Thoughts on How To Talk With Your Young Adult Children

There are plenty of parents who believe that good parenting is basically telling your kids what to do and having them listen and do exactly what you suggest while thanking you for your splendid advice. Except that’s not at all what parenting is about, though it is true that when your children are young, you have a reasonable amount of power and control over their day-to-day lives. Bedtimes, playdates, what books they read or TV…Read More

A Week With the Unimaginative 2020 Kia Sportage SX AWD

I’ve driven quite a few Kia vehicles over the last few years and generally have been quite impressed with them all. Like fellow South Korean auto manufacturer Hyundai, Kia keeps improving their cars each year, now delivering some of the best budget vehicles on the road. But the journey to being an A List car maker isn’t without its bumps, and after spending a week driving the 2020 Kia Sportage SX, I have to say…Read More

Film Review: Exciting Chinese Actioner “Shock Wave 2”

I watch a lot of international action films. Hollywood might have a visual effects company around every corner, but it turns out that a lot of overseas production groups have their own amazing vf/x companies ready to work on films outside of the USA. Foreign films also have a different sensibility and different approach to the storyline, often along with an interestingly biased cultural skew. No question, seeing how other countries portray Americans holds up…Read More

Game Review: Highly Thematic Japanese Tactical Card Game “Sashimono”

It’s 1600s feudal Japan and you’re a warlord, preparing your troops for battle. Battles in this era are quite formalized, however, with troops trained to be offensive or defensive. Rather than squads and battalions, specialist teams are known as “Kumi” and are generally categorized as polearm units (melee), ranged units, and cavalry. A group of nine Kumi are known as a “Sonae” and they were expected to demonstrate ingenuity and adaptation to changing battle conditions,…Read More

Film Review: Epic, Moody and Excellent “Dune”

Widely considered one of the very best science fiction books, Frank Herbert’s 1965 novel “Dune” was also my favorite book as a teen. It’s set thousands of years in the future and humanity has spread across the galaxy. Great family clans called Houses run various planets in a feudal society and the Padishah Emperor rules over it all, seeking to balance the power of each great house to ensure none become so powerful they can…Read More

How to Be a Friend (My Review of “Ron’s Gone Wrong”)

Just had a chance to preview the new family animated film Ron’s Gone Wrong, which is about – surprise! – friendship, and how our devices are proving an obstacle to making meaningful connections. Instead of just reviewing the film, I thought it would be more interesting to talk about the theme and the ideas within the movie. At the end of this essay, I’ll give you an assessment and a go/no-go recommendation. You don’t have to…Read More

Film Review: Engaging and Provocative “The Last Duel”

When a woman receives unwanted attention from a man, is she playing coy or legitimately saying “no”, to which the man is morally obligated to listen? The consequence of him going further is that it become rape; intimacy without consent. The woman then might opt to tell others, too often just to be told that she’s lying, that she invited it, that she didn’t protest or fight the advances with sufficient vigor, that women ‘secretly’…Read More

Film Review: Weird Horror Mashup “Ouija Japan”

Horror films often revolve around fears and desires, generally with dire consequences for anti-social or blasphemous beliefs. As a genre, they reinforce community standards and behavioral norms, which is one reason that audiences perpetually ask “what did they do to deserve this?” when someone is possessed, haunted, or otherwise experiences evil. With a sort of evil spirit realm paralleling our own, sometimes all it takes is opening the wrong door, unsealing that basement cupboard, even…Read More

Parents! Here’s How To Talk With Your Teens

In the movies, teenagers are all estranged from their parents, sullen, prone to one-word answers, and typically found hiding out in their bedrooms, surrounded by their possessions. While there’s an element of truth to this portrayal, the fact is that what most teenagers really seek is a sympathetic listener, not isolation. I know this first hand as I have three children, the youngest of which is 17. I’ve made it a habit to listen respectfully…Read More

Film Review: Mostly Plodding “The Addams Family 2”

New Yorker cartoonist Charles Addams created The Addams Family, a delightfully weird and wacky family of macabre cartoon characters, back in the late 1930s. He continued offering up strange and darkly humorous cartoons of his popular clan until his death in the 1980s. The Addams family was a surprise hit, inspiring a live-action TV series in the 1960s, another live-action series in the 70s, two live-action movies in the 90s, an animated series in the…Read More

Film Review: Bond’s Back in “No Time To Die”

Based on a series of thrillers written by former spy Ian Fleming, there’s no more successful film franchise than that of James Bond. The master spy of the British MI6 service with the license to kill denoted by his double-oh identifier – 007 – he’s long been the epitome of Western masculine cultural values. The franchise has also had its ups and downs with Sean Connery, Roger More, Timothy Dalton, Pierce Brosnan and, for one…Read More

Game Review: Out-of-This-World Tile Placement “Luna Capital”

What if our exploration of the moon didn’t stop with Apollo 17 but actually revved up? By 1977 we could have had colonies on our lunar neighbor, all ably managed by the popular Lunar Colonization Authority. That’s the premise of Luna Capital. Manage your colonization efforts, create the most appealing colony, and your region of the moon will be selected as the Luna Capital. Luna Capital is a new game is from game publisher Devir,…Read More

Series Review: “Foundation” on Apple TV+

It’s millions of years in the future and the Galactic Empire spans hundreds of planets and trillions of people. It’s been surprisingly calm and stable for thousands of years, but psychohistorian Hari Seldon (Jared Harris) is convinced that something terrible is about to happen. Seldon, a mathematician, has invented the science of psychohistory, an amalgamation of psychology and statistics that allows him to analyze humankind across eons to predict future events, both large and small….Read More

An Afternoon at the 2021 Denver Gem, Jewelry & Mineral Show

Every couple of years, I round up a friend or two and head to the Denver Gem & Mineral Show. Historically it’s been at the Denver Merchandise Mart but since that facility went bankrupt last year (another victim of the pandemic, alas) the show’s moved to National Western Complex in Denver, a couple of miles away. Well, it might be the same show or it might be a new, replacement expo and show since it…Read More