Monday, March 31, 2014

Cosmos series continues with a journey to and inside a black hole

The National Geographic Series “Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey” has continued with “When Knowledge Conquered Fear” (March 23) and “A Sky Full of Ghosts” (March 30 on Fox and 31 on NatGeo).  Neil DeGrasse Tyson continues as host.
  
The first of these gave a biography of Isaac Newton, and also talked about the orbit of Haley’s Comet. But the real importance of the piece was the gradual replacement of knowledge passed down from religious authority to knowledge discovered by science and published in such a way that an ordinary person might be able to assess it without the supervision of political or religious “authorities”. Of course, this has implications for “social capital”, even the kind that Rick Santorum would want.

The second of these episodes was the more novel.  It explained the nature of gravity, and pointed out that when an object is moving, the velocity of the object is not added to the speed of the light that emanates from it.  Tyson briefly reviewed his calendar of time, and then took us on a thought experiment of visiting a black hole.  Time seems to slow down as we approach the event horizon.  (Maybe that’s what happens when we die, if of natural causes.)  If we could enter a black hole, we might find ourselves thrown into a different universe that the black hole “created” with its own “big bang”.

  
On YouTube there is another video where Tyson consider’s Disney’s 1979 film “The Black Hole”, by Gary Nelson, about a space ship perched near the event horizon of a black hole, and discovered by another ship.  I saw this in Dallas but it did not make a big impression. 


Saturday, March 29, 2014

"Parenthood" episode maintains all teens should learn to babysit

I caught an episode of “Parenthood” Thursday night, called “Fraud Alert”.
  
I started with one rebellious teen, Max Braveman (Max Buckholder) refusing to go back to school after getting insulted on a field trip, so dad (Peter Krause) has to give him a different adventure.
  
But what caught my attention was that Drew (Miles Heizer) gets committed to a babysitting gig by his mom.  I guess Drew is supposed to be about 19. We don’t think of boys doing babysitting, but in fact when I was a boy, there were two older teens, who both became Methodist ministers, who “sat” me, one of them accepting my indulgence in changing the rules for ping pong, or showing him my outdoor “city” (with one building, a woodshed).  I’ve run into families before where parents say they want all their kids to learn to take care of younger kids. 
  
  
Drew returns and says this was the silliest $40 he had ever earned.  The kids didn’t want to do anything but watch passive TV. 
  
At least this isn’t quite “the Baby Borrowers”.  

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Prince Harry's South Pole Heroes, special documentary on NBC

Prince Harry (Captain Harry Wales), 29, produced a one-hour documentary called “Prince Harry's South Pole Heroes” for NBC, shown last night at 8 PM, about a benefit skiing race or trek to the South Pole to raise money for military veterans. 
  
The three teams were Red (Britain), Orange (Commonwealth), and Blue (US). 
  
Many wounded veterans participated.  There were four amputees.  One female veteran had been burned by a suicide bomber (in Iraq?) and said she had wondered how anyone could ever be attracted to her.  This was hard to take.
  
Prince Harry showed us his blisters, and said, “thankfully, I have feet”.  Fortunately, he was wearing long black tights as leggings


NBC’s link is here.

The elevation at the Pole is 9000 feet.  They were to reach it in mid December (the equivalent of June in the northern hemisphere) and yet it could be -45 F at that latitude and altitude.  This is as close to conditions on Mars (except maybe the dry valleys) that we can approach on Earth.
  
An episode of “Revolution” was delayed one week.  This was significant because the episode is supposed to explain the conspiracy that resulted in the power blackout.

Wikipedia attribution link for South Pole picture with flags. 

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

CNN interviews Hazelwood from Exxon-Valdez in documentary "Oil and Water"

Tuesday night, CNN offered a special one hour documentary “Oil and Water” about the 1989 Exxon Valdez accident, where an oil tanker captained by Joseph Hazelwood ran aground off the Alaska coast, spilling tons of goo oil on the beach areas. 
  
The documentary interviewed Hazelwood, now in his 60s.  He had enjoyed a superlative career up to that point and denies drinking that night. He had left the bridge of the ship for a few moments for a while before it ran aground, which he regrets.
  
Hazelwood was prosecuted on felony counts but acquitted.  He was convicted on one misdemeanor count.  He was fired by telegram. 
  
I had significant Exxon in my portfolio at the time (and did until 2013).  It did not affect me a lot, but of course owners of securities, capable of making large gains, share some of the moral responsibility.
  
CNN has a link on the documentary here

An NBC  station (in Anchorage?) has an account of the Hazelwood interview here


Wikipedia attribution link for Valdez pipeline picture, here. I was in the area once, in August 1980.  

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

"Bates Motel" on AE presents the troubled Norman convincingly; the problems of local zoning politics

I checked out the series “Bates Motel” on A&E, which started Season 2 on March 3. The series is created by Antony Cipriano and the pilot for season 2 is called “Gone but not Forgotten”, directed by Tucker Gates.  The series is a prequel to Alfred Hitchcock’s famous 1960 thriller “Psycho” and the novel by Alfred Bloch.  Freddie Highmore plays a late teen Norman Bates, who likes to dissect carcasses in the basement but plays momma’s boy in running the motel for Mom, Vera Farmiga.
  
Mom is trying to teach Norman to drive, and encourages aggressive driving, crossing a double line to pass a truck.  They reach an area where a new bypass is being constructed early, and mom realizes this will ruin her motel’s business, which is already underwater.  She goes to a city council meeting to complain, quite selfishly, why the school board debates violent novels in their high school literature classes (Dostoyevsky’s “Crime and Punishment”).
  
Norman is also upset over the recent murder of a female teacher.
  
Also settling in the plot is a local marijuana business, with the younger Dylan (Max Thieriot, with his external trappings of manhood back). And at the end of the episode, there’s a murder when Bradley (Nicola Peltz) confronts (and even unbuttons first) a man she thinks is her father’s killer.
  
The storyline is straightforward and somewhat draws the viewer in. A&E has also held a show March 3 interviewing Highmore and Thieriot.
  
  
The A&E link is here

Online viewing requires logging on to your cable provider. 



Monday, March 24, 2014

Vox Media presents interview with Elizabeth Kolbert on mass extinctions


I'm going to call a substantial video interview (15 minutes) on Vox Media a "TV program", in the sense that it could be viewed as part of a web series.

I saw the first of these interviews by journalist-columnist Ezra Klein (formerly the editor of the Wonkblog at the Washington Post and generally supportive of progressive positions common within the Democratic Party). Ezra, in his new office that appears to be somewhere above Dupont Circle, interviews Elizabeth Kolbert, author of the book "The Sixth Extension", showing how climate change could cause huge die-offs in a few decades, very startling in geological history terms. (The biggest die-off happened with snowball Earth, 250 million years ago.)  This amount of recent change should not have happened in Ezra's lifetime already, she says to him (he is 29).  The link is here.  It would be helpful it the video gave a length or timer bar at the bottom, like YouTube or Vimeo.  The title of the clip is simply "What Is Mass Extinction?" The dinosaurs didn't do anything wrong.  

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Nate Berkus returns with new reality show, "American Dream Builders"

Nate Berkus is hosting a new reality show, “American Dream Builders”.
  
Each week, the two competing design teams (of design professionals, some of them self-made with their own businesses) will each renovate one house for one family. A community board will decide which renovation is the best, and one person from the losing team is fired, just as on “The Apprentice”.

The first episode, the homes appeared to be near San Diego (didn’t hear the location mentioned).  The losing team failed to complete all the work in the bathroom.

The renovation was extensive, tearing out walls and enlarging rooms, especially kitchens.  In one case, a boys’ bedroom was converted to a den. It’s interesting how many kids even in upper middle class families don’t have their own rooms.

Nate had his own daytime design program until May of 2013.  Steve Harvey has taken over his prior slot in the DC area. 


The main NBC link is here.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

ABC 20-20, NBC Dateline present similar mysteries that don't make heterosexual marriage look good

Both ABC 20-20 and NBC Dateline presented mysteries Friday evening.

ABC presented “Sleeping with the Enemy”.  A woman meets a young widower and gradually becomes suspicious that he could have killed his first wife in North Carolina.  An overwhelming circumstantial case builds up.  There is a mistrial, with one juror holdout, and the man enters an Alford plea, which this time is not used to cover an unjust conviction, but to get a guilty plea with some time served.  The link for the story is here.    I have to say that ABC’s site serves some cheesy ads that get in the way and take some effort to get rid of.

  

And NBC Dateline’s “At Close Range” (link) presented the story of a male school principal Keith Reed in upstate New York murdered after the husband of a woman in Virginia whom he had dated once and who inadvertently contacts him again tracks him down.  Thank goodness I’m not susceptible to such jealousy. But there's a flip side.  No one can remain insulated from the vulnerability of others forever.  Sometimes you have to dive in and it has to be OK.  

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

CWTV "The 100": Let the "expendables" repopulate the Earth after a nuclear catastrophe


The 100” premiered tonight on CWTV.  The series, created by Jason Rothenberg and based on the book by Kass Morgan, starts with the premise that man is living in a space colony 97 years after Earth destroyed itself with nuclear war (maybe because of Putin’s aggression), and may run out of resources in a few months.
  
 The space colony comprises descendants of people living in space at the time of the apocalypse.  It sends 100 juvenile delinquents down to Earth, saying they are the most expendable, to see in Earth is habitable again.

The space colony is run like a dictatorship, where any offense by an adult results in the death penalty (by being placed in an airlock which is drained of air into space).  Life is based on sacrifice for the future.  Parents are allowed to have only one child.  The concept reminds me somewhat of “Evacuate Earth” (cf blog, Aug. 30, 2013).
   
When the kids arrive, they celebrate being able to live without rules, out in nature, but soon they will realize they need some kind of law and order.  This sounds a bit like how Australia was formed.
They want to reach “Mt. Weather”, which is a real place, the location in the Virginia Blue Ridge where FEMA has a survival facility for the government in case of catastrophe (International Issues blog, March 8, 2014).The show, however, depicts high mountains and a rain forest that resembles the Cascade area of the Pacific Northwest or British Columbia.
    
The official link for the series is here


One actor in the series of particular interest is Richard Harmon, as John Murphy.  Harmon had a brief and likeable role in Smallville, but was the lead character (a filmmaker) in the indie gay sci-fi film “Judas Kiss”, reviewed on the Movies blog June 4, 2011.  This time, he plays someone who is much more aggressive physically, since he is supposed to be one of the delinquents. I haven’t checked AE’s “Bate’s Motel” yet but I will. 


The series title does remind me of “The 4400”, a few years ago, on USA (July 29, 2008).  

Monday, March 17, 2014

Cosmos "Spacetime Odyssey" takes a look at Titan, showing "Some of the Things that Molecules Do"

Episode 2 of “Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey”, apparently co-produced by National Geographic and 20th Century Fox, was aired on Fox Sunday night (oddly the Fox station did not have the schedule right on the web). Narrated by Neil deGrasse Tyson, it was titled “Some of the Things that Molecules Do”, a different link here

Tyson gave an account of biological evolution, which started 3.5 billion years ago.  He went into detail as to how sight evolved, leading to the modern eye.  (Somehow I thought about the horror film “The Hypnotic Eye”.)  He says that animal life was nearly extinguished by the comet in the Yucatan 60 million years, but in fact the event led to the rise of mammals and modern birds. 

I sometimes wonder, is it still possible life could have been seeded from a warmer Mars, or even from outside the solar system.  If one ever met an alien who looked and acted human, maybe with unusual powers – a Clark Kent – that would almost prove that this must have happened.

The most interesting part of the program occurs when Tyson takes us on a visual journey to Titan, the largest moon of Saturn, and shows artists’ animated landscapes with almost unprecedented realism.  He speculated whether life could arise in hydrocarbon lakes, with cellular energy powered by acetylene rather than ATP.  Methane rain would have very big drops and fall slowly, like snowflakes, as demonstrated in this episode.
    
Here’s a Goddard video discussing propylene in Titan’s chemistry.



Look forward to how Tyseon will present expoplanets.  

Sunday, March 16, 2014

NBC "Crisis": lives of kids will be bargained against the whole country; what do "they" want?

NBC is playing the sacrifice card with its new series “Crisis”, which premiered at 10 PM tonight.  The Pilot is called "If You are Watching This, I Am Dead". 
  
Some kids, mostly high school students but a few younger, are on a school bus, protected by the Secret Service, when it is hijacked and the kids are taken to a safehouse by guys who say they are “pros”.
  
Secret service agent Marcus Finley (Lance Gross) is on his new job for the first day, when he and the chubby son (Joshua Erenburg) of the president escape separately, after Finley is slightly wounded and left behind.  One of the parents on the field trip is played by Dermot Mulroney, and the terrorists prove they mean business by chopping off a finger.
  
The villains hop around the house with “anonymous” masks, bragging about their professionalism, and it seems as though they are going to put the parents in the position of sacrificing their kids for the country, or something like that.
  
John Allen Nelson will play President Devore, and Gillian Anderson will play a big Silicon Valley CEO Meg Fitch.
  
The way a narrow mountain road is blockaded is interesting, and Secret Service isn’t told ahead of time that it is closed “by police”.  That’s a tip off.

At one point, a secret service agent will say, "I took an oath to defend this country, and if necessary I must let my son die." 
   
What do the conspirators want? There's a tagline, "Give them what they want, and we get our kids back!"  Well, what if they want nuclear weapons?  It reminds me of the line from Stephen King's "Storm of the Century" miniseries a decade ago: "Give me what I want and I'll go away." 
  
  
The NBC link is here

Last night I ran into a couple of young men on the Metro who happened to be big fans of Netflix’s “House of Cards”, and mentioned a rumor that the “chief of staff” was dead.  The greatest movie of all time for the more vocal kid was “Back to the Future 2”, made the year he was born.


Episode 2 (March 23):  ("We Were Supposed to Help Each Other") was a bit of a disappointment.  A couple of kids are burtalized, There is a hint that selfishness or "cowardice" on the part of one kid could jeopardize all the others, a "forced solidarity" situation. And there is a crisis at the Pakistan embassy on International Ave. in Washington DC (near Van Ness St and UDC).

ABC 20-20 "Murder for Hire" Federal ATF agents get made up to play as hitmen

ABC’s 20-20 on Friday March 16 aired “Murder for Hire”, with David Muir, a documentary about ATF agents who pose as hit men to carry out stings against people who hire them to kill other people, often spouses or romantic rivals.

Some of the people who hire them are women, and a couple of the women clients said horrible things, wanting to see rivals or ex-spouses “suffer”.
  
The link for the episode broadcast is here.   You must log on through your cable provider’s account to view it. 

  

The ATF agents are heavily made up, with prosthetics, to play the roles.  The makeup artists were heavily tattooed!  One ATF agent posed as an inmate and prison guards did not even know.  He had to be heavily tattooed himself for the role. 



 Update: May 31

On May 30, 20-20 updated this story with an account of a woman, Nicole, who had an affair with a married man, Howie, and hired a hit man to kill his wife, Jenny.  The hit man was an undercover ATF agent.  Nicole was arrested at a Doubletree Inn in New Jersey where she worked.  He had wanted to attend Jenny's funeral as proof.  She pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 10 years in federal prison.  Jenny fears she could hire another hit man from prison.  Jenny had to play dead to get the sting to work

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

CNN "Death Row Stories: Edward Lee Elmore

CNN’s “Death Row Stories” led off Wednesday night with the case of Edward Lee Elmore, in South Carolina, and attorney Diane Holt, as well as journalist-author Raymond Boner, “Anatomy of Justice: A Case Gone Wrong”.  Elmore was convicted for the murder of Dorothy Edwards in 1982. 
   
Elmore faced S.C.’s electric chair for a number of years, but Edwards was able to show irregularities and withheld evidence in the prosecution’s case.  Eventually, she got a hearing before the conservative 4th Circuit in Richmond, which voted 2-1 that he was entitled to a new trial.
   
But the prosecution agreed instead to what sounds like an Alford Plea, similar in principle to what was done for the West Memphis Three.
   
    

The CNN link is here

Monday, March 10, 2014

NBC's "Believe": a small girl with powers doesn't set up the same sort of story as "Smallville"

NBC aired its premier of “Believe” tonight, the latest “supernatural” offering, this time an effort combining J.J. Abrams and Alfonso Cuaron.
  
The basic story setup has a young girl Bo (Jonny Sequoyag( with telekinetic and psychic powers on the run with family from the dark forces (probably the government according to Edward Snowden, although Kyle MacLaclan -- "Twin Peaks" -- plays a corporate goon in on the chase).  There is a horrific car accident, probably deliberately caused.
  
At the same time, a catholic priest helps a wrongfully convicted man Tate (Jake McLauglin) on death row break out of prison in what seems like a most improbable sequence.
  
Tate will wind up having to “protect” the girl as they become a tag team.  He even says he doesn’t like kids, but he’s not in a position to refuse to play father. 
  
The medical intern who treats Tate’s injuries on the lam in the intern’s apartment is rather cute. 
The question with a series like this is concept.  Is there some puzzle or mystery to solve?  Are the protagonists really people we identify with?  I don’t see much of that in the pilot.
  
The series moves to Sunday night next week.
  
  
The NBC link is here.   The series, produced by Warner Brothers and Bad Robot, is filmed on Long Island.
  
I guess Bo isn’t “coming home” (like in “Resurrection”) for a while. 



NatGeo and Fox kick start Neil deGrasse Tyson's remake of "Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey" with "Standing Up in the Milky Way"

On Sunday night, the National Geographic Channel premiered its new series “Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey” with an pilot episode entitled “Standing Up in the Milky Way”.
  
The episode also premiered on Fox.
  
NatGeo prepared the day by airing many episodes from Carl Sagan’s “Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey” filmed back in the 1990s.  On a high definition channel, the aspect of the older series was narrow, at 4:3.  It has that wonderful slow movement theme from an unspecified late 19th Century piano concerto (is it Eugen d’Albert’s sprawling B Minor concerto, composed in his teenage years?) 
  
Then Natgeo re-aired “Journey to the Edge of the Universe” with its images of Titan and the atmosphere of Jupiter and many other places.  (It’s on my Movie Reviews blog Dec. 8, 2008). 
  
The new series, introduced briefly by President Obama, with Columbia University professor Neil deGrasse Tyson, starts by summarizing the previous series, taking us on a snapshot of the journey, and then lays out a timeline.  If the Big Bang happened at midnight on Jan. 1, then all of known human history occurred in the last fourteen seconds on Dec. 31.  In fact, life first appeared on Earth on Aug. 31. 
  
Tyson explains how in earlier eras the political and religious establishments tried to control who could have knowledge.  He talks about the inquisitions and the church heresy trials and executions in the middle ages.  Even some of the ancient Greeks thought that the insights into mathematics should be kept from common people. 
  
   
The link for the NatGeo site for the series is here.

It’s going to get interesting when he takes a detailed look at other planets, especially extrasolar planets, and then looks at what happens to black holes (they can possibly be portals to creating multiverses – which he says our universe could live inside of).  Dark energy and dark matter could be the “cost” of creating space-time.
  
At the end, Typson explains how the late Carl Sagan inspired him to become a scientist as he grew up in New York City.  Sagan grew up in Brooklyn.   If you can do science, you don’t have to become a huckster.  You can be better than that. 


Sunday, March 09, 2014

ABC "Resurrection": The Pilot is solid, offers no clues as to "how they came back" (unless "they went up"); French series said to be better

I caught the Pilot of “Resurrection” Sunday night, and was a bit underwhelmed. 
  
It starts when a boy Jacob (Landon Giminez) finds himself in a rice paddy in southern China.  After the villagers and Chinese government get him routed back to the US (with the help of agent Martin Bellamy playe dby Oamr Epps), he is sent back to what he says was his family in Arcadia, MO (parents played by Frances Fisher and Kurtwood Smith). The “problem” is that he had died 32 years earlier (in 1981) when trying to rescue him mom from a river current and then drowning. 
  
The obvious comparison will be “The 4400”, where suddenly a lot of people return to Seattle having been abducted three years earlier. 
  
ABC’s site is here

The river drowning and rescue reminds me of Nick Fallon's reappearance on the soap "Days of our Lives" after his apparent intention drowning by three female characters. Maybe he's a ghost. 
    
The show is said to be similar to a French series called “The Returned” from the fall of 2013 (and a French film “They Came Back”), and based on a novel also called “The Returned” by Jason Mott.  (I say, it “they came back”, maybe first “they went up”). 
  
DNA tests show that the boy is apparently the same person who died 32 years ago, and it looks as though grave exhumation is in order.  There’s no hint in the Pilot as to any “science” as to how this could happen. 
Then, another family member, a young male, returns at the very end.
  
There’s no question, if someone could return after decades without aging, this would be a very big deal.  Were “the returned” abducted by the long-lived aliens in “The Event”?   Did they visit the future?  How would society be affected if this sort of thing happened repeatedly.  We’ll see in coming episodes.
   
“Just Seen It” on YouTube has a review (with Aaron Fink) of the first two episodes (apparently the Mar. 16 episode was previewed online for some viewers). 
  
  
Here’s some commentary in Slate, link

That "I'm coming home" song sounds a bit trite to my ear.   

NBC Dateline: "Miles from Nowhere" on "Saturday Night Mysteries"

NBC Dateline, with Lester Holt, aired a premier 2-hour of “Saturday Night Mysteries” on March 8,  a stunning docudrama “Miles from Nowhere.”
  
It was the story of reclusive “Christian” family, headed by Chad Wallin-Reed, an ex-military type, that had set up a completely unplugged hideway cabin in the high Sierras near Susanville, CA (I was there in 1978).  They seem like Doomsdaty Preppers.  Over the July 4 weekend of 2011, some teenagers repeatedly drove up the mountain roads having heard rumors of a party.  After some very minor vandalism, Chad chased them and shot at them, wounding two of them seriously, one of whom (Rory MaGuire) would die in a Reno hospital of a head wound.  A story in the Sacramento Bee on the Plumas County jury's verdict is here.  
  
  
Chad eventually got a game warden and then the sheriff to come.  The boys were rescued after about twelve hours.  Chad was prosecuted for first degree murder, which seems unbelievable.  California does not have a “stand your ground “ law but does allow self-defense in jury instructions.  But there seemed to be some evidence (as with an oil streak in the woods) that Chad had pursued them unnecessarily.  A huge cache of weapons was found in his home, some of them not legal in California (but legal in Nevada).  Questions about Chad’s military record appeared at trial.
  
The jury found Chad guilty, and he essentially got a life sentence. 
   
The presentation of the case is quite compelling. The visual and narrative style reminded me of a couple of films, particularly “Funny Games” (Michael Haneke, 2007, a remake of a 1997 Austrian film), and particularly “The House of Adam” (2006), by Jorge Ameer (Movie reviews, March 12, 2012).   


Saturday, March 08, 2014

CNN's "Chicagoland": will it play all over the country?

CNN has a new docudrama series on Thursday nights, “Chicagoland”, at 10 PM ET. 
   
The opening episode profiles Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel (and Garry McCarthy) and his struggle to reduce the school budget, drawing protests from parents all over the city.
   
The Chicago Business Journal notes that the show did not do particularly well, even by cable standards, since cable typically has lower viewer numbers that broadcast, link here
  
But other sources say that the series will help prop up Emmanuel for the 2016 election.  It seems odd to expect an entire nation to show an interest in the issues of one city. 
   
