takes place 50 years before the afore-mentioned series and apparently leads up to the first war with robots.  It explores the question of whether artificial intelligence can become sentient to the point where it is entitled to ethical considerations – a theme dating back to Azimov’s I Robot (forget the movie) and further explored in science fiction series ever since.

Well written and brilliantly acted by accomplished stars and new faces.  But what is fascinating about the series aesthetically is the retro-30s combo of decor and garb – both series being reminiscent of the old French sci fi film Alphaville in which very little appeared to be futuristic.  You hear about the advanced technology, but much of it – guns, telephones, even computers – looks pretty 20th century.  Battlestar Galactica looked very much our time, so the throwback series looks like the 30s, complete with fedoras and hair nets.  The idea is to remind us of certain basic human traits which, ostensibly, will hang with us no matter how advanced the technology.  It’s effective.

There’s also a very amusing theme.  The general society is polytheistic.  They are opposed by a terrorist group which is monotheistic, deemed dangerous by the prevailing culture because monotheism adopts moral absolutes which generate destructive results.  The robots in the first series were monotheistic, but this series drives it home so that we don’t confuse the cause as something alien.

The storyline is complex.  There’s very little action.  By all accounts, the audience just doesn’t have the attention span.  I hope it survives to see another season, but given the fate of Firefly and other brilliant but canceled series, my hopes aren’t up.

….

Ed Gale, the cult-following actor famous for George Lucas’ bomb of a movie Howard the Duck is coming to the Bay Area.  I’d completely forgotten the film.  I’d read the comic book as a kid.  Among many criticisms of the movie was what I’d thought to be Lucas’ insistence on providing some sort of quasi-rational explanation for the presence of a human child-sized duck wandering the neighborhoods of Cleveland.  My interpretation had always been that Howard was a hard working guy living in Cleveland who was normal in every way except that he just happened to be a duck.  Being a duck presents certain problems in society.  Think Kafka’s Metamorphosis and mellow it out a bit – that’s what I’d thought the storyline to be.

But apparently Lucas was loyal to the actual plot.  Alas, Howard came from a planet of talking ducks.  He was skilled in something called “quack fu.”  (Sigh).  Dumbed down from the outset.

….

And just for fun, Bobo Fett (am I spelling that right?) does King Crimson.

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