By John Ruberry

Last night I ended another binge-watching venture, this time it was Ozark, a Netflix original series starring Jason Bateman. Season one, consisting of ten episodes, was released in July and Ozark has already been renewed for a second run.

Marty Byrde (Bateman) is a financial planner who makes a deal with the devil, actually a Mexican drug cartel, to launder its cash. So, Byrde quietly toils away and the cartel graciously thanks him for his efforts and all is well?

Uh, no.

Byrde and his wife Wendy (Laura Linney) are the typical smug Chicago area couple who I interact with regularly. Wendy is proud of her political activism, she even worked on Barack Obama’s state Senate campaigns, although it’s difficult to say why she was needed as Obama ran unopposed in all three of his Democratic primary races and the district he represented was far more Democratic than Wyoming is Republican. Perhaps Wendy was the scoundrel behind knocking all of Obama’s primary opponents off of the ballot. If so, it fits her character. Interestingly, there is an early scene of Marty inspecting office space Chicago’s Trump Tower.

Bryde’s handler, Camino Del Rio (Esai Morales), discovers $8 million in cartel cash is missing. After Byrde’s co-workers are well, liquidated, in an act of desperation Byrde convinces “Del” that Lake of the Ozarks, Missouri, which has “more coastline than the state of California,” is a far better place than Chicago to launder his dirty money because it’s not crawling with federal agents.

So seemingly quicker than it takes me to check out of a hotel room the Byrdes and their children, 15-year-old Charlotte (Sofia Hublitz) and Jonah (Skylar Gaertner) do a reverse-Beverly Hillbillies and relocate to the Lake of the Ozarks, one of several places in America known as a Redneck Riviera.

The Byrdes nearly immediately confront a family of small-time criminals, the Langmores, who live in–wait for it–run-down trailers. They are raising two bobcats. Just inside the door of one of the trailers is a a poster of a topless woman.

And like Brewster in the several Brewster’s Millions movies, Marty finds that quickly spending millions, or laundering it, is harder than he thought it would be, particularly in the rural location he chose. An even greater challenge for the Byrdes is a mysterious family of big-time criminals we meet later on. For comic relief, mostly, is the dying old man who lives in their basement–he is convinced Obama is a Muslim.

Even before the move the Byrde’s marriage is on the rocks–and the tension of a disintegrating family operating an illegal enterprise is reminiscent of Breaking Bad. The graphic violence is reminiscent of Sons of Anarchy. And while no genitalia is shown, the sex scenes are also quite graphic. So this family drama is by no means appropriate family viewing. Jason Bateman has come along way since his NBC sitcom Silver Spoons.

Blogger outside Chicago’s Trump Tower

I don’t expect there to be a tourist boom to Lake of the Ozarks because of the show, as the redneck cliches and the rampant lawlessness of Ozark will serve as a definite buzz-kill for travel-minded families. The Northwoods region’s vacation dollars are secure. Although outside of a few scenes in downtown Chicago, most of the show is filmed in a reservoir area in northern Georgia. And some of the Chicago scenes are laughably wrong–where do all of these hills come from? And there are no hills in Morris, Illinois either–a wonderful town I’ve visited many times, by the way. Here’s another inconsistency: The Byrdes’ suburban home was in Naperville. So why does their Honda Odyssey have an expensive Chicago vehicle sticker? An astute financial planner wouldn’t waste $136 on a useless decal.

Yes, I’ll be back for the next season. By then end of that one Ozark may have shed the shadow of Breaking Bad.

John Ruberry regularly blogs in the Chicago area at Marathon Pundit.

On CPAC Day one after Hannity I headed down radio row where I saw a familiar face

Angle may have failed to beat Harry Reid in 2012 and got a lot of grief over it, but then again if she had won then we might not have seen the nuclear option from Harry and Donald Trump’s current cabinet picks would have been dead on arrival.

The Lord works in mysterious ways.

I then talked to the team of Daria Novak & Frank Vernuccio who do both Radio and TV

Daria also ran for congress in CT

We’ll see more from Radio row later

DaTechGuy at CPAC 2017 (all videos not blogged about yet here)

CPAC 2017 Photos & Brief videos from the Sean Hannity Taping
Voices at CPAC 2017 Advocates: Melissa of Able Americans, Matt of American Majority
Voices at CPAC 2017 Yvonne (from almost #NeverTrump to Evangelical Coordinator) & Michael
Voices of CPAC 2017 Joe on Life behind the Berlin Wall


Voices at CPAC 2017 Liz a Cook County Republican (and Kasich delegate)
CPAC 2017 First Interviews Theresa an Attendee and Rob Eno of Conservative Review

Some Quick pre-cpac video and thoughts

2016 Fabulous 50 Blog Awards

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By Steve Eggleston

The last 2 weeks have been momentous in the media world, as three major multimedia companies, including the nation’s largest newspaper publishing group, announced they were spinning off their print operations, and a fourth completed its previously-announced spin-off of the second-largest newspaper publishing group:

  • On July 30, Cincinnati-based E.W. Scripps announced that, as part of its takeover of Milwaukee-based Journal Communications, set to close in 2015, it would be spinning off the combined companies’ print properties, along with the print properties’ associated electronic properties, into a liability-free company with $10 million in “seed money” and the Journal name.
  • On Monday, the Tribune Media Company completed the previously-announced spin-off of the second-largest newspaper group into Tribune Publishing. Notably, Tribune Media kept ownership of the electronic presence of the newspapers, and burdened the new print company with $350 million in debt and $120 million in office space lease costs through 2017.
  • On Tuesday, Gannett, publishers of USA Today, announced that it would be splitting off the largest newspaper group in 2015. Much like the Scripps/Journal deal, the newspaper side will retain the Gannett name and the newspaper-specific digital properties, with the broadcast company assuming all the current debt.

These moves are on the heels of last year’s successful spin-off of Rupert Murdoch’s newspaper empire, headlined by The Wall Street Journal, from his larger multimedia empire. A New York Times article from last year announcing the Tribune spin-off explains why this is happening:

Despite the immediate interest from bidders, Tribune faces a tough market for newspapers, especially large regional dailies that have been hit hard by changes in advertiser and consumer behavior. In October, The Tampa Tribune sold for a scant $9.5 million; Philadelphia’s newspapers sold for $55 million in April 2012 after fetching $515 million in 2006.

Some investors are so concerned about print that they will not buy any companies with publishing stakes, according to Reed Phillips, a managing partner for DeSilva & Phillips, a media banking firm. “Shareholders aren’t rewarding companies for being diversified anymore,” he said. “Print media, there’s a real negative connotation.”

He said investors wanted to see companies that were exclusively focused on print and were trying to show how they would make a profitable transition to digital. “They’re going to have to be transformed,” said Mr. Phillips about these print companies. “Then investors may get re-excited.”

Given the economics of newsprint have only declined since then, there continues to be no upside for a vertically-integrated multimedia company to include newsprint. To put it bluntly, the population of those who like the feel of newsprint rather than staring at a screen is dying off quite quickly, and the fixed costs of delivering that newsprint are skyrocketing.

Another reason the multimedia companies are splitting off their newsprint operations is the FCC’s antiquated cross-ownership rules, which between 1975 and 2007, and again since 2011 following a court order, prohibit a single non-grandfathered company from owning both a newspaper and a TV or radio station in the same market. That was a stated factor in Gannett’s divesture of its print properties, and was likely a factor in Scripps/Journal’s divesture of their print properties.

Louise Pendrake (Lulu): This life is not only wicked and sinful. It isn’t even any fun.

Jack Crab: No, I reckon I reckon not, Mrs Pendrake.

Louise Pendrake: (Lulu): Yet, if I was married and could come here once or twice a week, well it might be fun. But every night, it’s just boring!

Little Big Man 1970

Some of the best Doctor Who episodes of the Russell P Davies era were written by Stephen Moffat.  Blink, Silence of the Library all Steven Moffat so when he took over the reigns of the series with Matt Smith I expected great things.

Unfortunately while Matt Smith is a first-rate Doctor Moffat has rightly gotten a reputation as a one trick pony.  It’s time paradox, time paradox, time paradox.  One Sally Sparrow story is fine now and again and lot of the Moffat stories would stand very well alone.  However if every story seems to be a temporal paradox as Louise Pendrake put it, it’s just boring.

