Tuesday, November 30, 2021

Setting the Table

Setting the Table:

by Claude Joseph Bail, a French artist who died on November 26, 1921.

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Monday, November 29, 2021

The Proposition

The Proposition is a 2005 Australian film written by Nick Cave. It stars Guy Pearce, Ray Winstone, Emily Watson, John Hurt, Danny Huston and David Wenham. I watched it at TubiTV. It takes place during the Christmas season.

Roger Ebert gives it 4 out of 4 stars and opens his review with this:
"The Proposition" plays like a Western moved from Colorado to Hell. The characters are familiar: The desperado brothers, the zealous lawman, his civilized wife, the corrupt mayor, the old coots, the resentful natives. But the setting is the Outback of Australia as I have never seen it before. These spaces don't seem wide open because an oppressive sky glares down at the sullen earth; this world is sun-baked, hostile, unforgiving, and it breeds heartless men.
The Guardian calls it "an exquisitely contradictory work: beautiful but brutal, hot-blooded but ruminative". Rotten Tomatoes has a critics consensus of 86%.

Saturday, November 27, 2021

The Artist of the Beautiful

The Artist of the Beautiful is a short story by Nathaniel Hawthorne, It can be read online here at this link, or you can listen to it read to you at the bottom of this post. It begins,
An elderly man, with his pretty daughter on his arm, was passing along the street, and emerged from the gloom of the cloudy evening into the light that fell across the pavement from the window of a small shop. It was a projecting window; and on the inside were suspended a variety of watches, pinchbeck, silver, and one or two of gold, all with their faces turned from the streets, as if churlishly disinclined to inform the wayfarers what o'clock it was. Seated within the shop, sidelong to the window with his pale face bent earnestly over some delicate piece of mechanism on which was thrown the concentrated lustre of a shade lamp, appeared a young man.

"What can Owen Warland be about?" muttered old Peter Hovenden, himself a retired watchmaker, and the former master of this same young man whose occupation he was now wondering at. "What can the fellow be about? These six months past I have never come by his shop without seeing him just as steadily at work as now. It would be a flight beyond his usual foolery to seek for the perpetual motion; and yet I know enough of my old business to be certain that what he is now so busy with is no part of the machinery of a watch."

"Perhaps, father," said Annie, without showing much interest in the question, "Owen is inventing a new kind of timekeeper. I am sure he has ingenuity enough."

"Poh, child! He has not the sort of ingenuity to invent anything better than a Dutch toy," answered her father, who had formerly been put to much vexation by Owen Warland's irregular genius. "A plague on such ingenuity! All the effect that ever I knew of it was to spoil the accuracy of some of the best watches in my shop. He would turn the sun out of its orbit and derange the whole course of time, if, as I said before, his ingenuity could grasp anything bigger than a child's toy!"

"Hush, father! He hears you!" whispered Annie, pressing the old man's arm. "His ears are as delicate as his feelings; and you know how easily disturbed they are. Do let us move on."

Friday, November 26, 2021

The Girl with All the Gifts

The Girl with All the Gifts is a 2016 British post-apocalyptic science fiction horror film. Glenn Close stars. Dominique Tipper (remember her from The Expanse?) is also in this. I watched in on Netflix. I always enjoy a different take on a horror trope, and this one satisfies. Oh, yes, it definitely satisfies!


Empire concludes, "The best zombie-ish apocalypse in years. ... it’s the dense social commentary and moral dilemmas that will haunt you." io9 says, "The Girl With All The Gifts is an interesting reflection on what it means to resist, survive, and ultimately thrive in a (real) world infested with rabid, horrifying monsters."

Roger Ebert's site says,
Just when you thought the zombie genre was out of ideas, along comes Colm McCarthy’s smart and engaging “The Girl with All the Gifts,” a film with echoes of George A. Romero, Danny Boyle, and Robert Kirkman but one that also feels confidently its own creation, a unique take on responsibility, adulthood, and a new chapter in evolution.
Rotten Tomatoes has a critics consensus score of 86%.

Thursday, November 25, 2021

Wednesday, November 24, 2021


Once is a 2007 award-winning Irish romantic musical drama film. It is a truly beautiful story. I watched it on HBO Max.


Roger Ebert says, "It's one of those films where you hold your breath, hoping it knows how good it is, and doesn't take a wrong turn. It doesn't." Empire Online has a positive review. Rotten Tomatoes has a critics consensus score of 97%.

Here's one of the songs:

You can listen to the soundtrack on Spotify:

or on Youtube.

Tuesday, November 23, 2021

I Drink Water

I also drink a lot of water -just plain water- without anything in it, and I only drink one cup of coffee a day, but I got a kick out of this meme. Please share a drink-related post and join the T Stands for Tuesday blogger gathering.

Monday, November 22, 2021

The Tale of the Princess Kaguya

The Tale of the Princess Kaguya is a 2013 award-winning animated film from Studio Ghibli directed by Isao Takahata. It is based on The Tale of the Bamboo Cutter, a 10th-century Japanese literary tale. I watched it on HBO Max. The voice cast for the English language version is too long to list here, but well worth a look.


There was a 1987 live action film named Princess from the Moon that was based on the same story. I watched it back in 2012.

Sunday, November 21, 2021

Thanksgiving, as told by Wednesday Addams

Thanksgiving, as told by Wednesday Addams in the delightful movie Addams Family Values, is an interpretation worth considering.

Saturday, November 20, 2021

Wings of Desire

Wings of Desire is a 1987 West German/French film directed by Wim Wenders. Peter Falk is part of the cast. I looked for this film for a long time but never saw it free on anything I had access to and never wanted to pay the going rate for a DVD. I watched it on HBO Max.


Roger Ebert has it on his Great Movies list. Rotten Tomatoes has a critics consensus score of 98%.

Friday, November 19, 2021

Thursday, November 18, 2021

City of God (2002)

City of God is a 2002 Brazilian crime film adapted from a novel but loosely based on true events. It is often included in film critics' "best film" lists and is included in the book 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die. I watched it on HBO Max.


Wednesday, November 17, 2021

The Dig

The Dig is a 2021 film based on a true story about the discovery of Sutton Hoo. It stars Ralph Fiennes. These based-on-a-true-story films aren't usually my thing, but I thoroughly enjoyed this one. I watched it on Netflix.


Roger Ebert's site has a positive review. Rotten Tomatoes has a critics consensus score of 88%.

Tuesday, November 16, 2021

Sen no Rikyu and Tea

Sen no Rikyu is considered to be, according to Wikipedia, the historical figure with the most profound influence on the Japanese "Way of Tea". He was also the first to emphasize several key aspects of the ceremony, including rustic simplicity, directness of approach and honesty of self. These aspects of the tea ceremony persist. Here's a 5 1/2 minute video overview of his life:

This 3 1/2 minute video focuses on the tea ceremony itself:

Please share a drink-related post and join the T Stands for Tuesday blogger gathering hosted by Bleubeard and Elizabeth.

Monday, November 15, 2021

The Use of Force

The Use of Force is a short story by William Carlos Williams. You can read it online here. You can listen to it read to you at the bottom of this post. It begins,
They were new patients to me, all I had was the name, Olson. Please come down as soon as you can, my daughter is very sick.

When I arrived I was met by the mother, a big startled looking woman, very clean and apologetic who merely said, Is this the doctor? and let me in. In the back, she added. You must excuse us, doctor, we have her in the kitchen where it is warm. It is very damp here sometimes.

The child was fully dressed and sitting on her father's lap near the kitchen table. He tried to get up, but I motioned for him not to bother, took off my overcoat and started to look things over. I could see that they were all very nervous, eyeing me up and down distrustfully. As often, in such cases, they weren't telling me more than they had to, it was up to me to tell them; that's why they were spending three dollars on me.


Sunday, November 14, 2021

Kirikou and the Sorceress

Kirikou and the Sorceress is a 1998 animated fantasy short film. I watched it on Amazon Prime. This one was a lot of fun.


Rotten Tomatoes has a critics consensus score of 96%. Empire Online concludes, "A welcome antidote to anodyne Hollywood cartooning."

Saturday, November 13, 2021

The Lightning-Rod Man

The Lightning-Rod Man is a short story by Herman Melville. You can read it online here or here. You can listen to it read to you at the bottom of this post. It begins,
What grand irregular thunder, thought I, standing on my hearthstone among the Acroceraunian hills, as the scattered bolts boomed overhead and crashed down among the valleys, every bolt followed by zigzag irradiations, and swift slants of sharp rain, which audibly rang, like a charge of spear-points, on my low shingled roof. I suppose, though, that the mountains hereabouts break and churn up the thunder, so that it is far more glorious here than on the plain. Hark! -- some one at the door. Who is this that chooses a time of thunder for making calls? And why don't he, man-fashion, use the knocker, instead of making that doleful undertaker's clatter with his fist against the hollow panel? But let him in. Ah, here he comes. "Good day, sir:" an entire stranger. "Pray be seated." What is that strange-looking walking-stick he carries: "A fine thunder-storm, sir."

"Fine? -- Awful!"

"You are wet. Stand here on the hearth before the fire."

"Not for worlds."

The stranger still stood in the exact middle of the cottage, where he had first planted himself. His singularity impelled a closer scrutiny. A lean, gloomy figure. Hair dark and lank, mattedly streaked over his brow. His sunken pitfalls of eyes were ringed by indigo halos, and played with an innocuous sort of lightning: the gleam without the bolt. The whole man was dripping. He stood in a puddle on the bare oak floor: his strange-walking stick vertically resting at his side.

It was a polished copper rod, four feet long, lengthwise attached to a neat wooden staff, by insertion into two balls of greenish glass, ringed with copper bands. The metal rod terminated at the top tripodwise, in three keen tines, brightly gilt. He held the thing by the wooden part alone.

"Sir," said I, bowing politely, "have I the honor of a visit from that illustrious God, Jupiter Tonans? So stood he in the Greek statue of old, grasping the lightning-bolt. If you be he, or his viceroy, I have to thank you for this noble storm you have brewed among our mountains. Listen: that was a glorious peal. Ah, to a lover of the majestic, it is a good thing to have the Thunderer himself in one's cottage. The thunder grows finer for that. But pray be seated. This old rush- bottomed arm-chair, I grant, is a poor substitute for your evergreen throne on Olympus; but, condescend to be seated."

While I thus pleasantly spoke, the stranger eyed me, half in wonder, and half in a strange sort of horror; but did not move a foot.

"Do, sir, be seated; you need to be dried ere going forth again."

I planted the chair invitingly on the broad hearth, where a little fire had been kindled that afternoon to dissipate the dampness, not the cold; for it was early in the month of September.

But without heeding my solicitation, and still standing in the middle of the floor, the stranger gazed at me portentously and spoke.

"Sir," said he, "excuse me; but instead of my accepting your invitation to be seated on the hearth there, I solemnly warn you, that you had best accept mine, and stand with me in the middle of the room. Good Heavens!" he cried, starting -- "there is another of those awful crashes. I warn you, sir, quit the hearth."


Friday, November 12, 2021

Green Onions

Green Onions:

by Memphis group Booker T and the MGs. Today is the birthday of Booker T. Jones. May he celebrate many more.

Thursday, November 11, 2021

A Haunted House

A Haunted House is a short story by Virginia Woolf. You can read it online at this link or here. You can listen to it read to you at the bottom of this post. It begins,
Whatever hour you woke there was a door shutting. From room to room they went, hand in hand, lifting here, opening there, making sure–a ghostly couple.

"Here we left it," she said. And he added, "Oh, but here too!" "It's upstairs," she murmured. "And in the garden," he whispered. "Quietly," they said, "or we shall wake them."

But it wasn't that you woke us. Oh, no. "They're looking for it; they're drawing the curtain," one might say, and so read on a page or two. "Now they've found it, " one would be certain, stopping the pencil on the margin. And then, tired of reading, one might rise and see for oneself, the house all empty, the doors standing open, only the wood pigeons bubbling with content and the hum of the threshing machine sounding from the farm. "What did I come in here for? What did I want to find?" My hands were empty. "Perhaps it's upstairs then?" The apples were in the loft. And so down again, the garden still as ever, only the book had slipped into the grass.

But they had found it in the drawing room. Not that one could ever see them.


Wednesday, November 10, 2021

Szamota's Mistress

Szamota's Mistress is a 2017 film, part crime, part mystery. part fantasy. It's a short (45 minute) film and easy to watch. I saw it on Amazon Prime.

from Imdb: "A lawyer, Jozef Szamota, tries to reveal the secret of mysterious woman that he met in abandoned mansion."


Tuesday, November 09, 2021

The Artist's Wife Sitting at a Window in a Sunlit Room

The Artist's Wife Sitting at a Window in a Sunlit Room:

by Carl Holsoe, who died on November 7, 1935.

Please share a post with a drink in it over at the T Stands for Tuesday blogger gathering.

Monday, November 08, 2021

22 Bullets (2010)

22 Bullets is a 2010 Mafia revenge film. I watched it because it stars Jean Reno. He never disappoints, and this film was no exception. I saw it on Amazon Prime, but it's also available free on Tubi at this link.



P.S. I'm being driven crazy by Blogger's "prove you're not a robot" photos. Tiny photos. And it is never satisfied. I never seem able to click all the right ones, so I'm presented with yet another "try again" selection. It makes posting a simple comment a minutres-long procedure. I'm finding it quite irritating.

Sunday, November 07, 2021

The Exiles

The Exiles is a science fiction short story by Ray Bradbury. You can read it online at this link. It begins,
Their eyes were fire and the breath flamed out the witches’ mouths as they bent to probe the caldron with greasy stick and bony finger.
‘When shall we three meet again
In thunder, lightning, or in rain?’
They danced drunkenly on the shore of an empty sea, fouling the air with their three tongues, and burning it with their cats’ eyes malevolently aglitter:

‘Round about the cauldron go;
In the poison’d entrails throw.
Double, double, toil and trouble;
Fire burn, and cauldron bubble!’

They paused and cast a glance about. ‘Where’s the crystal? Where the needles?’
‘Is the yellow wax thickened?’
‘Pour it in the iron mold!’
‘Is the wax figure done?’ They shaped it like molasses adrip on their green hands.
‘Shove the needle through the heart!’
‘The crystal, the crystal; fetch it from the tarot bag. Dust it off; have a look!’
They bent to the crystal, their faces white.
‘See, see, see . . .’

A rocket ship moved through space from the planet Earth to the planet Mars. On the rocket ship men were dying.
The captain raised his head, tiredly. ‘We’ll have to use the morphine.’
‘But, Captain”

Saturday, November 06, 2021

The Last Stand (2013)

The Last Stand is a 2013 action film directed by Kim Jee-woon and starring Arnold Schwarzenegger. I can't tell you how much I enjoyed this movie. Great fun. I watched it on Amazon Prime.


Roger Ebert's site has a review praising Swarzeneggar.

Friday, November 05, 2021

Treason and Plot

Remember, remember!
The fifth of November,
The Gunpowder treason and plot;
I know of no reason
Why the Gunpowder treason
Should ever be forgot!
We need a catchy poem like this about the 6th of January.

Thursday, November 04, 2021

Tombs of the Blind Dead

Tombs of the Blind Dead is a 1972 Spanish horror film. According to Wikipedia, the director objected to the description of the revenant Templars as "zombies", insisting that they more resembled mummies who feed like vampires and that, unlike zombies, the Templars were not mindless corpses. You can watch it on Vudu with commercials or on DailyMotion.

1000 Misspent Hours says,
The Blind Dead are some of the most intimidating zombies in the business. Part of it is their unique character design, realized by an unexpected combination of extras in full-face masks and simple but impressive puppetry. Because the undead Templars are portrayed as desiccated and mummified, the immobility and awkwardness imparted to the zombies by the use of masks and puppets actually makes them more believable than would probably have been the case had more conventional makeup been used. But beyond all of that, it is the mythos behind them that enables the Blind Dead to stand out from the hordes of interchangeable gut-munching corpses that populate most zombie films. And somehow it’s the smallest detail— their blindness— that is the most disturbing thing about them.
Oh the Horror calls it a "Spanish classic that is a must see for all fans of creature features with ample amounts of all the things that make horror great."

Wednesday, November 03, 2021

Man in the Attic

Man in the Attic is a 1953 mystery starring Jack Palance. Frances Bavier, better known as Andy Griffiths' Aunt Bea, is also in this movie as Palance's suspicious landlady. Is he Jack the Ripper?

Tuesday, November 02, 2021

Fruit and Coffee Pot

Fruit and Coffee Pot:

by Henri Matisse. Left confined to chair and bed after surgery for abdominal cancer in 1941, he didn't let that stop him. As painting and sculpture became too difficult, he enlisted assistants and began working in cut paper collage. He said, "An artist must never be a prisoner of himself, prisoner of a style, prisoner of a reputation, prisoner of success…" An inspiration to us all. He died on November 3, 1954, of a heart attack.  He was 84.

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Monday, November 01, 2021

The Face of Marble

The Face of Marble (1 hour, 12 minutes long) is a 1946 horror film starring John Carradine.

"Do you think we're doing the right thing by performing this experiment?" -Scientist's assistant, preparing the body they found dead on the beach

"Certainly." -Scientist