Sentence of the Day: A SHORT HISTORY OF HUMANITY

  • According to today’s more modest calculations, a third of Europe’s population died during the Black Death, 27 million people out of a population of approximately 80 million. — p. 180

Coming Soon in Pembroke Magazine: A New Short Story!

When the Chopard earrings were in my hand or, rather, in my purse, or — what am I talking about? I never owned a purse, only a little silk pouch my grandmother had given me when I was twelve and which was now significantly frayed and threadbare, a danger to the contents, particularly to Chopard earrings — anyway, when I had the earrings with me, I felt light. I floated through the air and down the stairs, even though I wasn’t actually taking another step. It was the way people moved in True Blood. Fast, and then still. Fast, and then still.

— from my story “Sand”

Quaranta, Italian for Quarantine

The word quaranta came out of Venice during the period of the Black Death: self learns new things every day!

Over the following centuries, the plague struck certain cities with particular frequency, including Venice, where traders from across the world did business. Shortly after an outbreak, Venice would ban foreigners from the city; captains who disobeyed were fined and threatened with ship-burning. Closing the port was the authorities’ preferred way for preventing the spread of disease.

Quarantine, which involved isolating newcomers for forty days (quaranta in Italian) was invented during this period.

— Chapter 8, A Short History of Humanity

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

Lean, Mean, Killing Machine

Jason Statham is back in his own star vehicle, Wrath of Man. The man who The New York Times‘s Michiko Kakutani once called a “bullet-headed looker” is back.

You know who else is back? Josh Hartnett. Yup, that’s right, Josh Hartnett, who self hasn’t seen on the big screen since The Faculty (1998!). When not required to be a heartthrob, the guy can act. Self means, really act.

And you know who else is in this movie? Clint Eastwood’s son Scott Eastwood. Who plays the badest badass she’s ever seen in a movie in a while. The kind of bad guy you’d cheer to see vivisected. Good turn, Scott Eastwood! (From certain angles, she swears she almost thought it was Clint)

The final set-piece, self didn’t think she took a breath once. It was all action, and the action had the remorselessness of a yakuza movie. Or of The Raid.

Who is that actor who plays Jason Statham’s son in the movie? Self has never seen him in her life, but he is well cast. She looks him up later — he has that kind of fey quality some British actors have when very young, but the actor turns out to be from OREGON. Big surprise! Turns out Americans are capable of turning out their own fey, young actors. LOL

There is no “closure,” not really.

Self would say she still liked Mortal Kombat better, since Wrath of Man is so unrelentingly grim. But she liked it ever so much more than Here Today, which put her to sleep.

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

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