Category Archives: Russian

Tear-jerkers: Memorable plus Meaningful

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While discussing my recent movie reviews that were less than favorable, my friends

were suggesting I make a list of memorable and meaningful movies I would still

recommend despite sad, unusual or discouraging endings. This will help you to get

a better idea of my movie entertainment tastes and interests. Hopefully, this will

also spur some additions or explorations into movies you have not yet experienced.

 

I think that I may have overdone my expressing ‘dislike’ for “Gone Girl.” In the past,

while a younger and more adventurous woman, I may have hung on tightly to the

‘roller coaster ride’ of this fine, well-received movie. After all,  Jack Nicholson was

hugely entertaining in the suspenseful thriller movie, “The Shining.” Rosamunde

Pike was chilling in her portrayal of Amy, in “Gone Girl.” Reminds me how I did

enjoy Glenn Close’s psychotic character in 1987’s “Fatal Attraction.”

 

Lastly,  I hope to shed some light on the subject of movies, for ‘drop-in’s’ or new

visitors to my posts, who may think I am all sunshine and happy endings only!

 

Here is my List of Favorite Movies which are varied in subject matter, ‘genres’

and widely spaced in their production and release dates. They include ‘gooey’

love stories, star-crossed lovers,  along with ‘gory’ and intriguing plot lines.

 

1. “Deliverance,” a fine movie which featured great performances from both Ned

Beatty and Burt Reynolds. It was not pleasant, but it was informative and held my

interest throughout this feature. I am sure it won awards, too.

 

2. “Dr. Zhivago,” which probably did win an award for best song, “Lara’s Theme.”

If you loved this one, it may have been because you cherished the book, too. Julie

Christie was gorgeous, the scenery was captivating and I could not take my eyes off

of Omar Sharif. The historical element and the details were perfect, along with the

war-torn, epic love story.

 

3. “Diary of Anne Frank.” (No need to explain why this movie was significant. Along

with many of my mother’s friends thinking they chose exactly who should play this

role and Millie Perkins did an excellent job in the 1959 classic. The 2009 mini-series,

for television was a good one, to help bring awareness to another generation.)

 

4. “Casablanca,” made me fall in love with Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman.

This iconic love story included historical features and another war story.

“Play It Again, Sam,” although a friend informed me, it never was included in the

movie. It is implied by both the main characters asking for him to play  the song,

“As Time Goes By,” more than once. It became a common expression, most young

people even know where it (sort of) comes from…along with Woody Allen using it

later,  in his film title.

 

5. “Flowers in the Attic,” recently remade, done well for television. This is an example

of a fascinating, dark subject, including incestuous behavior. It was a great book with

a well written script. Louise Fletcher, who did an outstanding performance in this

movie, also portrayed Nurse Ratched in “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.”

 

6. “Love Story,” which brought my Dad and me together, reading it, first in the Reader’s

Condensed Version, which came to our house. Then, he went right out and bought the

full  hard book version. Our whole family went to see the movie, knowing we would need

tissues, enjoying Ali McGraw and Ryan O’Neal, in their roles.  “Not a dry eye in the (movie

theater) house.”

 

7. “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid,” which I jokingly say is to blame for my vastly

inappropriate husbands. Paul Newman and Robert Redford played the bank robbers, who

up until the very end, did not use guns to hurt people. The last freeze-frame of the partners,

coming out of their hiding place, to the Mexicans shooting their guns, is unforgettable. I

also, surprised my parents, by taking our Encyclopedia Brittanica out when we got home,

finding the “Hole in the Wall Gang” article there. They had thought it was a fictional story,

and later, proud of the efforts of both Paul Newman and Robert Redford’s philanthropic

projects: “Newman’s Own” foods (sauces, dressings and other products) and “The Hole in

the Wall” children’s ranch for those disadvantaged kids, other benefits like scholarships

available.

 

8. “Saving Private Ryan,” which is another sad story but it is more realistic than most

war stories. I point this out due to my brothers and others who enjoyed John Wayne’s

versions of war while growing up. The Viet Nam movies, such as “Apocalypse Now”

and “Born on the Fourth of July,” include violence, drugs, Agent Orange and some

powerful, memorable characters.

 

9. “Brian’s Song,” which won a few awards, I am sure. Brian Piccolo, along with

his best friend made sports and cancer a household subject to talk about. If it could

happen to a young, vital athlete, it could happen to . . . anyone.

