POIROT, POST-CHRISTIE

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Photo from Google

This is not a review.  This is a read-in-progress. I received a copy of this book from my dad, for Christmas.  Closed Casket is the new book from Sophie Hannah, who was authorized by the Christie estate to write more books featuring Belgian detective Hercule Poirot. Hannah is a well-received writer of psychological crime thrillers, as well as a poet.

The Washington Post’s review notes that Closed Casket “lacks the special charm of the originals”, yet calls it “endearing”.  They wanted more of Poirot’s larger-than-life brilliance, I suspect. I suppose it’s difficult to take one author’s character and write with her template in mind. I won’t let this review color my judgment – I find the first few chapters well-written and intriguing.

I’m not a fangirl nitpicker, I just want to read an interesting mystery, regardless of who reboots the franchise.  The Christie estate has resisted what The Guardian calls “authorial regeneration” for the longest time. I guess the truth is that ultimately, nobody will measure up to Agatha Christie.

I still want to buy The Monogram Murders.  A friend of mine who has both books says, “You know it’s not Agatha Christie, but you can enjoy it anyway.”

Daily Prompt: Renewal

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A DARK YEAR PASSES

This year has pillaged the world
Of its musicians, actors, writers.
We are tired of so much loss,
So much death.
We are anxious
For the year to end.

There are two days left.
Hide all of your beloved heroes,
Your teachers, your dream-weavers,
Lest the wars of 2016 find them
And smite them without mercy.
We do not want to be bereft.

But there is no guarantee
The next year will not betray us.

Daily Prompt: Pillage

FAREWELL, PRINCESS

When I was ten, I saw Star Wars (A New Hope) for the first time. I queued at the movie theater with my grandma. The moment I saw Princess Leia, I knew she was a different kind of princess: a feisty, kickass woman who would eventually lead a rebellion, a heroine for the ages.  She remains one of my favorite movie characters of all time.

Aside from playing Princess Leia, Carrie Fisher was also a successful screenwriter and memoirist, all the while battling bipolar disorder and drug addictions. She reminds us, “Youth and beauty are not accomplishments. They’re the temporary, happy by-products of time and/or DNA. Don’t hold your breath for either.”

Here’s a jazzy love theme to remember Carrie Fisher by, from the now-rare album, Empire Jazz, by Ron Carter.

Carrie, you deserve a standing ovation.  Thank you for being real.

Daily Prompt: Ovation

ORANGE TABBY

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This is the cat who lives in our building lobby. He goes by several names, but we like to call him Needy Cat, because he likes to hog all the cuddles from the residents.

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He has been spayed, so he became very chubby.  The janitors feed him on the sly, because building rules prohibit feeding strays. Obviously he’s not a stray anymore.  This is how he likes to sit, even though he doesn’t know where to put his belly.

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I really like Needy Cat. He comes when I call. I wave my hand and make meowing noises and then he runs to me. He loves being petted. I love petting him, feeling that round tummy.

THANK YOU

Christmas is a time for gratitude.  We are grateful we are alive, we are grateful for the things we have received or enjoyed, for the people we share our lives with. I want to thank in particular those people who have made Christmas possible for us – the ones who work during the holidays so that we could celebrate it at home with our families.

I’m sharing this video because I remember what it’s like to work weekends and holidays. I used to work in fashion retail, and Christmas was our busiest time. The malls would be milling with people, our feet would hurt, but we’d still try to get through it all, smiling. I’m glad I don’t have to do it now, but I appreciate those who do. A blessed Christmas to all of you.

A SENSE OF WONDER

When I was a small child I thought that by the time I became an adult, everything that could be discovered would be discovered. It’s heartening to know, for instance, that for every species that dies out, new species continue to be found. Even some species we thought were extinct still exist.

There are still new archaeological discoveries being made. As of 2015, these included ancient human ancestor Homo naledi, a lost civilization in Honduras, and hidden chambers in King Tut’s tomb, among others. In 2016, ancient Roman tablets were discovered in London, among them some of the world’s oldest financial and commercial documents. The more evidence we find about life in the very distant past, the more we can appreciate our place in history.

Technology Review lists ten breakthrough technologies for 2016. There’s hope for cancer patients as scientists genetically engineer immune cells. Autonomously-driving cars are going to be a wider reality. Small computers powered over the air by Wi-fi and other technologies will become more widely available in various applications. These innovations power us on toward the future.

All these things help keep that childish sense of wonder in me alive.

Daily Prompt: Discover