In the order of things no one cares about, but that I'm going to waste time typing into this thing anyway, this blog post should be at the top.

Here's a gratuitous graphic to draw your eye. (It's actually a lovely piece of fine art by someone named Allison Gregory. I found it here. All the other stuff that came up when I Googled for 'eye candy' was the sort of thing my wife would give me a hard time for, if I put it up here. And well she should; I am, after all, a married man.)

* If you want to see a stunningly comprehensive distillation of every hackneyed, banal, stereotypical, empty, and pretentious platitude, cliche, vapidity and/or bromide ever made manifest or in any way rendered at any point in the existence of the entire melodramatic sub-genre of cop and lawyer TV shows, by all means, tune in to the new Steven Bochco lawyer show on TNT, RAISING THE BAR.

I swear to Allah, Bubastis, and mighty Adonai Himself, if you cannot chant every piece of hoary, moss-encrusted dialogue in unison with every one dimensional archetypical cardboard cutout character as they open their lips to utter it, if you are not able to peg exactly where each and every plot, subplot, and piece of characterization is going over the next twenty minutes the instant said bits of business are initiated, if you do not immediately discern which characters are going to be linked sexually or romantically in forbidden, unethical relationships with what particular other characters, which character is gay and hiding it from his or her friends, boss, and lover, which character acts tough but actually has a heart of gold, which character is the slick, cynical, manipulative, oversexed creep, which characters are fighting their deep, hidden passions for each other (a Battle They Will Inevitably Lose)... in short, if you can't figure out absolutely every single facet of this fucking show by the time the opening credits roll... well... you probably haven't watched as many cop and lawyer shows as I have, or, at least, you haven't watched them as obsessively and analytically as I have, for the last twenty years.

Which, come to think of it, is probably not a bad thing.

Although RAISING THE BAR definitely is.

As with any Bochco show, though, every female character is at least doable, while many are spectacularly fuckworthy. This is surpassingly unrealistic, but I much prefer it to David Kelly's dissimilar casting style.

And, as with any Bochco show, there is lots and lots and lots of sexual innuendo. Which might be cool, if I gave the remotest shit about any of the characters, but as it is, well, I don't, so, never mind.

It's sad to me to see actors I've enjoyed elsewhere, mostly in NYPD BLUE, like Currie Graham and Mark-Paul Gosselaar, as well as Jane Kaczmarek and Gloria Reuben, wasting their finite life energies on horseshit like this.

After being the second worst thing to happen to ANGEL, though, J. August Richards should be trapped in noxious crap like this forever.

Congratulate Bochco on casting Katherine Heigl-lookalike Melissa Sagemiller, though. She should be worth 60 or 70,000 more male viewers than the show would otherwise have gotten based on its otherwise nonexistent merits.

* The seventh and supposedly final season of THE SHIELD debuted, after excruciating and seemingly interminable Writer Strike related delay, last night. I'd have to say it was worth the wait. SuperWife and I have been watching our SHIELD DVDs in preparation, but we'd only managed to get 2/3s of the way through SEASON 4 before last night, so we'd forgotten most of the more recent plot developments.

I will repeat what I have said reasonably often before... the most fitting way for this show to end is with a cell door closing on Vic Mackey. Either that, or he has to die. Regardless of how likable or charismatic Mackey undeniably is, he's an irredeemably evil man, and has been since the final moments of the first episode of this show. That element of utter, complete damnation for the central character is what has essentially fueled this show from that one premeditated moment of absolute, utter evil -- having committed cold blooded murder, there's just no way for Vic to ever find any kind of meaningful redemption. If he doesn't end up with a fitting punishment in the end, this whole series will be essentially meaningless.

* My SF zombie novel FEAR MASTERS is lurching along, rather like one of the living dead that inhabit its plot in droves and hordes. I've just finished Chapter XIV, which concerns itself with Our Heroes' confrontation with the mad scientist apparently behind the zombie apocalypse, and which ends with them about to be inundated by yet another zombie horde... but this time, they're unarmed. Bummer.

I'm having fun writing it, but I have no illusions. In fact, I should probably apologize to all of you. I go out on the internet and I come across these blogs and sites where idiots like me are posting their own lame ass attempts at fiction and begging for people to read the shit, and I almost never bother. And I almost never bother because, on the rare occasion that I do, the work is always wretched drivel and I just can't stand it. There are unpublished writers out there who have some talent and skill, but most of them... well, us... are just churning out swill. And using said swill to implore other people to pay attention to us. It's very common behavior -- the need for attention is one of humanity's most basic, coming in on the hierarchy of needs right after food, shelter, and sex -- but that doesn't excuse me.

I know exactly how I feel when I come across one of these 'please read my unpublished story/novel/whatever' sites, and I'm sure all of you feel the same way, too (except for Mr. X, of course, of course) and just find it vaguely embarrassing when I try to guilt trip you into wading through some stupid mess I'm in the middle of typing.

And even Mr. X isn't genuinely interested in my writing. He's just this... okay, well, never mind all that, there's no need to be insulting. Mr. X craves my attention, is all. Now that I know who he is, I am disinclined to expend any on him, and in fact, wish he would, as I have said to him many times in the past, just go away and leave me alone. And as he's apparently the only one with any interest whatsoever in FEAR MASTERS, well, there's not much point in me continuing to publish it piecemeal on this blog. So I won't. But if I ever finish it, I'll put it up... somewhere.

Anyway, sorry to be so pathetic. Although, come to think of it, blogging itself is as blatant a primal scream of 'pay attention to me, pay attention to me, PAY ATTENTION TO ME' as any ever uttered, anyway.

And, as a final note, I'm sure other authors out there who offer up their work on the Internet in hopes someone will read it and provide them with some kind of feedback, do so feeling the same way about their output as I feel about mine. Which is to say, however bored I may be by other people's unpublished (perhaps unpublishable) nonsense, I still love FEAR MASTERS... it's exactly the sort of novel I would happily buy and eagerly read, if I found it at a bookstore. And I'm sure everyone else feels the same way about their writing. And given how crappy everyone else's writing is, I can only assume mine is pretty lousy, too.

* Speaking of zombies, all three of the SuperKids attended River City's own Zombie Walk last weekend, two of them in full living dead regalia. I think you'll be able to tell which one is Super Drama Zombie, and which is Super Adorable Zombie...

The kids' Bio Dad also dressed up as a zombie, and looked pretty good, but to preserve his privacy, I'm not posting his pic here.

Despite my love of Romero zombie flicks, I did not participate in the zombie walk... or, rather, I did, but only because right before it started, SuperWife and I had ordered a pizza from Impallizarri's, which, as it turns out, is smack in the middle of zombie walk territory... and they don't deliver. So she and I drove down Bardstown road to drop the kids off at the start of the zombie walk, then found a parking space off Bardstown Road and walked a block to pick up our pizza. The march was in full flood by the time we got back out of there, though, and as I walked back up the sidewalk, I was surrounded by zombies, many of whom (apparently independently of each other, as it happened for about a fifty yard distance as I was walking against the flow) thought it would be witty to lurch at me moaning "pizzaaaaaa... pizzaaaaaaaaa..."

The first couple I shooed away with a snorted "Bad zombie, no biscuit". But after the fourth or fifth repetition of the routine I just got tired of it. I realize the sixth through umpteenth 'zombie' who rolled the joke out had no idea it had gotten so old so quickly, which realization probably gave me the forbearance I needed not to start shooting walking dead in the head.

They were all over the sidewalk and road, though, which meant that traffic had slowed to a crawl. (Whoever had planned the zombie walk did not go so far as to request that a few blocks of Bardstown Road be closed off to traffic for the event, which was very sane of them, as anyone making such a request of our Metro Council for a weekend night would have drawn little more than a burst of hysterical laughter and a quick bum's rush to the nearest curb.) Which led to the hilarious visual of a city bus, moving at a snail's pace through the heavy foot traffic, surrounded by a legion of the living dead, pawing and slapping at the windows while moaning and groaning in the finest zombie fashion.

I hope everyone on the bus understood what was going on, or, at least, that none of the passengers had weak hearts.

Okay, that is all. For now.

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