Friday , April 18 2014
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REEL REVIEWS By Monte Lazarus Don’t be fooled by the title. “Flight” has very little to do with aviation; it has a lot to do about character, lies and deception, and morality. And, it’s beautifully done. The superb Denzel Washington plays “Whip” Whitaker, a first-rate airline pilot who is also an alcoholic, drug user and carouser. In the opening scene, Whitaker awakens after a night of sex and booze, lights one of innumerable cigarettes, gulps down a drink and snorts some cocaine. His lady of the night, a flight attendant, reminds him that he has a trip coming up ... Read More »

The Care and Handling of Roses with Thorns


BOOK REMARKS  Diane Bostick Author: Margaret Dilloway Publisher: Putnam 2012  I would be curious to know what percentage of the readers of this column are women and what percentage are men. My gut feeling is that it is the kind of thing primarily read by women, but I could be very wrong. As I have said before, I try to vary the books I read so that at least some appeal to both men and women. I probably haven’t written any “Remarks” that would only appeal to men but I am sure I have written quite a few that lean ... Read More »

Southern Americana Tour: Part 4 More music, is that crazy?

MUSIC NOTES BY GATOR NATE Nate Augustus In this issue, Music Notes returns to the story of Gator Nate’s big 2012 summer adventure… “The Southern Americana Tour” was a one man musical quest spanning thousands of miles and seven states, including Florida, Georgia, North and South Carolina, Virginia, West Virginia and Tennessee. If you are just tuning in, and need a bit of background on the story, then here goes: by now, we’ve been on the road for nearly three weeks, playing music, eating great southern food, camping at some of the worlds most gorgeous spots, cruising the highways ... Read More »

The End Of Your Life Book Club

BOOK REMARKS Maggie Gust Author: Will Schwalbe Publisher: Alfred A. Knopf 2012 The End Of Your Life Book Club by Will Schwalbe is not morbid or maudlin. It is a celebration of life. Do not be deterred by the title or you will miss one fantastic book as well as the opportunity to meet one of the kindest and most generous people who ever lived. And boy, did she live! The book club consists of the author and his mother, Mary Anne Schwalbe. It is formed when Will accompanies his mother to Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center for treatment of her ... Read More »


By Monte Lazarus Halloween is the strangest of all our holidays. For one thing it apparently originated as some sort of Pagan ritual. No, it did not involve a bunch of folks in animal skins munching on turnips (Americans invented pumpkin pie of course). Rather, the worship of the sun, moon, Manchester United Football (that’s European for soccer) Team, or the particular God or Goddess in vogue at the time. I suspect that on a chilly day in October (by our calendar) some early Brits of a Druid or comparable persuasion hoisted a few and then thought it would ... Read More »


By Monte Lazarus “ARBITRAGE” Richard Gere moves through “Arbitrage” like a sleek panther. Everything about him oozes wealth: not the Trump type of display, but the understated Gramercy Park Mansion type of polished dark wood and quiet elegance. Gere plays Robert Miller. As Miller, Gere is no longer the much younger playboy type of millionaire he played in “Pretty Woman”. He’s much older; his hair is wavy white; his face is more chiseled; his demeanor is suave, but cynical and dismissive of lesser mortals. He’s serious and so is the movie. It’s – a combination of whodunit (although we ... Read More »

Back of Beyond

BOOK REMARKS Diane Bostick   Author: C.J. Box Publisher: St. Martins Press, 2011 I am 72 years old, so even five years ago I should have been old enough to know that a woman my age does not sign up for a 100 mile horseback ride into the Bob Marshall Wilderness in northern Montana, especially since I had never ridden a horse before. “Should have” being the operative words here as I did indeed let myself be persuaded to do that very thing with the promise that there would be fantastic scenery and equally wonderful fly fishing in streams seldom ... Read More »

Southern Americana Tour: Part 3 Momma’s Home Cookin’

MUSIC NOTES BY GATOR NATE Nate Augustus   The saga continues… Although the beautiful North Carolina wilderness had been so good to me, there were “Gatorheads” down in Georgia and Tennessee that had waited patiently for my arrival, and they were not gonna be let down. Not this trip, and definitely not by me. So, I got up, bright n’ early, at the crack a’ dawn, and as the heavy mountain dew was still rising off the river I said goodbye to Rusty and all my friends in Nolichucki and hit the road in ol’ “Silver,” my trusty Ford ... Read More »


By Monte Lazarus It finally happened…I’m “Macified”; or you might say “Appleized.” In any event I’ve come under the spell of the brooding omnipresence of Steve Jobs. After many years I’ve abandoned P.C.; and a MacBook Air has joined my relatively new iMac. It’s painful. It’s expensive. It’s destiny. It all began years ago when I bought my first computer – a $5,000, clunky, creaky, nasty IBM. It cost the equivalent of a BMW, but performed a lot worse. The original was heavy and huge. It had a single floppy drive that accommodated only one large droopy (hence “floppy”) ... Read More »

In Between Days

BOOK REMARKS Maggie Gust Author: Andrew Porter Publisher: Alfred Knopf, 2012 The Harding family of Houston, Texas, is one highly dysfunctional group – and their story is absolutely mesmerizing. Andrew Porter had me at page one of “In Between Days.” Elson and Cadence are still adjusting to their divorced status, Richard, 20-something has one foot in the adult world and one foot in mother’s world, and daughter Chloe is a college student back East. Her abrupt return from school, ejected by the administration for reasons she refuses to disclose or discuss, is the catalyst that rallies these people into a ... Read More »

