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Re: Friday Songfest

Here’s a music video that I’ve been wanting to post for awhile just because it’s so well done. This is everyone’s favorite Irish band, the Chieftains, playing “O’Sullivan’s March.”

Re: Friday Chin-Up

Thought we needed a little cheering up this Friday so here’s a little ditty that my music teacher, Jean, introduced me to. It’s “Crazy Words, Crazy Tune” by Frank Crumit, from 1927, lamenting the popularity of the ukulele.

 

Petyr Baelish

I think that Varys’s description of Petyr “Littlefinger” Baelish pretty much sums up my opinion of Donald Trump’s presidential aspirations. Text reads: he would see this country burn if he could be king of the ashes.

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Re: Phryne Friday

And now a cheery little music video featuring Phryne Fisher (Essie Davis) and Inspector Jack Robinson (Nathan Page). If you haven’t had a chance to see Miss Fisher’s Mysteries featuring the adventures of a “lady detective” in 1920s Melbourne, I recommend making haste to Amazon Video or your library’s media section and checking the series out.

turn-309-benedict-yeoman-salute-935

Benedict Arnold (Owain Yeoman) daring Ben Tallmadge (Seth Numrich) to shoot him (Turn: Washington’s Spies, Season 3, “Blade on the Feather”).

Much like the Culper Ring itself, most of Season 3 of Turn: Washington’s Spies was a hot mess until the final two episodes delivered a one-two punch that made up for the soggy storylines and left viewers breathless and wanting more.

Highlights

  • Although the focus on Benedict Arnold’s defection gives Owain Yeoman a chance to show his character’s vulnerability and self-doubt instead of chewing the scenery and sulking, the Best Acting award for this season goes to Ksenia Solo (Peggy Shippen).  Her face at the ball when she realizes that John Andre has betrayed her with another woman is a masterpiece of hiding grief under a public mask of amiability.
  • Much like Yellowbeard, my boy, Robert Rogers (Angus Macfadyen) is never more dangerous than when he’s dead–or in Rogers’ case, persona non grata to both sides. Angus Macfadyen has been given more chances to highlight his scene stealing skills and now, sporting an eyepatch, he looks more pirate-y than ever.
  • The Best New Addition to the Cast award goes to James Carroll Lynch as James Rivington. As the unctuous printer/gossip monger who is part owner of Townsend’s tavern, Lynch cuts a figure both comical and sinister.
  • The winner of the Most Surprising Character Turn has to be Burn Gorman as Major Hewlett. Hewlett’s transformation from incompetent British functionary to a romantic and even chivalric figure has made him much more sympathetic. With Andre gone, I hope that General Clinton will ask him to stay on in Philadelphia.
  • The Biggest Reveal of this season has to be how much Abe (Jamie Bell) and his father, Judge Woodhull (Kevin McNally), are alike. Both are close, secretive, and manipulative. It doesn’t make them nice people, but it does shed new light on their relationship.
  • Mary Woodhull (Meegan Warner) continues to earn more and more of my respect every season. This year, she–not any of the men including the crafty Robert Rogers–is the one who came closest to killing Simcoe.
  • And the winner of the Best Closing Line has to be Judge Woodhull who’s “Get out of my town, you pathetic amateur” is just stone-cold.

Lowlights

  • Topping the list of ridiculous plot elements this season has to be Ben’s doomed-from-the-get-go quickie romance with Loyalist widow, Sarah, followed by her tragical death that the audience saw coming a while back. Yes, Seth Numrich looked remarkably sexy in that episode, but this is the kind of melodramatic rubbish that Turn doesn’t need and yet the writers seem unable to resist.
  • When you’ve got a tigershark like Simcoe (Simon Roukin) by the tail, it’s a shame to let him chase it and yet that’s exactly what the writers have done to our favorite villain. Having established Simcoe’s villainy at the high end of the scale and having given him no redeeming qualities (I’m pretty sure that neatness of person doesn’t count), the writers really have no place to take the character.
  • Although more understandable from a plot standpoint, it’s still painful to see our suave spymaster, John Andre (JJ Feild) off his game. Andre pines for Peggy although that doesn’t stop him from dallying with actress Philomena (Amy Gumnick) to salve his wounds.
  • Where the heck is Selah Strong? With Anna back in Washington’s camp, I halfway expected some sort of awkward reunion between the two, but nothing. I can understand the actor not making an appearance, but at least give Anna and Ben a few lines to suggest his fate.

One of the things that I learned from Alexander Rose’s book was that Arnold, after he joined the British, turned spycatcher and began trying to root out the Revolutionary spies in New York. There was even a failed attempt by Washington’s forces to kidnap Arnold and extradite him to the American side for trial. If the producers grace us with a Season 4, I hope that we’ll get to see that part of the story played out.

 

You know that your musical’s really hot when it inspires an awesome Irish stepdance video like the one below. Somebody has to add Hannah Red to the Hamilton cast.

“We’re pandas. We don’t do stairs.” –Li, Po’s father, summoning an elevator

“I’ve been waiting my whole life to hear those words.” –Po

 

Me, too, Po, me, too. I’m also borrowing “panda asthma” as an excuse every time I have to catch my breath at the top of a flight of stairs.

Kung Fu Panda 3 continues the story of Po, the kung fu fanboy turned Dragon Warrior. Po is comfortable in his role as the village hero and fighting bad guys with his friends, the Furious Five, but Master Shifu feels that it is time for him to move to the next level and become a teacher himself. In order to do that, Po must learn the ways of the Force …er…master chi, the life force that flows through everything.

Complicating things is the return of two people long thought dead–Li, Po’s biological father, and Kai, a warlord returned from the Spirit Realm, bent on re-creating his former glory. We also learn a surprising amount about Master Oogway’s backstory including what set him on a path from warrior to monk.

The secondary plot concerns the competition between Po’s two dads–his panda father, Li, and his goose father, Ping–for Po’s affections. Ping, his adoptive father, is understandably worried when Li takes Po back to a hidden panda village (Pangri-La, perhaps?) to rediscover his pandahood.

The animation throughout the film is utterly exquisite. The movie is worth seeing just for the quality of the artwork alone. As a film, Kung Fu Panda 3 is closer in tone to the first movie of the series.

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