Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Goodbye 2014

I was very happy to read that five Guantanamo detainees were released to Kazakhstan, and that in fact, Obama had been releasing many prisoners this year, in an effort to close the prison. The NY Times article says that Chuck Hagel was trying to slow him down, but now he's resigning. I hope Obama can release all the prisoners eventually, then it won't matter that Congress always refuses to fund closing it down. So this move certainly gives me hope for the new year.

I also read that Greg Abbott asked about expanding Medicaid. He's still going to be a shitty governor of Texas, but if he'll do this, than he'll be slightly less shitty. I mean, he might take credit for helping people while pretending that it's not Obamacare, but who cares about credit, if people can get insurance? I still wish the state would turn purple, if not blue, soon.

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Allan in Kansas City

I noticed that Lyndsy Fonseca has a recurring role on Agent Carter, so I will try the show for her sake. But if it's just as godawful as Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., then I'm bailing on it, because I'm so over Marvel.

After all, I already have a fun series about a female agent solving period cases--The Pinkertons. They've recently started rerunning the show from the beginning, so now I have seen Allan Pinkerton introduce Kate Warne to his son William. Allan describes her as his "best man" and initially brings her to replace Will on a case in Kansas City, Missouri. It began as a series of bank robberies, but soon escalates into train robbery, murder, kidnapping, and attempts to restart the Civil War by some Southern "bushwhackers." There's even mention of "coal torpedos"--bombs which are disguised as lumps of coal so that when you toss it into a furnace or boiler, there's a huge explosion. Rumor had it that a coal torpedo sank the Sultana steamboat (which was in an episode of History Detectives).

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Trans Watson

In other news I did the Nook trade-in program so I could get a discount on a new Samsung Nook. It's good so far, and the web browser doesn't constantly crash like my Nook HD had been doing lately.

Also, I recently learned about this kickstarter for a feminist version of Holmes featuring a transwoman as Watson. I'm not crazy about the gimmicky S(her)lock title, but everything else sounds good. They even mention that they are adapting canon stories such as Copper Beeches, so hopefully that means they will feature strong women in the canon like Violet Hunter, and will reflect a variety of crimes and cases, instead of being about murder all the damn time. I hope they'll do Irene Adler right, the way that Carole Nelson Douglas did, or maybe they'll genderflip her. Who knows? I don't have money to contribute just now, but I hope they'll make their kickstarter goal and release the show on iTunes (which is mentioned in their backer rewards), so I can buy the episodes then. Good luck, ladies!

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Sony Reverses

Well, that was a sudden turnaround. Sony decided to release The Interview after all, though in more limited release. I've looked for theaters near me that have it, and many of the showings are sold out, so I might have to wait a few days or a week to see it. There's also talk of Sony releasing it on video services soon, so we'll see.

I did go to see Night at the Museum 3, out of continued fondness for Ben Stiller. I actually own quite a few movies he's in, and did recent rewatches of The Royal Tenenbaums where he was great. Night at the Museum was pretty fun in the London setting, and I liked how he passed on the mantle to Rebel Wilson's character.

While I was at the movies, I saw a trailer for the new Peter Pan film, and it appears to be a new weird origin story where the pirate captain is Bluebeard and young James Hook is an ally of Peter. It looked confusing, and I'm kind of over Peter Pan, especially with the recent disappointing NBC musical. I'll stick to rewatching my DVD of the 2003 film with Jason Isaacs I guess.

Later edit: And The Interview is simultaneously coming out on video services like Youtube. I wish it had come out on iTunes instead, but I read an article claiming that Apple didn't agree to a deal. Too bad. I hope when I do watch the movie that it will be in a theater of people who had planned to see the movie anyway before the whole hacking stunt. I did, because of Rogen and Franco. I worry that people will watch who don't even like the movie or care, and just want to do their duty to piss off North Korea.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Cuba and North Korea

Wow, what a day. Obama is normalizing diplomatic relations with Cuba, and the Senate confirmed a dozen judges, including three in Texas. (Plus they confirmed the Surgeon General nominee earlier this week.) I read that Obama can't lift the embargo on Cuba without Congress approval, but he can establish an embassy and allow trade. I hope things can change; it's been decades of nothing, and the Cold War is over.

In other news, I was disappointed that Sony pulled The Interview, because of the threats. I'm not sure I really believe that these "Guardians of Peace" hackers are actually North Koreans, because surely they would want to destroy some more important US target than Hollywood films. I do know that Sony had been hacked since Thanksgiving, and had many leaks, so they had to take the threats seriously, but it's still discouraging that all the movie theaters had to drop the film. I wanted to see it because I do enjoy Rogen and Franco together; it reminds me of their Freaks and Geeks days.

Anyway, I think that the hackers are being counterproductive. If they had ignored this movie, it would have been just a silly comedy that might get lost in the shuffle of way too many Christmas movies this year, and would be forgotten. But instead, the hackers have just drawn attention to it and given it way too much publicity. That's why it seems to me that the hackers must have some other motive, and they're just using the movie controversy for cover. I wish Sony would release the film some other way, but for now I guess I just have more money to see other movies this Christmas. Oh, and to buy the Season 4 Arrested Development DVD.

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Peter Pan

I watched the NBC live musical this week and couldn't really get into it. I've never read J. M. Barrie's play, only his novel, and I think I would have preferred a play instead of a musical. It felt like way too many songs (and I've heard they added songs to the original musical), and with the commercials stretching it out to 3 hours, I got so bored. I only really liked two of the songs, the lullaby sung by Mrs. Darling and the True Blood Brothers song, carefully reworked to be less offensive to Native Americans. (Also loved the actress playing Tiger Lily.) I thought the show was going well once Peter taught the kids to fly and they went to Neverland, but instead all the action shut down for a scene on the Jolly Roger.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Pinkertons The Series

Apparently I missed this news back in July when I was abroad, but there's now a Canadian-made TV show about the Pinkerton National Detective Agency set in the 1860s. It's a syndicated show, and I only stumbled on it when my Tivo suggested it to me. I caught the third episode, so I'll have to see if they'll rerun the two that I missed.

It's an action-adventure detective series, set in the Wild West. It's post Civil War, and the episode I saw featured a lot of discussion of Abraham Lincoln's assassination. (One of the characters was the famous actor Edwin Booth, brother of John Wilkes Booth.) They also mentioned the time that Kate Warne guarded Lincoln all night during the train ride to his inauguration. She is the reason for the Agency's "we never sleep" slogan. The show apparently focuses mainly on Kate Warne and William Pinkerton, with his father Allan Pinkerton occasionally appearing. I don't know how much is historically accurate and how much is dramatic license, but I'm glad for any show to publicize Kate Warne more. The show is made with cooperation from the modern Pinkerton Corporation, so I wonder if they will whitewash any connection of Pinkerton agents with unionbusting activities. I suppose that an adventure show would steer clear of politics.

I like Kate Warne in this show. In the episode, she actually got to investigate much of the murder by herself while William was away getting forensics tests run on the body. Kate is capable of some chemical tests too, and she mentions the real life 1863 blood test recommended by the German chemist Schonbein. (That made me wonder why Sherlock Holmes needed to invent his own blood test, but then I read online that the hydrogen peroxide test was not infallible, and was only a first stage screening.) Anyway, Kate also got to participate in the action stunts as well. She's all heroine and no femme fatale so far. It seems like this show will be a lot of fun. It's a fantastic world where we can pretend that Kate won't die young and be forgotten.

Happy Holidays

Well, Thanksgiving's over and the Christmas specials have arrived. The TV networks are preparing for midseason, and I guess I'll check stuff out. I was rather surprised by the sudden cancellation of The Millers on CBS, but I guess it's better than drawing it out and trying to retool it, like Will's last show Up All Night. It wasn't that bad a sitcom, and I liked that they finally sold the yoga cafe, and the wife went to work while the husband was happy to stay home with the kid. We don't see that too often. The last episode with the Big Bang Theory references probably should have aired earlier, but it was appropriate meta commentary like used to be on Arrested Development. Stan Sitwell even guest starred as a hippie.

Friday, November 7, 2014


Wow, I was surprised to hear that Forever got a full season order; I like the show, but thought it was doomed because of its ratings. It may be true that ABC has nothing better to fill the timeslot, but at least the show has a chance to possibly improve. Perhaps in the remaining episodes the writers can get a better balance between procedural cases and the enigma of Adam, the other immortal.

I hope that Elementary's ratings improve too, especially after the excellent episode last night. "Five Orange Pipz" actually featured pips (in this case, colored beads for a kid's toy), and incorporated character names and canon quotes. It gave me such warm fuzzies. Yeah, this is how you effectively use a title from the canon; when it makes actual sense in the show! The writers don't have to copy the original story completely, seeing as it involved the Ku Klux Klan and Sherlock Holmes stupidly sending his client to his death instead of letting him stay in Baker Street for the night, but the dramatic element of five pips sent through the mail as a warning of impending assassination, was incorporated into a nice modern story. The only plot hole I could think of was the driver who insisted that he saw the famous attorney and Elias Openshaw meet on the street. But they suggested that the witness might have made a mistake; it's also possible that Openshaw recognized the attorney and ran from her before she noticed him. See, that's how you adapt a tale and make a competent mystery, (unlike some idiot hacks at BBC Sherlock).

Apart from the case, I also liked Joan and Bell getting to discuss Kitty, then Holmes telling Joan part of Kitty's past, and then Kitty giving the okay for Joan to read the envelope stuff. Nice character development, and I am fully on board with this season, even if they continue to insist on only writing murders every damn episode. I feel hopeful that we're going somewhere definite with Kitty Winter, and that maybe the villain this year will be Baron Gruner, instead of Moriarty. We'll see.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Over Marvel

Speaking of TV, I'm disgusted that stores are already advertising Christmas sales. It's too soon after Halloween, and stores are gonna make their staff work ridiculous hours for Thanksgiving.

Anyway TV networks are starting to announce midseason shows now, and I am wondering if I should watch the Agent Carter series when it premieres. It sounds like it will be a good, female-centric show, and yet I hated Agents of SHIELD, and the writing was awful. The character I really wanted to learn about, Melinda May, was always just flat and stoic, while Coulson's mystery had no real answers. So why should I think Agent Carter would be any less hateable?

I'm kind of over Marvel nowadays. They hype their brand too much, and have hubris. I finally watched the Guardians of the Galaxy movie recently and found it meh. I don't know why it was so universally praised in the summer. I mean, it was fun with the songs and the action adventure, but it was nothing special. We got no elaboration on Gamora's backstory as an "adopted daughter" who was the favorite. She just announced to Quill that she was going to betray her father by selling the orb, but didn't say why or how she planned to get away with it. Besides, if she hated her father all along, then why did she choose this moment to defy him? She didn't know yet that the orb contained an infinity stone, and could destroy the world. Why is her sister just a minor villain, barely fleshed out with "I'm jealous of my sister" motives? Then on a dime Nebula suddenly decides to join her father's enemy as if all along she too wanted to betray their father. What paper-thin emotions they have, purely for plot device. I mean, I can accept a talking raccoon and a tree, but if the story doesn't make sense, then why should I suspend my disbelief? Try harder, guys.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014


Tuesday was already shitty and rainy, and I felt sick for half the day, and then the election results were horrible that night. I swear, it's like the 2010 midterms all over again. But it was the same across the country, so even the blue-state liberals who are always so smug about how Texas should secede, should realize that they have right-wing crazies who win in their states too.

The only bright spots locally are that I still have my Democratic congressman and the Democratic candidate that I wanted for my State Board of Education district won. Clay Jenkins also won for Dallas County Judge. Oh, and Denton passed a fracking ban, but no doubt the natural gas industry is going to try to sue to get it struck down.

It's hard to live with this defeat so often. Lately I've been watching the Ken Burns special on the Roosevelts, and I see how bitter the politics were back then too. How people called FDR a tyrant and a traitor to his class. How they threatened to impeach him, and how he threatened to pack the Supreme Court because they kept striking down his New Deal laws. How Eleanor tried to work for reform and social progress, only to be criticized and for Franklin to resist because he had to appease conservatives and win re-election. I haven't seen two episodes yet, but it's disheartening to see how politics have been fucked up for a long time.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Elementary's Return

I just watched the premiere episode, and I liked how they showed Joan living independently and handling some cases on her own. The idea of Holmes being absent for eight months didn't bother me. Even before Holmes disappeared for three years in FINA in the canon, it was clear that he left Baker Street for months at a time to solve cases in France and other places without Watson, even when they weren't apparently fighting. Of course, Joan is rightfully annoyed that he abruptly ended the partnership and left for London without speaking to her.