The series has Robert Redford as an Executive Producer had has CNN link here
  
Dan Mihalopoulos discusses the show here.
  
  
The series is produced in partnership with CSTTV, which had previously produced a documentary about Corey Booker of Newark. 


Thursday, March 06, 2014

NBC's "Revolution" enters the worlds of "Dreamcatcher", "Inception" and "Matrix"

The NBC series “Revolution” went into the space of films like “Inception”, the “Matrix” trilogy, and even Stephen King’s “Dreamcatcher” with an episode last night titled after King’s novel incorporating turd weasels. 
  
Aaron (Zak Orth) has been trying to fix the “memory leak” (that is, a bug similar to Apple iOS-TLS bug (IT blog Feb. 23) that will cause his nanobots to self-destruct, burning up the world in the process.  He wakes up in a parallel universe with power, still married to Priscilla (Maureen Sebastian).  She tests his perception of reality by kissing him. If he is in rem sleep, he still responds.  They go to work, and Aaron doesn’t feel like fixing the code on a whiteboard.  And the villains from the Military Industrial Complex are chasing him everywhere (with effect that recall the early 90s thriller “Jacob’s Ladder”).
  
He returns to the world without power, and rushes in and fixes the memory leak before lightning stirkes set the whole world on fire.
  

I’m not sure I follow all the “logic” of JJ Abrams’s theory right now.   

Wednesday, March 05, 2014

"Law and Order SVU" plays the gays in sports angle, not too convincingly

"Law and Order SVU" ("Special Victims Units") brought together the themes of hazing, gays in sports, and hate crimes tonight in an episode called "Rape by Deception".

An African American football player comes to New York for the weekend from the south and meets his teammates and is shown their exercise facility at an unspecified university in the City.  The coach has goaded the team into hazing the player.  We see him being blindfolded.  The next thing we know, he punches someone out in a bar and gets tossed out and arrested.  He doesn;t know that this was a gay bar.  Pretty soon the police work the case backward: he was abused by another football player who, however totally shaved, turns out to say that he is gay at the end.  But it's the coach who winds up facing the biggest criminal charges.

The full episode should be available soon at this location.

Somehow the idea sounds like the "Code Red" in the 1992 film "A Few Good Men" with Tom Cruise as a crack young Navy lawyer.

  

Tuesday, March 04, 2014

CNN Piers Morgan: Dershowitz describes South Africa as a failed country, with respect to Pistorius trial


Last night (Monday, "Hier soir") Piers Morgan interviewed Alan Dershowitz on the Oscar Pistorius shooting case in South Africa.

Echoing what is said in the movie 'Tell Me and I Will Forget" (Movies blog, Feb. 4), Dershowitz said that post-Apartheid South Africa is a failed country, with race-driven street crime and home invasions so uncontrollable as to amount to civil war.

HLN runs the interview as "Mistake or Murder?," here

Yet a year ago Morgan had an interview with the double amputee "blade runner" being described as a role model.

But it certainly It sounds that homeowners in many parts of the country have a very short fuse to act on any suspicion of a home invasion.  Everyone has to be armed.   

Monday, March 03, 2014

"Those Who Kill" starts on A-E: a female cop and male clinical psychologist make a balky tag team

On Monday, March 3, 2014, A&E aired the pilot of a new series “Those Who Kill”.  Chloe Sevigny plays a Pittsburgh police detective and James D’Arcy a forensic psychologist, as they work together to solve serial killings.
  
In the opener, a body is found in a steel mill.  Soon, a rogue security guard tinkers with a woman’s car so that he can attack and kidnap her, in a situation that resembles “Silence of the Lambs”.  D’Arcy’s character is lecturing about Jeff Dahmer as he is introduced. 
  
   
The official site is here
  
The tag team catches the man, but he gets away.  D’Arcy’s character hesitates in rescuing Chloe, which is a bit puzzling.  The killer gets away, setting up a second confrontation where Chloe has been kidnapped.