Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Another Grandma Update & March Lists of Books & Movies

I know, I know…I haven't listed my books and movies from March, but first, a Grandma Update. She somehow managed to get bronchitis last week, so she wasn't feeling all that fabulously and she was obviously having trouble breathing. She was on the Z-Pack, getting breathing treatments three times a day and then finally, oxygen (either Friday or Saturday – she couldn't remember). She sounded better last night and they took her off the oxygen, so that was good news.

Mom told me more bad news last week, however. Grandma went to a dermatologist and got a biopsy done sometime before she fell. Mom finally remembered and called the dermatologist and was told that the biopsy had come back and the results were that the cells were atypical and squamous. Mom didn't know what squamous meant, but made an appointment for Grandma for some time in May. Then Mom went to work (she works at a pediatrician's office) and was told that squamous means fast-growing, malignant cancer. Mom moved the appointment up to this week, but only told Grandma the cells were atypical. She didn't think Grandma needed further bad news. I'm hoping that as it's only skin cancer (I think), that it will be easy to cut out and eliminate completely. Please continue praying for the cute little lady. Thank you.

Here is my lame book list and not quite as lame movie list.


The Ringmaster's Secret by Carolyn Keene – 178 pages - #31 – What can I say, I was looking for an easy read. Classic Nancy Drew.

Tao Te Ching by Lao Tzu – This was "An Illustrated Journey" translated by Stephen Mitchell – It was very interesting, I even marked passages I really liked, for some reason or other. It's very short, but takes a little time to digest. I have three more copies to read. Yeah, not quite sure why I own four copies of it, but I do.

High Rhulain by Brian Jacques – 320 pages – From the Redwall Abby series by Brian Jacques for Young Adults. My nephew got me into them a number of years ago and this was one he didn't have. I bought it a good 1.5-2 years ago with the intention of giving it to the nephew (as he owns most of them, and I generally just borrow them from him) as soon as I finished reading it. I finally got around to it and enjoyed it quite a bit. I really enjoy the books which including the fighting hares of Salamandastron, they make me laugh. When I gave it to the nephew I said, "Want to know the ending?" "No!" he said in a panic. "The good guys win." "Duh." I would recommend all of the Redwall books to anybody and everybody who enjoys a good story. Although the first book is technically "Redwall" my nephew started me out with Martin the Warrior and I would say it was not a bad move.

I started Nineteen-Eighty-Four by George Orwell last month as well, but didn't finish it. So, while I'm a slacker, I'm not a complete slacker. ;-)

Book of the Month has to be High Rhulain.


I started out the month pretty well and ended it well…the middle – there was a definite lack of movie watching happening, except for the Saturday I spent with Grandma after she fell.

3/1 - Babette's Feast - 1987 (N) – Sadly this movie has been on my list to see since it came out. Only took me 20 years to get around to it. Pathetic. I started watching a version I DVRd back in February, but it was dubbed and I hate dubbed foreign films, so I hit the delete button and moved the title to the top of my Netflix queue. If you like action, you won't like this movie. It's more about people and how they relate to each other. I liked it.

3/1 - Woyzeck - 1979 (N) – A Werner Herzog/Klaus Kinski collaboration. Do I really need to say more? It was dark, depressing and I would say you could see Klaus Kinski's insanity most readily. The man personified batshit crazy.

3/1 - Ocean's 13 - 2007 (K) – What can I say? I love the Ocean's series (yes, including 12, which apparently I'm not supposed to like because it didn't follow the "heist movie formula" – whatever). The link above takes you to the Rolling Stone review which does a much better job than I could describing the movie. Unless you have serious George Clooney issues (which I won't even begin to pretend to understand), check it out. It's fun, and it's always a good time to see the really icky bad guys lose.

3/2 - Tsotsi - 2005 (Enc) – Tsotsi was nominated for best foreign film back in 2005 and won. It's about a teenaged boy in South Africa who carjacks a woman, seriously injuring her and without realising her baby was in the backseat. For some reason, he keeps the baby and in a roundabout, messed up way, it humanizes him to a certain degree. A sad movie, but not nearly depressing as Woyzeck.

3/2 - Best Little Whorehouse in Texas - 1982 (Retro) – I had never had any desire to see this movie, but an acquaintance (and fellow punk/goth) told me it was her absolutely favorite movie and that I should watch it. It was playing on Retroplex shortly thereafter, so I DVRd it. I have to confess that I liked it. I love Dolly Parton. Dom Deluise was hilarious as Melvin P. Thorpe and Burt Reynolds did a fine job as the sheriff. I actually like musicals, but I could have lived w/o some of the songs in the movie. All in all, I'm glad I took the advice.

3/2 - O Brother, Where Art Thou? - 2000 (Enc) – Alleluia! I finally found a Coen Brothers' film that I liked. I think I would even watch it a second time. And before anybody asks, in disbelief, Yes, I *HATED* Fargo. It.Wasn't.Funny. The other Coen Brothers' film I saw and hated was Barton Fink. No, I haven't seen Raising Arizona, and if you think I should because it's funny, just think for a second "Did I find Fargo funny?" If you answered yes to that question, I won't take your advice on Raising AZ. Sorry…I can not even begin to find the words to express how not funny Fargo was and how disgusted I was at the film….and my friends who laughed hysterically throughout it.

3/2 - The Flight of the Navigator - 1986 (Hallmark) – Yeah, it's a cheesy, 80s Disney movie, but I love it. I saw it was on Hallmark, DVRd it and then watched it when I had a spare 90 minutes. Sadly, it was cut all to hell, so I bit the bullet and found a copy on line which I bought. It arrived the other day. Not sure if I'll watch it anytime soon, since I did just watch it, but don't be surprised when it pops up again on my movie list.

3/16 - The Philadelphia Story - 1940 (K) – I took a bunch of movies with me to Grandma's the Saturday I was to stay with her after she fell. This was one of the movies we watched (I left halfway through An Affair to Remember). Once again, Katharine Hepburn, Cary Grant and Jimmy Stewart. It's brilliant and if you still haven't seen it, do yourself a favor!!! Rent it! Netflix it! Do what you need to do to watch it.

3/29 - The Importance of Being Earnest - 1952 (N) – Between Cyrano de Bergerac and Importance, I don't know which is my favorite play. I've seen both played live (Importance, twice at Stratford, ONT & Cyrano, once in Stratford and once down at Wayne State during my senior year of high school), to say nothing of how many times I've seen the movies. I believe this version (with Michael Redgrave – I think you all remember how much I love him) was my uncle's favorite movie version, as well. I haven't given the 2002 version with Rupert Everett a chance yet and I'm just not sure I'm going to. I'm scared they'll have modernised it or something worse. Okay, I might have to see it…Dame Judi Dench plays Lady Bracknell, but then again, it has a whole lot more characters listed than there are in the play. I'll have to think about that. Anyway, just for the record, I prefer Jose Ferrer's Cyrano to Gerard Depardieu's. Did I mention that Oscar Wilde wrote Importance? I don't think I did, and that should be enough reason to see it. It's bloody hilarious!!!

3/29 - Fitzcarraldo - 1981 (N) – Another Werner Herzog/Klaus Kinski film. While in the middle of watching it, a friend called and asked if I were sleeping. I said, "No, watching my last Werner Herzog film." She laughed as she's seen a few, and asked which one. I told her and she asked where the boat was. "45-degree angle on a mountainside." KK played a crazy man (a stretch for him – ha ha) who is obsessed with opera and wants to bring Caruso to Peru to perform. He needed to make a lot of money with rubber production and somehow moving the steamboat over a mountain was going to help him. Anyway, after it was over, I can say that it is The.Most.Uplifting of all of Werner Herzog's films (of the too many I have seen). So, if you want to see ONE Werner Herzog film, go with this one. Honestly.

3/30 - Sicko - 2007 (N) – I know Michael Moore is a hot button topic for a lot of people and that they will discount anything he says just because he is the one saying it. However, he seems to be the only one saying what needs to be said about the American health care system in easy to understand ideas, if you're willing to listen. I found the movie fascinating, but I will confess to thinking the health care system in this country sucks canal water, so he was preaching to the choir. I laughed out loud when he went to Cuba, as that is so Michael Moore and who the hell else would have had the balls to do it. I don't think that I would actually like Michael Moore if I met him, but I like that he doesn't care if people hate him and does what he thinks is right.

And there you go, my March movies. Movie of the Month has to be Sicko.

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At Tuesday, 08 April, 2008, Blogger JulieU. said...

I love "O' Brother...", it is one of my favorite movies!

At Tuesday, 08 April, 2008, Blogger dr sardonicus said...

Agreed, everybody needs to see Sicko, although Michael Moore's formula has grown a bit stale by now.

Hopefully the latest situation with your grandma won't be serious.

At Tuesday, 08 April, 2008, Blogger Jorge said...

Don't freak out about the word squamous. As I recall, it means flat.

I know that your body is full of squamous cells of various kinds. One that I recall is simple squamous epithelial cells line most of your blood vessels and are in a few other places as well.

Honestly, I don't know what that means in terms of any potential skin cancer. As long as Grandma is being seen and treated I don't think you have to worry too much. If there was any underlying issues, there would likely have been something in her labs before or after surgery.

O Brother was great (I bought the sound track too), and BLWHiT and FofN were pretty good as well.

Michael Moore...grrrrr.

At Tuesday, 08 April, 2008, Blogger LL said...

Once again, your version of slacking makes me ask, how many hours in a month are there?

At Tuesday, 08 April, 2008, Blogger MW said...

You finally watched Babette's Feast! You probably don't remember this, but I began pestering you to watch it back in August 2005. However....... You only "liked it"???? That film is an absolute masterpiece in the art of subtlety! Only one or two films in history have mastered it as perfectly as Babette's Feast does. The glacially slow pace is a completely necessary setup for the "big feast." I cannot say enough about how wonderful that film is. You should watch it again. It might mean even more to you the second time around than it did the first time.

As for Fargo, I couldn't agree with you more. It and Pulp Fiction are two of the most disgustingly putrid films of all time. O Brother, Where Art Thou? is far from being one of my favorite films, but it has its hilarious moments, and, best of all, it doesn't glorify evil people.

Another film that excels (to an extreme) at perfect subtlety is Mystery Train).

At Tuesday, 08 April, 2008, Blogger fermicat said...

Tell Grandma to get those squamous cells looked at ASAP!!! Don't wait. You just never know - best to get a cancer expert involved sooner rather than later. Hopefully it is nothing to worry about.

I work in the cancer biz, and we see some crazy stuff. Like a woman who had an oozing sore on her neck for years!!! and covered it up with turtlenecks and a scarf. If you have something that doesn't heal promptly, or any other weird thing that doesn't resolve in a few weeks GO SEE A DOCTOR!!!!! I cannot stress that enough. I'd much rather see someone getting a "definitive" treatment rather than a "palliative" one. Do not waste time with something that could be serious.

I watched Fargo. Didn't think it was funny, but did think it was good. Raising Arizona is funny. Don't be put off from it because of the Coen brothers' involvement. Every movie should be judged on its own merit. Oh Brother is a very good movie - enjoyed that one a lot, and have seen it several times.

At Wednesday, 09 April, 2008, Blogger deboo said...

Wow, you've really been busy! I am so impressed. So many books and movies. I am but a shadow in your presence.

I hope the best for you and your grandma. I really hate it when they give you bits and pieces of the news, and then you have to wait for the appointment. Erg!

At Wednesday, 09 April, 2008, Blogger Heather said...

Wait til you see my list of books for March. 0 books again. *sigh* I love O Brother Where Art Thou - so funny! I won't mention my feelings of Raising AZ here. :)

More prayers coming your Grandma's way!!

At Wednesday, 09 April, 2008, Blogger Jason said...

Wishing your grandma the best! "Tsotsi" is an outstanding film, I think. "Sicko" is great and important. "O' Brother" is pretty damn funny. I'm a Dapper Dan man myself. Just watched "The Kite Runner" and "This is England" recently. Both excellent!

At Wednesday, 09 April, 2008, Blogger Sal said...

Poor Grandma, I'll keep lighting those green candles for her.

I hated Fargo, couldn't stand it, thanks for not liking it too!

At Thursday, 10 April, 2008, Blogger Beth said...

I own an old copy of the play, The Importance of being Earnest, and I love it -- the film was absolutely terrific as well. Hilarious writing.

1984 was pretty great as well, but not in the same way.

I just wanted to say, my father had a cancerous growth on his face that sounds like your grandmother's and they cut it right out and all was fine. =)

I haven't had a grandparent since I was 16 years old so it's so odd for me to read about them. It feels foreign to me.

At Thursday, 10 April, 2008, Blogger Ben O. said...

"The color guard is . . . colored". That movie has so many great lines.

Ben O.

At Friday, 11 April, 2008, Blogger The Zombieslayer said...

I haven't seen Sicko so I won't comment, although some anti-American foreigner at work loves it, so I'd probably hate it. Anti-American foreigners I don't get. Why don't they fucking leave if they hate this country so much?

I actually liked O Brother Where Art Thou?. I can't stand Clooney as a person but he's a pretty good actor. As for the Coen Brothers, it's funny because Badman and I just had a conversation about them the other day. It bothers me that Hollywood is gaga over them now. I generally hate anyone Hollywood is gaga over. I think they're good. Good, not great.

Tao Te Ching I've read once. Went over my head. I guess I have to read it again. The Art of War was more up my alley and I read that a few times and liked it better.

I didn't like Oceans 11 (the remake) so didn't bother to see 12 and 13. it just came off as another Hollywood is trying to hard to be cool movie. It wasn't cool and had too many characters with small, useless roles.

1984 read twice. Great book. We're seeing it in action right now.

At Friday, 11 April, 2008, Blogger The Zombieslayer said...

oh, sorry to hear about your Grandma. I'll include her in my prayers before I hit the sack.

At Friday, 11 April, 2008, Blogger Kathleen said...

Dr. - I completely agree with both your points re: Sicko. But it needed to be said and he was the only one willing to do it. Thank you re: Grandma.

Jorge - I hope you're right. You were one of the people I knew would not appreciate Michael Moore. ;-)

LL - I'm a brilliant slacker. I think you need to be taught how to be a better slacker. You're always out feeding cows or something. I sit on my butt and knit and watch TV/movies.

MW - 2005? No way! I've "known" you for three years??? No, I don't remember you hounding me to watch Babette's Feast, but you hound me about so many things, it's hard to keep track. ;-) I actually liked Pulp Fiction.

Fermi - I need to talk to Mom and find out when Grandma's appt. is. I know Mom moved it up ASAP when she learned what squamous meant. Perhaps I would have appreciated Fargo more if I didn't see it with people who thought it was the funniest damn thing ever. Okay, I'll contemplate giving Raising Arizona a chance since you admit Fargo isn't funny. ;-)

Deboo - I'm single with no kids - it's much easier for me to read books and watch movies than someone with kids. Thank you for the kind words toward my Grandma.

Heather - I used to feel good when I read more books than you but now that the new supervisor won't let you read, it's not the accomplishment it used to be.

Jason - I remembered you liked Tsotsi.

Sal - Thank you for both statements! ;-)

Beth - I'm working on reading more "classics." It helps that I post them, because it's embarrassing to post that I read a Danielle Steele book (I don't - just an example). ;-) I grew up with two full sets of grandparents and one set of great-grandparents. I was very lucky.

ZS - I knew Sicko wouldn't be up your alley. ;-) I have seen not only the Sinatra version of Ocean's 11, but also the French film that was based on. I liked them all. Of course, I like George Clooney, so that might help. I do NOT understand why Hollywood is so crazy about the Coen Brothers. I think it's just to show that they appreciate independent thought and film, and can think outside the studio box. All I know is that I'm still pissed that Frances McDormand won the Oscar for Fargo over Brenda Blethyn for Secrets & Lies. Thank you...Grandma appreciates it, as do I!

At Friday, 11 April, 2008, Blogger MW said...

I figured this would be the most logical place to post this little snippet from The London Telegraph: 110 best books: The perfect library.

Thankfully, they are sorted according to genre.

At Friday, 11 April, 2008, Blogger MW said...

Oops, I forgot:

P.S. - As you might have guessed, I totally agree with ZombieSlayer's comment about 1984. It's just amazing how few Americans give a rat's whisker about that fact though.


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