Wednesday, September 30, 2020


Yours is a short story by Mary Robison. You can read it online here. It begins,
Allison struggles away from her white Renault, limping with the weight of the last of the pumpkins. She found Clark in the twilight on the twig- and leaf-littered porch, behind the house. He wore a tan wool shawl. He was moving up and back in a cushioned glider, pushed by the ball of his slippered foot.

Allison lowered a big pumpkin and let it rest on the porch floor.

Clark was much older than she — seventy-eight to Allison’s thirty-five. They had been married for four months. They were both quite tall, with long hands, and their faces looked something alike. Allison wore a natural-hair wig. It was a thick blonde hood around her face. She was dressed in bright-dyed denims today. She wore durable clothes, usually, for she volunteered afternoons at a children’s day-care center.

She put one of the smaller pumpkins on Clark’s long lap. “Now, nothing surreal,” she told him. “Carve just a regular face. These are for kids.”

Tuesday, September 29, 2020

Blues Story

Blues Story is a 2003 documentary film. from the IMDb:
Blues Story presents an impressionistic history of one of the most lasting art forms America has ever produced - as told for the first time through the eyes of the artists who lived it. Combining exclusive interview and performance footage with vintage clips and the music of many Blues legends long gone, the history of this richly felt music is illuminated - from its African roots to its American urban expression - along with its profound place in our cultural heritage. The result is a rare, first-hand glimpse into the lives of these vanishing artists, and a moving, insightful and informative look into a music that continues to be loved by millions throughout the world.

Perhaps a cup of espresso as we share a drink at the weekly T Stands for Tuesday blogger gathering hosted by Bleubeard and Elizabeth.

Monday, September 28, 2020

The Graveless Doll of Eric Mutis

The Graveless Doll of Eric Mutis is a short story by Karen Russell. It takes place in late September. You can read it online here. It begins,
The scarecrow that we found lashed to the pin oak in Friendship Park, New Jersey, was thousands of miles away from the yellow atolls of corn where you might expect to find a farmer’s doll. Scarecrow country was the actual country, everybody knew that. Scarecrows belonged to countrymen and women. They lived in hick states, the “I” states, exotic to us: Iowa, Indiana. Scarecrows made fools of the birds, and smiled with lifeless humor. Their smiles were fakes, threads. (This idea appealed to me — I was a quiet kid myself, branded “mean,” and I liked the idea of a mouth that nobody expected anything from, a mouth that was just red sewing.) Scarecrows got planted into the same soil as their crops; they worked around the clock, like charms, to keep the hungry birds at bay. That was how it worked in TV movies, at least: horror-struck, the birds turned shrieking circles around the far-below peak of the scarecrow’s hat, afraid to land. They haloed him. Underneath a hundred starving crows, the TV scarecrow seemed pretty sanguine, grinning his tickled, brainwashed grin at the camera. He was a sort of pitiable character, I thought, a jester in the corn, imitating the farmer — the real king. All day and all night, the scarecrow had to stand watch over his quilty hills of wheat and flax, of rye and barley and three other brown grains that I couldn’t remember (my brain stole this image from the seven-grain Quilty Hills Muffins bag — at school I cheated shamelessly and I guess my imagination must have been a plagiarist too, copying its homework).

This mission had nothing to do with us or with our city of Anthem, New Jersey. Anthem had no crops, no silos, no crows — it had turquoise Port-o-Pottys and neon alleys, construction pits, dogs in purses, bag ladies with powerful smells and opinions, garbage dumps haunted by the wraith white pigeons; it had our school, the facade of which was currently covered with a glorious psychedelic phallus mosaic, a series of interlocking dicks spray painted to the scale of Picasso’s Guernica by Anthem’s tenth-grade graffiti kings; it had policemen, bus drivers, crossing guards; dolls were sold in stores.

And we were city boys. We lived in projects that were farm antonyms, these truly shitbox apartments. If flowers bloomed on our sooty sills, it must have been because of some plant Stockholm syndrome, a love our sun did not deserve. Our familiarity with the figure of the scarecrow came exclusively from watered-down L. Frank Baum cartoons, and from the corny yet frightening “Autumn’s Bounty!” display in the Food Lion grocery store, where every year a scarecrow got propped a little awkwardly between a pilgrim, a cornucopia, and a scrotally wrinkled turkey. The Food Lion scarecrow looked like a broomin a Bermuda shirt, a broomwith acne, ogling the ladies’ butts as they bent to buy their diet yogurts — once I’d heard a bag boy joke that it was there to spook the divorcees. What we found in Friendship Park in no way resembled the Food Lion scarecrow. At first I was sure the thing tied to the oak was dead, or alive. Real, I mean.

“Hey, you guys,” I swallowed. “Look — ” And pointed to the pin oak, where a boy our age was belted to the trunk. Somebody in blue jeans and a T-shirt that had faded to the same earthworm color as his hair, a white boy, doubled over the rope. His hair clung tight as a cap to his scalp, as if painted on, and his face looked like a brick of sweating cheese.

Gus got to the kid first. “You retards.” His voice was high with relief. “It’s just a doll.” He punched its stomach. “It’s got straw inside it.”

“It’s a scarecrow!” shrieked Mondo.

Sunday, September 27, 2020

Thana Theke Aschi

Thana Theke Aschi is a 2010 Bengali drama/mystery film. You can watch it online via Youtube. It seems to be based on the J.B. Priestly play An Inspector Calls, which has been adapted several times.

Saturday, September 26, 2020

The Falls

The Falls is a short story by award-winning author George Saunders. You can read it online here. It begins,
Morse found it nerve-racking to cross the St. Jude grounds just as the school was being dismissed, because he felt that if he smiled at the uniformed Catholic children they might think he was a wacko or pervert and if he didn't smile they might think he was an old grouch made bitter by the world, which surely, he felt, by certain yardsticks, he was. Sometimes he wasn't entirely sure that he wasn't even a wacko of sorts, although certainly he wasn't a pervert. Of that he was certain. Or relatively certain. Being overly certain, he was relatively sure, was what eventually made one a wacko. So humility was the thing, he thought, arranging his face into what he thought would pass for the expression of a man thinking fondly of his own youth, a face devoid of wackiness or perversion, humility was the thing.

Friday, September 25, 2020

The Man Who Cheated Himself

The Man Who Cheated Himself is a 1950 film noir starring Lee J. Cobb as the cop who has fallen in love with the wrong woman and Jane Wyatt as the femme fatale.

Thursday, September 24, 2020

King David's Spaceship

I have a local friend whose husband has recently died. I've been blessed by her thinking of me when she decided to give me first choice of his science fiction paperbacks. These tend towards adventure or military or political in tone, and many are authors I haven't read in a while. King David's Spaceship by Jerry Pournelle is a 1980 reworking in novel form of a three-part serial published in late 1971-early 1972. 

from the back of the book:
After years of civil war, the superior weaponry of the CoDominium empire has brought peace and unity to the Samualans - at the cost of their liberty. 
Their last bid for freedom is to create a space program proving themselves worthy of statehood. But the knowledge to build a starship is extinct. 
Colonel Nathan MacKinnie, soldier of fortune, leads a daring raid to steal these secrets from the primitive planet of Makassar, where the key to space technology is jealously guarded by Temple priests. 
Valiantly leading his fierce commandos, MacKinnie battles across the universe, trying to wrest away from Makassar the knowledge left there by the first settlers who traversed the void of space from a planet called Old Earth. 
To live in peace they must fight for ancient secrets. To gain their freedom they must build ... KING DAVID'S SPACESHIP


Pournelle died in 2017 at the age of 84, having won many awards for his work. His political views are described as "paleoconservative," and he described his own views as "somewhere to the right of Genghis Khan".

