My books can be purchased as e-books for only $1.99. If interested, just click here: Books.
Match Play is a golf/suspense novel. Dust of Autumn is a bloody one set in upstate New York. Prairie View is set in South Dakota, with a final scene atop Rattlesnake Butte. Life in the Arbor is a children's book about Rollie Rabbit and his friends (on about a fourth grade level). The Black Widow involves an elaborate extortion scheme. Doggy-Dog World is my memoir. And ES3 is a description of my method for examining English sentence structure.
In case anyone is interested in any of my past posts, an archive list can be found at the bottom of this page.
My newest novel, Happy Valley, can be found here.

Friday, April 8

American Idol, The Voice, & Eye in the Sky

I never thought I’d use this word in referring to American Idol, “classy.” I’ve spent fifteen seasons lambasting Idol’s cheesiness, its lack of class—the waving arms, the raucous shouts from the audience, the abundant and ridiculous outfits of J-Lo and Nicki Minaj and Stephen Tyler. But I continued to tune in every week as a form of self-flagellation. Last night’s two-hour finale, however, was anything but cheesy. It was a classy collection of past contestants, lots of music and dance, lots of glitz and glitter and tearful recollections of past winners and judges. I was impressed. The winner of this final season was announced in the last five minutes, with Ryan Seacrest making the most of it, the long pause after “and the winner is . . .” with Trent Harmon winning over La’Porsha Renae, whom everyone, including La’Porsha, assumed would be the winner. It was a dramatic conclusion as the show that began the popular Fox reality series came to an end. I’m glad it’s now all over and I can give The Voice my total attention. The Voice showcases better singers than those on Idol. Any one of the final twenty on this season's Voice could have beaten most of Idol’s fifteen winners. Then there are the judges of each show. I enjoy The Voice’s banter between Blake Shelton and Adam Levine much more than what went on between Nicki Minaj and Mariah Carey. And what about the other judge mistakes Idol made with Ellen DeGeneres and Stephen Tyler? I like the insightful comments the judges on The Voice make of the performances. I hated the insipid comments most of the judges on Idol made. Only Simon Cowell and Harry Connick Jr. sounded like they knew what they were talking about whereas all the judges on Voice actually judge the vocals they just heard. We may never again see anything quite like America Idol. But maybe that’s not all bad. Goodbye, Idol; hello Voice.

Quick review of a movie we saw last week, Eye in the Sky, with Helen Mirren as a British Colonel in charge of a plan to find and capture several people radicalized by Islamic extremists in Kenya. The capture becomes a kill mission when she discovers that the group plans several suicide bombings. I took from it two impressions: that our technological advances in warfare and spy cams is unbelievable and that our moral dilemmas regarding whom we kill in war may be more important than how we win. I saw a tiny beetle drone fly from street level in through a window in the bad guys’ house in Nairobi, a tiny spy cam that flew in and settled on an overhead beam to show observers what was going on in that house. It was controlled by a native with a tiny thing that looked like a cell phone. It revealed two young men donning vests with explosives, suicide bombers to kill congregants at some unknown site, a bazaar or restaurant. Overhead, a U.S. drone was prepared to kill those in the residence. It was being flown by a young pilot in Las Vegas (Aaron Paul), thousands of miles from the kill zone. The drama was being viewed by British intelligence and those in the U. S. flying the drone. The moral dilemma involved a young girl selling bread on a table near the house. If they delivered the strike that would take out the two suiciders, would they also kill the girl? Save possibly a hundred bomb victims and sacrifice the young girl or call off the bomb strike? I was taken back to the time in 1945 when Harry Truman had to make the same decision, but on a far greater scale: end WWII by dropping nuclear bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, thus saving countless American lives but killing hundreds of thousands of Japanese civilians, or deciding not to drop those bombs. I can only imagine the moral dilemma Truman faced. He chose to end the war. The world apparently forgave him. Would the world forgive the Brits for going ahead with the drone strike even though the girl died? Scary the kinds of moral issues we face now, scary how fast technology has taken us in terms of drone warfare and drone surveillance. Scary how little regard ISIS has for human lives.
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