Penny Dreadful: City of Angels (first impressions)

I’ve been watching Penny Dreadful: City of Angels, a new Showtime series in the horror/dark fantasy genre.

In pre-WWII Los Angeles, much is going on: The LAPD is finding mutilated bodies in the dry concrete basin of the Los Angeles River. Dark entities from Mexican folklore are causing mayhem. Corrupt city officials and law enforcement officers are waging war against LA’s chicano population. The chicano population is waging war back, led by zoot-suited gangsters.

And (of course) the Nazis are maneuvering in the background, doing the sorts of violent and underhanded things that Nazis always do. But they have to compete with out-of-town gangsters. (This is the golden age of the mafia, after all.)

I noticed that this show has very mixed viewer ratings. It’s rated 6.1/10 on IMDb, and 76% favorable on Google. This would give it a grade of “C”. 

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Overall, I like the show. This series has a fast-moving plot, with lots of twists and turns. Something is always happening. Continue reading “Penny Dreadful: City of Angels (first impressions)”

The cicadas are coming!

“Millions of cicadas are expected to emerge after 17 years underground because, of course, it’s 2020”

I was here for the Great Cicada Deluge of 1987. In Cincinnati, at least, this was a truly epic event. There have been several minor outbreaks since then, but nothing like ’87.

For a few weeks during that summer, cicadas were everywhere. And then their bodies were everywhere. (They don’t live long—just long enough to breed.) Continue reading “The cicadas are coming!”

Happy Memorial Day 2020

It will be a quiet day here on the blog. I hope you enjoy Memorial Day with family and friends.

Thanks to all of those who have stood on the ramparts to protect our freedoms, and–of course–those who have made the ultimate sacrifice.

As Harry Truman said long ago, they have earned our undying gratitude. 

Finally, may God bless the brave men and women who presently serve in the US Armed Forces.

And perdition to those who would do them harm.

‘The Empire Strikes Back’ +40

The Empire Strikes Back debuted in theaters on May 21, 1980.

I might not have been there on 5/21/80, but I was certainly there no later than mid-June of 1980.

I was part of the original Star Wars generation. I also recall seeing the first one with my dad in the summer of ’77.

In May 1980 I was a little shy of 12 years old. I was starting to become an adolescent, with preteen interests (playing sports, girls). But I was nevertheless captivated for two full hours by The Empire Strikes Back. Continue reading “‘The Empire Strikes Back’ +40”

The rebel yell was a real thing

I’ve been reading a lot about the American Civl War of late. Any narrative of the Civil War worth its salt contains a description of the Confederate “rebel yell”. (And no—I am not talking about the Billy Idol song from the 1980s.)

But what exactly did the rebel yell sound like? There were, of course, no audio recording devices in Civil War times.  Continue reading “The rebel yell was a real thing”

Audiobooks while you mow

Or podcasts, for that matter. Or music.

I’ve been writing recently in this space about audiobooks. The other day I described how I enjoyed re-experiencing Watership Down via audio

Here’s the problem, though: ordinary earbuds don’t provide sufficient hearing protection while you’re mowing the lawn. Nor are you likely to hear much of what you’re listening to, unless you only want to listen to KISS and AC/DC. Continue reading “Audiobooks while you mow”

‘Bosch’ season 4: what I’m binge-watching

As I’ve written here before, I am a long-time fan of Michael Connelly’s Harry Bosch LAPD detective series. I’ve been reading the novels since 2004, more or less.

Since last month, I’ve been binge-watching Bosch on Amazon Prime Video, starting from season 1.

I’m now most of the way through Season 4. I’m still enjoying this original series immensely. Very, very good stuff.  

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Season 4 is based on the Bosch novels Nine Dragons and Angels Flight

Or should I say, “inspired by” these two novels? Continue reading “‘Bosch’ season 4: what I’m binge-watching”

Rereading ‘Watership Down’

I’ve been listening to the audiobook version of Richard Adams’s 1972 novel, Watership Down.

This is my third exposure to the story. I watched the animated version when I was a kid, back in the 1970s. Then, the summer after high school (1986), I read the book. This time around, I’m consuming it in bits and pieces, mostly listening as I perform other tasks. (Today I listened to about three hours of the book, while I cut two lawns.) Continue reading “Rereading ‘Watership Down’”

After COVID, travel to….Italy

Yes, Italy. Maybe even Sicily.

Sicily to subsidise post-Covid holidays as Italy considers reopening to tourists

Hey, after all of this calms down, there will be some great deals on travel to Italy. Tourism is a major part of the Italian economy, and it’s currently down by 95%, for obvious reasons. Multiple public and private entities in Italy are already working to boost travel there post-COVID-19.

There are a lot of reasons to visit Italy. 

Continue reading “After COVID, travel to….Italy”