Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Summer Solstice Birthday

An oldie picture, but I don't have many of my mother. I've written this before - she always dodged the camera, ever elusive.  This is back in the 1980s -  Lori's early years in college and we were visiting her. I was in from TX. My brother is missing. So young and vibrant.

Today - June 21st is my mother's birthday. She's been gone twenty five years now.
Happy Birthday Mom!  I'll eat some chocolate cake in her honor.

I liked this quote by Russell Baker:
Children rarely want to know who their parents were
before they were parents, and when age
finally stirs their curiosity, there is no parent left to tell them

Monday, June 19, 2017

Monday Moment - Clarity

This interview caught my eye in the June 12th issue of Time Magazine. Q&A with Sir Harold Evans, a longtime editor and author.  Sir Harold on writing evils:

Writing that is deliberately designed to deceive - insurance  policies, political statements. Business verbosity wastes money, confuses millions. I find myself getting much more angry about the moral question of obligation of fairness than I do about a misplaced semicolon. 

other good quotes:
The language police are a bloody nuisance, some linguists in particular

on Twitter
Twitter's wonderful for assertion. It's absolutely useless for argument.

All food for thought.  Let's have a decent week, everyone.

Friday, June 16, 2017

Book Review - Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver

Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver is a young adult novel that was also made into a movie.  It is well written, current without being obnoxiously hip, and provides some lessons learned for the heroine. From the cover blurb – Samantha Kingston has it all: looks, popularity, the perfect boyfriend. Friday, February 12 should be just another day in her charmed life. Instead, it turns out to be her last. The catch: Samantha still wakes up the next morning.

Yes, this is a variation on Groundhog Day, except it’s Cupid Day. Samantha and her crew are the girls with the most roses. They are prepping all day to go to the hot party. Samantha is preparing to lose her virginity to Rob that night. Oh there’s alcohol, icy roads, and a crash. Then Samantha wakes up and relives the day over and over with an ever jaded eye on her behavior, on her friend’  behavior, and on the shallowness of high school. She tries to vary the routines, but something always goes awry. She tries to fix a bullying situation that she was a willing participant early on. However, after several “deaths and rebirths” she recognizes her wrongs.  She sees how Kent is thoughtful, kind, and actually looks out for her versus Rob, her boyfriend, who’s actually quite a jerk.

The book isn’t all sugar and spice and perfect redemption. However, Oliver develops her characters well and shows growth. She definitely captures the cliques of high school and the need to fit in well, the need to keep popularity and image intact. She also goes below the surface and shows the underlying angst of teenage life.

A friend lent this book to me and it was a quick read. I recommend checking it out of the library, and I’ll probably keep my eye out for the movie on Netflix. Before I Fall  - you’ll find a piece of your young self  somewhere in this book.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

New Kid in Town

There's a new Faries in town - Dakota Lynn. She was born on 5/25/17 at 8 am. She's going to need that attitude face to keep up with older sisters - Skylar (2), and Makyla (8).  And poor parents, Kevin and Maria, are now outnumbered.

Good luck kid!

Monday, June 12, 2017

Movie Review Madness - Wonder Woman

Gal Gadot absolutely leaps from the screen. She is stunning, smart, and is the perfect Diana/Wonder Woman. I loved this movie. It is sharp, slick, moves along with an actual plot, is visually arresting, and Wonder Woman has a lot of character.  Am I gushing? Sure. So many of the Marvel and DC Comic movies are over-the-top fights moving to more over-the-top fights. Sometimes it’s too big of an assault to the senses.  (I like the films, don’t get me wrong, but…)

Wonder Woman has better pacing as an origin story.  We meet young Diana as a girl living with the Amazons on a shrouded island. This place filled with strong women is idyllic and yet prepared for the worst. Unfortunately, Chris Pine as Captain Steve Trevor, pilot in WWI, crashes into the nearby waters. Diana saves him and the island is invaded by German soldiers. Needless to say, Diana saves her people, unleashing more powers than she ever knew she had. She is special and in her na├»ve way, wants to find Ares – the God of War – to stop this mess. Trevor is a spy who needs to escape and get back to England. Diana says farewell to her world, she’s destined for bigger things, and joins Trevor on his mission.

Once in England, this Amazon fish out of water proves resourceful. Again, Gadot shows trust, heart, and worry – it flashes across her face, even as she’s using her golden lariat, her magnificent sword, and her ever increasing skills. Chris Pine is also quite good with a light comedic touch at times and then true stolid hero bearing. They work together to find the German plant preparing to unleash killer poisons. They find the horrific scientist creating chemical weapons of mass destruction. Oh, there’s plenty of action and blow-em up. But through it all, Diana/Wonder Woman is a towering presence.

Wonder Woman is a winner in so many ways. A strong female heroine with principles and heart. I do believe that Gal Gadot was created from clay and blessed by Zeus. And I look forward to future films from this actress. I want her to save OUR world!

Friday, June 9, 2017

Book Review - A Piece of the World by Christina Baker Kline

Cover blurb – Later he told me that he’d been afraid to show me the painting. He thought I wouldn’t like the way he portrayed me: dragging myself across the field, fingers clutching dirt, my legs twisted behind. The arid moonscape of wheatgrass and timothy. That dilapidated house in the distance, looming up like a secret that won’t stay hidden.

Christina Baker Kline, author of A Piece of the World, deftly brings us a fictional version of life behind the iconic Andrew Wyeth painting Christina’s World.  The writing is lovely and the story is interesting. Christina Olson lived her life at her family’s remote farm in Cushing, Maine. Crippled as a child by illness, her ability to move grew more limited as the years went by. But for twenty years, a piece of the world came to her. Through a friend, Andrew Wyeth arrived as a visitor one day. Curious about the house, he asked if he could come and paint. Paint the house, the farm, the landscape, the view, the brother Al going about his daily chores, and then ultimately Christina in her habitat.

Kline weaves fact and fiction into a “powerful novel that illuminates a little-known part of American history. She brings focus to the flesh-and-blood woman behind the portrait. Artist and muse come together to forge a new and timeless legacy.”

p. 288  There are traces of Andy everywhere, even when he’s gone. The smell of eggs, splatters of tempera. A dry, splayed paintbrush. A wooden board pocked with color..
the weather cools. He’s still working. He doesn’t leave for Pennsylvania as usual at the end of August. I don’t ask why, half afraid that if I speak the words aloud, they’ll remind him that it is past time for him to return home.

Excellent read. I’ve always liked the Wyeths – Nathaniel, Andrew, and Jamie. I’ve been to the Brandywine Museum and Chadd’s Ford area where they lived in Pennsylvania. And the painting, Christina’s World, is haunting.  Christina Baker Kline’s A Piece of the World gives it and the story its due.

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Movie Review Madness - Baywatch

Baywatch is truly silly with no redeeming value whatsoever. As long as you know that going in, you’ll be amused. We were. We paid for cheap tickets - $5 each and chortled throughout. Consider the source material – the television show was rather stupid. So, Mitch (Dwayne Johnson) is head lifeguard and takes his job very seriously. No fooling around. It’s time to get some new recruits and he’s not happy that a new guy is being shoved down his throat. Matt Brody (Zac Efron) is an Olympic gold medalist who’s now doing community service. He’s a pretty boy hotshot with attitude. Gee, do you think he’ll get his comeuppance?

It takes a bit, but Matt slowly learns that  there’s more to lifeguarding than getting a tan. Especially if our gorgeous villain, Priyanka Chopra is trying to take over all of the real estate. And for what reason other than drug smuggling. Mitch and his team are focused on bringing her down. But the local cop, the local councilman, etc all seem to be blocking him at every turn. But no one stops The Rock.

Muscles, swimsuits, young ladies in slow motion, the one “fatter dude” as comic foil – there’s every stereotype in the book for a summer movie based on a tv series. C’mon. But Johnson and Efron have good chemistry with zinger lines. The girls are pretty, Zac is pretty, and Johnson exudes comic charm. It’s just stupid FUN.  Hang on for the Hasselhoff appearance, and the Pamela Anderson sighting. Wink. Wink.  Plus some funny blooper scenes during the credits. Summer movie season has begun with a splash.