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Holly Post: Frankenstein, MD

PBS Digital Studios takes its first foray into scripted webseries today with Frankenstein, MD.  Formatted as a vlog, it follows modern day almost-Dr. Victoria Frankenstein (@vfrankmd) and her long-suffering assistant Iggy through some sketchy experiments as they attempt to achieve the impossible.  Think of it as Ban Bossy and Girls & STEM gone a bit wonky.  


The first three episodes are fun and fast-paced.  They have enough science to keep you interested, but not so much that you get utterly lost.  Think Futurama on DVD with the commentary turned on.  

 

Girls are getting their STEM on with much greater visibility of late. Lands’ End was recently pressured into introducing a line of science-themed T-shirts for girls after a frustrated mom’s letter went viral.   Even Lego is getting into the action with a Research Institute set populated exclusively by female minifigs—-and not a drop of pink in sight.  For the record, they have a pretty entertaining Twitter account too.  

 

 

I’m excited for this series, not just because it shows smart women learning from mistakes, but because this is a new direction for broadcasting.  PBS Digital Studios is committed to being at the forefront of a new frontier in entertainment.  This means that instead of waiting for viewers to come to them, they’re going where the viewers are.  Viewers like you.



—-hmh

Why I Love PBS Reason #131: Bones of the Buddha

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Like most people, I did my teenage religious rebellion. One of the paths I explored was Buddhism. Tibetan, of course. One of my friends pointed out that every religion I explored was polytheistic. I never rebelled far enough to try monotheism.

I was never a really good Buddhist. The whole moderation thing doesn’t work well when you are a teenager.

But I have always liked the religion, or the philosophy at least.

 

One of the things I like is that it was started by a normal guy. Or as normal a guy as a prince can be.  I think that makes it approachable. If a normal guy can do that, than I can achieve great things too.

Starting my own religion hasn’t worked out well.  There are only two followers to Pientology.

 

A lot of times, I think that I will just fade away. That when I am gone, no one will remember me.  Most of the time, I am ok with that.

 

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2500 years later, more people have heard of Buddha than pretty much any other figure.

 

It is a little funny that this guy who walked away from his palace is remembered in shrines and temples that are basically palaces.  He turned away from jewels, and one of his tombs is full of jewels.

 

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Just goes to show.


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Holly Post: Robin Williams & Pioneers of Television

Robin Williams took his own life today, a victim of severe depression.  Williams built a career on resembling a television for which someone was sitting on the remote, offering rapid fire moments of chaotic brilliance in hopes that something will stick.  

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Regular Pretty Boss fans will know that I briefly majored in television at Columbia College of Chicago, and studied television from birth.  While I loved the medium in general, what I truly loved was comedy.  Comedy is liberating and controlling at the same time.  And knowing you can hold a group of people in the palm of your hand is a power you learn early.  It’s also a high.  You’ll do anything to maintain it, even when it exhausts you.  

PBS’ Pioneers of Television explored Robin Williams and his contemporaries in their episode Acting Funny.  They didn’t dwell on the drugs or the darkness or any of the unpleasantness people don’t want to admit lies just below the surface.  Just that gung-ho spirit of fearlessness.  The truth is that comedians are sometimes deeply unhappy people.  It’s a cliche, but the nugget of truth remains.  If you don’t learn how to punch the clock and leave it on the stage, the need for laughs consumes you.  If you’ve learned how to do it, and your fans won’t let you, the ensuing resentment consumes you.  Either way, you’re a commodity.  


Robin Williams was 63 years old.  He was an Academy Award winner, a husband, a father, a recovering addict, and beloved by millions.  But tonight the stage is silent.  

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Need help? In the U.S., call 1-800-273-8255

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline


—hmh

Why I Love PBS Reason #53: Deadliest Volcanoes

Our Editor-in-making-stuff-happen is currently in Panama. Since her last trip resulted in teh total economic and infrastructural collapse of an island in the Philippines, all of Holly’s friends have been taking bets on how nature will hang a “DO NOT ENTER” sign on Central America. most have said stuff like political insurrection or environmental catastrophe stemming from the widening of the canal.

I have my money on volcano.  Not as much because there is a threat of volcanic eruption in Panama. More because from my safe home in southern Arizona, volcanoes are friggin awesome! Not just for the virgin sacrificing potential either.

 

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They are like a Michael Bay wet dream.  And for a girl who loves big explosions why yes, I was raised by a firefighter and military people, why do you ask? volcanoes are the best.

 

The only volcano I really need to worry about is Yellowstone,

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and if that blows, I am dead right away.  I just hope I have time to get into a cool position so when archaeologist find me in a few thousand years, my petrified ash-body isn’t an embarrassment.

 

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With over 1500 active volcanoes in the world, this is really something you need to think about.  Everyone should have a zombie survival plan and a volcanic eruption pose.

 

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The thing with volcanoes though, is that no two are alike. So predicting when one is going to erupt, or what kind of eruption, is nearly impossible. There are some pretty brave/insane scientists who are trying to do just that though.


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Why I Love PBS Reason #46: Vicious

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I am not sure how I feel about this show. I say that after watching the first three episodes back to back.

 

There are so few shows where a couple have been together for as long as Freddy and Stuart. Forty eight years is a long time in reality, let alone on television.  Not just because tv doesn’t like showing characters who are that old.

 

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These guys are douches. Seriously.  But they are douches who are happy and love each other.

 

Which I guess makes them more like a real couple than most tv couples.


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It may also remind me a little of my relationship with my friends…

Why I Love PBS Reason #45: The 4th of July

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I posted yesterday about my annual 4th of July ritual.  

It is a wonderful movie, and has more than just wonderful music, some of it that will break your heart.  It also has some great points about the importance of America.

 

America is more than just a landmass.  It is an idea.  It is easy for those of us who were born and raised here to forget that idea.  

 

I had a client come tell me that his wife’s birthday is the 4th of July, and how excited she was to be sharing that with America.

I had another client, who is learning to speak English, and struggles to read, carry around a copy of the Declaration of Independence and take it to her English teachers to help her figure out the words she didn’t know.  How many American’s have read the Declaration?

I had a client ask me if it was ok for him to celebrate the 4th of July, because one of his (American) neighbors told him he couldn’t, because he wasn’t American.

 

These are people who are hoping and praying that the idea of America is real.  Not a land of milk and honey, but a place where they can be safe. Where they can work and raise their families and not worry that someone is going to come into their home at night and kill them all because of their religion, or language, or ethnic group.

 

It is hard for me to tell them they are safe, when so many news stories say that they are not.

When they turn on the news and see pics like this, where people are telling children to go back where their lives are in danger.

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Children who fled what they fled, being told by Americans that they are not welcome.  

 

Americans who have forgotten the idea.

 

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In case any of our readers here at Pretty Boss Shows have forgotten, this is that idea:
Give me your tired, your poor,

your huddled masses yearning to breathe free

 

Lately, we have, as a nation, seemed to forget, or at least ignore, that idea.  Political leaders, social leaders, leaders in government.  They are making decisions for WE THE PEOPLE that seem aimed to divide us, not bring us together.  That are legalizing discrimination and hatred.

 

I know that the people, those huddled masses, haven’t all forgotten.  But sometimes, it is hard to stand up and say

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But you can say that.  You can stand up against the hate and the fear.  

Help us Send Horton to DC.

 

Watch more PBS.


And remember the idea of America.

Holly Post: They’ll Never Believe This Back at the Shire…

With all our talk of sending Horton to DC (seriously, today more than ever there are some Supreme Court Justices who could use it.), I’ve had elephants on the brain.

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In fact, yesterday I went to a baby shower for an elephant.  Semba, one of two mature female elephants at Tucson’s Reid Park Zoo, is a couple weeks away from having her third calf.  She’s been cooking the hefty tot for nearly two years, and she seems to be looking forward to going on maternity leave.  She even has a registry!

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Sex in the Wild is a four part series that explores pregnancy and even family planning among elephants, orangutans, kangaroos, and dolphins, from “Did it hurt?  When you fell from Heaven?” to “YOU DID THIS TO ME!”  It seems Botswana, dealing with a pachyderm population explosion even employs chemical birth control.  (At this time, Hobby Lobby does not employ elephants.)  

Yeah, I went there.  I’m not happy about the Supreme Court’s decision that corporations and cell masses are people, but the women stocking their shelves and bleeding to death are not.  I can’t change the decision, but I can help people affected by this decision find other jobs.  I’ve offered my resume building services to any Hobby Lobby employee now looking for new work with a company that treats them with dignity and respect.  And to all those people claiming it’s this corporation’s right to practice their sincerely held religious beliefs, I humbly offer a Double-Double with a side of Animal Style Fries.  In-n-Out practices their sincerely held fundamentalist values by giving their employees a livable wage and non-intrusive benefits, and by giving back to the community.  

I don’t often get too preachy, but as Cerridwen reminds us, it’s our blog and we can say what we want.  If this decision makes you feel helpless, I get it, but you’re not helpless.  You can BE one of the helpers.  Help someone get a decent job that doesn’t want to Hobby Lobby their hoo-ha.  Send a copy of Horton to Chief Justice Roberts (then send us a selfie!)  Or donate a gift to Semba.   

WE ARE HERE.

—-hmh









Why I Love PBS Reason #500: Stonewall Uprising

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It has been a month of anniversaries. Freedom Summer last week, and now Stonewall.

Forty Five years ago yesterday, the gay rights movement really began.

 

I think it is easy to forget some of these things in modern society. It is easy to forget that in living memory, the world was a very different place, a very scary place if you did not subscribe to the status quo.

 

But for 6 days in 1969, people said no. They said they would not be beaten down any longer.

Can you imagine that? I can’t.  I can’t imagine being afraid of the police, being afraid of your neighbors and family and community.  And I can’t imagine being pushed past fear to first, riot, then form a movement that is felt today.

 

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Children, turned out of their homes, came together to try and make the world a better place.

 

And because of what they started, every week now, it seems, there are more and more victories for equality.

 

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More than 6o years ago, people fought for equality based on the color of their skin. That fight lives on.

More than 50 years ago, people fought for equality in the voting booth. That fight lives on.

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And more than 40 years ago, people fought for equality based on who they were, and who they loved. That fight lives on.

 

Even though it is sad that the fight has to go on, it is good to know that there are people out there, white or black, Democrat or Republican, gay or straight, who will fight for equality, in every form.

 

That is why Pretty Boss Shows is pushing the Horton Project.  A simple way to show the world, and those who talk to the world, that equality is important, no matter what. That doing the right thing is important, no matter what.

 

Help the fight live on.  Take part.  Send Horton to DC.

 

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Why I Love PBS Reason #55: Freedom Riders

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This is the perfect weekend to launch our Horton Goes to DC quest.

Fifty years ago today, three American’s were murdered in an American town. Their crime was to ask ALL Americans to stand up for the ideals that we claim: freedom and justice for all.

These three men, James Earl Chaney, Michael Shwerner and Andrew Goodman were in Mississippi to register people to vote.  They became martyrs for that cause. A cause that is in great threat once again.

 

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America has always had this great promise.  A promise that we have never lived up to.  But that doesn’t mean we should stop trying.

 

In the summer of 1961, hundreds of young Americans took to the busses to force our society to live up to that ideal.

 

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They were abandoned by their government, by those who had sworn to serve and protect. They were beaten, burned, arrested.  And eventually triumphant.

 

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They showed all future civil rights movements the way.

 

And in an age where we are once again struggling with the unfinished work of our great nation; where we struggle with the ideals of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness; where we struggle with the idea of liberty and justice for all, it is good to look back at what brought us here.  And at what gives us hope to go on.

 

In Freedom Riders, JFK is quoted as saying “Those who do nothing invite shame”.

And sometimes, shame is a motivating emotion.  

 

I prefer what Rep. John Lewis said: The way of nonviolence, the way of love, the way of peace.

 

And that is what Horton is about: love.

 

It doesn’t matter what your political ideology is. All that matters is that you do the right thing, because it is the right thing to do.

 

So, 50 years after a group of students showed us the way, let’s remind those who have have been asked to represent us in Washington the message of Horton.

 

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