Saturday, September 27, 2014

iTunes Saturday - A Little Detour

My Dad's surgery went well on Thursday. The incised the scar tissue remaining from the gall bladder surgery, removed some old gall stones, and just by chance, discovered a mass with its own blood supply which they carefully snipped away. He's still stuck in a room at the hospital to monitor his blood pressure and the check that food doesn't exacerbate the area from which the mass was removed. If all goes accordingly, he should be home tomorrow.

This week's iTunes Saturday reflects the craziness of the past week: Detour Through Your Mind by the B-52's:

Detour thru your Mind from Ashanti Miller on Vimeo.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Banned Books Week

Riffing on a post from Dr. Spo, I thought it would be fun to take a look at the "classic" books I've read to see which ones have undergone a banishment somewhere in the United States. According to the American Library Association, the Radcliffe Publishing Course created a list in 1998 of the top 100 novels of the 20th Century, and the below list of 46, which appear within the list, have been banned at one point. I've examined the 46 titles and bolded the ones that I've read.

1. The Great Gatsby, by F. Scott Fitzgerald
2. The Catcher in the Rye, by J.D. Salinger
3. The Grapes of Wrath, by John Steinbeck
4. To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee
5. The Color Purple, by Alice Walker
6. Ulysses, by James Joyce
7. Beloved, by Toni Morrison
8. The Lord of the Flies, by William Golding
9. 1984, by George Orwell
11. Lolita, by Vladmir Nabokov
12. Of Mice and Men, by John Steinbeck
15. Catch-22, by Joseph Heller
16. Brave New World, by Aldous Huxley
17. Animal Farm, by George Orwell
18. The Sun Also Rises, by Ernest Hemingway
19. As I Lay Dying, by William Faulkner
20. A Farewell to Arms, by Ernest Hemingway
23. Their Eyes Were Watching God, by Zora Neale Hurston
24. Invisible Man, by Ralph Ellison
25. Song of Solomon, by Toni Morrison
26. Gone with the Wind, by Margaret Mitchell
27. Native Son, by Richard Wright
28. One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, by Ken Kesey
29. Slaughterhouse-Five, by Kurt Vonnegut
30. For Whom the Bell Tolls, by Ernest Hemingway
33. The Call of the Wild, by Jack London
36. Go Tell it on the Mountain, by James Baldwin
38. All the King's Men, by Robert Penn Warren
40. The Lord of the Rings, by J.R.R. Tolkien
45. The Jungle, by Upton Sinclair
48. Lady Chatterley's Lover, by D.H. Lawrence
49. A Clockwork Orange, by Anthony Burgess
50. The Awakening, by Kate Chopin
53. In Cold Blood, by Truman Capote
55. The Satanic Verses, by Salman Rushdie
57. Sophie's Choice, by William Styron
64. Sons and Lovers, by D.H. Lawrence
66. Cat's Cradle, by Kurt Vonnegut
67. A Separate Peace, by John Knowles
73. Naked Lunch, by William S. Burroughs
74. Brideshead Revisited, by Evelyn Waugh
75. Women in Love, by D.H. Lawrence
80. The Naked and the Dead, by Norman Mailer
84. Tropic of Cancer, by Henry Miller
88. An American Tragedy, by Theodore Dreiser
97. Rabbit, Run, by John Updike

How many banned titles have you read?

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

A Rough Couple of Days

My Dad entered the hospital early Monday afternoon. Pain in his stomach, terrible shakes, fever, and other nastiness. After a CT scan and an MRI, the doctors believe the problem may stem from his gall bladder surgery many, many years ago. When that was removed, scar tissue was left in its place, and over the years, that scar tissue created a blockage that in turn increased the enzyme levels in his liver. The surgery tomorrow should remove the blockage and dramatically reduce the amount of enzymes, as well as the discomfort he's suffered with all these years. Keep your fingers crossed!

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Purple Flowers


Caesar's Mom has experienced some medical isssues lately, including today, so this picture is for her. Sending good thoughts her way.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

iTunes Saturday - Purple Summer

Tomorrow, we're headed to a small theater in Los Angeles to see Deaf West Theatre's production of Spring Awakening -- a show that we've seen before and loved. We caught their production of Pippin a few years ago and absolutely loved it, so we have high expectations for this one. In honor of the show, this Saturday's selection is the finale from the show, The Song of Purple Summer.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Qickie Book Review: Bel Ami

by Guy de Maupassant

Georges Duroy wants more from life than just his dreary job and constant lack of funds. While moping around Paris, he happens upon a friend and former soldier who convinces him to try writing, setting him up at his paper -- the Vie Française -- where he's tasked with writing an article about his experiences in Africa during the war. However, writers block sets in and Duroy begs for help from his friend to get the article started. His friend introduces him to his wife Madeleine, a smart and attractive woman, who at once draws the story from Duroy and gets him to write it down. Sh also takes an interest in him and invites him to a salon where she introduces him to the high society ladies of Paris. Duroy uses his good looks and charm to worm his way into the lives of the women, devising a plan to gain respectability and wealth at the cost of their hearts.

Bel Ami presents a vivid look at 19th century Paris, from the corruption of politics and the influence of the press to the salons of society matrons, all told through the eyes of Georges Duroy. He's unscrupulous and conniving, always scheming to find a better life, to earn more money no matter the cost. He uses women as if they were chess pieces, inching him closer and closer to his goal, and discarding them when they're no longer of use. You can't help not liking him, but that's what makes the story such a good read: you want to see to what lengths he will go for his ideal of fortune and fame. It's definitely a book worth reading.

Bel Ami
by Guy de Maupassant
Vintage Classics/Random House
trade paperback, 357 pgs.