Monthly Archives: April 2021

by Stuart Turton

 

I can only imagine the time and effort that went into the crafting of this story, in which the hero finds himself charged with solving a murder but with a bizarre handicap: Every time he wakes up, he’s inhabiting a new body, and this new person is also charged with solving and/or preventing death at an old English mansion.

The plot involves too many characters to remember, endless time shifts, and the ever-problematic concept of time travel. Oh, and there is also the body swapping. I get weary just trying to describe it.

I do admire Turton’s self-imposed challenge and his ability, I guess, to successfully weave such an intricate web. But was all that trouble worth it, from a reader’s perspective?

Well, yes and no. Early on, I had to decide whether the book was time-consuming piffle, or if I should just go with the flow. I am predisposed to enjoy murder mysteries, so I chose the latter. There are entertaining, action-packed sequences. But because of that labyrinthine, head-scratching plot, reading the novel was often more chore than fun.

 

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Closing Arguments

 

Now that we got “justice for George,” can we finally acknowledge that George Floyd was a major-league prick? Or must we persist in this fiction that he was somehow a martyred saint?

 

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If you’re going to impeach Trump for allegedly inciting the Jan. 6 uprising, then you’ve got to impeach/expel/demote fruit-loop Maxine Waters (pictured above) for doing the same.

 

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Pompous judge Peter Cahill (above) seemed to be in the tank for the prosecution all along. The defense requested change of venue. Denied. The defense requested jury sequestration. Numerous times. Denied! Denied!

 

When Waters basically encouraged mob violence should Chauvin walk, Cahill, who had the power to prevent jury intimidation all along, got all huffy and tried to lay blame for a potential mistrial on Waters.

 

If ever there was a trial where outside pressure and publicity demanded a holed-up jury, it was this one. (See juror Lisa Christensen’s comments below.)

 

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Don’t get me wrong. I watched the Floyd video just like you did, and Chauvin was clearly guilty of something — whether murder or manslaughter, I can’t say because I’m not a lawyer.

My problem is not with Chauvin winding up behind bars; it’s with the way the trial was botched by Cahill the Clown.

 

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If you’re a guy who supported Derek Chauvin, does that make you a male Chauvinist?

If you’re a guy on the police force who supported Chauvin, does that make you a male Chauvinist pig?

 

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From the mouth of alternate juror Lisa Christensen:

 

“I was concerned about people coming to my house if they were not happy with the verdict.”

But Cahill, in his infinite wisdom, was confident that a change of venue was not necessary. Nor was sequestration.

 

“I did tell them that I saw the [$27 million Floyd family] settlement run across the bottom of the screen one day.”

But Cahill, in his infinite wisdom, felt confident that jurors would follow his instructions not to follow the news. Including news of Minneapolis’s $27 million settlement with the family, news of the Brooklyn Center police shooting, and news of riots past, present and future.

 

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I know the feeling, Mr. Booger, er, Brooger. Same thing happened to me. Except for the ice-fishing part.

 

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Oh, boy. I sure am looking forward to the coming week.

I live about ten miles from the site of George Floyd’s death, and about the same distance from the Minneapolis courthouse where Derek Chauvin is being tried for Floyd’s murder/manslaughter.

Meanwhile, every day I drive to and from work right past Brooklyn Center, where another cop is charged with killing Daunte Wright.

 

I live in Plymouth and work in Brooklyn Park (circled above). 

 

A verdict in the Chauvin trial could come this week. The activists are in town, and they are restless.

What, me worry?

YouTube’s Tim Pool has been telling those of us who live in the area that we are fools for not getting out of Dodge while we can. It’s anyone’s guess whether Pool is correct or if he’s overreacting.

I’ll let you know in a week or so. If I can.

 

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I suspect that what we’re witnessing in this country, at least in part, is “revenge of the Millennials.”

Millennials were coddled and lied to by their Baby Boomer parents, who told their kids that everything would be fine: great jobs (not crippling college debt), and great personal lives (not war with every other “identity” group).

Oh, and then along came the killer virus. No more fun for the locked-up, masked Millennials.

Frustrated Millennials, like angry children, are now “woke” to their elders’ ways and are responding by attempting to tear apart every institution they can, like infants tossing poop at the walls.

They leave nothing untouched, torching everything previous generations held near and dear: baseball, movies, schools, the language, bathrooms, locker rooms, the law, and skinny models in Playboy.

A lot of these institutions deserve to be attacked. Problem is, the Millennials have no viable replacements in mind. Wreck everything and worry about rebuilding later.

I’m sure Russia, China, and North Korea will wait patiently while the snowflakes build a new America.

 

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Cheesecake Week!

 

 

I’m old enough to remember when Ronald Reagan’s daughter Patti (above) caused a scandal by posing nude for Playboy.

Patti was quite the rebel. In this Playboy video, she even gives us a money shot at 5:35.

 

 

But my goodness, Patti’s pictures were Pollyanna-ish compared to the garbage coming out of this idiot’s computer:

 

 

I’m still waiting for someone to explain why Saturday Night Live, which for years used the Trump sons as the butt of a running gag, hasn’t done squat about the biggest political target of the year, Hunter Biden.

If this worthless tool can crack wise about his drug addiction and related problems with Jimmy Kimmel, how is it that SNL gives him a pass?

 

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You might laugh about space aliens controlling us, or about the idea that we are living in some sort of computer simulation. But the way things are going — Bill Gates wants to dim the sun? — those theories no longer seem quite so crackpot.

