Monday, January 26, 2009

Who Says You Have To Be Young to Get It On!

Want to satisfy your curiosity as to what your sex life will be like as a senior citizen? Read on. It may not be what you suspect......
This from the NY Post and Fox News:
"Villages" Retirement Home is Widower's Sex Paradise 

Welcome to ground zero for geriatrics who are seriously getting it on.It's a Thursday night at one of a half-dozen hot spots at the 20,000-acre Central Florida complex called The Villages, the largest gated retirement community in America — and one of the most popular destinations for New Yorkers in their golden years — where the female-to-male ratio runs 10 to 1.It's a widower's paradise, and the word on the street is that there's a big black market for Viagra.Though The Villages — which spans three counties with 40,000 homes and more than 70,000 residents — boasts 34 golf courses, nine country clubs, two downtown squares and a slew of restaurants and bars, getting lucky is one of the residents' primary pastimes.The huge complex began growing rapidly in the mid-1990s, and reported cases of gonorrhea rocketed from 152 to 245, of syphilis rose from 17 to 33, and of chlamydia from 52 to 115 among those 55 and older in Florida from 1995 to 2005.The state's sexually transmitted disease rate among those over 65 is one of the fastest growing in the country, one report claims. Read more...

Thursday, January 15, 2009

The Monster of Florence

I'm taking a second look at this book because of the recent decision by an Italian high court to throw out the acquittal of Amanda Knox and revisit the case. Douglas Preston, mystery author, has become very involved in the case.  He even wrote a new preface to The Monster of Florence explaining why he believes she is innocent.  He also has a 99 cent Kindle article about the use of the internet and social media to demonize and destroy people's lives i.e. Amanda Knox.  PLUS a movie has been made that is coming out in 2013 based on the book and stars George Clooney as Douglas Preston.  Since George has a villa on Lake Como, he didn't have to go too far to be in this movie. If you have not read any of the Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child mystery thrillers, then you're missing out on some fun reading. In order to bring you some further chills and thrills, Douglas Preston moved his family to Tuscany to try and find some new plot threads. Not a bad place to try and find story threads plus some great food and wine. This move resulted in his 2008 book, The Monster of Florence. Read more...

Sunday, January 11, 2009

The Girl Who Loves to Read: An Autobiography of Me, Your Blogger

It's a small town not unlike small towns all over the country. Population 900, three churches, one Lutheran , one Catholic and one Baptist. The elementary school is one long rectangular building with classrooms on each side of a long corridor. In the first grade there are a total of 30 kids. In the second grade a total of 25. And as you go up to higher grades, the numbers never vary. The business district of the town is primarily one long street with a pharmacy, shoe repair, meat market, bank, general store and several "pool" halls where residents of the town smoke cigarettes, cigars, down beer but above all play dominoes and pool. No traffic lights, one cop, one deputy. There are two dance halls, one a VFW hall, one an American Legion hall and at both you can hear country western and "Ompah" music play into the night. No movie theatre (there used to be one where the girl and her older sister went to see Tom Dooley and The Mummyand other great monster movies but it closed and the girl and her sister never knew why). No bowling alley, no pizza joint, no Chinese restaurant. Just a great diner and one "joint" that made the best, the very best chili where the grease floated to the top and you dunked your homemade bread into it and it was pure heaven. Then, if there was any chili left over, that morphed into the best, the very best enchiladas you'd ever taste. In this town was the grandest of homes. The little girl didn't live in this house but her grandmother did. And her grandmother lived right next door to her parent's home. Her grandma was all soft and full of stories and tall tales. Her grandma was the best cook ever. Chicken fried steak with milk gravy, pot roast with mashed potatoes, fried chicken, peach pie, apple pie, dewberry pie, banana pudding, rice pudding (and that was the girl's favorite, with red hots in it!) The house her grandmother lived in was a three story house with a two story veranda that seemed to wrap it's arms three quarters around the house. The main floor had your basic kitchen, living room, bedroom, parlor, bathrooms. It was the second floor that brought magic to the girl. Her grandma had not changed the decor since before her children grew up and moved away. It was a second floor stuck in the 1930's and 40's. The girl's grandma never threw anything away and so there were dresses and hats and shoes and hose and ties and handkerchiefs and suits. But the best of all were the Life magazines from the War years. Smoke a Lucky Strike and you'll be glamorous. Ration to save so our troops will have the ammunition, tires, planes they need to shoot down the japs and the krauts. Another world to the girl. Up here, her grandma also had her small library. The girl's grandma had not finished the 3rd grade, but she had taught herself to read. So, during those hot, simmering summer days when it could easily reach a 100 degrees, the girl would go up to her grandma's second floor and disappear. Disappear into those magazines and those few books. What else was there to do? Bike around a town you've biked around a million times? Go play in the hay bales you've played in a million times? No. For the girl she wanted a book that would let her live a life she couldn't possibly live otherwise. Or, at least at that time, that is what she thought. Her grandma had an odd collection of books, Zane Grey, Frank Yerby and Reader's Digest Condensed books. And Gone with the Wind. The girl would go up into the magic second floor and stay from morning until the sunset. Lying on her back in a big, old bed covered in yellowing lace with a fan blowing and at times, watching dust float in the air as it passes through the sunlight streaming through the open window. This was her world and she loved it. Her world shifted from the dry arid plains of the west where men were tough and women knew how to shoot and ride as good as any man. And she dreamed of Rhett Butler. Then she was off to the Caribbean to where the strong, handsome stranger saves the life of a beautiful damsel in distress and as time passes, they eventually fall in love and make wild passionate love. Now this was the part the girl liked best. And the girl read those parts of the books over and over again. One day the girl's mother came in unannounced and saw what the girl was reading and she was furious. She blamed the girl's grandma for letting her read those books. But, you see, the girl had lied to her grandma and told her she would not read them. So, now she was in double trouble and the girl was no longer allowed to read at her grandmas anymore. With a lie, her special world crumbled. But her love of reading never went away. As soon as she could, she went to a big college in a big city and started to live a life she never thought she could. The girl is now a woman and has surrounded herself with books. Her husband says that a book store to her is like what honey is to a bee. The girl now owns first editions of the Frank Yerby books and she has a complete collection of those Zane Grey novels. And off she goes into her own magic world created by her love of reading.....

Thursday, January 8, 2009

The Story of Edgar Sawtelle

In my book club, Bibliochix, we nominate books based on the fact that none of us had previously read the book. I quickly offered up The Story of Edgar Sawtelle. I really don't remember where I had read about it, but it piqued enough interest to go to to check out reviews etc. Stephen King, a writer who I greatly admire for Shawshank Redemption, The Stand and The Green Mile, equated The Story of Edgar Sawtelle to Life of Pi. Now, Life of Pi is one of my all time favorites. We're talking numero uno baby. So, I put it up for a recommendation and it was accepted. I was distraught when Oprah picked it as one of her selections. I despise Oprah selections. It usually means one of the following is in the book: abuse, abuse, depression, death, murder, abuse, you get the picture. So, when she picked Edgar, I went into a depression. My first thoughts were the dogs are abused, the boy is abused, the mother is abused. SPOILER ALERT! And in some ways all of this comes true. Much has been said about the ending. I read an interview with David Wroblewski, the author, and he was asked as to whether the book is fashioned after Hamlet. He said, "Hamlet was the initial reference point for the story. But I quickly began to subvert that as much as I could. ..... I think of it not as a retelling of Hamlet but as evoking Hamlet. I was trying to draw on the much larger traditions of Shakespearean drama. " If you know the plot of Hamlet, and if Edgar is Hamlet, then you know the ending. Many reviewers are angered by the ending but, hey, it's Hamlet, man. Shakespeare. Read more...

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Slumdog Millionaire: Review

The other day my daughter and I had a really fine lunch at a local museum. When we finished, she asked if I wanted a tic tac. (She might have been intimating that I had bad breath.) I said, no, I liked the leftover flavors in my mouth. I saw Slumdog Millionaireyesterday. My friends wanted to go see another movie today. And I said, no, I want to savor the leftover thoughts from Slumdog Millionaire. If you have not yet heard of this movie, you will. It is a Danny Boyle movie who was director of Trainspotting. From the first scene, it grabs you by the throat and doesn't let go. Jamal Malik is the slumdog, slang for anyone in India living in, well, the slums. The millionaire part? Jamal makes it onto the Indian version of Who Wants to be a Millionaire. How do these two mesh? Jamal correctly answers the questions on the show not through intelligence or schooling (he lacks the latter) but through his life experiences. How does he know that a US $100 bill has Ben Franklin on it? Through a harrowing experience with men who run gangs of kids to beg and the boy they blind so that he can be a more sympathetic beggar. So, a question on the show is then answered in a flashback. The movie moves from brilliant color to deep darkness. From abject poverty to opulence. From love to lust. From charity to brutality. From humor to hopelessness. The cinematography is breathtaking with the sky views of the slums and the whirling closeups of dancers. The music is upbeat and hip hop. Believe it or not, it works with the movie. All of the actors are Indian (and fine actors they are) but the movie is in English. Stay for the credits. It is a fun tribute to Bollywood. Go see the movie. It's one you'll savor for days. Warning: The opening scene is difficult to watch. reviews: 94% positive.