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Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Little Edie

This wonderful, gentle creature is Little Edie Bouvier Beale. According to a biography, she and her mother were abandoned by her father, and had to rely on their family (the Bouviers) for financial support afterwards. In the documentary "Grey Gardens", she and her mother are charming and talented women who live eccentrically and reclusively with many cats and raccoons in a falling-down mansion in East Hampton. Apparently they could not pursue careers in the entertainment business because their family was "old money" and disapproved.
Edie's creative outfits are almost as important as her wonderful dancing and singing. In the follow-up documentary, "Beales of Grey Gardens" she does more of it. These movies are well worth seeing, if only for the bizarre scenes of Edie feeding raccoons in an upstairs room.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Elizabeth I

Helen Mirren is, of course, a total genie of acting. My hub Nod brought home the second part of this film, not realizing there WERE two parts, but it was still quite satisfying. They built the set in some eastern european country in a soviet enclosed stadium, so it is contiguous. When she walks from room to room the cameraman follows with a steadycam. That gives us a strong sense of three-dimensional reality.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

The World's Fastest Indian

Now this is my kind of movie ... quirky, hopeful, and very well written, shot, acted and directed. Anthony Hopkins plays Burt Munro, this wild old dude from New Zealand who modified his 1920 Indian motorcycle and set off for the Bonneville Salt Flats to set a land speed record with it! It is a movie that makes you want to go out and follow your dream(s).

He succeeded in setting a new land speed record at Bonneville in 1963. He later set other records there, including one in 1967 that STILL STANDS!

Room With A View

I am vacationing in our guest room, my clown foot up on pillows, relaxin, man. This was the view out the window this afternoon. It was even lovelier, but I didn't want to fiddle with it in Photoshop to make it look the way it did in "real life".

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Back in Black

Well, sometimes walking has its downside. I broke my ankle and my leg this morning EEEEEK!
It is my right leg, so no driving OR walking OR standing OR grocery shopping for six weeks. (I think I can handle the no grocery shopping part.)
I went down to Galveston Bay and was walking with Bear along the sand. I took a path through some grass and when I came to a wet area, I stepped on it (first mistake). My left foot went zzzzzzzzzzzzzzt! forward and my right leg folded under me as I fell, twisting out to the side. After hours in the emergency room, we found out the fibula and one of the ankle bones are broken. VERY inconvenient, and somewhat uncomfortable, but now the boot is my friend (but no baths and showering will be tricky).

Monday, March 12, 2007

Apres le Deluge, Les Oiseaux! (After the Deluge, the Birds!)

We had a 5- or 6-hour downpour from very early this morning until about 9AM or so, which delayed Bear's and my walk. We chose to go to the Seabrook Park and Wildlife Refuge, where we walked last week, but this time we crossed the road and followed the path to Pine Gully Park and to the edge of Galveston Bay.

On our way through the park I heard a hawk chirruping from the top of a dead tree; as I looked it flew away. It had a white underbelly and looked to be grey above. It MAY have been a White-tailed Hawk, which lives on the Texas Coast.

*begins jumping up and down excitedly, chanting in a singsong child voice* "I saw a Roseate Spoonbill! I saw a Spoonbill!" It was dredging along the gully in what is probably brackish water. What a treat! There were plenty of egrets of all sorts, and some gulls.

The sky above the bay was blue-violet and the water was light brown (silty as always), with white caps. It was probably Bear's first smell of the bay close up, with its scent of salt and sea creatures. On the walk back to the car, I caught a glimpse of a Wood Thrush moving through the underbrush. YAY!

No alligators or snakes to report today *sighs in relief*.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Mole Rat Topiary Circus Robots

Taking Osprey's recommendation, I saw Fast, Cheap and Out of Control and found it to be delightful. It is a documentary (intercut with old movies) of interviews with four men obsessed with their life's work. One mole rat expert, a topiary gardener, a wild animal trainer, and a robot/AI designer.

Snippets to tease ya:

The naked mole rat dude wore a butterfly pattern bowtie with a plaid shirt and could have been played by Rick Moranis ... he built a naked mole rat environment for a zoo, then made one for his HOME =8-O.

The gardener promised his employer (?) he would take care of the Green Animals (his topiary trees) as long as he lived. He clips with hand shears because they are more accurate.

The wild animal trainer said he knows if the animals ever realized how weak a human being is, they would instantly kill him. It is just a matter of tricking them, performance after performance.

The robot man thinks one day robots may replace humans. He made round eyes thinking of that. They must have told him, "now just stare into the camera", because he did, and he looked totally bonkers.

Friday, March 09, 2007

He Drew a Bunny

I was in New York for some years and never heard about Ray Johnson. I was browsing in Netflix and saw "WATCH NOW", so I did and I chose How to Draw a Bunny, a documentary about the life of Ray Johnson. I found it moving and fascinating. Artists like Ray are not interested in making their art for the sake of becoming famous or making a lot of money. They HAVE to make ART all the TIME.

Attack on the Rookery

I was walking with Bear along this canal and listening to the birds (why people wear headphones I am not sure, when there are birdsongs and rustlings and the patter of little paws). I heard the crows talking amongst themselves with rowdy shouting conversation.
Suddenly .... a bird came from across the canal on wide soft wings with a short body. The crows started screaming and acting INSANE. I wondered what kind of hawk it was, then heard the hoot of an owl as it flew away. The crows settled down instantly, back to their raucous poker game, I guess.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Snakes n Gators

I took Bear out to a small park near Galveston Bay this morning. A sign at the parking lot warned that it is "Alligator and Snake Habitat". I met a couple walking their dog and asked them if they had seen any alligators or snakes on their walks and they said, "Yes!" in a delighted tone.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Raging Bull

This movie is a great accomplishment, but it was painful to watch. I guess I have to be careful about recommended films; two in a row ... I could feel my face contorting with horror and repugnance.

Monday, March 05, 2007

Movies: Some Sublime and A Few Ridiculous

The Apple War
The Best Years of Our Lives
Billy Elliott
Birdman of Alcatraz
Cape Fear
The Day the Earth Stood Still
Earth Girls Are Easy (SILLY!!!)
A Fish Called Wanda
From Here to Eternity
Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai
Goodbye Mr. Chips
Great Expectations
I Never Sang for My Father
In Cold Blood
Inherit the Wind
It Came from Outer Space
Kiss Me Deadly
The Last Wave
Lost Horizons
Member of the Wedding
Le Milieu du Monde
Mrs. Miniver
Mulholland Drive
My Summer of Love
The Mystic Masseur
The Navigator
One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest
The Plumber
La Strada
A Taxing Woman
Young Einstein

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Osprey Tortures Me

I heard of the film "Umberto D" from Osprey, and sent for it. Tonight I saw it and it was a terribly sad story of an old man and his little dog, desperate and destitute. I did not know I was going to see a story of a DOG (!!! SUCKER FOR DOGS !!!).

Thank God, the dog chooses life, not knowing he and the man are in dire straits, but otherwise it was unrelievedly despairing. It was one of those stories I say "start bad and get worse", and yet it was beautiful and moving.

Short and Partial List of Fave Movies

The African Queen
Akira Kurosawa's Dreams
Annie Hall
Being John Malkevich
Black Orpheus
Brassed Off
Bringing Up Baby
Cape Fear
Children of Paradise
Cinema Paradiso
Citizen Kane
The Commitments
Dr. Strangelove
8 1/2
The Elephant Man
The Fifth Element
Five Easy Pieces
The Full Monty
The Gods Must be Crazy
The Graduate
Harold and Maude
Howards End
Jean Cocteau's Orpheus
Jean de Florette
King of Hearts
Knife in the Water
La Jette
Lawrence of Arabia
Like Water for Chocolate
The Manchurian Candidate
Manon of the Spring
The Matrix
Monsoon Wedding
My Left Foot
My Life as a Dog
My Man Godfrey
North by Northwest
O Brother, Where Art Thou?
O Lucky Man!
Pather Panchali
Pee-Wee's Big Adventure
The Piano
Pink Flamingos
Il Postino
The Producers
Pulp Fiction
Run Lola Run
The Secret Garden
Seven Beauties
Seven Samurai
She's Gotta Have It
The Spy Who Came in from the Cold
Sunset Boulevard
Swept Away
The Thin Man
The Unbearable Lightness of Being
The Usual Suspects
Wallace & Grommit (the first three)
What's Eating Gilbert Grape?
Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?
Wings of Desire
A Woman Under the Influence
Young Frankenstein

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Leanon Horn

This newly crafted avatar of Leanon Horn does not do the (LIVING!) person justice, but I did my best within the limitations of the sliders of Second Life.

I was pleasantly surprised to find that Lena Horne is 89 and counting. This is the first living person I have avaterized in Second Life. The others have been totally fictional or long deceased. I hope she is not offended by my avaterizationing.