Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Muddy Waters

Today is the anniversary of the death in 1983 of Muddy Waters at the age of about 70, there being some confusion as to the exact year of his birth. In declining health, he died of heart failure in his sleep at his home.

Rollin' Stone (released in 1950, the performance below is from the 1960 Newport Jazz Festival):

The Rolling Stones took their name from this song.

There is an official Muddy Waters web site, which reports that he grew up in Clarksdale, Mississippi -about 75 miles south of Memphis- and that "He moved to Chicago in 1943, and never looked back". The PBS American Masters page calls him "in many ways, the archetypal bluesman".

Fratelli's Cafe

The Daughter and I had lunch recently at Fratelli's Cafe, a little place inside the main building at the Memphis Botanic Gardens. We sat at a table next to the windows on the left in the picture below:

Their menu can be viewed online. The Daughter had the Roma Club, which was not a "club" by anyone's definition, but which was a nice little sandwich nonetheless. I had the chicken salad on mixed greens. She had Earl Grey Tea, and I had the Lemon Lift. $2.50 for a Bigelow tea bag to dip into the cup of water at the table surprised us.

They were very crowded and service was incredibly slow, but we weren't in a hurry. The food was tasty. One couldn't call portions "generous" and we were both hungry after we ate. Our total was over $30 including tip, which seems high to us. We are glad we went but won't go back. We've decided it's a place more suitable to rich women lady-lunching.

Eat Local Memphis gives it high praise. The Memphis Flyer has a positive review. The I Love Memphis blog calls it "a favorite among ladies who lunch". It gets a score of 100% at Urban Spoon. Reviews at Yelp are also positive.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Central BBQ Food Truck

Alas! Poor Central BBQ Food Truck, we hardly knew ye.

The Husband often brings lunch home on Thursdays from this food truck, which parks itself by the University of Memphis main campus on that day of the week. This past Thursday was the final day for that, as they have not apparently done as well as they had hoped. It's such a shame. When it's there, it's the closest Central BBQ location to us.

Just look at that scrumptious sandwich and wonder why they didn't have students lining up to buy them. I blame the location, which wasn't as visible from the campus as I'd have liked.

Dinossauros: Planet of Dinosaurs

Dinossauros: Planet of Dinosaurs is a 1978 science fiction film starring and directed by nobody I ever heard of. All the money went for special effects: big, scary dinosaurs. Wikipedia's description:
Set in an unspecified future, the film follows the journey of Captain Lee and his crew after they crash land on a planet with similar life conditions as Earth, but millions of years behind in time.
I recognized the set location from Star Trek and kept expecting Gorn to show up. The music is terrible and intrusive. The acting is wooden.

via youtube:

There's an extensive plot description here.

Stomp Tokyo says,
I'm afraid it's our old pals, the script and the actors who do the most damage to Planet of Dinosaurs. While the script has an interesting arc in terms of the evolution of our group of "technicians, not explorers" into a hunter-gatherer tribe, it rarely plays fair with the characters in terms of the constant stupidities they must commit in an attempt to either generate some tension (note I said "attempt") or move the story along. Attempts (there's that word again) are made to bridge the action setpieces with quieter, human moments as the castaways try to find comfort and forge relationships with each other - the writing here, while it doesn't ideally sing, isn't awful, but sadly the acting - which ranges from the simply awful to the hardly average - merely serves to make these moments leaden and painful, and the direction is certainly not good enough to compensate.
Million Monkey Theater says, "This movie really isn't too bad. It's your standard castaways-make-a-new-life-for-themselves-in-a-strange-place." Rotten Tomatoes doesn't have a critics score, but the audience score is 37%.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

The Mouse Whisperer

I quit reading short stories in high school. They were, oh, I don't know, so short! I read lengthy novels and books that ran more toward the trilogy form. Lately, though, I started fondly remembering all those science fiction short stories from my youth and thought I'd seek out some online. They do seem readily available online. I'm surprised at how bad most of them are. I don't even finish them. I'm finding some I enjoy, though, and The Mouse Whisperer, a fantasy tale by Tara Campbell, is one of those. The title character is the daughter of an exterminator killed on the job. She takes on the business but fulfills her mission in an unusual way. I got a kick out of this one.

HT: SF Signal

I read this for the Once Upon a Time Challenge Short Story Quest.

Would You Like a 42 With That?

The Younger Son and I picked up short order burgers for supper one night, and as I was pulling out of the parking lot I saw a 42. I pulled back into a parking spot and got out to take its picture. It took a bit a dedication to paint this 42. It has chain link fencing topped by razor wire on every side within sight, and it is on the opposite side of the building from any access point I could see.

42. I'm glad people are willing to go to so much trouble to share the answer to life, the universe and everything.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Dogwood Flowers

Our neighbor has a beautiful pink dogwood we can see from our house; but because of the angle I view it from, I haven't been able to get a decent picture of it. There is a metal dogwood flower sculpture in town, though, so I decided to get a picture of it instead:

This work was installed last year. The Metal Museum web site says,
It stands 12 feet tall and spans a 10 foot footprint. It is made entirely of steel and polychromed with high grade automotive paint. Dogwood Gateway stands at the southwest corner of Hollywood Street and Chelsea Avenue in the Midtown North Neighborhood, Memphis, Tennessee, serving as a new landmark for motorists and residents. Its blossoms glisten in the sun and invite passersby to stand in the shade it creates.
The Urban Art Commission press release for the dedication says,
What was once a neglected street corner now serves as showcase for a large-scale steel sculpture that symbolizes resurrection and regeneration at the southwest corner of Hollywood Street and Chelsea Avenue. The vibrantly painted work of art, inspired by the Dogwood tree, was designed, forged and fabricated by the National Ornamental Metal Museum, the only such museum in the U.S.A.
This is not an area of town I am ever in -I never even pass through it- so I'd never have known about the art work if I hadn't seen mention online of the dedication at the time. It's worth going to see.

Best Films About Close Encounters

Giant Freakin' Robot has a list of the 7 Best Films About Close Encounters:
Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977)
The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951)
E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982)
Fire in the Sky (1993)
Flight of the Navigator (1986)
The Last Starfighter (1984)
Signs (2002)
Honorable Mention: The Abyss (1989)
I've seen the ones in bold print. Our family disagrees on Close Encounters of the Third Kind. I love it; The Husband and The Younger Son do not. E.T. is one of my least favorite films.

I wonder why Independence Day isn't on the list.

HT: SF Signal

Friday, April 26, 2013

The Golden Compass

The Golden Compass (2007) is such a pretty thing. That's pretty much it, as far as I'm concerned. I'm not surprised it didn't do well enough to warrant the planned sequels.

I'll admit it's hard to judge the first third of a story. If they had made the 2 sequels I'd have watched them. Since that will never happen, I want that 114 minutes back.


Roger Ebert loves it, gives it 4/4 stars and closes with this:
I think "The Golden Compass" is a wonderfully good-looking movie, with exciting passages and a captivating heroine in Lyra. That the controversy surrounding it obscures its function as a splendid entertainment. That for adults, it will not be boring or too simplistic.
Everybody else on the planet seems to disagree with him. Wired.com says,
Fans of the books will likely find New Line’s film version of The Golden Compass to be a disappointingly paper-thin rendition that barely scratches the surface — then, for good measure, chops off the ending.

But those who haven’t read the books will likely be even worse off, as I’m not sure they’ll have any idea what’s going on to begin with.
Moria notes that "with The Golden Compass only recouping a third of what it cost to make at the box-office, the result ended up putting New Line Cinema into bankruptcy". Slant Magazine gives it 1 1/2 out of 4 stars and uses the phrase "depths of dullness". Salon.com calls it "utter, soulless crap".

Rolling Stone concludes, "The studio is threatening two sequels. Please make them stop." Empire's verdict: "A crushing disappointment for fans and a scuppered opportunity for a cinematic event. That the first book has been so mishandled doesn’t bode well for the (already greenlit) more complicated ones to come." EW gives it a C and calls it a "kiddie ride that hovers somewhere between the loopy and the lugubrious".

Stomp Tokyo blames the director. TimeOut calls it "Bland, bloodless and bereft of magic". Rotten Tomatoes gives it 42%.

I'm including this in the Once Upon a Time Challenge Quest on Screen as a fantasy film.

Beauty and the Beast (1946)

Beauty and the Beast is a 1946 Jean Cocteau film retelling of the fairy tale. It is a beautiful film. The 1740 de Villeneuve story can be read online as abridged and adapted by Andrew Lang for the The Blue Fairy book. You can read the de Beaumont 1756 version online here.

I've always loved fairy tales and much prefer reading them to watching filmed adaptations, but I do have some fairy tale movies I've enjoyed. I'd include this one and the entire Shelley Duvall Fairy Tale Theater series. I own this one but none of the Duvall series. Hmmm... must check availability... Not bad at under $40. But, back to the Cocteau version...

film trailer:

Moria gives it 5/5 stars and says, " Cocteau evokes a pure cinematic magic." Slant Magazine says, "Beauty and the Beast is the best of his [Cocteau's] five feature films and the greatest fable of his entire oeuvre" and describes it as "A near-perfect cinematic integration of beguiling fantasy, hard-won technical achievement, and sophisticated self-reflection". Roger Ebert has it on his list of Great Movies and says,
Its devices penetrate the usual conventions of narrative, and appeal at a deeper psychic level. Cocteau wanted to make a poem, wanted to appeal through images rather than words, and although the story takes the form of the familiar fable, its surface seems to be masking deeper and more disturbing currents. It is not a "children's film."
DVD Talk calls it "a bonafide classic" and says, "Few films can transport the audience to another land in the same way it does." Rotten Tomatoes has a critics score of 94%.

Because it a retelling of a fairy tale, I'm including it in the Once Upon a Time Challenge Quest on Screen.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Back to Memphis

Back to Memphis is a Chuck Berry song, sung here by The Band:

and here by Levon Helm (who died of throat cancer in 2012) live in Nashville in 2008 on his 2nd Grammy-winning album:

I've been struggling up here, child, trying to make a living.
Everybody wants to take, nobody like giving.
I wish I was in Memphis back home there with my Mama.
The only clothes I got left that ain't rags is my pajamas.
No brotherly love, no help, no danger,
Just a great big town full of cold hearted strangers.

I went hungry in New York, and Chicago was no better;
But today, my dear mother wrote and told me in her letter,
Son, come back to Memphis and live here with your Mama.
You can walk down Beale Street, honey, wearing your pajamas.
You know home folks here, we let you do just what you want to,
And I born you and raised you right here on the corner.

I'm going to leave here in the morning and walk down to the station.
I've got just enough money to pay my transportation.
I'm going back to Memphis, back home with my Mama
If I have to ride that bus barefooted in pajamas.
Back home in Memphis, no moaning and groaning,
I know everything will be all right in the morning.
I heard this song recently on Down In The Alley, a radio show on WEVL, but I honestly don't remember which version they played. I found the Chuck Berry version on Spotify but couldn't find a video. There seems to be a completely different song with the same title written and sung by The Band.

Into the Wild

From the cover of Jon Krakauer's book:
In April 1992, a young man from a well-to-do family hitchhiked to Alaska and walked alone into the wilderness north of Mt. McKinley. He had given $25,000 in savings to a charity, abandoned his car and most of his possessions, burned all the cash in his wallet and invented a life for himself....
4 months later he was dead. Into the Wild is the story of Chris McCandless, in his early 20's when he died, told by a sympathetic writer who first told it in Outside magazine. The book is a page-turner, piecing together McCandless' life and travels with interviews from family, friends and folks he met on the road.

The story is controversial, with folks lining up on 2 basic sides:
side 1) what an idiot! unprepared, ignorant and arrogant.
side 2) what a brave, independent spirit! willing to strike out on his own like that. he'd be considered a hero if he had lived.
Krakauer is in the 2nd camp.

Kirkus Reviews calls it "A wonderful page-turner written with humility, immediacy, and great style." It has been adapted for film, but I'm not interested in seeing it.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

10 Horror Films For People Who Don’t Like Horror

What Culture has a list of 10 Horror Films for People Who Don't Like Horror:
1. Let The Right One In
2. Se7en
3. The Cabin in the Woods
4. Looper
5. Shaun of the Dead
6. The Cove
7. Buried
8. Sunshine
9. Joy Ride
10. Zombieland
I've only seen 2 of these. I do want to see Looper, but haven't gotten to it yet. I do not want to see Buried, because that whole concept is too unsettling to me to serve as any kind of entertainment.

HT: SF Signal


Zachariah is a 1971 musical Western starring Country Joe and the Fish based on the book Siddhartha by Herman Hesse. John Rubinstein stars as Zachariah and Don Johnson is his best friend. So OK, this didn't make a lot of money -in fact, it lost a lot of money- but this is a hoot! Well worth the hour and a half it takes to watch it.

via youtube:

The Examiner offers this plot synopsis:
A western parable that adheres loosely to the structure of Hesse's novel, the movie tells the tale of gunslinger/marijuana farmer Zachariah (Rubenstein) and his pistol-packin' pal Matthew (Johnson). Comic highlights are provided by Country Joe and the Fish as the Crackers, a gang of clueless hippie outlaws, and musical highlights by the James Gang, the power trio led by Joe Walsh, playing some of the heaviest hard rock ever committed to celluloid. Kershaw and the New York Rock Ensemble also provide memorable musical moments.
and says, "The resulting film did not quite live up to its premise, but it has its charms." Stomp Tokyo doesn't see any charm and concludes, ""Electric Western." What the hell were they thinking?" TCM has an overview.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Top 10 Horror Movies of All Time

Horror Movies has a list of the Top 10 Horror Movies of All Time:
1. Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974) (I have the DVD on the shelf waiting.)
2. Day of The Dead (1985)
3. Black Sabbath (1964)
4. The Devils Backbone (2001)
5. Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde (1931)
6. Island of Lost Souls (1932)
7. Martyrs (2008)
8. Hobo With a Shotgun (2011)
9. Dark Water (2002)
10. Zombie Flesh Eaters (1979)
I've seen the ones in bold print. Not having seen half of these, it's hard for me to judge the list. I've got to believe there are better top 10 lists out there.

HT: SF Signal


I had been eyeing this cup at my local bookstore for a while and finally quit resisting the urge to bring it home. It's perfect for summertime.

The tea is Tazo brand Om tea. It's described as a blend of green and black teas, "a meditative organic blend, with flavors of peach & cucumber". I admit it sounded dreadful to me, and it took me a while to try it. I did try it, though, and loved it! And then they discontinued it.

I have a few bags left, and I am trying to delay the day I use the last one.

Monday, April 22, 2013


Skyfall is the latest Daniel Craig James Bond film. I knew the entire plot before I saw it, but I don't mind that. In fact sometimes I prefer to know, which The Younger Son finds mind-boggling. I was skeptical of Craig's casting as Bond at first, but I enjoyed this film and hope for many more. The Husband hasn't seen it yet -I watched the DVD with The Younger Son one night when The Husband was elsewhere- but I'll be glad to watch it again when he wants to see it.


Empire gives it 4 out of 5 stars and concludes,
Skyfall is pretty much all you could want from a 21st Century Bond: cool but not camp, respectful of tradition but up to the moment, serious in its thrills and relatively complex in its characters but with the sense of fun that hasn’t always been evident lately.
Rolling Stone gives it 3 1/2 out of 4 stars and says, "Skyfall continues James Bond's backstory with staggering style and assurance." Slant Magazine gives it 3 1/2 out of 4 stars and says, "Bond's latest is a remarkable high watermark for the series: at once solemn and deeply funny, sexy and sad, self-conscious without all the rib-bruising elbowing." Salon.com calls it, "a rich, impressive, overstuffed and rather chilly spectacle that already looks like the biggest hit in franchise history". Roger Ebert loves it, gives it 4/4 stars and praises it saying, ""Skyfall" triumphantly reinvents 007 in one of the best Bonds ever. This is a full-blooded, joyous, intelligent celebration of a beloved cultural icon, with Daniel Craig taking full possession of a role" and "here is James Bond lifted up, dusted off, set back on his feet and ready for another 50 years" and "This is a brand-new Bond with love and respect for the old Bond". Rotten Tomatoes has a critics score of 92%.

Dark Star

Dark Star is a 1974 science fiction/comedy film, the first feature film of John Carpenter. This is the 2nd science fiction film I can remember seeing that includes surfing in the plot. Did you catch that? Surfing in a science fiction movie. It is terribly dated but fun.

Watch it online here at youtube or below:

Moria gives it 4 stars and says, "The film has this sense of deadpan humour that just sits there and keeps building to the blackly hysterical." Slant Magazine gives it 3 1/2 out of 5 stars. The New York Times says, "Even in the glow of hindsight, "Dark Star" doesn't contain many indications that Mr. Carpenter is a director about to turn the world on its ear." Roger Ebert calls it "one of the damnedest science fiction movies I've ever seen, a berserk combination of space opera, intelligent bombs, and beach balls from other worlds." Variety says it "warrants attention only for some remarkably believable special effects achieved with very little money." Rotten Tomatoes gives it a score of 79%.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

The Life and Deaths of Rachel Long

The Life and Deaths of Rachel Long is a fantasy short story by Kristine Kathryn Rusch. She has written some Star Trek novels, but I know her from her Retrieval Artist science fiction series. I've read a couple of those and thoroughly enjoyed them.

I read this story online at the author's site. This author can certainly write. She has a way with the words so that you don't think about the story, you get involved in it. It begins:
"The fifth time she died, she took the guitar with her. She went down in a haze of smoke and ash, bullets and flames.

And this time, not even the music remained."
It is a chronicle told by a man who was there through it all.

a quote from the story:
"Only love and hope survive, she sang, for in them lies the best of us."
I read this for the Once Upon a Time Challenge Short Story Quest.

The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets' Nest (2009 film)

The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets' Nest (2009) is 3rd in the Swedish film trilogy. I'm sad to think the books' author had planned a series of 10 books and that his untimely demise leaves us with only these 3. This film is a worthy completion to the trilogy of films, but can't be made any sense of without having watched the 2nd one. This one is actually frightening if you have any foreboding at all about the mental health system.


The New York Times has a mixed review, saying,
“The Hornet’s Nest” feels very much like the concluding chapter it is, with neatly tied loose ends and closing remarks, if one that plays out as something of a secular passion play. That Lisbeth has been nearly martyred again and again in a crucible of male violence is part of the trilogy’s kink and probably a large part of its appeal.
Rolling Stone gives it 3 out of 4 stars and says, "Hornet's Nest is talky but indisputably terrific, and it ends in a dazzling display of courtroom fireworks." Slant Magazine gives it 1/2 out of 4 stars, finds nothing good in it and says, "Message-movie moralizing told without verve, wit, or mature nuance, The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest is intolerable unless one can somehow emotionally engage with the cartoonish Lisbeth and her you-go-girl shenanigans." Salon.com calls it "a rousing, grueling, almost operatically scaled finale to the series." The Guardian gives it 2 out of 5 stars and calls the entire series "disappointing". Time Out says it's "by far the weakest episode in the series, not only because its sole function is tortuously to address and explain all the loose ends from the previous two, but because it does so in the most lazy, artless manner possible". Roger Ebert says, "this uptight, ferocious, little gamine Lisbeth has won our hearts, and we care about these stories". Rotten Tomatoes gives it a critics score of 54%; their audience score is some better at 67%.

Saturday, April 20, 2013


Carnivale is an HBO series that lasted from 2003-2005. I had never heard of it until fairly recently when The Younger Son brought home Season 1, and we started watching it together. I was an instant fan. Of course I was, since it was a cancelled series from a decade ago and will never return. It seems I love lost causes.

This is Wikipedia's basic description:
Carnivàle is an American television series set in the United States during the Great Depression and Dust Bowl. In tracing the lives of two disparate groups of people, its overarching story depicts the battle between good and evil and the struggle between free will and destiny; the storyline mixes Christian theology with gnosticism and Masonic lore
The 2 groups of people:

1) The Carnivale, including Ben Hawkins (a young man with healing power who is newly a part of the troupe). The carnival experiences many strange events as they travel from place to place under the guidance of The Management (voiced by Linda Hunt), a never-seen force who runs things through the carnival boss.

2) Brother Justin, a charismatic Methodist preacher with growing dark powers, who seeks Hawkins.

The entire series is fascinating. I'm glad we own both seasons on DVD, because I will certainly be watching it again. And again. I am uneasy with the ending of the 2nd season. I'd prefer a bit of closure, but the ending does hint at the continuing struggle between good and evil and in that way serves as a completion of the series.

I love that Tarot deck. I love all the characters. It has Michael J. Anderson (Rumpelstiltskin in Star Trek) and Adrienne Barbeau (who has a Star Trek:DS9 connection) and Ralph Waite in it. Other regulars are Diane Salinger (ST:DS9 connection), John Fleck (ST:TNG, DS9, Voyager and Enterprise ), John Savage (ST:Voyager), Clancy Brown (ST:Enterprise), Robert Knepper (ST:TNG and ST:Voyager), K Callen (ST:DS9), John Carroll Lynch (ST:Voyager)

This series is a must-see for anyone who has a taste for dark fantasy.

trailer for the Season 1:

trailer for Season 2:

opening sequence from the 1st episode, including Samson's monologue:

DVD Talk reviews the seasons separately, saying of Season 1,
Carnivàle is an incredibly ambitious undertaking that demands more from its audience than many are willing to invest. ... if you are intrigued by stories about the battle between good and evil, you feel comfortable with a plot that develops with a deliberate and character-driven pace, and you can appreciate one of most impressive visual presentations ever on television, the first season of Carnivàle is an absolutely captivating program, and I Highly Recommend it.
and of Season 2,
The second season takes the mystery established in the first and brings it into focus as the pieces are positioned for a showdown between the avataric leads. It is every bit as stylistic and entertaining as the first season with more clarity of purpose for the characters and a faster pace in the storytelling.... With better special features than the first release to accompany 12 incredible episodes of compelling television, it is a no-brainer to Highly Recommend.
Salon.com finds it depressing: "Unmitigated pain and disappointment might be new for television, and therefore worthy of applause, but the appeal of such a dark path wears thin pretty quickly." Entertainment Weekly gives it a grade of C- and doesn't get it at all.

I finished the series in time to include it in the Once Upon a Time Challenge Quest On Screen.

The Girl Who Played With Fire (2009 film)

The Girl Who Played With Fire (2009) is 2nd in the Swedish film series, based on the book by the same name. Stunning. The Husband, who is violence-avoidant and also tends to avoid movies where subtitles are required, was still able to get involved in this. I loved it. When it was over, we couldn't believe it ended on such a cliff-hanger, so The Husband went down to Spin Street to buy the 3rd one. Double-feature night! Honestly, I wouldn't recommend the film if you can't immediately follow it with the 3rd. A bit too frustrating to suit me.


Slant Magazine seems to see no redeeming qualities, giving it 1 out of 4 stars, and says,
Sagas sporting an untenable amount of distaff-directed cruelty, and an equally suspect plethora of homophobic putdowns, are an Edda-old Scandinavian tradition, but the hateful film faux-pas and malevolent anti-humanism of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, and now The Girl Who Played with Fire, make one wonder if social workers in Sweden shouldn't be swamped with clients.
Rolling Stone says, "Relentless suspense allows The Girl Who Played With Fire to hold you in a viselike grip. But it's the performances of Nyqvist and especially Rapace that keep you coming back for more." Roger Ebert gives it 3 1/2 out of 4 stars and says it's "very good, but a step down from "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo," if only because that film and its casting were so fresh and unexpected." Rotten Tomatoes has a 69% critics score.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Erotikon (Seduction)

Erotikon (Seduction) is a 1929 silent film by Czech director Gustav Machatý. The video embedded below is not the complete version, which was heavily censored, but I think this is the 1937 version. There has been a fairly recent restoration that brings it up to 190 minutes.

via youtube (with English intertitles and no music):

or at the Internet Archive.

Slant Magazine describes it as "an undeniably quaint and self-fulfillingly naughty sex romp, shows a marriage entering its seven year itch ahead of schedule." Time Out says,
what really distinguishes the film is its wealth of poetic detail (merging raindrops, charging trains), and its bold, frank eroticism, most notably in the opening sequence of the girl's sexual initiation, with its luminous whites and ecstatic throes set almost in abstraction from her world hitherto. The film was censored, of course.
FilmReference.com says, "Erotikon helped create a new genre of social comedy, and attracted considerable attention in the movie world." TCM has some information.

100 Best Science Fiction Novels

According to this book's list, these are the 100 best science fiction novels from 1949-1984:
The 100 best novels

Nineteen Eighty-Four, George Orwell (1949)
Earth Abides, George R. Stewart (1949)
The Martian Chronicles, Ray Bradbury (1950)
The Puppet Masters, Robert A. Heinlein (1951)
The Day of the Triffids, John Wyndham (1951)
Limbo, Bernard Wolfe (1952)
The Demolished Man, Alfred Bester (1953)
Fahrenheit 451, Ray Bradbury (1953)
Childhood's End, Arthur C. Clarke (1953)
The Paradox Men, Charles L. Harness (1953)
Bring the Jubilee, Ward Moore (1953)
The Space Merchants, Frederik Pohl & C.M. Kornbluth (1953)
Ring Around the Sun, Clifford D. Simak (1953)
More Than Human, Theodore Sturgeon (1953)
Mission of Gravity, Hal Clement (1954)
A Mirror for Observers, Edgar Pangborn (1954)
The End of Eternity, Isaac Asimov (1955)
The Long Tomorrow, Leigh Brackett (1955)
The Inheritors, William Golding (1955)
The Stars My Destination, Alfred Bester (1956)
The Death of Grass, John Christopher (1956)
The City and the Stars, Arthur C. Clarke (1956)
The Door Into Summer, Robert A. Heinlein (1957)
The Midwich Cuckoos, John Wyndham (1957)
Non-Stop, Brian Aldiss (1958)
A Case of Conscience, James Blish (1958)
Have Space Suit, Will Travel, Robert A. Heinlein (1958)
Time Out Of Joint, Philip K. Dick (1959)
Alas, Babylon, Pat Frank (1959)
A Canticle for Leibowitz, Walter M. Miller, Jr. (1959)
The Sirens of Titan, Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. (1959)
Rogue Moon, Algis Budrys (1960)
Venus Plus X, Theodore Sturgeon (1960)
Hothouse, Brian Aldiss (1962)
The Drowned World, J.G. Ballard (1962)
A Clockwork Orange, Anthony Burgess (1962)
The Man in the High Castle, Philip K. Dick (1962)
Journey Beyond Tomorrow, Robert Sheckley (1962)
Way Station, Clifford D. Simak (1963)
Cat's Cradle, Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. (1963)
Greybeard, Brian Aldiss (1964)
Nova Express, William S. Burroughs (1964)
Martian Time-Slip, Philip K. Dick (1964)
The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch, Philip K. Dick (1965)
The Wanderer, Fritz Leiber (1965)
Norstrilia, Cordwainer Smith (1965)
Dr. Bloodmoney, Philip K. Dick (1965)
Dune, Frank Herbert (1965)
The Crystal World, J.G. Ballard (1966)
Make Room! Make Room!, Harry Harrison (1966)
Flowers for Algernon, Daniel Keyes (1966)
The Dream Master, Roger Zelazny (1966)
Stand on Zanzibar, John Brunner (1968)
Nova, Samuel R. Delany (1968)
Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, Philip K. Dick (1968)
Camp Concentration, Thomas M. Disch (1968)
The Final Programme, Michael Moorcock (1968)
Pavane, Keith Roberts (1968)
Heroes and Villains, Angela Carter (1969)
The Left Hand of Darkness, Ursula K. Le Guin (1969)
The Palace of Eternity, Bob Shaw (1969)
Bug Jack Barron, Norman Spinrad (1969)
Tau Zero, Poul Anderson (1970)
Downward to the Earth, Robert Silverberg (1970)
The Year of the Quiet Sun, Wilson Tucker (1970)
334, Thomas M. Disch (1972)
The Fifth Head of Cerberus, Gene Wolfe (1972)
The Dancers at the End of Time, Michael Moorcock (1972)
Crash, J.G. Ballard (1973)
Looking Backward, from the Year 2000, Mack Reynolds (1973)
The Embedding, Ian Watson (1973)
Walk to the End of the World, Suzy McKee Charnas (1974)
The Centauri Device, M. John Harrison (1974)
The Dispossessed, Ursula K. Le Guin (1974)
The Inverted World, Christopher Priest (1974)
High Rise, J.G. Ballard (1975)
Galaxies, Barry N. Malzberg (1975)
The Female Man, Joanna Russ (1975)
Orbitsville, Bob Shaw (1975)
The Alteration, Kingsley Amis (1976)
Woman on the Edge of Time, Marge Piercy (1976)
Man Plus, Frederik Pohl (1976)
Michaelmas, Algis Budrys (1977)
The Ophiuchi Hotline, John Varley (1977)
Miracle Visitors, Ian Watson (1978)
Engine Summer, John Crowley (1979)
On Wings of Song, Thomas M. Disch (1979)
The Walking Shadow, Brian Stableford (1979)
Juniper Time, Kate Wilhelm (1979)
Timescape, Gregory Benford (1980)
The Dreaming Dragons, Damien Broderick (1980)
Wild Seed, Octavia E. Butler (1980)
Riddley Walker, Russell Hoban (1980)
The Complete Roderick, John Sladek (1980)
The Shadow of the Torturer, Gene Wolfe (1980)
The Unreasoning Mask, Philip Jose Farmer (1981)
Oath of Fealty, Larry Niven & Jerry Pournelle (1981)
No Enemy But Time, Michael Bishop (1982)
The Birth of the People's Republic of Antarctica, John Calvin Batchelor (1983)
Neuromancer, William Gibson (1984)
Ones I specifically remember reading are in bold print, but I may well have read others. Some of these I don't recognize.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Cornbread, Molasses and Sassafras Tea

This particular rendition of Cornbread, Molasses and Sassafras Tea:

is sung by Lonzo and Oscar.

Come here, girls, and listen to my noise:
Don’t you marry an Arkansas boy;
Marry a feller from Tennessee;
And eat cornbread, molasses and sassafras tea,
Cornbread, molasses and sassafras tea.

Traveled all over this whole wide world,
Eat a lot of cooking from a lot of pretty girls,
But there's none like Tennessee
With cornbread, molasses and sassafras tea
Cornbread, molasses and sassafras tea
My cornbread recipe has molasses in it, but I haven't had sassafras tea in a coon's age.

Sins for Father Knox

Sins for Father Knox by Josef Skuorecky is a collection of mystery short stories. There's an instructional component here, though, and I found myself put out by it instead of enjoying it as I had thought I would. Each story breaks one of the 10 Commandments of detective fiction writing as set forth in 1929 by priest and writer Ronald Knox:
I. The criminal must be someone mentioned in the early part of the story, but must not be anyone whose thoughts the reader has been allowed to follow;
II. All supernatural or preternatural agencies are ruled out as a matter of course;
III. No more than one secret room or passage is allowable. I would add that a secret passage should not be brought in at all unless the action takes place in the kind of house where such devices might be expected;
IV. No hitherto undiscovered poisons may be used, nor any appliance which will need a long scientific explanation at the end;
V. No Chinaman must figure into the story*;
VI. No accident must ever help the detective, nor must he ever have an unaccountable intuition which proves to be right;
VII. The detective must not, himself, commit the crime;
VIII. The detective must not light on any clues which are not instantly produced for the inspection of the reader;
IX. The stupid friend of the detective, the Watson, must not conceal any thoughts which pass through his mind; his intelligence must be slightly, but only very slightly, below that of the average reader;
X. Twin brothers, and doubles generally, must not appear unless we have been duly prepared for them

*In Msgr. Knox's time, one of the most overused plot mechanisms was the introduction of "a Chinaman" or other foreign, exotic or otherwise unusual character from "another land" as the malefactor. This comment was not intended as a "racist" one, but as a reaction to this plotting mechanism.
At some point during each story the author interrupts to tell you that you should now have all the information needed to solve the mystery. Then, you're supposed to guess which commandment was broken. I'm just not a fan of this device. I don't read mysteries with an eye towards solving them. I found myself not enjoying the stories at all, thinking of them solely as methods to illustrate the broken rule. This is just not my cuppa tea.

from the back of the book:
A clergyman named Ronald A. Knox once set forth a set of rules for writing detective fiction. In ten new stories (two featuring Lieutenant Boruvka), a crime occurs that violates one of Father Knox's rules, thus serving up a double challenge: Who dunnit? and Which rule was broken?
Kirkus Reviews describes it as "offbeat, faintly tongue-in-cheek entertainment for aficionados of classic puzzlers in the Ellery Queen tradition".

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

The Young Land

The Young Land is a 1959 Western (the '50s was a good era for Westerns, it seems) starring Patrick Wayne (son of John Wayne), Dennis Hopper, Yvonne Craig (who has a ST:TOS connection as an insane green Orion, was in one of the James Coburn Flint movies, and was Batgirl in the 1960s Batman TV series), Ken Curtis (best known as Festus on Gunsmoke).

The score is written by Dimitri Tiomkin (Lost Horizon, High Noon, Gunfight at the O.K. Corral (1957), Rio Bravo (1959), and The Alamo (1960), Dial M for Murder, The Thing, the theme song for the Rawhide series).

Seeing who was involved in this, I thought it'd be good. Suffice it to say, this one isn't on anybody's "best of" list. It's slow, the acting is sadly lackluster and flat, the music is intrusive.... "Strange are the ways of love"? Please. Spare me. At some point I gave up on this. I found it too irritating even to have it playing in the background.

via youtube:

or watch it at the Internet Archive.

TCM has an overview. Rotten Tomatoes doesn't have a critics score; the audience score is 25%.

Room at the Top

Room at the Top is an award-winning 1959 British film. Wikipedia says, "The film was critically acclaimed and marked the beginning of Jack Clayton's career as an important director." It stars Laurence Harvey as an ambitious young accountant whose social climbing has him aiming at wedding Heather Sears, the daughter of the richest man around, while he's falling in love with Simone Signoret, the unhappy wife of a philanderer. Donald Wolfit, Donald Houston and Hermione Baddeley are also in the movie.

This is a tragic story of people trapped by what they thought they wanted most.


BFI ScreenOnline says, "No other new wave film takes on the class system as boldly. It offers a complex analysis of class warfare that challenges the accepted state of things in Britain at the time." FilmReference.com says,
The success of Room at the Top set in motion a new genre of British cinema, the "kitchen sink drama" with its emphasis on social realism. Over the next five years such strong examples as Saturday Night and Sunday Morning and This Sporting Life won international acclaim.
The Guardian has a bit of information. TCM has an overview. Rotten Tomatoes gives it 100%.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Classic European Science Fiction Films

io9 has a list of "Classic European scifi movies you probably haven’t seen – but you should":
Himmelskibet, Excelsior / A Trip to Mars / Das Himmelschiff (1918), Denmark
Rymdinvasion i Lappland / Terror In The Midnight Sun / Invasion of the Animal People (1959), Sweden
Reptilicus (1961), Denmark
Verdens Undergang / The End Of The World (1916), Denmark
Tainstvennyy ostrov / Mysterious Island (1941), USSR
Miss Mend / The Adventures of the Three Reporters, 1926, USSR
Kosmicheskiy reys / Cosmic Voyage or The Space Voyage (1936), USSR
Nebo zovet / Battle Beyond The Sun (1959), USSR
Aelita / Aelita: Queen Of Mars (1924), USSR
Ones I've seen are in bold print. One can't say most of these are readily available.

La Baguette

The Daughter had never been to La Baguette so it was a treat for me to take her. We wanted a cup of tea, so I took her here.

We ordered at the counter. I got Japanese green tea, The Daughter got cinnamon orange and we each got a cherry pastry.

We took our food to one of these tables:

We both enjoyed the tea and pastry. It was all very good. The atmosphere is quaint and welcoming. This little mall -Chickasaw Oaks Village- has several shops with both interior and exterior entrances: exclusive women's clothing, a spa, an art dealer/gallery, a hair salon, Pier 1, a stationer, an interior design firm, a pottery shop... You can see the mall layout here. We had a wonderful time.

It has a rating of 88% at Urban Spoon.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Present Tense: The Art of Memphis from 2001 - Now

Over the week-end I went to the Dixon Gallery to see Present Tense: The Art of Memphis from 2001 - Now. You can see photos of the works here. The Dixon site says, in part,
The exhibition will fill the galleries, residence, and gardens with outstanding examples of varied contemporary art practices found in our city since the turn of the millennium. The works in Present Tense mark the seminal events in the artistic Renaissance that has taken place in Memphis over the past decade.
I had 2 favorites. One was Swallow-Tailed Kite #3 (photo at that link) (2003-2004), acrylic on paper on plywood, by Fred Burton, which was a large piece on the back wall. I was struck by it and spent some time sitting in front of it.

My other favorite was This Must Be My Lucky Day (2005), a 14-minute video by Tommy Foster, which shows him releasing some well-beloved Wonder Horses into the wild. Priceless.

There was a companion exhibit of student art.

I didn't view the artwork situated outside, but just seeing the inside of the museum took me a couple of hours. It was a much larger exhibition than I expected, and my back had started to hurt by the time I was through. The videos were situated at eye-level for average-height folks standing. There were no chairs. I'm under 5' tall. It's no wonder I didn't see anybody else view the entirety of any of the videos. Not really a comfortable way to screen videos even as short as 14 minutes. Anyway, that's my excuse, and I'm sticking to it.

The next day I took The Daughter and went back. There was a photograph in the exhibit by a friend of hers from school, and she particularly wanted to see it. I happened to remember exactly where that piece was and could take her straight to it.

