Wednesday, August 31, 2016

The Clothes That Wear Us


Virginia Wolfe (pictured above) said,
Vain trifles as they seem, clothes have, they say, more important offices than merely to keep us warm. They change our view of the world and the world’s view of us… There is much to support the view that it is clothes that wear us and not we them; we may make them take the mould of arm or breast, but they mould our hearts, our brains, our tongues to their liking.
I've been giving this a bit of thought, seeing as how clothing choices for me are based strictly on the whim of the moment. As I don't really have a meaningful public presence that requires people see me dressed in any certain way, I can just wear what I like. I fully believe that our clothes change the world's view of us. The idea that what I wear might affect my view of the world and might mould me into their own stamp is interesting. I'm not sure I believe it, and I don't know how to test it without going out and buying completely different clothes. My philosophy: Comfort first! so I tend to wear a lot of loose tunics over light-weight cotton pants or shorts in the hot weather. In the winter I live in sweat pants. I wonder if I would see the world differently if I dressed in men's-styled suits or dressy dresses and heels. I'll never know, but it's an interesting thought. The world would certainly see me in a different way, that's certain.

quote via This article at BrainPickings.org

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

King Jerry Lawler's Hall of Fame Bar & Grille


The Daughter and I were hunting Pokemon in downtown Memphis and ended up on Beale Street in time for a late lunch. We picked King Jerry Lawler's Hall of Fame Bar & Grille mainly because we'd never been there before. I was never a huge wrasslin' fan, but I did like Tojo Yamamoto for some reason. Jerry "the King" Lawler is a Memphis legend from way back and one of the three kings of Memphis: Elvis, B.B. King, and Lawler.

We got a kick out of the exhibits and decor:



We had the barbecue:


and everything was tasty. We'd definitely recommend the food. As I said, we were there for a late lunch -around 4 or so- and were still there when the music started. A blues guitar player set up and sang on this stage:


I wish we could've stayed and heard more from him, but I needed to get back home and The Daughter needed to pick up her husband at work. This is a fun addition to Beale Street, and we'll certainly go back. I hear Lawler is personally involved and is often on site. You wouldn't go wrong stopping in here.


Monday, August 29, 2016

Yoga Poses

Please be careful out there.

mountain pose:



tree pose:



chair:



warrior 1:



extended triangle:



warrior 2:



extended side angle:



revolved triangle:



warrior 3:



half moon pose:



locust:



modified revolved abdomen pose:



bridge:



reclining hand-to-big toe:



marichyasana III:



half lord of the fishes:



Other poses I like but haven't found short individual videos for:

gate pose

Again, please be careful out there. These are just videos I've found useful personally.
I have no expertise in anything and can't specifically recommend them to anybody else.
My doctor said yoga would be fine for me, even with my back issues,
and I try to move slowly and carefully.
I know which activities I should avoid.
Again, know your body, know your limitations, and be careful.
That said, I love yoga!

Sunday, August 28, 2016

28 Art House Science Fiction Films

Blastr has a list of 28 art house sci-fi films that will make you smarter and cooler. Who can turn down a chance to be smarter and cooler?

The films:
2046
Alphaville
Altered States
Beyond the Black Rainbow
Brazil (I've seen 2 versions of this film: here and here)
The City of Lost Children
A Clockwork Orange
Cloud Atlas
Code 46
Dante 01
Donnie Darko
eXistenZ
Gattaca
The Handmaid's Tale (but I've read the book)
It's All About Love
La Jetee
Liquid Sky
The Man Who Fell to Earth
Naked Lunch
New Rose Hotel
Primer (2004)
A Scanner Darkly
Solaris (1972)
Solaris (2002)
Stalker
Tetsuo, the Iron Man
Upstream Color
World on a Wire
I've seen the ones in bold print. There are some priceless gems among them. Stalker, for example, deserves to be so much better known. I'll be looking for the others on this list. I have Clockwork Orange and Naked Lunch on my to-be-watched shelf already.


Saturday, August 27, 2016

100 Best Novels

This is The Guardian's 2015 list of 100 best novels of all time:
1. The Pilgrim’s Progress by John Bunyan (1678)
2. Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe (1719)
3. Gulliver’s Travels by Jonathan Swift (1726)
4. Clarissa by Samuel Richardson (1748)
5. Tom Jones by Henry Fielding (1749)
6. The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman by Laurence Sterne (1759)
7. Emma by Jane Austen (1816)
8. Frankenstein by Mary Shelley (1818)
9. Nightmare Abbey by Thomas Love Peacock (1818)
10. The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket by Edgar Allan Poe (1838)
11. Sybil by Benjamin Disraeli (1845)
12. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë (1847)
13. Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë (1847)
14. Vanity Fair by William Thackeray (1848)
15. David Copperfield by Charles Dickens (1850)
16. The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne (1850)
17. Moby-Dick by Herman Melville (1851)
18. Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll (1865)
19. The Moonstone by Wilkie Collins (1868)
20. Little Women by Louisa May Alcott (1868-9)
21. Middlemarch by George Eliot (1871-2)
22. The Way We Live Now by Anthony Trollope (1875)
23. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain (1884/5)
24. Kidnapped by Robert Louis Stevenson (1886)
25. Three Men in a Boat by Jerome K Jerome (1889)
26. The Sign of Four by Arthur Conan Doyle (1890)
27. The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde (1891)
28. New Grub Street by George Gissing (1891)
29. Jude the Obscure by Thomas Hardy (1895)
30. The Red Badge of Courage by Stephen Crane (1895)
31. Dracula by Bram Stoker (1897)
32. Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad (1899)
33. Sister Carrie by Theodore Dreiser (1900)
34. Kim by Rudyard Kipling (1901)
35. The Call of the Wild by Jack London (1903)
36. The Golden Bowl by Henry James (1904)
37. Hadrian the Seventh by Frederick Rolfe (1904)
38. The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame (1908)
39. The History of Mr Polly by HG Wells (1910)
40. Zuleika Dobson by Max Beerbohm (1911)
41. The Good Soldier by Ford Madox Ford (1915)
42. The Thirty-Nine Steps by John Buchan (1915)
43. The Rainbow by DH Lawrence (1915)
44. Of Human Bondage by W Somerset Maugham (1915)
45. The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton (1920)
46. Ulysses by James Joyce (1922)
47. Babbitt by Sinclair Lewis (1922)
48. A Passage to India by EM Forster (1924)
49. Gentlemen Prefer Blondes by Anita Loos (1925)
50. Mrs Dalloway by Virginia Woolf (1925)
51. The Great Gatsby by F Scott Fitzgerald (1925)
52. Lolly Willowes by Sylvia Townsend Warner (1926)
53. The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway (1926)
54. The Maltese Falcon by Dashiell Hammett (1929)
55. As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner (1930)
56. Brave New World by Aldous Huxley (1932)
57. Cold Comfort Farm by Stella Gibbons (1932)
58. Nineteen Nineteen by John Dos Passos (1932)
59. Tropic of Cancer by Henry Miller (1934)
60. Scoop by Evelyn Waugh (1938)
61. Murphy by Samuel Beckett (1938)
62. The Big Sleep by Raymond Chandler (1939)
63. Party Going by Henry Green (1939)
64. At Swim-Two-Birds by Flann O’Brien (1939)
65. The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck (1939)
66. Joy in the Morning by PG Wodehouse (1946)
67. All the King’s Men by Robert Penn Warren (1946)
68. Under the Volcano by Malcolm Lowry (1947)
69. The Heat of the Day by Elizabeth Bowen (1948)
70. Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell (1949)
71. The End of the Affair by Graham Greene (1951)
72. The Catcher in the Rye by JD Salinger (1951)
73. The Adventures of Augie March by Saul Bellow (1953)
74. Lord of the Flies by William Golding (1954)
75. Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov (1955)
76. On the Road by Jack Kerouac (1957)
77. Voss by Patrick White (1957)
78. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee (1960)
79. The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie by Muriel Spark (1960)
80. Catch-22 by Joseph Heller (1961)
81. The Golden Notebook by Doris Lessing (1962)
82. A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess (1962)
83. A Single Man by Christopher Isherwood (1964)
84. In Cold Blood by Truman Capote (1966)
85. The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath (1966)
86. Portnoy’s Complaint by Philip Roth (1969)
87. Mrs Palfrey at the Claremont by Elizabeth Taylor (1971)
88. Rabbit Redux by John Updike (1971)
89. Song of Solomon by Toni Morrison (1977)
90. A Bend in the River by VS Naipaul (1979)
91. Midnight’s Children by Salman Rushdie (1981)
92. Housekeeping by Marilynne Robinson (1981)
93. Money: A Suicide Note by Martin Amis (1984)
94. An Artist of the Floating World by Kazuo Ishiguro (1986)
95. The Beginning of Spring by Penelope Fitzgerald (1988)
96. Breathing Lessons by Anne Tyler (1988)
97. Amongst Women by John McGahern (1990)
98. Underworld by Don DeLillo (1997)
99. Disgrace by JM Coetzee (1999)
100. True History of the Kelly Gang by Peter Carey (2000)
I've read the ones in bold print. Since high school, I've been interested in lists of must-read books, and I've used several of them in the past to find books I'd never have come across otherwise. From this list above, In Cold Blood is the only one I have ready to read.

Friday, August 26, 2016

Happy Birthday, Leon Redbone!

Happy Birthday, Leon Redbone! He turns 67 today. He retired last year, and I trust he's enjoying himself immensely. I don't remember the first time I heard him, but I've always gotten such a big kick out of him.

Lazy Bones:



Ain't Misbehaving (I'm Savin' My Love For You):



My Walking Stick:






Thursday, August 25, 2016

Yoga for Osteoporosis, part 2

Please be careful out there. These are just videos I've found useful personally. 
I have no expertise in anything and can't specifically recommend them to anybody else. 
My doctor said yoga would be fine for me, even with my back issues,
and I try to move slowly and carefully
and know which activities of all kinds I should avoid. 
Again, know your body, know your limitations, and be careful. 
That said, I love yoga!

Part 1 included links to several websites I've found useful and 5 different videos of different lengths and types which demonstrate yoga poses that are thought to help with bone density issues. This post will have several more videos.

This is an 8 1/2-minute video that covers tree pose, triangle pose, downward-facing dog, and upward-facing dog:



This 28-minute video includes half-moon pose, downward-facing dog, warrior 1, warrior 2, tree pose, cat cow (which I don't do), a shoulder-opening (I don't use the strap), locust pose, and corpse pose:



Here's a 13-minute video that demonstrates the pelvic tilt, bridge, backward leg extensions, tree pose, locust pose, and a series of prone leg raises I don't do, :



Following is a 2-part sequence which covers some commonly recommended poses for bone strength. I really like this set, even though the demonstration is only to one side on the standing poses -the first video must be repeated to get the demonstration to both sides. That's easy enough, and this 2-parter is one of my favorites.

part 1:



part 2:



My next blog post on this subject will have videos of individual poses.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Let the Right One In

Let the Right One In is a 2008 Swedish vampire film, a touching and beautiful film. This is a wonderful movie, not really a horror movie but more about relationships.

trailer:



Moria calls it "strong and unusual" and says, "Far more so than it is a vampire film, Let the Right One In is a film about friendship and the closeness that slowly grows between young, bullied Kåre Hedebrant and the alien nevertheless warm-hearted Lina Leandersson." 1000 Misspent Hours calls it "a terribly sad tale with a happy ending more horrible than any of the unhappy conclusions it might have come to instead."

DVD Talk has several reviews, all positive. One says, "There are average vampire movies, unexpectedly good vampire movies, and then there is Let the Right One In." Another says it "accomplishes the nearly impossible feat of simply being original." Yet another describes it as
a film of extraordinary mood and wildly inventive directorial potency. It's a hushed, gentle story of provisional friendship, the ordeal of adolescence, and the curse of vampiric immortality. A hypnotic motion picture from beginning to end, "Right One" is a marvel: an ingenious genre film that manages to terrify and endear in the same instant, deftly erecting one of the most persuasive, haunting movie experiences of the year.
Empire Online gives it 5 out of 5 stars and concludes,
At once a devastating, curiously uplifting inhuman drama and a superbly crafted genre exercise, Let The Right One In can stand toe-to-toe with Spirit Of The Beehive, Pan's Labyrinth or Orphee. See it.
Roger Ebert gives it 3 1/2 out of 4 stars and says,
Remove the vampire elements, and this is the story of two lonely and desperate kids capable of performing dark deeds without apparent emotion. Kids washed up on the shores of despair. The young actors are powerful in draining roles. We care for them more than they care for themselves.
Rotten Tomatoes has a critics score of 98%. It won numerous awards.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Celtic Crossing


The Husband, The Younger Son and I went to Cooper-Young in Midtown Memphis to Celtic Crossing for lunch one day. I'd have sat out on the lovely patio, but they preferred the air conditioning inside. It's a comfortable place:


They have televisions there and seem to cater especially to soccer (internationally called "football" as The Younger Son reminds us).

You can see the lunch menu here. I had the fish and chips:


and I'm here to tell you that's a dish worth returning for. We decided not to even try resisting dessert:


with coffee. We were full, but happy. What a great restaurant!

Please join the T Tuesday gathering hosted at Bleubeard and Elizabeth's blog. Share a drink with us.

Monday, August 22, 2016

Yoga for Osteoporosis, part 1

Please be careful out there. These are just videos I've found useful personally. 
I have no expertise in anything and can't specifically recommend them to anybody else. 
My doctor said yoga would be fine for me, even with my back issues,
and I try to move slowly and carefully
and know which activities of all kinds I should avoid. 
Again, know your body, know your limitations, and be careful. 
That said, I love yoga!

There's a growing view that yoga can help build bone density. I'm focusing my yoga practice on those poses said to aid this goal. There are numerous websites that name and illustrate the recommended poses, including Huffington Post; Yoga Journal here, here, and here; Life Hacker; Sciatica.org; Gaia.com; EPainAssist.com; and others. There are a number of poses often included in yoga that should not be done if you have bone density issues, and I'm careful to avoid those.

I've found some routines that I like better than others, and I'd like to share those. I prefer video presentations. Some presenters appeal to me more than others. I rotate among them for variety. Here's one that includes 12 different poses:



Here's another that also demonstrates 12 poses:



Here's a 1-hour class with Melissa West, who has a discussion of the benefits and demonstration of suggested poses:



Here's a different Melissa West video:



This video is just 6 1/2 minutes long and includes triangle pose, bridge pose, and half fish pose (the last of which I don't do):


I'll make a 2nd post with other videos I use in my rotation, and I'll have a 3rd post that has videos of individual poses.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Free Course in Critical Reasoning

I love political discussions. I firmly believe we should be able to discuss politics and political issues with those we disagree with without any name-calling, ALL CAPS YELLING, or stomping off in a huff. I'm surprised, though, by how many people have no earthly idea how to do this. I'll describe a recent discussion as an example.

-I'm a confirmed liberal, just to put the discussion in some context, 
and the folks I was talking to are conservatives-

A friend posted a link on FB with this headline: "New leaked email shows Paul Ryan collects Clinton Cash days ahead of WI Primary". I clicked through, read the article, and responded by saying that the actual article didn't make that claim but only said Ryan "may be" accepting "Clinton Cash". I asked if there was any evidence at all that he actually had. These were the responses I got:

  • Usually, where there is smoke, there is fire!
  • Well if it walks like a duck quakes like a duck and swims like a duck. Guess what ???
  • Open your ears!

Now whether you are a liberal or a conservative, surely we can all agree that these are not sensible reasons for believing a claim. That #ManyPeopleAreSaying a thing doesn't make the thing true. Facts and evidence are important. So, I think, is the ability to participate in a reasoned discussion explaining your own beliefs and the reasons for them and pointing out reasons you don't believe the other person's.

I've found this wonderful 6-session course on critical reasoning. I wonder if it would be of use.

Anyway....

This free course on Critical Reasoning for Beginners is offered by Oxford University. This is the description of the course:
Are you confident you can reason clearly? Are you able to convince others of your point of view? Are you able to give plausible reasons for believing what you believe? Do you sometimes read arguments in the newspapers, hear them on the television, or in the pub and wish you knew how to confidently evaluate them?

In this six-part course, you will learn all about arguments, how to identify them, how to evaluate them, and how not to mistake bad arguments for good. Such skills are invaluable if you are concerned about the truth of your beliefs, and the cogency of your arguments.
The first video lesson is The Nature of Arguments and can be viewed at their site or here:



All this emotional reaction to the current presidential candidates seems to miss the point to me. I would think a bit more logic, a few more facts, and a little less vitriolic attack might aid our understanding of the issues.




Saturday, August 20, 2016

The Old Man and the Sea (animated film)

This short film is a beautifully done award-winning animated adaptation of Ernest Hemingway's The Old Man and the Sea. It's directed by Russian animator Aleksandr Petrov. At just 20 minutes long, take the time. You'll thank me for it.

via youtube:



OpenCulture.com describes the lengthy, painstaking technique and says,
...the film has as much appeal to a range of viewers young and old as Hemingway’s book, and for some of the same reasons—it’s captivatingly vivid depiction of life on the sea, with its long periods of inactivity and short bursts of extreme physical exertion and considerable risk. Both states provide ample opportunities for complex character development and rich storytelling as well as exciting white-knuckle suspense. Petrov’s film illustrates them all...
The book was also adapted in 1958 in a John Sturges film starring Spencer Tracy and in a 1990 television miniseries starring Anthony Quinn.

Friday, August 19, 2016

The Haunting in Connecticut

The Haunting in Connecticut is a 2009 psychological horror film supposedly based on a true story. from Wikipedia:
Promotional material for the film claimed that it was "based on true events" experienced by the Snedeker family of Southington, Connecticut in 1986. Ed and Lorraine Warren claimed that the Snedeker house was a former funeral home where morticians committed necromancy and/or necrophilia with the corpses, and that there were "powerful" supernatural "forces at work" that were cured by an exorcism.

However, according to skeptical investigator Benjamin Radford, there is "little or no proof that anything supernatural occurred at the house". Radford wrote that author Ray Garton was employed by the Warrens to write the supposedly "true story" and was instructed by Ed Warren, "You've got some of the story — just use what works and make the rest up… Just make it up and make it scary."

Researcher Joe Nickell has dismissed the story as a hoax. Nickell noted that since Ed Warren died in 2006, some of his coauthors have admitted he "told them to make up incidents and details to create scary stories."

trailer:



Moria concludes, "This is a film that in its constant and persistent need to keep producing effects for their own sake achieves zero effect whatsoever as a scare show." DVD Talk says, "The Haunting in Connecticut isn't unwatchable or anything, but it's almost aggressively forgettable...as stiff and lifeless as the dusty stacks of bodies from its old mortuary."

Roger Ebert calls it "technically proficient horror movie and well acted" but adds,
If the movie has a flaw, and it does, it's too many Surprises. Every door, window, bedroom, hallway, staircase, basement area, attic and crawlspace is packed with Surprises, so that it's a rare event in the house that takes place normally. The Campbells are constantly being Surprised, so often they must be tuckered out at day's end from all of that running, jumping and standing real still.

But I must not be too harsh...
Empire Online gives it 2 out of 5 stars and closes by calling it a "Fairly pedestrian haunted chiller with so many obvious shocks that they lose their efficacy." Rotten Tomatoes has a critics score of 16%.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Voice of the Whirlwind


Voice of the Whirlwind is a 1987 science fiction/mystery novel by Walter Jon Williams. It's part of a series, but I haven't read the others and found this enjoyable on its own.

from the back of the book:
In Voice of the Whirlwind, Walter Jon Williams has projected the universe of Hardwired one hundred years into the future, to a time when the Orbitals have become independent feudal states with an interstellar drive. But the one constant of humankind is political intrigue...

Steward is a Beta. A clone. His memories are fifteen years old because his Alpha never did have a brain-scan update. In those fifteen years, the entire world has changed: the orbital policorp which held his allegiance has collapsed; dozens of his friends have died in an off-planet war; an alien race has establishe relations with humanity; his wife has borne a child, and divorced him; and someone has murdered him.

Steward still has the skills that made him a perfect military commando for his bankrupt policorp sponsors of fifteen years ago. But does he have the right skills, and can he find the missing knowledge and pieces of history that will lead him to the killer of his Alpha?
Kirkus Reviews concludes with this: "Fast-moving, hard-driving, with a robust, well-handled plot, an unusual approach, and plenty of intriguing complications. All in all, a stirring and heartening performance." Publishers Weekly calls it "one of the best of its kind".

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Collecting

Gizmodo has a page of "9 Extraordinary Collections of Totally Ordinary Objects", including "A History of the World in 100 Objects" and a Smithsonian exhibit called "Souvenir Nation: Relics, Keepsakes, and Curios." I enjoy viewing collections both in person and online. People collect all kinds of fascinating things, and I've known folks who collected shells, buttons, Barbie dolls, teapots, marbles, keys, books, fountain pens, bird sightings, stamps, quilts, Star Wars memorabilia, owls, coins, autographs, bells.... The objects one can collect are as numerous as people who collect them. There seems no end to it.

I don't collect anything, although I still have the rock collection I began as a project for a Girl Scout badge. I do have a few conglomerations of like objects I just somehow ended up with along the way. For example I have a shelf with bells:


I have a few elephants:


I'm gradually getting rid of many items that don't bring me joy, as recommended by Marie Kondo, but the elephants and the bells remain. I don't add more, and I don't consider them a collection, but that's as close as I get.

Having a formal collection, researched as some are, isn't something I have any interest in, but I like looking at what other people are interested in. Just look at these beautiful marbles, the largest private collection of movie cameras, a collection of 1,400 automobiles, this woman's teapot collection, these collections of Pez dispensers, a button museum, an online video collection of obsolete objects, Paul Johnson's collection of 3,479 pencil sharpeners (no duplicates), and this collection of historical maps. Fascinating!



Tuesday, August 16, 2016

The Impressionist Revolution: Forty Years of French Art at the Dixon


This exhibit, which closed back in July, was part of the celebration of the Dixon Gallery's 40th year. Their website says,
The incredible examples of painting and sculpture on view in The Impressionist Revolution illustrate how Dixon’s permanent collection is perfectly poised to tell the story of Impressionism, from its roots to its lasting influence.
I loved seeing all these works on display. I do have my favorites, of course, but decided to highlight 3 of the works that included drink-related elements so I could share it for T Tuesday (see link at the bottom of this post).

Cafe Interior by Jean-Louis Forain (1852-1931), exhibited in the 4th Impressionist exhibition in 1879:



The Picnic
by Georges Seurat (1859-1891):



Le Dejeuner sur l'herbe
by Auguste Clot:


While I was there I walked through the gardens. The cutting garden:



The back lawn:


Near the entrance there's a Little Free Library:


I have a membership to this place and go often. It's just delightful!

Please join the weekly T Tuesday gathering hosted by Bleubeard and Elizabeth at their Altered Book Lover blog.

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Best Sound 42


Found at Best Sound on South Highland.

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Patio Update


The photo above was taken during one of the short periods between blooming for the lantana and the bee balm. The heat has been hard even on the plants that are hardy, but it doesn't take long for blooms to return.

We've had a growing number of lovely insects on the patio lately, and I thought I'd post some photos. They like the zinnias and the lantana especially.


I planted Rue a couple of years ago, and it has paid off in butterflies:


and caterpillars:


We've also watched this grasshopper grow up to about 4 inches long, defeating every effort by sparrows and wrens to end his life:


These moths (can you see it at the flower below?) are so big and have wings that move so quickly they remind me of hummingbirds more than moths:


I saw my first praying mantis of the season just a couple of days ago:


We've had big yellow butterflies and big orange butterflies and several kinds of smaller butterflies and moths I just haven't been able to get photos of. I'll keep trying. It's fun to have a space where interesting little creatures can be watched from my house.

Friday, August 12, 2016

Aliens

Aliens is the 1986 sequel to the groundbreaking 1979 science fiction film Alien. I had never seen it, not really caring for horror and having been truly horrified by the original. I saw that one in the theater when it was released, thinking it was a science fiction film. Silly me. Since that time I've developed a bit of an appreciation for the horror genre and have been watching ones I missed out on through the years.

trailer:



When the film was released, the NYT review describes it as "a flaming, flashing, crashing, crackling blow-'em-up show that keeps you popping from your seat despite your better instincts and the basically conventional scare tactics." Empire Online calls it "the perfect sequel."

Roger Ebert opens a positive review with this: "The ads for "Aliens" claim that this movie will frighten you as few movies have, and, for once, the ads don't lie. The movie is so intense that it creates a problem for me as a reviewer..." Rotten Tomatoes has a 98% critics score.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Wine in Grocery Stores


The decade-long campaign to enable grocery stores in Tennessee to stock wine has ended with a victory for consumers. In the same way that Easy Way produce shops aren't irreparably damaged by grocery stores being able to stock fresh produce and specialty bakeries aren't run out of business because grocery stores can sell baked goods and Charlie's Meat Market isn't closing because you can buy steak from the grocery store, liquor stores will find a way to survive customers being able to buy a bottle of wine from the local grocer.

The Tennessean calls it "one of the most significant changes to state liquor laws since the repeal of Prohibition". The Memphis Flyer has the final score:
Grocery stores got to sell wine. Liquor stores got to expand their offerings with beer, light food, mixers, and more —and they got a year to settle into their new situation. State coffers got -or will get— an estimated additional $13 million in tax revenues.

The religious right walked away empty-handed.

Consumers will get added convenience and, perhaps, lower prices on booze across the board."
It's not likely that folks who really know wine and want that specialty vintage bottle will be looking for it in a grocery store. I, on the other hand, am never in a liquor store. The Husband is a teetotaler, and I don't find alcohol such a draw that I'll go to a separate store in a separate shopping center just so I can have wine with supper. Since it's now available in grocery stores, I've been picking up wine and having some with my evening meal.

Researching the best buys and best wines available on the Kroger wine aisle is actually fun. The Yellow Tail Merlot bottle on the left in the photo at the top of the post was something The Younger Son brought home one day on the strength of the label alone. I don't care for it, and it's languishing in the back of the fridge. The bottle in the middle -the 181 Merlot- we bought on the recommendation of The Elder Son. I like that one and have already bought another bottle. The one on the right -Liberty School Cabernet Sauvignon- was one I saw suggested in my online research. It's also good, and I'll gladly buy more of it. I'm planning to look for Ravenswood Zinfandel on my next trip. I haven't bought any of the white wines yet, but I will. I'll probably make Geyser Peak Sauvignon Blanc my first pick.

Vine Pair has a list of 15 "great supermarket wines for under $15" that I'll be choosing from. The list of 150 best wines under $15 from FoodAndWine.com -150!- has separate lists for reds, whites and rosés, but they have a more manageable list of 25 that looks less intimidating to me.

The Wall Street Journal has a kind of tutorial on how to make a selection off the shelf and includes some specific suggestions including the following:
  • Giesen Sauvignon Blanc
  • Marques de Riscal Rioja Chianti
  • Vouvray chenin blanc
Serious Eats has a Hall of Fame of best wines under $20.

I don't drink much at a time (about 2 oz), so a bottle lasts a while. I do look forward to trying new kinds of wine.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Nemesis Games


Nemesis Games is book 5 in the Expanse series, a science fiction space opera written by James S. A. Corey. The author's name is the pen name of the team of Daniel Abraham and Ty Franck. These books have all been fun, enjoyable reads. The series is being adapted for television as The Expanse. I've seen season one and can't express how pleased I am with how it's been done.

from the back of the book:
Catching Fire

A thousand worlds have opened, and the greatest landrush in human history has begun. As wave after wave of colonists leave, the power structures of the old solar system begin to buckle.

Ships are disappearing without a trace. Private armies are being secretly formed. Terrorist attacks previously considered impossible bring the inner planets to their knees. The sins of the past are returning to exact a terrible price.

And as a new human order is born in blood and fire, James Holden and the crew of the Rocinante must struggle to survive and get back to the only home they have left.
io9 calls it "Corey’s Empire Strikes Back." SFF World says, "the powerful storytelling and engaging characterization from previous volumes are shining through as The Expanse continues to reshuffle the deck with each installment." Publishers Weekly concludes, "With enough thrills and intrigue for three Hollywood blockbusters, the novel stands alone nicely, making it easy for new readers as well as diehard series fans to dive right in."

Tuesday, August 09, 2016

Slider Inn

Photo from The Slider Inn Facebook page

This is another place The Husband and I had never been before. Slider Inn is located in the Cooper-Young area of midtown Memphis and has a nice patio over-looking the neighborhood. We shared that nacho appetizer you can see in the background. I had mushroom and swiss sliders:


with iced tea. The Husband had cheeseburger sliders. This was too much food for me! Next time maybe we'll split an order. There will definitely be a next time. You can see their menu here.

Please join this week's T Tuesday blog party.

Monday, August 08, 2016

Illegal

Illegal is a 1955 Edward G. Robinson film noir. Also in this are Ellen Corby, Jayne Mansfield, Hugh Marlowe, Edward Platt, Albert Dekker, and Howard St. John. Deforest Kelley plays the man unjustly sent to his death. You can hardly go wrong with Edward G. Robinson, even though this isn't his best.

trailer:


This movie doesn't get much attention, and reviews are scarce. Rotten Tomatoes doesn't even have a critics score.


Sunday, August 07, 2016

Cockroaches


Cockroaches is a detective novel by Jo Nesbo, the second in the Harry Hole series. I've read the first one and liked it well enough to pick up more. The characters are well-developed and the plots are interesting.

from the back of the book:
When Norway's ambassador to Thailand is found dead in a Bangkok brothel, Inspector Harry Hole is dispatched from Oslo to help hush up the case.

Once he arrives Harry discovers that the case is about much more than a random murder. Something else, something more pervasive, is scrabbling around behind the scenes: for every cockroach you see, there are hundreds behind the walls. Assaulted round-the-clock by traffic noise, Harry wanders the streets of Bangkok -lined with go-go bars, temples, tourist traps, and opium dens- trying to piece together the truth behind the ambassador's death even though no one asked him to, and no one wants him to -not even Harry himself.
Eurocrime has a positive review and says, "COCKROACHES is an impressive early instalment in the Harry Hole series, fleshing out the background about Harry Hole's family life and romantic history...". Kirkus Reviews describes it as a "well-wrought adventure". Crime Pieces calls it, "one of the most engaging ones that he’s written".
The Independent says,
The complex narrative and large dramatis personae are handled with steely authority, but what really makes the novel work is the fact that the picturesque seediness of Bangkok and Thailand turn out to be Harry Hole's natural element, with Nesbo plumping his hero down in a very non-Norwegian setting.

Saturday, August 06, 2016

Friday the 13th (1980)

Friday the 13th is the 1980 horror movie that was one of the first slasher films and kicked off the long-running franchise. I'd never seen any of them but decided if I was gonna be watching horror films that had an impact on the genre this one needed to be seen. I won't be watching the rest of them. It's just not my "thing". I can see how it would be much more effective if seen when it was released.

trailer:



Moria says the acting is bad and,
Directorially, Friday the 13th is a crude film. The teenagers are dimensionless victims and their dialogue consists only of variations on “We should do something.” Certainly, there is nothing of the style and haunting eerieness that John Carpenter invoked in Halloween to be found. There is not a great deal of subtlety to any of the film.
1000 Misspent Hours says, "this flick’s story has the raw, brutal simplicity of a boy scout’s campfire tale." HorrorNews.net says, "For the first film in a very long series, Friday the 13th is a pretty good start as it sets the tone for a good portion of the films that follow it." Rotten Tomatoes has a 58% critics rating.

Friday, August 05, 2016

5:25 august fifth, 1962, found her lying on her chest her face all turning blue

Who Killed Marilyn:



by Glenn Danzig

Lyrics excerpt:
5:25 August 5th, 1962
Found her lying on her chest
Her face all turning blue

You think it was an overdose
But could it have been the pact
Could it have been the Kennedy's
Was it LAPD

....

5:25 August 5th, 1962
Make it seem a suicide
Make it seem a suicide
Make it seem a suicide
Make it seem a suicide

Thursday, August 04, 2016

The Night Circus


The Night Circus is a 2011 fantasy novel, Erin Morgenstern's debut. I borrowed my copy from The Younger Son, who had not brought the dust jacket with him. This plot description and the photo above are from Wikipedia:
The Night Circus is a phantasmagorical fairy tale set near an ahistorical Victorian London in a wandering magical circus that is open only from sunset to sunrise. Le Cirque des Rêves, the Circus of Dreams, features such wonders and "ethereal enigmas" as a blooming garden made all of ice, acrobats soaring without a net, and a vertical cloud maze where patrons who get lost simply step off and float gently to the floor. The circus has no set schedule, appearing without warning and leaving without notice; they travel in a train disguised as an ordinary coal transport. A network of devoted fans styling themselves "rêveurs" ("dreamers") develops around the circus; they identify to each other by adding a splash of red to garb that otherwise matches the characteristic black and white of the circus tents. The magical nature of the circus is occluded under the guise of legerdemain; the illusionist truly transforms her jacket into a raven and the fortune teller truly reads the uncertain future, and both are applauded for their ingenuity.

The circus serves a darker purpose beyond entertainment and profit. The magicians Prospero the Enchanter and the enigmatic Mr. A.H— groom their young proteges, Celia Bowen and Marco Alistair, to proxy their rivalry with the exhibits as a stage. ...
I thoroughly enjoyed this book and highly recommend it to anybody who enjoys modern fantasy books. I think it needs illustrations in the manner of Clive Barker's Abbarat series.

The NYT says, "The novel is —and it’s an odd thing to say about a work of fiction— just too real to be believed." The Washington Post says, "Morgenstern manages to conjure up a love story for adults that feels luxuriously romantic." NPR talks some about the hype surrounding the books publication, saying, "Film rights have already gone to Summit (the studio behind the Twilight phenomenon), and over 30 countries have bought foreign language rights."

The Guardian says,
The Night Circus is a sprawling historical novel about magic and the circus. Highly whimsical, it is a narrative so wilfully contrived that contrivance is its raison d'être. It is intensely visual, so much so that what remains in its wake are almost exclusively images – more so than plot, or character, or even the prose itself. Morgenstern paints precise, evocative and visually lush scenes within the tents of her fictional circus. Reading the novel is, in this respect, more like watching a film in the making – not an ordinary film, however, but an imaginative collaboration between writer and reader.

Wednesday, August 03, 2016

The Rules of Engagement


The Rules of Engagement (2003) is another of Anita Brookner's many novels. She is one of my favorite authors, and her death this past March at the age of 87 was a great loss.

from the dust jacket:
In this masterly new novel, the Booker prize-winning author of Hotel du Lac and Making Things Better gives us an exquisite story about the changes in relationships over time, and how our life choices can both reflect the past and direct the future. Hailed as "one of the finest novelists of her generation" (The New York Times), Anita Brookner here weaves an impeccably crafted tale of two women, friends from youth, and the decisions and men that define their destinies.

Elizabeth and Betsy knew each other as schoolchildren. When they meet again later in life, one is safely married, the other most unsafely partnered. Together, they discover that despite their very disparate, they still have in common the capacity for making dangerous choices. Ultimately, their inclination to implement these decisions reveals the fate that was spelled out in their characters from the start.

favorite quotes:
... too old for the Fifties, too young for the Sixties...
*******
I have come to believe that there can be no adequate preparation for the sadness that comes at the end, the sheer regret that one's life is finished, that one's failures remain indelible and one's successes illusory.
*******

The Guardian opens with this:
There are few certainties left in life. But one thing you can absolutely depend upon is that every July a new Anita Brookner novel will come out and put a dampener on the summer. Brookner's volumes are brief, dour and reassuringly English, like rainclouds over Wimbledon; which is not to gainsay her stature as one of the most observant moralists writing today.
The Yale Review of Books points out the sameness of Brookner's works:
The relentless homogeneity of Brookner’s subject matter has by now become as noteworthy to the book world as have the finely crafted books themselves. Over the course of her stunningly prolific career, the repetitiveness of the commentary has rivaled that of the fiction, as each year’s novel makes the group’s uniformity even harder to ignore.
The Independent says, "I admire this novel's unique fusion of nihilism with romance, tragedy with social satire, existentialism with conventional femininity. ... Nobody else will ever write like Anita Brookner." Kirkus Reviews says Brookner "chronicles with surgical precision lives distorted by temperament and circumstance." Publishers Weekly says, "To read Brookner is to be reminded of fiction's potential to stun, with full, complex characters in a richly imagined world, as she draws on her insights into human nature to explore the strained yet enduring friendship of two women of "the last virginal generation.""

Tuesday, August 02, 2016

Sirloin Stockade


On our way north on our recent vacation trip, we stopped in Murray, KY, for lunch. The Sirloin Stockade had a line out the door, but we didn't have to wait long to reach the order counter and were seated immediately after that. You can tell this place is hugely popular with folks in that area, and they've found a system that works to serve. They are efficient! They have a nicely-priced selection. I got the small steak:


and unsweetened iced tea. You can see The Younger Son's burger in the background of the photo. I couldn't get a photo of the interior because it was packed the entire time we were there. Our food was tasty, and we'd come back if we were locals. Eating at places we don't have in Memphis is part of what makes these little trips fun for us.

Please join the other tea (or whatever) drinkers for the weekly gathering at Bleubeard and Elizabeth's blog. A warm welcome awaits you there.

Monday, August 01, 2016

Murmuration


The Old Forest in Overton Park is 172-acre natural woodland in the center of the city. I'll post photos of the trails in the area in a dedicated post, but here's a taste:


There are several access points into the trails, and when motorized access was prohibited barriers were set up to keep out the cars:


The Overton Park Conservancy is in the process of replacing these functional posts with pieces of art that will still serve to block motor traffic. The piece pictured at the top is the latest of these. It is named Murmuration and is by Yvonne Bobo. I like public art, and I think this is a welcoming sight as people approach the Old Forest.