Category Archives: good vs. evil

Fantasies

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Not sure the Grimm brothers would wish to be considered descendants from an

“elite line of criminal profilers” known as simply, “Grimms.” The character, Nick

Burkhardt, is very popular in the television show with that name. It is a combination

of mystery, suspense, horror and fantasy. I have watched this from its premiere, with

bated breath waiting for the next episode to begin. Nick’s character partner is named,

Hank Griffins, who is part of knowing Nick’s ancient history. The story revolves with

ancestry references and a fictionalized heritage besides. Hank is a good and trust-worthy

partner. This history allows him to ‘see’ and ‘fight’ by engaging in battle with all sorts of

strange creatures. The fantasy television series first appeared three days before the

holiday, Halloween, in 2011.

The other side characters in “Grimm” include a woman, Fuchsbau Rosalee, who is

able to use pharmaceuticals, including herbs and natural ingredients needed to be

‘antidotes’ and ‘potions.’ She is the “Fox,” among the characters. The Wolf,” is also

once the ‘big, bad wolf,’ but has learned to control his transformations, unless he

is angered, his character’s name is Monroe.

A very popular episode with my fellow coworkers at my warehouse is one that engages

the character of the Filipino fairy tales, the terrifying, ‘aswang.’ Felda, Mary Jane and

their families gathered to watch this “Grimm’s” episode that aired on March 7, 2014.

It came up again in conversation, with the new Fall Season starting soon. Next Friday,

another “Grimm” show will be presented. The March scary Filipino fairy tale involved

a popular character played by a Clevelander, a Padua Franciscan High School graduate.

In the television series, his name is Sergeant Wu. As Sgt. Wu, his character was an integral

part of the way the case against the “aswang” was solved. In real life, Cleveland born Reggie

Lee, could have headed off to Harvard. His parents, who were from the Philippines, would

have been so ‘proud of him.’ He chose instead to dabble in the dramatic art of acting,

at the Cleveland, Ohio Greenbrier Theater and Cleveland Play House.

 

Make sure you check out “Grimm” for fulfilling your need for fantasy crime scenes!

 

There is a rather new “fractured fairy tale” written by a woman named Helen Oyeyemi,

who has written a re-telling of the traditional, “Snow White.” Her book titled,  “Boy,

Snow, Bird” is her newest book. This is a tale with the main character being a bi-racial

eight year old girl and her ‘badly behaving’ secret friend.  Ms. Oyeyemi’s history of

wondrous books includes her first book published called, “The Icarus Girl.”  This tale

wove African and Western cultures together in an international mythology.  Her second

one was called, The Opposite House.” Her third book, “White is for Witching,” sounded

intriguing, too.  While on the cover of her “Boy, Snow, Bird” book there includes “Mr. Fox”

as her most recently published before this one. If you wish to hear why the secret friend

of the 8 year is old is ‘wicked,’ you may check this out.  The playfulness of the book, is

shown in the mother being called mistakenly, “Boy.” While her daughter is called, “Bird.”

The rat-catcher, involved in the plot, adding comic relief. It is published by the Riverhead

Publishing Co. Its bright lime-green colored cover, captures your eyes like ‘eye-candy.’

It has a rose-covered vine winding around the title. . . like a sinister snake.

 

This is not a fantasy, but it is certainly inspiring to watch. Check out YouTube for a

community of Amish people constructing a barn. I always think of that fantastic

mystery, police story and cultural movie, “Witness,” when it comes to the artistic

‘barn-raising’ scene filmed in this Harrison Ford movie. The way it is constructed in

such a beautiful, poetic and fluid way is just goosebump raising for me. So far, there

have been over 2 million ‘hits’ of watching this Raising of an Amish Barn.

 

Here is a quotation that wraps up this post that is about the television series,

“Grimm,” some creatively constructed fairy tales by Helen Oyeyemi and

the Amish community spirited barn-raising:

 

Charles Dickens’ quotation:

“The whole difference between construction and creation is exactly this:

that a thing constructed can only be loved after it is constructed; but a

thing created is loved before it exists.”

Little Treasures

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Little bits and pieces of information come across my mind, that

may not compose a complete post. I enjoy sharing some of these

sources of inspiration, motivation and representations of three

areas of the Arts. One is in literature, one is a true story made into

a movie, and the last one is a belated tribute to a band member,

the last of his group to die. These special examples of writing, film

and music are ones that meant a lot to me. Hope you find a nugget

of gold, a treasure among this trio!

 

My youngest daughter had me check out a children’s book called,

“The Little Soul and the Sun!” I recommend your reading this to

your children, grandchildren or share it with your Sunday School

class teachers. It is a sweet book with the powerful message within

that it quite profound. I will share it with you, since you may wish

to know why this one is worth finding on Amazon, at your library,

or at Half Price Book Store. Neale Donald Walsch’s simple but pure

message lets you feel good about God. Walsch helps us to understand,

through the words he shares; that under all that we label, “Good” or

“Bad,” is love and understanding.

 

I think the actress, Taraji P. Henson, who portrays an African American

college golf coach, who served and helped young athletes for nearly two

decades, will be the one to watch in a movie being filmed.

The title of the movie is, “From the Rough.”

Her name is Taraji, which means “Hope,” in Swahili. Her middle name

is Penda, with means, “Love,” in Swahili. She has played a favorite

character, a police woman in the show, “Person of Interest,” along with

being in “Hustle and Flow,” “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button,”

and other movies.

Who is she playing? The character in the movie is based on the college

men’s golf team at Tennessee State University for almost 20 years.

This amazing woman is Dr. Catana Starks, which was supposed to be

released in select movie theatres after April, 2014. Has anyone seen this

movie? I did not see it come to Columbus, unless I missed it while up

at my Mom’s over a Spring weekend…

I enjoy a movie about a woman who broke down class and traditions

with most golf coaches at college level being men. This movie will

motivate and inspire, which I may have to get at the library, since I

may have missed it at the theatres!

 

Even though it has been a couple of weeks since Tommy Ramone died,

I wanted to mention that the last of the “Ramones” band passed away.

Tommy quietly passed away of cancer’s after effects, on July 11, 2014.

The band members were not related, but all adopted the last name of

Ramone. Wasn’t that both funny and clever of them? They made it into

the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2002.

Their 80’s style “punk rock” includes a few songs I remember and

enjoyed including, Baby, I Love You” and “I Wanna Be Sedated.” They

were ones that when you analyze the lyrics, you may not like them.  I

don’t know why their catchy and driving music, had me singing along

with the Ramones! One  that my brother liked was, “Blitzkrieg Bop.”

The group started out in a garage in New York, made it to the top in

their own uniquely styled genre. They were quite popular in Europe and

around the world!

Gotta love that ingenuity and creativity, man!

Tommy Ramone was only 65. He was not even supposed to be in the

band! He took the place of someone who was trying to play the drums

and sing, to become one of the lead singers. I have written one other

post, with a short mention of the Ramones. I don’t wish to write a whole

article about them but wish to give a small tribute to the ones who felt

they were and changed their last names in respect for their

group. In the Ramones, they had three of the band members die of

cancer and one of heroin accidental overdose. None made it to 70 years

old.

It is a sad fact of some of the hard rockers and other band players, who

start out from simple roots, get ‘hooked’ into the culture of drugs and

partying, not to make it long in this life.

“Only the good die young…” (Billy Joel) reminds me of how long other

rockers have beaten the ‘odds’ and have kept on going. They must have

decided to exercise, cleanse and try for longevity.

 

Each of these ‘treasures’ could be considered to have been following

this quotation:

“If there is a faith that can move mountains,

it is the faith in one’s own power.”

By Marie von Ebner-Eschenbach, Austrian author.

 

Have you any recent news ‘treasures,’ you wish to share with us?

 

 

 

Contrasting Vastly Different Movies

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My Mom was on the phone to ask me if I had posted about any of

the nine movies I took out from our libary and transported to her

apartment in Westlake, Ohio last week. I told her, apologetically,

“No, Mom, but I did write about many of our activities like your

85th birthday, the Clam Bake, Randy’s entry in the Chagrin Falls

art show and Halloween. My visit with you provided many stories

and I consider it a side “bonus” to visiting you, Mom!”

Mom replied, “Well, I was telling my tablemates last night about

the cute animated film, “Puss in Boots.” I recommended it to your

favorite server, Zach, too, since he can learn a few Spanish words,

along the way. I pictured the tall, dark and yes, handsome 16 year

old who plays the French Horn in marching band and takes Spanish,

contemplating borrowing “Puss in Boots” from his local library and

chuckled!

