Thursday, November 30, 2017

Sexual harassment scandals and witch-hunts continue; there are no words


I could say, there are no words.


Lauer must not have been expecting the call Tuesday night. 

(I worked for NBC myself 1974-1977).

And then Garrison Keillor (“A Prairie Home Companion” which became a movie) is also being completely erased by Minnesota Public Radio after a bizarre story of one indiscretion.  Bari Weiss opines here

The witch hunt feeding frenzy continues.

Oh yes, the powerful kept the women (and sometimes men) silent, in fear for their jobs.

Or is this always the case. There seems to be no statue of limitations, not presumption of innocence in any of these cases.  Anyone could make up a claim.

You wonder what it is like to get a phone call suddenly about things that happened a few decades ago.

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

"Southern Italy: The Heel of the Boot", A Film by Anthony Bourdain, in Cinemascope (redundant for television)


CNN aired Anthony Bourdain’s last “Parts Unknown” of the fall, called “Southern Italy: The Heel of the Boot” the Apulta region (TV Guide). 

The broadcast was reformatted as 2.35:1 and claimed to be “a film by Anthony Bourdain”, rather like an independent art film.


Here’s CNN’s own “food montage”. 

The landscape had caves and ancient-looking towns. 
  

Wikipedia attribution link for photo by Robyn Hooz, CCSA 2.0 

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

CNN holds debate on GOP tax plan


Senators debated the likely effects of a GOP tax plan tonight on CNN.
  
They had the presence of mind to do so even given North Korea’s missile test today.
  
The story by Sophie Tatum is here

There was a lot of sentiment that Congress should not continue subsidizing high tax states with state tax deductions – these states seem to have the larger impoverished population.

Republic Senators Ted Cruz and Tim Scott debated Maroa Cantwell and Bernie Sanders, with Jake Tapper moderating.



There was special concern over whether college tuition income should be taxed as income. 

Sunday, November 26, 2017

"Trans Beauty" -- a transgender beauty pageant in Thailand on Lisa Ling's "This Is Life"


The episode “TransBeauty” on Lisa Ling’s “This Is Life” series on CNN depicted a transgender beauty pageant in Bangkok, Thailand (link )

Thailand has a more flexible attitude toward gender because of its Buddhist background.


Women say they want to show off the bodies they have created for themselves.
   
A young bald man from the Czech Republic (and thmooth) had married one of the women.

Wikipedia attribution CCSA 3.0

  

Saturday, November 25, 2017

" A Killing on the Cape": ABC 20-20 covers a 2002 murder on Cape Cod of a fashion writer


On Friday, Nov. 24, ABC 20-20 aired a 2-hour detective story, “A Killing on the Cape”, link (paywall with your cable company). 

Attorneys Sonny Hostin and Dan Abrams contribute to the narration of the story or the rape and stabbing of fashion writer Christa Worthington in 2002 in Truro, MA, in Barnstable County, on the way to Provincetown.


Eventually a black “garbage man” (Chris McCowen) was convicted to her but he maintains his innocence from prison despite the DNA evidence.  He admits he was intimate once. 

The episode covered the “race” angle, which does not seem critical. 
   
The episode was also developed as a "True Crime Podcast Hit" by ABC radio.
   
I drove through the town myself in August 2015.

Friday, November 24, 2017

Home team football on Thanksgiving Night (Washington Redskins win a sloppy game)


Well, Thanksgiving Day somewhat became game day (as on my GLBT blog), but for the first time ever the Washington Redskins hosted a Thanksgiving Day game at FedEx field, against the New York Giants.

NBCWashington carried the game, pre-empting usual programing.  I wonder that so much other programming stops for college and pro football, not just on the weekends but Monday nights and now Thursday night.
The Redskins won, 20-10, but the game was sloppy, and closer than the score makes it sound. The Redskins improved their record to 5-6 and are barely in the playoff contention. 
  

Football fans are slowly finding themselves under a moral cloud, as the NFL concussion problem grows, and the harm to young men in high school and college becomes more apparent  This old idea of fungibility that George Gilder likes is coming into real question.  Nevertheless, actor Richard Harmon stands by the Fighting Irish.  

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

ABC Nightline covers the sacking of Charlie Rose for sexual harassment


Wednesday night, the very late Nightline (airs at 12:35 AM on ABC) aired a report of the firing of Charlie Rose from both PBS and CBS after allegations of past sexual harassment of women surfaced. The video link is here

The allegations included appearing partially nude and making unwanted phone calls.


But a couple decades ago producers would say, “That’s just Charlie being Charlie”.
More women come forward against a growing list of male celebrities as “critical mass” has been reached. 

Rose denies some of the claims.  There can be problems proving accusations for abuse years ago unless there are multiple victims.

But if you did something bad three or four decades ago it can come back to bite you and end your career very suddenly now.

Or are these witch-hunts?  It's senior citizens who are going down. 

I tried PBS during the Charlie Rose slot and indeed there was silly emergency fill-in programming.  I forget what it was. 

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

"Late Night in the Age of Trump" on CNN



Monday night, Nov. 21, CNN aired a one hour special, “Late Night in the Age of Trump”, with Brian Stelter (link).  


Seth Meyers took up a lot of the special, explaining how difficult writing comedy can be.  We know his gigs from SNL  (some weekend I just have to go to it, with the right host.)

Alec Baldwin (hairy??) was a centerpiece of the episode, as he has often played The Donald, with the $60000 artificial hair do. 
  

And, of course, the infamous gig with Sean Spicer (falsetto and gender fluid) attacking reporters with his mobile podium. 

Thursday, November 16, 2017

"Days of our Lives": Gay character Will Horton returns as a ghost, thinking he is EJ


Days of our Lives” has gotten a little interesting again.

It seems as those Will (again played by Chandler Massey) has come back as a ghost, resurrected by a witch, but the thinks he’s EJ.  Sami is back in the show, claiming she is his mother.  Sonny tries to convince Will that he had his daughter before he accepted who he was and married Sonny.
This is indeed a gay ghost story.  Or is this the sci-fi thing of switching bodies? 

  

In the meantime, JJ (Casey Moss) rocks. He has become the straight version of Will. Now when he does the right thing, he gets in trouble because of luck. The Dimera’s somehow hire Theo, who seems autistic, to commit a robbery for them. JJ catches him and thinks the scanning device is a gun.  When JJ says “drop that weapon”, Theo interprets it literally and turns to show the device. JJ  thinks it is a gun and shoots him. 

In a later episode JJ thinks he really did recognize Theo before pulling the trigger -- mind tricks.
   
I think DOOL needs to bring on Dr. Shaun Murphy from ABC's "The Good Doctor" as a crossover to bring Theo back!

It now looks like Will was rescued after the strangulation, found breathing, and given a drug to make him believe he was someone else.  I don't know how credible this is as sci-fi. 

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

"The Good Doctor" bonds with an autistic teen patient on Season 1 Fall Finale


The Good Doctor” (“22 Steps”) on Monday night gave Shaun his most interesting challenge yet. He treats a young teenage boy who presents after an accident and other unusual symptoms and is the first to recognize that the teen is autistic, “like me”.

It gets interesting. During an MRI, Shaun tries to calm the boy by counting steps.  It only works so far. The parents have given the kid a fad diet to counter autism, and as a result the boy has a serious intestinal illness needing surgery.  The parents don’t want Shaun to participate.  But Shaun, as usual, winds up being the only person who can save the boy’s life. The boy actually likes Shaun. The intestinal surgery scene has some pretty realistic looking bowels. 

There’s a subplot of a 73-year old man who deliberately broke his pacemaker because he wants to die. Pretty depressing.


And we could lose the part about Shaun’s supposed 2 AM calls when he loses a tool in the apartment.
  
Shaun finally buys a flat screen TV and enjoys football. Maybe, like Richard Harmon (who is so spectacularly successful as an actor in “The 100” at 26 precisely because of social skills) he’ll root for the Fighting Irish.  Maybe Shaun will take up the problem of concussion damage in the NFL.
   
I think they should do something with that loose end where Shaun puts out tuna for a stray cat.  It would make sense to have Shaun befriend a stray cat (or for the cat in Wyoming to join him), or maybe a larger cat like a serval or lynx.  He probably would communicate well with sentient wild animals, especially cats and even foxes. 

Update: Nov 28

On Nov. 27, the series started its Winter episodes with Episode 9, "Intangibles".  Shaun dissects the doubletalk of heterosexual flirting, but helps save a pediatric heart patient from Africa with a simple but brilliant idea. 

Sunday, November 12, 2017

"Track and Fear" on ABC 20-20: n Olympic female shotputter and her coach


ABC 20-20 episode “Track and Fear” presented the story of female shotputter Baillie Gibson’s relationship with her coach, Craig Carter at the University of Arizona.  View link

The litigation goes both ways in this case, but it is timely given all the recent attention to sexual harassment.  It would be inappropriate for an intimate relationship with a coach to happen anyway even when consensual.


ESPN has a more detailed account of the event  as quoted by the New York Post I May 2017. 

Wikipedia attribution link for picture of University of Arizona campus by JSCarreiro, P.D.  I have been in Tucson once, in 1980, but actually considered this school as a senior in high school.

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Bill Weir visits Peru: Machu Picchu, Lake Titicaca, and Amazon


Tonight on CNN Bill Weir presented Peru on his Wonder List program.

I had scheduled a vacation in Peru in the summer of 1974 which I cancelled when I went to work for NBC.  I spent a weekend in Mexico City.

The main event in the broadcast was the presentation of Machu Picchu, which can be reached by train and bus from Cuzco (which itself it at 11000 feet). There used to be another trainride from Cuzco across a 15000 foot pass in the Andes.  
  
There are several other sites similar to Machu Picchu. The Incas built an empire without a written language, and fit stones together without mortar.  Much of this was built before 300 AD.  


Weir visited Lake Titicaca, the highest in the world, and showed a micro-civilization of woven raft islands in the Lake, some of which offer motel or Airbnb accommodations. Other parts of the marsh people are poor, and there are legal issues of real property rights for floating islands (they pay no tax now). One is reminded of the Marsh Arabs in southern Iraq.

Bourdain did not visit the Gate of the Sun, which Van Daniken had claimed was built by aliens. There is also the mystery of the Nacza lines.
  
Bourdain then visited the areas of the Amazon pillaged by gold mining, leaving toxic lakes after strip-mining, along with a lot of mercury pollution. 

Wikiepedia attribution link for photo of Uros floating island in Titicaca

"Diego Delso, delso.photo, License CC-BY-SA 4.0"

Thursday, November 09, 2017

"Tipping Point: Sexual Harassment in America": CNN Town Hall tonight


On Thursday Nov. 9, CNN hosted a Town Hall, “Tipping Point: Sexual Harassment in America” hosted by Alysin Camerata   Here is a major link for it, maintaining that 20% of all Americans know a woman who has experienced sexual harassment at work.

Anita Hill, now a professor at Brandeis, also helped host.

Gretchen Carlson talked about her experience at Fox with Roger Ailes, and then about a creepy experience early in her career on Capitol Hill. 


There was discussion of the fact that in Congress there are several legal impediments for women reporting sexual harassment against male congresspersons.

Matt McGorry, from “Orange is the New Black” also spoke.
   
On my Wordpress news commentary blog, I have pubbed a detailed guest post by David Essel, “Sexual harassment, when will it end?” 



Today Roy Moore was accused of illegal sexual harassment during his candidacy for a seat as GOP Senator from Alabama, link. Moore's supporters made an odd comparison to Joseph as father of Jesus, which I have heard in sermons before.  Joseph had some explaining to do. (See "BillBoushka" blog, Dec. 24, 2007 on a sermon by James Somerville.) 

Wednesday, November 08, 2017

"Business of Disaster" on PBS Frontline looks at behavior of FEMA and flood insurance after Sandy in New York


Tonight Wednesday November 8, 2017, PBS Frontline aired “Business of Disaster” about the way homeowners lost out after counting on government-backed flood insurance after Hurricane Sandy in October 2012.

The broadcast focused on Staten Island and southern Rockaways.


People often tried to lift their homes on stilts, or to rebuild all the joists from scratch.  A big controversy was whether foundation damage was caused by Sandy or had been pre-existing.

Byzantine bureaucracy of New York’s “Build It Back” program seemed to leave homeowners owing large legal bills. 

Thursday, November 02, 2017

On Fox, Houston Astros "Strong" take Game 7 on the road in LA


The Houston Astros, who moved to the American League in 2013 (winning only 51 games that year, but 84 games in 2016), clinched game 7 Wednesday night on the road in LA.   Fox broadcast the series.


But of course it is Sunday night’s crazy 13-12 game that everyone will remember.
  
How often does a visiting team win game 7?  More often than you think. In 1975, after Cartlon Fisk’s homer in game 6 in Boston, the St, Louis Cardinals won the 7th game quietly in Fenway, 4-3.

Minute Maid Park is rather like another Fenway, with a short left field. It had been called Enron Field until the scandal in 2001.

I saw a game in the old Astrodome in 1984 (the Astros lost that game to the Giants). 

The grassy knoll in center field was removed before 2017.  
By User AlphaTangoBravo / Adam Baker on Flickr - From Flickr; description page is (was) here, CC BY 2.0, Link