Friday, August 28, 2009

I quit Dexter




I heard a lot of buzz about Dexter before I ever watched an episode last year, when Netflix put Season 1 of the show online for free viewing. Even though most of my friends who hyped up the show early on were more inclined to watch One Tree Hill than Lost, I was still encouraged at the positive buzz. And, even now, I think the premise for the show is interesting. A serial killer who kills bad guys. Not bad.

I tore through the first season because, although the acting deserved a grade of about a C, the scenes where Dexter had his victims restrained and ready to be slaughtered were chilling and genuinely memorable. Michael C. Hall is a good actor, and he seems tailor made to play Dexter, so the fact he narrates the show and keeps 80 percent of the speaking lines is OK by me. But the side cast, especially the actress from The Exorcism of Emily Rose who plays Dexter's sister Deb, leaves something to be desired. And really, saying they leave something to be desired is akin to saying Michael Jackson made a poor choice in his primary care physician. If I have to hear Deb say the word "Dex" one more time, me and my TV are coming to blows.

Even still, I dutifully watched Season 2, so-so acting and weird storyline and all (the Ice Truck killer?!?!). Why? Not only because it was free to watch on Netflix, but also because I really want the show's execution to live up to its great idea. But, the problem is, just like the Cubs, New Year's Eve parties and Davidson County Republicans, Dexter never lives up to its potential.

By the time Season 3 rolls around and the B-storyline is Deb considering whether to rat out a fellow cop so she can become a detective, well it becomes easy to tune Dexter out. And then you have the show's weird soft-core porn turn. Anyhow, Season 3, unlike its predecessors, is not free to watch on Netflix. I had to add the DVDs to my queueueueue one at a time and, after two and a half episodes, it was time for me to quit Dex once and for all.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Socialism

I want socialized medicine. I want the government to decide what my profession will be when I'm 7-years old based on a national aptitude test. I want to collect Factory Worker trading cards and wear red uniforms to grade school. I want socialized public schools like the one I went to in Chesterton, Ind., where everyone had equal access to the same mediocre teachers and where the adjectives "rich" and "poor" are dirty four-letter words on scale with "shit" or "damn" or "vote."

I want doctors to be paid the same as me, the same as bus drivers, the same as community organizers. I want Congress to abolish the law that says presidents have to be born on U.S. soil. I want all my presidents to be born in Latvia, or Cuba, or Senegal.

I don't want to get rid of religion, but I do want pastors to pass federal background checks to ensure they won't spread political lies from the pulpit. I want Mt. Rushmore torn down to accommodate new busts of Obama and Stalin and maybe Oprah.

I want to work for a conspiratorial government-run media outlet, but only with state-mandated 40-hour work weeks, so I have plenty of time to volunteer for health care death squads. I want killing old people to be a celebrated and joyous occasion, on scale with a ride on a tilt-a-whirl or a visit to a billy goat petting zoo. I want socialized carnies running fair rides.

I want doctors to be just as well educated and customer-friendly as DMV workers nowadays. I want musicians to sing with just as much passion and fervor as they do now, but I want their songs to be about the evil machine that WAS capitalism being fueled by the blood of the Workers.

I want socialized ice cream trucks roaming the streets during the day and then, at night, spying on my conservative neighbor with the "Thank You President Bush" sign in front of her apartment. I want socialized everything, much like we had in 2009, when obscure services like schools, fire departments, police departments, highway departments, military services and sanitation departments were socialized. That was pretty socialistic, but it wasn't social enough for me.

Friday, August 21, 2009

SEC prediction

This midwesterner has learned to love SEC football. Here are my 2009 predictions:

West
1. LSU
2. Alabama
3. Ole Miss
4. Arkansas
5. Mississippi State
6. Auburn (thanks to Tracy for pointing out I forgot them in the original rankings. That was cold what AU did to Tubberville).

I think the national publications over-rating Ole Miss is probably the most annoying thing this offseason. Houston Nutt is a good coach, but there's a reason he left Arkansas on such awful terms. LSU has the most talent in the league, and it only got better with the incoming freshman class, which is the best in the country.

East
1. Florida
2. Georgia
3. Tennessee
4. South Carolina
5. Vanderbilt
6. Kentucky

These predictions aren't all that profound. It was hard for me to pick 2-4. South Carolina is intriguing to me and I think Lane Kiffin is the man. Florida is my pick to lose to Oklahoma in the championship game.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

2009 NFL predictions

AFC
East
1. New England Patriots
2. Buffalo Bills
3. Miami Dolphins
4. New York Jets

North
1. Pittsburgh Steelers
2. Baltimore Ravens
3. Cleveland Browns
4. Cincinnati Bengals

South
1. Tennessee Titans
2. Jacksonville Jaguars
3. Houston Texans
4. Indianapolis Colts

West
1. San Diego Chargers
2. Denver Broncos
3. Kansas City Chiefs
4. Oakland Raiders

Wild Cards: Jaguars, Broncos
Champs: Patriots

NFC
North
1. Green Bay Packers
2. Minnesota Vikings
3. Chicago Bears
4. Detroit Lions

East
1. Philadelphia Eagles
2. New York Giants
3. Washington Redskins
4. Dallas Cowboys

South
1. New Orleans Saints
2. Carolina Panthers
3. Atlanta Falcons
4. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

West
1. Seattle Seahawks
2. Arizona Cardinals
3. St. Louis Rams
4. San Francisco 49ers

Wild Cards: Giants, Vikings
Champs: Eagles

Super Bowl Champs: Patriots

Friday, August 7, 2009

Antony and the Johnsons

I read a feature the other day about musician Antony Hegarty. It struck me for two reasons. The first is that it was a really well-written article about a pretty complex guy. The second was a quote from Hegarty -- a transgender indie artist with a vibrato in his voice that elicits either love, or hate, and nothing in between. Hegarty was talking about being authentic and about expressing his unique world view. He came to the conclusion that being hopeful in this day and age is the new radical outlook on the world. As it says in the article, "Here's a new frontier: hopeful thought."

That struck me. You can read the article here.

And here's a video of the Johnsons in action with Antony.