Coronavirus Days 20 – Bond & Bored

I’m a James Bond baby.

My parents, Albert & Maree, were on Honeymoon in London in November 1962. That’s when the first James Bond film, Dr. No, was premiered. They got to see the original Bond in London when it opened. Dr. No is the one where hot bikini clad Ursula Andress emerged from the ocean glistening, knife on hip, conch in hand and gets some underneath the mango tree action. Later, Daniel Craig, would look equally hot coming out from the waves wearing his powder blue tighties in Casino Royale.

I’m getting off track.

Seemingly my parent’s Honeymoon was far more “Albert, Yes!” than “Dr. No.” I was born in August 1963.

On to Number Two

There wasn’t a lot of Bond viewing done by my parents in the next 10 years. There were five of us O’Tooles spawned.

Starting young in Galway, Saturday afternoons were usually a double feature of Connery’s Bond movies and Eastwood’s spaghetti westerns at the sticky Town Hall Cinema. I once saw a screening in that theatre of Jaws & Jaws II. They showed Jaws II first. Took a bit of the tension out of Jaws.

Geek Trivia: Quint (Robert Shaw) from Jaws was the villain in the second Bond movie From Russia With Love and I worked with the wife of Peter Perkins who was Robert Shaw’s stunt double in the best Bond fight ever in the train carriage.

Everyone’s got their favorite Bond and their favorite Bond movie. Mine are Goldfinger, the gold standard, and Sean Connery, all charm and menace. Daniel Craig is my clear second and I think Casino Royale and Skyfall are not just excellent Bond movies, they are excellent movies by any standard.


As a binge recommendation, I’m going with Bond movies. They were made to be entertaining and they just are. Pick your favorite Bond and put on one of his films.

If you have never read an Ian Fleming Bond novel, I’m recommending that you do. The originals now work very well as period pieces. Unlike the movies, the books do not deal with the cutting-edge technologies of their day. It means the books age better. Two of the Bond novels I enjoyed most are, New York set, Live and Let Die and, one not set in New York, From Russia With Love (JFK’s favorite book).

There have been other Author’s continued writing Bond novel’s since Fleming’s early demise. They have mixed results. A very good one is Solo by renowned Author William Boyd. It picks up at Bond’s 40th birthday.

So fucking bored I started putting away the Christmas decorations.

Bond books are all short reads.

So here in Chronological Order of Bonds, are some of the best movies starring an ex-Bond. It’s a bit listy.

The Hunt For Red October: Sean Connery as a Russian Submarine Commander steals a nuclear sub and must avoid his countrymen and get it to the USA. This is a tense, smart thriller and worth watching, if only to hear the only Russian commander ever with a Scottish accent. “Tonight we shail into hyssstory.” Go Sean! Connery won his only Oscar for De Palma’s prohibition flic The Untouchables . Put that one on your list too. In that film Sean does the worst Irish accent ever. But you all know his bring a knife to a gunfight quote.

So fucking bored I cleaned the counters.

The Kentucky Fried Movie : George Lazenby, the Aussie Bond you all forget on trivia night. He gave up acting after one Bond and only has a cameo in this ridiculous film. The sketch comedy ages terribly in parts, is completely non-PC, but some bits are still hilarious.

The Wild Geese: Roger Moore as an Irish mercenary! He’s part of a team lead by Richard Burton sent to rescue a kidnapped African leader. Its pretty awful but it’s a guilty pleasure of mine. Anything with Richard Burton I’ll watch. Nothings a bigger guilty pleasure than Burton in The Medusa Touch.

Flash Gordon (1980): Timothy Dalton is just the co-star, wearing a kinda Robin Hoody costume. But I’ll use any excuse to recommend this cult classic 1980 sci-fi film. And Ted the talking bear loved it.

So fucking bored I went to the driving range.

The Ghostwriter : Pierce Brosnan plays an ex-British Prime Minister who hires a ghostwriter to finish his autobiography. The previous ghostwriter was murdered, and so starts this excellent Martha’s Vineyard based mystery. The book, The Ghost by Robert Harris is well worth picking up. I’ve a copy in my office when you’re back!

And to our final James Bond, Daniel Craig in Layer Cake. My top neo-noir British gangster film of the past twenty years stars Craig, pre-Bond. He’s a cocaine dealer doing that one big last deal before he gets out. We all know how that usually works.

I was a little bored today.

Maeve is finishing her first Harry Potter.

Coronavirus Days 19 – Nature

Here’s a little known fact about me. I do a lot of gardening.

At One With The Soil

On the positive side of this lockdown, I will get a head start on my garden this year.

We usually only get to our Ancramdale house on the weekends. I have a big garden and take care of all the planting and weeding myself, for all the beds surrounding the house. The acres in front are brush-hogged by neighbor Big Lou. Brush hogging is not something you do to a pet pig; it involves a tractor, some big blades and tall grass.

Tooleing Around The Garden

I have been building out the garden year by year for the last 17. Fortunately, I seem to be immune to poison ivy and poison oak and I’m proficient at pulling out deer tick. Wildlife abounds here. I have encountered a four-foot garden snake out back. He was feeding on the little froggies in the little pond I had. It got rid of the little frogies.I got rid of the little pond.

A Baby

My biggest problem with nature to date has been a fucking ground hog chewing away on my front porch rocker. He favored the red rocker not the green for some reason. Perhaps like me, he never eats anything healthy.

That furry little shit was living under my garden shed. I was told that you could drive out groundhogs using kitty litter. I tried pouring it down the critters hole. I just ended up with sandy blue crap all over my lawn. Somebody should have explained it was used cat litter that works. I refuse to pee down a groundhog hole, another option suggested. Those things bite.

Fair Warning

I tried the humane approach. I left warning signs. No good.

Big Lou offered to shoot the waddling rodent in the head with his 22.

I don’t have groundhogs anymore.

I also had issues with birds nesting above my outdoor speakers. More of my first world problems. The concern was that the flood lights above would set the nest above on fire. There have been home fires caused this way in the County. This was another story from Big Lou. He was a volunteer fireman and a man never short a tale of doom.

My Outdoor Speaker.
These were not bad with a sprinkling of chives.

I was advised to place a fake owl underneath the speaker. That would scare nesting birds away. The starlings built their nest anyway and shit on my plastic owl.

I took down the speakers

I was defeated by nature again.

For those of you that have seen Animal House, Donna Riley has represented the good angel on my shoulder since 1992! Donna, who’s kept me on my Mission From God, told me recently that her favorite movie is The Blues Brothers. I’m all in for that.

Who? Loser.

I’m so clever. I just slipped in subtle references to two movies directed back to back by John Landis. Religious references no less. Both films star John Belushi and both are still hilarious, if not still politically correct.

I first saw The Blues Brothers when my father rented the film on VHS over a weekend. When he watched it with me that Sunday afternoon it was for his third time in two days. It is that much fun.

The Saturday Night Live alum have made some pretty awful movies over the years. This is not one of them. For a start, the director John Landis had some pedigree. Then of course, there’s John Belushi, on the hot start of a short career. There’s also Dan Ackroyd at his finest, before he ballooned. The movie also features a who’s who of Soul and Blues superstars awkwardly blending their timeless hits into the script.

Jesus! It’s Donna Riley!

The Blues Brothers is basically a road movie. Jake & Elwood Blues need to put the band back together, to raise money and save the orphanage they grew up in.

My personal favorite song, in Blues Brothers, is the Rawhide theme performed in the bar cage. That’s because I like both kinds of music – country and western.

Blues Brothers features the biggest car pile up in film history. These are real cars; we had no CGI in 1980, this was old school stunt driving.

You Better Think! Blues Brothers

The concert finale is a hoot. And as Jake & Elwood sang back then, and now more so than ever – “Everybody, needs somebody.”

Geek trivia: Ridley Scott based the opening shot of Blade Runner (my favorite film of all time) on the opening shot of Blues Brothers. Why do I know this shit?

Completing the John Landis/SNL circle, there’s Trading Places. This 1983 comedy features Akroyd as a stuck up broker and Eddie Murphy as a street hustler. Their roles are switched as part of an elaborate bet.

The movie also features Jamie Lee Curtis’ boobies.

Merry New Year!

Rescuing Stacey

The Blues Brothers started as an SNL sketch, which connects to my book recommendation: Live From New York: The Complete, Uncensored History of Saturday Night Live as Told by Its Stars, Writers, and Guests. The history of the show is recounted in short excerpts of dialogue from dozens upon dozens of interviewees – basically anyone and everyone ever associated with the show.

The book is gossipy, fact filled and great fun. I am a drop by fan of SNL at best so I can only imagine how much more enjoyable it would read to lifelong viewers.

You get to hear how Larry David never had any of the pieces he wrote as an SNL staff writer produced on the show. He later turned his failures into Seinfeld plots. Tales are told of Bill Murray punching out Chevy Chase (sweet).

I read this large volume on hardcover. Brienne also recommends the Audio book version.

Coronavirus Days 18 – Mailbox

The most interesting thing I did today was walk the quarter mile down my driveway to my mailbox. It was interesting because I wasn’t sure where my mailbox was.

It turns out it’s the other side of Route 82, outside my neighbor’s house. Kermit, our postman, only leans out one side of his postal van to deliver it seems.

The mailbox was filled with damp moldy fliers, coupons and a census I should have taken two years ago, under penalty of law. I guess I’m getting prison time. There was also an assortment of insects and spiders. Nothing I needed.

Route 82 was deserted today. I stood there for 40 minutes hoping to see a car. Hoping to connect. Nothing.

Get Your Kicks On Route 82

I was forced to grow a beard a couple of decades back. I had some strange rash and couldn’t shave for a month. When it grew out that time it was red. I looked like a deranged leprechaun. This time around with the salt and pepper growth, I think I look very butch. Pretty fab. I think I’m keeping it.

Because today is both Shelley’s and SIL Kir’s birthday, I feel a responsibility to recommend some nice viewing and reading.

Its hard not to get completely drawn into the world of Sully, the hero(ish) of Nobody’s Fool , as written by Richard Russo. Sully is a stubborn, juvenile, 60-year-old man who has never left his small upstate town and squeaks out a living doing manual work. Sully is a man defined by his character flaws. You cannot help but love this guy.

Nobody’s Fool is funny and moving and is the one books that I have recommended unreservedly since I read it in 1993. It will become one of your favorites, as it is mine. My very good friend Amy Kingswell will back me up!

Most of my nieces and nephews I think but I’m not sure who’s who. It’s a few years ago. I think that’s Shane in the red shirt.

I’m also recommending Empire Falls – Richard Russo’s Pulitzer prize winning novel from 2001. This book follows a cast of characters and events surrounding the Empire Diner. The story centers on diner owner Miles Roby and his day to day life and strife in fictional Empire Falls, a small rundown town in Maine.

Ed Harris – Empire Falls

The HBO adaptation was a multi award winner and stars Ed Harris as Miles and Paul Newman as his grubby, mooching father. Empire Falls also stars Mrs. Paul Newman, Joanna Woodward. This is another series with a major cast. And I’m going to re-watch it, starting tonight.

I was reminded by my friend Jennifer Brancato that before we had Tiger King and the big cat tunes of Joe Exotic, there was Staten Island’s own Sean and The Ligers.


Sean and his band (since renamed Third Tiger Blind), would cover feline themed C&W, Rock and Rockabilly standards. SATL (as the band liked to be called during their peak) covered such classics as Stray Cat Strut; Year of the Cat and of course, Eye of the Tiger. Phoebe Buffay’s chartbusting hit, Smelly Cat, was also a popular request from Sean’s repertoire.

Much of the cash The Ligers raised went towards the Save the Pussy on The Dump Foundation; an organization formed in 2009 to help preserve the wildcats that run rampant on the world-famous Staten Island tip.

George Phillips at Bok Towers & Gardens, FL.

I did hear today from our old friend George Phillips, who is staying well in Brooklyn. George shared some viewing recommendations (for later) and this photo from a recent trip to Florida. See you for lunch soon friend!


Coronavirus Days 17 – White Trash

Today I left the house. As I said, I was going to golf , come hell or high water. Michiel and myself got the high water. It rained a lot. We did have the whole of the Copake Country Golf Course to ourselves. Muddy but fun.

Strong Like Bull.
First World Problem: How Does One Reshaft a 3-Wood during a Pandemic?

Another celebrity sighting at the club. Eighties heartthrob, Andrew Mc Carthy, was coming out of the restaurant with take out. The restaurant has a one person in the bar area at a time policy. My sister Ana met McCarthy in Galway when she was only 13. He was very nice to her. She still has his autograph. Aaaaaaah!


Michiel maintained our six foot distancing for the golf round. It was hard for him. He’s a hugger. The holes are now plugged with pink foam to avoid accidental ball contact.

The IGA in Hillsdale was fully stocked and fully staffed. They had some toilet paper. It looked like army surplus though. I’ve used only one roll in two weeks and I’m still stocked for Armageddon. I just bought bread.

Sink the Pink

After 5 days of isolation I now find it hard to communicate with people.

When all else seems to be falling apart, nothing quite raises the spirits like finding someone to look down on.

Well, there are plenty of people to ridicule in Joe Exotic and the losers he is surrounded by.
Tiger King, the seven part documentary series on Netflix, is an unmissable car wreck watching experience.

Michiel, a good friend of 17 years.
We let him ring the bells whenever we happen on one. It makes him happy.

Joe Exotic is a gay, gun toting, mullet sporting, private zoo owner, and big cat breeder. And a polygamist. The central story centers on Exotic’s feud with the hateful PETA supporting loon and hypocrite, Carol Baskin. She wants to shut down Joe’s operation. I do have a friend would be so jealous of Carol’s beautiful animal print wardrobe.

Social Distancing Golf Selfie with Mikhail

Tiger King also delves into the illegal big cat breeding business and the relationships between many of the private zoo owners. The egos are unparalleled and each zoo owner had his own form of lunacy.

The filmmakers scored big with the subject matter. Most of the huge egos featured in the series recorded everything they did. Be warned , not a lot of the cast have full sets of limbs and certainly no dental plans.

My most hateful characters in the series award goes to Carol Baskin her wet sock of a spouse. Her second husband, Howard, a cat whipped sample of a man, looks and sounds like a rejected muppet. Carol’s missing first husband is a whole other story, a story that’s investigated too.

I’ve been told by one friend, Ken, that he often feels like he needs a shower after some of my viewing recommendations. Stock up on the Irish Spring before watching Tiger King.

Tiger King is already in the cultural mainstream. My friend Sean Jackson plans to cover Joe Exotic’s C&W classic Hey, Kitty, Kitty with his band The Ligers. Look out for that on YouTube.

T.P. Central

Tiger King will be a hard documentary to beat this year. Watch it – feel superior.

Continuing in the White Trash vein, my movie recommendation is Killer Joe. This is prime Matthew McConnaughy. He plays a corrupt Sheriff, a killer for hire in small town Texas. It’s best described as a southern gothic black comedy crime thriller. The comedy is of the darkest kind. You’ll never look at fried chicken the same way again, after this movie.

The film is based on a play by another Pulitzer Prize Winner, Tracy Letts. So it’s got pedigree.

This movie was directed by William Friedkin, who has a master list of movies on his C.V. , including his Oscar winner, The French Connection. Compiling my top 5 Friedkin list soon.

Killer Joe

Dirty White Boys, the 1994 novel by Stephen Hunter is a rollicking read. Lamar Pyie, a monster of a redneck, escapes prison with his mentally challenged cousin. The story follows the manhunt to track them down. Read the first page and tell me you’re not sucked in.

Stephen Hunter is a Pulitzer Prize winner for his film criticism and his novels have a cinematic readability. His Bob Lee Swagger series follow the exploits of the retired Vietnam Sniper hiding out in his cabin in the woods. Hiding from his past and the bottle.

Start the Bob The Nailer series with his first, Point of Impact. The Nailer comes back for one more government mission. You know how that always playd out. Point of Impact was later made as Shooter, a modernized movie version with Mark Wahlberg. That in turn was turned into a TV series. I haven’t watched the series.

Hunter writes compulsively readable pulp.

Abbie & Cathal Prepare Dinner.
My brother Mark is napping in the camper behind.

Abbie and Cathal, seen here today, cooking Irish sausages on their Bushypark, Galway bonfire. Abbie says she likes the added flavor from the melted coke containers Dad (Mark) throws in the flames.

Cathal, an excellent soccer player, explained that he loves when Dad picks him up from practice in their camper.

“The camper,” Cathal explained “Well that camper in conjunction with the bonfire really just feels like an authentic Traveller experience for the family. That little mobile home there really unites us O’ Tooles in these times of crises. Dad will often just drive us to Dunne’s stores parking lot and we sleep there overnight.”

Cathal and Abbie are both looking forward to spending a weeks holiday in the van out at the Galway Racetrack, this coming Summer.

“Much better than The Algarve, “ Abbie added. “The fish and chips are nicer in Ballybrit.”

Abbie & Mark

Mom (Angela), likes to park the camper on the Salthill Promenade when she goes for her evening walk .

“It’s nice to have a cuppa and a Jaffa Cake waiting at the end of my stroll,” Angela told me.

Howard Jones 80s hit Things Can only get Better came on as I was driving today. Could any song be more appropriate these days?

I saw HoJo in concert a couple of years ago with my bestie of 27 years, Maria Mc Laughlin. Maria was that friend with sense back when I none.

Me (on the left) and Bestie Maria

Howard stunk in concert. He should shut up and sing.

My Hood

Coronavirus Days 17 – Cracking Toast

I have not seen a single person, in the flesh, in four days. It hasn’t been all that bad.

But I do think I’m getting addicted to coffee . I’m draining a ten cup Chemex daily and starting into a second pot.

My Latest Addiction

I am running out of bread , so I need to run out at some stage.

They have changed the state rules so that golf courses are now deemed social distancing safe and are open with restrictions. Don’t touch that pole, don’t touch anybody elses ball. Basic teachings of the Catholic Church really, and now New York State golf rules.

Even if the skies open up, I’m getting out there tomorrow.

In many circles I’m known as Karl the Toole Man. I’m really good at all types of manual labor. You need one of those white things people stick plugs into nailed into your wall, I’m your man.

As granny used to say, it’s always good to have a spare knob in the house. Fortunately I’ve a couple of spare knobs here. I locked myself out of the upstairs bathroom a couple of weeks back and destroyed the current lock opening the door with a screwdriver and hammer.

How difficult could it be to install a new knob?


There’s a 30 minute pick me up movie I watch whenever I need a bit of cheering.

The Wrong Trousers, from Nick Park of Aardman animation, was the second claymation short to feature eccentric inventor Wallace and his ever patient silent dog Gromit. The plot centers around a villainous bank robbing chicken, named Feathers McGraw, and a pair of wall crawling techno-trousers. That’s about all you need to know.

Wallace and Gromit are lauded British icons. Theirs are endearing and hilarious shorts and one of the few recommendations I can make for the whole family. Every time I rewatch I pick up another little detail inserted by fanatical genius Nick Park. Everything from bone themed wall paper to the titles on the book jackets to the tiniest of knick-knacks sitting on shelves .

I met and interviewed Nick Park for the premier of his full length Oscar Winner, Wallace and Gromit The Curse of the Wererabbit, in 2005. He is just like Wallace, a welcoming crazy inventor. Park has won four Academy Awards for his animation. Watch it all. Track down the hilarious short Creature Comforts – featuring the real dialogue of children and old age pensioners animated in claymation Zoo animals.

The Wrong Trousers gives this creature comfort. It’s got a lovely warm vibe that’s a real throwback to my own childhood in Galway. And everyone lives happily ever after. That jolly brass band theme just makes me smile. I played Euphonium for years. Cracking!

I’ve watched and enjoyed The Wrong Trousers more repeatedly than anything else in my viewing life.

I wrote a few full page reviews for the Brooklyn Rail back in the day. Here’s mine for Wererabbit. I was always full of shit.

And speaking of shit, The Millers sprayed a lot more of it today and it rained. Sweet!

The third W&G short film introduced the world to Shaun the sheep in another animated Oscar winner, A Close Shave. The plot centers around Shaun, a poor hungry little lamb who is struggling to keep his fleece. Silent Shaun, who communicates only in bursts of bleats, got his own series based on his Oscar worthy performance. Shaun’s shorts are only minutes long but comic gems. There are six seasons and a full length film (a second full length film was just released). Shaun’s Christmas shorts are a tradition of mine.

You have to watch these claymation masterpieces and marvel that it’s all done by hand.

“Its the Wrong Trousers Gromit!”

These are not the kind of recommendations you would typically expect from this dark souled Irishman. But they’ll cheer you and the kids up on a rainy Sunday.

Staying on an animation theme, my book recommendation is The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay by Michael Chabon. The Pulitzer Prize winning novel recounts the story of two Jewish comic book creators , before, during and after WWII. It was a critical darling in 2000.

Much as I liked Kavalier and Clay, I preferred another of Chabon’s novels, Wonder Boys. It takes place over a couple of days in the life of a creative writing professor, struggling to finish his second book and a mid-life rises. Wonder Boys, the movie adaptation is one Michael Douglas’ better roles and also features a young Spidey Tobey Maguire. It was directed by Curtis Hanson, who also helmed L.A. Confidential.

My Knob is in place. I feel so manly.


Shit – it’s in backwards.

This from Rollie & Steve, our friends in San Antonio, TX.

Hi! All this staying in is making us younger! Whoooo HOOO! We are good here, sheltered in , except for walking Ginger. Lots of cooking, painting, gardening, reading, movies.

Tell me Ginger is not a cat.

These cuties are my good friend Lauren Markowski’s two children, Kevin and Charlotte. These excellent artists also get to go play on nearby Hobart Beach near their Northport, LI home.
I’ve also seen some very good 80s Dance Videos by Kevin.

Second times a charm. I cannot begin to tell you how manly I feel right now. I find the new knob action very smooth. I’ve tried it both right AND left handed and it works equally well.


Coronavirus Days 16 – Callum is Pissed!

Callum is pissed. I called him Cathal in last night’s posting. Cathal is a different nephew. Callum wouldn’t believe me when I claimed his name was changed by spellcheck in Word.

Callum is Pissed!

“Bullshit,” the angry ten year old yelled at me on FaceTime. “You’re a fucking disgrace. Darren is a much better Uncle.” Callum was furious. “You really expect me to believe that Microsoft Word would correct traditional Irish names? You’re a fucking liar Uncle Karl!”

I couldn’t argue with the kid’s logic. I’ll throw Callum a few extra dollars if I see him at Christmas. He’s small but he knows Kung Fu.

It smells like cow shit up here at the Ancram country house today.

For those that have not visited me in my Ancramdale weekend home (and I hope to see everyone for my next party soon) we are very fortunate to have 15 acres , mostly wooded and connected to my neighbors farm. They have hundreds of open acres. We have been coming here since 2002.

Life in the Sticks

Our neighbors, The Millers, are cattle farmers but also plant corn and soy in the front field. A couple of times a year the Miller’s lay down some rank smelling cow shit fertilizer. Today is one of those spray days. My eyes are watering, my coffee tastes of poo.

I will not be sitting out on the back deck for brekkie today.

The Millers are known for having the best sweet corn in Columbia County. They run an honor’s system roadside stand selling vegetables in harvest season, on Route 82. I don’t eat yellow foods myself but it’s been a big success when I’ve barbecued.

My fellow Irishman and friend, George Delaney. This is his busy with 4/1s face. He’s WFH in Bayonne, NJ. He’s on lockdown with wife Louise and the two girls, Sarah & Hannah . Stay well.

Stinking Cow shit aside – its spectacular up here again today. I feel very fortunate that we have this isolated country home. I hate to work from our apartment in Manhattan at the best of times. I have a lady, in her late seventies, who lives in the apartment above me and has been learning to play the piano for years. She sounds like she might be missing a few fingers. It’s almost worse when she gets a few notes right because I just know she’s about to shit the bed again. We have been in that city apartment over a dozen years and the old dear upstairs is still learning to play the scales and Twinkle Twinkle Little Fucking Star.

The credit for tonight’s binge recommendation goes to my fourteen-year-old nephew Ryan, back in Ireland with the banjaxed ankles. He is obsessed with Peaky Blinders. His mother, Ana, had to buy him a peaked cap. That’s all grand, as long as there are no razor blades concealed in it.

Ryan Studying

Peaky Blinders follows the Shelby family, and their rise in the criminal underworld in Birmingham, England. Beginning in 1919, immediately after WWI, we follow big brother Tommy (Cillian Murphy) as he fights for criminal dominance and respectability. Tommy Shelby’s story is on many levels similar to Michael Corleones, but with a Brummie accent. Like Corleone, Tommy also has a hot-headed brother he cannot control in Arthur. The Shelbys are an equal opportunity crime family, their women are just as tough as the men.

Peaky Blinders gives the typical gangster period piece a cool modern dynamic and look. The use of a current musical score for this turn of the last century piece works. You’ll have Nick Caves Red Right Hand stuck in your head. I just put it on the Sonos!

You can see all 5 seasons/30 episodes on Netflix.

28 Days Later / Cillian Murphy

Sticking with Cillian Murphy, he’s on my great movies you probably shouldn’t watch now, but it’s great so watch it list- 28 Days Later. There’s a Zombie apocalypse unleashed on London. Some idiot animal rights activists are infected when they get bitten by the chimp they release from a testing facility. The ape is carrying a virus called The Rage and that monkey wound makes for some fast zombies.

28 Days Later was groundbreaking in that it was the first major film made completely on digital. This meant Director Danny Boyle could get some amazing guerilla style shots of deserted London (monkey pun). He’d have an easier time getting his filming done on the empty London streets these days.

Technology is winning.
Imagine my surprise when my Big Irish Friend’s Big Irish Head popped up on Microsoft Teams video sharing today. I nearly dropped my iPhone. Dennis Greaney – Mr. Computer, getting down with automation. My coffee buddy is safe at home in NJ with wife Peggy & son Denny.

I’m going to stick with the zombie theme for my book recommendation. World War Z by Max Brooks is the only zombie book I’ve ever read. The book is an oral history of humanities war for survival against the zombie apocalypse as told by survivors. Each chapter’s story is told by a different character acrosd various global locations. It’s a fast paced page turning read that was adapted into a very good movie, also called World War Z. It was produced by and starred Brad Pitt. Read the book watch the movie.

For you trivia nerds, author Max Brooks is Mel’s son.

Porch View

Coronavirus Days 15 – Jacks

I’m feeling a little like Jack Torrance today, isolated up here on top of my hill.

Jack Torrance, in The Shining, felt confident that he would not lose his marbles and slaughter his family during his weeks of confinement at The Outlook hotel. This unlike the previous uneducated caretaker there. Jack theorized that as he was an educated reader, he would never get bored, lose his shit and kill everyone within reach.

Heeeeeeeerres Karly!

Much like Jack, I feel shielded from boredom. Fortunately, I’m ace at entertaining myself. I have been a reader since I can remember. I’m that nerd who would have to be kicked outside by my mother on a summer’s day. I was happier stuck inside reading Salem’s Lot. I remember sitting on the floor between the bunk beds tearing through Interview with the Vampire while other kids were out playing rounders. As long as I’ve had a book I’ve never felt alone or bored. I’m never without one. My sister Ana always said I was odd.

Jack Torrance’s theory proved to be horseshit.

Seldom Bored

So tonight, I’m going with Jacks.

I would be remiss to do this lousy Jack Torrance imitation and not recommend The Shining. It’s a double Jack movie – Jack Nicholson playing Jack Torrance. This arthouse haunted house story by director’s director Stanley Kubrick, was scorned by author Stephen King on its release. King wanted a sane looking everyman actor, who appears to go insane, cast in the role of Torrance. He felt Jack Nicholson always looks insane. This is one of those roles you now couldn’t imagine anyone but Nicholson playing.

I got to visit the Stanley Hotel in Colorado back in 2018, on my road trip. It’s King’s basis for the Outlook and it is that spooky.

This is another rewatchable and one of the better Rewatchables podcast episodes.

The Stanley

I’m also recommending The Shining as a novel. It has a lot of similarities with the film, but you’ll also enjoy it for all the differences. The book delves more into the origins of evil in the hotel, detailed in a scrap book found in the boiler room by Torrance. And I learned what a topiary is! It ranks as my choice King book.

Nephew Ryan recovering from his second ankle break playing rugby. Callum keeps it safe and only plays Pub darts.

On the book front we have Jack Reacher series, by Lee Child. Reacher, a giant of a man, is an ex military police officer who aimlessly roams the country. As his life on the road would have it, he always just happens on some badness in the making. Lee Child writes perfectly readable mysteries punctuated with bursts of extreme violence. His first novel, Killing Floor, is as good a place to start as any. He’s not winning a Pulitzer Prize, but when you are in the mood for a Jack Reacher novel there’s nothing quite as much fun.

In the which Jack show to binge category , I’m going with Jack Shepherd and Lost. The series (6 seasons/121 episodes) follows the many survivors of crashed Oceanic Flight 815. The past, present and future lives of the passengers are explored as they struggle to survive on the mysterious island they are marooned on. This was a weekly addiction for we fans when it aired. For any dissenters, I thought the last episode was great. I’m ready for a re-watch.

Aine & Ciara McIntye getting some exercise in Cape Cod. Two of the nicest girls you could meet.
Megan brought them on a TP run.

Coronavirus Days 14 – Ripped

I’m determined to take advantage of the additional time I have up here in the country.

So, I’ve pulled out all that gym equipment I’d bought years ago and never used. It was covered with all kinds of debris in the garage. The dumbbells must be broken. I can’t lift them. The Bowflex adjustable weights were glued to their base with filth and dust. I had to take a hose to them. If I ever lie down on that yoga mat I’ll need to be separated with a spatula. The elliptical has no power. But Netflix is working on the TV on top of the garage fridge. I’ll step and binge.

I’ll be ripped by May.

Golds Ancramdale

I ran out to Stewart’s and got some provisions today. There was green mold on my Wonder Bread. I was afraid it would catch fire in the toaster. Stewart’s was quiet but fully stocked and fully staffed. The gas station/grocery store chain has the best self branded ginger ale in the country, for those that drink it. I’m always reminded by Stewart’s low prices just how expensive Manhattan is.

I once saw a 70 year old man wearing only red Speedo’s order a hot dog at the counter at Stewart’s. I’ve never been able to eat hot dogs since. I also stopped wearing Speedo’s.

Moldy Bread Emergency

Note to self: Google if green bread mold is poisonous.

Tonight’s binge, book and movie linkage is Scottish actor Ewan McGregor. The selection tonight simply because I was exchanging recommendations with my Scottish mate, James Whitelaw. Clan Whitelaw is on lockdown in San Fran. James is another man who always has a book in hand and a few opinions.

I first saw McGregor starring in the magnificent 1994 indie Shallow Grave. This black comedy crime film tells the tale of three selfish roommates in an Edinburgh flat. The story centers on their dreadful behavior after they come into a lot of money from the fourth new apartment occupant, and the lengths they are willing to go to to keep it. McGregor plays a smug arsehole journalist and the worst influence in the shared apartment. You’ll be rubbing your shins after one scene courtesy of Ozark’s Peter Mullen.

Maddy Naylor told me she’s getting sick of Dads sour dough. Max is probably sick of cleaning up Kev’s kitchen mess. Alfie is always such a happy child, so I’m sure he’s not complaining about anything. Kevin’s bread looks pretty fantastic to me though (see earlier Wonder Bread musings). London’s on a two week lockdown.

This was Danny Boyle’s first movie and it introduced him and McGregor to the world. Their next movie, Trainspotting , made them stars.
Trainspotting, put quite simply, is one of the greatest movies ever made. It’s the story of four young heroin addicts in Edinburgh. Spud; Rent Boy ; Sick Boy and Begbie. None of them offer much to like but Christ they are fun to spend time with.

This 1996 film is hilarious, vile and sometimes disturbing. The film’s dynamic look and feel was groundbreaking when it landed and it hasn’t aged since. It’s also got THE greatest soundtrack ever. The Lust for Life explosive opening introduced Iggy Pop to whole new generations. If you don’t watch the film at least download the music. I’m always amazed that a film that packs in so much is only 95 minutes long. It’s mega rewatchable and quotable.

The movie is based on the 1993 book Trainspotting by Irvine Welsh, a twisted soul. This is his first.The novel is formed from individual short stories, in different voices and dialects, coming from the people involved or effected by the heroin culture in Scotland. It is a challenge but definitely one you should read. Not for the easily offended, so I found it a little tough.

Lust For Life

And finally on the Ewan McGregor front – Fargo Season 3. McGregor plays twin brothers who have no love lost for one another. Robbery, leads to murders and there’s organized crime and bulimic gangsters involved. The three seasons of Fargo can be watched independently of each other. The cast and storylines have the tiniest of connections across seasons. I’m highly recommending all three seasons (that’s thirty full episodes).

Billy Bob Thornton is a standout in the first season as an off the wall hit man. Series one does have a single small link to the Coen brothers film Fargo, but that’s sll (it involves a snow scraper). For Coen fans it is fun to watch out for the Easter eggs. Binge it!

Season 4 coming soon with Chris Rock.

AND watch the movie Fargo – it’s a gem.

My mother told me I should have mentioned William Petersen in Manhunter yesterday. She loves him.

Nora, Maeve & Caroline are passing some time playing with the latest Geary family member, Zoey. All at home in Westchester , NY.

Coronavirus Days 13 – Mindhunter – Manhunter – Mann – Movies

My mother and father weaned me on film.

Binge Central

My earliest memory is my father sitting on my bottom bunk bed recounting the plot of Goldfinger (it’s still my top James Bond movie). My Mother, Maree , could name every lead actor and support in every film she had seen. Or she would drive you nuts trying to recall – “You know the fella that was in the film with the other fella with the hat. Go on. Of course you know. The lad with the horse.” Eventually I did know them all too. Love you Maree!

I started going to movies on my own in the Claddagh Palace as young as I was allowed. Films would back then take an age to reach Ireland after their original release in the United States. I often had months of pent up anticipation before getting to see a movie. Every Irish teen knew the words to every song in Grease by the time it arrived in Galway. They’d all been hits long before the film got to to the Claddagh Palace. Grease was a singalong event in my home town cinema. Jaws couldn’t get to Galway fast enough for me. I could tell you everything you needed to know about great whites in advance – my original shark week. Before illegal film replication, streaming and the blockbuster release format, films were a slow trickle getting to Ireland.

So fuck the wheel .

Laserdisks- I was that fool.

The VHS player was the greatest invention in history. As soon as I could afford it I bought one of the first players, on Hire Purchase, from O’Connors Electronics . I was in college then. I then bought or copied every film I could afford on VHS tape. Hundreds of them. I was then the idiot who bought Laserdiscs; chrome disks the size of LP Vinyl that only played an hour a side and needed to be flipped over to finish a movie. They were a short lived fad, soon replaced by my DVD collection. And now I have every movie I’ve ever wanted on Blu-ray. I’m a hoarder. And YES all the drawers are filled with movies and I’ve watched and rewatched them all.

Abbie, my niece back in Ireland, is taking advantage of her down time to train as a newscaster for RTE.

The Abbie Hour – RTE2

I’ve often mused that if we had as many serial killers as films about them we’d all be toes up. I don’t muse about serial killers a lot, by the way.

This gets complicated.

The 1981 novel Red Dragon, by Thomas Harris , introduced the world to Hannibal Lecter. The book covers the investigation of FBI profiler, Will Graham, into a the serial killings of families by a murderer nicknamed The Tooth Fairy. He leaves bite marks on his victims. Lecter is a support character in this book, helping(?) Will Graham, the man who locked him up.

Manhunter, is the visually stunning 1986 neo-noir based film on Red Dragon. The film bombed on release but has grown in critical esteem over the years. I was a fan first. Brian Cox (Succession) is mesmerizing as Lecter, caged in a stark white cell. Directed by the master , Michael Mann, this is my favorite Lecter film. A total rewatchable.

Will Graham is based on real life profiler John Douglas who’s autobiography , Mindhunter is the loose basis for the Netflix series of the same name.


Mindhunter is like Pringle’s. There’s not enough in one episode – you need to keep going. I mean that in the best of ways. It’s a series that gets right under your skin. Director and producer David Fincher brings the same bleakness and realism he did with his three hour movie monument Zodiac. Another rewatchable.

Manhunter Season 1 centers on the formation of the FBI’s behavioral science unit, with our protagonists interviewing incarcerated killers . Mindhunter positioned all 6’ 9” of Edmund Kemper on my radar as the most unknown and underrated serial killer in history. That man was messed up. Brienne can give you the episode number for the Sword & Scale podcast with audio interviews of old Ed. That one will keep you awake.

With the characters firmly established, Mindhunter S2 puts you squarely inside the Atlanta child murder investigation.

My Bestie Kevin Naylor, is currently on lockdown with bestie family Max, Maddie & Alfie in their London home. That’s the reality TV show I’d watch. Kev reminded me I should have included Miller’s Crossing on my St. Paddy’s day list. He’s very right.

Alfie & Maddie’s First Outhouse – Dutchess Vounty Fair 2018.
Squeeeeeeeeeze Alfie.

Millers Crossing is the The Coen Brothers take on an Irish prohibition gangster movie.

Gabriel Byrne and Albert Finney lead the superb cast in this telling of a power struggle between two rival gangs in a nameless American city.

Millers Crossing’s dialogue is endlessly quotable.
Kevin once phoned me, sooooooo pleased with himself. He’d seen a man run after his hat on a London city train platform. Kevin got to quote – “Nothing more foolish than a man chasin’ hid hat”, to the man chasing his hat . I was very pleased for Kevin too. There’s a lot of hat chasing in Miller’s Crossing.

Is this my favorite Coen Brothers movie? I could watch that brilliant dialogue free Danny Boy scene on repeat. But favorite Coen movie is a tough one. I have four or five, for later.

Miller’s Crossing is way up on there my rewatchable list.

I went outside today for five minutes and got my first deer tick of 2020. You’re right Alfie Naylor, it’s not safe in those woods.

Citibank did make good on my debit card delivery. The only person I saw today was a fedex driver.

But the world is still functioning.

Spring is in the air.

Coronavirus Days 12 – Eggman

If things were not bad enough, now a blizzard in Ancramdale. Well a dusting of snow at least. Granny told me a million times I exaggerate.


Well I got my self an unintentional little project today. The local Keh Bank ATM shredded my debit card last night. I’d just pulled out of the drive through and realized I’d forgotten my card in the cash machine. It only took two minutes and Copake ate my card. They were very nice on the phone today, when I rang about it, despite shredding my fucking card. I learned that banks are a critical service and remain open.

Can one survive a pandemic on credit cards alone? Can I get a replacement debit card in these turbulent times? These first world problems haunt me.

Whiskers – The New Order

I had my first ever FaceTime face timing today with John Sullivan. He looks like shit and I look worse. We’re turning into the great unshaven.

Send me your whiskers photo.

I fucked up another load. It seems I had a wad of tissues in the pocket of the sweatpants I put in the wash. It looked like I threw an unplucked chicken in the spin cycle. It must have been a big wad. Will all those paper scraps come off in the dryer?

Steven was feeling so sheepish about flat leaving me at golf yesterday that he snuck out of his home, broke curfew and delivered some of his free range eggs to me . Sheepish me hole – he just forgot about the golf. But I’m an egg whore and his yolks are delicious. I didn’t know eggs could have such flavor until I free ranged up here.

I Am The Eggman

My other neighbor Big Lou used to drop off his free range eggs in the past. But he lost the herd of chickens, as he put it. They were taken by raccoons, coy-dogs, hawks and traffic. The free range chickens run very free up here in Ancramdale, just as nature intended. Only last year I was attacked by Steven’s cock as l dropped off some freshly cut day lilies at his home. Not the first cock attack in the Irving driveway, as I understand.

I was useless at sports as a child. I’m useless at sports as an adult. I know nothing about sports. I never watch sports.I was the number 17 pick on the soccer team. But I do love movies, books and films about sport. I couldn’t name a single football player, but I can list five great football movies off the cuff (and I still don’t understand the rules).

Sports Night

So my good friend Tim Schaentzler reminded to put Friday Night Lights on the binge radar.

Friday Night Lights gets a Triple Toole recommendation, for the book, the movie and the television series. Is there another triple out there?

The book, Friday Night Lights, follows the 1988 Permian High School Panthers football team as they take a run at the Texas state championship. The nonfiction book gets deep into the dedication of the players and their coaches and the fanaticism the Odessa town folk for this football tradition. It also delves into the glory days attitude of ex high school players who never escaped their home town.

The excellent movie adaptation of FNL stays true to the book. Billy Bob Thornton leads the cast as Coach Gaines. Where the film excels is in creating the excitement of the games. The movie also deals with the heartbreak of failure, something rarely represented in sports stories.

Any Given Sunday

We all love Connie Britton. She plays Coach Gaines wife in the movie AND plays Coach Taylor’s wife in the 5 season series.

The Friday Night Light series is set in the fictional Texas town of West Dillon. The football games are edge of your seat viewing and the family dynamics are the most realistic I’ve seen in any long form drama. This show was great because it was smart and real. We all came away from FNL with our favorite character ; every bodies best friend Landry; misunderstood hunk Riggins; hot white trash Tyra.

It was always Tyra for me.

This is a nice show Shelley. Trust me.

The series is available from Hulu, Amazon and a few more providers.

I’m throwing in another recommendation for a movie that always reminds me of my buddy Sean “The Liger” Jackson. Any Given Sunday (NetFlix) is directed by Oliver Stone and takes a cynical look behind the curtain at the business of football . Its a big production with a big cast : Pacino is in full on shouting mode; a young Jamie Fox is in full on cocky mode and Cameron Diaz is in full on bitch mode. Sean The Liger blew my sub-woofer watching this at my house a dozen years ago and still hasn’t paid me for a replacement.

My last shout out on the football viewing front goes to Last Chance U (Netflix). The first two seasons of this docu-series center on the football team from East Mississippi Community College. It’s a team of misfits and losers thrown together for one last shot at making a future for themselves. If you’re not hooked after the first 30 minutes of this show next coffee is on me.

Kudos to Citibank, they are shipping a replacement Debit card to me tomorrow with no shipping charge.

Stormy Monday