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YooToob Dood, Part Two

Posted on Friday, April 1st, 2022

Dave!Here are the YouTube creators I can't live without... meaning that I watch every single last one of their videos... PART TWO!

(in no particular order)

Marques Brownlee
Nobody... and I mean nobody... looks at tech the way that Marques does. Not only is his approachable, relatable, smart takes on tech essential viewing for me... the guy is so good that I wish he would produce more videos on non-tech issues as well.

Phillipp Dettmer (with Team Kurzgesagt)
I've raved about Kurzgesagt many, many, many times. A deep dive into very cool subjects.

CGP Grey
Probably one of the most entertaining people on planet earth, Grey tackles all kinds of subjects to excessive degrees and I love every precious minute of it.

Thomas Flight
Thomas loves film. And his deep dives into film discussion is the stuff of cinephile dreams.

Julian Baumgartner
Julian restores art, and his videos are like soup for my soul. Relaxing, informative, entertaining... and always fascinating... you don't have to even like art to appreciate these soothing videos.

Tyler Stalman
There are a lot of photographers on YouTube. Tyler is my favorite. He's very talented, mostly Apple-based, and has a unique approach to talking to photographers about the tools we use.

Arun Maini
Arun has a plethora of tech videos with an interesting look at the tech I love. But he also has cool videos about extreme tech, weird tech, and unbelievable tech that are entertaining as all get out.

Johnny Harris
One of the most fascinating travel bloggers around, Johnny has been around for a while (I first became a fan when he was doing Borders at Vox). He always has a unique take on cool stuff I love... travel... maps... international news.

Nathaniel Drew
If you crave adventure and travel from a more intimate perspective, Nathaniel makes videos just for you. But he also makes videos about what it means to be fundamentally human, and those are worth watching too.

Derek Muller
Derek's videos run the gamut. Some of them are just interesting looks at information or concepts that make life fascinating. Others are technically complex subjects broken down into (mostly) understandable chunks. Then others are just... science weirdness.

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Caturday 253

Posted on Saturday, April 2nd, 2022

Dave!I got this new "Fancy Feast Broth with Chunks" cat food because Jake's prescription food has been out of stock (THANKS, COVID!). I opened up the little pouch and immediately started gagging. I seriously thought I was going to puke. But I managed to get it into the bowl... and of course the rank smell compelled Jake and Jenny to IMMEDIATELY start scarfing it down like maniacs. Licking the bowl and everything...

A package of BROTHS cat food

Why is it that the worse something smells, the more my cats yum it up? So gross.

AND CAN YOU IMAGINE WHAT THEIR POOPS ARE GOING TO SMELL LIKE?!?

=shudder=

Coming home from work this past Monday after I had been gone for three nights has Jake acting as if I've been gone for six months. Much petting has to ensue before he will let me go. And he's smarter about it now. Lays on my feet to pin me down so he doesn't have to walk after me squawking as I move around the house. And what I said to him as he's rolling around on me? "Gee Jake, your butt looks particularly clean today!" Cats...

Jake holding my feet down to get petted.

Last Caturday I remarked how nice it was that my knucklehead cats got along so well while I was gone. Well, now that I'm home, that's apparently over. When I got home on Friday, Jake came running down the stairs all "WAaAAaAAaAH!!" And I was like, what's up buddy? What's wrong? And so I went back through the camera feeds to see. Turns out I left my bed a mess, and Jake had nested in the blankets. But then Jenny came up and wanted to lay there. So she started beating him up so he would move!

RUDE!

Fortunately, when I'm home they're happy to make peace again...

Jake and Jenny laying down with me.

Makes it worth putting up with stinky food and even stinkier poops.

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Bullet Sunday 757

Posted on Sunday, April 3rd, 2022

Dave!Don't worry about the world, worry about me... because an all new Bullet Sunday starts... now...

   
• TREK! Star Trek: Strange New Worlds looks SO good...

Here's hoping that Paramount+ doesn't turn it to whiny bullshit like they did with Star Trek: Discovery (that show started amazing too, but has devolved into the worst Star Trek ever).

   
• le Carré! I never saw The Night Manager 2016 mini-series adaptation of the le Carré novel... but it's on Amazon Prime Streaming, so I've had it running today. It was very good. The performances are all sublime. And that ending... delicious...

If you're looking for binge-worthy television and like the spy genre, it's worth a look.

   
• Holy! A while back, a-ha came up as one of my favorite bands and I commented that it's such a shame that so few people know of their albums after their smash-hit first release. It remains some of my favorite music ever made. AND EVER SINCE I have had their song Holy Ground stuck in my head. But not just the song (though I've always found it gorgeous and haunting) what's stuck there is a crappy fan edit that mashes up the studio recording with the video of a live performance and scenes from the movie "Troy." It contextualizes both the song and the film in a way that elevates them both...

I wish it was available as a hi-res, better-quality video, because it really is beautiful. And I'm dying to know how the person who cut this together came up with the idea.

   
• Fooling'! Sometimes you kinda have to wish that April fools' jokes were reality, right?

OREO Cookie Cream in a HEINZ packet!

I hope I never see this in grocery stores, because I will buy it in bulk and smear this stuff on everything I eat.

   
• Mavericky! I hate to say it... but this actually looks like it's going to be good. It's certainly going to have plenty of edge-of-your-seat action, it looks like...

Very cool that they got Val Kilmer to appear. Though, much to my horror, the only thing that enters my head any more when I hear "Maverick" is this...

Lord. And apparently she (Palin, not Tina Fey) is running for office again. Or something. I'm too afraid to look into it.

   
• Horse Dewormed! Wow. I may shit my pants in disbelief.

   
And speaking of shitting my pants, time for me to put away the bullets and see what's being reported in the news.

   

Quantum Entanglement

Posted on Monday, April 4th, 2022

Dave!I set my blog to auto-update... including the plugins. The latest security update made my blog so secure that I can't post to it!

Guess my thoughts on quantum inevitability as it relates to an infinite universe will have to wait.

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That’s How They Make Money

Posted on Tuesday, April 5th, 2022

Dave!Lord. So a person can have a fake profile with NO posts that they use to spam comments about "witch doctors" casting spells... but when you report the profile as being OBVIOUSLY FAKE AND ABUSIVE, Facebook treats you like you're lying. I mean, hey, you can spam comments everywhere using a fake profile and technology doesn't exist to combat it? That's just way out of Facebook's capabilities?

Unreal.

Facebook is toxic AF and they just don't give a shit.

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Laryngitis Makes Good Company

Posted on Wednesday, April 6th, 2022

Dave!This morning I had a very early Zoom call. Which got the cats all excited, because they thought they were getting breakfast 1-1/2 hours early. But, alas... no.

After washing my face and attempting to make my hair presentable, I sat down for my meeting... went to say "hello"... and... nothing. My voice was completely gone. All that non-stop drainage from my allergies (which have been worse than usual this year) had caught up with me, and that was the end of it. I had to participate via typing in chat, which likely made nobody very happy with me, but it's not like I had much choice.

Allergies during COVID times is no joke. It's tough to come across as though I'm not infected when I'm a complete mess. And can't speak.

So I conitnue to test daily. Continue to be negative. And continue to wonder how long I will be suffering this year. Last year was only a couple weeks. This year feels like it will be lasting a while.

And yet... Spring is still my favorite season of the year.

Go figure.

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There’s Always One in Every Crowd

Posted on Thursday, April 7th, 2022

Dave!There's always that one person whose only endeavor seems to be to make everybody else's life miserable. Most just dismiss or avoid them, but I'm that dumbass who actually tries my best to be kind.

And without exception I end up regretting making the effort.

Maybe one of these days I'll learn.

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The GOOD Bed

Posted on Friday, April 8th, 2022

Dave!When I bought furniture for my place, I got it all from IKEA because that's all I could afford. I just bought a cheap $40 bed frame because I didn't want an IKEA bed. I wanted to save up for a GOOD bed.

Six years later... and I just went ahead and bought the IKEA bed. I was never going to have enough cash for a GOOD bed. It arrived yesterday and I put it together tonight (I am way too old for this shit... so much pain!).

My cats are not happy.

After it was assembled, Jenny came in and took a whiff of that musty IKEA smell and left in disgust. But Jake? Came in an squawked at the bed from all angles. Hopped on top of it and squawked at it. Climbed the cat tree and squawked down at it. Stood in the doorway and squawked at it before he left.

He is furious at this new bed.

And it's like... no... it's not the bed I wanted, but it's not that bad!

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Caturday 254

Posted on Saturday, April 9th, 2022

Dave!People continue to be surprised that Jake is still obsessed with Mufasa, his stuffed lion toy. And, yep, he really is. Six years strong now.

Most times, he is dragging him around the house, dropping Mufasa somewhere or another. And he's less and less inclined to freak out when he can't find him. And yet... every once in a while...

Thursday night Jake woke me up at 2:00am. And the only reason that happens...

Sleep record showing me waking up at 2am.

And so... off we went for a game of hide-and-seek. Though it wasn't much of a game. It took two minutes to find Mufasa sitting on the couch.

After throwing Mufasa around for a while, he picked him up and ran upstairs where we went back to bed...

At which point I fell asleep watching him give Mufasa a bath.

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Bullet Sunday 758

Posted on Sunday, April 10th, 2022

Dave!Winter may have come back, but there's warmth in my heart... because an all new Bullet Sunday starts... now...

   
• Two No More! I wanted taco salad for dinner. I had the lettuce, tomatoes, avocado, cheese, salsa, sour cream, veggie crumbles, thousand islands dressing, and frozen corn... I just needed tortilla chips. So I stopped at the store on my way back from Home Depot. The "$2 ONLY!" Santinas Brand I've been buying forever are now "$2.29 ONLY!"

NOW $2.29!!

I know that prices for all the food I buy is through the roof, but this shook me. "$2 ONLY!" ain't "$2 ONLY!" any more.

   
• Cumin! The "Martha Stewart and Marley Spoon meal service has been a huge source of culinary happiness for me. So many new recipe ideas and flavors. But they keep raising their prices which, on it's own is not a deal-breaker... but they refuse to do anything to protect their ingredients, even after I've made numerous complaints. Nor do they compensate you any more. It used to be that when something was missing or damaged... they'd at least give you a token credit on your next order. Not any more! Your sour cream packet was smashed open and smeared everywhere because it was placed under ice bricks? OH WELL! Missing your carrot? SORRY! Tomatoes pulped by a can of beans? OOPSIES! And so I canceled. And replaced them with "The Cumin Club," and Indian-based food service that you prepare from little packets...

Cumin Club Packets

So far I am quite pleased. Fairly economical, promised authentic flavors, easy to prepare, and tasty (if a little on the spicy side). If you're interested in giving them a try, here's a link that gives us both 15% off.

   
• What? A director I like with a movie starring a bunch of actors I like is usually guaranteed to grab my attention. It is not, however, guaranteed to please. Enter The Bubble...

The Bubble actors yelling in front of a green screen.

A movie about making a movie in the middle of the pandemic... which is supposed to be funny, but is actually about as unfunny as it gets. What a waste of talent all the way around.

   
• Gooshing! Chipotle Mexican Grill keeps sending me emails telling me how close I am to getting enough points for a free entrée. I always order a rice & black bean burrito with salsa, sour cream, guacamole, and extra cheese. But the last burrito I bought was INEDIBLE. I always have to order double tortilla wrap so it doesn't bust open while I'm attempting to eat it... but this time even a double wrap wasn't enough because (and I am not exaggerating here) the entire first half of the burrito was entirely guacamole, sour cream, and salsa. That's it. And how can even two tortillas compete against THAT? — I was half-way through before I hit cheese and rice, so it was just gooshing liquid the entire time. By the time I hit beans, the tortilla had disintegrated. It was one of the grossest things I've ever eaten and I had to dump a bunch of it back in the bag so my clothes didn't look like a murder scene...

The very wrong way to make a burrito.

So... yeah... I guess I'll keep ordering until get my free burrito, but then I'm done. It will just be chips and guac from then onwards. The burritos aren't worth the trauma.

   
• =eyeroll= Real NASA Astronomer Reviews Flat Earth Simulator...

I mean... holt shit. It defies all possible common sense, yet here we are.

   
• Discovery! When you read this fascinating story... be sure to read the caption under the photo: Woman Discovers She Isn't The Biological Mother Of Her Own Children.

   
• Brain Hurty! Veritasium is a YouTube channel that I watch because it's interesting and challenging. Even when Derek breaks down items and concepts into something that I can mostly understand... there's always elements that lay just outside my grasp. This video I've watched at least three times over the years. It's actually not overly-difficult to understand... there's a reference point change that explains things quite well... the thing that I have a hard time grasping is how there exists within science concepts which are absolutely horrifying to contemplate. Such as the idea that there were people thinkning that eventually the earth would flip over...

Now, this turns out not the case... science has an explanation as to why that's not going to happen... but for a while there it seemed like a possibility. And this has me wondering about all the horrifying things that haven't got science to explain it away.

   
And that's all the bullets for today, buckaroo.

   

Snow? Really?

Posted on Monday, April 11th, 2022

Dave!Yikes. It's snowing.

Like a lot.

Pretty sure that I will be clearing it off my car before going into the office. This isn't something that's going to melt an hour from now.

UPDATE: Yep...

Clearing snow off my car...

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Reaching for the Moon

Posted on Tuesday, April 12th, 2022

Dave!Welp, we're three episodes into Moon Knight from Marvel Studios on Disney+ and I am most decidedly not impressed. Usually by the half-way point you'd expect an escalation of the story so you can race to the finish line. Well, that ain't happening.

Good Lord is this series awful. How could Marvel Studios take such a cool character... amazing acting talent... fantastic locations... and come up with something THIS boring? It's all talk talk talk talk that ultimately goes nowhere interesting.

And Mr. Knight has gone from badass in the comics to tedious in the television series...

Mr. Knight from Moon Knight

I sure hope that they manage to do something interesting in the back-end three episodes, but given how the latest episode ends, I'm guessing that we've got at least one more episode of Moon Knight without Moon Knight.

What a wasted opportunity. They aimed for Raiders of the Lost Ark but fell way, way short.

There is such a wealth of comic book source material to mine from... but we get this hot mess? I would have rather we got a two hour movie that was tightly tuned instead of six drawn-out episodes of whatever this is.

Comic book shows shouldn't be boring. This is show is boring and sad.

   

LEGO My Skywalker Saga!

Posted on Wednesday, April 13th, 2022

Dave!I like video games. I love the LEGO video games. I think I own all of them multiple times over (for multiple platforms). They are essentially kid games, which means they're low-stress... but there's challenges and humor which make them a blast for adults too.

The latest release is LEGO Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga. There have been many Star Wars LEGO games before, but this is a new take on the material which is more expansive and clever than any LEGO game I've played before. Even if you own the original games, this is one worth looking at if you've enjoyed any of the other LEGO video games...

Alas... it's a LEGO video game, so it's cute as can be... but all is not perfect from a gaming standpoint. TellTale Games has always traded on the fact that people want to ply LEGO and the experience doesn't have to be perfect.

My profanity-laden thoughts about the game follow...

  • Vehicle control is still absolute shit. I do not for the life of me understand how after NEARLY TWO DECADES of these games they can't make vehicles actually fucking drivable. You will smash into shit and have trouble navigating because the controls are a sloppy mess. It's like they somehow take pride in the fact that everything to do with driving is crap.
  • The puzzles are the same as they've always been. Aside from a few minor unique innovations, you've played this before. Or, if you're me, dozens of times before.
  • One of the hallmarks of all the licensed games is that they are wonderfully humorous and can make even the most mundane cut-scenes interesting and fun to watch. The crap Star Wars prequels are made bearable, and that's quite a feat. I just wish that some of the cut-scenes can be skipped, but very few can. This is especially infuriating when you consider that the game crashes uneventfully (today it crashed when I was changing characters!), thus forcing you to sit through the last cut-scene all over again.
  • The LEGO games have a reputation for bugs and glitches. With The Skywalker Saga, it's not so bad that it's unplayable, but there's still bugs. Glitches aren't too bad, but every once in a while I end up in a spot where walls disappear or I can't move. The camera is bonkers, and many, many times I can't see me and am stuck to a wall. Fortunately saves are frequent so I'm not losing much progress, but still...
  • With this game, there's been effort to make the fighting more than just a button-mashing affair. In fighting there are different moves you can make... blocks you can bring up... and combos to spice things up. This would be admirable if it weren't so badly handled. One of my favorite movies is to jump in the air, then use a combo lightsaber smash move which plunges the lightsaber into the ground and smashes the enemies around you. But then there's times that the move just doesn't work for some random reason. Hell... when you're fighting Kylo Ren, YOU CAN'T EVEN JUMP AT ALL! What the hell? How can your character all of a sudden forget to fucking jump? What sense does that make?
  • Another nonsensical bit of idiocy? Disguises. If a Stormtrooper gets blasted, sometimes their armor will drop and be wearable. Sometimes. Finn can wear it most of the time, but there are times that he can't... from what I can tell, it's when he is holding a lightsaber. But you can't drop the lightsaber or stick it in his pocket, which means that dressing up as a Stormtrooper to fool other stormtroopers is impossible. BUT THEY STILL INDICATE THAT HE CAN WEAR IT EVEN WHEN HE CAN'T! Which is just stupid. Almost as stupid? Han Solo in The Force Awakens cannot wear Stormtrooper armor at all! and this is despite the fact that he literally dressed up as a Stormtrooper in the very first Star Wars movie! God.
  • These LEGO games used to be a fun romp. With each new game, more complications are added. For a while, it was cool. Minikits... Magic Bricks... New Abilities. Fun! But now there's just too much going on. The menu system is insane. There's sub-menus to sub-menus to sub-menus. And now they've initiated a class system with ability upgrade trees... which is okay for adult gamers because they've probably seen them before. But for kids?!? I honestly don't know how a kid (any many adults) are supposed to be able to wrap their heads around it all. The Endor level is all complicated maneuvers at great heights, which cause you to fall again and again and again. That's not "fun" it's frustrating.
  • Waiting for scenes to load is not too horrible... but still annoyingly slow on Nintendo Switch. Oh well. Being able to take the game with me on the go is a fantastic feature that Xbox and PlayStation can't give me.
  • Usually LEGO puzzles are fairly uncomplicated. That's part of the appeal. You don't have to stress, because you can eventually figure things out. But this time around there's some puzzles that just defy belief. They tell you what has to happen, but give you no idea how you accomplish it! On Ahch-To, there's a puzzle where you need to get at least five people dancing. Then they draw a perimeter which is assumably where the dancing takes place. Then there's characters with a wifi symbol above their head. That's it. I've tried wiggling in front of them in an attempt to "dance." I've talked to everybody. I have no clue at all what to do. Assumably somebody with dancing ability must come along, because otherwise... dang.
  • When making a jump from one planet to another, you can have your flight interrupted by a space battle. And it's like... sure. But they can happen multiple times in a single trip! The last time it happened, I had three space battled interrupt my flight IN A ROW! It was fun at first, but now I just want to attack my television with a baseball bat.
  • They are so unoriginal that they use a fucking Wilhelm Scream. For the love of God... just stop with the Wilhelm Screams already! It's not even funny any more. Not in movies and most certainly not in video games. And yet they do it multiple times. Infuriating.

In other news... I got the Deluxe Version of the game which comes with a Blue Milk variant of Luke Skywalker. The thing is trending online because people are selling them on eBay for up to $300!

Luke minifig drinking blue milk from a carton.

Wow.

If I were to rate this game, I'd probably tag it with a B-. It's expansive, adorable, and looks great... but there are some serious gameplay problems which keep it from reaching greatness.

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Snowpocalypse Now

Posted on Thursday, April 14th, 2022

Dave!Fourth day in a row of waking up to a lot of snow falling down.

Previously, it would all melt before the day was ended. But today we got some serious snow. Seven inches I'm betting. Which is kinda a bummer because A) I started assembling my wood shop out in the garage, so my car has to be cleaned off each morning... and B) I already put away all my Winter clothing. I'm especially sad for all the flowers and trees that have already bloomed thanks to some warm days last week...

Heavy snows out my window.

A tree in bloom pelted with snow.

Tulips buried in the snow.

Tulips buried in the snow.

I mean...

Seven inches of snow on my car.

That ain't melting by the end of the day. It will be lucky if it melts tomorrow.

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Booster^2

Posted on Friday, April 15th, 2022

Dave!Yesterday I got a notification that I was now eligible for a second Pfizer Booster. A booster for my booster, I guess. Now, I am 1000% in support of getting "touch-up" vaccinations as efficacy fades, so there was never a question as to whether I was going to do this... I was just waiting for the word to be given.

The minute the text arrived, I went rushing to my local County Health website to make an appointment. Only to find that I didn't need an appointment. This didn't shock me, because all three times I went to get vaccinated, there was hardly anybody there.

What did shock me is that they are only offering vaccinations one day a week. Every Friday from 10:30 to 4:30.

I thought that surely there would be a line if we're down to one day a week... but nope! There was one guy who had already got his, and once he left I was alone.

Interesting to note that I only had to wait for five minutes after this time.

Didn't end up turning into a lizard person this time (again, darnit!), but there was some good news. Zero side-effects...

  • Vaccine #1: Fever for 2 hours. — Sore, stiff arm for 2 days.
  • Vaccine #2: Sore arm for a day.
  • Vaccine #3: Sore arm for 2 or 3 hours.
  • Vaccine #4: Nothing. I thought I might be having chills... but that was me forgetting that I turned off the heat weeks ago, and it ended up being a *very* cold day today. So... never mind. I guess the fourth time around my body is so used to the vaccine that I'm not going to have any side effects. Yay.

And so... until next booster, I guess.

   

Caturday 255

Posted on Saturday, April 16th, 2022

Dave!Jenny just keeps getting more finicky.

It took a very long time... months... before she allowed me to touch her. Then months more before she was comfortable being touched. Then months after that before anything but petting her back were on the table. After a couple years, she started liking belly rubs.

And belly rubs are a big deal, yo.

You must start with her back. Then give her butt scratches for a while. Then maybe some chin scratches. Then she will flop over on her back, at which time you're then allowed to rub her belly.

At least that's how it was.

Now, there are times that she flops down on her back... but changes her mind for some reason. At which point she will use her back foot to force your hand out of the way...

Jenny kicks my hand away from her belly.

And if you try to continue on after being denied? She will switch to pushing my hand away with both back feet...

Jenny kicks my hand away from her belly.

And if you dare to press onward. Things get very serious. That belly closes off real quick...

Jenny kicks my hand away from her belly.

So... lesson learned. I will be sure that what Jenny thinks she wants is what she actually want.

And I'll try to not be offended if she changes her mind.

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Rarely has so much fear and anger been directed at so few.

Posted on Sunday, April 17th, 2022

Dave!Bullet Sunday will return next Sunday. Because I have something more important I want to share. It's something nice from an unexpected source, and it's all I can think about today (after seeing a woman read the letter on TikTok), and I have to share it. Because there's just not enough good news lately.

It's a letter from the Republican Governor of Utah, Spencer J. Cox, which addresses his veto of the anti-trans bill which bans transgender athletes from participating in girls' high school sports. The proposed bill was horrific on its own. But in reading this letter you'll see that there was currently only one transgender student in girls' sports in the entirety of the Utah School System.

One.

I wish that I could say that this was the end of the story. That the bill was vetoed, kindness prevailed, and a girl got to kept playing the sport she enjoys. But that's not the world we live in. The veto was unsurprisingly overturned a week later and the bill was made into law.

It's Utah.

Despite the outcome, I still think that there's good news to be found. A Republican Governor risked political fallout to confront the bigotry in his party to stand up for that one trans girl who is just trying to get along in her life with the cards she was dealt.

And that ain't nothing.

Even if it does vividly illustrate how fucking bankrupt the asshole legislators are who would vote for such trash. They read their governor's heartfelt letter and voted for bigotry and hate anyway.

   

March 22, 2022

The Honorable J. Stuart Adams
President of the Senate
and
The Honorable Brad R. Wilson
Speaker of the House

Mr. President and Mr. Speaker,

I believe in fairness and protecting the integrity of women’s sports. I know both of you are committed to these same ideals and that we have worked very hard together to resolve the many issues surrounding transgender student participation in sports. Unfortunately, HB11 has several fundamental flaws and should be reconsidered. Because the bill was substantially changed in the final hours of the legislative session with no public input and in a way that will likely bankrupt the Utah High School Athletic Association and result in millions of dollars in legal fees for local school districts with no state protection, and for several other reasons below, I have chosen to veto this bill.

The transgender sports participation issue is one of the most divisive of our time. Because there are logical and passionate arguments by many parties, finding compromise or common ground can be difficult. Sadly, there is very little room for nuance in this debate. But I hope you will permit me an opportunity to explain my reasons for vetoing HB11.

Utah has a history of trying to approach complicated issues in ways that bring collaboration and fairness. From immigration and criminal justice reform to LGBTQ protections and religious freedom, Utah has often shown an unusual willingness to find new and compassionate ways to solve the most toxic debates of our time. For this reason, I was heartened and encouraged to see legislators sitting down with LGBTQ advocates to work on a compromise that would both protect women’s sports and allow some participation for our most marginalized transgendered youth. No other state has done this, and we hoped that Utah could be the first. As you know, the negotiations centered around the potential compromise of a commission of experts that would help decide on an individual basis which kids would be able to participate.

The concept was fairly simple. For the very small number of transgender kids who are looking to find a sense of connection and community–without posing any threat to women’s sports–the commission would allow participation. However, the committee would prohibit participation in the rare circumstance of an outlier who could pose a safety threat or dominate a sport in a way that would eliminate competitive opportunities for biological females. Unfortunately, over time, the negotiations got bogged down debating the makeup of the commission and some of the language in the bill. While we were not able to reach an agreement on the commission, the bill sponsors did agree to remove some of the most troubling language. As the hallmark of a good compromise, neither side was thrilled, but there was a path forward. And while I admit it was not perfect, there was general agreement that we could pass the bill and continue tweaking the concept during the next year as necessary.

On the last day of the legislative session we began hearing rumors of a 4th substitute of the bill that would implement an all-out ban, with the new commission only coming into play if a court prohibited the ban. While it is not unusual to have legislators propose changes to bills, it is unusual to have major overhauls proposed at the last minute on significant policy issues that had been the subject of so much negotiation. It is even rarer to have these pass, especially with no communication with those who had been negotiating the issue. So, you can imagine my surprise when the 4th substitute was revealed late on the last day of the session and debated and passed just a few hours before midnight.

It is important to note that a complete ban was never discussed, never contemplated, never debated and never received any public input prior to the Legislature passing the bill on the 45th and final night of the session. For this reason, many legislators who might have otherwise supported the policy felt compelled to vote against it.

I believe in process. How we make policy matters almost as much as the policy itself. An opportunity to participate is a critical component of public trust. While changes are inevitable, this was more than just a cosmetic change. This was a complete reversal of every discussion, public or private. Every article written by the media on this issue was about the commission and a compromise. Every answer given during press availability was about the commission and a compromise.

Much of the debate that night centered around the difficulties of bad process and a lack of time to get constituent input. This lack of time and input has serious legal and financial implications as well (more on that below). And while I appreciate the apologies I have received from legislators involved in the truncated proceeding, I feel a veto is necessary to improve the process and to better allow the public an opportunity to weigh in.

One of the worst results of that process was the inability of legislators to understand the financial impacts that will be forced upon the Utah High School Athletic Association (UHSAA) and local Utah school districts that will inevitably get sued under this bill. The UHSAA is a private organization and runs the real risk of insolvency and bankruptcy, putting our entire state athletics program in danger. Having just completed a lengthy and very expensive lawsuit, the organization does not have significant reserves on hand. Furthermore, the UHSAA has been clear that if the state ever attempted a ban, the state would also need to provide indemnification to hold the organization harmless in the forthcoming lawsuit.

Unfortunately, HB11 provides no financial protection for the UHSAA, only an explicit invitation for a lawsuit. With several lawsuits already being litigated across the country, why would Utah insist — even encourage — expensive and debilitating legal action with no recourse for the organization that serves our own student athletes and schools? I hope you can agree that if we want to protect women’s sports, bankrupting the institution that is responsible for their participation is a bad place to start.

To make matters worse, shortly after the introduction of the 4th substitute there was a hastily adopted amendment to explicitly exclude Utah’s local schools from indemnification. Because the 4th substitute was so quickly introduced and at the very end of the session, there was significant confusion at the time about the reason such a clause was necessary and the impact it would have. Clearly, the reason for the amendment was to avoid a fiscal note that could not have been funded at such a late hour without nullifying the bill. However, during the discussion on the Senate floor it was incorrectly argued that government immunity would protect schools from a lawsuit based on the ban. Because these lawsuits would involve potential civil rights violations, they would not qualify for governmental immunity. This means that schools would inevitably face costly litigation and the potential for significant damages.

For this reason, many schools across the state of Utah have reached out expressing concern. Had they been aware of the language of the 4th substitute with enough time to comment, they undoubtedly would have shared a similar message with legislators who were forced to vote on the bill with no public input. Again, why would we risk significant legal exposure for some of our poorest schools with no financial support when other states are already funding identical legal defenses across the country? If the state insists on a policy that encourages significant litigation, I believe the state should pay for the litigation. It is my understanding that you have polled your members and that you have the sufficient two-thirds majority to override a veto. Should this occur, I will immediately call a special session to change this section of the bill in order to avoid bankrupting our athletic association and local schools. A simple veto override will not resolve this fundamental issue.

I also think it’s important to address some of the arguments that came up during the passing of the 4th substitute of the bill. Many legislators brought up the trans swimmer at the University of Pennsylvania, who has recently dominated women’s swimming, setting records and lapping the field. I agree with those who are concerned with this egregious example. I believe this is terrible for women’s sports. There are natural advantages that come from our birth sex, which is the very reason that we have men’s and women’s sports in the first place. Setting records and taking scholarships away from biological gendered women should give everyone pause. It’s bad for women and it is bad for the LGBTQ community, as it turns allies and reasonable people into opponents. I don’t believe that this type of participation is compelled by the Constitution, but that decision will be left to the courts in the months and years to come.

However, there are a few problems with this example being the reason for a complete ban in Utah. First, this bill would do nothing to prevent that example, as HB11 only applies to high school and middle school and does not impact collegiate athletes. And second, if there was a similar example in a Utah high school, the proposed commission would prevent it from happening. Indeed, that is the very purpose of the commission: it would attempt to both protect women’s sports and allow our most vulnerable an opportunity to participate. Interestingly, the very legislator who introduced the 4th substitute of the bill called the commission concept “brilliant.” I do not know if the commission would completely solve this divisive issue, but I appreciate the innovative and respectful approach that it offers.

I also believe there is broad misunderstanding around the current rules regarding transgender participation in sports. In particular, from the testimony of many, there seems to be a belief that any biologically-born male could simply say he was transgender and begin participating in women’s sports. This is incorrect. For many years now, the UHSAA has had in place a rule that only allows male-to-female transgender participation in women’s sports after a full year of difficult transition hormone therapy and in consultation with a health care professional. This has likely prevented some participation and helped to even the playing field. As a representative of the UHSAA stated: “As we read the science right now, we like our policy. This year we have four students who have gone through our paperwork and we have not had any complaints from any other students or families or school administrators.” I should note that while I have some reservations about a policy that requires or incentivizes these transitions, it is the policy in place. Finally, there is one more important reason for this veto. I must admit, I am not an expert on transgenderism. I struggle to understand so much of it and the science is conflicting. When in doubt however, I always try to err on the side of kindness, mercy and compassion. I also try to get proximate and I am learning so much from our transgender community. They are great kids who face enormous struggles. Here are the numbers that have most impacted my decision: 75,000, 4, 1, 86 and 56.

  • 75,000 high school kids participating in high school sports in Utah.
  • 4 transgender kids playing high school sports in Utah.
  • 1 transgender student playing girls sports.
  • 86% of trans youth reporting suicidality.
  • 56% of trans youth having attempted suicide.

Four kids and only one of them playing girls sports. That’s what all of this is about. Four kids who aren’t dominating or winning trophies or taking scholarships. Four kids who are just trying to find some friends and feel like they are a part of something. Four kids trying to get through each day. Rarely has so much fear and anger been directed at so few. I don’t understand what they are going through or why they feel the way they do. But I want them to live. And all the research shows that even a little acceptance and connection can reduce suicidality significantly. For that reason, as much as any other, I have taken this action in the hope that we can continue to work together and find a better way. If a veto override occurs, I hope we can work to find ways to show these four kids that we love them and they have a place in our state.

I recognize the political realities of my decision. Politically, it would be much easier and better for me to simply sign the bill. I have always tried to do what I feel is the right thing regardless of the consequences. Sometimes I don’t get it right, and I do not fault those who disagree with me. But even if you disagree with me, I hope this letter helps you understand the reasons for my decision.

Sincerely,
Spencer J. Cox
Governor

   

LET’S WATCH… The Batman!

Posted on Monday, April 18th, 2022

Dave!IT'S LET'S WATCH A MOVIE WEEK! Where I live-blog me watching a film and comment along the way! Most of these films I watched a while back, I just wanted to hold off talking about them until more people had a chance to see them. Because of the pandemic, and all that.

Today's movie is one I watched just tonight when it debuted on HBO... The Batman!

If you haven't seen it yet, this will obviously be a spoiler-filled entry. And probably not make a lot of sense. You've been warned.

If you're somebody who just wants me to summarize and not have to read through the smalltalk to see how I felt, here you go: The Batman had a lot of hype that gave me hope, but it doesn't get anywhere near touching the terrific Nolan trilogy. Heck, it doesn't even get close to the two Michael Keaton films. It's probably on-par with the Joel Schumacher movies for their idiocy, but The Batman at least tried to respect the character. Unfortunately it's a boring, morose, joyless slog of a film that made me long for Ben Affleck's take on the character. My favorite Batman is the detective who's good in a fight. But here we get an emo goth take that just didn't work for me. Zoë Kravitz made a darn good Catwoman, but I spent all her scenes wishing that she was doing something better (like her great canceled show, High Fidelity) than wasting her time with this. And, alas, the sexual tension with Batman was non-existent. And don't get me started with The Riddler, who was badly handled from the start and spent his pivotal scenes yelling to no effect.
DAVE GRADE: D

Spoiler Zone!

  • We start out with a boring monologue that does its best to set the tone of a dark, brooding Batman. There was no need. THAT'S ALL HE IS THROUGHOUT THE ENTIRE MOVIE.
  • The Riddler is clearly an ultra-violent, murdering psychopath.
  • Batman beats up a group of criminals, then let's them all run away. What was the point of that?
  • Batman shows up to a crime scene and apparently there's a police officer who had no idea that he's been working with the police. I guess Gotham P.D. doesn't have office gossip?
  • And of course there's always got to be that ONE PERSON who goes off on a fucking idiotic "HE'S A VIGILANTE FOR CHRIST'S SAKE!" rant. Thanks for not letting me down, Matt Reeves.
  • And here we go with a Nirvana song (Something in The Way) which is a heck of a shortcut to piling on dreamy despair and brooding to a movie overrun with despair and brooding.
  • "Dear Violence Diary..."
  • Ulysses Klaue! Welcome to the DC Universe!
  • It's like... they don't get Batman at all. When he's off the clock, they make him every bit as brooding and antagonistic as when he's got the cowl on. How in the hell isn't he not immediately recognized since he's not making any attempt to be a different person? In the comics he's a frivolous billionaire playboy for a reason. NOBODY suspects that Bruce Wayne could be Batman.
  • Bruce Wayne puts on sunglasses indoors. He's that cool.
  • My God. The sound balance is so annoying in this film. I was struggling to hear dialogue one second... then blasted through the back wall of my living room the next.
  • It's The Penguin! Solely showing up to establish him for a future HBO Max series... or so I hear.
  • The sound levels mysteriously drop by a factor of ten so we can conveniently hear the dialogue here.
  • God. The dialogue is shit. "Hey! Take it easy! Do you know my reputation?" — "Yeah, do you?" — Obviously he does. What kind of dumbass question is this, Batman?
  • Batman in his classic trucker hat disguise spying on Catwoman. Yeah, why not? Ooh! And here's Catwoman cat-burglaring! Refreshing!
  • Zero sexual tension between Batman and Catwoman... the hallmark of their relationship.
  • So... The Riddler is now a sadistic, unhinged murdering monster. That's quite a departure from the source material, where he's a madcap puzzle-obsessed guy who comes up with riddle-derived crimes!
  • Catwoman is a gum-smacking whore? NNNNNNOOOOOOOO!!!
  • Dang. No sexual tension with Batman, but Zoë Kravitz sure causes sexual tension in me! WHY DID THEY CANCEL HIGH FIDELITY?
  • Geez, Batman! Way to exploit and endanger Catwoman! And it's laughable how he heaps abuse on her and then is all upset when she bails. It's like... how clueless can you be? You're the world's greatest detective?!?
  • How are people not all... "Oh look... there's Bruce Wayne. That guy is as moody as The Batman!"
  • God. We're an hour in and I don't even know what this movie is trying to say. So much time wasted making this as boring as possible.
  • Boy, Batman, that's damn cold. Joke about the D.A. getting his head blown off when he has a bomb strapped around his neck. And more than a little sadistic.
  • God. The Riddler is so over the top as to be ridiculous. There is nothing even remotely interesting going on here. Nothing. What a pathetic villain for a major motion picture. They are actually trying to make The Riddler act more like The Joker, but to ill-effect. And I'm guessing the next film will be The Joker, yet again, starring (Lord help us) Barry Keoghan (just arrested for public intoxication). Where can he even go from here?
  • This is getting monotonous in it's stupidity. Batman quarrying off with the cops. And it's a crime to insult an officer? WTF?
  • Glider Suit Batman toy, unlocked!
  • It feels like two hours have dragged by. It's been an hour and fifteen minutes. That is not a good sign for a comic book movie. Or any movie, really.
  • Is it Batman-Catwoman team-up time? Nope. Doesn't matter... because here's the latest Batmobile! I wish that directors would study movies like Baby Driver so their car chase scene ends up being more than just obtuse viewing angles and squealing tires. The rain is nice. The Penguin being able to drive like Mario Andretti is just silly.
  • It's just... God. So slow. Do we really need a yelling scene between Gordon and Penguin? What value does this bring to the movie? I am bored out of my frickin' mind.
  • We're at the one-hour-and-forty-minute mark. And now we know that The Riddler is after Bruce Wayne? Maybe? And it ends up being because Bruce's dad wanted Falcone to scare a journalist into keeping quiet about his wife's mental illness? Well, I guess that's a plot you could saddle a movie with. Not a good one, mind you. But there it is.
  • Catwoman kisses Batman for absolutely no reason. Other than she wanted to, I guess. After telling him that Falcone is her father.
  • Oh joy. Batman is taking a page out of Suicide Squad's Joker to put the pieces together. Waiting for him to lay down in the middle of his Riddler connectivity diagram and start cackling. Blergh.
  • Brooding Bruce Wayne confronts Falcone in the least interesting way possible. Boy this movie is intent on boring the hell out of me.
  • Why in the hell does Alfred put up with this constant abuse? Glutton for punishment, I guess. Because I don't care how obligated I felt to Bruce or how sorry I felt for him... LATER!
  • I DON'T GIVE A SHIT ABOUT ANY OF THIS! HOW CAN THEY MAKE BATMAN BE THIS BORING?!? You have to really, really want to make a boring movie when Batman is at the middle of it.
  • "This is for my mother." Misses her target. Shoots the wall at ridiculously close range. Hey, you tried, I guess. Mommy's proud of her little girl, Catwoman.
  • Strangling her? Wow. Daddy is very mad about his little girl shooting his wall.
  • If every clean cop in Gotham is watching Falcone being taken into custody... who's out protecting the city? And a lot of good it did... Falcone just got whacked in front of all of them!
  • THE RIDDLER IS PAUL DANO! HOW COOL! (of course I knew this, but it's weird to only just now see his face).
  • Gawd. This final confrontation with Paul Dano is an excruciating drag. Like the entire movie. Why should this be any different? Just a bunch of yelling. So much fun.
  • Oh noes! Gotham City is below sea level? THANKS, GLOBAL WARMING! Sorry you're a failure, Batman.
  • Jesus. Still more incoherent yelling by The Riddler. And he's got groupies! THERE'S STILL A HALF-HOUR LEFT?? FUCK!
  • Might as well shoot the candidate for mayor. Makes about as much sense as everything else in this shitty fucking movie.
  • Batman goes super-batty on this guy's face! But he's okay! It's all good! But whoops... Batman's mantra comes back to haunt him. Oh noes! He's no better than the criminals he fights! WHAT A TOTALLY UNIQUE TAKE ON BATMAN WITH AN OBSERVATION THAT'S NEVER BEEN MADE BEFORE EVEN ONCE!
  • Oh dang. Batman's not dead and electrocuted as I had hoped. Guess there's room for a sequel... a daring concept.
  • Nirvana again. We've come full circle. And now another boring-ass monologue over shit that doesn't matter. Gotham is a flooded mess... for what? Who cares?
  • Call me... JOKER!
  • OH MY GOD! WE'RE STILL NOT DONE?? What kind of torture is this?
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LET’S WATCH… Spider-Man: No Way Home!

Posted on Tuesday, April 19th, 2022

Dave!IT'S LET'S WATCH A MOVIE WEEK! Where I live-blog me watching a film and comment along the way! Most of these films I watched a while back, I just wanted to hold off talking about them until more people had a chance to see them. Because of the pandemic, and all that.

Today's movie is one I saw way back in January. But not so long ago it was released on home video... Spider-Man: No Way Home!

Spider-Man No Way Home Poster

If you haven't seen it yet, this will obviously be a spoiler-filled entry. And probably not make a lot of sense. You've been warned.

Spoiler Zone!

If you're somebody who just wants me to summarize and not have to read through the smalltalk to see how I felt, here you go: Spider-Man: No Way Home had potential to be a convoluted disaster, but ended up being one of the most comic book comic book movies to ever be released. Thanks to a terrific script, plenty of surprises, and capable acting, I enjoyed this movie a lot. Like a lot a lot.
GRADE: A

  • We start where we left off... Mysterio, thought to be a hero by the world at large... accuses Spider-Man of his murder, and reveals his secret identity to the world. So now, much like the comic books, Spider-Man is Public Enemy Number One (spurred on by the deranged ravings of J. Jonah Jamison). There's a million ways that this could have been resolved (has been happening in the comics for decades), but I did not anticipate where it would lead. At all. And I wonder if the writers knew how they were resolving it when they wrote the ending to the previous films.
  • Aunt May and Happy Hogan are breaking up. Bummer, Happy. First you lose Tony Stark, now this.
  • HERE COME THE FEDS!
  • "Nick Fury has been off-planet for the last year." We, of course, know that he has been on vacation while the Skrull leader Talos has been impersonating him... but Peter had no idea, and it's weird to me that he never looks into it at all in the rest of the film.
  • Zendaya brings so much to the table as M.J., and I don't know that she gets enough credit for that. Her interrogation time is priceless.
  • Ha! Classic Ned.
  • And then there's Marissa Tomei. Sigh. I know that she doesn't have the star power that she used to have. But it still shocks me that she agreed to be in the Spider-Man movies. She's perfect for this version of Aunt May, and it's so nice that casting put her in the role. It will be very strange to not have her be a part of these films any more, and she will be missed.
  • It had been rumored for a while that Charlie Cox was going to appear as Daredevil (or, to be more accurate, Matt Murdock) in this film. I still got a thrill when this scene unfolded. Cox is so good in the role. And this being the precursor to him (and the other Netflix Marvel Studios characters) being folded into the MCU where they belong was a treat.
  • I hope that Jon Favreau sticks around even though all his ties to the MCU are gone after this film is done (Tony is dead and he doesn't even know who Peter is). He's comic relief without being stupid comic relief, and adds a lot of value to these movies.
  • "How did you just do that?" — "I'm a very good lawyer" THIS. This right here is why DC can't reach the heights that Marvel gets to. They don't get why continuity is important. What value it can bring. And how throw-away lines like this can thrill fans that devote themselves to these movies. And yet it's still funny even if you never saw Daredevil.
  • "Go get 'em, Tiger!" Cute that they managed to work this classic M.J. Watson line into the movie in a way that works, because Zendaya's M.J would never say it.
  • Flash's book is Flashpoint... they literally beat DC to the punch with their own event (not to mention the Ezra Miller Flash: Flashpoint movie that's coming one of these days (or not, since Miller was just arrested... again).
  • It's just a bit part cameo piece, but I love that they brought back Peter's teachers for an appearance (I've been a fan of Martin Starr forever). I will say, however, that it's bizarre that there are people who consider him to be a hero while still others consider him to be a villain at the same time. They do write this off as the guy being a conspiracy theorist, but still.
  • Peter said earlier that he's broke. How was he going to pay for college? Stark didn't leave Peter any money in his will?
  • I've read that part of the licensing agreement for Sony allowing Spider-Man to be a part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe films is that at least one major MCU character has to appear in every solo Spider-Man film. Iron Man in the first one. Nick Fury in the second one. And now Doctor Strange in the third one. Personally, I love the cross-pollination of characters between films. It's this interconnectivity that makes all the Marvel Studios stuff so dang brilliant. But they are always careful to make sure that these guest appearances enhance instead of overshadow Spider-Man. And having the Master of The Mystic Arts (plus Wong!) show up was perfect for both Sony and Marvel because it opens up so many doors for both their efforts.
  • The winter wonderland going on in the Sanctum Sanctorum is fantastic. Both visually and for comedic effect (Strange slipping when he lands was a laugh-out-loud moment for me).
  • Wong! Boy I hope that we get a Wong Disney+ series.
  • Wong being elevated to Sorceror Supreme is fantastic. It does nothing to diminish Doctor Strange but does everything to elevate Wong!
  • "...but I'll allow it." Ha! Nice nod to Tony Stark there.
  • COME ON! WE DESERVE A WONG DISNEY+ SERIES!
  • "They shot an episode of The Equalizer here in the 80's." A part of me wonders if that could actually be true!
  • The Doctor Strange magical effects have been amazing since Day One. And here we are again.
  • LOL. The object that Thor knocked over in Thor: Ragnarok is knocked over again.
  • Benedict Cumberbatch was the only choice to play Strange. I am more convinced with each passing movie.
  • In many, many ways, I will not be sad to see the Iron Spider suit go bye-bye. I've said it multiple times, but so much of what makes Spider-Man be Spider-Man is that he's a kid on his own. All this fancy Stark tech has been fun... but I want to see a stripped-down Spider-Man for the next movie, and it sounds like that's what we're going to get.
  • We knew, of course, that Doctor Octopus would be appearing. But despite the advance notice, it was still fantastic to see Alfred Molina as this character again. Re-casting after re-casting after re-casting gets tired, so why not just go back to the best? Albeit with a little de-aging CGI thrown in.
  • What made the Doctor Octopus of Spider-Man 2 work so well is that many times his mechanical arms were physical effects instead of CGI. In many scenes they felt real. These CGI arms are very cool (and probably more comic book apropriate) but they have a more "unreal feel" to them. Not necessarily in a bad way, but it does make me appreciate the job that they did the first time around back in 2004.
  • See... this tech stuff with nanites is not Spider-Man to me. Cool (and funny) as it is.
  • Tom Holland has always been perfect to play Peter Parker because of scenes like this. Peter's confident but hesitant, and getting that tone right is not easy. And of course his amazing athletic ability fits Spider-Man to a T.
  • And, of course, it's nice to have Willem Dafoe back! (which is a relief, because while Dane DeHaan was fine, his Green Goblin was stupid).
  • "The Multiverse is Real!" Welcome to the real start of Marvel Phase Four!
  • This is the one thing about this movie that doesn't really work for me. Ned, out of nowhere, has magic in his family and tingling in his hands... paving the way for him to be able to use the Sling Ring. Eh. Feels forced.
  • "Otto Octavius?" Yeah, yeah. But back when all these characters were created, the silly names were considered cool.
  • The throwaway gags in this film are on-point.
  • The "Mystical Spider-Man" suit is cool... but not as cool as it could have been. It's pretty much just a red and gold version of his usual suit.
  • Wait... Electro knew who Peter Parker is? How was he drawn to this universe, because I'm pretty sure that was not a part of his story. And why is he a buff Jamie Foxx instead of nerdy Jamie Foxx? Even The Lizard wants to know! Alas, no answers.
  • Having JK Simmons return as J. Jonah Jamison is a fun touch. But turning him into a supplement-pushing Alex-Jones-type on a streaming video show is brilliant.
  • The concept behind "fixing" the villains before sending them back to die is a wacky one. How, exactly, does that benefit them? "Change their fate?" I guess. But it seems as though they were snatched just before they died and will return in the same point in time... to die.
  • Why is it when the heroes fight each other it's always a more interesting battle than when they fight villains? Though it's sad that The Cloak of Levitation, which was friends with Peter in Avengers: Infinity War is now forced to fight him. It is more than a little odd that magic could be defeated with... math?
  • The Lizard dishing out prophecy right here.
  • "I'll do it!" — "No way that's his girlfriend." The fact that Tom Holland and Zandaya are dating in Real Life is a hilarious dig.
  • Now this was an interesting moment that slipped by me in the theater. Electro is reacting to the power source of the fabricator... which is an Arc Reactor. That makes his little speech to The Sandman hit a lot different. And makes when he actually steal the Arc Reactor make a lot more sense. Out of all of them, he's the one you never really buy as anything except a villain. Though his "Are these your LEGO" comment is totally hilarious.
  • PLEASE come up with a way to keep Jon Favreau in the MCU.
  • Now see... this is where Willem DaFoe makes you think that he's the only guy who can play the part. He goes from Norman Osbourne to Green Goblin in disturbingly quick order.
  • Killing off Aunt May, essentially having her take the place of Uncle Ben's role in the comics with the "With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility" line, is an important part of what makes the story arc for this movie work. And makes the end hit way harder. So... I get it. But boy will I miss Marissa Tomei in these films.
  • What this newfound magical ability could mean for Ned going forward is both frustrating and exciting. But, then again, they could easily let it be forgotten along with Peter Parker. Whatever the case, it's better than turning him into the Hobgoblin like they did in the comics.
  • Andrew Garfield was a great Spider-Man... a not so great Peter Parker... but that was likely not his fault since he was saddled with some shitty, shitty films. And, I gotta say, him getting a little redemption here is truly nice. He deserves it. And let me tell you, I would not be mad at all if he got another Spider-Man film or series or something.
  • Toby Maguire was a great Peter Parker... and a good Spider-Man. And his first two films were magic. But that third one? Holy crap. It's also truly nice that he got redemption with this flick. And, yeah, seeing him in another Spider-Man project would also be nice. He's so good at his role in this story.
  • As well-written and well-acted as this grief scene is, they really pushed it too hard. The entire movie stops all momentum... especially considering that you go from this to science lab stuff and even more angst.
  • The Toby Maguire Spider-Man having organic (instead of mechanical) web shooters is something I disagree with to this day. Part of what makes Spider-Man so cool is that he's smart and creative. And he came up with his trademark webs because he scienced it.
  • LOL. Lady Liberty is all decked out for honoring Captain America... and it's all thanks to Rogers: The Musical as we saw in the Hawkeye Disney+ series!
  • Spider-Men comparing notes. As I mentioned, my fear with this film was that having two additional Spider-Men would be taking away from Tom Holland's character in his movie.
  • A far, far better Electro suit than the big blue battery look in the Amazing Spider-Man 2. And the nod to his absurd comic book mask was a nice touch.
  • This Spider-Men vs. villains battle is entertaining but, again, the fight with Doctor Strange was more interesting.
  • This movie was SO well-written. And given all the things they needed to accomplish, it's a frickin' miracle.
  • I'm sure analysis was done on all the people/creatures making their way through the multiverse breach, but you really can't tell. One guy is big. Maybe it's a Thanos! He probably knows who Peter Parker is... I mean he knew Tony Stark. Or maybe it's Darkseid? (LOL!).
  • So... the entire world stops falling apart long enough for Peter to say good bye. That's nice.
  • Okay. I know that it would be easy to be all "IT'S MAGIC, OKAY!" to explain all the wild inconsistencies that were created when everybody who ever knew Peter suddenly forgets he ever existed. But it's so sloppy and messy. In the end, it's admirable how he decided to let and M.J. and Ned continue to forget him because their lives will probably be better because of it. Or, at the very least, safer. And seeing him end up exactly where the comic books had him forever will make for an interesting next chapter to be sure. But it's like... come on. I grew to really like the MCU Spider-Man. I can only hope that where they go next will make for the same great stories that this past trilogy did.
  • So where did Peter get the money to rent an apartment in New York City when he's not just broke... but doesn't exist? Or does he exist? Does he have a social security number to be able to work? I dunno. But that shiny spandex Spidey suit is pretty cool.
  • All the Spider-Man films have had flawless music choices (The Ramones was welcome and wholly unexpected). But Schoolhouse Rock? VERY cool. That it's a De La Soul version is all the better.
  • The mid-credits scene attempts to pull Sony's Venom into the MCU (albeit briefly) all the while setting up the MCU with a Venom of their own. And, I gotta say, if they bring back Tom Hardy, I wouldn't be mad at all. And, yes, that was really Dani Rojas from Ted Lasso tending bar.
  • Having the post-credits scene be a preview of a future movie is a real copout. But given that Spider-Man: No Way Home was supposed to come out after we saw Doctor Strange In the Multiverse of Madness, I'll give them a pass.

And there you have it. The End. Of yet another spectacular Spider-Man movie in the MCU. Given that there's a new triology of films in development and Tom Holland is returning, I look forward to even more great Spider-MCU-flicks in the future.

   

LET’S WATCH… No Time to Die!

Posted on Wednesday, April 20th, 2022

Dave!IT'S LET'S WATCH A MOVIE WEEK! Where I live-blog me watching a film and comment along the way! Most of these films I watched a while back, I just wanted to hold off talking about them until more people had a chance to see them. Because of the pandemic, and all that.

Today's movie is... James Bond in No Time to Die!

No Time to Die Poster

If you haven't seen it yet, this will obviously be a spoiler-filled entry. And probably not make a lot of sense. You've been warned.

Spoiler Zone!

If you're somebody who just wants me to summarize and not have to read through the smalltalk to see how I felt, here you go: No Time to Die is a fitting film for Daniel Craig's final outing as James Bond. There's the thrilling action you'd expect, but considerable depth as well. Alas, this sometimes causes the film to drag and make it feel overly-convoluted, but ultimately it has enough going for it to do the franchise justice (even if Rami Malek is not really given the opportunity to make his mark as a Bond villain). My favorite Bond of the Craig era will always be Skyfall, but No Time to Die is second... or at least tied with Casino Royale for second. Thanks to everybody for making this last hurrah worth watching.
GRADE: B

  • If I were this little girl, I would be screaming "HOLD YOUR FUCKING HORSES, MOM! I'LL GET YOUR GLASS OF BOX-O-WINE WHEN I HAVE A MINUTE!" I can't stand abusive crap like this.
  • Daddy's business dealings are paying a visit. Dressed in cultural appropriation. Oopsies.
  • Daddy is Mr. White? Well this will not go well.
  • See.
  • Well, this little girl did not come to play! She is going to fuck up this intruder with the upmost prejudice! And even clean up the body! How sweet!
  • Yeah... always put a couple rounds in the head just to be sure. That's a mistake you generally don't get to make more than once.
  • That not one of those bullets landed in her face is pretty remarkable.
  • "We have all the time in the world." — Um. James obviously hasn't seen his old movies (in particular, "On Her Majesty's Secret Service". That's not a very smart assessment to make.
  • Vespa really did a number on poor James's heart. And that explosion really did a number on James's head! Ouchies!
  • And here's what we REALLY want in a James Bond flick... a cool action chase! At least James has the luxury of being licensed to kill and of the fuckers who mess with him.
  • I want spikey bombs installed on my car! How handy would that be?
  • Daniel Craig has the bluest blue eyes. My ovaries are melting.
  • Damn, James. People are always lying to you and out to kill you. To blame poor Madeline based on the word of people trying to kill you is pretty cold.
  • Billie Eilish is as good a choice as any for an opening theme song. But, man, it will be tough to top Adele's Skyfall any time soon. This song is okay, but needs some elevation in there somewhere to feel like Bond. Oh well. At least it's better than that horrific Sam Smith pile of shit monstrosity... the worst Bond theme of all time.
  • This is another gorgeously-filmed Bond flick. They always get top-tier directors and cinematographers.
  • =sigh= Another bioweapon plot. I understand that this is a valid and very real scenario, but isn't there anything else going on in the world? This was well-covered in films like The Rock and Mission Impossible 2.
  • Moneypenny! She was so great when she first appeared, yet we see less and less of her. and as much as I miss Judi Dench, this role is perfect for Ralph Fiennes.
  • FELIX! Yay! Looks like we're getting all the players to say goodbye to Daniel Craig! I can say without a doubt that this is my favorite actor to play the part. Jeffrey Wright owned the role from his first scene in Casino Royale. This new guy with Felix is a dick. I hope that Felix isn't retiring and we get stuck with him for future films (assuming all the parts aren't recast).
  • Nomi. No Me. I see that they are intent on continuing with the double entendres. It's tradition!
  • Lashana Lynch would be a welcome choice as a Bond Girl. But she's an exceptional pick for the new 007. The fact that it caused heads to explode around the world... A WOMAN?!? A BLACK WOMAN?!??... just makes it even better. I, for one, would have zero problem if she continues on. Less than zero. How amazing would that be?
  • Hilarious. MI6 dicks around with James, so James decides to take Felix up on his offer. And therrrrrre's Nomi! LOL!
  • ANA DE ARMAS!!!! God she's adorable. I would watch her in absolutely anything. She stole my heart in Blade Runner 2049. She was fucking magic in Knives Out, and having her appear with Daniel Craig again is fantastic. I sure hope that her future in the movies is a good one. She can do anything. There's no need to relegate her to terrible films.
  • "Three weeks training!" LOL. Give me a Paloma movie, please! But given the movie tradition of killing off Bond girls, I'd settle for her just surviving this film.
  • Ah. So it is a targeted bioweapon. Bye bye Spectre. And it looks like the new 007 is no slouch at her job! You go, Nomi! And neither is Felix's agent! You go, Paloma with your three weeks training! Damn!
  • Fuck. Yes. GIVE US A PALOMA MOVIE! She can be Nomi's new Felix! So happy that they aren't making her an incompetent screw-up. And how awesome would a friendly competition spy flick be between the two of them? The possibilities!
  • "You were excellent." Yes. Yes she was!
  • Wow. Another long movie. Only an hour in... and there's still an hour and 45 minutes left? What happened to 2 hour movies? What happened to 90 minute movies?
  • Bond should put a bullet in Felix's dumbass co-worker. Or maybe Felix will do it.
  • Oh... Ash is a bad guy. Yikes. AND OH SHIT! HE SHOT FELIX!!! Dang. I hope Felix doesn't die. Again. Haven't they killed the character once already? I remember him getting eaten by sharks in License to Kill, but I think he survived (but his wife died, of course).
  • Yep. Felix is dead. Sad. Especially since he's my favorite Felix.
  • Bond. James Bond. Complete with the theme music! I live for this shit!
  • LOL. Moneypenny and Nomi has the funniest exchange yet!
  • Okay... they made Q a gay man. Bravo. Progress. But I am willing to bet a hundred bucks that you won't see his boyfriend. Which is to say that he might as well not be gay at all. We get a reference to "him" and that's as far as it will go. To actually show him in a relationship with a man would just be bridge too far. It usually is. Even in 2022.
  • So... Q learned his lesson. Sandboxing tech from an unknown source. Good boy.
  • And... told you.
  • Will Madeline not recognize the man who killed his mom? She saw a big chunk of Safin's face, and they gave him some very recognizable and unique scars. And yet she forgot everything, I guess. — Ah. She remembers his mask though! Well that's nice.
  • NANOBOTS! Well okay then. At least they tried to make bio-weapons new! If somebody can build nanobots which would only target email spammers, the world be forever grateful.
  • Well then. Madeline is going ahead with using Nanobot Potion No. 9... so bye bye Blofeld, I guess. That's the last of Spectre.
  • Oopsies. James touched Madeline's wrist, which means now he's infected with Nanobot Potion No. 9! So cool that Christoph Waltz is making another appearance. He's perfect casting for Blofeld, I just wish that his movie could have been better. Spectre was kinda disappointing. It was tired. And haphazard. And lacking in thrills. But it was a slick entry... Waltz made it worth a watch, that's for sure.
  • This whole "Once Heracles is there, it's there forever!" angle is kinda nonsense. I mean, surely a second nanobot could be created to eliminate the first one? And how hilarious is it that Bond took a cue from Mission Impossible 2 to name their virus. The virus was "Chimera" in MI:2 (and the cure was Bellerophon).
  • Oh James. No means no. Except to him no almost always means yes, so I suppose he is unfamiliar. And let me guess... this little girl is James Bond's kid? — Except Madeline says that she's not. Which means that she most definitely is. At least James has a good sense of humor about it all. Assumably Madeline would be carrying the blue-eye gene recessively to make this possible, because her eyes are brown.
  • "We're going on an adventure, darling." Oh I'll just bet!
  • Damn! Good on you Madeline! Put a cap in his ass!
  • And here's revenge on Ash for Felix. Good. No offense to James, but I would have saved him so that I could have strangled him with my bare hands.
  • "Thank you, 007." Yes. YESSSSSS! They didn't bring in Lashana Lynch just to sideline her when things get moving!
  • The sight gag with Q's tea set is so good. They've actually given us a lot of callbacks and cool nods like this, which is appreciated.
  • Rami Malek is a talented actor and I was really looking forward to seeing how he would do as a Bond villain. To his credit, he's done a darn good job with the material he was given... he's menacing, evil, sadistic, creepy, and cruel... but he seems so underutilized. It's the villain which defines a Bond film, and it's always been that way because villains come and go while Bond is always the same (even when played by different actors). But Malek isn't really given an opportunity to make his mark. There's been no show-stopping moment. His biggest flexes so far have been showing up in a mask and taking a little girl away from her mother. Perhaps he will yet have his moment, but we're running out of time.
  • God. Just shoot this Obruchev guy so that even if you fail with the mission, Safin can't make this piece of shit construct any more designer viruses to target people.
  • Yeah. This little discussion with Safin is grinding the film to a stop. Somebody should have rethought this.
  • At last. Thank you, 007. Jesus this little Obruchev worm was annoying as fuck. I have no idea why he wasn't killed immediately. Good luck creating your master race with your balls melting off, asshole.
  • Yeah... see... this entire endgame should have been rethought. Bullets flying everywhere and I'm bored. It's all just so random and unfocused. If somebody would have tightened this up, the movie would have earned a B+ from me. But right now it's feeling more like a B or B-.
  • Though, I have to say, Bond doing it all his own way while ignoring Q's intricate plan is funny.
  • Welp. I guess we know how this is going to end.
  • See... I am so much more awful than James Bond. I would have shot Safin in the balls and let him lay there in agony while waiting for the bomb to drop.
  • And they killed James Bond. Or this iteration of James Bond, rather. I have to wonder if Daniel Craig requested this of the writers in order to come back one last time (he wanted to quit two or three movies ago). The question remains... will they start all over with a new James Bond? Or will they give Nomi a shot? Even just one shot. Give her a 007 flick and see what happens. Why not? Well, that's obvious... the status quo is where we live. Even in the movies.
  • Louis Armstrong's gorgeous song is an apt closer. While never an actual James Bond Theme, it was the defacto theme from On Her Majesty's Secret Service.
  • BUT COME ON! JUST GIVE US A NOMI AND PALOMA MOVIE! WE DESERVE THAT MUCH!!!
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LET’S WATCH… The Hating Game

Posted on Thursday, April 21st, 2022

Dave!IT'S LET'S WATCH A MOVIE WEEK! Where I live-blog me watching a film and comment along the way! Most of these films I watched a while back, I just wanted to hold off talking about them until more people had a chance to see them. Because of the pandemic, and all that.

Today's movie is one that I saw only recently... The Hating Game!

The Hating Game Poster

If you're somebody who just wants me to summarize and not have to read through the smalltalk to see how I felt, here you go: The Hating Game is darn good at being exactly what it was meant to be... a fun, clever, rom-com romp. Sure it falls into a few tropes that had me wincing, but it also has one of the most romantic things I've seen in one of these.
GRADE: A

If you haven't seen it yet, this will obviously be a spoiler-filled entry. And probably not make a lot of sense. You've been warned.

Spoiler Zone!

  • I'm just going to get this out of the way... LUCY HALE IS ONE OF THE MOST GORGEOUSLY ADORABLE WOMEN I HAVE EVER SEEN! I MEAN, DAMN!
  • The whole "I hate him until I love him" trope has been used in half the Hallmark movies ever made, so I'm excrutiatingly familiar with the concept. And while Lucy Hale alone is enough to make me want to watch this film, they better have something more than that to make this movie worth my time.
  • ADHD is real, y'all. You can hate on the guy for whatever you want, but over something he can't control? Not fair!
  • Yeah. This is going to be another one of those movies where the cast wears hugely expensive wardrobes that they couldn't possibly afford with their job.
  • Oh yeah. There's one in every office... somebody who slides through their career on the hard work of others.
  • "Birthday Turkey!" LOL. Yeah, I can tell already that Lucy Hale is going to be the reason this movie works. If she can deliver lines like this and sell it, she can deliver anything.
  • Corbin Bernsen! I've always liked him. But it was his work on Psych that made me love the guy.
  • Nothing like a little cutthroat competition to make your heart melt!
  • "Shortcake?" Rude!
  • I'm not ashamed to admit... they could have made the entire film be two hours of Lucy Hale putting on lipstick and I would watch.
  • The witty banter is on-point so far. It's approachable, clever, and doesn't grind the movie to a stop.
  • "Shrimp?" Rude!
  • Who is this guy? Austin Stowell? Do I know him? He's not new... his IMDB page is pretty respectable. But I don't recognize him from any of these works. And this just in... HE PLAYED LARRY KING IN BATTLE OF THE SEXES?!? Wow. I can only guess that it's not that Larry King. Must be a relative of Billie Jean King?
  • Sex dreams. So annoying when they're with somebody you hate.
  • LOL. Pratfalls are never the answer, but it totally works here.
  • "Sex dream? Was I in it?" Cutting right to the point. I like this guy.
  • Okay. The dialogue in this is film is worth the price of admission.
  • Lord. They really went overboard with making this design guy as dorky as possible. I can relate.
  • This movie is surprisingly well-shot. It always looks good, even in mundane scenes. And then they go and insert these beautiful establishing shots which drive it home. Cinematographer Noah Greenberg looks to have been around a while, but the only thing I've ever seen of him was his work as DP in Doom Patrol.
  • We're what... only a quarter of the way through the movie... and they've already dropped the pretense! Exciting. What does this mean for the rest of the film? I'm intrigued!
  • "Bailey's. Rocks" They are really working overtime to make poor Danny a hopeless case. Kinda lazy.
  • So. It looks like Josh is the nice guy in this scenario. Refreshing.
  • How can she afford this amazing apartment? She's a publisher's assistant in a struggling publishing company?
  • He's a Mac guy. Usually that (and sexual solidarity) would have me be all "Team Josh!" But Lucy has much better lips.
  • Lucy has an active (and violent!) imagination. I love her more now.
  • So Lucy is a total pushover... with anybody except Josh.
  • I've never been paintballing. Looks like fun, though I'd probably suck at it.
  • The number of relationships that begin when a person pukes on another person seems high. In the movies, anyway.
  • When I'm sick... especially throwing-up sick... the last thing I want is somebody taking care of me. Just leave me alone to puke in peace, thanks.
  • I can only guess that when we see Josh's place, it will be immaculately organized. The set designer knows their stuff.
  • Isn't Josh afraid of catching whatever bug she's plagued with?
  • "I like her!" Yeah, get in line, buddy.
  • The old "Younger brother gets married before the older brother is embarrassing" trope. Some people just don't want to get married (like me!) and that should be okay.
  • So... not quite half-way through and there's already a love story. Which means something is going to come along to break them up so they can get back together. Groundbreaking.
  • God. The writers really want Danny to be the worst. Mission accomplished.
  • Yeah. I hate to say it, but Josh is quickly looking too good for Lucy. THE AUDACITY!
  • He is very tall. Or she is very short.
  • Okay. I really am Team Josh. His reasoning here is spot-on. As an aside: his breath must smell incredible for him to be breathing all over her like this.
  • Oh noes. There's no chemistry at all with Danny. I never saw that coming given how he's been portrayed as somebody who is essentially not worth her time.
  • Well, shit. This would be the end of a Hallmark movie.
  • Of course his place is frickin' amazing. My dream apartment, essentially.
  • HOLY SHIT HIS APARTMENT IS INCREDIBLE!
  • Obviously they couldn't have hired a normal guy to play Josh. It had to be somebody with impossibly defined muscles.
  • "Maybe some other time?!? That's what you say when you turn down a muffin, not sex!" — I sure hope that Josh has a really good reason for not sleeping with her. Likely just trying to make him the anti-Danny. He respects her too much!
  • "Roll Tide!" — LOL.
  • Lucy really knows how to dress to accentuate those incredible eyes.
  • Ha! Mop socks! I actually considered buying them... until my over-priced hardwood ended up having slivers all over the place.
  • Oh noes. Only one room left at the inn. Didn't see that coming.
  • "No keys. Everything's unlocked." The look on Josh's face is all of us right now.
  • Yeah. They didn't hire Austin Stowell for his looks at all.
  • This soundtrack is pretty great. I will have to look up these songs and put them in a playlist.
  • No need to look at the credits. The writer is clearly a woman writing Josh to be her dream man (Whoops! IMDB says it was two women writing Josh to be their dream man).
  • I covet the end-table lamps in this hotel. Very Frank Lloyd Wright. Could even be Frank Lloyd Wright in design.
  • Ah. I get it now. Lucy's dress is Benjamin Moore Calypso Green. The sheets on the hotel bed were Benjamin Moore Calypso Green. Lucy wears Benjamin Moore Calypso Green all the time. There's Benjamin Moore Calypso Green everywhere in this movie. And Josh's apartment walls are Benjamin Moore Calypso Green. He painted his wall to match her eyes. That is hands-down one of the most romantic things I've ever seen in a rom-com. The entire movie was built around it, and that's pretty great.
  • Welp. If your sympathies weren't with Josh, they sure are now. His brother married his girlfriend. Cold.
  • The bride is incredibly beautiful. But her wedding dress is awful. The clothing designer has been so good up until now.
  • So... Josh's dad is an asshole from start to finish. And sexist to boot.
  • YEP, THERE IT IS. HE TOLD HER ABOUT THE BENJAMIN MOORE CALYPSO GREEN ON HIS WALL. DAMN. I mean, seriously. Is she ready to have his children now? Because I sure am! And the reason he calls her "Shortcake" has everything to do with strawberries and nothing to do with her height.
  • Ah. So this is where we get the breakup. The old A HORRIBLE MISUNDERSTANDING THAT COULD HAVE BEEN CLEARED UP IN FIVE SECONDS IF ONLY SHE WOULD HAVE SAID SOMETHING trope. Sigh.
  • Danny. In Benjamin Moore Calypso Green pants. Doesn't hit the same as painting your wall though. Nice try, Danny.
  • Josh is confused. And you just know that there is a good explanation for what was said. I mean, I know that this probably happens in Real Life, but it's so lazy.
  • I dunno, Lucy. This presentation concept sounds like a terrible idea. Writing by committee (especially with fans at large) doesn't seem like it would work well at all.
  • It took the entire move for Lucy to realize that Josh is "The Nice Guy?" Kinda clueless of you, Lucy.
  • Once again with the soundtrack. Oh interesting. Two of the songs I liked most were both by "Dagny." Never heard of her before. Cool!
  • Okay. The final line of the movie is perfect. Sometimes that's all it takes to push a film over the top for me. Grade: A.

Benjamin Moore Calypso Green...

Lucy standing in front of the Calypso Green wall in her Calypso Green dress!

Not the best match to her eyes, but still a great part of the story.

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LET’S WATCH… Death on the Nile

Posted on Friday, April 22nd, 2022

Dave!IT'S LET'S WATCH A MOVIE WEEK! Where I live-blog me watching a film and comment along the way! Most of these films I watched a while back, I just wanted to hold off talking about them until more people had a chance to see them. Because of the pandemic, and all that.

Today's movie is ... Death on the Nile!

Death on the Nile Poster

If you're somebody who just wants me to summarize and not have to read through the smalltalk to see how I felt, here you go: The 1978 film, Death on the Nile, is a far, far superior adaptation in every possible way (it's one of my favorite films ever). This new version is lazy, sloppy, and makes changes for the sake of making changes so that everything is about Hercule Poroit, not because they in any way improve the story. In short... go watch the Peter Ustinov original. It's amazing in ways that this version will never be.
GRADE: C-

If you haven't seen it yet, this will obviously be a spoiler-filled entry (I TOTALLY REVEAL THE MURDERER!). And probably not make a lot of sense. You've been warned.

Spoiler Zone!

  • Okay. We're using a de-aged Kenneth Branagh to show that he has always been hyper-observant. Interesting.
  • Ah. This entire pre-story exposition... ten whole minutes of scree-time... was to explain... HOW POIROT GOT HIS MUSTACHE?!? REALLY?!? Lord. And holy shit is this special effect close-up of the side of his face bad. His ear is hyper-focused while everything else is blurry? Takes me right out of the scene.
  • They're correcting a bit of a continuity error here. In the previous movie (Murder on the Orient Express) they said he was going to solve a murder mystery in Egypt. But that couldn't have been "Death on the Nile" because it wasn't a mystery he was called to solve, it was a mystery he ended up in the middle of. So they offhand-mention a different murder in Egypt that he solved.
  • Welp. They made Salome Otterbourne a musician instead of a writer. How in the hell will this play into her being a suspect now? Her whole deal was that she was being sued for defamation by the murder victim! WHY? HOW? Note that Otterbourne was played by the incomparable Angela Lansbury in the first film. She gave it 1000% and is one of the best parts of the movie.
  • This must be the last movie from Armie Hammer before he got cancelled? I always liked him as an actor. No idea he had a canibalism fetish, allegedly.
  • Gal Gadot as Linnet Ridgeway. In the original film, she was played flawlessly by Lois Chiles (who was famous as Bond-Girl Dr. Holly Goodhead in Moonraker).
  • All of this stuff with Poirot (now it's him being impulsive-compulsive over the number of desserts on his table?) is not important to the story... so why?
  • Jackie in the original was played by Mia Farrow and she was flawless in the role. Jackie ends up being driven mad (though not really) and Farrow totally got into in.
  • They really ripped away a huge chunk of Poroit's face as an excuse as to why he has such an elaborate mustache. Except his mustache wouldn't cover that big of a wound... nor would there be hair follicles to allow it, I think. So once again, what's the point of it all?
  • The pyramids are actually right at the edge of Cairo (not out in the middle of the dessert as is often thought), which means they had to go back in time with a CGI representation here. Gorgeous.
  • So... they're going to replace Colonel Race with Bouc (from the previous movie) in some kind of wild coincidence they they both happen to be at the Great Pyramid at the same time? Well, I do like Tom Bateman, but this is a really heavy-handed way to get him into the story. And of course Bouc is friends with Linnet Ridgeway and that's why he's in Egypt. Wow. This is bad. But they did get Annette Benning to play his mom, so I guess that's something.
  • In the first movie, they transitioned from Linnet meeting Jacquie's fiancé Simon... to Linnet and Simon's wedding in a smash-cut that was brilliant in execution.
  • So the socialist is not some young idealistic man as in the first film, but Jennifer Saunders? Who is wealthy? And has Dawn French as a caregiver? In the original film, there was a casting coup by getting Bette Davis to play this character (but not as a socialist, instead she was a bitter old wealthy woman that liked to torture her caregiver WHO WAS PLAYED BY DAME MAGGIE SMITH!)
  • And here's Bouc with an absurdly stupid monologue to explain the cast (and future murder suspects). This is so lazy. The original film managed this is a much more organic way. Of course, they've gone and made the relationships between characters a hell of a lot more intricate and unnecessary this time, so I guess they pretty much had to do it this way.
  • Cousin Andrew the corrupt lawyer was played by George Kennedy in the original. Heaven only knows how they will alter the character in this film.
  • So Rosalie, Salome Otterbourne's daughter, was a classmate of Linnet, and is now Salome Otterbourne's niece AND manager? I guess that's one way to make the part large enough to get Leticia Wright willing to play it.
  • And they've replaced Jack Warden as Doctor Besner with Russell Brand. And made him an ex-fiancé for Linnet? Lord, this is more convoluted than the British Royal family.
  • And heeeeeere's Jacquie. They are going for more of a slow-burn crazy this time instead of the manic crazy that Mia Farrow brought to the role last time.
  • I can only guess that the reason they wanted to use the wedding honeymoon on the Nile as an excuse to get everybody on the boat was to avoid comparison to the way they got everybody onto the train in Murder on the Orient Express. BUT THAT CHANGES THE STORY! Argh. They are making everything way too complicated and silly. And that's despite the fact that they are a lot more serious than the first movie was.
  • This whole pageantry crap with Gal Gadot adds nothing to the story. So what is it for? It's like they are removing the stuff that made the mystery Mae sense for crap that doesn't matter.
  • And they're finally on the Nile. In the original Agatha Christie novel, they provide a literal map at the front that shows you how all the cabins were arranged. It was critical to understanding how the murder(s) happened. The boat was a rather small, intimate affair. Unlike the massive riverboat
  • Kids playing in the river as the boat heads out. A striking difference to the kids who moon Bette Davis with their bare asses in the first film.
  • They actually had to write a scene where Linnet has to explain to Poroit that she doesn't feel safe with anybody on the boat. Lazy as hell. In the first movie it was far more subtle, which made the murder a bit more interesting.
  • Corrupt lawyer Cousin Andrew is the same in both movies. But this time, it's Rosalie who warns her about signing the contracts IN THE MOST RANDOM WAY POSSIBLE. In the first movie it was Colonel Race, and his entire reason for being on the trip was because he was asked by Linnet's British lawyers to keep an eye on the American lawyer, who couldn't be trusted.
  • Wait. Salome Otterbourne is going to be a romantic interest for Poirot? What the hell? AND HER NIECE ROSALIE IS IN A SECRET RELATIONSHIP WITH BOUC?!? BECAUSE OF COURSE SHE IT! THIS MOVIE CAN'T FUCKING HELP ITSELF!
  • Annette Benning is missing her carmine red paint. I can already tell that they are changing yet another part of the murder. It's nuts that a critical clue would be altered like this.
  • More idiotic distraction between Poroit and Salome Otterbourne that in no way services the story in any capacity.
  • SPOILER ALERT: THE MURDERER REVEALED HERE! The entire point of the murder was for Simon to inherit Linnet's money and go back to marrying Jacquie so they can both be rich. In the first movie, the giant block that fell nearly killed both Linnet and Simon. But in this version, SIMON LITERALLY SAVES HER LIFE BY PULLING HER OUT OF THE PATH OF BEING CRUSHED? HOW DOES THIS EVEN MAKE ANY FUCKING SENSE?!? HE SAVES HER SO HE CAN MURDER HER LATER? It's like... I don't even know what to think of this any more. Why not just push her into the path of the stone? This is dumb.
  • Absolutely nothing from Russell Brand's Dr. Besner. I guess once they announced that he was engaged to Linnet, his motive has been made and that's the end of it..
  • And when it comes to Louise, there was one offhand comment about her once being engaged. But her entire motive is missing. In the original film, Linnet was shown to be an awful person. It was no wonder she was murdered. The reason her maid, Louise, hated her was because Linnet refused a dowry because she had the fiancé investigated and didn't like what she found.
  • God. Then they make Poroit a creeper who takes Rosalie's journal. Something that was not a mistake. And the only reason he would have done that was to learn more about her aunt. STALKER MUCH? And it's like... WHY?!?
  • This movie would rather spend time doing anything except advancing the murder plot along. What does Poroit's tragedy have to do with anything? Anything at all? They could have been developing characters and foreshadowing murder motives. But nope!
  • "You were the only one who never cared about the money." Which is true I think. But boy did Simon care about the money.
  • This whole performance-as-an-alibi ordeal is entirely over-the-top, and yet it's understated compared to the original movie? How did THAT happen?
  • Russell Brand gets to speak!
  • And now, half-way though the movie, the murder finally happens. Gotta get their money's worth out of Gal Gadot's paycheck, I guess. Maybe it only seemed like it happened earlier in the first movie?
  • Simon's a great actor. He's even fooling the great Hercule Poirot!
  • So here we are... panning across all the suspects... and yet there's nothing to make you believe that any of them actually did it. In the original film, you have reason to believe that all of them were capable of killing her by now. AS IT SHOULD BE! This is awful.
  • See... and here we are finding out after the fact that people have motive to kill Linnet. And being sloppy about it. Poirot is drawing attention to Louise's story in a way that spoils a future plot point. The interrogation of Dr. Besner and his absurd past relationship with Linnet (it feels tacked-on BECAUSE IT IS).
  • WHAT. THE. FUCK? They are not doing reenactments to show how each person could have been the murderer? THAT'S THE BEST PART! It makes the viewer feel as though anybody could have been the murderer, because that's the way the story was designed! The first movie was absolutely masterful at the reenactments, which made it a truly great adaptation. This is absurd. The movie has gone from a C to a C- now.
  • Jennifer Sunders is Linnet's goddaughter? AND her servant Dawn French is her lover? How progressive to retroactively add lesbians to Agatha Christie's story.
  • So... Salome's motive for murder... is that when Linnet was a little girl she got her kicked out of the pool for being Black? At least they dismissed it immediately with the truth. If Salome Otterbourne were to kill everybody who was racist against her, she'd be a mass-murderer.
  • Gawd. In the original movie Bette Davis coveted Linnets pearl necklace, and her motivation for murder was to steal them. Her murder reenactment is LEGEND. This movie utterly fails in this. The necklace is found in in Annette Benning's stuff. In the original they were found on Linnet's corpse. SO much more dramatic!
  • Okay then. Poroit was not back in Egypt to spy on his old friend Bouc at the request of his mother Annette Benning. And that's why he took Leticia Wright's diary. Well, I suppose that's a little better. Not quite so stalkerish.
  • Louise is dead. And though her trajectory and purpose in the story is the same, they really sabotaged the impact of it by having Poroit draw attention to it before the story needed to. Yet another pity in a long line of pity.
  • Fight! Fight! Unnecessary fight! And an unnecessary flashback for Poroit. Eyeroll.
  • And now Bouc is a suspect. This is just absurd. In the original movie Colonel Race was a support system and sounding board to Poroit throughout the investigation. What we have here is just nonsense. Poroit is mad at Bouc for lying to him about finding Linnet dead and stealing the necklace and witnessing Louise's murder and not telling him about it. Which is a heck of a take given how Poroit was only there to spy on him and had been lying to him the entire time.
  • They killed Bouc! Guess that Tom Bateman won't be in any more sequels. This is just rubbish. More drama to heap on Poroit instead of focusing on the story. In the original film, it was Salome Otterbourne who witnessed Louise's murder and got shot... square in the middle of her forehead! I can't believe how utterly bonkers this version of the story is.
  • God. Overly-dramatic much? Locking everybody in the room and stopping the ship so Poroit can have his moment? This just keeps getting worse and worse.
  • They kept Cousin Andrew as the guy who pushed the giant block on Linnet... only for her to be saved by Simon. But it plays as absolute nonsense this time around.
  • In the original film, Simon used Linnet's red nail polish to fake blood from being shot. This time it was Annette Benning's paint. In the original this provided a clue. But in this movie? I have no idea. Sloppy. Why change something that works? And the bloody "J" that was left at the murder scene is absent this time around, which drops a cool point... THE ENTIRE WAY THAT THE MURDER WAS COMMITTED WAS TO THROW ALL SUSPICION ON JAQUIE SINCE SHE HAD AN AIR-TIGHT ALIBI!
  • Now making the focus of the murder reveal be... Poroit with this emotion over Bouc? This movie didn't think ANYTHING through, did it?
  • Ugh. Even the murder/suicide was handled so much better in the first movie. I've replayed the scene several times, and her arm suddenly ending up aimed at both of them through Simon's back never lines up. It all makes no sense. And would such a tiny gun/bullet even penetrate both of them like this? In the original, Jacquie shoots Simon, pays her respects to Poroit, then shoots herself. It was so much more satisfying. This was just so... meh.
  • SO AWKWARD. Everybody has to make an awkward pause while disembarking so they can have a moment with Poroit. And we're robbed of Bette Davis and her classic line "This boat is beginning to resemble a mortuary!"
  • And since this movie is all about Poroit instead of the mystery, here he is pining away over Salome Otterbourne... clean-shaven! And, yep, no way his mustache was covering that. I can only guess that Salome Otterbourne will be murdered in the next movie and drive the plot with an angsty Poroit, who grows his mustache back. Because why not? These films are all about Poroit, and the murders themselves are incidental.
  • Ugh. This movie should probably be graded a D because it's such a step down from the 1978 version... but it did have a great cast and excellent visuals, so I guess a C- it shall be.
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Caturday 256

Posted on Saturday, April 23rd, 2022

Dave!Nothing quite like really needing to go to the bathroom when your cats have fallen asleep on (or around) you.

This has been happening a lot with both Jake and Jenny lately, because I've turned the heater off for the season to save money. They've got fur coats and I can put on a hoodie, so it should be all good.

Except it really isn't, because my body heat is a big draw. This past week Jake was intent on warming up his ass against me...

Jake's ass backed up against me while both cats are sleeping.

I thought that I was getting a break when Jake got up to leave, but he decided to trade me in for his sister...

Jenny licking Jake's head as he snuggles up next to her.

Jake and Jenny touching noses is one of the most adorable things you'll see.

And of course I can't disturb that cuteness, and so I had to hold it a while longer.

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Bullet Sunday 759

Posted on Sunday, April 24th, 2022

Dave!Don't you dare touch that dial... because an all new, all YouTube Bullet Sunday starts... now...

   
• Heartstopper! Easily one of the best series I've seen so far in 2022, Heartstopper (Netflix) is about the most adorable TV show you'll find. What really got me is how much of the lives of young people today are invested in immediate feedback from texting. The struggle to put your thoughts and feelings in short little messages... the frustration of not knowing what to say... and the agony of sending something and immediately regretting it... we had absolutely nothing like this in school. Maybe note passing. That's it. The game is entirely different today...

What amazes me most about this show is how many opportunities they had to fall into the Hallmark trap of letting a misunderstanding sabotage their entire relationship, but were actually more adult about talking things out than adults are in Hallmark movies. Refreshing! There's also a guest star playing Nick's mom who may not be a known face to American audiences, but she was a major "get" across the Atlantic, and I was SO happy it wasn't spoiled in the trailer. Worth a watch. 100% Dave Approved television.

   
• Hard Rock Park! I don't have many regrets. But I do regret that I never made it to Hard Rock Park. The year that it opened, my travel calendar was packed, but I had plans to visit the following year. Alas, it closed after a single season. It would become "Freestyle Music Park" for another season before closing permanently. One of the most unique things to ever come out of Hard Rock and I missed it! Then I ran across a couple videos about the park, and regret not making it even more...


Boy. I wish somebody would rescue all that material and published it in a book or something. I could have spent hours going through all that!

   
• Miriwoong! Few things are as sad to me as a language dying out. Because it means an important part of humanity's culture is lost, because in so many ways language is culture. Or at least a very good symptom of it...

I've long been fascinated by languages, and Miriwoong is an example of exactly why I'm fascinated.

   
• Giza! Holy cats I love videos like this. And, let me tell you, that walk into the pyramid is something I will never forget. It was hot, stuffy, and claustrophobic for sure, but it's the fact that the passage could collapse behind you and leave you trapped inside that's the real scary part. What would they do? Rip apart the pyramid to save your life? Yeah, probably not...

Manuel Bravo is a YouTube creator I've never heard of before. But I subscribed after 2 minutes in on this video, only to find his entire channel is magic. Give it a look if this kind of stuff interests you.

   
• Bud! The fact that John Oliver releases short videos like this on the weeks he's off to tide you over until his next show is why his YouTube Channel is a must-subscribe...

I mean. Holy cow. The dogs got super-powers?!? Where have I been?

   
• Space! If you're not excited to bits about the James Webb Space Telescope, it's because you don't understand it properly. Lucky for you, Marques is here to drop some knowledge...

I have gone through so many rabbits in learning about what this incredible telescope is going to do for our understanding of the universe, and all of it is positively mind-boggling.

   
• History! The Statue of Liberty is one of those things that we kinda take for granted. It's there. It's been there for a while. France gave it to us. But there's so much more than that. For a very cool glimpse into all things Lady Liberty, this video is worth a watch...

   
And that's it for year another fascinating Bullet Sunday. Tune in next Sunday where I may... or may not... have even more interesting things to share!

   

Unbearable Consequences of Consequence

Posted on Monday, April 25th, 2022

Dave!Since I had to work all weekend, I was under this deluded fantasy that I would be able to put in a half-day today. Which I really need, because there is so much stuff that needs to be done at home. Stuff that I've been putting off for weeks. Like laundry. Like cleaning the house. Like putting together furniture. Like tying up the flowers in my back yard. And the list goes on and on and on.

Spoiler alert. I was in the office right up until 5:00 and then worked for another three hours when I got home.

In two days I will have to start turning my underwear inside-out because all my clean pairs will be gone. They would have been gone long ago, except I've got huge amounts of underwear and socks left from my back-to-back travel days. Sometimes I'd be gone for weeks, dropping by my car in the airport parking garage only long enough to grab a suitcase with clean clothes before catching my next flight. You can't do that unless you've got four weeks worth of underwear on standby.

Well, clean underwear, of course.

Which is in dangerous short supply for me just now, as noted.

   

Stay on Target…

Posted on Tuesday, April 26th, 2022

Dave!I ordered new sheets from Target last week. It was time. When I got them, there was ONLY the fitted base sheet. No top-sheet. No pillow cases. And of course I didn't notice until after I took them out of the dryer that pieces were missing.

Yay! Off to spend more money I don't have!

So I go to buy the matching flat sheets and pillow cases... ONLY TO FIND THAT TARGET WILL NOT ADD THEM TO MY SHOPPING CART! I CAN'T ORDER THEM! SO I NOW HAVE FITTED SHEETS WITH NOTHING TO GO WITH THEM. What kind of psychopath ONLY orders the pieces separately instead of in a set? Why would you want to? And I can shove absolutely every random item into my Target cart EXCEPT what I need to order...

SOMETHING WENT WRONG AND THE ITEM WAS NOT ADDED TO YOUR CART! PLEASE TRY AGAIN!

And so I fire up Target Customer Help Chat. After explaining over and over, they finally tell me... "Oh! You can't put them in your cart because they are out of stock!"

And it's like... way to have a dumpster-fire of a website, Target! NOTHING was stated anywhere that the item was out of stock.

So I scream a little bit.

Then I order the top sheets and figure I'll check on the matching pillow cases later.

Then I go to close my web browser so I can make dinner... and I see a link to buy the other parts of the bedding set. The fitted sheet I already have... AND THE DAMN PILLOW CASES!

So I think "What the heck" and add the yellow and khaki sets to my cart with absolutely no problems at all.

WTF changed? I have been trying to order them for over an hour to no avail... and now, all of a sudden, I can buy them again? Ugh. I have no idea. Kinda bizarre how Target will now have to send a single order in two shipments because I couldn't place a single order. I'm not happy about that (though using my Red Card did mean I didn't have to pay for shipping on either of them).

But I did have to spend an extra $60 I wasn't planning on having to spend. And I'm really not happy about that.

WHY DOESN'T TARGET SELL COMPLETE BEDDING SHEET SETS LIKE THE REST OF THE CIVILIZED WORLD?!?

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Money is The Fire in Which We Burn

Posted on Wednesday, April 27th, 2022

Dave!In my work I've had the opportunity to be around vast wealth. I'm not talking mere millions (though that is certainly "vast" to me!)... we're talking obscene levels of wealth. People who never have to consider the price of anything. Dropping a million dollars at Crystal Shops on a Vegas weekend is like a drop in the bucket to them. They don't look at price tags because $5 or $50,000 is all the same to them. They have more money than they could spend in several lifetimes, so the idea of being concerned over such a pittance doesn't even hit their radar.

Now, I've never had ambition to be so wealthy. It's not something my value system can accomodate. So long as I can afford to pay rent, buy the things I need, and be able to afford cat food, I'm good.

However...

Every once in a while something comes along where I really, really wish that I had such vast wealth that I could just buy something cool without having to worry about paying for it. Or selling a kidney. Not like a Lamborghini or a beach house or anything like that (though I certainly wouldn't turn them down if you're offering). I'm talking about random stuff that should be accessible to everybody, but has been priced so that only the über-wealthy can afford it.

Like this book set called The Sistine Chapel. It's a massive tome filled with actual 1:1-sized images from some of the most remarkable art ever created (with Michelangelo's ceiling being the most well-known). The size you're looking at the art in the book is the size that it is in real life. It's sublimely cool...

The Sistine Chapel Book

The Sistine Chapel Book

   
It's limited to 1,999 copies and costs $22,000.

Of course I can't spend this kind of money. And if I had the option of being able to pay off a chunk of my mortgage or have this book, obviously I'd put that money on my mortgage.

That's not the point.

The point is that it's insane how something like this is so far out of reach out of the people who might most appreciate it. People who could never afford to fly to Italy, make their way to Vatican City, then take the time off to stand in line and see it in person (not that you'd be able to study the images at the level of detail offered in this book, but still). Some struggling artist who can barely afford to afford groceries, but loves looking at such incredible works like this, is completely out of the loop. And that just seems... wrong. Because these books will end up in the homes at people who buy it to have it as a status symbol, barely look through the pages, then put it on a shelf with all the other expensive things that they buy just because they can.

Not that this is different than anything else now-a-days.

It's quickly getting to the point that only the über-wealthy can afford to own a home, let alone a $22,000 book.

And so I guess I will be waiting for the paperback release or whatever. Perhaps His Holiness the Pope will deem us pleebs worthy and consider such a thing one day.

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Tracking a Beneficiary

Posted on Thursday, April 28th, 2022

Dave!It's uncanny how often I Google something... then come to Facebook and see an ad for what I Googled pop up first thing.

What's bizarre is that most of the time the ads I'm served are useless. I Googled to find local landscapers. As predicted, Facebook has an ad for landscaping services as the second thing in my feed. But it's for a company 3-1/2 hours away? That company just wasted their ad dollars because Facebook apparently can't tell my location... despite them having my address.

We're told all the time that we should welcome being tracked because it allows companies to serve us information that benefits us. But the only beneficiary in this case is Facebook, who gets paid for serving a useless ad. Neither me nor the advertiser benefits at all. But, yeah, you keep selling that utopia, Facebook.

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Friday Night Lights

Posted on Friday, April 29th, 2022

Dave!I am so tired that it feels as if my brain is in a permanent fog.

Having to think, listen, and (occasionally) speak in a non-native language is not anything new. I used to do this in Japanese all the time. But that was decades ago and I was fairly fluent. Now I am older, don't have much experience in the language being spoken, and am dropped into discussions that would be challenging in English. And so now I am at home completely numb.

My cats are having none of it, of course.

Jake wanted attention the minute I walked in the door and Jenny wasn't far behind. After serving them their dinner, I nodded off for a bit. Two hours later I woke up and it was dark. Rather than risk falling asleep while cooking dinner, I decided to grab some crackers and head to bed. Fortunately my lights are Alexa voice-controlled so I don't have to put much effort into that.

I don't think I have any effort left to give.

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Caturday 257

Posted on Saturday, April 30th, 2022

Dave!For some reason, Jenny has regressed to when she was a kitten and was terrified of me. If I walk into a room she's in, she runs away. If I approach her, she scampers and hides. And even when she comes in to hop on the bed with me, the slightest move will send her running. Any interaction has to happen very much on her terms.

I guess this is revenge for my working late?

But once she's actually on the bed, everything is back to normal. Kinda. She's a bit reserved at first... looking like a little loaf of bread, and if I touch her at this point, she will run off...

Jenny looking like a loaf of bread!

Eventually, she'll turn around and allow some butt scratches...

Jenny getting butt scratches!

Then, if she deems it acceptable, she'll allow you to scratch her face, but she doesn't look all that happy about it...

Jenny getting butt scratches!

But then, if I'm patient, she'll be all "RUB MY BELLY! RUB MY BELLLLLYYYYY!

Jenny getting belly scratches!

Jenny getting belly scratches!

The little goofball.

Jake, on the other hand, is just Jake. Though he is getting to the point where he wants to smoosh his face up against something when he sleeps. Like my legs...

Jake smooshing against my legs!

Jake smooshing against my legs!

Jake smooshing against my legs!

Jake smooshing against my legs!

Though he is happy to sleep absolutely anywhere...

Jake smooshing against my legs!

Though right now the both of them are more interested in checking out the new quilt I got for my bed. I think that Jenny is scared of it (though I see her sleeping on it when I'm not home), but Jake doesn't know what to make of things...

Jake smooshing against my legs!

Cats. What can you do?

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