LB Sees Episode 3 of PERCEPTION

by Larry Brody

Learned a hell of a lot about myself on this one.

And, no, not via the serial killer character. Someone much closer to home.

They don’t have Chicago right yet, and I got tired of all the fathers of women law enforcement officers owning bars years ago, but this bit of dialog, said by the assistant to Eric McCormick’s character, made me sit up and take notice:

One of my jobs is to find puzzles for him [McCormick] to solve to take him out of the life in his head…

Yeah, that was a bad paraphrase. The real line was much better. There also was this one, as our hero professor tells his college class:

The past and the future are just stories our brains make up. The only thing that’s real is the now.

(Also a bad paraphrase. My apologies to the credited writer, Stephen Tolkin, and everyone else who did writing work on this episode for mangling something I enjoyed so much.)

So far I’ve seen every episode, and I’m recommending this series even more highly now. Very perceptive writing. Not quite what I’d call “insightful” yet, but definitely heading there…

What’s Holding Back Your Career?

So far, everything TVWriter™ has posted about improving creativity/concentration and increasing chances for success (as a writer or just about anything else) has had all the impact the MPAA has stopping movie downloads, but we’re not giving up. (Because all the articles say not to, dammit.)

How to hack the beliefs that are holding you back
by Daniel Tenner

We all have beliefs that are holding us back. Sometimes we’re aware of them, sometimes not.

One entrepreneur I know…admitted (after quite a lot of wine) that he has a block around sending invoices. He was perhaps exaggerating when he said that before he could send an invoice he had to down a bottle of wine and get drunk so he could hit the send button, but even so, it was clear that he had a serious block around asking people to pay him.

As an entrepreneur, that’s obviously a deadly flaw. In terms of “holding you back”, struggling to ask people for money for work that you’ve done is like wearing blocks of cement as boots. It won’t just slow you down, it will probably stop you dead in your tracks.

Myself, I have – or used to have – similar blocks. Generally, many geeks early in their entrepreneurial career tend to have a general dislike of things like marketing and sales, that, in my opinion, often are rooted not only in fear of an unknown activity, but also in beliefs about money. For example, I used to believe (subconsciously) that money was bad. I would spend money as quickly as (or more quickly than) I earned it. If your first thought when you’re given £10,000 is how to spend it (rather than how it adds to your wealth), you probably have a similar belief that money is something to be gotten rid of, to push away – that’s not a belief that’s conducive to making money and becoming comfortably well off, because you have to have a saving, wealth-building mindset for that.

Another would-be entrepreneur I spoke to recently was afraid to quit his job. He hated the work passionately. His wife supported his decision to quit,…yet he couldn’t bring himself to actually quit, because he couldn’t quite make the leap to believe in himself, even though he knew he should…

Now, perhaps the beliefs holding you back are of a different nature, but…[c]hances are there are other beliefs rooted deep inside you that are holding you back…So, if you’re aware of such a belief and want to “fix” it, what can you do to hack your brain?

Having gone through the process, here are the handful of techniques I’ve found that…help in a tangible way.

Read it all


munchman and LB are phone conferencing:

So whatcha think, Boss? Anybody gonna read the article?

Read the article? You kidding? Dood, nobody’s even going to click on this post.


Please. Don’t let LB be right…again.


THE NEWSROOM is still Controversial

Five episodes in, THE NEWSROOM is still driving critics nuts. (Which is such a cool thing that maybe we should start loving on this show just for that.)

First the Good:

‘The Newsroom’ Halts Its Death Plunge With Its Least Terrible Episode Since The Pilot by Oliver Lyttelton

So far “The Newsroom” has had two major problems sitting on top of a whole bunch of minor ones. Firstly, Aaron Sorkin’s often-questionable approach to female characters has reached something of a zenith here. His shows have often featured strong powerful women undone by their love lives, but the leads of “The Newsroom” feel particularly and offensively bird-brained, and unlike CJ in “The West Wing,” Sorkin’s finest creation to date, haven’t been shown to be particularly competent at their jobs either, mainly out of Sorkin’s desire to show Will McAvoy to be right about everything. And some of them have been shown to be actively devilish, like Hope Davis’ gossip columnist last week.

The other issue so far, is that while “The West Wing” was an unashamedly and gloriously liberal fantasy, but one that was capable of presenting both sides of an argument, “The Newsroom” has pretensions of being centrist and even-handed but is principally a series of Sorkin rants on some of his favorite subjects, but written and delivered in an especially smug and condescending way (not helped in the least by Jeff Daniels failing to make his character particularly likable at any stage). And it’s made worse because, rather than using fictional events, the show’s set in the recent past, using big stories from the last couple of years, making some episodes feel like the world’s longest “told you so…”

And yet just as we were starting to switch off on the show, it came back with “Amen,” which while still problematic, is the best and most satisfying, episode of the show to date, the first time it’s really been firing on something close to all cylinders, and suggested that it’s not worth giving up on Sorkin and “The Newsroom” just yet.

Read it all

Now The Bad:

The Newsroom Recap: Rudy! Rudy! Rudy! by Chadwick Martin

In Rudy, each member of a football team offers to sit out so an unheralded benchwarmer can play in a game. In The Newsroom, each member of a news team offers to pay a little money so an overpaid millionaire can afford a $250,000 check.

Rudy is a metaphor that does not work in an episode that did not work on a show that does not work. But what a fascinating calamity The Newsroom is turning out to be! Did Aaron Sorkin warn HBO in advance that The Newsroom was going to be a show in which everyone eventually made the right professional decision without fail? This is television scripted with a 4-year-old’s understanding of justice. The good guys always win.

Read it all

Hmm, that’s odd. Both the good and bad reviews sound strangely the same. Maybe it would help if everyone who watched was in agreement about what “good” and “bad” are. But if people agreed on that there’d be no need for this series and its constant good versus evil bravado.

Or war. There’d be no need for war.

Waitaminnit, we’re getting an idea. We need a “Just and Right Definitions Project.” Something that positively (or negatively) identifies good and bad in a way the whole world can accept. And then we can accept our Nobel Prize. Wonder if Aaron Sorkin would like to whip up a Kickstarter proposal for this. Work closely with, oh, say Rush Limbaugh. We’d know they got it right if, when they were finished, they both emerged, alive and unscathed (and unstoned) from the room.

Well, maybe not unstoned.

Mayberry and the Decline of America – Or Not?

Once upon a time, Frank Rich was a brilliant TV critic. Now he’s a brilliant, full-fledged social/political observer and just about the smartest guy we know. (Except maybe for Stephen Colbert?) Here, he combines both his obsessions:

Mayberry R.I.P.
by Frank Rich

Andy Griffith was a genial and gifted character actor, but when he died on Independence Day eve, you’d have thought we’d lost a Founding Father, not a television star whose last long-running series, the vanilla legal drama Matlock, expired in 1995. The public tributes to Griffith were over-the-top in a way his acting never was, spreading treacle from the evening newscasts to the front page of the New York Times.

It was as if the nation were mourning its own demise. To commentators in the liberal media, Griffith’s signature television role, Sheriff Andy Taylor of Mayberry, North Carolina, was “one of the last links to another, simpler time” (the Washington Post). On the right, the sermonizers quickly moved past an inconvenient fact (Griffith made a spot endorsing Obamacare in 2010) to deify Sheriff Taylor for embodying “a time when television was cleaner and simpler” and for giving “millions of Americans the feeling the country stood for all the right things” (National Review). Among those “right” things was the fictional Mayberry’s form of governance, which, in the ideological take of the Daily Caller, demonstrated that “common sense and local control work better than bureaucracy or top-down management.”

In reality, The Andy Griffith Show didn’t transcend the deep divides of its time. It merely ignored them. “Local control” of Mayberry saw to it that this southern town would remain lily-white for all eight years of its fictive existence rather than submit to any civil-rights laws that would require the federal government’s “top-down management” to enforce. Nor was television always so simple back then. Just seven months before The Andy Griffith Show’s 1960 debut on CBS, the same network broadcast an episode of The Twilight Zone, “The Monsters Are Due on Maple Street,” in which the placid all-American denizens of an (all-white) suburban enclave turn into a bloodthirsty mob hunting down any aliens in human camouflage that might have infiltrated the neighborhood. As the show’s creator and narrator, Rod Serling, makes clear in his parable’s concluding homily (“Prejudices can kill …”), the hovering aliens who threatened to drive Americans to civil unrest and self-destruction at the dawn of the Kennedy era were not necessarily from outer space.

The wave of nostalgia for Andy Griffith’s Mayberry and for the vanished halcyon America it supposedly enshrined says more about the frazzled state of America in 2012 and our congenital historical amnesia than it does about the reality of America in 1960.

Read it all (and we mean all; this sucker is lo-ong)

Supernatural Season Two Episode One – Recap and Review


**This episode originally aired in September 2006. If you are unfamiliar with the series, be aware this review contains spoilers.**

“Oh, I don’t wanna trap you. I wanna make a deal.”  John Winchester

It might have been easy to simply coast on the momentum built from the season one finale, but “In my time of dying” raises the bar yet again for this increasingly strong CW show.

We open with our heroes unconscious on the side of the road as a demon approaches to finish the job. Sam (Jared Padalecki) regains consciousness just in time and uses the Colt to chase the demon away. They end up in the hospital where Dean (Jensen Ackles) remains unconscious and in critical condition. Sam and his father John (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) discuss their options and argue about whether or not to immediately go after the Yellow Eyed Demon.

Meanwhile, we discover that Dean has become separated from his body and wanders the halls as a ghost. And that’s when he runs into the Reaper who has come to help his spirit move on.

She gives him the choice of passing into the afterlife (whatever that may be) or remaining on Earth as a wandering spirit, exactly the type of supernatural creature he dedicated his life to fighting. This was one of the most powerful scenes in the episode and Jensen Ackles does a great job as he portrays Dean’s realization that every spirit he’s ever fought must have struggled with this same choice.

Yet, before Dean can make his decision, we cut to John who has decided to take matters into his own hands. He summons the Yellow Eyed Demon and proposes a trade for his son’s life. And after some negotiating, the Demon accepts.

Dean wakes up moments later with no recollection of what occurred. Sam and John have a suspiciously pleasant exchange before Sam is sent to get a coffee. John whispers a secret into Dean’s ear and leaves with a teary goodbye. Finally, we follow Sam returning the room only to find John collapsed on the floor, dead.

A father sacrificing himself for his children, I’d compare it to the first season of Game of Thrones, but comparing a CW show (no matter how much I like it) to the HBO mega series might make the universe implode. So I’ll just say that even though they handled his death well and sent him out like a hero. It’s going to be tough getting through the rest of the series without him. Jeffrey Dean Morgan did a great job with the character of John Winchester and he will be greatly missed. Although, if any show were to lend itself to the re-emergence of a dead character, it would be Supernatural.

Thinking Man Rating: 15 Thumbs Up

**Be aware the Thinking Man rating system is based on awesomeness and should be disregarded if you are not now, or have never been, awesome.**