Saturday Morning Brain Drain [17/4/21]

Hello Deadsplinter friends – Ellicoo is having a lovely time painting her porch so I’m here to fill in.

What I’m watching – ZeroZeroZero -on Amazon Prime –  it’s an atmospheric tale of trafficking cocaine involving an American shipping family, a group of corrupt Mexican soldiers and an Italian Mafia family. I would try to explain but Wikipedia does it better.

The series follows the troubled journey of a large shipment of cocaine from Monterrey, Mexico to Gioia Tauro, Italy. The sellers are the narco brothers Enrique and Jacinto Leyra, who are aided in their criminal activities by Manuel Contreras and his group of corrupt soldiers; the buyer is Don Minu La Piana, a boss of the ‘Ndrangheta, whose position is challenged by his grandson Stefano and the Curtiga family; the brokers in charge of the shipment are the Lynwoods, an American family from New Orleans owning a prestigious shipping company. The infighting within the ‘Ndrangheta causes the shipment to be rerouted to Africa, and the delay has dramatic consequences for all the interested parties.

The title, which never appears in the show – zerozerozero(000) is what narco traffickers call cocaine in its purest form. The cinematography is quite beautiful. It flashes backward and forward through three storylines of interweaving events – so you have to pay attention. The biggest name actor in it is Gabriel Byrne who is always good. It’s mostly in English but there are subtitles for the Italian and Spanish. 


I’ve mentioned before that I listen to Marketplace with Kai Ryssdal, he also does one called Make Me Smart with Kai and Molly. He and Molly Wood discuss financial issues and answer questions from the  listeners. Their tag line is “None of us is as smart as all of us.” Anyway, a couple of weeks ago they had Scottish political economist Mark Blyth on to discuss Reaganomics and the trickle down economy. It was fascinating. The podcasts aren’t that long so it’s not a big commitment and well worth the listen.

40 years later, is this the end of Reaganomics?

What I’m listening to – 

Been listening to a lot of The Who lately –

Reign O’er Me 

What are all of you wonderful people up to today? And, as always – thanks for stopping by and supporting Deadsplinter.



  1. CBS News is live-streaming Prince Philip’s funeral and Gayle King’s very, very special cohost is none other than Tina Brown! I should be live-blogging this but I can’t, I’m too obsessed. 

    • Expecting a full recap when its over. 

      • Ask and ye shall receive!
        Well that went along pretty briskly. Forty-five minutes or so, most of it sung by a very talented choir quartet, a bagpiper at the end, some bugling, remarks throughout by the Dean of Windsor, the Archbishop of Canterbury taking the stage every so often to chime in. 
        Prince Philip apparently wanted a very small and somewhat military-themed funeral, and that’s what he got, although none of the members of the family were allowed to wear uniforms, by order of the Queen.
        It was very sad though. This fucking pandemic. Though St. George’s Chapel is quite large (it’s where Harry and Meghan were married; you might remember coverage of that) there were only 30 attendees. There was a procession. I did not know this but traditionally only men are in processions like this, but Princess Anne was right in the front of the line, right next to Charles, then Andrew and Edward behind them, then William and Harry and Peter Phillips (Anne’s son) behind them (Phillips in the middle), then Lord Snowden, Princess Margaret’s son, & etc.
        Anyway, so you see them entering and they have to mask themselves. That, to me, was actually heartbreaking. You don’t see them being seated, but then the service started. In this vast space they actually sat in “pods” with plenty of space between the various families. And even worse the Queen was seated by herself, far away from everyone. Every so often they’d cut to Harry, alone, isolated like all the rest of them, but not for one second did they show Prince Andrew who, similarly, was alone, even though his two daughters were also there, with their husbands, but in an upper deck of the gallery and with plenty of space between them. I don’t think they showed any of Philip’s three German relatives who showed up, probably because no one would know or care who they were. Philip had four sisters, who all married into German nobility, and all four had deep ties to the Nazi Party, so when Philip and then-Princess Elizabeth got married in 1947, just two years after the war, none of them were invited to the wedding. 
        It ended, as it must, with the choir quartet singing “God Save the Queen,” just the most famous stanza (the song actually is longer) and then it was time to go. 
        It was very moving, I thought. And I’m an American.

        • Thanks for the recap – I haven’t been super invested in the royals since Princess Diana died. I’ve watched parts of Will and Harry’s weddings but the most I know about the royal family is from watching The Crown. The one thing that’s made the biggest impression on me from that was the episode about Phillip’s family. I know a lot of the show is fictional but that whole part about his sister going into labor on the plane and then the plane crashing is really horrible. Whenever I see anything about Prince Phillip – that is all I think of. 

          • Did you ee the episode where Philip’s mother comes to stay with them?

            • Yes, if she was anything like the show portrayed her then she must have been a real character. 
              I am glad that Princess Anne got to walk with all of the boys – all of the gendering of the royals is one of the things that puts me off them.

              • “The Crown” also alludes to the fact that Anne was Philip’s favorite child, and that Andrew is Elizabeth’s. I’ve always thought, “No one sings ‘God Save the Queen’ more heartily than Andrew, because the moment she goes, the new King Charles III (should he style himself that way) is going to cut him off and let the American prosecutors come after him. 
                I did not know, until the pre-funeral coverage kicked into high gear, that Prince Philip was so eco-conscious. Apparently he has been for decades. God knows where this came from. I suppose it is easy to have been an early farm-to-table devotee when you have access to vast farms and a large kitchen staff who knows what to do with the products.
                Also, according to the CBS News coverage, he loved all things tech, which is why he had a hand in designing the Range Rover hearse (military green; he picked the color). I wonder if he had a MySpace page, under an alias. 

                • I saw a YouTube video today (Caitlin Doughty, Ask A Mortician) on the royal funeral, and she was very excited that PP was so environmental. He really wanted a green casket but couldn’t because he has to be vaulted above ground per protocol. 

                  • Caitlin Doughty! I love her. Have you ever read Smoke Gets In Your Eyes? I plan on getting cremated myself when the time comes and this was a fascinating and very amusing personal history of the crematory business. 
                    According to the breathless coverage of the Prince’s funeral plans, there’s something about the casket itself that’s eco-friendly. I don’t know what, exactly, but it involves three layers of British wool, both to be eco-friendly and “promote” British products. 

                    • Yes, I have all 3 of her books! I’m actually donating my body to science (got the card in my wallet and everything, in case I’m hit by a bus this afternoon). But I love the dialogue she fosters around death positivity. If only i could get my dad to talk about what he wants…

        • This is very late and probably no one will read this, but when the service ended and the choristers sang “God Save The Queen” I actually stood, bowed my head, and sang along. Very, very un-American of me. My father’s ancestors would have been horrified, they’ve been been here since colonial times, but my mother’s family would have been proud, I think. The family tree has many branches and Better Half and I once found ourselves in this house of a fairly distant and very wealthy arch-monarchist…man, I don’t know exactly how to describe him, but this was up in Canada. It happened to be Canadian Thanksgiving, we actually stayed there overnight in one of the numerous guest bedrooms. As the staff started bringing in the food I moved toward the dining room table but another attendee, a young woman to whom I’m somehow related, said, “Don’t move.” 
          The host then played “God Save The Queen” and we sang along, standing. Then, he played “O Canada” but I only know the French version (another maternal branch of the family) and I didn’t think that would go over well, so I feigned ignorance.
          The poor Better Half was mystified. When we were alone and settled in our room he said, “So this is Thanksgiving? It’s only October. And we’re not in Britain. Why sing ‘God Save The Queen”? And what was the other song everyone was singing?”
          “I’m too tired. I’ll explain in the morning.”

  2. Nice sub-in, Lymond.  I hope to see more.

    Watching:  pretty much what I was watching last week, and the week before that.  Nothing new.  Zero zero zero looks good but I have a hard and fast rule not to start watching any new shows until at least 5 seasons have been made–which, in today’s world, really just means 2.5 seasons.  I’m not about to get invested in characters and a story line for it to just get shitcanned midstream.

    Reading:  the same fucking book I’ve been reading for the past couple of months, but the light is at the end of the tunnel.  Thank you, Lymond, for reminding me that podcasts count as well.  I, too, am an avid listener of the Marketplace podcasts including Make Me Smart.  That Reaganomics episode was fascinating–particularly the part where Reagan (like most people who attribute success to hard work and/or genius) was just really fucking lucky.

    Listened:  I’ve been hooked on a number of Ray Charles’ instrumental pieces.



    • People forget how incredibly charismatic Ronald Reagan was. Product of the Hollywood system, radio and early-TV veteran (as a spokesman for GE and host of “GE Theater”), president of the Screen Actor’s Guild.
      Here he is on a 1956 episode of “What’s My Line”. In 1956 everyone knew who he was. 

  3. Haha – I also normally wait for a show to have a few seasons under its belt before I watch it. I didn’t start watching Game of Thrones until just before the final season started – then I binged the entire show in  week. I can’t seem to read actual books right now – I fall asleep after about three pages – podcasts I can listen to while driving or doing chores.
    Love the Ray Charles!

  4. Hello @Lymond thank you! You do awesome Brain Drain!!!! I am listening to the lovely sounds of the rotary sander as I try to dig out the last tiny strip of astro turf from where the porch meets the brick. The previous owner cemented it into the wall. We have been here 20 years and the turf was down for 10 before that. Astro turf and cockroaches really will survive an apocalypse. Soon the painting will commence (hopefully).

    So who suggested I read The Spellman Files last week? You are my new best book friend. Lutz has a 4-book set that I sucked down, then added books 5 and 6. Great books!!!

    • @Elliecoo
      could have been me, I often recommend her.  Although some of her recent stuff is getting pretty dark.  Heads You Loose was a pretty amusing concept (Lutz and an ?Ex? take turns writing chapters…).  I rather liked How To Start A FireThe Passenger was kinda dark, but I liked it.  The Swallows…  way dark, and way fucked up.  I don’t think it’s a bad book, but I can’t recommend it…

  5. Thanks @Elliecoo – hope the porching goes well!

  6. i havent watched anything…well..i started a bazzillion movies and series…and havent actually watched anything yet… im currently about 15 minutes into atomic blonde…and ive been watching it for about 2 hours now
    ive hit the unholy combination of bored and ants in my pants…to bored to sit still and watch locked down to do anything
    theres not even any trouble to get myself into….maybe ill go be a rebel and go for a walk after curfew later

  7. It feels like every one here near me  – has given up on covid. Lots of people dining in restaurants and more and more people not wearing masks. I also live next to a large state park so even during our “kemp style lockdown” which is not really a lockdown – we’ve had lots of people coming and going. 

    • tbh…everyone over here probably would have given up on covid….if there was anything to do… cant get into a supermarket without a mask…same for pharmacies… nothing else is open (well..some shops are now allowed to open for customers that make appointments…which…im not doing for a can of wd40…) but yeah… no bars or restaurants…and the curfew is actually policed…as is having too many guests over
      oh wait…gas stations are open…but they arent much use to me and my bicycle…cept for late night curfew breaking cigarette runs

    • in unrelated news…even tho i cant keep my ass seated to watch atomic blonde…im enjoying the 80stastic soundtrack

      • …I don’t know if it helped or hindered my enjoyment of the film that I’d previously read it as a comic…but I’m almost surprised it isn’t holding your attention because it seemed like it hardly left enough space between the various moments of charlize theron kicking ass to squeeze in the slightly more le carré style plot parts?

        …overall I thought it was pretty good, I guess…she certainly was…although I think all the stuntwork/fights might have taken something of a toll on her off screen…I think I read somewhere she’d had to have surgery related to injuries she suffered while filming?

        • tbh…i think nothing short of the apocalypse can hold my attention today….and even that might not do the trick
          today is not a good day for science….
          i didnt know about the injuries…but then..i really dont pay attention to showbiz news
          it does seem pretty good so far tho..pretty sure any other time it would hold my attention…but today i need to be sedated first…lol

          • apparently today is a tbh day
            ive noticed i tend to repeat certain things lots on any given day of commenting
            sometimes its an eh day…or a lol is a tbh day
            wonder if thats some kind of tick

        • I really liked Atomic Blonde.  I thought the combat scenes were pretty well done.
          I hope she didn’t suffer too many/too bad of injuries, I rather like her as an action heroine, and would love to see her in more action movies like Mad Max: Fury Road, and Atomic Blonde (Ihaven’t watched Old Guard yet…)

          • …old guard was fun in a this-is-nonsense kind of way…the plot barely holds together even with the whole suspension of disbelief thing in full effect…but it seems to know that & as long as you can look past that it’s pretty enjoyable…IMHO & all that sort of thing

  8. What I’m watching, the sunshine and warm weather we are having!  Amazingly warm for this time of year, low 60s-70s, perfect! 
    Listening to, Los Po-Boy-Citos, fun NOLA jazz w/ Latin samba grooves

    Reading the much needed lighthearted comedy of Dave Barry.  Thought about  @bryanlsplinter  after reading just a little of this. 


  9. Off-topic: I so, so hope tonight’s NOT has a gripe fest theme. I have an unquenchable medical-industrial-rage that I need to unleash, and to whom better than internet strangers? 
    When Forager-in-Chief came home I was in the midst of pounding about 1/2 lb. of peanuts and cashews to take out my anger. 
    “Mattie, what are you doing?”
    More details to follow, once I’ve calmed down, if the NOT and your forbearance allows.

  10. Watched Ava recently, thought it was a decent enough assassin-action movie.  Also watched something called Best Friends Forever, thought it was pretty amusing.  And then I’ve been watching some Steven Universe, just burning the free streaming services through the public library while I try to decide whether to reactivate Netflix or Amazon Video next…
    Still Slowly reading Moon Over Soho, and it does seem to be addressing some of my concerns with the first novel, which is reassuring.  Speaking of, I better go request the third one from the library…

    • …the ben aaronovich books are pretty charming overall…I forget how many there are at this point but I enjoyed all of them so far

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