Monthly Archives: February 2010

Leap Year

The 28th of February was the closest I could get to Leap Day this year, so it had to do for seeing Leap Year, although I have no plans to propose to anyone, leap or no leap.

Leap Year, the film, was nowhere near as bad as the Guardian film critic made out. He felt like committing suicide afterwards, which is an immature kind of reaction. It’s not a great film, but makes for good, lighthearted entertainment.

Matthew Goode and Amy Adams

It’s romantic and fairly funny (and also an advertisement for holidays in Ireland). It’s got Matthew Goode. I’ll share a hotel room with him any time. He seems to specialise in sharing rooms with leading ladies soon after meeting them, and it’s all very chaste.

Wringing the chicken’s neck was probably more shocking, but you could see it coming. You could see every single thing coming, although that’s fairly comforting at times. Matthew’s Irish accent was atrocious, but who cares? He’s almost always lovely. To film critics everywhere: ‘That’s what women want!’

Amy Adams and Matthew Goode

Don’t know where the scriptwriter got the idea that women proposing on 29th February is such a novel and unheard of thing, but there you are. In fact, I don’t know why the lovely Declan would want the hopeless eejit woman from Boston at all.

And wouldn’t you say that the leaves on the trees in the photo above are pretty spectacular for February in Ireland? Global warming, or something. Or are the leaves green because everything in Ireland is green?

Cooky and Lila

Cooky and Lila must surely be one of the best love songs? It features ‘ordinary’ love between ‘ordinary’ people.

I think it must be my favourite Doctor Hook song. It’s from the album Bankrupt, which again is my favourite. Neither the song nor the LP tended to be what they’d play on the radio in those days. At least not my radio. So it was good to hear Dennis Locorriere say at a concert that it was his favourite album, too. Hope it wasn’t a trick of my hearing. You hear what you want to hear.

Bankrupt is good because it’s one of the earlier albums, and it doesn’t have all that ‘arranged-ness’ that comes with success and fame. It’s simply got Doctor Hook’s natural charm, and that’s what they did best.

It’s not easy picking a ‘best of’ out of a great selection of tracks, but there was always something special about Cooky and Lila. Sad, but happy, lyrics sung by Dennis could be one explanation. But then many of their songs would fit the bill. It’s not even a Shel Silverstein song, and his were always the best.

How can anyone sing the word ‘cream’ and make it sound so sexy?

Abby pics

Abby banner

The sorting of Abby photos ran out of steam at the end of last year, but here is a little selection, mainly without tattoos. I’m fairly sure I’ve borrowed the banner above from one of the exceedingly talented people at Special Ops, but at my age I can’t be 100% certain of anything.


Spiky and pensive.


Yellow hazard suit; far too cool to take off.


This is where Abby has had the pleasure of taking Gibbs’s boat to pieces.

Gibbs and Abby

With Gibbs…

Abby and Jethro

…and with the other Jethro.

(Photos © CBS)

Abby’s cupcake

Abby's fridge

Luckily it’s not all politics and seriousness in Washington. Ziva gave Abby a special cupcake, and before you could say NCIS, it had been stolen and Abby sealed off the crime scene.

You don’t steal from Abby. You just don’t. And when you do, make sure to wear gloves from the very start, and I mean the very start. Then she just might not find out that you did it. Took it. Ate it.

Even if it tasted absolutely wonderful.

Gibbs and Abby

No, that’s not a cake crumb on Gibbs’s jacket. He wouldn’t.

(Photo © CBS)

NCIS – Capitol Offense

It just doesn’t ring true when Gibbs is friends with a Senator and his wife. Sleazy politicians may well make friends with capable marines in their military past, but as for continued friendship, and with the spouse as well, they’d need to have a bit more in common, I feel.

Gibbs and the Senator

Gibbs rarely does people a favour, if it means behaving unprofessionally. I’d expect him to tell even a very good friend that they can’t get special treatment.

And either Gibbs was suffering the deaths of Shannon and Kelly all alone, or he had a fully working network of supportive friends. Not both. It’s never been suggested before that he had lots of friends, so why start with these two?

Even having Ziva dress up all sexy for yet another politician felt weird, but rather more likely.

Ziva and politician

Apt new name for DiNozzo is DiNosey. Good to find it’s not just McGee who gets a new nickname every time. Makes you wonder if all names lend themselves to amusing new versions if you try hard enough, because they surely can’t have named the characters with this in mind?

McGee does get to have a close encounter with water, and it’s all DiNosey’s doing. But he who seeks finds, so serves DiNosey right.

Bath time for McGee

I had sort of forgotten where we were in episode 3 of season 6, how new the tenuous relationship with Director Vance was. The end, which mentions trust, works in more ways than one. And now that we have got a little further, it’s easier to know where we stand. I hope.


And that Senator, he reminds me of someone closer to home. Now, do we have some obnoxious politicians in Britain? Perhaps a crook who writes books…

(Photos © CBS)

Eat while-u-wait

The frugal witch (hah) and her Resident IT Consultant splashed out on some bar food at Cornerhouse on Friday night in between having got rid of Daughter on a plane and seeing Tolstoy in The Last Station.

Came to the conclusion that deciding what to order while still online at home was a waste of time, because the menu had changed by the time we got there. They could obviously see us coming. But not to worry, as we found other good stuff that we could eat, and were pleased to find table service, which was a first for me.

So the quiche and the veggie mezze arrived without any of that undignified elbowing at the bar, and loads of bread that was almost better than my own. It put us in such a good mood that we splashed further on desserts, one of which was especially nice, but I can’t tell you what it was because it wasn’t labelled and our waitress didn’t know either. It had a raspberry on top, if that helps. And they’d better have it next time I’m there and hungry. Not that I was hungry after all that bread. Just greedy.

Tea and coffee to make us alert enough not to fall asleep during the film.

A surfeit of diarists

Leo Tolstoy seems to have been surrounded by mad diarists. Almost all those around him towards the end of his life were scribbling away furiously at all times, wanting to note who said what and why and when. The 1910 solution to the lack of Twitter one imagines.

The Last Station provides a useful insight to the last months of the life of Tolstoy for someone like me who has to admit to knowing next to nothing. However, my companion pointed out that they made a few things up. Sofya Tolstoy offered to throw herself under a train like Anna Karenina, and was generally fairly neurotic, but who wouldn’t be when surrounded by Rasputin types? Especially when some of them were your own children.

Helen Mirren, Anne-Marie Duff and Paul Giamatti

Tolstoy was clearly a superstar in his day, and had his crazy followers like Chertkov, as well as his lovingly devoted fans, like Bulgakov, the celibate vegetarian who sneezes when nervous. Achoo. Tolstoy’s ideas may have been both interesting and revolutionary, but his little clan looked mostly like premature American hippies.

James McAvoy and Christopher Plummer

Very nicely filmed, in Russia and in Germany, The Last Station had more birch trees than you could shake a stick at. Some good train sets too, but I fail to see why Tolstoy had to rattle off in what looked like third class, when the Countess had her own ‘royal’ train to follow him in.

Good story if you want to know a little about Tolstoy, but perhaps not the most riveting film this year. Star studded cast, and perfect for fans of James McAvoy, what with him being in almost every scene. Christopher Plummer has aged well and Paul Giamatti did benign evil perfectly. And Helen Mirren is Helen Mirren.

At Cornerhouse from this weekend.

NCIS: Los Angeles – Bank Job

It was the old 24 hours earlier trick again. But whereas we could be certain that Gibbs wouldn’t die when his car went into the water a couple of years ago, you are less sure when NCIS: LA appears to kill off its characters. What if Dom was only the first one?

Bank Job

Whatever it was, it had Daughter literally sitting on the edge of the sofa. Because she likes Kensi, too, it seems. I was again struck by how unaffected I was, and decided it didn’t matter to me.


All I knew was that if planned, then Kensi wasn’t wearing anything bullet proof. But at least having her shot in the intro provided some excitement for the rest of the Bank Job episode.

NCIS: Los Angeles - Bank Job

Not sure if it’s me and my boring life style, but some of these plots are a little farfetched. But fun.

(Photos © CBS)

Dennis whatsisname

No sooner had I bought concert tickets for when Dennis Locorriere comes to a stage near me, than the iPod started playing more of his songs. Well, more of Doctor Hook’s songs, to be precise. I take that as a promising sign.

It was listening to good old radio Luxembourg which started me up with Doctor Hook and His Medicine Show, as they used to be. What better voice to glue yourself to the radio with, than Dennis’s? And after all these years, he’s still got the power. Or so I hope.

He was more than OK in Buxton about five years ago. He was so OK that he appeared not to want to stop singing, which was annoying as I had a last train home to catch, having to leave and hear his voice follow me out into the dark night and down the road and all that.

Apparently people have problems with his name, but it’s a straightforward Italian name. And if he’s a little bit Italian, that explains the voice, doesn’t it?

An early love

As someone who doesn’t observe Valentine’s Day, I’ll just do one of my usual irrational things and go a little gooey at the edges.

The ‘what’ is 1960s Swedish pop group the Hep Stars, with heart throb Svenne Hedlund singing, and featuring the nimble fingers of a beardless Benny Andersson, who later became famous for something else. The song is Sunny Girl, which was one of the first pop songs I really noticed, so it has a special place in my cold old heart.

Now, the English lyrics are atrocious, and Svenne’s pronunciation not much better, but consider that they were around twenty at the time, and had left school early, and wrote and sang in a foreign language. Not bad, really.

And I badly wanted a cardigan with edges like Svenne’s…