Yes, there seems to be a Puppet Master at work. The only question is whether it is human or extraterrestrial.

 

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It only took me three years, but I finally got around to watching Seven Seconds on Netflix, arguably the ultimate “Black Lives Matter” drama on the tube.

Seven Seconds isn’t “peak TV.” I’d call it “frustrating TV.” There were moments when I thought, “This is powerful stuff; great television.” But there were also more than a few scenes where I thought, “This is heavy-handed, progressive propaganda.” Still, it’s worth a watch.

 

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Some of these Prince Philip quotes are both hilarious and disturbing.

Judging from some of the comments, is it really such a mystery which member of the royal family (allegedly) asked about the color of Meghan and Harry’s children?

 

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I finally got around to watching Parasite. I was struck by the attractiveness of the actress playing a rich housewife. Where had I seen this actress before? Oh, yes. It was here:

 

 

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Popular catchphrase in American culture that is probably not popular at NASA:

“What could possibly go wrong?”

 

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Knives Out

 

A confession: Knives Out is the kind of movie I am predisposed to like before I’ve seen even one second of it. It’s a murder mystery set in a spooky mansion and with an Agatha Christie-like cast of suspects.

OK, I’ll concede that the above synopsis sounds like, oh, maybe 5,000 similar movies. But this time, there’s a decent budget and big-name stars. So bring it on!

Alas, Knives Out is good, but not that special. It’s handsome and well-produced. It’s amusing to watch Daniel Craig channel Kevin Spacey’s Frank Underwood accent from House of Cards. But the much-heralded plot is nothing you won’t find in scores of Netflix crime shows, or in an old episode of Poirot.

It’s true that you don’t find many mid-budget movies with stories like this anymore. But that isn’t because Hollywood doesn’t make them; it’s because they’ve all moved to TV.  Release: 2019 Grade: B+

 

 

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Parasite

 

Parasite, a black comedy/thriller from Korea, boasts the distinction of being the first non-English-language film to win a Best Picture Oscar. Here is what Wikipedia has to say about it: “The film was considered by many critics to be the best film of 2019 as well as one of the best films of the 21st century.”

I’m not sure if that’s damning critics or damning movies of the 21st century.

Don’t get me wrong. I enjoyed Parasite, in which a rich family is infiltrated by a clan of con artists — think Al Bundy and his goofball brood from Married … with Children, but with Korean faces and street smarts. The elaborate con and the ensuing carnage are all amusing enough but … one of the “best films of the century”? Nope. Not even close.  Release: 2019 Grade: B

 

 

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Yesterday

 

Maybe to some eyes and ears, Yesterday is a bit on the schmaltzy side. To me, it’s simply “old-fashioned.” And these days, when it often feels as if every new film is a downer, filled with cynicism, realism, and snark, old-fashioned comes as a relief. Even if it is a bit schmaltzy.

Himesh Patel is amusing, and Lily James is charming in this romantic fantasy about a musician who, for some unexplained reason, suddenly joins a very exclusive club: a handful of people who remember The Beatles. And Coca-Cola. And cigarettes. Patel introduces John and Paul’s music to the world and subsequently becomes a star in his own right. Or in his own wrong.

Aside from the premise, everything else in Yesterday is familiar. Boy meets girl, boy loses girl, boy gets girl, boy learns valuable lesson. In the meantime, we hear lots of Beatles songs. I’ll take that kind of old-fashioned any day. Release: 2019 Grade: B+

 

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I used to love this country for its variety of scenery and culture. The Grand Canyon, Hollywood, Bourbon Street, and Graceland — all under the same flag. How cool is that?

Somehow, all the states managed to coexist without imposing their values on each other. Alas, no more.

So, what happened? I blame (mostly) social media. Now we know each other too well. The Ketchums of Kansas and the Kardashians of California keep up with each other, too easily, on Twitter and Facebook. And none of them like what they see.

 

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Kind of ironic if, instead of old Europe becoming more like the United States with the Euro, open borders, etcetera, the U.S. becomes more like old Europe, split into 50 squabbling states, each with its own culture and laws.

I’m used to hopping into the car and driving 500 miles through multiple states, no fuss. But soon, driving into a neighboring state might require hours of pre-trip research, simply to make sure you don’t run afoul of the law. Or the local “norms.”

Sad.

But that’s what it might come to, because I can’t picture Oklahoma abiding New York City rules, nor vice versa.

 

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I used to think that Russell Brand was just a celebrity goofball who boinked, however briefly, Katy Perry (above).

But I stumbled on Brand’s YouTube podcast and was intrigued by his interview with activist Deeyah Khan.

He also steered me to this article about arrogant global elites and their big plans for the rest of us.

Interesting. I guess he’s not such a goofball.

 

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There’s no question that YouTube harbors a wealth of fascinating, illuminating, and historical videos.

So why am I so easily distracted by crap like this?

 

 

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Apparently, this is front-page news. Big deal.

When I was a scruffy child, I found myself trapped on a ride called “The Bullet” at the Renville County Fair, wedged in a seat between my teenage sister and her teenage friend. The ride came to a sudden halt and suspended us some 35 feet in the air. With the door open. With the safety bar, attached to the open door, unfastened. Oh, and we were upside down.

There we sat, for ten minutes or so, just a strong wind away from tumbling to our demise.

It didn’t even make the local paper.

 

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