The Knitty Gritty

Sparty and Pooh model Baby Anna's new sweater and cap

Sparty and Pooh model Baby Anna’s new sweater and cap

Sparty is a Michigan State Build-a-Bear that Joanie gave us and Pooh just is. Together they model a sweater and matching cap that Anne knitted for Anna, the baby of the fourth grade teacher that Anne substituted for last fall. Anne’s knitting is quite intricate, especially on the cap. The photo, while cute, doesn’t do her handiwork justice. She has posted more photos on Ravelry. You can find them under RegenAxe. OBTW, the bears are seated on the backside of the LOVE quilt that she also finished last week.

Anne does a fair amount of her knitting in the evening, while watching television. I use to criticize Anne for her fondness for police procedurals on TV. I called them paranoid cop shows. You know the fare, the franchises Law and Order and CSI led the pack. I had read once that people who watch these shows have an exaggerated fear of crime, hence the paranoia stigma. I feel a bit chagrined now that I have adopted two police procedurals of my own. I don’t fear any paranoid influences from these shows, because they are both set over a hundred years in the past, but it still looks duplicitous of me. Oh, well.

BBC America has produced these two shows. I watch them on Amazon. “Copper” is set in New York City, in 1864 during the Civil War. Detective Kevin Corcoran is a rugged Irish immigrant cop. His beat is the notorious Five Points neighborhood. To his superiors, he is just another Irishman, albeit a resourceful one. To his countrymen, he is a copper.

“Ripper Street” starts in April of 1889; just six months since the last Jack the Ripper killing. East London is emerging into a fragile peace, hopeful that this killer’s reign of terror might at last have run its course. Nowhere is this truer than in the corridors of H Division, the police precinct charged with keeping order in the chaos of Whitechapel. Its men hunted this maniac; and failed to find him.

These two 19th century crime dramas retrace ground already well-traveled. Martin Scorsese’s “Gangs of New York” was set in the same neighborhood and time period as “Copper”. Echoes of the Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law Sherlock Holmes franchise are apparent in “Ripper Street”. And these are only the most recent antecedents in a venerable lineage that traces back both genres, almost to their inception.

While “Copper” centers around one main character, Kevin Corcoran, played by Tom Weston-Jones, “Ripper Street” is run by more of a triumvirate of leads. “Copper” feels like an eastern western. No more so then in the opening bank robbery sequence. Its moral turpitude is at times enough to make any of the denizens of HBO’s “Deadwood” blush. While “Ripper Street” is ostensibly about the legend of Jack the Ripper, it borrows liberally from Holmes lore, with a dash of Steampunk. The interesting twist here is that with three characters to work with, the salient traits of Holmes and Watson can be jumbled up among them, leading to more believable and less archetypical characters.

Tonight most eyes will be turned towards the Academy Awards. Midway through that show, you might find that none of the gowns are more interesting than some peculiar stain on the red carpet. All of the jokes fall flat, but there are no disastrous gaffes to pick up the slack and the acceptance speeches just drone on and on. In this eventuality, you might consider watching one of these archaic paranoid cop shows.

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