Thursday, May 31, 2012

Rain!


We're getting lightning, crashing thunder and a river running past our door. And only yesterday I was saying it felt strange to have to water the butterfly bushes.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

The Broad Avenue Mural


I took Walnut Grove to Tillman, North on Tillman to Broad, and West on Broad until I saw the mural on the North side of the street. I pulled over to park but didn't get out of the car, since that big, black chain-link fence was going to keep me from getting much closer anyway. The mural is by French artist Guillaume Alby (aka REMED)

When I first saw pictures of this mural the grammar confused me, and I admit I still have no idea what the words mean. "This Is We"? The mural is bright and striking and well worth driving over there to have a look in person.

This is #119 on the I Love Memphis blog list of 365 things to do in Memphis.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Buzzy Bees


As I left the house this morning, I heard such a loud buzzing noise! I turned to look, and the bush was covered with busy, buzzy, hovering bees. I couldn't get a good picture, of course, but I don't remember this bush being so popular with the bees in years past. Maybe I just didn't notice. The flowers are tiny but quite sweet-smelling, and the bees are responding to the call.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Jr Fish & Chicken



I kept meaning to try out this little place when it was still called the Castle Restaurant, but I never made it by there. Now it's called Jr Fish & Chicken. The Husband, The Younger Son and I went there for supper one night and were sorry we hadn't tried it before. The Husband had the Philly Cheesesteak sandwich, The Younger Son had the cheeseburger (and a good and sizeable cheeseburger it was) and I had the shish taouk sandwich, pictured here:


There was plenty of seating inside, but we ate out on their patio in the front. We all thoroughly enjoyed the food, the service was pleasant and quick, and it's close to us. We'll be back.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

The Windup Girl



The Windup Girl by Paolo Bacigalupi is a 2009 science fiction novel. It won the Nebula and Hugo awards for best novel and the John W. Campbell Award for Best Science Fiction Novel. This was a real treat. I eagerly await more novels from this author.

from the back of the book:
Anderson Lake is a company man, AgriGen's Calorie Man in Thailand. Under cover as a factory manager, Anderson combs Bangkok's street markets in search of foodstuffs thought to be extinct, hoping to reap the bounty of history's lost calories. There, he encounters Emiko...

Emiko is the Windup Girl, a strange and beautiful creature. One of the New People, Emiko is not human; instead, she is an engineered being, creche-grown and programmed to satisfy the decadent whims of a Kyoto businessman, but now abandoned to the streets of Bangkok. Regarded as soulless beings by some, devils by others, New People are slaves, soldiers, and toys of the rich in a chilling near future in which calorie companies rule the world, the oil age has passed, and the side effects of bio-engineered plagues run rampant across the globe.

What happens when calories become currency? What happens when bio-terrorism becomes a tool for corporate profits, when said bio-terrorism's genetic drift forces mankind to the cusp of post-human evolution? Award-winning author Paolo Bacigalupi delivers one of the most highly acclaimed science fiction novels of the twenty-first century.
SF Signal says, "BOTTOM LINE: One of the best first science fiction novels of recent years; a completely realistic and terrifying future populated with characters you’ll love even as they do things you’ll hate." SF Reviews says, "It's been a long time since SF has seen a novel this stimulating and challenging." Strange Horizons has a mixed review. The SF Site concludes, " I urge you to read The Windup Girl. I promise you will not regret it."

Friday, May 25, 2012

Nesting Bird



This nest is right outside our front door. The Daughter says it's a robin. Sweet.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Now we know where the puffins go


The Working Waterfront reports:
Until this puffin [pictured at the link] was captured at Seal Island in the summer of 2011, and the details of his journey retrieved from the GPS device that had been secured around his leg by the National Audubon Society, no one knew where puffins went in winter.
They travel further than previously thought.

