Monday, March 19, 2018

The Baker's Wife

The Baker's Wife is a 1938 French film directed by Marcel Pagnol. It's a comedy about a baker whose young wife leaves him for a handsome man closer to her own age and who quits baking bread in his despair. The villagers work to get his wife back for him. This is a sweet piece, and I enjoyed the mix of humor in the heartwarming story.

via Youtube:

The New York Times review concludes, "It is this undercurrent of tragedy, this steadfast air of dignity that is at once the secret of his funniest scenes, the quality that prevents his film from toppling into farce and makes "The Baker's Wife" a true comedy and a delightful one."

It's included in the book 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die. Rotten Tomatoes has a critics score of 100%.

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Colonial 42

Somebody's getting creative with the light poles on this street.

Saturday, March 17, 2018

Highway 61 and Going Back to Memphis

Highway 61:

sung by Sunnyland Slim. He was born in Mississippi in 1906 and moved to Memphis in 1925. He moved to Chicago in 1942 and died there on this date in 1995 at the age of 88. Memphis is mentioned in the song above. Below is another Memphis connection:

Going Back to Memphis:

Friday, March 16, 2018

The Shape of Water

The Shape of Water is a 2017 award-winning fantasy film directed by Guillermo del Toro and starring Sally Hawkins (Mrs. Brown in the recent Paddington movies), Michael Shannon, Richard Jenkins, Doug Jones as the amphibian man, David Hewlett (best known as Dr. Rodney McKay in the several Stargate TV series), Michael Stuhlbarg, and Octavia Spencer. Recognizing actors from other works we've enjoyed is always fun. This is yet another one of those movies we meant to see in the theater. I'm not sure how it is we so rarely go out to see films, but there it is. We bought it the day it was released and watched it the next day. A wonderful film! There's sweetness and romance and deep friendships and cruelty and sacrifice and tragic loss... and I'd think it'd be a hard movie not to like. The director was inspired by the old monster movie Creature from the Black Lagoon, which has always been one of my favorites.


The New York Times calls it "altogether wonderful". The BBC calls it "an intelligent, tender, beautifully shot, meticulously crafted work of art" and "an affecting and affectionate film". The New Yorker has a positive review.

The Guardian gives it 5 out of 5 stars and concludes,
The genius of Del Toro’s creation is that we know exactly how much Elisa cares for her soulmate and how he makes silent sense of her fish-out-of-water feelings. Watching them dance around each other, I became aware of the shape of my own tears, swept along by the emotional waves of Del Toro’s sparkling drama, succumbing to its seductively melancholy song of the sea.
Empire Online gives it 5 out of 5 stars and says, "Watch it and it’s magical; fantastic in all senses." Rotten Tomatoes has a critics score of 92%.

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Memphis Botanic Gardens Daffodils

A recent trip to the Botanic Gardens showed that our unwillingness to go there in the cold, dreary rain made us miss the height of the daffodil season. There were still some pretty ones, though:

There were also tulips:

and flowering trees:

What a wonderful place to spend time!

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Guardians of the Galaxy 2

Guardians of the Galaxy 2 is a 2017 superhero movie starring Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Vin Diesel, Bradley Cooper, Sylvester Stallone, and Kurt Russell. I loved the first one, and I'm always happy when the second in a series doesn't disappoint. This one is great fun. We get major character revelations, which is always good. The soundtrack is definitely a positive aspect of the movie. I look forward to the 3rd in the series, currently projected for a 2020 release.

"I am Groot."


The New York Times says it "has all the digital bells and whistles as well as much of the likable, self-aware waggery of the first." Variety calls it "witty and extravagant". Rolling Stone calls it "a blast".

Roger Ebert's site says, "This is a series more about whimsy, excitement and family than it is “things that go boom,” and that’s what really separates in the Marvel Cinematic Universe right now." Rotten Tomatoes has an audience score of 88%.

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Maciel's on Highland

I'd been to the Maciel's restaurant downtown, but this one is new, located closer to us in the University District.

I had the chicken fajita:

It was a pleasant day, and The Husband and I sat on the enclosed patio:

I enjoyed it. That said, it won't take the place of our favorite Mexican restaurant Las Delicias on Park Avenue.

Please share a drink with us at the T Stands for Tuesday blogger gathering hosted by Bleubeard and Elizabeth.

Monday, March 12, 2018

The Treasure of Abbot Thomas

The Treasure of Abbot Thomas is a 1904 ghost story by M.R. James. Wikipedia has this synopsis: "The tale tells the story of Rev. Justin Somerton, a scholar of Medieval history, who tells a rector the frightening tale of how, while searching an abbey library, he found clues leading him to the hidden treasure of a disgraced abbot."

It begins,

'Verum usque in prsæsentem diem multa garriunt inter se Canonici
de abscondito quodam istius Abbatis Thomæ thesauro, quem sæpe,
quanquam adhuc incassum quæsiverunt Steinfeldenses. Ipsum enim
Thomam adhuc florida in ætate existentem ingentem auri massam
cira monasterium defodisse perhibent; de quo multoties
interrogatus ubi esset, cum risu respondere solitus erat: "Job,
Johannes, et Zacharias vel vobis vel posteris indicabunt"; idemque
aliquando adiicere se inventuris minime invisurum. Inter alia huius
Abbatis opera, hoc memoria præcipue dignum iudico quod fenestram
magnam in orientali parte alæ australis in ecclesia sua imaginibus
optime in vitro depictis impleverit: id quod et ipsius effigies et
insignia ibidem posita demonstrant. Domum quoque Abbatialem fere
totam restauravit; puteo in atrio ipsius effosso et lapidibus
marmoreis pulchre cælatis exornato. Decessit autem, morte
aliquantulum subitanea perculsus, ætatis suæ anno Ixxiido,
incarnationis vera Dominiæ mdxxixo.'

'I suppose I shall have to translate this,' said the antiquary to himself, as he finished copying the above lines from that rather rare and exceedingly diffuse book, the 'Sertum Steinfeldense Norbertinum. 'Well, it as well be done first as last,' and accordingly the following rendering was very quickly produced:

'Up to the present day there is much among the Canons about a
certain hidden treasure of this Abbot Thomas, for which those of Steinfeld
have often made search, though hitherto in vain. The story is that Thomas,
while yet in the vigour of life, concealed a very large quantity of gold
somewhere in the monastery. He was often asked where it was, and always
answered, with a laugh: "Job, John, and Zechariah will tell either you or
your successors." He sometimes added that he should feel no grudge
against those who might find it. Among other works carried out by this
Abbot I may specially mention his filling the great window at the east end
of the south aisle of the church with figures admirably painted on glass, as
his effigy and arms in the window attest. He also restored almost the
whole of the Abbot's lodging, and dug a well in the court of it, which he
adorned with beautiful carvings in marble. He died rather suddenly in the
seventy-second year of his age, a.d. 1529.'

The object which the antiquary had before him at the moment was that of tracing the whereabouts of the painted windows of the Abbey Church of Steinfeld. Shortly after the Revolution, a very large quantity of painted glass had made its way from the dissolved abbeys of Germany and Belgium to this country, and may now be seen adorning various of our parish churches, cathedrals, and private chapels. Steinfeld Abbey was among the most considerable of these involuntary contributors to our artistic possessions (I am quoting the somewhat ponderous preamble of the book which the antiquary wrote), and the greater part of the glass from that institution can be identified without much difficulty by the help, either of the numerous inscriptions in which the place is mentioned, or of the subjects of the windows, in which several well-defined cycles or narratives were represented.

The passage with which I began my story had set the antiquary on the track of another identification. In a private chapel —no matter where— he had seen three large figures, each occupying a whole light in a window, and evidently the work of one artist. Their style made it plain that that artist had been a German of the sixteenth century; but hitherto the more exact localizing of them had been a puzzle. They represented —will you be surprised to hear it?— Job Patriarcha, Johannes Evangelista, Zacharias Propheta, and each of them held a book or scroll, inscribed with a sentence from his writings. These, as a matter of course, the antiquary had noted, and had been struck by the curious way in which they differed from any text of the Vulgate that he had been able to examine.
You can read it online here. It was adapted for television in 1974:

Sunday, March 11, 2018

Thor 3: Ragnorak

Thor 3: Ragnorak is a 2017 superhero movie starring Chris Hemsworth, Tom Hiddleston, Cate Blanchett, Idris Elba, Jeff Goldblum, Tessa Thompson, Karl Urban, Mark Ruffalo, and Anthony Hopkins. We like the superhero movies, and this is a keeper.


The Atlantic calls it, "perfectly acceptable as an action movie but moderately inspired as a comedy". GQ says, "With a stellar cast and a renewed sense of humor thanks to director Taika Waititi, Thor’s third go-around isn’t just his best—it might be Marvel’s best, too." Vanity Fair calls it "bright and antic"

Roger Ebert's site gives it 3 out of 4 stars and says, "there’s plenty to like here". Rotten Tomatoes has a 92% critics rating.

Saturday, March 10, 2018

Audubon Park

On a recent trip to Audubon Park we noticed some interesting new additions:

I'm not at all sure what these pieces are supposed to accomplish by being elevated like this, but they are fun to explore.