September 14, 2014

Literary Pick (***)

Confessions of a Prairie Bitch
-Alison Arngrim

September 10, 2014

Literary Pick (****)

A Prairie Tale
-Melissa Gilbert






















I think, for the most part, I really enjoyed this memoir. She talks about a lot of the actors and shows I grew up watching, and the book is overall a pretty good lazy-day read. However, the thing that annoyed me is her claim to being a genuine addict and alcoholic. I just don't buy that part of her story. Not saying she didn't do drugs and alcohol, but I don't believe she was as hardcore as she wants you to believe.. It seems to me actors claim addiction to be a struggling badge of honor, and it's so played out.
Sure, she experimented with drugs, just like most people do during their adolescent, and young adult years. It's just so annoying that she wants you to believe she truly and legitimately struggled with addiction. Yes, I did enjoy her life story, but she comes off as someone who wants to be perceived as a flawed little miss goodie two-shoes. Hearing her talk about her "addictions" and AA meetings induced major eye-rolling moments for me, but other than that I really enjoyed this memoir.

btw, I hate the book cover, it's really tacky. It looks fundamentalist.

RIP

Joan Rivers
Born: June 8, 1933, Brooklyn, NY
Died: September 4, 2014, New York City, NY

















No one transformed bad times into sidesplitting comedy like Joan Rivers, who kept audiences laughing through a 50-year career that included bankruptcy, getting banned from The Tonight Show and seeing a husband commit suicide.
She even built a standup routine around caring for a handicapped boyfriend.
"I lived for nine years with a man with one leg," she told audiences in her 2012 standup special, Don't Start With Me. "One leg! He lost it in World War II. ... He didn't lose it, he knew exactly where he left it. ... [And] in my mind, that's littering."
But Rivers' talent for rapid-fire jokes and edgy humor was stilled Thursday, when the comic died of complications following a throat procedure. She was 81.

Born Joan Alexandra Molinsky in 1933, she ignored her family's objections to become an actress and comic. She performed in the same New York clubs as Woody Allen and Barbra Streisand, writing lines for more established acts like Phyllis Diller and the puppet Topo Gigio.
Asked whether she felt bad writing for a puppet while starting out, Rivers told WHYY's Fresh Air in 2012, "I'll write for Hitler [for] $500. ... When you're starving and got a car payment due? You go through any door that opens, and you don't know which is gonna be the one."
By the mid-1960s, she was appearing in front of the camera for variety programs like The Ed Sullivan Show, where she talked frankly about women at a time when you couldn't even say the word "pregnant" on TV.
"A girl, you're 30 years old, you're not married, you're an old maid," she said in one 1967 Ed Sullivan Show routine. "A man, he's 90 years old, he's not married, he's a catch. It's a whole different thing!"
But even though Sullivan and his wife were godparents to her daughter, Melissa, it was late-night host Johnny Carson who would become something of a mentor for Rivers, featuring her regularly on his Tonight Show.
In one famous exchange, Carson asked Rivers if men really liked smart women more.
Rivers shot back: "No man has ever put his hands up a woman's dress looking for a library card."

Carson made her the show's permanent guest host in 1983. But their friendship would end a few years later after Rivers called to let him know she would host a rival late-night show on the Fox network.
"He hung up on me," she told the Archive of American Television in an interview. "[I called] and said, 'Johnny, it's Joan, and I think I'm leaving the show. I have my own show at Fox,' and then click. So then I called him back and I said, 'Johnny!' And he clicked down again. He would not hear me out."
Carson would never speak to her again; he died in 2005.
Rivers' Late Show struggled from its start in 1986. She and her executive producer husband, Edgar Rosenberg, clashed with Fox while she struggled to compete with Carson.
A year later, Fox canceled the program, leaving Rivers banned from the Tonight Show and looking like a showbiz pariah. Rosenberg killed himself soon after; Rivers said her daughter was the one whom authorities told first, leaving the then-teenager to tell her mother.

But she used humor to break the ice with audiences even then, remembering during the standup special An Audience With Joan Rivers the first joke she told at her first performance after his death.
"I told the audience, 'My husband killed himself and it was my fault,' " she said. " 'We were making love and I took the bag off my head.' "
Rivers told Fresh Air the toughest thing about old age was seeing loved ones die.
"The loss is horrific," she said. "When I go upstairs at night — it sounds so stupid — I always turn to my living room and I say, 'Good night, Orin' — he was a man I lived with for nine years — and 'Good night, Edgar.' ... It's terribly sad."
But Rivers kept going through the '90s, hosting a daytime talk show, developing a line of jewelry for the home shopping channel QVC and teaming with her daughter to offer biting commentary from the red carpet for Oscar pre-shows on the E! and TV Guide channels.
A recent documentary on her life, A Piece of Work, highlighted her drive to stay relevant and youthful — working at a pace that would tire comics half her age. Its opening featured close-up shots of her face without makeup, revealing the nips and tucks of the countless plastic surgeries she joked about onstage.
The film also showed how tough she could be, taking on a heckler during a performance who objected to a joke that included a reference to deaf icon Helen Keller.
"Comedy is to make everybody laugh at everything and deal with things, you idiot," she shouted from the stage.

