I remember well a scene from the first Mission Impossible  movie in which Tom Cruise (aka Ethan Hunt) meets “Job”   wonderfully played by Vanessa Redgrave, and asks about the name Job. She  responds that ” anonymity … is like a  warm blanket.” Been  thinking about that quote a lot recently in the context of  blog/article comments made on the internet.

Most of the comments that I read are made by a person under a name other than their own. ( I know, so is my blog.) It is interesting to notice the screen names that people choose and speculate about why they were chosen. My thought has long been that these names are often used as a cover to make comments or observations that the person would never make using his/her own name. But, you might say that one uses a screen name to keep one’s identity from falling into the wrong hands, so to speak. I think that is only true in a minority of  instances. My reasoning goes thusly. The comments on polarizing figures or issues such as President Obama or Rush Limbaugh or Michele Bachmann or healthcare or any number of others are filled with such vitriol that one is almost embarrassed to one’ s self identified with them.

Even when I read comments that mirror my own, I am chagrined to note the level of anger that is involved. I can make comments ( and so can you)  about a political figure or issue without becoming tarred with my own brush and still be effective.

It is amusing to note that newspapers  and I suppose magazines have long-held to the policy of  rarely if ever publishing an anonymous comment and I like that. The few  times that I have written  in response to a newspaper article  were not situations where I  minded being identified.

In the wild, wild west of the internet the rules, such as they are much different. Makes me wonder if I need to rename my blog?


August 21, 2011 Posted by | Media | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

“Mr. Edelweiss”

Emma Thompson at the Nanny McPhee London premiere.

Image via Wikipedia

I would never be accused of being a frequent moviegoer, since I average about one per year. That would  make this year an anomaly since with over 3 months to go, I have seen three already. What in the name of Cecil B DeMille could be happening? Perhaps  Hollywood is making better movies or better yet it could be the old even a blind pig finds  an acorn concept.( If that needs explaining the reader must be somewhat younger than this writer.)

Anyway, the most recent of the three was “The Return of  Nanny McPhee” which featured  the talented Emma Thompson in the title role as well as writer)  with an excellent pair of supporting actresses in Dame Maggie Smith and Maggie Gyllenhaal. There were a number of young actors and actresses with prominent roles as well. Quite a feat to have two Oscar winners onboard.Jackdaw at home in London

However, as is often the case with yours truly and movies, I picked out  a quite different character as my favorite. He was important of course, but more as comic relief and  maybe, maybe a bit of a role model. His name was “Mr Edelweiss” from the legendary Rodgers and Hammerstein song that we all remember from The Sound of Music. Almost forgot to mention that Mr Edelweiss is  a jackdaw.

At first, I was debating on him being either a crow or a raven, to which he is related, of course. The Independent has a wonderful article on the movie on March 24 accompanied by a video where Ms Thompson talks about the use of the bird(s) in the movie. It was intriguing to learn that 3 jackdaws were used in the making of  the film and that all 3 were rescue birds.

She also gives a bit of background on the naughty bird. It seems that Mr Edelweiss had done something  quite wrong in the past and was forever attempting to return to Nanny McPhee’s good graces. Ergo, the use of the phrase, “you know what you did”  and being banished from  Nanny McPhee’s shoulder, a  place of honor indeed. The interaction between the two was delightful and indeed according to the movie’s producer the bird was a very important character. Perhaps an illustration for the children with whom she was working.Even his penchant for burping after eating his favorite snack of window putty becomes crucial in the end. He is able to peck through the putty on the poential deadly bomb and thus assist in preventing its explosion. Thus he redeems himself and is perched securely on Nanny McPhee’s shoulder  as she  disappears in the distance at movie’s end.

Athough this is not a movie review per se, I must  share a quote from Ms Thompson in closing.”That’s the whole point of  a really good movie,isn’t it? Something to be shared.” Indeed, whether it be human or jackdaw!

