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Oh Schitt!

Posted on Friday, January 4th, 2019

Dave!For the past two years, I've named Schitt's Creek "The Best Show You're Not Watching" in my annual television wrap-up. I just watched through all four seasons again to prepare for Season Five, airing on the 16th.

It's most definitely one of my favorite shows going, but it's tough to fit it on a list because I'm always behind while waiting for it to appear on Netflix. Now I see that POP TV is on my DirecTV, so I will finally be able to watch it when everybody else does. That'll be nice, and I anticipate that the upcoming fifth season will land on my Top Twelve at the end of 2019.

If you haven't seen it, the concept is pretty simple. An absurdly wealthy family loses all their money when their accountant doesn't pay their taxes. With no home to their name, they ends up moving to Schitt's Creek... the only asset they have left. It was bought as a joke for a birthday gift and was deemed too worthless by the IRS for them to bother taking it.

Hilarity ensues.

In the first and second season, much of the humor came from super-rich people having to adjust to their new life in a new town where the locals are very different from the people they're accustomed to.

I liked the show... didn't love it...

Schitt's Creek

Then everything changed in the third season.

It was at that point that The Rose Family started accepting their new lot in life and began assimilating into the community. That's when the show became total genius and one of my favorite things ever. Since New Year's, I've been rewatching the first four seasons so I can be caught up before the new season starts on the 16th. I finished this morning.

Here's what I love about the show and why you should be watching...

   
BEST TELEVISION COUPLE: DAVID & PATRICK
I'm not even joking here. This is hands-down my favorite couple on television. When they first meet, Patrick is just another new local who is in charge of approving David's small business loan. And though you know that David is pansexual, their romance comes completely out of left field. And you're there from the very start...

Schitt's Creek David and Patrick

They couldn't possibly be more opposite, but it's just one of the many things that makes their relationship so heartwarming and sweet. One thing's for sure, you'll never listen to Tina Turner's Simply the Best the same way again...

Schitt's Creek David and Patrick

For people who say that they started watching Schitt's Creek but couldn't get into it, I tell them to skip right to the third season. Patrick appears half-way through, and everything about the show changes. The fourth season is even better. After that you'll want to go back and watch the first two.

   
BEST TELEVISION BEST FRIENDS: DAVID & STEVIE
Their relationship started as disdain... evolved into friendship... blossomed into friends with benefits... then landed on best friends...

Schitt's Creek David and Stevie

David and Stevie end up best friends because it seems unlikely that they could be best friends with anybody else. It's funny, sweet, and just works...

Schitt's Creek David and Stevie

   
BEST TELEVISION SIBLINGS: DAVID & ALEXIS
Spoiled from birth, they behave exactly as you think they would. For the most part, they seem indifferent to each other, but still make a hilarious team. And Alexis's never-ending stories of horrible situations she's escaped from is always interesting. Almost as interesting? The way she pronounces "David." Which she says constantly. Day-vhed... Day-vhed...

Schitt's Creek David and Alexa

   
BEST TELEVISION FASHIONISTA: MOIRA ROSE
Catherine O'Hara has long been one of my favorite actors. Even so, nothing could prepare me for her mind-boggling performance as the Rose Family matriarch. She has adopted an accent for the role that's tough to pin down. She grew up "normal" so we can only imagine that she talks the way she does because that's how she imagines wealthy people speak. But it's not her accent that makes the character so insanely watchable... that's only part of it. What really makes Moira appealing is the outlandish wigs and outfits that she's always wearing. Where do they all come from? Who knows? You'd think she would have long since ran out of new fashion, but she's always got outfits waiting in the wings...

Schitt's Creek Moira

   
BEST TELEVISION EYEBROWS: JOHNNY ROSE
Eugene Levy is positively nuts on the show... even though most of the time it's his reaction to the state of things that's the most rational.

Schitt's Creek Moira

   
BEST TELEVISION REDNECK: MAYOR ROLAND SCHITT
Chris Elliott could have easily sleepwalked his every scene with this character, but seems to be injecting some genuine decency and sweetness into him. So instead of just being a bumbling, clueless, moron... he ends up being a genuinely nice guy that you want to root for instead of dismiss. His wife, Jocelyn, has a bit more going on when it comes to smarts. But that's probably because she's a high school teacher...

Schitt's Creek Roland and Jocelyn

   
BEST TELEVISION BEARD: MUTT SCHITT
And you don't realize it until Alexis goes nearly catatonic after he shaves it off...

Schitt's Creek Roland and Jocelyn

   
If you haven't seen Schitt's Creek, take a look.

If quirky humor is not your thing, jump to the third season. It's still quirky, but more grounded.

If you aren't in love with the show by the end of the last episode of season three, there's no hope for you my friend.

   

Caturday 91

Posted on Saturday, January 5th, 2019

Dave!For the longest time after I got Jake and Jenny, they were completely silent. They didn't meow at me or try to communicate at all. I, on the other hand, talked to them all the time.

Then Jenny started talking back. Jake tried to talk back, but he can't meow for some reason (unless he's stressed out, apparently). He kinda squawks a bit though. Especially if I look in his direction and he wants to be petted. Jenny mostly wants kitty treats when she meows.

They don't talk to each other at all. They chase each other around from time to time, however. Otherwise they just kinda work around each other. Sometimes literally.

Jenny was sitting directly in front of the cat door looking at something outside. Jake then decides HE wants to look outside, but he can't see around his sister. He tries one side... then the other side... then goes back to the other side. And still can't see out. He was not happy...

Jake Trying to Look Past Jenny

Finally he figures out that if he twists his head, he can look past her...

Jake Trying to Look Past Jenny

He looked outside sideways for several minutes until Jenny got bored and left.

Jenny gets bored easily. Which is why I think she likes watching television so much. Her favorite thing to watch is Rick and Morty. But I was re-watching Isle of Dogs recently and she was totally absorbed...

Jenny Watches Television

After a while she decided she wanted to sit next to me while watching the movie, which is what she usually does...

Jenny Watches Television

She's too adorable, even if she has a couple floopy whiskers...

Jenny Watches Television

She's even more adorable when she decides that the drawstrings on my favorite hoodie are more entertaining than what's on television. It only cost me $100 and I had to fly to the bottom of the earth to get it... but please do chew on my Hard Rock Ushuaia hoodie. It's fine...

Jenny Chews on My Favorite Hoodie

Jenny Chews on My Favorite Hoodie

Jenny Chews on My Favorite Hoodie

Jake never wants to sit and watch television with me. He just climbs on my lap and falls asleep. He does like my computer to scratch his face though. They both do...

Jake Scratches His Face on My Laptop

Jake Scratches His Face on My Laptop

With the exception of my hoodie strings, my cats are surprisingly great about not chewing on stuff they shouldn't be chewing on. They are happy to chew on their toys when they feel the need. Assuming they let each other.

After dinner one day this past week, Jake was laying on the floor gnawing on Mufasa. Jenny comes bolting through the room, snatches Mufasa, then goes running to the stairs.

"JENNY! Why are you stealing your brother's toy?" I ask. She then drops the toy, runs up the stairs, and glares at me. I grab my iPhone to capture the moment, at which time she looks away and whistles. Or appears to be whistling. Can cats whistle? I dunno. So guilty!

Jenny Steals Mufasa

Jake wasn't too bothered. A minute later he went out in the catio because he saw Fake Jake walk by.

Fickle kitteh.

See you next Caturday!

   

Bullet Sunday 594

Posted on Sunday, January 6th, 2019

Dave!I know that having to skip a Bullet Sunday for my year-end wrap-up was tough, but don't despair... because an all new Bullet Sunday starts now...

   
• Bandersnatch! This past week all the internet buzz revolved around Black Mirror: Bandersnatch, Netflix's new "Choose Your Own Adventure" movie. As the movie played you would be presented with choices which determined how the rest of the movie would progress...

Bandersnatch Choice: Thompson Twins or Music NOW!
Any guesses as to which music I picked?

This novelty alone would be pretty lame. Unless the story was really terrific, why would you want to replay it over and over to see how your choices affect things? But this is Black Mirror, and they took their excellence to another level here. First of all, the story itself addressed the idea of free will vs. control... and completely breaks the fourth wall by going meta with the concept in some story branches. It was really well done, and I ended up playing through several different scenarios to see where the story would land. Once I had gotten through the major different branches, the differences became more and more subtle, so I ended it. I'm told there are some other stories that are more hidden, but time time required to find them was too much for me. Overall, I loved Bandersnatch! It took full advantage of the concept, the performances were great, and I was entertained throughout. My only criticism was that I could play on my AppleTV (which was incompatible) and ended up having to watch on my computer. Other than that? Well worth your time to check out!

   
• Magic! Every once in a while, Disney's magic extends to their advertising. That's definitely the case with this wonderful ad that was airing for Disneyland Paris...

And now I want to go to Disneyland.

   
• Good News! If you're a little depressed with how 2018 ended up (Lord only know I am), here's the link for you: I’m Honestly Fed Up With All The Bad News So I Illustrated The Best News Of 2018 (And Recent Years).

And for all those people buying into President Trump's claim that the Mueller Probe is wasting tax dollars, here's more good news: Mueller Probe Cost $25 Million So Far, Report Says. It’s Pulled in $48 Million From Tax Cheats. It's paying for itself (and then some) as well as ripping into political corruption. What's not to like?

   
• Micropenis! I never suspected that Tucker Carlson has a tiny, minuscule, impotent, wee little penis... but here he is telling everybody about it. Study after study has shown that men who are threatened by women who make more money than them have tiny dicks... and who am I to question science?

What a pathetic, sexist, whiny, tragic, little pissant Tucker Carlson is. The amount of sublime ignorance as to how modern relationships work here is stunning. And yet, there are people believing this bullshit and faux science, so I'd imagine Tucker Carlson isn't going to be out of work any time soon.

   
• SCANDAL! Oooooh! Here it is! A SCANDALOUS video of Alexandria Ocasio Cortez was just released from her school years! I wonder what it is? Sex with animals? Doing drugs? DOING DRUGS WHILE HAVING SEX WITH ANIMALS? My gawd... what a totally reprehensible role model. SHE SHOULD RESIGN IN SHAME!!!

Seesh. From they way some conservatives are (over)reacting, you'd think that she grabbed somebody by the genitals without consent... or cheated on her spouse with a porn star and tried to cover it up... or was defending white nationalists... or hiding her tax returns. The hypocrisy is blinding.

   
• Roller Kingdom! There was a time I wanted to be addicted to roller skating instead of crack too. But times change...

Alas, the local roller rink was torn down ages ago here, so I guess crack it is!

   
• Portland! Trying to end on a happy note, this is painfully accurate... and funny...

I miss having work trips to Portland. It is really terrific city.

   
Stay frosty, everybody.

   

Bullet Sunday 595

Posted on Sunday, January 13th, 2019

Dave!Don't let the long cold nights of winter get you down... because an all new Bullet Sunday starts now...

   
• Duck! It's no secret that I love museums. I've made it my mission in life to see many of the world's great (and not-so-great) museums as I can. Which is why I got a big kick out of this article: Museums around the world are soliciting duck pics from each other...

A very old duck photograph
Image Courtesy of The Museum of English Rural Life.

If you're even a little fan of art, this article is a must-see.

   
• Cars! These Walmart curbside pickup "cars" commercials are phenomenal...

I can't fathom how much money it cost to license all these properties.

   
• Akeem! One of my all-time favorite movies is Coming to America starring Eddie Murphy and Arsenio Hall in multiple roles. It's a great story chock-full of funny situations and had some real heart to it...

Coming to America Movie Poster

There are many other things to love about the film... namely James Earl Jones and Madge Sinclair as Eddie Murphy's parents. But there are also the incredible designs for the country of Zamunda. Make no mistake, Zamunda was Wakanda way before Wakanda was the benchmark for fictional African countries!

And now it comes to light that there is a sequel in the works with Eddie Murphy reprising his role as Prince Akeem. Right now, I am deliriously happy about that. But given how badly things could go wrong, I'm also more than a little nervous.

   
• Again! Again! Speaking of an Eddie Murphy movie getting sequels... apparently Boomerang, another movie I love more than butter, is getting a television sequel...

Coming to America Movie Poster

The show will continue the story with Marcus and Angela's son and Jaqueline's daughter. No word if Eddie Murphy, Halle Berry, or Robin Givens will be making an appearance. But I sure hope so. The thing that gives me hope is that Lena Waithe is onboard. As is Halle Berry as an executive producer. Fingers crossed.

   
• Monument! As somebody who loves travel photography but can't stand people walking through my shots, I was excited to hear about "Monument." This new technology that Adobe is developing will automatically remove moving objects from photos. It's a fascinating idea that I'm anxious to try out. There's a video which takes a look at Moment but Nick Offerman is an idiotic distraction throughout. Why in the hell they couldn't have just presented the tech without the comedic bullshit is beyond me...

It's only a matter of time before machine learning with this kind of smarts gets dropped into all our cameras. As popular attractions become more and more crowded, it will be a handy and very welcome thing to have.

   
• Puck! My new brown sugar container came with a small terra cotta coaster in the box. I was telling a friend about it and laughing because I don't have any glasses small enough to fit on it. "ARE YOU HIGH? YOU SOAK IT IN WATER AND PUT IT IN THE CONTAINER SO YOUR BROWN SUGAR DOESN'T DRY OUT!" In my defense, there weren't any instructions. Just the little puck thingy in a baggie. How was I to know?

Brown Sugar Terra Cotta Disc

Is this some secret everybody knows but me? Is there some brown sugar conspiracy to exclude me from this magic?

   
And... I'm spent. No more bullets for you.

   

Home Security is for The Birds

Posted on Thursday, January 17th, 2019

Dave!This morning while I was at work, I received a notification from my security cameras that somebody was breaking into my front door. This happens whenever anybody is in the vicinity of the exterior doorknobs. I wasn't too worried because my door locks weren't reporting any tampering. But I was curious. Did somebody leave me a pamphlet or something? Let's take a look, shall we?

Well, that's disappointing...

But pretty.

I love birds. Especially in flight...

Bird in Flight

Bird in Flight

   
And now, if you'll excuse me, the first episode of Star Trek: Discovery Season Two is here! I loved the first season, so I'm hoping for more Star Trek goodness this time around...

Live Long and Prosper...

   

Steaming for Dollars

Posted on Tuesday, January 22nd, 2019

Dave!I used to love going out to the movies. Then it got ridiculously expensive and you basically end up paying obscene amounts of money to watch people text on their mobile phones... or listen to them talk... or endure their kids acting like idiots. So you spend even more money to go to the VIP theater so the experience is at least tolerable. And that's an expense I'm just not going to make unless it's a movie I'm dying to see (like anything from Marvel Studios).

So, by not going to the movies, I'm saving $12 for a ticket plus $8 for popcorn and a drink... that's $20, which is how much it costs to just buy most movies on iTunes now-a-days. Or, if you're patient, you can always wait and rent it for $5 or see if it shows up on HBO or something.

More and more I'm getting my entertainment from my television, but that too is quickly getting crazy-expensive.

DirecTV is pricey and I'm starting to wonder if it's worth it. I pay $53.57 per month for the bare minimum they offer just to get Seattle-local networks and a bunch of stuff I never watch (the big exception being HGTV). This is better than it used to be. Since I'm an AT&T wireless subscriber, the $53.57 reflects a $25 bundle credit. I remain incensed that I can't just pick and choose the networks I want to see. I will never, ever watch Fox "News," so why the fuck am I paying for it?

The obvious option here is to go 100% streaming...

  • HBO Go. Free with my AT&T mobile plan.
  • Apple. Free with my iPhone/iPad/Mac.
  • Amazon Prime. Included with my Amazon Prime account (already pay $120/year $10/mo.).
  • Hulu ($6/mo). A&E, ABC, Adult Swim, AMC, Animal Planet, BBC America, BET, Bravo, Cartoon Network, CBS, Cheddar, Comedy Central, Discovery, E!, Epix, Food, FOX, Freeform, Fuse, FX, FXx, HereTV, HGTV, History, Hulu Originals, Lifetime, MTV, National Geographic, NBC, Nickelodeon, Paramount, Science, SyFy, TBS, TLC, TNT, Travel, VH1... plus select shows from other networks like Showtime.
  • CBS All Access ($6/mo.). For all CBS shows and originals like Star Trek: Discovery and The Good Fight.
  • Disney+ (???/mo.). The upcoming must-have streaming service thanks to Disney/Marvel/Lucasfilm content.
  • Sundance Now ($7/mo.). Only when shows I want to watch are airing (like This Close)

Interesting to note that Hulu has actually lowered their ad-supported pricing...

Hulu is Cheaper

What I don't like about cutting the cord is that some networks withhold streaming their shows on Hulu for a while. As an example... Home Town has started its second season on HGTV, but only the first season is available on Hulu just now. For many programs, this wouldn't be a big deal... but for shows I really like, it's an issue.

Right now, receiving local channels from Seattle is worth the cost to me. But eventually my feelings may change. Saving $200+ a year on entertainment is no small amount of money.

   

Bullet Sunday 597

Posted on Sunday, January 27th, 2019

Dave!The Trump Shutdown may be only temporarily suspended, but don't let that get you down... because an all new Bullet Sunday starts now...

   
• Vax! =sigh= I was fully vaccinated as a kid, but it's been recommended that I get the MMR (Measles, Mumps, Rubella) shot again because of a measles outbreak here in the Pacific Northwest. Since it's highly contagious, I never had it as a kid, I regularly climb into a confined metal tube with lots of people, and I only received one shot (not the series that's now recommended)... it's better safe than sorry I suppose. Fun! Thanks, anti-vax parents, for continuing to bring back diseases with gusto that we thought we had dealt with long ago. Polio, anyone?

   
• Just Die! And... apparently another idiot missionary is rolling the dice. If forced to choose between the death of a tribe of indigenous persons who are not equipped to handle the germs, disease, and overall bullshit that the outside world brings when it intrudes on their lands... or the death of some piece of shit missionary who KNOWS that it's illegal and KNOWS their actions can cause irreparable harm... I'm going to root for the asshole missionary to die. Hopefully in the most brutal way possible as an example to other assholes who might have similar ideas. Except that didn't seem to work the first time, because you just can't fix stupid. In the meanwhile, these Christian groups calling for the tribe to be arrested can go fuck themselves.

   
• Other Other! When I first heard that SNL alums Chris Kelly and Sarah Schneider had a new series coming to Comedy Central, I was intrigued. Shows that fall out of Saturday Night Live talent are hit or miss, but the ones that hit are usually the most interesting and imaginative stuff to appear on television. And now The Other Two has arrived and it is about the funniest thing I've seen in a while...

Yes, that's Molly Shanon as the mom, and she's as good as you'd expect. And, yes, that's Wanda Sykes in there too (Lord, I wish they would find a starring vehicle for her that's worthy of her talent). It's a raunchy show to be sure, so it's not going to be for everybody... but, if you're intrigued, you can watch the first episode for free over at Comedy Central.

   
• London! I've wondered about London's airports for a long, long time. At last there are answers...

And... part two...

This guy's entire "Unfinished London" channel is gold.

   
• Out of Network! Regardless of where you land on the health care debate, this is essential reading. Now more than ever you have to be very careful about what care plan your doctor comes up with for you. It's critical that you know to question everything so as to avoid getting blindsided by outrageous medical costs.

   
• TransBan! The irony is not lost that President Trump (AKA Cadet Bone Spurs), who dodged the draft with a fake ailment, is in charge of deciding who gets to serve their country now (yes, it was fake... the daughter of the physician who signed off on his foot problem came forward). His desire to strongly curtail (or outright ban) transgender persons from serving was recently upheld by The Supreme Court. To those who understand that a strong military requires talents from all sorts of people, this makes no sense. So what is the president thinking? Not surprisingly, there's a series of tweets to explain it...

“Our military must be focused on decisive and overwhelming ... victory and cannot be burdened with the tremendous medical costs and disruption that transgender in the military would entail.”
— President Donald Trump

Huh. Looks like our Commander in Chief doesn't know how the fuck our modern military works. But what does he understand? Let's hear what an actual fucking soldier has to say...

"When I was bleeding to death in my Black Hawk helicopter on that dusty field in Iraq, I didn't care if the American troops risking their lives to help save me were gay, straight, transgender, black, white, male or female. All that mattered was they didn't leave me behind."
— Senator Tammy Duckworth

Oh, and forgive me for completely discounting his fucking bullshit about the "medical costs" being a disruption to our military. It's not like he gives a shit about the millions of taxpayer dollars our military spends shuttling his fat ass to golf courses around the world.

   
Have a pleasant week, everybody!

   

Hairy Obsolescence

Posted on Thursday, January 31st, 2019

Dave!This morning before heading off to work I decided to dust off my entertainment center. It's a futile endeavor with two cats, because everything will go back to being covered in hair within seconds. As I was dodging in and out of the many crevasses with my Swiffer duster, I made my way to the fancy Blu-Ray player I had bought and couldn't recall the last time I used it. Probably to watch one of those rare movies I love that never made its way to digital.

This is more than a little depressing because the thing was top-of-the-line back in the day and cost me a small fortune. At the time it seemed like a wise investment because it could play both 3D and 4K Blu-ray discs. Little did I know that 3D would be a stupid feature because the special glasses eat batteries like crazy... and all the discs are glitchy.* As for 4K? Apple started releasing most new movies in 4K digitally (no Blu-Ray required) within months of my hooking up the player.

And so the pricey but useless piece of tech just sits there collecting more dust and hair until I want to watch Undercover Blues or True Lies or The Abyss or Strange Days again. WHICH JUST HAPPEN TO BE FOUR OF MY FAVORITE MOVIES OF ALL TIME...

Undercover Blues Movie

True Lies Movie

The Abyss Movie

Strange Days Movie

   

The rumor mill has been going on for years that James Cameron is working on bringing True Lies and The Abyss to Blu-Ray and (hopefully) digital. I have no idea what the holdup is with Kathryn Bigelow & James Cameron releasing Strange Days (which is oddly more relevant now than it was when it was released 20 years ago). And then there's Undercover Blues. This movie is 100% awesome, and it seems impossible that nobody has released it digitally since it actually has a Blu-Ray release (albeit not a great one).

So many television shows and movies that have been lost to time. It seems... weird... somehow, that everything released within the past 25 years isn't out there for digital purchase. Though I should count myself lucky. At least these movies have DVD releases. Entirely too many of my favorite television shows (like Jeremy Piven's Cupid and Alan Ball's Oh Grow Up!) do not.

Which has me wondering how long it will be before they won't be making DVD/Blu-Ray players any more. These things always seem to happen sooner than you think.

   
*Seriously, I have yet to find a 3D Blu-Ray which will play properly all the way through. Their quality is for shit.

   

Bullet Sunday 599

Posted on Sunday, February 10th, 2019

Dave!Don't go fretting that you aren't in touch with what's new in life... because a Very Special Edition of Bullet Sunday starts now...

   
• NEW Disco! I tell you what... Star Trek: Discovery has been knocking it out of the part again this season. Even slow, throw-away episodes (like the latest one) have surprising depth. But, then again, any time spent with my favorite Kelpien, Saru, is time well-spent...

Doug Jones as Saru Star Trek Discovery

There is a campaign to get Doug Jones an Emmy for his work as Saru, and I can't think of another actor more deserving. Jones has flawlessly constructed movement, voice inflections, and mannerisms that feel completely alien, and the skill to be doing all that while completely encased in makeup and facial appliances is remarkable. He had better at least get nominated.

If you like sci-fi and are not watching Disco, you owe it to yourself to take out a free trial for CBS All Access and see what you've been missing. I am a diehard fanatic of Star Trek: The Original Series, and feel that this is the best series to come out in the Star Trek Universe since then. I was not impressed with any of the Next Generation/DS9/Voyager/Enterprise shows, but this? This is great stuff (despite the bitching and moaning from "Star Trek fans" that hate it... which, if that's you, don't worry... you'll be getting your Next Generation pablum when Captain Picard comes back with his new show).

   
• NEW! Netflix has just unleashed the third season of the One Day at a Time reboot, and it did not disappoint...

If there's a flaw, it's that the show feels the need to continue addressing absolutely every social issue in existence. It's handled really well, but it can still be exhausting. Yes, it's great to see the show address current events, but it's at its best is when it focuses on the people behind the issues. Fortunately there's plenty of that as well, and I'm hoping we get a fourth season.

   
• NEW Boys! Pet Shop Boys have a new EP that just dropped called Agenda. And it's as relevant and interesting as you would expect...

And then there's thinly-veiled political message, perhaps?

Yeah. Just when we needed it most.

   
• NEW Ellen! What would it take to coax Ellen DeGeneres to do her first standup special in 15 years? Apparently it's the $20 million that Netflix ponied up for Relatable, which was released back in December...

I just watched it again last night and I gotta say... it's worth the money. Ridiculously funny. Probably my favorite of all her specials so far. Until Netflix lures her back with $50 million maybe?

   
• NEW Boarding! CGP Grey released a new video this past week on how to best board an airplane. It's an interesting discussion, to be sure...

   
• NEW Country! With rare exceptions, I am decidedly not a country music fan. Though recently Casey Musgraves has me re-thinking this stance with her amazing Country-Pop fusion, which is some of the best music I've heard in a while. Because of that, I found this analysis on the current state of Country to be a fascinating watch...

The fact that the finger-snapping madness is becoming such a predominant force in music today is pretty disheartening. Time will tell if it's eventually replaced by something even worse.

   
No more new for you. See you next Sunday.

   

Winky the Bichon Frise

Posted on Wednesday, February 13th, 2019

Dave!Don't ask me why, but I watch the Westminster Dog Show every year.

This year my dedication was rewarded with "Winky"... a little Bichon Frise running the agility course. This hilarious pup was in no hurry at all to complete the course, and was happy to stop for applause a couple of times. Needless to say, the crowd loved Winky...

   
Definitely not the fastest time, to be sure, but my favorite run of the show.

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Bullet Sunday 601

Posted on Sunday, February 24th, 2019

Dave!Don't let Oscar-mania get you down... because an all new Bullet Sunday starts now...

   
• Oscar! I stopped watching the Oscars and other award shows years ago. The movies I like best rarely win anything and, given how little weight awards seem to carry in casting, it seems like pointless endeavor anyway. Just an excuse for Hollywood to congratulate itself in a pricey spectacle that seems to award based on factors outside of actual talent. Suffice to say I want Black Panther to win as many awards as possible (even though it will be passed over for Best Picture by The Favourite or (more likely) yet another white savior tale with Green Book. I am also pulling for Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse to win for Best Animated Feature. Other than that? =yawn=.

   
• WAKANDA FOREVER! One bit I did see from The Oscars was this hilarious intro of Black Panther by Trevor Noah...

But it gets better. Not soon after the video was posted, I ran across this...

The real translation is 'white people don't know I'm lying' ahahahahahahahahahaha

Xhosa is a fascinating language. And every time I hear it, I think of this video I saw years ago which attempts to explain the sounds...

Things like this makes me love this planet. How exciting is it that there's so much incredible diversity out there waiting to be discovered?

   
• Whiskey! While I did not watch The Oscars, I most certainly watched Whiskey Cavalier which followed The Oscars...

Whiskey Cavalier Poster

I was not disappointed. It's kinda a James-Bond-ish spy show with some humor and a darn good cast. Time will tell if they fall into the trap of having to two lead characters fall in love (which is always when things go terribly, terribly wrong). Hopefully if they do jump that shark, it will happen later rather than sooner, because I'd like to enjoy it for a while longer.

   
• Oh Captain! While I am absolutely dying to see Avengers: Endgame on April 26th, I think I'm even more excited for Captain Marvel to be released next month. Everything about it looks amazing, and the fact that Carol Danvers will play a big part in Endgame is interesting to me. And speaking of Captain Marvel... I really wanted the original one-sheet movie poster that was released, but couldn't find it available for a sane price anywhere. It was Wonder Woman all over again, where I wanted the gorgeous pre-release poster but could only find it second-market for obscene amounts of money. I think they were under printed because "women super-heroes won't sell," which is really a shame. But then I was looking to see if there were any pre-orders available for Spider-Man: Far From Home when I saw that both posters had gotten a second printing! Sweet! Now they're both hanging in my upstairs hallway where they belong...

Captain Marvel and Wonder Woman hanging in my hallway

Such amazing colors in both of them! So happy that they were reprinted at something I could afford.

   
• Curiosity! The Mars rovers Spirit and Opportunity were incredible feats of engineering that exceeded their projected lifespan or two years by quite a wide margin. Spirit ran for 6 years and traveled nearly 5 miles. Opportunity ran for 14 years and traveled nearly 28 miles. And then there's Curiosity, which landed in August 2012 and is still running. Or so NASA thinks. On its most recent reboot, the poor thing went into an unexpected "safe mode" and engineers had to get that straightened out...

Curiosity Mars Rover

Curiosity Mars Rover

Personally? I think it was a moment of silence to honor the end of Opportunity's mission, which NASA called on February 12th after it had gone silent since June 10th last year. Great job, buddy. Hopefully humans will get to visit you one day.

   
• Pika! I've never been into Pokémon that much (despite enjoying Pokémon Let's Go on the Switch), but I gotta say... I'm looking forward to Detective Pikachu on May 10th...

Probably because they gave him Ryan Reynold's voice and rendered all the Pokémon so brilliantly. One more interesting-looking movies in a string of interesting-looking movies for 2019. With some exceptions, of course...

Will Smith as Genie in the live-action Disney's Aladdin movie

Absolutely no idea how Disney's Aladdin is going to pan out. By and large I haven't been enjoying the live-action remakes that much, but this one looks like the diciest translation yet.

   
And the award for best bullets goes to...

   

The Real Green-Book

Posted on Monday, February 25th, 2019

Dave!Last night the Oscar for Best Picture went (unsurprisingly) to Green Book, yet another "white savior" film where stories detailing the lives of Black people are told through the lens of the white people who "rescued them" from racism and made life better for the entire Black race because of it. It's a trope that's been done to death, but Hollywood just can't seem to help themselves.

Whether it's a story of outright theft, as in The Help where a young white woman "liberates" Black servants in the 1960's by publishing their stories in her best-selling book (the story of which was stolen in real-life too)... or real events being reframed, as in 42 where Jackie Robinson's story is snatched away from him to be viewed from the perspective of the white Major League Baseball executive who decided to integrate the sport (and his white teammates who overcame their prejudices to accept him as a player)... or the unforgivable revisionist history in Hidden Figures where white Kevin Costner rips down a "whites only" sign on the bathroom so Katherine Johnson didn't have to run across campus to pee (something that never fucking happened)... it's a tired trend of making white people the hero in the lives of Black heroes when the actual stories are compelling enough as they are.

In the case of the Oscar-winning film Green Book, we get the story of real-life Black pianist great Don Shirley hiring a racist white chauffeur to drive him for a concert tour. Something which would be a great story, right? Except it ends up being the story of how Don Shirley's driver overcame his racism to build a friendship with him instead, making the white guy the hero of the movie. Because of course he was. Getting a movie about Don Shirley told from the perspective of Don Shirley is apparently asking too much. That film wouldn't get an Oscar for Best Picture because white voters wouldn't have somebody to root for (Black Panther had white Agent Ross, but he was only a minor hero in the movie... if Marvel wanted Black Panther to be a real Oscar contender, they apparently should have told T'Challa's story from the perspective of the white guy and how he saved all of Wakanda).

But I digress...

I'm not holding my breath that we'll get a major motion picture about Don Shirley from Don Shirley's perspective, but tonight on The Smithsonian Channel we did get a documentary on The Negro Motorist Green-Book, which inspired the name of the big budget film that did see release...

The Green Book Guide to Freedom Poster

Titled The Green Book Guide to Freedom, the documentary is a terrific exploration of the "travel and survival book" for African-Americans who dared to travel during a time when traveling while Black was a potentially life-ending experience. Stay out too late in the wrong city with the wrong color of skin, and it could mean your death. Something that we like to think happened hundreds of years ago in this country... but "Sundown Towns" were still in existence into the 1960's... less than 60 years ago. Meaning that there are people alive today who survived this horrific segregation brutality first-hand (and some of them are interviewed in this program).

If you have the opportunity to see it, The Green Book Guide to Freedom gets my highest possible recommendation.

NOTE: The documentary is excellent, must-see material that's well worth your valuable time. As of this writing, iTunes has it available for FREE and I think other streaming services may be giving it away as well.

NOTE: Another resource I enjoyed was this article from the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture which has links to digitized copies of The Green-Book as well as a US map where locations have been mapped out... and even a Green-Book travel planner tool!

The first I had heard of The Green-Book was when I was visiting one of the best museums I've ever seen... The Negro Leagues Baseball Museum. They explained that away-games for Black players was often a difficult ordeal given that there may not be restaurants, hotels, gas stations, and other kind of services available between cities (or even in the city once you got there). Everything had to be meticulously planned, and even then you could still end up in danger if a bus broke down or some other pitfall ensued.

As I was reading about this abhorrent concept, I overheard a couple nearby talking about "The Green-Book." I had never heard of it before, so I investigated further on Wikipedia when I got back to my hotel...

Cover for the 1940 Edition of the Negro Motorist Green-Book

I found out that it's essentially an AAA Guide with a specific audience in mind. Namely, Black motorists during the time of segregation. Inside you get a list of African-American friendly hotels, restaurants, and other businesses designed to make travel safer and more enjoyable...

Page from the 1940 Edition of the Negro Motorist Green-Book

Page from the 1940 Edition of the Negro Motorist Green-Book

As explained on The Green Book Guide to Freedom, the books often-times had editorials and articles that went beyond travel, delving into civil rights issues of the day. As also explained on the program, the book was created in the hopes that one day it wouldn't be needed. Ultimately creator Victor Hugo Green got his wish, and the final issue was published the year I was born, 1966. Sadly Green died in 1960, four years before the Civil Rights Act came into being and six years before his book ceased publication.

Not that the end of segregation was the end of segregation. South Carolina Republican Governor Henry McMaster infamously refused to give up his all-white country club membership when he took office... just two years ago in 2017. Not to mention a president who has said white nationalists have some very fine people in their ranks. Apparently to some people, The Negro Motorist Green-Book was not a symbol of escaping oppression but a symbol of "the good ol' days." Which kinds of puts that whole "Make America Great Again" bullshit into proper perspective, doesn't it?

Seek out The Smithsonian Channel's The Green Book Guide to Freedom. You'll be glad you did.

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Bullet Sunday 602

Posted on Sunday, March 3rd, 2019

Dave!The King of Pop may be gone, but he's not forgotten... because an all new Bullet Sunday starts now...

   
• WAH! WAAAAH! WAAAAAAAAHH! WAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHH! Walmart has released a new online ad series called "Love is in the Aisle" which is a dating show that takes place in their stores. The second episode features two guys, so naturally hate organizations (like The American Family Association) are losing their fucking minds...

Dating is in the Aisle

Which is kinda pathetic and sad, but it's not like you can expect anything less from a bunch of homophobic bigots who hide behind their warped ideal of "family" while persecuting actual families who happen to have two moms or two dads. Looks like these assholes are running out of places to shop.

   
• Porn and Candy. The new HBO documentary, Leaving Neverland, has finally aired. It details allegations of sexual abuse against Michael Jackson, and a $100 million lawsuit by his estate has already been unleashed...

Michael Jackson photo by Dave Hogan and Getty Images
Photo by Dave Hogan and Getty Images

As you can imagine, it's incredibly fucked up. What's surprising to me is in the way it's fucked up. The sexual abuse was horrific, yes, but the mental abuse was magnitudes worse. One minute you're made the center of Michael Jackson's life and promised the world... the next you've been replaced with another young boy and made to wonder what you did wrong to deserve that. I'm not a huge Michael Jackson fan, but there are songs of his I like. Until this documentary, I was able to separate the art from the man. But now? There's just no way. I believe his victims. It's entirely too likely that Michael Jackson was a total piece of shit and I'm glad he's not around to abuse children any more.

   
• Sparkly! "Will she spit or poop?" — A question that always makes date night interesting...

And to think... I had to make do with G.I. Joe when I was a kid.

   
• Worthy! And lo did Steven Spielberg descend from his throne in Hollywood to decree that films from online studios like Netflix should be exempt from Oscar consideration. Apparently he feels that only films which have a full theatrical run (as opposed to a limited run just to qualify for awards) should be classified as "real films." Or something like that. You know... real films... like Hook or Joe vs. The Volcano.

Ummm... yeah... no.

I love a movie theaters better than most. I love the cinema. I love viewing films where the entire experience, from the size of the screen to the sounds you hear, are all optimized for the best enjoyment of a movie and the way the filmmakers wanted it to be seen. But how often does that happen? Now-a-days, you've got people texting and talking on their mobile phones... people eating and making noise... people letting their kids run wild... people being overall assholes who don't care that they are ruining the movie for everybody else. And that doesn't even begin to cover the reality that many movies could never be made or even get distribution within the major Hollywood movie system. Unlike Steven Spielberg, they are locked out and wouldn't get to tell their stories if not for alternative studios like Netflix. Movies that deserve recognition if they're worthy of recognition.

So... Spielberg can just take a damn seat and shut the entire fuck up. I'd argue that my home theater "experience" is far better than dealing with the constant distractions from assholes at the theater. AND I don't have to pay $20 for a popcorn and a Coke. AND I get to see movies that Hollywood would never touch in a million years. God Save Netflix.

   
• Flerf! And speaking of Netflix, they've got a documentary on the "flat earth" movement called Behind the Curve. It's mostly ridiculous, but a part of it seems to be advocating for... tolerance? BWAH HA HA HA HAAA! Yeah, right. I am not going to "respect the opinion" of dumbass flat earthers. I have zero problem mocking idiots who deny what can be observed with their own eyes and goes against fundamental scientific truths and irrefutable evidence. Every hilarious "explanation" that flat earthers come up with for things like eclipses, how GPS works, Antarctica, and the curvature of the earth, are so fucking stupid that I can't even fathom how anybody could possibly buy into it. Unless they're fucking idiots as well. These tin foil hat wearing morons aren't even worth debunking... so this documentary doesn't even try. They just present mentally deficient people like Mark Sargent and Nathan Thompson in their LITERAL bubble-reality worldview. It's all more infuriating than fascinating or enlightening. But they do have an occasional moment where they drop actual knowledge (including a hysterical bit at the end), so I guess that's something.

   
Until next week, stay vigilant, young crusader...

   

Bullet Sunday 603

Posted on Sunday, March 10th, 2019

Dave!Stop worrying your pretty little head over whether Spring is here or not here... because an all new Bullet Sunday starts... now...

   
• Free! As I've mentioned more than a few times on this blog, I'm a huge fan of Alex Honnold. He's a world-famous free solo rock climber who recently rocketed into the limelight because of the Oscar-winning documentary film Free Solo (sadly, I didn't get to see it in IMAX like I wanted to, and ended up renting it). I first heard of the guy in 2007 or 2008 after he free soloed Yosemite. At first I thought he was a lunatic with a death-wish, but after reading numerous interviews over the years, I found him to be one of the most philosophical, funny, genuine people on the face of the planet. And the most talented athlete on earth...

If you haven't seen free Solo yet, it's absolutely worth your time. It's an amazing film that changed my perception of Honnold yet again. But if you want to see Alex being the Alex that I became obsessed over the past decade, here he is (watch to the end, because it gets better as it goes on)...

It used to be that every year on Christmas as a part of my "End-of-Year Checklist" I would Google Alex to see if he was still alive. Now that he's so incredibly famous, I don't have to. If something were to happen to him I'm sure the entire world would know.

   
• Zero Stars! When I had to start eliminating carbs, the transition from "regular" to "sugar-free" sodas was a tough leap to make. What made it easier was Coke Zero, which is far and away my favorite carb-free pop (followed by Diet Dr. Pepper, Diet A&W Root Beer, and Sunkist Orange). One of my favorite sodas, Stewart's Orange Cream, has no diet equivalent... which is why I was thrilled to see "Coke Zero Orange Vanilla" at my local Safeway...

Coke Orange Vanilla

Holy shit what a horrendous load of toxic sludge! It tastes nothing like an orange cream soda, but instead tastes like an extremely artificial vanilla cola with a weird orange aftertaste. Really gross, which is why I am mad I bought an entire 12-pack. Looks like I need to investigate adding a hint of vanilla to Sunkist Diet Orange Soda to see if I can get what I'm looking for.

   
• Life! Ricky Gervais is one of the most brilliant minds in entertainment, and I'm always looking forward to what he's doing next. Turns out it's the Netflix series After Life, and it's one of my favorite things he's done thus far...

The show has a rocky start because his character is pretty awful. But the 6-episode series is a journey that ends in a very different place, and it's a worthwhile trip to take. With all the horrors I've been facing these past couple years, it's nice to run across something that is saying exactly what I need to hear. Highly recommended.

   
• Stick! One of my favorite kitchen brands is OXO Good Grips. I ended up replacing almost all my bakeware with their stuff and was happy with that... at first. Then I found out that my "non-stick pizza pan" can't even cook biscuits without them sticking like cement...

Non Stick Sticking on OXO Good Grips

Even worse? The bread pans and jelly roll pan are rusting under the folded edges. And so... I guess OXO Good Grips is no longer my favorite kitchen brand. Really sad that I wasted my money on this garbage.

   
• Billions and Billions! Wealth inequality is something that I don't really think about because there's nothing I can do about it. Obscenely wealthy people own this country and get to decide how things are going to be. The fact that what they decide inevitably benefits only them (and their pocketbook) regardless of how it screws the rest of us... or the environment... or whatever else is in their way, is just our sad reality. Which is why shit like this is so unsurprising...

Thinking that these horrible people will ever have to pay for the lives they've destroyed is laughable.

   
And, on that note, I guess we're out of bullets...

   

Bullet Sunday 604

Posted on Monday, March 18th, 2019

Dave!It's hard to believe that March is already half-over, but don't let the march of time discourage you... because an all new Bullet Sunday starts... now...

   
• Queer Happy! Since I have (temporarily) stepped away from social media, I've been pretty much out of the loop. But I did have a news story pop up which mentioned that Queer Eye Season Three had just dropped on Netflix...

Queer Eye Season Three Promo Image

Sweet! I absolutely love Queer Eye because it packs one of the most emotional gut-punches you'll find on television. Some of those the Fab Five help out are genuinely good people who just need a little break to be happy, and the guys always manage to come through. And then I read the comments on the story. You think I'd know better. Because the amount of hatred that people have for this show is downright unfathomable and I just don't get it. Seriously... who gives a crap how other people live their lives when it does not affect you? Do these haters honestly think that there is a finite amount of happiness in the world and if other people find happiness in ways they don't approve of it means there's less happiness for them? Gay people aren't allowed to be who they are and be happy because if they are, there's no way anti-gay bigots can be happy? What pathetic, sad, miserable assholes these people are. But I don't care. This is one of the best seasons yet, and I watched all eight episodes back-to-back. I can't wait for Season Four.

   
• Top Gunn! Guardians of the Galaxy mastermind James Gunn made some horrific and terrible jokes about rape and pedophilia when we was young and stupid. He subsequently offered heartfelt apologies numerous times, promised to do better, and moved on to become an incredibly talented writer and director. But Disney/Marvel fired him anyway, despite him providing them two incredible hit movies....

Guardian of the Galaxy Promo Image

This was a rash and idiotic knee-jerk reaction that made me (and plenty of others) pretty mad. How many of us haven't made stupid mistakes when we were younger? The guy was wasn't an actual rapist and pedophile... he just made hurtful and overall moronic "jokes" about the subjects which weren't at all funny (unlike James Carr, who may be completely tasteless and inappropriate, but is really funny about it). His apologies were sincere. He grew up. And now Disney/Marvel finally seemed to realize how fucking stupid they were... probably not because it was wrong to fire him over his bad judgement... but because they couldn't find another writer/director to replace him. Money being more important than manufactured outrage, Gunn was rehired to direct his already-completed script for Guardians of the Galaxy: Volume Three!

Guardian of the Galaxy Promo Image

So happy about this. I don't believe in second chances for everyone, but James Gunn has earned the support he's gotten to be reinstated.

   
• BURN! I was raised Catholic. I still have family and friends who are in the Catholic Church. I say this to qualify that I would never recklessly disparage The Church and its followers. Except... The Catholic Church has a history of horrifically problematic issues that have not been adequately dealt with. Big on that list is the seemingly never-ending sexual abuse of children by their pastors and officials. Abuse that The Church has been outright denying or only half-heartedly acknowledging. It is next-level fucked up, and I am outraged that it's still happening and victims are still being ignored or shoved aside. Which is why the Diocese of Brooklyn can seriously go fuck themselves for demanding an apology for this segment on Saturday Night Live...

Pete Davidson has said some truly stupid stuff... and it's not always funny. In this case what he's saying is not only funny, it's also 100% true. Until the Catholic Church reforms... and at this point it can't really be anything except a total reform because we're way, way past second chances for them to do the right thing... I'm done. See how that works?

   
• Aladdin! For me, the jury was very much out on Disney's upcoming live-action version of Aladdin. The original animated movie with Robin Williams is one of my favorites, and it just seemed... bizarre... that Disney would even attempt to replace him with Will Smith. But now that I've seen an actual trailer, I'm much more hopeful...

Will it take the place of the original masterpiece? Almost certainly not? Can it be an entertaining distraction in its own right? Sure! Guess we'll find out in May.

   
• Honey Honey! I try to use honey instead of sugar whenever I can. Honey is the only thing I add to my tea, and I'd rather drink it unsweetened if honey isn't available. I do have packets of "Sugar in the Raw" and artificial sweetener for my guests, if they want it, but there's always honey at my home. Over the years I've read some truly misguided comments about honey and people who want me to switch to agave nectar. Finally I've found a couple of people on Tumblr who have summed up why I'll never switch to agave...

Vegans of tumblr, listen up. Harvesting agave in the quantities required so you don't have to eat honey is killing Mexican long-nosed bats. They feed off the nectar and pollinate the plants. They need the agave. You want to help the environment? Go back to honey. Your liver and thyroid will thank you, as well. Agave is 90% fructose, which can cause a host of issues. Bye.
   
VampireGirl2345 via Tumblr

Beekeeper here! Just wanted to say that the fact that vegans won’t eat honey is very silly. Harvesting honey does not hurt bees. The invention of modern moveable-frame hives means we can remove a selected frame, extract the honey and return it without killing a single bee.
   
If we destroyed the colony to harvest honey there would be no bees for next year, and beekeepers are incredibly careful to keep their bees healthy and thriving. We take *excess* honey that they don’t need, and it stops the hive from becoming honey-bound, meaning that there’s so much honey the Queen has nowhere to lay eggs. And if the winter is harsher than expected and the remaining honey store runs low, we feed the bees plenty to make sure they survive. We also make sure that pests are controlled, bees are treated for disease, and the hive is weatherproof and in good repair, all things that wild bees struggle with.
   
Keeping bees in properly managed hives where they don’t starve or die from preventable disease is much better for them than being left to fend for themselves, and they’re far too important to be left alone. All the fruits and vegetables that vegans *do* eat couldn’t exist without bees, and the hives which pollinate those crops also produce excess honey which the beekeepers can sell to help keep themselves and their hives going.
   
TLDR: BUY THE HONEY, HELP THE BEES.
   
Vertiga via Tumblr

Bats are some of the most beneficial creatures on earth. Trading in a non-existent problem for a very real problem which threatens their survival is not helping.

   
• Coaster! I'm a big fan of interesting roller coasters and have been on many, many of them. My current favorite is "The Incredible Hulk Coaster" at Universal Studios Orlando. It's not as well-themed as Space Mountain or Big Thunder Mountain at Disneyland... or as iconic as The Cyclone at Coney Island... or as scary as Wicked Twister at Cedar Point... but The Incredible Hulk is really fun to ride. But for me right now? The coaster I most want to ride is the brand new "Yukon Striker" coming to Canada's Wonderland this Spring...

Yukon Striker Roller Coaster Canada's Wonderland

Yukon Striker will be the fastest, longest, tallest dive roller coaster in the world. It goes up to 80mph, is 3,625 feet long, has four inversions, and lasts three minutes, 25 seconds. And it looks like loads of fun...

Hopefully I can get to Toronto one of these days to ride it!

   
And that's all he wrote for writing bullets this week! See you next Sunday!

   

I Really Don’t Care, Do U?

Posted on Thursday, March 21st, 2019

Dave!I am not a huge horror movie fan, but I do like a well-crafted story... in any genre.

For this reason I was exited to see that Jordan Peele has a new horror movie out called Us. I loved Get Out, and the reviews for Us are phenomenal. And yet... I loathe going to the theater so much that I was debating whether or not I was going to buy a ticket or wait for home video...

Us Movie Poster

To help with my decision, I emailed a document to a friend who was going to see the movie last night. In it I wrote what I thought the "twist ending" was going to be. After seeing a couple commercials and clips on talk shows, it seemed pretty obvious to me what was going on.

This morning my friend opened the document and texted me that I was 100% correct with my guess. But he also said that the movie was so great that I really should go see it in the theater anyway.

So I don't know.

I'll probably wait for home video. Having to share the theater with a bunch of rude people makes me long to be watching at home.

And speaking of watching at home...

Apparently Viacom is in a fight with my television provider, DirecTV. While watching The Daily Show and The Other Two on Comedy Central and RuPul's Drag Race on Logo, there's a black box on the screen warning you that AT&T (owners of DirecTV) are going to drop the channel...

Us Movie Poster

At first the box was stationary on the left-hand side. But then AT&T started putting a black box on top of it. So now Viacom is making the box jump around the screen so AT&T has to keep moving their box. Eventually AT&T gave up. It's such bullshit and trying to watch a show where a box is bouncing all over the place is headache-inducing.

Well, whatever.

All I can say is that if DirecTV drops Comedy Central, one of the few channels I watch with any regularity, I will be dropping DirecTV. As I mentioned previously, thanks to streaming services and such, I don't need DirecTV much anymore anyway.

The monopolies of cable companies and satellite companies are over and I really don't care. Couldn't happen to a nicer bunch of assholes. They've been forcing bundled channels down our throats that we don't want for decades and karma is a bitch.

   

Mueller? Mueller

Posted on Friday, March 22nd, 2019

Dave!And so The Mueller Report has been completed and turned over to the Attorney General of the United States of America, William Barr. Whether or not anybody will ever get to see the damn thing is anybody's guess. In my humble opinion, it should be available to any American who wants to look at it. We paid for it, after all. And wasn't The Starr Report (which confirmed President Clinton's affair) made public? Why should Trump be treated any different?

Whether The President is guilty of collaborating with a foreign power is kind of incidental at this point. He's done so much fucking damage to this country, does it really matter if he did it for Russia or not?

Well, yeah. Of course it does. Because if it's true, he's guilty of high treason and should be shot.

That being said, if Mueller were to look up the asses of all the politicians in Congress with a microscope for two years, half of them would probably be shot for treason. These are powerful people who don't give a fuck about our country... they just want money and power. Treason is a small price to pay to get it.

Just ask Roger Stone, Michael Cohen, Paul Manafort, Konstantin Kilimnik, Sam Patten, Rick Gates, George Papadopoulos, Michael Flynn, and all the other people who have already been charged by Mueller.

Guess sometimes a with hunt turns up actual witches.

In other news... The Good Fight has returned on CBS All Access.

It's a frustrating show to watch.

On one hand, it's a brilliant show that has compelling stories, great legal drama, amazing acting, and fantastic production values. On the other hand, it's constantly making up stupid shit about President Trump, his administration, and his family. In the first two episodes we've got Trump paying for a woman's abortion... Don Jr. and Eric shooting Gary Cole's character on a hunting trip... and some shady business to do with Brett Kavanaugh. All of it manufactured bullshit that's been fabricated for entertainment value. Don't we have enough to worry about with all the actual crap our president is doing?

Guess we'll find out once this Mueller thing is unloaded.

Or not.

   

Winter is Here

Posted on Monday, April 1st, 2019

Dave!April is here at last.

This means I have to start traveling again. I get to start woodworking again. I need to start exercising again.

It also means that the final season of Game of Thrones is nigh...

Game of Thrones Season 8 Poster

The event I'm most looking forward to in April 2019 is Avengers: Endgame. A close second would be Game of Thrones Season 8. It could end any of a dozen different ways, and there's no telling who is going to end up sitting on The Iron Throne.

For the past three months I've been rewatching all the episodes so I'm ready to go come the 14th. Last night I finished the last one and found myself wishing I had timed it better. Now I've got two weeks to wait before I get more Thrones.

And then there's this...

I knew it had to be a prank... and yet... her reaction was so genuine!

The North Remembers. Or not.

   

Bullet Sunday 608

Posted on Sunday, April 14th, 2019

Dave!Time to bend the knee... because an all new Bullet Sunday starts... now...

   
• Thrones! The much-anticipated premiere of the final season of Game of Thrones has finally come. Since it was just an hour of set-up for the five episodes that follow, it was a bit boring... but did have some interesting moments...

Game of Thrones Ice Dragon

One would hope that they managed to find an ending that doesn't suck... but I've seen finales fail more often than win, so I'm not counting on it. So long as it's a fun ride, I suppose I'll be happy enough. But I really want them to knock it out of the park.

   
• The Hawk! And so Disney has announced that Jeremy Renner has been signed to a new series for their forthcoming streaming network. I have been begging for a Hawkeye series based on the Matt Fraction and David Aja comic book series for years. It's hands-down one of the best series I've ever read...

Hawkeye by David Aja

No idea if the Disney+ series would go in that directions, but... hot damn. Looks like Disney+ is going to be absolutely killing it with amazing content.

   
• Only in America! A politician from Texas is so pro-life that he wants the death penalty for anybody involved with getting an abortion. You cannot make this shit up. This is after his tireless crusade to "protect the sanctity of marriage" by opposing marriage equality. He's been married five times. You cannot make this shit up. At some point you'd think that people would get tired of this kind of hypocritical bullshit... but here we are.

   
• Aurebesh Coke! Apparently Coca-Cola is creating special packaging for Disneyland and Walt Disney World's upcoming "Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge" lands...

Cool. Except... no Coke Zero? I cannot fathom why people continue to drink shitty Diet Coke when Coke Zero exists.

   
• Evil! There are few things I'm more passionate about than Net Neutrality. As expected, The Trump Administration killed it. As expected, the Democrats created a bill to restore it. I fully expect that it will be vetoed by the president. This is reprehensible and evil. The reasons given for killing Net Neutrality are all fucking bullshit. And the reasons for restoring it are legion. Which is why it's not surprising that President Trump hates it. Anything which levels the playing field for everybody works against dumbasses who have to rely on their daddy's money to get ahead in life.

   
• Kerning Fail! Few things freak me out like bad typography...

Kerning Failure

You'd think that the people in charge of using type would know how. Doesn't happen as often as you'd hope though.

   
And... that's enough bullets on your Sunday.

   

Bullet Sunday 609

Posted on Sunday, April 21st, 2019

Dave!The Easter Bunny may be bringing you chocolate and boiled eggs, but something better is in store... because an all new Bullet Sunday starts... now...

   
• Cathedral. It has been exceedingly difficult to gather my thoughts on the fire at Notre Dame. I've visited it all three times I've been to Paris, and loved it more with each trip. Such architectural wonders are a testament to mankind's accomplishments, and it is filled with sublime artistic treasures...

Notre Dame of Paris

Notre Dame of Paris

Notre Dame of Paris

Notre Dame of Paris

I am relieved that so much of it survived. I am thankful that nobody perished in the flames. I am happy that it can be rebuilt. But I am more than a little disheartened that three Black churches being burned in Louisiana barely made the news while Notre Dame could not be escaped. Yes, three small churches don't have the renown nor the grandeur of one of the most well-known landmarks on the planet, but still... it supports the false narrative that "racism is over" when it's happening around us every day. When something is invisible, people don't care about it. I'm not saying that every incident of racism has to be reported (you'd need dozens 24-hour news channel just to keep up with it all) but three churches being targeted and burned because its parishioners are Black is newsworthy, and people who think "racism is over" need to be reminded that it's not.

   
• Turkish Delight! While I've been spending time taking care of Jake, I've been running through foreign films on Amazon Prime Streaming. One of the best I've found kinda surprised me with not just how good it was... but with the way it had a bit of an interesting twist to it. Originally titled Kardeşim Benim in its original Turkish, it's listed on Amazon as My Brother (be sure Close Captioning (the CC button) is on)...

If you're not an Amazon Prime subscriber, you can rent it for $3 or purchase it for $6 on iTunes. There's a sequel that was made a couple years ago that looks every bit as good, but I haven't seen it available here in the USA...

Hopefully it gets English subtitles and shows up here soon.

   
• Dickey! This song is lyrically embarrassing, but the animation and cast of guest voices are pretty great...

Interesting that Lil' Dickey was the one to spearhead something like this, but here we are.

   
• Oh Boy! I was a bit late to the Garth Ennis comic book The Boys, but found it an interesting and often enjoyable series. Yes, it was filled with gratuitous... well... everything... but in a very good way. When I heard that Amazon Prime was adapting it, I was worried the show would end up being a pale shadow of the source material. Turns out I worried for nothing...

Savage. Needless to say, I'll be tuning into that.

   
• Trash! Senator Maureen Walsh is fucking garbage from the heart of Redneckistan. She is the one who made an impassioned plea advocating for marriage equality in Washington State because she has a lesbian daughter. We quickly found out that she only cares about marginalized people when they affect her directly, because she subsequently went after trans persons by saying that trans kids invite getting bullied because they intentionally stand out. Now she says that nurses don't deserve workplace protections with guarantees of breaks and time for lunch because they spend most of their time playing cards. Uh huh. Ask any nurse how much time they get to play cards while busting their assess to save lives. Exhaustion breeds mistakes. Do we really want nurses pushed to exhaustion given the job responsibilities they have? Of course not. Which makes Maureen Walsh a fucking dumbass on top of being an asshole. There are few people I regret believing in more than this epic fail...

Maureen Walsh is Fucking Garbage

UPDATE: Yes, I do know the context of what she was talking about, it was still way out of line. You can prove your point about critical care hospitals in rural communities without degrading nurses like this. For me the greater context is that Walsh has consistently voted against things like paid sick leave, guaranteed minimum wage, and other laws protecting workers. So, despite her apology or any context, what other conclusion are people supposed to make when she says stuff like this?

   
• Mueller? Mueller? I have a lot I could say. Maybe I will one day. In the meanwhile...

Pretty much this link right here.

Oh. And this tweet right here...

I laugh my ass off at the idea that the Mueller Report in any way exonerates the president. On the contrary, it positively reeks with all the things that make him an affront to the office he holds and the country which allows him to hold it.

UPDATE: Here we go...

   
And 'tis time at last for the bullets to be done this fine Easter Sunday.

   

Bullet Sunday 610

Posted on Sunday, April 28th, 2019

Dave!I don't mind my allergies splitting my head apart thanks to everything in the valley blooming at the same time... because an all new Bullet Sunday starts... now...

   
• Thrones! I may be in the minority here, but I felt that the majority of the latest episode, The Battle of Winterfell, was embarrassingly bad. Everything was filmed so dark that it was almost impossible to see what was happening. Even worse, much of the action was shot way too close, so even if you could see what was happening, you couldn't tell what was going on anyway. They literally could have just skipped most of the episode, had somebody summarize what happened in two minutes, and the result would have been practically the same for me. Disappointing. Though I'll be the first to say that the ending was exactly what I wanted to see. w00t!

   
• Trek V2. The CGI effect upgrades they gave to old Star Trek episodes back in 2006 are pretty great. Definitely helps then to hold up for modern audiences. Recently I was watching Tomorrow is Yesterday for the hundredth time and found myself forgetting what the old effects looked like. So I looked it up on YouTube and found this...

Right off the bat I found something surprising...

Tomorrow Is Yesterday Opening Title

ZOMG! PLEASE NOTE THAT THEY REVISED THEIR VIEW OF THE PLANET BECAUSE IN THE FUTURE THEY KNOW THAT THE EARTH IS FLAT!!!

Funneh.

   
• Vegetarianism Fail. When I first became a vegetarian back in 1986, eating out was a challenge. Pretty much all you could do was ask for a grilled cheese or try to find a salad without meat on it. Now-a-days it's so much easier. Except at my local "V.I.P." theater. Their big "thing" is wraps. They've got quit an assortment of them. Every last one of them with meat on it. Even the "Veggie Extreme" is SO EXTREME that it has chicken on it! Baller!

Extreme Veggie Wrap... WITH CHICKEN!

Since they didn't have a vegetarian option, I asked if they can substitute avocado for the chicken. Nope! But they can leave the chicken off and charge me $1.25 for avocado though! Fuckers. If you're not going to have a vegetarian-friendly option, at least allow a reasonable substitution!

And so... French fries it is. Except... it literally took them THREE TRIES to deliver my fries. They'd walk in the theater. Wander up and down the aisle. Then leave. Then come back. And then... it was only because I FLAGGED THEM DOWN that they managed to find me, even though I had to give them my row number when I ordered! Needless to say, my fries were cold... not "unwarm" BUT FUCKING COLD... by the time I got them. Pathetic. Some "V.I.P." experience.

   
• You Spin Me! Most of the time I scan the episodes of Fallon, Myers, Corden, and Kimmel on my DVR for the guest, then delete as many as I can. The only reason I watch is if there's a guest I want to see. Like Paul Rudd. And his appearance on Fallon did not disappoint. Paul and Jimmy remade Dead or Alive's You Spin Me Round...

For comparison's sake, here's the shot-for-shot next to the original...

Epic!

   
• Let Them Implode. Long ago, back before I started weaving Buddhist precepts into my Path of Life and gave up weapons of violence, I was proud to be a member of the National Rifle Association. This was back when they were dedicated to promoting gun safety and advocated for reasonable restrictions when it came to allowing people access to firearms ALONG WITH defending Second Amendment rights. Now that they are a corrupt organization in the pocket of gun manufacturers who prey on people with nothing but fear and lies, I fucking detest the NRA and everything they stand for. Nothing would make me happier than to have the entire organization be flushed down the toilet like the fucking pieces of shit that they are. And take NRA cheerleader Dana Loesch with you. She's fucking garbage too. Bring back the NRA whose principles were rooted in responsible, safe gun ownership. If we can't have that, then please let the whole fucking thing implode.

   
• Wall Chowder. Every time I have to listen to bullshit about President Trump's MASSIVELY EXPENSIVE WALL... all I can think of is how drones powerful enough and large enough TO CARRY A PERSON OVER THE WALL ARE CURRENTLY USED FOR CONSTRUCTION! And, like everything tech-related, they are just going to get cheaper and cheaper and cheaper. Somebody in Mexico could buy a couple and earn a fortune FLYING PEOPLE OVER THE WALL. Make no mistake... Trump's wall is a stupid, STUPID, STUPID, FUCKING STUPID waste of money. Within 5 years it could be rendered obsolete. Or be obsolete within 10 minutes, considering tunneling under the fucking thing IS AS EASY AS DIGGING A FUCKING TUNNEL. And now I'm filled with rage. Again. Forget the horrendous damage to the environment and migrating species that will be severely impacted... WE CAN'T FUCKING AFFORD IT NOW THAT ALL OUR TAX REVENUE IS GOING TOWARDS TAX CUTS FOR THE WEALTHY! Exactly how big of a fucking deficit do we need?

   
See you on the flip-side, bullet fans.

   

Bullet Sunday 611

Posted on Sunday, May 5th, 2019

Dave!It's Cinco de Mayo! It's also great day to be alive... because an all new Bullet Sunday starts... now...

   
• Chewy! Peter Mayhew, most famous for playing Chewbacca in the Star Wars movies passed away this week. He sounded like a wonderful, generous man...

Peter Mayhew as Chewbacca!

Rest in peace, sir. You crafted a character that captured my imagination and made me love a walking carpet.

   
• Mattress Wars! This is some shady shit right here...

I never trust online review sites. I rarely trust reviews on any site. Unless it's coming from somebody I know and/or trust, it's just bullshit noise. And yet... I still read them in an attempt to be informed as to my purchases. =shrugs=.

   
• Boca? Last year Kraft abandoned their Original Boca Burgers and Vegan Boca Burgers. They instead came out with a new "Boca Burger" which is nothing like the original despite still saying "original" on the box. It tastes like shit. The Vegan burger was discontinued entirely. Recently on their Facebook page, they unleashed this steaming pile of bullshit...

Our consumers told us that their experiences with our vegan burger were better represented by a turkey burger. With this new insight, we renovated our vegan burger to better deliver on taste, texture, and flavor under the new “Turk’y Burger” banner.

Vegans no longer want a vegan burger, they want a turkey-tasting burger? Yeah that sounds like it totally happened. Now that Kraft has completely abandoned all the things people loved about the Original and Vegan Boca Burgers, hopefully some other company will step in and make an ACTUAL Original Boca-inspired burger that people actually want to eat. Personally, I think Kraft is run by lying pieces of shit who just wanted to make a cheaper burger, didn't give a crap if it tasted nothing like a Boca Burger, then decided to sell it with outrageous levels of lying. Whatever. Not buying it. Go fuck yourself, Kraft. Why buy Boca Burger if you weren't interested in making Boca Burgers?

   
• Chalk! I ran across this video on chalk, of all things, and found it more interesting than I thought I could...

I haven't used a chalkboard for decades. But after watching this? I have an overwhelming desire to get me some Hagoromo Fulltouch chalk and write on one! Probably cost me $5 to buy a stick, but apparently it's an experience that needs to be had.

   
• Deep Sky! I've professed my love of all things GigaPan more than a couple times. But now they've got something really interesting going on. They've combined thousands of photos from a tiny area of sky about the size of the moon in the sky. The result? A Hubble Telescope GigaPan Image!

This is so cool...

Hubble Telescope GigaPan Image!

And zoom...

Hubble Telescope GigaPan Image!

And zoom...

Hubble Telescope GigaPan Image!

Yeah, you'll want to head over to the GigaPan site to play with this yourself. It is positively astounding the number of galaxies that can be found in such a small section of our sky. Google says that the average number of stars in a galaxy is 250 billion ± 150 billion.

   
• Follow the Money! Veronica Mars is one of my favorite television shows of all time, which is why it's so great that it's getting revisited. First with a movie... now with a new series from Hulu...

Here's hoping that it's the first of many new seasons!

   
• Boo Pricing! Recently Hulu lowered their prices. Apparently they understand that with so much new streaming competition that they need to be competitive. Netflix, on the other hand, is taking the opposite tact. Recently when I visited their site I was forced to accept their new pricing before they would even let me access the content that I pay for...

Netflix Price Increase!

Well... let's see... Netflix has canceled all the Marvel shows (the reason I signed up in the first place), so I suppose this is where I tell them to take their price increase and go fuck themselves with it. Except... they do add a comedy special I enjoy from time to time. So I guess my solution will be to drop the service, then pick it up for a month a couple times a year. Maybe if everybody does this, they'll get the fucking message. Because, sure, I love having original content (when it's good) but there's a limit as to how much I can afford to spend on it.

   
• Thrones! The first part of this episode was exactly what it needed to be... the calm before the storm. And then the storm began. And while the result of the initial encounter was tragic and earlier than expected, it WAS expected. There are a list of things that really must happen before the story ends. And we're almost there. So now it's all about the unknowns. There's things you'd like to happen. Things you'd hate to happen. Things that, hopefully, unexpectedly happen. And two episodes left for it all to happen in. Hopefully in way that makes sense, which the back-end of this episode really did not. Does nobody ride ahead and make sure that your way is safe any more? Insanity.

   
• It's Not Me It's You! Last Sunday HBO unleashed an episode of Game of Thrones that took 55 nights to film. It was a massive battle that had been building for years, and was an epic sight to behold. At least it would have been had they not filmed it so fucking dark that you couldn't see a damn thing. It was a horrific mess. Even when there was light enough to see something, they filmed it so close that you still couldn't tell what was going on. Needless to say, a lot of fans were extremely pissed off. Now the cinematographer for the episode said that It's not Me, It's Your TV Settings. Which is a load of shit, of course. I have a high-end 4K television and a fiber internet connection. I black out my entire living room when watching. This is NOT my fucking fault... or that of my internet... or that of my television... or that of my viewing environment.

Thrones Too Dark!

The cinematographer's job was to create media which could be displayed and understood in the way that people would be consuming it. Namely, streaming over the internet with compression, limited gamut, and a normal television. Not in an idealized fantasy theater with Blu-Ray 4K Ultra HD signal and a $15,000 OLED TV. Which means he completely, utterly, and totally failed to do his job. And fuck him for saying otherwise. My hope is that HBO will listen to their customers and spend the money to re-key the lighting, then rebroadcast it so people can actually see the shit. If not? Fuck them too.

   
And that's all he wrote for bullets this week. Tune in next week when I'll try to find more to complain about!

   

Lucifer Times Four

Posted on Wednesday, May 8th, 2019

Dave!One of my favorite shows over the past three years has been Lucifer, which FOX unceremoniously canceled last year. It was unfathomable that such a brilliant, funny, wonderful show didn't attract a massive audience, but that could be true for bunches of shows I love that got chopped.

And then Netflix picked it up for a fourth season and all was well in the world again...

And tonight the ten-episode season dropped and I started binging. Alas, I had to work late so I could start until 9:00pm... but I got five episodes in before 1am!

Such a great show.

Still a great show.

And I can't wait to see where they are going with it.

Thank you, Netflix!

   

Star Trek: Discovery S2

Posted on Thursday, May 9th, 2019

Dave!Last night I read and article on ScreenRant which declared that Star Trek: Discover became the most popular streaming show in the world.

When the show first debuted in 2017, I was mesmerized. Here, at long last, was the Star Trek I had been longing for since I first saw the original. I have never cared for any of the Next Generation /slash/ Deep Space Nine /slash/ Voyager /slash/ Enterprise shows. Sure they have their moments, but they weren't Star Trek to me. MY Star Trek has always been Kirk, Spock, McCoy, and the gang. Everything that followed was a pale imitation.

But Disco changed all that.

This Star Trek was raw... it was different... it was exceptionally well-cast... it was pushing new ideas, just like The Original Series. And that crazy twist! Holy cats! It wasn't just good Star Trek, it was good television!

A lot of people loved it (obviously) but there were oh so many detractors that hated it. "IT'S NOT STAR TREK!" they cried. Except it so totally was. It's just that it wasn't a continuation of the janky NextGen Star Trek... it went back to when Star Trek was good! Both figuratively and literally! Sure I had some gripes (why reinvent the Klingons yet again?) but, for the most part it was everything I could want in a show... PLUS MICHELLE YEOH!

I was definitely ready for more of that. Then cam Season Two...

Star Trek: Discovery!

Captain Pike? The Enterprise? SPOCK?!???

JUST TAKE MY MONEY, CBS PRIME STREAMING!

While I didn't love it as much as the first season, I did thoroughly enjoy it. And the fact that it (kinda) brought back THE Star Trek was a bonus.

Spoiler Zone!

And now for some thoughts on Season 2 of Star Trek: Discovery (SPOILERS, obviously)...

  • As I said, I love Discovery, far more than any of the series that followed the original. The first season was phenomenal, having characters and a story concept that was deliciously epic and fun. That being said, Season 2 story has been a mess that I've found mostly boring. It wandered off in way too many distracting directions that were snooze-inducing, and no attempt to justify this in the finale made it worthwhile.
  • The frustrating thing about being a Disco fan is that the characters are so fantastic, even when the story they occupy is shit. Even the new version of established characters like Captain Pike, Spock, Number One, Vina, etc. The sole exception for me is Tilly, who is so fucking annoying that I want her dead every minute she's on screen. I loathe Tilly, but keep hoping that they will make her work because I love the idea of including somebody on the autism spectrum on the show.
  • In fact, Pike, Spock, and Co. were so great that having another show featuring their time on Enterprise is something I'm dying to see.
  • And Michelle Yeoh's spin-off show cannot come fast enough. Her every moment on screen is absolute magic.
  • Speaking of characters... what a shame that Airiam, one of the most interesting characters to ever appear on the show had to die before they gave her screen time. I wonder if that will be the case for other interesting "background" characters like Owosekun, Detmer, Bryce, and Rhys. I should certainly hope not. At least we got some Saru time this season.
  • That being said... Is Airiam the start of The Borg? Many people think so! I would be thrilled to find out that Airiam is still around in the future and to explore what her connection to The Borg might be.
  • One last note on characters... I purposely left out Tig Notaro's "Jet Reno" because she has to be singled out as one of my favorite Trek characters of all time. Given how little she was on the show, that's really saying something.
  • I remain amazed that the special effects are so incredibly well-done. In some ways, that's a shame though, because it tends to eclipse the mind-bogglingly good job done by other aspects of production. The set design is incredible. The costuming is beyond great. Everything about Discovery screams quality, and they should be very proud of their accomplishments. Particularly the reimagining of the Enterprise. The ship had to be updated lest it ends up looking comical by today's standards, and the result is amazing. The tweaks on the uniforms make them hands-down my favorite of any Trek series ever.
  • The explanation as to why Discovery, the spore drive, and Spock's sister have never been mentioned was kinda a cop-out, but at least they addressed it so the continuity fanboys can shut the fuck up.
  • The time-travel wrap-up was a big-ol' mess, but I'd be lying if I said that I wasn't excited about the possibility of Disco being flung into the Star Trek universe future. I mean, what's Starfleet even going to be like then? What alliances will have changed? Is the spore-drive commonplace now? What new species will have been found? The possibilities are truly limitless now that they are not tied to pre-continuity.
  • I hope that we get some fantastic villains in the new season. Granted, following Jason Isaacs and Michelle Yeoh was going to be almost impossible. But the whole "Command" AI computer angle was lame as shit. It got a little interesting when it possessed Leland, but that was too little, way too late.
  • Michael Burnham is almost too good to be true. She is complex, layered, strong, capable, and everything you need to lead a show. Partly thanks to her being written with such purpose, but mostly because Sonequa Martin-Green is just that incredible. For Season 3, I dearly hope that they keep moving her forward. Even when Season 2 was at its most boring, she was still compelling.
  • I hope that they give the captain's chair to Saru. He is such a fantastic character (thank you, Doug Jones!) and I love the idea of a non-Terran finally getting a spotlight on a show.
  • Please, for the love of all things holy, let Tilly be Tilly in Season 3, but stop making her such a scattered disaster. As seen when she was portraying her Mirror Universe counterpart, Tilly is perfectly capable of holding it together and bringing the annoying down to manageable levels. So why the fuck doesn't she? As I said, I love the idea of somebody on the spectrum having representation... but to make her this annoying all the damn time is exhausting. It's a disservice to the character to have her always on the verge of falling apart. Can't she be capable, on the spectrum, AND have a little confidence sometimes? See: The Good Doctor.
  • Speaking of representation and all things annoying... having a gay couple on the show is what Star Trek was made for. But the Stamets/Culber drama after Hugh "came back from the dead" was forced and awful. It made me loathe two characters that I would otherwise like. They wrapped that situation up in a too-pat neat little bow, and I hope it stays that way. Can't there be a couple that is stable and happy for once? They would be so much more interesting if they were.
  • Here's hoping Ash Tyler is a part of the Michelle Yeoh spin-off show, because this is an interesting character that's begging to be explored more. Him becoming head of Section 31 was a great place to leave him.

And that's Star Trek: Discovery Season Two.

I will probably re-watch it in advance of Season Three premiering, but I'm almost positive I'll be re-watching Season One long before that!

Here's to interesting times in Season Three!

AND GIVE US THE PIKE AND SPOCK ENTERPRISE SHOW WE'RE ALL DYING FOR! This is a big part of why Season 2 became the most popular streaming show in the world!

   

Where is My Portal Gun?

Posted on Wednesday, May 15th, 2019

Dave!Can I please just have a day off from this insanity?

Every time some heinous new political bombshell drops, my brain explodes and I have to pull my head back together so I can get through another day. Whether it's idiot politicians being idiots, ignorant people being ignorant, or the nonsensical being presented as common sense... it seems every single day is another assault on my sanity, and it's getting harder and harder to pull myself through it.

As I've said many times, I do not support abortion outside of special circumstances. But that's my personal belief. This being AMERICA and all, everybody gets to live by their beliefs and for their conscience. I fully, unequivocally support a woman's right to choose. President Clinton said that abortion should be "safe, legal, and rare"... and that pretty much sums it up for me. But in order for abortion to be rare, people must be educated and have free and easy access to birth control. Until that happens, our society endorses "abortion as birth control," and the people who are strongest against abortion seem to be the people most responsible for it. Their only solution is to just make it illegal... problem solved.

Except not really. Because banning abortion isn't going to stop abortion! The collapse in logic here is mind-boggling. No way to get a safe, controlled abortion? Oh, okay... bring on the coat hangers and back-alleys. Then some 12-year-old pregnant rape victim ends up dead because her parents didn't want her childhood (and possibly her entire life) ruined, so they risked an at-home procedure that went terribly wrong. THAT's what constitutes being pro-life?!? Who in the hell are these sadist pieces of shit running Alabama?

Meanwhile, all these politicians and their wealthy backers will STILL have access to safe abortions and suffer absolutely no consequences because of it. As always, the law only applies to poor people.

How the fuck do I get off this planet?

If only I had a portal guns from Rick and Morty. Which, by the way, is finally coming back this November...

New Rick and Morty, November 2019 on Adult Swim!

Isn't it sad when the best thing you've heard out of the news all day is that a cartoon is returning?

Welcome to life in these United States.

Or on this earth, really.

   

Bullet Sunday 612

Posted on Sunday, May 19th, 2019

Dave!Who cares who sits on The Iron Throne... because an all new Bullet Sunday starts... now...

   
• No Spoilers! Seven years of complex characters and world-building tossed away for a rushed and unsatisfying conclusion. Game of Thrones was HBO's most popular show of all time. You just know that money was not an issue when it came to wrapping things up. But apparently David Benioff and D.B. Weiss were tired of their show and wanted to move on, so they just hacked together some of the most mundane and lazy storytelling they could muster, crammed it into six episodes, and called it good. You'd think if they were tired and wanted to move on they would hand the show off to somebody who gives a shit, but no. This is what we got. I'll wait a week before posting my thoughts so as not to spoil things for any latecomers, but dang. Lame.

   
• Keanu! I know more than a few people working in Hollywood. Not one of them has ever had anything but nice words to say about Keanu Reeves. He's a kind, generous soul and everybody loves working with him. On top of that he has a self-realized wisdom that makes me happy for his every success...

John Wick: Chapter 3 was pretty kick-ass. Can't wait for Chapter 4.

   
• Represent! When stars like Brie Larson say they are using their celebrity to insist on a more diverse, inclusive group of interviewers, they get attacked by people wanting to keep the status quo of the same voices. I find this absurd. Making room for more is not taking away from who's there now. It's making room for more. And here's the incomparable Halle Berry walking the walk and doing her part...

How can anybody watch this and think anybody is losing here? More people winning doesn't equate to more people are losing, and it's shitty that this attitude continues to be our default. Make room at the table... your dinner party will only get more interesting.

   
• Again. HEADLINE: Trump Tries to Win Over Midwest Farmers with Socialist Promises. Because socialism is bad when it comes to keeping people healthy or fed or housed... but good when it's used as pathetic compensation to keep your base happy due to your complete failure to understand how global trade works in the year 2019.

   
• Hypocrisy in Action! HEADLINE: Anti-abortion Rep. Tim Murphy resigns after report he asked lover to end pregnancy...

Make no mistake... NONE... that wealthy politicians will ALWAYS have access to safe abortions for their mistresses and family. For everybody else? Wire hangers and back alleys, baby. This hypocritical bullshit disgusts me to my core.

   
• Evolution! Ummm...

It's only a matter of time before they go all Plant of the Apes on our asses.

   
And, on that apocalyptic note, see you next Sunday!

   

Bullet Sunday 613

Posted on Sunday, May 26th, 2019

Dave!It's a fine day in Westeros... because a special Game of Thrones edition of Bullet Sunday starts... now...

As I mentioned last week, I thought that the series finale of Game of Thrones was "Seven years of complex characters and world-building tossed away for a rushed and unsatisfying conclusion." And further thought on the matter hasn't changed my mind. The series showed exceptional moments of brilliance for years, then fell apart... badly... in the final act.

Drogon Goes Postal!

So let's talk about that, shall we?

BUT BEFORE YOU PROCEED, A WARNING... I am spoiling everything, so if you have any interest whatsoever in the show and may want to watch it one day, better get on that before proceeding.

Spoiler Zone!

Alrighty then. Final warning... because spoilers abound.

I don't know what I expected in the final season, but it sure wasn't this mess. A friend on Facebook called it "...a boring wet fart of an ending," and that kinda sums it up for me. So much time, patience, and care taken to set things up and then... poof... nuthin.

No final showdown between Cersei and Arya. No payoff to Bran's whole three-eyed-raven ordeal. A rushed, shoe-horned, sub-par conclusion to the Night King drama. Characters shoved aside, discarded, then shit on. It just goes on and on.

Right up until the very end I was hoping that something... anything would materialize to salvage this awful season. In the week before Episode 6 I remember thinking... "Say! Maybe the first five episodes didn't happen and it's just Bran looking into the future to see how things turn out? Maybe we'll come back and find that he has decided that Cersei should get the throne because her unborn child will one day bring the lasting peace and prosperity that The Seven Kingdoms so desperately needs? Yeah. Maybe that's how it will go!" But, of course, that was just too much to hope for.

Since the entire show was made powerful by its characters, I've decided to present my thoughts on Season 8 along those lines. So without further ado...

   
• Tyrion. The smartest character in the show had some pretty dumb moments in Season 8, but remained the smartest character on the show when it came to taking out Dany and laying out the future of Westeros at the end. But I can honestly say that the reason I was okay with how his character closed out the series was not because of how the character was written, it was entirely because of how Peter Dinklage performed the material. I was a huge fan long before Game of Thrones came along, and to see him in a role that will get him the recognition he deserves is the most satisfying thing to come out of this season (or any season, really). If he is not winning all the awards this year, it will be a horrendous injustice.

   
• Bran. He spent years developing amazing abilities that one assumed would all be leading to something. But they were completely ignored. At the battle with the Night King he warged into ravens and flew around surveying the fighting, but nothing was done with the information, essentially making him a VCR recording events. I kept waiting for him to warg into Drogon and stop the madness of Dany’s brutal attack on King’s Landing, but it never happened. That being said, I certainly wasn’t upset with him becoming king... not just because of all the reasons Tyrion laid out... but because he was one of the least horrible characters left.

   
• Arya. By far my favorite character on the show, Arya was given years of training and a mission. When she killed the Night King and saved the world, it wasn’t so she could be a hero, it was because the Night King was the way of her revenge. So what happens when she finally gets the opportunity? She is scared away by bricks falling out of a wall. This has to be the most inexcusably, lame, shitty example of lazy character abandonment that I’ve ever seen. Her decision to see what’s “West of Westeros” at the end was about the only sensible thing left for her after she was discarded from the show in such a stupid manner. And don’t even get me started on her being unfulfilled as a character until she slept with Gendry. Really? No women in the writer’s room when this was thought up?

   
• Sansa. Wants The North to be a separate kingdom she can rule because the Men of the North have kneeled enough and should never be made to kneel again. Then has all the Men and Women of The North kneel as she takes the throne? Sure. Okay. Whatever. I actually liked the way that Sansa’s character progressed. She endured great hardship to become smarter and stronger, ultimately going from naive window dressing to a wise and crafty ruler for her people. I wouldn’t have minded if she ended up on The Iron Throne, but never thought it felt like her destiny. Personally, I was hoping that she would make some kind of great sacrifice in the final season. She somehow gives her life so the people of Westeros could live. That kind of thing. But having the consolation prize of her own independent kingdom is okay, I guess. Seems a bit silly though. If Sansa gets her own kingdom, then why not all the other houses too? The North sacrificed the most in the war against the Night King that they get special treatment? I dunno. Sounds like a forced happy ending so the three remaining Stark kids get happy endings. Lame.

   
• Jon. Of all the Stark’s, I found Jon’s ending to be the most satisfying. Especially since he was reunited with Ghost at the end (though why the direwolf would want anything to do with him after being so callously discarded earlier is beyond me). Ultimately he pretty much got what he deserved. That he ignored his banishment to the Night Watch to live beyond the wall with his Wildling friends is a curious decision, as that was part of the agreement that kept Grey Worm from obliterating as much as Westeros as he could manage. Wanna bet he also ignores the mandate that he doesn’t marry or father children? Here’s hoping that Grey Worm doesn’t care about keeping up with events across the Narrow Sea, or Bran’s rule may be a short one.

   
• Daenerys. There are those who say that anybody who didn’t see her complete collapse into madness and violence coming wasn’t paying attention. I could not disagree more. Yes, she was ruthless TO HER ENEMIES and became a cold and calculating ruler... but she pretty much had to be to get out of the situation she was in. And I get that aspect of her character. But to brutally murder the innocent people of King’s Landing in the most gruesome way possible? Really? That goes against everything she was shown to be working towards for seven seasons. And then to twist is at the very end and make her seem like she was PMS bat-shit crazy with her ranting about how Cersei made her kill all those people... after they had clearly surrendered? How many women were in the writer’s room for that nonsense? I never wanted Dany on the Iron Throne. But to have her character be abandoned and shit on like this after giving her the strength to escape from a horrible beginning? Shameful. Not that she would have been a great leader after how stupid they made her. Seriously? No advanced scouts to see what's happening at Dragonstone before you march your entire army back? She deserved to lose yet another dragon and have her army beat to shit for that bit of dumbassery. At least she learned how to fly low then high then low then high to avoid the scorpion crossbows for the rematch, so she's not a total dumbass. But still a pretty big one.

   
• Drogon. So... smart enough to melt the Iron Throne in a “If mommy can’t have it, nobody can” kinda way... but not smart enough to figure out what happened and avenge her death? Did he think that the Iron Throne stabbed her? Okay then. Still pissed that Bran never got to warg into Drogon (how awesome would that have been?) but it’s implied that may yet happen... COMPLETELY OFF-SCREEN! Blergh.

   
• Cersei. I read somewhere that Lena Headly got paid $1 million per episode for Season 8. Then they took her character... one of the most complex, tragic, powerful, and systematically evil to ever grace a television screen... and had her stare out a fucking window. Then, as if that weren’t insult enough, they discarded her as an idiot and spineless moron who got buried by rocks. One of the most wasted opportunities of the show. I wanted my showdown between Arya and Cersei where she would have at least gotten some juicy material to go out on.

   
• Jaime. Why didn’t they just kill him off in Season 7? He was completely and totally wasted in Season 8.

   
• Brienne. Good Lord. One of the most badass women characters on the show, and yet she suffered the same pathetic fate as all the other badass women on the show... discarded. One minute she’s a brave and fearless knight who is the very definition of a character defying stereotypes... then the next minute she’s a sobbing wreck of an abandoned girlfriend who lost her virginity to a love she could never have. Seriously. Not ONE woman in the writer’s room for this garbage? I guess they thought tossing her a bone as Lord Commander of the Kingsguard would make fans happy. But could fans of her character ever be happy with how things turned out for her? Not even if they made her Queen. Pathetic.

   
• Tormund. An interesting character with so many possibilities ultimately relegated to background material for Jon Snow to be an idiot. Great. Just great. I know I’m not the only one who hoped that he would end up with The Large Woman. What’s so cool is that they didn’t make him an obsessive weirdo about it though. He wanted to be with Brienne, she didn’t reciprocate, he and his broken heart moved on. You know, like a sane person.

   
• Melisandre. One of the few women who actually got a satisfying conclusion, her exit from the show was everything you could possibly want. The job she was preparing to take on for centuries was done, what else was there? Free from the dictates of the Lord of Light at last.

   
• Samwell. To make him such a key background player for so long only to have him be shoved aside after revealing Jon’s lineage seemed like such an inexplicable move. That was what his entire arc was leading to this whole time? That’s it? I mean, sure, as the last remaining Tarly he gets that house, but there’s nothing to indicate he’s going to be remotely competent as a leader. On the contrary, his bumbling and misplaced compassion will probably just lead to even further ruin. Like so many other characters, Samwell was thrown (throne?) a bone that makes no sense at all.

   
• Gendry. The guy I ultimately wanted to sit on the Iron Throne because I always thought he was the most deserving of it. I guess giving him the lordship of Storm’s End was a nice consolation prize... but the pining after Arya was a silly-ass thing to inject into the character.

   
• Missandei. One could argue that Missandei was what kept Dany’s sanity in check, and losing her was the last straw leading to madness, but that’s a huge disservice to both characters. Okay, characters needed to die to illustrate that war isn’t pretty. I get that. And so far as deaths go on Game of Thrones, she got a pretty good one. But was she always nothing more than a fucking grenade pin to the writers after all these years? Once again, where were the women writers on this fucking show?

   
• Grey Worm. His character may have been disappointing, but at least he was consistent right to the end. But then everything changed. It’s as if the writers suddenly realized that there were all these Unsullied and Dothraki hanging around on Westeros, and didn’t know what to do with them. Packing up their shit and headed back to Essos was always in the cards, but it’s as if no real thought went into how that might happen. If you asked me what would happen to Grey Worm in Season 7, I’d tell you that after the war he returns to Essos with Missandei and becomes a great and just ruler for his people. But after Season 8 where he became a psychopath who was “just acting on orders?” I hope to God when he gets back home that there’s a better alternative than him to run things. I mean, holy shit!

   
• Lyanna Mormont. Of all the characters on the show, this right here is the one that really put my love for all things Game of Thrones over the top. As the ruler of Bear Island, she was wise and brave beyond her years, which was a lot of fun to watch. I actually think her death in the Battle of Winterfell was pretty good, but boy oh boy would I have loved to have her be at that final council to determine the future of Westeros!

   
• Davos. The best smuggler of the Seven Realms became Master of Ships. Alrighty then.

   
• Theon. He went out a hero buying Arya enough time to arrive and save the world, so what more could you ask? His life was pretty much at a dead-end and he knew it. That he decided to bravely be where he was most needed even though it was a suicide mission ties up his redemption arc in exactly the right way.

   
• Euron. Make no mistake... I wanted the asshole dead... but how about in a way that made any sense at all? One minute he’s fighting on the water out in the middle of nowhere, then he unleashes hereunto unknown Aquaman-like swimming powers to make it to shore for a lame battle with Ser Jaime. Hardly the brutal end he deserved.

   
• Yara. Gets to be queen of the Iron Islands after every man in the way was killed off for her. I’m not saying she didn’t earn it... on the contrary, she was clearly the best person for the job... but once again we have this inexplicable decision to take strong female characters and discard them. How fucking hard is it to let strong female characters keep being strong female characters? How much more satisfying would it have been... how fucking easy would it have been... to establish that some asshole pretender to the throne was in power, and Yara was heading back to the Iron Islands to take the throne she deserves and have that be her final scene? Not one woman writer in the room to suggest sending her off in a way that befit the character? Not one?

   
• The Hound & The Mountain. They went out the only way they really could have, really. About the only deaths on the show that made total sense to me.

   
• Podrick. At least Ser Pod got to be a knight. A knight responsible for pushing King Bran the Broken’s wheelchair, but still a knight. I guess.

   
• Lord Varys. Let’s face it... his death was merely regret fodder for Tyrion and nothing more. And that’s okay. Some characters are there merely to serve as building blocks for other characters. And they gave him a pretty cool “death by dragonfire” exit, so I can’t complain too much.

   
• Bronn. Apparently got the lordship he was promised... but was also inexplicably made Master of Coin? WTF?!? Oh well. At least we know that the brothels of King’s Landing will be operational in record time.

   
• Royce and Edmure. Kind of a pointless characters to keep around until the end, but I guess it’s not entirely unexpected that some would make it just because they weren’t worth killing off. Seeing Edmure make a fool of himself at the end-council was kinda satisfying, I suppose.

   
• Robin Arryn. It took me a minute to figure out that the young guy at the council was, in fact, that creepy kid that was still breastfeeding at 13 years old (or whatever) ages ago. Apparently momma’s milk does a body good, because he actually looked quasi-normal here.

   
• Beric. I loved the character with his many lives and his flaming sword. And while I was sad to see him go, I thought his end was actually pretty great. Melisandre said he had served his purpose (to save Arya so she could save the world), and that’s as good as it gets.

   
And that, dear Game of Bullets readers, is the end of that.

   
UPDATE: This video does a great job of getting into why the ending for Game of Thrones is so unsatisfying. Worth a watch...

   

AppleTV Made Worse

Posted on Friday, June 7th, 2019

Dave!I've made no bones about the fact that I am profoundly disappointed with AppleTV. The interface is utter shit, it's horribly unreliable, and all too many times I can't get my purchases to stream on the device (despite the fact that I can stream from every other media content provider with no issues).

Coming very soon is tvOS which will (hopefully) change things for the better.

Or, at the very least, have a far better interface so you're not forced to scroll through hundreds of titles to find what you want.

One of the apps that was supposed to make the AppleTV experience better was AppleTV: The App which is a hub that keeps track of where you're at in all your in-progress series and acts as a gateway to all the other apps by allowing your progress in those to be managed as well. It was a great, idea, in theory. The execution was not so great, however.

Ahead of tvOS, Apple pushed an update to The App. Functionally similar, it has a new look...

AppleTV Interface Review!

You know what else it has?

I might as well get this out of the way... IT HAS SHITTY FUCKING AUTO-PLAY TRAILERS NOW... AND THERE'S NO SETTING TO TURN IT OFF! Just like Netflix. I swear, Apple is intentionally setting out to make people hate them. Who wants to try to find something to watch when you're constantly being inundated with videos playing THAT YOU DON'T FUCKING WANT TO SEE? Remember MySpace pages with their autoplay music that everybody HATED?!? Leave it to Apple to bring it back as video autoplay that NOBODY WANTS. Steve Jobs must be rolling in his grave over Apple's non-stop parade of stupid shit. Apple makes me regret EVER having purchased anything from iTunes. I hope that TV shows get an equivalent of MoviesAnywhere so I can watched my purchased shows ANYWHERE ELSE. Holy shit what a waste.

An example. Let me take a look at the movies I got going on...

AppleTV Interface Review!

When all of a sudden... BAM! A fucking trailer starts playing while I'm looking at what's available...

AppleTV Interface Review!

Absolutely fucking infuriating. ILET ME FUCKING CHOOSE IF I WANT TO WATCH THE FUCKING TRAILER, YOU ASSHOLES! This is rage-inducing bullshit, and I cannot believe this is what Apple has become.

But let's move on, shall we? All screenshots are taken with my iPhone, so forgive me that they're not so great-looking.

The first thing I notice is that Apple has added a "Free Episodes" section to the main screen. No clue where the episodes are coming from though. Banshee is courtesy of Cinemax. Does that mean that Cinemax is responsible for giving us free episodes? Or is Apple paying a license? What?

AppleTV Interface Review!

In the example of Banshee, above, I already own all four seasons, so if I want to watch the show, it's not "free," it's something I paid for. But maybe Apple knows I own them and that's where they are pulling the "free" from? Oh look... they are also available from Amazon Prime Video, which I also have. Again, I pay for it, so it's not really free, but okay? Maybe they are talking about getting a free trial of Cinemax then? Absolutely no clue...

AppleTV Interface Review!

Interesting to note that they are trying to sell me Banshee when I already own it. What the heck is that about? Maybe when I click through it will refresh and show that I already bought it? Nope...

AppleTV Interface Review!

But surely when I click on a season, AppleTV will know that I bought it, right? Nope...

AppleTV Interface Review!

WTF?!? So I call up the series to verify that I do, in fact, own it. And I do. But AppleTV is fucking brain-dead and doesn't seem to understand that when I bought The Complete Collection of all four seasons, I own all four seasons. If I somehow forgot that I bought the collection, Apple was happy to take my money on individual seasons, thus charging me twice. Wow. So the Apple app which is supposed to keep track of everything for you can't even keep track of the shit you purchased direct from Apple. Sounds about right...

AppleTV Interface Review!

Anyway... back to the free stuff showing up which I have no idea where it's coming from...

Ooh! Look! Another Cinemax favorite... Strike Back! This Richard Armitage series is kinda famous for killing off Richard Armitage in the first episode of the second season. They then brought in a pair of new leads (Philip Winchester and Sullivan Stapleton) to take over the show. And that's them right there in the poster image... FOR SERIES ONE, EPISODE ONE?!??...

AppleTV Interface Review!

They didn't even exist in the first season! The first series was all about Richard Armitage! Maybe it was a mistake on the home screen? Surely they have it correct once you click through? Except... nope... they are calling Season One, Season Two, and completely forgetting that there was actually a season that existed before this one...

AppleTV Interface Review!

And that about sums up the latest revision of AppleTV: The App... everything it's SUPPOSED to be smart about... keeping track of what you're watching... knowing what you own and what services you subscribe to so it can give you the best option for watching what you want to watch... and knowing about the shows it manages so you can do amazing things LIKE START WITH THE FIRST EPISODE OF THE FIRST SEASON OF A SERIES... it fails at completely.

And so I guess I can just go on ignoring The App as I have been since it debuted then. Except... it still might be handy from time to time because finding the stuff I want to watch is inexplicably difficult using the dedicated "Movies" and "Television" apps. If only there was a way to turn off those fucking autoplay previews! Except... nope...

AppleTV Interface Review!

GOOD LORD APPLE IS SHIT AT JUST ABOUT EVERYTHING NOW-A-DAYS! I hope to God that the tvOS 13 update is better than the AppleTV: The App update. Though that's probably hoping for too much given what we've had to suffer through over the past eight years (R.I.P. Steve!).

   
Just so I don't have to end this on a sour note. Let me try to find something positive to say.

Something that appears new to me is that "Cast & Crew" links when you pop into details on the series. As an example, here's the awesome TV series Limitless...

AppleTV Interface Review!

Clicking on Jake McDorman's face shows me other stuff he's been in... without having to call up IMDB. Nice...

AppleTV Interface Review!

Of course God only knows whether or not clicking on any of those will encourage you to buy something you already own... so even my attempt at finding something nice to say is an attempt bound to end in failure.

I simply do not understand how Apple can continue to slide like this. Because surely they realize there's a problem, right? Surely they have people working there who takes a look at their crap during development to let them know when stuff is badly designed or not functioning correctly? RIGHT?!?

I'm beginning to seriously doubt it.

Or maybe they do and people like Jony Ivy and Tim Cook just don't fucking listen to them. That would explain a lot.

Until tvOS 13 then...

   

Bullet Sunday 615

Posted on Sunday, June 9th, 2019

Dave!The time for revolution is now... because an all new Bullet Sunday starts... now...

   
• Lander! In celebration of the 50th Anniversary of the first Apollo Moon Landing, LEGO has released this amazing new set...

LEGO Moon Lander Set!

It's pretty dope...

LEGO Moon Lander Set!

LEGO Moon Lander Set!

LEGO Moon Lander Set!

LEGO Moon Lander Set!

It's also $99, which seems totally worth it, if you've got that kind of money to burn.

   
• Saga! Speaking of LEGO... they've just announced that LEGO Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga will be released in 2020, combining all nine films in a single game...

I'm guessing that it will be the existing Star Wars games but with new material added at the end to close out the saga. Since it is being released for the Nintendo Switch, I don't mind that at all. I'd love to replay everything from the beginning.

   
• Lucifer! One of my favorite shows, Lucifer was cancelled, then picked up by Netflix. Apparently it did well enough that they are giving the show a fifth season to wrap everything up...

Lucifer Season 5!

Time to celebrate...

Lucifer Season 5!

It's a bit depressing that the show will finally be ending... but at least they have the opportunity to create an actually ending.

   
• Eighty-Four! Director Patty Jenkins released a teaser poster for Wonder Woman 84 this week. One year to go before we know whether this "Not A Sequel But a Reimagining" is going to be worth a crap...

Wonder Woman 84!

I'd like to think it will be, especially since Jenkins is back onboard, but it's really impossible to say. Why they would toss away a continuing story for some kind of soft reboot is puzzling. Unless it's because the DC Cinematic Universe was a pile of shit and they wanted to just bury that once and for all? 360-whatever days until we find out.

   
• Jedi Thrones! Well, this is pretty special...

Given what a massive disappointment the final season of Game of Thrones was, I'm happy to see anything that redeems the franchise, so I'll take what I can get. In the meanwhile, there's this interesting look at how things went South.

   
• Chase Dreams! One of the biggest surprises of the past year's television season was The Other Two, which was hilariously funny in places, despite kinda sliding late in the season...

Still, if you're bored and want something to watch over the summer, this is worth a look. It's pretty foul and definitely not a good fit for mixed company, but you can stream it for a limited time at Comedy Central.

   
• Fan! A bit of a different direction for MUNA here...

Can't wait for their new album in September!

   
Have a great Sunday!

   

Bullet Sunday 616

Posted on Sunday, June 16th, 2019

Dave!Okay, the time for revolution wasn't then after all, it's now... maybe... because an all new Bullet Sunday starts... now...

   
• Too! As a huge Miley Cyrus fan, I was very much looking forward to her episode in the new Black Mirror mini-season (just three episodes). I was not disappointed. Not only was her episode hilarious in all the right ways, it was surprisingly upbeat. Usually Black Mirror is about as dystopian bleak as it gets, but Rachel, Jack and Ashley Too? Not so much...

Miley plays "Ashley O," a huge pop star who ends up with a robotic doll that her fans can buy...

I don't know who was responsible for designing that robot, but it is the best thing ever. And it's tough to tell you exactly why that's the case without spoiling anything, so I will stay silent. Except to say that "Ashley O" has released a video for her awesome song On a Roll (a parody on Nine Inch Nails' Head Like a Hole)...

If you're a Black Mirror fan, you've probably already seen this. If not (and you have Netflix), this is the episode to watch. Especially the final third, which is genius.

   
• Jones! On the opposite end of the spectrum is the third (and final) season of Netflix's Jessica Jones, the last of their Marvel Studio tie-ins...

What can I say? It was 100% crap from start to finish. Instead of focusing on Jessica Jones, it got mired in endless bullshit centered around the supporting characters. NEWSFLASH: Nobody gives a shit about Hogarth, Trish, Malcolm, Zaya, Dorothy, Kith, Costa, or anybody else who isn't Jessica Jones. Especially when they are this boring. SUPPORTING CHARACTERS ARE SUPPOSED TO SUPPORT THE MAIN CHARACTER! The only supporting character who didn't irritate me because they actually had an interesting role that moved Jessica Jones' story forward was Erik Gelden. Surprisingly, they managed to retool the lame "Mind-Wave" from the comics and use him to good effect.

Originally I was sad that Netflix canceled all of their Marvel shows, but this lame-ass season (featuring a laughably absurd arc for Trish Walker) has me reconsidering. If this was what we were in for, maybe cancelation was for the best.

   
• Park! Welp, the new Jurassic Park LEGO sets are amazing...

Another LEGO mining for Samuel L. Jackson!

   
• Memorial. I had never seen this before...

Remarkable.

   
• America by Gaslight! An essential read.

   
• Katzenjammers! And now I close out this Bullet Sunday with one of the weirdest things you'll see all week...

Cats don't need any help being weird, but this certainly shows it's possible to make them even weirder than they already are.

   
And, on that note of the utterly bizarre, I'll see you next Sunday.

   

How Do You Do, Fellow Kids?

Posted on Tuesday, June 18th, 2019

Dave!My Tuesday felt more like Monday than Monday did.

Today while I was mocking the Democrats on Facebook over their laughably stupid campaign to attract young people to their ranks, I ran across that infamous 30 Rock meme where Steve Buscemi's character is playing an undercover cop in high school (ala 21 Jump Street)...

 Steve Buscemi Fellow Kids!

This caused me to fall down an internet rabbit hole of 30 Rock clips, including the one where the above meme came from...

I mean, come on, it's just so insanely brilliant.

The talent that went into this scene... not only in front of the camera, but behind it with the writing and wardrobe... makes me really miss 30 Rock. What Tina Fey, Tracy Morgan, Jane Krakowski, and Alec Baldwin managed to unleash week after week is about as close to television magic as it gets.

And, on that happy note, good evening to you, fellow kids.

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Strike Back’s Back!

Posted on Friday, June 21st, 2019

Dave!Somehow I was late hearing the news that Strike Back is getting a new and final season at Cinemax. In celebration, I started re-watching all the old episodes that I didn't have a chance to re-watch before the last season ended back in March.

Strike Back is one of those rare shows that came back from cancelation with an entirely new cast... but somehow ending up being good anyway. Sure, I've got a soft spot in my heart for the original characters, but the show was still so good that I was happy to keep watching with the new ones...

Cast of Strike Back 2.0

So far as smart high-octane television goes, Strike Back (along with another Cinemax series, Banshee), is one of my favorites. The stories are all wildly implausible and totally insane... but it sure makes for good entertainment!

No idea what's going to take its place. Seems like all the new shows they come up with to replace great old shows that get canceled never measure up.

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Bullet Sunday 617

Posted on Sunday, June 23rd, 2019

Dave!The weekend's almost over, but there's still reason to celebrate... because an all new Bullet Sunday starts... now...

   
• McFlerfin! This is a terrific read on the dumbass flerfer (Flat Earther) movement.

   
• NOKEA! When I was in Seattle last week, I finally took a minute to drop by IKEA and pick up a nightstand for my second guest room so I don't have to steal one from the main guest room whenever somebody needs it. I swear... the quality on IKEA crap worsens with each new purchase. From when I bought these three years ago, they have gotten cheaper and less solid, even though the look is pretty much the same...

Jake in the second guest bedroom

But at least they gave me all the right parts so I could actually put the stupid thing together this time.

   
• Arturo! I thought I'd give Comedy Central's new show Alternatino a try after seeing Arturo Castro (who created and stars in it) on The Daily Show. It's nuts in the best possible way... and so good. And you can watch the entire thing on Youtube!

I have no idea if all the best ideas were put in the first episode and the rest of them are going to be crap, but I certainly hope not! Highly recommended.

   
• King's Man! The prequel to one of my favorite films, Kingsman (and not so-favorite film Kingsman 2: The Golden Circle), was just announced. Titled The King's Man, they released the logo for it. And the kerning (spacing between letters) is total shit. So I fixed it for them...

It's weird to me how these obvious mistakes keep happening. I mean, is it intentional? Surely they have actual designers working on this stuff... don't they? If so, then why don't they know to adjust the kerning when designing a logo? Or know how to structure it for clarity? I dunno. But it drives me more than a little nuts.

   
• Just in time for Pride Month! Diane Gramley (President at American Family Association of Pennsylvania) is such a peach. When she's not regularly equating homosexuality to murder, she's unleashing a whole host of bizarre bullshit. Like saying that the police officers who raided Stonewall in 1969 were trying to rescue a young transgender boy. “He was being used sexually and the police were trying to rescue him.”

Jesus.

She's a non-stop lying hate machine. Which begs the question... exactly what is she trying to distract people from in her own life? My guess is that it's putting pineapple on pizza, which is just one step below murder. But probably bestiality. "Everybody! Don't look at me... look over there! Persecute the gays so I can get fucked by this horse." What else makes sense when somebody is this overtly homophobic? So set your stopwatches. And when Diane Gramley gets caught in a stable being fucked by a horse, remember you heard it here first!

   
• No More Mr. Frosty! Does anybody know if there's a vaccine to inoculate against the bubonic plague and all the other dormant diseases that might be filling our atmosphere as I type this? No? Guess we're all fucked then.

   
And I guess that's a wrap. Good luck with that bubonic plague thing!

   

She’s Madonna

Posted on Monday, June 24th, 2019

Dave!I have a vivid recollection of when Madonna first started entering public consciousness. My brother was a fan and started buying all her singles and maxi-singles (in retrospect, I think he liked her look more than her music). I didn't think much of her self-titled debut album when it dropped in 1983 and told him that she was a flash-in-the-pan who couldn't possibly last. She'd be yet another forgotten pop-star wannabe on a pile of forgotten pop-star wannabes.

Who knew?

Over the years Madonna has reinvented herself numerous times. Some of her iterations are ones I actually enjoy. I've seen her in concert twice. I own several of her concert films because she puts on a good show. I am one of the few who really liked her song for the Bond flick Die Another Day. I thought she was perfect in A League of Their Own.

And through it all... love her or hate her... the one thing that's been consistent when it comes to Madonna is that she never stops being Madonna.

Never has this been more clear to me than with her recent interview on Graham Norton. There she was, all arogant and detached from reality with her jeweled grills on her teeth and her eyepatch that's not actually covering her eye being all Madonna and stuff, when it occurred to me just how far gone from the rest of humanity she has become...

Except...

The first single Medellín (with Columbian artist Maluma) from her new album Madame X is pretty great (I skipped past her weird minute-long intro)...

This time around, Madonna seems to have reinvented herself as a cross between a naughty pirate and a dancing headmistress at a Catholic school. Or something.

But who am I to judge? She's the one who's Madonna.

   

Bullet Sunday 618

Posted on Sunday, June 30th, 2019

Dave!Grey skies are going to clear up... because an all new Bullet Sunday starts... now...

   
• Hard Rockin'! Life is weird. I'm flipping through channels and see Suicide Squad is on. Not a fan, but I pause when I see Batman chasing Joker and Harley Quinn because they pass by a Hard Rock Cafe. I'm pretty sure it's Toronto (which has since closed) so I Google to find out what's happened to the location. I find an article on CBC talking about it.

I AM INTERVIEWED IN THE ARTICLE...

HRC Nottingham

I vaguely remember somebody calling me, but I gave them a better name to talk to, and thought that was the end of it. Turns out... nope... I'm in the article and didn't even know it.

   
• Angels! And so they're remaking Charlie's Angels, yet again. First there was the original TV show, then the Drew Barrymore films, then the awful TV show revival, and now yet another series of films...

Meh. Maybe. Seems like the main trio is a little low on star-power for a movie. Interesting that there are three actors for Bosley listed at IMDB: Patrick Stewart, Djimon Hounsou, and Elizabeth Banks (who also directs).

   
• Break! Okay... I am really liking this new show called Reef Break. I expected to like it just because Poppy Montgomery is the star of the series, but it's interesting and well-written on top of that...

I wish they would have just set it in Hawaii instead of some fictional island. But with Hawaii Five-O and Magnum P.I. already there, maybe they were worried about Hawaii fatigue?

   
• Grand! I like an occasional dip into trashy television, which is why I was intrigued by Grand Hotel... the new ABC show Executive Produced by Eva Longoria...

The first two episodes are pretty decent. Full of mysteries, secrets, and intrigue. The problem is that shows like this usually blow all their best ideas early, then whither away as crappy new ideas are rotated in. I guess we'll see if this one has legs.

   
• Letterman! Tiffany Haddish, whom I fell in love with after seeing her hilarious role on The Last O.G., is on an episode of David Letterman's My Next Guest Needs No Introduction. She is absolutely fascinating. I had no idea the incredible obstacles she had to overcome to get where she is today... and she's done it all with a humor that is luminous...

Remarkable. I love shows like this.

   
• Design! Jony Ive, the industrial designer who helped Steve Jobs reinvigorate Apple with such gems as the iMac, is leaving the company to start his own design group. Apple claims that Ive will still have Apple as a client, so apparently he will still be a guiding force in the design of Apple's wares. And that sucks. Ive is so focused on making everything pretty and thin now-a-days that he has forgotten that computers need to be functional. The keyboard on Ive's latest MacBooks is fucking garbage. My hope was that Apple would bring in somebody who gives a shit that you can actually use their products. I guess that's not going to happen. At least not yet.

In another interesting move at Apple, they just hired ARM's lead CPU architect, Mike Filippo. The rumor is that Apple is switching from Intel to ARM as soon as next year. Given how well it's worked out when Apple started designing their own chips for iPhones, iPads, AirPods and the like, this is probably a good move.

   
• Green! The Oregon "Cap and Invest" bill that Republicans were hiding from this last week is a bit complex. When I was trying to understand what was happening, all the articles I read said that there would be minimal impact on Oregon businesses, because the money collected would go back into helping the same businesses who are having to buy "energy credits" reduce their energy needs or switch to greener options. So it's designed to be a win-win for everybody. There are questions as to whether that would actually be the case. It's not like the corner coffee shop is going to suddenly face insurmountable increases in energy costs... businesses have to be producing 25,000 metric tons of CO2 for it to affect them... but the smaller businesses supplied by larger businesses would have higher costs passed on to them until the energy needs/supply is balanced. That could be a problem (hopefully only in the short-run). It's not the business-destroying Armageddon-painted scenario Republicans are selling (they get loads of money from the energy lobby, remember), but it's also not the cake-walk Democrats are selling. As with most thing, the story is in-between. The only difference being that the fate of all humanity is on the line here. Green energy is the future. The sooner we embrace that, the less painful it will be.

   
And now... time to draw up plans for a week of fun in the sun. See you next Sunday.

   

Armchair Dark Tourism

Posted on Tuesday, July 2nd, 2019

Dave!I've been consumed with work for the past week and will continue to be consumed by it until the holiday. It's just that time of year.

This is tough for a number of reasons, but mostly because I have no life outside of work for the month of June. About all I get to do is occasionally look through my Facebook feed and see how the other half live.

Today as I was waiting for a project to render so I could move on to the next project, I was scrolling through Facebook and happened across a photo of David Farrier and a cat...

David Farrier and a Cat
Photo by David Farrier on Facebook

Somehow this awesome cat staring back at me was just what I needed after yet another very bad day. It also inspired me to revisit David Farrier's Netflix show: Dark Tourist.

I mentioned a while ago that Dark Tourist has my favorite opening credits of all time...

If you're interested in the show (and you should be!), here's a trailer...

At least now I have something to watch as I work through the night tonight.

   

Bullet Sunday 619

Posted on Sunday, July 7th, 2019

Dave!It's a glorious day to be alive... because an all new Bullet Sunday starts... now...

   
• IN THE NEWS: Mississippi makes it a jailable offense to call plant-based or cultured-meat patties "burgers."

Seeing as how Mississippi ranks 49th out of the 50 states in education. Perhaps it's understandable that their state government thinks the populace is TOO FUCKING STUPID TO KNOW THAT A VEGGIE BURGER ISN'T MADE FROM A COW. But are they smart enough to know that a veggie dog isn't made from a dog or do hot dogs confuse them too?

   
• Ski! Somehow I missed this excellent short video on Jim Niehues, the guy responsible for painting so many of those ski run posters you see at all the resorts...

Incredible stuff.

   
• Dreaming! Any comic book series is going to have its ups and downs. A series which had less downs than usual was Neil Gaiman's Sandman. A complete reimagining of the cheesy DC Comics character...

My favorite thing to come out of the series was Sandman's sister, Death, as she appeared in the mini-series spin-offs by Gaiman Chris Bachalo...

Death: The High Cost of Living is easily one of my all-time favorite comic books.

And now comes the news that Netflix has commissioned a Sandman TV show. Despite the fact that Gaiman himself will be involved, I am more than a little nervous. The series seems all but unfilmable given the visual language of Sandman's world. And the stories are wildly tied to the medium they were created for, and I question how well they will translate to television. I hope it's good. I hope Death makes an appearance...

"A wizard attempting to capture Death to bargain for eternal life traps her younger brother Dream instead. Fearful for his safety, the wizard kept him imprisoned in a glass bottle for decades. After his escape, Dream, also known as Morpheus, goes on a quest for his lost objects of power."

   
• German! I ran across one of my favorite Trevor Noah's Between the Scenes the other day...

I mean, they're all good... but his wit is at its sharpest here.

   
• Mermaids! Disney has found their latest live-action princess when they cast Halle Bailey as Ariel in The Little Mermaid. She's incredibly talented and I know of her from appearing in Grown-ish (the TV spin-off from Black-ish)...

Halle Bailey
Photo by Evan Agostini

Disney, being the savvy company they are, cast who they felt was best for bringing the character to life... regardless of race. She's a Grammy nominee, for heaven's sake. But of course the bigot brigade is all #NotMyAriel because the idea of a fictional half-fish girl being played by a Person of Color is just too much for their tiny brains to process. Time will tell If Bailey will make a good Ariel. Personally I am trusting Disney on this. But holy crap... give the young woman a chance! They haven't even started filming yet! I sure hope she isn't bothered by all this nonsense.

   
• Plus Plus! Speaking of Disney... as if the Marvel and Star Wars series in development weren't enough reason to compel me to subscribe to the Disney+ streaming service when it debuts later this year, now they've got a new series called Life and Deaf in development with one of my all-time favorite actors, Marlee Matlin. Somebody at Disney is very, very serious about competing with Netflix!

   
Have a great Sunday!

   

Hinterland and Cymraeg

Posted on Monday, July 8th, 2019

Dave!I have had Hinterland on my Netflix watch-list for a long time. Tonight I finally watched the first episode of the first series.

It's fantastic. Mostly due to the remarkable performance of lead Richard Harrington. You can feel the wheels turning any time he's on screen...

Granted, I'm only half-way through the first season, but I'm sure liking this show. The atmosphere they've created permeates every scene so the series feels more "real" than most.

What's interesting about this show (other than how good it's been) is that every scene is filmed twice... once in English and once in Welsh (which is called "Cymraeg" in the Welsh language). I did a YouTube search to watch some of the Cymraeg scenes and it's amazing how all these actors have to essentially perform the same show twice. And since Hinterland looks so grueling and demanding of the actors, I can't imagine how difficult that must be...

I'm sure they use all kinds of tricks to make the show affordable. In the scene above where he destroys a kitchen, for example, they were careful to make sure there was no dialogue so they only had to shoot it once. If he had said "I hate my life!" while smashing the dishes, they would have had to buy all new dishes, clean the set, then reset the scene so he could say "Rwy'n casáu fy mywyd!" for the Welsh version.

Here's the trailer in Welsh...

I first learned about Wales and the Welsh language in anticipation of my visit to the beautiful Hard Rock Cafe in Cardiff (Caerdydd). Cymraeg is a fascinating language which is estimated to be spoken by less than a million people around the globe. Most people have probably only ever heard of it on viral YouTube videos where people are pronouncing very long Welsh words...

Before wrapping up this post, I'd be remiss if I didn't post a link to one of my favorite comedy bits by Welsh comedian Rhod Gilbert...

Happy Monday, everybody!

   

Bullet Sunday 620

Posted on Sunday, July 14th, 2019

Dave!I'd rather be anywhere else today, but escape is not in the cards... because an all new Bullet Sunday starts... now...

   
• MADness! It was announced this past week that MAD magazine will end its original-content run with the August 2019 issue. After that, it's all reprints with new covers that will only be available by subscription or in comic shops. Despite not having picked up an issue in years, this is more than a little sad to me, because MAD was a huge part of my past. I bought occasional issues in the latter-half of the 1970's, but became a MAD addict after the December 1978 issue (the Star Wars musical parody issue)...

I purchased every single issue from No. 203 through No. 250, at which time I went back to only buying issues that had material I was interested in. I also purchased every reprint book I could get my hands on, scouring the local News Agency to obtain as many as I could find by my favorite MAD contributors... like Al Jaffe, Sergio Aragonés, Don Martin, and Dave Berg... and, of course, Antonio Prohías, who was the guy behind Spy vs. Spy. It's not just my favorites that are burned into my brain... contributors like Mort Drucker, Dick DeBartolo, and Jack Davis did a huge amount of work for the magazine and were a big influence on how I saw the world.

   
• Mushu? A gorgeous trailer dropped for the live-action version of Mulan...

It looks like Disney put some serious money into this remake! But where's Mushu? Is Eddie Murphy coming back to voice Mulan's dragon? Is Mushu even going to BE in the film? I will be sorely disappointed if he is not. Characters like that are what make it a Disney movie.

   
• Blown Away! I've never blown glass myself, but I love the art of it and I've been to many, many glassblowing shops. Including my idol Dale Chihuly's shop in Tacoma (and many of his installations) plus I've traveled to the "glassblowing island" of Murano in Venice so I could see the famous shops there as well. I love glass and have circled the globe to see the best of it. So you can imagine how excited I was when I learned that Netflix was developing a show called Blown Away...

Fortunately it's a show like Forged in Fire where the focus of the series is on the artistry rather than the shitty manufactured personal drama (ala Ink Master), which makes it fun to watch. The contestants are pretty great... the massive 10-furnace facility they built to host the show is amazing... some of the pieces are truly remarkable.... and the tension and drama from breakage is high. I do have some problems, however... A) Why aren't there enough tools for everybody that they have to wait for somebody to finish at a critical juncture? Also find it strange that they have to share hot-boxes. B) I don't get how the host got this gig. What experience does he have in order to be qualified to weigh in on the judging? According to his site, he's a professional rollerblader and organic chemist? WTF? C) Why can't we hear the judges deliberate? This would go a long way towards understanding their decisions. D) Why the time limit for a GLASS art competition? I'd much rather give them enough time that they can take risks and not be finished if they break late in the game.

Despite all that, Blown Away is still a great show if you love glass... or art... or demonstrations of skill.

   
• Blank! Netflix keeps blowing up their original entertainment, and Blown Away is not the only thing that's new this week... we also got a movie called Point Blank, a remake of a French film starring Anthony Mackie and Frank Grillo...

The concept is good. Mackie and Grillo are good. And money was spent on getting the action scenes right. Which is why I'm kinda puzzled as to why I feel so "meh" about the film. Perhaps because the most memorable thing about it was some truly bizarre 80's music choices. I guess I'm glad I watched it, but it didn't really grab me as I would have expected.

   
• Aziz! And Netflix isn't done there! They also released a new stand-up special by one of my favorite comedians, Aziz Ansari...

Aziz Ansari on Netflix

I'm not going to lie, it was an awkward show to watch. Aziz addressed the sexual misconduct allegations which were brought against him at the very beginning. But not really. He more "acknowledged" it than really "addressed" it. But he does seem sincere about having regrets and having learned something, so I guess that's better than nothing. From there Aziz goes on to deliver a varied set covering a range of topics, and most of it is pretty funny. What's not so funny is his delivery, which is subdued and kinda sad as he sits on a stool and sometimes speaks so quietly you can barely hear him. This is a wild departure from his previous stand-up specials which were crackling with energy... but he has moments of poignancy which wouldn't have worked otherwise, so I guess it was necessary. If you're a fan, Aziz Ansari: Right Now is worth a look. But don't expect what you've been conditioned to expect from him.

   
• Tacumentary! Last up on my parade of new Netflix shows? Las Crónicas del Taco. A documentary film on one of my favorite dishes... tacos! This trailer is in Spanish, but the documentary series has subtitles in English and French available...

Even though I'm a vegetarian, I still found this meat-based-documentary series to be fascinating. And depressing at times when brief glimpses of the animals are shown, because the conditions they are kept is not ideal. And with six different episodes exploring the history and preparation of six different style of tacos... Pastor (shepherd-style pork), Carnitas (slow-cooked pork), Canasta (basket-stacked tacos), Asada (grilled beef), Barbacoa (barbecue pit-style), and Guisado (stew)... there's more than enough taco here for your viewing pleasure. Worth a look if you're a foodie... or even if you're not, really.

   
• IN THE NEWS: TRUMP TAX PLAN LEADS TO $54 BILLION DECLINE IN CHARITABLE GIVING. "Many Americans want to give generously to charities, but they may not be able to afford to do so now with the changes implemented in the 2018 tax law." — The charity I work with knew that there would be a hit. Nobody had any idea it would be this bad. What's so horrible is that many charities fill in the gaps for people who are just trying to survive. As more and more people lose government assistance thanks to Trump Administration cuts, the number of people who will rely on charities increases... all while donations to these charities decreases. It's a recipe for disaster. But, hey... billionaires got tax cuts so they could gold-plate the toilets on their private jets, and that's what's important, right?

   
• Boys from the Dwarf! If the truth be told, Red Dwarf went on longer than it should have. Things started to go downhill with Series VI, and everything that came after that was really hit or miss. But, man, those early seasons are some of my most favorite television ever, so I'm always glad to see "The Boys from the Dwarf" again... even if it's just in a commercial...

And now I want to go back and watch the show all over again.

   
Bon Voyage, my Sunday bullets.

   

Maybe Yesterday

Posted on Wednesday, July 17th, 2019

Dave!I've taken to blogging in the early mornings before I go to work instead of late evenings when I'm done with work. It's not been working out for me. How am I to comment on my day's events when I have barely started the day? And so... I will probably go back to late-night blogging, even though I'm usually so tired that all I want to blog about is how tired I am.

In the meanwhile though? Here was my yesterday!

Last year when I learned I needed to keep my blood sugars intact, I started walking to work so I can still eat bread and pasta. It's a short walk... 7 to 9 minutes... and I've come to really enjoy it. It's a chance to plug and clear my head, which is something that's kinda rare these days. The good news is that switching to Coke Zero and walking has been working for me. I had a great checkup with my doctor, and everything is going well. And so... more bread and pasta.

On yesterday's walk I was assaulted by a rose that was reaching outside its garden fence...

Rose on my Walk

Rose on my Walk

You don't get nice surprises like that driving a car.

But the bigger surprise was later that evening when I made guacamole for the first time. It was Taco Tuesday and a nice chunky guac as a topper was exactly what I needed...

Rose on my Walk

It was phenomenal. And perfectly chunky enough for tacos (and chips!). And easy.

But not as pain-free as I was expecting.

In order to eliminate waste, I've been making a lot of changes in my house. Instead of buying single-use products like plastic wrap, I've been using something more sustainable or learning to live without it. I have one roll of Saran Wrap left and, at the slower rate I'm using the stuff, it should last me the rest of my life. And I've not stopped there. I've bought my last box of plastic straws. I've switched to reusable grocery bags. I'm transitioning from poly to paper wherever I can.

And I've eliminated single-use latex gloves from everywhere except my emergency kits.

The latex gloves I used to wear while chopping jalapeño peppers.

I (foolishly) thought that if I just washed my hands after cutting the peppers for my guac that everything would be fine.

As I found out later that night while falling asleep watching television, things did not turn out fine.

I reached up to rub my eyes and... ZOMG! THE BURNING!!! From the level of pain I was experiencing, you'd have thought that I squeezed a full jalapeño in my face. I can safely say that now I know what it feels like to be doused in pepper spray. It hurt a little bit when my eyes were closed... it was excruciating when my eyes were open. I have no idea why washing my hands didn't prevent this, but now I know better. I had tried some reusable kitchen gloves but they were too thick to work easily, so I guess next time I'll use a towel or a piece of wax paper or something.

Because... yowie.

One other thing that happened yesterday? The 2019 Emmys nominations were announced. For some inexplicable reason Game of Thrones, on its worst season ever, managed to rack up 32. As you can probably tell from the wrap-up I wrote, I totally don't get it. Seven seasons of brilliant set-up that was rushed to a shitty, mind-bogglingly bad conclusion deserves 32 nominations? INCLUDING BEST WRITING?!? Um. No. About the only category I think they should win is Best Supporting Actor in a Drama Series, because Peter Dinklage was still exceptional. He was making all the stupid be entertaining right up until the very end. He won last year, so I'm not sure he'll get it, but I sure hope so.

There was a pleasant surprise, however. Schitt's Creek, long one of the best shows on television, was nominated for Best Comedy Series. And the awesome Catherine O'Hara and Eugene Levy were nominated for respective Best Actress and Best Actor in a Comedy Series. Of course I think they should win, even though this season was not as good as the previous two seasons (when they really should have been winning all the awards). Alas, Emmy voters will probably give it to Fleabag (which probably deserves it) or Veep (because it's the final season) or The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel (which I don't like at all). If Schitt's Creek can't win it, I'd hope for Barry or Russian Doll, but those seem like longshots too.

I was happy to see My Dinner with Herve got nominated for Best Television Movie, even if Peter Dinklage wasn't nominated for Lead Actor in it (which he deserves).

If anybody is interested, I've put my picks for the major awards in an extended entry. If you're not interested, I'll see you tomorrow. Probably tomorrow evening.

→ Click here to continue reading this entry...

   

The Magic is Gone and So Is My Satellite

Posted on Friday, July 26th, 2019

Dave!I love television. And I watch a lot of it.

Though "watch" is probably an overstatement. For the most part I have television on while I work or do chores or write in this blog or whatever. It's just passive entertainment that gets a small portion of my attention while I focus on something more important. I record shows like this to my DVR, but don't care if I miss them. If my DVR gets too backed up, I'll delete them.

There are a few shows, however, which deserve every ounce of my attention... these are the shows that I am devoted to and don't want to miss a thing. Computer off. Center of the couch. Fully engaged with my television. I won't miss these shows for anything, and my entire world stops so I can enjoy them.

One of those shows is Penn & Teller: Fool Us.

I've loved magic since I was a kid, and seeing magicians try and fool celebrated magicians like Penn & Teller is everything I want in a television show. And on those rare occasions where a magician actually can fool them? That's my joy. If you've never seen the show, here's one of my favorite segments so you can get an idea about it...

Love love love it.

This past week I remembered that the latest episode of Penn & Teller: Fool Us was recorded on my DVR. I put away my laptop. I sat on my couch. I turned up the volume. I was ready to be amazed. I pressed the "play" button. And...

Well, shit.

Needless to say, I was enraged. One of the handful of shows I need to see, and there's some kind of price dispute between CBS and DirecTV making it "unavailable."

It's at this point that I realize how these blackouts are happening more and more often. And if it's not blackouts, it's threats of blackouts. Remember back in March when Comedy Central was on the chopping block?

And so... I'm done with this shit.

Not because there's a blackout. Again. But because every time this happens, DirecTV isn't paying the networks who are withholding their channels... BUT THEY ARE STILL CHARGING ME THE FULL AMOUNT OF MY BILL!

So I call DirecTV to cancel my service and the first thing they tell me is that I can get local channels "over the air" with an antennae they'll send me. I explain that I live in a remote area surrounded by mountains and don't get many channels "over the air" and the channel that Penn & Teller: Fool Us is on is NOT a local channel anyway.

DirecTV: "So is there anything I can do to get you to keep your service? Offer you a lower rate? Upgrade your channel package?"
   
ME: "Short of going back in time and crediting me money on every bill I paid when a channel blackout was in effect... since I wasn't getting everything I was paying for? No. There's nothing you can do."

Of course DIRECTV wants to offer me all kinds of discounts now that I'm cancelling. Where were they with their apology money the LAST SEVERAL TIMES there were channel blackouts? It's insulting that they want so badly to treat me right now that I'm leaving, but not when I was a customer. I will never understand why companies won't work to keep you a happy customer until you want to walk away. What business sense does that make?

And so...

I have Amazon Prime, Netflix, and Hulu already. I will still get HBO free with my AT&T wireless package. I will be adding Disney+ the minute it becomes available. I just signed up for Sling "Blue" service (with the "Lifestyle Extra" add-on so I can have DIY Network and Hallmark channels). Penn & Teller: Fool Us can stream for free on The CW app for my Apple TV. That will cover 90% of what I watch. I will add CBS All Access when there are shows I want to see. So I'm good. And I'm paying $25 less a month than I was with DirecTV.

Oh... and get this... if I pre-pay three months in advance for my Sling "Blue" service, they'll send me a FREE over-the-air antennae plus an AirTV Player! This allows me to integrate what few over-the-air channels I do get with my Sling service. The player alone is usually $120, so that's pretty sweet, even if I can't really take advantage of it because of where I live.

And so... the magic was gone, but now it's my satellite TV that's gone and my magic is back.

I guess that's a win? I'm gonna take it as a win.

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Television Cord-Free Update

Posted on Tuesday, July 30th, 2019

Dave!As I mentioned a few days ago, I got a free over-the-air antennae and an "AirTV Play" unit when I pre-paid the first three months of my Sling TV service in advance. I received the unit today and, as expected, I couldn't get any channels to show up. I live in a valley surrounded by hills and mountains, and the odds of picking up anything were slim. No big loss... it's not like the channel report I ran gave me even a prayer of getting a major network like ABC, NBC, or CBS. Just some weird local channels like "NCW Life" which I would never watch anyway, or a FOX affiliate that wouldn't give me anything I can't get streaming...

Oh well, the stuff was all free, so it was worth a shot.

So I guess I'm set.

Some shows on CBS I'm just out of luck on. I will have to wait until Star Trek: Discovery or The Good Fight or Star Trek: Picard is released so I'll be subscribing to CBS All-Access and can binge the archives then. Or perhaps they can be streamed from CBS online for free, I'll have to check...

  • Magnum PI (Though I love this show so much I'll probably just buy it from iTunes)
  • Mom
  • Survivor
  • Elementary (Ending after this season)
  • Young Sheldon (Which I can probably do without)
  • Instinct (Which I can probably do without)
  • The Late Show with Stephen Colbert (Which I can probably do without)
  • Bob ♥ Abishola (Coming this Fall)

There's also a few shows I can't seem to get on Sling Blue, Hulu, or Amazon Prime, but think I can stream online from the official websites.

  • Wolves and Warriors (Animal Planet)
  • Penn & Teller Fool Us (The CW)
  • The Blacklist (NBC, but not available on Hulu for some reason?)

The majority of my shows I can watch via Hulu or Sling Blue (with a couple coming free from the HBO Now which is bundled with my AT&T Wireless). Sling is preferred because I have their "Enhanced DVR" where I can fast-forward past commercials. But Hulu is just fine with commercials (because I don't want to pay extra to watch without them)...

  • Graham Norton Show (BBC — Sling)
  • Alternatino (Comedy Central — Sling)
  • South Park (Comedy Central — Sling)
  • The Daily Show (Comedy Central — Sling)
  • The Other Two (Comedy Central — Sling??? Maybe? Not showing up)
  • Hit Properties with Nathan Morris (DYI — Sling)
  • Family Guy (FOX — Sling)
  • Archer (FXX — Sling)
  • Love It or List It (HGTV — Sling)
  • Love It or List It Too (HGTV — Sling)
  • Home Town (HGTV — Sling)
  • Flip or Flop (HGTV — Sling)
  • Ink Master (Paramount — Sling)
  • Ink Master Angels (Paramount — Sling??? Maybe? Not showing up)
  • The Last OG (TBS — Sling)
  • Full Frontal (TBS — Sling)
  • RuPaul Drag Race (VH1 — Sling)
  • RuPaul Drag Race All-Stars (VH1 — Sling??? Maybe? Not showing up)
  • Barry (HBO — HBO Now)
  • Westworld (HBO — HBO Now)
  • Watchmen (HBO — HBO Now)
  • Last Week Tonight (HBO — HBO Now)
  • Vanderpump Rules (Bravo — Hulu)
  • The Orville (FOX — Hulu)
  • Reef Break (ABC — Hulu)
  • Grand Hotel (ABC — Hulu)
  • The Good Doctor (ABC — Hulu)
  • The Conners (ABC — Hulu)
  • The Rookie (ABC — Hulu)
  • The Masked Singer (ABC — Hulu)
  • Jimmy Kimmel Live (ABC — Hulu)
  • Rick & Morty (Cartoon Network Adult Swim — Hulu)
  • Top Chef (Bravo — Hulu)
  • Late Night Seth Meyers (NBC — Hulu)
  • New Amsterdam (NBC — Hulu)
  • Will & Grace (NBC — Hulu)
  • The Good Place (NBC — Hulu)
  • Saturday Night Live (NBC — Hulu)
  • The Tonight Show Jimmy Fallon (NBC — Hulu)

Yesterday I had to make a trip to The Big City to return some things for work... and to drop off my DirecTV receiver at FedEx. As I feared, they completely brick the thing once your service is canceled, so when I checked to see if the last show I had on my DVR was still there, I couldn't even get to the menu. I guess that's only fair. I was renting the box, and my rental contract ended Sunday at midnight, so I shouldn't be able to use it. But... damn. That's cold. You'd almost think it was MY fault that I had channels missing and was forced to cancel.

DirecTV receiver box with remote control and cables.

I guess there's no going back now!

Not that I'd want to. I'm still bitter over the expensive packages that cable companies and satellite companies have forced us to buy for decades... because more often than not they're filled with shitty channels you'll never watch, which means you're forced to pay more than you should. Thanks to the internet we're finally to the point where channels can be purchased individually... or at least in smaller packages... which make more sense. Hopefully in the future our television programming will get to the point where it's 100% ala carte, and you can pay for exactly the channels you want.

We can dream, can't we?

   

A Pricey Indulgence

Posted on Tuesday, August 6th, 2019

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

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

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

The Disney+ Logo

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

It's taken some getting used to though.

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

I gotta have my The Daily Show with Trevor Noah.

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

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

Sling Blue comes with The Travel Channel, after all.

   

Bullet Sunday 625

Posted on Sunday, August 18th, 2019

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

   

Disney+ at D23 2019

Posted on Friday, August 23rd, 2019

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Clone Wars Poster

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

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

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

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

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

Poster for Lady and the Tramp.

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

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

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

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

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

Moon Knight Logo

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

Ms. Marvel Logo

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

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

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

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

Anna Kendrick and Bill Hader dressed in Santa suits.

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

Ewan McGregor as Obi-Wan Kenobe

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

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

Phineas and Ferb The Movie logo.

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

She-Hulk Logo

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

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

The World According to Jeff Goldblum poster.

   

Bullet Sunday 626

Posted on Sunday, August 25th, 2019

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

   
• The Halcyon! Disney has been making good use of its acquisitions of Marvel Comics and Lucasfilm. Both have been given major plans outside of movies at this year's D23 Expo. Marvel has brought forth "Avengers Campuses" at Disneylands in California, Paris, and Hong Kong which will have new rides, restaurants, and shops. And then there's Star Wars which has not only resulted in new "lands" in Disneyland and Walt Disney World... but a new "2-Night All-Inclusive Adventure" aboard a spaceship called The Halcyon...

An artists concept for the space ship Halcyon.

It's a brilliant concept. Essentially, it's like stepping onto a Disney cruise ship... and heading into space... without leaving earth. You get into a pod which flies you up to the ship in orbit, then fly around space before returning back to earth. While in space you can visit Star Wars characters and droids, partake in all kinds of activities, and explore the ship for "secrets" (whatever that means). What would be mind-blowing amazing would be if they eventually add a "shore excursion" to some strange world, which would be bonkers mind-blowing cool.

An artists concept for what it's like aboard The Halcyon.

All the cabins have views of outer space, and there's loads of things to see and do onboard. It all sounds amazing. And expensive. I cannot fathom how much it will cost, but I'm betting its thousands for the two nights. Which, sadly, will put it out of reach for most people. Then again, what else is new? But who knows? Maybe if it's successful there will be more of these type "cruises." How long will it be before Universal has a 2-day inclusive experience at Hogwarts for Harry Potter fans with money? And from there it's not much of a leap towards real-life Westworld.

   
• Experimental Prototype Community Of Tomorrow! More news out of D23? Walt Disney World's EPCOT is getting some serious upgrades...

An artist concept of EPCOT showing the Spaceship Earth attraction reflecting all kinds of color.

Aside from the already-announced ride for Guardians of the Galaxy, there are two other things that interest me. First is an attraction for Moana called Journey of Water...

Artists concept of Moana's Journey of Water which shows people walking towards a tropical mountain with a Moana logo on it.

And a new restaurant which is kinda like The Halcyon (above) where you get in a space elevator and eat while orbiting the earth...

Artists concept of a restaurant in space orbiting the earth.

It would seem that competition amongst theme parks is really ramping up. First Universal Studios announces an all new park in Florida, and now all this. Almost makes me wish I was still working in Orlando every year!

   
• A Galaxy Far, Far Away! I fully admit to being entirely underwhelmed by the sequel Star Wars trilogy. Sure it's better than the horrendously shitty prequel trilogy, but that's not saying much. The Force Awakens was okay, but that's likely due to the fact that we hadn't seen anything Star Wars for a while and it had original trilogy characters in it. The Last Jedi was so unimpressive that I had to Google the name because I couldn't even remember it. And now there's The Rise of Skywalker, which will close out the trilogies or trilogies...

Poster for Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker with Rey and Kylo Ren battling with lightsabers.

Details are scarce. About all we know is that it will have old, unused footage of Carrie Fischer's Princess Leia and has some new characters onboard. Including Jet Troopers (with jet-packs!) and Sith Troopers...

White Jet Trooper and red Sith Trooper armor on display.

About the only thing I'm looking forward to is that it's all finally going to end. At least until David Benioff and Dan Weiss take a Game-Of-Thrones-sized dump on the Star Wars universe when their trilogy comes out. AND the new trilogy by Rian Johnson that's being worked on (apparently Space Leia from The Last Jedi wasn't torture enough?). Ugh. I have Star Wars fatigue and the new projects are years off.

   
• The Last Post! The digital age is a dangerous place. You never know when you're going to be sucked down an internet rabbit hole. I was watching an old episode of the hilarious Coupling when I made the mistake of thinking "I wonder what all the actors are doing now?" Jack Davenport is on the new CBS series Why Women Kill. Sarah Alexander is on Epix's Pennyworth. Richard Coyle has been on Netflix's Chilling Adventures of Sabrina. And Ben Miles has been on a non-stop parade of TV mini-series and series... one of which was called The Last Post which was written by Peter Moffat. Which, oddly enough, appears to be no relation to Steven Moffat, who created Coupling...

A poster for The Last Post showing a military police officer holding on to a beautiful woman in the dessert.

The Last Post is a pretty good show which takes place at a 1960's British Outpost in Aden (which is now in Yemen). It's a time of high tension as the region fights for independence from British rule. The series is not only about the military police in charge of the post, but their wives families as well. If you're bored and like historical drama, you can stream it from Amazon Prime Video. Sadly, no second series is planned.

   
• Cardinal! Another series I discovered by accident is Cardinal, which is currently running on Hulu. The series is an adaptation of the John Cardinal novels by Giles Blunt...

Cardinal poster showing Billy Campbell in a snow parka with his female partner and a police car as a blizzard rages.

John Cardinal is a police detective at Algonquin Bay in Canada. His past is littered with secrets (of course) and he was removed from homicide because he became obsessed with a missing girl. Years later the girl's body turns up and he's put on the case with a new partner who just so happens to be secretly investigating him. Drama ensues. The show stars Billy Campbell, who I never in a million years thought had the depth and nuance he's brought to Cardinal. I've burned through season one... of three... and a fourth season has been commissioned. Worth your time if brooding police dramas are your thing.

   
• A Pox On You! It seems every time I look in on the news, there's another story warning people that they may have been exposed to measles. Earlier in the week it was Vegas (where I just was last week) and now it's Disneyland. And for every one of these stories that comes out, you know there are dozens more places that go unreported. Considering you can die from measles, I guess I'm glad that I had an antibodies test to make sure that my childhood immunizations were still protecting me. This is absolute bullcrap, and I'm fucking livid that this anti-vax nonsense has propagated like it has. Thanks to dumbshits like Andrew Wakefield and Jenny McCarthy conning people into thinking that vaccines cause autism despite all scientific evidence to the contrary, heaven only knows which diseases are going to come roaring back. Is polio next?


How is it that the more advanced our science gets the stupider people get? Between anti-vaxers, flat-earthers, climate-change-deniers, and whatever new dumbfuckery is currently making the rounds, humanity might as well pack it in and go extinct.

   
• Michael Davis! I happened across a video of juggling comedian Michael Davis from his appearance on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson. I had never heard of him, but was surprised at how talented and funny he was, so I tracked down various videos he appeared in. There's some overlap in material, but they all have different stuff and are all fantastic, so I'm sharing them here...




   
And that's all the bullets for this week. See you next Sunday.

   

Desserts for One

Posted on Tuesday, August 27th, 2019

Dave!I worked so hard for so long to make relationships work, but eventually came to realize that being in a relationship isn't for me. That was a tough realization to come to after spending my entire life convinced I couldn't be complete without somebody else in my life. But I've made my peace with it. Relationships make me happy in the short run, but being single has made me happier in the long run.

Except when grocery shopping.

After my dentist appointment today I went to Petco for kitty litter... to Burger King for an Impossible Whopper... and to Safeway for food.

The problem with shopping for food while single is that it's more expensive than shopping for food with a family (per person). As an example? I need hamburger buns to go with my veggie burgers. Unless I eat veggie burgers every day, I can eat maybe four buns before they go stale. They come in packages of eight. Which means I have to freeze four and they never taste as good after being frozen. Cost for eight buns? $3.49. Or on sale at two for $5. Some stores will let you buy one for $2.50, but most won't. So do I spend an extra $1.50 for a bunch of buns I'll just have to freeze? That's the question I face every time I go shopping. At least buns can be frozen if I decide to go that route... some things cannot.

Like buns for veggie burgers, cream cheese for bagels is another thing that drives me nuts. They are never on sale at the same time. Fortunately cream cheese usually has an expiry date for 6 months, so I can stock up and wait for bagel prices to drop.

But it's not all bad news.

Because of the way my blood sugar spikes, I need to limit carbs. That's tough for a vegetarian, but I do my best and try to plan around it. It's just making choices. Do I want to spread my carbs throughout the day so I can have bread and fruit? Or do I want to splurge on carbs at one meal and go low-carb the rest of the day? If I have pasta for an early dinner (must be eaten before 6 so I have time to burn it off before bed), that means I am having eggs for breakfast and cheese sticks with hummus and veggies for lunch. It's not science, but it works. My doctor is please with my A1C levels, and that's all I need to know.

And while I have gotten rid of a lot of sugar in my diet, I can still enjoy sweets a couple times a week. My favorite is cake, but if I were to make or buy a cake, it would perish long before I got around to eating even a fraction of it.

Fortunately, there are several companies making microwavable "desserts for one" and they're pretty great (also great are break-and-bake cookies, but I wrote about them last week).

And even more fortunately, Safeway had a bunch of them on sale and on closeout...

A pile of desserts for one boxes in a wide variety of flavors.

That's enough to last me for the rest of the year (there's 4 per box), and most of them were under $3.00! I prefer the Duncan Hines treats (in the red boxes) because they don't have icing. The Betty Crocker "Mug Treats" do have icing, but I always have to toss it out to save carbs.

No, they're not as fantastic as a real oven-baked cake or muffin, but not having to worry about food waste goes a long way for me.

How sweet.

And another thing that's pretty sweet? The upcoming Disney+ streaming service I've been writing about for weeks!

I don't know if this will help anybody out there, but... if you are planning on signing up for Disney+ and don't care about a bundle with ESPN and Hulu, there's a deal to be had by pre-ordering a membership NOW for when it begins in November.

Disney's official fan club is D23.com and basic membership is free. There are higher tiers with more benefits, but they are not necessary to get this offer. So if you are NOT a member, go sign up for a free membership. If you ARE a member, login and go to the My Account drop-down and choose "View My Account." There you will have the option to buy a 3-year Disney+ membership for $140. That's 33% off the "regular" price...

A pile of desserts for one boxes in a wide variety of flavors.

I know three years is a big commitment but, for me, it was a no-brainer. Considering there's exclusive Marvel Studios, Star Wars, Disney, Pixar, and National Geographic content... all of which I love... I was all over it. Sure I don't have $140 to be spending just now, but the offer expires after the weekend and I wasn't going to miss it (that's less than $4 a month!). Hello credit card debt, it's been a long time!

Despite having a bill to pay off, it's nice knowing that I don't have to worry about paying for Disney+ until November of 2022!

   

Suspension of Belief

Posted on Wednesday, August 28th, 2019

Dave!As I've mentioned more than a few times, I am a huge fan of shitty Hallmark Christmas movies. Never mind that I find romance movies to be horrible entertainment and I don't even celebrate Christmas, there's something about these films that I completely obsess over. I wrote a little bit about it last November. Every year they come out with more and more of the stupid things, despite the fact that they are all pretty much the same exact story. Last year there were 37 (up from 33 in 2017, 28 in 2016, and 21 in 2015)... this year, on the tenth anniversary of Hallmark's Countdown to Christmas there are FORTY of them. And it all begins on October 25th.

Of course I'll be watching every single one of them. It's so easy because I can be multitasking while they're on and never get lost. How could I? They're all the same.

And it gets worse. For the past month I've been catching up on all the non-Christmas Hallmark movies! And, no worries, there's a shitload of them. Hallmark has seasonal movie events which start with Winterfest in January, then go through Countdown to Valentine's Day, Spring Fling, June Weddings, Summer Nights, Fall Harvest, and then we're right back to Countdown to Christmas again. Lucky for me, all of this stuff is repeated endlessly on The Hallmark Channel in-between reruns of The Golden Girls, Frasier, and The Middle. I've build a master checklist on a huge spreadsheet to keep track.

One thing I've learned in watching all these trash movies is just how huge suspension of disbelief plays in buying into the hilarious storylines that Hallmark writers come up with. Romance in real life is rarely-to-never as adorable as a Hallmark movie. In Hallmark-Land, even the bad parts of the relationships are so cute you want to vomit.

And, believe me folks, I am 100% onboard.

Everybody lives in expensive houses, drives expensive cars, and wears expensive clothes... even when they have a business that's struggling? — Sure.

People fly off the handle and want to break up when they feel they were deceived over some mundane or insignificant plot device that no sane person in love would even worry about? — Okay.

Guys hardly ever act in ways that actual guys act except when it's to portray them as guys who are in need of "fixing?" — Whatever.

Without suspension of disbelief, not a single Hallmark movie would work. They're far worse offenders at defying reality than even the craziest science fiction film.

Except...

Almost every movie has at least one detail that jerks me right out of the story. One thing that's so outlandishly stupid that my brain would have to go past suspension of disbelief and enter suspension of belief territory. Because the only way to buy into it would be to suspend believing that you're not a complete idiot.

Even in the context of a crappy Hallmark movie, it's just so sad and lazy.

A classic example can be found in the movie I was watching last night... Love on the Slopes from Winterfest 2018...

The movie poster for Love on the Slopes showing a pretty couple in winter clothing standing in front of a snow-covered mountain.

It stars Thomas Beaudoin (the guy who melted my ovaries in Hallmark's The Spirit of Christmas) as an extreme sports photographer who dreams of going to Africa to photograph the wildlife there. After getting involved with a journalist looking to write about extreme sports, he's betrayed when it turns out she was writing a story about him all along. So... even though they were totes falling in love, he broke up with her. To make it up to him, she ends up buying him a ticket to Zimbabwe so he can fulfill his dream...

A first class open plane ticket  from Denver to Zimbabwe from the Hallmark movie Love on the Slopes.

Oh please.

First of all, Zimbabwe is an entire country. This "Denver to Zimbabwe" ticket is the equivalent of having a ticket that says "Winnipeg to The United States," like there's only one city with one airport here. The main airport in Zimbabwe is Harare. So even if they didn't want to show ACTUAL AIRPORTS for dramatic effect, they should have had it say "Denver to Harare, Zimbabwe." At least they didn't make it say "Denver to Africa" which is not even a country, people... it's a continent.

Second of all, it's a direct flight. Out of Denver. The biggest hub in Denver is United Airlines. If there was any hope at all that there was a direct flight to "Zimbabwe" from there, it would be on United. Except United doesn't service "Zimbabwe," even via a United-coded partner flight. This means that it's a multi-leg, multi-airline trip and could never appear on a single ticket. You would have at least two stops, minimum, even on a major carrier. You might even have three stops given the destination.

Thirdly, this is an "open" ticket. That's a rare, but entirely valid, type of airline ticket. FOR THE 1980's! The most common ticket today is a roundtrip ticket where the departure and return dates are fixed. Less common is an "open-ended" ticket where the departure date is set, but the return is arranged later. But a full-open ticket? I don't even know how that's possible on a flight now that airlines try to fill every available seat on every flight to maximize profit. Let alone a multi-leg international flight. The cost of such a ticket (IN FIRST CLASS, NEVERTHELESS!) is huge to begin with and, like all destinations, fluctuates based on season. Such an "open" ticket would have to be charged at the highest possible cost to cover any conceivable date. How can a minor story reporter even afford something like this?

Fourthly, what's shown in this stupid movie is a boarding pass. You can't get a fucking boarding pass until you've checked in for your flight. You REALLY can't get a boarding pass on an open ticket where you don't even have a date of travel yet. But it gets stupider... HOW THE FUCK CAN HE HAVE A SEAT ASSIGNMENT WHEN HE DOESN'T EVEN HAVE A DATE OF TRAVEL? What is the airline going to do? Keep seat 14A vacant from now until the end of time in case Cole Taylor wants to cash in his ticket that day? And since this trip is three flights minimum, all possible connecting flights have to keep that same seat open as well? What they should have shown was a ticket, not a boarding pass. Except even that's a stretch. Now-a-days you probably wouldn't even get that. The best she could hope for, assuming she could even buy an international "open ticket," would be a receipt.

Fifthly, as if the assigned seat on an open ticket wasn't hilarious enough... they provide a flight number, boarding time, and a gate number. The flight has an IATA code of "DH" which is "Discovery Airways." THEY WERE AN INTER-ISLAND CARRIER OPERATING EXCLUSIVELY IN HAWAII THAT WAS SHUT DOWN AFTER THREE MONTHS BECAUSE IT VIOLATED US LAW! But let's assume that Discovery Airways did, in fact, come back from the dead. Let's further assume they had enough money to purchase a single gate at Denver International Airport. They are assigned Gate C8 which, in itself is bullshit, because DEN only has gates numbered C23 through C50... but let's pretend they were able to pry a single gate away from Southwest, which I think pretty much owns the C Concourse at Denver. Assuming all of that... and further assuming that Discovery Airways has a daily flight operating from Denver to "Zimbabwe"... how in the hell can they guarantee that this flight time will never change? Like... ever? Flight schedules change all the time. Gates are changed all the time. But the most laughable part is that she is counting on Discovery Airways... a dead airline which lasted three months but has been resurrected with absurdly stupid daily flights to "Zimbabwe"... is going to be in business long enough for poor Cole to ever cash this in. Right.

Sixly, boarding pass and ticket "blanks" are often printed in color, yes. But the printers which fill in the blanks are always black ink only (or, more likely, "black" thermal print only). Except here. Where apparently the printer prints in black... AND RED?!? The idiotic seat assignment and "FIRST CLASS" are printed in red. Has the person who designed this prop flown on an airline... like... EVER?!? Have they even seen a boarding pass before? Given that this one is printed on card stock and not some flimsy thermal paper, I'm guessing if they have seen a boarding pass, it was from 20 years ago.

Lastly, this fictional, resurrected dead airline that offers open tickets direct from Denver to "Zimbabe" has a logo... but the NAME of the airline is just "Airlines?" Really? I mean, given the dicey history of Discovery Airways, I understand wanting to go with something different... but Hallmark is so fucking lazy that they couldn't even invent a new name? I'd suggest "Bullshit Airlines." Or perhaps "Fantasy Airlines." Because expecting people to be able to suspend disbelief on an idiotic story element like this is utter fantasy.

Do better, Hallmark! You're already asking a lot of your fans with your movie offerings, but there are some things so over the top stupid that they can't be overlooked.

And can we get a movie starring Autumn Reeser and Thomas Beaudoin together? Because that would be great.

   

Schadenfreude on a Thursday

Posted on Thursday, August 29th, 2019

Dave!I am not one to partake in gossip because I honestly don't care that much about other people's lives. Unless it directly affects me or someone/something I care about, does what other people do in their personal life really matter?

This is not to say that I am above listening to news which features somebody awful having shit rain down upon their head, however. I am all about the schadenfreude to those who deserve it because it usually has such high entertainment value.

In practice, this is not in line with my belief structure, but I am inconsistent and evil that way.

Today I heard something particularly juicy through the grapevine, and it was a doozey. The person in question is a reprehensible excuse for a human being who has caused suffering for people I know, and I was happy to hear that their comeuppance had finally arrived.

"Happy" is actually not adequate to describe my state of mind... perhaps "gleeful" or "ecstatic" would be more accurate? I dunno. I had a smile on my face for most of the evening, so there's that. I mean, it's not that I want this person dead or anything, but knowing that they were having to suffer in a way quite similar to the suffering they had caused was a nice capper to my day.

Another capper to my day?

Netflix finally released their movie Falling Inn Love which has been teased for a while now...

A pile of desserts for one boxes in a wide variety of flavors.

And it's fairly obvious what happened here. Netflix went to MarVista Entertainment, the studio for many of the Hallmark movies, and said "We will give you a budget big enough to out-Hallmark the Hallmark." In their infinite wisdom, MarVista didn't hire famous writers or top-shelf actors... instead they merely took the same old movie they always make and relocated it to New Zealand. Genius! I mean, come on, if it ain't broke, don't fix it... just give it an expensive change of scenery! And also some scenery you won't often find on Hallmark, like some guy with his shirt off...

So far as "Hallmark" movies go, it was pretty good. The actors were all pretty great. But since it's for Netflix, there are some big changes from what you see on everybody's favorite greeting card network. First of all, there's a gay couple who own the local coffee shop. Not "hinted at" gay... but two men who are full-on married and refer to each other as "husbands." Second of all... he's white, she's African Cuban, which is something you rarely see on lily-white Hallmark... and certainly not as the leads. So, from that perspective, Netflix actually HAS out-Hallmarked Hallmark. Good on them.

Now I guess I better watch sports or rebuild a car engine or whatever else I'm supposed to do to assimilate back into our toxic-masculinity-based culture after watching another one of these crap movies.

   

Bullet Sunday 627

Posted on Sunday, September 1st, 2019

Dave!Labor Day may be tomorrow but the party starts now, because an all new Bullet Sunday starts... now...

   
• Hurrican Dorian. The images coming out of the Bahamas have been terrifying. And now parts of the Georgia coast are under mandatory evacuation...

A map shoing category 5 hurrican Dorian off the coast of Florida looking scary.
Map from The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Dorian is tied with a hurricane from 1935 for the highest wind speed at landfall... a staggering 185mph. I hope that's the only horrible record that ends up being broken.

   
• Lover! A lovely video for the very pretty title track off of Taylor Swift's latest album...

And I'm not the only fan of the song. Keith Urban did a beautiful cover while performing at the Washington State Fair...

I think 1989 is still my favorite T-Swifty album, but Lover is a close second. Tracks like this make it so. I know I'm late to the party here (1989 was the first time I had even heard of her), but I never cease to be impressed with her talent, wit, charm, and intelligence...

Such a remarkable person. Continued success to you, Miss Swift.

   
• Parade! A true leader celebrates all the people they represent. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau takes that to heart, as you can see from his taking part in this Pride parade...

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau marching in a Pride parade with rainbow flags, fun, and confetti.

Meanwhile, our leadership is doing everything they can to strip rights from our citizens. A depressing state of affairs for the so-called "Land of the Free."

   
• Rowl! Exceptional production values, gorgeous cinematography, beautiful costuming, and mind-blowing sets don't mean shit when your story is bloated and boring. It's like they took a 90 minute movie and stretched it out to 8 mind-numbing episodes. That's Carnival Row for you...

A poster for Carnival Row showing an industrial Victorian background with Orlando Bloom in formal wear being confronted by a woman with dragonfly wings hovering before him.

Guillermo del Toro, who was originally going to be working on Carnival Row, dropped out because of his movie obligations. Don't know if it would have made any difference, but his impeccable pacing and storytelling were much needed here. It's like they had the sets and all the costumes and such and wanted to get as much use of them as possible even though there wasn't enough story for that. Pity.

   
• Frexit! NOT AT ALL REDUNDANT! Unless France pulled a Frexit and is no longer a part of Europe?

A brown bag wrapped which says Artisan European Style French Bread on it.

I have yet to try any of that Asian style French bread, but I'm sure it's delicious.

   
• All The Gs! The advent of 5G wireless is going to be a huge game changer once the mesh that's required to have it work seamlessly has been built. That's a long ways away, but it's still an intriguing technology in its infancy. If you don't know what that even is, here's a fantastic video from Marques Brownlee just for you...

Pretty amazing stuff. Imagine having blazing internet available everywhere for all things... and what will come from that.

   
• Another Day, Another Mass Shooting. My first thought used to be "How many people?" But now my response has evolved to "Where did it happen this time?" Once I realized that this was how my brain was wired to react, I was disappointed in myself. It feels dismissive and disrespectful to those who just lost their lives. I could excuse it by saying "There's already been so many people killed, does it really matter how many more are added to the list?" But the answer is "yes." Every fucking one of them matters. It's when we start viewing the deaths as statistics instead of people that we lose ourselves. Unfortunately for all of us, those who can actually do something are long lost already.

I remember when the NRA was for responsible gun ownership and wanted to make sure that guns didn't get into the hands of people who shouldn't have them. I also remember when President Reagan was an advocate for that ideal. This was before the NRA was overtaken by gun manufacturers with lobbyists who buy politicians and give them an agenda to encourage as many gun sales as possible... regardless of consequences.

I support the 2nd Amendment. I also support the right of people to go through life without getting randomly shot by some toxic asshole with a gun. Going back to the original mission of the NRA... gun safety and responsible gun ownership... would go a long way to help these two things coexist. Alas that ship has sailed. We don't even pretend that human lives are more important than gun manufacturer profits anymore. What's worse is that people don't even seem to care.

   
Only 23 days of summer left... make 'em count!

   

Mufasa, Labor, and Hallmark

Posted on Monday, September 2nd, 2019

Dave!I worked late last night so I could work a half day today. For whatever reason I just wanted a small piece of my Labor Day holiday to have no work involved. The rest of my day was reading and watching the Hallmark Summer Movie Marathon in the hopes that there were movies I hadn't seen yet in the countdown.

But I'm getting ahead of myself.

My day started with Jake running into my bedroom, dropping Mufasa the Lion on the floor, squawking as loud as he could manage, then running back downstairs to run around with his sister until breakfast.

Since Jenny keeps taking Mufasa away from him and hiding it, I'm guessing that Jake wanted me to watch over his most prized posesstion for him...

Mufasa the small plush toy lion laying on my brown hardwood floor.

Jenny is way more crafty than I am, so that probably wasn't one of Jake's best ideas.

And, yes, I am still on my mission to watch all the Hallmark originals.

The good news is that I was able to check several that I missed off my list. Including my new favorites Love at the Shore and Summer Villa...

   
These two movies aren't just "good for a Hallmark movie," they're good for an actual movie. Well, assuming you like cheesy romance flicks.

And now it's just a matter of waiting for October 25th, which is when all the new Countdown to Christmas movies start up. As I mentioned, this year there are forty of them. FORTY!

   

Do You… Sling?

Posted on Wednesday, September 4th, 2019

Dave!Back in July I ditched my satellite television after yet another channel got blacked out (this time it was CBS). I was getting tired of paying for something that I wasn't getting, and was frustrated that cable and satellite companies never give a crap about compensating you... until you threaten to leave. Well, screw that, I was done.

I ended up going the the Sling "Blue" package with the "Lifestyle Extra" package (for Hallmark) and their "Enhanced Virtual DVR" which allows me to fast-forward through commercials.

So... how's that working out for you? you may be asking. Well, I'll tell you how it's been working out...

The Sling Logo in blue and orange.

First of all, the Sling "Enhanced Virtual DVR" is pretty crappy. It's slow, it's clunky, and it even fails from time to time. I'll go to watch something I've recorded on Sling via my AppleTV, get a "Having Problems Streaming This Right Now, Try Later" error message, except it never becomes available. Sometimes I can get it started via their web browser interface, then switch back to AppleTV and get it going... but that's a pain in the ass and it doesn't always work. Even if it did, I still wouldn't be happy. If you delete a show off your DVR, it doesn't disappear immediately. It can take a while. This is confusing when watching a bunch of episodes of the same show you've got stacked up. As if all that wasn't bad enough, the "fast-forward" is complete bullshit. It's not actually "fast-forward," but instead a 30-second jump forward or a 10-second jump backwards. And it can stop working at any time, meaning you have to restart the app in order to get your fast forward back. The web version is even worse... letting you hover over the time bar to pick a spot to jump to... but half the time the time bar doesn't represent the actual show's timeline, so you're perpetually trapped in the first half-hour of a two-hour show and nothing you click gets you to where you want to be. It's incredibly frustrating and desperately needs to be fixed.

On the plus side, I love that I can transition from my downstairs AppleTV to my laptop to my upstairs AppleTV to my phone and pick up where I left off each time (though sometimes it doesn't remember exactly where you were for some reason). This is really convenient. Alas, you have to have a live internet connection and cannot download, but that's the way it goes.

I pre-paid three months of Sling Blue so I could get a free Over-The-Air antennae and control box for my local channels. Alas, I can't pick up a dang thing on it, so I have no local channels. Since Sling offers no other way to get them, you're out of luck unless you buy streaming packages directly from the network. This is unfortunate, but the price of Sling is so nice when compared to what I was paying for satellite that I will still come out way ahead if I pay CBS or ABC or NBC here and there to catch up on the shows I like that they have.

So... to summarize: Happy I got rid of satellite. Happy with Sling pricing. Not happy with Sling DVR (AT ALL). Okay with Sling as an alternative to cable/satellite which has gotten way, way too expensive.

When my three months pre-paid are up, I'm not sure if I will keep going with Sling or give something else a try. Hulu's "Hulu + Live TV" option is a no-go because they don't have Comedy Central or Hallmark. AT&T, Fubo, and YouTube are way too expensive. Philo might be a good option (it's even cheaper than Sling), so I'll definitely be giving them a try.

Or giving up television altogether.

One of those things.

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Cleanliness is Next to Nothing

Posted on Thursday, September 5th, 2019

Dave!Thanks to my two cats, my home will never be impeccably clean. Their fur is everywhere. Their toys are everywhere. Their kitty litter tracks everywhere. And their cat trees are pretty gross. And yet... I do what I can to keep my house as clean as possible. Partly because I don't want it looking like a disaster area when guests drop by unexpectedly. But mostly because I don't want bugs in my house, and I've found constant cleaning goes a long, long way towards keeping them out.

Carl the RoboVac runs every day to keep my floors mostly clean (I vacuum by hand when needed to get the rest). I steam-clean the cat feeding station every week (Jenny makes a bit of a mess when eating wet food because she licks it instead of bites it). I keep countertops clean and my kitchen mopped. I wipe up or vacuum food crumbs whenever I spot them. I scrub everything with a baking soda wash on a rotating schedule. I do whatever I can to keep my home as clean as possible so bugs don't show up. Yes, it's a lot of work, but it's worth it because it actually seems to help. I am lucky to see few insects in my house.

Except...

Lately my cats have been catching giant spiders out in the catio then bringing them inside to play with.

As you can imagine, this has me more than a little freaked out. Nothing quite like spotting something on the floor out of the corner of your eye... going to investigate... then seeing it's a spider that the cats tortured to death.

And here I thought that Jake and Jenny eating bugs out in the catio was the worst thing that could possibly happen. I love my cats more than I know how to adequately express, but this is driving me insane. But what can you do? I refuse to yell at my cats for being cats. When I adopted them to keep my mom company, I knew what I was getting into. Any problems that come out of that decision are my fault, not theirs.

And so... occasional spiders are in my future, I guess.

Meanwhile in TV Land...

Hallmark has finally confirmed their new Christmas movie schedule and I've updated my 2019 movie page so that all forty of them are in my winter television schedule. Hopefully at least half of them are worth a crap. It seems as they increase the number of movies year after year, the overall quality has been declining.

On the bright side, however, this year we're getting A Christmas Love Story starring KRISTIN CHENOWETH and Scott Wolf...

Kristin Chenoweth and Scott Wolf staring into each other's eyes in front of a Christmas tree.

Just when you think that everything that could possibly be said about Christmas from Hallmark has been said... here comes Kristin! So at least one of the movies will be insanely chipper in the way that only Kristin Chenoweth can deliver!

Ho! Ho! Ho! 50 days to go until October 25th...

   

Bullet Sunday 628

Posted on Sunday, September 8th, 2019

Dave!Summer may be in its last gasp but the weather couldn't be better, because an all new Bullet Sunday starts... now...

   
• Thunder Rolls. Well, the weather couldn't be better now. Last night was an entirely different story. The thunder was shaking the entire house. The lightning was so bright that it was illuminating everything like it was daytime...

Mufasa the toy lion sitting in my window with a massive bolt of lightning firing behind him, illuminating the entire sky and my bedroom.

Lightning striking a nearby hillside.

Lightning striking a nearby hillside.

The cats were not happy. Jenny came in crying when all the ruckus started. Jake arrived ten minutes later, and I heard him whining all the way up the stairs. I pet them for a while before finally jumping to the window to take photos.

Then today... no clouds and flawless blue skies...

Jenny laying down in the catio squinting because the sunshine is so bright.

Enjoy it while it lasts, pretty girl. Winter is coming.

   
• Baked. September is my most favorite month of the year to bake stuff, and I do so often. Something about the combination of temperature and humidity creates the perfect storm for high-rising, wonderfully-textured bread. Today I made some beautiful bread and amazing hamburger buns...

The most gorgeous loaf of homebaked bread you've ever seen.

The most beautiful pan of homebaked bread you've ever seen.

And, let me tell you... homemade hamburger buns are the best! Tonight's selection was a veggie burger with lemon garlic mayo, dijon mustard, thinly-sliced tomato, and pickle on homemade bun...

My burger dinner.

Pretty fantastic, if I do say so myself.

   
• Very Berry. On Thursday when I dropped by the market to pick up some flour, I saw that strawberry cartons were on sale 2 for $5. I bought them on a whim and have been stressing ever since. Fruit usually goes on sale when it doesn't have much life left, so I've been eating them non-stop so I don't waste my $5. I was eating strawberries morning, noon, and night for two days, but I finally managed to power through. I may be sick of strawberries now, but they were some beautiful berries...

A bowl of beautiful sliced strawberries.

Strawberries sliced on top of a sliced and toasted bagel with cream cheese.

Boy does being single suck when it comes to grocery shopping. I always end up having to buy more than I can eat. The good news is that I'm done with strawberries for the year... just in time for the final summer crop to leave us!

   
• Scary Tech. The trailer for JEXI has been released. It's a comedy exploring what happens when the artificial intelligence on a guy's phone gets a little too smart. It's supposed to be a comedy. But when I watch this trailer I can't help but look at it as a near-future horror story...

I mean, seriously... isn't this the nightmare scenario that's entirely too plausible? Yeah, that's what I thought.

   
• Hellmark. Usually I don't give a crap about somebody's politics. I am easily able to separate an actor from their work, and do so all the time. Democrat? Republican? I'm neither, so I honestly don't care. But there's no way I'm supporting the career of somebody who is in bed with the toxic waste assholes at the Family Research Council like Dean Cain. Guess I'll have to be happy with watching all the Hallmark movies except the handful he appears in.

And speaking of Hallmark, Flip That Romance was finally repeated today...

This movie is genius. IT'S GENIUS! I've been anxiously waiting seeing Flip That Romance since the moment I found out it exists. The film combines two of my favorite things... home renovation shows and Hallmark movies. And it's good! Funny! Hallmark heaven, as it were.

   
• Nonstarter. You know... the more I use my Apple Card, the more I absolutely love it. It's just so absurdly easy and the features are crazy-good. So good. The only problem is that the benefits are total shit. 2% back? 3% on Apple products? So lame. I hope that other credit card companies take note of what Apple is doing and step up their game. Or Apple gets with the program and starts offering 5% back like a real card... even if it's just on Apple products (As it is, it's cheaper to buy Apple products on Amazon with my Amazon Card because I get 5% back on Amazon purchases... what sense does that make?). It will be interesting to see if Apple drives change in the industry like it has for so many other things. I would certainly hope so.

   
Hope your new week is a good one!

   

Bullet Sunday 630

Posted on Sunday, September 22nd, 2019

Dave!I can't believe the weekend is already gone! But all is not lost, because an all new Bullet Sunday starts... now...

   
• FAKE FOOD! Like many large cities, Tokyo has several districts which specialize in various goods. If you want to see electronics, head to Akihabara. If you want Western fashion and high-end restaurants, you need to go to Ginza. That kind of thing. One of my favorite places to look around is Kappabashi Street, which specializes in restaurant supplies. Pots, pans, dishes, utensils... and a staple of Japanese restaurants... fake food. Because most all restaurants have their windows filled with representations of the dishes they specialize in so people will get their mouths watering and want to come inside. Most of the plastic foods you can buy here in the US are crap, whereas in Japan it's a true artform...

Yes most of the stuff has a bit of a high-gloss sheen to it, but once it's wrapped in plastic to keep it from getting dusty it's pretty darn realistic. The above video is a fascinating look at how it's made.

   
• Goose. After a long time of reading about it being "released in early 2019," Untitled Goose Game is finally here! The object of the game is to be a complete asshole, which is something I can totally do...

I blazed through everything in just one morning, which is disappointing, but it's a pretty fun game otherwise. Nintendo's eShop has it on sale for Switch at 25% off for a limited time.

   
• Drugs are Bad, Mmkay? This commercial where the girl takes off her seatbelt and runs her car into a dumpster so she can get more Vicodin? More disturbing than any horror movie I've ever seen...

   
• X-Pan I had no desire... none at all... to see X-Men: Dark Phoenix. For one thing, it's the capper of a slew of shitty X-movies, after which Marvel will be bringing the X-Men to the MCU and completely rebooting it to (hopefully) something that doesn't suck. So it's essentially a wasted effort and makes no difference. And, if this hilarious "honest trailer" is anything to go by, it's a pile of shit anyway...

Maybe if it shows up on Hulu or HBO or Disney+ or something I'm already paying for, I'll invest my valuable time. But buying or renting it? Not even a little bit.

   
• Name. An interesting article: Names That Are Unfamiliar to You Aren't "Hard," They're "Unpracticed"

My first "real" international trip was to Japan in the late 80's for work. In Japanese, the "V" in my name doesn't exist as a sound. The closest they have is a "B." And yet they made an effort to say the "V" as best they could, even though it was a struggle and unnatural for them. That kindness has never left me, and I feel incredibly blessed that I learned how important a name can be so early in my travels. Which is why I try my very best to listen when I hear names and put my every best effort into pronouncing them correctly.

So many times I've had co-workers, friends, and people I meet who have "difficult for English speakers to pronounce" names who will say their name... then follow it with "But you can call me..." and give either a completely different "English" name... or some butchered version of their name. Whenever I can, I've asked about their actual name, worked with them to get an acceptable pronunciation, then ask if they mind that I use their real name. And the result is always the same appreciation that I felt that first trip to Japan so many years ago.

Your name... whether it's yours by birth or the name you've chosen for yourself... is key to your identity. Endeavoring to respect a person's name by listening, working to pronounce it, and saying it with your best effort, is such a small thing, really. But it means so much.

   
• Emmys. I do not watch the Emmys. The television I like is rarely represented, so I just don't bother. That being said, I do read the results the next day and have some thoughts...

  • DRAMA: The fact that Game of Thrones can take the big prize seems odd given what a pile of shit the final season ended up being, but okay.
  • SUPPORTING ACTOR, DRAMA: That being said, Peter Dinklage 100% earned that Emmy for his performance in the final season. He elevates any material to new levels, and this was no difference.
  • LEAD ACTOR, DRAMA: This was kind of an absurd category because winner Billy Porter from Pose was about the only one who I felt deserved it. Maybe Jason Bateman from Ozark, but Billy owned this and I'm glad he won.
  • COMEDY: I would have taken Fleabag, Barry, Russian Doll, or Schitt's Creek... but was secretly hoping for Schitt's Creek. Yet... not the least bit upset that Fleabag took the prize.
  • VARIETY: I am really torn here. Yes, Last Week Tonight with John Oliver deserves tons of recognition. But overlooking The Daily Show with Trevor Noah is really a tough pill to swallow. Trevor is killing it every night.
  • LIMITED: I would have liked if When They See Us won because A) It deserves awards, and B) It deserves attention. But Chernobyl was incredible. So good. I ended up watching it all the way through twice because it's such a powerful story.
  • DIRECTING: That being said, Ava DuVernay should have gotten the Emmy for best director when it came to When They See Us. Oh well.
  • COMPETITION: I was very happy to hear that RuPaul's Drag Race won this. It is, by far, the most entertaining of all the nominations.
  • LEAD ACTRESS, COMEDY: While I would love for Catherine O'Hara and Natasha Lyonne to get recognition for the incredible work they do, Phoebe Waller-Bridge earned this one for Fleabag.
  • LEAD ACTOR, COMEDY: I'm thrilled that Bill Hader took the Emmy for his work on Barry! The show is 100% bananas in the best possible way, and his work there is just above and beyond.
  • SUPPORTING ACTRESS, COMEDY: I simply do not get the appeal of The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, as I find it neither funny nor entertaining. But Alex Borstein definitely does a fantastic job in the show, so I'm kinda torn on this one. I would have preferred that Kate McKinnon won for Saturday Night Live, however.

   
• SNUBBED! A few nominations that should have been made...

  • Ricky Gervais for acting and/or writing After Life. I am still a bit shocked he got no recognition at all for this one.
  • Tracy Morgan for The Last O.G.. That show is hilarious, and his performance is fantastic. For either to get some recognition is not out of left-field.
  • While I'm not sure The Good Place deserved all the nominations it got, I am sure that D’Arcy Carden should have gotten nominated for Supporting Actress, Comedy... AND WON IT. This is criminal.

   

And... I'm spent. See you in a week with more bullets.

   

Cook, Baked, Done

Posted on Monday, September 23rd, 2019

Dave!In one of those "I'm surprised but not that surprised" situations, I awoke to the news that Thomas Cook has shuttered operations. If you're in the US, you're probably thinking "You mean those little places at the airport where you can exchange money?" And the answer is... not really. I think money exchange places died over a decade ago when ATMs became universally available. No, the Thomas Cook in this case is the world's oldest travel company. They've been wracked with financial problems for years, hence my lack of surprise...

An announcemet from Thomas Cook's Twitter feed saying that they have stopped trading with immediate effect.

   
Well-known in Europe, I've actually used their services couple times, but I've never flown their airline. Sadly, a lot of people do, and they now have no way of getting home. Estimates are at 150,000 people stranded. If this sounds familiar, it's because WOW Airlines shut down back in March which stranded a bunch of people too. Or maybe you're thinking of Primera Air or Germania, both of which shuttered in 2018.

Surprisingly, I've never been in a situation like this.

Sure I've been temporarily stranded several times... mostly due to weather... but not once has the airline said "Sorry, we're closed for business, good luck getting home!"

As I watch the crazy number of reactions on social media... or the pandemonium videos that inevitably pop up from airports... I always try to put myself in the same situation to imagine how I would react.

The answer is inevitably... "Meh."

I'm single and nobody relies on me for anything. Even when my mom was still able to be left alone for a while at home, I could always call one of a half-dozen people to look in on her. Right now I've just got my cats. And so long as I could call a sitter and have them add food to their automated feeder, water to their fountain, and empty the Litter-Robot when it gets full, they're good. Sure work could be a challenge, but I could do most everything remotely for a while.

So, no, I would not be one of those people in the videos screaming "BUT IT'S MY HONEYMOON!" or "WHO WILL FEED MY BABIES?!?" or "I HAD BETTER NOT FUCKING MISS THE SEASON PREMIERE OF MAGNUM, P.I.!"

Well, okay, that last one could be me, because I love that show so much but, even then, so long as I have internet, I can just stream all my shows.

My "plan of action" would likely be to call up a hotel immediately so I had a place to stay, keep calling until I find a room, then head to the nearest bar and get completely shit-faced while I wait for the initial storm to blow over and I can make other travel arrangements. Yay, a vacation!

That being said, I really do sympathize with people who have pressing responsibilities back home... or no room on their credit card to book a hotel and new flights. That would be awful, especially if you're in a foreign country.

And if Magnum P.I. was premiering, which is does in four days on September 27th on CBS!

   

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