“Graffiti is bad. Go play sports.”

September 2, 2014

The Man and I got Community season 5 from the library this past week and we’re so happy that it’s as good as the other seasons. We’re big fans. The blog post title comes from their take on G.I. Joe as Jeff Winger copes (badly) with turning 40.

We probably aren’t going to buy the show, though, until the whole series is available as a set. (We’re frugal and the SILS library system loans out the seasons of this and every other popular TV show for free anyway. If you live in Saskatchewan, get yourself a library card if you don’t have one already. Those are also free. There’s no excuse to miss good TV.)

Huzzah! to Yahoo for greenlighting a season 6. Hot damn.

If you’re not watching this show already, what the blerp is wrong with you?

I love their Dungeons and Dragons episodes especially but also the paintball episodes and any other episodes that result in characters having uprisings and destroying the school any and all ridiculous reasons.

The MeowMeowBeenz app episode hit all my love buttons. So much hilarity. So much goodness. So much to say about society and how value is judged by one’s peers, and how this can be manipulated by those with ambition to do so. It’s fantastic.

For extra reading: Community vs Big Bang Theory (a show I also love, but not in the same way.)

Community will reshape it’s [sic] universe to be a mystery, a cop drama, heist movie, science fiction thriller. It can becomes animated, claymated, 8 bit, puppets – whatever the story or the characters need. It looks like a sitcom, but it’s bigger on the inside.

TBBT, on the other hand, has awful worldbuilding. It’s a small, boring little world, one that appears sometimes to consist entirely of a couch and a staircase…

If Community is an almost-genre work all about the possibilities of change, TBBT is like its evil counterpart. It’s a story about stasis. A show obsessed with the power of habit and inertia, a show about stillness and limitation. It’s people sitting on couches together, and being alone. People that have nothing stopping them from reaching out, except that it would require them to be a little braver than they are, a little more insightful, a little kinder. In short, it would require them to change, and TBBT turns that into the hardest thing in the world.

Community takes the loss of characters and character development very seriously. The Hot Lava episode of season 5 is good example of that. In the previous episode, everyone’s just returned from Pierce’s funeral and they all have to deal with their humanity and their capacity to lie to each other, and to themselves. Pierce bequeaths in his will that Troy can have all his wealth if Troy is willing to do what Pierce did not – sail around the world. He agrees to do it. In the Hot Lava episode, Troy’s best friend, Abed, chooses to deal with Troy leaving by calling a school-wide “avoid the floor” game and insisting everyone participate so the winner can receive his mint edition comic book worth $50,000. By the end of the game, Abed manages to explain to Troy and Britta, the last survivors, why he started the game in the first place; he has trouble letting go. Britta and Troy come up with a very elegant solution to his problem, which I won’t spoil.

The Dungeons and Dragons episode that season is awesome. The gang tries to fix the relationship professor Hickey has with his son – who’s an avid player – by setting up a game that’s supposed to help them bond. The son sees through it immediately, though, and manipulates the situation to ruin what he thinks is Abed’s story for everyone. He deliberately switches all the character profiles and actively plays to wound those in his party if necessary. When the group is torn asunder after a tragedy, his only ambition is to kill the necromancer before his dad can. The end of the episode does not result in a father/son happy reunion, but I think it ended as it had to end – with the two of them in a room together willing to work toward a common goal, even if they had to fight for it every step of the way. That’s the way it is with a lot of families, and I think it was smart (and brave) for the Community writers to leave it there and not try to create the contrived forgiveness hug scene that so often happens in other show scenarios.

I don’t know how to end this. Watch the show. That’s all I can say. I’m not a shill. I’m just a fan of good scripts.


So, who’s going to watch Atheist TV on July 29th, 2014?

July 25, 2014

What is it they’re offering?

the channel will broadcast 24 hours, mostly with licenses and pre-recorded content, such as documentaries by the Richard Dawkins Foundation as well as a talk show titled “Atheist Viewpoint” and a call-in show, “Atheist Experience”.

It’ll be available to anyone using Roku (which I’ve never heard of) but will also be viewable at its website.

Hopefully it’ll be accessible in Canada. I wouldn’t mind checking it out once in a while. I’ll have to watch what they advertise as upcoming content.

Reality TV picks the next Jesus

May 6, 2012

Back in university I’d heard the music but it wasn’t until the Man confessed his great love for Jesus Christ Superstar that I finally sat down to watch the production. I think if it ran in the city at some ponit I’d certainly consider spending the money for a ticket.

A new cast is in the works in the UK and Australian atheist and comedian is getting the headlines as the pick for Judas.

He will join the pop singer Nicole Scherzinger, playing Mary Magdalene, in an arena tour of the musical by Lord Lloyd Webber and Sir Tim Rice which will open at London’s O2 arena this summer.

The character of Jesus will be cast via a television talent competition next month, where contestants will compete for the lead role in the musical telling the story of Christ’s final week.

The television show has been criticised by Sir Tim, who wrote the musical’s lyrics and has described plans to ask a panel of celebrity judges and public voters to pick the “next Jesus” as “tasteless” and “tacky”.

I don’t watch much in the way of television shows, let alone the talent related programs. I don’t know if I’m prepared to agree or disagree with Sir Tim, though. Audiences have grown used to seeing the process of elimination in action and having a front row view of both the new-found fame for the winner and heart-aching misery of those who fail. Maybe they’d be more likely to purchase a ticket to the show itself if they got to be part of the story that star will later tell, too.

Sure, it’s not classy but neither is the music, man. The lyrics and score don’t hearken an audience back to the good old days of 18th century opera. It’s a modern rock “opera” featuring the death of Jesus as performed by gyrating pop stars. Why wouldn’t people look to reality TV to cast such a show?

Time marches on.

Old news: Lady Gaga is evil; South Koreans beg God to intervene

May 3, 2012

Lady Gaga had a concert set up for Seoul back in April but the Korean Association of Church Communities hoped God could do something about that. It’s vital he save the children of South Korea from “being infected with homosexuality and pornography,” and Cassie Murdoch, who writes for Jezebel, responded:

And here we had no idea that pornography and homosexuality were diseases that could be spread through song. You really do learn something new every day!

Well, probably her choice of clothing would have something to do with it, too, but no matter. I like her music well enough but I don’t pay much attention to the lyrics necessarily. I’m one of those people who uses music more for filler than message. I always have music on and might not even know the name of the song I’m listening to let alone who sung it on what album and when.

I’ll have to look up some of her lyrics now.

Love Game:

I wanna take a ride on your disco stick
Don’t think too much just bust that kick
I wanna take a ride on your disco stick

Beautiful, Dirty, Rich:

Beautiful, dirty dirty rich rich dirty dirty beautiful dirty rich
Dirty dirty rich dirty dirty rich beautiful

Beautiful and dirty dirty rich rich We’ve got a redlight pornographic dance fight
Systematic, honey but we go no money

Not going to win many awards for poetry with this stuff but it’s good enough to dance to, I guess.

Black Jesus:

Amen, on the runway,
dressed in his best.
Amen Fashion, on the runway,
Work it! Black Jesus.
Amen, on the runway,
dressed in his best.
Amen Fashion, on the runway,
Work it! Black Jesus.

The line “Jesus is the new black” can’t count as blasphemy, though, since Gaga is reporting that Jesus is not out of style at all.

Highway Unicorn (Road to Love)

She’s just an American riding a dream
And she’s got rainbow syrup in her heart that she bleeds
They don’t care if your papers or your love is the law
She’s a free soul burning roads with the flag in her bra

Rainbow syrup makes her heart sound pro-gay, I suppose, but the song also speaks toward American patriotism, which tends to require anti-gay sentiment in order to prove one is a True American (TM) in the so-called “one nation under God.”

These crazed opponents of Lady Gaga’s “lewd lyrics and performances” have been raising quite a fuss. They’ve protested outside the officies of Hyundai Card, the show’s sponsor, and they also put up banners all over Seoul. The banners were taken down, but the state did raise the show from 12 and over to 18 and over.

There’s that at least. I suppose that wasn’t good enough for the protestors but at least it limits attendance to consenting adults instead of “impressionable” children. I expect it’s too late, anyway. They probably already know all her lyrics by heart and accept the fact that they were “born this way,” whatever way that might have been.

Old news: kids suspended for Tebowing during school hours

January 23, 2012

Tebowing, if a definition is needed, is the practice of behaving the way Tim Tebow does when he prays during his Denver Bronco football games, obvious and down on one knee as if being watched by an audience is the most important part of the prayer. It’s the new planking, and just as ridiculous. People take pictures of other people doing it. It’s light mockery and meant to be for fun. There are so many other things a person could do for fun, but whatever. The story:

Two Riverhead High School football players were suspended for a day because the school said they created a potentially dangerous situation by leading other students in a re-enactment of NFL quarterback Tim Tebow’s kneeling in prayer.

School officials said an estimated 40 students had gathered in the hallway this week to make the gesture

The principal, David Wicks, made the argument that in a school with 1500 kids, having 40 taking up space in a hallway (for what’s essentially a pointless endeavor at that) could constitute a safety hazard. If a smoke alarm had gone off and people needed to vacate in a hurry, there could have been injuries. It also made some kids late for class and had the potential to create aggressive situations.

According to their dad, the brothers who were suspended apparently weren’t told by anyone official at the school to stop the display. Superintendent Nancy Carney, on the other hand, said that the pair were insubordinate and “had been warned not to do it anymore” which makes it sound like this wasn’t the first time they got their friends together for a performance. I guess fairness could be debated. They do ask a good question – why were they penalized when the rest of their classmates got away with it? But, if they were the ringleaders, then maybe without them egging kids on, maybe nobody else would have come up with the idea and gone through with it during school hours. Out on the football field or in the yard, do whatever silly thing you want to do. In a hallway, just use it to get to class.

Less than 3 months away..must be time for War on Christmas!

October 5, 2011

The most recent casualty, at least going by the Daily Mail, is a release of Thomas the Tank Engine on DVD:

The team behind the much-loved children’s TV series has angered campaigners by setting a story during the ‘winter holidays’.

Even Christmas trees have been axed in an episode of the DVD, Little Engines, Big Days Out, and are instead referred to as decorated trees. Brightly wrapped presents are delivered to a ‘holiday party’.

Critics say the omission was particularly strange because the original Thomas books, hugely popular around the world, were written by a clergyman, the Reverend Wilbert Awdry.

I think most kids are savvy enough to see through that switcharoo, don’t you? Kids know what time of year typically generates a desire to hang shiny shit on trees and gift wrap packages to shake, rattle and roll underneath them. I’m sure they don’t really give a damn what the event is called so long as a few of those gifts will have their names on come the big day. We may as well be honest and call it “Gimme a Present Day” and be done with it.

Ann Widdecombe, the former Government Minister and convert to Roman Catholicism, said it was ‘extra ridiculous’ not to mention Christmas in a children’s story as youngsters would be anticipating the special day for months in advance.

‘The shops will be stocking Christmas gifts, the television will be advertising presents and people will be talking about it, so the idea that children won’t hear about it is ludicrous,’ she said.

I understand the desire to make things more inclusive. Nobody likes feeling left out of things and it really is a very simple matter to change the name of a holiday to something else in order to reflect that. That said, nobody ever insists Hanukkah ought to be more secularized. Why not? Is it because it’s still practiced by a minority and celebrates a specific political victory that had meaning for Jews alone? Other groups have overthrown their governments in the times since, but none of them ever bothered to adopt the menorah to commemorate their victories. Could they have? I’m just throwing it out there. Hmm.. I get an idea for an alternative history book now where Judaism was the popular faith of old and Christians were the ones run out of town and later decimated like plague-ridden rats…

Hit Entertainment, the company behind the DVD, said: ‘It was put out some time ago. It was not a seasonal release specifically aimed at a Christmas audience, but we do put out seasonal releases that have Christmas in the title.

‘Last year we had Christmas Express and next year we are planning another Christmas title.’

However, John Midgely, of the Campaign Against Political Correctness, said: ‘This is an attempt to write Christmas out of something that is so popular with families.’

Truth be told, this editing is getting absurd. Let the tree be a Christmas tree. Let the day be called Christmas Day. They’re hardly fooling anyone by switching the terminology around. Muslim kids aren’t going to start begging their folks to let them put trees up to celebrate this particular December event anyway. They’ve got their own special holidays in their lunar counted year. I don’t hear of people begging to get in on their New Year’s Day celebrations, this year on November 26th. Do they do anything special to commemorate that? I have no idea. The Day of Ashura hits ten days later, on December 7th, but a whole day to do nothing but mourn an ancient martyr sounds painfully depressing. Passaroonie.

Every religion has its special events across the year, but Christianity is certainly the odd one out in terms of how many of their holidays wound up with secularized versions on the same days. When I think of Easter, it’s bunnies and eggs, not torture and death. When I think of Christmas, it’s not angels and holy miracles coming to mind; it’s songs I’m sick of hearing by December 2nd and overeating on the big day.

I think Christmas will always have its secular counterpart and whether it winds up being called Christmas or Festivus or whatever, the point is moot. Have fun. Eat, drink, and be merry. Watch the kids go bananas over their new possessions. Fondly recall the days when you had the same Christmas day reactions to yours.

Like the year I got a Care Bear. I think I was 10 and when I unwrapped Good Luck Bear, I think I bolted to my bedroom, rubbed my hands over my eyes in case I imagined it, and then ran back into the living room to make sure it was still there. I still have him, too. I remember the year I found a VCR under there, and several rented movies. Parenthood was absolute crap but I still love The Little Mermaid. I got a guitar one year that did get some play, and Mom has a few pictures around of early Christmases and evidence of what my toys looked like before I broke them. (I still played with them though. I was that kind of kid.) I’ve still got my old fox and yellow stuffed dinosaur too, battered though they are. I got those the year I was begging for a giant stuffed stegosaurus I’d seen advertised in the Sears catalogue. At least Todd and Dino were the right size to cuddle in bed for years afterwards. No idea what I would have done with the big guy… Sometimes my parents were pretty smart.

What do you remember?

I may have to see Green Lantern after all

June 16, 2011

I don’t know why I go to comic-themed movies when I never read the comics in the first place but action is action and they tend to be fun. Now, I’m intrigued on a completely different level, though; I found an article by a known satirist (known to his fans, at least. Not me, personally) where he complains about Green Lantern’s pledge getting rewritten for the movie to take God out of it. First I had to look up the pledge; like I said, I don’t read comics. Assuming Scribd has it right:

In Brightest Day
In Blackest Night
No Evil Shall Escape My Sight
Let those who worship evil’s might
Beware My Power
Green Lantern’s Light

I don’t see God in there. Do you? Maybe that’s the satire waving? I’ve always had trouble with satire. You can’t see the joke when you don’t have any idea what they’re mocking. In this case I knew without his help that he’s mocking arguments regarding the addition of “Under God” into America’s Pledge of Allegiance and requests made lately to pull it the hell out again. Now I’ll quote some of what Jef With One F wrote about this as a letter to DC Comics and Warner Brothers, claiming he was originally taught the GL pledge complete with God part:

I, for one, refuse to believe that the Central Power Battery on the Lantern Corps’ homeworld of Oa that each Lantern uses to recharge their power rings while reciting the oath can possibly be powered by anything other than the will of God. And how else would a man be able to overcome the being of ultimate fear, Parallax? Through simple humanity and willpower? I doubt that.

Green Lantern’s power ring makes the imagination of the wearer into reality in the form of solid light constructs. Such a power cannot remain in the hands of humanity without acknowledging the rule of God. Failing to do so within the Lantern’s solemn oath risks our children forgetting God’s place in comic books.

It’s a good thing that he notes in the beginning about being a satirist or else I might have been completely taken in by this loony spiel. I can see people truly believing that last line is an argument worth making, however. After all, the library has manga bibles kicking around, and child-friendly comic bible stories, Bibleman videos

a Christian superhero, if that really needed to be explained, but it helps to see that this man is the inspiration for the maker of this freakish looking cake:

Devour it before it devours your soul...

and they likely purchased some of Zonderkidz’ revamped Christian Berenstain Bears books when those were published, too. There’s always interest in Christian themed entertainment.

IE) Kentucky recently got a crapload of tax rebates for their proposed Noah’s Ark Park. Private, unnamed investors are picking up the rest of the millions necessary to make this monstrosity float.

The latest project would will include a replica of the Tower of Babel, a first century village, theatres, lecture halls, retail shops, restaurants, a petting zoo and live animal shows featuring giraffes and elephants.

Zovath said he expects groundbreaking in August.

Rob Hunden, a consultant who reviewed the proposal for the Tourism Development and Finance Authority, said the project is expected to draw nearly 1.4 million visitors a year.

Gov. Steve Beshear has said he favours tax incentives for the ark park that is projected to create 600 to 700 full-time jobs and have an economic impact of more than US$250 million in its first year of operation.

The mission of the project, Zovath said, is to lend credence to the biblical account of a catastrophic flood and to dispel doubts that Noah could have fit two of every kind of animal in an ark.

Could they have found a better waste of money? Sure. They could have bought everyone in the country a copy of the Leather Gold and Silver Monopoly (retail $7570) or a Crystal Ergoripado Vaccuum ($18993) or anything else on this list instead of throwing money into that park idea, but that is where all this money’s going. Never mind that it will cater to ignorance and lack scientific credibility; it’s necessary job creation, dammit. We’re smack dab in the middle of an economic downturn, dontcha know! Gawd!

Yeah, so anyway, I might throw a little money toward DC Comics and Warner Brothers this weekend. Every once in a while a person craves extraordinary heroics. Especially when the future looks a little bleak…

Edit: 2:48PM Of course, reviews are coming in now that seem to indicate this is the latest turd to be delivered to weekend movie goers so it’s probably just as well I keep my $10 for another season of downloadable IT Crowd