Bookshot #132: Wolf Hall

I can't quite remember why I picked up this book-- I think at the time I was on a kick of reading more 'Award Winning Books' just to see what qualified as 'Award Winning' writing-- (I must have figured that Lincoln In the Bardo would satisfy the requirement for the National Book Award, so Wolf Hall could be my Man Booker Prize winner) but whatever the reason, I finally dug it up cracked it open and plunged headfirst into it.

Wolf Hall tells the story of the rise of Thomas Cromwell-- who goes from servant/fixer/Chief Secretary of Cardinal Wolsely right up the ranks to Chancellor in the court of King Henry VIII. At this point, anyone with a casual knowledge of history or a subscription to Showtime/Netflix should have a passing familiarity with the general arc of Henry VIII and the whole mess of Tudors that convulsed England in the early 1500s. The brilliance of what Mantel does, however can't be understated: by taking a relatively familiar story and shifting the p…

Enough With The Iconoclasm Already

How do you reckon with your history as a nation when it's not really taught all that well in your schools? How do you confront the sins of the past and resolve them when your history gets reframed or outright rewritten for political purposes a couple of times a century?
These are deep questions and I wish I had answers to them, but I do know that smashing all the statues and changing all the names is just sailing into 'stupid' territory now. I'm not talking about pancake syrup or pre-packaged rice, I'm talking about the fact that we're astonishingly ignorant of our history as it is- do we really think a gigantic ass eraser, applied indiscriminately is a good idea? How is that going to help? How are we going to learn anything if we just break shit?
I came across a piece on Quilette that was a touch too shouty and paranoid about creeping totalitarianism and neo-Marxism for my liking, but it did have a 'graph worth quoting, because I think it's a good starti…

Netflix & Chill #81: The King of Staten Island

Watched On: Amazon Prime on Demand Released: 2020 Directed By: Judd Apatow Starring: Pete Davidson, Marisa Tomei, Bill Burr, Bel Powley, Maude Apatow, Steve Buscemi Rotten Tomatoes: 72% Tomatometer, 87% Audience Score Pick: Joint Pick between The Missus and I
Scott Carlin (Pete Davidson) is a 24 year old high school drop out who still lives with his Mom, Margie (Marisa Tomei) and his sister Claire (Maude Apatow) on Staten Island. His dad was a firefighter who died when he was seven and he is battling numerous medical problems: crohn's, ADHD, depression and smoking marijuana constantly. He doesn't have a job and just spends his days hanging out with his friends, includig Kelsey (Bel Powley) who he is sleeping with. His sister, Claire, preparing to leave for college, worries that his problems and neuroses will grow out of control once she's gone. 
Scott has a dream of being a tattoo artist and opening a tattoo parlor/restaurant- which everyone thinks is a terrible idea. He does pra…

This Week In Vexillology: Flags of June

A happy discovery that I have not one, but TWO flags poles lead to a month of actually getting to fly a lot of the flags in my collection for the first time. June also has Flag Day, so I threw up some thoughts on Reddit about how I feel about that day. (We also had some hardware challenges with the second pole: my first Union Flag didn't have grommits-- so I got a really nice hand stiched one only to find that the grommits were too damn big for the pole-- so I'll have to score so better anchors for it and then we'll see what July brings us.) 
This month we had Portugal for Portugal Day, Uganda for Heroes Day, Sweden for National Day, Italy for Republic Day, The Seychelles gets three appearances- National Day, Liberation Day and Constitution Day. Norway gets Dissolution Day, Independence Day for the Philippines and the Pine Tree Flag for Flag Day.You'll see both my old school Union Flag and my new one with the overly large grommets in the list- also an Arsenal flag celeb…

Free Write Friday #22: Worship/Despair

Worship: I loved writing this one. Took it in a different direction and it sort of grew out of the ending nugget.
“Oh.”“Come on, Lisa,” Janice said. “You promised.”The Energy Oasis used to be a church and it was on the edge of town next to a large paddock. The sign outside was painted cotton candy pink and the building itself was in the process of being painted a truly ghastly shade of what looked like periwinkle blue.I wasn’t much for churches to begin with. Janice called it a ‘New Age Church’ but there was a ‘you might sell all your possessions and move to a commune in the Catskills’ feel to the place that was making my skin crawl.As weird as the outside was, that was nothing compared to what awaited me on the inside. Janice eagerly led me through the doors and inside was a woman, dressed in pink robes. Janice folded her hands and bowed formally to her.“Welcome, Sister Janice,” she said. “I see you brought a guest?”“Yes, Mother Rainbow, this is Lisa.”“Hello, Lisa, welcome to our Ener…

Squawk Box: High Fidelity/Mrs. America

High Fidelity: I wasn't entirely sure how to feel about High Fidelity as a mini-series/Hulu series/TV series at first. For one, the book is excellent. The movie is great. So...  how are you going to translate great source material and a great adaptation into the new era of streaming?
The answer is: really, really well.
The basic outline is still the same- only in this case, Rob (Zoe Kravitz) is a she and her two employees are Cherise (Da'Vine Joy Randolph) and Simon (David H. Holmes.) She's kind of a mess: her ex-boyfriend Mac (Kingsley Ben-Adir) has moved to London for awhile and is now apparently back in New York and engaged and she's trying to process all that and move on- potentially with a relatively nice dude named Clyde (Jake Lacy) who genuinely likes her, but grows somewhat frustrated with her inability to commit and she also has this mild fling with a young Scottish musician named Liam Shawcross (Thomas Doherty.)
It's ten episodes, averaging about a half hour…

Free Write Friday #21: Captive/Temperance

Captive:  Wasn't a huge fan of this one-- it was rushed, I had to crash the deadline pretty hard and I don't think I worked  the theme into it as well as I could have-  nevertheless, it was fun to tug a bit more on the thread of a fantasy world that I've played around with in prompts before. 
The Winter Palace of Mantara sat in the middle of the Vale of Panshar, next to a tranquil lake. The Helvetian Mountains ringed it all in directions and from the top of it’s tallest spire, it’s occupants could see the entirety of the Vale in all directions.So, Queen Annika was not at all surprised when there was a knock at her door. She had seen the messenger coming down the high road nearly an hour ago. “Come,” she called.The door opened and her Chief Minister Hans entered, a messenger in his wake. “My Queen, I have a messenger who brings tidings from Cormant.”“Send them in, Hans,” she said. “And then you may go.” A look of surprise flashed across his face, but only for a moment. Then …