Monday, October 21, 2013


I tried to watch the new TV series "The Blacklist" the other night. I wanted to like it and tried hard to keep watching, but thought it had serious problems of logic and heavy handedness.

I like the main actor, James Spader, but he plays a cliche--a former top-gun American hero who went bad for no reason.

OK, I thought. I can live with one cliche.

Then Spader's character, Reddington, picks up a mysterious briefcase in a public park. Another cliche, this one from spy movies.

Reddington goes into a gov’t office bldg and reveals his identity. Red alert! Red alert! Everyone goes nuts. Soon a dozen guns are pointed at him. Yeah, right. We are supposed to believe he scares the crap out of the whole national security apparatus.
But why?
Isn't anyone well trained enough to keep their cool? I guess not.
Then Reddington will only talk to a pretty young woman FBI profiler, on her first day on the job. First day? How likely is that? And he knows intimate details about her life. Well, that is hard to swallow, but I kept watching.
We are supposed to be jacked up and think this guy is so dangerous he scares the poop out of everyone in Washington, D.C.
Then he tells her that a dangerous terrorist is going to kidnap a young girl, age 8 or 9, who is the daughter of a U.S. general. For some reason her bosses suddenly gain respect for her and let her run the rescue operation.
Sure. Of course. Just what you would do, right? I don't think so. The show gets more and more preposterous as it goes along.

But wait, the BS gets deeper and deeper.  

The FBI's secret black-ops division mounts a protective mission to save the little girl, but the terrorists know the exact route the convoy takes. They stage an elaborate attack where they block off a bridge and blow the hell out of everything in sight. It’s like a scene out of “Terminator 2.”

Say what? How did the bad guys know where they’d be? It makes no sense. It looks like Reddington may have set them up. If he hadn’t told them, there could have been no big attack. But how would he know where the kid would be? How would he know the route of the convoy? Makes no sense.

How would the terrorists know any of this? I didn't buy it.
And of course the pretty woman barely survives the preposterous attack and shoots one of the baddies. She feels bad about losing the kid, and we are supposed to feel bad for her.

The show is all razzle-dazzle with no logic. The purpose of every scene is to jack up the audience, not to reveal character or plumb the depths of the human condition.

So now the bad guys have the kid and you would think the FBI would suspect that Reddington set them up and tipped off the terrorists. That is what I thought.
But no. The FBI, including the cute profiler, now trust Reddington. What? It makes no sense. So then, they let him out of custody and set him up in his favorite 5-star hotel. WTF?

None of this makes any sense. Check your brain at the door.  

Now the attractive FBI profiler goes home and the terrorist is there, torturing her husband. What? How did the terrorist know where she lives?

The show is remarkable only for its use of magical knowledge and gratuitous violence.
I was going to record the series and watch each episode. Alas, I didn't make it through the pilot. That was enough hokum for me.

-- Roger

Copyright © 2013, Roger R. Angle




Thursday, July 11, 2013


I tried to watch the much advertised and highly touted new FX series THE BRIDGE last night. 
The show presents itself as highly realistic. Indeed, it goes to great lengths to seem realistic, but then it gets hokey, unbelievable and heavy handed.
The first episode seemed to be written to manipulate the audience, not to be believable, or to develop story, or to reveal character, or to teach us about the real world of the border or the police.
In the show, the bad guys shut off the electricity for the whole international border. Very dramatic to see, but not remotely believable. Still, I kept watching. You can forgive one shovel full of BS.
Then they dump a body right on the border line? Why? No point that I can see, except to jack up the audience. Why not dump the body in the river, like everyone else? They want to make a big statement. OK. I kept watching.
The female detective won't let the ambulance through? Ridiculous. And heartless. The crime scene is a major highway. One more set of tires is not going to matter forensically.
The cop runs after the ambulance like a little kid? Wait, she is supposed to be a grownup homicide detective. What are we supposed to think, that she throws a childish fit when her authority is questioned? Does not make me admire her or want to keep watching.
That was it for me. I turned it off and stopped recording. Three (no, four) strikes and you're out.
Why not have pigs fly and elephants dancing a jig?
Because you lose the audience.
That's what happened to me here. 
It is very disappointing to see so much time and talent and effort expended on a show that is so ham-handed and hokey. I thought this was supposed to be the golden age of long-form TV. I don't see it here.
-- Roger  
Copyright © 2013, Roger R. Angle

Monday, May 6, 2013


I finally managed to struggle through "Django Unchained," the most recent movie by Quentin Tarantino, who seems to be an overgrown 12-year-old with an exaggerated sense of his own self-importance.

Here are my notes:


Tedious. Hours of boredom punctuated by moments of light entertainment. How did Q. Tarantino get to be such a big deal? His sense of timing alone puts me off. His humor is juvenile and what he finds meaningful is absurd.
In one sequence, Django is separated from his long-lost wife for months or years and then decides to do a winter’s worth of bounty hunting before going to rescue her. Meanwhile, she is probably being beaten and raped. He doesn’t seem to care. Finally, he finds her. Then, unbelievably, he waits behind a door while the good doctor Schultz rambles on and on, pointlessly. The first delay is sort of forgivable, as we are only told about it. The second delay is maddening.
The ending does not honor the characters or pay off what has been set up. (SPOILER ALERT) For example, the formerly clever Dr. Schultz gets stupid (for the sake of the script) and shoots Calvin Candie (stupid name, both for him and for Candyland) and then is shot by a minor character. Yet Schultz has been the pivotal character, the linchpin for the whole plot. Boom, he is gone. No grand finale here. And his action violates the character. An opportunity for drama wasted.
Overall, this was a good idea for a movie—white bounty hunter rescues black man from slavery—but this movie is slow, stupid, and juvenile, a long slow form of torture.
One would hope that a "major" Hollywood writer/director could do better.

-- Roger

Copyright © 2013, Roger R. Angle

Monday, April 15, 2013


Why are there so many creepy people in TV dramas and in the movies?

TV shows that seem sick to me:
I have tried to watch these shows and they seem to wallow in human pathology.

"Criminal Minds" usually starts out with innocent people being assaulted by depraved criminals. Do we really need to see that? What is the purpose? To show us that the bad guys are really bad? Or are we supposed to get turned on by the violence?

"Game of Thrones" is about people who sell their souls for power. Seems sick to me. It's about manipulation and depravity. I liked the opening of the first episode, in the great white north, but after that, it lost me. Turned my stomach.

"Dexter" is about a sick man, a serial killer who kills other killers. I didn't last long. I watched part of one episode. Yuck.

"The Following" features a psychopath who is admired and followed by other sickos who imitate him. We are treated to rooms full of slaughtered women, some hanging upside down with their throats cut and their eyes gouged out. What could be sicker than that?

What is the purpose of all this depravity? To turn our stomachs? It certainly is not uplifting and offers no insight into human nature, except perhaps into the nature of the audience.

Have we become like ancient Rome, where powerless citizens cheered actual violence, mayhem and murder? Where demented people got off on violence done to others?

That is what it looks like. After years of pointless, stupid wars and senseless slaughter, have our sick politics crept deeply into our souls and turned us into parasites that feed off violence?

I think so.

Welcome to Sick America.

-- Roger

Copyright © 2013, Roger R. Angle

Monday, April 1, 2013


To update an earlier blog post, I am even more in love, if that is possible, and I did enter the Inkubate contest. The deadline was yesterday. The website was confusing, but with some help from my GF, we got it done. It's nice to have help.

This whole love thing is a lot more profound and moving than I thought. I opted out of it for about 15 years. But now I am back into it, deeper than ever before. At least, that is the way it feels. So far, so good. Very good.

-- Roger

Copyright © 2013, Roger R. Angle


Here is an article in the L.A. Times about a good Republican, former U.S. Senator Alan Simpson (R-Wyo.):,0,1336372.story

This dude tells it like it is. Pulls no punches. Takes no prisoners. Calls it like he sees it. All the good cliches apply.

Why aren't there more Republicans like this?

I don't know, but I suspect there are two reasons:
  1. They don't have the guts.
  2. Their political future is tied to big business of some kind, most likely oil or finance. They have been bought and paid for. Some Democrats are like that, too.
The solution to gutless politicians, I think, is to get the money out of politics, as much as possible.

Get rid of Citizens United, the shockingly unfair Supreme Court decision that declared, irrationally, that corporations have the same legal status as people and that there are no limits to political spending.

Right on, Alan Simpson.

We may not see your like again.

-- Roger

Copyright © 2013, Roger R. Angle

Sunday, March 3, 2013


Now I know why most Americans are overfed and undernourished: They eat sugar on top of sugar, not to mention fat and salt.

I made the mistake the last few days of trying to eat like "normal" people. I was at Grandparents Day at my grandsons' school, and for treats they had fresh fruit, which of course is very good for you. But they also had pastries made with white flour.

I ate some fresh fruit, which is yummy, but then like a fool I gobbled up some berry compote, which tasted so very good. Fruit, white flour, nuts, and sugar. Not good but not terrible for you. But I also ate a mini-donut, and three or four small pieces of cake.

Yargh. Empty calories with no nutritional value.

Then, on Saturday, I went to a pancake breakfast for opening day of the kids' baseball season. Of course, the pancakes were made with white flour. Why in the world don't they use whole wheat? I will never understand.

And they serve it with syrup, which is of course mostly sugar. The white flour converts rapidly into blood sugar, so your body is assaulted with sugar on top of sugar.

Here is a link to a site that explains glycemic index and what happens in your body when you eat white flour, white rice, or white sugar, and other foods that convert quickly into blood sugar. It is a disaster:

If you are hypoglycemic, like I am, you feel sick the rest of the day. I got light headed and a headache and felt sick to my stomach until I ate two cheeseburgers to stop the downward spiral of low blood sugar. But that is using grease and starch--unhealthy food--to stop the effects of unhealthy food. The hamburger has a lot of protein, which I needed.

Here is another link, to a site explaining what junk food does to your brain and the brains of your children:

Here is another link, more information on the effects of junk food. If these links don't get you away from junk food, I don't know what will:

Why do most Americans eat food that is bad for them, and why do they feed unhealthy foods to their children?

I have no idea. I thought when we discovered health food, way back in the 60s and 70s--"you are what you eat"--that no one would eat junk food any more. I thought MacDonald's would go out of business and IHOP would serve nothing but whole-wheat pancakes with unsweetened apple sauce and low-fat cottage cheese for toppings.

Boy, was I wrong.

Americans consume bad food by the ton. I want to say like pigs at a trough, but I don't want to be unkind.

For me, the effects are immediate, within minutes. I still have a headache from yesterday. I had to eat some raw nuts and raisins and some high-fiber, high-protein cereal with low-fat milk to get back to normal.

But most people don't have those warning signs. The effects of bad food come slowly, over time. Heart disease. Diabetes. Effects on the brain.

Here is another site, explaining the long-term effects of junk food:

I wish everyone could see the consequences of their diet. Warning buzzers. Red flags. I wish they had a nutrition coach who would yell, "Stop! You are killing yourselves!"

In a way, I'm glad I can't eat junk food. Because if I could, I probably would, like everyone else.

Thank God I can't.

If I could have one wish, I'd fix it so that junk food made everyone as sick as it does me.

-- Roger

Copyright © 2013, Roger R. Angle