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The Gods of the Copybook Headings. . .

The Gods of the Copybook Headings


Well, here we are, in what was SUPPOSED to be a better future.  And what do we see ?

Decaying institutions.  Hordes demanding “free stuff”, to the point that it’s become a meme, the “Free Shit Army”.  And now there is that amazing takedown of an idiot college student demanding MORE free stuff, from Neil Cavuto over at Fox News.
. .

Most of us see hard times coming, even a Collapse, or Soft Collapse at best.  It seems the only growth industries anymore are Survival Food and Firearms.  And yet, on the other side of politics, demands that we disarm.  That we limit what we say.  And more and more bureaucracy, telling us not just what to do, but the allowable ways of doing in, with penalties if we choose a different method, even if more effective.

Europe is getting over-run with “refugees”: heck, Sweden is at the edge of simply not existing anymore.  California is floundering in a sea of Illegals.

War is on the march, world-wide. . .and yet we in the West shy away from attacking enemies.

We all see it coming. . . and look at the rise of prepping, it’s almost mainstream now.

Just remember. . .   Kipling saw it coming, nearly a century ago. . .

The Gods of the Copybook Headings(annotated version linked. . .)
Rudyard Kipling, 1919

AS I PASS through my incarnations in every age and race,
I make my proper prostrations to the Gods of the Market Place.
Peering through reverent fingers I watch them flourish and fall,
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings, I notice, outlast them all.

We were living in trees when they met us. They showed us each in turn
That Water would certainly wet us, as Fire would certainly burn:
But we found them lacking in Uplift, Vision and Breadth of Mind,
So we left them to teach the Gorillas while we followed the March of Mankind.

We moved as the Spirit listed. They never altered their pace,
Being neither cloud nor wind-borne like the Gods of the Market Place,
But they always caught up with our progress, and presently word would come
That a tribe had been wiped off its icefield, or the lights had gone out in Rome.

With the Hopes that our World is built on they were utterly out of touch,
They denied that the Moon was Stilton; they denied she was even Dutch;
They denied that Wishes were Horses; they denied that a Pig had Wings;
So we worshipped the Gods of the Market Who promised these beautiful things.

When the Cambrian measures were forming, They promised perpetual peace.
They swore, if we gave them our weapons, that the wars of the tribes would cease.
But when we disarmed They sold us and delivered us bound to our foe,
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings said: “Stick to the Devil you know.”

On the first Feminian Sandstones we were promised the Fuller Life
(Which started by loving our neighbour and ended by loving his wife)
Till our women had no more children and the men lost reason and faith,
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings said: “The Wages of Sin is Death.”

In the Carboniferous Epoch we were promised abundance for all,
By robbing selected Peter to pay for collective Paul;
But, though we had plenty of money, there was nothing our money could buy,
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings said: “If you don’t work you die.”

Then the Gods of the Market tumbled, and their smooth-tongued wizards withdrew
And the hearts of the meanest were humbled and began to believe it was true
That All is not Gold that Glitters, and Two and Two make Four
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings limped up to explain it once more.

As it will be in the future, it was at the birth of Man
There are only four things certain since Social Progress began.
That the Dog returns to his Vomit and the Sow returns to her Mire,
And the burnt Fool’s bandaged finger goes wabbling back to the Fire;

And that after this is accomplished, and the brave new world begins
When all men are paid for existing and no man must pay for his sins,
As surely as Water will wet us, as surely as Fire will burn,
The Gods of the Copybook Headings with terror and slaughter return!

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Danegeld

“It is always a temptation to an armed and agile nation

To call upon a neighbour and to say: —

“We invaded you last night–we are quite prepared to fight,

Unless you pay us cash to go away.”

So begins Rudyard Kipling’s poem, Danegeld. It was a foreboding lesson, and all too accurate of today. What began as raids in the 10 century continues on today. A different group demanding it, but the strategy is the same.

Today’s Danes use shame, intimidation and ridicule to gain their gold. The threat of actual violence is not mentioned – in fact, the rules of the game seem to indicate that actual use of violence robs you of points. Instead, the leaders threaten boycotts, protests and – worse – damning headlines in local and national press.

Often the victims of this attention are bewildered and befuddled. What did they do? Often there isn’t any actual guilt to assign; they are just a convenient wall to paste the message on.

Appeasement never works. Appeasement. Never. Works.  APPEASEMENT. NEVER. WORKS.

A little hesitation. A little waffling. A little committee study. And the game is lost.

If ever you are faced with such demands, cry not to lawyers. Lawyers, by their very training seek to smooth issues, to compromise – often to capitulate with misdirection. “Ha Ha! We’re giving in, but let me make it look like we’ve won!”

Don’t seek advice from the book keepers. Thier job is simply to tell you if you have the money for tribute; not to advise for or against paying it.

Instead, you need to Man up; Cowboy up; Put on your Big Girl panties.

You need to say no. And not just no, but HELL NO!! WE WON”T PAY!

An early American president, faced with ransom demands against American shipping, replied by sending a squadron of war ships. A leading newspaper of the day supported the presidents actions, with the banner headline, “Millions for defence, but not a cent for tribute!” 

That headline needs to fly again.

America was born of a pugnacious people, a rebellious rabble who demanded that their right to self-determination WOULD be recognized around the world. We’ve fought wars on that premise, and lost millions of citizens – some before they could even vote – supporting that ideal.

And when modern-day brigands shout in our faces, demanding retribution (whether in cash or recognition), our response had best be NO!

Otherwise, you’ve lost before you can even begin to fight.

This started with the first stanza of a poem: it’s only fitting to end it with that same poem. Pay particular attention to the last stanza. It is a harsh, but necessary reminder.

Dane-Geld by Rudyard Kipling

A.D. 980-1016

It is always a temptation to an armed and agile nation

To call upon a neighbour and to say: —

“We invaded you last night–we are quite prepared to fight,

Unless you pay us cash to go away.”

And that is called asking for Dane-geld,

And the people who ask it explain

That you’ve only to pay ’em the Dane-geld

And then  you’ll get rid of the Dane!

It is always a temptation for a rich and lazy nation,

To puff and look important and to say: —

“Though we know we should defeat you, we have not the time to meet you.

We will therefore pay you cash to go away.”

And that is called paying the Dane-geld;

But we’ve  proved it again and  again,

That if once you have paid him the Dane-geld

You never get rid of the Dane.

It is wrong to put temptation in the path of any nation,

For fear they should succumb and go astray;

So when you are requested to pay up or be molested,

You will find it better policy to say: —

“We never pay any-one Dane-geld,

No matter how trifling the cost;

For the end of that game is oppression and shame,

And the nation that pays it is lost!”

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The Kids aren’t reading, he said…

Well, Yes, we said we’re shut down until after the first of the year, but I couldn’t find a better venue than this to make my response to a post made a couple days ago, and frankly it bugged me enough that I needed to get it off my chest.  So:

“The kids aren’t reading, he says”

Well, actually what John Scalzi, in a recent blog says is; the kids of today aren’t reading what S/F&F calls “the classics”, to wit, “Heinlein, Asimov, Clarke, etal”. Now let me start by saying that while I’ve never met Mr. Scalzi, I don’t like his writing, I don’t like his politics, and in point of fact, the ONLY thing I like about the man is that he was nice enough to say some really nasty things about a blog post I wrote some considerable time ago, thus increasing my readership, and doing nice things for my circulation etc (I never got around to thanking him…)

But I’m not here today to write about his writing (poor, derivative, and unentertaining as I find it to be) or his politics, (which reminds me of what the late great Sir Winston Churchill said about an opponent’s politics and mistress…) I’m here today to write about his concept of data and the scientific method. See Mr. Scalzi seems to think that he can draw a conclusion on the success or failure of writing based upon the anecdotal evidence of “what my daughter likes”. Oh and in fairness, based also on some tweets by some guy I’ve never heard of.

Now Mr. Scalzi also goes on to explain that we can’t expect the kids of today to buy and read the “classics” because they’re buying or being bought for from the “Young Adult” section of the bookstore (or assumedly the Y/A section of Amazon, which he doesn’t mention, because see Amazon is EEEVVVVVIL) and the classics didn’t write for the Y/A audience, so it’s not in the Y/A section. He goes on to explain that all of Heinlein’s stuff, and by implication the rest of his etal, are dated, and none of the futures of Heinlein’s stuff could start from today’s future, and lots of other things about how these authors are long dead, their stuff is all based on a future that doesn’t come from a modern perspective, etc. bla, bla, bla. Oh and his crowning argument seems to be that these old dead guys don’t need the money, so you should buy from authors that do.

Now, based on his comments, I’m forced to believe that he’s never read any of the RAH Juveniles, and is there for, unaware that those self-same Juveniles where the Young Adult section before there was a Y/A section! I’m also going to have to go with the belief that he’s never read Starship troopers (oh wait he stole from that massively, if only to argue against such concepts as Honor, Courage, Duty, etc) HUMMM, Not sure how you could come to the conclusion that S.T. can’t be gotten to from today. Ditto most of the RAH Juvies (with the obvious exception of a couple based on life on Mars) Oh, and let’s look at Clarke… Yeah no way you could get 2001 from today, ignoring the actual date, (cough bullshit cough) much less Rama… Asimov’s robots… sure those are so outdated they’re making movies from them, and those movies do well… OK so much for “they’re dated, and not written for the right audience.

I don’t have sales figures to quote from, but I know that Baen is rereleasing all of RAH’s stuff, and one of the many things about Baen is that they sell what sells. So based on the fact that their rerelease plans continue, I’m going to run with the assumption that they’re selling. I seriously doubt that the sales are all to the over 50 crowd as nostalgia items, (though I could be wrong, sure would like to see sales figures and demographics. You see Mr. Scalzi, that’s how you determine the truth or falsity of a theory, WITH DATA.  It’s also frustrating that we can’t look at the secondary market, as most of the “classics” are out of print, and sold in used book stores.) Yes, new authors are selling… GREAT! Especially as I am a new author. But see this is the thing, the problem with Scalzi’s position, is the same thing as the problem with his political and economic mind set.

It’s not a zero sum game dude!

People buying Percy Jackson and … will not “not buy” RAH because they’re only buying one book, if they’re readers, they buy books, if they’re not readers, any book that will make them become readers, even if I think it sucks, like what some asshat did to the Fuzzy series, is a good thing. (Oh, wait, that was you, Mr. Scalzi) The only thing that is a bad thing, is books that turn a potential reader, into a non-reader, because boring, or preachy or….

Finally, Mr. Scalzi seems to think that readers should buy books based on whether or not the author needs the money. The money shot is “Which is as it should be. All love to Heinlein, Clarke, Asimov, et al., but they’re dead now. They don’t need the money from readers; living authors do. Moreover, Heinlein, Clarke, Asimov, et al have been dead on average two to three decades.”

Hell, is this the new litmus test I’ve got to pass? Let’s see, I’ve got to have LGBT (M.O.U.S.E.) heroes, (and I must have a heroine! Far better if she be LGBT) and they have to behave according to the demanded stereotype that the left sets (otherwise it’s cultural approbation or some such bullshit) and I must have “a meaningful message” (as determined by the above mentioned self-appointed arbiters of all things good) Oh and people of color, must have people of color and they must also behave according to the stereotype, or again Cultural approbation… it must condemn the military industrial complex or be generally opposed to the western culture… and now a new shibboleth, it must be by an author that needs the money.

Piss on that crap. How about we write stories that are fun, and that people want to read? Does that work for you’all?
William Lehman

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Ask A Geek Anything, going on hiatus

Good evening folks,

As you saw in Pat’s missive, OG is going dark, so of course, AAGA is as well, but that doesn’t mean we’re going away.  Look for us after the first of the year, with the same crew (or most of us anyway) and more answers to all the questions that keep you up at night.  Or at least all the questions that won’t get me brained by a cast iron skillet from the beautiful Sarah Hoyt!

So the facebook page for AAGA is staying up, and questions can still be sent to it, or to myself or any of the other contributors, and we look forward to seeing you in the new year!

I remain yours, In Service and at Arms,

William Lehman

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Changes

Today is one of those days when you look at the computer screen and know you have to write something that both causes sadness but also offers a challenge you can’t turn down. Otherwhere Gazette has long been something very important to its editor and chief proponent, Patrick Richardson. It has been a labor of love for him, as it has been for all of you who have contributed to it. But, as with everything else, times change.

No, this is not an announcement that OG is closing its doors. However, the demands on Pat’s time have become such that he can’t give OG the time it needs right now. So he is handing the reins over to Sarah A. Hoyt, Charlie Martin and Amanda S. Green. We are determined to continue OG in the spirit of what Pat imagined.

To do this, however, OG will go silent until the first of the year. The time will be spent putting together the new website and getting ready for the new launch. We want to hear from each of you, not only to find out if you are willing to continue with OG when it relaunches but we also want to know what you would like OG to be. What sort of format do you think would work best? What sort of things should it cover? You have been an important part of OG and we want you to feel a part as we move forward. It is our hope, and Pat’s as well, that OG will continue to be a voice for Human Wave in the Science Fiction and Fantasy world.

Please let us know if you would like to continue contributing to OG. As we get closer to the relaunch date, we will send out more information about format, publication schedule, etc. We are still in the early planning stages of all that, so bear with us. However, don’t think that OG will simply disappear in the meantime. It won’t. We will continue to cover important news in the genre as it hits. For now, join us in thanking Pat for all he has done. This isn’t a goodbye, not really. He has promised to return from time to time as a contributor.

We thank you all for your time and support. Know that we will return, better than ever and ready to turn SF/F on it’s ear.
Patrick Richardson
Sarah A. Hoyt
Charlie Martin
Amanda S. Green

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A Response to Charles Gannon

Charles Gannon made a guest post about the Sad Puppies and the whole Hugo debacle On Monster Hunter Nation, Larry Corriea’s blog. Apparently, the article was originally posted to Whatever Scalzi, John Scalzi’s blog. Someone challenged Mr. Gannon to post it to a Puppy blog and see what he got. I read through his post and feel he made some very good points. Yes, the rhetoric needs to be toned down and calmer heads need to prevail. Ken Burnside made the same point a week ago on the Wrongfun podcast. That being said, there are issues. At one point, Mr. Gannon used the term “The Evil Other”. I’m not sure he has grasped the full significance of this label.

Would you talk to a Homophobic Neo-Nazi that tried to hijack a literary award? Tor_FB_GalloHow about a racist who married a minority wife and had a child with her to hide his racism? These have actually happened! We know, it was talked about in such serious publications as Salon, Entertainment Weekly, The Daily Beast, The Guardian, and Slate. They had to get their information somewhere. Someone sent this information to them and they should have done due diligence. Otherwise they might not have as much credibility as people thought.

Now, those two characters, above, don’t even sound plausible in comic books. But these are not just insults that have been thrown at the Puppies. This is what many of the Science Fiction Establishment actually BELIEVE. With these beliefs, almost any action becomes allowable. What tactic should be disallowed when fighting Evil? Are you going to let a prestigious award go to a Nazi? Someone might think it validated his ideas, then you have more Nazis. Would you pay for a hundred more people to vote to prevent that? Would you tone back your rhetoric for any reason? You certainly wouldn’t apologize for calling them Nazis. That’s what they are. Good grief, we’re talking about Fascists, here! It cost 60 million lives to defeat them last time! Vox Day is sadly mistaken. Social Justice Warriors don’t always lie. When you are fighting for Good, there is no reason to lie. Social Justice Warriors tell the truth as they see it.

Of course, the problem is, the Puppies are not Nazis. Even Theodore Beale, the infamous Vox Day, doesn’t quite reach that level (probably). In the face of this, the Puppies can’t back down. Not won’t, CAN’T! They know. They tried. This is the biggest problem with telling the Puppies to moderate their responses. The Puppies don’t actually think the Establishment is Evil (maybe with some exceptions for a couple of editors and/or former editors). They’d love to have a civil discourse. If the other side wants more literary stories, that’s fine. The Puppies want more plot and adventure. Let the fans read them both and decide. But the Establishment, via Deirdre Moen and others, told its fans NOT to read the nominations this past year. That they should reject them on principle because slates are bad (Had your book been nominated, Mr. Gannon, your work would have been treated this way as well). It worked. 2,500 votes were slated “No Award” in several categories. And we’ve seen that any backing away or apology will only be met with a redoubled effort by the Establishment. If the Puppies apologize they get attacked for apologizing too because it shows they knew they were wrong when they said whatever they said in the first place. See how that works? There is no margin for compromise because that needs to be a two way street. The Establishment believes the Puppies are Evil and there can be no compromise with Evil. It’s ugly. And until one side modifies what it believes, it won’t get better. Those beliefs need to be addressed by those who want to be peacemakers.

