March 2020 Culture and Media Review

March 2020 Culture and Media Review


The Image - A Guide to Pseudo-Events in America by Daniel J. Boorstin

This book dates back to the 1960s, but so much of it could just have been written today. It sort of shows just how strong the human condition is.

Rating: 4/5

Trump and his Generals - The Cost of Chaos by Peter Bergen

At this point I am really not quite sure why I am still reading books about Trump and his inner circle. A lot of what is presented in here was already presented in other books, articles etc. with a few minor adds for the Generals.

Is it worth it? If you haven’t ready any book about Trump, then yes. If you already read a bunch of books, you can skip it. Not a whole lot you’re going to miss.

Rating: 4/5 (as a “Who’s Trump?” Book).

The Future is faster than you think by Peter H. Diamandis and Steven Kotler

This was an interesting read, as it shows just how hard it is to predict the future. Some of the things the book is certain will happen has already been overtaken by current events. I also admit I am one of those people that does not blindly believe in a better and better future. So I read the book maybe with a slightly closed mind.

Nevertheless, the book makes for an interesting read in as to where technology could take us.

Rating: 4/5

Trump U - The Inside story of Trump University by Stephen Gilpin

Similar to the Generals book, this is not necessarily a book one needs to read if you’ve already read other books about Trump. It is a very personal account as to how TrumpU worked and if you’re really invested in that story it’s worth a read.

Otherwise, lots of repetition from other books, just with a slightly different POV.

Rating: 3/5

Pale Rider - The Spanish Flu of 1918 and how it changed the world by Laura Spinney

This was a very interesting read, especially in the context of COVID-19. The book is focused on 1918 flu, but also does a bit of a detour into other viruses and pandemics. Recommended.

Rating: 5/5

Revenger by Alastair Reynolds

Alastair Reynolds is one of my favourite “Space Opera” writer and Revenger does not disappoint. Again the story is set against a huge canvas with many characters and interesting locations.

If you like Space Operas, this one’s for you.

Rating: 4.5/5

Hate Inc. - Why Today’s Media makes us despise one another by Matt Taibbi

The writing I found a bit uneven, but the narrative is intriguing. To be fair, there wasn’t a whole lot new in there for me. But if you try to understand how a Trump or BREXIT happened, this book is a pretty good guide.

Rating: 4/5

The Pedestal by Daniel Wimberley

This is one of the books where I like the premise and the overall story but have a hard time getting into the narrative. Sometimes I find writers like that, and unfortunately that is one of those for me.

Rating: 3.5/5

Running against the deal - A Plot to save America from Trump and democrats from themselves by Rick Wilson

Now this is a “Trump book” I can recommend. It was written by someone who has helped getting Trump elected and in this book tries to provide the Democrats with instructions on how to beat him in 2020. I am sure some of this no longer applies, considering what we have seen during the Democratic primaries as well with the current events. But his analysis as to why the Democrats got screamed is something any of their supporters needs to read and accept…. Not sure they will though.

Rating: 4.5/5

Poisoner in Chief - Sidney Gottlieb and the CIA search for Mind Control by Stephen Kinzer

Now this was a fun read. I was aware of a lot around the MKUltra project as well as some of the other things the CIA had gotten up to. But the book ties it all nicely together and shows just how far the CIA was willing to go at times in their quest for mind control.

There are sections in there where I am not sure if I should laugh or cry because of the sheer absurdity. Recommended.

Rating: 4.5/5

Opus Detective - Book 4 - Enlightened Ignorance by Michael Anderle

Not a whole lot to say. Another entry in the Opus series and I have not yet tired of the series. Looking forward to the next book in the series.

Rating: 4/5


Avenue 5 (2020)

I am a bit lukewarm on it. The brains behind the show is Amando Ianucci who created “The Thick of It” for the BBC and “Veep” for HBO prior.

And to be certain, it is an absurd show with absurd / overdrawn characters like the other two, but something is missing for me there and I am not quite sure.

To be clear, it’s not a bad show, I just had a different expectation than what was delivered.

Rating: 3.5/5

Star Wars Resistance - Season 2 (2020)

Continuing on from the first season it is still a solid Star Wars (kids) show.

Rating: 4/5

Star Trek Picard (2020)

Yeah, same problem I have with Star Trek: Destiny it just does not feel like Star Trek. It was middle of the road for me. Excellent SFX, Patrick Stewart is still fun to watch but the writing…..

I leave “The Critical Drinker’s” review here, he pretty much says all that I could say, but much funnier.

Rating: 2.5/5


Dosed (2019)

Documentary about using psychedelics to fight drug addiction. It’s a fascinating look into the process and now that pot has been legalized in Canada maybe we can drop these prohibitions as well.

Rating: 4/5

Guns Akimbo (2019)

This was more fun than it probably should have been. Daniel Radcliffe was also an interesting choice, because for me he’s still Harry. I am sure he hates that. But as completely stupid and over the top the movie is, it’s fun. And in these trying times, fun is a good thing.

Rating: 4/5

The Hunt (2020)

Ah yes, “The Hunt”. This is…. Well, fun if stupid as well. The entire premise is stupid, the characters are (mostly) stupid and I found the pacing was a bit uneven. But the concept is “out there” and it turns out it’s an okay movie.

Rating: 3.5/5

The House with a clock in its walls (2019)

Ah, Jack Black. That’s probably all I need to say. It is a Jack Black movie and Jack Black does Jack Black things supported by a fun cast and excellent SFX. The movie doesn’t quite fit this time of the year, really more something for Halloween but it’s a solid “scare” movie with laughs and I have seen much worse.

