September 22nd, 2011

Lorne The Friend For Life

Mornblade, Buddy, I Got Some Bad News For You....

An article on Yahoo talks about TV show flame-outs, including one so bad, it was canceled during its commercial break (wasn't a US show, it was Australian).  I didn't feel like watching the video, I just wanted to know the show, so I did a quick search for shows cancelled after one airing.  Up until now, I thought the first show to be cancelled after one show was Melba starring Melba Moore.  Nope, it just went on hiatus, they aired the rest of the episodes.  My second choice would have been Emily's Reasons Why Not, a sanitized Sex And The City starring one of my longtime crushes, Heather Graham (still have it on video tape, in fact).  Nope, the first show cancelled after one showing was a game show called Who's Whose?, with three men, three women, and a panel of three judges trying to guess who was married to who.

Curiosity got the better of me, and I started looking at all the shows bounced after one shot.  Some I'd heard of (Quarterlife), some I never heard of (Comedians Unleashed), and some, I can't imagine what they were thinking when they green lit them (Heil Honey, I'm Home!, a UK spoof of old American sitcoms with Adolf Hitler and his wife living next door to a Jewish couple).  And some, gave me a sense of deja vu....

On April 8, 2008, CBS aired the first episode of a show called Secret Talents Of The Stars.  It featured celebrities showing off talents that differed from what they usually did.  It featured Clint Black doing stand-up, Marla Maples doing gymnastics, Sheila E doing a juggling bit with The Flying Karamazov Brothers, Jo Dee Messina doing hip-hop, Ric Flair dancing the salsa, Ben Stein doing the jitterbug, and George Takei singing country music.  It was supposed to last seven weeks with viewer voting, wrapping up  with a grand finale, extremely low ratings saw it bounced after one episode.

Sorry, dude.
Peter G

The Night The Lights Went Out In Georgia

Let's talk for a minute about Troy Davis.

For those who don't know, Troy Davis was executed last night after the US Supreme Court refused to stay his execution.  The execution is fishy, which I will get to as I write.  But my main concern is the public reaction to this.

People were cheering.  And Ann Coulter wrote, "For decades liberals tried persuading Americans to abolish the death penalty, using their usual argument: hysterical sobbing. Davis is the media’s current baby seal of death row."

I quote Howard The Duck -- "I'm only going to say this one time -- you are all behaving abominably."

As always, AS FUCKING ALWAYS, this turns into whether or not the death penalty is okay.  It's never whether it's okay in that instance.

And THAT is the fucking problem.

I support the death penalty.  I know lots of people who do.  But here's the key difference between us and people like those cheering at the execution -- we support the death penalty when someone does something 1) sufficiently evil and 2) you know beyond a shadow of a doubt that they did it.  Jeffrey Dahmer, for example, would have been a great candidate for the death penalty.  Wait...why does he just get prison while Troy Davis gets the chair?  Could it be because Dahmer is white and Davis was black?  Ya think?

This is the reason for the stances we have.  The justice system has had a long history of being abused by those in power, used to keep those that aren't as well liked under the thumb while protecting those that should be held accountable.  The case of Troy Davis has too many things that just don't add up.  There are people who do far worse crimes that don't get what he did, black or otherwise.

Here's my litmus test for whether I would go along with the death penalty in a certain case -- is there any chance I'm wrong about this?  Because, if I was actually going to flip the switch, I wouldn't be able to live with myself if he was innocent.  More to the point, I wouldn't be celebrating that I had a valid reason for offing another human being.  Anyone who looks forward to killing someone, that's psychotic behavior.  The correct response to the death penalty is, "It needs to be done," not, "Yay!  It's going to be done!"

The opposition to the death penalty has nothing to do with fair justice.  It has to do with, "What if you're wrong?"  Here in Illinois alone, we've seen several people who were on death row for decades sprung.  And not by the system that put them there, but by independent journalists and students.  No kidding.  Procedural errors.  Faults in the evidence.  All kinds of things that could have sent an innocent person to the Afterlife.

And I can't prove it, but I know it's happened.

I know that, at some point, an innocent person was killed after being framed up by the police.  And any chance to prove otherwise is lost in cold trails and evidence that was mishandled or "we didn't think we needed it anymore."  Police who believed they framed a guilty man and are now whistling past the graveyard that they filled.

Davis had too many problems with his conviction.  Do I think he did it?  Can't say, I didn't review the trial record, so I don't know what evidence was presented, what was denied, and what was spin.  But there are enough questions raised by the behavior of the cops and prosecutors that I don't feel killing him is justified.

The death penalty debate is constantly phrased as an all or nothing deal, completely overlooking the dangers such extremism entails.  People want blood, and they don't care how they get it.  And when I think of the people that try to divert everyone's attention away from, "He might be innocent" to "how can you not support the death penalty," I wonder how they would feel if things were that shaky and the clock on their lives was winding down anyway.

Ignorance Is Bliss

I really getting sick of James Cameron telling me I need to save the planet while he works against that goal.

Cameron made Avatar and has been reveling in his status since.  I mean, he was big before.  But when pictures surfaced of a crowd demonstration in Africa with several people painted blue like the Na'vi from the movie, he made sure everyone knew he was telling a Very Important Message (TM) with it.  Despite how cliched the movie is, people have embraced it as an environmental tale and a revolutionary tale and all kinds of other stuff.

Please note, if you like Avatar, I don't have a problem with that.  Just because I didn't think much of the movie doesn't mean no one else can.  Other people like it, and that's fine.  My problem is with people praising Cameron as a genius and a field marshall for their political thought when he is anything but.

For example, Cameron made sure we all knew we need to be less wasteful and focus on biodegradable stuff and recycling and that.  This from a guy who released multiple versions of Avatar on DVD and Blu-Ray, which are made of non-recyclable plastic.  And, in addition to, on top of that, he gave an interview saying extra discs, extra editions, and so on are wasteful, although he has no problem with his own output.  Avatar was first released as just a regular DVD version with a special edition just around the corner, plus two more three disc sets for DVD and Blu-Ray.

As for his detractors’ contempt for his environmental consciousness, dramatized in the film by the callous destruction of the Na’vi’s pastoral world, Cameron says that the film’s environmental message is a lesson for all moviegoers to digest. He explains that our planet “will be a dying world if we don’t make some fundamental changes about how we view ourselves and how we view wealth …. We’re going to have to live with less.”  This from a guy who lives in a six bedroom, seven bath, 8,272 square foot house in Malibu.  The same guy who had a 17 million gallon water tank built to film Titanic.

Howza about ecoterrorism?  It's the reason I quit supporting Earth First all those years ago.  Entertainment Weekly had this snippet:

EW: “Avatar” is the perfect eco-terrorism recruiting tool.”

JC: Good, good. I like that one. I consider that a positive review. I believe in ecoterrorism.

How about Halloween costumes made of more plastic?  The toys?  Snow globes?  Posters?  Party stuff like paper plates and shit?  Cameron says in interviews people need to destroy the "rich capitalists" and "greedy scum".  Uh, that's you, dude.

It's been thankfully quiet on the Cameron front for a long time.  But now, he's back.  He's hatched a deal with Disney to make an Avatar theme park attraction.  It is expected to open in Walt Disney World's Animal Kingdom, construction begins in 2013.  And Disney is expecting to put it around the world.

Now, not only is this clearly intended to compete with Harry Potter at Universal, but Cameron, with his being conscientious?  Chew on this, from a 2009 article in the South Florida Sun Sentinel:

"Disney’s theme parks and resorts, which are heavily concentrated at Walt Disney World, produced about 244,000 tons of carbon-dioxide equivalents, or about 43 percent of the company total.

"The figures do not include roughly 14,700 tons generated by Disney World’s third-party bus operators, nor about 4,300 tons produced by its on-property landfill.

"Similarly, Disney’s parks and resorts consumed approximately 1.5 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity in 2006-about 73 percent of the company’s total electrical use.

"The theme parks also are the company’s biggest waste producers. Disney’s parks-and-resorts division generated 298,000 tons of solid waste in 2006, with 170,000 tons buried in landfills. The rest was diverted for uses such as recycling, composting, donations or reuse."

As Deceiver points out, that is the equivalent output of the country of Granada.

So, if you enjoy Avatar as a virtual reality thing or a fan thing or whatever, please enjoy.  But make no mistake -- the message you are buying has nothing to do with truth.  It has everything to do with what Cameron thinks you will buy from him.
Peter G

Reboots Are Everywhere

There's a new Sabrina The Teenage Witch in development.  Here's some concept art:

I'm just wondering about the superhero-ish vibe.  I mean, that G on her belt in the first picture?  Or did she join Science Ninja Team Gatchaman or something?

Congratulations.  I no longer think the Supergirl reboot is so off the rails.
Peter G

The Comic Book Legal Defense Fund Needs Your Help

I am a longtime supporter of the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund.

And they need help.

They need to raise $100,000 by the end of October to pay for things like the defense of Brandon X, an American arrested in Canada for the comic content on his computer.  You can be a member for $25.

Or, if you donate enough, how would you like to see what industry pros think of your work?

Here's the deal:  for $1,000, you get a professional review of your work by Dan DiDio.  $500 gets you a review by Bob Schreck (Ledgendary Comics), Terry Moore, Scott Allie, Dave Gibbons, or Gail Simone.  $250 gets you Brian Azzarello, Ben Templesmith, Frank Quitely, Greg Rucka, or Paul Levitz.

$1,000 can get you lunch at the New York Comic Con with Dan Didio, Keith Giffen, and friends.  Or Mike Mignola, Scott Allie, and friends.  $500 gets you lunch with Jeff Smith.  Lunch with Azzarello or drinks with Ben Templesmith and friends is $250.

If you have $5,000, you get tea with Neil Gaiman.  Jesus Christ, why hasn't my writing taken off yet?!?

So please, either join, or contribute something.  The 1st Amendment will thank you for it.