Worse TV

Suddenly realized that just because something’s Brit or Canadian doesn’t make it good. There are things On-Demand and at Netflix that aren’t worth watching. This will be quick. The bad stuff doesn’t result in a lot of data.

Orphan Black. I assume you know better than to watch most BBC sci fi. Primeval, ugh. Anything the Syfy channel plagiarizes, like that abomination with the werewolf, the vampire and the ghost. Orphan Black is new. My wife pulled the pin 15 minutes in. I thought she was a model of toleration. She thought I was testing her. One word: Suck.

Taggart. Scottish slop of a TV crime series. Long running, awful, and incomprehensible. And that’s before we get to the brogue bullshit. Which is actually offensive in its desire not to be understood.

Rebus. See Taggart above.

Cracker: See Taggart above. Only without the brogue.

The Last Detective. A guy with worn out shoes who gets no respect from anybody in his department even though he solves all his cases. Not even allowed a police car. No matter how successful he is, they still hate and despise him. The lead is a former Doctor Who. Don’t be fooled. It’s a crap show.

The Commander. Some Brit female police higher-up and higher than that who strips to her bra in the pilot. It’s a bullet bra. She’s as sexually attractive and charming as a bullet. Don’t waste your time.

DNA. Does Not Attract. Any sentient audience, I mean. Nobody worth liking in the whole cast.

Durham County. Sickening. Starts out perverse and gets worse. Until you want to throw up.

There’s a Canadian show called Intelligence, I believe. Wherein they’re ever so much smarter than the rude Americans. In every single installment. By the third episode, you’re done. You know, Brits do better American accents than Canadians do. Of course, we don’t do Canadian accents at all, do we, eh? Something about familiarity and contempt. Three cheers for us.

Accused. uh, Guilty.

Five Days. See Accused above. Just how awful are we supposed to feel about being alive on earth?

The State Within. (me with my finger down my throat trying to cough it up. Same goes for everything done by this writing and production team.)

Wallander. Suicide porn. DO NOT WATCH.

There’s also a French law enforcement show of some kind, whose name escapes me. Oh. It’s called Spiral. Let the show escape you too. When you see French credits and subtitles, RUN!!!!

My wife was supposed to help on this post. But she’s still not feeling tip top. I’ll get back to you later.

Of course, it’s entirely up to you how many retreads of Miss Marple you can stand.

PS. Two that I was going to list as unworthy my wife did defend. Canadian both. Flashpoint and Rookie Blue. For what it’s worth.

Better TV (Update)

I don’t know how many of you have cable on-demand as opposed to Netflix. Haven’t heard from any On-Demand subscribers yet, but that’s where the current BBC series Ripper Street, Whitechapel, and The Hour are to be found.

Guy’s Netflix list was correct but incomplete. The Da Vinci Files and Murder in Suburbia are there too. Some other good series are on Netflix as well, a little older perhaps but worth calling out separately. In no particular order then:

Waking the Dead. A London cold case unit, heavy on forensics and psychological profiling. Multiple seasons of six movie-length episodes. Superior cast headed by Trevor Eve, Sue Johnston, and Holly Aird. One of our favorite all-time shows.

Wire in the Blood. A Brit antidote to this year’s idiotic Hannibal series. Robson Green performs wonders as a psychologist who goes deep, too deep sometimes, into the minds of the ultimately evil. Multiple single-digit-episode seasons, usually great with a few clinkers, most notably lousy a one-off movie set in the American southwest. (Just don’t watch that one.) He works with the police, who think he’s nuts, which he is. Bizarre plots, crimes, and outcomes, with some excellent chemistry between Green and the female detective inspectors who slowly come to trust him.

Foyle’s War. World War II Britain, not London. A somewhat elderly inspector who does not drive deals with crimes that frequently wind up involving the military and the intelligence community. He has a plucky young female driver of whom he grows discreetly fond, as for a daughter he never had. Fine understated performance by Michael Kitchen as a scrupulous policeman who simply doesn’t care about the politics of the war. He solves crimes with a mild relentlessness that’s worth the slow pace. Multiple seasons.

George Gently. Another somewhat elderly detective inspector, set this time in the sixties, who is exiled from London to the northern hinterland. He is smart, thorough, experienced, and wise if not brilliant, and he is saddled with a callow, ambitious sergeant who wears every common prejudice like a flag. Their relationship is both funny and sad, energized by the skillful acting of Martin Shaw and the unexpectedly endearing Lee Ingleby. Slow and uneven but mostly worth it. A couple short seasons.

Doc Martin. A snooty and brilliant surgeon flees celebrity practice for a small coastal town filled with eccentrics and lunatics. Why? He can’t stand the sight of blood. He also has zero people skills. Less than zero, maybe. With Martin Clunes in the title role it’s absolutely wonderful FOR ONE SEASON, the first. After that, drop it like a hot potato. A one-joke premise that can’t be sustained.

Annika Bengtzon, Crime Reporter. Swedish and subtitled. But wait. It’s actually really really good. Annika is a grownup archetype of Swedish beauty, though usually harassed and makeup free. Unlike most Scandinavian drama, the show is packed with action and quick-paced. She is an indefatigable reporter, fearless to the point of folly, and struggling with a home life and children who always get short shrift when she launches herself into a story. You’ll forget the subtitles in a few minutes, I swear. Maybe six episodes total. One I’d never have found without my wife, who also likes a Scandinavian antiterrorism series called the Eagle that puts me right to sleep.

And, yes, there may be more than these. But that’s enough for now.


There will be what should be a fun post tomorrow at the other site. Something I’m thinking of as an emotional experiment involving the media. Lots of Youtubes and nice voices. And a curveball if not a wicked slider.

Now we’ll see if I can live up to that teaser…

Django Unhinged

Okay. I watched the movie that got the Oscar for best screenplay.

Good God Almighty. Even the Breitbart reviewer liked it. Of course, Breitbart reviewers are stone illiterates, but how damn dumb do you have to be not to see that this movie is one of the worst of all time?

Let me count the ways. I’m not being figurative. I’m going to drive this piece of crap into the ground, no matter how much you Tarantino fans squeal.

I’m reminded of two movies nobody’s mentioned in regard to this one. Both were highly publicized products of Hollywood at its worst, famous more for their uncontrolled self-indulgence than any intrinsic merit. The original “Casino Royale” and a thing called “What’s New Pussycat?” Ever seen them? I doubt it. Both had incoherent scripts, tons of celebrity cameos, and an insider atmosphere that made it clear participating in the production was far more important than what was realized on screen. Oddly enough, Woody Allen was involved in both these monstrosities. At the time, the Hollywood press was enchanted. Today, nobody would regard either as remotely watchable. The only possible viewer response is “Huh? What were they thinking?”

Welcome to Django Unchained. Quentin Tarantino is a redneck version of Woody Allen, a fanatical movie fan who can’t stop himself from copying, repeating, spoofing, and one-upping the movies he fell in love with during his horrible solitary youth. Both are curdled milk. Woody Allen has a thing for little girls. Tarantino has a thing for arterial spray, pretentious dialogue that Stephen King would consider wordy, a converted redneck delusion that he understands racial matters, and an image of himself as a post-modern film auteur. Oh. Yeah. That last one he shares with Woody.

He should have called Woody before he did Django. Woody might have told him, based on his CR and WNP experiences, that you can’t make six or seven movies at once, even if your script is longer than the lifespan of a manatee. You can’t do The Good, The Bad & The Ugly, Uncle Tom’s Cabin, the Count of Monte Cristo, American Gangster, Hannibal, Scarface, Sense & Sensibility, and Blazing Saddles in a single sitting and hope to get away with it.

You can’t count on the auditory drumming of the word nigger said every three seconds to have the necessary dramatic impact if the acting and direction is so over the top that it demands comparison to a silent movie from the 1920s. You keep waiting for the piano music and the caption screens imprinting “nigger” on your brain in legible form. That is the whole point, isn’t it? Along with all that eye-rolling and mustache-twirling villainy?

The amazing thing is how many celebrity actors past and present chose to participate. Not for the money, obviously, given the proliferation of cameo roles. They just wanted to be part of this Hollywood happening. Don Stroud. Lee Horsley. Don Johnson. Michael Parks. Walton Goggins. Tarantino, of course. Leo di Caprio as Simon Legree. and Samuel Jackson doing his best Clarence Thomas impression. Fools.

Because Hollywood blinders aside, it’s a truly terrible movie. The pacing is glacial, the climaxes are ALL anticlimactic, the action scenes are choppy and slurpy with blood rather than compelling, and the characterization throughout is cartoonish where it isn’t just opaque. Django is willing to watch a fellow black man torn apart by dogs to get to his wife but he feels entitled to torture the slave who has done the same thing to preserve his own life.

Like everything Tarantino does, it’s a moral mess. It’s not entertaining. It pisses away its conscription of Ennio Morricone and all its other anachronistic music. At the end, where it should seek a romantic resolution, it actually farts around with a spoof of NASCAR donuts on horseback, as if to sneer at us for wasting three hours caring about a love quest that was never believable in the first place.

Oscar? Anybody who found this piece of crap in any way laudable should be horsewhipped. The good news? There’s a horsewhip in the movie. Take off your shirt and bend over.

PS. Yeah. Why Raebert was grumpy. He had cause.

Better TV

He's happier when the women don't have balloons on them. No balloons in the Old Country.

He’s happier when the women don’t have balloons on them.

Nobody wanted to talk about my subversive TV nominations. So I’ll try to be a good citizen instead and talk about some shows worth seeing if you can find them.

These are available on-demand or on Netflix. Mostly they’re Canadian or Brit. Wish WE could do better, but we insist on spoiling even the good ones we have by extending them indefinitely until they expire from boredom and repetition. Really liked Suits, but it should have been a single 12 episode season. Can’t watch it anymore. Same with Rescue Me. And The Killing. Which taints the memory.

Whitechapel. Present day Oxbridge detective suffering from OCD encounters crimes reminiscent of the Ripper murders and other old cases. Clever, compelling, and well acted. Seasons last about three episodes or so.

Luther. Idris Elba, fine actor, is a tormented London detective who plays fast and loose with the law while solving bizarre crimes no one else can solve. His most revealing relationship is with a female serial killer beyond the reach of the law who possibly loves him, and who knows what Luther is thinking? A couple of three episode seasons. Very intense. Outstanding.

Ripper Street. Fascinating but slow-developing six-episode series set in the precinct of the Ripper murders in their immediate aftermath. Stars Matthew McFaydden of MI-5 fame and keeps getting deeper and more involved. Every character gets fleshed out eventually, and eventually you discover you care about everyone from thug cops to prostitutes. Also a great American character — a gunfighter medical examiner in Victorian London.

The Hour. A superior Brit variation on Mad Men. Two seasons of six episodes, each self-contained. A post-war BBC precursor of 60 minutes (but broadcast live) is launched and runs into the hellish web of Whitehall politics. Extraordinary performances by Ben Whishaw and Dominic West. Reminiscent of the ill-fated AMC series Rubicon. Also one of the Chaplin granddaughters doing a splendid turn as a betrayed wife who actually wants her husband back.

The Murdoch Mysteries. Some of the whimsy of the Midsomer Murders but a more compelling central character, a brilliant Jesuit prodigy of forensic science in 1890s Toronto. In the first season, he meets and works with both Nikola Tesla and Arthur Conan Doyle, whom he at one point throws in jail. The science is researched and fun, and the tone is serious but never as mean as it seems it might be in other hands.

Bramwell. Jemma Redgrave. You know, the Redgraves really can act. Bramwell is a female Victorian doctor trying to run a free clinic in London. The first season is definitely worth watching. She’s an angel of mercy but no saint. Prejudice against women isn’t the only thing she’s fighting. She’s fighting her own prejudices and judgments too.

Vera. An eccentric old broad of a detective chief inspector. Brenda Blethyn. She’s not good at the people thing. She lives in a bleak remote place like the place Jesse Stone lives in in his somewhat ponderous movie series. But the mysteries are good, even if she’s about the only character with any lines on the police force.

Blue Murder. A series that shouldn’t be as entertaining as it is. She’s a Brit cliche, a detective inspector in working class Manchester going through a separation and divorce while trying to raise two teenagers. It’s engaging nonetheless. She’s sweet on her much younger junior partner, and she runs out of breath trying to chase suspects. But she figures things out despite the fact that she also screws up on a regular basis, at home and at work.

Rosemary and Thyme. An old-fashioned soufflé of a mystery series. Two, er, mature women are running a gardening service and keep running also into murder among the upper classes. They trip over bodies among the boxwoods, overhear scandalous whispers at the local pub, and get caught sneaking into the clients’ bedrooms looking for clues. Great fun.

Murder in Suburbia. Two more female detectives. Both of them attractive and horny. They solve their cases in neighborhoods that look like developments in Ohio. In case you didn’t know it, Britain ain’t all picturesque Midsomer villages. But they’re clever these girls. And they don’t always end their cases in bed. They just wish they did.

The Da Vinci Files. An actual long-running series from Canada. Da Vinci is the coroner, a divorcee, and a recovering alcoholic with a sweet daughter. He keeps trying to do the right thing. It all works somehow.

Rectify. Aha. One of ours, I’m almost sure. A Sundance Channel limited series. Six episodes they promise. (But The Killing made promises too.) A man is freed from Death Row in Georgia after 19 years and 5 stays of execution. The DNA evidence, finally analyzed, casts his guilt in doubt. Have only seen Episode 1, but the writing and acting are stellar, even if the action is almost nonexistent. The central character is riveting, lost in the Death Row time of right now and nothing more. (Reminded me almost at once of Faulkner’s first novel, Soldier’s Pay.) A truly gifted actor I’ve never seen before. His sister is almost as compelling. People still want to try him again, and there must be reasons, but we don’t know what they are. The first episode ends with a shocking development. Now you know as much as I do.

You’ve got all weekend to cruise through these offerings. I expect prompt reviews.

Ell Oh Ell.

Recent TV Shows

I hate TV. Shooting and explosions. Does he listen? No. Scottish assholes never listen.

I hate TV. Shooting and explosions. Does he listen? No. Scottish assholes never listen.

I’ve inveighed against TV series that deliberately inject politics into entertainment, like every part of the Law & Order franchise. Today I’m interested in something else. Shows that may be subtly subversive in terms of politics and philosophy, for good and ill. I’ll offer just three examples, but maybe you can identify others we should talk about.

Revolution. My wife and I have been watching this in its first season, albeit skeptically and critically, but wanting to see where it’s going. Some 14 episodes in, we can finally understand the mechanics of the premise, which is that quite suddenly all the lights went out on civilization. No more electrical power, meaning nothing works, not even internal combustion engines. Civil order disintegrates, and what’s left of the United States descends into a state of barbarism, brutal military regimes, torture, murder, and the massive loss of life associated with the loss of healthcare, heating, running water, technology, and education. Now we learn that the culprit is nanotechnology, a computer creation known as Nanites, which are programmed to replicate endlessly, suck up power, and become their own form of life. We’ve learned the motive, however implausible. Nanites also have the power if implanted within individual bodies to delay or cancel the effects of long-term physical illnesses, even terminal ones. So, apparently, scientists involved in developing the technology were willing to place the life of a family member or loved one above the survival of civilization itself and agree to the immolation of millions of fellow citizens. This is presented as some sort of genuine moral dilemma. One of the female heroines is specifically implicated and confessedly guilty of having made this trade consciously.

I had to explain this plot turn to my wife, who could not believe what she had heard. It was so unspeakable she couldn’t even comprehend it.

You get the feeling, though, that we’re supposed to understand and somehow sympathize with the most thoroughly self-centered monsters that ever dared to call themselves human beings.

But maybe the show is asking us to think bigger. Who knows? Maybe it’s supposed to be an argument for the collective. But maybe it’s supposed to be an argument instead for an individual sense of morality larger than that. Who knows? Or maybe who cares? It’s just a show. My secret nightmare about all the people in charge of network programming.

The Americans. A show about KGB spies actively working to destroy the United States as sleeper agents during the height of the Cold War. I couldn’t believe all the glowing reviews. Even the Breitbart reviewer seemed to like it for its close calls, action, and complex plots. All I could think was, who is it exactly who wants to watch a show like this? What’s next? Nazi Abwehr spies penetrating the FDR administration during World War II? Go, Nazis, go! The Americans has been renewed for a second season. Granted, it only takes a couple million viewers to get a show renewed, but for whom is it entertaining to root for Soviet spies who are living a middle-class American life as fake spouses and forced parents via military order yet still determined to replace that window on free life with the Gulag oppression of the failed Soviet experiment in shared poverty through terror, imprisonment, torture, and murder? We really have those people here? And an American entertainment network thinks it’s a valid exercise of their first amendment rights? Really? If the point of the show is that they’re fools, it should be a miniseries, not an open-ended let’s-root-for-them-to-the-gates-of-hell-and-beyond network dynast, even unto syndication. Somebody please explain this to me.

The Following. Watched this one too for a few (too many) episodes. Had a lot of problems with the premise. A serial killer whose charismatic personality builds a cult even while he’s behind bars. We watched initially because we liked Kyra Sedgwick, who is Kevin Bacon’s wife. Give him a chance. Maybe lightning will strike. I immediately objected to the perversion of Edgar Allan Poe’s work the series entails. But Poe is bigger than a TV series. He’ll survive the bad company. Then I got a glimmer of a subversive element. All these youngsters who buy a threadbare nihilist interpretation of a writer who is simply beyond their limited ability to comprehend. Are they not somehow a stand-in for the monster generation we are in the process of raising? Some superficial symbolism seemed to reinforce that notion. As the flawed hero, Kevin Bacon has literally broken his heart chasing down the evil of the antagonist. He remains alive only because of a pacemaker.

Then it turned into a millennial generation version of 24. Sigh. The pacemaker was just a plot device, used to put Bacon in peril almost every episode. Poe was also only a device, with no attempt of any kind made to differentiate his tragic loves from the sick twisting of his poetry into contempt for life and the elevation of death as a noble ideal to be inflicted as a sociopathic personality wills. I hung on for a couple more weeks, I admit, because I wanted to see the most malignant female personality killed as cold-bloodedly as she had killed her mother and others. Then I gave up.As far as I know, she’s a fixture signed up for a second season.

Watching no longer. But maybe my early hopes are still valid. Are we being asked to decide how nihilism as a secular presumption might be affecting our beloved kids? Don’t know. You tell me. Because I’ve stopped watching.

I welcome your thoughts. As you may understand, I’m thinking a lot right now about nihilism in all its flavors and camouflages. They are legion.

Things I Know (response to Lake)

Still on the subject of food. Commenter Lake said, “Can you also tell us about the rare dishes you’ve had, the memorable ones, the perfect dishes that made for perfect nights? I’ve traveled a bit and have had some incredible meals, especially in France, Antigua, and right here in my CT town.”

Fair enough. But I fear I’ll disappoint. I have what I’ve always laughingly termed a lower class palate. It’s true I’ve been taken to great restaurants on four continents and the open sea, but I somehow don’t remember the food as much as the occasions.

The question does deserve an answer, though. I just wish I were better able to provide a food literate answer. Maybe honesty will suffice.

Whatever the top Michelin restaurants are, I’m pretty sure I’ve been to one. Can’t remember the name. La Maison Blanc? Dunno. It was a corporate outing, preceded by a tour of the City of Light in an old double decker bus with champagne flowing in a surreal setting of motion and glory at sunset. The restaurant was mostly blue. The bathrooms were the stuff of science fiction, shocking white with water spouting spontaneously whenever you wanted it. I saw a golden lab seated at his mistress’s feet. The hostess was the single most beautiful woman I’ve ever laid eyes on, blonde and beyond the elves of LOTR fame. Just jaw droppingly gorgeous. The food? Great. The wine? Even better. But I honestly don’t remember anything except the dessert. I ordered vanilla ice cream. Low class palate, remember? It came with a sail made of sugar flying from the dreamy base. I don’t even like dessert.

Yet the best French bread and pastry I’ve ever had was in Hong Kong. (And I actually lived in Paris for a time.) Our hotel. I recall a dining room overlooking that spectacular, unreal harbor, acres of starched tablecloths and napkins, and such perfection of baking I will never experience again.

I was on the first Cunard liner called the Queen Elizabeth. I was ten. In First Class, they brought breakfast to your paneled cabin. I ordered Rice Crispies. I was ten. Something about English cream? On Rice Crispies it was the best breakfast I ever had till I ordered Eggs Benedict at the Boston Ritz-Carlton eight years later.

Worst breakfasts were everything in Europe. The French have great croissants and coffee that tastes like boiled sneakers. Italians don’t understand orange juice. They think it should be nasty, sour, clumpy, and vile. Germans turn breakfast into sausage porn. Distended links festooned over everything, and all the menus talk of nothing but Sweinfleisch. Disgusting.

In Colombia, they want to convince you they have the best steak. You know. They raise their special cattle on the slopes of the Andes, and they have all those gauchos to bring them to slaughter in the most natural and picturesque possible way. In Colombia, everything smells burned. Even the air. The steak? Burned.

Best steak I ever had was a tie between Dayton, Ohio, and New York City. Funny how that works. Dallas tried hard, but my nod goes to Dayton’s Pine Club.

I’m not trying to say there’s no good food outside the U.S. There is. When I was a kid, my dad took us to a Paris restaurant called Au Cinq Pandorge. Shotgun style architecture, tiny booths. All the dishes were appetizers. They piled plates upon plates on your table, and everything was magnificent. My mother spent years trying to reproduce just one tomato dish. So simple but so elusive. I think she got close eventually.

And Italy is a wonder all its own. The pasta is so fine you just stop taking note. All you remember is events. One time we were with a Frenchman who asked for Parmesan cheese as a garnish. Instantaneously, a 300 lb chef burst from the kitchen to dress him down, denounce his cuisine illiteracy. The Frenchman blushed purple in his humiliation. I don’t remember the dish, just the farce.

Still, most of the best food I’ve had is here in the U.S. White chicken gravy on turkey at a family style place in Ohio. Pressed duck at a Chinese place located in a strip mall near Trenton. Cheese steaks at Shannon’s in Millville, NJ. For all their braggadocio, Philly is just an also-ran asshole when it comes to cheesesteaks.

I could go on, but that’s enough for now. Though I will close with two more nods to Italy. Somebody talked me into trying a blue cheese and apple pizza. Heaven. And, as a Jersey boy, I hate to admit this, but the best hoagie type sandwich I ever had was in a tiny village outside of Milan. Cheese and salami. And some magical oil. Perfect.

What I Desire

I hate it when he gets like this.

I hate it when he gets like this.

Something I haven’t asked myself for a long long time. Why not? Because I think I deserve to suffer. Never mind why on that. Just know that I’ve never robbed a bank, never hit a woman, and never broken one of the Ten Commandments. The one I didn’t break will remain my secret.

In short, I’m a Scot. Guilty from the git-go. Trying to make a comeback. Why Raebert keeps giving me such hard looks, no doubt.

I desire… to ride a motorcycle again. I have a convertible sports car of considerable power. Haven’t put the top down in years. I was tempted yesterday. Spring and all that. Didn’t do it, though. I’m 60. I turn off the prostate commercials because I usually have to get up once in the middle of the night. To pee. Humiliation.

Had to jump start the lawn tractor so I could cut the grass. Waiting for the battery to recharge, I was sitting next to my Harley. Dusty, sad, unused. I DESIRED to ride it again.

Made me realize I haven’t desired much of anything for a long long time. Wanted maybe. A kiss, a kid’s smile, the approval of my wife’s difficult children and grandchildren, a dinner with my newer friends. All tough objectives that require work and planning, excepting a kiss from my wife, and I thought that was what life has become. I’m now doing two blogs and I was sure that was what I wanted. But not what I DESIRED.

I DESIRE to ride a motorcycle again. Raebert doesn’t approve, but that would be HIS problem.


I’ve always been the smartest guy in the room. Waited for decades to see it otherwise. Hoping it might be otherwise.

Never wanted to be. Not saying there weren’t physics geniuses who could talk string theory till my eyes bubbled. But I had a sense of string theory before I even read about it. Dimensions multiplicative.

Why this Diary. Last chance for anyone to understand. I hold the entire western civilization thing in my head at the same time, see all the connections, understand what is happening. I see why the experts are kindergarten minds, half-educated clowns. First grader journalists are smart, usually with degrees from Brown and Harvard. Castro, Chavez, and Obama have that ineffable I’ll-kill-you-and-you’ll-still-love-me charisma. What a bunch of losers smart infants are.

Don’t expect you to believe it. Wouldn’t say this if I hadn’t already proved it. I have. It’s just that nobody forgives you. They expect you to make allowances for them. What this website is about. I know all your arguments already. I’ve heard them all. I’ve refuted or crushed them all. I’ve anticipated all your rebuttals.

Smart people play chess, or so we’re told. All those manifold moves. I never played chess. Such a tiny board.

How can I show you how big the realm of consciousness is? Can’t. So. Go to Instapunk for another slice and dice fraction of the universe.