Saturday Morning Brain Drain [19/2/22]

Image via TV Insider

What I watched:  Murdoch Mysteries, now in its fifteenth season. It is based on the Detective Murdoch novels by Maureen Jennings, of which I have read none, so I had no expectations for the television adaption. “In the 1890s, William Murdoch uses radical forensic techniques for the time, including fingerprinting and trace evidence, to solve some of the city’s most gruesome murders.” I’m in season three, and the characters are evolving as opposed to becoming caricatures. Most interesting to me is that the lead character, William Murdoch, a police detective working in Toronto, Ontario, is slowly becoming less likable. A fun conceit of the show is to wrap in actual persons and organizations from history, including Arthur Conan Doyle, Harry Houdini, and Prince Alfred. The show also hits on groundbreaking science and references actual trailblazers, including MIT professors. The attitudes toward women and non-Caucasian persons are portrayed as of the time and are as horrible as one might suppose. I especially rolled my eyes at one character’s soliloquy on the smaller brains and intellectual capacity of females.

A few trailers:

What I read: Book number 460 64 in death series by J. D. Robb, Abandoned in Death. At this point, the characters are fully developed (cop Eve Dallas, billionaire Roarke, and assorted others) but the mysteries are unique, and I find it fun to check in on their lives. Here is the blurb, “The woman’s body was found in the early morning, on a bench in a New York City playground. She was clean, her hair neatly arranged, her makeup carefully applied. But other things were very wrong—like the tattoo and piercings, clearly new. The clothes, decades out of date. The fatal wound hidden beneath a ribbon around her neck. And the note: Bad Mommy, written in crayon as if by a child.

I also read You Can Run (A Laurel Snow Thriller Book 1) by Rebecca Zanetti. I first became a fan of her work with the The Scorpius Syndrome Series, and have read and enjoyed her Anna Albertini Files Series, Dark Protectors Series, and Deep Ops Series. She is a prolific author, and her work is always a classic “page turner”. Here is the blurb for You Can Run, “Laurel Snow wouldn’t call hunting a serial killer a vacation, but with a pile of dead bodies unearthed near her Genesis Valley, WA, hometown, she’ll take what she can get. Yet something about this case stirs her in unexpected ways. Like the startling connection she feels to Dr. Abigail Caine, a fiercely intelligent witness with a disturbing knack for making Laurel feel like she has something on her. Then there’s Laurel’s attraction to Huck Rivers, the fish and wildlife officer guiding her to the crime scene—and into the wilderness…

What I listened to this week: Shelter Boy – Calm Me Down; Dream Ceremony – Hearts on Fire; and The Districts – No Blood:

So, dearest DeadSplinterites, is everyone doing all right? What have you watched, read, or listened to? Please check in, tell us how you are, and share what you are up to!

About Elliecoo 519 Articles
Four dogs, one partner. The dogs win.


  1. Ellie is correct in that Murdoch is becoming unlikeable. We talk at the tv telling Julia to tell Murdoch to hit the bricks. Spoiler: We think Dr. Darcy is better for her. Also I would watch a series just on Crabtree.

  2. Probably why unlamented former PM Stevie Harper loved Murdoch Mysteries and got a cameo appearance on the show. Me? I can’t even watch it. My parents watch the show though, they’re old and need some entertainment that doesn’t give them sensory overload.

    One can view Mad Men from the similar sexist and racist prism, but why I enjoyed the show over MurdMyst is that we various groups in the background that entitled white males desperately tried to ignore were on the verge of breaking thru (a little) the foundation of the crap mountain they built.

    I get that the views are the products of their time, but this is why I don’t dream wistfully of a return to the “good” old days and cast a bit of a side eye at those who do.

    • @ManchuCandidate I fear that I am in your parent’s camp as far as entertainment; I much prefer fluffy, easy watching and reading, as my work days take most of brain cells. That said, how to address the cruel and offensive societal statuses of the past within a present-day show deserves greater discussion and consideration.

  3. Yay me ! I finally finished a book. You might like it Ellie – if you haven’t already read it.

    Hounded by Kevin Hearne – it’s part of the Iron Druid series –

    The last real Druid lives in Tempe, AR and has to deal with witches, crazy Irish gods, and a nosy neighbor. He has a vampire lawyer and a werewolf lawyer. He’s also over two thousand years old and has a Wolfhound named Oberon that he can talk to through a mindlink.  It’s a fun fast read and the Druid magic stuff is cool because it’s all rooted in nature.

  4. I advise you all to keep watching “Murdoch Mysteries,” one of my faves. All the characters get great plot lines and evolve. There’s even a sci-fi episode (I think that comes in about Season 12; I think it was some kind of Christmas episode one-off) that is very funny. I don’t think the show is meant to promote those attitudes so much as to show how different it was and sometimes why. Harper making a cameo: that flew over my head, but lots of real-life characters do show up. Teddy Roosevelt comes through town; Murdoch goes out of town and befriends Jack London…

    And despite all the murders I find it very soothing. We usually watch an episode once or twice a week at bedtime. It is our Matlock.

  5. I’m about halfway through Reacher and I’m struggling. I think the problem for me is the small town setting — I’m getting too much of a Cabot Cove Maine vibe with the oddly casual impact of murder, except Jessica Fletcher was never meant to be serious.

    I realize the writers are sort of kind of trying to acknowledge it with the reaction of the chief detective, but I feel like the tone isn’t hitting the right place between real and staged the way something like John Wick is obviously not meant to be more than a cartoon.

  6. Watched:  Oscar Peterson:  Black + White, which is a great documentary about the jazz legend.  I’d never seen Peterson perform, but I did get a chance to photograph a concert featuring his bass player, Ray Brown, who likewise was a fucking genius.  This is on Hulu.

    Read:  Still working on my book.  I hope to be done with it by next weekend.

    Listened:  Our latest stop on the best engineered albums of all time is The Dark Side of the Moon, by Pink Floyd.  Alan Parsons was lead engineer on this one, after serving as second engineer on their earlier Atom Heart Mother album (as well as as the Beatles’ Abby Road and Let It Be albums).  This album was not only Pink Floyd’s greatest commercial success, but also became a significant cultural touchstone since its release.  It spent 14 years on the charts from the time of its initial release before falling off for the first time.  It was on the Billboard top 200 charts for a staggering 962 non-consecutive weeks, and is still charting as of this week.  It holds the record for most charting weeks of any album by a long shot–more than 300 weeks more than the #2 album, Legend, by Bob Marley and the Wailers.  It took until 2003 before it failed to sell more than 5,000 copies in a single week.  Certainly the songwriting, instrumentation and overall production of the album had a lot to do with this–but if it had sounded like shit, there ain’t no way it would have lasted this long.

    Here’s one of the lesser-known cuts from the album, “The Great Gig in the Sky” which is essentially about keyboardist Rick Wright’s feelings about death.  The vocalist, Clare Torry, was brought in by Parsons (after initially declining so she could see a Chuck Berry concert).  She was initially kind of embarrassed by her over-the-top performance, but the band loved it.  Fun fact:  she was initially paid 30 Pounds which was the going session rate in 1973, but in 2004 she successfully sued for 50% of the songwriting royalties because the band never gave her any specific direction for what to do with her voice–so her contribution to the track is significant in more ways than one.


  7. I caught up with Around the World in 80 Days. The acting is good, but it’s lost a little bit of its appeal. I like that they are trying to address some of the societal issues of the source work, but it’s a little heavy-handed. I don’t even blame the writers, there doesn’t seem to be another way to handle it. But maybe it shouldn’t have been remade.

    I’m reading The Other Black Girl at my sister’s insistence. People are always demanding I read this or that and I usually don’t care for the books. But this one is good!

    I’m listening to the ever-present college radio station and just heard this new to me French band The N0-Talents. No idea what they’re saying but I like the energy.

    Quelle Crise Betsy




  8. Been watching the remaining episodes of Daredevil and Jessica Jones on Netflix I haven’t seen before Marvel sucks them away into Diz+.  I’m slow with my entertainment these days thanks to my work schedule.

    I am not a superhero guy and rarely sport any wood, er, excitement when a new MCU picture comes out. If I want to see guys fly and slap each other silly in costumers, there’s always rassling which I can enjoy, but not so much anymore.

