Five Incredible TV Dramas

With the advent of streaming and premium cable channel content creation, TV has reentered a golden age.  Here are five incredible TV Dramas.

The Sopranos – This HBO show ran from 1997-2007.  It is as addictive as Camella’s Ziti.The Sopranos

Breaking Bad – Walter White goes dark in this intense, morally adrift on blue ice drama

Mad Men – Advertising executives in the 1950s thought the early 1970s.

Twin Peaks – David Lynch’s series went to places TV had not gone before.

Six Feet Under – A family funeral business and another HBO masterpiece.


Fictional Films on the Black Death

The Black Death is probably the worst contagion of spreadable disease in the known history of mankind.  It was caused by three different infections:  Bubonic plague, Pneumonic plague  and Septicemic plague.  Plague has ravaged socieities all the way into the 1900s.  The European middle ages is the time when the pestulance killed over 50% of populations.    Here are some fictional films with Black Death as a subject in the story.Chess game with death

The Seventh Seal – This 1957 Ingmar Bergman film has a knight from the crusades traveling home during a great plague as he plays chess with death to stave off the inevitable.

Flesh and Blood – Who does not love the actor Rutger Hauer? This 1985 film uses the plague as a weapon of war.

Black Death – Set in the middle ages, once again the plague is used as a weapon of revenge. This is a complete action/adventure fantasy but who can argue with actor Sean Bean in the lead?

The Physician – Set in the 11th century, a young man goes to Persia to study medicine. Once again the Black Death is used as a political weapon as the disease is set upon the city. Sir Ben Kingsley and Stellan Skarsgårdin star.

The Reckoning – A 2003 murder mystery film set 1380AD where the victim is exposed to the plague and the Black Death threads throughout the story.

Five Directors Who Never Won An Academy Award

This is just another example of how award shows are probably rigged and political.  Here are five directors who never won.


Stanley Kubrick  – Can you even believe the guy who directed 2001 A Space Odessey, The Shining, A Clockwork Orange and Barry Lydon never won?  There is no justice!

Alfred Hitchcock – The master of suspense never won.  Seriously.  This man created what is considered the best movie, at least in terms of repeating patterns and obsessive love, Vertigo and he never won.

Hal Ashby – Director of Shampoo, Harold and Maude, The Last Detail and  Being There.   Some of the most original and funny films of all time and nary a nod.

Ingmar Bergman – Yes he is Swedish but the director of The Seventh Seal didn’t ever win?  Oh those narassistic Americans.

Sidney Lumet – The man directed the 1976 film Network.   Someone needs to say to the Academy, “you have meddled with the primal forces of nature and you will atone!”

True Story Crime Miniseries

The People v. O.J. Simpson – This FX show won all sorts of awards it is so well done. A horrific crime is made worse by the shocking trial. You can’t make this stuff up people.

I Know My Name is Steven – This is a horrible case of child abduction by a monster. Worse were the laws at that time which gave hardly any consequence to such a bogeyman.

The Deliberate Stranger – This 1986 TV movie stars Mark Harmon as serial killer Ted Bundy. Chilling performance depicting a devil.

Escape at Dannemora – This Showtime miniseries describes an almost successful prison escape. The acting performances amplify the mind boggling enabling idiotcy.

Unbelievable – Netflix series based on a true story and Propublica article on a series of rapes. One victim recanted her reporting after detective repeatedly interrogated her as if she was lying and they prosecuted her! Merritt Wever and Toni Collette give outstanding performances as the two female detectives who solve the case.

Chick Flicks

Fried Green Tomatoes – Deep South story of love, betrayal, abuse and murder. Kathy Bates shines and the story will get you craving for food too. Also stars Jessica Tandy and Mary-Louise Parker.

Thelma & Louise – This is a classic film where going out in a blaze of glory is better than being repressed.

NIne to Five – Life in the office hasn’t changed much since this 1980 uproarious film.

The Color Purple – This film is based on Alice Walker’s book and stars Oprah Winfrey and Woopie Goldberg.

Bridesmaids – Rip roaringly funny. You’ll never look at a chocolate fountain the same again.

Mind Blowing Film Scores

Psycho – Anything Bernard Herrmann did is magic but he makes this shower scene.

American BeautyThomas Newman‘s score of this 1999 film makes a plastic bag beautiful.

The Painted Veil – This one is rarely on other’s lists but the Alexandre Desplat score is haunting.

Vertigo – Another Bernard Herrmann masterwork. Beautiful and haunting with longing for the unobtainable.

Amadeus – A film about Mozart is of course loaded with Mozart. The conductor was Neville Marriner and the Orchestra is Academy of Saint Martin in the Fields. None better.


Drives in the U.S. West

Highway 101 –  US Route 101 hugs the Pacific coastline almost all through Oregon.  Incredible views of Heceta Head and lighthouses.    Crashing waves and rainbows abound.

Glacier National ParkGoing-to-the -Sun-Road winds through Glacier National Park and is one beautiful vista after another.  

Road to Hana – The Hana highway in Maui, Hawaii is one rainbow after rainbow, one waterfall after waterfall all opening to a breathtaking view of the Pacific. The smell alone of the flora, fauna is magical.

Columbia Gorge Highway – In Oregon the Columbia River Highway shows the spectacular views of the gorge and waterfalls.

Avenue of the Giants – This road takes you through giant redwoods of Northern California. Unfortunately the tourist and environmental damage is evident, so be respectful.

Five Incredible Hot Sauces

Sriracha – Add this to Mayo for some serious flavor. People are so in love with this stuff they made a documentary on it. Worthy candidate it’s that flavorful.

Gochujang – This Korean hot paste is the bomb of flavor. Make sure you get one with real fermented soybeans and no corn syrup.

Cholula Chipotle Hot Sauce – This is fairly mild but is loaded with deep flavor. Makes great Southwestern dishes.

Mendez Hot Sauce – Made from the Malagueta pepper, this has a smokey heat that makes grilled anything. Hot with broad depth of flavor.

Frank’s RedHot Original Cayenne Sauce – Has multinote flavorings unlike many cayenne sauces. On pizza, wings, in gumbo, nachos, tomato juice.

Five Underrated Films

Mrs. Brown – Judi Dench rocks as Queen Victoria later in life.mrs. brown

Shutter Island – Martin Scorsese directs and a Max Ritcher piece make this a haunting psychological thriller.

The Painted Veil – The soundtrak by Alexandre Desplat made this an epic tale of love, betrayal, remorse and forgiveness.

Chronic – Tim Roth stars as a Hospice nurse and this has to be one of his finest performances. The ending is positively perfect.

Heartburn – Mike Nichols, Nora Ephron and Bad Marriage. Yes, that means a screamingly funny tragedy.

Damaging Desire Films

Vertigo – This Hitchcock film stars Jame Stewart as a man who is consumed by unobtainable obsession.  History repeats and so do emotional patterns.  

Lolita – Stanley Kubrick directed a story of a middle aged man’s obsession with a pubescent teen.   Based on Nabokov‘s novel.  This controversial book is not sugar coated by Kubrick.    No rose colored classes on this one.

Damage – Jeremy Irons becomes consumed by a mysterious woman also consumed by her own trauma.  Some things cannot be fixed.

M. Butterfly – David Cronenberg directed this film based on a true story.  

Camille Claudel. An amazing portrait of the young artist Camille Claudel.  She came under sculptor Rodin’s tutalige and then under this thumb.  The spiral into insantiy is soon to follow.  You’ll never look at a Rodin sculpture the same again.