Monday, August 31, 2015

Guitar Man

Guitar Man:



by Jerry Reed, who died on 9/1 in 2008.

Lyrics:
Well, I quit my job down at the car wash
And left my mama a goodbye note
By sundown, I'd left Kingston
With my guitar up under my coat

I hitchhiked all the way down to Memphis
Got a room at the YMCA
For the next three weeks
I went a hauntin' them nightclubs
Lookin' for a place to play

Well, I thought my pickin'
Would set 'em on fire
But nobody wanted to hire
A guitar man

Well, I nearly 'bout starved to death down in Memphis
I run out of money and luck
So I bummed me a ride down to Macon, Georgia
On a overloaded poultry truck

I thumbed on down to Panama City
Started checkin' out some of them all night bars
Hopin' I can make myself a dollar
Makin' music on my guitar

Got the same old story
At them all night piers
"There ain't no room around here for a guitar man
We don't need a guitar man, son"

So I slept in hobo jungles
Bummed a thousand miles of track
Till I found myself in Mobile, Alabama
In a club they call Big Jack's

A little four piece band was jammin'
So I took my guitar and I sat in
I showed 'em what a band would sound like
With a swingin' little guitar man, show 'em, son

Yeah

So if you ever take a trip down to the ocean
Find yourself down 'round Mobile
Well, make it on out to the club called Jack's
If you got a little time to kill

Just follow that crowd of people
You'll wind up out on his dance floor
Diggin' the finest little five piece group
Up and down the Gulf of Mexico

And guess who's leadin'
That five piece band
Why, wouldn't you know
It's that swingin' little guitar man, yeah, little guitar man.

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Wedding Ring


Wedding Ring is a 1950 Japanese drama film directed by Keisuke Kinoshita and starring Jûkichi Uno, Kinuyo Tanaka, and Toshirô Mifune (who is one of my favorite actors). This is the story of a young married couple and the doctor who has started treating the husband for tuberculosis. It's a delicate movie, slow in developing, but some things are worth spending time with.

I watched it free on Hulu, but it's behind their paywall now. I can't even find a trailer to share. Here's a screenshot I found online:


This movie isn't available on DVD, but is worth looking for online.

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Love Me Tonight

Love Me Tonight is a 1932 musical comedy romance film starring Maurice Chevalier and Jeanette MacDonald. Also starring are Charles Ruggles, Charles Butterworth, and Myrna Loy. Listen to Chevalier sing, "Isn't It Romantic". What a delight! This will certainly bring a smile.

Youtube has it online, divided into 10-minute segments. Here's the first 10 minutes:



The other parts are linked at Youtube: part 2, part 3, part 4, part 5, part 6, part 7, part 8, part 9

It's listed as one of the 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die. Slant Magazine gives it 4 out of 4 stars and says, "the film's most astonishing feat is the vulnerable and charming performances the director finesses from two of musical comedy's most impenetrable vocalists: Maurice Chevalier and Jeannette MacDonald." DVD Talk calls it "the best musical of the early-talkie era" and says, "even film fans who normally don't like musicals will enjoy Love Me Tonight for its enormous wit". Rotten Tomatoes has a critics score of 100%.

Friday, August 28, 2015

Kill, Baby, Kill

Kill, Baby, Kill (aka Curse of the Living Dead) is a 1966 Mario Bava horror film about a series of murders in Carpathia where the bodies are found to have silver coins embedded in their hearts. This is a beautifully creepy ghost story.

via Internet Archive (dubbed in English):


Moria gives it 3 out of 5 stars and says, "Mario Bava accumulates a wonderfully haunted atmosphere." 1000 Misspent Hours gives it 3 1/2 stars and says, " it is one of Mario Bava’s finest and most influential gothics, and is almost certainly the most visually stunning movie he ever made." DVD Talk opens with this:
Widely recognized as one of the finest Italian gothic horror films ever made, the late, great Mario Bava's Kill, Baby... Kill! is a testament to the director's skill at combining painterly and atmospheric visuals with unusual and otherworldly storytelling. A ghost story at it's core, on the surface the film might seem to be little more than a well made exercise in style over substance but a bit of digging and it's obvious that there's a lot more going on in the movie than simply a little blonde ghost making trouble for a small town.
Slant Magazine gives it a good review. Rotten Tomatoes has a 61% critics rating and a 71% audience rating.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

The Kinsman Saga


The Kinsman Saga is the 1987 re-working of 2 previous novels by Ben Bova. I find the concept odd and don't understand why authors can't move on, leave the books they've already written alone, and write new material. But no. This author has given us a rewrite of a rewrite. I've read Privateers by Bova and loathed it. I gave this book a chance because The Younger Son already had a copy and promised me that Bova is worth reading if you can get past the political ideology and misogyny. I realize I may be in a minority on this author -after all, he's published a kajillion books and won multiple awards- but I just get bogged down in the heavy-handed agenda-driven writing. "Them that like it speak well of it" as the saying goes.... This particular book is a fine and easy read and I don't at all regret reading it, but I'm just opposed to what I see as a beat-you-over-the-head writing style.

A separate issue for me is the author's Foreword, in which for 9 pages he tells us how prophetic his work has been. It seems important for him that we fully realize that, whereas I think the telling part is not that his work was prophetic but that it is so important that he tell us it was.

The Foreword then moves on to the symbolism in this book:
There are many symbols in Kinsman's story. I mention this mainly because most critics have been blind to them. Or perhaps they think of symbolism only in its psychological sense, where rockets are considered phallic and a wheel-shaped station is thought to be vaginal. That is not the sort of symbolism I am speaking of.

Kinsman himself is a symbol.
Bova then goes on to explain what the symbols are, explaining where "The Christian symbolism is at its plainest" and explaining how the "technological gadgets of the story also serve as symbols."

For one thing, I believe that if the critics have somehow missed something perhaps it isn't there. For the author to complain about the depths the critics have missed seems to me to show a lack of understanding of what critics do.

For another thing, I believe an author may be the least suitable person to tell us what a book's aspects mean. S/he may tell us what s/he hoped to impart, but it's up to the reader to decide what is actually in the book. If the author has to spell out what s/he meant to be using as symbols, then they weren't effective as symbols. If the symbols failed to serve as symbols for readers and if the author feels the need to point out what they were and what they meant... well, that says something to me about the author. Maybe he should just write political pamphlets instead.

Can you tell how annoying I find the Foreword?

All that is to say I find the author's attitude in his Foreword and the writing style in the two of his books I've read to be something I have to get past before I can try to enjoy the story. I probably won't make further attempts.

from the back of the book:
Nearly forty years in the making,
The Kinsman Saga
is Ben Bova's masterwork - it is a riveting epic
of politics and passion,
of war and redemption ... and of one man,
who in battling for his soul,
helps create humanity's boldest future.
Born to wealth and privilege, Chet Kinsman has abandoned him family's Quaker roots to become one of America's hottest Air Force astronauts. Kinsman is a schemer, a smug daredevil who embarrasses his superiors and believes that the world's ills cannot harm him... until, in a secret orbital confrontation, Kinsman becomes the first person to commit murder in space.
Shattered by guilt, Kinsman is grounded and barred from active duty. But Chet Kinsman is addicted to space, convinced that human survival depends on conquering this last frontier. Using all of the resources available to him, Kinsman embarks on a project to secure humanity's future -in a desperate gambit that will end in victory and peace... or execution for treason.
Kirkus Reviews describes it as "A massive but unoriginal tome; in fact, a rewrite combining two previously published works, Millennium (1976) and its later "prequel" Kinsman (1979), itself a rewrite of various short stories that appeared during the 1970's" and says it's for "Kinsman fans and true believers only."

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Birthplace of Elvis


When we went back to Tupelo to look at veils to go with The Daughter's wedding dress we had some time to enjoy the tourist attractions. Tupelo is the birthplace of Elvis Presley, and they have a site that marks the spot. The house pictured above is the actual house where Elvis was born, but historic preservation doesn't seem to be their goal. The house was built without electricity, but they've added lights and air for the comfort of their staff and as a result have lost entirely what the house actually looked like on the inside when Elvis lived there. You do get a sense of the size of the place. It was a 2 room house, and it still has just the 2 rooms. It's furnished in period-appropriate style. There's a museum on the grounds that is filled with document facsimiles, period photos, and items similar to objects that would've been in use during the time period Elvis lived in Tupelo. There was a woman from Tupelo who had some contact with the Presleys over the years, and there are objects she had given the family when they lived at Graceland which are displayed here. When we toured Graceland we heard no mention of this woman, but the Tupelo museum has an entire room devoted to her.

The museum has an enlarged photo of church members standing in front of the church Elvis' family belonged to, but the Presley family isn't in the photo. The church building itself is on the grounds:


and they have a video presentation of parts of a re-enactment of what they think the worship services were like when the Presleys belonged there, with imitation-child-Elvis singing during one part of it. The Daughter and I didn't like this part, both because we found it too long -much too long- and because we thought it a bit disrespectful somehow. We'd have preferred being able to just go into the building to see it without the drama.

We liked the life-sized statue of Elvis at 13:


and we thought the Fountain of Life was lovely:


The staff person who took our tickets at the house told us she had never been to Graceland and would never go there because she said their ticket prices were too high and she was afraid of crime in Memphis. We can't help but see her as being a bit precious with this. We wanted to tell her that for people interested in Elvis, Tupelo was skippable but Graceland was a must-see. In fact, we think having been to Graceland should be a job requirement for any birthplace site employee.

We were told this story of the birthplace site: In the mid-50s, Elvis found out his parents' old house was for sale, and he approached the Tupelo city fathers about buying it and turning the space into a park for the poorer kids who lived in that part of town. He donated the proceeds of 2 local concerts to the cause. We couldn't help but notice it's not a park at all suitable for children to play in. There's no playground equipment and no open space for play and nothing free to do except view a car that is similar to the one Elvis and his family drove when they moved from Tupelo to Memphis when Elvis was a child. We wonder how he would've felt about this use of property he specifically intended to benefit kids from his old neighborhood. Maybe he knew and approved this. I don't know. I can't find any information on whether or not it was actually turned into a park, and if so, when it was changed into the tourist attraction it now is.

Elvis' first public appearance (if you don't count church -which we personally do not count as a "performance" or "public appearance") was at the local fair, and they have a great statue in that park downtown (where there is playground equipment and open space) commemorating him:



All-in-all the Elvis sites were worth a day trip down from Memphis, but Graceland is the trip I would recommend.




Tuesday, August 25, 2015

White Cup and Saucer

White Cup and Saucer:


is an 1864 painting by Henri Fantin-Latour who was born on January 14, 1836, and who died on this date in 1904. Wikipedia says he is "best known for his flower paintings and group portraits of Parisian artists and writers". According to Artcyclopedia, the Dixon Gallery here in Memphis has one of his works, Nature Morte (Still Life With Flowers), 1869:


You can see more of his work online here.

I have a couple of white cup and saucer sets, and drank out of this one to celebrate Tea Tuesday:


The pattern is Lenox Solitaire, and this is my good china.

Please check out the T(ea) party over at Bleubeard and Elizabeth's blog. Share a drink and see what folks are up to.



Monday, August 24, 2015

White Cotton Panties

White Cotton Panties:



by the Jumpin' Chi Chis.

lyrics excerpt:
I don't need no silk from China,
No nylon from France,
Just make it cotton, and make it white
When it comes to underpants.

Honey, if you wanna please me
Come love me every night
Don't wear nothin' red or black
I want you all in white.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

The Goddess

The Goddess is a 1934 silent Chinese film about the lot of a prostitute as she struggles to bring up her son. No matter how hard your life is, chances are it's not harder than the life of this woman.

via youtube:


SilentFilm.org has an essay describing the context of the film. TCM has an overview. Rotten Tomatoes has a critics score of 100%.

Saturday, August 22, 2015

The Music Room

The Music Room is a 1958 Indian film directed by Satyajit Ray. So far, I've loved every film I've seen by this director. This one is a beautiful drama showing the end of an era.

trailer:



a short clip of the dancer:



I watched the movie at Hulu (with commercials), but it's behind their paywall now.

Slant Magazine says,
The Music Room juxtaposes [the main character's] tormented experience with the changing tides of the world around him. His hatred of Ganguli, a brash and vulgar personification of new money and modernization, is a defense mechanism based on centuries of class judgment.
Paste Magazine calls it "a full-on Shakespearean tragedy that manages to be both critical of and sympathetic to its main character." The Guardian closes with this: "Like all great film-makers, Ray belonged to the world as much as to his own nation. But The Music Room leaves no doubt where his heart lay. It was with his own people, warts and all." Senses of Cinema calls it "one of Ray’s finest achievements."

DVD Talk says it's "Highly Recommended". Roger Ebert considers it a "Great Movie" inviting comparison with King Lear, and says it "has one of the most evocative opening scenes ever filmed" and calls it "his most evocative film". Rotten Tomatoes has a critics score of 100%.

Friday, August 21, 2015

Nadja

Nadja is a 1994 modern re-telling of the Bram Stoker Dracula novel. Peter Fonda is Van Helsing. It takes place in modern-day NYC during the Christmas season. I like it. More artsy and less gory than vampire movies have become.

I watched the film at VideoBush: this link

trailer:



Lucy: "All of this family stuff feels so far removed from me now. It's almost abstract.
Nadja: No. See how you bury the primary pain? It goes underground. It seeps into the water supply. You're poisoned. All your relationships are poisoned. You must dare to dredge up the primary pain.
Lucy: What good would it do?
Nadja: It frees you.
Moria gives it 3 out of 5 stars. Spirituality and Practice says it "presents a clever, engaging, and innovative take on vampire mythology in a well-wrought contemporary tale set in New York City." Weird Wild Realm says, "Of course, if cheezy B vampire films were its competition, Nadja is superb; it is only in comparison to what it strives to be (something as admirable in its perfection as Bergman's Hour of the Wolf) that it suffers." Roger Ebert labels it "Deadpan Noir" and says, "It all sort of works, although probably not for general audiences. ... The film's like a jazz improvisation that wouldn't mean much if you didn't know the original song." It has a 57% critics score and a 69% audience rating at Rotten Tomatoes.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Waverley



I'm taking the 2015 Read Harder challenge, but I'm determined not to buy any books to meet it. I knew I certainly didn't want to buy a Young Adult book, as I don't generally read them. It's not that I've never read them, as I was a young adult once and was an avid reader then, and as an older adult I have read the Harry Potter books; but I don't seek out that genre. Looking at Wikipedia for a book that would count, that I had not already read, and that would be available online, I came across Waverley. This is by Sir Walter Scott. Wikipedia includes it in their article on Young Adult Fiction. Written in 1814 -just over 200 years ago- it can be read online at Gutenberg.org or at Adelaide.edu.au.

Waverley was wildly successful when it came out and was widely praised at the time. Jane Austen said,
Walter Scott has no business to write novels, especially good ones. It is not fair. He has Fame and Profit enough as a Poet, and should not be taking the bread out of other people's mouths. I do not like him, and do not mean to like Waverley if I can help it – but fear I must.
These days, with Austen so widely read, Waverley might be something that gains more bookshelf space. The Guardian calls it "a strangely liminal novel". The BBC calls it "one of the most significant books of the nineteenth-century" and says it "marks the establishment of the genre of the historical novel". PBS has an article marking the 200th anniversary.

I'm told "young adults" are no longer capable of reading and understanding Scott's prose; but I read some of his work as a teenager and enjoyed it, so I'm assuming it can still be done. It's a tale of action and adventure after all.

Here's a section from a battle late in the book [obvious spoilers, but the book was written in 1814]:
'Down with your plaid, Waverley,' cried Fergus, throwing off his own; 'we'll win silks for our tartans before the sun is above the sea.'

The clansmen on every side stript their plaids, prepared their arms, and there was an awful pause of about three minutes, during which the men, pulling off their bonnets, raised their faces to heaven and uttered a short prayer; then pulled their bonnets over their brows and began to move forward, at first slowly. Waverley felt his heart at that moment throb as it would have burst from his bosom. It was not fear, it was not ardour: it was a compound of both, a new and deeply energetic impulse that with its first emotion chilled and astounded, then fevered and maddened his mind. The sounds around him combined to exalt his enthusiasm; the pipes played, and the clans rushed forward, each in its own dark column. As they advanced they mended their pace, and the muttering sounds of the men to each other began to swell into a wild cry.

At this moment the sun, which was now risen above the horizon, dispelled the mist. The vapours rose like a curtain, and showed the two armies in the act of closing. The line of the regulars was formed directly fronting the attack of the Highlanders; it glittered with the appointments of a complete army, and was flanked by cavalry and artillery. But the sight impressed no terror on the assailants.

'Forward, sons of Ivor,' cried their Chief, 'or the Camerons will draw the first blood!' They rushed on with a tremendous yell.

The rest is well known. The horse, who were commanded to charge the advancing Highlanders in the flank, received an irregular fire from their fusees as they ran on and, seized with a disgraceful panic, wavered, halted, disbanded, and galloped from the field. The artillery men, deserted by the cavalry, fled after discharging their pieces, and the Highlanders, who dropped their guns when fired and drew their broadswords, rushed with headlong fury against the infantry.

It was at this moment of confusion and terror that Waverley remarked an English officer, apparently of high rank, standing, alone and unsupported, by a fieldpiece, which, after the flight of the men by whom it was wrought, he had himself levelled and discharged against the clan of Mac-Ivor, the nearest group of Highlanders within his aim. Struck with his tall, martial figure, and eager to save him from inevitable destruction, Waverley outstripped for an instant even the speediest of the warriors, and, reaching the spot first, called to him to surrender. The officer replied by a thrust with his sword, which Waverley received in his target, and in turning it aside the Englishman's weapon broke. At the same time the battle-axe of Dugald Mahony was in the act of descending upon the officer's head. Waverley intercepted and prevented the blow, and the officer, perceiving further resistance unavailing, and struck with Edward's generous anxiety for his safety, resigned the fragment of his sword, and was committed by Waverley to Dugald, with strict charge to use him well, and not to pillage his person, promising him, at the same time, full indemnification for the spoil.

On Edward's right the battle for a few minutes raged fierce and thick. The English infantry, trained in the wars in Flanders, stood their ground with great courage. But their extended files were pierced and broken in many places by the close masses of the clans; and in the personal struggle which ensued the nature of the Highlanders' weapons, and their extraordinary fierceness and activity, gave them a decided superiority over those who had been accustomed to trust much to their array and discipline, and felt that the one was broken and the other useless. Waverley, as he cast his eyes towards this scene of smoke and slaughter, observed Colonel Gardiner, deserted by his own soldiers in spite of all his attempts to rally them, yet spurring his horse through the field to take the command of a small body of infantry, who, with their backs arranged against the wall of his own park (for his house was close by the field of battle), continued a desperate and unavailing resistance. Waverley could perceive that he had already received many wounds, his clothes and saddle being marked with blood. To save this good and brave man became the instant object of his most anxious exertions. But he could only witness his fall. Ere Edward could make his way among the Highlanders, who, furious and eager for spoil, now thronged upon each other, he saw his former commander brought from his horse by the blow of a scythe, and beheld him receive, while on the ground, more wounds than would have let out twenty lives. When Waverley came up, however, perception had not entirely fled. The dying warrior seemed to recognize Edward, for he fixed his eye upon him with an upbraiding, yet sorrowful, look, and appeared to struggle, for utterance. But he felt that death was dealing closely with him, and resigning his purpose, and folding his hands as if in devotion, he gave up his soul to his Creator. The look with which he regarded Waverley in his dying moments did not strike him so deeply at that crisis of hurry and confusion as when it recurred to his imagination at the distance of some time. [Footnote: See Note 33.]

Loud shouts of triumph now echoed over the whole field. The battle was fought and won, and the whole baggage, artillery, and military stores of the regular army remained in possession of the victors. Never was a victory more complete. Scarce any escaped from the battle, excepting the cavalry, who had left it at the very onset, and even these were broken into different parties and scattered all over the country. So far as our tale is concerned, we have only to relate the fate of Balmawhapple, who, mounted on a horse as headstrong and stiff-necked as his rider, pursued the flight of the dragoons above four miles from the field of battle, when some dozen of the fugitives took heart of grace, turned round, and cleaving his skull with their broadswords, satisfied the world that the unfortunate gentleman had actually brains, the end of his life thus giving proof of a fact greatly doubted during its progress. His death was lamented by few. Most of those who knew him agreed in the pithy observation of Ensign Maccombich, that there 'was mair tint (lost) at Sheriff-Muir.' His friend, Lieutenant Jinker, bent his eloquence only to exculpate his favourite mare from any share in contributing to the catastrophe. 'He had tauld the laird a thousand times,' he said, 'that it was a burning shame to put a martingale upon the puir thing, when he would needs ride her wi' a curb of half a yard lang; and that he could na but bring himsell (not to say her) to some mischief, by flinging her down, or otherwise; whereas, if he had had a wee bit rinnin ring on the snaffle, she wad ha' rein'd as cannily as a cadger's pownie.'

