Attic: 5 songs to evoke summer

It’s been a cool and wet spring here this year – people have been making a lot of jokes about summer only lasts 24 hours in Wisconsin (and voiced a lot of concern whether the corn crop will actually reach “knee high by the Fourth of July” this year).

In truth, it’s only today that summer even begins, officially, with the solstice. Sometimes “that was the longest day of my life” is voiced in exasperation, but when you’re talking about hours of daylight, it’s just fine. People like walking in sunshine, and the more the merrier.

The sun is coming up this morning; maybe it’s been waiting for the music … Continue reading “Attic: 5 songs to evoke summer”

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W.B.’s Book Report: The Book Thief

book thief

[While combing the catacombs, I came across this review from five years ago. I can’t change a word, except that I loved the book so much, I bought a permanent copy. – wpb]

And there it was, as the Kindle told me I was passing 95%, a rare and welcome surge of sadness, not because the book is coming to a sad ending, but simply because it is coming to an ending. The author earns the tears with his characters and storytelling, but the tears are also from the ache of a beloved journey reaching its destination. Continue reading “W.B.’s Book Report: The Book Thief”

Screenings: Jessica Jones

Jessica Jones Season 3

I think it was George Reeves and The Adventures of Superman who got me hooked on superhero adventures, and it was definitely Amazing Spider-Man #4 that put me over the edge.

Detective stories came later. Sit me down with a good Harry Bosch novel and I’m in heaven. If we’re looking for something new to watch on the telly, I’ll browse through the procedurals first.

I never heard of the comic book Alias until a few years back when Netflix announced that Jessica Jones was going to be one of its four Marvel superheroes series – but a hard-boiled detective who has superpowers and is played by Jesse Pinkman’s sultry girlfriend from Breaking Bad? Talk about cross-pollinating my favorite genres – I was in before I saw minute one. Continue reading “Screenings: Jessica Jones”

The first of a thousand steps

4a965-willowfirstday2

Monday — the day of beginnings. The day the cycle starts over.

The exhaustion of Friday is forgotten, the frustration of Tuesday-Wednesday-Thursday past, and here is another fresh start.

Rested and refreshed, we begin the journey anew. Another chance to get it right. Another opportunity.

The race is on.

Be a gardener

be a gardener

The delight in this quote comes, to me, not from what it says, although it is delightful, and not from who wrote it, for he wrote many delightful things, but from the totally unexpected place where he wrote it. Delight can be found even in the darkest places and times.

“Everyone must leave something behind when he dies, my grandfather said. A child or a book or a painting or a house or a wall built or a pair of shoes made. Or a garden planted. Something your hand touched some way so your soul has somewhere to go when you die, and when people look at that tree or that flower you planted, you’re there.

“It doesn’t matter what you do, he said, so long as you change something from the way it was before you touched it into something that’s like you after you take your hands away. The difference between the man who just cuts lawns and a real gardener is in the touching, he said. The lawn-cutter might just as well not have been there at all; the gardener will be there a lifetime.”

― Ray Bradbury, Fahrenheit 451

Uncle Warren’s Attic: Wanting to Live Forever

planning the week

I wrote this song 33 1/3 years ago – two chords and a phrase – on a morning when I felt just the way it says – and writing the first verses opened up the final answers that flowed out in the climax.

It did not take long to write. That day I fully understood the concept that songs, poems, stories, are all just out there waiting to be discovered, waiting for someone willing to be a vessel for the words and music, because I don’t know another explanation for how this song got written. It seemed to come out of nowhere, and at the same time it expressed something deep inside me. Continue reading “Uncle Warren’s Attic: Wanting to Live Forever”

W.B.’s Book Report: Big Magic

big magic

There’s a guy in northern Door County making Big Magic at a coffee bar. His name is Ryan Castelaz, and he fairly bursts with the excitement he gets from making coffee in new but familiar ways.

He told me his shop, Discourse: a Liquid Workshop, “offers a familiar and yet totally unfamiliar experience … You’re getting a lot of flavors and aromas and presentations that you’re not unused to, but you’re unused to seeing it in coffee.”

I had the pleasure of spending an hour and a half with Ryan for an article that appears in the newly released summer edition of Edible Door magazine. We got to talking about the creative process, because he is an artist, standing joyously at the intersection of art and science, using the principles he’s learned through an impassioned study of coffee to create experiences akin to discovering a movie or a painting or a poem that surprises and delights. Continue reading “W.B.’s Book Report: Big Magic”

Screenings: Godzilla King of the Monsters

godzilla king of the monsters

The folks behind the 2014 American film Godzilla and 2017’s Kong: Skull Island have brought forward Godzilla: King of the Monsters, a rousing monster fest that adds Gidorah, Rodan and Mothra – among others – to their ongoing interpretation of the long-popular Japanese kaiju movies.

It’s good to see these old friends and adversaries of the giant fire lizard reinvented for a new generation. This is a faster-paced and dynamic followup to the 2014 entry, which I still consider the second-best Godzilla movie I’ve ever seen. (There is a kaiju-sized spot in my heart for the 1954 Japanese classic that started all of this, Gojira.) The new film punches all the buttons required to satisfy fans not just of this genre but of summer blockbusters in general. Continue reading “Screenings: Godzilla King of the Monsters”