I’m Not a Prude, But….. (Part III)

Anyone walking through Times Square knows how busy and crowded the streets are. Among the hustlers and costumed characters begging for your attention are women wearing nothing but a thong and strategically placed body paint.

There is a time and a place for such attire (or lack thereof). Times Square, teeming with tourists and young kids is not the time or the place.

You can call me a prude if you like, the Naked Cowboy is just as scantily clad as these women.  I am not a prude, I enjoy the human body as much as anyone does.

But I’ve said this before and I will say it again. When a young girl encounters an adult women earning a paycheck by wearing nothing but a thong and body paint and taking pictures with strangers, what message does she take in? In the same vein, what message does a young boy take in?

I am not a prude, but I believe that these people should not be in the middle of Times Square. Not that Times Square should be converted to the New York City version of Disney World’s main street, but there is a time and a place for everything. Times Square is neither.


Jerusalem Maiden Book Review

There are some people who are lucky enough to be born with a gift of talent. The question that often comes up, especially when this gift goes up against the world they live in, will they follow their gift or will they tow the line and pretend that they are satisfied?

Talia Carner’s 2011 book, Jerusalem Maiden, revolves around this conflict. In the last days of the Ottoman Empire, Esther Kaminsky is a young Haredi woman living in Jerusalem. Her life is laid out for her. Within a few short years, she is expected to marry a young man chosen for her, bring his children into the world, keep his house and live the life that women in her community have lived for centuries.

Other girls might be satisfied to live this way, but not Esther. She is a gifted artist living in a community where art is forbidden and a young lady, especially an unmarried young lady is expected to live and act a certain way. Just as Esther is about to rebel and choose her own life instead of living the life expected of her, tragedy visits her family.  She must choose between her heart and the obligations that weigh on her young shoulders.

This book was recommended to me and and I am very glad that it was. Stories of young people rebelling from strict religious doctrines are not new. What makes this story stand out is Esther’s choices and how she works to find a balance between what is expected of her and what she wants from life. I especially appreciated the ending. While it was not the typical ending for a story of this nature, it felt like appropriate.

I highly recommend it.


I Am Malala Trailer

Malala Yousafzai is an extraordinary young lady. Born into a Pakistani family, she was vocal and public in her defiance of the Taliban and their rule that girls are denied an education. Their response was an assassination attempt.

Many people might have died from such a heinous violent attack, but Malala survived. Over the past few years, not only has she become the youngest Nobel Peace Prize ever, but she is the symbol of standing up for what you believe in.

She represents the millions of young girls around the world, who because they are girls, are denied an education. She is an articulate, educated and well respected young lady who has shone a light on a subject that many within the first world talk of, but few act on.

The upcoming documentary, I am  Malala, is her story. She has become a hero not just for girls her age, but for anyone who believes so completely in justice and equality, that they are willing to put their very lives on the line for others who denied this basic right.

Not only do I think that this film will do very well come award season, but it will encourage all of us to do what is right and stand up for those who cannot stand up for themselves.

Hava Nagila

Tradition is a wonderful thing. It binds us to the past and to those who are no longer with us. But that does mean that we can have some fun with tradition.

Hava Nagila is a song that within the first few notes, the listener knows the song and the people who are connected with it. I’ve known this song since I was a child. While I love the traditional Hava Nagila, it’s nice to hear a more modern take on this song.

For many, this is the traditional Hava Nagila.

I like this adaptation because while it keeps to the origins of the song, it speak to the modern audience.

Now this is a fun Hava Nagila. It adds a pop flair while integrating latin dance feel to the song many grew up with.

To me, religion and tradition can still live on. It’s just a matter of realizing that sometimes a new angle can keep it going.

Life, Second Chances, and the Oh F*ck Moment From Persuasion

Persuasion was the last novel Jane Austen completed before her death. It is both bittersweet and heartwarming.

For the uninitiated, Persuasion is the story of Anne Elliot and Captain Frederick Wentworth. Eight years before the novel begins, Anne and Frederick were ready to marry. But Anne’s family and in particular her father, a snobbish and spendthrift baronet believes that a sailor is a poor choice of husband for a young lady like Anne. Anne reluctantly breaks off the engagement. Eight years later, Frederick, now a respected and admired Captain in the Navy is both wealthy and eligible. Anne’s father and sister have nearly bankrupted the family. They meet again in the home of Anne’s brother in law after Frederick’s sister and brother in law rent Anne’s childhood home.

Will Anne and Frederick be able to move on or will their past choices linger?

Persuasion is for me, not just one of my favorite classic novels, it is one of the best novels of all time. The best novels have a quality that rings true regardless of the era that it was written in or the era that the reader is reading it in. Persuasion is about second chances, letting go of the past and forgiving mistakes.

My favorite moment in the adaptations is when Anne and Frederick meet again after eight years. The camera zooms on both of their faces. They try to appear as composed as possible, but the audience, especially the audience who has read the book knows better. That is the oh f*ck moment in Persuasion.

Sometimes in life, we make a decision. We don’t know the outcome of that decision, nor do we know if we decide to turn it down, if it will come around again. We can only hope that we made the right decision.

In the end (spoiler alert), Anne and Frederick have their happy ending. But their journey is not without it’s hiccups.

The truth is that life is full of ups and downs, and what ifs. But whatever happens, we can only move forward and hope for the best.

Beyond Disgraceful

In India, a man  ran away with a married woman. In response, a local council responded by ordering the rape of his sisters and the destruction of his home. Fearing for their lives and the safety of their daughters, the man’s family is living elsewhere, unable to return home.

Amnesty International has launched a petition to urge Indian authorities to step in and protect the daughters of this family.  If you believe that this ruling is unjust, wrong and just plain cruel, please sign. These girls should not be living in fear of such a heinous act.

This is beyond disgraceful. It is disgusting.

What kind of backward society allows a local council (note that they were not elected by the people and are only on the council because they were lucky enough to born into the upper echelons of their society) to decide that a just punishment is rape?

Why must the daughters and by extension, the family be punished by their son’s decision? If anyone should be condemned, it is the couple, not his family and most certainly not his sisters.

What also strikes me about this story is that it proves that in  many parts of the world, a woman is still regarded as a piece of property. They are bought and sold in the name of marriage, their virginity is their asset and the key to the family’s future. By ordering the rape of these two innocent girls, their future and by extension, the family’s future is soiled forever.

It is beyond disgraceful and the men who ordered this heinous act should be brought to a legitimate court to be tried for their actions.

Things that make you realize you’re becoming a grown up

So true.

As I countdown the days with dread until my 30th birthday, I’ve been getting sentimental for the time when I could drink all night and feel fan-fucking-tastic the next day or eat an entire large combo pizza without crying in shame 30 minutes later. So I’ve been taking note of all the ways I am slowly but surely becoming an adult. Dun dun dun!

Unwanted facial hair:  I’m a blonde haired Scandinavian but I still have to check every morning to make sure I don’t have a chin hair waving hello at everyone that day. You’d think god would cut me a break for being so pale that I look like a stick of butter with arms and legs, I would at least not have to worry about gnarly black hairs sprouting from my lip.

Upper lip hair. Natures way of saying you should have locked down a husband by now. Upper lip hair. Natures way of saying you should have locked down a husband by now.

Lower car insurance rates: Gone…

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Flashback Friday-Actor Spotlight-Harrison Ford- Six Days Seven Nights (1998), Air Force One (1997) & Raiders Of The Lost Ark (1981)

Harrison Ford is an American icon. A man’s man, he is known for iconic, rugged, masculine roles that have defined a generation.

The first movie I am going to write about tonight is Six Days, Seven Nights (1998). Robin Monroe (Anne Heche) is a New York journalist who is on vacation with her boyfriend. Not wanting to miss out on a story, she hires Quinn Harris (Harrison Ford) to take her a remote island, which she hopes to be the subject of her next story. Quinn is not too happy, but agrees to take her. Then the plane crashes and Robin and Quinn must find a way to coexist until they are rescued.

This movie straddles the line of romantic comedy and action film. Where some films do not succeed by blending the genres, this movie straddles both genres perfectly. There is almost a Elizabeth Bennet/Fitzwilliam Darcy relationship between Robin and Quinn, which helps to nicely balance the action with the comedy and the traditional Hollywood happy ending.

The second film I am going to write about is Air Force One (1997).  President James Marshall (Harrison Ford) is returning from Moscow after making an anti-terrorism speech. Then his plane is taken over by Russian hijackers. They threaten to execute the passengers one by one (including The First Lady and The First Daughter) until their demands are met. But they don’t anticipate that President Marshall is a bad ass who will not go down without a fight.

This movie is an old fashioned, in your face action film. Ford is in his element as an action hero. After 18 years, this film still holds up as a standard bearer for the genre.

And finally, the film that will always be linked to Harrison Ford: Raiders Of The Lost Ark (1981). Indiana Jones (Harrison Ford) has been given the task by the government of find the Lost Ark Of The Covenant. But he is racing against the clock as the Nazis are also seeking this ancient treasure. Can Indy find the ark or will the Nazis beat him to it?

In terms of film franchises and action heroes, Indiana Jones is one of the greats. The film series holds up because the films are well made, entertaining and build upon the previous films instead of rehashing old plot lines.

Do I recommend all three? Absolutely.

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