I’ve been an investor in the stock market for over 30 years. I’ve never owned tobacco companies…until now. The reason I bought tobacco stocks: marijuana. With pot legalized in Washington state and Colorado, and with “medical marijuana” sweeping the nation, the signs are clear that marijuana will be legalized in the next few years. But who is going to market and distribute and collect the taxes on marijuana? I’m betting it’s going to be the tobacco companies. So I bought stakes in Altria Group, Inc. (previously named Philip Morris Companies Inc.) (MO) which sells Marlboros, Lorillard (LO) which sells Newports, and R. J. Reynolds (RAI) which sells Camels, Kools, and Winstons. Sadly, I had to sell my stakes in Cisco Systems, Raytheon, Corning, Juniper Networks, and Oracle to pull this off. If I’m right, these stock prices will soar in the coming years.
I’m always on the lookout for healthy, good-tasting food (the two don’t always have to be mutually exclusive). I happened on Gardein Chipotle Black Bean Burgers when I cashed in a BJ’s Warehouse coupon. For a pittlely amount of money, I had a dozen yummy veggie burgers. I nuked a couple of these burgers with some mozzarella cheese on top and I finished it off with some Tostitos Extra Hot Salsa.
Serving Size 1 burger (120g)
Amount Per Serving
Calories from Fat 80
% Daily Values*
Total Fat 9g 14%
Saturated Fat 0.5g 2%
Polyunsaturated Fat 0g
Monounsaturated Fat 0g
Trans Fat 0g
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 590mg 25%
Total Carbohydrate 23g 8%
Dietary Fiber 5g 20%
Vitamin A 8% Vitamin C 8%
Calcium 6% Iron 10%
Funny Girl was the first Barbra Streisand movie I ever saw as a kid. It was 1968 and I had just gone off the college. A habit of going to the movies every week took root. I’m sure I would have preferred an action movie, but Funny Girl opened that weekend so I bought a ticket. From the first scenes, I realized Barbra Streisand was a STAR. And the cast with Omar Sharif, Kay Medford, Anne Francis, and Walter Pidgeon were great. Now, decades later, Funny Girl is back on Blu-ray with cuts restored and extra material. If you love Funny Girl as much as I do, this new edition is a must-buy!
Pulitzer Prize winner Mark Mazzetti chronicles the slow but steady drift of the CIA and the Defense Department into secret wars and subcontracting out security services to shadowy organizations like Blackwater. My favorite parts of The Way of the Knife are the sections on the development of the drone program. I had no idea over 7,000 people have been killed by drones. If you want to learn about the direction of today’s CIA and Defense clandestine operations, The Way of the Knife delivers all the particulars. GRADE: B+
It’s hard to believe The Mentalist has been around for five seasons. I attribute the show’s longevity to Simon Baker. Baker plays Patrick Jane, an former “psychic” who abandons his con man ways to focus on his obsessive quest to find “Red John,” the serial killer who killed Jane’s wife and daughter. To have access to investigative resources, Jane works as a consultant to the California Bureau of Investigation. Tonight is the season finale and follows the pattern of the other four season finales as the Jane closes in on the identity of Red John. According to the promo ads, Jane has reduced the number of Red John suspects to seven. Don’t be surprised if this episode ends in a cliff-hanger.
I’ve made no secret about my fondness for the Iron Man franchise. When I was a kid reading Marvel Comics, Iron Man was my favorite character (over on the DC side, it was The Flash). When Robert Downey, Jr. was picked to play Tony Stark, the genius but idiosyncratic inventor, I was thrilled. And, when Gwyneth Paltrow (“The World’s Most Beautiful (and Hated) Woman”) was cast as Pepper, my heart did a back-flip! Iron Man 3 is the darkest of the three movies. Tony Stark takes a lot of punishment. Gwyneth gets to wear an Iron Man suit and has an expanded role. The 3D special effects are mind boggling. Iron Man 3 should be one of the biggest grossing movies of the Summer of 2013. I enjoyed Iron Man 3 and you will too! GRADE: A
Our best wishes go out to Ed Gorman for a quick recovery as he continues to convalesce at home. In the March issue of Mystery Scene magazine, Ed wrote an article on “My 10 Favorite John D. MacDonald Standalone Novels.” And here’s the list:
1. Dead Low Tide
2. Soft Touch
3. Deadly Welcome
4. Murder in the Wind
5. The Executioners
6. Slam the Big Door
7. The End of the Night
8. A Key to the Suite
9. A Flash of Green
10. The Drowner
I’ve been reviewing Ed’s choices. This week we’re up to Number Six from 1960: Slam the Big Door. Part buddy novel, part suspense novel Slam the Big Door introduces us to two friends. Mike Rodenska and Troy Jamison meet during WWII. Mike was a war correspondent, Troy was a war hero. After the war, they drifted apart. Mike pursued a career in journalism while Troy married, started a career in advertising, and nearly drank himself into a nervous breakdown. When Troy recovered he then moved to Florida to start over as a builder.
Years later, Troy invites Mike to visit. Mike is getting over the death of his wife and the surprise inheritance from an uncle who left Mike valuable stocks. Mike learns Troy is in deep trouble again. Slam the Big Door is one of JDM’s darkest and most naturalistic novels. JDM seems to be saying we can’t avoid our Fates.
When Diane and I donated some money to our local National Public Radio station, we were offered a choice of gifts. Usually we just decline, but this time they were offering two tickets to the simulcast of Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me. Diane listens to Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me every week so this was a must-go-to event. For those of you who are unfamiliar with the program, a panel of rotating guests are asked questions about the week’s events. There’s plenty of humor and satire. Playwright and actor Peter Sagal is the current genial host. Tonight’s simulcast will come from the NYU Skirball Center for the Performing Arts, New York, N.Y. Fun, fun, fun!
Imagine Top Chef except instead of participants competing on food preparation, the participants are engineers competing on engineering projects. That’s the premise of this new Discovery Channel program, The Big Brain Theory. Ten very bright engineers are competing for $50,000 and a plum job. Every week, one of the young engineers will be sent home. I’ll support any program that encourages young people to study science and math. The Big Brain Theory premiers tonight at 10 P.M. EDT. Check your local listings for times in your area. Check out the trailer below.
“The Best of Both Worlds” is a new version of the classic STAR TREK: THE NEXT GENERATION 2-part episode from 1990. The first part (episode 74) was the June cliff-hanger and the second part (episode 75) was the season opener in September. This new Blu-ray version has been digitally restored, converted to high-definition quality, and enhanced with new special effects.
As you Trekkies might remember, these are the episodes where the Enterprise and the Federation have to take on the Borg. The stunner is the Borg assimilation of Captain Jean-Luc Picard (Patrick Stewart). I remember wandering around all summer in 1990 wondering what was going to happen. September couldn’t have arrived fast enough! If you’re a fan of Star Trek, you’re going to love this restored classic. “The Best of Both Worlds” has also been broadcast in Regal Theaters as part of the promotion of the new Star Trek movie, Star Trek: Into the Darkness which opens May 17. Check out the trailer below.