Archive for July, 2010

No Films Today!

July 31, 2010

I don’t know how this happened, but I have no movies scheduled for today.    Tomorrow, there is only one film on the schedule: Castaway on the Moon (Kim Ssi Pyo Ryu Gi), a comedy/drama from South Korea (in Korean).   This film is making its Midwest Premiere and centers around a failed suicide attempt (jumping from a bridge) where the victim (?) ends up on an island in the middle of Seoul’s Han river.   Despite his isolation, he catches the eye of a high-rise shut-in who lives via the internet and her camera’s zoom lens . . . this one should be fun!

From yesterday though, all of the movies were excellent.  They were all comedies (one from Cuba, one from France, and one from Canada) and we were in stitches most of the day.  Even the Canadian horror film was much more comedic than it was horror.  Five stars and two thumbs up for them all!

In between my movie schedule I’ve been visiting galleries galore and falling in love with way too many paintings and sculptures.  I’m trying to rein in my spending . . . so far so good, but I still have a couple of days to mull over my favorites and make return trips to the galleries to see how badly the pieces tug at my heart.  Today there is even an arts & crafts fair on the grounds of Northwestern Michigan College (NMC) which I will have to drop in on . . . woe is me!  Of course, I have already visited the Dennos Museum Center (on the NMC campus) a couple of times and have purchased a new Inuit sculpture.  Here’s a photograph of the painting that I purchased the moment I discovered it . . . Tiger Lilies by Kate Brogan Haas.  Simply beautiful (and of course, plenty of orange)!  Interestingly enough, this did not photograph well (using my phone) — some of the vibrant yellow and orange colors washed out a bit.

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More Great Films!

July 30, 2010

Here’s the recap from yesterday’s movies . . .

The Shorts by University of Michigan Students were truly delightful . . . so much so, that you were wanting more; wanting to know how the movie was going to end (or at least wondering how it would play out as a full-length feature movie).  Will You Marry Us? was a great romantic comedy and equally enjoyable.  And, I finished the day with Legacy (a political drama) which was an excellent movie, but very dark and disturbing — I would highly recommend it despite its dark nature.  So far, I have not been disappointed by any of our movie selections!  At least one and a couple of two “Thumbs Up” for all of these.

Coming up today . . .

Horn of Plenty (El cuerno de la abundancia)This is a Cuban comedy (in Spanish) that has a Cuban family inheriting billions (that had been stashed away in England for a long time) and the ensuing chaos that occurs.

Heartbreaker (L’Arnacoeur).  This is a French comedy (in French and English) about a brother/sister duo who set up an unusual business designed to “break-up” couples that “shouldn’t” be together (usually in the opinions of the concerned parents).

Tucker & Dale vs. Evil.    This is our annual Friday night midnight horror flick.  This Canadian film (in English) involves a couple of country hick on vacation in the woods who are mistaken for homicidal maniacs by the preppie college kids also vacation and who are being picked off one-by-one by the real homicidal maniacs.  An early review by another movie-goer — hysterical!   I’m looking forward to this one!

Let the movies continue!

Applause, Applause!

July 29, 2010

Wow, the two movies that we saw yesterday were phenomenal!  Five stars and two thumbs up for both The Secret in Their Eyes (El Secreto en sus Ojos) and The Concert.  The soundtrack/music for The Concert was spectacular, especially Tchaikovsky’s Concerto for Violin and Orchestra, which was played in its entirety.  If you get the chance to see either one of these films in a theater near you, do not miss the opportunity.

On the schedule for today . . .

Shorts by University of Michigan Students (with a mother and older brother as alums, and soon a nephew, this was a no-brainer — despite my being an alum of Michigan State — Go Blue! [for movies only], Go Green! [all other times]).  Camp Chapel finds a college student spending his Spring Break at a church camp instead of in Mexico.  And Margaret and Izzey, a story of friends reunited.

Will You Marry Us? (Die Standesbeamtin?)  This Swiss romantic comedy/drama (in Swiss and German) is about a civil regitrar (a person who performs marriages) who’s approached by an old friend who’s now famous and wanting to marry his celebrity girlfriend away from the limelight.  But things get complicated when the registrat realizes that her feelings for her old friend are stronger than ever.   This film is making its Michigan Premiere.

And, Legacy.  This Nigerian/UK movie is making its Midwest Premiere and is about a former black ops officer (who had been ambushed, captured and tortured while pursuing a black market arms dealer) who years later is intent on exposing a powerful New York Senator whom he believes is the man responsible.  The twist: the Senator is his brother!

Happy Thursday!

Let the Movies Begin!

July 28, 2010

Last night marked the official start of the 6th Annual Traverse City Film Festival.  Last year I managed to fit in 16 movies over the 6-day festival.  This year, I’ve scaled back a bit but will still enjoy viewing 9 movies.

First up later today (3 PM) is El Secreto de sus Ojos (The Secret in Their Eyes).  This Argentinian film in Spanish is a mesmerizing crime drama that was the winner of the 2010 Best Foreign Film at the Academy Awards.  We then move right on to our next movie at 6 PM, The Concert.  This French comedy drama (in French and Russian) is about one of the USSR’s greatest conductors (Andrei Filipov) who was demoted for refusing to fire the Bolshoi Orchestra’s Jewish members during the communist era.

And, if you ever find yourself in Traverse City, Michigan, with some time to kill around the lunch or dinner hours, by all means check out “The Soul Hole!”  A fabulous eatery.  I had a Po Boy (which was wonderful) with the jalapeno-glazed cornbread (equally wonderful).  And, I have it on good authority that their macaroni and cheese (with shrimp and crawfish) is to die for as well!

A Healthy Respect!

July 28, 2010

I have a huge liking of (and respect for) the American Bison.  A majestic and powerful animal, but at the same time, a WILD (i.e., undomesticated) animal!  Of course, in Northern Lower Michigan where I grew up, there is a local grocery store (Oleson’s) that specializes in Bison meat (very lean) and they raise the Bison themselves on their ranch in the Traverse City area.  Regardless of how “domesticated” they may seem, these huge creatures all have horns (male and female) and most animals with horns are to be avoided or at least given a very wide berth (in my humble opinion).  Horns are nature’s defense mechanism . . . to be used when threatened and to ensure survival of the species.  Well, a few days ago, a family got a little too close to an American Bison in Yellowstone National Park (and provoked it as well) . . . check out the post by RegenAxe (including a video of the attack) here.

And, if this does not give you a healthy respect, below is an excellent video that shows how tough another species of buffalo is (the water buffalo) as they battle a pride of lions to protect/rescue one of their calves in Africa at the Kruger National Park.  

Film Festival Begins Today!

July 27, 2010

If you are a film lover, the place to be from July 27th through August 1st is Traverse City, Michigan, for the 6th Annual Traverse City Film Festival (the brainchild of Michael Moore, President and Founder)!  Many of the movies are already sold out, but I’ve heard there are a few tickets still available for some of the shows, and, there is always the “open space” where you can catch a free movie (under the stars) every evening at dusk.  If you are unable to attend, but still want to follow the action, check out the Twitter stream at #tcff.

My first ticketed show isn’t until Wednesday, but I’m planning on visiting the open space tonight (opening night) to catch “Twister” starring Helen Hunt and Bill Paxton.  I find it a bit ironic that I’ve left tornado alley (Oklahoma) only to find myself watching a movie about tornadoes and storm chasers.   Oh well, c’est la vie!  Let the movies begin!

Music To Their Wallets!

July 26, 2010

Well, the list is in . . . according to Forbes magazine, here are the top earning musicians for 2010.   

1. U2 – $130 million
2. AC/DC – $114 million
3. Beyonce Knowles – $87 million
4. Bruce Springsteen – $70 million
5. Britney Spears – $64 million
6. Jay-Z – $63 million
7. Lady Gaga – $62 million
8. Madonna – $58 million
9. Kenny Chesney – $50 million
10 Black Eyed Peas – $48 million
10 Coldplay – $48 million
10 Toby Keith – $48 million

Happiness Is . . . !

July 25, 2010

There has been another contest!  Every now and then despair-dot-com puts forth a picture and invites the general public to offer captions.  This particular contest resulted in three new demotivators, one on wealth, one on legacy, and one on acquisition.   I’m starting with the one on wealth only because I have encountered a few quotations over the past few weeks dealing with the topic of  happiness.  And, while this newest demotivator does not contain the word in the title, happiness is certainly mentioned (part of the quotation).  This is good enough for me!  Enjoy!   And, stay tuned, I will certainly share the other two demotivators with you eventually.  But, if you are the impatient type, and just can’t seem to wait for anything, then feel free to visit their website to get a first glimpse of these new demotivators.

“There is only one way to happiness and that is to cease worrying about things which are beyond the power of our will.”  — Epictetus

“Happiness is inward and not outward; and so it does not depend on what we have, but on what we are.”   — Henry Van Dyke

“There are two ways to spread happiness; either be the light who shines it or be the mirror who reflects it.”  — Edith Wharton

“If you want happiness for an hour — take a nap.
If you want happiness for a day — go fishing.
If you want happiness for a month — get married.
If you want happiness for a year — inherit a fortune.
If you want happiness for a lifetime — help someone else.”  — Chinese Proverb

Sunset?

July 24, 2010

Yes, I know it is morning and I should probably be writing a post about sunrise, not sunset.  But last night I was pondering some new vocabulary words and decided that in this case it would be okay.  Besides, somewhere around the world, the sun should be setting, shouldn’t it?   Very similar in principle to Jimmy Buffett’s legendary song “It’s Five O’clock Somewhere.”

The sun’s vespertine evanescence beyond the horizon is a daily occurrence.

vespertine

\VES-per-tin \, adjective;
1.  Of, pertaining to, or occurring in the evening.
2.  Botany . Opening or expanding in the evening, as certain flowers.
3.  Zoology . Becoming active in the evening, as bats and owls.

evanescence

\ev-uh-NES-ens \, noun;
1.  A gradual disappearance.
2.  The state of becoming imperceptible.

How To Fail In Your Leadership Efforts!

July 23, 2010

I ran across an article by Dr. Richard Weinblatt about four crippling leadership mistakes. And, while Dr. Weinblatt is a regular contributor to Police(*)Link, these principles apply equally in any environment/workplace, not just law enforcement. Here’s a link to the full article.

Leadership by non-example.
Your subordinates are watching . . . wouldn’t you rather model the behavior you are wanting them to emulate?

Bad ethics.
Again, if you think you can get by without having integrity or “doing the right thing,” think again. You’re the boss or in charge, people are looking up to you to do the right thing.  Our ethical standards must be beyond reproach.

Failure to communicate.
People cannot read your mind.  No matter how good the idea is that is coming down from on high, if you have not explained (or communicated, or put into context) the reason for doing something, the battle is already lost.  

This is best  illustrated by the infamous line by Strother Martin (the prison captain) in the Paul Newman classic 1967 movie “Cool Hand Luke,” “What we have here is a failure to communicate.” Communication breakdowns are a problem experienced by many leaders.

Dictatorial attitude.
If you do not have “buy in” from the members of your organization, you will fall victim to the next error of police leadership. Without buy-in, you will be unable to communicate and get cooperation. Once you’ve reached this point, the best you can hope for is compliance.