Tesla: First Long Distance Trip

Since purchasing my Model 3 Tesla earlier this year, I’ve been really eager to take her out on a longish trip. We’re talking a trip that requires at least one -possibly more- use of Tesla’s Superchargers.

However, month after month passed and there simply was no point at which I could do such a longish trip. That is, until the past week.

My youngest daughter, heading back to her University in North Florida, needed some help taking stuff up there and it proved a perfect time to test the ability of my Model 3’s long range trip along with the navigational computer.

The later proved to be a dream: You tap the Navigation button, put in the address to where you’re going, and the Navigational computer not only gives you the trip laid out, it tells you where to go to charge your vehicle once it gets low of charge.

That turned out to be almost exactly half-way from home to North Florida, in the West Melbourne area…

West Melbourne Supercharger
West Melbourne’s Tesla Supercharger station (not my car!)

I have to admit, I was nervous. The trip estimated I would have but 15% of charge left in the car once arriving at West Melbourne, a very small amount of miles (in the neighborhood of 50-60) left within the vehicle.

As I drove, I realized it was true what they say about Tesla’s: They use up far less charge when in stop/start city traffic and are able to use their “regenerative” braking, which allows the car to create small electric charges as the car stops itself. On the highway the vehicle’s electric charge goes away much quicker as you’re using pure charge with your movement and no/little regenerative braking.

And the faster you go, the more charge is used up.

So as I was driving a few miles ahead of my daughter, I was watching the range go down and down and down and, because it was the very first time I did this, I was indeed worried about the range and how close to empty I’d be once I got to West Melbourne.

Welp, as it turned out I didn’t have much to worry about at all.

The Navigation system measured the progress of the car as it moved along, giving me a very accurate estimate of what time we’d arrive at the charger as well as a mile by mile countdown to that arrival. The Navigator also showed me the exit number and, on the map in the Model 3’s central panel, my path.

The above photograph is not from my vehicle but it could easily be. This is the standard Model 3 interior, very sparse (I happen to like this, though others do not) and all your information is presented on that central screen. In the large area that covers roughly 3/4ths of the monitor, you see a Google Map which displays where your car is and, if you’ve entered a Navigation destination, a nice clear blue line shows your path to your destination.

Anyhow, getting to West Melbourne was fine. How was using the Supercharger?

It was fine as well but here is something that gas powered vehicles have an advantage over the Tesla electric vehicle: To recharge my car to 80% (which is where I usually charge it to), required roughly 30 minutes. If you’re filling a gas tank, obviously, this requires usually not more than 10 minutes, if that.

We were in a bit of a rush because my daughter was taking her two pet cats and didn’t want to stay too long, so we charged for a little less than the full half hour and arrived in North Florida with something like 40 miles left in my “tank”.

Again I was nervous about the range but, again, it turned out I didn’t have to be. The car knows how far it can go and, looking around online, I discovered if you’re approaching the point where you might reach 0, the car suggests your speed (the lower, the less you use) and/or a closer Supercharger to use.

In North Florida and some ten minutes max away from my daughter’s apartment is another Tesla Supercharger so after unpacking everything, I headed to it and in some 40 minutes (again, the car was very low) I had the car fully charged.

We used it for the few days we were up there and the day before the wife and I returned home we charged it up to 80% and the next morning were off.

The trip back turned out to be exactly the same as the trip up, only in reverse. We again stopped at the West Melbourne Supercharger station but this time around we weren’t in a huge rush to leave. The Supercharger is in a nice mall area and we were able to take a bathroom break and get ourselves a sandwich then eat it in the car while it was charging.

Once done, it was off again, using the car’s autopilot feature to essentially drive us back home. When we got there, I pulled out my charging cables and with the much slower 240V charger at my house got the car charged overnight (nearly 7 hours of charging versus 30-40 minutes) and was able to use the car the next day to head out to work.

My ultimate impression of the trip was very positive. Yeah, it takes a little longer to charge your car versus pouring gas in it, but Tesla is already at work with their version 3 of the Supercharger and I suspect it’ll soon make its way to all Superchargers. If nothing else, this company is looking at making all aspects of driving an electric car at the very least compatible if not much better than using a gas powered car.

I know there are many out there who hate Teslas. In part, it might be related to antipathy toward Elon Musk, but as I’ve said many times before: You can hate the man but you can’t argue with the technology and the car itself.

I’m still very early into owning a Tesla/electric vehicle but I remain very impressed with it. Yeah, the range isn’t quite up there with gas powered vehicles. My daughter’s Mazda can make the trip on one gas tank -though she’ll be running on the proverbial “fumes”- versus my Tesla which will not reach that distance and does require a charge about halfway up the coast.

However, this is the only thing that I find superior about using a gas car versus a Tesla, and given the distance and need to stop for a bathroom break/food, it really isn’t that big an inconvenience to stop for about 30 minutes for a quick charge.

Here’s the thing, though: These Superchargers work only with the Tesla vehicles. I can’t help but wonder how other electric vehicles operate on long distance trips like this. First, I know that almost all of them do NOT have the range of Teslas. Further, the charging stations that are available -and there are many of them- likely don’t charge quite as quickly as the Tesla Superchargers do.

Are they comparable?

I dunno. I suppose I could do a Google search and figure it out, but my interest is in my Tesla and I couldn’t be happier.

Until the next time we take a longish trip!

Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs And Shaw (2019), A (Almost on Time!) Review

The Fast and Furious franchise has been a huge box office success for years now to the point where investors decided to make a spinoff featuring Dwayne Johnson’s Hobbs and Jason Statham’s Shaw. Here’s the movie’s trailer:

If you’re a fan of the franchise, this looks like a fun time, no?

Well…

Here’s the thing about these films: They’re pretty ludicrous. But, as ludicrous as they were, I will give the F&F franchise this much: they kept things “serious” enough so that you feel some actual suspense. As stupid as they could get, you sometimes worried for the fate of the characters.

Not so with Hobbs and Shaw.

This film, from the opening minutes to the closing act, is presented as a goof. There are plenty of stunts and quips, delived by Hobbs at Shaw and vice-versa. Some of them are genuinely funny. There are two cameos that are for the most part delightful (I won’t spoil the surprise), and Vanessa Kirby and Idris Elba do fine as Hattie (Shaw’s sister) and Brixton (the movie’s big bad guy).

But…

There is absolutely no sense of danger in this movie, despite all the stuntwork and sweat. There is no feeling, at any moment, that either Hobbs or Shaw or Hattie are in any genuine danger. As fearsome as Brixton could have been -he is presented as something of a bionic/android super powered man- he never lays much of a finger on our heroes nor could I, as an audience of at least one, ever felt he actually would.

So what we’re left with is a very slick and very loud film filled with explosions and crashes, shattered glass and crumbling concrete, and a decent enough story that the director/producer never allowed to get serious.

Which begs the question: How are we to feel any suspense, any thrills, in a film that so clearly doesn’t seem to want you to feel them?

There’s also this romance thing that is almost pathetically inserted into the film between Hobbs and Hattie that, it would seem, the movie’s makers belatedly realized was going nowhere and decided to tamp down on and essentially ignore by movie’s end. Perhaps I didn’t stay in long enough but the closing credit scenes (at least two or three of them, I lost track), didn’t bother to show whether Hobbs and Hattie finally had a date (OOPS! EXTREME SPOILER: They both survive at the end of the film!).

I have to say, despite some good laughs and some well executed action sequences, Hobbs and Shaw left me curiously unimpressed and, as we move further and further from the date I saw it (that was earlier last week), the less impressed I am with the whole thing.

Next time and despite the ludicrous things presented on screen, perhaps they should at least try to take these things a little more seriously.

The Hunt (2019)… a little more…

A few days ago I posted about the movie The Hunt, set to be released some time this year, and how its trailer was, IMHO, a perfect example of giving away too much plot. (If you’re interested, you can read the original post here)

Welp, it appears it hid from me (either that or I was too dense to notice) the fact that the film presents a situation where “liberal elites” are the ones who make a sport out of hunting and killing the salt-of-the-earth Red State folk, something that, thanks to that explanation, becomes clear when re-watching the trailer video…

Given the mass shootings which occurred these past few days and initiated by what appear to be right wing types, the studio behind The Hunt realized their movie and its promos may be a little too provocative in times like these.

As Jeremy Fuster points out in his article presented on thewrap.com…

Universal pauses marketing campaign for “The Hunt” after mass shooting

There is a long history of provocation in the entertainment industry, be it music (Jimi Hendrix’s rendition of The Star Spangled Banner as protest against Vietnam), literature (A Clockwork Orange), and movies/TV (The Prisoner, Planet of the Apes -the original-, etc. etc.).

When done well, I tend to applaud takes on controversial subjects. The movie The Parallax View, for example, presented a paranoid view of the United States and those who have all the power and how they keep those who step out of line in check… sometimes through assassination. Warren Beatty, who played the protagonist in the film, is a newspaperman who stumbles upon the deep, dark secret behind a cabal that may be responsible for assassinations. The movie becomes a fascinating look at how an innocent man becomes a patsy through mind control (think Lee Harvey Oswald, for those who are conspiracy minded).

Reading up on The Hunt and it’s entire analogy/message, I can’t help but think: Is that it? Rip off The Most Dangerous Game but offer the “clever” twist that the hunters are homicidal liberal elites preying on the “good folks” of the red-states?

Really?

Good luck with that.

The Irishman (2019)… a big lie?

Set to be released this year is the Netflix produced, Martin Scorsese directed, Robert DeNiro, Al Pacino, and Joe Pesci (among many others) starring The Irishman, a mob saga that promises to be something quite grand…

I must admit, I heard of the film being made but didn’t think much of it. When I saw the trailer, though, I got excited. The Irishman looks like an old fashioned Godfather-esq type mob film, filled with betrayals and shootouts.

I had no idea about the source material, though, and didn’t know how accurate, historically, the movie would be. Yeah, Jimmy Hoffa was a character in it (played by Al Pacino), but otherwise I had no idea if this would be fiction or semi-reality or an attempt at a full biography.

Then, I stumbled upon this article by Bill Tonelli and presented on Slate.com. In it, Mr. Tonelli argues the book and confessions of one Frank Sheeran, the Irishman the movie refers to, are likely complete and total fabrication.

Read for yourself:

The Lies of the Irishman

Mr. Tonelli offers fascinating reasons to doubt Mr. Sheeran’s confessions, which made shortly before he passed away in a nursing home in 2003 and which formed the basis of the book subsequently published to much acclaim and which is the basis of the Scorsese movie.

Mr. Sheeran, among other things, claims to have been the triggerman who killed Jimmy Hoffa. His claims, however, are decidedly wild above and beyond even that one claim, though I don’t want to spoil the article by giving them away (suffice to say the book and, presumably, Mr. Sheeran’s confessions paint him out to be something like a Forrest Gump of the mob world, involved to some extent in almost every big mob activity from the early 1960’s and through the 1970’s).

Read the article if you’re interested, it paints a fascinating portrait of the man and reasons to doubt his confessions. Note, too, that the author does present the “other” side, a few people who believe Mr. Sheeran was telling the truth.

Me?

When a story sounds too good to be true…

The fact that Sheeran positioned himself in so many big mob events while it seems many in law enforcement barely knew of him, suggests either A) he was a criminal mastermind who hid his tracks expertly behind the veneer of a drunk, or B) he was a gross exaggerator who spun tall tales regarding his own involvement in unions and the mob.

The story does indeed sound a little too good to be true.

My feeling is the odds are more with option “B”.

Jury Duty… again?!?

Not quite five years ago and back in 2014 I was called in for Jury Duty. I do it, but let’s be clear: It ain’t fun to spend your day sitting around and -as has been the case in the three previous times I have done jury duty- not get called in and essentially waste your whole day.

What’s irritating is that I’m seeing myself, my wife, and my kids getting these Jury Duty notices more frequently than it seems anyone else in our circles, be they family or friends.

What gives?

Is my last name simply tagged more often? After marrying, my sisters no longer have the same last name so maybe it is something like that.

I know, I know: I shouldn’t whine. This is a civic duty. But, seriously, last time I got Jury Duty was a little less than five years ago and in all that time I haven’t seem/heard of any of my family/friends getting called in once, much less twice (and, counting my wife and daughters, four more times!).

So today was the big day. The wife and I spent Sunday morning heading downtown to see where the Court House was and where, in relation to it, the public parking was located. We needed to do this because the last Jury Duty I did was in a different location and not downtown.

I had the address of the parking lot nearest the Court House set and programmed into my car (A side note: Teslas have a truly wonderful navigation system) and this morning got up bright and early and headed out there.

The weather was good but severe rain/thunderstorms were predicted. I beat the major rush hour traffic into the city and got to the public parking closest to the Court House. I found myself a nice spot, parked, and headed down to the ground level.

So far so good.

I walked to the Court House some two/three blocks away, climbed the steps up, went through the metal detector, and was directed to the Jury waiting room on the second floor. There, my “badge” (it was part of the Jury Duty summons) was scanned and, along with the crowd there, sat down to wait.

I arrived a little before 8 A.M. and suspected we were given this hour so that stragglers would make it in before 9 A.M., when things really began in the courts. A judge eventually appeared, made sure we were American citizens and above the age of 18, then told us about the beauty of serving. It was clear, like the last time, that she knew full well no one here was happy about being in this place, yet tried to make us comfortable. Interestingly and unlike the last time I did jury duty (you can read up on that here, by the way), not once did she or anyone else working there apologize for having us here.

I was somewhat surprised by the sparse amount of people in the Jury room. Last time around there weren’t that many either but this time it seemed positively deserted, and the Jury waiting room, I believe, was smaller in this building than the other I went to last time.

When she was gone, the videos monitors showed The Greatest Showman and I settled in for a bright musical…

I hate musicals.

A little after 9 A.M, perhaps no later than 9:20, a group of jurors are selected and sent out of the room. I brought a book and my iPad but wound up spending my time reading the book.

At just a little after 10 A.M., a second group was called on. They do the calling by listing the last four digits of your Jury summons number, then calling out your name. They did apologize in advance if the pronunciation of the name wasn’t quite right.

They called one person after another, perhaps some twenty five or so people and then…

…they called me.

I was something like the third to the last person called. I put away my book and walked out of the waiting area and into the outside hallway. As I said, some three more people or so joined us and, once outside, the lady who did the initial calling appeared and said:

“I will call out your numbers now. Please announce you are present. Once you have done so, you are dismissed and may leave.”

She spoke really softly and I was at the end of the group and only caught the “dismissed and may leave” part. I had to ask her to repeat what she said.

“I will call out your number and, once you have announced you are present, you are dismissed and may leave. Tomorrow you can log on to the Jury selection website to obtain your certificate stating you have performed your Jury Duty.”

I could have cried.

For most of my life it seems I’ve been living under a dark cloud. Don’t get me wrong: A lot great things have happened to me in my life. But there are these things that happen, these burst of bad luck… it seems like I step into it more often than I wish.

Not so this time around.

The lady read off number after number and finally, toward the end, got to mine (she read off the same numbers in the same order as she did in the waiting room, so I was near the bottom in both cases). When my number was read out, I told her I was “present” and she nodded and I said “Thank you” and she said “You’re welcome” and I headed out.

Come to think of it, I think I was the only one to say that to her. The others that were called before me said they were present and spun around and left so quickly all that remained were tumbleweeds and dust.

(Lest you think otherwise, I probably did the very same!).

So in total, I was there from a little before 8 A.M. to about 10:20 A.M., two hours and twenty minutes, and my Jury Duty was done.

I can only guess today happened to be one of those days when there were few cases before the court. Perhaps most of those that were on the docket were resolved or delayed until another day. Perhaps, as we’re in the last days of summer vacation, many lawyers and judges are not around and fewer cases are being dealt with.

Given the small amount of people in the Jury waiting room to begin with and very few people I saw as I headed downstairs and back out to the street, it did look like things were very slow this day at the Court House.

I don’t know if the others in the waiting room or that first group that was called up remained behind. For all I know and while I write this in the early afternoon, they might still be there. Jury Duty, one of the announcers said, officially lasts from 8 to 5 P.M.

Perhaps the people in my group just happened to get lucky and there were simply too many people there today and we were the ones that weren’t needed.

Regardless, at least for today and for once, it looks like I wasn’t stuck under that all too familiar dark cloud.

Guardians of the GAlaxy Vol. 2 (2017) a (mildly) belated review

Back in 2014 Guardians of the Galaxy was released to theaters and was a box office mega-hit. The film was generally loved by critics and especially audiences and helped cement Marvel’s movie Empire by expanding its reach into space.

Back then, I wanted very badly to catch the film in theaters but was unable to, finally picking up the BluRay when it was released and finding… I didn’t like the film. (You can read my full review of Guardians of the Galaxy here).

In fact, re-reading the review of the original Guardians of the Galaxy I posted, if anything I was being a little too nice in describing my feelings about it. I hated the film. I hated having wasted my (and my wife’s) time watching this juvenile, silly, and incredibly un-original work.

So little did I think of the film, Dr. Strange, and Captain America: Civil War (three Marvel films which I saw in close temporal proximity) that my feelings about Marvel films took a serious nose-dive. Where once I looked forward to catching the latest Marvel films, I found myself avoiding them. To the point where I have yet to see most of the Marvel films released since this period of time such as Ant-Man and the Wasp, Black Panther, Captain Marvel, and the last two Avenger films (I have digital copies of both and intend to catch them, though!).

The other day Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, yet another of the Marvel films I was avoiding, aired on TV and I caught the first few minutes of it.

Mind you, I’m still smarting from how little I liked the original film and had no intention of seeing the sequel. Especially when I recalled upon its release GOTG Vol. 2 found more than a few of the fans of the original feeling it wasn’t as good as the first one.

If I hated the first one and fans of that film didn’t like the second quite as much, what were the odds I’d like it?!

…well…

Funny thing happened on the way to my ignoring GOTG Vol. 2. I caught the first few minutes, as I said, on TV and… I kinda liked what I saw. It was silly but pleasantly so.

Alas, I didn’t have the time to watch the whole thing in one sitting so I set the DVR and let it record the movie. I finally caught the whole thing a couple of days ago aaaaaannnnnndddddd….

Whatdoyouknow?!

I liked it!

Understand: The film isn’t “perfect” and there are some rather clunky elements in it, but overall GOTG Vol. 2 carries a more original plot than the Star Wars retread of the first film (which was a large part of the reason I didn’t like that film) with more emotional payoffs. The silly humor is still there but toned down from the overbearing nature I felt was in the first film, and the characters feel like they’re more of a part of a team and care for each other.

The plot -for those one or two people not me who haven’t seen the film- goes like this: The Guardians are contracted to protect power cells from an incoming monster. They complete their mission but Rocket Raccoon (voiced by Bradley Cooper) betrays their employers by stealing a handful of the power cells.

The Guardians are pursued and their ship crippled as they escape the wrath of their employers and crash land on a planet. It is there Peter Quill/Star Lord’s (Chris Pratt) long lost father Ego (Kurt Russell) appears and reveals he has been looking for his son for years.