    These shows I like because they don’t mince words about pain, suffering and the consequences of violence (and they actually kill people instead of silly slapping them.)

    I like the Punisher despite the fact the violence is over the top and Frank Castle has a pain tolerance threshold greater than a Met’s fan (and the fact that’s he’s expert level playing Call of Duty against a bunch of noobs most of the time.)

    Ben Afflack was just fucking terrible as Daredevil, but this English guy is decent.  To be fair Ben is not the worst part of the dark DCEU… that honor goes to CGI Mustachio Super Duper Grump Man.

    Also watched the John Delorean doc on Netflix.  Somewhere’s a lesson for Elon Musk, but I doubt Pedo Trudeau Hitler Guy will notice.

    • I watched and enjoyed Punisher. I’ve never really followed the Punisher comics much. My biggest problem is that isn’t how a soldier would approach a war on crime, though the show is better than the comics. A soldier isn’t going to go into a firefight with guns blazing. A lot of the criminals would just get dropped from a distance with a rifle. There’d be a lot of booby traps and explosives, though traditionally Castle doesn’t want to hurt innocents, so that wouldn’t be a big go-to once the crooks figured that out. But generally speaking there’s not enough strategy and too much charging into deadly situations.

      And yes, I’m aware that sniper fire isn’t particularly dramatic. I feel like it needs to be addressed, though.

  9. I watched Kimi and it was great (HBO). It was quick, at times funny, didn’t bother with plot twists, had an excellent cast (hello “Rogelio De La Vega” from Jane the Virgin!), and a very satisfying ending. Here’s the trailer (please stop watching by 1:10 to get a feel for it but no spoilers).


  10. I’m still watching Inventing Anna (Netflix). OMG the episodes are so long and it feels interminable. It is based on a true-ish story and brought to you by none other than Shonda Rhimes. It follows a journalist (the girl from My Girl!) who is trying to redeem her career by untangling the story of a 26YO “German” heiress who conned NYC’s elite, less than a decade ago. I’m just over halfway through and must say that her fucking accent makes my ears bleed. Despite that, I’m hooked by the dramatic con that is Anna Delvey and the lifestyle of the 0.1%. The tag line sums it up “This whole story is completely true. Except for all the parts that are totally made up.”


  11. Ahhh! I’m jealous… I’m still #39 on the wait list for Abandoned in Death! I’m grateful I got on the list when I did, though… there’s about 300 people after me 😳.

    Recently read – Three Sisters, Three Queens by Philippa Gregory. It was… meh. It’s written in first person as Margaret Tudor, sister of Henry VIII, and while I really have no idea how she actually acted, I find it hard to believe she was quite THAT whiny and self-interested, based on the histories I’ve read. It was basically a trainwreck and I mostly kept reading because I hate to leave a book unfinished.

    Someone Could Get Hurt by Drew Magary, which is his memoir of the early days of parenting. I thought it was pretty good, and pretty bluntly honest.

    The Lady’s Guide to Celestial Mechanics by Olivia Waite, which is an historical romance with… wait for it… TWO FEMALE LEADS. Actually a really, really good book, about a young woman who wants to be an astronomer (well, she already is, but she wants to be recognized for it by the all-male Scientific Societies) and her patroness, a widowed countess who was poorly treated by her scientist husband.

    Last night, I started and finished Down the Rabbit Hole: Curious Adventures and Cautionary Tales of a Former Playboy Bunny by Holly Madison. I have a weakness for sensational celebrity memoirs (or “celebrity”), and this was like cotton candy for the brain. I find it a little hard to believe that she was quiiiite as sweet-natured and naïve as she claims, and that every other girl at the mansion was a nasty witch that picked on her endlessly, but overall, it was a fascinating peep through the curtains of the Playboy Mansion.

    No idea what I’m reading next… I have a ridiculous amount of books to choose from. I do have an audiobook to finish – The Murder at the Vicarage by Agatha Christie – so I’ll probably wrap that up today.

    • I liked The Lady’s Guide to Celestial Mechanics. I will have to search for the name of the series about the Athena Society for you, all lady scientists.

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