Eclaire Fare

Enjoying Pop Culture, One Bite at a Time

Fall 2008 Preview: Fox Gets a Head Start August 29, 2008

So did Fox sign like a 100-year contract with Major League Baseball to broadcast the play-offs and World Series every fall? It certainly seems that way. For as long as I can remember, the new fall tv season has been either delayed or interrupted by baseball on Fox. The network’s old strategy was to delay the start of its shows until after the World Series. Back in the late 90s, I would complain about having to wait until practically November to watch the X-Files every year. For the past couple of years, however, Fox has taken the better approach of jumping out ahead of the other networks to give its shows some time to settle in and develop a following before being so rudely interrupted.

That being said, let’s take a look at what Fox has prepared to tide over its viewing public until American Idol takes center stage in January. As with most of the networks, there aren’t as many new shows as usual because of the writer’s strike. That makes it easier to sift through the newbies. I’ll also mention anything noteworthy about returning shows.

  • Prison Break – This show returns on Labor Day, for more crazy antics from Michael, Lincoln, and the gang. In my opinion, this show should have wrapped up nice and neat at the end of season two (rather than turning into a tangled, mangled mess of subplots), but there are still a lot of fans, so I am glad that they can still tune in to see their favorite characters.
  • House – I am interested to see what the tone of this show will be when the season begins. How will they follow the depressing events of last season’s finale? ——- SPOILER ALERT ——- On House, the season ender was a manipulative tear jerker/ethereal dream sequence, as House slipped in and out of consciousness trying to remember something important about the bus accident he was involved in. Turns out he was on the bus with Wilson’s girlfriend, Amber, and eventually the team determines that because of a medication she was taking that caused an unfortunate reaction to her crash injuries, she only has hours to live. There’s nothing they can do. So the season ended on a real downer, with a parade of characters coming into Amber’s room to say their farewells. I didn’t even like her character, but what a horrible way to get rid of her. Sure, it will provide some tension between Wilson and House this season (since Wilson blames House for Amber being on that bus in the first place), but it seems like it was just done for shock value. I am tired of shows having to one-up each other at the end of the season. Speaking of shock value…
  • Bones – This is the second best show that Fox has to offer, and it also had a controversial season finale – in fact, it caused more of an uproar than House did. This is one of the few shows that I only watch when nothing else is on, rather than being sure to watch every episode. (This is also how I watch How I Met Your Mother.) Since I only dabble in the show, I may have missed some clues or backstory about the Gormogon plot, but here’s my take on what happened: ——— SPOILER ALERT ——— Booth and Brennan and the team uncover some evidence that leads them to believe that Gormogon (a serial killer who eats his victims) or his apprentice works at the Jeffersonian. As the pieces of the puzzle come together, Zack is injured in an explosion that leaves his hands basically useless. That’s a bummer. But it gets worse. It turns out that he planned that explosion to create a distraction so that Gormogon could steal something from the Jeffersonian. Zack is the apprentice! So, with a tear in his eye, Zack explains to the team that Gormogon had a logical view of the world, which is why he went along with his plan. I’m sorry, but that seems like quite a stretch. Sweet, geeky Zack as an accomplice for a cannibalistic serial killer – because it was logical? I can understand why some people have decided to stop watching the show, but I didn’t watch it for Zack. Mainly, I enjoy the chemistry and interaction between Booth and Brennan. So, I’ll still tune in from time to time, and will be sure to watch the season premiere to see the fallout from the finale’s crazy events.
  • The Moment of Truth – Ridiculous. This is the worst show on television. It shows the worst of human nature. No inspiring moments here. Move along.
  • Hole in the Wall – Which brings me to the first of Fox’s new shows. From what I can tell, this is a game show that requires people (mostly obese people) to manipulate their bodies into certain shapes to fit through a cut out in a giant screen. If they fail to do so, they will fall into a vat of water, and they will be further humiliated by goofy music and a laughing, taunting studio audience. Seriously? This is a real show? It sounds more like a bad idea for a team building exercise at a corporate event. I hate shows that are designed to make fun of people, even when the contestants know what they are getting into. We shouldn’t take pleasure in watching other people fall flat on their face, flop around, or otherwise embarrass themselves on national television. I hope that this show will be a massive failure. Is there still some class left in the American viewing public?
  • Fringe – Finally, I arrive at the one of the few bright spots among the newbies this season. This is actually the new show that I am most looking forward to. It has an interesting premise (its official website describes it as a show that “will thrill, terrify and explore the blurring line between the possible and the impossible.”). Sounds like a sci-fi thriller right up my alley. Plus, it has an interesting cast. I am happy to welcome Joshua Jackson back to television in a more grown-up role than the one he is best known for – Pacey on Dawson’s Creek. He’s joined by several names I don’t recognize, but based on the previews, the actors look well-suited to their roles. And finally, it has J.J. Abrams name attached to it, and I like almost everything that he has done. We can all find out if this show is worth adding to our “must-see” lists when it premieres on September 9.
  • There are several shows that I didn’t mention. And that is because I don’t watch any of them. They all have their place in the television landscape, and I’ll just leave it at that.

The Dark Knight: A Better Late Than Never Review August 24, 2008

I am a huge Christian Bale fan, I consider Batman Begins one of my favorite movies, and I highly anticipated the release of The Dark Knight. So why did it take me a month to go see it? For one, there’s the new issue of having to find a babysitter if I want to go to the theater. Mostly, though, I was waiting until I could get a good seat at an IMAX showing that wasn’t sold out. Even though the movie has been out for over a month, we still had to line up with about 100 other fans 30 minutes before the movie started, hoping for a chance at a prime seat. We ended up with a great view of the massive screen. But enough about the logistics of actually getting to the movie. On with my review…

My overall impression of the movie? Wow. Just wow. The prestigious list of actors. The acting. The characters. The special effects. The cityscapes. The story. The gadgets. The suspense. Bruce Wayne. Batman. The Joker. And, finally, The Joker.

Yes, Heath Ledger was really as good as everyone said he was. While Jack Nicholson’s Joker in 1989’s Batman was campy and diabolical, Ledger’s Joker was unsettling, disturbingly matter of fact about his criminal exploits, and fascinating to watch. Ledger was The Joker. He had the mannerisms perfected, from the smoothing back of the wiry hair, to the flicker of his tongue, to the lumbering walk. It was such a commanding performance that any scene he was in, everything else paled in comparison. He was funny at times, but in that nervous laugh kind of way where you didn’t know what to expect next. The writers left us with plenty of questions. We don’t know for sure how the Joker ended up with his freakish appearance, why he is psychotic, who he used to be. Hopefully some of these questions will be answered in the next movie.

With all the (much deserved) hype surrounding Ledger’s performance, some other actors have been somewhat lost in the shuffle. Let me praise them here:

  • Christian Bale – I admit, this longtime favorite actor of mine could star as a lamppost and I would be thrilled. But seriously, I think he is the best Batman that has come along. I hope this man is eventually nominated for an Oscar, because he has done some amazing work (The Machinist, Rescue Dawn, 3:10 to Yuma, etc.). While Batman isn’t the kind of role that garners awards, he brings an intensity and fierceness to the part that deserves recognition. No question, he fills out that batsuit nicely, and looks intimidating and resolute as he battles the evil underbelly of Gotham City, and has the perfectly gravely, low voice to match the part. But the real magic of his performance comes as Bruce Wayne. He does a fantastic job of appearing to be a carefree, macho millionaire, while revealing his true inner turmoil through subtle glances and slight changes in his demeanor. So hooray for Christian Bale!
  • Maggie Gyllenhaal – About the only thing people complained about with Batman Begins was Katie Holmes’ wooden performance as Rachel Dawes. So the powers that be made the right move by recasting the role. Maggie Gyllenhaal brought a needed combination of resolve and vulnerability to Rachel. I cared much more about what happened to her than when Holmes’ Rachel was in peril in Batman Begins.
  • Gary Oldman, Michael Caine, Morgan Freeman – Their performances were solid, but didn’t differ much from what they were in Batman Begins. While The Joker mesmerized us with his twisted mind games, and Batman wowed us with his power moves and his fun gadgets, these guys were the balancing force that kept us tethered to our seats.
  • William Fichtner – I must say, I was disappointed when I realized his role in the film wouldn’t be more than a cameo, because I think he is an excellent actor. I first knew him as Josh on As the World Turns way back in the ’80s. Since then he’s moved way up in the acting world, to outstanding roles in everything from Contact to Crash to the television show Invasion (let’s just ignore the ridiculous Prison Break). This might have only been a cameo, but he sure made the most of it. What a great way to start the movie, with him going from – spoiler alert – timid bank manager to gun-toting commando.
  • There were plenty of other recognizable faces, but none as impressive as those I’ve already mentioned. Eric Roberts played his mafia bigwig with the required amount of toughness and sarcasm. Anthony Michael Hall was well cast as an opportunistic news reporter. The least believable role for me was Aaron Eckhart. He’s never been a favorite of mine, and I found it hard to believe him as the noble, idealistic Harvey Dent. (So it’s no surprise that I liked him better as Two Face.)

While the acting was impressive, the real stars of a movie like this are the action sequences, the special effects, and the cinematography. But a Christopher Nolan movie doesn’t short-change the audience on plot. This 150 minute extravaganza had more than enough stops and starts, sudden twists, and heart-stopping surprises. Although I guessed a few of the turns in plot, they had me fooled many other times. I was slightly disappointed with the open-ended ending, but maybe that was just because it meant that the movie was over.

So, back to the fact that this was a BIG movie. I am so glad that I saw it in an IMAX theater. The audience literally let out an audible, collective “gasp” when the opening shot of Gotham City’s skyline appeared on the huge screen. It was fantastic. And, of course, it only got better. Any time the camera panned over and in between buildings in the city, I felt like I was flying through them myself. But the most intense moment came during the Hong Kong scene, when Batman swoops off the edge of a skyscraper and floats on the wind (with his cape acting as makeshift wings) on his way to apprehend Lau, who is the key to nabbing Gotham City’s crimelords. Experiencing Batman’s flight through Hong Kong was simply incredible. At that moment, I thought to myself that I wanted to come back to see the movie again. There were many moments that made me think that.

Another “wow” moment is the scene involving Batman riding on his bat-motorcycle chasing after the Joker, who is having sadistic, destructive fun driving an 18-wheeler through the streets of Gotham. I wonder how the special effects guys achieved the realistic results when Batman ties the truck up with rope and causes it to flip over in one sudden, breathtaking moment. Not to be outdone by the damage he has caused, Batman proceeds to swiftly drive up the wall of a building, and just as quickly flip back over to drive back to meet the Joker face to face.

The Dark Knight is a movie that stands alone in many respects: the high caliber performances, the ridiculously good special effects, the non-stop intensity. In one way, though, it reminds me of Spider Man 3 – the high villain count. In Spider Man 3, there was New Goblin, Sandman, Venom, and even Spider Man himself, when he turned into Evil Spiderman/Beatnik Peter Parker. That was a lot to keep track of, and it didn’t always work. The writers did a better job of keeping things straight in The Dark Knight. The connections among villains were made clear, with The Joker as the king of the bad guys, basically manipulating the rest of them, including Maroni and the other mob bosses, and Two-Face. The only one that seemed unnecessary was Scarecrow. Cillian Murphy barely had any screen time in that confusing scene involving ferocious dogs, a quick fight, and a couple of Batman wannabes. But there were plenty of other fight scenes and tense moments to make up for that one. Batman racing to save Rachel, the Joker’s cronies targeting the mayor at the memorial for the Commissioner, Batman fending off the misinformed SWAT team to protect the hostages on his way to stop the Joker’s master plan.

I could go on and on. This movie was that good, as most people know by now. I would be thrilled if Heath Ledger is nominated for his acting role. It is just tragic that such a fine actor died so young, and that he won’t be around to reprise this amazing performance. I’m wondering how the movie crew will handle the next movie. Will they recast the Joker (seems impossible) or go in a totally new direction with a new villain? According to this article, Johnny Depp is rumored to be pegged to take the role of the Riddler. Seems like a good fit to me.


Twilight: It’s Not Just for Teens August 22, 2008

Filed under: Books — Emily @ 12:26 pm
Tags: , , , ,

A teenage girl falls madly in love with a strikingly handsome, mysterious boy at her school. The fact that he’s a vampire adds some complications to their relationship. That is the premise of Twilight, the first of a four-novel series for young adults by Stephenie Meyer. It sounds awfully similar to Buffy the Vampire Slayer (one of my favorite television shows ever), but it’s actually quite different.

I just finished reading the book, and while it was far from a Pulitzer award-worthy, there was a lot to like:

  • The Vampire Mythology – I have always been interested in the vampire genre, whether it be books, movies, or television. (Remember Fright Night from the ’80s? I was totally there. As I was for Buffy, Angel, and every vampire-centric episode of The X-Files.) The standard stuff of vampire legend doesn’t all hold true in the world of Twilight (such as has no reflection in a mirror, must sleep in a coffin, can’t stand sunlight). I was intrigued by the different spin that Meyer puts on vampire lore. I won’t mention any details here, since part of the fun of reading the book was discovering what Edward was capable of, how he became a vampire, etc.
  • The Teenager in Love Motif – As I read this book, I couldn’t help but see something of my own teenage self in Bella Swan. Since she is the narrator, we’re able to know what she’s thinking, and in typical teenager fashion, much of her thought process is over dramatic and obsessive. Especially in the first part of the story, when she’s trying to figure Edward out, she analyzes every move he makes, tries to interpret the slightest of movements or the briefest of conversations. That was totally me 15 years ago, and is probably most teenage girls. They tend to get caught up in their own little universe, and the drama that unfolds therein. This aspect of the novel was nostalgic for me, adding to the fun of reading it.
  • The Setting and Atmosphere – Most of the story takes place in Forks, Washington, a place where the sun rarely shines and the rain seldom stops. This sort of gloomy atmosphere is perfect for an angst-ridden vampire and the introspective girl who loves him.
  • It’s a fun, easy read – Sometimes you just want something mindless and escapist to read. This teen fantasy thriller is just that. Last night as I was finishing up Twilight, my husband was reading Cormac McCarthy’s The Road. He kept saying how depressing it was, and then he read a sentence aloud to me that rambled on about a falcon killing a crane and carrying its lifeless body over the barren landscape of post-apocalyptic America . Now I think McCarthy is a fantastic writer, and I plan to read more of his books (I started with No Country for Old Men). However, sometimes you want more feel-good thrills, and less disturbing carnage and mayhem. So while Twilight isn’t as elaborate and well done as another “not just for young adults” series – Harry Potter – it’s still worth reading.

I look forward to reading the second, third, and fourth installments of this trilogy in the near future. I also plan to watch the movie adaptation that will be released in November. Should be more escapist fun!


Eyes of Laura Mars: Campy 70s Thriller August 20, 2008

Filed under: Movies — Emily @ 8:13 am
Tags: , , ,

John Carpenter. Faye Dunaway. Tommy Lee Jones. What do these three distinct, seemingly unrelated names have in common? They were all involved in a 1978 movie called Eyes of Laura Mars. I had never heard of this movie before I came across it on HD-Movie Net. I was willing to give it a look when I read the intriguing premise: “an acclaimed photographer begins to see through the eyes of a serial killer.”

1978, the year of my birth. And what an over the top, campy movie I share that year with. To expand on the premise a bit, Laura Mars is a fashion photographer who is making headlines with her latest project: photos of models posed in violent, dangerous, and macabre situations, many set up to look like crime scenes. The trouble begins when people involved in the project (her book publisher, her publicist, some of the models, etc.) start turning up dead. Even worse, Ms. Mars is “witnessing” these murders as she goes into sudden trances during which she sees what the killer is seeing. As the movie progresses, she tries to help the police discover the killer before he comes after her or any more of her colleagues.

I was thoroughly entertained by the movie, but there was a lot to laugh at, despite it being a thriller. One reason I enjoy watching movies from the 70s and 80s is to see the cultural differences: the clothes, the hair, the music, and even the language. It’s also fun to see recognizable actors in their earlier roles.

Eyes of Laura Mars is a movie that doesn’t disappoint when it comes to capturing late 70s culture. In particular, the photo shoot scenes were quite a spectacle, giving the models a chance to strut around to disco tunes (including “Shake Your Booty” and “Boogie Nights”) while wearing very skimpy outfits. I’m sure it was all very hip for its time, but now these scenes come across as super cheeseball. Also campy are the scenes in which Laura Mars goes into her trance-like state while witnessing the murders. The music is over the top. The edges of the picture are blurred to create the effect of looking through someone’s eyes (as in Being John Malkovich). And Faye Dunaway’s panicked screaming could win her a Razzie.

Yes, Faye Dunaway plays the main character, Laura Mars. She is nearly unrecognizable, compared to the older, more plastic Faye Dunaway that I am familiar with. Despite her exaggerated acting, she was well cast as the glamorous, self-assured, artsy photographer. She was beautiful in this movie.

Tommy Lee Jones plays John Neville, the detective assigned to the case. It is interesting to watch his relationship with Laura Mars evolve. I’m sure this movie isn’t one of Mr. Jones’ proudest moments, but he did an admirable job with the part. And I couldn’t get over how young he looked! I always enjoy watching movies that he is in.

There were a few other actors that I recognized. Brad Dourif played a shifty-eyed chauffeur. He has been in many movies, including the Lord of the Rings Trilogy (he was Grima Wormtongue). He is also the voice of Chucky the doll in the Child’s Play movies. I also recognized Rene Auberjonois, as Laura’s friend and manager Donald. He has done a lot of voice over work, but he may be well known by some for his role as Clayton Endicott on the sitcom Benson, and as Odo on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. And finally, Raul Julia played Laura’s ex-husband. I knew Raul Julia best for his role as Gomez Adamms in the early 90s Adamms Family movies. I am sure he starred in much better movies, though, before his untimely death at age 54.

Is this movie worth watching? Sure, if you have extra time on your hands. There are some plot holes, and there’s never an explanation for why Laura Mars has visions of the murders. But, it keeps you guessing until the very end. John Carpenter wrote the screenplay, and despite the campy 70s moments, there is also plenty of suspense. I would say it’s one of his better screenplays – better than his much more well known Halloween movies.

I’ll leave you with this tidbit. Today’s suspense movies typically end with some edgy guitar-based song or creepy sounding music. Not Eyes of Laura Mars. As the credits roll, the audience is serenaded by Barbra Streisand, singing “Prisoner.” Weird stuff.


All the Pretty Horses: A Twisted Western August 19, 2008

Before I watched All the Pretty Horses last night, my uninformed opinion of this movie had always been that it was a chick flick western. This opinion was no doubt shaped by the movie ads picturing Matt Damon and Penelope Cruz surrounded by fluffy clouds and a romantic sunset – something straight off the cover of a romance novel. After actually watching the movie, I can safely say it was very far from a chick flick.

I continue to be surprised by my recent interest in Westerns. Although this one wasn’t quite as good as 3:10 to Yuma (the new version starring Christian Bale and Russell Crowe), this Billy Bob Thornton directed adaptation of Cormac McCarthy’s novel was surprisingly engaging and well done.

After watching the most recent adaptation of a Cormac McCarthy novel, No Country for Old Men, I won’t be surprised by any amount of violence in a movie based on his work. However, I wasn’t expecting to be so disturbed by this movie. A film whose title refers to beautiful animals doesn’t seem like the type that should feature several gruesome, jolting scenes. But it does just that.

This movie almost plays out like a serialized story. At the beginning it feels like an adventure, but subsequent parts involve sudden shifts into romance, coming of age, survival, etc. If I were to categorize it, I’d have to call it an epic.

The movie features a great cast of familiar faces. Matt Damon is the headliner, and although the movie was filmed in 2000 when he was already 30, he looks very young. (He should, since he’s playing a teenager.) Damon’s character, John Cole, sets out with his friend Lacey, hoping to find work on a ranch in Mexico. Lacey is played by Henry Thomas, best known for his role as Elliott in E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial. He also played one of Brad Pitt’s brother’s in Legends of the Fall. John and Lacey encounter Jimmy Blevins, a brave and reckless teen, on their way to Mexico. Jimmy is played by Lucas Black. I think Black is the most impressive actor in this movie. He has been acting since he was very young. I remember seeing him on the short-lived and creepy television show American Gothic. (Anyone remember the promos that featured a little girl repeating the phrase “someone’s at the door” in a monotone voice?) And perhaps his best known role is as the little boy opposite Billy Bob Thornton in Sling Blade. I’m guessing that helped him get the role in this Thornton directed film.

Much of the movie focuses on the relationship among these three young men, but the main focus remains on Damon’s character, as we see him develop feelings for Alejandra (played by Penelope Cruz), have his will tested, and be forced to grow up fast. It seems misleading that Cruz was featured so prominently in the movie ads, since, as I mentioned before, the love story is somewhat of a subplot. Whatever sells tickets, I suppose… In my opinion, this romance between John and Alejandra was the least developed part of the movie.

While the movie is well done and entertaining, it does have its faults. At times, particularly in the second half, the story gets muddled down in some bizarre scenes in which, as a viewer, I didn’t know whether I was watching hallucinations, a dream, or a grim reality. Some things were never explained, leaving me frustrated at the end.

I do recommend this movie to anyone interested in seeing an out of the ordinary Western. From the beautiful scenery to the sudden shifts in plot, it is well worth two hours of your time.


Settling In to Olympic Fever August 15, 2008

Filed under: Memories,Television — Emily @ 2:22 pm

Mary Lou Retton scores a perfect 10. Greg Louganis hits his head on the diving board. Nancy Kerrigan participates despite being clubbed in the leg. Mohammed Ali lights the Olympic torch. Kerri Strug overcomes an injury to win the gold. These are some of the memories I have of the Olympics of the 80s and 90s.

For the past ten years, however, I haven’t really watched the international sporting event. That has changed this summer, partly because there’s nothing else to watch, but mostly because they are entertaining. Why the ten year hiatus? I forgot that there are sports in the world other than basketball, football, baseball, and tennis that are worth watching. Maybe it was the bloated presentation of gymnastics and figure skating every single weekend that made me grow weary of them. Perhaps I grew cynical about the “very special back story” that each Olympian seemed to have. During the Winter Olympics, I was annoyed that the games interrupted my favorite shows.

For all those reasons that I lost interest in the games, this summer I have recaptured my joy in watching them, and have fully embraced the Olympic spirit. The Opening Ceremonies were truly a sight to behold. I was amazed and awed by the sheer size and attention to detail that the Chinese put into it. From the 800 sequenced drummers counting down the opening minute, to the grace and beauty of the dancers who drew giant Chinese characters while moving their arms rhythmically, to the grand finale of the former Olympian being lifted up and then running through the air around the stadium to finally light the cauldron, I was overwhelmed both visually and emotionally.

Over the past seven days, I have watched everything from kayaking to tennis to beach volleyball, and while some sports are more entertaining than others, I am glad that these athletes have a chance to be seen by the world. Just today I watched a bit of a badminton doubles’ match. The most I know of this sport is what I learned in my high school P.E. class. (Strange that they make us play sports that most of us will never try again.) While it isn’t the most interesting thing to an American audience, I was impressed by the speed and coordination of the players.

Now that the gymnastics is wrapping up, track & field is getting into full swing, while swimming seems to be continuing its never ending series of heats, semi-finals, and medal rounds. Can’t wait for more diving!

Rather than go into detail about everything I’ve seen, here are some random observations:

  • Swimmers have unusually shaped upper torsos, an effect of the hours they spend in the water and training, I suppose. Some of them almost look like fish.
  • A world record has been broken in just about every swimming event. It’s not even exciting anymore. Either the world’s swimmers are becoming super human, or these records are only being broken by milliseconds.
  • The gymnastics commentators are really annoying to listen to, but they are also fun to mimic. (“That’s gonna cost her.” “Devastating. His Olympic dreams just got smashed.”) So much melodrama!
  • There’s no way all those Chinese gymnasts are 16. Some of them don’t look any older than 10! So it seems wrong that they won all those gold medals if they broke the rules. Plus it’s just wrong that they take those girls away from their families at age 3. Weird. I don’t think anything is important enough to be separated from your family long term from such a young age.
  • Discus throwers don’t have to be in great shape. They just have to be able to throw stuff. (Kudos to them for that, though. Not many people could throw that heavy little disc near to where they do.)

I look forward to watching more obscure sports, and some popular ones, over the next several days.


When There’s Nothing Else, Talk About the Weather August 14, 2008

Filed under: Memories — Emily @ 4:55 pm

I’m not quite sure what to do with my free time now that So You Think You Can Dance has ended. Other topics have crossed my mind, and I may get around to them eventually, but for now, I choose to talk about… the weather.

Why can’t a blog be like any conversation? When you can’t think of anything else to say, you can always talk about how great or lousy the weather is. Today I went to the Dallas Zoo, and although it wasn’t as hot as it has been (think 105 with a heat index of 110), it was still quite humid and toasty in the low 90s. The “awesome” thing about Dallas is that even when the temp drops 15 degrees from what it has been, you can still count on the humidity to kick in and give you a nice layer of sticky sweat.

So, imagine how ecstatic I was when I checked out the 10-day forecast and discovered that next Tuesday, they are predicting that the high will be 76 degrees! What? In August? The high will be 76? We don’t usually even hit that for a low this time of year, since it normally stay in the low 80s at night. The predicted low for that day is 71. I will believe it when I see it, but for now at least I have something to look forward to next week, other than the miserable heat.

I already have visions of picnics and walks at the nature preserve dancing in my head, as well as opening the windows at my house, sitting outside to read a book. If it’s really in the mid 70s, it will feel like a fall day! The one downside is that the reason it will be so cool is that it will probably be raining. I’ll take a cool rain any day over 100 degrees and hot, dry air.

That’s all I have to say. Does anyone reading this want to brag about the great weather they are having right now? What place in the U.S. is pleasant this time of year?