Heavy Watch: Pandemic: How to Prevent an Outbreak @netflix #science #virus #flu #COVID-19 #pandemic #PickleRick #GoodWatch #QuarantineLife

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I do not want to discuss politics on this blog (or the GSLLC twitter stream), so I always do my best to avoid it. I will fail miserably tonight.

Pandemic: How to Prevent an Outbreak is streaming on Netflix, and it’s a good look at the work that the relevant health workers and scientists do to keep the next, big, contagious disease at bay. This involves both the natural and political forces that work against vaccines and other forms of treatment. It’s a limited series of six episodes, each of which is less than an hour.

Much of the episodes discusses influenza (i.e., “the flu”). During the debates over SARS-COV-2 and COVID-19, I hear many people reference the flu, asking, “How is this any different than the flu? Why don’t we make a big deal out of the flu?” Forgetting the medical differences between those viruses, the key takeaway from the discussions on the flu is that we really should be making a bigger deal out of the flu, if for no other reason that it will help us develop better strategies against even more serious diseases. However, the flu is certainly worth wiping from the face of the planet. It’s bad enough on its own.

I’m a science guy, but for what it’s worth, I thought this was an important show. As always, YMMV.

Pickle Rick!
Pickle Rick! (Seriously, if you don’t like masks, make them fun.)

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Good Watch: Fear City: New York vs the Mafia @CurtisSliwa @netflix #GoodWatch #QuarantineLife

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Fear City: New York vs the Mafia is a 3-episode, limited-run series on Netflix. Each episode approaches one hour, so it’s a relatively quick watch. There’s nothing deceptive about its format; it’s a show about the mob in New York, but this show is from the perspective of those that fought back, including legal academia, law enforcement, and private citizens such as the Guardian Angels.

You either find these stories interesting or you don’t. FWIW, I find them interesting, and this show had my attention throughout. As always, YMMV.

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“Ummm, what?” Watch: Norsemen @netflix #GoodWatch #QuarantineLife

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Season 3 of Norsemen just hit Netflix. Here’s the good news. Though produced in Norway, it’s in English. Also, there are only six, 30-minute episodes, meaning it’s a waste of only three hours of your time. You wouldn’t know this if I weren’t a completionist that has to finish what he started.

The show’s primary problem is that it tries to strike a compromise between drama and comedy. Many shows pull that off, but Norsemen fails at both. First, it wasn’t funny. I suppose that the jokes are funny in Norway, but there’s very little that garnered even a snicker from me. I could tell they were trying, though, but that somehow made it worse; cringe-worthy even. Second, it fails dramatically because the characters aren’t meant to be likable, but the attempts at humor prevent you from truly hating the bad ones (i.e., you don’t get any satisfaction from a bad guy receiving his comeuppance). There’s also some behavior that’s just plain weird. It’s hard to articulate why, but even though these characters are ancient Vikings from the other side of the Atlantic, cultural differences don’t explain it. They just do some stupid things that are not part of the comedic side of the story. Maybe if the show were funny, the stupid things would have a purpose.

I would suggest that you watch one or two episodes. If the drama and comedy don’t work for you in those one or two episodes, I guarantee it wouldn’t be any different throughout the show. The show doesn’t evolve in the slightest.

As always, YMMV.

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Classic Movies: Citizen Kane @hbomax @movie #ClassicWatch #QuarantineLife

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I’ve discovered Turner Classic Movies on HBO Max and thought it would be a good idea to watch some of the “classics” I’d never seen. I decided to start alphabetically at Citizen Kane. Bad start.
It didn’t age well. The movie is inspired by William Randolph Hearst, who means absolutely nothing to me. I’m a guy born long after Hearst died (1951), and even longer after Citizen Kane was released (1941). I can’t relate specifically, and the general story is just blah. I’m also annoyed at the “twist” that’s been the subject of so much praise. I see it as less a “big deal” and more a “big disappointment.”
Nevertheless, I at least respect what this film means to the evolution of cinema. According to those in the know, it was a necessary step towards the great movies we have now. I also liked that it went out of its way to highlight new actors in the end credits, one of whom, Agnes Moorehead, played Samantha’s mother in Bewitched.

If, like me, you just have to see it, then do so, but don’t expect much. As always, YMMV.

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Can I Be Considered a Prolific Blogger Yet? @kesseljunkie #arrogance #overestimation #blog

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A tenday ago (nerd alert!), I published my 200th post, and four days later, I was having a Twitter conversation with my cousin, Kessel Junkie. I did some quick math in response to one of his points he raised on his blog post:

The reason I skipped June 16 was because I foolishly thought that I’d run out of things to say. I changed the subtitle of the blog to read that I was going to post only on Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and occasionally more, and June 16 was the Tuesday after I made that decision. But the quarantine kept the hits coming, and whenever I write something, I want it out there ASAP.

Does that make me “prolific”? Let’s see what dictionary.com says (Miriam-Webster can suck it).

https://www.dictionary.com/browse/prolific?s=t

TL;DC (“too lazy; didn’t click”): definition #2 is “producing in large quantities or with great frequency; highly productive,” and the example of usage is, “a prolific writer.” I’ve made a conscious decision to keep my posts short, and there’s no aspect of the definition related to quality, so I think I fit the description.

So, are you impressed? You shouldn’t be. I’m just using this observation as an excuse for another blog post, which pads my numbers. Tomorrow, I’ll be discussing the type of knot I use to tie my shoes. Spoiler: I use the same knot as everyone else. If you have any requests for my next post, let me know.

All two of you reading this are suckers, but you’ll be back.

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Jarvis from Endgame #movie #MCU @PaulBettany

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Sundays are now lazy days for me. Going forward, I’m just going to re-post other people’s work or just do something silly. Case and point:

Bettany-Jarvis
It’s true.

Fight me, unless you’re IQ is over 50, in which case you know I’m right.

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Clever Watch: Interrogation @petersarsgaard @Melinda_McGraw @vincentdonofrio @EricRoberts @CBSAllAccess #GoodWatch #QuarantineLife

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Almost everyone who subscribed to CBS All-Access did so for Star Trek. I have no data to support that assertion beyond myself as a single data point, and I don’t care. As Bill Maher likes to say, “I don’t know it for a fact; I just know it’s true.” I can’t say that I minded having access to CBS during the NFL season when I first subscribed — I hadn’t yet replaced SlingTV with the far superior Hulu Live — but if it weren’t for Star Trek, I wouldn’t have subscribed. It turns out, that was shortsighted. Jordan Peele’s Twilight Zone turned out to be pretty decent, and I was able to stream some movies that weren’t available elsewhere in my suite of streaming services. But now I’ve found something really good.

Interrogation was fascinating. It’s story premise is trite: A woman is killed, her drug-addict son is blamed, and his father believes his son didn’t do it. It’s methodology is just as simple but not so trite. With the exception of the first and tenth episodes that bookend season one, the eight other episodes can be watched in whatever order you choose. Each episode takes place somewhere between 1982 and 2005. Thus, episode 3 takes place one year before the murder, and episode 7 takes place one year after the last episode with the big reveal.

Why do this? Because over those decades, the case went cold, and when the police reopen a cold case, they don’t necessarily view the evidence chronologically. If they don’t, you shouldn’t. One thing I didn’t like is that I was given no guidance as to how to watch the episodes, making my choices completely arbitrary. I’d have liked for them to say, “If you want [experience X], watch in order [ABC], but if you want [experience Y], watch in order [CAB].” I’m not sure they could have provided meaningful alternatives in that way, but it’s something to work on for next season. While I started by watching them chronologically, I eventually settled on watching them in episode order. That was far superior.

You may be thinking, “Don’t other films and shows do this sort of thing?” Yes, but I don’t often see the time jumps as important at all to the story, and sometimes I find it distracting, bringing down the movie. That is, it’s sometimes nothing more than a cheap gimmick. Not so with Interrogation, which was a puzzle, and the back and forth through time was part of that puzzle. It’s the same thing, but still different. I see this as an example of a show that does time jumps correctly and with a purpose. In my opinion, that’s rare.

I should also mention that it has a good cast, including some solid veterans you’re bound to recognize (e.g., David Strathairn, Peter Sarsgaard, Melinda McGraw, Eric Roberts, and Vincent D’Onofrio playing a cop of course 🙂 ).

I really like this show and hope for a season 2. As always, YMMV.

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Meh Watch: Unsolved Mysteries (I’m soooo sorry!) @netflix #GoodWatch #QuarantineLife

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I never saw a single episode of the original Unsolved Mysteries, but many in my social media stream seem to love it. They seem very happy that it’s back and feel this iteration lives up to the old show. For that reason, I didn’t really want to post something that rains on their parade. I’ve done that enough sporadically through this blog. (Ferris Bueller’s Day Off is one of the worst movies ever.) That said, I felt I had to talk about this one in order to offer up a huge mea culpa.

Mea Cupla!

The whole time I’m watching these episodes, I’m bored as hell, and that’s not a good thing. These are unsolved mysteries, one of which took place in Baltimore, which is relatively close to where I grew up. Watching these episodes is a public service. If there’s any chance of me helping to solve one of these mysteries, I’m going to have to watch them. So I did. All of them. But I was bored. I sincerely hope many of you disagree.

Except for the UFO episode. That’s bullshit. As always, YMMV.

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Below Average Watch: #Stardust @netflix #GoodWatch #QuarantineLife

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I had never heard of 2007’s Stardust before someone recently posted about it on Facebook. He said he loved it, and it’s streaming on Netflix, so I thought I’d give it a chance.

Bleck!

I was bored to tears. By the time it picked up a little bit, I was so un-invested (<- not really a word, but you know what I mean) in the characters that it was too late to win me over. The story follows a half-faerie guy who looks like Daredevil and goes on a mission to save Claire Danes, who’s really a comet or something. Ugh. So trite and poorly executed. It’s based on a 1999 book by Neil Gaiman, and the cast was incredible (Mark Strong, Robert Deniro, Michelle Pfeiffer, Peter O’Toole, Ricky Gervais, Jason Flemyng, the best Superman, and so many others), so I really expected to like it. I didn’t, and I stand with but a few.

I know. “Bad nerd!” As always, YMMV.

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