Mom went on to remind me, that she found the third movie of the

Hannibal Lector “trilogy” a “fascinating character study in evil versus

good.” Mom likes to remind me of her being a World Lit high school

teacher with her great summaries and compared this to a morality

play, Shakespeare wrote, “Othello.” The movie we sat watching in a

spell bound trance was due to both Edward Norton (“good” character)

and the famous Hannibal Lector character portrayed by Anthony

Hopkins, of course the “evil” one!

I would like to start with the fun loving character of Puss in Boots,

portrayed or voiced by Antonio Banderas. It was a lovely animated

movie with a lot of dramatic and well illustrated parts to it. I especially

loved the vine that grew out of the magical beans, carrying you up into

the stratosphere to the giant’s castle where the Golden Goose and its

adorable baby Goose could be found.

My mother liked all the Spanish words and the sexy, cocky Puss who

is both Zorro and the Lone Ranger wrapped up in one wild character!

The plot is not too adult for children, the frequently innuendoes, along

with his being quite a lothario, will fly over the heads of children. I am

pleased at the twists in the plot and the dramatic way there is fire,

heart stopping (for a “cartoon”) action scenes, too. I would like to say

you will enjoy this, but am hoping you will sit with children, give them

a half way break to have a snack, since it is rather long for their young

attention spans! My Mom and I needed a bathroom break and more

snacks, since we already had some to begin our movie watching session

that rainy afternoon!

The words that I wrote down “Festival de la fuego de el pollo,” would

be ones you would want to translate, but “amigo” and “gato” are ones

that Diego and Dora in the preschool television cartoons say and teach

our younger children before they are three years old!

As mentioned Antonio plays Puss, Salma Hayek plays “Kitty Southpaw,”

and Zach Galifianakis plays the big lug, Humpty Dumpty. The evil ones,

Jack (Billy Bob Thornton) and Jill (Amy Sedaris) are part of an all star

cast. The other evil character, the “comandante” is played by Guillermo

del Toro.

For those who love “history” this story is a variation of a 1697 French

fairy tale, “Puss in Boots.”

This movie was nominated for the 2011 Academy Awards but did not win.

Being nominated, as we fellow bloggers always blush and enjoy the gift

of award nominations, is an honor bestowed on few animated movies. I

think you will thoroughly enjoy this film! It is rated PG.

“Viva el Gato!”

The movie, “Red Dragon,” is a well written, tightly spun story of an evil

character played by Ralph Fiennes. His different actions, including preying

on a blind woman can make you cringe, jump and shiver in fear. There are

some literary references, such as to William Blake, his quote that starts out,

with the words, “Robin redbreast, in a cage…” express outrage and sheer

rage and horror.

There is an art reference within the context of the plot and film, to The

Great Red Dragon and a woman clothed in the sun.

This literary film includes a symbol on a tree where the current killer, Ralph

Fiennes, is spying on a family. He is studying the family to carry out quite

an “R-rated” rampage. This is not for the squeamish of heart!

The symbol looks like a knife, a sword or Mom guessed an Episcopalian

cross.

It is mentioned when the detective, Norton’s character, visits Hannibal

Lector, (Hopkins’ character). Eerily, omniscient seeming, Lector tells

him it stands for “red dragon.”

The main horrific but well known fact about Hannibal Lector is he is a

cannibal. In one of the first scenes, it is taken you back before he has

become caught and in prison. He is serving a delectable meal to elegantly

clad guests. I am sorry to say, he eludes upon asking ‘what kind of meat

was served?’ to his cannibalism. We, as viewers, are assuming by his

offhand but not directly answered words, that implied reference to they

had just completed a meal served of human flesh. Sorry, eery and creepy,

I know. But, not too many readers, on this planet, would not know that

he is given a place of ‘honor’ in his ability to help Helen Hunt in one film

and then, in this film, Edward Norton’s character.

I did not read any reviews on either of these movies. I rewound the tape

for the Puss in Boots to find out the characters of Jack and Jill, along with

the comandante’s “real” actors’ names. I did not look up any of the literary

or symbolic references in the Red Dragon movie, either. I think presenting

a “fair” and not prejudicial review was my aim. I also wanted to tell you

that my Mom and I like intrigue and detective work. Both films are dramatic

and held our attention in very different ways.

Both the animated film and the horror film show how good triumphs over

evil. You may wish to check out one or both of these films on a snowed in

night or for the latter one, in the daytime.

In any case you may wish to leave the lights on for “Red Dragon”!