Chameleons, Androids, and Telescopes

9Feb

Few actors are true chameleons. Chameleons can morph from who they are to who they play almost imperceptibly, carrying you into the world they have entered as they take on the personality, movements, voice, and even the looks of another person. Meryl Streep is one, with roles ranging from Streep’s first feature film role in Julia (1977) to a lonely middle-aged Italian farm wife in Iowa in The Bridges of Madison County to Julia Child in Julie & Julia, very different roles that she blended into so beautifully you might not know you were watching the same actress. Another one was Philip Seymour Hoffman, who disappeared into Truman Capote in Capote in 2005. I felt I was peeking in on Truman Capote, not watching an actor.

I’m watching (again) the TV show Almost Human, and it is starting to get interesting. The reappearance of an XRN combat android means a lot of trouble for the police. Kennex the agent and Dorian the almost human android seek the aid of Dr. Nigel Vaughn, played wonderfully by John Larroquette. Dr. Vaughn created the combat android and also created Dorian. They seek the doctor’s help in locating the murderous but beautiful android played by Gina Carano, who has no speaking part but runs around making hamburger out of everyone she meets. She is not a nice girl.  However, the real issue is not the machine-gun-blasting combat android but Dorian’s conflict. The same person, Dr. Nigel Vaughn, who created the bazooka blowing android also created Dorian. The doctor assures Dorian that it was just a malfunction in the combat android and that Dorian has nothing to worry about, but Dorian is not so sure, and this is where the meat of the mystery starts. Imagine meeting your creator and asking what went wrong with that one and will it happen to me?

Have you heard about the James Webb Space Telescope, NASA's next flagship space observatory, expected to be launched in 2018? It might be able to see the origin of the universe. Imagine—could it be?—we might meet our creator, like Dorian.

It should be an interesting stop at Rambling Harbor this week as we discuss these and other way-out-there things. Stop by and give a listen.

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