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Wednesday Open Thread


Alfred Hitchcock by John Rawlings (1956)

From the Trailer Park: Jurassic World

Chris Pratt, welcome to what looks to be back-to-back blockbuster summers.

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The Crue. Skydive naked from an aeroplane…

Tuesday Open Thread

South Carolina Trooper Cpl. Mark Coates

South Carolina Trooper Cpl. Mark Coates

Today’s Thanksgiving-themed Open Thread is dedicated to law enforcement. I rest in the judgment of the grand jury of Ferguson, MO. One fact that will generate a lot of heat (not much light) is the fact that Officer Wilson shot Michael Brown 6 times… “absurd” and “impossible” you will hear that a man would keep charging. Trooper Coates is Exhibit A that gives the lie to that. During my training at the Texas Department of Public Safety I watched the dashboard camera footage of Trooper Coates murder. It has stuck with me ever since. From the Officer Down Memorial Page (emphasis added by me):

Corporal Mark Coates was shot and killed after stopping a car for weaving in traffic on I-95 near the Georgia border. During the traffic stop the suspect began to struggle with Corporal Coates and they both fell to the ground. The suspect fired a .22 caliber handgun into Corporal Coates’ chest, but the round was stopped by his vest.

Corporal Coates was able to force the man off of him and return fire, striking the suspect five times in the chest with his .357 caliber revolver. As he retreated for cover and to radio for backup, the suspect fired another shot. The round struck Trooper Coates in the left armpit and traveled into his heart. The suspect survived the incident and was sentenced to life in prison.

Corporal Coates had been with the South Carolina Highway patrol for 5 years, and had previously served with the United States Marine Corps. He was survived by his wife, two sons, parents, sister and brother.

Cpl. Coates was a 6’4″ former Marine. The killer was a short fat piece of shit. RIP Mark Coates. I know 23 years on your friends and family still miss you.

The Walking Thread: Crossed (S5, E7)

While “Crossed” had more than its share of action and tension, it might as well have been titled “The Calm Before the Storm”. Very little happens plot-wise, and what transpires is clearly meant to set up next week’s midseason finale. That said, there were plenty of entertaining and touching moments sprinkled throughout, making it well worth watching.

As the episode opens, Daryl has returned to the church and informed the group that Beth is imprisoned at the hospital (where she is now joined by the critically-injured Carol). Rick leads a rescue mission into Atlanta, joined by Daryl, Noah (the newcomer that escaped the hospital), gentle giant Tyreese, and his sister Sasha (who is still coming to terms with her grief over Bob’s death at the hands of the Terminus cannibals). He comes up with a plan to sneak in and stealth-kill everyone inside, but the others convince him that it’s too risky and bloody, and suggest kidnapping some of the cops and doing a hostage trade instead. It’s almost startling how willing Rick is to let his mind be changed here; he’s still a leader, but he seems to be evolving into a better one. He knows and trusts these people, and is willing to take their ideas seriously, rather than browbeating them.

He agrees with their plan and they set out to catch themselves some hostages. But catching cops will be tricky, especially when they come across a road carpeted with half-melted Walkers, apparently due to napalm bombing by the military. This adds an extra element of unpredictability into their confrontation with the cops, leading to one of the best fight scenes in the show’s history, with Daryl engaging in a fistfight with one of the cops while Walkers snap at them all around them. Daryl wins the fight in a delightfully, gruesomely inventive way that I wouldn’t dare spoil, but it had me laughing out loud. Kudos to the show’s writers for even coming up with something like that. The cops are taken hostage, and are surprisingly portrayed as better people than we expect (one of them guesses that Rick used to be a policeman himself, and some measure of mutual respect develops between them). However, just because they aren’t bad guys doesn’t mean Rick’s people should let their guard down around them.

While the hostage-taking mission in Atlanta serves as the main plot thrust of the episode, there are small detours into the other characters’ stories as well. Back at the church, the remaining group members have begun boarding up doors and windows in case of trouble, and have encouraged Father Gabriel to pick up a weapon and make ready to defend himself. He takes a machete, but uses it to cut a hole in the floor and escape. He gets away, but in short order manages to get stabbed in the foot with a nail and attacked by a Walker wearing a crucifix. The overt Christian symbolism in these scenes makes the message clear: God isn’t going to let Father Gabriel run away. He has sins to atone for, and there is no escaping them.

Meanwhile, out on the road, Abraham is near-catatonic and Eugene is still unconscious after their confrontation. Glenn leaves Maggie to tend them both and takes the rest of the group on a walk to a nearby river for food and water. These scenes are mostly dialogue-heavy, but the banter is entertaining enough, and I love how the show is giving us little details that explain how these people survive in this postapocalyptic world. We see that they have jury-rigged ways to catch fish, filter water, give first aid and so on. With all the blood and guts and philosophical dialogue on this show, a little good old-fashioned human ingenuity is a refreshing change.

Finally, we see a little more of Beth trapped in the hospital, trying to keep Carol alive after her near-fatal car collision. The cops that run the place decide that it’s not worth using the resources to keep Carol alive and decide to pull the plug (thanks, government-run healthcare!), while Beth races to find a way to save her before they can.

All of these plotlines end in success for the characters involved (although it ends in a cliffhanger suggesting that things are going to be harder for Rick’s group than they thought), but the big struggles are still to come. Rick’s attempt to rescue Beth and Carol, what Abraham will do now that he knows the truth, Father Gabriel’s redemption – “Crossed” does an excellent job of setting the stage for all of these threads to be resolved, in what is likely to be one heckuva midseason finale next week. However things shake out, it’s safe to say that Beth’s abductors are going to wish they’d never touched a hair on her head.

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Monday Open Thread


Judy Garland and Mickey Rooney make a wish.

Why Not?

This is the coolest thing in the last 15 hours or so.

Sunday Open Thread

MST3K Turkey Day!  Joel, Tom Servo, Gypsy, and Crow T. Robot

MST3K Turkey Day! Joel, Tom Servo, Gypsy, and Crow T. Robot

Sunday Gospel

One of the most beautiful pieces of music in the history of music… Ralph Vaughan Williams’ Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis by the NY Philharmonic conducted by Leonard Bernstein.