Such was the elegy of the Laird of Balmawhapple.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Artist Trading Cards


I had never heard of Artist Trading Cards (ATCs) until Elizabeth (of the weekly Altered Book Lover T is for Tuesday blog party) organized a swap of ATCs to celebrate the 2nd anniversary of of the T Tuesday gatherings. I researched ATCs, surprised at how much I found. There's a Wikipedia article, Youtube tutorials, and plenty of web sites.

I signed up for the event, and was able to send my first-ever ATC (pictured at the top of the page) off on an adventure to Brazil! Cool!

It wasn't long before I received a card in the mail from heARTfully inspired by Linda, only it wasn't just a card but a big packet full of treats:


Wow! Look at all that! And the cards (yes, she sent several) are wonderful! If I'm ever involved in a swap again, I'll send more than just a single lonely card.

I've kept making cards and am trying to learn more about how to improve my work. My next 3 cards were Memphis-themed like my first one:




I seem to gravitate to a Memphis concept with these, but I've also made some that fold:


And a few with Bible verses that I can send to our family's surviving elder member, now in a nursing home:


This one folds out so it'll sit on a tray table:


I enjoy putting these together. I've picked up a few embellishments at Michael's where they were having a sale. I've checked out the fabric store and am shocked at how expensive things are there. The cheapest button I liked for ATC purposes, for example, was $4.50! I did find some ribbon that's 2.5 inches wide and marked down because it was out of season. I need to find a cheaper source and wider variety of embellishments. I did find some at The Dollar Tree, of all places, and I'll be keeping an eye on what they have as seasons change.

I trust I'll improve as I make more. I've been playing with a little crayola watercolor set, and I found watercolors in little tubes to replenish that when I use up colors. I found an intro-to-acrylics set at Michael's marked down on clearance, and I'll enjoy trying that out, but I'm so in love with the watercolors. It reminds me of wet-on-wet watercoloring with the kids when they were little.

I've signed up with Tumblr and will post new ones there as I make them. I'm putting them in the post queue to appear once a day.

Thank you, Elizabeth, for introducing me to this activity, and thanks to the T Tuesday community for the encouragement. There's no drink here or I'd have linked yesterday, but I'm sure I'll be making tea- and coffee-related ATCs any day now, so I hope to share those soon.



Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Wedding Dress Shopping

I knew wedding dresses were expensive, but I had no idea how expensive until we actually started shopping. If you are a size 10, for example, you can find a wide variety of dresses either used or floor samples for as little as $50. If, like The Daughter, you are between a size 0 and size 2, you are out of luck for less expensive choices. We had a wonderful time looking, and she found the dress of her dreams at Kay's Kreations in Tupelo, MS. The staff there treated her like royalty and helped her find plenty of suitable dresses to try on. She narrowed it down to two, and either one would've been perfect. As luck would have it, she preferred the less expensive of the two. That's my girl! The dress has been ordered, and they'll notify her when it comes in so we can go back for a fitting.

We were so surprised that the shops here in Memphis didn't have more varied styles available. The ones here were all sleeveless slinky things, or sleeveless tight-fitting dresses with mermaid flaring at the knees, but all were sleeveless. Odd. The dress she chose has a defined waistline, a full skirt, a lacy overlay to the neck, and little lacy cap sleeves. She looks like a Cinderella princess in it.

We can't bring ourselves to go anywhere without checking out what the community has to offer, and Tupelo does have some interesting sights I'll be writing up. On this day, we had lunch in downtown Tupelo at Cafe 212:


We sat on that patio you can see in the front. I had a chicken salad sandwich, fresh fruit and water:


We went back to Memphis, where we checked out another couple of bridal shops. We had an appointment at Ballew Bridal, but the young woman who greeted us didn't actually seem to care much. After the princess treatment The Daughter had been graced with at Kay's Kreations, this was a major change. The salesperson was open to selling us a dress, that's true, but the service didn't go beyond that to include a pleasant attitude. The salesperson told us to go home and look at their website and get back to them if we saw something we liked. I imagine they sell clothing suitable for the mother of the bride and for bridesmaids, but the saleswoman didn't mention it. We're done with them.

At David's we were greeted pleasantly. We didn't have an appointment, but the staff person said they could see us in an hour and that we were free to look at the dresses in the meantime. That was nice. The Daughter didn't see anything she wanted to try on, but the saleswoman invited us to look at their offerings for me (as mother of the bride) and for the bridesmaids. I want to wear pants, and they only had dresses; but we have been back there since then to check out bridesmaids' dresses. One of the bridesmaids will be nearing her due date at the time of the wedding, so The Daughter took her with us and let her pick the dress. It's a lovely style. We think it'll look good on all the ladies and will be wearable in the future either as-is or shortened. The Daughter ordered white, ballerina-style slippers for her to wear, and she'll be notified when they come in. She's going to let her bridesmaids wear black shoes of their own choosing.

The groom has chosen tuxes and accessories at Men's (formerly Gentlemen's) Warehouse. They have a working relationship with David's and can match the colors exactly.

We love success stories!

Please join the weekly link gathering over at Bleubeard and Elizabeth's blog, where folks will share a beverage and a variety of posts.


Monday, August 17, 2015

Catfish Blues

Catfish Blues:



by Eric Hughes. He has a Facebook page here.

Lyrics excerpt:
Well you know I wish I was a catfish,
Swimming in the deep blue sea.
I'd have all you good lookin' women,
fishin' after me.

When I went down to my girlfriend's house,
And I sat down on her step.
And she said come in now honey
My old man just now left.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Here's to the Young Lady


Here's to the Young Lady (aka as Let's Toast the Young Lady) is a 1949 Japanese film directed by Keisuke Kinoshita and starring Setsuko Hara. It's a sweet love story about the trials and tribulations of courtship as a rich but uncultured businessman is matched with a cultured woman whose formerly rich family has fallen on hard times. I enjoyed this movie, even with all the commercials Hulu stuck in there. It's a charming film.

I can't find any video at all from this film, not the shortest clip, which is a real shame. There are stills here at the Google image search, which is where I found the picture at the top of this post. You can watch it -with a paid subscription- at Hulu.

Reviews are oddly scarce, but don't let that stop you from seeking out this delightful movie. It's as approachable as anything you'll find, and it's worth a spot in your viewing queue.

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Hosta Trail


It's been 6 weeks or so since I went, but I wanted to share these photos of the Hosta Trail at the Memphis Botanic Gardens. The Mid-South Hosta Society website says,
The Memphis Botanic Gardens “Hosta Trail” was certified by the American Hosta Society in 2006 as the 15th AHS National Display Garden in the United States. The Hosta Trail is only the second garden in the south recognized by the AHS with this honor. ... The beds have been organized by the MSHS with an educational theme based upon the geographical area where the hosta was developed or discovered.


There's a meandering trail through the various beds, and it's beautiful whether you're close to the plants or looking from a distance.


There was a raised bed for the miniature hostas,


but some of the larger plants had flower stalks reaching over 4 feet high:


While I was there I also noticed the coleus looking colorful:


And there was a new-to-me sculpture in the sculpture garden:


It is by Memphis artist Roy Tamboli and is called Neutrinos and Neutrino Impression.

One of the highlights of this garden trip was my discovery that they've brought in a mate for the single swan they've had for a while. They looked so lovely out there on the lake:

Friday, August 14, 2015

Necromancy

Necromancy (aka The Witching) is a 1972 horror film with Orson Welles as an evil maker of occult toys. When their first child is stillborn, a young couple moves to a new town called Lilith and the husband takes a job with the toy company. What can go wrong? Alas, not enough to make an interesting movie. After it was over, I wished I'd had a hard copy of it so that I could throw it across the room, or break it in half. Most movies have some redeeming factor, some small bright spot. Not this one. Boring.

via Daily Motion:



The Gore Whore says it's "about as exciting as lighting a wet firework". TCM has some information.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Angelica's Smile


Angelica's Smile is 17th in the long-running Inspector Montalbano series by Andrea Camilleri. I always enjoy these and buy them new as soon as I see them at my local bookstore. The characters have depth, the plots are interesting, there's humor.... I can't think of anything else I could want in a detective mystery. They are better if read in order, as the characters develop over time.

from the back of the book:
A LOVELY BURGLARY VICTIM BEWITCHES INSPECTOR MONTALBANO
IN THE SEVENTEENTH INSTALLMENT OF THE NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLING SERIES

A rash of burglaries has got Inspector Montalbano stumped. The patterns of the crimes are so similar and so brazen that Montalbano begins to think a criminal mastermind is challenging him. This suspicion is confirmed when he starts receiving menacing letters from the gang leader, the anonymous Mr. Z.

Among those burgled is the young and beautiful Angelica Cosulich, who reminds Montalbano of the love interest in Ludovico Ariosto's chivalric romance, Orlando Furioso. So taken is he by Angelica's charms that he imagines himself back in the medieval world of jousts and battles. But when one of the burglers turns up dead, Montalbano must snap out of his haze and unmask his challenger.
Some of the art works stolen include a seascape by Carra, perhaps like this:


Other artists mentioned are Renato Guttuso, Giorgio Morandi, Antonio Donghi, Mario Mafai, and Fausto Pirandello.

Kirkus Reviews says it "is slight but sublime, with droll dialogue, colorful characters and a sleek pace." Publishers Weekly calls it "delightful caper, replete with charming companions and a setting that’s a pleasure to return to." Crime Review closes with this: "there are so many more good things to say about the novel: the slick writing, the way the chapter breaks don’t impinge on the story, the wonderful pace, the page-turning compulsion, the interesting notes at the back of the book and the delight in finding yet another new title to enjoy."

NPR begins their positive review with this:
The Inspector Montalbano books, by Italian author Andrea Camilleri, supply everything I need for the beach. A good mystery. An exotic location — in this case, the beaches and piazzas of Sicily. And great writing that wears its fineness lightly, and keeps the pages turning. All with the most charming fuss-bucket of a detective to come along since Hercule Poirot: Inspector Salvo Montalbano.
I've also read these:
1. The Shape of Water
2. The Terra-Cotta Dog
3. The Snack Thief
4. Voice of the Violin
5. Excursion to Tindari
6. The Smell of Night
7. Rounding the Mark
8. The Patience of the Spider
9. The Paper Moon
10. August Heat
11. The Wings of the Sphinx
12. The Track of Sand
13. The Potter's Field
14. The Age of Doubt
15. Dance of the Seagull
16. Treasure Hunt

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Jun Kaneko Sculpture at the Dixon Gardens


The Dixon Gallery building is closed for renovation, so they have installed a sculpture exhibition on the grounds to keep us busy in the meantime. Jun Kaneko is a Japanese-born ceramic artist currently living in the United States. The Dixon Gallery and Gardens website calls this "the most ambitious outdoor sculpture exhibition in Dixon history."

The day I went there was a heat index of 105F, and they provided a fan as I entered:




The sculptures were spaced throughout the gardens. It was a wonderful way to view them. While I was there, a man gave me some helpful tips on photography vantage points. He said he worked there and had taken a lot of photos. That was so thoughtful of him! And I was taking pictures with my old Nikon Coolpix camera, which has some aspects that work better than others (and some that don't work at all), so I needed all the advice I could get.


I'll definitely go back. They are so much fun to see, and they fit in so well in the expansive garden environment.



The Memphis Flyer has been covering the installation. There was an article in May. An article from early June says,
The exhibition features the work of sculptor and ceramicist Jun Kaneko. Kaneko is based in Omaha, Nebraska, where he operates the world's largest non-industrial kiln. ... The sculptures currently occupy sightlines throughout the gardens, drawing attention to sometimes overlooked aspects of the landscape. ... Kaneko's sculptures have to be seen in person to be understood. You have to gaze up at them, stand in their shadow, to get the full effect of Kaneko's fields of colorful glazes, punctuated by excited patterns. Kaneko credits the works' playfulness to time spent in California in the late 1960s and early 1970s. The Japanese-born artist also says that he draws heavily from Eastern concepts of energy flow.
Memphis Parent Magazine recommends it; the pieces are touchable, after all.

 The sculptures will be here until 11/22, so I can enjoy them for months to come. What a wonderful exhibition to host while the museum is closed!

There is video of an inspiring lecture he gave at the Minneapolis Institute of Art here. You can see him at work and see more of his varied art here: