Jane Gross, who writes on aging for the New York Times, shows the current state of our broken Elder Care system in A Bitter-Sweet Season. Gross uses her own mother’s decline and death as a case study to make her arguments. Gross’s mother was in her 80s, living independently in Florida when a tumor was found on her spine. Jane Gross and her brother, Michael, move their mother to an assisted living center near them in New York City. From the beginning, things go wrong and the Grosses make Bad Decisions despite their Good Intentions. Moving their mother north meant finding new doctors. Doctors tend not to take on elderly patients covered by Medicare. Jane Gross’s mother’s health care was a jumble of specialists and fragmented testing. ER visits became more numerous. The spiral of more health problems got worse.
If you want a book to help you understand our current, lame, healthcare system A Bitter-Sweet Season accomplishes this in detail. Medicaid, Medicare, long-term health insurance plans, living wills, health care proxies, and dozens of other topics are explored in detail. By seeing the mistakes Jane Gross and her brother made in trying to care for their aging parent, we can all learn how to do it better. And we can start to plan for our own aging issues so that we don’t burden our children or relatives with draconian decisions. GRADE: A
Nikita: The Complete First Season comes out today and you can bet that my copy should be arriving UPS from AMAZON. Yes, this version of Nikita had some lame episodes mostly due to poor scripts. Hopefully, the scripts for Season Two, which will start on the CW in a few weeks, will be upgraded. I’m a fan of Maggie Q and I hope she has more to do this season that just blow things up and kill Bad Guys. She has way more talent than that. This series has plenty of potential with spies, terrorists, and political chicanery. If you haven’t checked out Nikita, this box set is one option.
Tonight I’ll watch The Closer on TNT, but I won’t be watching the program that follows, Rizzoli & Isles. Last season, the focus of Rizzoli & Isles tended to be on police work. But this season, with Rizzoli’s Mom’s divorce and the “cutsy” girlie talk between Rizzoli & Isles, my interest in the program plummeted. Call it the BURN NOTICE Effect: when the lead character’s Mom and dopey brother started to dominate the plot, I stopped watching that program, too. If you’re going to have a spy program, it should be about spies. If you’re going to have a cop show, it should be about cops solving crimes. Bringing in family issues and dating strategies only accentuates the vacuous nature of this season’s plots. So even though I like Angie Harmon and Sasha Alexander I can’t bear to watch another episode.
Ebert Presents At the Movies is a far cry from the original Siskel and Ebert production. This new incarnation features Christy Lemire, a film critic for The Associated Press, and Ignatiy Vishnevetsky, a critic and essayist for MUBI.com, co-founder of the acclaimed Cine-File.info, and a contributor to The Chicago Reader. I enjoyed Christy and Ignatiy’s choices for “Worst Movies of 2011 (So Far)” which you can view here. I would add One Day to their lists.
BBC America is running a Doctor Who Marathon this weekend. If you’re a Doctor Who fan or if you’re curious about what all the fuss is about, I’d urge you to set your DVR and get caught up on these recent episodes. I like Matt Smith, the 11th Doctor. I like his companion, the fetching Amy Pond (played by Karen Gillan) even more. Redhead fans, take note! At 9:00 P. M. EDT, BBC America plans to broadcast a new episode of Doctor Who. You know I’ll be watching.
Red Lights opens on a Labor Day weekend. A husband and wife from Long Island are driving to Maine to pick up their son and daughter at Walla Walla Summer Camp. But the trip veers sharply into noir when the husband insists on stopping along the way for a drink in a bar. His wife fumes. When the husband stops for the second time for another drink, the wife leaves a note saying she’s taking a bus to Maine. Simenon ratchets up the suspense with an escaped convict from Sing Sing prison changing this couple’s lives forever. This isn’t Maigret material. It’s much darker. If you’re in the mood for walk on the wild side, Red Lights will take you there.
The Ike & Tina Turner Story is a 3-CD collection that includes all the significant music this duo produced from 1960-1975. Tina Turner went on to enjoy a successful solo career. “Proud Mary,” “Honky Tonk Women,” “I Want to Take You Higher,” “I Heard It Through the Grapevine,” “Get Back,” “Son of A Preacher Man,” and all of the hits that made Ike & Tina famous will take you back to a Happier Time. AMAZON offers this box set for $14.95 which I consider a bargain for 49 songs.
1. A Fool In Love
2. I Idolize You
3. I’m Jealous
4. It’s Gonna Work Out Fine
5. Poor Fool
6. Don’t Play Me Cheap
7. Tra La La La La
8. You Shoulda Treated Me Right
9. Good Good Lovin’
10. Stagger Lee and Billy
11. Two Is a Couple
12. I’m Blue (The Gong-Gong Song)
13. I Can’t Believe What You Say
14. A Fool For A Fool
15. Something’s Got A Hold On Me – (live)
16. Tell Her I’m Not Home
17. Finger Poppin’
18. I’m Gonna Do All I Can (To Do Right By My Man)
19. River Deep Mountain High – (live)
1. The Hunter
2. I’ve Been Loving You Too Long
3. Bold Soul Sister
4. Come Together
5. Honky Tonk Women
6. I Want To Take You Higher
7. Workin’ Together
8. Proud Mary
9. Get Back
10. Ooh Poo Pah Doo
11. I’m Yours (Use Me Any Way You Wanna)
12. Up In Heah
13. Feel Good
14. Early One Morning
15. Nutbush City Limits
16. Sexy Ida (Part 1)
17. Sweet Rhode Island Red
18. Baby Get It On
19. Acid Queen – (with Tina Turner)
1. Intro / Soul Serenade
2. Everyday People
3. Gimme Some Lovin’ / Sweet Soul Music
4. Son Of A Preacher Man
5. I Heard It Through The Grapevine
7. There Was A Time / African Boo’s
8. Funky Street
9. A Fool In Love
10. All I Could Do Was Cry / Please, Please, Please / Baby, I Love You
11. Goodbye, So Long
As I kid, I loved the Green Lantern comic books. My favorite superhero was The Flash, but Green Lantern was a close second. If you’re not familiar with DC Comics superheros, Green Lantern is really test pilot Hal Jordan. When Jordan is chosen to become the Green Lantern on Earth, he’s given a ring of power that allows Jordan to do anything he can imagine. However, the ring needs to be recharged every 24 hours and is ineffective against the color yellow. A society of Green Lanterns work together to police the Universe. The recent Green Lantern movie showed the galactic scope of the Green Lanterns. This DVD of Green Lantern’s animated adventures is a fun experience if you’re into nostalgia (like me). GRADE: B+
Diane is a big fan of A Prairie Home Companion and Garrison Keillor so when we found out “The Summer Love Tour” of A Prairie Home Companion was performing at Artpark in Lewiston, NY (home of Hibbard’s frozen custard), I bought tickets. If you’re a fan of Garrison Keillor, you probably know that after his heart attack, he’s announced his retirement. I’m guessing this will be the final performance of Keillor in A Prairie Home Companion that will ever be seen in Western New York. And, a fine performance it was! Garrison Keillor, The Guy’s All-Star Shoe Band, sound-effects man Mr. Fred Newman, and singer Heather Masse entertained a sold-out theater for almost three hours. My favorite moments were when Keillor and Masse sang “Unchained Melody,” “All You Have to Do Is Dream,” and Dylan’s “If Not For You.” If The Summer Love Tour is appearing in your neighborhood, I highly recommend it.