Monday, April 30, 2018

Muddy Waters

Today is the anniversary of the death in 1983 of Muddy Waters at the age of 70. In declining health, he died of heart failure in his sleep at his home. He was born near Clarksdale, Mississippi, which is about 1 1/2 hours southwest of Memphis.

Hoochie Coochie Man:



I Just Want to Make Love to You:



I'm Ready:



Forty Days and Forty Nights:



Trouble No More:



Got My Mojo Working:



You can listen to him on Spotify:

Sunday, April 29, 2018

Captain Blood

Captain Blood is a 1935 adventure film directed by Michael Curtiz and starring Errol Flynn, Olivia de Havilland, and Basil Rathbone. Flynn is a wrongly convicted and enslaved doctor who escapes to become a pirate. The Husband loves the swashbuckler movies, and this is a classic example.

trailer:



Sometimes you can find it online, such as here:


The New York Times has a positive review from the time of the film's release. Slant Magazine gives it 3 out of 4 stars, particularly praising "Flynn’s wicked, wicked charm". Variety has a positive review.

Rotten Tomatoes has a critics score of 100%.

Saturday, April 28, 2018

Latecomers


Latecomers is a 1989 novel by Anita Brookner, one of my favorite authors. This is the story of two men, refugees from Nazi Germany, and their lives and relationships and families through the years. They are life-long friends and professional partners into old age but couldn't be more different in how they deal with the past.

quotes from the book:
There are many children who have been told, "Never mind. You are the clever one", and who have never got over it.
*******
Ah, he thought, the truth bursting on him suddenly, nobody grows up. Everyone carries around all the selves that they have ever been, intact, waiting to be reactivated in moments of pain, of fear, of danger. Everything is retrievable, every shock, every hurt. But perhaps it becomes a duty to abandon the stock of time that one carries within oneself, to discard it in favour of the present, so that one’s embrace may be turned outwards to the world in which one has made one’s home.
*****

The New York Times has a positive review. The Guardian names it as one of Brookner's five best novels.

The LA Times closes with this:
With unruffled serenity, as if she had all the time in the world and no fear of losing the reader's attention, Brookner carefully, lingeringly, and searchingly explores the becalmed, cushioned, melancholy world of these two well-off bourgeois families. Yet here is wonderful economy in her leisureliness: Within a mere 248 pages, she has compressed a lifetime of subtle changes, four lifetimes, really, from dimly remembered childhood to encroaching old age.

Kirkus Reviews concludes, "As elaborately layered as a German torte, but reassuring as an English tea biscuit, devoid of any indigestible surprises -one, no doubt, to be gobbled up by the Brookner faithful." Publishers Weekly says it "shows [Brookner] at the peak of her form" and concludes, "In this tender study, Brookner has produced a quiet little masterpiece."

I have read a number of books by this author since I began blogging:

Friday, April 27, 2018

The Thin Man

The Thin Man is a 1934 comedy/mystery movie based on the Dashiell Hammett novel. William Powell, Myrna Loy, and Maureen O'Sullivan star. There are 5 sequels. This is a much-loved film, but I'm not a huge fan -just not really to my taste, I guess, though I'm hard-pressed to explain why. The characters are delightful.

trailer:



via Archive.org:



The New York Times has a positive review from the time of the film's release. The Atlantic says, "As Nick and Nora, Powell and Loy subverted the classic detective film with comic aplomb and presented an impressively modern vision of marriage as an association of equals."

Empire Online gives it 5 out of 5 stars and concludes, "Tense and slick, this early thriller remains a true masterpiece." Roger Ebert has it on his list of Great Movies. Rotten Tomatoes has a critics rating of 97%.

Thursday, April 26, 2018

A Beam of Light


A Beam of Light is #19 in the Inspector Montalbano mystery series by Andrea Camilleri. I'm reading these in order, as the relationships develop over time. This is one of my favorite mystery series. The setting immerses you in the atmosphere and culture and food (oh, the food!) of Sicily, and the characters are well-developed and balanced nicely against the plot lines.

from the back of the book:
When Inspector Montalbano falls for the charms of beautiful gallery owner Marian, his long-time relationship with Livia comes under threat. Meanwhile, he is also troubled by a strange dream as three crimes demand his attention: the assault and robbery of a wealthy merchant's young wife, shady art deals, and a search for arms traffickers that leads him deep into the countryside, where the investigation takes a tragic turn.
Kirkus Reviews says this one "has a more melancholy tone than his previous cases ... but also boasts a nifty, twisty mystery at its core." Publishers Weekly concludes a positive review with this: "Fueled by frequent infusions of food, Montalbano comes up with clever solutions to the strange goings-on, even as he’s less than adept at dealing with the women in his life."

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
17. Angelica's Smile
18. A Game of Mirrors

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

The General

The General is a 1926 Buster Keaton film. We're huge Buster Keaton fans here, and this is a classic. The film takes place in Tennessee during the Civil War.

via Youtube:


The New York Times has a review from the time of the film's release. Slate Magazine says, "Yeah, it's silent. So what? You'll barely notice. It's that good." Senses of Cinema has an article. Empire Online gives it 5 out of 5 stars and describes it as a "glorious action-comedy".

It's on Roger Ebert's Great Movies list. Rotten Tomatoes has a critics rating of 93%.

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

The Newspaper

The Newspaper (1960):


by Paul Wonner, who died on April 23, 2008, the day before what would have been his 88th birthday. The Smithsonian has a page with a short biography and some examples of his work. Artnet has some photos of his work, including nudes and still-life paintings.

I don't read a paper copy of a newspaper any more. The state of our local paper is a sad, sad tale, so I get my local news from other sources online and in print. The morning newspaper of my childhood seems to have been replaced by my morning internet perusal. I still drink coffee with it, though, so some things never change.

Join me at Bleubeard and Elizabeth's weekly T Stands for Tuesday blogger gathering, and we can ignore each while we drink our coffee and pore over our phones. Wait, no, that's not what I meant. I meant join us while we share what we're up to over a social cuppa. Yes, that's it!

Monday, April 23, 2018

Adventures of Don Quixote

Adventures of Don Quixote:



is a 1933 film adaptation, the first sound film version, of the book by Miguel de Cervantes. Cervantes died on this date in 1616. This adaptation makes many changes, and you are well-advised to read the book here first or here if you haven't already. Or have it read to you compliments of Librivox:

volume 1:




volume 2:





Sunday, April 22, 2018

The Birth of a Nation

The Birth of a Nation was released in 1915 and is a notorious silent film, a racist re-imagining of history that glorifies members of the KKK as heroic figures who protect the white women from freed slaves.

Shocking to watch, it's even more shocking to see these sentiments proudly expressed on Facebook pages. "The South Shall Rise Again" and denials that slavery had any part in secession are common claims. I swear I'd never have expected statues of Confederate military leaders to engender such devotion, but there are some people who seem to believe in the Confederacy as a noble cause. As a life-long Southerner, my idea of Southern Heritage is drinking iced tea, saying "ma'am" and "y'all" and being able to talk with a Southern drawl, eating Southern food, not wearing white after Labor Day, appreciating Southern literature, Blues and Bluegrass music.... It has nothing to do with honoring men who took up arms against the USA. Here in Tennessee the state government is punishing Memphis financially for taking down our statues:



The film The Birth of a Nation, directed by D. W. Griffith and starring Lillian Gish, was controversial from the beginning. It is credited with a revival of the Klan and is said to have been used as a recruitment tool.

Here's an early scene, showing how happy and well-treated the plantation field slaves were:



Here's a scene showing innocent Flora fleeing the unwanted attentions of the freed slave who has been influenced for ill by carpetbaggers:



Klansmen as noble rescuers of their women and other besieged white folk:



trailer:



The first 8 minutes:



You can watch the entire film online, including here via Youtube:


The New Yorker says,
The worst thing about “Birth of a Nation” is how good it is. The merits of its grand and enduring aesthetic make it impossible to ignore and, despite its disgusting content, also make it hard not to love. And it’s that very conflict that renders the film all the more despicable, the experience of the film more of a torment—together with the acknowledgment that Griffith, whose short films for Biograph were already among the treasures of world cinema, yoked his mighty talent to the cause of hatred (which, still worse, he sincerely depicted as virtuous).
The New York Post says it's "still the most racist movie ever". Filmsite.org has information explaining the importance of the film and also a detailed plot description. NPR explores the movie's legacy.

PBS notes that
In December 1999, the Directors Guild of America announces that D.W. Griffith will be retired as the namesake of its prestigious award for career achievement in moviemaking because he helped promote what they call "intolerable racial stereotypes." Although Guild members acknowledge his achievements, the vote to rename the award is unanimous.
The Washington Post says, "“The Birth of a Nation” takes its place alongside the Nazis’ “Triumph of the Will” and “Jew Suss” as among the most despicable propaganda pictures of all time. Its stereotypes have reverberated for a century." Time calls it "still great, still shameful". Historynet tells something of Griffiths' background and how he came to make the film.

Bright Lights Film Journal says, "Birth of a Nation has never ceased being the most reviled film in the history of cinema, with Leni Riefenstahl’s Triumph of the Will (1935) running a close second" and concludes,
Birth is too alive to be shunted aside as a relic or as a reminder of how little (or how much) we’ve accomplished in race relations. It can be both these things, but Griffith, a complex, creative, and intensely motivated man, was much more than a regionalist hate monger. The full, diverse range of his films proves this, as does the diversity of intent and expression in The Birth of a Nation itself.

If you want to see a parody of the racist ideas supported by and embedded in this film, just watch this excerpt from Blazing Saddles:

Saturday, April 21, 2018

Jackie Robinson Day 42s


I get Jackie Robinson Day, really I do (and you can read an explanation here if you're not familiar with this), and yet how many repetitions of the Answer to the Ultimate Question of Life, the Universe, and Everything do you need?

I mean, with no names and everybody sporting 42:

Jackie Robinson Day
Source: Keith Allison Flikr

it's hard for me to know who's who. The Husband doesn't have any trouble, being a baseball fan from way back, and he keeps me informed.

Friday, April 20, 2018

Apollo 13

Apollo 13 is a 1995 film about the 1970 Apollo 13 lunar mission. Directed by Ron Howard, it stars Tom Hanks, Kevin Bacon, Bill Paxton, Gary Sinise, Ed Harris, and Kathleen Quinlan. Jim Lovell (who turned 90 last month) and his wife appear in the movie. I saw this film ages ago, but when I came across the DVD on the shelf realized I had never written a blog post about it. I remember this mission well, and I'd recommend the movie both for folks who do and for those whose memories don't go back that far. Just note that there are some -not many- inaccuracies; it's a fictionalized account, after all.

trailer:


The New York Times praises it and says, "You can know every glitch that made this such a dangerous mission, and "Apollo 13" will still have you by the throat." Rolling Stone says, "It all adds up to a triumph of stirring storytelling and heart-stopping suspense." The BBC gives it 4 out of 5 stars and calls it "A definite feel-good movie."

Roger Ebert gives it 4 out of 4 stars and says,
Ron Howard's film of this mission is directed with a single-mindedness and attention to detail that makes it riveting. He doesn't make the mistake of adding cornball little subplots to popularize the material; he knows he has a great story, and he tells it in a docudrama that feels like it was filmed on location in outer space.
Empire Online gives it 5 out of 5 stars and calls it "a blast". Rotten Tomatoes has a 95% critics score.

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Beastly Things


Beastly Things is the 21st Commissario Guido Brunetti mystery novel by Donna Leon. This one takes place in the Spring. I am enjoying this series, reading them as I come across them in no particular order. The characters are wonderful and the atmosphere of Venice always makes these books a nice place to visit.

from the dust jacket:
When a body is found floating in a canal, strangely disfigured and with multiple stab wounds, Commissario Brunetti is called to investigate and is convinced he recognizes the man from somewhere. However, with no identification except for the distinctive shoes the man was wearing, and no reports of people missing from the Venice area, the case cannot progress.

Brunetti soon realizes why he remembers the dead man, and asks Signorina Elettra if she can help him find footage of a farmers' protest the previous autumn. But what was his involvement with the protest, and what does it have to do with his murder? Acting on the fragile lead,
Brunetti and Inspector Vianello set out to uncover the man's identity. Their investigation eventually takes them to a slaughterhouse on the mainland, where they discover the origin of the crime, and the world of blackmail and corruption that surrounds it.
The Guardian says, "The 21st Commissario Brunetti mystery finds the series' characters and setting as vital as ever." The New York Journal of Books points out the social commentary. Kirkus Reviews has a positive review.

I've also read these from this series:
#1 Death at La Fenice (1992)
#2 Death in a Strange Country (1993)
#3 Dressed for Death (1994)
#4 Death and Judgment (1995)
#18 About Face (2009)
#19 A Question of Belief
#20 Drawing Conclusions

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

They Call Me Hallelujah

They Call Me Hallelujah is a 1971 spaghetti western directed by Giuliano Carnimeo and starring George Hilton. The comedy western isn't my favorite sub-genre, but this one's fun enough.

via Youtube:


Spaghetti-Western.net closes with this:
A good comedy western that is always fun and never boring. Uses a lot of the best Spaghetti Western cliches which never tire in the capable hands of George Hilton and Giuliano Carnimeo. Funny, violent, strong plot, great characters, and rather well made. A Spaghetti classic that is not to be missed.
Fistful of Pasta isn't a fan of comedy westerns but says, "if you're looking for an hour and a half of watchable silliness, it's not a bad one". DVD Talk concludes, "This is a good effort that fans of Carnimeo and Hilton will appreciate."

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

National Tea Day


National Tea Day is celebrated each year on 4/21, which is this coming Saturday. That should give you plenty of time to plan some little observance. Perhaps just you and a friend, as in Henry Salem Hubbell's Ladies Having Tea:


or his Study for the Orange Robe:


Or perhaps you'd like some time alone, as in A Cup of Tea by Lilla Cabot Perry:


or Drinking Tea by Christian von Schneidau:


I'll be having an informal little tea myself, and in the spirit of most of the ladies I see in these paintings, I'll definitely be wearing a hat!

Please join the T party that happens every Tuesday over at Bleubeard and Elizabeth's blog.

The picture at the top of the post is of The Tea (1890-1893) by Frederico Zandomeneghi

Monday, April 16, 2018

Happy Birthday, Bobby Vinton

Bobby Vinton is 83 years old today. Listen to him singing his #1 hit Blue Velvet from 1964:


Here's the top-20 1972 song Sealed with a Kiss:



In 1971 he was in the John Wayne western Big Jake with Richard Boone, Maureen O'Hara, Bruce Cabot, John Agar, and Harry Carey Jr.:



In 1973 he was in another John Wayne western, The Train Robbers, with Ann-Margret, Rod Taylor, Ben Johnson, and Ricardo Montalban. Here's the original trailer:



Wikipedia says Vinton and his wife were married in 1962, have five children, and live in Florida. He retired from live performing and recording in 2015. May his birthday be happy!

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Wonder Woman

Wonder Woman is a 2017 superhero origin story. I passed on seeing this in the theater; and now -having seen it- I'm not regretting that decision. It's pretty and fun enough but slow. Most reviewers liked it, though, so I'm the outlier here.

trailer:



Variety has a positive review, as do Vanity Fair and The Hollywood Reporter. The Guardian reviewer was disappointed. The New York Times says "It cleverly combines genre elements into something reasonably fresh, touching and fun."

