“Justified” Season 3, Episode 7

What is happening to Ava?  She stands behind a bar, and her forehead is all wrinkly, and she is wearing a very old maid-ish type of sweater.

Wynona is not in this episode.

Erica Taziel is not in this episode.  Self keeps forgetting what her character’s name is.  She looks it up:  Rachel Brooks!

But we still have Timothy Olyphant! (And he’s been keeping his Stetson on.  Without making it seem like he’s trying too hard to be a cowboy.  And he has one really good scene of ass-whuppin’.  Only Raylan can deliver an ass-whuppin’ and make it look genial.  One of his targets is the Mean Man in the Wheelchair.  Since the Mean Man is pretty quick with a baseball bat, it serves him right when Raylan smashes his head into a desk)

And we still have bits of the sardonic wonderful-ness of Nick Searcy as Raylan’s boss, Art Mullen!

One of the best things about this episode is that we finally have some back-and-forth between Tim Gutterson and Raylan (Where is Erica Taziel?  She’s just — gone!).  These two have old-screen chemistry.  They’re as good as Tracy & Hepburn, Downey & Law.  It helps that they’re both hot.

Self loooves the tailored dark purple shirt Tim wears throughout this episode.  Let’s have some more of this shirt, next episode!

If self remembers correctly, in Season 1, Tim showed up to meet Raylan at some place where only US Army Veterans were allowed entrance.  And he was wearing a kind of lumberjack shirt, over a blinding white T-shirt.  Self cannot tell you how much a man’s appeal is enhanced by the wearing of a blinding white T-shirt.  One that tells the viewer, in no uncertain terms:  I know my laundry detergent! And I apply it quite liberally!

Exhibit A:  Keanu Reeves in “Speed” —  in a scene near the beginning.  Just before the bus blows up.  He’s drinking coffee when KABOOM!  He has to run out.  Only really manly men can deal with a crisis wearing a blinding white T-shirt.  Self realizes she’s never written so much about white T-shirts.  White T-shirt White T-shirt White T-shirt.  She can’t help it:  only American men can get away with performing heroics in white T-shirts.  (Where is self going with this?  Lord only knows)

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

Latest Book Deals (Courtesy of PUBLISHERS LUNCH WEEKLY 28 February 2012)

Latest e-letter from Publishers Weekly has announcement of the following deals:

Fiction by First-Time Novelists:

  • Kim Church’s BYRD, about a woman who bears and surrenders a son, her only child, without telling his father, little imagining how the secret will shape their lives, to Dzanc Books, by Emma Patterson at the Wendy Weil Agency
  • Nicholas Mennuti’s debut EXILE, written with SAFE HOUSE screenwriter David Guggenheim (originally announced by publisher as Guggenheim’s book written with Mennuti), a fast-paced, Hitchcock-esque thriller about an American businessman living in exile in Cambodia who gets mistaken for a mysterious government operative, to Mulholland Books for publication in 2013

General/ Other

  • Pushcart nominee and MFA grad Lisa Lisa VanAuken’s WOOLGATHERERS OF TAPPAN SQUARE, which “brings together three estranged sisters in their mission to save their beloved yarn shop and also protect their rumored magical ability to weave the most ardent of wishes into the scarves, mittens and fibers of those most worthy, brimming with magic, legends, folklore, and knitting, a novel about second chances … ” to Ballantine Bantam Dell, in a two-book deal
  • Author of the CONFESSIONS OF MAX TIVOLI, Andrew Sean Greer’s MANY WORLDS, “in which a young woman living in 1985 receives electroconvulsive therapy for her depression and, as a result travels through time to parallel worlds where she is forced to confront the uncertainties of love and the unpredictable consequences of even the most carefully considered choices,” to Ecco for publication in 2013.

There were other deal announcements, such as National Review’s Deputy Managing Editor Kevin Williamson’s THE END OF POLITICS:  The Retreat of Government in Our iPhone World, “a look at how the hidden economics and secret politics of failed government are prohibiting innovation and market-based solutions to our most pressing national problems,” but, alas, it is time to clear the sink of the dinner dishes.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers, stay tuned.

Barely South Review: The Norton Girault Literary Prize

Barely South Review, the literary magazine of the MFA Creative Writing Program at Old Dominion University in Norfolk, VA, announces the inaugural 2012 competition for the Norton Girault Literary Prize.  The annual Prize will alternate among Fiction, Poetry, and Nonfiction.  This year’s competition is for FICTION.

One prize will go to a single short story of up to 25 pages (double-spaced, 1″ margins).  The winning story will receive $1,000 and publication in Barely South Review.  One Honorable Mention will also be selected for publication.

The final judge is Cristina Garcia.

Entry Fee:  $25 for each submission.  Checks should be made out to OLD DOMINION UNIVERSITY.  An official entry form must accompany each submission.

Postmark Deadline:  Mar. 9, 2012

Submissions may also be sent electronically through Submittable (the new name for Submishmash).

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

Adrian Goldsworthy’s CAESAR: LIFE OF A COLOSSUS, p. 467

The ancient Romans were different from you and me.

This passage describes the death of one of Caesar’s most implacable enemies, Cato:

NOTE to dear blog readers:  This death is extremely graphic!  Best to read on an empty stomach.

(Cato) complained when he noticed that his son and servants had removed his sword, and insisted that they return it, but then went back to his reading.  His choice of work was significant, Plato’s Phaedo, a discussion of the immortality of the soul, but throughout his life he had pursued the study of philosophy.  Finally, without warning, he stopped reading, took up his sword and stabbed himself in the stomach.  The wound was bad, but not immediately mortal, and once they heard the commotion his son and slaves rushed to him.  A doctor was brought and Cato’s wound cleaned and bound up.  However, he had never lacked determination or courage, and once they had gone the forty-eight-year-old tore open the stitches and began tearing out his own entrails.  He was dead before they could restrain him.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

Peach Blossoms, Cherry Blossoms, Happiness

Dinner was in Menlo Park, roast beef and (early) spring veggies, courtesy of vivacious host Angie:

How she whipped up all that stuff by herself —  amazing!

Today, self went around inspecting her garden.  Here are a few things that were in bloom:

Peach Blossoms in Backyard

Cherry Blossoms in Backyard

Stay tuned.

Ancient Battles, Still

When, oh when, dear blog readers must be thinking, will self ever be through with Adrian Goldsworthy’s massive Julius Caesar:  Life of a Colossus?  At the rate self has been crawling along, she’ll still be reading this book in a month’s time, and her library fine will be humongous.

At this moment, self is on p. 420.  The dueling generals are Caesar and his erstwhile father-in-law, Pompey.  Caesar is younger (if only by six years), and the more wily and experienced general.  But Pompey believes he has the right of Roman law on his side.  Pompey has just launched a series of attacks on Caesar’s fortified lines:

The Commentaries proudly reported the bravery of Caesar’s legionaries.  In one sector, three cohorts of the Ninth held off an entire legion supported by large numbers of allied archers and slingers.  After a day of bitter fighting, virtually every one of the defenders was wounded, although clearly a good number were still able and willing to fight.  Most of the wounds were caused by missles — 30,000 arrows are said to have been picked up within the fort after the last attacks had been beaten off.  Four out of the six centurions in one cohort were hit in the face and lost an eye.  The shield of one centurion, a man named Scaeva, had been hit by no less than 120 missiles.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

Tonight’s Oscar Tele-Cast — Not!

As self happened to mention in previous blog post, she is going through Oscar withdrawal symptoms.  For the first time in who-knows-how-many years, self will not be watching tonight’s awards ceremony because she is the guest at a dinner in her honor in Menlo Park.

Never mind that she’s not that enthusiastic about this year’s crop of Best Picture Nominees.  She will still “lay it on the line” for her Oscar favorites, and check back on the winners as soon as she gets home.

Caveat:  Self still hasn’t seen “The Artist.”  At this point, watching it feels awfully redundant, since it cleaned up so many “Best Actor” awards already.  She hasn’t seen “Extremely Loud, Incredibly Close” because it’s about 9/11, and she’d rather write her own 9/11 story instead of watching someone else’s.  She hasn’t seen “The Help” because it reminds her of herself in the Philippines:  Daughter of (Horrors!) Rich White Southern Family Stands Up for the Equality of Domestic Servants!  She lives that script, she doesn’t need to watch a movie about it.

She hasn’t seen “Moneyball” because she hasn’t liked the last three or four movies with Brad Pitt.  She hasn’t seen “The Tree of Life” for the same reason.  She hasn’t seen “War Horse” because it is Spielberg in semi-nostalgic mode.

Of the Best Movie Nominees self has seen, she favors “The Descendants” (So Bacolod.  Really)

And now to the ostensible reason for this post:  Meryl Streep.

From the 23 January 2012 issue of The New Yorker, self learns that, not too long ago, La Streep “invited a dozen of Britain’s most influential female journalists to a dinner, to be cooked by” none other than herself.  The journalists were all agog (According to the article, one of them tweeted:  “Meryl Streep is five feet 6 inches.  Does that mean flats for Islington kitchen table supper on Saturday night?”)

According to the article (written by Lauren Collins):  “In the States, The Iron Lady is a movie, but in Britain it’s a litmus test.”  In other words, Margaret Thatcher the politician is as polarizing in Britain as Sarah Palin is over here.

Thatcher was the woman who once said (quote via Mitt Romney, Jan. 6, New Hampshire):  “Sooner or later, you run out of other people’s money.”

The movie, according to the article, portrays an “aged, doddering Thatcher” who spends all her time “watching home videos in her housecoat and drinking too much Scotch.”

The film was widely viewed in Britain (“took in more than three million dollars” —  by way of contrast, “The Queen,” starring Helen Mirren, earned “about a third as much”)

More:  “In Chesterfield, a group of former female coal workers, calling themselves the Real Iron Ladies picketed the multiplexes.”

Which brings to self’s mind where she and the husband were on Friday evening:  self had gotten tickets to Israel’s Batsheva Dance Company (If self had known how controversial this group was, she might have thought twice, but no.  Not aware of the slightest breath of scandal concerning the “Brand Israel” event, self plunked down her credit card.  When we got to the theater, we saw a few picketers.  “Watch this ballet if you support the government of Bibi Netanyahu,” intoned one woman, handing self a pamphlet.  Inside the Novellus Theater, we encountered a collection of modishly clad young ladies —  most in heavy boots, sheer black tights, short frilly skirts, and leather jackets — and some businesswomen types who were in charge of herding the audience unmolested to their seats.  That was when self learned she had plunked down the big bucks for what was only to be an hour of performance.  Even in New York, you get at least an hour and a half of dance performance for each show.  Grrrr)

And now, self finds it impossible to return to the subject of Margaret Thatcher and La Streep’s fabulous dinner for the influential British journalists (Streep greeted the guests at the door, “barefoot and flanked by a dog.”  In return, a journalist described the dinner prepared by Streep as “a student supper, but done in a much more swish way.”)

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

New Thus Far in 2012

For the first time ever in the history of the Oscars, self will be unable to watch tomorrow’s show.  Why?  Because she has been invited to dinner by the Robbianos!  And if she doesn’t attend tomorrow’s dinner, she will have forfeited a chance to catch up with the family who self first rented rooms from, when she was a very very green Stanford graduate student from the Philippines, still getting used to the idea of biking to campus from Menlo Park!

Let’s see, it’s almost the end of February.  In terms of travel, this has been a helluva two months.  Since January, self has:

  • been to India and experienced firsthand the glories of:  New Delhi, Dharamsala, Bir, and Amritsar.
  • Learned that Jeremy Renner, Rachel Weisz, and Ed Norton were all in Manila, at the end of January, in connection with the filming of The Bourne LegacySpecifically, in Intramuros.
  • been to Ontario (Calif) and seen her first Cirque du Soleil show (OVO) in over a decade.  Watched son dance (and discovered that he is one helluva dancer:  how the husband and self pulled this off, when we are the kind of people who are famous for having two left feet, is beyond comprehension)
  • made travel arrangements for going to the Smithsonian in April, for the Edgar P. Richardson Symposium:  Asian American Portraits of Encounter Between Image & Word — and for the first time ever in the history of self’s readings, The Man has agreed to come along!  Self is dying of nervousness.  Because now, now The Man will realize the full extent of her craziness!

As to her reading, self has:

  • Spent almost one month reading a book.  Which hasn’t happened since self was in Bacolod, January 2011 (Then, the book she was reading, which took almost a month to get through, was Antonio Muñoz Molina’s Sepharad).  The book that has had her mesmerized for the past couple of weeks?  Adrian Goldsworthy’s Julius Caesar:  Life of a Colossus (She’s down to reading about five pages a day.  Which means this book will be very very overdue at the Redwood City Library)
  • Discovered that Rowena Tiempo-Torrevillas’ short story “Sunday Morning” is better than The Hunger Games!

As to her writing, after a veritable storm of rejections (“We liked the concept behind this, but overall felt that it was a little too over-manufactured in terms of voice”; “Although the narration is emotionally resonant it does not fit our current needs”), she has her first acceptance of 2012!  Yaaaay!

Moreover, self has made the most amazing discovery: she has learned that she is actually capable of revising a whole novella in one sitting.  Which is a very, very good thing to know —  wouldn’t you agree, dear blog readers?  (Of course, it also means that now self has an extremely painful neck.  A moment ago, the husband cracked open the door and peeked in, and caught self in the act of clutching her head.  Which makes her feel —  Aaargh!  Who cares!  Get back to work, woman!)

Stay tuned.

Most Fascinating Discovery of Who-Knows-When

For some reason, self’s thoughts keep returning to the man she met in the Church in Sum-ag, just outside Bacolod, during her most recent trip home.  He was arranging flowers for the altar, and was nearly finished with a large bouquet.  He told self that he donated his time to the fulfillment of this task every Saturday, and he urged self to return the next day when, he said, the altar would be filled with his floral arrangements.

Self took down his number.  She is brimming with questions about flower farming and such.

Also of note:  today she looked at a slip of paper that she’d found tucked inside Saxons, Vikings and Celts, her best nonfiction reading of a few months ago.  It was a list of items checked out of the Peninsula Library System by a guy named John.  John Phillip.

John Phillip had been the last person before self to check out Saxons, Vikings, and Celts.  He was much more focused in his reading, however, as he also checked out the following books (There was a fourth, but the slip of paper was torn and she only got part of the barcode for the fourth book, and no title or anything):

Wouldn’t you agree that this is a most fascinating book list, dear blog readers?

Stay tuned.

“Justified” Season 3, Episode 6

Self is still waiting for this season to catch fire.

On the other hand, Raylan looked really good in last night’s episode:  He was wearing a very dark blue long-sleeved T.  If we cannot see Raylan shirtless, the next best thing is seeing him in a tight, long-sleeved, dark T.

The series seems to be getting dark.  Reeeallly dark.  Though the Evil Malevolence of last year’s Mags Bennett is still un-matched.

Last night’s episode began with two very skanky-looking young women jumping out of a truck, lifting their shirts to expose their very new-looking colored bras to the grateful truck driver, then going into a clinic and asking for Oxy from a very baby-faced doctor.  He refuses and self thinks quite highly of him, for about three seconds.  Then, one of the young women locks the door and there is a very brief, slightly suggestive sex scene, and then a shooting.

In last night’s office scenes, the desk of Rachel Brooks (Erica Taziel), who was great in two previous episodes, was quite noticeably empty.  Perhaps she was on assignment out-of-town.  There was a wee glimpse of Jacob Pitts in the background, talking to someone.  Self’s hopes rose unreasonably at the sight of him.  There were about three seconds of him talking to Raylan, and saying something sardonic.  That was it.  Gaaa —  it’s already Episode 6, and Mr. Pitts has yet to figure prominently in any story arc.  What is wrong with this picture?

Ava’s face is getting harder.  She hardly smiles anymore.  Last night, she was wearing a bright orange sweater dress (Orange is definitely Ava’s color).

Wynona has left Raylan.  He tracks her down to her sister’s house and she appears looking sultry and seductive in a loose, very low-cut dress.  OK, this is yet another of those refreshing changes that make us think of a character in a new way.  For instance, because she is so often attired in pencil skirts, self thinks of Wynona as more uptight than the other lead female, Ava.  But in last night’s episode, she and Ava seemed to have switched roles:  that is, Wynona’s breasts were very much in evidence while Ava’s were firmly entrenched in that long-sleeved, orange sweater.

After the episode ended, self stayed on F/X because she knew the episode would immediately repeat.  This is one show that definitely rewards repeat viewing.  She caught so many nuances that had completely slipped by her, the first time.  And rather than the stand-alone episodes of Season 1, the writers seem to have decided in favor of “story arcs” (and self is really getting desperate for some action.  How about Jacob Pitts going back into sharpshooter mode?  Where oh where is Carla Gugino?)

One of the garden variety Bad Guys looks like the husband/wife abuser in the film adaptation of the Andre Dubus story, “Killings.” (The film was “In the Bedroom,” and represented something of a comeback for Marisa Tomei)

One of self’s favorite scenes in last night’s episode was the one where Ava enters a bar and is offered a job by that Garden Variety Bad Guy.  She reads him pretty quick but still exercises that sly charm.

Self’s favorite episodes so far this season have been the two where Erica Taziel’s character, Rachel Brooks, stepped up.  One of these episodes also gave quite a bit of screen time to Chief Art Mullen, and he was wonderful.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

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