Wednesday, December 31, 2014

The movies I saw in 2014

I did average more than one film a week this year. It's hard to concentrate on a movie when my son is in the house and does not dig Lubitsch the way I do. Hope to see more in the cinemas next year, but I appreciate Netflix.

1) That's Entertainment
2) Inside Llewyn Davis
3) Arsenic and Old Lace
4) Blackfish
5) Reds & Blues
6) Negros With Guns
7) Drinking Buddies
8) Shut Up Little Man! An Audio Misadventure.
9) Heroic Trio
10) A Hard Days Night
11) The Rape of Europa
12) The Lego Movie
13) Gigot
14) From Russia With Love
15) Ghostbusters
16) Gamera Vs. Guiron (MST3K)
17) 20 Feet From Stardom
18) Destroy All Monsters
19) Goldfinger
20) Godzilla Vs. Mothra
21) The Grand Budapest Hotel
22) The Fifth Element
23) Captain America: The Winter Soldier
24) Dave Clark 5: Above and Beyond
25) The Matrix
26) Ghidorah the Three Headed Monster.
27) Beware of Mr. Baker
28) Godzilla (2014)
29) Muscle Shoals
30) Pele and Garrincha - Gods of Brazil
31) Much Ado About Nothing (2013)
32) The Angels Share
33) The Aristocrats
34) High Anxiety
35) Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid
36) Werewolf (MST3K)
37) Girl Shy
38) Alpha Papa
39) Sharknado 2: the Second One
40) Boyhood
41) Bettie Page Reveals All
42) Guardians of the Galaxy
43) Axe Giant: the Wrath of Paul Bunyan
44) To Be Or Not To Be (1942)
45) Hot Saturday (1932)
46) A Dog’s Life (1918)
47) Upside Down: The Creation Records Story
48) Blue is the Warmest Color
49) God Help the Girl
50) The Divorcee
51) God Help the Girl (with Wife)
52) Red Dust
53) The African Queen
54) Twentieth Century
55) Gone Girl
56) A Night at the Opera.
57) Birdman
58) Snowpiercer
59) The Last Gladiators
60) Filth
61) Pulp: a Film about Life, Death, and Supermarkets
62) A Long Way Down
63) Love and Death
64) Comfort and Joy
65) Shop Around the Corner
66) Big Eyes
67) Pearl Jam 20

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Books 2014

The embarrassingly low number of books I've read in the past year. I got nothing. No excuses.

1) Pat Conroy. The Death of Santini. 339 p.
2) Carol Conroy. The Beauty Wars 124 p.
3) Jay Stringer. Lost City. 301 p. ***
4) Emma Donoghue. Frog Music. 405 p. ***
5) Bill Campana. Said Beauty to the Blues. 137 p. ***
6) Scott Martelle. The Admiral and the Ambassador. 310 p. ****
7) Stephen King. Mr. Mercedes. 437 p.
8) Greg Baxter. The Apartment. 193 p. ***
9) Denise Mina - The Red Road. 297 p.
10) Amanda Petrusich - Do Not Sell at Any Price. 260 p. ****
11) Haruki Marakami - Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage. 386 P. ****
12) Peter Matthiessen - In Paradise. 256 p. ***
13) Cristin O’Keefe Aptowicz - Dr. Mutter’s Marvels. 372 p. ***
14) Ken Sharp. Starting Over: the Making of John Lennon and Yoko Ono’s Double Fantasy. 262 p. ***
15) Randall Maggs. Night Work: the Sawchuk Poems. 189 p. ****
16) Michel Faber. The Book of Strange, New Things. 500 p. ****
17) Scott Saul. Becoming Richard Pryor. 586 p. ***

Saturday, December 27, 2014

2014 in pictures

Put this slideshow together on my Macbook Pro, the acquisition of which was a highlight of the year. The soundtrack is Who Killed the Moonlight by Nicole Atkins, my favorite song of the last 12 months.


Saturday, December 20, 2014

Everything but the batteries

Finished most of the Christmas shopping by going to one of the big malls north of Columbus. Got up early, went to the Fox and the Snow cafe to get some sustenance for the shopping ordeal then made the journey up 71 north.

I thought it was going to be a lot like this.

It actually was not unpleasant. We got there early enough to avoid traffic and found a decent parking space. People were in a good mood. The crowd had not grown into a desperate, angry mob so the use of a scythe and taser were not necessary. Had a couple of ideas then and there and found what I was looking for with little trouble. No one was hurt or injured.

Still needed a drink afterwards, and had one.

The biggest hurdle was fighting the traffic out of there, but that's done now. For this year.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

The first time

For the last 28 years on his last taping before Christmas, David Letterman has had Darlene Love on as his musical guest and she has performed Christmas (Baby Please Come Home). This was from the first year, 1986.

Letterman is retiring next year and tomorrow night will be the last time Love will perform the song on television, so she claims.

It is a yearly tradition that will be missed. Is Jay Thomas going to throw a meatball on the studio tree?

Monday, December 15, 2014

Best of 2014 - Music

There ware some good tunes on my list this year. I do most of my listening in the car and these records made trips more pleasant. As always, there are plenty of gaps in what I listen to. This list is more or less in ascending order.

20) Jose James - While You Were Sleeping
19) Rosanne Cash - The River and the Thread
18) Bryan Ferry - Avonmore
17) Willie Nelson - Band of Brothers
16) Janiva Magness - Original
15) Happy Tooth & Dug - W.H.Y.G.O.D.W.H.Y.
14) The Cleaners From Venus - Return to Bohemia
13) Sharon Van Etten - Are We There
12) Withered Hand - New Gods
11) B-Movie - The Age of Illusion
10) A/C D/C - Rock or Bust
09) Francois and the Atlas Mountains - Piano Ombre
08) King Creosote - From Scotland with Love
07) St. Vincent - St. Vincent
06) Ex Hex - Rips
05) Beck - Morning Phase
04) Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings - Give the People What They Want
03) Robert Plant - Lullaby and... The Ceaseless River
02) Lydia Loveless - Somewhere Else
01) Nicole Atkins - Slow Phaser

Friday, December 12, 2014

Reaching for the phone, and having to stop

One year ago my Mom died. People have told me it does not get any easier, and they are right. She is on my mind every day as are what my Stepfather and Aunt are going through. And what the other members of my family are going through.

It's hard, you expect that. But you do not know how much.

Monday, December 8, 2014

The fight to save Cafe Edison

For the first half of my life I lived in New York state. I'm not a New Yorker, but from Long Island. No matter what anyone tells you, there's a world of difference between the two. These days, it's a nice place to visit but I would not want to live there.

The city has changed. As rents get too damn high small businesses are folding or forced out and upscale chains continue to be brought in to remove any local flavor the city once had. It's becoming a large shopping mall for tourists and I cannot help but wonder where the locals who are left go to eat.

One such place, 45 seconds from Broadway, is the Cafe Edison. It's been called The Polish Tea Room and has been operating just off the lobby of the Hotel Edison for over thirty years. Click on the link for some very interesting pictures of the inside of the diner and its history.

We ate here a couple of years ago when we visited. Is it the greatest breakfast place in the world? Hell no. Does it have the best atmosphere? It's real New York, a part of Manhattan that is fast disappearing. It is affordable. A place the stagehand and local workers can get a fast and reliable meal at a fair price. A place where a tourist can fuel up on the cheap for a day of sightseeing. And the city is fast running out of joints like this.

The owner of the hotel is trying to evict the current operators of the cafe, and has plans to put in another white table cloth restaurant with a name chef in its place. As if Manhattan does not have enough of them.

There's been a grass roots campaign to petition the owners to stop this, and to give the current operators of the cafe a long term lease on the site. City council members are aware, as is Mayor de Blasio. The story was told on NPR today. People are not giving up.