Saturday, September 25, 2021

The City of the Singing Flame

The City of the Singing Flame is a short story by Clark Ashton Smith. You can read this story online here. You can listen to it read to you at this link or at the bottom of this post. It begins,
Foreword

When Giles Angarth disappeared, nearly two years ago, we had been friends for a decade or more, and I knew him as well as anyone could purport to know him. Yet the thing was no less a mystery to me than to others at the time, and until now, it has remained a mystery.

Like the rest, I sometimes thought that he and Ebbonly had designed it all between them as a huge, insoluble hoax; that they were still alive, somewhere, and laughing at the world that was so sorely baffled by their disappearance. And, until I at last decided to visit Crater Ridge and find, if I could, the two boulders mentioned in Angarth's narrative, no one had uncovered any trace of the missing men or heard even the faintest rumor concerning them. The whole affair, it seemed then, was likely to remain a most singular and exasperating riddle.

Angarth, whose fame as a writer of fantastic fiction was already very considerable, had been spending that summer among the Sierras, and had been living alone until the artist, Felix Ebbonly, went to visit him. Ebbonly, whom I had never met, was well known for his imaginative paintings and drawings, and had illustrated more than one of Angarth's novels.

When neighboring campers became alarmed over the prolonged absence of the two men, and the cabin was searched for some possible clue, a package addressed to me was found lying on the table; and I received it in due course of time, after reading many newspaper speculations concerning the double vanishment. The package contained a small, leather-bound note-book, and Angarth had written on the fly-leaf:

'Dear Hastane, You can publish this journal sometime, if you like. People will think it the last and wildest of all my fictions — unless they take it for one of your own. In either case, it will be just as well. Good-bye.

Faithfully, GILES ANGARTH.'

Feeling that it would certainly meet with the reception he anticipated, and being unsure, myself, whether the tale was truth or fabrication, I delayed publishing his journal. Now, from my own experience, I have become satisfied of its reality; and am finally printing it, together with an account of my personal adventures. Perhaps, the double publication, preceded as it is by Angarth's return to mundane surroundings, will help to ensure the acceptance of the whole story for more than mere fantasy.

Still, when I recall my own doubts, I wonder.... But let the reader decide for himself. And first, as to Giles Angarth's journal: ...
*******

Friday, September 24, 2021

Wednesday, September 22, 2021

Breakfast at Twilight

image from Wikipedia


Breakfast at Twilight is a science fiction short story by Philip K. Dick (pictured above). A warning for us all:
"I should have got it fixed," Tim went on. "I should have had it looked at a long time ago. Before it got in such bad shape." Tim looked around at the circle of anxious people, hanging on his words. "I should have had it looked at. Before it was too late."
You can read it online here at this link. It begins,
"DAD?" Earl asked, hurrying out of the bathroom, "you going to drive us to school today?"

Tim McLean poured himself a second cup of coffee. "You kids can walk for a change. The car's in the garage."

Judy pouted. "It's raining."

"No it isn't," Virginia corrected her sister. She drew the shade back. "It's all foggy, but it isn't raining."

"Let me look." Mary McLean dried her hands and came over from the sink. "What an odd day. Is that fog? It looks more like smoke. I can't make out a thing. What did the weather man say?"

"I couldn't get anything on the radio," Earl said. "Nothing but static."

Tim stirred angrily. "That darn thing on the blink again? Seems like I just had it fixed." He got up and moved sleepily over to the radio. He fiddled idly with the dials. The three children hurried back and forth, getting ready for school. "Strange," Tim said.

"I'm going." Earl opened the front door.

"Wait for your sisters," Mary ordered absently.

"I'm ready," Virginia said. "Do I look all right?"

"You look fine," Mary said, kissing her.

"Ill call the radio repair place from the office," Tim said.

He broke off. Earl stood at the kitchen door, pale and silent, his eyes wide with terror.

"What is it?"

"I--I came back."

"What is it? Are you sick?"

"I can't go to school."

They stared at him. "What is wrong?" Tim grabbed his son's arm. "Why can't you go to school?"

"They--they won't let me."

"Who?"

"The soldiers."

It came tumbling out with a rush. "They're all over. Soldiers and guns. And they're coming here."

"Coming? Coming here?" Tim echoed, dazed.

Gringo

Gringo is a 2018 dark comedy crime film. This is one of those movies that doesn't let up but keeps taking it up a notch in ever-surprising ways. I watched it on Amazon Prime.

trailer:


Critics didn't like it, but I've learned not to listen to the critics. I loved it!

Tuesday, September 21, 2021

Do you remember the 21st night of September?

Ah, the 70s:


September, by Earth, Wind, and Fire


Pull up a chair and a cuppa something



and join the T Stands for Tuesday blogger gathering.

Monday, September 20, 2021

Hotel Artemis

Hotel Artemis is a 2018 dystopian thriller film I saw on Amazon Prime. I didn't expect much from this movie, but I was pleasantly surprised. I can recommend it if you like this genre. Great fun! It stars Jodie Foster, Jeff Goldblum, Zachary Quinto, and Dave Bautista.

trailer:


Reviews were mixed, but this ain't everybody's cuppa tea, after all. Give it a chance.

Sunday, September 19, 2021

Health and Fitness Update

It's been a while, and I'm still working steadily towards improving those cholesterol and blood pressure figures that I didn't like at my last doctor visit. Granted, the doctor wasn't concerned and I trust her, but improving my diet and exercise routine can't be a bad thing.

I've been faithful to my dietary changes. They weren't drastic, after all, so that's been easy except for how much I miss cheese. What I've done is cut hamburgers and pizza down to once a month and cut out cheese completely except for pizza. My diet is fairly healthy otherwise. I've discovered flax seed and flax seed meal and have altered my oatmeal muffin recipe to include those. I eat one of those with a meal many days. Tasty.

I have not been faithful to my goal of walking 30 minutes each day. I'm not sure why... I do 30 minutes of cardio using YouTube videos, but I'm not convinced that's the same.  I do yoga every day, weights (dumbbells) 3 times a week, and Tai Chi every day using various YouTube videos. I wear my weight vest while engaging in these activities as well as while doing the heel drops.

My insomnia hasn't improved at all. I've tried a few phone apps and am currently using the free versions of Headspace and Insight Timer. It's been years since I practiced meditation, and these are helpful. Bob suggested a Netflix series from Headspace, and I'm working my way through those. I bought a blood pressure monitor and small cuff and am taking my blood pressure every morning just to get a sense of how consistent it is. It does give lower readings than the number I got at the doctor's office. I'll take the monitor with me to my next doctor visit and get her opinion on it.

I've added some supplements -fish oil, milk thistle, Co Q10, for example- and will report everything I'm taking to my doctor when I go back in December. I've been careful to look at each one online and only add ones there's general agreement on as being helpful for cholesterol or blood pressure, but I'm still thinking she may say most aren't helpful. I'll trust her judgment on that and eliminate ones she doesn't recommend.

In the meantime, it's time or past time for medical tests like colonoscopy, mammagram, and bone density scan, so I'm having those done. The only one I'm concerned about is the bone density scan, but I'll know soon enough if my efforts to stave off bone loss are helping at all.

Thanks to all of you who have suggested additions to my plan. I'm always open to suggestions.

Saturday, September 18, 2021

The Tomb of Ligeia

The Tomb of Ligeia is a 1964 horror film directed by Roger Corman and starring Vincent Price. It's based on the Edgar Allan Poe short story Ligeia, which can be read online here. A widower is haunted by the memory of his first wife to the detriment of his current marriage.

Friday, September 17, 2021

Doctor Who 42

Image from BBC

42 is the name of a Doctor Who episode. According to Wikipedia,
The title of the episode was chosen as an homage to the Answer to Life, the Universe, and Everything from The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, written by Douglas Adams. Adams was a writer and script editor for Doctor Who in the late 1970s.

Thursday, September 16, 2021

Texas/New Mexico Line

Texas/New Mexico Line:



by Memphis musician Jed Zimmerman performing at Otherlands Coffee Bar.

Wednesday, September 15, 2021

Mother Hulda

I've liked fairy tales since my childhood, never having outgrown them. Mother Hulda is a favorite. It can be read online here or here or here or here. You can listen to it read to you at the bottom of this post. The story begins,
A widow had two daughters; one was pretty and industrious, the other was ugly and lazy. And as the ugly one was her own daughter, she loved her much the best, and the pretty one was made to do all the work, and be the drudge of the house. Every day the poor girl had to sit by a well on the high road and spin until her fingers bled. Now it happened once that as the spindle was bloody, she dipped it into the well to wash it; but it slipped out of her hand and fell in. Then she began to cry, and ran to her step-mother, and told her of her misfortune; and her stepmother scolded her without mercy, and said in her rage,

"As you have let the spindle fall in, you must go and fetch it out again!"

Then the girl went back again to the well, not knowing what to do, and in the despair of her heart she jumped down into the well the same way the spindle had gone. ...
*******

Tuesday, September 14, 2021

Get Duked

Get Duked is a 2019 award-winning British black comedy film. Hilarious. Absolutely hilarious! I watched it on Amazon Prime.

trailer:


Empire Online has a positive review. 87% of Rotten Tomatoes critics gave it positive reviews.

Monday, September 13, 2021

100 Days of Dante

100 Days of Dante is a joint reading project. It started on September 8, but it's not to late to join in. Start here. You can follow podcasts here on Spotify.

from the 100 Days of Dante website:
Join the world’s largest Dante reading group.

Starting September 8th and ending on Easter 2022, we will read three cantos a week, learning from teachers who know and love Dante well.

Introductory video (1 1/2 minutes):



The readings begin here at this link. Will you join me? It's been ages since I read this, so it's past time for another journey with Dante. I think it'll be fun to have company this time through.

Sunday, September 12, 2021

Mulan

Mulan is a 2020 adventure film, a live action adaptation of the animated film. I watched it on Disney+ after I finished The Mandalorian. The Mandalorian is really the only thing on Disney+ I'm interested in, but since we were paying for the whole month... I enjoyed Mulan. Jet Li is in this. It was good to see Rosalind Chao again.

trailer:


Roger Ebert's site has a positive review. 73% of Rotten Tomatoes critics liked it.

Saturday, September 11, 2021

Samsa in Love

image from Wikipedia

Samsa in Love is a 2013 short story by Haruki Murakami. It's a story of adapting to change. You can read it online at this link. It begins,
He woke to discover that he had undergone a metamorphosis and become Gregor Samsa.

He lay flat on his back on the bed, looking at the ceiling. It took time for his eyes to adjust to the lack of light. The ceiling seemed to be a common, everyday ceiling of the sort one might find anywhere. Once, it had been painted white, or possibly a pale cream. Years of dust and dirt, however, had given it the color of spoiled milk. It had no ornament, no defining characteristic. No argument, no message. It fulfilled its structural role but aspired to nothing further.

There was a tall window on one side of the room, to his left, but its curtain had been removed and thick boards nailed across the frame. An inch or so of space had been left between the horizontal boards, whether on purpose or not wasn’t clear; rays of morning sun shone through, casting a row of bright parallel lines on the floor. Why was the window barricaded in such a rough fashion? Was a major storm or tornado in the offing? Or was it to keep someone from getting in? Or to prevent someone (him, perhaps?) from leaving?

Still on his back, he slowly turned his head and examined the rest of the room. He could see no furniture, apart from the bed on which he lay. No chest of drawers, no desk, no chair. No painting, clock, or mirror on the walls. No lamp or light. Nor could he make out any rug or carpet on the floor. Just bare wood. The walls were covered with wallpaper of a complex design, but it was so old and faded that in the weak light it was next to impossible to make out what the design was.

The room had perhaps once served as a normal bedroom. Yet now all vestiges of human life had been stripped away. The only thing that remained was his solitary bed in the center. And it had no bedding. No sheets, no coverlet, no pillow. Just an ancient mattress.

Samsa had no idea where he was, or what he should do. All he knew was that he was now a human whose name was Gregor Samsa. And how did he know that? Perhaps someone had whispered it in his ear while he lay sleeping? But who had he been before he became Gregor Samsa? What had he been?

Friday, September 10, 2021

Sinners' Holiday (1930)

Sinners' Holiday is a 1930 pre-code crime film, James Cagney's film debut. You can watch it online at this link.

trailer:


Pre-Code.com calls it "a tight little melodrama heavy on atmosphere". TCM has an overview.

Thursday, September 09, 2021

A Slander

A Slander is a short story by Anton Chekhov, who seems better known for his plays. He died of tuberculosis at age 44.

You can read this story online at this link or this one or listen to it read to you at the bottom of this post.. It begins,
Serge Kapitonich Ahineev, the writing master, was marrying his daughter to the teacher of history and geography. The wedding festivities were going off most successfully. In the drawing room there was singing, playing, and dancing. Waiters hired from the club were flitting distractedly about the rooms, dressed in black swallowtails and dirty white ties. There was a continual hubub and din of conversation. Sitting side by side on the sofa, the teacher of mathematics, the French teacher, and the junior assessor of taxes were talking hurriedly and interrupting one another as they described to the guests cases of persons being buried alive, and gave their opinions on spiritualism. None of them believed in spiritualism, but all admitted that there were many things in this world which would always be beyond the mind of man. In the next room the literature master was explaining to the visitors the cases in which a sentry has the right to fire on passers-by. The subjects, as you perceive, were alarming, but very agreeable. Persons whose social position precluded them from entering were looking in at the windows from the yard.

