Sunday, November 30, 2014

Doctor Who Weekend: The Son of the Master - Episode Two


Hi there to all the Whovians of Whoville! I'm Dave-El and welcome to my weekend post of all things Doctor Who. I call it Doctor Who Weekend. (And I call this computer I type things on "My Typing Things On Computer".)  

So there's buzz about the Whovian community about what's up with Jenna Coleman. There were rumors early on that Jenna would be leaving her role as Clara Oswald but when? Steven Moffat and the rest of the Who crew were of course no help in providing answers. So we saw Clara make it to the end of Doctor Who Series 8 and we know she's in the Christmas special

But after that?

Some sources have Jenna Coleman gone as of the Christmas special while other sources have her returning for at least part of Series 9. And a BBC executive weighed in to clear up this matter with the following: Wait until the Christmas special to learn what happens next to Clara Oswald and Jenna Coleman

Well, that's stupid. We actually have to wait until the next installment of Doctor Who to see what happens next? 

OK, yeah, that's how it's supposed to work.  

So despite all the curiosity swirling around the conflicting rumors, I do hope the Doctor Who crew and the BBC can keep the lid on this one until Christmas. Jenna's first appearance on Doctor Who in Asylum of the Daleks was a genuine surprise; it seems that maybe her exit should be too.  
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Last week, I posted The Son of the Master -Episode One, following up on my fan fiction from this past summer, Time of the Dominion.  

You might think I had put myself into a fix by having the head of the Master, still looking very much like John Simm, in a jar. After all, no less than the grand poobah of Doctor Who, the Moff himself, brought the Master back in the form of Michelle Gomez

But the truth is no, I know exactly how the Master in a Jar came to be and nothing in the actual episodes of Doctor Who can impact it. 

Another thing I was cautious about was including Clara as a companion. As I worked out the details of the story, I had no idea where the Doctor's relationship with Clara would be when I resumed writing this story in November. For all I knew she would be off on a honeymoon with Danny Pink. (Take a moment for the feels. Let it out. OK? Let's move on.)  So I decided to not include her. So the Doctor and Clara not being together at the end of Series 8 did not affect my plans. 

However...

I thought the Doctor still needed someone to talk to so I decided to have the Doctor drop in on UNIT and...

Yes, I was going to use Osgood as a temporary companion. 

Well, Missy and the Moff had other plans. Which was a shame because I had written some clever drafts of the Doctor and Osgood interacting and...and...

OK, now I need a moment for the feels.  

...

Let's move on. First up is the disclaimer.




Next up is a something for my daughter. 

And now....



The larch. 

And now...

The Son of the Master
by David Long
Episode Two  

____________________________________________________


Scene opens, exterior: Masterson FutureWare, glowing against the nighttime sky of London.

Scene change, interior: Briskly walking down a corridor is Adam Masterson and Jasmine Tate. Jasmine is updating Adam on his itinerary from her computer tablet.  

Jasmine: On Tuesday, you will arrive in New York for the meeting with the Stock Exchange and the United States Secretary of Commerce on the establishing a....

Adam: Wait! Secretary of Commerce? I don't get to meet the President? 

Jasmine: Er, the President is busy and...

Adam (rolling his eyes): Well, perhaps I'm too busy to establish a presence for Masterson FutureWare in America. Oh, the things I put up with. What about tonight, Jasmine?

Jasmine: There's the reception at 8:00 honoring you for today's FutureWare launch in London and...

Adam puts his hand on Jasmine's shoulder as they both stop walking. 

Adam: I mean...after the reception. You have my life on that tablet of yours. What's my schedule afterwards? Please tell me I'm free for the evening. 

Jasmine: Actually, er, yes, yes you are. 

Adam: And please tell me...

Adam's finger gently presses Jasmine's tablet down as she looks up at Adam.

Adam: ...you are free for the evening as well. 

Jasmine: Ah, well, I....

Suddenly a buzzing alert sounds from Jasmine's tablet. 

Voice: Ms. Tate?  

Jasmine: Yes, Jeremy? What is it? 

Jeremy (voice): Ms. Tate. You need to inform Mr. Masterson we've had a breach in security. 

Adam (sighs): Oh, details, details, why do I have to be bothered....?

Jeremy (voice): It's in Sector 8. 

Adam actually looks concerned. 

Adam and Jasmine walk very determinedly towards the elevator. 

