Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Robin Roberts observes 5th anniversary of her bone marrow transplant on Good Morning America, as transplantation treatments among siblings or even strangers become much more common


This morning, Sept. 20, 2017, ABC News “Good Morning America” aired a special fifth anniversary celebration of (gay) news anchor’s Robin Roberts’s bone marrow transplant for myelodysplastc syndrome.
  
This form of early leukemia (which can become acute, AML) typically occurs after age 70, and often has very vague symptoms. I would wonder about the use of chemotherapy in the elderly, who have often have currently good life quality without symptoms, and would wonder if it extends survival. But in younger patients radical treatment seems needed. The most likely life-threatening events could include severe infections (especially pneumonias) or other tumors because immune system function is compromised, in a way somewhat like HIV.  
  
It appears that earlier chemotherapy, as well as exposure to hydrocarbons and tobacco smoke become risk factors.  Genetics plays a role.
  
  
Robin talked about sibling bone marrow donation, and noted that technology has made less exact genetic matches from donors work. 
  
Sloan Kettering has a transition apartment for patients recovering, but they must have 24-hour caregivers.
  
I didn’t grow up in a culture that encouraged “body part sharing”, because in earlier times radical cures like this were not yet possible.  It certainly provides a twist on notions of family values, and the idea that nature doesn’t need everyone to procreate.  

Monday, September 18, 2017

Sean Spicer steals the Emmy's with Trump-ism


Chris Cillizza of CNN writes “Hollywood just enabled Sean Spicer and that’s not funny”, here. That was all on tne Emmy’s last night on CBS.

OK, the largest audience to watch the Emmy’s ever.  Spicer has always said he was ordered to brag about the inauguration crowd size. 


Spicer has been mimicked on SNL in falsetto, and appeared recently on Jimmy Kimmel.


I haven’t seen him in drag or in a leather bar. He's not that macho or cis.

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Ken Burns and "The Vietnam War"


Tonight, Sunday September 17, 2017, PBS aired the first episode (90 minutes) of the 18-hour, 10 episode film “The Vietnam War”, by Ken Burns and Lynn Novich. 

The film went way back before World War I with the history of Vietnam, interspersing with Vietnam war veterans recollecting the fire fights in the early years of the war (through 1966).  One lieutenant recounts seeing his platoon of enlisted men (draftees) go down in a rice paddy. Another recalls telling his mother that he was not special enough to be saved from casualty. Still another recalls risking his gams as he slow-walked looking for ordnance.  That was like the “individual tactical training” that opened week 3 of Basic  -- “Prepare to rush!  Rush!”. Ohm yes, it was taught by the Fort Jackson Committee Group.


The film gives a lot of history of Ho Chi Minh, who at one time was a Vietnamese nationalist as be then became a Leninist.  In the Truman years, when he almost died. US tacit support for him, from FDR, would dissolve under Truman and Eisenhower. 

Gradually, during the Eisenhower years, the “domino theory” takes hold as the French eventually leave, with a corrupt but anti-communist government in the south (with a very complicated political history of its own).

Families were allowed 300 days to evacuate from the North as communism became more militant and developed guerilla tactics.  One woman tells her family’s story, which folds into the narrative supporting US defending the south, which grows during the Eisenhower years.   The new front that the US would call the Viet Cong would gradually emerge.  Two saboteurs would invade a US military compound in the south in 1959 and produce the first two deaths during a movie showing. 

Update: Sept. 18

The second episode covered a coup in South Vietnam after martial law, as well as the politics that led Kennedy to become involved.  It briefly covered the Cuban Missile Crisis.

It also covered the idea that the Soviets, Chinese and Americans gradually adopted the idea that conventional war could take them away from nuclear war, even as it involved sacrifices of young men to the draft.

Update: Sept 20

The draft is covered.  It resulted in an Army where minorities and the poor took more of the casualties. Colleges were required to "rank" and report the grades of students with deferments.

Johnson nixed the movement of troops into Laos and Cambodia out of fear of drawing in the Chinese and even the Soviets.

Later the torture of prisoner's of war as "criminals" in the North was covered, including one who had been there for eight years.

Dr. Benjamin Spock, who founded the "People's Party", wrote an article in Ramparts that got the attention of Martin Luther King. They founded "The National Coalition to End the War in Vietnam". 

Friday, September 15, 2017

"Secret State: Inside North Korea" with Will Ripley, shows the incredible zombie-like devotion of North Korean society to its leadership.


Secret State: Inside North Korea”, a one hour film, aired tonight on CNN,  with Will Ripley doing the travels.  The film follows on a similar effort by Jacob Laukaitis (Movies blog, Aug. 24). 

Will gets an escorted tour where he gets to talk to the people to an unusual degree.  Almost invariably, he finds them unquestionably loyal to the “ruling family” as god kings, as you would find with a religious cult, but this is a whole country.  The people seem to be one group mind, whose consciousness combines in a way alien to westerners. Is this only the effect of government propaganda control? 

The film starts as Will Ripley visits teenagers on the beach.  They seem fairly normal in demeanor as Will learns they have been taught to hate Americans, who are supposed to be real scary.  Am American man is supposed to have a big nose and a hairy chest.  Will, who is 36 and blond, says, “I don’t have a hairy chest.”  Already, there is a racial component;  Caucasians tend to be taller than Asians and white men are more likely to have noticeable differential body hair, which evolved in colder climates as a secondary sexual characteristic that might attract women.  On the other hand, the North Korean boys already seem proud of their uniformity and sameness.

Children are shown practicing with toy guns and video games to shoot Americans.  Ripley gets to visit the Demilitarized Zone, and talk to an opposing colonel his age about the hatred of America, which goes back to the Korean War in 1950-1953.


Will does visit the more privileged homes, including some in the city of Pyongyang, which is surprisingly colorful.  He does see present-day peasant agriculture.
  
He finally visits the shrine and volcano at Mt. Paektu near the Chinese border.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

AC360 debriefs Hillary


Anderson Cooper interviewed Hillary Clinton Wednesday night Sept, 13 on his AC360 show about her new book “What Happened”.

She does claim that she would have won the election had James Comey not popped the letter to Congress Oct. 28.  But she spent some time discussing Comey’s report on her in July 2016.  She described the sequence as a “perfect storm”.


But one interesting fact was that Rudy Giuliani had warned on Oct. 26 that some sort of bombshell was coming.  That was the same day I sent an email expressing an interest in hosting asylum seekers, assuming Clinton would win.  I had heard of Giuliani’s rumor at the time but dismissed it.

She said that the Electoral College should be abolished (story). 

She also claims that Bernie Sanders’s campaign against her damaged her campaign before her nomination.

During the general election, some voters feared, “What if she goes to jail?”

They talk about the Second Debate, which happened right after Trump’s Access Hollywood tapes, which Anderson hosted, where Trump followed her around the stage and where she wanted to yell “You creep!”

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Hand-in-Hand 2017


A spirited fundraiser for victims of  Hurricane Harvey, one hour, was run on NBC, ABC, CBS, CMT and Fox, with multiple celebrities. This was “Hand in Hand 2017: A Benefit for Hurricane Relief”.   I thought I spotted Justin Timberlake, too.  Of course, Ryan Seacrest. Who makes pop stars.



The basic link is here. The Telethon was broadcast from New York, Nashville, and Los Angeles. 

Wednesday, September 06, 2017

Showtime's "Dice": real life actors become each other


A friend contacted me to note that he appears in the Showtime series “Dice”, created by Scot Armstrong.  Here’s the official site.

I tracked this down, and purchased on Amazon ($2.99, there was no rental option) episode 2 from Season 1 (2016, pre-Trump), called “Ego”, and watched the 27-minute episode, directed by Jay Karas.

The series seems to be a stage-comedy pubcrawl, where real-life actors play themselves as characters in other celebrities’ lives.


Andrew Dice Clay wants to reclaim his title as the king of  standup comedy. In this episode, he wants to re-invigorate his bedroom life with Carmen (Natasha Leggero).  An old friend. Adrien Brody wants to research Dice as he prepares for his own role in an upcoming Broadway Shakespeare performance.  Dice resents it as Brody starts to “become” Dice by putting on the costume (a bit of “Sartor Resartus”) and Dice eventually replays the kindness by stapling Brody to bed.

Actor Mark Parrish is listed in imdb as the Uber driver, but I didn’t spot him in the episode.

The show appears to be set in Las Vegas. 

Update:  Sept. 10

Mark Parrish appears as the highway patrol cop who arrests Carmen in an episode called "No Bullshit".