Category Archives: TV

Bruce Willis

For a few years now I’ve noticed rumors appearing on the internet about Bruce Willis’ health. Specifically, his mental health.

An “A” level actor whose films once topped the box office, of late he has been appearing in Video on Demand works where, further rumors had it, he would appear to film for one or two days of work at a staggering million dollars per day.

Many of these VOD films featured Bruce Willis in what amounted to cameo roles, often doing little but sitting at a bar or in a car or something similar, saying his lines and whatever “dialogue” with other actors was made up using film tricks, cuts and close ups and, often, the appearnace the other actors’ work was filmed later on, when Willis was long gone.

There were snickers about his “work” ethics, of Willis “phoning it in” and not giving a shit anymore. Of taking the money and running but now, with the news released yesterday of Mr. Willis suffering from aphasia and “stepping away” from acting (you can read the full article here, from CNN), the jokes have abruptly stopped and an outpouring of sympathy has followed.

Perhaps, some wonder, Mr. Willis was cashing in on those roles because he knew his mental deterioration meant he only had so much time left to build up a proper nest egg for his family. Others also noted the rumors and stories on Wilis being a (to put it politely) handful on sets was maybe a manifestation of the anger and confusion he had early on in the progression of his disease.

I suppose its all possible.

What I take away from this is the sad realization of just how frail a human body is, and how people who are “normal” can find themselves deteriorating and, ultimately, not being able to function as they once did.

Now that the news of his retirement from acting has come out, it seems more of the stories about Bruce Willis’ deterioration on sets is also coming out. The following article, by Ron Dicker and presented on Huffingtonpost.com, notes…

Bruce Willis Has Struggled On Set For Years, Co-Workers Say

Truly it is a sad thing to read and find out how at times Mr. Willis was confused and didn’t even seem to understand exactly what he was doing on certain sets.

More often than not I’ve enjoyed Mr. Willis’ acting. I first noticed him way, waaaaaayyyyy back in 1984 in the episode “No Exit” of Miami Vice. He played that episode’s (the 7th one aired during the first season of the show!) bad guy, and he was damn nasty in the role as a wife beating scumbag…

He would then get the co-starring role in the very popular TV show Moonlighting before moving on into films. His first couple of films, Blind Date (1987) and Sunset (1988), didn’t do all that well, but a little film named Die Hard (1988) was right around the corner.

I hope Mr. Willis’ sunset years will be peaceful and comfortable. It seems like he has a large and loving family and it feels like he’s hopefully in good hands.

I suppose that’s all anyone can hope for.

What a way to start the year…

Saw this meme way back when 2020 was coming to an end…

Was I a good year | New Year's Day | Know Your Meme

2020 wasn’t much fun but neither was 2021. For the family and I in particular, it was downright awful.

So we said goodbye to 2021 and we aren’t even done with the first month of 2022 and already its been this avalanche of bad news coming through.

I suppose the biggest bits of news are the celebrity deaths. While it happened on the very last day of 2021 (December 31st), you had the beloved Betty White, longtime star of television and movies, passing away just shy of her 100th birthday…

Betty White dead at 99: Best moments and quotes

Yesterday/today came the news of the passing of two celebrities, Meat Loaf, aka Michael Lee Aday, mostly known as a terrific singer but also actor…

And, finally (for now, I suppose), comedian Louie Anderson…

Not My Job: We Quiz Comedian Louie Anderson On The Song 'Louie Louie' : NPR

Betty White had supposedly had a stroke a few days before her passing and it was likely the cause of her death. I read articles which stated Louie Anderson was being treated for cancer and this was the cause of his death.

As for Meat Loaf, the reports indicate he had contracted COVID and this was the cause of his death.

While the information is still very fresh and not entirely sourced, there have been those who have noted the singer had stated in previous interviews he was against vaccine mandates. There was evidence to suggest he had a conservative viewpoint.

Obviously, I can only go by those reports as I didn’t know the man myself.

However…

While it feels unseemly to speculate, I can’t help myself.

I can’t help but wonder if he was one of those people who refused to get vaccinated for COVID.

Understand: There is no joy in this speculation. I don’t have any feelings but sadness at his passing.

But I’d be lying if it doesn’t cause me to contemplate the weird times we’re living in.

We live in a time where the politization of things seems to have gone waaaaaaay too far.

In the past, vaccinations weren’t something I thought about all that much but when I did, I tended to view them positively.

After all, you vaccinate yourself against Polio. Chicken Pox. Measles. Mumps. Shingles. The flu.

I can’t recall anyone stating these vaccines were some liberal plot and/or a threat to one’s freedoms and yet this seems to be exactly what’s happened with too many people when it comes to COVID vaccines.

It hurts to realize this weird thinking has taken over too many people, especially when I have very close family members on my side as well as my wife’s side who have fallen into this bullshit crap as well.

Which begs the question: What is it going to take to convince people reluctant to get vaccinated to do so?

How many more people have to pass away before then?

I just don’t know anymore.

It’s a hell of a way to begin the new year, though.

My thoughts are with the families of those who passed, regardless.

POSTSCRIPT: Just goes to show how much has happened and how many celebrities have passed. I forgot to mention two:

Yvette Mimieux. Perhaps not as well known today, but an absolutely stunning actress, perhaps best known for the original The Time Machine and Where The Boys Are. She was 80.

And, shockingly, Bob Saget, amiable comedian and star of the popular Full House. He was 65.

Omicron & Joe Manchin & Chris Noth & Spider-Man… Oh My… sigh…

First: Hope everyone’s having a decent time as we head into the holidays. Sorry for the dearth of posts but, as pretty much expected, things have been extra-busy lately and finding the free time to post -much less do much of anything with the very little free time I’ve had lately- has kept me busy.

Naturally, there’s been a bunch o’ stuff going on, not a lot of it good.

First up is Omicron, the latest COVID 19 Variant which has, unfortunately, become a real issue worldwide. Why? Because it appears this variant is even more highly transmissible than Delta, the last variant, and further appears to be leading to record-breaking infection rates. In New York, for example, has a new one day reported infection record (you can read the full article here):

The previous record, set 11 months ago on Jan. 14, crumbled when Gov. Kathy Hochul announced 21,027 new positive cases statewide Friday.

Locally, we’re getting grim news as well regarding surging infection rates. The only positive, if one is to look at it as such, is that at least so far it appears Omicron might be a weaker infection despite its strong ability to be spread. In other words, those who catch it appear to have more mild symptoms. Doesn’t mean, however, that some people aren’t showing stronger symptoms.

I can’t help but wonder if the lag in people getting vaccinated has allowed this virus the time to mutate and therefore become much more infectious.

Regardless, there still exist those out there who refuse to get vaccines and, sadly, they may find themselves in the bullseye like never before. Which is not to say those of us who have been vaccinated -even those who have gotten a booster- need not take this seriously.

There’s no poetic way to say this: It sucks. It really, really sucks.

Onto the second topic and…

Politics…. Beware…!

So this morning Joe Manchin, senator from West Virginia, decides to go on Fox News (you just know that’s no good) and announces he’s a “no” vote on Joe Biden’s Build Back Better legislation.

He’s always been slow on the legislation, but there seemed to be a deal made where the Infrastructure Deal was allowed to pass with the understanding that the BBB legislation would be passed… in whatever form Manchin finally agreed with.

There were progressives within the House who didn’t want to pass one piece of legislation without the other, and it was only because of the promise that the BBB would be passed that the Infrastructure Bill was finally allowed a vote.

Therefore its not terribly surprising Manchin’s statement today has left many absolutely furious with him.

Frankly, they have every right.

I don’t know where things go from here. I believe this great country needs more of an investment in its infrastructure and services to the citizens. I believe we need to spend more on climate change. Almost all the elements I’ve read which are in the legislation feel like they are good.

But even if Manchin had issues with the bill, even if he didn’t feel the bill worked for him, this move, going on TV and publicly making this announcement… it’s chicken shit stuff.

Dude, what prompted you to do this? One can’t help but wonder now if all those other negotiations, all that other “work” done on the bill to date… was him bullshitting and hoping to get the Infrastructure bill done so he could then pack up his toys and set fire to everything else.

It really casts him in a negative light, IMHO, and I never had a particularly positive or negative impression about him before.

If you’re curious, you can read more about Manchin’s statement and the blowback in this article by Daniella Diaz and presented on CNN:

Manchin says he won’t vote for Build Back Better Act

Next up is actor Chris Noth.

I like Chris Noth. Liked him since first seeing him many, many years ago in Law & Order.

Chris Noth, on the left, with Jerry Orbach on the right

He’s had a long and very successful career, more recently playing the role of “Mr. Big” in Sex and the City.

There was an interesting bit of controversy because in the premiere of the latest Sex and the City featured a stunning element involving Mr. Big’s character and… Peloton?! I don’t want to get into SPOILERS but if you don’t care about Sex and the City, you can Google that stuff yourself.

Anyway, its fascinating the way things blow up in the news and Mr. Noth has certainly become a cause celeb, but for all the wrong reasons. I suppose it was because the actor became newsworthy (he’s been around, as I said, a long time, but he’s never been front page news until the events of the first episode of the new Sex and the City).

The reason Mr. Noth is suddenly in the news? Because there have been actresses that have gone on record to accuse Mr. Noth of sexual assault. You can read about this in the following article by Lisa Respers France and found on CNN.com:

Chris Noth Peloton ad suspended after sexual assault allegations

It’s a sad story to read. Again, I’ve like Mr. Noth’s acting in various shows. Obviously, what he projects on screen and in his acting jobs has little to do with the person and, if the stories are to be believed, this is yet another actor who may well find his career aborted. In that respect, what struck me was the speed in which Peloton reacted to this and cancelled the ads using him.

It feels like maybe they know the accusations have some merit and wanted to rid themselves of Mr. Noth as quickly as possible.

Finally, Spider-Man No Way Home is doing absolute gangbusters at the box-office. The opening box-office weekend is projected to be $253 million dollars, the third highest opening of all time and easily the highest opening since the start of COVID.

I have to say -and I make no claims of being a psychic or anything- I’m not shocked the film is doing gang-busters.

The fact is the Marvel Universe films remain extremely popular and the trailers for this movie, to me, were intriguing. Understand: I’ve tired of the MCU films. Since the dual release of Dr. Strange and Guardians of the Galaxy and my subsequent disappointment with both films, I’ve found myself blasé about the whole thing.

I’ve also found the Spider-Man films -the first two- rather unimpressive. I thought the first Tom Holland starring one was ok after a weak opening and found the second (the one that came right before this one) near unwatchable for the first 2/3rd of the movie.

Yet even someone as jaded about the whole MCU thing found the trailers for No Way Home intriguing!

So good for them. I’ll catch the film when I can.

Anyway, I don’t know if I’ll carve out the time to post again before the New Year. I’ll certainly try.

But if I don’t, my best wishes to everyone out there.

Hope the New Year proves far better than the last two.

Great British Baking Show, Final Thoughts Redux…

At the risk of getting really ridiculous/repetitious here, it occurs to me I should go a third time into my thoughts on the Great British Baking Show to clarify any misconceptions… all of which are likely my own fault, as briefly as possible.

(You can read my previous posts here and here)

SPOILERS FOLLOW!!!!

First: I don’t have any problems with Giuseppe Dell’Anno, the contestant who (SPOILERS!!!!!) won this year’s series. He is a very talented baker and some of works he produced were absolutely beautiful. I’ll have to take the two judge’s opinions about the taste of his bakes, as I do with all the other contestants, because until TV develops a taste feature, that’s all we gotta go by.

Second, going into the final episode of the series, Mr. Dell’Anno was the clear favorite if only because he was the most consistent of all the competitors left.

I don’t think this is a shocking statement. If you’ve watched the show from start to the finale, there were two contestants who were consistently great: Mr. Dell’Anno and Jurgen Krauss.

Mr. Krauss, of course, didn’t make it to the finale because he was eliminated in the semi-finals which, it’s fair to say, was a shocking result.

However, and Third, I felt if you watched that episode it was clear of the four contestants left, three -including Mr. Dell’Anno- seemed to be hitting home runs with their bakes while Jurgen was doing great… but not spectacular. So for me, as sad as it was that we didn’t get to see Mr. Dell’Anno and Krauss go head-to-head in the finale, It felt to me his elimination was fair.

And it was fair because the judges knew he had the weakest bake of that particular episode.

Which is the crux of my previous two posts: In that episode the judges appeared to act according to what I feel should be the proper way to judge such a show: Like in sporting events, you forget what’s happened before and focus on what’s happening now. Whoever “wins” the current episode moves on. Whoever comes in last does not.

Which is what didn’t seem to happen in the episode prior to the semi-final and which has, IMHO, occurred a few times before.

In the episode prior to the semi-final (quarter-final?), Mr. Dell’Anno appeared to have a very off week. In the technical round, if memory serves, he actually burned the bake!

Lizzie Acker, who was ultimately eliminated in the episode, on the other hand appeared to have a very good day. Her bakes, at least according to the judges, were consistent.

By all rights, she should have gone on and, in that episode, it felt to me Mr. Dell’Anno should not have.

Yet she was eliminated and he was allowed to continue.

Why?

Again: I can only guess the judges decided at that point to go by overall performance of the bakers in deciding who was to be eliminated versus who did well in that episode.

Way, waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay back in 1985 the Chicago Bears were a formidable football team.

So good were they that many speculated they stood a great chance of equaling a record that, until that year, stood strong: That of the 1972 Miami Dolphins, who ended the season undefeated.

They tore through one opponent after another until week 13 of the season rolled around and the Bears played against -you guessed it- the Miami Dolphins.

Perhaps it was karma, perhaps it was the football Gods having a laugh at their expense, but the game rolled around and the Bears were destroyed.

They lost that game 38-24.

But they had the last laugh: They made it to the Superbowl and won quite convincingly 46-10 against the New England Patriots.

Here’s the thing: The Dolphins that year were a damn good football team as well.

In fact, once the playoffs rolled around, many in Miami salivated at the prospects of Dan Marino, Miami’s Quarterback, again going up against the Bears.

And everything looked like it would happen that way…

…that is, until the Dolphins lost to the New England Playoffs in the Conference Final game (the game before the SuperBowl) by a score of 31-14.

There were those who said Miami -pardon the pun- took their eyes off the ball. They were already looking to the next game, to confronting the Bears again in the SuperBowl, and didn’t take New England seriously.

They’re probably right.

But my beloved Dolphins lost nonetheless and because of that did not get to face off against the Bears again.

When Jurgen Krauss was eliminated in the semi-final episode of the Great British Bake off, it was a shock but the others really did seem to do better.

In the episode prior, Mr. Dell’Anno, to me, felt like he should have been the one eliminated but instead Lizzie Acker, the more inconsistent baker, was taken out and the only reason I could see for that happening was because the judges felt Mr. Dell’Anno deserved to continue due to his overall excellence versus Ms. Acker’s inconsistency.

It would have been as if the NFL decided that the New England/Dolphins game’s results didn’t matter and the Dolphins -who were a better overall team at 12-4 versus NE’s 11-5- were allowed to continue on to that SuperBowl against the Bears.

And that, folks, is what irritates me now and again about the show.

And (redux) having said all that, it doesn’t mean I’m going to stop watching it!

Great British BakIng Show, Some Final Thoughts About 2021 Season…

A little while back I noted my… irritation… with the otherwise really enjoyable Great British Baking Show show.

In sum, I felt that toward the end of seasons, the two judges sometimes -not always, mind you- play favorites and wind up dumping someone even if they perform well and should (IMHO, of course) stick around (you can read my ridiculous ramblings about that here).

The next episode after the one I mentioned above featured a very surprising elimination.

Now, the show has been over for a couple of weeks so I imagine most people have already seen the end results. However, if you have not, I WILL GET INTO SPOILERS IN THE NEXT PARAGRAPHS ABOUT WHO WON THIS SEASON’S BAKE-OFF.

So if you have yet to see the season and plan to, PLEASE DO NOT READ FURTHER.

YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED!!!!

So in the third from the last episode, which was the subject of the link I presented above, it was my feeling in that episode Giuseppe Dell’Anno, despite being a really consistently great baker for most of the show’s run, had an off day and Lizzie Acker, who was far more inconsistent in the show’s run, nonetheless had a really good day and it was my opinion, based on what I saw (obviously, I cannot actually taste their bakes so I have to take the judges’ opinions about how good -or not- they are), that Dell’Anno should have gotten the boot.

Instead, it was Lizzie Acker who got the boot despite having what appeared to be a very good baking day (or two) that episode.

Yes, she was more inconsistent and yes, if I were to have the two before me and had to pick which was overall the better baker I would go with Dell’Anno.

However, if we were to judge them just by what they did that episode, it sure did appear to me like the judges decided to go with the better overall baker and not the one that shined that particular episode.

Interestingly, the next episode featured (AGAIN, SPOILERS!) one of the two very favorite bakers, Jurgen Krauss get shockingly booted, but I suspect in his case the judges simply had no excuses. Mr. Krauss did well but the two “lesser” (I say this only in terms of overall performance across all episodes to date) bakers, Chigs Parmar and Crystelle Pereira, did exceedingly good while Giuseppe Dell’Anno bounced back from his not very good performance the week before.

In fact, of the remaining four, Ms. Pereira was likely the one most in jeopardy in the semi-final episode if one based their opinion on overall performance. However, she simply smashed the semi-final bakes and wound up being the week’s “Star Baker”. Giuseppe and Chigs appeared to do quite spectacularly during the early rounds as well so it fell on Jurgen, who did well (as usual) but not spectacular to be the odd man out.

