Winter Solstice 2019

The Winter Solstice was at 04:19 GMT on December 22. For me, in Minnesota, it happened at 10:19 PM CST last night. And today, the first official day of winter, it’s sunny and currently 41° (F) out.

At least we got snow for Christmas. We don’t always.

I’m feeling lazy today, and I’m looking forward to kicking back with a Nero Wolfe novel as soon as I post this.

So just a few quick items for a Sunday afternoon…

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If you subscribe to Hulu, and you liked The Outer Limits or The Twilight Zone, and especially if you like “cyberspace” stories, then I highly recommend Dimension 404, an original show Hulu from 2017.

Two Thumbs Up!

There are only six episodes, each an unrelated story, so it’s a fairly brief pleasure.

And it is a pleasure, at least for my tastes. I recommend it for anyone with the above-listed tastes. True to its ancestry with those older TV shows, it definitely leans towards SF-horror. (In some cases, more just high-tech horror.)

One thing I really appreciated was the casting, which put more normal looking characters in all the roles. Pretty good balance of male and female roles, too.

Good performances by those actors, too.

Right now, for Christmas, I especially recommend episode five, “Bob” (which stars Constance Wu and Megan Mullally). The story involves an NSA all-seeing super-brain with a psychological problem.

It’s actually a rather touching, heart-warming, Christmas story.

Overall I give the series an Ah! rating, but I give “Bob” a soft Wow!

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Some random notes that have accumulated in the past year but don’t show any signs of growing into posts:

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Now in its final season

Speaking of Megan Mullally, I realized that the TV show Will & Grace, both the original series and the new reboot, is kind of my modern-day Seinfeld.

Which is to say, contrary to my usual requirement that I like most of the characters on the TV shows I watch, that I’d want them as friends, I don’t much care for any of the characters on Will & Grace.

As with Seinfeld, you’re not really supposed to — they’re intended as counter-examples of good people.

But I see enough counter-examples of good people all around me on a daily basis in real life, so I don’t much care for them in my stories. Hence my requirement that I like most of the characters.

Seinfeld kept me watching because the writing was amazing and ground-breaking. The original Will & Grace kept me watching because it was ground-breaking in its own way, and because the writing and the performances were so good.

The reboot isn’t particularly ground-breaking, that ship sailed, but it is a comfort watching those actors play those notes again. The scripts often make me shake my head, but the cast is always fun — after all this time, they’ve really got it down.

There is something special for me about watching old pros, be it musical, baseball, or acting, do their thing. I’ve always revered experience and excellence.

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These days we hope that reality is like entropy: One can fight it for a while by expending energy, but it always wins in the end.

I’m glad we got as far as the House Impeaching. There’s a forever asterisk for him. I’m hoping it drives him into a public meltdown even his cult-captured political minions can’t ignore.

How can so many be so blind to how badly history will excoriate them?

(These are days with a “why” in them.)

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And a final thought for a Sunday: Do atheists ever forget and accidentally say, “OMG!”

Nero and Archie await me.  Enjoy your Sunday.

Stay sunny, my friends!

About Wyrd Smythe

The canonical fool on the hill watching the sunset and the rotation of the planet and thinking what he imagines are large thoughts. View all posts by Wyrd Smythe

4 responses to “Winter Solstice 2019

  • SelfAwarePatterns

    You get snow, we get rain, and 51F. I’m not wild about cold rain, but at least it drains away afterward.

    I actually never got into Will & Grace, and didn’t even know about the reboot. It seems like they’re going to try to reboot every old popular show. (With very mixed success.)

    “Do atheists ever forget and accidentally say, “OMG!””

    Sure. All the time. Along with many other figures of speech. Religious language permeates our idioms.

    • Wyrd Smythe

      The W&G reboot worked pretty well as reboots go. The show is watchable, I think, because it’s essentially the same beats and themes as before. If one enjoyed the original, one would likely enjoy the reboot.

      (In contrast, the Murphy Brown reboot which was both awful in its own right and in trying to recapture social-political beats from 1990s. That stuff doesn’t age well.)

      “Religious language permeates our idioms.”

      Of course it does; it just strikes me as funny sometimes. What I didn’t go on to include is a study a while back about how what “OMG” actually stands for has slipped out of mind for many. As with LOL, OMG has come to be its own word (also like radar and laser) with increasingly little connection to the words it stands for.

      If I ever wrote a post off that “OMG” note, I would have gotten into that as well as two sources of idiom that really surprised me in terms of how many common phrases they have provided. Those two sources are Shakespeare’s Hamlet and baseball.

      First time I read Hamlet, I was really surprised by how many turns of phrase come from that play: “Neither a borrower, nor a lender, be,” for one instance.

      And baseball is filled with phrases we use regularly: being off-base, coming from left field, touching base, a swing-and-a-miss, in his wheelhouse, a home run, getting to first base, et many cetera.

      • SelfAwarePatterns

        I think it’s definitely true that many phrases have lost their original meaning. I know very few people, when they utter “god-damn” are really asking God to curse something. Just as very few people, even believers, are actually calling on him for help with the OMG remark.

        Many phrases start as metaphors, but they continue long after the metaphor itself is dead. No one thinks of a “branch” of a bank in terms of a tree branch, or a market “brand” as a metaphor for firebranded cattle anymore.

      • Wyrd Smythe

        Which is exactly why craven may legitimately be starting to have more emphasis on the ‘to crave’ meaning than the original ‘sniveling coward’ meaning. Usage is everything.

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