That’s why I was so pleased with The Bells of St. John.

Yes it’s highly likely this entire season is going to be, once again a giant temporal paradox all over again, everything we’ve seen of Clara suggests this kind of thing, but for now, this one episode we have what appears to be a linear story.

That’s why I’m willing to overlook the book written by Amy Pond,  the “best help line in the universe.”  (almost certainly it will be the Doctor who arranges to give her the number) because of what comes along with it;  a nice linear semi plausible story.

We have the Doctor determined to keep Clara alive.  We see the moral outrage of the Doctor as he realizes what his happening to people, we see the first-rate effects of the landing on the airplane and we see people reacting to the landing of the TARDIS and the Doctor playing it up as an act.  (Shades of Big Finish 4th doctor adventure Energy of the Daleks) and the riding up the Shard really works.

But most of all we have a story with a clear and distinct, beginning, middle and end.  A clear villain and threat and an actual resolution.

The best test of a cook is to see how they do something basic.  This episode contained the basics of the storytelling craft and Moffat and an excellent cast pulls it off.

I suspect the next 7-8 episodes will not contain a lot of linear stories, certainly not ones written by Moffat so I might as well enjoy it.  You should enjoy it too.


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I do not approve, I understand

Spock, Star Trek A Taste of Armageddon 1967

One of the shows of my youth I still have a soft spot for is Daniel Boone staring Fess Parker.

Although wildly A-Historical in some places and with no respect for timelines (back to back episodes take place as far as 30 years  apart with no cast aging) it is a good wholesome show that is not only entertaining but promotes solid messages without sacrificing drama or realism.

The second season closed with a two part “origin” story The High Cumberland that partially re-wrote the 1st season pilot (removing Albert Salmi’s character who departed after season 1) and explain how Boone met his wife Rebecca (played by Patrica Blair one of the least appreciated beauties in television history). They were later re-edited into a feature film shown in Europe.

The plot revolves around Boone’s attempt to get his supply wagons through to the newly founded fort at Boonesborough before winter. After many false starts and harrowing adventures Daniel and his wagons (including indentured servant Rebecca Brian) are approached by a pair of men from the settlement of Ninety Six. Their own wagons had not arrived and they offer a considerable amount of money for Mr. Boone’s supplies. Despite their entreaties and their description of the situation for the settlers at ninety six Boone politely refuses each time.

As the men leave the outspoken Rebecca challenges Daniel on his refusal citing the dire conditions at Ninety Six. He replies that those people are not his responsibility, the setters at Boonesborough are. They put their trust in him and their welfare is his responsibility above all else.

Rebecca continues saying those people at Ninety Six are going to have a hard winter and he replies: Then let the people who are responsible for them take care of their own. His responsibility is to the lives entrusted to his care.

Which brings us to Chris Christie and Chris Bedford’s excellent piece on his chances in 2016 at the Daily Caller.

I’ll be talking about it in more detail later but for now I’d like to focus on a particular bit in the piece:

As the Wall Street Journal’s editorial board pointed out, the bill contained “$150 million for Alaskan fisheries; $2 million for roof repair at the Smithsonian in Washington; and about $17 billion for liberal activists under the guise of ‘community development’ funds and so-called social service grants,” among a slew of other waste.

“Far from being must-pass legislation,” the NYC-based Journal continued, “this is a disgrace to the memory of the victims and could taint legitimate efforts to deal with future disasters.”

Yet Christie described those who stopped those who tried to stop this wasteful spending hidden in this bill as having “failed that most basic test of public service.” and is demanding millions of dollars more for his battered state.


The answer is very simple. Chris Christie sees in the job he is in. Governor of NJ. He knows the rules of Washington, he knows the fiscal situation and has not been shy about speaking to it time and time again.

But all of that doesn’t matter, his responsibility are the people of New Jersey and the people still recovering from Sandy. That’s why, in my opinion what drove him the week before the election and what still drives him now.

You may think it’s not a valid excuse (that’s a fair debate) you might think he’s playing with other people’s money (you’re right) you might think it’s about his re-election (well DUH!)

To the people who still aren’t settled who have for some reason decided that the President has absolutely no responsibility for a natural disaster affecting multiple states he like Boone from the TV show is the person responsible for getting them back again.

And if Christie believes this as well then it’s not going to matter what anybody says, he’s going to just charge forward on the Sandy stuff and all the blogs and comments in the world won’t move him one the world won’t matter.

Clarke Hayden: “Money respects money. Even more so in a bad economy.”

The Good Wife Waiting for the Knock 2012

A few months ago I was talking to Joe Mangiacotti of Out with Joe telling him about the TV show Last Resort about a rogue group of US submariners who steal their sub after disobeying an order to fire.

When I told him the pilot ends with the sub firing a nuke warhead at the US he was incredulous saying something along the lines of:

Do these people really believe that Americans are going to watch and support a TV show where soldiers are firing on their own country?

Yes they really did, but via live at five they don’t anymore:

Freshman dramas Last Resort and 666 Park Avenue will not move forward at ABC.

The network has opted to cancel both underperforming series, despite picking up two additional scripts for both.

This should be no surprise.  Anyone who has followed movies over the last few years has seen picture after picture depicting US troops through the liberal mindset crash and burn losing tens to hundreds of millions for their studios.

Yet the same types who were sold on throwing their money away on those movies somehow bought the idea that it would sell in the more competitive Television market with 100’s of other choices just a click away?

Why did they think it would be different?  Because their entire world lives within the bubble of the Murphy Brown effect.

Ladd Ehlinger explains:

For those too young to remember, Bush the Elder and his Vice-President, Dan Quayle, were both pilloried by the popular sitcom starring Candice Bergen week in and week out for months on end. But it was not just “Murphy Brown,” it was a huge chorus of pop-culture voices all singing the same tune, that Bush and Quayle were stupid, or evil, etc.

So when I say “Murphy Brown effect” I refer not just to the sitcom, but to the entire pop-culture chorus.

And that effect drove the four most important words from these the hollywood reporter article:

…the critically acclaimed drama starring Andre Braugher and Scott Speedman, is averaging 7.3 million total viewers and a 1.7 in the demo. Thursday’s episode notched its lowest-rated hour to date, attracting 5.8 million viewers and a 1.2.

…the critically acclaimed drama.

Media is all about opening doors to the right people. It’s the reason why so many idiots are willing to lose fortunes making Tina Brown and Arianna Huffington richer. As long as the critics come from that same Murphy Brown bubble, Hollywood will continue to market to those fools in the mistaken belief that it will make them.

It is the other side of the Murphy Brown effect.   Ladd is right about how it tilts elections:

Until conservatives bigwigs recognize the fundamental power of pop-culture, and start investing in the arts (movies, television, music, etc.) to counteract this trend, they will continue to remain irrelevant, continue to lose their country, and continue to lose elections.

But that same effect blinds filmmakers not only to their errors like Last Resort but the possibility of profit wealth and fame from a conservative slant.

Just imagine if we had enough people in media who could positively buzz a conservative show to anything resembling critical acclaim and the money to back such ventures. Suddenly conservatives on the west coast would not worry about their next job if they spoke out or approved a script because there would be an outlet that could deliver profit and audience to their endeavors.

Every day we don’t fight the culture war on the turf of the arts, we are Israel letting Hamas shell us without response.

The arts are the ground where we must fight.

Friar Tuck: I’m sorry my Lord, the maid has sought sanctuary in a consecrated place.

Lord Germaine: Nonsense…

Friar Tuck: Violation of sanctuary is punishable by Excommunication!

Sir William: Excommunication!

Lord Germaine: How dare you threaten me! Once again Friar, stand aside.

Sir William: Wait Germaine, our very souls may be at state.

The Adventures of Robin Hood 1955 Episode 4 Friar Tuck

It is has been a truism that stories, poems and histories have a big effect on culture and actions. When the age of movies and television came those same effects came through. My own favorite show of the era was the Adventures of Robin Hood starring Richard Greene. I always try to encourage modern lefties to watch the show. It’s usually not hard since once they find out Ring Lardner one of the blacklisted communist writers was involved it becomes almost a duty for them. Of course while Lardner tries to give his anti-capitalist message he finds himself over and over instead giving the message against modern relativism, as the church (specifically the Catholic Church) becomes the classic protector of the downtrodden against an increasingly immoral state.

When watching most TV series from the 60’s you can’t help but notice that the moral norms of traditional Americanism. Hard work, church and earning your own way are emphasized, as is the idea of personal honor.

With the advent of the counter-culture all of these were questioned in TV and movies with unsurprising results culturally.

I thought of this when I saw Ladd Ehlinger Jr.’s piece today on the subject of the movies.

Unfortunately, most people who read conservative blogs are people whose minds are already made up. Collectivists know this, which is why they rule the world of entertainment. They are also extraordinarily good at giving their own “kind” a shot. Take a look at most indie films out there (the world where all filmmakers start) and most suffer from severe economic restraints: no name actors, simple stories with one or two locations. “Art” films. But they get reviewed, they get distributed, they get “out there” because collectivist media knows how to fight through fiction.

Which leaves conservative filmmakers at a severe disadvantage. How do you get the word out about your micro-budget indie conservative film (because no one in H’wood will invest studio bucks into your stuff, when there’s all those anti-war movies to make), when you don’t have name actors, and the only media philosophically inclined to notice you has – for lack of a more delicate term – its head up its own ass reading and writing intricate articles on the latest conservative concept on income tax restructuring (which changes few minds, if any), or the latest liberal outrage of the day?

Just a thought: if you really want liberty to win, you need to beat the creators of today’s “Murphy Browns” and “Bourne Identities.” Not the obscure bloggers of Media Matters or the morons at MSNBC. You do this by giving more air to conservative “fictioneers” than to their opponents (like Michael Moore’s jockstrap), even if reporting on the latest jockstrap’s stupidity gets you more hits or ratings.

It will take time, but it can happen.

It can not be overestimated how important this kind of thing is, consider this speech from Lord of the Rings, Return of the King.

the Lord of the Rings series is the classic tale of Western Civilization and values, I think it is no coincidence that the movies came out before the start of the war on terror. Think of how many people were inspired by these pictures at a time when it was needed most.

The problem is that we can’t count on movie makers to be finding more classic conservative stories to adapt. We are better off supporting our own writers and movie makers as Ladd suggests.

If we want to win the culture wars, we have to fight on the field where the war takes place.

And in that same spirit, I bring you this video from the band Madison Rising:

Sitcoms don’t last forever and this week I think we saw a preview of the final episode of the Big bang theory:

let’s recall the path we took to get here. At the end of Season 3 Amy Farah Fowler is introduced they meet, the next season there is this exchange when Sheldon finds Amy wants him to meet her mother:

Sheldon: I don’t want the next level. I like this level. Fix it for me

Leonard” How am I supposed to fix it

Sheldon: Simple you want a girlfriend, Amy wants to be someone’s girlfriend, take her off my hands, I give you my blessing.

Leonard: That is insane.

Sheldon: You’re right that will never work. Amy finds you tedious.

This isn’t to say that the series shouldn’t go in that direction, it should and it will be very funny. I’m just predicting that when the series finally ends (6th season, 10th season 15th season who knows?) It will likely end with not the final resolution of Penny and Leonard but with the wedding of Amy Farah Fowler to Sheldon Cooper. The final scene being Sheldon’s mother turning to the rest of the group saying “If you science boys want proof on the power of prayer, there it is.”

Was not only the best single episode I’ve seen in the series (and I’ve been watching since 1981) but could easily been a season or series finale.

Four comments:

Arthur Darvill is in my opinion the best companion The Doctor has ever had.

Karen Gillian was always a good companion but she and Arther Darvill click. They NEED to be in another series together once they leave this one.

When Catlin Blackwood grows up it will be an incredible loss for the series.

If Alex Kingston was any hotter you could replace the furnace in your house with her.

And Matt Smith continues to out Doctor everyone in sight.

And Stephen Moffat has solved a huge upcoming problem for the series in spectacular fashion.

I don’t care if you have a coupon for a free hour at the Midnight Bunny Ranch in Nevada redeemable only during the show, Sit down and watch tonight’s episode instead.

Update: Seriously how can you not like something like this:

Update: OK it was six thoughts so sue me.