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In reply to an earlier post on Jul 3, 2012 4:44:31 AM PDT
Capote was a brilliant film, and you're right about Hoffman. Now, if you'll go on my word, watch Infamous. It's another film about Truman Capote released at almost the same time with Toby Jones (a brilliant British comedian and dead ringer for Capote) as Truman and Sandra Bullock as Harper Lee. I thought this film was by far the better of the two and can be watched without the feeling that you've seen the same movie twice. Just the scene of Jones' Capote, standing in a grocery store in Arkansas after promising to make the sheriff's family a fancy meal, contemplating a huge display of the only cheese in the store - Velveeta, is worth the money.
I loved this version of Capote's life.
And, yes, the trip was a very good one. We played music with a lot of great singer/songwriters from the Houston area at a legendary club. Anderson Fair saw the beginning of some amazing people like Nanci Griffith and Lyle Lovett. It was an honor to be asked to be part of the memorial concert, and it gave us the chance to visit with friends in Louisiana along the way. That, and buying more boudin and andouille, and a boneless whole chicken stuffed with crawfish and shrimp for Thursday's dinner with our son, who's flying in Wednesday night. We're still rubbery from the trip, having our first cup of coffee back home and watching the news, more boring than ever I think.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 3, 2012 8:22:21 AM PDT
Yes, Capote was an outstanding film. Harper Lee was his assistant.


Posted on Jul 3, 2012 8:43:47 AM PDT
Maggie and I pulled out of Houston at 6 am yesterday morning under a heavy overcast, surrounded by the blue collar rush of sleepy, desperate and angry working people, drifting across lanes as they tried to drive, eat a sausage biscuit and drink coffee at the same time. By the time we got to Lake Charles and through Baton Rouge it was the white collar rush, drifting too because they were texting or talking on the phone. Gesturing with the hand that should've held the wheel. It was good to see the open land of Central Louisiana after that, the bright yellow Stearman crop dusters, single and double wing roaring up from the tree line like giant birds, the broad flat marshes and rectangular crawfish ponds, each with a crude little boat, its pilot under a make-shift tent to diminish the heat of the rising sun.
We talked about all this, the millions of men and women doing the dirty work of making our lives easier. No matter how much we may want a green world we drive cars whose engines turn exploding gasoline into miles per hour. Each big truck that rumbles past is filled with something someone needs. Auto parts, meats, vegetables, all going across town or across country on these rivers of oil called highways. Or on rivers of steel and crossties in endless box and tanker cars.
NPR had a glowing revue of West Palm Beach, Florida, last year - bragging of how 'Green' that city is without taking into the equation the fact that it's only 'Green' because its waste is pumped outside the city limits to where the poor people live. West Palm's garbage is trucked away to an incinerator deep in the woods. Their electricity is produced in a distant rural area. The workers in West Palm Beach must carry identification in case they're stopped by the police,and they often are. They must prove they're in West Palm because they're needed temporarily, and they're expected to clear out when the work's done.
We made it through the hundreds of miles of almost endless chemical plants and factories that line the middle part of the Gulf of Mexico, from Galveston to Pensacola. Past grubby casinos attached to every service station in Louisiana, adult novelty stores and gentlemen's clubs in old converted bars and buildings. Parking lots filled with eighteen wheelers and fairly new cars.
I carried my Kindle with me to read the book White Death that was recommended here on BBC, and managed to find the time to read five pages. I marvel at you all, at your love of reading, and I love being able to learn about so many good books that I might someday read.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 3, 2012 9:59:25 AM PDT
Amanda Peck says:
Yep, faux Green is pretty common.

I keep trying to, well, AIM AT being the real thing (says the woman who is driving a nice big truck right now).

I'm not sure why people I know are doing that selling back electricity to TVA--putting up enough solar panels to take care of their current lifestyle, and not changing anything--but it counts on TVA's "Green Electricity" which TVA thinks is great.

But it's HOT at my place.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 3, 2012 10:29:57 AM PDT
I don't disagree that we have to do things 'better' when it comes to living on this planet. George Carlin once said stop saying we need to save the Earth. The Earth doesn't NEED'll still be here, even if it takes a million years to clean itself back up. Carlin said we need to say save the humans, because it's us in danger of doing ourselves in.
I try to be responsible for my wake, but also have to be aware of what it takes to get me through each day. At least once a year someone calls for a boycott on buying gasoline and thousands go through the motions. But the oil companies know all those folks will be in the next day buying double, because they need gas in their cars and SUVs to drive to the rallies.
Thanks to local politicians and their collusion with the power companies, if you go off the grid here you have to pay a monthly fee that makes up the difference and you aren't allowed to 'sell back' to them. It's like the talk last week on BBC about recycling - we have a huge incinerator here in our county, built after three straw polls voted it down - and no recycling program at all. It all goes into the incinerator, and there are days we can smell it in the air, even way out here in the woods where I live.
And TVA's Green Electricity ads rival BPs claim that it's totally responsible for the good health and business along the Gulf of Mexico.
There's only so much we can do, though I try to do those things.

Posted on Jul 3, 2012 10:54:41 AM PDT
Amanda Peck says:
Actually, it's probably because TVA is a federal program (from Roosevelt's New Deal, and nobody's been able/tried very hard to get rid of it) that the sell-back program is available here. TVA isn't our POWER COMPANY, though, it's just the wholesaler.

I remember when Nashville got a great big--right on the river downtown--incinerator. Might be better than what the small counties are doing--trucking their garbage (several counties away for a lot of them) to a landfill.

Peterbilt (big truck manufacturer--Nashville area plant now closed) got to send the filters in the paint and paint prep booths to some plant out of state--lead and other bad things in the paint. At that time it seemed to be at least 150 miles away down in Alabama. There were pretty constant checks on air quality IN the paint booths. Those of us in the rest of the plant, not to mention the neighbors complained about the air quality, were told "but THEY don't MAKE us care about anything but the paint booths.

Oh, well. Probably only people who worked there (or at the mini-market across the street) really cared that they decided to flee the area.

Posted on Jul 3, 2012 1:31:20 PM PDT
L. M. Keefer says:
Barb and all~

Barb, you asked what's on our TBR list:

Just finished Napoleon: A Life for non-fiction book discussion tonight at the library.

Am excited about reading/listening to:

Istanbul Passage: A Novel--started listening to it today while cooking

Rules of Civility: A Novel

Just finished:

The Receptionist: An Education at The New Yorker

Here's the Independent Book Store Best Sellers of the week. All I've read on here is Beautiful Ruins: A Novel and THE PARIS WIFE. Have read other books in a lit class by Richard Ford, author of Canada:

1. Gone Girl, by Gillian Flynn, Crown
2. Canada, by Richard Ford, Ecco
3. Mission to Paris, by Alan Furst, Random House
4. The Age of Miracles, by Karen Thompson Walker, Random House
5. A Hologram for the King, by Dave Eggers, McSweeney's
6. Bring Up the Bodies, by Hilary Mantel, Holt
7. Beautiful Ruins, by Jess Walter, Harper
8. In One Person, by John Irving, S&S
9. Calico Joe, by John Grisham, Doubleday
10. A Dance With Dragons, by George R.R. Martin, Bantam
11. Sacré Bleu, by Christopher Moore, Morrow
12. Istanbul Passage, by Joseph Kanon, Atria
13. Home, by Toni Morrison, Knopf
14. The Paris Wife, by Paula McLain, Ballantine
15. Seating Arrangements, by Maggie Shipstead, Knopf

Posted on Jul 3, 2012 1:34:58 PM PDT
L. M. Keefer says:
Barb and all:

re: Beautiful Ruins: A Novel--if you like a linear plot, like mysteries tend to have, this one zigs and zags
quite a bit, but the author is amusing and brilliant. It's a wild tale.

If you like buoyant and amusing novels, streaked with a vein of melancholy, this book may provoke you to consider whether most human lives are "beautiful ruins". Ruins of youthful aspirations and dreams, but containing compensatory beauty.

The settings for this story are simultaneously the dewy and naive early 1960's during the sunset of Hollywood's Golden Years and Hollywood today, a tad tawdry and reality-show soiled. In 1962 the movie Cleopatra is being filmed in Rome, and one of Cleopatra's (Liz Taylor's) handmaidens, a young starlet, is brought to a remote Italian Coast as she is ill, perhaps dying. Or is she?

A young Italian innkeeper, Pasquale, cares for her and attempts to find out why she is there and where she should be. Lives intertwine and events conspire. Even Richard Burton lends color, complexity and profanity to the story. One day the starlet leaves the island rather mysteriously.

Fast forward to the banality of Hollywood today, where the Italian innkeeper, now aged, arrives in Hollywood to find out what happened to the young actress he never forgot. A quest ensues to track down the actress which reveals not only the trajectory of her life, but the trajectories of lives of those who were impacted by the singular event of her arrival on the Italian Coast in 1962.

Spliced accounts, old letters, novel excerpts, and even movie pitches are juxtaposed in the chapters of this book. The author's storytelling prowess never loses control of the story, although the plot careens around a few corners. Underpinning the story is some of the most talented and humorous writing I have encountered lately.

The author's virtuosity shines most for me in his portrayal of the contemporary Hollywood characters and culture, or lack thereof: Michael Deane, the viagra-popping aging producer; Claire, Deane's Assistant whose idealism is slipping regarding the possibility of making intelligent film as her duties center around listening to pitches for reality shows titled DRUNK MIDGET HOUSE or NYMPHO NIGHT. There's Shane, a talent-challenged writer, trying to pitch a movie based on the Donner Party, who realizes his life is being authored more by David Mamet than God. These characters come together to help Pasquale find the starlet. In the denouement, the author lists the fates of all the major and minor characters, which parallel the beautiful ruins of the starlet's life.

If you enjoy novels which portray the sweet tragicomedy, and farcical nature, of human life, you will probably enjoy this engaging and totally original tale.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 3, 2012 3:59:43 PM PDT
M. Bernstein says:
Keefer, Mike, Thanks for the info on INFAMOUS. I'll look that one up. Still, nothing like Truman's book, IN COLD BLOOD. A couple of years ago, on my Bike ride Across Kansas we passed through Holcomb. The day's ride sheet mentioned the town's relationship with the Clutter Family.

Nothing like hot totillias . . .

A great review. The heat must be getting to you.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 3, 2012 5:33:37 PM PDT
Jacquie says:

What's your opinion of THE RECEPTIONIST? It looks like something I might like.

Posted on Jul 3, 2012 7:24:42 PM PDT
L. M. Keefer says:

If you read THE NEW YORKER and you like reading about some of the different personalities there, there's a lot of mentioning of names of cartoonists, writers, staff members.

What surprised me about the book is about the middle third was about the author's dating life/social life which didn't work out until she met a great guy who filled up one chapter at the end of the book.

I wrote a review of the book for Amazon. Gave it a 4.5 as I would have liked to have read more about the author getting a PhD at NYU, going to Oxford for one summer and less about some loser she dated. I wrote my review and posted it, and then googled to see if any newspapers had reviewed the book and the LA TIMES had. I totally agree with what that reviewer said--he said a few things I thought but didn't write such as I thought the best chapter was about her Poet professor, John Berryman. And the central conflict was why did she stay a receptionist for so long? It's funny--it was like the two sides of her personality wrote the book: one brainy PhD Literature professor and then a blonde receptionist who slept with the wrong guys. At one point she asked who she was and she mentioned the word a slut? I thought we were going to hear more from the smart literature lover who wanted to write, not as much from the the mixed up Midwestern girl who was fairly clueless regarding men and a life direction.

So, if you know that going in, you might not be disappointed. She was born in 1936 I believe, a year older than my mom, she didn't marry until she was 39 so it was fun to compare her life trajectory to my mom's who was also a midwesterner. She never had children, my mom had 3 of us, and then 4 stepchildren. The thing I liked about the author is she created a happy life for herself and eventually figured things out. And she married a great guy I thought. He was my favorite character in the book, besides the author.

It's a real easy read, but it's hard to pin down the focus of the book. It's like your favorite aunt telling about going to New York when she was 22 and getting a job at this great magazine and meeting a lot of interesting people, having some interesting romances and experiences, then getting a PhD and marrying at about 40 and you think, wow! she had a fun life. I'm glad to have an aunt like her and hear all these fun stories. I wish she'd gone into talking about her teaching experience, her life with the great husband more, writing 5 volumes on Edmund Wilson etc. But I still enjoyed the book. And I don't read THE NEW YORKER although I've read books by the authors who worked there.

So, you have to decide what you think.....Maybe download the first chapter? The LA Times reviewer said sometimes her voice was kind of "breathy" and that's what I thought--that word came to mind. You know, that kind of 1950's Marilyn Monroe, Jackie Kennedy way when women were more ornamental and little girlish. One review I read said something like she was a MAD MEN hottie. She's gorgeous still in her 70's. So, it's kind of dishy like that.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 3, 2012 9:48:12 PM PDT
mysterywoman says:
Hi James,
Little known fact: Harper lee and Truman Capote were cousins!


In reply to an earlier post on Jul 4, 2012 6:34:57 AM PDT
Hi Maureen:

Interesting. Didn't know that.


In reply to an earlier post on Jul 4, 2012 7:26:28 AM PDT
re: your 26 yr old prospect

Have you been talking it over with your clients? Have they assured you that whoever you get, they trust you'll choose someone good and that they'll stay with them? If you have, that might be something that would give confidence to whoever you finally get.

Posted on Jul 4, 2012 10:10:09 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jul 4, 2012 10:11:38 AM PDT
Watched ENDEAVOUR last night and really enjoyed it. Morse is back...even if he is a lot younger. The young man who played him is good. No John Thaw, but still good in the part. I hope they make more. I was interested to see if Colin Dexter continues his practice of making cameo appearances as he did in Morse. He was there in the scene when Morse and the Chief Inspector were having a beer in the pub. The camera briefly flashes on a man reading a newspaper -- it's Colin Dexter.

The LONGMIRE episode also was excellent. TV at its best and not on the major networks.

Posted on Jul 4, 2012 10:48:20 AM PDT
Hey, everybody,

Happy Independence Day!!! I have my usual viewing set--1776 this afternoon and YANKEE DOODLE DANDY for tonight on TCM. We tend to associate James Cagney with his gangster roles and forget that he started out as a song-and-dance man. He also did a creditable job as Nick Bottom the weaver in the 1930s great film version of A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM with the young Mickey Rooney playing Puck.

One of the great entertainers has passed--Andy Griffith. I remember alll the way back to his comedy persona of "Deacon" Andy Griffith and his story-telling. Probably his most famous story is "The Football Game."

He also retold ROMEO AND JULIET and HAMLET, that were hilarious. I used his narration to introduce freshmen to the ROMEO AND JULIET unit for many years. And the two great film fathers are Atticus from TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD and Andy Taylor from THE ANDY GRIFFITH SHOW. Would that more of the world were like Mayberry!

I'm reading Amy Myers's MURDER TAKES THE STAGE, one of her Marsh and Daughter series. This one goes further into the mystery of Rick Marsh, son and brother who disappeared fourteen years before in Brittany and was never heard of again.

Linda S.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 4, 2012 11:11:57 AM PDT
Linda and all,
I noticed they're playing the John Adams mini-series today on HBO. It stars Paul Giamatti as Adams and Laura Linney as Abigail. It's a very, very good telling of the story of our early days, and Linney stole my heart with her portrayal.

Posted on Jul 4, 2012 11:54:44 AM PDT

It is a superb series, not the least in the great love and equality it shows between John and Abigail. She was a wise woman well ahead of her time in her views about rights for women.

Linda S.

Posted on Jul 4, 2012 1:57:25 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jul 4, 2012 2:20:59 PM PDT
ENDEAVOUR, the young constable Morse, is already available on DVD through Amazon for $19.95. It's also available through PBS but they're charging $24.95. I'll want to add it my collection of Inspector Morse DVDs. I have them all. I also like Inspector Lewis who returns to PBS next week. Happy 4th of July to you!


Posted on Jul 4, 2012 2:05:51 PM PDT
Amanda Peck says:
Andy Griffith was a North Carolina boy, so of course we had to support him in--OMG--the late fifties when he got started. Don't remember any of the bits from the first album. But seems like they were funny and southern without being a put down.

Posted on Jul 4, 2012 2:30:07 PM PDT

One of the reviewers for the ENDEAVOR dvd on Amazon says it is the pilot episode of a BBC series. We can only hope.

Griffith was also a fine dramatic actor as shown in Elia Kazan's A FACE IN THE CROWD with Patrica Neal, Walter Matthau, and Lee Remick.

Linda S.

Posted on Jul 4, 2012 7:12:23 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jul 4, 2012 7:16:06 PM PDT
Hey, everybody,

It's been a great Fourth! I've talked to family, watched my movies, both of which make me cry at points, read, and even enjoyed a good thunderstorm that dumped some much needed rain in my area. It's amazing how fast the grass starts greening up when the water comes. The low space in the driveway even provided a nice puddle for the birds to bathe. Good day was had by us all.

MURDER TAKES THE STAGE is the sixth in Amy Myers's Marsh and Daughter mystery series. The series is strong at least in part because it features a father and daughter who have lives outside the mysteries they pursue for their true crime books, each book based on a crime where they sense "fingerprints caused by the unfinished business of violence or injustice in the past imprinting itself on the atmosphere of a place or building." Part of their lives includes looking for the solution of the great mystery in their own lives, the disappearance of Rick Marsh, son and brother, in Brittany fourteen years before. Throughout the series, Georgia Marsh has been courted by and is now married to Luke Frost, their publisher; Peter, paralyzed after being shot by a criminal, has begun a relationship with Janie, whom he met at his sister's wedding. Individual personality traits and problems, as well as this sense of life progressing, make them seem real people.

There is a double story line in MURDER TAKES THE STAGE. One involves clues to Rick's disappearance and, while slow to bear fruit, moves us closer to learning what happened to him. The past crime involves the murder of Joan Watson in a flat over Gary's Fish Bar in Broadstairs, a prominent resort on the coast of Kent, in the Isle of Thanet, in 1953; her husband Tom Watson, one of the Three Joeys act performing in the summer theatre production of Waves Ahoy!, had been tried and acquitted, then he disappeared, presumed a suicide. When Peter and Georgia contact Ken Winton, local newspaperman and son of Mickey Winton, another of the Three Joeys, he agrees to help them only after his own "scoop" about the Tom Watson case is published. But Ken is murdered and his materials stolen. Obviously someone does not want the case solved. As they investigate, the case takes an unusual direction into smuggling during the period of austerity in England following WWII and to the rise of criminal gangs in London. A satisfyingly complex yet logical and believable plot, fairly set out.

Characters reveal themselves through their actions and words, even the minor ones. Point of view is third person limited, showing us people and events through Georgia's eyes. Setting and atmosphere are strong components that convey a genuine sense of place. This is a good book in a good series. 4.5/5 stars (A)

Think I'm going back to Tilling again with Tom Holt's LUCIA IN WARTIME.

Linda S.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 4, 2012 9:12:55 PM PDT
Linda, I loved those stories Griffith told! My folks had the album (I have it now) and each track was funnier than the last!

Posted on Jul 4, 2012 9:17:52 PM PDT
L. M. Keefer says:
Morse fans:

Am going to watch ENDEAVOR now on the PBS site on my computer, so will be up to date next week. There's four shows already taped, right? Maybe it will be like that SHERLOCK series. Every spring and fall. Seems to work for Sherlock.

Heard that LONGMIRE is being renewed by A & E--one of their most successful new series.

Hope everyone had a good 4th.

Was reading one reason why it is so hot is because our winter was so mild, our ground is dry and warm so it doesn't help cool down the air like usual. So, we're paying for the lovely winter with a hellish summer. More heat ahead but as long as there's electricity and a room air conditioner, can't complain.

Posted on Jul 4, 2012 9:24:02 PM PDT
L. M. Keefer says:
Longmire Fans:

Fun news on the show from wikipedia:On August 26, 2011, A&E Network picked up Longmire for a 10 episode first season.[6] Following early success as the highest rated summer scripted drama debut, and as A&E's highest rated scripted drama, A&E renewed Longmire for a second season on June 29, 2012.[7]

Longmire received generally favorable reviews with a score of 66 out of 100 from 17 media reviews on Metacritic.[8] Nancy DeWolf Smith of The Wall Street Journal called the series "the best of two worlds: a modern crime drama with dry wit and sometimes heart-wrenching emotion that's also got a glorious setting under the big sky of Wyoming." She added: "If it weren't for a few modern conveniences, like cellphones and trucks, it might as well be 1875, so rugged and unspoiled does the scenery look."[9] Newsday's Verne Gay stated: "Longmire arrives as silently as a dust devil kicked up by a high wind on the Wyoming plains. With little in the way of fanfare and a lead actor unacquainted with household name status, it must instead rely on a quiet fortitude, much like its namesake." He added: "Unassuming Longmire doesn't shout "LOVE ME!" but instead works its charms subtly, quietly. There's promise here."[10] Alan Sepinwall of HitFix stated "there's a sense of place to the show that makes it feel unlike every other cop show on television" and that he would "like to see the mysteries grow more engaging as the series moves along, but Longmire at least starts with a good foundation in Walt, his sidekicks, and the wide, open spaces they travel."[11] However, the San Francisco Chronicle's David Wiegand stated the series "has the look and feel of a show cooked up by a bunch of bored TV industry types while they were waiting for the valet to bring their car to them at the Beverly Hills Chuck E. Cheese." He added: "There's very little drama, and the pilot episode lumbers along like an overfed elk."[12]
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