I just watched the Firefly series and Serenity film again over the holidays.  If M*A*S*H (which ranked only 46th its first year) had the same network nabobs unwilling to allow that series to find its fan base, it, too, would have been canceled.  Staggering thought, yes.  That is what FOX did to this brilliant series that fans all over the world love and remain heartsick about to this day. 

Not only is Firefly developed by Josh Whedon for Pete’s sake, but also it has such talented actors and crew that the thing is about as perfect as a series could be. It is often laugh out loud hilarious, other times pulse pounding and sometimes heartbreaking–but always fascinating.  Check it on IMDb and and Amazon where it has nearly perfect ratings.

Also take a look at the cast’s filmographies. These brilliant actors have been busy since the show was canceled, all of them in series/movies right now, including Nathan Fillion’s charming Castle. I am so happy for all of them, yet from everything I’ve read, they, too, wish they had been able to continue Firefly (Whedon planned it for 7 years) and are deeply touched by their fans’ love of Firefly. Don’t miss the film, Serenity, which Whedon did for his fans who worked so hard for the series and is the only successful movie evolved from a canceled tv series–it is also excellent and helps tie a few ends, but it’s not enough, no.

Canceling Firefly may very well be the worst series cancellation blunder in television history.


Why Students May Not Give Me Excuses for Late Papers



Dear Buttercup:

If you are late to work and run a stop sign, do you think the cop who spots you will care that you ran it because you were late, and do you think he will listen to your reason for being late?  He might care, and he might even listen, but you will get the ticket.

If you hit an inside-the-park homerun, but you lollygag around the bases, strutting and doffing your cap at all and sundry, so that you are late getting to home plate and the center fielder throws you out at home, do you think the umpire, to say nothing of the fans, to say nothing of your teammates and your manager will be interested in your reasons for being late to home or in your outrage that you are being treated unfairly?  No, they are too busy beating you up.

If you are late turning in a major portfolio to the CEO of the company—an assignment that represents millions of dollars to the company that you were supposed to have worked on for weeks—do you think he will accept your excuse even though you think it’s a really special reason?  Actually, you will be carrying a cardboard box with all your worldly cubicle stuff out the big glass doors.  No corner office for you, Bro.

If you are a nurse and are late giving your patient his medication, and his eyeballs and toes turn straight up as he goes into cardiac arrest, do you think the doctor and the hospital will accept your excuse even though it seems very important to you?  No, you will be out the door and face a lawsuit.  

And, if you’re thinking, well [fill in the blank] is only an hour late, what’s the big deal—see dead patient above.

I have clearly stated the only acceptable excuse is your major illness documented by a physician who says you could not have completed the paper because you were at death’s door.  That’s it.  Not a relative’s illness; not a relative’s death (that excuse always seems to occur right at the research deadline: ask any professor in any college in the country; it’s a fact of life that students will use this excuse—though it is rarely if ever the case); not even a pet’s death; not a friend’s fainting spell requiring your attention lest she die, too.  Nada.  In fact, many professors don’t even allow the wiggle room I do because we all suspect you are lying anyway: we call it the grandmother kill-off season.  Seriously. 

Now, Dude, as you read this, you may think it’s harsh.  But here is what you are up against if you and your pals decide to try the ‘excuse for late work’ ploy:

The student with four kids whose husband is on the front lines in Afghanistan; her life is anguish every second though she has never once asked for any attention, nor has she ever complained.  She got the paper in on time. 

The contractor who is based in Iraq (several contractors have died there)—a completely different time zone in an extremely stressful environment.  He got the paper in on time. 

The single father whose wife died last year, and he’s raising two kids by himself while working two jobs to support them.  Yep, he got the paper in on time. 

The mom whose child is sick and over whom she has had sleepless nights.  Because she had begun the paper and took advantage of the help I offered and paid attention to suggestions, she in fact had the paper ready even before the deadline. So though her little boy was sick—yes, she submitted the paper on time. 

I can give you countless other stories of students who had enormous pressures, worries, difficulties, and even deaths in their families—who knew the paper was due and submitted it on time.

The research paper assignment has been in the works since the first day of class; everyone knows it  Everyone has also had the opportunity to submit focus, thesis, and rough draft several days before the deadline.  Everyone has been encouraged to submit the paper earlier than the deadline. 

So, you see, when a student does neither and then begins to use the following words, “my paper is late because followed by reasons and excuses, when every student knows full well what the only acceptable excuse is and that I have heard yours a thousand times over 30 years, well it’s just not creative—even if you are a former student of mine and you have done all the other work, and you send me a picture to remind me how adorable you are. 

Sorry, but your formerness and your cute pic are irrelevant.  Seriously. Besides, you’re not the only former student, and you certainly are not the only student who has done all the work, and you definitely are not the only student with vexing or even wrenching problems.  

It’s simple really: do the work or drop.

If you think this is mean, and that your excuse for late work is the exception, think back on that wife and mother who does not know if her husband, who is fighting for his country against the TALIBAN for god’s sake, will come home to them.  

Then get your paper in on time.  


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