Oh lazy Tuesday night. The brain says - pull together a blog post for Wednesday. Keep your fans interested.
The lazy brain says - ah, it's summer. No one cares. Let the clouds roll by and just swim laps. (I did)
Lett's paint the picture in Bedford TX (right smack dab between Dallas and Fort Worth). The heat builds during the day. A blue sky slowly fills with clouds. Perhaps a rumble of thunder? Perhaps nothing. We had eight raindrops with sunshine. No rainbow. Other parts of the area are drenched. You never know. The cicadas are LOUD
our wacky creature sculpture merely observes the seasons and tries to NOT corrode
My sun sculpture bakes against the brick. I have not measured that temperature but it's HOT
and that's a late June day in TX..............now to plunge back into the pool (that measures 90 degrees F!!)
Michael Connelly is a reliable author and his Harry Bosch
character proves steady. In The Crossing, Harry is
retired but pulled back into the game and even crosses over to the other side
to help the defense. Mickey Haller (The Lincoln Lawyer) needs him to
investigate on the down low, but of course that is impossible to maintain. A
woman’s been murdered and Haller’s client, a former gang member, has been
charged. But the more Harry digs, the more it looks like a set up. Lots of
arrows point to an inside the police system problem.
Harry keeps digging and soon finds a trail of murders
connected to a watch, a plastic surgeon, and more. Connelly builds suspense and
as a reader you will enjoy pulling together the clues. Harry is reluctant and
yet he’s bored as a retired officer. He’d rather be in the trenches, reading
murder reports, and doing follow-up face to face. This is a very satisfying
read that keeps you dodging bullets and rooting for Harry.
Pulling out some old photos I've had on the blog before. It's Ray's reunion weekend - the family gathers in east Texas. Here's an oldie from over twenty years ago. This is a small portion. They'll have around 150 people attend. Oh these crazy Texans - it's far too hot for me. (They play volleyball...outdoors...and it's going to be high 90s..) I send my regards.
How about a calm lake pic to soothe any Friday nerves....
Getting ready for upcoming July 4th. Need to dig out all things red, white, and blue
Oh yeah - this is my idea of a big gun. Wouldn't life be simpler if everyone was issued a water gun?
The booths should open next week out in the country. After work, I need to buy sparklers!!!
X-Men: Apocalypse has had so-so reviews from “real” critics. Me personally - I liked it. For a Saturday cheap matinee, it was
entertaining with good special effects, decent acting, and it moved along. I
did not find myself looking at my watch or eager to edit this film down. Plenty
of characters moved in and out of the story line and that kept my interest.
Worshiped as a god since the dawn of civilization, the
immortal Apocalypse (Oscar Isaac) becomes the first and most powerful mutant.
Awakening after thousands of years, he recruits the disheartened Magneto
(Michael Fassbender) and other mutants to create a new world order. As the fate
of the Earth hangs in the balance, Professor X (James McAvoy) and Raven
(Jennifer Lawrence) lead a team of young X-Men to stop their seemingly
invincible nemesis from destroying mankind.
James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Jennifer Lawrence,
Oscar Isaac, Nicholas Hoult, Rose Byrne, Olivia Munn, Evan Peters, Kodi
Smit-McPhee, Sophie Turner, Tye Sheridan, Alexandra Shipp, Lucas Till, Josh
Helman, Lana Condor, Ben Hardy
It does seem appropriate to mention that this film is
applicable to the concept today of “why can’t we all get along?” Yes,
mutants have different skills and might look unique, but for the most part,
they just want to get along and make the world better. So root for Professor X,
Raven/Mystique, and the “good” crew to destroy the evil Apocalypse. Enjoy the
battles and marvel at our speed demon who can stop time – Evan Peters. That
special effect is awesome.
All in all, this is a very entertaining
popcorn movie and keeps the X-Men franchise moving along. There’s humor, drama,
and yes a quick Wolverine appearance – hooray for a Hugh Jackman sighting.
C’mon, you know you should see this on the big screen. Enjoy and reflect
on what mutant skill you’d like to have.
Here are my folks on their wedding day. Juanita Shutters and George Crowther united in matrimony.
Sunday - I wish my dad a very Happy Father's Day
Tuesday - I shall remember my mom's birthday. She passed in 1992 at the age of 60.
I'll be spending Sunday in Texas. Still healing from my toe surgery, I'm not flying up to PA to hang with Dad. My sister shall treat him to lunch and then stay for a few days to trim bushes, put down mulch, and have some laughs. He's not doing the greatest right now. A bad 2015 has continued into 2016 with assorted medical issues. But he's still in his original home, still drives a bit, and he's up on current events.
I'll think about my mom on Tuesday. She liked chocolate, reading, and worked hard. She kept track of my brother, sister, and me with an eagle eye and taught us right and wrong.
Two good people to celebrate here in June - my mom and dad
Summer temps are here in Texas - heat index over 100. Whew! I'd like to pretend to sail away. Here are pictures of Philadelphia's harbor courtesy of my sister. She was on a friend's boat last weekend. Aah - a sea breeze
Hope everyone cruises into a fun weekend. Happy Friday!
Welcome to the Annalisa Crawford Grand Book Tour - she zoomed across the virtual ocean to visit me in Texas. We'll eat some Tex-Mex and Ray will mix up his yummy margaritas. Cheers, y'all
I. Us. is a collection of vignettes, small scenes which hint at the story
has taken that idea to another level, because she asked 15 bloggers to ask her
one question each, creating small insights into her life and writing.
I am pleased to welcome Annalisa - here is the question I asked her:
and your husband have careers in the arts. Your boys have seen the fickle
nature of the business. Every career has its trials, however do you see them
following footsteps into writing and/or music? Or choosing something deemed
more steady and reliable?
Hi Joanne, thanks for being part of my tour.
Both of them seem quite arty at the moment, which makes me so
happy. My eldest, Connor, is taking a film-making course at college which he
loves. He’s just finishing his first year, and it’s interesting to see how
dedicated he is. He writes his own scripts, but doesn’t like to share them
And Ollie, the other one, is a budding actor. Credits so far
include Humpty Dumpty in Through the Looking Glass, several parts in a play
about World War I, and a granny in his school play.
They’ve grown up with me writing all the time and my husband,
Peter, going out to gigs or popping over to Europe for short tours. They’ve
also seen how we’ve needed to keep up the day jobs in order to pursue our
passions. So I think they’re pretty grounded, and understand how challenging it
will be to pursue their dreams. I’m definitely encouraging them as much as
possible—I knew I wanted to be a writer when I was about 9, and it’s worked out
You. I. Us., Annalisa Crawford captures everyday people during
poignant defining moments in their lives: An artist puts his heart into
his latest sketch, an elderly couple endures scrutiny by a fellow diner, an
ex-student attempts to make amends with a girl she bullied at school, a
teenager holds vigil at his friend’s hospital bedside, long distance lovers
promise complete devotion, a broken-hearted widow stares into the sea from the
edge of a cliff where her husband died, a grieving son contacts the only person
he can rely on in a moment of crisis, a group of middle-aged friends inspire
each other to live remarkable lives.
after day, we make the same choices. But after reading You. I. Us.,
you’ll ask yourself, “What if we didn’t?”
About the author
Annalisa Crawford lives in Cornwall UK, with a good
supply of moorland and beaches to keep her inspired. She lives with her
husband, two sons, a dog and a cat. Annalisa writes dark contemporary,
character-driven stories. She has been winning competitions and publishing
short stories in small press journals for many years, and is the author of Cat
& The Dreamer and Our Beautiful Child.
Check out the documentary Finding Vivian Maier. Then head to the Arlington Museum of Art to see fifty of Vivian Maier's excellent black and white photographs. This woman worked as a nanny and also took photographs of ordinary people. "Her images represent an incredibly poignant glimpse into the lives of regular people going about the business of daily life." She lived in the North Shore area of Chicago. Over 150,000 plus negatives and rolls of undeveloped film were accidentally discovered, after she died in her 80s. This is fascinating and her perspective and eye for art was uncanny. Modest, unassuming, and immensely talented. This is street photography at its finest.
As I always say, explore your backyard. The Arlington Museum of Art is not very big, but they pull in some nifty exhibits. It's worth an hour to step inside and enjoy some culture.
In case anyone is interested, I am still in my boot after toe surgery. The pin is out (whew!), but I'm still healing. After two weeks of foot elevated with ice, I graduated in May to being able to go to work but no driving. Say what? This is Texas. I work an hour away. And no, there's no public transportation. Are you crazy?
What to do? Hitch a ride? Fat chance and nobody I know was headed north and west to the "country". So I gave Uber a whirl. Quite an adventure.
It was rather easy to get a ride in the morning. There were plenty of Uber drivers circling the Mid-Cities (between Dallas and Fort Worth). The majority had clean cars and were very professional. Two drivers were older hippie dudes - one a retired trucker, the other just floating through life. They had good senses of humor and were enjoying being Uber drivers. I had another fellow who was a college student. Uber was flexible for his schedule. Another young fellow surprised me - He was a big fellow. Based on his accent, I surmised he was from an African nation, but he was listening to a pop station when I got in the car. I would have not have guessed him keeping the beat to Meagan Trainor or Justin Bieber.
Everyone was surprised at the drive and how rural it was an hour away. I hope they left bread crumbs to get back to civilization. Indeed, it was much harder to get a ride back home in the afternoon. One of my work guys had to drive me into "town" about 15-20 minutes in to even get an Uber signal. Then it was surge pricing due to lack of supply.
All in all, I survived the two weeks of depending on strangers. I spun the roulette ride wheel and was lucky. Now I"m back in my own glorious blue Chevy Cruz. I am allowed to drive with a sandal, and then put on the boot at work. I can play my own station and music, I can pop the sun roof.
I am late to the Marvel party, but here's a review as this movie slowly eases out of theaters Captain America: Civil War finds our Avenger folks at odds.
Here’s a theaterSynopsis
Political pressure mounts to install a system of
accountability when the actions of the Avengers lead to collateral damage. The
new status quo deeply divides members of the team. Captain America (Chris
Evans) believes superheroes should remain free to defend humanity without
government interference. Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.) sharply disagrees and
supports oversight. As the debate escalates into an all-out feud, Black Widow
(Scarlett Johansson) and Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) must pick a side.
Captain America is also
loyal to his friend the Winter Soldier who’s been unthawed and released to
create havoc. This movie has everybody except Thor enter the fray. The Scarlett
Witch uses her powers. Vision is overseeing her. Ant Man and Spider Man provide
some comic relief. The new Spider Man is a smart aleck kid with some great
lines. Otherwise, the film stays dark and serious as Captain America and Iron
Man pursue their goals and go toe to toe.
The movie could use some
editing. That’s my usual complaint. The performances are fine and the action
battles are exciting. Good film-making and special effects. Choose your team –
Captain America or Iron Man, place your bets, and root for a winner. Then
again, do we win if they are all divided?
I sat and let the glory of words wash over me. It was a
refreshing time at the movies for Love and Friendship. Based
on a Jane Austen novella, this smart costume drama filled the screen with
beauty and cunning (Kate Beckinsale as Lady Susan), witty dialogue, fantastic
vocabulary, and a quick paced tale. It was glorious and nothing blew up. It’s
eighteenth century England, and what is a woman without a man and money? Woe to
the widow, Lady Susan, who’s on the move. She lands at a relative’s home and
instantly charms her sister-in-law’s brother. Reginald De Courcy (Xavier
Samuels) is younger, full of ideals, and enjoys talks and walks with Lady
Susan. Meanwhile, other suitors circle despite her devious reputation. She’s
difficult to resist.
Her daughter arrives – a pale, wisp of a girl, seemingly
without a backbone. She’s been kicked out of school. Now what? Marry her off?
Oh dear. In typical Jane Austen fashion, the author questions the role of women
in the world, and points to strong will and character, personality and wit.
It’s sad if one does not have a fortune, and ridiculous to be dependent. Some
of the best dialogue occurs between Kate Beckinsale and Chloe Sevigny (the
brash American married to an old fart – Stephen Fry). It’s laugh out loud
humorous. Oh, there’s behind the scenes conniving, a scandal at Langford, and
plenty of rousing indignation in a mere ninety minutes or so.
Great acting, great writing, and Kate Beckinsale is
absolutely wonderful in this role. Love and Friendship is a gem
of a little flick. If you like Jane Austen, this film is for you.
UTA Maverick Speaker Series brings in a variety of
interesting guests. An Evening With Dr. Jane Goodall (back in April) was tremendous.
Her talk on “Gombe and Beyond” proved enlightening for everyone in the
arena and she was treated like a rock star with two standing ovations. She’s
now 82 years old and travels over 300 days a year to bring her message about
nature, humanity, and hope for today’s world. She walks with purpose, speaks
graciously, and evokes sincerity and wisdom.
With no notes in front of her, Dr. Goodall began with her
childhood. She grew up poor in the UK –it was wartime and life was difficult.
But she and her brother were well loved and supported by her parents. She said
the key to her life was the support of her mother. Jane loved animals and her
mother scrounged money for books for her.
In 1960 at the age of 26, Jane traveled from the UK to Tanzania
to work with Dr. Louis Leakey. Her mother went with her as a support chaperone,
otherwise the opportunity would have evaporated. Armed with a notebook, pen,
and binoculars, Jane observed chimpanzees and slowly gained their trust. Her
key breakthrough was noting the chimps problem solving abilities and their
skill in fashioning tools. After receiving a doctorate at Cambridge, Dr.
Goodall returned to Africa and continued her work. She founded an institute to
work to protect the chimpanzees of Gombe National Park.
Her work in conservation, education (Roots & Shoots
program), environmental and humanitarian issues is renowned. Her 1-1/2 hour
talk was truly inspirational. Her sly humor shone through, and her love of the
earth and the world was evident. Her emphasis on education and books is so
important. Read…..read…..read. She acknowledged social media, but emphasized
knowledge from reading and research. Valuable lessons to embrace. If you ever
get a chance, attend a Dr. Jane Goodall event or check out old documentaries.
You will be enthralled by this warm intelligent woman.
Joanne Faries, originally from the Philadelphia area, lives in Texas with her husband Ray. She considers herself fortunate to be able to pursue a writing career after eons in the business world. Joanne enjoys reading and movies, and is the film critic for the Little Paper of San Saba.