Perhaps David Geffen, Madonna, and other rich and famous jerks should sit down and read Poe’s The Masque of the Red Death (above). Especially Geffen, the billionaire who made the Instagram post below … before the backlash caused him to delete his account.

 

 

 

 

 

**

 

 

I saw the above headline and was reminded of this Groucho Marx quote:

“One morning I shot an elephant in my pajamas. How he got in my pajamas, I don’t know.”

 

**

 

I don’t know about you, but I’m growing tired of all these media reports about white-collar workers forced to work from home during this pandemic. I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve heard news stories that refer to “everyone” working from home.

None of these idiots seem to realize that millions of Americans are not working from home. They aren’t working at all.

 

**

 

 

Call me a homophobe if you must, but I can do without the male-on-male kissing scenes in Schitt’s Creek, which airs its final episode this week. I don’t expect gays to enjoy, say, Hugh Grant smooching Julia Roberts in a rom-com, so please don’t pressure me into (falsely) claiming that I dig seeing Dan Levy and Noah Reid locking lips in this show.

However … having said that, I can’t imagine a better public-relations show for gay acceptance than this Canadian sitcom. That’s because the characters played by Levy and Reid are so … damn … likable. You will like both of them, and you will want the best for them.

 

**

 

 

WTF is this? Bill Gates, Anthony Fauci, and Deborah Birx involved in some nefarious scheme to depopulate the world?

Problem is, the past month has been so surreal, so Twilight Zone-like, that it opens one’s mind to all sorts of other things, including conspiracy theories. So, Bill Gates and doctors Fauci and Birx are plotting to depopulate the world? Hey, we are all of us now Charlton Heston in The Omega Man, so anything seems possible.

 

**

 

Good Minnesota Mike:

 

Bad Minnesota Mike:

 

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by Michael Booth

 

As I type on this keyboard, we’re in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, and so any book depicting the culture and lifestyle of a particular region probably needs a caveat: Was it written post-plague or pre-plague?

In The Almost Nearly Perfect People, British expat Michael Booth chronicles Scandinavia — but the Scandinavia of 10 years ago, which might be very different from the Nordic region post-plague.

At any rate, I’m of Nordic heritage (mostly Norwegian; some Swedish), so Booth’s travelogue-analysis was of special interest to me. Booth has been compared to Bill Bryson, but his book is less interested in Bryson-like humorous anecdotes and more about compare-and-contrast: How does Scandinavia stack up in relation to the rest of the world? What makes it unique?

Yesterday, I watched a news report about the one Western country that seems to be going against the grain in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. That would be Sweden, which will not surprise anyone who reads this book. According to the news story, the Swedes are apparently shrugging their collective shoulders about the virus while everyone else is taking drastic measures.

Are the Swedes showing the rest of us how to deal with a pandemic, just as they aspire to lead the way on gender equality and immigration? Or are they a nation of oblivious fools?  

The Swede in me would like to believe the former; the Norwegian in me fears the latter.

 

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We thought about regaling you this week with hilarious stories about our recent ski trip to Aspen, or our holiday at a seaside resort in Jamaica, but … truth is, we’re just like you: stuck in the living room, scrolling aimlessly through a Netflix queue.

We’re not complaining, mind you. Trying to decide between streaming new episodes of Ozark and checking out Internet porn sure beats being hooked up to a ventilator in the Bronx.

But our job is to babble about trivialities. Here is a progress report on what we’ve been watching on Netflix:

 

Babylon Berlin: I got hooked on the first two seasons, but the thrill is fading. Maybe it’s because the novelty of this Weimar-era German show has worn off. Or maybe it’s because this is a relentlessly dour drama lacking the delightful musical interludes it once had. In any case, I’ve now watched five episodes of season three but am debating whether or not to continue.

 

**

 

 

The Valhalla Murders: It’s an Icelandic cop show, utterly devoid of originality. But it’s the TV equivalent of a “cozy mystery” novel, and sometimes that’s all you want. Plus, the scenery is, as you might expect, fascinating. I am on episode 6 and will certainly finish the season.

 

**

 

Tiger King: This documentary (pictured at top) about American private zoos and the nut jobs who run them is getting rave reviews. Watching it, I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve asked myself, “Can that be legal?” or “Does this really happen in the United States?” But I also get depressed thinking about the sheer volume of Americans who are into stuff like gaping at caged animals or, for that matter, professional wrestling. Trump supporters are stigmatized enough without being lumped in with these idiots (assuming, of course, that these idiots are Trump supporters). I’ve watched the first two episodes and (heavy sigh) will probably finish the season.

 

**

 

 

On my list but not yet watched: Kingdom, The Platform (above), Ozark.

 

**

 

 

Trump should seriously consider nominating Howie Mandel for our next surgeon general. Famed germaphobe Howie (above) doesn’t seem like such an oddball anymore.

 

**

 

Other than our Howie Mandel recommendation, we’re not discussing the virus this week. It’s depressing and we will be talking about it for years to come.

 

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Harpoon

 

Harpoon is a bit gory for my taste (pun intended), but this tale of three friends on a boat trip gone bad is otherwise a fast-paced, entertaining black-comedy-slash-thriller. Munro Chambers, Christopher Gray, and Emily Tyra shine as young pals who grow paranoid, distrustful, and hungry – oh, boy, do they ever grow hungry – when they are stranded at sea with little food and water. None of this threesome is particularly sympathetic, but they are all very amusing rascals. If nothing else, Harpoon might get you to Google “Richard Parker” (both of them). Release: 2019 Grade: B

 

**

 

Wij

 

Perhaps I’ve grown jaded, or maybe I’ve seen too many movies based on books by Bret Easton Ellis, but I was unmoved by the alleged “shocking” escapades of the kids in this Belgium-Netherlands co-production. Director Rene Eller’s movie follows a group of eight teens who go bad thanks to, oh, the usual culprits: Internet porn, reality TV, and/or indifferent, clueless, or non-existent parents. You’ve seen most of this before – although probably without quite so much bare skin. Release: 2018 Grade: B-

 

 

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These are going to be high times for villains and scoundrels. With everyone distracted by the virus, especially the media, just think of all the crimes and misdemeanors our country’s assholes can commit.

The media might not notice because they are too distracted and angered at the girl pictured above with Trump.

Nothing seems to rile up the left (i.e. the media) quite so much as a hot chick who happens to be conservative. Especially if she also happens to be a reporter.

Hence, you get headlines like this one in The Daily Beast after a cutie named Chanel Rion tossed Trump a softball at a coronavirus press conference:

 

 

Trump liked her question. He liked it so much, in fact, that he ignored social-distancing protocol to get a bit handsy with the OAN reporter (picture at top).

We don’t care if Chanel’s a conservative bimbo or a brave journalist standing up to her liberal peers. We just like to look:

 

 

                           

.                            

                                                          Click on thumbnails for a larger view

 

OK, so that last thumbnail is not really Rion. But it could be, couldn’t it?

 

**

 

Yes indeed, these will be high times for scoundrels. On the other hand, looks like grim times for crooks who specialize in home burglaries, because everyone’s at home.

 

**

 

Since grocery stores are reaping the rewards of a consumer bonanza, I certainly hope they are sharing the unexpected profits with their employees.

 

**

 

I don’t know if anyone still does this, but in the past journalists used to contact psychics or astrologists or whatever they are at the end of the year, or the beginning of the new year, to make their annual predictions.

It would be interesting to see if any of these geniuses predicted this damn pandemic.

 

**

 

How come I’m not reading anything about the possibility that this virus was something China was developing as a biological weapon? Is that silly? Not remotely likely? Do I watch too many movies?

 

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Since we are “self isolating,” we thought this would be a good time to post something fun. So here are thumbnails of the covers of books that Grouch has read over the past 25 years. Where possible, the covers shown are the actual covers when the books were purchased, whether in 1995, 2005, or yesterday — probably about 95 percent of the titles. The list is alphabetical. 

