Welcome to WeeklyWilson.com, where author/film critic Connie (Corcoran) Wilson avoids totally losing her marbles in semi-retirement by writing about film (see the Chicago Film Festival reviews and SXSW), politics and books----her own books and those of other people. You'll also find her diverging frequently to share humorous (or not-so-humorous) anecdotes and concerns. Try it! You'll like it!

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Rest in Peace, Wendy: We Love You

(L to R) Connie & Craig (Wilson); Regina & Steve (Nelson); Wendy & Mark (Wilson).

 

We lost Wendy (far right), the Best Sister-in-Law in the World, on Saturday, April 18th. She was 62.

She had been battling cancer for over a year. Recently, the cancer (leukemia, this time) had returned and her immune system was compromised when 3 different strains of flu hit. She had a high fever and difficulty breathing.

Wendy was in the hospital for 7 weeks, most of them in intensive care. She had already battled through 2 bone marrow transplants, a mastectomy, and various bouts of chemotherapy. When she went to the emergency room, she was having trouble breathing and spiking a fever.

Over the next weeks, her fever would continue and the doctors expressed their desire to re-start chemotherapy in order to boost her white blood cell count and her body’s ability to fight off the flu. Wendy soldiered on.

Wendy and Me, Texas, summer, 2019.

She was intubated three times. Doctors don’t like to leave you on a respirator for too long, and Governor Cuomo of New York says that 80% of patients who are intubated don’t come off the machines. Wendy did, and sat in a chair and was transferred out of the ICU and was potentially going to be sent to a rehabilitation center, where she would have to relearn how to walk.

These last few weeks, she has not been able to have in-person visitors.

When the call came in at 3 a.m., Mark (her husband) was told he needed to come. Wendy was having great difficulty breathing and was probably dying. He could bring one other person.

Mark and Matt, Wendy’s oldest son who is marrying Samantha in June, went to the hospital. She was not unconscious, but was aware of her children, with whom they face-timed: Megan in Denver and Michael, the youngest, in St. Louis. Mark and Matt were bedside.

I will always remember Wendy’s infectious smile and her spirit. I remember wheeling my huge VCR into my classroom in Silvis to show my class there her appearance on “Wheel of Fortune,” where she won a trip to Hawaii and a lot of Gucci merchandise. (Her final puzzle was “Zero In On,” which also seems unfair). I remember being pregnant at the same time, with Wendy giving birth to Matt forty-four days before I gave birth to my youngest, Stacey (we have the pregnant photos, belly-to-belly to prove it).

WendyLife isn’t fair; Wendy should be here. We shouldn’t be scurrying to set up a Zoom family hook-up to memorialize her and restricting mourners in a church or cemetery to 10 people. She should be attending Matt’s wedding in June and having a great time, living in the moment.

Wendy was the World’s Best Sister-in-Law. I’m wearing the gold earrings she gave me for Xmas. I think she may even have liked me. I will miss her at every family gathering and think of her every time “Wheel of Fortune” comes on, oddly enough.

WendyRest in peace, Wendy. We love you and we will always remember and miss you. You put up a courageous fight and you should be here with us.

What You Might Stream or Screen While Maintaining Social Isolation

Ted Hicks (worked in film in NYC.) His degree from Iowa was as a filmmaker. He was in charge of awarding the Christopher Award in New York City for years, post military service. He was a college friend at the University of Iowa. Ted has put together a list of good things to stream, and I have added my own favorites and added some specifics to his list.

This explanation from Ted:

A few days ago, Gary Davis, who I’ve known since 1st grade in Nemaha, Iowa, asked for some TV/cable/streaming recommendations. I put together a bunch of titles and sent it to him.. I know many of you will already know a lot of these shows, but there might be some you haven’t seen.”

I have made some additions to Ted’s original list, adding some old favorites and some new, and including  names of the actors/actresses involved, when relevant (and not a chore to research.) Therefore, it is now a composite list from two dedicated film-goers.  I have been reviewing film uninterruptedly since 1970 and review film for www.TheMovieBlog.com, www.WeeklyWilson.com and, sometimes, www.QuadCity.com. I’m also the author of “It Came from the 70s: From The Godfather to Apocalypse Now,” which has not only a look at the sci-fi and horror flicks and major films of that time period, but 10 trivia questions per film with the answers upside-down, to pique your curiosity.

______________________________________________________________

A Million Little Things – Ron Livingston (“Sex & the City”), David Giuntoli (“Grimm”), James Roday (“Psych”), Josh Ritter, and others are a close-knit group of friends who are affected by the suicide of one of the group. (rentable on Amazon Prime) 2 seasons.

Better Call Saul – prequel to Breaking Bad, 1st four seasons on Amazon Prime, 5th season currently on AMC.

Bosch – 5 seasons (Amazone Prime) – great series about an LAPD homicide cop, based on a long-running series of novels by Michael Connelly. The 6th season debuts sometime next month, I think.

Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee – terrific Jerry Seinfeld series, all seasons are now on Netflix. We’ve seen most of them. The episode with Eddie Murphy is one of my favorites.

Country Music – Ken Burns series on PBS. Not sure if this can be streamed yet..

Criminal: UK, French, German, Spanish – Gripping series on Amazon, four separate “seasons” all taking place inside police interrogation rooms in the respective countries.

The Crown – 3 seasons on Netflix.

Curb Your Enthusiasm – Larry David and Jeff Garland in a show largely about their lives.

Gentleman Jack –  new show from last year, on HBO.

Giri/Haji (Netflix) – Japanese cops & gangsters, British cops & gangsters in a storyline that combines them all. Very violent but also very well made. I liked it.

Glow – 3 seasons (Netflix) Marc Maron organizes the Glorious Ladies of Wrestling.

Goliath – 3 seasons (Amazon Prime) – Billy Bob Thornton as an unorthodox lawyer in Los Angeles. Excellent. Was not renewed.

Good Girls – 2 seasons, AMC Christina Hendricks from “MadMen” involved in a variety of criminal enterprises with her sister and a friend.

Grantchester – 4 seasons on PBS Masterpiece Theater.

Hinterland – 3 seasons on Netflix, cop show set in Wales. Dark, tragic storylines. It’s excellent.

Killing Eve – First 2 seasons on Amazon Prime (3rd season coming up on BBC America).

Life in Pieces – ensemble cast with James Brolin, Dianne Weist, Colin Hanks, Betsy Brandt (“Breaking Bad”) and Thomas Sadowski and others. Canceled for next year. On Amazon Prime from 2015-2019.

Nurse Jackie – Edie Falco (‘The Sopranos”) is a drug-addicted nurse. (Showtime)

My Brilliant Friend – 2nd season started this past Monday on HBO.

The Plot Against America – David Simon series based on Philip Roth novel, also began on Monday. Elements of “what if” Lucky Lindy, the aviator, were to have been presented as a presidential candidate.

Secret City – 2 seasons on Netflix – political thriller set in Australia.

Schitt’s Creek – broad gay-friendly comedy from Eugene Levy and his son Dan, with SCTV’s Catherine O’Hara and Chris Elliott. Going off the air soon. On since 2015.