Update: The article was edited by the author to include links to the original articles on Monster Hunter Nation and Whatever Scalzi.

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Ask A Geek Anything, Volume 26

Good morning, and welcome to Ask a Geek Anything volume 26

Another week of the spot on the interwebs where we’ll answer anything that won’t get us told that “you’ll never work in this town again” in Century City… (OK that’s a lie too, we’ve answered several things that I’m sure will insure that we never work in TV, Movies, or hell, even radio)

So, first up is SecurityNewb who asks- So, I just bought a new phone and I want to add an anti-theft program to it. Any suggestions? Amanda Fuesting our beautiful expert on anti hacking software answers:

I personally use and strongly recommend Avast Mobile for my android devices. I have been using it for some time without any issue. I’m not much of a techy person, but my now husband is. He had been using Avast for his antivirus since before I met him, with a lot of very good things to say about it. I tried the free version for my phone and thought that the extra features for the subscription version sounded nice. It was only $15 a year, which is less than I spend on a couple of new release books. The anti-theft is a separate app that you can get for free, but you get some additional features with the premium version that you may or may not want.

To give you an idea of how well the anti-theft app works, let me tell you about my adventures with it very recently. I bought a new phone, and I changed my pin on it because the salesperson saw me enter the old one so he could send contacts over to the new phone. (My husband has made me very paranoid about such things, so I changed it as soon as I got the anti-virus app on the phone.) Of course, I couldn’t remember it and entered it wrong four times, and I set off the lost alarm. It was loud and obnoxious, and would have gotten the attention of anyone in hearing range. It stayed on until I got online and turned it off remotely through my desktop Avast account. The phone couldn’t be turned off, the volume couldn’t be turned off, and it took a picture of me that was available on my desktop login. It tagged GPS on the phone that was available from the desktop. I also had the option to completely wipe the phone from the desktop, and there is an option in the app that will fill the SD card with random nonsense during a wipe so that it is not usable afterward. (I won’t be selecting that option until I know the pin without thinking about it, because that could get expensive quickly. ) I also have mine set to send a message to a friend if someone tries to log into the phone after it’s “lost”. I am not completely sure if that feature works or not, because I apparently didn’t have it enabled when I set off the alarm.

This is only my personal preference and there are about a zillion anti-theft options available. I should also note that no one is getting paid for this recommendation. (If someone at Avast is reading and wants to send to send me a check, I would be happy to take it though.) Ultimately, you have to do your homework and check out the reputation of the one that has the features you want. Every time you install an app, you run the risk of it being used for nefarious purposes. Make sure that the people you choose to get your security through aren’t the same people you need to secure it from. To that end, research. Don’t just read the literature on the company’s website. Check out the review sites and if no reviews come up for a product, install it at your own peril.

And see, that’s why I love working with these folks! I had never heard of this program, but all my family phones are getting this puppy!  OK on to:

Dicky Dawkins, who asks- “Who is G K CHesterton and Why should I care?”

Your question has been analyzed, but not rejected. GK Chesterton doesn’t exactly fall under the realm of Geek, really, unless you’re a Catholic geek.  Luckily, the Universal Prognosticator has found the right geek to answer it.  Those references to identity of the writer have been redacted for your convenience.

GK boils down to a doctor of the Catholic church [defined as someone who really boils down Catholic doctrine to an orthodox yet digestible format, and almost defines doctrine].  GK is part of the Catholic converts that started the 20th century in Britain. While known for creating Father Brown, possibly the first priest detective, GK also wrote a play, The Surprise, as well as biographies of contemporary GB Shaw, St. Francis and St. Thomas Aquinas.  He is easily identified by his love of paradoxes, his easy wit, and his compound complex sentences that would make John C Wright orgasm. ”

His glorious prose and poetry has mostly been passed over by the modern man, but his pithy quotes still make good memes in certain corners of the Interwebs that exude incense and the clacking of rosaries.

