Ripper Street: Love

Trigger Warning: Gore. Lots and lots of gore.

Wounds don’t just bleed, they suppurate. Blood comes out in great gouts from cheeks, throats, everywhere.

And there is also one terrific love story.

It may be the final season, but there are five seasons to binge-watch.


Stay tuned.

Episode 4, “Parade’s End”

Self knows that Tuesday is Justified night.  But there’s still an hour to go, so she asked The Man to find her another episode of Parade’s End.

Since she’s already seen Episode 4, he expected self to want to watch Episode 5.

Ixnay!  Episode 5 is the last and concluding episode!  Give her Episode 4 again.  It is just so delightful.  Among other things, in Episode 4, Benedict Cumberbatch gets to flash a wee bit of naked chest.  And a very nice chest it is, indeed!

Second, there is such bloody wicked dialogue, from first to last.  Ah, those British and their stiff upper lips!  So indispensable while under aerial bombardment!

Self particularly loves the shelling of the barracks.  Private Morgan salutes, then falls Read the rest of this entry »

Excitements: 2nd Friday of March (2013)

The Man has gotten self hooked —  hooked, self says! —  to watching episodes of “Parade’s End”, the Tom Stoppard BBC2 adaptation, back to back, instead of self’s avowed preference for waiting patiently for the weekly installments.

We are now on Episode 4.

Lovely, lovely!

In this episode, we see Mrs. Sylvia T setting the entire British Army on its head over her insistence on seeing her husband, who is serving in Rouen.  Self doesn’t know why her heart breaks every time Rebecca Hall’s (as Mrs Sylvia T) lips curl.

You dolt! self finds herself yelling at the TV.  The “dolt” is of course Cumberbatch/Tietjens.  Cancha see your wife is just expiring with love for you? 

But of course, how could self forget, Tietjens is British!  As such, he must wallow in misery.  That is, until he gets blown up by an incendiary!  And Sylvia and that Blonde Suffragette must then suffer with wan memories of the “noblest man they have ever known”!  Parade’s End shares much with other British depictions of the misunderstood but heroic cuckold, like The Painted Veil.  Or The Scarlet Pimpernel  Accch!  How self laps up these noble British tropes!

In between, we are treated to scenes of great jollity, such as Our Man Tietjens getting so worked up that he immediately sits himself down to —  compose a sonnet!  His adjutant says he can translate said sonnet into Latin “in two minutes.”

Tietjens finally manages to steal away to meet his wife.  Alas!  She’s being pestered by a young buck.  Sylvia, looking about, catches sight of her husband and exclaims: “There’s Christopher!  He’s seen us!  Damn his chivalry!”

“Oh, he might hit me!” says the would-be paramour, ducking his head.

“He’s a gentleman, he doesn’t hit girls like you!” scoffs Mrs. T.


“He’s Jesus Christ of the chivalry” or some such.  More to the point:  “Does Christopher have a girl in this town?”

“Too much of a stick, doesn’t even go to Madame Suzette’s,” responds Girlie Officer.

There is also one very hot almost-sex scene between Mr. and Mrs. Unfortunately, just at the moment when Tietjens grabs his wife and seems about to perform his Manly Duty, two would-be paramours come knocking on Mrs. T’s door and interrupt the proceedings.  Damn them!  Self thought she was about to witness the first Benedict Cumberbatch Sex Scene EVER!

Lah-de-da, lah-de-da!  Among other stellar developments, this afternoon self wandered into Books, Inc. and was slayed, simply slayed upon encountering, in the Mysteries section:

At Books, Inc. today, self's eyes were forcibly drawn to a shelf which happened to display:  xxxxx !!!

Raylan!  Elmore Leonard’s favorite fictional creation!  That’s a very nice still of Timothy Olyphant, right there.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

Reading Still Further in ANNA KARENINA

(Dear blog readers, if you have not read the book, and want to save some suspense for when you actually do get around to reading it, read no further.  On the other hand, if you are a student who has just been assigned this heavy novel to read, and have no desire to read it, one could actually pick up a thing or two from reading the rest of this post, though you will be damned to that special hell reserved for students who willingly give up intellectual stimulation for temporal expediency)

Anna gets so ill everyone thinks she is going to die.

Her husband forgives her, so moved is he to pity by her tragic fate. He even allows Anna’s lover, Vronsky, to mourn at his dying wife’s bedside. And when Anna has Vronsky’s baby, Karenin loves it and plays with it as if the child were his own.

What a stellar, absolutely moral and upright man (sort of like Christopher Tietjens in Parade’s End, which self will blog about further, when she’s done with Anna Karenina.  The Man is completely hooked by the story and has already watched all the episodes.  Self staunchly refuses to watch with him because she loves taking it slow.  That way, she gets to parse every twitch of Benedict Cumberbatch and Rebecca Hall’s stiff upper lips.  She did watch the previews for Episode 3, and there is a scene in which Christopher Tietjens says to Blonde Suffragette:  “When I get back from the war, will you be my mistress?”  And what do you think the Blonde Suffragette says in response?  Just imagine how you would respond if  Cumberbatch/Tietjens were to pose such a question to you, female readers!)

And now, back to Anna Karenina!

That old master, Tolstoy, does not permit Anna K to die.  No, that would be far too simple.  Anna recovers!  And then it’s back to the same-old, same-old.

On pp. 446- 447 of the Modern Library edition, Anna’s husband, Karenin, reflects on his decision not to divorce her:

Never had the impossibility of his situation in the world’s eyes, and his wife’s hatred of him, and altogether the power of that mysterious, brutal force that guided his life contrary to his inner mood, and exacted conformity with its decrees and change in his attitude towards his wife, been presented to him with such distinctness as that day.  He saw clearly that the world as a whole, and his wife, demanded —  but what exactly, he could not make out.  He felt that this was rousing in his soul a feeling of anger destructive of his peace of mind and achievement of any value.  He believed that for Anna herself it would be better to break off all relations with Vronsky; but if they all thought this out of the question, he was even ready to allow these relations to be renewed, so long as the children were not disgraced and he was not deprived of them or forced to change his position.  Bad as this might be, it was better than a complete break, which would put her in a hopeless and shameful position and deprive him of everything he cared for.  But he felt helpless;  he knew beforehand that everyone was against him, and that he would not be allowed to do what seemed to him now so natural and good, but would be forced to do what was wrong, though it seemed the proper thing to them.

This book is not just about Anna K, dear blog readers.  It’s equally about the compromises Anna’s husband feels he is being forced to make, in order to retain some of society’s respect.  Tolstoy, you’re such a sly one:  you’re a true master at showing the unpredictability of human emotions.

That coward, Vronsky, tried to kill himself but missed his heart (if in fact he was ever in possession of one) and survived, even though it was an hour before help came.  Imagine that!

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

Tuesday Night Television: The Cumberbatch/ Olyphant Effect

The thing about Benedict Cumberbatch is, his appeal is not apparent right away.  Unlike Timothy Olyphant’s.

The reason self is pondering BC at all is that there is a new BBC mini-series, an adaptation of Ford Madox Ford’s Parade’s End, which had its HBO broadcast premiere last night, just before F/X’s Justified.

And self wouldn’t have decided to watch if she hadn’t, on one of her previous visits to Bacolod, caught the new BBC Sherlock, with Cumberbatch in the lead, showcasing his lean and lanky frame, his floppy hair, his intellectual-yet-boyish affect.  OH HOLY COW!  This guy is playing Sherlock as if he’s got Asperger’s!

In preparation for last night’s TV watching, self had the absolutely brilliant idea of running to Trader Joe’s and buying all of The Man’s Read the rest of this entry »

The Cherry Tree

The cherry tree in the backyard started blooming a few days ago.

Started blooming this weekend

Self is preparing for a busy week gardening!

Other beginnings:  Put aside The Black Count without finishing.  Began devouring Anna Karenina.  Took advantage of HBO’s $10/month enrollment offer, just in time to watch the premiere episode of the BBC adaptation of Ford Madox Ford’s World War I trilogy, Parade’s End (this Tuesday, 9 p.m. — just before Justified).

Tuesdays will be self’s Red Letter Day for the next five weeks!

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

Trepidation, and Luck

Self listened all day to the news of more bad weather coming to the Washington, DC area.  The heaviest snow storm in years!  OK, self, take a deep breath:  you know Dear Cuz in Virginia can lend you down coats and thermals, you will be all right!  Besides, snowy landscapes are so pretty!  So un-like the usual yucchy brown California winter landscape!

After getting home from incredible Channing Tatum weeper, “Dear John,” self ran to the post office, ran to Rite-Aid, then spent the rest of the afternoon planting bulbs in the front yard until it got dark.  Then, she decided to marinate some pork spare ribs for dinner (More pork!  Every time she cooks pork, she remembers son’s comments about her most un-healthy dietary habits).  Just after she’d prepared rice and gotten everything in readiness, she found out hubby would be home later than usual.  So, she settled down on the couch and started flipping through the TV channels, one after the other, until by some incredible piece of luck, she landed on KTEH, and saw the opening credits for the BBC 2006 time-bending absolutely kick-ass detective show (starring a comparatively unheard-of actor named John Simm), “Life on Mars.”

Hallelujah!  Forgotten was all thought of walking the dogs or straightening up the living room.  The episode was about the murder of a Manchester United soccer fan.  Yup, that’s right, the whole episode revolved around English football fans and their rabid loyalty to this or that team.  The thing about this show is:  she loves the awful 70s attire of the detectives, their scraggly side-burns, their polyester shirts, their unintelligible English lower-class gibberish.  She loves that the detective John Simm plays is stuck in the early 70s even though he’s really from 2003 or 2006, and is constantly saying things like, “That’s not ethical” or “What does forensics have to say about this?” which leaves the other detectives staring at him as if he were barmy.  There is another actor on this show that self likes, and she’s seen him before in other movies (most memorably playing boss of John Cusack in “Con Air” ?), but she doesn’t know his name.  Self thinks the clothes in the 70s were so awful, watching the show makes her glad people have “progressed,” fashion-wise.  At the very end of the episode, John Simm catches sight of a young boy going with his father to see a Manchester United match, and he recognizes this boy as —  himself!  Gaaah!  And then:  The End!

And right after “Life on Mars” came the Masterpiece Theater re-make of “Wuthering Heights,” and when hubby came home, self was still stuck in front of the TV, watching an incredible actor who looked so much like Keanu Reeves (a heavier version of Keanu Reeves) playing Heathcliff, and what do you know, hubby also “got into it,” and then the both of us stayed watching until the very end, by which time self was a complete mess, for how can one avoid feeling some of Cathy’s crazed hysteria when Heathcliff is just so maddeningly alluring and vengeful and also stupid, and how can anyone watch the scene where she wanders the moors in a white nightgown, calling out “Heathcliff!  Heathcliff!” even while pregnant with another man’s —  her husband’s, as it turns out —  child, without feeling some of the most awful anguish and pain?

Self has to say,  today her tear ducts got a real work-out.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers, stay tuned.

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