On Nazis and pregnancies, but not at the same time

I’ve been playing Sniper Elite 5 on the PlayStation 5 lately, because setting the difficulty to something obscenely low and shooting Nazis in the face from a hundred yards away has been about where my brain has been at lately. I like this series, but not as anything I take seriously; I don’t want to be challenged in Sniper Elite 5. I want to be an invincible force of death. I want the Nazis to tell their children that I’ll find them if they’re not quiet and well-behaved, and then I want those kids to tell me where their parents are, because their parents are Nazis and that means I can shoot them in the face.

Also, it’s the anniversary of D-Day. Also also, any time the anniversary of D-Day rolls around, I start thinking about my grandfather, who wasn’t actually at D-Day but joined the Allied assault in France a bit later, eventually being wounded in the Battle of Nancy, being handed a Purple Heart, and rotated back Stateside with a piece of a mortar shell in his ankle that, presumably, is still in his coffin with him, since the surgeons never bothered to remove it.

And today something hit me: I have an aunt named Nancy. And I tried to think about the timeline, and ended up calling another one of my aunts, the one I can bother relatively early in the morning with nonsense like this, and asked her about the timeline between Grandpa getting home and Nancy being born and named. Had my grandfather named my aunt after the battle in which he’d been wounded? It seemed possible, at least; I had to know.

No, as it turns out. Grandma was pregnant with Nancy when Grandpa shipped out, and she was born while he was overseas and named him herself. Tantalizingly, though, apparently my grandmother named Nancy herself and wrote Grandpa and told him the name, and my aunt tells me that his response was that she should “take it (the name, not my aunt) out and bury it, because it stinks.”

It is perhaps indicative of the type of woman my grandmother was– this is the one the name Siler comes from, by the way– that she ignored his, uh, suggestion, and her second daughter kept the name that she gave her. It’s also possibly an indication that Grandpa knew when he wrote the letter where he was heading and where he was likely to see combat, but I’d have to know a lot more about timelines– they’re both gone, so who knows where those letters might be– before I could make a supposition like that.

This led, somehow, to a conversation about the timing of the conception of various and sundry of my relatives; turns out one of my cousins is the product of a “lunch quickie,” and that my grandparents were in the house when another of my cousins from her was conceived. I changed the subject as soon as the phrase “lunch quickie” came up, by the way.

(My birthday is July 5; my mom’s was October 3. I have always assumed I was a birthday present; Dad, if that was not the case, I don’t need further details.)

On Season 3 of THE BOYS

This will be the third time I have written about Amazon Prime’s series The Boys, based on the Garth Ennis and Darick Robertson comic book of the same name, in this space. The first piece I wrote about it started with a content warning for “everything,” and mainly talked about the fact that I thought the show was problematic as hell, leaning way too much into sexism and rape and fridging female characters than anything I could be comfortable with recommending, but … well … if you could get past that awfulness, there was a pretty good show in there, somehow?

Then Season 2 rolled around, and they’d shed most of Ennis’ bullshit from the first season, in general treating their female characters a lot better, not relying on rape as a driver of the plot at all, and still keeping the insanely hyperviolent and raunchy tone of the first season, which moved the show from “Eh, if you were curious already, check it out, but don’t pay for Amazon Prime for this” to “Well, don’t pay for Amazon Prime just for this, but if you already have it, you probably ought to watch an episode or two and see what you think.”

We are, as of right now, three episodes into Season 3; my understanding is that new episodes are going to drop on Friday, although I’m not 100% sure what the actual schedule is– in other words, I’m not sure if they gave us three episodes to start and there will be 3 more this Friday, or if it’ll be on a more traditional one-episode-a-week schedule, or what, but we’re three episodes in. The season isn’t finished.

But based on those three episodes, and continuing to keep in mind that this show is not for everyone, and that I really can’t emphasize enough how much bodies literally exploding into chunky red sauce has been a part of this season, and there was a sequence in the first episode that very nearly had me hiding behind the couch …

I know Amazon Prime is $129 a year now, but … yeah, you need to be watching The Boys, if your constitution can handle it. If you know you can’t, go in peace and ignore this. But if you can?

This show has some of the best acting I have ever seen on a TV screen. Antony Starr as the Homelander is absolutely fucking terrifying in a way that I have never seen in a television character before. Like, my heart rate shoots up whenever he’s on screen. I want him to play the Joker so badly I can taste it. Karl Urban is amazing. Giancarlo Esposito is amazing. Jack Quaid is amazing. Erin Moriarty and Chance Crawford and Jessie Usher and oh my God Colby Minifie are amazing. Everyone with a role on this show is doing the job of their lives.

(Discovers that Mesmer, from last season, was Haley Joel fucking Osment, and has to take a moment.)

I really cannot express enough how much you need to see the clinic that Antony Starr is putting on here, though, managing to marry being an angry, unstable god with somebody who was very clearly so broken as a child that you almost feel sorry for him. Until, of course, you realize he’s fantasizing about killing every living person in New York City in the same disconnected, unconcerned way you might think for half a second before stepping on a bug. But you can see the scared little kid in him, and it’s just so good. And the writers, who are continuing to do adaptations The Right Way, have made it so clear that this show doesn’t even vaguely understand the concept of Plot Armor that there is literally not a single second where this man is on screen where you’re not worried about him doing something terrible at any moment. It’s been years since I had to take time to calm down after watching a TV show, and we’re only three episodes into this season and they’ve done it to me three times.

So, yeah. There’s still plenty of time for shit to go wrong, but at this point, and without relinquishing any of the previous warnings attached to previous seasons, this show is moving to You Need To Be Watching This. I’ll update again once the season is over.

OK, Zoomer

The following is a true fact: I am an Old. I have written before about how I’m at an age where I straddle the line a bit between Gen X and Millennials; my preferred nomenclature is the Oregon Trail Generation, but that’s not exactly what the cool kids call it. All that said, one thing I definitely am is Old. Yes, the oldest Millennials are old now. They have mortgages– some of them, anyway– and cars and kids and are starting to worry about paying for their college, and whether debt is going to be declared inheritable before they die.

Anyway. My wife and I were out doing some running around today, in two cars because one of the jobs involved bringing the last carload of stuff that we’re keeping back from my father-in-law’s apartment, and I told her that I was going to stop at a local gaming shop that is up by his place. The place is far enough away that if I drive past it I’m probably going to stop, just because I’m not up there very often. Anyway, I puttered around for a bit and decided to buy something and got behind a couple of high school-aged kids who were also checking out. Both of them, as it turns out, were buying card booster packs of some sort; Magic, I think, but I’m not sure and at any rate it doesn’t matter. What does matter is that the booster packs were expensive, and I heard the cashier quote a hundred and seventeen dollars to one of the kids, who pulled a handful of twenties out of his pocket, counted them carefully, and handed them over, receiving his change in the expected fashion.

And then the whole world went sideways, as the kid looked at his friend and said “I love these things. The money doesn’t come out of my account, so it’s like I’m not really spending anything.”

There was a moment of frozen silence. The cashier, a man of about my age, made eye contact with me, as both of us realized at the same time that this young man had just used the construction these things to refer to twenty dollar bills as if they were some sort of exotic and rare form of shell- or bead-based barter, and I don’t think either of us really knew what to do for a second. The kid’s friend saw the look we shot each other and also saw that I was either having a stroke or trying not to laugh, and rolled his eyes at his friend without saying a word and ushered him out.

I walked to the counter and placed my purchase in front of the cashier.

“Credit or … these things?”, he said.

And then I ceased to exist.

My favorite teacher present ever

I meant to mention this yesterday, but I forgot to bring this home and it fell out of my head, so enjoy this early-morning post. One of my kids came up to me with her parents after the 8th grade recognition yesterday and said she had a present for me. Then she handed me this roll of toilet paper.

“It’s for putting up with my crap all year,” she said. I made her sign it.

Ah, teaching.

In which I am very, very, very dumb and not smart

This showed up on my porch this afternoon, apparently because I purchased it? I don’t know why the hell I might have purchased a 3D printer, I don’t know what the hell I’m going to do with a 3D printer, and I don’t know why I went out and bought a little table for it or why I’m putting it together in my office right now, but apparently my lizard brain took a look at the number in my bank account and realized that I’d survived the school year (my kids are gone GONE gONe GoNE) and decided that this was a thing that should happen.

Super. I look forward to printing six more things that will sit pointlessly on a shelf somewhere in my house because I definitely don’t have enough stuff like that.

Fuck.