Monthly Archives: September 2019

Carrie Book Review

Bullying in school is an age old experience. But few writers have used that as a basic narrative as Stephen King.

In his classic 1970’s novel, Carrie, Carrie White is having a teenage experience that I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy. Socially awkward and quiet, she is bullied by her peers at school and by her ultra-religious mother at home. When she is humiliated at a school dance, her telekinetic powers come forward and all Hades breaks loose.

I have a confession to make: this is the first time that I have read Carrie. I have seen the movie adaptations, but I have yet to read the book. What I liked about this book is that King takes an unorthodox approach to the narrative. He tells Carrie’s story not just from her perspective, but also from the perspective of the wider community that is affected by her bullying.

I recommend it.

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Filed under Book Review, Books

Judy Movie Review

Judy Garland was a performer with a capital P. She is an icon above icons, a movie star in every sense of the word. She was a human being whose life off camera was far from perfect.

The new movie, Judy, tells the story of the last years of Judy Garland‘s (Renee Zellweger) life. She is no longer the young starlet (played by Darci Shaw) who was the apple of the movie-going audience’s eye. At the age of 47, she is battling addiction and facing major career and financial hurdles while trying to be a good mother.

The only gigs she can get are small clubs. Then she is offered a series of concerts at London’s Talk of the Town. Knowing that it is her only option, she takes it. While in London, she marries her fifth and final husband Mickey Deans (Fitt Wittrock) and is given to Rosalyn Wilder (Jessie Buckley), who acts as her assistant.

Judy has the reputation, but can she be the performer that she is known to be or will her personal demons get in the way?

This movie is awesome and without a doubt, is Oscar bait. Zellweger completely disappears into the role, making the audience forget that it is not the real Judy Garland that they are watching. Based on the stage play End of the Rainbow, by Peter Quilter, this film is many things. It is a tearjerker, a reminder of how destructive addiction can be and a story of fighting to survive when it feels like all is lost.

I absolutely recommend it.

Judy is presently playing in theaters.

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Rosh Hashanah and the Appreciation of the Simple Things

Our lives are busy ones. Work, school, family, etc can fill up the days before we know it. Sometimes we need a break to relax and appreciate the simple things.

Rosh Hashanah begins tomorrow at sunset and ends on Tuesday night. Jews around the world will gather together and pray for a sweet new year.

What I like about this holiday is that it gives time to stop and think. No one is perfect, we all make mistakes and have flaws. It is a time to reflect on those flaws and mistakes and how we can become a better person.

For me, this year is stopping, taking notice of the good things in my life and appreciating them. It is also time for a badly needed rest, which allows for taking stock of the blessings in life.

For those who celebrate, have a sweet and happy new year.

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Why Are These Men Afraid of Greta Thunberg?

There is great power in truth. The problem is that those who fear the truth will say and do anything to keep the truth from being revealed.

Greta Thunberg is not afraid of revealing the truth about climate change and the limited time we have to prevent the destruction of our world. This I believe, deep down is what we these men are afraid of. They are also afraid because the truth comes out of a young girl who does not capitulate to them because of her sex and her age.

I’ve recently become aware of the following quote:

“You’ll never see a u-haul behind a hearse.”

Though the quote has a specific meaning, I feel like it can be applied to the reality of climate change. The reality is that our oceans are warming and rising. The glaciers are melting. The weather is becoming more extreme. Entire species of animals are either dead or dying. All of this is due to man made climate change. But there is still time, if we are willing to do what needs to be done.

What these men don’t realize is like the u-haul that goes one way when the hearse goes the other way, they are not immune from the effects of climate change. When the oceans rise and their multi-million dollar waterfront McMansions are destroyed, they will be in same boat as the rest of us.

The sooner they realize this, the better we all will be.

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Filed under Feminism, International News, World News

Flashback Friday-A Baby Story (1998-Present)

Having a baby is one of the most transformative events in one’s life.

For the last 21 years, TLC has been telling the stories of parents bringing their children into the world in A Baby Story. The show follows the parents in their last weeks of pregnancy, during the birth itself and the first few weeks the baby’s life.

As reality shows go, A Baby Story is one of the better ones. It’s one of those reality programs that can be binged on without feeling like brain cells have been destroyed.

I recommend it.

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Filed under Flashback Friday, Television, TV Review

Law & Order: SVU Character Review: Dani Beck

*Warning: This post contains spoilers about the characters from the television series Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. Read at your own risk if you have not watched the show.

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 Law & Order: Special Victims Unit to explore how writers can create fully dimensional, human characters that audiences and readers can relate to.

Sometimes, we have to be reminded of what and who we have to appreciate them. On Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, Dani Beck (Connie Nielsen) was Olivia Benson’s (Mariska Hargitay) temporary replacement while she was undercover.

A widow of a police officer and a cop in her own right, Beck has a different perspective on the cases they are investigating than Benson’s longtime partner, Elliot Stabler (Chris Meloni). Depending on the case, Beck either becomes too involved or becoming traumatized. It goes without saying that her inexperience in the SVU does not help her do her job.

Adding to the tension is the romantic chemistry between her and Stabler. They share a kiss, but the romance does not go beyond the kiss. After taking in an abused child who nearly burns Beck’s house down, she decides that returning to her previous position within the NYPD is best thing for her.

Note: there is usually a video in this spot, but I could not find a video that works for this post.

To sum it up: In our busy daily lives, it’s easy to take certain things and certain people for granted. It’s harder to just be grateful and appreciate who we have and what we have. Though Dani Beck is not on SVU for very long, her presence reminded fans why we loved and still love Benson and Stabler as a duo.

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Filed under Character Review, Feminism, New York City, Television

The Proof is in the Whistleblower Transcript

Every President has distinguished themselves and their administration over the last 200+ years. Our current President has distinguished himself and his administration by openly and repeatedly flouting respected political norms and laws, using his office for personal gain and leading America away from democracy.

But developments over the last few days may be the event that gets America back on track.

The complete transcript from the whistleblower was released today. The following lines stood out to me.

“There’s a lot of talk about Biden’s son, that Biden stopped the prosecution and a lot of people want to find out about that so whatever you can do with the Attorney General would be great,” Mr. Trump is summarized as saying. “Biden went around bragging that he stopped the prosecution so if you can look into it… It sounds horrible to me.”

Here it is in, in black and white. The President of the United States of America is asking the leader of a foreign country to help him win the next Presidential election. Instead of being an adult and attempting to win the election by reaching out to American voters, he is cross legal and moral boundaries to get what he wants.

If this is not a reason to get him out of office, either by impeachment or by voting him out of office, I don’t know what is.

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Filed under National News, Politics

The Song of the Jade Lily Book Review

Jane Austen once wrote the following about friendship:

“There is nothing I would not do for those who are really my friends. I have no notion of loving people by halves, it is not my nature.”

The new book, The Song of the Jade Lily, by Kirsty Manning is about the power of friendship during difficult times. The book is set in two different eras. In 1939 Shanghai, native born Li and Jewish refugee Romy are best friends. Like millions of others across the world, the girls are unaware that the coming war will forever change their lives and their friendship.

In 2016, Romy’s granddaughter Alexandra leaves London with a broken heart and takes refuge in her grandparent’s home in Australia. Her grandfather is dying and the secrets of her grandparent’s past are slowly being revealed.

After her grandfather passes away, Alexandra moves to Shanghai for work. But she is also curious to see if the city can reveal the secrets of her family’s past. What she discovers will finally reveal what has been kept locked away for decades.

This book is amazing. Ms. Manning tells the story of friendship that remains strong, even when war threatens to tear the friendship apart. She also tells the story of Shanghai, the only port that would take Jewish refugees who could not obtain visas. It is a narrative that in the overall Holocaust narrative, that does get the spotlight that it should.

I recommend it.

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Filed under Book Review, Books, History, Jane Austen

Throwback Thursday-American Ninja Warrior (2009-Present)

Becoming a real athlete takes skill, months if not years of hard work and perseverance.

American Ninja Warrior has been part of NBC’s lineup for a decade. An American spin off of the Japanese program Sasuke, the show is basically an athletic competition that is adapted for television. Hundreds of elite athletes from around the country and the world attempt to complete a series of physical challenges. The winners of the local competitions will then move to the national finals, held in Las Vegas. The ultimate winner is that season’s “American Ninja Warrior”.

I don’t watch this show too often, but when I do, I find myself to be captivated. As a viewer, I am sucked in by the question of which contestants will make it to the top and which will have to come back next season.

I recommend it.

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Filed under Television, Throwback Thursday, TV Review

The Jane Austen Society Book Review

Today, Jane Austen is everywhere. 200 years after her passing, she is one of those authors who is as popular as an author whose book is on the New York Times Best Seller list.

But it was not always this way. It is thanks to the original members of the Jane Austen Society that Jane Austen is alive and well in our culture.

Coming out next Spring, The Jane Austen Society by Natalie Jenner tells the story of the founding of the Jane Austen Society. Just after World War II, Chawton, the village where Austen wrote and/or revised her six novels is a sleepy little English town. There is a trickle of visitors to Chawton House, the ancestral home of Jane’s older brother, Edward Austen Knight, but not enough to call it a tourist attraction.

Through their love of their local celebrity, the original members of the Jane Austen Society are able to preserve the memory of Austen’s name and work for generations to come.

I really liked this book. Though the characters are fiction, they embody why Jane Austen is still one of the most popular authors today. The characters in this book are all different, but what brings them together is the love of Austen and the beloved fictional worlds that she created.

I absolutely recommend it.

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Filed under Book Review, Books, History, Jane Austen