Wednesday, May 11, 2011


I know I already have a post about the lack of imagination in Hollywood, but this one really got to me.

I don't watch the series "Castle," but I was recently at my father's house and they were watching it, so had the opportunity to experience the episode, "To Love and Die in LA" (a rip-off of the 1985 movie name To Live and Die in LA). Granted, the movie To Live and Die in LA is the story of a cop whose partner is killed by organized crime, and the episode of "Castle" is about an ex-partner of Beckett, killed in New York, and her quest to LA to find the killer.

Interestingly, as I paid half attention to the episode, I could not help but think someone took 1984's hit Beverly Hills Cop and changed the names (I assume to protect the innocent [for those who don't know, that's a reference to the 1951 serial police drama "Dragnet"]):
  • Axel Foley/Kate Beckett's friend is killed when visiting Detroit/New York
  • Foley/Beckett's wants to investigate, but his/her boss says, "No! You're too close to the case!"
  • Foley/Beckett says, "You're right. I have some vacation time...I think I need to take it to recover from this horrible tragedy"
  • The boss in both cases says, "Don't you think about going to LA to investigate!"
  • Foley/Beckett immediately jump a plane to LA
  • On arriving in LA, Foley/Beckett run afoul of the local police and are dragged "downtown," where the local commanding officer calls Foley/Beckett's commanding officer, who promptly threatens Foley/Beckett with being fired
  • Foley/Beckett insist they are just in town on vacation and will not be investigating
  • Foley/Beckett continue to investigate
  • Foley/Beckett find the case is more complicated than they thought, involving a much more nefarious crime with much more dangerous and organized criminals
  • Foley/Beckett again run afoul of the local authorities, who continue to apply pressure to get them to 'go home'
  • Foley/Beckett ignore the locals and continue to investigate
  • Foley/Beckett finally crack the case
  • There is a dramatic bust, in which Foley/Beckett have to be 'tough cop,' but in which they are also proven to have been right since the beginning, thus winning the support of the local cops while saving their jobs back home
I know that there are only 3 (7, 10, 21) story lines in the whole world. I would never expect any movie or TV show to be completely original or innovative. But I think that it's totally unacceptable to take an older work, change the names, and present it as original. That's called plagiarism.

Or, as I like to say, "Castle Shannara-ed my ass." It's a new verb, and I'm going to get everyone I know to start using it. If you don't get the reference, read this. Shannara almost got me to stop reading. Castle, and other similar products, makes me want to quit watching movies and television.

Just say no to Shannara-ing.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Castro and bin Laden

I've been quite busy this week, so again, slacking on the writing (at least here). Sorry.

A few days ago I read here that Fidel Castro had a comment about the US killing bin Laden:
Fidel Castro has criticized the United States for the manner in which its forces killed al-Qaida mastermind Osama bin Laden, saying it executed him in front of his family. 
As I said in my last post, I have a problem with the fact that people celebrated his death by partying in the streets, waving banners, etc. However, the man was a criminal, a terrorist, and a threat to the safety of people everywhere on the face of this planet. I would have preferred that our reaction had been something more along the lines of, "Wow - how awful that it had to come to that, but at least he can no longer do any harm."

Regardless of the barbarity of the popular reaction in the US (and elsewhere), make no mistake: bin Laden died exactly the way he deserved. Faced with the arrival of an overwhelming number of maximally trained fighting machines, he could have chosen to surrender, either to save himself or to protect the people he supposedly loved who were hiding with him in his McMansion.

Instead he chose to put up a fight. Does that make the covering of his wife with bin Laden's brain matter the fault of those tasked with his capture? If they had held lethal force in check, would one of the (at least more) innocent soldiers been injured, maybe even killed? Is it possible he could have escaped? In either event, WHEN he caused more injuries or deaths, how would it feel to have been part of the team that let him get away?

bin Laden lived by the sword, and he died by the sword. We should not celebrate it, but we should be thankful it's over.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Death of a Terrorist

So I've been watching the aftermath of the bin Laden thing. I'm
not quite sure how to feel about it.
On the one hand, he was quite the dangerous person. As the
Doofenshmirtz Dance Brigade would say sing, "He's an evil, evil
man." Do I think he deserved to die? That would be a resounding
"YES," not out of any desire for revenge, but to keep him from
continuing to hurt/kill others.

On the other hand, it really bothered me to see people
celebrating in the streets. That seems too barbaric to me - as if we were part
of the Roman Empire. I expect nations based on tribal systems to have these
kinds of reactions - but I would expect more from a 'sophisticated society.'

Then the really bad part of me comes out: the comedian who
wants to make all kinds of jokes about the whole situation. Thankfully, the
other two sides of me are in hyperdrive right now, and I am able to suppress the
comic urge.