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Reign Update

I watched the series finale of Reign the other night.  Wow!  They moved fast!  No sooner had Lord Darnley been killed did John Knox and his cronies march in there and arrest Mary.  A minute later, we were in 1587 at Mary’s execution.  So much for Mary’s marriage to Bothwell, captivity and the Babington Plot!  The series got seventy-eight episodes total, and I wish they could have had a couple shows to adequately portray Mary’s demise.  So instead, Elizabeth becomes the super-villain!

Mary leaves her infant son, now King James to be raised by his uncle, the Earl of Moray.  On this show, the earl is a noble figure, Mary’s right-hand man.  In history, the Earl of Moray is the main source of Mary’s problem.  He is very much like the John Knox character on the show and forces Mary’s abdication and flight into England.  But the show had to go the simple route of a hot good guy and Elizabeth being evil!

The scene with grown up King James meeting with Elizabeth, pleading for his mother’s life, is the one that really got me.  Elizabeth gives King James the choice – his mother’s life or the English throne when Elizabeth dies.  Said meeting never took place.  Additionally, Elizabeth didn’t name her successor until her deathbed.  She was a smart lady and naming her successor would have compromised her.  The idea that she gave the King of Scotland a choice like this is preposterous.  James then chastises Elizabeth for being weak and afraid of Mary.  Who cares?  Elizabeth lives and fosters the Golden Age of England.

Unfortunately, the show didn’t address the Babington Plot.  Although Mary was set up, there was a letter in her own hand authorizing her supporters to assassinate Elizabeth.  Again, Elizabeth had no choice.  She had to execute her rival, but the show didn’t acknowledge it since it didn’t fit into the “heroine Mary” narrative.

Twitter was a dream on Friday night.  People were tweeting, “Elizabeth, you b****!”  Elizabeth probably was that for many ones, but don’t attack her for protecting her realm.

Historical shows/films, due to time constraints or whatever, often change history but not to the point where they change a person’s character.  The only other one I can think of is Anne Boleyn in The Other Boleyn Girl.  Don’t even get me started on that one.  Even The Tudors and Braveheart, riddled with historical inaccuracies, didn’t change the characterization of the subjects.  They may have changed some of the surrounding details but not the actual person.

We live in a world where people think Abraham Lincoln was the first president of the United States and chocolate milk comes from brown cows.  Unfortunately, people think what they see on a historical show is fairly accurate, and this show really missed the mark on one of history’s strongest women.  Like it or not, Mary, Queen of Scots had it coming to her and much of it was her fault.

P.S. Mary, Queen of Scot’s execution was a signal to Catholic Europe to attack England aka the Spanish Armada.  Therefore, Elizabeth’s England defeated the Armada in 1588, not before Mary’s death as portrayed on the show.  I had to let that out.

P.S.S. If you want a good movie on Mary, Queen of Scots and Elizabeth, please see Mary, Queen of Scots starring Vanessa Redgrave as Mary and Glenda Jackson as Elizabeth.  Although there are some inaccuracies, such as scenes where the two queens meet, they don’t change the story.

 

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The LCD

One of the greatest experiences of my childhood was visiting the Tower of London with my family.  That day, history came alive and a lifelong passion was born.  When I returned with my husband in 2012, I was a little bit disappointed in my experience.  While the great structures were still there, many of the exhibits had been “dumbed-down” to make them more interactive.  I really didn’t need to vote on who I believed murdered the Princes in the Tower.  This did nothing to enhance my experience; I didn’t learn anything.  In fact, having the voices of little boys shout “Uncle!?!” actually detracted from my experience.

The same thing happened at Hampton Court.  We rented the audio tour, and what we got was a make-believe, short story about Katherine Parr’s wedding day to Henry VIII.  I would have preferred a straightforward audio tour.  A lot of us, even as children, don’t need all the bells and whistles to make something interesting.  Being in a site with as much history as Hampton Court was riveting enough.

Above Left: Exhibit in question in the Bloody Tower at the Tower of London.  I don’t have a problem with this display but there was an area where you can vote who you think killed the princes.  WHO CARES WHAT I THINK!?!?!  Above Right: Me at Hampton Court in the Haunted Gallery where Henry VIII’s fifth queen, Catherine Howard, ran screaming for the king to spare her life.  Stories like this are fascinating unlike the make-believe audio tour we had!

Unfortunately, this is just a small, personal example of how society caters to the lowest common denominator.

Another example – when I call to schedule a doctor’s appointment, I am often treated like I’m disengaged and unimportant.  I have to fight to get what I need.  My husband, who has experience in this field, says it because they see so many who don’t give a damn about their health and don’t listen to the advice of their doctors.  Just because other people don’t care doesn’t mean that I don’t.  I’ve never heard of just not showing up for an appointment, but apparently it happens multiple times per day!  When I go in for my visit, the doctor is usually delighted that I’m healthy and engaged in my healthcare.

It’s hard to find a real news broadcast anymore.  Respectable news programs show youtube clips as news.  They report what some clown says on Twitter as fact, and then it turns out to be wrong.  You would be hard-pressed to find many people in my generation who know the actual news, and I’m not talking about Keeping Up With the Kardashians.  I’m sure the average person knows what craziness Donald Trump tweeted early this morning, but do they know what is going on with North Korea or ISIS?

I’m not trying to be political here, but this is concerning.  I’m tired of living in a world where we cater to the uniformed.  We live in a nation where a lot of people think Lena Dunham and the Kardashians have all the answers.

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The News Isn’t the News

The Today Show is my morning news program of choice.  I believe it has the right balance of news and pop culture, plus it is hosted by credible news-people (even Carson Daly has paid his dues over the years).  Say what you want about Matt Lauer, but the man can conduct an interview.

On Monday, March 17th, his co-host, Savannah Guthrie, announced that she was married the previous weekend and four months pregnant with her first child.  That is wonderful news, and she probably felt compelled to share it with the viewers as she would start showing soon.  But that should have been it.

Every day that week, there was a story about Savannah’s pregnancy,  I went to the NBC News website, and it was one of the top stories.  It was being featured like it was news rather than an entertainment story.  I understand that she is one of their people, but IT IS NOT NEWS!  We had major news that week – 239 missing people on flight MH 370, the Crimean Crisis, the Oscar Pistorius Trial, even March Madness, and this is supposed to be on the same level?  Save it for the Kathie Lee & Hoda hour (which is awesome, btw) where viewers go to get entertainment news.

I thought news programs were supposed to keep people informed of what’s going on in the world.  I guarantee you more people know about Savannah’s pregnancy that about our issues with Russia.

While I’m at it, there is so much out there that is reported that isn’t news.  Respected news organizations need to stop using Twitter as a “source.” As Stephen Colbert said in a recent episode about a controversial tweet, “A web editor I’ve never met posts a tweet in my name on an account I don’t control, outrages a hashtag activist, and the news media gets 72 hours of content.”

It isn’t news that the POTUS filled out a tournament bracket or partied with Jay-Z and Beyonce last night.  Tell me what he is doing to fix the ObamaCare mess or deal with Putin.  I don’t care what happened with one of the Real Housewives or Kim Kardashian – this is what E! Channel is for!

This is the very reason we we stopped watching GMA.  What a downgrade since the days of Diane Sawyer and Charles Gibson (Michael Strahan – if that’s happens OMG).  It became more about the anchors than the news.  I am afraid The Today Show might be following the same path.  As someone with a journalism degree, I am tired of hiring celebrities and entertainment people as newscasters.

Legend Barbara Walters, who is retiring later this spring said, “The kinds of interviews I did all these years, nobody wants them anymore.  You have three minutes of a morning show.”

I’m not picking on Savannah Guthrie – my criticism is aimed at the producers of The Today Show and NBC.   If they must promote her pregnancy ad nauseum, perhaps do a public interest story about health complications, diet and exercise, or healthy weight gain.  Really, is the general public becoming so vapid that it no longer cares about hard news?

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Sometimes I Feel Like I Live in Grand Central Station

In September 2011, I made on of the biggest mistakes of my life.  I got a smart phone.  I thought I needed for work, and it was helpful but at the expense of my peace of mind.  I became addicted and felt like I was always on-call.  If I didn’t respond to a text/email instantly, I felt like a jerk.  It drove my husband nuts.  A new co-worker referred to smart phones as “golden handcuffs,” and she couldn’t have been more right.

I first used a cell phone back in high school.  My dad would loan me his when I went out, and it was for emergencies only.  Then, in college, I got my own phone, which I still used for calling only.  I miss those days.

Somewhere between 2006-2012 it got out of control.  Now, I walk across campus, and people are texting, tweeting, or listening to music on their phones.  Hell, people don’t even call each other anymore – they text.  It is so impersonal; now wonder we are becoming socially inept.

I’ll be the first to admit that I love to play on facebook when I’m waiting for an appointment or read twitter while riding the bus.  But, I am am consciously making an effort to end my addiction to my phone.  I put my phone away at meals.  I disabled my emails on a vacation to Las Vegas last fall.  I set parameters with work and made it clear that I would not take emails or phone calls after hours except during deadlines.  It works – there is nothing that cannot wait until 8:30 the next morning.

With that said, I really do value my phone as a safety device.  If I have car trouble, I know help is only a call way.  Phones even have tracking devices now, which are hugely helpful but hopefully never needed.

I’m trying to use my phone mainly just for calling and limit internet surfing/facebook checking to when I’m at an actual computer.  While I’m not perfect, I am making strides.  I don’t want to miss life because I’m too worried about what’s happening on my phone.  Perhaps I will make a new friend or smile at someone who needs a friendly face.  Who knows?

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It’s Killing Me

I have always considered myself a loner.  In high school, I never fit in with a “group.”  In college, I didn’t join a sorority and had a small circle of friends.  I’ve always been very comfortable with myself as an individual.  The one community I have always felt a part of is the college football world.  As a kid, I would rather watch football with my dad than hang out with my peers.  My various positions with Miami Football from 2003-2012 further linked me with this fraternity.

This post isn’t about my love for the Miami Hurricanes or “what’s the matter with kids today?”  It’s just an observation.

So, my beloved Hurricanes were recently playing a heavily outmatched opponent and were winning handily towards the end of the game.  They were about to punch another one in, too.  The opponent’s defense then made a nice tackle.  The individual who made the play then pointed at the crowd and put his index finger to his lips as to shh the spectators.  Huh?  Later, another person on the losing team did the “feed me” gesture after a nice defensive stop.  What?

When did college football become an individual sport?  I’m all for celebrating big plays (I went to The U, after all), but your team is losing!  This isn’t the time to celebrate you.

It is my observation that many college athletes no longer have pride in their team.  This is just a stopping point on the way to the NFL.  Just look at the divas at USC.  It is more important to a lot of guys to end up on a highlight reel that to win a championship.  So many guys would rather make a big hit than a sound tackle.  It’s killing me.

Unfortunately, in our current society, everyone thinks he or she is a celebrity because he has a twitter account (irony: as I write a blog).  When fifty-year-old men are following seventeen-year-olds on twitter, no wonder those kids get a big head.  For so many kids, their profile on rivals.com is more important than their team.  Everybody is desperate for attention and instant gratification.

A very obvious example of this is Johnny Manziel.  While he might be a fantastic player, his behavior shows he doesn’t give a flying you-know-what about anyone but himself.  It’s all about the celebrity of being “Johnny Football.”

Character and intelligence need to go hand-in-hand with talent.  Just look at Kenny Dorsey, my favorite player of ALL TIME (more on him another day).  In fact, look at the Hurricanes’ roster in the early 2000s – most of those guys weren’t blue-chippers coming in, but they worked their way up to it.  They worked hard as a team.  And when the five-stars came in and thought they were bigger than the team, that’s when it fell apart.

The cliche is that there is no “i” in team, but it appears there certainly is a “me.”

Update: USC played Notre Dame in what is each school’s biggest rivalry game of the season.  With less than a minute left, USC turned over the ball on downs and was obviously going to lose.  A couple of the WRs were chatting and walking off the field with smiles on their faces.  Were they making plans for when they got home to LA?

As Keyshawn Johnson says, “C’mon, man.”  This is the biggest game of the season and they have smiles on their face after a loss.  Their heads should have been in their hands.

QB Cody Kessler said after the game, “It really sucks that we lost, but we gave it a good effort.”  He is not worthy to be the leader of that team.  Petros Papadakis and “the worst USC team in history” fought harder.

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