Tuesday, September 28, 2021

Blood Simple

Blood Simple is a 1984 neo-noir crime film directed by Joel and Ethan Coen (their directorial debut), and starring John Getz, Frances McDormand (her feature-film debut), Dan Hedaya, and M. Emmet Walsh. I watched it on HBO Max. This film is listed in the book 1,0001 Movies You Must See Before You Die, and I'm finding the films on this list to be well worth seeking out.


BBC says, "Intriguing, clever, and often surprisingly funny there's plenty to please in this thriller, that remains fresh and original." Roger Ebert says, "The genius of "Blood Simple" is that everything that happens seems necessary. ... Step by inexorable step, logically, one damned thing leads to another." Rotten Tomatoes has a critics concensus score of 94%.

This scene at the bar is from early in the film and came from Film Grab:

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

Monday, September 27, 2021

The Bottle Imp

The Bottle Imp is a short story by Robert Louis Stevenson. You can read it online here or here or have it read to you at the bottom of this post. It begins,
There was a man of the Island of Hawaii, whom I shall call Keawe; for the truth is, he still lives, and his name must be kept secret; but the place of his birth was not far from Honaunau, where the bones of Keawe the Great lie hidden in a cave. This man was poor, brave, and active; he could read and write like a schoolmaster; he was a first-rate mariner besides, sailed for some time in the island steamers, and steered a whaleboat on the Hamakua coast. At length it came in Keawe's mind to have a sight of the great world and foreign cities, and he shipped on a vessel bound to San Francisco.

This is a fine town, with a fine harbour, and rich people uncountable; and in particular, there is one hill which is covered with palaces. Upon this hill Keawe was one day taking a walk with his pocket full of money, viewing the great houses upon either hand with pleasure. "What fine houses these are!" he was thinking, "and how happy must those people be who dwell in them, and take no care for the morrow!" The thought was in his mind when he came abreast of a house that was smaller than some others, but all finished and beautified like a toy; the steps of that house shone like silver, and the borders of the garden bloomed like garlands, and the windows were bright like diamonds; and Keawe stopped and wondered at the excellence of all he saw. So stopping, he was aware of a man that looked forth upon him through a window so clear that Keawe could see him as you see a fish in a pool upon the reef. The man was elderly, with a bald head and a black beard; and his face was heavy with sorrow, and he bitterly sighed. And the truth of it is, that as Keawe looked in upon the man, and the man looked out upon Keawe, each envied the other.

Sunday, September 26, 2021

Seven Psychopaths

Seven Psychopaths is a 2012 dark comedy crime film starring Colin Farrell, Sam Rockwell, Woody Harrelson, Christopher Walken, and Tom Waits. I watched it on Amazon Prime and laughed out loud all through it.


Reviews were positive.

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,

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."


"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 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.


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.


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.


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 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.


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.


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.


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,
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.


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."