There is a story of a determined woodcutter asking for a job with a timber merchant. He wanted to show his new boss how strong a worker he was, so with new axe in hand, he brought back 18 trees the first day. The boss congratulated him on the accomplishment. Very motivated, the woodcutter tried harder the next day, but he brought only 15 trees back. The third day he tried even harder, but he only could bring 10 trees. Day after day he was bringing less and less trees to his boss. He went to the boss to apologize for his lack of production, to which the boss asked him, "When was the last time you sharpened your axe?" The woodcutter replied, "Sharpen? I had no time to sharpen my axe. I have been very busy trying to cut trees..."
Mary McDonnell, Jon Tenney
Finally, we have come to the end of our second season. Major Crimes will not only finish up business it started last week, but also answer some questions it asked last November, last summer and last year. The manner in which identity and character combine to form human nature - our nineteen episode theme — will, of course, remain a mystery, but we have framed our inquiry as well as we could.
Part of that frame involves dramatizing how two boys from similar circumstances could have turned out so differently. I won't give away our ending — I've never wanted to use this opportunity to present spoilers — but it won't take long to spot the numerous similarities between Rusty and his would-be murderer: both abandoned, both abused as teenagers, both affected by the addiction and drug problems of their respective mothers, and the comparisons do not end there. They see themselves in each other, yet every resemblance is superficial....
Carl Edwards, David Brown
"Better to have loved and lost, than to never have loved before." Alfred Lord Tennyson
It was "Moving Forward" week, and the remaining contestants got a surprise visit by Biggest Loser alumni Abby. Listening to her talk about her experience, I connected immediately to her heartbreaking story of loss. She reminded us if she had not dealt with the hurt she had then she would not be where she is today. I know exactly what she's talking about. I too had an abundance of pain in my life I hadn't dealt with when I got here, and I can say the physical transformation I am enjoying is a direct result of finally dealing with those feelings of loss in my life.
We have arrived at the last two episodes of Major Crimes first winter season, during which we will answer several questions that have accumulated during the previous seven months, and unravel the mystery behind the threatening letters written to Captain Sharon Raydor and her material witness, Rusty Beck.
And we will face two of the final tests of character as this curious case unwinds in unusual fashion...
Used car dealerships have been justly famous for their fast talk and unsophisticated advertising, but their greatest salesmen were once genuine marvels of our culture. Part carnival barker, part magician, part traffic accident: the sincerest practitioners of this art inspired wonder and dark admiration as they daily transformed intelligent people into gullible customers, plopping them (almost without protest) behind the wheels of "one hundred percent guaranteed pre-owned vehicles," and going on to run up the price with a succession of worthless guarantees. Sadly, this marketplace, in which used-car salesmen once bartered with ferocity and cunning, daily diminishes under the pressures of the internet, where customers can go and find the exact car they want, in the exact color, and from the exact year, with an exact price. These dealerships, one successful owner mourns, are becoming less like bazars and more like parking lots, way stations for inventory absent any human connection. The next generation of used car salesmen will have a different character from their predecessors.
And that takes us to the theme we explore in our next episode...
I read once — somewhere in the long ago — that character must be tested like a blacksmith tempers metal. Our personalities are forged in the furnace of our circumstances, pounded into shape between the hammer of our ambitions and the anvil of daily life. I have taken a bit of poetic license here, mainly because this particular metaphor seems slightly overwrought, but let's stay with the fiery image because, when confronted with flames, heroic characters often run toward them instead of seeking safety...
"Full effort is full victory." Mahatma Gandhi
Being a super-fan of The Biggest Loser for years, I knew what an accomplishment it was to make it to "Singles." At the Week 10 challenge, Alison unveiled an assortment of colored jerseys, marking the end of team efforts, and introducing us to our new identities and start of individual efforts. It was time to take everything we had learned over the first few months on the ranch and apply it solely for our own benefit. Going forward, I had only my effort to count on.... and I really liked that new kind of positive pressure.
Tony Denison, G.W. Bailey
I was supposed to post some afterthoughts about "All In," last Tuesday or Wednesday and, instead, I am late with my entry about this week's new episode, (which was directed by Jon Tenney, better known to our fan base as Special Agent Fritz Howard). It just goes to show you that our best intentions can suddenly be overwhelmed by the unforeseen. In my case, the surprise was sinusitis and a prescription for some fierce, energy-sapping antibiotics that have forced me to adjust my professional plans. While physically irritating, it has made me even more sympathetic to the detectives in Major Crimes, all of whom find themselves dealing with the unexpected when their holiday vacation gets derailed by a shopping trip to Venice Beach.
We begin with Flynn and Provenza ambling through one of the kookiest neighborhoods in Los Angeles...
The Biggest Loser
You've probably heard the story "The Power of the Penny"... Take one penny and double it each day for just one month. At the end of the first week, you'd have a paltry $0.64, but keep going and by the end of the second week you'd have $81.92. Not bad. At Day 21 or the end of the third week, you'd see a $10,485.76 return. And by the time you hit Day 31, the last calendar day of the month, that day one penny is now worth more than $10.737 million. So what's the point?
Mary McDonnell, Graham Patrick Martin
If the recent exigencies of the Great Recession have taught us anything — doubtful, honestly, considering how easily it could all happen again — it's that humans tend to take for granted the status quo in unhealthy ways, and that, worse, we tend to equate being rich with great wealth. During the financial downturn, many people were amazed to find how ephemeral their finances turned out to be. We woke from a sleepy sense of entitlement to find we had been living in a bubble.
So our victim tonight, the manager of a very small investment fund, turns out to have taken on more risk than he knew; his friends and family, who trusted him with their money, are horrified to find that he essentially sold their cow for magic beans, and their lives on country club estates are more tenuous than they first supposed.