Wednesday, January 31, 2024


The Game of Lotto (1865), by Charles Joshua Chaplin

Children is a short story by Anton Chekhov, who died on this date in 1904 of tuberculosis at the age of 44. You can read this story online at this link. It begins,
Papa and mamma and Aunt Nadya are not at home. They have gone to a christening party at the house of that old officer who rides on a little grey horse. While waiting for them to come home, Grisha, Anya, Alyosha, Sonya, and the cook’s son, Andrey, are sitting at the table in the dining room, playing at loto. To tell the truth, it is bedtime, but how can one go to sleep without hearing from mamma what the baby was like at the christening, and what they had for supper? The table, lighted by a hanging lamp, is dotted with numbers, nutshells, scraps of paper, and little bits of glass. Two cards lie in front of each player, and a heap of bits of glass for covering the numbers. In the middle of the table is a white saucer with five kopecks in it. Beside the saucer, a half-eaten apple, a pair of scissors, and a plate on which they have been told to put their nutshells. The children are playing for money. The stake is a kopeck. The rule is: if anyone cheats, he is turned out at once. There is no one in the dining room but the players, and nurse, Agafya Ivanovna, is in the kitchen, showing the cook how to cut a pattern, while their elder brother, Vasya, a schoolboy in the fifth class, is lying on the sofa in the drawing room, feeling bored.

They are playing with zest. ...

Tuesday, January 30, 2024

Tea for your brain?

This AARP article claims tea might help reduce dementia risk. Join me in a cuppa?

Please post your own drink-related thought and join the T Stands for Tuesday blogger gathering.


Monday, January 29, 2024


Tumbbad (watched on Amazon Prime, no longer available there) is a 2018 Indian Hindi-language folk horror film. Reviews are mostly positive. I enjoyed it. Definitely different from my usual fare. It is set in the cursed village of Tumbbad, where it always rains. Plot description from Wikipedia:
In 1947, Vinayak Rao tells his 14-year-old son Pandurang about the Goddess of Prosperity. She is the symbol of unlimited gold (wealth) and grain (food) and the earth is her womb. When the universe was created, she gave birth to 160 million gods. Hastar, her first and most beloved offspring, was greedy for all her gold and food. Hastar managed to acquire the gold from the goddess but the other gods attacked him just as he was about to acquire her food. Then, the goddess saved him on the condition that he could never be worshipped and would be forgotten by history. For years, Hastar slumbered inside his mother's womb...
full movie via YouTube:


Sunday, January 28, 2024

The Tower (1928)

Study of an Old Man, by Rembrandt



What shall I do with this absurdity —
O heart, O troubled heart — this caricature,
Decrepit age that has been tied to me
As to a dog's tail?
Never had I more
Excited, passionate, fantastical
Imagination, nor an ear and eye
That more expected the impossible —
No, not in boyhood when with rod and fly,
Or the humbler worm, I climbed Ben Bulben's back
And had the livelong summer day to spend.
It seems that I must bid the Muse go pack,
Choose Plato and Plotinus for a friend
Until imagination, ear and eye,
Can be content with argument and deal
In abstract things; or be derided by
A sort of battered kettle at the heel.


I pace upon the battlements and stare
On the foundations of a house, or where
Tree, like a sooty finger, starts from the earth;
And send imagination forth
Under the day's declining beam, and call
Images and memories
From ruin or from ancient trees,
For I would ask a question of them all.

The poem, described by Wikipedia as "a passionate indictment of a man wrestling with age", can be read in its entirety here. It was written by W.B. Yeats, who died on this date in 1939 in France at the age of 73.


I've shared all the snow people I have for this season, although I have a few that serve as Christmas tree decorations. Maybe I should put some of those with winter decorations so I have enough to post one a day through January. Here's Sia's song "Snowman":

Saturday, January 27, 2024

The Ghost Writer

The Ghost Writer (Tubi) is a 2010 neo-noir political thriller film directed by Roman Polanski. The film is an adaptation of a 2007 Robert Harris novel, The Ghost and stars Ewan McGregor, Pierce Brosnan, Kim Cattrall, Olivia Williams, Tom Wilkinson, Timothy Hutton, Eli Wallach, and Jim Belushi. Reviews are positive. Political thrillers are never my first choice, and I'm not sure how I came across this one. I watched it for the cast.

via YouTube:


Friday, January 26, 2024

Godzilla vs. Biollante

Godzilla vs. Biollante is a 1989 Japanese kaiju film distributed by Toho and produced under their subsidiary Toho Pictures. It is the 17th film in the Godzilla franchise, the second film in the franchise's Heisei period, and a sequel to 1984's The Return of Godzilla. It is generally well-reviewed, and we enjoyed it. Biollante is an interesting addition here. Too expensive to buy, and we were unable to find it streaming. We were fortunate to have someone lend us theirs.



Thursday, January 25, 2024

The Creator (2023)

The Creator (Hulu) is a 2023 science fiction action film. The actors I'm most familiar with here are Ken Watanabe and Allison Janney. Set in 2070, 15 years after a nuclear detonation in Los Angeles that started a war against artificial intelligence, an ex-special forces agent is recruited to hunt down and kill the "Creator," who has developed a mysterious weapon with the power to end the war. I'm supportive of all efforts to film more science fiction, and I'm impressed with this. Dealing with A.I. as it does makes it current, and their take on it is interesting. I'd watch this one again.



This snowman was Mother's. One year she decided The Husband had exhibited the best Christmas spirit and gave it to him as a prize. I thought the idea of awarding a prize for best Christmas spirit went against the idea of "Christmas spirit". But I never was much one for turning everything into a competition... At any rate, we've enjoyed having this snowman since the 1970s.

Wednesday, January 24, 2024

Salvation (2014)

Salvation (on Hulu) is a 2014 Danish Western film starring Mads Mikkelsen, Eva Green, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Jonathan Pryce, and Douglas Henshall. It's nice to see a new take on the Western film. Most reviews are positive.

from Wikipedia:
Following the Second Schleswig War of 1864, Danish war veterans Jon and his brother Peter emigrate to the United States from Denmark and settle somewhere between the Mississippi River and the Rocky Mountains. Seven years later, in 1871, Jon's wife, Marie and his 10-year-old son, Kresten, arrive. After they all meet, Jon and his family board a stagecoach bound for their small residence while Peter stays behind. ...



Tuesday, January 23, 2024



is a 1917 painting by Pierre Bonnard, who died on this date in 1947. Please post something drink related and join us at the T Stands for Tuesday blogger gathering.


We're moving from record-breaking lows and a 5-inch snow that stayed for a week into rain and higher than normal temperatures for the rest of the week. If you like four seasons and variety in your weather we are the place to be!

Monday, January 22, 2024

Next of Kin (1982)

Next of Kin is a 1982 Australian psychological horror film about a woman who inherits the family estate, which has been turned into a retirement community for the elderly. I find it confusing.


It is well-reviewed. Quentin Tarantino names it one of his favorites.


Sunday, January 21, 2024

She Sings to the Stars

She Sings to the Stars (Tubi, Freevee on Amazon Prime) is a 2015 film described by IMDb this way: "The endless desert. A Native American grandmother lives alone tending her corn. Her half-Mexican grandson and a white, aging magician are stranded. No water. A river of stars. Everything changes: anything is possible." I'm not at all sure why I watched this, but at some point I added it to my watchlist and then at some later point watched it. I'm glad I came across it. It is a thought-provoking movie.

via YouTube:


Saturday, January 20, 2024

The Eve of St. Agnes

by John Keats

I. ⁠
St. Agnes' Eve—Ah, bitter chill it was!⁠
⁠The owl, for all his feathers, was a-cold;⁠
⁠The hare limp'd trembling through the frozen grass,⁠
⁠And silent was the flock in woolly fold:⁠
⁠Numb were the Beadsman's fingers, while he told⁠
⁠His rosary, and while his frosted breath,⁠
⁠Like pious incense from a censer old,⁠
⁠Seem'd taking flight for heaven, without a death, Past the sweet Virgin's picture, while his prayer he saith.⁠

⁠His prayer he saith, this patient, holy man;⁠⁠
⁠Then takes his lamp, and riseth from his knees,⁠
⁠And back returneth, meagre, barefoot, wan,⁠
⁠Along the chapel aisle by slow degrees:⁠
⁠The sculptur'd dead, on each side, seem to freeze,⁠
⁠Emprison'd in black, purgatorial rails:⁠
⁠Knights, ladies, praying in dumb orat'ries,⁠
⁠He passeth by; and his weak spirit fails⁠
To think how they may ache in icy hoods and mails.⁠

III. ⁠
Northward he turneth through a little door,⁠
⁠And scarce three steps, ere Music's golden tongue⁠⁠
⁠Flatter'd to tears this aged man and poor;⁠
⁠But no—already had his deathbell rung;⁠
⁠The joys of all his life were said and sung:⁠
⁠His was harsh penance on St. Agnes' Eve:⁠
⁠Another way he went, and soon among⁠
⁠Rough ashes sat he for his soul's reprieve,⁠
And all night kept awake, for sinners' sake to grieve.

IV. ⁠
That ancient Beadsman heard the prelude soft;⁠
⁠And so it chanc'd, for many a door was wide,⁠
⁠From hurry to and fro. Soon, up aloft,⁠
⁠The silver, snarling trumpets 'gan to chide:⁠
⁠The level chambers, ready with their pride,⁠
⁠Were glowing to receive a thousand guests:⁠
⁠The carved angels, ever eager-eyed,⁠
⁠Star'd, where upon their heads the cornice rests,⁠
With hair blown back, and wings put cross-wise on their breasts.

⁠At length burst in the argent revelry,⁠
⁠With plume, tiara, and all rich array,⁠
⁠Numerous as shadows haunting fairily⁠
⁠The brain, new stuff'd, in youth, with triumphs gay⁠⁠
⁠Of old romance. These let us wish away,⁠
⁠And turn, sole-thoughted, to one Lady there,⁠
⁠Whose heart had brooded, all that wintry day,⁠
⁠On love, and wing'd St. Agnes' saintly care,⁠
As she had heard old dames full many times declare.

VI. ⁠
They told her how, upon St. Agnes' Eve,⁠
⁠Young virgins might have visions of delight,⁠
⁠And soft adorings from their loves receive⁠
⁠Upon the honey'd middle of the night,⁠
⁠If ceremonies due they did aright;⁠
⁠As, supperless to bed they must retire,⁠
⁠And couch supine their beauties, lily white;⁠
⁠Nor look behind, nor sideways, but require⁠
Of Heaven with upward eyes for all that they desire.

VII. ⁠
Full of this whim was thoughtful Madeline:⁠
⁠The music, yearning like a God in pain,⁠
⁠She scarcely heard: her maiden eyes divine,⁠
⁠Fix'd on the floor, saw many a sweeping train⁠
⁠Pass by—she heeded not at all: in vain⁠
⁠Came many a tiptoe, amorous cavalier,⁠
⁠And back retir'd; not cool'd by high disdain,⁠
⁠But she saw not: her heart was otherwhere:⁠
She sigh'd for Agnes' dreams, the sweetest of the year.

VIII.⁠ ⁠
She danc'd along with vague, regardless eyes,⁠
⁠Anxious her lips, her breathing quick and short:⁠
⁠The hallow'd hour was near at hand: she sighs⁠
⁠Amid the timbrels, and the throng'd resort⁠
⁠Of whisperers in anger, or in sport;⁠
⁠'Mid looks of love, defiance, hate, and scorn,⁠
⁠Hoodwink'd with faery fancy; all amort,⁠
⁠Save to St. Agnes and her lambs unshorn,⁠
And all the bliss to be before to-morrow morn.

IX. ⁠
So, purposing each moment to retire,⁠
⁠She linger'd still. Meantime, across the moors,⁠
⁠Had come young Porphyro, with heart on fire⁠
⁠For Madeline. Beside the portal doors,⁠
⁠Buttress'd from moonlight, stands he, and implores⁠
⁠All saints to give him sight of Madeline,⁠
⁠But for one moment in the tedious hours,⁠
⁠That he might gaze and worship all unseen;⁠
Perchance speak, kneel, touch, kiss—in sooth such things ⁠have been.

X. ⁠
He ventures in: let no buzz'd whisper tell:⁠
⁠All eyes be muffled, or a hundred swords⁠
⁠Will storm his heart, Love's fev'rous citadel:⁠
⁠For him, those chambers held barbarian hordes,⁠
⁠Hyena foemen, and hot-blooded lords,⁠
⁠Whose very dogs would execrations howl⁠
⁠Against his lineage: not one breast affords⁠
⁠Him any mercy, in that mansion foul,⁠
Save one old beldame, weak in body and in soul.

XI. ⁠
Ah, happy chance! the aged creature came,⁠
⁠Shuffling along with ivory-headed wand,⁠
⁠To where he stood, hid from the torch's flame,⁠
⁠Behind a broad hall-pillar, far beyond⁠
⁠The sound of merriment and chorus bland:⁠
⁠He startled her; but soon she knew his face,⁠
⁠And grasp'd his fingers in her palsied hand,⁠
⁠Saying, "Mercy, Porphyro! hie thee from this place;⁠
They are all here to-night, the whole blood-thirsty race!"

XII. ⁠
"Get hence! get hence! there's dwarfish Hildebrand;⁠
⁠He had a fever late, and in the fit⁠⁠
⁠He cursed thee and thine, both house and land:⁠
⁠Then there's that old Lord Maurice, not a whit⁠
⁠More tame for his gray hairs—Alas me! flit!⁠
⁠Flit like a ghost away."—"Ah, Gossip dear,⁠
⁠We're safe enough; here in this arm-chair sit,⁠
⁠And tell me how"—"Good Saints! not here, not here;⁠
Follow me, child, or else these stones will be thy bier."

⁠He follow'd through a lowly arched way,⁠
⁠Brushing the cobwebs with his lofty plume,⁠
⁠And as she mutter'd "Well-a—well-a-day!"⁠
⁠He found him in a little moonlight room,⁠
⁠Pale, lattic'd, chill, and silent as a tomb.⁠
⁠"Now tell me where is Madeline," said he,⁠
⁠"O tell me, Angela, by the holy loom⁠
⁠Which none but secret sisterhood may see,⁠
When they St. Agnes' wool are weaving piously."

XIV. ⁠
"St. Agnes! Ah! it is St. Agnes' Eve—⁠
⁠Yet men will murder upon holy days:⁠
⁠Thou must hold water in a witch's sieve,⁠
⁠And be liege-lord of all the Elves and Fays,⁠
⁠To venture so: it fills me with amaze⁠
⁠To see thee, Porphyro!—St. Agnes' Eve!⁠
⁠God's help! my lady fair the conjuror plays⁠
⁠This very night: good angels her deceive!⁠
But let me laugh awhile, I've mickle time to grieve."

XV. ⁠
Feebly she laugheth in the languid moon,⁠
⁠While Porphyro upon her face doth look,⁠
⁠Like puzzled urchin on an aged crone⁠
⁠Who keepeth clos'd a wond'rous riddle-book,⁠
⁠As spectacled she sits in chimney nook.⁠
⁠But soon his eyes grew brilliant, when she told⁠
⁠His lady's purpose; and he scarce could brook⁠
⁠Tears, at the thought of those enchantments cold⁠
And Madeline asleep in lap of legends old.⁠

XVI. ⁠
Sudden a thought came like a full-blown rose,⁠
⁠Flushing his brow, and in his pained heart⁠
⁠Made purple riot: then doth he propose⁠
⁠A stratagem, that makes the beldame start:⁠
⁠"A cruel man and impious thou art:⁠
⁠Sweet lady, let her pray, and sleep, and dream⁠
⁠Alone with her good angels, far apart⁠
⁠From wicked men like thee. Go, go!—I deem⁠
Thou canst not surely be the same that thou didst seem."

"I will not harm her, by all saints I swear,"⁠
⁠Quoth Porphyro: "O may I ne'er find grace⁠
⁠When my weak voice shall whisper its last prayer,⁠
⁠If one of her soft ringlets I displace,⁠
⁠Or look with ruffian passion in her face:⁠
⁠Good Angela, believe me by these tears;⁠
⁠Or I will, even in a moment's space,⁠
⁠Awake, with horrid shout, my foemen's ears,⁠
And beard them, though they be more fang'd than wolves and bears."

"Ah! why wilt thou affright a feeble soul?⁠
⁠A poor, weak, palsy-stricken, churchyard thing,⁠
⁠Whose passing-bell may ere the midnight toll;⁠
⁠Whose prayers for thee, each morn and evening,⁠
⁠Were never miss'd."—Thus plaining, doth she bring⁠
⁠A gentler speech from burning Porphyro;⁠
⁠So woful, and of such deep sorrowing,⁠
⁠That Angela gives promise she will do⁠
Whatever he shall wish, betide her weal or woe.

⁠Which was, to lead him, in close secrecy,⁠
⁠Even to Madeline's chamber, and there hide⁠
⁠Him in a closet, of such privacy⁠
⁠That he might see her beauty unespied,⁠
⁠And win perhaps that night a peerless bride,⁠
⁠While legion'd fairies pac'd the coverlet,⁠
⁠And pale enchantment held her sleepy-eyed.⁠
⁠Never on such a night have lovers met,⁠⁠
Since Merlin paid his Demon all the monstrous debt.

XX. ⁠
"It shall be as thou wishest," said the Dame:⁠
⁠"All cates and dainties shall be stored there⁠
⁠Quickly on this feast-night: by the tambour frame⁠
⁠Her own lute thou wilt see: no time to spare,⁠
⁠For I am slow and feeble, and scarce dare⁠
⁠On such a catering trust my dizzy head.⁠
⁠Wait here, my child, with patience; kneel in prayer⁠
⁠The while: Ah! thou must needs the lady wed,⁠
Or may I never leave my grave among the dead."

⁠So saying, she hobbled off with busy fear.⁠
⁠The lover's endless minutes slowly pass'd;⁠
⁠The dame return'd, and whisper'd in his ear⁠
⁠To follow her; with aged eyes aghast⁠
⁠From fright of dim espial. Safe at last,⁠
⁠Through many a dusky gallery, they gain⁠
⁠The maiden's chamber, silken, hush'd, and chaste;⁠
⁠Where Porphyro took covert, pleas'd amain.⁠
His poor guide hurried back with agues in her brain.

Her falt'ring hand upon the balustrade,⁠
⁠Old Angela was feeling for the stair,⁠
⁠When Madeline, St. Agnes' charmed maid,⁠
⁠Rose, like a mission'd spirit, unaware:⁠
⁠With silver taper's light, and pious care,⁠
⁠She turn'd, and down the aged gossip led⁠
⁠To a safe level matting. Now prepare,⁠
⁠Young Porphyro, for gazing on that bed;⁠
She comes, she comes again, like ring-dove fray'd and fled.

Out went the taper as she hurried in;⁠
⁠Its little smoke, in pallid moonshine, died:⁠⁠
⁠She clos'd the door, she panted, all akin⁠
⁠To spirits of the air, and visions wide:⁠
⁠No uttered syllable, or, woe betide!⁠
⁠But to her heart, her heart was voluble,⁠
⁠Paining with eloquence her balmy side;⁠
⁠As though a tongueless nightingale should swell⁠
Her throat in vain, and die, heart-stifled, in her dell.

A casement high and triple-arch'd there was,⁠
⁠All garlanded with carven imag'ries⁠
⁠Of fruits, and flowers, and bunches of knot-grass,⁠⁠
⁠And diamonded with panes of quaint device,⁠
⁠Innumerable of stains and splendid dyes,⁠
⁠As are the tiger-moth's deep-damask'd wings;⁠
⁠And in the midst, 'mong thousand heraldries,⁠
⁠And twilight saints, and dim emblazonings,⁠
A shielded scutcheon blush'd with blood of queens and kings.

XXV. ⁠
Full on this casement shone the wintry moon,⁠
⁠And threw warm gules on Madeline's fair breast,⁠
⁠As down she knelt for heaven's grace and boon;⁠
⁠Rose-bloom fell on her hands, together prest,⁠
⁠And on her silver cross soft amethyst,⁠
⁠And on her hair a glory, like a saint:⁠
⁠She seem'd a splendid angel, newly drest,⁠
⁠Save wings, for heaven:—Porphyro grew faint:⁠
She knelt, so pure a thing, so free from mortal taint.

⁠Anon his heart revives: her vespers done,⁠
⁠Of all its wreathed pearls her hair she frees;⁠
⁠Unclasps her warmed jewels one by one;⁠
⁠Loosens her fragrant boddice; by degrees⁠
⁠Her rich attire creeps rustling to her knees:⁠⁠
⁠Half-hidden, like a mermaid in sea-weed,⁠
⁠Pensive awhile she dreams awake, and sees,⁠
⁠In fancy, fair St. Agnes in her bed,⁠
But dares not look behind, or all the charm is fled.

Soon, trembling in her soft and chilly nest,⁠
⁠In sort of wakeful swoon, perplex'd she lay,⁠
⁠Until the poppied warmth of sleep oppress'd⁠
⁠Her soothed limbs, and soul fatigued away;⁠
⁠Flown, like a thought, until the morrow-day;⁠
⁠Blissfully haven'd both from joy and pain;⁠⁠
⁠Clasp'd like a missal where swart Paynims pray;⁠
⁠Blinded alike from sunshine and from rain,⁠
As though a rose should shut, and be a bud again.

Stol'n to this paradise, and so entranced,⁠
⁠Porphyro gazed upon her empty dress,⁠
⁠And listen'd to her breathing, if it chanced⁠
⁠To wake into a slumberous tenderness;⁠
⁠Which when he heard, that minute did he bless,⁠
⁠And breath'd himself: then from the closet crept,⁠
⁠Noiseless as fear in a wide wilderness,⁠⁠
⁠And over the hush'd carpet, silent, stept,⁠
And 'tween the curtains peep'd, where, lo!—how fast she slept.

Then by the bed-side, where the faded moon⁠
⁠Made a dim, silver twilight, soft he set⁠
⁠A table, and, half anguish'd, threw thereon⁠
⁠A cloth of woven crimson, gold, and jet:—⁠
⁠O for some drowsy Morphean amulet!⁠
⁠The boisterous, midnight, festive clarion,⁠
⁠The kettle-drum, and far-heard clarionet,⁠
⁠Affray his ears, though but in dying tone:—⁠
The hall door shuts again, and all the noise is gone.

XXX. ⁠
And still she slept an azure-lidded sleep,⁠
⁠In blanched linen, smooth, and lavender'd,⁠
⁠While he from forth the closet brought a heap⁠
⁠Of candied apple, quince, and plum, and gourd⁠
⁠With jellies soother than the creamy curd,⁠
⁠And lucent syrops, tinct with cinnamon;⁠
⁠Manna and dates, in argosy transferr'd⁠
⁠From Fez; and spiced dainties, every one,⁠
From silken Samarcand to cedar'd Lebanon.⁠

These delicates he heap'd with glowing hand⁠
⁠On golden dishes and in baskets bright⁠
⁠Of wreathed silver: sumptuous they stand⁠
⁠In the retired quiet of the night,⁠
⁠Filling the chilly room with perfume light.—⁠
⁠"And now, my love, my seraph fair, awake!⁠
⁠Thou art my heaven, and I thine eremite:⁠
⁠Open thine eyes, for meek St. Agnes' sake,⁠
Or I shall drowse beside thee, so my soul doth ache."

Thus whispering, his warm, unnerved arm⁠⁠
⁠Sank in her pillow. Shaded was her dream⁠
⁠By the dusk curtains:—'twas a midnight charm⁠
⁠Impossible to melt as iced stream:⁠
⁠The lustrous salvers in the moonlight gleam;⁠
⁠Broad golden fringe upon the carpet lies:⁠
⁠It seem'd he never, never could redeem⁠
⁠From such a stedfast spell his lady's eyes;⁠
So mus'd awhile, entoil'd in woofed phantasies.⁠

Awakening up, he took her hollow lute,—⁠
⁠Tumultuous,—and, in chords that tenderest be,⁠
⁠He play'd an ancient ditty, long since mute,⁠
⁠In Provence call'd, "La belle dame sans mercy:"⁠
⁠Close to her ear touching the melody;—⁠
⁠Wherewith disturb'd, she utter'd a soft moan:⁠
⁠He ceased—she panted quick—and suddenly⁠
⁠Her blue affrayed eyes wide open shone:⁠
Upon his knees he sank, pale as smooth-sculptured stone.

Her eyes were open, but she still beheld,⁠
⁠Now wide awake, the vision of her sleep:⁠
⁠There was a painful change, that nigh expell'd⁠⁠
⁠The blisses of her dream so pure and deep⁠
⁠At which fair Madeline began to weep,⁠
⁠And moan forth witless words with many a sigh;⁠
⁠While still her gaze on Porphyro would keep;⁠
⁠Who knelt, with joined hands and piteous eye,⁠
Fearing to move or speak, she look'd so dreamingly.

"Ah, Porphyro!" said she, "but even now⁠
⁠Thy voice was at sweet tremble in mine ear,⁠
⁠Made tuneable with every sweetest vow;⁠⁠
⁠And those sad eyes were spiritual and clear:⁠
⁠How chang'd thou art! how pallid, chill, and drear!⁠
⁠Give me that voice again, my Porphyro,⁠
⁠Those looks immortal, those complainings dear!⁠
⁠Oh leave me not in this eternal woe,⁠
For if thou diest, my Love, I know not where to go."

Beyond a mortal man impassion'd far⁠
⁠At these voluptuous accents, he arose,⁠
⁠Ethereal, flush'd, and like a throbbing star⁠
⁠Seen mid the sapphire heaven's deep repose⁠
⁠Into her dream he melted, as the rose⁠⁠
⁠Blendeth its odour with the violet,—⁠
⁠Solution sweet: meantime the frost-wind blows⁠
⁠Like Love's alarum pattering the sharp sleet⁠
Against the window-panes; St. Agnes' moon hath set.

'Tis dark: quick pattereth the flaw-blown sleet:⁠
⁠"This is no dream, my bride, my Madeline!"⁠
⁠'Tis dark: the iced gusts still rave and beat:⁠
⁠"No dream, alas! alas! and woe is mine!⁠
⁠Porphyro will leave me here to fade and pine.—⁠
⁠Cruel! what traitor could thee hither bring?⁠⁠
⁠I curse not, for my heart is lost in thine⁠
⁠Though thou forsakest a deceived thing;—⁠
A dove forlorn and lost with sick unpruned wing."

"My Madeline! sweet dreamer! lovely bride!⁠
⁠Say, may I be for aye thy vassal blest?⁠
⁠Thy beauty's shield, heart-shap'd and vermeil dyed?⁠
⁠Ah, silver shrine, here will I take my rest⁠
⁠After so many hours of toil and quest,⁠
⁠A famish'd pilgrim,—saved by miracle.⁠
⁠Though I have found, I will not rob thy nest⁠⁠
⁠Saving of thy sweet self; if thou think'st well⁠
To trust, fair Madeline, to no rude infidel."

"Hark! 'tis an elfin-storm from faery land,⁠
⁠Of haggard seeming, but a boon indeed:⁠
⁠Arise—arise! the morning is at hand;—⁠
⁠The bloated wassaillers will never heed:—⁠
⁠Let us away, my love, with happy speed;⁠
⁠There are no ears to hear, or eyes to see,—⁠
⁠Drown'd all in Rhenish and the sleepy mead:⁠
⁠Awake! arise! my love, and fearless be,⁠⁠
For o'er the southern moors I have a home for thee."

XL. ⁠
She hurried at his words, beset with fears,⁠
⁠For there were sleeping dragons all around,⁠
⁠At glaring watch, perhaps, with ready spears—⁠
⁠Down the wide stairs a darkling way they found.—⁠
⁠In all the house was heard no human sound.⁠
⁠A chain-droop'd lamp was flickering by each door;⁠
⁠The arras, rich with horseman, hawk, and hound,⁠
⁠Flutter'd in the besieging wind's uproar;⁠
And the long carpets rose along the gusty floor.⁠

XVI. ⁠
They glide, like phantoms, into the wide hall;⁠
⁠Like phantoms, to the iron porch, they glide;⁠
⁠Where lay the Porter, in uneasy sprawl,⁠
⁠With a huge empty flaggon by his side:⁠
⁠The wakeful bloodhound rose, and shook his hide,⁠
⁠But his sagacious eye an inmate owns:⁠
⁠By one, and one, the bolts full easy slide:—⁠
⁠The chains lie silent on the footworn stones;—⁠
The key turns, and the door upon its hinges groans.

⁠And they are gone: ay, ages long ago⁠⁠
⁠These lovers fled away into the storm.⁠
⁠That night the Baron dreamt of many a woe,⁠
⁠And all his warrior-guests, with shade and form⁠
⁠Of witch, and demon, and large coffin-worm,⁠
⁠Were long be-nightmar'd. Angela the old⁠
⁠Died palsy-twitch'd, with meagre face deform;⁠
⁠The Beadsman, after thousand aves told,⁠
For aye unsought for slept among his ashes cold.

Friday, January 19, 2024

Silverado (1985)

Silverado is a 1985 Western film starring Kevin Kline, Scott Glenn, Rosanna Arquette, John Cleese, Kevin Costner, Brian Dennehy, Danny Glover, Jeff Goldblum, and Linda Hunt. Priceless casting. We enjoyed it. Reviews were mostly positive.



Thursday, January 18, 2024


Jaws (Netflix) is a 1975 award-winning thriller film directed by Steven Spielberg, based on the 1974 novel by Peter Benchley. It stars Roy Scheider, Robert Shaw, and Richard Dreyfuss. I may be the last person to see this film, but when it came out it just wasn't my thing and later I never got around to it. I'm glad to have finally seen it.



Wednesday, January 17, 2024

Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny

Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny (Disney+) is a 2023 action adventure film, the fifth installment in the Indiana Jones film series. They did a great job with de-aging the characters for those sequences from the past. This is a fun film and provides great closure for the franchise.



Tuesday, January 16, 2024

Is tea a national disgrace?

So asks this British writer who says, "Britain’s favourite beverage is a boring, beige relic of our colonial past," and "We just putter along, thinking tea is good; but it’s not good. It’s a lukewarm mug of leaf water, presented as a cure-all for life’s ills." Oh, dear! Shocking! The closing is this: "Analyse. Is this nice, or do I just have Stockholm syndrome?"

Being American, I think I'll stay out of the conversation. Coffee, anyone?

Please share your own drink-related post and join us at the T Stands for Tuesday blogger gathering.


It snowed! There are about 5 inches of snow in my area.

Monday, January 15, 2024

Jurassic World

Jurassic World (Max) is a 2015 science fiction action film directed by Colin Trevorrow. It is the first installment in the Jurassic World trilogy and the fourth installment overall in the Jurassic Park film series. The film stars Chris Pratt, Vincent D'Onofrio, and BD Wong. When I posted this on FB, one of my friends picked at me for not naming the female lead, but I'm naming the actors I'm most familiar with and/or watch for. You wanna name the female lead go right ahead ;) I enjoyed this movie, even if it didn't include Jeff Goldblum and even if it did require characters to do the stupidest possible thing whenever a choice was before them. It's a fun watch.



The Daughter worked at Bath and Body Works for several years and gave me a few snowpeople during that time. This is one of those. The framed piece is an old Christmas card. If you're seeing the blurry photo it's because I didn't get around to taking a new picture when there was better light...

Sunday, January 14, 2024

Saturday, January 13, 2024

The Super Mario Bros Movie

The Super Mario Bros Movie (Netflix) is a 2023 animated adventure comedy film based on Nintendo's Mario video game franchise. Chris Pratt voices Mario, the main character. I'm familiar with these games and the characters, and I'm sure that aided my appreciation. Most reviewers liked it.



Friday, January 12, 2024

A Haunting in Venice (2023)

A Haunting in Venice (Hulu) is a 2023 mystery film directed by Kenneth Branagh and loosely based on the 1969 Agatha Christie novel Hallowe'en Party. It serves as a sequel to Death on the Nile (2022) and is the third Branagh Poirot film. I think this isn't as good as the first two, but still... I trust there'll be more.



Doesn't this one look happy?

Thursday, January 11, 2024

A Knight's Tale

A Knight's Tale (Hulu) is a 2001 medieval action comedy film starring Heath Ledger as William Thatcher, a peasant squire who poses as a knight and competes in tournaments. Also starring are Rufus Sewell, Paul Bettany, and Alan Tudyk. I got a big kick out of this one and will happily watch it again. Great fun. And the soundtrack is priceless.


Intended as a tree ornament, we keep ours with the January Snow people.

Wednesday, January 10, 2024

Mission: Impossible (1996)

Mission: Impossible (Netflix) 1996 action spy film directed by Brian De Palma and starring Tom Cruise. A continuation of the 1966 television series of the same name and its 1988 sequel series, it is the first installment in the Mission: Impossible film series. If you never watched the original series, this is fine enough. If you did... well, I don't recommend it for reasons that would provide too many spoilers.


This snowman is The Snowman from the delightful 1982 film.

Tuesday, January 09, 2024

The Practice of the Presence of God

The Practice of the Presence of God is a book of collected teachings of Brother Lawrence (born Nicolas Herman), a 17th-century Carmelite friar. The compilation includes letters, as well as records of his conversations kept by Brother Lawrence's interlocutors. The basic theme of the book is the development of an awareness of the presence of God. You can read it online here at this link or here at Project Gutenberg or at Internet Archive.
"That he had always been governed by love, without selfish views; and that having resolved to make the love of GOD the end of all his actions, he had found reasons to be well satisfied with his method. That he was pleased when he could take up a straw from the ground for the love of GOD, seeking Him only, and nothing else, not even His gifts."
“We ought not to be weary of doing little things for the love of God, who regards not the greatness of the work, but the love with which it is performed.”

You can listen to it read to you here:

I discovered this book in high school, having come across a little paperback copy somewhere. I've always been interested in spiritual practices, both from my own tradition and from those of others.

Please join me in a cozy beverage:

Post your own drink reference over at the T Stands for Tuesday blogger gathering.

Monday, January 08, 2024

The Oxford Murders

The Oxford Murders (Hulu) is a 2008 Spanish/British/French drama/thriller film starring Elijah Wood and John Hurt. This is one of those movies that got almost universally negative reviews, but I don't begrudge the time I spent watching it. Sometimes I think professional reviewers expect too much. For me, it was a fine little time waster (as CJ might put it).



Sunday, January 07, 2024

The Walking Hills

The Walking Hills (on YouTube, embedded below) is a 1949 Western film directed by John Sturges and starring Randolph Scott and Ella Raines with Arthur Kennedy, Edgar Buchanan, and John Ireland. The film's plot has film noir elements in its story of a search for an old treasure by nine men including a detective tracking a fugitive, several others who have things to hide, and a love triangle involving the two leads and the fugitive. The movie seems mostly forgotten these days, which seems a shame given the director and cast. There's a lot of talent there.

via YouTube:

After Epiphany I put out snow people.

Saturday, January 06, 2024

The Devil and Miss Jones

The Devil and Miss Jones is a 1941 comedy film starring Jean Arthur and Robert Cummings that takes place during the Christmas season. It is about a department store tycoon who goes undercover in one of his Manhattan shops to ferret out union organizers but instead becomes involved in the employees' personal lives.

via Daily Motion:


Happy Epiphany! The Wise Men have come! I have camels, but I don't put them out anymore.

Friday, January 05, 2024

Kind Lady (1935)

Kind Lady (Hulu) is a 1935 drama film starring Basil Rathbone. It begins during the Christmas holiday season.



I made this in Brownie Scouts:

It's in a hallway, and I had trouble getting the photo, but I think it's holding up remarkably well given its age.

Thursday, January 04, 2024

The Small Hand: A Ghost Story

The Small Hand: A Ghost Story is a 2019 film starring Douglas Henshall (you might know him better from the Shetland TV series). The story is about an antique book dealer who finds himself confronted with forgotten parts of his past. Part of it takes place during the Christmas season. This has wonderful atmosphere and some unexpected turns.



We don't generally decorate the entire house for Christmas, but The Husband has this Santa on his little roll top desk.

Wednesday, January 03, 2024

The Children (2008)

The Children is a 2008 horror movie that takes place during the Christmas/New Year holiday season. I watched it on Tubi. It's also available free on the Roku channel, on Plex, and on Vudu.


The Guardian gives it 4 out of 5 stars and opens their review with this:
A relentless mood of rising hysteria fuels this British horror film, as the children of two families brought together for a quiet Christmas turn into adult-attacking mini-murderers.
Horror News concludes,
The details don’t need to be spelled out to tell ya that the film succeeds not only with a evil children scenario but the way it’s presented, shot, cut and orchestrated. Whether you buy into the concept or not, this is an extremely well done horror film that to me echo’s a sense of time when horror films were still scary.

I bought this nutcracker over 40 years ago at a Christmas shop when The Husband and I were on vacation. I kept it out year 'round at first but at some point started getting it out only at Christmastime. I'm back to leaving it out year 'round now. The shadow box was in my home when I was growing up. Mother had it hung horizontally with a ship displayed in it. When she moved into a senior living apartment she gave it to me.

Tuesday, January 02, 2024

Tangerine (2015)

Tangerine (Paramount+) is a 2015 comedy drama film about a transgender sex worker who discovers her boyfriend/pimp has been cheating on her. An interesting film about a lesser-known culture. It is well-regarded and has critical acclaim for its portrayal of transgender individuals. Awareness is the first step.



I'll be joining the T Stands for Tuesday blogger gathering with my coffee:

You'd be welcome to post a drink reference and join us.

Monday, January 01, 2024

The Poseidon Adventure (1972)

The Poseidon Adventure is an award-winning 1972 disaster film starring Gene Hackman, Ernest Borgnine, Red Buttons, Shelley Winters, Roddy McDowall, Stella Stevens, Jack Albertson, Pamela Sue Martin, Arthur O'Connell, and Leslie Nielsen. It takes place on New Year's Day.

via Daily Motion:

A Christmas present this year: