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Friday Afternoon Open Thread

I've been buried with work today and simply have not had a second for any blogging.

I do want to mention that I just got in the mail a copy of Eric Boehlert's new book, "bloggers on the bus: How the Internet Changed Politics and the Press" (Free Press, a Simon and Schuster imprint.) The book will be available for purchase on Amazon. Eric is not only a terrific reporter, but a good friend of TalkLeft. I'll provide a review of the book as soon as I have a chance to read it.

Speaking for me only

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    Okay, TV rant (5.00 / 1) (#12)
    by TeresaInSnow2 on Fri May 01, 2009 at 08:04:26 PM EST
    So I have TV shows I watch for their "brain candy" effect.  When I want nothing more than to get away from the cruelty of the world, be entertained, chuckle at stupidity, laugh at implausibilities, etc, I watch these shows.  I call them "sci-fi" shows because they are based on unrealism.

    Anyway, one of my brain candy shows is Private Practice.  Light, entertaining, a little wierd, but fun.

    Last night, instead of fun, they had this awful, horrible, dark season cliffhanger involving a pregnant woman and psychopath with a scalpel....I won't say more, but it's just not what I expect on my light entertainment soap opera show.  I didn't sign up for that.

    Extremely disturbing.

    So it occurred to me:  So many shows have "may be unsuitable for yata-yata-yata".  Why can't shows like this one have warnings, "your usual light-hearted entertainment has been infiltrated by dark pregnant-woman-and-psychopath-with-scalpel-involved storyline" so that I can just not bother watching?

    As it is, I won't watch the show again.  I feel that I can't trust them for fun "sci-fi" anymore.  If I wanted dark, miserable and horrifying, I'd watch the Saw I-II-III-IV movies or Misery with James Caan and K(C)athy Bates.  

    Did anyone see what I'm talking about and feel just as disturbed?

    Anyway, I vent, therefore I am.

    I recently "ran" my credit card to (5.00 / 1) (#13)
    by oculus on Fri May 01, 2009 at 08:06:41 PM EST
    watch "Doubt" on Delta Airlines flight.  But that wasn't enough.  Before the charge could be finalized I had to acknowledge this movie might contain troubling stuff.  

    Parent
    Seeee (5.00 / 1) (#15)
    by TeresaInSnow2 on Fri May 01, 2009 at 08:09:46 PM EST
    they need this for TV shows too.

    Parent
    Actually, they don't (5.00 / 0) (#18)
    by Inspector Gadget on Fri May 01, 2009 at 09:03:34 PM EST
    you have the ability to change the channel and watch something else for the money you are paying to get tv reception. It's a bit different with movies.


    Parent
    Well (none / 0) (#20)
    by TeresaInSnow2 on Fri May 01, 2009 at 09:24:35 PM EST
    you watch because you think it's going to end well because in these light shows that you always watch because they're light entertainment, things always end well, and then it doesn't.

    It's betrayal.  Viewers that this show attracts should be warned.

    I don't mind if you disagree.  You seem to pick through my writing and disagree with everything I say, so this is no different.

    I would never have watched if I'd known it would be the way it was.  If I'd been warned that things were going to be completely off-character for this show, I wouldn't have watched.

    Parent

    I saw the trailer to the episode & (none / 0) (#24)
    by Inspector Gadget on Fri May 01, 2009 at 09:46:46 PM EST
    knew it wasn't going to be worth watching. They showed the "attack". Though, I don't know why you would call Private Practice a light show. They do plenty of dark storylines, and the characters are constantly at odds with each other.

    Parent
    And btw (none / 0) (#21)
    by TeresaInSnow2 on Fri May 01, 2009 at 09:26:21 PM EST
    plenty of TV shows have warnings.

    Parent
    Ones that start at 10:00 PM? (none / 0) (#25)
    by Inspector Gadget on Fri May 01, 2009 at 09:47:16 PM EST
    Yup. (none / 0) (#36)
    by nycstray on Fri May 01, 2009 at 11:16:18 PM EST
    Some subject matters hit sensitivities no matter what time they're aired. From what I've read, not something I would want to watch. I missed the promos for it. Only saw the Gray's Anatomy ones. That one didn't look pleasant either. Me, I was in CSI mode. Human rabies was the issue of the episode along with death by pork chop :)

    Parent
    So, you want who, TV Execs or the gov't (none / 0) (#50)
    by Inspector Gadget on Sat May 02, 2009 at 12:35:52 PM EST
    to monitor tv drama to tell you how to use your leisure time?

