Magic Jewball

all signs point to no


The cha-chung remains the same

Filed under : International,TV
On December 31, 2010
At 5:00 am
Comments : 9

(Editors note: This wasn’t really supposed to be the New Years’ post but it took me two days and four different programs/plugins to get my illustrative videos working. That is to say, if you don’t watch the short subjects at the end, I will cry. Unless you’re reading this on feed… or an iPad.)

I have talked a lot about the fact that I only watch old TV but one new(ish) thing I do watch is a sort of remake of something old, that is Law & Order UK. First off, we all know I’m an Anglophile, but second, the first season is all based on stories from the US version and I couldn’t resist seeing how they were Anglicized. By the way, I say newish because this show isn’t really new, it’s just new to me, as BBC America has just started showing the episodes here. Some of the British L&O’s are quite similar to their inspiration-episodes but others aren’t really at all. For instance, “Love and Loss” from Law & Order UK (my favorite ep so far) uses the US episode “Consultation,” as its basis but is an almost completely different story. In “Consultation,” a Nigerian woman dies in a cab coming from the airport after heroin she’s smuggling in her body leaks out. The plot then meanders around to the chief of her tribe (who lives in the US and has diplomatic immunity) and his drug operation. In “Love and Loss,” it’s a British citizen, a teenager who had gone abroad with friends, who has the heroin leak out (and her death is graphic and gross, be forewarned). That then leads to her older boyfriend and his use of young girls as drug mules. So, nearly the same starting point and idea but a whole different flavor of episode.

Some are more subtly different, like UK’s “Hidden” and US’s “Bitter Fruit.” The stories hew closely to each other (spoiler alert!), with a young daughter of divorced parents being kidnapped and the mother killing the perpetrator. Of course, it turns out that she had set up the whole thing to get back at her ex, the child’s father, and she kills the hired kidnapper to cover up her crime. In the US version, she’s driven to it by a bad divorce, depression, addiction to pills, and the loss of custody. In the British version, however, there’s no sympathy at all for her and she’s a total monster who wanted the child kidnapped so that she could make money off the story. It’s fun to guess why the writers choose to go in these separate directions but even more to try to figure out if something was done because of differing laws or culture. For starters, in the UK version, people use knives instead of guns (shockers) and more often than not, there’s CCTV footage to catch them. And when they’re interviewed, they get recorded. And if they’re immigrants, they’re from different countries than the immigrant characters in the US (more often Turkish or Polish or West Indian, rather than Latino). Also, the lawyers, I mean, the barristers, wear wigs and people stand when they give evidence in court. That would have been hard on Betty Broderick, whose trial I watched back in the day, and who seemed to testify for about three or four days straight. Maybe she wouldn’t have told so many long-winded stories.

But when you dissect the episodes, there are other differences which make you wonder. In “Bitter Fruit,” the parents are well-off, older, white people. In “Hidden,” they are young, working-class, and of different races. In the same way, the daughter, Jodie, was on her way to piano lessons in the US but a guitar lesson in the UK when she disappeared. But that makes sense once the first change is made because rich girls learn piano and lower middle-class girls learn guitar. It’s possible that the demographics of the parents were changed to make the “just in it for the money” plotline stand up, as it’s difficult to imagine the upper-crust mother in the US version being motivated by the possibility of selling her story to the tabloids. Of course, tabloids themselves don’t have the same resonance in the US.

This scene was my favorite to compare, as in both versions the same character is depicted but yet each woman is so totally an archetype of her country. In it, the two detectives corner the mother of the kidnapper trying to determine if her son actually visited her the night of the crime, when he left, and if there are any clues to be found. The mother is a working class, hard-bitten type, and she’s not at all fooled by the officers’ “aw shucks” innocent-seeming questions. Her son has been in jail before, she knows he’s no saint, but she will protect him no matter what. She isn’t giving anything away if she doesn’t have to.

In New York (well, Jersey, actually), Mrs. Capetti is an ethnic type and has an accent to match. She makes meatloaf for her son and the only time she warms up is when the detectives mention her television, which her son got her as a gift on which to watch the Jets. In London, Mrs. Carlton is a working-class (I don’t think Cockney is the right word… but something in that vein) Mum who makes roast pork and whose son bought her the TV to watch Chelsea. In the US, Mrs Capetti only lets the detectives into the closet after the threat of a warrant. Not so Mrs. Carlton. Do they not need warrants in the UK? Either way, both women have two newscasts to choose from but are too sharp to let slip which they watched and both keep sheets in mothballs… too bad for them, as you’ll see.





You’ll notice (maybe) that the stills I’ve chosen are the smirks on the lead detectives’ faces as they confront the lady in question with the damning evidence despite all her attempts at subterfuge. No matter the differences, the best things are the same about the two shows: great plots and terrific acting.

And so, now that I am posting this on New Years Eve, I wish you all a wonderful 2011, an end to technical difficulties, and some really good TV show marathons on your local cable system.


De partout…jusqu’à vous

Filed under : International,Meta/Blognews
On July 26, 2010
At 8:15 pm
Comments : 4

I meant to make special mention of my 5,000th comment and to toot the horn (so to speak) of said commenter except… it was me. Whoops. I mean, go me! What are the odds? But then I realized that 5000 = 5001 in Canadian, what with our poor exchange rate and so…. Woot! Go, Deas! You were my 5,001st commenter! Your prize is: a gorgeous program from Wimbledon and some delightful Canadian chocolate. Oh wait, did you think I’d be sending you that?

Hahahahaha, that would be ridonculous to expect Deas to send me that, wouldn’t it? Except she already did and for no reason except that she’s teh awesome, as we say in the US with our lesser educations. I mean, look at this bounty!*

*there was no Bounty. But look at the Coffee Crisps!

How classy does this program look? Even the tennis is fancier in England.

And you can’t see from this angle, but this thing is like a book, with big glossy pages. It is seriously stunning, like the sun shining on Centre Court. Which never happens but you follow me, I’m sure.

Here are the three best aspects of receiving this in my mailbox today.

1. I was really hungry and desiring of chocolate (but that could have been any day, admittedly).
2. The heatwave just broke and so I did not find a chocopuddle at the bottom of said mailbox.
3. I sort of knew Canadian food items would be coming but I had NO IDEA there would be a Wimbledon program! I was so excited that I clutched it to my chest and hugged it. I’m a little embarrassed about this, so let’s just keep that part between us.

Anyway, xoxo and thanks so much, Deas (and Mr. Deas, who I assume toted it home). I owe you 5,001 expired Metrocards!

And to the writers of my 4,999 other comments (if you’re wondering why the comment count is higher, it counts crazy spam comments, too), thank you all for being the other half if not more of this blog! Because if a post is published in the forest and no one comments… the computer is probably being eaten by monkeys.

Title is the slogan of Canada Post and means, according to the handy Queen’s English provided, “From anywhere… to anyone.” Which could also be the slogan of this blog. Or Measles/Mumps/Rubella.

It is true, I will use any excuse to link to this exciting Canadian artist.
Loverboy – Turn Me Loose.



Filed under : International
On January 15, 2010
At 4:30 pm
Comments :Comments Off on Prayer

[vimeo width=”400″ height=”327″][/vimeo]

Filmed by a student from the Ciné Institute in Jacmel, Haiti.


London Daily Telegraph: publishing from the future

Filed under : International,News,Sports
On September 21, 2008
At 6:00 pm
Comments : 4

Start spreading the news, indeed; it’s more awesome journalism from the Telegraph. Imagine my surprise, taking a break from rugelach baking to watch the farewell-palooza to Yankee Stadium on ESPN and check my feeds, to come across the news that the game had already happened. Yes, the final game at Yankee Stadium has already been played, dontcha know. Would the Telegraph lie?

Yankee stadium sees its last game
An illustrious chapter in American sporting history came to an end last night as the Yankee Stadium in New York hosted its last baseball game.

By Tom Leonard in New York
Last Updated: 10:27PM BST 21 Sep 2008

The 57,545-seat stadium, America’s most famous sporting venue and the home for the past 85 years of the New York Yankees, is to be demolished and replaced with a $1.6 billion (£870 million) new ballpark close to its location in the Bronx.

An extra 2,000 security staff were drafted in for the final game to prevent chaos as fans were expected to attempt to rip up the stadium and make off with souvenirs. Fans had previously been found trying to bring spanners into the ground.

The enthusiasm of souvenir hunters is understandable given the unique place the stadium holds in American sports history, not to mention the fact that Nelson Mandela, Muhammad Ali and three popes have spoken there.

The stadium was nicknamed “The House That Ruth Built” in homage to Babe Ruth, the baseball superstar who inaugurated the stadium in 1923.

The so-called “cathedral of baseball”, with its famous 12ft high letters spelling out its name, went on to become home to 26 World Series-winning teams.

However, there was no spectacular finale yesterday as the Yankees, currently languishing in the baseball league, played the even less successful Baltimore Orioles.

I wonder if I should watch now. I mean, they say right there that it wasn’t spectacular. What to do, what to do.

By the way, I wonder where “Tom Leonard in New York” really is. Maybe he’s in a bar, picking up a chick right now. Perhaps he’s on the beach in Spain. Perhaps there really is no Tom Leonard. Whichever it is, I’m sad to see that baseball fans in the UK are being swindled in this fashion. Both of them.

Yankee stadium sees its last game

Thompson Twins – Lies


Earth-shattering news from the UK

Filed under : International,News
On September 16, 2008
At 2:45 pm
Comments : 3

A lot going on in House of Becca, but in the meantime, in case you’re having a slow news day, here’s an exciting article from the London Daily Telegraph.

Duke of York and his travelling ironing board

When the Queen’s second son goes on long trips as trade ambassador his trusty ironing board always accompanies him,

Not that the duke, who tries to squeeze in a round of golf on most trips, is overly familiar with the art of pressing shirts and trousers. The ironing board, which has been in royal service for at least five years, is always in the care of the valet who accompanies the Duke to ensure that his clothes are neatly turned out.

The ironing board with the HRH label was spotted by baggage handlers in the hold of the plane taking the Duke to Vietnam from Heathrow’s Terminal 5 on Friday.

There’s more, but you get the idea. Yes, this entire article can be summarized by saying, “Prince Andrew’s staff carry an ironing board with them when he travels. To iron his clothes on. Because he wears a lot of suits and needs to look neat.”

My God, who knew? Tomorrow in the Telegraph, Prince William travels with comb.