Apparently, this was a controversial end result as many viewers felt Jurgen should stay but I had no problems with this end result. In fact, the way it went seemed to me the way it SHOULD have gone the previous week and when Dell’Anno was spared when, IMHO, he performed worse than Ms. Acker.

Anyho…

So going into the finale, we had Giuseppe Dell’Anno, Chigs Parmar, and Crystelle Pereira.

And as we moved along from the first two challenges, it seemed to me Crystelle Pereira, who was very much on the outside it seemed, I felt was doing the best.

The others, don’t get me wrong, were doing well but it seemed like heading into the final bake she was the one inching over the others.

However, one of her elements in the finale wound up being uncooked, a major problem.

At that point, I felt the finale’s champion would be Chigs Parmar, who was most consistent throughout. Mr. Dell’Anno wasn’t doing bad but didn’t seem to be quite as spectacular as the week before when he was saved and Jurgen was taken out.

So it was a HUGE surprise to me when Giuseppe Dell’Anno was crowned the finale’s winner.

Sigh.

Once again I felt like the judges decided to supplant their views of that week’s baking and look at the overall performance in order to crown the winner.

I cannot argue that over the course of the show’s season Mr. Dell’Anno was the overall best baker of those three that remained. Both Mr. Parmar and Ms. Pereira started decently but sputtered here and there. They really seemed to get their collective acts together as the show’s final episodes were made but the errors they exhibited earlier on seemed to weigh more on the judges’ opinions as we reached the finale.

Again, its something I’ve seen in the show and which bothers me because you would think the judges would base their opinions on that week’s bake, as they did when Jurgen was booted, but they simply do not as they go along and, as with other seasons here and there, I feel Mr. Dell’Anno’s win was not totally deserved.

At least not for what he did in the final week.

C’est la vie.

The Great British Baking Show… Something Irritating

I’m going to get really deep into the weeds here so if you have no interest at all in The Great British Baking Show, scroll on to another post and find something more interesting.

Further, if you are a fan of the show (like me!) and don’t want to have the latest episode, which aired last Friday on Netflix, SPOILED, then avert your eyes, watch the show and catch up, then read on.

All right then, you’ve been warned.

To being, I love the damn show. Unlike the American/Food Network shows that feature chefs competing against each other -and there are so many of them!- The Great British Baking Show is generally pleasant and deceptively placid. Deceptively because there is tension beneath the surface but it is like watching, of all things, professional golf: The contestants are truly competing with themselves to do the best they can. They have no control over what the others do so their struggle ultimately is with themselves.

Yes, the same thing happens in the American shows but there always seems to be a more raw edge to the competition, a dog-eat-dog in-your-face tension and sweat and the smell of cigarettes (or worse) in the air.

Here, its all so pleasant, so quant. So very British.

As I said, I love the show.

However…

Way back in one of the show’s earlier seasons and I believe during a quarter or semi-final episode, the judges (the incredibly named Paul Hollywood and, at that time, Mary Berry -seriously, can two people have more awesome names?!) wound up booting a very young contestant from the show. I thought they did so not so much for what she did that particular episode, but because they got to the point in the late stages of the season where they felt she didn’t deserve to go to the finals rather than performed poorly enough in the given episode.

But before I get to the whys of this, let me explain what the show is about.

Each episode of The Great British Bake Off features three “challenges” which are…

…a signature bake, which tests the bakers’ personality and creative flair; a technical bake, which tests experience; and a showstopper bake, during which the bakers are able to showcase their depth of skill and talent.

The first two challenges are considered lesser challenges but do, of course, figure into the ultimate judgment at the end. The final bake, the “showstopper” is graded much more strongly and, in various episodes has times saved or condemned chefs who were on the proverbial bubble.

Which, is as it should be, if each episode was graded strictly.

However… (redux)…

Back in that early season episode I mentioned above, this very young chef (she was, if memory serves, maybe just turning 20), was at times inconsistent in her baked deliveries but clearly tried very hard. No, she was not the very “best” of the chefs, especially in the show’s early episodes (it sometimes takes a bit for a chef to start to shine), but each week you could see improvement to the point where I began to feel she was a legitimate contender for the finale (again, if memory serves).

So in this particular episode, and if memory serves, she does decently in the first two rounds and quite well in the showstopper round. I felt -and this was obviously my opinion and nothing more- her overall performance, based on what the judges said, was better than at least one if not two of the remaining chefs.

And further, I felt one of the more consistent chefs, one of the ones that looked to be a shoo-in to the finale, should have been booted at that point instead of her.

Yet she wound up being the one removed.

The family and I -we really need to get a life- argued about the choice and I felt, rather strongly, that the judges at that point essentially chucked their grading guidelines in favor of allowing what they felt was the overall better chefs to continue to the finale instead of adhering to their grading guidelines.

Welp, the very same thing seems to have happened again this past Friday with Episode 8 of Season 12, Free From Week.

In this episode, we’re down to the five chefs, Jurgen Krauss, a soft-spoken chef who hails from Germany. He’s easily the most consistent chef of them all, winning star baker 3 times (which means in the 8 episodes aired, he “won” 3 of them) and received Paul Hollywood’s famed handshake (if you know the show, you know what I’m talking about) once.

There’s Giuseppe Dell’Anno, a very pleasant guy who hails from Italy. He’s easily the second most consistent of the chefs and my youngest daughter’s favorite to win it all. He’s had 2 wins and 1 handshake.

There’s Chigs Parmar, a young and rising talent who started a little rough but over the weeks got his act together and created some very beautiful bakes, and according to the judges tasty, bakes. He’s won 2 star bakers and gotten 1 handshake.

There’s Crystelle Pereira, another incredibly pleasant chef who’s won 1 star baker and gotten 1 handshake. She can be very, very good but at times flounders.

Finally, there’s Lizzie Acker, the most inconsistent of the remaining bakers. She tends to impress with her flavors but often presents bakes that simply do not look all that good.

Yes, these bakes are graded for flavor and presentation!

The rundown of the final five I’ve given above was done very much on purpose: I’ve given you who I believe is in the #1 position through who I believe is in #5 position.

So, logically, Lizzie Acker is the one that would seem to be the one most at risk.

True to form, she was the one cut in this latest episode.

However… (redux times two)…

The fact is that in this episode she didn’t do badly at all. In fact, she did quite well -at least according to the judges- with her “showstopper” bake while Giuseppe Dell’Anno, the man I feel is the #2 position… most certainly did not.

The first two rounds were, it felt, something of a wash. Crystelle Pereira did the worst on the technical round and Lizzie Acker, if memory serves, was in 3rd place. The first round, frankly, escapes my memory but I believe everyone did decently enough.

So like previous episodes of the show, to me and the family it seemed like the “showstopper” round would be the one to decide who goes forward and which of the five would get cut.

Here’s where the trouble comes in: Every one of the contestants did very well in the showstopper round, including Ms. Acker… except for Giuseppe Dell-Anno. His bake, the judges felt, was a failure, both in how it looked as well as how it tasted.

Once the reviews by the judges were done, the family and I (I repeat: We gotta get a life) got into an argument over who we felt was about to be kicked out.

My youngest daughter, who wants Guiseppe to win, was disheartened. As much as she felt he was the one who was going to win in the end, she acknowledged that based on his showstopper performance, things weren’t looking good for him.

It seemed, frankly, like we were about to witness a HUGE upset: that one of the two top chefs in this season’s show was about to go down.

And here’s where, IMHO, the judges decided to chuck their rules.

In the conversation Paul Hollywood and Prue Leith (she took over for Mary Berry), the show’s hosts talked with them about who looked to be a potential star baker and who was in danger of elimination (they do this, by the way, every episode and just before the judgment is rendered).

Paul Hollywood, at this point, says something to the effect of “Guiseppe did well enough in the first two rounds to make it to the next.”

My jaw, frankly, dropped.

He effectively gave Guiseppe a pass for a rare (it was!) failure in what should have been the round that determines who stays and who goes: The showstopper!

Again: That’s not the way it should be. The showstopper round is supposed to be the single biggest determinant of success, and Guiseppe plain and simply failed while everyone else, including Ms. Acker, did well!

By all rights, and though it would have been an incredibly shocking development, Guiseppe wound up staying while Ms. Acker was booted!

It’s annoying, to say the least, and it shows that, at least on The Great British Baking Show, sometimes your previous successes guarantee your future ones.

Markie Post (1950-2021)

This is the type of news that both shocks and depresses me… as if I needed more of that…!

Markie Post, known best for roles in the TV show Night Court (1984-1992) and The Fall Guy (1982-1985) has passed away at the age of 70 after a three year battle against cancer.

CNN offers a good article/encapsulation of her acting career here.

For me, Markie Post was an actress who I must admit I had a bit of a crush on back in the day. She was an incredibly beautiful woman but her looks weren’t all… she was quite good in Night Court, holding more than her own with the large cast…

As one gets older, one of the very sad things one comes to find is that people who, in your mind, are frozen in time do indeed -like all us mortals- age.

For me, Markie Post was forever young and beautiful in my mind. Frankly, it was something of a shock to realize that not only was she 70, but that she passed away at that age… nowadays that seems way too young.

Good night, Attorney Christine Sullivan.

Ned Beatty (1937-2021)

Sad word came last night that actor Ned Beatty had passed away at the age of 83.

See the source image

Mr. Beatty was an incredible movie and TV actor. Though he may have never been “good looking” enough to be a dashing leading man but he was so talented that he never fell into what might be considered “regular” supporting roles.

His first big role was a startling one, that of Bobby, one of the four would-be outdoorsmen who made the very bad decision to canoe out into a Georgian river soon to be wiped out by a dam and encounter hostiles and quite literally a U.S. version of The Heart of Darkness

Ned Beatty dies at 83: Legendary actor from 'Deliverance,' 'Superman'
From left to right, Ronny Cox, Ned Beatty, Burt Reynolds, and Jon Voight in Deliverance (1972)

The relationship between Burt Reynolds and Ned Beatty seemed to be a positive one. He would go on to play the in three other movies with Mr. Reynolds.

As mentioned before, he would play so many different types of characters. In White Lighting (1973) he was a cold-blooded corrupt sheriff up against good ol’ boy Burt Reynolds. In Network (1976) he had a six minute role as a high ranking executive, a chilling scene which earned him an Oscar for best supporting actor.

A few years later he would play the buffoon right hand man of Gene Hackman’s Lex Luthor in the incredible -and still my all time favorite superhero film- Superman (1978)…

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He would also be memorable in Silver Streak (1976) the first film featuring the pairing of Gene Wilder and Richard Pryer, and was terrific in the TV series Homicide: Life on the Streets.

A fascinating actor with a plethora of credits.

He had a long, good run but he will be missed!

William Shatner At 90…

Absolutely fascinating interview with actor/director/writer William Shatner by Hadley Freeman and presented on theguardian.com:

“Take it easy, nothing matters in the end”: William Shatner at 90 on love, loss, and Leonard Nimoy

There are few actors alive today who I can say have been a big part of my awareness from pretty much the moment I first got into film/TV shows back in the very, very early 1970’s and through today.

William Shatner is one of them, certainly, and its always fascinating to read interviews with him.

Of course, Mr. Shatner, the man, has an equally long history, sometimes not so good. Cast members of his biggest hit, the original Star Trek and the subsequent movies made with them, have been at times very harsh toward Mr. Shatner. Several of them felt slighted by Mr. Shatner and accusations of being a diva on set while demanding the spotlight are a near constant accusation.

I suppose it could be much worse but, then again, I never worked with him so I don’t know how accurate these stories are… though their consistency lends a certain credence to these stories.

Regarding this interview, Mr. Shatner sure does come across as one expects: He’s at times flamboyant, humorous, and nonsensical… and yet at other times offers profound statements as befitting someone who has lived as long as he has.

Regarding Leonard Nimoy -and at the risk of spoiling the interview- Mr. Shatner seems sad that their relationship, toward the end of Mr. Nimoy’s life, was at a low ebb and confused as to how it got there.

I wonder, though, how much of this is due to Mr. Shatner’s lack of self-awareness.

I’ve noted before elsewhere that Star Trek V: The Final Frontier, considered by almost everyone the worst of the original cast Star Trek films, is also the only one of the Star Trek films Mr. Shatner directed. Many point their fingers at Mr. Shatner and his direction for the film’s failure, but the reality is that he didn’t do a bad job, IMHO, directing. What led to the film’s failure was a studio that kept cutting the film’s budget -the shoddy effects in that film are easily the nadir of Star Trek features- and the story, also by Mr. Shatner, was perhaps a little too ambitious and needed more polishing.

However, if there is one really big failure William Shatner, director, had with Star Trek V it was, again IMHO, in not getting any sort of decent performance out of Leonard Nimoy as Spock. In fact, it felt to me like that was the worst performance Mr. Nimoy ever gave of his beloved Spock character.

Why is that?

In part, one has to remember that at that time –Star Trek V was released in 1989- Leonard Nimoy was on a roll as a director himself.

Thanks to the shocking ending and stunning success of Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, the studios were forced to offer Leonard Nimoy more to return to the franchise. One of the lures was that he be allowed to direct the next Star Trek film.

Star Trek III: The Search for Spock, Leonard Nimoy’s directing debut, was a success and Mr. Nimoy then directed its follow up, Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home. That film turned out to be perhaps the biggest critical success of the franchise, mixing humor and suspense and delivering a delightful experience to fans of the franchise as well as those who knew little to nothing about it.

So successful was Mr. Nimoy that he would go on to direct Three Men and a Baby, a non-Trek comedy, and it too was a HUGE success. Quite suddenly, Mr. Nimoy was in high demand as a director.

However, Mr. Shatner, seeing how Mr. Nimoy was able to get to direct, also used his clout to get a clause in his contract which would allow him to direct Star Trek V and he came to do just that… just as Mr. Nimoy was enjoying all his considerable successes.

I can’t help but wonder, given how poor Mr. Nimoy’s performance -again IMHO!- in Star Trek V was, whether his poor acting in that film was due to petulance, disinterest, or just plain unhappiness about working under Mr. Shatner.

Worth noting is that the next Star Trek film, Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country, the last featuring the original cast, would feature a story where Nimoy’s Spock and Shatner’s Kirk were kept apart for the bulk of the film.

Was this done on purpose? Was Nimoy essentially done with Shatner by that point and no longer cared to engage with him?

I don’t know though its hard to read the above interview and subscribe entirely to Shatner’s view that their friendship had simply cooled down with Shatner having no clear idea why.

I recall William Shatner was interviewed not too long after Mr. Nimoy’s passing in 2015 on the Howard Stern radio show and he was asked if he attended the man’s funeral. Mr. Shatner said he didn’t and I got the impression that he didn’t really want to be there, either. If memory serves, Mr. Stern then noted that just because people were close in their film/TV appearances, it didn’t mean they were equally close in real life.

I don’t recall Mr. Shatner dispelling that notion in the interview, but I could be mis-remembering.

Regardless, the above interview is a fascinating one and the title of the interview, in particular, really hits home for me as the years pass:

Take it easy, nothing matters in the end.

It’s a particularly heady statement, one that resonates and saddens me because of how true it is. But, it’s not the full quote. Here it is:

I’m glad I didn’t know because what you know at 90 is: take it easy, nothing matters in the end, what goes up must come down. If I’d known that at 20, I wouldn’t have done anything!

An interesting notion and a paradox of sorts. While its true that we have only so many years to “make our mark”, and its equally true that in perhaps a hundred years whatever we have done with our lives may not “matter” as Mr. Shatner puts it, we nonetheless must feel like it does matter or else we “wouldn’t have done anything.”

Fascinating stuff.

Elon Musk on Saturday Night Live…

So, Saturday Elon Musk, the CEO of Tesla and SpaceX, hosted Saturday Night Live and…

…it seems he did a decent if not extraordinary job.

Elon Musk Was the Worst 'SNL' Host Ever (Commentary)
Elon Musk as Wario on Saturday Night Live… May have to see what the heck this skit was about

Interesting how that happens when you’re not a comedian and/or actor and host the show, eh?

There was a bit of controversy surrounding his hosting because in the past he stated he was against unions (bad), and early on in the pandemic dismissing the seriousness of COVID-19 (also bad), and, of course, there are a few of those idiotic tweets he issued (IMHO overblown but, at times, cringey).

Anyway, some folks had rough words against SNL for having him host and… now that it’s over it all feels so overblown.

Look, those things I noted above do not endear me to Mr. Musk, much as I love my Model 3.

It feels like he should allow his workers to Unionize but he’s not the only CEO who works against that (looking at you, Jeff Bezos). Further to that, he’s not the only person who stated stupid things regarding COVID-19, though this was early on and he hasn’t repeated them -to my knowledge- since. Yes, he pushed to keep his factories open and yes, there was a surge in COVID cases among his workers and that’s very much on him.

However, unlike Mr. Musk -who I’m guessing has reconsidered those early stupid statements, though perhaps I’m giving him more latitude than I should- there currently exists an entire “news” group that devotes their time continuing in efforts to put down the seriousness of this virus despite the overwhelming and abundant evidence of how serious it is… just look at the grim news coming out of India.

Anyway, Musk’s hosting was the topic du jour for one very hot minute and today, Monday, two days later, people are showing highlights and examining which jokes landed and which didn’t

…and it feels like this story about Musk’s hosting of SNL was, in the end, a very minor one that will likely be forgotten before week’s end.

Its interesting, if nothing else, to see how the internet/news establishment “flames on” with what is ultimately a relatively small topic, nonetheless builds it up and, when its been used up, move on to whatever’s next.

Wonder what that will be?