Category Archives: Uncategorized

The Monday TV Show?

snobsRegular readers know my passions (besides Jack and books) include rescuing cats and crocheting, often combining these in projects such as the SPAY AND NEUTER AFGHAN. (Thanks for the generous support so many of you have shown!)

The calming repetitive muscle movement of crocheting begs for intellectual accompaniment. Alas, I’ve gone through the entire Lonesome Pine Regional Library System’s collection of recorded books, and the fastest way to fall asleep while crocheting is listen to music, so….. hello, Netflix.

Jack and I don’t own a TV, but if he’s busy with a fix-it project around the bookstore – and since our house was built in 1903, he often is – I wind up sitting in front of the computer screen, whipping out kitty butt coasters while binge watching some quality network programming.

Given that readers won’t always admit they even watch TV (bibliophile elitism is not a big social problem, though) it startled me when I put out a call on Facebook for some potential watching, and got 50+ responses.

Here are the winners of the “bibliophilic snobs recommend” thread, with a few snarky comments from me:


Cadfael, House of Cards (US and UK), Downton Abbey, Bletchley Circle, Call the Midwife, Vicar of Dibley, The IT Crowd – LOVED ‘em all

Sherlock  – hated it, watched just to see how they did the Doyle do-overs. Best part was Season 3 playing with itself over Reichenbach Falls. Dear Networks: Please note that decorative men are no substitute for substance.

Jericho and Revolution – post-apocalyptic shows, both cancelled mid-storyline. The well-written Jericho was saved by a fan campaign, while Revolution -heh, who knew 15-year-old boys were writing Hollywood scripts? To paraphrase Mark Twain, of 357 possible plot failings, Rev committed 350.

Orange is the new Black – by all accounts, Season 2 is better than 1. To which my usually gentle husband Jack responded, “That wouldn’t take much.” Oh well….

Wallander – Jack and I tried the Swedish version and gave up halfway through Episode 1. We hear the English version might be better.

Law and Order (original) – not so much watched as memorized. I’m a huge LnO fan.

Northern Exposure – Remember liking it live, may have to try it again as a binge watch

Borgias and Tudors – Historical characters that interesting did not need added sex and violence.

TED talks – I like TED talks, but find the bundles available on Netflix tend to lead with celebrities, segue into duds, then finish with really thought-provoking ideas. So I’ve started skipping to the last three of any bundle. :]


Dexter – Lemme get this straight: you want the Quaker bookstore owners to watch a show about an assassin who only takes out people as need killing, and is really a nice guy despite a couple of problems? Yeah. Everybody has some of The Light inside them…. Pass, thanks.

Hell on Wheels – We might try this. We’d never heard of it and lotsa people recommended it.

Sons of Anarchy – Poor misunderstood lost boy motorcyclists? Sounds a bit like Peter Pan for grown-ups, but okay, we might try it.

Walking Dead – Just say no to Zombies–at least until someone makes them sparkle. Which will happen, mark my words.

Treme – Sounded interesting; gonna try it.

The White Queen – I liked Gregory’s book, and it’s clear that Elizabeth Woodville is her favorite historical character, so I’d like to see it, but Netflix doesn’t care.

LOST and Twin Peaks – Confusing worlds where nothing is as it seems? This is diversion? Sounds like an NPR broadcast.

Sex and the City – Insert penis joke here. NEXT!

The Killing – A cult that worships a lit professor? Sign me up!

Hemlock Grove – Look, anything Netflix is pushing that hard just has to be garbage. Plus, I don’t like it when bad guys leap out of people’s stomachs. Gore makes my stitch tension too tight.

Game of Thrones – Ooooh, you say there’s a fantastic new  fantasy world out there where women get the shit beat out of them and raped and can’t hold onto power? WOW! Gotta check that out;  sounds like real escapism to me…..

Justified – A show that treats Appalachians like real people? PLEASE Netflix, get this for streaming!

Okay, we’ll go back to books next week and pretend this little interlude never happened. But now we know; readers watch, too. And it’s not all bad.

spay and neuter afghan


Filed under animal rescue, bad writing, between books, Big Stone Gap, crafting, Downton Abbey, humor, Hunger Games, out of things to read, reading, Uncategorized, writing, YA fiction

Fifteen Adults Laughing very hard Together

We’d been plotting the Cards Against Humanity game for a long time. Susan and David Hamrick, some of our favorite people on Earth, had recently lost Hazel, the beloved eldercat who sparked public outrage in Southwest Virginia when her owner surrendered her to the shelter at the age of 20; Hazel’s plight birthed a webpage for eldercat advocacy.

David and Susan also adopted Mal, the high-expense, high-care kitten with the cleft palate who crossed the bookstore lawn about a month before. So planning the CaH game was a chance for Hazel’s ashes to return to her hometown, Mal to see his adoring public now his feeding tube was out, and us to see David and Susan.

The participant list grew. Local doctors looking for a fun weekend (I work with regional medical recruitment); our sainted vet Beth, who diagnosed both Mal and Hazel free of charge; her husband TNB (we call Brandon That Nice Boy Beth Married, TNB for short); and a plethora of others, most of whom have adopted a cat from us. Being adult professionals, we had salad and vegetarian curry, black bean chili, and – in honor of Beth’s recent birthday – Peanut Butter Chocolate Reese Butterfingers Eight-Layer Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting.

Health care professionals know how to party.

And then the CaH came out, with the expander pack. Beth put bottles of her homemade Merlot on the table, and David set out his carefully hoarded Ben Nevis single malt.

But the fun started before the drinking, because the first card out of the gate was something like “How do you get laid?”

After Brandon won with a card that suggested certain specific activities in very precise anatomical locations, I turned to him and said, “I’m never calling you ‘That Nice Boy’ again.”

It all kinda took off from there.

There is something wonderfully healing about 15 adults sitting around a table acting like adolescents who have a deep background in politics. People literally snorted whisky out their noses, we laughed so hard.

And about every 15 minutes, someone shouted “Kid!” and the room went silent as the four young boys hanging out downstairs in the children’s room, playing with kittens under the supervision of a teen, came up and helped themselves to soda.

(Susan and I sent David and Jack to the store for children’s drinks before the party. They returned with a bottle of Mountain Dew. We sent them back for ginger ale.)

In the silence of an early “not in front of the children” moment, David said, “Did everyone enjoy the lovely weather today?” and we all died laughing again.

And again a minute later, when the winning response to “What are Jack and Leroy doing in the basement?” (there are blank cards for making up your own question) turned out to be “Her Royal Highness, Queen Elizabeth II.”

Jack’s praying for Scottish Independence, come September. He and Leroy were downstairs sorting a quick plumbing problem before joining the game.

Yeah, it’s raucous and raunchy and irreverent, but CaH is such good steam-valve-release fun. We play by the “everybody gets one veto” rule. Donald refused to play a Holocaust card; I put back “The Blood of Christ”; Kelley doesn’t allow the one about a pool of children’s tears. Everybody has limits.

But few and far between, for the most part, and sitting there watching 15 adults return to high school in their brains while eating vegetables and drinking responsibly, laughing themselves silly in good company, I couldn’t help thinking, “This is why Jack and I started a bookstore.”

Sitting around that table: two cancer patients, the mother of another, a cancer survivor, three medical professionals who make life-and-death decisions every day, a government employee, two professors, a couple trying to get pregnant, four people who lost parents this year, and two newly-fledged adults launching into the world. This world.

To have these moments, this place, where you can stop being the Responsible Adult, cut loose, and enjoy life is a rare and wonderful thing. We’re so lucky to be able to do this.


Leave a comment

Filed under animal rescue, Big Stone Gap, blue funks, bookstore management, folklore and ethnography, home improvements, humor, Life reflections, post-apocalypse fiction, publishing, reading, Scotland, small town USA, Uncategorized, VA