His early job was as a journalist and a commentator.

He was told that the three things he could not comment on were religion or politics and then every article he wrote ended up being about religion or politics.

One of his better quotes includes “Fairy tales do not tell children the dragons exist. Children already know that dragons exist. Fairy tales tell children the dragons can be beaten,” easily making him the originator of the concept of Human Wave and / or superversive fiction.

A popular line among the Irish-centric is “The great Gaels of Ireland / are the men that God made mad / For all their wars are merry / and all their songs are sad.” from his poem The Ballad of the White Horse – which concluded with a lament that British culture had gone from heroic figures on par with King Arthur, and had come to British paperpushers. (also, Declan Finn’s Master’s thesis on Irish Rebel songs was titled “For all their Wars are Merry.”)

Yes, he also did poems. In short, he was awesome. He also makes David Gerrold look even MORE like the deranged, drooling idiot that he is.

And so I learned something else new.  Next up is a set of TV show reviews, from our very own Declan Finn.  I could run these over several weeks, but as the shows are already in their third or so shows, I’m going to make this a long post and run them all at one time

TV Show Reviews: Limitless

This show is based off of the film of the same name. While I have never seen it (nor had I heard of it at the time), I have gathered that the film Limitless starred Bradley Cooper. In it, Cooper plays Edward Morra, a fellow who has gotten his hands on a drug called NZT. NZT is supposed to enable a person to use 100% of their brain — because it’s working on the myth that humans use only 5% of our brains (we actually use all of it, it’s just used for various and sundry functions).

In the tv show, Bradley Cooper is back as Morra (just a cameo).Our hero this time is Brian Finch, a wannabe musician, who has his own dose of NZT.

Anyway, Limitless starts in mid-action, backtracks to Finch’s personal history as a failure, as well as his father’s (Ron Rifkin, Alias) medical issues. And even though it’s only a few minutes, they didn’t need to layer on the “loser” factor so much.

Yes, it took five, maybe six minutes of the episode before Finch gets his NZT and becomes interesting, but God, I hated it. I wanted to give up on it in a matter of minutes, that’s how heavily they layered it on.

But, enter the NZT, and we’re off to the races — were Finch can file hundreds of personnel records, doing Flight of the Bumblebee on an electric guitar, diagnosing his father’s ailment, etc..

Of course, Finch becoming interesting comes at a price. His original NZT dealer (not Cooper’s character) is murdered, he’s found with the body at the crime scene, and in order to get away from the FBI, Finch is off and running. And that’s the 20-minute mark. FBI in this case is represented by Jennifer Carpenter (Debra Morgan from Dexter), and Hill Harper (the first ME from NCIS: NY).

The pilot progresses to a simple premise: people who are using NZT at a Wall Street firm are showing up dead, being murdered for doses of this super-smart pill. After a confrontation with the killer, Finch is wounded, and Morra — now a Senator — has to come to the rescue, providing more NZT, and a shot to prevent side effects (which includes death).

So of course, Finch finds the bad guy, the FBI recruits him as a consultant, and a tv show is born.

Really, at the end of the day, I can only suspect that someone watched Sherlock and decided “We need to go full Cumberbatch, because smart people are entertaining.” Some of the same tricks are used — the graphics to represent thought, stopping the action to go through his thought processes. He hasn’t used a memory palace yet, but he’s already used a perfect memory to connect a collection of dots. And it’s interesting in that when the pull wears off, Finch isn’t exactly a dummy.

Honestly? The show is strangely engaging. It’s fun. I’m surprised. In fact, I thought I was going to turn it off in the first five minutes. But, as pilots go, it wasn’t so bad. And it might go somewhere. Right now, this was a proof of concept episode. And I’m good with that.

Review: Minority Report

Having disliked the original Minority Report film with Tom Cruise, I was nevertheless intrigued by the ads for the new TV show. It looked like an interesting science fiction police procedural. In fact, it looked so good, it reminded me of Almost Human. You know, the wholly original show that Fox canceled in the Spring of 2014?

If you don’t remember the film Minority Report, the premise was “pre-crime,” and people were arrested on the word of three precognitives. The MacGuffin for the film was simple: one of the three telepaths disagreed with the predictions, and someone considered “Hey, maybe we should arrest people for things that the actually do.” The film ended with the universal agreement that the entire “pre-crime” program was a bad idea.

So, this show opens with cops complaining about the good old days when they stopped murders before they happened. Yup, that’s right. Completely and utterly forgetting the point.

All I can think at that point is, well, DIDN’T YOU PEOPLE SEE THE MOVIE?

I can tell you right there, I had some problems with the show the minute they bitched about the good old days of pre-crime.

Then they decided to stop the setup references to the movie and actually start acting like cops who have some idea of how to do their job.

Of course, our story opens with one of the three “Precogs” from the film, who is still getting flashes of murders to come. He’s so concerned about these flashes, he tries to stop the murders in progress. And fails. He tips off the lead investigator about his visions, and the perp commits suicide rather than be arrested. Then, because no television cop can every be happy with a closed case that requires no paperwork, the investigator easily tracks down our Precog, just in time for him to have another conveniently-time vision.

That was the first twenty minutes. And I can honestly say that I stopped caring at that point.

I have to ask, was there one good reason this had to be Minority Report? Yes, I know that the film is over ten years old and that the teens who saw in the theater are now money-spending adults. Yes, I know that nostalgia sells. But the movie wasn’t even that good, and there is so little connection to the film, the name is really the only link.

And when they go through time, effort, and energy to try to connect it to the film, that’s when the show goes off the rails (to be explained below).

I’ll freely admit that the show of Minority Report had some cute moments and some fun bits of business. The cops have contact-lens HUDs with infrared scanners and crime scene reconstruction right out of Batman: Arkham Origins, and operated along the lines of Tony Stark’s user interface in the Marvel film.

And that, of course, Batman isn’t the only video game that the stole from. They also ripped off a few character designs from Mirror’s Edge, up to and including an Asian female with eye tattoos.

In short, it was nice to see some of the various and sundry bits of cute technology. But at the end of the day, I’d rather have Almost Human return. DO YOU HEAR ME, FOX EXECS, YOU LOUSY BASTARDS?

The acting was … okay, I guess. The older precog, who operated alongside Tom Cruise’s character in the movie, is fraught with concerns about changing the future, blah blah, let’s hide in the middle of nowhere forever, blah blah, CAN WE HAVE A STORY?

And these people … really don’t have a character. One is “cop” and the other is “plot device,” and that’s about the extent of it. The driving force of one is “cop,” and the other is “I have to act on these visions because I get these visions.”

Seriously, just say “With great power comes great responsibility” and be done with it why don’t you?

At the end of the day … I just don’t care. I don’t care about these people, I don’t care about this setup, and for the love of God, if you want a show about precrime, go watch Person of Interest and be done with it.

Review: The Player

Wait, hold on — Wesley Snipes is allowed on television? I thought he was condemned to be doing direct to DVD films for the rest of his natural life. But, I guess that’s what happens when the IRS is on ones back.

Anyway, The Player opens with Snipes over a dead body….

And then, time for something completely different. Oh look, a main character, named Alex Kane. More importantly, he can act.

Enter Ex-FBI agent Alex  Kane, now a security consultant. He thinks on various levels, is observant, and is a little insane. We  have the standard James Bond-like opening to show off Kane’s skills — including jumping off a roof to swing in through a hotel room window in order to foil an assassination.

In short, the opening is very much like Human Target … another show I miss.

When Kane’s ex-wife (who he is still very, very friendly with — as in showering together with) is murdered, his pursuit and capture of the killer is interrupted by Cassandra King (played by Charity Wakefield). Kane is, of course, accused of the murder, and adopted by a Mr. Johnson (Snipes). Johnson and King run a unique gambling ring where the bored super-rich predict and bet on crime…Because they’re not going to always bet on black.

Yes, someone on NBC saw Person of Interest, and decided that they could come up with something similar. But then again, so did Fox and Minority Report.

Now, while I’m all for private enterprise, but this strikes be as a little ridiculous.  Snipes didn’t exactly help encourage me with this particular ad campaign. And placing bets on crime because it’s predicted solely by data analysis? This part of the show is far too much like Person of Interest. As long as this conceit doesn’t turn into a plot with a killer AI dueling another one, this may not be a problem. We’ll see.

However, the action is tight, Kane is likable, with enough character to show promise. Granted, Snipes is overacting while trying to underplay it, and he’s failing miserably … but Snipes is on for maybe two minutes at a time, so it isn’t a drawback.

At the end of the day? It’s fun. It’s a nice, simple, straightforward action show.  Almost 24-ish in nature.  I’ll be watching it again.

Review: Scream Queens

Holy Hell, that was the most bizarre show I think I’ve sat through (and tolerated) in years. Perhaps ever.

Imagine one of the vapid sorority girls from Buffy The Vampire Slayer … the movie … and imagine one of them narrating a serial killer movie. If you think it’s going to be bizarre, yeah, that’s about right.  Including one victim who sent out a tweet as she’s being murdered.

Statements I’ve made during this program included “Off the wall insane,” “deranged.”

Let’s start with Jamie Leigh Curtis as Dean Munsch, who hates the local sorority, Kappa Kappa Tau. In her efforts to crush them, Munsch insists that Kappa let in everyone, without filters. The head of Kappa is named Chanel, and her minions are Chanel #2, #3, etc.  And oh yes, Chanel is the narrator.

Our heroine — I assume — is Grace, whose mother, a Kappa sister, died giving birth to her. Grace discovers this hate-filled mean girls reunion, and plots to take them down after an incident kills their maid / cook (nicknamed “White Mammy”).

Meanwhile, you have a man in a red devil costume murdering at least four people over the course of the first hour. And, yes, I stopped watching somewhere after an incident where a lawnmower decapitated “Deaf Taylor Swift” (yes, really). This doesn’t include the acid bath for the first corpse.  And … well, murder #2 had the killer (in full costume) having a face-to-face text conversation with his victim — the last text being “I’m going to kill you now.” And of course, “White Mammy” had her face burned off after being thrust face first into a deep fryer.

Random line: “I Googled blood oath and this is what came up.”

Sigh. Just … part of the problem is that none of these people are really likable. Grace has some virtues, but not much of a personality.  She’s noble and virtuous and is going to make Kappa about sisterhood once again! (Even though it’s clear from the opening prologue in the 90s that it wasn’t).

The Kappa girls are strange varieties of “conservative” (backing Jeb Bush? Really?). Jamie Leigh Curtis’ Dean  is a former leftie who hates the Kappa girls and how “they bitch about being objectified while dressing like sluts!” … while at the same time, she’s sleeping with a male student.

Yeah, don’t worry, politics aren’t really a reason to stop watching. The (deliberately, and caricatured) vapid characters, an overdose of insanity, or gruesome  murders, might not be your cup of tea. And oh, yes, we’ve got a narration peppered with enough slurs to be distracting (referring to new pledges as “gashes,” sluts, the Dean as “Box-Munsch-er”) unless you’re really used to men’s locker rooms (and I might be insulting the men’s locker room.)

This might be someone of interest for people who have a high insanity threshold, or really enjoyed the satirical aspects of the Scream films.  I’m keeping a wide berth of this one. And this one? I’ll happily never watch again.

Well, I’m grateful that Declan was willing to review these, because otherwise a couple of them WOULD NEVER have gotten reviewed, because there is no way on Midgard you could get me to sit through Scream Queens for instance…

OK, we’re way over length  again this week, so I’m going to sign off now with what has become our standard ending (and folks I mean it, we NEED Questions):   remember, you can e-mail us questions at askageekanythingowg@gmail.com or contact us through Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/askageekanythingowg . We have all the old articles there and will update it every week with new ones, as well as take questions from posts. If you’re so inclined, we’d appreciate it if you could like and share the page, because we’re running really low on questions to answer!  If you don’t ask it, we can’t answer!Have a great weekend, and we’ll see you next week.