 

10. “Flowers for Algernon,” which had the futuristic subject of how drugs could

potentially raise a person’s I.Q.  If you never saw this one, it is very well done. This

makes you appreciate the way science fiction can be gently inserted into a movie,

without being overdone. Matthew Modine plays the man with retardation, in the

newer 2000 version,  Cliff Robertson was the fine actor to watch in,  “Charly.”

Both were based on the short story, “Flowers for Algernon.”

 

11. “Clockwork Orange,” which was a book I was required to read in high school. Our

class went to see the movie together. It is not everyone’s “cup of tea,” but it was a break-

through movie with fantastic performances by a young Malcolm McDowell and directing

by Stanley Kubrick.  Anthony Burgess’ science fiction book was disturbing, but has

significance and meaning. Visualizing the book did not match how powerful the film was.

Our classhad great discussions after viewing this, about what personal rights criminals,

particularly juveniles, deserve. Where the boundary of “Big Brother,” (government and

courts) also begins and ends.

 

12. “Romeo and Juliet, ” which broke the ground rules of lack of male nudity prior to

this movie in the 70’s. I think you may know why anyone would like all versions of

this movie, since it is considered ‘classical’ to love Shakespeare.

 

13. “West Side Story,” with the Hispanics and Caucasians fighting over their areas

of the city or ‘turfs’ among rival gangs. A beautiful love story, with music and great

choreography. The movie’s ending could disappoint you, if you did not know it was

based on #12’s book and movie themes.

 

14. “Out of Africa,” which was absorbingly written by Isak Dinesen. It has Robert

Redford, Meryl Streep, many British actors and the scenery is outstanding. What a

magnificent love story!  The ending made my Mom and me weep in July, while we

watched this for our ‘umpteenth’ time. What I could not get over, this recent viewing,

was how young the two leading actors were, when they made this movie.

 

15. “White Fang,” other Jack London stories, have the naturalistic side of ‘survival of the

fittest,’ along with beautiful Alaskan and other frontiers featured. The 1991 movie, with

Ethan Hawke was ‘panned,’ by critics, given the “Rotten Tomato” award.

 

16. “Dallas Buyers Club,” AIDS and Matthew McConahey, along with the wonderful

supporting actors and actresses, made this a rich, intelligent, humor-sprinkled movie

about a serious subject. I liked Jared Leto’s sympathetic portrayal of a transvestite.

 

17. “Philadelphia,” with Tom Hanks. Need I say more? Fantastic movie, need your

tissues but I watched it again recently, it still ‘holds up’ to the test of time, my gauge

or ‘thermometer.’ Wide variety of actors, along with exploring our fears of HIV and

Aids in a movie. Bruce Springsteen’s song, “Philadelphia,” is hauntingly beautiful.

 

18. “Fargo,” the Coen brothers have done funnier, (“Raising Arizona” with Holly

Hunter and Nicholas Cage) but this one is the ONE that hangs in my mind, lingering.

If you were to compare it to anything else, in the way of ‘thrillers’ they would ‘pale.’

Great writing skills! Frances McDormand is excellent in capturing the Minnesota

accent and delivering a pregnant police woman realistic, classic  lines. William H.

Macy and Steven Buscemi are outstanding in their quirky parts.

 

19. “Steel Magnolias” had Julia Roberts dying. What else do you need to know? Many

famous actresses, including Dolly Parton, Sally Fields, and Shirley Maclaine bring

the comic relief. Good support from the male actors in this movie, also.

 

20. “Terms of Endearment,” with Shirley Maclaine, Jack Nicholson. Debra Winger

is dying. The family dynamics and the careful writing is a good combination, realistic

and gritty at times. Jeff Daniels plays the husband, who is not likable, a switch from

his typical roles.

 

I did not add a lot of old, classic and Iconic movies, since I know there are much better

critics of these, so please share… (like “The Count of Monte Cristo” or “In the Name of

the Rose.”)

 

What melodramatic movies do you enjoy, despite not always being popular with the

critics?

How do you like to escape into movies? Through romance, drama, action or historical

fiction or ??

Light Summary of the Olympics’ Closing Ceremony

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As in Olympics’ Closing Ceremonies go, I thought

the country of Russia, did an outstanding job!

The presentations, that were centered on their

heritage and culture, were moving, dynamic and

lovely. I am full of adjectives like “innovative”

and “evocative!”

It was called “A Tribute to the Arts.”

I enjoyed the artistic features of Marc Chagall

as one of the Russian artists.

I almost could not find the spelling of the other

artist who was mentioned, I did not recognize the

name.

It sounded like “Malcheck” or “Malaczech.” Once I

studied the wonderful directory of Russian artists,

I did recognize him to be: Kazimir Malevich. Well,

I was close! (Smile!)

Malevich was an avante garde artist and his paintings

were used for inspiration in the dance performances

and the mural like artwork on the field. He lived from

1878- 1935, as a Polish descendant Russian.

They featured black fish swimming around to form

the classic Olympic circles on the ground, This

glowed like shimmering silver rings. This was

carried out through people moving, carrying fish

fins to create the whole display.

There was some humor in that during the Opening

Ceremony, there was a ‘glitch’ where one of the

circles didn’t light up. I think the inclusion of

this display was to balance out the mistake of

the original ceremony. During this portion of the

Closing Ceremony, they had 62 pianists playing.

The fantastic upside-down village floating above the

field with the bright and lively painted design of

one of Marc Chagall’s pieces was delightful. I have

had some acquaintance with his work, since my parents

usually sent UNICEF cards featuring his designs. His

use of a dove to represent Peace and also, the Holy

Spirit at Christmas, is well known. One of Chagall’s

famous pieces, “I the Village,” shows his child-like

and dreamy artwork. His pieces may bring the observer

to smile, as if it were their own memories of some

imaginary times. We have put together, as a family, a

couple of his pieces into a picture puzzle, over the

years.

Chagall lived from 1887 until 1985. Since he later

moved to France, Chagall is considered a Russian-

French artist.

Someone asked, as a commentator, “Why was the village

upside down?” the answer was seemingly that Chagall

viewed the world as ‘upside down.’

I enjoyed the bold colors, dramatic dancing people

who wore wings, looking like Chagall’s doves or birds.

The ethnic, country Russian music was reminiscent of

the cultural music featured in “Fiddler on the Roof.”

This musical was set in Tsarist Russia, 1905.

There was a dramatic tribute to the Opera and this

utilized the Bolshoi and Kirov ballet dancers. This

was a beautiful exhibition of talent and skill.

There were floating dancers and gymnasts, similar

in the Cirque du Soleil type performances.

I was left with the impression of looking at Life

from a different lens. I am sure that this positive

impression, promoted by the Russian government, was

meant as propaganda.

The image of ‘Freedom of Expression,’ through their

“Tribute to the Arts,” shown during the 2014 Olympics

Closing Ceremonies in Sochi, Russia was simply ironic.

January Calendar: Resolve to Be…

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Hope you will have fun celebrating on December 31st!

Will you bang on pans, toot some horns and make
some racket?

(Fireworks and guns discharging safely are other
additional ways to create more explosive and even
louder noises! Please use caution and be careful!)

Some of my friends say this is to scare all those
old 2013 ‘evil spirits’ out of the house! I have
not explored this international folk lore subject,
so if you have anything to add; please do!

I always felt it was to say, “good riddance” or to
‘kick out’ any feelings of regret, sending any
unresolved grievances and conflicts right out the
door! (With the old and decrepit man using his
cane to escape.)

We always open the front door, ready to greet the
New Year “baby” at about 11:58 p.m. December 31.
Then we make lots of noise going through the house,
making sure that old year gets out!

This allows new hopes and promises to enter freely.

We also put dimes and a piece of silverware under
the welcome mat at the front door, to assure a
prosperous New Year, 2014!

On New Year’s Day, we eat sauerkraut with pork,
sometimes when times were ‘lean,’ that meant
Polish Kielbasi (Cleveland, Ohio memories…)
and other times, it meant a delicious, moist
pork roast in the crock pot. I usually had
people surrounding me, family and friends who
would love this, but if you don’t I still am
a little pushy, telling you that it might bring
you good luck in the new year, so have a tiny
bite. My mother usually added brown sugar and
caraway seeds to help enhance the flavor of
the sauerkraut. This is a German dish, too.

Do you have any special customs? Let us all know
so we may include them, starting new family or
personal traditions.

Always nice to add more celebratory joyfulness
to the annual festivities!

Resolve to be…
Happy, Serene, Complete, Healthy …

“Life’s wisdom arrives gracefully.
And the wonder of this Miracle
is that we all receive its gift.”
A positive message from artist/poet, Flavia.

