Streaming – The New Normal

I think it’s safe for me to say that 95% of those who read this are now streaming movies and/or television shows via their mobile device or Smart TV. And that’s only because the remaining 5% are either computer illiterates or simply don’t watch the squawk box. And it’s so convenient and easy for us to do nowadays, right? Just sign up for Netflix or one of the other streaming companies that are popping up like dandelions on a Spring lawn.

Or maybe you opt for Prime if you have an Amazon account; it’s only another 5 bucks a month. And there’s Crave for those of you who subscribe to Bell. That’s only 5 bucks too but if you want to watch anything good you need to drop another fiver (each) to get HBO, Showtime, Starz or the Super Channel. Apple TV is another conglomerate that is free, until you find you have to pay for Netflix or Crave or anything else under their umbrella.

Then there’s Gem, CBS All Access, CTV, Tubi, Global, Ted, A & E, Sundance or Sundance Plus if you want to watch anything decent. And I forgot You Tube, which is still free if you can figure out how to navigate the gazillions of videos that everyone with an iPhone has posted. I’ve recently seen Paramount Plus advertised, apparently one of the new ways the company can release movies without having to sell them to Netflix or Prime.

So, what does all this streaming really cost? My wife and I have taken to listing dollar amounts and effective dates on our calendar to keep track. Many say it’s cheaper than going to the movies. Really? Take your $100 to $150 basic cable or satellite bill, then add another $10 a month for one of the big shots like Netflix. But then add another $5 a month so you can binge on one of your favorite TV shows. Then a couple more fives here and there for whatever others you’ve forgotten to cancel, and remember that you’re paying this each and every month!

I know some who are paying $200 a month to watch television. That’s quite a few trips to the movie theater. I don’t know about you but I’m finding it more frustrating every day when I see a new show or movie that’s about to be released, but I have to subscribe to another provider to watch it. If this is the new normal I don’t like it.

Suspect – Michael Robotham

Suspect (Joseph O’Loughlin, #1)
by Michael Robotham (Goodreads Author)
Edmond Gagnon‘s review Feb 17, 2021  
I had never heard of author Michael Robotham, perhaps it’s because he’s from Sydney Australia.
Regardless, I found his book, Suspect, a very good read. The protagonist is a Psychiatrist, but not a character like Alex Delaware in John Kellerman’s novels, who assists police in their investigations.

Joseph O’Loughlin may be trying to get into his patients heads, but it seems more like he needs to examine himself. By trying to get to the truth he only incriminates himself and goes from helping the police to being their number one suspect.

I found the backstory a bit heavy at times but the plot was well written and fast paced enough to keep my attention. I would definitely read this author again.

The Snowman – Jo Nesbo

The Snowman (Harry Hole, #7)
by Jo Nesbø 
Edmond Gagnon‘s reviewFeb 07, 2021 


The Snowman is the first ‘Harry Hole’ Jo Nesbo novel that I’ve read. Although a Norwegian author, he can weave a crime fiction tale with the best of them.
I had some difficulty getting into this book, and keeping things straight as the story progressed, because of all the Norwegian names of places and characters. For me, it was hard to concentrate when I couldn’t pronounce or remember most of the proper nouns that were used.
Having said that, the plot was intricately pieced together, with enough twists and turns to keep any crime reader fully engrossed.
Nesbo’s police protagonist and sadistic antagonist were equally likable, especially once the latter was eventually discovered.

Trafficking Chen – Teaser

Here’s a tease for what Norm Strom is up to next:

Human Trafficking is an affliction that has infected countries across the world for centuries, and continues to do so today. There are countless numbers of victims.

Trafficking Chen is the heartfelt story of one victim, a young Chinese girl who is taken from her family home to settle an outstanding gambling debt acquired by her father. She is forced into labor and becomes a servant to the rich.

As Chen comes of age, she has to serve in other ways, using her own body to satisfy her master’s sexual appetite. Later, she is prostituted and moved around the country, eventually being shipped overseas to Canada, where she is put to work as an exotic dancer.

Street Crimes Detective Norm Strom mostly investigates property-related crime, but he receives a tip from a confidential informant who says illegal Asian women are dancing at a local strip club. Trying to ignore personal issues, Strom joins a task force to investigate possible human trafficking in his city.

Les Miserables

Having seen the live stage version at least twice, and the previous movie musical with Russel Crowe and Hugh Jackman, I have to say that I enjoyed the latest BBC production of Les Miserables the best. The new version, which we were able to stream on CBC Gem, is not a musical. And it’s cast is not made up of A-listers, but you should recognize names like Dominic West (the Wire), David Oyelowo (Selma), and Olivia Colman (The Crown).

I found a new appreciation for this latest installment of the timeless classic because I got a better understanding of the story. Perhaps the music and lack of backstory in the stage versions left me with more questions than answers as to the overall plot. For the unaware, Les Miserables takes place in France after Napoleon and the French Revolution.

It’s a sad rags to riches to rags tale that is shown in eight parts, currently available for streaming or downloading. Cathryn and I loved the story and both give it a 9 out of 10.

Please Support Your Local Stores

Book stores are struggling to survive, the same as restaurants and other small businesses in our area. Please shop local when you can, and help your neighbors to keep their businesses running during these trying times.

River Bookshop in Amherstburg, Story Tellers, Juniper, and Biblioasis are all local stores who can use your support. All my books are currently for sale at River Bookshop and Story Tellers. They are both currently open for curbside pickup.

Who needs the Internet?

Fact: Everyone who is reading this is on or has been on the Internet. But those of us wearing reading glasses on to see this should remember a few decades ago, when it never existed. Those were the days of typewriters and carbon paper, cursive writing, and real signatures on things we called letters. For me, I can’t even recall the last time I wrote a letter by hand and mailed it to someone.

The Internet has made our world smaller by connecting people and countries near and far, allowing us to obtain just about anything we need with the simple click of a a mouse. I think it’s one of man’s greatest inventions, but like so many of the drugs we’ve marketed to the masses, have we become addicted to the technology?

Try imagining one day in your life without the Internet. I don’t have to, our router crashed last week while we were streaming a television show. You know, the thing we do now instead of watching programs that have been broadcast over airwaves and sent through cables connected to our homes. For the next couple days it was if someone had cut off my hands and I couldn’t accomplish anything.

The experience made me appreciate my mother-in-law’s predicament, she has no idea how to use a computer and has difficulty using her mobile phone. And because of that she is constantly challenged by our technologically advanced world. She has to physically attend her bank, stare hopelessly at the GPS on her car’s dashboard, and fight with people on the phone who want her to go online to speak with them.

In my case, I couldn’t research my router problem because I couldn’t get online. We had to use Cathryn’s phone data (Internet) to find the phone number for the electronics store because there are no more phone books. And because of our current pandemic, there is nobody available at the store to talk to you. So, after driving to Chatham to get a router that was available here in Windsor, the simple instructions that came with it required me to connect via the Internet.

That time off line made me feel like I was sitting in the dark after a power outage. I couldn’t watch TV, check my mail, social media sites, or do any research for my writing projects. We couldn’t even talk to Alexa. And if Cathryn needed a recipe she had to dig through old magazines and cook books that are buried in the basement. So, are we addicted to the internet or just dependent upon it?

I know the answer, but you won’t be able to respond to my question unless…

News of the World – the Movie

For movie buffs like Cathryn and I, the year 2020 was painful. And because of of the worldwide pandemic with Covid 19, 2021 isn’t shaping up to be much better. Old movies in our DVD collection and streaming companies like Netflix and Crave have been our only saving grace. Even the producers of television shows had to take a hiatus in the name of safety.

After exhausting the list of decent movies to stream, and for a change from binge-watching our favorite TV shows, we’ve taken to searching for decent movies that have to be rented. Major motion picture studios seem to have caught on to our dilemma, and since they can’t release their new movies in theaters, they are making them available to rent.

Last night we rented the latest movie by Tom Hanks, News of the World. We were shocked that we had to pay $25 to watch the new release, but took into consideration that it would have cost us more to see it in a theater. And since we’re not allowed out of our house, what choice did we have. We were able to rent and download the movie through Apple TV.

News of the World is a western with a completely different story line that’s never been done before. It takes place after the American Civil war, when the country is trying to heal, and the south has suffered the most. Tom Hanks’ character travels from town to town, reading from the latest newspaper articles, apprising folk of what’s happening in their part of the world.

I found the movie a bit slow at times, typical of some westerns, but there was enough action and a great story line that kept me interested. We both loved the movie, with Cathryn giving it a big 10. I can’t say there was anything wrong with the flick but I’m giving it a conservative 8, just because I can.

Please Share

One of the lessons that I remember my mother reminding me of often, was about sharing. Being one of six siblings, and even though I was the biggest and oldest, I was taught to share my food and clothes and even my toys with my brothers and sisters. In our now disposable world, hand-me-downs are something that newer generations know nothing about.

Since becoming a published author, I love sharing my thoughts and stories with anyone who is willing to read them. And I am truly grateful that so many people have come to like my books and have shared their hard-earned money with me, in buying them.

By using social media, I have not only learned how to share my writing, but everyday news, interesting tidbits, and even jokes that I think others will find amusing. Some of those things have been shared by my online friends and I am happy to pass them on.

And now I humbly ask you to share this post and pass it on to your friends and contacts. In appreciating my fans and friends, I try not to spam everyone all the time. I receive plenty of ‘likes’ that let me know how many are interested in what I have to say, and for that I thank you. Perhaps by sharing this post you can help me reach out to new friends and readers who might be interested in my words.

If you haven’t already, check out my 3-part story by MediaWorks Studios on YouTube:

Part 1 – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bKaaHwMLxCk&t=8s

Part 2 – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f4B4pFQ_II4

Part 3 – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mr2c8RK1heA&t=2s

Again, I want to thank all who support my writing endeavors and wish everyone a wonderful new year.

My website: www.edmondgagnon.com

Five Guys Friday

As many of you know, living with my wife, Cathryn, is like living with a personal chef. There’s good and bad that goes along with that. Obviously the good part is that she cooks and serves me gourmet meals almost every night of the week.

The bad part of having a live-in chef is that we don’t go out to restaurants as often as we did when we were dating and sampling food and wine across the county. Add to that our dietary constraints and we rarely get to visit fast food restaurants or eat junk food.

Once a month, I treat myself to a cheat day and basically eat whatever the hell I want. I had been craving a fresh grilled hamburger for quite a while, so yesterday I treated my chef and took her out to Five Guys Burgers and Fries. We now have one in Windsor, just south of the Devonshire Mall.

What a treat! Because of Covid rules we had to eat in the car, but I brought along cloth napkins and plastic lap trays for a touch of parking lot class. We brought our own drinks too so I was a bit surprised by the $26 bill for two cheeseburgers and one order of fries. Granted the burgers were double-deckers and there were enough fries for three people.

Its’ nice to custom order whatever toppings you like, including fried caramelized onions, the bun is steamed soft and the cheese is nice and gooey. The meat is freshly grilled and goes nowhere near a microwave oven. If you haven’t tried a burger from these Five Guys, you don’t know what you’re missing.