Monthly Archives: June 2019

“Kenneth, what is the frequency?”


UFOs and (possible) space aliens continue to make the news.

Tucker Carlson keeps reporting on them, and YouTube features a wealth of UFO-related videos. President Trump was asked this week about the phenomenon.

If you’re a certain age, none of this is particularly new. You recall the above quote, in which a hapless Dan Rather was accosted by a stranger on the street, and you think: “Aha. Sounds like a question some space alien would pose.”



First Theory


My guess is that the aliens have been observing Earthlings for some time and have decided that we are at a tipping point. What tipped the point is the following: Thanks to the Internet, American Deplorables decided that too much wealth and power is in the hands of too few Americans (the “elite”) and said, “enough!” And so they elected Trump. And so we got Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren.

Meanwhile, also thanks to the Internet, Third World denizens decided that too much wealth and power is in the hands of too few people (Americans and Western Europeans) and said, “enough!” And so they are storming the borders of Western Europe and America.

In other words, if Congolese tribal communities weren’t sitting around watching Keeping Up with the Kardashians on their cell phones, none of this would be happening.

The aliens are simply watching these earthly developments, trying to decide whether or not to step in — or they are just enjoying the show.


Second Theory


So how do you recognize a space alien? I suspect it is the Sleepy Eye.

Aliens recognize each other on the street by the distinctive-yet-subtle facial feature of one sleepy eye on a human face. Some of these sleepy-eye aliens are in the public eye, so to speak. Two examples:



                                 Sleepy eye on the right                               Sleepy eye on the left


Lest you make the mistake of thinking that Sleepy Eye Aliens all disguise themselves as older white males, here is another example:


Fox reporter Christina Coleman; sleepy eye on the right


So what does any of this have to do with that stranger accosting Dan Rather on the street? It does not appear that Rather has a sleepy eye. Actually, both of his eyes look somewhat sleepy (below).



My best guess is that Rather had a mote or some other irritation in one of his eyes, and was temporarily afflicted with the alien-recognition cue.




Addendum: If this week’s review seems uncharacteristically off the wall, I blame it on the fact that I am currently reading a book by David Foster Wallace, a famous writer who took his own life in 2008. Wallace was very smart but also a bit weird. I in no way claim that the above post is very smart, but I think we can all agree that it is weird.


Addendum 2: I just recalled that there is a small town in Minnesota named Sleepy Eye. My guess is that Sleepy Eye is in reality an alien hub or base of operations.


© 2010-2019 (text only)


Black Mirror


TV Updates


The Name of the Rose: In case you hadn’t noticed, this is 2019 and the midst of the “Me Too” era. And so if you’re going to remake Umberto Eco’s The Name of the Rose (there was a 1986 film), it must have a “strong female character.” Or two. Never mind the fact that Eco’s novel and the Sean Connery movie relegated female characters to minor and/or victim status (it’s been awhile since I read the book; perhaps I’ve forgotten something).

Political correctness aside, Sundance TV’s eight-part miniseries, like the 1986 movie, is great fun to look at (it’s set at a mountaintop medieval abbey), and is bolstered by some superb actors.

I’m a sucker for a great villain, and I challenge you to find a better boo-hiss bad guy than Rupert Everett’s Bernardo Gui (below).



Black Mirror: Charlie Brooker’s Twilight Zone for the 2000s remains thought-provoking, and often touching. But something’s missing that was there in the early seasons.

That something, methinks, is the word “clever.” The new season playing on Netflix consists of three movie-length stories that are never dull, but lack that “wow” factor that so distinguished the show when it was an obscure British offering.

Is this change a result of selling out to the American behemoth Netflix, with its (presumable) insistence on casting big-name American stars and writing scripts with happier endings? Or has Brooker simply run out of gas?





You would think that someone in Trump’s inner circle would point out that the above photo op during his interview with George Stephanopoulos resembles nothing so much as a prosecutor grilling a defendant, but then again there are lots of questions about Trump’s inner circle.




I have only recently gotten used to the fact that there is a major league baseball player named Evan Longoria, and now I learn that there is an outfielder for the Detroit Tigers named Christin Stewart.




Some kid pitched a no-hitter and my local paper decided this was a good picture to post in honor of the occasion:



© 2010-2019 (text only)


Hey, I’m an old-timer. I still get most of my news from cable TV and the print media. But they tell me that is not the future. The future, they say, is online. 

I read RealClearPolitics because, at least in theory, the left and the right are evenly represented. You can read what The Daily Caller says about Trump and then you can read what The Daily Beast says about Trump. Somewhere in between all the spin, you hope, lies the truth. I also check TV ratings to see who’s on top, Hannity or Maddow. But the future, they say, is online.

And so I’ve been following the “adpocalypse” on YouTube, in which parent company Google is evidently pissing off every American under 50 years old by haphazardly censoring content providers on both the left and the right, because Google doesn’t seem to know what the hell it’s doing. Or it does know what the hell it’s doing and nobody’s happy about it.

This all began because of a feud between two snot-nosed brats named Steven Crowder (a conservative) and Carlos Maza (a liberal). I watched a bit of their content and decided I don’t like either one of them. They come off as over-educated, whining brats.



                                       Sniveling Carlos                                                 Ranting Steven


Crowder and Maza are both Millennials. The future, they say, is online and the future is Millennials. 

God help all of us.




Lest I be accused of ageism with my tut-tutting about youth online, I should mention that it’s not all so bleak on YouTube. There is a guy named Tim Pool who posts about current events every day, and he seems level-headed, thoughtful, and well-informed. He’s likable. YouTube needs more Tim Pools.


Cool Tim Pool




The Five’s Greg Gutfeld said that, in his opinion, the difference between a psychopath and a normal person is how he or she reacts to the spinning woman in this video:



If you reacted in horror, Gutfeld believes, you are normal. If you laughed hysterically, you lack human empathy and are likely a psychopath.

I watched the video and I was horrified. Once I learned that the woman was going to be OK, I laughed hysterically.





© 2010-2019 (text only)


by Bill Bryson


Bryson is a genial fellow, and very few writers do gentle humor better than he does, but this short biography (barely 200 pages) is really just an intro to The Bard.

What’s notable isn’t what we learn about Shakespeare, but how little we learn about Shakespeare. There simply isn’t much in the historical record, and what there is, is often incomplete or vague. Not Bryson’s fault, of course. He obviously loves Shakespeare and that feeling is contagious.

Even so, this is less a book about the great writer and more a picture of what life was like in England 400 years ago.  My advice: If you’re really into Shakespeare, find a more substantial book. And if you’re really into Bryson, he has better (and longer) works out there.


© 2010-2019 (text only)



Four Musings from an Old-Timer


1)  I have two day jobs, one in the white-collar world, and the other in the blue-collar world. The former is in the education field, the latter is in the, uh, warehouse field, I guess.

They have their pros and cons. The white-collar job is quiet, polite, and often boring. The blue-collar job is noisy, chaotic, but rarely boring.

In other words, if you are a functioning alcoholic, go white collar: You can snooze through your hangover. If you are young and energetic, go blue collar. You won’t be bored.

Better yet, win the lottery and just stay home.


2)  With politics, you have to take a break from all the sound and fury, because the depressing bottom line is this:

When Democrats/liberals/progressives criticize the other side, they are often correct: The other side is filled with knaves and scoundrels.

When Republicans/conservatives/Trump criticize the other side, they are often correct: The other side is filled with knaves and scoundrels.

You have to pick your poison.



3)  Unfortunately, I’m beginning to think of school/workplace shootings the same way I think about floods in the Midwest and tourists who fall off cliffs while taking selfies – tragic, but just part of the background noise.


4)  I watched the first episode of season three of Slasher on Netflix.

Big mistake.

It has nudity and gore, which is to be expected from this kind of thing. But mostly, it was “woke” messaging being shoved down the viewer’s throat.


I much preferred High Seas, a new Spanish series also on Netflix (pictured at top).

It’s a great-looking, old-fashioned mystery set on a 1940s ocean liner. If you’re in the mood for that sort of thing, this is that sort of thing.


I looked up the show’s stars and discovered that lead actress Ivana Baquero has a leaked sex tape. Or perhaps it’s from a movie. Conflicting reports.

Either way, you know you want to see it, so here you go:






Normally, this blonde on Fox – Ashley or Ainsley or whatever her name is – doesn’t do anything for me. But goodness … doesn’t she look like she just had a fun roll in the hay?



© 2010-2019 (text only)