    Private Practice, along with almost every highly rated/watched tv programming is available on the internet...full episodes with limited advertising so one need not stay up until 11:00 PM only to decide someone should have warned them they weren't going to like the episode.

    I've lost enough of my freedoms over the past 8.5 years to not want my tv viewing choices interfered with by anyone. Personally, I think those warnings cause more people to watch just to see what they are being warned against.

    After the third season of Grey's Anatomy being a poorly written, twisted mess that didn't even come close to resembling the entertainment levels of season 1 & 2, Shondra Rhimes became my least favorite tv writer/producer. I look in now and then only to confirm not watching her programs is still the right choice. But, that's just me. I prefer entertainment that makes me laugh and feel good.


    Parent

    I just watched that episode of (none / 0) (#26)
    by Anne on Fri May 01, 2009 at 09:59:04 PM EST
    Private Practice online tonight, and I kept looking at the time left and realized there was no way that awful storyline with Violet and her crazy patient was going to be resolved by the end of the show.

    And it was just awful.

    In fact, I thought the whole episode was kind of awful, and I realized that too many of the characters are more like caricatures - and - if you watch Grey's Anatomy, which is also a Shonda Rimes creation, you realized that Pete's little speech to Violet was not unlike the chief's speech to Meredith.

    Between Del and his crack-head ex, and the mix-up in the embryo implantations, Charlotte being Charlotte, Naomi taking Charlotte's job, Addison not being able to deliver the baby of the woman whose husband she is apparently in love with...and Violet about to have her baby cut our of her by a crazy patient? - it was just too much.

    Parent

    You guys voluntarily watch this stuff? (5.00 / 1) (#40)
    by gyrfalcon on Fri May 01, 2009 at 11:40:05 PM EST
    Geez.  Honestly, I'd rather be forced to watch Hannity...

    Parent
    I watched a soap opera once. (none / 0) (#46)
    by Fabian on Sat May 02, 2009 at 07:13:44 AM EST
    Of course it was General Hospital when it was being written by a former Doctor Who writer....so it wasn't exactly typical.  But fun!  They had a mad scientist freezing an entire city!  Decades before "24" aired.

    I read "Girl Genius" online for convoluted plots and lots and lots of cliff hangers.  It started off conventionally - orphaned child finds out she's the heir of vanished royalty, becomes entangled in a possible romance with the only son of the current tyrant/emperor who does NOT sweep her away into a Happily Ever After.  She develops a taste for designing Death Rays, joins the circus, gets captured by a cult devoted to resurrecting their lost leader,...

    It's scifi pulp fiction done with loads and loads of style.  

    Parent

    That sounds like actual fun (none / 0) (#47)
    by gyrfalcon on Sat May 02, 2009 at 10:09:05 AM EST
    but stuff that involves pregnant women being menaced by knife-wielding guys and nasty plots involving implanted embryos and the like-- not so much.

    Parent
    Yeah, this heroine (none / 0) (#49)
    by Fabian on Sat May 02, 2009 at 11:58:58 AM EST
    usually gets herself out of her own scrapes.

    As the story currently stands, she's trying to claim her legacy because it's the one chance she has of surviving the current tyrant-emperor who is trying to kill her for perfectly valid reasons (complicated story).  Her erst while beau is trying to save her life and reasons that his father won't kill her if it will endanger his son.

    Parent

    Well, I am being entertained by (5.00 / 1) (#16)
    by kenosharick on Fri May 01, 2009 at 08:58:30 PM EST
    the sean hannity comedy show again (these people cannot be serious, can they?).  He claimed a new reason tonight for the Iraq war- bush had to fight two wars because "Clinton had seriously weakened our defenses." Oh, it's all Bill's fault. Thanks for clearing that up sean.  Funniest of all is his assertion that all the repub's problems are due to the fact that they have moved "too far to the left." Comedy or insanity?

