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Tom Weiss

Tom Weiss is a retired Army Lieutenant Colonel with tours in Iraq and Afghanistan. His writing has appeared in professional military journals, PJ Media, and Liberty Island. He spends time in Western Wisconsin and Eastern Australia and is convinced the Minnesota Vikings will never win the Super Bowl.

Real Coffee with Scott Adams: A Review

Nothing about Scott Adams’ daily news and analysis show, Real Coffee with Scott Adams, should work.

Not especially telegenic (said the pot to the kettle), Adams would blend right in at an Upper Midwest accountant’s convention. His lilting voice – something he lost for a number of years – isn’t remarkable, and he is incapable of pronouncing some names. His show features no production value or set design to speak of. Bare wooden home office shelves adorned only with copies of his books form his backdrop.

And yet, once you start listening, it’s hard to stop.

Book Review: Disarmingly Great

According to Publishers Weekly, somewhere between 1.5 million and 18 quadrillion books are self-published every year. Technology (read: Amazon) has so lowered the publishing bar that anyone with some spare time and a Pinot-fueled hallucination can see their book listed for sale within a day or two. I’ve sampled my fair share. My Kindle library is littered with self-published stories sold at a steep discount – or free – as authors fight for eyeballs and struggle to make a name for themselves.

The overwhelming majority of these are either awful (but not in a satisfying Showgirls way) or forgettable (but not in a compelling Clive Cussler way). If I finish one, it’s out of curiosity and not the result of a compelling narrative. And I never, ever find myself thinking about one of these novels over a year later.

Enter Disarming.

Why Bridgerton Is the Most Subversive Show on Television

This review contains spoilers for Bridgerton Season 1

I wasn’t looking forward to watching Bridgerton, a new Netflix series which debuted on Christmas Day last year. I hadn’t read the novels – the show is based on Julia Quinn’s eponymous series – and was not familiar with Executive Producer Shonda Rhimes, who signed a $100 million contract with Netflix in 2017, even though everybody on the planet knows her work.

However, even if I had I been exposed to either of those things, I still wouldn’t have cared. There is no shortage of stories about priviledged British royals and their straphangers, and after a while the characters and plot lines all tend to blend together in my head. For me to want to be invested, I have to know I’m going to see something unique.

Downton Abbey accomplished this by focusing on the straphangers as much as the royals. That was interesting, and the entire series held my attention.

Bridgerton held my attention in perhaps the most subversive way possible in this day and age.

Mountain Dew Energized Doritos: Only in Australia. You Don’t Want Them Anywhere Else.

Every time I stroll through the soft drink aisle and see the brand names Coke and Pepsi lining the shelves on either side – even now, nearing the end of my fifth decade on the planet – I think about my parents. Coke, when I was a child (and still, to some degree, today) was an adult beverage. “You can’t have it,” I hear my mother’s voice echo in my head. “It has caffeine.”

Back then, I didn’t know what caffeine was. But, I knew I wanted it.  So much of my youth was consumed by a longing to be older, to do what grown-ups did, to drink what they drank. And, as a result, I was primed to fall for the marketing strategy Mountain Dew employed in the 1980s.

A Podcast Review: Raven 23: Preparing for a Pardon

There has been an attempt, of sorts, in recent years to rehabilitate the reputation of four men: Evan Liberty, Dustin Heard, Nicolas Slatten, and Paul Slough. Even if you don’t know their names, you may recall the company they worked for – Blackwater Worldwide – and their connection to the 2007 deaths of fourteen Iraqis at Nisour Square in Baghdad. In 2014, after a drawn-out legal proceeding, the four were convicted and sentenced to prison.

Defenders of the foursome have, since their conviction, appeared in media outlets like Fox News or The Daily Mail, along with other, more conservative leaning media outlets like The Blaze Radio Network, The Cato Institute, and the website of former Representative Allen West. They’ve even received support from David French in the pages of National Review. This rehabilitation effort has branched out in recent months in the form of a podcast called Raven 23: A Presumption of Guilt.

Review: Apple+’s The Morning Show

In the first episode of The Morning Show, Apple’s stunning initial foray into scripted television, a conservative small-town Virginia reporter named Bradley Jackson – played to near perfection by Reese Witherspoon – tells her producer, “The truth is the truth whether you’re writing for The Bumf%*$ Gazette or the New York Times.

That Time I Almost Met Hugh Jackman

The first time I was in Australia, I walked past Hugh Jackman on a path winding through the Royal Botanical Garden in Sydney right next to the Opera House.

At least, I think I did.

After fifty or so meters, I turned to my partner and said, “That was Hugh Jackman back there.”

They flung themselves around to look. “I don’t think so. That’s just a tall guy in a hat and sunglasses.”

“Whatever. I’m telling you that’s him.”

Name That Australian Celebrity

The first time Kevin called after I moved to Australia, I had to explain how to use the World Clock feature on his phone. “I understand it’s the middle of the day there,” I said before throwing my phone on the floor, “But, it’s the next morning here. I’m still in bed.”

Uncharacteristically, Kevin learned from that mistake and has called at more appropriate times ever since. Until this week.

Where Does Matt Damon Live?

If it’s not on social media, Kevin doesn’t know about it. And if it is on social media, he probably knows the wrong thing.

This is how I came to learn that, early last year, the US entertainment media got all worked up over a rumor Matt Damon was moving to Byron Bay, New South Wales, in an effort to escape Donald Trump. The rumor turned out to be wrong, (those rumors are always wrong) but Kevin hadn’t heard. That part of the story didn’t make it to social media.

Let’s Talk About What Can Kill You in Australia

Kevin hates spiders.

At least he says he does. Normally I wouldn’t question a phobia like this, but on a regular basis I open my inbox in the morning to find he’s sent me pictures or videos like this.

If I hated spiders as much as Kevin says he does, I think I’d spend a little less time watching giant ones crawl across a woman’s face.

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