Sunday, September 23, 2018

On the Patio

Yesterday was the Autumnal Equinox, so it seemed a good time to highlight some of the seasonal changes on the patio. We got another rain earlier in the month, perhaps a sign that Autumn is coming:


We haven't seen as many butterflies this year as we usually do, but there've been some swallowtails and some pretty yellow ones, a number of little white butterflies, and I got this picture of an orange butterly (a Gulf Fritillary?):


and some photos of an entirely different kind of orange butterfly, (perhaps a Monarch?):


The swallowtails still come to the flowers, but are looking quite ragged this late in the year.


We've had a hard time attracting cardinals, but we finally found a feeder that does the trick:


The problem is that the feeder the cardinals like is readily accessible to the squirrels and chipmunks *sigh* They should just call them chipmunk feeders and be done with it:



This female cardinal ventured down for water:



The hummingbirds pulled a stunt I'd never seen, with one hanging upside down from a Dracena leaf while the other poked and prodded until they both flew away.


I find hummingbirds hard to photograph, but I got a couple of videos. In this one you can see and hear the hummingbird up in the dogwood tree:



and in the one below you see the hummingbird at the feeder:




We still have some coneflowers blooming:


and some caterpillars on the rue:



The opossum has been a new visitor we get a kick out of watching. She (he?) has only come twice, several days apart around 11:00 PM, and hunts bugs with enthusiasm:


She patrols the perimeter, looks in the door at us, and gets a drink. We're in favor of anything that keeps bugs at bay and doesn't want to come inside.

Yesterday was a gray, drizzly day with a high in the low 70s -perfect weather for the equinox observance!

Saturday, September 22, 2018

An Aimless Bullet

An Aimless Bullet is a 1960 South Korean tragedy about life in South Korea after the end of the Korean War. Originally banned by that government, it was eventually released to praise.


Reviews online are scarce.

Friday, September 21, 2018

The Langoliers

Today is the birthday of Stephen King, a day I've never paid any attention at all to in the past, but the host at the Incipient Wings blog is having a party -I'll put a link here to that post when it goes live. In that birthday party spirit I thought I'd watch something by King that was new to me, and The Younger Son suggested The Langoliers. It's a 2-part mini-series based on a 1990 novella. This tv adaptation stars Patricia Wettig, Dean Stockwell, and David Morse. People yell and scream a lot. It's slow, but the journey makes for an interesting ride. Wikipedia begins its plot description with this:
During a red eye flight of a Lockheed L-1011 from Los Angeles International Airport to Boston Logan International Airport, the plane flies through a strange light, and most of the passengers and flight crew disappear, leaving behind only personal artifacts. Only those passengers who were asleep remain, and discover the predicament when they wake. Pilot Brian Engle, deadheading on the flight, takes the controls; unable to contact any other airport, he decides to land the plane at Bangor International Airport because of its long runway.
I'm not a fan of movies or books or TV episodes about time travel, time wars, time streams, time distortions, time whatever, but at least this concept is different.

trailer:



Empire Online gives it 3 out of 5 stars and calls it "Honourable, but longwinded." Entertainment Weekly says it's "slow going in spots, but it’s also a lot more fun than most TV movies." Rotten Tomatoes has a critics rating of 50%, so it looks like half like it and half don't. Take a chance.

Other works by King I've seen or read and blogged are below.

Books:

The Shining (1977)
The Gunslinger (1982)
Pet Sematary (1983)
The Drawing of the Three (1987)
The Waste Lands (1991)
The Stand (1994)
Wizard and Glass (1997)
Bag of Bones (1998)
Wolves of Calla (2003)
Susannah (2004)
Duma Key (2008)
Just After Sunset (2008)

Movies:

The Dead Zone (1983)
Children of the Corn (1984)
The Shawshank Redemption (1994)
The Green Mile (1999)

Thursday, September 20, 2018

The Hobbit


The Hobbit is a 1937 fantasy novel by J.R.R. Tolkien. It has never been out of print, and there have been many adaptations. I've read it to myself and to my children numerous times and recently re-read it. It never gets old. If you haven't read it you will improve your life by remedying that lack. It's a delightful story.

from the book jacket:
When The Hobbit was first published in this country, the American Library Association's reviewer said in the ALA Bulletin:
"At this time of writing, still under the spell of the story, I cannot bend my mind to ask myself whether our American children will like it. My impulse is to say if they don't, so much the worse for them..."
By now, The Hobbit has become a classic, and the Horn Book's prophetic review gives some hints as to why: "The background of the story is full of authentic bits of mythology and magic and the book has the rare quality of style. It is written with a quiet humor and the logical detail in which children take delight ... this is a book with no age limits. All those, young or old, who love a finely imagined story, beautifully told, will take The Hobbit to their hearts."
This book seems universally beloved, so quotes from reviews seem unnecessary.

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

The Lady Eve

The Lady Eve is a 1941 Preston Sturges screwball comedy starring Barbara Stanwyck and Henry Fonda. Priceless!

You can watch it online here:



The Telegraph calls it Sturges' best film. Filmsite calls it "a sophisticated romantic/sex comedy (with light romance and mock seduction scenes) -a classic screwball film, a quintessential Preston Sturges work of art and the director's first real commercial hit." It's on Roger Ebert's list of Great Movies. Rotten Tomatoes has a critics score of 100%.

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Still Life With Casserole

Still Life With Casserole (1955):


by Fairfield Porter, an American painter who died on September 18, 1975 at age 68. You can read more about him here and see more of his art here and here.

I don't have a casserole dish like that and always used those clear 9x13 or 8x8 Pyrex dishes. My easiest casserole recipes from 40+ years ago when I was first learning to cook:

Tuna Casserole:

Chunk Light Tuna, packed in water -2 cans
Condensed Cream of Mushroom soup -1 can
Egg Noodles -2 cups
Bread crumbs -to taste for topping

Preheat oven to 400 F.
Cook noodles.
Place cooked noodles in the bottom of greased baking dish.
Spread tuna over noodles.
Spread soup over tuna.
Bake for 20 minutes.
Top with bread crumbs.
Cook 10 more minutes.

Green Bean Casserole:
French-style Green Beans -2 cans (16 oz each)
Sliced Water Chestnuts -1 can
Condensed Cream of Mushroom soup -1 can
French Fried Onions -to taste
Shredded Cheddar Cheese -as desired for topping

Layer in greased baking dish.
Bake in pre-heated oven at 350 F 20 minutes.
Top with cheese and bake another 10 minutes.

And Chicken Casserole:

Long-grain White Rice -1 cup, uncooked
Chicken Breasts -4-6, depending on size
Seasoning to taste -for chicken
Condensed Cream of Celery soup -1 can
Condensed Cream of Mushroom soup -1 can
Water -2 cups

Preheat oven to 350 F.
Place rice in bottom of baking dish.
Arrange seasoned chicken on rice.
Mix other ingredients and pour over chicken.
Cook 1 1/2 hours.
I don't generally cook casseroles at all any more, and these recipes don't look like they've aged well.

There's nothing in the carafe or the pitcher in this painting, but I have faith that water and wine will be on offer any minute now. Please join me at the table, and we'll enjoy those lovely flowers and visit with one another in the meantime. Please join me at the weekly T Stands for Tuesday blogger gathering.

Monday, September 17, 2018

The Diary of a Madman


The Diary of a Madman is an 1886 short story by Guy de Maupassant. Wikipedia says this:
In his later years he developed a constant desire for solitude, an obsession for self-preservation, and a fear of death and paranoia of persecution caused by the syphilis he had contracted in his youth. It has been suggested that his brother, Hervé, also suffered from syphilis and the disease may have been congenital. On 2 January 1892, Maupassant tried to commit suicide by cutting his throat, and was committed to the private asylum of Esprit Blanche at Passy, in Paris, where he died 6 July 1893.

Guy De Maupassant penned his own epitaph: "I have coveted everything and taken pleasure in nothing." He is buried in Section 26 of the Montparnasse Cemetery, Paris.
He was 42 years old at the time of his death.

This story begins,
He was dead -the head of a high tribunal, the upright magistrate whose irreproachable life was a proverb in all the courts of France. Advocates, young counsellors, judges had greeted him at sight of his large, thin, pale face lighted up by two sparkling deep-set eyes, bowing low in token of respect.

He had passed his life in pursuing crime and in protecting the weak. Swindlers and murderers had no more redoubtable enemy, for he seemed to read the most secret thoughts of their minds.

He was dead, now, at the age of eighty-two, honored by the homage and followed by the regrets of a whole people. Soldiers in red trousers had escorted him to the tomb and men in white cravats had spoken words and shed tears that seemed to be sincere beside his grave.

But here is the strange paper found by the dismayed notary in the desk where he had kept the records of great criminals! It was entitled:

WHY?
You can read it online here.

Sunday, September 16, 2018

Dance, Girl, Dance

Dance, Girl, Dance is a 1940 musical film starring Maureen O'Hara, Lucille Ball, Ralph Bellamy, and Maria Ouspenskaya. Ouspenskaya is a treasure, and any movie she's in is worth watching. You can watch it online via this link.

I can't find a trailer, but here's Lucille Ball doing her version of a hula dance:




Senses of Cinema says, "Dance, Girl, Dance is a milestone in the dance film and musical" and says it "could be classed as high camp, but it has much more to offer than this implies".

The New Yorker says,
The movie lives up to its title—its subject really is dancing. Arzner films it with fascination and enthusiasm, and the choreography is marked by the point of view of the spectators and the dancers’ awareness that they’re being watched.
This film is included in the book 1,001 Movies You Must See Before You Die. Rotten Tomatoes has a critics score of 80%. FilmReference.com has an article.

Saturday, September 15, 2018

Morning 42


A little something just to see if the walkers are paying attention?

Friday, September 14, 2018

It's a Gift

It's a Gift is a 1934 W.C. Fields comedy. It's a funny movie, and short and easy to watch if you'd just like a taste of this kind of film. Wikipedia says,
the film is perhaps the best example of the recurring theme of the Everyman battling against his domestic entrapment. Historians and critics have often cited its numerous memorable comic moments.


This film is included in the book 1,001 Movies You Must See Before You Die. Filmsite says it "is often cited as W. C. Fields' best and funniest picture - it is undoubtedly one of the greatest, classic comedies ever made". Rotten Tomatoes has a critics score of 100%.