Thursday, April 30, 2009

S. Darko

I was both thrilled and disappointed to discover this teaser trailer among the previews before "Slumdog Millionaire" (I've not made it through the Slumdog film, by the way. I'm sensitive to things like child abuse. It's been paused for about an hour now.)

S. Darko is apparently a spin-off of "Donnie Darko", an all-time favorite. The sequel is told through the eyes of Donnie's younger sister, Samantha. I can't imagine it could even begin to live up to the original (especially the director's cut). Sometimes I question the film industry's commitment to Sparkle Motion.

Oh Dear...

More naughtiness from John Gosselin to report, I'm afraid.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

You know you want to....

Can you believe it? Speed dating finally makes a pit stop in our little corner of the world. Find out how Mr. or Ms. Right could be seated just across the table from you as soon as May 30th right here.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

The Face of Happy

Isabelle, finally sheared for warm weather, is officially the happiest dog on the block (click for a giant-sized happy face).

Monday, April 27, 2009

Dear Zachary

Most of you know I watch a lot of documentaries. "Dear Zachary" is one of the unforgettables.

Available instantly at Netflix.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Friday, April 24, 2009

Worse than her Bite (Much worse)

Tallulah, I'm happy to report, has made some potty-related strides since the serious set back (the ice storm) in this regard. Mostly no peeing in the house now and very little indoor pooping. If she does have a poopy accident, she's developed the sense not to eat the stuff as if it were foie gras, thank goodness. [I wrote that sentence last night. This morning I noticed Tallulah in a corner polishing off her latest pile. I moved on. Quickly. "La, la, la, didn't see that, nope!"]

No, Tallulah's worst problem now is not scatological. And I'm afraid it's also not one she's likely to outgrow. It is (and I feel myself cringe as I type this) her bark.

Let's to explain. For starters, IT'S LOUD. Not loud as in woofy, roaring, Lassie loud, but loud as in imagine a sound that is an extremely abbreviated (nano-second) version of a combined blood-curdling scream, bark, yelp, and chalk squeaking on a chalkboard (for those of you of sufficient age to know that sound). It is high-pitched and startling. It comes out of nowhere. One minute you're sitting on my couch having a perfectly nice conversation and the next it's the decibal equivalent of a gun trigger pulled not a centimeter away from your head. Or maybe like someone bewitched floated up, aimed a basketball half time honker at your ear and pushed the button...


I call her The Glass Shatterer.

I have witnessed, as recently as last weekend, a guest actually involuntarily levitate momentarily from their seat from the shock of an unexpected !YECK! out of my little darling. It is almost inconceivable that such a noise, the auditory equivalent of vicious blow to the temple, can emanate from a dog so otherwise quiet, small, and light on her feet. One minute Tallulah's flitting about, her teensy little tootsies tickety-tacking merrily along on the hardwood. She hops about greeting unsuspecting guests, gets her pets, maybe a treat or a chewy, goes on about her business. And then for a time...nothing. It's like she waits until she's certain the visitor(s) have quite forgotten there is a pint-sized, white, four-legged diva in residence.
And then...

Flinching, chest clutching, wincing, involuntary twitching...all reactions my guests have exhibited upon exposure to The Glass Shatterer. Their first question, when they regain their senses, is usually, "WHAT was THAT?" Because the !YECK! isn't immediately identifiable as a sound found in nature. It sounds more like [an abbreviated version of] the last sound you hear just before a train hits; when emergency brakes are suddenly applied to steel wheels that just a split second before were spinning at maximum speed.
The good news, if there is any, is that Tallulah's not really an overly barky dog. (Though this may contribute to the shock value of the sound.) Tallulah tends to bark when she's a) excited over wrestling w/her big sister or uncle Dudley or b) has important news such as "Look! Isabelle's at the door you need to let her in, Mommy!", c) would like to state, "Damn! I think I just heard serial killer blink out back! Battle stations, everyone!", or d) FYI..."Hello? I'm in my crate over here being good? You haven't forgotten about me...HAVE YOU?"
Of course I'm immune. I lost the majority of my hearing to a series of concerts I attended in the 1980's and early 90's. Somewhere between AC/DC and Van Halen (the David Lee Roth version, natch, please do not mistake me for that person) things just aren't the same. I can, of course, clearly hear the Glass Shatterer, just perhaps not in quite the stereophonic glory of my guests, if the looks on their (pale white terrified) faces is any indication. Also, I'm used to the sound, an advantage that simply cannot be overstated in this situation.

I've debated just how to handle unitiated guests. Should I post a sign on the door, 'Warning: Prepare for Sudden Incredibly Loud Bark". Should I just lay it on them, "You might want to keep in mind that this tiny dog could let out a bark loud and startling enough to make you check and see if your brain might be leaking out your ears."

Of course my usual M. O. is to do absolutely nothing except comfort the victims post bark. And, let's be honest. I'll probably just stick with that.


Sunday, April 19, 2009

Grey Gardens, HBO Production: The Remorseless Review

Because I'm sure you're keeping track, you're well aware that the premiere of the HBO movie production of "Grey Gardens" happened last night. We watched fortified with wine, salad, bread sticks and twelve pounds of lasagna. We pre-tuned with an hour or so of The Beales of Grey Gardens (a 2006 follow-up to the original doc). We addressed each other in our best Big and Little Edie voices. We broke into song without warning and for no particular reason. We speculated on possible reasons why the cast of the Broadway musical is alreadying panning Drew Barrymore's performance. We pondered how there can possibly be people in this world actually not interested in viewing the premier of a movie that tells the story (again) of two crusty old ladies living in squalor and cat poop in an overgrown, dilapidated mansion in the Hamptons (go figure). We read over the original Broadway playbill. Stephanie did her Little Edie flag dance. We considered dressing the dogs up as cats. We investigated whether or not Kim Basinger lost a finger.

Okay, so that last thing is unrelated. (She didn't, by the way. Kim is still in posession of all her digits, near as we can figure.)

We took it as an excellent omen that we tuned into HBO at the very second the movie began.

And then we watched the movie.

We watched it for an hour and a half. Because that's how long it was.

There were things HBO got right, to be sure. The costumes, the sets, the make-up on Drew Barrymore (who played Little Edie) and Jessica Lange (who played Big Edie) were superb. I mean, they absolutely NAILED the look of Grey Gardens and the Beales. Drew and Jessica so closely resembled their counterparts that, at times, for a few seconds, one could easily believe they were the Beales. There is a scene where Drew as Little Edie is lying on the beach that is truly amazing in this regard. The make-up is flawless and there is no question that Drew is totally believable as the fifty-something eccentric.

Jessica Lange's portrayal of Big Edie was excellent. The voice, the absolutely giving over of herself to this character is amazing and succeeds pretty much at all times. Barrymore, on the other hand, while beguiling and occasionally successful, does not in the end live up to the role. Her accent tends to come and go. And, while I'm not sure any actress is up to the task of bringing to life this unique one-of-a-kind personality, Drew just doesn't quite meet the mark.

Which brings me to my biggest problem with the film. And this is not an easy distinction to make. But the problem here, I think, is one of perspective. On the face of it, the Beale's story is, indeed, that of formerly rich relatives of Jackie Kennedy Onassis who fall on hard times and descend into living a life of desperation and mean poverty. Okay, we get that and those facts add additional sparkle to the story. But those facts aren't the point. The point is, the amazing characters these women are; how mesmerizing they are to watch, how fascinating it is to witness their monologues. I mean, these are two seriously Staunch Characters. (And I'm sorry to report this famous phrase, originally stated by Little Edie in the documentary, was not even included in the HBO production. Hello?)

What Grey Gardens should be is a character study with an underlying riches-to-rags story. What this HBO production turned out to be is the exact opposite: a riches-to-rags story with some underlying character development. And, while I can understand the temptation to stress the Jackie Kennedy connection is hard to resist, again, that isn't the point. Big and Little Edie are plenty interesting enough on their own. HBO didn't need to waste our time with the Jackie Kennedy appearance to make it interesting. In fact, this proves distracting and adds to the lack of focus, in my opinion.

Last, the aforementioned running time. Why on earth would HBO pour such resources and talent into a production on a subject so potentially rich in detail and then only manage a paltry hour-and-a-half running time? It smacks of made-for-TV-movie. Lifetime would have given us more.

So, no, HBO's "Grey Gardens" was not what we'd hoped.

Still, it was a great excuse for lasagna and reindeer games.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Feagan's of Fredonia

BubbleShare: Share photos - Play some Online Games.

Sooner or later, if you live anywhere near western Kentucky, you have to go to Feagan's of Fredonia and buy furniture. It is The Law. There is literally nothing else in Fredonia besides Feagan's and The Coon Dog Inn which is actually a restaurant. There we enjoyed plate lunches of chicken, potato casserole, and cooked-down green beans capped off with pie.

[Okay, so it's not the greatest post in the world, but it is a post. Baby steps.]
PS To see the captions in their entirety (and you know you want to), click the photos; they show at Bubbleshare.]

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Midnight Snack

Nope, still no words.

I am, however, able to enjoy a delicious late-night snack of a toasted english muffin spread with ricotta cheese and topped with sweetened stawberries and cilantro.

Thursday, April 09, 2009

At the risk of too much grey matter...

Just a quick pop-in to pass on a link to the newly updated Grey Gardens website. All the minutia, collectibles, and latest information on the musical and HBO film, plus some other stuff. Gah 'head. Wallow (noise).

Saturday, April 04, 2009


I can't write right now. I don't know why. So, here's a photo of Tallulah that I took last night and a me-me that I thought was a little more interesting than the norm. I think I'll be back to regular blogging soon. (I hope.)

1. My uncle once: popped my balloon with his cigarette.

2. Never in my life: have I wanted a boob job. It just all looks so painful.

3. When I was five: I got a doll made out of (white) feathers as a birthday gift from my Grandma. I LOVED IT.

4. High school was: bizarre.

5. I will never forget: “The chemical structure of the atom is similar in many respects to the physical structure of our own solar system.” (Speaking of uncles, mine made me and another cousin memorize that on a lazy summer afternoon. About 35 years ago. Don’t ask me what I had for breakfast.)

6. Once I met (and befriended): my husband’s ex-wife. We’re still friends. The marriage? Not so much.

7. There’s this girl I know: who absolutely won’t listen to me. It’s a bad call on her part.

8. Once, at a bar: I think I’ve already told that story here.

9. By noon, I’m usually: hungry.

10. Last night: was delightful.

11. If only I had: more self-discipline.

12. Next time I go to church: it will likely burn down.

13. What worries me most: helplessness. No question.

14. When I turn my head left I see: a mirror.

15. When I turn my head right I see: a chair holding a printer that I’m too lazy to move.

16. What I miss most about the Eighties is: my twentysomething ass. It rocked.

17. If I were a character in Shakespeare I’d be: Lady MacBeth. I’m so guilty, I swear.

18. I have a hard time understanding: People who voted for George Bush. TWICE.

19. If I ever go back to school: I would whine a lot about it. In my blog.

Thursday, April 02, 2009

Southern Illinois University--Now a possibility

Long-time readers may remember that I flirted, fairly seriously during the Summer of Fun when I was blissfully unemployed, with the idea of enrolling at Southern Illinois University at Carbondale. I even went so far as to drive up and meet with some of the faculty and explore the Mass Comm Department which I found fairly impressive. Also, they offer a pretty top-notch photography program.

The major rub at that time was the out-of-state tuition cost--about $10,000 higher than for Illinois residents. A pretty serious hurdle for someone not eligible for any financial aid.

I'm happy to report, that according to a story aired on NPR this morning, thanks to an ever more competitive market, the out-of-state tuition differential has been eliminated. Out-of-state students at SIU will now pay the same tuition costs as those in-state: about $5,700 per semester.

This means a whole new secondary education option for those in Paducah whose nearest alternative for a bachelor's has been Murray State University, about 48 miles down the road. While Murray does offer a limited number of degrees at their satellite campus in Paducah, mostly in business and education, I suspect this will force even more competition locally for the education dollar. Carbondale is only about 20 minutes farther away than Murray. While Murray has plans for a substantial campus in Paducah, that is still a ways away.

Elimination of out-of-state tuition is a question with which many universities across the country are currently struggling. Read the full NPR story here.

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Meanwhile, back at Grey Gardens...

This is a follow-up to my original Grey Gardens trailer post. If you've watched that clip, but haven't seen the original Grey Gardens documentary by the Maysles brothers, you must watch the clip I'm posting here from that film of Little Edie Beale. Little Edie is the character portrayed in the HBO production by Drew Barrymore. When you see this clip, of the real Little Edie, you get a sense of just how great a job Drew is really doing. This is the exact snippet on which the Barrymore speech about "using her skirt as a cape" is based. Watch them back-to-back.

Update on the abandoned Maltese: I've had contact from no less than three readers seriously interested in exploring the possibility of adopting the little guy. I am, as yet, unable to reach the man in whose hands the fate of the little orphan rests. Will keep you posted.


If this baby doesn't tug at your heartstrings? Well, then I need to turn off my blog lights and pull down the shade. This little guy was found matted and scared near a very busy street. His age is estimated at about six months and he is shown here getting spruced up at the groomer's...could it be for you? Could he be the fur baby you have been longing for? He is a Maltese and his little feet turn out like Tallulah's and it makes me very sad.

If you or someone you know is interested in adopting, please contact me at my e-mail address listed under my profile.