Jason Bourne Movie Review

(barely) 4 out of 5 stars if you’re caught up on the series

3 out of 5 stars if you’ve never seen a Bourne movie

Bourne-970-80Jason Bourne (played by Matt Damon) is the fifth movie in the Bourne franchise, and satisfactorily ties up some important lingering plot points.  It’s a solid movie and I had a good time.  Tommy Lee Jones plays the antagonist, and is, of course, wonderful in any role he plays.  There was a scene where you may wonder if you’ve entered the Marvel universe as one of the characters seems to have super healing powers like Wolverine, but no, this is just more of Hollywood’s recent determination to be totally ignorant of the basics of human biology.  If you’ve seen all the other Bourne movies and enjoyed them, you should watch this one; if you haven’t watched the others, don’t watch this one — watch the first movie instead:  The Bourne IdentityThe Bourne Identity is a solid 5 out of 5.

These criticisms are aimed at Bourne movie fans:

  • Nothing new developed in terms of Jason Bourne’s personality, character or skill set.
  • As played by Matt Damon, Bourne seemed world weary with none of the innocence and goodness in the earlier movies, which makes sense, but being less complex and sympathetic was somewhat distancing.  There was one attempt to show complexity and a hint of goodness in Bourne, but it wasn’t well done and irritated me, but it passes quickly.
  • The choreography and imagination of the hand to hand combat scenes was not as good as in the first two Bourne movies, but since no other movie has matched them either, that’s not such a bad criticism.
  • The car chase scenes were just that.  It was all done before.

Boy, that list sounds dreary!  Not so, it’s just that the movie pales in comparison to the truly great The Bourne Identity, and for me the emotional connection was dependent on the earlier movies.  Waiting to watch it on T.V. would have been okay, but there is a lot of action — not stellar but better than most — and that always looks better on the big screen.

Trivia:  The book The Bourne Identity was part of a trilogy by Robert Ludlum in the 1980s, the other two books being The Bourne Supremacy and The Bourne Ultimatum.  I recall they were excellent.

— Jenny Tennant

Hen Setting on Chicks on a Roost

This is a new one on me.  I’d shut their pen expecting them to go into the main coop, but no, that did not happen.  The “chicks” are over a month old and can fly better than adult birds, but mom is still looking out for them.  One didn’t fly up and is wandering around cheeping, so now I have to go out with a flashlight and try to catch it and put it up with the rest.


Today’s Harvest

To the left is this morning’s harvest — yesterday I picked tomatoes and cucumbers.

I had to harvest all of the fennel because some of it was starting to rot — we’ve had rain almost everyday and sometimes heavy for about two weeks — and it was also starting to bolt.  I’ll update the Growing Fennel post with lessons learned.

The yields on the blackberries, okra and jalapeno peppers are increasing.

Another cobbler has been made and is cooling, the fennel has been processed and frozen, and I’m not sure what to do with all of the peppers as we still have hot sauce left over from last year.

Suicide Squad Movie Review

4 out of 5 stars

maxresdefaultThis movie was great fun!  I liked the suicide squad characters, their introductions, how they related to each other, and changed over the course of the movie.  Dark people with dark pasts, but brave, and a bit of unreliable goodness in them from time to time.  Yes, Harley Quinn, to the left, was my favorite.

The villain, which is a frequent flaw in movies lately, was too empty — killing and causing pain had no emotional pull for the villain.  This was true in the last Star Trek movie (Star Trek Beyond), the last X-man movie (X-Men:  Apocalypse), and Superman vs Batman: Dawn of Justice.  Writers and directors are trying to replace visceral Silence of the Lambs style evil with mass killings of people the audience doesn’t know, CGI special effects of power and pyrotechnics.  In this case they also added dirt and weird body movements but it was not enough.

The central love story was not compelling, but it didn’t get much screen time so that wasn’t much of a loss.  On the other hand, the interaction between Harley and the Joker worked for me, was interesting and got more screen time even though it was a sub-plot to the main story.

However, the main reason to go is to see the freaky bad-heroes, and I would go see it again just to see them romp (which is the definition of a 4-star review).  They were all entertaining, but the standouts were Will Smith’s Deadshot, Margot Robie’s Harley Quinn and Jay Hernandez’s Diablo.

Jared Leto did a good job on the Joker with what he had — a credible and amusing Joker — but what the writers gave him to work with did not allow him to emote evil with anywhere near the same intensity as Heath Ledger in The Dark Knight.  Again, a fundamental problem with understanding how to make skin-crawling, horrifying evil.  Maybe this is a skill-set writers and directors should contract out.  However, the Joker was unlikable and Leto did try really hard to be unlikable during his method acting phases:  Will Smith was not pleased.

Will Smith On Jared Leto’s Joker: “I Don’t Like Jared Leto”

Perhaps we should all be glad, especially Will Smith, that Jered Leto was not going for evil after all.

Stay until after the credits, if you’re at all invested in the DC universe.

— Jenny Tennant




Canoeing with Dogs

Today we went canoeing with all four dogs on the Monongahela river — a totally new experience for Pepper Pot and Griz (miniature schnauzers) and Ava (min schnauzer basset hound mix).  Molly (cairn terrier) has been on the river many times (and tractors, four-wheelers and even motorcycles).  Though the newbies rushed from sided to side looking at this and that, they failed to turn the boat over.  When we were as far up-river as we planned to go, they were all washed with soap and taken out from the bank enough so they had to swim a little.  Then we called to them, but only Griz voluntarily swam out from shore and she did it many times.  Ava and Pepper wanted to be brave enough, but were not.  Molly was asleep in the canoe, disdaining to participate with the interlopers.  For part of the trip back Ava had her front legs wrapped around me and her head hidden in my shirt — she clearly thought the whole experience was extremely stressful!

Too Many Cucumbers Blue Cheese Dip

UPDATE:  Not all blue cheeses are the same.  The recipe below used Danish blue cheese.  Later I tried Stilton, and also Amish blue cheese,  and was very disappointed.  Obviously (in hindsight) less flavorful blue cheeses must have a higher proportion in the recipe.  Taste the blue cheese first, and then add it to the final recipe to get the flavor that you want.


Necessity being the mother of invention, I came up with this dip, because (duh) I had too many cucumbers.  Cucumber salad gets old fast!  But you can eat enough cucumbers to get into caloric trouble this (and let’s not even consider eating it with fries).


1 part mayonnaise

1 part cottage cheese

1 part blue cheese (crumbled)

1/2 part buttermilk or sour cream or plain yogurt

season salt to taste

Food process for 30 seconds

My go-to season salt for most things, including this dip, is Penzeys Spices’ Ruth Ann’s Muskego Ave Chicken/Fish Seasoning

Removing Skunk Spray, and Cat and Dog Urine Smell

160808 hh-animals-skunk-2This recipe will chemically bond with the sulfur containing chemicals (thiols) that make the odor in skunk spray.  However, it also works beautifully to remove the smell of cat and dog urine from carpets.  Having spotted a skunk in a hen pen one recent night, it seemed like a good idea to look up the recipe and make sure I had the ingredients on hand.  Then I smelled cat urine in the hall.  When I removed the offensive hall carpet, I found what was likely dog pee in several spots.  Gaaa!  Can’t blame the cat as the hall was clearly the in-house animal toilet.  Here is the recipe I just used — to great success — over the past few days, and on skunky dogs in the past:

1 quart hydrogen peroxide

1/4 cup baking soda

squirt dish-washing liquid

Use immediately and do not bottle as the bottle could explode.  The dish-washing liquid is very important for the skunk spray as it breaks up the oils that might otherwise block the desired chemical reaction.

In the case of a skunk-sprayed dog, it’s not necessary to wash the dog with this solution.  Rather sponge the dog all over and leave the solution on the dog to let the reaction take place.  Keep out of dog’s eyes; have clean water handy to immediately and thoroughly rinse out if it gets in the dog’s eyes.  Re-sponge stubborn or missed places as needed.  I successfully, in an emergency, de-skunked a 75 pound dog with a quarter cup of the solution, but if possible be far more liberal with the sponging.  Then rinse out the solution and wash the dog as soon as the smell is gone, which happens almost immediately and will certainly take less than a minute.

  • This may lighten the dog’s hair.  I have de-skunked a black dog and the lightening was minor — the more quickly the solution is removed, the better.
  • This may irritate your dog’s skin.  I have de-skunked at least five dogs with no issues, nor has it ever caused my hands to be irritated.

I have a dark green carpet this has been used on with no lightening at all; however, to be sure, first test the solution on a small part of carpet that can be lightened without distress.  If the result is unacceptable, you may try more or less baking soda in the recipe and do carpet tests.  I tried to locate the chemistry involved to help with this lightening issue, but failed.  Sodium hydroxide and carbonic acid seem likely to be products, but there is a lot of vigorous debate on what the reactions actually are, and no useful information on what the solution is immediately after mixed when it’s in a state of chemical transition.

I was low on baking soda this time, so used less baking soda than the recipe calls for, and was delighted with the results.  I mixed the solution in a watering can, watered the offensive areas liberally, and left it for 5-10 minutes.  Where there was dried urine, the solution foamed up, and where there wasn’t it didn’t.  Then I used a steam cleaner to pull everything out of the carpet, and then rinsed with an ammonia water solution.  After the carpet was dry there were still some darker discoloration so I repeated — this time with much less foaming — and may have another go this weekend.  I think it makes sense to let the carpet dry between cleaning efforts.  I figure when there is zero foaming, my job will be done.

We’ve also set up a deer camera in the hall.

Myth busters did a show on Skunk Smell Removal.