Roger Ebert's site concludes,
Despite its flaws, “Wonder Woman” is beautiful, kindhearted, and buoyant in ways that make me eager to see it again. Jenkins and her collaborators have done what I thought was previously impossible: created a Wonder Woman film that is inspiring, blistering, and compassionate, in ways that honor what has made this character an icon.
Rotten Tomatoes has a critics score of 92%.

Saturday, April 14, 2018

Carved: The Slit-Mouthed Woman

Carved: The Slit-Mouthed Woman is a 2007 Japanese horror film based on a ghost story from the Edo period that had a revival in the 1970s where there were sightings of the woman. This movie has a strong element of depictions of physical abuse of children by their mothers.

via Youtube:



HorrorNews.net has screen shots, a plot summary, and concludes, "A top contender for becoming a classic, Carved is a story that adds a new mythos into the horror arena. Creepy and smart, Carved is a winner!" Bloody Good Horror calls it "a surprisingly competent flick."

Friday, April 13, 2018

Dixon Gallery Exhibits


It took me long enough -that rain lasted so long, and I just didn't want to go out- but I did manage to see the exhibitions before they closed. The Real Beauty: The Artistic World of Eugenia Errázuriz offered so many beautiful works in several rooms in addition to a helpful timeline that covered an entire wall. The Dixon website describes it:
The Real Beauty: The Artistic World of Eugenia Errázuriz, organized by The Dixon Gallery and Gardens, is the first American museum exhibition centered on the life of this remarkable figure in the history of modern art and design. Addressing the larger subject of the role of South Americans in turn-of-the-century Europe, the exhibition will feature works of art centered around Eugenia's relatives and friends, especially the Subercaseaux, who shared her passion for the arts. In the early 1800s, Eugenia Huici Arguedas de Errázuriz arrived in Europe with her husband, amateur painter José Tomás Errázuriz. Very quickly, the newlywed Errázurizes began making their rounds across Europe, becoming, along with their relatives Amalia and Ramón Subercaseaux, favorites among the cosmopolitan group of artists in turn-of-the-century Europe.
Here's a one-minute preview from a Dixon gallery curator:



Here's a Dixon video on her influence in the field of design:



My favorite from this was Portrait of Madame Errasuriz:


by Ambrose McEvoy

Another exhibition on view when I went was Dixon Dialect, which the website describes:
In the fall of 2017, Susan and John Horseman generously donated twenty-eight works of art by twenty-five American and European artists to the Dixon Gallery and Gardens permanent collection. Dixon Board Chair C. Penn Owen III notes, “The Horseman Gift stands among the most important and impressive acts of collection building in our history.”

...

Julie Pierotti, the Dixon’s Martha R. Robinson Curator, states, “Susan and John Horseman have made a truly transformative gift to the Dixon. This extraordinary collection adds an important perspective and depth to our existing collection—it doubles the number of works by American artists in the Dixon collection; and it more than doubles our collection of works by women artists, allowing us to tell more complete stories about the art of the late nineteenth and early twentieth century. We couldn’t be more grateful to the Horsemans for this generous gift.”
Here's a video highlighting one of the paintings:



I was particularly struck on this day by Woman in a Green Dress:


by Richard E. Miller. This was the only image I could find of this, but as I'm only using it as an illustration of my viewing of the exhibit I'm considering it fair use. It's a shame I couldn't find a better quality picture.

The Mallory/Wurtzburger Galleries contained a fiber arts exhibit, the first major museum show of Memphis artist Paula Kovarik. She has a website here, where you can see her work. Just look at this one:


These are videos of the artist in her studio:





You really should go to her website and look at more of her art.

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Daybreak (1939)

Daybreak is a 1939 French film directed by Marcel Carné and starring Jean Gabin. The main story is told as a flashback, as Gabin's character has barricaded himself in his apartment and is besieged by the police after he kills a man. His is a tragic tale as he looks back on how he came to such a pass.


English subtitles are available by clicking on CC in the film settings 
at the bottom right of the video above.

