Monday, November 29, 2021

Monday Moments - What's in Your Queue?

 So, after a long holiday weekend are you stuffed with turkey and a lot of streaming? 

What's in Your Queue?   Here's a small listing of items I've watched over the last month.  (Yes, I still take plenty of time to read - see my book reviews on this blog)

Red Notice  - fun romp starring Dwayne Johnson, Ryan Reynolds, and Gal Gadot. High level thieves working the con and each other. This cast had a lot of fun (you can tell) and they exchange snark and riffs, all while looking fabulous. I was very amused.

King Richard - excellent flick starring Will Smith as Richard Williams. The man had a plan for his two girls, Venus and Serena, to get them out of Compton and into the tennis stratosphere. Yes, we know the outcome. However this film shows the two as loving sisters with immense talent. It's a strong family with a lot of faith. Mr. Williams was no saint, but you do come away with a better appreciation of his story. Oscar buzz for Will Smith - he is worthy. 

Tick...tick...boom - I loved the musical Rent. Jonathan Larson was a creative genius who sadly died way too young. This movie starring Andrew Garfield tells the tale of a young man approaching 30 who loves life in NYC and yearns for a winning show. Good music, acting, and a rather bittersweet tale. 

Passing - Tessa Thompson and Ruth Negga are superb as old high school friends who meet up again. Both are African American, but one is living/passing as a white woman married to a successful man. The other has stuck with her roots in Harlem, but as a light skinned woman can pass at times. Their lives in  1930s are complicated and both have to face the realities they created. 

The Harder They Fall - Regina King directed and stars in this kick-ass black western. Two different gangs are at war over towns. You've got the shoot outs, the saloons, the action at high noon. The scenery is gorgeous, the action is slick, and you've got a lot of horse riding. Not to mention Idris Elba - oh, he's bad (but so, so good at it).  Rather violent. Well done!

Shang Chi - Legend of the Ten Rings -  a Marvel movie that stands alone with an Asian cast. Simu Liu is really good as the reluctant hero who was trained and has a lot of ancient power handed down through his family. Now he must face his father and the past. Akwafina is very funny. Michelle Yeogh - always classy with a quiet power. This is sheer entertainment. 

Friday, November 26, 2021

Happy Turkey Birthday and Weekend, Lori

Yesterday - Thanksgiving Day November 25th was my little sister's birthday.  She's our turkey. 

Here with our Nana Crowther

Lori - all happy in a new vest in front of her townhome
Chilling on the Brooklyn Bridge
Always a party with Dad
and back in 2011 in Ashville - hanging with Ray and our sister-in-law Cherie

Happy Birthday Lori!! Hope it was a good turkey day (with some chocolate cake too!). Enjoy your weekend and bask in the glow of another year. You are the best!!    Love - Big sis  J

Wednesday, November 24, 2021

Movie Review Madness - Spencer

 Tired of Princess Diana yet?  Her character was last seen on The Crown and I thought it was well done. There's also Diana: The Musical on Broadway. Plus numerous documentaries, books, etc etc etc. 

Now in Spencer, Kristen Stewart plays Diana in crisis over a Christmas weekend at Sandringham House. She is on her old home turf - literally seeing the home where she grew up, now a boarded up wreck - from the Queen's estate. She's on the "outs" with everyone (family, servants, etc) observing her, tailing her, and questioning her every mood. Her bulemia is out of control. Her marriage is an obvious mistake as she and Charles barely speak and she can see the exact gift of  pearls she received on Camilla's neck at Sunday church service. 

This is not a straightforward re-telling of this weekend. It's almost a stream of consciousness from Stewart, and a bit of bonkers thrown in. The woman is alone. Her only joys are her sons and as kids do, they sense her distress. The acting is great as well as Diana's walk, mannerisms, and speech. Stewart still projects a bit less fragile demeanor than that of the Diana we see from interviews. However, it's a worthy performance in an odd film. I'm glad I saw it, but it's not for everyone. 

Monday, November 22, 2021

Monday Moments

Monday moment - This is a curvy road near my dad's that has an ancient little bridge next to an old mill.  It always feels like a step back in time. You can picture horse and carriage days around 1776. 

Feeling reflective as we begin Thanksgiving week. I'll be staying in TX with Ray, and shall probably go to his aunt's in south TX over next weekend. Meanwhile, I'll be wishing I was in PA too - hang with dad and siblings. 

Afoot and light-hearted I take to the open road.../ The east and the west are mine, and the north and the south are mine - Walt Whitman

As you move through change things slightly, leave marks behind...And in return, life - travel - leaves marks on you -  Anthony Bourdain

Safe travels for those who head out this week on a journey to your family, your past...or onward to something new. 

