Monday, November 27, 2006


I know, I'm a little behind in my movie-watching.

This release of "Reds" is the 25th anniversary edition, on DVD. I missed it the first time around, although I vaguely recall it received some negative press (and yet won two Oscars out of 12 nominations). And I vaguely recall some of my Socialist friends commenting on it, probably because they did not appreciate Reed's disillusionment with the Revolution. So I was prepared to be somewhat disappointed.

But I liked the movie! A lot! I liked Warren Beatty as John Reed and Diane Keaton as Louise Bryant. I loved the wrinkles of the "witnesses" and I liked their commentary and I liked the juxtaposition of their commentary with the story. The story itself is engrossing and well-paced. Despite the length, I never grew restless.

There were quite a few "name" actors - Jack Nicholson as Eugene O'Neill, Maureen Stapleton as Emma Goldman, Gene Hackman, Edward Herrmann, Paul Sorvino, Max Wright, George Plimpton, etc. - and they looked so young! But check out some of the hairpieces.

I have to admit I am impressed with what Beatty wrought. So, what has he been up to lately?

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Mrs. Henderson Presents... Bare Naked Ladies

"Mrs. Henderson Presents" is a pleasant movie, with lots of breasts and asses, but little "foliage". The characters and their stories were not all that compelling, but no worse than most movies. The acting is superb and the dialog intelligent, so one definitely could do worse.

Friday, November 17, 2006

One Good Horse

I almost did not read One Good Horse, by Tom Groneberg. I read The Secret Life of Cowboys, which I enjoyed, but I found Groneberg's writing voice to be kinda whiny. And his writing voice is still kinda whiny. But he pulled me into the story anyway, especially after the twins were born, one with Down Syndrome. A horse came into Groneberg's life at this point, and not just any horse, but the horse he needed. The same thing happened to Susan Richards in Chosen by a Horse. And I'm sure similar things happen to the rest of us - the universe supplies us with the lessons we need to learn - if we are open to the opportunities.

I just hope Groneberg realizes his wife is a saint.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Charity Extortion

My daughter and I saw "Mama Mia" last night (which, BTW, was fun; I discovered I am not as familiar with ABBA's music as I thought, but the man next to me was - he kept singing along almost under his breath) but it turns out I paid $60 a seat to be hit up for a donation. At the end of the show, the actors pitched their AIDS charity from the stage, then collected money in the lobby as we exited.

A similar incident occurred at work, during Breast Cancer Awareness Week. For a $5 donation, an individual could wear denim to work the following Monday. If you wore denim, you were also to wear a pink ribbon, I guess so the Charity Police could identify those who cheated and wore denim without making the designated donation.

Now, I believe that those of us with more should share with those less fortunate, and I support several (of what I deem) worthy causes, but this latest fad of what I call charity extortion is putting me off. Instead of feeling generous, I feel manipulated. Instead of feeling good, I feel obligated. Instead of feeling special, I feel trendy. I still give money, but I'm not comfortable about it.

And there seems to be a social stigma if one is not particularly interested in the current Hot Charity. AIDS and breast cancer are popular right now, and yes, it is important to develop treatments and cures. However, I would rather fund research in the prevention of AIDS and the prevention of breast cancer. Prevention usually involves personal responsibility, though, which is not hot.

Once again, I am out of step with the rest of society.

P.S. Here are some of the organizations I send money:

P.P.S. More info:
Think Before You Pink
AIDS Task Force

Wednesday, November 08, 2006


IMHO, the Rapture has already occurred. Those taken to their heavenly reward were all Third World people of color; consequently, the rest of the world did not notice. We've been left behind.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Smug about Physical Therapy

I'm a great believer in physical therapy (PT) because it worked for me.

Several years ago, scoliosis and a sedentary job caught up with me. Standing at the stove long enough to scramble an egg was excruciating. Sitting all day at work became a contest to find a position that was least uncomfortable. I was still able to follow my Personal Pace Toro around the yard, but just barely. I either had to do something about my back or give up my yard and move into a condo.

Previous doctor visits for my back had yielded nothing more than prescription-strength Motrin and sometimes a muscle relaxer, neither very helpful in the long run. But after an exam, my current physician surprised me by asking, "Well, what do you want to do?" He ordered x-rays and wrote me a script for PT.

The secret to PT is S&S: Stretch and Strengthen. The first week, my PTist started me on the stretching, which ironically made my back feel worse. I had to clenched my butt muscles when I walked to keep my sacroiliac together. When I reported this phenomenon to Mark, he said, "Good! The stretches are working. Now we'll strengthen."

The S&S exercises were not difficult, were performed mostly on the floor, and being yoga-like, generated a sense of well-being. After four weeks of semi-weekly treatments, I was on my own, trusted to continue the regimen, initially twice daily, then once daily, and eventually as needed.

I received PT in October. In November I was able to turn my compost pile, albeit very carefully. By Christmas I could shovel snow. And in January I took up cross-country skiing.

PT saved my life style, if not my life. When I contemplate where I would be without it, I cringe. I still perform the exercises several times a week, and probably will for as long as I am able.

Monday, November 06, 2006


My daughter and I watched "Brick" yesterday. What can I say? I was able to follow the storyline, but the dialog was full of unfamiliar terminology (which, disconcertingly, was not unfamiliar to my daugher). I liked the style and the acting was good, but I'm not sure I would recommend it to anyone I know.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Bible Study

Did you ever play "Telephone" when you were a kid? You sit in a circle and one person whispers a message to the next, then at the end you compare the original message to the final message. Usually they are completely unrelated. The Bible was written in the same way, one generation whispering to the next the word of God. The result is contradictory and subject to wide interpretation. Treat the Bible like a work of fiction. It will save you.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Elizabeth I (disk 1)

My SO and I watched the first disk of "Elizabeth I" the other night (not to be confused with "The Queen" although both star Helen Mirren). Scene one consisted of the queen undergoing a gynocological exam to determine whether she was too old to conceive an heir to the throne. (I did not know they had speculums in the 1500's. Apparently, they were invented by the Romans around 300 BC.) The costumes were sumptuous and the acting exquisite, plus I liked that they let Helen and Jeremy look their ages, but the storyline was rather soap opera-ish. In fact, during the Jeremy Irons death bed scene, I wondered how the actors kept straight faces. It was also very gory - I turned away and watched SO's face to gauge when I could look again. The previews for disk 2 were not compelling - it looks like the aging queen takes up with the Duke of Leicester's stepson who doesn't look old enough to shave.

(Most of my knowledge of history comes from movies, but now we have the Internet. See Elizabeth I.)

Wednesday, November 01, 2006


Here is where I keep my thoughts, but not to myself. There will be reviews of books, movies, restaurants, politics, religion, and whatever else brushes up against me.