Thursday, March 31, 2016

Thursday Thoughts

As my long-time readers are aware, I am participating in April's A to Z Challenge.  After changing my plans several times, I have settled on a mixture of my own creative dabbling and random thoughts on topics that start with the respective letters.  Though the creative writing will be the majority of the posts.  Some new, some old, some old but recently re-worked.    

Top 10 Tuesdays are on hiatus.

Music Mondays and Film Fridays will continue, separately from the A to Z Challenge.  They might be published later in the day, as I'll be publishing my A to Z posts first.   

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

TMI Tuesday

I'll be taking some time off from Top 10 Tuesdays.

This is a list of questions I found on a blog I'm following.  I'm ignoring the ones I can't or don't want to answer.  There are 50 in the original.

Credit to for posting this list of questions.

1.  What are you wearing?
A dark blue ESPN Fantasy Football League Champion t-shirt, Hawaiian shorts ( a weird shade of green with pictures of Hawaiian people doing Hawaiian things) , blue socks, black boxer briefs, and glasses.  I'm at home now, so I'm not wearing my public clothes.

2.  Ever been in love?
Yes. With my best friend in college.

3.  Ever had a terrible break-up?
If friends can break up, yes.  See above.

4.  How tall are you?
Between 6'0" and 6'1" in bare feet.

5.  Any tattoos?
Yes.  Either 9 or 3. I have a cluster of sorts on each arm and one on my upper back.  I think there's nine, but other people have counted each cluster as one tat, which would make the total three.

6.  Any piercings?
No. I had my ears pierced for a brief time in the late 1990's.

7.  Favorite show?
Probably Seinfeld is my favorite all-time.  I don't have a TV currently.

8. Favorite bands?
Doors, Beatles, Stones, U2 back in the day, 10,000 Maniacs in their Merchant era, Garbage maybe.

9.  Something you miss?
Having hope for my future.

10.  Favorite song?
Ha.  I can't narrow it down to twenty, let alone one.

11.  How old are you?
Early 40's.

12.  Zodiac sign?

13.  Quality you look for in a partner?
Sexual Partner:  Sass.
Romantic Partner:  Decency.

14.  Favorite actor?
When I was young, it was John Wayne.  His movies were on TBS all the time.  Then it was Robert De Niro, because I had gotten more cynical.  Nobody now.

15.  Turn on?

16.  Turn off?
Diva attitude.

17.  Fears?
Losing my teeth.  Being homeless.  Prison.  Male health issues.

18.  Last time you said you loved someone?
1996 I think.  I don't tell people I love them unless I do.

19.  Last book you read?
An overview of the paintings at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C.

20.  The book you're currently reading?
The Schirmer Inheritance, by Eric Ambler, at night.  An album by album break-down of the Beatles' career in the daytime.  A collection of erotic short stories is in progress, but has stalled a bit.

21.  Last show you watched?
Miami Vice, on YouTube.

22.  Last person you talked to?
The cashier at the deli.

23.  The relationship between you and the person you last texted?
I don't have a texting gizmo.

24.  Favorite food?
I like the foods that are bad for me.  (sigh)

25.  Last place you were?
The deli up the street.

26.  Do you have a crush?
Not really, but not totally no I guess.  I have weird feelings about a barista, but it's complicated.

27. Favorite flavor of sweet?

28.  What instruments do you play?
None currently.  I played piano when I was young.  But I haven't played since college.

29.  Last sport you played?

30.  Who should answer these questions next?
Jenn, Birgit, GCO, and anybody whose blog I follow.  Or just whoever feels like it.       

Monday, March 28, 2016

Music Monday

It's Reba McEntire's birthday.  So let's get to it.

"Whoever's in New England"


"The Night the Lights Went Out in Georgia"

"Does He Love You" (with Linda Davis)

"If You See Him / If You See Her" (with Brooks and Dunn)

This is the last Music Monday before the Blogging A to Z Challenge. More info will be posted on Thursday.

Friday, March 25, 2016

Film Friday

It's Sarah Jessica Parker's birthday.  So let's get to it.

Footloose (1984):  A young SJP lives in a small town where dancing is forbidden. She has hopes and dreams, yet is shunted aside by her boot-wearing friend.  Not only does her friend land the rebel with all the dance moves, but our beloved SJP has to share her screen shot with an extra.     

L.A. Story (1991):  SJP now resides in L.A., where the weather is warm but Steve Martin's heart is cold.  Notice how the sun lightened her hair color. 

Honeymoon in Vegas (1992):  Engaged to Nic Cage but wooed by James Caan?  Oh my.  Also, as shocking as it may seem, there is gambling. 

Striking Distance (1993):  SJP has relocated to Pittsburgh, where she finds a river, or three.  Bruce Willis is a lonely boater. 

Sex and the City (TV Show) (1998 - 2004):  New York is the city.  SJP is a sex columnist whose three friends just happen to be blonde, brunette, and redheaded.  Notice how she's progressed over the years.  She's like an Amazon woman dominating the sign here. Not that I'm complaining. 

Questions for readers:  What do these four films and one TV show have in common?  (Other than SJP being in all of them.)

I used a different film summary style in this one than in previous posts.  Do you prefer this one or should I return to the IMDB summaries?    

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Top 10 Tuesdays - 10 Things I Like That Are French

For more Top 10 lists, go here:

1.  Baguette:  A long, thin loaf of French bread.  Slather some horse radish across the top and get to it. 

2.  Gilbert du Motier, Marquis de Lafayette:  Fought for the U.S. as a major general in the U.S. Revolution.  He later served as commander-in-chief of the French National Guard.      

3.  The Louvre:  Museum in Paris - Originally a fortress and subsequently a palace, it is now one of the largest museums in the world and the most visited. Da Vinci's Mona Lisa is here, as well as works by Michelangelo, Rembrandt, Raphael, and Vermeer.  I.M. Pei designed the pyramid in front of the main building. 

4.  Eiffel Tower:  An iron lattice tower in Paris.  It was constructed in 1889 as the entrance to the World's Fair.

5.  Baron Pierre de Coubertin:  Founder and second President of the International Olympic Committee and credited with the revival of the Olympic Games.  He also created the modern pentathlon.   

6.  Le Penseur:  Bronze sculpture by Auguste Rodin.  Also known as The Thinker.     

7.  French New Wave:  Term used by critics to refer to a group of French filmmakers in the late 1950s - 1960s.  They rejected the literary period pieces of the era and often addressed current social issues.  They also were known for experimenting with the film form.  Jean-Luc Godard, Francois Truffaut, Eric Rohmer, and Jacques Rivette were among the most notable of these filmmakers.

8.  Emmanuelle Beart:  Actress.  Eight-time Cesar Award nominee.  She won the Cesar for Best Supporting Actress for her performance in Manon des Sources (1986).  Here she is in La Belle Noiseuse (1991), which brought her a Cesar nomination.  Does her pose remind you of an earlier entry in this list?  Hmm?
 9.  Laetitia Casta: Actress and model.  She has appeared on the cover of Cosmopolitan, Vogue, and Rolling Stone, and in three consecutive Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issues, and was a Victoria's Secret Angel from 1998 - 2002.  In 2008, she won the Golden Swan for Best Actress at the Cabourg Film Festival for her role as Catherine in Born in 68.  In 2011, she was nominated for the Cesar fro Best Supporting Actress for her role as Brigitte Bardot in Gainsbourg.   

10.  Eva Green:  Actress.  In 2003, she was nominated for the European Film Award for Best Actress for her role as Isabelle in The Dreamers.  In 2006, she won the BAFTA Rising Star Award for her role as Vesper Lynd in Casino Royale.  In 2016, she was nominated for the Golden Globe for Best Actress in a TV Drama for her role as Vanessa Ives in Penny Dreadful.      

Monday, March 21, 2016

Music Monday

Eddie Money turned 67 today.  Let's get to it.  

"Two Tickets to Paradise"

"Think I'm in Love"


"Take Me Home Tonight" (with Ronnie Spector)

"Walk on Water"

Friday, March 18, 2016

Film Friday

I kind of told somebody I'd do a Woody Allen post, so let's get to it.

(All five feature Allen as a triple threat: actor, director, and writer (or co-writer).)

Take the Money and Run (1969):  The life and times of Virgil Starkwell, inept bank robber.   This is the film that put him on the map.  Before this, people had to stop at the gas station and ask directions. With Janet Margolin.

Annie Hall (1977):  Neurotic New York comedian Alvy Singer falls in love with the ditsy Annie Hall.  This is my favorite Woody Allen film.  Oscars for Best Picture, Best Director (Allen), and Lead Actress (Diane Keaton).  With Tony Roberts and Paul Simon. 

Broadway Danny Rose (1984):  In his attempts to reconcile a lounge singer with his mistress, a hapless talent agent is mistaken as her lover by a jealous gangster.  With Mia Farrow and Nick Apollo Forte.

Crimes and Misdemeanors (1989):  An ophthalmologist's mistress threatens to reveal their affair to his wife, while a married documentary filmmaker is infatuated by another woman.  This is my favorite of his "darker" films.  With Martin Landau and Sam Waterston.  Allen was nominated for a Best Director Oscar and Landau for Best Supporting Actor.

Manhattan Murder Mystery (1993):  A middle-aged couple suspects foul play when their neighbor's wife suddenly drops dead.  Golden Globe nomination for Diane Keaton. With Alan Alda and Anjelica Huston.

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Thursday Thoughts

Let's get our Irish on. 

Saint Brendan:  One of the Twelve Apostles of Ireland.  He founded a lot of monasteries.  He was also a skilled navigator famous for his 6th-century voyages.  The patron saint of sailors and travelers, and also of whales, though I'm not sure they know it.

The Great Famine:  Also known as the Irish Potato famine.  Potato blight led to mass starvation, disease, and emigration from 1845 to 1852.  Deaths estimated at a million.  The British role in the crisis led to an increase in Irish republicanism and independence for much of Ireland in the 20th century.

Oscar Wilde:  Playwright, novelist, and journalist in the late 19th century.  His notable works include The Picture of Dorian Grey (novel) and The Importance of Being Earnest (play).

Easter Rising:  Armed insurrection against British rule during Easter Week, 1916.  Also, the subject of a poem by William Butler Yeats (as read by Tom O'Bedlam).
Maureen O'Hara:  Actress and singer.  Her notable films include How Green Was My Valley (1941), Miracle on 34th Street (1947), and The Quiet Man (1952). She received an Honorary Oscar in 2014.

Van Morrison:  A musician who has won six Grammys.  He has been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the Songwriters Hall of Fame.  Here's "Brown Eyed Girl", from 1967.
Bloody Sunday:  January 30, 1972, in Derry.  Fourteen unarmed civilians were murdered by British soldiers, who also shot twelve other unarmed civilians. Many of the victims were shot while trying to flee the scene.  The British soldiers then lied about the incident, trying to justify their actions.

U2:  Rock band formed in Dublin in 1976.  They have won 22 Grammys and were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2005.
"With or Without You":
In the Name of the Father (1993):  Based o the true story of the Guildford Four, who were falsely convicted by the British of the 1974 Guildford pub bombings.  The film focuses primarily on Gerry Conlon and his father, Giuseppe.  Nominated for seven Oscars, including Lead Actor (Daniel Day-Lewis), Supporting Actor (Pete Postlethwaite), Supporting Actress (Emma Thompson), Best Director (Jim Sheridan), and Best Picture.
Pierce Brosnan:  Actor and film producer.  His notable roles include the title character in the 1980's TV series Remington Steele, James Bond in four films (1995 - 2002), and the title character in The Thomas Crown Affair (1999).  He was nominated for a Golden Globe for his role in The Matador (2005).

Anyway...  That's my ten.  There are a few others I considered, but I don't want to type a book here.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Top Ten Tuesday - Favorite Stores

This was a struggle for me.

Amazon dot com:  I've bought a lot of shirts and books through here.  Downloaded some music to my computer.  It's nice to shop online, but I have to have the items sent to my mom's house, because the UPS here stinks. So sometimes it takes a few months for me to get my stuff.

Book Depository:  They sell books and ship for free world-wide.  They use the USPS, so I can have them sent directly to me.  Sometimes, they include a free bookmark.  You can get some good deals on here if you wait for the right time.
Ross:  Cheap clothes, and I've bought a few rugs here.  Within walking distance of my apartment.

Macy's:  Another clothes store I can walk to, as I'm avoiding ending my sentences with prepositions.  It's wise to shop here when they have a sale.

J.C. Penney:  Yes. Another clothing store. They sell the hiking shoes I like.  I got a shirt for $2 last time I was here.  It's 4X so it totally covers my butt when I don't tuck it into my pants.

Barnes & Noble: Back in the day, this was the primo bookstore. Both in the physical world and online. 

Fifth Avenue Books:  Used bookstore.  I sell a lot of books to them after I read them. It's not much, but it's better than nothing. They have a good mystery / crime section.

Ralph's:  Grocery store.  Some good deals to be had, especially on stuff that's about to expire.

Babette Schwartz:  Kitschy gift shop that no longer exists.  They had Day of the Dead stuff and Dia de los Muertos stuff.  Bwahahahaha. Wonder Woman lunch boxes, silly cards, a lot of random goofy stuff.  Not all of it kid-friendly.

Villainous Lair:  A comic book shop. I had a pull list, so they saved the issues I wanted, and I only had to show up and buy them a couple times a year. They give discounts for people with pull lists, so that was cool. I'm just not reading comic books anymore. 


Monday, March 14, 2016

Music Monday

Albert Einstein was born on March 14, 1879.  So let's get our science on.

"Space Oddity" - David Bowie

"Rocket Man" - Elton John

"She Blinded Me with Science" - Thomas Dolby

"Weird Science" - Oingo Boingo

"The Future's So Bright, I Gotta Wear Shades" - Timbuk3


Friday, March 11, 2016

Film Friday

Recently deceased Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia would have turned 80 today.  So let's lawyer up.

The Verdict (1982):  A lawyer sees the chance to salvage his career and self-respect by taking a medical malpractice case to trial rather than settling.  Paul Newman, Charlotte Rampling.

Legal Eagles (1986):  A New York district attorney works and flirts with his adversary and her kooky artist client, who is on trial for a murder she didn't commit.  Robert Redford, Debra Winger, Daryl Hannah.
Note: I liked it, but the reviews seem mixed. 

A Few Good Men (1992):  Neo military lawyer Kaffee defends Marines accused of murder; they contend they were acting under orders.  Tom Cruise, Jack Nicholson, Demi Moore.
"You can't handle the truth!" - Col. Jessup (Nicholson)

My Cousin Vinny (1992):  Two New Yorkers are accused of murder in rural Alabama while on their way back to college, and one of their cousins--an inexperienced, loudmouth lawyer not accustomed to Southern rules and manners--comes in to defend them.  Joe Pesci, Marisa Tomei.
Note: Tomei won a controversial Oscar for Best Supporting Actress.

The Devil's Advocate (1997):  An exceptionally adept Florida lawyer is offered a job to work in New York City for a high-end law firm with a high-end boss - the biggest opportunity of his career to date.  Keanu Reeves, Al Pacino.

Others I considered include:  A Time to Kill (Matthew McConaughey), The Rainmaker (Matt Damon), and A Civil Action (John Travolta).

(Credit to IMDB for the one-sentence summaries.)   

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Top 10 Tuesday - Female Role Models

Today is International Women's Day.  So let's get to it.

(Organized by birth date)

1.  Susan B. Anthony (1820 - 1906):  For her work as an abolitionist and as a crusader for women's rights, especially suffrage.

2.  Harriet Tubman (1822 - 1913):  For freeing slaves through the Underground Railroad and her work as a Union spy during the Civil War, and after the war as a campaigner for women's suffrage. 

3.  Helen Keller (1880 - 1968):  Though both deaf and blind she learned to communicate and read Braille.  She graduated from Radcliffe with a B.A.  I still can't wrap my head around this one.

4.  Eleanor Roosevelt (1884 - 1962):  First Lady of the United States (1933 - 1945), U.S. delegate to the United Nations (1945 - 1952), Chairperson of the U.N. Commission on Human Rights (1946 - 1952), Chairperson of the Presidential Commission on the Status of Women (1961 - 1962).  As First Lady, she was an outspoken civil rights activist and was the first Presidential spouse to write a syndicated newspaper column.

5.  Frida Kahlo (1907 - 1954):  One of the most admired artists of the 20th century, despite severe health problems (due to a bus accident at age 18) that left her bedridden for months at a time and required 35 operations. Self-portrait:

6.  Babe Didrikson Zaharias (1911 - 1956):  She was the AP Female Athlete of the Year six times and was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 1951. She won two gold medals and a silver in track and field at the 1932 Summer Olympics. She was also an All-American basketball player.

Let's see what sportswriter Joe Williams, of the New York World-Telegram, had to say about her golf career at the time: It would be much better if she and her ilk stayed at home, got themselves prettied up and waited for the phone to ring.

7.  Sally Ride (1951 - 2012):  Ph. D. in Physics from Stanford.  NASA 1978 - 1987. First American woman in space in 1983.  Professor of Physics at U.C. San Diego, researching nonlinear optics and Thomson scattering.  As one does.  Only person to serve on both the Challenger and Columbia disaster investigation committees.

8.  Rita Dove (1952 - living):  Won the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry in 1987.  U.S. Poet Laureate 1993 - 1995. More importantly, a poet I don't mind reading.

9.  Jodie Foster (1962 - living):  Winner of two Lead Actress Oscars (The Accused and The Silence of the Lambs), as well as the Cecil B. DeMille Award at the 2013 Golden Globes.  While a freshman at Yale, she was stalked by John Hinckley Jr., who attempted to assassinate President Reagan to impress her.  She graduated magna cum laude, with a degree in Literature, in 1985.

10.  Angelina Jolie (1975 - living):  Winner of three Golden Globes (George Wallace, Gia, and Girl, Interrupted) and an Oscar (Girl, Interrupted).  She is a Special Envoy for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, having participated in dozens of field missions to refugee camps and war zones. She has funded wildlife preserves in Cambodia and the Kalahari Desert, advocated for and helped fund children's education in conflict-affected regions, funded several Council on Foreign Relations reports, and fronted a campaign against sexual violence in military conflict zones.  She has also done some other stuff, but I don't want to be typing all day.
Anyway, this list probably isn't as diverse as it should be.  But I hope there's a decent mix of accomplishments, goodness, and overcoming of obstacles.

Check out this blog if you want to see more Top 10 Tuesdays: