Monday, April 30, 2007

Brave New World

Jim was talking with Laura Huxley this morning (95 years old now and sharp as a tack) about something to do with the letters and she mentioned that Universal will be making a movie of Brave New World this year or next and has signed Di Caprio as the lead. We imagine that will probably be the role of John "The Savage" rather than Martin. John is more of a leading man's role. Will be interesting to see and Jim may make a few more dollars in royalties for his Huxley stuff if it creates renewed interest. The other film adaptations have been pretty weak and it deserves a good one.

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Itty Bitty Book Review: One Good Turn

"One Good Turn (A Jolly Murder Mystery)" by Kate Atkinson

This is Atkinson's second foray into the murder mystery realm...very much tongue in cheek I think. I quite liked her first novel "Behind the Scenes at the Museum"(not a mystery) which was quite funny and a little strange. I tried "Emotionally Weird" but found it a little too weird for my taste. One Good Turn is quite amusing (first half better than the second) but if you're looking for a mystery that's quite well written and has some substance give it a try.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

My first birdie!

I got a birdie in golf first ever! Did I mention my "sandy par" in Palm Springs? That's when you go into a sand trap and still manage to get a par. Well...we golfers are pleased with small things. Lots of bad shots in between the good. I only finished one painting in Palm Springs but did begin a few others. Something about all that heat that makes one mainly want to lounge by the pool. Pretty chilly today on the golf course.

"Cactus Garden"

11 x 14 acrylic on canvas

Monday, April 23, 2007

Some other views of war....

I had a very interesting email from my cousin, John. I think it's always important to keep the very unpleasant realities of war in mind. A two day drunk seems like a pretty reasonable response to fighting in the trenches...I'm sorry for the poor sods on both sides:

"I'm back to reading history again, but did manage a short novel while doing
so, "Generals Die in Bed" by Charles Harrison. Never heard of the book or the
author but he was with the Canadian army in the first world war and the
writing is very real, very graphic. It was an international best seller in
the late 20's except in Canada because of all the negative things he says
about Canadian soldiers including the shooting and killing of unarmed
Germans during a battle, looting Arras of all its booze and then having a
two day drunk which only ended when the Germans started shelling the town.
The MP's sent in to stop the melee simply joined in.

Interesting how some myths about the war are being questioned again. There
was a piece in the Globe about how the great battle of Vimy was really
unimportant and rates at most a page in the history books of the war and
some make no mention of it at all. There was also a book some time ago,
called "Meeting of Generals", about the Canadians on D Day having orders to
take no prisoners and they didn't causing the Germans to retaliate with
their own execution of prisoners."

Generals Die in Bed - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Sunday, April 22, 2007

The Red Wine Haiku Review

This is a fun of red wine in haiku format.
Here's an example:

LA Cetto Petite Sirah (Baja, Mexico) 1999

First a big hello
Then a very quick goodbye
Like it wasn’t there

* Haiku are 3 line poems with this syllable count:

The Red Wine Haiku Review

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Introducing Ian and Holly

We had a wonderful meal at Mary's last nice to see kate and Jean and of course, the real stars of the show, Ian and Holly! Our first time meeting Holly...she's just lovely. She was a rescue dog from Arkansas.

Friday, April 13, 2007

World War II Battlefields

My friends are now touring the World War II battlefields and visiting Dieppe. Here are a couple poems written by completely unknown people.

D-Day Assault
Artist: Orville Fisher

D-Day poem by Iwan Willis

Adrenalin rushing, waves crashing
Waist high water, struggling to the shore
Drowning people shrieking for help
Frozen soldiers stranded on the beach
Scared young warriors soaking from the sea
Deadly grey shapes advancing on the troops.

This was my Brother by Mona Gould

This was my brother
At Dieppe,
Quietly a hero
Who gave his life
Like a gift,
Withholding nothing.

His Youth..his love..
His enjoyment of being alive..
His future, like a book
With half the pages still uncut.

This was my brother
At Dieppe.
The one who built me a doll house
When I was seven.
Complete to the last small picture frame.
Nothing forgotten.

He was awfully good at fixing things,
At stepping into the breach when he was needed.

That's what he did at Dieppe;
He was needed.
And even death must have been a little shamed
At his eagerness

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

World War I Battlefields

Over the next few days my friends will be touring the WW I Battlefields. Here are a couple of poems by well known World War I poets.

Does it Matter? by Siegfried Sassoon

Does it matter?—losing your legs?...
For people will always be kind,
And you need not show that you mind
When the others come in after hunting
To gobble their muffins and eggs.

Does it matter ?—losing your sight?...
There's such splendid work for the blind;
And people will always be kind,
As you sit on the terrace remembering
And turning your face to the light.

Do they matter?—those dreams from the pit?...
You can drink and forget and be glad,
And people won't say that you're mad;
For they'll know you've fought for your country
And no one will worry a bit.

Soldier's Dream by Wilfred Owen

I dreamed kind Jesus fouled the big-gun gears;
And caused a permanent stoppage in all bolts;
And buckled with a smile Mausers and Colts;
And rusted every bayonet with His tears.

And there were no more bombs, of ours or Theirs,
Not even an old flint-lock, not even a pikel.
But God was vexed, and gave all power to Michael;
And when I woke he'd seen to our repairs.

Wilfred Owen

Tuesday, April 10, 2007


We had a drink with Monique yesterday afternoon and what a spread of! No dinner necessary...

Here are some photos and some little movies.

Ti-loup eats out of hand

Ti-loup gives a kiss

Ti-loup demonstrates his jumping skills

Monday, April 09, 2007

90th Anniversary Celebrations at Vimy

Today's blog posting is to honour everyone involved in the battle at Vimy Ridge.

Private Leo Kelly survived the battle and wrote a letter to his family about his experiences. Thank you to the Reid family in Brampton, Ontario for sharing their grandfather's letter.

Vimy Letter

Stuart Larner wrote this in honour of his grandfather who fell at Vimy. It was inspired by the practice of sending the bullets back from the front at the battle of the Somme. His grandfather was one of the fallen there.

Vimy - A poem by Stuart Larner

Grandfather’s bullet
Inside the small gift box
A twisted nail of lead,
A claw shed from Vimy Ridge.
The field surgeon’s letter hoped
That to extract and send it home
Might undo Time and
Close things whole again.
Gran kept this final link.
His body, laid in honoured line,
Now part of the earth they’d won.
The bullet, laid on cotton wool,
A dormant seed.

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Saturday, April 07, 2007

And more reading suggestions...

I see Ondaatje has a new book coming out April 17...I've already put my hold on the 12 copies ordered for our Victoria library system. I'm second in line so should get a nice brand new copy to read. I love it when that happens! Divisadero: Books: Michael Ondaatje

Friday, April 06, 2007

BBC - Radio 4 - Book at Bedtime

For all you Ian McEwan fans (and you should become one if you're not since he is the best writer in Britain today) he has a brand new novel out called "On Chesil Beach" which is currently being read on BBC's Book at Bedtime. We always prefer to start these a little late so we have a few to listen to at a time since the daily episodes are only 15 minutes. It will probably be available for about a month to read in archived form.

Chesil Beach is in Dorset and apparently the beach has these very famous "shingle" stones. In an interview McEwan mentioned he had picked up a handful of them to take home for inspiration for his novel. Now he finds out that there is a 2000 pds fine for removing even one stone!

For newbies to McEwan, try "Saturday," "Atonement", and "Enduring Love". And for my lucky friends (Kerry, Roger, Neil, Donna) who are now winging their way to a 10 day tour of the battlefields of France and the rededication of the Vimy Memorial, when you get back you must read "Atonement" for one of the most wonderful passages of writing ever written about happens to be on the retreat to Dunkirk.

And for everyone else who wants a feel for the wonderful Vimy Memorial and can't be there April 9, read Jane Urquhart's "The Stone Diaries".

BBC - Radio 4 - Book at Bedtime

Thursday, April 05, 2007


These were the same pansies I took a photo of in mid-January when they seemed to be destroyed by the snow...unbelievable that they just came back like this all on their own!


More bookbags for my collection...

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Back Home!

We had a pretty fast trip back and got through Seattle and the border without too much delay. The West Coast welcomed us with snow, rain, sleet, and wind just outside Seattle for a while! However, I see we brought home the good weather and we woke to a sunny (albeit rather cool for us) day.

Good thing the weather was good as Shaw had not reconnected our cable/internet and there were some problems getting it set up again. Jim went out to his car to connect the battery and the latch snapped so he couldn't open the hood. The towing guy fixed it temporarily so at least he can drive.

Would you believe we were at the ferry terminal at 1:45 and we missed the 3pm sailing by three cars! You can imagine how much we felt like waiting for the 5pm at the end of a long trip.

Here's the ferry leaving without us...

Monday, April 02, 2007

Granzella's Restaurant and Deli

Granzella's Restaurant and Deli
Originally uploaded by jsexton.
We really lucked into being close to this place on our first night on the road. It's in William's just a bit north of Sacremento. We had a super meal and they sell loads of interesting stuff including 200 beers from around the world. We were tempted to buy selection but we don't like taking alcohol across the border...things always go smoother when you don't.

Another long drive yesterday but we were upgraded to a two room suite in Jantzen Beach, Portland. Last year we made record time getting home...hope things go as well this year.

Granzella's Restaurant and Deli

Granzella's Restaurant and Deli
Originally uploaded by jsexton.

Granzella's Restaurant and Deli

Granzella's Restaurant and Deli
Originally uploaded by jsexton.

Granzella's Restaurant and Deli

Granzella's Restaurant and Deli
Originally uploaded by jsexton.