Sunday, May 21, 2017

"Twin Peaks: The Darkness of Futures Past" licks off the 2017 renewal


Twin Peaks”, as directed by David Lynch and written by David Frost, returned with a bang on Showtime Sunday night May 21 (site).

The two-hour pilot (“The Darkness of Futures Past”) was divided into two nearly hour-long parts.

The show visits the town in Washington State 25 annees after Laura Palma was murdered and Kyle MacLaughlan (Dale Cooper) invited himself there to investigate the “wood spirits”.

Much of the material revisits the film prequel “Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me”, especially the salon scenes with the zigzag floors and red d├ęcor, where this time a disembodied blog on a stick says “I am the arm”.  This place seems to be in an alternate universe reached through a wormhole.



But the most interesting and shocking sequence happens in Part 1, where a computer nerd (apparently Ben Rosenfeld) monitors a bizarre organic computer with a portal.  When a girl friend visits him, they disrobe, revealing his absolutely hairless chest and perfect musculature, and in their passions, a golem comes from the portal and kills them, decapitating the girl.

The next day, another character is arrested, but he turns into a golem in jail and evaporates.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

"Digital Addiction" on ABC 20-20, affects some people a lot more than others


ABC 20-20 tonight covered “Digital Addiction” and digital obsession, covering three families with addiction to media and especially gaming.  Elizabeth Vargas reported.

A Michigan teenager, Josh, built his own computer but then became addicted to gaming and dropped out of school.  His parents sent him to a 10-week wilderness camp in Utah.  The Children’s Hospital in Ann Arbor did MRI’s and examined the teen’s brain, and found brain activity improved after media was removed.  The teen comes home to a new home and is actually greeted by the cat.  The best link is here.

Yet, normally a teen capable of building a computer from scratch would be well grounded in reality.  Various other teens have gone on to, well, create Facebook.  So the effect of media exposure must be quite variable.



A 35-year-old father of four agreed to have his games taken out of his house to get over his addiction.
A teenage girl also went into a treatment program in California.

Friday, May 19, 2017

"Within Reach" on ABC Nightline: Hollywood producer gets revolutionary hand transplant after mysterious and destructive illness


ABC Nightline on Thursday, May 18 (but after midnight into Friday) presented a report “Within Reach”, about film producer Jonathan Koch, who would have a successful hand transplant at UCLA. LA Magazine has a detailed story.  (The ABC video here will show only without https.)

Koch became suddenly ill in January 2015 before he was supposed to go to Washington. He still flew to Dulles, but soon was hospitalized at George Washington University Hospital with what seemed to be profound septic shock. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Septic_shock   This could happen from antibiotic resistant super bacteria, or sometimes from some strains of meningitis. He was actually tested for Ebola. But in his case the cause appears to have been a reactivation of Epstein-Barr virus, which usually causes mononucleosis. (It may be associated with Hodgkin’s Disease and with some non-Hodgkin’s lymphomas, maybe the explosive kind that Maryland governor Larry Hogan recovered from,)  Such reactivation is very rare, but might be compared to Shingles and Chicken Pox, and theoretically a vaccine could be designed to prevent it.   The “infection” had some aspects of lymphoma and was treated with chemotherapy. The report makes no mention of HIV, but it would be logical if it could me more likely with HIV infection.  Vaccine development might reduce the incidence of some lymphomas.

The episode documents the loyalty of his girlfriend.


Koch was put into medically induced coma and had a NDE experience, where he was told that recovery would be grueling, he reports.  He had severe gangrene, resulting in partial amputations and opportunity for transplant.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

AC360 tonight finds Yates interview, and Sanders-Kasich town hall overrun by Comey Letter


CNN tonight offered two big events (not “blessed events” indeed), as Anderson Cooper’s AC360 interview  with former deputy attorney general Sally Yates was interrupted by more breaking news, that Congress was preparing subpoenas around the “Comey Memo”.

Yates says that the Russians had leverage over Flynn.  She describes attempting to stay on under Trump and do her job for the DOJ.  On the way to the airport on Jan. 27, she got a text about the first Trump travel ban.  When she decided she could not defend it in court Monday, she soon got a note at the door firing her.



Earlier there was discussion of whether Donald Trump’s behavior constitutes obstruction of justice. Jeffrey Toobin says yes, Alan Dershowitz says maybe not.  Here is a New York Times analysis.

At 10 PM CNN;s Jake Tapper hosted a one hour town hall debate with Bernie Sanders and Ohio governor Josh Kasich, who did not support Trump. Instead of talking about tax reform and health care, they had to talk about the current crisis, and were pretty much in agreement.

Trump goes on a nine-day road trip to visit all three major faiths

Sunday, May 14, 2017

CNN's Axelrod interviews California governor Jerry Brown


David Axelrod interviewed Democratic California governor Jerry Brown Saturday night on the Axelrod files, in the governor’s office in Sacramento.  CNN link is here.

Axelrod spent a lot of time seeking Brown’s comments on Donald Trump and the Comey firing.



Brown, a lifelong bachelor (like Senator Lindsey Graham, R-C) attracted attention with his austere lifestyle when governor back in the late 1970s.  In earlier times he had, like Jimmy Carter, preached frugality and the inevitability of change away from materialism.

In the interview last night he described his upbringing as a Jesuit.

Saturday, May 13, 2017

ABC 20-20 and John McAfee's saga in Belize


ABC 20-20 last night covered the saga of John McAfee, founder of McAfee Security (no longer part of the company) and a “person of interest” in a mysterious murder in a coastal community in Belize in 2012.  The best link seems to be here.  One of the scenes shows a man running through a field a night, a memory of the cornfield scene in the first episode of “Smallville”.

The episode explains that Belize is notoriously weak on getting criminal convictions.


McAfee would eventually “escape” to Guatemala, have a fake heart attack, and get deported to the US.  He now lives in Tennessee and was picked up one time for DUI.  McAfee would become a Libertarian Party candidate for president in 2016.

But I can remember the McAfee of the 1990s, whose mission in life was to eliminate all computer viruses.  That’s especially relevant on this “Day After” WannaCry worm.  Other companies have become much more credible in the anti-virus market (Kaspersky, which is in Russia, and Trend).

A church youth group which I know does missions in Belize every June, at Double Head Cabbage, about 20 miles away from where the rich people like McAfee have their beach resorts. (See Drana blog, Nov. 4, 2012).

 There is some short film video of the place that the group has taken that really ought to be entered into film festivals (like DC Shorts). Much happier stuff than McAfee.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

"Riverdale" somewhat reminds me of "Twin Peaks": Archie's world more than Jughead's


I caught the last episode of “Riverdale” on CWTV tonight, produced in part by Greg Berlanti, who had given us “Everwood”.
 
I’m not a fan of the Archie Comics series of teen characters (trying to survive their reckless adult folks) in what looks like an upper midwestern town, maybe in Wisconsin (like the two angels Matt and Ben in “Dogma” in 1999). Actually, it looks pretty normal.   Somehow I think of “Twin Peaks”.



The last episode is “The Sweet Hereafter” (Chapter 13), and it showed the very likeable musician Archie (New Zealand actor K.J. Apa) saving a teen girl from drowning in a frozen pond.  Then in the final scene, it seems that he is there for his dad after dad gets shot in a home invasion of his office or warehouse or diner.

Apparently the show emphasizes Archie as much as narrator Jughead (Cole Sprouse).