Sunday, January 21, 2018

A Better Cosmos

I finally got the Women of NASA Lego set, after it being out of stock every time I tried to get it before, and I spent the day putting it together. Also I watched a NOVA special on black holes that was hosted by a woman named Janna Levin, a professor at Barnard College. Oftentimes NOVA astronomy specials will be narrated by a man, or feature Neil deGrasse Tyson prominently, so this was quite a change. Not only did Levin host, getting to act out thought-experiments and pilot an imaginary spaceship much like in the 2014 Cosmos, but many of the expert talking heads were women and people of color. Sure there were some white males, but overall the balance was rather diverse. Yes, Neil was there in snippets, but he didn't dominate the conversation. I loved it.

This was what his Cosmos should have been. They spent one episode talking about women astronomers, mentioning the sexism that kept them from getting credit for stuff, but they fucking ignored women the rest of the time, while we learned about obscure men, some of whom weren't even astronomers. I heard that FOX has ordered another Cosmos for 2019, probably to keep in good graces with Seth McFarlane. Let's hope they learn their lesson and feature more diverse scientists this time.

Regardless, I hope that NOVA continues using more women scientists, because it's so important for young girls to see role models in STEM, and to see men acknowledge their female coworkers as equal.

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Black Lightning

Black Lightning had a really good pilot episode. I didn't realize that his daughters would also have powers, so that's something to look forward to. They'll have to figure out their dad's secret and learn from him, I guess. Maybe Gambi will make them costumes too and show them the lair below his shop. I wonder if the mother will be on board with her daughters fighting crime, given that she couldn't take Jefferson doing it. She only really agreed that Jefferson should be Black Lightning this time to rescue their daughters, so she may not approve of him continuing, much less involving their daughters. But surely Anissa has a will of her own and won't let them forbid her activities, given that she's an adult.

I'm glad the ratings were good, because we sure need some more diverse shows on TV. This will tide me over until Black Panther arrives in February.

Meanwhile Supergirl returned with a meh episode this week. I hate that Reign keeps reverting back to Sam, and nobody has yet figured out her identity. Are they going to keep fighting her the rest of the season? I'm so fed up with this stupid story. I was worried for a while that Supergirl couldn't come out of the coma because she was still upset about the love triangle and didn't want to face Mon-El and his wife. Thankfully, the show didn't go there, instead saying that she needed to remember her humanity as Kara Danvers. At least Kara is now working past her feelings about Mon-El.

Monday, January 15, 2018

Happy MLK day

Unfortunately I don't have this holiday off, and I was hoping to, after working a lot of holiday hours lately. I'm not totally well, either, having a wretched sore throat and not sleeping well.

Hope today will be better. It's been a weird and depressing weekend in news. I heard that Mark Wahlberg is donating $1.5 million to Time's Up to make amends. Deadline reported that the talent agency is also donating $500,000, but it all strikes me as PR damage control after they were found out, instead of standing up months ago when it counted. How about you not be shitty agents in the first place? How about you tell fucking Wahlberg "everybody else is doing the reshoots for scale, so you should too"? How about you not have standard operating procedures of, "we should screw over the woman and make sure he's not just making 20% more but fucking 1,500 times more"? Fuck you bastards. Change your business practices, and you can change Hollywood. Also, how does Ridley Scott escape any blame, when he's the one who claimed that everyone worked for free? Shithead.

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Sexist Garbage

I'm trying to stay hopeful and optimistic about the midterms, given that so many Republicans are retiring. Locally, we have a large number of Democrats running in Texas finally, so I'll try to concentrate my funds there.

I was sad to hear about the earthquake in the Honduras, because that general area was where I went on a cruise last year. There were even tsunami warnings as far away as Puerto Rico, when they still are struggling to recover from the hurricanes.

I read that Mark Wahlberg got paid $1.5 million for those All The Money in the World reshoots while Michelle Williams only got $1,000 (the minimum for scale, I think). It puts a new perspective on the scene in the movie where Wahlberg's character lectures Getty for not loaning the full ransom money, and for making the mother sign away custody of her children. Acting all righteous about the old man's miserly vindictiveness and implying that he'd quit, but in truth the actor is all about getting money. Just goes to show he's not stopped being a jerk, and his fucking talent agency is an example of entrenched sexism. Fucking Hollywood's pay inequality. Apparently Ridley Scott went around for awhile claiming that all the actors did the reshoots for free, then backtracked that Plummer of course was paid, but he should have just kept his mouth shut if he knew the truth. Williams took the low pay because she thought she was doing it for the good of the film, to support the cause. That'll teach her to trust in men who claim to have principles, when in fact all they want is to save face. Fuck him.

I did go to see the movie a while back, but was ambivalent about it. The whole plot around the one kidnapper that tried to make friends with Paul was weird and confusing. I was thinking that he deliberately showed his face to the boy and tried to make friends in order to create some Stockholm Syndrome in him. But as the movie wore on, this kidnapper tried to be friendly and nice, genuinely saving his life. And yet the so-called friend also helped the others cut off Paul's ear. The moment was shown brutally, even though I've read accounts where Paul said it didn't hurt much. So what kind of fucked up messages is Ridley Scott trying to send about allies who nevertheless victimize you? Just weird. Plus the weirdness about Paul's father being barely mentioned in the ransom negotiations, only showing up as a hapless pawn of his father. And the fictionalization about how much the ransom money was and how much Getty loaned to his son. Just a muddled mess of a supposedly true story.

Anyway, fuck Scott, fuck Walberg, and fuck James Franco trying to go on some denial tour lately, using Al Franken's weaselly words about the importance of listening to women. Fuck them all.

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Golden Globes

So, awards season has started, which is usually such tedious crap. On Sunday, many women wore black and mentioned Time's Up, doing their best to make it meaningful rather than just a fashionable cause of the moment. I saw that several women brought activists as their dates for the evening, and Debra Messing even pointed out unequal pay to E! during the red carpet. There were other unexpected, ballsy jabs, like about the all male Best Director nominees and Barbra Streisand pointing out that she's the only female director to win a Golden Globe. Seth Meyers had a good monologue, also taking some jabs at Kevin Spacey, and doing a version of "Jokes Seth Can't Tell" involving the women in the audience.

Of course, nothing could top Oprah's marvelous speech, touching also on race and the importance of representation. Seeing the reactions of the audience was so moving too, and she pointed out the women in other industries who are not famous, yet also contending with the same problems. How sad that, instead of getting a chance to just chew on the full content of her speech, or the story of Recy Taylor she told, the watercooler discussion became about whether Oprah should run for president. Why couldn't we let the speech just be the speech for a night? Recently I also read an article speculating on whether Chelsea Clinton will run for office too, and others talking about Elizabeth Warren, etc, etc. They can't just make a speech because they believe in the cause itself; it always has to be an exploratory maneuver, a scheme for power and competition. Fucking Vanity Fair told Hillary Clinton that she needed to knit to keep herself from running for office again, EVEN THOUGH SHE TOLD EVERYBODY MONTHS AGO THAT SHE'S NEVER RUNNING AGAIN! They just don't want to let go of their delusion that she's a power-hungry harpy who ought to shut up. Fuck them.

Why does it always have to become about the bloody horserace, just like in 2016? We've got the 2018 midterms to worry about first. We've got so many things to defend and fix, including these issues about sexual harassment, abuse, discrimination, pay disparity, etc. Why even the HFPA president also announced a donation to the Committe to Protect Journalists. All great causes to invest our time in. But no, the media wants to speculate on the 2020 presidential race.

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Tivo spring cleaning

In other news, I finally found a program that will let me transfer my Tivo recordings to my computer, so I can start clearing them out. The old Tivo started acting up, showing blank screens on recordings; at first I thought it meant that my antenna connection was messed up, then I realized it affected recordings that i knew were not blank, having watched them before. I had to restart the Tivo to make it work right again. So I'm in the process of transferring some recordings, but it's slow going when the wireless network is temperamental.

Lately, Antenna TV has been airing The Hogan Family (including the seasons with Valerie Harper), which is great, since I haven't seen it available on DVD at all. It's great to see young Jason Bateman growing up, and to hear his voice before it changed. His character David isn't as much of a bad seed as Derek from Silver Spoons, though he's still a charming rogue. Something I've noticed is that the mother doesn't seem to punish her kids for their misdeeds. The "lesson" of the shows usually come down to the boys apologizing or realizing on their own that they need to do the right thing. That's ok in some instances, but in others, you'd think Valerie would at least want to discourage future rule-breaking by at least announcing "you're grounded for a month" or "no driving the car." I mean, one episode had David the 17-year-old dating an adult 24-year-old woman. I mean, are they trying to say it's okay when the woman's older, instead of the guy? Sheesh. Don't be too tolerant, Valerie. You're his mother, not his friend.