Rating: 3.5/5

The Invisible Man (2020)

Torn on this. It’s essentially a “sensitized and Iron Manned” version of the original. Elizabeth Moss is enjoyable to watch but overall the movie is quickly forgotten.

Rating: 3/5

The Call of the Wild (2020)

The movie sort of shows what’s wrong with the Hollywood. A great story, excellent special effects but it feels cheap. Here we have a story that is set in front of the great outdoors and it feels like it was all shot on a soundstage. Which it pretty much was.

Harrison Ford is fun, so is the animated dog, but the movie has little soul. Too bad considering the story.

Rating: 2.5/5


Heilung | LIFA - Hamrer Hippyer LIVE

Online Long Reads

We’re not going back to Normal

An analysis of the COVID-19 outbreak and what it most likely will mean for society going forward. It’s a pretty harsh read.

‘We can’t go back to normal’: how will coronavirus change the world?

Similar to the previous piece, the Guardian article is trying to do a future analysis.


"The Timeless Children" - The End of Doctor Who

Best of the Worst: Showdown, Robot in the Family, and Bloodz vs. Wolvez

The return of Leo Fong! A failed Harry Potter ripoff that wouldn't play in the VCR! A robot in the family! And monster gangstas! This episode has all those things and less!

1906 US Army Emergency Ration Preserved Survival Food Testing 24 Hour MRE Review

A truly astounding food discovery, this incredibly well preserved vacuum sealed can of pemmican and chocolate stood the test of time. The first true long-term storage survival ration, it was ahead of the rest of the world's packaged military food technology. Back then, (and for many years after) it was the most advanced packaged/processed food in the world. In this video, we take a look at US Rations (Used by the AEF) of 100 years ago, their history, and find out how well the US Army Emergency Ration holds up over time.

EEVblog #1290 - Hapbee: Anatomy of a Snake Oil Product

The Hapbee has raised half a million dollars on Indiegogo, it's magic woo woo that can make you feel different things from weak arse magnetic fields.
Let's go down the rabbit hole of who's behind this and why...

Pyramid Training for MUSCLE MASS Explained

Pyramid Training Sets For Muscle Growth Discussed in this video. ft Dorian Yates, Christian Thibaudeau and others.

8 Worst Bodyweight Exercises Ever (STOP DOING THESE!)

The worst bodyweight exercises are often times the most common calisthenic exercises. In this video, I’m going to show you 8 bodyweight exercises you’ll want to stop doing, and more importantly, the exercise substitutions you should make to keep the gains coming and prevent injury from doing the wrong things.
We start with the popular bench dip. The reason people do this exercise for their triceps is to get a complete contraction on the muscle by getting the arm behind the body which allows for better activation of the triceps long head. The issue here is the position of the shoulder that many assume just to get in position to perform it. The head of the humerus is thrown anteriorly, which stretches and weakens the anterior shoulder capsule (an area already chronically weak and unstable on many). You can either vary the hand position as shown or switch to the cobra pushup as a way to get the same tricep benefits without the shoulder joint compromise.
Next we have the popular plank. Now, while this is a core exercise performed by many it doesn’t mean that it’s a good one. Besides the fact that it is entirely remedial for almost everyone that does it (not providing nearly enough of a core challenge to adequately stimulate or strengthen your core muscles) it also tends to reinforce some postural imbalances that are already all too common, with the posterior chain muscles getting too little stimulation in favor of the anterior chain. See the plank alternatives in the video linked at the end of this video.
The hurdler’s hamstring stretch is not at all the best way to stretch your hamstrings. Many will perform it but not understand why it’s so ineffective for creating actual length increases of the hamstring muscles. The issue is the amount of posterior pelvic tilt that occurs when you perform it. When this happens the hamstrings are put on slack and the stretch is greatly minimized. Instead, either do so out of a taller posture where the pelvis is rotated anteriorly or try the standing hamstring wall stretch for a much better effect.
Neck bridges are just not something you want to do to your neck. Yes, they are incredibly effective for creating overload and developing larger neck muscles, but at what expense. You only get one set of cervical vertebra in your lifetime. Protect them. Avoid the compression and shearing stresses piled on your discs with this exercise in favor of the flexion and extension isometrics shown.
Kipping pullups are not pullups. No further discussion needed!
Scorpions are performed to increase spinal mobility and movement. The problem is, increased lumbar rotation is not something you should be aspiring to create. The lumber spine is designed to be stable. Mobility in the area should come from the hips not the low back. Instead, opt for the t-spine mobility drill shown here to attack the area most capable of giving you the rotation that you seek.
Sissy squats are another bad bodyweight exercise you should avoid. It’s not so much the knees over toes that is the issue but that it is combined with the extra stretch on the quads from above that creates a tremendous amount of stress on the quadriceps and patellar tendons. Opt for a single leg modified pistol squat instead.
Finally, while popular, the pushup is one of the most often misperformed bodyweight exercises around. Be sure not to cut the range of motion even a few inches here if you want to see the real benefits of the exercise.

5 Times Publishers Fooled You Into Buying the Exact Same Game Twice!

This episode takes a look at times where publishers tried to hoodwink you into buying the exact same game at least twice, out of pure laziness and/or greed!

Slot Machine - AKA Slot Machine Age (1964)

Well There’s your Problem: Episode 20: 1918 Philadelphia War Bond Parade

Today @donoteat01, @aliceavizandum, and @oldmananders0n talk about the deadliest parade in US history. Dont spit.

Coronavirus: Science vs. Politics