Sunday, January 31, 2010

Rio Cual today

Today, 45 years after Dick and Liz (yesterdays blog) the River Cual is a busseling alley of Mexican commerce and restaurants.


Our favorite restaurant is Le Bistro. Great ambience and great food with great presentation.
Here is the blue crab cakes on Mango Salsa.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Rio Cual

The River Cual was made famous in 1964 when John Houston filmed Night of the Iguana with Richard Burton and Ava Gardner. Elizabeth Taylor came along to make sure Richard behaved.
The Villa they stayed in has been transformed into the Hacienda San Angel where one can rent a room.

When we first visited in 1970 women still washed their clothes in the river.

Today it has changed a great deal. See tomorrows blog.

However children still play in the mouth of the river.

Men still shave and shampoo.

And birds still rest.

Room with a View

"The lazy flip-flop of the sea - so much louder at night than during the day."

Friday, January 29, 2010

PVR Day 1

Our first day always starts with breakfast out. Today at a Mexican Pancake house. On the menu was pancakes with peanut butter, banana and carmel. I passed on that.

Most Mexicans eat in little kiosks on the street. I passed on that also.

Then we go to the super Mercado for groceries and to the fish market.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Mexico - Puerto Vallarta

Leaving early tomorrow morning, Jan 28 for Mexico. Getting my ocean fix. Along with seafood and Margaritas. And we love the people there. We don't stay at the mega resorts but at a condo we have south of town. We are a 7 minute bus ride from town and a Starbucks so I hope to continue this blog with my adventures in Puerto Vallarta.

A note about our condo. We just found out by accident that our lovely building by the sea has been bought out by ----HOWARD JOHNSONS
We wondered why we had trouble getting reservations for next Christmas and now we know. H.J. How Mexican can you get. What a disappointment.

Adios - I hope my next blog will be sent from our place by the sea.

Monday, January 25, 2010

The Mining Question

These photos were taken in one place, the GV water treatment plant just west of Quail Creek.

Facing east is the beautiful Santa Rita Mountains

Facing west is what remains of the Sierrita Mountains.

Copper mining has devastated our mountain range to the west.

Do we want the Rosemount Mine to do the same thing to
the Santa Rita Mountains?

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Winter in the Santa Cruz River Valley

Sunset reflecting on the Santa Rita Mountains to our east.

Mountains with Pecan Orchard and the Santa Cruz River.

And "A River Runs Through it". This river is dry most of the year. Runs with our Monsoons and when we have good winter rains.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Pony Skin Products

Many foals are slaughtered every year. A by product of this slaughter is foal skin.
The seller will assure you "that no pony was hurt in the process". Now just think about that for a minute.

Products include
pony skin fabric
pony skin purses
pony skin boots
pony skin furniture
pony skin shoes
pony skin clogs
pony skin ottomans
pony skin jackets

Friday, January 22, 2010

What ARE they thinking!

The polarization of our country because of politics now extends to the Supreme Court. 5 t0 4 decision strictly by party affiliation.

No one summarized the Supreme court decision to pull out all restrictions on corporate spending on political campaigns better than President Obama.

President Obama called it “a major victory for big oil, Wall Street banks, health insurance companies and the other powerful interests that marshal their power every day in Washington to drown out the voices of everyday Americans.”

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Equine Voices

Visited Jumpin' Jack Ranch this week. Right now they have 42 horses plus 4 in Portal, Az and 5 remaining in Manitoba until they have room for them here. 70 % are a result of pregnant mare urine (PMU) collection for use in the drugs Premarin and PremPro.
Please refer to my blogs about the PMU horses. Click on Archives and go to Sept. 2009 and there are about 4 blogs describing the fate of the PMU horses.
Equine Voices rely on over 100 volunteers to carry out their mission of rescuing these horses from certain slaughter.

We will be giving a program about Horse Rescue on Feb 16th at 1:30 in Green Valley. Email me at if you would like to attend.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Elephant Head

Green Valley may not fly the Flag on Martin Luther King Day but Elephant Head does.

Monday, January 18, 2010

MLK Day in Arizona

The Interfaith Council of the Santa Cruz Valley put on a good service honoring Martin Luther King Jr. True to their mission, the council puts on a commemorative service every year in Green Valley.

