Saturday, October 31, 2009

Top Ten Star Trek Episodes, the Original Series, No. 4

The Doomsday Machine (season two) is no. 4. The Enterprise must fight a gigantic planet killing war machine. It is unknown who made the machine but it unleashed on the galaxy. Talk about arms control. Written by science fiction writer Norman Spinrad, it's intellegent, and exciting.

Here is the "Doomdsay Machine."

Jon Stewart explains Fox News

While discussing the Obama's administration war on Fox News, Jon Stewart explains what Fox News is really about.

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Wednesday, October 28, 2009

"Ballad of Gay Tony" references in GTA IV and The Lost and the Damned

The Ballad of Gay Tony, a new episode for Grand Theft Auto IV (GTA IV)comes out on the 29th for the XBOX 360. The cool thing about GTA IV is that there have been references to this new story in Niko Bellic's story and the last add on, The Lost and the Damned. (TLAD) Here are the appearances of Gay Tony or Luis Lozpez. two main characters in "The Ballad of Gay Tony."


In "Three Leaf Clover", during the bank robbery cutscene, a customer lying on the ground talks to the main protagonist Luis Lopez who is also prone. He tells Lopez of his stupid idea of taking on the robbers.

If you listen to WKTT, the talk radio station, there's an entertainment show called Fizz. Fellow club owner Larissa Slalom puts down Gay Tony (Tony Prince)

In "Musuem Piece" it's Lopez who interrupts the diamond-money exchange. He also gets the diamonds back. You get this scene again in TLAD's "Collectors Item." Completion of this mission gives you the Impossible Trinity Achievement signifying where all three main characters make an appearance in the same scene.

In "Diamonds are a Girl's Best Friend" you exchange Gracie for the diamonds. It's Gay Tony and Luis Lopez who are the ones that pick her up.

The Lost and the Damned

In the mission, "Diamonds in the Rough", your character, Johnny Klebitz and other bikers steal the diamonds during an exchange between Luis Lopez, Gay Tony and the dealer. You chase down Gay Tony's associates to get the diamonds.

"Collector's Item" is the TLAD version of "Museum Piece." The cutscene is the same with Lopez getting the diamonds back.

There's an Internet story titled "Club Kid Death." It's about a young kid named Evan Moses who is found murdered. Well, according to the story, he's a buddy of Tony Prince.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Top Ten Star Trek Episodes (TOS), no. 5.

Amok Time from season two is no. 5. Vulcan males must periodcally return to Vulcan to mate or die. This ritual is called Pon Farr. It hits Spock and Kirk diverts the Enterprise from a Federation diplomatic mission to save him. This begs the question once J.J. Abrams has destroyed Vulcan in his 2009 movie, what happens to Spock? I mean does he have to get busy with Uhura? But I digress. When Kirk, McCoy and Spock transport to Vulcan, the meet up with Spock's future bride. But she chooses a ceremonial challenge and picks Kirk as her champion, leading to a fight to the death. And it is Spock that Kirk must fight.

A fascinating look at ancient Vulcan rituals and emotions. This episode featured classic humor and action. Memorable iconic and atonal score by Gerald Fried. Written by sci-fi writer Theodore Sturgeon. This episode was parodied in Futurama's "Why Must I Be a Crustacean in Love?" There's also a reference in the movie Cable Guy.

Here is no. 5, "Amok Time."

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Bengals Send Message

In their most complete game of the season, the Bengals thumped the Bears, 45-10. It starts with the lines on both sides. The offensive line controlled the line of scrimmage giving QB Carson Palmer time to throw and lanes for RB Cedric Benson to run. Benson who was cast off by the Bears last year, ran like a man possessed. He ran for 189 yards and one touchdown. Palmer was just spectacular as his throws were right on target. With the loss of sacks leader Antwan Odom, the Bengals' defense answered the call. DE Frostee Rucker played very well and the defensive line pressured Bears QB Jay Cutler, causing him to throw three interceptions.

While those bums in Pittsburgh won, the Bengals stayed tied for the division lead with today's victory. More importantly, by crushing a good team, the Bengals sent a signal to the rest of the league. The Bengals are for real. Who Dey. Who Dey. Who dey think gonna beat dem Bengals! Nooooobody! Here are the highlights.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Top Ten Star Trek (TOS) Episodes, No. 6.

Number six, Balance of Terror , from season one was perhaps my favorite episode as a kid. This tale of a Romulan raider with a cloaking device taking on the Enterprise in submarine duel in space satisfied my youthful need for action. It took a couple of years of maturity to enjoy the more cerebral Star Trek episodes more. But this is still a well written show. The Romulan captain and his senior advisor are portrayed with sophistication, so much so that they are sympathetic. This is the first time, humans actually see the Romulans who are an offshoot of the Vulcans. That cloaking device might make the Romulans invincible but that is before they run into Captain James T. Kirk, whose strategic brilliance overcomes all their technological advantages.

Here's no. 6, Balance of Terror.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Top Ten Star Trek Episodes (TOS), no. 7.

Listen up J.J. Abrams, Captain Kirk was more than a shoot from the hip cowboy. He understood human error and his own shortcomings. So don't portray Kirk in your next movie as an immature jerk. Number Seven Arena from season one demonstrates this point.

In Arena, the Gorn attack a Federation outpost and flee. Kirk takes the Enterprise in hot pursuit to retaliate. Before the ships can battle, a superior alien being interventes and forces Kirk and the Gorn captain to fight mano-a-mano. Intelligent. Thoughtful dialogue written for the characters. Listen to the Spock-McCoy discussion on the question of who is right. It is still action packed. Kirk's response would not have been done by Arnold Schwarzenegger. There's no silly catchphrase, just civilized behaviour. Ignore the Gorn in a rubber suit, watch it for the story. Here is "Arena."

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Top Ten Star Trek Episodes (TOS), No. 8

At no. 8 is "Mirror, Mirror." (Season 2) Before Fringe's alternate reality and Sliders, there was this wild show about a parallel universe, that Kirk and the landing party discover after a transporter mishap. The Federation is now the Terran Empire, a totalitarian alliance of planets. It's imaginative and based on a physics theory.

Here is "Mirror, Mirror."

Bonus, here's South Park's funny parody of this episode. Love that goatee.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Top Ten Star Trek Episodes (TOS), no. 9

Coming in at number nine is the season one, two part show, "The Menagerie." It was originally titled "The Cage" and the pilot for the series but NBC felt that it was too cerebral and ordered a second pilot be made. Do you hear that J.J. Abrams? Star Trek is not Star Wars. But I digress. This is a Gene Roddenberry script and he ingeniously adds a framing story to the footage of "The Cage." In the episode, Spock hijacks the Enterprise, kidnaps his former captain, Christopher Pike and takes the ship to Talos IV. Going to Talos IV is so dangerous that it carries the death penalty. Spock is court martialed. When you watch this episode, you get the basic Star Trek conventions, intelligent science fiction and a need to understand other alien races.

Here is "The Menagerie, Part One."

Here is "The Menagerie, Part Two."

Top Ten Star Trek Original Series' Episodes (TOS)

To celebrate the DVD release of the 2009 film of Star Trek on November 17, I am going to list the top ten episodes of the Star Trek television show, the original series. (TOS) I will start with number ten and countdown with new posts to the best episode of the original series. You'll also get a link to the episode so you can enjoy the show. Before we begin, here are the runner ups. Season One: The Corbomite Maneuver, The Galieo Seven, Errand of Mercy, The Devil in the Dark. Shore Leave. Season 3: The Empath.

Number 10 is The Enterprise Incident. Kirk takes the Enterprise into the Romulan Neutral Zone and the ship is promptly surrounded by Romulan warships. This was the best episode of the third season. The show kept you guessing as to why Kirk would do something so irresponsible. Here is the episode.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Bengals drop the ball

The Bengals lost today to the Texans, 28-17. Bengals tight ends dropped the ball when passes were thrown to them. And twice the tight ends fumbled the ball. Both J.P. Foschi and Daniel Coats fumbled the ball. Rookie Chase Coffman cannot get on the field. Stud DE Antwan Odom seems to be lost for the season due to an Achilles tendon injury. Those Pittsburgh bums won and now are tied with our beloved Bengals. Buckle up your chin straps Bengals' fans. As Marvin Lewis likes to say, it's time to "Fight Back."

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Halo 3 ODST Video Game Review

Halo 3 ODST is the new first person shooter in the Halo universe from Bungie. It came out of the ashes of a cancelled game that was to be led by Peter Jackson, called, "Halo Chronicles." Two years after the Halo 3, Bungie takes you back to battle the Covenant.

You play Rookie, a nameless grunt in the ODST. (Orbital Drop Shock Troopers) The story takes place during Halo 2 and the Prophet of Regret's assault on New Mombasa. If you remember Halo 2, the mission Delta Halo, ODST were elite infantry who came to their targets in rocket pods. In this mission you are to drop with Naval Intelligence Officer Dare (voiced by Tricia Helfer) and your squad led by Buck (voiced by Nathan Filion). As your squad drops, the Prophet of Regret's ship enters hyperspace, destroying parts of the city and scattering the squad over the city. You land and must find Barack Obama's birth certificate. Just kidding, you crazy birthers. You must find your other squad mates and discover what Dare's secret mission is.

Halo Media Bias

The city of New Mombasa serves as a hub similar to the city of Isenstadt in Wolfenstein. You wonder around the city and find artifacts of your squad mates, a helmet, or a bent sniper rifle that leads to missions playing as that squad mate told in flashback. Similar to Wolfenstein, you don't have to play the missions in any order. Now Wolfenstein was criticized for this approach as there was virtually nothing to do in the hub. The same problem exists in ODST In fact, it's worse. The city of New Mombasa is patrolled by Covenant forces. The problem is ammo is scarce and so is health. Try killing a hunter with a needler. It becomes frustrating because all this does is to delay you from finding an artifact to start the next mission. By the way, I've read critics complaints about this approach in Wolfenstein, I have yet to read a complaint about this in ODST. Must be that Halo media bias.

The graphics are gorgeous and detailed. New Mobasa at night is lonely. The night vision works well, allowing you to see in the dark. Remember in Halo 2, running into a trooper that looked and sounded like That Seventies Show's Laura Prepon. Well that's because it was. In ODST, Dare not only is voiced by the lovely Tricia Helfer (Battlestar Galactica) but looks like her. Same with Buck, who looks like Filion. (Firefly)

The sound is good. Gun effects are the same quality as Halo 3. Martin O'Donnell and Michael Salvatori's music deserve praise. The lush, jazz influenced score reflects the emotions of the Rookie. The saxophone solos echoes the loneliness of being separated from one's friends. Well done.

Controls for the most part work. Head shots are still the best attacks. Unfortunately, the Warthog makes its appearance again. I don't understand why Bungie made this thing so hard to drive. I mean look at the driving mechanics of Grand Theft Auto IV. Why couldn't they make it as easy to drive as the cars in GTA IV? It's just sheer torture. The good thing is that the other vehicles are much easier to drive.

As far as game play, missions are exciting if a little hard. The lack of health packs make it difficult and the scarcity of ammo is annoying. Levels are interesting. Sticking a foe with a plasma grenade is still a blast. Pun intended. There also a nice emotional love story between Buck and Dare.

IF you like the Halo games, pick up this prequel to Halo 3. The grade is B. Here's a kick ass live action trailer to whet your appetite.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

The Myth of Baseball Parity, part 2.

Now that the Yankees have swept the Twins in the ALDS, let's take a look at this year's playoff teams and see if low payroll teams have fared any better. Previously, I looked at the numbers from 2002-2008. The top ten teams in payroll were compared to the bottom ten in payroll to see if there was any parity in playoff appearances. There wasn't any. Thirty five top ten teams made the playoffs in that period. Whereas, only ten of the bottom ten teams in payroll made the playoffs in the same period. The percentages are as follows: 62 percent for the top payroll teams versus 18 percent of the low payroll teams.

Of the eight playoff teams, five of them are in the top ten in payroll. They are the Yankees, Red Sox, Angels, Phillies and Dodgers. The Cardinals and Rockies are seventeen and eighteen in payroll though it's likely with the trades that the Cardinals made during the season, their payroll is higher. Only one team made the playoffs from the bottom ten and that was the Twins. Again, the percentage for this year is 62 percent whereas the Twins represent 13 percent.

So when Commissioner Bud Selig or anyone makes the argument that there is more baseball parity than other sports based only upon World Series Champions, you tell them that is nonsense. You must use statistics of the teams that make the playoffs. Why? You cannot win the World Series without making the playoffs. I will concede that in short series, small payroll teams have a chance to win. See the 2003 Marlins World Series victory over the Yankees. But the measure of parity is the equality of whether smaller payroll teams can make the playoffs and advance to the World Series with big payroll teams. And the numbers overwhelmingly favor the big spenders.

A Yankee buddy of mine, says they are the best team that money can buy. No doubt. That is also why they suck. It's unfortunate that the owners and Selig refuse to do anything about this. It is also why the NFL has now surpassed baseball as the national pastime. (Team payrolls from 2002-2008; 2009 payrolls)

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Cardiac Cats Win Again

The Cincinnati Bengals defeated the Baltimore Ravens, 17-14 in Baltimore. Congratulations to the line play on both sides of the ball. The offensive line blocked well, especially in the fourth quarter. The defense was inspired. They put pressure on Ravens' QB Joe Flacco and the secondary covered well. Cedric Benson ran for over 100 yards, breaking a 39 game streak by the Ravens in not letting a 100 yard running game.

But once again, it was Bengals QB Carson Palmer who led the team in a game winning drive in the last minute. Palmer hit Andre Caldwell with a twenty yard TD strike to give the Bengals the lead with 22 seconds to go. (Pictured above. AP) Bengals win 17-14. Bengals persevere again. Who Dey, Who Dey. Who Dey They Think gonna beat dem Bengals? Noooobody! See you later, flying rats. Here are the video highlights.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Zombieland movie reivew

In Zombieland, the main character Columbus (Jesse Eisenberg) has a set of rules on how to survive the post apocalyptic zombie infested planet. In that spirit, here are my rules in this review of Zombieland.

Rule #1: Don't buy concessions when you see Zombieland. In the first ten minutes you get scenes of zombies eating people, a zombie attacking a guy on the toilet, and a stripper zombie! How's that popcorn taste now?

Rule #2: In a zombie comedy, give your characters some wacky motivation. They teach you when you write a screenplay,it's good to give your characters a goal or motivation. In Zombieland, the characters are named after the places from where they are from. Jesse Eisenberg is Columbus and is trying to get back there to see if the family is still alive. Not so wacky. Woody Harrelson is Tallahassee and his goal is to find a twinkie. That's wacky. Emma Stone is Wichita. Abigail Breslin is Little Rock and Wichita's little sister. They are trying to get to Pacific Playland, to enjoy a day at the amusement park. That's probably not the smartest thing to do when the world is overrun with say, ... zombies! That makes this movie a mix of National Lampoon's Vacation mixed with Dawn of the Dead and Saturday Night Live.

Rule #3: If you're going to do a zombie comedy with a crazy hillbilly character, cast Woody Harrelson. I loved Harrelson's wild eyes and his mischievous grin, especially when he finds a Hummer full of guns. And boy, does he score major style points for killing zombies.

Rule #4: If you have a celebrity cameo in a zombie comedy, make sure he's funny. While in Hollywood, our band of survivors decide to take over a star's mansion. Tallahassee tells them to skip Tom Cruise's house and go to this supposed bigger star's house. The cameo by this celebrity is priceless and a riot. No, I'm not going to tell you who he is. And no looking at IMDB. Okay, here's a hint. People over thirty will love this cameo.

Rule #5: Stay through the final credits for a funny extra scene.

Rule #6: Nut up or shut up. (Tallahassee's battle cry.)

Rule #7: See Zombieland with mom and dad.

This is one of the funniest movies of the year. The grade is A.
Here's the trailer.

Conservatives Root Against America, part 2

When an American wins the Nobel Peace Prize, we should be proud. Not so with some conservatives. President Barack Obama won the Nobel Peace Prize yesterday. And yes, it was surprising since Obama has only been in office for about eight months. But conservatives such as Rush Limbaugh hate Obama so much that he says he is in agreement with the Taliban. That's patriotic, Rush. Here's MSNBC's Countdown report.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Capitalism: A Love Story film review

Capitalism: A Love Story starts out with scenes from bank robberies over the opening credits. Then we get one of those old time educational films about the fall of the Roman Empire with the narrator telling us that the fall was from corruption and the wide discrepancy between the rich and the poor. Director Michael Moore cuts scenes of the Roman Empire with modern shots, one featuring former Vice President Dick Cheney. It becomes obvious that Moore is making the point that our modern society is being corrupted by capitalism with today's bankers being the robbers. The irony is that Moore is going to make money from this film, so the system that he is criticizing is also feeding him. That being said, the question becomes is this film any good?

Capitalism: A Love Story comes out at a time of great economic upheaval. After last fall's near financial collapse, Moore now comes full circle from his "Roger and Me" documentary which depicted the closing of auto plants by GM that led to the devastation of his home town Flint, Michigan. Along with heartbreaking scenes of people getting thrown out of their homes, Moore in Capitalism, also details his personal journey when the American dream was alive and well. What happened to the American dream? Like most liberals, he blames Ronald Reagan. It was under President Reagan's regime that the forces of capitalism were unleashed on Wall Street. There's giddy happiness when you see scenes of businessmen with a chain saw over a stack of regulations. Of course, these regulations were designed to safeguard the system from depression like collapses. So it becomes prescient when in 2008 the system almost collapses. Moore tries to explain modern and risky financial instruments like derivatives that led to the crisis. That becomes hilarious when the experts have trouble defining it.

Moore also examines the moral view of capitalism. First, by asking his Catholic priests. It is surprising to find out after interviewing three priests, that their views are negative towards capitalism. Well, maybe not that surprising since Jesus spoke how difficult it was for a rich man to get into heaven. The surprising thing is when Stephen Moore of the Wall Street Journal says capitalism is more important than democracy. Boy, that's American. Michael Moore then hammers the point home though when his film shows that companies were taking out life insurance policies on their employees with the company being the beneficiary. It is the excess of capitalism that Moore has problems with, the maximize your profits that he argues is wrecking the nation.

Capitalism: A Love Story is fascinating, sad and funny. It at times suffers from a simplistic message. Last fall's financial crisis is too complicated to just say that the bailout or TARP was similar to bankers robbing the U.S. Treasury. I question if Moore would rather have the United States go down into the great depression, part II. On the other hand, critics of Moore who say he offers no solutions to the excess of capitalism are wrong. He does. It is democracy. In the film, there is an example of a company that is owed by the employees where the wealth is distributed evenly. It's still capitalism but not dominated by a tiny percentage that is only interested in their own wealth.

So, how does one judge this film? If you are on right side of the political spectrum, i.e. a conservative, you're going to hate this movie. As a conservative you want to blame the financial meltdown of 2008 on the poor who could not afford the homes that they received loans on. If you are a liberal, you're going to agree with Moore and scream "Amen." If you are in the center, you will look at this film as a riveting and entertaining essay on the excesses of capitalism. Well made, the grade for the movie is A.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Bengals Are For Real

Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk thinks the 2009 Cincinnati Bengals are for real. Here's his video report.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Fox News' Shepherd Smith Schools Republican Senator

To be fair and balanced, I will now present Fox News' Shepherd Smith's interview with Republican Senator John Barrasso (Wyoming) on health care reform. It is clear that Barrasso doens't understand the public option or just wants to argue against it to preserve the insurance companies' profits. Kudos to Shepherd Smith for not being the standard Fox News conduit for the right wing. Here's the video interview.

What is the Public Option in Health Care Reform?

There's been a lot of misinformation and confusion as to what is the public option in regards to health care reform. Rather than bore you to death with my explanation, here's former Labor Secretary Robert Reich to tell you.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Film review of Bright Star

Bright Star is the story of nineteenth century poet John Keats (Ben Whishaw) and his love affair with Fanny Brawne. (Abbie Cornish) It is one of the most beautiful films of the year. By that, I don't just mean the visual image but its portrayal of the spoken and written word.

The film takes place a few years before John Keats' death of tuberculosis. He is living next to the Brawne family, when he meets Fanny Brawne. For reasons, not defined in the film, Fanny and Keats fall in love. There are other short cuts in the movie, such as why Fanny has such deep sorrow for Keats' brother Tom who dies early in the story. But these are small complaints as the this film is about the art of poetry.

After Fanny reads Keats' Endymion, her love deepens for Keats. This leads to Fanny becoming his muse. This is where the movie becomes magnetic. Whishaw as Keats and Cornish as Fanny have a chemistry that is genuine. Even though the characters don't have sex, you can see that they love each other. Jane Campion's script and direction addresses the spirituality of love, and the beauty of it. Campion depicts great beauty whether it is Whishaw and Cornish reading poetry or filming the lovers walking hand in hand through the woods.

This being drama, there is conflict. But it is not conflict born of cruelty or malice. Keats wants to marry Fanny but feels restricted since he is a poor poet who cannot provide for her. Fanny's family echoes this and advise her to find someone else. Keats also struggles with tuberculosis, a disease that will eventually kill him. Yet, I took from this film not sadness but an unusual optimism. Fanny does love Keats and you believe that if he was able to recover from his disease, she would have married him, regardless of his financial condition. Keats and Fanny had true love. That is a thing of beauty. The grade is B+.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Carson Palmer Wills the Bengals to Victory

The Bengals defeated the Cleveland Browns today 23-20 in overtime. The Bengals who led by as much as 14 points and dominated the first quarter went to sleep during the next three quarters. The Browns took advantage and led the Bengals 20-14 late in the fourth quarter. It was a game that the Bengals did not deserve to win. The Browns for the first half looked hapless. They dropped passes. There was a wide receiver playing in the defensive secondary. Yet, it was the Browns who dominated the second half.

Then the came the fourth quarter. Bengals QB Carson Palmer led a drive to tie score with 1:55 left in the game. On the go ahead extra point, long snapper Brad St. Louis again snapped the ball high, his second bad snap and following two prior bad snaps earlier this season. Kicker Shayne Graham's kick was blocked. Overtime. If this were the old Bengals, it's snatching defeat from the jaws of victory. But not today. With one minute remaining in overtime, Carson Palmer convinced Coach Marvin Lewis to go for the first down on a fourth and eleven from the Cleveland 41. After the snap, Palmer found all his receivers covered but saw an opening in the center of the field. He took the ball and ran. Now, no one is going to mistake Palmer for Michael Vick but he went fifteen yards to set up the game winning field goal. (Run pictured.) Bengals win in a game they should have lost, thanks to the sheer will of Carson Palmer. Here's the story. Here are the video highlights.

Conservatives Root Against America

Rachel Maddow reports that conservatives such as Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck and others have cheered the loss of Chicago's bid for the 2016 Olympics. The loss came after President Obama personally lobbied the International Olympic Committee (IOC) for the games. When Obama went to lobby the IOC, he was criticized for doing so even though the heads of state of the other finalist countries also did so. In Maddow's report, we see that former President George Bush endorse a Chicago Olympics. What this says about conservatives is that they are so obsessed with their hatred of Obama that it takes precedent over their patriotism. If you recall, Limbaugh wants Obama to fail, thus rooting for America's failure. If Obama deploys troops in harm's way, would he root for their failure also? It's simply appalling what the conservatives are doing. Here's Rachel's report.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Crazy Conservative Fantasizes About a Military Coup

Keith Olbermann on last night's Countdown discussed a blogger on News Max who fantasized about a military coup because of the Obama presidency. I do not remember when President Jimmy Carter, a liberal, ever having conservatives wanting the military to overthrow him. Don't kid yourself, some of this is about race and the idea to some neo-fascists that having a black man as President is un-American. Here's Olberman's story.

The Joy Behar Show review

Joy Behar, comedian, actress, write and co-host of The View has a new show on CNN Headline News. (HLN) I just saw last night's show. This show is part of HLN news infotainment lineup. While I can do without the prosecutorial tone of Nancy Grace's show , Behar's show is a breath of fresh air on a network that is bordering on catering to ratings. After all, shouldn't HLN be about news and commentary? At least Behar has the intelligence and wit to steer away from the "if they're charged they're guilty" attitude of Nancy Grace and engage in some discussion of current issues.

The show I saw featured diverse group of guests. And what guests. Bill Maher, Al Sharpton, Ann Coulter and Victoria Gotti! While the guests were interesting, Behar needs to be more herself and less Larry King. For Maher, she was a little stiff. And when he made that Polish joke, she could have least groaned. This is a pattern in the show. She doesn't challenge her guests when they say something off the wall. I mean when Victoria Gotti suggested that her father, Mafioso John Gotti, had nothing to do with the disappearance of the man who killed her brother, Behar should have said, "Oh, come on." Though it would be cool to have Gotti on more often, as she has some fascinating views. Maybe even have her do an Italian cooking segment. For Ann Coulter, Behar needs to have facts ready for this right wing nut. Coulter's act is to attack liberals like Behar. If you have the questions, you better have the answer. Standing up to Coulter would increase Behar's credibility. Additonally, Behar when talking about the Palin-Couric interview, she should have cited Palin's horrific answer to the bailout question. This is better than Palin's inability to tell Couric what newspapers she reads.

The show also needs to take advantage of her wit. There needs to be a daily segment with her view on a news story. Since she swings from the left, a great story she could have discussed was the recent view of a blogger on News Max who fantasized about a military coup because of the Obama presidency.

The promise of the show is Joy Behar. She's intelligent, and funny. She did a good job with a panel featuring Ashleigh Banfield. I suggest Banfield to be a regular guest since she had an interesting and nuanced approach to Roman Polanski's legal issues. If they mix Behar's wit and guests, this show could be great. The grade is B.