Friday, October 29, 2021

Friday Video: Good for Misery Business

One of my favorite songs of 2021 (which I wrote about in June) is "good 4 u" by Olivia Rodrigo. I recently learned that there are a lot of similarities between this song and "Misery Business" by Paramore, so much so that Paramore is getting writing credits for Olivia Rodrigo's song.

They really do sound alike. A nice and very detailed breakdown of the two songs is available here:

To me, yes, they are similar, but they are both great songs that I will continue to enjoy.

Wednesday, October 27, 2021

New Fall Network Television Shows

There are so many television shows on so many networks and streaming services that it’s impossible to watch everything that you want to see. I decided to try something different to start the fall television season and give several new shows on network television a chance. Here are my thoughts on three shows:

La Brea

The premise of this show is that a massive sinkhole opens up in Los Angeles, and the people that fall in wind up in LA millions of years ago. These survivors have little food and must deal with different types of animals like saber-tooth tigers and prehistoric wolves. Meanwhile, the father/ex-husband of two of the people in the sinkhole has visions, and he can see what’s happening to his family in real time even though it’s actually millions of years ago. Kind of creepy that he's basically stalking them. Oh, and of course there’s some type of government conspiracy going on in that they know that there have been multiple sinkholes. 

Basically, this show really, really wants to be Lost but with a much less appealing cast and not nearly as good writing. Even though Josh wrote that the second episode was terrible (and the plot point of finding a necklace in the same place millions of years later is ridiculous), I'm sticking with it. I'm curious as to where this show goes. 


I only watched the first episode, and they certainly packed a lot into the pilot. Queens is about a late 90s music group that broke up and are now reuniting 20 years later. The foursome all seem to be having major challenges in their lives and didn't leave the group on the best terms. I guess the season will show why they broke up and how the individuals are dealing with their personal life challenges. They are also going on tour with someone who seems to be like Cardi B. 

I didn't realize how much I missed Eve in my life. While the show seems to be a drama rather than a comedy, Eve had two funny scenes in the pilot where she breaks up a fight as a parent (by threatening to take away screen time which I appreciated) and being recognized by teens at a grocery store parking lot. Much of the show looks like it will be fairly predictable, but maybe I'm wrong. I'll keep on watching.

Ordinary Joe

What if someone made a "Choose Your Own Adventure" show? Well, this. Immediately following his college graduation, Joe has to decide whether to go away with his friend with benefits, go somewhere with this new girl he just met, or go to lunch with his family. Apparently, this decision leads to three completely separate ways how his life turns out. Joe is played by James Wolk, who I like a lot. Wolk got his big break in a TV movie playing Brad Cohen, a teacher with Tourette syndrome and someone I met while in high school. He then starred in the extremely short-lived FOX series Lone Star that deserved much more than 5 episodes. Among his other credits, Wolk had supporting roles in The Crazy Ones with Robin Williams, Mad Men, and Watchmen. He's just a likable actor that makes a show better.
Anyway, it's confusing at times to remember what storyline Joe is in at any particular moment. There are also times where you want there to be more choose your own adventure scenarios since those seem more pivotal than where he's going to lunch after graduation. 

This is going to sound like a back-handed compliment, but I need shows in my life that I can watch while folding laundry or sending emails. Shows where it will be okay if I miss a line here or there. For now, all three of these shows fit perfectly. I find them entertaining and want to stick with them, but they don't require my full attention yet. Maybe at least one of them does in the future.

Friday, October 22, 2021

Make A Run For The Border

Politics are exhausting. I live in Northern Virginia where every other ad is for the November 2nd Gubernatorial election between Glenn Youngkin and Terry McAuliffe. Meanwhile, all of the other ads are for various sports betting websites and apps. Anyway, this post isn't about any elections or the debt ceiling or any other Congressional legislation. It's about sore losers. Specifically, those politicians who think all of their problems will go away if they change states.

You may remember in early 2020 when Jerry Falwell Jr. wanted parts of Virginia to secede and become part of West Virginia. By the way, it's so nice that we don't hear from Falwell Jr. anymore. He really is/was the worst. Now, it's Maryland's turn

A handful of Republican lawmakers from western Maryland are plotting a run for the border, and want to drag their counties along with them.

I'd like to congratulate Pamela Wood and Bryn Stole of The Baltimore Sun for not including a Taco Bell reference in this or the next sentence. I definitely would have!

The secessionist cadre -  a group of five state legislators from Garrett, Allegany and Washington counties - sent a pair of letters to top West Virginia officials asking whether they might annex their westernmost piece of the panhandle and make Mountain Maryland a permanent part of the Mountain State.

The article continues by stating that this isn't going to happen, and that the legislators want attention and resources for their side of the state. I mean sure Garrett and Allegany counties have populations of 28,806 and 68,106 respectively, so why shouldn't they have equal representation and funding than Baltimore? (Washington County is bigger with over 147,000 people, but it's a strange county geographically. You have the area that borders Virginia and West Virginia at Harpers Ferry plus Hagerstown, and then it goes all the way up to the Pennsylvania border. I'm now completely fascinated with Washington County and want to learn more about its history. There can't be many counties that border three separate states. I'm getting way off track.)

So my guess is that these legislators feel like they're more simpatico with the politics of West Virginia. We'll ignore the fact that Maryland has had a Republican governor since 2015, but maybe Larry Hogan isn't conservative enough for them. While I'm not trying to denigrate West Virginia which is absolutely beautiful and I'll always have a soft spot for Morgantown, according US News & World Report, West Virginia ranks #47 in health care, #45 in education, #48 in economy, and #50 in infrastructure. (Maryland is #6, #14, #35, and #38 in these categories.) Try telling your constituents that we don't agree with Annapolis, so we're going somewhere with worse health care, infrastructure, education, and economy. Oh, but gun laws are better in West Virginia. That's quite a selling point!

Look, if you're elected to serve your constituents, serve your constituents. Yes, you're the minority in the state legislature, so you might need to negotiate and compromise with the majority to get things done. Actually, shouldn't your own county commissions and boards be doing more here? By the way, if these politicians feel like their communities are being neglected by Maryland, why would West Virginia share their resources with you? Unless of course they are getting some really sweet discounts at the Hagerstown outlets!

Wednesday, October 20, 2021

We Have The Best Neighbors

We got "boo-ed!" Or maybe booed? Anyway, we came home recently to see this:

Several neighbors decorated our home and even left three pumpkins for the kids to carve and decorate. So cool!

Wednesday, October 13, 2021

Found In My Brother's Basement: Gretchen Carlson

My brother moved recently and found several autographs addressed to both of us. This is an autographed picture from Gretchen Carlson, Miss America 1989.

I have no idea where this is from. I don't remember meeting her. My dad worked at the Monroeville Mall in Pittsburgh, so it's possible that she was there for an event, and he got this autograph from her. No clue. 

Most people can't name more than a few Miss America winners, so I think it's pretty neat that the autograph is by someone people know. This is now the second time I wrote about a famous Miss America winner. The posts are only 16 years apart!

Thursday, October 07, 2021

TMI Thursday: My Criminal Record

I'm going to share something that only a few people know. It's something that I never discuss and thought went away completely. I was reminded a few weeks ago about this though when I got a letter in the mail. Even though I never saw the movie, I'm pretty sure that this entire scenario is exactly what happened in I Know What You Did Last Summer.

Let's go back to 2000. I was a graduate student in Columbus, Ohio going to a conference in Indianapolis, Indiana. The 2.5 to 3-hour drive was a straight shot on I-70 from my apartment to the hotel. I was probably running late and wanted to make sure I got to the conference in time. I'm going on a major tangent here because that's what I do. The first session I attended was about gambling on college campuses. Basically, there were plenty of research, resources, and programs regarding drinking and specifically binge drinking. Meanwhile, there was little study of gambling among college students. Actually, one of my professors talked with me about doing some research about this, but I was non-committal (and I'm not sure if he was serious about doing it himself), and he never brought it up again. With the proliferation of legal sports betting in many states, I hope that there is more research and educational programs now about gambling and potential addiction for college students. 

Back to the mysterious letter which started like this:

Dear Sean (there was no colon or comma after Sean. Who does this?!?!)

An inquiry was made in connection with an employment background investigation being processed by our office. The file we found, based on the identification they provided, contains public record information. A public record file may contain criminal, real estate or driving information, and is maintained by public agencies.

That text was all in bold. The pages following revealed my dark past. The case was filed on March 28, 2000 in the municipal court of Madison County, Ohio. No word about whether this place has bridges.

The charge degree: Minor Misdemeanor
The charge description: 80/65 speed

Charge disposition: Guilty (Long description: Case was waived by defendant.)
Charge plea description: Guilty

While I don't remember waiving a case, it's true. I got pulled over and received a ticket. I was guilty of speeding in Madison County, Ohio. I believe that the fine was around $70 which was a huge amount of money back then for student with a limited income.

Now the bigger mystery. Who made the inquiry? My current employer where I've been for many years? Was this done because I needed a background check to be a soccer coach for my 7 year old? I tried calling the company listed on the letter twice, but I haven't received a reply. For some reason, I think Jennifer Love Hewitt is behind this!

Please click here to see more TMI Thursday posts. Turns out this is my first one of these in many years!