Saturday, 4 October 2008

Dead Like Me, The Show


I wrapped up the first season of Dead Like Me....which was a 2003 and 2004 show on Showtime. I have to admit....I just barely got into the first episode and then the final fifteen minutes sold me entirely. I was addicted from that point on.

Would I call this a science fiction type show? Face it....its Grim Reapers at work....and the slant of the writing is half-serious and half-sarcastic. Its a comical view of life as it twists and turns.

My character? Delores Herbig....played by Christine Willes. After five or six episodes....I felt she should have earned an Oscar. I would have done an entire series just around Delores....and just have her hang out with folks at the office.

So if you have a week off and you would really like to sit around, munch on chocolates and sip ice tea.....pick up the first season of Dead Like Me.....and enjoy some of the best written material in years.

Islamic Winky Women


There's an interesting story off BBC regarding a new concept suggested in the middle east. Apparently....Sheikh Muhammad al-Habadan has suggested that showing both eyes encourages women to use eye make-up to look seductive. The Sheikh is firmly against such behavior....so he thinks women should be limited in public with only one eye showing.

Of course, what the Sheikh is suggesting is some type of niqab or Burka outfit....which would cover most everything.....to include one eye.

I sat there pondering this development, and thought the real answer here....is a pirate patch.....which these Islamic women could wear and at the same time strike fear in the hearts of mere mortals.....and maybe a couple of Sheikh dimwits.

For those who aren't readily familiar with Sheikh Habadan, He's kinda like the Doctor Phil of far-ultra-ultra-ultra-conservative Islam. And kinda like Doctor Phil....when this guy speaks....folks listen. So I'm predicting lots of pirate patches sold next year.

CNN Broadcasts at 4th Grade Level?

Somehow, in the great way of CNN-thinking.....someone rigged up this analysis....grade-level analysis. So they applied this to the Palin-Biden debate. The best that we can say here....is that Governor Palin performed at the 10th grade level of speech, and Senator Biden performed at the 8th grade level of speech.

So this Austin based company did this analysis for CNN.....which I assume they actually got paid for this, and I would assume it was in the $50k range. Apparently during the great Obama-McCain debate......Obama spoke 8,068 words and McCain spoke 7,150 words. They compared this against Palin and Biden......with 5,235 for Palin and 5,492 for Biden. Then they tossed in a measurement of grade levels.

They went to the next level of grade analysis. Just for you historians.....they admit that Abe Lincoln typically spoke at the 11th grade-level of speech. For Biden....it was the 8th grade level and for Sarah....it was the 10th grade level.

I sat there in awe of these individuals. Certainly.....they had never measured Socrates or Plato. If they had....it would have been a remarkable 6th grade level....I'm fairly sure. Both men were short on words and thick on wisdom....but then these Austin folks can't measure wisdom.

I pondered myself....if I were measured and what level I would be deemed? Would I barely pass the fifth grade? Would I damn the torpedoes and zoom to the 11th grade? Would I do a average 9th grade level? I pondered and wondered about this.

Then in a moment of brilliance....it hit me. What of CNN? What could we possibly grade CNN? I put forth every ounce of intellect and intelligence I have....and after 60 long seconds....I came to the conclusion that CNN broadcasts primarily at the 4th grade level. They dumb down the news.....introducing news which isn't really news.....and label everything with a simple slide.....a quick word....and then dump 60 seconds of fluff into your mindless brain. An intellectual would sit there....gasping and clawing for more data and information....then realizing that it was all a simple waste of time. Other than a pretty graphic and some neat video....they were given nothing of substance....which is what a 4th grader likes the most.

Welcome to my world....and its lack of reality. Maybe tomorrow....we're measure folk's septic tanks and grade them as a 1-star, 2-star, 3-star or 4-star.....and broadcast that across town. It might be of CNN-vital interest.

Junior ROTC and San Fransisco

Somewhere around 1862....congress came up with the this act....which basically created ROTC.....Reserve Officers Training Corps. The Morrill Act basically told the Army to give hand-me-down guns and artillery to some university corps.....which acted like university militia organizations. This was supposed to prepare young men for the position in life of Army commanders.

If you looked around the US throughout the 1870s to the early 1900s....this grew from a couple of universities to a large scale operation. But if you looked at what they were doing....it was simply meeting a couple hours per week....marching around and then maybe once a month or quarter....they went out and shot some rounds of ammo.

It wasn't till the 1950s when things really took off and every single university had a program, and ROTC helped to fund thousands of students each year in their attempt to get higher education.

The program has merit and hardly any university argues about the program. But there is a secondary program which has attracted some criticism in the past year. Junior ROTC.

This is a bit different in history. It wasn't until 1912 that JROTC came around. This went directly into high schools and had the same aim....drill and march....shoot a couple of times in the year.....and instill discipline in young people.

Where I grew up in Bama in the late 1960s and early 1970s.....there wasn't a JROTC. To be honest, even if they had arrived at the school and attempted a program....out of potentially 300 students in high school that might have joined....they would have barely interested eight folks. In the entire county where I grew up.....I don't think a single JROTC unit existed.

When you talk to most folks....JROTC is mostly found in urban areas or near military posts. Its a popular thing in major urban areas where parents and teachers are looking for a vehicle to instill discipline in high school kids. In the mind of some folks....it has major positive influences.

So a year or two ago....in San Fransisco.....folks got upset about the war and about the military anti-gay behavior. So they talked alot amongst the locals and they have a bill on the ballot in November where JROTC will be removed from the local environment. They even went out of their way last year and put up a alternate program that was supposed to be non-military and achieve the same results. So far....based on local commentary in San Fransisco.....it really hasn't done alot or achieved the same results. The locals agree....the alternate program ought to be around and does fit some folks better than JROTC.....but most locals hint that they don't want to see JROTC terminated entirely.

The crowd fighting for termination.....simply believe that the US military influence in their daily lives is unnecessary and very wrong in making a young 17-year old kid think in a military fashion. The curious thing....is that there are only three school board candidates on the ballot in November there in the area....who are flatly against the JROTC program.

No one is quiet sure how this will come out. Most folks believe it'll be a 52-48 percent outcome, and be fairly close.

My analysis of JROTC. Personally, I'd rather not have them in a high school environment. Most teachers and local folks are simply absolving themselves of their responsibility as mature leaders and they pretend to dissolve away in the mist where situations demand leadership. They want a positive band-aid and think that JROTC will do the job in the end with trouble-makers or kids on the borderline.

Frankly, I don't see this as much of a real answer except you got guys in charge of JROTC who will provide leadership when necessary. Teachers? Well....they simply did well on four years of education and never spent a minute in a leadership role. So after twenty years in some high school....they are still just educators and nothing more. The public is demanding something....and this is their solution. I don't buy it. I'd rather than face a band-aid of this sort.

My guess is that JROTC will survive, barely, in San Fransisco. Most folks will be upset, and in four years....run another campaign to end it. The fight simply won't end. And if it did pass? Well....some folks would rig up some neighborhood program, with local resources, and just continue on....just outside of the school....kinda like the boy scouts probably. Life goes on.