The photo at the top of the post is from wikipedia.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Attracting Butterflies

I'm going to try to attract butterflies to our tiny, north-facing patio. Wish me luck. My first effort -the butterfly bushes- has met with a bit of success. I took a picture of our first butterfly customer:



My second effort is a jerry-rigged butterfly feeder:



No takers at the feeder so far, but it's early days yet. The nectar recipe I found online is 1 part granulated sugar dissolved in 4 parts water boiled several minutes and then cooled. I put a yellow tuffy in the little pot, then hung it up on the planter hook. It's hung over a healthy stand of coleus where I want to plant some milkweed in the Fall.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

The 50 SF Books You Must Read

According to Forbidden Planet (via SF Signal), the The 50 SF Books You Must Read:

1. Dune
2. S.F. Masterworks: The Forever War
3. Fantasy Masterworks: Book Of The New Sun Book 1 & Shadow & Claw Book 1
4. Neuromancer
5. SF Masterworks: The Demolished Man
6. SF Masterworks: Dispossed
7. S.F. Masterworks: Gateway
8. The Man In The High Castle
9. Childhood's End
10. SF Masterworks: Timescape
11. Ringworld
12. S.F. Masterworks: Babel 17
13. Left Hand Of Darkness
14. SF Masterworks: Stand On Zanzibar [don't remember if I've read it]
15. SF Masterworks: Flowers For Algernon
16. S.F. Masterworks: The Stars My Destination
17. Foundation
18. Snow Crash
19. Ender's Game
20. A Canticle For Leibowitz
21. The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress
22. War Of The Worlds
23. Day Of The Triffids
24. S.F. Masterworks: I Am Legend
25. SF Masterworks: Helliconia: Hellonica Spring, Helliconia Summer, & Helliconia Winter
26. SF Masterworks: The Female Man
27. SF Masterworks: Inverted World
28. The Death Of Grass
29. Fahrenheit 451
30. SF Masterworks: Ubik
31. Mars: Book 1: Red Mars
32. Zones Of Thought: A Fire Upon The Deep & A Deepness In The Sky
33. SF Masterworks: Rendezvous With Rama
34. S.F. Masterworks: Lord Of Light
35. SF Masterworks: Blood Music
36. The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy: The Trilogy Of Four
37. SF Masterworks: Dying Inside
38. Altered Carbon
39. The Player Of Games
40. Make Room! Make Room!
41. SF Masterworks: Pavane
42. The Drowned World
43. SF Masterworks: Centauri Device
44. SF Masterworks: The Difference Engine
45. Cat's Cradle
46. The Reality Dysfunction
47. Uplift: Book 1: Sundiver
48. The Windup Girl [currently reading]
49. Zoo City
50. Embassytown

There are plot descriptions and links at Forbidden Planet. I've read the ones in bold print above.

Monday, May 21, 2012

The Treasure of the Sierra Madre

The Treasure of the Sierra Madre is a classic 1948 Western directed by John Huston and starring Humphrey Bogart, Walter Huston, Tim Holt and Bruce Bennett. Robert Blake was a child at the time and has a role as a Mexican boy selling lottery tickets. Ann Sheridan may or may not have a cameo. Max Steiner did the music. I'm not sure I had ever seen this film all the way through, just bits and pieces at a time on late-night tv. The Younger Son had never seen it. He had given this dvd to me a while back, and we watched it with The Husband a few nights ago. A good time was had by all.

trailer:


DVD Talk says,
The Treasure of the Sierra Madre is a gritty and uncompromised story without a romantic angle. It has a fatalistic cynicism that Luis Buñuel might admire, a refusal to romanticize the world. It really doesn't play like a picture from the late forties, when even the darkest noir thriller hewed close to audience expectations. It's an original adventure filled with excitement, desperation, and hard choices made by men under pressure, and it's practically perfect.
Slant Magazine gives it 4 out of 5 stars and says it "remains one of the most insightful films ever made about greed and the thorny effects of temptation on human nature." Senses of Cinema describes it as "a two-dimensional, visual fable of human existence". Roger Ebert considers it a "great" film. Rotten Tomatoes gives it 100%.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Oldest Sumo Wrestler to Win First Title


The Bangkock Post reports: "Mongolian-born Kyokutenho on Sunday became the oldest wrestler in modern times to win his first career sumo title, beating the previous record set in 1929." The Daily Yomiuri adds, "The championship makes him the fourth Mongolia-born wrestler and the 10th foreign-born wrestler to win." From Japan Today:
Unheralded veteran Kyokutenho of Mongolia won the Summer Grand Sumo Tournament on Sunday, capturing his first Emperor’s Cup with a win over Tochiozan in a championship playoff.

the playoff:


The picture at the top of the post is from Wikipedia.

Whatever 42



#42 on the I Love Memphis blog's list of 365 things to do in Memphis is "Find a 42". Driving south on Highland, I saw one on the side of Whatever at Southern.

