Friday, June 19, 2009

April and May Books and Movies

So, I've been contemplating blog entries for oh-about-two-months now. ;-) First off, I don't know if you're getting this commercial in the rest of the country, but I'm ready to throw my radio out the window (the DVR has spoiled me as I never watch commercials on TV anymore, but still have to suffer through them on the radio – most of the time). It's a Kroger commercial – which is bizarre to me. They never advertised when they had competition from Farmer Jack (which closed all its stores a year or so ago – selling some to Kroger – in fact, in my neighborhood, they bough the Farmer Jack that was RIGHT ACROSS THE FRIGGIN' STREET – so yes, there are two Krogers facing each other). Anyway, now that their only competition is Wal-Mart (do people actually buy food there? I refuse to shop there, so I don't know) and Meijer (I finally got one near me, but it's in this new complex which is a bloody nightmare to get into and out of, so I don't go there), Kroger has started advertising non-stop – radio and television.

The one that bugs me the most is the commercial for their meat department. Now, it doesn't bug me because I'm a vegetarian, it bugs me because it's annoying and stupid. They are interviewing supposed real customers (they sound ignorant enough to be real customers) and one woman says how the meat is so great it just makes you want to go home and cook and then says, "It's awesome." NO! It's not fucking awesome, it's a G-D meat department. The Himalayas are awesome. The Grand Canyon is awesome. I'll even concede that Mount Rushmore is awesome, but the Kroger meat department does NOT fit the definition of awesome. In fact, I'd like to declare a moratorium on the word. Never ever fucking use it! Very few things in this world are truly awesome and the word has lost its true meaning. My mother uses it all the time and it drives me up a wall. No, the scarf I made her was not awesome…it was attractive. It was nicely done. It's pretty, etc., but it wasn't awesome. The yarn was fabulous, but NOT AWESOME.

Okay, now that I've gotten that out of my system. I seem to have not listed my books and movies for April and it's now time to do May. I think I’m doing pretty well for the year, as I finally got smart and copied Heather (who hasn't blogged in more time than me) and number them as I go along.

APRIL

Books

16. Eichmann in Jerusalem: A Report on the Banality of Evil by Hannah Arendt - 298 pages – 1963 – I bought this book a good 20 or so years ago (when I was transcribing a Holocaust survivor's story for the premier Holocaust historian in the country), but trust me, transcribing that was depressing enough. I finally decided to read the book because I had bought the book Becoming Eichmann (TWICE – which I took as a sign). I gave away the 2nd book to my former boss' son who is studying the Holocaust and is even going to Germany/Austria this summer to visit concentration camps. He was very excited about the book and after I finished the Arendt book, I lent that to him. Anyway, it's not a difficult read and was very interesting. I've started the Becoming Eichmann book, but it's a bit denser of a read and there's really only so much Holocaust/Nazism I can handle at a time.

17. The Soul of Baseball: A Road Trip Through Buck O'Neil's America by Joe Posnanski – 282 pages – This book was a birthday present and I loved, loved, loved it. I don't care if you're not interested in baseball, this book is simply lovely. I'm sorry that I didn't ever get to meet Buck O'Neil. I also want to go to Kansas City and visit the Negro Leagues Museum. This is definitely a feel-good book w/o being schmaltzy.

Book of April: The Soul of Baseball, hands down.


Movies

15. (4/10) – The Nun's Story (N) – 1959 – As much as I love Audrey Hepburn, it wasn't until I read the biography in March that made me want to watch this movie. I'm Catholic, even, and I wasn't sure I really wanted to watch a movie about a nun. It, however, was so much more than that. It was based on a book by the same name and about a real nun who left her well-to-do family to join the convent as a nurse and how hard it was on her and how all she really wanted to do was go to the Belgian Congo, but to show her humility (she was the smartest nurse/nun), they didn't send her there. And then they brought her back to Belgium and during the war she discovered that it was much too hard on her to treat the Nazi soldiers needing care the same way she treated the Allies soldiers. It was Audrey's favorite movie that she starred in.

