Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Review: TVLand's Younger

I watched two episodes of TVLand's new show Younger.  My mother recommended the show and she is usually in sync with my tastes.  I was apprehensive at first, stalling to watch the show On-Demand.  Sitcoms are not a favorite of mine.  But my mother's pitch was too good-A forty-year old housewife (Liza) gets dumped and winds up broke without a home.  She can't get a job because of her age.  Her best friend suggests that she lie.  She undergoes a youthful transformation (without surgery or botox) and lands another job interview.  Her new look and new set of fake i.d.s. gets her hired by a major publishing company.  She begins a new life.

My Review:
I really like Sutton Foster.  She starred in Bunheads a few years back and has a gift for comedy.  Hillary Duff and the whole cast are also likable characters with good timing.  The first two episodes set up the main character's (Liza's) new life.  Her hair, clothes, makeup, comments, and even taste in men are younger.  The goal is to get financially get back on her feet, but the idea of reliving her twenties adds to the fun.  I wouldn't mind reliving my twenties inside of a forty year old mind.

The jokes have a Sex and the City ring to them.  For example, Liza is in the locker room with the girls.  They see her naked and unwaxed and she has to explain why.  There are several one-liners dealing with sex, aging, and young vs. old cliches.  Unlike Sex and the City, Younger has more of a down-and-out feel to it instead of constant glamour and fashion.  As a writer, I loved the job setting of a major publisher.  Great comedy, great fantasy.  So far, so good.  I'll keep watching for some more laughs.  5/5 stars

Sunday, March 29, 2015

New World Order: Conspiracy or Reality?

I watch the news all of the time-preferably world news on cable/satellite channels and I don't side with any political organizations.  There was a blurb last week on one channel (can't remember) that mentioned military drills taking place in several designated cities in the Southwest.  Immediately, I thought this is a practice run for martial law.  
My virtual good friend, Mr. Frank Fontaine, wasted no time emailing me some information on the strange military drills.  These drills will supposedly take place in seven southwest states (Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, Utah, Texas, California, and Nevada).  The military units who will be involved in this drill named Jade Helm are of the most elite branches of the armed forces such as the Green Berets and Navy Seals.  Some officers will be in disguise, dressed as civilians.

This special military training will take place in July and run for about eight weeks.  The reasoning behind the "training" is to give the American soldiers the experience when faced with hostile territories with Texas considered the most "hostile" of the Southest states.  The military claims this is all part of covert warfare tactics and martial law that might be useful when in combat with other countries.
Many fear that this is a rehearsal for a takeover.  Americans rights have been chipped away for years, especially when talking about the 2nd Amendment or the right to bear arms amendment.  Many question the current administration's anti-gun stance, believing it serves as more of an excuse to get rid of gun ownership, allowing for a smoother takeover.

A few months ago in December there was another "training" going on with helicopters.  Again, the news did a poor job in investigating the story.  Black helicopters flew low over Dallas when supposedly conducting a preparedness drill.  The helicopters flew at night without their lights, causing fear among northern Texas residents.
Frank Fontaine, my conspiracy pal, and I both wonder if these drills are just practice for the beginning of the End.  I welcome comments, theories, other stories, whatever in regards to a takeover.  Please leave a comment!

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Book Review: Red Rising by Pierce Brown

Red Rising, Pierce Brown's futuristic sci-fi thriller, is about an outer space caste system based on one's color of skin. It's racism on steroids. There are Reds or peons who drill underneath Mars, Pinks or whores who are bred for sexual favors, Obsidian's who provide security, Bronzes or ne'er do-wells who will never achieve ultimate power, and Golds who are the quintessential inner circle of people running the Cosmos. These people are sub-human, bred from earthlings for a purpose of a brave new world.  

