Netflix Originals: A Love Story

We are in the Television dead zone people… There is nothing on TV in the states except for on Sunday (god bless you Sunday) So now is the time to get Netflix and check out those great original series that everyone’s been talking about.

I review three of them here. I skipped the teen monster show Hemlock Grove and the kids animated shows because I could and I’m an adult. And instead I concentrate on the adult offerings.

House of Cards, Orange is the New Black and Arrested Development

To the reviews…

House of Cards

House of Cards

Created by Beau Willimon

House of Cards is the story of a morally bankrupt North Carolina congressman who is passed up for Secretary of State and the intricate political maneuvering and cut throat back office dealings that are his revenge.

Spacey and Michael Kelly

For nine episodes House of Cards is the best show of the past year. It is obscenely good. I made the mistake of only allotting myself 2 hours to watch the first couple of episodes but ended up watching the first four. I just couldn’t stop. And after every episode I would proclaim aloud to no one in particular that “This is the best show on TV!” And for nine episodes it was.

Kate Mara

But there are thirteen episodes for House of Cards, a show whose quality falls off a cliff so sharply it left me dumbfounded. Did you run out of money? Did you run out of ideas?

Spacey and Wright

Kevin Spacey is superb as is Robin Wright and Kate Mara. The whole cast is sensational. The writing is top-notch and the list of directors that lend their talents to this show boggles the mind. Joel Schumacher, James Foley, David Fincher. Amazing. It just felt like they only wanted to make ten episodes and added three more for some strange reason.

Kevin Spacey

It was so good for a while. So very good. And It will receive a bunch of Emmys and Golden Globes. Kevin Spacey is a no brainer for best actor. And it will garner a few more for writing. And I recommend House of Cards. I recommend it highly. It just sort of disappointed me toward the end. Though the last few episodes are extreme to say the least. (and I did just say the least I could say without giving it away)

I’ve been watching the British political comedy The Thick of it. Created by the great Armando Iannucci. A very funny political comedy satire.

I don’t much understand British Politics (with the MP’s and the PM and the Lords “M’lord”) but it doesn’t matter because it’s just so fucking funny. But if you like House of Cards but are looking for something a little lighter, The Thick of It is really good for two seasons. And then season three happened and the drop off in quality was stark. Writing and directing. The great Armando Iannucci moved on to other projects and while it still had similar elements and the same characters the difference is more than just noticeable; It’s annoying. And that’s how I felt about season one of House of Cards.

Kate Mara Hat

So Netflix, whatever happened, Whoever left or got fired, Whoever stopped drinking or smoking and just wasn’t the same without their crutch, Whatever new producer started speaking up in meetings or executive started micromanaging the production for the last few episodes, pay them whatever they want. Give them whatever they want. Tell whoever to shut the hell up. PUT IT BACK THE WAY IT WAS.

Thank you for your attention to this matter.


Orange is the new Black

Orange is the New Black

Created by Jenji Kohan

On the other hand, Orange is The New Black, created by Jenji Kohan (Weeds) gets better with each episode. It’s even better than Weeds. And I loved Weeds.

Taylor Schilling

Orange tells the story of a young drug smuggling wife to be and her year in the slammer. It is funny. It is sexy. It is tragic. It is well-written, well-acted, well-directed. My favorite episode of the first season was directed by Jodie Foster (How do you get these amazing directors Netflix?). It is so fucking good.

Pablo Schreiber

My only problem with it being the theme song. I couldn’t stand the theme song after listening to it twice, I had to put it on mute every subsequent episode. Just awful. And I normally like Regina Spekter. But the song, You’ve Got Time, annoyed me. Perhaps for season two they will change performers and music styles like they did with Weeds. (Or like was done so expertly on The Wire).

Schilling and Biggs

Orange is The New Black primarily takes place in a women’s minimum security prison with each episode telling us the back story of a different inmate. The cast is an extraordinary motley crew of varying ages and races and sanities for the prisoners. Then of course there are the guards that range from corrupt to naive and the inmates’ families and friends.

Laverne Cox

But the wonderful Laverne Cox is my favorite. Orange is the New Black is great TV.

I can’t even wait for season two.


Arrested Development

Arrested Development (The New Season)

Created by Mitchell Hurwitz

The new season of Arrested Development is really not very good. There are moments that reminded me of funny bits from the earlier seasons and those are enjoyable in a remember this? this was funny sort of way. But the lack of story is what frustrated me about it. And why I didn’t like it.


The season is the same basic story told over and over in each episode from a different character’s perspective. Which is interesting for a while but gets old quick. Maybe I expected too much from it because we had waited so long for new material and the original Arrested Development was just that – so original. The cast was outstanding and the writing was amazing.

Arrested Development Cast

In this new season, after about episode five, we get the joke. And every episode after that writes itself. It was no longer funny. It was boring and predictable and disappointing. Very disappointing. I think I laughed out loud (aka lol’d) five or six times during the entire season.

Arrested Development 2

Don’t get me wrong. I enjoyed seeing these characters again. I missed these characters. I missed a few of these actors. But I wanted more. I wanted a lot more.

So there you have it. There are good things happening over on Netflix. Please check them out and subscribe so we can get more. They also have some fantastic British TV Shows: Luther, Sherlock and Doctor Who. As well as all the Marvel Avengers Movies (If you don’t already own them) Tons of Comedy shows, Anime and Ted Talks and Foreign Films. 

So go and subscribe. I’ll wait…

– Mel



All Your Holy Books Are Belong To Us (The Gripes of Wrath)

Old Books

The idea of the SACRED text is destroying the world. The unwavering certainty that words written over a thousand years ago, changed incrementally, misinterpreted and mistranslated by sometimes well-meaning and sometimes evil but always misguided men, and protected by governments, religious institutions and churches under penalty of death, are in some way divine or holy or the recorded words of a god is the cause of most of what’s wrong with the world. Not all… But most.

We need to stop using these books to repress women, to oppress people, to justify violence. And we need to stop allowing governments to use them as well; to oppress, control and stay in power.

Our holy books need a rewrite.

* Needless to say, this entire post will annoy the religious and anger the easily offended. 

But yeah…They all need a good rewrite.

All Your Holy Books Are Belong To Us.

Supplies you’ll need:

A pen or a marker
A lighter or matches
A metal bucket or large metal can
Some good wine and/or good weed
(Or just a good sense of humor)
And a hot bubble bath.

First up… The Jews

How to fix the Old Testament

Wherever there is a reference to god in the Old Testament; The singular, I am the only one, no seriously there are no others, Who the hell were you praying to just now?, are you seeing other gods behind my back?, why don’t you love me? – God, change it from god to A god or one of the gods. Or if you’re feeling creative, give them all names. And each reference to a god in each individual chapter should be identified as a different deity than in a previous chapter. Sometimes even within the same chapter.

Once you have edited it, so that the whole thing is a bunch of jealous gods fighting amongst themselves, using humans as pawns, then you can separate the lies from the lessons. The cruelty set upon us from the cruelty that we brought upon ourselves. And then it all makes sense. Some would say mythological sense. But not me. I believe in the bible. I believe in god. Just not the idea that there is only one.

The schizophrenic multiple personality riddled, abusive one moment and kind the next, ONE God is many. More than one. And more than that, when any of the jealous gods claims to be the only god. It should be read as a lie or a trick. For they are powerful beings with very massive but fragile egos.

Next victim… The Christians


How to fix the New Testament

This is easy. Just rip out all the pages after Acts and burn them. You don’t have to burn them in a ritual cleansing fire or chant over them or anything, but you must burn them. Leaving just the accepted gospels (still no Gospel of Thomas however… nobody’s perfect) and leaving in Acts. And really Acts is only left to remind you of what you burnt; The letters of men and the dreams of a madman that should not have been added in the first place.

For extra credit add a page after Acts that reads SCREW YOU SAUL. I won’t let you pervert the TEACHINGS OF JESUS with your own agenda. You can sign it from me (or sign it yourself).

Also if your New Testament doesn’t already highlight the words of Jesus, go through and highlight or underline his words. What you are left with is what Jesus said and did and not someone else’s interpretation. It’s called a personal relationship because you do not need someone else to tell you what he meant. His words are self-explanatory.

Next… Oh my…  Who put all these eggshells on the floor?


How to fix the Koran

If you ask me the whole thing needs a woman’s touch. But, of course, nobody asked me. And I am in no way saying to burn or alter or do anything disrespectful to the Koran.

So don’t threaten my life you violent fuck.

I know that’s sort of racist because it’s like one in a million who are violent or radical. But if you have a million people who don’t want to kill you and one who does… which is the greater number? The one. Unless of course the million are actively trying to save you from him. Then he’s outnumbered. But he’s not. Because they are not.

Because it isn’t the book, nor is it the teachings of Muhammad. it’s the rigid, sober brain of the man who holds it and elevates it above human life that is at fault.

Human beings, society, relationships, gender roles and the planet itself are evolving. These are living, breathing, ever-changing phenomena.

So how do you fix the Koran you say? Respectfully place it on a shelf. Go smoke a bowl, Have some wine, hop in a bubble bath. Calm the fuck down.

Now reread what I said to the Jews and Christians and know that some of that can also be applied to you as well.

Ana asif


How to fix the Four Noble Truths

Rip out the first noble truth. Or at least move it to the end. Buddhist have been slaughtered for centuries. You don’t have to hate in order to fight back. But when the first thing written is that life is suffering, you get a bunch of well-meaning people letting bad things happen to them because that’s the way life is.

Karma doesn’t destroy temples, kill monks and rape nuns. People do that. People who, through their actions accumulate bad karma. And allowing this to happen through inaction is also a source of bad karma.

I blame the first noble truth and its misinterpretation as an acceptance of suffering. Start with the second. or skip ahead to the third. (or combine the second and third) Buddhist don’t have to put up with suffering and not all desires are bad. A desire to not be slaughtered by the thousands is not bad. A desire to practice your religion in peace is not bad. And sometimes the only way to do that is to get angry. I know I just told the Muslims to not get angry. I’m telling you the opposite. You do not have to hate to fight back.

Also setting yourself on fire… stop doing this. Please stop doing this. Live to practice. Live to teach. And if teaching gets you killed then that’s how you die. Because the person you’re killing, when you kill yourself, is a Buddhist Monk and we have already established that killing monks is a source of bad karma.

Since I’m on a roll, I also have a problem with the Buddhist concept of emptiness. I get it that life is an illusion and nothing is as it seems. But within that illusion there are laws of science and rules of physics and the lives of people. You don’t have to be of the world to be in the world.

So what have you learned, Dorothy?

Beside the fact that I know nothing about religion, I learned that it is past time for the spiritually evolved to speak up. Past the time for the passionate to tell the pacifist to get off of his ass and defend his right to exist. For the modernist to tell the traditionalist to shut the fuck up you do not speak for me. For the moderate to grab the extremist by the collar and get him the meds he surely needs.

It is past the time of the old gods. The old books. The old words. The old world is gone and holding on to it is destroying this one.

While there is a place in this new world for Moses, Jesus, Muhammad and Buddha, there just isn’t for the centuries of crap piled on top of their great words and great deeds.

And finally…

How to fix The Book of Mormon

You don’t. There is nothing wrong with The Book of Mormon. Trey Parker & Matt Stone are the Lords of Broadway.

– Mel

Is My Muse This Abuse?

Is my muse this abuse?
Have my screws come a-loose?
Does my fuse need a boost?
Is my muse this abuse?

If I choose to write Seuss
And not Hurston or Proust
Like a Susan or Bruce
Is my muse this abuse?

When my blues come to roost
My dark hues on the loose
Please excuse my excuse
For my muse is abuse

Drinking booze like a moose
Dealing twos like a goose
Loving boos like a deuce
Life infused with the juice

I was used then seduced
Been confused and reduced
I refuse this refuse
‘fore I lose,
Call it.


Now my screws come a-loose
My old fuse needs a boost
From the zoos to be loosed
To my shoes, introduced

Not amused, I deduced,
My best woos reproduced,
That my muse is abuse
That my muse is abuse.

– Mel


Photos From Around The Block 3

I went out in the heat today. I went to get Ice Cream. I was going to go yesterday but it was too hot. (too hot to get Ice Cream!) So I took my camera with me like I promised and here are the pictures.

I took my Zoom Lens with me this time and it created a few new image opportunities. I may have gone a little over board. I waited until late afternoon for the temp to drop to a more comfortable 92 degrees fahrenheit. But, sadly, the condition of my nerves makes a long focal length in low light problematic. So half of the pics were a shaky mess.

Here are the ones that weren’t so shaky…

Do Not Disturb

Do not disturb. The moon, she is sleeping.

The City Where I Live

The street and the city where I live.

Downtown Traffic

Downtown Traffic… a little shaky but I like it anyway.

Clear Skies, Grey Skies

Clear skies, grey skies.
If you look closely, you can see something on the wing of the plane. Is that? Shatner? 

Candy... Ice

Candy… Ice… Beer… Lottery Tickets… Life in the big city.


This is my favorite pic from today. I don’t know why. Maybe it’s the composition.

How High The Moon?

The moon has definitely been smoking something.

My mistress' eyes are nothing like the sun.

My mistress’ eyes are nothing like the sun.
My hunger for her explains everything I’ve done.

Market forces... me to want cookies

Market forces… me to want to buy cookies. But I want Ice Cream.

The Rolling Hills of Manhattan

The rolling hills of Manhattan island.

I'm Out of Here

And that’s all I have. I am out of here.

That’s all for now.

Next time I will take the big lens out mid-day for less nervy shaking.

See you then.

– Mel

Five Favorite Foreign Filmmakers from 5 Regions 3/5 (The UK)

For part three of my Five Favorite Foreign Filmmakers from Five Regions I’m in the UK. Once again this is not in order of how much I like their work but in order of how many of their movies I can find that are damn near perfect.

"I've grown bored with this list already." "Don't worry darling. It's almost over."

“I’ve grown bored with this list already.”
“Don’t worry darling. It’s almost over.”

The theme of this installment is Knighthood.

So, here are three Knights, One man who turned down Knighthood after directing the Olympic Opening Ceremonies and another who played the Green Knight in one of the funniest movies ever made.

To the list…

First up
Sir Alfred Hitchcock

Alfred Hitchcock

One of the best storytellers in film history, from the silent era into color. Alfred Hitchcock is a prolific director with more great films than I can list here but I think his best work was in the late 40’s & 50’s. Starting with Notorious.

My top five movies of all time may move around in their order but they pretty much stay the same five movies. Alfred Hitchcock’s Notorious is one of my five favorite films of all time.

Here are 5 films from that era. Murder. Intrigue. Suspense. Cary Grant. Grace Kelly. Ingrid Bergman. And a style that’s been imitated but never duplicated.

Notorious! (1946)

Strangers on a Train (1951)

Strangers on a Train
Dial M for Murder (1954)

Dial M for Murder
Rear Window (1954)

To Catch a Thief (1955)

To Catch a Thief

From the undisputed Master of Suspense to “master of ceremonies”…

next up
Danny Boyle

Danny Boyle

Danny Boyle has, picture by picture, proven that he can direct award winning and crowd pleasing movies in any style. I liked his early stuff with Shallow Grave or A life Less Ordinary and followed his career closely.

And he just got better and better. With his fantastic take on the zombie apocalypse: 28 days and 28 weeks later and the amazing science fiction epic Sunshine to 127 hours or Slumdog. He proves that he is one of the most versatile and successful directors working today.

Here are four of his best.

Trainspotting (1996)

28 Days later (2002)

28 Days Later
Sunshine (2007)

Slumdog Millionaire (2008)

Slumdog Millionaire

Next up

Sir Ridley Scott

Ridley Scott

Ridley Scott may not have made as many films as Hitchcock or won as many awards as Danny Boyle but he has mad skills and several perfect films making him my number one favorite science fiction director. Blade Runner changed the way I dressed and the books I read and still influences me today. And he is still going strong. I thoroughly enjoyed his last movie Prometheus. Ridley Scott is a magician.

Here are three sci-fi action thrillers

Alien (1979)

Blade Runner (1982)

Blade Runner
Prometheus (2012)


Prometheus is, in my opinion, one of the best films of the past ten years.

Next up

Terry Gilliam

Terry Gilliam

Terry Gilliam is hard to describe and is not for everyone. He can get dark at times. His visions are often bleak but there is always a light that shines through. Sometimes a very small light, yet still something to focus on. Some little spot of hope in a grim future. He takes the viewer to an absurd and darkly comic version of hell and then shows them the flowers that grow there against all odds.

Here are two of my faves

Brazil (1985)

12 Monkeys (1995)

12 Monkeys

Terry Gilliam has a new film in the works called Zero Theorem. The leaked trailer was up for a couple of days but pulled by the distributor. It looks Gooooooooooooooooood.

Next up

Sir David Lean

David Lean

David Lean is the master of the historical epic. One of my first movie experiences was seeing Lawrence of Arabia at Radio City Music Hall. Sweeping beauty. Epic stories. great music.

Here is one of the best movies ever made.

Lawrence of Arabia (1962)

Lawrence of Arabia

In part four, I will cover the Americas. And also bring back the subtitles.

"We're leaving. we'll see you next installment." "But you can't they're watching us." "You haven't forgotten what they did to Emil, have you, Sebastian?"

“We’re leaving. we’ll see you next installment.”
“But you can’t. They’re watching us.”
“You haven’t forgotten what they did to Emil, have you, Sebastian?”


Now… back to working on my book.

– Mel