Springfield Confidential by Mike Reiss

Ron loaned me a hard copy of Mike Reiss‘ 2018 book on his years working on The Simpsons. He was one of the first writers when the show started in 1989.

Hilarious. I recommend it.

I stopped watching The Simpsons back when every episode was controversial. They made fun of everyone and everything.

But I’m still a big fan. My Facebook avatar is Lugash, Lisa Simpson’s Gymnastics coach.

Ten years in … Family Guy launched.

Peter Griffin was fatter and dumber. Family Guy mocked topics sacrosanct to The Simpsons.

Surprisingly, many on The Simpsons writing team were offended.




Damages – season 4

Season 4 the weakest so far, I’d say.

The bad guys are High Star Security, something like the evil Blackwater, an American private military company.

The plot is WAY far fetched.

On the other hand, great performances from two actors kept me going.

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.

Damages – season 3

Even more intense than seasons 1 and 2, I have become less and less convinced in the plot line.

It’s more complicated than I would like.

The acting is strong, of course.

Martin Short as Leonard Winstone is added to the cast. A nice touch.

He and Lily Tomlin are two comedians put into dramatic roles here.

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.




Career of Evil by JK Rowling

Book #3 in her excellent Cormoran Strike series. Rowling writes under the pseudonym Robert Galbraith.

Unlike most books I read, in this one are only two important characters: Robin Ellacott and her boss Cormoran Strike.

Both are damaged individuals. Both are flawed. Both are complex.

The relationship between the two drives the plotline.

In this one a killer (who loves Blue Öyster Cult) stalks Robin, whom he sees as part of his plan to exact revenge against private investigator Cormoran Strike.


In the BBC TV series Tom Burke plays Strike. And seems to have one leg missing, as does Strike in the book.




Fringe – Season 1

… The team uses unorthodox “fringe” science and FBI investigative techniques to investigate a series of unexplained, often ghastly occurrences, which are related to mysteries surrounding a parallel universe.

FBI agent Olivia Dunham is portrayed by actress Anna Torv, while actors Joshua Jackson and John Noble play father-son duo Peter and Walter Bishop.

Those 3 actors are good. I enjoy John Noble, in particular.

It’s lightweight TV compared with shows that inspired like The Twilight Zone and The X-Files.

If you want to watch a show like this, I’d recommend Black Mirror as a much stronger alternative.

Click PLAY or watch a trailer on YouTube.

Dune: books 1-3

If you claim Dune is the greatest Science Fiction novel of all time, I’d not argue.

Recently I reread the first 3 books in the series.

Written 1965, it’s superb. Not at all dated.

Dune was rejected by more than 20 publishers—before being published by Chilton Books, a little-known printing house best known for its auto repair manuals.

Frank Herbert wrote 6 books before his death. As I recall from past readings each sequel was less compelling.

Book 2 is Dune Messiah 1969. I again found it slow, dark and overly philosophical.

Book 3 is Children of Dune 1976. Better than Messiah, but still too slow paced. In fact hardly anything happens in books 2 and 3. It’s mostly interpersonal intrigue.

When his son took over for the 7th book they got even worse.

I actually found things to like about both the 1984 film and the 2000 TV miniseries. Sting was excellent, for example.

Still … it’s time for another version of Dune. Happily we can look forward to that December, 2020. Jason Momoa plays Duncan Idaho.

Liet Kynes will be played by a woman.

Click PLAY or watch a teaser on YouTube.

In June 2019 it was announced that Legendary Television will be producing a spin-off television series, Dune: The Sisterhood, for WarnerMedia’s upcoming streaming service, HBO Max. The series will focus on the Bene Gesserit and serve as a prequel to the 2020 film.