The story is solely told through the eyes of Darrow, a Red who drills underneath Mars.  Darrow is a hand-diver, a drilling position that requires a high level of skill.  There is no reward for his expertise.  He is stuck being a Red forever.  His father was murdered because of a weak attempt at revolution.  His wife Eo was also murdered for disobedience.  
Darrow is also sentenced to die after cutting his wife's body down from the town square after her hanging.  His uncle and the Sons of Ares, an underground group of rebels, engineer an escape.  They "carve" or use sophisticated plastic surgery to change Darrow into a Gold for the purpose of infiltrating the Golds and eventually revolting from the government.  
Being a Gold is more than looking the part.  Darrow has to attend training.  Day one of training involves a dual with another Gold.  The winner is the one who lives.  Once half of the new Golds are eliminated, the remaining Golds are then assigned to be in certain houses or groups.  They play war games over a long period of time (maybe a year) with the purpose of taking down all of the houses and winning the game.  There are some rules they are obliged to follow.  After the game, the winners are guaranteed the ultimate prize of a high standing position in the government.
Darrow's group eventually turns on each other.  One of the members of the group almost kills Darrow.  He is rescued by a girl named Mustang.  They find other outcasts of this deathly game hiding in the woods and form their own rag-tag army.  They learn that the game is rigged.  Proctors, the referees of this game, are paid to swing things towards the Jackal's favor because his father is the Arch Governor.  Darrow had the chance to kill the Jackal, but blows it.  Not to spoil the book, but Darrow ends up going "Rambo" on everyone.  There is a sequel.
My review:  This book reminded me of Hunger Games because of the training.  Both authors had the characters in positions of killing or being killed.  The Golds and Hunger Game contestants were somewhere around seventeen to twenty years old.  The proctors for each house reminded me of the mentors for each district.  In Red Rising the people were divided into groups based on their color.  In Hunger Games people were divided up by districts.  Both books had the theme of oppression.  
Red Rising also reminded me of Harry Potter.  The proctors wore invisibility cloaks.  The Golds were divided into houses.  J.K. Rowling used plenty of Greek and Roman myth references.  Pierce Brown went one step farther by using the gods as names of several characters.
Pierce Brown's style was easy to read and easy to emphasize with the weak and downtrodden characters.  He wrote action scenes with ease and moved the plot along without weighing down the reader with unnecessary details.  Overall, I really liked the book and recommend it to young adults and all sci-fi fans.  I look forward to reading the sequel and hope this becomes a movie.
5/5 Stars

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

The Grammar police are back!  Nikolas Baron and his team of grammar Nazis analyze the mass of mistakes found in romances.  Thanks, Grammarly!

Grammarly: Fifty Shades of Grammar

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

TV Review: USA's New Show Dig

USA's new show Dig aired March 5.  The show has three separate story lines.  The first story is about a cop/FBI/Homeland or some kind of law enforcement official (Jason Isaacs) who works in Jerusalem.  At this point of the story the audience does not know why he is stationed there. His boss and occasional girlfriend, played by Anne Heche, also works in Jerusalem alongside the Israeli police on international cases.  The first case Isaacs is involved in is about an antique dealer who is questioned for murder.  While Isaacs chases him down, he meets a red-head who reminds him of someone from his past.  She lures him to her "dig" or archaeologist site.  It seems as if she is seducing him, but clearly wants something more.  She slides something into his pocket after their romantic swim deep underground the Wailing Wall of Jerusalem is interrupted by Orthodox Jews.  She winds up dead.  By the way, the antique dealer gets away, but the Israeli police have his ancient metal piece that Jews wore back in Moses's time when talking to God in a temple.

The second story line involves a boy who turns thirteen who lives in a compound somewhere in New Mexico.  He is raised for some messianic reason by a reverend and his staff.  The boy runs away and is then shot dead by the people who raised him in the compound.  An identical twin replaces the boy instantly.
The third story line takes place in Norway.  Orthodox or Hassidic Jews (I'm not sure) have a red cow born on their farm.  They consider it a sign.  One of the Jews is responsible for caring for the cow.  I think this was the same group that interrupted the cop and the redhead archaeologist underneath the Wailing Wall.  I also think the redhead symbolizes the red heifer,  not in purity, but in prophecy of the End.
My Review: I was hooked from the first second of the show.  I Googled the red heifer/cow prophecy.  According to Numbers, the red heifer represented purification from sin.  The blood was sprinkled at the door of the tabernacle.  This foreshadowed the blood of Christ.  In Ezekiel 41-45 another prophecy foretold of a temple built again in Jerusalem.  Jesus then prophesied about the temple's destruction.  The bottom line is this: the red heifer (a genetic rarity) born in today's world must symbolizes another Jewish temple that will be rebuilt.
Based on this story line, I predict this series is about End of Days.  The thirteen year old boy also represents some kind of purity, or something like Jesus.  The dead archaeologist knew what was to come, leaving the cop to figure it out.

Biblical prophecy plus conspiracy equals fascination for me.  Loved everything about this show.  The acting was superb, the writing was believable, and the directing kept me on the edge of my seat for an hour.  Other specials about the End of Days are being aired more and more on channels like the History Channel and Discovery.  Another Jesus movie is coming out to continue where The Bible left off.  Left Behind was remade.  HBO even has us wondering with The Leftovers.  Instinctively, there is a feeling in the air that the End is upon us.  5/5 Stars.
What do you think?  Is the End around the corner?  Leave a comment.


Saturday, February 28, 2015

Technology, Big Brother, and End of Days

One of my followers, Frank Fontaine, inspired this post.  He likes to send me articles that have to do with Big Brother, conspiracy, and The End of the World.  Although the flow of this article is a little bit choppy, it shows a continuation of New World Order conspiracy theory.  Thanks, Frank!  Leave a message.  Love to hear your thoughts and views.

1) Johnny Walker Scotch: Alyssa Bereznak of Yahoo Tech News wrote a piece about this new kind of interactive alcohol.  The bottle can text you recipes that involve itself as the main ingredient.  A gadget called thinfilm is fastened onto the bottle and has the ability to communicate with a smartphone.  The thinfilm also knows when the bottle's seal has been broken or is still new and then adjusts the texts accordingly.  The thinfilm can follow you, getting you to buy more things via social media.  A push alert can be sent when bottle is empty.  The author mentioned drones that track cell signals, but I'm pretty much lost on what that is about.  It doesn't sound like it honors the right to privacy.  This new kind of booze comes out later this year.

2) Government Taking Over Internet:  Breitbart laid out the takeover/neutrality plan two days ago.  In the nut shell, ATT, Comcast, Verizon, and other providers must act in your interest when providing you with a connection to the Internet.  What does this mean?  Were we not getting the Internet in our interest before the government rescued us from our provider?
The goal or narrative is meant to stop providers from slowing down the web or creating fast lanes on the Internet.  Supposedly, this targets certain companies from joining up in order to stream in movies/videos quicker than another company who is not part of a deal.  Cynics believe this is a money grab for new taxes and fees.  Bigger cynics believe this is the pathway to censorship and monitoring Internet users.  George Orwell was proven right AGAIN!

3) Samsung Smart TV: It has voice activation, but also records your voice.  The data is then supposedly transmitted to a third party.  BTW-some worry about SIRI, the voice command on IPhone, which has the same features as the smart TV.
4) Implants/Microchips: This is a subject that scares me to death-it's a warning written thousands of years ago in the book of Revelation.  According to the Bible, this marks the Tribulation or the time period that happens just before The End.  These implants resemble the famous "mark of the beast."  What once was thought of as part of a story line in apocalyptic fiction has become reality.  A Swedish company replaced company keys with microchips embedded into their employees's hands.  The microchips work as IDs, open doors, open elevators, and allow use of the copiers.
What new inventions are you worried about?

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Guest Blogger Elizabeth Eckhart Stops By: A look at film's portrayal of BSDM

Unconventional Romances Turn Up the Heat by Elizabeth Eckhart

If Valentine’s Day left you out in the cold, a steamy serving of Hollywood romance might be just what the doctor ordered. Why not spend the night with your favorite leading lady (or man) and indulge in something a bit erotic? 

With the Fifty Shades of Grey film adaptation now playing nationwide, one could argue that this is the hottest February we’ve seen in years. The books, and now the film, have opened up a whole new realm of carnal possibilities for many Americans. Perhaps it all comes down to our puritanical roots, but in today’s hyper-sexualized society we still tend to cling to our prudish conceptions of human sexuality. 

These movies do their best to “flesh out” our most intimate and inexpressible desires. Read on for list of films that are sure to challenge your own ideas of what’s hot and what’s not. 

Fifty Shades of Grey

No list of lovelorn post-Val’s Day films could forgo mentioning this controversial and captivating romance. After enjoying a weekend of record breaking sales, this cinematic adaptation of the first 50 Shades novel exposed thousands of Americans to a different breed of erotic thriller. While some in the bondage, domination and sadomasochism communities claim it’s a vanilla portrayal of real BDSM interactions, for many it represents the equivalent of dipping one’s toe into a pool of new sexual possibilities. It hasn’t been gaining very high marks in other respects, but in this case, shock comes before substance. And for fans of the books, it only makes sense to want to see Christian Grey and Anastasia Steele interact in the flesh. 

Belle de Jour
For American viewers, this 1967 French classic highlights different conceptions of sex across the cultures. Directed by Luis Bunuel and based on the novel by Joseph Kessel, the film tells the story of Séverine (played by Catherine Deneuve), a painfully chic and painfully bored housewife. Her feelings of existential malaise extend into the bedroom, where her husband fails to share her desires. After too many nights spent fantasizing about the type of sadomasochistic sex she needs, Séverine is introduced to the idea of becoming a prostitute. From there she can be found working only from 2-5 in the afternoon as a “Belle de Jour” in Madame Anais’ Parisian brothel. Surrealistic elements and wonderful acting and have made this film one of the best “French New Wave” pictures and earned it a rightful place atop many “best” lists.

The Night Porter
A classic despite its highly controversial subject matter, it was considered by some to be groundbreaking and bold while other critics, such as Roger Ebert, found it only “as nasty as it is lubricious.” This 1974 film by director Liliana Cavani takes some of the darkest remnants of human history and melds them with the darkness present in certain sadomasochistic relationships. The couple at the center of the film are Maximilian (played by Dirk Bogarde) and Lucia (Charlotte Rampling) who, by chance, run into each other thirteen years after the end of WWII. They first met when Max was an SS officer and Lucia was a prisoner in his concentration camp. Finding their undiminished passions for one another too much to resist, they resume the depraved sexual relationship that began those many years ago. Throughout the film we see flashbacks in which Max serves as both Lucia’s tormentor and protector - moments that of course include the famous scene of Lucia performing a Marlene Dietrich song dressed in a Nazi military cap and not much else. The Night Porter is not for the faint of heart nor those who consider themselves prudish, but for those who are interested, it’s stylistically fantastic.

Nymphomaniac (Vol. I & II)

Another polarizing film from the celebrated and ceaselessly controversial Lars Von Trier, it was originally released as two separate films due to time constraints (you can view the original, full length version via streaming platforms such as Netflix and DirecTV). Luckily, the editing of the film did little compromise its story, which is that of a woman’s sexual journey from adolescence to adulthood. The woman in question, Jo (played by Stacy Martin in the early years and Charlotte Gainsbourg as an adult) has an insatiable desire for sex that eventually drives her into the seedy world of underground BDSM. By the end of the film, you’ve been witness to graphic scenes of S&M, bondage, and various other acts that seem to serve as a metaphor for Jo’s wolfish desires. Others have described her “punishments” as the pain a woman endures for bearing the lustful desires of a man. Regardless, it’s a highly thought-provoking film that is bound to raise some eyebrows as well as some important questions.

While this list might not be for all of us, it serves to highlight several movies that push commonly accepted boundaries of sexual expression on film. A continued discussion on human intimacy and the nature of desire are beyond the scope of this article, but by taking one of these films tonight you can get the conversation started at home - or in the bedroom. 

Elizabeth, great post!  I suspected that E.L. James was not the first to capitalize on kinky sex.  I hope 50 Shades along with these other movies are not taken seriously.  Don't get me wrong-I believe in the privacy of consenting adults.  However, I fear women with low self-esteem might think that this is what the expectation is in today's dating realm. Thanks for stopping by.  Welcome all comments and questions!