Monthly Archives: July 2015

Something to Smile About: A SpReAd the Love Challenge


Ah, I love the creativity here–finding a link between the Tooth Fairy aka Francis Dolarhyde and helping people in need (of implements for dental care)! A new campaign for SpReAd the Love!

SpReAd The Love

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ll have heard about Richard Armitage’s biting debut as Francis Dolarhyde…aka The Tooth Fairy…on NBC’s Hannibal.  We here at STL like to mark special Armitage events, and this one is no different.  You might wonder how we are going to blend together kindness collection with an orally afflicted serial murderer…that’s easy!

Anyone else remember this from Captain Kangaroo??

In honor of the “Tooth Fairy” we are challenging ArmitageWorld to donate toothbrushes (and/or other oral hygiene products) to local or international organizations in need.  Dental health is directly connected to overall physical health, yet millions of people around the globe lack easy access to oral hygiene products.  Toothbrushes, dental floss, toothpaste and mouthwash regularly show up on the “Things We Need” list for homeless shelters and also for international relief agencies.  Here are just a few I know about:

Donate A Toothbrush


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What do you know? Mr. A and FD have inspired me again.


So, yes, I did watch the first episode of “Hannibal” featuring Richard as Francis Dolarhyde last Saturday and I was going to post about it. However, I got so wrapped up in the humane society calendar project and trying to get some photo galleries up before the recital DVDs go out so that I can pimp my stills, that I just never go around to posting. Life’s been busy, but in a largely positive way. Hopefully, my efforts will pay off for the humane society and fatten my own bank account–two things that would be awfully nice.

I have managed to work on a few Hannibal-related photo edits in between editing submitted pet photos and I thought I would share them with you, along with a few thoughts.

ra as francis fractured edit

I am not sure what the diagnosis for Francis’s mental illness would be (I think we can all agree he is mentally ill). Paranoid schizophrenia has been suggested and it seems a fairly spot-on diagnosis.

However, seeing Francis’s struggle with his inner demons and how unhappy he is with life, his desire to reinvent himself–to Become–his battle with those voices in his head–I could only think of the word “fractured.” He’s broken inside and looking to be put back together. Sadly, he seeks that wholeness in such horrific ways.   It’s amazing how much Richard telegraphed about the character without dialogue.

I remember Sir Peter Jackson talking about the quality of stillness Richard brings as an actor, how one can be captivated by this man when he isn’t even speaking a word. We saw that in this episode introducing us to Dolarhyde. Whether still or moving in that sort of stylized dance,  straining and contorting his muscles in an almost tortuous way as part of his terrifying metamorphosis into the Red Dragon, I simply couldn’t take my eyes away.

dolarhyde demons hideI find words from “Imagine Dragons” songs running through my head when I think of this character, too, and used some quotes from two of their songs in the photo edits.

francisbeastinsideedit2francishidetruthRichard has talked about the tragic romance between Francis and a character that will enter the picture in the next episode, Reba. This blind co-worker manages to get under his skin and awaken tender feelings inside.


I admit I am very much looking forward to the episode featuring the visit to the zoo and the opportunity to touch the sedated tiger, a visit arranged for Reba by Francis. I suppose it was my favorite passage in the novel “Red Dragon.”

FRANCISREBAWAKINGUPI don’t think I can be considered a “fannibal,” but I am impressed with Richard’s interpretation of this complex character, a serial killer for whom one can feel some pity and compassion, even as you are repelled by his heinous crimes. Yes, I am actually looking forward to the next episode–although I won’t be able to watch it until later that night. I have an event to cover for the paper and hopefully, I will also sell some more stills. Fedoralady wears a lot of hats.


I will leave you with one more image that I simply lightened so we could enjoy all the hard work Mr. A put into having that muscular physique described in Harris’ book.  Thank you, Richard. Even when a role you undertake isn’t a first choice for many of us, you make it worthwhile to watch on a number of levels.


DHR seeks BCHS’s assistance with elderly couple & their 25 cats: Can you help?


My heart goes out to people who have hearts for animals. Everyone who finds unconditional love and companionship with cats/dogs doesn’t have the financial means to do what needs to be done for them. So I not too proud to reach out to the fandom and seek help for those in need. ❤

Butler County Humane Society

There’s an elderly couple here in Butler County who loves their cats. They’ve taken strays into their modest rural home and into their hearts, taming and feeding them, caring for the formerly home felines to the best of their abilities and their income.

600px-woman-kissing-therapy-cat                         ( Image of elderly woman with therapy cat is courtesy of Bing. For  illustrative purposes only.)
But these pet lovers are now in need of a helping hand themselves.

The couple is trying to care for a dozen adult cats and another 13 kittens who are their offspring. It is simply too many pets for an older couple on a small fixed income to manage and that number will only grow without intervention.

Butler County DHR is trying to help this couple, providing several window A/C units to the currently A/C-free house to help them survive during the intense heat of a south Alabama summer.

In terms of the cat overpopulation issue, social services has turned to the BCHS for help.

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The Final Countdown…Bah-dah-dah-dah bah-dah-dah-dah-dah!


Want a chance to win a signed Crucible poster while sharing RAndom acts of Kindness? Read on!

SpReAd The Love

Wow, my Twitter TL is saucy tonight…’cause there’s eating of people and stuff and you need sauce and I’m just going to shut up now. Anyway, it’s the final week till the first appearance of Francis Dolarhyde on Hannibal and Obscura and I have something really cool to celebrate. Last summer during the run of The Crucible a friend of ours went out of her way to get us a poster signed by The Dude and now it’s time to give it away.

This one, in fact. Forgive the glare but check how legible the sig is! This one, in fact. Forgive the glare but check how legible the sig is!

So, to win this fabulous, signed by The Dude poster you know what to do, right? Leave a comment with a kindness that you’ve done or that’s been done for you and we’ll draw one name from all commenters next Saturday around 9PMish ET. Cool? Cool. Okay, cue the hairband and happy commenting!

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It really *is* all in the perspective.


Recently, this photo taken last year in London of RA with that bottle of champagne (one that was ultimately auctioned off for charity) popped up and pretty much everybody agreed it just looked–odd. Servetus blogged about it over at Me + Richard Armitage as commenters chimed on what made it such a funny-looking photo of Mr. A.



Holding that oversized bottle (is it a magnum or a jeroboam?) in his hands makes our strapping six-foot two (or three) inch tall actor look positively diminutive, doesn’t it? The lighting doesn’t help, casting shadows that somehow make his slender yet solid neck look downright skinny.

We are accustomed to others looking petite in RA’s majestic presence. Below, a still of Dexter Fletcher as the German “boobie” on the set of Robin Hood with RA as Sir Guy. At 5’6″ Dexter is my height (and the same height as Lucy Griffiths, who played Marian), yet from this angle he appears even shorter, doesn’t he?



Now, take a look at this photo of pro basketball player turned commercial pitchman and occasional actor, Shaquille O’Neal.  I should point out that is a normal 12 oz. soft drink can he is holding.  Shaq is 7’1″ with a weight of 325 lbs. and wears a size 23 shoe. I am guessing he has them custom-made . . . he can certainly afford it.


It really IS all in the perspective, isn’t it? Next to Shaq, almost all of us are shrimps! 😉



I do wonder what Richard thinks about it all.



A pensive Richard on board the TV Guide yacht at Comic Con in San Diego.

A penny for your thoughts, Richard. How do you really feel about events like Comic Con?

Is it sometimes silly yet satisfying fun as you promote your projects?

speaks onstage at the "Hannibal" Savor the Hunt panel during Comic-Con International 2015 at the San Diego Convention Center on July 11, 2015 in San Diego, California.

speaks onstage at the "Hannibal" Savor the Hunt panel during Comic-Con International 2015 at the San Diego Convention Center on July 11, 2015 in San Diego, California.

Or do you just feel like throwing things at people??

(Not that you actually would, of course.)

What set me to thinking about this was something I saw on the Bing homepage here on my laptop.

This is excerpted from an AP article by Linda S. Zhang who interviewed actor Jesse Eisenberg, one of many celebrities featured at SDCC last week.



Jesse Eisenberg’s Comic-Con experience apparently wasn’t a joy.

Eisenberg, who plays Lex Luthor in the upcoming “Batman v. Superman, ” was at the massive San Diego convention last week with co-stars Ben Affleck and Henry Cavill. In an interview Monday, he was decidedly negative about the experience.

“It is like being screamed at by thousands of people. I don’t know what the experience is throughout history, probably some kind of genocide. I can’t think of anything that’s equivalent,” he said.

Here’s the link to the short interview with Eisenberg:

He got himself into hot water for his comments, which led to Eisenberg trying to clarify today while speaking to Ms. Zhang what he’d said in that interview last week.

“I of course was using hyperbole to describe the sensory overload I experienced. I sometimes do employ that,” he said. “I’m a normal person who has normal sensory experiences, so Comic-Con was very overwhelming for me. That said, it was really an honor to be on that end of such jubilation.”

Eisenberg said it was “wonderful” to be involved in something that is so highly anticipated and loved.

“That people are excited about it in that way is unheard of and thrilling,” he said.

He added: “I’ve been on the receiving end of movies that no one loves and no one anticipates. That’s worse, even though it’s a much quieter press tour.”

It led me to wonder just how the typical celebrity really views an event like this, which is one of the largest of its kind on the entire planet, I suppose. I imagine it can be overwhelming (especially for a first-timer) and I am sure it is grueling.  Maybe it’s not the right fit for every actor or every fan.

I have a condition that makes being in large, noisy crowds sometimes difficult and I really have to force myself to stay calm and to concentrate. I can do it–I’ve survived everything so far, so my track record is good–but it does take its psychic toll on me. I must have some time to recharge.

I also know what it’s like to be part of the “pariahs” (as Eisenberg refers to the media)  just doing what the media is paid to do,  although I have never had to jockey for position with quite so many other photographers and journalists trying to get the best angle and/or that sound bite to make their editors/producers happy campers. Seeing how they lead the actors from one group after another to pose for pix, answer a few questions or move to a new spot for yet another group or individual interview, I know the celebs have to be running on empty by the time their day is done.



Richard Armitage on his rounds at ComicCon, including the EW SoundCloud interview and wearing the teensy dragon and ever-present floral crown for the Pannibal. And giving a former co-star a tongue-in-cheek shout out.

However, I am sure the actors who participate in CC also feed off the fans’ enthusiasm and energy, their passionate devotion to their characters, the shows and the films. Some fans have come a long way to attend and all seem determined to make the most of their experience. They line up early and wait hours to get autographs and pix of their favorite celebs. It’s easy to see in the selfies posted by fans taken with these actors and other celebs, for them, those brief Comic-Con encounters are exhilarating, and not soon forgotten.





As Eisenberg said in today’s comments, being on the receiving end of movies that are not loved or anticipated is a whole lot worse, even if it’s not so nerve-wracking at the time.  When nobody wants your autograph on their ankle or book or theatre program, or a photo with you, when they stop buying tickets to see you or tuning in to watch your show–then, just maybe, you’ve got a problem.

Richard has always shown a genuine appreciation for his fans, not to mention that fear of not getting more work (which I really don’t think need ever be the case anymore). I think he understands you have to deal with  craziness and hoopla along the way. It’s part of the business, part of the job. You have to promote yourself and your projects in order to keep practicing your art, your craft.

And hey, Richard, you really DO look good in floral crowns and loud jackets. Just sayin’ . . .  😉


Read this book. You won’t regret it. ‘Brain on Fire: My Month of Madness’


Having learned of Richard Armitage’s latest film project, rather late last night I decided to purchase (via my Nook) Susannah Calahan’s harrowing account of her battle with a mysterious illness that threatened her sanity and her life. I fully intended to read a couple of chapters at most. So much for good intentions.

I stayed up until close to dawn with only 40 or so pages (including the afterword) left to go. I finished reading it this morning. CJw1a8IUYAEmFgr

Photo tweeted by Richard Armitage as he headed back to Canada for his latest film project, based on Susannah Calahan’s best seller. Looks as if he’s started his note taking on his character, Tom Calahan, Susannah’s father.


There are best sellers that I don’t think deserve to be best sellers. Thank heavens this non-fiction account is not in that category.   Susannah has to put all her well-honed journalistic skills to use to write this memoir. Her “month of madness” is all an incredibly muddled blur for the reporter, a painful period she seeks to reconstruct by interviewing medical personnel, co-workers, family members, her boyfriend and others. She reads their journal entries and watches the videotapes shot while she is in the hospital.

What she sees is this pasty-faced, underfed creature prone to seizures and hallucinations, riddled with paranoia, struggling at times to form her words. Someone who can be violent and combative, forced to wear restraints, or silent and rigidly staring into space.

That Susannah is barely recognizable as the bright, outgoing, ambitious and fiercely independent young New York Post reporter everybody knows.

The book recounts her struggle to discover what is causing her physical and mental decline as she tries to make her way back to some semblance of normality and sanity. Early on, one doctor tells her to quit drinking and going out and get more sleep and she will be just fine. Another puts her on antipsychotics for schizophrenia. Susannah is doggedly determined she is bi-polar. Physicians seemingly give up on her when a battery of medical tests and examinations keep ruling out various diseases and conditions.

However, her boyfriend Stephen and her family do not give up. The moral support they give her throughout her ordeal  is inspiring and heartbreaking all at the same time.

Richard will be playing the role of Tom Calahan, father of Susannah. Tom and Susannah’s mother are divorced. Both remarried, they make a point of avoiding one another whenever possible (it was clearly not an amicable split).  Yet when this crisis arises, they manage to put aside their mutual animosity to focus on their daughter and her needs. And she has never needed them more as her inflamed brain continues to attack her body.

An emotionally detached man whose relationship with his own father was strained, Tom and Susannah have never been particularly close. Behind that wall of reserve, however, beats a fiercely loyal, protective and caring heart. There is no doubt he loves his child. If he has to curse out a group of medical students so Susannah can get a little peace and quiet, then so be it. He gives her positive words to repeat like mantras. Sometimes, he cries.
I have absolutely no doubt Richard will bring all the shading, all the complexity to this role we could desire and more. He makes a great onscreen dad (think of Porter and Lexi in Strike Back, Peter Macduff in Shakespeare Retold or Gary in Into the Storm, not to mention Thorin serving as a father figure to his nephews in the TH trilogy).  Plenty of opportunity to share fatherly angst and protectiveness and love here.





The fact that Susannah was able to write this book lets you know there is ultimately a happy ending for her.  By sharing her story of battling what turned out to be auto-immune encephalitis, first via an article for the Post and later in her book, she has helped others with the same condition ultimately get the right diagnosis and treatment. She has given people true hope, and that is always a good thing to give.

(Above is a link to learn more about the condition)

It took courage to write her story.  Courage to go back and retrace the steps of her “month of madness” and read those words, see those images, to hear how much she had frightened and dismayed those who loved her, to discover just how sick she truly was.



Calahan speaking to an audience at Yale about the early signs something was amiss. On the screen to her left are images of her in her hospital bed.

It will be a challenging role for any actress. At only 18, Chloe Grace Moretz is actually several years younger than Calahan was when she fell ill (24), yet she has a certain maturity for her age that will bode well for her portrayal.  I’ve read interviews with her and was impressed with her maturity and level-headedness.

I first saw Chloe in “Let Me In,” the English language version of the Swedish horror thriller “Let the Right Ones In” and she made a strong impression on me. She was also delightful, alternating between tough crime fighter and vulnerable kid in the irreverent “Kick-Ass” and has appeared in a diverse collection of films, from the remake of “Carrie” to YA favorite “If I Stay.”  It doesn’t hurt that she also bears a good resemblance to the author. Photos of both Calahan and Moretz.

Susannah Cahalan recently returned to her beat at the New York Post after recovering from autoimmune encephahalitis.  Photo by Zandy Mangold

Susannah Cahalan recently returned to her beat at the New York Post after recovering from autoimmune encephahalitis. Photo by Zandy Mangold

Chloe Grace Moretz 5a


The fact that the gifted actress Charlize Theron is a producer for the film is another plus for me.

I will be eager to learn more about the upcoming film, and eager to hear your own thoughts as you read Calahan’s memoir. A highly recommended read, and not just for Richard Armitage fans.  The book is available for Nook and Kindle and there is an audio edition from as well as in traditional book form.

Here’s a link to the author’s official website

Looks Like Speculation About “Brain On Fire” Was Real….


So it looks like our Richard will be working on this project with Charlize Theron as producer—busy man!


CJw1a8IUYAEmFgrSo often, speculation is just that… speculation. RA had followed Charlize Theron and a couple others involved in the project a few days ago on Twitter. Then this tweet. Looks like he’s already making his notes!

Description from book excerpt:
‘One day, I woke up in a strange hospital room, strapped to my bed, under guard, and unable to move or speak. My medical records—from a month-long hospital stay of which I have no memory—showed psychosis, violence, and dangerous instability. Yet, only weeks earlier I had been a healthy twenty-four year old, six months into my first serious relationship and beginning a career as a cub reporter at the New York Post.

My memoir Brain on Fire chronicles the swift path of my illness and the lucky, last-minute intervention led by one of the few doctors capable of saving my life. As weeks ticked by and I moved inexplicably from…

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So, do you practice safe selfies, Rich? And other stuff on my mind this week.


In case you missed it, Russia’s Interior Ministry has put together a leaflet aimed at reducing the number of injuries and fatalities occurring when Russian citizens take selfies. According to the Ministry, there have been more than 100 injuries, some quite serious, and at least 10 fatalities since the beginning of the year due to people attempting what I dub “Danger Selfies.”



A worker taking a selfie before detaching a Ukrainian flag placed atop a skyscraper by protesters in Moscow, August 20, 2014. PHOTO: Ilya Arlamov, AP.

How exactly do you kill yourself with a cameraphone? Well, try striking a cool pose with a “non-lethal” pistol while taking a selfie. That’s what one 21-year-old Muscovite did. Bad idea.

A teenager tried to photograph herself standing on railroad tracks and died. Guessing she didn’t stop, look and listen.

Young people, who cannot imagine a world without constant self-documentation, it seems, want to post selfies with wild animals, on tops of high buildings and in other spots and situations that aren’t particularly safe.  We call these “Hey, y’all, look at this!” moments in my neck of the woods, and almost invariably, those moments do not end well for the person calling attention to themselves.  Body parts often get blown off/burned off/gnawed off or broken into a million bits.

There have been electrocutions, falls and yes, even deadly grenade explosions whilst young Russians attempted to capture their Kodak moment, hoping, I suppose, to one-up all their friends on Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter and Facebook.

Now, I am certain that Mr. Armitage, in spite of his professed love for “danger sports” and a certain fondness for selfies since joining Twitter, would never be as stupid as some of these folks have been.  When you are young, you think you’re ten feet tall, bullet-proof and quite possibly immortal.

When you’re 40-plus, hopefully, you know better.

So Mr. A, have fun slapping meat on your face, looking ridiculously attractive, boyishly sweet, posing in sports jerseys and the like. Just don’t do any of it perched precariously astride a tiger on top of a skyscraper with a live grenade in your hand, OK? Practice safe selfies. ALWAYS.





At least you and PJ didn’t decide to take your selfie stick and hop up on those dodgy bricks in China . . . *shudder”


Richard will be part of the Hannibal panel at Comic-Con in San Diego this weekend, so I am sure he will have the chance to take lots more selfies if he so chooses. 😉

Speaking of Comic-Con . . . some cute artwork by Dorkly Comics, found on Pinterest


e5581d661106d939de606d4462f0a99b (2)bf993613143f200459d77c16f318bb24







Speaking of Hannibal . . . I felt as if I had shot myself up with whatever Gillian Anderson’s character was tripping on tonight. There was the use (or near-use) of a variety of instruments of torture and death (guns, knifes and power tools among them, close-ups of droplets of blood, lovingly photographed). The series is certainly not lacking in high production values.

This ep also had a lesbian love scene with a kaleidoscope visual effect that was pretty but left me asking, “what’s the point unless it’s just to make it all the more aesthetically appealing? Is it to contrast with the blood and pain to come?” The episode ended with Hannibal and that poor old glutton for punishment, Will Graham, in yet another fine mess.  One episode to go before Richard arrives on the scene . . .


Here are links to some articles giving details of “death by selfie” problem in Russia: