Saturday, 22 January 2022

Did Shammy's friend want to be found?

Shammy reached out to Magnum and Higgins on Magnum P.I. Season 4 Episode 12, and it paved the way for a lot of drama.

Meanwhile, T.C. tried to get Cade to return to school but he quickly realized there was more to the skipping school than he first realized.

How did it all play out?

Use the video above to watch Magnum P.I. online right here via TV Fanatic.

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The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has determined that Amazon illegally fired former worker Daequan Smith for trying to unionize its warehouses in Staten Island, New York. Smith, who was one of the organizers for the Amazon Labor Union (ALU), was fired in October 2021. The group filed an unfair labor practices complaint with the NLRB after his dismissal, accusing the company of illegal retaliatory firing over Smith's outspoken support for unionization. Now, according to Bloomberg, the board has found merit in the group's allegations and plans to issue a formal complaint against the e-commerce giant if the case doesn't settle. 

The Amazon Labor Union is made of up of former and current company workers and is an independent group not connected with major national unions. While the group failed to unionize Amazon's fulfillment centers in Staten Island last year, it refiled an application with the NLRB in December — a hearing is scheduled for that request next month. 

Smith wasn't the only ALU organizer that Amazon had fired. ALU president Chris Smalls also lost his job after he held a walkout at Amazon's JFK8 facility over the e-commerce giant's handling of COVID-19 safety at the warehouse in 2020. Amazon explained back then that Smalls "received multiple warnings for violating social distancing guidelines."

The company has been adamantly anti-union and had once told Engadget in a statement that it doesn't "think unions are the best answer for [its] employees." It added: "Every day we empower people to find ways to improve their jobs, and when they do that we want to make those changes — quickly. That type of continuous improvement is harder to do quickly and nimbly with unions in the middle." After reaching a deal with the NLRB in December, though, Amazon agreed to informs workers that they have the legal right to join, form or assist with a union through notices posted in workplaces, as well as on its mobile app and internal website.

As Bloomberg explains, NLRB brings complaints to agency judges if it finds merit in claims made by workers. The board's top prosecutor, Jennifer Abruzzo, one said she will "aggressively" seek court injunctions to get illegally fired employees back to work. ALU vice president Derrick Palmer, whom Amazon had disciplined for joining Smalls' COVID-19 protest, said Smith being reinstated would be a huge support for the group: "It would be monumental for him to go back to the same building that he was terminated from and speak his truth and let workers know that it’s OK to speak out."


Friday, 21 January 2022

The Reagans' passion for justice is one of their best qualities, but everyone better watch out when they butt heads with each other.

Many viewers were looking forward to Joe's return on Blue Bloods Season 12 Episode 12, and it didn't disappoint.

Joe and Jamie spent most of the hour fighting, but they made up over poker in the end. Hopefully, Joe will feel more comfortable with the Reagans next time he shows up.

One of Jamie's most endearing qualities is his commitment to doing things the right way. He's very much like Frank, which often pisses off people who want to get away with something in the name of the greater good.

That's what fueled his conflict with Joe throughout the hour. I was glad they made up by the end, but I wish that Jamie and Joe had had the opportunity to sit down and talk this through after everything was said and done.

Joe: Jamie, what are you doing? THis is my first case with the task force and you're blowing it out of the water.
Jamie: We don't threaten people's lives to get information out of them.
Joe: We? What we? I'm not part of you!

Instead, they worked together to rescue the kidnapped mother and daughter, and then the whole conflict just evaporated into thin air.

Sure, Jamie and Joe played poker together as an unspoken act of forgiveness. I'm all for more Reagan family time, but I thought clearing the air would have been helpful.

Otherwise, this issue will rear its ugly head some other time. Joe doesn't have the same mentality. As Jamie pointed out, he cares more about making collars than ensuring things are done right and protecting the lives of everyone involved.

That hasn't changed just because he and Jamie defied orders together and successfully rescued two hostages.

That hostage rescue scene was a bit odd, too. I wasn't clear why Joe's supervisor didn't want them going in, and it seems strange the kidnappers left the hostages to their own devices and didn't even bother to tie up the little girl.

Also, what happened after Jamie shot at one of the kidnappers? The next scene took place outside with the hostages relieved to be safe and Jamie nodding at Joe's supervisor.

Despite these hiccups, the Jamie/Joe story was solid entertainment.

Jamie wasn't the only one butting heads with a family member, either, as Eddie took Erin's rejection of a rape case personally.

Eddie was so invested in this case that I thought she might threaten to abandon ship and join Law & Order: SVU if Erin didn't get with the program. Bringing the survivor in to tell her story was a Benson-like move that both pissed Erin off and lighted a fire under her butt to get this case solved that Eddie needed.

Erin was in a tough position. Even though she empathized with Melanie, she needed enough evidence to make the charges stick, which came off as uncaring. I wish she hadn't been so damn pompous about it when she told Eddie that.

If Erin had been able to keep calm and explain to Eddie what they needed to do to make charges stick, they could have worked together without all of this extra drama.

Erin wasn't even the one who made the initial decision not to press charges, but she got invested in proving it was the right call. Her bruised ego got in the way, and it almost happened again after Eddie invited Melanie to her office.

That's my whole problem with Erin as a character. She tends to get self-righteous when she disagrees with her cop family about anything, which sometimes interferes with justice.

Erin's comment that Erin accepts being challenged by her brothers but not her sister-in-law was interesting.

I'm not sure that's true. Erin blows up at Danny and Jamie regularly, and there have been plenty of tense Reagan family dinners when she hasn't done what they wanted.

But it did feel different with Eddie as if both of them were taking their fight personally.

Elsewhere, what exactly did Archbishop Kearns expect to happen after he went to Frank with his non-news about the murderer who confessed to him?

Kearns didn't want to break the confessional seal, but he did want Frank to investigate. It wasn't likely that Danny or anyone else would find the real murderer without looking into who visited the confessional that day.

All the physical evidence pointed to Lamar. It's not like he was arrested because the cops had a confession and nothing else. And it wasn't likely that they were going to find the real murderer without involving the church at all.

Kearns should have been prepared for the possibility that the cops would find a way to look into who visited the church without forcing him to violate the sanctity of the confessional seal. He may be a man of faith, but believing that they could find the murderer some other way was too big a leap.

And in the end, what Danny and Bae did allowed the cops to catch the real killer without Kearns breaking his word or making people feel they couldn't trust him to keep their secrets private.

That's a win-win situation, and Kearns' anger at Frank over it seemed over the top.

Your turn, Blue Bloods fanatics. Hit the big, blue SHOW COMMENTS button and let us know your thoughts.

You can watch Blue Bloods online right here on TV Fanatic if you missed the episode.

Blue Bloods airs on CBS on Fridays at 10 PM EST/PST.


Poor Shammy finally got another shot at the spotlight, but it turned out to be under horrible circumstances.

T.C.'s lieutenant hired Magnum and Higgins to find a homeless veteran who had gone missing on Magnum P.I. Season 4 Episode 12.

Unfortunately, things turned out badly for Dart, as they do for too many vets who have PTSD.

Fortunately, being Magnum P.I., the case went light on the lectures and focused more on what happened to Dart.

It even seemed pretty simple earlier after another homeless man recalled that a man in a Jaguar got into a shoving match with Dart. Like a Jag isn't going to stand out in a homeless encampment.

Dart's prized possession, a wedding band, led to Lucy, the wife he left behind and the wealthy, Jag-driving man who is now in her life. That seemed pretty cut-and-dried that Martin had something to do with Dart's disappearance.

It was heartwrenching to listen to Lucy describe her life with Karl/Dart, which fell apart after one too many tours of duty left him in a bad way.

The fact that she had seen him recently, and he had spurned her, brought all that pain back to the surface.

The fact that Martin hadn't revealed his visit to the encampment to Lucy sure made him look guilty. But he honestly tried to help Dart, agreeing that he and Lucy would leave Dart alone and giving him a prepaid debit card to help him survive.

Sure, part of that was self-interest. Martin wanted Lucy to himself and spare her pain by helping her look ahead, not back.

But buying off his significant other's homeless ex did seem a little sketchy.

However, that debit card was the only way Thomas and Juliet had to track Dart. Only that ultimately led them to the only place where they didn't want to find Dart -- in the morgue.

Poor Shammy. He was trying to do a fellow vet a solid, but he was too late to save him.

Magnum and Higgins had found an eyewitness to the hit-and-run that killed Dart: the Good Samaritan who stole Dart's debit card.

They vowed to Shammy that they would find Dart's murderer. And wouldn't you know it, the case threw them both back in contact with Lia.

Lia was still suffering the aftereffects of being outed as a crimelord's daughter. And, yes, she should have been upfront with everyone about who she was rather than having it trickle out as gossip.

But Magnum was wrong to feel offended. Their relationship was more of a physical one, not one in which they spilled their deep, dark secrets to each other in the early morning hours.

Juliet tried to help them patch things up by making herself scarce whenever Thomas and Lia were together. But the writing has been on the wall since, say, when Higgins broke up with Ethan.

It took half the season to get both single again. So let's not rush the two of them together.

With Thomas, Juliet, and Lia joining professionally, it took no time to determine that Dart was the victim of an insurance scam. Especially after a woman came barging in seeking a death certificate before Dart's body was even cold.

It was simple to find her accomplice. He would be the guy who insured a homeless vet for $3 million and was later located shot dead on his floor.

And since only two women beside Lucy had been introduced, the guilty party would naturally be the older volunteer at the encampment who left her fingerprint on a bullet.

Speaking of dumb moves, usually Rick's specialty, didn't the well-meaning T.C. make more than a few?

He decided that Cade was wasting his potential just working at La Mariana. Cade needed to go back to school and be with other kids his age.

Never mind that Cade had his reasons for living on the streets from which T.C. had taken him in. It wasn't like institutional options such as the foster-care system worked better for him.

Life was simpler when T.C. found himself abandoned. Sign on the dotted line and see the world.

As T.C. discovers, now there's this requirement called mandatory reporting designed to scuttle arrangements such as he and Cade had.

He got too specific and put Katsumoto, a mandatory reporter as a cop, in a tricky spot.

Then Cade explained to him that the main reason he didn't want to return to school was that a teacher was forced to report on him after his mother left, causing him to be thrust into a bad foster-care situation.

So, because T.C. wanted to help Cade get ahead with a good education, he had inadvertently caused him to go back to the streets.

Fortunately, Rick came up with a rare good idea. T.C. served as Cade's foster dad all along, so why not make it official? Cade literally embraced that arrangement.

Now, this should be interesting as both Rick and T.C. prepare to enter fatherhood officially.

T.C. has already proven he can do it. Rick remains a work in progress.

To follow T.C. and Cade's relationship, watch Magnum P.I. online.

Should Magnum and Higgins get together?

Like the absent Ethan, will we ever see Lia again?

Were you at all surprised that T.C. stepped up for Cade?

Comment below.


Get your sunglasses and fans ready: it's time for the Ball! Why are you surprised? They bring it to you every season.

For RuPaul's Drag Race Season 14 Episode 3, the Ball challenge came with a twist that doubled the fun and the fashion.

Some queens stole the show while others were out of style. Fashion is a cutthroat world; all is fair in love and designer.

Before we get to the Balls, "A Pair of Balls" dropped two huge twists that changed the name of the game.

Firstly, Orion Story and Daya Betty's return to the competition wasn't completely surprising. RuPaul's Drag Race hasn't eliminated a queen in the first round for several seasons now. The series wants to give the queens a chance to show their stuff and have the audience get to know them.

Plus, RuPaul's goodbye message to both queens somewhat teased that more was to come. And the season typically has many episodes to fill, so bringing them back filled two rounds.

It would've been more shocking if the eliminations stuck or the cast had started with 16 queens to account for the two cuts. I'd be interested in having them try that in a future season.

The second big twist came in the form of the RuPaul Candy Bar.

This Willy Wonka-inspired twist solved one big issue that plagued the franchise as a whole: RuPaul having the sole power in who gets to return to the competition. Sure, there will be double shantays that might happen, but sometimes those are done to fill a week. (Looking at you, Heidi N Closet vs. Jackie Cox.)

The chocolate bar is completely by chance and leaves it up to Lady Luck. No favoritism, no pre-planning, and no lackluster lip-syncs. Anyone could be the lucky queen with the golden ticket.

We'll have to make bets on when it might happen. The anticipation will be eating us away.

The Maxi Challenge during "A Pair of Balls" pleasantly changed the format of how the Balls were run.

We still had 42 looks walking the runway, but the categories were divided enough to feel fresh whenever a new theme category appeared. The pacing didn't drag on by being forced to watch three sets of the same categories; the smaller groups broke things up in quicker spots.

Kornbread: Kornbread is a sweetheart, but yes, I’m a messy bitch. I’m all about fun shade.
Bosco: She bring it to you every “bowl.”
[They all laugh]

Drag Race should follow this structure again in the future.

The Ball doesn't need to be themed around doubles, but splitting the categories made a huge positive difference. There was much more excitement and energy when the queens reached the main stage judging. And the judges had more to talk about instead of relying on the same themes.

A huge improvement from previous years.

Outside of the top queens, the looks that stood out for me included Lady Camden's red pinup resort look, Alyssa Hunter's evening wear, Kerri's purple leopard business suit, Kornbread's fitted black gown, Bosco's Cruella de Vil bridal gown, Kerri's golden bridal gown, and Jasmine Kennedie's bridal star gown.

Lady Camden's ensembles were too distracting with many additional parts, but her red pinup bathing suit exuded sexiness and style. She could've strutted that look on a future runway to wow the judges; it made her a good stylish match.

The evening wear looks verged on business in many cases. However, Alyssa, Kerri, and Kornbread had polished looks that meant business.

[In confessional] Now that we’re all in a group, it kinda puts into perspective how much of a fight it’s gonna be because there are so many girls. It is scary, you know. But, I am totally fine with ripping my pearls and throwing it on the stage for the girls so they can trip and fall.

Jasmine Kennedie

Alyssa's Miranda Priestly-inspired outfit could've come right from a designer; she's served many great fashionable looks so far in the competition. Kerri brought Dynasty to the runway in a look that would've made the Carringtons jealous.

And Kornbread once again proved why she's giving the fashion queens a run for their money. Her fitted black leopard gown accentuated all her curves and moved with her down the runway.

On the other hand, the bridal gowns were all fashionable in their own right. Though, it got a bit crafty in places.

Bosco's Cruella de Vil won me over due to simply the nostalgia of it all. The outfit had all the right style nods, and the piece was perfectly polished from head to toe.

While not the most elaborate, Kerri's gown was accessorized quite well. The garment moved effortlessly with her body; the gold fabric and accessories looked amazing. Kerri can pull anything off with her supermodel confidence.

Jasmine's Red, White, and Blue bridal gown was fitted to the heavens! I was afraid that if she breathed or tripped, the gown would come apart. It verged on pageant, but that influence worked in its favor.

For the top queens, Willow Pill knocked this out of the park. She slayed the Ball and won this Maxi Challenge with a solid week.

Seriously, we're talking about the same queen who walked into the Werk Room on RuPaul's Drag Race Season 14 Episode 1 with flip flops!

Her zebra 80s lunch outfit, the fitted black leopard gown, and the gold bridal gown all highlighted her fashionability. Willow showcased style, sexiness, and blew the judges away. Specifically, her black leopard and gold bridal were polished looks with the right fitting and amount of touches, such as the gold rope on the black dress.

Willow Pill: [About Jorgeous] I wanted to be the littlest one.
June Jambalaya: Yeah, you’ve got another child here with you, baby. I’m sorry.
Willow Pill: No, it’s okay. I’m the youngest in the face.
[June Jambalaya and Kerri Colby laugh]

Angeria Paris VanMichaels and Jorgeous were tough competitors that made it a close race. Though, where I think they lost the win came from Angeria sticking to silhouettes that she's already strong in and Jorgeous needing the finishing touches on her final bridal look.

Either queen could've possibly won had they varied up the looks or solved those issues.

June Jambalaya and Maddy Morphosis were the two right queens at the bottom.

June's second and third looks had several problems. She could barely walk in the gold fabric, and when Drag Race shows a judge wince, you know that's a bad sign for the queen's chances. Plus, she tried too hard to cover up the design from her bridal look; the judges weren't going to ignore the obvious.

Kornbread: Who went home?
Jasmine Kennedie: Her name was Daya Betty. Who left from your guys’ group?
Kornbread: From our group, Orion Story. Yeah.
Jorgeous: How was she?
Kornbread: It clearly was a short story, girl.
[They all laugh]
DeJa Skye: Epilogue!

In Maddy's case, she didn't push herself to deliver stunning looks. It all felt very basic.

Her looks could've worked in the early seasons, but this is RuPaul's Drag Race Season 14. Her red hot resort look was ill-fitting and too simple, while her evening wear look needed something that would pop on the main stage.

The tone fell flat across the board; at least her bridal look had some comedy to it with her performance.

"I Love It" by Kylie Minogue is the type of lip-sync song that gives queens the chance to blow the judges away. It's upbeat, has catchy lyrics, and gives some drop notes to land tricks.

June had the energy to match the song, and her facial expressions gave life to every word. Her problem, however, came from how messy her performance became.

Why kick off the shoes? Why not do something interesting with the wig and fabric reveal? Her number felt like it was going all over the place.

Maddy wasn't a strong lip-syncer; she did well to match the beat, and she seemed to have fun. Though, if June had reined it in a bit more, she possibly could've stayed over Maddy.

Sometimes all it takes is several bad decisions to lose a lip-sync. Maddy stayed consistent and worked through everything that happened around her.

Last Thoughts From The Werk Room:

  • I hope the $1,000 was worth it, Daya Betty. Eating the dragonfly was cringeworthy!
  • The mirror chats have been so strong and emotional so far. My heart broke for Kornbread, Kerri, and Orion Story.
  • What was in RuPaul's coffee this round? She was feeling the energy.

Now, over to you, Drag Race fans!

What did you think of "A Pair of Balls"?

Are you sad to see June Jambalaya leave? Who do you think has the lucky chocolate bar? Who will be the next to sashay away?

Share your thoughts in the comments below.


Mark Zuckerberg's vision of a sanitized, hypercapitalist metaverse will likely never be as compelling or idiosyncratic as VRChat, the virtual reality community that's been home to anime fans, Furries and a slew of other sub-cultures since 2014. That's my main takeaway from We Met in Virtual Reality, the first documentary filmed entirely in VRChat, which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival today.

There's no chance Zuck's metaverse would let people wear trademarked avatars without paying a ton, attend exotic clubs to receive (or give) virtual lapdances, or allow users to build whatever the hell they want. VRChat, as portrayed by director Joe Hunting, is basically a proto-metaverse where anything is possible. And for many, it has served as a crucial social hub during the pandemic, a place where they can forget about the world, relax with friends and maybe find love.

But of course, that's been the nature of practically every online community. We're social animals — people have always been able to connect with each other over BBS, IRC, Usenet and the plethora of forums and chat services that populated the early internet. I spent most of the '90s hanging out in anime and gaming chat rooms, the sorts of places that today's connected youth would probably find quaint. Still, the people I met there helped me survive the worst parts of middle and high school. Those relationships, and the internet itself, shaped me into who I am (for better or worse).

We Met in Virtual Reality proves that the unbridled, experimental sense of online community is still alive and well today, despite relentless consolidation from Big Tech. But now, instead of staring at tiny CRT monitors, people are slapping on VR headsets to explore fully realized environments. Hardcore VRChat users are also investing in powerful computing rigs as well as upgrades like finger and whole-body tracking. In the '90s, I was grateful to get another 16MB of RAM so that I could have more than one browser window open. Today, VRChat devotees can communicate using American Sign Language, or have their anime avatars show off their belly dancing skills.

Hunting approaches his subjects with the eye of an anthropologist, without any judgment towards their sometimes ridiculous avatars (do all the anime ladies need to have jiggly, Dead or Alive-level boob physics?). We Met in Virtual Reality begins as a chill hangout flick — we follow a group of friends as they have virtual drinks and go on joyrides in crudely-built VR cars — but it quickly moves beyond the novelty of its setting. One person credits their VRChat girlfriend for helping them to "unmute" after being silent for two years. An exotic performer explains that being able to dance for people in VRChat helped her grieve with a family tragedy and manage a bout of alcoholism.

We Met in Virtual Reality
Joe Hunting

The film chronicles how that exotic dancer, a young woman based in the UK, formed a romantic relationship with another VRChat user in Miami. These sorts of cyber relationships aren’t anything new, but the VR platform allowed them to do much more than trade links and memes over IM. They could exist in a space together, go on dates to new environments every night. I won’t spoil where things end up for the couple, but I can say that it wouldn’t have been nearly as effective outside of VR.

We Met in Virtual Reality effectively conveys why people would gravitate towards VRChat, especially during a pandemic. But it doesn't fully capture the wonder of exploring these environments yourself. Seeing people hop on a virtual rollercoaster isn't nearly as thrilling as doing it, where your entire field of vision is covered and you can easily get vertigo. But I don't blame Hunting too much for that; his job was to boil down the VR experience so people can enjoy it on a 2D screen, and the film is mostly successful in that respect. The film was shot using a virtual camera that could mimic all of the functionality of a typical shooter, from focus points to aperture levels. So even though it's produced in an alien environment most people aren't familiar with, it still feels like a traditional documentary.

Hunting has spent the past few years making VR documentaries, starting with a few short films, as well as the series Virtually Speaking. It’s clear from We Met in Virtual Reality that he’s not just dropping into the community for a quick story. Instead, he sees the humanity behind the avatars and virtual connections. These people aren't just escaping from their lives  with VR — their lives are being made richer because of it.


Thursday, 20 January 2022

Intel has revealed its plans to build a massive semiconductor facility in Ohio to Time — one that company CEO Pat Gelsinger is expecting to become "the largest silicon manufacturing location on the planet." The company is earmarking $20 billion to build the site on a 1,000-acre land in New Albany, located on the outskirts of Columbus, Ohio. Intel's initial plans include building two semiconductor fabrication plants (or fabs) on the property that would employ 3,000 people. Construction on the site is scheduled to begin this year, and Intel expects the fabs to be operational by 2025.

A Bloomberg report back in late 2021 claimed that the White House "strongly discouraged" Intel from ramping up chip production in China. The administration has been pushing for companies to manufacture chips in the US in order to address the ongoing global shortage. In turn, companies have been lobbying the president to fund semiconductor research and manufacturing. It's worth noting, though, that since building new plants takes years, projects like this won't be able to help address supply chain shortages anytime soon.

Intel said it looked at 38 different sites in the US for the facility but ultimately chose Ohio, because of all the space it could use. The company doesn't want to build in places where it could displace residents, since that's what ultimately killed Amazon's plans to build a second headquarters in NYC. When the fabs are done, Intel will use them to manufacture both its own chips and chips for clients under the Intel Foundry Services. The company announced its foundry services when it revealed that it's building two factories in Arizona, which will also cost Intel $20 billion, back in March 2021. 

According to Gelsinger, the chipmaker has the option to expand the Ohio site to 2,000 acres and to build as many as eight fabs in the future. "We helped to establish the Silicon Valley," the CEO told Time. "Now we’re going to do the Silicon Heartland."


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