Browsing Archives for February 2011

The #1 Ladies Detective Agency

February 22nd, 2011

Now here’s a series that has been around for a long time that I couldn’t be bothered to read for far too long. I had heard about the #1 Ladies Detective Agency mystery series by Scottish author Alexander McCall Smith for years, but there was something about the title that made me squirm.  It seemed a bit blatant for my tastes.  Who names their business the number one of anything?   Some kind of ego-maniac?  Why would I want to read that?

But a few weeks ago while browsing among the shelves at a bookstore, I saw Tea Time for the Traditionally Built and I found this title appealing enough to offset the whole ‘#1 Ladies Detective Agency thing and so I purchased the book and brought it home.

Because first of all TEA

And second of all TRADITIONALLY BUILT!

The title seemed to embrace the sacred of tea while flying in the face of the perfection at the same time!

What more could you ask for in a book?

And I have not been disappointed.

I loved the book…


But I love the HBO television series based on the books by McCall Scott even more.

For one thing the main character Precious Ramotswe played so beautifully by R and B  singer/songwriter, Jill Scott is CONSTANTLY drinking TEA!  I mean non-stop tea drinking.  I mean tea drinking that can only be described as obsessive/compulsive tea drinking.  I love obsessive tea drinking.  And I love how Jill Scott brings Precious Ramotswe to life.

The rest of the characters in the series are equally appealing and often very quirky such as Grace Matuksi, the assistant to Precious Ramotswe.

And then there are the interiors!

The sets!

The natural surroundings!

The costumes!

The series was filmed in Botswana, where the books are also set, so the whole show has a look and feel that is beautifully distinct from any other television show I have ever watched.  Vivid African prints are set against a trim 1940s sensibility of feminine pastels and floral tea cups, thick high heels and smoothly coiffed hair-dos.  The tropical interiors are sparse, faded, pristine, and yet extremely homey .  There are kitchen scenes and garden scenes and office scenes and savannah scenes and suddenly out of nowhere a black mamba snake crawls across the road or two giraffe battle in the distance or a family of monkeys chatters on the roof.  At times the scenery in the series is so breathtaking, you lose sight of the storyline.

And then there are the graphics that accompany the show…

And the music…

If this show does not make you pant for a plane ticket to Botswana, I don’t know how to help you.

And have I told you how wonderful the characters are?

This is Precious Ramotswe the #1 detective of the #1 Ladies Detective Agency standing beside her assistant Grace Makutsi.

They sort of have a love/hate relationship with each other.

Precious is very practical and very much Marge in charge, but Grace is always yapping at her heels determined to make herself essential and important to the agency.  Plus – Grace wears great outfits that only she could pull off.

It took me a little while to get into this show.  Everything is so different.  The way the people talk, the clothing, the mannerisms, and the atmosphere.  It is not just set in a foreign country, it is almost set in a different time.  The combination of all these unique characteristics caused me to reject the show at first.  I needed something familiar to climb into the show.  Where was my skinny blond heroine wearing a black pant suit and a low cut blouse carrying a big gun on her hip while speaking in a clipped voice to her beefy masculine side-kick who is secretly in love with her and also secretly married…. to the mob….

But then

It took.

And I

Was hooked.

I only wish that HBO would make another season, but currently there are no plans to continue the show.

Thankfully there are eleven more books in this series for me to read.

I plan to enjoy each and every one.

And hopefully to drink some of that red bush tea in the near future.

Cookie Stack

February 22nd, 2011

I did not take these photos…

And I only hope that whoever did take them, did not eat all those cookies alone.

Beefsteak Jesus

February 22nd, 2011

Hey guess what!

Last night I went to a basketball game for one of my sons and some of my relatives met me there.  It was really nice of them to come and I was glad to see them.  I had heard that they might be coming to the game, but they didn’t call me directly because these days most of my relatives communicate through my parents or through my children instead of talking to me.  This helps us to avoid infecting each other with our opposing philosophical viewpoints.  But since neither my parents nor my kids try very hard to keep me informed, I am often in the dark about what is going on with my extended family unless I find out by accident.  It’s kind of like attending a seance to find out who is coming to Thanksgiving dinner.  I sit at a darkened table.  The medium starts to shake and vibrate and the room gets smokey.  Then the medium throws her head back and in a thick, muddy voice begins to chant a rune about cranberries and sweet potatoes and how many place settings I will need. I try to decipher it, but I can’t really make out the details, so I just stumble home hoping against hope that there will be enough mashed potatoes for everyone.

So when I walked up to the ticket-taker to purchase my ticket for the game, she said, “Your family is here!”

“They are?”  I asked, thinking how in the world does this ticket-taker know who my family is?  And then the reality of being a blogger came crashing down on me, because how else would this person know who my family was?  Then the ticket-taker said, “I told your niece that I loved her shirt.”

“You did?”  I said.  And now I am thinking what shirt?  What was on her shirt?  What kind of shirt are we talking about here?

“Yes.” the ticket taker continued, “I loved her shirt!”

And then I started thinking that if this ticket-taker reads my blog and can recognize my family, then this ticket-taker also knows that I am an atheist and she knows that this has caused some problems between me and my family.  And maybe this ticket taker thinks I should stop being an atheist and start being a decent, bible believing christian again. And maybe the shirt to which the ticket taker is referring is a Jesus shirt!  Yes!  A Jesus shirt!  And the ticket-taker is trying to send me a message about how wearing the Jesus shirt is way better than being an atheist blogger!

And then I started imagining this shirt and what it might look like and the image that popped immediately into my mind was of a meaty Jesus hanging on a cross.  A very meaty Jesus.  A very meaty delicious looking Jesus.  This Jesus in my mind was way more meat than he was Jesus.  And there was smoke – but not from Hell, the smoke was from a nearby barbecue.  And the smoke and the meat and the Jesus all combined together and suddenly I was very hungry for a nice juicy hamburger!

And then I started to laugh.

And I walked into the gym and I saw my relatives.

And I saw that my niece was wearing a KU shirt.

And not a meaty Jesus shirt.

And then I laughed some more and said hello to my relatives directly instead of through a medium.

And then we had a nice time at the game and later eating pizza at a local joint at which I ordered a vegetarian pizza while everyone else had meaty pizza that was not at all comprised of the flesh of Christ.

And now for you viewing pleasure – A quaint collection of meaty Jesus’s that I got off the internet.

Beefy Jesus

T-bone Jesus

Chicken/Sausage/Hamburger/Egg/Bacon/ on bed of cabbage Holy Infant Jesus.

How to make select cuts of Jesus…

Sausage Jesus with sausage kings/Mary/Joseph wrapped in ham robes in front of bacon/sausage manger on bed of kraut.

What is that blob off to the side behind the mini-hot sheep?

And who wants seconds?!?!?!?!