Tuesday, January 20, 2015

It's Amazon Pilot Season

Periodically, the good folks at Amazon.com present a selection of new TV series developed by people like you and me (well, me anyway; your fantasy life is your own) at Amazon Studios for Amazon customers to rate and review.  I want to recommend one particular program currently up for audience review, Cocked.

Brian Dennehy plays the family patriarch and gun business founder Wade Paxson.  Jason Lee plays the elder son, heir apparent and perennial ne're-do-well Grady.  Sam Trammell plays his younger brother Richard, who has made a life and career outside the family business and industry.

Wade Paxson has built a solid business catering to the traditional "Fudd" segment of the gun buying market; rifles and shotguns for hunting and target shooters.  Grady Paxson has spent all the family's available cash designing and manufacturing a new product line for the company, a "semi-automatic revolver".  Revealing further depth to the Paxson family structure, Wade's brother Rayburn has his own gun company, and apparently has Wade's shop thoroughly penetrated with his own people, as he also brings a "semi-auto revolver" to market - at considerably less cost.  Desperate to save the company he spent his life building, Wade begs (and otherwise coerces) his younger son to help stave off the pending disaster.  High-larity, as they say, not to mention drama and more than a little comedy, follows.

Cocked airs most of the usual memes and catch phrases anyone familiar with guns (or just gun debates) is familiar with - but does so in a reasonably neutral fashion, and occasionally quite indirectly.  As example, the commonplace pro gun ownership expression "when seconds count, a cop is only minutes away" isn't spoken in dialogue, but following a violent attack on Richard, the responding cop notes there isn't much he can do to catch the attacker or prevent another attack.  In another scene, Richard's wife accuses the family of "selling fear", to which Wade responds that guns are "just tools".  In none of this drama does anyone come off as morally superior, nor does anyone get spared from a sometimes too-revealing look.

I hope Amazon produces this series, and you can help convince Jeff Bezos and the boys and girls at Amazon Studios to do just that.  Follow the link above, watch the pilot episode, then click on the little blue Find out more link, and Take the survey.  You don't have to be an Amazon Prime member, but I expect no one there would outright object if you did join up.  Also, the show is rated TV-MA because, titties, violence and grown people doing some fairly tedious stupid behavior in somewhat explicit fashion.  Nothing too outrageous (which may be more revealing of my standards than anything else), but expect to have to field some awkward questions from the younger set if you let them watch with you.

Finally, there are 12 other pilot shows up for audience review at Amazon right now; I also recommend Mad Dogs and The Man in the High Castle as being worth your interest, pretty much in that order of preference too (tastes vary; get your own).  There are some kid-oriented shows too, but mine are raising there own kids these days, so I don't have to develop an opinion you would want to read about any of that category of programming.

No Amazonians or actual pilots were harmed in the production of this post.

Monday, January 5, 2015

Political Strategy, In My Briefs

Louis Gohmert is my Member of Congress, so I'm not just some less-than-grunteled citizen here.  Let me further say that I support his declared intent to seek the Speakership of the House of Representatives (and as a general political principle, the intent of others to change the leadership - and thereby the direction - of the Republican Party in Congress, and presumably overall, as well).

That said, there is a cautionary aspect to this tale.

The Democrat nominee for Speaker is Nancy Pelosi.  I will not be at all shocked to click over to Drudge one morning soon and read that she is the Speaker-elect for the 114th Congress, and myriad stories quoting the RNC leadership loudly blaming "divisive insurgents within the party" (read: people opposed to their continued choke hold on control of the Republican Party) for that result.

I do hope Louis and the rest have given a good deal of preparatory effort to organizing their little putsch, as those who currently run the RNC are demonstrably willing to arrange a quiet little deal with the DNC just in the ordinary course of events; how much more likely are they to do so rather than give up control of the RNC entirely?

I'm not predicting this outcome, I just won't be at all surprised should it occur.  A profound change in political organization generally has been a building social pressure in the United States for many years now.  History documents just how infrequently that sort of shift occurs without similar disruption of domestic social structures as well.  Mostly, and fortunately, those societal and political changes occur in a generally peaceful manner; here's hoping that trend continues whoever the next Speaker of the House should be.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

What Next, A Delivery By Tom Hanks?

I live at the rear of the apartment complex I have called "home" for the last 13 years.  Fed Ex and UPS delivery vans are a normal weekday occurrence.  I just saw the second Fed Ex van make a drop-off at this end of the complex today - and Saturday delivery isn't all that regular an event normally.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

"Mail's In"

So, I ordered a product from an on-line vendor.  As you do.

I paid for my purchase via Pay Pal.  As you do.

I received a shipping notification from the vendor with a tracking number.  As you do.

In this case, the shipping/tracking number was through the USPS.  I checked on the status of my package three days after I was told to expect arrival (the expected delivery date being a Saturday, not getting too concerned until after the subsequent Tuesday's mail delivery didn't seem an unreasonable imposition).  As you do.

Checking in with the USPS official website I cut-n-paste the tracking number I was provided into the provided search box and, lo and behold, my package was apparently delivered "in or at the mailbox at 2:07 pm on December 8, 2014".  Now, I did indeed receive the expected monthly cable bill on that date, so I'm confident a postal delivery was actually made on the day in question.  Just not the package I was anticipating.

Already being on the USPS website, I attempted to use the contact link for the Postal Inspectors to report on my waylaid, or at least undelivered to me, package.  After the usual cut-n-paste entry of the identical tracking number I had just entered via the same manner into the "track your package" search box, the Postal Inspectors reporting page informs me that this is an invalid tracking number, or at least now possesses an excess of spaces between the digits.  Needless to say, removing the spaces from between said digits resulted in the same error message.  Repeatedly.

The expression "Going Postal" begins to take on added piquancy.

There is a provided 1-800 number; once my blood pressure medication (which I will have to have my doctor prescribe me very soon now, I fear) and my soporific-of-choice has an opportunity to take effect, I really must give due consideration to attempting that avenue of communication.

My next venture into 21st Century mercantilism will be to inquire with the on-line vendor referenced above to see if he wants more of my money, and what amount will additionally be required to purchase insurance and make my next delivery be "return receipt requested".  Since the product is something of a limited offering, I'm not feeling confident.

At least our benevolent government doesn't issue guns and clubs to postal carriers yet, so their assault on us isn't quite as direct as it might be (insert link to your preferred example of police brutality here), but we can still live in hope.  As you do.

Update 12/18:  Screw you, Post Office thieves.  UPS for the rebound and the win!

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

So That Was A Surprise For Who Exactly?

I expect the topic de jour (and for a few more days, likely) will be events in - or possibly inspired by - Ferguson MO, so here's my observation so far.

First, I want to commend the young lady identifying herself as @MissJupiter1957.  Perhaps Matt Drudge will explain how he came to link to her live stream reporting, but thanks to his doing so I and tens of thousands of others were able to gather an immediate, first-person impression of the chaotic nature of events last night.  If I may Young Miss, would you please make a more consistent effort to keep we viewers better informed of your location within the city and a general sense of direction your camera is pointing.  You editorializing as you record events is an expected aspect of blogging, with or without video, but if you could attempt to add greater context to events and about the locale you are in, we viewers would have a better understanding of things.  Other than that, really well done; thank you.

Second, at about 9:30 pm local time, Ferguson police reported the presence of a vehicle outside the Toys-R-Us store (I believe this was the store located at Festival Dr. and Pershall Rd.) and 1 or more individuals attempting to break in (one of my colleagues had the on-line addy for the Ferguson PD radio traffic) (there's also this FB page).  Perhaps 5 - 8 minutes later, a police supervisor reported over the police radio that "20 to 30 cars are in the parking lot" and asked for additional units to respond to the "crime scene".  My memory is that not much more than 10 minutes later the on-scene supervisor reported the presence of "100+ cars in the Toys-R-Us parking lot".  By 10:00 pm the police communications center had broadcast a general order for all responding units to the Toys-R-Us to retreat from the crime scene.  I suggest this is an example of a Flash Mob robbery successfully deployed to deliberately exceed the police capacity to respond.  I further doubt I was the only one to recognize the lesson being acted out in real-time, live and unrehearsed, or that we will lack for further - possibly more extreme - examples in the near future.

I well remember the 1992 riots in the greater-Los Angeles area.  The technology didn't exist for flash mobs then, so the pre-planning was far more complex, but there was an obvious pattern of distraction fires being set followed by armed robbery and arson of area grocery stores and other businesses.  Not of their merchandise, though that was certainly common enough, but of the business cash specifically.  We'll have to see if this pattern re-occurs in-and-around Ferguson (or elsewhere in the country) in the coming days.

Islamists and academics aren't the only people able to recognize changed circumstance, ponder the varieties of possibility such opens up to them, and adapt their tactics to adopt the advantages that technology permits them in the face of static and predictable opposition to their achieving their desires.  People read the phrase 4GW Warfare and glide right over considering just what types of behavior - and by whom - that entails, especially when the military isn't directly involved.  Which is largely the point behind the whole 4GW exercise; distract your opponent with obvious but discrediting targets to his advantage, while you attack his points of dis-advantage to his deliberately public dis-credit.  It's already happened here, can you really think we are somehow immune?

Here's a consideration; how long before it becomes accepted thinking for criminals to consider the follow-up arrest to be an anticipated opportunity for them to even further overwhelm police efforts against them, and in just as organized a fashion as the crimes they "spontaneously" perpetrate?  Alternatively, SWAT-ing someone so as to be positioned to attack the responding cops in an interlocking series of re-enforcing ambushes maybe?  As cover for a robbery elsewhere perhaps, fires not generally being a police responsibility.  It doesn't take a brainiac to learn this stuff and you definitely want a ready supply of  - how shall I put this? - low information thinkers within your ranks; the primary requirement is a willingness to destroy the society/culture you live in.  Give a listen to @MissJupiter1957 again and pay attention to the voices she records.




Monday, November 24, 2014

I'll Go There

In the on-going saga of who has the worse approach to discussion of racial topics on TV, the serially interchangeable title holders Plump and Plumper from The View apparently bounced their different View-points off each other off-camera recently.

Pity.  Three distinct responses to the two points-of-view expressed.  Typical progressive "thinking", sadly not on display for our View-related pleasure.  Here's a suggestion for the rest of The View backstage staff: Go Pro.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

To All Those Veterans Day Thank You's

Your Welcome; but, really, it was just the sort of thing one does.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Oh Goody!

Just got off the phone with the Holster Maker For The Stars and my two (count 'em, 2) new croc-a-gator skin Valkyrie holsters will be on there way to me towards the end of next week.

It's birthday and christmas all wrapped up in one.  Literally.

I am gonna be soooo stylin'!

Friday, October 24, 2014

So, 61

I don't really have a lot to say about the occasion, or I do and don't want to get into all that just now.

Mostly both, I suspect.

I have been having some initial success writing original fiction at Amazon Studios these recent months, and I do intend to write more on that come the day.  Right after I hit the "Submit" button.

Much like writing fiction that isn't painfully derivative, my sixth decade is proving harder to make headway in than has been my previous experience.  Yes, I know, nothing surprising there; it's discovering the distinction between the knowing and the doing that's the challenge I suppose, the realization that tried and true no longer gets you where it always has.  Finding new ways to do old things will be a feature of the coming decade I fear.

I don't really have a song this year, so something fun and motivational* (sorry about the ad and it will probably auto-start).

*It's my perspective; deal with it.