Sunday, November 30, 2008


"This is the story of two sisters: Jessica Tate and Mary Campbell."

Last night we finished the final episode of "Soap". And, this deserves a few comments.

First- the DVDs that are available for "Soap" are pretty cruddy. We were pleased to be able to review this series that was so important to our youth - but the picture quality is very shoddy. I do not believe it is just our aging eyes. And, I don't believe that everything was so fuzzy back in 1979, 80, 81.

Second- the DVDs - at least the latter seasons - have no extras. We aren't really "extra" sort of people. But, we would have liked to see the episodes that ran before the onset of seasons 3 and 4. The episodes where the past is recapped before embarking on the new season- particularly the episode where Bea Arthur is God and Jessica is in heaven. Plus, we'd love to have heard an interview with Susan Harris about where she saw the Tates and Campbells going had they not been cancelled. If you don't know, the final episode of the series leaves Jodie trapped in a past life, Burt ambushed by bad guys, Jessica in front of a firing squad who is just pulling their triggers, and Chester pointing a pistol at Danny and Chester's new wife, Annie (no relation). (Sorry about the spoiler. You weren't going to watch it anyway because you've read my third comment below). We've looked for the synopsis episodes and for the Benson (season 5, I believe) episode where Jessica appears and tells Benson what has happened. But, we can't find anything. This led to Kevin saying something like "You know what this means when we get back to the US?". To which I could only come up with, "We find a time machine"? (He actually meant we had to scour the TV listings for reruns of Benson.)

Third. Season Four. Skip it. "Soap" is brilliant- particularly for its time - in Season's 1 through 3. Season 4 retreads old ideas- Jessica threatened with death, a odd/mystical/possessed/alien baby. In addition: Danny is more stupid. Chester is uninteresting. Dutch is simply annoying and Burt's character has been lost. (Not to mention there IS no Corrine or Benson.)

What next on the TV revision highway???

The X Files.

All Zelda, All the Time

I'm working on my Annual Zelda Calendar which means I'm reviewing and shooting new photos of our bad dog. I imagine she is getting a bit tired of this- especially since I had a couple of poses that I really wanted. And, she didn't. I don't know why she objects to wearing things on her head.... She's won on that one - so far - but here are a few of my favorites because I think they are good or very bad (that have not yet appeared in blog form).

The beginning of the Christmas season

From singles 2

In Australia, we learned today, the Christmas season begins on December 1st. Until this day arrives it is considered "bad luck" to decorate - though one would hope not to shop. We're good. Today, Nov 30 we only just celebrated Thanksgiving. I had to work this weekend, so our turkey day was devoid of actual turkey. We had homemade (per moi) chicken and noodles with mashed potatoes and cholesterol laden green beans with onions and bacon. And, pumpkin pie. We got to share our dinner with friends who bravely tried the bizarre American dessert and discovered pumpkin could be eaten sweet.

So, tomorrow will be both the day after Thanksgiving AND the first of December and we shall be ready to begin our "ho ho ho" in both cultures. I'm not sure how far along I'll get- though it appears on my list. My countdown to Ohio is in hyperdrive and I've yet to get serious about packing or finishing my photo gift projects.
From singles 2

Before I leave I want to accomplish the following:
1. See some of my favorite Brisbane Christmas lights - I hope to get into the city. I have never seen the lights there. This could be a difficult plan to fulfill.
2. Send out Christmas cards to our friends in Australia. These cards - well - they don't really exist yet and I'm not sure I have the technology to complete them. Fortunately, since these are the people we spend the most time with, they won't suffer from not getting a "holiday letter". They may even be pleased to dodge that bullet.
3. Pack. And, not forget any of the gifts I've purchased for friends and family back at home. I'm slowed down in completing this goal because I have this problem with all our suitcases. They are all falling apart in one way or another. I think I'll take the wheelie suitcase that still wheelies to the clinic and see if I can find a screw that will make the errant wheel stay ON. I'll only be left with the problem then of the corner opening up. Alternately, I can forgo all wheels. Then, it is just a matter of trading off size of suitcase with size of rip in the lid. And, weight.
4. Run the battery all the way down in my camera so I can recharge it before I leave.

Sorry- just talking to myself here. (Pretty interesting cross between a palm tree and a Christmas tree in the shot from K-Mart above. Do you have those in the US?? Guess I'll find out soon enough.)

Thursday, November 27, 2008

In the Electric Mist with Confederate Dead

From singles 2

"When people make a contract with the devil and give him an air-conditionied office to work in, he doesn't go back home easily."

Wow. By the time I finished the first chapter, page 5, I was hooked. Dave Robicheaux, New Iberia sheriff's detective, sees dead people. This isn't really the first time. Dave was communing with Annie and his dad in "Black Cherry Blues" - though I might not have told you that. This time he's getting a hand from General Hook - who you've already figured out might be "Confederate Dead".

"I need some help, general."

"You belong to the quick, you wake in the morning to the smell of flowers, a woman responds to the touch of your fingers, and you ask help of the dead, suh?"

No Clete this time (sigh). Rather, Dave is assisted by an FBI agent - Rosie Gomez. The sheriff has called in the FBI (Fart, Barf, and Incest... no, I think that is wrong) to assist in solving the case of a brutally murdered young woman. As in the best of Burke, this story is intertwined with a host of others - all interesting and, ultimately, all one. There's a movie being made in New Iberia. Julie 'Baby Feet' Balboni, old home boy, now a made man with his entourage is back in town. A body of a man Dave witnessed being killed in 1957 surfaces. Hmmm. And, everybody's seeing ghosts.

Like the rest of Burke's novels this one is peppered with fabulously evocative descriptions "his breath slid across my face like an unwashed hand", pithy prescriptions "You can't ever tell what'll fly out of a tree until you throw a rock into it", and some very funny moments.
"Oh, oh, he trying to get out on the dock, Dave. I ain't goin' out there to pull him out of the bayou this time, me. Somebody ought to give that man swimmin' lessons or a big rock, one, give people some relief"

"In the Electric Mist..." will soon be released as a film. Dave is played by Tommy Lee Jones - who might feel a bit old, skinny and craggy to me - but he ought to have a great smooth Cajun accent. Baby Feet is played by John Goodman- who isn't going to be the athlete that he is in the book- but I suspect will be oily and menacing enough. I looked at IMDB yesterday and was very pleased that everybody looked right. There is no release date yet - but I'm psyched. I'm hoping to have some moments of quiet with Dave's voice over saying something beautiful.
When I woke from my dream, the gray skies were filled with a dozen silken hot-air balloons, painted in the outrageous colors of circus wagons, houses, general stores, clumps of cows, winding bayous, until the balloons themselves were only distant specks above the summer-green horizon outside Lafayette.

One last word: denouement.

Sunday, November 23, 2008


From singles 2

Saturday was a beautiful day. Kevin and I threw all our responsibilities to the wind and boarded the 1:30 train to the city. Off to GOMA.

We went for two reasons.

Two things.

First, the Australian Contemporary Exhibition "Optimism" opened last weekend. "Optimism". It sounds like something everyone needs to see.

Second, Kevin didn't get to see the fabulous exhibits on the third floor that I saw on my last weekend off (and out). He hadn't gazed along the length of the box rainbow. He hadn't contemplated the expression of and skin detail contained within the giant lady in bed. He hadn't watched the Michael Jackson singers!
From singles 2

Optimism was, as you'd expect, fun and colorful. You also might have expected that photography was not permitted. (I haven't worked that out yet. They're happy to have me shoot photos of some pieces but not others.) Some of our favorites: The pairs of vesper scooter/animal hybrids, the BIG lacquer "paintings", the dark hallway to the "water fall", the paintings in the Salon, and, most of all, the furry white forest. We want one of these- we've got the perfect place to put it! (Note: I did not include the tapes playing of "Kath and Kim" highlights.)

From singles 2

While the exhibit itself was great fun, the children's activities downstairs were superb. Coloring fold together houses- including a fold together Winnebago, a walk through car soundscape, the opportunity to make and plant wheat grass in recycled paper pots. Black lights! The aphorism maker. (There was one upstairs, too.)