Southern Americana Tour: Part 2

MUSIC NOTES BY GATOR NATE Nate Augustus As you may or may not know, we are on our second installment of “The Southern Americana Tour Journal;” a play-by-play of my summer adventures and misadventures while touring through the southland. Miles, music and mountains were all big players on the tour. At every stop, new friends, new stories and new challenges. As of my last article, I had just said goodbye to the wild, wonderful world of West Virginia. Four days of R&R in The New River Gorge is enough “re-charge” for even the most sleep deprived, starving artist. Off to the ... Read More »


By Monte Lazarus Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes purportedly said, “All generalizations are false; including this one.” Thus, let me begin with a generalization: Canadians are just plain nice people. We have just returned from our annual Cultural Fix in the town of Stratford, Ontario, about an hour-and-a-half west of Toronto. Stratford was once a bustling rail hub; but it ran into severe economic problems as the railroads declined. A gent named Tom Patterson had the wild idea of making Stratford a theatre centre (Canadian spelling) and thus build a tourism base while providing some cultural experiences. With private funds, ... Read More »

Fooling Houdini: Magicians, Mentalists, Math Geeks, and the Hidden Powers of the Mind

BOOK REMARKS Diane Bostick Author: Alex Stone Publisher: Harper, June 2012 Kind of an intimidating title, I will admit, but don’t let it keep you from discovering the delights of this book. It is quite fascinating. I know that I told you that the new kid on the block, Maggie Gust, would be doing the non-fiction stuff in the future but I was not totally truthful. If I find a book I really enjoy I am not going to hold back from telling you about it just because it is not fiction. And in some ways this is fiction ... Read More »

Southern Americana Tour: Part 1

MUSIC NOTES BY GATOR NATE Nate Augustus I know what you’re thinking. (Or at least I think I do?) It has been way too long since we’ve chatted. Let’s see, what have we missed… So much fun that it won’t fit into one tweek. It was a summer complete with boatloads of musical marvels, many miles logged in the Econoline and plenty of stories to tell! It is great to be back home, from what turned out to be an awesome trip. Dubbed “The Gator Nate Only Child Family Band Southern Americana Tour 2012” (quite a mouthful, now try to put ... Read More »

Adventures of a Curious Guy

Book Remarks Maggie Gust Clarence Frank Birdseye II was born 12-01-1886 and died 10-07-1956. During his 69 years, this diminutive dapper dynamo transformed the eating habits of the entire world – and had the time of his life in doing so. Birdseye: The Adventures of a Curious Man by Mark Kurlansky is the biographical equivalent of a page-turning thriller. Perhaps it is Kurlansky’s style or the fact that he so obviously admires his subject, but this book is hard to put down. It is 230 pages chock full of descriptions of early 20th century America, the era of inventions and ... Read More »


By Monte Lazarus It happened suddenly. One moment I was a whole sentient being merrily chomping on something. The next moment I felt a large crater in my jaw. It easily was at least as large as the Grand Canyon…all because I lost a crown from a tooth. “Oomph”, I mumbled, “I fink I loft a toofth”. (It was hard to mumble clearly over the distraction of a huge crater). My wife, always alert to my tribulations, immediately translated what I had mumbled and set about issuing an All Points Bulletin, accompanied by a massive search. “How did it ... Read More »


By Monte Lazarus We were quietly enjoying our favorite television program, “The Real Housewives of Nome, Alaska.” It was truly an eye-opener. The housewives were spectacular. They all wore stiletto heels and mini skirts. We were both somewhat surprised since the weather report was that it was minus 47 degrees outside. We expected long fur coats, boots made of seal skin and fur hats with ear flaps. The house interior matched the ladies. It looked huge and very warm indeed. Designer furniture and Hollywood type art on the walls made our view of Nome different than what we expected. ... Read More »


REEL REVIEWS By Monte Lazarus From the opening majestic shots of Alaska this is a different take on the Bourne series of films. Gone, regrettably, is Matt Damon. In “The Bourne Legacy” Jeremy Renner is Aaron Cross, ostensibly a Bourne-type successor. Renner is different; not as subtle an actor as Damon, but good enough as an action oriented, genetically altered super spy. Matt Damon was slated to do another Bourne episode, but he and director Paul Greengrass departed over apparent disagreements on the project. The new film is therefore set up with a different lead, cleverly injecting just enough ... Read More »

Ties That Bind

BOOK REMARKS Diane Bostick Author: Marie Bostwick Publisher: Kensington Books, 2012 If you are enticed into reading this book pay special attention when you are looking for it as the title is fairly common, but the books are written by various authors. When I looked on Amazon some of them appeared to be a bit racy…or perhaps even more than a bit. This particular one has a sub-title of “A Cobbled Court Quilts Novel,” which does not say racy in any language. It is still mighty hot around here even if the calendar says summer is over so there is ... Read More »


By Monte Lazarus The event was a high school graduation at an undisclosed location in an undisclosed state, noted for its rather oversized governor. My spouse and I ventured north to witness the graduation of one of our favorite grandsons. An added bonus, or so it’s said, was to mingle with assorted great grandkids (some greater than others – one spent five days just grinning at me). In the stands at the high school football stadium it was sunny, bright and crowded. The graduating class was 408, give or take one or two. One non-diploma receiver was a slightly ... Read More »