The Death of Sharon Raydor

If you were shocked by the ending of last night’s 2nd episode of Major Crimes, then you had plenty of company – I included. I was so clueless I didn’t even know that this was to be the successful police procedural’s final season.

Call me crazy but I didn’t see it coming, until last night’s episode. I assumed (wrongly) that Sharon’s health condition was merely a complication that she would either beat in the end or force her into retirement. Color me surprised and very sad and a little bit mad.

In this article from Variety actress Mary McDonnell shares insights into the decision to kill her character in the show, as well as the shock of realizing the show would not be optioned for a 7th season. I found her to be very gracious about having her character killed off and perhaps a little too understanding.

My hat is off to the producers/writers for taking what was essentially a very unlikable character (Raydor) and turning her into not just relatable and likable but a real hero. A character who didn’t have to pretend to be a man, or tote a gun, or wear hip boots to prove how tough and resourceful she was. McDonnell portrayed her character as a real woman working in a largely male world, and who though tough as nails when needed, never lost touch with her softer intuitive side. And in fact, used that to get to the truth of the matter countless times. Somebody needs to give this woman an Emmy or some other award because I can’t imagine anyone having it done it better. And though I was a huge fan of The Closer and Kyra Sedgewick, McDonnell stole my heart where female heroes are concerned.

Even now when I think of those final scenes in last night’s episode I feel sad and the urge to cry. Not just for the character but for the show itself. TNT, what is the matter with you? You end a highly rated show, yet keep on mindless crap that nobody wants to watch? (I digress, this is fodder for another post though.)

But now here’s the gripe I have – I understand that the writer wanted to end the show on his own terms – and kudos to him for doing that. However, by and large viewers don’t want you to kill off their heroes. They just don’t. You can mortally injure them, you can give them terrible challenges and losses, you can even expose their dark underbellies but KILLING them is really not what we want. We haven’t tuned in for multiple seasons to have the final season killing someone who has become a near and dear friend to us. It doesn’t give us closure that she took care of business before she died. It doesn’t make us feel satisfied that she ended her life on her own terms. It just makes us sad. And frankly, it seemed a little selfish that in order for you to end the show on your own terms that you felt you had to go for the worst possible character to kill off. Yes, I’m sure the shock value was hefty and there are probably hundreds of articles/posts about this because of it. But it doesn’t endear you to the fans. Based on what I saw last night, there are many who are so upset that they aren’t going to watch the remaining four episodes of what can only be described as a topnotch show.

In a perfect world, we’ll learn next week that the whole death scene was merely a bad dream that Rusty had and Sharon will be there waking him and assuring him she is not going anywhere. And then they will spend the last four episodes finding Stroh and kicking his evil ass. Sadly, even I know that won’t happen.

So I’ll just say this. Thank you Mary McDonnell, for creating a living breathing normal woman as our hero. Thank you for showing us that there is strength in a soft voice and dedicated determination. Thank you for showing young women that you can be a woman and be a hero without having to look, talk, or act like a man. Thank you for showing us that in the end, that character is what makes a hero, not gender, car chases, or action scenes.

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Thoughts about Dallas

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  • We have to stop killing each other.
  • We have to stop believing that killing each other solves anything.
  • We have to realize that anger unfocused only makes things worse.
  • Are things any better because these husbands, fathers and war veterans are now dead?
  • If you find these deaths cause to celebrate, what does that say about you?
  • How does protesting an unjust death by committing an unjust murder make things right?
  • Is this some kind of competition, where the only goal is the even the score?
  • Whose wounds are now healed because of this?
  • When did we stop valuing all lives?
  • How did we get to this place?
  • How do we get out of this place?

If you want to read about the fallen officers you can here and here.

Or share your story via Twitter #bluestories

Please pray for the police officers and their families and everyone impacted by this terrible event. And that we can find a way to heal without further violence.

All Gave Some – Some Gave All

You know, it is easy to forget that the personal freedoms we take for granted are not entitlements – but privileges hard won. And won through the efforts and often lives of others. People we likely never knew but who nonetheless were willing to and often did give their lives to secure our freedoms.

While Americans like to celebrate Memorial Day with barbecues, holiday sales, fireworks and alcoholic beverages it wouldn’t hurt any of us to stop at least for a moment to silently thank those who gave us our freedoms. Prayers, good thoughts, wishes spoken aloud, meditation – whatever floats your boat. Please find a way to say thank you – not just to those who have secured our freedoms and continue to do so but to the families of those injured and fallen men and women.

Regardless of the side of the political spectrum to which we align, we have much to be thankful for and many to whom we owe our gratitude. To all veterans, past, present and future and to their families I say, Thank you.

As the saying goes, ‘Freedom ain’t free.’

Welcome to the People's Republic of America

Okay, America if this is what you want, then I hope you’re happy. I for one, will be stuffing my mattress with money and stocking up on those MRE’s and survival gear. If you think the last eight years was bad news I don’t think you’re prepared with what will be coming our way over the next four (my prediction). Apparently, all it takes to become president of this once great country, is to put on a helluva campaign. I wonder if I could become CEO of GM after 13 months of selling cars in their backlot. (Heck maybe I could even run for Prez, once the implosion happens.)

I know a lot of you out there, love this man and I have never really been able to figure out why – but I hope the love affair continues – but I have my doubts. Serious ones.

Oh well, at the very least it should be good for some blog fodder, providing political descension is still Constitutional come January – there’s always Grit’s farm I suppose.

Congrats to those who wanted change – I just hope it’s the kind of change we all want. Somehow I doubt it and I’m certainly not holding my breath. Anybody got change for 10 Euronote? I need a drink.

The End

 

Popcorn & a Movie

by WC, cHughes, The Grit, The Desktop, Jess, Lord Crimson & Sarah Flanigan

Marvin shook his freshly-popped popcorn into the big, orange bowl. The one with the crack in it. He put a movie in the player and settled into the big, easy chair. “Ahhh.” And that was the last thing he remembered.

When he awoke, he saw his popcorn scattered on the living room floor, the bowl upended at his feet. The television was off and the house was silent. Except for one sound – a kind of scratching-tapping. “What is that?” He struggled out of the chair and shuffled down the hallway. The sound grew louder as he neared his bedroom. He stopped at the closed door – funny, he didn’t remember closing it, in fact, he never closed it. His heart jumped in his chest with each scratch-tap, his vision blurred with anticipation. “Stop being an ass, Marvin,” he scolded himself and threw open the bedroom door…

There he was. How he got into the house was unknown, his reasons for being there, not so mysterious. Marvin hadn’t seen him in four months, yet he was there, larger than life. Marking the wall, rhythmically with his penknife. Staring.

“Why are you here?” asked Marvin.

“I’m here for you. Because of you, what you did. See these marks? These are the days I was without light, because of you” replied the familiar stranger.

“It wasn’t my fault. I wasn’t even there- how can you blame me?” plead Marvin, growing increasingly alarmed, sweat beading on his brow and running in rivulets down his spine.

Marvin looked down at the man, from his face to his hand, bony and scabbed, grasping his carving tool, then to his face again. Traces of the young boy with plump, freckled cheeks were nowhere to be found in that face, not even in the eyes. Marvin didn’t know who this person was, but he sounded like his son Mitch, if Mitch had swallowed a handful of pebbles.

Mitch looked up at Marvin. His eyes, dark and vacant, smirked at Marvin. His father looked scared. Good, thought Marvin. Now he knows how I felt.

A pale, scarred hand clasped his cheekbones with the dexterity only a blind man could possess. Bony fingers swept with tremulousness yet prescision over Marvin’s jaw. They flowed delicately up to his ears, then made a curve so they could feel out the tough ridge that was his brow. Mitch’s hand digressed from his father’s face, and stood at ease at his side.

He knew his son was blind, but it felt like he was always looking at him. It was almost as if he could still see with his mind’s eye.

Feeling his ritual scars tingling under his shirt, Marvin quickly realized what had to be done. It took a moment to type a special number into his cell phone, a number too secret to be stored in the device’s memory, but the call was answered almost instantly.

“Go.”

“This is Z984K. I need immediate support at my apartment.”

That being enough, he hung up. To his son he said, “It’s good that your gift survived the torture. Don’t worry, you will have revenge.”

Mitch smiled at his father, the way blind men do and let go of a little moan.

Marvin didn’t know if he was onto him or not but he knew he only had to stall for a few minutes longer and then he would be safe.

“Where the hell are they,” he said aloud without meaning to.

“Who?” Mitch was suddenly alert.

The door bell rang…

***

Marvin remembered it- that day was branded into the wormy lobes of his brain forever.

It happened four months prior to the day. Marvin was a drug dealer in Washington, D.C.- he took it upon himself to distribute his product to the masses, to “free their minds” from reality.

Things had been going well for the past few years. There was just one problem for him. The problem dressed himself flamboyantly in a white pantsuit, and surrounded himself with a smoky aura and an even smokier entourage. He was the crime lord of D.C., a fat weasel of a man who had a face to match the color of his soul – scarred and vehement.

***

Mr. Smith hung up the phone, then typed the ID code into his terminal with one hand, while pressing the button that summoned his assistant with the other. He scanned the information on the screen while he waited for her to knock once and enter.

“Sir?”

“We need an investigation team at,” he pressed the print key and nodded at the printer, “that address, at once. Send a cleaner team too, just in case. Give them the ID of the Supervisor on duty with the most experience, then send that person here for instructions.”

Smith leaned back in his leather chair and studied the information on the screen, while his assistant made her exit. This matter was listed as “settled.” It’s sudden emergence as an active case was going to cause problems. Lots of problems. Not to mention a long night for the man at the worry desk. He briefly thought about allowing himself the luxury of loosening his tie, but decided against it.

***

As she shut the door behind her, Allison’s lips went crooked with satisfaction. She needed to reach her contact. Now that she had Marvin’s address, things would be simpler. It was almost over now.

Allison grabbed her purse and walked quickly to the restroom, taking care to look casual. She couldn’t afford to draw any attention to herself – they were too close. A quick call to Hammer and then comply with Smith’s orders. She still must get that crew over there. She had to play the part until it was truly finished.

“We’ll show these bastards,” she thought as she dialed her contact, a thin wisp of smoke known to her only as “The Hammer.” She wasn’t sure how he’d gotten such a name. She chuckled inside when she was first presented to him. So tiny, he was. Then she stopped once she looked him in the eyes – like venomous snakes.

Allison still didn’t know exactly why he was called the Hammer, but she had her ideas. She sent him a message. It took five seconds and she returned to her desk.

To her cover.

***

Marvin grew increasingly restless – they should have been there by now. He had a time getting rid of the girl scout and her mother, trying to sell him cookies. “I’m a diabetic, I tell you,” he said and slammed the door in their surprised faces.

“Father?” Mitch stood just a few feet from him in the hallway. Like an evil spectre back to haunt his life. He still held the knife at his side, silent and menacing.

“I was just going to make us some coffee. Have a seat, I’ll bring it to you when it’s done,” Marvin stalled.

Mitch stepped closer to Marvin, grinning like a hungry cat. “I’ll go with you. I love the smell of fresh coffee brewing.”

Despite his hurried gait to the kitchen, Mitch was on his heels and never wavered. Marvin went straight away to make the coffee, while Mitch found a chair at the kitchen table.

“So, it’s been a hard road, eh son?” Marvin asked, his back to Mitch. No reply. “I said…” he turned toward Mitch – who stared blankly at the ceiling his throat sliced open and gaping at him. “What the…”

“You’ll get the same, if you make a sound,” the Hammer whispered in his ear.

Marvin’s eyes darted from Mitch to the the blood stained knife the intruder pointed in his direction. He suddenly realized that his life was also about to come to an end.

The intruder stared at him with eyes that were like ice on fire. Suddenly with the movement of a cat, the dark figure leapt toward the open window and was gone as fast as he had appeared.

Marvin continued to stare at the window and wondered why he was still alive and why Mitch had two smiles.

***

“It’s done,” the Hammer hissed into the phone and the connection was broken.

Allison smiled and buzzed Smith on the intercomm. “Taken care of, sir.”

Smith grunted an acknowledgment and the intercomm went silent.

Allison made another call, to D.C. and told the man with the penchant for white pant suits where he could find his nemisis. She hung up the phone and hummed to herself absent-mindedly. All was right with her world. No loose ends and that’s how she liked it.

***

Marvin was still struggling with Mitch’s body and the blood and mess in the kitchen, when Fat Weasel burst through the door with his goons.

“Take care of it,” he told his men.

Marvin’s shoulders slumped, admitting defeat. He raised his hands over his head. “Get it over with, then.”

Weasel’s men made quick work of disposing of Mitch’s body and cleaning the kitchen and were gone in a wink. He gave Marvin a smirk. “Go eat your popcorn, old man. And stay the fuck outta my business.”

Marvin let his arms go limp to his sides. His eyes locked with Weasel for a long moment. “Care to stay and watch? I’ve got Pirates of the Carribean.”

The End

Well, there you have it, folks – a completed gang story. Again, I want to thank christine, desktop, sarah, brit, jess & lord crimson – for their contributions (and please visit their sites, great stuff there). I had a blast. Hope you did too.

WC

Speechless…

 

I had planned to do some funny posts this week, after all of the deep thinking of last week. In fact, I had a pretty good one in mind. But then today happened.

To say I am stunned, so much so that I can’t even be angry about what happened at Virginia Tech today, puts it mildly.

Details are sketchy and the police and school officials are keeping what information they have close to the vest. If you are interested in reading about it, The Drudge Report will likely have the most updated news as information becomes available.

It appears to have been based on a domestic incident, jealousy to be specific. How over 30 people end up without their lives over a love triangle I’m not sure, and if that turns out to be the case – again, I’m speechless.

I think we need to wake up – turn off the hype and take a good look at our society. Students have no reasonable expectation of being shot at while attending school. They have no reason to expect a crazed gunman to show up and open fire. They had no reason to believe, when they woke up today, that it would be anything other than a normal Monday morning. Yet, this  young man felt justified in terrorizing and taking lives. And traumatizing and likely, ruining the lives of those left behind to clean up the mess he made.

Following this incident, there will be the usual parade of talking heads and politicians and special interest groups, all fighting for face time to prove that their cause would have stopped this incident from happening. Some people will be too vulnerable, too ignorant and too scared to see them for what they are – shameless panderers who will stop at nothing to advance their causes.

Gun control groups will come out and demand the government make guns illegal. Human rights groups will come out and insist we feel sorry for the murderer and try to understand his pain and torment, for surely, it was that that caused him to take these lives. Shallow and superficial displays will be made by ‘officials’ who do it because it is the right thing to do. Capital crime supporters will come out and espouse the merits of the death penalty. And so it will go. Another tragedy will be turned into a horse and pony show and no solution will be found.

Why? Because no one will really want to do that. Because that would require real examination of society and accountability and lack thereof. They would rather, form a committee, throw money some around and come up with a new mental disease than acknowledge the fact that we have stopped caring about our fellow man. That we would rather drug our children than listen to them. That we would rather let the experts handle the woes of society than do anything about it ourselves. That we would rather hang our heads, change the channel and watch reruns.

It’s a very sad day in Virginia. And my heart and condolenses go out to the families and victims of this terrible day. And it is a sadder day in America. Because this diminishes us, each of us. And if you don’t think so, then I think you’re kidding yourself.

WC

American I-Dull

 

Boy does that say it or what? Now, I’ll admit I was an AI virgin last year and I suppose I got swept away with it all. But this year sucks so bad already I’m pretty sure I won’t be watching it anymore. It’s too painful to watch the slow slaughter of popular music that way. And frankly watching paint dry has more twists and turns.

Clearly, there are only 3-4 people who can actually sing. The best singer has absolutely no personality. In fact, when she isn’t singing it’s as if she doesn’t actually exist. Which is kind of spooky and makes me wonder if she is a virtual contestant or something. They can do everything else, why not that? And wouldn’t that, after all, be the epitome of the perfect contestant according to Simon Scowell?

I really am bummed though. When I watched last year I had so much fun being a fan. All of them had some talent and they were all interesting and had their own personalities to project. Even when the bad ones (like chicken little) were voted off I was a little teary-eyed. They were all so easy to love or ….hate. It was a thrill a minute and no one looked forward to Tuesday and Wednesday nights like I did. What’s happened?

Was last year a fluke? Pretty much all the losers from last year could beat the contestants of this year. Will anyone actually stay awake long enough to see who wins this snoozer? I can’t even remember any of their names. Or what they look like. Or even sound like. The guys are pretty much clones of one another. The most original one – the asian guy in bare feet (and sadly it was the bare feet that made him stand out) is gone. And I’m alarmed that it will take weeks and weeks to eliminate all the other bad ones, which by my calculations is about 20 of them.

Maybe the thrill is gone and Idol is now just more bad reality t.v. like all the others. There is a season for all things and a time for all things to come to an end. Could this be Idol’s time? Is that why they are starting that lame camp thing? To distract from the fact that out of hundreds of thousands of people who auditioned they came up with this crap as the best of the best? Are they fucking kidding me?

Dull, dull, dull, dull. I may give it another couple of weeks on the off chance someone with a pulse will actually end up on camera – but I’m pretty sure none of us will be jonesing for Idol this year.

What a waste!

WC

What’s That Smell?

A few years ago I lived in a little cottage in a rather pastoral setting. There were several other little cottages on the property, all beneath a canopy of grape leaves. In the summer the grapes would ripen and there would be beautiful, deep purple clusters of grapes seemingly hanging in the air. The landlord, a crusty old coot from Hungary also liked to garden and there were rows and rows of fresh tomatoes, berries and peppers – all freely available to we little cottage dwellers.

So there we were all tucked away in this psuedo Tuscan atmosphere, with our grapes and our fresh veggies and little cottages. Mine being, of course, the ultimate writer’s garret. I could pretend to be Hemingway or at least Erma Bombeck. On warm summer nights, I’d prop open the front door to get in a breeze, since the cottage was woefully lacking windows. Still I loved my little space and my privacy.

Well, one night whilst I plopped on the sofa and watched television, I could swear I saw the frying pan dance. I had one of those open floor plans where the kitchen really was just a few feet from the sofa and the stove was definitely in plain sight.

I was puzzled. Now just how does a frying pan dance, I wondered. I shrugged assuming it was shadows playing tricks on my eyes and looked back at the television – but damn if it didn’t happen again. I got up slowly and tip-toed a little closer to the stove and eeek what did I see but a little mouse doing the boogaloo in my frying pan. (Can you say, throw that pan away?)

Naturally, we both screamed – he scurried off and I ordered my cat to attack. No deal. The cat was just a kitten really and not much bigger than the mouse and my dog was so old she barely noticed earthquakes. So, naturally I got the elimnator (the broom) and attacked the back of the stove and the walls and stuff to scare the little bugger out. Yep, didn’t work.

Next day I talk to the crusty old Hungarian about getting rid of the mouse. He acted like he didn’t understand english and so I went to the store and bought some mouse poison. I don’t really like doing stuff like that but hey – I couldn’t have the little vermin running around my house and nibbling on my toes or ears whilst I slept – so mouse poison it was. I place one packet behind the stove and one behind the sofa.

Every night I’d hear a frenzied, gleeful squealing and rattling of the platic bag. Apparently that was mousie coke based on his obvious enjoyment of that which would eventually do him in. Every morning, I’d peek to see just how much of this stuff he was eating – thinking any day now it’d be over. Well, believe it or not, it took several days. Now that mouse had quite an appetite. But finally one day I came home from work and there he was lying dead on my bath mat (yep pitched that too). Phew! that was over. Must remember not to prop door without babygate in it. All is right with the world.

So a couple of days later I’m sitting at my desk and ‘sniff-sniff’ what the heck was that smell? I looked under the desk, checked the trash – tried to remember if I was wearing dirty sweat pants and so on…but nothing. I went back to work. There it was again. That smell! I checked my armpits – was I going through some serious detox? Was I drinking too much water or not enough? Was the exercise tape really making me stink taht much.

I took a shower.

Sure enough the next day, it’s back again. What was it? What other horrible thing had crawled into my house? Where had the dog barfed or the cat peed? What the hell was that smell? I simply could not find the source.

Saturday morning, I got the bug to do a spring cleaning. I whipped out the cleanser and sos pads, the furniture polish, the window cleaner and finally the vacuum. Yep my little cottage was going to sparkle and shine. On went the vacuum and it went merrily about its business sucking up hidden dirt (and I hoped smells) and sand and rocks and whatever else me and the dog dragged in. Ooops had to move my big desk chair – now for as small as that place was I always insisted on having a big comfy leather chair, so it took up some room – but it was worth it. So move chair out of way and gasp! what do I see? Yep, my mousie’s dancing partner. There she was in all her white and brown speckled glory. And she was rightly stinking the place up. I could never find the source of the smell cuz it was right under my big fat ass the whole time.

So the moral to the story is, if you got one mouse than probably have two. And a dead mouse really stinks!

WC