Sunday, April 29, 2007


Dagan and Leah looked at a few houses yesterday--none of which was "the one". They ended up going through a Parade of Homes exhibit and found out about a smaller contractor who builds homes for a little less than average. They plan to go and look at some of his work next weekend. If he does good work--they could have the floorplan like they want it and make many other decisions--could be the answer for them, who knows?

I forgot to mention that a lady who was in our writers group back when I was in college at MSUM, Lin, called me last Thursday, I believe. Professor Vinz is retiring this year and they were having a goodbye event for him--she wanted to know if I wanted to go later that night. I wasn't having a good week last week and go couldn't that day, but I asked her over to visit tomorrow afternoon. Haven't seen her for years! She's somewhere around my age--can't recall exactly--energetic and funny and bold! Be nice to catch up and find out what she has been up to since she graduated.

I have been watching some Netflix movies the past few days---The Queen:

After Princess Diana's shocking death, Queen Elizabeth II (Helen Mirren, in an Oscar-winning role) and Tony Blair (Michael Sheen) engage in intimate talks as Britain demands the princess be memorialized in a manner beyond standard protocol. This Oscar-nominated drama for Best Picture goes behind the scenes as the queen and prime minister try to manage Diana's death on a personal level while also dealing with a public calling for royal treatment for their beloved princess.

I thought it was very interesting and everybody did a great job--not trying to do obvious imitations of all these living people. It gave the royal family's position so that you understood more where they were coming from when they didn't officially respond right away to Diana's death--with protocol and so on. I could probably make some enemies here, but I wasn't a big Diana fan. I was in the beginning, I suppose--not that I paid a lot of attention, but you couldn't miss the fairy tale coverage of their life. And at first I felt sorry for her--being betrayed and all--but she married into royalty and it really shouldn't have been such a surprise. She hardly knew him--it was more or less an "arranged" marriage--she knew she was there to breed and provide heirs and play her role--come on! She wasn't that stupid--she knew what was expected of her. She loved having the position and she always played carefully into the press--like she should have--until the divorce.

Honestly, what altered my personal opinion of her was that long interview she gave when she was getting divorced--one on one interview--there was something in her face and her eyes. She was not the innocnent that she liked to portray to the public. I thought she was totally manipulating the press and saw this gleam in her eye and tiny smirk escape every now and then--and I felt she was lying and exaggerating specifically for public sympathy. That was my gut level response to her. I had never seen her close up for any length of time, so I had not had an opportunity to really watch her before. I know that is an unpopular belief--but after seeing her up close and personal--I wasn't effected much by her death and all the hoopla. I am glad she did some good in her life--charity work, etc. But I think she may have done it more out of boredom, a need to have something of her own, and to look good to the press--to keep up her own innocent princess identity. She fell in love with her own image and her own press, I think. I think she was a very troubled girl who was a sucker for men of power and position. She figured she had it made when she produced two male heirs, I think. Figured she had worked at maintaining being popular enough with the public that she figured she could go off and do her own thing and divorce (with the public's blessing and sympathy) and be the (future) King and a spare's beloved and revered mother--forever. And she was probably a good mother. She made her bed, but didn't want to lie in it. She knew she was popluar with the press, and she used the divorce as a public battle that she planned to win. Anyways---don't bother to write and defend her to me--I already know it is an unpopular viewpoint--hehe! I can understand her, but I just don't feel as much pity for her as the rest of the world seems to. (Same with Anna Nicole, for that matter. Although Anna did not have quite the global support as Diana did. What has happened to being responsible for your own actions and decisions?)

Anyways, I also watched The Simple Life of Noah Dearborn:

Small-town farmer Noah Dearborn (Sidney Poitier) lives an uncomplicated existence till shady developer Christian Nelson (George Newbern) tries to usurp his family's land. Nelson will do anything to take Noah's property, including hiring a shrink (Mary-Louise Parker) to have him declared insane. What Nelson doesn't anticipate is Noah forming an unbreakable bond with the doctor that proves stronger than anything the land baron can dish out.

This was such a good little feel-good movie--like a Hallmark movie--maybe it was? Sidney Poitier was excellent, as usual.

Marie Antoinette:

Sofia Coppola directs this stylized portrait of Marie Antoinette (Kirsten Dunst), the naive Austrian princess who married Louis XVI (Jason Schwartzman) to become queen of France at age 19. The film explores the young queen's luxurious yet terribly confining lifestyle and illustrates how Marie Antoinette's youthful indiscretion and frivolity were not only her release, but ultimately, her very undoing. A Golden Palm nominee at Cannes, the film also took Oscar honors for costume design.

Was like a personal glimpse into the lifestyle and home life--done very well. The only thing that really bothered me was the occasional modern music. Young director. Definitely eye candy--the costumes and decor are amazing! You felt like you understood Marie more and that maybe she got a bad rap because her lifestyle was all she knew and she was cut off from the normal society. Maybe the first person to be the victim of a huge publicity smear campaign??

And then I watched Grey Gardens:

Documentary pioneers the Maysles brothers (Gimme Shelter) capture poignant moments in the lives of Edith Bouvier Beale (Big Edie) and her middle-aged daughter, Little Edie -- relatives of Jackie O -- at their decaying estate, Grey Gardens. The ladies shut out their bleak present by recalling richer times and lost loves, and while Little Edie confides that she'd like to leave, the camera captures a co-dependency destined to continue.

This was a fascinating documentary! I had no idea that Jackie Kennedy Onassis had these realtives living in squalor in an old house that was literally falling apart out in the Hamptons. Jackie actually had to go out there and help clean it up once and legally make enough repairs to let them remain living there. But I had the impression that this documentary took place after that--and the house and grounds were in terrible shape. Cats pooping anywhere and racoons destroying the walls and attic--the daughter was feeding them!! The relationship between this mother and daughter was the focus of the film. They had this love-hate bond that had been established over the years. The mother (Jackie's aunt, I think she was) wanted the daughter to be dependent on her and help her--and yet she managed to insult her frequently. The daughter (who was in her 50s) felt she had wasted her life (her mother kind of pushed her into remaining single) but loved her mother and couldn't leave her--and hated her for it sometimes--and used her as an excuse for not having a life, too. There was a constant conversation, comfortable bickering, and occasional outbursts. Was hypnotic in a strange way--mesmerizing--but sad.

As long as I am probably irritating people today---something in the news lately--Richard Gere mauling Shilpa Shetty in India. I wish he'd get the 30 days in prison! I have always been confused by this man--he is so hypocritical. He claims to be a follower of the Dali Lama and the Bhuddist prinicples--yet he consistently picks movies where he plays horrible human beings and/or are very violent in nature. He insulted Cindy Crawford's intelligence, vocabulary, and claimed to be bored with her after they were married. Well, that says more about him than her! Gere has made many, many trips to India--and yet he has no respect for or understanding of their culture. This was made blatantly obvious by his pawing and smooching all over Shilpa. If this is something that isn't done there--if anybody should know this it would be a man who supposedly has such love and respect for the culture and for other people's religions and for other people's dignity! ??? I saw a snippet of him on some talk show afterwards--totally unapologetic, laughing about it, and poo-pooing it as insignificant to him. He didn't even understand the backlash or make any attempt to. Typical ugly American--no remorse whatsoever. No comprehension or empathy in the real world for where other people are coming from--just a lot of concepts and ideals in their heads. No wonder a lot of people don't like us in other countries....

I don't usually "rant" on my blog. But I will on occasion. If you don't like it--skim.....ROFL!!!

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