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Far From Home and Alone

Posted on Thursday, August 1st, 2019

Dave!I saw Spider-Man: Far From Home quite a while ago.

But then I got busy and there never seemed to be time to sit down and write up my thoughts on it. So I just kept jotting down notes until I managed to get enough to put them in an entry. Overall I liked the movie quite a lot. Though it hasn't displaced Homecoming as my favorite MCU Spider-Man film, there was still a lot to love...

Needless to say, spoilers will follow...

Spoiler Zone!

   
Spiderman: Far From Home is a pretty great flick. I don't know that I like it better than Spider-Man: Homecoming, because that film was about as flawless as it gets, but Far From Home is a close second. Jon Watts keeps knocking Spider-Man out of the park, and I couldn't be happier about it.

Let's just bullet-point the major talking points here...

  • Tom Holland remains a flawless choice for Peter Parker / Spider-Man. First of all, he's convincing as a high school kid, which is what was missing from the previous Spider-Man films where he was an adult. Starting out as a kid is what makes Spider-Man different, and is what should be embraced. Finally we're getting that.
  • Zendaya may be underused (again), but she's got the talent and drive to make the most of every second she's on screen. I absolutely love her character, and having her discover Spider-Man's identity the way she did was pretty great.
  • I actually liked Ned better in this film even though he had a better part in the previous film. In Homecoming Ned was the "Man In The Chair" helping Spider-Man out, but that felt kinda intrusive to me. Now that Ned is just Peter's friend again (albeit one who knows his secret identity) I think he works better.
  • Happy Hogan is as critical to the MCU Spider-Man as Aunt May is, and working him in to the story they way they did was sublime. I sure hope they find ways to keep him around the MCU like this now that Iron Man is out of the picture.
  • Reimagining Mysterio the way they did was both disappointing and the smartest thing about the film. In the comics, Quentin Beck is a Hollywood stuntman and special effects artist. When he was rejected as an actor, he decided to use his ability to create movie illusions to become a super-criminal. That would take a lot to explain in a 2-hour movie, so the rumor was that they were going to reinvent him as a failed stage magician who uses magical illusions to commit crimes. While this would be a more plausible idea in a day-and-age where the vast majority of movie special effects are computer-generated, I don't know that what they ultimately came up with was better. Turns out Mysterio is actually an entire team of former Stark employees who feel wronged by Tony Stark. They combined their various talents to create a new hero so they could con the world into doing whatever they wanted to do. A part of me was like... um... you're creating some of the most advance tech on earth and can make people see whatever you want to see. Why not just covertly do whatever you want to do? Why create Mysterio at all, if this is your goal? Doesn't that just draw attention to you? It's kinda silly.
  • It used to be that I would thrill to how Marvel Studios keeps integrating all their films so tightly. I'd be all "HOW COOL IS IT THAT THE REASON THIS HAPPENED IN THIS MOVIE IS BECAUSE THAT HAPPENED IN THAT MOVIE?!?" But now that they're pulling random background people from older movies to create Team Mysterio, it's getting kinda lame. Oh look! It's the science guy that Obadiah Stane yelled at in the first Iron Man movie! Yay? Keep integrating all the Marvel films into a coherent universe for these MCU characters? Yes please! Start pulling out random background extras so you can build these connections? Nah. We're good.
  • That being said, Jake Gyllenhaal was pretty great as Quentin Beck though, right? His entire character arc hinged on him being a Tony Stark mentor replacement for Peter Parker. He had to get that just right, or the movie's premise would fail. Once he put on the EDITH glasses, Quentin's greatest illusion was complete, and you totally buy why Peter handed over EDITH to him. Brilliant casting.
  • When it comes to the EDITH glasses, however, I don't really get it. Assumably Tony built this massive drone defense system in case there's a dire threat to all humanity. Good idea. But the fact that it's useless without EDITH to control it is insane. What then... if Peter Parker dies then the system which could have helped thwart an alien invasion just sits there because the only guy who could control it is six feet under? Isn't that a bit crazy? How does that make sense? I dunno. Maybe upon Peter's death EDITH goes to Rhodey or something but, so far as plot points go, this still feels kinda nuts.
  • Another thing that seemed nuts? The crazy-ass coincidences that plague this movie. Ned and Betty just HAPPEN to be in the Ferris wheel which just HAPPENS to be where the merged elemental appears? And it just HAPPENS to be made out of the metal the elemental needs to grow more powerful so it gravitates towards it? MJ just HAPPENS to be standing where the ONLY hologram projector falls off? I mean, I get it. I read Edgar Rice Burroughs, so I know that a never-ending string of coincidences can make good fiction. But with a little more thought put into these things, it seems as though we'd have a much tighter narrative where blatant coincidences aren't required to move the story forward.
  • Nick Fury is always a welcome addition to any MCU film. How they manage to always find such smart ways to integrate him into the movies is a mystery, but I'm thankful they don't feel at all gratuitous. Not yet anyway.
  • Spider-Man's "spider sense" (branded "The Peter Tingle" in the movies) which alerts him to impending danger has always felt like a stretch in the comics. The idea is that spiders seem to be able to predict when you're about to smash them, because they always seem to be able to get out of the way first. And that's clever. In real-life it doesn't work like that (I think spiders are just sensitive to air movement and pressure changes which gives them the illusion of having a spider sense), so I was happy when the concept was seemingly abandoned in the MCU. But here it is, and it's just as inexplicable and sloppy as it's always been. Abandoned most of the time Peter should be sensing danger... but suddenly making an appearance when the writers need a way for Spider-Man to see through Mysterio's illusions. That's just a lazy crutch, and I think the movies are poorer for it.
  • I think we're at a point where the idea of amping up the action for each new Marvel film has finally reached a breaking point. Some of the action sequences in Far From Home were almost incomprehensible because there's so much going on so quickly that you can't wrap your head around it. When Spider-Man is whipping around at break-neck speeds and still able to dodge drones and handle three problems at the same time, that's his enhanced speed and reflexes doing their thing. But the audience doesn't have enhanced speed and reflexes.

If there were no huge surprises to be found in the film proper, there was one heck of a bombshell that dropped in the mid-credits sequence. First they had Mysterio reaching up from the grave to paint Spider-Man as the bad guy. This is straight out of the comics I read in the 1980's. Because in the Spider-Man comics back then (maybe even today), even when Peter wins, he ultimately loses. There's always bad to go along with the good.

Then, of course, Spider-Man's secret identity was revealed. Whoa. I like that Marvel is ditching all these stupid secret identities which feel so antiquated now... but Spider-Man is an actual kid, and this seems like a pretty Big Deal. I am very much curious to know where they go from here.

And now for some random bullets...

  • Whitney Houston's cover of Dolly Parton's I Will Always Love You (at the opening) and The Go-Go's Vacation (at the end) were note-perfect choices. We also got more of The Ramones with I Wanna Be Your Boyfriend (using their Blitzkrieg Bop in Homecoming remains my second favorite Marvel music cue... second only to Immigrant Song in Thor: Ragnarok). I don't know how the 80's songs keep making their way into these movies, but I'm pretty happy about it.
  • A shout-out to Martin Starr, who plays Mr. Harrington. Starr manages to play the semi-clueless teacher in a way that's charming more than stupid, and I don't think many actors could pull that off as well. Casting him out of Silicon Valley is right up there with Tom Holland and Zendaya to me, because the wrong choice would have ripped you out of the movie every time he shows up.
  • Turning the Netherlands into the European Canada seemed distracting and unnecessary, and any humor that they think came from it fell pretty flat.
  • Thank heavens Peter's Iron Spider costume was left at home. He's got enough powers... more than enough powers... without having Iron-Man-like enhancements on top of it all. I was really, really hopeful that once we watched it all fall apart in Avengers: Endgame, we'd never be seeing it again.

And that's a wrap.

Time to update my "Y2K Super-Hero Comic Book Renaissance" scorecard...

Ant-Man... A
Ant-Man and The Wasp... A-
Aquaman... B-
The Avengers... A+
Avengers: Age of Ultron... A
Avengers: Infinity War... A
Avengers: Endgame... A+
Batman Begins... A
Batman Dark Knight... A+
Batman Dark Knight Rises... A
Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice... D
Big Hero Six... A+
Black Panther... A+
Blade... B
Blade 2... B
Blade Trinity... B-
Captain America... A+
Captain America: The Winter Soldier... A+
Captain America: Civil War... A+
Captain Marvel... B+
Catwoman... F
Daredevil... B-
Daredevil (Director's Cut)... B+
Deadpool... A
Deadpool 2... A
Doctor Strange... A
Electra Woman and Dyna Girl... B-
Elektra... D
Fantastic Four (2005)... C
Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer... D
Fantastic Four (2015)... D+
Guardians of the Galaxy... A+
Guardians of the Galaxy: Vol. 2... A
Ghost Rider... C
Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance... D
Green Hornet... D
Green Lantern... C+
Hellboy... A
Hellboy 2: Golden Army... A
Hulk... C-
Incredible Hulk... B
The Incredibles... A+
Iron Man... A+
Iron Man 2... A-
Iron Man 3... A+
Jonah Hex... F
Justice League... F
Kick-Ass... B+
Kick-Ass 2... B-
Man of Steel... F-
Punisher... C+
Punisher War Zone... C
Scott Pilgrim vs. The World... C
Spider-Man... B+
Spider-Man 2... A
Spider-Man 3... D-
Amazing Spider-Man... B
Amazing Spider-Man 2... B-
Spider-Man: Homecoming... A+
Spider-Man: Far From Home... A
Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse... A
Suicide Squad... D
Superman Returns... C+
Thor... B+
Thor: The Dark World... B
Thor: Ragnarok... A+
Watchmen... B
The Wolverine... B
Wonder Woman... A
X-Men... C
X-Men 2: United... D
X-Men 3: Last Stand... F-
X-Men Origins: Wolverine... D
X-Men: First Class... B
X-Men: Days of Future Past... B-
X-Men: Apocalypse... D+

   

Judgement, Antibodies, and Bread

Posted on Friday, August 2nd, 2019

Dave!This morning after I fed my cats Jenny started making "yummy noises" while she ate breakfast. It caught me off guard because I've never heard her do that before. It was so subtle I would have missed it if I hadn't leaned over to fill the water fountain... and so adorable that I very nearly fell over laughing.

Not sure what brought this on, but it made my day.

For a little while, anyway.

Because then I decided to have tacos for breakfast and was all "SUCK IT, HATERS... only God can judge me! Wooooooo!!"

About twenty minutes later I spent an hour in "intestinal distress." Apparently God's judgement hath cometh and it cometh for me.

Guess that's what I get for ignoring Fish Friday! Though if the point of Fish Friday is to abstain from eating meat, these were vegetarian-safe tacos, so no harm no foul (no beef no fowl?). Maybe this Wrath of God stuff would make more sense if I had paid more attention in Catholic Sunday school? I dunno. I never found anything about "Fish Friday" in the Bible, so I'm guessing this came from the Catholic Church, much like "purgatory.".

In other news... my measles antibody test came back as 203. Anything higher than 29 is positive for immunization. Which left me looking at the results like... HOLY SHIT, MOM! My antibodies are at 203?!? TWO-OH-THREE?!? EXACTLY HOW MANY TIMES DID YOU HAVE ME IMMUNIZED?!?

It's nice that I'm protected as well as I can be protected from the measles plague while traveling. One less thing to worry about. Now I can focus all my worry on the plane crashing where it belongs!

Just kidding. That's probably the last thing I worry about while traveling. The way the world is going right now, sometimes I think a plane crash is the best thing that could happen to me.

And the second-best thing? Freshly-baked bread for dessert...

Two loaves of freshly-baked bread on a cooling rack.

Three slices of freshly-baked bread with tons of butter stacked on a plate that I'm holding in my living room with one slice half-eaten.

I'll take bread and butter over cake and ice cream any day of the week!

My turn to make yummy noises.

   

Caturday 120

Posted on Saturday, August 3rd, 2019

Dave!This past week I've been trying to recover from the work trip that badly messed up my sleep routine. I don't sleep much in the first place, but to basically have to stay awake for three day is not something you can easily bounce back from. My solution has been to just sleep when I'm tired and hope that eventually things go back to normal.

This makes my cats happy, because they just love to have a nap buddy. Especially Jake...

Jake looking adorable while sleeping.

Jake getting belly scratches while he's pressed up against me on the bed and falling asleep.

It wouldn't be so bad if he would share the bed instead of pushing me to the edge...

Jake asleep next to me on the bed, taking up most of the space.

I put a cat bed on the couch so that Jenny could take a nap next to me when I nap...

Jenny asleep and looking completely adorable.

All is well until I shift position and Jenny has to get all upset over it. Here she is doing her best "Might you have any Grey Poupon" look after I accidentally slid my leg under her bed...

Jenny alert and looking regal but peturbed.

   
For the past couple months, Jenny has been waiting on the small corner-ledge outside my bathroom so she can get petted after I take a shower. She knows that there's no way I can resist, but has taken to meowing to get my attention anyway. This past week I started recording her each morning...

This adds five to ten minutes to my morning routine each day, but it's worth it! Note the cat hair that goes flying everywhere. I can usually keep her shedding under control by brushing her with The Furminator, but she's been resisting it lately for some reason. Don't know if I accidentally brushed too hard or what, but we're taking a break from it for a while.

And don't worry about Jake getting his fair share of pets. He waits for me on top of the cat tower in my bedroom...

And now, since I've had my shower, I guess it's time for a nap!

But before I go...

Jake has discovered that if he pounces on the pet feeder he can knock loose any kibble that got stuck in the release tube...

Jake pouncing on the automated food dispenser to get treats.

I suppose it's only a matter of time before they figure out how to open the thing entirely.

At which point I might as well fill a trough with food when I'm gone and just let them eat until they explode. Silly cats.

=yawn= Have a great weekend!

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Bullet Sunday 623

Posted on Sunday, August 4th, 2019

Dave!You may think there's nothing good, just, and true in the world, and you could be right... because an all new Bullet Sunday starts... now...

   
• Free 2-Day Shipping with Amazon Prime. We have a white supremacist domestic terrorist problem which reached a crisis point years ago. And if the solution is always going to be to throw thoughts and prayers at it... or blame it on video games... or write it off as mental illness which cannot be solved... it will never, ever go away. And as we approach the age of affordable 3-D printing where space-age polymers will allow people to print assault rifles at home, it's only going to get much, much worse. And that day is coming far faster than anybody seems to recognize. So it's probably past time you ask yourself... do you want to continue to elect political leaders who encourage, escalate, and foster an environment where white nationalism can continue to thrive? Or do you want leaders who will foster a more inclusive society where white nationalism has no place? Because make no mistake, Amazon will be shipping those 3-D printers everywhere... including your state, your neighborhood, and your school district.

   
• And Then...

   
• Walt! "In 1955, Disneyland opened. In early 1956, Sherman W. Carter, Jr. took his family to the park and shot this home movie. The video was just uploaded to YouTube on July 1 by a family friend."

I've been a huge Disneyland fan for forever. Seeing it in its earliest, rawest form is mesmerizing.

   
• Superflat! One of my favorite artists, Takashi Murakami, has written an editorial about his influences over at CNN Style. His work has certainly been an influence on me!

Murakami Dave!

It's a really good read, especially if you have any interest in how art gets to be art.

   
• Best Life! Washington State may soon allow non-binary persons to use an "X" on their drivers license if an "M" or "F" isn't how they identify. Of course people are 100% losing their shit over it, which is mind-boggling to me. Why do you care what SOMEBODY ELSE has on their driver's license? How does it affect you AT ALL? Nobody is forcing you to do a damn thing on YOUR license. Which is why this Facebook post encapsulates the issue so well...

Be free indeed.

   
• More Chlorine! No idea how I missed this gem of a story, but it made my day... The Saga of Jerry Falwell Jr.’s Bizarre Relationship With a Miami Beach Pool Boy, Explained. This hypocritical bigot deserves to have people crawling up his ass with a microscope and examining every last detail of his life. Especially if articles like this are the result. After all the pain his words and actions have brought to others, it's about time it's returned in kind.

   
• Club Life! Speaking of hypocritical bigots, this may be my favorite headline of this decade... Mike Pence Fails to Pay $24K Tab at Gay-Owned Club.

   
Looking forward to another week filled with horrors? Me neither. But see you next Sunday.

   

The Bitterest Pill

Posted on Monday, August 5th, 2019

Dave!Last week somebody told me that they still find themselves thinking “I need to tell my mom about this!” whenever they see something, hear something, or think of something that reminds them of their mom... even though she has been gone for almost five years now. They then asked if it's the same for me. I had to answer "no" because for the three years before she died, my mom likely wouldn't have been able to understand or process what I was talking about. Thanks to dementia, I had years for that impulse to be driven out of me. Had she died when she could still make sense of stuff you'd tell her, then yeah, I think I absolutely would still have that impulse. As I have for most all of my other friends and family who have passed.

Whenever I run across something truly bizarre and messed up on Facebook, my impulse is to DM it to Grant. He died 2 months ago today.

Whenever I meet up with a mutual friend from "back in the day" and some hilarious memory comes up, my impulse is to reminisce with one of my dearest friends Doug. He died 6 months ago.

Whenever I hear a new song from some artist we mutually liked, my impulse is to message my friend Howard about it. He died 2 years ago today.

Whenever I order a Manhattan I think of my Grandpa and his wife Lois, who made epic cocktails that would blow your hair back. He died over 3 years ago. She died some years before that.

Whenever I eat apple pie my impulse is to run and tell my grandma that she still makes the best apple pie on planet earth. She died nearly 4 years ago.

Whenever I see an example of epic snark in my Facebook feed, my impulse is to forward it to my fellow blogger friend Kaply. She died 5 years ago.

Whenever I see a handmade bracelet that's especially crappy, my impulse is to take a photo and have a laugh with my fellow blogger friend Lisa about it. She died 10 years ago.

Whenever I see anything related to Dr. Who, my impulse is always to talk with one of my oldest bestest friends Howard about it. He died 18 years ago.

Whenever I make enchiladas from my grandmother's recipe, my impulse is to call her and tell her how mine never taste as good as hers do. She died like... 20... 25 years ago, I think?

Whenever I give myself a haircut, my impulse is to run and ask my barber grandfather how good a job I did. He died 29 years ago.

   
I think it's normal that we still think of people who are gone from our lives as if they are still around. Which is why I'm more than a little sad I can't feel this way about my mom... unarguably somebody I was closer to than anybody listed above. I mean, yeah, I still miss her terribly. There's not a day that goes by that I'm not thinking of her and wishing I could have her back. It's just that the impulse to run and tell her stuff is completely absent, and that's a bitter pill to swallow.

   
And speaking of dementia...

As we get older, our memory isn't as good as it used to be. And it's weird how that works. The lyrics to some obscure song I liked 20 years ago and probably haven't heard in a decade? Totally remember every word. What I had for breakfast last Tuesday? Yeah, I remember that. But the name of the person I was just introduced to 30 minutes ago? Gone. Vanished. No idea who they are, only that I should know their name.

But that kind of stuff doesn't worry me. Heck, I've been immediately forgetting people's names since birth! It's just that I notice it more now, I suppose.

What worries me... what terrifies me... is something like forgetting to turn the burner off after I've boiled some pasta and not noticing until 20 minutes later. Or forgetting to close the door flap after I've filled my car with gas and not realizing it until 2 days later. All those little things that should totally be ingrained in every fiber of my brain as habitual behavior... but obviously must not be because I've somehow forgotten to do it. Those things are about as unnerving as it gets.

After the whole pasta burner incident this past week, I ran to consult Dr. Google. This is what they say about dementia over at alzheimers.org...

In most cases, vascular dementia itself is not inherited.
   
However, a parent may pass certain genes that increase the risk of developing vascular dementia.

