Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Britten and Brulightly Review

Britten and Brulightly by Hannah Berry

(from the back of the book)
Private detective Fernandez Britten is an old hand at confirming the dark suspicions of jealous lovers and exposing ugly truths of all varieties.  But, battered by the years of bringing ill tiding, he clings to the hope of revealing, just once, a truth that will do some good in the world.  It is a redemption that has eluded him for a long time.

Then Britten and his unconventional partner, Brulightly, take on the mysterious death of Berni Kudos.  The official verdict is suicide, but Berni’s fiancĂ©e is convinced that the reality is more sinister.  Blackmail, revenge, murder: each new revelation stirs up the muddy waters of painful family secrets, and each fresh twist takes the partners further from Britten’s longed-for salvation.  Doing good in the world, he discovers, may have more to do with silence than truth.

A haunting story of love and grief, sharply written and luminously drawn, Britten and Brulightly introduces an extraordinarily accomplished graphic novelist.

From the oversized book, to the graphics, to the story, this graphic novel is a lot of fun.  The soft drawings that use a lot of gray and light shades of washed out colors seem appropriate for the time and add to the sad feeling of the story and depressed attitude of Britten.  A lot of the story is told in journal entries which gives the reader an insight into Britten that lets you get to know him and to care about him.  The only problem with it is that since it is handwriting it sometimes gets difficult to read.  The complicated, slightly convoluted, story keeps you engaged as you try to figure it out and holds your interest as it comes to a conclusion.  The partner adds a unique twist too.  The whole thing has a wonderful noir feel.  Reminiscent of Chandler or Hammett but with great art to go along with it

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Save the Sharks

In honor of Shark Week I have come up with a list of websites that are trying to save sharks.  Visit them to find out how you can help them help the sharks.


Ocean Conservancy

Defenders of Wildlife 

Sea Save

Shark Savers

Bite Back

Shark Trust

Save Our Sharks

Shark Angels

Shark Guardian

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Help Out Classrooms in Need

Donors Choose is a website that lets you help teachers and students all over the country.  The teachers create classroom projects and ask for funds on Donors Choose.  You can search by area, school or subject.  You can give any amount you like to any project like.

Here are a few that caught my eye.

Ms. Lewis needs Fitdesks so that students can exercise while they study.  You can donate here.

Ms. Lewis also needs Chromebooks to go with her Fitdesks.  You can donate here.

Mr. Maguire needs air conditioners to cool his classroom and make learning easier.  You can donate here.

Mrs. MacIsaac needs a whiteboard and some chairs to help her students learn.  You can donate here.

Ms. Marshall also needs Chromebooks to help her students connect to schools around the world.  You can donate here.

Mr. Cao needs calculus books.  I think you can guess what they are for.  You can donate here.

You will notice that all of these projects are from Boston Latin Academy.  I'm partial since I went there.  But maybe you went somewhere else and would like to help out your own school.  Or the school your children go to.  Or just love geometry and want to help kids learn.  Go over to Donorschoose.org and browse around until you find a project that speaks to you.

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Tom Horn Review

Tom Horn

With Steve McQueen

Former army scout, Tom Horn, is hired to hunt down cattle rustlers but ends up on trial for murder.

The film is based on actual events and I think the fact that Tom Horn was a real historical figure makes this movie more interesting then I would have found it otherwise. It is a slow paced western and is not action packed but it is a good story and well written. It probably won’t be a totally unfamiliar story but knowing that it really happened makes it more compelling. And the simple, sometimes almost flat, way that things are presented here, without a lot of dramatics and fanfare, make the characters more believable and easier to imagine having actually existed because it does not play out like a legend or tall tale. Not your average cowboys and Indians western, instead it is an interesting look at real men in the west.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Strawberry Lemonade Tart

I got this recipe from the website Go Bold With Butter. With a name like that it has to be good. And this recipe sounded like the perfect thing for summer. Sweet strawberries and tart lemons combined in a bright tasting refreshing tart. And there isn't that much more in there. A few egg yolks and a little sugar.

If you would like to try it you can find it here.

I actually went out and bought a tart pan for this. I have always wanted one and kept saying to myself that I should get one but never got around to it. Now I have one so I have no excuse not to try all those tart recipes I've been putting off.

I like graham cracker crusts because I can do them. Unlike other pie crusts. But I find that sometimes they don't seem to have enough butter or something and even after they are baked they tend to crumble on me if I am not careful. This one, as you would expect of a recipe from a website with a name like Go Bold With Butter, seemed be more buttery than others I have done. And I think it has a lot to do with chilling it so the butter hardens, but it seemed to hold together better. Anyhow, it was nice and buttery and you could taste the buttery goodness in the finished tart.

The filling calls for a pint of strawberries and I was embarrassed to realize I didn't know what a pint of strawberries was. It wouldn't be the same as a pint of milk. That I could have figured out. And my grocery store does not sell them by the pint. I had a 16oz tub of strawberries and didn't know how many I should use. I did some research on the internet and concluded that 12 oz would be a pint. So that's what I used and hoped I was right.

By the way, when you pulverize a pint (or about a pint) of strawberries in your food processor they smell delicious.

The recipe says it will take about 2 lemons to get the 1/2 cup of juice but it took me three. Add the lemon juice, sweetened condensed milk and the rest to the berries and mix. (It looks like there is a lot of seeds in it and I was slightly worried about that but I didn't even notice them in the finished tart.) Then just pour it in the cooled crust and stick it in the oven. It says it will take about 35-40 minutes and when it is done it will be set at the edges and giggle a little in the middle. Well, I cooked it for 35 minutes and nothing was set and it giggled a lot. So back in it went. It seemed like I cooked it a lot more than the recipe said I would have to but finally it seemed ready. Unfortunately it was a rather odd color. The picture is a pretty pale pink. Mine was more a grey sickly pink that was unappetizing. I'm thinking next time I might add food coloring. Just a little. I don't want it bright red, just not grayish.

I cooled it and then put it in the fridge. You are supposed to chill it for at least 4 hours but it was late when I finished so I didn't taste mine until the next day. It was a hit. It is rather tart but I like lemon so that was okay with me. It had lots of flavor and tasted fresh. After a couple of days in the fridge the crust started to get a little soggy because the filling was so wet but it didn't last long enough for it to become a problem.

This one is a keeper. I think I'll be making it again.