Friday, November 19, 2021

Finally Friday

I shall use a backdrop of assorted Thanksgiving theme pics to share some recent quotes I've found and liked.   All very random - as is my usual style
Is it politically point out that life is worth living because of a blackbird's song, or a yellow elm in October?   George Orwell. 

     Or I'll say a nifty tree dramatically lit against a November sky?

If two people love each other there can be no happy end to it    Ernest Hemingway

Oh, Ernest - have you never walked with someone under the bower of trees and shuffled through autumn leaves?    I guess not if you are drinking too much in the Florida Keys. 

I'll throw in an oldie Thanksgiving pic of Dad, me, and my sister Lori at a Thanksgiving in Delaware. After a lovely meal we went to a local beach in Lewes DE and enjoyed a brisk day 

 Finally - my $3 felt turkey find at Target.  It brings me joy on our kitchen table. born at the moment when one man says to another "What! You too?"  C.S. Lewis

I am fortunate. As a talker and listener, you do find that common ground if you actually engage with people.  

Have a good Friday and weekend.  

Wednesday, November 17, 2021

Wednesday Whimsy - Movie Review on The French Dispatch

 Wacky, whimsical.  It's Wednesday, folks and I've got a director, Wes Anderson, film to review.  The French Dispatch is weird (in a good way). The man has a unique style and this one checks off his quirks. 

1. Cast of a heck of a lot - Bill Murray, Frances McDormand, Owen Wilson,  Tilda Swinton, Timothee Chalamet, Adrian Brody, and more

2. Bright colors and vivid sets

3. Animation sequence

4. Words.  There are a lot of words spoken and many hilarious throwaway lines. The script is superb

5. Vignettes. He likes small stories  that all pull together  to one big theme. I like these small stories that feature so many great actors and so many little moments. 

I came home and  told Ray, "You would have hated this."  And that's okay. With a Wes Anderson film, you have to know what you are going in to see and you have to be in a mood for some wacky. 

That sums me up on a Sunday morning five dollar matinee. And there you go for some whimsy, quirky, and Wednesday whatever. 

Monday, November 15, 2021

Monday Moments - All In by Billie Jean King

Wow is all I can say about this autobiography - ALL IN.

  Billie Jean King is flat out an amazing woman. 

cover blurb - This inspiring and intimate self  portrait by her, the champion of equality, that encompasses her brilliant tennis career and unwavering commitment to social justice even as she was engaged in a private struggle to publicly and unequivocally be her true self. 

I dog eared so many pages in ALL IN. Billie Jean King was raised in a loving family, she worked hard at tennis, and she was a rebel who kept asking, "Why? and Why not?" in regards to women - pay, attention, freedom, etc. So much occurred against the backdrop of the civil rights movement, women's movement, the Cold War, 1960s protests, and LGBTQ+ rights movements. She struggled to be authentic and her health suffered at times. 

But she was at the right place at the right time and just never said no. She has a spirit that shines the light for so many and she continues to fight today for equity and inclusion. 

p.376 If you're in the business of change, you have to be prepared to play the long game.  

She also asks, "When this is done, will we have helped make the world a better place?"

Oh Billie  - yes you have.  As Elton John wrote in the song Philadelphia Freedom (her tennis team)- Shine the light, oh shine the light...

She still is!


Friday, November 12, 2021

Friday Book Review - Magic Hour by Kristin Hannah

 p. 19 It was Magic Hour, the moment in time when every leaf and blade of grass seemed separate, when sunlight, burnished by the rain and softened by the coming night, gave the world an impossible beautiful glow. 

Magic Hour by Kristin Hannah is incandescent in its story about resilience, hope, and home. 

A six year-old girl appears out of the deep woods in the Pacific Northwest into a small town. She is speechless, filthy, alone, and is hiding high up in the trees. 

Dr. Julia Cates, child psychiatrist, has been at the center of a scandal and her career is in ruins. This crazy timing has her sister Elle, a police officer, ask for help for this isolated fearful child - a prisoner of her obviously horrible past. Julia has to work to uncover "Alice's" history,  unlock some vocabulary, teach her to trust again, and basically domesticate this poor kid. 

back blurb - The shocking facts of Alice's life test the limits of Julia's faith and strength, even as she struggles to make a home for Alice - and for herself. 

Kristin Hannah knows how to tell a tale and this is based off a news story she had read about some kids found in the wild. Magic Hour is fiction but she's done her research on kids and trauma. The townsfolk, the friends, the community come together to help the "wolf girl."  Like life, there are ups and downs, and some twists and turns. However, Hannah weaves quite a tale and when all is said and done, it is magic. Enjoy. 

Wednesday, November 10, 2021

Whatever Wednesday

The Fort Worth Botanic Gardens has a conservatory. Enjoy these exotic flowers and plants as we have a whatever Wednesday. 
Hope your week is blossoming
Take a moment and appreciate the intricacies of this plant
Look for a pop of color as you stroll through the week

 On a more serious note - Maria Ressa, co-founder and CEO of the news site Rappler in the Philippines, won the Nobel Peace Prize. She was convicted of  "cyber libel"  by her government last year, and has been unable to travel abroad. Hopefully she can get a flight to Oslo for the ceremony. 

She says after the 10th anniversary of Rappler - It just shows the role that journalists play. Without facts, you can't have truth. Without truth, you can't have trust. How can you have democracy without that? This the fabric that holds us together: shared reality. 

Words to ponder on a Wednesday. 

Monday, November 8, 2021

Monday Meander Book Review - A Good Long Drive by Bob Phillips

 Fifty seasons. That's how long Texas Country Reporter has aired in Texas. Cover blurb: It focuses on "ordinary people doing extraordinary things."  And at the center of it is Bob  Phillips, the show's creator and host - an erstwhile poor kid from Dallas who ended up with a job that allowed him to rub elbows with sports figures, entertainers, and politicians but who preferred to spend his time on the back roads, listening  to less-famous Texans tell their stories. 

A Long Good Drive by Bob Phillips is a folksy memoir.  He tells of his early days as a student at SMU, his internships, and jobs in broadcasting. This greenhorn learned the ropes, worked any and all hours, and often created as his life evolved. He acknowledges a lot of luck  along the way as well as excellent mentors who saw his potential. He learned  to ask the right questions and his natural curiosity and interest in people helped ordinary folks open up on camera. 

p.137  A possible story on the show... It's not what it's about. It's about the story behind the story. That's what Texas Country Reporter is all about. Stop, listen, and watch, and you'll probably learn that there is a hidden gem somewhere in a story. 

cover blurb  Spanning generations,  A Good Long Drive is proof that life's journey really is a destination unto itself.  Bob Phillips is  a good storyteller and this memoir  was interesting, amusing, and a fun quick read. Grab a snack and enjoy the ride. 

Friday, November 5, 2021

Sail into the Weekend

I went for a walk in my dad's neighborhood a week ago and plucked the prettiest fallen leaves from the street.  I often say look up. In this case, looking  down offered surprises. 
Stop and smell the late blooming roses
Let's sail into the weekend despite any storm clouds surrounding us.  This is Lake Noxamixon (sp?) up in PA. 
The colors weren't quite popping on this October day.  But fall is here
More leaves. I brought a bouquet of them back to my father. He wanted to see fall colors, and was very pleased with my collection

 Have a good weekend everyone. Ray's off deer hunting to his aunt's place. I'll have the place to myself and the big screen remote in hand at night to watch no sports. What's in your queue right now? I like The Morning Show on Apple +

Wednesday, November 3, 2021

Whatever Wednesday - Turner's Modern World

Always enlightening to pop into your local art museum and check out what's new. Currently at the Kimbell in Fort Worth - Turner's Modern World.  I learned the J.M.W. Turner (1775-1851) embraced his time and covered a lot of subjects. Themes of conflict, technology, social and political causes were addressed in his paintings and sketches. 

 exhibit brochure - As time passed, he employed increasingly luminous color and innovative brushwork. Turner's radical approach to paint and composition in his mature work shows the artist paying tribute to the transformed world of modern experience. 

I spent about an hour at the exhibit and came away even more impressed and entranced. His colors - skies, seas - are so distinctive. And indeed,  his brushwork gives texture and drama to any scene. I've always been a Turner fan and this show made for a fun Sunday afternoon. 

Art stirs the soul

Monday, November 1, 2021

Monday Book Madness - The Hypnotist's Love Story by Liane Moriarty

I needed a light breezy read with some twists. Liane Moriarty is always good for a tale, and The Hypnotist's Love Story did not disappoint. 

Ellen is a self-employed hypnotherapist living in her inherited beachfront home in Australia.  cover blurb - It's a nice life, except for her tumultuous relationship history. She's stoic, but would like something long term.

Enter Patrick - employed, attractive, single, and they fall for each other. BUT, he's actually a widower with an eight year old son. For Ellen, that's not a deal breaker. Everything is going along swimmingly. 

Then, Patrick informs her he has a long time stalker. Ex-girlfriend, Saskia, is obsessed.  cover blurb - Ellen thinks that's actually kind of interesting. She's dating someone worth stalking. She's intrigued by the woman's motives. In fact, she'd even love to meet her.

Ellen doesn't know it, but she already has.    Whoa!

Fun read with good pacing, interesting characters, some twisted motivations, and drama too. 

I was hypnotized and kept the pages turning.