September 6, 2010 Posted by | Entertainment | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The famous of the famous

Read on USA Today, today, about something called the Celebrity Heat Index. The first thought that came to mind was that it had something to do with algore, alias the goracle. Maybe not the first thought, but up there close. Alas, there was no mention of the prophet from Tennessee but there was interesting info nonetheless.

The article or more precisely, the list refers to  the paper’s tracking of what it considers the  most popular celebrities. I am unsure of the criteria or qualifications that are used but I was immediately intrigued. As I age, I am almost amazed to learn that I am not as aware of who is “in” and who is not as I once was. This list reaffirmed that quite well.

I was pleased to note that I was familiar with the person occupying the top spot, which she has held for 4 months  in a row. That would be Sandra Bullock, formerly Mrs Jesse James and MTV smoocher of Scarlett Johansson, aka, the”smoochee.”  Also on the list for June are  Mrs and Mr Angelina Jolie, sorry Brad Pitt; the late Gary Coleman and Jennifer Aniston. Those  are the five with which I was familiar. The others were connected to the Twilight movies and various reality( actually unreality) television shows.

Beginning with January 1 the list was led by Bullock, Jolie and Pitt. Not sure what I think of this, but of the 300+ people on their list,most if not all of the Jolie -Pitt children were included. Just to prove my long-expected theory that there is an actual phenomenon of celebrity overload, I tried a number of times without success to access their all time list.

We are indeed fascinated with the comings and goings and ” doings” of the celebrities among us, both the good and the bad and even the living and the dead. Although they often complain about it and bemoan their lack of privacy, one suspects that their tune would change if far less attention were paid.

Although I do not read People and rarely watch Etertainment Tonight, I shall probably return to USA Today’s site, but only for a peek, ok?

July 5, 2010 Posted by | Media | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Where has it gone and what did I do with it?

Several years ago, Billy Crystal starred in the movie, City Slickers. It was a movie that I thoroughly enjoyed for its comedy, Norman the calf, crusty old Jack Palance, as well  the comic genius of Crystal himself. But it was much more than a comedy. Its premise of three friends in various stages of midlife crisis was really well done and thought-provoking as well. I am uncertain if I have had my mid- life crisis although I have definitely passed the mid-life part. Unlike Crystal and friends I have zero desire to go on a cattle drive .

There was a phrase spoken by one of the main characters which has begun to resonate with me of late, or rather its meaning has. For me, it goes something like this. What if you have already done the best you’re going to do, achieved your potential whatever it was, in life and career and relationships. And therefore, everything from here on out is a gradual downhill slide into mediocrity or even worse irrelevance?  Maybe this says it better, you’ve done the best you’re going to ver do and it wasn’t all that good?

Sounds sorta morose does it not, which is exactly how Crystal and friends felt in the movie. But as often happens in the the c inematic world, there is  not closure but rather a chance for redemption, another chance one might say.

Alas, life does not always imitate art and  I am abit apprenhensive that it will not in my particular case. This would be  a good time to be a politician, if there ever is. At the time when the careers of most are winding down, the career of the politician is just getting underway. Think otherwise, then look at the ages of  our senators and representatives. And vying to join them from the Tar Heel State is 64-year-old Elaine Marshall. She is now our Secretary of State but  running for the U S Senate. Seems that Ponce de Leon  was off on the location of the Fountain of Youth by a few hundred miles. It is not in Florida, but  749 miles to the north in Washington, DC.

For the vast majority of us, we never find that fountain at all.

May 25, 2010 Posted by | Life, Politics | , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Hawaii Is Where it’s At or it Was

The 50th state has been quite  a busy place the past several days. The Obamas have been enjoying  themselves  watching Avatar, playing golf  and just chilling out except when those nasty terrorists loused it up. And, oh yeah, Limbaugh was on the island at the same time. Must have been another Secret Service  snafu.

Speaking of Rush, he incurred some rather severe chest pains and had to be hospitalized for several days. Fortunately, he has recuperated and will be  back on the radio on Wednesday, January 6. It has been quite interesting to observe the reaction to his illness; from the liberal  perspective. It should surprise me, but alas, it does not. Just remember quotes from days gone by  wishing for his untimely demise.

I followed a link on Sister Toldjah yesterday that showed a sampling of the Twitter stuff floating around that was, shall we say, less than complimentary. Today, I read a list of tweets from film critic  Roger Ebert, that expressed the same sentiments. Methinks  Roger should stay with movies.

There was  a gret post  on TOTUS  on December 31 entitled Rush to Judgement about a hypothetical (?) look at how the president responded when advised of Rush’s illness.

Anyway, the Prez is back in Washington, so watch out Iran and all the enemies of healthcare reform, cause Obama is raring to go.  And  just think, he hasn’t even been in office  for a complete year.

January 4, 2010 Posted by | Media, Politics | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments


Top Gun is one of my all time favorite movies. Maverick and Goose, Ice Man and Charlie, Cruise and Kilmer,etc. Near the end of the movie, shortly after the climactic dog fight, Kilmer and Cruise meet on the deck of the carrier. After a brief stare down, Kilmer tells Cruise, “you are still dangerous,” adding that he could still be his wingman. Then we have the macho man  hug and action continues.

According to some well-known folks, there is  a dangerous person running amok around the country today. She has been to Ft Bragg, to Roanoke,Va, to Columbus and Cincinnati, Oh among others. Organizing for America director Mitch Stewart calls her dangerous as does well-known style arbiter Martha Stewart, presumably not related. Ms Stewart, apparently with her verbal claws sharpened also threw in the descriptive words confused  and boring. Doubtless Tina Fey had something to say also, but I don’t care.

Of course, we speak of Sarah Palin as she tours the country to promote her book which sold some 300,000 copies on day 1. I will say up front that unlike a number of my conservative brethren, I am uncertain as to whether Ms Palin would make  a good president of presidential candidate even. But I am certainly enjoying the angst that is surfacing  among those who are not fans. Is she dangerous? Dangerous to what and to whom, don’t know. I don’t really think so. It was amusing to note Martha Stewart’s comments. I  am unsure how one can be boring and dangerous simultaneously. If you are dangerous, you are certainly not boring are you? Why does Martha even care?

Anyway, the Obamacare folks should applaud her media attention. She is probably diverting some attention from all the machinations and payouts occurring in the Senate to obtain the votes of wavering Democrats. Whatever it takes, though. Sen Schumer said, we can’t not succeed. Parse that phrase, all you grammarians.

Last note. McCain has read her book and liked it. Obama says he probably will not read it.

November 24, 2009 Posted by | Media, Politics | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

The End of the World as We Know It!

Contrary to what  Hollywood would have you believe, the world is not going to end in 2012. It is going to end sooner. Tomorrow, Oprah Winfrey will announce that the 25 year run of her daily soap opera, gabfest, book club, spanner of careers, etc. will end in 2011. The actual date will probably will be revealed at that time. So, get out those crying towels and begin the lament. Daytime tv, nay  broadcasting itself will never be the same.

Where, oh where, will the next Rachel Ray come from? Think Keith Olbermann could do daytime?

November 19, 2009 Posted by | Media | , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Mayor Brad Pitt?

Yesterday, I alluded to whether a celebrity’s viewpoints on political or social viewpoints should affect how I view or patronize his/her body of work. There are many individuals  that one could use to illustrate that. And, in the interest of full disclosure, I often choose whether or not  to watch a program or movie starring say, Julia Roberts or George Clooney as prima facie  examples, based on their political views. Silly, perhaps, childish, also possible and maybe even nonsensical. Both Mrs THT and my son think all of these things are not only possibly true but are more than likely facts. Admittedly, these principles are not inviolate since I like Forest Gump  quite a lot. Hey, at least Gary Sinise is in it. Just recently, I visited the website for CBS Channel 3 in Philadelphia and  they were thoughtful enough  to provide a slideshow with some of  the more hardcore liberal Democrat celebrities. Now, having said all that, if they choose to be outspoken liberals, that is their right and more power to them if they feel that way. Be a bit more  consistent  I  would ask and don’t resort so strongly to personal attacks that are (opinion, here) given  more credence than they  deserve just because a person is a celebrity.  Does this work both  ways, yep. But as my good friends at  CBS3 in Philadelphia say, “Hollywood stars are generally considered to be a liberal and Democratic-leaning community.” Take notes, Sean Penn and Woody Harrelson.

Now, on to  more specifics. ubercelebrity Brad Pitt or Mr  Brad Jolie has been rumoured to interested in maybe, perhaps being mayor of New Orleans. Got the name recognition part down already. Based on an interview he did with Bill Maher recently, he has his  Democrat creds well in order.

Among other things he is pro  gay marriage and in fact understands it better than religion which according to him doesn’t make sense and doesn’t make sense for him in in the long  Surprise, something we agree on, religion doesn’t always make sense to me either. Continuing…”like gay marriage…You have a group of people telling other people how to live their lives and you can’t do that.”  There is at least one law , probably more than one that you or I don’t like or agree with that is telling us  how to live some aspect of our lives. Gotta work on those political skills , Brad. Commenting further on the marriage issue he says…”Let’s stop the nonsense.”

One more issue he touched on was marijuana. Maher also asked him about his joint rolling skills. Pitt said that yes he was an artist at that.Why did he give it up? You will love this or I did. ” I’m a dad now. You want to be alert.” Well, there you go. telling your kids how to live, really.

Hey, if you run for mayor  of New Orleans, can you get your wife to make a campaign appearance in North Carolina? Just kidding, I think.

( Info was also in a Parade magazine article.) Boy if  I find out Mark Harmon’s politics are way different from mine, am I in trouble. I know, I just won’t find out!

August 16, 2009 Posted by | Culture, Politics | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

” Mongo Loves Beans”

I don’t often get requests to do a post on a particular topic, in fact, today may be the first time. So, of course, I had to comply. First, some historical background. In 1974, comic genus Mel Brooks made a classic movie entitled Blazing Saddles . Appearing in the movie  along with Brooks were Cleavon Little and Gene Wilder among others. We are most interested however  in Alex Karras who played Mongo.

Mongo  was described as more of a what than a who. In his own words, he said ” Mongo only pawn … in game of life” . There are many wonderful things I could have  described from the movie, but I want to zone in  on one particular scene in which Mongo may or may not have  appeared. But it is this scene , along with an episode of NCIS, that will bring us full circle.

In the movie , a group of cowboys are enjoying a delicious meal of beans, in fact enjoying too many beans, too much. As beans are  wont to do, they created sounds and aromas all their own. Adolescent boys of all ages still delight in indulging these proclivities of the humble bean.

Fast forward  to NCIS, season 6. In an episode entitled South By Southwest Gibbs and DiNozzo(NCIS movie genius extraordinaire) go  to the Arizona desert in an  attempt to solve the murder of an NCIS agent. Sitting around a campfire, like the movie, the local sheriff offers them beans. DiNozzzo immediately responds with “Mongo loves beans” and fortunately for all concerned declines to indulge.

Thanks to this happy co mingling of cinema and television , I  have a co-worker(who shall be nameless, since he is not alone) who from time to time adopts the persona of Mongo. Let us just say that Alex Karras would be quite proud of his protege. Once again proving the old adage that one never quite outgrows his juvenile years.

Wonder when it’s appropriate to teach my 8 and  3 year old grandsons about the legend of Mongo? Oh well, they certainly don’t  make movies like this anymore.

Mongo ( Courtesy flickr.com)

Mongo ( Courtesy flickr.com)

June 2, 2009 Posted by | Media | , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments