Movies And TV

I respect that everyone has their own way of doing things, but I’m so glad that my family never told me I couldn’t watch or listen to things like Gill’s did. A: It doesn’t work. Kids will always find a way to get their hands on the forbidden fruit, which tastes sweeter and is extra tempting because it’s forbidden, it should be pointed out. And B: Being able to watch things gave me the chance to ask questions about them, which helped me figure out the differences between fiction and real life. And the people around me answering those questions made me feel comfortable coming to them with other pressing questions later, because I knew that they were going to be as straight as they could with me. Mutual trust goes a long way.

A few years back I spoke of the first movie I saw in a theater, along with the stinkers I’d had the misfortune of seeing. Let’s dive a little deeper into the topic of movies and TV.

Growing Up

Depending on where, when, and how you grew up, you might have been allowed a little or a lot of freedom to watch whatever you chose. I grew up in the time of the Slasher movie of the 1980’s. I remember seeing adverts for Friday The 13th and Nightmare On Elm Street, however I was specifically forbidden from watching them due to the violence. This caution spilled over to TV, as my sister got nightmares from Rescue 911 and America’s Most Wanted.

Vicarious Living

Because I was prohibited the watching of movies like Chucky and Candy Man, I would often hear stories from the other neighborhood kids about possessed dolls and other stuff off limits to me.

I Watched It Anyway

Knowing that my folks forbade certain TV shows because of my sister I would sneak upstairs to my parent’s room and watch Rescue 911 with the door closed, making sure that when I heard footsteps the remote was close at hand.

How This Affected Me

I’m grown and living over 100 miles from home, however I still hold on to the reminders of what I was allowed to watch, and if I had children I would be the same way. I also remember watching my first overtly violent movie at 21-years-old and having a panic attack.


What were and were you not allowed to watch as a child, and how has it shaped what you view?

We’re Not All Like That, Some Of Us More so Than Others

Gill has a bunch to say about how race and disability are portrayed in pop culture.

In my almost four decades of life I have watched a lot of TV,and in that time I’ve noticed things. There are stereotypes, from the wise old Asian man to the African American gangster girl. Today I’m going to focus on the stereotypes that are common in the world of persons with disabilities.

  • The monster – Generally this pertains to the Elephant man and others with horrible disfigurements. Seen as outcasts or freaks, they are often played as extremes, either very kind but misunderstood or evil and nightmarish.
  • The Victim or the angry – This could be pretty much any disability, and these people aren’t afraid to let you know in a less than pleasant way how they feel or that the able bodied owe them something.
  • The Super Crip – Daredevil is a less offensive stereotype, however this is more an exaggerated portrayal of persons with disabilities. Often times they are the heroes, and a big deal is made about the fact that they did “an amazing` thing.

  • The I’m Here- This is probably what you’re less likely to see. Blaire Warner’s cousin Geri on The Facts Of Life is a good example. Although her cerebral palsy was the focal point of an episode it was not shown as a “pity me` fest.

Not long after that, she sent this.

Have you ever wondered to what lengths movie actors and entertainers have gone in order to play a role? Today we’ll be facing the sad facts about what some have done.

  • Blackface – This is disgusting, and not just a thing of those tasteless minstrel shows of our great-grandparents generation. In 1986 with Soul Man {C Thomas Howell} and again in 2008 with Tropic Thunder {Robert Downey Jr.} this racist thing of old was employed. Closer to home, sometime in the early 1990’s lacking a person of color my boarding school dressed a white student in blackface for a play called “The Day Jon Lennon Was Shot”.
  • Yellowface- Like blackface this is also just really bad, and like blackface this also comes along with exaggerated Asian stereotypes. A good set of examples are Holly Golightly’s landlord {Mickey Rooney} in Breakfast At Tiffany’s and Charlie Chan, played by Swedish American actor Warner Oland.
  • Crip Facing – Yes, I’m going there! It’s when let’s say, my sister plays a paralyzed person. Good examples are My Left Foot {Daniel Day-Lewis} and 2016’s controversial Me Before You.

Ban That Show!

Gill is here to talk about a few times that folks have tried to get television shows banned for strange reasons. Surprisingly, one of them actually makes sense.

Throughout the history of TV, there have been episodes of shows that have made someone uncomfortable enough to try to get an episode or entire show banned from somewhere. Here are a few.

  • Ukraine – Spongebob Squarepants is beloved by young children and drunken college students everywhere, unless you live in the Eastern European nation of The Ukraine. A few years ago, the government suggested banning the show due to the perception that it promotes a homosexual agenda.

  • Brazil – An episode of the long running cartoon The Simpsons called Blame it on Lisa where the family headed to Brazil to meet Lisa’s pen pal made people in Brazil uncomfortable. The problems, among others, were the idea of pick pocket children, kidnapping for ransoms, and brightly colored rat infested slums.

  • Australia – Peppa Pig, a British children’s show, drew the ire of Australian viewers because of the episode Mr. Skinny Legs which attempted to convince children that spiders weren’t so bad. This would not be a problem accept for the fact that Australia is home to some of the deadliest spiders in the world.


Has an episode of one of your favorite shows been banned, and what was the reason for it?

You’ve Got A Future In This Futureless Business, Kid

It’s always sad when media folks get fired by giant companies worth hundreds of millions of dollars for no reason other than if we hire people who aren’t as experienced as you we don’t have to pay them as much, but there’s an aspect of what just happened in Vancouver that’s pretty funny.

CTV Vancouver announced this week that it would be letting go of news anchors Tamara Taggart and Mike Killeen, who had worked there since 1997 and 2001, respectively.

No, that’s not the funny part. That’s just Bell being garbage, which we should all be used to by now.

But the first person quoted in this article announcing the firings is a fellow with the perfect name to set him up for a fine future as a spokesman for just about anyone in our country’s ever contracting mess of a broadcast industry. Take it away, Les Staff!

“On behalf of all of us here at CTV News Vancouver, a most sincere thanks to Mike and Tamara for keeping Vancouverites informed about their city each and every day,” Les Staff, News Director, CTV News Vancouver, said in a statement. “Mike and Tamara are consummate professionals, and we wish them the very best on what’s to come.”

It Wasn’t Me, Featuring Shaggy As President Trump

Even Shaggy is doing Trump parody songs now.

Yes, that is the actual Shaggy in the role of Donald Trump singing his own song with James Corden’s Robert Mueller as the two make jokes about the leader of the free world without having to really exaggerate anything. What times we live in.

Thankfully someone has already written out the lyrics. I wasn’t looking forward to Carin feeling like she should do it and then actually doing it. It’s getting harder for my formidable laziness to sit on and crush my guilt when that happens.

Maybe Tomorrow, They’ll Put Him In The Ground

The Littlest Hobo theme song is a strong contender for best television related musical composition in history, and I will fight anyone who says differently. Even if you don’t remember anything about the show to which it belongs, odds are you remember the tune. And if you don’t burst into song or at least smile a little when you hear it, I think it may be time to get yourself checked out.

Seriously, I love this song. So I got a bit sad today when I heard that John Crossen, who along with Terry Bush was responsible for bringing it to the world, had died.

It is with the saddest of hearts that I pass along the news that my soulmate, the love of my life, my husband, John…

Posted by Deb Crossen on Thursday, March 22, 2018

Without Googling I couldn’t name another John Crossen song, but if you have to be remembered for only one, it doesn’t get much better than this.

What Dogs Are Seeing When They Watch TV

I was interested in watching this video because quite often, Tansy will come out and sit by one of us, get some pets and stare intently at the television. Her two favourite things seem to be crime stuff like Cops and Live PD, or any of the vet shows we watch, especially the Incredible Dr. Pol. The second category makes sense to us because those shows are full of animals, but aside from the occasional police dog we have no idea what draws her to Cops beyond it being the best show ever. We don’t get an answer to that specifically, but it’s still pretty interesting.

The Good And The Ad

Here’s Gill, continuing our long tradition of talking about commercials.

Advertising has been a big thing for many years. Sometimes the ads have been unforgettable, others have left us wondering what people were thinking. From the racist and sexist to questionable advice and the annoying, here are some campaigns you might remember or would rather forget.

  • White Washed – In 1910 a soap company produced this cringy racist advertisement depicting a white child as clean and polished while the child of color was dirty and ragged looking.
  • The best doctors smoke Camel cigarettes – In the 1940’s before they knew the truly horrifying effects of cigarettes the Camel cigarette company put out this ad saying that only the top doctors and surgeons smoke Camels.
  • Too Delicate to camp – This comes circa 1958 as a print ad for a men’s clothing company. It shows two rugged men hiking and a weak female struggling. The tagline basically tells people to keep women indoors.
  • Innocence is sexy- This is what happens when the neighborhood pervert gets the right to advertise. This ad from 1974 is creepy even by 1970’s liberal standards. It’s for a product called Baby Soft, and the neighborhood pervert is talking about how sexy innocence is. (Note from Steve: I first spotted this one about three years ago. Yes, there is a video. No, you do not want to watch it.)
  • Earworm go away! earworm go away! – A few years ago a product called head-on made people want to apply their foot directly to their TV set. It became such a popular culture phenomenon that it was even mentioned in a horror movie.
  • A cold bottle of progressive – In the 1940’s, wanting to capitalize on the growing black middle class, Pepsi produced an ad featuring a middle class black family with a young boy reaching for a Pepsi in an icebox.
  • Fruit roll-ups and rice crispy treats – In the school district where I attended kindergarten they only did half days at the time, so I would get off the bus just in time for grilled cheese, tomato soup, and Masters of the Universe. During the shows that would be on at noon there would be ads for products kids loved. I don’t remember the lyrics to the fruit roll-up song other than “my friends and my fruit roll-ups.” There was also an ad for rice crispy treats featuring a kid in what appeared to be black pants and a green shirt.
  • Taking a break – More recently there was an ad for king sized kit-kat with two guys talking. One guy asked what the other guy was doing and the other guy told him that he was taking a break. To make a long story short, the guys were basically doing nothing.
  • Captain Obvious – This advertisement with a couple on a first date and the guy asking for some of the girl’s hair makes one laugh with discomfort.
  • JustFab- A few years back if you happened to be scanning the networks for something interesting to watch you might have found women literally in full orgasm (shoegasm) for a website where you would pay a price to buy shoes.
  • Hanging Oak beer – This is not an ad, but earlier this year a Nova Scotia Canada brewery opened a can of controversy with their new label Hanging Oak Beer. The picture on the can looked more like that of a noose used by white supremacists to lynch people of color. The brewery denied its detractors, however the controversy still stands.


Do you know of an advertisement that probably wouldn’t be allowed on air or in print in 2018? What was your favorite ad from childhood?

I Was On The News Talking About Fake Service Dogs

I didn’t realize it when I woke up yesterday, but I was going to be on the news by the end of the day. Don’t worry, it wasn’t for something scary or stupid. I guess an old friend from school ended up talking to a reporter about the problem of disservice dogs and how businesses don’t know what to do. When the reporter asked him for a local person with a service dog, he thought of me, and so it went.

It all came together pretty quickly, from “Would you be ok talking to a reporter about this?” to “Where do you work? I’ll meet you in an hour!” I was a very nervous human being, super afraid I was going to be misquoted, or say something that could be taken out of context.

Here is the resulting report. I babbled and rambled at her a while, so I’m glad she got at least a good line. I apparently looked fit to be on camera too, which is reassuring, since the wind blew my hair all crazy when I first arrived outside.

I feel like they threw this together quickly, and for the time they gave it, they did the best they could. I almost wish they could turn this into a series because this report barely scratched the surface of the issue, but they won’t. I also know this came together quickly because the reporter doesn’t know a heck of a lot about service dogs. The first thing she did was try to greet Tansy. She respected me when I said no, but the fact is she greeted her, which is a short leap from trying to pet her.

I wish I had been more articulate in my rambles because I have so much to say but it won’t come out in a controlled manner. There are so many parts to this. Fake service dogs have the potential to cause damage to legitimate service dogs either indirectly or directly. They can cause harm by making business owners worried about having dogs in their establishments because one of the fakes behaved badly or peed or crapped on the floor. Or, a fake service dog that isn’t well-socialized might attack a real service dog simply because they are sharing the same space. These fakes are being stressed out by being put in this situation, and their owners have no idea what harm they’re causing.

Also, I’m afraid that the pendulum of acceptance of service animals might swing in the opposite direction. After the initial fight to prove that service dogs can be in public spaces, people became very accepting of them, and if they made a mistake or did something mildly inappropriate like sniff someone in a moment of weakness, most people didn’t say much because most often, the dog’s behaviour was excellent. Now, I’m afraid that if my dog commits an infraction at all, we may reach a point where her legitimacy may be questioned. I’m not saying that I let her get away with murder because I can and those days will be gone, but I’m saying that because of the fakes, we will be under a microscope even more than we already are.

I wish they had offered some actual pointers to business owners instead of the message of “there are fakes, what are ya gonna do about it?” I guess they mentioned that actual service dogs don’t bark and run around unleashed and such, but there wasn’t anything beyond that. After I tweeted out the news report, a friend asked what would be a polite question to ask. The ones I thought of resembled the ones recommended by the ADA in the states. Is the dog a service dog? What tasks has the dog been trained to do to help with a disability? To be brief, you could ask the person what the dog does for them. Then the person can talk about the dog’s job instead of having to talk about their disability and medical condition. Hopefully this would also work for people with invisible disabilities so they don’t get the embarrassing comments like “You don’t look disabled, why do you have a service dog?” I think anyone who has a canine walking along beside them should have a response to the question of what their dog does that preserves their dignity at the ready because there are going to be questions. It is inevitable. It is something service dog handlers have to accept as soon as we decide to become service dog handlers. Also, the answer can’t be “He makes me feel good.” I know there are actual tasks that some dogs do to help with anxiety, but the handler should say what the dog actively does to help ease stress, such as watching out for people coming around corners or helping the person find an exit from a crowded room if they get overwhelmed. If business owners learn how to differentiate the good answers from the crap, and only ask when they’re not so sure, I think this might help. Finally, business owners need to know that, whether the service dog is legitimate or not, if it’s behaving badly, dog and handler can be given the boot. I always joke that even if I’m allowed to shop anywhere I choose, as soon as I start punching people and defiling or stealing property, I would be escorted out post haste.

It would also prevent a situation that happened to me at Walmart last summer. I walked into the store, and was immediately told that there was a pit bull in the store and that I should go wait at the courtesy desk or they should get my items for me. I asked if it seemed like the pit bull-like dog was a service dog, who knows if it was actually a pit bull, and they said no. I asked if they allow pets in the store, because if they don’t, pit bull and owner should be asked to leave. Their response was they don’t feel like they can ask anyone to leave. I was ushered to courtesy and asked what I came for, but I had a rather complicated list. I eventually persuaded someone to go with me and keep an eye out for the dog. I knew I was taking a big risk, but I felt I shouldn’t be treated like a second-class citizen while this person, who they couldn’t even locate, was wandering through the store. Who knows how long I would have been standing in the courtesy area? We got through the store just fine, but the point is that staff at Walmart had no idea how to handle the situation, except to put hands over ears and go “La la la la, everything will be fine if we just put our heads in the sand and hope for the best.”

I didn’t like the final line about how people are going to develop a licensing standard and people have to prove they need a service dog. Hmmm. That sounds a lot like this proposed service dog standards garbage that won’t do anybody any favours. It also sounds a lot like a pendulum swinging the other way. Once again, legitimate service dog handlers will be the ones that will have to jump through more hoops than they already do.

I’m glad a story was done on this topic, and I’m glad I was part of it. I have had people I barely know say they saw it on the news, so it grabbed some attention for sure. I wish she had pronounced my name correctly though, especially since she had me say and spell it. Oh well, lots of people get my name wrong. I could think of way worse things to screw up. I hope it starts some kind of dialog with the right people so no group of handlers gets screwed by the outcome, and business owners don’t feel so powerless.

An Updated Ironic

Finally, somebody got Alanis Morissette to admit that nothing about Ironic is. Well, unless we consider that the fact that there is no irony to be found is perhaps itself the irony.

But anyway, while James Corden was at it, he also got her to update the song to reflect some of the issues facing society today.

An old friend sends you a Facebook request
You only find out they’re racist after you accept
There’s free office cake on the first day of your diet
It’s like they announce a new iPhone the day after you buy it
And isn’t it ironic, don’t you think?
It’s like swiping left on your future soulmate
It’s a Snapchat that you wish you had saved
It’s a funny tweet that nobody faves
And who would’ve thought it figures
It’s a traffic jam when you try to use Waze
A no-smoking sign when you brought your vape
It’s 10,000 male late-night hosts when all you want is just one woman, seriously!
It’s singing the duet of your dreams, and then Alanis Morissette shouting at you
And isn’t it ironic, don’t you think?
A little too ironic, and yeah I really do think
It’s like you’re first class on a Southwest plane
Then you realize that every seat is the same
It’s like Amazon but your package never came
And who would’ve thought it figures
It’s like Netflix but you own DVDs
It’s a free ride but your Uber’s down the street
It’s singing “Ironic,” but there are no ironies
And who would’ve thought it figures