Slant Magazine considers it a "forerunner of film noir". Empire Online concludes, "Exciting, beautiful and tragic, this remains essential cinema, French or otherwise." Village Voice says it "is gorgeously melancholy, and not just because of its tragic love-triangle plot: Released less than three months before France and Britain declared war on Germany, it vibrates with unspoken foreboding and despair".

The Guardian calls it a "classic" and opens this review with,
One of the peaks of “poetic realism”, the 1930s film school known for its combination of leftwing attitudes, visual and verbal lyricism and a pessimistic view of lower-class characters snared by a cruel fate, Le jour se lève (Daybreak) qualifies as what the French call un film maudit, a movie with a curse upon it. It opened on the eve of the second world war, was banned during the occupation and remade in 1947 by RKO, who attempted to destroy all existing copies. In the 1950s the belligerent critics of Cahiers du cinéma, soon to be film-makers in the new wave, attempted to destroy the reputation of its director, Marcel Carné, accusing him of heavy-handedness and attributing all that is successful in Le jour se lève to his long-time collaborator, the poet Jacques Prévert. Fortunately they failed

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

The Signal-Man

The Signal-Man is an 1866 ghost story by Charles Dickens. This is the story Doctor Who is talking about in this episode when the ninth Doctor meets Dickens.

It begins,
“Halloa! Below there!”

When he heard a voice thus calling to him, he was standing at the door of his box, with a flag in his hand, furled round its short pole. One would have thought, considering the nature of the ground, that he could not have doubted from what quarter the voice came; but instead of looking up to where I stood on the top of the steep cutting nearly over his head, he turned himself about, and looked down the Line. There was something remarkable in his manner of doing so, though I could not have said for my life what. But I know it was remarkable enough to attract my notice, even though his figure was foreshortened and shadowed, down in the deep trench, and mine was high above him, so steeped in the glow of an angry sunset, that I had shaded my eyes with my hand before I saw him at all.

“Halloa! Below!”

From looking down the Line, he turned himself about again, and, raising his eyes, saw my figure high above him.

“Is there any path by which I can come down and speak to you?”

He looked up at me without replying, and I looked down at him without pressing him too soon with a repetition of my idle question. Just then there came a vague vibration in the earth and air, quickly changing into a violent pulsation, and an oncoming rush that caused me to start back, as though it had force to draw me down. When such vapour as rose to my height from this rapid train had passed me, and was skimming away over the landscape, I looked down again, and saw him refurling the flag he had shown while the train went by.

I repeated my inquiry. After a pause, during which he seemed to regard me with fixed attention, he motioned with his rolled-up flag towards a point on my level, some two or three hundred yards distant. I called down to him, “All right!” and made for that point. There, by dint of looking closely about me, I found a rough zigzag descending path notched out, which I followed.

The cutting was extremely deep, and unusually precipitate. It was made through a clammy stone, that became oozier and wetter as I went down. For these reasons, I found the way long enough to give me time to recall a singular air of reluctance or compulsion with which he had pointed out the path.

When I came down low enough upon the zigzag descent to see him again, I saw that he was standing between the rails on the way by which the train had lately passed, in an attitude as if he were waiting for me to appear. He had his left hand at his chin, and that left elbow rested on his right hand, crossed over his breast. His attitude was one of such expectation and watchfulness that I stopped a moment, wondering at it.

I resumed my downward way, and stepping out upon the level of the railroad, and drawing nearer to him, saw that he was a dark sallow man, with a dark beard and rather heavy eyebrows. His post was in as solitary and dismal a place as ever I saw. On either side, a dripping-wet wall of jagged stone, excluding all view but a strip of sky; the perspective one way only a crooked prolongation of this great dungeon; the shorter perspective in the other direction terminating in a gloomy red light, and the gloomier entrance to a black tunnel, in whose massive architecture there was a barbarous, depressing, and forbidding air. So little sunlight ever found its way to this spot, that it had an earthy, deadly smell; and so much cold wind rushed through it, that it struck chill to me, as if I had left the natural world.
You can read it online here and listen to it here. It was adapted for television in 1976:

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Have a drink with Axel Revold


This is by Axel Revold, a Norwegian painter who died on April 11, 1962. This spot doesn't seem like the most welcoming setting for a woman alone, but maybe if we met there as a group we could friendly the joint up a bit?

