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As Mother’s Day Approaches, Linda Ballou Recalls Her Recent Visit to “Mom’s Meadow” – And Delivering the Fruitcake

April 22nd, 2021

By Linda Ballou, NABBW’s Adventure Travel Associate After eleven years, I decided it was time to deliver the fruitcake my mother had sent me in 2009 just before she passed away. Mom’s Meadow I would take it to the meadow where I had scattered her ashes. I had kept it in my freezer (even through a severe downsizing) because I just couldn’t bear to throw it out. Her fruitcake was much too heavy for me to eat, and I didn’t want to give it to anyone. Taking it to where she rested seemed a logical thing to do. The day could not have been more gorgeous. White clouds smeared across... Read More

Addiction Nation (Review: Crisis)

April 22nd, 2021

“Crisis” is streaming on Prime Years ago, I was driving to the low-pay, high-stress job I held at the time. I turned my head to check my blind spot and, being an imbecile, I somehow screwed up my back.* The pain was quite serious, so much so that I got to work, then reconsidered and went to an ER. After the ER doctor helpfully concluded that I tweaked my back, he gave me a prescription for Codeine and sent me home. I remember how it felt once the Codeine took effect. I felt like I was literally melting into my chair, and I was so relaxed that the Manson Family could have burst through... Read More

Giant Animal Smashy-Smashy (Review: Godzilla vs. Kong)

April 8th, 2021

Godzilla vs. Kong is streaming on HBO Max There are those of you who might scoff at the idea of intentionally watching a Godzilla movie. I’m not implying that you’re the stereotypical snob, one reclined in a leather wingback chair, sipping a mug of Earl Grey and desperate to return to leafing through the pages of Ulysses for the seventh time. What I am saying is that you might think you have something, literally anything, better to do than that. Want to take the idea of a giant lizard stomping on people seriously for a moment? There’s a precedent. First, watch the OG Godzilla from 1954. It’s... Read More

Gods Among Us (Review: Zack Snyder’s Justice League)

March 26th, 2021

Zack Snyder’s Justice League is streaming on HBO Max Second chances don’t come around too often. That’s just as true in the movie business as it is anywhere else.* For filmmaker Zack Snyder, his 2017 film Justice League seemed to be firmly in the rear view mirror. Can you blame him? The Marvel Cinematic Universe had producer Kevin Feige coordinating everything. The MCU made money — lots of it. Warner Bros. very quickly realized that a) they owned the rights to the DC comics characters and b) they also loved money. In short order, they rushed to create the competing DC Extended Universe.... Read More

Shoot, Stab, Repeat (Review: Boss Level)

March 19th, 2021

Boss Level is streaming on Hulu In the world of Hollywood, it can take time for a genre to emerge. That’s mostly due to the overwhelming cowardice lurking throughout the entertainment industry. If you have a novel idea for a movie, say, an action flick where the hero is scared and tired, or a series of films that create an interconnected cinematic universe, the vast number of executives will pass on it before you can finish your first sentence. It took a minute for time loop movies to catch on. Groundhog Day wasn’t the first. As best as I can figure, the first time loop movie was The Girl... Read More

Down The Road (Review: Nomadland)

March 3rd, 2021

Nomadland is streaming on Hulu The nature of the world is to change. It’s always been so, despite our best efforts to push back against it. Some of us, one percent or so, have the financial means to handle anything. If the economy tanks or they have a health crisis, their limitless coffers allow them to bob gently on the surface of the water. Meanwhile, people like me, and possibly you, live a different kind of existence. Right now, my family is comfortable-ish. We can pay our bills, occasionally order takeout, sometimes feed the needs of our charmingly avaricious son, and even put a little... Read More

In Writing ‘Embrace of the Wild,’ Linda Ballou Hopes to Turn Covid-19’s Lemons to Zesty Limoncello

February 24th, 2021

By Linda Ballou, NABBW’s Adventure Travel Associate In writing Embrace of the Wild I hope to have turned the lemons of Covid-19 into limoncello—a zesty elixir that excites and satisfies the senses. In early 2020, I returned from a whirlwind tour of Australia just in time for the Covid-19 lockdown. I was grateful to be back on U.S. soil, but in shock to see the streets of downtown Los Angeles empty. A new world order was upon us. I had no idea how long this was to last, but I did know my travel wings were clipped and I needed to do something to save my sanity. According to many a centenarian,... Read More

Travel Wings Clipped by Pandemic, Adventure Travel Writer Linda Ballou Pens Historical Novel About Equestrian Explorer Lady Isabella Lucy Bird: Embrace of the Wild

February 22nd, 2021

I was not initially familiar with the story of Englishwoman Lady Isabella Lucy Bird, so I didn’t know what to expect when I began reading Linda Ballou’s newest book, Embrace of the Wild: Inspired by Equestrian Explorer Isabella Bird. However I was lucky enough to read it just days after publication, and am pleased to tell you a little bit about the book. Right up front, let me say I was gifted this copy because Linda Ballou, an adventure travel writer, is NABBW’s Adventure Travel Associate, and writes a regular column about her travels for the National Association of Baby Boomer... Read More

Details, Details (Review: The Little Things)

February 17th, 2021

The Little Things is streaming on HBOMax Hey, you! You, the person who just dropped a few hundred bucks on screenwriting software and who bought a veritable library of books on how to write a winning script. You, the person who was struck by a (potentially misguided) bolt of motivation to roll up your sleeves and bang out a screenplay about a serial killer. Maybe…don’t? Look, don’t get me wrong, pretty much as long as there have been movies, there have been movies about disturbing maniacs who prey on the innocent. Fritz Lang’s M had to do with a child murderer in Berlin, and it was... Read More

Nice Guys (Review: Promising Young Woman)

February 16th, 2021

Promising Young Woman is streaming on Prime They said he came from a respectable family. Regarding his character, they said he was kind, loving, and respectful. By all accounts, he had a bright future ahead of him in the medical field, and a spot on the U.S. Olympic Swim Team beckoned. On January 17, 2015, the vast majority of people would have thought that Brock Turner was going places. A promising young man, indeed. Twenty-four hours later, he was under arrest. Not long after that, he was facing two charges of rape, two charges of felony sexual assault, and one charge of attempted rape. There... Read More

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