Monday, February 19, 2018

Another TCM Movie Catch-Up

Caught up on some movies the last two weeks.

The Purchase Price: A night-club singer on the lam becomes a farmer's mail-order bride. TCM's description says it best. This could have been a great movie: pre-code, Barbara Stanwyck and Lyle Talbot. Stanwyck even sings.Well, the actors are better than the script in this preposterous story. George Brent, cast against type, plays the doofus husband. I didn't buy that Stanwyck fell in love with Brent as quickly as she did. The biggest problem is that Lyle Talbot is the nicest gangster ever.  There's no conflict when he reappears. He even pays off Brent's mortgage.

Berkeley Square: Leslie Howard manages to time travel and take the place of his ancestor arriving at Berkeley Square from America. Armed with the ancestor's diary, Howard thinks he can handle any contingency, From the start, he makes mistakes: he knows things he shouldn't know; he doesn't know people he should; he uses odd expressions. Howard meets his soul mate, but they are destined to live apart.

This Land is Mine: Timid school teacher finds his courage and his voice to fight the Nazis.Charles Laughton led a good cast led including Maureen O'Hara, George Sanders and Walter Slezak.

The North Star: It must have been fight the Nazis day on TCM. I recorded this just after This Land is Mine. It was a mistake: I thought I was recording Edge of Darkness--another Nazi resistance tale.  The North Star focuses on a group including Farley Granger, Dana Andrews and Anne Baxter on a walking trip to Kiev, singing along the way. Things change quickly when the Nazis invade.

Nicholas and Alexandra: I was surprised how long it's been since I last saw this movie. I half-watched it as I was cleaning. On this viewing, a few things struck me. One was the sheer number of people just standing at attention as Nicholas and Alexandra leave for a party. Roderic Noble is excellent as Alexis in his first (of only two) films. This time I noticed Julian Glover's name in the credits: Maester Pycelle himself. Apparently, I've seen him in several films over the year. Now I'll take a closer look.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Second Book

Last week I finished At Home with Henry VIII His life, his wives, his palaces by Rose Shepherd. This was a Christmas gift from my mother-in-law last year. It's a beautiful book with lots of photographs and reproductions of paintings.

At Home has less than 200 pages; I didn't expect to learn anything from it. I've already read so many books about Tudor England, especially about Anne Boleyn. But I did learn that, according to Shepherd, Anne preferred a pendant with an "A." I've never heard that, and have only seen the "B" pendant.

One of the author's comments got me thinking. Shepherd wonders if Anne Boleyn would have the cult following she has today if she had not gone to her death with such courage and dignity.

I never thought of myself as being in a cult, but I guess being among a cult following is accurate. I've been fascinated by Anne for years. She was a tragic heroine; I had romanticized her relationship with Harry Percy. I never bought into the great love between Henry and Anne. Henry was obsessed with Anne because she wouldn't fall into his arms like a ripe peach.

Did Anne love Henry? She certainly loved the power and grandeur of being a queen. I hate to believe she loved him and suffered a betrayal of that love as well as everything else.

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Dogs of New York

Enjoyed this article about dogs and real estate in The New York Times. 

On a personal note, I was glad to see beagles were in the top ten of New York City dog breeds.This is similar to other lists of popular breeds in the United States. I've seen beagles ranked as high as fourth.

The article included a list of popular dog names. Lola ranked second only to Bella among the girls. I've seen Bella on several lists, but this was the first time I saw Lola. We can't take credit for our Lola's name, but it's nice to see it among the in-crowd.

Saturday, February 10, 2018

This Week

I'm glad the week is winding down--it was a long one. Funny how one week can feel so differently from another. The Superbowl feels like a month ago.

I had a busy work week. I dealt with a student who missed one appointment and had to cut a second short, a parent who was annoyed with me about a technical glitch, extra pressure that I put on myself by poor planning, and a few minor household problems. The last session of my ACT class was Wednesday. It snowed, sleeted and rained all day, but we managed to get the class in and everyone attended. I didn't feel I was at my best. That's not a good way to end the course, but I received a glowing email from one of my students so I guess it wasn't as bad as I thought.

To top the week off, Lola got sick yesterday. Luckily the vet was able to squeeze her in, and Lola's much better today.

And so it goes.

Monday, February 5, 2018

Superbowl Sunday

Jeff has a tradition of making chili on Superbowl Sunday. That was nice because I worked all afternoon.

I'm not much of a football fan, but I was rooting for the Eagles. It was a combination of things: I grew up in the Philadelphia area; I'm sick of the Patriots winning; I was rooting on behalf of my dad. I recently learned that the Eagles had never won the Superbowl. I'm sorry Dad didn't get to see the moment when they did.

I found one of the announcers really annoying. I said that he must have been in love with Tom Brady. Apparently it was Cris Collinsworth. Melissa McEwan said he had a timeshare inside Tom Brady's ass. No matter what happened in the game, his response was to explain how Tom Brady would do something and the Patriots would win.

The commercials were disappointing. I admit I'm the wrong audience; I'm not a fan of commercials in general. I did like the Eli Manning Dirty Dancing ad.

Don't get me started on Justin Timberlake. I never saw his appeal.

At least baseball season is coming soon.

Friday, February 2, 2018

Slip and Fall

This morning I slipped on ice in our parking lot. My left knee bore the brunt of my fall. My first thought was there goes the gym.

I got up gingerly, feeling stupid. After I went back inside, I sat down on the couch, propped my knee up on a pillow, wrote a few emails and entered my work hours. Then I went to the gym, but skipped leg work and cardio. I kept my walk with Lola at the Norwalk River Valley Trail to about a half hour. It was bitterly cold, so no sacrifice there.

My knee stiffens up and gets sore from-time-to-time, but it's not too bad.

It reminds me how quickly things can go to hell.

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

January: A Partial Review

I expected this month to drag. Instead it seemed to fly by.

As usual, I didn't accomplish everything I wanted. Technically, I didn't have a January-specific to-do list but I did want to start off the year right.

The first week was a blur. We were in the middle of a cold spell--temps didn't crack the freezing point for two weeks. I didn't work much--two tutoring cancellations. I had the first of three consecutive weeks of taking my mother to doctors' appointments. These appointments ended up taking four to five hours each, and they are my responsibility. Yes, my mother could get to the doctors without me, but nowhere near as conveniently. Plus it's good for me to stay in the loop concerning her health. Usually these appointments are spread out over months. January was bad luck in that regard.

I tracked my time for two weeks. I still need to do a thorough analysis, but time-tracking forced me to focus on how I wasted time. My time-wasters weren't surprises, but the amount of time wasted was. "Just let me check this blog, read this one post" can be dangerous.

I've been enjoying my walks with Lola. It's too easy to stay inside in winter. Lola gets me out when I would otherwise hibernate and miss some beautiful days. In the cold spell, we had some bad walking days even when wearing multiple layers, but these were few.

We got a new couch and love seat over the weekend. We chose them on MLK Day. We had our old couch hauled away to the dump and gave the love seat to Jeff's co-worker. One more love seat to go--we've had a spare in our spare room for too long.

I got a raise this month. It was nothing specific that I did; it was part of a simplification of tutoring options. Instead of having three separate tutoring rates, I now have one--the highest of the three. Let the new tutorials commence.

Overall, January's been a good month. On to February.