Closing in on Pie Perfection

That time of year again. I picked out some fresh, bright red stalks of rhubarb from my garden (local supermarket) and big strawberries then got to work. The result was the best iteration of strawberry-rhubarb pie I have baked to date. Crust was more uniform and the filling was far less runny than prior versions. Taste was delicious — nice crisp, flaky crust and sweet/tart filling. (I had missed the step of adding bits of butter before sealing it over with the top crust, but I didn’t taste any difference).

Strawberry-rhubarb pie
Strawberry-rhubarb pie

Finished The Road to Serfdom

Just as I’m finishing F.A. Hayek’s The Road to Serfdom, I came across this masterful music video titled, “Fight of the Century: Keynes vs. Hayek Round Two.”

Back to the book, it amazes me that the essays were written during World War II and not today. Passage after passage speaks to current events.  This one for instance, in the chapter, “The Prospects of International Order,” echoes how many in the European Union may regard the debt crisis in Greece, Spain and Portugal:

Who imagines that there exist any common ideals of distributive justice such as will make the Norwegian fisherman consent to forgo the prospect of economic improvement in order to help his Portuguese fellow, or the Dutch worker to pay more for his bicycle to help the Coventry mechanic, or the French peasant to pay more taxes to assist the industrialization of Italy?

In reading Hayek, I found greater appreciation for other books I have read (like Atlas Shrugged — the transformation of 20th Century Motors, specifically) as well as a better understanding of the differences between liberalism and collectivism.

Near Dark

Near Dark movieTonight I had the pleasure of watching Near Dark again. My favorite vampire film. Directed by Kathryn Bigelow, I think the movie stands up very well since its release in 1987.

I wanted to replenish my writing well with great source material such as this one. Like its midwest setting, beautifully shot by cinematographer Adam Greenberg, the film is spare, bleak and beautiful. Part western, part love story, part horror film, the movie is a well-crafted, simple tale depicted by a great cast. 

The writing gets down to he essence of the vampire, paring away extraneous mythology. They’re monsters; vicious killers that you don’t want to hitch a ride with. They don’t attend high school and brood or live like kings in opulence. In fact, the lives of these vampires are hardscrabble as they search each night for fresh blood and a new place to sleep away daylight, ditching stolen cars and wearing the same sweat- and blood-soaked clothes all the while.

Two scenes stand out. One is where the reluctant vampire Caleb, played by Adrian Pasdar (from the too short-lived series Profit and over-lived series Heroes), is in the cab of a semi with Mae (Jenny Wright) the vampire who made him and the human truck driver. Here, as the garrulous driver goes on about his job, Caleb eyes him like dinner but doesn’t have the stomach to kill. Pasdar is great at expressing his character’s struggle to hold onto his humanity while Wright silently urges him give into his new nature.

The other scene is in the bar where Bill Paxton (Aliens, Apollo 13) has one of his best performances. Filled with tension, complexity, humor and sadism, the scene reveals to Caleb the world he has been bitten into. It’s make or break time for him — he must finally feed or be destroyed.

Have you seen it? What did you think?

Finished Lives

Earlier, I had posted my concern about possibly not enjoying Lives: Perception is Reality, by JJ McMoon. Once reading it, such concern was left behind.

Earlier, I had posted my concern about possibly not enjoying Lives: Perception is Reality, by JJ McMoon. Once reading it, such concern was left behind. The novel clips along briskly, full of fist-to-the-gut lines, realistic characters and memorable scenes.

What is a real credit to the writing is the author deftly telling eight separate stories, each from the 1st-person point-of-view, while flipping forward and backward in time within each of those lives, while reeling out a thread that ties them all together by the end.

This thread is the question: What do we make of coincidences in our lives? Are they truly chance encounters or milestones on destiny’s path?

Be aware that the book is full of explicit language, sex and violence, though I don’t see any of it as gratuitous.

Have you read it? What did you think?