Since the beginning of time, human beings have tried to explain what happens after we die.
In the wake of the attack on September 11th,2001, the loved ones of the victims tried to pick themselves up and move on. While their loves ones were gone physically, some reported seeing them in spirit.
Bonnie McEneaney is a 9/11 widow. Her husband, Eamon McEneaney was one of the hundreds of Cantor Fitzgerald employees who lost their lives that day. After her husband’s death, she began to see signs that he was still around. In her 2011 book, Messages: Signs, Visits, and Premonitions from Loved Ones Lost on 9/11, Mrs. McEneaney reports that her husband’s spirit still lingered. In writing this book, she discovered that she was not the only who experienced this phenomena. Interviewing spouses, friends and family members of other 9/11 victims, Mrs. McEneaney reports that they too believed that their loved ones were still around, if only in spirit.
This book is amazing. I had chills reading this book. I also needed quite a few tissues. What makes this book stand out is that it proves that there is life after death and there is recovery after tragedy. Our loved ones maybe gone physically, but in one way or another, their spirits and the imprint their lives left on us remain.
Life is not without its curve balls. One minute we think we know where our life is going and then it changes in an instant.
In the 2004 film, Raising Helen, Helen Harris (Kate Hudson) is living it up as a single woman. Her descent up the career ladder is swift and her social life is full. Then she receives a phone call that forever changes her life. Her sister and brother-in-law were killed in a car accident. Helen is now the guardian of her sister’s children. While it appears that stepping into her sister’s shoes will be a piece of cake, Helen will soon learn that it is not easy to raise children, especially as a single parent. With the support of Dan Parker (John Corbett), Helen will have to make some decisions and some adjustments.
As a film, it’s merely ok. A fish out of water tale has the potential to be interesting. But this film borders on mediocre and predictable.
Sometimes the best movies are the simplest ones. A camera, an intriguing narrative and fully formed characters are all that is needed for a film to be labelled a success.
In 1994, soon to be famous (and respected) director Kevin Smith released his feature film debut, Clerks. Dante (Brian O’Halloran) works at a convenience store and is not happy about working on his day off. He feels like his life is going nowhere fast. His ex is getting married and his current girlfriend has more experience in the bedroom than he does. His friend Randal (Jeff Anderson) works next door at the local video store. They spend the film commiserating about their lives and finding ways to make the day go faster.
This film made the career of Kevin Smith. It proves that over the top special effects, a contrived narrative and 2D characters are not always a guarantee of a film’s success. It is a story that pulls the audience in and characters that are human and normal that speak to an audience and fill in seats at the theater.
Born in pre-war Poland, Mr. Peres emigrated with his family to what was then British controlled Palestine in the 1930’s. A former President of Israel, he saw the need for peace in the region and was awarded the Nobel Peace prize for his part in creating the Oslo Peace Accords.
Mr. Peres was the last OG of the giants who founded the modern State of Israel. David Ben-Gurion, Golda Meir, and others have long since left this earth. But Mr. Peres remained.
He was 93. My heart goes out to his family and those who knew him.
This coming Sunday, Jews around the world will be celebrating the holiday of Rosh Hashanah.
For me, this Rosh Hashanah is about rest, family and introspection. I’ve been through a lot since last fall and have made more than my fair share of mistakes along the way. The emotional bruises are plenty. Some bruises have healed, other are just as raw as they were when they appeared. I’ve been knocked down more times than I can count. But I picked myself up, brushed myself up and I kept going.
I will also be looking forward to the rest and spending time with my family. Sometimes we just need to stop and take a deep breath. Rosh Hashanah is that deep breath.
For those who celebrate, have a happy and sweet new year.
Museums are supposed to be educational and illuminating. That does not mean that they cannot be engaging. Or that they can’t induce tears.
A little more than ten years after September 11th, 2001, the 9/11 Memorial Museum opened to the public. Built on the site of the Twin Towers, the museum is a living memorial to the victims of both the September 11th attacks and the attack in 1993. Containing artifacts from the ruins, multimedia installations, pictures of the victims and the everyday of objects belonging to those who survived and/or perished, this museum stands out among the museums in New York City.
Walking into this museum is like walking into a time capsule. It is also like walking in a tomb. While there are parts of the exhibit that are heartbreaking, there are also parts that remind us that life does go on and while we will never forget, we can heal.
I absolutely recommend it, for both locals and visitors.
The museum is located at 180 Greenwich St in New York City.
War can cause us to do things that we might not do in times of peace.
In the new novel, Karolina’s Twins, by Ronald H. Balson, the married couple (and soon to be first time parents) private investigator Liam Taggart and lawyer Catherine Lockhart are presented with an intriguing case. Lena Woodward (née Scheinman) is an elderly Holocaust survivor with a decades old secret.
Lena needs Liam and Catherine to help her keep a promise to a dying friend. Before the war, Lena and Karolina were best friends. But the war and the invading Nazis changed everything. In the ghetto, Karolina finds herself pregnant and needs a way to ensure that her children will live. She does only what a mother in desperate times would do. With her dying breath, Karoline asked Lena to find her children. While Lena is telling her story, her son Arthur is trying to prove that his mother is senile and no longer able to take care of herself. Can Liam and Catherine prove that Karolina had children and if she did, are they still alive?
My initial reaction to this book is that the author immediately uses back story within the first couple of chapters. Using back story immediately is like walking a fine line. Sometimes it works and sometimes it does not work. In this case it works. Mr. Balson also moves between the present and the past, a tactic that, like using back story immediately, may or may not work. What I enjoyed about the book was the mystery and the final twist.
Bridget Jones is the iconic single woman. She first appeared in 1995 in a newspaper column and then a book written by Helen Fielding. In 2001, movie audiences were introduced to the film version of Bridget in Bridget Jones’s Diary (2001).
Fifteen years later, Bridget (Renee Zellweger) has returned to the screen in Bridget Jones’s Baby. The film starts on the eve of Bridget’s 43rd birthday. Her friends have all abandoned the single life for the traditional life of marriage and children. Encouraged by a colleague to spend the weekend at a music festival, Bridget has a one night stand Jack (Patrick Dempsey), an American whose dating website has become very successful. A week later, she hooks up with her ex, Mark (Colin Firth) at the christening of a child of a mutual friend. Bridget soon finds herself pregnant, but the question is, who is the father?
In setting the film years after the last film ended, the production team seamlessly found a way to create a new narrative while keeping the narrative and the characters that drew audiences in from the beginning. Bridget is an every-woman, her life reflects the lives of many of the women in the audience. While our careers and our social lives are successful, there is a small part of us that yearns for a partner to share it with.
The romance genre, depending on the reader and the writer can either be one of two things: predictable and boring or exciting and engaging. Elizabeth Gaskell’s classic novel, North and South, is the latter. Set in the fictional industrial town of Milton during the 19th century, it is the story of the rocky courtship between Margaret Hale and John Thornton.
In 2004, the book was made into a mini-series. Margaret Hale (Daniela Denby-Ashe) has spent her entire life in the South of England. When her father (Tim Pigott-Smith) looses his position with the church, he relocates his wife and daughter to Milton. To support his family, Mr. Hale finds work as a private tutor. One of his students of the mill owner John Thornton (Richard Armitage). Margaret believes John to be haughty and full of himself and sympathizes with the mill workers. John thinks Margaret is a snob and speaks of what she knows nothing about, especially the delicate balance between the workers and the owners that keep Milton going.
Among movies and miniseries in the BPD (British Period Drama) genre, this is one of the best. Based on a beloved classic with a cast of actors who have played roles in Downton Abbey, Jane Austen adaptations and other period dramas, it is worthy of the praise that had been heaped upon it. Add in the Lizzie and Darcy like chemistry between the two leads and you had the perfect BPD.