Let's finally tie-off 2022 movies.

150/2159. A Nous la Liberte (1931)
Another French film comedy. This one I liked immensely, in large part because the friendship demonstrated between the two leads who worked together to escape from prison. Funny and heartening is a good combination.

151/2160. The Automat (2021)
I've been fascinated by Automat restaurants since I first learned of their existence in the 90s, by which time they were all but completely gone from the world. Automated cafeteria food delivery still sounds like heaven to me (especially since this documentary fills in the hows and whys behind my imagination), yet somehow McDonald's touchscreen cashiers don't quite replicate the dream.

152/2161. Thoroughbreds (2017)
This is the equivalent of Heathers for modern teenaged audiences, and I liked it about as much. Which, for the record, means I'll probably never watch it again. I'm uncomfortable enough with people as it is that I don't want to spend any more time than I have to with fictional sociopaths.

154/2163. Barely Legal (2003)
You'll often hear film critics deride voiceover narration, and this film is a perfect example of the worst faults of the device: flowery bullshit compensating for a weak script and missing scenes. The only bits actually worth watching feature SNL alumni, presumably all improvising their funny lines.

155/2164. Idiot's Delight (1939)
Reportedly contains Clark Gable's only song-and-dance performance — "Putting on the Ritz," just like Frankenstein! — and's he fine. The real problem is that the entirely unnecessary (and too long) prologue in the first act steals most of the romantic tension from the rest of the film. A good example that less is often more in stoytelling.

156/2165. The Thief Who Came to Dinner (1973)
The script gives poor Jacqueline Bisset nothing to do other than be arm candy for too-pretty cat burglar Ryan O'Neal, who is also criminally underwritten. (He steals because... his job is boring? His wife left him? Because the plot demands it?) Frankly, the highlight of the film is the setting: early 1970s Houston. It has more character than the people.

More to come.

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Beware the rise of the machines.

...and it still likes it
Wordle #558 (December 29, 2022)

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Frankly, White Power isn't all it's cracked up to be

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End Times Warning: If this article headline is any indication, the Internet might be running out of clickbait.

My god. It's full of stars.

Is that a sofa, or a long-lost Sesame Street Muppet? Oscar the Couch!

(You can have that one for free, MSN. Obviously you need the help.)

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Less than a week after walking out, Dad's back in the hospital under orders of his new kidney doctor. Looks like he'll be there a while, too, which means I'm responsible for taking care of his poodle, Rambo, for the duration.

That's not too bad. Rambo is an old boy who spends most of his time napping, and Henry and Louis are appropriately cautious of Rambo's ill-temper. The most I really have to worry about here is whether my back can sustain carrying 65-pound Rambo up and down the stairs from my bedroom to the door outside a few times a day.

The bigger problem is that this also happens to be the week my mother and her sister have gone out of town to a veterinarian conference in Orlando. (No, neither one is a vet. This is just what passes for a vacation opportunity in post-COVID America.) So I, who am also not a vet, am also tending to Audrey and Kelley's 3 dogs and 4 cats (and to a lesser extent, 2 goats and a Shetland pony, though that mostly just means trips to Tractor Supply for Neigh Nibblers and Saddle Snacks).

Splitting my time between my house, Kelley's house, and the hospital has proven challenging. I may have bitten off more than I can chew. Some of these dogs are just going to have to take care of themselves.

He's adorable when he's not being a terror

Fortunately for all of us, I think they're more up to the task than I am.

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Not so long ago, my anonymous friend — let's call him "Randy" — asked, "Can you name one thing that is better now than it was a few years ago?" It's a pretty good question.

Certainly, there has been a parade of bad news over the past half decade or so: COVID, Trump, Ukraine, drugs, inflation, immigration.... I'm sure you can think of a few more. Certainly, a lot of things don't seem as fun as they once did: watching the television shows you want to see costs a small fortune for a dozen streaming services, most of the content in video games can only be unlocked with micro transactions, corporations bought the fun out of the Internet, comic books cost $6.... I'm sure you can think of a few more of these, too.

From an objective point-of-view, things for most of us are actually still pretty good, as evidenced by the fact that we all have so much time to bitch about what sucks. Could things be better? Yeah. Yeah, they could. But were things better than this just a few years ago? Has American society peaked? I have doubts.

Judging whether the future we got is "better" than the present we had is a matter of comparing what we hoped we would get to the reality of what we got. That's never a particularly fair comparison. Hope might spring eternal, but reality, to borrow a phrase, always bites.

But in answer to Randy's question, yes, I can name one thing: Georgia Football. Georgia Football is better than it was a few years ago. Way better. Go Dawgs!

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He's every bit a Rambo

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On September 26, someone on this blog *cough, cough* wrote

"[T]he Dolphins haven't made the postseason since 2016, and they haven't won a postseason game since 2000, so I'll be happy just to get that far this year."

Well, despite losing 5 of their last 6 games and playing a 7th-round rookie at quarterback in replacement of Tua "Should Really Start Thinking About Retirement While He Can Still Think At All" Tagovailoa, the Dolphins have backed into the playoffs on the strength of their early success (and weak competition) after an 11-6 win over the hapless Jets (also playing their 3rd string QB, former Super Bowl MVP Joe Flacco — how the mighty have fallen!).

And I find I am not happy about it.

The team has demonstrated that it cannot win without Tua, so there will undoubtedly be a push by those who care more about wins (read: $) than player safety to bring him back, ready or not, for next week's playoff game against the Bills. The same Bills who gave him his first concussion (of 3) on the season back in Week 3. The same Bills who beat him soundly in the fourth quarter during the Week 14 rematch.

Hey, Tua, it's not worth coming back for this. ESPN's only giving the Fins a 1.4% chance of winning the Super Bowl, and I think those odds are kind of generous given what I've seen from the team this year. Save yourself, man. Try again next season. So what if the team can only score field goals without you? That's their problem, not yours.

If you haven't got your health, you haven't got anything.

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More True Tales from the Hospital

NURSE: Sir, have you experienced any domestic violence?

JIM (pointing at me): Only from him.

WALTER: He's kidding.

NURSE: I can tell.

WALTER: And if he says anything like that again, I'll shut that smart mouth of his for good.


For the record, that completely true conversation took place when Dad was being introduced to his seventh-floor ward nurse... after six hours spent in the hall of the overcrowded ER. His hematologist didn't like something about the looks of his blood test so a CT scan was ordered, and his nephrologist didn't like something about the looks of that. They agreed that Dad should go to the ER for more tests. When we got there, the attending physician asked, "Why are you here today?," and Dad answered, "I don't know."

The only thing Dad says he's really worried about is being discharged in time to watch Monday night's UGA game from his own recliner.

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I'm not sure I would call myself a connoisseur of kids cartoons, but I sure liked 'em a lot when I was a kid. And a teenager. And an adult. And now as old man. The good ones remind you what's great about being a kid. The best of them remind you what's great about being human.

If you have little kids right now, you can already guess that I'm talking about Bluey.

Bluey is an Australian Broadcast Company/BBC show about talking dogs. More accurately, it's about raising children by allowing children to be children, but it takes place in a world of talking dogs. I'm not so nuts about children, but I love talking dogs. Especially this one.

There was a farmer had a dog... There was a farmer had a dog...
click image to toggle 3D on/off

That's Bingo, Bluey's little sister. Mom's beau asked why I would paint Bingo instead of Bluey. The answer is pretty simple: I like Bingo better.

She's my kind of talking dog.

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To be continued...