Friday, April 28, 2017

Skeleton Man

Skeleton Man is the 17th book in the Leaphorn/Chee mystery series by Tony Hillerman. These stories never get old. I always enjoy the setting, the characters, and the plots. I can't find anything to fault in this series.

from the back of the book:
In 1956, an airplane crash left the remains of
172 passengers scattered among the majestic cliffs of
the Grand Canyon -including an arm attached to a
briefcase containing a fortune in gems. Half a century later,
one of the missing diamonds has reappeared ...
and the wolves are on the scent.

Former Navajo Tribal Police Lieutenant Joe Leaphorn is coming out of retirement to help exonerate a slow, simple kid accused of robbing a trade post. Billy Tuve claims he received the diamond he tried to pawn from a mysterious old man in the canyon, and his story has attracted the dangerous attention of strangers to the Navajo lands -one more interested in a severed limb than the fortune it was attached to; another willing to murder to keep lost secrets hidden. But nature herself may prove the deadliest adversary, as Leaphorn and Sergeant Jim Chee follow a puzzle -and a killer- down into the dark realm of Skeleton Man.
The NYT says, "No wonder Hillerman's stories never grow old. Like myths, they keep evolving with the telling." Kirkus Reviews concludes with this: "No mystery this time, but considerable suspense in the race to bottom of one of the most spectacular and treacherous landscapes Hillerman’s ever explored." Publishers Weekly says, "Hillerman continues to shine as the best of the West."

I've read these from this series:
1. The Blessing Way (1970)
2. Dance Hall of the Dead (1973)

4. People of Darkness (1980)
5. The Dark Wind (1982)
6. The Ghostway (1984)

7. Skinwalkers (1986)
8. Thief of Time (1988)
9. Talking God (1989)
10. Coyote Waits (1990)
11. Sacred Clowns (1993)
12. The Fallen Man (1996)
13. The First Eagle (1998)
14. Hunting Badger
15. The Wailing Wind
16. The Sinister Pig (2003)

Thursday, April 27, 2017

The Sultana Disaster

The explosion of the ship Sultana is the worst maritime disaster in U.S. history. On April 27, 1865, the overloaded ship (built for 376 passengers, but carrying 2,427) exploded and sank just north of Memphis. According to Wikipedia, the official count by the United States Customs Service of those who died is 1,800. Final estimates of survivors are about 550. Many of the dead were interred at the Memphis National Cemetery. Three victims of the wreck of the Sultana are interred at Elmwood Cemetery in Memphis.

There's a museum in Arkansas not far from here, and I'd planned to go before posting this. I haven't gone yet, but it's still on my list of close places I want to go.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

It Follows

It Follows is a 2014 horror movie about it following. Yes, it does, it follows, after sex, until you pass it on, and you'd think that'd be scary or creepy or something. I found it tame. My opinion isn't shared by most. It gets great reviews.


The New York Times calls it a "cool, controlled horror film," and says, "“It Follows,” might be described as the very incarnation of paranoia." Wired says it's "worthy of every good review it’s gotten." Empire Online gives it 4 out of 5 stars and concludes, "A first-rate horror movie, It Follows adds a new monster to the pantheon expect pranksters to imitate the Follower for cheap shocks soon and has a refreshing, unpretentious sense that a meaningful subtext doesn'’t undercut spookiness."

Rolling Stone gives it 3 out of 4 stars and says it "creeps you out big-time in that cool way that freezes the blood." Slant Magazine gives it 1 1/2 out of 4 stars. Sight and Sound calls it one of the best films of the year.

Entertainment Weekly gives it an A- and calls it "a dizzyingly tense and creepy workout." Roger Ebert's site gives it 3 1/2 out of 4 stars and calls it "unsettling, and deservedly celebrated". Rotten Tomatoes has a 97% critics score, but the audience score is 65%..

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

How to Make Coffee, Amateur Style

Nikki starts with beans, then mentions grinders on her way to showing how to make different coffees:

I don't like milk in coffee -to be honest, I don't much like milk at all- but I do like espresso. I don't have an espresso maker. I'm always tempted, but I haven't yet made the plunge.

Please join the weekly T party over at Bleubeard and Elizabeth's blog where you'll find a drink and a warm welcome waiting for you.

Monday, April 24, 2017

Oven-Baked Salmon

This is so easy, and yet I have trouble remembering and keeping up with a recipe. I'm putting it where where I can find it:

Salmon fillets, as desired

Salt, pepper, lemon peel
Pre-heat oven to 425F.

Place fillets on a baking pan. You can use foil or oil the surface of the pan if you like.

Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Sprinkle lemon peel on top.

Bake 20 minutes in pre-heated oven.

You can garnish these, of course, with sliced almonds or parsley, but I tend to plate them just as they are.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Angels with Dirty Faces

Angels with Dirty Faces is a 1938 gangster movie directed by Michael Curtiz and starring James Cagney, Pat O'Brien, Humphrey Bogart, Ann Sheridan, George Bancroft, William Tracy (best known as delivery boy Pepi Katona in The Shop Around the Corner), and The Dead End Kids.

FilmSite opens with this: "Angels With Dirty Faces (1938) is a classic example of a Warner Bros. gangster/crime melodrama of the 1930s - a slick, action-packed, hard-hitting studio film layered with a touch of social conscience." Slant Magazine has a positive review. Empire Online says, "Not pulling the melodrama punches in anyway but still a real Cagney gangster classic."

DVD Journal concludes,
The whole "crime doesn't pay" trope has never felt more quaint than it does today, but the way Angels With Dirty Faces balances hard-bitten gangster drama with warmly stage-managed religiosity gives us an entertaining period piece, one which shows that after more than sixty years you still can't go wrong with a Jimmy Cagney movie.
Rotten Tomatoes has a critics rating of 100%. This film is included in the book 1,001 Movies You Must See Before You Die.

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Mothering Sunday

Mothering Sunday is a 2016 novel by Graham Swift. I loved this book. The writing is wonderful, and the main character is someone you care about. I couldn't put it down, drawn further and further into her life.

from the book jacket:
A luminous, intensely moving tale that begins with a secret lovers' assignation in the spring of 1924, then unfolds to reveal the whole of a remarkable life.

Twenty-two-year-old Jane Fairchild has worked as a maid at an English country house since she was sixteen. For almost all of those years she has been the clandestine lover to Paul Sheringham, young heir of a neighboring house. The two now meet on an unseasonably warm March day -Mothering Sunday- a day that will change Jane's life forever.

As the narrative moves back and forth from 1924 to the end of the century, what we know and understand about Jane -about the way she loves, thinks, feels, sees, remembers- expands with every vividly captured moment. Her story is one of profound self-discovery, and through her, Graham Swift has created an emotionally soaring, deeply affecting work of fiction.
The Guardian calls it "a perfect small tragedy". The New York Times has a positive review and says, "it feels less self-consciously literary than Mr. Swift’s earlier novels, and while it has a haunting, ceremonious pace, it also possesses a new emotional intensity." The Washington Post calls it "an elegant reflection on the impulse to tell stories".

Kirkus Reviews closes by calling it "a novel where nothing is as simple or obvious as it seems at first." The Independent describes it as "a Conradian homage to a well-spring of inspiration".

This book is on the NPR Best Books list.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Lonnie Mack's Memphis

In memory of Lonnie Mack, who died one year ago today at the age of 74.


Thursday, April 20, 2017

Pulse (2006)

Pulse is a 2006 horror film, a remake of the 2001 Japanese film Kairo. In this one technology takes away your will to live. It's effective enough though there's not really much to it, but I'd recommend the original over this one.

via Youtube:

Slant Magazine gives it 2 1/2 out of 4 stars and says,
Pulse crafts an eerie vision of dawning techno-hell, one in which the communicative devices designed to bring people together have, instead, fostered nothing but loneliness and social alienation. It's a theme that lurks within many of J-horror's finest, and remains prevalent throughout Sorezno's supernatural thriller thanks to repeated scenes in which (consistently one-dimensional) characters either fail to successfully converse via phones or IM'ing, or falter in their endeavors to have meaningful face-to-face dialogues with those they care most about.
The New York Times pans it. DVD Talk calls it "uneven" and says, "you will see nothing but superficiality in the regressive retelling". Classic Horror likes it. Rotten Tomatoes has a critics score of 10%.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Walking for Miles and Miles and Miles, Inside

Last month I posted 1-Mile walking videos I use. This post covers walking videos that take up to an hour. The first several of these are from Leslie Sansone. I have a number of her videos and have found her approach remarkably useful over the years.

2-Mile Fat Burning:

3-Mile Fat Burning:

3-Mile Walk Strong:


She has videos with longer walks, and I'd recommend those DVDs.

Leslie Sansone is not the only one who does the walk-at-home concept at longer distances and times. Here's a 5-mile run and walk:

And this is a 1-hour healthy heart walk: