Saturday

Book Reviews-A Mafia Wife and a Molasses Flood; Movie Rev-"He's Just Not That Into You"; Guest Post-Odds, Ends & Jawfish

Yes there really was a flood of molasses and as improbably as it seems, the reality is horrifying.

And yes, sometimes a woman is so dumb she's married to a killer and don't know it.

Reviews of "Dark Tide" and "Mafia Wife"…both older books but worth a new look.

So I watched this chick flick…"He's Really Not That Into You" and I saw myself as a young lass, I saw young women across the fruited plains.

To my surprise, I liked the movie!

Gues Writer Michelle wraps up some odds and ends and some unusual fish.


Pic of the Day



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Drivel: Odds and Ends

This first update is kind of morbid, so if you are on the squeamish side, you might want to skip down to the next set of ***** you see...

I have tried valiantly to keep a jawfish in my reef tank. The type I like is the blue-spotted or blue dot jawfish (http://www.liveaquaria.com/product/prod_display.cfm?c=15+1637+748&pcatid=748).
At least one was eaten by our resident (hopefully gone) mantis shrimp, but the last one was also eaten by something. I see no evidence the mantis shrimp is still there, and cannot imagine any other denizen being able to do it, but one day I came home from work to find my jawfish only halfway there. It was still alive, trying to do what jawfish do: defend its burrow, or get a mouthful of sand and spit it out as far as it could, but with only the front half of its body still attached, it wasn't having much luck.

This slow and agonizing death prompted me to fight back: I purchased a swarm of damselfishes (http://www.liveaquaria.com/product/aquarium-fish-supplies.cfm?c=15+28). They're what I call the "goldfish" of the ocean. They're reasonably inexpensive and brightly colored. If something was still dining on my reef life, I was going to offer it a buffet of something cheaper. I flooded my aquarium with nineteen of them.

My aquarium maintenance guy isn't very happy with me. I am also considering taking everything all the way apart and starting again. We came close the time we swapped all the rocks out, but we didn't replace the sand, and we kept some rocks we probably shouldn't have. This time, we would replace everything except fish, or any items too
small to hide anything fish-lethal.

Of course, we still run the risk of bringing in something with each new rock or coral. I'll keep you posted on any decision.

*****


Okay, safe to read on!

I have put together the largest jigsaw puzzle I've ever seen. I know they come bigger than this, but the 3,000 piece puzzle was more than I expected and will likely be the *last* big ne I do. Keeping it down to 1,500 pieces (or less) is fine, I think.

The puzzle is a comical version of a dog show, and one edge is four feet long. The pieces are, unfortunately, all the same shape (save the edges, of course) and can fit in multiple places. I had to rearrange ones I'd already done several times. The thing takes up a huge table we put up just for it, and I had to cover it when not working on it because of the cats. I didn't want to find my masterpiece had only 2,999 pieces when I was done. It took four large towels to cover, and unwrapping and rewrapping had to be added into any calculations on when I could work on it. I think it took about two weeks, and each
session made my lower back hurt as I had to stoop over it and walk around it when searching for that exact spot.

But it is done and it's huge. What an accomplishment! After a suitable time for display, it'll go back in the box and I'll send it off to some other poor soul to tackle.

So if you wondered where I was, now you know!

The dogs are doing well. Guia is growing and her fur is starting to lengthen so she's looking almost like a Sheltie now. Neither dog is potty-trained. For some reason, this time we just can't do it. Not sure yet what I'm going to do about this, so if you have any
suggestions please send them!

I had Kona shaved. She was keeping a section of fur on her side down really short; it looked like she was prepped for surgery. It's a nervous habit that started when Hunter came to live here. I thought maybe if all her hair was short, she'd lose the habit. The fur is
starting to grow back out but I can't tell yet if it's worked. The next step is to put her in one of those head cones until it grows back in, but I think I don't want to do that. It's awkward for her and scary for me and there's no guarantee it would work. So she might just look like a side surgery cat forever.

Our area got loads of wind and rain in the past few weeks. After one particularly windy night, the next day's drive was like playing a video game. I swerved to avoid branches and clumps of leaves, I moved into the opposite lane to miss a tumbleweed, and was surprised by a skunk! I made it safely - and smell-less - to work. The route home was
easier as most debris was gone by then, but I was sure glad I'd spent all those days watching Harry play Pole Position!