    They actually believe this stuff (none / 0) (#41)
    by gyrfalcon on Fri May 01, 2009 at 11:45:55 PM EST
    so I guess that would make it insanity.  THe frightening thing is that there are people for whom this is their major source of information.

    And then there are people like Newt Gingrich, who know perfectly well what they're saying is lies and distortions but who don't care.  Newtie was on Greta on Fox tonight whining about how it's easy for a Dem. president to get a liberal SC justice appointment through the Senate, but much, much harder for a Republican president to get a conservative one though, no matter which party controls the Senate.  Greta doesn't have the wit to ask him if that's the case, how come there are  4 staunch conservatives and a mild conservative on the SC.

    He knows perfectly well it's utter bullroar, but neither Greta nor the vast majority of their viewers know it.


    Parent

    Dollhouse (5.00 / 1) (#31)
    by Dalton Hoffine on Fri May 01, 2009 at 10:26:07 PM EST
    That was some great TV tonight. Joss Whedon continues to be one of my favorite television producers and creators. I was always a big Buffy/Angel fan, and Firefly was fantastic as well. Dollhouse proves to be no exception, and I was a little skeptical of it at first.

    Busy is good! (none / 0) (#1)
    by andgarden on Fri May 01, 2009 at 06:12:14 PM EST
    And anyway, your first thread on Brooks's column produced a lively discussion.

    Ben Brantley manages to work (none / 0) (#2)
    by oculus on Fri May 01, 2009 at 06:14:59 PM EST
    Susan Morris into his review of "Waiting for Godot."

    Link

    depressing play (none / 0) (#3)
    by Jen M on Fri May 01, 2009 at 06:25:53 PM EST
    :p

    Parent
    Absurdist Plays (none / 0) (#4)
    by Dalton Hoffine on Fri May 01, 2009 at 06:47:52 PM EST
    Very strange things. Sometimes they're great, sometimes they're not.

    Samuel Beckett's "Krapp's Last Tape" is even weirder. That is some money I won't get back.

    I think Waiting for Godot is pretty cool though--it was a dud of a play until they played it in a California prison, and all of the prisoners were the first audience to really 'get it', and from there, the play became renowned and more popular.

    Parent

    Heh (none / 0) (#6)
    by Jen M on Fri May 01, 2009 at 07:10:32 PM EST
    I can see how it might speak to prisoners.

    Parent
    I was fortunate to see this definitive (none / 0) (#7)
    by oculus on Fri May 01, 2009 at 07:15:47 PM EST
    performance by Gate Theatre/Dublin @ UCLA.  The actors have been trading off the different parts in Godot for years.  LAT

    Parent
    Have you seen "Happy Days" (none / 0) (#8)
    by oculus on Fri May 01, 2009 at 07:21:53 PM EST
    and/or "Endgame"?  

    Parent
    Not Happy Days (none / 0) (#9)
    by Dalton Hoffine on Fri May 01, 2009 at 07:24:57 PM EST
    But I was lucky enough to see a performance of Endgame in its original French while I was in London last summer. It was really good, although I think I may have enjoyed it more simply because I was enjoying myself so much overseas.

    Parent
    La Jolla Playhouse staged "Happy Days" (none / 0) (#10)
    by oculus on Fri May 01, 2009 at 07:26:31 PM EST
    with the original actress who created the part of the wife buried in a mound of dirt.  Wonderful performances.  BTD's "buried" reminded me!

    Parent
    Trust me on this: (none / 0) (#22)
    by Cream City on Fri May 01, 2009 at 09:39:35 PM EST
    Never go to a college production of Waiting for Godot.  Sophomores are, well, a tad too sophomoric to do it -- and not even seniors can do it well.  

    Those are four hours I won't get back.  And we left before it was over. :-)

    Parent

    All great, great plays, IMHO (none / 0) (#37)
    by gyrfalcon on Fri May 01, 2009 at 11:32:04 PM EST
    But then I've been a Beckett freak ever since I saw my first performance of Godot in a church basement!  But they all need not just good actors but directors who really "get" Beckett and know what to do with it.

    Any anybody who thinks Godot is depressing should spend an hour reading one of Beckett's novels!

    For some reason, I find Beckett's utter resigned despair leavened with humor incredibly uplifting and exhilarating.

    Parent

    So (none / 0) (#5)
    by Dalton Hoffine on Fri May 01, 2009 at 06:51:29 PM EST
    Jim Bunning might retire. I'm not sure how I feel about it, honestly. Bunning was one of the weakest Republicans and in a precarious position in KY as it was, so I thought we had a good chance to defeat him. That said, Bunning did have name recognition, and a Kentucky Democrat might have an advantage anyway... it would probably have to be someone closer to the Nelson variety since it's Kentucky, and less towards the Ted Kennedy end of things.

    KY, OH, FL, MO, and CT are going to be very interesting races to watch next year.

    Well, well, well (none / 0) (#11)
    by Inspector Gadget on Fri May 01, 2009 at 08:01:25 PM EST
    So that horrible flu was just a regular flu, afterall.

    Regular flu (5.00 / 1) (#14)
    by TeresaInSnow2 on Fri May 01, 2009 at 08:08:44 PM EST
    "Regular flu" kills about 35,000 people per year even though regular flu typically has a vaccine available.

    If this is like regular flu, it's very, very serious, with no vaccine.

    Parent

    Explain why it deserved the (none / 0) (#17)
    by Inspector Gadget on Fri May 01, 2009 at 09:01:45 PM EST
    panic news.

    Parent
    The news outlets tend to be drama queens (5.00 / 2) (#32)
    by Jen M on Fri May 01, 2009 at 10:51:40 PM EST
    about some stuff.

    A pandemic doesn't mean it will kill loads of people. It means a lot more people than normal might get it.  Everywhere.

    But the epidemiologists aren't sure of this, they are just giving us a heads up.

    Parent

    On what channel? (5.00 / 1) (#39)
    by gyrfalcon on Fri May 01, 2009 at 11:37:42 PM EST
    I saw no panic news on the cables, at any rate, nor on my local TV news.  It's gotten lots of air time, yes, but everything I've seen has been surprisingly reasoned and rational and sober.

    Parent
    It's been pretty non-panic here in NYC (none / 0) (#42)
    by nycstray on Fri May 01, 2009 at 11:48:10 PM EST
    also.  Bloomberg and Co have def set a tone with the news conferences and it seems to be following through with the local news reporting that I have seen.

    I think the air time was/is important. Wouldn't be too cool hearing WHO raising the pandemic levels and not having some good info and coverage as to what is actually going on on the ground where I live. And Bloomberg can be so dry about things, it's actually kinda funny at certain points.

    Parent

    Agreed (5.00 / 2) (#43)
    by gyrfalcon on Sat May 02, 2009 at 01:50:07 AM EST
    That's what I think, too.

    They have to call on scientists and science journalists and doctors to explain this stuff, and those folks (with a few exceptions, like the wretched Dr. Mehmet Oz), are interested in reality, not scare stories, and have set the a sober and cautionary tone.

    I really have had zero complaint about the coverage of this, and I normally have LOTS of complaints about TV "news."

    Parent

    So, you are just saying what you (none / 0) (#48)
    by Inspector Gadget on Sat May 02, 2009 at 10:45:12 AM EST
    think should be the case rather than what was actuality.

    Dr Oz was on Larry King and was the first media doctor I heard publicly say "it's just a flu". He's not my "go to" guy for medical advice, but he was more calm and realistic about this than Gupta or the CDC spokesperson.

    The news didn't come out with a "Not as big as we said" report because they WEREN'T over-stating the situation. Apparently, you also didn't hear warnings against traveling to Mexico or predictions that Americans should expect to hear many more death stories, either.

    Since the respiratory flu that raced through my metropolitan area twice over the past two months didn't reach level 5 on the panic scale and it was practically impossible to avoid getting (both times!) (I knew two people who ended up in the hospital with pnemonia from it), the non-stop reporting and Breaking News stories were difficult to believe.

    Glad to hear your area went untouched. Mine wasn't quite so lucky.


    Parent

    No, it's not a "regular flu" (5.00 / 2) (#23)
    by Cream City on Fri May 01, 2009 at 09:42:53 PM EST
    for the time of year of this outbreak alone.  And other factors, as your link says, still have to be understood.

    That it may not turn into a lethal pandemic killing 20 million, as happened in 1918 and '19, is not the same as not a "regular flu."  Read about the factors that cause some to think it may die down now as the temps heat up in the northern hemisphere that is being hit -- but that it then could come back harder in fall.  Hope there's a vaccine then.

    Parent

    This year (5.00 / 1) (#38)
    by gyrfalcon on Fri May 01, 2009 at 11:35:44 PM EST
    likely so.  But the very serious question is what it's like when it comes back for a second run next fall since these things mutate and change like crazy.

    You would prefer everybody just shrug off something potentially quite devastating and take our chances?  Not me.  It's a lot like preparing for a hurricane.  Most of the time, they miss the places they're supposed to hit or peter out just before hitting.

    Except once in a while, like New Orleans.

    Parent

    I knew it. (none / 0) (#45)
    by Dr Molly on Sat May 02, 2009 at 06:49:57 AM EST
    And, yes, the mass panic was silly.

    Parent
    Just under the buzzer! (none / 0) (#19)
    by NJDem on Fri May 01, 2009 at 09:17:36 PM EST
    I wanted to post that today is the 49th anniversary of the U-2 incident [wiki's sources check out, or this], which, among other things is known for the first time the US gov't got caught in a lied--particularly in context of the new age of television.  Just think of the impact of the first televised debate between Nixon/Kennedy of the same year (1960).

    It is also the 6th anniversary of "Mission Accomplished."

    No, I don't think it's a coincidence...

    Per the local evening news (none / 0) (#27)
    by andgarden on Fri May 01, 2009 at 10:08:38 PM EST
    Schumer is pushing for Sonia Sotomayor.

    Hmmm, a diehard Yankee fan on the SC?! (none / 0) (#28)
    by nycstray on Fri May 01, 2009 at 10:17:19 PM EST
    Oh, yeah!  {grin}

    Parent
    I don't think she's liberal enough (none / 0) (#29)
    by andgarden on Fri May 01, 2009 at 10:23:36 PM EST
    and BTD indicated that he doesn't think she's smart enough. Who knows. .

    Parent
    I haven't checked her out yet (none / 0) (#34)
    by nycstray on Fri May 01, 2009 at 11:12:05 PM EST
    I was just kinda playin' with the Yankee angle. They mentioned it on the news :) Weiner is backing her also, according to NY1, he's written to Obama supporting her.

    I thought she was smart? If I'm thinking of the same person, wasn't she pretty outstanding in law school, etc? Although, book smart doesn't always translate . . .  

    Parent

    Ask BTD (none / 0) (#35)
    by andgarden on Fri May 01, 2009 at 11:12:43 PM EST
    I dunno.

    Parent
    I'm a little unsure about it (none / 0) (#30)
    by Dalton Hoffine on Fri May 01, 2009 at 10:24:37 PM EST
    Certainly a woman with great judgment, but probably not impartial... hmm.... :P Oh well, as long as it pisses off the Mets fans, I'd be happy.

    On a serious note, though, the more I read about Sotomayor, the more I like her. I didn't know much about her beforehand, but she reminds me a little of Nydia Velazquez, who is perhaps my favorite representative. I'd be very happy with Sotomayor, David Hamilton... maybe Elena Kagan, I haven't decided on the whole about her, and am researching her at current.

    Didn't know you were a Yankee fan, stray. :) How'd you like that crazy game today?

    Parent

    I missed the crazy! (none / 0) (#33)
    by nycstray on Fri May 01, 2009 at 11:05:50 PM EST
    I got all involved in what I was working on and it went right past me that I should be watching the game. At least I got some $$$ for missing it, lol!~

    Nydia is my rep. I haven't actually researched Sotomayor yet. I got the Yankee info from the news :) We need more women on the SC, so I hope Obama finds a good one for us. Oh, and my best buddy who's a Mets fan would not be pissed about Sotomayor, my friend being a Hispanic woman and all  ;)

    Anyway, I've actually got my fingers crossed that this goes right (left!!).  No matter who it is, I'm just hoping we get somebody on the left side . . .

    Parent

    Obama will at a minimum (none / 0) (#44)
    by pluege on Sat May 02, 2009 at 06:30:50 AM EST
    disappoint progressives with his SCOTUS pick and possibly outrage them. That is his MO.