Jasmine: Sector 8? Has anyone entered...?

Jeremy (voice): No ma'am. Maximum protocols are in place. Only Mr. Masterson and Mr. Sterling have access. 

Adam and Jasmine enter the elevator.  

Jasmine: Then how did...? Oh never mind. Contact Liam Sterling immediately and have him meet us at Sector 8. 

Jeremy (voice): Yes, ma'am.  

The elevator doors close.  

Scene change: A semi-darkened laboratory filled with scientific equipment. In the room is the Doctor and on a desk top is the special canister that contains the head of the Master. 

The Doctor (impatient): I've been looking for you with no sign. All of sudden the energy signature of ancient Gallifreyan tech is lighting up all of London! 

The Master: Well, the people here have been quite busy.

The Doctor: What's going on here?

The Master: The future. This company is on the verge of changing this world, Doctor. All thanks to a fellow named Adam Masterson. Oh, you gotta love that name, huh?

The Doctor: I heard his speech earlier. A paragon of arrogance in love with the sound of his own voice.

The Master: Aww! Doctor, are you jealous?

The Doctor (ignoring the Master): It didn't really register before, I was busy with the Rani...

The Master: Oh, the Rani? How is she?

The Doctor: Dead. 

The Master: Pity.

The Doctor: But that bubbling cauldron your head is bobbing in is a prototype of life suspension developed in the days of Rasillon before proper TARDIS shielding was developed. 

The Master: Yeah, you can't beat the classics. 

The Doctor: How did you get in there?

The Master: I honestly don't know. 

The Doctor: I honestly don't believe you. 

The Master: And I honestly don't give a damn. In fact I don't even know how I came to be...like this. 

The Doctor: Really? 

The Master: Really! But I really don't care, you know. Still have the greatest genius in the cosmos...up here. You know, this is when I miss having a body because at this point I would tap my head for emphasis. 

The Doctor: So someone's reverse engineered your little head jar....

The Master: Oh it's a little project I'm working on. With a little help from my son.

The Doctor: Your...what? 

Adam Masterson and Liam Sterling enter the room with Jasmine Tate standing back in the doorway.  

Adam: Now I was not expecting company. Ms. Tate, please keep security at bay unless I say otherwise. 

Jasmine: Yes sir. 

Jasmine closes the door. Inside, Adam and Liam approach the Doctor. Adam looks almost bemused but Liam has a dark look about him, as if he really doesn't like what's going on here.  

The Doctor tenses up as he turns but Adam holds up a hand. 

Adam: Please, relax. I would like to meet the man who could just blithely walk past everyone to come to this place. 

The Doctor: You'll see I am here on the highest authority! 

The Doctor holds up the psychic paper. 

Adam: The Ministry of Silly Walks? 

The Doctor: Yes...what?! 

The Doctor looks at the paper in confusion. 

Adam: Oh, you must be the Doctor! Our partner has told us so much about you. 

The Doctor (sideways glance at the Master): Oh, he has? 

Adam: Oh yes. Some of it actually quite complimentary. 

The Doctor: He's always had a thing for me. 

The Master: Hello! What? 

Adam: It was so nice of you to come and pay us a visit, Doctor. But as I said, the Master has told us...well, warned us about you. So I'm afraid...

The Doctor: What? Have me shot, driven somewhere and dumped in a river? 

Adam: Actually, I was going to say that I insist you stay as our guest. I think I might want to know more about you. 

The Doctor: Oh? 

Adam: You know, before I have you shot, driven somewhere and dumped in a river. 

The Doctor: Oh. 

Adam (laughing): Oh, I'm just kidding. Dump you in the river? Please, we have incinerators for that!

Adam (to the Master): We'll see to our guest and then Liam or myself will be back to check on you later. 

The Master: That will be just dandy. Good night, Doctor! 

The Doctor, Adam and Liam exit from the room. 

Scene change: in the hallway. Adam is still all smiles as he and Liam lead the Doctor towards Jasmine and the security detail. The Doctor casts a glance over to Liam who is still quiet and sullen then refocuses on Adam.  

Adam: I suppose it has been quite a trying day for you, Doctor. My executive assistant, Jasmine Tate, will see to your needs. Jasmine, see that the Doctor has the most comfortable of our residential suites. Doctor, I'll see you at breakfast. We have much to discuss. And, Liam...? 

