Monthly Archives: November 2022


As a straight male, and despite society’s constant “you go girl!” feminist refrain, I don’t often find myself envious of the “fairer sex.”

But there’s one area where so-called chick flicks top most so-called buddy comedies, and that’s in the depiction of same-sex friendship.

I can’t think of a better example of this than Netflix’s Dead to Me, which just wrapped its third and final season.

In real life, I have absolutely zilch in common with the show’s two protagonists, played to perfection by Christina Applegate and Linda Cardellini. They are rich chicks living the life in Southern California, much focused on relationships and family. I, on the other hand, am much focused on what’s for dinner and who’s playing in Sunday’s football games.

But I’m not ashamed to say that the bittersweet conclusion of Dead to Me nearly brought me to tears, and I’m going to miss these two broads — especially Applegate, who is a comic delight as foul-mouthed Jen Harding.




So far, so good on Elon Musk’s Twitter. I no longer live in fear of permanent banishment for violating whatever random protocol is established by some spoiled Gen Xer on the West Coast.

The last time I got banned (it’s happened three or four times; getting back on the site isn’t all that difficult – even without Kathy Griffin’s dead mother), it was for paying someone a compliment. What was my offense? I told South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem that she has “nice tits.”


I stand by my Tweet.




Trump or DeSantis? I’m not sure. I’m glad I don’t have to decide today.


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I See You


Helen Hunt and Jon Tenney play a married couple whose family of three is on the brink due to her infidelity. Meanwhile, the cop-husband is assigned a child kidnapping case, and someone — or something — seems to be haunting their suburban house.

Here’s the thing: I am burning out on “supernatural thrillers,” in which any kind of plot snag can be explained away by magical hocus-pocus of the screenwriter’s choosing. So it was a relief to me when, at the midpoint of this well-shot movie, it became less Poltergeist and more, oh, The Silence of the Lambs, I guess. There is a major plot development that changes everything, and mysterious events are (mostly) satisfactorily explained.

But not everything is satisfying. The script is simply too clever by half, with too many coincidences and “yeah, right” moments for my taste. Release: 2019  Grade: B




Don’t Worry Darling


Florence Pugh and Harry Styles are living the life in an experimental town on the West Coast. But lurking beneath the village’s 1950s, Ozzie-and-Harriet facade, something’s rotten in the state of California.

Olivia Wilde’s Don’t Worry Darling is thought-provoking, well-made, and well-acted. It was considered a disappointment upon release earlier this year. Why is that?

I suspect it’s a matter of bad timing. Darling’s none-too-subtle message — The patriarchy is bad! Women are victims! — is propaganda we’ve been bludgeoned with for years now (thanks, The Handmaid’s Tale), and half the country isn’t having it. We’ve seen enough of Hillary and Nancy and Maxine to know that our problems aren’t strictly gender-related; they are power- and corruption-related. Laying responsibility solely on one sex doesn’t cut it.

But Wilde has made an entertaining movie and deserves kudos for that. I deduct points only for the plot’s lack of originality (The Stepford Wives, anyone?) — and for the politics of bad timing. Release: 2022  Grade: B+






Here’s an example of the triumph of marketing over substance. In the trailers for Smile, we learn that people inexplicably develop an evil smile right before something dreadful happens. We also see a clip of a truly frightening scene in which a woman runs up to the window of a waiting car and …

Little did I know, when I watched the ads, that those rictus-grins and the car scene are the only high points of this derivative, ponderous movie. We follow a nervous wreck of a mental-health therapist (Sosie Bacon) as she navigates a series of deaths involving the smilers — and a barrage of annoying “jump scares” that do little to disguise how lame the story is.

I suppose if I were 12 and Smile was my first horror movie, I might enjoy it. But I am not, and I didn’t. Release: 2022  Grade: C-






Filmmaker Jordan Peele’s career path is beginning to resemble that of M. Night Shyamalan — not necessarily a good thing. Both directors had early success (The Sixth Sense; Get Out), followed up with decent, if not spectacular, outings (Unbreakable; Us), and then chose a UFO/alien theme for movie number three (Signs; Nope).

Peele and Shyamalan, with their heavy reliance on twists, were both hailed as the second coming of Rod Serling. Peele, of course, injects social commentary into his films; Shyamalan, not so much.

Nope starts out well enough, with a suspenseful buildup as we learn that something scary is in the sky out west. But the second half of the film is a mess. It’s all nonsensical behavior and so-so special effects as brother-and-sister horse trainers (Daniel Kaluuya and Keke Palmer) do battle with … something.

Shyamalan’s Signs wins the battle of the alien movies, hands down. Release: 2022   Grade: C


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It took two and a half years to find us, but the Wuhan Flu finally did so and is currently biting us in the ass.

And so, until (hopefully) next week, please enjoy this picture of a goat.



© 2010-2024 (text only)


by Emile Gaboriau


I can hear it now: Monsieur Who?

Edgar Allan Poe is often cited as the father of the modern detective novel, and everyone is familiar with Arthur Conan Doyle’s legendary sleuth Sherlock Holmes. But I’m guessing that few readers are aware of the link between Poe and Doyle: French author Emile Gaboriau, who penned detective novels clearly influenced by Poe’s C. Auguste Dupin and in turn a major inspiration for Doyle’s Holmes.

I suspect Gaboriau’s novels have slipped into relative obscurity because they lack Poe’s mastery of mood and Doyle’s strong characterizations. Monsieur Lecoq, a young, ambitious policeman whose chief attributes seem to be self-doubt and confusion, isn’t particularly memorable, and Gaboriau’s prose can be a bit wordy and dense.

Still, if you’re a fan of 19th-century crime fiction, Lecoq’s investigation of an enigmatic man accused of a triple murder is an entertaining read.


© 2010-2024 (text only)



Looks like The Fourth Turning was correct: Clearly, we are amid some kind of new-age civil war.

It doesn’t matter how awful or hypocritical your candidate is; it doesn’t matter how many laws my candidate breaks. You are on your team, and I am on my team.

The midterms simply cemented our views. Red and blue. It’s depressing and exhausting.

For now, I don’t want to discuss politics. Instead, how about some TV Tidbits?




TV Tidbits



I’m watching Annika on PBS. It’s a pretty good cop show, mostly because it stars Nicola Walker (above), who has done this kind of role many times, but in Annika shows off more of her comedic side. However

In the past few years, I’ve noticed a disturbing (to me) trend in a lot of European cop shows. They open with a theme song featuring a female wailer who wails slowly, sadly, and annoyingly. These singers bring to mind Sarah McLachlan in those omnipresent commercials about abused pets.

Also annoying: Annika’s co-worker is a lesbian. OK. Also, Annika’s teen daughter is a budding lesbian.

That’s not “woke” enough for me. Let’s make the entire cast lesbian.





The Crown season five on Netflix: The production values are still there, and for the most part the cast is fine. However

Sure, Dominic West is a fine actor. But playing Charles? Give me a break.

Also, it seems like some of the show’s old magic is gone, possibly because so far (through three episodes) there doesn’t seem to be any character to root for. It feels like creator/writer Peter Morgan has decided that yes, the monarchy is outdated and it’s 2022 and everything in the past sucks and we’ve all had enough of these pampered Brits.





Banned, reviled, and worshipped Milo Yiannopoulos was on Tim Pool’s podcast. (This is a “TV Tidbit” because I watch YouTube on my TV, so shut up.)

Yiannopoulos is one of those raconteurs who can mesmerize you with his words. For two hours, he mesmerized the other blabbermouths on Pool’s show. And that’s no easy feat.

He’s an intellectual who is quite convincing while you listen to him, but of whom, in retrospect following the show, you suspect might be full of shit.

Maybe it’s his British accent.



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The time for private bitching is over. It’s time to make your voice heard.

If you detest globalists, elites, and insufferable culture warriors, it’s time to push back against their “(not-so) great reset.”





Yes, a lot of the Republican candidates suck (looking at you, Herschel and Oz). But again, see above.





A few weeks ago, I reviewed a book called Ten Dead Comedians. I arrived at the conclusion that if you are going to hang out with a professional comedian, you want him or her on a stage, and not in your living room.

That’s also how I feel about The Surreal Life, which has been resurrected on VH1 after a 16-year hiatus. Lord forgive me, I am watching the show again. The eight celebs — half of whom are new names to me — are generally messed up. But the drama in the house (in Mexico City, for some reason) is addicting.

Drunken, often-naked Dennis Rodman, spirit-channeling Stormy Daniels, and some female wrestler named CJ Perry (below) in a thong — what more do you need? It will take your mind off politics. Maybe.







Let the spoiled children learn to code.


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