And Just Like That

And Just Like That

And Just LIke That

And Just Like That the gals from Sex And The City have turned into The Golden Girls! Given all the differences between being 55 in 1985 and being 55 in 2022, perhaps we should call Carrie, Charlotte and Miranda The Silver Girls. Lol.

I’ve been watching reruns of The Golden Girls on Hulu and keeping up with the Sex And The City Reboot on HBO Max. Granted, the reboot is not as good as the original series, but it does provide some fascinating insights into aging in the 2020s.

In the late 1980s Blanche, Dorthy and Rose were in a new phase of their lives. After her husband died, Blanche needed roommates. Enter Dorothy and Rose. Dorthy was divorced and Rose was widowed. All three of them had children who were grown and out on their own. Some of their kids even had kids of their own. These Middle Aged women found friendship in each other in a time that would have otherwise been lonely for them.

In the 2020s Carrie has been widowed, but she is fine with living alone. She has the financial Independence to have her own apartment. Once Big bites the big one, she sells her old apartments and gets a brand new apartment.

Miranda is married and has nearly grown son who still lives with her. Like Miranda, Charlotte started her family later in life. She is still married and the mother of two teenagers. She is in the role that traditionally would have been filled by someone in their 30s. But in the past 30 some years, women have been able to put off childbearing. Science and society has given women more options over the years.

And the fashion! The Golden Girls dressed fashionably. But their fashion was always a downplayed version of what younger people were wearing. Clothes for women in their 40s, 50s and 60s were more modest. Although they were allowed to look pretty, they were not allowed to look youthful and sexy.

While The Golden Girls were still limited by the society they lived in, they were at least being acknowledged. Since Television began, women and middle aged people have largely been ignored. They did not get their proper recognition or representation in media. The Golden Girls was revolutionary when it aired in the late 80s and early 90s.

With Sex And The City in the early 2000s, women enjoyed seeing characters they could identify with on screen. These women were sexy and single and—gasp—older than 25. While men and sex were important to them, it was their friendship that gave them their strength. These women didn’t define themselves as wives and mothers. They had apartments, careers and active sex lives. They lived like men in many ways, but kept their femininity. It was revolutionary when it first aired.

The women of Sex and The City were originally in their late 30s, but now they are now in their mid 50s. They are the same age as Dorothy and Blanche in The Golden Girls, but they sure as don’t look like them. The actresses who portray them have had plastic surgery and/or other procedures done. They don’t look like older women. Only Miranda sports traditionally white or gray hair. Carrie keeps her blond locks and only wears glasses occasionally. Charlotte still has a full head of luscious brunette hair. They wear the latest fashions and are still fiercely independent. Essentially, the gals of Sex And The City are merely slightly older versions of themselves. They haven’t changed their looks or behavior despite the fact that twenty years have passed since we first fell in love with them.

While, I like the fact that society no longer views middle aged women as disposable or replaceable, I still take issue with the struggle to still look young. Most plastic surgery just looks like work has been done. Charlotte is a prime example of this. Plastic Surgery just makes the person look like they’ve had plastic surgery. It doesn’t really make them look younger. It is wonderful to not have to modify our fashion or sense fun as we age, but we should also recognize that looking our age is not a bad thing. Society needs to embrace the aging process instead of pretending it doesn’t exist.

The good news is that women have come a long way in 35 years. The bad news is that we still have a ways to go. Despite the fact the gals of The Golden Girls looked old, I love their honest and witty conversations. These are women who have led full lives and well-round individuals. They aren’t just representations of what some man thought or felt women should be like. That honesty and wit is something I love about Sex and The City as well.

And Just Like That, the reboot of Sex and The City, is missing this witty dialog. It is still honest, but it is not as well written as the original Sex and The City series. I still like catching up with my favorite characters and seeing how their lives continued even if the show isn’t as good as the original. It proves that life doesn’t end at 30 or 40 or even 50. It just continues to evolve and change. Largely, the sadder tone of the reboot has to do with the times we live in—not sadness of aging. It is difficult to write with the same lighthearted touch that went into the original given all that has happened in the world over the past few years. If the reboot happened a few years ago, I am sure the tone would have been much different.

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Diary Titles 2021

January 1, 2021 Surreal

January 15, 2021 AI

January 28, 2021 Red Angel

February 14, 2021 Heroine’s Quest

February 28, 2021 Anti-Hero

March 14, 2021 Fiery Cross

March 16, 2021 Hireth

April 10, 2021 News of The World

April 27, 2021 Mystery Box

May 14, 2021 Parle Vous Francias

May 31, 2021 Transitions

June 12, 2021 Marauders

June 27, 2021 Dark Horse

July 4, 2021 Firework

July 15, 2021 Marvel

July 31, 2021 A Million Little Things

August 12, 2021 Still Breathing

August 25, 2021 Legacies

September 6, 2021 911

September 24, 2021 Shrill

October 12, 2021 Blackbirds

November 2, 2021 Dragonfest

November 19. 2021 Infinity Train

December 6, 2021 Arcane

December 18, 2021 The Wheel of Time

December 30, 2021 Colorado Springs

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The Vampire Diaries Postmortem

Vampire Diaries: A Postmortem

It is Halloween month and so I decided to re-watch all 8 Seasons of The Vampire Diaries (2009-2017). I read the books back in 1991 and 1992 when they came out and was excited to see a series based on them. It didn’t take long to realize that the series was going to become its own entity. It used the same characters, but changed the plot quite a bit.

Each Season had its own arch or theme, while the love triangle between Elena, Stefan and Damon played itself out through the whole of the series. The last two seasons focused more on the relationship between the brothers Salvatore since Nina Dobrev left before the end of the series.

Season 1 was all about Vampires. I enjoyed the initial meeting of the characters. Although I was upset at first that Elena wasn’t blond and that Caroline was more of a friend than an enemy, I grew to love them. Despite the show not meeting my expectations, I liked series overall. Instead of keeping Katherine and Klaus as part of the surprise ending, they introduced them early on. Then they created the Tomb Vampires to keep Stefan and Damon busy. There were no tomb vampires in the books. They are filler material. I kept waiting for them to introduce Meredith Fell and her ancestor Honoria Fell. Eventually, they made Meredith a doctor and Alaric’s love interest in Season 3, but they never mentioned Honoria.

Season 2 was all about Werewolves. In the climax of the books, we find out Tyler Lockwood is a Werewolf, as are a number of other residence of Fells Church, Virginia. In Mystic Falls, we are introduced to Mason Lockwood and find out about the all-powerful moonstone. While Klaus did use Caroline and Tyler to do his dirty work in the books, there was nothing about him wanting to break a curse using a moonstone. While I liked that they traded Elena’s little sister for a teenage brother named Jeremy and I liked Jenna, I did not like Isobel and Jonathan. Why did they feel a need to make Elena adopted? And why did her real Mom have to be a narcissistic vampire who abandoned her? What is up with all the shitty mothers in the series?

Season 3 was all about The Originals. The focus is on Klaus, his family and the creation of Hybrids. Hybrids are a combination of Werewolf and Vampire in a single person, like Klaus. We know little about Klaus from the books, except he was the one who turned Katherine and that he was an original. In the TV show we get a huge backstory and lots of siblings for our bad guy, which is cool. Only it turns out, Klaus is more of an anti-hero than a villain. And this is the Season we see Stefan’s history as a Ripper. I guess they needed to make him less of a one dimensional good guy. Oh, and Elena finally becomes a Vampire, like she does in the books.

Season 4 was all about Doppelgangers. Although I found this season a bit convoluted, I did enjoy the back story of the Doppelgangers. The story of Silas and Amara added depth to the overall mythology. I was surprised that they put Damon and Elena together, but with 8 long Seasons it was bound to happen. I held out hope she’d realize what she’d lost in Stefan. They also introduced the idea of The Hunters into the story, which I was not crazy about. I get Jeremy needed a hobby, but Vampire Hunter? Really?And how did it take 4 years for Elena and the gang to go through 2 years of High School? How did they even pass when they stopped attending classes on a regular basis at the beginning of the series?

Season 5 was all about Katherine and The Travelers. This was one of my least favorite seasons. It had nothing to do with the original series at all. Elena and the Gang go to college. There is this whole plot line about Whitmore’s experimenting on Vampires and torturing Damon. Then there are the Travelers. Body Jumpers can be found in various mythologies, but it seemed detached from the rest of the series. I was also so over Katherine and her ways. While I liked the introduction of her daughter, I didn’t like Katherine jumping into Elena. I wondered if they were inspired by The Return book by LJ Smith, published in 2009. If so, why didn’t they follow the books more closely?

Season 6 was all about The Gemini Coven. We were introduced to a new witch named Liv and her twin named Luke in Season 5. Later, we are introduced to Jo and her psycho twin Kai, short of Malachi. Kai is truly a frightening villain who relishes in making everyone suffer. There is this whole prison world thing, which felt a little too much like Ground Hog Day. The Twin Merging thing was weird. The presence of Lilly Salvatore felt forced. However, the wedding at the end shocked me and moved me to tears. I felt so bad for Alaric and everyone who died at Kai’s hands. Re-watching it, I kept screaming at everyone not to trust Kai. They should have just killed him ASAP.

Season 7 was all about The Heretics and Rayna/The Armory. They really should have ended the series in either Season 4 or Season 6, but no. They drug it out two more seasons and I kept watching. The bad guys are the Heretics for half the season and then it is just Julian and then it is Rayna. The Heretics are Witch-Vampire Hybrids, which weren’t supposed to exist. And Caroline is pregnant with Jo and Alaric’s twins? It was a creative way to write Candace King’s pregnancy into the script, but I wasn’t sure I bought it. When the twins make their appearance, I saw their importance in furthering the story. I warmed up to them eventually. Later, they would be essential to the spin-off Legacies. Anyway, I was incredibly bored with the whole Rayna and Armory plotline. I didn’t like Bonnie and Enzo as a couple. I just couldn’t grow to love Enzo as much as I’d grown to love Damon or even Klaus. They tried to soften him, but it felt forced. Did I mention I hated the time jumps? Yeah, the whole Season was a huge mess!

Season 8 was all about The Siren and tying up loose endings. I hated the Siren plot. It reminded me too much of True Blood and it just pained me to see Damon and Enzo suffer so much. I liked that they involved the twins into the plot though. I didn’t like that Stefan ended up with Caroline and Damon ended up with Elena. That is not how I saw the books going. I recognize that Damon and Elena had better chemistry on the show, but I fell in love with Stefan from the books and saw him getting his happy ending. It made me sad to see him die, even it was for the greater good. The very end of the series showing the characters reuniting in the afterlife reminded me of Lost. The last episode did move me even if I didn’t agree with how they ended everyone’s stories.

Overall, I liked the Supernatural Teen Soap. I was pleased that the show was more Urban Fantasy than its Gothic Grandfather Dark Shadows. It made it more relatable. The writers were good with redemption arcs and I like how they used the idea of a humanity switch. Most people are neither completely good nor completely evil. Bad people do good things and good people do bad things. The writers also had the task of making us like vampires—aka serial killers. For the most part, they were able to make the characters sympathetic. But above all else, the writers had killer taste in music. Even when the Season sucked, I loved the music. I often used the songs from the show in my own compilation mixes.

Some Favorite Songs From the Series: Obsession, Sleep Alone, Cut, A Girl Like Me, Youth Knows No Pain, Love Is Just Another Way To Die, Dance Me To The End of Love, Love Don’t Die, Come With Me Now, Do I Wanna Know, Up in Flames, Radioactive, This World, Hypnotic and many others!

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Legacies

Legacies

Legacies is the name of The Vampire Diaries and Originals spin-off. It follows Hope Mikaelson and her adventures at The Salvatore School for the supernatural. Hope is the Daughter of Klaus Mikaelson and Hayley Marshall from The Originals. Hope is a Tri-Byrd or a Witch, a Vampire and a Werewolf combined. The Salvatore School named for Stefan and Damon Salvatore from The Vampire Diaries. Alaric reprises his role as teacher and monster hunter. His Gemini Witch Daughters Lizzie and Josie also go to the school.

Think of Legacies as a combination of Harry Potter, Grimm and Fablehaven series. We have a boarding school like in Harry Potter, but it isn’t just Witches and Wizards that go there. Vampires and Werewolves are also welcome. Later, we find out there are Fairies and Phoenixes as well. Very little time seems to be spent studying or learning things from books. Hope has to battle a variety of monsters each week, which reminded me of Grimm. However, there is a bit of Supernatural sense of humor in the show. Her battles ultimately lead to the discovery of Malivore. Malivore is known as the Eater of the Dark. He effectively erases mythological creatures from existence. The tar pit portal reminded me of the Demon Prison of Fablehaven.

Overall, the series is a little more humorous and lighthearted than its predecessors, but there is still plenty of drama. I missed watching it when it originally aired, but have watched Seasons 1and 2 on Netflix the past couple of weeks and I am looking forward to Seasons 3 on Netflix and Season 4 on The CW this Fall!

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QUBO

QUBO

QUBO Logo

QUBO ran from 2006 to 2021. It began as a block of cartoons on NBC on Saturday mornings. Then it moved to a free digital over the air channel for kids. We discovered it when we purchased a digital antenna when we lived in Denver. It was a lifesaver when PBS Kids switched to regular PBS around 5pm each weekday. We didn’t get The Cartoon Network, Nickelodeon or Disney at the time, so PBS kids and QUBO was it from 2011 until 2013. Of course we got DVDs from the library, so the kids weren’t totally out of the loop on popular shows, but we weren’t able to watch new episodes.

QUBO aired reruns of older kid shows along with some of their own original programming. My kids enjoyed Jane and Dragon, Mona The Vampire, Madeline, 3-2-1 Penguins, Zula Patrol, Jacob Two Two, Where on Earth is Carmen Sandiego, The Magic School Bus, The Mysteries of Alfred The Hedgehog, Pipi Longstocking, Anne of Green Gables Animated Series and Sherlock Holmes in the 22nd Century. Occasionally they would watch Artzooka, Bob The Builder, Babar, Animorphs, Animal Atlas, Franklin, Pecola, Marvin the Tap Dancing Horse, Harry and His Bucket of Dinosaurs and The World of Richard Scary.

Jane and the Dragon was based off of a book by Martin Baynton. The Canadian-New Zealand cartoon was done in a unique style and was well written. The plot revolves around Jane, who is a red head adolescent girl who lives in the late 8th or early 9th century. Kippernia Castle in a small fictional kingdom called Kippernium located in southern England. According to the backstory explained in the opening theme song, Jane was being trained to become a Lady-in-waiting, but had always dreamed of becoming a knight. When the prince is kidnapped by a dragon, Jane sets out to slay the beast. When Jane brings the prince back, the king makes her a knight apprentice. Jane and the dragon end up becoming best friends.

Jacob Two-Two is a Canadian Cartoon as well. It was based on the books written by Mordecai Richler. The youngest of five children, Jacob got his ‘Two-Two’ nickname because he always had to say everything twice to be heard by his large family when he was smaller. Jacob does not repeat himself as often as an older kid, but still frequently falls back into this old habit. He inadvertently causes trouble because he always tells the truth. The plot usually revolves around some mystery Jacob Two-Two has to figure out or task he has to complete.

Mona the Vampire is a Canadian-French-Chinese children’s animated television series that was created by Sonia Holleyman. The series is based on a series of 1990s children’s books of the same name that was written and illustrated by Sonia Holleyman. The series follows the adventures of Mona Parker, who refers to herself as “Mona the Vampire”, as well as her two best friends, Lily Duncan (“Princess Giant”) and Charley Bones (“Zapman”), and her pet cat, Fang, as they imagine themselves confronting a new supernatural foe, or solving a supernatural mystery, in every episode, but there are always rational explanations for what they see.

3-2-1 Penguins! is an American-Canadian sci-fi computer-animated Christian children’s television series, initially launched on November 14, 2000 as a direct-to-video episode Twins Jason and Michelle are spending summer with their British Grandmum in The Poconos region of Pennsylvania. Grandmum has a collection of kitschy ceramic figurines, the most prized of which is four penguins in a rocket ship (a honeymoon gift from her deceased husband). In the first video, the twins accidentally drop the ship, but instead of breaking, it flies into the air and reveals the four penguins are actually the crew of a real spaceship. One of the twins is then pulled into the ship, using the crew’s Galeezle (shrinking) device, and taken on a galactic adventure. Zidgel, Midgel and Fidgel are the main penguins, along with Kevin.

Both Zula Patrol (American) and The Magic School Bus (Canadian-American) aimed to teach children science in a fun way. Zula Patrol, where the characters all travel in a space ship, explores astronomy and physics, while The Magic School Bus covers a wide range of subjects. In The Magic School Bus Miss Frizzle embarks on adventures with her class on the eponymous school bus. As they journey on their exciting field trips, they discover locations, creatures, time periods and more to learn about the wonders of science along the way.

Where On Earth is Carmen Sandiego, which is an American Cartoon, taught Geography and History, which was cool. Carmen Sandiego is an international thief and the head of V.I.L.E. Despite the name of her organization, she has a strong code of morals and only steals for the challenge of it. She was a former agent of the ACME Detective Agency. Carmen Sandiego is based on an 80s video game!

Sherlock Holmes in the 22nd Century is a British/American animated television series in which Sherlock Holmes is brought back to life in the 22nd century Set in the 22nd century in New London, Inspector Beth Lestrade of New Scotland Yard is chasing the grotesquely deformed French rogue geneticist Martin Fenwick, when she realizes that his companion is none other than the 19th century criminal mastermind, Professor James Moriarty. They go on to discover that this is not the original Moriarty, but is in fact a clone created from cells taken from his corpse, which Sherlock Holmes had buried in a Swiss ice cave. Lestrade knows that Holmes survived and actually lived to a ripe old age and further knows that his corpse is preserved in a glass-walled, honey-filled coffin in the basement of New Scotland Yard. She takes the body from the basement and delivers it to biologist Sir Evan Hargreaves (who looks just like Sir Arthur Conan Doyle) who has just invented a process of cellular rejuvenation. The biologist then uses his cellular rejuvenation technique to return life and youth to Holmes’s body so that the detective can again battle Moriarty. Holmes also returns to his Baker Street rooms, which had been preserved as a museum. Lestrade’s compu-droid reads the original Watson’s journals and assumes his name, face, voice and mannerisms in order to assist Holmes in both his crime-solving duties and his difficult assimilation to Great Britain in the 22nd century.

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Chasing The Scream

Chasing The Scream

by Johann Hari

Chasing The Scream

Chasing The Scream: The First and Last Days of the War on Drugs by Johann Hari came out in 2015. It was the inspiration for the Hulu movie Billie Holiday vs The United States. Hari questions whether or not he is an addict and decides to go searching for answers to questions he has. “Why did the drug war start, and why does it continue? Why can some people use drugs without any problems, while others can’t? What really causes addiction? What happens if you choose a radically different policy?”

Hari spent the next three years in search of answers, traveling across nine countries including: The United States, Canada, Great Britain, Mexico, Portugal, Switzerland, Sweden, Uruguay and Vietnam.

The book begins with Henry Anslinger, who began the War The On Drugs. Anslinger ran The Federal Bureau of Narcotics, which later became the DEA. The Bureau was originally set up to bust bootleggers during the Prohibition, but once Alcohol became legal again, Anslinger turned his attention to drugs. He targeted Billie Holiday, who had a well known Heroin habit. Hari sees Anslinger as a hypocrite with some misguided notions. It seems that Anslinger was more motivated to stay in business and keep his job then he was to truly end addiction. In fact, Anslinger would later develop his own Morphine habit.

The repercussions of prohibiting drugs were bad. Outlawing them created more problems than it solved. It drove thousands upon thousands of people to break the law in order to feed their addiction. It drove the business of dealing drugs to the mafia, to cartels and to gangs instead of letting doctors prescribe drugs legally. The War on Drugs created more crime instead of preventing it. For over 50 years the government struggled to keep drugs off the street, but the zero tolerance approached failed miserably.

In recent years, countries around the world began to ease their restrictions on drugs and started legalizing them. Places like the Netherlands and Portugal have seen a sharp drop in crime as soon as they stopped throwing people in jail for doing drugs. Once the governments began to regulate the flow of drugs, clinics replaced jails. Freely given assistance began to help the people in need and life improved greatly in those countries. The United States has slowly followed suit with a number of states legalizing marijuana, but we still have a long way to go.

As many as 90% of people out there have tried drugs, but only 10% of them will develop a long term habit or an addiction. While there is a chemical component to addiction, chemicals do not actually hijack our brain. Addiction is more psychological than physiological. The truth is addiction is adaption to external factors in life. It is not a character flaw or a weakness or a disease. It is not you, but the cage you live in.

The number one predictor of addiction is not genetics or personality, but childhood trauma. Childhood abuse and neglect increases the likelihood of addiction. Addiction is often born out of loneliness. If someone has strong family support or a close knit community they can rely on, they are less likely to become addicts.

When we punish those who do drugs, we isolate and alienate them and that only makes it worse. The current system of dealing with addiction is broken and downright backward. Negative consequences do not deter those who seek refuge in various illegal substances. Punishment, which includes shaming them, putting them in cages and making them unemployable, traps them in their addictions.

Hari comes to the compassionate conclusion that legalization is the best way to deal with drugs. People are going to do drugs no matter what, why not make it safe and secure for them? Why not give them the tools to help themselves rather than destroy their lives? Recovery from drug addiction must be a Social Recovery. It is not up to the individual to be strong all on their own. We need to create safe spaces for those who are struggling and provide support, not punishment. We must change how society treats drug addiction and drugs.

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YouTube

YouTube

YouTube

YouTube came out in 2005. At the time, I didn’t give it much though. It was mostly people uploading video clips of random things like cat videos and pranks. My oldest child was two and my youngest hadn’t been born yet, so I didn’t pay much attention to it. Several years went by before I checked it out.

Today YouTube has over 2 billion monthly users. 74% of adult use YouTube. It isn’t just for kids, although 80% of parents say their kids younger than 11 years old are watch YouTube frequently. Slightly more males watch YouTube than females, but it is pretty even. The US makes up 16% of all YouTube traffic, which is considerable. YouTube is second only to Facebook in terms of Social Media usage.

When I finally logged on and explored, I found that I loved the fact that I could watch all my favorite music videos via Vevo. It had been something like ten years since MTV had stopped playing videos and I had missed them. Later, I had a book publisher create a trailer for my book My Perfect Drug, which was pretty cool. I have been on YouTube, but I am not on it with any regularity. Despite that, I have become familiar with it because of my kids.

When my kids first got online I had them play games on the PBS Kids website or the Nickelodeon website. My daughter discovered Doll Divine and spent hours designing not just outfits, but characters.

It was probably 2014-2015 when they both discovered YouTube. Now they have it running in the background constantly. It reminds me of how when I am home alone that I put the TV on just to have some background noise. My kids no longer care about Disney, Nickelodeon or Cartoon Network. They don’t watch cable any longer. Instead, their entertainment is primarily YouTube these days, with some Netflix, Hulu and Disney + thrown in occasionally.

YouTube has evolved over the years and there are millions of channels run by people with a wide variety of interests and topics. My kids began by watching mostly Minecraft videos. They learned how to navigate the Minecraft Universe by watching other people play. Some of their favorites are ForgeLab, Fundy, Good Times with Scare, Grian, Iskall85, Jeracraft, Markiplier, MumboJumbo, Ph1LZA, Sbeev, TechnoBlade, TrixyBlox, WadZee and Xisumavoid.

This is no surprise given that there are over 200 million active gaming channels on YouTube. Minecraft videos are, by far and away, the most popular followed by Roblox.

Now my kids have expanded and diversified their YouTube experience. My oldest also watches videos about politics, cartoons, movie reviews, kill counts, cooking, doll making, crafts, LGBTQ topics, art, science, history and other things. My youngest watches a lot of science videos and cat videos.

Some of the YouTube Channels they subscribe to are: Actual Joke, Alex Myers, Amanda the Jedi, ASMR Bakery, Cinema Therapy, Corpse Husband, Creep Show Art, Cynic Snacks, David Seymour, Dollightful, Dominic Noble, Draw Free Show, Evan and Kaylen, How to Cook That, Illuninaughti, Jamie Dodger, Jazza, Jimmy Snow, Just Stop, Kathus, Kristina Maoine, Kiwi, Kyle Hill, Lavender Town, Legal Eagle, Lil Nas X, Love Gone Gulch, Observe, Philosophy Tube, Rach Loves Life, Saberspark, Sad Milk, Safiya and Tyler, Sam Collins, Samantha Lux, Titania, The Theorists, The Queer Kiwi, Thought Slime, Trix Mattel, Vizziepop’s Helluva Boss, Wild Spartanz, Xanderhal, Xian Jay Zhao and others.

I generally don’t watch these videos, but I hear all about them! My kids will tell me about their favorite content and discuss their favorite channels. I have become familiar with how YouTube works with the monetization and algorithms. I even helped my youngest create his own channel.

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Cable Conquers TV

Cable Conquers TV

Cable TV

Cable TV began in the 1940s and 1950s, but did not become the standard until the 1970s. In the 1970s we see the TV Top Box appearing in homes all over the world. Cable might have become bigger earlier, but the FCC believed that Pay-TV might harm the current broadcast television stations. ABC,CBS and NBC did not really suffer even when cable became standard.

Lack of original programming or lack of a sufficient production budget kept cable second rate for many years. In recent years, however, Cable TV programming has surpassed much of what the original broadcast stations have to offer. With more lenient rules and less regulations from the FCC, the Cable TV Station have more freedom to produce what the public wants. Sex, violence and profanity can be found not just on the Premium Channels these days, but on channels such as AMC and FX as well.

I remember getting Cable in the early 80s. We had 13 channels and then something like 35 and then 50. By the 1990s customers could purchase over 100 channels. Today, I’ve seen the numbers go up to about 1,000 channels. Early on, I enjoyed the likes of TBS, WGN, USA, Nickelodeon, The Discovery Channel, Lifetime Network, The Nashville Network, VH-1 and MTV.

There were a number of Home Shopping Networks that I actively ignored. I didn’t pay attention to News or Sport Networks either. I already did a whole blog on just Nickelodeon, so onto other channels now….

USA offered reruns of shows such as McGyver. Later, they offered new shows such as Covert Affairs (2010-2014) and La Femme Nikita (1997-2001). TBS offered reruns of shows like The Andy Griffith Show, Bewitched and I Dream of Jeannie in the 80s as well as original programs like Heaven Help Us. Now TBS reruns shows like Friends, 2 Broke Girls and The Big Bang Theory.

I used to watch The Nashville Network before it became Spike and then Paramount with my ex-husband in the late 1990s. On Sundays we’d watch Horsepower TV, Car and Driver Television, Shadetree Mechanic and Trucks! On the Discovery Channel we’d watch Monster House and Monster Garage. My ex-husband also loved Battlebots. I would sit down with the kids and watch Mythbusters when it was on the Discovery Channel in the early 2000s as well.

In the 90s and early 2000s I remember getting excited at the launch of such channels as AMC, A&E, Animal Planet, Bravo, Comedy Central, The Cartoon Network, MTV-2, HGTV, The History Channel, The Learning Channel, TCM and SyFy.

AMC has consistently put out quality programming. They started out airing classic movies, but switched to original programming in the 2000s. I have enjoyed Madmen (207-2015), The Walking Dead (2010-2021), Breaking Bad (2008-2013) and Better Call Saul (2015-current).

The Family Channel became ABC Family, which became Freeform in 2016 and then went on to produce a lot of good television as well. There was the ambitious, but short lived Shadowhunters. From silly Secret Life of the American Teenager to the very relevant shows like The Fosters and Good Trouble, they have aimed at pleasing the bold and open minded younger generation. They make an effort to be all-inclusive and have shows that deal with minorities, people with disabilities and the LBGTQ community.

TNT had some good shows like Saving Grace, Raising The Bar, Franklin and Bash and The Librarians. They also rerun good shows like Bones, Charmed and Castle. FX is known for good movies as well as shows like The Americans (2013-2018), Sons of Anarchy (2008-2014) and The Mayans. I also loved You’re The Worst (2014-2017)

The Sci-Fi, later stylized as SyFy, carried a lot of favorites as well. I enjoyed the mini series Frank Herbert’s Dune (2000) as well as Alice (2009) and Lost Room (2006). Perhaps my favorite show from them is Warehouse 13 (2009-2014) though. The Canadian import Lost Girl was also awesome. I have caught reruns of Quantum Leap, Star Trek The Next Generation, Xenia Warrior Princess, The X-Files, Lost, The Twilight Zone and CSI on SyFy as well.

About the only thing I watched on Bravo was Inside the Actor’s Studio (1994-2018). I was never fond of all those Real Housewives shows. Yawn. On Lifetime the only thing I watched was Army Wives (2007-2013). And my one guilty pleasure on The Learning Channel is Hoarding: Buried Alive (2010-2014). The History Channel currently has a number of shows Ray and I enjoy, including: Alone, American Pickers, Forged in Fire and Pawn Stars.

This past year, I have gotten hooked on HGTV or Home and Garden Television. My favorite shows include Fixer Upper and Property Brothers. Good Bones and Hometown are pretty good as well. Not a huge fan of Flip or Flop and Love It or List It though.

Recently, I have enjoyed watching reruns on LAFF and Antenna TV. LAFF features shows like Grace Under Fire, Night Court, Home Improvement and How I Met Your Mother. Antenna TV features 80s shows like Growing Pains, Who’s The Boss and Head of the Class. There is also a a channel called H&I, which for stands for Heroes and Icons. They feature reruns of shows like Wonderwoman, Xena Warrior Princess, House MD and Star Trek The Next Generation and the Original Star Trek.

There are a ton more channels and shows, but I believe I have covered the majors ones. Even with 100 or more channels, most people watch 25 channels or less on average. This blog should give you a good sample of what is available and what I like.

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Premium Channels

Premium Channels

Premium Cable Channels

HBO has been around since 1972 and Showtime has been on the air since 1976. Cinemax, nicknamed Skinemax, began it’s run in 1980. Then came The Disney Channel in 1983. Starz came late to the party in 1994.

Growing up, I felt out of the loop for not having of the Premium Cable Channels. I suppose I didn’t miss a whole lot back then, but I remember kids at school talking about Fraggle Rock (1983-1987) on HBO and wishing I could watch the show. And it wasn’t like I could run out and get it on DVD or stream it.

It was around 1988 that Mom got a subscription to The Disney Channel. We watched a lot of old Disney Movies on it like The Parent Trap and That Darn Cat as well as some new programs—including Good Morning Miss Bliss (1988-1989). My favorite new Disney Movie was A Friendship in Vienna (1988)with Jenny Lewis. Mom canceled the subscription in 1990 or so. We never got another Premium Channel while I was living at home.

In the late 90s, The Disney Channel became included with regular Cable and you didn’t have to pay extra for it. In the early 2000s my kids watched a lot of Hannah Montana (2006-2011) and The Wizards of Waverly Place (2007-2012). Not to mention Phineas and Ferb (2007-2015), Kim Possible (2002-2007)and Gravity Falls (2012-2016).

Disney

My Uncle Steve subscribed to HBO. Occasionally, I would request that he record a movie for me. I had him record Willow when HBO ran it in 1989. My mother and I did not own a VCR at the time, but that didn’t stop me from starting my own VHS collection. From the late 80s until the Mid-90s we had to get a VCR from the library or watch videos down at Grandma’s house. Mom didn’t get a VCR until 1995, but the record function didn’t work, so all we could do was watch movies we rented from the video store.

Eventually, I moved out and got my own VCR and then DVD player in 1997 and 2000 respectively. I started getting DVDs from the library of my favorite Premium Cable Shows. Now, I pretty much stream whatever I can from Disney + or Hulu or Netflix.

I did, however, subscribe to HBO briefly while Game of Thrones was on. After watching the first couple of Seasons on DVD, I was hooked. I wanted to be part of the conversation and see the shows when they premiered. So, I got a subscription for two months and dropped it. And I did that for the last couple of Seasons.

Here are some of my favorites Premium Cable Channel Shows over the years: HBO gave me Sex and the City (1998-2004), In Treatment (2008-2010), Game of Thrones (2011-2019), Girls (2012-2017), Westworld (2016-2021), Big Little Lies (2017-2019) Chernobyl (2019), Watchmen (2019) and His Dark Materials (2019-2022) . Showtime had Dead Like Me (2003-2004), The L Word (2004-2009), Weeds (2005-2012), The Big C (2011-2013), Shameless (2011-2021), Homeland (2011-2020), The Tudors (2007-2010), The Borgias (2011-2013), Masters of Sex (2013-2016)and The Affair (2014-2019).Starz had Pillars of the Earth (2010), Camelot (2011), Black Sails (2013-2017), Outlander (2014-Present), American Gods (2017-2021) and The Spanish Princess (2019-2020).

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Nod To Nickelodeon

Nod To Nickelodeon

Nickelodeon Orange Splat Log

Nickelodeon was available on cable in 1979. I remember watching the network in the early 80s when we first got cable. Back then we only had maybe 35 channels. Nickelodeon was like channel 25. I watched their flag shows You Can’t Do That On Television (1981-1990), Mr. Wizard’s World (1983-2000) and Double Dare (1986-1993) in the early days. There was also Turkey Television (1985-1988) and Today’s Special (1982-1991). Not to mention Saturday afternoon movies. There was a British series that had to do with a kid having supernatural abilities. I think it was called The Tomorrow People.

Nickelodeon got most of their television from other countries at first. That included my favorite cartoon The Mysterious Cities of Gold (1986-1990), which was French Produced and Japanese Animated. Then it was dubbed over in English. Other favorites from that era included: Spartkus and The Sun Beneath the Sea (1986-1991) as well as Belle and Sebastian (1984-1989).I also watched The Magical World of David The Gnome (1988-1995), Inspector Gadget (1987-1992), Heathcliff (1988-1993), Count Duckula (1988-1993), Danger Mouse (1984-1994) and the short skits of Bananaman. I enjoyed Star Trek The Animated (1985-1990) series as well. Later there were live actions shows like Hey Dude (1989-1991) and Clarissa Explains It All (1991-1994).

The Mysterious Cities of Gold

My friend Elizabeth loved The Muppet Babies (1992-1999) Loony Toons (1988-1999) and Tiny Toon Adventures (1995-1999). She also watched Double Dare religiously for years. We often watched different shows, but we both loved Nickelodeon in general. It was a part of our friendship growing up.

Who could forget Nick At Nite? I watched Lassie, The Donna Reed Show, Dennis The Menace, The Patty Duke Show, Mr. Ed, The Monkees, Flipper and The Brady Bunch with my Mom.

Then I became a Mom in 2003. I would get videos of Max and Ruby (2003-2019), Blues Clues (1996-2006) and The Rugrats (1991-2004) for my kids from the library. My daughter liked Dora The Explorer (2000-2019) and my son enjoyed Go, Diego, Go (2005-2011). Then they began to watch Sponge Bob Squarepants (1999-2021) and The Fairly Odd Parents (2001-2017). Anastasia loved The Winx Club (2011-2016) as well. We watched Avatar The Last Airbender (2005-2008) and The Legend of Korra (2012-2014) together, but we watched it on DVD and later on Netflix.

Avatar The Last Airbender
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