Thursday, March 29, 2007

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Alexander Nevsky

This Russian movie is a 1938 anti-German propaganda film with Alexander Nevsky leading the good people of Rus, mostly peasants, against the cruel invading Teutonic army of thousands. He was canonized in 1547.

Music for the film was composed by Sergei Prokofiev. An excerpt from the "Battle of the Ice" section from a live performance can be seen here:

The movie itself can be viewed here:

An excerpt from the movie showing 10 minutes from the end of the battle scene:

Criterion Contraption has a review.

Forbidden Planet

Forbidden Planet, starring Walter Pidgeon, Anne Francis and Leslie Nielsen, is available on DVD and online from googlevideo:

The video has an introduction from The Cinemated Man, and the movie itself starts at about 8 minutes in.

Forbidden Planet is the 1956 science fiction film which introduced Robbie the Robot.

There are Star Trek connections, some of which are explored here and some here.

Moria gives it high marks, calling it "unquestionably one of the all-time science-fiction classics". 1000 Misspent Hours says it's "a top contender for the title of The Ultimate 1950’s Science Fiction Movie". closes its review by saying that "the bulk of this film has aged well through the decades, largely because it can still invoke mean feat." DVDJournal claims that "Now fifty years on, Forbidden Planet is still the best original spaceships-rayguns-and-alien-worlds movie Hollywood has produced." 1001 Flicks has a review.

3/14/2010: SFSignal has this film as their Sunday Cinema offering for today.



Bounce The Ball

Play Online.

Presidential Candidate Selector

Who should you vote for? You can see that Dennis Kucinich ranks high on my list.

Percent Rank Item
(100%) 1: Sen. Barack Obama (D) Information
(87%) 2: Retired Gen. Wesley Clark (D) Information
(85%) 3: Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D) Information
(79%) 4: Sen. Christopher Dodd (D) Information
(73%) 5: Gov. Tom Vilsack (D) Withdrew from race.
(73%) 6: Ex-Sen. John Edwards (D) Information
(70%) 7: Ex-VP Al Gore (D) Information
(69%) 8: Rep. Ron Paul (R) Information
(68%) 9: Gov. Bill Richardson (D) Information
(64%) 10: Sen. Hillary Clinton (D) Information
(55%) 11: Sen. Joseph Biden (D) Information
(54%) 12: Gov. Mike Huckabee (R) Information
(48%) 13: Ex-Mayor Rudy Giuliani (R) Information
(44%) 14: Rep. Tom Tancredo (R) Information
(42%) 15: Gov. Mitt Romney (R) Information
(37%) 16: Ex-Rep. Newt Gingrich (R) Information
(37%) 17: Rep. Duncan Hunter (R) Information
(34%) 18: Gov. George Pataki (R) Information
(33%) 19: Sec. Condoleezza Rice (R) Information
(30%) 20: Sen. Sam Brownback (R) Information
(25%) 21: Sen. John McCain (R) Information
(22%) 22: Sen. Chuck Hagel (R) Information
(0%) 23: Sen. George Allen (R) Withdrew from race.
(0%) 24: Sen. John Kerry (D) Withdrew from race.
(0%) 25: Sen. Russ Feingold (D) Withdrew from race.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Do The Impossible!

Make this figure:

using the instructions here.

More impossible structures here at Crooked Brains.

The Dunwich Horror

Listen online here. (HT: SF Signal)

H.P. Lovecraft wrote The Dunwich Horror in 1928, and it is considered part of the Cthulhu Mythos. The story can be read online here.

I discovered Lovecraft in high school and read the paperbacks I could find. The Cthulhu story has arisen anew as a way of parodying the popular Christian fundamentalist ideas promoted by such as Jack Chick. The Chick tract parody, from which the picture above was taken, is priceless. Some see reminders of Cthulhu in the Flying Spaghetti Monster.


The Chick tract parody linked above is gone, but it is currently available here and here and an image of the parody tract is here. Fair Use is dying under the oppression of corporate protectionism.

As Slow As Possible

As Slow As Possible is another composition by John Cage. As written, a performance lasts 20 minutes, however there is a performance in process right now which began in 2001 with 1 1/2 years of silence and which won't be completed until 2640. The work was originally written for solo piano and later adapted by Cage for organ. Sheet music is available here. You can hear a 30 second excerpt of the solo piano version here.

A part of the long version of this piece can be seen performed here:

and another part here:

I can't find the 20-minute version for piano online anywhere.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Cold Feet

Cold Feet is a modern-day Western comedy starring Keith Carradine, Tom Waits and Rip Torn. There's an emerald-stuffed stallion, a road trip, a shot-gun wedding and a 9-year-old survival camp homeschooler. It's definitely funny.

Star Trek connection: Keith Carradine appeared in Star Trek: Enterprise.

Play Poolside Sumo Wrestling

Free online game here.

Al's Relativistic Adventure

What a trip!


John Cage is a modern composer (1912-1992) who wrote some unusual pieces. You can listen to his 4'33" here and see it performed on piano here:

and here in an orchestral version:

Here's the GVSU New Music Ensemble sharing their version (includes tuning up):

and here is a version for acoustic guitar:

There are other versions on youtube performed by guitarists, soprano recorder and even angelfish.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Open Season

Open Season, debut novel by C J. Box, introduces Joe Pickett, a young Wyoming game warden with a pregnant wife and 2 daughters. I liked this character and his family and found the book a good read. I liked the environmentalism thread and the rustic outdoor setting.

