Monthly Archives: May 2020

 

Pictured above is the mayor of Minneapolis, Jacob Frey.

Look how pretty he is. He has lovely locks, he is young and handsome, and he cries in front of the TV cameras. He feels your pain, he says. He is the Oprah politician. He is Minneapolis’s own Justin Trudeau.

His city is becoming a pile of rubble. But that’s OK, because he says the right things and he looks amazing.

 

Earlier today, I had the following e-mail exchange with a female relative:

 

 

Perhaps I was a bit insensitive in describing tonight’s potential violence as “gripping TV.” Perhaps I won’t be watching it on my television, after all.

Local news is reporting that anarchists might “target” Minneapolis suburbs — such as the one in which I live. Perhaps I’ll be watching the show out my front window.

 

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The go-to-response of politicians like Frey and Governor Tim Walz when they come under fire for incompetence is always the same: lecture the rest of us.

 

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I don’t understand why Mayor Frey is so upset about all of the unwelcome visitors to his town. Since he presides over a “sanctuary city,” shouldn’t he be happy when outside agitators like antifa show up to help him thumb his nose at federal law?

 

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Memo to politicians:

 

You’ve got to get rid of this double standard in which regular citizens suspected of crimes are immediately arrested and charged, but cops who are suspected … well, the system demands that we wait a few months before we do anything. If we do anything.

You tell the public to be patient. But patience is the problem.

 

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Now that we know that the saliva ejected during the simple act of speaking is a prime means of transmitting coronavirus, just think how many lives were saved at MSNBC when they canned serial spitter Chris Matthews.

 

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Mask Winners and Losers

 

Losers:  People who invested in face-recognition technology

Winners:  Bank robbers

Losers:  Handsome people

Winners:  Ugly people

 

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TV Updates

 

 

Killing Eve airs its season finale this week. Stars Sandra Oh and Jodie Comer get most of the press, and rightfully so, but to me the funniest moments come courtesy of supporting players Fiona Shaw (“Carolyn”) and Kim Bodnia (“Konstantin”), pictured above.

Running gags like Konstantin repeatedly being surprised by women waiting for him in the dark, or non sequiturs like super spy Carolyn sitting on a park bench with her grandson – or is it her grandson? – during a consultation with Eve add inspired lunacy to some otherwise pedestrian scripts.

 

 

I’m not crazy about the Shudder series Creepshow. Too many episodes are either unoriginal from start to finish, or have lame endings. However … I really dug “Lydia Layne’s Better Half” (above). It was very good, boys and ghouls.

I had never heard of the episode’s titular star, Tricia Helfer, so I Googled her and discovered that she has been titular for quite awhile. Not sure how I managed to overlook this former model:

 

 

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Twitter has decided to allow minions of the two Jeffs, Bezos and Zucker, to, in effect, censor Donald Trump’s tweets. Yeah, that’s not asking for trouble.

Oh, and this is the guy who is Twitter’s “head of site integrity”:

 

 

Reminds me of Jacob Frey: another clueless pretty boy.

 

© 2010-2020 grouchyeditor.com (text only)

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Why did Zoom become all the rage, and not Skype? Is Skype going the way of MySpace and Friendster, ceding all ground to Zoom the way MySpace and Friendster, both of which predate Facebook, lost out to Mark Zuckerberg’s behemoth?

By the way, I’m with George Jetson in the picture above. I don’t know why the rest of his family (and Astro) seem so enamored of Zoom.

Zoom, in my humble opinion, sucks.

 

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Pundits are speculating that Trump’s refusal to wear a mask is a jab at the media: He doesn’t want to give them the satisfaction of a photo op of his capitulation. He’s even admitted as much.

But not everything is about Trump vs. the media.

Isn’t it more important that Trump – and other elected officials – put their masks where their mouths are to set a good example for the rest of us?

 

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by Steve Almond

 

I suspect that Almond is mostly preaching to the choir with his book about the evils of American football. If you’re already down on football, you’ll cheer him on. If you’re a fan, you’ll view him as a spoilsport.

Either way, it’s difficult to argue with many of his points. Football does cause brain damage; NFL owners do extort taxpayer money for new stadiums; college student-athletes are anything but; etcetera, etcetera.

Some of Almond’s assertions are questionable. On the “homophobia” alleged to be rampant in the NFL, he drags out the stereotype about how players who dislike locker-room showers with gay teammates are actually afraid of their own sexuality. Does that mean that women who prefer not to shower with males are, in fact, afraid of their own sexuality? Is that a flawed comparison?

But football does present a dilemma. Physical aggression is ancient and part of our DNA. I’m not sure what you do about that other than channel it somehow – like through watching football. My take: It’s best to stop supporting high school and college football. As for the pros, they are handsomely paid and they now know what they are getting into.

Watching football is like watching porn: not good for you but still a component of a free society.

 

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These low Rotten Tomatoes ratings for Escape Room (above) seem a bit harsh:

 

 

The 2019 thriller about six strangers stuck in puzzle rooms from hell combines elements of And Then There Were None and The Game, two of my favorite movies. It’s nowhere near as good as either of those two films, and it certainly has outlandish moments, but mostly it’s fast-paced fun. Better than 51 percent fun.

 

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I realize it’s a cliché to begin any sentence with: “If you had told me six months ago that [fill in your choice of  weirdness here], I wouldn’t believe it!”

But hearing Sean Hannity say “Joe Biden refuses to leave his basement!” has to go in that weirdness category.

 

And yet Biden’s polling numbers have to be — or at least should be — one helluva blow to Trump’s ego. Millions of Americans are so desperate to see Trump ousted that they are willing to vote for a mentally defective old man who is hiding in his basement. Ouch.

 

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Perhaps you think Rip’s criticism of Rachel Levine’s physical appearance is unfair. Yeah, well, so is saving your own mother’s ass while sending everyone else’s parents to nursing-home deathtraps:

 

 

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A little humility is a wonderful thing. For example: I used to routinely praise Rachel Maddow and disparage pundits like Tucker Carlson. Now I find myself doing the reverse.

Apparently I was very wrong in the past. Or I am very wrong now.

Either way, at some point I was/am wrong.

 

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Head-Scratcher of the Week:

 

 

Troy University’s Walter Givhan (above) said that his school established a COVID-19 emergency fund “to assist students, primarily, with those expenses that were completely unexpected — be it rent, utilities, travel, [or] transition to technology.”

Hmmm … rent and utilities are now “completely unexpected”? Should I go into shock when my landlord or cable company wants to get paid next month?

 

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Users of Internet Explorer (poor things) might notice recent problems on this Web site. Problems like hundreds of missing images.

We recently completed a site migration and, of course, it did not go smoothly.

Rest assured, we are working to resolve these issues by (painstakingly, tediously) revising each and every flawed link. Lucky us.

 

© 2010-2020 grouchyeditor.com (text only)

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Bad Education

 

Bad Education is intellectually rewarding but emotionally bereft, mostly because there are no characters to root for. And yes, that includes the charismatic high-school superintendent played by star Hugh Jackman.

In HBO’s fact-based film about scandal in Roslyn, Long Island, we watch in mounting disgust as the school officials and citizenry of Roslyn prioritize property values and glossy college resumes over other things. Little things like, oh, millions of embezzled taxpayer dollars. That is, until the high-living thieves are caught by an enterprising student journalist.

It’s highly watchable stuff; I just wish I cared more.  Release: 2020 Grade: B

 

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Downton Abbey

 

At the midpoint of this theatrical offshoot of the long-running British TV series, I began to seriously question my taste and judgment: Why on earth had I slavishly watched nearly every episode (52 of them) of this ridiculous soap opera, which aired from 2011 to 2016? In the movie, the king and queen of England are coming to visit the upstairs/downstairs gang at their fancy digs, and I am supposed to care … why?

But here’s the thing. There is a fine line between warm and fuzzy (a good thing) and cloyingly sentimental (a bad thing), and no one is more adept at finding the sweet spot than Downton creator Julian Fellowes. By the time the credits rolled on this — let’s face it – motion-picture cash grab, Fellowes had worked his magic and I was once again sucked in to the hoity-toity hokum. Release: 2019 Grade: B

 

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Into the Night

 

What to Watch

 

Into the Night

Like most disaster epics – especially those with elements of science fiction – Into the Night has its share of silly moments. The plot concerns a handful of airplane passengers who find themselves in a race around the globe to stay one step ahead of the rising sun because, well ….

I have no idea how realistic any of this is, because I’m no expert on solar flares, aviation, solar poles, or people in Europe who speak multiple languages. But I do know that this six-part series is fast-paced fun, and the screenplay manages to dodge many WTF moments by not insulting our intelligence – too much.

 

 

Win the Wilderness: Alaska

Unlike most reality shows, on this one the contestants seem real and they aren’t encouraged to connive, conspire, and showboat for the camera (with one butt-baring exception; see below). The competing couples are quite watchable because the show’s premise is so unusual: Who wants to win not cash but rather a completely new way of life?

An elderly couple (a rather odd pair, in my opinion), Duane and Rena Ose (that’s Duane pictured above), sit in judgment of the plucky Brits, one pair of which must outdo the others in proving their wilderness mettle to win possession of the retiring Oses’ homestead.

The Oses are weird, but the scenery is spectacular and the show’s lack of backbiting and snark is refreshing.

 

 

At one point, contestant Tina Perkins (above) gets separated from her boyfriend. The showrunners seized the opportunity to capture some Tina butt cheeks:

 

 

We’re guessing the producers were inspired by Tina’s Instagram posts:

 

 

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Virus Musings

 

 

It occurs to me that the whole country has been playing Big Brother (above) for two months.

 

Why can’t all of this food that was previously going to restaurants simply be rerouted to grocery stores? Don’t people eat the same amount of food, no matter where they get it?

 

Not sure I understand the “science” behind reports that everyone over the age of 65 is at special risk from the Chinese virus. Is someone who is 64 worry-free? Is 63 somehow safer than 65? Why is 65 the magic number? (Asking for a friend.)

 

People are people, and it’s unrealistic to expect billions of them to maintain social distancing indefinitely. It’s just not going to happen.

 

I suppose now that airlines are forced to increase space between passengers, they will compensate by making seats even smaller.

 

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I don’t want to give them any ideas, but how is it that the social justice warriors haven’t gone after Nutrisystem for Men and A Place for Mom? Doesn’t one discriminate against women and the other against dads?

 

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One reason I can’t watch this show anymore:

 

 

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This week’s misandry brought to you courtesy of Politico:

 

 

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by William Kent Krueger

 

There is a dead judge and a missing boy in the northern Minnesota wilderness, and it’s up to our hero, a small-town, mild-mannered ex-sheriff, to save the day.

Iron Lake is an OK thriller, but it’s oh-so-familiar. If you read enough of these crime novels (I’m guilty), many of the protagonists – Jack Reacher, Harry Bosch, or in this case, Cork O’Connor – begin to morph into the same character. The hero will be a hard-headed, middle-aged man, often a cop or ex-cop, who drinks and smokes and broods over a lost love. And then there is a call to action, often involving a family member or that lost love, and our hero proves his mettle against all odds. Only the settings change in many of these books.

Iron Lake was of interest to me because this time the locale was not L.A. nor New York, but rather rural Minnesota, where I grew up. The story was fine; the characters were fine; but mostly this was nothing new.

 

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