Monday, January 30, 2023

The Philosophy of Modern Song by Bob Dylan

 The Philosophy of Modern Song by Bob Dylan is a very unique,  cool collection of essays on various songs. He waxes poetically and creatively on sixty six songs from the 1920s to now. It's like a master class on songwriting - Stephen Foster to Elvis Costello, Hank Williams to Nina Simone. The photos that  accompany his words add to the project. It is absolutely fascinating.  

What was extra fun - I had my phone handy and brought up the songs on i-Tunes. I played the song and then read the essay. It added a lot of depth to songs I might take for granted. 

Here's a quick example - Tutti Frutti by Little  Richard  1955

Little Richard was speaking in tongues across the airwaves long before anybody knew what was happening. He is the master of the double  entendre. Little Richard was anything but little. He's saying  that something is happening. The world's gonna fall apart. He's a preacher. "Tutti Frutti" is sounding the alarm. 

Each little essay is a treat (even on artists/songs  I didn't know) - I chuckled, I nodded, and this book had me dig out some old CDs I hadn't listened to in awhile. 

Thanks Bob!

Friday, January 27, 2023

Finally Friday - Lightscape Magic

On Thursday January 5th, Ray and I tripped the lights fantastic and walked the trails at the Fort Worth Botanic Gardens
This special Lightscape exhibit ran from Thanksgiving through the first week of January. I was excited to get tickets and we had a gorgeous evening - 60s and calm. 
There were some Christmas displays and music, but my favorite part was the nature lighting. Trees looked like otherworldly sculptures
Just so cool

 The Japanese Gardens proved mystical with huge lighted lily pads

This was a magical night. 

Enjoy your weekend folks. Hope you find some magic. 

Wednesday, January 25, 2023

Whatever Wednesday

 It’s the year of the water Rabbit, your year. Many things are going to change in your life this year, and this brings new opportunities, especially for relationships, career and creative projects. This is also a time of letting go. Rabbit natives need to release what hasn’t worked in your life. That might mean lightening the load by decluttering, letting go of difficult relationships or moving on from a dead-end job. This is an exciting year when you can go in a new direction and find out more about yourself.

Happy Lunar New Year  (well, back on Sunday)   But hey, we can celebrate any time. 

So  I wore my Eagles shirt on Saturday and they won.  I wore my Cowboys shirt Sunday and they went down in flames.  This Sunday I'll wear my Eagles sweatshirt and see what happens.  I know it's silly (and it kinda irks Ray), but what the heck. Sporty spice fun. 

Gotta laugh in the face  of this crazy world.

Hope your week in this Year  of the Rabbit is going  well. Hop  to it and try something new. 

Monday, January 23, 2023

Monday Moments - Our Missing Hearts by Celeste Ng

 Celeste Ng in Our Missing Hearts captures currents issues in a heartrending tale. How can civilized communities ignore searing injustice?  cover blurb: It's a story about the power - and limitations - of art to create change, the lessons  and legacies we pass on to our children, and how any of  us can survive a broken world with our  hearts intact. 

Bird Gardner, twelve, lives with his father in a very quiet way. Don't stand out. Don't ask questions. Don't stray. His mother, Margaret, a Chinese American poet has been gone for three years. 

New laws - PACT- preserve "American culture" to keep peace. Now children can be relocated from so-called  dissident parents, people of Asian background are persecuted, books have been removed that are deemed unpatriotic. (This includes Margaret Miu's poetry book) 

Bird receives a mysterious letter. Slowly he remembers his mother's stories, folktales, and goes on a quest to find her. Underground library networks lead the way to New York City. Will a new act of defiance begin much needed change? (cover blurb)

Celeste Ng is a beautiful writer and I hated to turn the last page. I could quote tons of paragraphs here filled with glorious phrasing. 

When are you ever done with the  story of someone you love? You turn on the most  precious of your memories over and over, wearing their edges smooth, warming then again with your heat. 

I highly recommend Our Missing  Hearts.  This book will touch yours. 

Friday, January 20, 2023

Movie Review - The Fabelmans

 Dear Steven Spielberg

        I love your movies sir and your reputation as a filmmaker is impeccable. The Fabelmans is your semi-autobiographical salute to your family, your youth, and to the love of film. We watch Sammy Fabelman (you) grow from  odd kid to odd youth, to an odd, enthusiastic creative young man. Your young man self  well played by Gabriel LaBelle realizes he has the touch, the eye, the magic to make films. With your eye behind the lens and the film churning, you can watch via your home films, the dissolution of your parents marriage. Your beloved father Burt (a superb Paul Dano) has worked hard. He loves you and the family and his quiet genius has perhaps missed some clues in regards to his wife. 

The creative bubbly mother, Mitzi (a glowing wistful Michelle Williams) is your muse. She can clown and she can collapse. And there's just a little  something  about "Uncle Bennie" (Seth Rogen) that doesn't seem quite right. 

I liked The Fabelmans. The acting was great, the filmmaking  solid (duh, you are  Steven Spielberg after all), and it was a good ode to the magic of cinema. 

However, one complaint.  Edit.  Edit. Edit.   This movie was  too long. We did not need 2-1/2 hours. Tighten things up sir. 

Your  fan


Wednesday, January 18, 2023

Whatever Wednesday - Murillo

17th century Seville, Spain.  Golden Age painter Bartolome Esteban Murillo focuses on earthly subjects like these two women leaning out a window. 
Or he often depicts life on the streets for beggars, street urchins, and the general masses. 

Plus he looks to the heavens with secular works of the divine. 

I had to kick off 2023 with a visit to the Kimbell Art Museum in Fort Worth to appreciate this special exhibit of fifty paintings done by Murillo.  From Heaven to Earth is a wonder - huge canvases with such rich colors and realism. Excellent exhibit to open the eyes and heart of this Murillo fan. 

Support your local museums in 2023 and enrich your life. 

Monday, January 16, 2023

Counterfeit by Kirstin Chen

 I kicked off my new year with some good reading. Gobbled up  this winner on January 1st. 

Counterfeit by Kirstin Chen is a stylish and feminist caper with a strong  point of view and an ax to  grind. Swift, surprising, and sharply comic, the book peers behind  the curtain of upscale designer storefronts and Chinese factories where luxury goods are produced.  (cover blurb)

Ava Wong seems to have it all but her life is crumbling - never really liked  law, marriage is teetering, and her toddler has issues. Now Winnie Fang, her old Stanford roommate from Mainland China appears back in CA transformed. She slowly draws Ava into her counterfeit luxury bag scheme. Who's the innocent here? Who's the real planner?  What really happens as Winnie vanishes, and Ava is on trial?

Chen gives some twists and turns as to who is telling this story and you'll question who you are  rooting for. This is slick, saucy, and provocative. I like a fun book  to start off a new year. Nothing like a good con artist. 

Thursday, January 12, 2023

Welcome Annalisa Crawford

Very delighted to bring you Annalisa Crawford's new book The Clock in My Mother's House and other stories.  I met her on line while blogging and have enjoyed her posts, newsletters, books, and her author success. 

Let's  see what she has to say:

Thank you, Joanne, for inviting me onto your blog today to help me celebrate the release of my new short story collection The Clock in My Mother’s House.

People often ask writers where they get their ideas from, and it’s a question we sometimes struggle with. For my novels, it’s impossible to answer because several (if not, many) elements converge over time until I have no memory of the inciting concept. Equally ideas rise in prominence and fall away never to be seen again.

However, as all the stories in my this collection were written relatively recently, it’s much easier to remember where I was and which nuggets of inspiration stuck – and hopefully it will whet your appetite to check out the book😉

Click – I stumbled across an article, one day, about an art exhibition where an artist had asked members of the public to send him photographs they could no longer bear to look at – those too sad or poignant or painful. Isn’t that just an incredible idea? (Just writing this has given me an great idea for something new, too.)

So, one of the photos was of an man walking away from the camera, which sparked an interest in the story behind it, and why it had been sent. The story records the break-up between the photographer’s mother and step-father.

All the Magpies Come Out to Play – This was my lockdown story, the story I swore I wouldn’t write because who’d want to read about the pandemic while it was still so large and raw. But a character, inspired by my dad who lived opposite me, appeared in my head, waving at her neighbour, just as my dad and I had done when we couldn’t meet in person. From there, I thought of the queues outside shops, as people were allowed in one at a time. I recalled the way neighbours helped each other, and the eerie silence across town as we all took our one-hour walk each day. I wrote this story in the summer of 2020, I was still on furlough, some lockdown measures about crowd sizes and mask-wearing were still in place, but people were returning to work and school.

Everything in the story was my real experience of how lockdown was in my town. It was published online, and many comments scoffed at my ‘fairy tale’ depiction, which only served to make me proud of the way my town, my friends and neighbours, stepped up to the challenge of keeping each other safe. It was early, remember, we had no way of knowing how the virus would affect us.

Vera Says… - Oh, it’s another Dad anecdote! My sister and I often went on road trips with my dad to see various air shows around the country. One trip, unbeknownst to us, my mum had fiddled with the settings on the sat-nav which meant that wherever we drove, the sat-nav became increasingly insistent we turned around and went a different way. My dad and the sat-nav had quite a few arguments that weekend. It was possibly on a different holiday that we named the sat-nav. It wasn’t called Vera, but we can’t remember what it was. Luckily, we made it to our destination. As do the characters in this story…


 Thanks so much Annalisa. You make it look easy, but I know you've put a lot of time, effort, and editing to bring your new book to fruition.  Now all we have to do is buy and read it! 

Here's a blurb to whet our appetite


The Clock in My Mother’s House

Life can change in an instant, but that’s not always a bad thing.

A hotel explodes leaving staff and guests in peril; a woman retrieves an old clock from the attic with disturbing consequences; one man leaves heart break behind him, and another arrives to bring adventure.

In this haunting collection, Annalisa Crawford creates characters who will charm, captivate and intrigue you.


Annalisa Crawford lives in Cornwall, UK, with a good supply of moorland and beaches to keep her inspired. She lives with her husband, and canine writing partner, Artoo. She is the author of four short story collections, and two novels.


Buy Links:




Wednesday, January 11, 2023

Whatever Wednesday

in our second week. How's the writing of your life going?
There's some beach  in our 2023 plans. We have the sunscreen ready

 No matter what occurred, TCU Horned Frogs can be football proud.  What a ride!

Monday, January 9, 2023

Monday Moments - Glass Onion Hilarity

 If you haven't seen Glass Onion: A Knives Out Movie yet, what are you doing that's more important? 

I'm ready to watch it again and try to pick up more pop culture references. This flick is an absolute hoot. Daniel Craig is back as Benoit Blanc, world's greatest detective. He's been invited to a tech billionaire's retreat with old college friends. A murder (Edward Norton - rich dude Miles Bron) is to occur and the gathered friends (Janelle Monae, Kathryn Hahn, Leslie Odom Jr., Kate Hudson, and Dave Bautista are to solve it. All in good fun. 

BUT...cue dramatic music. A real murder or two happens, plot twists abound, Benoit's skills are put to the test and how did he really get included?

So many little back  stories. Everyone has a reason to want Miles dead.  Benoit must truly peel back the onion to expose the truth. 

Great cast, clever script, excellent production. Just a fun escape. Join the fun in 2023 - it's a good start to your movie year. 

Friday, January 6, 2023

Finally Friday - Finally Saw New Black Panther Movie

 Better late than never. 

Ray and I ventured out to the theater and we were in Theater 17...that's almost out the door. It seats maybe twenty five people.  Anyway - Black Panther: Wakanda Forever on the Big Screen. 

Worthy date afternoon.  Movie is too long, but it's also really good. Excellent story line, super salute to Chadwick Boseman (alas, gone too soon), and the film is gorgeous. The worlds created - surface and water are fabulous. 

Very good acting. Letitia Wright as Shruri is lovely, smart, and excellent.  Angela Bassett is always so fierce as the Queen Mother. Yikes - don't cross her. 

Costumes, etc are Marvel superb. 

'Nuff said.  We were entertained. I would edit, edit, edit...but that's me. Lately, I have the attention span of a flea.  We enjoyed lunch at one of our fave local Tex-Mex places - Miguelitos. Yummy enchiladas. 

Came home for a walk (waddle) around the block. Christmas week, end of year, indulgence.  Hope you did the same. 


Wednesday, January 4, 2023

Whatever Wednesday - Wrong Place, Wrong Time - Wow

 I finished 2022 with a wow of a book - Wrong Place, Wrong  Time by Gillian McAllister. 

Jen waits for seventeen year old, Todd, to get home.  It's past curfew. She sees him coming up the street. In front of the house, another man appears. She shouts to wake her husband, Kelly. In front of her eyes, Todd stabs this man. Why?  What?  Why?

Wake up next morning and it's yesterday. 

Wake up and it's the day before yesterday. 

What is going  on with Jen? Can she prevent what she thinks happens? 

This combo time loop/ thriller/  mystery is filled with lots of twists and turns. 

Can't say more. McAllister writes a great story with quite a plot, interesting characters, and surprises. 

Start off your 2023 with a wow of a book. 

Monday, January 2, 2023

New Year - 2023

 Happy (?) New Year

It's Monday, January 2 2023 and we start anew. For me - the diet, exercise, new hobby, new.....whatever goals. 

My tiny world is solid. Ray and I shall forge ahead with pickleball, friends, laughs, and projects. More visits to state parks. 

The big world picture - it's beyond my pay grade.  But after reading Time Magazine's Person of the Year issue, I feel compelled to say that Ukraine - the country, the people, the fight is pivotal for 2023. 

Volodymyr Zelensky & The Spirit of Ukraine embody 2022 and beyond. 

Zelensky's statement about the loss of freedom in one nation erodes freedom in all the rest sums it up

"If they devour us, the sun in your sky will get dimmer"

' Nuff said