The Misinformation Train Leads To Conspiracy Brain

I am a misinformation agnostic. If you rewind things back to 2016 and watch as the Establishment tried to come to grips with the fact that Trump had won and Clinton had lost, you could see a lot of grasping at straws and desperate pretzel-bending to avoid the obvious: they ran a candidate with incredibly high negatives who ran a campaign that wasn't that great and lost by the skin of her teeth because the other guy wasn't exactly that awesome either. That was obvious to me, but no, instead, it was social media. It was the Russian bots farms and the evil Facebook, it was... misinformation. The people, they didn't know. The people, they had been led astray. After a while, it became, the people, they're obviously racist and the whole Resistance Media Conglomerate just became increasingly clownish and impossible to take seriously.  I was a big believer in individual agency. People have their own reasons for voting the way they do and very little of them were talked about in

Reacher v Reacher

Do you know what's weird about Jack Reacher? Not only do you have the series of 28 novels and short stories by Lee Child, but you have two seasons of the Amazon Prime show (with Alan Richson in the role of Reacher) and there are not one, but two movies out there- starring Tom Cruise. But it gets even better because the movies are based on One Shot and Never Go Back while the streaming show adapted Killing Floor and Bad Luck and Trouble. So not only do you have two Jack Reachers out there in the world, but neither movies nor streaming show have adapted the same source material yet. So, if you can't compare adaptations and you haven't read any of the books yet (something that I'm going to have to remedy, if I'm going to be a Jack Reacher completionist) then you're kind of left comparing the two Jack Reachers that have made it to screen. Granted, I haven't read any of the books- so you have to acknowledge that neither portrayal could necessarily live up to

Bookshot #176: Surrender

This is not your typical autobiography. Bono structures it around forty songs from over the course of U2's career in music and it's sort of linear, in a way, but he also jumps around a bit here and there. Let's start out with what I didn't know: I didn't actually know Bono's real name-- Paul David Hewson and the fact that he was born to a Catholic father and a Protestant mother in a time of sectarian violence in Ireland. That was really interesting to find out and suddenly 'Bloody Sunday' from War hits a little different-- something he talks about in the chapters where they're working to follow up their second album, October with what turned out to be War.  The fact that he lost his mother at the age of fourteen- and in a pretty traumatic way- she had a cerebral aneurysm at her father's funeral-  turned out to have a major impact on his life and sort of started him on a lifelong quest to find that sense of family again- even though as he's g

Squawk Box: Reacher Season 2/Slow Horses

I enjoyed Season 1 of Reacher enough that I knew I was going to at least check out Season 2 to see where they went with this show and I'm glad I did because Season 2 kicks things up a notch in all the best ways. The second season is an adaptation of the novel Bad Luck and Trouble and opens with a man being thrown out of a helicopter to his death- but not before laughing at the bad guys in a last show of defiance and telling them he wishes he could be around when 'the big guy' hears about this. Cut to Reacher (Alan Ritchson) who is drifting through Arkansas and making a pit stop to collect his pension check when he stumbles upon a carjacking while you, the viewer, may wonder just how common carjackings are in what seems like a fairly bucolic town in The Gem State, you also don't care, because Reacher does a Reacher thing and is very entertaining about it. A military distress code embedded on his ATM receipt, however, sends him back to New York City. There he contacts Ne

10 For 2024: First Quarter Check-In

So, I'm going to try something new this year and post quarterly updates on how I'm doing with my goals for the year. I don't know if this is going to provide me more motivation to keep on top of them throughout the year or give me the chance to do an occasional reset on my goals as I work my way through the year, but I guess we'll see how it goes. Without further ado, here's the First Quarter Update: 10 For 2024 1. Book 4: Get this book into draft form (close to, if not ready to launch-- fingers crossed!) by the end of the year. I have some other writing goals as well, but this is going to be my big, main focus for the year. The back half of February was unkind on multiple fronts, but the first four chapters have been revised and I've got a draft done of chapter five and am going to roll up my sleeves and start work on chapter six. I am really hoping to get more done over the course of the next three months and get this in much better shape by the time of the ne

Netflix & Chill #106: Golda

When I saw the news that Helen Mirren had signed onto this movie to play Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir, I got excited. I mean, who wouldn't? Helen Mirren is Helen Mirren and despite the current conflict in the Middle East, objectively, you would have to assess Golda as one of the more interesting historical figures of the 20th Century. This movie had 'Oscar bait' written all over it to me-- it debuted at the Berlin International Film Festival in February of 2023, dropped in the US in August of 2023, and made its debut in the UK and Ireland (with some unfortunate timing) on October 6th, 2023. There was a casting controversy about Mirren getting the role of Meir because she's not Jewish- though her casting was apparently given the blessing of Meir's grandson, Gideon- but other than that, I was sort of expecting a lot more buzz around this movie.  Then, I actually saw it. Look, Mirren is excellent. There is no denying that she absolutely owns the role and I'm

What's An Arena For, Anyway?

They hung a banner seven stories high off the side of a building. (Then they followed that up with another one a block away from the top of the downtown parking ramp.) I've seen All-American Banners for various Iowa football greats hanging off Kinnick Stadium over the years. But I'd never seen that. I was at work when I first saw the picture on Twitter and, it being maybe a half a block away and being blessed with one of those days where nothing much is going on, I took a little stroll to see it for myself. It looked even bigger in person. Complaining about Carver-Hawkeye Arena has become an annual tradition for the Iowa Commentariat and for the life of me, I can't figure out why. I get that the Online Commentariat thrives off of complaining about anything and everything, but if you really dig down and look at the place, you'd find that there really isn't all that much to complain about. Carver-Hawkeye is a product of its time ('The House That Lute Built', W