The blog for The Solitaire Rose Experience. Yes, the blog revolution is utterly and completely over. However, I haven't figured that out yet, so I'll be listing articles, ideas, links, and other internet debris. Now, you can join in! And be mocked mercilessly!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Solitaire Rose Guide to the 2008-2009 season

I like TV. I like it enough that I have a Tivo, satellite dish, etc... So, as this season winds down, I'm going to put down what I thought of the shows I watched this season and if I'll keep watching them. Oh, I know, some shows are done (like Boston Legal, Battlestar and a few others), but the networks have delayed announcing their fall schedules, so I'm going to decide what I'll keep watching.


How I Met Your Mother – A solid sitcom with likable characters. This is never going to be a show where I run out and tell people about the great acting, writing or innovative plots, but a sit-com is a kind of comfort food. This one has enough laughs per episode that you'll laugh a few times, the characters are ones you don't mind spending a half hour with and it's worth the time for me. I hate that they feel they have to do cliffhangers, but it stays on the Tivo.

24 – Two years ago, I was ready to give up after a REALLY bad season. But a break due to the writer's strike seemed to help. The two hour movie last fall sucked me back in, and this season is one of the better ones. They have been slowly moving toward smaller threats. This season started with someone taking over the entire governmental computer network and now seems to be ending with Jack Bauer's daughter in danger (Cougar Alert!!!), which is the reverse of other seasons where the danger keeps escalating. I also laugh when conservatives use this show to justify their extra-legal actions when I see the show as a modern version of a movie serial...yeah, it's just as “realistic” as Flash Gordon or The Fighting Devil Dogs. Still, lots of fun and staying on the Tivo.

Monday Night Raw – The WWE's flagship show, but more often than not, the one I like the least. Too much of the show's time is spent on bad high school skit level comedy, and not enough time is spent on matches, feuds and the like. I watch some episodes by fast forwarding through so much of it, it takes a half hour to watch. Then again, they can also pull off some entertaining shows, so...oh hell, I'm a wrasslin fan. It stays.

Heroes – After season 2, I said I'd give it a try for the 3rd season. Oddly enough, I watched the first 3 episodes, fell behind and now I have 21 episodes on the Tivo. Must not be all that compelled to watch...but when everything else is all done, I'll buzz through it and see what I think. It's on the bubble on my Tivo.

CSI Miami – Oh hush. I know it's pure cheese, but I like the CSI franchise and the science based whodunits. The plots have been solid but I hate all of the personal life crap they keep putting in the show. The show itself is amazingly beautifully shot, and looks better than most big budget movies. Even though it's ion its fifth year, it hasn't shown any signs of decay. It stays on the Tivo.


Reaper – Probably canceled, and a shorter season this year. It's still a fun little show, but it's VERY clear that they know they don't have any more than this year, so they are tearing through long-term plots at a frantic pace. The main idea (lead character works for the devil, returning souls to hell) is one that could become really dull, really quickly, but they have moved that to the background and deal with the lead characters. Funny, sharp writing and an inventive way to keep the series fresh. I'm keeping it, but the CW will probably drop it for another remake of a 90's FOX series.

ECW – On the SciFi channel...this used to be the worst wrasslin show in the history of wrasslin shows when it was “reborn”, but it's now settled into a show that only runs an hour, focuses on new talent and people who wouldn't be good in the “comedy” on Raw but can put together good matches, and in the end it's a wrasslin' show that focuses on wrasslin. Usually my favorite of the WWE shows for the week.

Fringe – My favorite show of the new year. It took a while to find its feet, and the lead character is still pretty much an empty vessel, but the week to week stories have been fine, and any Bigger Mystery is far enough in the background that you can actually ignore it if you want. It deals with X-Files type stuff, without the aliens, and if it gets better next year like it did this year, I may end up liking it more. That's right. I went there.

Better Off Ted – I THINK it's on Tuesday nights...with the Tivo, I can never really tell. This is an amazingly well-done sit-com which satirizes working in corporate American about a million times better than “The Office”, and still has characters you like. The writing is smart, fast and cutting, and the entire series seems fresh and funny. The Office may have episodes that knock it out of the park, but Better Off Ted is much more consistent. The best sit-com on TV and I'm keeping it on the Tivo. If you aren't watching it, go ahead and watch a few on-line to see if it is to your taste!

Tomorrow? Wednesday and Thursday!

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Today's evil, anti-American thought.

I think that here in America, when spend so much time and money on crap we neither need nor enjoy, but feel we HAVE to have that it has screwed up our society in general. We need to 100 inch TV set, the 200 cable channel connection, the newest cell phone, the house that costs 10 times what we make in a year, a new car every four years, replacing all of our gadgets every couple of years and so on, and so on, and so on. When we DON'T spend enormous amounts of money, we are chastised by the media and government that we aren't doing our part.

After 9/11, what did our President tell us to do?

Go shopping.

What is the solution to the current economic downturn?

Go shopping.

Buy more crap you don't need, throw it away and then go out and fill up the car AGAIN.

It's crazy. It's destructive to both body and spirit.

I was laid off at the end of last year, but I live so cheaply that I haven't started feeling the financial pinch until the last week or so. I have a part-time job to supplement my unemployment while I look for a new job, but I'm also using the time to get back to writing and creating. I don't buy the $120 concert ticket to see the band that hasn't had a hit since 1982, I wait and pay $10 to see the band that has been touring and working the road and makes their living from the CDs they sell. I work at a movie theater, so I get movies for free, and watch the stuff on Turner Classic or the DVDs I bought but didn't have time for. I read a LOT, I spend time in contemplation, I play my older video games and relish the free time I have for now because when I have a full-time job again, I won't have as much time.

Americans work more than most people in the first world. We have worse health, no savings, a terrible retirement and a huge income disparity. In the last 30 years, upward class mobility has all but vanished, and we allow corporations to run everything. The current economic crisis is being blamed on the poor by the rich (which is pure propaganda):

The right blames the credit crisis on poor minority homeowners. This is not merely offensive, but entirely wrong. - By Daniel Gross - Slate Magazine

Truth is, we've been living in a country that has extolled greed and waste since 1980, and maybe it's time we took a step back and thought about just how much better off we are after having a "Baby Boomer" consumption orgy...since we have nothing but garbage and debt left to us by the boomers. No great art has emerged, popular music is back to the model it was during the 40's and 50's when manufactured stars sing songs created by committees and our lives have become an endless treadmill or working to pay for the food you bought and ate three months ago. We've outsourced labor, science and now our military (just like Rome did before it fell).

Most Americans say the US is the best country in the world. But they never can answer when you say "At what?"