From singles 2

Kevin thought he could see what remained of the museum in the 45 minutes we had left. We almost made it through one room! It takes time to pull yourself away from the fabulous movie collages (I guess that is what you'd call them- clips of films strung together all dealing with the same theme.) and the Michael Jackson singers. Kevin spent time in front of each screen and so got to hear each individual voice. That's cool. I've only sat on the bench in the back in awe.

I don't think I'll make it back before I leave next week, but come January look for Kevin I to once again be GOMA bound.

Friday, November 21, 2008

"Strangers" by Dean Koontz

From singles 2

"The moon."

Listening to this unabridged on CD is a monumental project. Twenty-three CDs. Twenty-three. And, wouldn't you know that beginning at track 82 on CD 22, there is a significant scratch that won't allow my car or portable CD player to play.


It was 4 PM Friday. I knew the library would be closed but I had time, I hoped to find a copy in Border's Bookstore at the mall and read what would amount to the last 18 tracks on CD 22 (and then hope that CD 23 played.) I checked Fiction. I checked Science Fiction/Fantasy. Then, I used the computer locator.

It is available

by special order.


Fortunately, the CD played on my computer so I WAS able to finish the story that I've already invested 3 weeks in.

Review- it was just OK. Don't rush out to make that special order. (Though you can buy it used from Amazon for $0.01 USD.)


From singles 2

This week has been, shall we say, rainy. Monday I got to work and saw that the tree in front of the doctor's office next door was toppled over. Thursday morning I woke to find the trellis out front leaning on the sun screen in front of the window. Then, later, I heard that the inner city bypass was closed because there was an estimated 11 million liters of water in the tunnel. And, last night, we had another big, big storm! I'm not sure I've ever seen rain come down heavier - though the duration was pretty short. We lost power for about two hours. I spent a portion of that time outside watching the clouds. The cloud banks would glow in succession with silent internal lightning. I thought I made a movie of it, but, alas, I did not. Afterward, Zelda and I cuddled in our chair while I moved a votive candle over the pages of my book.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Love Story

Because Oxen and Rabbits are on the same wavelength, this can be a rewarding relationship. The Rabbit's calm relaxes you. And, since Bunnies avoid confrontation, there's little chance of temper flare-ups. When it comes to passion, your sensuality warms any cool Rabbit. You are both motivated to move upward and establish a secure environment for each other. This is a sweet union if either has experienced too many dramatic "gimme, with nothing in return" relationships.

Monday, November 17, 2008

A Stained White Radiance

From singles 2

I had never been able to understand the women who hung with outlaw bikers, because with some regularity they were gang-raped, chain-whipped, and had their hands nailed to trees, but they came back for more, obedient, anesthetized, and bored, like spectators at their own dismemberment.

I must say, I really liked that title. Equally true, the story did not thrill me. Maybe I read it in too many small bites. (Burke helped here (?) by shortening the length of his chapters.) Perhaps the story suffers by following so closely to my reading of "Black Cherry Blues" and "Morning for Flamingos"- two very strong efforts.

In "Radiance", Dave Robicheaux is investigating a shooting. Someone has shot through the window of the home of one of his childhood friends- though friend is too strong a word - Weldon Sonnier of the Sonnier family. Weldon doesn't seem to care and his sister, Drew, similarly provides no help. Dave spends at least half the book going between these two looking for insight into this escalating problem while the third sibling, Lyle, the local evangelical, faith-healer keeps looking Dave up to provide history and insist that the culprit is their father who was believed to have been killed in a work accident 30 years earlier. Add in a dash of New Orleans mob boss, Weldon's drug-addled wife's Ku Klux Klan affiliated politician brother, a trio of hired "button men", Clete, Dave's friend/employee Batist, and Bootsie who is struggling with her Lupus.

Both Clete and Batist are unfailingly heroic and Clete remains charmingly cavalier - but the "bad guys" are not distinguished. And, the reluctance of Weldon and Drew to communicate frustrated me as much as Dave. Like other Robicheaux novels, Dave gets an idea in his head about who is bad and pursues that... but often his/our ideas of good and evil don't mesh with the reality of the situation at hand. I apologize for the spoiler - in "Radiance" Dave and Clete are looking for the tie-in between the Aryan Brotherhood, the politician, and the mob- but in this case it is not the secondary mystery, it is just a ruse...and I think that is why I found it so unsatisfying. Maybe I wanted too badly for the bigoted politician to be corrupt - to match my own (like Dave's) prejudice. Maybe this disappointment was just too much reality for me.

