Monday, March 18, 2013

Spring and Game of Thrones

I have updated my look for spring in the northern hemisphere, so my apologies to those who do not like green. After many long months of white snow and grey slush I must admit I'm very much looking forward to it. Like spring in my chilly little corner of the universe, this look won't last long, so take heart and please indulge my temporal twitterpation.

Spring is not the only thing I'm excited about these days. I'm also looking forward to Game of Thrones returning on HBO! I'm well into my second reading of the books which are FAR superior to the HBO series, which is admittedly remarkably well done...which is why I'm so looking forward its return, obviously.

I don't quite understand how the HBO version manages to be both SO right and SOOOOOOooo wrong.

Take my major gripe, the casting.

So many of the characters look not just years, but decades older than they are in George R. R. Martin's High Fantasy Series A Song of Ice and Fire. I am a feminist to my core and despise ageism, but the person they chose for the role of Catelyn Stark is just presposterous! In the books she is in her mid thirties, and no amount of makeup or lighting is ever going to make her look as good as the original actress chosen to play the role, Jennifer Ehle, who is not only the correct age (well south of fifty) but looks like the....uh...the ahhh....female human chosen to play her daughter, Sansa. Compare the pictures here if you will:

Jennifer Ehle Picture
Jennifer Ehle (1969-    ) Who played
Catelyn Stark in the pilot

Michelle Fairley Picture
Michelle Fairley (1964-     )

It really is unreal to me that there are only five years between Jennifer and Michelle, but I have read that Michelle is a major fitness freak and runner. That is very taxing on the body when taken to extremes and gives a person, male or female, a wasted look similar to that of a hard core drug user, which makes sense because people who exercise at that level are chasing an endorphin high.

It is a true shame that Ms. Ehle's film career blew up at this particular time because I find Michelle Fairley in the role of Catelyn Stark a non-stop distraction from the story. It angers me that the producers are so willing to subject the readers of the series to the unnecessary insult of passing a very poorly aging fifty year old woman off as someone in her early to mid thirties. Surely someone more appropriate was available, and it's not like HBO has been shorting them on the budget for this series.

***To those who have loved Michelle Fairley or anyone else in other (more appropriate) roles, my apologies. I do not doubt their acting ability, just their suitability for THIS one.***

Lysa Arryn infobox
Kate Dickie as Lysa Tully Aaron
Thankfully Lysa, Catelyn's supposedly younger sister, is a minor character we don't see often, because she is positively haggard and witch-like in appearance, and far from a lovely young woman forced to wed a man twenty years older than her own father then prematurely died and left her a widow with a young son still at breast. The image of this old crone breast feeding is horrible to see but what is completely  ludicrous is the idea that her husband who was at least 45-50 years older than her (she being the baby of the family) died prematurely! Who dies prematurely at 90+ years old? The math just does not hold up. Whoever had the final say on this bit of casting idiocy should have taken some time to READ THE BOOKS!

Clearly that is a prosthetic (fake) breast or it would be child abuse!

Then there's Sansa, who I didn't like in the books and like even less now that I know more about Sophie Turner, the female person who occupies her role in the HBO serie. If I had a daughter that person represents everything I would advise my daughter not to be. It is truly a sad day when someone defines their existence--their worthiness of a place in the world by whether or not their ass looks better than that of a Kardashian--the most useless beings on this planet. In a way I suppose it was perfect casting because they both determine their value and worth based upon how prettily they can pose and dress (or in Sophie's case, UNdress) themselves for the pleasure of others. When you make an attempt to delve any deeper there's...empty space.
They are both the very definition of the word vacuous. Just for "funsies" I'll share several pics here and allow you to judge for yourselves. First, Sansa as she appears on HBO, then several shots of Sophie Turner before and after the debut of Game of Thrones.

Sophie Turner as Sansa Stark, lovely and natural...and
clearly in a pout about it.

Sophie Turner in her preferred state..excessively "enhanced" and bleached. Whoever looked at THIS
and thought "Sansa Stark" was truly....uh....visionary, but ultimately correct...once the
"enhancements", bleach, and even Botox, lip injections and facial fillers (at such a young age!) and layers of goo were laboriously removed ...over what had to have been a period of many months.
For the record honey...that ass is already starting to slide down the back of your legs.
NOT a pic I would have put up for the world to see...that right cheek is getting pretty matronly toward the bottom, but
then you're not shy about nipping and tucking are ya...   Meowwwww....

And I thought Nicole Kidman was the most talentless, plastic skank ever to _uck her way
from Australia to Hollywood. Silly me!
(Time for a Botox refresher--your face is showing expression...and note how tiny her nose is here
compared to when she plays Sansa. That's more than a good contouring job. She gave up a lot of
"Barbie" to get that role.

The following is a link to a plastic surgery site in which surgeons discuss procedures done on stars:
...but they forgot the obvious dental work/appliance.

Miss Sophie forced to look more Sansa-like, but finding a way to express her
inner sleaze despite the dress code. Has she had her implants downsized or
is she just using a high tech minimizer bra and cammo black?  My guess is they
are the kind of implants that can be inflated and deflated to some degree via syringe.
It would be the wise choice for someone seeking fame and fortune as a *cough* actor *cough*.
See what  I mean about the nose?

Ahhh, what have we here? Sophie sans boobs and 'tude (deflated or gone we do not know I guess, on either count) and my favorite young female character in print and on screen, Arya, played by fifteen year old Maisie Williams...
...who can ACT! 

Have fun, but remember you don't  have
to be Barbie to be attractive!

Who did they get right? Arya! She's perfect! She's exactly as I pictured her, though prettier. George R. R. Martin (here to fore to be known as GRRM) has a fondness for ugly heroes in all his books, perhaps because he sees himself as ugly? I don't know. If I started psychoanalyzing him I'd be here for days not just hours. HBO really got Arya right, and Maisie Williams is just brilliant! She's believable and endearing and human and I just love her!

I think they did well with Daenerys and Viserys Targaryen, and Melisandre is perfect as well. Just the right mix of age and experience and sex appeal. (I loved my hair that just oozes power and sex, but it was too high maintenance for a natural blonde who is decidedly not high maintenance.) I am not fond of the person they chose to play the Reed girl, but Jojen's character more than makes up for it, so that makes up for it, and she may be able to act her way out of the fact that she doesn't look right for the part to me.

Another one they really blew it on was the handsome Peter Dinklage in the role of Tyrion Lannister. While he is sublime in his acting ability, he is supposed to be hideously ugly, not handsome and charming! Again, it's distracting, but at at least in a pleasant way. Aidan Gillen as "Littlefinger" is almost too perfect for words, as is Kit Harrington as Jon Snow. Here's one for you, ladies,

Swoon...  Now those are eyes a person could dive into and never come up for air again.  He's almost too perfect, but I'll manage to live with it. Unholy hotness! That hair!

As for the alleged "golden beauties" of the series, they both leave me cold. The actors are handsome enough, but Cersei and the Kingslayer they are not. While they do have strong facial structure, they hardly look like "golden" anything. They could have at least colored their hair or worn truly blonde hair pieces for the role. They are golden lions, not greasy dishwater tarnished gargoyles..and would it have killed them to give Cersei some curves? Not everyone watching Game of Thrones is a gay producer, director or casting agent who loves breastless women or plastic Barbies as over-compensation. Real men and women prefer something substantial, which the Lannisters ARE, and both Lena Headey and .Nikolaj Coster-Waldau are more than capable or portraying. That one falls on hair, makeup and wardrobe. Which brings us to the most grievous insult of all, Renly Baratheon.


Language warning:

WHAT THE FUCK? Are you fucking kidding me?

Renly Baratheon is supposed to be a young Robert, tall, broad of shoulder and strong, with long flowing black hair, not some trimmed and perfumed foppish little mannequin-man you'd pick up at the post-show cocktail party during fashion week! I think the audience would have caught on to the gay romance thing without the gigantic plot hole created by the fact that Renly looks no more Baratheon (strong of build, black of hair) than Joffrey! They made a huge plot/continuity mess, really a fatal error for anyone even minimally familiar with the books, with that one. They could have at least given the guy black hair rather than keeping him nearly as fair as his lover. Stop underestimating the audience. We are perfectly capable of understanding nuance. Every gay character doesn't have to prance about with flopping wrists, pubic hair on his face and a lisp! Not all gay men are flamboyant gay men, and Renly was only whispered about while Loras was the one people feared too much for his battle prowess to taunt in public.

I really detest when that much license is taken with someone else's work just so that whoever is producing or directing can work out his own personal issues, whatever they may be. As a viewer it's distracting and annoying and really takes away from the quality of the finished product.

Speaking of taking too much license, I cannot believe the Bloody Mummers are not going to be included, at all and that the Reeds were introduced so late into the series as such minor characters when we were forced to suffer through so that of Theon and the Greyjoys in general. Nothing should have been written out but if it had to be done it should have been the whole Greyjoy clan and they joyless existence. Their dreary home, stupid squabbling, Theon and his ugly sister are all completely forgettable. What is dead shall never die. Tie an anchor around your ankles and jump in the ocean, the whole lot of you, and we shall see.

Here's hoping the coming season has some pleasant surprises, and better hair and makeup.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Charity Grifters

I was feeling a bit homesick for Kentucky after finding out my ex cut off the tip off his "wedding finger" in an unlikely for anyone but him...

"...slipped 'n fell 'n trahhd t' catch m' balance on the truck door an'it done closed on mah damn finger 'n cut the tip clean off! So ah super-glued it back on lahhk they did at the hoss-spittal back when ah had that ax-cident up 'ere at the fac'try an' it got t' smellin' so rank under that dressin' an' ahh woke you up bah puttin' mah finger up 'ere under yer nose an' you jus' 'bout drah heaved when y'saw what it was..." *long pause for what sounds suspiciously like a mixture of drugged and drunken laughter*

...mishap. (Funny how years later I can still distinguish his different laughs). Sorry for making you read through that nearly indecipherable attempt at putting his drawl to some kind of phonetic text, but his stories "jus' ain't the same" without it "iff'n y'know what ah mean.".

If you've ever seen Lizard Lick Towing on TV you have some idea of the colorful speech of my ex and the country folk who live around and south of the Mason-Dixon. Kentucky people are exceedingly touchy about the fact that technically they fall north of that line, so one must learn quickly to tailor one's spoken observations regarding what is and is not "south" most especially if one has the vast misfortune (in their eyes) to have been born a "damned Yankee" (a term they still use and still mean with all their hearts). I admit I watch that Lizard Lick often during the winter out of fondness for the good old days, when some form of  winter wasn't 9 months of the year and people knew how to have a good time. Say what you want about hillbillies and hicks; those people know how to LIVE life to the fullest each and every day, and they have a way with words like no other people I've ever met in my life. Maybe it's all that sun. Maybe it's brain damage  from all that 'shine...pre and post-natally. Actually I cannot say that. Their women folk do not generally drink with the men. It is frowned upon almost as much as being a Yankee.

Anyway, while indulging my homesickness I found this amusing/disturbing rags to riches to rags ...and on the way back to riches again story about a Lexington, Kentucky man. Here's a link to the story and the comment, which I found quite compelling and more than a little familiar:

This woman is nearly as wordy as I am, but damn, a free house, plus air conditioning and Satellite Television, from the coffers of a charity that working people including single parents barely making ends meet contribute to? That does not sound like a sensible use of charity money to me. Not at ALL. In fact I'm pretty pissed off right now and I can truly empathize with her feelings about the situation. And where does Catholic Charities get off with the whole reverse discrimination thing? I feel for undocumented workers, with emphasis on the word WORKERS, but these charity abusers need to be prosecuted somehow, and BIG TIME, because people are legitimately struggling here. Their PAID enablers at Catholic Charities (they don't all volunteer; the people making these decisions are generously compensated and have a great deal of power once in these positions. Large donors are treated like demi-gods. It's a sick, sick system and needs fixing!

I also agree with her assessment of the health care, pharmaceutical and other charity industries. Every time I see that fat smarmy man pimping out those perfectly coiffed, tousled and dirtied yet made-up children in their carefully mis-matched shoes--perfect little urchins with perfect pink pouts and nary a chapped lip among them, though near death from starvation and dehydration, who miraculously have perfect sixty dollar haircuts (there's no disguising them--especially on the boys) I want to throw something at my tv...but something very soft, like maybe a cotton ball, because once those little givers of light die, they stay dead, and it spreads like some kind of TV screen cancer. I found that out by harsh experience on the one item I didn't bother to purchase the extended warranty for. Grr...

I don't know who those people think they're kidding with that advertising and those atrociously fake "please save me" and "I'm helpless and on the verge of giving up" looks on such perfectly healthy children's faces as they stand around what are clearly studio sets. Some charities, like Doctors Without Borders, are clearly real, and their short ads are heart-rending, but these mini-infomercials hosted by the fat guy who looks like a pedophile Santa out of season are just gaudy and ghastly. You know the ones...where they promise you a picture and letters from your very own child. They probably do have kids do the letters...from some sweat shop they're running in China, for which this charity is a probably a big tax write off. Sickening!

I looked up more on the McClellan thing too, and I think it's finally starting to snowball. That thing is also just plain outrageous. The link is here if you want to look into it:

As for the Catholic Charities thing.. the more I read about the Catholic hierarchy, the less I like it. Apparently I am true to the Moravian roots of my ancestors--many of them anyway. Some of the others were Lutheran, which is an off-shoot of the Moravians, who were the first Protestants--the first organized Christian religion to openly rebel against the Catholic Church and the Pope. I am SO proud of that! I am truly tolerant of literally anyone's spiritual beliefs, but I despise "God for money" as much as I despise health care for money, and no church in history is as guilty of money mongering and atrocities than the Catholic Church, not even the greedy cult of Mormonism.

All that said, I truly have nothing against anyone's belief system; I don't have to agree with someone to respect or like them. I don't care if they worship mushrooms. In fact I could be induced to "worship" a mushroom or two myself under the right circumstances....and wood as well....and that can be meant in any number of ways for both.  And again I digress, but what a sweet digression it is. In fact it's the perfect note to end on for now.

 Just thought I'd leave you with some pretty pictures of mushrooms, since I mentioned them. Be well.