Monday, February 28, 2011

A Season for Westerns

For many people February is probably considered more of a month for love stories than for westerns, what with Valentine's Day being smack dab in the middle and all, but here at our house, this year at least, February is the beginning of a season for westerns.

Yeah, yeah, it's going to be westerns, folks, we promise, and not love stories. Even if Mom and Papa have been considering, perhaps, just maybe - but let's not get our hopes too high, now - celebrating for the first time in twenty years and a couple weeks late le Saint Valentin which is the cool French name for Valentine's Day in case anyone didn't get that...

So why is February western month here at our house? Well, to be honest, it's not only at our house that westerns seem to be fashionable this season. Over in the Far West, (Hollywood, California) the Coen brothers - Joel and Ethan, that would be, who are not twins - did a new adaptation of True Grit.

It came out last Wednesday in France. Here in eastern Paris, on Ménilmontant...

...we've had a copy of 100 dollars pour un shérif on our shelf for years now. (By the way, 100 dollars pour un shérif is, of course, the cool French title for True Grit. It means : A Hundred Dollars for a Sheriff.) So anyway, the day before the Coen brothers' version opened, we finally decided to watch it! We all sat down and admired a one-eyed John Wayne slurring his consonants and slinging his colts. It was fun. He almost looks like a pirate, doesn't he? We also saw Jeff Bridges playing Rooster Cogburn...

...and liked him too although he's somehow less gentle than John. Or maybe it's the Mattie character who's slightly less charming but served by a great little actress... Perhaps it's the era that's changed. Still, Mom thinks westerns are good for us pirates. They're filled with manly sentiments: honor, courage and loyalty in a lawless time. Faithfulness to family is also way up there on the list of virtues westerns promote. Lucky for us, huh? We also got to see :

3:10 to Yuma with Russel Crowe - much less manly, much more fatherly. That's one of the quirks of 21st century cinema: all positive male heroes must be good fathers too! Here, the object is to show men how to strike an acceptable father figure for an angry teenager, kind of like in a lot of Will Smith movies. So, how do you do it? Get yourself killed stupidly but heroically. And that is one of the small problems with westerns: a lot of killing. These nice-guy marshalls were basically serial killers or at least serial gunners-down of men and horses... But they didn't usually kill or beat up women and children, thank goodness! Oh, and the other mercifully absent figure in westerns is the humorous sidekick! No Donkey - as much as we love him - in True Grit! Mom's got a few other westerns we'd like to see on her shelf...



...She says "Not yet!" Apparently she's not quite sure she wants to transmit the manly sentiments in these films to us just now...

But speaking of humourous sidekicks, our all time favorite is...

...the 2008 South Korean western directed by Kim Ji-woon. No masculin good feelings, no honor, no loyalty, no courage just funny, funny, funny! Especially Granny in the closet. You should pick it up sometime.

But if you want to know who truly has true grit, take a look below:

Yep! Jerry! Here's what the vet found in his intestin:

No, not the green blanket. Let's get a little closer...

...Can you see that?

That's a button and a half-digested piece of string from a sauccisson. That's been blocking his digestive tract since the 10th of January...

...Poor kitty! He has a lot more stitches than anyone else in this family has ever had!

But now we're giving him love and FOOD! Glorious FOOD!

Monday, February 21, 2011

Where Mom goes on a week-end visit without us AGAIN!

To Candes Saint Martin!

We'd really like to go there too but Isabelle hasn't finished redoing all the bedrooms in her grandparents' house so we can't go yet. On top of that, it's winter! And Mom said there was only one heater in this very, very old house with meter thick walls so it was pretty cold in the "Alexander Dumas room" where Mom got to sleep. Here's the view from the window:

No, that's not right!

Oups! Looks like Candes Saint-Martin has a run-down, grungy, Detroit kind of look in certain neighborhoods! The ivy sure makes it look better though, doesn't it?

Ah, there we go! That's better!

Even better with the window open! But, as we were saying, it was cold so Mom mostly left it shut.

Or sat in front of the fireplace reading Les Trois Mousquetaires, bien sûr...

...with Isabelle (who doesn't like photos!) in the big room which will some day be la bibliothéque (that's the very cool French word for library of course!)!

Despite the cold and the fog, Mom and Isabelle went walking...

Isabelle's coat is almost exactly the same color as that boat in the background. Can you see that? Here, here's another shot of it, on the far left...

...beyond the swans, back there by the castle of Montsoreau (which you can see from closer up, from another angle at a different season if you click on the link)...

The swans didn't mind the cold and the fog and Mom didn't either. She went beach combing and brought back colored rocks and Loire valley slate rubbed smooth by the river. She even saw wild flowers!


These tiny white ones are called perces-neige (poke-thru-snows in a very approximative, abotanical translation!), c'est joli, non?

They look like tiny, white bells. There was a man watching Mom so she didn't dare to get too close-up to the flowers. They are a protected species in France! Must be eidelweiss, non?

She came upon weird, tufted Dr Suess flowers too!



And shaggy, fluorescent yellow Dr Seuss trees...

Actually, they were just weeping willows about to bloom!

She found muddy paths...

...and paved paths...


...and nooks...

...but no crannies...

...and tiny red leaves...

...and even a cat like Jerry!

Ah, the splendor of Candes Saint Martin en hiver, as we say!

Have a good week everyone!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

What's Up Doc?

Well, tons of things are up as you might well imagine. And some things are down as well. Ah, the ups and the downs. The most important stuff we'll let Mom tell you by telephone. Here on the blog we just basically have fun, right? So what fun have we had lately?

We played Rummikub which I - Henry that is - won! That's always an UP.

Jerry wanted to play too.

The shelves in the closet fell (that'd be a DOWN) and we had to empty it all out. But then Mom let us...

...sleep in it for one night before she redid them. That was an UP. I hung up my lizard lantern and Malcolm...

...set up his blue ghost lamp (both UPs of course as the preposition indicates) ...




...but Malcolm also enjoyed playing with his green laser pointer. It makes really cool light patterns (up and down the walls...). We didn't sleep very well but it was fun any how.

The next day Mom put up the new shelves and then...

...Jerry wanted to sleep there too!

For about half a second Mom thought maybe our life might look and feel like an Ikea ad...

Ah, bliss!

...at least for a while...

...but then reality set in again. That would be both an UP and a DOWN as reality always is, right? The rod is UP but the clothes are hanging DOWN (which is actually an UP)...

With the extra wood Mom and I sawed off the boards for the shelves I invented a new game...

...I chose a simple name for it. In all modesty I call it HENRY BALL!

El Andy's UP!

The CEO of the one person enterprise Sunshine Cleaning...

...almost mooned us!

(Another definite UP even if he was DOWN on all fours.

A definite DOWN is the fact that Malcolm and I spilled sweet coffee on the keyboard of Max's computer two days ago. The u, y and h keys reallyyyyyyyy, reallyyyyyyyyyyyy stick now. Big, big DOWN. Especially for this post, huh?)

Here's a little phenonomon that Mom and I found DOWNright fascinating:

video

Did you all get that? Here, watch again :

video

Did YOU know that water would stand still in a funnel like that? We sure didn't expect that to happen! It was veryyyyyyyy exciting! A definite UP! Life's sure full of surprises, huh?

And here's one last surprise folks :

Yyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyikes!

I came DOWN The dreaded Black Tongue disease! Don't worry ! It's not contagious even if blogging is! At least in our familyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy!