The gray.

In our foolish faith that one day, HBO will get good again, Alan and I have been watching “The Investigation,” a Danish series. It’s a dramatized version of the painstaking police work it took to imprison the killer of journalist Kim Wall, in 2013.

Wall went for a ride in a Peter Madsen’s submarine and never came back. Madsen lied and lied and lied, first claiming he put her ashore, then saying she was killed by a falling hatch cover, then switching his story to suffocation, and that’s as far as we’ve gotten. (His dismemberment and dumping of her body was harder to explain, but it was something like, “I panicked and wanted to bury her at sea, but I couldn’t carry her up the ladder to the exit hatch, so, y’know, I parted it out.”)

Anyway, I like to think of myself as a fairly sophisticated consumer of filmed entertainment. I don’t mind subtitles, I respect artistic choices even if they are not what mine would be, and I enjoy foreign films, if only for the glimpses they provide of life in other countries. But man, is “The Investigation” ever slow.

And by “slow,” I mean I said this the other night, as the main character left his office for the day: “You watch. We’re going to follow him all the way down this long hallway, and out the doors,” and we did. About 30 seconds of screen time, an eternity, all to say: He’s leaving work now.

One episode consisted of the police shuttling between various undecorated offices. All the walls were white, lightly tinged with gray. All the officers have the same Scandinavian efficiency in their speech, movement and dress. No one talked about a partner at home, or their children or dogs. No one goes out for a drink after work. No one swears or throws a file folder down on a desk in disgust. No one is particularly good- or bad-looking. The only gun fired is a shotgun, because Jens, the main character, shoots skeet and duck-hunts. The search for the remains by divers is about the only break from tinged-gray white walls we get, and even that is agonizing. They dive, and find nothing. They dive again. They dive again. Etc.

Jens is the most well-rounded, if only because the writers tacked on a subplot of him trying to connect with his adult daughter, who is drifting away from him because he works so hard and is never there for her. They have short, tense conversations in which much is unspoken. Jens expresses sadness through his wide-set eyes. It looks a lot like all his other expressions.

And yet, still we watch. I did some outside reading, and learned that all these choices were deliberate, that the intent was to concentrate on the work it took to bring Madsen to justice, not the lurid crime itself; in fact, Madsen’s name isn’t even spoken aloud. Journalists hear that a lot: Why do you even tell us the bad guys’ names? You’re glorifying them. And no, that’s not true, unless you think having your photo all over the news under headlines like SPREE KILLER constitutes glory. I guess it’s good for the casual viewer to learn that police work, like most work, can be a slog, that it’s interviews, lab testing and diving again and again in hopes of finding human remains. But man, talk about Scandinavian bleakness.

Will I finish watching it? OF COURSE.

What else to report at week’s end? Not too much. I made a spinach soufflé for dinner last night, with roasted potatoes on the side. It turned out OK:

People act like soufflés are alchemy, but it’s all about folding egg whites. I could teach you, I promise.

So, have a great weekend, all.

Posted at 8:11 am in Television |
 

72 responses to “The gray.”

  1. Deborah said on March 5, 2021 at 8:29 am

    I wish I had the guts to make a soufflé, your’s is gorgeous. I’ve gotten pretty good at frittatas, LB taught me, you start on a burner on top of the stove, then bake it in the oven. There used to be a restaurant in San Francisco, maybe still is, that only served soufflés. And Bibendum in London had a fabulous chocolate dessert soufflé.

    Nancy, one of these days you should get Alan to video you making a soufflé and put it on nn.c.

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  2. Deborah said on March 5, 2021 at 8:33 am

    We watched the Danish series “Borgen” a couple of years ago, I think it’s on Netflix now, it’s very good. Also the series “The Bridge”, it takes place in Denmark and Sweden, that’s good too.

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  3. Suzanne said on March 5, 2021 at 8:56 am

    Sigh. It’s March 5 and Biden is still President. I guess now no one will stop the horror of the cancellation of Mr Potato Head & Dr Seuss.

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  4. JodiP said on March 5, 2021 at 9:18 am

    Deborah, I would definitely try your hand at souffle making. The worst that will happen is that you will have a delicious eggbake. I am sure there are lots of youtube vidoes out there to show you how to fold in the eggwhites and other things its good to do. I make them a few times a year. For many years, I’ve only made a white wine and gouda version, always with a salad on the side.

    The series The Tunnel was also very good, featuring the same people in The Bridge; I believe it came first.

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  5. Jeff Borden said on March 5, 2021 at 10:11 am

    My wife and I just finished “Broadchurch,” which features the terrific Olivia Colman and David Tennant as mismatched partners working to solve the murder of an 11-year-old boy in a charming English seaside resort town. The town is called Broadchurch, but it could be Peyton Place since there are more secrets there than in the CIA vault. Beautifully written and achingly acted. (Subtitles are useful here as Tennant’s Scots accent is sometimes very thick.) Spectacular scenery, too.

    One thing we’ve come to admire and enjoy in the European series is the inclusion of actors who look like real people. The original Danish-Swedish version of “The Bridge” included cast members who were downright ugly. And Sofia Helin, the actress playing Swedish cop Saga Noren, has very noticeable scars on her cheek and lips from a bicycle accident earlier in her life. She never got plastic surgery to fix the flaws. I love that.

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  6. Julie Robinson said on March 5, 2021 at 10:51 am

    If I recall, Colman made Broadchurch right after she’d given birth. I’ve watched part of it but it’s a bit dark for me.

    Timothy Copycat Goeglein was given a large amount of space in the local paper to burble about our statue of Lincoln. No time to doublecheck the quotes because I’m on my way out the door. It’s probably behind a paywall, but here’s the link: https://journalgazette.net/opinion/columns/20210305/lincoln-legacy

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  7. Jakash said on March 5, 2021 at 11:44 am

    “In our foolish faith that one day, HBO will get good again…”

    Yeah, the pickings are pretty slim these days. I was actually relatively excited that they were gonna be showing first-run movies on HBO Max, since we haven’t been to a movie since the before times, but the much ballyhooed early entries have been pretty lame. The best seems to have been “Judas and the Black Messiah,” which was excellent and is the only one we’ve watched.

    We’ve seen our share of Scandinavian crime dramas and I can’t say I’m too interested in embarking on a new one whose primary attribute is slowness.

    Uh, Nancy, did you keep watching “Freaks and Geeks,” or was that just a random re-watch of a couple episodes when you mentioned it? We binged that over a couple weeks, and it was pretty fun. Particularly loved seeing the dour guy from Silicon Valley in a prominent role. (Martin Starr)

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  8. Sherri said on March 5, 2021 at 12:17 pm

    I loved Borgen, and tried The Investigation, but couldn’t get into it. We watched Lupin on Netflix and liked it, and have just finished the first season of Money Heist, which is both fast and slow. Lots happens, but the main plot is moving very slowly.

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  9. Bitter Scribe said on March 5, 2021 at 12:33 pm

    That’s too bad about HBO having to get good again. I was thinking of overcoming my native cheapness and subscribing. I get Showtime, which is OK except for inexplicable decisions to suddenly run, and run and run and run, mediocre movies that are more than 10 years old. All of a sudden, for instance, it’s like “Twilight” is on every Showtime channel, all day long. WTF?

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  10. nancy said on March 5, 2021 at 12:55 pm

    Still working our way through “Freaks and Geeks,” yes, but only one a night. Last night was the one about the Parisian nightsuit. Love Sam.

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  11. susan said on March 5, 2021 at 1:04 pm

    The only thing worse than Scandinavian movies are French movies.

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  12. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on March 5, 2021 at 1:19 pm

    So, no “WandaVision” watchers here?

    Oh, and just so it comes up later on jc’s sidebar to shame me or honor my wisdom at some future point: the rat in “Endgame” is Loki. I’m sure of it. If I were younger I’d put together a long meme filled post to justify my theory, but I’m just telling you — the rat is Loki.

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  13. LAMary said on March 5, 2021 at 1:28 pm

    We’ve got Netflix and Amazon Prime and honestly I access those very seldom. I liked The Crown and Queen’s Gambit (not to be confused with Queens Gambit about a chance meeting of the young Donald Trump and Cindy Lauper). The in house brit watches a lot of movies I don’t care about. I hear explosions or see Tom Cruise jumping across rooftops and I leave the room.

