Saturday, August 27, 2011

My Ever-Shifting Concepts of Proper Lindy Dance Form

So, you start taking swing dance lessons, and the teachers tell you to do things a certain way. Then you take more lessons, and a teacher tells you something that conflicts with what you thought you were supposed to do, and you realize you either misunderstood your first teacher or have encountered two teachers with different dance philosophies. You correct, change, reverse and revise, just trying to get it right. And while you can’t ever really get it right, because there is no right, you can, over the years, find what works best for you.

Until you learn something new that works better.

Over the years I have taken a great many dance classes. Most of these have been in Lindy Hop (a.k.a. swing, jitterbug, whatever.) I have spent a lot of time trying to understand and refine the basics, often misunderstanding what I was told at first, often being told different things by different teachers, and eventually coming to some sort of interim conclusion about what I should be doing. This conclusion is constantly revised; as I learn, I discover more misunderstandings, or learn new ways that, combined with old ways, make my dancing a little better.

I once asked a very good dancer, how does one resolve all this conflicting information, and she said you just find what works for you. That is hard to do, so I've decided to describe the history of the evolution of my basic Lindy stance and posture. The goal is not to tell anyone how to do anything (because what do I know?), but just to perhaps shed some light on the process of dealing with conflicting information, and to show how easily what one believes can get turned around, and that being open to the possibility that you have it wrong is essential to growth. A friend once told me that there is no truth, only the search for truth, and if someone says they've found the truth all they are saying is they've stopped the search. Some dancers think they've found the true way to dance, but the longer I've danced, the more I've understood how little I actually know, and how many ways there are to approach Lindy.

I'm going to mention specific teachers and what I understood of their lessons. I want to emphasize that this is my interpretation of what I think they told me. Nothing I say should be considered to be a completely accurate conveyance of any teacher's lessons. In some cases I may be completely misrepresenting them.

One of the first things I was told when I started taking lessons was that I should be on the balls of my feet. My interpretation of that was that my heels should be high in the air so all the weight was centered on my toes and the front of my foot. I found this very difficult. I used to try going up and down on my toes as an exercise, but when I danced I would still keep dropping onto my heels.

There were two teachers that made me re-examine the need to keep my heels up so high. One was a teacher named Yuval Hod, who yelled at his students to quit dancing on their toes. That was one of his pet peeves (he taught class in cowboy boots, and seemed to be able to dance just fine in them). The other was an Argentine Tango teacher who said weight should be on the balls of my feet, but heels should be on the ground. This is how I learned that this was more a matter of weight distribution than foot position. Having your weight forward does not mean you need to have your heels up. You may not even necessarily need all the weight off your heels; I've heard of one teacher who apparently likes the foot quite flat, but since this is second hand I can't explain exactly what he said he wanted.

Teachers seem to vary on how up on the balls of your feet they feel you should be. Currently I dance with my heels just off or lightly touching the ground with the weight on the balls of my feet. But I think less in terms of my feet now than in terms of where my weight is.

Posture and Stance
When I first took classes I wasn’t told much about how to stand. It wasn't until at least pre-intermediate that I was told I should stand as though I were playing tennis or basketball. Knees bent, waist bent, weight on the balls of my feet.

The problem with being told to stand like you're playing tennis is you'll only have good dance posture if you have good tennis posture, which I did not. It was like telling someone to jump like a rabbit when the only rabbit they'd ever seen was Bugs Bunny.

My early dance posture was terrible. I knew I was supposed to lean forward forward and keep my chest over my feet, but I did that by curving my spine. If a teacher told me to straighten my spine, I would be up too straight, even leaning back, because I didn't understand how I was supposed to be angled.

I was helped less by sports comparisons than by looking at the best dancers. Their backs were straight, their knees were bent, and their behinds jutted out. They looked as though they were lowering themselves onto a bar stool.

I think the best way to indicate the proper Lindy stance, and this is used by many teachers, is the jump method. You simply jump and land, knees bent, back straight. When you land, you will land on the balls of your feet and you will be bent forward (at the hips) because if you don’t bend forward you will fall down. So basically you bend at the hips, you bend at the knees, your ankles are bent enough to bring your knees over your toes (more-or-less) your back is straight and your arms are a bit out from your sides in a way that helps you keep your balance. It is a natural position, and natural is a good way to go when dancing.

A lot of teachers recommend a fairly low, athletic posture in which there is a lot of bend in the knees (although this belief is not universal). I aspire to keep my knees very bent and the rest of my body bent accordingly, but truthfully I'm pretty upright, simply because my knees are a little worse for wear. But I do find the lower I go the more I'm into the floor and the more control I feel over my movements.
Much in the way my knees are never as bent as I would like them to be, my back is never as straight as I would like. I've had bad posture all my life, so correcting it is a slow process. I've gotten a lot of advice on improving posture; the most useful was that I should straighten my back not by thrusting out my chest but rather by lifting my sternum. It is also useful to think of the crown of the head rising towards the sky. If I had the hundreds of dollars necessary to take private Alexander Technique lessons, which focus on improving posture, I would do that, but on my own I am improving, slowly. (One useful concept I read by an Alexander Technique teacher: “there is no waist.” What this means is that we do not have a bendable joint where our belt loops are, and if we try to bend there, we are just curving our spine. If we keep our spine straight, then to bend forward we bend at the hips.)

Update (8/14/2014): Recently I was helped in my posture by a teacher named Lainey Silver, who said I was much too straight, got me into the proper position and kept me there, bouncing from foot to foot, until I felt it. I worked with it for a while, at first trying to exaggerate the position (I used Michael Jagger as a template; at times his back is virtually horizontal). I realized that a lot of my problems with always reverting to a very upright position came from not pushing my ass back, I was simply bending at the waist. That didn't lock me in place; I was like a lawn chair with multiple back settings that was positioned in between two notches and would always slide back to the more upright notch.

When I pushed my ass back instead of just bending at the waist, I could feel my body lock into a new position, the weight shifting to the back below forcing me to lean forward to counterbalance with my chest.

Doing this made sense of something told me by Joe Palmer, that when you move back you lead with your ass and when you move forward you lead with your chest. I was so upright that I couldn't really feel what that meant, but with my ass really back and my chest really forward, I realized the chest and ass are like the bumpers of a car, which also leads with the front or the back bumper depending on direction.

Frame and Arms
Frame is a really tricky concept, and something that teachers approach in a variety of ways. Wikipedia describes it as the body shape maintained by dancers, particularly in the upper body, but what that means in practical terms can be elusive.

In writing this, I had to consider whether the arms should be discussed as part of frame or if frame and arms are actually separate concepts. When teacher Joe Palmer discussed frame, he said it exists in four places, the shoulders, the chest and the abdomen, and the relationship between these is frame. He didn't say anything about the arms when discussing frame. So perhaps frame is simply keeping your back straight and your shoulders in place. But rightly or wrongly I think of arms as part of the frame, so I'll discuss it that way.

The first bit of frame advice beginners are likely to hear is to keep their elbows always at least a little bent. Beginning swing dancers, holding hands as they travel away from one another, are likely to only stop traveling when both arms have been pulled straight and their shoulders have almost been pulled out of their sockets, which is a very bad thing. Keeping the arm bent prevents serious shoulder damage, because then you have a more controlled stop with the bent arm absorbing the shock.

The frame I learned at first can be created by imagining there is a table in front of you a bit below your belly button. Lay both hands flat on the table about shoulder width apart with your elbows by your sides and a little ahead of the front of your body. Now without moving the hands, raise the elbows. I've also heard this described as being like wrapping your arms around a tree trunk.

One of my early teachers, Laura Jeffers, had an exercise in which students would dance with their arms frozen in this position, like Barbie arms. In real dancing, you cannot keep your arms positioned like that, but it's helpful to understand how a lot of movement can be created by moving the body rather than the arms. Because that's a lot of what frame is about, leading through body movement with the arms simply used to convey what the body is doing.

Laura later pointed out to me that while I was keeping my elbows bent, I was letting my shoulders slide forward. Shoulders, I learned, needed to be kept in place. What makes this difficult is you also want your shoulders relaxed. I am still struggling with this. To feel where your shoulders should be, lift them up, roll them back then bring them down (the last stop sometimes colorfully described as putting your shoulder blades in your back pockets. I have been told that rather than tightening the shoulders, you should feel the connection through your lats (the muscles below/around the shoulder blades), although teacher Adam Lee said if you keep your chest up and out (what he described as a "proud chest") then that will keep your shoulders in place.

My concept of frame at this point was that it was very solid. My goal was to keep everything in place; if the follow moves away from me, I keep my arms taut, if she moves towards me, or if I'm doing a cross-handed Charleston, I do not let my elbows get pushed behind me. For me, this was frame, but I later found that there is more than one way of looking at the subject.

When I went to the school Hop, Swing and Jump the instructor, Yuval, had students keep their elbows virtually clamped to their sides. A friend describes it as a dinosaur style, because keeping them in that position makes them into little stubby Tyrannosaurus Rex arms. This really forces body leads; if you keep your elbows to your sides at all times, you have to lead by moving your entire body. (While Laura and her teaching partner Matt Bedel (the one dancing with Laura in my link to her above) were always telling me to keep my frame up - "engage your frame" - and Yuval was always telling me to keep my elbows in, when I watched Matt and Yuval dance socially they seemed to keep their arms in similar positions, neither against the body nor raised up much. So perhaps ultimately their differences were more in how they taught frame than in how they approached it.

Yuval had one exception to the elbows-at-your-side rule. When leading the follow in, Yuval told us to step back, leaving our hand in place, then pull ourselves forward, an action that would pull the girl forward (Yuval would not have used the word "pull," which is a word Lindy teachers disdain, but that was how I understood it conceptually). I tried to do this, but it was new and difficult to understand. I was told repeatedly my frame was too stiff, but I had trouble with concept of a more relaxed frame.

I didn't really understand what relaxing my frame meant until I took a workshop by Skye and Frida, who took relaxing frame to its extreme. After years of being told not to let my arm fully extend, S&F told us to do exactly that. They began by having us hold hands while standing near each other, our arms hanging loose. Then the leaders walked backwards, arms still long and loose, until there was enough tension to lead the follow to walk forward. Then we were supposed to dance this same way, letting our arms full extend when we were apart, letting them hang down when we were together. Everyone was having difficulty with this; the bent elbow was such an ingrained habit that almost no one in class was able to fully relax it.

It was perplexing to be told something different, but then, that's what happens when you start dealing with advanced concepts. It's best to tell beginners to keep their elbows bent so they don't hurt themselves and dance in a jerky way, but if you understand how resistance and tension should feel, then keeping your arm slack works just fine, and gives your dancing a more relaxed feel.

I began to think of frame not as a specific way of holding your arms and shoulders, but as a matter of control and consistency. It's not so much about having an exact position as it is about keeping the feel. I went from thinking of frame as very solid to rather fluid within certain parameters (i.e., your elbow can be fairly straight but it can't be hyper-extended, which is what beginners do, and you still shouldn't be letting your elbows go behind your back outside of a Texas Tommy).

As I worked on relaxing my frame, I found that some follows who I really liked dancing with began to feel too stiff, and some who had felt too loose were suddenly far more comfortable to dance with. Although dancers who strive to match what the lead gives them continued to feel good and simply mirrored my changes.

Right now my frame varies a bit. I strive for a relaxed Skye and Frida frame, which I got to after first revisiting Yuval's lead with S&F's concepts in mind (it is always good to find where different approaches meet). But often I dance in tight spaces where my main concern is making sure the girl doesn't crash into anyone, so often I keep my frame tight and in because there's not room for anything else (when I asked Skye about tight spaces, he says you can keep your elbow bent and still have a completely relaxed frame, but that it's much easier to teach a relaxed frame by letting the arm straighten. Adam Lee, who is also a strict no-bent-elbower, suggested having your body turned to the left a bit so even though your arm is fully extended, the follow is still pretty close to you).

And thus here I am, weight slightly shifted forward onto the balls of my feet, back straight, knees bent, arms sometimes relaxed, but totally ready to learn that all of this isn't quite right.

The process never ends.

(I'd like to explain how a lot of these concepts came together for me when I worked on my draw and rock step, but this is already way too long so I'll stop for now.)

Friday, July 08, 2011

Google+ = Facebook-

Everyone's beginning to join Google+ this week. Why? Well The brilliant xkcd summed it up well:

So I've been wandering over to G+ now and again to see who's showed up, and so far I am really, really underwhelmed.

The one notable thing about Google+ that I've seen is circles. Circles is a way of organizing your friends according to categories. You can categorize friends in FB, but it's a bit of a pain. G+ has a fairly simply system that seems to work well, at least when you've only got 10 friends. I have no idea how easy it is to manage once you have 100s.

Outside of circles, the main thing I've heard people like is chat. G+ really wants me to like chat too, as every time I went on the site it demanded that I click a button that said "enable chat." I clicked cancel each time, since I hate chat, but finally clicked enable without giving any circles chat permissions, in hopes that would stop the pop up. It didn't. I think I may have to create a circle with someone in it who would never chat with me, like Barack Obama, and try again.

People say G+ has a better chat than FB, that you can do audio chat and group chat and whatever, but I don't give a shit.

Outside of circles and chat, G+ is so far notable for how much less you can do on it than in FB. Take something simple like sending a message to a friend. In FB you go to a friend's profile page and click send a message and then you write your message and send it. But you can't do that in G+. You have to go to your homepage, write a message the way you write a status update in FB and then choose the person you want to send the message to.

Status updates are also a pain. You can't just click post. Instead you have to select what circles you want to share with. Every, single, time. You can't just create a default, you always have to choose. The first couple of times I couldn't even get my status update up because I didn't understand the three step process in which you write your message, choose your circles and then send. It's not difficult, really, it's just not intuitive.

Of course, it's nice to have a simple system in place that allows me to post specifically to certain circles. It's a good idea. It's just I generally don't post things to just certain groups, I just post things to everyone, and I'm content with that.

Photo sharing seems alright, if you don't mind the slideshow presentation people complained about when FB added it, but once again FB has a simpler way to do something; to make a photo your profile image in FB you can just select a photo, but in G+ you have to go to your profile, start editing it and then get the picture you want. Is this a choice, or just something they haven't fixed yet?

That last question is key, because I have no idea how much google is going to add to this. But right now you've got something far less useful, intuitive and user friendly than FB. Like most people, I would love to give FB the raspberry and move to something better, but at the moment, far from being better, G+ isn't even as good.

But then, to be fair, I didn't like FB when I came over from MySpace. Ultimately what's important is how people wind up using G+. I just don't see that there's anything you can do right now on G+ that you can't do on FB, making switching utterly pointless.

Wednesday, July 06, 2011

An Open Letter to a Number of Dancers I Know

Dear Dancer,

Something has been bothering me for a while, and I just feel I have to say something about it. I know this will be a tough thing to hear, but I feel that it's something that needs saying, and I hope you'll take it in the helpful spirit in which it is intended.

You are not as good a dancer as you think you are.

Look, I didn't want to say anything, but the way you keep criticizing other dancers is driving me nuts. You will complain, with deep, bitter vitriol, about how dancers who take classes above their level drag down a class, and yet, I have seen you in classes you clearly weren't ready for, being that person everyone is dreading in the rotation. I have heard you bitch about how snobby dancers are who won't dance with you because they don't think you're at their level, and I have seen you snootily turn down dancers who you thought weren't at your level, even though in some cases they were actually just as good as you. You complain constantly that dancers reject you because of your age or looks or ability to be part of a social scene and never consider the possibility that you're not as much fun to dance with as you think you are. You are like those people in Dear Abby who write "I'm attractive and have a terrific personality, but I can't get a date," without seeming to consider the possibility that they aren't the catch they think they are.

It is very difficult in dance to gauge one's level of dance competence. This is not chess, where you are unambiguously worse than the people who always beat you and unambiguously better than the people you always beat. Dance is a cooperative activity, so you cannot truly be ranked as an individual. Each dance is a little partnership, and when we dance with really good dancers it feels so good that we naturally take a certain amount of credit for the wonderfulness of that dance, even if in reality our partner is, in some cases, a brilliant dancer struggling mightily to get the best out of a bad situation.

So I completely understand why you would think you're a terrific dancer. And compared to some people, you are. You completely wow those who have just started dancing. They find it hard to imagine being able to do what you can do. So sure, be proud of your accomplishments. You've worked hard, and high self esteem is a terrific thing to have.

But don't be too proud, because you're not nearly as good as you think you are.

I know you would reply, "I don't claim I'm the best." That's true, you don't. But that just means you're not clinically delusional. You also don't claim you're Abraham Lincoln or Jesus. Not being completely crazy does not mean you aren't wildly unrealistic. You are less humble than some of the best dancers I know. Those dancers are always aware of how far they still have to go to be as good as you think you are right now.

I know as you read this you're thinking wow, I know people just like that. This open letter really describes that sort of person beautifully. So I just want to make it clear: I'm talking about you. Not other people, you. And I know now you're thinking, good, he's letting those other people in denial know that they're the problem. But no, I'm letting you know that you're the problem. You. I don't know how else to get this across. It's an open letter, so you might see one sentence that really doesn't apply to you, but over all, yes, this is about you. Seriously.

I'm not saying I'm a better dancer than you. I may believe I am, but I'm sure I'm not as good a dancer as I think I am either, so how can I judge? And I'm not saying you need to become a better dancer. Certainly improvement is always a good thing, and the better you dance, the more fun dancing becomes. But you don't fall down and you have the basic mechanics in place and really, that's enough to get by. We are all limited by our natural talents and the amount of money we have for lessons, and some of us reach a point at which we probably are about as good as we're going to get, and there is nothing wrong with being only the best you can be.

I'd just like you to drop some of the attitude. Quit whining so much, especially in areas where other people are whining about you. Please keep in mind that you don't know everything, and that "judge not lest ye be judged" is really good advice.

When you crash into someone on the dance floor, don't assume it's always their fault, or your partner's. When you don't pass an audition, don't assume it's because the judge has a grudge against you, or is jealous of you, or just gave all the spots to his or her friends. Don't tell your friends you would have got into that dance troop if you hadn't got a bad partner who made you look worse than you are. I'm not saying that's never the case, but it's certainly not always the case.

Like you, I have believed I knew more about dancing than I did. There is a point where we have climbed so far that we think we're near the top, failing to recognize that we're actually still really close to the bottom. Then we give bad advice to beginners and cling to bad habits with a certainty that we have reached a point where we know what we're doing. Once you reach this point, you need to get to that next place, where you understand how utterly clueless you still are.

So before you turn down that struggling beginner, or bitch about that professional dancer who didn't seem enthusiastic about dancing with you (is a chess master expected to enthusiastically play that bright 8 year old?), or act like the whole world just doesn't appreciate you the way they should, pause, take a breath, and say to yourself: "I am not as good a dancer as I think I am."

Friday, March 25, 2011

Midseason 2011 New TV Series Capsule Reviews

Once again, I am posting little reviews of TV shows, because why have opinions if you aren't going to blog them? I’ve seen all the new shows since January except Harry’s Law, which for some reason I have not seen but which my mom claims is pretty good, for whatever that’s worth. Here's what I think of the one's I have seen:

Fairly Legal

Premise: Cute legal negotiator negotiates cutely.

Review: Fairly Legal is a cute legal drama whose twist is that the lead is not a lawyer. Instead she’s a negotiator who tries to bring partners to an amicable settlement (a talent she also brings to virtually ever personal encounter). The show is very predictable, with a lead who works pretty much 24/7 to make every case turn out well and the sort of magic bullet wrap up of shows like The Good Wife in which the problem is solved because something is discovered or proven that makes it all black and white. This seems inappropriate for a show about negotiators, who by definition must have to come up regularly with rather messy solutions. But the lead is personable and attractive so what the hell.

Will I keep watching it? Yes, for now.

Mr. Sunshine

Premise: Curmudgeon manages arena.

Review: This is a formulaic but fairly amusing show staring Chandler from Friends as the manager of some sort of arena for sports and concerts and what not. It’s got a solid cast and is decently written, but probably would be a just-miss if not for Alison Janey’s very funny turn as the batshit crazy owner of the arena.

Will I keep watching it? Sure

Traffic Light

Premise: Friends chat on the phone while driving and lie to women.

Review: Traffic Light is a show I instantly disliked from the opening scene of some ex-hipster-looking asshole chatting on his car speaker phone with his buddies. There is something very distasteful about the show, which has this weird “battle of the sexes” vibe that feels like a throwback to comedies of the early 60s. It’s about three guy friends, one just moving in with his girlfriend, one who’s married, or in a long-term relationship or whatever, and one who goes from girl to girl. The first episode focuses on the married guy’s attempts to come up with a warning system for his car’s speaker phone for when his wife is in the car so he can keep his life secret from his wife, who is far smarter and nicer than any of the guys. That episode ended with this weird sappy speech at a funeral that came out of nowhere even though it gives the series it’s title.

The annoying thing is, it’s a pretty funny show, which has kept me watching it. Some of the battle of the sexes stuff is quite clever. The footloose fellow always cleans his apartment of all traces of women after they’ve stayed over out of fear they’ll move in lipstick by lipstick. When his current girl asks about the toothbrush she left that he threw out, he feigns ignorance. She keeps searching, and then suddenly says, “oh, here it is” and holds up a toothbrush, and of course he can’t say anything even though he knows she snuck it in. It’s really quite funny, even though the premise is unpalatable.

Will I keep watching it? Yes, until one episode isn’t funny and then forget it.

Perfect Couples

Premise: Three couples who are friends do couply and friendly stuff.

Review: Perfect Couples is Traffic Light’s opposite in terms of showing relationships. Here you have three couples, one tempestuous, one normal, middle-of-the-road type and one just odd couple in which the wife in one episode decides her husband needs a “man cave” where he can express his masculine side. This shows a more nuanced version of the battle-of-the-sexes concept, in which sometimes the guys might want to hide something, or get away with something, or in some way conspire with the other guys, but just as often work alongside their partners. It’s like real world politics in which alignments can shift depending on the objectives. Also, unlike Traffic Light, the characters are all very likeable and real. And it’s funnier than Traffic Light.

Will I keep watching it? Absolutely

Lights Out

Premise: Boxer loses career, joins a collection agency.

Review: It’s like most shows on the FX network, something that seems pretty intelligent and well done that I just can’t get into.

Will I keep watching it? No.

Mad Love

Premise: Couple falls in love at first sight and takes it from there.

Review: Mad Love is going to make me mention Traffic Light one more time, simply to say that it too is an opposite of that show, but in a different way. Because while Traffic Light is funny but unpleasant, Mad Love is likeable but not particularly funny. It follows a young couple falling in love assisted or opposed by their “wacky” friends. It is very formulaic, and kind of dull, but also kind of sweet. That makes me hope it succeeds even though I’ve stopped watching it.

Will I keep watching it? Naw.

Bob’s Burgers

Premise: Guy runs a burger place with his family.

Review: This show is somewhat reminiscent of Dr. Katz, with the same shaky animation and skewed, sardonic humor. It’s not as funny as Katz was, but it’s funnier the also-similar Home Movies.

Will I keep watching it? Sure, why not.


Premise: Brilliant British sitcom is remade Hollywood style.

Review: I enjoy series like The Larry Sanders Show that mock Hollywood, and Episodes does it very well. The series revolves around a couple who created a successful, admired British sitcom and is lured to Hollywood where their vision is compromised at every turn and their lives fall apart. Funny and clever, with a biting wit and a lot of hostility towards Hollywood phonies, which according to this show means pretty much everyone.

Will I keep watching it? Absolutely.

The Cape

Premise: Some sort of superhero crap.

Review: I watched a little of this. Some guy has a cape that makes him a superhero or something. Aims for a gritty, tough thing, just achieves being dark and lifeless. Didn’t make it through the pilot. I really like superhero stories, but Hollywood’s attempts to recreate the success of Heroes have foundered horribly.

Will I keep watching it? No. I don’t even know if it’s still running.


Premise: Drunk dad, precocious kids, something like that.

Review: Watched about half of the first episode. It seemed decent, but I just couldn’t get into it.

Will I keep watching it? Naw.

Off the Map

Premise: Gray’s Anatomy in the jungle.

Review: I didn’t see the premiere and only wound up watching this when I was looking for something to watch on my girlfriend’s free-tv-on-demand station. It’s something about doctor’s working in a little town in some foreign place. I’ve seen a couple of episodes, and you know, it’s kind of decent. Although since I haven’t watched the episodes sequentially, I’m not sure who anyone is or what’s going on.

Will I keep watching it? Maybe.

Being Human

Premise: Vampire, ghost and werewolf become roommates.

Review: I watched the first season of the British version of this series, which was quite good, even though I lost interesting in the second season. Much of what made the show good were the appealing leads, a conflicted vampire, nerdy, depressed werewolf and hot, charming ghost. Unfortunately, the cast in this one is markedly blander, with only the ghost offering any personality. I watched one episode and that was it.

Will I keep watching it? Nope.

The Chicago Code

Premise: Chief of police and friend cop battle corruption.

Review: This was decent, but after two episodes I felt like the show was already running out of steam. To be fair though, I don’t think I’ve stuck with a dramatic cop show for more than a few episodes for years.

Will I keep watching it? No.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

left or right, there's no need to be an asshole

Someone who was clearly batshit insane shot a bunch of people in Arizona at a political event. Not the first time, not the last time. Some on the left are trying to blame Sarah Palin graphics and partisan bickering, but as David Brooks points out in the Times, that's nonsense. As my girlfriend and Jon Stewart have both said, it's just like people who blamed heavy metal music for violence and suicides. Tragedy should not be thought of as an opportunity to try to score cheap political points. Alas, it always will be.