Monday, December 18, 2023

Monday, Monday

 No one told me the Lions were playing last night so I missed the game but instead enjoyed THE SHOP AROUND THE CORNER, which is probably one of the movies I have seen the most times.The chemistry between Steward and Sullivan lights up the screen. She had a rather tragic life, ending in suicide. So much better than YOU'VE GOT MAIL.

I also saw MAESTRO this week, which I liked except I wish they had used more music in it. And this thing of having characters talk overlapping each other is driving me crazy. But well acted and directed. 

On TV I am watching SLOW HORSES still. Such a great series. Also watching the last series of DOC MARTIN, which is long past its sell -by date but I have to finish it out. JULIA is charming and more meaty than it had to be. I started SCIENCE FAIR: THE SERIES on Hulu about various high school teams preparing to enter a Science Fair. These kids are scary smart.

Remarkable weather for December. 

Megan's book (BEWARE THE WOMAN) was recommended on PBS WORLD NEWS on Friday. All the texts I got about it were from people over 70. Does anyone under 70 watch the news anymore? 

I am reading but nothing you need a title for. A long time since I read a real knockout book. 

I will probably skip this next Monday since it is Christmas. Have a good one.


Jerry House said...

Althpugh you may skip next Monday's post, Patti, I cannot skip wishing you a great Christmas and a fantastic 2024!

Although Erin graduated from college earlier this year, she still needed to take one additional class -- the dreaded Physics. She finished that course this week and felt like heavy burden had been lifted from her shoulders. She is also rethinking her future career. She had planned to apply to veterinary school, but after working since graduation as a vet tech she realized that she enjoyed doing that more than she would being an actual veterinarian. What she loves more than anything is working directly with the animals and, surprisingly, that is what the techs do far more tha the vets themselves. If she changes her mind any time in the future, she can always apply to veterinary school then.

My neice Dawn is in a bit of a funk. Her cat, Dante, died last week at the ripe age of 18. We had gifted her with Dante many years ago and he has been her beloved companion ever since. I am hopeful she will find another worthy companion in the near future. It is amazing the hold an animal can have over you.

Cold, overcast, drizzly weather this week, so no extended beach time. Yesterday, however, we did get dressed up and go to the beach for family photos. We posed against a sand duen and by the seagrass overlooking Santa Rosa Sound durng a very light rain. Proud to report that I did not break the camera.

Christina is signing us up for the next major family craft project for some time in January, making stained glass mosaics. I will be making a bear and it will be fierce. Other family projects in the past have included pottery, painting classes, and ax throwing. As the saying goes, the family that does weird things together...does weird things together.

I spent most of the latter part of the week updating part of my blog from Monday, the 11th. I had compiled a comprehensive alphabetical summary of all the 2023 recommended reading lists of mystery books that J. Kingston Pierce had been posting on his THE RAP SHHET blog since November, starting with the 41 lists he had posted as of the 11th. Since then, he has added 20 additional lists, some quite lengthy. He didn't add anything yesterday, but I suspect there will be quite a few more added over the next few days. I'll keep this up until the end of the year.

Books read this week were ROBICHEAUX by James Lee Burke; two Max Allan Collins titles (my Not-Forgotten Books this week), TOO MANY BULLETS, a Heller novel about the Bob Kenneday assissination and one of the best in a great series, and DIG TWO GRAVES, with Mike Hammer in a mythic tale of vengeance, betrayal, and dual identities; THE FIRST RULE, a Joe Pike novel by Robert Crais; Craig Johnson's THE LONGMIRE DEFENSE. Cassanra Khaw's THE SALT GROWS HEAVY. a lush literary fantasmagoria of body horror and primal fears -- one of the best horror novels of the year; and William F. Nolan's CARNIVAL OF SPEED, a collection of early articless about automobile racing (Nolan was able to make the subject interesting even to this non-racing fan). Good stuff all. The only clunker this week was UKULELE OF DEATH by "E.J. Copperman" (Jeff Cowen), the first in proposed series featuinrg Fran and Ken Stein, artificially created private detectives. For a while there it looked like the book would pick up speed, but the conceit behind the plot just did not work for me and the hunmor seemed very strained. Coming up, VERA WONG!

I'm off now to begin wrapping my Christmas prsents, something I dread. Kiity (loved her more than life itself) had one major flaw. After the kids were grown she stopped wrapping presents, and would just hand them out in black plastic trashbags. She really HATED wrapping presents, and I never got the hang of it. Maybe I'll do better this year than last...

Stay safe, Patti, and Merry Ho! Ho! Ho1

pattinase (abbott) said...

I want to see the photos on the beach, Jerry. What a fun thing to be able to do. I hate wrapping too and some years I use gift bags but black trash bags is more fun.

George said...

Diane and I returned from our unusual trip to Ohio to help Diane's sister who broke her thumb. Diane and I never travel in December, January, or February. But the weather was in the 50s and Diane wanted to help her sister whose injury was messing with her Life. Diane prepared Carol's meals, vacuumed her house, decorated Carol's Christmas tree, while I bought a couple of pizzas and a bunch of desserts. Carol was sad to see us leave!

Patrick is on his first cruise ever. He's in the Caribbean being mentored by my sister, Karen, who has been on over 100 cruises. Katie is in London, England with a friend. They're going to some plays and musicals. Both kids will fly to Buffalo at the end of this week for a snow-free Christmas. Last year, we were buried in snow!

Merry Christas, Patti!

Kevin R. Tipple said...

Merry Christmas, Patti.

Jeff Meyerson said...

I agree on THE SHOP AROUND THE CORNER, probably Sullavan's best role of those I have seen. YOU'VE GOT MAIL, even with Hanks, didn't come close. We saw the 1994 revival of the musical adaptation, SHE LOVES ME, with Boyd Gaines, who was very good.

We'll probably watch MAESTRO this week. We did watch the apocalyptic LEAVE THE WORLD BEHIND over the weekend, with Julia ROberts, Ethan Hawke & Mahershela Ali. Well acted. I haven't read the book, but in reading about it I see some major changes were made.

Yes, JULIA has been very pointed - rightfully so, as in the White House episode. David Hyde Pierce is very subtle as Paul.

If you have a problem with time travel/alternate time sequences you might not like it, but otherwise I loved Lee Goldberg's CALICO. I'm a fan of Val McDermid's Karen Pirie series, but found her latest, PAST LYING, slow in parts due to the setting of Edinburgh during the early days of the Covid lockdown. It's hard to interact when you can't see other people in person. Also, it takes quite a while for the story to clarify. Nevertheless, good book by a favorite author.

We watched the first two episodes of the second series of REACHER (three are available so far) and enjoyed them, but then it was based on one of the better books in the series. My favorite thing was a quote reprinted by Steve Lewis on his blog about star Alan Ritchson, "Alan Ritchson makes Tom Cruise look like one of Santa's helpers."

The Swedish DETECTIVE #24 is quite interesting in that the star is such an unsympathetic, self-obsessed woman who never seems to improve. She is helping the Ethiopian guy because he is clearly quite smart and helps her with the case (and helps her keep her job!), but the second she think she no longer needs him she drops him and blocks his phone calls. (Then she needs him again, so reverses herself.) And yet, it is different enough from the usual crime show to keep your attention.

We started the second series of the Scottish CRIME and are watching SHETLAND and JULIA as episodes become available, as well as series 24 of MIDSOMER MURDERS (Deb's favorite).

Have a great week, and Merry Christmas to all who celebrate it.

Steve Oerkfitz said...

My first post in awhile. I spent 8 days in the hospital. Had several things going on. The worst was I had hiccups for 9 straight days. Never let up once. They performed a surgery to widen my esophagus. Then came home and spent a week trying to raise my blood pressure. Fine now although a little weak yet.
Haven't seen any new movies since Napoleon which was okay but not great.
Watching Fargo which is having a good season. Rewatched the new Criterion edition of The Last Picture Show. Bogdanovich's best film.
Reading The Strange by Nathan Ballingrud. Read a very strange but well written horror/sf novel Leech by Hiron Ennes, My Darkest Prayer by A. S. Cosby, A God i n Hiding by Matthew Hughes, and World Without a Song by Jeff Tweedy.
Merry Christmas everyone.

Todd Mason said...

I'm not quite 60 yet, but like a 90yo (?), don't text! Perhaps more later, but if not, indeed, happy festivals for everyone!

Todd Mason said...

Sorry for the rough patch, Steve. Glad you might be past it all for now.

pattinase (abbott) said...

That must be a record for cruises. Patrick will be well-prepared. The book of LEAVE THE WORLD BEHIND was better but I enjoyed the TV version. I guess it was originally planned for a theater.
Loved the Val McDermid's I have read but not one in a while. The first of Season 2 Reacher was pretty good. He is still a little wooden to me but maybe Reacher is too.
Snowing here today but I don't think it will amount to much.
So sorry for what you've been through, Steve. Phil had the hiccups several times for days but never that long. Wow. My only issue with FARGO is how visually dark it is. Or maybe it's my tv. Or eyesight?
Maybe his only good movie. (LPS). I hope Jeff (and all of you) gets to see SLOW HORSES at some point. It is really exciting.

Jerry House said...

Steve, we all at one time or another have had hiccups in our health, but nothing compared to you. Glad you are feeling better and hope you have a wonderful holiday.

TracyK said...

Steve, it must have been very frustrating to have hiccups for nine days. I cannot imagine. Plus other problems, and in the hospital for eight days! The last time I was in the hospital it was only two days and it seemed like an eternity. I hope you keep getting better and stronger every day.

Jeff Meyerson said...

Bogdanovich's best, but I enjoyed some of the others. PAPER MOON. Loved, loved, loved Madeline Kahn in anything. "Let ol' Trixie sit up front with her big tits." She was wonderful in THE SISTERS ROSENSWEIG, for which she won her Tony. THEY ALL LAUGHED had Audrey Hepburn in her last lead, with Ben Gazzara, John Ritter, Colleen Camp, the late Dorothy Stratten.

Yes, he has a rather limited range as Reacher, but I guess that fits the character.

Todd Mason said...

Condolences, Jerry, for Dawn and all the rest of you who will miss Dante the cat. Non-humans who live with us remain (one hopes) friends. Cats will knead us, rub us with their faces, fall asleep on us, and some will even clean us as much as we can stand that rasp of their tongues. It's easy to grow used to that. And vet techs, like nurses for humans, certainly tend to be more on-hand, indeed.

Even given its goofy fanboyisheness at points, I retain an affection for PB's first film, TARGETS, which remains Too Damned Relevant (inspired by the tower sniper, Charle Whitman, killing random U Texas campus people), as well as the last good role Boris Karloff would have (as basically himself, the character weary but game much as BK apparently was at that point). PAPER MOON as well as LPS are in the decent column for me, as well, and I certainly enjoyed WHAT'S UP DOC? as a child.

I know how to wrap books and similar boxes. Beyond those, rather easy tasks, a bag might well be the better choice...

Good for you, George, in helping out your sister in law.

And a happy Xmas even for those who don't celebrate it! Holidays, even as ordinary days for we infidels, can be more or less pleasant, always prefer the former. 3 days til Solstice...happy/happier end of the year!

pattinase (abbott) said...

I am very sorry I have never been able to be around cats (except with Benadryl) or been able to know a dog. I am sure I have missed something special.
I guess PB came across so badly in the podcast YOU MUST REMEMBER THIS that is soured me on his films.

pattinase (abbott) said...

In re: to the treatment of his wife, Polly Platt especially.

Jeff Meyerson said...

Absolutely. Cybill Shepherd was 20, I think when he "chose" her for LAST PICTURE. He was 31 and married nearly 10 years.

Jeff Meyerson said...

I meant to say (like Todd) that I know how to wrap boxes (and other parcels, after all those years selling books and shipping them to people.

TracyK said...

We have had a bit of rain here, and hope to have more in the next few days. Last week I had blood tests and a CT Scan for some pain in my left abdominal area. The CT scan showed nothing serious or anything that could be causing the pain.

Jerry, I sympathize with Dawn and the loss of her cat. Cats definitely can have a hold over you and it takes a while to get over it.

We have watched a lot of new (to us) or different TV stuff in the last week. Started DR. WHO, Season 11, with Jodie Whittaker. Started BOSCH LEGACY season 2, which was problematic for Glen. Don't want to spoil it for anyone who plans to watch it, but we disliked the ending of episode 1 and hope it resolves quickly. We watched another MST3K Christmas episode (Mexican movie: SANTA CLAUS). And an MST3K episode set at a ski resort, one of my favorites: AVALANCHE with Rock Hudson and Mia Farrow. Also we finally watched SEE HOW THEY RUN with Sam Rockwell and Saoirse Ronan. We enjoyed that, although it took me a while to get into it and I had a few quibbles.

I am reading WINTER SOLSTICE by Rosamunde Pilcher. I have never read anything by Pilcher and was curious. I am enjoying it a lot, more than I expected, which is good since it is over 500 pages.

Glen says:
Am now reading SUNLESS SOLSTICE: Strange Christmas Tales for the Longest Nights and the ratio of good to sort of disappointing is much better than normal for short story collections.
Among the interesting and unfamiliar authors is Lettice Galbraith who wrote around eight excellent stories in the late 1800s and then vanished as a writer.
Also good is E. Temple Thurston who - along with strange stories - wrote a popular 1909 novel I want to read for the wonderful title: The City of Beautiful Nonsense.

Todd Mason said...

PB is indeed not a guy I'd like to hang around with, from what I've seen/heard of him. But, then, this is true of Bob Zimmerman/"Dylan" (just discussing him elsewhere) and a whole raft of other people in the public eye.

Todd Mason said...

I'll have to check into the Mystery Science treatment of AVALANCHE, Tracy! And I'm picking up a LOT of new/old unexplored-by-me horror lit tips, today, among other writing...

pattinase (abbott) said...

And apparently Polly Platt did much to improve his movies during their marriage and was never credited (by him). I read a lot of RP in my pre-mystery days. Love Sam Rockwell. He should have had a bigger career.

Todd Mason said...

(PBS NEWSHOUR is the Official Title. ABC does the WORLD NEWS [TONIGHT] branding, and probably trademarked it. CBS EVENING NEWS, NBC NIGHTLY NEWS, FOX NEWS DRIBBLE, NewsNation's "America's source for fact-based, unbiased news for all America." will probably? be providing its right-wing newscast to the CW network stations soon, inasmuch as they simulcast the 4th GOP Pres Candidates debate on NN and CW.)

Todd Mason said...

(Well, Fox Broadcasting belongs to Disney these days, so it's So Very Corporately Woke, as DeMeatball would insist...and gets no news, I believe, from News Corp/Fox News Channel.)

Gerard Saylor said...

Two days late. I had a vacation day Monday and spent the day napping, walking the dog, painting, cleaning, napping, and other housework.

I try to watch NewsHour every day. They offer the best news broadcast I have found.

In a tie-in to scummy directors and Mia Farrow films, the documentary on the family's Woody induced disintegration had her mention how she had to travel for work. By necessity she took jobs that were real schlock.

I've not seen second season of REACHER. Jack Reacher always seemed borderline psychopath to met. A lack of emotion is fitting.