Friday, September 30, 2016

Sound of Horror

Sound of Horror is a 1964 Spanish horror film dubbed in English and released in America in 1966. Treasure-hunting in Greek caves, the explorers find a mummified body and petrified eggs instead. It turns out the superstitious villagers were right about monsters after all. I don't see any reason to watch this one unless you just need to see all the horror movies. There's not much to it.

via Youtube:

Moria gives it a 1-star review and says,
The film’s great failing is that its’ provision of an invisible monster is not for any reason that allows it to be subtle and create something by suggestion or psychological ambiguity as in Cat People, The Haunting et al, but simply one that has allowed it to be as cheap as possible and avoid any special or creature effects. Indeed, this may well count as quite possibly the world’s first (almost entirely) effects free monster movie.
Weitd Wild Realm is not impressed. TCM has an overview.

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Death in the Truffle Wood

Death in the Truffle Wood is one (the second perhaps? maybe the first to get an English translation?) in a series by French author Pierre Magnan featuring Commissaire Laviolette. The author was 89 years old when he died in 2012.

These have been adapted for TV and film, but I've never seen them. I think I'd like to try one of the tv episodes and see what it's like. The characters in the book were an interesting and quirky bunch, and I'd think it would translate well to the small screen.

from the back of the book:
In a small, peaceful village in Provence, the principal source of income is the cultivation and sale of truffles. When Commissaire Laviolette arrives to investigate why several of the town's citizens are missing, it isn't long before their bodies turn up. It takes all of the detective's ingenuity to unravel crimes whose origins are as old as the truffle woods.
Mystery Scene opens a positive review with this: "Originally published in 1975 in France, it's taken a long time for the first of the novels in Pierre Magnan's Commissaire Laviolette series to reach these shores. Worth the wait? Absolutely." EuroCrime says, "This is an absolute delight to read. Atmospheric, down to earth, funny and combined with an intriguing whodunit." Publishers Weekly says it's "beautifully translated" and that it "brings to life the quirky, earthy peasant culture of the Provence region." Kirkus Reviews concludes, "Magnan ... supplies enough plot twists and sharp shafts of wit to add up to smartly sublime entertainment."

Wednesday, September 28, 2016


Q-Squared is a Star Trek novel by Peter David. Non-canonical (which is a shame), it overtly identifies Trelane, the Squire of Gothos, as part of the Q Continuum. The book spent two weeks on the New York Times bestseller list. No one would ever mistake this for high prose, and no one but the Star Trek fan of both the original series and The Next Generation will care about any of this convoluted plot. But once I saw Q in the Next Generation Trek I knew Trelane was part of them, and it's nice to see the view was so widely shared.

from the back of the book:
In all of his travels Catain Jean-Luc Picard has never faced an opponent more powerful than Q, a being from another continuum that Picard encountered on his very first mission as Captain of the Starship Enterprise. In the years since, Q has returned again and again to harass Picard and hos crew. Sometimes dangerous, sometimes merely obnoxious, Q has always been mysterious and seemingly all-powerful.

But this time, when Q appears, he comes to Picard for help. Apparently another member of the Q continuum has tapped into an awesome power source that makes this being more powerful than the combined might of the entire Q continuum. This renegade Q is named Trelane -also known as the Squire of Gothos, who captain Kirk and his crew first encountered over one hundred years ago. Q explains that, armed with this incredible power, Trelane has become unspeakable dangerous.

Now Picard must get involved in an awesome struggle between super beings. And this time the stakes are not just Picard's ship, or the galaxy, or even the universe -this time the stakes are all of creation....
Kirkus Reviews says, "The material is recycled and the prose stolid, but the confusing story is the biggest crime." Publishers Weekly says, "The novel is fast-paced and the prose sloppy" and "While the pulpy action makes this is a Trek-lovers paradise, anyone else will wonder what all the fuss is about."

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Heritage Tavern

Heritage Tavern is located in a strip mall on one of the busiest streets in Memphis. Somehow we hadn't even realized it was there until I found it on a list of recommendations of best hamburgers. It's a fun place to sit:

We had the burger and can't say enough good about it.

