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April 5th, 2009

We were up at 9:00, after a full eight hours sleep. Robert put coffee on, and I made breakfast, which consisted of turkey sausage patties on Hawaiian rolls with sliced hard-boiled eggs on them. We enjoyed it all out on my deck sitting at my bar patio set.




We enjoyed the fruits—well mostly vegetables, really—of my labor yesterday having that killer salad for lunch. Again, we sat outside, as the weather was absolutely phenomenal today.



I did my friend Jeane's taxes today for the last time. She passed away in May of 2008, and I've done her taxes for the last several years. I was curious to see what Turbo Tax was going to do when I checked the box that said, "This taxpayer passed away before filing 2008 taxes."

And what I found was something I never would have expected. It was what's known in "the biz" as a "UI FAIL!" (user interface failure). After checking that box and clicking on continue, I got this screen:


To their credit they did get right back on track with the next screen, which used the kind of language the previous one should have:


I was delighted to finish up the taxes in a lot less time than I had anticipated it taking me. And nothing would have pleased Jeanie-baby more than to have know she went out with a refund!



I walked the three-mile trail around Lake Johnson today. As I said, it was too beautiful a day not to be outdoors in some form or fashion.

I listened to two podcasts during the hour walk, both Selected Short Stories with the theme, "Women on a Mission." The first one engaged me enough, but it was not riveting or anything. The second one, I never really got into. I kept drifting off in my head to other thoughts and would come back and think, "Now what is she talking about?"

The first story, about jewel thievery, is Carlton Stevens Montanye’s “A Shock for the Countess,” which was originally published in Black Mask, a pulp fiction magazine, in March, 1923, and is filled with the luscious, overwrought language that characterizes great pulp writing. It’s not easy to be a high-class international jewel thief, as reader Fionnula Flanagan makes clear. Dublin-born Flanagan is much celebrated for her annual reading of Molly Bloom’s famous soliloquy at Symphony Space’s annual “Bloomsday” reading of James Joyce’s Ulysses Her many stage, television and film credits include “Some Mother’s Son;” “The Others;” and “Transamerica;” and a recurring role on “Lost.”

Our second story is Mark Helprin’s “Katherine Comes to Yellow Sky.” The heroine of this story was born in England and raised in a grim Massachusetts mining town, and is now on a life quest to the unsettled American West. Trying to break away from the confinements and restrictions of life as a 19th-century woman, and become something more, she has “a vision of clouds and yellow sky,” that sustains her throughout the long train trip West. Helprin is a senior fellow of the Claremont Institute, which studies statesmanship and public policy, and is the author of the novels Winter’s Tale and Freddy and Fredericka, among others. The reader is Lisa Gay Hamilton, whose many television appearances include roles on “Law and Order SVU;” “Without a Trace;” and “ER.”



This evening I saw The Curious Case of Benjamin Buttons Button at the $1.50 movie. I wanted to like this movie more, but in the end I was glad I only paid $1.50 for it and not $7.50.

I didn't get popcorn at the beginning of it, but about halfway through, I did go out to get some, and on my way out to the lobby it occurred to me that I could just keep on walking and it really wouldn't bother me. I just wasn't all that engaged.

I find it absolutely astounding that this movie got as many Academy Award nominations that it did. Astounding. The only one that I could possibly even give a nod to would be for the Best Adapted Screenplay nomination, and that would be for taking a "short story" and making an almost three-hour movie out of it. And that would be for perservernce more than anything else.

The only thing [SHALLOWNESS ALERT!!!] that made the second half worthwhile was when Brad Pitt got back to his regular age. Just a beautiful man.

Movie synopsis: On the day that Hurricane Katrina hits New Orleans, elderly Daisy Williams nee Fuller is on her deathbed in a New Orleans hospital. At her side is her adult daughter, Caroline.

Daisy asks Caroline to read to her aloud the diary of Daisy's lifelong friend, Benjamin Button. Benjamin's diary recounts his entire extraordinary life, the primary unusual aspect of which was his aging backwards, being born an old man who was diagnosed with several aged diseases at birth and thus given little chance of survival, but who does survive and gets younger with time.

Abandoned by his biological father, Thomas Button, after Benjamin's biological mother died in childbirth, Benjamin was raised by Queenie, a black woman and caregiver at a seniors home. Daisy's grandmother was a resident at that home, which is where she first met Benjamin. Although separated through the years, Daisy and Benjamin remain in contact throughout their lives, reconnecting in their forties when in age they finally match up.

Some of the revelations in Benjamin's diary are difficult for Caroline to read, especially as it relates to the time past this reconnection between Benjamin and Daisy, when Daisy gets older and Benjamin grows younger into his childhood years.

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