Tuesday, June 18, 2019

The End of Breakfast at Madam Vuillard

The End of Breakfast at Madam Vuillard (1895):

by Edouard Vuillard, who died on June 21, 1940, at the age of 71. I'm linking to the weekly T Stands for Tuesday blogger gathering. Please share a post with a beverage in it and join us.


ATCs (with the inspiration prompt named above each card):



Stencil over a colored background:

Flower Child:


Interesting Hat:


Use the word "life":

Make a Mark:

Random (not from a prompt):

Lesson learned: I want colored pencil to show up on glossy paper, but I have trouble making that work. I have better luck using acrylic paints on the glossy paper and drawing on that with the colored pencils.

Monday, June 17, 2019

Train 42

image from ScotRail

Early this month ScotRail offered free train fare between Edinburgh and Glasgow to all 42-year-olds to celebrate their new faster journeys, which take 42-minutes. It was a great deal, but we missed it -by several decades in my case, as it happens.

Sunday, June 16, 2019

The Diabolical Dr. Z

The Diabolical Dr. Z is a 1965 French Spanish horror film. This was Jesús Franco's last black and white movie. I can't find this either dubbed or with English subtitles, and now the one I watched has been taken down, but I'm still looking....

How can you resist?


DVD Talk calls it "a decent little genre film" and says, "parts of it are executed quite brilliantly". Horrorpedia has some still shots. TCM has information.

Saturday, June 15, 2019

On the Gulls' Road

On the Gulls' Road is a 1908 short story by Willa Cather. You can read it online here or here. It begins,
It often happens that one or another of my friends stops before a red chalk drawing in my study and asks me where I ever found so lovely a creature. I have never told the story of that picture to any one, and the beautiful woman on the wall, until yesterday, in all these twenty years has spoken to no one but me. Yesterday a young painter, a countryman of mine, came to consult me on a matter of business, and upon seeing my drawing of Alexandra Ebbling, straightway forgot his errand. He examined the date upon the sketch and asked me, very earnestly, if I could tell him whether the lady were still living. When I answered him, he stepped back from the picture and said slowly:

"So long ago? She must have been very young. She was happy?"

"As to that, who can say -about any one of us?" I replied. "Out of all that is supposed to make for happiness, she had very little."

He shrugged his shoulders and turned away to the window, saying as he did so: "Well, there is very little use in troubling about anything, when we can stand here and look at her, and you can tell me that she has been dead all these years, and that she had very little."

We returned to the object of his visit, but when he bade me goodbye at the door his troubled gaze again went back to the drawing, and it was only by turning sharply about that he took his eyes away from her.

I went back to my study fire, and as the rain kept away less impetuous visitors, I had a long time in which to think of Mrs. Ebbling. I even got out the little box she gave me, which I had not opened for years, and when Mrs. Hemway brought my tea I had barely time to close the lid and defeat her disapproving gaze.

My young countryman's perplexity, as he looked at Mrs. Ebbling, had recalled to me the delight and pain she gave me when I was of his years. I sat looking at her face and trying to see it through his eyes—freshly, as I saw it first upon the deck of the Germania, twenty years ago. Was it her loveliness, I often ask myself, or her loneliness, or her simplicity, or was it merely my own youth? Was her mystery only that of the mysterious North out of which she came? I still feel that she was very different from all the beautiful and brilliant women I have known; as the night is different from the day, or as the sea is different from the land. But this is our story, as it comes back to me.
Listen to the Librivox recording of the story:

I've always enjoyed Cather's novels (my favorite is Death Comes for the Archbishop) but had never read any of her short stories before this.

Friday, June 14, 2019

Wagon Master

Wagon Master is a 1950 John Ford Western starring Ben Johnson, Joanne Dru, Harry Carey, Jr., Ward Bond, and Jim Thorpe.

This movie was the inspiration for the television series Wagon Train.

The Los Angeles Times calls it "The most laid-back and unpretentious of epics". IndieWire opens by saying, "One of John Ford’s personal favorites among his films, Wagon Master (1950) is a film of modest ambition and enormous charm." Chicago Reader concludes with this: "A masterpiece beyond question—but a masterpiece that never degenerates into pomposity or self-consciousness. It's American filmmaking at its finest and most eloquent."

DVD Talk says,
a simple and heartfelt cowboys 'n' settlers story with a gentle touch; Ford produced it himself and avoided having a big star so make the experience as pleasant as possible. Here's where we find out what kind of film John Ford makes when he has his way ... If you like "pure" westerns that showcase good horse riding and other cowboy skills, Wagon Master is a must-see title.
Empire Online calls it "utterly delightful, lyrical". Time Out says it's "A moral fable, but with a refreshing lack of rhetoric to its poetry." Rotten Tomatoes has an average critics score of 100%.

Thursday, June 13, 2019

Rick Steves' The Story of Fascism

The Story of Fascism is a TV episode from Rick Steves. Rick Steves' site describes it:
In this one-hour special, Rick travels back a century to learn how fascism rose and then fell in Europe — taking millions of people with it. We'll trace fascism's history from its roots in the turbulent aftermath of World War I, when masses of angry people rose up, to the rise of charismatic leaders who manipulated that anger, the totalitarian societies they built, and the brutal measures they used to enforce their ideology. We'll see the horrific consequences: genocide and total war. And we'll be inspired by the stories of those who resisted. Along the way, we'll visit poignant sights throughout Europe relating to fascism, and talk with Europeans whose families lived through those times. Our goals: to learn from the hard lessons of 20th-century Europe, and to recognize that ideology in the 21st century.

Does any of this sound scarily familiar?

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Minnie Riperton

Today is the anniversary of the death of Minnie Riperton in 1979. She was 31 years old when she died of breast cancer. It still shocks me when I realize how young she was. Her vocal range was remarkable.

Lovin' You (1975) is the song that most often comes to my mind when I hear her name:

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

The Nine Billion Names of God

The Nine Billion Names of God is a 1953 science fiction short story by Arthur C. Clarke. I still clearly remember the first time I read it. "Memorable" doesn't begin to describe it. You can read it online here or here. It begins,
“This is a slightly unusual request,” said Dr. Wagner, with what he hoped was commendable restraint. “As far as I know, it’s the first time anyone’s been asked to supply a Tibetan monastery with an Automatic Sequence Computer. I don’t wish to be inquisitive, but I should hardly have thought that your — ah — establishment had much use for such a machine. Could you explain just what you intend to do with it?”

“Gladly,” replied the lama, readjusting his silk robes and carefully putting away the slide rule he had been using for currency conversions. “Your Mark V Computer can carry out any routine mathematical operation involving up to ten digits. However, for our work we are interested in letters, not numbers. As we wish you to modify the output circuits, the machine will be printing words, not columns of figures.”

“I don’t quite understand....”

“This is a project on which we have been working for the last three centuries — since the lamasery was founded, in fact. It is somewhat alien to your way of thought, so I hope you will listen with an open mind while I explain it.”


“It is really quite simple. We have been compiling a list which shall contain all the possible names of God.”



Please join the weekly T Stands for Tuesday blogger gathering. Share a drink in your blog post and link to the party. You'll get a warm welcome. My drink reference is in the first ATC below.



Lace or Pearls:







Random (not from a prompt):


Lesson learned this week: Using Mod Podge takes practice.

Monday, June 10, 2019

Black Soul

Black Soul is an award-winning 2002 animated short film about "defining moments of Black history". The music is fun. The film, even as short as it is, does do a good job of broadly covering the history.

Sunday, June 09, 2019

The Mother Hunt

The Mother Hunt is a 1963 Nero Wolfe detective novel by Rex Stout.

from the back of the book:
When an abandoned baby is left on her doorstep, the young socialite widow knows only too well the identity of the father: her deceased philanderer of a husband. But who is the mother? The case seems like child's play to Wolfe, until the first dead body. While the police nurse their grudges against him, and the widow nurses Archie, the genius sleuth and his sidekick look for the hand that rocked the cradle. But nothing can pacify the killer, who's found the formula for murder -and is determined to milk it for all it's worth....
The story takes place in June.

It was adapted for television, and Carrie Fisher has a small role.

Saturday, June 08, 2019

Red Cliff

Red Cliff is a Chinese film from 2008-2009 which tells the story of the epic battle that ended the Han dynasty. Stunning. It's long at 288 minutes (almost 5 hours in all), but it's gorgeous to watch. The version we saw was divided into two parts on separate discs, so there was a natural intermission.


The Guardian concludes, "you can't really beat Red Cliff as the classiest and most fabulous blockbuster of the summer". Empire Online gives it 4 out of 5 stars and calls it "the best thing John Woo has made in years". The Hollywood Reporter reviews the two parts separately part 2 here.

Rotten Tomatoes has a critics rating of 90%.

Friday, June 07, 2019

The Brooks Art Museum

Wednesday is Free Day at the Memphis Brooks Art Museum, so day before yesterday I spent the morning there. I've been going to this museum since my mother took me when I was a child, and it just never gets old. My favorite pieces are still on display:

Marisol's The Family (1969):

and Light of the Incarnation (1888):

I walked through all the galleries, feeling like I was visiting with old friends. There was an unusual temporary exhibit. This "sound-based kinetic sculpture by the late artist and musician Terry Adkins (American, 1953 - 2014) ... creates a syncopated interplay between artworks in our collection":

It makes an intriguing addition to the gallery.

The museum is set in a large park, and it was a beautiful day to enjoy sitting outside on a bench after my time in the galleries.

Thursday, June 06, 2019

Star Trek Beyond

Star Trek Beyond is a 2016 science fiction film, the third film in the reboot series starring John Cho, Simon Pegg, Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, Zoe Saldana, Karl Urban, and Anton Yelchin as alternate universe original series Enterprise crew. Idris Elba is the villain. These are great fun if you can get past the fact that this isn't the original series. This is not the Star Trek universe of my youth.


Rolling Stone has a positive review. Empire Online says it is "A return to fun, and a return to form for the new version of the old Trek." Rotten Tomatoes has a critics rating of 85%.

Wednesday, June 05, 2019

The Sandman, by Neil Gaiman

The Sandman is a dark fantasy award-winning "comic book" series by Neil Gaiman. I've read this series three times and can highly recommend them. They are powerful works, both in character, in plot, in art.... There are photos of the art work online (Google image search results here).

The Wikipedia summary:
The Sandman's main character is Dream, the titular Sandman, also known to various characters throughout the series as Morpheus, Oneiros, the Shaper, the Shaper of Form, Lord of the Dreaming, the Dream King, Dream-Sneak, the Cat of Dreams, Murphy, Kai'ckul and Lord L'Zoril, who is the anthropomorphic personification of dreams. At the start of the series, Morpheus is captured by an occult ritual and held prisoner for 70 years. Morpheus escapes in the modern day and, after avenging himself upon his captors, sets about rebuilding his kingdom, which has fallen into disrepair in his absence.[54] The character's initial haughty and often cruel manner begins to soften after his years of imprisonment at the start of the series, but the challenge of undoing past sins and changing old ways is an enormous one for a being who has been set in his ways for billions of years.[55] In its beginnings, the series is a very dark horror comic. Later, the series evolves into an elaborate fantasy series, incorporating elements of classical and contemporary mythology, ultimately placing its protagonist in the role of a tragic hero.

The storylines primarily take place in the Dreaming, Morpheus's realm, and the waking world, with occasional visits to other domains, such as Hell, Faerie, Asgard, and the domains of the other Endless. Many use the contemporary United States of America and the United Kingdom as a backdrop.
When I read this the first time several years ago I had never read anything like it before -no graphic novels, no comic books- and I love these. You won't regret giving them a chance.

Tuesday, June 04, 2019

Alice in Wonderland (1949)

Alice in Wonderland is a 1949 film based on the well-known book. Carol Marsh is Alice. Watch it online in 2 parts via DailyMotion:

Part 1:

Part 2:

Senses of Cinema opens with this:
Of all the films to have faced censorship battles in the English-speaking world, there are few as apparently innocuous as Alice au Pays des Merveilles (Alice in Wonderland, Lou Bunin, Dallas Bower and Marc Maurette, 1949). An often-overlooked adaptation of the beloved Lewis Carroll novel, the 1949 film was the first screen incarnation of the story to make substantial use of animation. Its troubled production history offers a textbook example of how the state and the commercial sector can each work to crush artistic endeavours.
TCM has information.

The Mad Hatter's tea party starts here:

Please share a post with a drink reference and join us at Bleubeard and Elizabeth's weekly T party.


I need advice on watercolors: I don't get good color from the little school watercolor sets I've been using. Can y'all suggest watercolors that give richer color that don't require a rich budget? Maybe a middle-of-the-road option? Thanks!

My ATCs for today:




Pink and Purple:




Use 1/3 or less of the card:

Birds and Bees: