Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Movie Review: Argo

Argo is a fast paced fact based movie. It's 1980 and Iran is seething. Finally the embassy is overrun and hostages are taken. However, six Americans manage to slip out the back door and land at the Canadian ambassador's home. Now what?

The embassy scenes of shredding, hostility, panic, and fear sets the pace for this film. As it zooms back and forth from Washington to Tehran, we feel the frustration and helplessness. What will the US do? The option discussion is hilarious, despite its serious nature. How can you get six Americans out of Iran - by bicycle across snowy mountainous landscape? Ludicrous. Or how about as a Canadian film crew scouting locations? Insane? Yes, but that's what Tony Mendez, a State Dept. super spy suggests. Phone calls and trips to Hollywood help set up a fake company for a fake movie with fake staff - it's going to be a science fantasty film named Argo.

All systems go. By this time, your heart is pounding and we haven't even started an escape scene yet. When Tony alias Kevin shows up with full packets of documentation, the six Americans have only two days to memorize new identities and knowledge on movie making. They are summoned to the Grand Bazaar, tested amidst swarms of protesters. Iranians are snapping photos, trying to match up pictures with shredded material. They are figuring out from body counts that Americans are missing. Will they tie it to this Canadian film crew?
Nerves are frayed. Chances of being killed are off the chart. Can they make it to the airport, get through three security checks, and board a Swissair plane to Toronto?

Argo is a super exciting, sweaty palms, increased heartbeat thriller. Ben Affleck has directed a probable Academy Award nominee - it is that good. Great performances by him, Bryan Cranston, John Goodman, Alan Arkin, and more. Go see it. Pay full price. And Argo...________ self (fill in the blank). When you see the movie, you'll laugh at that tag line. Argo is a winner.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Oak Tree Poem

Necessary murder
by Joanne Faries

ninety-two feet tall

massive oak tree

shed gnarled limbs

huge suicidal branches


through the roof

family reclined on the couch

clicked between football

and Discovery

reality lumberjack show

oak shadow loomed

until slain by an arborist

firewood stacked

by back door

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Book Review: Gone Girl

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn has had good buzz since the beginning of 2012 and this book is worthy of praise. It was on my library wait list forever. I  finally got the call, and read it in three days (could have been quicker if work didn't get in the way).
The book jacket tag line is Marriage can be a real killer.

Nick and Amy. Amy and Nick. Oh they seem like the perfect, beautiful couple as they prepare to celebrate their fifth wedding anniversary. However, a neighbor calls Nick at his work to say that the front door of the house is open and it just looks weird. Nick comes home to find Amy gone - blood, an overturned ottoman, signs of struggle.

As we alternate chapters -Nick deals with police, his in-laws, his twin sister, and his anniversary treasure hunt (Amy always leaves clues). Then we read excerpts from Amy's diary. Appearances are deceiving and we learn more and more about their life in New York, then moving back to Nick's old home town in Missouri, along the Mississippi River.

I'm not going to tell more. You need to read and discover on your own. Twists and turns galore - lies, deceits, and inappropriate behavior. The golden couple is tarnished.

p.73  And if all of us are play-acting, there can be no such thing as soul mate, because we don't have genuine souls. 
    It had gotten to the point where it seemed like nothing matters, because I'm not a real person and neither is anyone else.   I would have done anything to feel real again.

p. 353  I am a thornbush, bristling from the overattention of my parents, and he is a man of a million little fatherly stab wounds, and my thorns fit perfectly into them.

Excellent writing. Intriguing characters and plot line. Gillian Flynn's Gone Girl is a gem.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

October Peak Poem

October Peak

by Joanne Faries
dedicated to my husband, Ray

Muscles twitch


eyes dart

narrow focus

follow the ball

adjustments made

perceptible shift

hunch forward

lean back

hushed whisper

inhale, exhale

fingers clench, relax

ignore cheers


senses heighten

ready, ready, wait


in the zone, he weaves

blocks commercials

juggles remote

answers phone

trained all summer

he’s peaked

it’s October

Pro football, World Series,

hockey, basketball, golf



Note - as this time Ice hockey is on hold due to lockout - but he's poised for any return

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Harvest Heat Poem

Harvest Heat
by Joanne Faries

burning leaf memory

inhaled, nose tingled

deep in my blood,

smoke oozed from pores

seeped into hair

airy ash wisps encircled my head

erie figures drifted in haze

rakes in hand swooshed

crimson, orange, yellow leaves

southwestern fall

air-conditioner whir at six

wheezes until midnight

dollars fly about the room

distills humidity, cools tepid air

I sweat

grass crunches

wind chimes silent

slack flag droops oppressed

scurry indoors

soul compresses

yearn for fire reds, golden hues

drab leaves herald October

pumpkins will explode

melt into pumpkin pie

not glow with Halloween candles

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Big Tex Sees All

 State Fair of Texas time in Dallas. This is a truly monumental event held on permanent grounds, complete with lovely Art Deco buildings. For sixty years, Big Tex surveys the land and updates folks on events
 Ray and I enjoyed the Marine Corps Drum & Bugle show. Here they are marching off the parade grounds. But for forty five minutes they regaled the crowd with patriotic and popular tunes. Snappy uniforms, crisp timing, and snare drums can't be beat.
 Ray's resting before the BMX Stunt Bike show. We walked from 12:30 to 8:30 PM - saw Chinese acrobats, Frisbee Jump Dogs, Car and Truck show, Creative Arts, the Midway, and more. Forty dollars worth of coupons bought us probably forty thousand calories of junk food. Yes, I tried the Fried Bacon Cinnamon Bun - rather obnoxiously tasty covered in powdered sugar. Only in Texas folks, only in Texas.
 Windy, warm humid day. Shorts weather. Good day for some of the best fresh squeezed lemonade we've ever tasted.
Night time along the Esplanade. Art Deco buildings are lit and and then the fireworks/laster light show adds to the beauty of this area. Whew! Another State Fair goes in the record books. We enjoy the tradition.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012


 I forget how many trees surround my father's home. Living in Texas, my eye is always shocked when I go home - the world is enclosed in greenery, a bower of branches. Huge oaks soar The house is fifty-two years old. The trees are ancient Pennsylvania - hundreds of years
 These trees have witnessed a lot of history.
 Of all man's works of art, a cathedral is greatest. A vast and majestic tree is greater than that.  Henry Ward Beecher
We rake and rake and sweep the front porch, but soon the leaves rain down again.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Book Review: Broken Harbor by Tana French

Tana French is Irish and her books are set in Dublin and surrounding environs. That adds a unique style and feel. In the Woods and Faithful Place were superb and now her latest, Broken Harbor, features our favorite brash cop - Mick "Scorcher" Kennedy
Opening paragraph hooks the reader, trust me -  Here's what I'm trying to tell you: this case should have gone like clockwork. It should have ended up in the textbooks as a shining example of how to get everything right. By every rule in the book, this should have been a dream case.

Mick's a top detective with a great closing record, but he's coming off a problem case, been cooling his heels, and now this case should redeem him. He and his rookie partner, Richie, investigate the murder of Patrick Spain and his two young children. Wife, Jenny Spain, is in intensive care. They live in a half built, half-abandoned Irish development with suspicious neighbors, traces of life in empty homes, baby monitors, cameras, and too many small things that aren't explained. Files are erased from the family home computer, and Jenny's sister shares some past history that's problematic.

Police politics and procedures flow and this psychological thriller keeps the pages turning, the clues popping, and you, the reader, guessing. Tana French keeps the dialogue snappy and the plot lines taut. Great pacing and writing in the thriller genre.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

A Simple Post

The picture is apropos of nothing - It's fall, it's pumpkin season.

I'm reading a Poetry Anthology book and two pieces struck me so far:

Poetry - Marianne Moore (1887-1972)

                                    I, too, dislike it.

Reading it, however, with a perfect contempt for it,
one discovers in it, after all,
a place for the genuine

And from Ars Poetica by Archibal Macleish - I liked this line:

A poem should not mean ...but be