Friday, November 30, 2018

Book Review - The Fifth Risk

 Michael Lewis is a very respected author who truly does his research.  He wrote Moneyball about the mathematics of baseball  -now a recognized science and a Brad Pitt movie. In the Fifth Risk he explores a very scary proposition – What are the consequences if the people given control over our government have no idea how it works?

Seriously – we are screwed.  Folks think they don’t want government.  But do you realize how much is really done and with our taxpayer money? And by not filling key jobs, not just at cabinet level – there is a lot being lost.  NOAA – this agency follows weather and patterns. It affects if you are warned about hurricanes, tornadoes, and it saves lives.  USDA. Dept of Commerce. FDA.  Nutrition for our school kids. Health and safety. Feeding old and young. Food stamps – it’s not waste. It saves lives.

We are not talking bleeding heart waste. There are legit scientists, legit data computer gatherers, folks who truly can give data that saves lives. They study soil in the Midwest and monitor rainfall. They save millions of dollars for farmers who can plant at the right time, use fertilizer at the optimal time, and are operating at truly key planting times.

If you do not fill government posts, there is a whole lot that affects regular lives, that will cause a lot of future damage. If you fill posts with people who have no knowledge and experience – you are committing suicide. If you fill posts with folks who gave campaign money, who have business that make money off other folks suffering, you are a fool.
You get what you voted for and there is a lot of ignorance that has been supported.  Read Michael Lewis’s book The Fifth Risk and draw your own conclusions.  Wow. 

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Movie Review Madness - Widows

A police shootout leaves four thieves dead during an explosive armed robbery attempt in Chicago. Their widows – Veronica (powerful Viola Davis), Linda (Michelle Rodriguez), Alice(Elizabeth Debicki) and Belle (Cynthia Erivo) -- have nothing in common except a debt left behind by their spouses' criminal activities. Hoping to forge a future on their own terms, Veronica joins forces with the other three women to pull off a heist that her husband (Liam Neeson) was planning.

That’s the blurb for Widows, but oh, there is so much more. Chicago politics (Colin Farell, Robert DuVall), double crossing, money and lots of it, guns, theft, and did I mention a lot of money?
I really enjoyed this film. Just go with the plot. There’s a lot of bad people looking to do harm and work deals, and survive.  The director, Steve McQueen, just let it rip. And when you think you have it figured out…think again. Twists, turns, and the greatness that is Viola Davis. She’s just so good. Just one look can say volumes.

I was happy with the outcome, not necessarily sad at the funerals, and oh yeah – ladies can work a heist plot (and get babysitters for the kids). Widows – no tears, no tissues required.

Monday, November 26, 2018

Movie Review Madness - Instant Family

Instant Family is just an all-around decent movie. It’s a good flick to see during holiday season because it has a nice message about family – in all its messy stages. So, Pete (Mark Wahlberg) and Ellie (Rose Byrne) have a good life – their flipping home business is solid, their dog is happy to see them, and they enjoy date nights. What more could they need? Tick-tock – maybe kids? Maybe fostering a  kid to adopt?

They attend an open house, take the eight week class, and stumble into Lizzie (Isabela Moner) at an adoption fair. This wise fifteen year-old has lived the system. She’s bright and wary. AND, she has a brother, Juan, and little sister, Lita. All so endearing. Pete and Ellie say yes and take in upheaval. Kids are messy, needy, sensitive, worried – they’ve lived with so much doubt in their young lives. It’s tough to trust and believe they won’t be sent back.

Yes, those are underlying themes in this movie filled with laugh out loud moments. Based on the true story by the director, Instant Family, has anger, frustration, and doubt – from the adults and the kids. The real mom gets  out of jail and might get the kids back. That sparks some reactions from all sides. You root for the family to work, and for love itself to take  root. It’s a tough subject that’s handled well in a very entertaining fashion. Mark and Rose and solid actors who shine as a couple who cares, without being too saintly. The kids are great too. I enjoyed my two hours hanging with this crew.

Wednesday, November 21, 2018


 I am grateful for Ray
 My Dad - he's currently at a rehab place after having some emergency surgery. OMG. He's making progress - needs his strength back in his legs so he can get back in his home.
 My sister - she turns 50 on Sunday and is our sunshine

David and Cherie are gems. David does SO, SO much for my Dad. 
I am also grateful for my friends and extended family. When I put the world in perspective, I am very fortunate.

so, Happy Thanksgiving to blog world.  I hope this season finds you in good health and hanging with friends and/or family.

Take care everyone

Monday, November 19, 2018

Monday Movie Review Madness

Intense, haunting, and rather chilling – Beautiful Boy is based on a true story from both the father (David Sheff) and the son (Nic Sheff).  It’s a seemingly idyllic home and family outside of San Francisco. Nic (played by the excellent Timothee Chalamet) is eighteen. In flashback scenes we see this sweet boy. Now he’s surly at times, unpredictable, and absolutely breaking his dad’s heart. David (played well by Steve Carell) is concerned and caring and frustrated. He can see that Nic is high. Nic’s killing time and spacing out. This young man, so sensitive and artistic and smart, is hurting himself with drugs.

This story, sadly, is being played out all across America. This is an upper middle class family that looks, on the outside, to be close to perfect. You’ve got the dad and stepmom (Maura Tierney – wonderful) with Nic and two younger siblings who adore their big brother. Again  - flashback scenes show Nic caring about his siblings and stepmom, and dad. It’s all a good support system. And long distance, his mom (Amy Adams) has a role. But drugs – first pot, then so much more, and finally crystal meth and heroin – tear everyone apart.  We see David take Nic to rehab. We hear Nic’s promises – turning over that new leaf, and then relapsing. The drugs are relentless, and Nic keeps seeking them as a solution to some hole, some need he can’t explain.

Beautiful Boy can tear you apart. You really care for and root  for the whole family. I thought this was a really well done movie with great acting. Chalamet plays sensitive and sympathetic so well – he’s tall and skinny and artsy looking with his shock of brown curly locks and big dark expressive eyes. You want to believe him when he’s lying. I feel so sorry for families who can’t save their beautiful boys or girls.

(RIP - Michael - my cousin's boy.   i.e. the movie strikes close to home)

Friday, November 16, 2018

Balenciaga in Black

Haute couture - fashion that is art.  A friend and I enjoyed a new exhibit at the Kimbell Art Museum in Fort Worth - Balenciaga in Black.   Stunning gowns and dresses, women's suits and coats - all designed by Cristobal Balenciaga (1895-1972).

Made by hand in his ateliers, his work is all in black. But the luxurious fabrics and materials offered textures and shades of black that are rich in depth, and remarkable for the detail.

This is a stunning assembled collection of work, and the Kimbell is one of the few museums privileged to show it.

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Woe is Wednesday

Went to the Fort Worth Zoo a week or so ago.  I snapped this picture of the orangutan - so reflective.
His hand to his forehead...I picture him thinking of all he must do the next week, or pondering some hi-jinks his kids have gotten into, or for today just thinking, "Wednesday is Hump Day"

Hope your week has been decent

Monday, November 12, 2018

Movie Review Madness - Bohemian Rhapsody

The first time I heard the song Killer Queen on the radio, I perked up my ears. This was a new and different sound and the lead singer’s voice soared effortlessly.  1970 – Freddie Mercury (lead singer), Brian May (guitar), Roger Taylor (drums), and John Deacon (bass guitar) formed Queen. The rest is another chapter in rock history. The film Bohemian Rhapsody brings the Queen story to life, and actor Rami Malek embodies the heart and soul of Freddie Mercury. He’s uncanny (and should be up for an Oscar).

I’ve read other reviews that say this film follows the usual rock story – struggling musicians, the big success, the excesses, the inevitable clashes, the egos, and the break-up/ final triumphs. Well, yeah – I’m very fine with that. Mercury was an outsider, in London with immigrant parents. He was always seeking his father’s approval, but knew he was different – meant to be a performer. And when he opened his mouth (his very unusual overbite mouth) – the voice of an angel emerged. Forming Queen – a group of misfits – the band explored and went beyond the norm. Their album, Night at the Opera, was groundbreaking. Bohemian Rhapsody, the song, was six minutes. What radio would play that? What are they singing? Is it gibberish? And operatic?

I enjoyed the film, the music, and Freddie’s story. He found true love early, but then strayed –confused, caught up in excess, but inherently lonely. The band was his family. And he did contract AIDS, was aware that his life was going to be cut short. He rallied the band back together to play Wembley stadium in England for Live Aid. Talk about taking a final curtain call – this was a performance for the ages. We are the Champions, We Will Rock You, Somebody to Love, and on and on.  Bohemian Rhapsody will stir you, make you want to stomp your feet and clap, and frankly sing-a-long like Wayne and Garth in a car.

Friday, November 9, 2018

Book Review - Clock Dance

I love Anne Tyler’s writing and Clock Dance does not disappoint. This is not my favorite of hers – I did like A Spool of Blue Thread more, but even lesser works are better than most. Trust me, Tyler knows how to capture ordinary folks (often “older”)  – their thoughts, their lives, and she gives them dignity and understanding. Often tough to do in this day and age.

Cover blurb:  Willa Drake can count on one hand the defining moments of her life.  1967 – schoolgirl coping with her mother’s disappearance. 1977 – college coed considering a marriage proposal. 1997 – young widow trying to piece her life back together. 2017 – yearning to be a grandmother.   Then one day, Willa receives a startling phone call from a stranger. She flies cross-country to look after a young woman she’s never met, her nine year old daughter, and a dog. This impulsive decision will lead Willa into uncharted territory.

Interesting and quirky, Willa turns out to have some nerve and backbone. She’s willing to say no to her stiff second husband, and continue her journey of self-discovery.  Clock Dance by Anne Tyler is full of surprises. We’re all fighting the battle against Father Time. This book is a lot about how we choose to do it – are we in charge? Or is time itself?


Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Wednesday Contemplation

I borrowed this from Robyn's 10/29/18 post.   Timely words to contemplate

Monday, November 5, 2018

Monday Election Eve - Vote

Tuesday , November 6, 2018 is another Election Day.  We are fortunate in America. The dates are set for elections - it's not random, it's not willy-nilly, it's not after one group dissolves, and others are formed. It's very regular and we get to choose.

Ray and I chose early voting.  We are a "divided" household and, no doubt, "canceled" out our votes. But we did it and we'll still be alive and talking on Wednesday morning.

Today is Monday. I hope you've done the same - early vote, or you'll be stopping at the polls on Tuesday between 7 am and 7 pm to give your vote, your opinion, and exercise your freedom.

Good luck, America!

Friday, November 2, 2018

Friday Miracles

Wednesday 10/24/18, Dr. Michael Blair, in just ten minutes executed a miracle. He removed a severe cataract from my left eye and did laser stuff that removed my extreme astigmatism. I awoke and could see the clock on the wall without glasses.

That has not been possible since third grade, age eight. ( am not ancient either - just born with bad eye genes. My father has already apologized!)

Wednesday 10/31/18, Dr. Michael Blair, in just ten minutes executed another miracle. He did the exact same thing on my right eye.

I can see........distance........without glasses.  For those of you who have always been able to see, you have NO idea of the magnitude.  For those of you with glasses....holy cow. I can see the clock when I wake up in the morning. I can see the stupid ESPN crawler at the bottom of the TV screen again.

Science miracles do occur.

Do not take vision for granted. There is so much to see and read. It's fabulous. I am awestruck.