JANUARY CALENDAR:

This is National Blood Donor Month.

Jan. 1- Happy New Year!
New Year’s Day
New Moon

Jan. 2- Bank Holiday (Scotland).
Holiday (New Zealand).

Jan. 6- Epiphany on some church calendars.
Celebrated in the UK on this date.
The Catholic Church in other countries may
move the date between January 2-8th.
Epiphany represents when the Wise Men arrived
at the Manger in Bethlehem.
When the Magi visited the Baby Jesus.

Jan. 7- In Russia, it is Christmas today!

Jan. 8- 1/4 or First Quarter Moon.
On this day in history, Lyndon B. Johnson declared
a “War on Poverty,” by supporting the passage of the
Economic Opportunity Act. This initiated Medicare and
Medicaid, fifty years ago today.

Jan. 16- Full Wolf Moon.

Jan. 17- On this date, fifty years ago,
Michelle Obama was born. The U.S. President’s
wife will be having her birthday party today.

I think I would use ANY excuse to have a piece
of birthday cake! Since there are, at least,
two famous persons’ birthdays in less than a
week, I may just have to go out and buy a whole
cake! Smile!

Jan. 20- Martin Luther King, Jr. Birthday
is observed.
In U.S., there will be no school.
Postal service and banks are closed.

Jan. 21- National Squirrel Appreciation Day.
If you need more information, check out Evil
Squirrel’s posts. I am sure he will have a
huge party over there on this date!

Jan. 23- National Pie Day in the U.S.
Crisco (shortening) company originated this
date and even has a National Pie Contest.
Thank you, Mike Lince, for adding this to
our January pleasures calendar! I like pecan
pies, coconut cream pies, apple streusel
pies and strawberry pie with whipped cream
on top. Do you have a favorite pie?

Jan. 26- If you enjoy music, try watching the
Grammy Awards Show tonight. I am a big fan of
most award shows, so I plan to try to include
them this year in my monthly posts!

Jan. 27- Australia Day.
3/4 or the Last Quarter Moon.

What resolutions will you make to start this fantastic
New Year of 2014?
I will wish for time to pass ever so slowly, so I may
fit all that I need to do and be into this brand new
year!

Here is a brief poem/prayer submitted to my church
bulletin for December, 2013, by member, Nadine Butler.
It seemed to “speak to me” in so many ways. I really
will be printing this on a piece of paper to read and
re-read again:

“Sorrow looks back,
Worry looks around.

But faith looks up!

Live simply,
Love generously,
Care deeply,
Speak kindly, and
Trust in our Creator
Who loves us.”

A word about those after holiday, “Winter’s Blues.”
To beat seasonal affective disorder (also known as
S.A.D.)) or just this time of year “down” period:

1. Try increasing caffeine, if your physician allows.
This is still considered a ‘mood booster.’

2. Consider bright lights, there are even special
ones for ‘light therapy.’

3. On partly that same subject, walk anytime its
sunny. Get outside for fresh air and exercise.
Natural endorphins increase while walking briskly
and enjoying nature really does brighten one’s mood!

4. Get enough sleep. Well, that is year-round. It
is also a challenge, especially as one gets older,
to stay asleep for over six hours. Sometimes the
bladder disrupts our sleep, sometimes worries, and
a lot of my friends say this is happening more
frequently, like an internal alarm clock going off
way too early, in their heads!

“Greet each day as if
your life is just beginning.
And your heart’s desire
will unfold before you.”
Another positive message from artist/poet, Flavia.

December Around the World

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This is an exciting month for many people around the world! I hope

you  will find some interesting facts about holly or other news here,

along with some important dates to remember. My Mom told me that

she and Dad liked to decorate the mantel over the fireplace, with yew

branches.

I always feel there is a sense of wonder, magic and celebration in the air!

DECEMBER

2nd~  New Moon

“To have a project prosper, start it during the new moon.” Old Farmer’s

Almanac, 2013.

Hanukkah which started on November 28, 2013 lasts eight days. This

would mean that (I think) it would end on December 5, 2013, counting

the beginning day.

7th~  Pearl Harbor Day

Remembering the bombing of Pearl Harbor and how sad we felt when

our own “territory” was attacked.

