I will not be pulled in!

Dangit.  The Voice happened to be on and this dude comes out with his guitar and starts singing, "The Thrill is Gone."  He sounds JUST like Jonny Lang.  Adam Levine turned for him, and so did Jennifer Hudson.  And then Blake did at the last minute.  And Kelly regretted that she did not.  This guy is good.

I do not want to be pulled into this show this season.  But man, he was good.  The Voice is such a time suck each week, and I just don't want to.  However, if I see on commercials that Michael Lee is still in the game as the show gets closer to the finals, I'll tune in then.

Here's his audition.

Meanwhile, where is Jonny Lang anyway?  Here's a taste from 1997.

Don't they sound just alike?!


Just in the nick of time - Fall TV

New shows start this week and I'm finally getting around to figuring out what I'll be watching.  Here we go.  I'm doing something different to save time.  No grid...just a listing by time.  New shows are in bold italics.


8:30pm - God Friended Me (starts 9/30), CBS
9:00pm - Shameless (started 9/9), Showtime
9:00pm - Ray Donovan (starts 10/28), Showtime
9:00pm - The Deuce (started 9/9), HBO
9:30pm - Rel (starts 9/23), FOX
10:00pm - Kidding (started 9/9), Showtime
10:00pm - Escape at Donnemora (starts 11/18), Showtime
10:00pm - Camping (starts 10/14), HBO
10:30pm - Insecure (started 8/12), HBO
?? - Dirty John (?), Bravo

  • Dirty John is based on a podcast I just finished about a woman who realizes she doesn't really know the man she married.  It will be on Bravo in the late fall, but no specific date was given.  
  • Camping will star Jennifer Garner and Ione Skye (where has she been?)
  • I'm skeptical about God Friended Me.  The title is dumb and it seems like a knock off from last year's Kevin Probably Saves the World, which I loved...but it got canceled.  BUT...it stars the guy who was in The Mayor last year.  I liked him in that show, but it, too, got canceled.  We'll see how this one goes.
  • I'm also skeptical about Rel, but it stars Lil Rel Howrey, the TSA guy from Get Out, and I really like him.  Again, we'll see.


8:00pm - The Resident (9/24), FOX
8:00pm - The Neighborhood (10/1), CBS
8:30pm - Happy Together (10/1), CBS
9:00pm - The Little Drummer Girl (11/19), AMC
10:00pm - The Good Doctor (9/24), ABC

  • I'm not all that enamored with the two medical shows on Monday night, but I'm intrigued enough to see where they go after last season.  I might be dropping them soon though.
  • I'm also not all that enthused about The Neighborhood and Happy Together, but I like the cast and will give them a try.  The Neighborhood has Cedric the Entertainer and Max Greenfield.  Happy Together has Damon Wayans, Jr.  
  • The way this is looking, it could wind up that I'm not watching anything on Mondays until November 19.  The Little Drummer Girl is based on a John Le Carre book, and is done by the team that did The Night Manager.  I didn't watch The Night Manager, but I heard really good things about it.


8:30pm - The Kids Are Alright (10/16), ABC
9:00pm - Black-ish (10/16), ABC
9:00pm - This Is Us (9/25), NBC
9:30pm - Splitting Up Together (10/16), ABC
10:00pm - The Rookie (10/16), ABC
10:00pm - New Amsterdam (9/25), NBC
11:00pm - Mr. Inbetween (9/25), FX
  • The Kids Are Alright stars Mary McCormack.  I loved her on In Plain Sight several years ago.  This show takes place in the 70s.
  • I added The Rookie to the list because Entertainment Weekly recommended it.
  • Mr. Inbetween is another EW recommendation.  There are only six 30-minute episodes--it's about an assassin and his family life.


8:00pm - The Goldbergs (9/26), ABC
8:30pm - American Housewife (9/26), ABC
9:00pm - Modern Family (9/26), ABC
9:00pm - All American (10/10), The CW
9:30pm - Single Parents (9/26), ABC
10:00pm - A Million Little Things (9/26), ABC
  • Looks like it'll be a big ABC night in my household.  I tried American Housewife before and couldn't really get into it, but am going to try again based on a friend's recommendation.  It's nestled between all these other shows I watch, so I may as well.
  • A Million Little Things looks like The Big Chill.  I'm watching because of James Roday from Psych.
  • All American was another EW recommendation.  Taye Diggs is in it.  About a football player from "the hood" is recruited to play football in an upper echelon high school.


8:00pm - Grey's Anatomy (9/27), ABC
8:00pm - Superstore (10/4), NBC
8:30pm - Young Sheldon (9/24*), CBS
8:30pm - The Good Place (9/27*), NBC
9:00pm - Will & Grace (10/4), NBC
9:30pm - I Feel Bad (10/4), NBC
  • The Good Place is the show I'm most looking forward to this season.  I love that show!  It's premiering this Thursday from 8pm-9pm, but will usually air on Thursdays at 8:30pm.
  • Young Sheldon usually airs on Thursdays at 8:30, but will be premiering on Monday the 24th
  • The commercials for I Feel Bad look really funny.  This is the new show that I'm most looking forward to.


8:30pm - Speechless (10/5), ABC
8:30pm - The Cool Kids (9/28), FOX
  • I really hate that they moved Speechless to Fridays.  I really like this show.
  • The Cool Kids was recommended by EW.  Vicki Lawrence!


  • Homecoming (11/2), Amazon - Secret govt program thing with Julia Roberts.  Looks interesting.
  • The Romanoffs (10/12), Amazon
  • Maniac (9/21), Netflix - Jonah Hill and Emma Stone.  EW recommends.
  • The Good Cop (9/21), Netflix - This looks really good with Josh Groban and Tony Danza. EW recommends.
  • Wanderlust (10/19), Netflix - Toni Collette!
  • Patriot Act with Hasan Minhaj (10/28), Netflix
  • House of Cards (11/2), Netflix - gotta see how this thing ends.
  • The Kominsky Method (11/16), Netflix - Michael Douglas and Alan Arkin.  Love Alan Arkin!


A Simple Favor

Deb and I saw A Simple Favor this weekend.  I can't say much about it without giving things away, but I can say that we both really enjoyed it.

Years ago, we had seen a Brad Pitt movie--I think it was Benjamin Buttons--and when it ended, Deb leaned over to me and said, "He really is good looking."  That was my reaction after seeing Blake Lively in A Simple Favor--she's just a beautiful lady.  In a couple of scenes, she was just stunning.  I enjoyed both her performance and Anna Kendrick's.  I didn't realize until he showed up on the screen that Henry Golding from Crazy Rich Asians was in it too.  That was a pleasant surprise.

Now I'm anticipating the fall movies/Oscar contenders.  So far, I'm most looking forward to A Star Is Born which starts October 5.


In remembrance - 9/11

I posted this on 9/11 in 2009 and the sentiment remains the same.  Maybe even more so.


This is the Wrigley Bldg in Chicago, but there's a building in my home town that started draping a flag over the building like this right after 9/11.  I noticed it was up today, but I was on the highway and couldn't take a picture.  As I drove by, I couldn't help but think of that horrible day.  I can remember everything so clearly, and I will never forget it. I will also never forget what I saw on 9/12/01.  As I was driving to work, I saw a jogger on the side of the road carrying a huge flag as he ran.  It brought tears to my eyes then, and when I think of it now, the same thing happens.  I also remember how our country really came together in those days after the attacks.  I hope we can get back to that common sense of pride in our country some day.

Today I am thinking of those who lost their lives or lost loved ones.


Call me a convert

Ever since Hamilton came out in 2016 I've resisted it and really had no interest in seeing it.  The hype was too much.  The prices for tickets were (and ARE) outrageous.  As I recall, I was disappointed with Lin-Manuel's first show, In the Heights, though I now realize from reading my blog post about it that I didn't hate In the Heights at all, and in fact I wrote that I really liked it a lot.  Oops!  I've been misremembering the experience all this time!  My bad.  It's just that I LOVED Jersey Boys so much more on that trip.  A n y w a y, the point is that I've been actively trying not to see Hamilton.

When tickets went on sale for it at the Kennedy Center in DC, it was all over the news.  People stood in line at 6am, people online waited for hours.  I wanted nothing to do with it.

Then I got an email from a good friend of mine that she and her husband got tickets.  Did I want one?  I really hemmed and hawed over this.  I didn't want to disappoint my friend or end up in a place where I had to pretend I liked it to not hurt her feelings.  I finally agreed to go, figuring I'd go with an open mind, and it would be fun to spend time with her and her husband.  She offered a second ticket to my sister, so it was going to be a fun foursome.

Then!  One day, my friend and her husband got same-day $10 tickets to see the show!  They have a daily lottery and they won!  So, now they had an additional two tickets to sell, and my parents accepted them.  My dad said the price was substantially cheaper than what he'd been seeing on the site.  (My folks were looking for tickets as a way to celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary.)

A coworker recommended I listen to the soundtrack ahead of time, check out the lyrics, and maybe do a little reading on Alexander Hamilton for background.  I did that this week, and I have to admit--when I put on the soundtrack, I was hooked after the first two songs.

Last night, we saw the show.  It was more than I expected.  The cast was fantastic.  The staging is simple but there were a few scenes that really got to me...the way they used part of the stage that moved in a circle and the actors' slow motion actions were really affecting.  It was just beautiful.

I've definitely come around 180 degrees on this show and would like for everyone to see it.  Deb and I talked last night about ticket prices being so high and how prices are prohibitive for people who should see it, particularly immigrants and young kids of color who can see people that look like them playing such important roles, and get a history lesson to boot.  I hope eventually things will level out with the show and prices will drop.  It's a shame they're so high.

I had recorded a show on PBS, Hamilton's America, that I watched this morning.  It shows the evolution of the show from when Lin-Manuel picked up the biography by Ron Chernow and how he could see a hip hop scenario with the story, to when it went to Broadway, to when the cast performed at the White House.  When you see the process and get an understanding into how Lin-Manuel came up with the whole thing--it's really astounding.  What an immense talent he has.  Much respect.


Back into the swing of things?

I recently received a very cool compliment about my blog and it got me thinking about how rarely I post anything these days (except for book reviews, which I actually do over on Goodreads and then post here).  I was telling my friend Kerri about this. She hadn't been posting much either, and so now, we've vowed to get back to it on a more regular basis.

Kerri posted about the song, "If You Wanna Be Happy," earlier this week and the fun lyrics got me thinking about one of my favorites from Otis Redding: "Tramp."  Carla Thomas is featured on the song.  (When December comes around, someone please remind me to post about two of my favorite Christmas songs from her.)

Here are Otis and Carla with Tramp:

Here are the lyrics:

What you call me?
Tramp! (No you didn’t!)
You don't wear continental clothes, or Stetson hats
Well, I tell you one doggone thing,
It makes me feel good to know one thing, I know, I’m a lover
(Matter of opinion, baby)
That's all right, mama was, papa too
And I'm the only child, lovin' is all I know to do

You know what, Otis?
You're country!
That's all right.
You straight from the Georgia woods
That's good!
You know what, you wear overalls, and big old brogan shoes, and you need a haircut, tramp!
Haircut?! Woman, you foolin', ooh, I'm a lover
Mama was, grandmama, papa too, boogaloo, all that stuff
And I'm the only son-of-a-gun this side of the sun

Tramp! (that’s right, that's what you are)

You know what Otis? I don’t care what you say. You still a tramp!
That's right, you haven't even got a fat bankroll in your pocket
You probably haven't even got twenty-five cents
I got six Cadillacs, five Lincolns, four Fords
Six Mercuries, three T-Birds, Mustangs, ooh, I'm a lover
(You can’t prove it by me)
My mama was, my papa too
I'm gonna tell you one thing (well, tell me)
I'm the only son-of-a-gun this side of the sun.

You a tramp Otis! (No I'm not.) I don’t care what you say. You still a tramp!
(Don’t call me that)
Lookee here, you ain't got no money
I got everything
You can't buy me all those minks and sables and all that stuff I want
I can buy you minks, rats, frogs, squirrels, rabbits, anything you want, woman!
Look, you can go out in the Georgia woods and catch them, baby
Oh, you goofy, now (no, you're still a tramp) that's all right
Tramp, Otis, you just a tramp! 
that's all right, that's all right
You wear overalls, you need a haircut, baby
Cut off some of that hair off your head
You think you a lover, huh?

I love the horns in this song.  Have I talked about how I'd like to have my own horn section that just follows me around and announces my entrance?  I got this idea after seeing Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings perform. 

I also love how Otis is going to buy her  minks...and rats, frogs, squirrels, rabbits!  I would've loved to have seen them perform this together live.  I haven't found anything like that on YouTube, though. 


I'll Be Gone in the Dark by Michelle McNamara

I'll Be Gone in the Dark: One Woman's Obsessive Search for the Golden State KillerI'll Be Gone in the Dark: One Woman's Obsessive Search for the Golden State Killer by Michelle McNamara

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Wow. This book is chilling and haunting. I alternated between the Kindle version and the audio version and the I think the audio was more chilling....something about the narrator's voice. The book is very well-written and fascinating. So many adjectives. I didn't know anything about the Golden State Killer, but now he'll always be on my mind until he's caught. It's interesting to read about Michelle's process and obsession with this case. It's so sad that she passed away before the book was completed, but her editors, husband and researchers did a great job putting the final product together.

***Possible spoiler***
The final chapter of the book is a letter to the killer from the author.  The book suggests that he followed the news reports of his crimes and altered some of his tactics accordingly.  I can't help but think that if he's still alive, he'll definitely read this book.  And then he'll read Michelle's words directed at him.  That thought gives me chills.

Oops!  I wrote everything above on March 30, 2018 and just realized I never published it.  As you've probably heard, an arrest has been made in this case.  As soon as I heard, I went back and listened to that final letter from Michelle to the killer.  It still gives me chills and it seemed to have happened just as she predicted.

View all my reviews

Let's Play a Game!

I saw that on Twitter, and here was my result:

1) Right To Be Wrong - Joss Stone
2) Walk Like an Egyptian - The Bangles
3) Autumn - Paolo Nutini
4) Night and Day - Al B. Sure
5) I Could Die for You - Red Hot Chili Peppers

Interesting list. I didn't even know I had Walk Like an Egyptian on my iPod!

I decided to keep on going to #10:

6) Let It Be - The Beatles
7) I'll Be There - The Jackson 5
8) Hello - Lionel Richie (feat. Jennifer Nettles)
9) Nabucco: Chorus of the Hebrew Slaves - David parry, London Philharmonic Chorus and London Philharmonic Orchestra
10) You Oughta Know - Alanis Morissette

As you can see, my list is all over the place. I'm kind of proud of my eclectic list!


Who Do You Love by Jennifer Weiner

Who Do You LoveWho Do You Love by Jennifer Weiner

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

3.5 stars

I loved the first two thirds of this book, but the last third seemed rush and the characters did things that seemed so out of character and I found myself skimming just to see what happened. It'd been a while since I'd read Jennifer Weiner's fiction (I read her memoir last year) and I've found that I do still enjoy her writing.

View all my reviews


Wait! What now?

Every time this iPhone Red commercial comes on, I wonder, what's that song?  I like it.  It's catchy!  I love the drums.

Here's the ad:

After so many times hearing it, I finally decided to take advantage of technology and Shazam'd it.  the song is called "Batshit" and it's by Sofi Tukker. 

I pulled up that crazy video and when the lady started singing, I was like, OH!  What now?!   It was a surprise!  But I still love the song, and now, this kooky video, too.  (What IS it about?!)