Agent Running in the Field – John le Carré

At age-87, he’s still a master of the genre. One of our best living authors.

The audio version of Agent Running in the Field is read by le Carré. That makes it even more meaningful, for me.

The book is set in 2018. Le Carré obviously hates Brexit, Boris Johnson (whom he calls pig-ignorant) and Trump.

The plot is simpler than usual for le Carré. I can actually follow the story easily, … for once.



This Is Us – season 2

One of the most important shows on TV. 

So many life issues addressed.

Casting director Tiffany Little Canfield did an amazing job finding younger versions of the family. I find them very believable.

No other entertainment I can recall has done such a good job switching between multiple timelines.

Season 2 is 92% on Rotten Tomatoes. I’d say it’s even better than season 1.

This Is Us continues to follow the lives and connections of the Pearson family across several time periods …

The ensemble cast is all good. Perhaps Chris Sullivan as Toby Damon is my favourite.

Milo Ventimiglia as Jack Pearson is fantastic too.

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.




Once upon a time in Hollywood

Once upon a time in Hollywood is a fictionalized version of the Manson murders.

I’ve seen all the Tarantino films.

My reaction to this one is similar to the rest. He’s a talented director with important things to say — but each movie would be better if he wasn’t so self-indulgent.

The highlight is his version of Hollywood 1969. It was a weird and special time and place.

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.

I did enjoy the ensemble cast.

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.

On Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds an approval rating of 85% …

The Hollywood Reporter said critics had “an overall positive view”. Some calling it “Tarantino’s love letter to ’60s L.A.'”, praising its cast and setting. Others were “divided on its ending.”

David Morrell’s Cavanaugh/Protector series

The Protector (2003)
The Naked Edge (2010)
The Attitude Adjuster (2014)

I’ve been on a David Morrell kick of late, one of my brother’s favourite authors.

But I was less impressed with the Cavanaugh series. The protagonist and his wife are high end body guards called protectors.

Too much action. Not enough plot.

Walking Dead – seasons 1/2

I’d tried Walking Dead in the past. Too gory.

But I finally got past the guts, and found it’s a well-written and nuanced cautionary tale.

Norman Mark Reedus is my favourite actor of many of the ensemble cast.

He plays Daryl Dixon,  an ill tempered and volatile southern redneck. The kind of guy I want to dislike at first impression.

He’s a bow hunter and expert tracker, efficient in killing walkers.

He becomes the series’ main protagonist starting season 9.

Click PLAY or watch a trailer on YouTube.


Blood Work by Michael Connelley

Blood Work is a novel written by Michael Connelly which marks the first appearance of Terry McCaleb.

The book was used as the basis for the 2002 movie of the same name, starring Clint Eastwood. …

McCaleb was a top man at the FBI until a heart ailment forced his early retirement.

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.

The Truth About Vaping

I hate smoking.

I hate vaping less as the second hand smoke is not nearly so bad.

And vaping legal product is much safer for the user than cigarettes. (The U.S. deaths appear to be mostly due to illegal product.)

More than 40 million people around the world now vape, up from just 7 million less than a decade ago. In the U.S., roughly 1 in 5 high-school kids vape. …

It wasn’t long before a vaping champion was crowned: Juul Labs, founded in 2015 and headquartered in San Francisco.

… By 2017, Juul was the U.S. leader in market share, selling one of every three e-cigarettes. …

Why did Juul become so much more popular than its rivals? Michael Siegel has one answer.

Juul has a very different nicotine formulation that makes it much more addictive. …

… the U.K. has regulated these products. And most importantly, there is a limit on the amount of nicotine that’s allowable. You can only have up to 20 milligrams per milliliter of nicotine …. In the U.S., there’s no limit at all.

So Juul comes along, they put 54 milligrams per milliliter in their product …

It’s 17 milligrams in the U.K.

Read more …

The Truth About the Vaping Crisis

The bigger problem in the USA is NOT the deaths, but rather the high percentage of youth who are not smokers taking up vaping. In 2019 it’s still considered cool.