When I moved here in 1988 I was stunned to discover that the state did not celebrate Martin Luther King Day. Of course that was before I realized how backward the states legislature is.
It was in 1983 that President Reagan signed the holiday into federal law. However it was not until 1990 when the NFL withdrew the Super Bowl from Tempe that the state realized how much business they were losing because of their reluctance to recognize MLK Holiday. And in 1992 Az. became the first state to have the people vote to have MLK holiday celebrated. I remember how very polarizing that vote was. It was a very close. The Legion, who flies the American Flag on on La Canada on National Holiday still refuses to fly the flags on La Canada on MLK day in spite of the pleadings of The Interfaith Council

Sunday, January 17, 2010

The Metropolitan Opera

Several years ago the Met began showing operas "Live in HD" at movie theaters around the country. Why did I wait so long to try it out?
What a fabulous experience. Of course Carmen was a great one to start out with. What music and story. Elina Garanca's Carmen was the perfect seductress.

Cinematography was excellent. This demands acting as well as singing by the performers -and good dental work.

Here in Tucson, we went to the El Con. One needs to be there at least 1 hour ahead of time. And buy tickets ahead of time. Most Operas are sold out.
Check out

Thursday, January 14, 2010

NINE -the movie

IMO the critics were wrong again. Me "bad" for paying attention
to them. Nine "good"

Directed by Rob Marshall (Chicago) this adaptation of a successful Broadway musical inspired by Fellini's 8 1/2 is an entertaining film. I loved the choreography and the music. Performances by Judi Dench and Penelope Cruz are exceptional.
Daniel Day Lewis makes us believe he is the great Italian director. Starting filming of a new movie without a script, Guido is tortured by his writing block and the many women in his life.
The cinematography moves from color to black and white with flash backs of Guido's life. Sophia Loren as his mother is a treat to see in film again.

Precious 4**** but I couldn't recommend it due to its harshness.
Nine 4 1/2**** but I do recommend it. I liked it better than Up in the Air.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Disappointing Movies

There are two kinds of disappointing movies. The first are those that the buzz and the critics herald as great. But when I go and see them, they just fall flat.
#1 for 2009 was Up in the Air. Sure, it stars George Clooney and the director achieves some great airport and airplane shots but the story just didn't do it for me. I gave it 3***, very good but I don't see any Oscar material here.
#2 is 500 days of Summer. This received great hype last summer and is turning up on critic's top ten lists. Somewhat entertaining but only 2**. Boring looking for love, loving and loosing love story.
#3. It's Complicated was entertaining while watching it but hours and days later I kept asking myself; Why would they make and Meryl Streep accept a movie with such an unpleasant theme? I liked the adult children and could have seen more of Streep's 3 girl friends to balance Baldwin's disgusting character.

The other kind of disappointing movies are those that you wait and wait for and when they finally arrive in town they get blasted by the critics and word of mouth and you hesitate to go see them. Two in the theaters right not are:

Nine - I started reading and hearing about this film several months ago. A great cast.
Everyone from Judi Dench to Sophia Loren and Penelope Cruz, all centered around Daniel Day Lewis. Have not seen it yet but may if it sticks around a little longer.
Another film that has failed to live up to its predictions is Sherlock Holmes staring Robert Downy Jr. and Jude Law. I looked forward to it but have stayed away because to me it is Sherlock Holmes cloned from Iron Man. And I don't think I want them messing around with the character of Sherlock Holmes. To me, Holmes was cerebral, not muscle. I have had two friends walk out of this film.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Az Buddy's Top 2009 films

Rather than list my top ten, I will respond to the critics lists of top movies that I have seen. Thanks to this blog I can go back and review my reviews.
My ratings system
1* don't bother
2** OK
3*** Good
4****Very Good
5***** Fabulous - D0 what ever you can to get to this movie.

The best movie I have seen this year is Departures. This film from Japan received the Best Foreign Language Film at the 2009 Oscars. This movie touched me on so many levels. Due to circumstances, a young man takes a job working with families that have a death in the family. Do not miss this movie. 5*****. Out in DVD this month.

The only other 5***** film I saw was Avatar. Still in theaters, don't miss this colorful creative movie.

4**** movies include District 9, Hurt locker, Where The Wild Things Are, Up, Blind Side, Invictus, Inglorious Bastard, A Serious Man.

Another movie that I really liked was the Michael Jackson movie. Although never a great fan, I always liked his lyrics and sound. This movie illustrated how great he really was.

#3 - in movies the past decade

One of the best things for this movie goer is the opening of Harkins Spectrum. The best seating in Tucson. Seats rock back a bit, wider between rows, and larger theaters. But the best deal, IMO, is the $24.oo tee shirt and cup = free popcorn for a year and $1.00 sodas. Up the freeway, turn west on Valencia and then the first right and come into the Spectrum Mall from the south.
Having lived in GV 10 years before Desert Sky was built, I should
be more loyal but it can't compare to Harkin's.

Check previous posts for:

#1 past decade =evolution of animation
#2 past decade = Netflix

Friday, January 8, 2010


What are they thinking!! Only days after a 10 year old boy shoots himself and another work site massacre occurs, the Az. Star Headline: Bill would let guns in Az. colleges

The same lawmaker that ushered a measure through the legislature to allow guns in bars and restaurants that serve alcohol now wants guns in colleges.

We do live in the old west.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Boy 10 kills himself

How many of our children have to be buried before we tighten up availability of guns.
"10 year old boy found his stepfather's semiautomatic handgun and found the bullets. Loaded the gun and shot himself in the head." Jan. 6, 2010

"10 year old boy tells 911 operator that he shot Dad out of
anger". Nov. 9 2009

I am certain these fathers thought that they were "responsible" gun owners.

Guns do not belong in homes with children.

Disgruntled employee arrives at work place with a large assault rifle and a handgun. Kills three. Injures five.

How many of these scenarios are we going to tolerate before the public says to the NRA and the Legislature: "This is enough". We are not talking about hunting here folks. Or even self protection. We are talking about guns in houses with children and access to guns by depressed,
angry and derranged people.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Movie Review -Precious

This may be the best "feel bad" movie you will ever see. It is fierce, dark, relentlessly raw.
4**** IMO but would I recommend it? I don't think so. This is the kind of film that one has to decide for themselves that they want to see it. One reviewer said that it was "poverty porn" and for the first half of the movie, I tended to agree. But the movie is better than that. But it never lets you forget that we are, for a great part what we are born into. Yes, many rise above it but most don't. Even at the end of the movie I wondered if Precious would make it beyond the next few years.

As far as acting. Mo'Nique, in the role of Precious' mother is the best acting I have seen in
a long long time. She let herself get down, low and dirty and put in a marvelous performance.
Best Supporting Actress by a long shot IMO.

Monday, January 4, 2010

#2 in film the past decade

#2 in film in the past decade is Netflix. Absolutely a keen concept and one in which the company follows through on their mission 100%.

Over the weekend I watched a DVD from Netflix.
Made in 2009, this movie went straight to video. Why? Beats me.

Maiden Heist stars three of our best character actors. Each one can carry a film on his own.
We have Morgan Freeman, Christopher Walken and William H. Macy. Along side them is
Marcia Gay Harden. How can this cast go wrong? Well IMO they don't. This comedy centers on 3 security guards at the Boston Art Museum. Each has become very attached to a specific piece of art they are responsible for. On learning that these pieces are going to be sent to Denmark they devise a plan to steal their favorite pieces. Hence the title of the movie.
This is a very good comedy. Better than many that I have seen this year. Not that it would make my top ten but IMO it better that "It's Complicated or "Funny People" and many others
What makes it so funny is that they take it so serious. And Harden's character is right on.
They must have had a ball making this movie.

Why straight to DVD? I don't know. I don't even know how I heard about it. Probably some critics DVD list. But thanks to netflix, we are able to see it.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

#1 Animation in the last Decade

Animation has evolved and I use the term to refer to many different styles and techniques - Review my blog of December 17th on animation.
For those of you who still "Don't watch 'cartoons' or see 'those' movies, it is time to give it up. You are missing a lot. Ann Hornaday, film critic for the Washington Post in listing her top ten of the decade gave ----Are you ready for this? #1 to to to Finding Nemo!

Best of the decade: Film

By Ann Hornaday

Other memorable animation, in addition to the ones from 2009 were
The Ice Age series
The Asian animation are always good and a bit more serious.
Some of the Israeli animation are way to serious.

So I am out of the closet and claiming my love of animation.
I also loved Beverly Hill Chihuahua; she whispers.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

NY resolutions gone to the dogs.

For my New Years resolutions, I am going to take the suggestion of my friend P.T. and emulate the dogs.

Don't forget to say "I love you".

To enjoy life, you need to get up close and personal.
Find a safe place to get a way from it all when you need to.
Hang out with your best friends.
Find the sunbeams.
Scratch when it itches.
Respect who wears the shoes in the family.

And go "Whee" whenever the spirit moves you.