Category Archives: Opinion

Barr and Bee

Roseanne Barr is still generating the occasional headline with her antics in reaction to the cancellation of her ABC show, so I thought that, rather than just delete this post (which has been sitting in my Drafts folder), I’d set it free to roam the web. “Better out than in,” I believe the saying goes (and, yes, I’m well aware of what that then compares this post to; I stand by that comparison).

One thing I found interesting about it all was the contrast between Barr’s transgression and one made by Samantha Bee on her TBS show. There were some similarities in that both involved personal insults made by popular entertainment figures from their chosen platforms. There are also differences in content, as well as in how Barr and Bee handled themselves after.

Currently we’re in a very reactive, very polarized environment, and the Barr and Bee fracas put it all on mini-display.

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Free Will: Compatibilism

Lately I’ve been reading about compatibilism with regard to free will. While I’ve considered free will before, especially in the context of determinism, I’ve never explored compatibilism, and I decided it was time I got around to checking it out.

What triggered my renewed interest was, firstly, the movie Arrival (and the short story on which it’s based), and secondly, the HBO series, Westworld. Both have thoughtful science fiction with themes concerning free will (or its lack).

When one of my favorite physics bloggers, Sabine Hossenfelder, wrote a post about free will, it inspired me to write one, too. Monkey see, monkey do!

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I Don’t Like Dinosaurs

I should probably start by hastening to add: I don’t dislike dinosaurs, either! It’s an ambiguity of English that when one says, “I don’t like X,” it can mean one has negative feelings about the ‘X’ in question, or it can mean just that one has no positive feelings for it — that one is neutral (or perhaps not interested enough to have an opinion).

It’s an easy jump from “don’t like” to “dislike,” so the phrase, “I don’t like X,” is usually taken that way. But I have wiring in my brain that makes me see it more literally — as failing to have a liking for ‘X’ — so I often have to clarify what I mean.

And what I mean is that I have zero interest in dinosaurs.

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Assassination Classroom

I want to tell you about Assassination Classroom, an amazing Japanese anime series I discovered, but it’s going to be a bit of a challenge, because I just don’t know that much about anime — it’s not something I’ve ever watched a lot of. In fact, the anime series (as is often the case) is based on the manga series, and I’ve never gotten into manga at all.

But I was so enthralled by this anime series that I have to give it a best effort. If you like anime, or even just animated storytelling, and especially if you like hard science fiction (the good kind), you have got to check this one out.

For one thing, it’s surprisingly deep! And it made me weep.

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Fresh Off the Boat

Last post I mentioned the ABC sitcom Fresh Off the Boat, a show I’m currently mini-binging[1] on Hulu. When I wrote that, I was still very much on the fence as to whether I even liked the show. In fact I was puzzled about why I liked it at all, since it’s a fairly standard sitcom in many regards.

Ever since I’ve been paying more attention to my reactions while watching, and I’ve come to realize that it’s not a matter of being undecided — it’s a matter of having developed a strong like/dislike for the show. As I wrote with Halt and Catch Fire, my feelings are mixed, not vague.

And it turns out to really tap into what attracts or repels me to sitcoms.

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So Much Television!

When I first started watching TV there were only the Big Three: CBS, NBC, and ABC. We had just a handful of shows we loved and followed, maybe a few others we watched with family members or friends. Often we just played outside.

There were various local channels, but they offered mostly re-runs, news, or sports — not much original content. It wasn’t until the Second Era, of cable TV, that original content offerings exploded into so many choices. We had to pick what we watched among all that new content.

Now the Third Era, streaming TV, with even more original content to choose among. On the other hand, also the chance to catch up on content we missed along the way!

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FTW: Netflix

My last post ended up with a misleading title (oops). When I started it, I planned to rag on more than just the Fargo TV series — figuring I didn’t have all that much to say about it — but the post become a total spleen vent about that one show (with a bit of shade for Hulu). Ah, well, better out than in.

This post, and at least two I’m planning after, will fall on the other side, my good side. To Yin the Yang of the previous two posts, these will be about shows I’ve really enjoyed (or even loved).

This post is about shows I’ve enjoyed that are produced by Netflix.

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Fargo and Other TV Fails

Last post I recorded my love/hate relationship with AMC’s Halt and Catch Fire, and despite major problems with computer gibberish throughout the show, still found it interesting, engaging, and ultimately a show I would recommend.

Today’s main entry, FX’s Fargo (based on the Coen brothers movie with the same name), is another critically acclaimed show that I missed when it aired and which I’d been looking forward to finally seeing now that I’ve joined the ranks of the video streamers.

Sadly, I disliked it from the first episode and reached my breaking point in episode eight, which I stopped watching followed by removing the show from my Watch List.

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Halt and Catch Fire

So I finally joined the streaming video generation. I joined Netflix back in November, Hulu in December, and it’s only now that I’m starting to come up for air. It’s true what they say: That shit is addictive!

After several months of my new addiction, I’ve now burned through a number of shows that either I missed when they aired or that are only available on streaming platforms. I never got to watch Burn Notice, for instance. Now I have. All seven seasons!

Another one I missed (and have now seen) was AMC’s Halt and Catch Fire, and I have very mixed feelings about this one. Kind of a love/hate thing…

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Feelings vs Intellect

xkcd #1901There’s really only one web comic I read anymore: xkcd. Randall Munroe continues to turn out thoughtful gems, and I really appreciate the ad-free nature of the site. I also find his What-If? series delightful; the first episode is one of my favorite interweb jewels!

But it’s his insight to the human condition and ability to nail a point with such brilliant brevity that I most relish. I value some of his comics as highly as I value favorite quotes; both are pithy petards against our myths and illusions.

And sometimes he even hoists my petard a bit!

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