Suck It, Racists! Progressive Television Shows Love For Interracial Love

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It’s no secret that I’m a fan of diversity in all its glorious splendor, consciously and unconsciously making sure that I don’t recognize the ugliness of bigotry if I can help it. As a lover of fairness and equality, I’ve made it my business to routinely champion for a future that strives against racial disharmony. Maybe it was something my dad taught me.

Immediately after I got a lecture from my mother on the importance of marrying black, dad pulled me aside and educated me on the “100% Rule.” He counted on one hand, saying there’s Red, Black, Yellow, Brown and Other, representing the color ratio of girls across the planet. (I assume “Brown” included South Asians) And my mom had just urged me to shoot for 20%. Well, dad said I shouldn’t reach for 20%f of anything. It’s 100% of everything, or nothing. Looks like modern television is taking dad’s advice. Let’s look at how things are going on the boob tube. Continue reading

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The Five Deadly Venoms – An Introspective

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If you’ve read me before, it’s no finding of the lost ark that I specialize in the obscure, the bullshit, the altogether foolish. I’m fine with that, and if you’re reading this, then you are too. Today’s subject is the prime spectacle of 1980’s “Kung Fu Theater,” the television venue that not only led to my obsession with kung fu movies, but the Venom Mob in particular. They were a talented group of players for Shaw Brothers Productions, and their most revered film is entitled “The Five Deadly Venoms.” I worshiped this movie when I was a kid, but subsequent viewings have led me to wonder about all the plot problems within. Continue reading

REVIEW: ‘Marvel’s Daredevil’ – Superhero TV For People Who Don’t Like Superhero TV.

part 1I’ve been reading ‘The End Of Vandalism’ and halfway wanted my next blog post to be a highbrow review on literature. Not that the piece is your picture of intellectual writing, but it is a book, and books mean brains. Instead, I’m going to write about how I sat in front of the television for almost 13 hours and melted my mind with an adaptation of “funny book bullshit,” as my dad would’ve called it. Maybe one day I’ll come back to this page and dazzle everyone with stirring tales of my genius accomplishments, but not today. Today’s the day I rave about one of the coolest things I’ve ever seen on the boob tube – ‘Marvel’s Daredevil’ on Netlifx. It’s an ambitious endeavor, rife with brave storytelling and compelling writing. Continue reading

10 Ways ‘Arrow’ And ‘The Flash’ Are The Same Show

first-images-from-the-flash-arrow-crossover-reveal_tz1p.1920When CW announced that they were capitalizing off the success of ‘Arrow’ with the spinoff series ‘The Flash,’ people wondered if the scarlet speedster would be able to capture the same magic boasted by the angry archer. But with dual showrunner Greg Berlanti at the helm, I had lots of optimism because his geek cred meant he’d care about the new project. In the end, ‘The Flash’s’ great impressions wouldn’t be so much about the quality of the work, but mostly because all they did was rehash a proven commodity, but with a few tweaks. In other words, you might be Arrow or The Flash if…
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I’ve Been Nominated For The Liebster Award For Bloggers!

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Thanks to Tahir from over at Words Across Borders, I’ve been nominated for a Liebster Award! She is a self-described political junkie. I personally despise politics now (long story) so I try to stick to her poetry. Drop by and start clicking LIKE on things!

Liebster is basically an award by bloggers for other bloggers in a sort of chain. You can only nominate blogs with under 1,000 followers, so this is also a great way to give exposure to blogs you enjoy.

Here are the rules:

The Official Liebster Award Rules:

  1. Thank the blogger that nominated you and link back to their blog.
  2. Display the award somewhere on your blog.
  3. List 11 facts about yourself.
  4. Answer 11 questions chosen by the blogger who nominated you.
  5. Come up with 11 new questions to ask your nominees.
  6. Nominate 5 – 11 blogs that you think deserve the award and who have less than 1,000 followers.  (You many nominate blogs that have already received the award, but you cannot renominate the blog that nominated you.)
  7. Go to their blog and inform them that they’ve been nominated.

Okay here go the…

11 FACTS ABOUT MYSELF!

1. I am from Asbury Park, NJ and, though I’m super glad I don’t live there anymore, I take a great deal of pride in being FROM there. Growing up by the beach has desensitized me from caring much about beach vacations and things of that nature. And while I was growing up, it was a real shithole. They’ve been working hard to bring it up for years and it’s looking pretty good.

2. I worked in television for 20 years. I was a loyal member of CNN’s technical staff in New York City and when they illegally broke our tech contract in order to bust the union, we ended up in court. 0ver 100 former employees have been fighting them ever since and CNN keeps losing and appealing. It’s been 11 years.

3. I’m a hardcore geek. Always have been, as my avatar can tell you. I love comic books and superhero stuff especially. So I have an affinity for looking at cosplay. Not interested in participating in it though.

4. I write Yelp reviews in my spare time. When I moved from NYC to down south, I knew I’d need cool new things to do, so I banged out a ton of reviews until I was offered Yelp Elite, and therefore invited to lots of free events and parties. I’ve met some cool people and have constructed some sort of social life that way.

5. I hate cheese, unless it’s mozz on pizza. I find it so revolting.

6. I was married to a woman in New York City who divorced me and took the dog. The two things I hate the most from losing that union are, 1. she was rich 2. I miss my dog. In truth, I don’t miss the woman though.

7. I am currently unemployed, and have been for over a year.

8. But I’m not without money. My brother owns a detailing business and I work with him a few times a month. I am also a Yelp Brand Ambassador and they send me the occasional gig. I am a freelance Social Media Manager, and my clients include Edutainment, Detailed By Lamont, 319 Media Group and New Hope Outreach Church. I pick up some cash from all these gigs and they keep me from starving. I’m always looking though!

9. I moved from NYC to NC because my brother and sisters and their families are here. After the divorce, I decided that being with my family was probably a good idea, so I relocated.

10. One of my other jobs is staff writer for Nerd Bastards. It’s a geek entertainment site and it’s lots of fun. Go to the side of the page where it says “Meet All The Bastards” and click on it. I’m presently the only black guy on staff lol. Holy shit, four jobs is pretty good for a guy who’s unemployed…

11. I’ve been shaving my head since 1997. One time in my early 30’s, I decided to grow it out. Not only was it super thin on the very top, but it came in mostly gray. To hell with that idea.

And here are the Questions From Tahir!

The Questions:

1) What is your connection to place?

I have no idea what that means. I will shape it into something: I have an intense connection to France, particularly Paris and the French Riviera. The most beautiful places in the world, if you asked me. I hope to one day have a vacation home there, but hey…reality and all.

2) Who was one of your role models growing up?

As a comic book geek, my role models were superheroes. I also watched wrestling, which showcased a distinct difference between right and wrong, featuring good and bad guy characters. These things shaped within me a very strict code. Outside of fantasy, I was a jock and primarily played baseball. Rickey Henderson of the New York Yankees (at the time) was my favorite player and I worked hard to emulate him.

3) If you could talk to a past version of yourself, what would you tell him/her?

Don’t go into communications. Center on the things you’re deeply passionate about, even if they don’t make you rich. Even if you have ups and downs, at least you’ll love doing it. Some people have ups and downs just doing the things they’ve settled on. Don’t be one of them.

4) Are you political or a-political? Why?

I’m Liberal, leaning Libertarian, but I’m jaded on politics. There is no such thing as an honest politician and anyone who truly believes that their party or their chosen candidate is out for their best interests is fooling himself/herself. Those fuckers are out for themselves ONLY. It’s all bullshit and the only way to find a modicum of sense in that flawed structure is to vote for the person who tells the lies you like to hear. I voted for Obama because his lies were far less destructive to my personal lifestyle than the Conservative candidates’ lies.

5) Aside from writing/reading, is there a particular art form you enjoy?

I’m a junkie for creativity in all its forms, from painting to sketching to building anything from scratch. I respect and love it all. I’m also an artist, so if I had to pick something in particular, I’d have to go with drawing.

6) What is the craziest thing you’ve ever done?

They are too many to count. I was with my brother today and said, “I’ve done a lot of ill-advised, insane shit. But if I didn’t do them, I think I’d be bored with life.” I sometimes have daredevil behavior. I’m lots more boring with age, tho. There’s this ramped road that crosses a railroad track by my sister’s house. You have to take it gingerly. One night about 20 yrs ago, when coming to visit her, I said “fuck it” and upon approaching the asphalt incline, I hit the gas pedal. I probably jumped that ramp (in a Mercury Tracer no less) about 30 feet. My heart was pounding and the adrenaline rush was incredible. And I kinda messed up my car…

7) What color are your eyes? (Just curious.)

Brown.

8) What are you most afraid of?

Death. Not just death, but the end of life. I treasure my faith, but I weigh it equally with science. And sometimes they don’t meet in the middle. I love the idea of Heaven and an afterlife, but the possibility of being wrong depresses the shit out of me. I hate hate hate the thought of just going black when this is all over, and then there’s nothing. We just cease to exist. It terrifies me…

9) What is something you inherited from your family that has greatly effected how you see the world? (Can be anything including a story, family history, item, language etc.)

I inherited my house in Asbury Park from my dad when he passed away. He had property and all his kids got a house. But my inheritance had to be sold off to pay for my mother’s assisted living expenses and subsequent nursing home charges. It bummed me out at first, but made me stronger. It taught me that hope is nice, luck is awesome, wishes are shit and nothing is set in stone. But, most importantly, material possessions are just dust. Don’t love them too hard. There are better things in life to cherish.

10) If you could talk to one person right now, who would it be and why?

Jesus Christ. Because I gotta know.

11) Dog, cat, or both?

Cats are cool, but I’m allergic. I prefer dogs anyway. A dog’s capacity for unconditional love and affection makes my heart flutter.

If you got this far, thank you so much for reading. Here are my nominees…

Sacha Dichter’s Blog

Lam on the Lam

2 sojourners

DIY Made Simple

SPLICED PERSONALITY

Hated Yankees

Here are the questions…

1. What is the most interesting thing to happen to you in 2014?

2. What is your favorite non-writing/non-blogging website outside of WordPress?

3. Hipsters…cool or lame?

4. Name three things you’d rather be doing than this.

5. What was your dream job growing up?

6. What you’d say in your acceptance speech:

7. What is your least favorite food and why?

8. What do you think you have to add to the lives of those who read you on this site?

9. What do you personally get out of the material you produce on this site?

10. Name the two most awesome places you’ve ever been to.

11. Love…is it overrated or underappreciated?

Thanks guys! Not everyone likes to play these things, so it’s okay if you back out! Take care!

In Defense Of The “Bottle Episode”

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Thanks to Aspire TV, I’ve been introduced to something that I didn’t know existed: The Bill Cosby Show.

No, not the 80’s hit that reminded everyone that black people could be on TV too. And no, not the bad “Cosby” trainwreck that followed. Nor do I mean some variety or talk show or anything with “Fat” in the title. Not ringing any bells? Don’t feel bad – I was pretty surprised myself. In this early 70’s sitcom sans laugh track, Cos plays Chet, a Los Angeles phys ed teacher in a multiracial school taught by ethnically diverse teachers. He’s an everyman who gets into shenanigans with sprinkles of ballyhoo and balderdash. It ran for only a couple seasons because it’s an average show at best. Anyway, now we know.

On today’s show, Chet, the school cleaning lady, and Henry Fonda (playing a teacher) fall into tomfoolery and get stuck in an elevator. That’s where the whole episode takes place. That’s an example of a bottle episode. When you’re trying to save money on your series, now and again you’ll produce a bottle episode because they cut down on set building, location shooting and time. Now we know.

Wikipedia is here to help:
“The etymology of the phrase originates with a similar term used on the set of the original 1960s-era Star Trek . Cast and crew members of the show use the phrase ‘ship-in-a-bottle episodes’ for episodes that took place only on board the Starship Enterprise.”

Sounds like a cool scheme but they can sometimes catch a bad rap. Discerning viewers might consider it lazy or a cop out. In a certain light, a bottle episode from your favorite show might make you feel cheated. And you are if it’s badly written. That’s the trick with these things – you have to make sure you can make 30 minutes to an hour in one space interesting. “Seinfeld” was exceptionally good at this. Everybody points to “The Chinese Restaurant” as their best but I think “The Parking Garage” is better.

Furthermore, these challenges have been known to produce exquisite works. Star Trek’s “Balance Of Terror,” The X-Files’ “Ice,” Community’ “Remedial Chaos Theory” were arguably the shows’ best outings. Hell, almost every time Community does it, it scores! See “Advanced Dungeons & Dragons” and “Cooperative Calligraphy.” They are masterpieces.

Even movies can do it. All of “Crimson Tide” is in a submarine. “The Breakfast Club” did it and most of “Speed” is on a bus. Truth is, I think most b.e.’s are pretty good. They offer a lot of exercise for the actors and writers and little for the rest of the contributors, and that’s okay. The bulk of my creative respect goes to writing anyway, but it’s that wonderful acting performance that makes the words come alive. Just check out Breaking Bad’s tour du force “Fly.” You’ll see.

So I’m not going to rattle off a ton of examples about bottle episodes and why each individual production is cool. That’s what Google is for. But I will go so far as to say that Lois and Clark’s “Ghosts” might be the worst bottle episode ever made.

Okay that’s no way to defend b.e.’s. Let’s rename this “In Defense Of The Bottle Episode Except That One.” Pure trash.

Characters From Television Who Wouldn’t Miss Us.

ArchieNah. Too easy.

When you’re as obsessed with TV as I am (there I said it), strange things pop into your head. Things like ranking the women from “B.J. and the Bear” in terms of hotness and imagining a dogfight between Airwolf and Blue Thunder. Recently while thinking back on old episodes of “Dallas,” I wondered if J.R. would just be happier in life if no one else was around. My answer to my own question was “no” because then he’d have no one to pull diabolical schemes on. This abstract thought mutated into something more befitting a man with tons of time on his hands: What TV characters would benefit from being around less people? Or, if no one was around, would this person even give a shit?

Below are a few candidates to this foolishness. And I’m wholly open to further suggestions. Movie characters don’t count. As in, Hannibal or Norman Bates – TV people who originated from film.

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Carl Brutananadilewski

Aqua Teen Hunger Force’s disgruntled neighbor would do just fine without us, and he’d be especially happy to see the end of the boys next door. This master pervert knows he’s way too gross to be around, so he’s got no desire for a relationship. He’d be fine in life with just some porn and the occasional hooker call.

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Data

Yes, the android from Star Trek:TNG. He’s got no emotions (on the show) so he wouldn’t get lonely. In fact, if all other life were wiped out, Data would probably get more shit done. Here is a YouTube video that goes well with my topic.

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Morgan Jones

One of The Walking Dead’s best characters and you only see him in a couple episodes. Well that’s because he’s insane. And he’s built up an immunity to giving a fuck. And knowing that you can’t trust anyone during a zombie apocalypse makes him the smartest crazy person on TV.

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Burt Cooper

“Mad Men’s” only real paternal figure walks aimlessly through life, all shoeless and clueless. This guy goes to work every day and no one notices because he hasn’t done shit for six seasons but get paid. If everyone just disappeared, he wouldn’t notice. He’d go to work, stare at the painting in his office for eight hours, then go home. Every day. This could probably be due to his missing testicles. In which case, I don’t blame him for giving up.

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Doctor House

Because he’s a dick, that’s why. He’s a mean piece of garbage. If he could have a whole city block to himself, with no responsibility or person to get on his nerves, Housey would just sit at home and do drugs all day with zero repercussions. He hates everyone and everything. Even the people he likes, he hates.

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Grizzly Adams

This man was happy living his everyman frontier life until a murder framing sent him hiding in the woods. And he liked it! With wild animals as his new best friends and the random encounter with an old guy named Mad Jack, Grizzles ended up doing better without us! Hell, one could even argue that Mad Jack was a figment of his imagination.

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Scrooge McDuck

Face it, as long as he’s got his stacks of money to roll around in, we could all go to hell for all he cares. His isn’t a story of misanthropy – it’s one of indifference. Cash > people. Just look at him up there making out with a handful of singles. I don’t even want to think what he does to Benjamins.

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Beavis and Butthead

Ever see the show? These two morons only seem to notice when the other one isn’t there. So as long as they can goof off as a pair, nobody else need exist. They can get through an entire day just throwing trash cans at each other. I’ve seen these clowns be on the verge of saving someone from mortal danger, wander off distracted and leave the bastard to die. Do the math.

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Henry Bemis

From the amazing Twilight Zone episode “Time Enough at Last,” bookworm Bemis hides in a vault at his bank job so that he can read without anyone bothering him. So when WWIII happens and humanity bombs itself back into the stone age, Bemis sat pretty inside the protective confines of the vault. When he emerges to find Earth all FUBAR’d, the only thing on his mind is tearing ass to the library. If he spent one second saying “Oh no! The world is over! Oh God, the poor people!” it was a fast second. This joker was glad to see us go.

Now, I’m no genius – in fact, I’m far from it and this blog is proof. But I think this is a pretty comprehensive list, and if I missed anyone, I need to know. Don’t feel sheepish about adding that two cents.  Sharing is caring!