Dee Oh, eh?

Sully Saab, in better days….

I am a little bit hesitant to post this light-hearted take on “death” directly after Eric’s heart-felt tribute to Cos, but here goes anyway.

Since none of you follow me on Twitter or Facebook,  I realized this morning that you may not know…

DATELINE 1/9/13:  Sully Saab threw a rod at 75 mph on Wednesday and was declared DEAD ON ARRIVAL at Sovereign Saab.  Bob the mechanic gave me $250 in order to salvage it for parts. A few of its organs will live on in others. Rest in piece(s).

I am shopping for a new vehicle. Currently, these are the front-runners:

  • Mini Cooper
  • Golf (GTI if I can squeeze it out)
  • Hyundai Veloster
  • Ford Focus EcoBoost Hatchback

For those who have an need to know…

 

Cranberry Maple Pear Pie

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My good friend Sophie posted this on Facebook this morning.  Sounds great, so in light of Thanksgiving right around the corner, I thought I would share it.

Cranberry Maple Pear Pie
by Sophie Christine Bratton on Thursday, November 8, 2012 at 11:39pm ·

3 C. fresh or frozen cranberries
1 lb. pears, peeled, cored, and cut into 1/4 inch pieces
1 C. Maple Syrup
4½ tsp. cornstarch dissolved in 2 TBSP cold water
In a saucepan combine cranberries, syrup and pears; bring to a boil, then simmer, stirring occasionally for 3-4 minutes or until the cranberries have popped.
Stir the cornstarch mixture, add it to the cranberry mixture and simmer, stirring, for 1 minute or until it is thickened.
Transfer the mixture to a bowl and let it cool.  This mixture may be made 1 day in advance and kept covered and chilled.
Make a recipe of pie dough from your favorite recipe.
Divide the dough into 2 balls, one slightly larger than the other.
Roll out the larger ball of dough 1/8-inch thick on a floured surface, fit into a 9-inch pie place, and trim the edge, leaving a ½-inch overhang.
Chill the shell while cutting the dough for the lattice crust.
Roll out the other ball of dough and cut out ½-inch strips of dough.
Spoon the filling into the shell, spreading it out evenly; arrange the lattice strips on top, twisting each strip corkscrew fashion.
Trim ends and crimp edges.
Bake at 425 degrees for 40-45 minutes.  Let cool on a rack.  Serve warm.

Voting GA GA

I hate to disappoint, but my voting experience was simple and unencumbered.  I voted GA Absentee on October 16th.  I used this device to cast my ballot.

 

Masha voted at the same time, using the same method (and in fact, the same pen).

Kelly will be voting tonight at the last minute, because that’s just how she rolls.

Apple iPad Event

Apple Live Blog

  • Apple TV now 1080p
  • iCloud supports movies
  • Apple TV L&F is like giant IOS
  • Apple TV has “genius” functionality
  • iTune “match” support for movies
  • iPadHD:
  • 200k iPad APPS in APPstore
  • Retina display rocks (2048 x 1536 pixels. 3.1 million pixels)
  • 1 million more pixels than 1080p
  • A5X Quad core graphics. Dual core processor.
  • 4G LTE band (Also compatible with 3G)
  • Personal hotspot
  • 5 megapixel camera
  • Image stabilization (for movies)
  • Temporal noise reduction
  • 1080p video camera
  • Siri dictation functionality
  • Pre-orders start today; deliveries March 16th in US
  • 10-hour battery on Wifi; 9 hours of 4G
  • Starts at $499 (Same prices across the board).
  • Software
  • Updated iWork APP w/jaw-dropping graphics
  • New iMovie: new interface, looks like professional tool
  • New iPhoto for iPad: “Amazing” great way to browse and edit photos. Multi touch editing, Professional Quality Effects, Brushes, photo beaming, Photo journals… $4.99
  • iPad2 will be reduced to $399 (16G); $529 for 3Gs
  • iPad Video Introduction (http://www.apple.com/ipad/)

Bucket List Trip

Think how cool a trip to Kep, Cambodia could be for the Rector bucket lists. This NYTimes article will give you a flavor. Still unspoiled, with restored French villa hotels and open beaches. French, English, and Russian are fairly common, so between the sibs and sub-sibs, we’d easily get by.

Thoughts?

Paraprosdokians

Its said that Winston Churchill loved these phrases. They are technically figures of speech in which  the latter part of a sentence or phrase is surprising or  unexpected; frequently humorous.

  1. Where there’s a will, I want to be in it.
  2. The last thing I want to do is hurt you. But it’s still on my list.
  3. Since light travels faster than sound, some people appear bright until you hear them speak.
  4. If I agreed with you, we’d both be wrong.
  5. We never really grow up, we only learn how to act in public.
  6. War does not determine who is right – only who is left.
  7. Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit.  Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.
  8. They begin the evening news with ‘Good Evening,’ then proceed to  tell you why it isn’t.
  9. To steal ideas from one person is plagiarism. To steal from many is research.
  10. Buses stop in bus stations. Trains stop in train stations. On my desk is a work station.
  11. I thought I wanted a career. Turns out I just wanted paychecks.
  12. In filling out an application, where it says, ‘In case  of emergency, notify:’ I put ‘DOCTOR.’
  13. I didn’t say it  was your fault, I said I was blaming you.
  14. Women will never be equal to men until they can walk down the  street with a bald head and a beer gut, and still think they are sexy.
  15. Behind every successful man is his woman. Behind the fall of a  successful man is usually another woman.
  16. A clear conscience is the sign of a fuzzy memory.
  17. You  do not need a parachute to skydive. You only need a parachute to skydive twice.
  18. Money can’t buy happiness, but it sure makes misery easier to live with.
  19. There’s a fine line between cuddling and holding someone down so they can’t get away.
  20. I used to be indecisive. Now I’m not so sure.??21. You’re never too old to learn something stupid.
  21. To be sure of hitting the target, shoot first and call whatever  you hit the target.
  22. Nostalgia isn’t what it used to be.
  23. Change is inevitable, except from a vending machine.
  24. Going to church doesn’t make you a Christian any more than  standing in a garage makes you a car.
  25. Where there’s a will, there are relatives.

Patterns of Power

For years I had noticed the mention of Rod Serling’s mid-50‘s video play and film “Patterns”. It is often suggested as an even darker, more realistic side of “Man in a Grey Flannel Suit” and stands in stark contrast to the current darling of the period, Mad Men.

As a fan of Twilight Zone, I could see Serling’s writing craft and character development clearly on display in this gritty film about big business, ambition, deferential power grabbing. Amazingly, though produced nearly 60 years ago, the human greed for power at the cost of humanity resinates today as the antithesis of the Occupy Wall Street ideals.

It tells the story of the fierce and corrosive competition that exists in the executive branch of Ramsey & Co., a New York industrial colossus headed by Walter Ramsey, its cold, designing and ruthless chief. It is the saga, too, of Bill Briggs, his longtime second in command, who is swayed by human values as well the industrial exceptionalism ideal. And, it is the case of the protagonist Fred Staples, a comparatively youthful industrial engineer brought in by Ramsey, ultimately to replace Briggs.

For its time period, the ending is very non-hollywood, as the thoroughly devastated Staples, intent on quitting, nevertheless takes on his late predecessor’s weighty responsibilities. (Spoiler alert!)In a compelling last sequence, Ramsey, unregenerate as ever, dares our hero to compete for control of the company, while allowing Staples to operate under is own rules of conduct, as long as the ultimate goal is the growth and expansion of Ramsey & Co. Staples’ defiant acceptance of this challenge is especially unusual for this time period, when the general view of business was as benign benefactors. But it is true to the film’s premise, and a more likely representation of what happens in the mahogany paneled executives suites. It makes for forceful drama, without a minimum of melodramatic overtones.

The cinematography and art direction for this film — while obviously produced on a limited budget — reflect taste, wealth and the tension of this frenetic world of business. But the difference between this and many other similar films of the time is present in Serling’s words and ideas, giving it power and distinction, and making “Patterns” a nuanced snapshot of big business.

Available on Netflix, and shown occasionally on TCM. See it.

Tree of Life

I’d like to begin by lamenting that I missed this film when it was in the theaters.  A poor decision, as it turned out.  The cinematography is stunning. I can only imagine what its like to see it in a first-class digital theatre.

Likwise the art direction.  The narrative parts of the story put you back into growing up in the barefoot 50’s, with aluminum tumblers, dark wood floors, less-than-perfect grass (think back…did you call it a lawn then?), and playing cards in the spokes. His interiors are pitch-perfect, with the furniture we all recall from our childhood. The lighting evokes an Edward Hopper painting.

I’m trying to imagine how Terrence Malick even conceived of this film. The centerpiece narrative isn’t that unusual. Brad Pit and Jessica Chastain reflect parenthood in the time, and the struggles they endure are fairly typical. But the surrounding visuals depicting both space and time are reminiscent of the odd sidebars in 2001: A Space Oddessey. But in a good way: I have no idea what they were meant to represent, but without them the context sought would have been missing.

Emotionally the film grabs you by the collar and smashes your face to the concrete in the first ten minutes. A tragedy befalls the main characters so soon in the film that we are still unfamiliar with who they are, and yet the event had me blubbering like a little girl when it happened.  Spiraling down from there, it soon takes you on a soaring esoteric visual trip that astounds the spirit and helps you forget what just happened in the storyline.  This happens again and again throughout.

The basic story chronicles a family of three boys, with the oldest Jack, struggling to deal with his relationship with his father. Sean Penn appears occasionally as the adult Jack, still struggling with his memory of that time. Birth, death, and all in between is Malick’s canvas. Even an afterlife.

Quoting A.O. Scott from the NY TImes:
There are very few films I can think of that convey the changing interior weather of a child’s mind with such fidelity and sensitivity. Nor are there many that penetrate so deeply into the currents of feeling that bind and separate the members of a family. So much is conveyed — about the tension and tenderness within the O’Brien marriage, about the frustrations that dent their happiness, about the volatility of the bonds between siblings — but without any of the usual architecture of dramatic exposition. One shot flows into another, whispered voice-over displaces dialogue, and an almost perfect domestic narrative takes shape, anchored in three extraordinarily graceful performances: Mr. Pitt, Ms. Chastain and, above all, Hunter McCracken, a first-timer who brings us inside young Jack’s restless, itching skin.

What did it all mean? I have no idea, and yet it is very clear to me. So much so that I’m going to watch it again right now. And pray that after the Oscars it comes back into the theaters so I can experience it the way it was intended.