Liam: Yes? 

Adam: Pass the word: if the Doctor is seen anywhere else in the building other than his quarters without an escort from you, myself or Ms. Tate...

Adam drops the smile a moment. 

Adam: Shoot to kill. 

Adam resumes smiling. 

Adam: Have a pleasant evening, Doctor. 

Jasmine: This way, Doctor. 

The Doctor and Jasmine walk away and enter an elevator. The doors close. Liam stands glaring at the door then turns towards Adam.  

Liam: Is this wise? 

Adam: Is this wise? Ha! We have another version of the Master in the building only this one has arms and legs! Of course it isn't wise! 

Liam: He's going to ruin everything. 

Adam: Oh let him try. And we'll drop his head in a jar and see how he likes it. 

Adam slaps Liam on the back. 

Adam: C'mon, Liam, old mate, we've got a reception to get to.  

Scene change: The Doctor and Jasmine are in the elevator.  

Jasmine: They called you the Doctor.

The Doctor: Yes.

Jasmine: Doctor...who? 

The Doctor: Precisely. 

The elevator dings and the doors open. 

Jasmine: What? 

The Doctor: Nothing. Just "The Doctor" will do. 

The two exit the elevator. They are moving down a plush hallway, a far warmer place than the cold sterile floor they had been on before. 

Jasmine: Your suite is this way, Doctor. 

The Doctor: Thank you. Now, that Adam Masterson fellow, very charming, even with that whole "shoot to kill" thing going on. 

Jasmine: Oh, Adam...I mean, Mr. Masterson is a most generous man and kind to those who help him. Those who would stand in the way of his dream, well, towards them he's more serious. 

The Doctor: Deadly serious, I'd say. 

Jasmine: I'm sure he was just being "colorful". 

The Doctor: That's one way to look at it. So about what was in that room...

Jasmine: Ah, Sector 8. I actually am out of the loop on that. 

The Doctor: Really? Out of the loop? Here I thought you were more than just a pretty face. 

Jasmine: I am Ad...Mr. Masterson's chief executive assistant. I administrate all of his business and personal affairs. 

The Doctor: Except Sector 8. 

Jasmine: Everyone is entitled to their secrets, Mr. "The Doctor".  

The Doctor: Fair enough, I suppose. 

Jasmine: Besides whatever he and Liam Sterling are up to down there is beyond me. 

The Doctor: Liam? The other fellow? What's his story? 

Jasmine: Oh, Liam. Liam is very important to the Paradigm Project. 

The Doctor: The Paradigm Project? 

Jasmine: The reason Masterson FutureWare exists. Adam's dream. 

The Doctor: Mr. Masterson's dream. 

Jasmine: Right, Mr. Masterson's dream. 

Jasmine leads the Doctor to a door which she opens passing a card over a laser scanner. The door opens and Jasmines directs the Doctor to enter.

Jasmine: Doctor, I hope this suite will be to your liking. 

Wide view of a very spacious and posh living quarters. 

The Doctor (scrunches his face): A bit small but it'll do. No computer? 

Jasmine: Sorry. Security measure. 

The Doctor: Ah. Pity. I was hoping to catch up on some Candy Crush. Would some pencil and paper be out of order? 

Jasmine: I believe you'll find what you need in the desk drawer. Good night, Doctor. 

The Doctor: Good night. And Jasmine? 

Jasmine: Yes? 

The Doctor: You seem like a nice girl, Jasmine, so please take my advice. Be careful. 

Jasmine looks puzzled and gives a half smile as she leaves, closing the door.  

Screen goes to black. Then a graphic appears. 

London. The Future.  

Smoke swirls everywhere as fire crackles and burns amongst the ruins, Through the smoke and fire, we see an explosion of energy.  As the glow subsides, we see the Doctor standing looking up at a cloaked figure standing upon a mountain of rubble. 

The Doctor (angry and defiant): You keep missing the mark! Is your aim really that bad or....?

The Cloaked Man (cold and brittle): Perhaps I like toying with you, Doctor! Like a hamster in a cage! 

The Doctor: Or maybe it's all fire and fury, signifying nothing! You're nothing! You don't have the stomach for murder!

Fire leaps from the fingertips of the cloaked man that arcs through the air and explodes the ground to the Doctor's side. 

The Cloaked Man: Have a care, Doctor! I will shed your blood as I have shed the blood of others before you! 

The Doctor catches a glimpse of a body lying in the rubble. He rushes towards it. It's a woman, her clothes dirty, torn and streaked with blood. It's Jasmine Tate. 

The Doctor (whispers): Jasmine? 

----to be continued------

_________________________________________________

Next time...
  • The secret of the Master's head...revealed!
  • Adam Masterson...exposed! 
  • Armageddon is coming...and the Doctor can't stop it! 

Wait a minute! Didn't I say all that at the end of Episode One? 

  • We still don't know the secret of the Master's head!
  • The only thing exposed about Adam Masterson is he won't stop hitting on Jasmine.

True but armageddon is still coming so there's that.  

For what happens next, read Episode Three of 

The Son of the Master

See you here next Sunday.

Dave-El
I'm So Glad My Suffering Amuses You


Friday, November 28, 2014

Broken News Black Friday Benghazi Special (November 28, 2014)

Hi there! Dave-El and welcome to I'm So Glad My Suffering Amuses You and I am so zonked out on tryptophan right now. 

So how was your Thanksgiving yesterday? Please choose from the following options.
  1. Great
  2. Good 
  3. Tolerable 
  4. Not to be spoken of again. 
And if you picked #4, well, I hear you, people. Damn do I hear you. 

So today is Friday and this is when I usually post bROkEN nEWs and today is no different. 

Except it's going to be different.

Last week saw the release of the report by the House Select Intelligence Committee on Benghazi. The Republican led committee checked into every nook and cranny of the Benghazi tragedy and released their report. So to celebrate this momentous event, please welcome the....

BROKEN NEWS
BLACK FRIDAY
BENGHAZI SPECIAL

  • Brought to you by the number ZERO as in the number of times any wrongdoing was committed by the White House. 
  • And brought to you by the letter B as in "bullshit" which describes the veracity of the claims and accusations of the far right in the wake of the Benghazi tragedy.
  • And also brought to you by the letter B again and once more as in "bullshit" regarding the reactions on Fox News to the findings of the report because they can't fucking let anything go.

So the constant drumbeat of Benghazi as a bludgeon by the GOP and Fox News as culminated in this: an assessment that, yes, mistakes were made and there were things that could be handled better next time but there was no wrongdoing, no illegalities, no cover ups, no conspiratorial agendas.  

All this is really no surprise as this was the conclusion of a report issued by another committee that also checked into the Benghazi situation. But of course that report was biased in favor of the Obama Administration and whitewashed all the Obama and his gang of any responsibility or culpability. The Republicans had to have their own hearings and investigations to get to the real truth of the matter. And so after a couple of years of going over the terrain of the events surrounding the Benghazi tragedy, the Republican led committee came to the same conclusions. 

Folks, your tax dollars paid for all the time and work that went into TWO separate committee investigations that produced the same results. But this is the same thinking that led to the government shutdown last year that cost taxpayers 24 billion dollars just to make a point.  

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This obsession with Benghazi by the far right and the rabble rousers of Fox News has been a recurring topic here on bROkEN nEWs

So today as I take a post-Thanksgiving break, here are a collection of headlines and features from previous installments of bROkEN nEWs that have invoked... Benghazi! 

Hi there! I'm Dave-El and welcome to I'm So Glad My Suffering Amuses You, now enhanced with lemon-scented Benghazi!  

#BrokenNews “Issa Makes New Benghazi Demand” Now he wants his Benghazi gluten free!

#BrokenNews "Top Republican Can't Deal With Benghazi Reality" That sentence would still make sense even without the word "Benghazi".

#BrokenNews "Lindsey Graham Somehow Links Ukraine To Benghazi" That's one fucked up map you got there, Lindsey! 

#BrokenNews "GOP Benghazi Probe's New Questions Have Already Been Answered" Yes but NOT answered in the form of a question so there!

#BrokenNews"GOP's Benghazi Chair Revealed A Concerning Opinion" He worried there may not be enough Benghazi in his Benghazi.

#BrokenNews "Right Wingers Are Making Their Middle Names 'Benghazi' On Facebook" And some of them actually spell it correctly too. 

#BrokenNews "Karl Rove Defends Gov. Christie By Invoking Benghazi

ARRGHH!! BENGHAZI?!?! AGAIN?!?!

Benghazi, the all purpose political tool! 

  • It slices, dices, chops and cuts! 
  • It's a toilet cleaner AND a dessert topping! 
  • It tastes great AND it's less filling! 
  • It's short! It's tall! 
  • It's something! It's everything! 
  • It's anything at all! 
You have a well reasoned argument based on facts and research? Fuck you and your argument: I've got BENGHAZI! 
  • Do not use as directed! 
  • Use for any damn thing you want! 
BENGHAZI! 

I think I need to take a moment.




















To be fair, it wasn't always the GOP bringing up Benghazi. Sometimes your humble blogger would use it for my own (alleged) comedic purposes.

#BrokenNews "Rubio Desperately Attempts To Link Climate Change To... Abortion" What, was Benghazi busy or something? 

#BrokenNews "CNN Panel Criticizes Fox News' Bergdahl Report" Well, for one thing, Fox kept spelling "Bergdahl" as "Benghazi". (In their defense, old habits do die hard.)  

#BrokenNews Obama Signs Executive Order On LGBT Rights”  Which Fox News immediately linked to Benghazi. 

#BrokenNews "GOPers Seize On Ebola Fears To Hit Obama" Didja know ebola is caused by Benghazi? It's true!

But Benghazi remained a favorite topic even when other issues were foremost on the minds of Obama's far right opposition. This next headline came up during the Bergdahl mess and the Iraq situation was going to hell. 

#BrokenNews "GOP Senator Accuses Clinton Of Planting Benghazi Cover-Up"
Psst! Dude! Hey, didn't you get the memo? We gotta back burner Benghazi for awhile. We've got that whole Bowe Bergdahl thing to piss on and we're giving shit to Obama about Iraq now. Hey, don't worry, we'll get back to Benghazi later. We'll always have Benghazi.


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I wish I could call this a farewell to the whole Benghazi feeding frenzy but c'mon, it's been too good to those who love to keep to Tea Party and other hard right wing nuts in a constant state of "pissed off" because there's money in keeping them pissed off. 

And hell, Benghazi has made for a quick and easy punchline for me. But I'll make every endeavor to refrain from its use from now on.*

*Yes, there will a Benghazi referenced in next week's bROkEN nEWs.

Remember today's bROkEN nEWs was brought to you by...

  • The number ZERO as in the chances Fox News will never bring this up again.
  • And the letter B as in "bullshit" because, well, you know... 

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The blog is taking a break Saturday but I will be back on Sunday with Episode 2 of The Son of the Master, the new fan fiction I'm writing for my weekly Doctor Who Weekend post.

bROkEN nEWs is back next Friday with an ALL NEW (still only PARTIALLY funny) installment. 

Until then, be good to one another and..




Thursday, November 27, 2014

The Giving of Thanks; the Not Eating of Turkey

Hi there! Dave-El and welcome to I’m So Glad My Suffering Amuses You, the number one blog choice of internet surfing turkeys.

Hey, hey, hey, if you’re in the U.S. of A, today is Thanksgiving, a day where we overstuff ourselves on way too much food that is probably not all that good for us. Then we join the long marathon slog towards Christmas that actually started two weeks ago when one of my local radio stations switched to an all-Christmas format.

If you are somewhere else in the world, wondering perhaps if you may need to downgrade your goat from beloved member of the family to entrĂ©e, you’re probably wondering what the hell is wrong with us. As a proud lifelong citizen of this great country, my response to that is, “No, I don’t know what the hell is wrong with us.”

I think it’s ironic that America has a holiday called Thanksgiving. Whatever our problems and shortcomings as a nation, we do have so much to be thankful. But apparently we require a national holiday to remind us to be thankful for all that. That is the problem with a largess of good fortune. When there is so much to be thankful, are we truly thankful for anything.

Not that everyone in America gets to share in this cornucopia of consumption but those are people who will find whatever space they can and be thankful, truly and sincerely thankful. When you have so little, you tend to be very thankful for what you have.

So count your blessings and if need a calculator to sort it all out, well, I hope for your continued good fortune.

If you can count your blessing on one hand, I hope your fortunes improve but God bless you for your strength and your faith. We should all be so blessed.

And regardless of your status in life, just remember to be good to one another. 


________________________________________________

On the Monday after Thanksgiving when everyone goes back to work, the following question will be inescapable: “Did you get enough turkey?”

And the answer is usually something along the lines of “Oh God yes! I’m going to turn into a turkey if I eat one more turkey sandwich.”

Except you won’t get this answer from me. Because for several years now I have not been able to get turkey on Thanksgiving.

Oh don’t feel sorry for me. I’ve gotten more than my share of food at Thanksgiving, just not turkey. Why? My wife, daughter and I usually have Thanksgiving dinner at my brother-in-law’s house where they have a wonderful spread of all sorts of good stuff, including my father-in-law’s famous fried dressing. It is SO good.

But every year the meat is usually something that is not turkey. We had roasted chicken one year, steaks another. All in all, very good stuff. But just not turkey.  And so while everyone else has OD’d on turkey, I actually have a very strong craving for it post Thanksgiving.

This year we’re spending Thanksgiving Day with my mother and I know there will be turkey because I’ve going to freakin’ cook one my own damn self.

So you know if posts stop happening on this blog, that means I've been taken out by botulism and/or 3rd degree burns. 
















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There is a post already in the chute for tomorrow as I present a Broken News special, Black Friday Benghazi.  

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

The Verdict, The Truth and the Murky Middle

Back in August, Darren Wilson, a police officer in Ferguson, MO shot an unarmed teenager named Michael Brown. 

What followed were weeks of racial tensions that flared into protests; the police brought out their heavy duty Army surplus stuff, totally tone deaf to the message they were sending.  Whatever the facts of the case, African Americans saw one more young black man gunned down by the police.  One more in a long line of black men shot by police. And entire force geared up to stop them.

And the details that emerged after the incident did not help matters. Accounts that Michael Brown had his hands up as Officer Wilson shot him added fuel to the fire of mistrust that African Americans all across America have of police. 

But there were hints and allegations that this accepted narrative, of a young man shot down by the police officer he was surrendering to, may not be as it seemed. 

So the case was brought before a grand jury who reviewed lots of evidence, heard lots of testimonies from witnesses and experts. And after diligently examining every part of this tragedy, the grand jury gave its verdict.

Darren Wilson would not be charged with a crime.  

I watched CNN as prosecutor Robert McCullough given a long (and I do mean LONG) preamble of describing just how tireless and meticulous the grand jury was before announcing their decision, 

I sat there, a white man comfortable on his sofa in the middle of suburbia, catching myself nodding at all this. thinking, "Well, that makes sense. Sounds like everybody did their job. I feel bad for Michael Brown's parents but it looks like there was a lot more going on than a policeman shooting an unarmed black teenager. 

Meanwhile, in Ferguson and indeed across the country, other people, a lot of them with skin of another color than mine, had a different view.  

The thing is, I was perfectly OK thinking justice was served. Men and women came together to review the facts of the case and came to a reasonable conclusion that the death of Michael Brown was not murder at all but a tragic end to a confrontation between police and civilian. It ran counter to what I thought the narrative was before last night but hey, facts are facts, right? 

And on the other side were people who had a strong desire for the narrative to be true because too many black men have taken too many police bullets and it has to stop somewhere. If Michael Brown had to die, it would not be in vain in stopping the bloodshed and the distrust. 

The grand jury concluded Michael Brown did not have his hands in the air when he died.

African Americans in Ferguson said he did. 

As I've read various articles and reports after the fact, it seems that solidity of fact by way of the grand jury may not be as solid as it seems. Or maybe Micheal Brown did not have his hands in the air. 

I just don't know. I don't feel any more assured now than I did while listening to Robert McCullough's long press briefing. Yes we have a verdict but truth still seems frustratingly unknown and we're left in the murky middle between the two. 

But I do know two things happened that didn't help anyone. 

As someone posted on Twitter Tuesday, the verdict of the grand jury basically tells cops its OK to shoot black people. If that's the message that black men and women across America have heard, then the distrust and the bloodshed will go on.

And there were the looters and rioters who did nothing to support the cause of true protesters and lends credence to the view of the police that maybe they need to have and use that Army surplus stuff. 

It's still a state of war. 

Everyone, try to be extra good to one another, okay? 




Dave-El 
I'm So Glad My Suffering Amuses You

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Comics Blah Blah Comics: The Rain Falls...So Does Wonder Woman?

Isn't it a great time to be a woman in comics? 

OK, I'm not speaking from personal experience. I am most certainly a guy and not a woman*. 

*Not since my cabaret act in Reno got cancelled 3 years ago.  

But from what I can see on the outside looking in, there are more women working in comics as writers and artists than I've ever seen before. Granted there are more barriers to be broken before women are fully accepted as equals in the comics industry but significant inroads have been made. With writers like Gail Simone, Marjorie Lui and Kelly Sue Donnick and artists such as Nicola Scott, Ming Doyle and Fiona Staples, we're seeing women who can produce high quality work with the best of their male counterparts. 

But with increasing chances to show their worth, this growth towards equality can lead to examples of the other side of the coin: women who can produce work that sucks just as badly as men. 

Case in point: Wonder Woman#36


This is not the first time a woman has written Wonder Woman: Trina Robbins, Mindy Newell and Gail Simone have taken their turns with the Amazon Princess. But still, it’s a man’s world so a woman writer on Wonder Woman’s comic is still a big deal.
 
So, if may I be blunt, who the hell is Meredith Finch?
 
The short answer is she’s the wife of David Finch, the new WW artist and all around Big Man At DC. Which may explain why Meredith Finch is the writer…if we were living in the 1950’s. But it’s the freaking 21st century and a woman’s identity is more than being someone’s wife. So for Meredith Finch to get the plum assignment of writing one of DC’s most iconic characters and collaborating with one of DC’s hottest artists, I imagine Meredith Finch is quite a good writer. Surely this is not nepotism of the lowest order run amuck.
 
Here’s page 1 of Wonder Woman#36.



































OK, we’re not off to a good start. Those captions would be right at home on some educational film on the power and the value of water. It’s all so functionary; no drama, no power. 
 
It doesn’t help that yes, you can start a comic book off talking about rain but only if you’re Alan Moore and it’s page 1 of The Anatomy Lesson. This is not Alan Moore but that’s not fair to Meredith Finch because no one is Alan Moore other than Alan Moore and I’m not sure about him these days.
 
But the lesson here is that if you’re going to start your super hero comic with a description of rain, it better be a powerful, kick ass description of rain.
 
Now you may think I’m really beating up on poor Meredith with the rain thing. It’s just one page, right?
 
Nope, there’s two more pages of these…remarks on rain. Or is it about water in general? I’m not sure.
 
OK, let’s look at some super hero stuff! 


















The good news is Meredith has stopped talking about rain/water/rainwater.
 
The bad news is this has gotten worse.
 
This and the pages that follow are just a gratuitous excuse for Wonder Woman to be in action against Captain Punching Bag…er, Swamp Thing
















Meredith Finch has Wonder Woman say, “vegetative injustice”. 

Really. 

The "vegetative injustice" here is the number of trees felled to be turned into paper for this drivel.  Add the word “holy” in front of it and Robin can use it in an issue of Batman ’66 when the Dynamic Duo go up against Poison Ivy*.

*"Holy vegetative injustice, Batman! Poison Ivy has us trapped for sure!"
"Indeed, Boy Wonder, old chum! It could only get worse if it starts to rain!"


 And really, why is Swamp Thing there?*

*Other than to force Mike Sterling to buy the book.**
**Go read Progressive Ruin
 
Oh, right. “A disturbance in the green.”

Guys and gals, I’m feeling bad here because it seems like I’m piling on, being unduly harsh to Mrs. Finch. And maybe I am. A woman named “Meredith” broke my heart once and it could be unduly influencing my perspective. Or it could be….and I’m so, so sorry to say this…this is just bad writing. Lots of empty big panels that do nothing to enhance or move the story forward with other pages crammed with clunky expository dialogue.
 
Maybe, just maybe, Meredith Finch has a future as a comic book writer. But Wonder Woman#36 is just not a good start.
 
Gotta go. It’s starting to rain. 

Dave-El
I'm So Glad My Suffering Amuses You

Monday, November 24, 2014

The Proof In the Pudding

There's a moment in the premier episode of The Cosby Show where Cliff Huxtable (Bill Cosby) is having a heart to heart with his son Theo (Malcolm-Jamal-Warner*). 

*I wasn't sure where to put the hyphen.

 Even if you've never seen the full episode, chances are you've seen a clip of this scene somewhere. The gist of it is Theo's getting bad grades and Cliff's not happy about it. After totally deconstructing Theo's plans for a modest future working at a gas station, it seems the tables are turned on Cliff when Theo makes an emotional appeal. 

"Why can't you just love me for who I am, because I'm your son," Theo says with all the wide eyed earnestness of a Disney cartoon. It's a sweet moment and the studio audience agrees with a collective "awwww!".  

"That," replied Cliff, "is the stupidest thing I ever heard!" And then he lays down the law that Theo is going to study hard and work hard because, as he sums up, "I brought you into this world and I can take you out!" 

I was never a big fan of The Cosby Show but that first episode is a comedic gem. Granted a lot of the heavy lifting is done by bits from Bill Cosby's stand up routine but I have never failed to laugh out loud whenever I've watched. 

Of course I haven't watched it lately. 

The big bad story that just won't go away revolves around accusations that Bill Cosby engaged in sexual acts with women forcibly and against their will. Or to put it more bluntly, Bill Cosby raped women. 

On one hand, there is not one charge, arrest or conviction against Cosby for any sort of misconduct of the sort. 

On the other hand, damn, there's a lot of women with the same story, of Cosby coercing or drugging women to have sex with him. 

So the story of Bill Cosby as a rapist continues to churn on and looks like this could mean that Cosby's legacy is tarnished forever. 

Or is it? 

Bill Cosby recently performed at a show in Florida where the crowd gave Cos a stand ovation. Somebody's still pulling for the guy. 

To be honest, I'm not writing this to speculate on Cosby's guilt or innocence. And if you want a more thoughtful analysis of this mess, click here and here for a couple posts by the far wiser Mark Evanier.

But I was so...amused, maybe, certainly intrigued by a pair of defenses of Bill Cosby that I heard on the radio last week. 

Naturally this whole scandal has made for a lot of fodder on the morning drive time radio shows, including The Two Guys Named Chris Show*.

*Their show can be heard online at Rock92.com.  Free plug. 

A few callers in defense of the Cos cited the usual things that sadly get brought up during these sorts of things. Why now? Why didn't anyone say anything before?

But two callers each provided this defense of Bill Cosby: he could not have raped those women because Cosby is a conservative.  

The end. 

Yep, Bill Cosby's a conservative so he clearly did not these horrible things he's being accused of. And yes, both callers brought up the "targetted by a liberal agenda" line. 

I'm not entirely sure what Bill Cosby's political or economic viewpoints are but as a moral conservative, he does have a lot of street cred with that group. In his stand up act, his talk show appearances, his speeches and lectures, Cosby has been a tireless advocate for self-responsibility, of respectful conduct by young people towards their families and in public.   

But I'm not sure how saying these things, hell even believing these things makes Cos innocent of all charges. After all there is a wide variety of sins for the flesh to fall prey to. Quite frankly, I think the most pious, most respectful and responsible person in the world has a sin with their name on it. So being a good person is not in and of itself inoculation against doing a bad thing. It may make it less likely that a good person will do a bad thing but there are no guarantees. 

And certainly saying things that make you sound like a good person isn't going to stop a person from doing a bad thing. So you right wing nut jobs, telling me Bill Cosby is innocent simply because he is a conservative is like thinking Barack Obama is a bad President because he's not white. 

Wait a minute....

Never mind.

____________________________________________

OK, you may be wondering about the title of today's post.  Back in the day, Bill Cosby was seen frequently in ads for Jell-o Pudding. There was probably a whole bunch of people that knew Cosby only as that guy in the pudding commercials. But Cos was good in them. Man, he loved his pudding!

Anyway, I thought of the title and I thought, "Hey, that's clever!" So I began writing with the idea that somehow, somewhere I would have to throw in a witty aside or observation based on pudding. 

But I didn't. But damn it, I'm sticking with the title.

___________________________________________

Tomorrow on the blog: Instead of Wednesday, I'm doing my comic book post on Tuesday. The thing is that as more women enter the territory of writing for DC Comics and Marvel, it shows women are just as good as men when it comes to writing comics. 

And just like men, women can suck at it too.

Case in point, Wonder Woman#36

But that's for tomorrow. In the meantime, don't forget to eat your pudding.

And also be good to one another.   

Dave-El
I'm So Glad My Suffering Amuses You

Doctor Who Is NEW! Smile

Yes, there was no post on Monday. I was too busy partying hard celebrating my birthday!  OK, fine: yes, it was my birthday. But I've n...