The Lydster, Part 95:Time

I was fascinated by cereal boxes, specifically the various B vitamins and how some of them, such as niacin and riboflavin, actually got their own names, rather than a mere alphanumeric designation.

Someone recently told me that children don’t really develop a strong sense of time until they are eight years old. If this is the case, then I really look forward to the Daughter’s next birthday.

As the person who gets her ready for school almost every morning, I can say that there is no correlation between what time she gets up and when she goes out the door for school. There have been mornings that I have to, almost literally, drag her out of bed, but then she becomes more alert and gets to school in plenty of time. There are other mornings she wakes early, yet we are rushing to get there before the late bell Continue reading “The Lydster, Part 95:Time”

MOVIE REVIEW: The Artist

It occurred to me that the last three films I’ve seen were all about the cinema.

Shortly after I saw the black-and-white, mostly silent film The Artist at the Spectrum in Albany the weekend before last, someone asked me what I thought of it. “It’s very clever,” I said. “But is it good?” “It’s the best silent film I’ve seen this century.”

None of this is to say I didn’t thoroughly enjoy the film; more to the point, I would see it again. It’s fun, it’s well-acted, and particularly so, precisely because it IS a silent film, though with music, and the actors have to convey so much sans dialogue. It’s just that there are not that many contemporary films to which I can compare it. Continue reading “MOVIE REVIEW: The Artist”

B is for Baghdad

In the next millennium, Baghdad was captured by various groups, including the Fatimids, the Mongols, the Ottoman Turks and finally the British.

When I was growing up, Baghdad sounded wonderfully exotic and ancient. After all, it was in Mesopotamia, that area between the Tigris and Euphrates, which is “widely considered to be the cradle of civilization.”

The meaning of the city’s name may be a “Middle Persian compound of Bag ‘god’ + dād ‘given’, translating to ‘God-given’ or ‘God’s gift’…A less probable guess has been Persian compound Bağ ‘garden’ + dād ‘fair’, translating to ‘The fair Garden.’ Regardless of the derivation, I had believed for some time in my youth that there was a literal Garden of Eden at one point, and it was located somewhere around there.

While the city’s roots date back to ancient Babylon, as a settlement as far back as 1800 B.C., in 762 A.D. Continue reading “B is for Baghdad”

BOOK REVIEW: Life Itself by Roger Ebert

“Most people choose to write a blog. I need to.”

Fairly early on in my reading of film critic Roger Ebert’s memoir, Life Itself, I decided that, if I were ever to write my own autobiography – not that I necessarily would – it should be modeled on this book. Organized thematically, with an overarching, but not strict, chronology, using short chapters (55 in 420 pages).

But I’m probably not going to write mine because I doubt I could be so descriptive. Ebert remembers things from his childhood which would have eluded me writing about mine. More importantly, though, he writes with incredible honesty. The very first line encapsulates the sensation: “I was born inside the movie of my life.” Yet, though known as probably the premiere movie critic of his time, he got the job “out of a clear blue sky,” and without much thought that it would be his life’s work.

Since I’ve started following him on various movie review TV programs Continue reading “BOOK REVIEW: Life Itself by Roger Ebert”

MOVIE REVIEW: My Week With Marilyn

Thinking of the slender Williams as the voluptuous Monroe was not something I would have considered.

My Week with Marilyn was based on a couple non-fiction book first published in the late 1990s. The Wife and I saw the film last Saturday at the Spectrum Theatre in Albany, NY.

In 1956, Sir Laurence Olivier (Kenneth Branagh) is directing and starring in the movie ‘The Prince and the Showgirl’ in London. He hires American film icon Marilyn Monroe (Michelle Williams) to costar with him. The 30-year-old MM, accompanied by new, third husband, the playwright Arthur Miller (Dougray Scott), is a sensation to the crowds in England. But Continue reading “MOVIE REVIEW: My Week With Marilyn”