He is running, running, running

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He is running, running, running. And it’s like no kind of running he’s ever run before. He’s the surge that burst the dam and he’s pouring down the hillslope, channelling through the grass to the width of his widest part. He’s tripping into hoof-rucks. He’s slapping groundsel stems down dead. Dandelions and chickweed, nettles and dock. This time, there’s no chance for sniff and scavenge and scoff. There are no steel bars to end his lap, no chain to jerk at the limit of its extension, no bellowing to trick and bully him back. This time, he’s further than he’s ever seen before, past every marker along the horizon line, every hump and spork he learned by heart. […]

He is running, running, running. And there’s no course or current to deter him. There’s no impulse from the root of his brain to the roof of his skull which says other than RUN.

~ Sara Baume, from the Prologue of Spill Simmer Falter Wither (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2015)


Ray, a 57-year-old loner on Britain’s southern coast, adopts a one-eyed terrier. You can guess what happens next: Ray falls head over heels in love and is soon organizing his life around One Eye’s walks and feedings…Ray falls deeper under the spell of the damaged but joy-filled dog who has transformed his “squat, vacant life” and renewed his interest in his surroundings…This lovely book seems destined to become a small classic of animal communion literature, fervently handed along among friends and family…Early on, Ray asks himself a question that anyone whose life has been changed by a pet will recognize: “What did I use to do all day without you? Already I can’t remember.”

~ Sam Sacks, from his book review of Spill Simmer Falter Wither


One of NPR’s Best Books of 2016.  See NPR book review: For A Young Irish Artist And Author, Words Are Anchored In Images

Jackie

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Ms. Portman’s Jackie is a mesmerizing presence. She is stiff the way celebrated women were in the early 1960s, in her comportment as well as her hair. […]

Natalie Portman’s portrait of Jacqueline Kennedy during and immediately after her husband’s assassination rises above impersonation to an eerie kind of incarnation: She’s got the voice, the look and a devastated spirit that still has plenty of steel…For those who remember exactly where they were when the news came in, some of these blood-soaked images retain the power to evoke astonishingly strong feelings of shock and grief. This is by way of saying I may have seen a different “Jackie” than others will see, one that made me recoil at replayed moments of horror, and sometimes squirm like a voyeur. But Pablo Larraín has made a strangely conflicted film that portrays Jackie as an obsessive mythmaker and keeper of the flame—an ironic, provocative approach—yet celebrates the Camelot myth in the process. […]

Does it also feel right that the film, following Jackie back to the White House after the flight from Dallas, tracks her solitary wanderings through silent, empty rooms and into the shower, where she washes her husband’s dried blood from her body? No and yes. Some of that left me feeling queasy, an accessory to a break-in on an icon’s privacy. All the same, following her in the hours after the assassination is a terrific idea for part of a movie, a part that’s irresistible to watch…

The film’s contradictions intersect most vividly toward the end, when Jackie, passing a department store in a limousine, sees mannequins in a succession of windows wearing her signature dresses. That could also be taken as ironic—the architect of the image-building project has become its surviving subject. But the scene, like so much in the film, plays sentimentally. She is ruefully, tragically alone…

~ Joe Morgenstern, excerpts from ‘Jackie’ Review: The Woman and the MythNatalie Portman stars as Jacqueline Kennedy in the period during and after her husband’s assassination

To watch official movie trailer: Jackie, Official Trailer


Photo: traileraddict.com

There’s only one lady I dance with…

And given that I don’t dance, this is saying something.  (I watched Dancing With The Stars last night so dancing is on the mind.)  I’ve tried them all.  Safari.  Firebox. Internet Explorer.  And others.  The Google Chrome Browser is simply in a league of its own.  Nothing comes close.  Here’s a quick review of why it works for me and why you might find it helpful as a blogger, writer or a PC/Mac desktop/laptop user:

Syncing.  It follows me where ever I go.  I log in on any computer and bang!  There are all my tabs, extensions and folders.  It’s like I never leave my favorite cozy couch and comforter.  It syncs across all computers.  I have immediate access to all of my tabs and extensions from any machine.  I can get started immediately without interruption.

Tabs: Tabs are Tabtastic as a PC Magazine’s review describes them.  I can set frequently-used tabs that I can click to access sites immediately.  I can park less frequently used sites into folders.  All easy to set up and access.

Extensions.  These are BIG.  I use them often.  You can hang free productivity apps from the browser (and they follow me on all machines).  There is a simple download process from the Google WebStore.  There are hundreds of apps.  My favorite 1-click extensions are the Evernote clipper (stores articles, jot notes, clip articles for sharing); Diigo (for quick bookmarking and highlighting); 1Password (password setting, storage and auto login – because who can remember all of their passwords? This works great);  Addthis (for sharing via email, twitter, tumblr, facebook and many others);  Chrome Notepad (handy, simple note taking app that I use all the time) and Readability (save articles to read later online or offline and syncs to Ipads and Iphones.  Works beautifully.) [Read more…]

Would It Kill You To Stop Doing That?

Alford has written for Vanity Fair, The NY Times and The New Yorker.  He has written three books and is often heard on NPR.  This book is not intended to be a reference manual.  It is filled with colorful and interesting stories, anecdotes, surveys, experiments and interviews.  I anticipated logical sequencing and organization prior to opening the cover of a “Modern Guide to Manners.”  You won’t find that here in this well written, sometimes amusing but mostly frustrating random walk on the subject.  He lurches from discussions involving the appropriateness of slurping noodles in Tokyo, to accepting all friend requests on Facebook to asking how much rent you pay in Manhattan, to stealing a cab.

[Read more…]

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