Tag Archives: TV

Kid show mutterings

We no longer have cable. Like more people seem to be doing, what TV we watch is from Netflix and Hulu. Now part of the decision was because most of the TV we watch are the kid shows the girls like. As I’ve stated in the past, there are some very good cartoons and such that the kids like. There are some that are irritating but still okay. Then there are those that are so horrible, so cringe-inducing that we do our best to prevent the kids from watching them.

The bombardment of child-focused television causes my brain to enter strange places. Are these thoughts normal for all parents? Is my chemically imbalanced mind alone the place these thoughts dwell? You be the judge.

#1) How does Telly from “Sesame Street” not have ulcers yet?

#2) I think most of the problems on “Curious George” could be resolved by NOT letting the monkey run around unattended.

#3) Also in regards to #2, Curious George is an ape! He is not a monkey!

#4) The merkids on “Bubble Guppies” seem to be the only ones of their kind, surrounded by fish and sea creatures. So are they actually mutant fish or some form of Missing Link?

#5) How does Ramone on “Peg+Cat” have so many jobs? Does he still go to school or did he test out due to a superior IQ?

#6) I find “Wallykazam” much funnier than I probably have any right to as an adult.

#7) Am I the only one who looks at “Doc McStuffins” and sees the potential for a future supervillain?

#8) What do the parents in “The Pajanimals” actually look like? Did the mom naturally give birth to four different animal species or is this a case of adoption?

#9) The puppets and makeup for “LazyTown” are terrifying.

#10) Has anyone involved with the creation of “Caillou” been brought to justice?

These are but a sample of the things I now consider. They pop into my head at unexpected times. The related show doesn’t even need to be on. What have I become?

 

2016-What the hell was that?

So, how’s everyone doing?

Anyone else feel like the world got some kind of galactic food poisoning this year? Am I the only person who thinks life suddenly seems to have far too much in common with things like Animal Farm and bad reality TV? I haven’t spoken to a single person who has said that 2016 was a good year. But it only has a few weeks left. Then we head into 2017 with cautious hope or abject terror. Maybe a mix of both. All while waiting to see what kind of existential cherry 2016 will drop on itself as a finishing touch.

So what the hell happened?

I will try not to get into much relating to the politics and election of this last year. I addressed that, with my own nerdy stance, in my “Blue Lantern” post. Go there if you are interested. So let’s look at the rest of it.

DEATH: I know. There is always a lot of death. Everyday, people die. Someone loses somebody they care about everyday. But one of the impossible to ignore points of 2016 has been a very high death rate among the famous. I’m talking about ginormous levels of death. Prince, Harper Lee, Muhammad Ali, Leonard Cohen, John Glenn, and a seemingly endless amount more. Personally, I was and still am very sad about the loss of Alan Rickman and Gene Wilder. Don’t even get me started on David Bowie! I’m still holding out hope that he just went back to his home planet!

So with this in mind, I encourage that all records stop calling this merely “2016” and give it the more metal title of Year of the Reaper. We can have a plaque made or something. The year has earned it.

CIVILITY: Overall, I think that everyone just became meaner this year. We are less prone to being polite or civil to each other. We are more insistent that the thoughts and feelings of others have no value. The only opinion that matters is our own and it is always right. Also, I’m well aware that I’m putting my opinion into a blog in the hopes that someone cares what I think.

Look, I’m not saying we need to put a stranger’s thoughts at the top priority of our lives. That would be silly. Assuming you don’t play host to an alien parasite, only you live in your own skin. But how bad would it be if we actually put some thought into how our actions impact those around us? I like having nice things as much as the next person, but I don’t want to hurt anyone so I can have them. And what’s wrong with actively trying to listen to someone else? No one says you have to agree with an opinion. Hell, I don’t even think you’re required to respect it. But we can at least acknowledge that it exists. I have met people who said their favorite Batman was George Clooney! That is their opinion and I acknowledge it. I think it’s wrong and bad, but I acknowledge that they feel this way and it really isn’t destroying the world. They aren’t attacking those that disagree with them. So I’m not going to treat these people poorly because of their Dark Knight preferences. It shouldn’t be so difficult to treat other humans like they are human.

TRUST: From what I’ve seen, this took a beating for a lot of people this year. Don’t trust the government. Don’t trust the media. Don’t trust the cops. Don’t trust the activist groups. Don’t trust your neighbor. Basically, don’t trust anyone at all.

Now to be fair, I think that people as a whole find their trust gets abused far too much. It’s good to be wary and think critically. But the important word in that last sentence is think. Dismissing everything is just as bad as believing everything. People can be easily manipulated in either extreme. So when it comes to trust, there are things we need to work on. Read everything. Trust your own ability to be analytical, but also trust your instincts. If something feels off there is probably a reason that it does. Find out that reason. Check facts as much as possible. Get varying opinions and try to find what has some real weight to it. And remember that trust is something we have to earn. If it’s lost, then see if it can be earned back. If one person proves that they absolutely cannot be trusted, don’t assume this needs to apply to everyone. You don’t want to be naive and being paranoid isn’t any better.

We still have a little time left before 2016 is over. Many things can happen still. But I think it would be wrong of me to not include something that, at least for myself, was a positive point this year. I would like to thank the individual who made the following video. You filled a void in my life I never knew existed. And to everyone else, I say best of luck in the coming year. REGULATORS! MOUNT UP!

 

What We Are: or, this is when I lose readers

If you know me on any kind of personal level, you know I hate talking about politics. I have a few reasons. I think that most of us have a tough time doing it without getting defensive. Mainly, it’s because I’ve become far too cynical where this kind of thing is concerned. We seem to get little done and the whole system is such a mess. No matter what people say, the ones who actually have any pull don’t seem to listen.

But over the last few weeks, particularly the last few days, I’ve gotten to the point where if I don’t say something I will make myself sick. And while I try to keep my sense of humor when I write, I just don’t feel like laughing at the moment.

I will never be one of those people who shouts their patriotism for all to hear. I’ve had moments when I’ve felt proud of my country and its people, and moments where I’m disappointed. But regardless of if I have pride or not, this is my home. I see it as something that just is, much like parts of my body just are. Whether I’m proud of my right arm or not, it is my right arm. I see no reason to change that. Still, I have to ask some questions.

When did we become so scared? When did we become so greedy?

I just find myself becoming confused these days. I understand being afraid. There are a lot of things that keep me up at night. I also understand wanting money. Not having it causes an insane amount of stress. But I thought that the point was to acknowledge these things and not let them run your life. Yet every time I go on Facebook or turn on the TV or read a news article, the opposite seems to be true. Is it baseless? No. There are scary things going on in the world. The economy, while a little better than it was, is still a mess. Now, do I think this excuses the behavior I’m seeing? Again, and emphatically, no!

What happened? Yes, I know that 9/11 happened. I know war has happened. I know people have been elected and blamed and defended and all that other stuff. Recently, I know that people in this country have been assaulted and shot and killed. I know that other places like Beirut and Paris have been victims of disgusting terrorist attacks. But rather than becoming stronger, we just seem to fall apart more each year. We could be trying to be better, which I understand is really hard to do. Trust me, I’m stubborn. I get how hard it can be to change anything! That’s why I try to make little changes, one at a time. But at least I’m trying. I’m sure a lot of people are trying just as hard, if not harder. But as a whole, I’ve been having a rough time with what we appear to have become. And what is that? What are we now?

What we are is a contradictory, confused mess. I see people who are terrified of refugees and want stricter background checks or to just make them go away. But suggest stronger checks for people buying guns and you hate freedom. You are trying to take their rights away. We lose our minds when people do crazy shit in the name of one religion, but turn away when it gets done in the name of another. People are throwing around hashtags and phrases like “pro-life” and “All Lives Matter” but couldn’t be bothered to do anything for the homeless, some of which are veterans. And yes, I can despise war and fighting and still support veterans. If you get to be complicated, so do I.

What we are is a society in which we demand people pay for what they want, which is fine. Not everything can be free. But not let them earn enough money to do so because some jobs are “more important than others” is ridiculous. We tell kids to get an education, then try to make it impossible to do so. And if they do, we only hire them for jobs they didn’t need an education to perform. And then we don’t have to pay them more because, again, some jobs are apparently more important than others. Besides, education can lead to science and that seems to be a bad thing now. Seriously, when did science and learning and just THINKING become bad?

What we are is a country where the type of person you are matters less than your gender, your religion, your income, your love life, your damn skin color. We are a society with a political system that has basically made the office of President pointless, because the rest of the government just wants to argue and BE right instead of DO right. We have politicians and people running for office who think that internment camps and making people wear religion-based ID is a good idea! And we still have individuals out there who think the so-called American Dream exists? I’m sorry, but the only “American Dream” that I’ve ever been aware of was a wrestler named Dusty Rhodes and he’s no longer with us.

I’m not looking to pick a fight. I’m just tired. And I make a lot of mistakes. But we have to do better and it won’t happen if we stay the way we are. But I don’t know what the answer is. I look at my daughters and as much as I love them, I get sad. I feel like they are doomed to live in a society that will always look down on them for something. Maybe their bodies, or their personalities, or their passions. I have to keep telling myself that there is still a lot of good in this world, but it gets harder the uglier I see people become. We don’t want to help each other anymore. I sometimes wonder if we ever really did.

This won’t break me. I will keep going. I just had to let it out. I don’t know what the answer is. I just know I have enough stomach issues without letting all this stuff turn into an ulcer. So I guess stop following me if I offend you. Stop talking to me if I disgust you. I won’t take it personally. I’m just done. If you stick around I’ll try to make the next post more fun. But right now I need a ginger ale.

Superhero

Does every little kid, at some point, want to be a superhero?

I love superheroes. When given the opportunity, I still like to read comic books. I’ve always wanted to go see the movies, even before they turned into the new Western and EVERYONE saw them. If I stumble across a good superhero cartoon ( or even-semi entertaining) I want to watch it. When I was little, I would try to make up what kind of superhero I would be. Hell, I still do that now. That’s not too weird, right?

I love the DC and Marvel canon, though I’m a little hard pressed to say what I like more. Maybe a little more Marvel since it always seemed to exist a little closer to the real world. Then again, DC always sparked my imagination a little more. So I don’t know. Hey, I said it was hard! No, you shut up!

One of the things I’ve come to think as an adult is that superhero stories are a lot like a more modern folklore. I definitely think that the heroes of ancient myth are like the superheroes of today. Actually, in some cases (hi, Thor) they are the same hero.

I don’t think I’ll spend much time talking about why I think other people like (or don’t like) superheroes. But maybe if I talk about what I like and why, it will make sense to you. I already feel like this is a topic I can spend a lot of time with, but I like to keep these posts from being too long. And this is a topic I can talk about for AWHILE. So I will probably come back to this. For now, I’ll stick with a few “franchise players” of the superhero world.

BATMAN: Let’s just start with the obvious. Batman is a badass, plain and simple. Individuals with a lot more sheer power are wary of Batman. Why? It doesn’t have much to do with the cool tech. It has a lot more to do with the fact that this is a normal man who pushed himself to the absolute limit. He is about as mentally and physically honed as a mere mortal can be. Yes, he is dangerously obsessed with his personal war on crime. He will never have a remotely normal life. He often alienates himself from those that would help him. He is dangerous. I can’t think of a psychiatrist who wouldn’t love to pick at this guy’s head. But at the end of the day, Batman is very human. I’ve read story lines with Batman helping children, grieving over friends, and sacrificing more of himself to make sure others don’t have to see what he has seen. It makes him all the more heroic.

On a side note, out of all the movies and TV versions, my favorite Batman is Kevin Conroy. The 90’s animated series is just great, and I think the Arkham video games have been some of the best Batman “movies” in recent years.

THE HULK: I love the Hulk. He is one of my absolute favorite characters and always has been. I always identified with the Jekyll and Hyde meets Frankenstein that is Bruce Banner/the Hulk. Here is a guy who is smart but is constantly having to repress himself. He has this other side that is all primal, emotional, explosion. The Hulk has on many occasions been an accidental hero, stopping the bad guy while trying to get away from whatever made him angry in the first place. Banner wants to connect with people, but he is always a little withdrawn for fear of the Hulk coming out. As for the Hulk, most of the time he just wants to be left alone. Still, if he sees someone as a friend, he’ll fight for them with everything he has.

The Hulk is not your basic good guy, but there is definitely more hero than monster to him. But let’s be honest. Who out there hasn’t wanted to let loose that way? Who hasn’t wished that they could respond to something with “Hulk smash” and have that be okay? That’s absolutely part of his appeal.

Speaking of your basic good guy….

SUPERMAN: This is a tough one. I’ve always preferred Superman within the context of the Justice League versus his solo stories. I think the character works better when he has other heroes to interact with. The thing about Superman is that he easily goes to extremes. He is often either the flying Boy Scout or a god with little depth. Attempts to make the character “gritty” haven’t often worked. But when you focus on Superman’s humanity, things get interesting.

I thought the TV show “Smallville” did a great job with this, in addition to making the whole stupid Superboy concept believable. While Bruce Wayne is the secret identity of Batman, Superman is the secret identity of Clark Kent. He is a man who wants to do the right thing. He is unwavering in his belief that his powers should be used to help people. At the same time, he has to live with the knowledge that he can’t help everyone. He sets a standard. He gives hope. But when he fails (which is rare) he takes it really hard. Still, Clark will put the cape back on and try again. He will be Superman. He will be that symbol of hope that people look for. How can I not respect that?

SPIDER-MAN: I will close this post by focusing on Spidey. He is another of my lifelong favorites, which I find a little funny seeing how I am a bit arachnophobic. I think one of the things that attracts me to Peter Parker/Spider-Man is that he might be the most imperfect superhero out there.

This is a guy who messes up a lot, both as Peter and as Spider-Man. He has problems with relationships. He doesn’t always stop the bad guy. He tries to protect a city that doesn’t completely trust him. And the sheer level of loss that Spider-Man has experienced is staggering. Friends, allies, and loved ones have all been taken from him over the years. He still fights the good fight. He still keeps his sense of humor. He hasn’t let it break him.

Maybe it goes back to the line. I think at this point, EVERYONE knows the line. Say it with me. “With great power comes great responsibility.” Peter could very easily be a criminal. He could be the menace that some of his fellow New Yorkers claim he is. But instead, he uses his power to make things better for the people in his world.  In the end, he is doing what I think a lot of people try to do. He does what I try to do. Spider-Man goes out there and does the best he can with who he is. He takes his mistakes, and tries to use them to be just a little better. He does what he can to make a positive difference.

Everyday, Spider-Man tries to be a better person than he was the day before. I think we should all be doing the same.

 

The Bigfoot plural?

Where was I when every place in the world suddenly got their own Sasquatch?

I really like cryptozoology. Whenever a show like Monster Quest or Destination Truth comes along, I’m all about it. I love the folklore. I really do believe that there are things out there that science can’t explain or that we haven’t found. I keep an open mind to the mythic aspect, particularly if I feel confidant in the source.

I also don’t really mind if something gets debunked. A lot of the time, the monster we think we have can still end up revealing something cool. Look at the gorilla. For years and years people thought it was a mythical beast. No one believed it was real, until someone proved that it was. Look at the Kraken. The stories of this terrifying sea monster led to discovering the giant squid and the colossal squid. How is this stuff not awesome?

Then they had to go a put “Finding Bigfoot” on TV. For a long time, North America had Sasquatch/Bigfoot and Asia had the Yeti/Abominable Snowman. If you looked harder, some other areas had their own wildman. That was it. Now, every state in the US has their own Bigfoot? You’re pushing it. Don’t get me wrong, I would love for them to finally discover the great North American primate. I’m a guy who spent time in Inverness, Scotland, and REALLY hoped he saw a small sign of Nessie.

Maybe it’s the source. If a Native American tells me about skinwalkers, Thunderbirds, or even Sasquatch I will probably listen. If some crazy looking guy missing most of their teeth tells me that Rhode Island or Georgia has their own version, the vicious Fredsquatch or something, I want to smash my head against the wall. Again, maybe it’s the source. Or possibly the name. I might buy into encounters with Sheepsquatch if they didn’t call it SHEEPSQUATCH!! And no, I didn’t just make that up. Here’s a link.

http://cryptidz.wikia.com/wiki/Sheepsquatch

I guess it’s just like the over abundance of ghost shows (which is another thing I actually do have an open mind about) and the sudden appearance of a nation of ghost hunters. I think there is a strong chance that things are out there. I just don’t think they are as plentiful as people have suddenly made them. I read an article recently saying that most of the Bigfoot hair samples are animals we know, but some look like they are a bear that science hadn’t known about. That’s cool in its own right! There is enough mystery in the world right now. We don’t need to add more just to get on TV.