The Sinner – seasons 1 & 2 on Netflix, 3rd season now airing on USA. We just started this series this year and burned through first 2 seasons, loved it. (Bill Pullman)

The Stranger (Netflix) – very good thriller.

Trapped – 2 seasons on Amazon Prime –  cop show set in Iceland.

Unbelievable – Netflix mini-series. This is excellent! Young rape victim’s story isn’t believed, then two female detectives in Colorado get involved. Kaitlyn Dever (“Them That Follow”) who was just inducted into the Texas Film Hall of Fame is the protagonist and Merritt Weaver (“Nurse Jackie”) is one of the investigators

Unforgotten – 3 seasons on PBS (available on Amazon Prime). Cop unit in the UK finds old cases thought to have been solved, but new evidence reveals truth yet to come out. The great Nicola Walker (Last Tango in Halifax) is head of the unit.

The Valhalla Murders (Netflix) – more cops in Iceland.

Vera – 10 seasons on Amazon Prime/BritBox. Another cop show, with Brenda Blethyn as the prickly head of a team in Halifax (UK).  Each season is 4 episodes approximately 90 minutes each.

Westworld – elaborate theme park setting initially. Futuristic. HBO.

What We Do in the Shadows – FX series, 1st season on Amazon Prime, 2nd season starts on FX in April.  A small group of vampires share a house on Staten Island. Very black, dead-pan comedy. This premiered at SXSW last year (2019).

And So the Adventure Begins: Welcome, Zayin Allen

My name is Zayin Allen and I’m a senior at Delaware State University looking for writing opportunities relevant to my interests to boost my portfolio.  I have written for my school newspaper in the past, but, mostly current events articles. My interests lie with covering/reviewing movies and TV.  I am a self-motivated, outspoken, opinionated writer and person.  I am looking for opportunities to hone my craft and build a career as an entertainment writer.

Any time I see a film or a TV show, whether I love it or hate it, the first thing that I have to do is tell someone about it and discuss the hits and misses, the visuals, the dialogue, and every little detail.

I would love the opportunity to do that in an environment where I can better find my voice, hone my craft, and gain experience.  I understand that I have to start somewhere. I am willing to put in the work and, since I already read your site, for me there is no better place.  I am willing to do written pieces and video reaction/reviews for the site.

I can e-mail you some of the articles that I have written for my college paper, and I can send you some spec reviews that I wrote about “Punisher” and “The Runaways” to show you what I am capable of.  I am available to start writing for you immediately and am open to fill in gaps in TV and film reviews. I love comic book-related TV and films.  I also like horror and some action.  I really hope that I am able to join your staff or at least intern.

Thanks for your time,

Zayin Allen ”

(Who can resist? Zayin is going to put together some thoughts on various film and TV movies and shows from a slightly less “mature” POV, and we might have a little “Point/Counterpoint” going on, as I am more than happy to leave the World Of Marvel to Zayin’s observations. Right now, I’m waiting for a head shot of the budding journalist to accompany his bio, which I seem to have lost in my IPhone (Where does it go after you read it on your phone? Do elves eat it? What?) I’d put a graphic in here with the piece we both have written on the Golden Globes, but that piece, too, has gone up in smoke for the moment, as I am en route to various locations by car and my opportunities to write on a “good” computer have been severely impacted. Not only that, but I swear that AOL is now equivalent to the U.S. Post Office. It takes days for mail to appear, if it does appear.)

Bear with me, Zayin and Public, and we’ll get some interesting “new” impressions. And welcome. 

 

 

New Documentary “Amy” is Heart-Wrenching and Oscar-Worthy

Amy Winehouse died on July 23, 2011, at age 27. She died 17 years after another famous self-destructive singer,Kurt Cobain, died at the same age, causing some to dub this coincidence “the 27 Club.”

In the documentary “Amy,” directed by Asif Kapadia and produced by James Gay-Rees, Kapadia and Universal Music, home video footage and still photographs, together with interviews of those closest to the singer, combine to produce a compelling and oh-so-sad Oscar-worthy look behind the headlines. The film debuted at the 2015 Cannes Film Festival and is truly tragic and touching, with interviews and film of nearly all the important people in the singer’s short life..

The singer’s own song lyrices (projected onscreen) and her own interview statements provide us with a murky picture of what may have led to her early death. She described herself as a “happy” child until the age of nine, when her parents separated. Her mother, Janis, was not a disciplinarian (“I wasn’t strong enough to say to her: Stop.”) and her father, Mitch, whom she idolized, was not around to say “no,” having run off with another woman.

Amy’s behavior at age nine when her parents separated seemed to be a classic case of “acting out.” Anything she thought would displease or shock her parents and other adults, she did, whether it was tattoos, piercings, her style of dress or her eventual fatal infatuation with drugs and alcohol.

She came by her love for jazz legitimately, as many of Winehouse’s maternal uncles were professional jazz musicians. Amy’s paternal grandmother, Cynthia, was a singer, who encouraged her to listen to the jazz greats. Amy credits her Nan Cynthia (her father’s mother) as being the strongest woman she ever knew. Her death in 2006, when Amy was 23, is shown as hitting Amy hard at a time when there were other problems in her life.

In one interview (Garry Mulholland of “The Observor”) Amy, when asked about fame, replied, “I don’t think I could handle it. I think I’d go mad.” Indeed, there were some suggestions that she might have been manic depressive and it is well-established that she suffered from bulimia. She was prescribed the anti-depressnat Seroxat after her father moved in with his girlfriend and Amy only saw Mitch Winehouse on weekends.

From that time forward, Amy was a “Wild Child” and often in various degrees of trouble. Although it is not mentioned in the documentary, there were several charges of assault leveled against her at different times, and she even admitted to sometimes hitting her husband, Blake Fielder-Civil.

The entrance of Blake Fielder-Civil into her life seems to have been one of the worst pairings of two troubled people in history. It almost echoes the Sid Vicious (“The Sex Pistols”) murder of his girlfriend Nancy Spungen. The murder, in this case, was much more insidious, as Fielder-Civil introduced her to the worst of drugs and played fast-and-loose with her emotions, eventually deciding, while imprisoned, to divorce his wife.

Fielder-Civil seemed to have really gotten his hooks into Winehouse, emotionally. Then, he broke up with her to return to a previous girlfriend. Her distress at his departure is seen and felt in her song “Back to Black.” “Now my destructive side has gorwn a mile wide,” Amy sang in one song of the period.

Fielder-Civil reveals to the camera that, at the age of 9, the same age Amy was when her father left, he had attempted suicide. He also admitted to introducing Amy to both heroin and crack cocaine. Amy, herself, is quoted this way: “I write songs because I’m fucked up in the head.”

In the documentary, the relationship of Amy with her father, who is a bit too eager to springboard his own entrepreneurial efforts on his daughter’s success, comes through as a large part of her problem. The men in her life, especially Fielding-Civil, were the final nail(s) in her coffin. One lover, with whom she lived briefly in 2006, Alex Claire, sold his story to the tabloids (as Fielding-Civil did after they were divorced). Amy was betrayed by most in her life but sang, “But to walk away I have no capacity.” She also is heard saying, “I will continue to love you unconditionally until the day my heart fails and I fall down dead.”

Her final “Duets” partner, Tony Bennett, felt that Amy knew she was going to die young and also gave her huge props as a true Jazz singer. They are shown in the studio recording together, and it is obvious that the young girl is nervous at performing with one of her idols. Her record of hits (5 2008 Grammy Awards for “Back to Black” and many, many other British awards) marked her as one of the most influential songwriters of her generation.

A change of managers also appears to have been a change for the worse. Her original manager, Nick Shymensky, became a close friend, starting out with her when he was only 19 and she was 16. She left him to go with Metropolis Music promoter Raye Cosbert, who put her on the road when she was ill and over-booked her for performances when she would, sometimes intentionally, sabotage her performance.

My daughter saw her during one such appearance onstage at Lollapalooza in Chicago and said Amy was “a mess.” It was about the same time that she journeyed to Serbia to appear in front of 50,000 screaming fans but, when called to the stage, refused to sing. We learn in the documentary that she had been carried to a limousine while unconscious from one of her typical late nights of partying and put on a private plane, waking up to find herself on the way to perform in Serbia, when she did not want to go

When asked about the onerous nature of fame, she said, “If I really thought I ws famous, I’d go and top myself, because it’s scary. It’s very scary.” She also says, at one point near the documentary’s end, that she would happily trade her singing talent for the anonymity of being able to walk down the street without being hassled by fans.

After her Nan (Cynthia) died on May 5, 2006, when Amy was 23, things seemed to spiral downward for Amy. She had a seizure on 8/24/2007 in Camden and medical personnel said, “Her body can’t keep up with this. If she has another seizure, she’ll die.” Amy was told to swear off drugs, which she attempted to do.

HowevAmy Winehouse died on July 23, 2011, at age 27. She died 17 years after another famous self-destructive singer,Kurt Cobain, died at the same age, causing some to dub this coincidence “the 27 Club.”

In the documentary “Amy,” directed by Asif Kapadia and produced by James Gay-Rees, Kapadia and Universal Music, home video footage and still photographs, together with interviews of those closest to the singer, combine to produce a compelling and oh-so-sad Oscar-worthy look behind the headlines. The film debuted at the 2015 Cannes Film Festival and is truly tragic and touching, with interviews and film of nearly all the important people in the singer’s short life..

The singer’s own song lyrices (projected onscreen) and her own interview statements provide us with a murky picture of what may have led to her early death. She described herself as a “happy” child until the age of nine, when her parents separated. Her mother, Janis, was not a disciplinarian (“I wasn’t strong enough to say to her: Stop.”) and her father, Mitch, whom she idolized, was not around to say “no,” having run off with another woman.

Amy’s behavior at age nine when her parents separated seemed to be a classic case of “acting out.” Anything she thought would displease or shock her parents and other adults, she did, whether it was tattoos, piercings, her style of dress or her eventual fatal infatuation with drugs and alcohol.

She came by her love for jazz legitimately, as many of Winehouse’s maternal uncles were professional jazz musicians. Amy’s paternal grandmother, Cynthia, was a singer, who encouraged her to listen to the jazz greats. Amy credits her Nan Cynthia (her father’s mother) as being the strongest woman she ever knew. Her death in 2006, when Amy was 23, is shown as hitting Amy hard at a time when there were other problems in her life.

In one interview (Garry Mulholland of “The Observor”) Amy, when asked about fame, replied, “I don’t think I could handle it. I think I’d go mad.” Indeed, there were some suggestions that she might have been manic depressive and it is well-established that she suffered from bulimia. She was prescribed the anti-depressnat Seroxat after her father moved in with his girlfriend and Amy only saw Mitch Winehouse on weekends.

From that time forward, Amy was a “Wild Child” and often in various degrees of trouble. Although it is not mentioned in the documentary, there were several charges of assault leveled against her at different times, and she even admitted to sometimes hitting her husband, Blake Fielder-Civil.

The entrance of Blake Fielder-Civil into her life seems to have been one of the worst pairings of two troubled people in history. It almost echoes the Sid Vicious (“The Sex Pistols”) murder of his girlfriend Nancy Spungen. The murder, in this case, was much more insidious, as Fielder-Civil introduced her to the worst of drugs and played fast-and-loose with her emotions, eventually deciding, while imprisoned, to divorce his wife.

Fielder-Civil seemed to have really gotten his hooks into Winehouse, emotionally. Then, he broke up with her to return to a previous girlfriend. Her distress at his departure is seen and felt in her song “Back to Black.” “Now my destructive side has gorwn a mile wide,” Amy sang in one song of the period.

Fielder-Civil reveals to the camera that, at the age of 9, the same age Amy was when her father left, he had attempted suicide. He also admitted to introducing Amy to both heroin and crack cocaine. Amy, herself, is quoted this way: “I write songs because I’m fucked up in the head.”

In the documentary, the relationship of Amy with her father, who is a bit too eager to springboard his own entrepreneurial efforts on his daughter’s success, comes through as a large part of her problem. The men in her life, especially Fielding-Civil, were the final nail(s) in her coffin. One lover, with whom she lived briefly in 2006, Alex Claire, sold his story to the tabloids (as Fielding-Civil did after they were divorced). Amy was betrayed by most in her life but sang, “But to walk away I have no capacity.” She also is heard saying, “I will continue to love you unconditionally until the day my heart fails and I fall down dead.”

Her final “Duets” partner, Tony Bennett, felt that Amy knew she was going to die young and also gave her huge props as a true Jazz singer. They are shown in the studio recording together, and it is obvious that the young girl is nervous at performing with one of her idols. Her record of hits (5 2008 Grammy Awards for “Back to Black” and many, many other British awards) marked her as one of the most influential songwriters of her generation.

A change of managers also appears to have been a change for the worse. Her original manager, Nick Shymensky, became a close friend, starting out with her when he was only 19 and she was 16. She left him to go with Metropolis Music promoter Raye Cosbert, who put her on the road when she was ill and over-booked her for performances when she would, sometimes intentionally, sabotage her performance.

My daughter saw her during one such appearance onstage at Lollapalooza in Chicago and said Amy was “a mess.” It was about the same time that she journeyed to Serbia to appear in front of 50,000 screaming fans but, when called to the stage, refused to sing. We learn in the documentary that she had been carried to a limousine while unconscious from one of her typical late nights of partying and put on a private plane, waking up to find herself on the way to perform in Serbia, when she did not want to go

When asked about the onerous nature of fame, she said, “If I really thought I ws famous, I’d go and top myself, because it’s scary. It’s very scary.” She also says, at one point near the documentary’s end, that she would happily trade her singing talent for the anonymity of being able to walk down the street without being hassled by fans.

After her Nan (Cynthia) died on May 5, 2006, when Amy was 23, things seemed to spiral downward for Amy. She had a seizure on 8/24/2007 in Camden and medical personnel said, “Her body can’t keep up with this. If she has another seizure, she’ll die.” Amy was told to swear off drugs, which she attempted to do.
Amy Winehouse died on July 23, 2011, at age 27. She died 17 years after another famous self-destructive singer,Kurt Cobain, died at the same age, causing some to dub this coincidence “the 27 Club.”

In the documentary “Amy,” directed by Asif Kapadia and produced by James Gay-Rees, Kapadia and Universal Music, home video footage and still photographs, together with interviews of those closest to the singer, combine to produce a compelling and oh-so-sad Oscar-worthy look behind the headlines. The film debuted at the 2015 Cannes Film Festival and is truly tragic and touching, with interviews and film of nearly all the important people in the singer’s short life..

The singer’s own song lyrices (projected onscreen) and her own interview statements provide us with a murky picture of what may have led to her early death. She described herself as a “happy” child until the age of nine, when her parents separated. Her mother, Janis, was not a disciplinarian (“I wasn’t strong enough to say to her: Stop.”) and her father, Mitch, whom she idolized, was not around to say “no,” having run off with another woman.

Amy’s behavior at age nine when her parents separated seemed to be a classic case of “acting out.” Anything she thought would displease or shock her parents and other adults, she did, whether it was tattoos, piercings, her style of dress or her eventual fatal infatuation with drugs and alcohol.

She came by her love for jazz legitimately, as many of Winehouse’s maternal uncles were professional jazz musicians. Amy’s paternal grandmother, Cynthia, was a singer, who encouraged her to listen to the jazz greats. Amy credits her Nan Cynthia (her father’s mother) as being the strongest woman she ever knew. Her death in 2006, when Amy was 23, is shown as hitting Amy hard at a time when there were other problems in her life.

In one interview (Garry Mulholland of “The Observor”) Amy, when asked about fame, replied, “I don’t think I could handle it. I think I’d go mad.” Indeed, there were some suggestions that she might have been manic depressive and it is well-established that she suffered from bulimia. She was prescribed the anti-depressnat Seroxat after her father moved in with his girlfriend and Amy only saw Mitch Winehouse on weekends.

From that time forward, Amy was a “Wild Child” and often in various degrees of trouble. Although it is not mentioned in the documentary, there were several charges of assault leveled against her at different times, and she even admitted to sometimes hitting her husband, Blake Fielder-Civil.

The entrance of Blake Fielder-Civil into her life seems to have been one of the worst pairings of two troubled people in history. It almost echoes the Sid Vicious (“The Sex Pistols”) murder of his girlfriend Nancy Spungen. The murder, in this case, was much more insidious, as Fielder-Civil introduced her to the worst of drugs and played fast-and-loose with her emotions, eventually deciding, while imprisoned, to divorce his wife.

Fielder-Civil seemed to have really gotten his hooks into Winehouse, emotionally. Then, he broke up with her to return to a previous girlfriend. Her distress at his departure is seen and felt in her song “Back to Black.” “Now my destructive side has gorwn a mile wide,” Amy sang in one song of the period.

Fielder-Civil reveals to the camera that, at the age of 9, the same age Amy was when her father left, he had attempted suicide. He also admitted to introducing Amy to both heroin and crack cocaine. Amy, herself, is quoted this way: “I write songs because I’m fucked up in the head.”

In the documentary, the relationship of Amy with her father, who is a bit too eager to springboard his own entrepreneurial efforts on his daughter’s success, comes through as a large part of her problem. The men in her life, especially Fielding-Civil, were the final nail(s) in her coffin. One lover, with whom she lived briefly in 2006, Alex Claire, sold his story to the tabloids (as Fielding-Civil did after they were divorced). Amy was betrayed by most in her life but sang, “But to walk away I have no capacity.” She also is heard saying, “I will continue to love you unconditionally until the day my heart fails and I fall down dead.”

Her final “Duets” partner, Tony Bennett, felt that Amy knew she was going to die young and also gave her huge props as a true Jazz singer. They are shown in the studio recording together, and it is obvious that the young girl is nervous at performing with one of her idols. Her record of hits (5 2008 Grammy Awards for “Back to Black” and many, many other British awards) marked her as one of the most influential songwriters of her generation.

A change of managers also appears to have been a change for the worse. Her original manager, Nick Shymensky, became a close friend, starting out with her when he was only 19 and she was 16. She left him to go with Metropolis Music promoter Raye Cosbert, who put her on the road when she was ill and over-booked her for performances when she would, sometimes intentionally, sabotage her performance.

My daughter saw her during one such appearance onstage at Lollapalooza in Chicago and said Amy was “a mess.” It was about the same time that she journeyed to Serbia to appear in front of 50,000 screaming fans but, when called to the stage, refused to sing. We learn in the documentary that she had been carried to a limousine while unconscious from one of her typical late nights of partying and put on a private plane, waking up to find herself on the way to perform in Serbia, when she did not want to go

When asked about the onerous nature of fame, she said, “If I really thought I ws famous, I’d go and top myself, because it’s scary. It’s very scary.” She also says, at one point near the documentary’s end, that she would happily trade her singing talent for the anonymity of being able to walk down the street without being hassled by fans.

After her Nan (Cynthia) died on May 5, 2006, when Amy was 23, things seemed to spiral downward for Amy. She had a seizure on 8/24/2007 in Camden and medical personnel said, “Her body can’t keep up with this. If she has another seizure, she’ll die.” Amy was told to swear off drugs, which she attempted to do.
Amy Winehouse died on July 23, 2011, at age 27. She died 17 years after another famous self-destructive singer,Kurt Cobain, died at the same age, causing some to dub this coincidence “the 27 Club.”

In the documentary “Amy,” directed by Asif Kapadia and produced by James Gay-Rees, Kapadia and Universal Music, home video footage and still photographs, together with interviews of those closest to the singer, combine to produce a compelling and oh-so-sad Oscar-worthy look behind the headlines. The film debuted at the 2015 Cannes Film Festival and is truly tragic and touching, with interviews and film of nearly all the important people in the singer’s short life..

The singer’s own song lyrices (projected onscreen) and her own interview statements provide us with a murky picture of what may have led to her early death. She described herself as a “happy” child until the age of nine, when her parents separated. Her mother, Janis, was not a disciplinarian (“I wasn’t strong enough to say to her: Stop.”) and her father, Mitch, whom she idolized, was not around to say “no,” having run off with another woman.

Amy’s behavior at age nine when her parents separated seemed to be a classic case of “acting out.” Anything she thought would displease or shock her parents and other adults, she did, whether it was tattoos, piercings, her style of dress or her eventual fatal infatuation with drugs and alcohol.

She came by her love for jazz legitimately, as many of Winehouse’s maternal uncles were professional jazz musicians. Amy’s paternal grandmother, Cynthia, was a singer, who encouraged her to listen to the jazz greats. Amy credits her Nan Cynthia (her father’s mother) as being the strongest woman she ever knew. Her death in 2006, when Amy was 23, is shown as hitting Amy hard at a time when there were other problems in her life.

In one interview (Garry Mulholland of “The Observor”) Amy, when asked about fame, replied, “I don’t think I could handle it. I think I’d go mad.” Indeed, there were some suggestions that she might have been manic depressive and it is well-established that she suffered from bulimia. She was prescribed the anti-depressnat Seroxat after her father moved in with his girlfriend and Amy only saw Mitch Winehouse on weekends.

From that time forward, Amy was a “Wild Child” and often in various degrees of trouble. Although it is not mentioned in the documentary, there were several charges of assault leveled against her at different times, and she even admitted to sometimes hitting her husband, Blake Fielder-Civil.

The entrance of Blake Fielder-Civil into her life seems to have been one of the worst pairings of two troubled people in history. It almost echoes the Sid Vicious (“The Sex Pistols”) murder of his girlfriend Nancy Spungen. The murder, in this case, was much more insidious, as Fielder-Civil introduced her to the worst of drugs and played fast-and-loose with her emotions, eventually deciding, while imprisoned, to divorce his wife.

Fielder-Civil seemed to have really gotten his hooks into Winehouse, emotionally. Then, he broke up with her to return to a previous girlfriend. Her distress at his departure is seen and felt in her song “Back to Black.” “Now my destructive side has gorwn a mile wide,” Amy sang in one song of the period.

Fielder-Civil reveals to the camera that, at the age of 9, the same age Amy was when her father left, he had attempted suicide. He also admitted to introducing Amy to both heroin and crack cocaine. Amy, herself, is quoted this way: “I write songs because I’m fucked up in the head.”

In the documentary, the relationship of Amy with her father, who is a bit too eager to springboard his own entrepreneurial efforts on his daughter’s success, comes through as a large part of her problem. The men in her life, especially Fielding-Civil, were the final nail(s) in her coffin. One lover, with whom she lived briefly in 2006, Alex Claire, sold his story to the tabloids (as Fielding-Civil did after they were divorced). Amy was betrayed by most in her life but sang, “But to walk away I have no capacity.” She also is heard saying, “I will continue to love you unconditionally until the day my heart fails and I fall down dead.”

Her final “Duets” partner, Tony Bennett, felt that Amy knew she was going to die young and also gave her huge props as a true Jazz singer. They are shown in the studio recording together, and it is obvious that the young girl is nervous at performing with one of her idols. Her record of hits (5 2008 Grammy Awards for “Back to Black” and many, many other British awards) marked her as one of the most influential songwriters of her generation.

A change of managers also appears to have been a change for the worse. Her original manager, Nick Shymensky, became a close friend, starting out with her when he was only 19 and she was 16. She left him to go with Metropolis Music promoter Raye Cosbert, who put her on the road when she was ill and over-booked her for performances when she would, sometimes intentionally, sabotage her performance.

My daughter saw her during one such appearance onstage at Lollapalooza in Chicago and said Amy was “a mess.” It was about the same time that she journeyed to Serbia to appear in front of 50,000 screaming fans but, when called to the stage, refused to sing. We learn in the documentary that she had been carried to a limousine while unconscious from one of her typical late nights of partying and put on a private plane, waking up to find herself on the way to perform in Serbia, when she did not want to go

When asked about the onerous nature of fame, she said, “If I really thought I ws famous, I’d go and top myself, because it’s scary. It’s very scary.” She also says, at one point near the documentary’s end, that she would happily trade her singing talent for the anonymity of being able to walk down the street without being hassled by fans.

After her Nan (Cynthia) died on May 5, 2006, when Amy was 23, things seemed to spiral downward for Amy. She had a seizure on 8/24/2007 in Camden and medical personnel said, “Her body can’t keep up with this. If she has another seizure, she’ll die.” Amy was told to swear off drugs, which she attempted to do.

HowAmy Winehouse died on July 23, 2011, at age 27. She died 17 years after another famous self-destructive singer,Kurt Cobain, died at the same age, causing some to dub this coincidence “the 27 Club.”

In the documentary “Amy,” directed by Asif Kapadia and produced by James Gay-Rees, Kapadia and Universal Music, home video footage and still photographs, together with interviews of those closest to the singer, combine to produce a compelling and oh-so-sad Oscar-worthy look behind the headlines. The film debuted at the 2015 Cannes Film Festival and is truly tragic and touching, with interviews and film of nearly all the important people in the singer’s short life..

The singer’s own song lyrices (projected onscreen) and her own interview statements provide us with a murky picture of what may have led to her early death. She described herself as a “happy” child until the age of nine, when her parents separated. Her mother, Janis, was not a disciplinarian (“I wasn’t strong enough to say to her: Stop.”) and her father, Mitch, whom she idolized, was not around to say “no,” having run off with another woman.

Amy’s behavior at age nine when her parents separated seemed to be a classic case of “acting out.” Anything she thought would displease or shock her parents and other adults, she did, whether it was tattoos, piercings, her style of dress or her eventual fatal infatuation with drugs and alcohol.

She came by her love for jazz legitimately, as many of Winehouse’s maternal uncles were professional jazz musicians. Amy’s paternal grandmother, Cynthia, was a singer, who encouraged her to listen to the jazz greats. Amy credits her Nan Cynthia (her father’s mother) as being the strongest woman she ever knew. Her death in 2006, when Amy was 23, is shown as hitting Amy hard at a time when there were other problems in her life.

In one interview (Garry Mulholland of “The Observor”) Amy, when asked about fame, replied, “I don’t think I could handle it. I think I’d go mad.” Indeed, there were some suggestions that she might have been manic depressive and it is well-established that she suffered from bulimia. She was prescribed the anti-depressnat Seroxat after her father moved in with his girlfriend and Amy only saw Mitch Winehouse on weekends.

From that time forward, Amy was a “Wild Child” and often in various degrees of trouble. Although it is not mentioned in the documentary, there were several charges of assault leveled against her at different times, and she even admitted to sometimes hitting her husband, Blake Fielder-Civil.

The entrance of Blake Fielder-Civil into her life seems to have been one of the worst pairings of two troubled people in history. It almost echoes the Sid Vicious (“The Sex Pistols”) murder of his girlfriend Nancy Spungen. The murder, in this case, was much more insidious, as Fielder-Civil introduced her to the worst of drugs and played fast-and-loose with her emotions, eventually deciding, while imprisoned, to divorce his wife.

Fielder-Civil seemed to have really gotten his hooks into Winehouse, emotionally. Then, he broke up with her to return to a previous girlfriend. Her distress at his departure is seen and felt in her song “Back to Black.” “Now my destructive side has gorwn a mile wide,” Amy sang in one song of the period.

Fielder-Civil reveals to the camera that, at the age of 9, the same age Amy was when her father left, he had attempted suicide. He also admitted to introducing Amy to both heroin and crack cocaine. Amy, herself, is quoted this way: “I write songs because I’m fucked up in the head.”

In the documentary, the relationship of Amy with her father, who is a bit too eager to springboard his own entrepreneurial efforts on his daughter’s success, comes through as a large part of her problem. The men in her life, especially Fielding-Civil, were the final nail(s) in her coffin. One lover, with whom she lived briefly in 2006, Alex Claire, sold his story to the tabloids (as Fielding-Civil did after they were divorced). Amy was betrayed by most in her life but sang, “But to walk away I have no capacity.” She also is heard saying, “I will continue to love you unconditionally until the day my heart fails and I fall down dead.”

Her final “Duets” partner, Tony Bennett, felt that Amy knew she was going to die young and also gave her huge props as a true Jazz singer. They are shown in the studio recording together, and it is obvious that the young girl is nervous at performing with one of her idols. Her record of hits (5 2008 Grammy Awards for “Back to Black” and many, many other British awards) marked her as one of the most influential songwriters of her generation.

A change of managers also appears to have been a change for the worse. Her original manager, Nick Shymensky, became a close friend, starting out with her when he was only 19 and she was 16. She left him to go with Metropolis Music promoter Raye Cosbert, who put her on the road when she was ill and over-booked her for performances when she would, sometimes intentionally, sabotage her performance.

My daughter saw her during one such appearance onstage at Lollapalooza in Chicago and said Amy was “a mess.” It was about the same time that she journeyed to Serbia to appear in front of 50,000 screaming fans but, when called to the stage, refused to sing. We learn in the documentary that she had been carried to a limousine while unconscious from one of her typical late nights of partying and put on a private plane, waking up to find herself on the way to perform in Serbia, when she did not want to go

When asked about the onerous nature of fame, she said, “If I really thought I ws famous, I’d go and top myself, because it’s scary. It’s very scary.” She also says, at one point near the documentary’s end, that she would happily trade her singing talent for the anonymity of being able to walk down the street without being hassled by fans.

After her Nan (Cynthia) died on May 5, 2006, when Amy was 23, things seemed to spiral downward for Amy. She had a seizure on 8/24/2007 in Camden and medical personnel said, “Her body can’t keep up with this. If she has another seizure, she’ll die.” Amy was told to swear off drugs, which she attempted to do.

However, when she was “offAmy Winehouse died on July 23, 2011, at age 27. She died 17 years after another famous self-destructive singer,Kurt Cobain, died at the same age, causing some to dub this coincidence “the 27 Club.”

In the documentary “Amy,” directed by Asif Kapadia and produced by James Gay-Rees, Kapadia and Universal Music, home video footage and still photographs, together with interviews of those closest to the singer, combine to produce a compelling and oh-so-sad Oscar-worthy look behind the headlines. The film debuted at the 2015 Cannes Film Festival and is truly tragic and touching, with interviews and film of nearly all the important people in the singer’s short life..

The singer’s own song lyrices (projected onscreen) and her own interview statements provide us with a murky picture of what may have led to her early death. She described herself as a “happy” child until the age of nine, when her parents separated. Her mother, Janis, was not a disciplinarian (“I wasn’t strong enough to say to her: Stop.”) and her father, Mitch, whom she idolized, was not around to say “no,” having run off with another woman.

Amy’s behavior at age nine when her parents separated seemed to be a classic case of “acting out.” Anything she thought would displease or shock her parents and other adults, she did, whether it was tattoos, piercings, her style of dress or her eventual fatal infatuation with drugs and alcohol.

She came by her love for jazz legitimately, as many of Winehouse’s maternal uncles were professional jazz musicians. Amy’s paternal grandmother, Cynthia, was a singer, who encouraged her to listen to the jazz greats. Amy credits her Nan Cynthia (her father’s mother) as being the strongest woman she ever knew. Her death in 2006, when Amy was 23, is shown as hitting Amy hard at a time when there were other problems in her life.

In one interview (Garry Mulholland of “The Observor”) Amy, when asked about fame, replied, “I don’t think I could handle it. I think I’d go mad.” Indeed, there were some suggestions that she might have been manic depressive and it is well-established that she suffered from bulimia. She was prescribed the anti-depressnat Seroxat after her father moved in with his girlfriend and Amy only saw Mitch Winehouse on weekends.

From that time forward, Amy was a “Wild Child” and often in various degrees of trouble. Although it is not mentioned in the documentary, there were several charges of assault leveled against her at different times, and she even admitted to sometimes hitting her husband, Blake Fielder-Civil.Amyhe entrance of Blake Fielder-Civil into her life seems to have been one of the worst pairings of two troubled people in history. It almost echoes the Sid Vicious (“The Sex Pistols”) murder of his girlfriend Nancy Spungen. The murder, in this case, was much more insidious, as Fielder-Civil introduced her to the worst of drugs and played fast-and-loose with her emotions, eventually deciding, while imprisoned, to divorce his wife.

Fielder-Civil seemed to have really gotten his hooks into Winehouse, emotionally. Then, he broke up with her to return to a previous girlfriend. Her distress at his departure is seen and felt in her song “Back to Black.” “Now my destructive side has gorwn a mile wide,” Amy sang in one song of the period.

Fielder-Civil reveals to the camera that, at the age of 9, the same age Amy was when her father left, he had attempted suicide. He also admitted to introducing Amy to both heroin and crack cocaine. Amy, herself, is quoted this way: “I write songs because I’m fucked up in the head.”

In the docu

mentary, the relationship of Amy with her father, who is a bit too eager to springboard his own entrepreneurial efforts on his daughter’s success, comes through as a large part of her problem. The men in her life, especially Fielding-Civil, were the final nail(s) in her coffin. One lover, with whom she lived briefly in 2006, Alex Claire, sold his story to the tabloids (as Fielding-Civil did after they were divorced). Amy was betrayed by most in her life but sang, “But to walk away I have no capacity.” She also is heard saying, “I will continue to love you unconditionally until the day my heart fails and I fall down dead.”

Her final “Duets” partner, Tony Bennett, felt that Amy knew she was going to die young and also gave her huge props as a true Jazz singer. They are shown in the studio recording together, and it is obvious that the young girl is nervous at performing with one of her idols. Her record of hits (5 2008 Grammy Awards for “Back to Black” and many, many other British awards) marked her as one of the most influential songwriters of her generation.

A change of managers also appears to have been a change for the worse. Her original manager, Nick Shymensky, became a close fht

tps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UbI–2ATHc4riend, starting out with her when he was only 19 and she was 16. She left him to go with Metropolis Music promoter Raye Cosbert, who put her on the road when she was ill and over-booked her for performances when she would, sometimes intentionally, sabotage her performance.

My daughter saw her during one such appearance onstage at Lollapalooza in Chicago and said Amy was “a mess.” It was about the same time that she journeyed to Serbia to appear in front of 50,000 screaming fans but, when called to the stage, refused to sing. We learn in the documentary that she had been carried to a limousine while unconscious from one of her typical late nights of partying and put on a private plane, waking up to find herself on the way to perform in Serbia, when she did not want to go

When asked about the onerous nature of fame, she said, “If I really thought I ws famous, I’d go and top myself, because it’s scary. It’s very scary.” She also says, at one point near the documentary’s end, that she would happily trade her singing talent for the anonymity of being able to walk down the street without being hassled by fans.


After her Nan (Cynthia) died on May 5, 2006, when Amy was 23, things seemed to spiral downward for Amy. She had a seizure on 8/24/2007 in Camden and medical personnel said, “Her body can’t keep up with this. If she has another seizure, she’ll die.” Amy was told to swear off drugs, which she attempted to do.

However, when she was “off” drugs, she drank heavily and, in fact, it was alcohol poisoning that ultimately killed her. She started doing crack cocaine in June of 2007 with Fielding-Civil. In November of 2007, Blake Fielder-Civil was arrested for drug use and assault charges and sentenced to time in H.M. Prison in Pentonville, London. This also caused the diva much emotional stress and she told her manager, “Love is in some ways killing me, Raye Raye.” (“Love is a losing game, and now the final flame.”)

Her bodyguard said, “This is someone who wants to disappear.” Amy began to unravel in public. She couldn’t escape fame. As her bodyguard said, “She needed someone to say no. She just needed support.”


“I cheated myself, like I knew I would,
I told you—I’m trouble—you know that I’m no good.”

Ultimately, as Amy predicted, “My odds are stacked. I go to black.”

” drugs, she drank heavily and, in fact, it was alcohol poisoning that ultimately killed her. She started doing crack cocaine in June of 2007 with Fielding-Civil. In November of 2007, Blake Fielder-Civil was arrested for drug use and assault charges and sentenced to time in H.M. Prison in Pentonville, London. This also caused the diva much emotional stress and she told her manager, “Love is in some ways killing me, Raye Raye.” (“Love is a losing game, and now the final flame.”)

Her bodyguard said, “This is someone who wants to disappear.” Amy began to unravel in public. She couldn’t escape fame. As her bodyguard said, “She needed someone to say no. She just needed support.”

“I cheated myself, like I knew I would,
I told you—I’m trouble—you know that I’m no good.”

Ultimately, as Amy predicted, “My odds are stacked. I go to black.”
ever, when she was “off” drugs, she drank heavily and, in fact, it was alcohol poisoning that ultimately killed her. She started doing crack cocaine in June of 2007 with Fielding-Civil. In November of 2007, Blake Fielder-Civil was arrested for drug use and assault charges and sentenced to time in H.M. Prison in Pentonville, London. This also caused the diva much emotional stress and she told her manager, “Love is in some ways killing me, Raye Raye.” (“Love is a losing game, and now the final flame.”)

Her bodyguard said, “This is someone who wants to disappear.” Amy began to unravel in public. She couldn’t escape fame. As her bodyguard said, “She needed someone to say no. She just needed support.”

“I cheated myself, like I knew I would,
I told you—I’m trouble—you know that I’m no good.”

Ultimately, as Amy predicted, “My odds are stacked. I go to black.”

However, when she was “off” drugs, she drank heavily and, in fact, it was alcohol poisoning that ultimately killed her. She started doing crack cocaine in June of 2007 with Fielding-Civil. In November of 2007, Blake Fielder-Civil was arrested for drug use and assault charges and sentenced to time in H.M. Prison in Pentonville, London. This also caused the diva much emotional stress and she told her manager, “Love is in some ways killing me, Raye Raye.” (“Love is a losing game, and now the final flame.”)

Her bodyguard said, “This is someone who wants to disappear.” Amy began to unravel in public. She couldn’t escape fame. As her bodyguard said, “She needed someone to say no. She just needed support.”

“I cheated myself, like I knew I would,
I told you—I’m trouble—you know that I’m no good.”

Ultimately, as Amy predicted, “My odds are stacked. I go to black.”

However, when she was “off” drugs, she drank heavily and, in fact, it was alcohol poisoning that ultimately killed her. She started doing crack cocaine in June of 2007 with Fielding-Civil. In November of 2007, Blake Fielder-Civil was arrested for drug use and assault charges and sentenced to time in H.M. Prison in Pentonville, London. This also caused the diva much emotional stress and she told her manager, “Love is in some ways killing me, Raye Raye.” (“Love is a losing game, and now the final flame.”)

Her bodyguard said, “This is someone who wants to disappear.” Amy began to unravel in public. She couldn’t escape fame. As her bodyguard said, “She needed someone to say no. She just needed support.”

“I cheated myself, like I knew I would,
I told you—I’m trouble—you know that I’m no good.”

Ultimately, as Amy predicted, “My odds are stacked. I go to black.”
er, when she was “off” drugs, she drank heavily and, in fact, it was alcohol poisoning that ultimately killed her. She started doing crack cocaine in June of 2007 with Fielding-Civil. In November of 2007, Blake Fielder-Civil was arrested for drug use and assault charges and sentenced to time in H.M. Prison in Pentonville, London. This also caused the diva much emotional stress and she told her manager, “Love is in some ways killing me, Raye Raye.” (“Love is a losing game, and now the final flame.”)

Her bodyguard said, “This is someone who wants to disappear.” Amy began to unravel in public. She couldn’t escape fame. As her bodyguard said, “She needed someone to say no. She just needed support.”

“I cheated myself, like I knew I would,
I told you—I’m trouble—you know that I’m no good.”

Ultimately, as Amy predicted, “My odds are stacked. I go to black.”

Mel Reynolds: The Mighty Have Fallen

There was a time when Mel Reynolds was one of the most promising young politicians in Illinois.

That was before he was sent to jail for having sex with a 16-year-old underage campaign worker. That was before he became a registered sex offender in 1995, forbidden to live within 500 feet of a school. That was before he was charged with failing to file income tax returns from 2009 through 2012. (Each count carries a maximum sentence of one year in prison or a $250,000 fine on conviction.) That was before he was found to have child pornography, tried to sabotage the case against him, and was sentenced to 5 years in prison.

In 1997, Reynolds was convicted, while serving time in prison, of 15 counts of illegally raising campaign cash and defrauding banks out of hundreds of thousands of dollars. For that, he got 6 and 1/2 years in prison.

He served 2 and 1/2 years in state prison and was then transferred to a federal prison, but in 2001, Bill Clinton commuted his sentence hours before leaving office, at a time when Reynolds had 2 years left to serve.

In 2003, Reynolds made several attempts at a political comeback, running against another sterling example of rectitude, Jesse Jackson Jr. in the 2004 Democratic primary. That failed. Ten years later, Zimbabwe would deport him from that African country on charges that he had sexually explicit photos and videos on his mobile phone, in violation of a censorship law…in Africa! Although the charges were reduced to a misdemeanor visa violation, he was sent packing and came back to the U.S., where, on July 31st, while leaving the Dirksen US. Courthouse in Chicago, he was trying to find a place to spend the night.

Reynolds was able to secure a court-approved place to stay on an emergency basis and was ordered to appear in court at 2 p.m. on Friday with a more permanent address. Asked by reporters who he was talking to on his cell phone, Reynolds declined to answer fully, saying only, “This is a one-night deal,” and, of the charges of failing to pay taxes for four years, “The narrative has been that somehow I didn’t pay my taxes. I didn’t file.  By going to trial, this is going to set the record straight.” Mel Reynolds is 63 years old, claims to have a “very sick” daughter in Africa, and is a convicted felon.

Maybe he and Jesse Jackson and Anthony Weiner can start a club aimed at “Redemption” (the sign in the background of the old campaign photo.).Mel Reynolds

 

Third Day at Sea: Rome

Our first day at sea was spent cruising. Day two found us in either Pisa or Pompeii after docking in Naples.2015-07-21 15.17.05

On day three, we docked in Civitavecchia, Italy at 6 a.m.2015-07-23 15.03.10

Two hours later, our tour of the city left by bus, facing a one and 1/2 hour trip to the city from the docks (and a one and 1/2 hour trip back). (I just LOVE those early morning tours!)2015-07-21 15.14.48

Mainly, we drove past the sights that Rome conjures up, because the wait time to get inside the Coliseum, for instance, was 2 hours. (Only later, after our return, did I learn about the passes one could have purchased in advance that would have let you cut to the front of all lines, but they were primarily for 2 and 3 days, which would not have worked for those of us on an 8 and 1/2 hour tour of which 4 hours was spent on a bus).2015-07-21 15.16.02

After the extensive, exhausting trek through Pompeii (Day 2), the bus was quite welcome in the 100 degree heat. It was also very humid. 2015-07-21 15.31.52

I did some shopping with a fellow tour member, Deborah Matthews of Washington, D.C., and we were able to find a leather goods shop for souvenirs. We also tried the delicious dessert that our tour guide, Luisiana, went on and on about, calling us “my family” and using the phrase “you must know” to mean, “you should be aware that.”2015-07-21 18.35.27

I enjoyed seeing the area where the chariot races took place in “Ben Hur,” and the window from which a new Pope is announced. We were told by our guide that visiting the Treasures of the Vatican Museum would take at least a week and getting in to see the Pieta or anything in the Vatican requires extensive security, (plus, you have to be wearing something that covers both your shoulders and your knees.) Since my husband had on shorts, that was probably out in the first place.2015-07-21 14.48.16

I spent a period of days in Rome way back when, so the failure to be able to tromp around some more in 100 degree heat didn’t bother me at all.

Barcelona

Barcelona

Post Script to “Hellfire & Damnation III” KDP Give-away

One of the Free Book Sites that is posting the knowledge of “Hellfire & Damnation III’s” being free on April 24, April 25, May 2, May 3 and May 4 asked me to post a link to their site. Here it is: www.fkbt.com

Also, in my previous article about same, when I said tarantula, I think the lifeguard who carted off that spider the size of a Buick said it was a form of scorpion and there were LOTS of smaller ones around. So, my “tarantula” reference perhaps should have been “scorpion.” Not sure WHAT it was that bit me, but the bite was not a puncture would, as a bee would leave. It was a horizontal slash mark about one inch across, like that a knife might leave if you slipped while cutting a tomato. It was “no big deal” at the time, but it sure left me with a big problem.

Manly Beach, Sydney, Australia, on February 9th, 2013

Stacey aboard the ferry on our way to Manly Beach.

Today, we set off for Manly Beach by ferry.

Manly Beach, Feb. 9, 2013.

A short walk down Young Street to the ferry station and we set sail for Manly Beach with Stacey. We learned at the Sydney Museum across the street that the beach got its job when the aborigine natives approached the British ships and were found, by the sailors, to be “manly.”

Craig at Manly Beach, Feb. 9, 2013.

Blue sails in the sunset….

The weather was beautiful: high 70s to low 80s and sunny, at first. By 4:30 p.m.. the clouds had come in and the beach was slightly chilly, so we packed up and did a little shopping. (Stacey bought a new black dress to wear to her concert tonight.) I bought a beach towel and Craig got a new shirt, to wear in Cancun.

On the way to Manly Beach by ferry.

We were on a tight schedule to get Stacey back to shore so she could shower and get ready for her Saturday evening out with friends, but before leaving Manly Beach we ate fish and chips and barundi grilled fish (Craig) at an outdoor venue. Much better than the many thousands who are without power tonight in the northeast of the U.S. (Chicago, we hear, is getting a slightly less-intense version of Storm Nemo).

Stacey, with the Sydney Opera House in the background.

Manly Beach, Feb.9. 2013.

Tomorrow, we may either go to Bondi Beach or out on a whale-watching boat.

By February 12th ,we’ll (also) be finding Nemo.

Sydney, Australia Museum of Modern Art Anish Kapoor Exhibit

Sky Mirror, Sydney, Australia.

February 3, 2013 – Anish Kapoor designed what is popularly known as “The Bean” which graces Chicago’s Millennium Park. He is best-known for his sculptures involving mirrored surfaces, and is one of the British sculptors along with Tony Cragg, Richard Deacon, Shirazeh Houshiary and Antony Gormley. The exhibit of Kapoor’s work began December 20, 2012 and will continue until April 1 of 2013.

Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney, Australia.

The exhibition at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Sydney, Australia presents a wide range of Kapoor’s sculptures, including one of his most famous, the 2006 stainless steel sculpture entitled Sky Mirror, which has also graced Rockefeller Center and London’s Kensington Gardens,and currently stands in front of the Museum, reflecting the clouds on Sydney Harbour. The giant mirror measures 10 meters.

Memory, 2008.

The largest sculpture resembled a giant egg and weighed 24 tons. It is the 2009 sculpture “Memory,” which looked like nothing so much as a warped football/basketball/soccer ball.

At the Anish Kapoor Exhibit, Feb. 3, 2013, Sydney Australia Museum.

New Reviews of “Laughing through Life” from Virtual Blog Tour

"Laughing through Life" Reviews

“A Life Sustained” (Courtney)

Review appeared Saturday, December 10, 2011

“The thirty-one essays that make up Laughing through Life (Quad City Press, 2011) by Connie Corcoran Wilson represent a broad selection by this prolific writer, a collection of “hits,” if you will.  TOpics range from anecdotes of everyday life to notable bits from the local news to coverage of the 2004 and 2008 Presidential elections. They span a large chunk of time—at least 25 years.  A fellow Midwestern woman, Wilson writes with honesty, an eye for detail, and without pulling any punches.  She seems to always be searching for the kernel of levity in all interactions and stumbles upon some poignant life lessons along the way.  My personal favorite detailed a conversation between the author and her cell phone company regarding her daughter’s phone usage: we all should be so bold.  Corcoran’s observations are wry, and we might take a lesson from her willingness to say exactly what is on her mind.”

From “Read More Books” blog:

“An amusing book to read written by Connie Corcoran Wilson.  I have to say that I really enjoy Connie’s sense of humor.  She has written some interestingly funny essays and put them together in this book.  There were several laugh-out-loud moments while I was reading the book that I can honestly say that, even as I am now thinking of them while I am writing this, I am still smiling…Connie has certainly experienced many interesting events, such as covering the 2004 and 2008 Presidential campaigns with press passes, which she shares in the book.  I did find much of it to be quite humorous. I didn’t really expect to laugh as much as I did at the end of the book.  Coincidentally, I am not speaking solely on the chapter which is entitled “The End.”  Her conversational piece with the Verizon Guy was wonderfully amusing but, for me, the final laughing began with the ‘R.I.P. Gerard’ and continued all the way to ‘The End!’ I want to say ‘Thank you’ to Teddy Rose for putting this book in my hands.  I agreed to read it and review it here, which I am very happy to have done.”

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