Bookended by Cats was named after Milo and Otis. They are the short, orange, and furry brothers who, upon entering our lives in 2003, often bookended us on our couch. And who are we? We're a geek couple living in PA. We love music, movies, TV, comics, books, and comic cons. And, from time to time, we'll share our thoughts on these nerdy things.

Friday, July 3, 2020

Friday 80s Flashback for July 3, 2020

[Three Day Weekend] -- When in the Course of human events, the Fourth of July lands on a Friday or Saturday, and many of us in the States are given a three-day weekend. This is done to celebrate a unique event: when 13 scrappy, English colonies engaged in an act of civil disobedience. Well, it was actually an act of treason. And it was committed by writing a sternly worded letter to King George III, who wouldn't receive his copy until August 30, 1776. (And, no, you cannot blame that delay on the USPS). Now, I don't know what the Founding Fathers would make of this week's playlist. But there will be plenty of serious fare discussing the events of 1776 on the web, radio, and television. So on the Flashback, we're gong to cut loose and have some fun. If you're ready to celebrate with me in 80s music style, then read and hear more after the break.

Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Watchmen - HBO

I do not have a word to describe Watchmen from HBO that describes how completely incredible it is.

No spoilers

Each actor is perfectly chosen for each character, the cinematography is stunning and overwhelming,
the music (both score and soundtrack) is superb and it’s own character, the sound effects appear old fashioned but they are powerful and real, and the story is beyond belief .... except that it all did happen and is happening. Well maybe not the actual sci-fi parts but the historical stories are all real and horrifying.

Regina King is a goddess and is my new favorite hero.... errrr superhero??

I am so grateful that HBO offered this to watch for free this past Juneteenth weekend. It was a timely watch and was terrifyingly true for our times right now. I learned so much from the nine episodes. What an amazing undertaking and accomplishment those 9 episodes are.

Brainwise and I had many interesting conversations after each episode after the credits and music played, except one episode had an after credit scene - be sure to watch the credits and listen to the songs that play, they mean just as much to the story as the actual script. There were many pieces to discuss and pull apart and mull over both internally and together. I feel that this is a show many people should watch to learn about racism and our society. It might help people understand it in a different way and actually listen to what is being said if it is shown to them in this comic book way.

I had a hard time at times remembering that this was sci-fi as the historical topics and human elements were so accurate and real. And there were some incredibly far out there sci-fi elements but if you know the Watchmen story, you should have no issue following along - I got lost a few times but it all worked out in the end and had me nodding and smiling at how it all tied together.

I would love to get into everything on this post but I want you to go and watch, if you haven't already, and be as horrified, amused, shocked, intrigued and delighted as I was with this show.

As humans we need to do better and the Watchmen is just one way to show us how to try.

4 paws and a tail

Friday, June 26, 2020

Friday 80s Flashback for June 26, 2020

[LIVE Signs] -- First things first: I will agree to disagree with just about anyone regarding the status of Prince's 1987 double studio LP, Sign 'O' the Times. The album has many staunch defenders, but I feel it could have been better with some judicious editing (i.e., pruning it back to a single platter would have more effectively showcased Prince's genius). That's simply a matter of personal preference, really. But whatever one thinks of the studio release, and whatever you think of me for my opinion, we can probably agree that the concert film released that same year is a tour de force. It wasn't exactly a box office success, but VHS sales the following year propelled its popularity and fueled many positive reviews. SKY Magazine even suggested that it "was the greatest concert movie ever made" (Wikipedia entry without citation). 

Set list:

  1. "Sign o' the Times"
  2. "Play in the Sunshine"
  3. "Little Red Corvette"/"Housequake"
  4. "Slow Love"
  5. "I Could Never Take the Place of Your Man"
  6. "Hot Thing"
  7. "Now's the Time" (Charlie Parker cover by the band excluding Prince)
  8. Drum solo by Sheila E.
  9. "U Got the Look" 
  10. "If I Was Your Girlfriend"
  11. "Forever in My Life"/"It"
  12. "It's Gonna Be a Beautiful Night"
  13. "The Cross"

Twelve of the thirteen songs are live, on stage performances; "U Got the Look" is actually a promo video.

And this week's Flashback? It's the entire concert film courtesy of YouTube:

Flashback"If  you go to only one concert this year. The Prince movie is the one!"

That's all till next week. Dedicated 80s-philes can find more flashbacks in the Prophet or Madman archives or via Bookended's 80s Flashback tag. As always, your comments are welcome on today's, or any other, flashback post. And if you like what I'm doing here, please share the link with your friends. If, however, you don't like the flashback, feel free to share it with your enemies.

I'll see you in seven!

Tuesday, June 23, 2020

Dead to Me - Season 2 - Netflix

Dangrdafne review - NO spoilers are here

Dead to Me season 1 and 2 are over the top. Waaaay over the top and I love it. Both seasons are amazing and I love that each season is 10 episodes at 30 minutes an episode. It isn’t long and drawn out, well I guess the overall story is but it is so good and you just want to know what happens. So sit back and enjoy the crazy. Let yourself be fooled. Yell at the characters and pray none of this ever happens to you.

Christina Applegate (Jen) and Linda Cardellini (Judy) are incredible actresses. The emotions and mental anguish they both have to go through on this show are out of this world. For instance, episode 9 of season 2 had me sobbing on my treadmill as I was walking while watching the show. Judy has a breakdown and I couldn’t contain myself. I felt all her emotions pouring out of her. I worry what Linda Cardellini was actually thinking about that allowed her this cathartic moment. It was raw and real and just amazing to witness.

The best part of the show is the mystery and the twist and turns, many you don’t even know exist until they are happening. I love being fooled and surprised. I hate ruining things for myself by figuring it all out. I either can’t in this show or choose not to. Sometimes it feels like every piece of the episode is a cliffhanger and again I love it.

Actually maybe the best part of the show is the female power. The friendship between Jen and Judy is unlike most that I see on TV. And most of the other people around them are all women too. Oh, and the music is perfection. The songs mean just as much as the script and the cinematography. I will have to see if there is a soundtrack available.

The supporting cast is also just incredible. Jen’s children pay a main role in everything and the actors hold up their end without question. There are no small roles here, trust me, even if you think they are... they are not ;)

If you have never watched this show before, you can not start at Season 2. You MUST watch season 1 to understand anything and to fully enjoy it all. Unless you just want to watch master classes on acting, then just jump right in anywhere but again it all starts in Season 1. I truly can’t believe how much I love this show. The foul language is horrible and overbearing and usually I would shy away from it all but somehow it works and fits and I just let it go.

 I am terrified to see what will happen in Season 3 as the ending to 2 was cataclysmic and I definitely did NOT see it coming. This is easy to binge and I highly recommend it.

4 paws

Tuesday, June 16, 2020

Switchback - Danika Stone - book review

Dangrdafne book review - NO spoilers

The main reason for no spoilers is because you have to read this book for yourself. You need to take the roller coaster ride that this book offers. It is NOT what I expected but it was everything I wanted it to be in the end.

Switchback as defined by Merriman-Webster: a zigzag road, trail, or section of railroad tracks for climbing a steep hill.

Quite the understatement for this book. The switchbacks in this book were amazing. A Physical Education class trip gone wrong in so many ways and the crazy journey Vale and Ash go on, as does the reader, to get back home. 

It’s also a story about friendship, the most incredible friendship, and its survival at all costs. Vale and Ash are high school students, friends since elementary school, the outcasts, and the absolute best of friends. I loved them, I want to know them, I would definitely have been friends with them.

This will sound like a bad thing but hear me out. I kept getting annoyed reading some parts of the book and while that sounds bad it’s actually a sign of amazing storytelling. I wanted, needed to know what was happening so I just wanted to skip the small talk and get to it but I couldn’t because I would miss something that would be important to the story later. It was frustrating but frustratingly wonderful. I can’t tell you the last time I read a book with so much suspense. To use a common theme, it was a real page-turner. 

And while I loved the thrill and the suspense I have to say reading about a friendship between a boy and a girl was my true joy in the book. The things they learn about themselves and each other and how they have to support one another is perfectly lovely. It warmed my heart to watch two souls find themselves and each other and learn and grow together, and in high school students no less. This is not a love story, this is a friendship story and how often do you get to say that for a story about a boy and a girl. I appreciate it so much.

I was left with questions, good questions, not literally unanswered questions as odd as that sounds. Just more that I want to know. Pieces I want to fit in. Behind the scenes per say. Basically I just want more.

I keep identifying with Danika's teenagers and I think that is great, especially for a 50 year old. It means Danika writes well-rounded characters with whom the reader can imagine as a part of them or that they are people they know or have known or I guess in this case, want to know.

4 paws

I also very much enjoy Danika's writing. It is descriptive and crisp and easy to read. I look forward to the next books I have from her, a trilogy, the third book of which comes out in November. I have to decide if I am going to start reading the first two I have because I am sure it will be torture to wait until November to finish the story if I start the books now :)

Friday, June 12, 2020

Friday 80s Flashback for June 12, 2020

[Still Vivid] -- Highlighting more artists of color this week on the Flashback. Over 30 years ago last month, Living Colour burst onto the airwaves with their debut album, Vivid (1988). The novelty of Living Colour being an "all-black heavy metal band" (as quoted in nearly every post about them) probably helped them in the attention department. And while heavy metal was probably too one-dimensional a descriptor for Living Colour's sound, once they had your attention, for whatever reason, their music held it.

Living Colour in 1988 (via Billboard)

You can probably guess one of Vivid's tracks to make this week's selections. But what about the other two? Read and hear more after the jump. 

Sunday, June 7, 2020

15 Black Comics Writers Whose Work You Need to Read

On June 4, David F. Walker (@DavidWalker1201) tweeted a link to "15 Black Comics Writers Whose Work You Need to Read." I retweeted it and shared it on Facebook, but only this afternoon did I realize that this blog was also the place to share such information. Walker's tweet was a link to a CBR article, but I figure I'd embed the tweet here rather than jump to CBR because, well, maybe you'd want to add Walker to your follows!