I liked how they made amends gradually, and that Gregson asserted that Joan had made herself invaluable, so she would have the final say about whether Holmes could work for the precinct. When Kitty Winter was introduced, she did seem very jealous of Joan, but thankfully the writers did not emphasize the rivalry too long, and they had a good talk in the end. So hopefully the writers will continue to pass the Bechdel test and have women who can work together and not be fighting over a man. I know Kitty Winter's backstory from the "Illustrious Client" story, so I'll be looking to see if Baron Gruner or Violet whoever shows up eventually. I hope it will be an interesting arc, and that it won't just lead back to Moriarty again. I see that the next episode is named after the "Five Orange Pips", and I'm afraid that it will only be a huge disappointment like "The Man with the Twisted Lip" which had fuck-all to do with the canon story. I will reiterate what I said then, "Don't fucking steal titles from the canon if you aren't going to do that mystery in your fucking episode!" I'm still mad about that.

So I'll stay with the show for now, but I really really wish we could have some episodes with private clients instead of the police. You don't know how much I would have preferred to see Joan investigating her case about "your missing custom marble tiles" instead of stupid murder mysteries every damn time.

Sunday, October 26, 2014


I already voted, but can't help feeling like it makes no difference, when we continue to have so many school shootings and bad news from Israel. Plus, Boko Haram are apparently not going to release the girls after all, and have in fact kidnapped more. What a horrible universe we live in.

Monday, October 20, 2014


I'm disappointed that NBC cancelled their midseason show Mission Control before it aired. I was looking forward to the reunion of Phil and Lem from Better Off Ted. Too bad.

I heard that Portia de Rossi is a recurring character on Scandal this year, but I've never watched the show before. I'm afraid I won't be able to follow along if I try to start now. But I heard that she'll be playing an RNC chairman, which is funny given how Lindsay Bluth ended up running for office as a Republican.

On the CW, I heard that they're making a TV series based on the Illusionist movie. I never saw the movie myself, but it does seem that the CW is on a trend with magic-themed shows, given their summer series Masters of Illusion and Penn & Teller.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Ups and Downs

Sigh. Early voting starts Monday, but the Voter ID law is back in effect. Too late to change it now I guess. So frustrating.

But at least the Supreme Court blocked parts of the anti-abortion law this week, so clinics can remain open. And there's more marriage equality rulings today.

I also read news that Boko Haram would release the kidnapped girls. That's something at least.

Saturday, October 11, 2014


This ABC sitcom was actually incredibly funny, and very polished, like it had been airing for years. I hope that all the episodes will be as great as the pilot was. Also I didn't know that Cristela would be set in Dallas until I saw the city skyline, and heard the obligatory references to the Dallas Cowboys. The show could be a live-action King of the Hill, but set in the city rather than in the fictional small town of Arlen. I look forward to more, and hope the show helps people outside of Texas to stop looking down on our state and telling us to secede. No, we don't all conform to the worst stereotypes about Texas; we are a diverse people and more cosmopolitan in the urban areas. There's hope for us, especially in the upcoming election.

I also watched the British movie Pride, not to be confused with an earlier movie of the same name about the coach of an African-American swim team. The British movie is a period drama set in the 1980s about both gay rights and union solidarity. It's quite funny and inspiring, though there are also sad references to the emerging AIDs crisis at the time. Good performances from the cast, and I especially loved to see how strong and genuine the personal friendships became.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Good Surprises

Wow, the Texas voter ID law has been struck down, in time to block it for the November election. That's great news. The ID law was in force during the primaries in the spring, but I'm glad that it's gone now. It was the most restrictive voter ID law in the country.

On TV, I'm glad to hear that Blackish got a full season order. It's quite funny, and the actress who plays Zoey also plays one of the President's daughters on The First Family, with a very similar name. She always seems to play the cool teen daughter. I wonder if The First Family is still being made. All I ever see are repeats of the same dozen or so episodes. I thought more were ordered for syndication. Anyway, Cristela is premiering Friday night, and I hope that will be good too.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Waiting is the Hardest Part

I'm rather stunned that the Supreme Court decided not to hear any same-sex marriage cases. It's good for the gay couples who are now able to marry, but it still leaves a lot of states to continue going slowly through the lower courts. So there's not going to be any federal ruling on marriage equality yet.

I heard that the Obama administration tried to criticize Israel's illegal settlements recently, but Netanyahu won't be shamed into stopping. In fact he tries to shame Washington, and act like "how dare you to speak to us that way?" I don't understand why the US puts up with this arrogance and belligerence. Israel will never listen, until the US imposes some kind of concrete punishment, like cutting off their funding. Why is that never on the table? Palestinians are trying to appeal to the UN now, but it's likely that the US will just veto them again. Why not teach Israel a lesson and vote with the rest of the world for once? I'm so sick of this impasse.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

TV Cops

I watched the second Mysteries of Laura episode, and I'm feeling better about the show now, especially since they added the Sammi character, who I'm hoping will recur. She's going to be Laura's babysitter, but they introduced her in a novel way, as a protestor spending the night in jail at the police station. She got a lot of screentime for such a minor role, and the children became less annoying and prominent in this episode too. Still not sure about Laura's boss being her ex-husband, since it seems like he shouldn't be allowed to do that, but he's at least working with the team well. In the midst of the comedy, the show is trying to include dramatic moments, such as the rape confession and the commentary about douchebag dating experts. So I'll stick with it for now and hope it can improve on its formula.

I'm very happy that Brooklyn Nine-Nine comes back tonight. Now we can have some fun, especially now that there's no more good movies until December. I can't wait to see Andre Braugher and Terry Crews again. They have the best characters, in a very diverse and funny cast.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

TV premieres

I didn't expect much from Forever, due to its generic title that is so forgettable, but the show itself was pretty good. I'm glad that it's getting decent ratings so far, and that it actually beat Person of Interest. (I hear that POI is suffering backlash from killing off Carter last season, but I left that show way before then.)

On Forever, there's a nice balance of character to procedural elements which keeps it interesting. At times Henry Morgan is a little too obtrusive and Sherlock Holmes-like in his deductions, but he is not arrogant at all. He has a warmth to him, and we get flashbacks of his past lives that help round him out as a person. I would say that the police detectives need fleshing out, but I also like spending time with Henry's adopted son. I hope that "Adam" the 2,000 year old man calling on the phone, doesn't turn out to be a psychopath who plays stupid sadistic games like Jim Moriarty. The "fan" notes worry me about how they'll write the eventual confrontation. I would rather that Adam, if he is a villain, is simply frustrated with the world and trying to seek a way to end their curse. I don't want him to be illogical and destructive for no reason. But that's a worry for way in the future. For now it's a pleasant way to pass the time until Elementary returns in late October.

I haven't watched the Sleepy Hollow premiere, nor the second Mysteries of Laura episode yet. Maybe this weekend. Of sitcoms, Black-ish was on tonight, and I enjoyed it a lot. Can't believe that the wife's name is actually Rainbow, though.

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.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Dog Days of Summer

Wow, that ALS ice bucket challenge has really taken off, including such celebrities as Kermit the Frog. I'm ambivalent about the challenge myself, for I fear it is a waste of water (which I've very aware of in a drought-stricken state) but I also think the silly stunt is a fun stress-reliever that people need right now in these days of horrible news. It's sort of like the feel-good power of the Reading Rainbow kickstarter I suppose, so I won't begrudge anybody deciding to do it. I know I definitely need the distraction. I don't even want to read about smarmy Rick Perry's indictment.

I recently read about this cool Lego Friends Super Friends project, and I really like it. I never actually had a problem with the Lego Friends characters having pink colors, because I think in general that all lego sets should have more variety of colors. But I really want the female superheroes. I like Black Widow, Batgirl, and Wonder Woman the most because I mostly don't read comics or know the other characters. I hope Lego will make something like this commercially.

I haven't been to see the Guardians of the Galaxy movie yet, and am still debating whether I'm missing out, given all the praise it's gotten. I also considered going to see the Ninja Turtles movie because Will Arnett is in it, but I don't know if his part is too minor to be worth it; him playing the Lego Batman was totally worth it, though. Jason Bateman meanwhile is in a lot of movies coming out this year. I think I will see This is Where I Leave You because the premise is interesting and it looks like a kooky family. But I will forever crave for him to work with Will more. Even to guest star on Will's show The Millers would be fine, because I love seeing them together, and the sitcom isn't really that bad. No more formulaic than Bateman has done in his past career. Why can't there be more Arrested Development news? Will recently confirmed season 5, but still there's no word of when.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Sad week

When Israel pulled troops out of Gaza and said that they destroyed all the tunnels, I had hoped that the violence would be over, at least for the time being. When the 72-hour ceasefire began, I didn't want to celebrate it for fear that I would jinx it. But superstition doesn't work, of course. The war has resumed after the expiration of the cease-fire, and now violence is happening in the West Bank too. Still no end in sight, and it seems to be fading from the news, while Iraq comes to the fore again. It's sad and frustrating, especially if empathy is dead in Israel.

At least Wendy Davis has improved in poll numbers. I'll have to send her money when I get my next paycheck. Maybe there's hope for Texas after all.

In the meantime I can only distract myself with watching various DVDs I have bought lately, such as the new Seven-Per-Cent Solution blu-ray, which indeed has an interview with Nicholas Meyer from 2012. No discussion of his new Sigmund Freud project, but hints that he might do another Holmes story if he has time. It's interesting to hear him talk about why his screenplay changed the mystery from the novel, and how he really wanted to cut out parts of the story that dragged, like the tennis match, because he wanted the movie to flow better and be less talky. I didn't know that Meyer's own father was a psychiatrist.

Afterward I also watched the movie A Dangerous Method, about the conflict between Carl Jung and Sigmund Freud. There's also an unethical affair with Sabina Spielrein, a patient and later colleague, who became a doctor herself. The film is a good antidote to Nicholas Meyer fawning on Freud as a great "detective" with apparently no flaws. Viggo Mortensen portrays Freud's arrogance and his need for other psychoanalysts to become obedient yes-men to his theories.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Sherlock Holmes stuff

Yahoo! Apparently this happened last year when I wasn't paying attention, but The Seven-Per-Cent Solution has been released on Blu-ray, so I can finally replace my terrible copy transferred from a VHS recording. The last time I tried watching my old transfer, the picture was dim and impossible to see. The new Blu-ray looks like it will include commentary from Nicholas Meyer. I wonder if it will mention his new plans to do a Sigmund Freud TV show?

It looks like there's been a recent re-release of Billy Wilder's Private Life of Sherlock Holmes as well. I'm hoping this means that a lot of obscure old Sherlock Holmes movies like this will be released to capitalize on the current Holmes popularity. I really hope that the Return of Sherlock Holmes movie with Michael Pennington and Margaret Colin will be released. I have to find my old list of stuff I was trying to get.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Back from England

Well here I am home from a trip to the UK. If I had been home I would have posted happily about the Supreme Court denying the Conan Doyle Estate's petition for an emergency stay; I know they're going to keep appealing, but I'm still rooting for Les Klinger to win. While I was gone, I also was pleased to hear that some Texans were welcoming the migrant children at the border.

However, I was stuck without internet for the first day or so, and couldn't get any news. So I was surprised to hear that there was a peaceful Palestinian protest in London on the same day I was trying to do a tour. It made me have hope, and I personally didn't mind that the protest messed up traffic for a while. I still managed to do my tour in a roundabout way. However, I was shocked and disgusted when I realized only too late that I had bought some razors in Britain with "made in Israel" on the back of the package. I'd already used them so I couldn't return them, but I threw them away.

Sadly, it seems that no progress has been made at all about Israel, during my whole vacation. I don't know what else I can do besides boycotting.

Anyway, I'll try to post more about my vacation after I get over my jet lag. I'll also try to update Far From Over soon.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Uneven War

In all the horrible news of the plane shot down and Israel's ground offensive, I feel hopeless and without words. Jon Stewart at least was able to point out the absurdity of Israel claiming that the civilians in Gaza should evacuate. "Evacuate to where?" indeed.

I can only refer to this article on Daily Kos to combat the Israeli propaganda coming out of the mainstream media. Apologists for Israel say, "What if Canada or Mexico sent rockets to attack the US? Wouldn't we have the right the fight back?" They miss the point. Palestinians don't have their own separate country or have rights to citizenship in Israel. Palestinians are fucking blockaded and starved and then massacred. Ask yourself instead, "What if the Native Americans on the reservations started launching rockets at the US in revenge for stealing their land? What if the poverty, unemployment, and Third World conditions made them revolt out of despair and helplessness?" In fact, the American Indian Movement did try to take action in the 1973 Wounded Knee Incident, but justice is not easily won. But at least some people at the time could sympathize with the oppressed people and see that the issues were complex. Not so with Israel, where everything's always Hamas's fault, even the death of little boys on the beach.

I wish there was something I could do, besides watch in horror. When will the international community be able to do something instead of going through the sham of the peace talks that always fall apart? I thought the UN recognition of Palestine was going to help somehow.

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Back to Court

Well apparently the Conan Doyle Estate is stubborn enough to appeal to the Supreme Court, (and try to get out of paying Les Klinger's legal fees). We'll see how this turns out. They're still trying to run out the clock until the rest of the Sherlock Holmes stories fall into public domain.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014


Oh fuck it. As if the Supreme Court's ruling on Hobby Lobby wasn't bad enough in itself, now religious leaders want an exemption so they can discriminate against LGBT employees. Obama's executive order only applies to federal contractors as I understand it, so if you're a church or whatever and don't want to comply, then just don't be a federal contractor any more. I mean sure, you lose a potentially lucrative government contract, but that's how it works. You comply with the federal law, including any extra hoops you have to jump through to compete, then you might get the contract. (I've worked for more than one business that has federal contracts, and every year we have to go through mandated training to remind us of our responsibilities to maintain our compliance with said contracts.) So tough luck if you don't want to be a federal contractor under the new rules.

And as for fucking Hobby Lobby, which is not in any way, shape, or form a church--Fuck you! If you wanted a special religious exemption, you shouldn't have become a corporation. You should have become a church! Why should the bosses get to dictate their employees' medical decisions that have nothing to do with them? Why is there no pleasing these insane fanatics? This is why the Citizens United decision makes no sense. A corporation isn't a person. It shouldn't have the right to "deeply held religious beliefs" or to the rights of a natural person. If the corporation doesn't get taxed at the same rates as a natural person, doesn't go to jail for crimes like a natural person, and doesn't have campaign contribution limits like a natural person, then why should it have rights to religious beliefs? Fuck! I used to be curious about Christianity in college (I was raised Buddhist) but the more I learn the more I hate these stupid evangelicals that try to shove their beliefs on other people! Why can they never learn to leave their private religion in their churches and homes instead of everywhere in our faces! This is not a fucking Christian nation! Where's your "love thy neighbor" courtesy and humility?

What a shitty week. How about a fucking Independence Day from religion, huh? That I'd welcome.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Magic and Alchemy

I just watched a season 2 episode of Wonder Woman featuring Ed Begley, Jr. aka Stan Sitwell from Arrested Development. It's amusing, for Ed plays Harold Farnum, an eager fanboy and magician who wants to help Diana Prince in her investigation. There's a huge conference of magicians taking place at the hotel where Diana is meeting an oil prince. Most of Harold's magic tricks don't work, and he gets captured by the villain to use as bait for a trap, but Harold at least successfully constructs a carbon-arc torch in the hopes of escaping his prison cell. (But Wonder Woman just yanks the door open with her super-strength.) "Diana's Disappearing Act" is full of stage magic and mimes and a sinister magic shop. The villain is Count Cagliostro, a descendent of an Italian family that Wonder Woman apparently battled in the 18th century. They've always been magicians and swindlers, and the current Count has a scheme to turn lead into gold.

Harold has a crush on Diana, and wants to be her expert consultant on magic. She tolerates him and even refers to him as a "boy" at one point, though he's clearly not that young. Maybe everybody seems like a child to her since she's over 2,000 years old. I liked seeing all the various tricks performed, and Harold says that magicians refer to their art as "conjuring" since "magic" can also mean witchcraft. My recording blacked out for a few minutes in some kind of glitch, so I'll try to see if I can get the episode on Netflix or iTunes.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Klinger Won Again

The appeals court has ruled on Klinger's lawsuit against the Conan Doyle Estate. The characters of Holmes, Watson, etc are public domain as long as they are based only on the first 50 stories. The last 10 stories remain in copyright, and are considered "derivative works" of the original, earlier stories. So you only need to pay a license fee if you use material featured only in the last 10 stories. (If you read the PDF, the judge makes interesting arguments based on Shakespeare's characters changing in different plays, and well as the Star Wars movies being chronologically out of order.) Now we'll just have to see if the Conan Doyle Estate is stubborn enough to appeal the ruling yet again.

In the meantime, I finally broke my writer's block on Far From Over. I keep trying to login to to add the new chapter, but I can't get in. You can read it on AO3. I guess I'll keep working on the next chapter.

Saturday, June 14, 2014


On lighter subjects, I saw Maleficient earlier and enjoyed it quite a bit. I'm actually a huge fan of Disney's Sleeping Beauty film, yet I did not mind the changes to the plot, even if it meant that "Once Upon a Time" was not sung until the end credits. I was a little disappointed that Maleficient changed her servant into a dragon instead of herself, but the battle with the dragon in the castle was good, and I no longer feel the need to see the final Hobbit movie this December. Peter Jackson has milked the franchise too much.

I find it strange, though, that some movie critics didn't like Maleficent. They complained about her character not being a villain anymore. Why? Disney's recent hit Frozen also turned the traditional villain into a sympathetic character whose motives were misunderstood. Everybody loved that film and found it empowering, and enjoyed the fact that the sister's true love saved the day. That's what we got in Maleficient too. Why isn't it great for kids to see that good and evil are not black and white after all? That people can change for better or worse, being both hero and villain? I think that's great for today's complex world.

Iraq and Israel

Well Iraq is falling apart, but that's hardly a surprise. Not to be callous to the fact that our endless war destabilized the country (maybe the whole region), but I think it's surely time to admit that America can't fix it. No matter what we do, we are incapable of fixing it, and our continued presence is not going to make things better for the local people there. I'm not sure I'm okay with Obama doing airstrikes instead of sending ground troops, but there are no good choices now. I hope that Shep Smith is right, that the media won't pay attention to the war hawks that got us in there in the first place. When you've dug a hole, stop digging.

I'm rather encouraged to read that the Presbyterian Church is meeting to take actions against Israel. The article compares it to the movements to end South Africa's Apartheid. I hope more of the world can take such a stance. The diplomatic peace process seems to be going nowhere, and somehow we must end the madness.

As for the furor over Bowe Bergdahl, I can't stand that the controversy erupted into accusations of treason. And they acted like trading the Guantanomo detainees was a bad thing. If anything, I want more detainees released and the place shut down for good, but we have to settle for these half measures instead. This war has to end, and we need to leave. If we've left Syria to its own brutal civil war for this long, then Iraq too is not our business.

Friday, May 30, 2014

A Glimmer of Hope

It's already the end of May and I haven't been posting often. I meant to comment on seeing the movie Belle, but as Scandalous Women already reviewed it, that's less work for me. I really enjoyed it, and the movie expanded to new theaters in my area, so I hope it will reach a wider audience.

On Tuesday, the primary runoff elections happened in Texas, though I early voted before then. I was glad that all Democratic races I cared about went the way I wanted, and didn't focus on the Republican races, which I have no control over. It also worries me that Open Carry gun advocates might show up at any random restaurant that I'm dining at. It's unnerving, and I hope they really have decided to stop doing it. Politics is so crazy. I've stopped paying attention to deadly shootings or reading shooter's "manifestos". There's no point in armchair psychoanalyzing them, and it creates a distraction from the fact that we should be enacting better gun laws. Joe the Plumber can go to hell for all I care (and I'm not even Christian).

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Seriously, Vote

In more important news, I voted early in the local election, and I voted against a wacko candidate who mailed out an anti-tax rant to voters. Cities need taxes, and schools need funding. I don't have kids myself, but I know that. You vote for what's best for the community, even if it inconveniences you personally. I wish the Texas voter ID stuff would get struck down. It makes me worry about the midterm elections in November.

Beyond Texas, I was sad to hear of the recent train derailment in Virginia, because I know that part of the state. The company can downplay the oil spill all it wants to, but we aren't going to know the effects on the James River for a long time. It's crazy for them to act like this is routine and they've got it under control. Will anybody in the state, or in Washington, D.C. realize they've got to do something about environmental safety and regulation? Or will they just continue to bicker and worry about their campaigns?

Happy Cinco de Cuatro

Yes, I know that's mangled, incorrect Spanish. Cinco de Cuatro is a holiday in Arrested Development, started by Lucille Bluth in a fit of spiteful racism against Cinco de Mayo. Immigrants started to embrace the holiday in order to sell more party stuff, and it lasted for 30 years in their peculiar part of Orange County. You'll have to see season 4 to find out how the "blowback" happens against the holiday. I'm just wearing my new AD shirt today and trying once again to write more on my Far From Over fanfic.

I was sad to hear that Almost Human got cancelled, though it's been on the bubble a long time. The TV upfronts ought to be soon, announcing more cancellations and new shows. I'm pulling for the Mission Control comedy pilot that features actors from Better Off Ted. I need my reunion of Lem and Phil!

All the movies I want to see right now, such as Belle, aren't coming out here until later in May, so I have to be patient. It would help if more movie websites and theatres would list their showings more than a few days in advance. They make it a chore to find out where and when specialty films are coming.

Friday, April 25, 2014

New Russian Holmes

I recently learned that the new Russian TV series is available with English subtitles on YouTube, so I just watched the first episode. I will have to go back and watch the other episodes later, and I hope the show eventually becomes available for purchase on DVD.

I think the show compares very favorably to the earlier Soviet series starring Livanov and Solomin. The earlier series is very slashy, and I wish it were more widely available.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Odds and Ends

I recently watched the second season premiere of Wonder Woman and Jessica Walter was guest starring as Gloria, who helped the villainous Dr. Solano. She got to both kiss Steve Trevor Jr. and fight with Diana Prince at her new 1977 apartment. (Gloria ran away before Diana could turn into Wonder Woman.) As they fought, Diana protested, "You're a woman. We shouldn't be enemies." Gloria scoffed that "Women are natural enemies." She's very calculating and devious, and could have been a good villain in her own right, if developed more.

To my surprise, I found out that there's going to be a local production of William Gillette's Sherlock Holmes play in Dallas, so I'll have to try to go see it. I've already read the play, but it will be interesting to see how it's performed, and what modern influences will be present, like when I saw Crucifer of Blood with a Holmes modeled after Robert Downey Jr.

Also, I read that Nicholas Meyer is putting together a period drama with Sigmund Freud helping to solve crimes. Meyer is the Sherlockian who wrote The Seven-Per-Cent Solution with Freud curing Holmes's cocaine addiction. I hope this show won't be as hero-worshiping of Freud as Meyer's book and movie were. Freud's not that great, and his psychiatric theories are woefully outdated and sexist bunk. Hopefully Meyer can see these flaws himself now with the passage of forty years. But the show might end up being about serial killers like every other damn show these days.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Winter Soldier

I found out that the Russo brothers from Arrested Development directed Captain America, so I decided to give it a chance and see it today. I didn't bother to pay for the 3D version, though. It was pretty good, though nobody ever explained why the guy was called "The Winter Soldier" instead of "Hand of Hydra" or whatever the Nazi scientist said when working on him. Also, was his metal arm part of increasing his speed and strength, or was it because he was badly wounded when they found him? Oh well. Maybe it will be explained later.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Comparing Sherlock and Elementary

I just saw this February article on Tor. It's fairly balanced, pointing out flaws in both shows. I do hate what Elementary did to Irene Adler; it's slightly better than BBC Sherlock because Irene is the mastermind, and nobody's puppet. But she's as stupid a mastermind as the psychotic Jim Moriarty, who'd gladly destroy himself and his own criminal empire just because he got obsessed with Holmes. It's a wonder anybody follows his orders; if it's just for the money, then where does he get the money from, when he so shittily implodes his own crimes to play mindgames with Holmes?

As I said, I hate Elementary's Irene also because she was the one who came to New York and sent Moran to harass Holmes, basically putting Holmes on her trail to fuck up her criminal scheme. I hate the psychotic idea that she can't keep away from him, though I admit to not watching the episode where she returned. Also I won't give credit to Elementary anymore for transgender Ms. Hudson as long as she's an offscreen character. No progressive points for you until she comes back on a recurring basis!

Stormy weather

Well, April showers have begun, and hopefully they'll bring May flowers. I had a scare last week, though, when I was out in a rainstorm that I didn't think was severe. Then I got a weather alert that a tornado was in the county. The tornado didn't hit, but there was a lot of hail and I had to hide out in a restaurant for a while before a break in the storm, when I decided to go home. Oh well.

I finished the first Bess Crawford mystery A Duty to the Dead, and was very disappointed. Bess is a great heroine with depth and courage, and also a charming recklessness that leads her into trouble. The book explores interesting themes like soldiers suffering from shellshock, and people being shut up in mental asylums for bogus reasons. Really nice period detail, and Bess even talks to the servants a lot because that's how she grew up in India. The rich Graham family show that there's even more ways to deeply screw up brothers and that powerful people can buy silence. But the mystery turned out to be about finding a serial killer, even though they don't call it that. I hate serial killings, but I had to continue reading to the end. I had to know that poor Peregrine Graham would be saved.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Peter Pan

I first read J. M. Barrie's novel while I was writing Dirty Little Secret, my epic Arrested Development fic. Those who read it will know that Gob's got strong opinions about Peter Pan, and the author's psychological issues about family. I do personally think the novel is a lot darker than the Disney animated film. For one thing, Barrie lists "murder" among the mundane things that kids keep in their crowded imaginations, and Peter Pan is described as rather selfish and sadistic in the book. He starves the Lost Boys so that they'll fit into the tree holes, and apparently he kills some boys now and then. He also forgets friends and enemies alike, especially after he kills them. He is much more callous and less heroic in the book than in the cartoon. Peter Pan lets people get into danger, and then saves them at the last minute to show off how clever he is. It's not because he actually knows about moral right and wrong. He can be quite a vicious kid, and Barrie comments often that the other children are cruel and thoughtless too, including the Darlings who blithely stay in Neverland for what seems like months, not worried at all about their parents. It's certainly much longer than the few nights that are depicted in the films.


I recently caught up on the Cosmos episodes so far. I liked the episode on evolution where Neil told the story of how wolves turned into dogs. Glad he included the part of "self-selection" and the wolves choosing to domesticate humans (much like cats have trained humans to be their servants). I've said before that I don't understand why creationists insist that apes shouldn't be around anymore if humans descended from them. Dogs clearly descended from wolves, and yet both species exist today.

Then Neil contrasted how polar bears evolved from brown bears (grizzlies) through natural selection, and he rebutted the Intelligent Design argument that the human eye is too perfect to be randomly created. Anybody who wears glasses or contacts can tell you that the eye is not perfect at all, and human eyesight is very poor compared to other animals' eyes, like those of raptors or fish. Humans don't have the best sense of smell, sense of hearing, and plenty of other stuff. It's only our brains that helped us dominate the planet, when physically speaking we're pretty disadvantaged and underpowered. Not that creationists will listen to Neil, of course, but perhaps there are some rational folks who can be reached by this show. Plus science doesn't have to be incompatible with religion. Some scientists are religious, but they know that their faith can't and shouldn't be proved. Religion is personal and shouldn't be publicly argued or shoved onto other people at the expense of education.

Friday, March 28, 2014


Well it's almost April already, and I haven't been blogging much. Still trying to write, and I started reading the first Bess Crawford mystery, A Duty to the Dead. Not bad so far, though I hope the mystery solution won't be as disappointing as the other book I read in January.

I'm disappointed but not surprised that the Appeals Court upheld the Texas anti-abortion law. Nothing I can do about it but keep sending money to Wendy Davis to turn Texas blue. I'll have to remember to vote in the run-off elections soon.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Veronica Mars

I haven't watched the TV show in years, so I was glad that the movie provided backstory for newbies. I still didn't remember certain characters like Gia, but I managed to get a lot of the in-jokes, and I enjoyed the movie. The dialogue was great, and I appreciated that the mystery wasn't some stupid serial-killer trope. It was great hearing the snarky banter with all of Veronica's friends and getting to appreciate her relationship with her dad again. The dark class-war stuff reminded me how dystopian the fictional Neptune is. It's odd that Rob Thomas mentions Chinatown when he discusses a possible sequel movie. To me, it's already Chinatown, with the privileged classes buying their way, while the heroes fight corruption and forces beyond their control. I do hope the movie succeeds enough to continue. I wouldn't mind a Veronica Mars franchise. Perhaps there will be another quasi-crossover with more Arrested Development actors appearing in it.

In the mean time, I'm debating whether to see the next Captain America movie for Black Widow. Seeing her do more might be good, but I'm worried they might revert her character to how she was in Iron Man 2, when she was mostly used for sexual innuendo and catsuit fighting. I saw a couple of Black Widow action figures at the toy store, and was disappointed in how her boobs were emphasized; I guess I shouldn't have expected any better. I want some real character depth, and I don't like comic book movies purely for comic books. I skipped the latest Thor, Spiderman, and Superman films without interest. They say that Wonder Woman will make an appearance in the Batman-Superman thing, but they could easily screw her up. She could be more like Catwoman or a damsel in distress than a Greek warrior with grace and brains and courage. They might make her crippled by stupid emotional issues, or make her part of a pointless love triangle. Why can't she have her own movie? Her own show again?

Oh well. It's just dumb entertainment to take my mind off horrible politics and the dystopia that we do actually live in.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Arrested Timeline

That AD timeline that I spoke of earlier is finished. I edited and posted it on AO3.

I mean, sure I could be wrong about some of the facts, but it would be a lot easier if the AD writers had indicated specific dates for some events. They used to provide years with lots of flashbacks, and I think if they had indicated years in the script, they could have spotted problems like the drone strike, Tobias's three weeks, and the kids skipping a year. Hopefully the next season and/or movie will be simpler and make more sense if it's all forward motion with no jumping around in time.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Dear America

I recently discovered this television show based on the Scholastic book series for students. Apparently the books were historical fiction about young girls living in important time periods. My DVR recorded an episode about an Irish immigrant named Mary Driscoll who works in a mill and struggles with prejudice against Irish in 1847. I liked it, and thought the heroine was interesting without being too anachronistic. I decided to season pass Dear America and see what other stories they cover. I think the show is also available on Netflix too, so I'll have to look into what episodes I've missed. It gives me something to watch, because I'm not watching the Olympics at all. I just don't care about sports, and then there's the whole Sochi controversy too.

Among current network shows, I'm really loving Brooklyn Nine-Nine more and more. It's a good ensemble sitcom, and Andy Samberg isn't so annoying and predominant as I thought he would be. Terry Crews shines as always, and I love the gay police captain. It feels sort of like Better Off Ted or Arrested Development, only there's not a "normal" guy to be a straight man. I wish that Brooklyn Nine-Nine's ratings were better, but at least they're getting good promotion lately. I hope that means that Fox will renew it.

I heard that the Michael J. Fox show was cancelled, but then Vulture said it wasn't, so I don't know what to believe. It's a funny, sweet show. I wish Almost Human was doing better too, and John Larroquette was amazing in his guest appearance as Dorian's creator. He was the highlight on Deception too.

Sunday, January 12, 2014


I saw Frozen this weekend, and I like that Disney is genuinely showing feminist fairytales nowadays. Between this and Tangled, girls can have role models and stories where heroines actively save themselves or other people. The scene where Elsa becomes the Snow Queen, free to let her powers run wild, felt positive and empowering, as if she were taking control of her life for the first time. I was glad that the "act of true love" was about the sisters' bond, rather than about than a traditional kiss with the hero. It was fun that they made fun of Anna for wanting to get engaged after only one day. Yep, that's why I wrote Helen Stoner complaining about Julia getting engaged to the half-pay major so quickly in my DIM novel.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Wesley Crusher 2.0

With this week's episode, now I'm completely done with S.H.I.E.L.D. and I figured out why I hate Skye. She's Wesley Crusher all over again. A whiny genius girl who can do no wrong, and always has the correct solution to the problem. Anyone who dares tell her to shut the hell up or tries to kick her off the plane is looked on as a bad guy who betrayed the team. Plus the fact that Skye pretends to be Melinda May is more insulting, because they keep using Melinda May to make Skye look cooler, instead of developing Melinda May in her own right. Skye's an unprofessional, coddled baby and should have been killed off already. Whoever's writing this shit and came up with her stupid "I need to find my parents" backstory needed to be fired a long time ago. Instead of fixing the problem, they're doubling down on the "Look at how awesome Skye is" viewpoint. It's sickening. I signed on for a show starring Coulson, and instead they make everything revolve around her.

I didn't really get a lot of satisfying answers about Coulson's death. Just a lot of angst and horror of seeing him wish he could die. Then the whole thing about Mike Peterson being made into a slave too just makes the story more depressing and not fun. It's so disappointing, and nothing makes sense enough to be worthwhile.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Wonder Woman

I very much enjoyed the ending of Nikita, but am sad that the show is over. I'm glad that many of the actors have new shows already. Too bad Sonya couldn't come back for the finale, but it's understandable. I think that Birkhoff releasing Shadownet so that people can avoid being spied on by the NSA is sure to cause trouble with his NSA father, but I suppose that's why he's retreating to England.

In my search for a new TV heroine, I ran across Wonder Woman, now airing on MeTV. I remember watching reruns of this show when I was a kid in the 1980s, but I only remember the later seasons that weren't set in the 1940s. So watching the show from the beginning, even the campy TV movie that started it, has been very interesting to me. Lynda Carter is so great, and I look forward to seeing when Carolyn Jones will appear as the Amazon Queen. (Carolyn Jones was Morticia on the Addams Family.) Yes, the feminism is somewhat clunky when they talk about Paradise Island, but I do like that there are strong female characters as both heroes and villains. I definitely enjoyed that the first episode featured a boy who loved Sherlock Holmes.

I wish there would be a new Wonder Woman show or movie these days, but all the projects I hear about sound awful and die in development. She seems to be featured in some upcoming comic book movies, but not her own. I was hoping for more from Melinda May's character on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D, but that show seems obsessed with the stupid Skye character instead. I'll give the show one more chance so I can learn the secret of Coulson's death, but if that's no good, I might give up the show for good.

Scotland Yard and Adam Worth

On PBS, I watched a special called Secrets of Scotland Yard, which detailed the history of the Metropolitan Police Force from its founding by Robert Peel. I was surprised that the special mentioned some corruption scandals in Scotland Yard, which for instance led to the establishment of the Criminal Investigation Department. Several real life cases are discussed, such as the Crippen murder, Adam Worth, Jack the Ripper, as well as modern cases.

I much preferred this Scotland Yard show to the How Sherlock Changed the World special, which relied too much on BBC Sherlock clips. The Scotland Yard special emphasized that the police were not incompetent before Sherlock Holmes came along. They did do detective work, and were developing new investigation methods all the time. I think that BBC Sherlock, and the special that praised it so, actually do the police a disservice by making it look like the police are incompetent just to make Holmes look superior. As much as I hate Moriarty on Elementary (and will never watch her again), I adore how the NYPD characters are good detectives too, and there are problems with Holmes's style of taking shortcuts. Other people don't just let Holmes do whatever he wants just because he's a genius. They stand up for themselves and point out his bad behavior. There's so much good in this show if it weren't tainted by the stupid "Holmes's nemesis must be a psycho whose crimes are stupid and illogical for any competent criminal, much less a genius mastermind"! Fuck that. I want my real Moriarty back, and my real Irene Adler. Guy Ritchie seems to be the only one giving the real Moriarty (and some cool women to make up for Irene Adler), but I have no idea when he'll do another Holmes movie.