Monday, January 31, 2022

January Words of Wisdom

Get at least eight hours of beauty sleep. Nine if you're ugly. --Betty White 
I feel sorry for the 90's, because it was never able to be anything much more than the hangover to the party that was the 80's. --Simon Le Bon
Be at peace with your eccentric oddities. Own the strange parts of you. It's what sets you apart from the rest. --Dede Hawkins
Give it time. Have patience and compassion for yourself. Find peace within yourself, respect yourself, smile with yourself, care for yourself, and love yourself. --Creig Crippen
I am the me I choose to be. --Sidney Poitier
If your choices are beautiful, so too will you be. --Epictetus 
Luxury must first be comfortable, otherwise it is not luxury. --Coco Chanel

Giving yourself a little time to appreciate something that doesn't move as fast is very important. --Mindy Staton

People who weave lies will eventually get cuaght in the web of their own deceit. --Erin Chatters
It's strange how some people ignore the logic just because they believe what they like to believe and ignore the truth. --Oscar Auliq-Ice 
You are what you do, not what you say you'll do. --Carl Jung
The moral is the chosen not the forced; the understood, not the obeyed. --Ayn Rand 

The enemy wouldn't be attacking you if something very valuable wasn't inside of you. Thieves don't break into empty houses. --Unknown

A world without freedom of speech is a world of slavery and tyranny. --Jordan Peterson

Veterans know better than anyone else the price of freedom, for they've suffered the scars of war. We can offer them no better tribute than to protect what they have won for us. --President Ronald Reagan
Socialists have to use violent revolutions because their arguments are weak and their results are poor. --Alice Smith 
At it's heart, wokeness is divisive, exclusionary, and hateful. It basically gives mean people a shield to be mean and cruel, armored in false virtue. --Elon Musk 

The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. But no price is too high to pay for the privilege of owning yourself. --Friedrich Nietzsche
You may live to see man-made horrors beyond your comprehension. --Nikola Tesla
Do not give in to evil, and proceed every more boldly. --Ludwig von Mises 
When in the course of human history has the side that's doing the censoring and trying to shut people up and make them show papers and marginalize a part of the community ever been the correct side?  --Aaron Rodgers

Thursday, January 20, 2022

Your Feel Good Story of the Day: Bob Ross Edition

I saw this story in the Bob Ross documentary last year, but it had slipped my mind until a couple days ago when these popped up on my social media feed:

So cool. So inspiring. 
I forgot where I found this, so if it's yours let me know so I can give credit where credit is due.

Monday, January 17, 2022

"Yellowjackets" - The season finale "Dexter" fans deserved (SPOILERS!)

Props to Yellowjackets, which premiered a week after the return of Dexter: New Blood, and completely sucked me in from episode one. Last night the season finale aired and holy moly, I did not see any of that coming. Except for the fact that we'd already been tipped off that Jackie wasn't going to make it into the present day, so it was just a question of when and how she'd shuffle off this mortal coil back in the 1990's. And who would be the first cannibalized. I think both those questions have now been answered.

If you haven't seen the show, Yellowjackets is Alive meets Lord of the Flies with a 1990's high school girl's soccer team. And it is awesome. It is unlike anything else on television. I don't know where the show's creators have been all my life.

Like I mentioned last week, the Dexter: New Blood finale was a massive disappointment of epic proportions, so much so that it made the infamous original series finale look like a work of genius that at least allowed for more of our favorite sociopath serial killer, at least until that option came to a screeching halt last week. Not so with Yellowjackets, which did not disappoint and will not return fast enough for me. Luckily, Showtime has already ordered season two, so at least it's on its way.

Yellowjackets is the story of the survivors of a mid-1990's private plane crash that was carrying a high school girl's soccer team to the state championship. Lost in the wilderness, the girls will have to fight to survive. In the present day, we learn that some of them made it out alive. Some of them.

What the girls had to resort to to survive the nineteen months they were lost in the wilderness isn't laid out explicitly, but it's pretty obvious, especially since the opening scene shows a young girl running through a snowy forest, clearly running away from something in great terror, only to fall into a booby trap that impales her, and then we find she's not alone.

When we meet some of the survivors in present day, Shauna is a seemingly mind-numbed middle-class housewife who has no rapport with her teenage daughter and who learns that her husband is having an affair. Taissa Turner is running for state senate and lives what seems to be an opulent existence with her wife and their young son Sammy, who is exhibiting emotional issues. For starters, he has papered his bedroom window with drawings so as to hide from what he describes as an evil woman he keeps seeing in the tree outside his room. Nat is being sprung from what we can surmise is not her first trip to rehab. Misty, the weirdo of her high school class, is cheerfully and psychotically "caring" for residents of an old folks home and just being generally unhinged. 

We're lead to understand that while it's obvious that the girls didn't survive without resorting to extreme measures, it seems that today they still have secrets. Secrets that they are now being blackmailed with, requiring Shauna, Taissa, Nat and Misty to join forces to save themselves and their secrets.

Yellowjackets is understandably not for everyone. It is dark, sick, sadistic, terrifying, at times repellent, and promises even more horrors to come. And it's one of the best things on television right now.

Another thing that makes Yellowjackets so amazing is the casting. Not just the brilliance of putting Melanie Lynskey (Shauna), Christina Ricci (Misty), and Juliette Lewis (Nat) together in one show with amazing writing. I've been a fan of Lynskey's since her terrifying performance in Heavenly Creatures. Ricci made a great Lizzie Borden (one of many amazing entries on her resume) and while I've never been much of a fan of Lewis's (to me she was always Luke Wilson's odd-looking pervy girlfriend in Old School) she kicks out all the stops here. Ruthless in both being both badly aged and worn down physically and psychologically compared to the other women, it is an absolutely fearless performance in a role that grants her no relief. She looks awful, but is absolutely amazing. In a cast littered with award-worthy performances, if I had to pick one to win, it would be Lewis. Tawny Cypress, who I was previously unfamiliar with, holds her own in as the increasingly troubled Taissa.

There's also the amazing casting of the surviving girls as teenagers, back in the day. The younger cast is so solid it's mind-boggling. They also look enough like their older counterparts that it's easy to go back and forth between time frames with ease. If there's an Emmy for casting, they might as well just hand it to this show right now.

I will be eagerly awaiting the return of Yellowjackets the way I used to await the return of Dexter back in the good old days. 

Tuesday, January 11, 2022

This should be interesting: Spade and Carvey launch SNL podcast

I love behind the scenes stories, so this should be fun. David Spade and Dana Carvey are launching a podcast where they will discuss their experiences on Saturday Night Live. The podcast is called Fly on the Wall and launches January 12. You can subscribe now on iTunes.

Monday, January 10, 2022

Disappointed doesn't begin to describe it: The "Dexter: New Blood" finale (Spoiler Alert!)

Oh, for the carefree days of yore (October 2020) when the incredible news of a new season of Dexter was announced. 

And there was much rejoicing.

And for the last ten weeks, overall I've been LOVING most of what I've seen in Dexter: New Blood. Even the few things that bothered me were put on the back burner in the belief that it would all tie together spectacularly, that the writers and producers were going to make good on their promise to undo the series "lumberjack" finale that disappointed so many viewers and make things right. And it was just so much fun to see Dexter himself again.

I personally was always on the fence about the lumberjack finale. I didn't want to see Dexter caught, imprisoned, or dead, but it also wasn't realistic that he could just get away with all those murders and the havoc his actions wreaked on everyone around him. What the original series finale showed was that although alive, Dexter still paid dearly for his transgressions in the form of losing everything: his family (Deb dead and Harrison sent off with Hannah), his city, his profession, his home, the whole existence he'd spent a lifetime building. He was left alone with pretty much nothing, in a foreign place doing manual labor. Everything but his freedom had been lost.
So, my observations about last night's series finale v.2?
Why? So many reasons.
1: You don't kill the guy the audience is rooting for, especially when teasing the possibility of another season. The reason fans were so happy to have a new season was that we missed Dexter and wanted to see him again. We didn't want to see him dead. Looking online, at least half the audience (if not more) were extremely unhappy with the ending. My personal observation is that this makes the lumberjack thing look like a genius move. I wish Harrison had stayed away.
Some online responses:

That the season's Big Bad (Clancy Brown's Kurt Caldwell) was killed off in the penultimate episode rather than the finale should have tipped me off that something bad was going to happen. Having watched this season, I wish they wouldn't have had Harrison and all the accompanying teen angst at all, but instead pitted Dexter against Caldwell. It would have been classic Dexter - two longtime serial killers who have managed to evade discovery for decades thanks to the facades they present to the world, facing off after one kills the other's son. I would like to have seen more about why Caldwell kills (other than having a fucked up dad), how he got away with it for so long, and more of a cat-and-mouse game between him and Dexter.

2: Harrison and Angela. I liked Angela (and the actress who played her) a lot at first and was intrigued when Harrison showed up. But as the show went on I found them less and less appealing and interesting. Harrison was often annoying and apparently went from constant rage and a desire to hurt people to just wanting a normal life in just a couple days. And Angela went from being by the book (wanting to nail Dexter for his Miami crimes) to sending Harrison on his way after he's just killed his own father, and not in self-defense, either. 
Plus, how does this really help the kid?  Before he found Dexter, he'd been wandering the country on his own and now he has the same issues as before, plus patricide. Caldwell was right when he gave Harrison the advice that no matter how far he ran, he couldn't outrun his rage. Additionally, Harrison was enrolled in school and known in Iron Lake - he's going to be a missing person, which means law enforcement will be looking for him. It's not like no one is going to notice or care that he vanished after his dad was killed. Now instead of wandering and looking for his father, he's on the run.

Then there was the aspect that Angela's case against Dexter for killing Matt Caldwell was flimsy at best, something even he was able to explain to her while under duress and Logan basically agreed with. Someone torched his cabin - couldn't that same person have planted that screw? Infrared film of someone who might be him? She might be able to legally drag him through the mud for that one, but ultimately it would have probably been a repeat of her case for Kurt killing Iris - too much opportunity for reasonable doubt.

One thing that bothered me from the beginning was Angela's wall of missing women. That many missing persons from the environs of her small town for so many years...I don't see how these obviously related cases don't seem to concern anyone but her. She really had no leads during all the time these crimes have been going on? Never discovered Caldwell's secret cabin of horrors despite being a local? Never made a connection between so many girls missing from the area of Caldwell's truck stop? And yet she's on the verge of solving a crime that the size and might of Miami PD couldn't? One of the funniest things I read last night was someone referring to her as "Detective Google", because with just a few Google searches she managed to solve the Bay Harbor Butcher case. 
And I think that's a legit point of view. She had no access to any case file, just stuff she found on the internet. I think that story line would have worked better if it had been stretched over a couple of seasons, with her slowly but surely (and more realistically) putting the clues together. It was a little too effortless and she was awfully quick going from pulling Dexter over to make out while on duty to being willing to suspect him of heinous crimes. It was a story line that could have worked, but didn't. If they could have stretched it out, maybe have her work secretly with Angel Bautista to build a case without Dexter knowing she was in touch with someone from his past might have worked better.
Speaking of Bautista, another peeve along that story line is that while it was a blast to see him show up so unexpectedly, the idea that he couldn't remember Harrison's name right away was so cringe - what, he's never thought about the kid in all the years Deb died and Dexter was presumed dead? Really weak.

3: Some people seem to think that a second season of New Blood would focus on Harrison, with Dexter as his Dark Passenger. As a Dexter fan from the very beginning, I have zero interest in that show and would not bother watching. Just no. Maybe Showtime is looking for the next generation of Dexter fans by making a teenager the new lead, but for longtime fans the appeal was always Dexter himself.

For me personally, in addition to how disappointed I was with this resolution, I also realized this morning that I now have no desire to go back and re-watch the New Blood episodes, knowing where they're heading. I figured I would go back and watch it from the beginning to see how everything fit together, but now I don't think so.

I close with this, because I thought it was hilarious. It's from this Deadline article.



Monday, January 3, 2022

Happy Birthday, Mom

Today would have been my Mom's 80th birthday. March will be four years since she passed, which is boggling to me. Considering that her mother and aunts all lived into their 90's, I'm still surprised my Mom passed as early as she did. But at least she didn't have to deal with all this COVID BS, which would have driven us both nuts.

Happy Heavenly Birthday, Mom!

Saturday, January 1, 2022

Going out with a bang

We had fireworks at both 9pm and midnight last night here in the marina. I didn't make it to midnight, but the 9pm fireworks were a kick. Great fireworks show as usual, and everyone (including a bunch of kids with horns) having a great time.

Look at that sky! Beautiful!

Happy New Year!