Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Diane Sawyer interviews Amanda Knox (against the advice of defense lawyers) on ABC


Tuesday night, Diane Sawyer interviewed Amanda Knox in a 20-20 special, “A Murder, A Mystery: Amanda Know Speaks”.  Today, “Foxy Knoxy’s” memoir “Waiting to Be Heard” was published (Harper, 480 pages, a $4 million advance). 

The Italian Supreme Court reportedly has just ordered a new trial, which could not happen in the United States because of double jeopardy.  Normally, the U.S, would have to extradite her if she is convicted in absentia, but many legal experts say that it will not extradite her for a conviction that cannot happen here.
Know gave a detailed account of the day of the murder (Nov. 1, 2007), and explained her behavior at the police station, which seemed uninhibited and did not show enough respect for the victim, Meredit Kercher, in many people’s minds.
She then explained how police coerced her into confession with interrogations in Italian, an abuse which often happens, defense lawyers say.  According to the WJLA news that followed, defense lawyers have said that she should not have talked to Diane Sawyer.
  
The conviction of another man who rather obviously broke in to the apartment (although it would have been a difficult break-in to scale, according to Wikipedia) hasn’t closed the case against Amanda (link) .
  
The ABC report by Nikki Batiste, Phoebe Natanson and Geoff Martz is here

Diane Sawyer reports that visitors are outraged that the only DNA found in the room was Rudy Geude's, and that police seemed to make up stories that Amanda had washed away hers, which she could not have separated even if he had left any.  Much was made of her behavior -- "cartwheeling" and kissing the boyfriend -- just before the massive interrogations.  

I guess in my terminology, Amanda Knox has earned "the privilege of being listened to." 

Monday, April 29, 2013

NBC reports on Sandy recovery six months after


Tonight, NBC Nightly News offered a detailed update on recovery from Hurricane Sandy on October 29, 2012, exactly six months ago. 

The broadcast focuses on the damage in Union Beach, NJ,, on Lower New York Bay. I did not stop there in my recent visit to the area in March, having visited Sayreville and then some communities farther south on the Ocean.  The film “Shored Up” (Movies blog, April 17) had focused on Union Beach. 

Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Later the broadcast did show the rebuilding of boardwalk on communities like Seaside Heights.  The communities will be ready for tourists before all the homes are rebuilt.

The report also showed some progress in rebuilding Breezy Point.

A second report covered the changing coast line, which is expected to rise by three feet by 2100 (maybe sooner).  Property owners, such as one shown on Cape Cod, face condemnation of their expensive property, which is becoming uninhabitable as beach is lost rapidly. 
Should the rest of the country pay for people to live “On the Beach”?

Sunday, April 28, 2013

President Obama turns on the stand-up comedy at Correspondents' Dinner -- on CNN


CNN has been airing parts of the Correspondents’ Dinner (Washington's Most Exclusive Party) at the Whote House Saturdya night, especially President Obama’s speech. Don Lemon seems to be providing the commentary.

He says that Daivd Axelrod works for MSNBC, but that MSNBC worked for him.

He took a pot shot at Michelle Bachmann (at least not at reparative therapy). Gay marriage got plenty of recognition. 

He also showed a poster about the new “George W. Bush” library.  "Blame Bush for 2008." (But cancel the bailouts.) 

  
I was at a party only about three miles away, on U Street, the “Tracks Reunion” (see LGBT blog), at about the same time.  None of the correspondents made it to the real party (just like on the lower level of "Titanic").  It was their job to be at the White House. 
  
I presume that the menu offered vegan, to appease Bill Clinton.  I hope it didn’t serve Cornish game hen (SLDN's old favorite).  Actually, they said they offered hailbut (salmon tastes better) and filet mignon, When you get used to lower fat food, you don’t want to go back to old habits. 

They mentioned the twitter hashtag, "Incapable of living in the moment".  Everything (they said) on the menu was "shot" by Wayne La Pierre.  (That's the Zuckerberg diet: if you eat animal protein, you eat only what you can kill.)   

Saturday, April 27, 2013

ABC 20-20: "In an Instant"


On Friday, August 26, 2003, ABC 20-20 aired the episode “In an Instant”, covering the way people respond to life-threatening dangers instantly.  Many of the dangers covered in the episode come from the wrongful activities of others.
  
I remember that in my own Army Basic Combat Training in 1968 – the importance of “muscle memory” --- and the objection that the cadre had to my pleading “Let me think.”
  
One of the segments covered the pile-up crash on Interstate 10 near Houston, Texas on Thanksgiving Day.  It also covered the collapse of an outdoor stage in Indianapolis on
  
But most of the episode dealt with crime or terror.   The situations included the carjacking after the Boston Marathon bombings, and the reactions to patrons in the theater in Aurora, CO in July.
Some people are hardwired to “flee” and some to “fight”. But some people have a basic ability to ignore “basic instinct”.

The show posed the question as to whether people needed "gun drills" as well as "fire drills".  But that seems to go along with the thinking of the NRA.
   
But there is a tendency for people to blend together and flee.  There was a controlled experiment where a female job applicant doesn’t leave a room with smoke when others stay, as if nothing is wrong.
  
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In the case of the carjacking in Boston, the Tsarnaev brothers knocked on the window why a man (Chinese) was texting.  He opened the door – which sounds like a mistake.  Later, he was told not to speak Chinese when taking a call.  The brothers “bragged” that they had done it.  The man escaped when the Mercedes ran low on fuel and stopped in a gas station, and the younger brother had to go into the gas station to pay cash (when money that had been withdrawn by force from an ATM).
  
I have been approached twice in my car in recent years, and both times I drove off quickly, to call police later.  One of these incidents was in 2010 in a service area on the Ohio Turnpike.  Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg reports that this happened to him right after moving to California at age 20 or so to start the company, and he simply sped off.  In one of these incidents, the perpetrator seemed so stoned or out of it that I don’t think he could have done anything. 

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Piers Morgan: missing Brown student and the "power" of social media; NBC Dateline: Military-style battle in Watertown


On Wednesday, April 24, 2013, Piers Morgan interviewed the family of Sunil Tripathi, a still missing student from Brown University (Rohde Island), who was mistakenly identified from the crowd pictures on Reddit after the Boston Marathon bombing on April 15.
    
The link and video for the interview is here
  
The family said that the episode shows the risks of social media, where rumors not linked to evidence can spread and be believed.
  

Earlier, Piers had interviewed terrorism experts who said that it was unconscionable that the US did not jump higher at Russian requests for information on the older brother.  Russia rarely gives us tips, they said, so we should have taken this more seriously.
  
Also, on Wednesday, NBC Dateline aired “Terror in Boston: the Hunt for Answers” (link with particular emphasis on the cell phone photos and videos made by two young men in Watertown from an apartment above the showdown on Laurel Street, there they say the older brother ran straight at police shooting, just as in the movies. 

The segment also reported that the man who was carjacked wasn't let go; he escaped when the car almost ran out of gas and the carjackers had to stop at a gas station.  Since the cell phone was in his car, police quickly traced the car.  Will Verizon (or whoever the company is) replace his phone out of goodwill?  I hope so.  
   
The behavior of the brothers shows that the older brother must indeed have undergone considerable “training” in Dagestan, countering the idea that all of this could have been done just from “Inspire” on the Internet.  



Update: Later Thursday, authorities confirmed that they had found the body of Sunil in the Providence River, NBC story by Elizabeth Chuck here

Monday, April 22, 2013

Discovery's "All the President's Men Revisited": a two hour "meta-movie" about Watergate


Sunday night, April 21, The Discovery Channel aired an ultimate “how we made the movie” film, “All the President’s Men Revisited”, link here, also called “The Legacy of Watergate”. The link is here.
  
The two hour documentary basically was a history of the Watergate scandal, with a particular emphasis on the work of reporters Bob Woodward (the Republican) and Carl Bernstein  (the liberal) .   They discuss how they were seated in quiet office when the news broke.  The film starts with the break-in, and the runway landslide in the 1972 elections. Later it examines the theories about “Deep Throat”.
  
They point out that Richard Nixon (37th President) might be seen as a leftist today (remember the wage and price controls in 1971?)  In his farewell speech on August 9, 1974 (the Friday before I started a “new life” with a job at NBC in NYC) he alluded to his own paranoia and his own hatred. 

Nixon quickly lost the political support in his own party before resigning. 

Nixon had been particularly moralistic in attacking Vietnam War protesters, even though Nixon had generally been believed during the 1968 elections (when I was in the Army) as likely to end the Vietnam war more quickly.  Remember "Peace with Honor"?  Also, remember "Nixon in China", the opera by John Adams? 

I remember Gerald Ford’s speech on the radio Aug. 12.  “I am a Ford, but not a Model T.”


I would listen to the hearings all summer on the car radio as I drove the NYC suburbs on business for Univac.

The film “All the President’s Men”, by Alan J. Paluka, with Robert Redford and Dustin Hoffman,  originally had trouble getting funding (Warner Brothers) because people already “knew the ending”.  I saw the film on the Upper East Side in NYC when it came out, in 1976.

Let us not forget Oliver Stone's "Nixon" (1995).

Sunday, April 21, 2013

CNN: Anthony Bourdain tours Myanmar, a despotic country that "welcomes" indulgent visitors


Saturday night at midnight, CNN reaired an enteraining (and relieving) episode from August, 2012, "Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown: Episode 1”, which was about Burma. or Myanmar.
  
Bourdain mentions the horrific political and human rights problems in the country, and its tendency to arrest dissidents, especially people who protest on blogs or social media.

A good part of the documentary is, of course, about food, which was of various nationalities (Thai, Japan, Chinese).

This is the largest mainland nation in Southeast Asia, and much of it is actually open to tourists despite the internal strife it does not want tourists to see.

The most interesting part of the journey may be the “night train”, a 10 hour ride on a rickety railroad that takes 19 hours.

The capital has moved from Yangon (Rangoon) to Naypyidaw.

Kids drop out of school to work in menial jobs supporting tourists. Bourdain is concerned about what haooens to the people he leaves behind. 


The link for the broadcast is here.  
  
 See also review of film “The Lady”, Movies blog, April 27, 2012.; International issues blog, Sept. 8, 2007  and May 27, 2008.
  
Wikipedia attribution link for Thai refugee camp. 

Friday, April 19, 2013

Boston lockdown, eventual arrest occupy network programming all day April 19


On Friday, April 19, all the major networks devoted their entire channels to covering the lockdown in Boston, until about 3 PM. EDT. I hope that they will just resume their regular shows Monday without losing episodes.
   
At 9 PM, NBC was airing a Special Report as I returned home on the capture of Dzhokhar Tsnanaev when a homeowner in Watertown MA noticed him lying on a boat in his yard. Similar reports occurred on CBS and ABC as police announced the arrest. 
  
The 20-20 episode was “Manhunt”, summarizing all the day’s events. 
  
Then CNN’s Jeff Toobin explained the question of the consequences of not reading Miranda Rights.  This is acceptable when there is an immediate public safety issue, but any confession made by the defendant cannot be used in court; however he can be convicted on the evidence itself.
  
Another question would be whether the federal government may pursue the death penalty in a state that does not itself have it.
  
The United States attorney will be Carmen Ortiz, and she was the prosecutor involved in the regrettable Aaron Swartz case.
  
It seems apparent that Dzhokhar was influenced by his older brother.  But there have been a few troubling cases where intellectually gifted young men have turned to terror activities, albeit in very different circumstances. 
  
The lockdown of the entire city of Boston and near suburbs is unprecedented.  It seems to have been prompted by the belief that Suspect #2 might have a suicide vest, as well as fear of other accomplices.  But there could be more sinister reasons of  which we haven’t been told. 

I can imagine what it would be like to wake up in a hospital with a whole nation cheering your capture. 
    
The media hardly mentioned the fertilizer explosion in West, Texas while covering Boston today.  And it also barely mentioned North Korea.  

Wikipedia attribution link for picture of  Boston University.  


Wednesday, April 17, 2013

NBC holds back in reporting breaking news today, while CNN at first reports an arrest and then retracts


At 1:54 PM today, Wednesday, April 17, 2013, NBC News stopped “Days of our Lives” with Breaking News indicating progress in identifying a possible suspect in the Boston Marathon terror attack Monday.  Pete Williams, justice reporter, declined to say that an arrest had been made or that a suspect had been identified. At the same time, on my MacIntosh, as I was about to work on my own piano music, I saw CNN headlines erroneously reporting that an arrest had been made.  Soon that story was retracted. The AP had also apparently reported an arrest at first. 

At first the authorities were going to plead for the public’s help identifying people, particularly a tall young white man in black shirt and shorts, otherwise featureless, behaving oddly in the CNN slide show available right now at this site.  
   
Authorities also have two persons of interest in other video which is not being shown on the media tonight, indicating a change in strategy. On Piers Morgan tonight on CNN, one expert said that of there is more than one person involved, the odds that it is foreign-sourced (Al Qaeda) increase, but the general feeling has been that this is likely domestic, and might be motivated by the extreme right wing, or possibly by some other bizarre extreme belief system.  

Let's hope that by this time tomorrow we do have an arrest.  

Sunday, April 14, 2013

CNN teams up with HBO: "There's Something Wrong with Aunt Diane": Doc about the 2009 Taconic auto crash


Tonight, CNN Films, following a new trend to air some important journalistic documentaries on Sunday nights,  re-aired the HBO 2011 original documentary “There’s Something Wrong with Aunt Diane”, directed by Liz Garbus, link here.  The original documentary was made by Moxie Firecracker films.
  
The historical details of the 2009 Taconic Parkway crash are on Wikipedia here.  The crash occurred with Diane Schuler drove the wrong way on the Taconic Parkway in northern Westchester County New York. 
  
The nearly two hour documentary interviews family and police, back and forth, trying to reconstruct the events of July 26, 2009, leading to the head-on collision that killed Diane and seven other people, four in her own family.  The medical autopsy showed very high alcohol levels and marijuana use, but all the testimony of people who knew her was that this behavior was totally out of character.  So there is not only pain for the families, there is a real medical mystery.  There is a theory that she was trying to kill the pain of a dental abscess and somehow went down a slippery slope and did not know what she was doing. 
The documentary also traces the desperate attempts of family to find her and contact police after they realized she was “missing” and not answering her cell phone, which she left by the road near a bridge.


Mr. L’s Tavern has a blog entry about the crash here. He has his own video there, and the comments are interesting. 
  
I have not driven this particular highway very often, although I have been through the general area many times.  In 1974, I worked for Univac for a while on the ATT account in Mt. Kisco. 
  
Wikipedia attribution link for TSP near Bear Mountain, link here
  
A word to the wise. I did discover on a recent trip that the Rockaway Freeway (in Queens, NYC in Far Rockaway) is very dangerous for visitors who are not familiar with the unusual traffic patterns in some places.  It should be much more clearly marked.   

AC360: Kidnapped to Egypt: A Father's Nightmare"


On Saturdaym April 13, 2013, AC360 aired a documentary “Kidnapped to Egypt: A Father’s Nightmare,” about how the ex-wife of Michael Shannon schemed to “abduct” two of his sons and take them to Egypt, and then cut off the father from any access.  The father says je could not imagine that his ex-wife Nermeen Khalifa would do this.

The link for the story, by Kyle Almond, Dave FtzPatrick, and Drew Griffin, with a video interview, is here.
  
Egypt (like other Muslim countries) has not signed on to the Hague Convention regarding international abduction, so there wad very little the State Department could do.  The grandmother, who apparently played a large role in the scheme, was traced to California and was arrested and jailed for a time, but then was deported immediately to Egypt when on parole.  The story about how she was tracked down,  arrested and extradited to Maryland is interesting. The Baltimore Sun has an archived article about that part of the story (website url) here.

Egyptian courts have stalled and become non-responsive, maintaining that under Shariah law the husband has no custody  or visitation rights anyway.

However, CNN arranged for Michael to see videos of his sons, eleven years after he had past been raising them and had any contact with them.  The mother threatened to sue CNN, while maintaining that the boys in the video are not the sons.  

Saturday, April 13, 2013

ABC 20-20: "A Nation of Moochers"


Last night (Friday, April 12)  ABC 20-20 presented an episode called “A Nation of Moochers”.
It started with a young Oregon man telling a story about getting a call from a female IRS auditor. When she came over for a visit, she immediately tried to seduce him, offering a lower tax bill, for sex, even removing his shirt, just as in soap operas.  (It seems to happen to Brady a lot on “Days of our Lives” when he is with Krystal). 
  
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Later the episode covered the problem of “adverse possession”,  a legal trick where “squatters” try to get title to expensive homes left vacant by absentee owners.  Like sinkholes, it is a big problem in Florida.
  
It also presented people making disability claims when able to work out in gyms.
  
Part of the broadcast covered “ridiculous write-offs”, for things like body appearance items (maybe even “No-No”?)
  
(Note: posts with ABC embedded videos are easier to watch in Google Chrome or Firefox than in Internet Explorer, which sometimes flags scripting errors.)  

Picture: from a steelworker's labor union building in Washington DC, "real jobs"?

Remember the character Wesley Mouch from Ayn Rand's "Atlas Shrugged"? 

Thursday, April 11, 2013

"Days of our Lives" alludes to "Bugcrush", notorious gay horror short film, as Sonny is no longer so nice all the time


On “Days of our Lives” yesterday, Sonny (Freddie Smith) told EJ that, even though he doesn’t see the sense in enjoying hurting people, he viewed Nick Fallon (Blake Berris) as a “bug” whom he wanted to “crush”.   That’s pretty remarkable, and it is a reference to the notorious gay short film “Bugcrush”, by Carter Smith (2006) available from Strand Releasing on a DVD collection called “Boys Life 6” (Jamuary 29, 2008 on the Movies Blog.)
  
Nick has gotten out of prison following a couple years resulting  from a total moral breakdown in 2009 (he probably was justified in killing Trent, a character who know shows up on General Hospital).  In prison, Nick was stabbed and raped for being a “snitch”.  The guy who stabbed him has gotten out and is working for father Eric, and has ready recruited Nick for the next escapade of mandatory crime.  Nick also used the "f.." word in Sonny's face in referring to the gay couple.  
  
On top of this, we see Will and Sonny going to EJ and Stefano to deal with Nick, who has blackmailed Will into giving up custody of Will’s accidental baby girl with Gabbi.  Nick did this by hacking Will’s cell phone and listening in to discussions on how Lucas (Will’s dad) took the rap when Will shot EJ.
  
It would seem that they could go after Nick for computer hacking as a violation of his parole.  I don’t know what the writers haven’t broached that idea yet.
  
Instead, it looks like we’re heading toward a torture scene where Nick “needs another bug”.  Imagine the preparations (when compared to the end of the movie.)  Imagine him naked.  "He can't fake it."
  
Will and Sonny are “good kids” raised by crime families.  Sonny seems like the most stable and responsible character in the whole show. 
  
It looks very likely that Will and Sonny can wind up as “gay dads”.  I don’t think Ohio has gay marriage. 
  
In another subplot, Chloe has blackmailed Jennifer into breaking up with surgeon Daniel Jonas, by having Daniel’s son Parker kidnapped and taken to Brazil.  These people can be mean. 


Monday, April 08, 2013

Revolution: Can a virus "suck electricity out of the air"?


Finally. NBC's "Revolution" offers an "explanation" (the episode April 8 was "The Song Remains the Same"), and it is rather underwhelming. 

Well, we found out tonight what put the power down.  Airborne viruses, apparently genetically manufactured, capable of taking electricity out of the air. Wikipedia now characterizes them as "inert air populated nano-machines."

From a physics viewpoint, that doesn’t make sense.  Lightning takes electricity out of the air naturally. 
The way EMP or solar storms do damage is to fry circuits and transformers, by inducing currents.  They don’t remove electrons from the air.

Electricity is normally conducted through a medium, not in the air.

Maybe at some nano level, a virus could somehow infect “circuits” somehow.  Ciould such a virus spread around the world in eight minutes?

Now, the dialogue says the bad guys have power.  The only way to take them down is for the good guys to have electricity again.  Where have we heard that before?

Could a virus encapsulate a microscopic black hole?  That idea sounds intriguing, as a way to move identities to new bodies (or give bodies multiple identities( by “infection”, where soul and brain meet. 

There’s a blog about the show here

Friday, April 05, 2013

ESPN: "30 for 30: Broke": many pro sports players lose all their wealth shortly after retirement


ESPN has a series of programs (slightly over an hour) called “30 for 30”, launched in 2009.  One of the more recent episodes is called “30 for 30: Broke”, directed by Billy Corben, about how many professional athletes go broke within two to five years of retirement, particularly in the NFL and NBA.
  
As much as professional athletes make, many spend wildly and do not make it very long on what they earned.  There is a variety of reasons for this.  One is that many have little financial education;  schools that make a lot of money off of them do nothing to teach them financial literacy. Another is that, in some sports, there is a “good old boy” system for getting to work with them as a financial planner (just as there is for being a sports agent – remember Tom Cruise in the 1996 movie “Jerry Maguire”?)  That appears to be true in the NFL and NBA, but maybe not MLB.
  
Another problem, bluntly speaking, is women.  Athletes marry carelessly without pre-nups, or have children, and women are able to extract huge claims for support.  This sounds a bit like good old soap opera.
The “film” is rather oppressive, consisting of constant brief sound-bites from athletes who stumbled.  But near the end, there is a scene in a new financial literacy class.
  
The link for the episode is here
   
  
In Major League Baseball, I would expect the problems to be less severe, partly because careers can last longer (into the 40s). But players coming up from the Dominican Republic (“Pelotero”, July 13, 2012 on Movies blog) would be less well-informed and many (as in football and basketball) are expected to send money home to families (including parents and siblings) in their native country.   Players raised and educated in the US with middle class backgrounds or even religious backgrounds (like some of the Nationals) would seem to be much less vulnerable and would appear to have learned “personal responsibility” in finance.  

The film briefly touched on the medical issues of sports retirees.  Dementia in former football players from concussions is beginning to the attention of the media, the NCAA and the NFL.  

One would think that players' unions would pay more attention to the problems covered in this episode.  

Thursday, April 04, 2013

NBC series "Hannibal": Hugh Dancy stars as the geeky special agent, but the concept may not hold up


The new NBC series “Hannibal” had its “premier” tonight.  If it works at all, it’s the performance of Hugh Dancy as special agent Will Graham.  He is assigned to track a serial killer(s) operating in northern Minnesota because of his unusual personality.  He says he has Asperger’s syndrome, but can empathize with the perpetrators, read their thoughts, and still operate in the real world as an effective person, able to become sociable when in his own element.  At times, he has real charisma, and certainly a lot of energy.  He knows how to perform as the “good guy with a gun” when he has to (at the violent end of the Pilot, called “Apertif”).
   
He lives with his menagerie of dogs, who seem to dearly love him, since he adopts them off the street as his “children”.  He consorts with a peripatetic psychiatrist Hannibal Lecter (Mads Mikkelsen), who may or may not be physically present, cooking the remains of some victims.  

Lawrence Fishburne is moderately effective as Will’s boss.
  
I’m not sure that the series will be able to keep the novelty up for weeks at a time however.  I loved the line in the second of the movies, “Hannibal”, where Anthony Hopkins says, “It was time for me to return to public life.”   And remember that scene, in the 2000 film, where Hannibal has removed the skull of a man who is still alive and serves him his own brains?  I remember the “Movie Grille” forum discussion on AOL (a predecessor to social networking)  where people wrote that they threw up over that scene.  The original film “The Silence of the Lambs” goes all the way back to 1991. 
  
Recent events in 2012 make it more credible that a psychiatrist could become a Hannibal.  Why did James Holmes study “neuroscience”? How long did he premeditate his acts on July 20?  It seems like this had gone on for months, maybe from before the time he showed up.  The Huffington Post has the very latest, a shocker of a story of what Holmes’s psychiatrist reported today, here.  
  
The link for the NBC series is here
  
You have to hunt through the NBC Hanninal channel before you find a video with embeddable shares:
  



Tuesday, April 02, 2013

NBC "Revolution": promises an explanation, but hasn't delivered yet



All I know is that “Revolution”, having resumed March 25 with two episodes (“The Stand” – ironically the same as Stephen King’s mammoth novel – and “Ghosts” is still a big letdown.

We were promised an “explanation” in last night’s episode by the previews all week.  At the end, “Rebecca” (the brain) says, “I’ll tell all I know”.   Then the episode ends.  Next week?

And it seems like the government had a conspiracy to cut off power at Brgram in Afghanistan, and something went wrong at “the Tower” and the blackout went around the world.

Then the “powers” decided we would have a safer, sustainable world if most people didn’t have electricity and had to live off the land like Maoism. 

In “The Stand” they sacrificed their nicest young character Danny.

What kind of explanation is possible?  A “quantum entanglement device” like in the ABC series “Flasf Forward”?

An electromagnetic pulse (EMP) would fry everything in a particular area (unless shielded with “Faraday cages”). It would not be possible to turn on power locally with an amulet reading a flash drive.  That part makes no sense at all. 
  
The possibility of an electromagnetic pulse may be the biggest risk with North Korea’s recently belligerence (particularly to knock out South Korea and bring everybody back to “peasantry”).

The "political" message of the show is certainly disturbing. Yet why does this show have an audience when "Zero Hour" got canceled after three episodes?

Monday, April 01, 2013

"The Bible": Basic narrative on the History Channel's miniseries (and some politics)


The History Channel has aired a 10-part miniseries, “The Bible”, narrated by Keith David. I remember John Huston's 1966 film "The Bible: In the Beginning".  

The last episode depicts the Passion, Crucifixion, and the entire narrative story in the Book of Acts, which is the last book in the New Testament that narrates events. 

The most remarkable scenes include the healing of a lame, toothless man by Peter (Darwin Shaw), and the conversion of Saul into becoming the Apostle Paul (Francis Magee).  Peter is warned by the Romans never to mention the healing.  There was no freedom of speech as we expect it in the ancient world. The Romans feared word of mouth as much as today’s tyrants fear the Internet. 

Jesus (Diogo Margodo)  often appears, looking like a physical man, and still quite handsome, with all wounds healed except for the hand nail scars to satisfy the doubting Thomas. 

It is hard to say how this series is different from many other films on Biblical material.  Unlike a major film (whether Mel Gibson’s “The Passion of the Christ” or  Lloyd C. Douglas’s “The Robe”, from Fox in 1953, the first film in Cinemascope), this series seems to stress the narrative basics.

The early Christians died for their faith.  Matthew was killed in Ethiopia, Thomas in India, and John was exiled from Rome to Greece, where he wrote Revelations.   In the final scene, John beholds Jesus, looking like a physical man and angel at the same time, on a watery but desert landscape that could be on another planet (maybe Gliese 581 G).   

The History Channel's link is here.