April 2006

News & Culture & Politics29 Apr 2006 05:37 pm

I love the show Commander In Chief. Really, I do. Despite how badly it’s sucking. Unfortunately, ABC has so badly handled the show, and the writers have so badly mangled the stories, that it’s getting harder and harder to watch. And now the stupidity of the writers has gotten the show accused of racism.

First, they managed to assemble a great cast. It took a little while to warm up to everybody, but the quality of the acting talent on the show is first-rate. The doe-eyed naïveté of some of the characters — who apparently fell off turnip trucks and bounced into the highest levels of government — has quickly passed. The battles between the Speaker and the President are pretty contrived, and the idea that everything is happily resolved in each show is awfully trite. But these are some of the problems that The West Wing had in its first season, so I’ve been willing to give it some room to grow.

It’s also great to see Matt Lanter — my choice to be winner of Manhunt — doing some big-time Hollywood acting. His character needs much more development, as does that of his whiny twin sister, but that too is the fault of the idiot writers. Still, he’s pretty to look at. =P~

My biggest problem comes with the morons at ABC who pushed CIC into hiatus just as it was hitting its stride. These are the same nitwits who apparently squandered the fan base of Lost by putting it in endless summer reruns just when people were hungering for more. (I must admit, I’ve only seen a couple episodes of Lost and didn’t find it at all engaging.)

My next problem comes with the dumb-ass writers who not only don’t appear to know anything about politics, but couldn’t be bothered to get basic facts correct about Washington, DC geography, much less the mechanics of how the White House works. The show’s directors, producers, and editors are to blame on this score as well. For example, they keep showing scenes clearly shot in LA, not realizing that there are no skyscrapers in DC. They also make many references to streets and places in DC that are glaringly inaccurate to anyone who has spent any time in DC.

In one recent episode, they showed what was supposed to be Air Force One taking off over DC! and didn’t bother to care that, a) the plane shown had the unmistakable T-tail of an MD-80, a plane about one-third the size of the president’s 747; b) “Air Force One” is stationed at Andrews AFB, about 15 miles to the southeast of DC, so far away that takeoffs DO NOT climb over the Lincoln Memorial; and c) National Airport (which I refuse to call “Reagan”, but that’s another rant), where the MD-80 stock footage was shot, probably couldn’t launch the president’s 747 if it had to! Speaking of stock footage, if I have to see another establishing shot of DC with the Washington Monument surrounded in scaffolding, circa 1997?, I’m going to vomit.

For what it’s worth, The West Wing has almost always gotten the geography and imagery of DC much better. Most of the time they’re careful to not show skyscrapers, mountains, or other clearly inappropriate backdrops in scenes. And because they have people with actual political, foreign policy, and military knowledge advising them, their story lines are actually plausible in many cases, rather than grating on the nerves of anyone who, for example, ever watched C-SPAN.

But then again, West Wing’s creator Aaron Sorkin did a pretty decent job even in the movie The American President — except for one notable howler that still makes me cringe. (“You got caught in traffic at Dupont Circle? What were you doing up on the Hill?”) Aiiigh!!!!

But now the lack of attention to detail and accuracy has come back to bite the CIC writers but good. In a recent episode, they portrayed Prince George’s County, which borders DC to the east, as a chitlin’ lovin’ drug-infested African-American ghetto. The reality, of course, is that PG County is one of the many affluent suburbs of DC, containing many beautiful and expensive neighborhoods and having little of the squalor that was featured in the story line.

Message for the writers and producers of Commander in Chief: try learning something about your subject before you put pen to paper or film to camera. You might actually produce a better product, and embarrass yourselves a tad less. That is if your brain-dead masters at ABC don’t smother the show through their own stupidity first.

News & Culture & Punditry18 Apr 2006 03:37 pm

Here are tonight’s news items that I’ll be talking about on when I join my friend, David Lawrence, for my weekly segment on his radio show, The David Lawrence Show:

Even Terrorists are Afraid of Google’s Privacy Policies

ChoicePoint’s CPO Earns That 7-Figure Salary Cleaning Up the Mess

AT&T Helps NSA Spy on Americans

News & Culture & Politics & Religion17 Apr 2006 03:26 pm

If so-called “good” Christians, the ones who claim to believe that every word of the Bible is divinely given and infallible, are honest to their beliefs, then Leviticus once again comes to the rescue and this time settles the immigration debate.

Leviticus 19:33-34 says:

When an alien lives with you in your land, do not mistreat him. The alien living with you must be treated as one of your native-born. Love him as yourself, for you were aliens in Egypt. I am the LORD your God.

Now that that’s settled, the “good” Christians can go back to hating gays, killing those who eat shellfish, stoning their mouthy children, and selling their no-good bitch daughers into slavery, just as Leviticus demands.

Gay Rights & News & Culture & Politics & Punditry11 Apr 2006 04:22 pm

Back to my usual Tuesday night, here are tonight’s items from The David Lawrence Show:

Identity Thief Uses iPod

Justice Department Adds Privacy Panel

Iowa House approves prescription database” peace activists, religious groups

Memphis Suburb Deploys GPS to City Vehicles

Update: David wanted me to comment on this outrageous story…
Christians Sue for Right to Ignore School’s Tolerance Policy

News & Culture & Punditry05 Apr 2006 04:41 pm

Bumped from my usual Tuesday night, I’m finally getting to talk about the following privacy news items on tonight’s The David Lawrence Show:

NY AG Sues Spyware Company

Agencies Not Protecting Privacy Rights, GAO Says

Pentagon says it improperly compiled data on “suspicious” peace activists, religious groups

Google’s Wi-Fi Privacy Ploy

And finally… It’s safe for David to enter the dating market again! ;-)

Polyester fabric neutralizes stun gun jolt

News & Culture & Personal04 Apr 2006 02:40 am

We were privileged to meet artist Tom Everhart this past weekend at the opening of his new show: “Cracking Up.” The show opened April 1, 2006, in the Entertainment Galleries, a wonderful gallery in the Grand Canal Shoppes of The Venetian Hotel in Las Vegas.

As Everhart’s biography says:

Combining a sense of homage with an explosion of expression, Everhart’s paintings and lithographs are the culmination of a 20-year close association with cartoonist Charles M. Schulz and the Peanuts™ phenomenon. As the only fine artist authorized to artistically render the Peanuts characters, Everhart transcends the appeal of the comic strip’s familiar faces, transforming them into studies in brilliant, multidimensional color and personal, often comical commentaries on the people and events of our time.

Indeed, as you can see from the picture above, as well as the other photos we took during the opening, “explosion of expression” is only the beginning of a description of this artist’s tremendous work.

In considering which piece(s) to acquire, we were most taken by a series of smaller pieces which Tom calls “Artifacts”. These are small “snapshots” of sorts, ripped from larger sheets of paper down to little 12″ x 15″ pieces. This format was apparently a new adventure for Tom, but based upon the commentary from many in the opening night crowd, they are every bit as captivating as the huge pieces.

In fact, Justin and I stood quietly near by as visitors looked at all seven of the Artifact pieces, and on several occasions, people stopped and pointed out how much they liked the ones of Snoopy’s Ears and Woodstock, the two pieces that we bought. We’ve never bought art based upon what others think — we buy what appeals to us — but it’s always nice to find people commenting favorably on our tastes. :)

Thanks so much to Tom, gallery owners Jack and Carolyn Solomon, and gallery director John Graff for allowing us to be there. Additional thanks to Carolyn and Jack for opening their home for a wonderful brunch with Tom the next day.

All in all, a wonderful time in Las Vegas!