Frank Denton - The Rogue Raven

Location: Seattle, Washington, United States

What you have here is an old guy. In education for 30 years, started teaching elementary, ended as library and media director of community college. I've enjoyed mountain climbing, sports car rallying, was pipe major of a bagpipe band, played guitar and sang during the folk revival, walking and hiking later in life. Now fairly sedentary. Enjoy reading, esp. mysteries and fantasy, but my reading is pretty eclectic. Enjoy movies, giving Netflix a workout.

Friday, January 20, 2006

Film Fest

Anna and I spent the three-day MLK holiday at our cabin near Mount Rainier. I took along some movies to watch during the evening. Night of the Living Dead was just because I had never seen it but heard about it for a long time. Old Boy was a scorcher. This is a Korean film recently released in the U.S. It's a pretty dark film. A man is imprisoned for fifteen years. He doesn't know by whom or where. When he finally digs his way out he is determined to find out who did this to him. Much of the film involves this quest. He meets a younger woman who helps him. They fall in love. The latter third of the film turns quite ugly. Some rumor he spread years ago about a high school student and his sister were the cause of his imprisonment. He confronts the man who imprisoned him. He is then told that both he and the young girl with whom he has fallen in love have been hypnotized. When certain sounds were heard they would react in certain ways. Then our protagonist is told that the young girl is his daughter. Incest is answered with incest. A very dark and savage film with a very tragic ending. I'm glad that I saw it ... I think. For three-quarters of the film I was entertained. Then I sat, stunned as the story played itself out.

Time to lighten up a bit. Fortunately I had brought a wildlife film from Yellowstone and the classic Singing in the Rain with Gene Kelley, Donald O'Connor and Debbie Reynolds. They sure could dance. I wonder why Donald O'Connor got stuck in movies about Francis, the Talking Mule. Why didn't they let him dance in other films? He could hoof it right along with Kelley. Anyway, that brightened things up a bit. I wonder if that was Jean Hagen's real voice. Surely, it couldn't have been. A bright and cheery film after the other.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Robert Johnson Lives

There was an interesting article in the newspaper today concerning Robert Johnson, sometimes called the father of the blues. Little is known about the man. He recorded only 37 songs in his short lifetime. The first batch were recorded in a studio in San Antonio. But there was another batch that were recorded but nobody knew where for certain. It was thought to be in a building in Dallas but there was no proof. A fellow who has a passion for Robert Johnson and his music set out to find proof. He ran down a former employee of the recording company. And the man had saved a lot of material that the company did not care about and were throwing out. Among the papers was the proof that Johnson had recorded eight songs at 508 Park Avenue, a building in a degraded part of town but with a wonderful art deco front. Johnson has been given homage by Eric Clapton, Led Zeppelin, Bob Dylan and the Rolling Stones. Johnson is said to have poisoned by the husband of a woman whom he had seduced, or tried to. He died at the age of 27. This small bit of proof adds just a tad more to the story of Robert Johnson’s life.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

James Bond Is Back

There is a new set of trade paperbacks of the original James Bond novels by Ian Fleming. Wonderful cover illustrations. Take a look at In the search window type Ian Fleming. Enjoy!

Friday, January 06, 2006

A Job ... Well Done??

On my desk, underneath my printer, sit two plastic trays. Over the year they become filled with the detritus of my life. Notes, bibliographies, things printed from the web, lists of books of which I have read reviews, want to read and probably never will, odd letters that have arrived and may or may not have been answered, catalogs of films well marked in hopes that they are available from Netflix and probably other things which I have forgotten. I thought I ought to go through it and throw some stuff away. To be truthful both trays were full and I could no longer put more recent "important" stuff in. It was probably a year's worth and as I skimmed through it, I found it interesting. In some ways it was probably indicative of my life or at least of my interests. Well, it's done. Now to go through the stack in front of the trays which until now could not find their way into the trays. Ah, life. Isn't it fun?

Sunday, January 01, 2006

Happy 2006

This is just a short greeting to all my readers on the eve of New Year's Day. I have returned from six days at our mountain cabin near Mount Rainier where five guys ate much, slept much, watched five or six movies plus some short episodes of Wanted: Dead or Alive with Steve McQueen. We also argued about trivial things, told lies about ourselves and others and generally had a very good time. It didn't snow but it did rain pretty consistently. I managed to read nearly half a novel by Robert Goddard, a British author whom I like a lot. In slack time I listened to a two CD recording of Stan Kenton's Innovations band. I attended a concert by that particular band sometime in the late 70s. Ah, nostalgia is wonderful. The real excitement was the first day when we were getting little electricity, enough to run the lights but not the wall heaters. It was a cold night. Thank goodness for our wood stove. But I got out early the next day to find a phone (cells phones don't work where the cabin is), called the power company and they came and did a splendid job of restoring power. Bad connections, they said. It gave us pause to think about pioneer days and how lucky we are, especially with the heat on again and the coffee pot working.

Anyway I hope the gang of guys are rejuvenated to meet the new year. As I hope all of you had a wonderful Christmas season and can launch into 2006 with verve and pizzazz.