See This Great Movie about Churchill!

Hurry up, folks, and see Darkest Hour, the new film about the earliest days of Winston Churchill’s leadership of Britain as Prime Minister, before it leaves the theaters! (It should still be showing through the end of the year at independent theaters; we saw it last night at one such place. If you live in the Denver area you can see it there: the Chez Artiste Theater near Colorado Boulevard and Evans Avenue. After the movie you can just walk over to the India Oven Restaurant for a wonderful meal.)  If you don’t see it in time, buy Darkest Hour.

I wanted to see the film because of Gary Oldman’s performance, and it’s well worth seeing just for that reason and for the rest of the cast. (Downton Abbey fans will recognize the actress who plays Churchill’s secretary: it’s Rose! But with dark hair.)

Read moreSee This Great Movie about Churchill!

Do the Boring Stuff

healthy, relaxing breakfastAnother great podcast today from Liz Craft and Sarah Fain’s “Happier in Hollywood,” their podcast about life as TV writers living in Los Angeles. I would encourage you to listen to the whole thing. (One instance of bad language very early on, BTW.) Anyway, they have a guest this week, Melissa De La Cruz, a mega-best-selling author of young adult fiction. (Who knew? Not me.) But Melissa’s fabulously successful career came at the cost of a stroke.

Read moreDo the Boring Stuff

Food Fads Debunked

The Gluten Lie and The Gluten Lie book b Alan LevinovitzOther Myths about What You Eat by Alan Levinovitz, Ph.D., originally published in 2015 by Regan Arts, now available in a variety of formats. (Book image and title are both affiliate links; if you click through to the Amazon page and buy the book there I will earn a small commission at no additional cost to you.)

I first became aware of this book because its author was featured on the Freakonomics Radio podcast, to which you should subscribe and faithfully listen. (And then you should read the Freakonomics book, Freakonomics [Revised and Expanded]: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything.

Anyway, the author of this book, Alan Levinovitz, was interviewed not too long ago on the show, and since I’m a total fan of any author who wants to punch a hole in our society’s various food fads and manias, I made sure to get hold of his book.

Read moreFood Fads Debunked

That First Step Down the Road of Choices

Stunningly attractive brown and cream tileWhat did we do in the kitchen? The floor was the first step, locking us in to certain future choices.

This is not a home decorating blog. Having such a blog is like having a food/recipe blog, for which the hapless blogger has to come up with new projects all the time. Hey, once I’m done, especially on the decorating front, I’m done. And while I’m a fan of new recipes, I’ll let others do the day-to-day work of developing them.

Read moreThat First Step Down the Road of Choices

Fitting in Work Around Other Work

open books, notebook, and coffeeWell, I just spent at least half an hour trying to find a quotation from the British classicist Mary Beard about her writing and I haven’t been able to do so.  It’s always a mistake to let a good idea go by and then have to hunt it down later. So I won’t be able to give you an exact quotation, but she said something like, “As I was sitting and working on my few sentences.” Mary Beard is one of my heroes; her book The Fires of Vesuvius is a true time-travel tool.

Read moreFitting in Work Around Other Work

No Ostriches Need Apply

flock of ostrich I’ve said often that I consider Dorothy Sayers’ Gaudy Night, written in 1936, to be the greatest novel of the 20th century. I’ve been reminded a number of times recently of this little exchange between Lord Peter Wimsey and the woman he loves, Harriet Vane. Peter had fought in World War I and been badly traumatized by his role as an officer, having to send men off into battle.

Read moreNo Ostriches Need Apply

Human Relationships Are Complicated!

This morning I feel so full up of things to say that it’s hard for me to focus on one, but I’ll try. What with the looming crisis with North Korea, the Charlottesville tragedy, and my own media intake via audiobook and film, there’s just a lot of ground to cover. All, really, have to do with how we humans get along with each other–or don’t. Those pesky relationships!

I’ll start with the audiobook, because it focuses on the “Jerusalem” of human experience: those who are closest to us. (If you’re not familiar with the reference, it comes from the book of Acts in the Christian New Testament, in which the disciples are told to be witnesses of the Gospel “in Jerusalem, and in Judea and Samaria, and to the uttermost parts of the earth.” So it’s a set of concentric circles, starting with where they are and moving out. I’ve heard many a sermon emphasizing that we need to build relationships and witness with our nearest and dearest first. If we haven’t done that, we have no business saying that we’re going out to the “uttermost parts.”) 

Read moreHuman Relationships Are Complicated!

Nothing Is Ever Simple, Pt. II

clothes piled up on dresser and armoireFirst let me say that my purpose in chronicling the sometimes-rocky path we’re traversing in our efforts to renovate the downstairs isn’t necessarily to be entertaining, as I’m well aware that perhaps not everyone is as fascinated as we are with this whole process. Most of this saga falls into the “lessons learned” category, although, as our favorite author on home remodeling/renovation, David Owen, says, in any home improvement project you learn what you need to know as you go along, so that by the time you’re finished you know what you’re doing—but by then it’s too late. The project is done. If you’re a professional, then of course every mistake you make helps you not to make that same one on the next job. But for those of us who are simply trying to do a one-time item, it can get a little discouraging to realize that we’ll probably never use our hard-won knowledge again.

Read moreNothing Is Ever Simple, Pt. II

Every Day You Live . . .

Goose and goslings looking at each other. . . is one less day you have left.

Sound morbid? It’s not. I quoted my dear friend Nancy’s father, something said at his funeral and which I wrote about last summer:

“What you do today is important, because you are exchanging a day of your life for it.”

Read moreEvery Day You Live . . .

The Strangeness of the Finish Line.

horses racing toward the finish lineI wrote yesterday about passing the milestone of my last BSF class for the year and that I now need to be sure I have a new goal to fill the time left empty by the completion of that stretch. A memory from grad school came to mind as I re-read the post. A fellow speech grad student had her masters speech recital, straining every nerve, as one does, to get the performance ready and then, well, perform it. She did a good job (although for the life of me I can’t remember what her material was) and then she had a real struggle with depression once it was over.

Read moreThe Strangeness of the Finish Line.