Squawk Box: True Detective Season 1/National Treasure: Edge of History

With the return of HBO Max to our streaming menu and the Missus' continuing obsession with the dark and twisty crime drama, after she caught up with The Bodyguard over on Netflix, I suggested we give True Detective a go on HBO Max, so we plunged headlong into the first season. We haven't gone back for the subsequent seasons yet because I think we got distracted by something else- possibly the new season of Working Moms and then we tripped and fell into Ozark and now we're... I don't know what we're doing now, to be completely honest.  We did get through Season One, however.  The season focuses on Lousiana State Police Detectives Rust Cohle (Matthew McConaughey) and Marty Hart (Woody Harrelson.) Seventeen years ago, they investigated the murder of the prostitute Dora Lange and seemed to be on the verge of connecting to several unsolved murders and crimes and seemed to have solved the case. The stress and strain of the case impacted both men very differently: Rust

Let's Talk About Books, Baby

I've said it before and I'll say it again: I feel like the last sane person in the asylum some days, but occasionally, there are little glimpses of sanity that peek through the white noise of the internet outrage machine and there was nothing more heartening that the overwhelmingly negative reaction to the news that the works of Roald Dahl were edited to "make them more acceptable to modern readers." It's hard to be completely repulsed by the idea since the author's estate did sign off on the idea, but at the same time, as someone who writes and hopes (if I'm very lucky) to be a published author one day, the idea of someone changing my words decades after I'm dead is frankly gross. Dahl wasn't opposed to editing his own works: the Oompa Loompas were originally from Africa and not orange (I'm sure you can guess what color they were) and if authors change their own work, I've got no problem with that. (J.K. Rowling sort of making Dumbledore

Bookshot #163: Hero of Two Worlds

 If I was being a good podcast listener, I would have purchased this book- but happily, I get a pass on this one because I purchased Mike Duncan's first book ( The Storm Before The Storm ) and thus, don't feel too bad about using an Audible credit to download his latest- a biography of the Marquis de Lafayette, Hero of Two Worlds. As always with audiobooks, I've got to touch on the narration- at least briefly: it's Mike Duncan. He did the History of Rome, and he's wrapping up Revolutions (both of which are must-listen podcasts even if you're not into history, the latter more so than the former, imo.) So this is a man who is practiced in the art of narration and he doesn't miss a beat with this book. If you like how he sounds on his podcast, you'll have no problems with his narration of the book. This brings us to the book itself: I didn't know much about Lafayette going into this book- other than what I saw in Hamilton , if I'm being totally hon

Squawk Box: Jack Ryan Season 3/The Recruit

It's been three years since Jack Ryan graced our streaming screens and although I've reviewed it once before , I raced through the third season and decided that after such a long hiatus I was going to review it again, just for kicks. (Happily, according to the show's wiki page , it's been renewed for a fourth and (unhappily) final season- though a spin-off starring Michael Pena as Ding Chavez is currently in development.) John Krasinski doesn't miss a beat in the titular role and this time, Jack Ryan is on the trail of an old Soviet Cold War plot involving a series of escalating steps that culminate in a crisis that causes war between the United States and (back then, the Soviet Union, but now) Russia. Back then, the project was terminated and under the orders of Luka Gocharov (James Cosmo), all the project scientists are killed. But now, Sokol is back and although no one believes him, Jack is convinced that it's been reactivated and has to go rogue for a bit to

Your Mileage May Vary

I listen to The Fifth Column now and again , because they're an enjoyable trio to listen to and they've got enough off-beat takes on the news that I think it's a valuable perspective to ingest now and again, but I was finishing up a recent episode where they ended up talking about school choice and I found myself really struggling to agree with them. One of them brought up the point that school choice is incredibly popular amongst minority communities (and used the example of a nurse they met who had moved from New York City to Texas- not only for a good job but for better schools-- they felt they shouldn't have to do that and that better schools should just be available.) The other was repeating the tired old saw of 'funding students, not systems' and how due to the current lack of trust everyone has in the basic institutions of society, school choice could be our way out of the current flaming septic tank of culture war issues that are consuming education at t

Random Song: December, 1963 (Oh, What A Night)

Hey, remember when this song randomly dominated the radio back in the day? Because I do. At some point in the early 90s, this song dominated the airwaves on Q103. I never really objected to the song, per se. At the time, I don't think I really picked up on the meaning of the song and I don't think I realized that it was a remix of a Four Seasons single that was originally released back in December of 1975. Some fascinating tidbits about this song, courtesy of Wikipedia : It's not Frankie Valli on lead vocals- it is, in fact, the drummer Gerry Polci, which I guess makes this the Four Seasons equivalent of 'Octopus's Garden' or 'Yellow Submarine' (Valli is singing the bridge sections and backing vocals and it's the bass player, Don Ciccone on the Falsetto. Originally, this was set in 1933. "with the title 'December 5th, 1933' and celebrated the repeal of Prohibition, but the lyrics were changed at the urgings of Frankie Valli and lyricist

Bookshot #162: The Duke and I

Before y'all raise an eyebrow at me: this was homework . Kind of. I'm in the process of trying to write a very different kind of novel than I've done previously (yes, it's going to be a romance... or at the very least a love story) but having seen two seasons of Bridgerton on Netflix, I was also curious as to what the books were like when compared to the show. And to be honest: the show is actually a pretty good adaptation of the book. If you haven't seen Bridgerton : The Duke and I is set in Regency London, where the Bridgerton Family (which consists of Violet Bridgerton and her eight children) begins the process of navigating the social season and the gossip and intrigues of 'The Tonne.' This book is centered on the fourth Bridgerton child and the eldest daughter, Daphne- who is making her debut on the social scene and wants to wriggle her way out of the machinations of her eldest brother Anthony- who wants to secure the best possible marriage for her,