Speaking of driving, my mom had a hearing at DMV last week. She took a vision and written test and is now able to drive again! She still has to take a driving test some time in the next month or so, but is under no DMV restrictions until then. Her doctor has some restrictions, though: she must test her blood sugar or eat (or both) before getting
in the car.

I will continue to visit on a semi-regular schedule, but at least now if she's out of milk she can pop up to the store for it.

And my last snippet... Harry and I went to see Avatar in 3D. The movie is awesome but quite intense for folk who aren't into the science fiction/fantasy realm. It's a whopping 2 hours and 40 minutes long and most of that is spent on another planet.

However, the real kicker wasn't the film at all. It was before, when the audience was waiting in restless anticipation. There we all sat, funny glasses in hand or tucked up on top of our heads. Down the row, a mother with children tried to keep them quiet. Popcorn and soda, and answers to the zillion questions kids have... and most of it in a low
mutter where I couldn't hear the words. But then, clearly over the general theater noise, I hear the mom.

She said, "No, the popcorn *is* 3D."

Michelle

The Desk Drawer writer's exercise
list

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Movie review header


He’s Just Not That Into You

Let us begin by so noting that there are lots of big name stars in this movie.

Jasmine Woods ... Crying 20-Something (as Kristen Faye Hunter)
Scarlett Johansson ... Anna Marks
Ben Affleck ... Neil
Jennifer Aniston ... Beth Murphy
Drew Barrymore ... Mary
Kris Kristofferson ... Ken Murphy

Which by no means makes a great movie, let us not misunderstand. I’m jes’ sayin’.

Let us so note that Jennifer Anistan is by no means any sort of outstanding actress and again, I’m jes’ sayin’.

In fact, Jennifer is very much beginning to show her age and should I mention that I’m jes’ sayin’? The “girl” is seriously pushing 40, she’s not married, has no children, and always manages to get caught topless somewhere, either on the beach or around her home. Such bad luck, poor child.

But I did like Jennifer’s character in this movie, which is a chick flick, let us not mislead. Gentlemen might, ahem, enjoy this movie but with my very heterosexual husband as my guide, go with me here, the fellows will tune this thing out after the first fifteen minutes. As a date flick, well it might do as the movie does deal with the ticklish issues of finding, meeting, and solidifying a relationship and a couple on a date could use this film as a springboard to discuss amongst themselves.

Husbands, I dunno, I don’t see them enjoying this thing at all.

As for this senior female, now far beyond the dating scene with the movie’s subject matter way behind me, the movie did bring back funny and fond memories and darn, it wasn’t that long ago that I walked the same path as Kristen, Mary and Beth. I invested a lot of my life in a fellow who didn’t want to get married and I had to cut the cord. I spent many an hour listening for the ringing of the silent phone and I talked off my girlfriends’ ears discussing every move HE made as a sure sign that he adored me and was just waiting for the right time.

It’s a film for females of all ages is what I’m saying here. The subject matter isn’t the stuff of deep thought but the movie does hit the right tones, it does get it right. Whoever wrote the book on which this movie is based knew a thing or two about dating males and females, in other words.



IMDB LINK FOR THIS MOVIE



There’s a lot going on in this movie, a lot of sub plots, many little stories weaving in and out. Which fact made me enjoy it all the more. I’d have turned that knob a long time ago if I had to watch over two hours of Jennifer Aniston and Ben Afflack act out there rather boring relationship until the break-up on through the make-up on to the very surprising ending with those two that made no sense at all.

But we also had a husband who was dealing with infidelity, …NO or YES? The drama of that sub-plot was totally unbelievable and let me reveal this strange tidbit…the wife threw husband overboard for SMOKING as opposed to being unfaithful and right there is a synopsis of how screwed up this world is. Nowhere in the marriage vows is a pledge to remain smokeless and very much there is a vow to be faithful but hey…silly me.

There’s a couple of other sub-plots and as the film rolls along I gave it my full attention for the pull of the various plots.

In the end, as these things go, it all comes together. And not necessarily with a happy ending but, to the producers’ credit, most likely the way it should be.

The day after viewing this film I called my daughter and told her to watch this film, either when it finally made it to TV or preferably by using RedBox for a special night of movie entertainment.

And I meant it. Daughter will enjoy this film. I enjoyed this film.

And if a film is enjoyable, an entertaining and intriguing little wedge of time, well it has met its mettle, no?
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”Mafia Wife” by Lynda Milito with Reg Potterton

Lynda Milito is Jewish. Which is of no import except she married a Mafia guy and this book tells her story.

Louie was Lynda’s husband. She married him when she was a very young and na├»ve woman.

Over the years Louie got involved more and more in deeds that were nefarious, to say the least.





The crux of this story is how it’s possible, if one keeps eyes, minds and common sense closed, to live with a really bad guy, a murderer even, and not even know it.

I believed Lynda’s story.

The narrative was good enough to guide the reader through life as lived by Lynda and Louie. In fact, I believed that Louie was not really a bad fellow, that he adored his wife and family and yeah, sometimes he killed people.

There’s a divide, as I see it, in the deeds of Mafia types and their emotional ties. “Some folks need killing,” is how I’ve heard it expressed.

So while the more mundane amongst us cannot fathom putting a pistol behind somebody’s ear and blowing their head away, then going home to a quiet family meal…I think Louie was very capable of minding that mental divide.

As for Lynda, she certainly comes across as a very intelligent lady, very able to run her own very legitimately business. But she had a blind eye when it came to Louie. Louie wasn’t beyond slapping his wife around once in a while.

Eventually Lynda and Louie went separate ways. Eventually Louie disappeared, not to be heard from again.

The writer of this book did a great job. I was immersed in the story from the first page.

The ending of Lynda’s story is a bit down. The story of what happened to her son is horrific.

Louie and Lynda, two folks living a very odd life.

I could never live like that; most of us couldn’t. But some do and their story is intriguing.
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”Dark Tide-The Great Boston Molasses Flood of 1919” by Stephen Puleo

My husband knows this author.

Which has absolutely nothing to do with the review or even the reason that I read the book.

It’s a very old book.





For over several years now I’d passed by this book even though on an occasion or two I’d pull it down, read the book jacket, consider a story about a flood of molasses of all things and…well I’d put it back. Molasses flowing through the streets and killing people in its path? This, to me, was the stuff of science fiction and not True Crime as it was categorized.

One day I pulled the book down off the library shelf, I read the jacket and synopsis of the story, and my mind was boggled. A flood of molasses gets loosed upon the streets of Boston, innocent folks are killed in its sticky path, dear Lord, I just had to read this thing.

It’s how it goes sometimes when I’m considering library books for my reading pleasure.

Husband chanced to see the book lying around. Husband hails from around Boston way. He picked up the book, bounced it around in the air, and told me how he knew the author, how he was a nice fellow.

So husband’s acquaintance with the author is pure happenstance.

There were two entities responsible for the great Molasses flood. Yes, a huge container of molasses, a component used to make gunpowder in those early days of the 1900’s, did spring a leak and many were killed who chanced to be in the path of the killing fluid.

The company that built the huge container of molasses right on the Boston seaport, USIA…or U.S. Industrial Alcohol, and the Boston municipal authorities who allowed this monstrosity to be built directly in the center of Boston were the two entities that allowed this very sad thing to happen. Some of the victims of the molasses flood died slow and excrutiating deaths.

The author tells the story from the build-up to the horrific event. It seems an accountant…you read right…an ACCOUNTANT, oversaw the building of the big container, a round thing that looks much like big gasoline containers of today. This guy should have stuck to numbers.

Because Boston does get cold in the winter. It also gets warm in the summers. Any container holding many thousands of gallons of molasses, a substance that changes physical dynamics greatly when cold compared to, say, when it gets warm, needs special capabilities…like being able to stretch to accommodate a thinning but expanding fluid should it get warm. Any container meant to hold the stuff properly should account for this sort of thing. An Accountant is hardly trained for this.

I don’t know what the hell the Boston municipal authorities were thinking. The city did get money for rental of the space for the big container. But dear Lord, a huge, HUGE container of molasses sitting directly on the seaport of Boston, adjacent to the center-city fire department, in full view of nearby city housing?

It was 1919 and things were different one must suppose.

That big container could often be heard deep into the night, yawning and yowling as the molasses melted from the daylight sun and solidified to some degree by the nighttime chill. Many nearby residents had nightmares over that alien thing blighting the Boston skyline and intruding on their sleep.

That it would eventually break was inevitable.

USIA blamed the collapse of the container on “anarchists”. There were groups of people referred to as anarchists during that era. I suspect they were like those people with no lives who are always around during U.N. conferences and such.

The author tells the story of the lawsuit, the attempt to get recompense for the almost 20 people who died when that big container erupted.

A lawyer with a conscience…seriously.

It’s a good read. It really happened. After the read I pondered why I waited to long to read about such a fascinating piece of our urban history.



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