Saturday, January 21, 2017

Anniversary Waltz: THE STORY OF US

On the 21st, Phil and I will have been married 50 years. As is often the case, in a way it seems like forever, but in other ways it seems like yesterday. We had known only each other a year and half. We got married between semesters of graduate school for Phil at Rutgers. I had just turned 19. He was 22. After spending the first weekend together at our new apartment in New Brunswick, I returned home to work for Bell of PA until I could get a transfer to New Jersey. It didn't seem as odd at the time as it does now. I was still a child in most senses of the word.

We had met in the summer of 1965 in New Hope, his hometown. His parents owned a luncheonette/newsstand there. I had worked in New Hope the summer before but that summer I just happened to be visiting the friend I had roomed with in '64. It looked to be a summer romance for both of us. And nearly was. I think we both went off to college believing that. But after a time, it became clear it was more.
Crystal Palace where we both worked in '66 and I worked in '64
A warm January in Philly. Phil's brother, Billy, is missing from this picture. That's my brother, Jeff, on the left.

Phil finished his Ph.D in 1970, the year our son, Josh, was born. We moved to Michigan where Phil got a tenure track job teaching political science. A year later, Megan came along. Fifty years, wow.

Today I will be marching in the Million Women Parade in Detroit. Then we will drive to Chelsea MI and see a play and spend the night. Tomorrow we will have brunch with the Agnews in Ann Arbor (Aunt Agatha's Bookstore) A nice day.

Friday, January 20, 2017

I Am Woman

Friday's Forgotten Books, Friday, January 20, 2017

Thanks for all the congratulations. You are the people whose opinion I most value.

Don't forget our special edition on dangerous children in a few weeks.

As suggested by the forces for good in the world, I am staying offline as much as possible today so FFBs not posted early in the day might not be posted until a lunchitime check. My TV is tuned to H& G all day. Hope I got it right.

Mute Witness – Robert L. Pike (from the archive of Randy Johnson)

MUTE WITNESS is the novel upon which the Steve McQueen film BULLITT was based. One of my all time favorite McQueen vehicles(yes, I said that), if not his best, I lost count long ago how many times I’ve watched it.

It’s been quite a few years since I read this one, the first novel, of three, that featured Lt. Clancy, the only name in the novel. In looking around for this post, I learned it was originally intended that Spencer Tracy was to play the role and play it pretty much straight from the novel. When he passed away, McQueen moved into the role and the changes began.
They pretty much stuck with the plot of the film. A mobster is murdered while being guarded by the cops. The officious D.A.(played by Robert Vaughn) is miffed when the cop hides the body, allowing everyone to believe he’s still alive as he hunts for the killer.
The differences:
As I mentioned earlier, Lt. Clancy(no other name) is the name of the cop instead of the McQueen’s Frank Bullitt. The action is moved from New York to San Francisco for the movie. There’s one subplot dropped for the movie. Clancy is pretty much a loner in the novel and Jacqueline Bisset plays the invented girl friend in the movie.
And there’s no car chase in the novel. That was to ham up the movie and was used as the way to deal with the killers which was in the subplot dropped from the novel.
This was more of a mystery than an action piece. The book seems to be out of print and copies are hard to find and expensive. There are copies of the British movie edition(retitled Bullitt) reasonably priced for a used copy. The best deal though is here for the Kindle.
The editing of the car chase scene is a fantastic piece of work that won Frank Keller the editing Oscar despite a few amusing things. Scenes were shot from several angles simultaneously, resulting in the same dark green Volkswagen appearing four times and, though I have yet to spot it, a Thunderbird three times. I’ve always maintained that five hubcaps came off the Charger during the chase, though others disagree, while admitting scenes at various points show different hubcaps missing. Two of each car were used in the shooting that took four weeks.
My favorite shot is when Bullitt has used his knowledge of the streets to lose the Charger and the two hoods are driving around looking for him. A shot of the rear view mirror shows McQueen’s Mustang topping the hill behind them now.
The driver in the scenes was the actual stunt driver that did the driving, which resulted in him doing the same for a chase in THE FRENCH CONNECTION.
Finally, you just know I had to include the car chase. This was the best clip I could find, slightly edited and with different music. Just click on the Watch on You line.
I had some thoughts of including BULLITT on Todd Mason’s Overlooked Movies Tuesday, not so much overlooked as ignored by the younger moviegoers of today. You know, if it wasn’t made it the last ten years, it’s no good. I have a nephew, who’s thirty-one, something of a Mustang enthusiast, that I thought might like it. “Meh, Fast and Furious was better.”

Mark Baker, F IS FOR FUGITIVE, Sue Grafton
Yvette Banek, CAT AMONG PIGEONS, Agatha Christie
Joe Barone, FADE AWAY, Harlan Coban
Patrick Balester, Patricia Highsmith
Les Blatt, HE DIES AND MAKES NO SIGN, Molly Thynne
Elgin Bleecker, LOVELY LADY, PITY ME, Roy Huggins
Brian Busby, JOHN, Irene Baird
Bill Crider, DEADHEAD, Carleton Carpenter
Martin Edwards, MURDER ON SAFARI, Elspeth Huxley
Curt Evans, Elizabeth Gill
Richard Horton, THE TIME-LOCKERS, Wallace West
Jerry House, THE WOMAN IN THE CASE, Ellery Queen
George Kelley, THE IRON TACTICIAN, Alastair Reynolds
Margot Kinberg, AN EASY THING, Paco Ignacio Taibo
B.V. Lawson, A NIGHT AT THE CEMETERY, Anton Chekov
Steve Lewis, DEATH OF MY AUNT, C.B.H. Kitchin
J.F. Norris, MISS BONES, Joan Fleming
Matthew Paust, A SEPARATE PEACE, John Knowles
J. Kingston Pierce, THE MAN, Irving Wallace
James Reasoner, DEVIL'S MANHUNT, L. Ron Hubbard
Kelly Robinson, THEY CALL ME A CARPENTER, Upton Sinclair
Richard Robinson, ALL THE KING'S MEN, Robert Penn Warren
TomCat, MURDER ENDS THE SONG, Alfred Meyers

Thursday, January 19, 2017

SHOT IN DETROIT nominated for an Edgar!!!!!!!!!!!!

Among so many wonderful novels. Wow! Maybe 2017 is going to be a better year.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Tuesday Night Music


FENCES was the second best movie I saw this year (Denzel Washington starred in it and directed it). (MOONLIGHT was first on my list because I think it has a slight edge artistically).And also it broke new ground with the story it told.
FENCES was a straight-forward account of the life of a fifty-something black man in Pittsburgh in the 1950s. He is not a good man, but you will feel some sympathy for him by the end. Maybe not as much as I think Wilson does though.
Wilson's plays chronicle the lives of African-Americans for the last century. It is not a happy story. But if America has produced one great playwright I would nominated August Wilson as that one. The five plays on this list I have seen were all moving, authentic, truthful, artful. He creates real people with real problems. JITNEY is opening on Broadway now.

Have you seen any August Wilson plays or the movie versions? 


Honors and awards

  • 1986: Whiting Award for Drama
  • 1987: Pulitzer Prize for Drama – Fences
  • 1987: Tony Award for Best PlayFences
  • 1987: Outer Critics Circle AwardFences
  • 1987: Artist of the Year by Chicago Tribune
  • 1988: Literary Lion Award from the New York Public Library
  • 1988: New York Drama Critics Circle Award for Best Play – Joe Turner's Come and Gone
  • 1990: Governor's Awards for Excellence in the Arts and Distinguished Pennsylvania Artists
  • 1990: Drama Desk Award for Outstanding New PlayThe Piano Lesson
  • 1990: New York Drama Critics Circle Award for Best Play – The Piano Lesson
  • 1990: Pulitzer Prize for Drama – The Piano Lesson
  • 1991: Black Filmmakers Hall of Fame award
  • 1991: St. Louis Literary Award from the Saint Louis University Library Associates[27][28]
  • 1992: American Theatre Critics' Association Award – Two Trains Running
  • 1992: New York Drama Critics Circle Citation for Best American Play – Two Trains Running
  • 1992: Clarence Muse Award
  • 1996: New York Drama Critics Circle Award for Best Play – Seven Guitars
  • 1999: National Humanities Medal
  • 2000: New York Drama Critics Circle Award for Best Play – Jitney
  • 2000: Outer Critics Circle Award for Outstanding Off-Broadway Play – Jitney
  • 2002: Olivier Award for Best new Play – Jitney
  • 2004: The 10th Annual Heinz Award in Arts and Humanities[29]
  • 2004: The U.S. Comedy Arts Festival Freedom of Speech Award
  • 2005: Make Shift Award at the U.S. Confederation of Play Writers
  • 2006: American Theatre Hall of Fame.[30]

A List o

Monday, January 16, 2017

When Life Turns a Good Book Sour

So I am reading along and this book is working wonderfully for me. Yes, it is complicated reading about boats and the sea but I am hanging in there with the info-although it does occasionally seem like an info dump.
But then some men begin work on a  pipe under my house. And it is water inside my house that becomes an issue. They are drilling through the slab to retrieve missing equipment. There is unexplained water in my bedroom. They are pouring concrete inside the house. The house is beginning to look like a dump. Horrible stuff.
And suddenly I lose enough focus that I am unable to follow the plot. Did I miss the part that told me who this guy was? Am I supposed to believe in ghosts or did I miss that too?
Now I have little interest in finishing the book because I lost its train of thought.
Does this happen to you? Does life influence your ability to concentrate? Does it make a plotline seem jagged and fractured? Have you ever put aside a good book because you've missed too much to understand what's going on? Or do you go back to the place you began to veer off course.