Sooo... good news bad news then? I guess?

Could be I'm overly-tired because I just can't seem to get my sleep back on schedule after my last trip, and that's the reason for it. Who knows?

If it is a sign of early onset dementia, however, at least I have the consolation of knowing that I'm on my way to not being troubled because I can't still think of my mom as being alive like I do everybody else who's died in my life. That would be great.

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A Pricey Indulgence

Posted on Tuesday, August 6th, 2019

Dave!Disney released the pricing details for the new Disney+ service... their absolute must-have streaming channel thanks to their new Marvel Studios and Star Wars shows that are in development. You can get it bundled with ESPN+ and Hulu Basic for $13. Since I will never watch ESPN+, I will go ala carte and save a dollar...

  • Disney+: $7
  • Hulu Basic: $5
  • Netflix: $13
  • Sling Blue: $25
  • Sling Enhanced DVR: $5
  • HBO Go: $0 (part of my AT&T wireless)
  • Amazon Prime Streaming: $0 (part of my Prime membership)

I am mortified that I'll be paying FIFTY-FIVE DOLLARS A MONTH PLUS TAX for my television. That's a stupid amount of money. But TV is one of the few things I pay for where I actually get my money's worth, even at $55. If I divide that by the number of hours I spend watching my favorite shows it's shockingly cheap. Going to movies or concerts is out of control expensive now, so this is a far more economical form of entertainment.

The Disney+ Logo

It's also $20 cheaper than the $75 plus tax I was paying for satellite + Hulu + Netflix, so I guess that's something.

It's taken some getting used to though.

Shows on Sling are great because the enhanced "virtual DVR" keeps up with the shows I record exactly like my old DVR did. I can even skip commercials. Hulu is a bit less helpful because I don't pay for their "Live" version that has a DVR... it's and additional $40 a month! A price I'd gladly pay over the $30 for Sling Blue because it has local channels... but it doesn't have Comedy Central, and I don't know if I can give it up because their app is a bit weird on my television.

I gotta have my The Daily Show with Trevor Noah.

Television may be a pricey indulgence, but it's quickly becoming one of the few indulgences I can afford. I was looking at the possibility of taking week's vacation somewhere and was mortified at the cost of lodging now-a-days. Insane. Used to be you could get a decent hotel for $100 a night or less. Now you're lucky to find something decent for $300 a night. At least at the places I'm interested in going.

Oh well. I'm getting less and less enamored with travel anyway. I do enough of it for work, so maybe that's enough?

Sling Blue comes with The Travel Channel, after all.

   

Life in These United States

Posted on Wednesday, August 7th, 2019

Dave!Yeah.

I don't get it either.


   
Which only proves I'm sane, I guess.

   

For the Good of the Country…

Posted on Thursday, August 8th, 2019

Dave!Like everybody else I have opinions.

Unlike everybody else, my opinions seem to get me into trouble entirely too often. Which is why I should probably just keep my big mouth shut. Problem is, I can't seem to do that.

And there's nothing like political opinions to bring on the rage and hatred.

I get it from both sides because I am not a fan of Republicans or Democrats.

Right now I'm much harder on Republicans because they unleashed this idiotic piece of shit president on us and that's always good from some Right-Wing-based anger. But my criticism of some of President Obama's stupider moves always guaranteed copious amounts of Left-Wing-based anger, so what can you do? Since keeping my big mouth shut doesn't seem to be an option, I guess I'll just have to bathe in the hate. Like my hero Emperor Palpatine from the Star Wars movies*...

Deranged Emperor Palpatine looking particularly evil.

One topic that never fails to incite hate from all corners of the internet is talking about gun violence. Regardless of where you stand, somebody will hate your opinion. This is perfectly understandable given how lots of people are dying because of them. Gun violence is a persistent threat to every American, and temperatures are bound to be running hot when you debate how to solve such a problem in a country where gun ownership is at our foundation.

And every time there's another mass-shooting (which, let's face it, is all the time now) a blog post I wrote two years ago titled Second Amendments and Horse Shit starts getting clicks.

And an awful lot of hate.

Eventually I had to turn off comments on the post because it seemed like all the non-regular-readers didn't have anything constructive to add to the conversation (something I'm always in favor of)... they just wanted a place to unload their hate.

  • People against gun ownership of any kind hate that I support the Second Amendment at all, even though I painfully lay out why it really doesn't matter if I do or I don't thanks to impending technology advances.
  • People for gun ownership of any kind hate that I would place restrictions on the Second Amendment, even though I detail why it's a stop-gap measure that's critical to keeping gun ownership viable.
  • People who want to put all the blame for gun violence on mental illness hate that I am advocating for the mentally ill or could possibly suggest there could be reasons other than mental illness for mass-shootings.
  • People who advocate for the mentally ill hate that I "blame mental illness for gun violence" which, while not entirely accurate, is my fault for expressing myself poorly (see below).
  • People who detest the NRA hate that I dare to say anything good about the organization, even though I clearly state that the only things I ever liked about them is what they used to be.
  • People who love the NRA hate that I dare attack them for being a bunch of psychopaths who have abandoned their mission of safe gun ownership in lieu of radicalizing this country to a highly dangerous degree at the behest of the gun manufacturer payola.
  • People who fear technology hate that I am advocating for investment in technology to help save us from gun violence when this will just result in technology enslaving all mankind.
  • People who embrace technology hate that I am "spreading fear about technology."
  • And then there's the general hatred which gets directed at anything and everything you can imagine... from me wanting higher taxes (huh?!?) and daring to say that Ronald Reagan favored restrictions on gun ownership (he absolutely did)... to my "attitude" and using the word "cock" multiple times. You name it, I'm catching hate over it.

What's weird about all this? Back when I wrote that entry I worked hard not to appear biased, and tried to find talking points everybody can agree on. That was likely a mistake, because too much of it can be taken in different ways depending on the biases of the person reading it.

If I were writing the same post today, I wouldn't bother trying to be so careful. I would totally call out President Trump as a racist white supremacist asshole who is constantly inciting violence against immigrants, and must be at least partly to blame when these violent white supremacists keep mentioning him as inspiration when they commit these heinous acts of gun violence. I'd likely also talk about how ironic it is that we are losing so badly to white supremacy when this country fought a fucking world war to end the Nazis. And I'd definitely mention exactly how stupid it is to blame video games for mass-shootings when countries like Japan and South Korea play video games at a far higher rate than we do, but they don't have a violence problem like we do.

I'd also choose a different approach in discussing mental illness as it pertains to gun violence. A part of my thinking was that somebody who picks up a gun and tries to kill a massive number of people must have mental issues. But that's a pretty shallow armchair analysis. During times of war soldiers are convinced they need to pick up a gun and kill a bunch of people, so what about that? I'd argue that killing civilians when you're not at war is a distinction that's hard to miss. But when you've got The Commander in Chief of the United States Military essentially declaring war on immigrants and saying that the "immigrant infestation must be stopped for the good of the country"... isn't that pretty much the same thing? If you agree with what the president is saying and feel it's your patriotic duty to "fight the immigrant invasion," then no mental illness is required... just hate.

In any event, I want to be perfectly clear that I categorically do no believe that all persons battling mental illness or who are dealing with mental problems are prone to violence. That would, in fact, be absurd levels of hypocritical of me. Shallow armchair analysis aside, implying this might be the case was not my intent, and what I said about eliminating the stigma of mental illness and being more proactive when it comes to mental health in this country still stands.

Sometimes when laying out your opinions, mistakes can be made. And while I'll never apologize for having an opinion, I'm definitely sorry about being guilty of unclear, incomplete, or plain wrong statements I make when stating my opinion.

I may be one of the smartest humans on the planet, but I'm still human, after all.

   

*Apparently Palpatine is going to play a part of the new Star Wars film: The Rise of Skywalker. Assumably in flashbacks since the guy is like... dead... and everything. Or maybe he comes back as a Force Ghost like Obi-Wan? Can Sith Lords do Force Ghosts? I guess we will have to wait and see.

   

And Survey Says…

Posted on Friday, August 9th, 2019

Dave!This morning while I was waiting for my laptop to render out the project I had been working on for an hour-and-a-half, I grabbed my iPhone to take a look at what's going on in the world. Granted in this day and age that's most always a mistake, but I'm a glutton for punishment.

After glossing over the "news" tab I clicked on the "entertainment" tab because that's always a much happier place to be. One of the first stories was The Movies Directed By Quentin Tarantino, Ranked. I'm a big Tarantino fan, so I had clicked through without even thinking about it. The list (over at Film School Rejects) was an interesting one. They put Inglourious Basterds at the top, not Pulp Fiction, which is usually not how these lists go. Most times I never know if the person making the list puts Pulp Fiction as #1 because they honestly feel that way... or because it's expected of them to have it there. Then I noticed that the Film School Rejects list was a composite list by a group of people, and suddenly everything made sense. Since the list wasn't being attributed to a single person's name, people could vote how they wanted to with no pressure to vote as they feel people expected them to.

While I prefer lists that I can attribute to a single person, I do like the idea of lists that are voted on by multiple people. If, for no other reason, because it feels as though it gives a better barometric of truthiness due to the anonymity of it all.

Then I discovered the website Ranker and fell down a rabbit hole.

Ranker is a site where any visitor can vote on lists of things (and also has regular news stories). Clicking on the "entertainment" tab and I see Every Song in Cats, Ranked by Singability and The Best TV Shows Streaming on Hulu and The Greatest Animated Series Ever Made and Famous Women You'd Want to Have a Beer With.

Then I see the list that compels me to start ranking... The Best Hallmark Channel Original Movies of 2019. ON THIS SUBJECT I HAVE VERY STRONG OPINIONS!

Two hours later...

...my rendering finished ages ago and I'm running in danger of being late to work. That's what happens when you feel compelled to vote on things like Funny Names to Give a Chicken (before you judge me, 4,300+ other people were in on this)...

A screen capture of the FUNNY NAMES TO GIVE A CHECKEN tile at Ranker.

I mean, come on... "Tyrannosaurus Pecks?" "Mother Clucker?" "CLUCK NORRIS?!?!?" Personally, I give the edges to "Sir Clucks-A-Lot" for a boy and "Margaret Hatcher" for a girl, but that's just me.

Also just me? Ranking The Very Best Pop-Tart Flavors... so, if you'll excuse me, I've got work to do.

   

Caturday 121

Posted on Saturday, August 10th, 2019

Dave!I have never trimmed my cats' claws. I've never had a need to. There's plenty of stuff I've built and purchased for them to scratch on, so they've kept their claws in good condition without any intervention from me. They also groom their nails often, so they seem to be in good shape whenever I examine them. Of course, I have hardwood floors which means there's no carpet for them to snag on, so that probably helps. Perhaps when they get older and are less active I'll have to start trimming, but it's not been an issue so far...

Jake giving himself a pedicure.

I've never bathed them either. On occasion I've had to wipe off something dirty they've laid on (usually out in the catio), but even that's rare because I try to keep their environment clean. And, again, they are very good about bathing themselves, they don't stink, and so I'll just let nature take its course until I need to intervene...

Cats have self-maintenance as a built-in feature. I plan on taking advantage of that for as long as I can.

This past Thursday was International Cat Day. Which is kinda silly, because EVERY DAY IS INTERNATIONAL CAT DAY in my house!

This is what I woke up to on the 8th, however...

Jake and Jenny laying next to each other on my bed being adorable.

Not a bad start to International Cat Day.

Or any day, really.

See you next Saturday!

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Bullet Sunday 624

Posted on Sunday, August 11th, 2019

Dave!You are not ready... because an all new Bullet Sunday starts... now...

   
• "You wanna fly, you got to give up the shit that weighs you down." I was sad to learn that Toni Morrison has passed away. I read her first novel, The Bluest Eye, after graduating high school. I was looking for new voices to expand my thinking and Morrison absolutely fit that bill. She was a master of the written word, able to construct beautiful prose which can inspire you one minute then destroy you the next. Beloved, her gut-wrenching fictional account of an escaped slave who is haunted by her past, won a slew of awards (including a Pulitzer), and is essential reading. When it comes to voices defining this country, Toni Morrison will definitely be missed.

   
• Alien! If you love the movie "Alien," you should know that J.W. Rinzler's massive The Making of Alien book is on sale at Amazon for $33... regular $60. It is incredible. Easily on-par with Rinzler's other "Making of" books (like Star Wars and Empire Strikes Back). Absolutely everything that went into making the film is thoroughly covered. So many amazing pre-production design drawings by H.R. Giger and many others... tons of behind-the-scenes photos... all kinds of insights into the production from people who were there... it's all so well done...

The book cover to The Making of Alien with the DAVE APPROVED sticker on it.

Seriously, this book is easily worth $60. It's a downright steal at $33. Love love love it.

   
• Epidemic Scary as hell... and getting scarier. Big Pharma is destroying us, and politicians sucking Big Pharma lobbyist cock are looking the other way...

Lobbyist payola should be banned. Any politician accepting lobbyist payola should be shot for treason.

   
• Rookie. Well this fucking sucks. Afton Williamson is a huge reason I love The Rookie so much. This past week she quit the show, alleging that she endured sexual assault and racism while working on it...

Afton Williamson as police officer Talia Bishop on The Rookie holding a gun and about to kick ass.

WTF is wrong with people? And WTF is wrong with ABC for not creating a safe environment for their employees? This is such a great show and, to be honest, I can't really picture how it can continue without Talia Bishop. It probably can't. At least not for me.

   
• The Truth is Out There. While I would have preferred to get a sequel to Paul, I will absolutely take Truth Seekers, a new ghost-hunting show from Simon Pegg and Nick Frost. Amazon Prime seems to be serious about investing real money into some top=shelf talent for their streaming programs, and this should definitely (hopefully) be a feather in their cap.

   
• Bro! I have been far from a fan of Bernie Sanders. While some of his ideas make sense, he's always been past the "tipping point" on the Democrat scale for me. Then I saw this interview by Joe Rogan where he was given time to actually explain his positions and... I have to say... I'm warming up to him as a candidate. No, he likely won't get to do all the things he wants to do because he has Congressional approval to deal with, but I do think he would move this country in a more healthy direction. He certainly couldn't be worse than what we have now...

In other news? Please let Joe Rogan interview all the candidates. These idiotic "debates" that keep happening are less than useless.

   
Bye bye bye, Bullet Sunday.

   

Found Kitten Footage!

Posted on Monday, August 12th, 2019

Dave!This morning I checked the local security camera system and noted that one of the hard drives in the mirrored storage array was reporting a fault. I have a spare drive for just such an occasion, so I swapped it out, rebuilt the mirror, and everything was up and running again in just a few minutes. Easy. Just for kicks, I thought I'd pop the failing drive into my drive dock and see what was on it.

Turns out... quite a lot!

Both the local cameras and cloud cameras are disabled when my mobile phone connects to my home wifi, so there's never any interesting footage to look at... just my cats sleeping and goofing off when I'm not home. But before I moved into my new place, the cameras were running 24/7. And while most of the footage has been recorded over hundreds of times, there are some clips that haven't been. Clips of my house just after I bought it when it was completely empty. Clips of my house undergoing renovations. Clips of my house having appliances and flooring installed. Clips of my house in the middle of the night with all the lights left on (I didn't have a security system or automated lights installed yet!). That kind of thing...

My house being rennovated with new flooring put in and garbage piled up.

   
But the real surprise of the morning?

There was oodles of video footage I offloaded from my iPhone of Jake and Jenny when they were kittens! Stuff I had long since forgotten about... some of which I didn't even have backed up! No idea what that was about, but it's definitely backed up now!

Awww...

Jake and Jenny wrestling at the end of my bed as kittens.

And here's the actual video...

   
And that's not all... there's lots more video clips waiting for me...

A Macintosh computer file screenshot showing dozens of video files.

   
Guess I don't have to worry about having stuff for my Caturday posts for a while.

And now... time to pack a suitcase.

   

Mission: Planet Hollywood

Posted on Tuesday, August 13th, 2019

Dave!And so here I am back in Las Vegas.

My work isn't until tomorrow, so I came up with a mission to accomplish along the way to picking up some documents.

As you may or may not be aware, I have a separate blog for my Hard Rock Cafe visits called DaveCafe. Back in 2010 I rebuilt the site to run on Wordpress, but ended up losing all my notes and photos when my web hosting company crashed shortly thereafter. I still keep it updated with a list of Hard Rock locations and my visits, but I never managed to find time to put my photos and notes back. Maybe one day.

Something else I lost in the Great Web Host Crash of 2010? My Planet Hollywood fan site.

Oh yes. Along with Hard Rock Cafes, I also visited Planet Hollywoods, All-Star Cafes, Fashion Cafes, Harley-Davidson Cafes, and Motown Cafes. They were never destination-worthy like Hard Rocks to me, but so many times when I visited a city with a Hard Rock there was a Planet Hollywood there as well, so why not?

The (mostly) failed restaurant chain came up in conversation not too long ago, then came up again when I was watching The Comedy Central Roast of Bruce Willis. This got me curious to know if any pieces of my old fan site were backed up somewhere. So I searched my archives and, much to my surprise, the logos I created for the site popped up...

   
From what I can piece together, these are the locations I visited. The ones with check-marks are confirmed because I found photos I took of the restaurant...

  1. ✔ Amsterdam
  2. ✔ Atlanta
  3. ✔ Atlantic City
  4. ✔ Baltimore
  5. ✔ Bangkok
  6. ✔ Beverly Hills
  7. ✔ Chicago
  8. □ Columbus
  9. ✔ Dallas
  10. ✔ Gatwick Airport
  11. ✔ Gurnee Mills
  12. ✔ Houston
  13. ✔ Key West
  14. ✔ Kuala Lumpur
  15. □ Las Vegas
  16. □ Las Vegas Hotel
  17. ✔ London
  18. ✔ Mall of America
  19. ✔ Miami
  20. ✔ Montreal
  21. ✔ Myrtle Beach
  22. ✔ Nashville
  23. ✔ New Orleans
  24. ✔ New York
  25. ✔ Niagara Falls
  26. ✔ Orlando
  27. ✔ Paris
  28. ✔ Rome
  29. ✔ St. Louis
  30. ✔ San Antonio
  31. ✔ San Diego
  32. ✔ San Francisco
  33. ✔ Seattle
  34. ✔ Singapore
  35. ✔ South Coast Plaza
  36. ✔ Toronto
  37. ✔ Vancouver
  38. □ Washington, D.C.

I know I've been to the Washington, D.C. location because I remember the T-shirt I bought there. No idea why I can't find a photo of it. Columbus I don't remember at all, so I'm not sure why I made a badge for it. I do recall there was a "Planet Movies" at Easton Town Center in Columbus, but when I went there it had closed down, so that doesn't count. Maybe they had a restaurant too and I don't remember it? I used to go to Columbus for work, so if they had one, I probably visited it.

And then there's the two Vegas locations. I'm positive I've been to the hotel (I've seen a concert there, gambled there, eaten there, and shopped there)... and I know I ate at the restaurant in the Caesar's Palace Forum Shops a couple times. Yet I can't find a single photo to prove it!

Since these are two of the few Planet Hollywood locations still in operation, I decided to get my photos today. First was the restaurant. I made my way to where it's located and... it wasn't there! This was confusing, because they still have a sign for it outside of Caesar's...

A Planet Hollywood sign at Caesar's Palace against a flawless blue sky.

So I asked a security guard about it and, sure enough, they moved to a new location. Unfortunately, the new restaurant is boring as hell. So plain...

The new and un-improved Planet Hollywood restaurant in Las Vegas. Sad.

The original was funky-cool and interesting inside and out. I sure hope that I can find some photos I took of it. Because this? =yawn=

After walking through the Planet Hollywood casino, the hotel was easy to photograph...

The Planet Hollywood hotel and casino in Las Vegas. Surprisingly boring for the Las Vegas Strip.

Maybe one day I'll confirm Columbus and find a photo of Washington, D.C. so I can rebuild my Planet Hollywood fan site. There's precious little information on the internet that I can find about this once great chain of theme restaurants, so it seems only right that somebody remember them online. Heck, they don't even have a list of former restaurants on Wikipedia!

Until then, I'll just put my photos in an extended entry so I'll know where to find them when I need them.

→ Click here to continue reading this entry...

   

Miss Jackson, If You’re Nasty

Posted on Wednesday, August 14th, 2019

Dave!Like most of the world, I'm a big Janet Jackson fan. So when a friend from work asked me to fill in for him... and the job came with his ticket to see her Metamorphosis tour... I did not need much convincing. Sure I'd be headed to Las Vegas in August, which is essentially a hellscape of sweat, heat, and sunburn... but, hey, JANET JACKSON!

The good news was that she burned through a massive number of her best-loved songs, so you were sure to hear some of your favorites.

The bad news was that in order to keep the concert from being six hours long, most of the songs were abbreviated or worked into a montage. This was perfectly understandable and mostly fine, but for my very favorite songs I was left wanting more. Especially on When I Think of You, which is such an awesome fun song to hear live.

If there was a problem with the concert, it wasn't the performance... it was the venue. The Park Theater stage is massive. It's absurdly wide. Because of that, Janet was completely overwhelmed by any attempt to fill up the space. Janet Jackson and her music is larger than life. But on the stage she just looked so tiny. A lot of time was spent trying to find her. Like here, where she's all the way to the left...

Janet Jackson in concert at The Park Theater in Las Vegas with lights ablazin'

Most of the time she was with dancers though, which made her easier to spot...

Janet Jackson in concert at The Park Theater in Las Vegas with lights ablazin'

And of course they had giant screens on either side of the stage so you could get a good look from anywhere in the theater...

Janet Jackson in concert at The Park Theater in Las Vegas with lights ablazin'

But looking at the stage? Yeah... unless you were on the floor, good luck with that...

Janet Jackson in concert at The Park Theater in Las Vegas with lights ablazin'

Most of the show was really quite good. Janet put her all into her performance from start to finish. Not that there weren't some bizarre parts. At one point they brought a guy on stage, tied him to a chair, then had Janet and her dancers run their hands all over him...

Janet Jackson in concert at The Park Theater in Las Vegas with lights ablazin'

She had plenty of costume changes to keep things interesting...

Janet Jackson in concert at The Park Theater in Las Vegas with lights ablazin'

Assuming you could see the costumes when the lasers were trying to fill up the theater to keep things interesting for those of us in the cheap seats...

Janet Jackson in concert at The Park Theater in Las Vegas with lights ablazin'

The Rhythm Nation section of the show managed to get everybody on their feet...

Janet Jackson in concert at The Park Theater in Las Vegas with lights ablazin'

Janet Jackson in concert at The Park Theater in Las Vegas with lights ablazin'

Janet Jackson in concert at The Park Theater in Las Vegas with lights ablazin'

Janet Jackson in concert at The Park Theater in Las Vegas with lights ablazin'

Until it was time to close out the show...

Janet Jackson in concert at The Park Theater in Las Vegas with lights ablazin'

Janet Jackson in concert at The Park Theater in Las Vegas with lights ablazin'

Good night, Miss Jackson.

Oh... interesting aside here... Hello Kitty has her own pop-up food truck cafe now...

Hello Kitty Pop Up Food Truck Cafe in pink.

And that's a wrap on my last night in Las Vegas. Stay safe, kids.

   

Impossibly Vegas

Posted on Thursday, August 15th, 2019

Dave!With work and Janet Jackson complete, it was time to fly back home. Yeah, it might have been nice to add a couple days vacation and relax by the pool or something, but Vegas is very different when you're alone as opposed to when you're hanging out with friends, and I'd rather just go back home to my cats (no offense, Vegas).

When I landed on Tuesday, my work hadn't gotten a hotel arranged for me yet. This is not entirely unusual for Vegas where pricing changes based on occupancy. Charities try to save money wherever possible, so waiting to see if there's a deal on a mid-week stay is just being responsible. Since I couldn't leave the airport until I knew where I was going, I decided I might as well have lunch. Burger King was right there, so I decided to see if they had the "Impossible Whopper" available. This plant-based burger is apparently the closest thing to a real burger. I dunno about that (I haven't eaten meat in 33 years, 3 months, and 24 days) all I know is that I do enjoy a good veggie burger.

Funnily enough, the wrapper says "100% BEEF" on it, so they kindly put a sticker on it to let you know that they didn't accidentally give you a meat patty...

A Burger King Whopper hamburger in a wrapper with an Impossible Whopper sticker on the front.

Sure enough, it looks exactly like a Whopper...

A Burger King Impossible Whopper hamburger.

The taste is fantastic. Not sure it's worth $7.89, but I liked it a lot and would gladly order it again.

When I ordered, the lady at the register asked if I was "vegan" because apparently they cook the Impossible Burgers on the same flame grill that they cook their meat burgers. I guess if this bothers you they can microwave it or something? All I care about is that a cow wasn't slaughtered on my behalf, so I had no objections.

After loving the burger, I researched how it was made.

The original was wheat-based. The new "2.0" version is soy-based (making them gluten-free, if that's your thing). This is nothing special, as there are plenty of burgers that are soy-based. What makes Impossible Burger so good is that they use "heme" as an ingredient. From what I understand, "heme" is the red-red component of blood that captures oxygen and is responsible for giving meat its meaty flavor. Obviously they can't use blood in a veggie burger, so they are manufacturing their own Franken-Heme in a laboratory by genetically engineering yeast to have a soy hemoglobin. They then extract the plant-based "heme" from the yeast and that's why their burgers are impossibly good.

So... if you're hardcore non-GMO, then this is not the burger for you.

It totally IS the burger for me, however, which is why I had another one before I flew home, this time with cheese...

A Burger King Impossible Whopper hamburger.

   
And that's that. My plane leaves in and hour and then it's good bye Las Vegas.

But before I go, a look at what makes Vegas so totally Vegas...

My hotel room? $30. The stupid-ass "resort fee?" $35. Why the fuck they don't just be honest and charge you $75 for a room is assholery at its finest. Especially since the "resort fee" is just a scam. It includes access to the fitness center (who the fuck cares?), phone calls (doesn't everybody have a mobile phone now?), and internet access (which I could get for free by tethering to my phone). So, basically, we're paying $35 for nothing. But that's Vegas for you.

Until next time, Sin City.

   

The Cookie Conundrum

Posted on Friday, August 16th, 2019

Dave!Yesterday on my way back across the mountains I stopped at the grocery store. Braving the crowds while food shopping was pretty much the last thing I wanted to do after five hours of travel, but I didn't have much choice. My cupboards, refrigerator, and freezer were all bare.

Before I went to Maine back in July, I made sure to eat all the food that could spoil so none of it would be wasted. Then I got called to Las Vegas, still didn't want to buy any new food that would go bad, so I just kept eating absolutely everything I already had. The night before my flight, I shit you not, I had pickles and saltine crackers for dinner. Not something I was interested in repeating any time soon. And so... a stop at the grocery store it was.

My shopping strategy is simple. Never buy anything unless it's on sale.

I am not terribly picky about what I eat, so this makes it easy to buy ingredients or prepared meals only when they are cheap. Except... groceries are never cheap any more, so I guess I should say "cheaper than normal." Fortunately my local grocery store has an iPhone app with all their coupons, specials, and discounts, so I also save money by making my list ahead of time and only buying what's on the list. I never "browse" at a store because then I'll just end up buying stuff I want instead of what I need.

And so... I made my list on the plane and was ready to go when I got back home. This time I scored big because a lot of key ingredients I needed were on sale. Flour so I can make bread. Tomato sauce and tortillas so I can make enchiladas. Veggie dogs so I can make veggie dogs. That kind of thing.

Another reason I like a list? It keeps me from buying things I should not be eating.

There I was at the store looking for "Sargento Balanced Breaks" healthy snack packs (on sale plus I had a 75¢ off coupon for club members!) when I saw a package of "break and bake" raw cookie dough. Something I absolutely, positively, should NOT be eating. Usually it's easy to resist cookies... I just avoid that aisle in the grocery store, and am not terribly fond of cookies any more anyway... BUT FRESH-OUT-OF-THE-OVEN COOKIES?!? How could I NOT buy that? They weren't on sale, but the generic brand was so much cheaper than the name-brand version that they were practically on sale! Close enough! And since they are crappy generic, they probably taste awful and I'll just end up throwing them in the garbage anyway, right? Sold!

Tonight I gave them a try. Not so appetizing out of the bag...

Raw cookie dough cube that have been broken off.

But then? OH HELL NO! THESE THINGS ARE FRICKIN' MAGIC!!!

Gorgeous fresh overn-baked cookies from a bag of dough.

I'm not joking. These things are phenomenal. Probably because I haven't had a fresh out-of-the-oven cookie in a decade or more.

This is terrible.

I'm thinking I can restrain myself by baking no more than three at a time... and only baking them when I already have the oven heated from cooking something else. The loophole being that I can cook up a second batch of cookies because the oven will still be warm from cooking the first batch of three cookies.

At least I think that's how that works.

And now it's time for the new Invader Zim movie on Netflix! I am so psyched I can't even stand it.

   

Caturday 122

Posted on Saturday, August 17th, 2019

Dave!Another Caturday... already?

Nothing quite like looking up and seeing your cats staring at you.

This usually happens close to feeding time. I'll be working or reading or something, look up, and there they are...

Jake and Jenny staring at me.

But lately Jake has been staring at me just to stare at me...

Jake sitting on the entertainment center staring at me.

No big deal. I'm a fascinating person, even when I'm doing nothing.

But the other day he actually caught me by surprise. I was getting dressed for work, turned around, and he was... hiding in the cat tree staring at me...

Jake poking his head out from inside a hidey hole in the cat tree.

This is a big deal.

My cats have never... not since I first got them as kittens... ever climbed in the little hidey-holes in the cat trees I bought for them. They do not like enclosed spaces and won't go inside of them. Why Jake has all of a sudden taken to hiding in them is a mystery.

In other news... my cats are getting lazy.

A couple days ago I caught Jenny scratching on the scratching post, which is nothing unusual. Except she was laying down while doing it...

Jenny laying down and scratching the scratching post.

Jenny laying down and scratching the scratching post.

Jake is even lazier. He no longer comes up and rubs against me when he wants a belly rub. He jumps on the bed, shows his belly, then grunts until I rub it...

Jake is laying down showing his belly while grunting for me to rub it.

Me rubbing Jake's belly.

Jake flops over to get his belly rubbed.

Jake flopped on his back spread-eagle getting a belly rub.

Jenny is a little more subtle but, then again, she always gets belly rubs when she wants one...

And speaking of Jenny... just to put to rest any doubt that she can handle herself when it comes to her brother... this showed up on my security camera yesterday...

Jenny chasing Jake around the bedroom in an animated GIF.

Have a great weekend!

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Bullet Sunday 625

Posted on Sunday, August 18th, 2019

Dave!Prepare to be launched into a Galaxy far, far away... because an all new Bullet Sunday starts... now...

   
• Falcon Maps! It's interesting how the advent of Google Maps' "Aerial View" has forced Disney to change the way they build their theme parks. Originally, construction was treated like a movie set, where everything is just a big facade. The only thing that was themed is what people see. The best way to explain this is Main Street, where the dozens of little buildings you see on the ground are revealed to essentially be two giant buildings...

An aerial view of Disneyland's Main Street showing how all the buildings are under two big roofs.

They didn't build fake roofs over each building because they didn't have to. Unless somebody chartered a helicopter, nobody was ever going to see it in 1955. But now there's Google Maps that anybody can call up on their phone, so they are more careful that the illusion is complete...

Had this been built in 1955, the fine detailing would likely have been ignored. The only thing they would bother theming would be what you could see from the ground. Personally, I think this is fantastically cool. You can literally see the Millennium Falcon parked at Disneyland, and that's no small thing.

An interesting aside here... apparently Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge has been a bit of a flop. People are complaining that there's only one ride and the rest of the place is just a giant shopping mall where you can buy overpriced souvenirs and food. That's it. Eventually a second ride will open but, again, that seems pretty lame. Perhaps Disney will add more stuff to make it more worth visiting, but right now it just seems like a cash grab. Another problem? Disney didn't recreate an authentic place from the movies. You're not walking around Tatooine or even shitty Jakku, you're at "Black Spire Outpost" which, let's face it, who cares? This seems like a major misstep, and I just don't get it. When Disney made an Avatar-themed land, they built Pandora from the movies so when you go there it's like stepping into the film. That's what people want to see, and anything less is inviting a tepid reaction. And that's exactly what Disney got.

   
• ZIM!!! One of the most impossibly brilliant animated series to ever grace our television sets was Invader Zim. In addition to being so brilliantly written, the look of the show was was blew my mind. It's just so beautiful. As if that weren't enough, it has GIR, Zim's robot companion, and one of my favorite characters of all-time...

Despite unprecedented critical acclaim, the series was uncerimoniously canceled by Nickelodeon because network executives are stupid. But now Netflix has revived the show for a new feature called Invader Zim: Enter the Florpus...

The movie has everything that Zim fans could want and, while it kinda-sorta wraps up the series, it also leaves things wide open for more. And I want quite badly for there to be more. Because can you ever truly have enough Zim in your life?

   
• Passport! I am not even going to spoil this. Just trust me when I tell you to click this link. Genius. Every last one of them is genius.

   
• Shazam? Ninety-one percent? Shazam got NINETY-ONE PERCENT on Rotten Tomatoes? Really? One minute it's childish and stupid as shit... the next minute there's a demon is biting somebody's head off. So exactly who was this movie made for? Psychotic children?

Shazam in his stupid suit looking at a stupid mobile phone while stupidly blowing a bubble with some gum.

Even if you ignore the stupid glowing lightning-bolt-that-looks-more-like-a-triangle on his uniform, Shazam was awful. WHAT HAPPENED TO HAVING THE WISDOM OF SOLOMON? THIS SHAZAM IS A FUCKING IDIOT! About the only thing I enjoyed was Mark Strong as Sivana, despite the fact that he was a complete departure from the comic book's Dr. Sivana (and not in a good way, of course). I cannot fathom how this managed to rate 91%. I just don't get it. The only thing that kept it from total disaster for me is that they didn’t have any burp or fart jokes. At least I think the movie didn’t... I fast forwarded through the foster home stuff because all the kids were just so annoying. GRADE: D+

   
• Days of Meat! On my blog entry for "The Impossible Whopper" I mentioned that it has been 33 years, 3 months, and 24 days since I last ate meat. A friend messaged me and asked how I could possibly remember the last day I ate meat. It's actually pretty easy. It was Earth Day, 1986. I remember it because my girlfriend at the time was a vegan and didn't want to kiss me because I "smelled like meat." I had a hamburger for lunch and she got mad because I "couldn't even go meat-free on Earth Day." And so I gave up eating meat right then and there. We broke up a month-and-a-half later, so I was going to go back to eating meat... except I was feeling better than I had ever felt. The allergies which had plagued me since adolescence were gone, so I stuck with a vegetarian diet. I've since learned that many people are allergic to the antibiotics they inject into animals, which probably explains why I was in such poor health my first 20 years.

   
• Cook Cook Cooking! Yesterday I spent a big chunk of my day in the kitchen making up meals to refrigerate and freeze. I made burritos. I made rolls. I made Mac & Cheese, I made quiche... and I made my grandmother's enchiladas recipe. While not rocket science, enchiladas make a lot of dirty dishes and a big mess (especially when you make the sauce from scratch). It's also time consuming to put them all together. And even though I started three hours before dinner-time, my cats were all excited because they thought they were getting fed. So it went something like this...

THE ENCHILADA WALTZ
Remove tortilla from the frying oil.
Put fresh tortilla in the frying oil.
"No, kitties, it's not dinner time yet."
Put the filling in the tortilla.
Put the cheese in the tortilla.
Flip the tortilla that's in the frying oil.
Fold up the enchilada and add it to the pan.
"No, kitties, it's not dinner time yet."
Repeat.

After a full day and two loads in the dishwasher, I flopped down on the couch exhausted. But then it really was dinner time for the cats and I had to get up again. I really wish that ten million dollars would fall into my lap so I could hire somebody to come in and cook for me.

   
• Visitations! For the first time ever, the number of people visiting my blog on a mobile phone has eclipsed desktop users. Guess I'd better work on a new "responsive" template sooner rather than later. Blogography looks okay on a mobile phone, but it could be friendlier on smaller screens...

The problem is finding time to actually code a new template. The tags and expected behaviors have changed so much since I made the current template that I would have to re-learn Wordpress in order to even begin! That seems like a lot of work.

   
And I guess that's all the bullets I have for this week.

   

How The Story Changed

Posted on Monday, August 19th, 2019

Dave!One of my favorite shows of 2018 was the Magnum P.I. reboot. I didn't care for it at first, but the longer it went on the more I liked it. After the back-half of the season aired this year, it ended up being my favorite show on television.

Part of the reason I resisted it at first was likely because I was a big fan of the original series that starred Tom Selleck from the 1980's...

The series was smart, funny, well-acted, and had beautiful Hawaii as a backdrop. But it was the stories that got me hooked. They usually had good mysteries (especially in the the later seasons) and there was a depth to them which made the show more compelling than your average TV private investigator drama. They tackled subjects which were controversial for the day... including the Vietnam War and its veterans (which included Magnum, Rick, and T.C.). The original Magnum P.I. is where the seeds of my MIA/POW advocacy were planted.

This week I started re-watching the new Magnum P.I. to prepare for the start of the new season on September 27th. Half-way through I decided to watch the first season of the original show.

The differences are pretty glaring, as one would expect.

When it started, the original Magnum P.I. didn't have mobile phones, personal computers, the internet, or any other commonplace consumer technology that we take for granted. This made for some very different stories than those in the new Magnum P.I. where technology permeates every scene. Indeed, almost every episode ends up relying on Juliette Higgins using her Windows Surface computer to perform miracles. It's a crutch, sure, but that's the world we live in.

Kinda.

As usual, the new series takes great liberties with what technology is capable of. Some of it's overblown but possible... like being able to track anybody's mobile phone anytime Magnum wants. Some of it is downright nuts, like Higgins being able to remove a fingerprint with cellophane tape, sticking it to her mobile phone screen, and immediately getting a full dossier on the owner. No doubt about it, stories relying on this kind of science fiction crap are annoying. It's just lazy writing. Fortunately the show has redeeming qualities to push past it. Still, it would be nice if the people working on the show could be clever enough to not rely on lazy writing to create interesting stories.

Maybe they should watch the original show for some pointers?

Or maybe I'm just being too harsh.

It's easy to create a show week after week in a day and age when your characters carry the entire world in their pocket. But it's got to be tough to create different stories week after week when your characters carry the entire world in their pocket.

And the new Magnum P.I. does it by focusing on the characters more than the mystery. The new Higgins isn't just the majordomo of Robin Masters' estate who pops up from time to time to chide Magnum for being Magnum, she's an integral part to the stories and her partnership with Magnum is a huge part of what makes the show work. You're not watching for the mysteries or a single character... it's the entire cast...

The cast of Magnum P.I. with Juliette Higgins, T.C., Magnum, and Rick.
Photo from Entertainment Weekly

In the original show, Magnum's friend at the Honolulu PD was Lt. Tanaka. He was such a minor part of the show that he only appeared in 26 episodes out of 158 and was unceremoniously killed off for no other reason other than he was expendable and it was a plot point for a new murder mystery. That's a considerable contrast from new Magnum's friend at the Honolulu PD, Detective Katsumoto. He's been in every episode since he first appeared and an important part of the series...

Interesting to note that in the first episode, there actually was a Detective Tanaka (played by Sung Kang)... just like in the original show. He was replaced by Katsumoto (Tim Kang) in the third episode. No reason for the cast change was ever given, but I'm guessing it was because they wanted another regular character to add to the mix, and thought Tim Kang was a better fit.

And they didn't stop there... in that same third episode they also introduced the fantastic Amy Hill as Kumu...

My hope is that the new season of Magnum proves that the revival is sustainable. There are only so many times that you can have Higgins tracking somebody by their mobile phone be the reason Magnum is able to catch the bad guys. Even when you have a great cast of characters to camouflage it.

Aloha, internet.

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Movie News Musings

Posted on Tuesday, August 20th, 2019

Dave!Well this sucks.

In what can only be described as a shit-storm of awfulness, Hollywood has dropped two pieces of horrifically bad news on movie lovers today.

First of all, Sony and Marvel Studios can't come to an agreement over Spider-Man, so the character will no longer be appearing in Marvel Studios movies. This is unbelievably shitty, because he's become such a big part of them. Can you imagine Infinity War without Spider-Man? I sure can't. And then there's the beautiful and effortless integration of Tony Stark into the Spider-Man cinematic mythos. The new Spider-Man is heavily rooted in the MCU, and all that is going to have to be ripped away once he goes solo at Sony again. Poor, stupid Sony, who doesn't want to share future movie grosses after the BILLION DOLLARS that Marvel Studios is responsible for them making (their highest gross for a film ever). And if you thought that Sony wouldn't shit all over its fans like Marvel Studios did with their theatrical re-release of Avengers: Endgame, think again. They're bringing back Spider-Man: Far From Home with four whole minutes of extra footage!

Spider-Man fades away to dust while Tony Stark watches from Avengers: Endgame.

   
Next up? Keanu Reeves and Carrie-Anne Moss are coming back for yet another The Matrix sequel. Now, don't get me wrong, the original film was genius in every way and remains one of my favorite movies of all time... but the sequels were complete and total shit. They were lazy, effects-driven idiocy masking as high-concept art. "GAH! ORACLE, WHAT DO I DO?!?" — "You know what you must do." — "GAH! MORPHEUS, WE'RE ALL GOING TO DIE, WHAT'S NEO GOING TO DO TO SAVE US?" — "Neo will do that which he must do." — "GAH! MEROVINGIAN, GIVE US THE KEYMAKER TO SAVE US ALL!" — "You see there is only one constant. One universal. It is the only real truth... causality, action, reaction. Cause and effect." — "WHAT THE FUCK DOES THAT EVEN MEAN?!?"

No idea how Neo and Trinity are coming back since they are dead and all... but I'm sure something will be rebooted or turned off and turned back on to make it all possible. Ugh.

Neo is reflected in Morpheus' glasses taking the red pill in a scene from The Matrix.

   
In good movie news?

The 25th James Bond film will be titled No Time To Die, still starring Daniel Craig as God intended. And while it won't be helmed by Danny Boyle as originally planned, it will be directed by Cary Joji Fukunaga, which is an interesting choice. He is the guy responsible for the most excellent Sin Nombre and Beasts of No Nation... and also the writer of the highly successful It movie adaptation. Since he's both co-writing and directing the new Bond, I am hopeful we're going to get something interesting and entertaining... more along the lines of the excellent Skyfall as opposed to the mediocre Spectre.

   
And in still more good movie news?

It's already been confirmed that Eddie Murphy, Arsenio Hall, James Earl Jones, Paul Bates, John Amos, Shari Headly, and Louie Anderson will all be reprising their roles in Coming 2 America (sadly Madge Sinclair has passed so we won't have our Queen)... and we know that Wesley Snipes, Leslie Jones, and Jermaine Fowler will be added. But now we know that Tracy Morgan and Rotimi Boards are also onboard for the Coming to America sequel! Sounds like the cast is on-point, so now we just have to hold our breath for December 18, 2020 to see if the story pans out.

   
And lastly in good movie news?

A new holiday movie, Last Christmas by Emma Thompson and Paul Feig starring Emilia Clarke, Henry Golding, Michele Yeoh, and Emma Thompson, is hitting theaters this November!

I had no idea this was even in development... let alone ready for release this year! Looks like yet another cheesy Christmas movies I can't live without.

   
Untill next time, true believers...

   

Easy to Learn, Hard to Master

Posted on Wednesday, August 21st, 2019

Dave!With the new television season a month away, I'm in an odd position of having very little television to watch. Since I like background noise while I work, this means I've been re-watching shows I like or checking off shows and movies I've been meaning to watch but haven't gotten around to.

One of these being Easy to Learn, Hard to Master: The Fate of Atari which is currently streaming on Amazon Prime...

Easy to Learn, Hard to Master movie poster featuring a graphical spaceship with lasers coming out of the bottom.

This was not the first movie which chronicled the downfall of my video-gaming childhood... there was Atari: Game Over which came out three years before... but Easy to Learn, Hard to Master was the one which had the most interesting assortment of talking heads discussing the rise and fall of Atari in the video game arena. Nolan Bushnell, Al Alcorn, Howard Warshaw, Steve Wozniak, David Crane, and more were all interviewed. It also included insight from Manny Gerard and Ray Kassar from the Warner side of the disaster.

The movie was a good watch, even though I didn't learn anything astonishingly new. Atari's meteoric rise and fall has been commentary fodder for decades and is well-known. It did, however, get me thinking about the whole video game revolution that was my childhood. Along with comic books, the Atari 2600 was probably the most important part of my childhood...

The Atari 2600 Video Game System with controllers!

As I've mentioned before, I coveted the thing from the minute I was aware that it existed. I think it was being sold at Sears, and my non-stop begging eventually wore my parents down. I finally got one for my birthday or for Christmas or something. And from that moment onward... I was playing video games, saving my money for video games, and begging for new video games at every turn.

I amassed quite a collection.*

Well, not really... I managed to get 32 of the 532 games that were available in North America.

Which brings me to my next movie: Nintendo Quest...

Nintendo Quest Movie Poster featuring two guys in a van hopping around North America with NES cartridges flying everywhere.

In this movie, a guy named Jay Bartlett attempted to collect all 687 Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) games that were released in North America... in 30 days... but without using the internet. Nope, he drove around northern North America trying to find them.

To be honest, I was more than a little bored throughout it. The actual collecting didn't have much going on. It was the stuff in-between than made it worth watching. And remembering back to so many of those awesome NES games!

And my last video game movie? A "mocumentary" film that was clearly trying to be the This Is Spinal Tap for video games called Going for Golden Eye...

Going for Golden Eye Movie Poster featuring video gamers ready for action!

While nowhere near the level of This is Spinal Tap, I thought it was a pretty good effort. It definitely had some funny moments to make it all worthwhile.

And I think I've had my fill of video game movies for a while.

Until the next one comes along, I'd imagine.

   
*And here's the Atari 2600 titles I ended up collecting...

  • Air-Sea Battle
  • Combat
  • Indy 500
  • Star Ship
  • Basketball
  • Breakout
  • Casino
  • Night Driver
  • Superman
  • Bowling
  • Adventure
  • Circus
  • Dodge 'Em
  • Space Invaders
  • Asteroids
  • Missile Command
  • Warlords
  • Bezerk
  • Centipede
  • Defender
  • Haunted House
  • Pac-Man

Third Party Games...

  • Skiing
  • Freeway
  • Kaboom!
  • Stampede
  • Atlantis
  • Chopper Command
  • Demon Attack
  • Frogger
  • Pitfall!
  • River Raid

   

The Apple Card

Posted on Thursday, August 22nd, 2019

Dave!I'm just going to put this out there... I had to think long and hard about getting the "Apple Card" credit card because the bank behind it, Goldman Sachs, is a fucking piece of shit. They have been plagued with scandal and are run by assholes. Why in the hell would Apple pick them to partner with? And why in the hell would I touch anything to do with Goldman Sachs?

Well, it's Apple. And the card has some compelling features I wanted to try out.

And I just wanted to have one of the things. There's no fees and it's laser-etched titanium, for heaven's sake...

Except you can't really do much with it. Apple says it scratches easily and shouldn't be stored in anything leather or denim or it will discolor. YOU MEAN LIKE MY WALLET OR MY POCKET? WTF?!??

Not that it matters. You only get a pitiful 1% cash back when you use the physical card. If you buy something with your card via Apple Pay on your phone, you get 2% back. If you buy anything from Apple or Uber using Apple Pay on your phone, you get 3% back. Which is all so unimpressive. I'd rather use my WorldPerks Card or my Alaska Air Card because I earn airline miles, and that's more valuable to me.

There is a unique Apple benefit for the rewards though. Whatever money you get back is added to your Apple Cash daily... immediately after your payment clears! Nice! Most banks make you wait until the end of the month. Like Amazon. But with the Amazon Card I get a whopping 5% back on Amazon purchases, so I ain't complaining.

Applying for the card is a piece of cake. I did it right from my iPhone Wallet in minutes. Next thing I know, I've got a digital Apple Card that changes colors based on my purchase categories...

So... what did I buy to try it out?

Last night I decided to buy one of the gorgeous prints from The Night Sky. You pick a date, time, and place and they draw a constellation map of the sky at that moment...

I picked the night my mom and I were looking at the Milky Way when we were in Zimbabwe, which is the last trip we took together...

Zimbabwe Night Sky Milky Way

The text from my star map... ACROSS THE MILKY WAY AT DAVISON'S CAMP... TO MOM WITH LOVE FROM DAVID... THE NIGHT SKY... HWANGE NATIONAL PARK, ZIMBABWE... 23th SEPTEMBER 2014... 19.0137 degrees South, 27.3105 degrees East.

To Mom with Love from David was what I wrote in all the souvenir photo books I made for her after our trips, so I thought it was perfect for my print.

The Night Sky accepts Apple Pay via Apple's Safari browser, which means I get 2% cash back on my purchase. With that in mind, I ordered it framed. Sure it doubles the cost, but sometimes you just gotta spend money you don't have for something that will mean the world to you...

If you pay in full at the end of the month then you pay no interest. And here's the weird thing... Apple actually wants you to pay as little interest as possible. When you make a payment they have tools to show you how the amount you pay affects the interest you're charged. That's a very nice feature that seems insane considering every bank on earth is trying their best to gouge you for absurd interest charges.

Apple Card will send you a payment reminder notification, which is great, but I wanted to have my total balance automatically paid from my credit union checking account each month. I am not going back into credit card debt if I can help it. I also don't want to put any more money than I have to into Goldman Sachs' pockets. Fortunately, that's easy to set up...

There are numerous tools on the iPhone app which help you to track your spending, assist you in figuring out where charges come from, report disputes, and get immediate assistance. They also have some smart security features to help minimize credit card theft and fraudulent charges. This is the future of credit cards and I am impressed with what Apple has done here. Very impressed.

The first thing I did when I got the card was click the "message us" link for customer service so I could reject the arbitration clause. Forced arbitration is an abhorrent condition of card ownership which is 100% evil... and obviously comes from the pig-fuckers at Goldman Sachs. I'm surprised that Apple would have a card attached to their name which has forced arbitration, but I guess it's easy enough to get rid of if you know you must get rid of it...

If you want to know how to reject arbitration on your Apple Card... and why you should absolutely do it... here's an article at The Verge for you. And don't forget to do it at your very first opportunity so the scum-sucking bottom-dwellers at Goldman Sachs can't fuck you over more than they have already fucked over this country and everybody in it.

So let's sum things up, shall we?

PROS:

  • Laser-etched titanium, baby!
  • No annual fees, no late fees, and no foreign transaction fees.
  • Really cool budget, finance, and security tools built-in.
  • Seamlessly integrated into iPhone and Apple Wallet.
  • Cash-back rewards paid daily.
  • Easy to apply for within Apple Wallet... approval in minutes.
  • Pay any time or easily set-up recurring payments.
  • Apple promises your data will never be sold (assuming you can trust Goldman Sachs).
  • Full MasterCard benefits, like free ShopRunner 2-Day shipping (where available).

CONS:

  • You're in bed with the detestable fucking bastards at Goldmen Sachs.
  • Pretty titanium card is easily damaged.
  • Only works optimally for merchants accepting Apple Pay
  • Cash-back rewards are pathetically anemic.
  • Forced arbitration as the default.
  • No option for cash advance.
  • No sign-up bonus of any kind.
  • Interest rate APR is not much better than other cards (12.99% to 23.99%).
  • Only available to iPhone users.

Ultimately while I love the idea of having an Apple Card, it likely won't get much use. The best reward you can get is 3%, and that's only with Apple & Uber. Everything else is 2% or a pitiful 1%. This is insane. I can get 5% back if I buy my Apple products from Amazon using my Amazon Card! Another reason I'm likely not going to use it is that I don't want to contribute wealth to the gaping asshole crooks at Goldman Sachs. They are a blight on humanity with their many scandals, and the significant part they played in the financial crisis is rage-inducing. I remain flabbergasted that this is the bank that Apple decided to partner with. It's just so utterly mind-boggling and shitty.

But how cool is laser-etched titanium?

UPDATE: I got a notice that my big $2.40 was deposited. Boy oh boy. Whatever will I spend it on?

APPLE CASH: Your First Daily Cash from Apple Card has arrived!

   

Disney+ at D23 2019

Posted on Friday, August 23rd, 2019

Dave!Disney's annual D23 Expo has begun, and even more news has been released for Disney+, the new streaming service that's packed with all kinds of awesome projects (many of which I've already talked about here). Hilary Duff is coming back as Lizzie McGuire, but Miley Cyrus isn't coming back as Hannah Montana... at least not yet.

As for the other Disney+ news? Let's run that down, shall we?

The Disney D23 Expo Poster with Black Panther, Princess Elsa, R2D2, Woody from Toy Story, and Mickey Mouse.

   
CASSIAN & K-2SO
I actually really liked Rogue One. It felt the more "Star Wars" than we've seen in a while. Now the best part of the entire movie, Cassian and K-2SO, have their own show... which shoots next year. When coupled with the other excellent Star Wars projects in the pipe, Disney+ is essential viewing for fans.

A scene from Star Wars: Rogue One including Cassian and K-2SO.

   
CLONE WARS
The animated Star Wars efforts have been pretty fantastic. Between Star Wars: Rebels and Star Wars: Clone Wars, one could argue that the cartoons have done more to keep the spirit of Star Wars alive than any other media. Rebels ended with Season Four. Now Clone Wars is ending with Season Seven.

I have no idea if Disney will develop any new animated shows, but I certainly hope so.

Clone Wars Poster

   
ENCORE
Disney is leveraging their relationship with Kristen Bell from Frozen and Frozen 2 to build a new reality series...

Interesting idea, I guess? But not my cup of tea.

   
THE FALCON AND THE WINTER SOLDIER
The only real news here is that Emily VanCamp is returning to the MCU as Sharon Carter. And oh... some guy named Wyatt Russell is coming onboard to play John Walker, which everybody knows is U.S. Agent formerly Super-Patriot formerly Patriot from the comics.

   
LADY & THE TRAMP
Okay, how cool is it that Disney found rescue dogs to play the lead in their new Disney+ show?

Looks great. Of course I'll be giving it a try...

Poster for Lady and the Tramp.

   
LOKI
It's a "remarkably ambition show" is all the new we got. Alrighty then.

   
THE MANDALORIAN
This is actually looking more Star Wars than the new trilogy of Star Wars sequel trilogy... and a hell of a lot more Star Wars than the shitty Star Wars prequel trilogy...

With Jon Favreau in charge, I would subscribe to Disney+ just to watch this show...

   
MONSTERS AT WORK
I find it a bit odd that there's only one Pixar property being developed for Disney+ (from what they've announced), but at least they picked the right property. The city of Monstropolis is ripe for interesting stories, and the fact that Billy Crystal and John Goodman are back as Mike and Sully is just icing on the cake (after Stitch, Sully is my most favorite Disney character). But the stars of the show will be entirely new characters with the voices of Ben Feldman and Aisha Tyler, which could be interesting. They also announced Pixar's Forky Asks a Question, but it's more a collection of shorts than a series, apparently.

   
MOON KNOGHT
As I've said more than once, this is a no-brainer. I honestly thought it would be a new Netflix show before that development dissolved. Early versions of the character were essentially the Marvel Universe's version of Batman. Later versions of the character gave him multiple personalities and delved more into more mystical aspects of Marc Spector, giving him enhanced strength and other powers based on how full the moon is. Regardless of which way they take things, I am very much interested in seeing what Disney comes up with given that we are promised all the Marvel Disney+ shows will be an integral part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe...

Moon Knight Logo

   
MS. MARVEL
In yet another no-brainer, Disney+ is giving us a series featuring the comic book character of Kamala Khan, a shape-shifting super-powered Muslim teen. I love the comic book, and have high hopes that the live-action show will do her justice. I do worry about how well the more goofy aspects of her powers will be translated visually, but it certainly can't be any worse than the horrific job they did with Mr. Fantastic in the awful Fantastic Four movies.

Ms. Marvel Logo

   
MUPPETS NOW
Yeah, I love the idea of Kermit and The Muppets getting a new show, but I do worry about whether or not they will let The Muppets be The Muppets... or whether they'll do something stupid to try and "update" them when nothing like that is desired or required.

Muppets! Animal, Fozzie Bear, Kermit, Ms. Piggy, and Gonzo.

   
NOELLE
What looks like a mediocre Hallmark comedy film revolving around Santa's sister would be a complete throwaway if not for the fact that it stars Anna Kendrick and Bill Hader.

If nothing else, the leads will make it worth checking out.

Anna Kendrick and Bill Hader dressed in Santa suits.

   
OBI-WAN
Disney says an Obi-Wan Kenobe series has been in development for four years. Which means Disney+ has been in development for more than four years? Really? Well, whatever. All I need to know is that Ewan McGregor is coming back to play the part when it starts shooting next year. One of the few good things to come from the shitty prequels, a series revolving around McGregor's Obi-Wan is good news.

Ewan McGregor as Obi-Wan Kenobe

   
ONE DAY AT DISNEY
The behind-the-scenes at Disney's theme parks must be at least as interesting as the parks themselves. Probably even more so. No idea just how sanitized this three-issue-series will be (my guess: very), but at least we're getting something.

   
PHINEAS AND FERB THE MOVIE: CANDACE AGAINST THE UNIVERSE
While I loved Phones and Ferb when it debuted, it eventually got run into the ground over four seasons. My hope was that maybe they'd spin off Perry the Platypus or something interesting, but perhaps a new film will prove worthwhile if they try to break from the status quo in even a small way.

Phineas and Ferb The Movie logo.

   
SHE-HULK
In the comics, She-Hulk became a much lighter, funnier character than her brooding, tragic, drama-prone cousin Bruce Banner. In the movies they've taken Hulk in a direction more like comic book She-Hulk, which begs the question... what does that leave for the Jennifer Walters in the Marvel Cinematic Universe? I guess we're going to be finding out now that she's getting her own series.

She-Hulk Logo

   
WANDAVISION
Oh Lord. The inspiration for this series is The Dick van Dyke Show? That sounds absurdly self-defeating, but who knows. They did add Kat Dennings as Darcy (from the Thor movies) and Randall Park (from Ant-Man and The Wasp) so I guess that's something. Except... is Disney+ really going to become a dumping ground for third-tier characters? I mean, sure, I like these characters and it will be nice to see the again... but the choices here are just so random. I guess we'll have to wait and hope.

   
THE WORLD ACCORDING TO JEFF GOLDBLUM
The only thing that could be better than Jeff Goldblum being Jeff Goldblum would be if Jeff Goldblum were playing The Grand Master (from Thor: Ragnarok) in a new series. So, yeah, Disney can just take my money now.

The World According to Jeff Goldblum poster.

   

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