Sunday, July 31, 2022

July Words of Wisdom

There are only two emotions that belong in the saddle: one is a sense of humor, and the other is patience. --John Lyons
Create safe and beautiful space inside yourself, and grow there. --Dede Hawkins
My happy place is at home, in my little corner. In can wear my comfy PJ's, drink my coffee and have no interaction with negative, rude, and jealous people. --Unknown
And sometimes I have kept my feelings to myself, because I could find no language to describe them in. --Jane Austen 
No matter what society says, it's okay to say, "Nah, that's not for me." --Unknown

The state of your life is nothing more than a reflection of the state of your mind. --Dr. Wayne Dyer
The greater the difficulty the more glory in surmounting it. Skillful pilots gain their reputation from storms and tempests. --Epictetus 
We cannot live better than in seeking to become better. --Socrates
One drop of truth can outweigh an ocean of lies. --Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn
I would unite with anybody to do right and with nobody to do wrong. --Frederick Douglas

Old age is no place for sissies. --Bette Davis
We can't be an institution that can be bullied into giving you just the outcomes you want. --Clarence Thomas
The moral test of government is how that government treats those who are in the dawn of life, the children; those who are in the twilight of life, the elderly; and those who are in the shadows of life, the sick, the needy and the handicapped. --Hubert Humphrey
Man matures when he stops believing that politics solves his problems. --Nicolas Gomez Davila
That men do not learn very much from the lessons of history is the most important of all the lessons of history. --Aldous Huxley 

Violence does not spring from a vacuum. It's born out of other men's violence. It gets nurtured and it grows in a soil of prejudice and of hate and of bigotry. --Rod Serling

We make men without chests and expect of them virtue and enterprise. We laugh at honour and are shocked to find traitors in our midst. We castrate and bid the geldings to be fruitful. --C.S. Lewis
Peace if possible. Truth at all costs. --Martin Luther
Educating the mind without educating the heart is no education at all. --Aristotle 

The secret of freedom lies in educating people, whereas the secret of tyranny is in keeping them ignorant. --Maximilien Robespierre
The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. To be your own man is hard business. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. But no price is too high to pay for the privilege of owning yourself. --Rudyard Kipling

As long as you know your heart and intentions are pure, don't explain yourself to anyone. --Unknown

Thursday, July 28, 2022

A day at The Huntington

Last week, The Brother and I headed over to The Huntington Library, Art Museums, and Botanical Gardens. It's too much to do in one day, but we covered most of it. We made it to the Chinese and Japanese gardens, the Library, and European art gallery. We did miss the American art gallery, which is a bummer because they have a Hopper and my favorite statue, Zenobia in Chains, and I was hoping to see them again. Next time.

The Huntington also has one of my favorite gift shops. It's where I got my Marie Antoinette salt and pepper shakers, in fact, they're still carrying this item. This time around I got a really pretty Ramen bowl and these socks:

The Great Catsby. LOL.

Some more pics from The Huntington:
Serious money = your own chapel, complete with stained-glass windows.

 The Chinese Garden:

The Japanese Garden:

Wednesday, July 27, 2022

The magnificent feud

I've been rewatching Feud: Bette and Joan on Hulu, and it's even more fantastic than I remember from when it first aired on FX in 2017. It isn't available on DVD for some reason, and Amazon charges for it even with Prime, so I haven't seen it since its first run. Highly recommended.
This show should have cleaned up at the Emmys. It received a boatload of nominations, but only won for hair and makeup for a limited series. Susan Sarandon is absolutely magnificent as Bette Davis. You feel like you're watching Bette herself. Jessica Lange does a wonderful job showing how brittle Joan Crawford was behind the tough exterior and how Bette wore her down. Alfred Molina is a wonderfully put-upon Bob Aldrich, attempting the impossible in directing the two divas and somehow succeeding. Stanley Tucci is hilarious as Jack Warner, as is Kathy Bates as Joan Blondell. Kiernan Shipka and Catherine Zeta-Jones were horribly miscast as B.D. Merrill (Bette's daughter, who gave a hilariously bad performance as the teenage neighbor in What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?) and Olivia D'Havilland.

Margo the Magnificent:

"I think that Bette Davis would have been burned as a witch if she had lived two or three hundred years ago. She gives the curious feeling of being charged with power which can find no ordinary outlet." (E. Arnot Robertson)

Monday, July 25, 2022

The world is a poorer place - Another Goodfella is gone

Actor Paul Sorvino has died of natural causes at the age of 83, almost two months to the day that his Goodfellas castmate Ray Liotta passed. 
We've been losing generations of actors the likes of which we won't see again. This point is driven home when I look at what passes these days for "stars". It's hard not to feel nostalgic for all the lost talent. This year's "TCM Remembers" is going to be a tough one.

I've seen Goodfellas countless times, but I think this occasion calls for yet another viewing. It's the perfect example of a perfect film. 

Crazy facts: Neither Sorvino nor Liotta was ever Oscar nominated, although Liotta won a guest actor Emmy for an appearance on ER, and Sorvino got to see his daughter Mira win an Oscar for Mighty Aphrodite. Goodfellas received six Oscar noms but only won one (Best Supporting Actor for Joe Pesci). It lost Best Picture, Adapted Screenplay, and Film Editing to Dances with Wolves. Martin Scorsese lost Best Director to Kevin Costner (Dances with Wolves), and Lorraine Bracco lost Supporting Actress to Whoopi Goldberg for Ghost (???).
To better days, fellas.

Tuesday, July 19, 2022

OMG, speaking of awesome doormats...

How will I ever settle on one?

You can get this one from Shop PBS.

Here’s one way to separate true Monty Python fans from less extraordinary folks before they even step foot in your house. Devotees of The Holy Grail will burst out laughing while others may scratch their heads in befuddled confusion. Either way, this is a fun addition to your front step. Doormat is easy care, durable 100% olefin, and made in USA. Simply hose down to clean. 27" x 18".

Monday, July 18, 2022

This is so cool

This was posted to The History of American Television on FB. Just one of the best Twilight Zones ever, and that's saying something. Burgess Meredith was one of a kind.

Friday, July 15, 2022

MasterClass is slipping

Here is something I hope to never see in my inbox ever again:

Turns out it was from MasterClass. Here's what was inside:

Dear members,
I always knew I wanted to be a mom and I dreamed of having a large family. Then I dreamed about creating opportunities for them that would help them make their mark and define their legacy.
But it took a lot more than dreaming to create our powerful family brand. From the day I pitched Keeping Up With the Kardashians in 2007, we haven’t stopped or slowed down.
In my class on MasterClass, I’m going to show you everything I’ve learned about creating a personal brand that stands out—and stays on top. I’ll teach you how I turned 15 minutes of fame into more than a dozen businesses, a successful show, and almost 2 billion combined followers across my family’s personal and brand social media channels.
Since that very first show, we’ve been pulling back the curtain on our lives. Now I want to pull back the curtain on my personal branding journey. I hope you’ll be inspired to make your own dreams come true, too.
What do you really love? What is your story? Who is your audience? I want to help you project your vision to the world, starting today.

Feeling like a boss yet? You will.  

Define their legacy? Dude, y'all got famous pimping out your daughter's sex tape. Your first husband defended and possibly abetted a murderer, your second husband turned into a chick, and your family is the definition of famous for no reason. Maybe sit this one out.

Yeah, I'm gonna pass on this one. 

Wednesday, July 13, 2022

Words of Wisdom and Encouragement: Writing Edition

Let it suck for a second. Let the bad idea be. It might go somewhere. --J.J. Abrams 

Don't try to write. Just tell the story. --Elmore Leonard

Remember, you are a thought machine. You have a thousand, a million thoughts a day. Everything you see, hear, and experience is usable. --Steve Martin

One must set up a murder. They must happen unexpectedly, as in life. --Alfred Hitchcock
It's flattering in a way that people want to see a new version of The A-Team and 21 Jump Street. I think it's nostalgia of how simple and innocent the shows were. It takes people back to a time when things weren't so complicated. --Stephen J. Cannell
And this one, I really like:
Listen to Matthew Weiner and his nine Emmys, seven Writers Guild Awards, five Producers Guild Awards, two BAFTAs, and an Edgar (Mad Men, The Sopranos, The Romanoffs). He knows of what he speaks.

Monday, July 11, 2022

So this exists, and it's hilarious

How's this for a door mat?

Alas, at my apartment building, we're inside of a building and not allowed to have door mats because they get in the way when maintenance comes in to vacuum the carpet in the hallways. But if I could have one, this would be tempting.

I also thought this was kind of funny:

I guess a simple "welcome" just doesn't hack it these days.

Sunday, July 10, 2022

Recent reading: "Heart Attack and Vine"

Heart Attack and Vine: A Crush Mystery 
(Crush Mysteries #2)
by Phoef Sutton

Disclaimer: Phoef Sutton is the editor of People Are Strange, an anthology that will be released later this year. My short story, "Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas" is part of the anthology and so Sutton will be editing it.

This is actually one of those books that's been on my bookshelf for a while, and since I'll be working with Sutton I decided this would be a good time to bust it out. And I'm glad I did. Between a clever mystery, local settings (even the section set in New Orleans was familiar from having been there for Bouchercon in 2016) and the fact that not only is it set in the entertainment industry but takes great glee in poking fun at Hollywood types, this one is a winner. I didn't realize until I was almost done that this is actually the second book featuring bouncer/bodyguard Caleb "Crush" Rush. Unfortunately it looks like there was only one more in the series after this one (2017's Colorado Boulevard). 

In addition to the roller-coaster thrill ride that this story is, there's also a pretty amazing twist at the end that for me serves as a master class on writing a mystery as well as being entertaining as hell. I will definitely check out the other two Crush novels; my only concern is that they will leave me wanting more. I'll have to ask Phoef Sutton about it when I get the chance.

Friday, July 8, 2022

Heil Kitteh

There are Hitler cats, then there's this guy:
Hitler cats. Talk about a blast from the past.

Thursday, July 7, 2022

RIP James Caan

Another great one gone.
Just saw the news that actor James Caan passed away last night. He was best known for his roles in Brian's Song, Misery, and of course, The Godfather. He also starred in Wes Anderson's debut film Bottle Rocket. The cause of death wasn't announced, but given that he was 82 and had several films in various stages of production makes me think he may not have been ill but probably died unexpectedly in his sleep, just like my Mom. 
When I was in high school they actually had us watch Brian's Song, in which Caan played Brian Piccolo, a real-life Chicago Bears player who died of cancer at age 26. I'm don't remember why they showed it to us, but it had been a huge success on TV and I remember it was a major tear-jerker, leaving a number of us sobbing by the end. Caan was nominated for an Emmy for his performance.

Caan famously played hot-headed Sonny Corleone in the classic The Godfather. He was Oscar-nominated for that one and the scene where Sonny meets his maker became an iconic moment in film. In the film adaptation of Stephen King's novel Misery, Caan played injured author Paul Sheldon, tormented by nurse/super-fan Annie Wilkes (Kathy Bates) who is - to put it mildly - badly upset when she discovers he is killing off her favorite character.

Caan also appeared in Wes Anderson's quirky debut Bottle Rocket, as Mr. Henry, idolized by Owen Wilson's hapless wanna-be master criminal Dignan, who wants to follow in Mr. Henry's actual criminal mastermind footsteps. I can't imagine what it must have been like for fledgling filmmakers Anderson and Wilson to have an actor of Caan's stature on their project. 

RIP, sir.

Monday, July 4, 2022

May the 4th be with you!!!


I guess the good news is that with the economy cratering, we don't have to worry about seeing tone-deaf shit like this. Not this year.

We don't have fireworks here in the MdR until 9pm, so here are some blasts from the past! Enjoy!


Images snicked from the internets. Let me know if credit is due.

Saturday, July 2, 2022

Meme me me me me me me...

Hilarity from around the internets:

Happy Saturday, everyone!