Maybe I'm just jealous that they didn't sell poop-shaped toys when I was three years old, but no. Just no.

I *wouldn't* buy that for a dollar

I don't know what's wrong with kids in 2019. Back in my day, everyone came with their own poop slime formula.

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Mom and I continue watching Hallmark mystery movies. We've discovered that they're a uneven bunch, often relying on formula to overcome a lack of characterization and charisma. As an actor, it must be a good paycheck if you can get it.

We were big fans of the "Murder She Baked" series. Mom had read the books, and the actors had a rapport better than most of the comparables. Sadly, that series was canceled, and much of the cast moved on to other things. Specifically, these things.

89. (1528.) The Chronicle Mysteries: Recovered (2019)
Alison Sweeney, formerly Hannah the baker, here plays podcaster Alex who investigates an unsolved missing persons case. (Sound familiar? I have to wonder if the "Serial" podcast is getting a cut.) The missing person is played by the actress who played Hannah's sister, and Alex is romantically linked to the actor who played Hannah's sister's husband. It's really a head trip, which is good because the mystery is not. The ending is astonishingly bad.

93. (1532.) The Chronicle Mysteries: The Wrong Man (2019)
The Chronicle cast is back, this time with two mysteries. Alex is now editor of a newspaper and sets out to solve a crime involving dead lawyers and mobsters. Speaking of lawyers, Hannah the baker's mother's lawyer is now a farmer-turned-engineer. The resolution hinges on the improbably timely arrival of a piece of evidence and an unusually talkative stevedore. But if you can swallow the ending to the first one....

106. (1545.) The Chronicle Mysteries: Vines That Bind (2019)
There's a third one! As a favor to the newspaper gossip columnist, Hannah Alex travels to another state to solve a double murder in a vineyard that may have been committed by the daughter of the victim. Or his wife. His daughter! His wife! The guilty party is telegraphed far too early, so it felt like we spent most of the second half looking for red herrings. Bah.

Obviously, these are not the best that Hallmark has to offer. (Personally, I still like Darrow & Darrow.)

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What? I skipped a post again? Dammit.

In my defense, I've been busy these past few days. As you know, I've been supervising Dad's medications and dog-sitting Rambo and Scarlett (and trying to make July not jealous). Also, there have been issues with our commercial rental property, including an AC failure and an (unrelated) fallen tree that damaged the roof and destroyed the gutter over the back door that has a bad tendency to flood. Add to those that I have an end-of-July deadline on a coding project. And I helped one friend build some shelves and another fix her cable system. And my own ISP was down for most of Friday and Saturday. And I've been trying to find time to write more. And and and and.

But that's all just excuses.

On the up side, I did just recently discover that my phone takes great panoramic photos, a feature which I have been using exclusively to take photos of clouds.

Beautiful Clouds: Polution's one redeeming feature

So that's good. And that's enough.

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Poor Toto was still black in Oz

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I don't mean to tell the King of the Sea his business, but he's doing it wrong.

Left to loosen, son!
Aquaman #1 (Jan-Feb 1962)

Yes, I am willing to accept the premise that Aquaman and Aqualad have been magically reduced to three inches in height by a water sprite (named Quisp!) in an attempt to save them from rampaging Inner Earth fire trolls.

And every DC fan knows that Atlanteans can only survive out of the water — salty or otherwise — for one hour, so obviously they need to get into this Army Jeep's radiator to stay alive. (Antifreeze poisoning? Never heard of it.)

Yet I just can't get past the fact that Aquaman doesn't know how to open a radiator cap.

My suspension of disbelief only goes so far.

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Watching Star Wars the other day, two things struck me. The first was how big a liar C-3P0 is!

From the beginning, he knows who Princess Leia is, then he denies as much to Luke when the boy finds the hologram in R2-D2. Later, he lies to a Death Star officer so as to escape capture.

Now, my revelation might not seem such a big deal to you. "So a diplomatic robot lies to people. So what?" I'm glad you asked. Once it's established that Threepio is deceitful, it calls into question all of Threepio's statements that aren't otherwise verified. In other words, everything we think we know about Artoo might be false as well.

The little robot communicates almost exclusively through beeps and whistles. The audience has to trust the "human/cyborg relations" expert to interpret those noises for us. If we can't trust Threepio, how can we be sure that it was Artoo's idea to run away from Uncle Owen's garage? Maybe the "accidental" reveal of Leia's hologram was no accident. Maybe he *hasn't* found the Princess on the Death Star.

Or, of course, this could all be related to the second thing that struck me: the script kind of sucks.

But boy, it looks great!

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This is your annual reminder: TCM is airing 1776 tonight at 10:15 Eastern.

You can keep your fireworks. I'm celebrating my independence in front of my TV.

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Dad update: he's now in his third hospital in as many weeks.

First he had heart surgery in Atlanta to replace a malfunctioning mitral valve. He came home for a couple of days before shortness of breath took him to the emergency room in Newnan. They diagnosed him with atrial fibrillation, a relatively common complication, and sent him to Fayetteville to have a pacemaker installed.

Doctors say he should be fine. I agree. He's already proven that for a guy with a bad heart, Dad can really get around.

Meanwhile, this side-effects poster was on the wall of his third room:

Someone in hospital administration is an Osmosis Jones fan

A closer look reveals a very familiar "face."

This is why nurses wear gloves

EVEN IN HOSPITALS.

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Sisters!

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Want to know why I love Superman? Read this:

It's so obvious, why didn't I figure it out sooner?
Action Comics #322, March 1965

Unless you are steeped in Superman mythology, this panel probably doesn't make any sense to you. Don't worry, that makes you a perfectly normal human being.

Comic-book knowledge is a special kind of knowledge gained only after hours / months / years of immersion in stories about a self-contained universe with its own, unique set of rules. These rules are rarely logical though they are generally consistent. There's no connection between flying fast and traveling back in time, but it works for Superman every time.

Better yet, this knowledge is a badge shared only between the initiated. Once you understand how Superman hides his "Clark Kent clothes" while wearing his primary-colored union suit*, you enter a club of other enthusiasts. Understanding Superman is its own secret handshake!

*He super compresses them with his super strength and hides them in a special pocket in his cape. Congratulations, now you're a member, too!

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To be continued...

 

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