Various thoughts on current events with an emphasis on politics, legal issues, books, movies and whatever is on my mind. Emails can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org; please put "blog comments" in the subject line.
Rules of Engagement last night was akin to the early episodes that I felt were comfortable things to watch at the end of the day. Now, this can be done literally since WGN provides two episodes at midnight.
Recent episodes apparently cannot find much to do with Jen while making her finance (they have been engaged for about six years -- at least if you count the seasons though the length is not really alluded to -- now though a reference suggested they will be married in a few months) more and more stupid. Adam was more interesting when he was less of a caricature and it's a shame that they cannot find more to do with Jen, since she has that vibe where though she's hot, she also has a masculine side. They showed this once when she and Jeff bonded and there is potential there. She's clearly the dominant one in the relationship.
The two subplots -- Jeff (whose health scare was not referenced) is eating unhealthy (he carries along MSG since salt doesn't do it for him any more) and this leads to him and Audrey to go to a healthy cooking class with Adam/Jen. He makes this a competition, which Audrey finds distasteful, but since Jeff is really just her id, eventually comes around. Meanwhile, Timmy goes on vacation, and Russell in effect fills the void with a female Timmy, not willing to realize just how he is making his new gf into the form of his personal assistant. Holy gender confusion, Batman!
When Russell accidentally thought Timmy was the gf, it was the end of things, and -- as his wont -- he basically didn't think about it any more, creating a fiction that Timmy was the one who was behind it. But, in real life, people are known to do things like that -- there are people attracted to people of the same sex or transsexuals and do not really want to accept "the truth" of the matter. The line here is probably not clear anyhow. Any number of relationships probably have some form of fiction to them, the full truth hard to come by. Totally possible or not, someone who you can be truthful with is an important resource. Truth can be scary.
Later on in the night, Soldier's Girl was on cable, a true story about a solider who falls in love with a transsexual dancer with a military past herself. It is a good (and tragic) based on true life affair that both concerns their relationship as well the soldier's company, the sergeant who wants to leave sleeping dogs lie, another who wants to find the gay guy rumored, two troubled fellow soldiers and others who just want to have fun and do their job. Each part is well done, including Calpernia Addams,* who wrote a book about her own story. The book is well written but was not in the frame of mind to appreciate its somewhat flowery tone.
Earlier, I finally watched the tape of the latest episode of The Americans, with replays, instant on demand and taping (and online stuff) allowing a person to watch such and such whenever. It feels like I'm watching something and then it's almost time to watch it again ... oh, that's right, I didn't actually watch it a week ago. Anyway, like the show, including Keri Russell, who looks like she hasn't slept in a few days or something -- she has that level of seriousness all the time on the show. Still, think too much occurred too fast -- too many killings, with now another somewhat important person (Elizabeth's first recruit, who she probably also loves) killed. The show needs to relax a bit. Have a "normal" episode.
BTW, finished Julia Sweeney's book -- just in time, since she was starting to ramble a bit, and again, recommend it. How can I not when it has a chapter in which she has a conversation with her mother-in-law about an illegal abortion back in 1960? (Sweeney references her own abortion too.) Since this is a sort of hobbyhorse of mine -- millions of abortions have been done in this country in the last decade alone, but it is still a taboo topic to talk about -- I appreciated the chapter.
It was entitled "Pussy," since the person that drove her to a secret location looked like Big Pussy from the Sopranos. Little random vulgar touches like that, charming. Sweeney is an Irish Catholic and is cute though she is more cute looking as she gets older. As I noted, I liked her monologues, but the second one was the weaker link. In part, it was because she seemed a bit too privileged (which she admits to here), with talk of expensive trips to where Darwin studied and all. She also seems to have had a lot of boyfriends (her stock name for them is "Joe" and other than her high school flame, we start with Joe #10).
She also had a good amount of death, even for someone who is now in her early '50s. The first monologue is about her brother dying young and in the book we learn about the death of another brother. We also learn of the death of her lovable father (from her first monologue) and I later on her blog found out that both her elderly cat (still around from the late 1990s until recently) and the dog we learn about (before the 13 year end point she suggests) in the book. She says on blog that she won't have any more pets, but that is what she said about dogs in the first place.
And, Sweeney said a few years ago, I guess it is, that she was going to stop blogging because she was worrying about the privacy of her adopted daughter. I say "Ha" -- this book belies that. She clearly asked Mulan if it was okay (she's 12 now, and obviously also can read it) and we are better for it. Still, some pretty intimate things here, including young Mulan asking about sex. I would imagine many preteens might be embarrassed if the whole world knew about that. But, she's a Sweeney. They are sort of exhibitionists about talking about things.
BTW, those tabs where you scan for more material are like everywhere now. I don't have the smart device to do it.
* Kudos both to the actor (sic) and the makeup/wardrobe here, since hard as it is to believe, the person playing her is not a transsexual but the actor who later played Rep. Wood, a vocal opponent of the 13A in Lincoln. The use of prosthetics so that even topless (the character took hormones and has breasts) she looks the part is especially notable. I did not see it, but the actual person contributes to the DVD.