Wednesday, September 23, 2020

The Haunted House (1908)

The Haunted House (or The House of Ghosts) is a 1908 French silent short film. Wikipedia says, "The film features stop-motion animation and is considered to be one of the earliest cinematic depictions of a haunted house premise."

Tuesday, September 22, 2020


H2O is the second American art film, a 1929 short film by Ralph Steiner.

I'll be linking to the weekly T Stands for Tuesday blogger gathering hosted by Bleubeard and Elizabeth. The subject of this little film is water and serves as my entry to the party, where a drink reference is required. Water is always my drink of choice. I keep a glass close at hand.

Monday, September 21, 2020

Making an American Citizen

Making an American Citizen is a 1912 comedy short silent film directed by Alice Guy-Blaché.


from Wikipedia:
Alice Ida Antoinette Guy-Blaché (née Guy; July 1, 1873 – March 24, 1968) was a French pioneer filmmaker, active from the late 19th century, and one of the first to make a narrative fiction film. She was the first woman to direct a film. From 1896 to 1906, she was probably the only female filmmaker in the world. ...

Guy-Blaché was an early influence on both Alfred Hitchcock and Sergei Eisenstein. ...

Guy-Blaché almost died from the Spanish flu pandemic in October 1919 while filming her final film Tarnished Reputations. Following her illness, she joined [husband] Herbert in Hollywood in 1919 but they lived separately. She worked as Herbert's directing assistant on his two films starring Alla Nazimova. Guy-Blaché directed her last film in 1919. In 1921, she was forced to auction her film studio and other possessions in bankruptcy. Alice and Herbert were officially divorced in 1922. She returned to France in 1922 and never made a film again. ...

Guy-Blaché never remarried, and in 1964 she returned to the United States to live in Wayne, New Jersey, with her only daughter, Simone. On March 24, 1968, at the age of 94, Guy-Blaché died in a nursing home.
from the Women Film Pioneers Project:
From 1896 to 1906 Alice Guy was probably the only woman film director in the world. She had begun as a secretary for Léon Gaumont and made her first film in 1896. After that first film, she directed and produced or supervised almost six hundred silent films ranging in length from one minute to thirty minutes...

Her Gaumont silent films are notable for their energy and risk-taking...

Variety has an overview of her career and says,
Alice Guy-Blaché was the first woman to direct a film. She helmed or produced over 1,000 movies, in addition to writing, editing and set decorating many of them. Guy-Blaché also cast interracial actors long before Hollywood ever did. ...

Sunday, September 20, 2020

A Trace of Memory

A Trace of Memory is a science fiction novel by Keith Laumer. It is a science fiction adventure story and great fun to read. from the back of the book: 

Help wanted: Soldier of fortune seeks companion 
in arms to share unusual adventure. Foster, Box 19.
Legion was desperate -but not that desperate. Even petty larceny seemed preferable to that kind of proposal. But fate stepped in, and now he is on the run, pursued by cops, the CIA and a few not-so-friendly acquaintances of Foster. And Foster has lost his memory -not to mention about thirty years of his age! The key to Legion's dilemma, and to Foster's forgotten past, is in a row of metal cylinders aboard a spaceship that has been orbiting Earth for thousands of years. And Legion's troubles have really only begun...
You can read it online here. It begins,
He awoke and lay for a moment looking up at a low ceiling, dimly visible in a faint red glow, feeling the hard mat under his back. He turned his head, saw a wall and a panel on which a red indicator light glared. 
He swung his legs over the side of the narrow couch and sat up. The room was small, grey-painted, unadorned. Pain throbbed in his forearm. He shook back the loose sleeve of the strange purple garment, saw a pattern of tiny punctures in the skin. He recognized the mark of a feeding Hunter.... Who would have dared? 
A dark shape on the floor caught his eye. He slid from the couch, knelt by the still body of a man in a purple tunic stained black with blood. Gently he rolled the body onto its back. 
He seized the limp wrist. There was a faint pulse. He rose—and saw a second body and, near the door, two more. Quickly he went to each.... 
All three were dead, hideously slashed. Only Ammaerln still breathed, faintly. 
He went to the door, shouted into the darkness. The ranged shelves of a library gave back a brief echo. He turned back to the grey-walled room, noticed a recording monitor against a wall. He fitted the neurodes to the dying man's temples. But for this gesture of recording Ammaerln's life's memories, there was nothing he could do. He must get him to a therapist—and quickly. 
He crossed the library, found a great echoing hall beyond. This was not the Sapphire Palace beside the Shallow Sea. The lines were unmistakeable: he was aboard a ship, a far-voyager. Why? How? He stood uncertain. The silence was absolute. 
He crossed the Great Hall and entered the observation lounge. Here lay another dead man, by his uniform a member of the crew. He touched a knob and the great screens glowed blue. A giant crescent swam into focus, locked; soft blue against the black of space. Beyond it a smaller companion hung, gray-blotched, airless. What worlds were these?


An hour later he had ranged the vast ship from end to end. In all, seven corpses, cruelly slashed, peopled the silent vessel. In the control sector the communicator lights glowed, but to his call there was no answer from the strange world below. 
He turned to the recording room. Ammaerln still breathed weakly. The memory recording had been completed; all that the dying man remembered of his long life was imprinted now in the silver cylinder. It remained only to color-code the trace. 
His eyes was caught by a small cylinder projecting from the aperture at the side of the high couch where he had awakened his own memory-trace! So he himself had undergone the Change. He took the color-banded cylinder, thrust it into a pocket—then whirled at a sound. A nest of Hunters, swarming globes of pale light, clustered at the door. Then they were on him. They pressed close, humming in their eagerness. Without the proper weapon he was helpless. 
He caught up the limp body of Ammaerln. With the Hunters trailing in a luminous stream he ran with his burden to the shuttle-boat bay. 
Three shuttles lay in their cradles. He groped to a switch, his head swimming with the sulphurous reek of the Hunters; light flooded the bay, driving them back. He entered the lifeboat, placed the dying man on a cushioned couch. 
It had been long since he had manned the controls of a ship, but he had not forgotten. 
Ammaerln was dead when the lifeboat reached the planetary surface. The vessel settled gently and the lock cycled. He looked out at a vista of ragged forest. 
This was no civilized world. Only the landing ring and the clearing around it showed the presence of man. 
There was a hollow in the earth by a square marker block at the eastern perimeter of the clearing. He hoisted the body of Ammaerln to his back and moved heavily down the access ladder. Working bare-handed, he deepened the hollow, placed the body in it, scraped earth over it. Then he rose and turned back toward the shuttle boat. 
Forty feet away, a dozen men, squat, bearded, wrapped in the shaggy hides of beasts, stood between him and the access ladder. The tallest among them shouted, raised a bronze sword threateningly. Behind these, others clustered at the ladder. Motionless he watched as one scrambled up, reached the top, disappeared into the boat. In a moment the savage reappeared at the opening and hurled down handfuls of small bright objects. Shouting, others clambered up to share the loot. The first man again vanished within the boat. Before the foremost of the others had gained the entry, the port closed, shutting off a terrified cry from within. 
Men dropped from the ladder as it swung up. The boat rose slowly, angling toward the west, dwindling. The savages shrank back, awed. 
The man watched until the tiny blue light was lost against the sky. ...

Saturday, September 19, 2020

The Black Pirate

Happy Talk Like a Pirate Day, me hearties! I'll be throwing out pirate jargon and watching a pirate movie to celebrate. If you've already seen this one, or if you're in the mood for a double feature or even a marathon, there's a list of pirate movies I've written blog posts on in the past at the bottom of the post.

The Black Pirate is a 1926 silent adventure film starring Douglas Fairbanks.

More pirate movies:

Peter Pan (1924)
Old Ironsides (1926)

Treasure Island (1934)
Captain Blood (1935)
Captain Kidd (1935)
Captain Calamity (1936)

The Sea Hawk (1940)

Sandokan: Pirate of Malaysia (1964)

Pirates of Penzance (1983)

Porco Rosso (1992)

Captain Phillips (2013)
Dark Waves (2015)

and of course, the Pirates of the Caribbean movies.

