Friday, December 30, 2016

Enjoy Your New Year's Weekend

2016 was a weird year.  Guess that sums it up.  Torn between Dad in PA and life in TX. Had my foot surgery - that ate up time.  Had another surgery this summer, so missed pool season. Watched tons of Netflix - "Stranger Things" and "The Crown" were highlights.

Political stuff - the gift that keeps on giving.....for comedy. I look forward to SNL's opening sketches for 2017.

Highlight of the year was my trip to Alaska with Ray.  That can renew anyone's spirit. Beautiful, breathtaking, vast, and impressive. Put it on the bucket list if you haven't already.

I finished work Friday for the year, came home and put away Christmas, and now shall relax. Ray's off at his aunt's place - the deer lease. And oh boy, he did shoot some deer. (yes, my tone includes an eye roll). He's happy, guess that's what counts.

I'm seeing "La La Land" in the theater tomorrow. Then Sunday, shall catch up with friends at a pizza party. Laughter is the best medicine and a good way to kickoff 2017 (plus Cowboys play the Eagles).

Happy New Year Weekend!. I wish everyone health and laughter, enjoy friends and family, and enjoy some time on your own too - put down the phone or iPad, read a book, watch it snow, or take a walk.
I've turned off comments....go...relax....


Monday, December 26, 2016

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas!!!

I am not in Venice, but wouldn't this be fun...............

cheers everyone and Peace on Earth

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Merry Christmas One and All

 Picture blast from the past.  What's funny is the decorations don't really change so our fireplace looks the same for Christmas 2016 as it did in 2006
 This wee one is now a teenager, but looking at this picture from quite a few years ago gave me a smile
 Lots of special ornaments are hung on the tree with care
 My mother sent me Mr. and Mrs. Claus over twenty-five years ago. I think of her when I put them on display
Sit around a fire and read a Christmas tale - lots of good stories for the season

We are hosting Ray's family today - Christmas Eve Day. Can you hear the laughter?  Can you smell the aroma of good food baking - the theme is brunch.

I wish everyone a very Merry Christmas or Happy Hanukkah or Kwanzaa or whatever you celebrate.
Let's just wish for Peace on Earth, Goodwill toward mankind.


Friday, December 23, 2016

Movie Review Madness - Moonlight

Moonlight is one of those films you will never watch but be aware. It could show up at Oscar time. I saw it because I like to support my local theater when they run that one artsy weird flick. I want them to keep ‘em coming.  Mahershala Ali as Juan is so darn good. You’ve seen him in films (he’s in Netflix’s Luke Cage - Cottonmoth) and he’s a great understated actor. He just shines in this film as the drug dealer who befriends a kid in the hood who needs guidance. 
The kid is the adult Chiron (Ashton Sanders), but before that he’s Little ( Alex Hibbert) – a wide-eyed little boy who just seeks escape. When he hides out in a room, Juan finds him and takes him home. His wife, Teresa (Janelle Monae – yes, she can sing and act) feeds the kid and doesn’t ask too many questions.  Little aka Chiron ultimately always seeks Juan and Teresa out as his rock. He can count on them to feed him, shelter him, and not question.

His mother, Paula, played by a heartbreaking Naomie Harris, is a druggie. Oh, she cares for her son but the drugs and that life suck her in. Meanwhile, Chiron is a sensitive kid who’s gay but just won’t acknowledge it. There’s an underlying need for love but he shoves that aside with a tough guy attitude.

Moonlight operates on many levels and it’s really well acted and touching. It might not have themes that everyone cares about, but ultimately it is about love and family and friendship and who you can count on………..that means a lot in this day and age.  I truly hope it sees some Oscar nominations.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Why I Work

My boss sent this picture - this was the view from his room as he ate breakfast with his new wife.
He said he was the happiest he's ever been

Hey, I'm glad for the man

Guess this is why I work

Happy Wednesday, everyone

Monday, December 19, 2016

Movie Review Madness - Edge of Seventeen

Edge of Seventeen is such a reminder of the old 1980s John Hughes movies – edgy teens with “real” scenarios and great soundtracks. Now it’s updated for 2016. For me, a bit too much of the “F” word, but otherwise, this movie is on target and so true and totally made me laugh (and cry on the inside) at the same time.   I felt for Nadine (a brilliant Hailee Steinfeld) – she’s an insecure high schooler who’s pretty but doesn’t know it. She’s not comfortable in her skin and lets her motor mouth run her façade.  She’s smart, well read, and nerdy (and that’s okay but she doesn’t know it).  She resents her mother (Kyra Sedgewick – who can play attractive but trying too hard and acting too young). She “hates” her brother Darian ( a very solid Blake Jenner) who’s the star football god at high school. She counts on her bestie, Krista ( Haley Lu Richardson) who cheats on her with her brother – yep, Krista is moving on.  And then there’s the smitten young man (Hayden Szeto) that Nadine takes for granted and oh, he’s so right for her.

Seventeen??  Yep, tough age.  And this movie captures all of the horror, the good, the anxiety, and more.

Gotta love Woody Harrelson who’s the English teacher that Nadine counts on. She’s always barging in on his lunch break and assumes he really has no life.  Ultimately when the chips are down and she counts on this teacher, he goes the extra mile. He has a wife and a baby and Nadine witnesses that her teacher is a real person.  Oh, she has so much to learn.

Edge of Seventeen is excellent.  It truly captures that age of uncertainty and potential.  I am fifty-eight and could feel seventeen again – that inner heartache and worry.  You’ll laugh and inner swoon. Huge thumbs up to a superb little film with a big heart.   Go see it

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Silly Sunday

Ray has a Maker's Mark membership. It's all in good fun and they send him a holiday treat each year. I've featured some of the silliness before - a scarf, earmuffs, and a sweater - all adorn the bottles.
Well this year they get their own mistletoe.

It's a week until Christmas. Go be merry and bright....and chuckle!

Friday, December 16, 2016

Movie Review Madness - Arrival

Arrival is sorta science fiction but in a good way (in my opinion). It’s more about human emotions and is a thinking type movie. Let’s just say I came out saying, “Wow, hmm.”.  My husband came out saying, “Hmm, what just happened? Oh, okay, I get it now.” He was a tad confused but then okay with the movie. I liked it more than him, that’s for sure. I won’t give away the punchline, but there is a timing question to the movie, a certain sequence and order.  Keep that in mind and you’ll enjoy it more.

Twelve alien objects arrive – they hover close to the ground and do not appear to be threatening. BUT…what do they want?  Linguist Louise Banks (played by the superb Amy Adams) is called upon to try to “talk” to these aliens. Do they have a language?  What are they seeking? Jeremy Renner plays her partner, a physicist, and Forest Whitaker is the military colonel in charge of the operation. Each approach the “problem” with a different viewpoint, and that’s what makes the movie interesting and very viable to today.

Approach in peace?  Or assume the worst and prepare for war?  That’s the dilemma for today’s world.  Naturally Amy’s character has the right touch. She gets out of her space suit and communicates hands on with the beings – inkblot looking creatures.  Are they advanced or primitive?  I won’t give away more but this movie is excellent on so many levels. In this day of instant reaction and eagerness to battle, Arrival asks for patience –a  worthy trait to consider.

Communication is key…..don’t be hasty.  Oh, if only the world would listen and appreciate this story.  Go see it and ponder life, time, and what would you do “if”……

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Book Review - The Trespasser by Tana French

Tana French knows how to engage her reader. She just writes like blokes in Dublin would talk at a police station. You feel you are in on the interrogations and confessions. And you are hearing the internal dialogue of Antoinette Conway. She’s a detective on Murder Squad, her dream job. Her partner, Stephen Moran, is awesome and they are a team. BUT. The rest of the working crew are giving her the “shite” jobs and harassing her. Oh, it’s subtle, but it’s wearing her psyche and maybe she’s ready to break.

The Trespasser is the latest book in a series of excellent crime fiction. I discovered French with In the Woods and have followed her ever since.  So, the new case looks like a lover’s quarrel gone bad. Aislinn Murray is blond, pretty, groomed to a shine, and dead in her pretty living room. There’s nothing unusual about her – except that Antoinette has seen her somewhere before. (cover blurb)
Looks easy, but this case turns messy with a lot of twists and turns. Other detectives are pushing for a quick solve, but why? And of course, there’s more to the victim than what is seen on the surface.

Conway is feeling paranoid, fights with her partner, and is ready to quit.  But you will root for her to see this through. You want her to get resolution with Stephen – he’s a good guy. And poor Aislinn deserves to be buried with dignity. We need to know who killed her and why.  Tana French will throw you some red herrings and clues. Stick with her to the end and you’ll say – whoa! I knew it wasn’t easy but Conway pulled it together. (that’s the only bone I’ll throw you)  Check it out and solve this crime.

Monday, December 12, 2016

Movie Madness - Allied

Allied is a very old fashioned movie and that’s a good thing.  It’s a war movie/ love story/ mystery/ thriller. The characters are beautiful – hot, smoldering with simmering emotions. The times are fraught with danger. The backdrop is slinky hot and classy. Everything builds slowly and you have to watch and invest your time and emotions.

It’s 1942 North Africa. Who emerges in the desert but Brad Pitt as Max Vatan.  He’s driven into Casablanca with a new identity and a shiny wedding band. Shades of the movie Casablanca, he walks into a bar dressed to the nines and meets his new “wife” Marianne Beausejour (played by the stunning Marion Cottillard) . They are matched for a mission and oh the sparks slowly fly. This is  a movie with repartee, slow burning glances, and hot steamy nights.  They do manage to blow up some Nazis (no I’m not giving away the movie), and then high tail it back to London.

Are they in love?  Do they marry?  Is she a German spy?
Oops – well, are two out of three okay?

This movie kept me guessing until the end and I won’t give it away.   I enjoyed the buildup and anticipation a lot. Despite being a war movie, this is not a big bang ‘em up showy mess. Instead it’s a slow burn and Brad and Marion are a worthy pair.  Give yourself some time in a day and enjoy Allied

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Where's Ray?

 Where's Ray?  Well, he's in San Saba at his deer lease.  And he's happy with his early $20 Christmas present.  Oh, the man is easy.  He asked for camo sheets..... not to sleep on. He wanted cheap ones to hang in his deer blind for backdrop
It works. Guess the deer can't see him. I must admit, he blends in pretty well.  If he's having fun, more power to my hubby.  Love you dear as you avoid the deer.............

I'm glad I'm home watching Netflix.........who's with me??

Friday, December 9, 2016

Book Review - Sailing Alone Around the Room by Billy Collins

Poet Laureate Billy Collins writes accessible poetry. It's subtle and real and human. I love his writing and his work seems so easy and off the cuff. I know it's not and I'm sure he agonized over every line. However, his words flow and just tell a story of normal life. Or his everyday observations could have been mine, except way better.

(back cover blurb) Possessed of a unique voice that is at once plain and melodic, Billy Collins has managed to enrich American poetry. 

Here's one stanza from "Madmen"
They say you can jinx a poem
if you talk about it before it is done
If you let it out too early, they warn, 
your poem will fly away
and this time they are absolutely right

Or from "Snow Day"
Today we woke up to a revolution of snow,
its white flag waving over everything
the landscape vanished
not a single mouse to punctuate the blankness,
and beyond these windows

He epitomizes the word sublime.....

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Monet: The Early Years

Monet : The Early Years is a splendid new exhibit at the Kimbell Art Museum in Fort Worth. It runs through January 29, 2017 and is worth a trip. I shall probably go see it again, as there’s much to see and enjoy.  Over sixty paintings cover Claude Monet from his debut in 1858 until his move to Argenteuil on the River Seine in 1872. He showed genius from the beginning and his early career (all in his 20s) assured him of a place in the art world. He transformed influences and challenged his fellow painters – Manet, Pissarro, Renoir, and Sisley – along the way.

The above picture On the Bank of the Seine illustrates his skills. Water, sky, clouds – he became a master impressionist.  You will be astounded at his skills at such an early age. And he stayed a student of art through his whole life. He studied light – one picture with reflections in water just glistens. Gossamer clouds in the sky. Fleeting pinks and purples enhance a delicate palette.  He often returned to places over seasons and captured the different aspects of nature. His time in Holland proved enlightening and you can see the difference in the colors and how he interpreted life there.

I highly recommend a trip to the Kimbell.   Monet: The Early Years is a feast for the eyes and the soul.  (and then I recommend lunch at the museum café – tres bien!)

Monday, December 5, 2016

Movie Review Madness - Fantastic Beasts

Well, I found ‘em.

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is in theaters now and it’s worth seeing on the big screen. J.K. Rowling is back with a prequel, so to speak, to Harry Potter world. Eddie Redmayne as Newt Scamander shows up in 1926 New York City from London with a rather magical bag. He’s a magizoologist and thus the adventure begins. The wizard world vs the Muggles in the UK or the No-maji (as known in the US) is in flux and more trouble is not needed. But his encounters with a “normal” guy played by a funny Dan Fogler involves switched bags, an escaped creature or two, a hatching egg, some lovely sisters, and more.

Eddie, with his mop of hair, dusting of freckles, and wistful smile, is perfect as the shy magizoologist who’s trying to save creatures and keep the magic alive. He wants no trouble. But Colin Farrell and his gang are seeking “troublemakers” and a host of explosions and destruction in NYC is causing an uprising. The theme of who’s “different” and how to get along is subtle. Fogler falls for one of the sisters and Katherine Waterston works with Newt to corral his creatures, erase Dan’s mind, and make peace.  I won’t give away the surprise at the end as far as the serious trouble and evil spirit. It’s all cleverly done.

This is a big movie with lots of special effects and a worthy lead up to Potter World backstory. I would have edited the movie a bit – it ran a tad long. However I was entranced and intrigued by the premise. Rowling knows how to fill in characters and create a world. I liked Eddie a lot. So if you are looking to escape with a big tub of popcorn, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is worth seeking at your nearest Cineplex.

Friday, December 2, 2016

Frosty Friday

Finally a frosty Friday in Texas.   I like that sheen across the fields as I drive to work.

Been a super busy week at Omega. I know I promised reviews, but I have not sat down to write them. I come home from work at night and watch Netflix.  What can I say?

But I have been trying to keep the glow of Thanksgiving alive (being grateful, giving thanks, and appreciating all).  So as the Christmas season heats up, let's continue some of the courtesies we need.

Smile more, talk less (love that line from Hamilton)

Use patience in lines as new clerks try to use the register.

Caution on the roads and in parking lots.  Yes, that person is nuts - just let them get out of your way.

And deep breaths - no it can't all get done in a day. Scale back expectations. Stop for a hot cocoa
and be of good cheer!  

Happy Friday and weekend. Hope you like my Christmas tablescape.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Light ' Em Up

 My Christmas elf (Ray) was a busy boy on Monday. He took off a bonus day and scurried about with a vision of LED lights.
 My pictures don't do it justice
 We have the spirit in the front and back
I love when it reflects off the pool at night

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas.  Thanks Ray!

Monday, November 28, 2016

Cyber NaNo

I did not participate in National Novel Writing Month this year. However, for those who did it's crunch time. Either you are sitting back, smug, eating Christmas cookies, or you are panic writing nonsense. Or you have given up and shall do all of your shopping this Cyber Monday.

Either way, have a great day.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Happy Thanksgiving

From our house to yours - Happy Thanksgiving weekend

Health and happiness.  Family joy and laughs
Sunshine, blue skies, and some leaves to rake (if I was in PA)
Cowboy football for Ray

I dedicate a turkey sandwich to my mother - she loved leftovers

I thank my sister - she's picking up my Dad, taking him to DE for her thanksgiving meal, and then driving him back. She'll stay overnight and Friday's her birthday - Happy Birthday, Lori - the "baby" of the family.

No need to comment on this post. I just hope everyone steps away from the computer, puts down the phone, and just hangs out.

I'll be back to regularly scheduled reviews, etc. next week.
Take care and be kind.

Monday, November 21, 2016


"When we stop and rest properly, we're not paying a tax on creativity. We're investing in it."


As we begin a Monday slog, let's contemplate a new book by Alex Soojung-Kim Pang - "Why You Get More Done When You Work Less".  This is from a book review in the latest Time magazine.  The theory is that maximum productivity requires four hours  a day of focused work. To get the most out of the rest of the day one should walk, nap, read, and contemplate life.

Sounds good to me.  When I really think about my work day - indeed, the quality of my work is best in the morning from eight to noon.  After lunch - nah, I'm watching the clock and hammering through tasks. I'm working for the pay check - this is not enrichment. 

What about you? 

At least this is a short week - countdown to Thanksgiving, for which I am grateful!!!

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Pre-Thanksgiving Tablescape

Filler post. I have some reviews to write, but I get home from work and do NOT want to think

Forgive me.  As soon as Halloween was over, I cleared the dining table for the big 80 birthday.
Then last Sunday, I cleared the table for my Thanksgiving 2016 tablescape........

Oh yeah - we have the spirit, how about you?

We are not hosting Thanksgiving (Praise the Lord).  We are in line to bring fruit salad to Ray's sister's place.  They are expecting up to 25 people.  Holy turkey.......that's a lot of folks.  

Story to be continued in one week.   We just don't want the Cowboys to be turkeys - dang, they are on a roll.........

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Wednesday Reflection on 80

 The cake came out great from Wal-Mart.  The scanned icing photos made it a hit.  Chocolate goodness
 I have to brag that renting tables and chairs was brilliant  - we could fit 21 adults easily into the room. It was nice having everyone together to participate.  Kids were tucked into the kitchen
I don't have a picture of the tasty Tex-Mex from Miguelitos - it's all gone!!!
 Fun banner to greet the birthday boy
Saturday November 12th was a success as it heralded in Ray's Dad's birthday. Here are his mom, niece, and father.  He's still  recovering from some surgery that slowed him down a bit. But he's on the mend and hopefully his health improves for many birthdays to come.

Monday, November 14, 2016

Movie Review Madness - The Girl on the Train

I loved the book The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins, and to me, the movie does an excellent job of bringing the book to life.  Emily Blunt is superb as Rachel, a boozy unreliable  narrator. She rides the train every day but is she really going to work. She can see out over her ex-house that her ex-husband (a creepy Justin Theroux) has with his new wife (Rebecca Ferguson – always good) and baby girl. Then there are the neighbors – the perfect couple that Rachel fantasize about.  Meagan (new hot It Girl Haley Bennett) ends up dead.  Say what?  How, why, and did Rachel see something?

It’s a convoluted puzzle with Allyson Janney as the detective who questions Rachel’s integrity, report, and reliability.  Throw in a therapist for Meagan – was she having an affair with him?  Cheating, hot babysitter, and so much more.  The book was intense and gave an added layer to the story. It could convey the confusion. The film does a very good job of giving us a back and forth thread – it bounces between characters and Rachel’s drunken interpretation of events.

All in all, Emily Blunt is the key to The Girl on the Train. She’s a fine actress who truly embodied the character and keeps us both hating and rooting for her. She adds a vulnerability to the written character.  I don’t think the switch from London to New York was necessary, but it worked okay. I liked this film and I do recommend reading the book too. Cover all bases

Friday, November 11, 2016

Movie Review Madness - Inferno

Tom Hanks is back as Robert Langdon in Inferno.  Tom is good, Inferno is so-so, but I’ll still give it a C  rating due to the running around Italy part.  Such an awesome backdrop.  I can forgive huge plot holes, the Dan Brown book, and even more plot holes.  Italy and Florence in particular are just freaking awesome.  I paid $5 for this movie, so you I can  forgive me.  You, my readers, can wait for streaming. You don’t have to fork out money. But this movie is harmless and entertaining in a ‘I’m sorta half asleep kinda way”.  Nothing wrong with that. No need to think folks – the art, symbolism mumbo jumbo is just that – all crazy talk.

I go to the movies to be entertained and this sufficed for the afternoon I wanted to enjoy. I like Tom Hanks and he was fine enough – he’s sincere and can project concern over a virus that could kill the world. Only he must solve the crazy puzzle to save us all. What better hands to be in than Tom Hanks? Seriously.   I’m not going to discuss the plot or the reason to run around Italy. Just go with it.

Felicity Jones is pretty, a good actress, and had me convinced until a plot twist. Apparently, the box office disagrees.  Where the Da Vinci Code, Dan Brown’s first big book to movie succeeded, Inferno has totally tanked.  Hey, life moves on. 

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Nothing Really Changes

I chose some misty Alaska glacier pics to represent our future.  I write this on Election Day 2016. I have no clue as to the finish, no projections yet, no winner.  Will there be a winner?  Are we winning or losing?   Ah, that's beyond me

I do know that on Wednesday, I shall get up, eat breakfast, and still drive my hour to work - as will most of America.  Then we watch the clock for lunchtime. Then we count down to going home. In the middle - paper is shuffled.

There has to be a future because Ray and I are hosting a party for his father on Saturday 11/12. The man shall be turning 80 and deserves a bit of a to-do.  I've got Tex-Mex ordered along with a chocolate cake. We expect 20 people plus kids.

So, post election day, the American flag shall still wave. Folks work, eat, and muddle along.  Has anything changed?

The key to me is family, love, respect, work, and life...........truly the Nike slogan "Just Do It" applies.

What say you?  I have blog friends from all  states and a variety of countries. Can we all agree - life goes on and we do our best?

 Is that good enough?

Monday, November 7, 2016

Movie Review Madness - Doctor Strange

Doctor Strange, the latest Marvel product, is a head trip. Fun, trippy special effects and a crazy plot about time and mind over matter makes this rather cerebral.  Brains over brawn. As Entertainment Weekly points out “it wouldn’t work as well as it does without Benedict Cumberbatch and Tilda Swinton – two actors who in addition to being intelligent, top-shelf stars both project a slightly alien, otherworldly air.”  So true.  They are clever and seductive, giving their characters a lot of depth.

Cumberbatch, as Dr. Stephen Strange is an ego surgeon who’s a charming jerk. Rachel McAdams has the thankless job of fellow doctor/former love interest.  After a horrible car accident, his hands are ruined so he looks for a cure in Nepal. Word has it that there is An Ancient One who can teach one mind control and more. Let the brain do the healing. Swinton is perfect as the mystic. Her right hand man, Mordo (Chiwetel Ejiofor) is the day to day trainer. Soon Strange is moving beyond logic – dimensional portals, teleportation, and more, plus weird facial hair. Meanwhile the dark forces of Kaecilius seeks to destroy the Ancient One, but Doctor Strange, now in his levitation cloak seems to have the upper hand.

Doctor Strange is just bizarre fun – high IQ wit and just wicked special effects raise the bar.  Again as, EW says, “it’s eye candy and brain candy.” Perfect afternoon at the theater.

and P.S. stay for the final, final, final credits and see that Marvel tidbit more

Saturday, November 5, 2016

Waxahachie Wonder

Blue skies and high 80s last Saturday at the Texas Country Reporter Festival in Waxahachie, Texas.
Only an hour drive to a bustling town. The center of it all is the Ellis County Courthouse (pictured above) - a fine example of gingerbread architecture. The whole town square is well maintained with plenty of cutesy shops and good restaurants. We ate lunch at the Dove's Nest - a tea room in an antique store.

It was an easy fun jaunt, a chance to stretch the legs, and mix and mingle among arts and crafts (and a fine selection of homemade jams and jellies)

Venture out into your neck of the woods - you might be surprised at what you find.

Happy Weekend!

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Book Review - A Life in Parts by Bryan Cranston

Bryan Cranston A Life in Parts is not a celebrity biography. Yes, he hit it “big” with  Breaking Bad, but the man paid his dues, worked hard, and has a life to discuss in his memoir.  He’s a fine thoughtful writer and this book is excellent. This is a man you’d like to meet and have dinner with knowing there would be engaging conversation and a real person give and take. He acted at age seven in a United Way commercial with his father and had the bug. His dad was an actor, but the man disappeared and Bryan had to figure out life as a man on his own. He shared a lot with his older brother and younger sister, and dealt with a mother who became an alcoholic.

But no excuses. Cranston shares his “zigzag journey as an abandoned son to beloved star by recalling the many odd parts he played in his real life – paperboy, farmhand, security guard, dating consultant, murder suspect, dock loader, lover, husband, father.” (cover blurb). He does not shy away from any aspect of his life that led him to where he is today. As an observer of life, he honed his craft with hard work and truly studied and worked at the idea of “craft”.

After years in the business, he created the bumbling dad character of Malcolm in the Middle. Cherished years and a lot of improv joy on set.  Then because of a brief role on the X-Files and his time with Vince Gaffigan, he managed to become Walter White on Breaking Bad. Extensive chapters are spent on this special alchemy. It’s quite interesting and you’ll be an even bigger fan when you read his thoughts on the part.

Finally, he’s never finished growing and exploring. He conquers the stage with a Tony award winning performance in All the Way as LBJ – a larger than life figure.  Bryan Cranston continues to grow as a person. When I finished his book, I was ready to read more – to see where his life takes him and I look forward to more deep characters and great acting to come.  A Life in Parts – oh, so many more parts to choose from and enjoy.  Just a darn cool man. 

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Movie Review Madness - What Now?

Kevin Hart, the hardest working comedian on the planet, has a concert film out in theaters.  What Now? Is an enjoyable frenetic experience.  Basically Kevin asks “What Now?” because as he conquers arenas, stages, movies, and more, people are asking for more and he asks himself for more. The man never quits. This film covers his record breaking sold out show at Lincoln Financial Field in his home town of Philadelphia. This is a football stadium filled to the brim with adoring fans screaming for more.

Kevin knows what his audience wants and he gives it to them. He’s a bundle of energy ready to talk about his height challenge, his kids, his upcoming marriage, and the general craziness of the world. He is not political, not topical. He leans toward more general observations of life type of humor and the crowd eggs him on. He does capture the slice of life in a manic way. He’s not as observational as Jerry Seinfeld, but he does niggle on the minutiae of life, and he’s funny.

Oh, the language can be a tad rough – not appropriate for kids – this is R.  And the ninety minute film was plenty long enough. I was amused and then done. But I will concede that the man works hard and truly gives it his all. He’s not coasting. He wants to be mega-successful and he is accomplishing this.  He sets a very good example in this regard – there are no excuses in this world. Get out there and strive for the best you can be. And then ask What Now??

Monday, October 31, 2016

Happy Halloween

re-run pics, but the wish is new
Happy Halloween 2016


enjoy your Monday - I hope you get the candy you like - it's guaranteed if you buy it and don't give it out!!

Friday, October 28, 2016

Movie Review Madness - The Accountant

The Accountant is not a sequel to anything. This is awesome news. It’s a fresh independent movie starring Ben Affleck, Anna Kendrick, John Lithgow, and J.K. Simmons. All of these actors are spot on in their roles.

Affleck plays Christian Wolff, a math savant who’s a small town accountant. But behind the scenes, he’s fully armed and dangerous. Video shows him meeting with “bad guys” – he’s the accountant to terrorist stars and J.K. Simmons, a Treasury Department agent about to retire is ready for his last big hurrah. He’s going to catch this guy, get his list, and take them all down. Meanwhile Christian is called into a robotics company run by John Lithgow (always good at being earnest sleazy) . Anna Kendrick was the little whistle blower – saying something wasn’t quite right with the books.  (and she’s very relatable as a “real” employee who’s a bit of a nerd herself)

Lots of math is discussed. Christian, in record time, locates a problem. Anna wonders “Who is this guy?” when she discovers all of his guns and his art work (he has a Jackson Pollock on a ceiling). The cat and mouse game is amusing to watch – Affleck, Simmons, and Lithgow. 

You have to suspend some belief and just go with the flow in this film. I’m not going to explain more, and indeed the film can be a tad talkie. But the premise is intriguing and Affleck pulls off a unique character. He’s managed to learn to work in the real world, and yet he has to keep his own boundaries to make that work.

The Accountant has action, intrigue, and math.  Somehow they all add up to a worthy flick for adults.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Tough Being the New Kid

The New Kid
by Joanne Faries

At ninety, she's the new kid on the block
Moved from her home into "the home"
also known as a "personal care facility"
visitors sign in and out
rules are not meant to be broken
set meal times are restrictive

she won a prize at bingo
declined uno
arthritic hands unable to complete craft's bead bracelet

she would rather read
watch George Clooney movies
stare out her old kitchen window

but that's the past

the walker rolls
down the hall

chin up, 
the new kid smiles

dedicated to my Aunt - she's a trooper

Monday, October 24, 2016

Book Review - The Black Widow by Daniel Silva

Daniel Silva’s The Black Widow is one of the best, I think, in his Gabriel Allon series. From start to finish it will keep you turning pages and also marveling at the author’s skill in capturing our dangerous world today. It’s almost ripped from the headlines authentic or will be soon. Silva definitely does his research and must talk to folks in high places. Very impressive.

Gabriel Allon is an art restorer by trade, but also a legendary spy for “The Office”, Israel’s premier group. As Allon is about to become the new chief, he’s back into the field for an operation. ISIS detonated a bomb in Paris, and one man’s name keeps appearing – Saladin. How to find him? How to get into the network? Gabriel taps an extraordinary woman – a doctor, a Jew, and a woman willing to take the risk to don the clothes and persona of a “black widow” – females willing to work for the caliphate, willing to die for ISIS.

As the mission crosses borders into dangerous territory, Natalie must maintain her poise and conviction to fool Saladin and lead Allon and crew to a fateful night. This is tick-tock watch the clock on your bomb vest nerves on edge writing. Forget your nightly news. Delve into The Black Widow as an alternative. The world is scary. We have to root and support the good guys. Enjoy a gutsy read.

Friday, October 21, 2016

Landlubber poem


The ship rolled one way
my head and stomach another
breathe deep, refreshing sea air
reflect on mariner history
wooden ships and canvas sails
morphed into metal magnificence
tons  displacing water as engines roar
crew members press pulley buttons
to raise anchor
haunted by sea chanteys and rum casks
tourists graze buffet tables and neon-lit bars

I survey the waves
seek out land ahoy


go find dramamine