Italian Newspaper Obits: Feb 9 vs March 13. Holy shit

This particular Italian newspaper saw a mere 1 page and a half in February go to 10 pages of obituaries …

I have people in my life who think the Covid-19 emergency is a conspiratorially political measure weighing against our president.

Last night I talked to a Trump supporting friend of mine who almost shouted that this whole thing is bullshit. People are overreacting. He claimed the economy isn’t going to recess and that the rebound of the stock market will shoot back up well over 30,000.

This morning, I was prompted to review my 401k investments, and we have lost $32K since January 1. I sent my friend a text and he wrote:

Our chances are good with the best scientists and health professionals on earth backed by the strongest economic wealth creator or earth we should be fine.

“Wealth creator”? An umpteen-times, bankrupted business man is a “wealth creator”? What?

I’m not sure how the world got together to conspire against the president. But I’d be willing to listen to your hypothesis.

I believe the “hype” in terms of being diligent to try and protect yourselves from this virus and to help not spread it to others.

I don’t believe we should be freaking out. But in the spirit of The Grapes of Wrath, we should all be working together for the greater good.

We’ve seen a downward tick in our business and our investments. No one is going to pay my mortgage … my bills, but me. And I imagine so many Americans are in the same boat.

I read about cases in Holland and in Italy in which so many of the infected folks are under 50, and many are in ICU and in critical condition.

We all need to bind together and get past political differences. This thing is bigger.

December/January/February Media Diet

Photo by Brenda Ann Kenneally (see more here)

I don’t have time to write about each thing listed below. But I like how other bloggers keep track of their media diets, so I am trying to do it, too. Some links may take you away from this page. Sorry if that happens. Control + Click to avoid it. Come back! (if that happens).

I’m finding that it’s incredibly impossible to keep track of everything. And I know this is three months of notes, but hopefully I won’t rack up as many for March.


Sword and Scale Podcast

There are hundreds of episodes. Tina and I listened to a few on our recent drive from NC to Chicago. Two episodes (numbers 5 and 6) discuss a conspiracy theory far more crazy than Pizzagate about a politician named Larry King (not that Larry King) who ran a little boys sex cult and sex ring, trafficking them for high dollar, mega rich VIPs, including President George HW Bush … I can’t personally find any info to back up the episodes’ claims. But it was fun to listen to. Jaw was on the floor for minutes at a time. (3 out of 5)

The Mysterious Mr. Epstein (4.5 out of 5)

Live and Die in LA  (4 out of 5)

Broken Harts (2.5 out of 5)

Over my Dead Body Seasons 1 and 2 (3.75 out of 5)

Root of Evil  (Holy shit out of 5)


Think Like a Freak by  Steven D. Levitt, Stephen J. Dubner
My expectations of this book were more or less that I would learn how to be more freakishly artistic. But maybe thinking outside the box is much more based on a meticulous plan and incredible research. Not being cocksure about anything is one of the biggest lessons of the book. It also contradicts Scott Adams’ premise below in “Loserthink”. (3 out of 5) 

Dr. Sleep | Stephen King
Danny Torrance grows up, becomes an adult and brings his powers with him. Lots of supernatural, magical fun. New characters … fun read. (4 out of 5)

Loserthink: How Untrained Brains Are Ruining America by Scott Adams 

Scott Adams draws Dilbert, of which I’ve never been a fan. Corporate America nauseated me. Working for the man, all I wanted to do was get out. He claims to be smarter and wants to teach all you idiots how to be smart, too. So he burns down anyone who accepts climate change in the first few pages, because — you know — too many scientists back it, and — you know — there’s money to be bankrolled in it.

“On the whole, people prefer confident people,” says Adams.

Also, Trump. And other highfaluting ideas that all you delusional disbelievers in 45 are loserthinkers. (1 out of 5) 

The Missing Gospels: Unearthing the Truth Behind Alternative Christianities by Darrell L. Bock

This book was written with the intent that if you’re interested in the extra-canonical biblical books … look no further. And Bock means it! LOOK no further. Let him tell you what all those other nasty, lying, secular writers are all wrong about. Elaine Pagels is a lunatic and Bart Ehrman is possessed by the devil. (1.5 out of 5)

Killing Jesus | Bill O’Reilly
In the first pages, O’Reilly claims he’s going to challenge the reader with ideas and facts they’ve never heard before. He’s going come at it with utmost integrity and scholarship, only to go into mythological stories about Jesus’s life. It’s about as scholarly as a coloring book on Dora the Explorer. (1 out of 5)

In the Garden of the Beasts Eric Larsen
Interesting read about the US Ambassador William Dodd during his service in Germany at the rise of Nazism. Fantastic read and dangerously scary how similar the language of their times are when discussing the Nazi’s and their agenda and current events involving borders here in the US and in Europe. (4.25 out of 5)

The Rational Bible: Exodus by Dennis Prager
Dennis Prager, a so-called Jew whose primary audience are evangelical Christians, takes us through the second book of the Old Testament with commentary and explanation. He bangs out tired old arguments against atheists, claims he has had tons of debates with them, and then lies to us about what he thinks they think … and not what they’ve actually said. Because, you know, you either believe in hope of God or that everything came from nothing and therefore hopelessness! You can ONLY have one or the other. Yawn. (-1 out of 5). 


Where’d You Go, Bernadette 
Former genius architect Bernadette Fox seems to have it all — a beautiful home in Seattle, a successful and loving husband, and a brilliant teenage daughter who’s about to attend boarding school. When Bernadette suddenly disappears without a trace, her concerned family sets off on an exciting adventure to solve the mystery of where she might have gone. (3.75 out of 5)

Cabin in the Woods (second viewing)
What happens if you cross contaminate The Truman Show with a major cross section of a zillion horror movies from the last few decades? Well, it’s Cabin in the Woods. And it’s a pretty fun, twisty, turn-y ride. Jump on! (4.125 out of 5)

Delicatessen movie Jean-Pierre Jeunet
A magical little post-apocalyptic story set in France, in a building inhabited by scaredy cats, especially of its landlord, who is a butcher serving up tenants as meat is needed. (4 out of 5)

Dr. Sleep movie \ Movie very distant than the book … (2.5 out of 5 because it was entertaining enough, but didn’t Kubrick disappoint King enough with his version of the Shining?)

Parasite  movie I might be the only person who wasn’t blown away by this movie. (3 out of 5) I’m sure someone would be mad I called it average. Especially after it won so many goddamn awards. 


Dirty John  (an entertaining 3.75 out of 5)

Killing Eve (season 2) Season 1 is so worth your time. Season 2 if you just want to hang out with Villanelle for a while.

Modern Love  (3.75 out of 5)

Jack Ryan Season 2 Enjoyed season 2 much more than 1. I couldn’t finish season 1, because there were too many contrived moments.

Unbelievable (4 out of 5)

Anima  (5 out of 5)

Michelle Wolf — Joke Show

Billy on the Street (a funny way to spend 20 minutes of your time)

The Politician (3.75 out of 5)

Russian Doll (4.85 out of 5) – easily one of my favorite shows I’ve seen in a LONG time.

Goliath(4 out of 5) enjoyed the third season, and the first). 

The Americans (4.75 out of 5) bingeworthy TV.

Interesting Articles 

This genre of media is my least documented, as there’s just too much readable media out there to properly document. But I may start trying harder.

Today I Learned That Not Everyone Has An Internal Monologue And It Has Ruined My Day.

Why Bill Barr Is So Dangerous

The Billion-Dollar Disinformation Campaign to Reelect the President

A Portrait of Love and Struggle in Post-Industrial, Small-City America (5 out of 5) Photo at the top of page is from Brenda Ann Kenneally. She has inspired me.

We bought a house in NC, Part Deux!

A few of you watched the first episode of our journey buying an investment property in North Carolina. Here’s part two.

In it, we wrap up our renovations. We hired a contractor to redo both bathrooms and the kitchen, as well as paint throughout.

In my journal from the experience, I wrote about how my parents had become our best friends. We saw them more regularly than any of my friends or my brother or his family. My dad came over often to help with different bigger ticket jobs that I couldn’t possibly do myself. My mom hemmed our curtains and hung wall paper. It was a huge group effort.

The house has been renting on the social media home sharing sites. We’ve had five or more bookings so far and have it booked through Christmas off and on.

It’s a challenge being this far away from the house. But so far it’s been great and seemingly rewarding of an effort.

Enjoy part two. And if you want to skip to before and afters around 6:20.

A new family portrait


Two nights before we returned to Chicago from our new house in the south, Tina and I raced to complete at least one new portrait. Inspired by a few different photographers including Greg Crewdson, we photographed each other separately and then plugged the image we wanted into the scene.

The room itself was photographed separately as well.

I love that Talulah made the cut. She was walking making sure she made an appearance.


Boomerang this: The first filmed solar eclipse

The film was taken by British magician turned pioneering filmmaker Nevil Maskelyne on an expedition by the British Astronomical Association to North Carolina on 28 May, 1900. This was Maskelyne’s second attempt to capture a solar eclipse. In 1898 he travelled to India to photograph an eclipse where succeeded but the film can was stolen on his return journey home. It was not an easy feat to film. Maskelyne had to make a special telescopic adapter for his camera to capture the event. This is the only film by Maskelyne that we know to have survived.

David Attenborough Hosts “Climate Change: The Facts”

From the BBC:

Sir David’s new programme laid out the science behind climate change, the impact it is having right now and the steps that can be taken to fight it.

“In the 20 years since I first started talking about the impact of climate change on our world, conditions have changed far faster than I ever imagined,” Sir David stated in the film.

“It may sound frightening, but the scientific evidence is that if we have not taken dramatic action within the next decade, we could face irreversible damage to the natural world and the collapse of our societies.”

Speaking to a range of scientists, the programme highlighted that temperatures are rising quickly, with the world now around 1C warmer than before the industrial revolution.