It was cooked perfectly, and the waitress couldn't have been nicer. They have a Friday night chicken special that we need to go to. You can see their menu here, and there's plenty there to come back for.

Please join the Tea Tuesday gathering over at Bluebeard and Elizabeth's blog. Share a drink with us.

Monday, September 26, 2016

Exercises for Hand, Wrist, and Forearm Strength

I'm determined not to waste away. Don't laugh, it feels like a real possibility as I sit here getting older. I'm doing what I can to keep myself strong enough to maintain my independence as I age. In this post I'm focusing on exercises I do that strengthen hands, wrists and forearms.

This is a 5-minute video by a couple of physical therapists who have a Youtube channel I subscribe to:

This is a 7-minute video by an orthopedic surgeon:

Doctor Jo has a finger strengthening exercise that uses a rubber band:

I also have hand weights (1, 3, 5, and 8 pd weights), a set of those little squeeze-y balls, and a hand grip I use.

I do exercises aimed at strengthening my hands, wrists, and forearms 3 times a week.

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Death of a Nationalist

Death of a Nationalist is the award-winning 2003 debut novel of Rebecca Pawel and first in the 4-book Sergeant Carlos Tejada Investigation series. I enjoyed this one. The characters were well-drawn and the plot was intriguing. The setting -immediate post-Spanish civil war fascist Madrid- is not interesting enough to me for me to seek out the rest of the series, but I'm glad I read this one.

from the back of the book:
Madrid in the wake of the Spanish Civil War is a city of bomb craters, desecrated churches, black markets, and violent tensions between fascist-supported Nationalists and Communist-supported Republicans. In the middle of this tumult, Sergeant Carlos Tejada Alonso y Leon of the Guardia Civil, a young and dedicated recruit, must investigate the murder of his best friend, Francico "Paco" Lopez Perez. Paco was a Nationalist hero of the siege of Toledo, and naturally, a Red is suspected. But in violently unstable postwar Madrid, little is what it seems.
Kirkus Reviews calls it "An intriguing juxtaposition of the political and the personal." Publishers Weekly closes with this: "Forecast: As genre entertainment this will be a hard sell, but it should get some serious literary attention for its 25-year-old author". Reviewing the Evidence has a positive review.

Saturday, September 24, 2016

The Handsome Man's De Luxe Cafe

The Handsome Man's De Luxe Cafe (2014) by Alexander McCall Smith is the 15th book in the No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency series. I love these books, even though they quickly became much less about the mystery and much more about the characters' lives and relationships. These really must be read in series order, as the characters develop and their relationships change in meaningful ways almost with the passing of every book.

from the back of the book:
Precious Ramotswe's gentle touch and deep insight have helped her recover many lost things over the years -but never before has she been asked to help a woman find herself. When a kindhearted brother and sister take in a nameless woman with no memory of her own history or how she came to Botswana, it falls to Mma Ramotswe and Mma Makutsi to discover the woman's identity. Meanwhile. motherhood seems to be no obstacle to Mma Makutsi's professional success, as she deftly balances her duties at the agency with her new role as owner of the Handsome Man's De Luxe Cafe, a restaurant for Gaborone's most fashionable diners. And Mr. J.L.B. Matekoni is contemplating big changes at Tlokweng Road Speedy Motors which will alter life at the No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency as well.

With sympathy and indefatigable good humor, Mma Ramotswe and her friends see one another through these major changes and discover along the way what true friendship really means.
This series was adapted for TV. Although it sadly only lasted a single season, it's well worth seeking out. It's a wonderful adaptation, and as much as I love the books I also love the TV show. Sometimes you can find edited/shortened versions on Youtube, but we bought the DVDs and never regretted it. Perfectly cast and perfectly presented.

I've read these others from this series:

The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency
Tears of the Giraffe
Morality for Beautiful Girls
The Kalahari Typing School for Men
The Full Cupboard of Life
In the Company of Cheerful Ladies
Blue Shoes and Happiness
The Good Husband from Zebra Drive
Tea Time for the Traditionally Built
The Miracle at Speedy Motors
The Double Comfort Safari Club
The Saturday Big Tent Wedding Party
The Limpopo Academy of Private Detection
The Minor Adjustment Beauty Salon

Friday, September 23, 2016

Movies for Fall

I've been looking for lists of movies for getting in the autumnal mood, not Hallowe'en, but the fall season. It's nice to have some mood-making for the season that's not all about spooky films.

Town and Country has a list of 11:
Dead Poets Society, 1989
When Harry Met Sally, 1989
Rudy, 1993
Good Will Hunting, 1997
Rushmore, 1998
Election, 1999
Autumn in New York, 2000
You've Got Mail, 1998
Love Story, 1970
St. Elmo's Fire, 1985
Planes, Trains, and Automobiles, 1987
I've seen the 2 in bold print. I would be interested in seeing a few of these if somebody stuck them in the DVD player, but I'm not motivated enough to seek them out (except for Rushmore and When Harry Met Sally, which I already have).

The Imdb has a list of 69. These are their top 10:
1. When Harry Met Sally... (1989)
2. Autumn Sonata (1978)
3. Autumn (2004)
4. Autumn in New York (2000)
5.The Straight Story (1999)
6. The Dark Secret of Harvest Home (1978 Mini-Series)
7. City Girl (1930)
8. Earth (1930)
9. Days of Heaven (1978)
10. Tess (1979)
I've seen the 2 in bold print. There are several of these that interest me, and if I were to pick one list to work from it'd be this one.

British Film Institute lists 10:
The Stranger (1946)
All That Heaven Allows (1955)
The Trouble with Harry (1955)
An Autumn Afternoon (1962)
Autumn Sonata (1978)
Halloween (1978)
An Autumn Tale (1998)
Rushmore (1998)
Far from Heaven (2002)
Helen (2008)

The Huffington Post has a list of 9:
The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner, 1962
An Autumn Afternoon, 1962
To Kill a Mockingbird, 1962
Autumn Sonata, 1978
Days of Heaven, 1978
Halloween, 1978
Hannah and Her Sisters, 1986
Rushmore, 1998
The Others, 2001

Paste Magazine lists 15:
1. Halloween, 1978
2. The Last Waltz, 1978
3. Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, 1986
4. When Harry Met Sally, 1989
5. Good Will Hunting, 1997
6. Planes, Trains and Automobiles, 1987
7. Rushmore, 1998
8. You’ve Got Mail, 1998
9. Hannah and Her Sisters, 1986
10. Scream, 1996
11. Rudy, 1993
12. Harold and Maude, 1971
13. Election, 1999
14. Dead Poets Society, 1989
15. Garden State, 2004
I notice that Hannah and Her Sisters appears on some lists, and I've never seen it. I quit watching that director when he began a sexual relationship with a girl who seemed to me to be, for all intents and purposes, his step-daughter.

Harper's Bazaar has a list of 12:
1) Love Story, 1970
2) St. Elmo's Fire, 1985
3) Dead Poets Society, 1989
4) When Harry Met Sally..., 1989
6) Good Will Hunting, 1997
8) You've Got Mail, 1998
9) Stepmom, 1998
10) October Sky, 1999
11) Autumn in New York, 2000
12) Far From Heaven, 2002
Apartment Therapy's list (not including the ones that have not been released yet:
Juno, 2007
Penelope, 2006
Bring It On, 2000
All of the Harry Potter movies, 2001-2011
Rushmore, 1998
Good Will Hunting, 1997
Bend It Like Beckham, 2002
When Harry Met Sally, 1989
Harold & Maude, 1971
Anne of Green Gables, 1985 miniseries
Bride & Prejudice, 2004
Pride & Prejudice, 2005

Thursday, September 22, 2016

I remember date and time: September 22, Sunday, 25 after 9

The Day You Went Away:

by M2M

Lyric excerpt:

Well hey
So much I need to say
Been lonely since the day
The day you went away
So sad but true
For me there's only you
Been crying since the day
The day you went away

verse 2:

I remember date and time
September twenty second
Sunday twenty five after nine
In the doorway with your case
No longer shouting at each other
There were tears on our faces

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

The Score

The Score (1964) is the 5th book in the Parker series by Richard Stark (pen name of Donald Westlake). I like these for the clean, spare style and that they are different from other books I read in focusing on a main character who is a sociopathic career thief. Each book covers one of the jobs he takes. The plots don't have any frills and are devoted to the job and the characters directly involved. This book is notable for having the first appearance of Alan Grofield, who goes on to become a regular character and even has some novels of his own.

from the back of the book:
It was an impossible crime: knock off an entire North Dakota town called Copper Canyon -clean out the plant payroll, both banks, and all the stores in one night. Parker called it "science fiction," but with the right men (a score of them), he could ficure it all out to the last detail. It could work. If the men behaved like pros, cool and smart; if they didn't get impatient, start chaing skirts, or decide to take the opportunity to settle secret old scores... they just might pull it off.
You can read an excerpt here at Amazon.

I've also read these:

1. The Hunter (1962)
4. The Mourner (1963)

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Hog and Hominy

I had heard about this place when it opened. It's located in a house on a street where several restaurants have opened up fairly recently. It's not far from us, but we had just never made it over there.

We finally went to Hog and Hominy because I had read good reviews of their hamburgers, but they refused to sell us hamburgers. Well, that's not quite right. What they did was refuse to make any changes whatsoever to the burger on their menu. Their online lunch menu describes the sandwich: "JOHN T BURGER | pickled lettuce, american cheese, onion, mustard, fries $12" but makes no mention that it can't be changed. The menu in the restaurant doesn't mention that either. I was a bit shocked when I ordered mine without mustard and was told the chef wouldn't make it any way besides how it's listed on the menu because it's an award-winning burger. We had the pizza instead:

But we won't be back. That's just a bit too much precious for a hamburger, and the pizza's good but not so good that I'm willing to put up with the precious.

Please share a drink with us over at Bleubeard and Elizabeth's weekly T Tuesday link-up, and we'll let you choose whatever drink you like and have it anyway that suits you.

Monday, September 19, 2016

The Complete Persepolis

The Complete Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi is a memoir (told in graphic novel form) of a girl growing up in revolutionary Iran. This made quite the splash when it was released, but I'm just now getting around to reading it. You can read it online here. It was adapted for film in 2007, but I haven't seen that. I'm not particularly impressed by it, either by the girl herself or the writing. I see where it might connect better with an adolescent or young adult.

from the book cover:
Here, in one volume: Marjane Satrap's best-selling, internationally acclaimed memoir-in-comic-strips.

Persepolis is the story of Satrapi's unforgettable childhood and coming-of-age within a large and loving family in Tehran during the Islamic Revolution; of the contradictions between private and public life in a country plagued by political upheaval; of her high school years in Vienna facing the trials of adolescence far from her family; of her homecoming--both sweet and terrible; and, finally, of her self-imposed exile from her beloved homeland. It is the chronicle of a girlhood and adolescence at once outrageous and familiar, a young life entwined with the history of her country yet filled with the universal trials and joys of growing up.

Edgy, searingly observant, and candid, often heartbreaking but threaded throughout with raw humor and hard-earned wisdom -Persepolis is a stunning work from one of the most highly regarded, singularly talented graphic artists at work today.
The book was originally published in separate sections, and reviews I find are often just of the one part. The work got good reviews, but there's been some controversy over whether or not parts of it were appropriate for children. The Guardian concludes:"Overall, I would give this book a 10 out of 10. I would recommend this to girls and boys who are 12 and older; this book deals with very mature subject matter, and does depict scenes of violence at times. There is also a fair amount of cursing, especially by some adults."

The are numerous video reviews available online.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

King Kong (2005)

King Kong is the 2005 Peter Jackson remake of the 1933 classic. It's fun to watch, but slow. One might even call it bloated. Every scene is good, but every scene is several minutes too long. I think this movie might've been more enjoyable for me if it had been 2 hours long instead of 3 hours and 8 minutes. I seem to be alone in that view, though, as most reviews are filled with glowing praise.


Rotten Tomatoes has a critics score of 84% but an audience rating of just 50%.

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Hunting Badger

Hunting Badger is the 14th book in Tony Hillerman's Leaphorn/Chee mystery series. I started reading this series long ago, and I'm trying to read them in order as I'm able. The characters are interesting, the setting is fascinating, and the plots don't disappoint. There's no down-side to this series.

from the dust jacket:
Navajo crimebusters Leaphorn and Chee are back together on a case, and at odds with the FBI over a backcountry manhunt in this latest thrilling addition to Tony Hillerman's best-selling series.

In 1998 three heavily armed "survivalists" came out of the Four Corners canyons in a stolen truck. They murdered a policeman, had a shootout with pursuers, and then vanished -eluding a manhunt that eventually involved hundreds of officers from more than twenty federal and state agencies. The crime and the bungled FBI investigation left behind a web of mysteries: Why did one of the bandits kill himself? How did the others escape? Why has no one in this impoverished area claimed the huge reward the government still offers? Most puzzling of all, what crime were they en route to commit when Officer Dale Claxton stopped them -and paid for his bravery with his life?

Tony Hillerman assigns these real puzzles to his fictional Navajo Tribal Police officers -Sergeant Jim Chee and retired Lieutenant Joe Leaphorn. The time is now, and the memory of the mishandled manhunt of 1998 is still painfully fresh. Three men stage a predawn raid on the Ute tribes gambling casino. They kill one policeman, wound another, and disappear in the maze of canyons on the Utah-Arizona border. The FBI takes over the investigation, and agents swarm in with their helicopters, their high-tech equipment, and a theory of the crime that makes a wounded deputy sheriff a suspect. This development calls Chee in from his vacation, and a request for a favor draws in Leaphorn. Chee finds a fatal flaw in the federal theory, and Leaphorn sees an intriguing pattern connecting this crime with the exploits of a legendary Ute hero-bandit.

Tightly plotted and beautifully written, Hunting Badger proves once again that Tony Hillerman is a master storyteller.
The NYT has a positive review. Kirkus Reviews calls the author "the doyen of the regional mystery —a master who, like his hero, keeps his best tricks till last." Publishers Weekly says, "Here Hillerman is in top form, creating dialogue that will bring listeners into real sympathy with the people and proceedings described."

I've read these from this series:
1. The Blessing Way (1970)
2. Dance Hall of the Dead (1973)

4. People of Darkness (1980)
5. The Dark Wind (1982)
6. The Ghostway (1984)

7. Skinwalkers (1986)
8. Thief of Time (1988)
9. Talking God (1989)
10. Coyote Waits (1990)
11. Sacred Clowns (1993)
12. The Fallen Man (1996)
13. The First Eagle (1998)

16. The Sinister Pig (2003)

Friday, September 16, 2016

42 Multiplied

This works as a measurement or a multiplication problem, I guess, but 42 is already The Answer and multiplying it by itself will only lead you astray. Do not make the mistake of thinking that bigger is necessarily better.

Thus endeth the lesson for the day.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Butterfly Garden

I went to the Memphis Botanic Garden a couple of weeks ago specifically looking for caterpillars in the butterfly garden but didn't see any.

There were flowers and butterflies aplenty.

I go to this park at least once a week but don't always go to this area.

I enjoy any kind of park setting and feel fortunate to have such a lovely space close to where I live.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

The Quantum Thief

The Quantum Thief, a 2010 science fiction novel by Hannu Rajaniemi, was difficult reading for me, as I kept feeling like I was reading a foreign language I wasn't fluent in. It rewarded my persistence, though, and I enjoyed the experience. According to Wikipedia:
The Quantum Thief is the debut science fiction novel by Hannu Rajaniemi and the first novel in a trilogy featuring Jean le Flambeur. ... It is a heist story, set in a futuristic solar system, that features a protagonist modeled on Arsène Lupin, the gentleman thief of Maurice Leblanc.
from the back of the book:
The Quantum Thief is a crazy joyride through the solar system several centuries hence -a high-flying adventure and a mystery novel in one brilliant, speculative package. Every morning upon waking, Jean le Flambeur must kill himself before his other self can kill him first. But on one such average day, Jean is rescued by the mysterious Mieli and her flirtatious spacecraft, broken out of the Dilemma Prison and taken to the Oubliette, the moving city of Mars. The Oubliette is a city of ubiquitous public-key encryption, where a moon-turned-singularity lights the night and people can communicate via shared memories. Meanwhile, human investigator Isidore Beautrelet, called in to investigate the murder of a chocolatier, finds himself on the trail of an archcriminal, a man named le Flambeur...

Indeed, in his many lives, the entity called Jean le Flambeur has been a thief, a confidence artist, a posthuman mind-burglar, and more. In his last exploit, he managed the supreme feat of hiding the truth about his self from the one person in the solar system who is the hardest to hide from: himself. Now Jean has the chance to regain himself in all his power -in exchange for finishing the one heist that he could never quite perfect.
Locus concludes,
Rajaniemi is having as much fun with these characters as with his gonzo physics, and by the end of the novel we’d be willing to follow them down any of the several sequel-corridors that Rajaniemi gives himself. For now, he’s spectacularly delivered on the promise that this is likely the most important debut SF novel we’ll see this year.
SF Reviews found it difficult to read, but says, "It's all very intricate, and to be perfectly fair, a jaw-droppingly impressive future in its construction." SF Site calls it "clearly one of the best SF novels of the year" and says, "Rajaniemi has quite successfully met the expectations his short work had raised."

The Guardian opens with this: "There are science fiction novels that impress and those that entertain. All too rarely the two come together, but in this baroque theft caper, Hannu Rajaniemi has pulled it off with aplomb. That this is a first novel makes his achievement all the more notable." Kirkus Reviews closes by calling it "Spectacularly and convincingly inventive, assured and wholly spellbinding: one of the most impressive debuts in years."

Tuesday, September 13, 2016


photo from DressCodeFinder

Neil's is a restaurant/bar/music venue not far from where we live, but we had never gone there. For some strange reason I forgot to take photos of the exterior (but included one from another site above) or the interior (but you're not missing much as it's just a large room with a stage on one side and a bar at the other and tables).

The food, though, yes, the food is worth praising. They have daily lunch plate specials, but The Husband and The Younger Son got cheeseburgers and I got the club sandwich with onion rings and a coke:

You can see their menu here. Very tasty. And the staff was friendly and helpful. We'll definitely go back. Maybe even catch some of the music one of these days.

Please join the talented and artistic ladies at the T Party hosted by Bleubeard and Elizabeth at the Altered Book Lover blog.

Monday, September 12, 2016

Summer with Monika

Summer with Monika is a 1953 Ingmar Bergman film starring Harriet Andersson.


The NYT opens by saying it "isn’t among the best known or most representative works of Ingmar Bergman, but it may be his most influential." Slant Magazine gives it 4 out of 5 stars and explores the plot. Senses of Cinema opens a positive review by calling the film "a standout early film in the massive oeuvre of Ingmar Bergman, surely the 20th century’s quintessential ‘art cinema’ filmmaker."

DVD Talk describes it:
An early feat of probing observation into human interrelationship and emotion in an oeuvre that would come to cast a very long shadow over the cinematic treatment of those matters, Bergman's Summer with Monika is an unsparing but not unpitying look at life as an arc from defiance to escape and freedom to inevitable submission in a world that grinds away the idyllic hopes of the young.
Rotten Tomatoes has a critics rating of 100%.

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Best Films of the 21st Century

BBC has a list of the greatest 100 films of the 21st century. Here are the top 10 (via Boing Boing):
1. Mulholland Drive (David Lynch, 2001)
2. In the Mood for Love (Wong Kar-wai, 2000)
3. There Will Be Blood (Paul Thomas Anderson, 2007)
4. Spirited Away (Hayao Miyazaki, 2001)
5. Boyhood (Richard Linklater, 2014)
6. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (Michel Gondry, 2004)
7. The Tree of Life (Terrence Malick, 2011)
8. Yi Yi: A One and a Two (Edward Yang, 2000)
9. A Separation (Asghar Farhadi, 2011)
10. No Country for Old Men (Joel and Ethan Coen, 2007)
I've seen the ones in bold print. Well, that's pathetic. And I think of myself as someone who likes film. I do have Mulholland Drive, There Will Be Blood, Eternal Sunshine, and Yi Yi on DVD in the huge, neverending to-be-watched pile. With a kajillion other movies I'm sure are less worthy of my attention. The question is whether I can possibly live long enough to see them all. sigh

I did click through to read the entire list. I'm not wanting to critique the BBC or its sources or its list, but I lose any respect for any "greatest" list that includes The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford. Just sayin'.

Saturday, September 10, 2016

The Serpent and the Rainbow

The Serpent and the Rainbow is a 1988 Wes Craven horror film. It is loosely based on the book telling the true story of Clairvius Narcisse, who was reportedly turned into a zombie.


Moria notes the displeasure of the author of the book it's based on. DVD Talk calls it "very creepy stuff, a serious horror film that mixes voodoo terror with political terror to induce a number of nervous chills". says it "is one of the very best thrillers of the decade, a feast of both cinematography and nightmare imagery."

Roger Ebert calls it "uncanny in the way it takes the most lurid images and makes them plausible." The Rotten Tomatoes critics score is 61%.

Friday, September 09, 2016

Home Decorating

I lived in the same house from the time I was born until I went away to college, and my mother continued to live there for long years until she moved into a senior living apartment. She favored Early American style and had furnished the house in appropriate and comfortable furniture. She didn't ever re-decorate beyond removing the wall-paper, repainting, making new curtains, and once having the living room couch and chair re-covered. During my adult life until about 8 years ago I lived in furnished housing with no choice at all in furnishings and decor. Now, at 60, I've been in a home we've owned for several years. Honestly, I'm clueless about what it would mean to "decorate" it. I look at blogs and other sites and find a lot of what I see appealing, but I'm happy with what I've gradually accumulated through the years.

That said, I think some of what I see would be fun to have, keeping in mind that to buy large new furniture at this point in my life wouldn't be good stewardship. This idea of making your home look "well-traveled without ever booking a plane ticket" looks like fun. Their list:
  1. Layer Up
  2. Pseudo tiles
  3. Eastern sculpture
  4. Basket art
  5. Floor cushions
  6. If all else fails… Plants. Lots and lots of plants.
I'd interpret this differently and on a smaller scale, I think.

1. I already do the "layer up" suggestion with pillows and throws.

2. Tiles don't appeal to me.

3. My Eastern pieces (here are a sample)

and 4. my baskets

are smaller for the most part and the baskets are fewer than what they show. I tend to use the baskets individually for practical purposes, and ones I'm not using are stored.

5. Our place is so small there's no room for floor cushions, but

6. boy, oh boy, do I have the plants!

I have a few things that actually came from foreign lands, and I display them on shelves or tables

and walls

The brown wool braided rugs that we used in our little cabin in the woods back in the day don't contribute to the foreign travel look, though. But I like them. They make me think I'm on a woodland vacation with a trail to walk right outside my door. Who needs foreign travel! I took their quiz, and I got "Artful Bohemian" as my home decor personality. I can definitely live with that result.

What I need to do at this point is pare down and distill so that the treasures I have aren't drowned out by the clutter. And dust! I need to dust!

Thursday, September 08, 2016

Ornamental Hairpin

Ornamental Hairpin is a lovely, sweet 1941 film directed by Hiroshi Shimizu. It's just over an hour long and easy to watch. The Criterion site has this description of the plot:
Two bruised souls enact a tender, hesitant romance in Hiroshi Shimizu’s alternately poignant and playful wartime love story. A soldier (Chishu Ryu) is forced to prolong his stay at a rural spa when he accidentally cuts his foot on the titular object. Soon enough he tracks down its lovely owner (Kinuyo Tanaka) and finds himself smitten.

Slant Magazine says, "Through uncertainty and hardships, life finds meaning; this, above all, lies at the core of Shimizu's ravishing common-man cinema." has some reflections. The NYT calls the closing scene "one of the most devastating moments in Japanese film." DVD Talk says it's an "affecting story about romance that "almost was"".

Wednesday, September 07, 2016

Death and Judgment

Death and Judgment is the 4th in the Donna Leon mystery series featuring Commissario Guido Brunetti. I'm reading these as I pick them up, in order when I can, but I'm not being a stickler for chronology with this series. There's been a television adaptation, but I haven't seen any of them.

from the back of the book:
In the fourth book of Leon's internationally bestselling Commissario Guido Brunetti series, a truck crashes and spills its illegal cargo on a treacherous road in the Italian Dolomite Mountains. Meanwhile a prominent international lawyer is found dead aboard an intercity train bound for Vence. Brunetti suspects a connection between the two tragedies. Digging deep for an answer, he stumbles upon a seedy Venetian bar that holds the key to a crime network that reaches far beyond the laguna. But it will take another violent death in Venice before Brunetti and his colleagues can get to the bottom of the horrific events. concludes with this: "Admirers of Donna Leon’s singular series will find Death and Judgment her most complex and intensely realized novel." Reviewing the Evidence has a positive review and closes by saying, "There is a stark realism in her books that, along with the European ambience, makes me feel they're a step or two above everyday routine mysteries." Kirkus Reviews praises it, saying it "knit[s] together all her strengths: endearing detective, jaundiced social pathology, and a paranoid eye for plotting on a grand scale." Publishers Weekly calls it an "intriguing and finally horrifying tale".

I've also read the following from this series:
#1 Death at La Fenice (1992)
#2 Death in a Strange Country (1993)
#3 Dressed for Death (1994)
#18 About Face (2009)

Tuesday, September 06, 2016

A Cup of Coffee, A Sandwich, and You

A Cup of Coffee, A Sandwich, and You:

sung here by Jack Buchanan and Gertrude Lawrence. Lawrence was a singer and dancer and actress, much active on the stage and perhaps best known for her Tony Award-winning performance opposite Yul Brynner in the initial 1951 Broadway run of The King and I. Her run was short because of rapidly deteriorating health, and she died of cancer on September 6 a year and a half after it opened.

Lyrics excerpt from her part in the video embedded above:
If it is because you can't afford more sandwiches and coffee, we will share.
But if it's to help you save and hoard more, I can stand to see how much you care.
Now if I were you flirting with me my advice would be:
I've got a thousand and nothing to do.
I'd like to lend it or spend it on you.
Join the fun at the weekly T Tuesday gathering at Bleubeard and Elizabeth's blog and share a drink with us.

Monday, September 05, 2016

Overton Park Old Forest Trails

I spent a couple of hours the other day on one of the trails in the Old Forest Natural Area. I do this fairly often. On this particular day I walked on one of the unpaved segments.

There are several entries into unpaved trails throughout the forest from the old paved roads leftover from when motorized traffic was allowed inside the area.

You'd not guess how close you are to big city traffic when you're in the interior of these woods.

You'd also not believe how close you are to the other people walking out here. I didn't see another soul along this particular path.

It's peaceful here. Memphis is fortunate to have been able to save this area from development, although the zoo keeps encroaching and has designs on 17 acres that they've already fenced. Large and loud hardscape inside this woodland would alter its character.

This is what happened when the zoo decided to clear cut 4 acres of the forest to build a new exhibit:

I hope our city is able to preserve the remainder of this natural area for future generations.