We also looked at the exhibits outside, and I'll say I'm not favorably impressed with cardboard art works as outside exhibits. Most were much the worse for wear, having gotten wet and fallen over. A few were still in good enough shape to take pictures of:

They were fun to look at, but I can't see them as the "sustainable" art they were intended to be. I see them more as disposable art, to be enjoyed for that one week they were on display and then to be discarded.

The Memphis College of Art has a press release.


Grounded is a 2012 science fiction short film. It's directed by Kevin Margo. Synopsis:
One astronaut's journey through space and life ends on a hostile exosolar planet. Grounded is a metaphorical account of the experience, inviting unique interpretation and reflection by the viewer. Themes of aging, inheritance, paternal approval, cyclic trajectories, and behaviors passed on through generations are explored against an ethereal backdrop.
I watched it more than once and will watch it again. It's like a loop that's hard to leave.

via youtube:

io9 calls it "downright gorgeous" and "trippy". Film Threat describes it as
a brilliant sci-fi experience, with more than a hint of mindbending ambiguity. What starts off as the aftermath of a spaceship crash landing on a barren planet turns into a spiritual journey of neverending life looping in, on and around itself.

HT: SF Signal

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Town's End

Town's End is a fantasy short story by Yukimi Ogawa, which can be read online at Strange Horizons. I found this a fascinating story, not at all what I expected. It was a fun read where strangeness beyond imagining happens right at the edge of a perfectly ordinary town. Flexibility is a useful ability. It begins:
At the counter of a marriage agency at the end of the town, I felt my lip twitch in spite of myself. "Pardon me, ma'am?"

"I need a male," the woman in front of me repeated. "I badly need to bear a child."

I looked down at the PC and tapped the corner of my mouth, hoping it would stop twitching. It didn't help. "Well, I see you're a very straightforward person. But perhaps that sort of statement could wait until you are closer to the man."

"But why?"

"It'd scare the man."

"Really? I didn't know."
I read this as part of the Once Upon a Time Challenge Short Story Quest.

Yellow Iris

I saw Iris Jaune by Claude Monet at an art blog and suddenly I was back in my favorite Poirot video, The Yellow Iris. I don't know what it is about this episode that pulls me in so. I like the fact that we see Poirot over a long period of time -an old case comes back to haunt him. I love the key part a chanteuse plays:

I don't think I've ever seen this particular work by Monet, but I like it. I think I'll try to get a copy framed and put it up somewhere.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Angels and Tomboys at the Brooks Art Museum

The Daughter and I recently went to see the exhibit Angels and Tomboys: Girlhood in Nineteenth-Century American Art at the Memphis Brooks Museum of Art. from the Brooks web site (I can't figure out a way to get a stable link just to this exhibit):
This special exhibition explores the many ways in which girls were portrayed in American painting, sculpture, prints, and photography during the nineteenth century. Although the most typical portrayals are of girls as innocent, passive, and domestic, there are alternative images of tomboys, working children, and adolescents. Among the themes the works explore: Victorian attitudes toward the nature and nurture of children; the association of girls with fashion, health and home; and the impact of the Civil War on families. Masterworks by American painters John Singer Sargent, Thomas Eakins, Winslow Homer, Cecilia Beaux, and William Merritt Chase are among the 74 works featured in Angels & Tomboys.

There were 2 sculptures I particularly liked. The first was Enthroned, a 1906 cast of a 1902 bronze by Bessie Potter Vonnoh:

The other was Roller Skating, a 1906 bronze by Mary Abastenia St. Leger Eberle:

Roller Skating especially captivated me. The movement and joy! The one skate is a fun touch, because we know the other skate is on a friend. It made me smile to look at it.

Most of the pieces in this exhibit were paintings.

Tulle Skirt

I don't know what it is about tulle skirts. I see them everywhere I look. Online, that is. I've never seen one out in the real world on anyone older than 3. But online they are loved and adored, and now I see instructions at MariaJustDoIt (where this photo came from) for making my very own:

I'm just not sure I want to be the first person in Memphis to wear this skirt to the book store, though I think that would be much more fun than being the 2nd person. I'm picturing myself with a combo tulle/sweatpants outfit. I'm thinkin' this will never happen.

HT: MakeZine

Friday, April 12, 2013

Black Orpheus

Black Orpheus is a 1959 Brazilian/French/Italian film, a re-telling of the Orpheus/Eurydice story. It won the Palme d'Or at Cannes, the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film, the Golden Globe for Best Foreign Film, and a BAFTA Award. I couldn't imagine what this movie would be like but found it fascinating. I'd recommend knowing the story it's based on first to get a full appreciation of the film, but that's not necessary to enjoy it on its own merits.

via youtube:

Slant Magazine says, "The film's rousing music, its hallowed interpretation of classic Greek mythology, and its uniquely human interactions create a special interpretation of communal imagination and resolve." DVD Talk describes it this way:
Based on the Brazilian play Orfeu da Conceição by Vinicius de Moraes, which in turn was inspired by the classic Greek story of Orpheus and Eurydice, Black Orpheus builds slowly, reaching an expected fever pitch during Carnaval before moving into its unanticipated dream-like final act, a fantasy made believable and spellbinding at once due to Camus's careful nurturing of the narrative and its characters throughout. It's unlike anything in all of cinema and takes the viewer by surprise.
The book 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die includes this film. Rotten Tomatoes gives it a score of 90%.

Because it is a retelling of a Greek myth, I'm including it in the Once Upon a Time Challenge Quest on Screen.

Getting Dressed Up Is Just Not My Thing

I've been reading that Chez Philippe and Restaurant Iris have been judged among the Most Romantic restaurants in the country. I'm happy for them and happy for Memphis. I've heard of them both but never been to either. I'm sure the food can't be beat and the atmosphere is sublime, but have you looked at those prices? Wow! That's a bit beyond my desire to pay. I mean, I could save up and not eat out anywhere else for a while, but this is just not what I'm interested in doing.

I remember proms and sorority dances and certain other things I had to "dress" for, but I much prefer pizza and bbq and picnics. When I get to pick where I want to go for our anniversary or for Valentine's Day -and I always get to pick ;)- my choice tends to be something along the line of Central BBQ for ribs. When my family would want to take me out to eat for Mother's Day, I always chose a picnic. It's what I like best.

I do have some clothes I can dress up in. Nothing formal, mind you, but nice enough to eat in a fancy restaurant. It's just that I don't want to go there. I trace it back to the night my parents sent my then-boyfriend now-husband and me to The Four Flames restaurant for dinner for a birthday present. We were seated next to the kitchen, the china was chipped, the staff was condescending, and the food was a perfectly acceptable ordinary meal. And it cost a fortune.

(photo of the Four Flames from Memphis Daily News)

I can do better than that.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Mean Old World

Mean Old World:

This is a mean old world to live in all by yourself
This is a mean old world to live in all by yourself
This is a mean world to be alone without someone to call your own
This is a mean old world to try and live in all by yourself.
Sam Cooke was born in Clarksdale, Mississippi, about an hour and a half from Memphis. He died at the age of 33, shot down by a hotel manager in Los Angeles. It is indeed a mean old world to live in all by yourself.

Seven Years In Tibet

Seven Years In Tibet is a 1952 travel narrative telling the story of Heinrich Harrer's escape from a British internment camp in India and his and his fellow inmate's attempts to enter Tibet. They were finally successful and spent several years in Lhasa where Harrer got to know the 14th (and current) Dalai Llama. The book ends with the Chinese invasion of Tibet.

This is a fascinating read, an interesting picture of a place now lost forever. There are some photographs, which add a lot to the reading. I think if there were a coffee table book with more and larger pictures, it would be well worth having. I haven't looked to see if such a thing exists.

There have been 2 films based on the book: the first is a 1956 documentary, and the second a 1997 film starring Brad Pitt.

from the back of the book:
The astonishing adventure classic about
life in hidden Tibet just before the Chinese
Communist takeover.
In this vivid memoir, Heinrich Harrer recounts his adventures as one of the first Europeans ever to enter Tibet. After escaping from a British internment camp in India during World War 11, Harrer trekked across Asia, ending up in the Forbidden City of Lhasa, penniless, and without proper permission to be in the area. But Tibetan hospitality and his own curious appearance worked in Harrer’s favour, allowing him unprecedented acceptance among the Tibetan upper classes –including a young Dalai Lama.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

The Tall T

The Tall T is a 1957 Randolph Scott Western. Maureen O'Sullivan and Henry Silva are also in it. Budd Boetticher directs. Randolph Scott is a classic, and this story is a traditional western. It does maintain interest. It may be just a bit predictable, but it's a 1950's era western, so you know what to expect anyway, right?

via youtube:

Images Journal lists it as one of the 30 great Westerns. Forgotten Classics of Yesteryear says,
It is a story where the villains are as honorable as the heroes, at least in their own way. It is a story that has been told since the first cowboy drove his first herd of cattle. While it is an old story, The Tall T is one of its best incarnations.
Rotten Tomatoes doesn't have a critics score, but the audience score is 82%.

Sea and Rain

Long ago, before I had The Kids and while I was still gainfully employed as they say (do they still say "gainfully employed?), I went to a conference in Ann Arbor, Michigan. We didn't have much "off" time, but I made time to go to the University of Michigan Museum of Art. I fell in love with Sea and Rain by James McNeill Whistler (better known for that painting of his mother):

They didn't offer a poster or print (although now you can order one online), but they did have cards. I bought one, framed it as soon as I got home and have enjoyed it ever since. So peaceful.

Tuesday, April 09, 2013

Full Frontal Male Nudity in Film

We don't get HBO so can't watch Game of Thrones on television. We've been watching the first 2 seasons of it on DVD, and I've never seen so much nudity in a film much less in a show that aired on TV. And then I saw that The Huffington Post has a list (and a video) of male nudity in film:
Who's That Knocking at My Door (1967)
A Clockwork Orange (1971) (I own the DVD but haven't watched it yet.)
Pink Flamingos (1972)
American Gigolo (1980)
Basket Case (1982)
The Fisher King (1991)
The Indian Runner (1991)
Bad Lieutenant (1992)
The Crying Game (1992)
The Piano (1993)
Ulysses' Gaze (1995)
The Pillow Book (1996)
Trainspotting (1996)
Boogie Nights (1997)
Velvet Goldmine (1998)
Wild Things (1998)
Any Given Sunday (1999)
The Talented Mr. Ripley (1999)
Quills (2000)
Super Troopers (2001)
Y Tu Mamá También (2001) (I own the DVD but haven't watched it yet.)
The Brown Bunny (2003)
The Dreamers (2003)
In the Cut (2003)
Young Adam (2003)
EuroTrip (2004)
Kinsey (2004)
Sideways (2004)
Get Rich or Die Tryin' (2005)
Russian Dolls (2005)
Art School Confidential (2006)
Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan (2006)
Jackass Number Two (2006)
2 Days in Paris (2007)
Eastern Promises (2007) (I own the DVD but haven't watched it yet.)
Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story (2007)
Bronson (2008)
Forgetting Sarah Marshall (2008)
Zack and Miri Make a Porno (2008)
Brüno (2009)
Observe and Report (2009)
Taking Woodstock (2009)
Watchmen (2009)
I'm Still Here (2010)
American Animal (2011)
A Good Old Fashioned Orgy (2011)
Hall Pass (2011)
Shame (2011)
Your Highness (2011)
American Reunion (2012)
Rust and Bone (2012)
I've re-arranged the list to put them in chronological order. I now realize there's a lot more nudity in film than I thought. I just haven't been watching those films.

I've seen the ones in bold print. I haven't even heard of many of these.

Tea With Jeeves

We enjoyed our tea in a couple of the cups I get out every year for Spring and Summer. It's good to finally be seeing highs in the 70s F.

We decided to pair our tea with the watching of some of the old Jeeves and Wooster shows, which were adapted from the Wodehouse stories. I love the books, and the TV series does them justice. Hugh Laurie is Bertie Wooster, and Stephen Fry plays his Gentleman's Gentleman Jeeves. They really are just priceless, and we bought the DVDs when the price on the complete set came down to reasonable.

Here's the first few minutes of the first episode:

It lasted 4 seasons.

Monday, April 08, 2013

Brooks Museum Yarn Bombed

The Brooks Art Museum was yarn-bombed.

Memphis Knit Mafia claimed responsibility for the Brooks installation.

I learned how to knit when The Kids were little as part of the Oak Meadow Teacher Training Course, which doesn't appear to be offered now, but I never made anything after my learning exercises. Maybe if I'd known about yarn bombing, I'd have seen more purpose to it.

The pieces line the walk all the way to the entrance.

The weather has been unseasonably cold, and this walkway of cheer brightened up my day!