You can see more of his work here.

Please join the weekly blogger gathering hosted by Bleubeard and Elizabeth. You can share a virtual drink with us without braving the men's-only bar.

Monday, April 09, 2018

Freaked

Freaked is a bizarre piece, a 1993 science fiction/black comedy starring Randy Quaid, William Sadler, Mr. T, and Brooke Shields. I found it tedious, but it may just be dated. I didn't finish it.

via Youtube:



The New York Times calls it "a rambunctiously slobbering entrant in the "Toxic Avenger" school of gross-out movie comedy". Rotten Tomatoes has a critics score of 47%.

Sunday, April 08, 2018

Laura Nyro

photo from Biography.com

Laura Nyro died on this date in 1997 of ovarian cancer. She was 49. The Rolling Stone obituary opened with this:
Laura Nyro, one of the most important female singer/songwriters of the '60s and '70s, died Tuesday at her Danbury, Conn., home at the age of 49 due to complications from ovarian cancer. Best known for such classics as "Wedding Bell Blues," "Stoned Soul Picnic," "And When I Die," "Stoney End" and "Eli's Comin,'" Nyro influenced peers and generations to come with her poetic lyrics, emotional vocal style and free-form compositions that drew on gospel and soul.
Singer, songwriter, pianist, she is a joy to listen to and a personal favorite. Enjoy:

You can listen to the first album I ever had and her debut album -The First Songs- here at this Youtube link. There's a Laura Nyro station on Pandora and on Google Play.

You can listen to Stoned Soul Picnic: The Best of Laura Nyro below from Spotify:



According to Wikipedia, the Stoned Soul Picnic album was "the last album Nyro released during her lifetime, and she died from ovarian cancer less than two months after its release" and "the most comprehensive overview of her work to date." Such a loss! It makes me cry. Her voice is so warm and lovely.

Her second album was Eli and the Thirteenth Confession:



Also via Spotify is New York Tendaberry, her third album:

Saturday, April 07, 2018

Too Many Cooks


Too Many Cooks is a 1938 Rex Stout novel featuring private detective Nero Wolfe. I forgot to take a photo while I had the book so took this one from an online search. This one has numerous characters and a complex plot. It takes place in April at a retreat in West Virginia.

from the back of the book:
The name is Archie,

Archie Goodwin. I work for Nero Wolfe as secretary, bodyguard, office manager, assistant detective -and fall-guy. When the world's greatest chefs invited Wolfe to a cooking conclave in West Virginia, he managed to heave his bulk out of his oversized arm chair and leave his orchids and his office to attend the gourmet gathering. It was worth the trip, until one of the chefs got a knife in his back....

Too Many Cooks

At least three master chefs had sworn to kill Laszio -and with sufficient personal reason. Had one of them turned butcher and carved him up?

There were too many motives, too few clues, and not enough time to solve one of the most bizarre puzzles in Nero Wolfe's entire career.
*******

There is some controversy about the use of words we would today consider racial or ethnic slurs. Wolfe himself treats everyone with respect. The L A Review of Books discusses it in an article on culinary mysteries, calling it a "masterpiece". There are several reviews referenced here.

Friday, April 06, 2018

Cosmic Voyage

Cosmic Voyage is a 1936 silent Soviet science fiction film combining politics, adventure, and a trip to the moon. Set 10 years in the future, it's sad sometimes to see how far we haven't come in the many decades since.

via Youtube:

Thursday, April 05, 2018

Easter Parade


Easter Parade is a 1957 novella by Rex Stout, one of his Nero Wolfe mysteries. It was first published in Look magazine. It involves the planned theft of a hybridized orchid worn in a corsage to an Easter Sunday church service. It's nice to find stories that are seasonal, especially ones centering around holidays other than Christmas.

The photo at the top of the page is one of the original illustrations intended to provide clues. The story is currently available in the collection And Four to Go but without the color illustrations.

Wednesday, April 04, 2018

He Walked By Night

He Walked By Night is an award-winning 1948 film noir police procedural starring Richard Basehart, Scott Brady, Roy Roberts, Jack Webb (who was inspired to do Dragnet as a result of his experience during this movie), and Whit Bissell (who has a Star Trek connection). It's based on a true story.

via Youtube:


DVD Talk calls it a "superior crime film" and
an unheralded film noir classic of the style's second wave. It's a grim crime tale inspired by real police work and was one of the more impressive thrillers of 1948. Anthony Mann has often been cited as an uncredited co-director.
Time Out calls it a "taut thriller". TCM has information. Rotten Tomatoes has a critics score of 83%.

Tuesday, April 03, 2018

End of the World



I love the signs posted at MiguelMarquezOutside.com, and I subscribe to the site so I don't miss any of them. When I saw this I thought: Well, as long as tea and coffee are provided, I'm in! I would love to adopt some of his ideas and put similar signs at my house, but I haven't actively pursued that.

Come join the party! Not for the end of the world, but just to share a drink-related post. Bleubeard and Elizabeth host a weekly T Stands for Tuesday blogger gathering.

Monday, April 02, 2018

Commenting Issue Solved


I installed Privacy Badger
and that's where my issue with leaving comments came from. 

For now, I'm keeping the browser extension, but I have to disable it on each blog I comment on. If that becomes tiresome I'll uninstall it. I'm just glad to have discovered what the problem was and how easy a fix there is. 


Hoorah!

The Story of an Hour

Woman in a Deck Chair by the Window, 1913, by Lovis Corinth


The Story of an Hour is an 1894 short story by Kate Chopin. It begins,
Knowing that Mrs. Mallard was afflicted with a heart trouble, great care was taken to break to her as gently as possible the news of her husband's death. 
It was her sister Josephine who told her, in broken sentences; veiled hints that revealed in half concealing. Her husband's friend Richards was there, too, near her. It was he who had been in the newspaper office when intelligence of the railroad disaster was received, with Brently Mallard's name leading the list of "killed." He had only taken the time to assure himself of its truth by a second telegram, and had hastened to forestall any less careful, less tender friend in bearing the sad message.

She did not hear the story as many women have heard the same, with a paralyzed inability to accept its significance. She wept at once, with sudden, wild abandonment, in her sister's arms. When the storm of grief had spent itself she went away to her room alone. She would have no one follow her.

There stood, facing the open window, a comfortable, roomy armchair. Into this she sank, pressed down by a physical exhaustion that haunted her body and seemed to reach into her soul.

She could see in the open square before her house the tops of trees that were all aquiver with the new spring life. The delicious breath of rain was in the air. In the street below a peddler was crying his wares. The notes of a distant song which some one was singing reached her faintly, and countless sparrows were twittering in the eaves.

There were patches of blue sky showing here and there through the clouds that had met and piled one above the other in the west facing her window.
You can read it online here. You can listen to it here:



I found this story a stunning revelation. Shocking.

Sunday, April 01, 2018

Deviled Eggs


Happy Easter! I don't make deviled eggs often, but Easter seems a good time for it. Here's my recipe:

Ingredients:
6 large eggs
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
2 teaspoons mustard
Salt and pepper
Paprika, for garnishing
optional sweet pickle relish, to taste
Hard-boil the eggs, let them cool, peel them, then cut them in half lengthwise.

Remove the yolks carefully. Place yolks in a bowl and mash until smooth.

Mix in the mayo and mustard.

Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Stir in relish if desired.

If the egg yolks are still too stiff , add in mayo a little at a time to achieve the desired consistency.

Spoon yolks evenly into the egg whites.

Sprinkle paprika over the top of each one.