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  14. basset said on March 5, 2021 at 1:32 pm

    We have Netflix and rarely use it – “Meateater” and old Jeopardy shows are about it for the past few weeks. We’re right in the target demo for MeTV, though.

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  15. Sherri said on March 5, 2021 at 1:42 pm

    We watch WandaVision and enjoy it, though we have to read an article explaining all the MCU and comic references afterwards.

    I’m watching the second season of For All Mankind, with Joel Kinnaman. I do like me some Joel Kinnaman.

    It’s looking like mid to late April before I’ll be eligible for a vaccine here. Trying to be patient!

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  16. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on March 5, 2021 at 1:45 pm

    FYI on folding: https://www.thespruceeats.com/learn-the-definition-of-fold-3885637

    MeTV on Sunday nights does get you “Columbo”!

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  17. diane said on March 5, 2021 at 2:06 pm

    Just got my vaccine this morning. The Johnson & Johnson, so one and done (not entirely sure getting the J&J was the best thing but I took Dr. Fauci’s advice and took the one I could get). The shot was courtesy of my County Health Department in a drive through at the Fairgrounds. Ran smoothly and took 35 minutes start to finish.

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  18. ROGirl said on March 5, 2021 at 2:11 pm

    I finally watched The Undoing. Nicole Kidman as another wealthy woman who stands by her shitheel husband. Her wardrobe was pretty fabulous, though.

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  19. Margaret said on March 5, 2021 at 2:14 pm

    Great looking souffle and it’s also about eating it immediately. 🙂 I like many Scandinavian mystery authors although I haven’t watched any series set in that area.

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  20. David C said on March 5, 2021 at 2:29 pm

    I’d watch a French movie over a Scandinavian movie any old day. For the Scandinavians, long, dark winters seem to beget long, dark movies. The French do comedies and sometimes they’re funny. I don’t know of two words more ill at ease with each other than comedy and Scandinavia.

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  21. Jenine said on March 5, 2021 at 3:10 pm

    Here’s a lighter and no longer seasonally appropriate Scandi series on Netflix I can recommend: Home for Christmas.
    It’s Norwegian and satisfied my hankering for a good silly romcom.

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  22. Jenine said on March 5, 2021 at 3:11 pm

    We’ve enjoyed watching WandaVision with our almost 17 year old MCU maniac. Looking forward to tonight’s finale.

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  23. Mark P said on March 5, 2021 at 4:34 pm

    We got our first vaccination today. It’s the Pfizer vaccine, so our second shot is in three weeks. The hospital where we got it had only morning appointments. One of the staff said they would offer afternoon appointments if all the morning appointments were filled, but so far that has not happened.

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  24. LAMary said on March 5, 2021 at 4:48 pm

    I had to google MCU. A television program about Municipal Credit Union sounds really tedious, but hey, to each his own.

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  25. Jakash said on March 5, 2021 at 5:06 pm

    Diane @ 17,

    I saw this NYT briefing yesterday and thought it was a good explanation of why the J & J vaccine should not be downplayed. FWIW!

    Punch line: “…I’d offer this advice to anybody ahead of me in line: If your turn comes and you are offered the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, accept what is rightfully yours. Don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the just as good.”

    https://www.nytimes.com/2021/03/04/briefing/elaine-chao-cuomo-capitol.html

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  26. basset said on March 5, 2021 at 6:00 pm

    And then you have the Detroit mayor’s ignorant comments about the J&J vaccine: https://www.cnn.com/2021/03/05/politics/mike-duggan-detroit-johnson-and-johnson/index.html

    Conflating our two recent topics of Scandinavian movies and food, I offer the Nordic Recipe Archive: http://www.dlc.fi/~marian1/gourmet/recipe.htm

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  27. Deborah said on March 5, 2021 at 7:04 pm

    As I’ve said here before I would have been happy with any vaccine brand. They’re all effective. The fact that I have to get a second shot is just the way it is. I don’t care. I’m just so happy that it has begun for me I can’t tell you.

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  28. annie said on March 5, 2021 at 7:13 pm

    look up “fold in the cheese” schitt’s creek on google. hilarious.