Click on any image for a view of the full cover. 

 

grouchyeditor.com perfect people 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Whew … that’s a lot of scrolling. If you’d like to read short reviews of about one-third of the above books, click here for an index with links.

 

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 Griping as the World Comes to an End

 

Thanks to this damned coronavirus, I am subjected on a daily basis to news pundits and politicians mispronouncing two simple words. Both words appear in the following sentence: “In an effort to combat the nasty virus that is spreading throughout the world, health experts are advising everyone to wash their hands so that they do not contract it.”

 

 

You comBAT coronavirus; you don’t COMbat it. You might conTRACT it; you don’t CONtract it.

Problem is, you can’t discuss the crisis without at some point using at least one of these words.

I am looking at you, Mike Pence.

 

**

 

Whatever happens in the coming months, we must all agree to bail out the airline and cruise industries, professional sports teams, and other wealthy businesses before we even think of helping individual citizens.

We must also ensure that our highest priority during this trial is to assuage Wall Street because – and I coined this phrase myself, but feel free to use it – if there is one thing Wall Street dislikes, it’s uncertainty.

 

**

 

Because virus fear is making everyone stupid, I feel I must point out that the above comments about bailing out the rich are sarcastic. I don’t really mean it.

But it will probably happen, anyway.

 

**

 

This “social distancing” business is going to be a real pain in the ass for people like me.

I live in an apartment building, and I generally start out my mornings in the same way: I enjoy a cup of coffee, then I walk down the hallway, knocking on my neighbors’ doors and asking if anyone would care to have sex with me.

Typically, I will then have sex with three or four people before continuing with my day.

But now I am supposed to keep six feet away from the neighbors? Sad.

 

**

 

Again, because everyone is now stupid, I must point out that the above comments about boinking my neighbors is me just kidding.

 

**

 

I received an email from my cable company informing me that it is doing everything possible to ensure that I can still watch TV.

That’s the really important thing.

 

**

 

Some good news: Everyone in Congress is at least 60 years old. So they are not likely to dilly-dally over battling this virus, which primarily targets the elderly.

 

**

 

It is politically incorrect to criticize China.

Fuck you, China.

 

**

 

You can have a president with a nasty personality. You can have a president who is a socialist. But you cannot have a president who, thinking he is pressing a button for room service, is instead pressing a button for the nuclear codes.

I am looking at you, Joe Biden.

 

**

 

Self-Isolated with My Twitter Feed

 

Leggy females on cable news are many things, but I don’t usually associate them with great wit or humor. That’s why I was surprised to see this Tweet from Fox’s Gillian Turner:

 

 

But then came the explanation:

 

 

More Stupid People

 

 

**

 

 

This dude Fauci (above) seems to have his shit together. I tend to trust him.

I suppose that now that we are looking to him for reassurance, he will become embroiled in some scandal involving a male prostitute in a hotel room.

 

**

 

 

If some jerk with Photoshop can do this to a picture of Maria Sharapova, he can do it to anyone.

And so, if you see a photo of me naked on the Web and my penis is small and shriveled, rest assured it was doctored by some Internet creep. If, on the other hand, you should see a naked photo of me and my penis is large and handsome, that would be the real deal.

 

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The Crotchety Editor

 

 

We’re thinking about changing the name of this Web site to The Crotchety Editor. After all, someone young can be grouchy, but The Grouch is no spring chicken, and so “crotchety” seems more on point.

 

This Week’s Yells from the Porch:

 

Has “tornado alley” changed locations? In the old days whenever there was big twister news it seemed to always come from Texas, Oklahoma, or Kansas. But lately, these nasty buggers seem to hit farther east and south; places like Nashville and the Deep South.

 

**

 

Some radio jocks were discussing “new age music.” I’ve been hearing about “new age music” for decades. When does it finally become “middle aged music”? Or “old age music”?

 

**

 

If there’s any good news coming out of this coronavirus mess, it’s the fact that we are all taking a closer look at greedy American corporations, movie studios, and pro sports teams that are selling out the U.S.A. for the Chinese buck.

 

As for the morons harassing Asian-Americans because of coronavirus … shut the fuck up. I work with a sweet young Hmong girl named Priya, and she is fearful of backlash against her friends and family. She is not harming you and has nothing to do with the damn virus, so leave Priya alone or I will beat the shit out of you.

 

**

 

Can we please stop kidding ourselves that Mike Bloomberg was the only candidate trying to buy an election? In case you haven’t noticed, Sue the hairdresser and Stu the mechanic will not likely ever become president.

In America, you pretty much have to buy elections – either by being ultra-wealthy yourself or by begging for money from the rich.

 

**

 

 

I dislike Pete Davidson (above). In every Saturday Night Live sketch, he looks as if he would prefer to be somewhere else — anywhere else. So please go there and get the hell out of my television.

Also, you’re nowhere near as funny as you seem to think you are.

 

**

 

 

Some female golfer named Paige Spiranac is complaining to the media that the nude selfie shown above was posted online by her ex-boyfriend. She’s complaining. Yeah, right.

 

**

 

One more coronavirus complaint: This business about washing our hands … it sounds like something the government says to its people because it doesn’t know what else to tell them, but it feels it must tell them something.

 

**

 

 

**

 

That’s enough complaining. Let’s end this review on a positive note. Like this female volleyball player:

 

 

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Dear Fox News anchors:

Yes, of course I’d like to be respectful of your religion. And I understand it was Ash Wednesday. But for crying out loud, those black smudges on your foreheads make you look like clueless buffoons.

 

 

**

 

Coronavirus

 

 

Is anyone else beginning to feel a bit like Will Smith in I Am Legend, or Charlton Heston in The Omega Man, hunkered down in your house and watching news reports about the end of the world (above)?

You go ahead and stock up on bottled water and canned beans. I’m going to run out and get a dog and a bust of Napoleon – or whoever that dude is with whom Heston plays chess.

 

 

**

 

 

Perhaps it’s just another reminder that I’m getting old, and if ever there was a “first-world problem,” this might be it, but the age of streaming TV shows with long story arcs is playing hell with my brain cells. For example: Better Call Saul (above), a great series, last week premiered its fifth season. I love the show, but it definitely places demands on a viewer’s recall.

Not only does Saul employ a complicated time-frame structure – lots of flashbacks and flash-forwards – but you must remember: 1) how the plot (and Saul) progressed during the show’s first four seasons; 2) the entire five-season run of Breaking Bad, a show of which Saul is heavily intertwined and acts as a sort of prequel … although it might eventually become a sequel – who knows? Characters who died in Breaking Bad are alive and well in Better Call Saul. At least I think so.

Like I said, this is a first-world problem; nothing to lose sleep about.

 

 

Tomorrow, another show I’ve been watching and like a lot, Babylon Berlin (above), premieres its third season on Netflix. I fully expect to have the same kind of recall issues with Babylon that I have with Saul, but with the added burden of subtitles.

Poor me.

 

**

 

 

It was not a great week for legendary director Steven Spielberg.

First, the news broke that his adopted daughter Mikaela is embarking on a career path no doubt made possible by her father’s fame and fortune: She’s going to be an Internet porn queen.

Then, the Web site Crazy Days & Nights ran a blind item linking Mr. Hollywood to sordid behavior regarding child actors. You can read about it here.

 

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Girl on the Third Floor

 

Girl on the Third Floor is further evidence that a talented director can take a silly ghost story and, with skill and creativity, deliver more than a few goose-bumps. C.M. Punk plays a no-account husband who, after cheating on his pregnant wife (Trieste Kelly Dunn) with a sexy blonde (Sarah Brooks), gets his #MeToo comeuppance at the hands of some angry female spirits. Director Travis Stevens uses the creepy old house the errant husband is renovating to good effect. Too bad Stevens’s efforts are undermined by a weak script. Release: 2019 Grade: B-

 

Trieste Kelly Dunn

 

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