With their ship nearly destroyed, Rocket is left with the young Groot and their prisoner Nebula (Karen Gillian) alone to fix the ship while Quill, Gamora (Zoe Saldana), and Drax (Dave Bautista) fly off with Ego and his companion Mantis (Pom Klementieff) to his planet while those pursuing the Guardians approach…

Shakespeare it ain’t, but then again, other than Shakespeare, what is?

The film moves along at a brisk pace and while at times very silly, plot-wise, I found the characters this time around more intriguing and the story better presented than the Star Wars retread of the first film.

So, yeah, I liked the damn thing even as I hated the first and, you know what?

That’s the way it goes.

Recommended!

The perils of offering too much information…

…specifically, when it comes to a trailer of a film:

Set to be released later this year, The Hunt clearly owes a great deal to Richard Connell’s 1924 short story The Most Dangerous Game. It is my opinion Mr. Connell’s work is one of the most adapted stories ever.

The original story involved a hunter who falls overboard while in the Amazon, swims to an island, and there finds a palatial estate run by two Russians. One is mute and the other chillingly tells our protagonist he will be released into the wilds and hunted down.

The story was a big success and in 1932 RKO pictures released the first adaptation of the story in a movie by the same name. The film was produced by the same people behind the original King Kong and, if you look close enough, you’ll see that in some of the jungle scenes of The Most Dangerous Game (the film), are identical to those used in King Kong!

Since that first film, and as I mentioned above, there have been innumerable adaptations of this general story, where a seemingly powerless person(s) are hunted by people with weapons and they turn the tide in time…

These are but two examples (and fairly recent ones) of the use of The Most Dangerous Game plot. Essentially, any story you see which involves people hunting others for sport, you’re dealing with a story inspired by Richard Connell’s famous short story.

The point of this entry, however, is not to present the history of this particular story but rather point out something that is very bothersome: A movie trailer giving away an entire film’s story.

I mean, come on…!

Why bother going to see this movie as almost everything seems to have been spoiled in the above trailer? We learn who the bad guys are, what they’re up to, who the protagonist is, and we even see that the two have a confrontation in her mansion toward the end. Along the way we also learn about how a few of the “prey” get killed and…

sheesh.

Why do movie studios insist on giving everything away? Can they not make a trailer that leaves a few surprises?

Which reminds me of the trailer that most egregiously, IMHO, gave away everything: The original trailer for Terminator 2. Here it is:

I mean… wow. Watching this trailer today I’m still furious about how much was given away of the story.

Remember: The first Terminator had Arnold Schwarzenneger play the bad guy and, if you were to watch that film and Terminator 2 one after the other (and without any prior knowledge of what goes on in them), director James Cameron does a masterful job of keeping the fact that Arnold’s Terminator in the second film is “good”. In fact, Cameron made it appear he was just as bad this time around as the first film, hunting his “prey” (this time John Connor) while, simultaneously, a mysterious other individual, who looked an awful lot like Michael Biehn’s Kyle Reese from the first film, was also tracking the boy down.

This all leads to a point in the film where, in a mall, the young John Connor is trapped between Arnold’s Terminator and the mysterious Robert Patrick character. We figure Arnold’s Terminator would try to kill Connor and then…

….surprise…!

Arnold’s Terminator turns out to be the good guy this time around!

It would have made for a terrific twist to audiences back in 1991… except that damn trailer gave it all away.

I recently watched, for the first time in years, Terminator 2 and was astonished by just how much effort James Cameron put into making that twist work.

Too bad the studios decided to chuck the movie’s biggest surprise by revealing it in the trailer.

Doctor Who Season 11, A (Mildly) belated review

I’m a Doctor Who fan. Been one since the early 1980’s when I first saw the show. At that time, the show featured the delightful Tom Baker in the titular role and he was incredibly charismatic, goofy, weird, and exciting. Here are some of the comedic highlights of his run…

Tom Baker’s Doctor Who proved so popular they even got John Cleese into the act. This is his cameo from City of the Dead

It is my belief that Tom Baker’s Doctor Who was so iconic it influenced many of the Doctors to come. Where before the Doctor was an older, usually more “serious” person, this lighthearted, youthful, and at times very odd personality would find its way into future Doctors. That series, which began all the way back in 1963, ended its run in 1989.

In 2005 a new version of Doctor Who began and, in my opinion, did quite well for itself through at least three Doctors, those played by (in order) Christopher Eccleston (a wonderful run yet sadly short lived as he played the Doctor only the first new season and apparently left the show because of friction between himself and the show’s runners), David Tennant (a great run and plenty of well written episodes plus the benefit, for much of the run, of having the delightful Billie Piper as his companion), and Matt Smith (who also had the benefit of acting opposite the equally delightful Karen Jillian as his companion for much of his run).

When Matt Smith departed the show, Peter Capaldi took over the role and his run, I hate to say it, wasn’t quite as good. Mr. Capaldi was fine in the role, I felt, though his Doctor seemed to draw more inspiration from the pre-Tom Baker Doctors (older and more stern) than those who came before him. Alas, the stories weren’t quite as memorable and, as has become clear, part of the magic of Doctor Who is the interaction the Doctor has with his companions. In the case of the Tom Baker years, he had wonderful companions he could “bounce off” of and, during the Eccleston/Tennant/Smith years we similarly had a string of strong, interesting companions, which I listed above.

The big news following the imminent departure of Mr. Capaldi was that Jodie Whittaker was taking on the role of the Doctor, making her the first female to take the lead role. Here is her first appearance as the Doctor, along with Peter Capaldi’s exit…

I was all for it!

I set the DVR and taped the entire 11th Season of the show plus the New Year’s Special and, over the summer and whenever I had a chance, watched all 11 episodes and…

…Ho boy.

To put it bluntly: As excited as I was with the prospect of a female Doctor, the 11th season of Doctor Who simply wasn’t that good.

As I mentioned above, having a strong actor play the lead role is important but so too are the Doctor’s companions. This time around, sadly, the three companions Ms. Whittaker’s Doctor flies around with are… well… they’re not terrible but they never really distinguish themselves all that much either.

For that matter, Ms. Whittaker’s Doctor, as written, is too much of a cypher, often daffy and never quite fearsome or as engaging as I hoped, often running around breathlessly and/or aimlessly.

Don’t get me wrong, the season wasn’t a complete disaster by any means. There were decent episodes and moments here and there but, overall, I’m not too surprised to see the ratings for this season hovering between the 5-6 stars out of 10 for viewers at IMdB with only two of the episodes rising to a little over 7 out of 10 (you can check the IMdB ratings for individual episodes here).

Though I just offered negative critiques of the actors, my feeling is they performed as well as they were asked. The show’s problems, as they often do, lie with the writers/scripts.

The episodes in Season 11 of Doctor Who, in my humble opinion, were mostly -beware, I’m about to use an incredibly complex literary critique here- blah.

The stories were never as exciting as one hoped they would be though some featured intriguing situations -the most intriguing of which was the Doctor meeting up with Rosa Parks in segregated America. Even sadder was the fact that this season featured some very established and relatively big name actors who were promptly wasted in mediocre episodes. I’m referring specifically to Chris Noth as a Trumpian fool in the mediocre Arachnids in the U.K. and Alan Cumming playing King James in the equally mediocre The Witchfinders.

Still and all, as I said the season wasn’t a total disaster. My hope is that the writers/producers/directors learn from their mistakes and give audiences better overall episodes.

I really like the idea of a female Doctor Who and feel Jodie Whittaker can do the role justice.

Please, just give her better stories!

Wow… just… wow.

Yesterday it was revealed that President Trump, while delivering a speech for Turning Point USA, a college Republican group, a doctored Presidential Seal appeared behind him…

For those who can’t see the Seal very well and are unfamiliar as to how the real one, here ya go. The fake seal is on the left:

Image result for presidential seal altered

A closer look at the fake:

President seal fake.jpg

Among the things to note: The two-headed bird at the center of the fake seal is a Russian Imperial symbol. The bird holds golf clubs (!) in its left claw while grasping money in the other. “45 es un titere” is Spanish and, translated, states “45 is a puppet”.

You can read more in this article by Hayley Miller and published at Huffingtonpost.com…

Trump stood in front of Presidential Seal doctored with Russian symbol, golf clubs

At first Turning Point USA tried to brush this off by saying that someone simply made an error and took a picture off the internet and didn’t realize it was a fake and slapped it on the screen behind Trump.

Yeah, right.

Later on it was stated the one responsible for this “error” was fired.

This was no error. No how no way. You have to search quite a bit online to stumble upon this image and, along the way, you’ll find plenty of high quality graphics showing the actual Presidential Seal.

No, this was someone sticking it to Trump in front of a welcoming crowd. It also shows why Trump, IMHO, is in trouble as a candidate: Now people who supposedly are with him are mocking him.

It’s one thing to be feared. It’s quite another to be ridiculed.

Rutger Hauer (1944-2019)

Yesterday news broke that actor Rutger Hauer had passed away on July 19th at the age of 75.

Pretty much anyone familiar with the man and his work will likely remember him for one role and one scene in that one role, which occurred during the climax of the 1982 film Blade Runner

The most amazing thing about that speech is that Rutger Hauer apparently wrote it himself!

But there was more to Mr. Hauer’s career, much much more. One can look at his IMDB page (click here) and you’ll find a robust fifty year career as an actor.

To me, his most memorable films were those released in the 1980’s. Not all were great and some, it could be argued, were cheesy crap… and yet the presence of Rutger Hauer in the films seemed to elevate even the cheesiest of films and make them more. A sign, if one needs such a thing, to realize what a special screen presence he had.

Among my favorite Rutger Hauer films not Blade Runner (which is easily in my top 3 for Hauer films), his violent bad guy turn in 1986’s The Hitcher

What made the film so fascinating is that Hauer’s John Ryder was the purest of evil, a person who for no reason at all terrorizes C. Thomas Howell’s Jim Halsey and, like the boogeymen of these type of horror films, is in all places at all times… and is especially hard to kill. An absolutely chilling film!

Rutger Hauer’s first “American” film would be the Sylvester Stallone starring Nighthawks. His role here was not too dissimilar to that of Ryder in The Hitcher. A handsome man with the purest of evil in his heart…

While he mostly played bad guys, Rutger Hauer could also play good guys. He was especially great in the Richard Donner directed 1985 film Ladyhawk

I could go on and on with films I’ve loved with Rutger Hauer in them but I’ll end on two. These two films will never be confused with cinematic classics, but I really liked both of them. In the first, Rutger Hauer gets to play a distant relative to Steve McQueen’s Josh Randall from the TV series Wanted: Dead or Alive. Truthfully, the ties to the original Western TV series are minimal other than the name, but it sure is fun watching Rutger Hauer go up against Kiss’ Gene Simmons!

Finally, and moving into the 1990’s -and more specifically 1992, we have the cheesy monster-on-the-loose thriller/horror film Split Second. Look, the film isn’t very good… and yet there’s something about its goofiness and Rutger Hauer’s cool-as-a-cucumber attitude that makes this one of those films that is far more enjoyable than it has any right to be…

One last thing before I go: If you’ve read my novels, there’s this character within the books named B’taav. When I created him years ago, he was fashioned after Rutger Hauer, David Bowie, and the French actor Jean Marais.

In my heart, though, he was mostly Rutger Hauer.

Pleasant dreams, Mr. Hauer.

You will be missed.

The Blog of E. R. Torre

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