Saturday, September 28, 2013

HBO’s “Real Time with Bill Maher” #295 "Twerking it”

They were twerking it on “Real Time with Bill Maher,” #295, on Friday September 27, 2013.

Okay, no real twerking.  But Bill did make a comment about Ted Cruz being the Miley Cyrus of politics. He’s twerking us all around with his antics, and in the process making a name for himself. Some of us think he is making a fool of himself, but Miley Cyrus’s is making tons of money due to her antics and Ted Cruz is now a household name.  Sure half the country thinks he is an ass, but the other half thinks he is a hero. Bill also jabbed about Ted Cruz’s talkathon, “where is Kanye West when we need him?’ Would someone please shut that guy up. Bill didn’t let up on Cruz throughout the whole show.  He took another jab at him in “New Rules.”  How did Cruz talk for 21 hours without a bathroom break? “Who needs a bathroom break when you have that much crap coming out of your mouth?”  Gross, but apt…and funny.

The panel included Matt Welch, an editor for Reason magazine and author of The Declaration of Independents: How Libertarian Politics Can Fix What's Wrong with America He’s clearly a Republican from the Rand Paul/Ron Paul libertarian wing of the party, but he’s no fan of the tea-partiers. He said, “Republicans are squandering their power.”
Robert Reich 

There was a lot of talk about crazy-ass Republicans. A good thing we had the brilliant Robert Reich, former Secretary of Labor under Bill Clinton, and the author of several books including his most recent Inequality for All, to set everyone straight. He said the right word for the Republicans was not “hostage takers, but extortionists” They are threatening to shut down the government and to refuse to pay the bills that Congress has rung up unless Obama gets behind the Romney/Ryan economic agenda.  What part of “You Lost” do they not understand?  They will bring down not only the United States economy, but the world economy. Reich said that the last time Congress came close to refusing to raise the debt ceiling the U.S. economy lost $1.3 billion and that was without them actually doing it. 

Reich made a very important point. That Republicans with their mantra of “makers and taker” don’t seem to realize when the all Americans do well (the so called “working class or “middle class”  do well the rich do well.  The two biggest economic disasters, “The Great Depression” and the recent “Great Recession” were preceded by the greatest inequality between the super-rich and the ordinary worker. When the workers have money to spend, they buy stuff and that makes the entrepreneurial class richer.  The minimum wage (which needs to be raised), food stamps, unemployment insurance the are not just give-aways—they are what keeps the economy going in hard times and what allows the economy to eventually recover.

ObamaCare was a big topic.  Welch said with great conviction, “We all know that it will add to the deficit.” Bill shot back, “We don’t know that.”  They began to argue and Reich broke in, “I’ll be the mediator.  It won’t.”  In addition to being really smart, Reich has a great wit.  Welch seemed a little conflicted about ObamaCare. He seemed to like it when he said that “I had a pre-existing condition” and couldn’t get health insurance, but then he attacked it saying it was “one size fits all.”  Bill pointed out that the bill was 2000 pages long, something Republicans are always complaining about, explain how that is one size fits all. Welch had to admit that he had no answer.  TouchĂ©, Bill, for that “hoist-on- your- own-petard” moment of the week.

However, when Welch criticized Obama for not doing a better job of explaining the new affordable Ca Act, even Bill had to agree.  Even I have to agree. Obama is out there doing it now, but for so long there has been a vacuum which the Republicans could fill with outrageous lied.

The comedy bit dealt with the creepy ad that Republicans have been running about health care—the ones where a menacing puppet of Uncle Sam is trying to get into your private parts. (Bill showed the ads last week.) The ads are supposed to persuade young people not to sign up for ObamaCare. The ads are a joke and I doubt they will persuade even one person. They are good for one thing, though—parody.  Bill replaced the creepy Uncle Sam puppet with a creepy Jesus Christ puppet who informs the young woman that she is pregnant and had better make the right choice.  The words “Don’t let the church play doctor. Opt out of Mississippi.” appear on the screen.

The third panel member was Monica Metha, an economic columnist for the magazine Inc. and the author of The Entrepreneurial Instinct: How Everyone Has the Innate Ability to Start aSuccessful Small Business  I hadn’t mentioned her earlier because she had nothing much to say.  he told a long pointless story about how her immigrant parents became entrepreneurs and enjoyed financial success.  (Maybe she was just plugging her book.) Later she said “I can’t keep all this straight”. Monica, you are an economist, isn’t it your job to keep all this straight. She did say one interesting thing, “Politicians should wear badges of their sponsors like they do at NASCAR.”  Or rather, it would have been interesting if I had not heard that said by dozens of people over many years.
Who had a lot of interesting, and original, things to say?—the mid-show guest, Dr. Carl Hart, a neuroscientist, professor at Columbia, and author of High Price: A Neuroscientist's Journey of Self-Discovery That Challenges EverythingYou Know About Drugs and Society. It was music to Bill ears to hear hart explain that much of what we think we know about drug addiction is not true. He has done the research and has found that 80% to 90% of drug users are NOT addicted. Adderall is methamphetamine. Morphine is heroin.  When we don’t like the users, we vilify the drug. He praised the Obama administration for being the only administration who has ever talked about drug laws and how those laws are discriminatory. 

Dr. Hart’s comments meshed nicely with those of Tom Robbins, actor, who has a new movie coming out called Thanks for Sharing about drug addiction. However, Tom was on the show not to talk about his movie or about drug addiction, but to talk about prisons. He became interested in prisons when he starred in The Shawshank Redemption, the movie about prison based on the Stephen King novella Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption, (published in a book of four novellas titled Different Seasons).  Over half of all prisoners are in prison for drug offenses, mostly non-violent offenses. They are thrown together with criminal and not provided any educational opportunities and thus prisons become schools for crime. Tom has a program using improvisation to help prisoners work to get their emotions under control and to form emotional bonds.  The recidivism rate among prisoners who participate in his program is zero compared to the 65% rate for all prisoners. Wow! It’s amazing what can be accomplished when people are treated like human beings and given a chance.

In New Rules,. Bill launched into a paean about California because California is showing the country how it is done. When you have a governor (Jerry Brown) and a legislature (Democratic) that works in tandem with him, great strides can be made improving the lives of citizens. A deficit of $27 billion as turned into a surplus by cutting spending and raising taxes. ObamaCare is working in California and single payer policies a gaining steam.  Gay marriage and pot smoking is legal, abortion has been made easier and undocumented residents can get driver’s licenses. The Golden State is huge (40 million residents) and it is setting the trend for America. Even almond milk.  We just had some extra almonds and we thought we’d “mess” with you.” (I substituted mess for the word Bill actually used.)

A great show. All the guests were well-behaved. I think that may be the new policy of the show. No screaming matches allowed.

If only I could say the same about Republican politicians.  No good behavior there.  Instead of working it (doing their jobs like they are in California), they are twerking it.  And by that I mean they are making asses of themselves.  

P.S. Speaking of asses, Bill said that NRA stood for Nuts, Racists, and Assholes. I couldn’t work that into the review, but it was too good a line to pass up. 

Monday, September 23, 2013

HBO “Real Time with Bill Maher,” #294, "Love and Hate"

Chris Hayes, Joy Behar an David Frum
 on "Real Time with Bill Maher" on 09/20/13.
Love and Hate
By Catherine Giordano

There a lot of talk about love and hate on “Real Time with Bill Maher”, #294, that aired on 09/20/13.  

Bill Maher really loves Pope Francis.  Bill loves him because he thinks the new pope is an atheist.  It rally says something about The Church that when a pope preaches love he sounds more like an atheist than a Pope.  The Pope said that the church should not be obsessed with abortion, gay marriage, and contraception.  “What does this pope want?” Bill quipped during his monologue. “I’m starting to think it is my time slot.”

Later in the show Bill and the panel talked more about Pope Francis. Bill compared him to Pope John, the most liberal Pope in history who only last five years. Then he said something about poisoning. One of the guests, Joy Behar, an actress comic, author of When You Need a Lift: But Don't Want to Eat Chocolate, Pay a Shrink, or Drink a Bottle of Gin and former host of The View, said he was “hot” and a “metrosexual.” Chris Hayes, a host of MSNBC’s All In and author of Twilight of the Elites said that the Pope had not changed anything—for instance, the Catechism is the same, the Pope has only changed the tone because he chooses to focus on God’s love.  

The interview was with Billy Crystal who has a new book out Still Fooling EmBilly spoke about his career and told some funny stories.  He is so delightful.  I’d like to read his book.

A large part of the show was devoted to the discussion of ObamaCare and the right’s hated of the program as well as their hated of Obama. The third member of the panel, David Frum, editor of The Daily Beast and author of Why Romney Lost was on a roll telling everyone what a disaster the program was even though it hasn’t even started yet and all the signs are that the program is going to very successful   (That’s why Republicans are so intent are killing it now; they know people a going to like it once it is implemented.  

The latest tactic to sabotage the health care law is to try to scare young people away from participation.  Bill showed an ad with a young woman in a gynecologist’s office.  Once her feet a in the stirrups the doctor leaves the exam room and a leering Uncle Sam puppet, menacingly waving a speculum, rises from between the patient’s legs. Bill suggested that all this ad would do was convince people that Republicans were a bunch of creepy pervs obsessed with the ladyparts. Bill also commented how weird it was for the party that forces unwanted and unneeded ultrasounds on women to be doing an ad about vaginas. Behar piped up, “They just want to get into my pooch.”  

The Republicans in the House of Representatives have vowed to hold the country hostage (their words) to try to bring ObamaCare down.  Bill said they had a coke addict’s obsession with ObamaCare.  In the monologue he spoke about Senator Ted Cruz’s (R-TX) vow to do everything he can to defeat ObamaCare. Bill suggested that he set himself on fire because “it works for Buddhists.” 

Even David Frum had to admit that holding the country and the world economy hostage was not a plan.  He said, “It is what you do when you don’t have a plan.”

Frum tried to sound reasonable by saying he favors health care reform, but not “in one gigantic leap. Hayes pointed out that this was a much more modest change than Medicare and people love Medicare.  Frum said that ObamaCare is already having a devastating effect of pushing more people into part-time work (employers don’t have to pay insurance costs for pat-timers.) Hayes countered that the trend towards part-time work began long before ObamaCare.    

Bill suggested that we give ObamaCare a chance and see what works. Hayes pointed out that the increase in healthcare costs were already rising at a slower rate. Frum tried to claim that this wasn’t a result of Obamacare, but Hayes set him straight. Hayes also addressed the complaints about the bill being too complicated.  The reason it is complicated is because every special interest group had to have something that they wanted; single payer would have been much simpler.

Bill also discussed the right’s hatred of Obama, a theme he hits on every week. Bill said that so many people think we are already in the end times so therefore they should favor a war with Syria since the prophecy says that Jesus will return after a war in the Mideast. Then he held his hands up like a balancing scale and said, “We want Jesus to come back, but we hate Obama.”   

The comedy segment was about Bashir Al Assad getting away with being a genocidal monster because he looks like a men’s wear salesman.  Then Bill showed a series of pictures of dictators from Mao to Hussein to Hitler.  He changed their outfits to make them look like a tourist, a pizza man, a singer with an all-female back-up band.  The funniest was Osama bin Laden as a member of  of Duck Dynasty.

The special guest was Jeremy Seifert, a documentarian with a new film about genetically modified crops, titled GMO OMG. Frum tried to claim that GMO was nothing more than cross breeding that has been going on since the beginning of agriculture.  Once again he was set straight. Seifert said, he had never seen “a tomato have sex with a fish” in nature.  GMO technologically is transgenic technology splicing a gene from one kind of organism into another kind of organism. 

Frum was on the correct side of only one issue—guns.  Hayes pointed out that the percentage of household with guns way down, the sale of guns was up.  Fewer people are buying guns, but gun buyers are buying more guns.  Frum said that people buy guns because they feel it will make them safer. However, crime is way down and having a gun in the house only increases the likelihood of someone in the house using it for suicide or for the homicide of another family member.
Bill was back on the subject of hate in New Rules. The segment was called Web-Grousers. He spoke about the barrage of hate that erupted on Twitter when a woman of Indian (from India) descent was crowned Miss America. Bill ridiculed the tweets that called her an Arab (and a terrorist): “Her parents are from India, so she is an Arab.”   

Bill showed a number of other tweets hating on just about everyone and using vile obscene language.  Bill asked why hate has become the national pastime.  He said that the percentage of Americans who call themselves poor has doubled in the last five years.  In contrast, in the past the poor consistently, and erroneously, described themselves as middle-class. They change has occurred because “the poor used to have hope; they bought into the Ponzi scheme that is the American dream.” Now they recognize that there are indeed two Americas—wages may not go up, good jobs may not come back.

I don’t know if there is more anger in society now or if people just feel less inhibited about showing their hate. Maybe they feel it is OK because they see everyone else doing it. Maybe it was always there, but we just didn’t see it because it was done in private, in small groups. Whatever the reason, it is scary.
A new pope preaches a message of love and acceptance, and hatred is more prevalent than ever.  Are people hating on the pope too because he is not hating enough for them?

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Showtime’s Dexter, #812, “Remember the Monsters”

Slice of Life
By Catherine Giordano

Did the series finale of Showtime’s Dexter, #812, “Remember the Monsters” bring the series to a successful conclusion? Well, yes and no. Some loose ends were tied off too easily and some were left hanging.
Dexter and his boat, "Slice of Life"

The season finale began in the same manner as the season premiere—brief clips of the actors talking about the characters, themselves, and the show.  It was nice to join in their reveries.

Dexter and Harrison make it to the airport and are on line to board the plane when Dexter gets a call from Hannah who is hiding out in the ladies room. She has spotted Elway looking for her. Elway has not yet seen either Dexter or Hannah. Quick-thinking Dexter heads to the gift shop, buys a backpack and some items to put inside, and leaves the backpack under a chair.  He then reports the backpack to a ticket agent—“if you see something, say something” he tells that agent as he points out Elway at the man who abandoned the backpack. Soon Security has surrounded Elway and marched him off.  One problem solved, another created. The flight is scuttled due to security concerns and everyone must leave the terminal.

Dexter gets a call informing him that his sister who was expected to recover from her gunshot wound has taken a turn for the worse. Debra is now on life support and nothing short of a miracle will keep her from living the rest of her life as a “vegetable.” Quinn says, "Debra is strong. She will come back.” Dexter says, “I’ve never seen a miracle.”

Dexter tells Hannah to take Harriosn and finda way to leave Miami without him. H has to return to the hospital to be with his sister  Hannah finds a bus leaving Miami going to Jacksonville as part of the evacuation plans necessitated by the oncoming hurricane. She and Harrison board the bus, but who do they find sitting across the aisle form them—Elway. Hannah, who still has made no attempt to disguise herself, was recognized by one of Elway’s ticket-agent contacts. He informs her that when they reach Jacksonville, he will call the authorities to arrest her and Harrison will be placed with child protective services.  

One Small question: Hannah is a wanted fugitive. Why not call ahead and have the police waiting at the station?For that matter, why not call immediately and have the police stop the bus.?  (Because it would ruin the plot, that’s why.) Hannah pulls out a thermos of tea and offers some to Elway. He responds by saying, “H ow stupid do you think I am.” Stupid enough to be distracted long enough for Hannah to stab him with a hypodermic filled with horse tranquillizer that she just happens to have with her.  (Maybe she got it from Dexter since this was his favorite knock-out drug, but could they have gotten that through airport security. Oh wait, Hannah went back to the motel room to figure out how to leave Miami. But would they have left a hypodermic needle filled with horse tranquilizer at the motel. Oh never mind.  It’s not good to think too logically about these things.)

In the meantime, Oliver went to a vet to get his gunshot wound attended to.  Then he kidnapd the vet and headed over to the hospital intent on killing Debra.  He cuts out the vet’s tongue and pushes him through the emergency room doors. This creates enough of a distraction for Oliver to get into the hospital and with no tongue, the vt can’t warn anyone.  When he approaches Debra’s room, Batista and Quinn are there to point a gun to his head and arrest him.  

Dexter is now determined to kill Oliver. He goes to the jail, flashes his badge and says he is there to perform a blood draw for a test for evidence.  He is admitted to Oliver’s cell where they are alone except for a security camera. Dexter opens his kit and starts laying out his equipment. Oliver asks, “Why are you here?”  Dexter calmly nods to the pen he has placed on the table and says, “To kill you with this pen.” Oliver makes a grab for the pen, and Dexter stabs him in the neck with a hypodermic needle. (One small question:  Wouldn’t a dangerous prisoner like Oliver been better secured?  Oh, never mind.).

Dexter waits until Oliver is dead and then yells for help. He is interviewed by Batista and Quinn. Dexter explains his presence by saying he was not technically off the force until the end of the week, and he wanted to look Oliver in the eye. We can see that Batista is not buying it, but he goes along, and declares that Dexter clearly acted in self defense.

Dexter has one more task to perform before he can leave Miami. He gets his boat and sails it to the hospital which just happens to have its own pier. The hospital is being evacuated because of the hurricane.  Dexter takes advantage of the confusion to go into Debra’s room and turn off her life support.  When she is dead, the chaos in the hospital allows him to wheel Debra’s gurney out of the hospital and then carry her onto his boat and speed away.  

He does this as his one last act to protect his sister. Earlier Debra had told Dexter how he has always been her protective big brother. “Remember the monster’s?” she asks him. As a little girl, she was afraid of the monsters, that were only shadows, and Dexter slept on the floor of her room so she would feel safe. Nice resonance here because Dexter’s voiceover spoke about the “shadow of my dark passenger”, and the monsters could be all the serial killers Dexter dispatched as well as Dexter himself. Turning off the life support is the last thing that Dexter can do to protect his sister.

Dexter’s takes his boat (named “Slice of Life”—an apt name consider Dexter’s avocation), and heads full speed into the oncoming storm. He stops the boat and reverently slides Debra’s body into the water. When she has sunk from view he continues full-speed ahead into the storm. This is the “eerily-beautiful-and- beautifully-eerie” moment of the week. The solemnity of the moment, the impressive ferocity of the gathering storm, and the nobility of Dexter’s suicidal dash into the storm.

The next scene is a small bit of the wreckage of Dexter’s boat—the part of the boat with the boat’s name on it is floating in the water after the hurricane has passed.  Then we see Hannah and Harrison sitting at a cafĂ© somewhere in South America.  Hannah is reading about Dexter’s death in an online news story. 

This is a fitting ending for the story. Dexter pays for his sins with the nobility of his suicide. (Howeve , I do question the wisdom of leaving Harrison in the care of Hannah.  Yes, the two clearly love each other, but if Hannah resumes her killing ways and is discovered, what happens to Harrison?  But with Debra gone, there is no one left to care for Harrison, but Hannah.)
Click Here to order Dexter stuff

Wait, there is more. Dexter is not dead. He has grown a beard, and is working in a remote logging camp. How are we supposed to interpret this? Has Dexter faked his death to avoid having to answer for his latest two crimes? The security camera from Oliver’s cell will reveal that events did not transpire exactly as Dexter reported them, and when Debra can’t be found, someone will identify Dexter as the person seen wheeling her out on a gurney. Does he want everyone to assume that Harrison died on that boat with him? Does Hannah know that he is still alive?

Why has Dexter not assumed his new identity and joined Hannah and his son?  Is this some kind of penance he must perform? Dexter said what appeared to be his final good-bye to Harrison on the phone. “Remember that I love you. But then he added, “Remember that until you see me again.”  Is this supposed to mean that he will eventually join Hannah and Harrison?

It seems like the writers felt that killing Dexter off, even if he died nobly, wouldn’t be acceptable to be viewers. On the other hand, they couldn’t just have him waltz off and live happily ever after. It would have been unsatisfying for him to pay no price.  Is that why they gav us this ambiguous, perplexing, ending?

Oh well, it is just a TV show, not an actual slice of life.

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Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Showtime “Dexter” #811 “Monkey in a Box”

Straddling Two Worlds
by Catherine Giordano

I predicted it. Dexter captured Oliver, but turned him over to Debra to be arrested. In episode 11 of
Showtime’s Dexter, titled “Monkey in a Box”, which aired on 09/15/13, Dexter is transitioning from serial killer to a normal guy and as he does so, he is straddling two worlds.

The episode begins with Dexter removing Vogel’s “Dexter Files,” before calling Miami Metro to the scene of Vogel’s murder. He explains that Vogel had asked him to come to see her, and when he arrived the door had been kicked open and she was on the floor with her throat slit. Dexter says that he tried to stop the bleeding, but he was too late. Dexter can’t work the crime because he is a witness, but Debra is back on the force and on the case.

Dexter still has one more day at work and Batista calls Dexter into his office to take a cheek swab from Oliver for DNA. Oliver said that he had heard of the news that the police were looking for him concerning the investigation into Cassie’s murder. He says that he had cleared out his apartment because the memories of Cassie that the place held were too painful. (One small question: Why test Oliver’s DNA?  They would expect to find Oliver’s DNA at the crime scene since he was her boyfriend.  Perhaps, so they would know which DNA findings to ignore.) Oliver and Dexter both play it cool.

Dexter is selling his apartment and the real estate agent calls him to say she has a cash buyer who wants the owner to show him the place.  When Dexter arrives, Oliver and Dexter both play it cool again. Oliver asks the agent to wait outside because he doesn’t want an agent “selling him”; he says he can learn more of what he wants to know just talking to the owner. What he really wants to know is whether or not Dexter will agree to a truce—neither will kill the other, they will both just walk away. Dexter agrees, but he has metaphorically crossed his fingers behind his back. No way is he letting Oliver go, especially after he makes veiled threats against Dexter’s family, even his step-children Astor and Cody.

Dexter knows that Oliver works as a building inspector so he looks for buildings that Oliver has condemned.  He finds a condemned, and now abandoned, psychiatric hospital building and realizes this is the perfect site for a kill room. He finds the kill room and a hidden computer with videos of all his kills.

Dexter wants to flush Oliver out so he anonymously releases one of Oliver’s kill videos to a local TV news station. At the same time, over at Miami Metro Oliver’s DNA is matched to Vogel’s. Oliver is now Miami’s public enemy #1.

Dexter knows that Oliver will now come after him. Debra comes to Dexter’s apartment for one last meal together before Dexter leaves Miami.  Dexter wants her to leave because it is dangerous, but Debra insists. They have a heart-to-heart.  Debra tells him he is not a monster, checked only by Harry’s code.  Dexter is a human-being at his core. 

Evidently the two hatch a plan. In the next scene, Dexter is asleep in his bed when Oliver enters. Dexter springs from the bed, Debra emerges from the shadows and puts a gun to Oliver’s head, and Dexter injects Oliver with his knock-out needle. This is the “Deb-and Dex-tag-team-murderers-back-in-action” moment of the week. Debra leaves with a proud smile on her face, so pleased about how she helped Dexter capture Oliver. (she is no longer conflicted about Dexter’s righteous kills.)  Dexter is going to take Oliver to Oliver’s own kill room to kill him. Nice touch.

Dexter is in Oliver’s kill room with Oliver secured to the examining chair. Dexter intended to do his pre-kill spiel, but his heart is not in it. Dexter is not indulging his urge to kill anymore; this kill is purely personal and hence no fun. He decides not to kill Oliver—he is done with killing. He is going to turn him over to Debra to arrest him. He calls Debra to come to the abandoned hospital.

This turns out to be a bad mistake because Debra is being followed by Clayton. Ever since Hannah was spotted at the hospital with Harrison, Clayton has been back on the case. Clayton interviewed Debra at Miami metro, but she coolly maintained that she was the one who took Harrison to the hospital. This visit convinced Debra that it was no longer safe for Hannah to stay at her apartment. She drove Hannah to a motel near the airport. They said good- like old friends.  Debra has come to like Hannah, or perhaps she knows she has to try to be friends with Hannah for Dexter’s sake.

Clayton enlisted the aid of Elway. Elway went to Debra’s home pretending he wanted to apologize for their argument. He invited himself in, entered over Debra’s objections, and  looked around. He saw the table set for dinner so Debra explaind that she having guests as she shoved Elway out the door. But not before Elway saw Hannah’s purse and high heeled shoes in the corner. He quiped that cops sure make good money these days—the items are obviously expensive and he is obviously suspicious. Red high heels—clearly not Debra’s style.

Elway and Clayton break into Debra’s apartment while she is gone and toss the place. (I don’t think they bothered with a search warrant.) The place is clean, but Elway checks the computer and sees that a South American Airline website was recently visited.  Elway is going to use extra-legal methods to find out if Hannah had booked a flight. While he is doing that, Clayton is going to follow Debra in the hopes that she will lead him to Hannah.

When Debra arrives, Dexter can hardly wait to leave. He decides to leave his knives behind saying the police will think that they are Oliver’s. The plan is to say that Debra was looking at the buildings that Oliver had condemned and decided to go to the abandoned psychiatric hospital to check it out.  She found Oliver there and subdued him. Debra follows Dexter out of the building for one last good-bye.

Dexter is off to collect Harrison from Jamie’s house and meet up with Hannah for their flight out of Miami. Before he leaves Dexter sees Harry, apparently for the last time.  “You don’t need me anymore,” Harry says.

Clayton enters the hospital and finds Elway strapped to the chair. Oliver plays the victim claiming that a homicidal maniac has bound him, and please hurry, release me before he comes back. (One small question: Has Clayton, a U.S. Marshall, been so intent on finding Hannah that he does not recognize Oliver, whose face has been plastered all over the news?) As soon as his restraints ar relased, Oliver promptly grabs a knife and stabs the marshall to death, slipping gun from his holster.

Just then Debra returns. Oliver shoots her, wounding her—it’s a gut shot again, like the one she got a few seasons ago when she was romantically involved with Lundy.  Debra falls but manages to get a shot off at Oliver, but he only gets only a minor wound in the arm and he escapes.  Debra is very weak, but she manages to pull her cell phone from her pocket to say she has been shot.
Over the 8-season DVD set
Predictions.  Dexter is going to hear about Debra being shot and he won’t be leaving Miami. He will be going to find Oliver so he can kill him this time. Oliver is going to come after Dexter’s family just as he threatened to do if Dexter did not agree to a truce. Oliver is going to die one way or another.  Also, a hurricane is coming and I’m sure that is going to complicate things.  

Will Debra survive her wounds?  Debra was rummaging through Quinn’s desk looking for office supplies and found the diamond engagement ring that he had once bought for her. Quinn catches Debra looking at the ring, but they both make a joke of it.  Is Quinn going to propose to Debra?

Will Dexter die trying to protect his family?

Will Hannah and Dexter escape with Harrison and live happily ever after in Argentina?   Will Elway foil their escape? 

I’m not sure if the show wants a happy ending or a dark ending?  The show is straddling the two possibilities. The series final is next week--the questions will have answers. 

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Monday, September 16, 2013

HBO “The Newsroom,’ #19, “Election Night-Part II”

HBO “The Newsroom" #19, “Election Night-Part II”

Will and MacKenzie face off
By Catherine Giordano

I’m not going to bury the lead, Will proposes to MacKenzie and she accepts. Episode #19 of HBO’s “The Newsroom,” “Election Night Part II,” felt like a series finale, not just a season finale.

Spoiler Alert: Here’s another news flash—Obama wins. I think that is a nice note to end on. 

Not just the Will vs. MacKenzie story arc concluded, so many other loose ends are wrapped up too. Most importantly, no one is resigning or getting fired.   After all the hand-wringing about resignations and firings, everyone does an about face and decides that they want to stay on after all. Leona says that she will leave the decision about the resignations to her son Reese. Something about not wanting to be like Queen Elizabeth who simply will not let her son become king. She feels it is time to start passing power on to her son, and besides she would like to be alive to be proud of her son’s decisions with respect to her media empire. Reese tells Charlie that he has decided not to accept their resignations. Charlie gets in his face, loudly saying you can’t refuse to accept our resignations because we have withdrawn them. They go back and forth like this for quite a while, but Charlie apparently does not know how to win with grace and won’t give Reese the satisfaction of knowing he made the right call when he decided not to accept the resignations. Charlie got slapped in the face a couple of episodes ago.  Too bad no one was there to slap him in this episode.

Sloan tracks down who bought her book. It turns out it was Don. No one was bidding on her book, so Don made it look like a bidding war was going on as he bid using a series of fictitious names. She walks up to Don in the middle of the newsroom and gives him a passionate kiss.  So the Don and Sloan story arc is wrapped up.

Jim has a conversation with Margaret, on the newsroom floor, and gets her to finally forgive herself for the death of the boy in Africa.  So Margaret is healed of her PSTD and drops and lets go of her grief and anger.
The Jim and Lisa story arc is also wrapped up.  Lisa has a second job working for a caterer and she just happens to be working at the ACN viewing party. Jim rushes upstairs and apologizes to Lisa telling her that he did her wrong, she deserved better, and he is sorry. He almost gets her fired as he interferes with her work as a waiter, but in the end all is forgiven.

Jim and Halley have a few lovely tete-a-tetes via Skype and profess love for each other.  So Jim has gotten over his crush on Margaret and found true love. All is good with Jim now.

The problem with Jim and Margaret calling a Congressional race before the race was actually settled gets wrapped up nicely. The numbers seesaw all night, but in the end the guy they called it for wins in a squeaker, so no retraction necessary. 

And even the issue concerning the error on Wikipedia about the name of the school Mackenzie’s attended is made right. Whew. That was a biggie.

Back to Will and Mackenzie. Mackenzie didn’t hit Will in this episode.  She explicitly asked Will to stand across the room from her while they were having one of their tedious rehashing of their former relationships so that she would not hit him. I guess that is progress.

After all this time, Will has an epiphany about his relationship with Mackenzie. It occurs because Will and Charlie discussed Genoa, and Will said, “We did everything right until we didn’t.” they then decide not to resign. Suddenly Will has his epiphany--The same is true for MacKenzie with respect to her lying and cheating. I don’t get it, but evidently will thinks that she did everything right, too.

He runs through the newsroom screaming for Mackenzie. This is the “Stanley-yelling-Stella-in-A-Streetcar-Named-Desire” moment of the week. Will finally finds Mackenzie, tells her he loves her, and gives her the engagement ring he bought long ago and has been keeping in his desk drawer. A few minutes later, he announces to the entire newsroom that Mackenzie is the future “MacKenzie Morgan McHale McAvoy,” and suddenly realizes a name with so many Macs, just won’t work.  This particular issue is left unresolved.

Also unresolved for me is why Will seems to have it in for Sloan.  She is on the panel and every time she tries to speak, Will cuts her off to announce breaking news. She calls him on it saying he is purposely interrupting her. He says, “No, it is just working out incredibly well.”  I don’t know what that was about—maybe just an excuse for S loan to put and show us her angry face.

The best moment of the show is when Republican spokesperson, Taylor Warren, accuses the media of bias towards Republicans because ACN ran 14 stories negative about Republicans for everyone that was negative toward Democrats. McAvoy tells her off saying something that I have said for years.  It was wonderful to have it said on television. He said, “If Republicans do 14 negative things in a month does that mean the unbiased thing to do is to concoct 13 additional stories about crazy Democrats. A 14 to 1 ratio of negative stories and your takeaway is that there is a problem with the storyteller?” Yes!  If Republicans don’t want negative stories in the press, why don’t they just stop doing negative things?

Later Taylor accuses Will, on air again, of claiming to be a Republican in order to have a claim to credibility when he attacks the GOP.  Will tells her off good. “I’m a Republican,” he says, “because I believe in market solutions, I believe in common sense realities, and the necessity to defend ourselves in a dangerous world.”  (Will, I’m a Democrat, and I believe in those things too. It’s the second part of your answer that describes the why I’m a Democrat and not a Republican.) Will continues, “The problem is, now I have to be homophobic, I have to count the number of times people go to church, I have to deny facts and think scientific research is a long con.  I have to think that poor people are getting a sweet ride. and I have to have such a stunning inferiority complex that I fear education and intellect.”

 In another exchange between Will and Taylor, Taylor tries to claim that the tea part and OWS (Occupy Wall Street) are equivalent.  Will asks her, “Who is the OWS candidate?  The left’s crazy people hardly ever run for office and when they do they don’t win.  Who is the left’s Allen West, Joe Walsh, and Michelle Bachman?” 

A brilliant riposte for accusations of media bias and the ridiculous claim that there is a moral equivalency between the right and the left in this country was perfect as a finale for a show about the news media. 

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Saturday, September 14, 2013

HBO “Real Time with Bill Maher” #293 “It’s da Bomb!”

by Catherine Giordano

It’s da bomb on HBO’s “Real Time with Bill Maher,” episode 293, aired on September 13, 2013.   Bill opened his monologue talking about bombing Syria and ended New Rules with more of the same.

Bill said, “America always needs a new war.”  He also said “A Republican president could get a Republican Congress to bomb Sea World.”  Bill was referring to the habit of Republicans being against whatever Obama is for. “They always have to do the opposite of Obama, but it is hard now since Obama changes his mind every day.” Bill said, that “Syria is turning Republicans into the peacenik party.”

And it’s true. Bill observed that “when Bush wanted to bomb a mid-east country it was great, when Obama wants to do it, he is mega Hitler on acid.”

Bill said that we needed a word to describe changing one’s mind because Obama agrees with you.  He suggested. “black track,” “pulling a one-hatey,” and “Kenyan Boom-a-rang.”

Personally, I don’t know what is the best thing to do about Syria, but I know doing nothing is not an option. It reminds me of Chamberlain and Hitler’s Germany. It reminds me of the gas chambers. You give a dictator an inch and he takes a mile. I agree with Obama that if we let this go, Assad and other dictators will be emboldened to go further and further. I’m glad Obama is strong enough to change his course of action when the situation changes. I’m glad he is not too proud to work with Russia’s Putin.

The panel included Matt Taibbi, editor of Rolling Stone and author of Griftopia, Zanny Minton Beddoes, editor of The Economist, and Michael Steele, former chairman of the GOP (who appears in the documentary Fear of a Black Republican), and now heads up a group called "Purple Nation Solutions."  No bomb-throwing with this panel—it was an hour of civilized discussion.

Steele sure has calmed down a lot since he stopped being a spokesperson for the Republican party. He no longer shouts, and he doesn’t have to defend ridiculous positions. He confirms for me that many Republicans don’t actually believe the nonsense they talk, they say it because they think it is good politics.
Steele said that Obama was “all over the map” on Syria.  Beddoes said that Obama was “flexible.”   Like me, she believes that “international laws matter.”  

Putin wrote an op ed in “The New York Times” and everyone is talking about it.  Bill said, “Putin lecturing us on democracy is like getting parenting notes from Billy Ray Cyrus.”  

The mid-show comedy skit sent up the letter.  The parody letter began with “Dear Fat-Asses” coasted to “How can you handle Syria when you can’t even handle Hannah Montana” and ened with “We have Chernobyl, you have Detroit.”  

In New Rules, Bill said that right after 9/11, Howard Stern said on his radio show that we should bomb a Muslim country, any Muslim country.”  Bill said Stern want us to choose who to bomb by taking a map and throw a dart at it.  He added, “Apparently George W. Bush was listening, because that is exactly what he did.” Bill concluded, “People in other countries don’t act like this….. if they did we’d bomb them.”

The panel discussed Republican’s sudden distaste for war. Taibbi said that “Republicans are looking for a new ideology”.  Steele said, “They are moving way from neo-cons.”

The interview was with Dr. Edwin Lyman.  It was about the damaged nuclear reactors in Japan. They are leaking scary amounts of radiation into the ocean each day and no one knows what to do about it.. Although some deranged Republicans go around saying radiation is good for you an example of my previous observation that many Republicans think it is good politics to say stupid things, Dr. Lyman said, “There are no safe doses of radiation.”

There was some talk about gun control.  Taibbi said, “This country is crazy for guns.”  It seems two state reps in Colorado were recalled because they voted for background checks and limiting a magazine to 15 bullets.  In Ohio, permits to carry in public were granted to three blind people. In some places in the South, there are laws saying that you must own a gun. Crazy? Crazy doesn’t begin to describe it.

The special guest was Bill Nye, the Science Guy, author of Consider the Following.  He railed against anti-science attitudes, especial teaching creationism in the schools.  He told a story abbot how he explained in a lecture that the moon was not a source of light.  Evidently, the Bible says differently and this caused some members of the audience to leave in a huff.  Nye was very funny as he patiently explained that the moon “shines” because it reflects the light of the sun and that the moon is in the sky all day.  He said we spend a billion and half dollars on planetary science and consider it too much money, but we spend that much in Afghanistan in twenty minutes. The floods in Colorado are showing the devastation that climate change can wreak.  Bill said, “I don’t want to save the planet, I want to save the planet for me.”  In other words, floods and hurricanes and tornados aren’t bad for the planet per se, they are bad for human life on the planet.
The conversation turned to the economy. Taibbi said that “too big to fail” was not only still a problem, but it has gotten worse.  Beddoes added, that we have “essentially two different societies and we can’t change it with a few changes on Wall Street.  Bill Nye said , “That someone has to make something.” Wealth just can’t be about manipulating money on Wall Street.  

So take your pick from the little shop of horrors--Wars, bombs, radiation, poison gas, climate-change, economic collapse, rampant ignorance, nuts with guns, and more.  The human race has a lot of bombs in the air.

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Wednesday, September 11, 2013

HBO The Newsroom #18 Election Night Part 1

Are Your Ready to Have Some Fun

 by Catherine Giordano

Marcia Gay Harden on
 HBO's "The Newsroom"
It’s election night 2012 in the newsroom, but everyone still has plenty of time for their petty inter-personal issues on HBO’s The Newsroom, episode 18, “Election Night Part I,” airing on September 8, 2013.  Before Will begins prime time election night coverage he asks his panel “Are you guys ready to have some fun?”  We, the viewers, are ready to have some fun too, but we don’t get any fun from this episode.

We do get Rebecca Greenway, the ACN legal counsel, as “liquid sex” and perhaps that is a little bit of fun. Marcia Gay Harden, the actress who plays Rebecca tells the newsroom team that she is “liquid sex,” and she does look quite the sex-pot poured into her low-cut tight-fitting fuchsia-colored dress. Her excuse for wearing it is that a viewing party is being hosted by Reese Lansing on another floor. 

Sloan gives us a little bit of fun also. It seems a signed copy of her book sold at a charity auction for $1000. Only problem is Sloan did not autograph it, and the inscription written in German was supposed to read “Please enjoy this book,” but actually reads, “Please shred this book.” Ha Ha.

Now Sloan goes into her “I’m-nasty-bitch-so everyone-had better-do-what I-want-and-do it-now"mode. She grabs Neal and demands that he track down the buyer and get the book back. Remember, it is election night and Neal has a lot more important things to do.  But Sloan gives him that fierce look that she so often shows—the equivalent of a junk yard dog baring his teeth--and Neal drops everything to do Sloan’s bidding. How does he find the time! MacKenzie has him working on getting Wikipedia to correct the name of her alma mater on their entry for her. These newsroom divas think Neal is there to deal with their petty problems.

When Sloan isn’t being a nasty bitch, she is acting like a petulant child throwing a temper tantrum until she gets what she wants or moping in a corner because things aren’t going her way. It’s not really fun to watch.

You know what is really no fun to watch—Will and MacKenzie endlessly rehashing their failed love affair. It may be election night, the newsroom may have 500 races to report on, but they still have time to bicker over who was the bad guy in the relationship.  I want to shout at my TV, “MacKenzie, let it go already, Move on!. You cheated and lied and Will is never going to take you back.” During their exchanges on this night, Will informs MacKenzie that he was a “good boyfriend.” This is high-school stuff, and not at all funny or touching or anything else but stupid.

The big issue on this night is that Jim and Margaret made a wrong call in some minor congressional race. (It’s a wonder that is the only mistake since these guys can’t seem to keep their minds on their jobs.) They are debating whether to retract it or just quietly remove it from the scroll. Just then, Charlie parades through the newsroom waving some papers. He informs the team that in a very loud voice that he is holding the test that people who apply for a job as a sanitation worker must take and he is giving it to the first person who makes a bad call. (I know everyone is on edge because of the Genoa thing, but really.)

Jim and Margaret decide not to retract. It is some minor race and the statistician who is in charge of calling the race, says the race it “too early and too close to call” and also “he will win.” The statistician is a dignified middle-age Japanese woman, very prim and no- nonsense.  It is sort of funny the way she keeps repeating these two contradictory things with no explanation.  It is ridiculous when Jim and Margaret blindfold her with a sash from her dress and bring her into the newsroom.  They want to talk to her, but the people who call the race are not allowed to see the TV screens of the other networks less they be biased by the calls made on other networks. Evidently, there are quiet corners or hallways.

Charlie is still trying to resign. Leona, the head of ACN, won’t fire him and he can’t quit or he will be sued for breach of contract. He corners Reese at the party and he begs him to get his mother to fire him. Reese said he has tried, but she won’t budge from her decision to hang tough. I like Leona.  She is often the only grown-up in the room. She is fierce and she won’t let others push her around.  Previously, she had been looking for an excuse to fire Will, now that she has it, she won’t take it because doing so would look like she was caving to outside forces.

Mackenzie wants to get fired too. Charlie, Will, and MacKenzie all feel that they must be fired to restore credibility to the network.  Only will has the authority to fire MacKenzie.  She begs Will to fire her.  He won’t, and then he caves, and tells her that when election night is over, she is fired.  Maybe he realized he had enough of her pestering him about their former relationship. 

Taylor Warren, the former Romney communication director, who was making Jim’s life miserable on the campaign bus, is back. She is on the panel for election night coverage. It doesn’t make a lot of sense why a Republican would dish dirt on another Republican to Margaret just so little Maggie can one-up Jim, but Taylor does it. She tells Margaret that former General Pratraeus, now head of the CIA is going to resign over an affair.

The next episode is the season finale. Only nine episodes in season two, unlike Season one, which had 10 episodes. I wonder why?  Maybe the writers are not having fun.

Are we having fun yet?  No, we are not having fun yet.

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Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Showtime Dexter #810 “Goodbye Miami”

The Perfect Psychopath
Dexter and Hannah share a tender moment.
 Will it be their last?
By Catherine Giordano

Dexter calls Oliver Saxon “the perfect psychopath that I once was” in episode 810 of Showtime’s Dexter, titled “Goodbye Miami.” The game is on between Dexter and Saxon—may the best psychopath win.

Of course, I’m on Team Dexter so I’m rooting for the “best” in the best possible sense of the word.  Dexter is the best because he is not a perfect psychopath—he has the ability to love, he has a conscience, and he has “the code.”  Will the things that are good about Dexter lead to his downfall?   

Dexter has a crisis of conscience concerning the people he loves. He has to choose-- does he protect his family or does he go to the aid of Dr. Evelyn Vogel. He chooses Vogel.

The FBI detective who had given up on finding Hannah is back on her case after she is spotted in a hospital clinic.  Hannah was alone with Harrison when he was playing on Debra’s treadmill and fell giving himself a severe cut with a lot of blood. One small question: Have these people never heard of child-proofing?  How hard would it have been to unplug the thing after Harrison played with it the first time?

Another small question: If you are wanted by the FBI, wouldn’t you try to change your appearance, at least a little bit. Perhaps dye your hair, change your hair style, wear large sun glasses or eyeglasses. Apparently, this never occurs to anyone despite the fact the both Debra and Hannah are very familiar with police work.

Dexter and Vogel had hatched a plan to draw Oliver out of hiding.  Vogel apparently realized that she was not going to be able to persuade her murdering son to return to an institution, so she agreed to help Dexter send him to his just reward. The plan was for Vogel to arrange to meet Oliver in a safe public place so that Dexter could follow him when he left. Instead Vogel invites him to her home. (One small question: Do people on TV shows always have to make really stupid decisions just to advance the plot?)

Oliver can sense Vogel’s fear and realizes that his mother has betrayed him. He calmly slashes her throat, saying “once again you choose the wrong son,” just as Dexter arrives. Oliver escapes and Dexter is fruitlessly trying to stop Vogel’s bleeding. This is the “avert-your-eyes-if-you-are-squeamish” moment of the week. 

In a sense, the adult Dexter has witnessed the death of his “mother” similar to the death of his mother that he witnessed as a toddler. Vogel was using desensitizing therapy on  Debra making her relive the death of LaGuerta. It worked for Debra. Will it work for Dexter. Will her death “cure” Dexter.

A few questions have been wrapped up by this act. Vogel is not “The Brain Surgeon” and did not know her son was alive prior to Dexter bringing her the DNA results. We know that Oliver definitely is “The Brain Surgeon” and that he definitely killed Zach.  Dexter hacked into Oliver’s computer and found the videos that were Oliver’s mementos of his crime. What we do not know is the identity of the person we saw in another video of the Brain Surgeon’s victim where someone was being forced to do the actual killing.  And why?  Is that “The Brain Surgeon’s” preferred M.O.? I hope this issue will be resolved in the last two episodes of Dexter.

Now that Vogel is dead, we may never know what she meant in episode 802 about psychopaths being "a gift that helps the human race become civilized."--unless someone is going to read it out to us from her book or her diary. (I speculate on this in another post. Click here to read it.)

Vogel’s blood is all over Dexter.  What is he going to do now?  Get out the bleach to clean up the mess and then make her disappear?  I think this is not going to be that easy.

The detective that is after Hannah suspects that Dexter is involved.  Will he get a search warrant for Dexter’s house and find the bloody stuffed animal, a loose end from a previous kill? Dexter has hidden Hannah at Debra’s house and also brought Harrison there to keep him safe from Oliver. One small question: Wouldn’t Hannah have been better off in some out of the way motel? And shouldn’t Dexter have kept Hannah away from Harrison for fear that he might say something to the wrong person?  More stupid decisions in service of the plot.

Dexter has quit his job and made plans to go to Argentina with Hannah. Debra is not happy about this decision.  Dexter is going to be out of her life, and this is a frightening prospect for Debra. Dexter has always been there. She appears to recognize that she has to deal with this loss by getting on with her life.  She accepts Batista’s offer to rejoin Miami Metro, and she accepts Quinn’s offer for them to get together again as a couple. It turns out that not only is Quinn still in love with Debra, but Debra is still in love with Quinn.

Quinn and Jamie have broken up. Jamie, who was always afraid that Quinn was still in love with Debra, is going to be really pissed when she finds out about Quinn getting back together with Debra.

Another potential complication—will Debra’s closeness to Quinn cause her to let something slip about her brother’s hobby, or maybe love will addle her brain and in the spirit of “there-can-be-no-secrets-between-us” she’ll tell all.

There is just one more loose end. Dexter cannot leave Miami just yet despite the danger of Hannah being discovered.  One small question: Why doesn’t Hannah leave on her own? She has her new identity papers. Yes, Dexter thought it was safer for them to leave as a family, because the FBI was looking for a lone woman, not a family group.  But circumstances have changed.

The reason Dexter won’t leave just yet is that he has to kill Oliver first. This is a grudge match. We saw Dexter crying over Vogel’s body; he has to avenge her death. And we know that Oliver is fueled by hatred and jealousy because Dexter was like a son to Vogel. Oliver is perhaps the smartest killer Dexter has ever been up against. Oliver is the perfect psychopath.

If the death of Vogel has cured Dexter he should be unable to kill Oliver.  However, I don’t think any fan of the show wants to see Oliver left alive to go on killing.  So I think Dexter will get Oliver on his table and then spare him like he did for Hannah and Zach.  He will decide to let the police capture him.  But wait, Oliver may know too much about Dexter—his mother’s files and videos and all. So, Oliver will somehow bring on his own death after Dexter spares him.

Then the cured Dexter and the reformed Hannah and the innocent Harrison can live happily ever after someplace where there is not an extradition treaty. Quinn makes detective and takes Batista’s job when Batista retires and eventually Matthews job when he retires. Debra leaves Miami Metro again to have babies and write a novel about psychopaths.  And everyone lives happily ever after.

Admit it, all of you viewers and fans, vicarious psychopaths all, you want a happy ending, don’t you.

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Friday, September 6, 2013

Showtime’s “Web Therapy” “304 “Case Files”

Mocktails O’Clock
By Catherine Giordano
Meg Ryan as Karen Sharp

The tales of Fiona continue.  Pour yourself a cocktail (or mocktail) and enjoy this review/recap and commentary for Showtime’s “Web Therapy” episode #304, starring Lisa Kudrow, titled “Case Files.”

The show opens with Fiona chatting with mock-friend Gina as they enjoy cocktails (mocktails for the pregnant Gina). I say mock friend because while Gina feels that Fiona is her best friend and confidante, Fiona is only interested in manipulating Gina for her own ends.

Gina is whining about having to go to Paris. She hates France for many reasons.  One reason is that the waiters in restaurants will not let her have coffee before her meal
Gina tells Fiona that she wants to have a bachelorette party in Las Vegas. She wants her wedding to immediately follow, also in Las Vegas. She wants a classical wedding so she has chosen Caesar’s Palace as the venue. She wants Fiona to be her matron of honor. She wants herself and Fiona to wear identical white gowns for the ceremony.  She wants Fiona to arrange everything for her special day. Does anyone think this is going to end well?

Next call. A quick one with Keystone Fidelity, the accounting firm for her husband’s campaign, as Fiona tries to get some information concerning the investigation of her possible misuse of campaign finances. She doesn’t have passwords for the accounts so she doesn’t get any information.

Fiona calls Kip for a little camcorder chat to ask for the passwords.  Even though Kip has run off to New Mexico with his lover Ben and is seeking a divorce, he still feels kindly towards Fiona and tries to help her. He tells her the passwords might be in a briefcase that was packed into one of the boxes of things from the campaign office that were packed when the campaign shut down. The boxes were delivered to Fiona’s house.

Ben who has been in another room watching TV is angry when he finds Kip talking to Fiona.  Poor Kip—he seems to like to be in relationships with a partner who is very controlling. Ben is overtly controlling whereas Fiona did it more subtly. Ben hates Fiona probably because he is jealous of Kip’s relationship with her, and tells her quite nastily to sign the divorce papers immediately. Does anyone think Fiona is going to do that?

So now Fiona has what she needs? Not so quick.  Not so simple. Read on.

Fiona calls Jerome who is staying at her apartment in New York to find out where the boxes are. He tells her that all the stuff in the boxes was sold off in a yard sale. He knows who bought it, and he knows the brief case is up for auction on eBay. He plans to swoop in with a last minute bid and get the briefcase. He fails, and someone named karen4kip wins the item.

Fiona also learns that Halley, a onetime girl-friend of Jerome is staying at her New York apartment. Fiona demands that Kip make her leave. Jerome claims that everything is fine, but talk about rubber sheets, and loud knocking sounds and shouts of “I’m coming” coming from the apartment’s bedroom have gotten Fiona very upset. Jerome claims that it is only the doorman knocking on the door with a delivery, and Halley is telling the doorman that she is coming to answer the door.

Fiona’s final conversation is with Karen Sharp, played by Meg Ryan. Karen is a hoarder and one of her collections is centered on Kip. She claims that everything is being archived for posterity, but in actuality Fiona can see that stuff is strewn all over.  Karen refuses to sell the briefcase to Fiona. Wily Fiona realizes that she can play Karen because it becomes evident that Karen is obsessed with Kip. (She asks Fiona a lot of questions about how Kip is as a lover. She is fascinated by the revelation that Kip used to place a cloth over Fiona’s face during lovemaking.) Karen wants to cloth.  Fiona says she can give her a pair of Kip’s running shorts, unwashed, so still redolent with his sweat.  Fiona offers to bring the items to Karen’s house the very next day.

Karen considers this a generous act on Fiona’s part, but clearly Fiona aims to get into the house so she can steal the briefcase or at least the papers with the passwords that she hopes to find inside the briefcase.

The tales of Fiona, mockery extraordinaire.

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