I wonder how many 42s there are. This is the only one I've seen.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

A Caboose!

So there I was, stopped on Highland at Southern for yet another train, when I saw a caboose! I was so excited! I haven't seen a caboose in ages and ages and here one was trailing along at the end of its little train just like a good caboose should. I wish I could've gotten a picture of it, but that didn't seem wise as traffic started moving. This is a caboose for the poor souls who don't remember them:



The photo is from Brent_Nashville's flickr photostream.

The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou

The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou is a funny movie with a happy ending -well, sort of- so I would've thought The Husband would've gotten a big kick out of it; but while The Younger Son and I were laughing hysterically throughout the film, The Husband didn't see what was so funny. It's a 2004 film directed by Wes Anderson and starring Bill Murray. Also starring: Owen Wilson, Anjelica Huston, Willem Dafoe, Cate Blanchett, Jeff Goldblum, Michael Gambon, Bud Cort and Matthew Gray Gubler.

trailer:


DVD Talk says, "When the final credit rolls by, you will remember characters with four lines just as vividly as the leads, because they were so distinctly fleshed out." Roger Ebert says it "is the damnedest film. I can't recommend it, but I would not for one second discourage you from seeing it." Rotten Tomatoes gives it a 53%.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Fluffy Kittie


reclining on her throne.

The Book of Eli

The Book of Eli (spoilers galore at that link, fyi, and spoilers are well worth avoiding with this film) was a gift, and I'm sorry it has taken me so long to get to it. I enjoyed this and would enjoy watching it again. From 2010, this is a post-apocalyptic film starring Denzel Washington, Gary Oldman, Mila Kunis and Jennifer Beals. There are cameos by Tom Waits and an uncredited Malcolm McDowell.

trailer:


Moria calls it "awkward" and says it suffers from an identity crisis. Wired.com at least has a spoiler alert and calls it "a deft, dire addition to Hollywood’s weirdly vibrant “Earth is dying” genre." SF Gate describes it as "a dynamic story, sprinkled with some interesting ideas about the preciousness of culture and how societies might rebuild themselves" and praises Oldman and Washington. The Christian Science Monitor describes it as "like a video-game mash-up of American and spaghetti westerns and Japanese samurai flicks" and gives it a B-. EW doesn't like it, giving it a D and calling it "a ponderous dystopian bummer". Roger Ebert starts off with this:
I'm at a loss for words, so let me say these right away: "The Book of Eli" is very watchable. You won't be sorry you went. It grips your attention, and then at the end throws in several WTF! Moments, which are a bonus.
Rotten Tomatoes gives it 48%.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

May Flowers


I have flowers on the patio! The butterfly bush has its very first bloom, and the poor day lily may be the last one ever. The butterfly bushes are new, having been planted late last year. The day lilies are from my childhood home and have been with me a long time, but they've never liked their current location. I've got one last thing I can try with them, and I'll move them to their last-chance spot in the Fall. I do hope they'll come back.

The Magnificent Seven Ride!

The Magnificent Seven Ride! is a 1972 Lee Van Cleef sequel -the 3rd sequel, the 1st to have Van Cleef- to the original 1960 Magnificent Seven classic. It has Mariette Hartley (who has a Star Trek connection) and Stephanie Powers (who was dreadful). We spent most of the film coming up with ideas for appropriate tortures for the cinematographer and director. It's sooo bad. I bought this DVD and watched it because of Lee Van Cleef, but nothing could make me watch it again. The trailer, on the other hand, deserves an award for making the movie look like something you'd actually pay money to go see.

Hulu has this available online:


DVD Talk calls it "pretty feeble entertainment".

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Coraline

The moths pictured below have nothing to do with the film, but they stayed on the patio door the whole time we were watching Coraline, and we thought they added a whole 'nother dimension of creepy to the experience.


I can't get over how creepy this movie is. It's rated PG. I wasn't expecting it to be so very creepy. I asked The Husband, "How old do you think a child would have to be before they could watch this without having nightmares?" His answer: "57". I liked the movie, I did, but it was unexpectedly creepy in very creepy ways.

Coraline is a 2009 film done in stop-motion animation. The Younger Son said, "Now you can't say you've never seen a stop-motion VW Beetle." It's based on a Neil Gaiman book by the same name and is directed by Henry Selick.

trailer:


Rotten Tomatoes gives it 90%. Slant Magazine gives it 3 out of 4 stars and opens with this: "As fine-looking a 3D stop-motion fantasy that four years of top-flight craftsmanship can produce, Coraline offers a steady diet of artful, kinetic stimulation." EW gives it an "A" and says,
This thrilling stop-motion animated adventure is a high point in Selick's career of creating handcrafted wonderlands of beauty blended with deep, disconcerting creepiness.
Roger Ebert warns, "This is nightmare fodder for children, however brave, under a certain age." and adds, ""Coraline" is disturbing not for gory images but for the story it tells." SF Gate opens their review by saying,
The deepest virtues of "Coraline" are dark. This seemingly innocuous 3-D animation presents a grim vision of the modern family - as something to escape from - and shows the imagination as something too terrifying and self-consuming to offer refuge. That the movie does all this from within the confines of the children's-film genre makes it all the more eerie and unconsciously evocative.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Shaft

I remember way back when Shaft came out. I never saw it in a theater, but I've seen bits and pieces of it on late night tv through the years. Now I've seen it on dvd. The Younger Son was quite taken with the men's fashions. Lots of leather coats.

Shaft is a 1971 blaxploitation film starring Richard Roundtree in the title role.

trailer:


Rotten Tomatoes gives it an 88%. DVD Talk says, "Perhaps the only really special thing about the original Shaft was the fact that its racial content was new for a Hollywood film". Roger Ebert says, "The nice thing about "Shaft" is that it savors the private-eye genre, and takes special delight in wringing new twists out of the traditional relationship between the private eye and the boys down at homicide." Time Out praises Roundtree's performance and the musical score. Bright Lights Film Journal has an article on blaxploitaion films and says,
Shaft gives us a sexy, practically omnipotent hero (Ebony model Richard Rountree); a lewd score ("who's the black private dick that's a sex machine for all the chicks?"); and the hero's precarious balancing act between whitey's world and the ghetto. This film features the casual gay element that we see in many of the films, with Shaft more amused than annoyed when a queen bartender gooses him.

Monday, May 14, 2012

The Avengers

This was great enormous fun! We were going to go opening week-end, but that didn't work out, so we went last Tuesday at 12:30. We were surprised at how crowded it was.

The Avengers is directed by Joss Whedon and stars Robert Downey, Jr. as Iron Man (our family's favorite of these heroes), Chris Evans as Captain America, Mark Ruffalo as Bruce Banner/Hulk, Chris Hemsworth as Thor, Scarlett Johansson as Black Widow, Jeremy Renner as Hawkeye, Tom Hiddleston as Loki, Clark Gregg as Phil Coulson (who has been with us through the other movies), and Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury.

trailer:


It's getting great reviews. links to some of those are mentioned in the Wikipedia article. Rotten Tomatoes has it at 93%. It's breaking box office records.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

The Top Ten Best Science Fiction Movies

The Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies has a list -oh, how I love these lists- and says
The films below run the gauntlet between numinous wonder and existential despair, philosophical rumination and nail biting action. Where they relate is in the self-conscious attempt to artistically convey the un-conveyable and reveal aspects of humanity which disturb as often as they elevate.

1) 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)
2) Blade Runner (1982)
3) Alien (1979)
4) 12 Monkeys (1995)
5) A Clockwork Orange (1971)
6) Brazil (1985)
7) Naked Lunch (1991)
8) The Thing (1982)
9) Children of Men (2006)
10) A Scanner Darkly (2006)

Each film has a couple of paragraphs of annotation at that site.

I've read the ones in bold print. Not my best showing with a list, but I do have some of the un-watched films waiting on the shelf. I enjoy seeing some titles that don't always make it onto top-10 lists.

HT: SF Signal

Saturday, May 12, 2012

The Scarlet Plague


I didn't remember, if I ever knew, that Jack London had written a science fiction novel until I read the boingboing post on it.

Jack London (1876-1916) was an American author best known for his novels Call of the Wild and White Fang and his short story "To Build a Fire". The Scarlet Plague was written in 1912 and first published in London Magazine. You can listen to it here and read it online here, here or here, among other places.

Wikipedia's description:
The story takes place in 2073, sixty years after an uncontrollable epidemic, the Red Death, has depopulated the planet. James Howard Smith is one of the few survivors of the pre-plague era left alive in the San Francisco area, and as he realizes his time grows short, he tries to impart the value of knowledge and wisdom to his grandsons.

The picture at the top of the post is from Wikipedia.

Friday, May 11, 2012

10,000 B.C.

I walked in just as The Younger Son started watching 10,000 B.C. and stayed to watch it. We had meant to see it when it came out but somehow never got around to it. Roland Emmerich directs and Omar Sharif is the narrator. I see it as a cross between 300 and One Million Years B.C., but I didn't like it as well as those others. Those others had better costumes and were a lot more fun.

trailer:


Rotten Tomatoes gives it an 8%.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

I Love Memphis Mural


One afternoon during Music Fest, The Daughter and I went to take our pictures in front of the I Love Memphis mural in Cooper-Young. This is #14 on the I Love Memphis blog's list of 365 things to do in Memphis. The mural is a project of the Urban Art Commission, the Convention and Vistors Bureau and the City of Memphis. Nobody will confuse the mural with Fine Art, but it's a fine art decoration for a blank concrete wall, and we think it's fun.

While we were there a guy pulled up, got out of his car, and asked if we'd mind taking his picture. The Daughter's eyes are younger by far than mine, so she took it. He asked if we were tourists, too, and I said that, no, we live here. We really do love Memphis. He laughed and said that he comes to Memphis 2 or 3 times a year and loves it here. I was so glad we were able to take his picture for him.

Wednesday, May 09, 2012

Legionnaire

I'm not a Jean-Claude Van Damme fan, but I walked in right as The Younger Son started this film so stayed to watch. Legionnaire is a 1998 film with a plot hole so large you could drive a truck through it. That initial problem is compounded by being followed by other events equally illogical in this story's universe. This film is now #1 on my list of movies with plot holes so huge they are made ridiculous or unwatchable by them, and there's nothing here that can overcome this fault. I spent the rest of the film saying, "but... but... but...".

Oh, ok, so maybe I'm willing to admit that the plot hole in Moon is bigger. Maybe.

trailer:


Rotten Tomatoes gives it a score of 29%. EW says, "...Schwarzenegger he ain't. C-".

Tuesday, May 08, 2012

Lick Creek


While walking on the V&E Greenline recently I got curious about Lick Creek, wondering where it came from. I googled it, naturally, and found that it meanders all through Memphis. From the map, it looks like it's part of a series of creeks and bayous that start a block or so south of Central just west of South Fenwick and wander around town until they find their way to the Mississippi River by way of the Wolf River, but I can't find a map online where the smaller waterways are labeled. I can't tell where Lick Creek specifically begins and ends.

Here's a view towards the north:



and to the south:



from the Lick Creek Bridge on the V&E Greenline.

Monday, May 07, 2012

The Big Blue Kids



The Daughter was off one day last week and volunteered to do another fun thing with me from the I Love Memphis blog list of 365 things to do in Memphis. We played with the big kids. The V & E Greenline is a rails-to-trails project in midtown Memphis along part of the old L&N railroad line.




We looked the park up online first and I thought we'd go to the section described as the start of the trail. There was, however, no place to park anywhere around the Springdale Street entrance, so we drove around in search of another access point. We ended up parking on Stonewall. We walked down and played with the big blue kids first, and then we walked the rest of the trail.



There were some other people enjoying this beautiful day -some on foot, some walking dogs and some on bikes. The community garden pictured above was pretty. I had heard about this park but had never been; it was a thoroughly enjoyable experience. The site says it's 1.7 miles long, which means I walked about 4 miles. It's an easy walk with a broad, flat, well-maintained path, but I was a bit tired that night.

Sunday, May 06, 2012

Java Cabana


Java Cabana is where The Daughter and I ended up after our unsuccessful try to have coffee at Cafe Eclectic.

We had each been to this coffeehouse once but not together; it had been a long time ago, and we had sat inside. This trip I had the coffee of the day and The Daughter had the Cafe Americano. We treated ourselves to lemon squares, and they were very tasty. We sat outside at one of the little tables in front and enjoyed people-watching.

This was a wonderful outing. Sweet times.

Saturday, May 05, 2012

9 Scifi Films You Should See That You (Probably) Haven't

John Scalzi has one of those marvelous lists I can't resist. This one is a list of 9 Scifi Films You Should See That You (Probably) Haven't:

Metropolis
Flash Gordon: Space Soldiers
Destination Moon
Alphaville
Solyaris
The Brother from Another Planet
Ghost in the Shell
The Iron Giant
Primer

I'm beside myself with o'er-weening pride that I have seen all 9.

The list at his site is annotated and each film has a link.

Friday, May 04, 2012

Remember the Kent State Massacre

Today is the anniversary of the massacre at Kent State in 1970. I remember my parents saying the kids wouldn't have been shot if they hadn't been "doing something wrong". I'm still shocked.

NPR has a retrospective, interviews and a slide show. USA Today has an article observing the anniversary:
That was Kent State University, May 4, 1970, a few days after Richard Nixon, who'd campaigned for president on an implicit promise to end the war, widened it by invading Cambodia. Across the nation, students protested. At Kent State, where two days earlier the ROTC building was burned down, National Guardsmen fired into a crowd and killed four unarmed students, the closest of whom was nearly a football field away.

The New York Times interviews some students:
Torey Wootton, now a freshman, wants to lie in one of those sites, to understand what her uncle Paul Ciminero felt on that warm and sunny day 40 years ago as he stood watching Jeffrey Miller, a fellow student, die in that spot. Mr. Miller was shot in the mouth by a National Guardsman.
...
And until she graduates, Ms. Wootton will follow the advice her parents, both Kent State alumni, gave her when she left for college. “We don’t want to see you in the news,” they said, “and we don’t want to see you get shot.”



Here are the lyrics to the Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young anthem:

Tin soldiers and Nixon's comin'.
We're finally on our own.
This summer I hear the drummin'.
Four dead in Ohio.

Gotta get down to it.
Soldiers are cutting us down.
Should have been done long ago.
What if you knew her and
Found her dead on the ground?
How can you run when you know?

...

Tin soldiers and Nixon's comin'.
We're finally on our own.
This summer I hear the drummin'.
Four dead in Ohio.
Four dead in Ohio.
Four dead in Ohio.
Four dead in Ohio.
Four dead in Ohio.
Four dead in Ohio.
Four dead in Ohio.
Four dead in Ohio.
Four dead in Ohio.


There are web sites devoted to this subject, among which are this one and this one. Here is the story of one of the survivors, left paralyzed after the attack.

The wikipedia article says,
The Kent State shootings, also known as the May 4 massacre or Kent State massacre, occurred at Kent State University in the city of Kent, Ohio, and involved the shooting of students by members of the Ohio National Guard on Monday, May 4, 1970. Four students were killed and nine others wounded. The students were protesting the American invasion of Cambodia which President Richard Nixon launched on April 25, and announced in a television address five days later.

Thursday, May 03, 2012

Cafe Eclectic Fail


The Daughter and I decided to try out the #3 suggestion from the I Love Memphis blog list of 365 things to do in Memphis: Drink a Viennese. Neither of us had ever been to Cafe Eclectic before. We saw a sign that said to go inside to be seated on the patio. We went inside and were seated on the patio by a pleasant young man who said he would tell our waitress we were out there.

20 minutes later we were still waiting. A couple was brought out and seated at the next table, and right after that a waitress came to our table telling us that there were just 2 of them there and that it was "just crazy" inside. It hadn't seemed that busy to us, but maybe the craziness wasn't related to an over-abundance of customers. Other customers came and went while we were there and the staff wasn't too busy to help them. We felt like probably what had happened was that either she had been told about us and then remembered us only when the 2nd couple was seated or she hadn't been told about us until the 2nd couple was seated on the patio at about 2:00. Whatever happened, 20 minutes is a long time to wait to be approached by a waitress.

When we ordered our coffees we were informed that the espresso machine was out and was being worked on right then but that we could order the house coffee instead. And did we want to order snacks. She didn't much seem to care whether we stayed or went or ever came back. Bummer.

We went elsewhere instead. I honestly don't see us going back. There are so many coffee shops and restaurants that I don't feel very motivated to give Cafe Eclectic another try.

The photo at the top of this post is from Wikipedia and doesn't represent a drink provided by Cafe Eclectic for obvious reasons.

Wednesday, May 02, 2012

Top 50 Dystopian Movies of All Time

I'm am a sucker for these kinds of lists. This one is from Snakerati.com:

1. Metropolis (1927)
2. A Clockwork Orange (1971)
3. Brazil (1985)
4. Wings of Desire (1987)
5. Blade Runner (1982)
6. Children of Men (2006)
7. The Matrix (1999)
8. Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior (1981)
9. Minority Report (2002)
10. Delicatessen (1991)
11. Sleeper (1973)
12. The Trial (1962)
13. Alphaville (1965)
14. Twelve Monkeys (1995)
15. Serenity (2005)
16. Pleasantville (1998)
17. Ghost in the Shell (1995)
18. Battle Royale (2000)
19. RoboCop (1987)
20. Akira (1988)
21. The City of Lost Children (1995)
22. Planet of the Apes (1968)
23. V for Vendetta (2005)
24. Metropolis (2001)
25. Gattaca (1997)
26. Fahrenheit 451 (1966)
27. On The Beach (1959)
28. Mad Max (1979)
29. Total Recall (1990)
30. Dark City (1998)
31. War Of the Worlds (1953)
32. District 13 (2004)
33. They Live (1988)
34. THX 1138 (1971)
35. Escape from New York (1981)
36. A Scanner Darkly (2006)
37. Silent Running (1972)
38. Artificial Intelligence: AI (2001)
39. Nineteen Eighty-Four (1984)
40. A Boy and His Dog (1975)
41. Soylent Green (1973)
42. I Robot (2004)
43. Logan’s Run (1976)
44. Strange Days (1995)
45. Idiocracy (2006)
46. Death Race 2000 (1975)
47. Rollerball (1975)
48. Starship Troopers (1997)
49. One Point O (2004)
50. Equilibrium (2002)

Ones I've seen are in bold print. At the snakerati site, they have annotations, pictures and ratings. They also list some movies worthy of attention that didn't quite make it to the top 50, explain their criteria for inclusion and define "dystopia".

HT: SF Signal

Tuesday, May 01, 2012

A Long Ride From Hell

A Long Ride From Hell is a 1968 spaghetti western and Steve Reeves' last film, his early retirement coming as a result of on-going problems from an earlier shoulder injury. He lived until 2000. I had no idea Reeves made a western film until a few days ago. I'm not sure how I missed it -I enjoy spaghetti westerns and have liked Steve Reeves since I watched his Hercules movies when I was in elementary school. I find this film a bit slow, and I think the music and sound effects are annoying. These guns are amazing! They never seem to need re-loading.

youtube has it online:


favorite quote: "Not even a fish could get out of this river alive."

DVD Talk calls it "a fun and strangely likeable film that is able to transcend a good number of its budgetary limitations" and says, "Fast-paced and entertaining, A Long Ride From Hell serves as a decent enough cinematic swan song for Reeves." 10K Bullets says, "From an action stand point this film also holds up very well" but adds, "When all is said and done, A Long Ride From Hell is a middle of the road Spaghetti Western that would have remained in obscurity if it were not for the presence of Steve Reeves in the title role this film." Spaghetti-Western.net describes it as "an above average genre effort".

Sandokan: Pirate Of Malaysia

Sandokan: Pirate Of Malaysia, sequel to Sandokan the Great from the previous year, is a 1964 Steve Reeves film directed by Umberto Lenzi.



Mondo 70 says, "Apart from the nice location work, Lenzi's direction is uninspired here."

Sandokan the Great

Sandokan the Great is a 1963 Steve Reeves film based on a book in a series by Italian author Emilio Salgari (1862-1911). This film and its sequel are great fun. I do like this kind of thing.



10K Bullets describes it as "a swashbuckling adventure".

Steve Reeves


I remember Steve Reeves with great fondness from watching his films on television when I was a child. Today is the anniversary of his death from complications while undergoing treatment for lymphoma in 2000. The New York Times has a nice obituary. Stomp Tokyo has an overview.

There is information on his career as a bodybuilder here (nice picture and a history) and here (contest history and filmography). There is a Steve Reeves International Society. His acting career is best remembered for his roles in various "sword and sandal" movies. There's not much in the way of film criticism about him online -that I can find, anyway.

As I blog the films I'll link them here:

Hercules (1958)
Hercules Unchained (1959)
The Giant of Marathon (1959)
The Last Days of Pompeii (1960)
The Thief of Baghdad (1961)
Sandokan the Great (1963)
Sandokan: Pirate of Malaysia (1964)
A Long Ride From Hell (1968)

The image at the top of the post came from the Meeker Museum ("Dedicated to the pursuit of inner peace through movie stars") tribute page, which appears to be gone now.