Wednesday, December 10, 2014

TWD Beth Greene Suicide By Cop WTF

This is a show where characters have to die to keep this world real. If people were just surviving nonstop, it wouldn't really be an apocalyptic situation ~ Robert Kirkman, creator of The Walking Dead.

The "mid-season finale" of AMC's The Walking Dead aired last Sunday night - so if you haven't watched it yet and are concerned about spoilers - read no further. Although the title of this post pretty much gives away what happened. The Beth Greene character did something really stupid and got herself killed. Now, Beth was suicidal following her realization that her mother and brother were not sick but dead (her father told her that zombism was an illness that might possibly be cured)... But the mom and brother were definitely dead when shot in the head by Rick Grimes.

After that happened Beth tried to commit suicide by slitting her wrists. Although all indications after that were that Beth had decided she wanted to live, which makes her suicide by cop all the more perplexing. Prior to the airing of the episode I had read on the IMDB message board that most people thought Beth would die - so I was not surprised when she did - but the manner of her death did elicit a huge "WTF" from me.

Prior to the mid-season finale, Beth had been "rescued" by a group of cops who had holed up in a hospital in Atlanta. After treating her wounds her captors told her she was now their slave. Or that she "owed" them and had to work off her debt. That is what the cop leader "Dawn" told her. Anyway, through a series of events that I won't go into with this commentary, Rick and friends found out where Beth was, took some cops hostage, and proposed a prisoner exchange.

The exchange was almost complete when Dawn said Noah - a defector from her group that had joined Rick's group - had to stay at the hospital - or there would be no deal. Noah said he would stay, but Beth decided to stab Dawn with a pair of scissors instead. Except, instead of stabbing Dawn in the neck or head and killing her, Beth stabbed her in the shoulder. So Dawn defended herself and blew Beth's head off. Although Dawn was wearing her cop bulletproof vest and was therefore not hurt at all (not sure about this and it never even occurred to me until I read a comment on a messageboard in which someone pointed this out).

Beth said "I get it now" just prior to the scissor stabbing of Dawn - but I don't get it. Beth was preparing to leave with her friends, but decided to provoke Dawn into killing her? In front of her friends? Which could have (but didn't) result in a shootout in which many more people were killed?

Frankly Beth's actions made absolutely no sense. And, for that reason, I believe this episode (titled "Coda") is one of the dumbest. Later, on the after show "Talking Dead", a poll question asked if the redneck character Daryl should have shot Dawn in the head for killing Beth (which he did). I answered "no", as I saw Dawn's actions as self-defense. But as it turned out 93 percent disagreed. Host Chris Hardwick said "7 percent of the people are dead inside".

"Dead inside"? I was prepared to be sad that Beth was killed (when I was suspecting it was going to be her before the episode aired). But when it actually happened I was not sad. Because she killed herself! Hardwick asked Emily Kinney (the actress who portrayed Beth) "when do you think Beth knew she was going to stab Dawn in the neck?" But Beth DIDN'T stab Dawn in the neck! If she had Dawn would have died and Beth wouldn't have been shot in the head. So it was a suicide.

Although Emily Kinney sees it differently.

Emily Kinney: Beth has been getting stronger this season. She has been gaining more confidence. It was one of those moments where they got what they needed but then she had this moment of overconfidence. ... that wasn't a good decision.

Not a good decision to stab Dawn in the neck and miss? I'd agree with that. But she really "missed"! If Beth HAD stabbed Dawn in the neck and killed her then Noah could leave. Turns out Dawn's group of cops wanted her out of her leadership position, and after Daryl shot Dawn everyone decided NOT to start shooting at each other. The "overconfidence" was (apparently) that she could raise her arm to the right level so that the scissors went into Dawn's neck and not shoulder.

To close out the show Hardwick said "I know this was a tough one", referring to Beth's demise... but that wasn't the reason it was "tough" for me. The reason it was "tough" was because of how dumb it was. That one moment when Beth decides that suicide by cop is how she will protest Dawn's decision to insist that Noah remain at the hospital. Or stab Dawn in the neck (and miss). Either way Beth's death was lame.

Other than that moment, I also disliked them making Rick a stone cold killer (running down a cop and then shooting him - just for trying to escape). Executing someone for trying to escape is just wrong. But he did just slaughter those cannibals in the church... so, they deserved what they got while the cop did not. But I can understand why it's easier for Rick to cross that line now. Even if the former situation was self defense and the later is murder.

So I could accept that... but Beth committing suicide in a manner that might have resulted in the deaths of many of her friends (who were there to rescue her)? And, even though nobody on "Talking Dead" viewed it that way, it WAS a suicide (by cop). If Beth had wanted to kill Dawn she would have. By stabbing here in the shoulder I don't know WHY she wouldn't expect Dawn to defend herself.

So, I CAN accept that characters die as Kirkman said... just not in so stupid a manner. Anyway, I will watch the show when it returns in February. But my disappointment with this episode will remain. There will be more character deaths, but hopefully no more dumb ones.

PPP #35

Monday, August 18, 2014

Garfunkel & Oates: Save the Rich (A Song for Occupy Wall Street)

A song for Occupy Wall Street called "Save The Rich". Sung from the point of view of someone who believes our economy should be run for the benefit of the wealthy.

Written and performed by the comedy duo Garfunkel and Oates, which "is an American comedy-folk duo from Los Angeles, California, consisting of actress-songwriters Kate Micucci (Oates) and Riki Lindhome (Garfunkel). The band name is derived from 'two famous rock-and-roll second bananas', Art Garfunkel and John Oates" (quoted from Wikipedia).

Kate Micucci's first major television exposure was her role as Stephanie Gooch in Scrubs, and later as Shelley in Raising Hope and Raj's girlfriend Lucy in The Big Bang Theory (also quoted from Wikipedia). Although I know her from Scrubs, I've never watched either of those other programs.

Description: Official Version. Caution: includes profanity (2:48).

Description: As performed with "Weird Al" Yankovic. Profanity removed, likely for the benefit of Mr. Yankovic who does not use profanity in his music, unlike G&O (3:02).

PPP #34. See also OST #30.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Something The Lord Made, Orchestral Score by Christopher Young (Autographed)

I'm selling a brand new copy of the orchestral score from the film Something the Lord Made.

This 2004 film stars Mos Def (AKA Yasiin Bey) as the black cardiac pioneer Vivien Thomas and tells the story of his complex and volatile partnership with white surgeon Alfred Blalock (Alan Rickman), the world famous "Blue Baby doctor" who pioneered modern heart surgery. Orchestral music by American composer Christopher Young. The total running time of this 14 track CD is 40:57

The CD brand new and in pristine mint condition. Although it is not sealed, it is brand new and unused.

This limited edition release of 1000 units originally sold for $19.99 when released. Unautographed copies are still available from the manufacturer, but the autographed copies sold out a long time ago (only 100 booklets were autographed). The disc was released by BSX records records on 9/19/2008.

Click image to enlarge

PPP #33

Friday, July 19, 2013

Impressive Pet Tricks 003: Uggie the Jack Russell Terrier

You may have heard of a 10-year-old Jack Russell terrier named Uggie, seeing as he is a world famous moive star. Uggie is owned and was trained by Omar von Muller, the same individual who trained Jumpy the Border Collie/Heeler mix I profiled in a post from 7/17/2013. Uggie is most famous for his co-starring role in the 2011 film The Artist. Uggie's last role was a cameo (playing himself) in the film The Campaign, starring Will Ferrell and Zach Galifianakis. Will Ferrell attempts to punch Zach Galifianakis but misses and punches Uggie instead.

Uggie's Wikipedia page says that he "was rejected by at least his first two owners as being too wild", and that "he was about to be sent to a dog pound" before being adopted by animal trainer Omar Von Muller. In addition to numerous commercials, Uggie has appeared in 6 feature films. Uggie won the 11th annual Palm Dog Award for best performance by a canine at the 2011 Cannes Film Festival, for his role as "Jack" in The Artist. On June 25 2012, Uggie was the first dog ever to be invited to immortalize his pawprints in cement outside Grauman's Chinese Theatre in Hollywood Boulevard. The City of Los Angeles declared the date Uggie Day.

The Wikipedia entry for Jack Russells notes that they are "an energetic breed that relies on a high level of exercise and stimulation" and that the breed originates "from dogs bred and used by Reverend John Russell in the early 19th century". Regarding longevity, Wikipedia says "Jack Russells can live anywhere from between 13 to 16 years on average".

Video Description: Omar von Muller and Uggie appear on the The Better Show to discuss Uggie's life, film career and biography, Uggie: My Story. The Better Show gets its name from it's distributor's (the Meredith Corporation) flagship publication, Better Homes and Gardens. The Better Show is co-hosted by Audra Lowe and JD Roberto from studios in Midtown Manhattan. Video posted to YouTube on 1/14/2013 (4:49).

Video Description: Uggie appears on The Ellen DeGeneres Show with his owner & trainer Omar von Muller, 1/17/2012. Video posted to YouTube on 1/18/2012 (2:12).

Video Description: Uggie and Dash ride their skateboards. Video posted to YouTube on 3/17/2011 (1:43).

PPP #32

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Impressive Pet Tricks 002: Bunny The Diving Chocolate Lab

Bunny is a rescue Lab currently being fostered by Tami Stanley of Eluess Texas. Bunny is a female Chocolate Labrador Retriever who is aproximately one year old. The description for this YouTube video says "Bunny the lab is making a splash on the Web. The rescue dog has been getting attention for a video that shows off her swimming skills fetching toys at the bottom of a 13-foot-deep pool".

According to Stanley, she "first discovered Bunny's skill when she was in the pool holding a toy underwater. Bunny held her breath, swam by and snagged the toy". The Petfinder page created for Bunny says she is "funny and sweet", "fabulous with other dogs", and "on the smaller size". I found a video on the USA Today website that says Bunny is described on her Petfinder page as "not the brightest dog". Apparently Texas Labrador Retriever Rescue Inc decided agaisnt denigrating poor Bunny's intelligence and changed the wording. The Petfinder ad now describes Bunny as "silly".

Regarding Chocolate Labs, Wikipedia says, "the origins of all Chocolate labradors listed on the LabradorNet database (some 34,000 Labrador dogs of all shades) to eight original bloodlines. These bloodlines each lead back to three black Labradors in 1880s Newfoundland. Labradors are relatively large, with males typically weighing 64-90lb and females 55-71lb. The life expectancy for Labs is generally 10 to 12 years".

Video Description: Bunny dives to the bottom of a 13 foot pool to retrieve a toy. It is quite rare for a dog to be able to hold it's breath for long periods of time underwater. Video posted to YouTube on 7/16/2013 (2:01).

PPP #31

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Impressive Pet Tricks 001: Jumpy the Border Collie/Heeler Mix

Jumpy is a 4 year old male Border Collie/Heeler mix trained by Omar von Muller. In the comment section for the first YouTube video below one viewer asks if Jumpy has ever been injured performing a trick. Omar responds by writing, "No, as dangerous as they look... if he looses the scooter or skateboard at a high speed he just runs with it like nothing. All the other jumps etc were done one step at a time and never an accident".

Uggie the Jack Russell Terrier -- famous for his co-starring role in the 2011 film The Artist -- is another canine trained by von Muller. I presume that Jumpy is a star in his own right, but could not find any information regarding any acting gigs (a Google search returned only results that included the video below).

Video Description: Jumpy performs various tricks, including riding a scooter standing on his two hind legs down a hill! 6/30/2013 (2:05).

Video Description: Jumpy winks on command. Video posted to YouTube on 9/3/2011 (1:00).

PPP #30

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Are You A Human Living In the Milky Way Galaxy On The Planet Earth Under the Atmosphere But On Top of The Planet's Crust Who Is Trying To Lose Pure Body Fat?

Male Announcer: Do you have too much body fat? It tends to accumulate on your stomach, hips and thighs. Body fat is unattractive and extremely hard to get rid of.

Female spokes model: Are you struggling to lose weight? Does it seem like no matter what you do you just can't get rid of excess body fat?

Male Announcer: Body fat builds over our midsection on top of the muscle underneath the skin...

Me, joking: ...under your clothes, inside your house, underneath the atmosphere, on the planet earth, on top of the crust, inside the Milky Way galaxy. If you're the kind of person who views the accumulation of pure body fat a problem Lipozene might be for you. On the other hand, if you think this sounds like a bunch of hooey, despite their claims that their snake oil is "clinically proven", it might not be for you (and you might be right).

Me, serious: After some research using the Google machine I found that Lipozene is a bunch of hooey as well as very expensive. The primary ingredient in Lipozene is glucomannan, which is a fiber. So all it is basically doing is making you feel full. It does not directly cause weight loss, as the name "Lipozene" suggests. This product has nothing at all in common with liposuction (the surgical removal of fat via a vacuum).

Also, to get the amount of fiber that would be necessary to "achieve substantial weight loss", you would need to take at least 14 capsules a day. However, the manufacturer warns that taking more than 6 capsules a day might not be safe. Take any more and you'll probably end up suffering from "severe diarrhea and gastrointestinal distress", including gas and bloating. It is even possible that your gut could explode (seriously). This is according to a professor of nutritional sciences at the University of Toronto.

How Stuff Works says "...the supplement really is inefficient [and] does not come for cheap. If you take [6 capsules a day], then each 60-count bottle of Lipozene will last for only 10 days. At a cost of roughly $30 per bottle, that brings the cost of a one month supply to $90".

My conclusion? Don't be fooled by this scam. We all know that the only way to lose weight is to eat less and exercise more. Unfortunately there are no shortcuts or magic pills. But I'm sure the manufacturer isn't having any trouble finding enough suckers to make this flimflam quite profitable.

PPP #29