Saturday Morning Brain Drain [24/4/21]

A Place to Let it All Out

What I watched:  Mrs. Butcher and I watched a movie neither of us had ever heard of before, even though it’s 20 years old:  Wonder Boys with Michael Douglas, Frances McDormand, Robert Downey, Jr., Tobey Maguire and Katie Holmes.  If you haven’t seen it before, I definitely recommend it because it is fucking hilarious. That’s all you’re getting out of me for this one.

What I read:  Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow.  I got this book as a gift, which meant that my obsessive desire to actually read this 731-page tome continually overrode my desire to walk away from it and never look back.  I am primarily a non-fiction reader, and most of my non-fiction reading is historical in nature…but holy shit is this book a drag to read.  It was like the homework assignment that would never end.  I finally had to make a deal with myself that I would read one chapter a day…and it took me almost two months to get through it.  I’d say the main thing I got out of it was just how fucking petty the founders of the country were with each other.  If reality TV had existed then, these people would have definitely had their own show, complete with table flipping and bitchy comments into the camera.  Still, given the choice between reading this phone book all over again and reading literally anything by Jane Austen, I’d pick this one no question.

What I listened to:  I’ve been listening to a fair amount of Chris Duarte this past week.  He’s a Texas blues musician who has been around since the mid-90’s, although you’d be forgiven for not having heard of him.

I’m taking Mrs. Butcher into town today for her 2nd Covid vaccination, then we’re heading over to her oldest daughter’s place to have a picnic lunch outside with her and her husband.  So, no gardening today, but maybe tomorrow.

Whatchoo watching, reading and or listening to this week?  Doing anything fun this weekend or drawing the shades and contemplating the doom of humankind?  Let’s hear it.

About butcherbakertoiletrymaker 581 Articles
When you can walk its length, and leave no trace, you will have learned.


  1. All of Ron Chernow’s stuff is great. But I recently completed a magisterial 900-page biography of Nelson Rockefeller (not by Chernow; Richard Norton Smith) and I was sad to see it end. I was up for 900 more pages. I am currently in the midst of Vincent Cannato’s The Ungovernable City, a biography of John Lindsay which is a relatively brief 730 pages or so. Do you read much Erik Larson? His stuff moves right along and is fascinating. I’ve read it all and can’t wait to see what he unleashes next.

    • For me the length isn’t an issue unless the writing isn’t engaging—and I found Chernow to be almost too academic in his style. One of my favorite authors is Hampton Sides. Anything by him is great. Haven’t read any Larson but I can check him out if you recommend. 

  2. The Wonder Boys soundtrack is solid fucking gold, one of the best parts of the movie. A movie I could watch anytime.
    Watched something on Acorn called ‘One Lane Bridge’, recommend.
    Reading The Sleepwalkers, reminds me of A Man Without Qualities, liking it so far.
    Listening to Michael Kay, David Cone and Paul O’Neill banter about baseball. I could listen to Cone and O’Neill all day, Michael Kay, not so much. About halfway through the season I’ll overlay John Sterling and Suzyn Waldman audio over the Yes feed because Kay is so annoying and John Sterling is a hoot.

  3. Still watching way too much Gardeners’ World with Monty Don. Landed on a new mystery series, Below Stairs Mysteries by Jennifer Ashley. I’m on book 3 of 5 and highly recommend. Set in 1881 London; from the perspective of staff as opposed to the ruling class. Listening to an Andrew Bird record from 2019, My Finest Work Yet, recommend Sisyphus and Bloodless to start…

    And I spammed Butcher with a photo of cilantro, Miracle Whip, and cranberry pecan bread from today’s cooking, because I am just a giver. 😘😜🤭

  4. I actually went to see this movie the night before I graduated from college, and just about all I remember of it is that Michael Douglas was in it. Although, granted, that time in general was rather anticlimactic for me.
    (This was December, a few months after I’d gotten back from Spain. Most of my friends and classmates had already graduated and left town. And due to some fortuitous scheduling, I actually had to sit for a final exam and complete a term paper after my turn came – which I guess makes it postgrad work, technically, if you really wanna call it that.)

  5. …well, ever since I followed a suggestion of farscythe’s & took in the somewhat idiosyncratic animated delights of kipo & the age of wonderbeasts on netflix I seem to have convinced its algorithm that I’m only interested in anime…more or less exclusively of the subtitled variety…so I thought I’d try leading it in a different direction by watching a movie or two with actual people who mostly don’t require subtitles

    …spike lee’s da 5 bloods is, I’d say, perhaps not one of his best even if the cast is pretty great & you do get a little bit of chadwick boseman here & there…along with a fairly liberal slew of historical nods to this or that…even if those do tend to break the flow of the main narrative…so there might be better fare available

    …anti-life (which has bruce willis in it) is most definitely not that better fare, however…I like sci fi & have a fair tolerance for a ropey plot or an underdeveloped premise…but it was just about incoherent & by the end the whole exercise seemed framed to really underline how badly the viewer had wasted their time…& possibly that the people who made it weren’t actually at all sure where they were going with it…the final line being pretty much entirely at odds with the context in which it’s delivered made even the increasingly nonsensical lurching of the plot that wound up there seem positively well reasoned…all in all…I’d give it a miss even if you’re trying to persuade netflix you’re really not a japanese teenager?

  6. Watched Molly’s Game on Netflix. 
    I play poker from time to time (originally 5 card stud, thanks dad) but then when the poker craze hit (mid 2000s?) went to Texas Hold’em like everyone else (had no choice really.)  I find Texas Hold’em a great way to lose a lot of money if you don’t pay attention or let your ego get a hold of you which is probably why it’s so popular while 5 Card takes time to lose a lot money.
    Anyway, I found the subject matter compelling.  The movie doesn’t go into all the tedious detail needed to play the game more the psychological one which I enjoy almost as much as the statistical stuff.
    There is one character, X who is supposed to be a composite of various celebrities who played underground poker including DiCaprio/Affleck but is mostly Tobey Maguire who comes across as a real piece of shit human being.

  7. Reading: Riot Baby by Tochi Onyebuchi. It’s a very raw and immersive look into the pain and injustice suffered from racism and police brutality. 
    Watched: Muppets Most Wanted & Island at the Top of the World  (a Jules Verne-ripoff type of weird 1970’s Disney+ flick). Was bizarre and cheesy, but was worth wasting an hour and a half on.
    Listened: A Rush of Blood to the Head. Coldplay gets a lot of shit for being “uninteresting”(Opening myself up for ridicule, because I like their music, FYI) but AROBTTH has a really nice Radiohead meets Muse meets chill kind of vibe, perfect for a rainy afternoon like yesterday 

  8. I’ve been rereading Eloisa James’s Wildes of Lindow Castle series because I just downloaded book 6 and I enjoyed all the other ones, but it’s been a while since I’d read them. 

  9. I’ve been watching The One on Netflix. The show is about a geneticist who discovers a gene marker that can match you with your  perfect partner. Two years later, she is CEO of a global matchmaking company and we follow the societal fallout of said technology. There’s a murder mystery, lots of flashbacks, detectives, and of course true love destroying conquering all.
    Still playing Animal Crossing New Horizons. But am slowly losing interest because I refuse to pay a monthly fee for the privilege of visiting other people’s islands…which means I’ll never grow all the fruit the game has to offer (sad face). I loathe pay to play models especially when the game itself is not free. But yeah I’m old-school and this is next gen gamer reality.

  10. I saw Wonder Boys in the theater and I don’t really remember much about it other than I believe it was filmed in Pittsburgh and there were lots of good shots around town.

    My book club is reading “Hidden Valley Road“, which is the story of a family devastated by schizophrenia. I’ve been listening to it, and it’s pretty good for falling asleep to thus far. 

    Watching: Burned through Ted Lasso AGAIN. 


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