Monthly Archives: June 2018

Enemies in Love: A German POW, a Black Nurse, and an Unlikely Romance Book Review

It has been said that the heart wants what the heart wants. Even if that goes against the political and cultural norms of the day.

In Enemies in Love: A German POW, a Black Nurse, and an Unlikely Romance, by Alexis Clark, Elinor Powell and Frederick Albert met in a way that only comes from war.

Elinor Powell was an African-American nurse who was raised in the Northeast and had her first bitter taste of Jim Crow when she was stationed in Arizona during World War II. Frederick Albert was a German POW who was captured by the Allies in Italy and sent to the POW camp in Arizona where Elinor was stationed. While Frederick outwardly acted as any youth of that time period would act, he internally did not subscribe to the beliefs of Nazi Germany.

It was love at first night for Frederick. Elinor took a little longer, but she too was soon in love. In another time and place, no one would have thought twice about their relationship. But the fact was that she was African-American and he was a German soldier who was a wartime captive. It wasn’t the ideal start to a relationship, but somehow, their relationship and their marriage lasted.

I loved this book. It was not just the story of love against all odds, but it was the story of a real marriage with all of the ups and downs that marriage brings.

I absolutely recommend it.

 

 

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Incredibles 2 Movie Review

It has been said that good things come to those who wait.

Incredibles 2 is a perfect example of this concept.

The movie starts just after it’s predecessor, Incredibles ended. They have saved the world, but the fact that is superheroes are still illegal. The Parr family nearly resigns themselves into a normal life, but then the brother sister duo of Winston and Evelyn Deavor (Bob Odenkirk & Catherine Keener) come calling. The wealthy siblings are more than eager to rehabilitate the reputation of superheroes. They plan to use Elastigirl (Holly Hunter) as an icon to change the status of superheros, both legally and culturally. This means that Mr. Incredible (Craig T. Nelson) is home with the kids all day.

While Elastigirl is doing her superhero thing,  a new villain emerges. Their name is Screenslaver. Will the Parr family ever be allowed to be their superhero selves and more importantly, can they find out who this Screenslaver is and defeat them?

The last fourteen years were worth the wait. This movie, for lack of a better word, is incredible. It has a nice balance of action and emotional moments, especially when it comes to Mr. Incredible realizing that parenting is not as easy as he presumed it to be. The kids in the audience will appreciate the humor. The adults in the audience will appreciate the relationship between the family and more specifically, Mr. Incredible and Elastigirl.

I absolutely recommend it.

 

 

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Filed under Feminism, Movie Review, Movies

Flashback Friday-Merlin (2008-2012)

The hero or heroine’s journey is a common narrative. For some, that journey is the rocky road from youth to maturity.

The television series Merlin (2008-2012) told the story of the young man who would become one of the greatest wizards in mythology. Starring Colin Morgan as the titular character and Bradley James as the future King Arthur, Merlin is initially a servant in King Uther’s (Anthony Stewart Head) Camelot. As time goes on and Merlin grows up, he will become a friend, a companion and a trusted adviser to the man who will be known as King Arthur.

I wasn’t a huge fan of this series, but the fact that it lasted four years says something about the quality of the program.

Do I recommend it? Maybe.

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What Is Good For The Goose Is Good For The Gander

In 2016, as President Obama’s final year in office was coming to a close, Justice Antonin Scalia passed away. As is within the scope of power that comes with being President, he nominated Merrick Garland to replace Justice Scalia. The Republicans shot down the idea, stating that they preferred to wait fill Justice Scalia’s seat until after the 2016 Presidential Election.

Now the shoe is on the other foot. Justice Anthony Kennedy announced today that as of July 31st, he will be retiring.

I believe that at this point in time, we are at a political crossroad. Whoever takes Justice Kennedy’s place could not just tip the balance of the Supreme Court, but could have a hand in shaping the future of our country for years to come. While the hope for Democrats is that a blue wave will take back the House and Senate come the midterm elections in November, at this point, it is still just a hope.

The problem is that while President Obama tried to compromise with the Republicans, compromise is a dirty word when it comes to you know who. It’s his way or the highway.

What is good for the goose is good for the gander. Perhaps it’s time that the Republicans got a taste of their own political medicine.

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Early Throwback Thursday-Elektra (2005)

One of the hallmarks of the hard-fought for gender parity, especially in Hollywood, is that the idea of a female superhero headlining a film is no longer an anomaly. But, then like any superhero film, the question of quality, especially when compared to the source material, has to be asked.

In the 2005 film, Elektra (based upon the comic book character of the same name), the titular heroine, played by Jennifer Garner survives a near death experience. Breaking with the rest of the world, Elektra’s sole focus is her job as an assassin. Her latest assignment is protected a single father and his young daughter from a group of supernatural assassins. Can she protect her charges and perhaps regain her humanity in the process? Or will she forever run from the world?

At the time, I knew nothing about the MCU or the characters that inhabited that world. I suppose the film is ok, but when it is compared to other films within the MCU, it doesn’t quite hold up.

Do I recommend it? Not really.

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Filed under Feminism, Movie Review, Movies, Throwback Thursday

Suddenly Jewish: Jews Raised as Gentiles Discover Their Jewish Roots Book Review

Imagine the following scenario: From the time you were very young, you thought you knew who you were. As far back as you can remember, you were given a certain identity. Then a secret is revealed and that identity is questioned.

That is the premise of the 2007 book, Suddenly Jewish: Jews Raised as Gentiles Discover Their Jewish Roots. Written by Barbara Kessel, the book contains interviews with 160 individuals. While their lives and individual stories vary, they all have one thing in common: they discover they either they are Jewish or they have Jewish ancestry. The interviewees are broken down into four distinct categories: Crypto-Jews (descendants of  Jews who were forced to convert to another religion, but still practiced Judaism in secret), child survivors of the Holocaust who survived by hiding and assuming Christian identities, the children of Holocaust survivors and children who were adopted. 

This book is absolutely fascinating. What made it fascinating was not just the history behind the stories of the interviewees, but the reactions of those interviewed. Some were not only accepting of their true identity, but they also actively became members of the Jewish faith. Others dismissed the idea and distanced themselves from their Jewish ancestry. Either way, it was a compelling view of the roads where history and identity meet.

I recommend it.

 

 

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A Mob Mentality Helps No One

It seems to me that American politics these days has taken on a mob mentality. We are so busy yelling at and over each other that no one is really listening to the other side of the conversation.

In response to the treatment of Central American migrants and asylum seekers at our Southern border, Representative Maxine Waters has encouraged to publicly confront members of the Trump administration en masse about the “zero tolerance” policy.

While public protest is a guaranteed right of every American, the mob mentality helps no on, especially in this political climate.

While I agree that we need to confront you know who about what he is doing to this country, this is not the way go about it. We need our elected officials to do what is right for the country as a pose for what is right for their party or their political careers. We also need to vote and make sure that those in our government are reminded who is in charge of this country.

I hate to say it, but I almost agree with the right on this topic.

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Robin Book Review

Robin Williams was one of the most remarkable performers of our time. When he took his life in 2014, his passing created a hole in our culture that will never be filled.

Earlier this year, Dave Itzkoff published Robin, a biography of the late star.

Robin Williams was a walking contradiction. He was a performer who could make audiences laugh and cry at the same time. He played iconic characters in Mork and Mindy, Aladdin, Good Morning Vietnam and Mrs. Doubtfire. But not even those remarkable performances could mask years of dealing with the triple demons of addiction, self-esteem and mental illness.

I really enjoyed this book. I enjoyed because when put Hollywood celebrities on a pedestal, we forget that they are still human beings who deal with the same issues that all human beings deal with.

I absolutely recommend it.

 

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I Really, Really Dislike Radio Silence

Some of my regular readers may know that on top of my day job, I am a freelance writer.

Applying for freelancing jobs, especially for content and article writing, is essentially the same process as any standard job hunt. You submit all of the necessary information and hope that the publication will accept your work, or at least the possibility of your work.

Like any job hunt, it is a proven fact that one will not get a response about most of the jobs that they apply for.  I’ve been in the job market long enough to understand that when I apply for jobs, I will only receive a response back on a handful of them. The same goes for freelancing. At best, I may get a form letter, thanking me for my submission and advising of the potential time it will take for the publication to get back to me. At worst, I get radio silence, which I really, really dislike.

Recently, I submitted two pieces to two different publications. Both have published my work in the past. One of the publications immediately got back to me saying that they were publishing the story I submitted. The other publication initially requested changes. I did so and submitted the updated document as requested. Between both publications, I had to contact them four times before receiving confirmation there is a tentative ETA for both stories being published.

I get it, I really do. They have an editorial calendar and multiple writers whose stories they will be publishing. It’s a process to put together a daily or weekly publication.

I just wish some publishers would be more consistent when it comes to communication with their writers. I would rather a hard no right away, than wonder for weeks or months on end if a) they got my story and b) if they will actually be publishing my work.

I just wonder if it would be too much to ask for some more consistent communication between some publications and their writers.

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Won’t You Be My Neighbor? Movie Review

Generations of American children were raised on Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, this writer included. Fred Rogers, the unlikely titular star of the show, taught his young audience not just their ABC’s. They also learned self-esteem, how to react when dealing with extreme emotions and how to deal with the crap that life can throw at you.

The new documentary, Won’t You Be My Neighbor?, follows not only the life and career of Fred Rogers, but also tells the story of his television show was the basis of the emotional and academic education for millions of American children. He proved that children’s television, then and now, does not need to bop its audience over the head or use a cartoon to sell toys and other merchandise. It can speak to its audience on a personal level and teaches them without the child being aware that they are learning.

 

If there was ever a reason to go to the movie theater, this movie is it. When we grow up, many of us can become cynical, angry or just go about our day-to-day life without feeling anything. Mister Rogers allowed his young audience to feel, to ask questions and to understand that sometimes life is hard. I think when we grow up, we forget that. Seeing this movie reminded me that it’s ok to feel, it’s ok to ask questions and it’s ok to understand life can be difficult.

I absolutely recommend it.

Won’t You Be My Neighbor is presently in theaters. 

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