Brain Cloud, 19 November: Niece, Honeybaked Ham, Best Travel Movies

Yesterday was pure joy. Why? Because:

(1) I did not grade a single paper (which is not to say that there weren\’t any papers TO grade — there were, at least three piles of them)

(2) I saw my niece at Stanford. Admittedly, the only reason she called was because she needed a ride to the airport, but. Still. We met in the morning (A dozen other Stanford students, similarly waiting for rides, were standing on the sidewalk in front of her dorm, all looking giddy and expectant. Ah, youth!) and had a scrumptious breakfast at the Laurel Street Cafe in San Carlos — she had the \”French\” crepe: ham, swiss cheese, and egg; and I had the \”New York\” crepe: smoked salmon, cream, capers, and lemon. Mine was divine. Niece\’s would have been divine if she, inveterate New Yorker that she is, hadn\’t fallen for the buckwheat version (\”I\’ve never had a buckwheat crepe before, Tita. They don\’t offer that option in New York!\”). To make up for disappointing taste of buckwheat, she ordered a \”Grand Ma\” crepe to take with her to the airport, but it looked so good sitting there in its styrofoam container that she finished the whole thing in three big gulps.

(3) Hubby and I indulged in our annual indulgence of buying a HUGE Honeybaked ham, 7 1/2 pounds, which is terribly indulgent since there are only two of us who will eat it, but– then again– who cares?

(4) We stopped by Blockbuster on the way home from purchasing said ham, and rented a movie, which is something we had not been able to do since late summer.

Which brings me to my next topic (Apologies for the many digressions, loyal blog reader. But your patience will be rewarded.)

Conde Nast Traveler had a poll: Which were the best travel movies of 2005- 2006?

I missed the deadline — September 25 — by almost two months. But here are the list of movies I would have nominated, if I\’d had the chance to fill in the ballot. Following the Conde Nast contest guidelines, I\’m going August to August. And, I only list the movies I have actually seen. In a theatre.

The Beautiful Country (Vietnam and Texas)
Brokeback Mountain (Wyoming, purportedly)
Casanova (Venice)
The Constant Gardener (Berlin; Kenya; London)
The Da Vinci Code (Paris; London; Scotland)
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (England; Scotland)
Inside Man (New York City)
The Lake House (Chicago)
The Matador (Mexico City)
Pride & Prejudice (various estates in England)
Syriana (Dubai; Geneva; Washington, D.C.)
Thank You for Smoking (Washington, D.C.)
Transamerica (all over the U.S.A.)
Walk the Line (Arkansas; California; Memphis; Nashville)
Wedding Crashers (Maryland)

Of course, don\’t be a dummy, this is not a list of the best movies of 2005- 2006 — as you can tell by inclusion of execrable Da Vinci Code!!!

#amreading: The Known World, by Edward P. Jones

I’m currently reading a mesmerizing first novel by Edward P. Jones, The Known World.

I’m nearing the mid-section of the book, and am at a passage where a “patroller” named Skiffington, one of those semi-official enforcers who tracked down errant slaves and returned them to their masters, is returning from a mission. Tired, he sits down to rest under a peach tree. To refresh his mind, he takes out his Bible. Flipping through the pages he comes across a story in Genesis: the story of Lot and how two angels disguised as strangers came to visit him.

Jones writes:

“The men in the town came to the house, wanting Lot to send out the strangers so that they could use them as they would use women. Lot sought to protect the strangers and offered the men his virgin daughters instead. It was one of the more disturbing passages in the Bible for Skiffington and he was tempted to pass on, to find his way to Psalms and Revelation or to Matthew, but he knew that Lot and the daughters and the angels posing as strangers were all part of God’s plan. The next morning, the angels laid waste to the town. Skiffington looked up and followed a male cardinal as it flew from left to right and settled in one of the peach trees, a red spot on shimmering green. The female, dull brown, followed, alighting on a branch just above the male’s head. Skiffington’s daughter had always felt such pity for Lot’s wife and what happened to her

(in case you forget, dear blog reader, she was turned into a pillar of salt);

but Skiffington had no strong opinion either way about what happened to her.”

NYTBR Nov. 12, 2006: Books I Am Interested in Reading

This evening let me assure you, oh loyal blog-reader, that it was no mean feat to keep typing while hubby went on and on about his niggardly boss and why this Christmas he most assuredly does not deserve a Christmas present. But, without further ado:

(1) After reading Jim Windolf’s review of Stephen King‘s latest, Lisey’s Story:

Stephen King’s Lisey’s Story

(2) After reading Paul Gray’s review of Frederick Busch‘s latest and, sadly, final work, Rescue Missions: Stories

Frederick Busch’s Rescue Missions: Stories

(3) After reading James Kaplan’s review of Art Buchwald‘s not-quite-at-death’s-door memoir, Too Soon to Say Goodbye:

Art Buchwald’s Too Soon to Say Goodbye

(4) After reading Kaima L. Glover’s review of Leila Aboulela‘s first novel, The Translator:

Leila Aboulela’s The Translator


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