Friday, October 31, 2014

favorite song friday: werewolves of london

Aaah oooh ... an oldie but a goodie.

Warren Zevon

He's the hairy handed gent who ran amuck in Kent
Lately he's been overheard in Mayfair
Better stay away from him
He'll rip your lungs out, Jim
I'd like to meet his tailor
Werewolves of London

Warren Zevon was such a cool guy. Happy Halloween!

Thursday, October 30, 2014

throwback (halloween) thursday: poltergeist

The kid and I just watched this again recently and it still holds up, not just as a great scary movie (which it is), but a great movie. Here is my take on it, originally published in 2011.

they don't make 'em like this anymore —poltergeist

Poltergeist is so effective a movie that its easy to forget how damn good it really is. All one has to do is try to think of another recent horror movie that captures a time with such a winning combination of special effects, thrills, real scares, and deep feeling. None come to mind. The movie industry has come far in the past thirty years with CGI and other special effects. But it is undeniable that as polished, accomplished, and shiny as films look today, they have lost a sense of reality, of heart.

1982's Poltergeist opens with a wonderful montage of modern suburban American life — kids hanging out (unsupervised) in their neighborhood, pulling pranks, having fun. Inside the home Star Wars bed sheets and other toys litter a child's room and speak of a comfortable, media-savvy life. The story quickly follows a family of five, the Freelings — Steve (Craig T. Nelson), Diane (JoBeth Williams), teenage Dana (Dominique Dunne), and younger kids Robbie (Oliver Robins), and Carol Anne (Heather O'Rourke), who live in a two-story house in the Cuesta Verde development where Steve is the real estate agent — the Freelings were actually the first family to move into the neighborhood.

The youngest child Carol Anne is the first of the family who seems to know that everything is not normal in their house, especially when people start talking to her from the family's television set, "They're here." Things quickly get ghostly, and it is fun for both the audience and the family to see evidence of their unusual visitors. Hip mom Diane is thrilled at first, even devising a game with their unseen guests in the kitchen. But things quickly take a sinister turn, and during a stormy night Robbie is attacked and Carol Anne disappears somewhere inside the house.

At first the ghosts are all fun and games
But the mood quickly changes, complete with a creepy clown doll
Hip mama turns into fierce warrior to protect her family from supernatural forces
Poltergeist is legitimately scary, not just slasher or torture porn like so many recent horror flicks. It actually has a subtext: the rampant overdevelopment of Cuesta Verde, built over a graveyard without moving or honoring any of the dead, has had dire consequences. Suburban progress may try to erase the past, but at what price?

Steve (looking over the site of a new development in Cuesta Verde), "Not much room for a pool, is there?" 
Teague (Steve's boss, played by James Karen), "We own all the land. We have already made arrangements to relocate the cemetery." 

Steve, "You're kidding. Oh, come on. I mean that's sacrilege, isn't it?" 

Teague, "Don't worry about it. After all, it's not ancient tribal burial ground. It's just ... people. Besides, we've done it before."

For years there have been conflicting reports about whether Tobe Hooper actually directed the movie, or Steven Spielberg, who came up with the original story and worked on the screenplay and was one of the producers. Spielberg didn't help matters any by saying:
"Tobe isn't ... a take-charge sort of guy. If a question was asked and an answer wasn't immediately forthcoming, I'd jump in and say what we could do. Tobe would nod agreement, and that become the process of collaboration." — Douglas Brode, The Films of Steven Spielberg. New York: Citadel Press, 2000, p. 102.
The special effects are quite good for the time, not just in execution, but originality. It still strikes the viewer as clever how the "ghostbusters" create a paranormal path through the house to find and rescue Carol Anne. Hooper gets director credit, but Spelberg's influence is apparent throughout the film. Perhaps Hooper's laid-back nature helped minimize Spielberg's usual sense of wonder, which at times can get a little forced or syrupy.

Poltergeist has heart, but it also has menace, a feature lacking in Spielberg films. The only bum note in the film, however is pure Spielberg — the scene in the bathroom with one of the parapsychologists that the Freelings call in to help find their daughter, where hands pull his face apart in front of the bathroom mirror. Like the melting Nazi from 1981's Raiders of the Lost Ark, a scene just put in to show off and gross out the audience. According to imdb, the hands used in the shot were actually Speilberg's, too.

Poltergeist has all the elements of a classic horror film. An innocent but spooky little girl, clever dialogue, a creepy clown, a highly original character, Tangina the ghostbuster, played by Zelda Rubinstein. But what really makes Poltergeist special and eminently re-watchable are the characters. JoBeth Williams and Craig T. Nelson are wonderful and sexy as the parents. Their love for each other and their children is so strong you believe they could go to hell and back to get their kid. Rumors of a remake have been circulating for a few years. There is actually a page for the remake on imdb, which makes it seem more real. If this does eventually happen, it is highly unlikely that it will be anywhere near as good as the wonderful original. The last scene, when dad Steve pushes a television set out of their motel room is brilliant, and needs no updating. Poltergeist is definitely a classic, and I think, Spelberg's best film.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

can you spot ...

... something unusual in this photo?



Maybe a closer look is warranted ...





Ahhh, there it is ...

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

blue skies

Some more amazing early morning beach, sand, and sky shots.




Monday, October 27, 2014

moxa moxie

My acupuncturist has introduced me to something I can do at home, to extend an acupuncture treatment — a moxa stick. It is used a bit like incense. Light the stick and hold it over a specific acupuncture point, to warm the area. Moxa sticks, used in moxibustion, are made from dried mugwort.


I have recently been burning it over a point on my lower leg, on acupuncture point Stomach 36, to help build immunity. The smoke is a bit of an intense smell, but I have come to really like it. Not so sure the kids and the cats agree on the aromatherapy aspects of moxa, however.

Friday, October 24, 2014

favorite song friday: habits (stay high)

Tove Lo's new song, "Habits (Stay High)" is pretty insistent, in an ear-wormy kind of way, but it is also compelling. The song by the Swedish singer, Tove Ebba Elsa Nilsson, better known as Tove Lo, appears on her first album, Queen of the Clouds. It's a broken-hearted song. Tove's angelic voice doing a tough-stance narration is an interesting juxtaposition.

"Pick up daddies at the playground
How I spend my daytime
Loosen up the frown,
Make them feel alive
I'll make it fast and greasy
I'm numb and way too easy

You're gone and I gotta stay
High all the time
To keep you off my mind
Ooh-ooh, ooh-ooh
High all the time
To keep you off my mind
Ooh-ooh, ooh-ooh
Spend my days locked in a haze
Trying to forget you babe
I fall back down
Gotta stay high all my life
To forget I'm missing you"

Thursday, October 23, 2014

throwback (halloween) thursday: halloween marathon: house on haunted hill

Originally published 10/10/13:

House on Haunted Hill begins with Elisha Cook Jr. and Vincent Price, each speaking directly to the audience, setting the mood of the movie and the evening to one of creepy horror. Adding to the spooky atmosphere are shots of the exterior of the haunted house — Ennis House, designed by Frank Lloyd Wright a prime example of his Mayan Revival architecture.

A disembodied Vincent Price, "Welcome to the House on Haunted Hill"

Frederick Loren (Price), "I am Frederick Loren, and I have rented the House on Haunted Hill tonight so that my wife can give a party. She's so amusing. There'll be food and drink and ghosts, and perhaps even a few murders. You're all invited. If any of you will spend the next twelve hours in this house, I will give you each ten thousand dollars, or your next of kin in case you don't survive. Ah, but here come our other guests."
The five, presumably greedy "guests" are good-looking test pilot Lance Schroeder (Richard Long), newspaper columnist Ruth Bridges (Julie Mitchum), the house's owner Watson Pritchard (Elisha Cook, who is spookier than most of the spooks), suave psychiatrist Dr. David Trent (Alan Marshal), and pretty young thing Nora Manning (Carolyn Craig), who works for one of Loren's companies. Also in attendance, besides the host, Frederick Loren, is his wife, Annabelle. The two aren't exactly a loving couple.
Frederick Loren, "Don't let the ghosts and the ghouls disturb you, love."
Annabelle Loren,"Darling, the only ghoul in the house is you!"
House on Haunted Hill is all in good fun. The guests show up to the party each in their own individual hearse. Each person is supplied with a gun for their own protection. There is a vat in the basement filled with acid. Ghouls and ghosts appear to be on hand to help each of the guests into the netherworld. When the film was first released, director William Castle (The Tingler, Homicidal, The Old Dark House) used a gimmick called "Emergo" in theaters to further scare the audience — a skeleton was made to fly over the audience at a key moment during the film. It is rumored that Alfred Hitchcock, after seeing the success of the low-budget black and white horror movie, applied similar principles to his next film, Psycho. It is true that the sets and design of House on Haunted Hill do share the same production values as Hitchcock's television series, which may be the more direct ancestor of both films. Although dated, and undeniably goofy, thanks to the always wonderfully eloquent Price, House on Haunted Hill is still great Halloween viewing.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

lovejoy's back for more antiques, crime and fun

Acorn Media has recently released Lovejoy, Series 2, and it is just as much fun as the first series. Based on the books by Jonathan Gash, Lovejoy stars Ian McShane as an antiques dealer who has an eye for authenticity — in antiques and women. The British series was originally filmed and aired in the late 1980s and early 1990s, with the A&E Network showing the series stateside in the 1990s. Fans of McShane and the series should be very happy that Lovejoy is finally available on DVD.

Lovejoy is a British mystery series, but the accent is more on character and story than whodunnit. Frequently Lovejoy and his friends find themselves involved in so many plots and switcheroos that most of the fun comes from trying to figure out who's on top at the moment. When viewers first met Lovejoy last season, he was trying to balance his antiques business with his gifts as a "divvie," a person who can suss out whether an object is the genuine article or a fake. He was frequently plagued by a rival antiques dealer, Charles Gimbert, aided and abetted in his schemes by pals Tinker Dill (Dudley Sutton) and Eric Catchpole (Chris Jury), and becoming friends with the lovely lady of the local manor, Lady Jane Felsham (Phyllis Logan).

Gimbert is gone in the second series, Jane and Lovejoy are now business "partners," and Tinker and Eric are still on hand to run interference whenever Lovejoy needs. Lovejoy is still (almost always) broke. In fact, the first episode of season two, "Just Desserts," finds him being released from prison — after being framed — and he is determined to find out who in the antiques trade set him up. His time in jail has echoes throughout the season, with the local constabulary always suspicious of his movements, and Lovejoy frequently seeking revenge for himself, or justice for other innocent parties. There are some familiar faces from British film and television as guests stars this season, and Lovejoy and Jane even let a few sparks fly between them. ...

Read my complete review on Cinema Sentries

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

chasing clouds

I have always been a huge fan of clouds in the sky, cumulus, nimbus, cirrus, stratus, and beyond. Florida seems to have some of the best cloud formations of anywhere I've lived or visited.





Monday, October 20, 2014

oregano oil

I've been getting over a cold, and it was suggested I try oregano oil to help hasten the end of the bug.



It's REALLY intense, even for this part-Italian girl. It does not taste like just a few sprinkles on your pizza. Just a few drops can burn. But I do think that my cold has been shown the door.

Anyone else ever try oregano oil?

Friday, October 17, 2014

favorite song friday: gust of wind

It's no secret that I love Pharrell. I am a fan of not just his music, but his upbeat and thoughtful approach to art and life. But I was pleasantly surprised yet again by Pharrell when I caught the video for "Gust of Wind," featuring Daft Punk, and directed by Edgar Wright (The World's End, Scott Pilgrim vs. the World).

The song is one of the more engaging tracks on his album Girl. But the style of the video takes in the playfulness and otherworldliness of his collaborators while also transporting the song to something not just groovy but ethereal.

Now that's a party I want to attend.

I just love those Zardoz-y heads, the bright colors, the slow-motion.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

throwback (halloween) thursday: scary monsters and super creepy kids

October is almost halfway gone, and I haven't really indulged in the Halloween spirit yet. Here's a post from last year, when I was in the middle of a Halloween movie marathon, that I hope will help jumpstart my spooky mood. Plus, I wouldn't mind seeing some of these scary movies again, either.

scary monsters and super creepy kids
(post originally posted on October 24, 2013)

After watching a bunch of scary and spooky movies in honor of this spooktacular Halloween season, especially The Awakening and The Haunting of Julia, it occurred to me that more often than not, especially in ghost movies, the chills are centered around a child, whether dead or alive. This most likely touches on all of our inner children, as that is what most reacts to the things that go bump in the night, what truly scares us. I tend to prefer such movies, which focus more on the psychological aspects of fear, as opposed to slash and gore-fests.

The kids from Village of the Damned

Some of the best horror movies are kid-centered. Here are some of my favorites:

Creepy kids from another world:

Village of the Damned (1960)

Rock-a-bye Rosemary's Baby

The Devil made them do it:

Rosemary's Baby (1968)
The Omen (1976)

Brother and sister in their haunted house with an uninvited guest

Hold that ghost:

The Uninvited (1944)
Don't Look Now (1973)
The Shining (1980)

Clowns never cease to be super-creepy: Poltergeist

Poltergeist (1982)
The Others (2001)
ParaNorman (2012)

Can you come out to play in 'Salem's Lot?

Vampires and Witches, oh my:

'Salem's Lot (1979)
Let Me In (2010)

There are plenty more, but ones that I don't really want to see again, like The Exorcist, Audrey Rose, and The Ring. Have I forgotten any of your favorite creepy spooky kids?

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

it's a dog's (and cat's) life




Tuesday, October 14, 2014

gone girl

I recently finished reading Gillian Flynn's Gone Girl. I wanted to read it before I saw the David Fincher film. In a way, I wish I had seen the film first, as the book was so fresh in my mind, and so riveting a read, that I may not have been as blown away by the movie as I could have been.

Gone Girl is structured as a "he said," "she said" novel. It would not be giving too much away to say that both the he and she in the book, husband Nick Dunne and his wife Amy Elliott-Dunne, are unreliable narrators. The fun and the dread of the experience of reading their story is guessing just how unreliable they are. Even when one has finished the book, and ostensibly all the secrets have been revealed, the reader may not be entirely sure just how much of what they have read really happened. That is what takes Gone Girl from just being a thriller or police procedural to a twisted look at modern life.

Rosamund Pike is stunning — and stuns — as Amy in Gone Girl

A lot of people who have read the book and have watched the film view Gone Girl as the ultimate take-down of marriage. It is true that Flynn, in the voice of both her narrators, shows how difficult it can be to sustain a relationship. There are passages when Amy especially voices a female frustration with what men want, and her needing to play a role, the "cool girl," to keep her husband happy, that should resonate with many women. But the sorts of lies and deceptions and masks that we wear are not just found in marriage, but in all aspects of our lives. Flynn and her characters just take things to extremes.

I expect that I will have to watch the film again, at a later date, when I have a bit more distance from the book, to truly appreciate what Fincher and Co. have done. But I will say that Rosamund Pike was sensational as Amy. She was as compelling as her alter-ego Amy and Amazing Amy (wink). Ben Affleck was good as Nick, although I found him to be a bit too world-weary all the way through, without the All-American naiveté that I might have expected, at least at the start of the story. Especially good was Kim Dickens as Detective Rhonda Boney and Carrie Coon as Nick's twin sister Go (short for Margo). Tyler Perry and Neil Patrick Harris were also good in smaller but pivotal roles. The only bum note was Emily Ratajkowski as Andie. Fincher and Flynn (who wrote the screenplay) chose to beef up the role of Boney, and play down the role of Andie, which both turned out to be excellent choices.

The women of Gone Girl, L-R: Kim Dickens, Rosamund Pike, Gillian Flynn, Carrie Coon, by Carolyn Cole, Los Angeles Times

Gone Girl the novel was also about writing — truth vs. fiction. We live in a world where that line is consistently blurred, from reality television to anything and everything we read online. Being writers, authors, is the meat and potatoes of the novel. Amy's parents are (once) successful authors of a children's book series, Amazing Amy, where they plundered their daughter's life for "teachable" content. Nick and Amy have both lost their jobs at New York magazines — Nick as a popular culture writer for a men's magazine, and Amy as a quiz writer for women's magazines. These authors have become obsolete, the content they used to provide easily available via the internet. Flynn would know all about this, as she was former television critic for Entertainment Weekly whose job was downsized in 2008. As their narratives unfold, Nick's seemingly in the present and Amy's in the past, via her diary, the reader can judge for themselves who is the better writer. And yes, it is a competition. And yes, it is Amy. Gone Girl is also a book, a mystery, that may benefit from a re-read, to see all the clues and signs one missed the first time around. I am definitely interested in reading whatever Flynn comes up with next.

Monday, October 13, 2014

inspector manara 2: crime and amore

MHz has recently released the second season of the Italian crime/comedy series Inspector Manara 2. Fans of the first series will be sure to enjoy the further adventures of the title character, Luca Manara, played by the charming and handsome Guido Caprino. In the first series, a reluctant Luca had been transferred to a sleepy little Tuscan seaside town, where he soon, unexpectedly, found himself busy chasing down clues to countless murders and other associated crimes. He was helped in his endeavors by the lovely Inspector Lara Rubino (Roberta Giarrusso), a former fellow student from their days at the pice academy. Luca, although immediately very popular with all the love-starved local ladies, ended up pursuing Lara, and the two fell in love and got together by the end of the first season.

As the second season begins, Lara and Luca are getting married, with their friends and the entire town thrilled to attend. But the course of true love never quite runs smoothly for this pair. As Luca fumbles with his lines at the altar, a young cyclist bursts into the church, interrupting the ceremony, and falls down dead in the aisle in the first episode, "Matrimonio con delitto (Marriage with murder)." Luca and Lara put their wedding on hold and try to solve the crime, but it is clear that the pair may have not been ready to swap vows just yet. They try living together, but they don't seem to mesh well as roomies, either. In "L'addio di Lara (The farewell of Lara)" Lara decides to accept an offer to attend a prestigious course at the police academy in Milan. This will help her in her career, but also take her away, at least for a time, from Luca. ...

The gang's all here, L-R: Toscani, Sardi, Buttafuoco, Barbagallo, Lara, and Luca

Read my full review on Cinema Sentries.

Friday, October 10, 2014

favorite song friday - i

Kendrick Lamar has teased a new song, called "i," which is the first single released from his upcoming third album. "i" is not just a positive, upbeat message for a hip-hop song, but great fun to listen to. It has a bit of a retro vibe too, maybe due to its sampling the Isley Brothers' "That Lady."

"And I love myself
(The world is a ghetto with big guns and picket signs)
I love myself
(But it can do what it want whenever it want, I don't mind)
I love myself
(He said I gotta get up, life is more than suicide)
I love myself
(One day at a time, sun gon' shine)"

Thursday, October 09, 2014

throwback (halloween) thursday: selecting a costume

Sometimes a search for a costume is more fun than whatever you end up with.





Wednesday, October 08, 2014


I mentioned to my chiropractor the other day that as part of my regular health regime/workout I have been trying to walk on the beach every morning, even if it's just walking down to the water's edge and wading in the ocean. He replied, "Oh, that's called earthing, That's great for you." I hadn't heard that term before, but was intrigued.

Walking on the sand, wet or dry, is supposed to benefit one's overall health
Earthing, or grounding as it is often called, simply means connecting to the Earth’s natural, negative surface charge by being barefoot outside or in bare skin contact with conductive systems indoors while you sleep, relax, or work. 
A simple concept, yes. But one with profound impact on the physiology. 
Connection with the Earth restores a lost electrical signal to the body that seems to stabilize the complicated circuitry of our essentially-electrical body. Our built-in self-regulating and self-healing mechanisms become more effective. There are head-to-toe improvements. Better blood flow. Less pain and inflammation. More energy. Deeper sleep.

For many people the effect is dramatic, like charging a failing battery. For others, the effect is gradual and subtle. — from The Earthing Institute

Sounds good to me. There are, of course, all sorts of "earthing products" available on the internet, for folks who want to connect their beds or homes to the outside world via copper coils or some such tool. But if weather permits, I think it would be far easier, and cheaper, and more profound just to make a personal, physical connection. Remind oneself that we are connected to the earth. At least that is my plan.

Tuesday, October 07, 2014

jay bernstein, starmaker

Anyone who has ever considered a job in show business — whether in front of or behind the camera - should read Starmaker: Life as a Hollywood Publicist with Farrah, the Rat Pack and 600 More Stars Who Fired Me. Most people may not be familiar with its subject, Hollywood publicist, agent, producer Jay Bernstein, but they will undoubtedly be more than familiar with his stellar client list, which includes the biggest stars of the '50s, '60s, '70s, and '80s.

Stars such as Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis, Jr., Michael Landon, Stacy Keach, Linda Evans, William Shatner and others counted him as their manager and factotum. Countess others were in his orbit. He seems to have known everyone in Hollywood at some time or another, but not all of his encounters were friendly. The book has been published posthumously (Bernstein died in 2006), culled from interviews he gave, and at times it is clear that he was still smarting from some of his career slights. And Bernstein was all about career. He admits himself, many times, that his work was his life, and he was available 24/7 for his client roster. It actually came as a shock to discover on Wikipedia that he had married and had a child (apparently late in life) as they don't figure in his narrative at all.

Jay Bernstein, with Farrah Fawcett, in her heyday, from his website

Bernstein may not be the most likable character — he carried a loaded .38 at all times and a walking stick, clearly designed to intimidate — but he does tell some interesting stories. We may think we are savvy to the Hollywood publicity machine, but Bernstein isn't afraid to let the reader know that a lot of what we think we know about the stars is frankly, BS. Sinatra was far from his favorite person. One might go so far, and Bernstein does, as to call him a jerk. Bernstein recounts Sinatra's crazy, entitled behavior while the Rat Pick was filming Sergeants 3, and how that led to a close working relationship with Sammy Davis, Jr. Tom Jones, an acknowledged sexy superstar singer, got a lot of help from Berstein. Who do you think orchestrated all of those panties thrown on stage at the start of his career? There are many other stories in Starmaker like these, and fans of Hollywood myth and lore will have a field day.

Bernstein also recounts how he helped '70s iconic beauties like Farrah Fawcett and Suzanne Somers get their start, and how he revitalized Linda Evans' career as "a mature beauty" later on. It is clear that Farrah was his ultimate star, his shining career moment, and he gives her appropriate due. Bernstein is also a proud chauvinist, which just gives another clear view of what actresses have always, and still are, up against.

He takes credit for so many things that are done on a regular basis these days but were rare when he was in power — like stars moving from one television network to another, or from film to television and vice-versa. There is much hyperbole, and even more wound-licking to be found in Starmaker, but it is also, undeniably a fast-paced, extremely entertaining read.

Monday, October 06, 2014

one direction — a nice bunch of lads

One Direction closed out its "Where We Are" world tour in Miami last night to a sold-out stadium crowd — and we were there. The crowd, made up mostly of tweens, teens, and young women (all, interestingly, with long, long hair) were thrilled to see their idols.

Their opening act, 5 Seconds of Summer, made it clear to the audience that they fancy themselves a rock band, as AC/DC's "Highway to Hell" blared from the speakers before they took to the stage at Sun Life Stadium. Their sound was over-cranked however, to the point of distortion on most of their songs, which made it hard to enjoy their set. Spinal Tap's speakers tuned to 11 and that guy on the motorcycle next to you in traffic who opened up his carburetor to make his ride more impressive, but mostly more noisy, came to mind. The little girls didn't seem to mind and swayed dreamily to their current (quieter) hit, "Amnesia." They did do a fun cover of The Romantics' "What I Like About You."

5 Seconds of Summer (drummer Ashton Irwin, pictured here) came out in Ninja Turtle garb

The main attraction's sound and stage savvy and pyrotechnics far outshone their opening act. The young men of One Direction have been together for four years, and they know what their fans want, and, happily, still seem to have fun being together. Harry Styles, Liam Payne, Louis Tomlinson, Zayn Malik, and Niall Horan traded lyrics and jokes throughout their two-hour show. Harry and Liam are still the de facto leads on most of their tunes, but everyone gets his chance in the spotlight. Zayn started the show a little out of sorts, possibly under the weather, but seemed to recover as the night went on. The rest had high energy and enthusiasm, with Harry providing some of the best vocals of the night.

Harry Styles on the jumbo screen

The boys trade vocals on "Live While We're Young"

The band didn't hit the stage until 9:30, which may have been pushing it for some of their younger fans. But the boys gave a great show and seems to be as genuinely thrilled to be there as there audience. Everyone could go home happy hearing their favorite tunes, including "Midnight Memories," "Diana," "Kiss You," "Rock Me," "Story of My Life," "You & I," and "What Makes You Beautiful" and "Best Song Ever," which closed the show.

Part of One Direction's image and mythology is undeniably their humble beginnings and meteoric rise to the top, but they also seemed genuinely impressed with the size of the crowd, and also seem to have retained their humility. I have never been to a performance where the artists thanked the audience so often and so profusely — they had many kind words for their back-up band and crew, too. Maybe people are just more polite across the pond, or they were just basking in the "last show of the tour" glow, but it was refreshing to hear Harry not only thank his fans for coming, but to acknowledge their parents and grandparents for bringing them — and remind everyone to drive carefully on their way home, which was not an idle suggestion, considering Miami traffic and the Florida turnpike.

1D's cutest fan
Everyone was of good cheer as the concert wound to an end — but possibly no one was as happy as One Direction, who appeared thrilled at the prospect of being able to finally take a break and go home before the madness of pop stardom starts up again. Their respite won't be too long, however, as they have a new album, Four, due out next month. It will be interesting to see if and how long they can continue as a five-piece, and if my daughter and their countless other fans will stick with them as they all grow and mature together. They are nice lads and gave us an enjoyable evening, which I am sure my daughter will treasure for quite some time to come. Maybe me, too.

Friday, October 03, 2014

favorite song friday: sara smile

The judges on The Voice blew it the other night when they passed up on Tini Grey, who did a pretty good version of Hall and Oates's "Sara Smile." Yes, he faltered a little, but his voice was certainly more compelling than some of the standard belters that these shows always seem to go for.

I was reminded while listening to his blind audition how much I love Daryl Hall's voice, and this song. Here is a very fun '70s glam version.

And here is another rendition, from Daryl's excellent web show, Live from Daryl's House, this time performed with (!) Smokey Robinson.

And if you like Hall and Oates, you'll love this uber-strange "video" they did for "She's Gone" ...

Thursday, October 02, 2014

throwback (halloween) thursday: the squirt

Ninga sushi chef Halloween
Ninja sushi chef

october28 043
It glowed in the dark, too
november10 016
As Aragog the Spider (poor Ron!)
The wicked witch of the east
The (not so) Wicked Witch of the East
Pretty kitty and cute hot dog