Monthly Archives: October 2017

Thank You, Senators Flake And Corker

Albert Einstein once said the following:

The world is a dangerous place to live; not because of the people who are evil, but because of the people who don’t do anything about it.

In the midst of conformity, it’s easy to stay silent. It’s harder to speak out, not knowing what the retribution will be.

It seems that most Republications are content to remain silent since the 2016 election and endorse the lack of constructive leadership that has become the norm since Donald Trump took office back in January.

Thankfully, there have been some within the Republican Party who are daring to speak up and put country over party. Senators Jeff Flake and Bob Corker have publicly reprimanded Trump for his lack of leadership and his inability to do what is best for the country.

While both men have chosen to retire and not run again for their respective seats, I thank them for their courage and their honesty. Though I wouldn’t mind seeing them in the Senate for another few years. This country needs more like them.

One of the phrases I’ve been hearing frequently over the past few weeks is a reference to the Hans Christian Andersen fairy tale, “The Emperor’s New Clothes“. I’m not a huge fan of fairy tales, but this story is proving to be eerily relevant.

Gentlemen, I thank you for your service and speaking up. It’s time we had more like you in the houses of government.

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Filed under Fairy Tales, National News, Politics

Thoughts On The Anniversary Of The Publishing Of Little Women

Late last month was the 149th anniversary of the publishing of Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women.

Little Women for those unaware, is the story of the four March sisters growing up in Civil War era Massachusetts. Their father is away, fighting for the Union, leaving his wife, known as Marmee to her daughters, to be both mother and father.

Meg, the oldest, is level-headed and responsible. Jo (short for Josephine), is the tomboy, the son her father never had and the wannabe writer. Beth is the homebody who rarely socializes outside of her family circle. Amy, the baby of the family, is artistic, but spoiled and selfish. Living in genteel poverty, the girls, the mother and their longtime housekeeper, Hannah do the best they can under their circumstances.

What I love about this book is that it is so universal. While the sisters are archetypes, Alcott brilliantly fleshed them out so they are fully formed characters. She also allows her characters to grow in a very organic way, instead of forcing adulthood upon them. There is also, as there is often is with books by female writers before the modern era, an undercurrent of feminism.

It’s been 23 years since the last film adaptation of Little Women was released.

Next year, PBS will be airing their own adaptation of Little Women.

When I think of Little Women, I think of how much I understand these girls and their journey. I also think how much this book mean to me when I was growing up and how it led me to become the bookworm I am today.

Louisa May Alcott, thank you for this amazing, wonderful book that continues to last. May the book and your legacy live forever.

 

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Filed under Books, Feminism, History, Movies, Writing

Too Fat, Too Slutty, Too Loud: The Rise and Reign of the Unruly Woman Book Review

From an early age, women are taught to conform. If we do not conform, we are labelled as outsiders and called names that are meant to shame us for our rebellion.

Earlier this year, Buzzfeed culture writer Anne Helen Petersen published Too Fat, Too Slutty, Too Loud: The Rise and Reign of the Unruly Woman. She writes about a number of women who by reputation have stepped out of what is considered to be a normal woman. The list of women profiled includes tennis star Serena Williams, actress Melissa McCarthy, Madonna and Hillary Clinton.

This book is one of my favorite books of 2017. I loved it because not only did it call out the b*llsh*t that women have to deal with on a daily basis, but it also honors the women who give a middle finger to conformity and choose to live as they want to.

I absolutely recommend it.

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Filed under Book Review, Books, Feminism, Movies, Music, Politics

Happy Belated Birthday Carrie Fisher

Yesterday would have been the 61st birthday of actress, writer and mental health advocate Carrie Fisher.

Originally known to audiences as Princess Leia Organa from the Star Wars films, she was the daughter of the late singer Eddie Fisher and his first wife, actor/singer, the late Debbie Reynolds.

I could write about what her legacy is to the millions of Star Wars fans around the world and to the millions who are suffering from mental illness, but that’s been done. I want to remember as a woman who was not afraid to call out the bullshit, especially in Hollywood. Since the Harvey Weinstein scandal broke two weeks ago, the floodgates of women who were sexually assaulted, not just by Weinstein, but other men in Hollywood have come forward. One of these men assaulted a friend of hers and Carrie responded as only she could.

In honor of Carrie, I give you Star Wars Rap Battle: Han Solo vs Princess Leia.

Happy Birthday, Carrie. You are gone, but never forgotten.

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Filed under Books, Feminism, Mental Health, Movies, Star Wars

Wuthering Heights Character Review: Catherine Linton

*Warning: This post contains spoilers about Emily Bronte’s classic novel, Wuthering Heights. Read at your own risk if you are unfamiliar with the either book or the various adaptations.

There is something to be said about a well written, human character. They leap off the page and speak to us as if they were right in front us, as flesh and blood human beings, instead of fictional creations.

In this series of weekly blog posts, I will examine character using the characters from Wuthering Heights to explore how writers can create fully dimensional, human characters that audiences and readers can relate to.

Whether or not they are aware of it, parents will sometimes pass on their emotional scars to their children. The question is, if and when the child becomes aware that their parents emotional scar has become their scar, do they find a way to heal or let the scar remain open?

Catherine Linton is the living embodiment of emotional scars that are passed from one generation to the next. Her mother, also Catherine Linton (née Earnshaw), died soon after the birth of her daughter, torn between her husband and her soulmate/adopted brother, Heathcliff.  Raised by her indulgent father and Nelly, her late mother’s housekeeper, Catherine is protected from the world.

Then Heathcliff enters Catherine’s life and the emotional scars from the previous generation are brought into the light. Still resenting the loss of his true love to Edgar Linton, Heathcliff (who is also Catherine’s uncle), kidnaps the girl, knowing full well that she is her father’s heir. Catherine is forced to marry her cousin, Linton and watch Heathcliff take Thruthcross Grange as his own after the death of her father.

Soon Catherine becomes a widow herself. Her only consolation is Nelly, who is once more the housekeeper at Wuthering Heights and her other cousin, Hareton Earnshaw. Abused and imprisoned by Heathcliff, Catherine is no shrinking violet. She is her mother’s child and uses every ounce of her energy to hold onto her dignity and self respect. In the end, it is Catherine and Hareton who will walk away from the tragedy that is Wuthering Heights, finally healing the scars of the previous generation.

 

To sum it up: Scars can heal, if we let them. Or we can let them fester. Catherine chooses to let the scars heal. In doing so, the ghosts of the past are finally able to rest and Catherine and Hareton are able to walk off into the sunset together. As writers, we have a choice on how to end our stories. More important than the choice of ending, it has to feel right for the narrative and the characters. In choosing her own version of a happy ending for her novel, Emily Bronte is able to successfully end her narrative with a closing feels natural. If the ending of war is peace, than the ending of Wuthering Heights is as it ought to be.

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Filed under Books, Character Review, Emily Bronte, Wuthering Heights

The Genius of Jane Austen: Her Love of Theatre and Why She Works in Hollywood Book Review

A good writer has the ability to create narratives and characters that transcend the original format in which they were introduced to audiences. Jane Austen, is obviously one of those writers as her stories have been adapted time again over the last 200 years.

The Genius of Jane Austen: Her Love of Theatre and Why She Works in Hollywood, by Paula Byrne, traces the influences of Georgian era theater on Austen’s novels, the history of the numerous adaptations and why Austen continues to be an inspiration to modern-day filmmakers and screenwriters.

I wanted to like this book, I really did. I appreciated the research that Ms. Byrne put into the book, especially the theatrical narratives and characters that were popular in Austen’s Day. I just wish the book was less like a college textbook and more engaging. While I forced myself to finish the book, it was difficult at times to keep reading.

Do I recommend it? No.

 

 

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Filed under Book Review, Books, Jane Austen, Writing

Throwback Thursday-Lost In Space (1998)

Sometimes, a film producer or director has what they think is a brilliant idea. They take a classic television show from their early years and attempt to reboot it for a new generation.

An example of this is the movie reboot of the classic 1960’s television show, Lost In Space (1998). The movie mirrors the plot of the television series. The earth, as we know it to be, may soon be no more. The Robinson family, led by Professor John Robinson (William Hurt) is charged with colonizing another planet in hopes of saving humanity. But something goes wrong, as it always does. Dr. Zachary Smith (Gary Oldman) is the something that goes wrong, a villain, who as usual, has less than honorable motives. Will the Robinson’s ever return home or are they fated to be lost in space for eternity?

Bear in mind, that I have never seen the original series in its entirety, so this review is strictly based on the movie. As a standalone movie, it’s fine, but I have a feeling that fans of the original series might have objected to the reboot. While the cast is excellent and Gary Oldman excels, as he usually does as the antagonist, it’s merely ok for me. There is nothing spectacular about this film.

Do I recommend it? Maybe.

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Filed under History, Movie Review, Movies, Television

Solo: A Star Wars Story Mini Trailer

Yesterday, director Ron Howard announced the title of the upcoming Han Solo stand alone movie. It’s called Solo: A Star Wars Story. Set to be released next May, it’s not a surprise that the details of the movie, other than the general plot are being kept under wraps for the present. What is known is that the film is a prequel to Episode 4 and will tell the story of Han’s life before he met Luke, Leia and company.

Given the success of Rogue One and The Force Awakens and the hype surrounding The Last Jedi, I hope that this prequel/standalone film will only add to the luster of the Star Wars legacy and given fans a new reason to be loud and proud of their fandom.

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Bingley’s Teas

There are two kinds of tea in this world. There is the ordinary bland, factory made tea that can be purchased at any deli or grocery store. Then there is the tea that from the moment you open the bag to the last drop going down your throat wraps you in tea heaven.

This is Bingley’s Teas.

Named for Charles Bingley from Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, this delicious, loose tea made with a variety of ingredients offers a delectable range of teas to choose from. Opening a bag of Bingley’s Teas is akin to being wrapped in a warm blanket on a cold winter day. Whether it is a black tea to help you get up in the morning or a green tea to sooth the nerves after a long day of work,  this tea is far and away one the best tea brands I’ve ever had.

And of course, their Jane Austen tea line is sheer perfection. My personal favorite is Lizzie Bennet’s Wit.

If you must buy tea, I absolutely recommend Bingley’s Teas. It will forever change the way you drink and appreciate tea.

 

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Filed under Books, Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice

Beautiful Trauma Album Review

When P!nk broke into the music world at the turn of the millennium, she was packaged as just another pop princess. But P!nk was determined to be her own artist and not be defined by the genre or the era that saw her become a superstar.

Nearly twenty years and six albums later, she released her latest album, Beautiful Trauma last week. What I love about the album is that it is everything I expected and more from her.

Some of the songs are heartfelt (Barbies), some are political (What About Us) and some are just too darn catchy (Revenge, which is a duet with Eminem).

What I love about this album and what I’ve always loved about P!nk as an artist is that her music is real. There is nothing false or phony about her songs. I love artists who cut past the b*llsh*t and produce albums that are authentic and real. P!nk has always been and hopefully will always be one of those artists.

I absolutely recommend it.

Beautiful Trauma is available wherever music is sold. 

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Filed under Music, Music Review