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Fix Me Up

Posted on Tuesday, January 2nd, 2018

Dave!I went into work today and lasted longer than I thought I would, cashing out at 3:15. I tried to work when I got home but was feeling awful, and it was easier to watch HGTV and veg out on home renovation shows... then dream about the snow melting in the Spring so I can set up a wood shop in my garage again.

Chip and Joanna Gaines, the hosts of my all-time favorite home renovation show, Fixer Upper (despite some caveats) have decided to stop doing the show after this fifth and final season.

I'm way more upset about this than I should be.

But nobody else even comes close to making a show that matches my creative aesthetic like this one... and I watch all the home reno shows.

And now I'm tired of writing. Just leave me to die here in a pile of mucus while you go on to live out the New Year. Shoo. Just go now.

   

Bullet Sunday 536

Posted on Sunday, January 14th, 2018

Dave!A cold wind is a blowin, because an all new Bullet Sunday starts... now...

   
• Copied! "Who says Apple can't innovate any more?" — Oh damn. Here they are, copying an idea from Samsung!

XXX

You can read all about it here.

   
• Ghosts! My photos were used in an article about ghosts in Antarctica by my friends at Paranormal Georgia Investigations! You can read it over at their website: Ghosts at the Bottom of the World. And speaking of Antarctica... maybe I'm wrong about the earth being flat, y'all?

Nah. Just kidding. This woman is obviously lying and a paid shill for the lying liars at NASA.

   
• Color! As somebody who loves color, world cultures, languages, and cool insight into things we don't really think about, this Vox video is pretty great...

Surprising indeed.

   
• Guilty Pleasure! I am not ashamed of the things I like. That being said, I am mildly ashamed that I like the new show L.A. to Vegas much more than I should...

It's kind of non-stop Airplane! from start to finish. Tuesdays at 9pm on FOX.

   
• Krypton! Well, I had my doubts... but this trailer makes me want to tune in to the show...

Looks like they sunk the money needed into making it, which is always a nice surprise.

   
And... that's Bullet Sunday for you.

   

ARE YOU KIDDING ME RIGHT NOW?

Posted on Monday, January 22nd, 2018

Dave!I always make fun of the people who say "Are you kidding me? Are you KIDDING me? ARE YOU KIDDING ME RIGHT NOW?!???" when they see their finished home revealed at the end of Fixer Upper (the home renovation show on HGTV). I mean, who says that? It's like, the stupidest thing you could say. YES, WE ARE KIDDING YOU! THIS IS NOT YOUR HOUSE!

Then just now I was unloading a box of cat stuff from Chewy. The cats were obsessed with the shipping box... until I opened the cupboard where the cat food is. Then they abandon the box come ripping into the kitchen like they're going to be fed dinner... an hour and a half early! It was then I found myself saying "Are you kidding me? Are you KIDDING me? ARE YOU KIDDING ME RIGHT NOW?!???" — And then I realized either A) I watch way too much Fixer Upper, or B) People actually say that, and I should probably apologize to all the people on TV I've made fun of.

Fixxer Upper Promo Shot

 
It's probably a combination of both those things. My television is tuned to HGTV 90% of the time. I've seen every episode of Fixer Upper eleventy-billion times. I have all the clients memorized. It only stands to reason that the stupid crap people say on these shows is going to get embedded in my brain.

In many ways, watching shows like Fixer Upper is torture this time of year. I want nothing more than to clear out my garage and set up my wood shop so I can get started on all the projects I've dreamed up for my home this year... but that has to wait until Spring when I won't have to worry about my car being piled over with snow.

The last thing I want to do is walk outside in the morning, find an avalance on my car, and find myself screaming "Are you kidding me? Are you KIDDING me? ARE YOU KIDDING ME RIGHT NOW?!???"

   

Schrödinger’s Pizza

Posted on Tuesday, January 23rd, 2018

Dave!I spent an hour last night cleaning the cats' bedroom... vacuuming and mopping... picking up all their toys... washing their beds... cleaning out the vents... upgrading their Litter-Robot... so can you guess where they have decided to unleash a tornado of destruction this morning? Go on... guess.

With all that's going wrong in my life right now, I could use some good news. I found it when I discovered Fridays has become This Close and has been developed by Sundance as a series for their streaming service. This is so great, and I can't wait to see it! Congrats to Shoshannah Stern!

   
I have been feeling a little beat down in life lately, so cooking is not on my radar. The past week I've been eating a lot of frozen pizza because it requires so little effort. Tonight's meal was a big ol' mess thanks to a paradox I'm calling Schrödinger's Pizza...

17 Minutes: Pizza undercooked.
18 Minutes: Pizza nearly incinerated.

I don't know what's happening in my over at the seventeen-minute-thirty-second mark, but it's apparently pretty serious.

And, on that note, I leave you to consume something burnt that used to be sauce and cheese on crust.

   

Bullet Sunday 538

Posted on Sunday, January 28th, 2018

Dave!Your eyes are not deceiving you, an all new Bullet Sunday starts... now...

   
• THANKS, OBAMA! As I've mentioned here more than a few times, my feelings on President Obama are rather complex. I liked him personally. I loved his family. I thought he tried to fairly represent the country and his office the best he could. There's no doubt in my mind he's a patriot. But... by the same token, he also completely shit the bed on government transparency, privacy, and other issues that are important to me. Of course, when compared to the raging shit show currently occupying the presidency, it's not hard to romanticize President Obama's two terms. And now Netflix and David Letterman have teamed up for an interview that's worth watching...

I enjoyed the interview quite a lot, as it surprised me in many ways. First of all, they spent some time on his personal life where he was just as charming, touching, and funny as you would expect. Secondly, a goodly chunk of the show focused on The Civil Rights Movement and one of its key leaders, Representative John Lewis (a personal hero of mine) and how that lead to Barrack Obama's presidency. My only criticism is that I wish the interview was longer. The hour was over before I knew it, and I was left wanting more. Probably because it was so nice to remember back to the days when we had such a brilliant, literate, compassionate, leader running the country.

   
• One Day in Time! And speaking of Netflix... after work yesterday, I thought I'd watch a couple episodes of the One Day at a Time remake. I loved the first season, and was hopeful they wouldn't take a dump all over the second. They didn't. I ended up binge-watching all thirteen episodes and didn't get to bed until after midnight. This show is absolutely fascinating. It's firmly rooted in 1970's Normal Lear style laugh-track TV, but tackles contemporary topics in a way that's entertaining as hell...

One Day at a Time Season Two Poster

The writing and performances are top notch. I've never seen a show that manages to shift gears so often so brilliantly. You're laughing one minute... crying the next... but never bored. After the last episode was over, Netflix started playing the first episode of the first season. I was dang close to watching the whole thing all over again from the start, but had to get some sleep. Highly recommended.

   
• Future Power! But, by all means... let's keep investing in coal. We're fucking idiots like that...

Tesla Battery in Australia made Almost a Million Dollars in a Few Days

The story is here.

   
• Girl Power! "Tonight (it never gets dark this time of year) I skied back to the Pole again... to take this photo for all those men who commented “Make me a sandwich” on my TEDX Talk. I made you a sandwich (ham & cheese), now ski 37 days and 600km to the South Pole and you can eat it."

Jade Hameister at the South Pole with a sandwich!

Jade Hameister's Facebook post is an epic smack-down on idiots who don't believe that girls can do anything... when clearly she can do more than they can.

   
• The Mash Report! You may want to take notes...

If only I had regular access to the BBC.

   
• Guitarz! A very cool video featuring a musician with a three-necked guitar playing Feel Good, Inc. (originally by Gorillaz)...

The artist is Luca Stricagnoli, and his videos are pretty amazing. Here he is crushing The Verve's Bitter Sweet Symphony on two guitars...

And one more for the road...

Terrific stuff.

   
And that's it. The end. Bullet Sunday is done.

   

In Imperfect Harmony

Posted on Thursday, February 8th, 2018

Dave!Remote control clutter is one of those things that most people just accept. One remote for the TV, one for the Blu-Ray player, another for the stereo receiver, another for Apple TV, another for the cable/satellite box... it's annoying, yes. But still better than having to actually get up off the couch to change the channel or change a setting. The horror.

Universal remotes have been around for a long, long time. Manufacturers have been shipping them with their A/V components for ages. My old Sony TV came with a remote which also controlled my Sony DVD player. Nice. I had a Pioneer receiver with a remote you could program for other manufacturer's gear as well as its own. Even nicer.

But ultimately just being able to control one device at a time can be a bummer. Especially if your remotes aren't multi-function where you have to use multiple remotes to do one thing. Grab the remote to turn on the TV. Grab the remote for the cable box. Grab the remote for the receiver.

Which is where the Logitech "Harmony" series of remotes comes in.

These "smart remotes," which have been around for a dozen years, can be taught how to control a vast multitude of devices. On top of that, they are also programmable, so you can chain remote commands together under a single button-press. Press the "Watch TV" button and Harmony will fire up the TV, cable box, and stereo receiver for you. It will then know to use the channel up/down buttons for the cable box and the volume up/down buttons for the stereo receiver. It's all pretty cool, and I've owned three Harmony remotes in the past decade.

But my latest one is a little different. It's comes with a "Harmony Hub" which can not only control your A/V equipment... it can also interface with a lot of your other home automation. Like, for example, Amazon's Echo, AKA "Alexa."

Logitech Harmony Hub

   
Depending on your devices, the Harmony Hub can eliminate the need for remotes completely... which is the whole reason why I bought it last year.

When I get home, I just say "Alexa, turn on the TV" and I'm done. From there I can have Alexa change the volume... change the channel... switch devices... whatever I need. The only time I'm scrambling for the remote is if I want to access shows stored on my DVR or to select something from a menu somewhere (like Apple TV). Sure, it would be nice if Harmony Hub would allow me to navigate menus via Alexa, but it really seems to be more trouble than it's worth right now. Though I'm sure that will change in the future.

There's a lot to talk about when it comes to Harmony Hub, so let's get started, shall we?

  • You actually don't need a Harmony remote or Alexa to use Harmony Hub for controlling your stuff. You can use an iPhone or Android phone or tablet.
  • You can use either a smartphone app or a computer app to set up and program your Harmony Hub. Both are shitty, frustrating, non-intuitive, ball-busting asshole apps to use. Setting up the WiFi connection from my phone was a piece of cake because the hub uses Bluetooth to do it. No having to switch networks and all that other annoying crap... just enter the WiFi name and password and you're done. Everything after that point is a horrendous exercise in futility that left me screaming. Seriously, all the Harmony software is utter garbage.
  • Setting aside the shitty UI (which is rage-inducing all by itself), programming simple tasks is a hundred times more difficult than it needs to be. So many times I run across things that make zero sense. If you want your stereo receiver left on all the time, but use Harmony to access it for changing inputs or whatever, Harmony will turn it off regardless. You have the option to tell Harmony you want it left on all the time, but getting it to accept that option is fucking psychotic. First you go to the device. Then you edit the device. Then you select power settings. Then you select "I want this device left on all the time." Simple, right? You'd think. But then you have to tell Harmony whether you use one button or two different buttons to turn the power off and on. My receiver has one one-button toggle, so I select that. At this point Harmony will completely ignore everything you just did and not allow you to save the setting. No... you have to select "I use two buttons" EVEN IF YOU FUCKING DON'T in order for it to accept the command. Which they don't bother fucking telling you anywhere on the shitty smartphone app... I eventually found this helpful hint in the shitty computer app (even though I couldn't get power settings to work on the computer app). And don't think that you can just delete the "power off" command from the "closing tasks" list... you absolutely cannot. You have to use information from one app to do the work on another app... none of which is mentioned anywhere. Assuming you haven't blown your fucking brains out before you figure out all this insane bullshit, your Harmony Hub will then kindly not turn your stereo receiver off. And this is just the tip of the fucking iceberg.
  • If you haven't smashed your Harmony Hub with a fucking hammer and actually manage to get something programmed the way you want, congratulations. You can now use your phone/tablet or app to control whatever it is you just programmed. Inevitably you'll need to make changes though... inserting a pause between commands... changing a command... adding a command... whatever... at which point you have to use the horrendously shitty apps to do it. Once again putting your shiny Harmony Hub in danger of getting smashed with a fucking hammer.
  • Then it's time to get Harmony set up for voice control via Alexa. If you thought the Harmony apps were shit... wait until you get a load of the fucking bullshit required to get that working. Here's a sampler: You can assign voice "friendly names" to television channels. These can be shortcuts... phonetic spellings... or whatever. I have given FOX "News" the friendly name of "propaganda and lies" so if I ever want to torture myself I can just say "Alexa, turn on propaganda and lies" to see what fucked up shit Hannity is spewing. Sometimes it's critical to assign friendly names because Alexa can be stupid. When I say "Alexa, turn on ABC" Alexa responds with "I can't find a BC for this device" (or whatever). So I had to add a friendly name of "como" to get that to work (my Seattle ABC affiliate is KOMO 4). But here's the thing... every time you want to add, change, or delete a "friendly name" YOU HAVE TO DISABLE THE SKILL ON ALEXA, THEN ADD IT BACK AGAIN AND LOG BACK IN TO YOUR LOGITECH ACCOUNT TO DO SO... THEN YOU HAVE TO TELL ALEXA TO "DISCOVER DEVICES" TO ACTUALLY FIND THE CHANGES. Granted, this is all probably Amazon's fault for the way that Alexa works, but it's still not the cakewalk you're led to believe. Fine-tuning the names takes literally hours... days even... as you try to figure out what works, what doesn't work, and what works best.
  • There's so much more I could rage about when it comes to programming Harmony Hub (the fact that it keeps telling you that you need to set up favorite channels over and over and over and over again... after you've already set up your favorite channels fifty times... is enough to drive you to drink), but the take-away is this: Harmony Hub is a fantastic piece of tech marred by shitty apps.
  • Assuming your Harmony Hub isn't in the garbage from all the rage-inducing shit you have to go through to get it working with your stuff, it then works as advertised. And, I must say, that having it paired with Alexa is so brilliant. I absolutely love it. I also love the simple Harmony Remote that came with the unit (I bought the cheapest one and it's great). Using the smartphone app to control things is not as easy as you might like, but it does work.
  • As if controlling your A/V gear wasn't enough, Harmony hub can also interface with other home automation equipment. Thermostats, smart door locks, switches, smoke alarms, window shades... it's all pretty fantastic. Some things I get, like turning down the lights and closing the shades automatically when you say "Alexa, turn on a movie." But controlling your thermostat and door locks via the Harmony app is puzzling. I mean, sure... maybe some people like to have their heat turned up to 90° when they watch a movie, so it's great that Harmony can do that, but huh? It is, I guess, handy to be able to access other controls from the remote or the Harmony smartphone app without having to open a separate app... but to me adding those things just adds clutter. Harmony is compatible with INSTEON hubs, but not yet able to interface with the ISY994i hub which I use to control my INSTEON devices (darnit!). Hopefully one day...
  • If you have Z-Wave or Zigbee devices, Harmony Hub can control them directly with the addition of a small base station that plugs in and sits underneath. It will set you back $100, however.
  • If there's one thing that Harmony Hub does very well... it's get signal to your devices. I have the hub sitting on top of my media cabinet where the IR signal can bounce around the walls and reach all my equipment. I found that my DirecTV box (which is on a low shelf) wasn't getting signal all the time, so I added an "IR Blaster" (included in the bundle I bought) which plugs into the Harmony Hub and can be run to where you need it. I just threaded it through the back of the cabinet... put it in front of my DirecTV box... and now it works without fail. Nifty.
  • Harmony Hub alone retails for $100. You can also purchase it with a bundled remote for extra. Their high-end remotes have lighted displays and other tech goodness, but I just bought the cheapest remote which does not have any bells and whistles. Still, it works just fine for all I want to do. The retail for that package is $130 at Amazon, but you can sometimes find refurbs on Amazon for $80 (less than the retail price of the hub alone).
  • There is a caveat to buying stuff from Logitech. They are a fucking asshole of a company. Their previous Harmony Hub was called "Harmony Link." As of next month, anybody who purchased a Harmony Link from Logitech owns a hockey puck, because Logitech will no longer support the device. Instead they will turn off the supporting servers which will brick it, rendering it useless. So... just know that five years down the line that Logitech could decide they don't want to support Harmony Hub and brick that as well.

And there you have it. The ugly truth about some really cool tech. It's a real shame that there isn't better software, because I enjoy the end result very much. It's the getting there that sucks. I do know that there are other companies who have similar devices, but I didn't research them since I had such great luck with my previous two Harmony remotes. Had I known then what I know now, I might have investigated a few other options before pulling the trigger.

   

Bullet Sunday 540

Posted on Sunday, February 11th, 2018

Dave!Spring is just around the corner... so better prepare yourself, because Bullet Sunday starts... now...

   
• Priced to Move! And... Blade Runner 2049 just dropped to $15 on iTunes. Knew it wouldn't stay at $20 forever given how badly they need to make up for the poor box office showing. Such a shame. I loved this movie. Yes, it ran a bit too long in parts and was in desperate need of further editing, but it ultimately pays off I think. Beautiful film...

Blade Runner 2049 Poster

The sound mix on Blade Runner 2049 is one of the best I've ever heard. Completely immersive, and all channels are beautifully distinct or blended as required. My cats are more than a little confused by the effectiveness of the spatial sound.

   
• No! Got a call from the Democratic party this past week wanting donations. My response? "Democrats representing my state are running off lobbyist money and obviously don't need my help. Why don't you go ask Patty Murray's Big Pharma friends for money and leave me the hell out of it. Take me off your call list and never, EVER call me for money again." Hopefully that will scare them off, just like I've already scared off the Republicans. Since I am not party-affiliated and vote for /donate to both of them, I have double the bullshit to deal with. I will never allow a political party to send my money to corrupt assholes in the pocket of lobbyists... from now on, I donate to specific candidates I feel are worth it. Not that there's many of them left.

   
• Good! Despite the fast that The Good Doctor was created by David Shore, I held off watching it because I have a friend whose son is autistic, and I don't like the idea of the struggles that autistic persons go through being exploited for entertainment. Then this past week I finally decided to take a look and was just amazed...

The Good Doctor Poster

It's a very good show and didn't seem exploitative at all. I binged all 14 episodes I had. If you're not watching and like medical dramas, it's worth a look.

   
• Bio! And speaking of good television shows... iTunes has a free preview of A.P. Bio which stars Glenn Howerton (It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia and That 80's Show) as a teacher who is stuck in Ohio once his Harvard dream job passes him by. The result is actually funny... but also smart and even touching...

These things always look so stupid. When they turn out to be more than that, it's such a pleasant surprise. Patton Oswald is just the icing on the cake.

   
• Jones! And it seems as though Netflix will be keeping my monthly fee for.a while longer... new Jessica Jones is coming next month...

It's been revealed that Disney has no plans to take over the Netflix Marvel shows and move them to their new streaming service. Thankfully. Don't fix what's not broken. The Netflix shows are mostly awesome, unlike the ABC Television shows which suck ass.

   
• Unmolded! When I had my home renovated, I hired a fairly pricey contractor because I didn't want crap falling apart after a year. For the most part, I think it was a smart move... though there are some details of their work that pisses me off. Primary of which is the shitty molding installation.

My home has rounded "California Corners" which I hate hate hate. Mostly I just don't like how they look. But also because it made finding molding so difficult that I had to have it all custom made to get the clean and simple look I wanted. It was more money than I wanted to pay, but whatever.

Except... the installation was shitty. The corners were just slapped on there with no attempt made to blend the seams. I caught some of them before painting and sanded them a bit, but most of them had already been done and looked like this...

California Corner Molding Fix

What chaps my ass is that it would have taken minutes to fix this before painting. But, since it wasn't fixed, that means I have to spend considerable more time sanding them out while making sure I'm not damaging the wall or floor...

California Corner Molding Fix

California Corner Molding Fix

But the result is worth it. I'm just one more coat of leveling paint (after the first coat dries) to the seamless molding I should have had from the beginning...

California Corner Molding Fix

One down, eight to go.

   
Until next Bullet Sunday, enjoy winter's last gasp...

   

Direct Currents, Brick Edition

Posted on Thursday, February 15th, 2018

Dave!I've made no secret about how much I loathe the current crop of DC Comics movies. With the exception of Wonder Woman, they are bad films that take a massive shit on the original source material. Batman vs. Superman, Suicide Squad, and Justice League were all gut-wrenchingly awful and only get worse upon subsequent viewings. How DC can fuck up this badly when Marvel is nailing it film after film is a complete mystery to me. It's as if the people in charge of DC movie production have taken what made their characters so popular for so long, and then just done the opposite of that.

Fortunately, the people running DC's television shows are on an entirely different level. Arrow, The Flash, and Supergirl are consistently good, and now we get Black Lightning, which may be saddled with a lame disco costume and sub-par villain... but is otherwise fantastic. I'm not particularly fond of Legends of Tomorrow, but it's still a watchable show. Bravo to The CW Network showrunners who totally get what they need to be doing with DC characters to make them work.

What fans need is for The CW to be given rights to a Superman series and a Batman series. Hell, turn the network into The DC Network and give us Wonder Woman, Green Lantern, and Legion of Super-Heroes shows too! If there's one thing that Tyler Hoechlin's amazing turn as Superman guest starring in Supergirl has shown us, we need these shows.

In the meanwhile though?

I've been completely hooked on the LEGO DC Comics movies. They are not all home runs, but they are great entertainment and totally watchable in a way the Zack-Snyder-infused movies will never be...




   
And so... If you're a DC Comics fan who hasn't checked out the movies that LEGO is cranking out, you might want to give them a try. Sure they're filmed with toys, made for kids, and aren't at all serious... but, until Patty Jenkins becomes showrunner for the DC Cinematic Universe, it's about as good as it's going to get.

Until Wonder Woman 2 comes along, of course.

   

Bullet Sunday 542

Posted on Sunday, February 25th, 2018

Dave!Prepare yourself, because a Very Special BLACK PANTHER EDITION of Bullet Sunday starts... now...

   
• Art! One of the best things about Black Panther is the production design. A lot of what went into that is explored in yet another wonderful edition of Marvel Studio's Art of the Movie books, which somebody on YouTube was kind enough to thumb through...

There's very little of the book that's not fascinating... or gorgeous...

Black Panther Art of the Movie Page

I own the entire series and love them. You can pick up the absolutely beautiful Black Panther edition from Amazon.

   
• Trevor! The detractors for Black Panther have been pretty stupid about it. I mean, if you don't like the movie, fine... to each their own. But the whole "This movie is racist because it's mostly Black people" is laughably stupid. My favorite commentary on this was by Trevor Noah from The Daily Show...

Speaking of Trevor Noah, if you haven't read or, better yet, listened to the audiobook of his Born a Crime, then it is absolutely worth your valuable time to do so. While interviewing Lupita Nyong'o for Black Panther, it was revealed that she will be producing and playing his mother in the movie adaptation...

Can't wait!

   
• Mother! Speaking of audiobooks, a momentary aside... I am just now finding out that Jenifer Lewis released a book last month called The Mother of Black Hollywood. Whether you know her as Ruby from Blackish or one of her many roles over nearly 30 years in Hollywood, it is so good...

Here is Jenifer Lewis being Jenifer Lewis... while plugging her book (and other things)...

If you want to be entertained for hours, search for "Jenifer Lewis" on YouTube and prepare yourself. This video is an hour of amazing...

I have only just started listening to the audiobook, but it is fantastic already. If you are a member of Audible, it's worth a credit. If you are not a member of Audible, you get a FREE credit when you sign up! Go do that and get this book!

   
• Comics! If you've seen the movie (and I'm assuming you have), there's a lot more to the story in the original comic books. Here's my four favorite series...

Black Panther Comic Book Covers

  • Black Panther by Christopher Priest (Vol. 1 Amazon link).
    During his epic run on the character, Priest defined and redefined a lot of what we know today about Black Panther. The movie owes a lot to his work on the character.
  • Black Panther: A Nation Under Our Feet by Ta-Nehisi Coates (Amazon Link).
    Having a writer of Coates' caliber take over Black Panther is the gift that keeps on giving. The beautiful art by Brian Stelfreeze is just the icing on the cake.
  • Who is The Black Panther? by Reginald Hudlin (Amazon Link)
    I like this series because it has a good ties between Black Panther and the rest of the Marvel Universe. They actually made this into a motion-comic you can watch.
  • Black Panther: Masterworks by Don McGregor (Vol. 1 Amazon Link)
    Here it is... the 1970's masterwork that gave us an epic story arc that's just as thrilling today as it ever was: Panther's Rage.

I would be remiss if I didn't add Jack Kirby's work on the Black Panther, which is also an important read.

   
• Wrong Panther! It'll be reiterated below, but I think it important to state it here: There is NO relation between the Black Panther of the comic books and the Black Panther Party. And yet... I've seen this pop up more times than I can count online.

   
• Panther Facts! Let's wrap up this Bullet Sunday with a list of interesting Black Panther bullets, courtesy of Kevin E. Ross, who has asked that people share it...

  • The Black Panther (real name: T'Challa) is the first mainstream black superhero ever. He was created by Marvel Comics and the team of Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, the same two responsible for heroes like Thor, the Fantastic Four, and Captain America.
  • Created in 1966 during the turbulent Civil Rights era, he is the first black superhero not created as an "token," a dependent, or a sidekick. This was considered extremely controversial for the time period. He predates Captain America's Falcon (1969) and Luke Cage (1971). He also preceded the revolutionary activist group the Black Panther Party by 3 months (he was introduced in July of 1966, and the Black Panther Party in October of 1966. They were not connected).
  • T'Challa (his real name), is also the ruler of a fictional African kingdom called Wakanda (population 6,000,000). Wakanda is considered one of the wealthiest nations on Earth as well as one of the most technologically-advanced. Imagine if Disney World's Tomorrowland and the Rainforest Cafe merged.
  • Wakanda's wealth is the result of a meteorite that crashed on to the continent 10,000 years ago. Composed of a rare alien material called Vibranium, the metal is sought by many in the world for its scientific applications and its military capabilities. It is only available in Wakanda, thus the country keeps itself closed and shielded from the outside world. Vibranium basically absorbs any energy directed towards it and holds it like a sponge. Imagine buildings that wouldn't crumble under the force of an earthquake, or soldiers protected against explosions from grenades and other explosive devices. Wakanda does export other commodities such as coal, diamonds, and technology, which contributes to its worth.
  • Wakanda has tons of vibranium in underground storage. One gram of vibranium is worth $10,000. That means Captain America's 12-pound shield, which is composed of the material, is worth just over $54 million dollars.
  • Being the monarch of the world's richest nation also makes you rich. T'Challa's net worth is $90.7 trillion dollars, which makes him richer than Batman's Bruce Wayne (9.2 billion) or fellow Marvel running mate Tony "Iron Man" Stark (12.4 billion). By a lot.
  • In the comics, the Black Panther is also one of the most well-respected men in the world. He is a combination of nobility (Thor), patriotism (Captain America), and superior intellect (Iron Man). He is also an Oxford graduate with a PhD in physics and is considered one of the top-5 minds on the planet.
  • The Black Panther is more than the special costume he wears. He is also a world-class athlete who was trained in martial arts, judo, wrestling (a popular Wakandan sport), and all forms of hand-to-hand combat. He also has enhanced healing properties, strength, speed, agility, and tracking senses. This is the result of ingesting a special heart-shaped herb that grows only around the site of the crashed vibranium meteorite. The radiation from the meteorite produces the plant which, once ingested, gives the recipient the aforementioned special abilities. Only those in the royal hierarchy and heirs to the panther mantle are eligible to use it. This means that the Black Panther has absolutely no problem going toe-to-toe with Captain America, who is considered the world's best hand-to-hand combatant and fighter.
  • Steeped deep in African tradition, Wakandans worship Bast, a female deity known also as the Panther God. The symbolic mythology here is also directly connected to ancient Egypt. She is revered as a protector and defender of the nation. This makes the Black Panther her agent outside the spirit realm, and thus more than a hero, but a true mythical figure. Imagine if the Pope wore a costume, had superhuman abilities, and defended the Vatican from its enemies both foreign and domestic.
  • Because of Bast, Wakandan women are highly-respected. The king's personal guard, the Dora Milaje, are an elite female fighting force. T'Challa's younger sister Shuri is a genius level intellect and considered one of the smartest women on the planet. Not only does she give the Black Panthers technologically-advanced suit & tech superior upgrades, but also other inventions to help further her country's technological dominance. While Tony Stark, who is considered one of the smartest men on the planet, graduated from MIT at age 17, he did not invent the Iron Man suit until age 42. By contrast, Shuri is only 16 years old.
  • In the comic books, the Black Panther was briefly married to Storm of the X-Men (remember Halle Berry?). Storm was from Wakanda's African neighbor Kenya (but grew up in Cairo, Egypt).

   
Until next week... WAKANDA FOREVER!

   

Born a Crime

Posted on Friday, March 2nd, 2018

Dave!I remember how gutted I was when Jon Stewart left The Daily Show... thinking that nobody could ever take his place... swearing I'd dump the show. And then Trevor Noah came and he was a little rough but I saw how it might work out if he was given a chance. So everybody gave him a chance. And it ended up working because Trevor didn't even attempt to replace Jon Stewart... he just did his own thing within the format he was given. And now it's almost impossible for me to think of The Daily Show ever having been anybody's show but Trevor's, and I am glued to my TV every week night watching him dazzle with his charisma and brutally smart commentary on current events.

A while back I mentioned Trevor's audiobook, Born a Crime, which made me want to listen to it all over again.

And so I did. Seriously, even if you don't like Trevor, The Daily Show, or his politics, his story of growing up under Apartheid is unbelievably compelling. Highest possible recommendation...

As I said, you can sign up for Audible and get a free book credit so you can listen to his book for Free. Assuming you're not already a member. If you are a member, it's worth the credit. If neither of those are an option, check to see if your local library has audiobooks. Many of them do.

In the meanwhile, if you want to get a taste of what Born a Crime is about, check out this fantastic 90-minute interview that The Guardian which touches on a lot of the book's story...

   
Absolutely amazing how things worked out for him!

And he recently renewed his Comedy Central contract to host The Daily Show through 2022, so it's also amazing how things worked out for his fans too!

   

Good Bye Apple TV?

Posted on Thursday, March 8th, 2018

Dave!Yesterday I talked about finally being able to dump Apple's home automation disaster, HomeKit. Today I'm contemplating dumping Apple TV for a number of reasons...

First of all, the streaming quality of shows purchased through Apple iTunes is awful... assuming you can get them to stream at all. Do you know how many times I've gone to watch a movie or TV Show I've purchased, only to have Apple TV go catatonic? Do you know how many times I've been watching something only to have Apple TV suddenly stop streaming and then not start again unless I reset everything? And when I complain? Apple blames my internet connection. Without fail. But here's the thing... ALL OTHER STREAMING SERVICES WORK FINE! Even on Apple TV! Episodes of The West Wing I've purchased from Apple won't stream. But episodes of The West Wing stream just fine through the Netflix app... ON MY APPLE TV!!! The problem clearly isn't my internet connection. The problem is that Apple has billions of dollars but can't build a content delivery system that's worth a shit.

Second of all... digital purchases from Apple iTunes are almost always more expensive than purchasing them elsewhere. Movies that are $19.99 at the iTunes Store can be purchased at Vudu or Amazon or wherever for $12.99. Now, the one thing Apple has that other don't (yet) is a no-charge upgrade to 4K and HDR content. But what good is it if you can't watch it?

But the worst offense of all with Apple TV? Apple is happy to take your money, but they absolutely, positively do not give a shit about making sure you get what you pay for.

As an example... I use the Sundance Now app on my Apple TV to watch a show called This Close. I purchased my subscription through my Apple TV and pay my $6.99 a month to Apple. But when Sundance Now is suddenly asking me for a login... but I don't have a login because I purchased through Apple TV... Apple says "Sorry, you have to contact Sundance Now because it's their app." Except... I'm not paying Sundance Now. I'm paying Apple. And the best that Apple can do is cancel my subscription. Problem is... I'm paid up through March 21st. If Apple cancels my subscription, I'm losing almost a month of subscription I've paid for. Their response?

Apple Don't Give a Shit

That's right. They can't guarantee that they can refund me money THEY TOOK for something I CAN'T ACCESS because their only solution is to TERMINATE MY SUBSCRIPTION on THEIR PRODUCT using apps that THEY AUTHORIZE.

What a garbage company.

But here's my dilemma...

All my movie purchases through Apple are safe because Apple is a part of the "Movies Now" collective. I can watch any of my movie purchases on any other device which supports a vendor that is also a "Movies Anywhere" member.

But what about the hundreds of TV shows I've purchased?

I have no idea. I'd ask Apple to refund all my money for all the shows I've ever purchased... but we've already seen how they treat me over a $6.99 subscription fee, so that's probably out of the question.

I remember the days when Apple was an amazing company which stood behind its products. If I had a problem with something I purchased... they fixed it. Or they refunded my money. Or they made it right somehow. Now? I get the feeling they couldn't care less about their customers. Which wouldn't be such a big problem if anything they made was worth a crap now-a-days. But that's not really true, is it? Used to be you could trust Apple products to "just work." That hasn't been the case in years.

The Apple hasn't just fallen from the tree once Steve Jobs left us... it's rotted and turned to mush.

UPDATE: Just to give you an idea of how utterly shitty a product Apple TV is, I ended up purchasing a "smart plug" so I can cut the power and restart the unit when it goes catatonic. Yes, it happens often enough that spending $13 was a worthwhile investment. First the screen goes black. Then the screen goes white. Then it tries to load... something... then it fails and goes black again... lather, rinse, repeat. Over and over until I get up and unplug it, then plug it back in again. Hence... the smart plug so I don't have to climb behind my media center each time this happens...

AppleTV Goes White

Of course, then the Apple TV gives me this...

AppleTV Goes Reset

I regret ever having purchased Apple TV. Version 1. Version 2. Version 3. And Version 4. I absolutely regret having spent money buying media from Apple. You'd think I'd finally learn something here... maybe now I finally am.

   

Bullet Sunday 544

Posted on Sunday, March 11th, 2018

Dave!Don't go unpacking that baggage just yet, because an all-new Bullet Sunday starts... now...

   
• New Jones! Our long wait for new Jessica Jones is over... Netflix released a second season this past week. I binge-watched them all, of course. Unfortunately, this new batch of thirteen episodes was not the masterpiece we got in season one. It was a slapshot hodgepodge of story beats that never quite melded together. It was also horrifically slow, with characters and elements that spiraled off into nowhere. Ultimately there were parts that were entertaining... and it was great to see the character again... but the relevant bits could have been easily condensed down to five or six much better episodes...

I seriously hope the creative team gets their shit together for season three. Of all the Marvel Studios Netflix shows, this is the one with the most potential. Jessica Jones deserves better than to have it squandered, which is how I feel about what we got.

   
• And Chill! Netflix's commitment to original shows is truly mind-boggling. They are gunning to create/partner/distribute loads of unique content that takes on the big networks, and they've been doing a darn good job of it. Their Marvel shows (Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, Iron Fist, The Punisher, and The Defenders) are, for the most part, far superior to what you can get on "regular" television (most notably with the shitty Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and the even shittier Inhumans). But they didn't stop there. It seems like every day I'm stumbling across more and more new stuff they've released... from comedy specials and animation to travel shows and documentaries. Right now I'm addicted to watching The World's Most Extraordinary Homes which is an architecture geek's dream show, and The Joel McHale Show with Joel McHale which is essentially all new episodes of Talk Soup. More is on the way. They recently announced a new talk show built around Hasan Minhaj, which should be genius, and insures that I won't be canceling my Netflix subscription any time soon.

   
• Champs! I would watch Mindy Kaling read the phone book, I love her so much. So I'm watching her new show Champions. I like it well enough... the concept is good, the dorky brother character is great, and I love the kid... but I don't think the lead guy is gelling with the material at all. Hopefully it will find its footing and he'll grow into the character. Unfortunately, I don't know that this show will last very long...

Oh well. At least somebody is trying to do something different.

   
• Pharma Bro! No news story in recent memory has made me laugh my ass off more than this one right here.

   
• POP! POP! No matter how bad the episode of Saturday Night Live, I can always count on a visit from "Don Jr. and Eric Trump" to salvage the episode...

LOLOLOLOLOLOL.

   
No more bullets tonight. No more Bullet Sunday, I guess.

   

Bullet Sunday 546

Posted on Sunday, March 25th, 2018

Dave!Welcome to the place where the kisses are hers are his and hers and Bullet Sunday starts... now...

   
• Paint! Really good television ads are so rare that they might as well be said not to exist. I certainly spend enough time fast-forwarding through crappy ads. Which is why running across one that's a joy to watch is so great...

Computer animation is getting cheaper and easier every day. But coming up with ideas to use it for effective advertising is as tough as its always been. Congrats, Sherwin-Williams for putting your ad dollars to such good use.

   
• LEGOtron! This new LEGO set is amazing, though I wish it was from the original film instead of the Tron: Legacy sequel...

LEGO Tron Legacy

LEGO Tron Legacy

Oh please oh please oh please can we get a LEGO TRON video game?

   
• FAIL! Don't get me wrong... I love that I can get some fairly decent quality furniture at good prices thanks to IKEA... but their quality has taken a total nose-dive. For the third time now I've purchased something that had a mistake in it. This time they stained the wrong edge of a board, leaving the front edge bare...

IKEA Fail... AGAIN!

Given that it's a 3-hour drive back to the Renton showroom, here's hoping that they are able to send me a replacement part in the mail.

   
• Mr Pool! As the rare X-men film that was actually worth a crap, I loved Deadpool. The sequel is looking even better...

No telling what could happen if Marvel gets the movie rights back for all their mutant comics. Hopefully it's a complete reboot with some decent films which know how to respect the source material.

   
• Krapton! And speaking of comic book translations... I don't get it. The people behind the new SyFy TV show, Krypton, didn't even attempt to make Krypton seem foreign... let alone alien. So what's the point? They could have saved a lot of money on the special effects and set this in Cleveland or somewhere in England since they say "mate" a lot, have English accents, and use phrases like "chip on your shoulder."

SyFy Channel Krypton Series

I dunno. Maybe it gets interesting after a few episodes. But it all seems pretty lame to me so far.

   
• Mission? Apparently a sign that says "NO SOLICITING. NO UNINVITED VISITORS. NO RELIGIOUS APPEALS. NO POLITICAL CAUSES. NO SALESPEOPLE. NO PETITIONS, NO CHARITY." means nothing to some people...

NO SOLICITING. NO UNINVITED VISITORS. NO RELIGIOUS APPEALS. NO POLITICAL CAUSES. NO SALESPEOPLE. NO PETITIONS, NO CHARITY.

When I asked the missionaries who showed up tonight AT 8:45PM what part of the giant red sign they didn't understand, they said they were curious about what's behind putting a sign up like that. Well, genius, it's not a big fucking mystery. The sign is up because I don't want to listen to your shit... and I really don't want you terrorizing my feral rescue cats by ringing my doorbell.

What kills me is that they have a laugh over ignoring the sign before they ring the bell. They also ignored they sign telling them that they were being recorded...

And apparently after you've violated somebody's posted request, then are specifically told to leave because the property-owner is not interested... the way to change their mind is to leave unwanted pamphlets on their door?

Unwanted Mormon Jesus Pamphlets

I have no problem with a person's beliefs, just so long as they don't infringe on mine. Like showing up at my home uninvited and not respecting my request for privacy. You can believe that Joseph Smith dug up some magical plates with Bible 2.0 on them if you want (something which, if you have studied The Bible even a little bit, is a hysterical concept)... but when somebody tells you to please leave them alone, your believing that you have a right to disrespect that request makes you a fucking asshole... I don't care who you are.

   
Happy trails to you, until next Sunday...

   

Bullet Sunday 458

Posted on Sunday, April 8th, 2018

Dave!Time for you to do that voodoo that you do so well... because a brand new Bullet Sunday starts... now...

   
• KATY?!?! I don't watch American Idol, but I happened upon a commercial where I saw that Katy Perry is a judge now, so I had to check it out. Her new look is amazing...

Katy Perry American Idol

Modern rock glam with a punk sensibility stirred into the mix? Yes please.

   
• Shiplap! Shiplap! Shiplap! And so the final Episode of Fixer Upper has come and gone. I didn't sob uncontrollably as expected. There are many home renovation shows I enjoy watching... but none of them... NOT ONE... can compare to the taste level of Joanna Gaines. In all these years, I can't think of a single thing on any of her projects where I've thought "Well that's horrible!" Sure there are some decisions she makes that aren't my favorite... but it's rare, and it's never so bad I would rip it out if it were in my home. Joanna's Behind the Design starts on the 11th, and there's 15 half-hour episodes to be had. After that? I guess it's game over...

HGTV Behind the Design

My favorite of all the design shows, Fixer Upper will be missed.

   
• Pro! APPLE IS CONSULTING WITH THE PEOPLE WHO WILL BE USING THEIR SHIT? WELL THAT'S A WELCOME AND PLEASANT FUCKING SURPRISE! I've been absolutely furious that self-proclaimed "pro" Macs are anything but "professional." They're designed to be pretty rather than functional, and Apple keeps ripping out features that pros actually need. Though something tells me this is a case of "too little too late," as many professionals I know have moved to Windows. My mind reels over how Apple has abandoned a market they used to own. Makes me wonder how much longer they plan to make Macs at all.

   
• Solo! A new trailer was released for the Han Solo Star Wars prequel. It looks pretty great... but the plague of problems that have descended on the film has me wondering if this is just showing some of the best bits and the rest of the movie if going to be crap...

I guess we shall see. I am really hoping that the movie is great compared to the mixed bag we got last time. Though the special effects, settings, and battles were amazing, I wasn't really happy with the story for The Last Jedi, which had some of the stupidest bits since the prequels...

Leia in SPAAAAAACE!

I mean... Space Leia? What in the hell were they thinking?

   
• Incredible! As a huge, huge, mega-huge fan of the first Incredibles movie, I am anxiously awaiting the sequel. Seeing awesome marketing materials like this doesn't make me any more patient...

XXX

Hopefully they kept the design sensibility that made the first movie so stylishly iconic.

   
Later, gators!

   

Star Trekking

Posted on Monday, April 9th, 2018

Dave!Today is a busy day because I am off for vacation starting tomorrow. In an effort to save time so I can pack and clean house before tearing out of here, I thought I would cut-and-paste a ranking of my top-five episodes from each Star Trek series that I had made last week. A fellow fan and I were discussing the merits (or lack thereof) of all things Trek, and this is how we let each other know exactly What Kind of Star Trek Fan We Are. Because, let's face it, wars have been started over this kind of thing.

But then I decided to rank the series themselves.

Then I decided to write my thoughts on each series.

Then I had to go back through my lists and question some of my choices.

Next thing I know, a half hour has passed, and my entire reason for this entry have all come crashing down. I spent more time making a blog post out of something that I would have been much better off starting from nothing. Cat photos take hardly any time at all.

Star Trekking

But anyway... here we go, starting with my ranking of all the series best-to-worst...

  1. Star Trek: The Original Series
  2. Star Trek: Discovery
  3. Star Trek: The Next Generation
  4. Star Trek: Enterprise
  5. Star Trek: Deep Space 9
  6. Star Trek: Voyager

   
And here are my top-five episodes within each, in series order...

   
Star Trek
The first Trek is undeniably the best Trek with strong stories that hold up even to this day. That they managed to make it look so good given the effects technology at the time is just icing on the cake. Yes, the acting was less than subtle, but there's no denying that the cast was a magical combination that sustained the franchise well past cancelation. If there's a grievous fault in the series, it would be almost the entirety of the third and final season, which saw budgets slashed and shitty stories like And the Children Shall Lead taking a steaming dump on the sublime excellence of the first two seasons. No spin-off even comes close to how imaginative and revolutionary a show Star Trek was, is, and will always be.

  1. Mirror, Mirror
  2. The City on the Edge of Forever
  3. Space Seed
  4. Balance of Terror
  5. Assignment Earth

   
Star Trek: The Next Generation
Gene Roddenberry's bizarre edict that the future was perfect, everybody on The Enterprise was buddy-buddy, and all internal conflict on the ship was to be purged, made for a bland return to a once-great show. I was on vacation in Maui when the premiere debuted. But I was such a Trek fan that I gave up precious time in paradise to watch the first episode. It was so heinously boring and shitty... from the story to the sets to the effects to the costumes to (some) of the acting... that I was mired in shock and disbelief. How in the hell did anybody making the show thing this was Star Trek? Not to say it was all crap. Things improved after the first season and some true gems were to be found amongst the ruins... but, yeah, it was mostly crap. Though it wasn't the crappiest thing to come out of Star Trek. Not by a long shot.

  1. The Inner Light
  2. Darmok
  3. Yesterday’s Enterprise
  4. The Best of Both Worlds
  5. Remember Me -tie- The Ensigns of Command

   
Star Trek: Deep Space Nine
Despite having the series elevated by the amazing talents of Avery Brooks in the lead (ZOMG! It's Hawk!), this low-rent Trek knock-off was absurd to new extremes. Made infamous for Odo being the shape-changing alien that never changed shape, everything seemed to be done on the cheap. They blew their budgetary wad on the Deep Space Nine space station set, then had no money to go anywhere interesting, do anything interesting, or see anything interesting. They tried to compensate with the whole Bajoran/Cardassian conflict, but it was poorly handled and came across as false drama. The religious angle with the "Prophets" was boring in ways Next Generation could only dream about, and things were off to a bad start from the beginning because of it. Eventually even the people running the show realized what a turd they had crapped out, and added a ship (The USS Defiant) so they could go places... and fan-favorite character Worf... but it was too late. All that had come before had mired the show in mediocrity, and precious few episodes managed to escape it. But when they did manage to escape it, the series showed such amazing promise. A glimpse at what could have been. Unfortunately it was too rare an event to make me care about the show, because they always went crawling back to what made it suck.

  1. The Visitor
  2. Trials and Tribble-ations
  3. Far Beyond the Stars
  4. Little Green Men
  5. Second Skin

   
Star Trek: Voyager
Holy shit where do I even start? Because I am having a tough time finding the words to express just how much I hated this show. Hated it. There were elements I liked... in particular Robert Picardo as The Doctor and Tim Russ as Tuvok. And eventually we got Jeri Ryan as the Borg's "Seven of Nine" which was another coup. But that wasn't even remotely enough to salvage what a mess things were. First of all... the entire concept of the show was to remove "Star Trek" from everything "Star Trek" so writers could throw out the rules and let their imaginations run wild. A crew formed from conflict! No support system! Limited resources! Life on Voyager was to be a brutal struggle for survival in a strange and hostile universe far, far from home. But we never got that! Well, we rarely got that. What we got was yet another Next Generation retread that didn't even come close to the standards set by Next Generation (such as they were). As if that weren't shitty enough, "button-pushing action" was elevated to new heights. A conflict arises. Buttons are pushed to solve it. All while the "EPS conduits" are failing and the plasma is rerouted. Over and over and over and over again. I barely watched the show, but ended up binging on DVD rentals after everything ended so I could fast-forward through the boring crap. Which is to say I was fast-forwarding most of the time. The fact that I couldn't even manage to think of five episodes I liked well enough to list speaks volumes. It was all Oh... I remember that one with Sarah Silverman! and Oh... that episode with the rapid-evolving civilization was good enough that "The Orville" ripped it off!" Give me a break.

  1. Blink of an Eye
  2. Year of Hell
  3. Future's End

   
Star Trek: Enterprise
It was a good concept. Go back to all the newness and exploration of the unknown that made Star Trek so amazing by setting a show before Star Trek existed. Then get a big name like Scott Bakula to star in it. Then spend the money needed to make the show actually look great. It would be different. It would build pre-continuity continuity for the original series. It would focus on all the things Star Trek fans love and jettison those things they didn't. It would be a love letter to everything Star Trek! That would be great, right? Well, it sure could have been. Except some genius decided to mire the whole thing in the so-called "Temporal Cold War" which had death-grip on the show for three whole seasons. Sure, they were creative enough to escape it from time to time, but it pretty much killed what should have been an enjoyable outing. The fact that it never really paid off just added insult to injury. No surprise that my favorite episodes are ones that tried to side-step the restrictions that plagued the series.

  1. Carbon Creek
  2. In a Mirror, Darkly
  3. Similitude
  4. Twilight
  5. Dear Doctor

   
Star Trek: Discovery
And here we are. The latest Star Trek spin-off that has divided fans and set the internet on fire. It seems most people either love it or hate it, though the reason they love it or hate it differ completely. I absolutely loved it. And the reason I loved it is because I felt it finally... finally... recaptured what I loved about the original series. At long last, we had actual Star Trek happening again! And yet there are people who hated it because they didn't feel it was Star Trek at all. And I get it. Honestly I do. It has many problems continuity-wise. It completely and utterly rejects Roddenberry's silly "no internal conflict" edict. There were inexplicably stupid changes made (WTF with the Klingons?). And some of the tech is just plain silly (spore drive?!?). But, as a die-hard fan of the original, I just didn't care about any of that because the "flavor" or what captured my imagination from the start was there. It also had some brilliant re-workings of some of Trek's best ideas. As if all that wasn't enough, the special effects and casting were choice. Sure the last two episodes fizzled, but the slow burn and massive payoff for everything before that was all I could want in a Star Trek show. I cannot wait to see what they come up with for their second season.

  1. The Wolf Inside
  2. Despite Yourself
  3. Into the Forest I Go
  4. Vaulting Ambition
  5. Context is for Kings

   
Just for duck soup (and a need for completeness), here is my ranking of the Star Trek movies which I took from my blog post here (with details, if you need them!)...

  1. Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan
  2. Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home
  3. Star Trek
  4. Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country
  5. Star Trek Beyond
  6. Star Trek: First Contact
  7. Star Trek Into Darkness
  8. Star Trek: The Motion Picture
  9. Star Trek III: The Search for Spock
  10. Star Trek: Generations
  11. Star Trek: The Final Frontier
  12. Star Trek: Nemesis
  13. Star Trek: Insurrection

   
And I guess that's a wrap on Star Trek. If all goes as planned, tomorrow's entry will be written from the airport.

   

Bullet Sunday 459

Posted on Sunday, April 22nd, 2018

Dave!No time for me to wallow in being sick... because a brand new Bullet Sunday starts... now...

   
• Earther! Oh look... it's Earth Day! Happy Earth Day, everybody!

Flat Earth Dumbfuckery

Still makes me laugh.

   
• Westworld 2.0! When it comes to surprises, Westworld would certainly be up there. The first season was complex and satisfying in a way I never thought it would be. Now we've arrived at the second season, and it would seem as though we'll be getting more of the same...

Westworld Season 2

The weirdest thing about this new run is that the "hosts" which garnered sympathies in the first season are just as bad as the humans now. They are blazing a path of death and destruction that gives no quarter to anyone, and it will be interesting to see exactly how invested viewers can be with that. Time will tell.

   
• Mon-El! One of my favorite comic books from my youth was The Legion of Super-Heroes. A key member of that super-team is Mon-El, whom is currently appearing in the Supergirl television series. Yes, they've managed to screw it all up... Mon-El is married to Saturn Girl instead of dating Shawdow Lass, and Saturn Girl's husband Lightning Lad is nowhere to be found... but it's still been fun seeing him on television. I was confident that they would eventually have him "suit-up" but was disappointed with how they decided to do it...

Mon-El Costumes

The thing that always made Mon-El's costume interesting and unique was that he wore a kind of coat that went under his belt. They've done away with it, so now Mon-Ell just looks like dozens of other super-heroes. Boring. I mean, I know that concessions have to be made when translating from comic book to real life, but surely they could have done something to harken back to the source material.

   
• Danger Island! Everybody ready for new Archer this coming Wednesday?

After this, there's only one more season left. Which is really hard for me to wrap my head around. It just keeps getting better and better... why stop? Especially since there's no telling when we'll get new Rick and Morty.

   
• Le Google! And so... apparently Google has killed their /ncr (No Country Redirect) feature, meaning that there is apparently no way to get Google searches for USA English outside of the USA now. This sucks, but is hardly surprising. Companies like Google, Apple, Microsoft, and the rest simply Do Not Give A Fuck about their users now. It's all about how to wring money out of them, not service their needs. So great. Now when I travel to foreign countries, I guess I have to learn a foreign language. This time around I couldn't even get a VPN to get me pages in English. Oh well. Time to search for a new search engine?

   
• Oh! Sandra Oh is remarkably talented. Sandra Oh fully deserves to head a show. Sandra Oh is incredible in Killing Eve...

“One thing I will share with you—when I got the script for Killing Eve, I remember I was walking around in Brooklyn and I was on my phone with my agent, Nancy. I was quickly scrolling down the script, and I can’t really tell you what I was looking for. So I’m like, ‘So Nancy, I don’t understand, what’s the part?’ And Nancy goes ‘Sweetheart, it’s Eve, it’s Eve.’ In that moment, I did not assume the offer was for Eve. I think about that moment a lot,” Oh told Vulture reporter E. Alex Jung. “It’s like, how does racism define your work? Oh my goodness, I didn’t even assume when being offered something that I would be one of the central storytellers. Why? And this is me talking, right? After being told to see things a certain way for decades, you realize, ‘Oh my god! They brainwashed me!’ I was brainwashed! So that was a revelation to me.”

Thank heavens attitudes are changing... just not fast enough.

   
No more bullets. Time for me to carry on being sick.

   

Bullet Sunday 461

Posted on Sunday, May 13th, 2018

Dave!Mother's Day isn't the only good thing to happen today... because an all new Bullet Sunday starts... now...

   
• Wubba Lubba Dub Dub! Looks like we're getting another 70 episodes of Rick & Morty!

Jenny watching Rick and Morty

My cat Jenny will be thrilled. Don't ask me why, but she loves the show. I think it has to do with Rick's voice, because if I'm watching and turn the television up, she'll come running to see what's happening. It sounds crazy, but I shit you not. She likes watching television, but she loves the Rick & Morty...

Jenny watching Rick and Morty

Not bad for a Back to the Future parody.

   
• Satan! FOX went on a brutal cancelation spree, axing shows that I really enjoy like The Last Man on Earth, The Mick, Brooklyn Nine-Nine and, horror of horrors, one of my favorite shows ever... Lucifer.

Lucifer Promo Shot

Apparently Reno Nine-Nine has been saved by NBC, which isn't much of a surprise since the show is distributed by NBC. Lucifer is co-produced and distributed by Warner Brothers, but their network blew up back in 2006. No idea where it would find a home unless one of the streaming networks like Amazon, Hulu, or Netflix grabs it. Which would sure as hell be nice, since they could wrap up the show and give us a proper ending. No word yet on what the fate will be for Champions and L.A. to Vegas... two more shows I would be sad to lose.

   
• Challenge! Ariana Grande has always been an incredibly good sport when it comes to putting up with Jimmy's shenanigans, and has played numerous "challenge" games with him on The Tonight Show. And now there's this...

Now that's talent.

   
• Adventure! Every once in a while I see an image posted of what video game graphics look like now compared to what they looked like when I first played video games. It just keeps getting more and more insane...

XXX
Posted by marvinrabbit on imgur.

Video games are more like playing a movie than ever, and I'm not sure if that's a good thing or a bad thing. Back when my gaming experience was an Atari 2600, it was just a distraction that couldn't compare with Real Life...

But now that gaming is, in some ways, better than Real Life? Hmmmm...

   
• Try Evil! According to The Wall Street Journal, Apple is going to partner up with the pig-fuckers at Goldman Sachs to come out with their own branded credit card. Looks like Apple has completely given up and decided to go 100% evil. Since the WSJ is behind a pay-wall (deep eye-roll), here's the story at Fortune magazine.

   
• Health! I'm just going to finish my bullets by leaving this right here: The incredibly frustrating reason there’s no Lyme disease vaccine.

   
So long, Sunday... I got a P!NK concert coming up.

   

Fall TV Preview 2018

Posted on Monday, May 21st, 2018

Dave!And it would seem that the television networks are starting to whore out promos for the upcoming Fall season. Given my love of television, I'l a little excited about that. Given how bad most new television shows end up being, that excitement is tempered by caution. Let's take a look at what I've seen so far, shall we?

   
I'M ONBOARD...

   
WHISKEY CAVALIER
If this didn't have Scott Foley and a comedic edge, it would be a hard pass. But it stars Scott Foley and has a comedic edge, so...

This will either bring it all together... or fail utterly as a MacGruber imitation that takes itself too seriously. I'm banking on the former.

   
MURPHY BROWN
I was a huge, huge, mega-huge fan of Murphy Brown and watched every episode they made. If ever there was a time that we needed her back, it's now...

A few thoughts...

  • The showrunners are wanting a three-week-to-air production schedule so the show can tackle current topics before they get buried. The only show faster than that is South Park, so good luck with that!
  • I was deeply saddened when Eldin left the show... and totally gutted when the actor who portrayed him (Robert Pastorelli) died. I am certain that there will be some kind of tribute to the beloved character, but it's not the same as having him there.
  • Murphy's son Avery is going to be a series regular, which is great. He was last played by Haley Joel Osment and will now be played by Jake McDorman, whom I loved to scary extremes in the television version of Limitless. He is perfect casting.
  • The status of Jim Dial (Charles Kimbrough) seems to be up-in-the-air. I've read that he's not appearing. I've read he will do a cameo guest spot. If his heart isn't in it, then this is probably for the best. But, boy, I was sure hoping for more Jim Dial.

   
FRIENDED BY GOD
Usually, a show with this premise would cause me to roll my eyes so hard that I'd suffer a brain hemorrhage. But this actually looks pretty good...

Ironically, this show is very much in the vein of Kevin (Probably) Saves the World, which was cancelled... and has an overt faith reference in the vein of Living Biblically, which was also canceled. Doesn't bode well for the show making it past a single season, but maybe it will find an audience that the other shows never did.

   
THE ROOKIE
I can't fault the idea of putting Nathan Fillion in another show lead... as Firefly and Castle proved beyond a shadow of a doubt, the guy knows how to carry a show... but I question the concept with this one...

Older small-town guy moves to L.A. to be a rookie cop? Alrighty then. I'm counting on Fillion's undeniable screen presence carrying this one through, because that's what he does.

   
I FEEL BAD
This could be awful. It's probably awful. But if the actual show is as good as this preview, I'll absolutely be tuning in...

Fingers crossed, because the lack of interesting-looking comedies this coming season is a bit depressing.

   
WORTH A SHOT...

   
MAGNUM, P.I.
When revisiting a past show, there are a number of choices. The three most popular are A) Pick up with the same cast at a later time... B) Pick up with a new cast that has unfolded out of the old cast... or C) Completely reboot the entire show with new actors in old roles. Unfortunately for all of us, Magnum has gone with Option C, which is a truly awful decision (as the MacGyver reboot will confirm). Yes, it can be done well (though technically Star Trek is an alternate timeline it is effectively a reboot, and done very well), most of the time it just isn't. Especially when you're trying to replace the insanely charismatic and quirky Tom Selleck in the lead...

Why couldn't they have just made the guy Magnum's son or something? That way Selleck could appear in a couple episodes (like Leonard Nimoy did in Star Trek) to at least try to keep some continuity between series. The only bright spot is that they got Zachary Knighton to play Rick, which is something. I'm not holding out much hope, but I am hoping.

   
THE NEIGHBORHOOD
The premise didn't do anything for me, but the casting of Cedric The Entertainer and Josh Lawson had me curious to see how this was going to play out. But then they replaced a perfectly-cast Josh Lawson (shown in the footage below) with a woefully-miscast Max Greenfield (FRICKIN' SCHMIDT FROM New Girl?!?) and that all went out the window...

I just don't get it. Lawson had that role down. Anything Greenfield does with it is just going to be an imitation of better casting, so I don't even know what to think.

   
MANIFEST
Oh good Lord... it's a mashup of The 4400, The Crossing, and a half-dozen other "mysterious return" shows we've seen to death already...

What will make it either work or not work is whether the "mystery" is compelling and sustainable. I am not holding out much hope for that, but I'll tune in to see how they approach it. If it's unique enough, I might give it a try for a while.

   
FBI
ABC canceled Deception, a show about a magician working with the FBI, while CBS picks up a show that's just the plain old FBI. How this is supposed to stand out from everything else on television is beyond me...

I give this practically zero chance of survival, but I'll give it a chance just in case.

   
NEW AMSTERDAM
I was disappointed to find out that this was not, in fact, a revival of the excellent 2008 series of the same name starring Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, but instead YET ANOTHER HOSPITAL DRAMA starring Ryan Eggold (formerly from The Blacklist). Where this will ultimately fail for me is the over-the-top-self-masturbatory-level of drama that always makes medical dramas like this (and the horrendously bad The Resident) fail utterly...

I mean, it's not my imagination... this IS yet another iteration of The Resident, right? Because I hate-hate-hate that show.

   
THE COOL KIDS
I like every single cast member in this show. But is it funny? Not from what I'm seeing in the pilot...

There's certainly the talent there to pull it together, but it's forced-funny and I don't know if talent will be enough.

   
A MILLION LITTLE THINGS
Well, here it is... the whole "Dump Beloved Actors in a New Show and Roll the Dice" show we get every season that never lasts...

The guys in question are James Roday from Psych, Ron Livingston from Office Space, David Giuntoli from Grimm, and Romany Malco from Weeds. I actually like the cast, it's just that there's nothing here which even remotely appeals to me story-wise. And yet... that casting.

   
THE PASSAGE
If it weren't Ridley Scott, I'd stumble right past this. But... Ridley Scott... and the kid looks like she can act, so maybe...

The thing that concerns me about this is the sustainability of the story. I mean, I guess it's feasible that no other kid can replace this one... but that's awfully thin. I'll spend a lot of time thinking "NOT WORTH IT! JUST FIND ANOTHER KID!"

   
ABBY'S
There is literally nothing about this show that compels me to tune in... except... Mike Shur. So consider me compelled.

   
TITANS
Yet another DC Comics show... this time based on their Teen Titans franchise. If it's as good as Supergirl? Great. If it's doomed to whither away like Arrow did or The Flash is doing, I guess that's okay. But if we're getting something as lame as Legends of Tomorrow? Don't bother.

   
CLOAK AND DAGGER
A Marvel Studios show that's not on Netflix nor ABC, which is cause for concern... but not panic. I was never a big fan of the comics, but I'll say hello just to see.

   
ALSO ON THE WAY, BUT NO WAY...

   
GRAND HOTEL
Bitchy catfighting and sleeping around in a sexy hotel setting. How original. Unfortunately, it looks near-embarrassing to me, but that could be that it's just not my cup of tea. The saving grace may be the Miami Beach location, but I don't know if that's enough to get me tuning in. Probably not.

   
FAM
Despite Sheryl Lee Ralph having a spot, this doesn't look to be even a little entertaining. Hasn't this kind of thing been done to death and canceled to death already?

   
THE RED LINE
I don't know how many damn "Chicago" shows we need with Chicago Med, Chicago PD, and Chicago Fire already crowding the airwaves... but here's more of the same, for those who need it. The difference being that Ana DuVernay and Greg Berlanti are behind it.

   
THE CODE
Apparently an effort to resurrect JAG by CBS. Oh thank heavens. You can never have enough legal dramas on television.

   
SCHOOLED
A spin-off of a show I don't watch (The Goldbergs) which I won't watch.

   
ALL AMERICAN
Oh Lord. The Fresh Prince meets Friday Night Lights in a show that thinks it can be taken seriously. PASS.

   
THE VILLAGE
A building filled with forced-drama. What's not to hate?

   
THE KIDS ARE ALRIGHT
Oh joy. That 70's Show but with Irish Catholics. Hold my Guinness.

   
SINGLE PARENTS
With Taran Killam in the lead, it might be worth a look... but the idea of watching 30 minutes of single parent problems is nigh suicide-inducing, so I'll probably pass.

   
CHARMED
Yeah... once was enough. Especially since I didn't even like the first one.

   
THE FIX
Wait... what? A thinly-veiled copy of the OJ Simpson trial? BUT WHYYYYY?!??

   
THE INBETWEEN
As if there wasn't enough stale television coming up, here's a mashup between Medium and The Ghost Whisperer! This bores the shit out of me and I haven't even seen a preview.

   
THE ENEMY WITHIN
A blatant rip-off of The Blacklist that doesn't even try. So I won't either.

   
REL
Now, I am 100% onboard with Lil' Rel getting a TV show, but this? I can't even wrap my head around how bad the trailer is.

   
PROVEN INNOCENT
Oh hooray. Yet another legal drama with absolutely nothing going for it, even though it photocopies the concept of the fantastic Life by having it feature a former wrongly-convicted lead. Gag.

   
HAPPY TOGETHER
There's reaching for a concept and then there's this hot mess. If you've ever wondered what it would be like to have Justin Bieber move into your house, I guess this is for you.

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Bullet Sunday 464

Posted on Sunday, June 3rd, 2018

Dave!Welp, my air conditioner has finally kicked in, so I guess that means summer is here... so I'm keeping it cool because an all-new Bullet Sunday starts now...

   
• Villains! It's no secret that I love the entire catalog of LEGO video games. They're not particularly challenging, but that's the appeal for me. I can shut my brain off and just enjoy things without stressing over it all. And now? DC Super-Villains...

So great. What's not so great? I don't have a system to play it on. Looks like a Nintendo Switch might be in my future. Once they drop to a price I can afford, that is.

   
• Goodbye to Film! Nikon stopped making film cameras back in 2006. Now Canon is Officially Done Selling Film Cameras After 80 Years. I honestly don't know how to feel about the death of film. My first "serious" camera was a Canon film camera that my parents gave me as a graduation present. I loved the thing, and was still shooting with it as early as five years ago. What I love about film is the mystery of it all. You don't know what you're going to get. Even if you THINK you know what you're going to get, there's a chemical reaction taking place that can make surprising things happen. Not that I am sad that the world went digital. On the contrary, it has made photography so much more enjoyable for me specifically because the mystery is gone. I know whether or not I got the shot immediately after taking it. And I don't have the expense of film and developing it keeping me from experimenting with new things. I can shoot hundreds of photos, delete all but the ones I want, then shoot hundreds more at no additional expense. And yet... the end of film is an end to an era which was some of the best entertainment I had for nearly two decades of my life.

   
• Flop! My television is on HGTV (Home and Garden Television) 90% of the time, and I watch all the home renovation shows. One of those that became almost too annoying for its own good was Flip or Flop. A show which imploded when its stars had an epic tabloid-worthy breakup that resulted in divorce. Now, a year later, they're back...

Flip Or Flop

This past week the first new episode since their split finally aired. It was cringe-inducing awkward... but more entertaining than the show has been in years. And so... I guess I'm going to keep watching. But I fully plan on hating myself while doing so.

   
• Older! As I tear apart my garage to make room for my wood shop, I'm running across all kinds of interesting items from my past. Like my old Walkman!

Walkman Sport

And also? Rubylith masking film. Something I used by the car-load during the early days of graphic design layout. The mask was sticky and attached to a clear acetate layer, so you could create masks that can be stacked up...

Walkman Sport

Ah memories. But I wouldn't change music on my iPhone or computer layout for all the Walkmans and Rubylith in the world.

   
• Villains! As I started cleaning out my refrigerator, I found six... SIX... containers of mayonnaise open...

Refrigerator Full of Mayo

WHY?!?? HOW?!?? There are times that I think I might be bat-shit crazy. This is one of those times.

   
• Faith! Reelz, who has been churning out a steady stream of really good TV shows about tragic music stars, recently came out with new shows on George Michael, including their George Michael’s Lonely Life which was quite good. And reminded me about when George appeared with James Cordon for the first Carpool Karaoke, and James' reaction to his death...

Still sad that George is gone. His music at the end was every bit as interesting as when it began, and I was looking forward to more of it.

   

   

Bullet Sunday 465

Posted on Sunday, June 10th, 2018

Dave!It's been yet another week full of hypocrisy and evil, but it's all good, because an all-new Bullet Sunday starts now...

   
• Two! I loved everything about the first LEGO Movie... except the ending. When they dropped into "The Real World," everything fell apart for me. With this in mind, I have mixed feelings about the sequel...

Yes, I'm excited to see it. But can we please just stick in the world of LEGO and let Chris Pratt be hilarious? That would be great, thanks.

   
• No Reservations. There wasn't much I didn't like about Anthony Bourdain. He was responsible for some highly entertaining television. He was a world traveler and advocate for better understanding and acceptance between cultures. He used his celebrity to advocate for worthwhile causes and draw attention to injustices. He was an incredible guest on any talk show he dropped by. He was somebody I liked and admired, which is why his death has hit me so hard. You will be missed, sir.

   
• Darkness and Light! I was never a fan of the Cloak & Dagger comic books. They all had the same story. Cloak & Dagger hunt down drug dealers. Cloak goes a little crazy because he's hungry. Dagger feeds him a light sandwich. Lather, rinse, repeat. On occasion they team up with other heroes, but their baggage is always the same. And now Freeform TV has created a Cloak & Dagger television show...

Marvel's Cloak and Dagger on Freeform

Now, I'm not saying that every super-hero show has to be packed with super-power fights... but there has to be something to make it interesting... otherwise it's just another boring TV drama I don't care about. And if the first two episodes of Cloak & Dagger are any indication, here's yet another boring TV drama I don't care about. Which is a shame, because the actors are very good.

   
• You! Other than an occasional song here and there, I haven't given much thought to Maroon 5 in years. But now they've dropped a new video for their song Girls Like You that's packed with more guest-stars than you can shake a stick at.

Not a bad song at all. And if you're having trouble putting a name to all the faces, here's a link for you. And, as much as I like it, this is not going to displace my favorite Maroon 5 video...

And if that's not enough Maroon 5 for you... here they are covering Bob Marley's Three Little Birds...

'Cause every little thing gonna be alright.

   
• NEWS: With deal to close this week, Bayer to retire Monsanto name
Well of course they are retiring the Monsanto name! Monsanto is fucking evil incarnate, and people were finally waking up to it. But now? Bayer is just the aspirin people! Evil + Evil = Bigger Evil.

   
• A Red Letter Day! As my final bullet of the day, I leave you with one of my favorite Pet Shop Boys songs that's woefully under-appreciated... and highly relevant to my life as of late...

Doesn't get much more Pet Shop Boys than that.

   
So long until next Bullet Sunday!

   

Thank You, Netflix!

Posted on Friday, June 15th, 2018

Dave!Okay. This has been a pretty shitty day for me, but there was one bright spot.

Over something I had almost given up hope on.

Something I wanted so badly.

NETFLIX HAS PICKED UP LUCIFER FOR A FOURTH SEASON!

Guest Room Remodel Project

I was upset when it was canceled.

I was doubly upset once I got around to watching the "bonus" episodes... the first of which is about as good as television gets.

So, THANK YOU NETFLIX, for rescuing one of the best shows on television! Cannot wait to see what Lucifer and Co. get up to next!

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Bullet Sunday 466

Posted on Sunday, June 17th, 2018

Dave!Time to celebrate all the good that's left in the world, because an all-new Bullet Sunday starts now...

   
• The Carters! As if there could be any news bigger than Beyoncé and Jay Z dropping a duet album out of nowhere called Everything Is Love... there's the fact that they shot the first video for the single Apeshit in the frickin' Louvre. I mean, seriously! They rented out THE LOUVRE! Who does that? Who has the money to do that? Beyoncé and Jay Z, that's who...

Amazing stuff. Can't wait to get my hands on the finished album.

   
• Part Two! And so this popped up on the internet last week...

Avengers 4 Sneak Peek

I have some thoughts...

  • Captain Marvel! ZOMG! She looks amazing. Needless to say, I cannot wait for her movie to drop. It will be very interesting to see how she factors into the Marvel Cinematic Universe given her raw power that dwarfs everybody else. One thing is for certain, she's going to be one of the most dynamic visual treats to come along in super-hero movies.
  • The arc they've given Bruce Banner has been an interesting one. At first he could barely control The Hulk and hated the life he lost because of it... then he was near-despair over the destruction caused in South Africa... then he was kind of taken over by The Hulk in Thor: Ragnarok... then he lost The Hulk in Infinity War... and now it looks like he's reached some kind of compromise between himself and The Hulk. It's been a great ride, and I'm worried it might end.
  • How sad is it that Rocket Raccoon is the only Guardian left?
  • Disappointed that there's n representation from Black Panther here. T'Challa may be gone... but Shuri? Okoye?
  • So many questions about Thor and Asgard. Apparently some of them survived. But where does the Thor franchise go from here? Where's Valkyrie?
  • Ant-Man is there. Where's The Wasp? I'm guessing that she is part of the one-half gone, which is a shame. I thought I heard somewhere that she was in this.
  • Hawkeye is here. Odds are very good that some of his family is part of the one-half gone, so he's got serious stakes in this.
  • Odds are incredibly high that this is going to be the final appearance of Steve Rogers as Captain America. To have him go out on a high note, it's almost a given that he's going to sacrifice himself to save the universe. And that's okay... but... is it wrong that I want Nebula to be the one who defeats Thanos? Out of everybody, she deserves it most.
  • Iron Man's armor has evolved to kind of a weird place. The whole "legs merge to jet" thing in Infinity War was a breaking point for me.
  • War Machine, on the other hand, has a more logical progression to his look.
  • Black Widow had better get her own damn movie after all this. Seriously. What character has given more to other characters' films with nothing for themselves? She's woefully underutilized, and a solo movie will help fix that... and hopefully other characters she's supported over the years will support her.

Next up? Ant Man and The Wasp, which looks fantastic.

   
• Super! Here's the thing. With the exception of Wonder Woman, the DC Cinematic Universe has devolved into a heap of shit. Man of Steel... Batman vs. Superman... Suicide Squad... Justice League... they were all heinous crap that ignored huge portions of what makes DC characters so timeless and special. At the other end of the spectrum is the DC Television Universe (or Arrowverse, if you will) which has been killing it. Yes, Legends of Tomorrow has never quite worked... and Arrow has gotten stale... and the overall story arc for The Flash this past season went way too long and was ultimately pretty lame... but then there's Supergirl. It's been so good. And the season finale was no exception...

Supergirl Season Finale

Is it too much to ask that the people in charge of Supergirl give us a Superman show? Preferably a show where the central character STANDS ON THEIR OWN instead of yet another team show? The movie Superman is going nowhere, while Tyler Hoechlin has proven he's the best on-screen Superman since Christopher Reeve....

Supergirl Season Finale

DC should really just expand the Arrowverse into movies that don't suck. Because haven't we suffered enough? All I can hope is that we get another excellent season of SuperGirl. And a first season of Superman. Oh... and I would totally watch a Legion of Super-Heroes show too.

   
• 4K! I fell into a YouTube 4K HDR rabbit hole when I found out that my television can display them. Amazing stuff... even if you can't view 4K HDR. Here are some of my favorites...




But if you can watch 4K HDR on your TV...

   
• Beam! Don't get me wrong, I love my Sonos smart speaker setup, but there are some serious shortfalls that plague the system. Namely... it's stuck in the past. They've been clinging to optical cables for their PlayBar and PlayBase like a dead lemming, despite the fact that everybody else abandoned it a decade ago. And then this past week Sonos released a new product: Beam. Which is essentially a mini PlayBar that costs $399. But the biggest news? It's not using optical cable... it's HDMI ARC. Welcome to the future, Sonos...

Supergirl Season Finale

It's a step in the right direction, but not a very big one. Still no Dolby Atmos or other modern sound technologies have been announced. On the contrary, they say they have no plans for Atmos at all. Instead we're getting IKEA furniture with Sonos built-in. Wheee.

   
Good luck getting Apeshit out of your head this week...

   

Cage! Cloak! Dagger!

Posted on Friday, June 22nd, 2018

Dave!I continue to hold a candle for more Peggy Carter. Season two was a bit of a letdown, and I really hope that Marvel and ABC (hence, Disney) will bring her back for a limited series or some kind of special to give the character the send-off she deserves.

In the meanwhile... NEW LUKE CAGE ON NETFLIX TODAY!

Luke Cage Season Two

I have only just started with the new series, but I am liking it so far. Netflix has had a few missteps with Iron Fist and The Defenders... but they keep killing it with the likes of Luke Cage, Daredevil, Jessica Jones, and The Punisher. My big dream is that they develop a Hawkeye series with Jeremy Renner. He will never get his due on the big screen, but a Netflix series? Perfect fit. And if they take the story from the Matt Fraction and David Aja comics? It would be absolute magic.

And then there's Cloak and Dagger on Freeform Channel.

I had my doubts about the show, and said as much after watching the first two episodes. But then episodes three and four dropped. Could not have been more wrong. The show is smart, compelling, and seems to actually have a plan. Yes, the start was a boring mess, but it really comes together quickly after that...

Luke Cage Season Two

Cannot wait to see how this all plays out.

And now, if you'll excuse me, back to Luke Cage I go.

   

Bullet Sunday 467

Posted on Sunday, June 24th, 2018

Dave!Gather ye rosebuds while ye may, because an all-new Bullet Sunday starts now...

   
• Go West! And so tonight was the second season finale of HBO's Westworld. After being shocked to my core my the brilliance of the first season, I was really looking forward to what happens next. Unfortunately what happens next has largely been a confusing mess and a disappointment. All sympathy built up for the hosts trying to break free of their endless torture evaporated as psycho-Dolores lowered herself to the level of a human and wholesale slaughtered people by the hundreds...

Psycho Dolores Westworld

But there were bright spots of course. The diversion into Shogunworld was a bit boring, but at least it was different. The return of "Ford" was a welcome treat. And then came episode 8, Kiksuya, which was a totally random departure, but absolutely beautiful to behold...

Akecheta in the Kiksya Episode Westworld

And then there was the finale.

I won't delve too deep into spoilers here for those who haven't seen it. But I will say that this season was a frustrating jumble of timeline jumps that were needlessly complex... and clumsy in execution compared to the first season. The finale didn't do much to make the more esoteric story beats any easier to comprehend, but it did wrap up some critical storylines and toss in enough twists to make me glad I invested my time in watching it. Here's hoping that the third season will try not to go so absurdly meta-philosophical and be more clever than obtuse.

   
• Paul! If you're even a casual fan of The Beatles, this is for you...

If you're a massive fan like me, it's really for you though.

   
• Batfleck! This article about DC's horrible handling of the Affleck Batman era nails it. How can you have a Batman at the end of his career be a part of a larger, continuing story? The Batman that Zack Snyder created makes absolutely no sense for The beginning of a franchise... Affleck or no Affleck... and it drives me crazy that Snyder was so sublimely oblivious to this fact. What? Batman is just going to be this old, broken, sad character on his last legs in every movie from here on out? So stupid. I've waited most of my life for DC characters to come together on the big screen... I've been dreaming about it since the Christopher Reeves' Superman movies... and I'll never forgive Zack Snyder for his heinously bad vision that ruined everything. All he had to do was look at the Bruce Timm animated shows (or decades of actual DC comic books) to see how Batman could work... both alone and in a larger narrative... but he decided to make something totally lame, incoherent, and just plain awful instead. He was the wrong choice for these films from the very start because he had no interest in portraying the characters as they are, but instead wanted to"put his own stamp"on them. And sadly, that's exactly what we got.

   
• Simba? This was made over a year ago. I am just now finding it. High-larious...

Genius!

   
• Fan! Jake was hanging around while I was working in bed. He wanted to be petted, so I obliged for a bit...

Cat Fan-Spreading

Then the temperature started rising so I turned on the ceiling fan...

Cat Fan-Spreading

Jake loves airing out his junk, that's for sure.

   
• Act! Posted for no particular reason...

It's textbook, really.

   
And, on that foreboding note... time to finish up Luke Cage on Netflix! If you're not watching this, it's worth your time. The show is a slow-burn with incredible acting by a cast to die for. If Alfre Woodard doesn't get a truck-full of awards for her amazing work on Luke Cage, there's something wrong.

   

MURDER BOARD! MURDER BOARD!

Posted on Tuesday, June 26th, 2018

Dave!One of the biggest surprises in television history to me was the show Trial and Error. I tuned in knowing absolutely nothing about it except that it was a comedy where John Lithgow was playing a hapless murder suspect in a small town. That's it. I don't even think that I ever saw a preview or an ad... I found it because it was mentioned in Entertainment Weekly or something.

It ended up being one of the funniest things I have ever seen.

I absolutely love the show, and watched each episode twice as I anxiously awaited the next one. It ended up being my third favorite show of 2017 after The Good Place and Lucifer.

When I heard that it was renewed for a second season, I think I actually screamed "YIPEEEE!" or some other trite phrase that only the whitest of white people say.

When I heard that Kristin Chenoweth was playing the murder suspect this time around, I think I actually peed myself. She was flawless casting. Flawless.

And then the trailer dropped...

I mean... holy crap. It looks like it may actually top the first season!

Is it wrong that I'm already praying for a third season when the second season hasn't even aired yet? Is it too much to hope that they could get Bill Murray to play the murder suspect?

I can't wait for July 17th!

   

Mandela at 100

Posted on Thursday, July 19th, 2018

Dave!The current host of The Daily Show is Trevor Noah, a South African native who was tasked with the impossible job of filling Jon Stewart's shoes after he left the desk.

For the most part, he's done an amazing job. He is incredibly funny, whip-smart, and has a delivery that makes every joke land with a lethal precision that makes so many other comedians feel like a blunt instrument.

The Right tends to dismiss him as a progressive mouthpiece, but that's a gross simplification. It makes him sound like he's a Left-Wing Tomi Lahren who just stupidly parrots talking points without actually contributing anything to the conversation. That's not even remotely true. Trevor has a viewpoint that's uniquely his own, which is on full display on his "Between the Scenes" YouTube Channel where he is totally off-script and just talking to the audience.

Anyway...

On the occasion of Nelson Mandela's 100th birthday, Trevor... who is in a unique position to offer commentary... paid tribute on tonight's show. I have watched this segment three times now, and won't be deleting it from my DVR. If you've ever listened to anything I've had to say here, trust me and take a look at the following 8 minutes...

Only Trevor Noah. If you haven't listened to his audiobook for Born a Crime, you owe it to yourself to do that.

Listening to Mandela telling how he received his "Christian name" is fascinating to me. And profoundly sad. The idea that your name is unacceptable because other people have a problem with it seems... inhumane.

But inhumane treatment was nothing new to Rolihlahla Mandela.

   

Bullet Sunday 473 and Thor

Posted on Sunday, August 5th, 2018

Dave!This Sunday is 17% more lethal than usual... because an all new Bullet Sunday starts now...

   
• Vote! Voting in the August Primary was fairly easy for me. If you're a Republican, I Google to see how hard you've worked to disavow President Trump and his entire cesspool of an Administration. If you haven't... or, heaven forbid, you support the assholes... you get no vote from me. I then look at all the Democrats and research who is in a best position to defeat the Trump-enabling Republican running. Because right now? That's all I give a shit about. Making sure that every last fucking Republican who isn't whole-heartedly disavowing Trump goes down in fucking flames. I don't want Republicans to LOSE in the upcoming election... I want them to be UTTERLY DECIMATED AND DESTROYED. I used to vote with no regard to party affiliation and ended up with both Republicans and Democrats on my ballot. Not any more. After Trump, Republican politicians don't deserve air to breathe, let alone my fucking vote...

Of all the problems in the world, Trump used his presidential authority to call LeBron James stupid last night. LeBron just opened a school for at-risk kids, providing them free tuition, bicycles, food, counseling & guaranteed tuition to the University of Akron if they graduate.

Has there ever been so petty a piece of shit president in this country? LeBron has done more for education by opening up ONE SCHOOL than Trump, DeVos, and their entire administration has ever done.

   
• Shit! Late-night television is really something else. SexToys followed by Larry King? Seems about right...

Larry King and Sex Toys

And after that? More shit, along with some other program before it...

Larry King and Poop

Larry King is one of those people who I can't for the life of me understand how they got famous. He has to be one of the worst interviewers of all time. He has no fucking clue what he's talking about and always seems woefully unprepared and completely ignorant as to the person he's interviewing. At least now he's putting is "talent" to appropriate use by hawking senseless shit in infomercials.

   
• Cool! This week I took the "What I have in my refrigerator" challenge...

  • Coke Zero, Sprite Zero, original Coke (for guests).
  • Various sugar-free sodas (which I don't like).
  • Leftover Vitamin Water (from the plane).
  • Atkins shakes (for high blood sugar days).
  • Pickles.
  • Emergency water jug.
  • Six kinds of cheese.
  • Sugar-free jellies (strawberry & blackberry).
  • Ketchup, mustard, pizza sauce.
  • Spreadable butter.
  • Trader Joe's slivered almonds.
  • Four kinds of mayo.

What's in my Refrigerator?

YES! FOUR KINDS OF MAYO!!! I use the cheap stuff for salads, Best Foods for burgers, Kraft for egg salad, and Dukes for fries (I use it when I'm out of Dutch mayo, like now). If I had to give them all up, I'd eat only Dutch mayo.

   
• Big Gunn Two! Another take on where we are now...

Twitter... memories that never really go away...

   
• Failure to Launch! Johnny Rockets, where I first discovered Boca Burger patties years ago in Santa Monica, has now replaced them with a Black bean patty. Which is stupid as fucking hell. People go to Johnny Rockets for a BURGER. Even vegetarians go there for a BURGER. They just don't want to kill a cow to get one. And what's really stupid? THEY'RE ALL FUCKING FROZEN! They could have had both of they wanted a black bean burger so badly. And so... after decades of visiting Johnny Rockets around the globe... no more Rockets, bitches. No more Rockets for me.

   
• Liberty! And, lastly, here it is for those eating paste right from the jar...

   
NEWS: Attorney General Jeff Sessions announces "Religious Liberty Task Force."

This is the most insane, fucked-up bullshit yet. We now need a task force to protect Christianity?!? Because it should be painfully obvious that they are NOT doing this to protect Muslims, Buddhists, Jews, Hindus, Sikhs, or any other NON-CHRISTIAN religions. Since when are Christians a minority in need of protection? Last time I checked, they weren't fucking BURNING CHRISTIANS IN THE STREETS. Last time I checked, you could still go in a fucking UNITED STATES GOVERNMENT POST OFFICE AND BUY NATIVITY STAMPS FOR CHRISTMAS. Last time I checked, CHRISTIANITY WAS THE LARGEST RELIGIOUS GROUP IN THE COUNTRY. Make no mistake... NO MISTAKE... this is nothing more than a full-on attack on gay, lesbian, and transgender persons... and any other American who doesn't fit into the mold that these fucked-up assholes feel is acceptable. Disgusting. Task force? Horse shit. Nothing like your own government spreading fear and persecution to keep their power. I wonder if they'll be required to wear uniforms? Brown shirts, perhaps? No... probably more like white hoods...

Larry King and Sex Toys

   
Until next Sunday then...


Continuing on with my revisiting of every Marvel Studios movie...

MARVEL STUDIOS MOVIE OF THE DAY, No. 4: Thor
Original Grade: B+ • Today's Grade: B+
I was never a huge fan of the Thor comic books. Sure I read them off-and-on... sure I loved what Walt Simonson did with the character in his run... but he never got to the level of Doctor Strange or Black Panther or Fantastic Four or Iron Man for me. But then this movie dropped and I became a pretty huge Thor fan. Partly because the movie was done so well... but mostly because I could see just how Thor would work as another piece of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. A lot of the credit can be given to Kenneth Branagh for bringing a majesty to the character and to Asgard that the film needed to sell the story. Asgard was epic in scope and beautifully designed. Silly concepts like Bifröst, a "rainbow bridge," were given perfectly believable representations that worked. And though his full potential wouldn't be seen until Ragnarok, how frickin' perfect is Chris Hemsworth in the role? Not anybody else was a slouch in the acting department. Anthony Hopkins is about the best possible Odin we could have hoped for. Tom Hiddleston brought so much energy to playing Loki that the character has been as much a lynchpin for the MCU as its heroes. Idris Elba, Natalie Portman, Renee Russo, Stellan Skarsgård, Kat Dennings... anybody and everybody was so wonderfully, thoughtfully cast. And a standing ovation to Patrick Doyle for the score. Soaring and beautiful, it was a tangible presence throughout the film. Overall, Thor was a crucial step on the road to Avengers that could have been a disaster. Instead it's a worthy addition that totally holds up.
   
SCENE TO BEAT: The frost giant battle puts a pin in what makes Thor be Thor.
   
COULD HAVE BEEN BETTER: There are two problems with this film that I have a tough time getting past. 1) The entire span of the film happens over like... what... two... three days? Yes I love the movie, but if you stop a minute and think about how insane the timetable is, things get a little ridiculous. 2) They bleached Hemsworth's eyebrows and it looks crazy distracting. Thankfully they gave up on this absurdity in future movies.
   
SIDENOTE: When they decided to do away with the whole secret identity nonsense in Iron Man, I honestly thought that would be the end of it. But then along comes Thor, and Dr. Donald Blake was brought up, then dropped like a hot potato. It was a fantastic decision which has been carried forward (more or less) with each new movie. So smart. Given the rather short runtime of a major motion picture, there's just not time to waste on the whole idea, so why bother? It was cute in the original Superman movies, got tired in the Batman films, and is downright silly now. Sure special effects are so economical and amazing that we can show Superman doing all kinds of crazy awesome stuff... but let's blow precious screen-time having Clark Kent investigate a story. And while Hawkeye is the butt of a lot of jokes when it comes to the Marvel Studios films, I have to say they gave him a really good cameo here as we ramped up for Avengers.

   

Bullet Sunday 474 and Avengers: Age of Ultron

Posted on Sunday, August 12th, 2018

Dave!Time to be cruel to be kind... because an all new Bullet Sunday starts now...

   
• Birdfeeding! I used to feed birds only in the winter, but started feeding them in the Summertime as entertainment for my cats. Problem is, when I hang the feeder in front of their window, the birds stay away... unlike in winter where food is scarce and they don't care. Apparently having predators staring at you while dining is unappetizing if you have other options. So I moved the feeder to the corner of the house where there are no windows so I could get rid of the feed I had bought. Problem is... I felt bad when there was no more food, so I kept on buying it because they kept hanging around. The little scroungers run through loads of the stuff, and I'm refilling it three times a week now...

Insatiable

Probably wouldn't be so bad if they were content to eat the cheap seed... but their favorite is thistle seed, AKA nyjer seed. The stuff is crazy expensive. I've tried mixing it with the cheap seed, but they pick it out and drop it on the ground... along with loads of thistle seed shells. I can't seem to win when it comes to birds.

   
• Bears! So there I was... flipping through channels... when I ran across We Bare Bears, which is one of the best things I've ever seen...

It's in its fourth season. No idea how I've missed it for this long, but I'm kinda obsessed with it now.

   
• Bears Again! What makes me love We Bare Bears even more? A storyboard artist from the show created an animatic of Ice Bear punching a Neo Nazi...

Bear Punches Neo Nazi

The tiki torch is a nice touch. You can see it over at Cartoon Brew.

   
• Unsatiable! When internet controversy was unleashed against the new Netflix series Insatiable, calling for it to be canceled before it even aired, I was intrigued. Rather than jump on the bandwagon I decided to take a look. It was funny as hell and, though it was pretty crude, I didn't understand what the fuss was about...

Insatiable

UNTIL THINGS TURNED TO SHIT IN THE TENTH EPISODE. Holy crap. I have never seen a show completely turn a corner like this. It's as if they had no idea what to do for an ending and just slapped some stupid crap together. EXCEPT THERE WASN'T AN ENDING! Blargh. The only way I was offended by this show was that Netflix greenlit it when IT HAD NO ENDING!

   
• Potato! Netflix kinda redeemed themselves after the disaster of Insatiable by recommending The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. I don't go much for period films... and especially not period romance films... but this one has really beautiful atmosphere to it...

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

Taking place in the days after World War II, author Juliet Ashton receives a letter from Dawsey Adams of The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, a reading club. Curious to know more about the society, Juliet writes back... and a story unfolds. It's a nice escape, if you're looking for that wort of thing.

   
• Agatha! I've read most of the Agatha Christie novels. My mom loved them, and they made for good reading. My favorite has always been Death on the Nile, followed by Five Little Pigs and probably And Then There Were None. Amazon Prime is now showing an adaption of Ordeal by Innocence, which is one I remember...

Ordeal by Innocence

After having watched all three parts while I was working this morning, I was a bit taken aback that they had changed the story. Which is to say that they changed the murderer. I'm sure other details were altered as well, but I don't remember things well enough to list them. It seems strange to me that they would adapt a book and change it so significantly. If they didn't want to tell the story Agatha Christie had written, why wouldn't they have just written their own story? Setting all that aside, the series is pretty good and has a great cast lead by Bill Nighy. If you've got three hours to kill, there are worse things to watch. Like Insatiable, for example.

   
Time to regroup and reload. See you next Sunday.


Continuing on with my revisiting of every Marvel Studios movie...

MARVEL STUDIOS MOVIE OF THE DAY, No. 11: Avengers: Age of Ultron
Original Grade: A • Today's Grade: A-
I'm just going to get this out of the way... Ultron was not nearly as horrifying a villain as he should have been. The absurdity of it has me dropping Age of Ultron a half grade, just because it's even more jarring on repeat viewings. While casting James Spader as Ultron's voice was genius, he should have been an unstoppable, unhinged murder-bot instead of the philosophically-bent loon they made him into. That being said, it was great to see The Avengers back in action... even if this was a disjointed mess of a movie which wasted too much time on nonsensical diversions. Oh well. The fight scenes are amazing. The Vision has some serious design issues (WHY PUT DRIBBLE ON HIS CHIN?!?), but is as cool as you'd hope. Wanda's powers are all over the place, but it was great to get the Scarlet Witch onboard. Ultimately it's a heck of an entertaining film that still makes an A grade. It's just that this should have been an A+ movie and it wasn't.
   
SCENE TO BEAT: That opening attack on Baron von Strucker's fortress in Sokovia was pretty great. It was a fight that was very well balanced between our heroes so that nobody was left out. Oh... and I loved the scene when everybody was trying to lift Thor's hammer and Captain America nudged it a bit. The look on Thor's face? Priceless.
   
COULD HAVE BEEN BETTER: Ultron. Holy shit what a boring waste of what should have been a ruthlessly scary super-villain. And his design sucked too. Thor's sidequest was silly.
   
SIDENOTE: It's fairly obvious that Joss Whedon did not get to make exactly the movie he was wanting to make... and he has confirmed as much. If the studio knew that they were going to be dictating a bunch of crap to be worked into the movie, they should have known better than to force it on Joss Whedon who is at his best when he works alone and can fulfill his vision for the project. What's interesting is that Whedon said "never again" after the movie wrapped... but then ended up taking over for Zack Snyder on the abhorrent Justice League where he was even more at the mercy of the studio. I can only guess that Warner Bros. paid him a shit-ton of money.

   

Bullet Sunday 476

Posted on Sunday, August 26th, 2018

Dave!Time to make the donuts... because an all new Bullet Sunday starts now...

   
• Mars Investigations! In what can only be described as the best news I've heard all week, Hulu is apparently developing a new 8-episode season of one of my favorite television shows of all time: Veronica Mars...

Veronica Mars

And now I want to watch both television seasons and the movie for the hundredth time.

   
• Globalization! Oh how cool. When you zoom out on Google Maps now, it backs into a globe! No more misrepresenting the size of land masses! Africa is now that massive continent it actually is... whereas the US, Europe, and Greenland are proportionally correct!

Google Maps

This is hugely important. The traditional Mercator projection is a grotesque distortion of the world we inhabit...

If you want to play with The True Size of Things... here's a link for you.

   
• Nothing! Heard Chinatown by Wild Nothing while watching the Netflix Original To All the Boys I've Loved Before (which is excellent) and am now obsessed with it. Such a pretty track...

This track is from their 2010 album Gemini, which sounds like it's straight out of the 80's.

   
• Expertly Paired Cheese! This. Stuff. Is. AMAZING!!! It's awesome on tacos, but I have been putting it on everything. Eggs. Veggie Sausage. Sandwiches. Even STRAIGHT OUT OF THE BAG. Where has this been all my life?

Expertly Paired Cheese

They have a Swiss/Cheddar blend that I'm going to have to try too. Not that I couldn't shred the stuff myself and make my own blends... but convenience!

   
• Enchanting? I was anxiously awaiting the new Matt Groening series from Netflix: Disenchantment. From the looks of things, I was guessing it was Game of Thrones meets The Simpsons...

This week it was finally released and I binged the entire series. It was... okay? The background art is beautiful and full of sight-gags that had me pausing my DVR more often than I care to admit. But the story? It's entertaining. But the funny did not come as often as I was expecting. Every episode seemed a little... slow. Even so, it was clever enough to keep me watching. I was more than a little upset that they ended on a cliffhanger. What if there's no second season to conclude it? Oh well. Wouldn't be the first time a show left me hanging because it was canceled.

   
And... that'll have to be enough bullets for today. See you next Sunday!

   

Bullet Sunday 477

Posted on Sunday, September 2nd, 2018

Dave!When is Sunday not Sunday? When Sunday comes before Labor Day! But don't celebrate just yet... because an all new Bullet Sunday starts now...

   
• Real Problems! Couldn't find my iPhone. So I used Find my iPhone to locate my iPhone only to be told that my iPhone was not responding. So I decided to drive home and see if I left my iPhone at home in a lead vault or something. When I got to my car I found my iPhone baking in the passenger seat. Then my iPhone told me that my iPhone has to cool down before I can use it. Which is fine except then I couldn't remember what I wanted my iPhone for in the first place. Probably everything.

   
• Channel! I love history. I love smart videos. These two things collide in a brilliant YouTube Channel called Oversimplified...

All their videos are worth watching. You can visit the Oversimplified Channel here.

   
• New Ocean! Finally got around to watching Ocean's 8. I loved this movie. Not necessarily for the story, which was serviceable and smart (though lacking the abundance of fun of the Clooney flicks)... but for the cast. They made it fun. And stylish. And having it take place at The Met Gala was genius. Really, really hoping for a sequel.

Ocean's 8 Poster

Ocean's Eleven made $451 million on an $85 million budget and got two sequels. Ocean's 8 made $292 on a $70 budget. So it definitely made money... but is it enough money for the studio to greenlight another? Fingers crossed.

   
• Be Like Coke! The true power of good advertising...

I hope some ad agency is getting a bonus.

   
• Squatchie! And speaking of amazing advertising, I laughed more than a couple times at this viral marketing brilliance...

I hope some ad agency is getting a bonus.

   
• Clancey! After a lot of weeks waiting in anticipation for the latest adaptation of Jack Ryan to be released on Amazon Prime, I ended up a little disappointed.

Jack Ryan Poster

This show has a lot of activity buzzing around too little story. I ended up liking it well enough... but it could have easily been distilled into a much shorter, stronger series with a more disciplined approach to the material. The original movies (namely The Hunt for Red October, Patriot Games, and Clear and Present Danger) showed just how good these stories can be in the right hands. Hopefully the second season (which was greenlit before a single episode aired) will end up having tighter pacing.

   
And... back to Real Life.

   

Bullet Sunday 478

Posted on Sunday, September 9th, 2018

Dave!Meh. I liked Sunday a lot better when it was being followed by a holiday. But don't think that this Sunday isn't going to be great... because an all new Bullet Sunday starts now...

   
• TED! Even if Nyle DiMarco wasn't the most super-humanly beautiful person on the planet, he would still be a beautiful human being...

Love who you are.

   
• Canadians! A lot of truth to be found in humor...

And sometimes the truth hurts.

   
• Elvin! What kind of completely bankrupt society do we live in that somebody working hard to earn an honest living is shamed? Like THIS is the guy from The Cosby Show that deserves to be shamed...

Seeing as how he had to quit his job at Trader Joe's, I'm glad he's got new work on Tyler Perry's upcoming show.

   
• FUCKING GAY CUPCAKES! What's so hilarious is how dumbfucks like Santorum actually believe the shit they are saying...

I have literally seen signs which say "If you don't believe in Jesus, don't shop here" while driving through Mississippi. There are documented incidents of gay couples who dare to hold hands in a shop or business getting kicked out! And what about all these YouTube videos which show discrimination against Persons of Color when trying to shop... or dine... OR EXIST in a racist business? THIS IS TOTALLY HAPPENING NOW, AND IF YOU SAY IT ISN'T THEN YOU ARE A FUCKING MORON. Not that being a fucking moron is anything new where Santorum is considered.

   
• Just Burn It! There it is...

Though these parodies would be a lot funnier if they weren't so damn accurate.

   
• Just Exploit It! Nike is a highly profitable business. They know their customer base. As with everything they do, their Colin Kaepernik commercial was a business decision. If they thought that supporting peaceful protest and Colin Kaepernick taking a knee would hurt their bottom line, they wouldn't be doing it. All these ridiculous shoe burnings and threats of boycott are just free publicity for Nike to appeal even more to the bulk of the people who are buying their stuff in the first place...

The simple fact is that Nike is a multi-national company whose profits aren't tied solely to the USA. Even if their sales were cut in half here, they're still going to be an immensely profitable brand around the globe. But yeah... go ahead and burn those sneakers. Nike already has your money. They don't give a shit. Or... why not donate your Nike gear to homeless vets if you don't want it any more?

   
• Iron Fist 2! Well, wow. I hated the first season of Iron Fist. I couldn't stand that the character dragged down The Defenders. But the second season is pretty good! First of all... DAUGHTERS OF THE DRAGON, BABY! YEEEAH!

Finn Jones is much better this time around. He acts more like a human than a frickin' Keanu Reeves impersonating robot... though I still maintain he's the wrong guy to play Iron Fist. He isn't as fluid and fun as the comics, and it's such a missed opportunity.

As is usual for the Marvel Netflix shows, the first half of the season is slow to the point of tedium with an occasional fight scene tossed in... then the back-end slaps you in the face and makes it all worthwhile. In the case of Iron Fist, the last episode is great, and what we should have been getting all along. What we also should have been getting all along? That trademark yellow mask, which finally makes an appearance...

Iron Fist Season Two

This season starts off with Danny Rand fulfilling his promise to Daredevil to defend Hell's Kitchen... BY SETTING UP SHOP IN CHINATOWN?!?? Hell's Kitchen is west of Midtown. Chinatown is way south from there! But whatevs. The story revolves around Davos (aka Steel Serpent), the Iron Fist who wasn't, seeking revenge on Dany Rand for taking the mantle he believes is rightfully his. The guy is legit nuts, which could have been silly if not for Sacha Dhawan being so compelling in the role. Along the way we get Joy Meecham and "Mary" (aka Typhoid Mary) as supporting villains. Mary started off unbearably irritating with her personality shifts being far less entertaining than if they had made her a straight-up villain from the start, but it ended up paying off at the very end.

In lieu of The Hand this time, we get forgettable syndicate villains in the form of rival triad gangs Golden Tigers and Hatchets. On one hand, I understand the need to provide legions of bad guys for Iron Fist to plow through, but it's just so tired to have triads floating through all the Netflix shows solely as disposable Asian cannon fodder. Come up with something new.

Like I said... this new season is pretty good. Mostly because of the ending. It could lead the show in a much better direction. Also helping? The fact that they cut it down to ten episodes. Which has me wondering if it would have been an even better season if they had streamlined things even further and cut it to six. Jettisoning all the Meecham sibling crap would have been a good start, and that alone would have made things so much better. They made everything grind to a halt every time they are injected into the story.

   
And... bullets spent. See you next Sunday.

   

Bullet Sunday 479

Posted on Sunday, September 16th, 2018

Dave!Fall has arrived and warm Summer days are over, but all is not lost... because an all new Bullet Sunday starts now...

   
• Dark! Whilst looking for something new to watch on Netflix I happened upon Dark Tourist. The show was a bit meh until the fourth episode when host David Farrier visited Turkmenistan. Holy shit. If not for North Korea, this would be the most bizarre restricted country on earth! Even if you don't want to watch the show you owe it to yourself to at least watch the animated intro, which is fantastic...

And here's the trailer for the actual show...

If you're bored and like off-the-grid travel, Dark Tourist is worth checking out!

   
• Tourist! And speaking of travel...

It's funny because it's true.

   
• Tammy! And speaking of things that are funny because they're true...

Classic Redneck Tammy!

   
• Solo! It's difficult to sort through my feeling on a movie which was essentially two hours of Easter eggs. Most likely because this ended up being both a blessing and a curse. A blessing because it firmly entrenches the film in the Star Wars universe. A curse because you spend the entire film going "So that's why that happens" and "So that's how that started." Fun as this was, it was a bit distracting. And not in a good way...

Solo: A Star Wars Story

The story was actually kind of good, and having it constantly being interrupted with made for a bit of a slog. Even so, it's a beautiful film to look at. It has a great cast. The special effects and sound design are incredible and the action sequences are well-constructed. I just wish it had more of an imagination about it and broke new ground to keep moving the Star Wars Universe forward. Instead it's more of the same. Which puts it in the middle of the pack of Star Wars movies for me...

Star Wars Movies Ranking

I was hoping for a bit more, but still liked it quite a lot. I wish I had seen it in a really good theater, but I bought into the rumors that Alden Ehrenreich was so terrible that he required an acting coach and the movie was going to be terrible. But he was terrific as Han Solo. Guess that's what I get for believing internet rumors.

   
• Caught! You know how you happen across a video and it's pretty great and you want to see more so you click over to YouTube to see what else there is? Yeah... this started it all...

Adorable. Wouldn't it be wonderful if all judges were like this instead of megalomaniac assholes? If you want to fall down a YouTube rabbit hole of entertaining videos, the Caught in Providence channel is worth a look!

   
• Heart! Ooh! The latest book from Thrice Publishing is out! This wonderful tale of growing up in Ireland from longtime Thrice Fiction contributor James Claffey is a perfect add to your Fall reading list, and is now in-stock at Amazon with Free 2-Day Shipping for Amazon Prime members!

Star Wars Movies Ranking

   
And that's a wrap. Have a great week!

   

Bullet Sunday 480

Posted on Sunday, September 23rd, 2018

Dave!Pull up on that pumpkin spice latte... because an all new Bullet Sunday starts now...

   
• Boston! My beloved Red Sox are American League East champions for the third year in a row...

Dave Loves the Red Sox!

LET'S GO, BOSTON!

   
• The Last O.G.! I was watching... something... on TBS and saw a commercial for Tracy Morgan in The Last O.G.. As a huge, huge, mega-huge fan of Tracy, I was excited to see it. Only to find out that it had already aired this past Spring...

It is phenomenal. Funny as hell. But touching too. I loved every episode and am relieved to find out that it has already been renewed for a second season. Highest possible recommendation. If you haven't seen it, please do yourself a favor and take a look.

   
• Believer! The last thing I would ever want to do is convict an innocent person for a crime they did not commit. That being said, Brett Kavanaugh is up for a lifetime appointment to the Supreme Court. There is no walking this back. And since it makes no sense whatsoever that Dr. Christine Blasey Ford would invite a felony by lying to the FBI (or invite death threats towards her and her family), I think it's critical that an investigation be done. Especially now that more women have come forward. Anybody who thinks otherwise is either an asshole or wanting to serve a personal agenda over the good of this country...

I believe women. I believe in due process. I believe in innocence until proven guilty. I believe in justice. And I seriously question those who would sidestep any of that. Like the fucking piece of shit publisher of our local newspaper who equates rape to cheating at golf and smoking (you only think I'm joking). I don't expect people appointed to the Supreme Court to be perfect. They're human, after all. But I do expect them to not be rapists. Because no, not all boys do it, and rewarding this heinous behavior only propagates the rape culture that keeps creating new generations of rapists. It's got to finally end sometime. That time is now. Because time's up.

   
• Family! To all the single parents... to all the double dads... to all the double moms... to everyone who is trying to raise the best kid they can while listening to people scream "EVERY CHILD NEEDS A MOM AND A DAD!" over and over and over... know that you are exactly enough. Love alone makes a family. It always has...

Mom is Dad for Dad Day

I saw this meme floating through my Facebook feed and was reminded for the hundredth time that the people who think it's their business to stick their nose into other people's business are the ones most likely guilty of whatever it is they are professing to hate. So you do you. Everybody else is just doing the best they can with the cards they were dealt and don't deserve your stupid-ass judgement.

   
• Cold! This has got to be the most insane political commercial I've seen yet...

What kind of piece of shit do you have to be to have all your siblings not only not vote for you... but take out a devastating opposition ad to boot? Cold!

   
• Chewie! It's the little things that add up to make a good thing great. Nobody is more aware of this than Marvel Studios. In their new movie poster for Captain Marvel, people have been noticing a cat walking off-frame in the shadows. I took a look in there with Photoshop and, sure enough, there's a cat there...

Chewie the Cat?!?

This is undoubtedly meant to be Carol Danvers' cat, Chewie! Who is not actually a cat, but an alien species called "Flerken" which resemble and earth cat. He's a rather large part of the Captain Marvel comic books, having made several appearances...

Chewie the Cat?!?

Chewie the Cat?!?

Holy crap does Marvel know how to handle their characters. And now it's been confirmed that Kevin Feige will be overseeing The X-Men and The Fantastic Four in addition to the rest of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. As it should have been all along! So long, FOX, your shitty, shitty, unbelievably shitty super-hero movies will not be missed.

And that's not all in Marvel news... rumor has it that Loki and The Scarlet Witch may be getting their own TV series on Disney's new streaming service. That will be fantastic, if it happens. But if I'm being honest? The character I most want to get a TV show is Hawkeye. If they were to base it on the Matt Fraction and David Aja comic book run, it would be absolutely amazing.

   
And... I'm done with bullets for the day. I got things to do.

   

Bullet Sunday 483

Posted on Sunday, October 14th, 2018

Dave!Spent my weekend getting ready for winter, but it hasn't been all bad... because an all new Bullet Sunday starts now...

   
• Jakespreading. My concern for Jake is either growing or easing depending on which minute of the day it is. On one hand, he is peeing regularly. On the other hand, it's too often... sometimes up to three times an hour. On one hand, he is pretty much back to normal. On the other hand, he has been increasingly clingy. Now he's sleeping with me every night. Which mostly looks like this...

Jakespreading Sleeping

He's sleeping next to me, using my leg as a pillow.

Except...

For the past two nights, sleeping beside me hasn't been good enough. He wants to sleep on top of me. Which is no biggie when I'm laying on my back but, given my recent back pains, I'm more comfortable on my side. He tries to climb on me but there's not enough room, so he falls off and starts getting upset. I fix the problem by leaning against a pillow. He falls asleep on the pillow (and against me), but is fooled to thinking he's sleeping on me. So it's all good, I suppose. But I think I'm going to start looking into some warm pads that might prove more tempting than a pillow. In the mornings when I come back from taking a shower, I always find him laying on the slats above the heating vent, so I'm guessing he might be in love with a warm place to lay just like his sister...

Jakespreading Sleeping

Tomorrow I'm going to place another call to his doctor so I can ask about the alarming number of times he's peeing... and to ask if I should be concerned that he's grooming his junk more often these past couple days. Call me paranoid, but I'd do just about anything to make sure he doesn't have another extended stay away from home.

   
• Who? First of all, I love Jodie Whittaker in the new season of Doctor Who. She is sublimely perfect in the role, and everything you could want for The Doctor she projects in spades. Quirky without being silly. Smart without being stuffy. Entertaining without being absurd. She IS Doctor Who...

Jodie Whittaker as The Doctor

Which is why my disappointment in her first episode being horribly boring was more upsetting than it usually would be. Things picked up a bit in the second episode that aired tonight (the new TARDIS is pretty great), but it still feels like a bit of a slog to get through. I really, really hope that things start picking up... giving both Whittaker and Doctor Who fans the show we deserve.

   
• Boca? When I was last at the grocery store, I noted that Boca Burgers have pretty new packaging. What surprised me is that the burgers inside are different. They are darker. And the taste is different. Not necessarily in a bad way... they're just... different. Still tasty...

New Boca Burger

What I cannot tell is what in the hell they are replacing. Used to be there was "Original Vegan" and "All-American Flame Grilled"... these are "Original All American," which I can only guess is taking the place of both? They ain't vegan (contains cheese like the All-American Flame Grilled) so maybe they are discontinuing those? Confusing.

   
• The Vote. LOLOLOL! Maria Cantwell just released a commercial saying that "drug companies are too powerful and prescription drugs cost too much money." Guess the blowback she got after accepting $75,000 from Big Pharma then voting against cheaper drug re-importation has her worried? Typical piece of shit politician... says whatever she feels she has to at the moment in order to get elected, and then she'll jettison it when she decides to suck Big Pharma dick for cash again. We get the politicians we settle for. We get what we deserve. Not that we're given much choice. My Washington State Voter's Pamphlet just arrived and there's only one candidate I actually want to vote for. The rest are just votes against Trump-enabling Republicans.

   
• Asshole. Vice President Pence would do best to just shut the hell up on all matters pertaining to anything because, odds are, his boss has tweeted something totally fucked up on the topic, which makes Pence come off as a hypocritical asshole. Like this...

VP Pence is deepply troubled about what he's heard about freedom of the press? Really?

Why the hell Pence pretends to give a shit about journalists when it's been made very clear that Trump's administration condemns journalists as an "enemy of the people" is beyond me. Disgusting and pathetic. Like most everything to do with President Trump.

   
• Groupon! Congratulations to Hasan Minhaj on becoming a father...

I can't wait for his show, Patriot Act, to debut on Netflix come October 28th! And, needless to say, if you have Netflix and haven't seen his incredible standup show, Homecoming King, you should do that immediately.

   
Annnnd... scene. See you next Sunday.

   

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