Saturday, September 20, 2014

Bateman Love Family

I saw This is Where I Leave You, and it was pretty funny and enjoyable. I don't love the family like I do the Bluths, but they were crazy in their own ways. I was genuinely surprised at some of the plot developments. Ben Schwartz had a small part as the rabbi whose childhood nickname was Boner. I did have a hard time hearing the name of one character, who was Tina Fey's ex-boyfriend. Sometimes it sounded like they were saying Harvey, sometimes Harley, but it turns out his name is Horry. I guess I'm unfamiliar with that name.

On TV, I watched The Mysteries of Laura pilot, but I'm not that enthused. It's trying to be fun, but it's more ridiculous so far. I hope it will improve. I wish Brooklyn Nine-Nine were already back.

I read that the Conan Doyle Estate is appealing to the Supreme Court, because they still don't want Sherlock Holmes to be public domain. They're so stubborn, and they can't just enjoy the Casebook stories still being in copyright until 2023. I hope that Congress doesn't pass another copyright extension law before then, or we'll be having this fight again.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Wonder Woman's Origins

I've just read this New Yorker article about Wonder Woman's creator and the character's secret feminist history. At first I thought it was just going to discuss William Marston being a psychologist, as well as his interests in the lie detector and bondage. But no, this tale goes much deeper. It talks about how the suffrage and feminist movements celebrated the utopian fantasy of the Amazon civilization as a better society, years before Marston created Wonder Woman.

Then the article revealed that Marston lived in a threesome with his wife Elizabeth Holloway, and their later partner Olive Byrne. They all believed in free love and feminism, and their unusual household solved the problem of how to balance having careers with raising children. It's kind of nice to see them sticking together for years, even after Marston died. The children probably didn't fully understand the arrangement, but they seemed to have been protected from scandal. The article goes on to talk about Marston basing Wonder Woman on Margaret Sanger, the birth control proponent, who turns out to be Olive Byrne's aunt. I don't know Margaret Sanger or the comics well enough to judge if the writer is right about the comparisons. But it is sad to read about how Wonder Woman got changed after his death and World War II ended; it's sad that after all these years she, and even Black Widow now, still don't have their own standalone movies yet.

But also, reading about this ménage à trois reminded me of the Dangerous Method movie I watched recently, with Freud and Jung. In the later part of the movie, Jung has a new mistress and his wife seems perfectly happy and content with the arrangement. So I do wonder if this kind of free love stuff was more common in that time period when people were experimenting with all sorts of radical sexual and psychological ideas.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Tech stuff and TV

In other news, I thought my Nook HD died today because it shut off suddenly and wouldn't turn on again even after I plugged it in. But now it's finally charging and responding to commands again, so I don't have to replace it yet. I probably should save up and budget for the new Samsung Nook, though, just in case. I've had the Nook HD for 2 years now, and it's done well, though it's clear that the battery indicator is not accurate, if it appears to be charged, but then shuts off all of the sudden. I'll have to see how long it will last tomorrow when it's not plugged in.

Apple announced some new phones and watches, though I don't need any of that stuff. I did appreciate getting a free U2 album, though I haven't had time to listen to it yet. I might get me a new laptop or iPod later.

Well, it's September and the new TV season will start soon. I'm mostly interested in the more diverse sitcoms like Fresh Off The Boat, Black-ish, and Cristela. Still waiting for Mission Control at midseason too, and I was sad to hear that Tina Fey's comedy at a women's college didn't get picked up. The only procedural I want to try is Mysteries of Laura not because I care about her sitcommy kids, but because I hope the show will be lighter and fun like Castle used to be before they stopped giving a crap. I fear that the mysteries might all be murders and/or introduce stupid serial killers. Why can't other crimes be investigated? And no, I don't mean stalkers. (No, I won't watch that show even for you, Maggie Q. I'd rather see you play that historical Chinese pirate that I read about you playing. When's that coming out?)

I did like how Brooklyn Nine-Nine showed cops working various kinds of cases, and I wish Elementary in fact would follow that example. Stop with the shitty murders and conspiracies so we can just have fun working on puzzles and getting character development. They don't have to be exact copies from the canon, but please let us have variety and eccentricity in the spirit of Conan Doyle. In fact, I'm glad that the second season of Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries just started. If only Americans still made that kind of detective show.

Iraq again

I wasn't home to watch Obama's speech, for I was working overtime. From what I read and understand, he's announced a strategy of airstrikes against ISIL, military advising/assistance, supporting the new Iraqi government, and humanitarian aid. He emphasized the international coalition and the fact that no combat troops will be sent. I hope it won't turn into another war, certainly, but I worry how far things will go in both Iraq and Syria. I know that war hawks have been clamoring for action for a while, but I wish the US didn't have to go down this dangerous road. We've broken that region so many times already.

Something disgusting I read today was that a rightwing blogger didn't believe that Wendy Davis actually had her abortions that she revealed in her memoir. What the fuck? So it's apparently "convenient" for her to make up a story about abortion to help her campaign for governor? Despite the fact that it would have been more convenient to use such a story during her filibuster? Despite the fact that some Texas voters are already prejudiced against her as "Abortion Barbie" and wouldn't be sympathetic to her having an abortion in the past. It's disgusting for this guy to claim that Wendy's abortions are somehow statistically unlikely. "Unlikely" doesn't mean "never happens ever" you idiot! Besides, whatever reason a woman has an abortion is not your fucking business. She was trying to push back against the conservative idea that women who have abortions are sluts who casually decide to kill babies without any thought at all. (The anti-abortion laws keep putting in waiting periods, as if a time delay is going to change a woman's mind.) She was giving a personal example of an abortion that happened because of necessity, with pain and mourning, by a married woman. She was trying to open some minds to the idea that rational, moral people sometimes do make this choice.

Abortions are supposed to be legal in this country, despite all these restrictions lawmakers keep passing. Wendy shared her private medical history, which she didn't have to share at all, and you want to imply that she's lying, and that the abortions are "alleged"? Fuck you. If she didn't have the abortions, that she could just as easily have written a heartfelt story about some female friend who had an abortion, and talked about how it inspired her to do the filibuster. She doesn't have to claim to have an abortion herself in order to talk about the issue. The filibuster was about trying to preserve the abortion access throughout the state for all women, no matter what their reasons for terminating the pregnancy. Abortions can easily be about economic issues, or rape, or incest, just as easily as health issues. The point is that we're supposed to be able have the choice, whichever category we fall into! Arggh! And this is without even getting into Hobby Lobby and the war against even having birth control. "Ooh, my religious beliefs are violated because you spend your own damn money on health insurance and expect to be covered for things I don't like." Employees aren't your fucking children that you give an allowance to and set rules on what they can buy. They earned their damn money, and it's their own family life, not yours, Hobby Lobby!

Saturday, August 30, 2014

BoJack Horseman

So I checked out Will Arnett's animated show on Netflix. It is quite different from the family sitcom fare that he does for CBS on The Millers, although Margo Martindale makes a couple of fabulous guest appearances. BoJack Horseman is about a 50-year-old washed-up actor trying to regain his past glory by writing a memoir about himself, but he's fighting substance abuse and other self-destructive behavior. The show features lots of in-jokes about Hollywood (or Hollywoo, as it becomes when the D gets stolen from the Hollywood sign), as well as silliness about the anthropomorphic animals. Will Arnett always does well portraying characters with a deep well of sadness inside them, and the dramatic storylines can get quite dark at times. It parodies our warped celebrity culture and how fucked-up the actors, agents, and other people in the industry can become in a soulless business. There's lots of guest actors, though I can never recognize their voices until I see the credits (unless their names are used in the show itself). I wonder if Jason Bateman would ever guest star here, if he thought it would be cooler than to be on The Millers.

There weren't many references to Arrested Development, although the sixth episode featured several puns on Ben Stiller's name as well as a plot from AD's first season (when George Sr. was courted by two rival prison gangs and became "the belle of the ball"). Also there's a Charlie Brown reference during one of BoJack's drug-fueled hallucinations. I'm not sure if the "Silver Spoon" diner is a reference to the sitcom, or if I'm just making an unfounded connection because I've been watching Silver Spoons lately to enjoy the glory that is Jason Bateman as Derek Taylor. He was such an adorable little "bad seed." Too bad that he got written out in season 2.

Anyway, BoJack Horseman has already been renewed for season 2, so there's yet another series commitment that Will has to juggle if there's going to be season 5 of AD. I'm happy for his success, of course, but I'm still wrapped up in the deep well of sadness that is Gob, and I want to see him again.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

At Last

From what I understand about the current ceasefire, Israel's blockade of Gaza will be somewhat eased, and Palestinians will try to negotiate for more rights such as an airport or seaport. I had hoped for more progress, but I guess it is a step in the right direction. I am glad the violence has stopped for now. Someday Israel needs to see that the only permanent way to peace is a two-state solution instead of this indiscriminate butchery. And someday the US has to stop bankrolling their war crimes.