Documentaries: “Dreams of a Life”, “Finding Vivian Maier”

We had an unintended, somewhat depressing, Netflix theme going recently: documentaries of forgotten women who led enigmatic lives. Given the attention they have received in recent years, it’s as if their lives only became interesting after their deaths. You can certainly read all about the stories of Joyce Vincent and Vivian Maier on Wikipedia, but […]

Movie: “Wild”

I’ve not read Cheryl Strayed’s memoir Wild, on which the movie is based. And I’ve seen only a few Reese Witherspoon movies (I liked “Election” the best). So most everything here was new to me. “Wild” tells two stories simultaneously: Cheryl’s punishing hike along the Pacific Crest Trail, starting at the Mexican border and finishing hundreds of miles […]

Blogs I Like: Sitcom Geek

As Stephen Fry said once upon a time: when I was young, comedy albums were my rock albums. The first albums I remember buying were remaindered copies of “Another Monty Python Album” and, rather incredibly, Robert Klein’s “Mind Over Matter” (I think because the cover just looked so out-there).

Review: “In Our Time” podcast and newsletter

One of my long-term listening pleasures is BBC4’s In Our Time podcast. The show is hosted by Melvyn Bragg, a novelist, cultural reporter, broadcaster, and a member of the House of Lords, in no particular order. The show’s premise is to pick a significant topic from history, culture, science, art, philosophy, etc., bring in three […]

Review: Elf, a reminder service to avoid overdue library fees

The Durham Country Library — which is a great organization I support with patronage and donations of both books and money —  does not notify me when books are either coming due or are overdue. This can be inconvenient when life gets hectic or I forget that the checkout period for DVDs is different from that for books. […]