Friday, December 11, 2015

Different is good...


 
So many people on my social media timelines are pissed off about their friends political views. Friends don't like friends supporting Trump or Hillary or Rubio or Cruz or who the hell ever. Friends don't like friends supporting laws favoring gun rights or laws favoring gun control. Friends don't like friends supporting Democratics or Republicans or Independents or Libertarians or Socialists or any other party they don't agree with.  Friends don't like friends supporting open immigration or supporting closed borders.  The list of things dividing people goes on and on and on.

And throughout all this, I just keep thinking how boring life would be if we were all alike....thinking and doing the same things. At first, it may seem safe to insulate ourselves with people who think and do like us but in the long term...it doesn't help us grow. It doesn't nurture the best part of who we are. That seems such a waste, don't you think?

That old phrase "Variety is the spice of life" is so true. We get our kicks not from the same old thing but from that something different!

Sure, there are times we need the point-of-view of people who think like us and times when we need the point-of-view of people who don't. We need a variety of friends, experiences, and points-of-view. The interactions and discussions---it challenges us!


Life is short. Go meet people, all kinds of people! Get to know them. Open your heart, your mind.  You will not regret it. Sure..similar is good, but different is good too.

Monday, December 07, 2015

Life is about choices...

Don't for a moment believe that in any situation, there isn't a choice. There is always a choice. Doing nothing is as much a choice as doing something. The hardest thing about choices is that the right one, which is usually what we struggle with, is not always the easiest one to make. If only it were, this world would be a hell of a lot better off.

Often times choices mean taking chances on the unknown and let's face it, the unknown can be scary. That fear of what might happen can be pretty strong and it prevents us from making choices that could, in the end, potentially enhance our lives. Yeah, there's a possibility we don't choose so wisely and it backfires and well, we just have to chalk it up to one of life's lessons. And is that really so bad? Is making the wrong choice a bad thing? Not necessarily, especially if we learn from it. There may be consequences but if it makes us better people.....

But what if that choice isn't the wrong one?  What if it actually pays off? Opens up new doors? New possibilities?

If we never take the chance, how will we ever know? 

Tuesday, December 01, 2015

For anyone who has ever cared for an ailing parent...


Caring for Mom

I was emotionally exhausted.

It all began the morning of November 24, 2014. A routine trip to the grocery store turned into a nightmare when mom fell and broke her hip. When they wheeled her into surgery hours later, none of us had any idea of the nightmare that was to come.

Mom entered rehab on December 1. She did very poorly there, with no energy or appetite. She was there seven days before they took her to the Emergency Room with pneumonia and a severe urinary tract infection. She spent 16 days in the hospital and was released to another rehab facility on Christmas Eve. Unfortunately that didn't last long because again she was constantly nauseous and seven days later, on New Year's Day, she returned to the Emergency Room with dehydration and pneumonia. Mom spent another 14 days in the hospital and on January 15th was finally released to the previous rehabilitation center.

In total, mom spent 30 days hospitalized between November 24th and January 15th. Most of that time was spent in CCU, PCU and ICU (where at first she seemed to do well until she went to a regular room and seemed to go somewhat downhill again). There were times she'd refuse to eat and take her meds in the hospital. She endured a plethora of antibiotics (which risked C-diff) and suffered from depression and hospital delirium. She often hallucinated, her mind warping the things she'd seen and heard. The doctors argued that she had some kind of dementia and I objected. No way did mom have dementia. I did my research and her illness was more like "hospital delirium" which is a serious medical condition. It's amazing to me that in such a well-known and reputable healthcare facility not one person I'd talked to who worked there had ever heard of it and yet... the Mayo Clinic considers it a serious illness.

There were times when mom's will seemed to fade and we thought she was nearing the end. At times, she seemed ready to give up. One day I walked into her hospital room and she was in a chair which the nurses made her sit in to help clear her lungs, usually 15 minutes at a time. Her face was pale, her hair a mess. She kept looking at the clock and complaining about how much time she had to spend in the chair. When the 15 minutes were up, the nurses refused to move her back to the bed, and made her sit another 15. I knew she had to endure sitting up, to get her lungs clear if she was going to live.


During all this, I worried about what would happen to grams if mom didn't make it. Grams, who was then 97, had always been robust and vibrant, but two weeks prior to the fall she hadn’t been feeling well. On the day mom fell, she’d apparently passed out briefly on the floor of her kitchen. We’ve no idea why but speculated that maybe it happened at the time of mom’s accident. Grams was not ready to go anywhere just yet but we knew mom’s illness was taking its toll on her and knew she wouldn’t survive if mom didn’t.

We weren't ready to let mom go just yet but weren't sure how to get her to keep fighting. Sometimes we were gentle, sometimes we begged her, and sometimes we used a tough-love approach. We’d tried everything and just couldn’t get through. It became apparent mom was going to have to find her strength on her own.

During her stay in the hospital in January, mom finally asked for a tube and they reluctantly gave her one. We were adamantly opposed to the feeding tube because of the risk of infection but mom was still able to decide what she wanted so we stepped aside. But, the night she got the tube inserted she realized she actually didn't want it. And not long after they inserted it, she asked them to remove it, which they did. After that she began eating and soon she got stronger and on January 15th she returned to rehab.

Finally, on March 14th, on what would've been my dad's 69th birthday, after eight weeks of occupational and physical therapy, uninterrupted by hospital visits, mom was discharged home. Thinking she was in the clear, we breathed a sigh of relief on that first night. Unfortunately, the relief was short-lived. The day after she arrived home, mom was hospitalized again. The home health nurse had visited her and when she took her blood pressure it was dangerously low. At the hospital, doctors discovered three blood clots in her legs (which had caused the swelling and pain she'd had for three months while in rehab) as well as abnormally thin blood. The first question the doctors asked was "who overdosed your mother on Coumadin?" Interesting question considering mom didn't take Coumadin.

The first two days mom was in ICU her spirits were very good. She wasn’t showing the typical symptoms of hypotension. They were treating her blood clots and thin blood and she was eating, laughing, and generally feeling okay. But after spending the remaining four days in a regular ward, her mental and physical wellbeing deteriorated. By the time she was discharged from the hospital six days after entry she could barely get in and out of her wheelchair. It was like everything she’d accomplished in rehab had been reversed.

The first two nights mom was home, I cared for her myself.  She was in pain from the clots and was so weak. It didn’t take long before I was mentally and physically exhausted. Mom sensed my frustration and felt guilty. I assured her it was not her fault and that if the situation was reversed she’d do the same for me. On the second night, my friend Susan visited and took me to the store to get some supplies. We sat in front of the store in her darkened minivan when Susan turned to me and said, “You can’t do this yourself, mom’s too weak.” And at that moment I had a panic attack. Susan held my hand and prayed, asking God to look out for my family. My friend saw my pain and fear and told me what I needed to do. We called my sister. I hated having to ask her for help but the reality was I simply could not do it alone.

Over the course of the next week, my sister and I took care of mom together. We both slept in the living room, me in the chair, her on the couch. We always slept light with one ear alert so we could hear mom when she called us. Though we were of great help to mom, my sister and I had very different ways of doing things. I’m calm, my sister is not. When the first week was over, she returned home to hunt for a new job as she'd been fired for having to take off to help take care of mom.


I was worried about how I'd manage on my own with mom and talking with friends regularly helped, especially Anne, who’d been a caregiver for her own mother. There were times I was so worried and exhausted I didn't think I could keep going and Anne reminded me that I could do it, and that I would do it.

I developed a routine and we had our good and bad days. On good days, mom's legs hurt from the clots but the pain wasn't too bad. She moved around with her walker, worked with her therapists and occasionally I heard her humming, which meant she was in good spirits. Those were days when mom kicked ass and I had hope that things were going to be fine. On bad days, there was lots of pain and she felt horrible.

At night, mom would go into her bedroom and watch television until she fell asleep. I'd clean everything up, close the house down for the night shower and change so I could relax. Most days my back hurt from not sleeping in a bed and from lifting, bending and moving around constantly. And I was emotionally exhausted. Sometimes at night, I'd relax in the recliner in the living room and hope to get a few hours of sleep and other times I’d go outside for some fresh air. On those nights, I’d walk around the property and stare up at the summer night sky. It’s the countryside, so it was quiet save for the sounds of water gurgling in the pond and the chirping of crickets and frogs. I'd look around, close my eyes, and remember what it was like living there so many years ago. There were so many memories of family and good times.

Over the course of the eight weeks that I stayed with mom, she made remarkable improvements. It was definitely a team effort to help her recovery. Still, I sometimes worried it wouldn't be enough for her to be there without someone living with her. I was torn. I didn't know if she'd be ready to live alone and yet I knew I couldn’t stay beyond the eight weeks. I had to go back to work as I’d exhausted every hour of sick and vacation time I had accumulated while out on FMLA. During these times when I began to worry, Anne would give me advice based on what she'd learned helping her mom and again it helped calm me and keep me focused.

Five months after I packed my bags and went back home, one year after the fall, mom is doing great. She’s had a rough time, but made it. Through the worst, she still had that fighting spirit and became determined she was going to kick ass and regain control of her life.

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Don't....


Don't engage the trolls.

Don't add fuel to the fire.

Don't get caught up in the drama.

Don't think twice about distancing yourself from the negativity.

Don't let yourself be dragged down by anyone.

Don't respond to assholes.

Don't think you have to put up with it.

Don't respond with arguing, cursing, or hate.

In fact, don't respond at all.

Don't worry.  Be happy.

Friday, November 27, 2015

We are in control...

One of the great joys in life is being in control of one's own life and destiny. We don't have to take anything we don't want to. People can only get to you if you let them. So the key is to be sure not to let them! Some people learn this lesson early in life, some later. The point is to learn it. :)

Sunday, November 22, 2015

JFK's undelivered Austin speech is relevant a half century later...


"For this country is moving and it must not stop. It cannot stop. For this is a time for courage and a time for challenge. Neither conformity nor complacency will do. Neither the fanatics nor the faint-hearted are needed. And our duty as a party is not to our party alone, but to the Nation, and, indeed…to all mankind. Our duty is not merely the preservation of political power but the preservation of peace and freedom. 

So let us not be petty when our cause is so great. Let us not quarrel amongst ourselves when our Nation's future is at stake. Let us stand together with renewed confidence in our cause--united in our heritage of the past and our hopes for the future--and determined that this land we love shall lead all mankind into new frontiers of peace and abundance." 

---Excerpt of President John F. Kennedy's planned speech to the Texas Democratic State Committee in the Municipal Auditorium in Austin, November 22, 1963.

Tuesday, October 06, 2015

Trump doesn't believe in private property rights.

"Eminent domain, when it comes to jobs, roads, the public good, I think it’s a wonderful thing. You’re not taking property. … You’re paying a fortune for that property." ---Donald Trump

Trump's stance is not surprising considering he once tried to throw an elderly woman named Vera Coking off the property she'd lived in for three decades so it could be used as a parking lot for his Trump Plaza Hotel. When Coking declined Trump's offer of $1 million, he whined to the  New Jersey Casino Reinvestment Development Authority who filed suit against Coker, demanding she vacate the property within 90 days with a settlement of just $250K. Thankfully, Coking prevailed when the court threw out the case.

Eminent domain is the "the right of a government or its agent to expropriate private property for public use, with payment of compensation."

Let's expand on expropriate. It means to seize, appropriate, take possession of, confiscate, requisition, commandeer, claim, acquire...dispossess someone from their property. Usually it's done in the name of the public good.

And while we're at it, there's an extremely loose interpretation of the public good when it comes to eminent domain. Be very careful when you are told that perfectly good neighborhood near you (maybe your own!) needs to be razed to build a shopping center, high-rise condominium or a factory, all of course for the public good. And as to being paid a fortune? There's the requirement of just compensation but it isn't always what you think. Developers will try to low-ball and get away with paying as little as possible.

Then there's the cost of defending one's right to keep the property. There are lawyer fees, experts to hire, surveys, papers to be filed, etc. There's time taken off work, business lost, etc. Often times, homes and businesses are taken anyway. In the end, it's a financial and emotional nightmare and nothing most people are paid, especially your average middle-class, working-class Americans, could adequately compensate for what they've endured. Ever.

One of the many horror stories about eminent domain abuse is the case of Kelo v. New London. The New London Development Corporation fought to purchase a nine-acre area of Susette Kelo's beautiful, historic neighborhood so that a developer could build on it, including a $300 million Pfizer research facility. Pfizer promised jobs, New London and the Supreme Court sided with Pfizer and Susette and others lost their fight.Oh but there's more. Pfizer left New London in 2009 and took its nearly 1,500 jobs with it. New London wound up spending $80 million on a piece of land that went undeveloped.
 
Time and time again, local governments, backed by the courts, take private property away from hardworking Americans to give to developers for building and expansion. Often times it isn't even about infrastructure, it's about developers with a lot of money and influence getting into bed with local governments. The word "blight" is thrown around a lot. I've seen pictures of the neighborhoods deemed blighted. The term has a tendency to be overused and stretched to the limit and beyond by greedy local governments.
  
"The true foundation of republican government is the equal right of every citizen in his person and property and in their management." --Thomas Jefferson, 1816.

The Founders knew that ownership of private property was essential to building a strong America. Americans have always had a religious-like devotion and respect for private property. Some might even argue that this sense of devotion, while noble, may hinder the spirit of community and togetherness...thinking perhaps that too much emphasis placed on a sense of entitlement/private property reduces the development of a sense of citizenship but I don't believe that to be true of Americans. The inherent desire to own property is deeply rooted in our culture. It isn't about status, not for most, it's about pride...working hard and building something from the ground up...something you put your blood, sweat and tears into, something you can pass on to the generations that come after you. Your property, that you put so much into, is essentially your legacy. This ownership of private property, the pride that goes into it---this is how communities are built, how they stay strong. Private property rights are essential for communities to thrive. They contribute to the economic prosperity and social harmony and are essential to the economic and political health of a nation.

So pardon me if I tell Donald Trump he's full of shit. Just because you can legally do something doesn't mean it's morally right. But don't tell that to people like Trump because he'll just laugh at you and call you ignorant. For people like him it's about the bottom line: "How much money can I make and how fast?"

The greatest tragedy in all of this is how it affects the people. It is people, not money, who are the backbone of America. This country was built not by money but by people and it is great not because of money but because of people. This is a concept men like Trump will never understand. Perhaps he would  if the government jumped in and seized his buildings and razed them and then turned the land into residential neighborhoods, parks and small businesses for poor and working-class families.

You know...in the name of the public good.

Monday, September 07, 2015

The Last Ship: A More Perfect Union


It began as just another peaceful day in a post apocalyptic America...



 And then this happened...

The Fandom. 
Forty minutes into the finale.




The Fandom.
Fifty minutes into the finale.



So yeah, that happened.
Why?
Why?
Do you even have to ask?

Because it was so damn good.


Hope!
Nice...throwing in Tex's daughter and Jeter's in-laws into that scene. 
I didn't notice it until I watched the second time to do the recap! Ha! You got me!!!


"I'm sorry for the onions."
Oh Miller, you're adorbs! Don't ever change!


I don't know about you guys but in a fight between McDowell & POTUS, 
I'm definitely going with POTUS. 
I know which side my bread is buttered on.
Not to mention I'd love a cushy Cabinet position :)



 "I will try and reach you back on this frequency once I know what the situation is there.
Until then, I need you to stand by and wait to hear from me, okay?"


Uh oh. Major FUBAR!


Which resulted in...
I counted 36 people. 
Thirty-six.



Though he tried to make it right...
And seriously...could you stay mad at this guy?


Meanwhile....
You made Tex cry!
Unacceptable. 
But they were tears of happiness, so that's okay.
That said...I'm pretty certain 100% of the fandom loves Tex.


That's a piss-poor salute.
If only we'd known what this dumbass was planning.
By the way, have you ever searched "dumbass" in the Urban dictionary?
Treat yourself.


Big.
Bad.
Wolf.


I was screaming and tweeting simultaneously during this scene!!!!
Is that...Tweaming? Screeting? 


Don't even ask me how long it took me to screencap this. Just enjoy it. I know I did!


Chief of Naval Operations? 
Chandler? In an office?
Not for long! 



Fallen comrades...
Benzo
Chung
Maya
Smith
Bercham
 Barker
Cossetti
Cody
Bivas
R.I.P.


Tex wearing Garnett's cover.
And they're singing.
DID YOU HEAR ME?
FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, THEY'RE SINGING.
And they're so friggin' drunk.
And it's great isn't it?



These two make a great team, don't ya think?



It was all going good. People were telling stories, getting engaged, drinking, singing, having a blast and then this wanker (for lack of a better term and many thanks to my Brit friends for introducing me to THAT term!) reappeared and then...

YOU SHOT RACHEL!!!
YOU BASTARD!!!

So there we were, the entire fandom reveling in the greatness of the episode. A cure spread, a POTUS sworn-in, our crew dressed in their Service Dress Blues and Crackerjacks drinking, singing, toasting and generally having a great time. And then BAM! We were all left with our mouths collectively hanging open in an equally collective...

WHAT THE FUCK JUST HAPPENED?

I yelled at my TV.
I cursed.
I threw my remote.
It was as it has always been.
And it was perfect.

What an amazing end to an amazing season.

I felt an immense sense of pride and relief when the USS Nathan James pulled into the port of St. Louis to a crowd of thousands. I love the idea of St. Louis as the new Capitol. It's the heartland, the gateway from east to west and it's got the mighty Mississippi to protect it. I thought that was a brilliant move!

The celebrations at the end were a lot of fun and also very heartfelt. We said goodbye to some beloved Nathan James crew we lost in both seasons. We watched Green "propose" to Foster, we saw Jeter, so tortured still about the death of his wife and daughters years ago, finally be forgiven and embraced by his in-laws. We watched the POTUS take charge and lead. It was a beautiful thing!

The episode was highly emotional and necessary, because this has been quite a journey (for us all!). This crew has sacrificed so much. and it was time they saw the fruits of their labors even if it's just for a short time.

This finale gave us a chance to enjoy the victory that came at great sacrifice while also opening new doors and laying the foundation for next season. Speaking of...what's next? Good question but I'm not making any predictions. I said in the penultimate episode recap I wasn't going to speculate what could happen next season. There's just no way to even begin and besides, you know showrunners, they always do everything opposite of what you think they're going to do! So far Steven Kane and Hank Steinberg have gotten it right so I'm just going with the flow.

By the way, before I end this, just want to give a shout out to Steven & Hank for the great Shakespeare references throughout the season. Well-played sirs!

Kudos to the cast, crew and fans for making this yet another memorable season!



Until next summer!

Fair Winds and Following Seas

Tuesday, September 01, 2015

The Last Ship: Cry Havoc

"Cheers, asshole!"

Does anyone besides me think XO Slattery should pen Hallmark cards?


Okay, let's just cut to the chase.



The crew of the Nathan James is tired. And pissed off. And rightly so. They've had just about enough nonsense from the immunes and y boys. Thankfully Chandler finally decided enough is enough.


"This. Ends. Now."
Hell. To. The. FUCKING YES! YES! AND MORE YES!

I mean how long do we have to deal with these crazy psychotic mother fuckers? Heh, as we saw, not long.


Do you remember in the early days of Season one, like oh, the very first episode, when I was not pleased with the idea of throwing romance onboard a US Navy warship? I was so afraid that a shipboard romance would detract from the real drama. Thankfully it did not happen. Actually the way the Foster-Green relationship has played out is very....normal...at least for their situation. I am so happy that they chose to take the route they did and avoided too much focus on Foster & Green. I like these two and I think overplayed might've turned into a disaster. They didn't. It didn't. And we're all thankful because of it.

Now, this scene...yeah a little cheesy but really great. We never see  them interact much but the few scenes they've had together have been great.

Travis and Marissa are great together and their characters are beloved. I ask myself why I like their characters so much considering how cynical I was in the beginning. It's because Foster isn't some sappy, teary, lovestruck woman. She clearly knows how to do her job and does it well. She is all business, all the time, never for a moment losing focus. And yet, there are moments when we see her vulnerability, her fears, she never lets those feelings rule her. IMO her character is a fine representative of a woman aboard a US Navy warship. Foster is played by Marissa in a way that you can't help but root for her each and every time.

As to Green's character, yeah he's a nice looking guy but when I see him I don't see that, I see his humanity. Green is truly likeable and you root for him. He's tough but not overly macho and he's not an asshole. Not. At. All. And for me that's huge. In a day and age where male characters like him would normally be portrayed as some hotshot hero but thankfully that's not this character at all. Green isn't a gun-toting warrior here (well he is but you know what I mean) and he isn't spending his time trying to shield his girlfriend from danger (though he'd like to sometimes, she wouldn't have it even if he wanted to!) and he is a genuine human being. He cares. There's never been a time I've thought of his character as an asshole. Never. A scene comes to mind....remember back when that fucker Niels was handing out Teddy Bears to children? That look on Green's face...that could've been his child. He's going to be a father and that's changed him. No doubt, for the better.




Moving on...

Thank you to the powers that be for FINALLY getting Slattery off that ship! On behalf of an entire fandom.....  

"IT'S ABOUT DAMN TIME!"

Slattery kicks ass, especially in combat and speaking for the ENTIRE fandom (again!), he needs more time on-screen kicking said ass. As great as Chandler at this, there's something even more raw and awesome about seeing Slattery slay the fucking foe. It's like Slattery lacks this filter that Chandler has. Probably because Slattery is a cop at heart and he's seen the most digusting, vile, morbid pieces of shit that humanity has to offer...and then some. So that has only served to prepare him for what he's dealing with now.

And now I have to address this amazing scene between Adam Baldwin and Eric Dane. These guys work so well together. Both are extremely hard-working and passionate about their roles in this show. And for that we thank them. Their scenes together are always top-notch. I mean who of us did not shed a tear (oh come on you know you did!) during that great moment between our two fearless leaders. That "Commander."  "Commander." scene --- I was proud and teary-eyed at the same time. I love the outpouring of mutual respect and admiration Slattery and Chandler have for one another. It's indicative of the type of relationship Adam and Eric have offscreen. They work. And for that we are damn glad. 




There were so many great moments in this episode but my favorite involved them firing on the Achilles. The Nathan James was preparing to fire its five-inch on the sub hoping like hell it could save itself (not likely without help but fortunately someone wrote the "help" into the script!) and suddenly the sub gets hit by a missile from....the rocket launcher! That shot of Slattery firing that thing followed by the Nathan James firing its last on the sub, and then the two take turns. I GOT GOOSEBUMPS! I had to watch that scene twice!!! It was so perfectly choreographed! Great editing! It was so sweeeeeeeeeeeeeeet!





"...If you have a problem, if no one else can help, and if you can find them, 
maybe you can hire the A-Team."

The new "A-Team" with one missing component of course---Burk. These guys. Really, I wish they could ride in my car with me on the way to work in the morning. I'd have no problems getting through that shitty ass traffic. Who doesn't love these guys?




I just adored this moment between Michener and Rachel. What a genuine exchange between them. For a moment I was like "awww", weren't you? I just thought it was great. And Michener...I was right about him all along. He is the good guy. I am just so damn proud of our little POTUS! Yes, I was a little skeptic, a weeeee bit, but who of us wasn't? I just really hope we keep Mark Moses around awhile, he's so great in this role. Actually I would secretly love for him to don a flak jacket and an AR-15 for a few moments in just one episode and just go to town. PLEASE! Gotta give the new Pres some street cred, right?  



All in all, this was (once again!) an amazing episode. I went back and forth between holding my breath and screaming. You know what I'm talking about don't you? Waiting in anticipation while Chandler and Ramsey attempted to predict each other's next move followed by the (inevitable) "HOLY SHIT!" when all hell broke loose. This show has been doing this since the pilot episode in season one. We're not surprised, but we're lovin' every minute of it.

The Last Ship has never disappointed its fans. I asked myself after the pilot "What's next? What could you possibly write about that  could stretch an entire season?" and then we got it. After the season one finale I asked, "Okay where could they possibly go in Season two? I mean how much more is there?" and we got it. Now, I could sit here and ask, "Okay so what's left for season three?" but I won't because it's a stupid question.  I'm not even going to predict because I'll be wrong, and so will you. So instead I'm just going to sit back and wait for the inevitable greatness that Kane & co. are going to come up with. Because they will. 

The Last Ship is, without a doubt, one of the best shows on television. A lot of people might dismiss it because it's a military drama but that's bullshit. Yes, this is a drama about a U.S. Naval warship but...geez it goes so far beyond that. There's so much more depth to it. It's well-written and action packed. And they've not written themselves into a corner, there's so many places to go in regards to the characters and the journey.

I can't wait for the finale. It's going to be epic!

I've nothing to add except this.....



 O, pardon me, thou bleeding piece of earth,
That I am meek and gentle with these butchers!
Thou art the ruins of the noblest man
That ever lived in the tide of times.
Woe to the hand that shed this costly blood!
Over thy wounds now do I prophesy,--
Which, like dumb mouths, do ope their ruby lips,
To beg the voice and utterance of my tongue--
A curse shall light upon the limbs of men;
Domestic fury and fierce civil strife
Shall cumber all the parts of Italy;
Blood and destruction shall be so in use
And dreadful objects so familiar
That mothers shall but smile when they behold
Their infants quarter'd with the hands of war;
All pity choked with custom of fell deeds:
And Caesar's spirit, ranging for revenge,
With Ate by his side come hot from hell,
Shall in these confines with a monarch's voice
Cry 'Havoc,' and let slip the dogs of war;
That this foul deed shall smell above the earth
With carrion men, groaning for burial.  

William Shakespeare
Julius Caesar, Act 3, Scene 1, line 273

Monday, August 24, 2015

The Last Ship: Valkyrie

Remember when...

"Murdock. I'm comin' to get you."

And he did? 
 
Umm, yeah. 

I'd say it's about damn time the USS Nathan James goes all Rambo on the Ramsey boys!




I'd say having a bad day was probably a major understatement here...

 "We got two more bodies coming out of the water, look like children.
We got a large craft fire. Dozens of folks still inside.
We need to find my daughter! Her name is Anabelle! Please! We can't find them! Their boat just blew up!
Please come quick! Oh, God! Oh, God! Oh, God! It's bad.
Oh, man. Look what the Navy did to us."


"I ask you during this time of crisis and chaos to remember who we are as a people. This plague has killed many, but let's not let it divide us any longer. We are still one nation. Join us."



I can't believe they shot me in the ass!"



I. Can't. Even

"Today we grieve, but tomorrow, we do press on. We continue to answer the call, 'here I am.'"


"Rachel, thank you."



This episode was out of the ballpark! Where exactly is a person supposed to begin? I'm not going to go over every detail, you witnessed it. Magnificent! Here are some noteworthy moments!

Rachel & Chandler
Well that ice didn't stay frozen for long, did it? Did any of us really think that Chandler was going to stay pissed off at Rachel forever? He just lost four of his crew, they are facing insurmountable odds, and the last thing he needs is more stress. Just stop Cap'n, smell the roses and appreciate the fact that Rachel did far more good when she offed that son of a bitch a few eps ago. Can't we all just get along?

That oil rig scene.
Before I begin, did anyone else wonder how in hell that small boat armed with the RPG got that close to the oil rig without the Nathan James spotting it?

Now...how in hell is a person supposed to handle that oil rig scene? I mean seriously, I was out of my chair screaming at my TV. (How is this different from any OTHER Sunday night?) You just got the feeling something bad was going to happen and that wasn't helped by Steven Kane's totally NOT cryptic tweet about there being a  lot of crying and shit during the filming of certain scenes in that ep. But really it was well-played with excellent timing and had the entire fandom doing a collective WHAT THE EVERLOVING HELL WAS THAT?!?! 

POTUS passes the test
Oh you Mark Moses....(she says shaking her finger) you're good. You had me believing there was a remote possibility you might not be on the level, even though I defended you to the world. Thankfully people, I can now say that I am off the "there's something shifty with POTUS" bandwagon because I didn't see any signs of it in this episode. So maybe it really was me, it's been known to happen. I'll admit I was pretty proud of that video that Michener did with Slattery. Very inspirational and perfectly Presidential.

Tex
If there wasn't a smartass comment in each episode, it'd be like a day without sunshine. I mean seriously, they shot him in the ass! Who of us wasn't rolling when he yelled that?  Oh wait...before we go on I need to discuss something with you all.


Look at Johnny Pypes....it's amazing what a face full of hair will do to a guy eh? He cleans up nicely which reminds me of the time I tried to get my 97-year old grandmother to watch House, M.D. and she refused because in her words, "he looks like a bum!" I tried to tell her the greatness she was missing out on but she'd have none of that. So my guess is she wouldn't have liked Tex either. You can't judge a great actor by his character's amount of facial hair or the disturbing lack of good grooming habits. But I digress...

Anyway, the great thing about Tex's character is the writers don't overdo it with him. They know just the right things for him to say at just the right moment to make it work. Tex isn't a talkative guy, he likes to sit back and watch things going on around him, so when he says something, it means something. His lines are so perfectly timed and in sync with the rest of what's going on around him. It's a tribute to good writing and good acting.

RIP Chung & Ravit
Uggh....that horrible scene when all the injured were in one room and they were desperately trying to keep Chung and Ravit alive. Granderson's mournful whines, Burk holding Ravit's hand. Talk about heartbreaking. We were warned this would be a tough episode and they were right. After the tragic deaths of Chung & Ravit, the only thing I could think of was which one, Burk or Wolf, was going to get vengeance. Of course then there's Garnett. Don't discount her, she can old her own when she's packing.


All in all it was a great episode. And you KNOW it's going to be a great episode when four minutes into the episode you're already on a tirade. Which I was. Four minutes. I think that's a record.

Anyway, I cried. I mean. Really. Cried. And my cats cried too. But mostly I think that was because Marissa didn't offer to share any of her snacks with them. I explained it's difficult to do that when Aunt Marissa is on the OTHER COAST! (You hear that Marissa? We need to work on virtual reality snacks for Peepers, Pebbles, and Baby Kitty!)

So where were we? I cried. Then I was pissed.

Poor Wolf, Ravit was like a sister to him. He'd die for her. And Burk, he cared about her too and felt a connection deeper than friendship. Dammit, I should've prepared myself because experience has taught me showrunners can be evil SOBs when they want to be! 

And then we need to talk about something else....YOU MADE BURK CRY!

Didn't we discuss that a few recaps ago? About how under no circumstances were you to make Burk cry? I mean Burk has this face, when he's stunned or sad, and you can't help but want to give him a hug and say "it's okay man, you're gonna be okay."

And you went and did it anyway. That poor guy. That's okay...I can't wait to see him get it out of his system when he and Wolf take on the Ramsey boys. And they will. Oh. Yes.


Now, did I miss anything? OMG yeah. I'd have to say that as much as Tex seems to win MVP awards week after week, this week's goes to Chandler. Hands. Down. Now you don't even have to ask why because you already know.

"So I created Valkyrie to help expose the truth behind the plague."
"The truth? Well, shit. You got it all figured out. But you forgot the most important part of the conspiracy--
the only way we were able to spread the flu so quickly...
The aliens.
From planet batshit crazy.
They were sneezing all over the place."

LOOK AT ANDY! Isn't he just adorable.

SO WHY THE HELL IS CHUNG DEAD?

There, it's out of my system. I'm biased, Andy's my buddy, a great guy, funny, sassy and full of life. So I'm going to just say that I will miss the shit out of Chung but I've still got Andy so it's all good.

Now about that batshit crazy thing. It was beautiful. Well-played sir. Chandler's facial expressions, his tone of voice, the dialogue....I laughed so hard.

So we're about to learn more about Valerie and her Valkyrie project. I like that she got to see the truth about the crew of the Nathan James. She's got something to offer them (as did Rachel) and she's the one who can help save them (as did Rachel). I like Valerie, she's smart and quick-witted. I think she and Rachel will either get along great because they're alike or they'll hate each other because they're alike. We're about to find out.

I've saved the best for last because just when I thought I'd seen it all, I realized I hadn't...
"See this? Come here. My manifesto...We're like Moses and Aaron.
The people are following us, and the seas are parting at our feet."

Oh this was just too good to pass up.  Not only has Sean penned a fucking manifesto but now they're "Biblical." I was laughing so hard. And Ned's reaction to his brother, he's so annoyed. It was great. Moses and Aaron. Parting the red sea.  Beautiful guys, don't ever change!

One more thing....there is a disturbing lack of Slattery in these recent eps. Now don't get me wrong, he kicks ass in every scene he's in but Slattery is a commanding presence and it would be awesome if he got more screen time. In fact, I'll go a step further, keep CHANDLER on the Nathan James a bit and have him send SLATTERY out with the tactical team!  Imagine the greatness of Slattery leading the team on the ground in a hostile situation. He's a cop, if ANYONE can do it, HE can!