July's Reading and Movie Watching on time!!!
Well, the Tour is over and it was immensely satisfying in the end. Levi Leipheimer (You'd think Lance Armstrong would know how to pronounce Leipheimer since they rode together years ago. In German, you pronounce the second vowel, so like Einstein, you'd pronounce Levi's last name as Lipehimer, but for some reason Lance calls him Leaphimer.) won the individual time trial on Saturday with the fourth fastest time trial in Tour history and ended up on the podium in 3rd place behind his Spanish teammate Alberto Contador who won the Tour in his very first attempt at the very tender age of 24. I cried like an idiot, although I wouldn't have minded if Cadell Evans had lost 2nd to Levi.
My co-worker who also follows the Tour had said something to me last week about not liking Cadell due to his arrogance, but I was ambivalent about him until he whined about losing time in the mountains to the then Yellow Jersey (Michael Rasmussen – sent home in disgrace) and Contador, because they didn't wait for or work with him or some such bullshit. Um, they're your competitors. They're not going to help you beat them. If he hadn't wanted to lose those 55 seconds, he probably should have gone with them when they attacked. Freaking whiner. I was expecting him to attack on the last day (unwritten rule is no attacking the yellow jersey on the last day of the Tour, that is essentially the day for the sprinters going for the Green Jersey, and if he had attacked the entire peloton would have tracked him down. There are just some things you don't do.), but Team Discovery Channel made sure he knew he didn't have a chance in hell of getting the time bonuses that were out there by riding together at the front of the field.
And for the first time, Team Discovery Channel (previously Team US Postal) won the team race by 19 minutes. It was very cool.
Last week I went to two very different concerts (with another next week – going to see Iggy & the Stooges for the second time in 4 months). On Wednesday, I went with Martha and two other friends to see The Stray Cats and The Pretenders. Sadly, ZZ Top was also on the bill, but thankfully, nobody else cared about seeing them, so after two songs we were ready to go (I was actually ready to go the second The Pretenders left the stage, but I was being patient). The Stray Cats were great and I have to say that Brian Setzer still looks fine. I'm thinking of revamping my List of Five as I have one gay man and one major right-wing Republican on it – but that'll be another post. The Pretenders were good, even though I couldn't understand Chrissie Hynde half the time when she was talking between songs. She needed to be louder. She was wearing these utterly fabulous reach the top of the knees cowbow boots that all the women in my row wanted. Martha declared Chrissie a potty-mouth at the end of the show. I simply said, "She's a punk, what do you expect?" I suffered through the two ZZ Top songs until Jack declared himself ready to leave and I was all over the leaving bit, not only because I wasn't enjoying the ZZ Top, but because I had a long drive home and we all know I get up a tad early for work.
Actually, tomorrow I have to get up extra early because I have to take Ursamajor to the airport and I have to pick her up at 5:00 a.m.
Back to the concerts, forgot my outline for a second. The second concert was Saturday night and it was held nice and close to home (yay!). It was a Doo Wop Concert with old bands performing. My neighbor had gotten the tickets from her sister and she invited another lady and me to go with her. It started with The Reflections, a Detroit band (what was with the 60s and all the bands have names starting with The – The Platters, The Tokens, The Originals, The Temptations, etc.?) which had their big hit, (Just Like) Romeo & Juliet, the year I was born. They came out all dressed in white double breasted suits with different colored t-shirts underneath. They were enjoyable, although that night it seemed they mostly covered other people's hits, except for the Romeo & Juliet song.
Next up were The Coasters who performed their big hits – Yackety-Yak (Don't talk back) & Charlie Brown. They also came out in white double-breasted suits, but they were all wearing red buttoned-down shirts under theirs. They were a lot of fun and we decided they were our favorite act of the night.
After the Intermission, it was time for The Shirelles, or rather Shirley Alton Reeves as the only real Shirrelle on stage. She had just had a birthday and announced that she was 67 years old (and didn't look it). They did "Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow" which had everybody on their feet afterwards and her in tears. She was so cute. They also performed Soldier Boy which was a song I didn't know, but it brought people to their feet again and that was their last song, although the Oldies radio station DJ brought her back for a little encore of Soldier Boy with her still crying.
The concert ended with Frankie Ford who looked to be about 95 years old with dentures and bad toupee (however he's only 68, or will be this coming Saturday) and a penchant for really bad (horrible, actually) old jokes. You can google him and get to his very own website, but I couldn't in good conscious send unsuspecting people there. The sad thing was that he spent most of his time telling these horrible jokes (which the man behind us thought were the height of hilarity) instead of singing and that man can sing. His big song was Sea Cruise which I knew but wouldn't have known I knew off the top of my head.
Not my usual type of music, but it was enjoyable for the most part. My one neighbor and I agreed that the concert was good up until Frankie Ford came on stage and then we spent most of the time looking at each aghast at the jokes.
I won't have time to tell you about The Stooges concert next week because I'm leaving the next day for Wisconsin and Road America and won't get back to Detroit until sometime on Monday, August 13. Last year HRH drove straight through on Sunday from Road America to Toronto (stopping to drop me off in Detroit, on the way), but I was falling asleep before we even reached Michigan, so I doubt I'll be driving all the home Sunday night.
Now time to list the books and movies read and watched for the month of July.
Longshot by Dick Francis - 257 pages - I adore Dick Francis and have read everything he's written multiple times. I was in the mood to read something early in the month but wasn't in the mood for something new, so I picked a Dick Francis off the shelf and loved it all over again. And I just saw that he has a book coming out in September. You have no idea how exciting that is to me. I thought that once his wife had died that he would write no more as she was an integral part of the writing process. I believe the stories were all his, but she helped him to get them on to paper. I can't wait for September!!!
For One More Day by Mitch Albom - 197 pages - I had had this one for a few months but hadn't felt like reading it. After I finished the Dick Francis I still wanted something easy, so I picked this up. I hadn't expected much, even though I had enjoyed his first two books, I thought maybe it was a fluke and he'd write a stinker. He didn't. I can't describe it, so go to the website and linked above and see what it's about. I liked the premise, though, and it was a quick, easy read.
Harry Potter & the Order of the Phoenix - 870 pages - I had to re-read this before seeing the movie so that I would know to get ticked off when it didn't follow the book. Order of the Phoenix is not my favorite book as she killed off a beloved character, but it was worth the re-read.
Harry Potter & the Half-Blood Prince - 652 pages - I needed to re-read the sixth book before the 7th book came out, because I didn't do that before the 4th book and there were a few things that I had forgotten. When I re-read them all before the 5th book came out I realised my mistake. I didn't re-read all the book this time (obviously), but I can see myself re-reading them all in the not-too-distant future. Even now I won't give away what happens in this book, but I can tell you that when I first read it I wasn't happy with the ending (not that I think any fan of the books was). I had an argument with my friend and former boss at work about whether or not Snape was a good guy or bad guy after the initial reading. I was convinced he was a bad guy, she took the other stance, so within a week or so or reading it the first time I read it a second time with an eye toward Snape being a good guy. I could see her point, but I wasn't ready to concede.
Harry Potter & the Deathly Hallows - 759 pages - I read this book in one day. I was too scared about spoilers leaking out that I was bound and determined not to get caught out. One guy at work told me that his wife bought the book the day it came out (can't remember if she picked it up at midnight or not) and then promptly read the last chapter out loud with her mother. If they hadn't liked the ending they weren't going to read the book. That concept is so intensely foreign to me. I have never ever read the end of a book first and can't even imagine doing so. I don't want to give anything away in case there are people out there who haven't read it yet and are avoiding spoilers, but I will say that I liked it a lot. And if they fuck this movie up, I'm going to be pissed.
The Myth of Quetzalcoatl by Enrique Florescano, translated by Lysa Hochroth - 242 pages - I have had this book for years and I finally decided to read it. I have to tell you that I find myself reading more of the books on my shelves that I haven't read since I know I'll be listing them. Not sure why but it's a good thing. This was a bit more academic than I had expected, although it shouldn't have been since it was published by Johns Hopkin University Press. I found it very interesting, not only from the Mesoamerican aspect, but because it also included a discussion of Mediterranean myths and it's remarkable how many ancient cultures had very similar creation myths, particularly within agricultural peoples. This book talked about the Popol Vuh a lot which I have sitting on my bookshelf, so I think I'll be breaking that one out soon, as well.
And then I must admit that I re-read Harry Potter & the Deathly Hallows for another 759 pages. I think that has to be the most reading I've done in a while.
Book of the Month is a no-brainer, kids! It has to be Harry Potter & the Deathly Hallows, although I'm such a geek, I'm completely bummed that it's over even though I had been waiting for that book to come out ever since I finished The Half Blood Prince.
Well, as you can imagine, with all the reading and the daily stages of the Tour de France, I did not get a lot of movies watched. I'm on the last disc of Stargate SG-1, Season 9, so one more season and I'm done with that (until I get my DVDs back from my friend in Maryland).
Spellbound (Hitchcock) - 1945 - 86% - I must confess that I bought a Chinese bootleg (I'm assuming it's a bootleg) because it's impossible to find. The quality isn't fabulous, but it's good enough. It was too important of a Hitchcock film not to have in my library. It's not his best work, but it has Leo Carroll, Ingrid Bergman, Gregory Peck with the dream sequence done by Salvador Dali. I'm too much of a Spanish surrealist lover not to have this movie.
The Petrified Forest - (K) - 1936 - 100% - I watched this last year, I believe, and it was so good I had to get it for myself. After being a Bogart detractor for so many years, I became a convert practically overnight. He's brilliant as the bad guy in this movie while Leslie Howard plays the good guy. From all accounts, Bogey got this part because of Leslie Howard. They were both in the stage play and when it came to making the movie, Leslie refused to do it unless they brought Bogey in as well. This movie essentially launched his career.
Slapshot - (K) - 1977 - 86% - I had not seen this movie since the 70s and I had had it in my head that it was Paul Newman that stripped down to his jockstrap, but it wasn't. I wouldn't say that it's aged especially well, but it'll always be a cult classic, I feel. And worth watching, if you can handle foul language and gratuitous hockey violence in a comedy.
Harry Potter & The Order of the Phoenix - (Theatre) - 2007 - 77% - I was severely disappointed in this movie. It was the longest book and the shortest movie. The book sells in the millions, I think they could actually follow the book and not change shit around. I also think Harry Potter fans would sit through a three hour movie. Hell, they did it for The Lord of the Rings which I saw enough of back in 1977 (turned me off LoTR forEVER), they can do it for HP. I was talking to a 16 or 17 year old and she said, Include an intermission. We want to see the entire story on film. I read one reviewer that said Harry Potter fans will love it, non Harry Potter fans will be confused. Sorry, but I did not love it. Of course, that won't stop me from buying it when it comes out on DVD because I have to have the whole collection.
So, there ya go. It is now time for bed because I have to pick Ursamajor up at 5:00 a.m. to take her to the airport. I've had enough trouble getting up by 5:00 the last couple of days, so I'm not taking any chances. Off to bed with me.