Monday, January 01, 2018

Truest statement of the week

U.S.-backed forces were in the process of "crushing the life" out of ISIS but "the war is not over" in Iraq and Syria, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said Friday.

-- Richard Sisk, "Mattis: ''The War Is Not Over' in Iraq and Syria" (MILITARY.COM).

A note to our readers

Hey --

It's Monday.

Let's first note so 2017 review coverage in the community:

  • 2017: The Year of Chicken Little
  • Kat's Korner: 2017 in Music

  • 2016 in Books (Martha & Shirley)
  • 2017 in film (Ann and Stan)
  •  2017 in film (Ann and Stan)
  •  10 sexiest men of 2017 

  • Let's thank all who participated this edition which includes Dallas and the following:

    The Third Estate Sunday Review's Jim, Dona, Ty, Jess and Ava,
    Rebecca of Sex and Politics and Screeds and Attitude,
    Betty of Thomas Friedman Is a Great Man,
    C.I. of The Common Ills and The Third Estate Sunday Review,
    Kat of Kat's Korner (of The Common Ills),
    Mike of Mikey Likes It!,
    Elaine of Like Maria Said Paz),
    Cedric of Cedric's Big Mix,
    Ruth of Ruth's Report,
    Wally of The Daily Jot,
    Trina of Trina's Kitchen,
    Marcia of SICKOFITRDLZ,
    Stan of Oh Boy It Never Ends,
    Isaiah of The World Today Just Nuts,
    and Ann of Ann's Mega Dub.

    And what did we come up with?

    The Iraq War has not ended and it's not ending.  Not anytime soon.
    And it continues to air the same episode over and over as it gears up for the 15th anniversary.
    Ava and C.I. reflect on the message ABC just sent every show runner in the business.
    Where did the discussion go?  Seems to us this was a major event.
    We're not asking for daily events.  We are asking the NETFLIX manages to serve up at least one interesting offering every week.
    We're sick of the deals being made that prevent truth from ever being reported.  Josh is a whore.
    Mac and Cheese runs through the kitchen.
    We pick our faves for the year past.
    New Year's Day.  Check it out.

    See you next week.


    -- Jim, Dona, Ty, Jess, Ava and C.I.

    Editorial: The same episode played over and over

    2017 was a momentous year for the U.S.-led coalition's fight against ISIS "To date, more than 110,000 Iraqi security forces have been trained and equipped by the coalition to defeat ISIS in Iraq," says commander, . Learn more:

    And this is supposed to be impressive?

    Are we supposed to suddenly forget all the hundreds of thousands the US previously trained in Iraq?

    Or how little they ended up mattering?

    Giving new meaning to "If you haven't seen it, it's new to you," the Iraq War never stops airing.

    TV: The message ABC sent all show runners

    As the network dramas garner fewer and fewer Emmy nominations, measures are taken.  For example, ABC decided it wanted to air TEN DAYS IN THE VALLEY -- even after Demi Moore walked away from the project, the network wanted to air the limited, 10-episode series.

    a new illst

    When Kyra Sedgwick stepped into the lead role, ABC became even more excited about the drama they spoke of as "adult" and "riveting" and "different."

    In all truth, it wasn't that "different."

    It was pretty much your standard fare on basic cable.

    Basic cable is where Kyra found her greatest success -- at TNT with THE CLOSER in a role that saw her honored with a People's Choice Award, a Satellite Award, a Golden Globe Award and, yes, an Emmy.

    It was a strong performance.

    And TEN DAYS IN THE VALLEY provided her a showcase for another strong performance: Jane Sandler.

    Jane was a documentary film maker who crossed over into television and was the show runner of a cop drama.  She was also divorced from Pete (Kick Gurry) and arguing over the raising of their daughter Lake.

    Lake disappears while Jane is in the shed/office behind her home and Jane's convinced at first that Pete took her.  Then it appears it might be the police -- or a section of the police -- who don't care for her TV show -- one that's using real life corruption as the inspiration for its plot line.

    Drama and tensions flared.

    Kick Gurry?

    You could complain about him but he was supposed to be off-putting in the role of Jane's ex -- especially since we were supposed to assume he may have kidnapped their daughter.

    Strong work was done -- especially by Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje (Detective Bird), Erika Christensen (Jane's sister Ali), Josh Randall (Ali's husband Tom) and Malcolm-Jamal Warner (as Jane's second in command Matt).

    Josh Randall is one of TV's most underutilized actors and most underappreciated.

    So when he was used for little more than bare chest scenes, who was surprised?

    No one -- and no one complained either -- who would?  Josh is also one of the hottest actors working in TV.

    But turns out, the show cast Josh for something other than just his chest and face -- as it turned out, the child Jane and Pete were fighting over?  Probably actually Jane and Josh's Tom.

    The scene where Ali explodes in the waiting room of their fertility doctor and Tom tries to calm her down while also trying to keep the scene from intensifying should have won praise and awards for Erika Christensen and Josh.

    And maybe it will.

    Probably not though, not since ABC walked away from the series after the fourth episode.

    That's when the show was pulled from the schedule and benched until last month when ABC began burning off the rest of the episodes on Saturday nights.

    ABC replaced it with SHARK TANK.  And, reality, the show didn't bring in a significantly larger audience than TEN DAYS IN THE VALLEY did.

    What was the point?

    It was a ten-episode limited series.

    Just keep it where it was.

    Better yet, use smart advertising to promote it.

    But ABC wasn't thinking smart at all.

    Take the title.

    Why in the world would anyone call the show that?

    Ten episodes?

    Yeah, we get it.

    That didn't make it a good title.


    Anyone remember that?

    Charlize Theron, Teri Hatcher, Eric Stoltz and James Spader were among the actors in that film.

    And ABC's own focus group testing informed the network that the title of the series was confusing some who thought the series was somehow related to the 1996 film.

    So what was the point?

    The network had decided -- before the first episode aired -- that they weren't going to do much of anything with the show.

    If it hit on its own, great.

    If not, it's ten episodes and they could burn it off on Saturday if they had to.

    What an insult to everyone involved.

    And does ABC grasp the message that they've sent to the creative community?  It can be summed up as: "Warning, go to any other network because we're not going to support you or stand by you."

    They've already lost Shonda Rhimes.  The creator of GREY'S ANATOMY, SCANDAL and (the tremendously improved) HOW TO GET AWAY WITH MURDER has signed with NETFLIX and will be developing new shows for them, not ABC.

    Their treatment of a quality show, which TEN DAYS IN THE VALLEY was, will make them the last choice for any show runner.

    ABC looks like a loser and has the smell failure wafting off it.

    The only real winner in all of this is Demi Moore who walked away from the show and instead elected to to do a guest role (Claudia) on EMPIRE -- a role that's going to be even more central to the plot when EMPIRE returns from its winter break with new episodes.

    2017 event that warranted far more media attention

    Our pick: The pipe bombing in NYC.

    Yes, we know Iraq gets far too little coverage in the western press.

    And, yes, we know the December 11th bombing was covered by the press.

    CNN wasn't the only outlet covering the attack, but it did a stronger job than most.


    The press informed that the suspect was Akayed Ullah, that he was 27-years-old, that he was a permanent US resident, had a cab license, came from Bangladesh, allegedly posted to FACEBOOK that he was carrying out the attack in support of ISIS, that three people were injured in Ullah's bombing attempt, that more would have been wounded if the bomb had detonated correctly, etc.

    But these were details.

    Shouldn't this attack have prompted a larger discussion?

    If (or, heaven forbid, when) suicide bombings become a daily fixture in the United States, will we look back and wonder about this attempt and why there was no effort to discuss the meaning?

    Along with pledging loyalty to ISIS, Ullah is alleged to have stated that the bombing was "in response to Israel's actions in Gaza" -- as CNN put it.

    Should that have led to a larger discussion about the US government's relations with Israel?

    As well as about what actually takes place in Gaza?

    A mass shooting gets more attention than this bombing did -- heck, a mini shooting gets more attention.

    There was no push for a national dialogue.

    Why was that?

    While there should not have been an effort to whip up mass hysteria, a national dialogue need not require hysteria.

    Biggest disappointment of 2017: NETFLIX

    How many times have you said it?

    "Why am I paying for this if there's nothing on?"

    Week after week, NETFLIX has failed to deliver new content.

    It wants to be a TV and movie service.

    But studios open several new films every weekend.

    So why is it every Friday of late has found NETFLIX delivering nothing?

    Josh Rogin: Human Trash Posing As A Reporter

    Josh Rogin's always been trash and always will be.

    He poses as a reporter, but he's not.

    His use of anonymous sources -- or his service to anonymous government sources -- has long marked him as the cheap whore he truly is.

    Do you remember old "blue balls" Brett McGurk?

    McGurk had been in Iraq as a worker in Bully Boy Bush's administration and had cheated on his wife with the equally married Gina Chon.  Chon lost her job at THE WALL STREET JOURNAL when the story broke because the story included how she let Brett vet copy.

    It was a tawdry story that took a long time to break.

    But it was apparently news to Josh Rogin before it broke.

    Did you know that while McGurk was a nominee to be the US Ambassador to Iraq, Rogin was in contact with the US State Department?

    Outlining to them when he would have to report on reality?

    Is that a journalist?

    Seems like that's a little whore.

    "Unfortunately now it's news" read the headline of Josh Rogin's June 6, 2012 e-mail to the State Department's Mark C. Toner. In it, he writes, "after that free beacon story, all hell broke loose. we determined that if senators are changing their views on mcgurk over this, thats the point where it becomes reportable."

    "Now it's news" and "becomes reportable"?

    So Rogin was sitting on the truth and refused to report it.  When other outlets meant that he had to, he dashes off an e-mail to the State Department.

    That's not a reporter, it's a whore.

    Josh Rogin is nothing but a cheap whore.

    From The TESR Test Kitchen

    Who doesn't like mac & cheese?


    Maybe a lot more than you know -- especially if they're eating Kraft's Easy Mac.

    The notion that you can have mac & cheese without milk?

    Well anyone who's ever taken the cap off the milk jug only to discover the contents have soured dreams of a mac & cheese without milk.

    The dream becomes a nightmare with one taste of Easy Mac.

    It's awful.

    We worked and worked on this.

    Our hints for making it taste better.

    Cook it in the microwave for four minutes.  Let it stand for three minutes.

    Then add the sauce packet and it is edible.

    Add a little tuna and/or lemon pepper to it and it tastes okay.

    But nothing makes it wonderful.

    If Kraft gave a damn, they'd pull this crap off the market until they could make it tasty.

    The best in 2017 TV

    For us, the following were the best of 2017 on TV.  Where's MR. ROBOT?  We're still feeling burned from season two.

    1) SENSE8 -- the second season of the series was epic -- even if NETFLIX failed to realize it.

    2) WILL & GRACE -- a funny sitcom -- naturally, they had to go back to the 90s to deliver that.

    3) LAW & ORDER TRUE CRIME: THE MENENDEZ MURDERS -- who would have ever thought there's be an aspect of the Dick Wolf franchise worth applauding?

    4) DISJOINTED -- NETFLIX scores with this Kathy Bates-led comedy.

    5) ORPHAN BLACK -- the Canadian series went out on all the right notes.

    6) HOW TO GET AWAY WITH MURDER -- at a time when Shonda Rhimes' Thursday night is looking rather blood poor, this show turned it around in the spring of 2017 and has been must-see TV ever since.

    7) THE BLACKLIST -- did they really just kill Tom in the winter finale?  Let's hope not.  But the fall episodes were the tightest the show's ever been.

    8) AMERICAN HOUSEWIFE -- the funniest thing on ABC.

    9) EMPIRE -- when it's good, it's great, when it's bad, it's so very frustrating.   Season four isn't the giddy high of season two but it's also not the head-hammering-against-the-wall that was so much of season three.

    10) BIG LITTLE LIES -- you can't talk the best of 2017 without noting this strong effort.


    Taylor Swift's "New Year's Day."

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