Grillo Center Labyrinth

Grillo Center Labyrinth
Meander and Meet....designed by George Peters and Melanie Walker of Airworks For more information contact Susan at

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Saturday Morning Walkers - August 3, 2008

Hi everyone,

Well, the Saturday Morning Walkers did something wild and crazy this weekend. Instead of walking on Saturday morning, we walked on Sunday morning - whoooeee! Really shook things up! We headed out early this morning in an attempt to beat the heat and headed up a great trail in Shanahan Ridge up to the Mesa Trail and then back down. It was a bit challenging but we made it down and rewarded ourselves with breakfast at the Southside Walnut Cafe - yum! We had quite a turnout this morning - Barb, Cass, Chris, Christie, Mary, me and our special guest, Irma. Jan and Andrea joined us for breakfast. It was so good to be with everyone - it's been a while for me.

Book Report:

Jack just finished Pete Hamill's memoir, A Drinking Life. As I've mentioned before, Hamill is one of our favorite writers (Snow in August, Forever, Downtown and others). Jack loved the book and I will get to it one of these days.

From Publishers Weekly
Hamill's autobiography entails his long odyssey to sobriety. This is not a jeremiad condemning drink, however, but a thoughtful, funny, street-smart reflection on its consequences. To understand Hamill ( Loving Women ), one must know his immigrant parents: Anne, gentle and fair; Billy, one-legged and alcoholic. The first offspring of this union--Republicans in Belfast, Democrats in Brooklyn--Hamill has a special gift for relating the events of his childhood. He recreates a time extinct, a Brooklyn of trolley cars, Dodgers, pails of beer and pals like No Toes Nocera. He recalls such adventures as the Dodgers' 1941 pennant and viewing the liner Normandie lying on its side in the Hudson River. We partake in the glory of V-J day and learn what life in Hamill's neighborhood was centered on: "Part of being a man was to drink." Puberty hits him and booze helps him to overcome his sexual shyness. But Hamill's childhood ended early. After dropping out of high school he lived on his own, working at the Brooklyn Navy Yard, and drinking with his workmates. Wanting more, he studied art, soon meeting a nude model named Laura who was a lot different from the neighborhood girls, those "noble defenders of the holy hymen." And escape was always on Hamill's mind. First it was the Navy, then Mexico, but it was always the same--drinking nights which today he can't remember. There were fist-fights and jail time in Mexico and he learned that "drinking could be a huge fuck you to Authority." Back home with a job at the New York Post , he mastered his trade at the Page One bar every morning, drinking with other reporters. Much time was spent in saloons away from his wife and two daughters and he remembers the taunts of his childhood, "Your old man's an Irish drunk!" Then one New Year's Eve 20 years ago he noticed all the drunkenness and had his last vodka. When asked why, he said, "I have no talent for it." It may be the only talent Hamill lacks.

Cass read and loved Winter in Lisbon by Antonio Munoz Molina - she and her Spanish speaking book group read it in Spanish but it is available in English.

Had a bit of trouble finding a review but here is an excerpt of an article about the literature of democratic Spain

"El Invierno en Lisboa (1987, Winter in Lisbon) is Munoz Molina's second novel. The book's action takes place in two cities, San Sebastian and Lisbon. The narrator, a self-effacing voyeur following the events in the life of a young jazz musician, attempts to reconstruct in a halting monologue the strange existence of this antihero tortured by two unrelenting passions: his music and his love for a mysterious woman. The novel foregrounds issues of time and memory to undemine a model of simplistic coherence created by the narrative sequence. For this novel, Munoz Molina was awarded the 1987 Critics' Prize."

Jan has a couple of audiobook recommendations and a couple of DVD's to recommend:

The Audio Books are:

The Twelfth Card is a murder mystery by Jeffrey Deaver. This is part of series featuring police detective Lincoln Rhyme.

From Publishers Weekly
The popularity of Deaver's novels about quadriplegic police detective Lincoln Rhyme and his legwoman Amelia Sachs depends mightily on their personal stories (i.e., their romantic relationship, their struggles with depression and physical impairments) and the ingeniously twisted crimes they solve. Both elements have been served better in the past. While the plot is properly perplexing (why is a 16-year-old Harlem high schooler being stalked by a ruthless killer?), fans will be baffled by Deaver's decision to move series supporting player NYPD lieutenant Lon Sellitto closer to center stage, thus significantly limited Rhyme's presence in the story. Boutsikaris, an accomplished theater and film actor, and one of the better audio performers, provides a crisp narrative that moves the story quickly enough to build and maintain a fair amount of suspense, even through several lengthy plot recaps. He exhibits both versatility and imagination in finding the right voice for most of the characters, from the impatient, almost fussy Rhyme to the gruff and emotionally conflicted Sellitto.

We Need to Talk About Kevin is a novel by Lionel Shriver.

From Publishers Weekly
A number of fictional attempts have been made to portray what might lead a teenager to kill a number of schoolmates or teachers, Columbine style, but Shriver's is the most triumphantly accomplished by far. A gifted journalist as well as the author of seven novels, she brings to her story a keen understanding of the intricacies of marital and parental relationships as well as a narrative pace that is both compelling and thoughtful. Eva Khatchadourian is a smart, skeptical New Yorker whose impulsive marriage to Franklin, a much more conventional person, bears fruit, to her surprise and confessed disquiet, in baby Kevin. From the start Eva is ambivalent about him, never sure if she really wanted a child, and he is balefully hostile toward her; only good-old-boy Franklin, hoping for the best, manages to overlook his son's faults as he grows older, a largely silent, cynical, often malevolent child. The later birth of a sister who is his opposite in every way, deeply affectionate and fragile, does nothing to help, and Eva always suspects his role in an accident that befalls little Celia. The narrative, which leads with quickening and horrifying inevitability to the moment when Kevin massacres seven of his schoolmates and a teacher at his upstate New York high school, is told as a series of letters from Eva to an apparently estranged Franklin, after Kevin has been put in a prison for juvenile offenders. This seems a gimmicky way to tell the story, but is in fact surprisingly effective in its picture of an affectionate couple who are poles apart, and enables Shriver to pull off a huge and crushing shock far into her tale. It's a harrowing, psychologically astute, sometimes even darkly humorous novel, with a clear-eyed, hard-won ending and a tough-minded sense of the difficult, often painful human enterprise.

The DVD's are:

Rendition - very timely!
Roger Ebert called it "perfect," and certainly the timing couldn't have been much better: Rendition was released just as the U.S. was debating anew the issue of "extraordinary rendition," a policy (begun under the Clinton administration, accelerated after September 11, 2001) of handing over suspected terrorists to countries that use torture as an interrogation tool. Alas, the movie only rarely fills in the outlines of a prototypical "issue movie," the kind of thing peopled by cardboard characters tracing the patterns of an important, indeed urgent, subject. The plot kicks into gear when an Egyptian-born man (Omar Metwally) is sent to an unnamed North African country where torture is practiced, with the CIA in approval. The film takes a Crash dive through how this affects various people: his pregnant American wife (Reese Witherspoon), the reluctant CIA agent (Jake Gyllenhaal) on the scene, a severe interrogator (Yigal Naor), all the way up to a U.S. terrorism honcho (Meryl Streep) willing to turn a blind eye to the unpleasantness if it stops a terrorist attack. Things spark briefly when Witherspoon enlists an old beau (Peter Sarsgaard) to plead her case with his boss, a U.S. Senator (Alan Arkin), but for the most part director Gavin Hood (Totsi) can't find a way to color in these line drawings, despite the formidable actors doing spirited work. The issue is fully and lucidly explained, but the movie doesn't come alive

Movie studios, by and large, avoid controversial subjects like race the way you might avoid a hive of angry bees. So it's remarkable that Crash even got made; that it's a rich, intelligent, and moving exploration of the interlocking lives of a dozen Los Angeles residents--black, white, latino, Asian, and Persian--is downright amazing. A politically nervous district attorney (Brendan Fraser) and his high-strung wife (Sandra Bullock, biting into a welcome change of pace from Miss Congeniality) get car-jacked by an oddly sociological pair of young black men (Larenz Tate and Chris "Ludacris" Bridges); a rich black T.V. director (Terrence Howard) and his wife (Thandie Newton) get pulled over by a white racist cop (Matt Dillon) and his reluctant partner (Ryan Phillipe); a detective (Don Cheadle) and his Latina partner and lover (Jennifer Esposito) investigate a white cop who shot a black cop--these are only three of the interlocking stories that reach up and down class lines. Writer/director Paul Haggis (who wrote the screenplay for Million Dollar Baby) spins every character in unpredictable directions, refusing to let anyone sink into a stereotype. The cast--ranging from the famous names above to lesser-known but just as capable actors like Michael Pena (Buffalo Soldiers) and Loretta Devine (Woman Thou Art Loosed)--meets the strong script head-on, delivering galvanizing performances in short vignettes, brief glimpses that build with gut-wrenching force. This sort of multi-character mosaic is hard to pull off; Crash rivals such classics as Nashville and Short Cuts. A knockout

Website/Blog of the Week: George Peter's and Melanie Walker's blog, featuring a page about their work on the Grillo Center Meander and Meet Labyrinth - check out their other entries about the projects they're involved with.

Podcast of the Week: Meet the Press -

Vocabulary Word of the Week - Gallimarfry

A hotchpotch, jumble or confused medley.

This word has been around since the sixteenth century, is still in use, but isn’t particularly common today. It’s one of those terms sometimes trotted out to give a literary feel to one’s writing, or spoken in a facetious tone for a quick laugh. Its origin is uncertain, though it could have come from the French galimafree, which might have referred to a kind of sauce or stew. Support for this comes from its earliest sense in English of a ragout or hash, to which the current meaning is obviously a figurative reference. “So now,” a writer lamented in 1579, “they have made our English tongue a gallimaufry, or hodgepodge of all other speeches”.

Cooking and Dining Report: I've got several really good recipes to share!

From, Bacon Wrapped Cod - really a lovely preparation -

From, Heirloom Tomato and Burrata Cheese Salad - burrata cheese is hard to find so use a really good quality fresh mozzarella - this is a real splurge of a salad but well worth it.

From Clydes Restaurant (one of our favorite places back in Maryland), their famous crab cakes - - they definitely rival my old stand-by Camden Yard Crab Cakes.

I served these with Michael Chiarello's (The Food Network) Shaved Fennel Salad - excellent alternative to traditional coleslaw and a perfect accompaniment to the crab cakes - for 4 servings, just take two good size fennel bulbs, slice them very thin - it really helps to have a mandoline for this - combine with 1 teaspoon of lemon juice, 1 tablespoon good quality extra-virgin olive oil, 1 tablespoon chopped fresh flat leaf parsley, kosher or gray salt and pepper to taste.

A new shop to tell you about - The Savory Spice Shop just opened recently on Broadway between Spruce and Pearl on the west side of the street. I was very impressed with the amazing array of spices and seasonings. Do check it out!

Quote of the Week: from Eckhard Tolle's Inner Stillness -

"When you lose touch with inner stillness, you lose touch with yourself. When you lose touch with yourself, you lose yourself in the world"

If you've missed any posts, don't forget you can always go to my blogsite at I'm a bit behind in updating recent posts but will work on that this week.

Have a wonderful week!


No comments: