Monthly Archives: November 2011

iTunes alone?

It didn’t come as a surprise that I should miss Offspring, now that both have flown the proverbial witch’s nest. But it’s the little practical aspects that are inconvenient. Like finding the Christmas music on the iPod. I know it’s there. It’s just a case of finding it. I felt quite brave the other day, and went ahead all on my own and I do seem to have unearthed my seasonal entertainment.

Haven’t dared try the laptop yet, so I’m half on and half off the festive music. But then the weather isn’t putting me in a Christmassy mood, so it could be for the best. It’s Advent, which is my permitted starting date, although it doesn’t feel like it.

I always have to begin with the three tenors. It’s a mild sort of beginning, and I love that album. I have bought Christmas CDs in fits and starts over the years. Not sure what possessed me fourteen years ago, waiting for the plane home at Copenhagen airport, after Mother-of-witch had died. Maybe it was diminished brain power that had me pop into the shop and exit with a John Denver Christmas CD, and the Smurfs in Danish.

The latter is just as interesting as you’d think. But it’s a memento. And John Denver’s not bad either.

It won’t be long now until I crave Roger Whittaker. Especially his album Tidings of Comfort and Joy, which is longer on cassette than on CD. I don’t know who had the (stupid) idea to drop the best tracks when they put it on CD.

John Barrowman 2011 tour

This is the sort of thing I like best; blogging merrily away when I’ve not had to do a thing. (Other than wait up by the phone to hear that Daughter returned ‘home’ safely after gallivanting all over Scotland for John Barrowman’s concerts.)

John Barrowman

This year was hard. Not as bad as when I delayed buying tickets and we ended up not going, but when the tickets went on sale in the spring she had no idea where she’d be once the concert dates came round. So with a shortlist of favoured university and insurance university, she bought more than one ticket.

John Barrowman

And just to be safe (hah!) she bought tickets for both the Scottish venues. Luckily it was the Scottish ones she could use. Trouble is the country is larger than it looks and fitting in travelling between lectures and things was no easy feat. But she did it, and I can now blog off her efforts.

John Barrowman and Jodie Prenger

The fact that she’s been asleep in today’s lectures (only joking!) doesn’t matter. Apparently the Scottish concerts are the best, because John allows himself to be Scottish, rather than American. And in Glasgow last night the audience linked arms and joined him in the singing, making him cry. Fitting end to a tour finishing in John’s home town.

Firth of Forth

And what could be nicer than the sun rising over the Forth railway bridge on a sunny November morning?

NCIS – Sins of the Father

It’s not been Robert Wagner’s week, really. First it’s been suggested – yet again – that he murdered his wife. Then he goes and gets himself found in a car with a dead body in NCIS. That’s after he has said he wanted to kill the corpse.

DiNozzo Sr

NCIS team

DiNozzo Sr


And yes, it’s family in NCIS. Again. It’s a bit mad. The episode was good; and about as unlikely as many of the other recent ones.

So after the ‘Remembrance’ style double episode, we have the Thanksgiving one, complete with turkey with ‘something’ inside it. Maybe best for Ducky to deal with.

We get to see DiNozzo’s two dads together. The blood relative and the boss, who sometimes makes a better dad for our toddlerish DiNozzo Jr. We even get to see Gibbs in ‘bed.’. Didn’t know the man actually sleeps. And it was more in ‘sofa’ than bed.

The microwave surprised me. Even I don’t have one of those.

(Photos © CBS)

Gibbs and 2 x DiNozzo

Forbrydelsen II

Thank God we’ve got something to watch on a Saturday again! I don’t care about the jumper. But who else would go crawling into dark and possibly dangerous places for us?

But lovely as it was to see Sarah Lund and her lack of social kills, and even Brix, whom I almost liked on a ‘second’ meeting, it was the new Minister of Justice who caught my attention. I know actors are often good at acting. It’s what they do. They also act totally different people, in different things. But for me Nicolas Bro will forever be the ‘village idiot’ from Rejseholdet/Unit 1. And that’s one big step to becoming a trusted member of the government.

Forbrydelsen II, Mikael Birkkjær & Sofie Gråbøl

While liking people in general, I do think that Ulrik seems very promising. English speakers will find his name strange, or so it seems, but I thought he appeared nicely normal and orderly. Just consider that it was Sarah who was told off for sloppiness, when we had got used to her pushing Meyer around.

That Major looks fishy. Other than him I’m fairly short on suspects. Unless it’s our Minister.

More Nell


Nell’s character in NCIS: Los Angeles is growing stronger. She had an unaccountably senior role during Hetty’s absence, but now she’s back to more normal ‘clever’ background stuff.


Nell and Eric


We had a rather sweet exchange between Nell and Eric over flowers the other week. It worked well with their respective jealous reactions. But we can’t have them getting involved in a relationship sort of way. Hope the scriptwriters remember that.

Nice clothes, too.

(Photos © CBS)

And so is Sean Murray

Except a day later. Our very favourite McGee.

What can I say? I don’t want to use one of DiNozzo’s unfriendly nicknames for television’s best computer geek. I say this as someone who likes geeks.

Tired McGee

Working with Gibbs is exhausting, even for someone as young as Sean Murray. And it’s not everyone that gets to rest their head on a farting hippo.

Did I mention he’s 34? Sean, not the hippo. Nor McGee, although I can’t be sure about that. We never really hear the character’s ages.

Hippo birthday to youuuu!

(Photo © CBS)

And Brian Dietzen is 34

Palmer in autopsy

Our favourite autopsy greml… I beg your pardon. Jimmy Palmer is… No, he isn’t. I have no idea how old Jimmy Palmer is. But Brian Dietzen who gives us our lovely Palmer is 34 today.

According to Wikipedia his acting career began with him playing an evil elf. That sounds about right.

(Photo © CBS)

Birthday girl

It’s Cote de Pablo’s 32nd birthday today. ¡Feliz cumpleaños!


For the first time I have investigated why she calls herself Cote, so at least I now have an explanation to Ziva’s many names. I used to think it was a xenophobic studio decision, but it’s just because people can’t say María José… (On the other hand, I’ve never quite understood why men and women both are named Mary Joseph, apart from purely Christian reasons.)

(Photo © CBS)

NCIS season 9 – so far. It’s all in the family…

The funny thing is that I’ve been meaning to comment on the episodes we’ve seen so far this autumn, and despite the delays I’ve suffered, the topic doesn’t need changing. In fact, it’s been reinforced by the peculiar antics of the scriptwriters.

It’s television, so doesn’t have to be realistic. That’s why we accept and even welcome the inclusion of family members and others close to the team. We don’t bat more than one eyelid, and generally only briefly, over the fact that the team can investigate their own families.

But every week? OK, first we had Kate’s sister analysing DiNozzo. Then there was no personal connection in episode two, but it was certainly about families. Third is McGee’s grandmother, who also manages to be a little young. And she goes on a date with Ducky.

Next week it’s Abby in a right state over kidney donations and discovering her family background probably isn’t what she’s always believed.* Fine. But that tearful ending demanded a continuation, somehow, and six months later is too late! Now. But no, next week she’s as right as rain, and people are busy finding a girlfriend for Gibbs. And his ‘surprise’ reaction to that is out of character.

Three weeks after Ducky’s date with ‘granny’, he has an on-going romance with another woman. Fine with a love life, but when did he fit it in?

Last week Fornell was back. Yay! We have accepted by now that he shared an ex-wife with Gibbs, despite them never even having met in the first ever episode. Artistic license. But to have the reviled ex-wife turn up, be investigated by both the FBI and NCIS? And they are rude about her, only for Gibbs to go all soft and loving at the end. She knew about Shannon? No one else did. Before, anyway.

First half of Engaged Gibbs starts off in bed with the dead Shannon. Then he’s presented with a living red-head. And then we have Sean Harmon back as young Gibbs. Fine. Except he doesn’t look like a young Gibbs because he looks like his (real) mother. Handsome, but the wrong handsome. And this young Gibbs makes eyes at a woman who isn’t Shannon. Honestly!

There are discrepancies and there are plain silly things. Silly we can cope with, in moderation. But the (unnecessary) discrepancies. Have the scriptwriters not watched old episodes? Because the fans have, and we remember our facts.

We used to have threads, both obvious and more hidden ones, that could carry through a whole season. That requires not only some overall planning, but each writer ought to check how they did things before them, and what they did. Not just plough on as though they are the first.

I agree with Daughter, who says NCIS: Los Angeles is better written these days. It is. She looks forward to L A more. I don’t, but only because I love the NCIS characters the best. Maybe L A could lend them some writers?

(*Could deaf people adopt babies in those days? But Daniel Louis Rivas was the most fantastic match for Abby as far as looks are concerned. Well done!)

Another end to Downton Abbey

Well, I thought Matthew looked like a sad vampire at the end, but apparently Daughter didn’t. His colouring suggested he was next to come down with the Spanish flu. The only thing about this killing off of characters is that while you can work out who will be needed in the next series, you know they will live. And that doctor is rather easy with his patients’ futures.

Who’d have thought I’d feel even a little bit sorry for Thomas? I know. I will regret this as soon as we return.

I’m also about to join Sam Wollaston in the Guardian with my dislike for Mr Bates. Not the fictional character, just the actor. They are either toying with us and Mr Bates will prove to be a truly awful man. Or, this lovely character is being portrayed by someone quite fishy looking. Poor Mrs Bates II.

What happened to Patrick? There was no mention of him, even in a pejorative way. Has he been forgotten already, or will he make claim to Downton again at some point?

And why do I keep asking you questions? Does anyone know?

I love Granny. ‘I do hope I’m interrupting something.’