100 Notable Books of 2015


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João Fazenda, NYTimes

And the season of (best/worst) lists has begun.

While we await the best (?) list of all — MillersTime Readers Favorite Reads of 2015 — hint, hint, reminder, reminder), here’s an early look at the Times 100 Notable Reads of 2015.

Despite my love of reading and my freedom to read at will, I’ve only read six of them (A Little Life, Hanya Yanagihara, The Meursault Investigation, Karnel Daoud, The Sympathizer, Viet Tanh Nguyen, Between the World & Me, Ta-Nehisi Coates, Ghettoside, Jill Leovy, and On the Move, Oliver Sacks).

Just one of these six is likely to make it to my favorites for 2015.

Plus, I’ve only even heard about three others (Purity, Franzen, Fates & Furies, Groff, and Jonas Salk, Jacobs). At least one of these I already know will show up on a MillersTime reader’s list.

Anyway, except for the wonderful nine of you who have already sent in your favorite reads this year, take this as a not-so-subtle reminder to make up your list and send it to me before Dec. 15th.


“Who Turned My Blue State Red?”


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Only occasionally do I post something about political issues.

Generally I find most of my ‘friends’ and ‘enemies’ are pretty set in their views about what is going on in our country, and the purpose of MillersTime is not to add to the disharmony that seems so present these day.

But when I do come across something that I find ‘of interest’ and think it may be equally so to others in both the categories mentioned above, I do post it in The Outer Loop and/or Articles of Interest sections of MillersTime.

And so today’s post of an article by Alec

The Balkans – “It’s Complicated”


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(“Sarajevo Rose” – Ellen Miller)

Now that Ellen’s Balkan photos are posted (The Balkans: Thru Ellen’s Lens), I can’t delay any longer trying to capture in writing a bit of our recent trip.

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And the Final Two Contest Winners Are…


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First, permit me a moment of digression:

davis_st2232_spts-15912-8840Photo by Jim Davis/Boston Globe

One of my father’s useful pieces of advice was “There’s a time to leave the party.”

David Ortiz seems to agree.

As he turned 40 yesterday, he announced that the 2016 MLB season would be his last. Despite having an excellent season in 2015 (BA – .273, HRs – 37, RBIs – 108), he has chosen to “leave the party” next year, and thus forgo a likely $11 million paycheck for 2017. (Don’t feel sorry for him, though, he made $16 million dollars last year and will do so again in his final season.)

Better to leave before the inevitable decline (Derek Jeter, for example, was not so wise).

As the picture above indicates, Ortiz was involved in all three of the Sox World Series victories, victories that would not have happened without him. Plus, he has given Sox fans endless opportunities to cheer and ward off that hopelessness and pessimism that all of us who have been raised to be obsessed with the Sox have had to endure.

Thank you Papi for all you’ve given us, and thank you for choosing a good time to leave the party.

Now, on to the original purpose for today’s post — announcing the final two winners of the 2015 MillersTime Baseball Contest.

The polls are closed, and your ballots have been counted.

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Calling for Your Most Favorite Reads in 2015


“A Best Friend Is Someone Who Gives Me a Book I’ve Never Read”- A. Lincoln

It’s that time of year again — when I request you share with other readers of MillersTime your most favorite books read over the past 12 months.

Here are a few guidelines that may help in drawing your list and in making my compilation easier:

*When I ask for your Most Favorite Reads of 2015, I’m seeking fiction and/or nonfiction books that stood out for you above all you’ve read in the past year. What have been the most enjoyable, the most important, the most thought provoking, the best written, the ones you may go back and read again, the ones you reread this year, and/or the ones you have suggested others read?

* You are welcome to send just one title or up to a half dozen or so. (Please limit your contributions to six as it takes me many hours to compile the list. For some of you this request may be difficult, but remember the request — MOST Favorite Reads of 2015.)

* List the title, the author, and indicate whether it is fiction (F) or nonfiction (NF).

* If you are willing, please write a sentence or two about why each particular book made it to your list for this year. If you prefer not to add this, no problem, but I’ve found readers enjoy the comments and use them in choosing books to read for the coming year.

* Don’t be concerned about whether others will have the same book(s) on their lists. If we get a number of similar titles, that’s just an indication of the power of a particular book/author.

* Your books do not have to be ones that were written and/or published in 2015, just ones that you read over the past year.

* Send me your list in an email (Samesty84@gmail.com) before Dec. 20 so I will be able to post the entire list at the end of the year. (If you send me your list soon, you may be able to avoid my constant email reminders to do so.)

To see previous years’ lists, click on any of these links: 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014.

A Winning Trade


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aac394a2ea3548f992caf4798605cda5-aac394a2ea3548f992caf4798605cda5-0The best trade, baseball and otherwise, is one that benefits both sides of a trade, imho.

If that is so, then I think the recent Sox-Padres trade meets that definition of a ‘best trade’.

While it really isn’t possible yet to evaluate either the short or long term outcome of what Drombrowski has done for/to the Sox, it seems to me that in one trade he’s drastically changed the Sox bullpen for the better – Tazawa in the 7th, Uehara in the 8th, and Kimbrel in the 9th.

The best evaluation of this trade is the one yesterday by Alex Speier. If you haven’t seen it, take a look: 108 Stitches.

Feel free to add to what he has to say in the Comments’ section of this MillersTime/GoSox post.

I don’t know how many of you follow Alex Speier’s 108 Stitches, but if you’re not getting his daily blog post sent to your email, consider doing so. Sometimes there’s more than even the most obsessed of you might want to know, but he’s always informative.

Five Good Films, Two Not So Good


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Four of the five good films mini-reviewed below are in theaters now, and one of the two not so good ones is also widely available around the country.

Labyrinth of Lies ****1/2


The time is 1958 and a low level young public prosecutor stumbles onto and pursues a story most of post WWII Germans want left alone — the participation and guilt of many Germans who were part of the Auschwitz holocaust.

Labyrinth of Lies is based on true events, but here it is a fictionalized account of what occurred. As Johann Radman (Alexander Feeling) proceeds on a lonely effort to expose war criminals, he meets stiff resistance from virtually everyone in Germany. They just want all of these issue left behind. Yet he perseveres.

Germany’s official entry into the foreign film category of the Oscars, Labyrinth of Lies tells the story of what one person can do, did do, and at what costs and with what results.

(More than 97 per cent of our Sunday Cinema Club rated this film either excellent or good.)

Bridge of Spies ****1/2

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Help Choose the Winner(s)


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Grind: Extra Fine (Small Circles & Effect: High Contrast), Brew: Color Gels (1/2 Pic & Full Blended Circles), Serve: Stirred (Flash Burn Tone & Brown Bag Texture)

Enough information is now in the record books that a winner can be chosen for the 2015 MillersTime Baseball Contest #2: Make a prediction about something that will happen during the 2015 MLB season.

Below you will see the 46 contestants’ predictions and whether they missed by a mile (20), had some truth in their prediction (16), or basically nailed something that happened (10).

The winners will be chosen by MillersTime readers (see below).

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Winners – 2015 MillersTime Baseball Contests


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That was a pretty good World Series, especially if you’re not a Metropolitans’ fan. But even they did surprisingly well this season. The Royals clearly were not to be denied and deserved the win. There’s something different about watching baseball when you don’t have a ‘dog in the fight.’

On to the winners of the 2015 MillersTime Baseball Contests.

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Twelve Films in Three Days – Philadelphia Film Festival


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PFF.1 Thanks to the encouragement and planning of long time friends, Ellen and I returned last weekend to Philly for its annual Film Festival. This time, between Thursday evening and late Sunday evening, we saw 12 films.

Many of these films are just now being shown in theaters across the country or will appear over the next six months. Many are subtitled, foreign films, some are documentary or documentary-like, and most are about women, families, or relationships that provided sobering assessments of the world, even though they were captivating films.

Here are brief notes on the 12, along with ratings by both Ellen and myself (five stars generally means an outstanding film, and anything rated below three stars, we clearly did not enjoy). We did not see each others’ ratings until I completed this post, but we did talk about the films with each other and with our friends throughout the weekend.

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Yes. You Can Go Home Again.


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Careful readers of MillersTime.net, assuming there are one or two, may remember three earlier posts (Thomas Wolfe Was Wrong, Home Is Only Two Blocks Away, and A Sad Apology) about our long time favorite Chinese ‘dive’ (Sam Wo’s) in San Francisco, it’s closing, and the hope that it would reopen or would resurrect itself in some way.

Also, one or two of you might remember that MillersTime ‘won’ the ‘prestigious’ Thommie Award for “outstanding literary work” on my blog” with articles on the topic of whether one could in fact go home again.

Well, I’m delighted to tell you that you can go home again (tho it might be a few blocks away from your previous home). Sam Wo’s has reopened in San Francisco under the same Ho family ownership and chef. Alas, its “world’s rudest waiter” (Edsel Ford Fung) has long since passed away, tho they are still looking for some night time help…

It’s new address is 713 Clay Street (a three minute walk or a 52 second drive from the former location at 813 Washington St.).

SamWo5While it’s actually been open since Oct. 2 for a preview and a ‘soft’ opening, it had a formal, ribbon cutting re-opening Wednesday, Oct. 21. For all the details about its opening, its new location, its hours, and other such details, see this article:

Sam Wo Restaurant Reopens Among Throngs Of Well-Wishers, Dignitaries

There is also a second article you might want to see if you want more details about the new/old Sam Wo’s:

13 Things to Know About the New Sam Wo

Since I unfortunately do not have any immediate plans to be in SF (tho I would consider a quick round trip flight there if the price was right), I would appreciate any on the spot reports from those of you who are lucky/smart enough to be in the neighborhood or close enough to check it out, (Hint: Sal, G., Tom P., Leslie K., Lance B., Land/Ping W., Larry M., Robin R., etc.)

PS – Maybe there’s hope. When I just told Ellen about this post, she said, “It’s time to go back to San Francisco.”

Now that’s the right attitude for a spouse to have.

Anyone want to join us at the new/old Sam Wo’s?

Maine: Thru Ellen’s Lens


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Six photos and a link to a slide show by Ellen Miller from a very recent four day trip to Maine.

Most of the photos were taken from the midcoast area, including Damariscotta Lake, Nobleboro, Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens, Marshall Point & Penquid Light House, the state parks of Camden and Portland, Round Pound and Rockport.







To see Ellen’s entire slide show (28 photos), use this link: Maine 2015 Slide Show.

For the best viewing, click on the little arrow at the top right of the first page to start the slide show and see all the photos in the largest size possible (use a laptop or desktop computer if you have access to either).

Breakfast, Lunch, & Dinner


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It is possible to have lobster three times a day.

At every meal.

Plus, a snack in between in case you can’t wait for the next meal.

On a very recent trip to Maine — ostensibly to see some friends, to enjoy the colors of autumn, and to give Ellen another opportunity to take photos — I tested my theory about how much lobster one could eat over a four day period.

Let’s just say our kids’ inheritance has been somewhat diminished as a result.

IMG_0987(5)We had lobster for breakfast (eggs benedictine with lobster), for numerable lunches (not only lobster rolls but also in soups and in salads), and for dinners (most notably a four course lobster tasting menu in Camden at Natalie’s Restaurant that may, by itself, be worth a trip to Maine).

Of course, we had lobster simply boiled, with and without melted butter, and also sauteed, fried, in soups, on toasted rolls, in salads, and with risotto and with pasta.  And we had both hard and soft shell lobsters.


It’s been a good year for all who believe lobster is one of the good things in life. The lobstermen have done well for the third year in a row (see The Price of Lobster in Maine), and the price has been reasonable, unless you indulge for three meals a day for four days.*

Sorry kids.

(*There is a story I’ve heard at least twice but haven’t sought to verify — why mess up a good story? — that there was once a time when lobster was so cheap and plentiful that it was served to prisoners every day at every meal, until a law was passed preventing prisons from serving lobster more than three times a week. Oh, to be a prisoner in those days.)

PS – If you missed my earlier post Consider the Lobster, please check it out. Not only will you find a link to one of the best articles I’ve read on lobsters in a long time, I also recount a lobster tradition the Millers share with long time friends.

PPS – For photos from our recent trip to Maine, look for a post, probably tomorrow, Maine Thru Ellen’s Lens.