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  29. LAMary said on March 5, 2021 at 7:39 pm

    The second shot is still sort of kicking my ass. Achey and intestinally inconvenienced. That second thing is receding now, thank goodness. I believe that about 20 % of people over 55 get that reaction.
    That cheese folding episode of Schitt’s Creek was on last week, btw.

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  30. diane said on March 5, 2021 at 8:12 pm

    Thanks Jakash. That’s what I pretty much concluded but glad to see backup in the NYT.

    Is the Mayor of Detroit usually that much of an ass? I know nothing about him but really, he was going to decline vaccines for his residents? Deciding for them that they should wait around and risk death or serious illness. I flirted with the idea and decided I was being stupid and boy would I have been angry at a politician making that stupid choice for me.

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  31. Dexter Friend said on March 5, 2021 at 8:44 pm

    I just finished the 2018 miniseries “The Looming Tower”. Parts of it flashed me back to my hatred of W43 and C. Rice and Rumsfeld, who would not listen to Richard Clarke and his staff’s proof of knowledge that 9-11 or something as serious was on its way. No dramatization before ever got me so mad. It’s on Hulu, and Jeff Daniels is just as good in it as he was in his later portrayal of James Comey. https://www.freep.com/story/entertainment/2018/02/25/jeff-daniels-hulu-looming-tower-streaming-tv/364501002/
    I watch so much ,so many shows, as I said the other day, they sometimes all run together in my head. I have this book , this bio of Dexter Gordon, that I want to read, but not before I watch a few more episodes of my current series. Now what am I watching now? Helifino!

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  32. Sherri said on March 5, 2021 at 9:47 pm

    I mentioned Timnit Gebru here the other day. Not only was she fired from Google (as was one of her colleagues), she’s been relentlessly harassed online as well. Including by an emeritus professor from the University of Washington.

    https://www.theverge.com/22309962/timnit-gebru-google-harassment-campaign-jeff-dean

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  33. Deborah said on March 5, 2021 at 9:57 pm

    My shot yesterday morning made my arm sore this morning, but nothing like what I experienced after my IV infusion for osteoporosis in November. I had body aches and headaches for days after that. I usually have a sore arm the day after a flu shot. It doesn’t concern me but I notice it.

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  34. Dexter Friend said on March 6, 2021 at 5:04 am

    Well, I just watched 5 episodes of “I Know This Much Is True” (TV Mini-Series) (HBO-HBO Max). Mark Ruffalo plays
    Dominick Birdsey / Thomas Birdsey, twins.
    – Six episodes(2020)
    Another great miniseries with only one more episode for me.

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  35. LarrytheRed said on March 6, 2021 at 8:40 am

    At least your souffle rose. My last one collapsed, and so did I. Also, Scandanvian films require a certain sensibility, which I don’t have.

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  36. alex said on March 6, 2021 at 8:45 am

    Can’t say I know much about Scandinavian cinema but this movie trailer conjures a rather lighthearted impression if you ask me.

    Julie, I was just as shocked as you were to see the local press once again publishing the work of Timothy Goeglein (or whomever’s it might be). As dull of a read as that one was, though, it’s evident he wasn’t stealing from the best.

    Tempted to try souffléing again now that I understand the concept of folding.

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  37. Jeff Borden said on March 6, 2021 at 10:18 am

    We enjoyed a great little Norwegian monster movie called “Troll Hunter,” which posits that trolls do exist and a specially trained government hunter tries to keep them in line. (Fatalities produced by trolls are announced as ‘bear attacks.’) Silly and funny. I think it’s still on Netflix. It’s anything but gloomy and dark.

    The Scandinavian climate takes a toll. I recall reading about higher levels of alcoholism and suicide rates the further north you go. A midwestern winter is bad enough.

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  38. LAMary said on March 6, 2021 at 1:09 pm

    Interesting.

    https://www.nytimes.com/2021/03/05/us/politics/trump-proud-boys-capitol-riot.html

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  39. nancy said on March 6, 2021 at 3:24 pm

    I read that Goeglein column. He’s like Albom in that he doesn’t know how to balance effusive praise with even a hint of chiaroscuro, if only to give the former a little dimension. He goes on for hundreds of words about an admittedly unusual but hardly jaw-dropping sculpture of Abraham Lincoln, singling out every detail for frothing adjectives that mean nothing in context. The figure is rendered with “grace, dignity and youthful brio.” It’s a “unique, heroic and yet tender evocation” of Lincoln. And so on. I’d hate to read his review of the Powers Hamburger stand across the street.

    Also, while it’s no sin to be effeminate, I am reminded of our dear departed Coozledad’s description of his onscreen presence: “That guy makes Mister Rogers look like Dick Butkus.” His prose style absolutely suits him.

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  40. Minnie Fleming said on March 6, 2021 at 4:51 pm

    “Dear departed” as no longer posting on this blog? I just checked Coozledad’s blog. His last post there was in October 2020.

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  41. brian stouder said on March 6, 2021 at 5:24 pm

    That was indeed a somewhat silly article about Fort Wayne’s Lincoln statue. I used to love-love-love Fort Wayne’s Lincoln Museum. It drew a steady stream of Lincoln scholars and biographers, and greatly deepened my understanding of the American Civil War, and our greatest president. Whenever this pandemic goes away, I think I’m due for another Lincoln Colloquium, and/or trip to Springfield (where the resident historians proudly remind you that they ‘have the bones’!)

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  42. Jakash said on March 6, 2021 at 6:28 pm

    Apropos of nothing, a joke from Ruth Buzzi:

    “Someone asked how much I usually spend on a bottle of wine. I don’t know; half an hour?”

    https://twitter.com/Ruth_A_Buzzi/status/1367837529412603912

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  43. Julie Robinson said on March 6, 2021 at 6:41 pm

    Maybe Goeglein thought he was being paid by the column inch.

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  44. Mark P said on March 6, 2021 at 6:48 pm

    I don’t recommend checking out Cooz’s blog. It’s like opening the door into the world of the sand worms in Beetlejuice.

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  45. Brandon said on March 7, 2021 at 1:35 am

    @MarkP: How so?

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  46. Dave said on March 7, 2021 at 2:04 am

    I was surprised to take a look at his blog one day and even though he hasn’t been here for quite some time, he was still raving about this site and folks like JTMMO. I thought, this is the best you can do?

    Mitch sure is concerned about working together and how much is being spent now that he’s not the majority leader, isn’t he.

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  47. Dexter Friend said on March 7, 2021 at 2:04 am

    brianstouder: I assume you saw the cable doc of maybe 10 years ago about the handlings of Lincoln’s corpse. It was truly disgusting and creepy. One anecdote was that the last person to see the body on the next-to-last moving was a ten year old boy who reported remarkably preserved facial tissue and beard and full head of hair intact, attached as always…this was like 40 years post-mortem. Now Lincoln lies buried deep, deep, under concrete so moving him again seems unlikely.

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  48. Mark P said on March 7, 2021 at 8:58 am

    Brandon — Cooz seems to be consumed by his anger. His blog is nothing but mad rants against everything, including our gentle host here. I understand angry rants; I do it myself sometimes, but it seems like there is nothing to Cooz but anger.

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  49. FDChief said on March 7, 2021 at 10:35 am

    We gave in and paid out for “Amazon Prime” (yes, yes, I know, it’s the AntiChrist, but, y’know, COVID…) and if you’re entertained by subtitled European police procedurals you could do worse than the deeply odd Belgian series “Professor T”. It’s…very hard to describe. The main character is exceptionally peculiar, and the show is as much about exploring his unique outlook as it is the murders, and perhaps that it works for me says as much about me as it does the show.

    Worth a look if you’re willing to dance with the Amazon devil.

    Ah, yes…vaccination.

    Y’know, I’m absolutely pleased that my son can have at least some of his senior year back at Roosevelt.

    I’m excited that my daughter can see her freshman friends again.

    I’m very, very glad that my wife working as the school secretary at Astor Elementary is fully vaccinated against the return of students.

    So it’s difficult to express how absolutely, completely, incandescently furious I am that within a month these three will be returning home from interacting with who knows how many COVID-infected randos and bringing who knows how massive a viral load to me, who at 63 is NOT vaccinated and, more to the point, cannot GET vaccinated in time to dodge this plague pit because my state government apparently considers me expendable if it means getting the schools open.

    At least when I was a GI the Army got me a yellow fever shot before sending me out into the mosquito-infested cuna grass.

    I don’t expect anyone in the state government to do anything to help me protect myself, since they obviously knew this would happen when they reopened the schools in March rather than next fall and decided in a very Trumpy way that it was worth people like me “taking the (fucking) punch”.

    But it doesn’t make me any less furious at the whole pack of sonsofbitches that after nearly a year of being careful and doing all the right public health things that this COVID crapshoot is their gift to me.

    Sorry. I’m more than a bit irked with my supposed “leaders” at the moment.

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  50. alex said on March 7, 2021 at 10:50 am

    Cooz was always incredibly witty and clever and I miss his contributions to the commentary here, but not so much his unvarnished hostility toward some of our fellow NN.Cers. If he’d kept it trained on one recalcitrant troll in particular we might have been rid of that irredeemably stupid twit already.

    I’m getting ready to purchase corn gluten meal as a pre-emergent weed preventer. Anyone have any experience with this stuff? I’m in charge of the neighborhood flowerbeds and notice weeds coming up already and was going to purchase Preen on the advice of one neighbor, but after reading about the contents of that product I can’t use it in good conscience.

    HOA stuff always entails drama, and I’ve got to apply the pre-emergent herbicide on the downlow at one of our entrances because a cranky old man who owns the land underneath the neighborhood signage has withdrawn his permission for the neighborhood to use it even though the sign and flowerbed have been there since the 1970s. Last year I tended to the flowerbed without incident but the old man evidently was contacting the board president and pitching a hissy Nonetheless the grounds committee went ahead and planted a bunch of bulbs and perennial rootstock in the fall and we figure we’ll just move it all if he’s serious. Man’s got a serious burr up his asshole if he wants our entranceway to look neglected.

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  51. David C said on March 7, 2021 at 11:19 am

    Alex, we tried corn gluten meal on our lawn several years ago and I don’t think it helped. At least not enough to make a difference. It did make our lawn smell like Sugar Corn Pops for a couple of hours. So there’s that. Iowa State University says it works. Oregon State says it doesn’t. If I remember right, it was pretty cheap and it must have some value as fertilizer so it might not hurt to try.

    https://extension.oregonstate.edu/news/corn-gluten-meal-did-not-prevent-weeds-germinating-osu-study

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  52. susan said on March 7, 2021 at 12:02 pm

    Washington State University says it doesn’t work. That’s via WSU Extension’s page on Horticultural Myths, by Linda Chalker-Scott.

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  53. Jakash said on March 7, 2021 at 12:03 pm

    People frequently warn about slippery slopes, but I kinda feel like the bard of nn.c actually slid down one. He seemed to start with attacking “Jimly Joe,” moved briskly and much less appropriately on to our mild-mannered correspondent, then branched out to firing volleys at the few of us who had the audacity to question the accuracy of his targeting. I had been somewhat concerned that if a potent wordsmith such as he was eager to piss people off just for the sake of it, there was no telling where it’d end up. Where it ended up was his, at long last, taking aim at the Proprietress herself for imagined slights and inadequacies. It was evident, certainly by that point, that the chaff had far overwhelmed the wheat, alas.

    I mainly feel bad for Nancy, as they seemed to be buds and she certainly did plenty to promote and appreciate his earlier contributions, both here and from his blog.

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  54. susan said on March 7, 2021 at 12:03 pm

    And it ain’t cheap. See here.

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  55. LAMary said on March 7, 2021 at 12:16 pm

    Coozeldad is seriously angry. I didn’t scroll through enough to find any rants about myself but they’re probably there. He’s hating on us bad.

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  56. brian stouder said on March 7, 2021 at 1:13 pm

    Rex, read a book about the attempted grave-robbery against our 16th president…one detail that stuck with me, indeed, was the impression left upon a kiddo (son of one of the cemetery people) who viewed the president’s remains before he was re-interred. The lasting impression was how he looked porcelain; indeed, the original funeral preparations went heavy-heavy on embalming, as his remains were going to be on public display again and again on the journey back west to Illinois

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  57. ROGirl said on March 7, 2021 at 2:00 pm

    That much sustained anger is just exhausting. The writing style is entertaining, but it’s always turned up to 11.

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  58. alex said on March 7, 2021 at 2:44 pm

    Bummed to hear corn gluten meal sucks ass. Unfortunately I’ve never found mulch to be much of a barrier to weeds and it just gets torn up if you’re going to use a scuffle hoe to eliminate weeds the old-fashioned way.

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  59. David C said on March 7, 2021 at 3:48 pm

    When we were young and foolish we used Preen for a while. We didn’t find that worked well either. Now we’re growing pretty much all native perennials and we have a more casual attitude toward weeds. Native perennials have their problems too in that you either love them or hate them. Most people hate them so we hear comments of people walking by on the sidewalk about how messy our yard is. They don’t see all the butterflies and bumblebees though.

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  60. alex said on March 7, 2021 at 4:11 pm

    David C, we have a crabby neighbor who has said horrible things about our yard to those who praise it. She has a giant plastic wishing well in her front yard, which says all you need to know about her level of taste. We’re pretty unfussy and casual here too and we get a lot of favorable feedback.

    Gardening in the common areas of an HOA is a little different though, but I think I was asked to do it because they trust my judgment and I’m also diligently working on the best solutions for areas that need to be self-sustaining including during times of draught. I’m doing false indigo and Russian sage as the main plantings for this purpose, as well as some bulb plants that can handle heat and dryness. We’ll see how it goes.

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  61. LAMary said on March 7, 2021 at 5:41 pm

    I have crappy soil so while we have a couple of 8×4 beds with good soil the rest of the yard is succulents or native plants. One slope should, with any luck, be covered with California poppies shortly

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  62. Sherri said on March 7, 2021 at 5:52 pm

    I’ve been working for years on my husband on the idea of doing away with lawn. The last time we did a major landscaping I tried to convince him to go with some other ground cover in the backyard, where we have just a small scrap of area for lawn anyway, but he wasn’t ready. Moss really wants to take over, because we don’t get enough sunlight in the backyard.

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  63. beb said on March 7, 2021 at 10:04 pm

    My wife and I got our first shots yesterday. It was a hell of a mess because we didn’t co-ordinate in advance and ended up with appointments on the same day but at different locations about twenty miles apart. We weren’t sure where either place was and the OnStar navigator was sometimes less then clear. We made both appointments on time but that was as much fun as we could bear.

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  64. LAMary said on March 7, 2021 at 11:42 pm

    It’s Sunday night and I’m not interested in the royals talking to Oprah, so I’m watching old Law and Order episodes. I know Fran Leibowitz is a judge in arraignment scenes pretty often, but just now it was Billy Jean King. She didn’t have many lines but she did a good job.

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  65. Dexter Friend said on March 8, 2021 at 3:56 am

    LA Mary, I hate grammar nazis, we don’t care if a typo slips in, at least I don’t, but I nearly always do the same: misspell Fran’s name. It’s Lebowitz. I know, I always add that i in there too.

    I skipped the Royals to watch hours of the basketball party in Atlanta, the NBA All-Star shindig. This year I really enjoyed the entire production. After that I watched “The Secrets We Keep” on Prime. Here’s an internet grab, a mini preview: “In post-World War II America, a woman, rebuilding her life in the suburbs with her husband, kidnaps her neighbour and seeks vengeance for the heinous war crimes she believes he committed against her.” It was a real good show, no dozing off with this one.

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  66. Suzanne said on March 8, 2021 at 6:29 am

    I didn’t watch Megan & Harry either. I feel for them to a point, and it’s got to be hard, but…
    Did she not watch The Crown before they got married? Did she not study up on Harry’s mom before she agreed to be a part of this family? I have no doubt it’s pretty awful being part of all that family history protocol tops everything you can’t really ever be yourself in public vibe, but for Megan to be so surprised about it is a surprise in itself.
    If they want to bow out of royal life, bow out. I am sure Harry has a nice trust fund to live well for the rest of their lives. Trapped in a system? Yes. But aren’t we all to some extent, most of us without being financed by that system we say we despise.

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  67. Deborah said on March 8, 2021 at 6:42 am

    I continued binge watching “The Bureau” instead of watching the royals or former royals get interviewed. I got sick of the binge watching though and bought all 5 seasons on DVD so I can watch it on the big screen with my husband. I had been watching it on my iPad because we can’t figure out how to cast Prime onto our TV. I wish I weren’t so technically inept.

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  68. alex said on March 8, 2021 at 7:54 am

    Suzanne, what Meghan was surprised about was not so much what royal life entailed but rather the disparate treatment she was receiving ostensibly because of race. You really needed to see the interview to get the full gist.

    She and Harry assert that their children are being denied the titles of prince and princess because of race, not because Meghan wants to buck tradition and defy the family’s wishes as the tabloids claim.

    Meghan and Harry were careful not to identify the worst malefactor but if you read between the lines it’s probably Prince Charles.

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  69. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on March 8, 2021 at 8:03 am

    Happy to be reminded of my shortcomings. I think I’ve learned some lessons here; I’m glad this is not an echochamber. Plenty of them out there in social media, and too many set up camp inside of one and stay put. What worries me on either end of the political spectrum is a certain amount of what the church used to call “Docetism,” or simply a refusal to accept anyone’s repentance and an instance both that any sin or false step taints the whole, and that once you’ve overstepped the mark, you can’t come back or be welcomed in any way. Lots of areas of conservative religion where making any accommodation with same sex marriage makes you persona non grata forever and ever amen, and progressive doctrinaires want to unperson anyone who’s ever made any common cause with tax cutters because tax cuts are racists and racism is unforgiveable.

    I’ll admit I used to be unthinkingly in favor of a relatively high bar for voting, just out of a reflexive “people shouldn’t just be able to walk in a vote, there should be some effort.” But I’ve become convinced on multiple fronts by the weight of justice and reason that we should make voting easier and more inclusive, and if that means a slight swing towards one platform or another, well that just means those on the losing side politically have to figure out how to adapt their platform to appeal to the increased number of voters, not to increase their efforts to exclude voters who tend to vote against them.

    But I’m still reluctant to let go of the Electoral College and am willing to defend regionalism in the Constitution as something more than just residual racism. Sheer democracy as in majority rule in all things I’m not convinced by . . . but I’m open to arguments.

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  70. Peter said on March 8, 2021 at 8:51 am

    Sorry I’m late to the foreign film discussion, but I’ll always remember what Matt Groening wrote about them:

    The unsolveable topic for a master’s thesis in film criticism:

    The French can be funny.

    Sex can be funny.

    Comedies can be funny.

    Why are French sex comedies NEVER funny?

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  71. Suzanne said on March 8, 2021 at 9:20 am

    I like Meghan & Harry and I loved their wedding. Watching the royals’ faces when the black pastor PREACHED was a wonderful visual of two worlds colliding & his sermon was excellent. I get that Meghan was and is upset about her treatment, but I also am surprised at her surprise. She’s American, she’s an actress, she’s not of royal blood or in that royal upper crust society, I’m sure Harry had a story or two of how his mom was treated, so what did she expect would happen? I don’t excuse the behavior of the royals by any means. They live in such a protective bubble, they don’t understand life outside of it and apparently don’t try to while all their wants and needs are attended to. But many people have sad, lousy lives and have to live with racism and also have to get up every day and go to some job they hate with a mean boss and have no other choice if they want to keep a roof over their head and food in their stomach, stuck in a system they hate but powerless to do anything about it. Harry & Meghan have the means to chuck the system and go their own way because the system they hate has given them the means to do so. Maybe they addressed that in the interview which I did not watch. I’m sure I can find it online.

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  72. David C said on March 8, 2021 at 10:06 am

    The problem with the Electoral College is that in this past election, the change of just a few thousand votes could have overcome a seven-million vote margin. It wasn’t close and yet it was. How to you tell the majority their votes don’t matter because it’s skewed toward states with more sheep than people. There’s also the problem that the Presidential election only happens in a few states. How many people don’t bother the vote in say Wyoming because if they don’t happen to vote Republican their vote is essentially pointless. How much does that skew people’s representation in state and local government? The Electoral College right now isn’t protecting the rights of an oppressed minority. It’s protecting the grievances of a powerful minority. It’s time for it to end.

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