Discover more from All the Fanfare
The Friday High Five
On Dessert Rankings, Being Your Own Worst Enemy, and Fatherly Advice
Every Friday I share 5 things that brought me joy this week. Also, high fives are inherently cool, and I think we can all agree Friday is the bestest day. Hence the Friday High Five. 🙏🏻
5 Things I Enjoyed This Week:
Justified: City Primeval
Homemade Chocolate Chip Cookies
Dungeons & Dragons
Sh*t My Dad Says
The Terminal List
Justified: City Primeval
Yes, again. I can practically guarantee City Primeval will be represented in every Friday High Five until the season concludes. If my wife is fine with my Timothy Olyphant adoration, you should be too.
We’ve reached that regrettable phase known as ‘caught up’ and now must wait 7 sleeps between each episode. On one hand, this forces me to parcel out what is already a meager offering. (Only 6 episodes?! I’m a grown-ass man. How am I supposed to survive on this?) On the other, it’s 2023 and here we are waiting an arbitrary allotment of time as though it was 1983.
Anyway, here’s some spoiler-free thoughts.
It should be impossible, but Raylan Givens is just as cool as a silver-haired 50-something. Maybe even cooler? There’s something intriguing about the more laid-back Raylan that was missing from Justified.
Next to Raylan, the black cast are my favorite characters. Yes, all of them. They are pitch-perfect: three-dimensional, flawed, funny, interesting. I’d watch a City Primeval spin-off just with them.
Willa, Raylan’s daughter (played by Timothy Olyphant’s real daughter) is really hard to understand. She has a sing-song voice, sort of like a baked Luna Lovegood. Other than that, I like her fine.
Clement Mansell can’t hold Boyd Crowder’s jockstrap. No surprise there, but it had to be said.
Clement is a weird character. He’s like Woody Harrelson from Natural Born Killers cosplaying as the Joker, if the Joker walked around in cowboy boots and tighty-whities. You can’t NOT watch him, but you also quietly wonder WTF the entire time.
It wasn’t shot in Detroit but it FEELS like Detroit, and that’s all that matters.
The Detroit Pistons dialogue at the beginning of episode two nearly burst my heart. So good.
Did I mention Raylan Givens is awesome?
City Primeval is different than I’d expected, but I’m loving it.
Join the unofficial Timothy Olyphant OlyFans.
Homemade Chocolate Chip Cookies
We generally don’t run the oven during the summer because it’s already hot enough. But occasionally there are windows where the temp is in the low 70s and we can sneak in a bit of baking. My wife loves making cookies, I love eating them. If you’ve ever doubted the existence of soul mates, look no further.
Though they’re one of the most basic options, chocolate chip cookies are my favorite. They’re the GOAT of cookies. I’d even put them up against brownies, cheesecake, and apple pie as desert options.1 You just can't beat the combination of gooey chocolate and the soft-crunch of the cookie.
Are you hungry yet?
Dungeons & Dragons
We missed several sessions of my bi-weekly game due to the busyness of summer, and thus when we gathered around the table Monday it’d been 6 weeks since last we’d played.
There are lots of ways to play D&D and every group is different. Ours leans heavily into shenanigans. I cry from laughing at least once every time we play.
My character is a rogue modeled after Prince from The Chappelle Show skit. Aaldar can do the traditional thief stuff—pick locks and pockets, primarily—but would rather charm his way through life. He’s also the self-elected leader of the group, mostly because nobody cares enough to argue about it.
We’re exploring a dungeon—as one does—and come upon a door. I elect to check for traps. This is not something I usually do, because my character is not that kind of rogue. Usually I coerce the wizard to act as our trap-finder. He is not actually skilled in such matters. He finds traps by brazenly stepping onto questionable tiles and opening all doors. Dangerous, yes, but only for him. This time I decide to take matters into my own hands. As I said, it had been 6 weeks.
Dungeon Master: “Give me an Intelligence check to see if there is a trap.”
Me: “Pfft. Aaldar is hella smart. Whoops.” I rolled low.
DM: “You are utterly convinced this door is trapped.”
DM: “Give me an Dexterity check to disarm the trap.”
Me: “Easy.” <Roll> “……………….”
DM: “What did you roll?”
My friend, unable to contain his laughter: “A natural one.”
DM, also laughing: “You hear a click.”
Me: Aaldar leaps back. “Guys, this door is unassailable. We should just leave.”
Our Barbarian: “I open the door with my boot.”
The door—which the DM happily informs me was never trapped or even locked—swings opens. A roomful of enemies stand within, weapons ready, alerted by my inept attempts at skullduggery. I’m just glad they aren’t snickering. I don’t think Aaldar’s confidence could take a hit like that. He's a flower, yes, but he's fragile.
It’s moments like these that make D&D my favorite.
Sh*it My Dad Says
I mentioned previously my favorite way to do the library is to wander aimlessly, picking up whatever looks interesting until I meet my self-imposed quota, which tends to be 3-5 books. That’s optimistically what I can finish in a month, though most times I only read half of what I checkout before they are due again. (Here’s this month’s haul if you care about such things. I personally find it interesting to see what resonates with people. Maybe you do, too.)
I somehow end up in the section of books written by funny people. I start looking for Amy Poehler’s book when I spy Sh*t My Dad Says. The cover image and Chelsea’s blurb sell me. I’m not super picky when it comes to the library. The books, after all, are free.
I’m also not someone who has to finish a book once I start reading. If it sucks, I throw it across the room and start reading something else. There are too many good books to waste time on trash. (I metaphorically throw the book, of course. I’m not a monster. Though I did literally throw Terry Goodkind’s Wizard’s First Rule after about 100 pages. It was an involuntary reaction, like pulling your hand away from a hot stove or humming along with The Imperial March.)4
Sh*t My Dad Says is about the writer’s father, who freely dispenses no-nonsense advice punctuated with prolific cursing. Seriously—if I didn’t know any better, I’d think this was actually The Wit and Wisdom of Al Swearengen (which sadly doesn’t exist… yet!).5
I was a couple of pages into Sh*t My Dad Says when I came upon this:
On Being Teased
"So he called you a homo. Big deal. There's nothing wrong with being a homosexual. No, I'm not saying you're a homosexual. Jesus Christ. Now I'm starting to see why this kid was giving you shit."
The Terminal List
The Terminal List is one of those generic-looking thrillers that pop up frequently on Prime Video. It stars Chris Pratt, who seems to enjoy making generic-looking thrillers on Prime Video. I made a passing joke in a recent column about Prime Video’s complete lack of an identity—the joke: our offerings are inspired by the Kohl's clearance rack—and it holds up. The only time I suggest watching Prime Video is when our 30-day free trial is about to expire.
(I know there’s good stuff on Prime. The law of averages deems it must be so. It’s just that there’s a lot more bland filler than there are excellent shows like The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel. Which, in part, is why I don’t pay for Prime anymore.)
We are 4 episodes into this 6-episode series and I still am not sure if this show is good or not. It’s intriguing, but I’m silently convinced the payoff will be the equivalent of a silent fart in a crowded room—I’ll be glancing around, looking disgusted, unsure where to lay the blame.
My Friday Night Lights loving heart was excited to see Taylor Kitsch surface again. I’ve lived in Michigan my whole life but still said, “Texas forever,” when I saw him. I was helpless not to.
Your turn to make me hungry! What is your all-time favorite dessert?
Have you played D&D before? I’d love to hear how it went!
What amazing Prime Video show am I sleeping on? Tell me before my Prime expires!
Leave a comment—I’m being dead serious, people.
My top 5 deserts, off the top of my head, which guarantees I’ll miss something:
Apple pie: My all-time favorite. It earns a spot on my last meal menu. Yes, I’ve thought about my last meal in a hypothetical scenario where I'm facing execution. You haven’t?
Chocolate chip cookies: See above
Dole Whip Ice Cream: If you know you know. Orange swirled with vanilla tastes like an old school Push Pop.
Brownies: Especially with walnuts!
Cheesecake: Love it but sometimes it’s a bit rich.
Obvious Lord of the Rings reference. You can’t play D&D without referring to LotR or Monty Python. It’s the law. If you break it, nerds will politely knock on your door and insist you watch the films until you see the error of your ways.
This one comes from Thor.
That’s Darth Vader’s theme, for the uninitiated. Here’s a link if you don’t know it by heart… like some people.
Here’s a smattering of Al’s colorful dictation. Warning: don’t click the link if you can’t handle some really rough language. There’s swearing and then there’s Al Swearengen swearing. I play basketball but I’m not in the same league as Michael Jordan. This is like that.
You probably should just forget I shared a link.
I’m talking to you, Mom.