I guess I’m not much of a journalist. The major news story pictured above occurred just 15 miles from where I sat at work on Tuesday, yet I didn’t know about it until the following day.

 

**

 

 

If they had channels like Science and shows like What on Earth? when I was a kid, I believe I might have pursued a career in science. Well … probably not.

These science shows affect me like the myriad true-crime shows on basic cable: I never deliberately seek them out, but once I land on one of them, I’m hooked.

 

**

 

In the classic movie Laura, a detective played by Dana Andrews grows obsessed with the portrait of a woman he believes is dead.

Is it OK if I grow obsessed with the buttocks of an actress from 40 years ago?

Sadly, although this actress might still be living, I’m guessing her ass no longer looks quite this spectacular:

 

 

**

 

 

“Do we know if there are still people who are Scotch-taping together the president’s torn-up documents?” – Rachel Maddow grilling a Politico reporter about the latest Donald Trump scandal.

 

I used to think Maddow was one of our top TV journalists, but it looks as if Trump Derangement Syndrome has claimed her.

 

**

 

Question That Refuses To Go Away:

 

“Will this be the year that the United States finally embraces soccer?”

 

Answer That Never Changes:

 

“No.”

 

**

 

A proposal for media writers: If you agree to stop using the term “toxic masculinity,” I’ll agree to stop using the word “feminazi.”

 

**

 

This business of the U.S. government forcibly separating parents from their children is awful.

One can only imagine how psychologically damaged Paul Manafort’s daughters must be, seeing their father get locked up.

 

**

 

Assuming Trump is as devious as some of his detractors believe, I wouldn’t be surprised if he secretly hired celebrity nutcases like Robert De Niro and Samantha Bee to ensure his re-election in 2020.

 

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Random Gripes

 

Coastal media keep sending reporters on “road trips” to Trump Country/Red States/Deplorable Land and then writing articles about what they learn (or don’t learn). What a waste.

Would the New York Times dispatch a reporter to London for two weeks and then let its “London correspondent” write articles about British news from a desk in Manhattan? I think not.

You have to establish permanent bureaus in Omaha or Des Moines or San Antonio or wherever.

 

**

 

The Miss America pageant, struggling to stay relevant in 2018, decided to ditch its swimsuit competition — and lose half of its audience.

How many of us really want to see Miss Tennessee play the piano and discuss global warming? Nope, we tune in to look for cellulite.

 

**

 

 

So now they are saying that Hereditary (above) is “extremely scary,” a new classic in the horror genre. Well, we shall see. They said that about It Follows, which was good but hardly classic. They said it about The Babadook, which was intriguing but not even remotely scary. So … we shall see.

 

**

 

The media are boring us with stories about Justify, the latest racehorse threatening to win the Triple Crown. Yawn.

I’m sorry, but horses are inherently boring.

By comparison, dogs are not boring. Dogs rescue their families from burning houses in the middle of the night. Dogs eat their deceased owners when they are stuck in the house with no other food. (OK, not sure if that last is true; do they eat their owners?)

But horses? They just look at you and snort.

 

**

 

Can we please abolish the phrase “his (or her) life was ruined by (fill-in-the-blank)” when high-profile people get caught up in scandal?

Monica Lewinsky’s life was not “ruined” by the Clinton affair. Louis C.K. and Charlie Rose did not have their lives “ruined” by self-inflicted scandal.

Unless you are now washing dishes in Dubuque, or you are a Muslim woman caught cheating on your husband in rural Afghanistan, your life was not ruined; it was changed.

 

**

 

 

If you enjoyed The Shield, check out Israel’s Fauda (above). Like L.A. cop Vic Mackey, Israeli Doron Kavillio is a chunky, complex, hot-tempered antihero battling bad guys and superiors in a show that’s relentlessly suspenseful.

 

**

 

 

The above quote is from Anthony Bourdain.

I don’t know, man. If even that guy found life unbearable, it makes you wonder how the rest of us manage to soldier on.

 

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The Grand Budapest Hotel

 

I’m not a fan of director Wes Anderson’s breakout film, The Royal Tenenbaums. The movie’s tone is quirky to a fault, and its oddball characters left me cold. The characters in Grand Budapest are also an eccentric bunch, but this time Anderson hits a comic sweet spot.

Ralph Fiennes is especially good as a harried concierge who is falsely accused of murder and on the lam with his loyal “lobby boy.” Anderson’s visuals are endlessly inventive, and he delivers something rare: inspired slapstick for intellectuals. Release: 2014 Grade: A-

 

**

 

The Dinner

 

Richard Gere, Steve Coogan, Laura Linney and Rebecca Hall have more than food on their minds when they convene at a ritzy restaurant to discuss the consequences of a horrific crime involving their kids. The Dinner took me by surprise more than once, because none of its characters are what they first appear to be. The smooth-talking politician might not be so bad, his charming wife might harbor dark impulses, and the “woke” narrator might have major issues.

The movie crams an awful lot of unpleasant subject matter into two hours, including mental illness, privilege, and racism, but it’s also a smart story with unpredictable performances from its quartet of stars.  Release: 2017 Grade: B+

 

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My new Netflix recommendations:

 

 

 

**

 

“I would rather say nothing than to cause more trouble.” — John Goodman with the only sensible quote during the entire Roseanne fiasco.

 

**

 

 

I suppose that at the end of the day it doesn’t amount to a hill of beans, but if you’re a cliché-hater, talking head John Bussey (above) said “at the end of the day” four times in the space of about two minutes today on Fox.

 

**

 

From The Washington Post:

 

 

No comment.

 

**

 

 

As a society, we’re making lots of progress.

Eighteen months ago, during the election campaign, we were discussing Trump’s dick size.

Now we’re onto cunts.

 

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Cargo

 

The last scene of Cargo is either a moving example of creative inspiration – or the most embarrassing thing an actor’s done since Nicolas Cage wore a bear suit in The Wicker Man. You be the judge.

Cargo, in which dad Martin Freeman strives to save his infant daughter in a zombie-infested world, starts well, and then there’s that wild ending, but everything in between is just standard zombie-movie fare. Release: 2017 Grade: C

 

**

 

Norman

 

Norman is a fun, gentle, entertaining movie that bucks the superhero/comic book/special effects trend – and that might explain why you probably haven’t heard of it. Richard Gere is amusing as an elderly Jewish con man who somehow becomes “friends” with the prime minister of Israel, leading to global scandal for them and fond memories of similar fare like Being There for viewers. Release: 2016 Grade: B

 

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Damn you, Netflix, you’re doing what Blockbuster used to do. You’re changing the cover art on titles so that unsuspecting rubes (like me) watch a movie, forget its title and then, months later — and because the cover art is new — wind up watching the same damn movie. Or at least the first ten minutes of the same damn movie before recall kicks in.

New Black Mirror cover art above. Old Black Mirror cover art below:

 

 

**

 

The Handmaid’s Tale — have you heard about The Handmaid’s Tale? If you surf the Internet, of course you’ve heard about The Handmaid’s Tale.

Hulu is showing The Handmaid’s Tale. The Handmaid’s Tale gets nominated for awards and gets lots of praise from critics.

But has anyone actually seen The Handmaid’s Tale?

 

**

 

 

The good news: TBS might be forced to finally run something other than The Shawshank Redemption.

 

**

 

 

This news that Tomi Lahren participated in a wet t-shirt contest annoys me. I live just minutes from the Minneapolis restaurant where she got doused with water, so I certainly would have been there if I’d known she was going to compete.

 

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It turns out that the ladies Down Under were curious about what Rip van Dinkle was hiding down under, so in 2013 he wrote this confessional for Australia’s Women’s Health & Fitness magazine. Click on any page (maybe twice, depending on your browser) for a magnified view.

 

 

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Using the pseudonym “J.D. Hawkens” (long story), Rip van Dinkle penned the following article for Maxim about the inaugural Smallest Penis in Brooklyn pageant in 2013:

 

 

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You have to laugh at these people getting sucked out of airplane windows. And why is that?

Because if it isn’t you getting sucked out of an airplane window, it’s actually pretty comical.

 

**

 

I had a lot more faith in humanity before the invention of Twitter.

I didn’t always feel the way I do now. I used to believe that Twitter was great, because it gave voice to millions of regular people who previously had little or no voice.

But now I’ve heard that voice and … well.

 

**

 

Apparently, some prematurely balding dude in England got married to this fanny on Saturday:

 

.   

 

That’s about the extent of my interest in the bride and groom. Unless, of course, the topless-on-the-beach photos (below) are not really fake, as the royals insist, but are indeed real.

 

 

Real or fake — how on Earth are we supposed to know?

 

**

 

 

When people make fun of Fox News they must be thinking of things like the ridiculous piece of “journalism” on Martha MacCallum’s show Tuesday night, in which Martha discussed – at length – the “angel” some idiot discovered on security footage of his car in a driveway.

 

**

 

 

 

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Entertainment sites are revisiting 1980s American movies and not liking what they find. Apparently, movies like Revenge of the Nerds and Sixteen Candles are “problematic,” largely because of sexism.

I’m still enjoying Killing Eve, but man …. Just midway through the season, we’ve already witnessed an Asian dude having his balls … something … and another dude get castrated by a female assassin. These cringe-inducers are treated as sort of a running gag on the show.

From the Killing Eve recaps on Vulture:

“When Eve later finds his body, Frank has her dress on … and his dick cut off. (Gross.) The camera then zooms in on two sausages sizzling in a frying pan.”

“A Chinese businessman in Berlin decides to give himself a birthday treat at a BDSM brothel, but his usual nurse is unavailable. The businessman will settle for his usual ‘vigorous scrotal massage’ … and it’s a mercy when the mercenary doesn’t draw out his torture, but gases him relatively quickly. Villanelle can’t wait to get to her climax: watching her victim die.”

I have to wonder who would be laughing if the plot featured female genital mutilation. Just sayin’.

 

**

 

 

CBS Evening News on Wednesday featured the tongue-twister of the week – “lower lava levels” – courtesy of Carter Evans in Hawaii.

Try saying that three times in a row – real fast.

 

**

 

 

Trump fans don’t like it when they are accused of wanting to turn the clock back in America. But during Trump’s speech in Indiana, I couldn’t help noticing the kid in the background taking pictures with his camera and flashbulb (above).

They still make cameras with flashbulbs?

Or maybe that isn’t a flashbulb.

Never mind.

 

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