Dinner And A Movie Monday – Brooklyn

Brooklyn

Eilis Lacey is a young woman from a small town in southeast Ireland, where she lives with her mother and sister, Rose. Eilis is unhappy with her life. She sees no future there. Her sister writes to an Irish priest in Brooklyn who arranges for her to travel to New York City.

where she takes bookkeeping classes and meets Italian-American Tony Fiorello and falls in love.When her sister suddenly dies of an undisclosed illness she had kept secret, Eilis tells Tony she must return home. He shows her a plot of land on Long Island that he intends to build a house for them on and proposes. Eilis seems hesitant but agrees. They marry at the courthouse without telling anyone.

Once back in Ireland, Eilis temporarily takes her late sister’s old bookkeeping job and gets attention from a wealthy bachelor. A completely different life than the one she left behind in Brooklyn. When gossip goes round about Eilis, she’s reminded of what life was really like living in this small town. She leaves for Brooklyn the next day because she wants to be with her husband. On the crossing, she offers guidance to a young woman making her own first trip to Brooklyn.

Eilis makes her journey from Ireland to New York in the 1950s, along with approximately 50,000 other immigrants (around a quarter of which moved to New York) as a part of the second minor wave of migration. Many of these citizens were in search of steadier jobs and a happier lifestyle. There were also smaller surges of immigrants from many other countries at this time, leading to modern day America becoming a vast land of many different cultures. You’ll enjoy this movie. Saoirse Ronan takes us through her journey to New York. We see her courage and determination while she struggles to pursue her version of the American dream.

Brooklyn is adapted from Colm Toibin’s novel of the same name. It has been named one of “The 10 best historical novels” in 2012. The novel and the film have equally been praised for their refreshing perspective on the plight of the Irish immigrant. They both depict a realistic story.

Irish Stew

The ingrediants for Irish Stew depend on who you ask. Traditionally, it’s made with neck mutton chops or kid, potatoes, onions, and water. Others would add such items as carrots, turnips and pearl barley; but the purists maintain that they spoil the true flavour of the dish. The ingredients are boiled and simmered slowly for up to two hours.

  • Prep time: 25 minutes
  • Cook time: 1 hour, 50 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 4 to 6

Please use beef chuck stew meat that is well marbled with fat. Lean stew meat will end up too dry.

Save prep time by prepping the onions, carrots, and potatoes while the stock with beef is simmering in step 2.

  • 1 1/4 pounds well-marbled chuck beef stew meat, cut into 1 1/2-inch chunks
  • 3 teaspoons of salt (more to taste)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 6 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 4 cups beef stock or broth
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cup of Guinness extra stout
  • 1 cup of hearty red wine
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon dried thyme
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 3 pounds russet potatoes, peeled, cut into 1/2-inch pieces (about 7 cups)
  • 1 large onion, chopped (1 1/2 to 2 cups)
  • 2 cups 1/2-inch pieces peeled carrots and/or parsnips (3 to 4 carrots or parsnips)
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

The Wall

AT THE VIETNAM WALL

because i never knew you
nor did you me
          i come

because you left behind mother,
father and betrothed
and i wife and children
          i come

because love is stronger than enmity
and can bridge oceans
          i come

because you never return
and i do
i come

          DUONG TUONG Washington, D. C., November 21, 1995

The older I get the more I think about our country and the sacrifices some have made on its behalf. Especially on days like today. I came across this poem, wtitten by Duong Tuong, a Vietnamese writer after visiting the wall in l995. I love its touching simplicity. A child of the 60s, I witnessed daily casualty count on the evening news and saw college students protesting while others burned our flag.

The thing I remember the most was the day my high school principal came over the loudspeaker and requested a moment of silence for a former student who’d graduated only months earlier and had enlisted. He was killed shortly after he arrived in Vietnam.

I remember seeing him in the halls at school. A nice guy. Always smiling. Barely 18. Just a kid. Gone in a minute. Someone I knew. Someone my age. That’s when I realized the war was real.

Hidden Treasure

The Brattle Book Shop, founded in the Cornhill section of Boston in 1825, has been in the hands of the Gloss Family since 1949. Over the years George and his son Kenneth built this shop into one of the largest antiquarian book shops in the country. Photo courtesy of Melissa Fulgham
The country’s oldest antiquarian bookstore, the Brattle Book Store has over 200,000 used and out-of-print books, magazines and more. Photo courtesy of Melissa Fulgham

My granddaughter visited this store (the lucky girl) and was browsing through the shelves. She picked up a book at random and it fell open to this passage. Beautiful, don’t you think?

Happy 4th of July

However you chose to celebrate this day, whether it be out at the lake, at a cookout with family, or enjoying fireworks with friends, I hope it’s a safe and happy holiday. Sometime during today, please stop and take a moment to remember what this day should mean to all of us.

Red Skelton was always a favorite of mine. Never failed to make me laugh, and sometimes brought me to tears. This was one of those times.

This says it all…

Writing Your Novel’s Blurb

Story Empire

Ciao, amici. We’re wrapping up the Story Bible series of posts today. If you missed one or more of the posts, you can find them, in order of post date, by clicking the following links:

Today, we’re discussing how to write the back-of-book blurb.

writing the blurb

You’re probably wondering why a blurb, which isn’t needed until you’re ready to publish, is something I include in a story bible, which I create before I start writing even the first book in the series.

Three reasons.

One, your blurb covers only the most important and most marketable parts of your story. Keeping that in mind as you write will enable you to stay focused on what the most crucial parts of your story are.

Two, when you have a series, you want all your blurbs to follow the same format. That’s easiest…

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Dinner And a Movie Monday – The Accountant

The Accountant

The American crime thriller stars Ben Affleck, J.K. Simmons, Jeffrey Tambour and John Lithgow. Chris Wolff (Affleck) is a small-town Illinois CPA with high-functioning autism that makes a comfortable living. Beneath the surface, however, he’s a brilliant forensic accountant who uncovers insider financial deceptions, often for criminal and terrorist enterprises.

Through flashbacks we see how his father, an army officer in Psychological Operations subjects Chris and his younger brother, Braxton to a brutal regimen of stoicism and martial arts training. Later, while serving time, he is mentored by an accountant for a mob family who turns FBI informant.

Eventually he’s hired to audit Living Robotics Corporation by the company’s founder and his sister. When he discovers that over $61 million has been embezzled from the company. Lamar dismisses Chris and pays off his contract, leaving him distraught because he wasn’t able to finish the audit.

He spends the rest of the movie methodically eliminating the killers sent after him while he figures out who did the embezzling and why. There’s a twist to the movie, and I guessed it early on, but it wasn’t obvious, and I like the way it unfolded.

The movie wasn’t on for long, and I didn’t hear much about it, but I think it was a good movie. If I didn’t know any better, I’d say Affleck had autistic tendencies in real life. His portrayal was convincing and I loved the plot twist.

No recipe this time. Nothing to cooking bacon, eggs and toast. Use an iron skillet and pay close attention to the bacon or it will burn. Chris Wolff’s meal illustrates some of his tendencies. Which is really funny, because I remember my father being very particular about the way his food was served.