Sunday, March 27, 2011

Lincoln Lawyer

Usually it is easy to wait for new movies to be released on DVD. The Lincoln Lawyer was an exception. It was a great opportunity to go to dinner and a movie with friends with whom we share great enthusiasm for the books of Michael Connelly and the movies, especially those starring Matthew McConaughey. Even at a cost of $7.50 senior prices per person, it was a worthwhile experience.

Mickey Haller is the likeable central character who maximizes his time by running his law practice from the back seat of his Lincoln Continental towncar while being driven from one case to another. The movie does the book justice and reveals many flaws in our criminal justice system. Haller brushes shoulders daily with the seedy side of humanity and tries to bring them justice while sometimes having to trade on their particular skills. When he draws a case from the "upper crust", he discovers the two sides of society overlap in ways he hadn't anticipated. Deal making is a constant in his practice. Without revealing the intriguing twists of the plot, the conclusion is particularly satisfying.

I liked the fast pace, the clever dialogue, and the interesting relationships between the accused and those involved in upholding the justice system. I perceived an interesting tribute to those in the legal system, and law enforcement due to the vulnerablity of their friends and family as they try to uphold the law and see that the innocent is not wrongly accused and the guilty is justly incarcerated. I liked seeing the uncertainty of Haller in his ability to judge who is telling the truth and who is lying. When he feels he has the proof he needs to handle a case appropriately, his skill in making the most of the system is amazing to watch.

I hope it is the beginning of more movies of the character Mickey Haller because Michael Connelly has four books to date with this major character. Matthew McConaughey plays the role of Mickey Haller like it was written with him in mind. The other members of the cast were also well-chosen. My view of the movie is greatly influenced by having read the books before seeing the movie. The production was very entertaining and convincing for me.

Saturday, March 26, 2011


Pissed off Poetry

I hit a tree in '83,
on my way to work.
It never had a chance,
I broke the lower branch.

The lady ahead
Spun out on the ice.
I danced around her,
But trounced the tree instead.

The cop said,
"Why aren't you dead?"
Then I said,
"Did I ruin your day?"

"I'll send you a photo
Of my recent halo.
Then you can celebrate
My recent demise."

"You go pound sand,
I'll give you a hand.
Don't rain on my parade,
Today, I make lemonade."

Friday, March 25, 2011

Ah, Shucks

Thanks to the for the Liebster Blog Award. It's always nice to know someone has taken the time to read what we have taken time to write.

The Liebster Blog Award is for people with little blogs (less than 300 subscribers) to share blog love and spread the word.

The Rules are:

1. Post displaying the award, linking back to the person who awarded you.

2. Choose your own blog picks and let them know they're awarded.
3. Hope everyone discovers some new favorites.
4. Revel in the blog love.

These are the blogs we've chosen to award. They are all great blogs, so you should definitely check them out!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Venting on Vetting Jeans

After trying on 22 pairs of jeans to find one that would feel like it fits, but still being unsatisfied with the appearance, I must complain up a storm. This has to be my all time pet peeve. I am not young, but after pregnancy, that belly fat hangs on for dear life--FOREVER. Short of having lipo, it is like having a tattoo--nothing but surgery removes it.

Also, I'm 66 years old and unlike Britney Spears, I have hipbones and a waist line. Do I really need to look like a five dollar hooker in a hurry to get to the next customer? I don't wish to wear off-the-hip anything. Nobody wants to see my bare midriff, so why do I need off-the-waist jeans?  My natural waist is an inch above my belly button, not an inch below my belly button. Yeah, I wear "granny jeans", so sue me!!!!!!!!!!!!! No matter which jeans I put on, the waistband slides off my prominent hipbones and slides up to my small waist to find my natural waist which incites a wedgie from hell that would inflame hemorrhoids requiring a visit to the proctologist. Boy jeans are not in my future. There is a great difference between the circumference of my butt and my waist.

I have already lifted the weight of five eighteen wheelers, and walked around the globe four times on a treadmill, but as much as I would like to lose another ten or fifteen pounds, preferably off my belly, it ain't gonna happen, not in this lifetime. Therefore, I have a message for the sadist who designs jeans for real women like me--cut the crap off my belly. I don't want three buttons, and a zipper three inches long with multiple layers of thread stitching, and four layers of denim adding another ten pounds to my belly. I don't want elastic sewn into the waist band adding five inches to my waistline. I don't want a baggy butt (excuse me, "Relaxed" fit). I don't have to wear diapers yet, so I don't want to look like I am reserving space for my future. As for the infamous butt crack--don't go there. I just want to look slim, without an enhanced belly and a baggy butt. 

I have a basic question for anyone who designs jeans for women: Why do women's jeans have to look like men's jeans? We have no reason to unzip the front to go potty. The side zipper works much better for sitting on the throne. To give credit where due, they did one thing right, they combined lycra with denim. So when I buy jeans in a size too small just to corral my belly, at least I can breathe. However, I do worry about developing DVT. The best fit I have found to date has been Gloria Vanderbilt Amanda jeans.  

Now that I've bled venom all over, I have a simple solution. I will just have to return to sewing and make a "get real" pair of jeans for myself. The jeans I make will have a left side invisible zipper. The waist band will be the exact circumference of my natural waist with a very flat button and button hole. The waist will have the absolute minimum of fabric to avoid adding pounds where none exist, and no elastic other than the lycra woven into the fabric. There will be no pockets in the front because I don't need them to hide my hands or a woody. I carry a purse for my keys, spectacles, cell phone, and plastic cards. I will put pockets over my floppy butt so that they look firm when I walk so I don't have to wear Spanx. Thankfully, my butt is getting flatter with age, however, it is floppy. I have a long body and short legs. If I make my own jeans, I can make them with the right inseam and as long or short as I need because I always have to hem any pants I buy anyway. They have tailors for men to custom make their clothes. I wonder if a seamstress does custom jeans for ladies (not girls), ladies of enhanced years.

Monday, March 14, 2011

"Just the facts, ma'am"

This morning, I was reminded of that signature phrase by Dragnet's Joe Friday from the days of black and white television, which will ring a bell for anyone over fifty.

It was a beautiful, sunny, cold morning and a good chance to leave the treadmills indoors to get some fresh air for my morning walk/run. I went to the local township cross-country track to enjoy the birds, the scenery, and to say hello to the Yellow Labs who were walking their owners and reading their "nose paper". 



In the hours before noon, when there aren't a lot of people present,  I tend to walk the part of the track nearest the parking lot and the street beside it. I wait until over six or eight people are present before heading to the back of the track. Ten or fifteen minutes after I arrived, only three other people were present and a car entered, parked a space away from my car, and no one got out. As much as I enjoy that outdoor track, I am always on alert which takes away from the enjoyment a bit.

For the remainder of the hour that I was walking and running, I could see a man sitting in the car but he didn't get out to walk the track. I felt that was suspicious behavior. It reminded me of a story that was in our local news recently about restaurant parking lots where cars were burgularized while patrons were eating in the restaurants.

It is tempting to embellish this story at the track, but I am fairly certain that there was a perfectly good explanation for his ill-considered behavior. Maybe he works from his car like Mickey Haller, The Lincoln Lawyer (the movie opens this week) created by Michael Connelly, but perhaps he should consider that it sets off alarm bells for observers who see him just sitting in his car. In the morning hours, the track has housewives, retirees and a few dogs, so anyone up to no good would find vulnerable pickings. I like to give the benefit of the doubt, while being prepared for the worst. My students used to say, "Don't you trust me?" To which I liked to reply, "Of course, right after I remove this temptation." 

I always have my I.D., my cell phone, and my keys in my pockets when I go to the track. I lock my car, but I suspect some people don't. Some may leave things visible in cars while thinking they are close to home and are safe in their own community. Because I had my cell phone with me, I thought I would take a few pictures of the track and, oh gee, the parking lot just happened to be in the background. I made a production of the fact that I was taking a lot of pictures of the area from various angles. I never felt enough comfort to head to the back of the track out of sight of the parking lot today.


So I finished my walking and fearless fool that I am, I walked back to my car in a path that took me straight toward his car. I took a close look at his face, and memorized his license plate. I could describe the car perfectly, and I jumped into my car, locked it and wrote down the info. I left and he stayed, so if I ever need that information, I've got your number pal. I'm ready if Joe Friday needs me.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Mary's Friendship Gift

I don't often bake this decadent, guilty bite of self-indulgent pleasure. Hubby's birthday was the appropriate occasion and it is a favorite at my house. Supermarkets sell pound cakes, but this one is special.

Many years ago, as I was growing up, one of my earliest memories was about a friend of my mother. The lady was named Mary. She seemed to like little children and had four of her own. She was the Sunday school teacher for the youngest children and had a talent for bringing out the best in all of them. She had a gift for listening to children, looking into the eyes of a little child, and making the child think they were the most important person in the world. She was my favorite person in the town where I grew up. She would often visit my family and we would visit her and her family.

Mary was a very hard worker and a good role model. Her yard was filled with fantastic gardens of flowers that she tended and kept beautiful for all the warm months of the year. Memories of her gardens formed in me a love of gardens that continues today. She was a mother of the fifties and sixties: homemaker supreme, extraordinary cook, enthusiastic neighbor and friend. Her ability to bring out the best in other people was a rare gift. She made people want to be better people because no one wanted to disappoint Mary.

Every Christmas, my family would receive a pound cake from her as a gift to the family. It was a special occasion when Mary's friendship cake was delivered. When I moved away from the area, I asked her for her cake recipe and this is Mary's Friendship Gift. She has long since departed this plane but her memory is always fresh when I bake her pound cake.


From – Mary, My Childhood Idol

3 sticks softened butter, (or three-fourths of a pound, or a cup and a half)
1 lb. box confectioners powdered sugar
1 ½ tsp. lemon extract
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 ½ cups all-purpose flour (sifted)
Dash of salt
6 eggs

In large electric mixer bowl, cream together butter, sugar, salt, lemon, and vanilla.  Slowly add flour, alternating with the eggs.  Increase the speed of the mixer as needed when the batter gets thicker. Mix until fluffy.

Grease a tube cake pan with softened butter and dust with flour.

Gently transfer the cake batter to the tube pan and lightly, level the top.

Bake at 350˚ in a preheated oven at center of oven for 1 hr, 20 minutes. Add time as needed until cake is golden brown in appearance. Depending on the oven, it may take an hour and a half or an hour and 40 minutes. Cool about 10 minutes before turning upside down on a plate. Transfer to a cake dish so that cake is sliced in an upright setting. The top has a nice, golden brown crust. This cake makes a good gift item.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

The Golden Hour

The Golden Hour

The Golden Hour,
or two or three,
comes before dawn
on the feet of insomnia.

I can't sleep.
There are things
that need to be worried about,
and only I can do the job justice.

Words niggle.
Phrases nag.
A pen begs for attention.
Beds are for the lazy.

A glowing computer screen,
A cup of coffee, a dark room.
The best thoughts of my day
flow from the muse of my subconscious.

I close my eyes
and a world never seen
flows from my fingertips
and into cyberspace at times.

In the hours before the day intrudes,
My thoughts seem so fresh and original.
By ten o'clock, the best of my golden hour,
lies discarded on the floor of reality.

Those who sleep and those who dream,
Don't have time to waste.
The Golden Hour before dawn can gift one
with immortality.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

"Where's Mine?" -- The Great Equalizer Top Twenty

I'm a big fan of entertainment as a great way to survive the long, cold, snowy winters. I resort to certain television shows to provide a great escape and I prefer programs with a great plot,  like in the novels I prefer. The shows I tend to enjoy begin with a cast of characters with interesting traits and great comradery,  who encounter a problem and solve it within the hour program. The programs I like seem to have a common theme of "balance of power" among the various strata of society. Like the novels I enjoy, the programs I seek have great conflict, and interesting problems for the cast to solve that show we are all the same as humans regardless of our circumstances.  

Fairly Legal shows the ultimate balance of power with a main character whose job as a mediator/lawyer has a challenge to bring opposing parties to a resolution of their differences with a "win-win" solution to their conflict.

Harry's Law is a new program with Kathy Bates playing a rich patent lawyer who gives up boring comfort for exciting satisfaction. She helps the powerless in a bad neighborhood to use the law to better their circumstances and claim their equality. She shows great humor and balance in solutions to help those less fortunate. One unfortunate, elderly client asks the gritty, basic question that hovers over human conflict, "Where's mine?"

Royal Pains features a doctor who loses his city trauma center job because he chooses to save the life of a boy who comes from the "wrong side of the tracks" instead of a rich, important man. He finds a new life in the Hamptons caring for the medical issues of the rich and famous who deal with as much unhappiness and pain as the poorest person back in the city. His billionaire benefactor, Boris (dramatically played by Campbell Scott, son of George C. Scott), has a rare, incurable, genetic disease and struggles with his girlfriend over her pregnancy. She wants a family and he wants to end the disease forever and let it die with him. He has more money than God but lives with a disease the money can't control. It isn't a soap opera, but weekly, the cast of "Hank Med" encounters unhappiness and great pain among the people who live the enviable lives of the very rich. Those less financially endowed might envy those people, but alas, they suffer misfortunes just like the poorest among us. Money doesn't always buy good health.

Merlin has been a surprising hit in my house. It comes "from the land of make-believe" where the powerless resort to magic to equal the playing field while trying to keep it a secret from the powerful rulers who want to put all things "magic" in a lock box forever to maintain their own power. From the days of King Arthur, the scenery is beautiful and the plots make one wish magic was really possible to make our lives equal

Southland grabbed me from the first show because the haunting intro is worthy of a few awards. The sepia stills and the forlorn music draws me to see what the weekly disaster will be in south Los Angeles. It isn't just another cop show and there is pathos and drama equal to the headlines of the city's newspapers.

Here is a further list of highly interesting dramas of human conflict that never fail to deliver a good hour of entertainment in the quest to corral the guilty or improve the quality of life of the unfortunates, and offer a good dose of "my piece of the pie." 

White Collar
Hawaii Five-O
Chicago Code
Blue Bloods
Detroit 1-8-7

Notable Mention-currently off season:

Human Target
The Closer
Burn Notice
Lie to Me