Daily Archives: August 26, 2018

RIP Neil Simon

Death often comes in threes. Last week, we lost Aretha Franklin. Yesterday, we lost John McCain. Today, we lost one of the giants of theater, Neil Simon.

Neil Simon was born in July 4th, 1927 to Jewish parents. As an adult, he was known for creating dark comedies, some with a slightly biographical bent. He was one of the few writers to write for multiple mediums, he wrote for the stage, for film and for television.

Two of my favorite Neil Simon plays are The Odd Couple and Brighton Beach Memoirs.

The Odd Couple is about two divorced men who become roommates. Oscar is a slob and Felix is a neat freak. Despite these differences, somehow they get along, with hilarious results.

Brighton Beach Memoirs is set in 1937 in the South Brooklyn neighborhood of Brighton Beach. Eugene Morris Jerome is nearly 15; he is going through all of the trial and tribulations of being a teenager while living with his large and crazy family.

Neil Simon was 91.  May his memory be a blessing.

RIP.

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Filed under Movies, New York City, Television

Another Shooting In America. What Else Is New?

A wise person would say that logic plays a part in politics and how we view our fellow Americans. But a wise person would also say that logic and American politics are like oil and water.

There was another shooting in America today. This latest shooting was in Jacksonville, Florida at a video game tournament. As of 7:45 PM, EST, four people, including the shooter are dead. Nine are injured from gunshot wounds.

We have midterm elections coming up. The question is, do we as citizens, want to elect someone who cares more for their career than the country? Do we want to elect someone who takes donations from the NRA and other pro gun lobby groups while innocent civilians are killed by guns? Or do we elect someone who puts country over party and career, who understands that we, the American people are their employers, not the lobbyists?

May the memory of those killed be a blessing and may we finally elect a politician who ensures that real world, logical gun control laws are enacted.

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Filed under National News, Politics

Meg, Jo, Beth, Amy: The Story of Little Women and Why It Still Matters Book Review

For many a young and old literary nerd, Little Women is treasured classic.

2018 is the 150th anniversary of the release of Louisa May Alcott‘s classic novel of four young women coming of age in the mid 19th century.

The new book, Meg, Jo, Beth, Amy: The Story of Little Women and Why It Still Matters, by Anne Boyd Rioux, tells the story of how Little Women impacted both American and worldwide culture over the past 150 years.

Little Women was a smash when it hit bookshelves on September 30th, 1868. Since then, the book has become ingrained into the public consciousness. In her book, Ms. Rioux explains how each era viewed Little Women. She also writes about how modern feminism and modern female writers have used pieces of Little Women when creating their own works. Specifically, Ms. Rioux explains how Little Woman lives today in new characters and narratives. Belle from Beauty and The Beast, Hermione Granger from the Harry Potter series and Rory Gilmore from Gilmore Girls all have something in them from Little Women.

I will warn that this book is not for the virgin Little Women fan. It requires the knowledge that only comes via multiple reading and multiple viewings of the various adaptions. I really enjoyed this book. It could have turned out to be just another dry academic book detailing the history of Little Women and Louisa May Alcott. Instead it is  lively, entertaining and reminds its readers why Little Women continues to be relevant 150 years after it was initially released in bookstores.

I recommend it.

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Filed under Beauty And The Beast, Book Review, Books, Feminism, History, Writing

The Bookshop Movie Review

To walk into a bookshop is to have a magical experience.

In the new movie, The Bookshop (based on the book of the same name by Penelope Fitzgerald), Florence Green (Emily Mortimer) is widow who opens a bookshop in a small seaside town in England in 1959. There are many in this town who oppose the bookshop, including the town’s queen bee, Violet Gamart (Patricia Richardson). But she is not without allies. Edmund Brundish (Bill Nighy) is an older, reclusive widower who not only Florence’s first customer, but one of her only true friends in this town.

Will Florence be able to keep her bookshop open or will opposing forces get in the way?

This movie is excellent. While Florence faces wave after wave of opposition, she is able to find plow forward and succeed as best she can. I also appreciated the ending, which was unexpected, but felt right for this narrative.

I recommend it.

The Bookshop is presently in theaters. 

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Filed under Books, Movie Review, Movies

Scaled Review

Most of the programs that fall into the reality television genre is either mind numbing or a waste of precious television watching time.

On Friday, Scaled premiered on Animal Planet.

The premise of the show is as follows: Cornel’s World is a company that specializes in making custom-made terrariums. Each episode, they create made to order terrariums for customers who want to show love to their scaled babies.

I enjoyed Scaled. I enjoyed it because of the challenge of creating a terrarium to fit the unique needs of the animal(s) that live in it. It also has an undercurrent of education as the audience member learns something about the animal(s) whose new home is being built.

I recommend it.

Scaled airs on Animal Planet on Fridays at 9pm.

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Filed under Television, TV Review