Monday, August 29, 2011

The Last Of The Mississippi Bluesmen

David "Honeyboy" Edwards died today.

He was the last of the great old Mississippi bluesmen, and you haven't heard the Delta blues played like this, ever. Here he is, in his 90s, still giving it his all:

This is the kind of blues that sits in your belly like a hungry wolfcub, taking bites straight out of your heart. Blues like showers of rain.

Thank you, Mr. Edwards. May your memory and your music live forever.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Happy Birthday, Anne Lamott

photo from the PRX website (

From today's Writer's Almanac ...

It's the birthday of the writer Anne Lamott, born in San Francisco (1954). She had already written three novels when she got pregnant and decided to keep the baby, even though the baby's father left when she told him that. Her book Operating Instructions: A Journal of My Son's First Year (1993) was about her struggles with motherhood and her Christianity. It got rave reviews.

Her book Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life (1994) is often quoted and referenced by writers both beginning and seasoned. The title is from her father's advice to her 10-year-old brother, who was struggling with a report on birds that had to be completed in one evening.

She wrote, "[He] put his arm around my brother's shoulder, and said, 'Bird by bird, buddy. Just take it bird by bird.'"

Happy Birthday, Anne. You are a treasure ... a true treasure in this world.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Dog Photos by K. Smokey Cormier

I was invited to participate in the "Dogs on Camera" photo exhibit sponsored by the Frank Bette Center for the Arts in Alameda, Ca. We were supposed to go and photograph dogs at the specified dog parks in Alameda during the weekend of February 5 & 6. Then pick one of the photographs to submit and then see if it was selected for the show. We could submit only one photo! I showed the one that I submitted. You can see it here. But I thought I should also show you readers the other ones that I thought were good. Here they are ...


The Queen

All photos (c) 2011 K. Smokey Cormier

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Best in Show at "Dogs on Camera"

"Please move, you're killing my groove." (c) 2011 K. Smokey Cormier

Winning entry in the "Dogs on Camera" show sponsored by The Frank Bette Arts Center of Alameda. It was held at the satellite gallery at Urban Island Home Furnishings.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Actor to watch: Anne-Marie Duff

(April 29, 2009Photo by Tim Whitby/Getty Images Europe)

Actor to watch out for: Anne-Marie Duff. She's really really good. Just finished watching Nowhere Boy. She plays Julia, John Lennon's birth mum.

[No one ever calls Aunt Mimi John's adoptive mum ... but that's what she was.]

Friday, February 11, 2011

Egyptians, We Send Our Love and Hope

Have you seen the photos from Egypt at the New York Times web site?

No!!! Better go now.

They will make you weep for joy.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Pixar Movies in Chronological Order

A while ago my daughters and I went to the Pixar exhibit at the Oakland Museum and now we're watching all the full-length Pixar movies in chronological order. Below is the list -- if you're interested.

Tonight we watched Cars. Paul Newman is the voice of Doc in the movie. So, I went poking around on the 'net about Paul Newman and found a photo of him when he was in the Navy -- I posted it in my previous post.

now the list:

Toy Story
Bugs Life
Toy Story 2
Monsters, Inc.
Finding Nemo
The Incredibles
Toy Story 3

Someone asked me what was my favorite so far. Very hard to answer. Toy Story, methinks. But, to tell you the truth, I'm really enjoying all of them. Which doesn't mean I'm not critical of them ... you know, the usual -- too much testosterone poisoning -- fighting, weapons, explosions. Other than that stuff -- very creative, lots of humor. That's what I enjoy.

Paul Newman in the Navy

Photographer: Navy photographer, unknown

What a beautiful lad!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Book List 2011

Imagine that! A whole year gone!

2010 really flew by, and all I could manage was 60 books. This year's list is much longer. No time to waste.

