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Essie Davis as Phryne Fisher in Miss Fisher Mysteries.

Miss Fisher Mysteries was an Australian murder mystery series set in 1920s Melbourne and featuring Essie Davis as Phryne Fisher, a private detective, and Nathan Page as Inspector Jack Robinson. The series ran for three seasons and has gradually built a fan base, both in its native Australia and abroad. What sets the series apart from other period mystery series is not just its unconventional heroine, but its social conscience. Again and again, Phyrne stands up for the outcast and downtrodden against not only society, but her own family.

When the series ended, there was talk of a potential movie and I happy to say that the film finally looks like it’s going to happen. The producers are running a Kickstarter campaign and of this writing they working towards their stretch goal of $500,000. Click here to make your pledge. Every dollar you contribute makes this movie bigger and better.


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Here’s Tobias Menzies being all epic and reading an excerpt of the Iliad at the Almeida Theatre. He was one of about 60 actors who all took turns reading the Iliad as part of the Almeida’s celebration of its upcoming season of Greek plays. His section deals with the battle between Hector, hero of Troy, and Achilles, hero of the Greeks. I wish the Almeida would post the entire event because this is awesome.

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Let’s have a swinging Halloween this year with these jazz-influenced holiday numbers!



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Re: Tyr’s Day Music

Now that we are getting closer to winter, I thought this Icelandic folk song about a raven (“Krummavisur”) would be appropriate. I particularly like the “krunk, krunk” sound in the song which is a very good approximation of a raven’s croak. Below are the approximate lyrics and their translation by Jon Thoroddsen (found on Lyric Wikia):


Krummi svaf í kletta gjá, –
kaldri vetrar nóttu á,
verður margt að meini;
verður margt að meini;
fyrr en dagur fagur rann
freðið nefið dregur hann
undan stórum steini.
undan stórum steini.

Allt er frosið úti gor,
ekkert fæst við ströndu mor,
svengd er metti mína;
svengd er metti mína;
ef að húsum heim ég fer,
heimafrakkur bannar mér
seppi´ úr sorpi´ að tína.
seppi´ úr sorpi´ að tína.

Öll er þakin ísi jörð,
ekki séð á holta börð
fleygir fuglar geta;
fleygir fuglar geta;
en þó leiti út um mó,
auða hvergi lítur tó;
hvað á hrafn að éta?
hvað á hrafn að éta?

Sálaður á síðu lá
sauður feitur garði hjá,
fyrrum frár á velli.
fyrrum frár á velli.
‘Krúnk, krúnk! nafnar, komið hér!
krúnk, krúnk! því oss búin er
krás á köldu svelli.
krás á köldu svelli.’


The raven slept in a rock-rift
On a cold winters night
There are many things that can hurt him
Many things that can hurt him
Before a beautiful day came
He pulls his frozen nose
From underneath a big rock
Underneath a big rock

Everything is frozen outside
You can’t get anything at the beach
I’m so hungry
I’m so hungry
If I go to a house
Fat at home (a nickname for The dog) forbids me
To pluck from the garbage
To pluck from the garbage

The earth is covered in ice
There is nowhere to “set the table” (to sit and eat)
Full-fledged birds can fly far.
Full-fledged birds can fly far.
But even though I look everywhere
There’s just one color
What can a raven eat
What can a raven eat?

Dead, lying on its side is
A fat mutton near a fence,
Who once was fast.
Once was fast.
‘Caw, caw! Namesakes (Ravens), come here!
Caw, caw! cos’ ready for us is,
a feast on cold ice.
a feast on cold ice.’

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Here’s something that you really don’t see enough of on American television. A respected journalist, Bill Moyers, interviews a respected actor, John Lithgow, about the ideas and themes of Shakespeare’s King Lear. Lithgow is currently playing the title role in New York’s Delacorte Theater in Central Park. Click here to see the whole show and follow the links in the left hand column to read Lithgow’s blog about the play.

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I spent pretty much the entire month of July taking classes through the University of Arnor’s Summer Sessions program. The first week was spent with Neal Conan, former host of “Talk of the Nation” on NPR, as he talked about the history of radio journalism and held the class spellbound with his stories about his time as a war correspondent in the Middle East. The second week was spent learning to paint with watercolors as part of the Hobbiton Summer Arts Festival. I came into the class a complete newbie and came out able to paint recognizable landscapes. The final week was spent taking a six-day improvisational theater class that cumulated with a showcase Saturday evening. I hadn’t expected to be in an hour-long show, but we had a great audience and my classmates and I totally rocked the joint.  I took a week off from work for the watercolor class, but otherwise worked half-days as the other two were evening classes.

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Hobbiton, at this point in the winter, portrayed by the 22nd Fighter Wing of the South Korean Air Force. That opening scene where they’re all shoveling snow? Yeah, pretty much how my town looks right now. Can’t complain, of course, since it’s sled dog racing season, but I confess I’m dreaming of plants and gardens.

I dreamed a dream in days gone by

That spring would finally show up.

But now that winter keeps dragging on

It makes me want to throw my hands up.

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