Category Archives: Robin Helm

We’ve had the wildest winter I can remember. In Portland, Oregon, the winters are usually drippy and overcast. However, this year’s winter has been cold and snowy. It has produced some great photographs.


This is a photograph of crows sitting in snowy trees in downtown Portland, Oregon. The photograph was taken by C.S.I. Walker Berg of the Portland Oregon Police Bureau. This was his view from the Justice Center’s 12th floor.  Portland has enough of a crow problem that they have begun to employ falconers to move block-by-block, hunting the black birds.

It looks like the crows are settled in for the night, though and any hawks will just have to wait for morning.

The police department shared the image dubbed “Crows on Snow” on Facebook and Twitter where it quickly went viral.

My first thought was “Wow,” and then I thought:


From the sublime to the ridiculous in one easy jump.


I write like …


I put a section of writing containing FW’s pov, and a section of Anne’s pov into the window. So, I write FW like King and Anne like Christie.


Try it: I Write Like

An Austen Hero to the End

Today a wonderful actor died.

Alan Rickman was known for roles on the stage and in movies. As the day goes on, we will be adding to this post.

Some of our favorites are:

(Robin Helm) I will always think of Alan Rickman as the standard by whom all men playing the part of Colonel Brandon are measured. He was the perfect gentleman to capture Marianne Dashwood’s heart in the 1995 film adaptation of Jane Austen’s Sense and Sensibility. He exemplified kindness, intelligence, and lasting love, and his adoration of Marianne was present in every line he spoke.Colonel Brandon and Marianne

The actor was also very good at comedy, as is shown in this clip of Rickman as the evil Sheriff of Nottingham in the 1991 film, Robin Hood: The Prince of Thieves. I’ve included a YouTube video of one of his funniest scenes. Don’t we all love a man who can make us laugh?



Severus Snape from the Harry Potter films.  I loved Rickman’s voice. That voice inspired me to write a novel called Two of a Kind. I even sent it to a publisher. They rejected it, but I got some kind words about the plot. Odd fact, the lead character of that novel was called Kevin Doyle, which is the name of the actor who plays Mr. Mosley on Downton Abbey.

I chose Snape because I always go for the second fiddle. And in this case, it was the bad guy gone straight.

Thank you, Mr Rickman for all wonderful movies your career gave me. (Susan Kaye)

UPDATE: Bottle_ShockI nearly forgot one of his best roles EVER. A snobbish
British, French wine aficionado in Bottle Shock. Included in this comedy is a bonus: young, 70s, hippyish Chris Pine in tight jeans. And some great music.

I am late to the party for this tribute, but I’ve got to add one of my favorite Alan Rickman films: Galaxy Quest. It’s an affectionate parody of Star Trek (the original series) that now has a cult following of its own.

Rickman masterfully plays the dual role of Alexander Dane, frustrated actor, and the sci-fi television character Dr. Lazarus. His expression in the photo? Priceless. “By Grabthar’s Hammer,” you will be missed, Mr. Rickman. (Laura Hile)galaxy-quest

Big Bird? Big Deal

The model, Heidi Klum went to the Emmys Sunday and this is what she wore:

Image from

Image from

Big Bird has been mentioned. Swiffer dusters. Easter chicks. I think it was put together by a committee. One that had no clear goals. It really doesn’t matter because Ms Klum is gorgeous. She is 42 and looks 24. As long as she shows up wearing something, who really cares?

I have to laugh, because it Mellisa McCarthy had shown up in this, the sound of the haters hating would still be reverberating in our ears.

Hail to Mr. West

Kim-Kardashian-and-Kanye-West-There are a lot of people already fed up with the political campaigning for the 2016 presidential election. Me included. However, if you think you’re going to get any relief from the two-and-three year campaigns, buck up, sissypants. Kanye West announced the VMA awards that he intends to run for the 2020 presidential election. I’m sure this means he will start getting the exploratory committee, nonprofit PACS, and campaign theme anytime now.

BTB, I don’t listen to Kanye (SURPRISE!), so if any of you know his music and could make suggestions from his song catalog, that would might be a fun exchange.

I’m just guessing but I would not be surprised if his mother-in-law, Kris Kardashian is his campaign manager. His wife, the prospective First Lady–let THAT sink in for a moment–Kim Kardashian West, will surely be the official campaign photographer.

If elected, the Wests will be the first couple in the White House in which she is arguably more famous than him. I remember when Ronald Reagan ran for president and all his movies were embargoed due to campaign advertising rules. In the comments, please discuss just how we keep Kim’s sex tape from influencing voters.

West is like Donald Trump in that he is loud and proud of his opinion. Who can forget the good times when he has stormed the stage of an awards shows to rebuke Taylor Swift for winning instead of Beyonce? I’m thinking this might come in handy in his foreign policy. He could do a riff on Pink Floyd: “Hey, Putin, leave Ukraine alone!” And would maybe stay on key.

Celebrities making ridiculous remarks is now the foundational staple of the Internet. IMO. And West’s comment will be replaced with something else more ridiculous soon enough. The only question is, will the commenter be another celeb or will it be West-topping-West?

Anyway, the weekend is coming. Think about a West presidency and tell us how it would affect you. And Beyonce. Because I’m sure West would use his power of the pen to do something magnificent for The Queen Bee.


I Had to Laugh .. then shake my head

Last week I pointed to the elegant and tasteful engagement announcement of the families of Benedict Cumberbatch and Sophia Hunter. This week we move to another marriage announcement. This time it’s Mr. Charles Manson and Ms Afton Elaine Burton (AKA, Star).

Here’s the official engagement photo:

The happy couple

The happy couple

It’s enough that Charles Manson is in the equation, isn’t it? He’s 80 something and she’s obviously not.

I have never understood why women do the whole my-man’s-in-prision-but-he’s-innocent-no-really-he-is thing. I don’t see semi-annual news stories on men marrying women behind bars.

The money quote: “She said she is interested in working on his case, and marrying him would allow her to get information not available to nonrelatives.”

I smell a book deal coming on.

I’ll be disappointed if that proves to be the reason for the nuptials. I was hoping Charles had found true love at last.