Squawk Box: The Frasier... Reboot? Return?/The Crown

Frasier is back. When I heard about it, I was somewhat skeptical of the idea. After all, Frasier had been on the already for umpteen seasons. In terms of sitcoms, it belongs somewhere in the pantheon of all the all-time greats. Kelsey Grammar has been playing the character for even longer- first showing up in the 3rd season of Cheers (1984-1985) when I would have been about 1. I'm now 40 and apparently, he just can't quit this character. It's not as if he's dropped off the face of the earth since Frasier ended either. He picked up a Golden Globe for his role in Boss (which I've admittedly never seen, but previews made him look rather excellent as a villain) and his IMDB shows he has been busy enough , but now... Frasier has apparently re-entered the building with ten new episodes of a reboot? Return? Revival? On Paramount Plus. But, I loved the original run of the show, so I knew that I was, at the very least, going to check out the new Frasier to see what he&#

Bookshot #174: City of Fortune

I have always been fascinated with Venice. Whether it was watching Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade as a kid or losing myself in the Times Atlas of European History that haunted the bookcases of my parents, I've always been curious about the place. Watching history go by in that Atlas, it seemed that Venice was its own Republic for centuries. It had Crete, Cyprus, islands up and down the Aegean, and then, suddenly, it was gone, extinguished by Napoleon. What was the place? How did it work? There were Doges and an electoral college? Happily, for me, Roget Crowley came along with City of Fortune and scratched that itch and then some. Venice, as a concept, seems a bit ridiculous on the face of it. How did a city build, not on the shoreline of a swampy brackish lagoon, but on the lagoon itself- manage to survive, thrive and create a powerful empire that dominated European trade for a good stretch of time until was eventually swamped by the rising Ottoman Empire? What impressed me mo

The Future of AEAs: What I Said, Responses I Got

In general, I don't see the point of bothering my elected representatives. Too often, it seems like people with money, moving behind the scenes have already made the decisions and we just get to taste the medicine whether we've been asking for it or not. It also doesn't help that I live in the bluest county in Iowa, where things like 'public money for public schools' and 'let's not defund the AEAs' are widely accepted policy positions for the local reps. I could write a whole series of posts unpacking my general cynicism about politics, my visceral dislike of performative activism, and my general sense of despair at the people in charge ever listening to regular, real-life people ever again, but I won't do that here. The Governor's AEA 'Reform' Bill-- which, if it contains a clearly defined pathway to improving the student outcomes she's suddenly so concerned about, has yet to be either revealed or explained to me-- got me off the ben

Knowledge Boost #6: Israel, A History

So, I accidentally deleted the entire, extremely long post I had writing up this book and I couldn't figure out a way to get it back, so, welcome to take two of this particular edition of Knowledge Boost, where I will try my damnedest not to delete it all again! Israel. A History By Martin Gilbert I know the basic outline of the existence of the state of Israel. I was around in the 90s for the Oslo Peace Process and it's I guess we would have to call it a collapse. I remember the assassination of Yitzhak Rabin and I think I was inadvertently responsible for the local Catholic school leaving their flag at half mast not for a week but for the better part of a month after I reminded the Principal that the President wanted all the flags at half-mast to honor Rabin. (I don't think the Catholic High School was trying to be extra or anything. I just think they did it, kept doing it, and eventually someone was like, 'Why are we doing this again?') The point is, that I know

Bookshot #173: The System of the World

Okay, I haven't read everything that Neal Stephenson's ever written, but, I'm going to go ahead and plant this marker now: The Baroque Cycle might end up being the best and most ambitious thing he's ever written. It's been more than a few years since I finished Volume II of this series, The Confusion (and it seems like even longer since I read the first volume, Quicksilver ) but now that I finished the final volume, The System of the World, part of me immediately wants to go back and re-read the other two volumes because I have a feeling this is a trilogy of books that you could read multiple times and find different things to enjoy every single time. I suppose we should clear something up before I get too much further: this isn't really a trilogy. It's actually eight books that were combined into three for publishing convenience, which makes a certain amount of sense. So, however, break it down this series/trilogy/whatever you want to call it is a time-co

The Caucus Endorsements 2024

If Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina, and Nevada had been smarter about things, they would have formed a pact years ago and agreed to rotate the batting order for the first four contests and adjusted state laws as necessary to match. Had they done that, it would have been a lot harder for the national parties to come in and change the batting order as they see fit-- but in hindsight, everything is 20/20 and now we're here, in the waning days of the power and influence of the Iowa Caucuses. The Caucuses have never been a hill that I'm willing to die on. I do think that unless you drastically reform the current system, a small state must go first . If New York, Florida, or California had gone first in 2008, Obama would never have been President. Small states and I don't care which one it is, but states where politicians have to talk to voters face to face are a critical microscope to put potential Presidential candidates under. You find out all kinds of fascinating things.

10 For 2024: The Annual Exercise In... Futility?

So, we're back for another fun-filled trip around the sun and that means that ues, I'm going to indulge in the annual tradition of 'New Year, New Me' because I like it. I can't say that I'm the most goal-oriented person in the world, but these past few years I have become a big believer in lists. I have a list I make weekly of various things I need to do. I have a Google Drive full of random lists that I've started and abandoned. I've got a TBR List for the year- already up and running.  In short, I'm a list guy. This is my thing. If it's not your thing, then please, feel free to join the crowds of cynical gym rats who always complain about their gym being crowded with people trying to start their New Year off right. I'm a man, I'm 40 and this is my Live Laugh Love Pinterest Font sign, damn it.  But... interestingly: my trend line on these goals seems to be improving. So maybe this isn't the exercise in futility I once thought it was?