Tonight Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. will wrap up with a 2-hour season finale that will further complicate the conflict between humans and humans with “powers.” I enjoyed the story arc this season as the implications of Skye’s transformation by the alien artifact impact the S.H.I.E.L.D. team. Plenty of plot twists and unexpected events kept me off-balance (which I relish). Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and Agent Carter have been renewed by ABC for next season. I’m overjoyed!


David Brooks is one of the “smart” conservatives. He writes a column for the New York Times (which disqualifies him from the Right in some circles), he believes in science and climate change, and actually listens to Liberals. I’ve read David Brooks’ other books:
Bobos in Paradise: The New Upper Class and How They Got There (2000) ISBN 0-684-85377-9
On Paradise Drive: How We Live Now (And Always Have) in the Future Tense (2004) ISBN 0-7432-2738-7
The Social Animal: The Hidden Sources of Love, Character, and Achievement (2011) ISBN 978-1-4000-6760-2
The Road to Character (Random House, 2015) ISBN 978-0-8129-9325-7
David Brooks’ latest book delves into the old-fashioned concept of “character.” Brooks claims that the younger generation craves substantial changes in our materialistic culture so their character can be tested and developed. I found Brooks’ argument intriguing, but my students seem more concerned about getting a Good Job and paying off their student debts. A Road to Character was AMAZON’s top seller a few weeks ago. Obviously, there’s an audience for this kind of thoughtful work. GRADE: A-

I CAN’T IMAGINE By Shelby Lynne

Shelby Lynne is most often categorized as a “Country” singer but I dispute that. Her songs on her new CD, I Can’t Imagine, have plenty of folk influences, too. I’ve been a fan of Shelby Lynne since her 1999 album, I Am Shelby Lynne, which won a Grammy. Shelby Lynne’s Dusty Springfield tribute album, Just a Little Lovin’, is underrated. Allison Moorer, one of my favorite singers, is Shelby Lynne’s sister. If you’re looking for some entertaining, mellow music, here it is. Check out “Sold the Devil” below. GRADE: B+
1 Paper Van Gogh (3:21)
2 Back Door Front Porch (4:31)
3 Sold the Devil (Sunshine) (4:08)
4 Son of a Gun (5:19)
5 Down Here (4:57)
6 Love is Strong (3:44)
7 Better (4:32)
8 Be In the Now (3:28)
9 Following You (3:42)
10 I Can’t Imagine (3:04)


BAEN Books wraps up their reprinting of A. Bertram Chandler’s John Grimes Saga with this 6th volume. This is an amazing value: 649 pages for a mere $10.99. This volume includes three novels and a six short stories that complete the story of John Grimes on the Rim of the galaxy. If your tastes run to well written science fiction adventures in time and space, you’ll enjoy these classic stories. The bonus in this book is “Around the World in 23,741 Days,” a memoir where Chandler writes about his career of seafaring and writing. I read these works when they were first published, but it’s nice to have them collected in these great omnibus volumes from BAEN. Don’t miss them! You can find my reviews of the other Grimes omnibus volumes here, here, here, here, and here.
Gateway to Never
The Dark Dimension
The Way Back
“The Dutchman”
“The Last Hunt”
“On the Account”
“Rim Change”
“Doggy in the Window”
“Grimes and the Gaijin Daimyo”
“Around the World in 23,741 Days”


I’ve watched nine of the ten episodes of this loopy action series. Tonight is the concluding episode with plenty of secrets to be revealed. DIG is a mix of 24 and The Di Vinci Code. A cult is planning to trigger a catastrophic event that will bring the End of the World and who knows what else. Jason Isaacs (who played Malfoy’s father in the Harry Potter series) is the dumbest FBI agent I’ve ever watched. He’s sleeping with his boss, played by Anne Heche, and the two of them are very slow to Figure Things Out. I’ve I didn’t have all this time invested, I would have walked away from this meandering series. But, tonight, I want to get some answers and closure.


Tonight I’ll be attending the yearly Student Government Association’s Awards Banquet at the Millennium Hotel. I’ll be receiving a “Teacher of the Year” award from my students. I’m not much for awards, but this one has a special meaning. It’s not being bestowed by administrators or colleagues. The students I teach chose to honor me with this award. It’s occasions like this that make me glad I’m a teacher.


ruth rendell mysteries
With Ruth Rendell’s recent death, I thought I would honor her memory by watching this video collection I picked up years ago. Here’s what you get for about $15 on AMAZON:
Master of the Moor—Since boyhood, Stephen Whalby (Colin Firth) has sought solitude on the wild, windy moor. But his taciturn ways and familiarity with the wilderness make him the prime suspect in a series of shocking murders. Approx. 154 min.

Vanity Dies Hard—After her best friend mysteriously disappears, Alice Fielding (Eleanor David) begins to suspect foul play, perhaps even murder. And the killer may have targeted Alice herself as the next victim. Approx. 155 min.

The Secret House of Death—Newly divorced Susan Townsend (Amanda Redman) makes a grisly discovery in her suburban neighborhood and soon becomes involved in a potentially deadly intrigue. Approx. 103 min.

The Double—Two women, identical in appearance but totally different in personality, compete for the affections of one man. Which will lose love and perhaps her life? Approx. 103 min.

And, as if that weren’t enough, the DVD SPECIAL FEATURES include a Ruth Rendell biography and cast filmographies! This is a nice package at a great price.


Diane and I upgraded to the new Time-Warner Enhanced DVR. Our old DVR would only record two TV programs at the same time. This Enhanced DVR allows you to record up to six TV programs at the same time. And, this new Enhanced DVR gives us the ability to save 150 hours of high-definition programming on its 1-terabyte (1,000 gigabytes) hard drive. You never know when you’re going to have to record over a 100 hours of Good Stuff! Of course, this all comes at a price: $3 a month. We think it’s worth it.