Saturday, March 24, 2007

The First 48

If you’ve ever seen The First 48 on A&E, you probably – as I do– have found yourself avoiding dramatic cop-shows such as Law and Order. Praised and time-honored as the Law and Order franchise might be, their storylines are pretty much crock. Their bad guys are over-the-top truly villainous people whose crimes are planned around L&O’s need for ratings and penchant for preachiness.

The First 48 however, is the real thing. Painfully, terribly so. It’s a reality show, of course! But what a reality! The premise for the series is this: the first forty-eight hours after a homicide are the most crucial. Evidence, witnesses, and the bad guy can simply disappear, fade, or be forever lost.

Each episode focuses on two homicide squads, in different cities. On any Thursday night the viewer might find herself involved in the investigation of a murder in Dallas, Kansas City, MO, Las Vegas, Memphis, Philadelphia, Phoenix, San Antonio, or Miami.

Of course we develop favorites. The Memphis and Miami squads are superb and stand-outs are Sergeant Caroline Mason, Sergeant Doreen Shelton, Sergeant Tony Mullins, Sergeant Mitch Oliver, Sergeant Eunice Cooper, Sergeant Ervins Ford, Detective Kevin Ruggiero, Detective Emiliano Tamayo.

We see these cops in their humanity.
We see the adrenalin pumping in the adrenalin junkies who live to get the bad guy.
We see the grief when they have to inform a family member that their loved-one has been murdered.
We see their grief for both the victims and the victimizers.

That’s probably the strangest thing about The First 48. These cops know something that most TV cops don’t know: that murderers are not particularly evil. They aren’t even smart. The murderers are generally kids who haven’t got a lick of sense, who get involved in something that goes awry, who gave the devil a finger and the devil took the whole hand. The cops are educated, and mature. They understand common sense and they come in all sizes and shades. The murderers, on the other hand unfortunately are of a darker hue: Hispanic and Black, they are often involved in gangs, fighting over the little 1% of the American dream the rich have allowed to trickle down.

When Sergeant Caroline Mason of the Memphis PD is on the case, she shows us that being a cop involves being part spiritual counselor, part trickster-manipulator, part maternal voice of the community and part investigator. Yet, she’s got to be one of the most ultra-feminine cops you’d ever see. The woman has style, but she also has heart. A young criminal is like putty in her hands. At the end of the investigation, he is usually blubbering as much as we are.

He knows he’s wasted his life.
He knows he’s not being the good Christian kid his mom wanted him to be.
He knows that one moment of stupidity has cost him his future and possibly his life.
If it’s a girl who was playing one guy against another, she knows how volatile hormones can be.
And, most importantly, the murderer knows that another human died and didn’t deserve to.

Okay, I’m sounding a bit like a bleeding-heart liberal with a law-and-order fixation. But I can’t help it. The show makes even hard hearts weep. I kid you not. I find myself watching the programs and shouting at those young stupid murderers, “My people! My people! What are you doing to yourselves! And for what? The little cash a drug deal will bring?”

I know many parents don’t feel like sitting their kids down to watch documentaries or straight-up reality shows. But I’m the kind of parent who forced my son to watch Maxed Out , a film about the evils of credit cards; and SuperSize Me, a film about the horrors of fast-food addiction.

So, okay, I’m telling you to plunk your kid down in front of this show....especially if the kid – like many teenagers in the hood– still doesn’t know how to think before he acts.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Subject: Compounding in Crisis

Date: Thu, 15 Mar 2007 18:56:05 +0000

If this bill goes through, MB12, LDN, Transdermal Chelation, Glutathione,
Compounded Supplements, many anti-fungals, Secretin, etc. will become
illegal or extremely hard to get. Now it the time to call your representatives
and stop this bill.

I urge you to enter the link below and add your message; it will automatically go to YOUR Representatives. Limiting access to Compounded Pharmaceuticals will profoundly affect the successful treatments I need for my child and myself. The autistic children following the bio-medical treatment protocols also need this Bill stopped! Please help! It will take you maybe 45 seconds to complete this letter and it will automatically be sent to your representatives in Congress.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Coupla good documentaries

some good documentaries I saw clips from and intend to search out:

Fighting Dove -- a story about an Arab Boxer from Israeli involved in a multinational match. Lots of stress as he has to carry the Israeli flag. This is on DVD.

Maxed Out -- a documentary about the evils of credit cards. Definitely check it out and force your teenage kids to see it. This is in theaters. Art-houses, mostly.

judging ourselves

St Paul tells us that if we would judge ourselves we would not be judged. How true! The human ego is amazingly selfish and resilient.

The funny thing is that Christians should be as free from their egos as they are from sin and the devil but they are often as bad as the rest of the world. They (we) often disguise our stubborn refusal to be open-minded as "standing up for what's right" or some other excuse.

I'm going on about this because I'm an avid lover of American Idol and any reality show in which expertise (such as talent judges and judges of the law) encounter someone who is a novice or someone who simply doesn't know the rules.

The attitude of some folks never cease to amaze me. As I watch the way folks take criticism -- some of it often brutal-- and see the way their hackles come up when a judge tries to help, I think of a few critique groups I've been in.

I like critique groups. Don't get me wrong. I belong to a few and I have a yahoo group that shares writing information and also does crits: multicultigenrewriters.
1. What I've seen are
1) people who lurk and never crit or put stories up for crits.
2) people who generally lurk but who pop up only when they want something critted.
3) people who belong to other crit groups where everything they write is considered perfect
4) people who argue about the writing world's "stupid rules"
5) people who gossip about you behind your back with other groups (and post your crits to those group) when you challenge them.
6) people who aren't willing to learn because they don't realize they're beginners
7) people who think you're being unkind when you're honestly trying to help perfect their work.
8) people who are mimicking other great works (LOTR knock-offs) and don't have an original bone in their bodies but who think they are "following the rules of the genre"
9) people who are writing thinly-disguised memoirs and who are so personally involved in their stories that when you tell them a character is just too unrealistically evil (or good) you end up with a major meltdown.
10) good kind talented people
11) people who get spiteful when you crit them by giving you a very dismissive critique...just to show how good they really are...and how bad you are.
12) people who are better writers than I am.
The mix is tough and unpredictable -- writers are people-- and at a point in most people's life they simply don't want to grow or want to be told what to do. But there are some good folks out there...and truly I wouldn't have been published if it weren't for the good crittters.

Now, forgetting the way other people react for a minute -- because I can't help how other people behave-- I'lll only talk about the way yours truly -- MOI-- behaves whenever I get a critique on a work-in-progress.

I get into an inward struggle.

If the critique comes from an authority figure whom I respect I'll accept it pretty well. Hey, I have my good points...and listening to authority is one of them. Why remake the wheel? If we all tried to live an experiential life and only believed what we ourselves understood or had experienced we'd all start out as cavemen and forget the works of our forebears. So I'm cool with this kind of critique.

If, however, the critique comes from someone who is not particularly swift, I'll simply say thank you and ignore the critique...telling myself the person is not as published as I am so why the heck should I listen to her?

But even the most uneducated critter often has good points and there is where the inner battle begins. OOOOOOh, my friends! How difficult it is to say "thank you" to someone one does not respect.

And if the critique comes from someone who has a chip against, it really gets bad then. Because whether the critter is right or wrong, the very idea of giving in to him/her is like eating crow. And crow tastes like crap. I've eaten it before.

Ah well, we have to learn. The Bible warns us against not being able to take criticism. A noble heart is a teachable heart that thanks even its worst teachers. YEah, I just made that up. But it's pretty good, isn't it? Please say it is. -C

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Flatland the movie

I just found out that there's a new movie about Flatland. Umh, interesting. How does one make a movie out of that? Animated of course.

Flatland is the original "think outside the box" movie (pun intended) and is a Christian parable. Folks in a two dimensional world cannot understand the three-dimensional world or those who claim to have experienced it. Great for math lovers and philosophers. I don't remember the story -- I have the book here beside me and I really should attempt to read it again since it IS such a literary classic-- but I remember a whole lot of disagreements about the nature of reality and opening one's mind.

Friday, March 09, 2007

Christian Relief Network

I've created a writing group on Christian Relief Network. It's for black and minority Christian writers. If you wish to join, do drop by. There are other groups out there...and you can also create your own group. -C

Dark Parables -- Ethnic Christian Writers

or go here
Relief Writer's Network

to make your own group....or join one of the other groups there.



There's a new TV channel on directv called Chiller. Old horror stories such as Hitchcock, night gallery, friday the 13th series. Fun. it's great. i love scary stuff.

I'm a horror lover because I feel horror and supernatural stories are much better at showing reality than those mainstream novels (Christians or otherwise) that never show the spiritual stuff going on. For instance, we all could look at political issues but if we could see demons, would we see demons pushing both christians and non-christians into sin? Would we see lust being placed in the heart of New Gingrich? Or demonic lustful thoughts growing and being fed inside the minds and souls of all those adulterous Conservative pundits and politicians who tossed off their wives? But I digress.

I like a lotta horror but I don't like splatter and gore and things that are basically bloodlust. The Bible tells us "woe to him who runs to shed blood!" And yes, my reading of it might be a bit odd but I read the verse not only as "Woe to him who actually sheds the blood, but also woe to him/her who also runs to look at blood that is shed. So, yeah, I don't look at gore splatter films like SAW. And I try to avoid films that feed fear. I don't mind being frightened, mind you, if the evil is conquered in the end. But when the baddie isn't really conquered and the filmmaker seems to be giving the idea that evil cannot be conquered (or evil is waaay more powerful than good) I won't see the film or read the book. Because it's just not true. Evil is relentless, but if you keep resisting it -- it'll give in.

Anyways, so far the thing that really scared me on this Chiller channel was a hitchcock piece. A cute little girl found a gun and wanted to play war with her brothers. She was innocent and cute and the boys were innocent and cute. No one evil but she had the gun and was walking around with it begging to play with them. It was heartbreaking and terrifying. Wow, never knew something that innocent could scare me. I couldn't watch it after a while...One just kept thinking someone's gonna get hurt.

Worrying for a young innocent and there was no baddy at all. I couldn't deal. We've gotten used to baddies doing evil and thinking that horror comes from people. Which it usually does. But this was horror that came from innocent people not understanding the world about them. And the director pushing our care for those kids and our desire to care for the innocent but being helpless to do so. Using the maternal/paternal instincts of the viewer. WOW!!! They manipulate us into the alleys of terror. And it WORKED! They often use kids to get our blood worked up. Hey, manipulation is part of art. The story is set up to prove a point, etc. The only time I don't like manipulation in a story is when there is something basically dishonest going on. Like movies which try to prove that women suffer because they can't have abortion. Most of those movies try to show that it's the woman's choice which is being curtailed and in real life most of the women I know who had aborions had them because their boyfriends, parents, friends, etc were forcing them to. Same goes for stories which show women being raped/impregnated and the hating the children they were forced to have. Rape is evil and cruel and the world has muddied sex with violence ...but nevertheless I have met several women who were either children of raped victim or mothers who were impregnated by rape and those women bonded with their kids the way any woman would. God has made the human heart very kind. That's not to say that all women love these children...just that most women do. (And I'm not picking on women who don't, BTW) Oh, yes...I'm digressing again.

Anyways, what got me in the gun-carrying story was how the filmmakers didn't use musical cues to force any emotion into me. The emotion I should have felt about the story was already in there -- the little kid was this sweet little blonde girl who was just so normal and cute and lonely-- .

I can't tell you how the story ended. I couldn't bring myself to watch it through to the end. Horror indeed. But perhaps it ended well.

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