House of Cards: Chapters I & II

After numerous attempts to stop my loving mother from talking to my head off during the show I managed to get through the first two chapters. *wipes sweat* my eyes were glued and I just might have to add this show to a long list of my addictive series a few slots behind Scandal and SVU (that’s big!). House of Cards, probably short for white house of revenge and pulling cards, is a world wind of politics with a 50s-esque detective/crime movie feel to it. If only there were black and white scenes. Francis “Frank” Underwood is a congressman for over 20 years who is the almost guaranteed position of Secretary of State to only have it slipped from under his nose for unknown reasons. The opening scene is the sound of hit and run leaving a dog to whimper out of pain. Frank decides to put the poor dog out of his misery while reciting one of the greatest dramatic monologues in a series I have heard thus far.  “There are two kinds of pain the sort of pain makes you strong or useless pain, sort of pain that’s only suffering. I have no patience for useless things. Moments like this requires someone who will act, who will do the unpleasant thing, the necessary thing. There. No more pain.” *standing ovation* 

I instantly connected the dog to some sort of downfall, someone being weak or useless within this series and someone will find away to either fix or get rid of the underdog. But who is it? Later on the episode Zoe Barnes, un-lovingly called “twitter twat” by her coworker, is introduced an upcoming Journalist at The Washington Herald. She is obviously the underdog there. Her name is barely remembered and she is stuck writing about things that she could care less about and probably most people. But things change for her, rather quickly. Her and Frank become allies down the line. His information helps her to move up the food chain of Journalism and her articles help him to take down one person after the other. I was not clear if he’s a part of her plot or vice versa but it seems to be satisfying for both, so far.  Something makes me believe that Frank is looking out for Zoe because he knows she’s a lion being forced to do sheep work. He seems like the character that can fire someone up, evoke emotions, manipulate, etc.  someone without them having the slightest clue. One thing I know is he is already the lion in his field and the white house is going to be his dinner.

 Frank’s plan seems to be at top of its game. But as said in Notorious, “Once you’re at the top, the only way is down.” I don’t think he has reached the top just yet. That would be too quick. But the downfall I’m scared and anxious to see how this goes. As for his wife’s story with her charity I’m still not sure of how it plays into the story line. Were they looking for something to fill the gaps. I have no idea, hopefully future episodes will reveal it to us and it is not another part of the story line  that gets lost in the series. 

Honestly I was overwhelmed by how much happened in these two episodes, in a good way and a slight bad way. It seemed a little rushed. I thought to myself, “why is this all happening so quickly in the first chapters?” Then I thought about how Breaking Bad started out in the beginning and lead to so much more greatness.

Eleven more chapters to go and eleven more of the many moments with my mother asking me “What’s happening?, Who is that guy?, Why did he do that?”

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Inside The Dilbit Disaster: “That Could Have Been Avoided”

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The Dilbit (which I eventually learned is not a place and actually is short for Diluted Bitumen) Disaster, is the journalistic story of the oil that ruined land, homes and lives. The title is really accurate because I never heard of it, and if it was not for this class and book I probably would not have. I always expect the worst with text like these news related pieces tend to either bore me or annoy with bias opinions. But I was intrigued more so angered.

6B is the pipeline that Enbridge Energy Partners operated. They are the largest transporter in Canada. Being that they are the largest I was expecting them to be reliable in this disaster. Boy was I wrong! This pipeline had experienced previous problems (about three or four) with rusting because of the acid from the millions of gallons that passed through it every day. After the first time why didn’t they fix it? Why weren’t they forced to fix it? Not only did the company ignore the signs of a possible disaster, in the media it didn’t receive attention because of another oil spill in the Mexico.

If it was up to me the entire Enbridge Energy Partners staff would be fired, paying a fine could never be enough. Six alarms went off and they thought it was just a bubble. But even if it was just a bubble for a pipeline that has previous issues, why not check it to be on the safe side?

The alarms went off like another 6-12 times and they decide to label it a false alarm. The shift workers seemed more concerned with going home than resolving this issue. But fixing a crack is easier than picking up shattered pieces.

            If it was water it would not have been the best situation but it would have been way better than releasing harmful chemicals into the air. People had to relocate out of their homes because of the overbearing smell and possible long term health issues they’d have to deal with. Like seriously? All of that could have been avoided. On Enbridge’s part this was pure laziness. One home owner lost his childhood home that he was raising his family in, the American dream shattered. Even the land and sea creatures received just as much torture as did the people. “Nearly 98 percent of the 3,651 reptiles collected and cleaned were released to non-oiled sections of the river. The rate for birds was close to 75 percent, with 144 of 196 surviving. Mammals did not fare as well. Only 23 of the 63 collected – or 36.5 percent pulled through. The dead included muskrats, raccoons, voles, skunks and at least one mink and one mole.” (McGowan Kindle Edition, Epilogue Loc. 801 of 1829)

            I have grown to become more and more disgusted with this situation as I continued reading. Enbridge’s attitude towards this situation could be compared to that of a pimp and his worker. His worker could have the flu but would not care still go make his money. Enbridge wanted to continue to release gallons of oil even though repairs and clean up was not complete. They even tried to trick citizens into signing over their medical records that way if they tried to sue for compensation they could blame it on previous ailments in the person’s record. How sneaky and cliché of a large company.

            This story deserves more spot light. The Carter’s baby Blue gets years of press and this is rarely heard of. Enbridge must have a really good Public Relations team to still be up and running. Business is business but they should have had some concern for the safety of others and themselves. Once chemicals evaporate into the air there it’s hard to control that. I’m all for shutting the pipe line down, either building a new one completely or finding an alternative way to get oil from Canada.

            To the authors of The Dilbit Disaster: Inside the Biggest Oil Spill You’ve Never Heard Of, thank you for exposing this story!

Mr. White, You Have Cancer…… “I’m Alive”

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Breaking Bad greeted viewers with still air and beautiful scenery. Preparation for the disarray approaching? I think so. The deserts calmness included a pair of random slow falling khakis met with a wildly driven RV and inside a naked man, well kind of, if you consider his underwear and the gas mask along with three other men seemingly unconscious.

This man comes to be known as Walter White, a chemistry teacher whose life was fairly similar to an ideal American. The three week ago flashback took viewers on a trip. I originally thought the main character went mad, murdered everybody with chemicals and tried to hide in the desert. A little dramatic for the first episode, huh? Not really. Instead we were introduced to Walter White’s “normal” life. His wife, feisty loveable son who just so happens to be disabled, local hero police officer brother in law and more.

Dramatic turns wasted no time to appear though. White was diagnosed with inoperable cancer and given a short time to live and his noted OCD for noticing the smallest drop of mustard on the doctor’s white lab coat. Money problems were revealed. Walter White’s anger issues surfaced as well, each time he seemed a little angrier. I couldn’t help but think if he was angry at his untimely fate, that he had not lived the way he wanted too, or that he could possibly leave his family behind with unmanageable debt. No one knows what goes through Walter White’s head all we see is action and in this case it works for this brilliant show. It left room for us to think – what will be his next move? – is he going to kill somebody? – is his health making him mentally unstable?

I call this episode the union of Pinky and the Brain because of a local drug dealer and former student, Jesse and Walter White coming to become partners. Walter gave Jesse an ultimatum; either he gets turned in to the police, post a drug bust on his previous partner, or join him on his quest to becoming a crystal meth dealer. What? Walter White? Who would have thought the reserved chemistry teacher would want to become a drug dealer.

“Some straight like you, giant stick up his a**, all a sudden at age, what? 60! Suddenly gonna break bad?” says Jesse.

            ….”I’m alive” replied Walter.

Motivation can come from the strangest places and situations.

 

P.S. Vince Gilligan is genius for this series! (haha)