Friday, September 18, 2020

The Bees that Disappeared

The Bees that Disappeared is a short story by Keiichiro Hirano. You can read it online here. It begins:
For a time after the Cold War ended and Japan’s bubble economy collapsed, I used to rent a house in a small middle-of-nowhere village on the Sea of Japan in southwest Honshu. After all the amalgamations and shake-ups of local government in recent years, the place doesn’t even have the same name any more, and most people I mention it to have never heard of it. But every now and then I’ll meet someone who knows the area, and they’re always amazed to hear that I’ve spent time in such an out-of-the-way place. They’ll give me a look that says, Why? 
I don’t want to go into too much detail about it, but at the time I needed to get away from the big city for the sake of my health. Someone I knew from that part of the country told me about a house he thought would be ideal for an artistic type like me looking to kick back and recuperate in the countryside. Get back to nature and give your mind a rest, was how he put it. At first I went for quick getaways once a month or so. But my visits grew longer and more frequent, and soon I was staying for three months at a stretch. It was a real rural idyll: ...
The story was recommended here on Mae's Food Blog.

Thursday, September 17, 2020

Old Ironsides

Old Ironsides is a 1926 silent film about the fight against piracy in the Mediterranean Sea. It stars Wallace Beery. Boris Karloff plays a Saracen guard. Gary Cooper is an uncredited seaman.

Wednesday, September 16, 2020

Expanse 42

This 42 is in the command center at Tycho Station in Season 2, Episode 8 of the science fiction television series The Expanse. The title of this episode is Pyre.

The quality of my screenshot isn't good, but the 42 is on the far right in the center.

Tuesday, September 15, 2020

Siren of the Tropics

Siren of the Tropics is a 1927 film, the first film of Josephine Baker. I first read about this film here at A Cinema History, where there's a plot description and some screen shots. This is a fascinating film.

You can watch it online at this link or below:

Wikipedia says, "Following the film's premiere in December 1927 in Stockholm, it received almost unanimously positive reviews from film critics."

Please join me at the T Stands for Tuesday blogger gathering at Bleubeard and Elizabeth's blog. I'll be having a cup of spice tea (an instant mix I make every year from a recipe that was called Russian tea). My recipe is here.

Monday, September 14, 2020

Sunday, September 13, 2020

The Vampire of the Opera

The Vampire of the Opera is a 1964 Italian horror film. A dance company rents a theater in spite of the warnings of the long-time caretaker. The scantily clad dancers frolic and laugh and scream. The choreography and music are interesting. It's not the usual interpretation of the vampire myth.

Saturday, September 12, 2020

Tongues of the Moon

Tongues of the Moon is a science fiction novel by Philip Jose Farmer. It's dated, including political entities like the Soviet Union, for example, that no longer exist. If you like action this book would be a fine choice. 

from the back of the book:
in a blaze of tiny lights -each one the funeral pyre of a great city. 
The watchers on the Moon saw their planet die -and with it all but a few of the human race. 
There were a few hundred on the Moon -a few thousand on Mars. And each group was in the clutch of a war-mad dictator!

Friday, September 11, 2020

Pecos Cleans Up

Pecos Cleans Up is a 1967 comic spaghetti western about a trio of musicians who enlists a proven good-guy gunman to help them follow a treasure map to Montezuma's gold.

DVD Talk closes with this:
Pecos Cleans Up is a genre-bending and quite eccentric little show that possesses a whiff of the kind of high jinks and derring-do that is normally associated with pulpy old school Saturday matinee shows. The sometimes rudimentary yet flamboyant and slightly camp set designs found in parts of El Supremo's temple - along with El Supremo's outfit - add to this aspect of the show. However, at a technical level Pecos Cleans Up remains a stylish looking and suitably action packed film. has a review.

Thursday, September 10, 2020

The Golden Honeymoon

The Golden Honeymoon is a 1922 short story by Ring Lardner. According to Wikipedia, "His contemporaries Ernest Hemingway, Virginia Woolf, and F. Scott Fitzgerald all professed strong admiration for his writing." The tale behind The Golden Honeymoon's original publication in Cosmopolitan Magazine is interesting and can be found here. The story itself can be read here. You can have it read to you at the bottom of this post. The story begins,
Mother says that when I start talking I never know when to stop. But I tell her the only time I get a chance is when she ain't around, so I have to make the most of it. I guess the fact is neither one of us would be welcome in a Quaker meeting, but as I tell Mother, what did God give us tongues for if He didn't want we should use them? Only she says He didn't give them to us to say the same thing over and over again, like I do, and repeat myself. But I say:

"Well, Mother," I say, "when people is like you and I and been married fifty years, do you expect everything I say will be something you ain't heard me say before? But it may be new to others, as they ain't nobody else lived with me as long as you have."

So she says:

"You can bet they ain't, as they couldn't nobody else stand you that long."

"Well," I tell her, "you look pretty healthy."

"Maybe I do," she will say, "but I looked even healthier before I married you."

You can't get ahead of Mother.

Yes, sir, we was married just fifty years ago the seventeenth day of last December and my daughter and son-in-law was over from Trenton to help us celebrate the Golden Wedding.


This 1980 one-hour film adaptation has an introduction by Henry Fonda:

Wednesday, September 09, 2020

Body of Lies

Body of Lies is a 2008 action thriller directed by Ridley Scott and starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Russell Crowe. The Younger Son had this on DVD.


It got mixed reviews, but it looks like if you like this kind of thing you'll like it.

Tuesday, September 08, 2020

Paul's Case

Paul's Case is a 1905 short story by Willa Cather. I've enjoyed Cather's work since I first discovered it, and it's nice to find her work online.

May I offer you a cup of something while you read or listen?

Afterwards, I'll be joining the T Stands for Tuesday blogger gathering at hosts Bluebeard and Elizabeth's blog.

You can read the short story Paul's Case here or here. You can have it read to you in a Librivox recording at the bottom of this post. It begins,
Paul's Case
A Study in Temperament

Willa Cather


It was Paul's afternoon to appear before the faculty of the Pittsburg High School to account for his various misdemeanors. He had been suspended a week ago, and his father had called at the principal's office and confessed his perplexity about his son. Paul entered the faculty room, suave and smiling. His clothes were a trifle outgrown, and the tan velvet on the collar of his open overcoat was frayed and worn; but, for all that, there was something of the dandy about him, and he wore an opal pin in his neatly knotted black four-in-hand, and a red carnation in his buttonhole. This latter adornment the faculty somehow felt was not properly significant of the contrite spirit befitting a boy under the ban of suspension.

Paul was tall for his age and very thin, with high, cramped shoulders and a narrow chest. His eyes were remarkable for a certain hysterical brilliancy, and he continually used them in a conscious, theatrical sort of way, peculiarly offensive in a boy. The pupils were abnormally large, as though he were addicted to belladonna, but there was a glassy glitter about them which that drug does not produce.

When questioned by the principal as to why he was there, Paul stated, politely enough, that he wanted to come back to school. This was a lie, but Paul was quite accustomed to lying—found it, indeed, indispensible for overcoming friction. His teachers were asked to state their respective charges, which they did with such a rancour and aggrievedness as evinced that this was not a usual case. Disorder and impertinence were among the offences named, yet each of his instructors felt that it was scarcely possible to put into words the real cause of the trouble, which lay in a sort of hysterically defiant manner of the boy's; in the contempt which they all knew he felt for them, and which he seemingly made not the least effort to conceal. Once, when he had been making a synopsis of a paragraph at the blackboard, his English teacher had stepped to his side and attempted to guide his hand. Paul had started back with a shudder, and thrust his hands violently behind him. The astonished woman could scarcely have been more hurt and embarrassed had he struck at her. The insult was so involuntary and definitely personal as to be unforgettable. In one way and another he had made all his teachers, men and women alike, conscious of the same feeling of physical aversion.

His teachers felt, this afternoon, that his whole attitude was symbolized by his shrug and his flippantly red carnation flower, and they fell upon him without mercy. He stood through it, smiling, his pale lips parted over his white teeth. (His lips were continually twitching, and he had a habit of raising his eyebrows that was contemptuous and irritating to the last degree.) Older boys than Paul had broken down and shed tears under that baptism of fire, but his set smile did not once desert him, and his only sign of discomfort was the nervous trembling of the fingers that toyed with the buttons of his overcoat, and an occasional jerking of the other hand that held his hat. Paul was always smiling, always glancing about him, seeming to feel that people might be watching him and trying to detect something. This conscious expression, since it was as far as possible from boyish mirthfulness, was

* Author of "The Troll Garden," a book of short stories, in which this is included.
usually attributed to insolence or "smartness."
As the inquisition proceeded, one of his instructors repeated an impertinent remark of the boy's, and the principal asked him whether he thought that a courteous speech to have made a woman. Paul shrugged his shoulders slightly and his eyebrows twitched.

"I don't know," he replied. "I didn't mean to be polite, or impolite, either. I guess it's a sort of way I have of saying things, regardless."

The principal, who was a sympathetic man, asked him whether he didn't think that a way it would be well to get rid of. Paul grinned and said he guessed so. When he was told that he could go, he bowed gracefully and went out. His bow was but a repetition of the scandalous red carnation.

His teachers were in despair, and his drawing-master voiced the feeling of them all when he declared there was something about the boy which none of them understood. He added: "I don't really believe that smile of his comes altogether from insolence; there's something sort of haunted about it. The boy is not strong, for one thing. I happen to know that he was born in Colorado, only a few months before his mother died out there of a long illness. There is something wrong about the fellow."

Monday, September 07, 2020

The Brain Eaters

The Brain Eaters is a 1958 science fiction/horror film. It has Leonard Nimoy in it, though not in a major role. It's just an hour long, so go for it!

TCM has this synopsis:
Strange things are happening in Riverdale, Illinois. A huge, seemingly alien structure has been found jutting out of the earth. Sent to investigate the origin of the mysterious object, Senator Walter Powers discovers that parasites from the center of the earth have infiltrated the town, taking control of the authorities and workers, making communication with the outside world impossible, and leaving the responsibility of stopping the invasion up to Powers and a small group of free individuals. says,
soon after the film’s release, famous science fiction author Robert Heinlein filed a US$150,000 lawsuit against the movie, charging screenwriter Gordon Urquhart and its producers with copying, imitating and appropriating his serialised story The Puppet Masters

Sunday, September 06, 2020

The Patio as the Season Changes



Woodpecker and Blue Jay:

Rain on the patio:


The last gasp of the summertime flowers:

There are some videos here that have my clothes dryer noise in the background.

Saturday, September 05, 2020

Falling Leaves

Falling Leaves is a 1912 silent short film directed by Alice Guy-Blaché. A young girl is dying of consumption. Can the doctor who has developed a cure save her? I love these old silent shorts. So much story and character development in so little time. The creators of our modern bloated films could learn a lesson from some of these little works.

Friday, September 04, 2020

Happy Endings

Happy Endings is a short story of sorts by Margaret Atwood. You can read it online here. It begins,
John and Mary meet.
What happens next?
If you want a happy ending, try A.


John and Mary fall in love and get married. They both have worthwhile and remunerative jobs which they find stimulating and challenging. They buy a charming house. Real estate values go up. Eventually, when they can afford live-in help, they have two children, to whom they are devoted. The children turn out well. John and Mary have a stimulating and challenging sex life and worthwhile friends. They go on fun vacations together. They retire. They both have hobbies which they find stimulating and challenging. Eventually they die. This is the end of the story.
For the rest, keep reading at that link.

Thursday, September 03, 2020


Ghostline is a 2015 horror/thriller described at IMDb this way: "Life takes a terrifying and unpredictable turn for Tyler & Chelsea when they begin to receive menacing phone calls from a seemingly unstable woman who insists that Tyler's her ex-boyfriend." You can watch it online here. I found the sound of the phone ringing seriously annoying. The storyline is fine, but the acting doesn't do it for me, and it did seem kinda slow getting to the point. I didn't finish it.


Reviews seem scarce.

Wednesday, September 02, 2020

The Overnight Kidnapper

The Overnight Kidnapper (2019) by Andrea Camilleri, is the 23rd book in the Inspector Montalbano mystery/detective series. I'm enjoying these after having discovered a couple at my local used book store years ago. These should be read in order.

This one takes place in September.

from the back of the book:
The day gets off to a bad start for Inspector Montalbano, while trying to break up a fight on Marinella Beach, he hits the wrong man and is taken in by the carabineri. When he finally gets to the office, he learns about a strange abduction -a woman was kidnapped, drugged, and then released unharmed only hours later. Within a few days, the same thing happens again. Both women are thirty years old and work in a bank.

Montalbano must also deal with an arson case. A shop has burned down, and its owner, Marcello Di Carlo, has vanished into thin air. This seems like a trivial incident, but a third abduction -yet again of a girl who works in a bank- and the discovery of a body bring up new questions.
Kirkus Reviews calls it "Another wry, amiable procedural from the prolific Camilleri". Publishers Weekly concludes, "Camilleri fans are in for a treat."

I've read these others from the series:
1. The Shape of Water
2. The Terra-Cotta Dog
3. The Snack Thief
4. Voice of the Violin
5. Excursion to Tindari
6. The Smell of Night
7. Rounding the Mark
8. The Patience of the Spider
9. The Paper Moon
10. August Heat
11. The Wings of the Sphinx
12. The Track of Sand
13. The Potter's Field
14. The Age of Doubt
15. Dance of the Seagull
16. Treasure Hunt
17. Angelica's Smile
18. A Game of Mirrors
19. A Beam of Light
20. A Voice in the Night
21. A Nest of Vipers
22. The Pyramid of Mud

Tuesday, September 01, 2020

The Wind (1928)

The Wind is a 1928 silent drama film starring Lilian Gish. Wikipedia says, "it is one of the last silent films released by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer and is considered to be among the greatest silent films."

You can watch it online at this link. The sound track there is a strange addition, and I ended up muting it. It's a silent film, after all. Here's a trailer:

The Guardian highlights director Viktor Sjostrom, saying,
Between 1917 and 1921 he made four films of such technical mastery and luminous power that it was only a matter of time before Hollywood lured him across the water.

These films, full of the almost masochistic obsessions of Swedish Protestantism, but also extremely beautiful in their depiction of the elemental forces of nature, caused Sjostrom, together with his equally famous fellow director Mauritz Stiller, to be characterised as a gloomy Swede, even though he both acted in and made comedies too. And in America his three most famous works - He Who Gets Slapped (1924), The Scarlet Letter (1926) and The Wind (1928) - each dealt with human suffering.

The Wind is almost certainly the best - a silent classic...
Senses of Cinema says,
Widely considered one of the last great silent American films, Victor Sjöström’s The Wind is also one of the few Hollywood films that is truly alive to the elements, to the atmosphere and physicality of place. Sjöström’s career – both in Europe and America – is populated by films that examine the relationship of human characters to their environments.
Rotten Tomatoes has a critics consensus rating of 100%.

Here's a screenshot from the movie:

showing the sharing of a cuppa in the isolated wilds of Texas. She's newly arrived from Virginia to live with her cousin and his wife, and nothing is as she expected. I'll be more comfortable than they look as I join the bloggers at the weekly T Stand for Tuesday gathering.