Pop Culture, Sci Fi Fun

The 100 series finale recap: The Fight is Over

One of my many guilty pleasures has been watching The 100 since it debuted in 2014. The 100 is a post-apocalyptic science fiction drama television series developed by Jason Rothenberg, loosely based on the book series by Kass Morgan. At first it seemed like a typical CW show: good looking young actors portraying teens who will hook up with one another and experience angst. But the series found its footing over the next few episodes, and focused more on the post-apocalyptic world, with a dystopian society thrown in for flavor.

I’m going to assume anyone reading this has an interest in the show, knows the story and has seen the series finale by now.  Also, there are a lot of writers out there who make a living off reviewing The 100, so this post won’t be so much a review of what was, but what went wrong and what could have been.  I actually liked the series ending for what it was — a riff off the Battlestar Galactica ending — but only because it put an end to a season that became harder and harder to justify as each episode aired.


The 100 was always about survival in a world that would rather kill you than simply let you exist.   First it was The 100 versus the Grounders.  Then Mountain Men.  Then Artificial intelligence, etc.  This formula worked well in the early seasons.  Eventually, the earth ran out of enemies so the writers brought some from outer space in the form of prisoners from the Eligius IV mining expedition returning to earth.  This would be a bit of a stretch except for two important elements.

First, if you had space stations, you presumably had space ships.  Second, and more beneficial to the storyline, the writers planted an Easter Egg midway through Season Four that most fans noticed before that season’s finale.  By alluding to the Eligius missions beforehand, the introduction of a ship returning to earth to set up the conflict for Season Five doesn’t look too much like anyone pulled something out of their asses at the last minute.

It became a different show in Season Six when it morphed into The Muppets 100 go to Outer Space.  Using the same idea as Season Five, but without any build up or bread crumps, it felt a little forced that there was this planet of humans that conveniently left earth before the bombs went off — but not too much before so they were familiar with Season Five villain turned hero Diyoza.  Once again the 100 become the invading foreigners bringing death and destruction and no interstellar immigration authority in sight.

Season Seven doubled down on credibility and completely retconned an element from the past: Bill Cadogan and the Second Dawn disciples.  Personally, I would have preferred more Becca Franko.  The storyline that Cadogan had Becca burned at the stake, a storyline that always seemed to me to lack foresight.  Becca was the Tony Stark of The 100 universe (sans iron suit) and there were more opportunities for her character other than being the answer to who invented this piece of technology that allows us to advance the plot.

 The whole storyline with the Dark Commander seemed unnecessary other than what else do we do with Madi?  Except the whole she’s a nightblood and that made her valuable to the Primes would have been enough to fill episodes.  

Season Seven had some issues outside of The 100 universe.  Not only was filming rushed because of COVID-19, but two of the actors — Eliza Taylor and Bob Marley, married in real life — experienced a miscarriage that obviously devastated them.  Marley, who publicly admits to suffering from depression, requested time off from the show.  It is wonderful that they allowed it, but as the second lead cast member, it is hard to write a story around it.

What I would have done was keep Season Six focused on the Primes and the Children of Gabriel.  Once you moved what was left of the Grounders to outer space, there was no longer much use for them and their barbaric, primitive ways…keep them in cryo storage.  

Instead of having Sheidheda try to take Madi over so fast, they should have introduced the Dark Commander arc more slowly while the Primes were busy trying to body snatch the young night blood.  You could still have the transfer to Russell Lightbourne’s minddrive plot twist.  He kills Bellamy in the first episode of Season 7, sparking unsuppressable desires of revenge from Echo, Octavia and of course Clarke.  Revenge for Bellamy!

It wouldn’t be the first time the show killed a major character.  The 100 has made it clear time and time again that no one on the show is safe. And given that they killed him off in episode 13 anyway, it would have been better to kill him in the first episode and make it the storyline of the last season.

