L.M. Montgomery

Today marks the birthday of L.M. Montgomery.

Readers know her as the creator of the irrepressible, outgoing, redheaded and very talkative Anne Shirley from The Anne Of Green Gables series.

Television fans know her as the writer of the Chronicles of Avonlea, the collection of short stories that was the basis for the 1990’s television series Avonlea.

For this redhead and redheads the world over, Anne Shirley is an icon. In a world where female redheaded characters are few and far between, Anne Shirley is a role model.

Am I the only redhead who gets the tiny bit satisfaction from Anne’s response in the clip above?

Happy Birthday, L.M. Montgomery!



Pastrami On Rye Book Review

Every culture, every ethnicity has its own unique cuisine. Jewish cuisine, especially Jewish sandwiches are known for being large and mostly meat.

In his new memoir, Pastrami on Rye: An Overstuffed History of the Jewish Deli, author Ted Merwin follows the story of the Jewish delicatessen. Starting in the early 20th century with the mass of immigration from Eastern Europe and ending with the unique (and sometimes non-kosher) delicatessens that have opened in recent years, the book traces the story of Jewish food in America.

 I found this book and it’s subject to be fascinating. I’m certainly no stranger to the traditional Jewish delicatessen meal and I was aware of its history, but not the extent that the book covers. Written in a way that appeals to history geeks, foodies, Jews who love their food the way their grandparents eat and everyone in between, this book has a narrative that is easily read and highly enjoyable.

I recommend it.  

Flashback Friday-Teen Witch (1989)

In high school, popularity is the goal for many a young girl. But being popular in high school is not all that it is cracked up to be.

In Teen Witch (1989), Louise (Robyn Lively) is unpopular. She is either ignored or teased. Then Louise discovers that she has magical powers. Her powers come from the ancestors, the Witches Of Salem. First, she will use her powers to get back at the popular girls who mocked her and her teachers who abused her. Once that score has been settled, Louise uses her powers to make the football team captain Brad Powell (Dan Gauthier) fall for her. The question is, once Louise has used her powers,  she begins to question if it was the right thing to do.

This movie has all of the hallmarks of the typical teenage movie from the 1980’s. But there is something more to this movie, especially with the message of what is important and what is not important.

I recommend it.

Flashback Friday-Scarface (1983)

For many who seek a better life, America represents that possibility. But with that possibility, comes the dark side of success.

In the classic 1983 movie Scarface, Tony Montana (Al Pacino) has just emigrated from Cuba to America. Finding himself stuck in a refugee camp, Tony finds a way out with via his friend Manny Ribera (Steven Bauer). Manny will help him move up in the world with a contract killing and a green card. Soon, they both will be working for Frank Lopez (Robert Loggia) and Tony begins to covet Frank’s world and his mistress Elvira Hancock (Michelle Pfeiffer). But what goes up must come down and Tony’s world will come tumbling down.

For many movie fans, Scarface is one of the best movies of the 1980’s. While Tony has many unlikable traits, he is a man of grit who pulls himself up by his bootstraps and continues to fight for what he wants. Despite the heavy drug use and violence that is part and parcel of the narrative, it is those qualities that keeps audiences come back to this film more than 30 years after its initial release.

I recommend it.

Throwback Thursday-1939 Edition- Gone With The Wind (1939) & The Wizard Of Oz (1939)

1939 was an auspicious year. History would record it as the year that would see the beginning of World War II. Movie wise, 1939 produced two of the greatest and most iconic movies of all time: Gone With The Wind and The Wizard Of Oz.

Based on the book of the same name by Margaret Mitchell, Gone With The Wind takes place in the in the Civil War era south. Scarlett O’Hara (Vivien Leigh) is a spoiled, selfish, self-absorbed Southern Belle with plenty of men swarming around her skirts, all hoping that she will say yes to them. The man she really wants is Ashley Wilkes (Leslie Howard), but he is engaged to her soft-spoken cousin, Melanie Hamilton (Olivia De Havilland).  She is warned to place her affections elsewhere, but Scarlett will have no man, but Ashley. Then the war breaks out and Rhett Butler (Clark Gable) enters her life. That is only the beginning of not only one of most beloved and admired movies of all time.

Another movie classic based on a beloved book is The Wizard Of Oz. Dorothy (Judy Garland) is a young lady living with her aunt and uncle in Kansas. She wonder if there is life beyond the farm she calls home. Then a tornado drops Dorothy in a mysterious land called Oz. With the help of the Scarecrow (Ray Bolger), the Cowardly Lion (Bert Lahr) and the Tin Man (Jack Haley), Dorothy seeks the Wizard (Frank Morgan) to help her get home.

Ask any movie fan and they will tell you that these movies are still as beloved as they were during their initial run in theaters. While Scarlett is infuriating and there are certain terms that are considered not politically correct, there something about this movie that still bring audiences in. The Wizard Of Oz is considered to be a classic not just because of the cast, but because of the themes of life, growing up, having courage and confidence.

I recommend both.



Throwback Thursday-Who’s The Boss?- (1984-1992)

In the 1980’s, the world was changing. Women were entering the workforce and men were taking over the domestic roles that traditionally had been assigned to women.

Who’s The Boss? (1984-1992) reflected this change in the world.

Tony Micelli (Tony Danza) is a single father whose previous professional title was that of a baseball player. Needing an income and home for his daughter Samantha (Alyssa Milano), Tony moves from Brooklyn to the suburbs of Connecticut, accepting the position of housekeeper/nanny for business executive Angela Bower (Judith Light). Angela is also a single parent to her son Jonathan (Danny Pintauro). Frequently dropping by is Angela’s feisty, smart mouthed and redheaded mother, Mona (Katherine Helmond) and the audience sees the changing world reflected on their television screen.

In terms of the writing and the era that the show aired, Who’s The Boss was the perfect combination of a traditional sitcom meeting what was then the modern era. Tony and Angela’s switches roles reflected not only the 1980’s, but the changing landscape of America.

I recommend it.

Throwback Thursday-90’s Nick Toons- Doug (1991-1994) & Rugrats (1990-2006)

Cartoons are often thought of as only children’s television.

What seems as mere children’s entertainment can be so much more. It can be one of many building blocks toward the child’s future.

In the early 1990’s Nickelodeon introduced audiences to several new cartoons, two of which I will highlighting with this post.

Airing from between 1991 and 1994, Doug, is the story of 11-year-old Doug Funny, a young man who moves from Bluffington to Bloatsburg. Becoming best friends with Skeeter Valentine and falling in love (as much as an 11-year-old boy can) with Patti Mayonnaise, Doug goes through the same trials and tribulations that anyone at that age goes through.

A year earlier, the characters in Rugrats were introduced to audiences. Premiering in 1990 and airing its last episode in 2006, Rugrats was told from the point of view of four babies.  Tommy Pickles, Chuckie Finster, Phil and Lil Devine go on adventures as only a baby can. Add in Tommy’s sometimes bullying older toddler cousin Angelica and you have a hit children’s television series that had an impact on an entire generation.

When you’re a kid, watching television, you have no idea the impact that these shows can have. But looking back, the now much older audience may realize that even with the all of the years that have passed, these shows and the characters within the shows have stayed with them.

I recommend them.

Happy Thanksgiving.

The Only Choice

Several months ago, I wrote about a friend of a friend who killed herself. Earlier today, I heard that her sister also committed suicide.

I can only imagine what their family is going through.

Living with depression is like living with a perpetual dark cloud. No matter how joyous an occasion maybe, no matter how proud you maybe after reaching a goal that you have worked hard for, depression will always find a way to rain on your joy.

Depression is not a one size fits all disease. Everyone who suffers deals with it differently. Some can function reasonably and go about their daily lives. Others become hermits and become encompassed in their fear.

While I cannot speak for either woman, I know what it is like. I understand what it is to wake up in an emotional fog and think about the only way to finally end the pain.

Sometimes it is the only choice.


Happy Monday.

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