HBO had some interesting offerings on Christmas Eve

As I started to wrap gifts on Christmas Eve, I switched on HBO, thinking, "Maybe I'll watch that Elf movie for the first time. Or A Christmas Story. National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation. Love Actually. Hey. Maybe Die Hard will be on."

You know. One of those classic Christmas staples. 

HBO had apparently failed to notice that it was Christmas Eve. When I flipped through the HBO channels, the offerings included: 

The Terminator: A seemingly indestructible humanoid cyborg is sent from 2029 to 1984 to assassinate a waitress, whose unborn son will lead humanity in a war against the machines, while a soldier from that war is sent to protect her at all costs.

Fifty Shades Darker: Erotic romantic sequel to Fifty Shades of Gray. While Christian wrestles with his inner demons, Anastasia must confront the anger and envy of the women who came before her.

A United Kingdom: The story of King Seretse Khama of Botswana and how his loving but controversial marriage to a British white woman, Ruth Williams, put his kingdom into political and diplomatic turmoil.

Assassins Creed: Callum Lynch explores the memories of his ancestor Aguilar de Nerha and gains the skills of a Master Assassin, before taking on the secret Templar society.

Rock Dog: When a radio falls from the sky into the hands of a wide-eyed Tibetan Mastiff, he leaves home to fulfill his dream of becoming a musician, setting into motion a series of completely unexpected events. 

Going in Style: Desperate to pay the bills and come through for their loved ones, three lifelong pals risk it all by embarking on a daring bid to knock off the very bank that absconded with their money.

What the hell was HBO thinking? Not one Christmas movie on Christmas Eve? If I was fringe lunatic Republican, I might accuse HBO of engaging in a war on Christmas. 

No bother. I had plenty of movies recorded on my DVR and on demand programming

I watched The Bourne Ultimatum instead. 

Interstellar should be a TV show

For the record, someone should adapt Interstellar for television. There was about 49 hours of content squeezed into a little less than three hours.


It would be an amazing TV show. Perfect for HBO. A&E. Netflix.

Also, I’m more than willing to be the one to adapt it, in the event that you’re a show runner looking for a writer.

Let’s put an end to the Miss America pageant by making anyone who watches it feel small and stupid and uninformed.

John Oliver’s takedown of the Miss America pageant on HBO’s Last Week Tonight was brilliant. The Miss America pageant is admittedly an easy target, but Oliver’s segment is both surgical and hilarious.

I could not stop laughing.

The Miss America pageant and all its bastard step children are like moldering, vestigial organs that should have been excised from the cultural landscape long ago.


Though the audience for the Miss America pageant was down 22% from last year, it still drew almost 10 million viewer and garnered its best rating in ten years in the category of adults ages 18 to 49 years old.

Who are these people?

Except I know who these people are. At least some of them. I watched friends tweet about the show while watching it. I heard colleagues talking about the show the next day. At least two people asked me if I watched.

I did not watch. Nor should you.


It will be a long time before pageant contestants are no longer willing to be objectified on national television for a chance at fame and profit. 

But if rationale Americans can come together and agree that this organization and its television show should no longer be supported by the general public, the Miss America pageant could be brought to an end sooner than later.

Let’s do this.

Don’t watch next year. If you hear of friends or relatives who watched, shame them. Make them feel small and stupid and uninformed.

Or show them John Oliver’s segment. Not only will they thank you for the laughs, but perhaps they will come away never wanting to watch the damn thing again. 

How could they not?

A genius author and I have something in common. I’m not quite the hack that I thought I was.

Tom Perrota, author most recently of The Leftovers (which is about to become an HBO series), is a far better writer than me, but it would seem that he and I have something in common. When it comes to choosing the settings of his novels, Perrota tends to choose the locales that he is most familiar.

From a recent Wall Street Journal interview:

It's just laziness. This is what's right in front of me. I've chosen to live there. I've never been the kind of writer who goes off in search of a book.


I have often said that with all the stuff that I have to make up in order to write a novel, why would I spend time inventing a place when there are perfectly good places all around me?

As a result, all three of my novels are set within just a few miles of my home.

Is this laziness? Absolutely. But it turns out that Tom Perrota does this, too, and for essentially the same reason.

I feel like slightly less of a hack today.