Just at midnight the master of the house went into the kitchen to see whether everything was ready for supper. The kitchen from floor to ceiling was filled with fumes composed of goose, duck, and many other odors. On two tables the accessories, the drinks and light refreshments, were set out in artistic disorder. The cook, Marfa, a red-faced woman whose figure was like a barrel with a belt around it, was bustling about the tables.

"Show me the sturgeon, Marfa," said Ahineev, rubbing his hands and licking his lips. "What a perfume! I could eat up the whole kitchen. Come, show me the sturgeon."

Marfa went up to one of the benches and cautiously lifted a piece of greasy newspaper. Under the paper on an immense dish there reposed a huge sturgeon, masked in jelly and decorated with capers, olives, and carrots. Ahineev gazed at the sturgeon and gasped. His face beamed, he turned his eyes up. He bent down and with his lips emitted the sound of an ungreased wheel. After standing a moment he snapped his fingers with delight and once more smacked his lips.

"Ah-ah! the sound of a passionate kiss. . . . Who is it you're kissing out there, little Marfa?" came a voice from the next room...
*******


Wednesday, September 08, 2021

Enola Holmes

Enola Holmes is a 2020 film based on the first book in a series about Sherlock Holmes' younger sister. It stars Henry Cavill, Helena Bonham Carter, Burn Gorman, Frances de la Tour, and Fiona Shaw. I watched it on Netflix. It was fun, and if they make a sequel I'll watch it. It does right by the Holmes characters and has a light touch that would make it suitable for kids as well as adults who don't want their crime and mystery movies quite as blood-soaked as they tend to be these days.

trailer:


Roger Ebert's site has a positive review. Rotten Tomatoes has a consensus critics score of 91%.

Tuesday, September 07, 2021

Chinese Restaurant

Chinese Restaurant (1909):
by John Sloan, who died on this date in 1951 at the age of 80.

Please post something drink-related and join us at the T Stands for Tuesday blogger gathering hosted by Bleubeard and Elizabeth.

Monday, September 06, 2021

The Way of the Dragon

The Way of the Dragon is a 1972 Bruce Lee film, his only complete directorial film. It is Lee's last film. He died in July of 1973. It is Chuck Norris' debut in a credited role. I watched it at Daily Motion, embedded below. It's also at Pluto.



BBC Films closes with this:
Regarded by many as the finest martial arts combat ever committed to celluloid, it's a masterful display of two fighters at the height of their powers. If any of it looks familiar, then bear in mind that this is the inspiration for a legion of martial arts and action movies that followed.
Rotten Tomatoes has a critics consensus score of 82%.

Sunday, September 05, 2021

A Cosmopolite in a Cafe

O. Henry

A Cosmopolite in a Cafe is a short story by O. Henry. You can read it online here or listen to it read to you at the bottom of this post. "Before you start the story, it's important to understand that a "cosmopolite" is someone that fashions themselves as a person or citizen of the world, one that is truly at home in any location or setting. Such a person would be free from local attachments and prejudice, and be free of provincial affections." It begins,
At midnight the cafe was crowded. By some chance the little table at which I sat had escaped the eye of incomers, and two vacant chairs at it extended their arms with venal hospitality to the influx of patrons.

And then a cosmopolite sat in one of them, and I was glad, for I held a theory that since Adam no true citizen of the world has existed. We hear of them, and we see foreign labels on much luggage, but we find travellers instead of cosmopolites.

I invoke your consideration of the scene--the marble-topped tables, the range of leather-upholstered wall seats, the gay company, the ladies dressed in demi-state toilets, speaking in an exquisite visible chorus of taste, economy, opulence or art; the sedulous and largess-loving garcons, the music wisely catering to all with its raids upon the composers; the melange of talk and laughter--and, if you will, the Wurzburger in the tall glass cones that bend to your lips as a ripe cherry sways on its branch to the beak of a robber jay. I was told by a sculptor from Mauch Chunk that the scene was truly Parisian.

My cosmopolite was named E. Rushmore Coglan, and he will be heard from next summer at Coney Island. He is to establish a new "attraction" there, he informed me, offering kingly diversion. And then his conversation rang along parallels of latitude and longitude. He took the great, round world in his hand, so to speak, familiarly, contemptuously, and it seemed no larger than the seed of a Maraschino cherry in a table d'hote grape fruit. He spoke disrespectfully of the equator, he skipped from continent to continent, he derided the zones, he mopped up the high seas with his napkin. With a wave of his hand he would speak of a certain bazaar in Hyderabad. Whiff! He would have you on skis in Lapland. Zip! Now you rode the breakers with the Kanakas at Kealaikahiki. Presto! He dragged you through an Arkansas post-oak swamp, let you dry for a moment on the alkali plains of his Idaho ranch, then whirled you into the society of Viennese archdukes. Anon he would be telling you of a cold he acquired in a Chicago lake breeze and how old Escamila cured it in Buenos Ayres with a hot infusion of the chuchula weed. You would have addressed a letter to "E. Rushmore Coglan, Esq., the Earth, Solar System, the Universe," and have mailed it, feeling confident that it would be delivered to him.

I was sure that I had found at last the one true cosmopolite since Adam...
*******

Saturday, September 04, 2021

The Haunted Palace

The Haunted Palace is a 1963 horror film based on an H.P. Lovecraft story with Poe trimmings. It's directed by Roger Corman and stars Vincent Price, Debra Paget, Lon Chaney Jr., and Elisha Cook, Jr.



The Haunted Palace
by Edgar Allan Poe

In the greenest of our valleys
By good angels tenanted,
Once a fair and stately palace—
Radiant palace—reared its head.
In the monarch Thought’s dominion,
It stood there!
Never seraph spread a pinion
Over fabric half so fair!

Banners yellow, glorious, golden,
On its roof did float and flow
(This—all this—was in the olden
Time long ago)
And every gentle air that dallied,
In that sweet day,
Along the ramparts plumed and pallid,
A wingèd odor went away.

Wanderers in that happy valley,
Through two luminous windows, saw
Spirits moving musically
To a lute’s well-tunèd law,
Round about a throne where, sitting,
Porphyrogene!
In state his glory well befitting,
The ruler of the realm was seen.

And all with pearl and ruby glowing
Was the fair palace door,
Through which came flowing, flowing, flowing
And sparkling evermore,
A troop of Echoes, whose sweet duty
Was but to sing,
In voices of surpassing beauty,
The wit and wisdom of their king.

But evil things, in robes of sorrow,
Assailed the monarch’s high estate;
(Ah, let us mourn!—for never morrow
Shall dawn upon him, desolate!)
And round about his home the glory
That blushed and bloomed
Is but a dim-remembered story
Of the old time entombed.

And travellers, now, within that valley,
Through the red-litten windows see
Vast forms that move fantastically
To a discordant melody;
While, like a ghastly rapid river,
Through the pale door
A hideous throng rush out forever,
And laugh—but smile no more.

Friday, September 03, 2021

It was the 3rd of September

Papa Was a Rollin' Stone:



sung by The Temptations.

"It was the third of September
That day I'll always remember, yes I will
'Cause that was the day that my daddy died"

Thursday, September 02, 2021

The Day After the Martians Came



The Day After the Martians Came is a 1967 short story by Grandmaster Frederick Pohl, science-fiction writer/editor/fan whose career spanned 75 years and who died on this date in 2013 at the age of 93. You can read this story online at this link. "This story is about jokes and anxiety. Part of what makes it so brilliant is discerning between the two." It begins,
There were two cots in every room of the motel, besides the usual number of beds, and Mr. Mandala, the manager, had converted the rear section of the lobby into a men’s dormitory. Nevertheless he was not satisfied and was trying to persuade his colored bellmen to clean out the trunk room and put cots in that too. “Now, please, Mr. Mandala,” the bell captain said, speaking loudly over the noise in the lounge, “you know we’d do it for you if we could. But it cannot be, because, first, we don’t have any other place to put those old TV sets you want to save and because, second, we don’t have any more cots.”

“You’re arguing with me, Ernest. I told you to quit arguing with me,” said Mr. Mandala. He drummed his fingers on the registration desk and looked angrily around the lobby. There were at least forty people in it, talking, playing cards and dozing. The television set was mumbling away in a recap of the NASA releases, and on the screen Mr. Mandala could see a picture of one of the Martians, gazing into the camera and weeping large, gelatinous tears.

“Quit that,” ordered Mr. Mandala, turning in time to catch his bell-men looking at the screen. “I don’t pay you to watch TV. Go see if you can help out in the kitchen.”

“We been in the kitchen, Mr. Mandala. They don’t need us.”

“Go when I tell you to go, Ernest! You too, Berzie.” He watched them go through the service hall and wished he could get rid of some of the crowd in the lounge as easily. They filled every seat and the overflow sat on the arms of the chairs, leaned against the walls and filled the booths in the bar, which had been closed for the past two hours because of the law. According to the registration slips, they were nearly all from newspapers, wire services, radio and television networks and so on, waiting to go to the morning briefing at Cape Kennedy. Mr. Mandala wished morning would come. He didn’t like so many of them cluttering up his lounge, especially since he was pretty sure a lot of them were not even registered guests.

On the television screen a hastily edited tape was now showing the return of the Algonquin Nine space probe to Mars, but no one was watching it. It was the third time that particular tape had been repeated since midnight and everybody had seen it at least once; but when it changed to another shot of one of the Martians, looking like a sad dachshund with elongated seal flippers for limbs, one of the poker players stirred and cried: “I got a Martian joke! What’s worse than a martian tryin to fly a spaceship?

“It’s your bet,” said the dealer.

“A martian tryin’ to park one” said the reporter, folding his cards. No one laughed, not even Mr. Mandala, although some of the jokes had been pretty good. Everybody was beginning to get tired of them though, or perhaps just tired.

Mr. Mandala had missed the first excitement about the Martians, because he had been asleep. When the day manager phoned him about it, waking him up, Mr. Mandala had thought first, that it was a joke and, second, that the day manager was out of his mind. After all, who would care if the Mars probe had come back with some kind of animals? Or even if they weren’t animals, exactly. When he found out how many reservations were coming in over the teletype he realized that some people did in fact care. However, Mr. Mandala didn’t take much interest in things like that. It was nice the Martians had come, since they had filled his motel, and every other motel within a hundred miles of Cape Kennedy, but that was nearly everything about the Martians that mattered to Mr. Mandala.

...

Wednesday, September 01, 2021

Coherence (2013)

Coherence is an award-winning 2013 surreal psychological science fiction thriller film. It's about a passing comet causing life-changing alterations in the lives of a group of 8 friends who have gathered for a dinner party. I enjoyed seeing Nicholas Brendon, who played Xander in the Buffy television series. I watched it on Tubi. It's also on Crackle.

trailer:



The Guardian has a positive review. Hollywood Reporter calls it a "smart, spooky, low-budget sci-fi shocker". Roger Ebert's site begins their review saying, ""Coherence" is proof that inventive filmmakers can do a lot with a little."

Monday, August 30, 2021

The Watcher in the Woods (1980)

The Watcher in the Woods is a 1980 supernatural horror film starring Bette Davis and David McCallum. Produced by Disney, it seems viewers were shocked to see this film come from that company. It's atmospheric in a spooky kind of way.

Sunday, August 29, 2021

Honeyboy

David "Honeyboy" Edwards was a Mississippi-born blues musician who made Chicago his home beginning in the 1950s. One of the last surviving links to Robert Johnson, he had many stories to tell. This concert is The Montreal Jazz Festival in 1998:


He died of congestive heart failure on this date in 2011 at the age of 96, having been scheduled to perform later that same day. It's a joy to hear of these artists who live long lives and are able to be active to the end.

Saturday, August 28, 2021

The Alphabet Murders

The Alphabet Murders is a 1965 comedy film, a parody of Poirot. It's silly -oh, so silly. If you like that kind of thing you'll like this. It stars Tony Randall as Poirot, Anita Ekberg, and Robert Morley. I watched it through Amazon Prime on BritBox.


Friday, August 27, 2021

The Girl Who Did Not Know Fear


The Girl Who Did Not Know Fear is a short story by Kelly Link. You can read it online here. It begins,
A few years ago, I was on my way home to Massachusetts when bad weather stranded me in the Detroit airport for four days. I’d been at a conference in Iowa City—I travel rarely, but this was a point in my career when professional advancement required that I go. I was to receive a signal honor, one that conferred much benefit upon not only myself but also upon the university where I had tenure and no teaching responsibilities. My university had made it clear that it would be ungracious of me not to go. And so I went. I attended panels and listened to my colleagues discuss my research. Former students, now middle-aged and embarked upon their own careers, greeted me with more affection and warmth than I felt I merited; I bought them drinks in the bar, and listened to reports of their various successes. Some of them knew my wife. Others were Facebook friends, and remarked on recent photos of our daughter, Dido. How much she had grown. There was, of course, talk of politics and of the recent winter, how mild it had been. How wet this spring was turning out to be. I have never cared much for change, but of course change is inevitable. And not all change is catastrophic—or rather, even in the middle of catastrophic change, small good things may go on. Dido had recently learned to write her name. The children of my colleagues, too, were marvels, prodigies, creatures remarkable in their nature and abilities.

Thursday, August 26, 2021

Nessun Dorma (2016 film)

Nessun Dorma is a Hong Kong psychological thriller film. I watched it on TubiTV. It's also on Amazon Prime. I didn't finish this one... Just not my thing.

trailer:


Hollywood Reporter calls it "an old-fashioned noirish thriller". Love HK Film says "this dark thriller" is an "OK potboiler".

Wednesday, August 25, 2021

Passing


Passing is a 1929 novel by Nella Larsen (pictured above). This book is on Huffington Post's list of classic novels that are so short you have no excuse not to read them. You can read it online here or here or listen to it read to you at the bottom of this post. It begins,
One three centuries removed
From the scenes his fathers loved,
Spicy grovey cinnamon tree,
What is Africa to me?

— Countee Cullen

It was the last letter in Irene Redfield's little pile of morning mail. After her other ordinary and clearly directed letters the long envelope of thin Italian paper with its almost illegible scrawl seemed out of place and alien. And there was, too, something mysterious and slightly furtive about it. A thin sly thing which bore no return address to betray the sender. Not that she hadn't immediately known who its sender was. Some two years ago she had one very like it in outward appearance. Furtive, but yet in some peculiar, determined way a little flaunting. Purple ink. Foreign paper of extraordinary size.

It had been, Irene noted, postmarked in New York the day before. Her brows came together in a tiny frown. The frown, however, was more from perplexity than from annoyance; though there was in her thoughts an element of both. She was wholly unable to comprehend such an attitude towards danger as she was sure the letter's contents would reveal; and she disliked the idea of opening and reading it.

This, she reflected, was of a piece with all that she knew of Clare Kendry. Stepping always on the edge of danger. Always aware, but not drawing back or turning aside. Certainly not because of any alarms or feeling of outrage on the part of others.

And for a swift moment Irene Redfield seemed to see a pale small girl sitting on a ragged blue sofa, sewing pieces of bright red cloth together, while her drunken father, a tall, powerfully built man, raged threateningly up and down the shabby room, bellowing curses and making spasmodic lunges at her which were not the less frightening because they were, for the most part. Ineffectual. Sometimes he did manage to reach her. But only the fact that the child had edged herself and her poor sewing over to the farthermost corner of the sofa suggested that she was in any way perturbed by this menace to herself and her work.

Clare had known well enough that it was unsafe to take a portion of the dollar that was her weekly wage for the doing of many errands for the dressmaker who lived on the top floor of the building of which Bob Kendry was janitor. But that knowledge had not deterred her. She wanted to go to her Sunday school's picnic, and she had made up her mind to wear a new dress. So, In spite of certain unpleasantness and possible danger, she had taken the money to buy the material for that pathetic little red frock.

There had been, even In those days, nothing sacrificial In Clare Kendry's Idea of life, no allegiance beyond her own Immediate desire. She was selfish, and cold, and hard. And yet she had, too, a strange capacity of trans- forming warmth and passion, verging sometimes almost on theatrical heroics.

Irene, who was a year or more older than Clare, remembered the day that Bob Kendry had been brought home dead, killed in a silly saloon-fight. Clare, who was at that time a scant fifteen years old, had just stood there with her lips pressed together, her thin arms folded across her narrow chest, staring down at the familiar pasty-white face of her parent with a sort of disdain in her slanting black eyes. For a very long time she had stood like that, silent and staring. Then, quite suddenly, she had given way to a torrent of weeping, swaying her thin body, tearing at her bright hair, and stamping her small feet. The outburst had ceased as suddenly as it had begun. She glanced quickly about the bare room, taking everyone in, even the two policemen, in a sharp look of flashing scorn. And, in the next instant, she had turned and vanished through the door.

Seen across the long stretch of years, the thing had more the appearance of an outpouring of pent-up fury than of an overflow of grief for her dead father; though she had been, Irene admitted, fond enough of him In her own rather catlike way.

Catlike. Certainly that was the word which best described Clare Kendry, if any single word could describe her. Sometlmes she was hard and apparently without feeling at all; sometimes she was affectionate and rashly Impulsive. And there was about her an amazing soft malice, hidden well away until provoked. Then she was capable of scratching, and very effectively too. Or, driven to anger, she would fight with a ferocity and impetuousness that disregarded or forgot any danger; superior strength, numbers, or other unfavourable circumstances. How savagely she had clawed those boys the day they had hooted her parent and sung a derisive rhyme, of their own composing, which pointed out certain eccentricities in his careening gait! And how deliberately she had —

Irene brought her thoughts back to the present, to the letter from Clare Kendry that she still held unopened in her hand. With a little feeling of apprehension, she very slowly cut the envelope, drew out the folded sheets, spread them, and began to read.

It was, she saw at once, what she had expected since learning from the postmark that Clare was in the city. An extravagantly phrased wish to see her again. Well, she needn't and wouldn't, Irene told herself, accede to that. Nor would she assist Clare to realize her foolish desire to return for a moment to that life which long ago, and of her own choice, she had left behind her.

She ran through the letter, puzzling out, as best she could, the carelessly formed words or making instinctive guesses at them.

". . . For I am lonely, so lonely . . . cannot help longing to be with you again, as I have never longed for anything before; and I have wanted many things in my life. . . . You can't know how in this pale life of mine I am all the time seeing the bright pictures of that other that I once thought I was glad to be free of. . . . It's like an ache, a pain that never ceases. . . ." Sheets upon thin sheets of it. And ending finally with, "and it's your fault, 'Rene dear. At least partly. For I wouldn't now, perhaps, have this terrible, this wild desire if I hadn't seen you that time in Chicago. . . ."

Brilliant red patches flamed in Irene Redfield's warm olive cheeks.

"That time in Chicago." The words stood out from among the many paragraphs of other words, bringing with them a clear, sharp remembrance, in which even now, after two years, humiliation, resentment, and rage were mingled.

...

Tuesday, August 24, 2021

The Picture of Dorian Gray (1945)

The Picture of Dorian Gray is a 1945 award-winning screen adaptation of the book by Oscar Wilde. This version is directed by Albert Lewin and stars George Sanders (a favorite with me), Donna Reed, Angela Lansbury (another favorite), and Peter Lawford. We watched it on DVD.

trailer:


FilmReference.com says, "Lewin's film presents a fascinating mediation between Wilde's effete aestheticism and Hollywood's conventional realism." Classic Horror says it's worth watching but doesn't achieve greatness. Rotten Tomatoes has a critics consensus rating of 93%. Here's a screenshot from the trailer:



Shall we don hats and take tea? I'll be joining the T Stands for Tuesday blogger gathering hosted by Bleubeard and Elizabeth. Share a post with a drink reference and join us.

Monday, August 23, 2021

The Fiddler



The Fiddler is an 1854 short story by Herman Melville. You can read it online here at this link or listen to it read to you at the bottom of this post. It begins,
So my poem is damned, and immortal fame is not for me! I am nobody forever and ever. Intolerable fate!

Snatching my hat, I dashed down the criticism, and rushed out into Broadway, where enthusiastic throngs were crowding to a circus in a side-street near by, very recently started, and famous for a capital clown.

Presently my old friend Standard rather boisterously accosted me.

"Well met, Helmstone, my boy! Ah! what's the matter? Haven't been committing murder? Ain't flying justice? You look wild!"

"You have seen it then?" said I, of course referring to the critism.

"Oh yes; I was there at the morning performance. Great clown, I assure you. But here comes Hautboy. Hautboy—Helmstone."

Without having time or inclination to resent so mortifying a mistake, I was instantly soothed as I gazed on the face of the new acquaintance so unceremoniously introduced. His person was short and full, with a juvenile, animated cast to it. His complexion rurally ruddy; his eye sincere, cheery, and gray. His hair alone betrayed that he was not an overgrown boy. From his hair I set him down as forty or more.

"Come, Standard," he gleefully cried to my friend, "are you not going to the circus? The clown is inimitable, they say. Come; Mr. Helmstone, too—come both; and circus over, we'll take a nice stew and punch at Taylor's."

The sterling content, good humor, and extraordinary ruddy, sincere expression of this most singular new acquaintance acted upon me like magic. It seemed mere loyalty to human nature to accept an invitation from so unmistakably kind and honest a heart.

During the circus performance I kept my eye more on Hautboy than on the celebrated clown.
...

Sunday, August 22, 2021

Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1941)

Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde is a horror film starring Spencer Tracy, Ingrid Bergman, Lana Turner, and Donald Crisp. It is a 1941 adaptation of the 1886 book Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson. That book can be read online here.

We have a DVD of this film, and I can't find it available free.

trailer:

Saturday, August 21, 2021

A Conversation with Breeze Cayolle

A Conversation with Breeze Cayolle:


Cayolle is a New Orleans native who relocated to Memphis in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.

Friday, August 20, 2021

Valley of the Zombies

Valley of the Zombies is a 1946 horror film. It's less than an hour long, and there's not much to it.

Thursday, August 19, 2021

The Pelican

The Pelican is an 1899 short story by Edith Wharton (pictured above), who died on August 11, 1937, at the age of 75 of a stroke suffered 6 weeks after she had a heart attack. I have always enjoyed her writing, and even now years later my taste for her work has not lessened. This story can be read online here, or you can listen to it read to you at the bottom of the post. It begins,
She was very pretty when I first knew her, with the sweet straight nose and short upper lip of the cameo-brooch divinity, humanized by a dimple that flowered in her cheek whenever anything was said possessing the outward attributes of humor without its intrinsic quality. For the dear lady was providentially deficient in humor: the least hint of the real thing clouded her lovely eye like the hovering shadow of an algebraic problem.

I don't think nature had meant her to be "intellectual;" but what can a poor thing do, whose husband has died of drink when her baby is hardly six months old, and who finds her coral necklace and her grandfather's edition of the British Dramatists inadequate to the demands of the creditors?

Her mother, the celebrated Irene Astarte Pratt, had written a poem in blank verse on "The Fall of Man;" one of her aunts was dean of a girls' college; another had translated Euripides--with such a family, the poor child's fate was sealed in advance. The only way of paying her husband's debts and keeping the baby clothed was to be intellectual; and, after some hesitation as to the form her mental activity was to take, it was unanimously decided that she was to give lectures.

They began by being drawing-room lectures. The first time I saw her she was standing by the piano, against a flippant background of Dresden china and photographs, telling a roomful of women preoccupied with their spring bonnets all she thought she knew about Greek art. The ladies assembled to hear her had given me to understand that she was "doing it for the baby," and this fact, together with the shortness of her upper lip and the bewildering co-operation of her dimple, disposed me to listen leniently to her dissertation. Happily, at that time Greek art was still, if I may use the phrase, easily handled: it was as simple as walking down a museum- gallery lined with pleasant familiar Venuses and Apollos. All the later complications--the archaic and archaistic conundrums; the influences of Assyria and Asia Minor; the conflicting attributions and the wrangles of the erudite--still slumbered in the bosom of the future "scientific critic." Greek art in those days began with Phidias and ended with the Apollo Belvedere; and a child could travel from one to the other without danger of losing his way.

Mrs. Amyot had two fatal gifts: a capacious but inaccurate memory, and an extraordinary fluency of speech. There was nothing she did not remember-- wrongly; but her halting facts were swathed in so many layers of rhetoric that their infirmities were imperceptible to her friendly critics. Besides, she had been taught Greek by the aunt who had translated Euripides; and the mere sound of the [Greek: ais] and [Greek: ois] that she now and then not unskilfully let slip (correcting herself, of course, with a start, and indulgently mistranslating the phrase), struck awe to the hearts of ladies whose only "accomplishment" was French--if you didn't speak too quickly.
*******


Wednesday, August 18, 2021

The Tunnel

The Tunnel is a 2019 award-winning Norwegian short film based on the science fiction short story The Tunnel Ahead which was written by Alice Glaser. Watch it here at this link or below:



You can read the short story online here.

Tuesday, August 17, 2021

Still Life, Corner of a Table

Still Life Corner of a Table:

is an 1873 painting by Henri Fantin-Latour, who died on August 25, 1904. I don't know much about art, but I enjoy looking at artists' works and reading about their lives. Ever curious, there's alway more to see and learn. You can see more of this artist's paintings online here and here.

I'm sharing this with the T Stands for Tuesday blogger gathering, where you should feel free to participate. A warm welcome awaits you.

Monday, August 16, 2021

King Creole

In memory of Elvis Presley on the anniversary of his death in Memphis on this date in 1977:

King Creole is a 1958 musical drama directed by Michael Curtiz, an excellent film and Elvis' best.

trailer:



Rotten Tomatoes has a consensus critics score of 100%.

Sunday, August 15, 2021

The Stainless Steel Rat

image from Wikipedia

The Stainless Steel Rat is the main character in a comic science fiction book series by Harry Harrison. Harrison died on the date in 2012 at the age of 87. You can read the first three books in this series through the Internet Archive loan program, a wonderful service in these days. They are quite clever. The first book begins,
When the office door opened suddenly I knew the game was up. It had been a money-maker —but it was all over. As the cop walked in I sat back in the chair and put on a happy grin. He had the same somber expression and heavy foot that they all have—and the same lack of humor. I almost knew to the word what he was going to say before he uttered a syllable.

“James Bolivar diGriz I arrest you on the charge—”

I was waiting for the word charge, I thought it made a nice touch that way. As he said it I pressed the button that set off the charge of black powder in the ceiling, the crossbeam buckled and the three-ton safe dropped through right on the top of the cop’s head. He squashed very nicely, thank you. The cloud of plaster dust settled and all I could see of him was one hand, slightly crumpled. It twitched a bit and the index finger pointed at me accusingly. His voice was a little muffled by the safe and sounded a bit annoyed. In fact he repeated himself a bit.

“ … On the charge of illegal entry, theft, forgery—”

He ran on like that for quite a while, it was an impressive list but I had heard it all before. I didn’t let it interfere with my stuffing all the money from the desk drawers into my suitcase. The list ended with a new charge and I would swear on a stack of thousand credit notes that high that there was a hurt tone in his voice.

Saturday, August 14, 2021

Stroszek

Stroszek is a 1977 German tragicomedy directed by Wernor Herzog. I watched it here on TubiTV. I tried, but I just couldn't get into this one. I left it and came back to it several times but finally gave up. trailer:

 

It's listed in the book 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die. Roger Ebert considers it a Great Movie. Rotten Tomatoes has a critics consensus score of 95%.

Friday, August 13, 2021

42 T Shirt

A T shirt design:


There are an amazing number of designs focusing on 42.

Thursday, August 12, 2021

The Lady from Shanghai

The Lady from Shanghai is a 1947 film noir directed by Orson Welles and starring Rita Hayworth and Orson Welles. You can watch it online here.

trailer:



FilmSite begins its article with this:
The Lady From Shanghai (1948) is an imaginative, complicated, unsettling film noir who-dun-it thriller, with fascinating visuals and tilting compositions, luminous and brilliant camerawork (by Charles Lawton, Jr.), and numerous sub-plots and confounding plot twists.
It is listed in the book 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die. Rotten Tomatoes has a critics consensus score of 82%.

Wednesday, August 11, 2021

Health and Fitness

My last doctor visit showed increased blood pressure and increased cholesterol. Bummer. I thought I'd post a bit monthly about the steps I'm taking to deal with this and see if anybody else might have some advice.

I've had high cholesterol scores before, and usually just giving up cheese is enough to bring it down. I've never had high blood pressure before and am placing part of the blame on my persistent insomnia over the past year and seeing a new-to-me doctor. But I'm going to try and take a fuller approach to improving my health before my re-check in December.

The Husband's health insurance offers suggestions and the ability to track good habits online, and I'm using that right now. They want me to eat more calories, which is ridiculous since I'm only 4'9" tall and weigh 98 pounds, but these online apps just won't provide info on a plan that's under 1200 calories. It does look like I need to eat more protein. I do eat protein every day, just not enough to satisfy this app. 

I already wear a weight vest and do Yoga daily, do strength training with dumbbells 3 or 4 times a week, do Tai Chi and Qi Gong several times a week using Youtube videos, among other things, so "exercise more" isn't really a helpful idea. I'm not currently walking, though, so I'm adding 30 minutes a day of walking to my schedule 5 days a week. I was surprised and disappointed my first day when it took me 25 minutes to walk a mile. I'm down to a mile in 19 minutes now, so I'm pleased I'm making some progress.

I tend to like good-for-me foods and eat those every day, but I also like bad-for-me foods. I'm cutting back to once a month for hamburgers and pizza and cutting out cheese except for cottage cheese and the monthly pizza. I'm not interested in diets that limit carbs, but limiting red meat and processed foods is part of my plan. I've heard increasing potassium helps lower blood pressure, and I'll be adding bananas and raisins, which are the foods I see recommended that I don't already eat.

I've tried everything I know of aside from prescription meds for the insomnia and nothing worked. I'm trying a different app on my phone (My Life) for short calming and directed breathing activities and hope that using it twice a day will relieve some of the stress I honestly didn't realize I was feeling.

We'll see.

Tuesday, August 10, 2021

Laura

Laura is a 1944 film directed by Otto Preminger and starring Gene Tierney, Dana Andrews, Clifton Webb, Vincent Price, and Judith Anderson. I have this on DVD. It's a treasure, and that's no exaggeration. In fact, I think I'll take an hour and a half and watch it again...

via Internet Archive:


Here's a screenshot from the film for the bloggers participating in the T Stands for Tuesday gathering:



Join us?

Monday, August 09, 2021

The Case of the Irate Witness

image from Wikipedia


The Case of the Irate Witness is a Perry Mason short story by Erle Stanley Gardner. It is the only short story he wrote that featured Perry Mason. You can read it online here. It begins,
Perry Mason refused to believe the proof against his client. The district attorney was too smug. The evidence was too good.

The early-morning shadows cast by the mountains still lay heavily on the town's main street as the big siren on the roof of the Jebson Commercial Company began to scream shrilly.

The danger of fire was always present, and at the sound, men at breakfast rose and pushed their chairs back from the table. Men who were shaving barely paused to wipe lather from their faces; men who had been sleeping grabbed the first available garments. All of them ran to places where they could look for the first telltale wisps of smoke.

There was no smoke.

The big siren was still screaming urgently as the men formed into streaming lines, like ants whose hill has been attacked. The lines all moved toward the Jebson Commercial Company.

There the men were told that the doors of the big vault had been found wide open. A jagged hole had been cut into one with an acetylene torch.

The men looked at one another silently. This was the fifteenth of the month. The big, twice-a-month payroll, which had been brought up from the Ivanhoe National Bank the day before, had been the prize.

Frank Bernal, manager of the company's mine, the man who ruled Jebson City with an iron hand, arrived and took charge. The responsibility was his, and what he found was alarming.

Tom Munson, the night watchman, was lying on the floor in a back room, snoring in drunken slumber. The burglar alarm, which had been installed within the last six months, had been by-passed by means of an electrical device. This device was so ingenious that it was apparent that, if the work were that of a gang, at least one of the burglars was an expert electrician.

Ralph Nesbitt, the company accountant, was significantly silent. When Frank Bernal had been appointed manager a year earlier, Nesbitt had pointed out that the big vault was obsolete.

Bernal, determined to prove himself in his new job, had avoided the expense of tearing out the old vault and installing a new one by investing in an up-to-date burglar alarm and putting a special night watchman on duty.

Now the safe had been looted of a hundred thousand dollars, and Frank Bernal had to make a report to the main office in Chicago, with the disquieting knowledge that Ralph Nesbitt's memo stating that the antiquated vault was a pushover was at this moment reposing in the company files....

Some distance out of Jebson City, Perry Mason, the famous trial lawyer, was driving fast along a mountain road. He had planned a week-end fishing trip for a long time, but a jury which had waited until midnight before reaching its verdict had delayed Mason's departure and it was now eight thirty in the morning.

...

Sunday, August 08, 2021

How Green Was My Valley

How Green Was My Valley is a 1941 directed by John Ford and starring Walter Pidgeon, Maureen O'Hara, and Roddy McDowall.



This film is included in the book 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die. FilmSite has an article which begins,
How Green Was My Valley (1941) is one of John Ford's masterpieces of sentimental human drama. It is the melodramatic and nostalgic story, adapted by screenwriter Philip Dunne from Richard Llewellyn's best-selling novel, of a close-knit, hard-working Welsh coal-mining family (the Morgans) at the turn of the century as a socio-economic way of life passes and the home-family unit disintegrates. Episodic incidents in everyday life convey the changes, trials, setbacks, and joys of the hard-bitten community as it faces growing unemployment, distressing work conditions, unrest, unionization and labor-capital disputes, and personal tragedy. Domestic life, romance, harsh treatment at school, the departure of two Morgan boys to find their fortune in America, unrequited love between the local preacher (Walter Pidgeon) and the only Morgan daughter (beautiful 19 year old Irish actress Maureen O'Hara), and other events are portrayed within the warm, human story.
It has a critics consensus score of 89% at Rotten Tomatoes.

Saturday, August 07, 2021

The Judgement

The Judgement is a short story by Franz Kafka. It involves the relationship between a man and his father. You can read it online here or listen to it read to you at the bottom of this post. The two translations differ. It begins,
It was a Sunday morning at the most beautiful time in spring. George Benderman, a young merchant, was sitting in his private room on the first floor of one of the low, poorly constructed houses extending in a long row along the river, almost indistinguishable from each other except for their height and colour. He had just finished a letter to a friend from his youth who was now abroad, had sealed in a playful and desultory manner, and then was looking, elbows propped on the writing table, out of the window at the river, the bridge, and the hills on the other shore with their delicate greenery.

He was thinking about how this friend, dissatisfied with his progress at home, had actually run off to Russia some years before. Now he ran a business in St. Petersburg, which had gotten off to a very good start but which for a long time now had appeared to be faltering, as his friend complained on his increasingly rare visits. So he was wearing himself out working to no purpose in a foreign land. The exotic full beard only poorly concealed the face George had known so well since his childhood years, and the yellowish colour of his skin seemed to indicate a developing sickness. As he explained it, he had no real connection to the colony of his countrymen in the place and also hardly any social interaction with local families and so was resigning himself to being a permanent bachelor.

What should one write to such a man, who had obviously gone off course, a man one could feel sorry for but could not help.

...
*******

Friday, August 06, 2021

The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert

The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert is a 1994 Australian film starring Terence Stamp, Hugo Weaving, and Guy Pearce. I watched it on Tubi, but it's not there any more. I don't see it available right now on any of the services I subscribe to. It's definitely worth looking for. I loved it!

trailer:


It's included in the book 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die. The Guardian calls it a "smart, lovable gem".

Roger Ebert closes his review with this:
At the beginning of the film we're distracted by the unexpected sight of Terence Stamp in drag, but Stamp is able to bring a convincing humanity to the character, and eventually we realize that the real subject of the movie is not homosexuality, not drag queens, not showbiz, but simply the life of a middle-aged person trapped in a job that has become tiresome.
Rotten Tomatoes has a critics consensus score of 96%.

Thursday, August 05, 2021

Train Kept a Rollin'

Train Kept a Rollin':



by Tav Falco's Panther Burns, a band formed in Memphis in 1979 and still active. This video is of their 1979 performance and interview on a local TV show. Marge Thrasher is a judgmental bitch in this interview in my opinion.

This is from 12/2019:


Wednesday, August 04, 2021

The Ghosts of Berkeley Square

The Ghosts of Berkeley Square is a 1947 comedy film in which the ghostly occupants are condemned to haunt the house until a British monarch crosses the threshold. Embedding is disabled, but if you click on the "watch on Youtube" link below you can watch it there.



Tuesday, August 03, 2021

Afternoon Tea on the Terrace

Afternoon Tea on the Terrace:



by Henri Lebasque, who died on August 7, 1937.

Please join the T Tuesday blogger gathering hosted by Bleubeard and Elizabeth where we share a post with a drink in it and visit with one another.

Monday, August 02, 2021

Gold Diggers Of 1933

Gold Diggers Of 1933 is a 1933 pre-code musical directed by Mervyn LeRoy and Busby Berkeley and starring Warren William, Joan Blondell, Aline MacMahon, Ruby Keeler, and Dick Powell. You can watch it online here.

Here's a trailer:



It's listed in the book 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die. Rotten Tomatoes has a critics consensus rating of 100%.

Sunday, August 01, 2021

Only Yesterday

Only Yesterday is a 1991 animated drama film intended for an adult audience. It's a sweet story about a young woman, city-born and lifelong Tokyo resident, who is traveling to the countryside to help with the safflower harvest. She reminisces on the journey. I watched it on HBO Max.

trailer:


Roger Ebert's site calls it "breathtakingly beautiful and quietly but devastatingly moving". Rotten Tomatoes has a critics consensus score of 100%.

Saturday, July 31, 2021

The Case of the Velvet Claws

image from Wikipedia


I recently watched the new HBO Perry Mason series, and that sent me to the original Raymond Burr series (found at IMDb TV). Then I realized I'd never read the original books and found the first one online, or you can listen to it at the bottom of this post. The Case of the Velvet Claws is by Erle Stanley Gardner. It begins,
Chapter 1

Autumn sun beat against the window.

Perry Mason sat at the big desk. There was about him the attitude of one who is waiting. His face in repose was like the face of a chess player who is studying the board. That face seldom changed expression. Only the eyes changed expression. He gave the impression of being a thinker and a fighter, a man who could work with infinite patience to jockey an adversary into just the right position, and then finish him with one terrific punch.

Book cases, filled with leather-backed books, lined the walls of the room. A big safe was in one corner. There were two chairs, in addition to the swivel chair which Perry Mason occupied. The office held an atmosphere of plain, rugged efficiency, as though it had absorbed something of the personality of the man who occupied it.

The door to the outer office opened, and Della Street, his secretary, eased her way into the room and closed the door behind her.

“A woman,” she said, “who claims to be a Mrs. Eva Griffin.” Perry Mason looked at the girl with level eyes.

“And you don’t think she is?” he asked.

She shook her head.

“She looks phony to me,” she said. “I’ve looked up the Griffins in the telephone book. And there isn’t any Griffin who has an address like the one she gave. I looked in the City Directory, and got the same result. There are a lot of Griffins, but I don’t find any Eva Griffin. And I don’t find any at her address.”

“What was the address?” asked Mason.

“2271 Grove Street,” she said.

Perry Mason made a notation on a slip of paper.

“I’ll see her,” he said.

“Okay,” said Della Street. “I just wanted you to know that she looks phony to me.”

Della Street was slim of figure, steady of eye; a young woman of approximately twenty-seven, who gave the impression of watching life with keenly appreciative eyes and seeing far below the surface.

She remained standing in the doorway eyeing Perry Mason with quiet insistence. “I wish,” she said, “that you’d find out who she really is before we do anything for her.”

“A hunch?” asked Perry Mason.

“You might call it that,” she said, smiling.

Perry Mason nodded. His face had not changed expression. Only his eyes had become warily watchful.

“All right, send her in, and I’ll take a look at her myself.”

Della Street closed the door as she went out, keeping a hand on the knob, however. Within a few seconds, the knob turned the door opened, and a woman walked into the room with an air of easy assurance.

She was in her early thirties, or perhaps, her late twenties—well groomed, and giving an appearance of being exceedingly well cared for. She flashed a swiftly appraising glance about the office before she looked at the man seated behind the desk.

“Come in and sit down,” said Perry Mason.

She looked at him then, and there was a faint expression of annoyance upon her face. ...
*******