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Doctor Who Season 9 Ranked From Worst To Best

SPOILERS ahead.

My previous ranking of every modern Doctor Who episode had become out of date…until now. Series 9 wrapped up earlier this month, and this year’s Christmas special was the last new episode until probably next fall. Time for an update.

I’ve inserted the new episodes into the overall worst-to-best rankings, which debuted in four parts early this year:

I’m Sorry, I’m So Sorry

Are These Good Episodes?

These Episodes Are Cool

Fantastic!

But if you just want to focus on the newest season, I’m including the Series 9–only list below (same text I’m inserting into the full list). Note that this was a more serialized season than previous years. It featured a mix of conventional two-parters (The Magician’s Apprentice/The Witch’s Familiar, Under the Lake/Before the Flood, and The Zygon Invasion/The Zygon Inversion) and episodes that directly continued into each other while each maintaining its own flavor (The Girl Who Died/The Woman Who Lived and Face the Raven/Heaven Sent/Hell Bent). The episodes in the latter category are separately ranked because their different flavors merit individual attention.

This was an excellent season on the whole, a big improvement over the past few years, with no real clunkers in the mix. But, as always, some are better than others.

Again, SPOILERS!

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MCU worst to best

Ranking the Marvel Cinematic Universe from Worst to Best

The Internet clearly doesn’t have enough lists, so here’s another.

Many have attempted to rank the movies comprising the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Fewer have dared to add the four complete seasons of MCU television and Netflix series into the equation. I shall somehow rise to this challenge to ensure the Internet does not experience a shortage of lists. This was not easy, Internet. I swear, the top six were all neck-and-neck, and it came down to a photo-finish.

This ranking is from worst to best, not horrible to great. I’ve enjoyed all of these to varying extents, and the “varying” is what I’m measuring. None are bad. Conversely, none are works of towering artistic genius either. But it’s all damn fine entertainment worth revisiting.

SPOILERS ahead.

So, with that warning out of the way…

Here…we…go! (more…)

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The Southern Hazzard of the Rebel Yell

In the wake of the horrific and senseless murders in Charleston, SC last week, national debate has sprung up once again about a flag.  The Civil War era Confederate Flag.  Not unlike the German Third Reich’s Nazi flag, for many, seeing the South’s Rebel Stars & Bars conjures up equally horrific memories of the vile treatment of scores of innocent human lives.  I get it.  Perhaps there are those that would seek to re-redefine the symbol of the swastika with the pre-Nazi factoid, that due to its original use as an ancient decorative symbol in eastern cultures, we shouldn’t allow the Nazis to commandeer such a worldly historical symbol.  Those that may make that argument will lose.  We will never be able to bring back those ancient glory days of when seeing a swastika was pleasing to the eye.  Unless you are a nazi sympathizer, Hitler & Co. have ruined the swastika or any incarnation or variation of it forever.  You can’t “un-see” the horrors its appearance summons, so to speak.

To many, the Battle Flag holds the same sad memories of murder, enslavement, and loss of human dignity.  However, because some Southerners (white or black) are simply proud of being from Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina or any other of the former confederate states, they like the image and feel proud to display it as prideful modern day Southerners.  This does not immediately qualify them as a racist.  Sadly, some opportunists use the flag as a political weapon to paint broad strokes on those who fly it to cause divisiveness for their own benefit.  If you make such judgements you are part of the problem, not the solution and not a very intelligent person. Outside of the personal use, if you ask me, the flag does not deserve to fly above any State building of these United States of America for the same reason we would never fly the Union Flag (or Union Jack) above a government building.  All y’all lost the war. ‘Merica!

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tcm

Party On, TCM

At the 6th annual TCM Classic Film Festival a couple months ago, my better half and I were thrilled to see plenty of old movies on the big screen.

We caught Gunga Din with an informative and humorous introduction by two special effects guys, Craig Barron and Ben Burt, who showed us video of the real-life Southern California locations that stood in for India. (The comparison of the movie’s precarious bridge over the chasm to the actual place was especially revelatory.)

We saw Too Late for Tears, a “lost” noir classic about the most cold-blooded killer you’ve ever seen (played by Lizabeth Scott). We saw Earthquake at an outdoor poolside screening introduced by one of its stars, Mr. Shaft himself, Richard Roundtree.

And we reveled in the classic screwball comedy The Philadelphia Story with a packed house at the fabled Chinese Theater — you couldn’t ask for a grander movie experience.

But our favorite moments of the festival weren’t particular screenings. They were meeting some of the more prolific members of one of Twitter’s most entertaining hashtags — #TCMparty..

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AI featured

THIS is American Idol… Is it the Finale Yet?

Firstly, let me apologize for taking a break last week. But honestly, the show was too boring to spend much energy on.  As it is, this show is becoming a little too stretched out for 2 hours of programming.  We could easily fit everything into an hour, and it would be so much more enjoyable.  I’m basically falling asleep by the end of the 2 hours… at this point, I’m reconsidering my commitment to watching this season in real time.  What I would give to fast forward through commercials and all the unnecessary mishegoss.

Quentin went home, which was expected, and Rayvon won the fan save, yet again…

Harry Idol XIVSo here we are this week, with our Top 5 being dwindled to the Top 4 (without the fan save this week).  Before we get into the contestants, let’s discuss our favorite judges.  First, let’s talk about J Lo’s outfit.  It’s a little rough with the glittery leopard print – but if anyone can do it, she can.  That is all.

The themes for this week are 1) songs from the Judges’ home state (even though this show is not about the judges) and 2) the contestant’s “soul” songs – or, as Harry likes to put it – their “gravy” song.

So, we have New York for J Lo, New Orleans for Harry, and, naturally, Nashville for Keith… really?  Don’t you think we should be bringing in some classic Australian anthems here?

Lastly, Harry performed this evening (yummm… so dreamy.)

Now for the AI go getters…

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AI featured

THIS is American Idol…Down to 6

“The American Classics”

We’re back for another riveting American Idol this week – not only do we have the (now standard) “Idol fan save,” but each contestant sings 2 songs!  Yikes!

AI14_Tyanna-Jones_MB0010-whiteTyanna

She started off the show with “Why Do Fools Fall in Love.” I thought this was a killer song choice for her, and a great one to open the show, even though Keith questioned if America wanted to hear this song.  She sang it with such ease and grace.  As much as she wants to be a singing star, if she can act, I totally see her on Broadway.  She has the type of voice that makes one walk out of a theater singing show tunes for the next week.

For the second round she busted out some CCR with “Proud Mary,” and she definitely nailed it.  Her voice with her sparkly outfit was definitely a wow factor for everyone.

AI14_Clark-Beckham_MB0004Clark began his first of two performances with a little Stevie Wonder – jammin his guitar and killer vocals with the band to “Superstition, and lookin damn good while at it.  Overall a great start, as he received zero negative critiques from the judges (although Keith Urban did suggest how he could become a tad sexier, a la a pretty australian country singer we all know too well, by letting the guitar hang a little bit lower on his body) and he practically got a standing ovation from all the girls (and some guys) in the room.

He came back with a little Frank Sinatra’s “Moon River,” ditching his guitar for a spot at the piano.  But, I feel I almost don’t need to spend too much time here, because there is no doubt he is running away with this competition.

And then Keith comes back with a call back to round one… and it was pretty funny. With his only suggestion being to have the piano dropped a little lower and closer to the ground.

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Every Modern Doctor Who Episode Ranked From Worst To Best, Part 4: “Fantastic!”

[Updated with Season 9 episodes]

And here we are at last—the top episodes of modern Doctor Who. If you missed the earlier installments, you can start at the bottom with “I’m Sorry, I’m So Sorry,” then progress up through “Are These Good Episodes?” and “These Episodes Are Cool.” Or, if you want to focus on the positive, see below.

Remember: Spoilers!

Without further ado, Geronimo!

“Fantastic!”

DoctorWho_AmysChoice#28 Amy’s Choice: A dream-based episode where the stakes feel real. The set-up is intriguing with the characters not knowing which of the two realities is the dream, and it’s all grounded by a strong emotional core. I’m not sure how Amy fell in love with Rory back in these pre–Hitler-punching days, and that does mar the episode just a tad, but great stuff otherwise.

#27 Last Christmas: Another dreamy episode, but a totally different one: Doctor Who does Inception, guest starring Santa Claus. It’s one of those ideas that could easily have gone so wrong and yet somehow finds the sweet intersection of Christmas and sci-fi.

#26 Midnight: I wouldn’t want every episode to be like this, but this is a wonderfully tense change of pace, and one of very, very few Doctor Who episodes that could conceivably be staged as a play. All that repetition is unsettling, but it’s a good unsettling. (more…)

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Trailer Tuesday: “Scream: The TV Series”

What’s your favorite scary movie? Well, in this case, TV show?

Horror on television has famously become more and more popular with the rise in quality of TV in general.  Shows like “The Walking Dead” and “American Horror Story” have seen huge success, which obviously leads to producers thinking that they can make ANYTHING work.  Well, I hope that’s true!
The latest company to join the bandwagon is MTV, with its’ reboot of the “Scream” franchise…in TV form.

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Every Modern Doctor Who Episode Ranked From Worst To Best, Part 3: “These Episodes Are Cool”

[Updated with Season 9 episodes]

Now we’re getting into the good stuff, and we still have the best stuff to look forward to. How lovely. For anyone just tuning in, I started this worst-to-best ranking of modern Doctor Who two weeks ago with the weakest episodes in “I’m Sorry. I’m So Sorry,” continued with the middling ones in “Are These Good Episodes?” and here we are now in the penultimate entry:

(Spoilers!)

“These Episodes Are Cool”

Doctor Who 42#56 42: What should’ve been a wonderfully tense, 24-style thriller winds up being merely pretty good. Trivia as security questions? What?

#55 Tooth and Claw: A decent romp with a werewolf, ninja monks, and Queen Elizabeth. Not an all-time classic, but kind of fun.

#54 The Vampires of Venice: One that falls squarely in the “good dumb fun” category. The plot about fish aliens wanting to repopulate their species (while coincidentally resembling vampires) is kind of so-so, but the episode’s high on adventure and the Doctor makes a memorable entrance at Rory’s bachelor party.

#53 Deep Breath: Victorian society is awfully nonchalant about the sudden appearance of a dinosaur, isn’t it? Honestly, I’m getting tired of the Paternoster Gang by this point. The Sontaran is just too dense. But Peter Capaldi has some great scenes that save what’s otherwise the weakest introduction of a modern Doctor to date. And Clara starts to evolve into an actual character, thank goodness.

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AI featured

THIS is American Idol…and then there were 7

Here we are! Our Top 8 performing this week, with one going home, revealing the top 7.  After Daniel Seavey’s departure last week (thank the Lord), things were lookin up on our favorite singing competition show!  However, with the “Idol Fan Save” back again this week, I’m not convinced that unless a contestant has a vocal mishap or wardrobe malfunction that America can be trusted with these important decisions… though I hope so.

AI top 8

The Idol Fan Save (more like the East Coast Fan Save) puts me in a difficult position being in Los Angeles, and watching this “live”, because there is really no live involved, and this live fan vote already happened 3 hours ago!  So, I feel completely helpless sitting on my couch behind the screen of my laptop.  America: Please represent!

With two co-mentors this week (one country and one hip hop), the contestants were broken up into teams to work on their individual performances.  But in addition to the contestant performances, we have a lot of pros guest starring here as well… I’m predicting that as the contestant pool dwindles, the show will become more about over produced guest performances. So let’s get to it:

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AI featured

THIS is American Idol… Down to 8.

I missed last week! I mean, I didn’t miss the show, I just missed my post.  So sorry to ALL my fans and followers…

boy george 2 So before I get into the nitty gritty of this week (or the overall of this and last week), I have to take a  moment for my one true love, and the highlight that was last week’s episode – Boy George.  For anyone who doesn’t know, he was the guest mentor on last weeks episode, stepping in oh-so appropriately for 80’s night.  While I’m fully prepared to skip the contestant review of last week and jump straight to this week, I cannot let Mr. George go unrecognized.

My love for Boy George can best be summed up this way: you know you’ve met your future boy-george-back-whenhusband/soul mate when you learn that you have both dressed up as Boy George for halloween.  (To this day, it was one of my best costumes).  Boy George is the one who triggered my love for beautiful androgyny, with his sparkling eyes, delicate features, and perfectly primped and made-up face.  There was a time that Culture Club was my day in and day out soundtrack, and hearing any culture club song now is a totally fun trip down memory lane.  Needless to say, Boy George as the guest mentor on Idol was the greatest perk of the week!  And even with his short hair and frumpier body, he is still as striking and attractive as ever.

The scariest part was that some of these kids (Maddy Walker, mainly) had never even heard of him! Eeeeek!

On to this week… the week of Kelly Clarkson.

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Every Modern Doctor Who Episode Ranked From Worst To Best, Part 2: “Are These Good Episodes?”

[Updated with Season 9 episodes]

And we’re back for more fun with numbers as I continue ranking every modern Doctor Who episode from worst to best. I scraped the bottom of the barrel last week, so now we move on to the middling episodes. That sounds thrilling, doesn’t it? Even though I’m being critical here and these are very flawed doses of the Doctor, they’re perfectly entertaining ways to indulge in 45-minute breaks from the world, but maybe only if you’ve grown tired of re-watching the best episodes too many times. I’d still take any of these over much else we find on television these days.

Now remember – Spoilers!

“Are These Good Episodes?”

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#85 The Bells of St. John: The introduction of the “real” Clara (Clara Prime?) includes great bits, including nice scenes with the Doctor and his soon-to-be-companion plus a brief trip aboard a crashing plane. The sexism with the monks isn’t so great, nor is the idea of presenting Clara as a mystery to be solved rather than a fully formed character in her own right. And the plot about people getting trapped in wi-fi is pretty basic.

#84 The Name of the Doctor: Some cool ideas, like the Doctor visiting his own grave (the one place a time-traveler is never supposed to go—aside from pretty much anywhere in his or her own past, right?) and some incredibly poor payoff—namely, learning that Clara’s many lives existed just to keep the Doctor safe. The story feels like it needed more fleshing out for everything to work properly. Great final scene with River, though, that addresses the troubling end of “Forest of the Dead,” even if it doesn’t fix it. (more…)

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Why I Murdered My Roommate

Screen Shot 2015-03-26 at 2.28.00 PMAnnouncing Why I Murdered My Roommate a new television and trans-medial series set and filmed in Buffalo, New York and sponsored by Fractured Atlas.

The project is a creation of three graduates of the Taliesin Nexus 2014 Filmmaker’s Workshop (renamed Apollo Workshop).  Feeling inspired by the fact that there was a sympathetic group of liberty-loving filmmakers out there, longtime friends Michael Pauly and Tilke Hill decided to finish working on a script exploring one woman’s desire to live outside of anyone or anything’s control and what ensues when she decides that to be a radical individualist doesn’t have to mean rejecting all human bonds.

Why I Murdered My Roommate is a half-hour dark comedy series where the hash absurdity of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia meets the twisty, violence-promising flashback storytelling of Damages or The Affair.  It is the story of EZ Walensa, performance artist, borderline anarchist, and lonely woman looking to make a genuine connection.

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Every Modern Doctor Who Episode Ranked From Worst to Best, part 1: “I’m Sorry. I’m So Sorry.”

doc10opening[Updated with Season 9 episodes]

The Internet likes a good list, doesn’t it? A nice comprehensive, frivolous ranking of a beloved something or other?

All right then. Let’s do this. Let’s rank every episode of modern Doctor Who from worst to best in four weekly installments: “I’m sorry. I’m so sorry,” “Are these good episodes?”, “These episodes are cool,” and “Fantastic!”

I tried not to agonize over the exact rankings, because I wanted to be done this century, so assume a margin of error of plus or minus a few. If I did this a year later, the order would likely turn out differently. It’s all just my opinion, and I respect that you’ll likely disagree. (I know—how dare I rank that episode that low and that episode that high?) This is just for fun, a way to reflect on what’s been a great science fiction series overall.

I love Doctor Who even though not every episode is a winner, and I appreciate how hard it is to write for television. Both showrunners, Russell T Davies and Steven Moffat, have given us brilliant episodes, and both have been guilty of failing to rein in their excesses. Nevertheless, the show remains great on the whole, and I’m thankful for the many wonderfully entertaining hours both writers and their teams have given us.

But none of us are perfect. So in this first part, let’s get the misfires out of the way:

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AI featured

THIS is American Idol: Top 10… or, not so fast.

You know those moments when you think all is right with the world?
But then America just lets you down?

Well, this past week’s episode of American Idol was proving to be one of those very moments.  Until (thank the Lord above) those three AI angels swooped in to give us all a little peace.

This week, in “Movie Week,” each contestant sang a song from, well, a movie.  I had way too much fun predicting who was going to sing what, but for the most part, each one was pretty unpredictable.  Overall, there were three (maybe four) stellar performances – and they each came from the more obscure or unpredictable choices.  This is where I’ll begin.

Joey cook 3.19    JOEY hit another one out of the park!  She showed us her beautifully melancholy and emotional side with a gorgeous rendition of “Mad World” from Donnie Darko.  First, she turned some heads with her officially American Idol stylized new look – a short straight bob (still dyed blue), a frilly red plaid dress with knee high stockings, and a subtle homage to her signature red lipstick.  Still very “Joey” but a fresh and mature look nonetheless.  She abandoned her usual squeezebox or ukelele for a softer seated and hand held mic approach.  Just her, her voice, and the band.  It was the first breathtaking performance of the night – and all the judges agree.  She is so far the most untouchable (girl) of the competition.  And for some reason, I’m surprised by her every week – her choices are bold but she never fails to impress.  And last night she proved she’s more than just a quirky personality with a killer voice.  She’s no dummy – she definitely gets it.

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How to Manage Your Binge Watching Problem

yall-got-anymore-of-them-episodesWelcome to Binge Watchers Anonymous (BWA).

I promise, if you follow this simple schedule you can change your life for the better.  If you are like most binge watchers, when season three of House of Cards premiered Friday, Feb 27th on Netflix you were probably done with the 13 episode season by late Sunday night.  After waiting an entire year for the season to debut, you immediately consumed it in less time it took the series editors to edit one episode.  I understand, I’ve been there.  I cut the cord a long time ago.  No cable, no satellite.  My Netflix and Amazon Prime subscriptions were my only link to the “good” part of television.  I have rabbit ears for the occasional sporting event, local morning news, or American Idol (don’t judge me.)

Both Netflix and Amazon have been developing original series for a few years now, and unlike traditional television, they dump the entire season online at once for audiences to consume at their leisure or as fiendishly as possible.  Most people I know, make it a habit to binge watch all 13 or so episodes all at once because, well they can.  As one who’s engaged in the habit, I began to feel disappointed after it was all done.  Because it’s over too quickly.  Sure, I had control and got to maintain the momentum of the series at my own pace, but it was my weakness for cliffhangers that did me in. I began to miss the anticipation you get when having to wait a week to find out what happens next and to digest and savor that one great episode.  Game of Thrones is a great example.  I enjoy watching it week to week because it’s so good and I get months of enjoyment out of it instead of 13 hours over one weekend.

So, if you’ve ever considered trying to maintain a regular schedule of Netflix or Amazon Prime programming, then I have the solution for you.  It’s the BWA 13 Week Program.

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most wanted pilots

7 Most Wanted Pilot Scripts

blacklistStephanie Palmer over at Studio System News has compiled the seven most wanted tv pilot scripts for writers to download.  One of the best, easiest, and most fun ways to refine your own writing is to read other scripts, especially if they have been produced and as well received by critics and audiences alike.

Last year, Palmer assembled a similar list of 10, which included scripts from Breaking Bad, Mad Men, and The Office. With Mad Men about to join the other two in television’s retirement home, she has compiled a brand new list of seven current television hits.  Among the collection are pilot scripts for House of Cards, Masters of Sex and The Blacklist… 

… As for how The Blacklist came about, Bokenkamp said, “I was kicking around ideas with John Fox, a friend who’s also a producer on the show. He brought up an idea. Whitey Bulger (Boston organized-crime kingpin) was in the news then. What if a Whitey Bulger-type criminal was captured? What if you had a TV show that flashed back on where Hoffa was buried, who shot Kennedy? A bad guy who knew all the secrets, hopping around in time and place. I spent about three months developing it, coming up with a pitch.” Everybody passed on the show but NBC.

At the upfronts, Bob Greenblatt of NBC said Blacklist testing results were, “better than all other 125 NBC drama pilots in the past decade.”

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AI featured

THIS is American Idol… Top 12/11

AI XIVThis week there were two elimination nights in a row! Not sure how I feel about this – barely got to recover from the first one and we went barreling into the second a mere 24 hours later.  Just like that, we went from Top 14 to Top 11! Snap.

Now, considering there seem to be a number of changes to the show’s format, perhaps we’re heading into a double whammy every week – but for my own sanity, I hope not!  Firstly, this would make for quite a short season.  But more importantly, it doesn’t even give America the chance to grieve for each individual who parts ways with the iconic AI stage.  This is an important time in traditional American Idol that allows each viewer to realize the importance of their role in the contestants’ lives, as their favorite is so suddenly tossed aside and never heard from again. It is that very experience that makes each AI devotee commit to their right to vote – for fear of feeling responsible in another senseless American Idol cast off.  But I digress… too heavy?

Anyway, as a follow up to my predictions last week, let’s start there:

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Walking Dead

Super Comics: The Walking Dead #1-6 (2003-04)

the-walking-dead-comic-book-cover-01You might have heard about this little show on AMC called The Walking Dead that’s based on a comic book series of the same name, which has been going strong for something like 138 issues now.

For now, let’s just look at those first six issues, which are collected in the Days Gone Bye trade paperback, and compare them to the first season of the AMC show, which also happened to number six episodes. SPOILERS ahead (but just for that first season/first TPB).

Though they are different beasts, the similarities don’t end there.

The comic was created by writer Robert Kirkman and artist Tony Moore. Kirkman has written every issue of series, though Moore left after issue #6, and Charlie Adlard has kept things going from then on. The television show was brought to life by Frank Darabont of Shawshank Redemption fame (though he’s no longer the showrunner), and Kirkman has written some of the episodes.

That short first season of television is a mixed bag. The pilot episode is masterful. The second episode has some great tension. And then it’s a steady slide into mediocrity from there. The comic is more consistent in its quality level, though reading the first issue after watching the pilot makes the source material feel like the abridged version. An hour-long television show simply has much more room to breathe than a 20-or-so-page comic.

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8 Episodes of The Twilight Zone That Any Friend of Liberty Would Love – Part II

twilight-zone-movieIn Part I, we began our countdown with four episodes of The Twilight Zone that touched on fear of the unknown and how human’s natural instincts react to each other under a veil of suspicion.

For Part II, the list explores futures which are rooted in history, where oppressive states wield their power because they know what’s best for you and for the collective.  Rod Serling, the series’ creator and writer of most episodes, was a decorated WWII veteran and joined the military hoping to fight the Nazis. Serling instead was sent into the Pacific theater to fight against the Japanese.  Having witnessed death and the horrors of war so often, Serling returned to civilian life a strong opponent of military force, and even more opposed to fascistic governments as evidenced in the top three episodes.  But first, we continue with #4 and it’s study on neighborly responsibilities and self-reliance in the face of a looming crisis.

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AI girls

THIS is American Idol… The Girls

AI XIVBe sure to read up on my introduction to this season here along with my summary of the Top 8 guys.

And now for the girls…

I have my favorites, and they probably won’t change.  Overall, I think the guys this season the guys are stronger than the girls – and depending on how things continue to go, a guy will probably win.  That said, the girls that are good are out of this world – “goosies” and all.

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THIS is American Idol… The Guys

AI XIVIn my home, I do not have cable – nor do I have DVR, or any other live TV recording technology.  For some, this may seem like an impossible way of life, however, for me it has been liberating.  As someone who could easily be kept hostage by a plethora of recorded TV shows from any number of 500 possible channels, I have found peace in not thinking about what’s on TV, or how I will make time for so many wasted hours.  However, I have decided to try a social experiment called “Watch American Idol Live Every Week for the Entire Season,” or, in other words, watching TV the old fashioned way.  I am doing this mainly because I had a crazy desire to reconnect with America’s favorite pastime (American Idol), and this is the only surefire way to see this adventure through.

Because I have now made it my job to be home every Wednesday and Thursday night at 8pm, I may as well make that job something greater than watching a show and pigging out.  Which is why I would like to bring to you my weekly account of AI, with my critiques, praises, and predictions.  I have now been watching since day one of auditions, and feel I have a strong enough foundation to make educated and well rounded opinions of each contestant and their roll in this season’s cast.  Overall, I must say, this is one of the best seasons I have seen in a long time – most well produced, great judging panel, strong contestants, and Harry Connick Jr. (yum).

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Homer Simpson Found the Mass of the Higgs Boson Particle 14 Years Before it Was Discovered

A pretty remarkable claim over The Telegraph.

Simon Singh, author of The Simpsons and their Mathematical Secrets, told a literary festival audience that the series is staffed by writers with an interest in maths.

“That equation predicts the mass of the Higgs boson. If you work it out, you get the mass of a Higgs boson that’s only a bit larger than the nano-mass of a Higgs boson actually is.

“It’s kind of amazing as Homer makes this prediction 14 years before it was discovered.”

 

Since I hated math as a subject while forced to learn it in grade school, and having spent a few of my childhood summers making up for sub-standard grades, I’ll have to take his word for it.  It’s also a crazy reminder that not only has The Simpsons been on TV 14 years priors to the actual discovery, it was on when I was in high school impressing my teachers with my style over substance approach to school and that, my friends was a long time ago.

h/t Acculturated

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8 Episodes of The Twilight Zone That Any Friend of Liberty Would Love – Part I

twilight-zone-movieThe Twilight Zone was an afternoon staple of my childhood summers.  In Los Angeles during the 80s,  two episodes ran in syndication every day from 12pm-1pm.  An older boy who lived around the corner would watch my younger sister and I in the afternoon for a few bucks until my mother came home from work.  He insisted that he be able to watch The Twilight Zone and that if we missed even the first few minutes of an episode, that it would ruin the whole show and we may as well not even watch it. Between that discipline and the Independence Day and Thanksgiving Day  marathons, The Twilight Zone is every bit a part of the fabric of my cultural upbringing as was my Italian grandmother’s cooking, Transformers in my backpack and Tommy Lasorda’s Dodgers.

It wasn’t until much later in life that my favorite episodes of The Twilight Zone shifted from the time-traveling commercial jet and dinosaur cameos of “The Odyssey of Flight 33” and the surprise twist of  “To Serve Man” a title which referred to a cookbook, to the more thought provoking social and political commentary that were the basis of other equally enthralling episodes.

I’d like to offer up the top 8 episodes of The Twilight Zone that do a fine job in the world of human freedom by commenting on either individualism, free markets or  liberty – perhaps even all three.

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