Book 4 (of 52) – Silent Witness

Silent Witness – Rebecca Forster

In the second entry of the Josie Bates saga, Archer’s past comes back to haunt him as he is arrested for the murder of his deceased wife’s child.  While Josie struggles to learn the truth, both about that fateful day at the amusement park where the boy died and about Archer and his past, she worries that her relationship will not survive the trial, regardless of the outcome.

I read the first part of this series 8 years ago, when I got it for free.  At the time, I said “I’m not sure if I’m willing to throw down cash for the next in the series.”  Well, eventually, I found a good deal on the entire series, so here we are.  I don’t recall much of the previous outing, so I can’t compare Forster’s writing to see if it improved.  But now that I own the entire thing, I’m sure I’ll dive back in at some point, probably without the 8 year wait.


iTunes Top 200 Artists: #171-178

It’s been 4 years since we last counted down the Top 200 artists in my iTunes library.  Since my iTunes stats are still intact, across multiple PCs, iPods, iPads, and iPhones, I figured it was time to take another look at the artists that have entertained me the most based on number of plays from late 2007 through January 1, 2021.

We continue today with our next batch of 10 artists, the remaining 3 tied for 178th place, 2 tied for 176th, and the 5 tied for 171st, and zoom past the half a century mark in plays.  Once again, 5 of these bands and/or performers are newcomers to this list.

#178: Depeche Mode
iTunes stats: 49 plays
Previous ranking: N/A

Members of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame class of 2020, the English band makes their debut by picking up 26 additional plays of their 3 songs in my collection.

#178: Coolio
iTunes stats: 49 plays
Previous ranking: #123

The 2 hit wonder, who won the 1996 Grammy for Best Rap Solo Performance, drops 55 slots after parlaying those 2 hits into just 14 new listens over the past 4 years.

#178: Stan Bush
iTunes stats: 49 plays
Previous ranking: #159

The star of the TransFormers: The Movie soundtrack has 2 tracks comprise his total.

#176: Dean Martin
iTunes stats: 50 plays
Previous ranking: N/A

More than doubling his previous total gives the deceased Rat Packer a decent debut on the chart.

#176: Lita Ford
iTunes stats: 50 plays
Previous ranking: N/A

The former Runaways guitarist jumps onto the list mostly due to now getting credit for her 1989 duet with Ozzy Osbourne.

#171: K.C. & The Sunshine Band
Continue reading →

By The Numbers – 71

In 1929, uniform numbers appeared on the back of baseball jerseys for the first time, thanks to the Indians and the Yankees.  By 1937, numbers finally appeared across all uniforms, both home and away, across both major leagues.  Since that time, 81 distinct numbers have been worn by members of the White Sox, while the Cubs boast 76.

Today, we continue our look at those players, picking our favorite, if not the best, player to wear each uniform number for both Chicago teams with #71.  5 players have donned #71 while playing in Chicago, 3 for the White Sox and 2 for the Cubs.

Wade Davis was acquired by the Cubs prior to the 2017 season to replace Aroldis Chapman and help the Cubs defend their first World Series title in 108 years.  He set a franchise record with 27 consecutive saves.  He tied a LDS record by notching saves in all 3 Cub victories.  Following the season, he left as a free agent.

Jace Fry donned #71 when called up by the White Sox in 2017.  His 10.80 ERA in 11 games was not great.  When he changed his number the following year, his numbers also improved.  I’m sure there was no correlation between the two.

2020: The Year In Television

Last year was a bit disjointed when it comes to television shows.  The corona virus shut down most productions along with the rest of the world back in March, leaving the 2019-2020 season to end abruptly and causing the 2020-2021 season to roll out late, if at all.  On the other hand, it also caused me to be home full time since March, giving me plenty of time to catch up on streaming shows I may have missed or that were newly released.  Since we cover the network and cable shows that I watch elsewhere, let’s take a look at the 23 seasons of shows I streamed on various platforms this year.

Away Season 1 (Netflix)
Hillary Swank plays an astronaut who leaves her family behind on Earth to captain the first manned mission to Mars.

Blindspot Seasons 4 & 5 (Hulu)
I had fallen a bit behind on this NBC show that wrapped up last summer so I combined what episodes I still had on the DVR with Hulu to burn through the final two seasons.

Bosch Season 1 (Amazon Prime)
Based on the book series by Michael Connelly, I watched the first of six seasons last fall.

Chilling Adventures Of Sabrina Part 3 (Netflix)
The latest installment of the darker interpretation of Archie Comics character is probably the only show I had watched pre-pandemic.

DC’s Legends Of Tomorrow Season 5 (Netflix)
I had only watched the first episode of the season pre-pandemic, which was the Crisis On Infinite Earths crossover, as it aired, so I combined what was on my DVR with Netflix to burn through the season quickly.

Dead To Me Seasons 1 & 2 (Netflix)
Christina Applegate and Linda Cardellini get entwined in each other’s lives after killing each other’s husbands.

The Flash Season 6 (Netflix)
Like most of the DC shows, I hit pause after the Crisis crossover and before the season ended early, using my DVR and Netflix to catch up.

The Flight Attendant Season 1 (HBO Max)
Kaley Cuoco returns as a flight attendant with drinking issues who finds herself in the middle of a murder investigation.

Lost In Space Season 1 (Netflix)
The remake of the 60s classic came out a few years back, but I never got to it until my December vacation.

Never Have I Ever Season 1 (Netflix)
A comedy about a high school aged Indian girl fighting against her traditional family while wanting to be a “normal” teen.

Ozark Season 3 (Netflix)
The latest installment of the money laundering family in Missouri and their dealings with the Mexican drug cartels. Continue reading →

2020: The Year In Movies Part 2

Movie_Reel_22272 different people starred in the 154 movies I saw last year (starring in being the first two named stars, a tradition dating back to the old Chicago Tribune TV guide which populated the early days of my database), and 28 of them starred in more than 1 film. Those 28 thespians are:

Films Per Actor Per Year
Actor Name Films
Charles Bronson 4
Harrison Ford 4
Katie Holmes 3
Keanu Reeves 3
Bruce Willis 3
Renee Zellwegger 3
Chadwick Boseman 2
Alison Brie 2
Jessica Chastain 2
Adam Driver 2
Jesse Eisenberg 2
Karen Gillan 2
Carla Gugino 2
Tom Hanks 2
Anna Hutchison 2
Samuel L. Jackson 2
Gillian Jacobs 2
Felicity Jones 2
Ewan McGregor 2
Kumail Nanjiani 2
Al Pacino 2
Brad Pitt 2
Issa Rae 2
Arnold Schwarzenegger 2
Will Smith 2
Kristen Stewart 2
Charlize Theron 2
Jessie T. Usher 2

Now let’s take a look at the next batch of movies that I saw in 2020, following up on last Wednesday’s post.

The Prodigy (2019)
The soul of a serial killer takes over a young boy’s body, much to his mother’s chagrin.

Alex & The List (2017)
A dog trainer is given a list of things to change about himself by his fiancé before she’ll marry him.

Hide (2011)
A Boston detective investigates the mummified remains of six women.

Pretty Little Stalker (2018)
A writer takes in a troubled girl and sees her family disintegrate.

Road To Perdition (2002)
Tom Hanks and Paul Newman star in this adaptation of the graphic novel by Max Allan Collins and Richard Piers Rayner.

Jumanji: The Next Level (2019)
The kids head back into the game, this time dragging along Dannys DeVito and Glover.

Are You In The House Alone? (1978)
A supposed horror movie that turned out to be a made-for-tv movie.

My Soul To Take (2010)
A serial killer returns to his hometown to stalk the seven children born on the day he was allegedly put to rest.

Bridget Jones: The Edge Of Reason (2004)
The second installment in the series starring Renee Zellwegger.

Good People (2014)
A couple finds themselves in a pickle after discovering, and keeping, cash in their dead tenants apartment. Continue reading →

2020: The Year In Movies


Thanks to the corona virus inspired shelter-in-place order that kept everyone locked at home from mid-March through my annual long December vacation, I saw a big increase in movie watching, with my highest total since 2008.  I managed to watch 154 movies last year, easily surpassing the 100 movie plateau for the first time since 2011 and my third highest total of all time.  It’s amazing what I can accomplish when I am home all day and don’t need to bother with pesky things like a commute.  Or exercise.

Here’s a look back at the first 50 movies I watched last year and what recollection, if any, I have of them. The films are listed in the order I saw them.

Sister Cities (2016)
Four sisters reunite following the somewhat suspicious passing of their mother.

Home Again (2017)
Reese Witherspoon takes on three boarders and finds her life change for the better.

It Chapter 2 (2019)
Now adults, the Losers Club returns to Derry to finish off Pennywise once and for all.

The Domestics (2018)
A young couple crosses a post-apocalyptic country looking for safety.

On The Basis Of Sex (2018)
A young Ruth Bader Ginsberg argues in front of the Supreme Court.

Colonia (2016)
A young woman searches for her kidnapped boyfriend.

Long Shot (2019)
A once-promising journalist hooks up, professionally and personally, with his former babysitter, who is running for president.

Overboard (2018)
The roles are reversed in this remake of the Kurt Russell/Goldie Hawn classic.

John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum (2019)
Keanu Reeves returns for the third installment of this surprisingly entertaining series.

Midsommar (2019)
A group of college students heads to Sweden for a festival and some strange shit goes down. Continue reading →

Book 3 (of 52) – Double Or Nothing

Double Helix – Peter David

After an encounter with the Romulans in Thollian space destroys a Starfleet vessel, Captain Calhoun of the Excalibur is assigned to a secret mission by Starfleet Intelligence to infiltrate a Thollian general’s inner circle while the Excalibur, temporarily commanded by Will Riker, tries to track down the Romulans.  Meanwhile, unbeknownst to Calhoun, Captain Picard has also been sent on a secret mission, one that brings the two together as they find out who has been responsible for the deadly double helix virus and what the ultimate goal of it was.

Double or Nothing, the fifth entry of the Double Helix series, puts Peter David back on my radar for the first time, at least in book form, since 2001.  He imports the characters from his New Frontier series and teams them with two members of the Enterprise crew to wrap up the mystery of who is testing out this deadly new virus and why.  To his credit, David manages to stick the landing.  Of course, this does beg the question of what takes place in the sixth and final entry of the series, if everything was wrapped up here.  I guess we shall see sooner or later.