I had determined once again to stop keeping score in my ongoing contention with the world, time, and mortality, and to simply thank providence for all the good things that had come to me through no plan of my own.

Oh, and lest you forget this is an Orion Publication:
I could see two trusties from the jail washing petrol cars in the parking lot.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

The Feast of San Martino

15 November

Kevin and I celebrated our anniversary (5 years!)Saturday evening by participating in The Sicilian Association of Queensland's "Festa di San Martino": hors dourves, four courses, and dancing to the music of "Dominic and the Latin Maffia". (I'm copying this from the ticket. I thought Mafia had one "f". Maybe that is an Americanism. Maybe Maffia, with 2 f's, means "drummer with a big smile".)

Like our "Faulty Towers" dinner, we were seated at a big round table - alone - with 8 empty chairs. Pleasantly, those other seats were soon taken- by 5 Australians, 1 Italian, and 3 Portuguese. (Hmmm... that would make 9 extra seats. Never mind.) Everyone was friendly. And, unlike virtually every other table, none of us were over 60 or members of "The Association". The question passing most commonly around the table... "How did you hear about this?" The answer was uniformly somewhere you'd buy food...deli, produce store.

The food was good and plentiful: anti pasta, ravioli, sausages with potato salad, and fancy 3 layered ice-cream: coconut, chocolate, banana. The music was great fun- accordion and drum set- the musicians were cool in their black suits with black fedoras - and EVERYBODY danced. Well, almost.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Christmas arrives in Brisbane

From singles 2


Santa arrived in Brisbane today. November 8. Both the Catholic Church and the Baptist Church, big believers in massive light displays, started erecting their stars and crosses and camels. At the clinic we have started to dig out our decorations and discussing hanging up the enormous Happy Holiday sign.

Maybe it is because Santa has so far to come from the North Pole, but I think it is because Australians don't have a Thanksgiving Holiday at the end of November. There is no obvious, widely recognized day on which the Christmas season should begin.

Even though it is too early, I must enjoy the Brisbane Christmas now because in only four short weeks, I will be cooling my toes in Ohio! Time to get those Australian cards sorted out and to complete my gift buying! This year it is very important that everyone receive Australian gifts - we cannot afford to spend those expensive US dollars!

15 November.

This is what happens while I wait to get a photo for the entry. Christmas moves in with a bang! Santa's now at Chermside shopping center. Christmas markets are rife. Won't be long until the big light show buses start moving out.

It is also, today, Steve Irwin Day at the Australia Zoo.

All this and I'm working.

Anyway, Happy Birthday! Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

This one's for Cathi

From singles 2

It has taken me until November to make my way back to South Bank. As you can see, the wheel is finished...with nary a little wedgy board in site. Still, I did not cough up the $15 to take in the view on this cloudy Brisbane evening.

Saturday, November 08, 2008


From singles 2

It was another long weekend for me and I didn't have anything special planned. Saturday was hot and humid. Kevin had work to do and was planning on going into the city. So, I hitched a ride and spent the afternoon at the GOMA.

Now, I know what you are thinking. "Been there. Done that." But, with the exception of the fabulous red ringed infinity sculpture, I think everything was new. (New with still 25% of the gallery to be filled and opened- next week. "Contemporary Australia: Optimism" begins November 15.) And, it was pretty great. I was sorry I didn't have someone with me to knock an elbow in his side and say, "Cool."

The exhibition on the third floor- architecture of Brisbane - didn't do much for me. I walked through it and glanced at the photographs of glassy boxes that looked like they'd been stepped on so that the walls were askew and the lid slid off over the side. Very contemporary - which I might like in person or in smaller doses - but an entire room was to me "much of the same". I am impressed with the little models that architects make of their buildings.

From singles 2
From singles 2

In the gallery opposite, however, was FABULOUS. The gallery is bookended (??) with a giant woman in bed and a cardboard box arch. A significant proportion of the 2-D images were a bit macabre and I was really sorry Kevin wasn't there to see them: a graphic-novelesque series where Guatemalan "worry dolls" were fleeing from a murder scene- on the lam- and captured. A series of ghoulish beings combined with and pictured in situations more apropos to children's literature.

From singles 2

My favorite, however, was in the center of this gallery: a video installation of a dozen people- all equipped with a ear-phone listening to, dancing to, and singing along with Michael Jackson songs. Each person was projected as a life-sized image and the soundtrack of the piece was NOT Michael Jackson - but all their own singing and mumbling. I assume that everyone knew what he/she was going to be asked to do since several were dressed in M.J. appropriate attire... but there was also a belly dancer?? and two women who stood there expressionless with only the slightest movement to suggest they were experiencing anything rhythmic. You couldn't make out any single voice let alone match it to an image. And, as a group they were truly awful. It was mesmerizing and it really, really, really gave me a better appreciation for singers.

The third gallery had video images and while I found some of them interesting, my brain was probably too full to either remember or describe them well. But, as Arnold says,

"I'll be back."

Petition to Barak O'Bama Re. First Dog

From singles 2

I can be ready at a moment's notice.

I have a history of political activism.

I have a history of inclusiveness. I will sleep in every bed with every family member on each night. I will share your chair with you - unless it is too warm. Then, I'll move.

You need not worry who will walk me in inclement weather. I don't like it. I have perfected the 15 second pee.

I understand that Malia has allergies. So do I. We can share my antihistamines.

I understand HOPE. I practice HOPE each day, all day long. I HOPE someone will throw the ball. I HOPE someone will chase me when I have the ball. I HOPE that each trip outside will include me. I HOPE (a lot) that someone will drop food on the floor.

I can help you house break your children. They will learn to keep their clothes off the floor and put their toys away when they are done playing.

For no extra kibble, I will keep your floors licked clean of crumbs and tidbits.

I can help you screen visitors. Every guest will get a thorough sniff and a good bark.

If you make better decisions than these liberal yahoos I live with, I will entertain your dinner guests by jumping up and down repeatedly for bites from the table.

I have experience with living in foreign lands and meeting both non-Americans (Australians, Swiss, Germans) and un-Americans (Cleveland Heights residents and gay and lesbian people).

"Psst- Zelda. McCain did not win. George W. is leaving the White House."

Lamington National Forest

From singles 2

Funny. It isn't covered with chocolate and coconut.

Two weeks ago in a fit of ambition I told Kevin we were checking out the car and driving down to Lamington National Forest for the Tree Top Walk. I printed out the directions, set the alarm to wake Kevin, and off we went.

Now, there's a reason I think that Kevin is the usual planner. My research says it will be a bit more than an hour drive. But, that is the amount of time it takes to get to the town from which you take this narrow, winding road for an additional 30 km. Narrow - like one lane - Winding - like hairpin curves. Oooboy. Up a mountain. So, that would end up being a two and one-half hour drive.

Still, we made it before noon. Checked out the bird feeding. Ate lunch. Took a 3km hike. Walked the tree top walk - which is a series of bridges about 15 meters in the canopy of the Lamington National Forest. The walk itself takes less than 10 minutes. And, while it is not the best tree top walk in Australia (that would be in Western Australia), it was a very nice forest with beautiful birds. (Just listen to this whipbird- which sounded even more cool in person.) And, it was cool. Cool. Cool. Cool. Cool. Cool. Cool. Cool. No sweating here. AMEN.

We are not going to jail!

It is official!

Kevin says we never were. He didn't think they were going to rescind our citizenship, either, and strand us here in the land of heat, humidity, and spiders. And, he says, we were NOT going to pay taxes to Versailles just to make them quiet.

For the last 3 days (since the election) I have been corresponding with the tax administrator of Versailles who has questioned our ability to vote with an address in Darke County. How was it possible that we could live in another country and vote? To make decisions about things, like taxes, that would affect people in the United States?

Anyway, it is OFFICIAL. From the Board of Elections:
You and Kevin can vote because you are U.S. citizens living abroad.

So, despite the fact that our little blue votes fit better up in Cleveland Heights, we are registered and LEGAL voters in rural Ohio. Word to the wise: this would be the WRONG time to bring up a proposal against gay marriage in Versailles.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Last call for Halloween

I came home today and took down the last of the Halloween decorations. Everything looks sad and empty. Bare. No more bats. No more ghosts. No more pumpkins or skeletons or spiders.


Plenty of spiders.

November 5th

Kevin and I would like to congratulate Barak Obama and Joe Biden. Glad we could help - now we just have to convince the village of Versailles that we don't actually live there and so do not need to pay income tax. The price of democracy! And, Sarah, I'll miss the laughs.


Continuation of Melbourne Cup Results

One of my horses came in last (Honolulu) and so I won an additional prize. We are really rolling in the money now!

Words of wisdom from "Morning for Flamingos"

This didn't seem to fit into my review neatly, so I'm giving it space of its own.

Two gems about life and a fun fact:

1. "You're too serious. It's all comedy, man. The bottom line is we all get to be dead for a real long time. It's a cluster fuck no matter how you cut it." Tony Cardo

2. "Save yourself a lot of grief and don't make a mystery out of morons." Minos Dautrieve

3. "Did you know a half-million dollars in hundred dollar bills weighs exactly eleven pounds?" Minos Dautrieve


They've hatched. That is the only explanation we can come up with.

Last night- while watching "The Daily Show" - we glanced away from the TV and at the wall then ceiling.

"What's that?" I asked as Kevin paused the show, walked over and peered at the moving spots and I left the room.

From singles 2

Spiders. Baby spiders. Baby spiders who look to us like they'll grow into those large, menacing, webless, fling your arms and legs out, big-ass, ugly, god-awful huntsman spiders. ARGH.

And, it's not just one. Or, two. We must have killed at least 50 last night.



The vacuum is now armed and ready in Kevin's office. I had to wait until after his alarm went off to start up the battle, again. Ten more.

Just a preview of the zombie apocalypse.

A Morning for Flamingos

From singles 2

"You're one all-together, copacetic motherfucker, Robicheaux."

Book 4.

I'm enjoying reading these in order because I appreciate the continuity between stories. I feel like I'm living with Dave. As "Morning" opens Dave is working for the sheriff's department again. He is in debt from the legal fees incurred in "Black Cherry Blues". The reader doesn't need to know what has transpired in any prior novel, however. The stories stand alone nicely. When some past event is referred to, Burke provides a couple of lines of necessary background. Sometimes it feels repetitive (to me on this journey)- yes, Dave is an alcoholic. Sometimes, it amuses me. Each time he re-introduces Clete, for example, he has to review Clete's list of past bad behavior- and as the books in the series progress, this list becomes longer. Kevin will tell you- I love Clete.

'Wouldn't that be something, me and you working together again? You remember when we blew up Julio Sagura's shit in the back of his Caddy?'

I looked out at the sunlight under the colonnade.

'Hey, I don't feel bad about smoking a pimp and drug dealer,' he said. 'I think it's a mainline perk of the business. There's nothing like the smell of cordite to clear up your sinuses.'

'You almost go us killed.'

'Who's perfect? But let's be serious a minute, mon.'

In this novel Dave's gone undercover to assist the DEA in a sting. He's playing himself- a cop with a checkered past who's out of law enforcement and is looking to enter into the drug business. The target is the top dog in New Orleans - Tony Cardo.

In stories like "The Sopranos" or "Underbelly" - we are presented with a somewhat sympathetic picture of some really bad people. Burke does this with Tony Cardo. But it isn't just the reader/watcher who is moved - so is Dave. And, that's the rub.

I went inside the confessional. The priest slid back the small wooden door behind the screen, and I could see the gray outline of his head. His voice was that of an elderly man, and I also discovered that he was hard of hearing. I tried to explain to him the nature of my problem, but he only became more confused.

'I'm an undercover police officer, Father. My work requires that I betray some people. These are bad people, I suppose, or what they do is bad, but I don't feel good about it.'

'I don't understand.'

'I'm lying to people. I pretend to be something I'm not. I feel I'm making an enormous deception out of my life.'

'Because you want to arrest these people?'

'I'm a drunk. I belong to AA. Honesty is supposed to be everything in our program.'

'You're drunk? Now?'

I tried again.

'I've become romantically involved with a woman. She's an old friend from my hometown. I hurt her many years ago. I think I'm going to hurt her again.'

He was quiet. Had had a cold and he sniffed into a handkerchief.

'I don't understand what you're telling me,' he said.

'I was shot last summer, Father. I almost died. As a result I developed great fears about myself. To overcome them I became involved in an undercover sting. Now I think maybe other people might have to pay the price for my problem - the woman from my hometown, a man with a cripple child, a young woman I was with today, one I feel an attraction to when I shouldn't.'

His head was bent forward. His handkerchief was crumpled in his hand.

'Can you just tell me the number of the commandments you've broken and the number of times?' he asked. 'That's all we really need to do right now.'

Add in a super bad hit man, a falsely accused young black man, an evil New Orleans detective (who I knew from "Neon Rain" - I feel so "in the know"), Dave's first true love, Bootsie, and Clete. So, we've got true evil as true evil. A "good guy" who is bad and a "bad guy" who is also good. Clete who's done some really bad things but in this book is 100% and Dave who is confused.

An excellent, excellent read. Great characters, page turning action. Ideas about life and love that make me pause to reflect and in another person - see myself. Finally, Burke ends with one of those pictures of South Louisiana that has me ready to pack my bag and move to yet another hot and humid clime.

It's still winter, but we treat winter in South Louisiana as a transitory accident. Even when the skies are black with ducks, the oak and cypress limbs along the bayou teeming with robins, the eye focuses on the tightly wrapped pink buds inside the dark green leaves of the camellia bush, the azaleas and the flaming hibiscus that have bloomed right through the season. South Louisiana is a party, and I've grown old enough to put away vain and foolish concerns about mortality, and to stop imposing the false features of calendars and clocks upon my life, or, for that matter, upon eternity.

P.S. This book is also published by The Orion Publishing Group, London. And, therefore, I was prepared (though confused) when Dave went to Bootsie's and found:
I had to ring it twice before she answered, a tower in her hand, her neck spotted with water

I spoke with a librarian when I returned "Black Cherry Blues". She was not surprised that there were a lot of typos in the book. She sees it "all the time. There are no editors anymore." WTF???!!! What is she reading?? Please, let me know if this is common in your reading. I am obviously not a really big reader- but I read enough (my opinion, of course) and I have not had this experience before. I think it has to vary by publisher and I wonder if it might vary by country. I left the library asking if I could donate a new copy of "Black Cherry Blues" - to which I was informed that they would all have those typos. Do I look like an idiot??? I was going to buy a copy from a different publisher.



Yesterday was the Melbourne Cup - THE horse race in Australia if not the universe. Everywhere people swap money, stop mid-day to watch the race, and women slap funny feathered, flowered facinators on their heads. Not quite a National Holiday - though I did see a web site where I could have expressed my opinion about whether it SHOULD be.

Di passed the description of the field to me and told me we were going across the street to the TAB to place our bets. "EVERYONE makes a bet today." So, I found one of the favorites, Septimus, was trained by A. O'Brien and thought that seemed good enough.

But, that horse didn't win. He didn't place or show, either. I never saw that $10 again.

Fortunately, however, we had an in-clinic pool of $2 bets. For another $8 I got four random picks - which I must say is the better way to go. One of my horses, Viewed, won! Payout $20.

Meanwhile, Kevin missed the cup because he was addressing a student question. Geesh. He did, however, "buy" three horses in his company's pool. It was not until they had given the entire pool of money to the guy who had lucked into picking the first and second place horses (Viewed and Bauer) - that he figured out that one of his horses (C'est le Guerre) was horse number 4 (who came in 3rd) and not horse number 5- which was his starting position. He whipped $8 out of the pot!

So.... we were both $2 ahead! We're contemplating chucking the ole 9 to 5 to be full time punters