21 February 2011
My heart aches tonight for the family of Fred, the little 8 year old boy I write to in the Philippines. I have come to know his mother a bit through the letters she writes for him. At Christmas I sent a family gift (you can only send money) and I thought it odd that I hadn't heard from her in quite a long time. She is generally so good about writing often.
When I finally did hear from her yesterday, a letter dated December 23, she thanked me for the money I sent and said that they used it to buy rice for Fred's younger sister's funeral. I had no idea that his sister, April Lyka, was ill. She had never mentioned that, though she had twice told me that Fred helped with care of the little girl. I have sent a message to Compassion to see if I can get any more of the story. But to bury a child on December 15.... There is no "good" time to bury a child, but Christmas time has to be the very worst.
I have not yet received the above photo of Fred officially, but it popped up with my account information on line and I have to say that this is a less angry, more happy looking photo than I have seen of him thus far.
I have had some time this weekend to get caught up on some of the TV shows that were recorded that I never had a chance to watch until now. There are my favorites, but new shows have popped up this year that I wanted to check out.
So today, I watched the new Criminal Minds, Suspect Behavior the spin-off of the original Criminal Minds. I have become a big fan of Criminal Minds, which I first watched because it starred Mandy Patinkin, who has (as he always does) left the show after one or two seasons. I was slow to warm up to Joe Mantegna, who replaced him, but I've come to like him perhaps better than Patinkin. I have even gotten used to the stern moody character Thomas Gibson plays, after I was used to seeing him in the comedy Dharma and Greg.
I was interested to see what the spin-off was going to be like. With a cast headed by Forest Whitaker and Janeane Garofalo, it looked like it had potential. I'm not won over by the first episode, though I hated NCIS-LA when it started and have now become a fan, so I know that shows can improve after smoothing out initial problems.
There are some odd differences between the two Criminal Minds, though. Both teams work for the FBI's Behavioral Analysis Unit out of Quantico, Virginia, though the original team wear business suits and work out of a business office...
...while the new team seems to work in a deserted warehouse and dress like longshoremen.
The original series guys fly in a fancy plane to wherever their cases are, this team seems to drive everywhere.
In the original series, everyone maintains a calm, cold, analytical approach, while in the new one everyone seems to be running at an emotional high at all times (perhaps because they work in a warehouse and have to drive instead of fly and don't get nice clothes).
The link between the two teams is Penelope Garcia, who can find anything on the computer in a split second. I'm not sure who would win a computer search race -- 24's Chloe O'Brien or NCIS's McGee, or Garcia, but she was able to locate the driver of an unlicensed blue van, find out he had lost a daughter, learned that he used to live in Cincinnati and somehow locate the home where he grew up all in a split second, in time to get the team from wherever they were to the right location where he was about to murder two little girls. I know Garcia is good, but that stretched the bounds of credulity.
Garcia on the original series is quirky and fun; she is more toned down for this spin-off, which makes me wonder if she has to change clothes when she answers questions for the original team.
I'm not giving up on it yet. I think it has the possibility of growing into a good series, if they get just a tad more realistic in their plot lines and tone down the hysteria.
However, I have given up on Brothers and Sisters after four seasons because I find I just plain don't like the Walker family any more. I don't want to listen to another hour of their squabbling. I've almost reached that point with Desperate Housewives too. I was attracted to it for its quirkiness and its fun, but in the last two seasons it seems all gloom and doom and there is very little interaction among the women any more. If it doesn't lighten up soon, that, too, will go the way of Brothers and Sisters on my DVR.I mean...jeez....after a Criminal Minds marathon and all that blood and gore, you really need to have a nice frothy, wacky show like Desperate Housewives to watch.