16. (4/10) The Lavender Hill Mob (N) – 1951 – Alec Guinness and Stanley Holloway made this an enjoyable romp of a crime movie. Alec Guinness plays a steady, bank employee who plans to rob his own bank's armored car with the help of a couple of real crooks and someone he met in his boarding house. It had moments of silliness, but was a good time.

17. (4/11) Kate & Leopold (K) – 2001 – I went to a friend's house to hang out and she had requested that I bring this movie because the last time I had gone to watch movies with her she was surprised to find a "chick" flick in my bag of movies. She wanted to see what kind of "chick" flick I liked. She still has it, in fact, and has watched it at least once more. So, she liked it, too.

18. (4/11) The Stranger (K) – 1946 – This was the 2nd movie of the night that we watched (we started early as we are old). My friend loves Orson Welles and didn't know this movie. Very film noir with Orson Welles being sufficiently creepy as the Nazi war criminal hanging out in a small New England town but without overdoing it. It even has Edward G. Robinson as the Nazi war criminal seeker-guy.

Movie of April: The Nun's Story – Honestly, this is absolutely worth the time.


May

Books

18. Plum Spooky by Janet Evanovich – 309 pages – 2009 – More of the same. Good escapism…even better, no car blew up in this one. She's still having ridiculous car issues, but at least it didn't get blown up. Maybe Ms. Evanovich has figured out that she was stretching even fiction's bounds of realism.

19. Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: An Inquiry in to Values by Robert M. Pirsig (with New 1999 Intro by author along with the 1984 Afterword by author and A Reader's Guide) – 449 pages – 1974 – This is one of those books that I've heard about for half my life and people just love it. It was a common book for Comp 105 back at University, but my Comp 105 teacher (I don't think he was a professor, i.e., had a Ph.D.) chose a different book. Anyway, I absolutely and positively hated ZMM (as it's apparently known). I liked the actual motorcycle trip, that was interesting, but his "Chautauquas" sucked. I started calling them soliloquies. My eyes would glaze over and it started early on when in answer to his son asking him if he believed in ghosts, he talked about the Law of Gravity being a ghost. I was, however, bound and determined to finish the book, if only to know how the trip ended. One statement in the book struck home to me (from page 322) "Anxiety, the next gumption trap, (don't ask) is sort of the opposite of ego. You're so sure you'll do everything wrong you're afraid to do anything at all." My aunt used to say this about my family all the time, because we were all so scared of the Former Father and disappointing him by failing at something that we just didn't try. To that end, I've started my own first sweater…we shall see how that goes. Baby steps, people, baby steps.

20. Serenity: Better Days by Joss Whedon, Brett Matthews & Will Conrad – 73 pages – 2008 – This is a prequel to the Serenity movie (obviously to anybody who reads it and has seen the movie). I haven't read a graphic novel since V for Vendetta and before that it was the Sandman series a very long time ago (pre-1996), but my friends own a comic book shop and I like to support my friends' business adventures. There were three separate "comics," but I bought the all-in-one version. I'm not good at waiting to find out what happens next. There's supposedly another one for which I'm waiting. The characters look like their actors which is cool. If you're a Serenity fan and didn't know that Joss had branched out, here ya go, although I'm betting I'm the only one who didn't know.

Book of the Month: Serenity: Better Days


Movies

19. (5/2) Sophie Scholl: The Final Days (N) – 2005 – The Libertarian lent me this and as I had just finished the Hannah Arendt book and started the other Eichmann book, I figured what the heck on more rampant Nazism. Now, I had heard about the White Rose movement, but didn't really know anything about it, until this movie. Sophie Scholl and her brother as part of the White Rose movement were arrested in 1943 for distributing leaflets at University that were against the Nazi regime, which the Nazis didn't look upon too kindly. They were interrogated and finally put on trial, found guilty (of course) and execute. While not exactly an uplifting film, it was an excellent movie which showed human strength and dignity in the face of evil and inevitability. Please see this movie.

20. (5/2) Paris When It Sizzles (N) – 1964 – I saw this because Audrey Hepburn was in it. She's marvelous…the movie, itself? Hmmm, not so much.

21. (5/2) Faraway, So Close (N) – 1993 – I had seen this movie when it first came out (or close to it), but wanted to see it again. Sadly, it's prequel (Wings of Desire) is no longer available from Netflix for some stupid reason, so I couldn't watch it first which had been my plan. ;-( Peter Falk is in it, in a much smaller role than he had in Wings of Desire – from what I can remember. And Lou Reed. I think it could officially be called "an art house" film, if you're so inclined to put things into categories. However, it's a beautiful movie, cinematographically and plot (although there are some ugly scenes – if that makes sense). Click the link – it explains it way better than I could since it's Wim Wender's (director) own website.

22. (5/2) Transformers (F) – 2007 – I hadn't seen Transformers when it first came out, because, quite frankly, I didn't care. But Pamela mentioned that she owned it and was going to re-watch it before the new film came out and I questioned her about the 2007 film. I.e., "Really? You liked it?" I was incredulous, truthfully. I honestly didn't think it appealed to women over a certain age and was basically geared to teenaged boys. She lent it to me (and it took me forever to watch it) and I have to say that I quite liked it. You really can't go wrong with the classic "Good triumphs over Evil" storyline.

23. (5/9) The Iron Giant (K) – 1999 – I point blank love this movie. It occurs back in the 50s when everybody was scared to death of the Red Menace and nuclear holocaust. The Iron Giant lands on earth (Maine) and eventually befriends Hogarth who does what he can to keep the government official sent to find the thing that fell from space from finding the Giant. Great movie.

24. (5/19 & 21) Castle (9 episodes – I missed one, dammit – OOOOOHHHHHH!!! However, it appears I can DVR the one episode I missed this coming Saturday. WOOHOO!!!) 2009 – Thankfully, Fermi's and NYPinata's love of Nathan Fillion brought this TV show to my attention, so I could continue my own "old man" love (as LL likes to call it). It's a good show with him playing a famous author working on a new series and he's learning about police work by following around a female homicide detective. He's got the good teenaged-daughter, the off-the-wall mother and an even crazier ex-wife, but it all works – at least for me. I still prefer him in Serenity, but I can watch that whenever I want (to say nothing of seeing his comic book/graphic novel character).

25. (5/25) Untamed Heart (Movieplex) – 1993 – I had DVRd this movie quite some time ago, because I had been wanting to see it and had contemplated buying it, but it had been a number of years since I had seen it and wasn't sure I really wanted to buy it (even for $9). It's not what one would call a happy movie, but there's something very uplifting about it. I think Christian Slater does a great job in it, playing the busboy everybody thinks is slow, but is really just more of a loner due to being raised in an orphanage and having a weak heart. Marisa Tomei is perfect as the young woman who keeps falling in love with the wrong guy, but eventually falls for someone who treats her well. I would say this is an unadulterated chick flick (even with the hockey game scene).

26. (5/25) Ladies in Lavender (Enc) – 2004) – Maggie Smith and Judi Dench play sisters who live in the late 1930s and find a young man half-drowned on the beach in their small English town. He doesn't speak English, but they manage to communicate in German. The sisters' relationship with each other becomes strained as they both have different ways of dealing with their guest. It's not action-packed, but it was very well done and worth the effort.

27. (5/31) Prayers for Bobby (Lifetime) – 2009 – I DVRd this way back in January when it aired, but I'm really slow on the movie watching these days (in case you hadn't noticed). I wanted to see it for the topic and because it was filmed in Detroit. When Bobby and his brother walk along the railroad tracks there's a bright turquoise building behind them that says Flair. A former co-worker's sister owns that shop and I helped them on Opening Day (pricing earrings). And the final scene during the gay pride parade was held on a street where I drive every Monday on my way to see Maureen. I remember driving it one day last year and wondering what the hell the banners and tents were all about. Who knew metro Detroit could pass so easily as Walnut Creek, CA and Portland, OR? I recognised it as Detroit, as I think any Detroiter would (just like all Detroiters laughed their asses off during Bird on a Wire which supposedly took place in Detroit, but very obviously wasn't filmed here at all). I think Prayers for Bobby could easily have fallen into being too much, but I feel it was poignant w/o being over done.

Movie of May: Sophie Scholl: The Final Days

Well, this post only took me three weeks to write. *sigh* I'm a horribly slackeresque blogger, aren't I?

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10 Comments:

At Friday, 19 June, 2009, Anonymous Woof said...

Good to see you back and posting.

Yes, people do buy food at Wal-Mart. Supercenters all over the place.

The Iron Giant is a great film. Every so often I'll see it on some network, and I'll usually sit down and watch it.

Oh, one last thing... that post was AWESOME. (and for that matter, the comment was even more so. *grin*)

Woof

 
At Friday, 19 June, 2009, Blogger Evil Twin's Wife said...

Too funny about the Kroger commercials. That would drive me nuts too. I do shop at WM - the SuperWMs have grocery stores, so that's where I shop every week.

 
At Friday, 19 June, 2009, Blogger Kathleen said...

Woof - Good to see you. I've heard that The Iron Giant is on the list of films that will make men cry...did it make you cry? You can admit it. It makes me cry every time I see it. Actually, do you know what would be awesome? If we were all in Cleveland next weekend like we're supposed to be.

ETW - See? This is why I have a blog - to find out that people actually buy food at Wal-Mart. ;-)

 
At Friday, 19 June, 2009, Blogger LL said...

What? No mention of of the Pens and their Stanley Cup victory? You mentioned the Wings last year at this time... dern hypocrites. :P

Oh... and it's old guy, not old man. Just sayin'... :ewink:

 
At Friday, 19 June, 2009, Blogger fermicat said...

We buy meat at Publix, not Kroger.

I also did not get all the way through Zen and the Art of Motorcyle Maintenance.

Based on your recommendation, I may have to give Transformers a try.

 
At Saturday, 20 June, 2009, Blogger Kathleen said...

LL - I hate the Pens and their friggin' pansy-ass whining shithead of a captain, so why would I mention them? Just for that, you'll get a week straight of cat blogging.

Fermi - I got through Zen and the Art, but it was only because of sheer determination. I have three books on the Books I Haven't Finished List and I didn't want to add to it. Transformers was fun...it wasn't great, but it was fun.

The books I haven't finished: The Trial by Kafka, Crime and Punishment by Dostoyevsky and Moll Flanders by Daniel Dafoe (tried at least twice, if not three times).

 
At Sunday, 21 June, 2009, Blogger dr sardonicus said...

Sounds like you need a satellite radio subscription. I got so spoiled by the free trial for XM Radio that I got with the Impala that I signed up for three years. I hardly ever listen to commercial radio anymore.

 
At Monday, 22 June, 2009, Blogger Kathleen said...

Dr. - I'm too cheap to pay for satellite radio, besides I only listen in the morning to get the weather report so I know how to dress for the walk to work. It also helps keep me moving as Traffic and Weather Together on the 8s along with Sports at 15 and 45 past each hour and the Wall Street Journal report at 25 and 55 past each hour keeps me posted of the time as there's no clock in the bathroom. I just hit the AM/FM button when a commercial I hate comes on - used to be the Beaumont hospital commercial only, now there's any number of them that get the blood boiling.

 
At Friday, 26 June, 2009, Blogger The Zombieslayer said...

I was impressed by Transformers. Not a great movie by any means, but enjoyable and worth the $10.

 
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