The Annunciation

26 In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a town in Galilee called Nazareth, 27 to a virgin engaged to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. 28 And he came to her and said, “Greetings, favored one! The Lord is with you.” 29 But she was much perplexed by his words and pondered what sort of greeting this might be. 30 The angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. 31 And now, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you will name him Jesus. 32 He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give to him the throne of his ancestor David. 33 He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.” 34 Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, since I am a virgin?” 35 The angel said to her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be holy; he will be called Son of God. 36 And now, your relative Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son; and this is the sixth month for her who was said to be barren. 37 For nothing will be impossible with God.” 38 Then Mary said, “Here am I, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word.” Then the angel departed from her.

Luke 1:26-38 (NRSV)

The picure above is The Annunciation, by Fra Angelico.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Murder With Peacocks

Murder With Peacocks, by Donna Andrews, is the first in the Meg Langslow mystery series. I enjoyed it except that I wanted to take the main character aside and teach her how to say, "No". I've never met anyone who would allow herself to be so taken advantage of while those depending on her did nothing. Also, I can't help but wonder why every man in the time zone hovers around her. Like many of the situations in this book, it's an unexplained plot contrivance. It was an entertaining-enough "cozy". It is #19 on the Honor Roll of most-awarded mystery/suspence novels.

From the back of the book:

Three Weddings...And a Murder

So far Meg Langslow's summer is not going swimmingly. Down in her small Virginia hometown, she's maid of honor at the nuptuals of three loved ones--each of whom has dumped the planning in her capable hands. One bride is set on including a Native American herbal purification ceremony, while another wants live peacocks on the law. Only help from the town's drop-dead gorgeous hunk, disappointingly rumored to be gay, keeps Meg afloat in a sea of dotty relatives and outrageous neighbors.

And, in whirl of summer parties and picnics, Souther hospitality is strained to the limit by an offenseive newcomer who hints at skeletons in the guests' closets. But it seems this lady has offended one too many when she's found dead in suspicious circumstances, followed by a string of accidents--some fatal. Soon, level-headed Meg's to-do list extends from flower arragements and bridal registries to catching a killer--before the next catered event is her own funeral...

Friday, March 23, 2007

Lilies of the Field

I bought this movie because it's on the Arts and Faith list of the 100 Most Spiritually Significant Films. Lilies of the Field stars Sidney Poitier. You can watch the trailer here.

There are Star Trek connections: The music is by Jerry Goldsmith, Juan is played by Stanley Adams who played Cyrano Jones in "The Trouble With Tribbles".

Bootlegger's Daughter

The Bootlegger's Daughter is the narrator and main character in this book by Margaret Maron. Winner of the Edgar Award in 1993, it also won the Anthony Award, the Agatha Award and the Macavity Award, making it one of the most-awarded novels in the genre. It is also on the list of 100 Favorite Mysteries of the 20th Century as selected by the Independent Mystery Booksellers Association's online members. I wasn't that impressed, but it was an enjoyable novel. There are at least 10 more in this series with this book being the first. The only other one I've read is Up Jumps the Devil.

From the back of the book:

Unconventional, still unwed (at the ripe old age of 34) North Carolina attorney Deborah Knott has done the unthinkable: tossed her hat into the heated race for district judge of the old boy-ruled Colleton County. The only female candidate, she's busy defending indigent clients and reeling in voters. Then suddenly, the young daughter of Janie Whitehead begs her to help solve Janie's senseless, never-solved, eighteen-year-old murder. Deborah takes on the case; following twisted, typically Southern bloodlines, turning up dangerous, decades-old secrets, and inspiring someone to go on an all-out campaign to derail her future- political and otherwise. But it will take more than sleazy smear tactics to scare this determined steel magnolia off the scent of down-home deceit...even in a town where a cool slug of moonshine made by Deborah's father can go down just as smoothly as a cold case of triple murder.

Bible Places Photos

The Bible Places web site has photos, beautiful photos, of

sites in Israel, Jordan, Egypt, Turkey and Greece with an emphasis on biblical archaeology, geography and history.

The photo in this post is of the Kidron Valley and the Mount of Olives.

Best Low-Budget Films

Here's Cinematical's list of the best low-budget movies ever made (I've bolded ones I've seen):

THX 1138 (1971)

American Graffiti (1973)

The Evil Dead (1981)

El Mariachi (1992)

Clerks. (1994)

The Blair Witch Project (1999)

Brick (2005)

I'm amazed that the list doesn't go back any further than 1971!

David, Goliath and Queen

HT: Locusts and Honey

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Happy Birthday, Captain Kirk!

According to /film today is the big day. Captain Kirk has a wiki entry here and information on him abounds both online and in books.

SF Book Club Top 50

Here's the list of the Science Fiction Book Club's Top 50 SFF books (I've bolded ones I've read):

1. The Lord of the Rings, J.R.R. Tolkien
2. The Foundation Trilogy, Isaac Asimov
3. Dune, Frank Herbert
4. Stranger in a Strange Land, Robert A. Heinlein
5. A Wizard of Earthsea, Ursula K. Le Guin
6. Neuromancer, William Gibson
7. Childhood’s End, Arthur C. Clarke
8. Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, Philip K. Dick
9. The Mists of Avalon, Marion Zimmer Bradley
10. Fahrenheit 451, Ray Bradbury
11. The Book of the New Sun, Gene Wolfe
12. A Canticle for Leibowitz, Walter M. Miller, Jr.
13. The Caves of Steel, Isaac Asimov
14. Children of the Atom, Wilmar Shiras
15. Cities in Flight, James Blish
16. The Colour of Magic, Terry Pratchett
17. Dangerous Visions, edited by Harlan Ellison
18. Deathbird Stories, Harlan Ellison
19. The Demolished Man, Alfred Bester
20. Dhalgren, Samuel R. Delany
21. Dragonflight, Anne McCaffrey
22. Ender’s Game, Orson Scott Card
23. The First Chronicles of Thomas Covenant the Unbeliever, Stephen R. Donaldson
24. The Forever War, Joe Haldeman
25. Gateway, Frederik Pohl
26. Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, J.K. Rowling
27. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, Douglas Adams
28. I Am Legend, Richard Matheson
29. Interview with the Vampire, Anne Rice
30. The Left Hand of Darkness, Ursula K. Le Guin
31. Little, Big, John Crowley
32. Lord of Light, Roger Zelazny
33. The Man in the High Castle, Philip K. Dick
34. Mission of Gravity, Hal Clement
35. More Than Human, Theodore Sturgeon (can't remember right now...)
36. The Rediscovery of Man, Cordwainer Smith
37. On the Beach, Nevil Shute
38. Rendezvous with Rama, Arthur C. Clarke
39. Ringworld, Larry Niven
40. Rogue Moon, Algis Budrys
41. The Silmarillion, J.R.R. Tolkien
42. Slaughterhouse-5, Kurt Vonnegut
43. Snow Crash, Neal Stephenson
44. Stand on Zanzibar, John Brunner
45. The Stars My Destination, Alfred Bester
46. Starship Troopers, Robert A. Heinlein
47. Stormbringer, Michael Moorcock
48. The Sword of Shannara, Terry Brooks
49. Timescape, Gregory Benford
50. To Your Scattered Bodies Go, Philip Jose Farmer

HT: #comments

The Lost World

The Lost World is based on an Arthur Conan Doyle story. The 1925 silent movie is available at the Internet Archive and courtesy of GoogleVideo:

From the google page:

Explorer Professor Challenger is taking quite a beating in the London press thanks to his claim that living dinosaurs exist in the far reaches of the Amazon.

Newspaper reporter Edward Malone learns that this claim originates from a diary given to him by fellow explorer Maple White's daughter, Paula.

Malone's paper funds an expedition to rescue Maple White, who has been marooned at the top of a high plateau. Joined by renowned hunter John Roxton, and others, the group goes to South America, where they do indeed find a plateau inhabited by pre-historic creatures, one of which they even manage to bring back to London with them.

The Fencer Lunges

And what a lunge!

HT: O'DonnellWeb

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Films For Theologians

The Faith and Theology blog has a list from over a year ago of the 10 must-see movies for theologians:

# The Apostle
# Balthazar
# The Big Kahuna
# Blade Runner
# The Decalogue
# Jesus of Montreal
# Magnolia
# The Mission
# Monty Python's Life of Brian
# Wings of Desire

He has more on these films in his blog post. There are also links to other folks' lists and several comments there.

I have a long way to go to finish this list. Just finding some of the movies might be a challenge.

Folk Music

The 111 Greatest Acts of the Anglo-American Folk Tradition,
or, more specifically (!): "A Combined Current/Retrospective Ranked List of Those Folk Acts from Here and Other Countries Who Have Most Contributed (and/or Are Most Contributing) to This Folk Music Tradition in the United States"

Includes links to resources on folk musicians, including links to online videos. The first musician listed is Woody Guthrie. One of the videos linked:

Darkest Peru

Clean Your Room!

They didn't, and look what happened to them. (find "Death by Garbage" on this page.)

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Little Shop of Horrors

The Little Shop of Horrors (the older 1960 version):

Jack Nicholson has a small, but priceless, role in The Little Shop of Horrors.

R.I.P. John W. Backus

John W. Backus, inventor of FORTRAN, died Saturday, March 17. The NYT obit is here. I learned FORTRAN in the 70's and always did like it. Of course, I've forgotten it all now, but I still have that cool book mark.

HT: BoingBoing

Piano Tuning

Our piano tuner came today. It was just a bit different from this:

Piano Tooners (1932) - The top video clips of the week are here

Come to Grief

Come to Grief, by Dick Francis, won the Edgar Award in 1996. It was ok, I guess. The protagonist is saintly and superhuman, which I found tiring.

Let It Be

Monday, March 19, 2007

Feast of St Joseph

Today is the feast day of St. Joseph. St. Joseph is the patron saint of the universal church. There are many links to information on St. Joseph here.

Royal Wedding

Royal Wedding is a musical starring Fred Astaire, Jane Powell, Peter Lawford and Keenan Wynn. It is in the public domain and is available at the Internet Archive and at GoogleVideo:

From the googlevideo page:

Also known as "Wedding Bells". "Tom and Ellen Bowen are a brother and sister dance act whose show closes in New York. Their agent books them in London for the same period as the Royal Wedding. They travel by cruise ship where Ellen meets and becomes involved with Lord John Brindale. This causes her to miss a rehearsal." Directed by Stalney Donen, story and screen play by Alan Jay Lerner, 1951.

Fred Astaire has a hat rack as a dancing partner in this one. It's perfect for mindless entertainment, which is just what I need sometimes.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

John Wesley on Fasting

From Wesley's sermon # 27 Upon Our Lord's Sermon on the Mount:

In order to set this in the clearest light, I shall endeavour to show, First, what is the nature of fasting, and what the several sorts and degrees thereof: Secondly, what are the reasons, grounds, and ends of it: Thirdly, how we may answer the most plausible objections against it: And Fourthly, in what manner it should be performed.

For more of Wesley's wisdom on this subject the entire sermon can be read online here.

The Selfish Giant

You can read The Selfish Giant, by Oscar Wilde, here, here, here and here. You can listen to the story online as narrated by Frederick March here. In the early 1970's there was an animated version.

It is such a beautiful story of love, a picture of St. Francis of Assisi's prayer:

for it is in giving that we receive,
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
and it is in dying that we are born to Eternal Life.

Sunday Psalm

Psalm 32 (KJV)

1 Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered.

2 Blessed is the man unto whom the LORD imputeth not iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no guile.

3 When I kept silence, my bones waxed old through my roaring all the day long.

4 For day and night thy hand was heavy upon me: my moisture is turned into the drought of summer. Selah.

5 I acknowledge my sin unto thee, and mine iniquity have I not hid. I said, I will confess my transgressions unto the LORD; and thou forgavest the iniquity of my sin. Selah.

6 For this shall every one that is godly pray unto thee in a time when thou mayest be found: surely in the floods of great waters they shall not come nigh unto him.

7 Thou art my hiding place; thou shalt preserve me from trouble; thou shalt compass me about with songs of deliverance. Selah.

8 I will instruct thee and teach thee in the way which thou shalt go: I will guide thee with mine eye.

9 Be ye not as the horse, or as the mule, which have no understanding: whose mouth must be held in with bit and bridle, lest they come near unto thee.

10 Many sorrows shall be to the wicked: but he that trusteth in the LORD, mercy shall compass him about.

11 Be glad in the LORD, and rejoice, ye righteous: and shout for joy, all ye that are upright in heart.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Aunt Dimity's Death

Aunt Dimity's Death, by Nancy Atherton, was a delightful read. It held my attention completely while having no gore whatsoever. A "cozy" -I think that's what they call this kind of mystery. It's actually more of a ghost story, it seems to me. This is the first in a series centered around Aunt Dimity. I read it because it's on the list of best mysteries of the century put out by the Independent Mystery Booksellers Association.

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

photo from flickr

Book of the Dead

The Tibetan Book of the Dead: A Way of Life is a documentary about the history and current use of this book.

From the description:

A Way of Life reveals the history of The Tibetan Book of the Dead and examines its traditional use in northern India, as well as its acceptance in Western hospices. Shot over a four-month period, the film contains footage of the rites and liturgies for a deceased Ladakhi elder and includes an interview with the Dalai Lama, who shares his views on the book's meaning and importance.


Triplanetary, by E.E. "Doc" Smith, is available online here. This is the first book in the Lensman series.

HT: SFSignal

Play Time!

Play-time with lines and colors.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Diary of a Country Priest

What does it mean to have been a failure or a success?

Diary of a Country Priest is the journal of a young priest assigned to a hostile country parish. As his illness worsens to the point of incapacitating him he struggles with his faith and prayer life and continues to put the needs of others above his own. His isolation is heart-breaking. This movie is #5 on Arts and Faith's Top 100 Spiritually Significant Films.

We have the Criterion edition that has an audio commentary we have not yet listened to.

The movie is based on the book by the same name which I read and loved years ago.


1001Flicks has a review.

A Is For Alibi

This is the first book I've read by Sue Grafton, and I liked it well enough. It's fast-moving and an easy read, but I did lose track of some of the characters. A Is For Alibi is the first in the Kinsey Milhone "Alphabet" mystery series. From the back cover:

A tough-talking former cop, private investigator Kinsey Milhone has set up a modest detective agency in a quiet corner of Santa Teresa, Californis. A twice-divorced loner with few personal possessions and fewer personal attachments, she's got a soft spot for underdogs and lost causes.

That's why she draws desperate clients like Nikki Fife. Eight years ago, Nikki was convicted of killing her philandering husband. Now she's out on parole and needs Kinsey's help to find the real killer. But after all this time, clearing Nikki's bad name won't be easy.

If there's one thing that makes Kinsey Milhone feel alive, it's playing on the edge. When her investigation turns up a second corpse, more suspects, and a new reason to kill, Kinsey discovers that the edge is closer -and sharper- than she imagined.

This series is very popular, and this first book came highly recommended. I'm not sorry I read it, by any means, but I'm not caught up in the character enough to seek out the rest of them.

Trust the Finns

Today is St. Urho's Day. The Ode to St. Urho ends with a cheer:

So let's give a cheer in hower pest vay
On Sixteenth of March, St. Urho's Tay.

The Puffin

The Puffin

There once was a puffin just the shape of a muffin,
And he lived on an island in the




He ate little fishes, which were most delicious,
And he ate them for breakfast and he

ate them



But this poor little puffin, he couldn't play nothin',
'Cause he didn't have no-one to

play with



So he sat on his island and he cried for a while, and
He felt very lonesome and he




Then along came the fishes and they said, "If you wishes,
You can have us for playmates, instead




Now they all play together in all kinds of weather,
And the puffin eats pancakes, like you




by Florence Jacques

Ugly Sumo News

The L.A. Times reports a cheating scandal:

OSAKA, JAPAN — It sure looks real enough, all those vicious slaps to the face and head-smacking collisions and men of generous poundage being hurled into the dirt.

But the shadow of fraud hangs over this spring's sumo tournament in Osaka

I saw the news at WorldHum, which asks:

Is Japan’s beloved sport of sumo wrestling scripted and fake?

I've always gotten a big kick out of Sumo wrestling and would hate to think the big guys cheat!

100 Mysteries

I'm spending some time trying to familiarize myself with the mystery novel, so I thought I post a few lists to see how I'm doing so far. Books I've read are in bold print.

This is a list, in alphabetical order by author, of the 100 favorite mysteries of the century according to The Independent Mystery Booksellers Association:

The 100 Favorite Mysteries of the Century

Allingham, Margery. The Tiger in the Smoke
Ambler, Eric. A Coffin for Dimitrios
Armstrong, Charlotte. A Dram of Poison
Atherton, Nancy. Aunt Dimity's Death
Ball, John. In the Heat of the Night
Barnard, Robert. Death by Sheer Torture
Barr, Nevada. Track of the Cat
Blake, Nicholas. The Beast Must Die
Block, Lawrence. When the Sacred Ginmill Closes
Brand, Christianna. Green for Danger
Brown, Frederic. The Fabulous Clipjoint
Buchan, John. The 39 Steps
Burke, James Lee. Black Cherry Blues
Cain, James M.. The Postman Always Rings Twice
Cannell, Dorothy. The Thin Woman
Carr, John Dickson. The Three Coffins
Caudwell, Sarah. Thus Was Adonis Murdered
Chandler, Raymond. The Big Sleep
Christie, Agatha. The Murder of Roger Ackroyd
Connelly, Michael. The Concrete Blonde
Constantine, K.C.. The Man Who Liked Slow Tomatoes
Crais, Robert. The Monkey's Raincoat
Crispin, Edmund. The Moving Toyshop
Crombie, Deborah. Dreaming of the Bones
Crumley, James. The Last Good Kiss
Dickinson, Peter. The Yellow Room Conspiracy
Doyle, Arthur Conan. The Hound of the Baskervilles
DuMaurier, Daphne. Rebecca
Dunning, John. Booked to Die
Elkins, Aaron. Old Bones
Evanovich, Janet. One for the Money
Finney, Jack. Time and Again
Ford, G.M.. Who in Hell Is Wanda Fuca?
Francis, Dick. Whip Hand
Fremlin, Celia. The Hours Before Dawn
George, Elizabeth. A Great Deliverance
Gilbert, Michael. Smallbone Deceased
Grafton, Sue. "A" is for Alibi
Graham, Caroline. The Killings at Badger's Drift
Grimes, Martha. The Man With the Load of Mischief
Hammett, Dashiell. The Maltese Falcon
Hare, Cyril. An English Murder
Harris, Thomas. The Silence of the Lambs
Hiaasen, Carl. Tourist Season
Highsmith, Patricia. The Talented Mr. Ripley
Hill, Reginald. On Beulah Height
Hillerman, Tony. A Thief of Time
Himes, Chester. Cotton Comes to Harlem
Innes, Michael. Hamlet, Revenge
James, P.D.. An Unsuitable Job for a Woman
Kellerman, Faye. The Ritual Bath
Kellerman, Jonathan. When the Bough Breaks
King, Laurie. The Beekeeper's Apprentice
Langton, Jane. Dark Nantucket Noon
le Carre, John. The Spy Who Came in From The Cold
Lee, Harper. To Kill a Mockingbird
Lehane, Dennie. Darkness, Take My Hand
Leonard, Elmore. Get Shorty
Lochte, Dick. Sleeping Dog
Lovesey, Peter. Rough Cider
MacDonald, John D. The Deep Blue Good-by
MacDonald, Philip. The List of Adrian Messenger
Macdonald, Ross. The Chill
Maron, Margaret. Bootlegger's Daughter
Marsh, Ngaio. Death of a Peer
McBain, Ed. Sadie When She Died
McClure, James. The Sunday Hangman
McCrumb, Sharyn. If Ever I Return, Pretty Peggy-O
Millar, Margaret. Stranger in My Grave
Mosley, Walter. Devil in a Blue Dress
Muller, Marcia. Edwin of the Iron Shoes
Neel, Janet. Death's Bright Angel
O'Connell, Carol. Mallory's Oracle
Padgett, Abigail. Child of Silence
Paretsky, Sara. Deadlock
Parker, Robert. Looking for Rachel Wallace
Perez-Reverte, Arturo. The Club Dumas
Perry, Thomas. Vanishing Act
Peters, Elizabeth. Crocodile on the Sandbank
Peters, Ellis. One Corpse Too Many
Pronzini, Bill. Blue Lonesome
Queen, Ellery. Cat of Many Tails
Rendell, Ruth. No More Dying Then
Rice, Craig. The Wrong Murder
Rinehart, Mary Roberts. The Circular Staircase
Robinson, Peter. Blood at the Root
Rosen, Richard. Strike Three You're Dead
Ross, Kate. A Broken Vessel
Rozan, S.J.. Concourse
Sayers, Dorothy. Murder Must Advertise
Sjowall & Wahloo. The Laughing Policeman
Stout, Rex. Some Buried Caesar
Tey, Josephine. Brat Farrar
Thomas, Ross. Chinaman's Chance
Todd, Charles. A Test of Wills
Turow, Scott. Presumed Innocent
Upfield, Arthur. The Sands of Windee
Walters, Minette. The Ice House
White, Randy Wayne. Sanibel Flats
Woolrich, Cornell. I Married a Dead Man

[links updated as I read more]

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Matt's Outtakes

Where the Hell Is Matt Outtakes:

from IFilm

Blind Spot Eye Test

Blind Spot Eye Test You can`t always believe your eyes-- your mind will fill in things that aren`t there.

Penguin Kill

An unidentified toxin is believed responsible for the deaths of 25 Fairy Penguins at Sea World.

The photo is from the wikipedia article linked above.

Django Reinhardt

HT: omnibrain

50 Top Fantasy Books

I've bolded the ones I've read. I did much better on the science fiction books than on fantasy.

1 J R R Tolkien; Lord Of the Rings Trilogy

2 J K Rowling; Harry Potter Series

3 J R R Tolkien; The Hobbit

4 George R R Martin; A Song of Ice & Fire

5 Robert Jordan; Wheel of Time Series (I've read the first 2 books)

6 C S Lewis; The Lion, the Witch & the Wardrobe

7 Terry Goodkind; Wizard's First

8 David Eddings; The Belgariad Series

9 Philip Pullman; Northern Lights (aka Golden Compass)

10 Stephen King; The Stand

11 George Orwell; Animal Farm

12 Raymond E Feist; Magician

13 Terry Pratchett; The Colour of Magic

14 Terry Brooks; The Sword of Shannara

15 Richard Adams; Watership Down

16 Ursula K Le Guin; A Wizard of Earthsea

17 Madeleine L'Engle; A Wrinkle In Time

18 Mitch Albom; The Five People You Meet in Heaven

19 Stephen King; The Gunslinger

20 Neil Gaiman; American Gods

21 R A Salvatore; Dark Elf Trilogy

22 Marion Zimmer Bradley; The Mists Of Avalon

23 Robin Hobb; The Farseer Trilogy

24 Piers Anthony; On a Pale Horse

25 Gaiman & Pratchett; Good Omens

26 William Goldman; The Princess Bride

27 Dianna Gabaldon; Outlander

28 Gail Carson Levine; Ella Enchanted

29 Brian Jacques; Redwall

30 Audrey Niffenegger; The Time Traveler's Wife

31 Neil Gaiman; Neverwhere

32 Roger Zelazny; Nine Princes in Amber

33 Stephen Donaldson; Thomas Covenant - The Unbeliever

34 Anne McCaffrey; Dragonflight

35 Bram Stoker; Dracula

36 Gabriel Garcia Marquez; One Hundred Years of Solitude

37 Lewis Carroll; Alice's Adventures In Wonderland

38 T H White; The Once & Future King

39 Garth Nix; Sabriel

40 Tad Williams; Memory, Sorrow & Thorn Series

41 Daniel Quinn; Ishmael

42 Mary Shelley; Frankenstein

43 Steven Erikson; Gardens of the Moon

44 C S Lewis; The Screwtape Letters

45 Weis & Hickman; Death Gate Cycle

46 Michael Moorcock; Elric of Melnibone

47 Laurell K Hamilton; Guilty

48 William Shakespeare; A Midsummer Night's Dream

49 Antoine de Saint-Exupery; The Little Prince

50 Susanna Clarke; Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell

from this site

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Hotel Rwanda

#2 Son and I both really liked this film. Hotel Rwanda tells the true story of some of what happened during the 1994 genocide of Tutsi by Hutu peoples in Rwanda.

Nick Nolte is the main actor we were familiar with in this movie.


This film is #65 on the 2005 Arts and Faith list of Top 100 Spiritually Significant Films.

The Ritual Bath

I enjoyed The Ritual Bath by Faye Kellerman. This is the first Peter Decker and Rina Lazarus novel. I learned a lot about Orthodox Jewish practice while I was reading.

From the back of the book:

Detective Peter Decker of the LAPD is stunned when he gets the report. Someone has shattered the sanctuary of a remote yeshiva community in the California hills with an unimaginable crime. One of the women was brutally raped as she returned from the mikvah, the bathhouse where the cleansing ritual is performed.

The crime was called in by Rina Lazarus, and Decker is relieved to discover that she is a calm and intelligent witness. She is also the only one in the sheltered community willing to speak of this unspeakable violation. As Rina tries to steer Decker through the maze of religious laws the two grow closer. But before they get to the bottom of this horrendous crime, revelations come to light that are so shocking that they threaten to come between the hard-nosed cop and the deeply religious woman with whom he has become irrevocably linked.

This was such a quick, interesting read I wish I had the next in the series so I could move straight into it, but who could've known. Anyway, I'll pick these up as I come across them. I like the two main characters here and look forward to seeing how the relationship develops between them.

The book is on the list of 100 Favorite Mysteries of the 20th Century as selected by the Independent Mystery Booksellers Association's online members.

Sumo Wrestling

The photo is from Wikipedia, where there is a decent overview of Sumo Wrestling.

Yet Another SFF Top 50 List

Ones I've read are in bold type:

1 Frank Herbert; Dune
2 Orson Scott Card; Ender's Game
3 Isaac Asimov; Foundation
4 Douglas Adams; Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy
5 George Orwell; 1984
6 Robert A Heinlein; Stranger in a Strange Land
7 Aldous Huxley; Brave New World
8 Ray Bradbury; Fahrenheit 451
9 Isaac Asimov; I, Robot
10 William Gibson; Neuromancer
11 Robert A Heinlein; Starship Troopers
12 Larry Niven; Ringworld
13 Arthur C Clarke; 2001: A Space Odyssey
14 Philip K Dick; Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?
15 H G Wells; The Time Machine
16 Arthur C Clarke; Rendezvous With Rama
17 H G Wells; The War of the Worlds
18 Arthur C Clarke; Childhood's End
19 Dan Simmons; Hyperion
20 Robert A Heinlein; The Moon is a Harsh Mistress
21 Kurt Vonnegut; Slaughterhouse Five
22 Orson Scott Card; Speaker for the Dead
23 Joe Haldeman; The Forever War
24 Ray Bradbury; The Martian Chronicles
25 Niven & Pournelle; The Mote in God's Eye
26 Neal Stephenson; Snow Crash
27 Ursula K Le Guin; The Left Hand of Darkness
28 Orson Scott Card; Ender's Game
29 Isaac Asimov; The Caves of Steel
30 Frederik Pohl; Gateway
31 Madeleine L'Engle; A Wrinkle In Time
32 Roger Zelazny; Lord of Light
33 Philip K Dick; The Man in the High Castle
34 Jules Verne; 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea
35 Stanislaw Lem; Solaris
36 Neal Stephenson; Cryptonomicon
37 Isaac Asimov; The Gods Themselves
38 Philip K Dick; UBIK
39 Mary Shelley; Frankenstein
40 Robert A Heinlein; Time Enough For Love
41 Anthony Burgess; A Clockwork Orange
42 Alfred Bester; The Stars My Destination
43 Michael Crichton; Jurassic Park
44 Walter M Miller; A Canticle for Leibowitz
45 Isaac Asimov; The End Of Eternity
46 John Wyndham; The Day of the Triffids
47 Daniel Keyes; Flowers for Algernon
48 Kurt Vonnegut; Cat's Cradle
49 Vernor Vinge; Fire Upon the Deep
50 Niven & Pournelle; Lucifer's Hammer

This list comes from a site which claims it to be "A statistical survey of the all-time Top 100 sci-fi books". I've listed the top 50.

Beat the Devil

This witty Humphrey Bogart film came fairly late in his career. Beat the Devil is available on DVD and can be viewed online here at the Internet Archive, here at, or here courtesy of GoogleVideo:

It also stars Gina Lollobrigida as Bogart's wife in her first American film and, of course, Peter Lorre. We've always gotten a big kick out of this movie. It's directed by John Huston.

This film is on Roger Ebert's list of great movies. The New York Times calls it "a pointedly roguish and conversational spoof," but doesn't like it.

7/18/2008: 1001 Flicks has a review.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007


#2 Son and I watched Millions tonight. I had heard a lot of good things about it, but it's just now making it to the top of our stack. The movie tells the story of what happens when the boy Damian sees "loads" of money falls from the sky, and he and his brother try to decide what to do with it. It is on the Arts & Faith list of the 100 Most Spiritually Significant Films.

I loved the saints and Damian's response to them.

Most Awarded Mysteries

This is the top 100 from a list of mystery novels that have won the most awards. Why are there Harry Potter books on this list? That seems quite odd to me!

The list is from The ones I've read are in bold print unless I've blogged them in which case I linked to the post. I have a long way to go!

1 A Place of Execution, by Val McDermid
2 The Lincoln Lawyer, by Michael Connelly
3 Maisie Dobbs, by Jacqueline Winspear
4 The James Deans, by Reed Farrel Coleman
5 Open Season, by C.J. Box
6 Bootlegger's Daughter, by Margaret Maron
7 Detecting Women 2, by Willetta L. Heising
8 Postmortem, by Patricia Cornwell
9 Butchers Hill, by Laura Lippman
10 City of Bones, by Michael Connelly
11 In a Dry Season, by Peter Robinson
12 Silent Joe, by T. Jefferson Parker
13 Winter and Night, by S.J. Rozan
14 A Conspiracy of Paper, by David Liss
15 Girl Sleuth, by Melanie Rehak
16 The Ice Harvest, by Scott Phillips
17 In the Bleak Midwinter, by Julia Spencer-Fleming
18 L.A. Requiem, by Robert Crais
19 Murder, With Peacocks, by Donna Andrews
20 The Bottoms, by Joe R. Lansdale
21 Immoral, by Brian Freeman
22 Monster, by Walter Dean Myers
23 The Blind Assassin, by Margaret Atwood
24 Blood Work, by Michael Connelly
25 Declare, by Tim Powers
26 The Devil in the White City, by Erik Larson
27 Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, by J.K. Rowling
28 In Big Trouble, by Laura Lippman
29 Mystic River, by Dennis Lehane
30 Teller of Tales, by Daniel Stashower
31 Blanche on the Lam, by Barbara Neely
32 The Bridge of Sighs, by Olen Steinhauer
33 Dating Dead Men, by Harley Jane Kozak
34 She Walks These Hills, by Sharyn McCrumb
35 They Died in Vain, by Jim Huang
36 Under the Beetle's Cellar, by Mary Willis Walker
37 Alias Grace, by Margaret Atwood
38 Beautiful Shadow: A Life of Patricia Highsmith, by Andrew Wilson
39 Bloodhounds, by Peter Lovesey
40 The Blue Edge of Midnight, by Jonathon King
41 California Girl, by T. Jefferson Parker
42 Death Dances to a Reggae Beat, by Kate Grilley
43 Death of a Nationalist, by Rebecca Pawel
44 The Distance, by Eddie Muller
45 Dreaming of the Bones, by Deborah Crombie
46 The Guards, by Ken Bruen
47 Hell to Pay, by George P. Pelecanos
48 The Mammoth Encyclopedia of Modern Crime Fiction, by Mike Ashley
49 The New Annotated Sherlock Holmes, by Leslie S. Klinger, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
50 One for the Money, by Janet Evanovich
51 Red Leaves, by Thomas H. Cook
52 100 Favorite Mysteries of the Century, by Jim Huang
53 Big Red Tequila, by Rick Riordan
54 Charm City, by Laura Lippman
55 A Cold Day in Paradise, by Steve Hamilton
56 Death in Little Tokyo, by Dale Furutani
57 Devil in a Blue Dress, by Walter Mosley
58 Every Secret Thing, by Laura Lippman
59 Fade Away, by Harlan Coben
60 Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, by J.K. Rowling
61 I.O.U., by Nancy Pickard
62 Killing Floor, by Lee Child
63 Seldom Disappointed, by Tony Hillerman
64 Shot in the Heart, by Mikal Gilmore
65 The Silence of the Lambs, by Thomas Harris
66 Somebody Else's Child, by Terris McMahan Grimes
67 Tea With the Black Dragon, by R.A. MacAvoy
68 Zero at the Bone, by Mary Willis Walker
69 Behind the Mystery, by Stuart M. Kaminsky, Laurie Roberts
70 Chasing Vermeer, by Blue Balliett, Brett Helquist
71 Hearts and Bones, by Margaret Lawrence
72 The History of Mystery, by Max Allan Collins
73 The Jasmine Trade, by Denise Hamilton
74 Jolie Blon's Bounce, by James Lee Burke
75 Mystery Women, by Colleen Barnett
76 The New Annotated Sherlock Holmes, by Leslie S. Klinger, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
77 River of Darkness, by Rennie Airth
78 Speak, by Laurie Halse Anderson
79 Tell No One, by Harlan Coben
80 Who Was That Lady? Craig Rice: The Queen of Screwball Mystery, by Jeffrey Marks
81 Women of Mystery, by Martha Hailey Dubose, Margaret C. Thomas
82 The American Regional Mystery, by Marvin Lachman
83 Chasing the Devil's Tail, by David Fulmer
84 Cimarron Rose, by James Lee Burke
85 A Crime in the Neighborhood, by Suzanne Berne
86 Dead Body Language, by Penny Warner
87 Death of a Red Heroine, by Qiu Xiaolong
88 The Doctor Digs a Grave, by Robin Hathaway
89 Find Me Again, by Sylvia Maultash Warsh
90 Fingersmith, by Sarah Waters
91 Gone, Baby, Gone, by Dennis Lehane
92 The House Sitter, by Peter Lovesey
93 Inner City Blues, by Paula L. Woods
94 The Kidnapping of Rosie Dawn, by Eric Wright
95 No Colder Place, by S.J. Rozan
96 Reflecting the Sky, by S.J. Rozan
97 Ross Macdonald, by Tom Nolan
98 The Salaryman's Wife, by Sujata Massey
99 Street Level, by Bob Truluck
100 Trunk Music, by Michael Connelly

The Black Dahlia

I did manage to finish The Black Dahlia by James Ellroy, but I wish I had never started it. This was a horrible book. I'm putting it out of my mind and moving on.

A Lenten Video

Another Top-50 SFF List

It's actually the top 50 of a list of almost 200. The ones I've read are in bold print:

1 The Demolished Man; Bester, Alfred

2 More Than Human; Sturgeon, Theodore

3 Dune; Herbert, Frank

4 The Foundation Trilogy; Asimov, Isaac

5 A Canticle for Leibowitz; Miller, Walter M.

6 Stand on Zanzibar; Brunner, John

7 The Left Hand of Darkness; Le Guin, Ursula K.

8 The Time Machine; Wells, H. G.

9 The War of the Worlds; Wells, H. G.

10 Childhood's End; Clarke, Arthur C.

11 The Martian Chronicles; Bradbury, Ray

12 The Space Merchants; Pohl & Kornbluth

13 The Stars My Destination; Bester, Alfred

14 Ringworld; Niven, Larry

15 The Dispossesed; Le Guin, Ursula K.

16 1984; Orwell, George

17 City; Simak, Clifford

18 Mission of Gravity; Clement, Hal

19 The Man in the High Castle; Dick, Philip K.

20 Brave New World; Huxley, Aldous

21 The City and the Stars; Clarke, Arthur C.

22 Stranger in a Strange Land; Heinlein, Robert A.

23 To Your Scattered Bodies Go; Farmer, Philip Jose

24 Rendezvous with Rama; Clarke, Arthur C.

25 The Forever War; Haldeman, Joe

26 Gateway; Pohl, Frederik

27 Last and First Men; Stapledon, Olaf

28 The World of Null-A; Van Vogt, A. E.

29 Fahrenheit 451; Bradbury, Ray

30 A Case of Conscience; Blish, James

31 The Long Afternoon of Earth; Aldiss, Brian

32 The Moon is a Harsh Mistress; Heinlein, Robert A.

33 Flowers for Algernon; Keyes, Daniel

34 Dying Inside; Silverberg, Robert

35 Star Maker; Stapledon, Olaf

36 Slan; Van Vogt, A. E.

37 The Humanoids; Williamson, Jack

38 A Clockwork Orange; Burgess, Anthony

39 Way Station; Simak, Clifford

40 Camp Concentration; Disch, Thomas

41 Timescape; Benford, Gregory

42 Frankenstein; Shelley, Mary Wollstonecraft

43 Earth Abides; Stewart, George R.

44 Lord of Light; Zelazny, Roger

45 The Book of the New Sun; Wolfe, Gene

46 A Princess of Mars; Burroughs, Edgar Rice

47 We; Zamiatin, Yevgeny

48 Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?; Dick, Philip K.

49 Solaris; Lem, Stanislaw

50 Downbelow Station; Cherryh, C. J.

The list came from this site. There's an essay here explaining the list.