This is the list for 01/01/2011:

Book List 2010
  1. A Concise History of Indian Art - Roy C. Craven
  2. A History of Cambodia - David Chandler
  3. A History of India 1 - Romila Thapar
  4. A History of India 2 - Percival Spear
  5. A House in Gross Disorder - Cynthia B. Herrup
  6. A Journalist, A General, and An Army in Burma - U Thaung
  7. A New History of India - Stanley Wolpert
  8. A Spy's Revenge - Richard V. Hall
  9. A Tale Of Millions: Bangladesh Liberation War - M. Rafiqul Islam
  10. Agnes Smedley - J.R. & S.R. MacKinnon
  11. Alexander The Great - W.W. Tarn
  12. Among the White Moonfaces - Shirley Lim Geok-lin
  13. An Advanced History of India - Majumdar, Raychaudhuri & Dutta
  14. Asian Dragons & Green Trade - Simon Tay & Daniel Esty
  15. Bangladesh From Mujib to Ershad, an interpretive study - Lawrence Ziring
  16. Beating the Blues - Thase & Lang
  17. Before Kampuchea - Milton Osborne
  18. Bird by Bird - Anne Lamott
  19. Black Dog of Fate - Peter Balakian
  20. Buddhism in Vietnam - Minh Chi, Ha Van Tan, Nguyen Tai Thu
  21. Cambodia Silenced: The Press Under Six Regimes - Harish Mehta
  22. Captains of Consciousness - Stuart Ewen
  23. Ceylon - S. Arasaratnam
  24. China's Second Revolution - Harry Harding
  25. Chinese Carving - Craig Clunas
  26. Chinese Customs - Henri Dore
  27. Chinese Warlord - The Career of Feng Yu Hsiang - James E. Sheridan
  28. Colonial Masculinity - Mrinalini Sinha
  29. Decolonizing the Mind - Ngugi wa Thiong'o
  30. Desis in the House - Sunaina Maira
  31. Discos and Democracy - Orville Schell
  32. Dread - The Rastafarians of Jamaica - Joseph Owens
  33. Enemies of the People - Anne F. Thurston
  34. Extraordinary Popular Delusions - Charles Mackay
  35. Facets of Taoism - Holmes Welch & Anna Seidel
  36. Finnegan's Wake - James Joyce
  37. Fire in the Lake - Frances Fitzgerald
  38. First Person Singular - Joyce Carol Oates
  39. Flashbacks - Morley Safer
  40. Flower of the Dragon - Richard Boyle
  41. Folklore From Contemporary Jamaicans - Daryl C. Dance
  42. Folklore of Tamil Nadu - S.M.L. Lakshman Chettiar
  43. Gandhi - Louis Fischer
  44. Gandhi's Truth — On the Origins of Militant Nonviolence - Erik H. Erikson
  45. Gangsters and Revolutionaries - Robert Cribb
  46. Grasshoppers & Elephants - Wilfred Burchett
  47. Heritage of China - Contemporary Perspectives on Chinese Civilization - Ed. Paul S. Ropp
  48. Hero And Deity - Pham Quynh Phuong
  49. Hinduism - Its Historical Development - Troy Wilson Organ
  50. In One's Own Shadow - Xin Liu
  51. Incursion: From America's Chokehold on the NVA Lifelines to the Sacking of the Cambodian Sanctuaries - J.D. Coleman
  52. India Wins Freedom - Maulana Abul Kalam Azad
  53. Indian Art - Philip Rawson
  54. Indonesian Confrontation - Gabriel Tan
  55. Into Cambodia - Keith William Nolan
  56. IsvarChandra Vidyasagar -
  57. Khmers Stand Up! - Justin Corfield
  58. Laogai - The Chinese Gulag - Harry Wu Hong da
  59. Leviathan - Hobbes
  60. Life - Keith Richards
  61. Lo t'o Hsiang Tzu (Rickshaw) - Lao She
  62. Mandarins, Jews, and Missionaries - Michael Pollak
  63. Mandate of Heaven - Orville Schell
  64. May 13 - Kua Kia Soong
  65. Meena, Heroine of Afghanistan - Melody Ermachild Chavis
  66. Microeconomic Theory - Gould & Ferguson
  67. Minorities of the Sino-Vietnamese Borderland - Maurice Abadie
  68. Murder and Mayhem in 17th Century Cambodia - Alfons van der Kraan
  69. Myths About The Ethnic Chinese "Economic Miracle" - Go Bon Juan & Joaquim Sy
  70. Nakshi Kantha of Bengal - Sila Basak
  71. Offerings: The Ritual Art of Bali -
  72. On The Road - Jack Kerouac
  73. One Blood — The Jamaican Body - Elisa Janine Sobo
  74. Orientalism - Edward W. Said
  75. Outwitting the Gestapo - Lucie Aubrac
  76. Painting Islam as the New Enemy -
  77. Pearl S. Buck, A Cultural Biography - Peter Conn
  78. People's War, People's Army - Vo Nguyen Giap
  79. Personal Voices - Chinese Women in the '80s - Emily Honig & Gail Hershatter
  80. Physics and Philosophy - Werner Heisenberg
  81. Physiology of the Human Body - Guyton
  82. Pol Pot - Philip Short
  83. Popular Songs and Ballads of Han China - Anne Birrele
  84. Porcelain From The VungTao Wreck -
  85. Primitive Art - Frank Boas
  86. Prometheus Rising - Robert Anton Wilson
  87. Punjabi Century 1857-1947 - Prakash Tandon
  88. Rasta & Resistance - Horace Campbell
  89. Rastafari Roots & Ideology - Barry Chevannes
  90. Rastafarian Theology - Imani Nyah
  91. Reading Lolita In Teheran - Azar Nafisi
  92. Red China Blues - Jan Wong
  93. Reeducating Chinese Anti-Communists - J.A. Fyfield
  94. Resistance and Reform in Tibet -
  95. Revolution Postponed - Margery Wolf
  96. Rickshaw Coolie: A People's History - J. Francis Warren
  97. Roots of Rastafari - Virginia Lee Jacobs
  98. Rosie - Anne Lamott
  99. Rural Development in China - Fei Hsiao Tung
  100. Sandakan: A Conspiracy of Silence - Lynette Ramsay Silver
  101. Satyajit Ray: The Inner Eye (The Biography Of A Master Film-Maker - Andrew Robinson
  102. Screenwriting 434 - Lew Hunter
  103. Self Censorship: Singapore's Shame - James Gomez
  104. Sexual Behaviour of Women in Singapore - V. Aputharajah
  105. Shanghai Refuge, A Memoir of the WWII Jewish Ghetto - Ernest G. Heppner
  106. Sherpas Through Their Rituals - Sherry B. Ortner
  107. Shirin Fozdar: Asia's Foremost Feminist - Rose Ong
  108. Singapore:Journey Into Nationhood
  109. Singapore The Air-Conditioned Nation - Cherian George
  110. Singapore & The Many-Headed Monster - Joe Conceicao
  111. Singapore Women Re-presented - Constance Singam and Audrey Chin
  112. Singapore's People's Action Party: Its History, Organization and Leadership - Pang Cheng Lian
  113. Sisters in the Resistance - Margaret Collins Weitz
  114. Sisters of Heaven - Patti Gully
  115. Son of the Revolution - Liang Heng & Judith Shapiro
  116. Stories of Your Life - Ted Chiang
  117. Strangers Always A Jewish Family in Wartime Shanghai - Rena Krasno
  118. Stress and Mental Health in Malaysian Society - Tan Chee Khuan
  119. Stuff on My Cat -
  120. The Adventures of Wu - H.Y. Lowe
  121. The Argumentative Indian - Amartya Sen
  122. The Art of the Novel - Milan Kundera
  123. The Audacity of Hope - Barack Obama
  124. The Autobiography of An Unknown Indian - Nirad C. Chaudhary
  125. The Bengal Muslims 1871 - 1906 - Ahmed
  126. The Birth of Vietnam - Keith Weller Taylor
  127. The British Humiliation of Burma - Terence R. Blackburn
  128. The Canterbury Tales - Chaucer
  129. The CIA and the Cult of Intelligence - Victor Marchetti & John D. Marks
  130. The Devil Finds Work - James Baldwin
  131. The Discovery of India - Jawaharlal Nehru
  132. The Dragon Empress - Marina Warner
  133. The Emergence of Modern Turkey - Bernard Lewis
  134. The Fajar Generation - Poh Soo Kai, ed.
  135. The Forgotten Army (Indian Mutiny) - Peter Ward Fay
  136. The Gene Hunters Biotechnology and the scramble for seeds - Calestous Juma
  137. The Gift - Lewis Hyde
  138. The Great Hedge of India - Roy Moxham
  139. The Hatchet Man of Singapore - J.B. Jeyaretnam
  140. The Journey to the West, Vol. 1 - Anthony Yu
  141. The Last Emperor - Edward Behr
  142. The Lives of Agnes Smedley - Ruth Price
  143. The March of Folly From Troy To Vietnam - Barbara W. Tuchman
  144. The Men Who Ruled India Vol. I The Founders - Philip Woodruff
  145. The Men Who Ruled India, Vol. II The Guardians - Philip Woodruff
  146. The Mind's I - Hofstadter & Dennett
  147. The Mother Tongue - Bill Bryson
  148. The New China - Alvin Rabushika
  149. The Opium War Through Chinese Eyes - Arthur Waley
  150. The Penang Po Leung Kuk -
  151. The Political Economy of Social Control in Singapore - Christopher Tremewan
  152. The Politics of Sri Lanka - Robert N. Kearney
  153. The Politics of the Chinese Cultural Revolution - Lee Hong Yung
  154. The Rape of Bangladesh - Mascarenhas
  155. The Rastafarians - Leonard E. Barrett, Sr.
  156. The Remembered Village - M.N. Srinivasan
  157. The Rice Birds: Folktales from Thailand - C. & K. Velder
  158. The Rig Veda - Wendy Doniger O'Flaherty, transl
  159. The Rise & Fall of the Knights Templar - Gordon Napier
  160. The Singapore Council of Women and The Women's Movement - Phyllis Ghim Lian Chew
  161. The Singapore House - Norman Edwards
  162. The Sinkiang Story - Jack Chen
  163. The Soong Dynasty - Sterling Seagrave
  164. The Spirit of Chinese Politics - Lucian Pye
  165. The Syonan Years I - Lee Geok Boi
  166. The Syonan Years II - Lee Geok Boi
  167. The Tragedy of Wanit -
  168. The Ugly Chinaman - Bo Yang
  169. The Unmaking of Malaysia - Ahmad Mustapha Hassan
  170. The Wha Chi -
  171. The Wilting of the Hundred Flowers - Mu Fu Sheng
  172. This Is Not Civilization - Robert Rosenberg
  173. Time Bombs in Malaysia - Lim Kit Siang
  174. Transition to Neo-Confucianism - Anne D. Birdwhistell
  175. Unmasking Najib - Lim Kit Siang
  176. Victims and Perpetrators - Ea Meng-try & Sorya Sim
  177. Vietnam & America: The Most Comprehensive Documented History of the Vietnam War - Gettleman, et al
  178. Vietnam Cultural Window
  179. Wanted: Equality and Justice -
  180. Warsaw of Asia: The Rape of Manila - Boni Escoda
  181. Western Birds - Roger Tory Peterson
  182. Wild Swans - Jung Chang
  183. Witness to an Era - Frank Moraes
  184. West Indians And Their Language - Peter A. Roberts
  185. Who Killed Aung San? - Kin Oung
  186. Women in the Holocaust - Dalia Ofer, Lenore J. Weitzman, Eds.
  187. Writers' Workshop in a Book - Cheuse and Alvarez
  188. Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte
  189. Your Memory: A User's Guide - Alan Baddeley

Welp, I really overdid it this year.

Yes, I've been reading. Book review to follow.

Friday, January 14, 2011

My LinkedIn profile photo

(c) 2010 K. Smokey Cormier

What do you think? Would employers go for this? Young, blond, and you can get her to say what you want?

2010 Book Review

Yes, we actually did read some of the books on that interminable fucking list. So it's not a whole lot.

Besides, the excuse is, ve haff bin ketchingk up on ze past six years' backlog of Science News.

Srsly. We're all, like, up to 2010 January or something now.

So here's the review so far.

Book List 2010

  1. A Ceremonial Death***- B.J. Oliphant
  2. A Mercy***** - Toni Morrison
  3. A Novel Bookstore***** - Laurence Cousse
  4. A Point of Light*** - Zhou Mei
  5. Ancient Roman Feasts & Recipes - Jon Solomon
  6. Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman***** - Ernest J. Gaines
  7. Blood Lust* - Alex Josey
  8. Catch A Fire*** - Timothy White
  9. Chinese Snuff Bottles*** - Vanessa Holden
  10. Cities Of The Red Night - William Burroughs
  11. Christmas Island
  12. Daniel Deronda***** - George Eliot
  13. Death for Old Times' Sake - A.J. Orde
  14. Death Served Up Cold - B.J. Oliphant
  15. Dreams From My Father***** - Barack Obama
  16. Hotel Iris***** - Yoko Ogawa
  17. Images of America - Oakland Hills - Erika Mailman
  18. In Pursuit of Mountain Rats - Anthony Short
  19. In The Woods** - Tana French
  20. Juliet, Naked**** - Nick Hornby
  21. Looking for the Aardvark*** - A.J. Orde
  22. Major Pettigrew's Last Stand**** - Helen Simonson
  23. My Side of History***** - Chin Peng
  24. Memory: A Very Short Introduction*** - Jonathan Foster
  25. No Country For Old Men*** - Cormac McCarthy
  26. No Cowardly Past*** - James Puthucheary
  27. No More Daddy's Little Girl - Karen Lee
  28. Nonsense***** - Robert J. Gula
  29. Pham Xuan An, General of the Secret Service**** - Hoang Hai Van & Tan Thu
  30. Sapphires & Garlic**** - Ruth Reichl
  31. Shantaram*** - Gregory David Roberts
  32. Shirley**** - Charlotte Bronte
  33. Square Foot Gardening - Mel Bartholomew
  34. Still Life*** - E.E. Horlak
  35. The Elegance of the Hedgehog***** - Muriel Barberry
  36. The Emperor***** - Ryszard Kapuscinski
  37. The Enchantress of Florence - Salman Rushdie
  38. The Enthusiast - Charlie Haas
  39. The First Third - Neal Cassady
  40. The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo - Stieg Larsson
  41. The Girl Who Played With Fire - Stieg Larsson
  42. The Girl Who Kicked The Hornet's Nest - Stieg Larsson
  43. The Great Indian Novel*** - Shashi Tharoor
  44. The Hungry Tide**** - Amitav Ghosh
  45. The Likeness - Tana French
  46. The Moor's Last Sigh***** - Salman Rushdie
  47. The Narrow Strip of Land**** - Tran Mai Nam
  48. The Pantropheon**** - Alexis Soyer
  49. The Plague***** - Albert Camus
  50. The Rottweiler - Ruth Rendell
  51. The Tin Drum***** - Gunther Grass
  52. The Triads in Singapore and Malaya**** - Leon Comber
  53. The Unexpected Corpse - B.J. Oliphant
  54. The Waiting Earth**** - Punyakante Wijenaike
  55. The Way of All Flesh***** - Samuel Butler
  56. There are Ghosts Everywhere in Singapore
  57. True Singapore Ghost Stories 2 - Russell Lee
  58. True Singapore Ghost Stories 9 - Russell Lee
  59. Wedding Song***** - Naguib Mahfouz
  60. Yogini Cult & Temples***** - Vidya Dehejia

Not too shabby, eh? The ones I thought worth reading are starred. Number of stars indicates rank of book. Limit: 5. Anything over 3 stars is pretty much recommended reading, although some of it might be a bit arcane for the average reader's taste. Or as Gabriel Garcia Marquez' translators like to say, recondite.

Incidentally, we here at La Casa de Los Gatos are changing our reading policy. We're reminded, as all our loved ones and friends exit the planet, that time is not necessarily on our side, as avid readers. No more lengthy reviews. It's not like anybody's reading them anyway, right? And no more trashy reading. Only the stuff that will blow my socks off. Anything else goes out the door.