Listen to me on KTRS/St. Louis Mondays and Fridays, 3-6pm CT

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

A Political Prediction

If Roy Moore is elected today, I predict there will quickly be calls for a boycott of Alabama akin to the one in North Carolina after that state's bathroom law was passed. Of course, Alabama can't lose a Super Bowl or MLB/NBA/NHL All-Star game, but businesses and tourists might stay away.

If he does pull off a victory, you can forget about the Republicans in the Senate throwing him out, as many of them publicly professed they would a few short weeks ago. No, they'll keep him in there because our over-caffeinated president wants him there -- and because that entire party is morally bankrupt.

While I'm on the topic, in case you missed it, how about this lead paragraph from a CNN story about Moore on Sunday:

Alabama Republican Senate nominee Roy Moore appeared on a conspiracy-driven radio show twice in 2011, where he told the hosts in an interview that getting rid of constitutional amendments after the Tenth Amendment would "eliminate many problems" in the way the US government is structured.
Let's see, what came up in the amendments after the first ten that make up our Bill Of Rights? Since Moore was a sitting judge for many years, he probably knows that:
  • the 13th Amendment abolished slavery;
  • the 14th Amendment defined citizenship and guaranteed due process and equal protection;
  • the 15th Amendment prohibited denying the right to vote based on race;
  • the 19th Amendment prohibited denying the right to vote based on sex.
Do you get the feeling old white man Roy Moore thinks he's living not in 2017, but in 1817?

Or, considering his extremist religious views, perhaps he just thinks it's the year 17.

No, wait, that's the age of the girls he lusted after in his thirties. Damn!

Chris Matthews, “Bobby Kennedy: A Raging Spirit”

Next year marks the 50th anniversary of the assassination of Robert F. Kennedy, who was then three years into his first term as a US Senator, and just 80 days into his candidacy for president of the United States. Chris Matthews, the host of MSNBC’s Hardball, has written about RFK’s brother in the books “Jack Kennedy—Elusive Hero” and “Kennedy and Nixon,” and now has published “Bobby Kennedy: A Raging Spirit.” In our conversation about the book, the topics we covered included:
  • What made him want to return to tell more stories about the Kennedy family;
  • How Bobby was different from Jack and Ted;
  • What was his role in his brother’s administration;
  • If he’d lived, would RFK have been the Democratic presidential nominee in ’68;
  • Would he then have gone on the beat Nixon, and how that would have changed US history;
  • Whether Chris, a grad student at UNC in 1968, was an RFK-For-President supporter;
  • How Bobby Kennedy tangled with the Mafia and Jimmy Hoffa, and whether that affected his support from unions;
  • A touching story about the crowds that gathered to see his funeral train.
Listen, then click here to subscribe to these podcasts via iTunes!

Kael Maness, Ex-Addict Helping Addicts

A couple of weeks ago, I read a piece by Michele Munz in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch about Kael Maness, one of several recovery coaches working with addicts who overdose on opioids and end up in hospital emergency rooms.

I contacted Kael and asked him to come in to talk about his work, which is so effective because he speaks the same language as the addicts he helps because he's been in their shoes, addicted to pretty much anything you could name over the course of more than a dozen years. He's been sober for three years, and now works with Project EPICC (Engaging Patients In Care Coordination) through the Behavioral Health Network of Greater St. Louis.

Kael was very open about the road he'd been down with alcoholism and drug addiction, and offered some tough love suggestions for parents who have children -- of any age -- who have followed the same path ("if you baby your kid, you'll bury your kid"). With opioids killing more Americans last year than died in the Vietnam War, the efforts of Kael and other recovery coaches are part of the solution.

Listen, then click here to subscribe to these podcasts via iTunes!

Dan Steadman and Tom Oldcroft, "The Shoe"

Dan Steadman is a writer/director who makes movies in the St. Louis area. Tom Oldcroft has appeared in a couple of them, including Dan's latest, "The Shoe," an anthology story that takes place over seven decades. When they joined me in the studio, we talked about that project as well as Dan's previous work, why he likes creating content in St. Louis, and his earlier life making movies and TV pilots in Hollywood (with stories about Melissa McCarthy, Octavia Spencer, and Jim Carrey).

Listen, then click here to subscribe to these podcasts via iTunes!

Monday, December 11, 2017

On My Monday Radio Show

I'll be back on KTRS today for my regular 3-6pm CT show. Among my guests will be: I hope you'll listen over the air, via the station's free app, or at

Movie Review: "Darkest Hour"

"Darkest Hour" is the third movie this year whose plot centers on the British Army being trapped on the beaches at Dunkirk by the Nazis in 1940. The first was "Their Finest," a light drama starring Gemma Atherton and Bill Nighy (my review is here). The second was "Dunkirk," Christopher Nolan's epic told from three perspectives in three different timelines (my review is here).

Now we get "Darkest Hour," with Gary Oldman as Winston Churchill in his earliest days as British Prime Minister. We've seen Churchill portrayed on screen before (both John Lithgow and Brendan Gleeson have won Emmys playing him in the last decade), but this is the best of the lot. The makeup job on Oldman is astounding, and his performance (sure to be nominated for Best Actor) is even better.

After the disastrous reign of PM Neville Chamberlain, Churchill was chosen to lead his country at a perilous time. The Germans had rolled through most of Europe with little resistance, and had trapped virtually the entire UK army at Dunkirk. Once they were wiped out, it wouldn't be long before the Nazis crossed the English Channel to attack Britain. While some in his government urged Churchill to try some sort of back-door negotiation with Hitler through Italy's Mussolini, he abhorred the idea, understanding that surrender could not be an option.

"Darkest Hour" portrays Churchill's meetings with Parliament, his war council, and King George VI during those difficult days. Unlike the action-heavy "Dunkirk," this movie is very talky, but never slow. We see Churchill portrayed not as a perfect man -- he drank too much and was never in good health -- but as a statesman trying to figure out how to lead his country and inspire its citizenry.

Joe Wright directs "Darkest Hour" with a keen eye for the subterranean corridors of power that Churchill must navigate, while also giving us scenes of his home life with wife, Clementine (Kristin Scott Thomas), and his meetings at Buckingham Palace with the king (played by my "Mississippi Grind" co-star, Ben Mendelsohn), whose advisers were telling him to leave the island and rule in absentia for his own safety.

The biggest flaw in "Darkest Hour" is a scene towards the end in which Churchill rides the subway with common Brits in order to get their opinion on what he should do about the Nazis. The problem is that never happened. Wright and screenwriter Anthony McCarten invented the whole thing, which is a shame, because they got the rest of the Churchill story right.

Nonetheless, you should see "Darkest Hour," primarily because of Oldman's work in the role, but also because it's yet another part of world history most Americans know far too little about.

I give "The Darkest Hour" an 8 out of 10.

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Brian Regan Tickets

I have two tickets to Brian Regan at the Peabody Opera House on 1/12/18 that I can't use because something's come up. The seats are in Row W, Orchestra Left Center, and come with Premier Parking in the Abrams Garage next door. If you'll cover my cost ($189), I'll be happy to transfer them to you. If you're interested, email me: paul (at)

Saturday, December 09, 2017

Tim Riley, National Churchill Museum

With the movie "Darkest Hour," opening today in St. Louis (with a remarkable performance by Gary Oldman as Winston Churchill), I called upon Tim Riley, chief curator of the National Churchill Museum, to discuss the man's legacy. He explained why the museum is in Fulton, Missouri, and the back story of the historic church that was moved there, brick by brick, from London, England.

Tim explained Churchill's leadership in fighting Germany during World War II, how he inspired his countrymen, and how he differed from his predecessor, Neville Chamberlain. We talked about Churchill's relationships with US president Franklin Roosevelt, and why the latter didn't come to Britain's aide as the Dunkirk story was unfolding in May, 1940. We also discussed a low point in Churchill's career, when he opposed the Indian independence movement and wanted to crush its leader, Mahatma Ghandi. We even had time to get into World War I, Gallipoli, the Korean War, and Joseph Stalin.

Listen, then click here to subscribe to these podcasts via iTunes!

Showbiz Show 12/8/17

This week on the showbiz segment of my show, Max and I reviewed "Darkest Hour" and "The Disaster Artist." Then we talked about how the money a movie brings in is distributed and how much goes to the theaters that show it. We also discussed why the "Olaf's Frozen Adventure" short doesn't play before each showing of Pixar's "Coco" any more, what's wrong with the new trailers for "Star Wars: The Last Jedi" and "Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom," what will happen when "House Of Cards" returns to Netflix without Kevin Spacey, and why you should stream the series "The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel" on Amazon Prime.

Listen, then click here to subscribe to these podcasts via iTunes!

Harris Challenge 12/8/17

On this edition of my Harris Challenge -- the most fun that you can have with your radio on -- the trivia categories include Resign Of The Times, The War Machine, and How You Will Die. Listen and play along, then click here to subscribe to these podcasts via iTunes!

Want more Harris Challenges? Click here.

Knuckleheads In The News® 12/8/17

This collection of Knuckleheads In The News® stories include people parked in the wrong spot, a self-incriminating bank robber, and a toilet seat in the wrong position. Listen, then click here to subscribe to these podcasts via iTunes!

Want more Knuckleheads In The News®Click here.

Friday, December 08, 2017

On My Friday Radio Show

I'll be back on KTRS today for my regular 3-6pm CT show (listen over the air, via the station's free app, or at

In the first hour, with the movie "Darkest Hour" opening today, I'll talk with Tim Riley, chief curator of the National Winston Churchill Museum in Fulton, Missouri.

In the second hour, Max and I will review "Darkest Hour" and "The Disaster Artist," plus other movie/showbiz news.

In the third hour, you'll get a chance to test your topical trivia knowledge with my Harris Challenge, and I'll have another batch of Knuckleheads In The News®, too.