And the controversies kept coming. Rivers was criticized for calling Michelle Obama transgender and saying Palestinian civilians deserved to die in the Gaza conflict.
But the fuss didn't stop her from working. In her 80s, Rivers still juggled concert performances, a TV show on fashion, an Internet show and promotion for her 12th book, Diary of a Mad Diva.
True to form, she had been talking up the book in New York the day before she stopped breathing during a minor procedure in a clinic Aug. 28. She was rushed to Mount Sinai Hospital, where doctors placed her in a medically induced coma, and she breathed with assistance from machines.
In a statement announcing her mother's death, Melissa Rivers said she died peacefully "surrounded by family and close friends."
"My mother's greatest joy in life was to make people laugh," the statement continued. "Although that is difficult to do right now, I know her final wish would be that we return to laughing soon."
Joan Rivers' attitude about show business was summed up in an appearance on comic Louis C.K.'s FX show, Louie, where she gave him a pep talk after a tough show.
"Think it's been easy?" she said. "I have gone up, I've gone down; I've been bankrupt, I've been broke. But you do it. And you do it because ... because we love it more than anything else."

-NPR

September 2, 2014

Literary Pick (***)

A Long Way Home
-Saroo Brierley





















Poorly written, in my opinion, but a fascinating story, nonetheless.

August 30, 2014

Literary Pick (*****)

SLAVE: My True Story
-Mende Nazer
and
-Damien Lewis





















My throat is filled with emotion. So deeply evocative.

Heart-wrenching, and unbelievable story. I spend 6 hours straight reading this book because it was simply impossible to put down. Possibly the best true story account I've ever had the honor of reading.

What I find even more inconceivable than the actual raid and kidnapping, if that's at all possible, is how Al Koronki and his bitch wife have not been extradited back to London where this crime was committed, so he could be tried and convicted. I'm not an attorney, but I can come up with at least a couple dozen questions asking him how exactly did he came about finding Mende, and how on hell was he able to even get a visa for her to enter the U.K. from Sudan, when she obviously had no paperwork that proves her existence as a human being on this earth at all to begin with.

Also, if the Sudanese government denies any of these allegations of raiding and kidnapping, why haven't they gone to Rahabs house, and see what Nanu is doing there? that girl, woman, person needs to be rescued right now, right this very minute! What the fuck is going on with people of power in London? It's like they have their heads up their asses.

Also visit Abdul Azzim, and see what him and his wife are up to. I don't understand any of this. Why hasn't any of these people brought to trial, or even investigated?

I was relieved to find out through a google search that Mende was finally able to be re-united with her parents after all these years.


You are a remarkable woman, Mende. Keep up the wonderful work in helping stop this modern-day atrocity.

August 27, 2014

Literary Pick (***)

The Continual Condition: Poems
-Charles Bukowski





















Although not one of his best works, it was still comforting reading work created by Bukowksi.

August 26, 2014

Literary Pick (***)

A Grief Observed
-C.S. Lewis



















 

Although there were parts in this journal that were quite profound, and spiritually insightful, I didn't appreciate it as much as I thought I would. I was expecting to read more about his own personal heart-wrenching process through grief, and not so much about his wavering faith in God. I do, however, have the distinct feeling that this book will be of some solace to me down the road when time decides it is my turn to experience loss.

Literary Pick (*)

Naked Lunch
-William S. Burroughs 





















I don't have a review. I have questions.

First of all, I wish someone would've told me this wasn't a novel.

Secondly, why would you want to waste your time reading a book by a drug addict who claims he doesn't even remember writing it? especially a book that doesn't even make any fucking sense?
I'd like to know what made so many readers carelessly, and hypnotically relinquish their time (mine precious)to willingly read this bizarre, idiotic, and pointless account of someone in a constant drug-induced state?

I'm not afraid to give this book one star. I fucking hate Jack Kerouac,  and William Borroughs too, and all the Beat generation assholes, and their soulless dreary, drab lives.

August 22, 2014

RIP

Lauren Bacall
Born: September 16, 1924, The Bronx, New York City, NY

















Actress Lauren Bacall, who paired with spouse Humphrey Bogart in films including The Big Sleep and Key Largo, has died at the age of 89, according to her family's estate.
As NPR's Mandalit del Barco reports, Bacall was born Betty Joan Perske, in the Bronx, to working class Jewish parents. As Lauren Bacall, she lived in New York City until the end. In her autobiography, Bacall describes becoming a fashion model as a teenager. She studied acting, begging for parts, even working as an usher just to get close to the stage.
"I always believed that the theater was the place to learn your craft," she told NPR in 2005. "... When I was a kid, when I wanted to be an actor, I only wanted to be on the stage."
In 1943, the wife of film director Howard Hawks spotted her modeling on the cover of Harper's Bazaar magazine. The director cast the 19-year-old actress opposite Humphrey Bogart, in To Have and Have Not. You've undoubtedly heard her most famous line: "You know how to whistle, don't you, Steve? You just put your lips together and blow."
Before the film came out, director Hawks renamed her Lauren Bacall, and she credits him with encouraging her to cultivate the low, sultry voice that became her trademark.
During filming, "Baby" and "Bogie" — as Bacall and Bogart called each other — fell in love. When they married in 1945, she was 20, and he was 45. She told WHYY's Fresh Air in 1994 that it was the most romantic experience of her life.
"When you are young and when it's your first love ... you are just carried away by it and ... that's all you can think about," she said. "You see, Bogie was the kind of man who believed in taking care of a marriage in taking care of a relationship. He believed you had to work at it and keep it fresh and fun and interesting — and he did."
In the 1950s, Bogart and Bacall spoke out against the House Committee on Un-American Activities, and they campaigned for Adlai Stevenson's presidential bid. Bacall's politics, her tendency to turn down roles and her commitment to her marriage may have limited her film career. She talked about it all in two candid autobiographies, says Alonso Duralde, film review editor of the Hollywood website .
"[These] very frank and forthcoming books solidified her reputation as a straight-shooter," Duralde says. She was "somebody who had made it through the Hollywood system and had seen it all and was very frank about who she was. And as she became an older actress she very much maintained her ... star status even as she was playing smaller roles.
Bacall and Bogart were married until his death in 1957. She was later married to actor Jason Robards from 1961 to 1969. She had two children with Bogart and one with Robards. She told NPR's Morning Edition in 2005 that being so closely connected to her first husband frustrated her.
"The only thing that I am not pleased about is when people only talk about 'Bogie' to me as though I had no other life at all," she said. "When I had, unfortunately, many, many more years without him than I did with him."
Bacall's numerous post-Bogart film roles included Murder on the Orient Express, Misery and The Mirror Has Two Faces, for which she was nominated for an Academy Award.
"I mean, my feeling is that you've got to keep working," Bacall told Morning Edition. "And I still seem to have a kind of ambition. And I still love my profession and I still love working with these independent young directors who have completely different approaches to moviemaking. I just don't see any point in stopping unless I have to."
Reuters notes that she also won a pair of Tony Awards:
After her film career cooled, Bacall returned to the stage. She won best actress Tony Awards for "Applause" in 1970 and "Woman of the Year" in 1981. Over the years she had transformed her persona from a willowy temptress with a come-hither look to a shrewd and worldly woman.
Of her career and life, Bacall once said, "I traveled by roller coaster, a roller coaster on which the highs were as high as anyone could ever hope to go. And the lows! Oh, those lows were lower than anyone should ever have to go — 10 degrees below hell."
-NPR


August 13, 2014

Literary Pick (****)

Blindness
-José Saramago





















Nearly remarkable.

August 12, 2014

RIP

Robin Williams
Born: July 21, 1951
Died: August 11, 2014


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Robin Williams, Oscar-Winning Comedian, Dies at 63 in Suspected Suicide

Robin Williams, the comedian who evolved into the surprisingly nuanced, Academy Award-winning actor, imbuing his performances with wild inventiveness and a kind of manic energy, died on Monday at his home in Tiburon, Calif., north of San Francisco. He was 63.
The Marin County sheriff’s office said in a statement that it “suspects the death to be a suicide due to asphyxia.” An investigation was underway.
The statement said that the office received a 911 call at 11:55 a.m. Pacific time, saying that a man had been found “unconscious and not breathing inside his residence.” Emergency personnel sent to the scene identified him as Mr. Williams and pronounced him dead at 12:02 p.m.
Mr. Williams’s publicist, Mara Buxbaum, said in a statement that Mr. Williams “has been battling severe depression.”
His wife, Susan Schneider, said in a statement, “This morning, I lost my husband and my best friend, while the world lost one of its most beloved artists and beautiful human beings.” She added: “As he is remembered, it is our hope the focus will not be on Robin’s death, but on the countless moments of joy and laughter he gave to millions.”
The privileged son of a Detroit auto executive who grew up chubby and lonesome, playing by himself with 2,000 toy soldiers in an empty room of a suburban mansion, Mr. Williams, as a boy, hardly fit the stereotype of someone who would grow to become a brainy comedian, or a goofy one, but he was both. Onstage he was known for ricochet riffs on politics, social issues and cultural matters both high and low; tales of drug and alcohol abuse; lewd commentaries on relations between the sexes; and lightning-like improvisations on anything an audience member might toss at him. His gigs were always rife with frenetic, spot-on impersonations that included Hollywood stars, presidents, princes, prime ministers, popes and anonymous citizens of the world. His irreverence was legendary and uncurtailable.
“Chuck, Cam, great to see you,” he once called out from a London stage at Charles, Prince of Wales, and his wife, Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall. “Yo yo, wussup Wales, House of Windsor, keepin’ it real!”
And yet he never seemed to offend.
Almost from the moment that he first uttered the greeting “Nanoo, nanoo” as Mork from Ork, an alien who befriends a wholesome young Colorado woman (Pam Dawber), on the sitcom “Mork and Mindy,” Mr. Williams was a comedy celebrity. “Mork and Mindy” made its debut on ABC in September 1978, and within two weeks had reached No. 7 in the Nielsen ratings. By the spring of 1979, 60 million viewers were tuning in to “Mork and Mindy” each week to watch Mr. Williams drink water through his finger, stand on his head when told to sit down, speak gibberish words like “shazbot” and “nimnul” that came to have meaning when he used them, and misinterpret, in startlingly literal fashion, the ordinary idioms of modern life.
He went on to earn Academy Award nominations for his roles in films like “Good Morning, Vietnam,” in which he played a loquacious radio D.J.; “Dead Poets Society,” playing a mentor to students in need of inspiration; and “The Fisher King,” as a homeless man whose life has been struck by tragedy. He won an Oscar in 1998 for “Good Will Hunting,” playing a therapist who works with a troubled prodigy played by Matt Damon.
In a statement, President Obama said of Mr. Williams, “He gave his immeasurable talent freely and generously to those who needed it most — from our troops stationed abroad to the marginalized on our own streets.”
Robin McLaurin Williams was born in Chicago on July 21, 1951, and was raised in Bloomfield Hills, Mich., and Marin County. He studied acting at the Juilliard School.
He is survived by a son, Zak, from his marriage to Valerie Velardi, and a daughter, Zelda, and a son, Cody, from his marriage to Marsha Garces.
Beginning with roles in the 1977 sex farce “Can I Do It ‘Til I Need Glasses?” and “The Richard Pryor Show,” a variety series hosted by one of his comedy mentors, Mr. Williams rapidly ascended the entertainment industry’s ladder.
Soon after “Mork and Mindy” made him a star, Mr. Williams graduated into movie roles that included the title characters in “Popeye,” Robert Altman’s 1980 live-action musical about that spinach-gulping cartoon sailor, and “The World According to Garp,” the director George Roy Hill’s 1982 adaptation of the John Irving novel.
He also continued to appear in raucous stand-up comedy specials like “Robin Williams: An Evening at the Met,” which showcased his garrulous performance style and his indefatigable ability to free-associate without the apparent benefit of prepared material. Alongside his friends and fellow actors Billy Crystal and Whoopi Goldberg, Mr. Williams appeared in an annual series of HBO telethons for Comic Relief, a charity organization that helps homeless people and others in need.
Mr. Williams’s acting career reached a new height in 1987 with his performance in Barry Levinson’s film “Good Morning, Vietnam,” in which he played Adrian Cronauer, a nonconformist Armed Forces Radio host working in Saigon in the 1960s. It earned Mr. Williams his first Oscar nomination. He earned another, two years later, for “Dead Poets Society,” directed by Peter Weir and released in 1989, in which he played an unconventional English teacher at a 1950s boarding school who inspires his students to tear up their textbooks and seize the day. (Or, as Mr. Williams’s character famously put it in the original Latin, “Carpe diem.”)
In dozens of film roles that followed, Mr. Williams could be warm and zany, whether providing the voice of an irrepressible magic genie in “Aladdin,” the 1992 animated Walt Disney feature, or playing a man who cross-dresses as a British housekeeper in “Mrs. Doubtfire,” a 1993 family comedy, or a doctor struggling to treat patients with an unknown neurological malady in “Awakenings,” the 1990 Penny Marshall drama adapted from the Oliver Sacks memoir.
Some of Mr. Williams’s performances were criticized for a mawkish sentimentality, like “Patch Adams,” a 1998 film that once again cast him as a good-hearted doctor, and “Bicentennial Man,” a 1999 science-fiction feature in which he played an android.
But Mr. Williams continued to keep audiences guessing. In addition to his Oscar-winning role in “Good Will Hunting,” which saw him play a gently humorous therapist, his résumé included roles as a villainous crime writer in “Insomnia,” Christopher Nolan’s 2002 thriller; Teddy Roosevelt in the “Night at the Museum” movies; and Dwight D. Eisenhower in the 2013 drama “Lee Daniels’ The Butler.”
Mr. Williams made his acting debut on Broadway in 2011 in “Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo,” a play written by Rajiv Joseph and set amid the American invasion of Iraq. (He had starred with Steve Martin in an Off Broadway production of “Waiting for Godot” in 1988.) In 2013, Mr. Williams returned to series television in “The Crazy Ones,” a CBS comedy that cast him as an idiosyncratic advertising executive, but it was canceled after one season.
Mr. Williams had completed work on several films that have not yet been released, including a third installment of the “Night at the Museum” franchise that Fox has scheduled for December, and “Merry Friggin’ Christmas,” an independent comedy about a dysfunctional family. He also provided the voice of an animated character called Dennis the Dog in a British comedy, “Absolutely Anything,” that is planned for release next year, and appeared in “Boulevard,” an independent movie that was shown at the Tribeca Film Festival but does not yet have theatrical distribution.
Mr. Williams was an admitted abuser of cocaine — which he also referred to as “Peruvian marching powder” and “the devil’s dandruff” — in the 1970s and ‘80s, and addressed his drug habit in his comedy act. “What a wonderful drug,” he said in a sardonic routine from “Live at the Met.” “Anything that makes you paranoid and impotent, give me more of that.”
In 2006, he checked himself into the Hazelden center in Springbrook, Ore., to be treated for an addiction to alcohol, having fallen off the wagon after some 20 years of sobriety.
He later explained in an interview with ABC’s Diane Sawyer that this addiction had not been “caused by anything, it’s just there.”
“It waits,” Mr. Williams continued. “It lays in wait for the time when you think, ‘It’s fine now, I’m O.K.’ Then, the next thing you know, it’s not O.K. Then you realize, ‘Where am I? I didn’t realize I was in Cleveland.’ ”
In 2009, he underwent heart surgery for an aortic valve replacement at the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio, an event that Mr. Williams said caused him to take stock of his life.
“You appreciate little things,” he said in an interview in The New York Times, “like walks on the beach with a defibrillator.”
More seriously, Mr. Williams said he had reassessed himself as a performer. “How much more can you give?” he told The Times. “Other than, literally, open-heart surgery onstage? Not much. But the only cure you have right now is the honesty of going, this is who you are. I know who I am.”
Earlier this year, Mr. Williams checked himself into a rehab facility. His publicist told People magazine that he was “taking the opportunity to fine-tune and focus on his continued commitment, of which he remains extremely proud.”
Correction: August 12, 2014
Because of an editing error, an earlier version of this obituary misstated the name and title of Prince Charles’s wife, with whom the prince once attended a London performance by Mr. Williams. She is Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall — not Lady Camilla Bowles.

-New York Times

August 3, 2014

Lyrics

 Que Lio
-Hector Lavoe

Que problema caballero
En el que me encuentro yo
Decia Ramon Puntilla
Cuando a su mama llamo
Tengo un pollo sabrosito
Con el que quiero casarme
Pero acaban de informarme
Que no, que no me puedo casar
Porque es novia de mi amigo
Y eso si da que pensar
Odio a todos los que aman
Y que felices estan
Porque yo no puedo tener
Un amorcito que me comprenda
Y que me diga papi
Y que me quiera bien
Dios mio ayudame
Quiero olvidar
Ayudame, ayudame
Ayudame a olvidarla te lo pido, ayudame
Ay que yo la quiero tanto
Y no, y no la quiero perder
Que problema con Mariana
El que se encontr mi pana
Y yo que me la pasaba gozando
De la noche a la maana
Que problema con Mariana
El que se encontr mi pana
Ramon Puntilla la quera
Ramon Puntilla gritaba
Que problema con Mariana
El que se encontr mi pana
Ayudame, ayudame
Ayudame, ayudame a olvidarla
Que problema con Mariana
El que se encontr mi pana
Y se pasaba prendiendo velitas
Toditita la maana
Que problema con Mariana
El que se encontr mi pana
Que lio es, chico, chico, chico
Que lio es, chico, chico, chico
Que lio es, chico, chico, chico
Que lio es, chico, chico, chico
Que problema con Mariana
El que se encontr mi pana

July 29, 2014

Literary Pick (****)

Post Office
-Charles Bukowski

Poetry

He is almost a god, a man beside you,
enthralled by your talk, by your laughter.
Watching makes my heart beat fast
because, seeing little, I imagine much.
You put a fire in my cheeks.
Speech won't come.  My ears ring.
Blind to all others, I sweat and I stammer.
I am a trembling thing, like grass,
an inch from dying.

So poor I've nothing to lose, I must gamble... 


(6th century BCE)

-Sappho

July 27, 2014

Literary Pick (****)

What Remains
-Carole Radziwill






















Allow me to preface my review by expressing that Carole's narrative surrounding the deaths of JFK Jr., Carolyn and Lauren Besset, and the death of her own husband Anthony Radziwill, 3 weeks later was quite fascinating. But of course, any book that discusses the last days of JFK JR. and his young wife Carolyn Besset, is going to be an instant New York Times best seller, regardless of who wrote it. Take those two out of the equation, and it wouldn't be such an interesting read. It's like she wrote the book to prove to people who've never heard of her or her husband, that she was very good friends with Kennedy Jr and his wife Carolyn.
My theory about Carole Radziwil is this: anyone who agrees to be part of the cast of the Housewives series (and I watch them all) lacks decorum and class. I think she would like the audience to believe she's a selfless, high-class, intelligent, and chic member of high society. She would like you to also believe she is gracious, compassionate, even merciful, but she doesn't really convince me.
When I see her speak, all I see is false modesty. In the show she behaves like a cliquey mean girl, and she's what, like 50?
Then my suspicions were confirmed when I got to the part of how she treated her dying husband during his last days. Someone should tell her that there's an ocean of difference between being stoic and being soulless.
I also felt incredulous at the way she described her courtship, and marriage to her husband. It has to be obvious to everyone that isn't blind that they were in a loveless marriage. He married her because he knew he was in trouble. She married him because of his name. I don't remember there being any mention of laughter, or passion in their entire relationship, and I even got the feeling that she couldn't wait for him to die so she could finally move on with her life. 


Also, does anyone know anything about Kingston NY? it's a fucking dump full of crime, and Suffern? inbreds.. She speaks of these places as if they're magical, as if she's trying to make it something it's not because she's embarrassed of what it really is, where she really comes from. I am honestly not trying to be a hater, I have nothing against her, I just see this phoniness that really annoys me, and I want to put it on blast. .


Also, I don't think Carole should be throwing stones at "tragedy whores'" houses..

With all that said, I really enjoyed the gossipy undertones of the book. It hit the spot.

July 22, 2014

Literary Pick (**)

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children
-Ransom Riggs 
 

July 20, 2014

RIP

James Garner 
Born: April 7, 1928, Norman, OK


















Actor James Garner, best known for his prime-time television roles as the wisecracking frontier gambler on "“Maverick" and as an ex-con turned private eye on "“The Rockford Files," has died at age 86, Los Angeles police confirmed early on Sunday.
Garner, who built a six-decade career playing ruggedly charming, good-natured anti-heroes and received the highest honor of the Screen Actors Guild in 2004, was found dead from natural causes on Saturday night at his Los Angeles home, according to police.
There were no further details immediately available on the circumstances of his death. Garner underwent surgery for a stroke in 2008, two years after appearing in his last big-screen role as a wealthy grandfather for a film adaptation of the best-selling book "The Ultimate Gift".
An Oklahoma native, Garner entered show business in the 1950s after serving in the Korean War and first rose to fame on the TV western "“Maverick," a sardonic alternative to the more serious frontier shows then popular on American prime time.
He was Bret Maverick, a cardsharp and ladies man who got by on his wits instead of a six-gun and would just as soon duck a fight as face a showdown. Co-star Jack Kelly played his more straight-laced brother, Bart.
Garner left the ABC show in 1960 in a contract dispute with producers but brought his "“Maverick"-like alter ego to a series of films, including "“Thrill of It All," "“Move Over, Darling," “"The Great Escape" and “"Support Your Local Sheriff!"
Garner once said his screen persona as an easy-going guy smart enough to steer clear of a fight actually ran only so deep.
“"At times it's like me, but I used to have this temper," he told Reuters in a 2004 interview. “"I used to get in a fight in a heartbeat. But that was many years ago."
With his wry, low-key presence, good looks and thick dark hair, Garner was hailed by some as Hollywood's next Clark Gable or Cary Grant.
But he ended up scoring his next big hit on the small screen in the 1970s, starring as canny private detective Jim Rockford, a wrongly accused ex-convict starting life over in a beachfront trailer home, on “"The Rockford Files."
The show ran on NBC from 1974 until Garner abruptly quit the series in 1980. He reprised Rockford for several TV movies in the late 1990s.
BACK TO THE BIG SCREEN
The role earned Garner an Emmy Award in 1977. He received his sole Oscar nomination for his work opposite Sally Field in the 1985 feature comedy “"Murphy's Romance."
Garner said his favorite role was as the cowardly U.S. soldier who falls for Julie Andrews before being sent on a dangerous wartime mission in the 1964 film "“The Americanization of Emily."
He teamed up with Andrews again in the 1982 film “"Victor/Victoria."
He returned to the big screen in 2000 in Clint Eastwood's astronaut adventure "“Space Cowboys" and two years later in “"Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood."
In a spate of late-career TV work, Garner played a recurring role as a hospital chief executive on "“Chicago Hope" in 2000 and starred as a conservative Supreme Court chief justice in the short-lived 2002 series “"First Monday."
In 2003, he joined the cast of the ABC sitcom “"8 Simple Rules," playing a grandfather after the untimely death of series star John Ritter.
The following year, Garner showed off his big-screen acting chops again, starring opposite Gena Rowlands as the devoted elderly husband of an Alzheimer's disease sufferer in Nick Cassavetes' adaptation of the bestseller "“The Notebook."
(Reporting by Steve Gorman; Editing by Rosalind Russell and Raissa Kasolowsky)

-Reuters

July 8, 2014

Literary Pick (***)

The King of Cuba
-Christina Garcia

July 6, 2014

Literary Pick (****)

Rarity of the Century
-Fawzy Zablah





















Last night I had to tear myself away from this book because I had to wake up early for work, I promised myself I had to absolutely stop reading it by 11:00 pm, so at 11:01 I took my Ambien, but kept reading until I started feeling funny. I woke up half an hour early just so I could finish the book, and I re-read the last two pages of the chapter where I left off, just in case.
Honestly, this story captured me from the very first sentence to the last page, and left me feeling like I wished there were at least 3 full pages more. This is the second time I find myself in a conundrum in how to word my review of Zablah's books without spoiling it for the next reader, because it's almost like he places little Easter eggs in his story for you to find, and I don't want to ruin it for anyone, but I have to say that my favorite part of the whole story, and I thought this was absolutely brilliant, was that it was told from each characters own perspective, but what was even more unique was that it was almost hilarious to witness what each of them really thought of certain situations that they had experienced together, how almost clueless Chucho was, and how aware on the other hand Shiraz was, when at the beginning of the story one thought the total opposite. I thought that part was especially crafted so perfectly.
You know, when I first read the word "alien" in the description of the book, I thought, oh no, I'm not a sci-fi person at all. I shun all sci-fi, and will continue to do so, but this wasn't one of those kind of "sci-fi" stories, it wasn't about aliens, or any of that shit, it was about the relationship of the people in the story, not so much about the events, actually, but about the realism of their relationships.
What I loved even more was Benito's whole back-story, just when you thought it couldn't get better, you start reading a whole new dimension to the story, adding just a dab of historical fiction to the mix. The story continued to culminate into such a cohesive apocalyptic tale. I would've never imagined such a small book would've been filled with so much thought-provoking circumstances.
I started my book challenge in January, and so far it's the best book I've read all year, and I'm pretty much a hard-grader when it comes to rating books. I don't easily give books 4-5 stars. This really is a must-read. It's one of those subtle thrillers that keeps you thinking long after you've finished it.

June 22, 2014

Art of the Day

Summer Red Bird
-James John Audubon

June 21, 2014

Literary Pick (**)

Ezra Pound: Selected Cantos
-Ezra Pound

June 18, 2014

R.I.P

Charlie Barsotti 
-Born: 1933,
Died: June 16, 2014















 
Thank You, Charles Barsotti

 
Love:
 
Politics:

Literary Pick (***)

Stories I Only Tell My Friends
-Rob Lowe

June 12, 2014

Literary Pick (***)

Ham on Rye
-Charles Bukowski

June 8, 2014

Literary Pick (****)

Fresh Off the Boat
-Eddie Huang

June 6, 2014

Quote of the Day

“He who conquers others is strong; he who conquers himself is mighty"
― Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching

June 3, 2014

Literary Pick (**)

Wishful Drinking
-Carrie Fisher

Literary Pick (***)

Quiet- The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking
-Susan Cain

May 28, 2014

RIP

Maya Angelou, Poet, Activist And Singular Storyteller, Dies At 86 Poet, performer and political activist Maya Angelou has died after a long illness at her home in Winston-Salem, N.C. She was 86. 
















Born in St. Louis in 1928, Angelou grew up in a segregated society that she worked to change during the civil rights era. Angelou, who refused to speak for much of her childhood, revealed the scars of her past in I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, the first of a series of memoirs. 

 Growing up in St. Louis, Mo., and Stamps, Ark., she was Marguerite Johnson. It was her brother who first called her Maya, and the name stuck. Later she added the Angelou, a version of her first husband's name. 

Angelou left a troubled childhood and the segregated world of Arkansas behind and began a career as a dancer and singer. She toured Europe in the1950s with a production of Porgy and Bess, studied dance with Martha Graham and performed with Alvin Ailey on television. In 1957 she recorded an album called "Calypso Lady." 

 "I was known as Miss Calypso, and when I'd forget the lyric, I would tell the audience, 'I seem to have forgotten the lyric. Now I will dance.' And I would move around a bit," she recalled with a laugh during a 2008 interview with NPR. 

 "She really believed that life was a banquet," says Patrik Henry Bass, an editor at Essence Magazine. When he read Angelou's memoir I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, he saw parallels in his own life in a small town in North Carolina. He says everyone in the African-American community looked up to her; she was a celebrity but she was one of them. He remembers seeing her on television and hearing her speak. 

 "When we think of her, we often think about her books, of course, and her poems," he says. "But in the African-American community, certainly, we heard so much of her work recited, so I think about her voice. You would hear that voice, and that voice would capture a humanity, and that voice would calm you in so many ways through some of the most significant challenges.

" Film director John Singleton grew up in a very different part of the country. But he remembers the effect Angelou's poem "" had on him as a kid. It begins: 

You may write me down in history
With your bitter, twisted lies,
You may trod me in the very dirt
But still, like dust, I'll rise.


