The basic story is this (and pardon me for giving the information away): Someone stabbed an elderly woman to death at Ron Ely’s home. The woman’s husband, who has a speech impediment due to a medical condition, nonetheless was able to indicate the killer was a family member. The indicated family member was subsequently found on the property, confronted, and posed enough of a threat to the police that they took him down.
Yes, the alleged killer him/herself was killed.
That’s the extent of the report to this point and anything else is speculation…
Having said that, I can’t help but wonder if the woman’s husband may well be Mr. Ely (who is, obviously by this point, elderly himself). The speech impediment due to a medical condition, sadly, makes me wonder if the person suffered a stroke.
Was the killer the son/daughter of the elderly woman?
Again, its all speculation at this point yet a very sad set of circumstances, regardless of whether they more directly involved Mr. Ely or not.
Well, it now seems that the situation was as I speculated above. Ron Ely’s wife Valerie was stabbed to death by the couple’s son Cameron Ely. The police arrived on the scene and killed Cameron Ely.
Obviously I have no knowledge of the Ely family situation and clearly things went way overboard here for the son to murder his mother.
The weird thing is that apparently Cameron was the one that originally called the police and, again according to the TMZ article above, said it was his father -Ron Ely- that tried to attack his mother. Was Cameron trying to pin the blame of his mother’s murder on Ron Ely?
Regardless, the police arrived and somehow figured out Cameron was the one that killed his mother and then they killed him.
Wow. And damn.
Some days you just can’t believe the news you read.
I’m a Doctor Who fan. Been one since the early 1980’s when I first saw the show. At that time, the show featured the delightful Tom Baker in the titular role and he was incredibly charismatic, goofy, weird, and exciting. Here are some of the comedic highlights of his run…
Tom Baker’s Doctor Who proved so popular they even got John Cleese into the act. This is his cameo from City of the Dead…
It is my belief that Tom Baker’s Doctor Who was so iconic it influenced many of the Doctors to come. Where before the Doctor was an older, usually more “serious” person, this lighthearted, youthful, and at times very odd personality would find its way into future Doctors. That series, which began all the way back in 1963, ended its run in 1989.
In 2005 a new version of Doctor Who began and, in my opinion, did quite well for itself through at least three Doctors, those played by (in order) Christopher Eccleston (a wonderful run yet sadly short lived as he played the Doctor only the first new season and apparently left the show because of friction between himself and the show’s runners), David Tennant (a great run and plenty of well written episodes plus the benefit, for much of the run, of having the delightful Billie Piper as his companion), and Matt Smith (who also had the benefit of acting opposite the equally delightful Karen Jillian as his companion for much of his run).
When Matt Smith departed the show, Peter Capaldi took over the role and his run, I hate to say it, wasn’t quite as good. Mr. Capaldi was fine in the role, I felt, though his Doctor seemed to draw more inspiration from the pre-Tom Baker Doctors (older and more stern) than those who came before him. Alas, the stories weren’t quite as memorable and, as has become clear, part of the magic of Doctor Who is the interaction the Doctor has with his companions. In the case of the Tom Baker years, he had wonderful companions he could “bounce off” of and, during the Eccleston/Tennant/Smith years we similarly had a string of strong, interesting companions, which I listed above.
The big news following the imminent departure of Mr. Capaldi was that Jodie Whittaker was taking on the role of the Doctor, making her the first female to take the lead role. Here is her first appearance as the Doctor, along with Peter Capaldi’s exit…
I was all for it!
I set the DVR and taped the entire 11th Season of the show plus the New Year’s Special and, over the summer and whenever I had a chance, watched all 11 episodes and…
To put it bluntly: As excited as I was with the prospect of a female Doctor, the 11th season of Doctor Who simply wasn’t that good.
As I mentioned above, having a strong actor play the lead role is important but so too are the Doctor’s companions. This time around, sadly, the three companions Ms. Whittaker’s Doctor flies around with are… well… they’re not terrible but they never really distinguish themselves all that much either.
For that matter, Ms. Whittaker’s Doctor, as written, is too much of a cypher, often daffy and never quite fearsome or as engaging as I hoped, often running around breathlessly and/or aimlessly.
Don’t get me wrong, the season wasn’t a complete disaster by any means. There were decent episodes and moments here and there but, overall, I’m not too surprised to see the ratings for this season hovering between the 5-6 stars out of 10 for viewers at IMdB with only two of the episodes rising to a little over 7 out of 10 (you can check the IMdB ratings for individual episodes here).
Though I just offered negative critiques of the actors, my feeling is they performed as well as they were asked. The show’s problems, as they often do, lie with the writers/scripts.
The episodes in Season 11 of Doctor Who, in my humble opinion, were mostly -beware, I’m about to use an incredibly complex literary critique here- blah.
The stories were never as exciting as one hoped they would be though some featured intriguing situations -the most intriguing of which was the Doctor meeting up with Rosa Parks in segregated America. Even sadder was the fact that this season featured some very established and relatively big name actors who were promptly wasted in mediocre episodes. I’m referring specifically to Chris Noth as a Trumpian fool in the mediocre Arachnids in the U.K. and Alan Cumming playing King James in the equally mediocre The Witchfinders.
Still and all, as I said the season wasn’t a total disaster. My hope is that the writers/producers/directors learn from their mistakes and give audiences better overall episodes.
I really like the idea of a female Doctor Who and feel Jodie Whittaker can do the role justice.
DISCLAIMER: I have yet to see a single full episode of the Game of Thrones TV series and I have not read any of the G. R. R. Martin books on which the series is based.
And yet… I’m fascinated by the HBO series. Have been almost from the beginning. As each episode has appeared, I’ve read the mostly positive reactions to the show and I know most of what’s gone on in it: The surprise/shock deaths and the evil machinations of the various characters.
I’m sure I’m missing quite a bit, having not seen show or read the novels, but I’m familiar enough with some of the main characters and know that many fans have found the final season and conclusion of the HBO show a bitter disappointment.
Going back in time, I recall people thinking/hoping the final two books in Mr. Martin’s series would be released just as the show reached its end. Soon these same fans realized it was very likely the second to the last novel might be released by the time the show ended, but it became increasingly doubtful the final novel would see the light of day before then. Then, more time passed and suddenly it was clear neither of the two last books would be released before the show ended.
And so it’s come to pass.
In fact, readers still don’t know when the last two books will be released, if ever, and they’re certain the decline in quality of the series and, especially what they witnessed in this last season, was due to the fact that the show’s runners no longer had Mr. Martin’s books to guide them.
In that, they’re likely quite right.
I’m sure you’ve been wondering: If I haven’t seen the damn series nor read any of the books, what in the world could I possibly add to the conversation regarding Game of Thrones and its TV end?
Welp, if you’ve been reading my posts, you know I have my own little series of novels which I’ve recently concluded. The series, titled Corrosive Knights, consisted of seven novels…
When I heard a few years back that it was likely Mr. Martin would have neither of the last two novels of the series done before the TV show finished, I knew the show might be in trouble and feared exactly what’s happened for many, that the show ended in disappointment.
Understand, I’m no psychic. I based this on the experiences I had writing my own novels.
You see, when I was knee deep in writing Ghost of the Argus, the fifth book in the Corrosive Knights series, I had absolutely no idea the series would go on for two more novels. At that point, believe it or not, I had absolutely no idea how the series would end, if ever. I was enjoying writing each novel and seeing where my imagination would take me.
Granted, I knew I had to eventually wrap the series up and create some kind of conclusion, but there was method to my madness. By focusing on each novel as I wrote it, I was determined to make each book stand out on its own and build upon what came before.
By the time I was on the last couple of drafts of Ghost of the Argus, I had this wild, sudden vision of where the next two books would go. Suddenly, I knew the next two books would offer a conclusion to the series and, just like that, I had a general framework for where I was going.
But it was only a framework.
What followed were four years of very hard work, of trial and error, of new/surprising directions. You see, while I had a general idea of where I was going, I still had to get there. I had to take this framework and build organs and musculature, flesh and blood, around it.
Had HBO been working on a Corrosive Knights TV adaptation of my works and were getting along on the series and wanted to know how I was going to end it, had they asked me before I had my vision I would have had no answer for them. After my vision, I could have provided them with the framework but that’s all they would have had. What I created in four years after was very much different from that initial set of ideas.
I can’t help but think that the Game of Throne showrunners were in a similar position, given general ideas from Mr. Martin. They were the ones who had to come up with all the organs, flesh, blood, and outer skin… and if we’re going by many of the negative reactions, they simply weren’t up to the task.
Frankly, I feel for them.
I’m certain they did the best they could but the fact is they aren’t Mr. Martin and they haven’t gone through the trial and error and actual writing that Mr. Martin has.
Maybe one day the books will finally appear and all those fans of the series will get their better ending.
He created many fascinating works, both as director and writer. Some of his bigger/most famous works include It’s Alive (1974)…
The movie proved popular enough to merit two sequels! He also directed Q: The Winged Serpent (1982)…
But Mr. Cohen wasn’t just a director, he also wrote plenty of material. He is listed as the creator of the paranoid alien invasion TV series The Invaders (1967-68)…
He was the screenwriter for the pretty bonkers Armand Assanti starring Mike Hammer film I, The Jury…
Mr. Cohen passes away at 82 late last month. Looking over his IMDB listings, I’m impressed with the amount of material he had his hands on/in. True, some of the works have lost the edge they once had, but still, what a fascinating career!
In what is sure to create further controversy, director Zack Snyder, when asked about the fact that he had Batman kill in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, made some rather strong statements concerning this topic.
As written by Charles Pullman-Moore and presented on i09.com, the article’s title will give you an idea of Mr. Snyder’s thoughts on that subject:
Part of what made BvS so controversial was its generally grim tone and, yes, the fact that Batman sure does seem to murder a bunch of bad guys in the film.
To be fair, he does so because they are very actively trying to murder him, so its not like he’s simply shooting them in the back when they’re, say, loading up some questionable merchandise inside a van or something.
But it does bring up an issue I personally have wrestled with concerning heroes: Should they kill?
James Bond, famously, had a “license to kill”. As presented, one would think that he would have no qualms doing what I proposed above, ie killing a badguy no matter what they were currently up to. If they’re loading a van or taking a walk on the beach, if British Intelligence views the person as a major danger to England/the World, and he has a “license to kill”, one could theoretically understand that if it is imperative to kill the badguy, you do so, no questions asked.
Clint Eastwood’s many “heroes” were often darker as well. Starting with the so-called “spaghetti” westerns of the 1960’s and going on to Dirty Harry in the 1970’s and 80’s, you had a darker variation of the “good guy” who might well shoot a badguy, whether while confronting said individual or offing them when they weren’t necessarily a threat to you at that moment.
But what about superheroes? What about heroes that aren’t supposed to be so damn dark, character-wise? Batman, while indeed a “dark” character, has been portrayed very often as not wanting to use a gun, though in his very earliest comic book appearances did indeed do so, and did indeed kill badguys…
The above opening page of a story shows Batman with a weapon. Here, he uses it… albeit to kill a vampire:
Here he uses not just a gun, but a machine gun, to off some badguys…
Note what Batman says in the above panel: “Much as I hate to take human life, I’m afraid this time its necessary!”
So, yeah, early, very early Batman could be as merciless in killing badguys just as his primary inspiration, the pulp hero The Shadow, did as well…
But very soon after Batman’s first appearance in Detective Comics #27 in 1939 and in issue #38 of Detective Comics, Batman was given a partner, the dashing Robin…
I think its arguable that the introduction of this character put Batman over the top and sealed his transition from a superhero version of The Shadow into something new and exciting to audiences. Suddenly readers had an avatar, a young daredevil they could grasp and, vicariously, have their adventures through.
The tone of the Batman stories from that point on grew lighter and lighter, and Batman no longer mercilessly killed the badguys (though there were some “accidental” deaths still to come) until, soon enough, it was established that Batman DID NOT KILL, period.
In the late 1960’s and into the 1970’s, darkness crept back into the Batman character. The fine work of writer Dennis O’Neil and artist Neal Adams redefined the Batman character and brought us a version closer to what came early on, though the character still did not use weapons and still did not murder the badguys…
And so it was, roughly, a short time time later I first became familiar with these various characters.
In my very young mind, I felt that superheroes did NOT kill. If anyone perished in the course of a story, the hero tried their best to not kill anyone, even if they were despicable in their actions and very much deserved that fate. Heroes were, IMHO, people who found ways around such actions.
Then came Population Zero, the first episode of The Six Million Dollar Man’s regular series, first aired on January 18, 1974, and this terrific, and confusing to my very young mind, ending…
The plot of the episode, to be frank, was something of a rip off of Michael Crichton’s The Andromeda Strain. In that novel (and subsequent film adaptation), an entire small town is suddenly found dead with two exceptions, and it turns out some intergalactic virus is to blame… and this bug needs to be neutralized or it might spell the doom of the human race.
In Population Zero, the villain uses a sound machine (as you can see from the video) and it turns out the scientist behind it lost funds for his project because of the Bionic Man project. He obviously harbors deep anger and is determined to show that his weapon should have been given the proper funds. In the meantime, he tries to kill off the Bionic Man and then Oscar Goldman and the entire army base outside the town he initially attacked.
Steve Austin, the Bionic Man, gets away from his deathtrap and runs to where you see him. He realizes the mad scientist will kill a lot of innocent people and pulls up the metal fence post and, using it as a javelin, spears their truck, killing the scientist and his henchmen.
This really messed with my mind back then.
For it seemed to me Steve Austin could have run over to the truck and, I dunno, turned it over or something. He could have thrown the javelin at the electrical cables the bad guy was using to charge up his weapon and therefore rendered the sonic weapon inoperative.
No, he deliberately targeted the truck and by spearing it caused it to explode and kill everyone.
I’ve defended Batman v Superman more times than I care to and still believe this film will experience a re-evaluation in time and come to be viewed as far better than the early critics and fans felt it was.
And I have little problem accepting that Batman kills the bad guys both when he chases them in his Batmobile and later on when he’s trying to save Martha Kent.
Because if you truly, truly think through both scenarios, he’s quite literally fighting for his life. In the first scenario he’s being shot at with heavy weaponry. A lucky shot and his vehicle -and himself- is toast. It’s a high speed chase and very dangerous to not only Batman, but to anyone else who might be around that dock area.
Should Batman aim for the tires? Sure, but realistically, that a damn hard shot to make.
In the warehouse fight, the same applies. It’s one guy against a large number. In “real life” you need to take these dudes out and quick because if you don’t, you may die. So Batman can’t play nice while the bad guys here are using guns, knives, and whatever else they have to take him out. He has to fight back.
Still, the little boy I was does feel a certain apprehension about the idea of a good guy, especially a superhero, resorting to killing and, at least in my stories, I’ve tried to show the consequences of killing (particularly in Mechanic) while also trying not to have my characters depicted as favoring killing first to deal with bad guys.
There truly is no answer, I suppose, and your opinions on this matter will certainly be guided by the literature/stories/TV shows/movies you’ve grown up with.
Yesterday it was reported that actor Jan-Michael Vincent had passed away on February 10th, almost a month ago, at the age of 73.
There are those who may know nothing about Jan-Michael Vincent. Here’s a trailer from The Mechanic, one of the movies he co-starred in with Charles Bronson back in 1972 and which I remember him best for…
The movie would be re-made later with Jason Statham in the Bronson role but , IMHO, it didn’t hold a candle to the original film and completely wiffed on what made the original so good: The ending.
Jan-Michael Vincent would appear in several movies, many of which may be classified as B films but were enjoyable nonetheless, throughout the 1970’s. He nonetheless established himself well enough that when he made the move to TV and the series Airwolf in 1984, he reportedly earned $200,000 per episode, an amount that made him one of the highest paid actors on TV at the time.
Alas, he was simultaneously spiraling out of control in a vicious cycle of drugs and alcohol which ultimately led to him becoming an undesirable in the field he worked in, as well as endangering his life.
Many of the details (and they are quite sad) can be read in this article about Mr. Vincent’s passing as written by David Moye and presented on Huffingtonpost.com:
At the risk of paraphrasing the article, Mr. Vincent was in a major car accident in 1996 which resulted in him breaking his neck and injuring his vocal cords. In 2000 he was ordered to pay over $350,000 to a girlfriend he assaulted and who subsequently miscarried. He also spent 60 days in jail at that time due to violating his probation regarding alcohol related convictions. In 2008 he had another car accident and developed a leg infection. The lower right leg had to be amputated.
Mr. Vincent, who once looked like this…
Was photographed later in life and after all that hard living looking like this…
I don’t mean to put these images there to shock you. Again, it saddens me tremendously to see Mr. Vincent in these later in life pictures.
While he may not have been one of the greatest actors out there, as a child of the 1970’s and 80’s, he was a near constant in theaters and on TV.
I lovedThe Mechanic. So much so that when I wrote this novel, which was released before the Jason Statham remake of the movie, I used that title. Yeah, I suppose I stole it, though to be fair the term “mechanic” was well known as slang for a hitman/mercenary. Still, when I used the title I didn’t think many would remember that old film…
I also loved Mr. Vincent in Damnation Alley, a post-apocalyptic thriller that also featured George Peppard…
And, yeah, I really enjoyed him on Airwolf…
Seeing him in that photo above, broken down, old, missing the lower half of his right leg, makes me incredibly sad.
I suppose in the end its one of those cautionary tales. You can have everything in life, success, money, looks… and yet still throw them away.
Rest in peace, Mr. Vincent. Despite it all, I’ll remember the joy you brought me in your roles.
Read about actor Jussie Smollett? He’s an openly gay actor known for being in the TV show Empire. Here he is:
On January 29th of this year, he reported to the police that two people attacked him while in Chicago. He alleged they hurled homophobic and racial slurs at him, put a rope around his neck, and poured a chemical substance on him.
Needless to say, the assault and details Mr. Smollett provided were harrowing. Only thing is… it now appears that Mr. Smollett may not have been telling the truth. It appears he may have staged the event himself, something I can’t even begin to understand why.
Ah, but you ask: What’s this whole “history repeats itself” thing you mention at the header?
See, when you get older and if you pay attention to the news and have a pesky habit of remembering things from years to years, you begin to realize that, indeed, history does have a weird habit of repeating itself.
Way back in the 1980’s and before the rise of the Rush Limbaughs, Ann Coulters, and other right wing fanatics, there was this TV personality, now deceased, named Morton Downey Jr. who had a very wild right wing TV show. Here’s Mr. Morton Downey Jr as he appeared on his show:
And here’s the very same Morton Downey Jr. photographed in 1989 after he was allegedly attacked -as he claimed- in a public bathroom by youthful hoods that, among other things, drew a swastika on his face:
You can read a little more about this alleged attack on this site:
As you can tell by the website’s name, this attack on Mr. Downey Jr. wound up being… well… bogus. There proved to be too many discrepancies in his story and, amusingly, the Swastika was drawn on his face backwards. You know, as if he was looking in the mirror and drew it that way.
As it turned out, Mr. Downey Jr.’s TV show was suffering and was looking like it might be cancelled. It was theorized he set up this bogus attack as a way of getting attention on himself in the hopes of bringing the ratings of his show up and, thus, save it.
Alas, the show was cancelled anyway and Mr. Downey Jr. declared bankruptcy and appeared in other markets before his eventual death in 2001. I distinctly recall watching one of his shows way back when, where he puffed maniacally on his cigarette and blew smoke right at the camera, his provocative way of telling those who would dare try to stop him from smoking to go fuck themselves.
The big irony is that in 1996 Mr. Downey Jr. developed lung cancer and had to have one of his lungs removed. He went from being that very pro-smoker to a staunch anti-smoker but, clearly, by that point the damage was done.
I know there are rumors Mr. Smollett’s actions, if indeed the attack on him does turn out to be bogus, were motivated by perhaps being in danger of being dropped from Empire, just as Mr. Downey Jr. allegedly did what he did for fear his show was on the rocks.
Either way, if indeed Mr. Smollett did stage this attack, it looks like its in the process of being found out.
The upshot of the article is that Netflix, who as I mentioned before are usually tight lipped about their watched programs, offered some information on their programs such as You, Sex Education, and Bird Box and… the numbers are eye opening, to say the least.
The author rightly questions whether the numbers are totally accurate. After all, what constitutes a “watch” of a series? Supposedly Netflix counts 70% of a watched show as valid, but while that may apply to stand alone movie such as Bird Box, one wonders if that also applies to a series of episodes.
Still, and again as the author notes, the numbers presented, even assuming they are likely inflated (and you can adjust them as you feel), are nonetheless staggering and the comparisons made to other successful feature films or TV shows hint at the very real possibility that there is a whole sub-culture out there that watches things which “regular” networks do not bother with.
One of the things I’ve noted with this new age of information is that sometimes unexpected things bubble to the surface and become popular. It’s almost impossible to predict what will “click” with the masses, but it does once again prove the late William Goldman was right when he said about making movies:
Nobody knows anything… Not one person in the entire motion picture field knows for a certainty what’s going to work. Every time out it’s a guess and, if you’re lucky, an educated one.
This happened a several days ago, but Bob Einstein, brother of Albert Brooks and one of the greatest deadpan comedians (IMHO!), passed away.
His most recent work was on Curb Your Enthusiasm but I’ll always remember and love his work as Super Dave Osborne, the most inept stuntman there ever was…
The Super Dave Osborne skits were always a variation of the same funny concept: A stunt was to be performed and the announcer presents Super Dave and, when he arrives, he explains the stunt and… it goes spectacularly wrong with the “true” Super Dave often letting loose…