Category Archives: Entertainment


As has been noted, there’s a ***LOT*** of bad shit going on right now. How are you coping?

I have a few things to share. Note, these are not guaranteed to get you through the work day – probably quite the opposite so far as getting work done if you’re working from home. But they might let you get through to the other side more or less sane, as opposed to exploding.

  1. OK Go videos – go to YouTube or wherever, there are dozens, each one more amazing than the next. No special effects, just astonishing creativity. And most have “Behind The Scenes” or “Making Of” or “Outtakes” videos to accompany the official video.
  2. Cornell Lab FeederWatch Cam – these are the folks who made the wonderful Merlin app that I use and have talked about for IDing birds that wander into our back yard. When I was looking for something different to have on as “video noise” at my desk earlier this week I stumbled on this. WONDERFUL!! Small birds such as sparrows and chickadees, whole flocks of mourning doves, at least two types of woodpeckers, cardinals and blue jays, and the occasional squirrel dropping in like Death From Above. (I suspect the squirrels are jumping in from an off-camera tree that might be a good leap away, so it’s nearly a suicide mission for them, but there’s SO! MUCH! FOOD!)
  3. LabPadre – LabPadre currently has seven cameras set up around the area of the SpaceX testing facility on the Texas coast by South Padre Island. If there’s no actual testing going on during a given day it’s a little boring (but makes great wallpaper and white noise) but when they’re testing (and they’re testing a LOT these days) there might be a static fire engine test or even a flight for one of the prototype Starship spacecraft. The next static fire is probably late tomorrow afternoon, the next big flight is probably coming up later this week? This weekend? First thing next week? It depends on when they’re ready and when the weather cooperates. Still cool to see spacecraft the size of the Space Shuttle stack being churned out by the dozen for testing and occasional destruction while testing. But when they talk about having crews on the moon in 5-6 years and on Mars in 8-10 years (actually those are my estimates, they’re saying half that time) I don’t doubt them.
  4. Hundreds of Hummingbirds – Birds stop coming around after sunset and sunset comes early in Ithaca, New York these days, so when they go to night vision and the only thing moving around are the mice (which I’ve never seen in the feeder, since they can’t jump as far as the squirrels can), there’s a site here in the LA area that has set up a buffet for dozens and dozens of hummingbirds, and there’s always a line waiting for an open spot. The colors and iridescence and amazing flying ability of literally dozens and dozens of these beautiful creatures is something I could watch all day.

So, there are a few ideas. Of course, turning off Twitter and Facebook and picking up a book or listening to some music are always an excellent idea, and if you have the opportunity to safely get out (take a mask and wear it!) and walk around the block or take a short hike through the woods or around the pond, that would be best of all.

What coping mechanisms or favorite distracting and/or entertaining sites have you discovered?


Filed under Entertainment

A Recommendation For You To Watch

Lots of music. Dance. Theater. Philosophy. Performance art. Comedy.

I had heard a growing murmur about a new HBO special, “David Byrne’s American Utopia.” One of the DJ’s on my favorite 80’s “alternative music” station on SirusXM was talking about it. The New York Times mentioned it. I was more than a bit curious.

It. Is. Wonderful!!

Apparently (I’m going from memory of some of the comments and NYT article and I’m too lazy to look it up right at this second because it’s on and I’m watching again) it’s done by Spike Lee, filmed during live performances on Broadway. As was done with the filming of “Hamilton,” this isn’t just a concert film, it’s filmed inside the action, above it, behind it, from the audience…

It. Is. Spectacular.

Most highly recommended.

Treat yourself.

Especially this weekend, where we have the blue moon, Halloween, THE FREAKIN’ ELECTION, we turn back the clocks in the US…

It’s too much. Be kind to yourself. Take a couple hours. Watch.

You won’t regret it.

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So Much…Everything

Things got done, accomplishments crossed off, loose ends tied up.

Yet tonight there has been so much anger (politics), frustration (COVID), sorrow (the season finale of “Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist” which we knew would be brutal), awe (again, the season finale of “Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist” which was SO EXCELLENT), and then a bit of horrible news (not family, not personal friends, but still…) that came straight out of left field.

ALL the feels tonight.

One last time – watch “Zoey,” watch it again. It’s streaming on NBC. It’s so excellent.

As for the rest… One step at a time. And we’ll get by with a little help from our friends.

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Filed under CoronaVirus, Entertainment, Politics

Watch Zoey

This may seem an odd post, but I’m doing it because I’m selfish.

Also because if you’re reading this site you’re wonderful and you deserve to know about the greatest show on TV that you might not have heard of.

NBC has a show called “Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist” this year – I want you to watch it so that the ratings are good enough for it to get picked up for a second season.

It’s hard to describe. I guess it’s a fantasy in that something has happened to Zoey so that she randomly sees people around her singing to her, often accompanied by elaborate dance routines – but these are songs and dances that no one else sees. And the nature of the songs tell her people’s innermost feelings, their anxieties, their loves, their terrors. Given that insight, she has to help them.

Chaos often ensues.

That’s a lousy explanation since the show is so much more. Jane Levy plays Zoey and she is just amazing and spectacular. The entire cast is almost perfect. Skylar Astin, Alex Newell, Mary Steenburgen, Peter Gallagher, Lauren Graham. All wonderful.

The writing and story is creative and bizarre, yet after having bought into the basic premise, I’ve never once thought that they’ve wandered off the rails. It fits one of my personal tests for what truly makes a show great – in any one episode I can at one minute be delighted and laughing and in the next minute be reaching for the tissues. (Yeah, more likely than not you’ll need tissues.)


But shows I like, especially because they’re quirky or intelligent or complex, never make it out of the first season. (Did you ever hear of a 2012 TV show called “Awake” with Jason Isaacs? Spectacular! They didn’t even show all thirteen episodes they shot, pulled it off the air early…) “Zoey” is doing so-so in a really lousy Sunday night slot, but getting some traction online and in streaming via Hulu and on demand services.

So while you’re sitting in your COVID-19 home physical distancing isolation and you’re looking for something to stream next, go over to NBC or Hulu or online or wherever and find “Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist.” Watch an episode or two – you’ll want to watch the rest. Then you can join us on Sunday night for the last handful of shows (there are eight episodes already shown) through April. Tell your friends, get them to watch.

Then the show will be picked up for another year and it will be a GOOD thing to happen in April. (We’re gonna need it!)

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Filed under CoronaVirus, Entertainment

Meditation Might Be Worthless

Hear me out on this one…

I’ve never been much of a meditation sort of guy. Too much of a class clown. Not a big believer in the “woo-woo” side of life.

But I’ve mellowed with age. I’m long, LONG past the stage where I thought I knew everything and I’m now deep, DEEP into the stage where I’m not convinced I know anything. You know – mid-life crisis and all of that. (Anyone makes a crack about how I’m too old to be having a “mid”-life crisis gets shown the far side of the airlock door.)

(And yes, that is the class clown trying to come out and go all Hawkeye Pierce on the situation to distract from the actual crisis. I’m recognizing it – I just can’t stop it, so that’s progress. See?! There we go again…)

Anyway, where I work now we have Wednesday afternoon meditation sessions. Just ten minutes, but I’ll take the break. It’s actually quite relaxing and pleasant. I look forward to it. At last, I did until we went and had to shut down the office due to the COVID-19 crisis.

But here’s the thing.

On a day like today, because of this, and THAT, and then the day I had, and then… And god forbid you should actually read the news. And then we got word (which shouldn’t have been a surprise, but I still had hope) that the Ahmanson’s production of “1776” this summer is being cancelled. You have no idea how much I was looking forward to that.

And that in turn brought up the overwhelming likelihood that “Hamilton” will also be cancelled. It will be. It should be. The world is shit and millions are going to be dying.

And then one of the little escapes that I was truly enjoying (we’ve been binging “The Good Place”) hit the end of the 3rd season (which was an absolute gut punch) and I was desperate to move on to the 4th season to see how it’s resolved. But it’s not out there yet and probably won’t be until fucking AUGUST!!!

And I shouldn’t be starting every sentence with “and,” but I am.

I fully realize (especially writing this out) how privileged and highly ridiculous my particular whine is, given the magnitude of the crisis facing us all. I’ll own that. For better or for worse, this is where the camel’s back got broken for me today.

And as I’m teetering on the abyss, my brain spinning in circles like a rabid squirrel hopped up on meth, grasping at straws, it occurred to me. “Meditation.” Isn’t that what this is for? Isn’t that a much better solution than tearing off your clothes, covering yourself in raspberry preserves, and running screaming through the streets of Los Angeles at night?


Meditation is slow. It’s methodical. It’s pastoral.

It’s glacial.

I needed something RIGHT FUCKING NOW!!!

So it occurs to me that when the chips are down, when you’re facing your particular existential crisis, unless it’s a slow, methodical, pastoral, glacial sort of crisis, meditation might be worthless. Sort of like having a really good, really accurate single-shot long rifle when you’re suddenly attacked by a thousand rabid squirrels armed with machine guns.

And I now realize that my outlet, my solution, my therapy, my way to release Hawkeye Pierce, is to write.

I think there are about five, maybe six people who actually read this site. I don’t know if this outlet for my Day ‘O Shit would be better or worse if that was five or six hundred thousand.

Maybe that will be tomorrow’s existential crisis.


Filed under CoronaVirus, Deep Thoughts, Entertainment, Writing

Creative License

Work, work, work, work, work…

As background noise, bright shiny distraction, something to keep me awake while reconciling aircraft ride accounts into the fourth hour at 23:45 after a ten hour day at work to start with and a couple hours of commuting to spice it all up, I’ve been watching the Australian Open. It’s not football or baseball or hockey, but I do like tennis. I sort of miss playing it, played in college and didn’t completely suck.


There’s an ad running, possibly local, where the gist of it is showing a whole slew of guys on a construction site all dancing and grimacing with legs crossed, in agony, and then showing the guy with the Porta Potties whose truck has broken down.

That’s bullshit.

I’ve been on many a construction site between my last couple of previous jobs and I can GUARANTEE that construction dudes wouldn’t be in agony trying to hold it in if there aren’t any portable facilities for them to use. Even if there ARE facilities available, it’s still not unusual to see them just unzipping and letting loose instead of walking all the way over to the outhouse.

But what if there are ladies on site?

Yeah, right. As for the guys, having women on site wouldn’t change anything I’ve said above. As for the women – ditto.

It’s Madison Avenue at its finest, but it’s about as accurate as the science in “Ad Astra.”

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Filed under Entertainment, Paul

NOW It’s Almost Christmas

Yeah, yeah, the lights are up and tonight we put up the tree. Those are all good precursors.

But tonight we had the first “Love Actually” viewing of the season. It won’t be the last.

I know there are some very vocal folks who absolutely despise the film – I have nothing polite or nice to say about them. They are soulless.

It is simultaneously uplifting, complex, heartbreaking, hilarious, and satisfying.

Gotta go. Rowan Atkinson is wrapping a gift…


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I do love me some movies, both as entertainment and as art. There are certain actors I would watch read a shopping list – Jimmy Stewart, Helen Mirren, Sigourney Weaver, Bill Murray, many others. Similarly, there are directors for whom I will hand over my cash blindly to see anything they’ve done – Alfred Hitchcock, Steven Spielberg, Ron Howard, early Rob Reiner. But above all, there’s Stanley Kubrick.

Tonight I fell into watching the second half of “Full Metal Jacket” when I had had enough of the news. It was more relaxing.

Long, long tracking shots. Moving, bobbing, weaving through smoke and fire.

No. Special. Effects.

Real. Film.


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Filed under Entertainment, Movies

Yet Another Damn Near Perfect Movie


Ron Howard’s a genius. That ensemble cast is stellar. From scene to scene I can’t even decide who’s more perfect.

Jason Robards? The only movie I like more of his is “Something Wicked This Way Comes.”

Mary Steenburgen? Perfection.

Dianne Wiest? There’s a reason she got an Oscar nomination for this film.

Keanu Reeves? The scene where he explains to Dianne Wiest why her son is upset and depressed is freaking brilliant.

Tom Hulse? Just wanna slap his stupid punk ass up one side and down the other. Only his role in “Amadeus” is better.

Not a single bad scene in the entire film.

Agree with me or resign yourself to being wrong.

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Epic Fantasies

So, after four straight weeks of binging through Seasons 5, 6, 7, and the start of Season 8 of Game of Thrones, we’re now up to date and ready to watch the last two episodes with the rest of the world.

I won’t say much about GOT except to say that they have the most villainous villains I have ever even conceived of. And I love Arya Stark more than I think any fictional character that I’ve ever seen. Except for possibly Ripley. Possibly.

While “processing” the latest from GOT 8-4 tonight and heading to my office to get some work done, I found “The Princess Bride” on one of the premium cable channels. I’m pretty sure somewhere along the line in the last few years here I’ve described it as one of those movies that I’ll watch any time at the drop of  a hat. It doesn’t matter how many times I’ve seen it recently.

Again, watching it tonight, I’m struck by just how perfect it is. As many times as I’ve seen it, I can’t find a single scene or line of dialogue that isn’t pristine.

More significantly, to see it just after seeing the last couple of GOT episodes… Similar themes and settings, knights, castles, swords, horses, bad guys who are really bad, good guys who are really good, and so on. But what radically different worlds!

Finally, in the category of “You See Something New Every Time You Watch It,” (for $2,000, Alex!), I just noticed that the music was done by Mark Knopfler.

Wait, what?

THAT, Mark Knopfler? Dire Straights’ Mark Knopfler? “Sultans of Swing” Mark Knopfler?




Filed under Entertainment, Movies