Category Archives: Featured

I didn’t expect to see Peter Capaldi in this

We’ve been watching the original Prime Suspect, with Helen Mirren, which I have never seen and which Julie saw long enough ago that it’s new to her. We just wrapped up the third season, where DCI Tennison, played by Mirren, heads up a vice unit investigating the murder of a rent boy in the drag-queen, transsexual, and closeted gay demimonde of London.

At the beginning of episode one, I saw that Peter Capaldi is in this. Alrighty then, I say, and I start to watch for him.

He’d be in his early 30s, I think to myself. Based on his performance in Doctor Who, he’ll probably be one of the cops, I thought. Likely one of the cops in Tennison’s unit. He’ll be a hypermasculine, blustery, macho man who doesn’t believe a mere skag could ever be a decent copper, let alone a DCI, and who undermines her at every turn. He’ll be her designated male chauvinist nemesis.

OK, so I was wrong about that. Never been more wrong about anything in my life.

As for the story itself: I’d be curious whether any of my LGBTQ friends have seen it, and if so what they think of it? To me, it looked like the very picture of how trans people and gays were portrayed in police shows of the era: As pathetic victims or as predators. Nobody is ever shown as being just a person living out their lives. The men are ultra-effeminate.

At least that was true in the first part of the series. In the second, and final part, we see that one of the cops is himself gay. He’s neither a victim nor a predator, and he’s not a hero, either, really. He’s just a cop. He’s closeted at first, but comes out during the course of the episode.

Overall, I liked the series a lot, as I have the entire run of Prime Suspect, at least so far. Tennison is an interesting, complex character. There is one moving scene toward the end of the second episode where we see she is utterly alone in life. Police work is all she has. She is going through a personal emotional crisis, and she has no one to turn to for support, not friends, not family, not a lover or spouse. No one. Just Tennison, alone, in an austere office that she has never bothered to personalize.

Combining blogging and social media: It’s hard

One school of thought for blogging in the social media era says you should use your blog to create unique content, and publicize it on social media.

I don’t blog that way.

I blog like it’s 1999. I share a lot of links and images, often with comments but often without. Most people do that on Facebook, Twitter, Reddit and other platforms nowadays. I use those platforms too, but I also like to have a blog that I own and control.

For that kind of thing, it does not seem to make sense to blog and use social media for publicity. If I did that, I’d end up posting a link on my blog, then posting a link on Facebook to the link on my blog. That doesn’t make sense. It’s asking people to click twice. It’s hard enough to get people to click once. (Not that I haven’t thought about doing it.)

But I like to have a place that I own and control, that’s not owned and controlled by Facebook, Google, Twitter, etc. That means blogging on WordPress. And also on those other platforms. Cut-and-pasting cuts down on the amount of time that takes, but it still takes time. Automated tools can help, but they’re not really designed to do what I want them to do.

Another way my blogging is different than most people’s: I like to use a queue to space out posts over time. Maybe in the afternoon I’ll take a short break to scan Tumblr and Reddit for midcentury photos. I like to do that and like to share them. I can find and share a dozen photos in that time. Rather than share them all at once, I like to space them out at intervals. Tools like Buffer, Friends+Me, and (on WordPress) Auto Post Scheduler combined with Social Networks Auto Poster (SNAP) are great for that. They each have their advantages. But they also each have drawbacks that make them not quite right for me.

For years I’ve been hopping from one social media publishing tool to another — Buffer to Friends+Me, to Auto Post Scheduler/SNAP, and back again. I blog at WordPress for a while, stop, and then start again. I’d like to devote that energy more toward learning WordPress and making it do what I want. I’ll use Friends+Me for most of my queued sharing to social media, occasionally using SNAP when I want to publicize something here. As I am doing now.

I sort of know what I want – something like Buffer that works on the WordPress platform and synchronizes with WordPress. But that would take some mad programming skills. Even the simplest possible version of what I’m looking for will require a lot of programming to do. And I don’t know anything about programming. I can’t even write a simple AppleScript.

Stepin Fetchit was a pioneering African-American movie star

Lincoln Theodore Monroe Andrew Perry, aka “Stepin Fetchit,” aka “the Laziest Man in the World,” was the African-American star of many wildly successful comedy movies in the 1920s and 1930s.

He had a hell of a life. He was the first black actor to earn more than a million dollars, and first to get featured credit on a film.

He was born in Key West, Florida, to West Indian immigrants.


His mother wanted him to be a dentist, so Perry was adopted by a quack dentist, for whom he blacked boots before running away at age twelve to join a carnival. He earned his living for a few years as a singer and tap dancer.

He performed in vaudeville as a teen, and managed a traveling carnival show when he was 20.

His character in film was billed as the Laziest Man in the World. He appeared in 44 films between 1927 and 1939, sometimes alongside his good friend Will Rogers. Perry also maintained a writing career during that time.

Perry’s film career slowed after 1939, and after 1953, nearly stopped altogether. Around that time, the actor and the character began to be seen by [Americans] as an embarrassing and harmful anachronism, echoing and perpetuating negative stereotypes. The Stepin Fetchit character has undergone a re-evaluation by some scholars, who view him as an embodiment of the trickster archetype.

He went bankrupt, had a troubled family life, and spent the latter years of his life fighting the perception that his earlier movies were racist. He sued NBC over a documentary about black entertainers, written by Andy Rooney and narrated by Bill Cosby.

I think we saw that documentary in high school. It made the point that while Stepin Fetchit’s movies might be racist, the man himself had a reputation for showing up on time, sober, knowing his lines and ready to work. And the movies made tons of money. So Perry paved the way for other black performers to do more respectable roles.

I’m back

I’ve resumed blogging at You know that already because you’re reading this.

I like having an outpost on the public web, that I own and control, and where anybody can always find me.

And WordPress gives me something to swear at.

I’ll continue blogging at Facebook and Twitter. That’s where the people are. Tumblr and Google+ too, though those platforms are fading. Blogging on those platforms in addition to here doesn’t take much extra effort, at most a little cutting and pasting.

I take it back

I found many broflakes whose penises fell off and are blaming the BBC choosing a woman to play Doctor Who.

If you’re looking to find idiots, YouTube comments won’t disappoint.

iPad mini 2 + iOS 11: A bad idea

I downgraded my iPad mini 2 (2013/14) to iOS 10. iOS11 slows it down bad.

I’m sure you’ll run into the same problem on the original iPad Air.

I ran into the same problem on my first-generation iPad. You can update iOS devices one or two generations, but after that the performance gets pretty awful.

Doctor Who outrage

I’m seeing plenty of reports that fans are supposedly outraged by casting a woman as Doctor Who.

I went searching for outraged comments. I looked on Reddit, Twitter, the comments section on io9, and even the comments section on YouTube.

I found very few negative comments about the new Doctor. Almost none. Those that were negative argued on grounds of tradition and weren’t angry.

I see plenty of people thinking it’s swell that a woman was cast as Doctor.

I see a lot of jokes, some funny, ridiculing the (apparently nonexistent) troglodytes outraged at a woman being cast as Doctor.

Paraphrasing a friend: There’s plenty of satisfaction in arguing with an idealized version of your opponent. We certainly see this in national politics.

As for me: When the rumors went out that a woman might be cast as the Doctor, I was uncomfortable, on the grounds of tradition. But now that I’ve seen the trailer, I like this actress. I saw her on Broadchurch and liked her there. So I’ll give it a try.

Doctor Who is getting tired after 12 years on the air in this run, and 30-plus years before that. Let’s shake things up and see if we can make it fresh again.


We took a walk down the boulevard in La Mesa Village, which is going upscale, including this excellent shop: Re-Animated Records, Movies & More.