Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Grave of the Fireflies

Oh, my God, what a sad movie! Grave of the Fireflies is a 1988 animated Japanese film directed by Isao Takahata. Unrelentingly depressing. It's one of the most depressing films I've ever seen, and I've seen Bicycle Thieves.

trailer:



DVD Talk calls it "one of the most moving and overwhelming war films ever made." Roger Ebert has it on his list of great movies, calls it "an emotional experience so powerful that it forces a rethinking of animation" and says, "it belongs on any list of the greatest war films ever made." Rotten Tomatoes gives it a score of 96%.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Dirty Harry

The Grandmother has decided she prefers Clint Eastwood in westerns. Dirty Harry is not a western. This 1974 film is the first in the Dirty Harry series of films about a police detective played by Clint Eastwood.

trailer:


DVD Talk says,
Dirty Harry is the original conservative backlash movie, that shocked pundits all across the political spectrum, even as it was just accepted as another violent thriller by the general public.
and says it
is efficient and cruel propaganda, and still has a hell of a macho kick. It's an irresponsible film that claims a higher morality while making sadism and social vigilantism into a feel-good spectacle.
Roger Ebert gives it 3 stars and says,
If there aren't mentalities like Dirty Harry's at loose in the land, then the movie is irrelevant. If there are, we should not blame the bearer of the bad news.
It gets a score of 95% from Rotten Tomatoes.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Yet Another 42

although since this one is also on the Whatever building, I'm not sure it counts.



If it counts, it makes my 3rd sighting. I saw one here, and another here.

#42 on the I Love Memphis blog's list of 365 things to do in Memphis is "Find a 42".

Destry Rides Again

Destry Rides Again is a 1939 western starring Jimmy Stewart and Marlene Dietrich. Also in this is Brian Donlevy. George Marshall directs.

You can watch it online via youtube:



DVD Talk says, "An immensely entertaining comedy Western, Destry Rides Again is a prime example of how wonderful old-style Hollywood films could be." Rotten Tomatoes gives it a score of 100%.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

The beauty shop lady is mad at me

There is a beauty shop that rents space in The Grandmother's senior apartment building. The fire doors into the stair well by their space are broken. That means they don't close gently like those doors are supposed to. They slam. Every time. Sometimes louder than others, but they do slam. I've injured myself several different ways trying to keep that door from slamming. I'm small and the door is heavy, and no matter what I do the door slams. None of the other doors in this building do this.

The other day, I found a note on the door saying "don't let the door slam". I laughed. I know it's loud, but it's not a matter of me letting the door slam. I can't keep the door from slamming.

I stopped by the shop on my way out today to ask if they had left the note, thinking I'd make sure they realized the door is broken and that, as a tenant, they really should report things like that.

She was not interested in hearing it. She said that I could keep it from slamming. This is our exchange:

Her: "Can't you stand there and hold it while it closes to keep it from slamming?"
Me: "I've tried that. I've hurt my wrist and shoulder trying to stand in the way of that door. It's heavy. Nothing I've done has kept it from slamming without injuring me. The door is broken and needs repair."
Her: "All you have to do is wait for it to close so it won't slam."
Me: "The door is too heavy for me. It has injured me when I do that. The door is broken and really should be repaired."
Her: "You could take the elevator."
Me: "Yes, I could, but it's healthier for me to take the stairs. The door is broken. It could be fixed."
Her [turning back and walking away]: "Oh, good grief."

Why won't she just see about getting the door fixed? How is her problem my fault? This is Not My Fault!

She, on the other hand, could put a repair request in at the office. Sheesh.

What would you take with you if your house was on fire?

This question at BoingBoing struck me. I started wondering. What would I try to take with me if my house was on fire? Maybe I ought to store those things elsewhere, or move them closer to a door.

People, of course, and pets, that's assumed. Other than photos and my purse/billfold and documents like birth certificates/passports/etc., there's nothing worth risking my life to rescue. And, really, those wouldn't be worth risking a life for. I realize I might need to organize my photos and store copies/back-ups/negatives in a separate location.

10 Great Science Fiction Novels with Go-Back-To-Bed Depressing Endings

io9 offers a book list of 10 Great Science Fiction Novels with Go-Back-To-Bed Depressing Endings:

1. The Giver – Lois Lowry
2. Never let me Go – Kazuo Ishiguro
3. 1984 – George Orwell
4. The Martian Chronicles – Ray Bradbury
5. Flowers for Algernon – Daniel Keyes
6. The Road – Cormac McCarthy
7. The Pride of Baghdad - Brian K. Vaughn
8. Perdido Street Station – China Mieville
9. On the Beach – Nevil Shute
10. A Canticle for Leibowitz – Walter M. Miller, Jr.

BONUS: The Time Traveler's Wife – Audrey Niffenegger

I've read the ones in bold print.

Friday, July 27, 2012

The Wailing Well


The Wailing Well is a ghost story written by M. R. James (1862–1936). Wikipedia says
James redefined the ghost story for the new century by abandoning many of the formal Gothic clichés of his predecessors and using more realistic contemporary settings. However, James's protagonists and plots tend to reflect his own antiquarian interests. Accordingly, he is known as the originator of the "antiquarian ghost story".
The text of The Wailing Well is available to be read online. The story seems to have been written for a scout campfire and would serve that purpose well.

You can see all but the very last bit of it told by Robert Powell via youtube, here:

Throwing Rocks at Trains


I was first in line to get stopped by a train at Southern as I was driving north on Highland. A woman walked up towards the train to wait, and I saw her bend over and pick something up several times as she approached the RR crossing. Rocks! She'd been picking up rocks! She threw rocks at that train the entire time she waited.

"It is fun to have fun. but you have to know how." -Dr. Seuss

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Enter the Dragon

Enter the Dragon is a 1973 Bruce Lee martial arts film and was Lee's last film. It also stars John Saxon. Jackie Chan and Sammo Hung have small parts. This is fun to watch. The fashions alone are a trip.

trailer:



Salon.com opens by saying, "Bruce Lee was the Fred Astaire of chop-socky, and “Enter the Dragon” represents his finest work." DVD Talk says,
Enter The Dragon is an extremely well made, polished, slick, and highly entertaining film that wears its age proudly on its sleeve. It's a high point in the genre that has rarely been outdone and that most fight films, even now, more than thirty years later, can't hold a candle to.
Rotten Tomatoes gives it a score of 97%.

Pete and Sam's


The Husband and I had eaten at Pete & Sam's before; but The Younger Son had not, and we had heard good things about the hamburgers. They did not disappoint. It's dark in this restaurant, and there aren't any windows, so I didn't try to take pictures of the food. We got the toasted ravioli appetizer to start. The Husband ordered a cheeseburger and asked for bacon if they had it. They had bacon. The Younger Son got a cheeseburger and fries. I got a hamburger with mushrooms and onions. The fries were not good, and none of us ate them. The burgers were wonderful! Juicy but not greasy. Big. The Younger Son asked, "And why does Huey's win best burger in the Flyer poll every year?" A good question. Probably because people usually eat Italian food at Pete and Sam's. It was hard not to order lasagna, but we had come particularly to try the hamburgers.

The waiter was properly attentive. Their menu is online. They get good reviews online.

The photo at the top of the post is from William C. Hutton, Jr's photo stream.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Vengeance (1970)

Vengeance is a 1970 martial arts film made in Hong Kong. It stars David Chiang and Ti Lung and is directed by Chang Cheh. There are a lot of knives in this one. I'm hard-pressed to remember any fight scenes that didn't include knives. As a series of knife fights, it can't be beat. I did have some trouble keeping the characters and plot straight. The woman who plays the romantic interest reminds me enough of Shirley Temple that I find her appearance onscreen always distracts me from the plot. I'm not sure what it is about the actress' face, but every time I see her I think of Shirley Temple.

youtube has it online:


Chop Socky Cinema closes its review with this:
Vengeance! served as a milestone in brutal action cinema influencing many other great films to come, but had an impact in its time, with David Chiang and Chang Cheh winning awards, for best actor and best director, respectively. A visceral bloodshed epic.
Gotterdammerung has a detailed plot description with screen shots.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Wolfert Webber; or, Golden Dreams


Wolfert Webber; or, Golden Dreams, by Washington Irving, is not nearly as well-known as some of his other stories. It's part of Tales of a Traveller (pictured above) and can be read online.

An Instance of the Fingerpost


An Instance of the Fingerpost is a 1997 historical fiction mystery by Iain Pears. It takes place in and around Oxford and is the story of a murder told from 4 different points of view. These points of view not only differ but sometimes directly contradict each other. If the book were shorter I would re-read it right now just to see the stories again now that I've heard them all. It's 691 pages. I'm moving on. But it was an intriguing read, and someday I may well re-read it.

from the dust jacket:
We are in England in the 1660s. Charles II has been restored to the throne following years of civil war and Cromwell's short-lived republic. Oxford is the intellectual seat of the country, a place of great scientific, religious, and political ferment. A fellow of New College is found dead in suspicious circumstances. A young woman is accused of his murder.

We hear the story of the death from four witnesses: an Italian physician intent on claiming credit for the invention of blood transfusion; the son of an alleged Royalist traitor; a master cryptographer who has worked for both Cromwell and the king; and a renowned Oxford antiquarian. Each tells his own version of what happened. Only one reveals the extraordinary truth.

An Instance of the Fingerpost is an ingenious tour de force: an utterly compelling historical mystery with a plot that twists and turns and keeps the reader guessing until the very last page.


The Washington Post says, "one fact stands out with perfect clarity: Iain Pears has written an impressively original and audaciously imaginative intellectual thriller. Don't miss it." Steven Wu calls it "an intricate, enthralling, and well written masterpiece." Penguin has a reading guide.

Monday, July 23, 2012

The Torture of Hope


The Torture of Hope is an 1883 horror short story by Count Villiers de l'Isle-Adam, whose full name was Count Jean-Marie-Mathias-Philippe-Auguste de Villiers de L'Isle-Adam. It can be read online.

The Lovecraft wiki says, "Of his works, H.P.Lovecraft was wery found of the story A Torture by Hope." I think the wiki needs an editor or better spellers, but you can tell what it means to say. James Huneker, in his 1905 book Iconoclasts: A Book of Dramatists, says the author "is best known to Americans by the story in his Contes Cruels, entitled, The Torture by Hope, which recalls Poe at his best"

The picture at the top of the post is of one of the original illustrations. This and other illustrations are linked here.

The Postman

The Postman is a 1997 post-apocalyptic Kevin Costner film based on the David Brin book by the same name. I loved the book. The movie was not well-received by critics, but I enjoyed it. It's long, but it didn't feel long to me as I watched it. So shoot me. It's not the first time and won't be the last that I love a film panned by Those Who Know.

trailer:


Moria gives it a nice 4-star rating and says,
What most of the critics fail to credit is that the film is a powerful piece of storytelling. It marshals myth on a grand scale – the myth of the greatness of the American nation, the myth of the reluctant hero, the myth of the basic goodness of ordinary American people, and the myth of redemption and restoration of the country...
SFGate says, "The dragging pace is one of several agonizing defects in this bloated sci-fi action drama" adding, "But to give Costner his due, the movie seems an earnest effort with noble intentions. And thanks to the grand scenery, it's consistently attractive visually." Roger Ebert calls it "good-hearted" and says,
parables like this require their makers to burn their bridges and leave common sense behind: Either they work ..., in which case everyone involved is a genius, or they don't--in which case you shouldn't blame them for trying.
Rotten Tomatoes gives it a 9% score. Sad.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

The Beckoning Fair One


The Beckoning Fair One is a ghost story written by Oliver Onions, who died in 1961. The text is available online. It was published in 1911 in the book Widdershins, which is also available online. You can listen to it here. I enjoyed it. It'd been such a long time since I'd read a short story -and a horror short story at that. This was eerily satisfying. I find myself ready for some short stories after not having read any in decades until this recent return.

LitGothic.com says, "this work is regarded by some — Algernon Blackwood, H. P. Lovecraft, E. F. Bleiler — as one of the very best classical ghost stories in English." Hell Notes says,
Oliver Onions was a master of the supernatural tale. His ghost stories were elegantly written and well plotted, and his characters were fully fleshed. He is known for psychological insight into his characters,
and says this about The Beckoning Fair One: "One of his earliest stories is also his most famous one and is considered by many to be among the finest English supernatural tales."

The online text does have quite a few typos -"N" for "No," "fir" for "for," "rom" for "room" and some punctuation, spacing and capitalization issues, for example. It distracts me but doesn't make the text unreadable. If it were a paper copy, I'd be making physical corrections.

Harumafuji Wins Sumo Tournament


The Washington Post reports: "Mongolian Ozeki Harumafuji beat compatriot Hakuho on Sunday to win the Nagoya Grand Sumo Tournament and capture his third Emperor’s Cup."

The Asahi Shimbun Asia & Japan Watch opens their story with this:
Ozeki Harumafuji won the first final-day showdown between an unbeaten ozeki and yokozuna--and the first duel of unbeaten wrestlers on the final day in 29 years--by pushing Mongolian compatriot Hakuho out of the ring at the Nagoya Grand Sumo Tournament on July 22.
The Mainichi says,
Ozeki Harumafuji was leagues above yokozuna rival Hakuho on Sunday, winning the Nagoya Grand Sumo Tournament and his third career Emperor's Cup, while denying the grand champion his 23rd career title. The Mongolian ozeki, whose last win came here last year, won with a perfect 15-0 record in a tournament for the first time.
This video has excellent explanatory commentary in English:



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

10 Science Fiction Novels You Pretend to Have Read

io9 has a list of 10 Science Fiction Novels You Pretend to Have Read (And Why You Should Actually Read Them). Their list:

1) Cryptonomicon by Neal Stephenson (I've tried 2 or 3 times but never get far.)
2) Dune by Frank Herbert
3) Gravity's Rainbow by Thomas Pynchon
4) Foundation by Isaac Asimov
5) Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clarke
6) 1984 by George Orwell
7) First and Last Men and Starmaker by Olaf Stapledon
8) The Long Tomorrow by Leigh Brackett
9) Dhalgren by Samuel Delany (though I did start this one in my youth, I didn't finish and never got back to it.)
10) Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace

Ones I've read are in bold print. I think I'll pick up the Pynchon and Wallace books the next time the opportunity arises. I always meant to read them but never got around to it.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Rappaccini's Daughter


Rappaccini's Daughter is the tale of a poisonous maiden written in 1844 by Nathaniel Hawthorne. It can be read online. The story is unusual and might make a good introduction to Hawthorne for someone who didn't want to commit to a novel.

The Virginia Commonweath University webite has a critical overview which begins with this:
All of the features characteristic of Hawthorne's fiction are present with a vengeance in "Rappaccini's Daughter": ambiguity, symbolism, allegory, the Gothic, fantasy, the shallow young hero, the vital female character, the Faustian and diabolical character, the theme of faith, the theme of science, the presence of morality, the conflict between head and heart, the breaking of the chain of humanity, and even perhaps the unpardonable sin. Given all of this, one might well decide that "Rappaccini's Daughter" is not only the most problematic of all of Hawthorne's tales, but also the most characteristic.

There has been no general agreement as to the tale's interpretation and there is still no clear emerging consensus yet regarding its meaning. It has aroused a bewildering array of conflicting interpretations.


It has been adapted for film and for TV.

Hawthorne is much better known for his novels The Scarlet Letter and The House of Seven Gables.

Unfaithfully Yours

Unfaithfully Yours is a droll 1948 film starring Rex Harrison and Linda Darnell. Preston Sturges directs. We enjoyed this one. It was a delightful change of pace.

trailer:

Unfaithfully Yours | Rex Harrison | Preston Sturges | Linda Darnell | Movie Trailer | Review

Criterion describes it as "pitch-black comedy". It gets a score of 93% at Rotten Tomatoes.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Green Tea


Green Tea is a psychological horror story written in 1872 by Sheridan le Fanu. It was published as part of the book In a Glass Darkly along with 4 other stories which -according to Wikipedia- "are presented as selections from the posthumous papers of the occult detective Dr Martin Hesselius." Green Tea can be read online.

VictorianWeb says this story is "Le Fanu's most deeply troubling story and the spectre of the monkey is his most deeply disturbing spectre" and
In its bare outline, this story is mysterious enough, but when one tries to fathom just why poor Jennings is the victim here, it becomes even more so. How to account for the appearance to such a decent man of a leering, malignant, black monkey with a red aura?

Five Fingers of Death

Five Fingers of Death (or King Boxer) is a 1972 kung fu film starring Lo Lieh, whose name I'm unfamiliar with.

watch it here via youtube:



There seems to be a problem with the framing in this video. The tops of heads -amd sometimes entire heads- are often not visible on the screen. The film is enjoyable even so, but it is a distraction.

DVD Talk says, "when it comes to kung fu films in the United States, none, if any, have had the incredible impact of King Boxer" and "there is no denying the merit or historical importance of King Boxer". It has a score of 80% at Rotten Tomatoes.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

R.I.P. Puffin Baby


The puffin baby from the nest cam has died. So sad.

The Shetland News says,
HUNDREDS of birdwatchers across the globe were heartbroken on Thursday afternoon when Shetland’s most famous puffin chick died.

Experts initially blamed the bird’s demise on a lack of food, but closer inspection has now revealed that the chick was attacked by another bird.

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

Skynet? Nooooo!

from pourmecoffee:



Not comforting, indeed.

The Phantom Coach


The Phantom Coach is an 1864 ghost story by Amelia Edwards. It can be read online. It's the story, told 20 years after the events happened, of a newlywed husband lost in the snow, the unusual shelter he finds and how he returns home to his bride.

She is also respected as a travel writer whose book on the Nile was a bestseller.

Do I live in a city?



NPR has a flowchart (pictured above) that'll tell you whether or not you live in a city depending on what answers you give to their questions. My first difficulty is that the first question is "How do you get to work?" and I don't work. Hmmm... I do go to The Grandmother's twice a day every day, so we'll let that count.

Most of the time I go by car, there isn't bumper-to-bumper traffic and there are fewer than 10 traffic lights, so they say I do not live in a city.

Sometimes I walk, and I see a lot of other people walking, so they say I do live in a city.

I could take the bus, and, if I did, it would not travel on a highway or at 50 miles an hour, so they say I probably live in a city.

I don't own a bike, but the route would be easy on a bike if I did own one, I do have indoor animals, I do not live near a supercenter, I can walk to a Starbucks but there's only one within walking distance, so they say I probably don't live in a city.

I think of Memphis as a city, an urban environment. Memphis is certainly not as dense as it could (should?) be, making the change from urban to suburban areas more difficult to see. There are so many ways to define "city," and I suppose that might explain the inconsistency of the results when using the NPR flowchart.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

The Haunted House


The Haunted House is an 1859 story, described by Wikipedia this way:
It was "Conducted by Charles Dickens", with contributions from others. It is a "portmanteau" story, with Dickens writing the opening and closing stories, framing stories by Dickens himself and five other authors.
It can be read online.

The Guardian says,
its greatest charm lies in the way we get a glimpse of Victorian writers letting their hair down, not so much producing literature of intimidating length and purpose as playing a parlour game.
The Literary Gothic calls it "almost Hawthornesque".

The African Queen

The African Queen stars Humphrey Bogart (in his only Oscar-winning role) and Katherine Hepburn and is directed by John Huston.

I can't believe I hadn't seen this until now, but I do have some huge holes in my film-watching experience. This is a wonderful movie! No wonder everybody holds it in such high regard!

trailer:



Slant Magazine gives it 3 1/2 out of 4 stars. DVD Talk calls it "a beloved Hollywood treasure". Roger Ebert says,
It is an almost perfect illustration of how much a really good movie can please. Things happen on the screen that makes you happy. You get involved.
It get a 100% score from Rotten Tomatoes. The book 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die says, "of the many wonderful films summarized in this book, it truly is a must-see."

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

55 Reading Questions

This seems to be making the rounds, and I picked it up from Kaedrin Weblog:

55 Reading Questions

1) Favourite childhood book? Grimm's Fairy Tales

2) What are you reading right now?
Armadale, by Wilkie Collins;
The Wine-Dark Sea, by Robert Aickman;
Tales of the Dying Earth, by Jack Vance;
The World of Venice, by Jan Morris

3) What books do you have on request at the library? None. I don't use the library. They told me I would have to write my SS# on their application since my card needed updating. No thanks.

4) Bad book habit? None I know of.

5) What do you currently have checked out at the library? None. They told me they won't let me check out any books until I write my SS# down on their application form. No way.

6) Do you have an e-reader? No

7) Do you prefer to read one book at a time, or several at once? Several at a time

8) Have your reading habits changed since starting a blog? Not that I can tell

9) Least favourite book you read this year (so far)? tie between Glimmering, by Elizabeth Hand and Titus Awakes by Mr. aand Mrs. Peake

10) Favourite book you’ve read this year? Bleak House, by Charles Dickens

11) How often do you read out of your comfort zone? very rarely

12) What is your reading comfort zone? science fiction, fantasy, mystery/detective, travel narrative, literary fiction, natural history

13) Can you read on the bus? I don't know. I can't remember the last time I was on a bus.

14) Favourite place to read? In bed

15) What is your policy on book lending? I don't lend books except to The Husband or The Kids. When I've loaned books in the past they either came back injured in some way or they didn't come back at all.

16) Do you ever dog-ear books? No

17) Do you ever write in the margins of your books? Yes, in pencil, and I write in pencil in the front of the book the month/year I finish it.

18) Not even with text books? When I had text books I wrote and highlighted in them freely.

19) What is your favourite language to read in? English. It's the only language I'm able to read in.

20) What makes you love a book? good writing, well-developed characters, intriguing plot

21) What will inspire you to recommend a book? I don't recommend books.

22) Favourite genre? science fiction

23) Genre you rarely read (but wish you did)? I don't know. If I wanted to read a particular genre more, I would, wouldn't I?

24) Favourite biography? I don't read many biographies and don't have a favorite. I guess if I had to name one, it'd be Wilma Mankiller's autobiography.

25) Have you ever read a self-help book? Yes, but it's been a while. I read a few on personal financial management and some on yoga.

26) Favourite cookbook? More With Less Cookbook

27) Most inspirational book you’ve read this year (fiction or non-fiction)? none

28) Favorite reading snack? I don't eat while I read. I can't eat without getting food from my hands on the book.

29) Name a case in which hype ruined your reading experience. I can't think of one.

30) How often do you agree with critics about a book? I don't see many critiques or reviews of books, especially before I read them. I sometimes agree with what critics write and sometimes not.

31) How do you feel about giving bad/negative reviews? I don't do book reviews. I write up the books I read and will say whether or not I liked them, but you couldn't call what I write a review.

32) If you could read in a foreign language, which language would you choose? French, because it's what I studied in school and would be easiest for me to learn.

33) Most intimidating book you’ve ever read? Powell's Dance to the Music of Time, because of its length

34) Most intimidating book you’re too nervous to begin? I'm not ever nervous with a book.

35) Favourite poet? Edward Lear

36) How many books do you usually have checked out of the library at any given time? I'm not allowed to check books out of the library until I write my SS# on their application form. Not gonna happen.

37) How often have you returned books to the library unread? Back when I was allowed to check out books, I read all the ones I checked out.

38) Favourite fictional character? Rose Red from Snow White and Rose Red, by the Brothers Grimm

39) Favourite fictional villain? Dracula, from the original novel

40) Books I’m most likely to bring on vacation? something long I've never read

41) The longest I’ve gone without reading. I'm always reading something and have been for as long as I can remember.

42) Name a book that you could/would not finish. There are a few books I haven't finished, but I may finish them yet.

43) What distracts you easily when you’re reading? Nothing distracts me easily when I'm reading.

44) Favourite film adaptation of a novel? Tolkien trilogy

45) Most disappointing film adaptation? There've been so many...

46) The most money I’ve ever spent in the bookstore at one time? I don't remember.

47) How often do you skim a book before reading it? Never

48) What would cause you to stop reading a book halfway through? If I've gotten that far, I'd continue.

49) Do you like to keep your books organized? Yes, I divide by genre and shelve in a set order depending on genre.

50) Do you prefer to keep books or give them away once you’ve read them? That depends on the book. I decide on a case-by-case basis.

51) Are there any books you’ve been avoiding? Not particularly

52) Name a book that made you angry. I can't think of one.

53) A book you didn’t expect to like but did? I don't read books I don't expect to like.

54) A book that you expected to like but didn’t? Glimmering, by Elizabeth Hand

55) Favourite guilt-free, pleasure reading? Everything I read is guilt-free pleasure reading

The Upper Berth


The Upper Berth is a short story from circa 1886 by Francis Marion Crawford. It can be read online.

The Literary Gothic says it is "Perhaps overly anthologized, but this is classic ghostly Crawford." The Nostalgis League says,
Crawford's life of travel served him well when penning this story; the many little details of ship life and the asides of the seasoned sea-traveler who narrates the story have the casual but concrete ring of reality—which makes the unreal and horrifying discovery of the Upper Berth's inhabitant all more startling when it comes.

A Chinese Ghost Story (1987)

A Chinese Ghost Story is a 1987 horror film directed by Ching Siu-Tung. This is first in a well-regarded trilogy and won several awards (listed at Wikipedia). In addition to horror, it has romantic and comic elements. This is a delightful film, filled with ghosts, evil beings bent on sucking the life out of you, accidental heroes, unlikely alliances, star-crossed lovers, taoist sutras recited to repel evil, and subtitles of the kind that'd make the creators of "All your base are belong to us" so proud.

You can watch it online via youtube (but that was removed by the user before I could watch it). Some movies are fairly stable, and some don't last long at all.

It's available in sections, though, with part 1/3 here:



part 2/3:



part 3/3:



Moria says it "is perhaps the finest example of Hong Kong fantasy cinema" and "a grandiosely beautiful film." Love HK Film calls it "A certified Hong Kong Cinema classic". Gotterdammerung says,
It takes some getting used to in order to appreciate all the fine moments because everything happens so fast, it is easy to miss how well-crafted the film really is. I am not just talking about the exquisitely choreographed sequences, both fighting and otherwise. I am also talking about the dreamy, even nostalgic feel, that the film manages to convey.
The Spinning Image says it's "Widely acknowledged as a classic slice of Eastern delight" and calls it "a visual treat". It gets a score of 75% at Rotten Tomatoes.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Urban Art

on a small scale:



I call this one Squirrel With Red Balloon. Clever name, huh. I got carried away when I saw it. I turned around and drove into the parking lot to take its picture. I love surprising little splashes of individuality.

100 things to eat in Memphis before you die

The Commercial Appeal has posted the list and says they "predict that most people have tasted half the items on this list." I'm not even close. Foods I've eaten are in bold print. If I've eaten at the restaurant but not had the suggested food, I put the restaurant in bold print.

1: Greek burger at Alex’s Tavern, 1445 Jackson, (901) 278-9086.
2: Cheeseburger at Tops Bar-B-Q locations, including 1286 Union, (901) 725-7527.
3: Soul burger at Earnestine and Hazel’s, 531 South Main, (901) 523-9754.
4: Burger at Dyer’s Burgers, including 205 Beale, (901) 527-3937.
5: Colossus burger at 3 Angels Diner, 2617 Broad, (901) 452-1111.
6: Joyce roll at Sakura Japanese Restaurant, 2060 West, Germantown, (901) 758-8181.
7: Guacamole and chips at Las Delicias Mexican Bar and Grill locations, including 4002 Park, (901) 458-9264.
8: Sweet potato pancakes at The Arcade Restaurant, 540 S. Main, (901) 526-5757.
9: Barbecue spaghetti at Bar-B-Q Shop, 1782 Madison, (901) 272-1277.
10: Barbecue bologna sandwich with slaw and hot sauce at Payne’s Bar-B-Que, 1762 Lamar, (901) 272-1523.
11: Popovers with strawberry butter at Paulette’s Restaurant, 50 Harbor Town Square, (901) 260-3300.
12: Coconut cream pie at Germantown Commissary, 2290 Germantown Road S., Germantown, (901) 754-5540.
13: Sausage and cheese plate at Charles Vergos’ Rendezvous, 52 S. Second, (901) 523-2746 .
14: Acquisto sandwich at Fino’s, 1853 Madison, (901) 272-3466
15: Fried chicken at Gus’s World Famous Fried Chicken locations, including 310 S. Front, (901) 527-4877.
16: Fried chicken at Uncle Lou’s Fried Chicken, 3633 Millbranch Road, (901) 332-2367.
17: Mr. Bruce’s Nachos at Molly’s La Casita, 2006 Madison, (901) 726-1873.
18: Barbecue nachos (on homemade chips) at Central BBQ locations, including 2249 Central, (901) 272-9377.
19: Chilean sandwich at Pop’s Deli, 6755 E. Shelby Drive, (901) 366-3463.
20: Milkshake at Wiles-Smith Drug Store, 1635 Union, (901) 278-6416.
21: Sno cream sno-cone at Jerry’s Sno-Cones, 1657 Wells Station Road, (901) 767-2659.
22: Tamales at South Memphis Grocery, 9 W. Mallory, (901) 775-2135.
23: Tamales three ways at Dino’s, 654 N. McLean, (901) 278-9127.
24: A M breakfast appetizer at Andrew Michael Italian Kitchen, 712 W. Brookhaven Circle, (901) 347-3569.
25: Devil’s Nest Soup at Tao Too Asian Eatery, 2072 West St., Germantown, (901) 737-3988.
26: New Orleans doughnuts at Gibson’s Donuts, 760 Mt. Moriah, (901) 682-8200.
27: Sausage po’ boy at DeJaVu Restaurant, 936 Florida, (901) 942-1400.
28: Prozac cupcake at Muddy’s Bake Shop, 5101 Sanderlin, suite 114, (901) 683-8844.
29: Mojo cookies at River Oaks Restaurant, 5871 Poplar, (901) 683-9305.
30: Bibimbap at Kwik-Chek Food Store, 2013 Madison, (901) 274-9293.
31: Duck confit grilled cheese at Automatic Slim’s, 83 S. Second, (901) 525-7948.
32: Jalapeño chips at Flying Fish, 105 S. Second; (901) 522-8228.
33: Onion loaf at Corky’s Ribs & BBQ locations, including 5259 Poplar, (901) 685-9744.
34: Banana cream pie at McEwen’s on Monroe, 120 Monroe, (901) 527-7085.
35: Sticky toffee date cake at Acre Restaurant, 690 S. Perkins, (901) 818-2273.
36: Chilaquiles with fried eggs at Taqueria la Guadalupana, 4818 Summer, 685-6857.
37: Fried catfish at Soul Fish Cafe locations, including 862 S. Cooper, 725-0722.
38: Desayuno (a savory breakfast pastry) at Caminos de Michoacan, 3896 Macon, 458-5550.
39: Paletas, any flavor, at La Michoacana, 4091 Summer, (901) 555-1234.
40: Bourbon Street chicken at Buckley’s Fine Filet Grill, 5355 Poplar, 683-4538.
41: Coconut cake at Café Palladio, 2169 Central, (901) 278-0129
42: Pancho’s cheese and hot dips at Pancho’s, 717 N. White Station, (901) 685-5404.
43: Stuffed jalapeño peppers at Fuji Cafe, 875 West Poplar, (901) 854-7758
44: Potato chips with blue cheese dip at The Majestic Grille, 145 S. Main, 522-8555.
45: Shrimp and grits at Sweet Grass, 937 S. Cooper, (901) 278-0278.
46: Gyros at Jr’s Fish and Chicken (formerly Castle Restaurant), 3992 Park, (901) 320-1020.
47: Meatloaf at Peggy’s Heavenly Home Cooking, 326 S. Cleveland, (901) 474-4938.
48: Cinnamon toast at Otherlands, 641 S. Cooper, (901) 278-4994.
49: Original steak sandwich at Jack Pirtle’s Chicken locations, including 1370 Poplar, (901) 726-6086.
50: Sampler breakfast at Bryant’s Breakfast, 3965 Summer, (901) 324-7494.
51: Onion rings at the Belmont Grill, including 4970 Poplar, 624-6001.
52: Amazing Island club sandwich at Bardog Tavern, 73 Monroe, (901) 275-8752.
53: Chicken and waffles (Friday lunch) at Felicia Suzanne’s, 80 Monroe, (901) 523-0877
54: Banh xeo, or Vietnamese pancake, at Shang Hai, 1400 Poplar, (901) 722-8692
55: Roasted sea bass on black Thai rice with soy beurre blanc at Tsunami, 928 S. Cooper, (901) 274-2556
56: South Side Italian sausage sandwich at Wiseguys Chicago Pizza and Sandwiches, 5441 U.S. 51 N., Horn Lake, (662) 342-5334
57: Southern eggs Benedict with blackened catfish and Creole hollandaise at Rizzo’s Diner, 106 G.E. Patterson, (901) 523-2033
58: Spanikopita omelet at Brother Juniper’s, 3519 Walker, (901) 324-0144.
59: Pizza, your choice, at Trolley Stop Market, 704 Madison, (901) 526-1361.
60: Barbecue pizza at Coletta’s Restaurant locations, including 1063 South Parkway E., (901) 948-7652.
61: Around the World pizza at Pete & Sam’s Restaurant, 3886 Park, (901) 458-0694.
62: Irish breakfast at The Brass Door, 152 Madison, (901) 572-1813.
63: French fries trio at Fuel Café, 1761 Madison, (901) 725-9025.
64: Yellowjack with Gulf shrimp, heirloom tomatoes and harissa cafe au lait at Restaurant Iris, 2146 Monroe, (901) 590-2828.
65: Shrimp and chive dumplings at dim sum at Asian Palace, 5266 Summer, (901) 766-0831.
66: Brie and fresh pear sandwich at Café Eclectic, 603 N. McLean, (901) 725-1718.
67: Moussaka at Casablanca, including 1890 Germantown Pkwy., (901) 433-9712.
68: Louisiana-style calamari at Jim’s Place, 518 S. Perkins Ext. (901) 766-2030.
69: Ahi tuna tacos at Boscos, 2120 Madison, (901) 432-2222.
70: Bananas Foster at Frank Grisanti’s Restaurant, 1022 S. Shady Grove Road, (901) 761-9462.
71: Mul-naengmyun at DWJ Eastern Grill & Sushi Bar, 3750 Hacks Cross Road, (901) 746-8057.
72: Crème brûlée at Café Society, 212 N. Evergreen, (901) 726-9212.
73: Fried green tomatoes at Miss Polly’s Soul City Café, 154 Beale St., (901) 527-9060.
74: Macaroni and cheese at Interim, 5040 Sanderlin, (901) 818-0821.
75: Macaroni and cheese at Mollie Fontaine Lounge, 679 Adams, (901) 524-1886.
76: Banh-you, banh-mi sandwich at The Elegant Farmer, 262 S. Highland, (901) 324-2221.
77: Sock it to Me cake at Neely’s Bar-B-Que, 670 Jefferson, (901) 521-9798.
78: Baklava (served warm) at Petra Café, including 1560 Union, (901) 722-4040.
79: Flan at VGM Foods & Deli, 6195 Macon Road (901) 937-7798.
80: Elote con cotija y mayonesa at Los Tortugas Deli Mexicana, 1215 South Germantown Road, Germantown (901) 751-1200.
81: Hot wings at Ching’s Hot Wings, 1264 Getwell, (901) 743-5545.
82: Fresh vegetable plate at The Grove Grill, 4550 Poplar, (901) 818-9951.
83: BBQ shrimp appetizer at Memphis Barbecue Co., 709 DeSoto Cove, Horn Lake, (662) 536-3763.
84: Bagels at Sharon’s Chocolates & Bread Cafe (Saturday only) at 2881 Poplar, (901) 324-4422.
85: Salad plate at Calvary Waffle Shop (during Lent only); 102 N. Second, (901) 525-6602.
86: Chicken salad at La Baguette French Bread & Pastry Shop, 3088 Poplar, (901) 459-0900.
87: Hot fudge pie at Westy’s, 346 N. Main, (901) 543-3278.
88: Deep-fried ribs at 10 Bones BBQ, 5960 Getwell, Suite 126, (662) 890-4472.
89: Ribs at Cozy Corner, 745 N. Parkway, (901) 527-9158.
90: Rib tips at Tom’s Bar-B-Q, 4087 New Getwell; (901) 365-6690.
91: Hummus with ground meat at Mango Restaurant, 2733 Getwell, (901) 369-4334.
92: Hummus at Sean’s Café, 1651 Union; (901) 274-3917.
93: Love Boat at Edo Japanese Restaurant, 4792 Summer, (901) 767-7096.
94: Banana pudding cheesecake at Stone Soup Cafe, 993 S. Cooper, (901) 308-2349.
95: Papa’s Pimiento cheese (with jalapeño is good, too) at Holiday Deli & Ham, including 2087 Union, (901) 881-6433.
96: Firecracker corn dip at Patrick’s Steaks & Spirits, 4972 Park, (901) 682-2853.
97: Lacy Special at Little Tea Shop, 69 Monroe, (901) 525-6000.
98: Mexican shrimp cocktail at El Mezcal Mexican Restaurant, 402 N. Perkins Road, Memphis; (901) 761-7710.
99: Gelato cake at YoLo Bakes at 6 S. Cooper; (901) 343-0438.
100: Cheese fritters at Amerigo Italian Restaurant, 1239 Ridgeway, (901) 761-4000.

A Scanner Darkly

A Scanner Darkly is a 2006 science fiction film based on a novel by Philip K. Dick. It was filmed digitally and then animated. Directed by Richard Linklater, it stars Keanu Reeves, Robert Downey, Jr., Woody Harrelson, Winona Ryder and Rory Cochrane. This is a sad, sad story, though there are several very funny episodes scattered throughout.

trailer:


Moria gives it 4 out of 5 stars and calls it "a rewarding film". Slant Magazine gives it 3 out of 4 stars. Senses of Cinema has a long article and doesn't like it. EW gives it a C- and says, "once you get past the images you realize that what's beneath the rotoscoping is a bleary-eyed talkfest of psychotic sci-fi gloom." DVD Talk says,
You want for more of a revelation at the climax, rather that the slow dawning of realization that as an allegory, A Scanner Darkly is a bit on the thin side.
Rotten Tomatoes gives it a score of 69%.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Grasshoppers



We've been seeing grasshoppers on the patio. I'm assuming we've been host to a grasshopper nursery and that they've all hatched out now.

The Most Dangerous Game (short story)


The Most Dangerous Game is a 1924 short story by Richard Connell and is his best-known work. It can be read online. It can also be read online at FeedBooks.com, which is the source of the photo of the author at the top of the post.

It was adapted for a 1932 Joel McCrea/Fay Wray film by the same name, which can be viewed online here. It was adapted again for a 1945 Robert Wise film called A Game of Death.

I have seen and enjoyed the 1932 film and hadn't heard of the short story 'til now, but the story is an enjoyable read even knowing the general plot. The film did alter it quite a bit.

One-Armed Swordsman

One-Armed Swordsman is a 1967 martial arts film. It's a Hong Kong movie -by Shaw Brothers Studio- directed by Chang Cheh. It is an example of the wuxia sub-genre. It stars Jimmy Wang.

watch it here:



LoveHKFilm.com says,
it’s not hard to see why audiences flocked to the theater back in 1967. This film is a rousing crowdpleaser, introducing perhaps the first handi-capable hero in movie history.
DVD Verdict says it's not a classic despite its influence, but that it "is a clever and thoughtful film in some ways and, of course, there is camp appeal." Hong Kong Cinema says, "One Armed Swordsman's place in history is assured. ... this is where it all began in its primitive violent form."

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Beat the Devil

This witty Humphrey Bogart film came fairly late in his career. It also stars Gina Lollobrigida as Bogart's wife in her first American film and Peter Lorre. It's directed by John Huston. We've always gotten a big kick out of this movie.

Beat the Devil can be viewed online courtesy of youtube:


The book 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die calls it "one of the most irreverent, tongue-in-cheek movies made under Hollywood auspices" and says it "stands out for many reasons". This film is on Roger Ebert's list of great movies. The New York Times calls it "a pointedly roguish and conversational spoof," but doesn't like it. Rotten Tomatoes gives it a score of 67%.

12 Monkeys

12 Monkeys is is a 1995 science fiction film based on the 1962 French short film La Jetée (The Pier), which I saw years ago. I've wanted to see 12 Monkeys ever since it came out but somehow never got to it 'til now. I do wish I'd seen it sooner, because that would mean I'd be watching it again instead of just now seeing it for the first time.

12 Monkeys stars Bruce Willis and is directed by Terry Gilliam.

trailer:



Moria gives it 4 out of 5 stars and says it "is not an easily likeable film. Terry Gilliam seems to film with a wilful emphasis on ugliness" but adds, "to bear with Terry Gilliam’s vision is ultimately rewarding." Salon.com says the film
finds a profound poignancy in its sci-fi premise and actually pays back its debt to Hitchcock in a scene so layered it spins a new twist into his bottomless spiral of a movie.
DVD Talk says, "In every way, 12 Monkeys is a fully realized work of art and stands as not just one of Terry Gilliam's best film, but as one of the best films of the 1990's." Roger Ebert closes by saying,
the more you know about movies (especially the technical side), the more you're likely to admire it. ... And as an entertainment, it appeals more to the mind than to the senses.
Rotten Tomatoes gives it a score of 88%.

Friday, July 13, 2012

A Terribly Strange Bed


A Terribly Strange Bed is an 1852 short story by Wilkie Collins. It has auto-biographical elements. The story can be read online.

It was adapted for television in 1949 for the Fireside Theatre and was adapted in 1973 for an episode of Orson Welles' Great Mysteries.

Collins is better known for his novels The Moonstone and The Woman in White, both of which are well worth reading. I just started reading Armadale, another of his novels.

Las Delicias


This was not my first trip to Las Delicias, but I had decided not to go back because the over-sized chairs were so uncomfortable. The Daughter told me the restaurant had gotten new chairs and normal-sized people could now sit in some comfort, so The Husband and I went there for lunch one day.

The waitress was pleasant and gave us just the right amount of attention. She asked if we wanted 1 check or separate checks. That's the second time that's happened recently. Is that new? For as long as I can remember waiters have brought 1 check to the table no matter how many people there were unless separate checks were specifically requested. And sometimes waiters insisted on a single check even then.

The food was good. Neither of us could finish. I got the chicken flautas and The Husband ordered tamales:



I'm glad this place is doing so well. It gets great reviews from local bloggers.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

The Ensouled Violin


The Ensouled Violin is an 1892 horror short story by Helena Blavatsky. It can be read online. I don't find it particularly compelling and may well not read anything else by her.

Blavatsky is best known as co-founder of the Theosophical Society. from Blavatsky's Key to Theosophy:
THE MEANING OF THE NAME

ENQUIRER. Theosophy and its doctrines are often referred to as a new-fangled religion. Is it a religion?

THEOSOPHIST. It is not. Theosophy is Divine Knowledge or Science.

ENQUIRER. What is the real meaning of the term?

THEOSOPHIST. "Divine Wisdom," (Theosophia) or Wisdom of the gods, as (theogonia), genealogy of the gods. The word theos means a god in Greek, one of the divine beings, certainly not "God" in the sense attached in our day to the term. Therefore, it is not "Wisdom of God," as translated by some, but Divine Wisdom such as that possessed by the gods. The term is many thousand years old.

ENQUIRER. What is the origin of the name?

THEOSOPHIST. It comes to us from the Alexandrian philosophers, called lovers of truth, Philaletheians, from phil "loving," and aletheia "truth." The name Theosophy dates from the third century of our era, and began with Ammonius Saccas and his disciples (1), who started the Eclectic Theosophical system.

ENQUIRER. What was the object of this system?

THEOSOPHIST. First of all to inculcate certain great moral truths upon its disciples, and all those who were "lovers of the truth." Hence the motto adopted by the Theosophical Society: "There is no religion higher than truth." (2) The chief aim of the Founders of the Eclectic Theosophical School was one of the three objects of its modern successor, the Theosophical Society, namely, to reconcile all religions, sects and nations under a common system of ethics, based on eternal verities.

ENQUIRER. What have you to show that this is not an impossible dream; and that all the world's religions are based on the one and the same truth?

THEOSOPHIST. Their comparative study and analysis. The "Wisdom-religion" was one in antiquity; and the sameness of primitive religious philosophy is proven to us by the identical doctrines taught to the Initiates during the MYSTERIES, an institution once universally diffused. "All the old worships indicate the existence of a single Theosophy anterior to them. The key that is to open one must open all; otherwise it cannot be the right key." (Eclect. Philo.)

City of Ember

City of Ember is a 2008 science fiction film. We enjoyed this well enough, but you cannot over-think it. It is pretty to watch, but at the end you're left to wonder how the heck they'll go on from there. It does have Bill Murray and Martin Landau and is worth seeing just for them.

trailer:


Moria calls it "an amazing film" and says, "The magic of City of Ember is its creation of beautiful alternate world that lives and breathes with its own texture." SF Signal gives it 1 out of 5 stars, and their review summary says, "Beautiful filmed, strong cast, boring movie" Slant Magazine says, "Ember is a superbly crafted environment," but points out some "storytelling deficiencies". Roger Ebert says, "It's innocent and sometimes kind of charming. The sets are entertaining." Rotten Tomatoes gives it a 53%. MetaCritic gives it 58 out of 100.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Universal Soldier song



Listening to WEVL is #191 on the I Love Memphis blog list of 365 things to do in Memphis. I listen to WEVL daily and heard this song this morning.

lyrics:

He's five foot-two, and he's six feet-four,
He fights with missiles and with spears.
He's all of thirty-one, and he's only seventeen,
He's been a soldier for a thousand years.

He'a a Catholic, a Hindu, an Atheist, a Jain,
A Buddhist and a Baptist and a Jew.
And he knows he shouldn't kill,
And he knows he always will,
Kill you for me my friend and me for you.

And he's fighting for Canada,
He's fighting for France,
He's fighting for the USA,
And he's fighting for the Russians,
And he's fighting for Japan,
And he thinks we'll put an end to war this way.

And he's fighting for Democracy,
He's fighting for the Reds,
He says it's for the peace of all.
He's the one who must decide,
Who's to live and who's to die,
And he never sees the writing on the wall.

But without him,
How would Hitler have condemned him at Labau?
Without him Caesar would have stood alone,
He's the one who gives his body
As a weapon of the war,
And without him all this killing can't go on.

He's the Universal Soldier and he really is to blame,
His orders come from far away no more,
They come from here and there and you and me,
And brothers can't you see,
This is not the way we put an end to war.

Home-cooked Hamburgers



We like eating hamburgers out places around town, but sometimes we just want to stay at home and cook our own. That way I don't have to wear shoes. And I don't know anywhere else I can get a Popsicle for dessert.

The True Story of Wong Fei Hung

The True Story of Wong Fei Hung (which has no Wikipedia page or IMDB listing, oddly enough) is an early martial arts film. Made in 1949, it stars Kwan Tak-hing as Chinese folk hero Wong Fei-hung. This moves slowly. The video embedded below has English subtitles:



I haven't seen many films featuring the martial arts and decided I would look into the genre. This one seems obviously intended to kick off a serial.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

A Baby Tramp


A Baby Tramp is an 1893 ghost story by Ambrose Bierce. It can be read online. This story is not one of his most famous ones, but I'm going to work my way through his stories that I can find online.

Bierce was a prolific author, and I recently wrote about his story Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge.

Why we won't go back to Logan's Roadhouse

The last 3 times we've gone to Logan's:

1) We were seated next to the kitchen even though plenty of other seats were available;

2) We were given waiters who were brand new, ignorant of the menu, had probably never waited on folks ever before and who found their difficulties serving us to be very funny. (I think they must like their new servers close to the kitchen.);

3) Our orders were wrong, completely wrong. Not even close. This wasn't just a matter of getting the side orders wrong or the meat not being cooked just right but a matter of bringing chicken instead of a hamburger, bringing only three meals when there were four of us at the table and having to give the fourth order again and then that order being wrong! None of the orders were right during any of our last 3 visits.

4) The food was cold when brought to the table. Not even warm. The food was cold. Yuck!

5) and most damning: They didn't care. I complained each time, and the latest time they actually laughed about it.

We used to go to Logan's a lot. It was a favorite of The Husband.

Never again.

Monday, July 09, 2012

Spam Comments

I've never had much of a problem with spam in comments to my blog posts, but lately there've been a few. None of them have made it past blogger's spam filter. They all seem to be from the same anonymous poster.

What do they think it accomplishes? Mine is not a well-read blog, so few people see the posts, much less the comments, much less the comments on years-old posts. So, even if the spam comment gets posted and even if I were to miss the email notification and the comment got to stay up and even if someone were to actually see the comment, i figure the chances of anybody clicking on their links is about the same as someone getting struck by lightning on the same day they win the big-money lottery. I suppose it could happen, but I wouldn't put money on it.

So why do they bother? Is this some automated process like recorded phone sales calls? It just seems like a waste of time on an endeavor with no hope of any return.

Les Mistons (The Mischief Makers)

Les Mistons (The Mischief Makers) (sometimes translated as The Brats) is a 1957 Francois Truffaut short film. Maurice LeRoux wrote the music. It is available online:



Senses of Cinema calls it "deeply felt, and unerringly personal". Salon.com says, "lyricism seems to be Truffaut’s natural language". OpenCulture.com has an article that opens with this:
By the French New Wave’s standards, François Truffaut made films with a startling straightforwardness. Yet something about the man’s entire body of work feeds the sneaking suspicion that, no matter how many times you’ve watched everything in it, you’ve never gazed upon its depths.

Sunday, July 08, 2012

Unintended Concert


The Daughter and I went to a local book shop one night recently only to be amazed at the crowd. There was music playing, so we worked our way back to the back to see what was going on. The massed crowd was mingling and chatting and drinking martinis and completely ignoring the music. Background music. The musicians would stop and start again, but no one seemed to notice. I was tempted to applaud loudly at the next pause, but I decided that perhaps the intrusion of a wildly applauding middle-aged woman in a denim jumper and straw hat wouldn't be appreciated by these cocktail-swilling, high-heeled yuppies.

A guy who worked in the cafe told The Daughter that it was some kind of literacy benefit, but I'm missing the part where closing off a section of the bookstore aids literacy. I bought one book and The Daughter bought two, and a percentage of that will go to whatever the cause was.

I think they should have music that people would actually listen to next time, but then I never understood the whole "elevator music" concept.

Saturday, July 07, 2012

An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge

An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge (originally La Rivière du Hibou - The Owl River) is a 1962 French short film based on Ambrose Bierce's short story. The Twilight Zone used it as one of their episodes. It won awards.

You can watch it via youtube (with Spanish subtitles):



Moria says, "The story is told tightly, effectively and without any superfluity." Weird Wild Realm says, "With brilliant cinematography the tale unfolds without dialogue so that it doesn't matter that it's a foreign film; it's truly universal."

Friday, July 06, 2012

Ah! The Water!


Drinking some Memphis water is #164 on the I Love Memphis blog list of 365 things to do in Memphis, and it's an easy one since I do it several times a day. I have always heard our water is The Best because it comes from an aquifer which supplies clean and abundant water. There is a diagram here showing where this sand aquifer is located and telling some of the history of its formation.

I remember back when they fluoridated it, there was an uproar. Folks were all in a dither, and I recall there was talk of a communist plot. I remember the city accommodating the nay-sayers by providing access to spigots with unadulterated (with flouride, anyway) water where people could fill up containers to their hearts' content. My family just kept happily drinking it out of the tap. I wonder if those non-fluoridated water sources are still available.

jen-sized.net found some Memphis water in a fancy bottle.

Thursday, July 05, 2012

Storm Over Asia

Storm Over Asia is a 1928 silent film from the U.S.S.R. Historical accuracy is not a priority here. You can watch it with English intertitles, thanks to youtube:



It's included in the book 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die, which calls it "A strange mix of rip-roaring adventure film-making, Soviet socialist propaganda, and ethnographic documentary" and says it is "never less than entertaining". I didn't finish it. Maybe some other time.

Wednesday, July 04, 2012

Koyaanisqatsi

Koyaanisqatsi, or Koyaanisqatsi: Life Out of Balance, is a 1982 film directed by Godfrey Reggio with music by Phillip Glass. This is the first in the Qatsi trilogy, which has an official page. This film is stunning to watch and listen to. Really beautiful. But strangely depressing. I found this movie through a list of obscure science fiction films, but this is not science fiction in any sense I know of. It's arguably an art film.

You can see it here via Hulu, with a few advertisements:



It's listed in the book 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die, which concludes: "The ongoing appeal of Koyaanisqatsi shows how well he [the director] succeeded." Slant Magazine says, "The film's synergy of natural beauty and urban decay contemplates a "life out of balance" yet director Godfrey Reggio is seemingly intoxicated with the very blight he questions." Roger Ebert describes it as "an invitation to knee-jerk environmentalism of the most sentimental kind" but also calls it "an impressive visual and listening experience". Rotten Tomatoes gives it a score of 89%.