The Tenant of Wildfell Hall by Anne Bronte

I just finished listening to The Tenant of Wildfell Hall on this wonderfully-producted online audioboook.

As a generality I'd say that the Bronte sisters are a little darker than Jane Austen.  Jane Austen seems to write these glistening Cinderella stories, and they're a bit more interested in gritty reality.  (Not quote so much as Thomas Hardy, however, thank goodness!)  Not that 'Wildfell Hall' was totally dark, as it did have a happy ending (spoiler alert!).  

So yeah, without giving too much away, this book highlights the fact that divorce for irreconcilable differences was in no way part of the English reality of the 1820s.

Um, and how exactly are all of these characters able to sustain a lifestyle of doing absolutely nothing but worrying about themselves and their marital situations?  ....well the main character farmed, but the others....what else did they do exactly?  Where are the funds coming from to pay for servants and enormous estates?  I don't understand the British class system.


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Wordy Wednesday

Lena Dunham made the comment in the Vanity Fair Proust Questionnaire that her modern-day heros are all of the Planned Parenthood workers across the country.

Once I attended a concert in Olympia where a musician performed a song he'd written called, "I hate Molly Ringwald".  My version of that song would be "I hate Lena Dunham"

With the exception that "Tiny Furniture" was very very good,


Antifragile: Things that Gain From Disorder by Nassim Nicholas Taleb

Not going to write too much about this book.....except to say that the tone is extremely off-putting.  Had I not been reading it for a book group I would not have bothered to finish it, the author came across as so angry and arrogant.

Additionally, at the end of the book he proves himself a true contrarian when he refutes the medical establishment as well as naturopathic medicine, disagrees with all 'modern' forms of food--including oranges (he only eats foods that are 1000 years old), disagrees with advertising--if a product is good, say like a fig, he argues, it will sell itself; plus it's bad manners to brag about your products.  He disagrees with diets, even seeming to argue that decreasing the amount of calories that you eat won't result in losing weight (!?!), and such.

He does make one really interesting point, however, towards the end of the book; if you have to think of more than one reason to do something, not to do it.  Arguing that if you have to persuade yourself then what you're doing isn't worth it.  That may be a valid point.

Well, like I said, gonna cut this one short.


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Wordy Wednesday

This week I listened to WTF with Kathy Griffin.

Interesting to hear KG's struggles in her career and just how long she's really been at it.  She started at the Groundlings and remained there "forever"; training other comics and watching them go onto mega fame (ie Lisa Kudrow).  Once, she laid in bed and ate ice cream and watched Oprah for a year since the show she was suppossed to get didn't come through for her.

Maron tells her that she's defined herself on her own terms, and they (the establishment) has decided to take her.  She was nominated for something like 6 emmys before she finally won.

She and Maron are a good juxtaposition in terms of careers.


The Chris Farley Show

So yeah, I went ahead and checked out the Chris Farley biography from 2008 and read it all.  Cannot tell you how unusual that is for me, to see a book through like that.

And I loved it.  It's written by Tom Farley Jr. (Chris' brother) and Tanner Colby (who also wrote a bio of John Belushi).  The style of the book is almost entirely quotes from various people in Chris' life; David Spade, his 'best' friend from SNL (who came off sounding a lot like a dick), Chris Rock, Odinkerk (2nd City writer), friends from Wisconsin, his 'soul' mate the Victoria Secret model Lori Bagley, Tim Meadows, and his three brothers, to name just some.  It gave, I thought, a pretty accurate portrait to hear so many perspectives on Chris, his personality and his career.


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This week I watched "Walking the Camino: Six Ways to Santiago."  This was SUCH a good documentary!  So happy to have taken the time out to watch it this week.  The documentary followed six pilgrims as they trekked the 500 miles from France to the legendary burial grounds of St. James in Spain.  After watching this documentary I saw that this pilgrimage is one of the ways in which (and these can be hard to find) I feel happy/proud to be party to Catholicism.

Although it's a Catholic pilgrimage, it appears as though only one of the pilgrims was Catholic.  Many of the others were 'spiritual people'/seekers.  I just loved how so many non-Catholics felt called to participate in this pilgrimage, and found their stories to be a real breath of fresh air.



8 oz. mascarpone cheese
3 eggs, separated
1/2 c. sugar
20-30 ladyfingers
1/2 c. strong coffee
2 T rum, brandy, cognac or kahlua OR
2 t almond extract
cocoa and finely ground semi-sweet chocolate

. cream egg yolks with sugar; about 5 minutes or longer
. add mascarpone cheese, 1 T coffee and flavoring, saving just a bit of flavoring for later
. beat egg white w/ pinch of sugar until stiff
. add to mascarpone mixture
. dip ladyfingers in coffee with just a little flavoring added and spread 1/2 of them into an 8" square pan
. layer 1/2 of the mascarpone over the ladyfingers, then sprinkle with cocoa and semi-sweet chocolate.
. repeat the layers again, finishing with cocoa and chocolate on top!
. refrigerate until you're ready to eat ;)


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Wordy Wednesday September 3

The Comedy Film Nerds had a very interesting podcast this week;  a themed episode on horror films with Dana Gould as the host.  I could listen to this a few times.  Gould makes the off-hand remark that Terri Gross' show is execrable, and it's such a breath of fresh air (!) to hear someone finally say that.

But that was just his off-hand remark, one interesting points Gould makes is how movies will reflect the mentality of the culture at the time; and all of the movies today are about destruction of civilization.  They all seem to corroborate this mentality as valid (suggesting that they think destruction is coming down the pike).  But then, somewhat quizzically, they also dismiss the people who are preparing for this impending collapse by writing them off as wackos.  Huh.