12th~  National Poinsettia Day

While in Mexico, U.S. Minister Joel Roberts Poinsett (who died on this day

in 1851), came across a striking native plant. He later introduced the

plant in the United States. It became known as a Poinsettia, named in

his honor for bringing it to our attention. We love the bright pink, red

and white flowers using them to decorate around our house for the

holidays. Mom loves the pink ones the best.

17~  “Full Cold Moon”

“When ’round the moon there is a “brugh” (sounds like “bruff”)

The weather will be cold and rough.” Old Farmer’s Almanac, 2013.

Wright Brothers Day is also celebrated on Dec. 17th.

21st~ Winter Solstice

After today, the days get lighter meaning there will be more daylight

from this day onward. Celebrate by sowing lettuce seed in a pot. Or

you could try your hand at planting a window herb garden.

Place in a sunny kitchen window.

25th~ Christmas

“The holly’s up, the house is all bright,

The tree is ready, the candles alight.”

Written by German composer, Carl August Peter Cornelius (1824-74).

26th~ Boxing Day in Canada

Also, Kwanzaa begins its celebration on December 26th.

31~ New Year’s Eve

Enjoy this last night of 2013 and the beginning of new adventures and

dreams around the world…

May Peace On Earth somehow, magically reign!

I always enjoy watching the different cultures shooting off firecrackers

and having parades with dragons, along with so many other traditions

on the television shows. I have found that HGTV and PBS have some

interesting focuses on New Year’s Eve.

Out in the country, be careful when shooting off your guns into the air!

Here is a section on planting for the woodland creatures and for using

holly in decorating, too:

Old fashioned wished to “Deck the Halls with Boughs of Holly” resound

from my post to yours! Here are some facts about Holly (Ilex). It may be

considered evergreen or deciduous. They offer a variety of leaf types, dull

or glossy, shades of green or blue-green. Sometimes they have yellow or

white “splashes.”

Grow a few with broad, pointed leaves such as Chinese holly (I.coruta),

along with others that feature narrow, oval leaves such as inkberry

(I.glabra).

A type known as “ferox” (I.aquifolium) is also called Hedgehog holly and

has spiny edges.

I hope I have these facts correct from the Old Farmer’s Almanac, 2013.

If you are botanists, please feel free to give any needed amendments!

In our old house, I loved to cut different evergreen branches and holly

sprigs to decorate in vases, baskets with a hidden dish containing water

and even a wooden bucket by the hearth with the varieties mentioned.

The natural presentation of holly adds such a lovely scent to your rooms.

An arrangement can be made with different types to contrast and add

dimension, plus the bonus of the red berries to brighten it up. Arranged

in any kind of container you can imagine provides some extra oxygen to

the indoor environment, too.

Scents to enjoy during this month: Seasonal Aromatherapy!

*Spicy or pungent scents*

1. Evergreens boughs and branches.

2. Cranberry strings draped on branches of your trees.

3. Oranges with cloves stuck into them.

4. Cinnamon brooms or pine cones in a basket.

5. Hot mulled apple cider or eggnog with nutmeg.

*Sweet or yummy baked goods scents*

1. Sugar or Spritz cookies, so sweet and buttery, too. I like mine iced!

2. Gingerbread cookies (Don’t forget to read the Gingerbread Man or

Gingerbread Baby (I like Jan Brett’s version best.) books to little ones!)

3. Anise flavoring (licorice tasting) in Pfefferneuse (Germany) and

Pizzelles (Italy).

4. Russian Tea Cakes, Mexican Wedding Cakes, or Butter Nut (made

with pecans) Balls melt in your mouth! These are coated with powdered

sugar on them.

5. Kuchen (Germany), fruitcake or coffee cake. What is your family’s

breakfast holiday treat? My Grandmother made kuchen, my Mom

made those cinnamon rolls with orange glazed icing that you could

squeeze from a tube.

*Tangy and Cheery Scents*

1. Oranges in jello or in the toe of your stocking hung by the fire.

2. Grapefruits to be sectioned, balancing some Vitamin C in your diet.

3. Warm cocoa with marshmallows in a big pot on the stove when you

come in from playing in the snow or taking a walk in your boots.

4. Popcorn to string on your trees and happen to be popped into one’s

mouth, too!

Whether you believe in Christmas or any of the hoopla attributed to it,

it is hard not to think of the history of such figures as:

Father Christmas

Santa Claus

Kris Kringle

Saint Nicholas

and if you have any interest in looking them up and providing more about

them on your own posts, go for the countries and when they began to be

observed.