To All My Friends (Who’ve Wondered Where I’ve Been)

I know I haven’t been around much lately. Too much anger. Didn’t really want to get it on you. I have a tendency to spew hate when I’m angry. I hate it when the bad guys win… I’ve been experiencing a what-the-fuck few weeks. The American election was hacked and I’m surrounded on all sides by people waiting for their chance to say “I told you so.”

“I told you so.” Among the bodies of the dead.

“I told you so.” Brought to you by the makers of Pepsi and Xanax.

“I told you so.” Translated from the original Russian. (actually, little known fact, it was in German before it was in Russian)

I’ve reached a point in my life where more people are younger than me than older. I’m surrounded on all sides by the children of the damned. Social media misfits more concerned with likes and dislikes. Trolls without bridges. History books unopened. But mouths that will not stay shut.

chinese-farmer

I haven’t been around much lately because I know me. The thoughts racing through my head should not be shared with anyone. My doctor doesn’t want to know. My lawyer doesn’t want to know. The fake twitter accounts of Russian trolls, who successfully influence the tired liberals into hopelessness and fits of screaming, don’t want to know.

For one misguided instant I considered self-immolation as a form of protest. Nothing else, it seems, can penetrate the walls of the corporate pay-to-play media and so-called social media’s cavernous, echo-amplifying, bottomless pits of ego and frustration. Setting myself on fire in front of some monument to our fallen democracy seemed like a good idea at the time… for like, literally, a second. For like one scary second.

So I’ve been away.

And I apologize. I figure there’s like 25 or 30 people who read my blog. And I love you guys. And I’m going to post some good stuff. Life goes on no matter how dire. I know my friend Alex misses my movie reviews. New shows, some of the best stuff I’ve seen on TV, came and went. Anybody watch Atlanta? That was amazing. Donald Glover is knocking it out of the park on the daily. Speaking of which, my list of the best albums from this year includes more genres than you can shake your rump at. Who knew I’d like Trap Music. OMG I like Trap Music.

Music, Movies, TV, the third chapter of my novel… but politics, fucking politics, pissed me off to such an extent that I couldn’t write but scream. I couldn’t think but scream. I could not talk because all the screaming made me lose my voice.

So I went away. Started meditating again. Got back to temple. Working out. Stopped doing the few remaining vices I’d allowed myself over the past decade. Pizza, Beer, Porn, Masturbation. It’s about time I stopped living like a 13 year boy without adult supervision. I’m gonna be 50 next year. And the US president is going to be Donald J. Tr… I can’t even say it.

The pounds flew off since I stopped eating garbage. It’s amazing how much more money I have in my budget since I stopped drinking. And the energy. The sexual energy. The mental energy. The spiritual energy… it’s through the roof. And now being channeled into less selfish endeavors.

thats-great-maybe

Doing yoga everyday. Getting to the temple at least three times a week. Working on my compassion and my mindfulness and my body. I will require these things to make it through the next few weeks. Let alone the next few years of protests and civil (and uncivil) disobedience. Gotta build my stamina for all the marching and demonstrating. Because, as you know, Donald J. Tr… I still can’t say it.

I’ll never be able to say it.

What is the true nature of reality? We see things as we want them or don’t want them to be. Sometimes a fantasy. And sometimes as our worst fears realized. We label situations and phenomena as good or bad. As helpful or unhelpful. As progress and advancement or… as the… the nightmarish, back-sliding, hateful, racist hell-scape that I can’t seem to wake up from. Somebody please wake me up.

WAKE ME UP!!!

I meditate to find love for the seemingly unlovable. I meditate to find focus amidst the din of unchecked voices (un-fact-checked and un-verified). I meditate to find the me that can help and not just criticize. That can pull his weight and not just pull his dick. That can be a calm in the storm and not just more destruction and distraction.

Because it’s looking more and more like we’re going to have to violently overthrow the US government. And I don’t say that lightly. People are going to die. People are going to die because they’ve lost their healthcare and can’t afford their treatments. Because they’ve lost their government jobs as the agencies that protect us, from emotionless and compassion-less corporations, are shuttered one after another. People are going to die because they’ve lost their minds after too many deployments in some foreign distraction called another war. People are going to die.

thats-awful-maybe

And we can’t just sit around waiting for a miracle. Like that one time that one guy resigned from being pope because he realized he was too evil and stuff to be pope so he let the cool guy be pope. We can’t wait for that. We can’t wait for lightning to strike his ostentatiously disgusting jet plane as it floats on a cloud of ego or one of his fucking hotels to collapse under the weight of his hubris. We can’t wait for that. And we can’t sit around watching our neighbors die from treatable diseases or complications from dangerous pregnancies or malnutrition. Fucking malnutrition in the 21st century.

So yeah. We need to violently overthrow the US government… but with love. Out of compassion for our fellow human beings these people have to go… on both sides. I will not be governed by hate. And also I will not be governed by hate. So that really no one has to die for idiotic and preventable reasons.

We’ve been hacked. Our election. Our government. Hacked.

And respectfully, the only course of action, after you’ve been hacked, after they infiltrated your system, installed their malware, their trojans, their porn, the only course of action is to unplug the damn computer, and reinstall the operating system.

I went away.

But I’m back.

I’m going to see Rogue One tomorrow. So I’ll let you guys know how I like it. I’m going to post all my reviews and stuff over the holiday season. There’s a lot. You know I didn’t even realize it was the holidays. This is usually my least favorite time of year (except for the Doctor Who special). Because I’m alone and everything about this time is geared toward family and friends and stuff. But ever since I’ve rediscovered my faith, going to temple and Dharma classes and meditation, I don’t feel so alone.

I feel great actually. This is the best I’ve felt in a long time. The healthiest I’ve been mentally, spiritually and physically. The best.

And to think, I owe it all to the rigged, hacked, fraudulent and fucked up election of Donald J. Tr… you know what, I still can’t say it.

You guys thank him for me.

See ya tomorrow after Rogue One (unless I’m too hyped to post anything but OMG OMG OMG OMG then I’ll post on Saturday after Dharma class)

Now watch this 2 minute video.

– Mel

What’s Good? (Late Summer)

Hello again and welcome to this the fourth What’s Good? installment. A top ten list (without numbers) of things I’m enjoying or have enjoyed recently. In TV, Movies and life and junk. You get the picture. I wish I could do one of these every month but some months, I’m telling ya, ain’t much good. But that’s just my opinion. I don’t want to fight about it. My EmotionsIf you haven’t heard yet, I had a run-in with my local launder/dry cleaner dude and put my foot through two of the panels on his doors. He had me arrested and the whole thing has sent me into a depressive funk. I hadn’t had an incident in more than a decade and I was getting out more. Hitting the museums and stuff. I felt like I was improving. But he said something to me. I said something back and then he said something else and I did what I did. In the past I would’ve punched him. So maybe it should feel like progress. But police, court dates and the fact he’s right on the corner and I’m not allowed to walk that way anymore has sent me to self-pity city (population one). And it goes without saying that self-pity city is pretty shitty. (the reason it goes without saying is… well you try to say it)

StrangeloveAnyway, I don’t want to get you all down too. So I’m gonna talk about the good stuff

We got mostly TV this time around. And the Mets. The Mets are looking really good. And if all goes well I may even talk about Donald Trump. Everybody else in the world is.

To the list…

WHAT’S GOOD?

I’m glad you asked.

The Brink Poster

The Brink on HBO was really good. It was a half hour comedy about the U.S. and Pakistan almost starting world war three. I love Tim Robbins and this has Tim Robbins written all over it. His film Bob Roberts is one of my all time favorites.

Tim Robbins

The Brink stars Jack Black as a government official who gets caught up in an international incident. It’s zany and silly but the messages resonate in our modern society. The fragile state of international diplomacy in the digital world. Very funny and eerily possible. Except the real thing wouldn’t be as comical. Think Dr. Strangelove meets…well  Dr. Strangelove. The Brink is the modern-day Dr. Strangelove. And I loved every minute of it.

Strike Back: Legacy was pretty good. Strike Back is a show that airs on Cinemax in the US. In its fifth season it’s still exciting and they still don’t mind killing off any character at any time. One of the best things about the show is that the main characters get killed off all the time. Nobody is safe. Espionage and military action with the occasional sexiness thrown in for good measure. I mean, it is Cinemax.

Two men playing chess

Chess w/ Friends app is good because I live alone, so I usually play chess against the computer but I’m good, so I’ve burned a few CPU’s. You never realize how hard a good game of chess pushes a processor until you start smelling the smoke. So it’s good to play humans who don’t overheat. And I get beat on occasion which is good because as long as I play mistake free (huge caveat) I can beat or stalemate (usually stalemate) any chess program. But I’m no Carlsen Magnus. Plus I can’t play a speed game. That’s why I love this app. You’ve got six days to make your move before it forfeits for you. The one thing I don’t like about Chess w/ Friends, because I play 10 to 15 games at a time, is sometimes I get weaker opponents and it weakens my game then some novice beats me and gloats. I hate that. I usually beat them on the rematch then put ’em on ignore.

Netflix Originals are very good and get better with repeat viewings. Daredevil, Sense8, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, Orange is the New Black are four of my favorite TV shows. I watched Sense8 again and it was better the second time. Then I re-watched Daredevil and it was better for the second time as well. Netflix is making some good TV.

Catastrophe

Amazon Prime (not anywhere near Netflix level) has a few good shows and a couple of promising ones coming soon. Catastrophe is very funny and original. The soft insults between the two lead characters are so funny. And I can’t wait for The Man in The High Castle and the return of Mozart in the Jungle and Transparent. Plus, you know, free shipping and music and movies and stuff. And it goes well with my Kindle Fire.

Yoenis Cespedes and Juan Lagares in Colorado

New York Mets Trade Deadline Moves and storming into first place is good. I said a couple of months ago that all we needed was a right-hander with some power and they went out and got Yeonis Cespedes (somebody reads my blog) and since they got him they have gone from the worst offense in the league to the best offense in the league. A really good power hitter in the middle of the line-up makes everybody around them better because they all see more fastballs. They also picked up Juan Uribe, Kelly Johnson and called up Michael Conforto; a young player with some pop. They were five games behind before the trades and now the Mets are in first place and have an eight game lead. And then… David Wright, the captain, came back. Woo Hoo!

Daily Show with Jon Stewart Finale was very good. By the end, the Daily Show was a shadow of its former self. But the last episode was a trip down correspondent memory lane with a touching tribute from Stephen Colbert, a great last rant from Jon, and Bruce Springsteen sent the show off with a couple of songs. It was a nice finish for one of my all-time favorite talk shows.

humans-amc

Humans on AMC was creepy good. Here is an intriguing and interesting show but it kind of got bogged down in the second half of the season. I liked it though, and hope it comes back for a second season. It reminds me of that zombie show that I eventually had to give up on except swap robots for zombies. In The Flesh. AMC is doing fine work. They have several of my favorite shows including my absolute favorite, the amazing Halt & Catch Fire and the promising Fear (The Walking Dead) which wasn’t amazing but could get there if it can distant itself from the main show while still keeping its audience.

mr-robot-banner

Mr. Robot stayed good the entire way through. I know I mentioned this in my Early Summer What’s Good? but it needs a re-mentioning. Mr. Robot is fantastic. I read a bad review that said the thing they didn’t like was that they thought it would be impossible for them to keep up this level. That was a bad review. If “I don’t think they can stay this good for very long” is the worst thing you can say about a show, it’s got to be good. Truly amazing. With more than a few episodes in the first season that make you want to watch again from the beginning to see what you missed. They delayed the finale because it was disturbingly similar to something that happened here at a news station (more gun violence what else). But judging just by that, it will probably be disturbingly amazing.

And since I’m mentioning shows I talked about last time.

Halle Berry Extant

I need to apologize to Extant on CBS (also on Amazon Prime). The reboot in the second season is really working for me now. The whole robots versus aliens thing is awesome. The show is sort of about the extinction of the human race but you don’t know from which way it’s coming. There are aliens and there are robots and neither group likes humans very much. Extant can be light and fluffy and sometimes it takes itself too seriously but it’s actually pretty good. I really like the direction they’ve taken the story.

This is where I usually put up a new song that has me playing it on repeat. I’m waiting for Chris Cornell’s new one (also Puscifer) in September but what I can’t stop listening to right now is this shit right here. But it just came out a couple of days ago.

Dr. Dre – Compton (A Soundtrack)

Compton A Soundtrack

There is so much good on this soundtrack. Anderson .Paak. I can’t even begin to… Anderson .Paak. Kendrick Lamar is all over it. Anderson .Paak As well as all the usual suspects. Snoop, Eminem, Cube. Anderson .Paak

But honestly, the album serves as Anderson .Paak’s coming out party. Anderson is a drummer from Cali that raps and sings and makes hella weird videos. I love the guy. This is something he did with Knxwledge that is nasty as all hell called Suede…

My boy is fittin’ ta blow up.

And now… for everything there is a dark side.

WHAT’S NOT so GOOD?

Or 5 things that really disappointed me.

Let’s get right into the suck…

harvey_birdman

My Day in Court… sucked. even though they let me go home. They made me wait all day to find out if I signed in for a community service job from 23 years ago. TWENTY THREE YEARS!! It made my stomach ache. I brought money with me thinking I would just pay my fine and get on with my life but they wanted to first find out how much the door panels cost before they figured out what my fine would be or if I had to do jail time. And after making me wait a month and a half in anxiety and paranoia, they tell me I have to wait another month and a half while they get their shit together and find out what the damage is. Meanwhile I’m going through all the scenarios by which I end up in prison and I lose my apartment and all of my stuff gets ransacked by whoever puts it in storage. And they’re making me come back for more humiliation. Because the ADA just has to point out that the argument was about my underwear while stifling a giggle. She’s quite literally a child.

Airing my Dirty Laundry

On a related note… After my run in with Mr. Huang, my local launder, I haven’t left the house at all and that sucks. I’m back to being afraid to interact with people and I feel like everybody in the neighborhood thinks I shit my pants. It wasn’t feces. It was blood. And the fact that I have to explain that to anyone causes me pain. (I know I just posted it here but at this point it’s part of the public record) It was black underwear and it was dried blood. And what really annoyed me is that he had to discuss it with the whole laundry.

“Your honor, there’s a reason ‘to air ones dirty laundry’ is synonymous with indiscretion. It is the very definition of indiscretion. Hasn’t he been humiliated enough? Your honor, I move that all charges be dropped and my client be allowed to leave the courtroom with what’s left of his dignity.” (thunderous applause)

This Man Is A Fool

Donald Trump as a legitimate candidate for president of the United States, surprisingly, doesn’t suck. This is what the Republican party has become. This is what the election of Barack Obama has done to them. 30 million Donald Trumps without a clue. And they can’t deny it. He shares all of their traits. Anger, Racism, a weak grasp of reality, an entitled attitude based on skin color alone, the lies and the Insults about the government, the rampant misogyny… the list goes on. But I’m enjoying this. Truly I am. It serves as a last chance for the few sane Republicans to abandon their party and their hateful ideology. When you see yourself bigger than life, this giant ugly version of yourself, it should serve as a wake-up call. The party of lies and hate has found their mascot. But what really sucks is how it makes us look to the world. We were just getting over the image George Bush created. Now we’re not just stupid, we’re angry racists as well.

Wet Hot American Netflix

Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp on Netflix was not so good. I think I just expected more. I’m not saying there wasn’t some funny moments but the entire thing played like a series of cameos. It was nice seeing Janeanne Garofalo on my screen again. (I had the biggest crush on her back in the day) but I wasn’t amused by this star-studded prequel to the cult classic about counselors at a summer camp. I wanted more. Even though the entire series taking place in one day is pretty fucking funny.

Hannibal

Hannibal finally returned to form after going way off course with its European excursion. But it’s too late to save the series. Not good Hannibal. You should have never ended last season with total carnage and then basically took it all back. Like saying, we apologize. No one died. I loved the second season. I just hated the way it ended and coming back like nothing happened made me hate it all the more.

Coming Soon to What’s Good:

Minority Report

New Fall Show Leaked Pilots are good. And these are the ones I liked: The best of them was Minority Report which looked cool but had a lot of effects and we all know those shows never last on the major networks. But I also liked Lucifer which looked good because of the title character being unbelievably awesome and sexy. And there was Supergirl which looked super cute and fun even though the pilot needed work. But what I’m also looking forward to is the return of my doctor. That’s right I called him MY doctor. Peter Capaldi is my favorite doctor on Doctor Who. And one day, if I ever get out of this funk, I will do a post about why Peter is my favorite doctor. It will be amazing.

Coming Soon to What’s NOT so Good:

Chance_go_to_jail

But seriously I wish I could get out of this Funk. In the old days I would just buy some Cocaine and that would do it (I wouldn’t even know who to ask… and I don’t want to know). Coffee just doesn’t work on it. It’s a coffee proof funk. Alcohol doesn’t make it go away, it just makes it darker and more creative. Which is fine temporarily, I guess. Hopefully the day after I find out my punishment I’ll be back to normal… for me. And my new court date isn’t helping. So if there’s no Jail Time, I’ll see you guys in September.

Speaking of funky… and so as not to leave you with a bad taste in your mouth. I will leave you with this great song from my boy Anderson .Paak (the dot goes there). This song is about every relationship I ever had when I was on drugs. It’s called Drugs. Enjoy.

Nice. But the video is weird right?

Later Gators,

– Mel

Uncle Tom’s Employment Agency

Are you a job creator that could use a “diversity hire” to fill-out a government quota but you’re too afraid you’ll end up with a black radical, black panther or reverse racist?

Mitt Romney

“Binders full of black people, I do not have. So, um… Yes.”

Yes.

Are you sick and tired of having to check to see if any minorities are around before telling the latest Obama So Black joke at work? I’m talking to you big guy.

“Here’s one you may not have heard. Obama is so black…” Just say yes, Donald. “Yes.”

Yes.

Do you believe that reverse racism is more than just something white supremacists invented as a way to justify their hatred and hide their political impotence?

“Let me tell you something about the Negro…”

You know what. Don’t answer that last question. Just call…

Uncle Tom’s Employment Agency.

We have the black candidates that wont make you feel insecure about your bigotry.

We have the Negroes for you.

Ben Carson

“This blog post is the worst thing since slavery.”

Uncle Tom’s Employment Agency 

We have the job applicants that will allow you to feel secure about telling racist jokes at the office. Our men have the blackest skin with the most perfect diction. You’d swear they were just normal people by listening to them but trust me they’re all black. You’ll be amazed. And our black women candidates are some of lightest-skinned “sistahs” around. They all self-identify as white women, but don’t you worry. They know which box to check off at tax time and with little to no sass or back talk. In no time at all you’ll be known as An Equal Opportunity Employer.

Amy Holmes

“I’m not black. My father was from Africa. Ah-free-ca. We weren’t slaves.”

The first thing your clients will say when they see your new hire will be “My god! What a credit to his race.” or they’ll ask “She’s only half black isn’t she?” (as if there’s such a thing). And go ahead and tell that aggressively and disgustingly racist joke in front of them. They can take it. They’re just that good.

Allen West

“You’re reading the blog of someone who despises you. I should know. I hate everyone.”

Now here comes the tricky part. After you’ve told your racist joke in front of one of our highly qualified “black” applicants, a few moments will pass (it will seem to everyone in the room as if it’s been long minutes spent in tense silence). Don’t be alarmed. This is done on purpose. The tension build up will make the pay off all the more sweeter as our candidate will laugh at the joke. But not just laugh, he’ll say “Good one.” and “I heard THAT.” and “I can’t wait to tell my wife that one.” (Don’t worry none of our candidates have white wives. That would be wrong)

Clarence Thomas

“I do not respect my wife’s decision to marry a black man… Sorry Honey, I’m under oath.”

All our candidates are skilled in the best fake laughter. You’ll swear he’s pissing his pants while making full eye contact with the “racist joke” teller in the most submissive way possible (without seeming gay of course) and did you know he’ll even give that bigoted individual an extra little smile just to let them know that THIS Negro isn’t one of THOSE.

*Ask about our Black Republicans. Black Yes Men. And Dark-Skinned Right-Wing Pundits who will agree begrudgingly to the most hateful racist rhetoric with a nervous smile. (as seen on Fox News)

Michael Steele

” Now everybody be cool. He’s not calling us Uncle Toms. It’s just the name of the agency.”

Uncle Tom’s Employment Agency

Make sure to ask your new diversity hire about his thoughts on Ferguson or the Confederate Flag and he’ll answer, “Confederate is just another word for friend.” or he’ll joke,  “You mean Sarah Ferguson the Duchess of York?” And it will all seem as non-confrontational and submissive like as if he were calling you “Massah” without the slightest bit of irony. (*because of ongoing litigation our candidates will not and can not refer to you as “Master”, “Massah”, “Suh Boss” or “Bossman” and will in fact call you by your first name as if you were good friends).

Ask them about #BlackLivesMatter or the Black Lives Matter movement and our candidate will smile sheepishly and tell you reassuringly that he thinks ALL lives matter (without throwing up a little in his mouth).

Senator Scott

“I am opposed to this blog post in every way. Unless I’m told to believe otherwise.”

Uncle Tom’s Employment Agency will send you the colored faces that can fill out any staff photo, Human Resources pamphlet or Police Brutality Press Conference Podium.

Uncle Tom’s Employment Agency will fill your color quota without creating the hostile, “dark” and scary workplace of your worst nightmares.

Uncle Tom’s Employment Agency will work with you and your lawyers to bring you the diversity hire of your dreams. Our candidates will always be “one of the good ones.” We guarantee it. (guarantee void after 6 month probationary period)

Condi Rice

“Melvin, I swear, if you call me an Aunt Jemima, I will cut you.”

Uncle Tom’s

Satisfying your employment needs since 1648

…………………………………………………………………………………………

User Comments 1-5 of 209

anonymous Writes: We used your service earlier this year and were quite happy with our “black person.” But after his 6 month probationary period, he became a full-time employee and he changed practically over-night. He put up a photo of Malcolm X in his cubicle where everyone could see it. Last week he wore a Dashiki to work on casual Friday. Is this a bait & switch? He’s talking lawsuit. I can’t be sued again. I just can’t.

wutangfan69 Writes: I had a similar experience to the previous commenter. It was like he changed all of a sudden. The look he gave me when I innocently called him “Mah N****h.” I meant nothing bad. They say it all the time to each other. I can still see his angry eyes. I was afraid to go to work this morning and I’m the owner. You have Ben Carson and Clarence Thomas in your ad. But what you sent me was more like Wesley Snipes.

aynrand4ever Writes: You can’t say you’re sending a non-threatening black yes-man and send a highly intelligent and qualified n-word who’s now competing for MY job. You see that? I’m saying “n-word” now. He’s got me afraid to even type the word n-word. You should be ashamed of yourselves. I will never use your service again.

ngryblkmn38 Writes: 6 years after taking office, your “candidate” is walking around like he owns the place. I think they call it swagger. But I’m not complaining. It’s kind of nice.

dtrumpjrjr Writes: I specifically requested a “mammy” type, light-skinned African-American female to be my personal assistant. But I was not aware that I wouldn’t be able to pat her on the butt every once in a while. They have such nice… She broke my arm in three places. Can I get a refund?

Oath Keepers Keep the Wrong Oath

AZModerate Rants

bundyranchcoward

With the Bundy Ranch debacle, a group came out into national prominence that few had heard of before. A paramilitary group calling themselves a “militia”by the name of The Oath Keepers. They have been around since 2009; founded by Stewart Rhodes, who advertises himself as a former paratrooper and Yale Law School Graduate, who worked for Ron Paul.

Membership is said to be made up of former military and law enforcement. Now if you were ever in the military, law enforcement or any government position in the United States, a requirement of employment is swearing an Oath. The oath is to among other things “Uphold and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies foreign and domestic.”The mission statement of the “Oath Keepers” lists orders they “will NOT obey”,namely:

1. We will NOT obey orders to disarm the American people.

No one in government has ever…

View original post 1,798 more words

The Hidden Gems of 2013 (Year-End Review Mega Post)

Everyone has their own year-end review posts. I do them too. It’s a good way to put the previous year in perspective. And prepare for the new one.

Breaking Bad

In 2013 there were some good movies (award season is upon us) and some great TV finales. Some of them ended well (Breaking Bad). some ended not so well (I’m looking at you Dexter). Some ended too soon (Nikita). While some waited a season too long (Burn Notice). But everybody talks about those shows. Let’s talk about the shows nobody talks about. Let’s talk about the movies that aren’t up for Awards or Box Office Records. Let’s talk about the stuff nobody talks about.

Nikita

I call 2013 the year of the over-discussed and the under-exposed.

Michonne from The Walking Dead

Yes, The Walking Dead was good (not as good as before but it’s hard to keep up that level of intensity) and the Marvel Movies this year were awesome (yawn). Big budget films like The Lone Ranger & After Earth were two of the worst movies ever made (Tell me something I don’t know). While Breaking Bad cemented its place as the best show in television history (That’s right I said it again. Go to your room The Wire and think about what you could have been). And we can’t forget about how Game of Thrones stabbed us in the heart again and again. (Had me seeing red)

Agents of SHIELD

While Marvel’s Agents of Shield needs more time to discover what it wants to be when it grows up, Doctor Who was spectacular once again. And Jay-Z released the best collection of songs in his storied career. Even Lady Gaga finally got her shit together and released a good album. Yes, The Affordable Care Act‘s Healthcare.gov website (affectionately known as Obamacare) couldn’t handle all the traffic at first (who knew people without healthcare would want some?) but got it together in time for the holidays and Congress reached a new low in obstruction and not doing the job they were elected to do… (speaking of jobs. Where are the jobs?) Until Harry Reid got serious and said, “No more.”

Taylor Schilling

Oh yeah and House of Cards & Orange is the New Black changed the way we look at TV. Netflix ruled 2013 even Hemlock Grove was good. (Let’s see how they fuck it up in 2014).

Kevin Spacey

… but everybody knows that. We lived through it. We talked about it ad nauseam. I will attempt with my year-end list to rank the things… OTHER than those things. Stuff that nobody talked about (or very few talked about… and me). The hidden gems of 2013. The underexposed movies that I loved. The TV shows that are going strong without their own after shows and blog recaps. This is my year-end list.

So… Here’s the other stuff…

Movies That Didn’t Get The Respect They Deserved

10. Warm Bodies

Warm BodiesA beautiful love story in a clever and original package.

9. Much Ado About Nothing

Much Ado About NothingJoss Whedon and Will Shakespeare… need I say more.

8. Jack The Giant Slayer

Jack the Giant Slayer Poster

A fun movie, a great love story, with a excellent cast.

7. Before Midnight

Before MidnightJulie Delpy. Julie Delpy. Julie Delpy. Not a day goes by that I don’t wonder why we never became lovers. (Oh that’s right. I don’t know her)

6. The Iceman

The IcemanThe Iceman is no joke. Iceman is intense

5. The Grandmaster

The Grandmaster

A dance. A meditation. A heartbreak. A cinematic masterpiece.

4. Europa Report

Europa ReportThe heroism and dangers of space exploration done right. Done so right.

3. Stand Up Guys

Stand Up Guys

Three masters. Two guns. One awesome movie.

2. Oblivion

oblivion-main_1It seems like I enjoyed this movie more than everyone else. This is good Sci-Fi. I loved this movie.

1. The Bling Ring

The Bling Ring PosterDesigner nails on a limited edition chalkboard. Sofia Coppola does great work.

Bling Ring EmmaAnd so does Emma Watson.

There were more popular movies. There were better movies, but these ten films, in my opinion, were over-looked and under-exposed. And that’s a travesty because they were very good.

Television Shows That Are Still On The Air

These are the great shows that I think don’t get enough press. Don’t get enough love. So not Sleepy Hollow or Agents of SHIELD or The Blacklist or Almost Human (though I love them all) Go watch them before some executive pulls the plug.

In alphabetical order (because you can’t rank no TV shows), here are the ones I never hear people talking about.

2 Broke Girls (CBS)

2.Broke.GirlsLove this show. It gets funnier and funnier. They’ve added a bunch of new awesome people to the cast including the very funny Mary Lynn Rajskub & Eric Andre,

American Horror Story: Coven (FX)

American Horror Story CovenThis show amazes me. Each year they change the theme and the characters and the locations (they only keep the fantastic cast) and it is awesome every season. Lily Rabe is wonderful every year and Jessica Lange… wow.

Banshee (Cinemax)

BansheeThis is a fun action show with a sexy cast.

Banshee 2Great fight scenes and shootouts. A cool premise and an interesting story.

Banshee CinemaxAnd of course some sexy sexiness… it IS Cinemax. Banshee is a very cool and kick ass action drama.

Beware The Batman (Cartoon Network)

Beware the batmanI never hear anyone talking about this show. I love it. Good story. Cool animation style.

Beware the Batman KatanaSure, it’s a departure for the Batman but at this point who wants to rehash the same old bat. Beware the Batman is a very good animated series. (Just not for the Bat-man purest)

Brooklyn Nine-Nine (Fox)

brooklyn-nine-nineBest new sitcom in quite some time. Funny as hell and I’ll tell you why… casting. Every single person on this show is hysterical.

Childrens Hospital (Adult Swim)

childrens-hospital-castThis show is wild and wacky but they do good work every episode with different film styles and joke formats. Childrens Hospital (no apostrophe… it’s not a children’s hospital) is so fucking funny. It’s 11 minutes of unadulterated awesome.

Continuum (SyFy)

Continuum

Still going strong. Geat story. Good continuity even with the time paradoxes. Exciting Sci-Fi action thriller with a very cool premise.

Defiance (SyFy)

Defiance-tvIt took me a few episodes but I eventually fell in love with this show. Great cast. Good stories. Post-apocalyptic political intrigue. Defiance, Continuum and Falling Skies, for me, fill the hole left by Battlestar Galactica.

Falling Skies (TNT)

falling-skiesFalling Skies reminds me the most of Battlestar Galactica in so many ways. It’s about a rag tag fugitive group of humans on the run from aliens and robots. Falling Skies is really good. If you haven’t watched it, hop on it. It gets better every year.

Hell on Wheels (AMC)

Hell on WheelsThese next two shows are kick ass westerns. Very cool. Sometimes brutally violent. With two flawed heroes. Both are gunfighters with a code of honor.

Hell-on-WheelsHell on Wheels takes place just after the Civil War and tells the story of one hapless company trying to build a railroad to the west… and all the bodies (white, brown, black, yellow, red) buried along the way.

Justified (FX)

JustifiedJustified is still good. Still amazingly cool. This is the modern-day western. The story of U.S. Marshall Raylan Givens; quick on the draw but always true to his word. Justified & Hell on Wheels are two of the coolest TV westerns since The Rifleman.

Mom (CBS)

Mom 2Allison Janney, Allison Janney, Allison Janney.

MomJust give Allison Janney another Emmy already. She makes Mom good. She makes it really good. This is a funny funny show.

Motive (ABC)

Motive

ABC picked up this great Canadian show that gives away the murderer in the first scene but makes you have to figure out why, putting the viewer ahead of the detectives. It is a welcome change to the common police procedural where the actor playing the killer has to try to fool the audience as well..

Person of Interest (CBS)

Person of InterestPerson of Interest has been a good show but in 2013 it got so much better.

Amy Acker & Sarah ShahiThe show, about the machine that can predict violent crime, added Sarah Shahi and Amy Acker, playing two of the baddest women on TV. If you’re not watching it, you’re missing out on one of the best shows on the air.

Reign (CW)

ReignI’m so sorry guys. I like this show. I tried not to like it. It’s fluff. It’s pure fluff. But it’s good fluff. It’s not historically accurate or even historically close to being accurate.

Reign 2It’s just good. I like it. I like the cast. I like the premise. I like the drama. I love the sets and the costumes. They’re probably not authentic but they look so good. It’s a guilty pleasure. And now I feel dirty. Moving on…

The Americans (FX)

the-americansThis was one of the best new shows from last year. Two deep cover Russian agents toward the end of the Cold War.

the americans 2Some of the best acting and suspense on TV. Keri Russell and Matthew Rhys are simply amazing as they try to both have a family and stay true to their mission.

the americansI can’t wait until it comes back. So good.

Vikings (History Channel)

VikingsOkay, let’s be honest. Most of what the History Channel puts out is crap. They find a couple of so-called experts to agree with a historical premise that they happily feed to their ignorant audience of moronic misanthropes who think that watching this channel is a substitute for an actual education. For goodness sake, why don’t you do another show about the Nazis for your core audience of old racists or another piece of bullshit bible inspired claptrap for the History Channel’s pseudo-christian demographic. But the Vikings is a good show even if it is just more white supremacist programming from the most overtly racist channel on cable besides FOX news. Don’t give these people your money. Steal it. Pirate it. Fuck them. NEXT

Witches of East End (Lifetime)

Witches-of-East-EndAnother of my guilty pleasures. It’s not American Horror Story: Coven. Not even close. But it’s a nice bit of whimsy with a hot cast. Whimsy that I enjoy. I don’t have to justify my viewing habits to you.

Those are what I call good shows. Not the best but the most underrated in my opinion. And here are the bad ones…

Five Bad Shows (that need a complete reboot)

Dracula (NBC)

DraculaGreat casting is the only good thing I can say about it. But because I like the cast so much, I hope they retool it and come back stronger. It suffers from not being on a premium channel. Vampires without gratuitous sex and violence is just wrong.

Family Tree (HBO)

Family-TreeI waited for this to take off. I love Christopher Guest and his style of comedy. This had so much potential but it was maddeningly unfocused. And I really love this cast. So I’m hoping it comes back and just (I don’t know) focuses itself a little more.

Hello Ladies (HBO)

Hello Ladies

I hated this show and I kept watching, hoping that these horrible characters would learn something but they never did. It was like Eastbound and Down but without the funny.

Once Upon a Time in Wonderland (ABC)

Once-Upon-a-Time-in-WonderlandI wanted to like this show so much because I love the original Once Upon A Time (still good) but I don’t like this cast and I don’t like the Alice character… (yet?). But just like everything else on this list, I’m still watching, hoping it gets better. Because I love Alice in Wonderland.

Red Queen

And because I can’t live in a world where this woman here is not on my TV each week…

2013 Disney|ABC TCA Summer Press Tour Red Carpet Event

Emma Rigby as the Red Queen.

Emma Rigby 2

She’s too hot not to build a better show around. Get on that Disney.

The Tomorrow People (CW)

the tomorrow peopleI am so close to saying goodbye to this show. I don’t like the lead (everyone else is great) and the powers are inconsistent and the magic system is flawed and stupid. And it’s so racist. I know that’s the point. Their “species” is being hunted. But the way they talk about themselves and humans, it just makes me uncomfortable.

And now for something completely different…

News & Politics

First I have to acknowledge one of my personal heroes even though we spent a good three weeks eulogizing him here in the states…

Nelson Mandela

Nelson MandelaRest In Peace Madiba.

Minimum Drug Sentencing

U.S. Prison PopulationDrug Policies… no not Legal Marijuana in some states but a strong push from the executive to eliminate mandatory minimums and to set non-violent drug offenders, who had been sentenced to extraordinarily long prison sentences (for offenses that are in no way offensive), free… at last.

Obama & HolderPresidential pardons have now led the way for Governors following suit in some states. Releasing some of our nation’s political prisoners in this endless and hopelessly misguided war on drugs.

Leticia Van de Putte for Lieutenant Governor

Van de PutteWendy Davis stole the headlines but it was her partner and candidate for Lieutenant Governor in Texas, Leticia Van de Putte, that made us all applaud. I have never cheered alone in my room to a live feed on the internet from a senate session in another state… in my life. But when she said what she said, I stood up raised my arms to the sky and yelled “Fuck Yeah!” And then I applauded.

At what point...They couldn’t hear me through the internet but I cheered and applauded along with the gallery in support of Wendy’s filibuster. Cheered for what I hope is the next Governor of Texas. I would move back to Austin and vote for her, if that didn’t involve moving back to Texas.

Marissa Alexander Out on Bond

Marissa Alexander out-of-jailThe Zimmerman Trial… no not the fact that George got away with murder because we all know he will be punished. It is inevitable. But Marissa Alexander who was in prison for 25 years for firing a warning shot. And how the trial brought light to her sentencing and her trial and got her released. Fat boy may not have done any jail time (his conscience would disagree) but it had an effect on the Stand Your Ground controversy and helped to get Marissa Alexander a new trial… and inspired one of the best South Park episodes of this past season.

Healthcare

Medicaid Expansion MapHealthcare… no not the website or the governors who refuse to expand Medicaid to the poor (who would rather see them die than give them Health Insurance at no cost to the state) but the millions of people with pre-existing conditions and college age kids on their parents plans and the garbage policies that had to be cancelled and better policies offered. Yeah, the corporate media is sponsored by drug companies and the medical industry, so we won’t hear much about it but Obamacare is working extremely well and saving lives.

Pope Francis

Pope FrancisThe Pope… not just for the statements he makes & things he says but for the way he has forced conservatives to admit that they aren’t as pious as they pretend. Watching them scramble for ways to justify their greed and callous disregard for the needy is almost fun. As they argue with the Pope. As they argue against feeding the poor. As they argue for the idolatry of wealth. As they argue against income and wealth equality. While claiming to be Christian. You don’t worship Christ. You worship money. You hear people on the left say “If Jesus himself told them they wouldn’t listen.” He did. And they still don’t.

Mars Rover Curiosity

Mars Rover CuriosityThe Mars Rovers… I’m horribly guilty of the personification of objects, especially technology (I apologize to my chair if I bump into it). Mars Rover Curiosity is one of my personal heroes. Sending beautiful pictures from the surface of Mars. Never to return home. If I could, I would nominate Curiosity for the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

********************************************************************************************

There were a lot of good things in 2013 but make no mistake, I hated the year. Mostly for personal reasons: I tried to write a book but failed miserably. I lost a friend without being able to tell her she was my friend. And I spent more time fucking around than improving anyone’s life, including my own.

2014 will be NO different. 2014 will be the same “suckage” as ’13.

But 2015… that’ll be my year.

That’s gonna be my jam.

Have a Happy New Year everybody.

– Mel