Instead of Cadogan killing Becca, it could be shown it was more of a History became legend, Legend became myth thing where Becca faked her death using the anomaly stone.  We could lose the higher beings and ascension and focus on the humans finally doing better and have no more wars among themselves.  A society made up of Skykru, Grounders, believers, Children of Gabriel, Elgiusians (instead of prisoners) that live in a real City of Light designed by Becca.  

ah, what could have been.  Oh well…

May we Meet Again


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Pop Culture, This Week on Facebook

What do you do with Dead Friends on Facebook?

I realize this is a somewhat macabre topic, but I’ve noticed that a few of my friends are in a different realm these days. I haven’t done an exhaustive search but I have at least 5 maybe 10 friends on Facebook that are now deceased. They range from people I was close with, partied with, or just somehow knew.

I’ve found that adding or subtracting just one person changes the FB algorithm and suddenly I’m seeing posts from someone whose posts I haven’t seen in a long time, even though a quick check of their profile shows they have been active on an almost daily basis.  Since I have pretty much met all the people I’m ever gonna met so the number of new friends is minimal. Hence removing deadweight is the only way to see friends I care about…or tweak my settings and hope Zuckerberg doesn’t screw with them.

This time of year, I tend to cull my friend list a little anyway. I keep a lot of people because of loyalty and whatever but fuck if we don’t interact anyway what is the point? And I know some of this is caused by the Book of Faces not showing you everyone’s status updates in your feed.  I really enjoyed it in the early days as a passive way to let my friends know what narcissistic me was up to, without carpet-bombing their inbox with my self serving emails. But now it has become more isolating.

So do I improve my feed by unfriending people who will never contribute to my feed again, or do I honor our friendship by keeping them in my friends list so that when alien anthropologists explore our post-apocalyptic planet they see that I was friends with some someone who would eventually know someone who was there when the revolution began?

One the one hand, it seems cold to unfriend them because when our AI Overlords take over, I want a message in a bottle that we were once friends or at least connected. On the other hand, the FB algorithms might not be showing me what my living friends are eating for dinner because Barbie has been dead for 6 years but none of her survivors have deactivated her page.

Stay tuned.


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aggregation aggregation aggregation, Becoming a Parent, Evergreen Content, Holidays, Parent of Twins, Pop Culture, Wacky World Wednesday

It’s time to separate Trick-O-Treat from Halloween

Two years ago,  I wrote about my well documented desire to move Halloween to a potentially better weather day in October.  I’ve argued that it is time to embrace the practicality of celebrating this holiday on a day other than the last day of October because it is almost always too cold in most parts of the country for an enjoyable celebration.  And any historical or religious associations with Halloween are vestigial at best, at least in this country.

When I was a kid, I recall the majority of Halloweens growing up as being cold, dark and rainy. Think how disappointing it is to a kid being told that you cannot go trick-or-treating because it’s freezing cold outside or raining cats and witches.  Fun fact: the advanced forecast for Halloween 2019 in Chicago is Snow!

And as Susan over at Looking for the Good pointed out that until recently, it was dark out every year because they did the time change before Halloween back then, which might be good for scares but not good for kids who are Trick-O-Treating.

Over the years, there have been petitions to move Halloween to the Last Saturday of the month.  So far none have gained the necessary traction.  People just don’t like extreme change.   So maybe the compromise is to decouple Trick-O-Treating from Halloween proper.


Recently, the Halloween & Costume Association, the group that petitioned to move Halloween to the last Saturday of Octoberproposed a new holiday: National Trick or Treat Day. It would fall on the last Saturday of October and thereby extend the official Halloween celebration, rather than moving it.

This takes the kid portion of Halloween and moves it to a more parent-friendly timeslot while letting Halloween purists still enjoy the true meaning of the holiday: hooking with people at costume parties!

It definitely will help alleviate some unintended consequences that parents of school-aged children face.  If Halloween falls outside of the weekend, parents still have to go to work the next day.  What if you have an important meeting the next day?  Do you really want to be out on the streets until 9 am begging for candy?   Or trying to get your kid out of bed for school the next day is even harder when they are sugar-drunk.  Teachers don’t appreciate having to deal with students who are recovering from a chocolate bar bender either.

If you think about it, many communities already do this unofficially.  They will have special Trunk-or-Treat events, Family-friendly parades or weekend block parties to substitute for going out on Halloween night.  Look, the traditions we associate with Halloween didn’t arrive all at once or from day one.  They evolved over time.  There is no reason we cannot continue to fine-tune Halloween and make it more modern while still honoring the traditional aspects.   


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Pop Culture, This Blogger Life, This Week on Facebook

Reflections on my 10 year Facebook Anniversary

polyannaFacebook told me that it is our 10th anniversary. Apparently I signed up in June of 2008. That sound about right. I had come back from a trip to Europe and sent around my Prague Marathon story. Back then I did my blog posts and status updates the old fashion way: annoying emails that most people deleted without reading.

A friend wrote back, asking if I was on Facebook. I said no but would sign up as soon as I figured out what Facebook was. I figured it was something like MySpace and Friendster and whatever Microsoft was trying at the moment. I created an account and saw that I already had two friends, others who had invited me to join FB. One has since deleted her account.

Like the current commercial, I came for the friends, and stayed for the connections.  I saw Facebook as a place where people post photos of their grandchildren or their pets. They can post any mundane, fabulous, irrelevant, snarky, pointless, heartbreaking or remarkable thing they want to. It is what it is. Don’t overthink Facebook.

These days I have a love/hate relationship with Facebook. I enjoy seeing updates from friends near and far as they unlock life achievements or simply share an interesting item or anecdote of their day. And of course it helps me as a writer share my stories.  On the other hand, it is annoying to see otherwise intelligent friends share MEMEs that inadequately sum up or oversimplify an issue.

The thing is, your “Friends” have always been this way, you just didn’t realize it. Facebook just shined a light on it. You are likely friends with someone because you shared some time and space together not because you shared the same view of Roe v Wade.

My biggest pet peeve about FB, as with any technology, is that people feel that the way they use it is not only the right way, but the only way to use it.

Whose move is it?

Whose move is it?

Take the picture above.  What they are talking about isn’t really important.  What is important is that theoretically they are on the same side and want the same thing.  But Person_Who_Posted set their security settings so no one could share it.  Person_Who_Commented probably knows they could cut and paste but that is annoying and cumbersome.  They are perhaps, backhandedly, asking Person_Who_Posted to change security settings because it is easier to hit a button.   Does Person_Who_Posted not know they can change the settings on just the one post or do they have a very good but not obvious reason for not changing the settings?  Who should bend?

One of the Facebook Frustrations is the little realized fact that not everyone in your friends list sees everything you post and vice versa. If all your friends posted at 5pm and you logged in, you’d only see a snapshot of the postings. Part of it is technical but most of it is those lovely Facebook algorithms. Not to mention that what you see varies from device to device and web.

Remember the friend I mentioned above who asked me if I was on Facebook?  She never comments on any of my statuses, rarely wishes me a happy birthday and only reaches out when she needs something.  Still I haven’t unfriended her because….at least she’s not like many of my racist friends who I keep sound because I am fond of the time we spent together in a sleepy little backwater college town

It’s hard to predict what the future holds in store for Facebook but I think it’s safe to say Facebook is here to stay in one form or another.  Uncle Google tells me that tin or aluminum is an appropriate 10th anniversary gift.  I’d settle for peace and civility.


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aggregation aggregation aggregation, Pop Culture, Sci Fi Fun

I binge watched Lost In Space so you didn’t have to

Before I begin my review of Netflix latest series Lost In Space, I want to set the table, so to speak. First, it’s not easy for me to watch anything these days. Movies involve a babysitter and a tight window of opportunity. Our TVs are usually streaming Octanauts or PJ Mask (and whatever the next cartoon my douche-nugget 3.5 year olds find appealing). The intersection of time that I’m in front of a TV and there isn’t a small child usurping it is extremely scant.

So when I say that binged watch anything these days, I really mean that I watched consecutive episodes in a finite amount of time spread over a couple of days versus the more conventional definition of completing a season in an afternoon or a series within a weekend.

Second, I wasn’t going to bring up the 1998 Lost In Space movie and instead pretend it never happened. However, it should be noted that in my research for this post, I learned that the movie was meant to come out in 1997, which is the year the original series was set in. It also had cameos from all the living members of the original cast. But more importantly, the changes in the movie from the series cannon created a starting point for Netflix Lost In Space (heretofore LIS) to look at. There were a few things in the movie that worked and many more things that didn’t.

Finally, because the series has been out almost a week, which is practically a lifetime in these TV watching times, WARNING WILL ROBINSON! SPOILER ALERTS WILL ROBINSON!

The to-do list for a reboot is not as difficult as creating a new series from scratch. Most people who would watch this show are already familiar enough with the Robinson family. Sure we still have to introduce Dr Smith, the Robot, and some plausible explanation for why the hell a family is being sent into outer space.

When pitching the idea of a LIS reboot, one must decide if it supposed to be a grown-up remake for a more sophisticated era or just the original campy series with a higher budget. I read that the original series went from serious sci-fi odyssey featuring the entire family to campy show about the antics of a wacky doctor, a chatty robot, and a brainy kid. This reboot tries to shed the campy and be more like ABC’s Lost set in space instead of an island.

I really wanted to like this series, I really did. One of my childhood staples was watching LIS reruns on TV. And I don’t hate this reboot. I enjoyed it for what it was and would look forward to a Season Two and beyond if that happens. But halfway through the 10 hour series I was still waiting for something meaningful enough to happen so that I would be cheering for the Robinsons to succeed.

What I liked

The gender switch of Dr Smith. Didn’t see that coming and thought it was very refreshing, just like when they made Starbuck a girl on BSG reboot. I just hope this doesn’t become a lazy goto thing with reboots. “Luke, I am your mother!”

The Robot.  As I said above you need to introduce the robot.  In previous iterations, the Robot was a standard issue piece of equipment on Jupiter ships.  In this reboot they made it an alien quasi-lifeform.

Judy and Don West.  In the 60s series, they were engaged but you wouldn’t know it.  In the 1998 movie, it’s a boring subplot that Don is trying to get into Judy’s pants win her affection.  In this one the sexual tension is subtle, real and organic.  They don’t even realize how attracted they are to one another because — d’uh — they are too busy trying to survive on a hostile planet.

What I didn’t

The pace of each episode moved very slowly. Each episode feels 20 minutes too long.  In the original series there was the predicament de jour.  In this series if feels like a never ending series of predicament, solution which leads to new predicament.  It’s exhausting.

There’s a difference between not being scientifically accurate and being lazy. In most sci-fi sagas, technology only works as much as the plot needs it to work, usually just enough to get someone into or out of a bind.

I can accept that on some planet, water freezes rapidly enough to trap someone yet it is warm enough for a thin spacesuit to keep you alive above the ice.  But its a stretch to think that an alien engine can suddenly propel a ship that is out of fuel.

Here’s some more Lost In Space thinky-thoughts for your digestion:


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Curb Your Enthusiasm star Larry David sparked some controversy when he joked about trying to get a date at a concentration camp while hosting SNL last Saturday.  The joke starts about 5:40 into the video clip but there is a reference to the recent fusillade of sexual assault allegations in the new at 3:40.

Whenever  controversy du jour like this occurs, I tend to see what my favorite pundits have to say about it.  It seems there are two camps.  The “It’s always too soon” to joke about The Holocaust Camp and the Remember to Add ‘to you’ When you say Something is Offensive Camp.

The Always Too Soon Camp feels that  the victims and the goings on in the camps should be treated with reverence. Making them part of stand up routines is not treating them with dignity.



The Not Offended Camp think that finding humor is empowering and a way to take back power. That he wasn’t being disrespectful to the people who suffered in the Holocaust. He was finding humor in the situation, not in the suffering, the pain, or the trauma. If he was making fun of anyone, it was himself.





I don’t think his joke was funny, but I don’t share the outrage everyone else is feeling.  I’m not Jewish (as far as I know) but my grandparents did spend time in a work camp in Germany, long enough for my mother and an aunt to be born there.

Honestly, I don’t know enough on this and addressing this topic right now feels like it would be sticking my head into a hive of angry hornets and why would I want to do that? Instead, my only question is, can he walk this back?

Back in the day, when a comedian told an off-putting joke, people responded by not laughing and the joke was quickly and unceremoniously removed from the routine.  In the Social Media Era of the Internet Age, the offending joke gains a life of its own and goes viral.

Can Larry David walk this back? If so, what is the path to do so?

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It’s really cool listening to an old song and noticing something that you’ve never noticed before. Hat tip to Nina from You Know Neen for the headline idea.

Recently, I added 90s Techno Tunes to my Spotify Playlists and have been listening to some old school synthpop while running. I discovered a reference to Dark Shadows in a Book of Love song called Witchcraft.

In the second what do you call it, stanza? Refrain? I was not a music major. Anyway in the second set of repeating lyrics there’s a couple of lines:

Angelique takes Barnabas
From Josette

Before the Johnny Depp version, there was a soap opera called Dark Shadows in the 70s. As a kid, I just thought it was a pretty cool show about a vampire, but apparently there was a story arc too.

This is the part of the post where I put in a lot of transitional stuff that ties everything together nicely and earns me a Nobel Prize in Blogging.  Okay here goes nothing.

Listening to old songs from my early 20s brings back memories of a simpler time that didn’t seem so simple at the time.  We use to dance to Book of Love, Erasure, Yaz and other pop music alternative bands at places like The Octagon and Artful Dodger.  Usually I was the extra wheel since I was always Terminally Single and the bouncer nicknamed me Macaulay Culkin because I always went home alone. But this is Free Fun Friday so only light thoughts today.

Sometimes going down a rabbit hole is a good thing.

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Pop Culture, Practical Life Lessons, This Week on Facebook

You can show Empathy, Outrage and Restraint all at the same time

Hey, did you hear about that Thing That Happened just recently moments ago?  It’s all over the Twittersphere and my Facebook feed has gone nutzo with everyone posting the same headline that totally and accurately Sums Up Everything That Happened.

Now the story has just come out, but of course we know everything about it because we are experts.  On EVERYTHING.  Let’s all board the Outrage Train.  Wait a minute…this just in.  New Information that totally turns the story around on its head.  Quick cue the backlash.  Now the backlash against the backlash.

Oh and look, now come the Johnny Come Lately friends who are sharing older versions of the story versus the Johnny on the Spots who share every new tidbit of info even if it later turns out to be untrue.  And of course the Mimes sharing Memes.

Oh let’s not forget clueless bloggers trying to ride the waves for page views (looks in mirror.)

Finally it devolves into a My Belief System versus Your Belief System.  Because if two people have a difference of opinion, it has to because of influence from the right or left, not just thinking for oneself.

Here's a picture of some cute kids obviously up to no good.

Here’s a picture of some cute kids obviously up to no good.

If you are reading this on the date this post was published, I’m likely talking about the incident on United flight 3411 where an Asian doctor was forcefully removed from his seat.  But I could be talking about the Pepsi Commercial fiasco or anything that happens day and day, week after week in our Immediate News Cycle and Instant Gratification Society.

This is a paraphrase of I wrote in a private FB group when the story first came to my attention:

This is one of those Viral Outrage stories that always seem to follow a pattern. Look for some “additional” info that might justify the actions. then the back lash against the back lash. wash. rinse repeat.  I was speaking generically about the pattern of event like this: something happens, it looks like X, then more info is revealed, suddenly it’s less clear cut. In this particular instance agreed it would be hard pressed to justify dragging and injuring a passenger.

I wrote it too quickly and should have added that there is nothing I can think that would justify how this guy was treated. However, the pattern still remains: event | outrage | new info | back lash | backlash against backlash.

I got a little pushback from another CN blogger who implied I was Tone Policing:  “when someone has been victimized in any context, the demand to hear the other side because there must be more to the story is VERY hurtful to people who have already suffered very publicly.”

 I think her assessment was a bit strong but I apologize I came off that way.  I’m not saying the outrage is never justified. I’m just saying it’s okay to wait 5, 10, minutes or so to gather all the facts.  And sometimes I think the knee-jerk response seems to be more outrage than sincere empathy.

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aggregation aggregation aggregation, Pop Culture

Does Tomi Lahren deserve any empathy?

Tomi Lahren, the 24-year-old firebrand angered many of her followers when she said during an interview on ABC‘s “The View”:

“I’m pro-choice and here’s why. I’m a constitutional — you know, someone that loves the Constitution. I am someone that’s for limited government. And so I can’t sit here and be a hypocrite and say I’m for limited government but I think that the government should decide what women do with their bodies. I can sit here and say that, as a Republican, and I can say, you know what, I’m for limited government, so stay out of my guns, and you can stay out of my body as well.”

This did not go over well with her bosses at The Blaze, a conservative media site founded by Glenn Beck.  She was initially suspended for a week. Then the suspension became permanent.  Beck said that it if you are pro-choice you could still work for the Blaze as he employee people with differing viewpoints.  So then why the suspension?

I’m a little torn on this one.  People say she would not have had the successful rise she had if she wasn’t pretty and I think people are hating on her for the same thing instead of taking this opportunity to show that some conservative outlets are hypocritical by eating their young.

On the other hand, she did rise to fame by saying such toxic and outlandish things.  I do not follow her or troll her like I do Matt Walsh but I have watched a couple of video clips of her and she definitely spews hate and disdain.

A good friend said “Good for her for standing up for one thing she believes in despite blowback from her tribe, but I can’t feel any sympathy for her despite this single good thing she’s done. If this situation causes any of her current or former fans to pause a moment and reconsider their stances on things, then maybe some good will come of it.”

I’m sure Tomi will end up all right.  Whether it’s in her rightful spot somewhere on Fox or somewhere a little more to the left, I’m certain we have not heard the last of Conservative Barbie.*

*hat tip to Nancy Nall


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A friend posted a link to a Sugar Detox  a couple weeks ago, just in time for the New Year.   I’m wary of New Year’s resolutions and goals that set one up to fail but I figure even I can pull off something like this  since it is only 3 days.   I decided to start last Tuesday (January 3rd) because it would be over before the weekend.

A couple of things here.  Detox isn’t really the right word according to the medical community.   Detoxification is a normal function of our bodies to get rid of unwanted substances, i.e. toxins.   Cleanse would be a better word choice.  Also, your body doesn’t know the difference between 71 and 72 hours, and the three days is because humans need some sort of measurable to know exactly when they can go back to eating donuts again.  [If there’s any science behind it, I suspect 3 days is the minimum amount of time it takes the average person to rid themselves of the majority of the toxic element they are attempting to eject.]

Here is a list of what I can’t have: carbs, most fruit, sugar, baked goods, wheat bread  or alcohol.

Here is a list of what I can have: Mostly sawdust and the tears of vegans.

Kidding, there are lots of things that I can eat that don’t contain sugar and don’t forget we also get a 15 g “sugar allowance” per day.    The hardest part was not having an alcoholic beverage before bedtime.

Day One wasn’t hard at all.  I didn’t do any type of exercise to go along with it because I had just gone back to work from the holiday break and had some catching up to do.

Day Two  I was a little hungry in the afternoon and had to resist the urge to get an unauthorized snack. I did swim a few laps at the gym during lunch.

In the evening I really wanted a treat or a drink (though that could have been because of the current Stressors going on in our lives).  I noticed that I was at about the half way point so I told myself that I just need to get through the next 32-36 hours and its over. My wife Nightingale, who also unofficially participated, noticed she was more drained and we realized that we were running out of the energy that sugar normally provided us.

Day Three was essentially a cake walk because I was so close to the finish line, that it didn’t make any sense to cheat.  I ran a few miles on the treadmill at lunch time.

So cutting out sugar for three days with a small amount of exercise may have helped me lose a pound or two but other than a little tired, I didn’t feel any different than usual.  That’s probably because sugar isn’t a big part of my life as it is for some people.  I definitely consume more than 15 grams a day, but not significantly more and I avoid sugar and substitutes whenever I can substitute a healthier choice and the few miles I do run a week help burn some of it off.

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Pop Culture, This Week on Facebook, Uncategorized, Wacky World Wednesday

What happens when you go on a Sugar Detox