Movies, movies, movies!
197. (1426.) Doctor Strange (2016)
Doc Strange's origin story has a pretty simple plot (and a very flawed hero). It also has Benedict Cumberbatch, who almost succeeds in making his character likable. Almost.
198. (1427.) Hearts and Minds (1974)
This anti-Vietnam War documentary is about as anti-war as any movie ever. There was so much film footage of moments I'd only seen in stills, I felt like I was watching a history textbook come to life. For the record, I'm convinced. Let's get out of Vietnam.
200. (1429.) Trolls (2016)
I wanted to watch something special for my 200th movie in 2018. Instead, I watched Trolls. I shouldn't complain. I was a kid once. I can be marketed to. I saw The Care Bears Movie in a theater. (What can I say? I've always been a sucker for Grumpy Bear.)
201. (1430.) Ma and Pa Kettle (1949)
This is actually the second in the Ma and Pa Kettle series of movies about
The Beverly Hillbillies the misadventures of some country folk adapting to life in the modern world. It's enjoyable, and it's easy to see why they went on to make The Beverly Hillbillies six more. (Almost completely unrelated trivia: There is an auto mechanic near my house that calls itself Maw and Paw Kettyle. They do good work.)
202. (1431.) Love Actually (2003)
I heard so much about this movie over the holiday season that I finally watched it on TBS. Even though Martin Freeman was in the opening credits, none of his scenes appear in the edited-for-television version, so I re-watched Mom's DVD (because she owns every Christmas movie). His scenes were, amusingly, the most honest and by far the best. In other words, don't watch this movie on TV.
203. (1432.) Christmas in Connecticut (1945)
I turned the channel to TCM to wash down all that Love. Here Barbara Stanwyck is a lifestyle columnist (a 1940's Martha Stewart) caught in her own web of lies when her boss insists she host a Christmas get-together with a war hero. Good stuff.
More to come.
Louis Vuitton is a well known French luxury fashion brand famous for their expensive purses like the Artsy MM:
That purse retails for $2,000, which explains why they are such a common target for counterfeiters. Therefore, the company is unusually aggressive about taking legal action against perceived violators of their valuable brand. That's why they sent MGA Entertainment Inc. a cease and desist letter over MGA's top-selling toy, the Poopsie Pooey Puitton.
According to Amazon.com, Poopsie Pooey Puitton contains 12 unicorn food packets. "Just add water to make a rainbow of poop!" Who wouldn't want that? Other than Louis Vuitton, I mean.
In response to Louis Vuitton's bullying, MGA has pre-emptively sued to defend their right for parody speech. The following is a real sentence in a real court filing, per Reuters.
The use of the Pooey name and Pooey product in association with a product line of "magical unicorn poop" is intended to criticize or comment upon the rich and famous, the Louis Vuitton name, the LV marks, and on their conspicuous consumption.
Make a statement about rampant materialism; buy your Poopsie Pooey Puitton today! (Did I mention this product is aimed at 5- to 10-year-olds?)
And that's where we are now. 2019. Year of the magical unicorn poop. At least until Louis Vuitton gets their hands on it. Or gets it on their hands.
Believe it or not, I sold 190 books on Amazon.com in 2018!
To clarify, that "sold" number includes books that Amazon gave away for free to good homes (with my permission). I won't tell you exactly how many of them were free. I will only say that my total take-home revenue for the year was $9.92, which means that for a third year in a row, I can call myself a (marginally) professional writer.
And yes, I am currently working on another novel. The next one will not be in the same series but it still will be about wizards. Wizards who solve locked-room murders. Because even fantasy murders need solving.
I'll tell you more when we get closer to release, sometime later this year.
Speaking of old acquaintances that should be forgotten... these movies watched in 2018:
193. (1422.) Mythica: A Quest for Heroes (2014)
194. (1423.) Mythica: The Darkspore (2015)
195. (1424.) Mythica: The Necromancer (2015)
196. (1425.) Mythica: The Iron Crown (2016)
199. (1428.) Mythica: The Godslayer (2016)
Like I said last time, I made Dad watch King Lear. He was so dissatisfied, I volunteered to let him choose the next films we watched. He chose these. I should have known better.
It would be fair to compare this whole series of five connected films to the Star Wars saga. The first couple are by far the best, and the rest become so increasingly disappointing that you begin to hope that all the main characters die just to make it all end.
To sum up, the story involves a small band of heroes seeking to stop a necromancer from using an ancient, evil artifact to take over the world and ascend to godhood. (Does that sound familiar?) I admit that it is a pretty tired adventure trope, but if the characters in my books are half as dumb as those in these movies, I apologize for ever writing the damn things.
Dad is no longer allowed to pick the movies.
More to come.
Should old acquaintance be forgot....
The Dolphins, by which I mean Dolphins' owner Stephen Ross, got a good look at Santa's leftover naughty list and fired head coach Adam Gase on New Year's Eve. Said ESPN.com:
Gase couldn't escape the mediocrity that has followed the Dolphins since 2000. He finished 23-25 [.479], with his lone playoff game being a wild-card loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2016. Miami was 7-9 this season.
To be fair, Gase's record wasn't any worse than his two immediate predecessors (Philbin, 24-28 [.461], and Sparano, 29-33 [.468]), but he wasn't any better either, which was particularly damning for someone who was supposed to be such a great offensive genius.
The biggest indictment of Gase was that he often fielded an anemic offense despite being thought of as an offensive guru and quarterback whisperer when he got the job. The Dolphins finished 24th or worse in total offense in all three seasons under Gase, including 31st in 2018.
There's anemic, and then there's Adam Gase' offense. In 2018, the Dolphins weren't just the worst AFC team in total yards, they were also the worst AFC team at yards per game, first downs, third-down conversion percentage, and field goals attempted. On the positive side, they were the best in the AFC in punts attempted and total punting yards!
As surprising as it might seem in hindsight, Ross hired Gase to turn around the under-performing Ryan Tannehill in 2016 after Gase had performed a similar "miracle" with Peyton Manning. You read that right. Gase was Manning's offensive coordinator in Denver in 2013, and somehow he got credit for Peyton's record-setting comeback there, never mind that Peyton was already one of the all-time greats before the neck injury that slowed him down for the 2011-2012 seasons. The way people talk about Gase, you'd think he performed Peyton's surgery himself.
Anyway, whether or not Gase had any ability to improve his players before he came to the Dolphins is a moot point. In Miami, inability to recognize and develop talent is an infectious disease.
Frankly, I feel sorry for whoever comes to town next.