Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Overlooked Series for TV or Movie Adaptation


The Game of Thrones book series is nihilistic nonsensical bilge. But it makes for “good” television because that sort of mess seems to be popular in today’s culture, what with all the sex, sorcery, and savagery. As an actual story though? It’s terrible. Which is probably why George R.R. Martin could never finish it – it had no real logical “out”, no escape from its cycles of violence and revenge, save what the HBO writers could force together. Until HBO picked it up, though, it was unlikely fare for Hollywood treatment – Hollywood typically shies away from overly long fantasy cycles simply because such things are very expensive to cast and produce well, to say nothing of finding good writers to translate novels into scripts you can actually film. For all the awfulness of its story, I do give full credit to HBO for the solid work they put into the project over nearly a decade – one can deplore the story but still admire the brilliant and extremely skilled craftwork involved in telling it, and (more importantly) sticking with it at that high level for so long. Would that The Hobbit had been given that same dedication.

And now it seems we are to receive another attempt at telling the story of Dune. I am not excited at the prospect. The David Lynch film of the 80s was terrible. The SciFi Channel’s miniseries of 20 years ago was much better. But why Dune? Why yet another attempt? If Hollywood is looking for that next “big epic”, surely there are other and better stories to tell? Dune, the first book, is interesting, but has its weaknesses, while the rest of the series gets rather strange. Haven’t other authors written better and more compelling fantasy or science-fiction epics? Or must we continually return to just a few “classics”, like Amazon is trying to do with its pending Tolkien series? I would like to propose a few other authors and series that Hollywood should consider instead, and would invite you to make your own suggestions as well.

Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Parents Need to Be Able to Grocery Shop


Outside every supermarket in my area, and in all of Maryland, there are signs: One person per family can enter, and everyone in the store must wear a mask. The only folks I see not abiding by the mask rule are the employees, who often have them hanging around their necks. And I understand it; the second I get outside I rip it off and gasp for air; I can’t breathe with anything over my face for just the amount of time necessary to go grocery shopping; I can’t imagine being expected to wear it all day (new respect for the healthcare professionals who always did).

The other day, my husband was working and I needed to run out to the store to grab some food. He asked me to take the baby with me; I could just wear her while I shopped, and that way, he could continue working without having to entertain her. But I couldn’t, and he had to take two hours off of work to play with her because we had run out of milk, yoghurt and bread.

Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Dog Parks = Murder


On Saturday my wife takes the dog to the dog park. It’s a vast wooden area by the Mississippi where dogs romp off leash. Birch enjoys it, but never strays ten feet from my wife and daughter; he’s worried for them. Something could happen! Once he was trotting away to invesitage a scent, remembered that HIS PEOPLE were over there, and he ran straight into a tree. Occasionally he’ll play with another dog for some dorky mock-combat. It’s a nice hour outdoors. Everyone loves it.

Unfortunately, this may end, since my wife is committing homocide by going to the park. Straight-up murder.

Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. A Pretty Obvious Question About Social Distancing


We’ve been encouraged and/or compelled to adopt several behaviors, all of which are intended to help one avoid catching the Wuhan virus or, if one already has it, avoid sharing it with others. These behaviors, most of which are subsumed under the too-broad label of “social distancing,” include:

  • wearing a mask when out in public,
  • staying six feet away from others,
  • avoiding large gatherings,
  • washing hands frequently,
  • working from home, and
  • closing “non-essential” businesses.

The last of those is literally destroying the economy and literally impoverishing millions. The rest of them are, in comparison, inconveniences.

Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. From a Lab or a Wet Market?


Sen. Tom Cotton has been beating the drum for months, stating that much information is known that suggests COVID-19 was leaked from a Chinese lab. Media outlets, such as CNN, the Washington Post, and the New York Times have attacked him for claiming that the Chinese were working on a bioweapon. He didn’t. Here are parts of what he actually said in an interview with Martha McCallum on “The Story”:

He also brought up the ‘questions’ surrounding the biosafety level 4 ‘super laboratory’ in Wuhan, the city where the virus is believed to have originated.

Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. A Perspective on Risk from the 1890s


The picture is of the 1891 Bowdoin College varsity Tug-of-War team that I stumbled upon while web-surfing amidst the sheer boredom of the Great Closing.

The sport was an Olympic event until controversy at the 1920 games persuaded the Committee to drop the sport. The no-sleeve or one-sleeve look was probably quite a jock style statement.

Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. ‘Prufrock’ in a Nutshell


You love to read literary criticism, don’t you? Of course, you do. It’s why you come to Ricochet. So let me offer you a small diversion this morning by analyzing one of the staples of the British literary canon, T. S. Eliot’s The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock. I think I can do this by focusing our attention on only three lines from the poem.

If you remember, Love Song is a portrait of an upper-middle-class Englishman, perhaps a banker (like T. S. Eliot himself was for a time), a little twit, anxious and afraid of life, who comes to an understanding of what he is during the course of the poem. Here, then, is the first sentence I’d like to consider.

Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Government Suppression to Reshape America


I don’t know exactly when it happened, but there was a point between the national lockdown and the first wave of unemployment numbers when the COVID-19 pandemic stopped being about the virus and became about fundamentally reshaping America.

Policymakers have taken advantage of a time of vulnerability to offer safety in exchange for our individual liberty, all in the name of “public health.” Harnessing this pandemic-induced fear is the perfect opportunity to reshape American life and create a “new normal” in which the state is the final arbiter of truth and we the people must abide by their new rules.

Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. The Pro-Shutdown Crowd Shifts to Bad Analogies and Memes


The debate over whether to continue lockdowns well into summer or immediately phase-in a cautious reopening based on CDC and other recommendations has shifted to bad analogies and memes. Like the one below. Dr. Kevin Folta is a plant biologist from Florida whom I respect and usually agree with on food biotechnology issues.


Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Nancy Pelosi, Dry Ice, and Hostages


Nancy Pelosi displaying her $24K refrigerator packed with gourmet ice cream, as she was holding small businesses hostage while she was at home sheltering in place gives you a pretty good idea exactly what she thinks of the “little people.”

Ms. Pelosi has always been rather shameless. From theological lectures to listing all the people she prays for every day. One of my biggest disappointments was that I thought she had become an Episcopalian. It’s not that I have any malice towards Episcopalians, I just assumed she had left the Catholic Church when she washed feet on Maundy Thursday in an Episcopalian Church. I suppose it was one more virtue signaling photo-op. She was probably trying to redeem herself after a rebuke, and no photo-op with Pope Benedict XVI in February of 2009.

Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Coming Soon to a Political Ad Near You


The Port of Long Beach China scandal will soon become a political issue again. Obama gifted China the second-largest container port in the United States — strategically placed next to the largest, the Port of Los Angeles. But Trump undid it before the pandemic while Dems frantically tried to impeach him. Orange man bad?

Under a long-term deal sealed by the Obama administration, a Chinese Communist company was set to control the second-busiest container port in the United States. In an unreported Trump administration victory, the Communists are out after a drawn-out national security review forced a unit of China-based COSCO Shipping Holdings Co. (Orient Overseas Container Line—OOCL) to sell the cherished container terminal business, which handles among the largest freight of imports into the U.S.

Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Justice Was Delivered at 1,100 Feet per Second


RCMP Constable Heidi Stevenson
Justice was delayed for the victims and their survivors in the mass Nova Scotia shooting for about 14 hours, but it did come, albeit too late for 23 victims of his senseless rampage. There will be some that will agonize over the shooter’s motive. I will not be one of them. I redacted the shooter’s name from the news article that is contained in this essay. Good and evil exists.

The only voices that really matter will be those who lost their loved ones in Nova Scotia. They have the right to express their grief, they have the right to be heard. The only names that should be mentioned are the names of the victims in this horrific attack.

Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Uncommon Knowledge: The Trade-Offs on Tariffs and International Trade, with Professor Douglas Irwin


Douglas Irwin is the John French Professor of Economics at Dartmouth College. He is the author of a number of books, including the definitive history of American trade policy, Clashing over Commerce. In this sheltering at home edition of Uncommon Knowledge, we delve deep into the issues around the Trump administration’s imposition of huge tariffs on goods from China and elsewhere, and the impact of a health crisis that has businesses across the country re-examining their investments abroad. Also, what’s the right way to think about international trade? Is free trade still the best policy? We get deep into the weeds of the issues around imports and exports with Professor Irwin.

Promoted from the Ricochet Member Feed by Editors Created with Sketch. Good Fellows: Cold War 2


If the US-Soviet standoff defined the second half of the 20th century, is a new “cold war” between America and China this generation’s defining economic and geostrategic engagement? Hoover senior fellows John Cochrane, Niall Ferguson and H. R. McMaster debate whether a new cold war indeed is under way and what defines the competition. (Spoiler alert: the three “GoodFellows” are not in agreement.)

Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Gov. Whitmer (D-MI) Exposed Awarding COVID Contract to Democrat Consulting Firm


UpdateThe contract has been as abruptly cancelled as it was abruptly awarded, according to numerous news outlets.

Michigan Governor Whitmer awarded a COVID contact tracing contract to Dem consulting firm NGP Van. I guess awarding this contract in the midst of a public health emergency in no way violates HIPPA

Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Lower Than a Snake’s Belly


There are scam artists, and there are scam artists. It sounds like this latest crew is lower than a snake’s belly, targeting veterans who are on federal food assistance who hold an EBT card (food debit card). They appear to be doing so by hijacking the good name and good works of a legendary American entertainer and a veterans’ charity organization.

I had a conversation with a Veterans of Foreign Wars life member after calling into our local VFW post. I happened to be there to take care of back-office business. The veteran called seeking more information about a grant with Charlie Daniels’ name attached. He read a snippet of the web-based pitch, something along the lines of: “Get out your EBT card and get ready to receive four months of living expenses.”