"I come from South Central Los Angeles," he says. It's "a place where we learn to puff up our chests to make ourselves bigger than we are because we have so many forces knocking us down — including some of our own. And so that poem ... it pumps me up, you know. ... It makes me feel better about myself, or at least made me feel better about myself when I was young."

Singleton used Angelou's poems in his 1993 film Poetic Justice. Angelou also had a small part in the movie. Singleton says he thinks of Angelou as a griot — a traditional African storyteller.
"We all have that one or two people in our families that just can spin a yarn, that has a whole lot to say, and holds a lot of wisdom from walking through the world and experiencing different things," he says. "And that's the way I see Dr. Maya Angelou. She was a contemporary of Martin Luther King, a contemporary of Malcolm X and Oprah Winfrey. She transcends so many different generations of African-American culture that have affected all of us."
Joanne Braxton, a professor at the College of William and Mary, says Angelou's willingness to reveal the sexual abuse she suffered as a child in I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings was unprecedented at the time. The critical acclaim and popularity of the book opened doors for both African-American and female writers.
"Maya Angelou brought about a paradigm shift in American literature and culture," Braxton says, "so that the works, the gifts, the talents of women writers, including women writers of color, could be brought to the foreground and appreciated. She created an audience by her stunning example."
For Braxton, the world will never be quite the same without Angelou.
"I love her," she says. "She's beloved by many, including many, many people who have never met her in person, and who will never meet her in person — but she has extended herself that way, so that her touch extends beyond her physical embrace. That is truly a gift, and we are truly blessed to have known her through her presence and her work."
Angelou once said she believed that "life loves the liver of it," and she did live it, to the fullest.

 -NPR

May 14, 2014

Literary Pick (**)

The War of the End of the World
-Mario Vargas Llosa

May 7, 2014

Art of the Day

Ugolino and His Sons 
 Jean–Baptiste Carpeaux (French, 1827–1875)





















Dante's Divine Comedy has always enjoyed favor in the plastic arts. Ugolino, the character that galvanized peoples' fantasies and fears during the second half of the nineteenth century, appears in Canto 33 of the Inferno. This intensely Romantic sculpture derives from the passage in which Dante describes the imprisonment in 1288 and subsequent death by starvation of the Pisan count Ugolino della Gherardesca and his offspring. Carpeaux depicts the moment when Ugolino, condemned to die of starvation, yields to the temptation to devour his children and grandchildren, who cry out to him:

But when to our somber cell was thrown
A slender ray, and each face was lit
I saw in each the aspect of my own,
For very grief both of my hands I bit,
And suddenly from the floor arising they,
Thinking my hunger was the cause of it,
Exclaimed: Father eat thou of us, and stay
Our suffering: thou didst our being dress
In this sad flesh; now strip it all away.
Carpeaux's visionary composition reflects his reverence for Michelangelo, as well as his own painstaking concern with anatomical realism. Ugolino and His Sons was completed in plaster in 1861, the last year of his residence at the French Academy in Rome. A sensation in Rome, it brought Carpeaux many commissions. Upon his return to France, Ugolino was cast in bronze at the order of the French Ministry of Fine Arts and exhibited in the Paris Salon of 1863. Later it was moved to the gardens of the Tuilieries, where it was displayed as a pendant to a bronze of the Laocoön. This marble version was executed by the practitioner Bernard under Carpeaux's supervision and completed in time for the Universal Exposition at Paris in 1867. The date inscribed on the marble refers to the original plaster model's completion.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art

April 17, 2014

RIP

Gabriel Garcia Marquez
1927-2014


Gabriel García Márquez, the influential, Nobel Prize-winning author of "One Hundred Years of Solitude" and "Love in the Time of Cholera," has died, his family and officials said.
He was 87.

The literary giant was treated in April for infections and dehydration at a Mexican hospital.

García Márquez, a native of Colombia, is widely credited with helping to popularize "magical realism," a genre "in which the fantastic and the realistic are combined in a richly composed world of imagination," as the Nobel committee described it upon awarding him the prize for literature in 1982.

He was sometimes called the most significant Spanish-language author since Miguel de Cervantes, the 16th-century author of "Don Quixote" and one of the great writers in Western literature. Indeed, Chilean poet Pablo Neruda told Time that "One Hundred Years of Solitude" was "the greatest revelation in the Spanish language since the Don Quixote of Cervantes."

The author's cousin, Margarita Marquez, and Colombia's ambassador to Mexico, José Gabriel Ortiz, confirmed the author's death to CNN on Thursday.

Colombian writer Gabriel Garcia Marquez won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1982.



"We're left with the memories and the admiration to all Colombians and also Mexicans because I think Gabo was half Mexican and half Colombian. He's just as admired in Mexico as he is in (his native) Colombia, all of Latin America and throughout the world," Ortiz told CNN en Español.

"I believe they were somehow emotionally ready for this regrettable outcome. They knew he was suffering from a complex, terminal disease and was an elderly man. I believe (Garcia Marquez's widow Mercedes Barcha) was getting ready for this moment, although nobody can really prepare themselves for a moment like this."

The author -- known by his nickname "Gabo" throughout Latin America -- was born in the northern Colombian town of Aracataca, which became the inspiration for Macondo, the town at the center of "Solitude," his 1967 masterpiece, and referenced in such works as his novella "Leaf Storm" and the novel "In Evil Hour."

"I feel Latin American from whatever country, but I have never renounced the nostalgia of my homeland: Aracataca, to which I returned one day and discovered that between reality and nostalgia was the raw material for my work," reads a mural quoting the author outside of town.

García Márquez was tickled that he had earned so much praise for his fertile imagination.

"The truth is that there's not a single line in all my work that does not have a basis in reality. The problem is that Caribbean reality resembles the wildest imagination," he told The Paris Review in 1981.


A storyteller's childhood

García Márquez's early life was shaped by both familial and political conflict. His grandfather, a widely respected figure known as the Colonel, was a liberal military man who strongly disagreed with the political views of García Márquez's father, a conservative telegraph operator who became a pharmacist. (His father's ardent pursuit of his mother later inspired "Love in the Time of Cholera.")

Their political disagreement came to reflect that of Colombia as a whole, a country that spent a postwar decade in the grip of what was called "La Violencia," a civil war that followed the assassination of a populist leader.

García Márquez spent his early childhood with his grandparents while his parents pursued a living in the coastal city of Barranquilla.

Both his grandparents were excellent storytellers, and García Márquez soaked in their tales. From his grandfather he learned of military men, Colombian history and the terrible burden of killing; from his grandmother came folk tales, superstitions and ghosts among the living.

His grandmother's stories were delivered "as if they were the irrefutable truth," according to the García Márquez site themodernword.com. The influence is obvious in García Márquez's works, particularly "One Hundred Years of Solitude."

In 1936 the Colonel, died and García Márquez returned to his parents and their growing family. He was eventually one of 11 children, not to mention several half-siblings from his father's affairs, a familial sprawl that also found its way into his books.

After finishing high school, García Márquez went off to college with dreams of becoming a writer. His parents, on the other hand, had plans for him to become a lawyer. Writing ended up taking precedence: When La Violencia broke out, García Márquez started contributing stories to a local newspaper and eventually became a columnist. He had also been exposed to writers such as James Joyce, Virginia Woolf, Franz Kafka and especially William Faulkner, who had turned his own patch of land in Oxford, Mississippi, into the shape-shifting past and present of Yoknapatawpha County.

In the mid-1950s, García Márquez left Colombia for Europe, a move partly provoked by a story he'd written that was critical of the government. The distance, he later said, helped shape his perspective on Latin American politics.

For years, García Márquez had been writing and publishing fiction, including short stories in Latin American journals and a handful of longer works, including "Leaf Storm," which was published in 1955. But it wasn't until 1967 with the publication of "One Hundred Years of Solitude" that he broke through to a wide audience.

'100 Years' of literary renown

The novel is set in Macondo, a town founded by the patriarch of the Buendia family, José Arcadio Buendia. Over the generations, members of the family are set upon by ghosts and visions, fall in love, dream of riches and fight in wars. Natural events take on supernatural aspects -- rains that last years, plagues that create memory loss. It is a tapestry of almost biblical proportions in which reality and spirit swirl and merge, a world unto itself -- as well as a commentary on the politics and history of the world at large.

"The narrative is a magician's trick in which memory and prophecy, illusion and reality are mixed and often made to look the same. It is, in short, very much like Márquez's astonishing novel," wrote The New York Times in a 1970 review upon the release of the English translation by Gregory Rabassa.

García Márquez worked on "Solitude" tirelessly, selling off family items, living on credit, smoking up a nicotine frenzy. Upon its release, the book became an instant bestseller in Latin America and was equally successful in English. It has been estimated to have sold in excess of 20 million copies -- some sources say as many as 50 million -- in two dozen languages.

The book didn't ease all of García Márquez's problems, however. As a vocal leftist and defender of Castro's Cuba, he was regularly limited or denied visas by the United States until President Bill Clinton, a fan of "Solitude," revoked the ban.

Clinton commented on Garcia Marquez's death Thursday.

"I was saddened to learn of the passing of Gabriel García Márquez," he said in a statement. "From the time I read 'One Hundred Years of Solitude' more than 40 years ago, I was always amazed by his unique gifts of imagination, clarity of thought, and emotional honesty. He captured the pain and joy of our common humanity in settings both real and magical."

García Márquez was also involved in a feud with onetime friend writer Mario Vargas Llosa, a Peruvian and a Nobel laureate, who punched the Colombian in the face in 1976 -- believed to be over politics but later revealed to be over Vargas Llosa's wife.

García Márquez's ensuing works were generally praised. They included "The Autumn of the Patriarch" (1975), "Chronicle of a Death Foretold" (1981) and "The General in His Labyrinth" (1990). He is said to be the most popular Spanish-language author in the world.

"Love in the Time of Cholera," with an English translation published in 1988, was a particular bestseller. The love story, which was turned into a 2007 movie, was referenced in such works as the 2001 movie "Serendipity" and the finale of the TV series "How I Met Your Mother."

García Márquez's style and impact have been widespread.

He is credited with spearheading "el Boom," attracting attention to a generation of Latin American writers, including Vargas Llosa and Mexico's Carlos Fuentes. Magical realism is now an accepted genre, to the point that some critics believe it has been overused.

And he prompted a focus on Latin American politics -- protesting the 1973 CIA-aided coup in Chile, calling attention to corruption and free speech issues in South America and around the world.

He never gave up journalism.

"I've always been convinced that my true profession is that of a journalist. What I didn't like about journalism before were the working conditions," he told The Paris Review. "Now, after having worked as a novelist, and having achieved financial independence as a novelist, I can really choose the themes that interest me and correspond to my ideas."

He was one of the most honored -- and highly respected -- authors on Earth, particularly in parts of the world where literature is taken as seriously as politics.

"On behalf of Mexico, I would like to express my sorrow for the passing of one of the greatest writers of our time, Gabriel Garcia Marquez," tweeted Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto.

Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos summed up the author's presence on Twitter.

"Giants never die," Santos tweeted.

For all of his immortality, however, Garcia Marquez preferred the here and now. Asked about the impact of dreams on his dreamlike writing, he said he'd rather focus on reality.

"Life itself is the greatest source of inspiration," he said. "I see dreams as part of life in general, but reality is much richer.

"But maybe," he added, "I just have very poor dreams."

-CNN