Sunday, February 28, 2010

Maggie on the Movies

Thanks to the Desert Sky in GV for bringing small Indie films to town, avoiding having to drive to the Loft. AND they gave me free admittance on my birthday.

The Last Station is the story of Russian writer and icon, Leo Tolstoy's last months. Staring Christopher Plummer and Helen Mirren, it portrays their struggle to resolve vast differences in philosophy. Sophia, wanting to preserve the land and valuables collected over 48 years of marriage, is opposed to Leo's desire to have a life devoid of material things. Her feud is really with Vladmir Chertkov, played with determination by Paul Giamatti. Chertkov wants Tolstoy to rewrite his will to give the rights to his body of work to "the people".
The acting is superb by the entire ensemble. Oscar candidates: Christopher Plummer for Performance of an Actor in a Supporting Role and Helen Mirren Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role. This a a great example of: how to they determine Leading Role verses Supporting Role? IMO the role of Tolstoy was a leading role.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Feb. in the Desert

Lawns of California daisy

Roses are cut back by Valentines Day. Bud out soon after

Snow still on the tops of the Santa Ritas

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Health Care Summit

Sergio Bustamante's SEARCH FOR REASON -on the malecon in Puerto Vallarta

Will they be able to come to grips with what is necessary for the U.S. to progress into the 21st century and join the other Western Countries that see health care as a right for everyone?

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Maggie on the Movies

I have seen two movies recently. "Crazy Heart" and "Shutter Island". No two films could be more different. The one thing they had in common was a strong leading actor performance.

Jeff Bridges plays an over the hill alcoholic country western song writer and singer in "Crazy Heart". This drunken main character has been done before; probably many times but memorable performances are Ray Milland in "Lost Weekend" and Jack Lemmon in "Days of Wine and Roses". I like Jeff Bridges but this film was not the greatest. It lost me in believability. 57 year old guy, out of shape, shaggy beard, whisky and nicotine breath. And the young reporter falls in bed and in love with him? Maggie Gyllenhaal did her best. But no way. Not believable. And to risk her son with him? Uh uh. I liked the music and I liked that Bridges sang his own music and Colin Farrell and Robert Duval. But the ?? love story left me cold.

"Shutter Island" is closely based on the book by Dennis Lehane, the author of Mystic River a very successful book to film. Directed by Martin Scorsese and staring Leonardo DeCaprio, this is a film of horror, darkeness and mystery. Since it is one of those films that you "dare not divulge the ending", it is hard to review. Having read the book, I looked forward to the movie and I liked it. My movie partner did not. Roles by Max von Sydow, Mark Ruffalo and Ben Kingsley add to the quality of the movie.

Seeing two strong male lead performances back to back; one a drunk and one an intense, distraught Marshall, demands a comparison. I would choose DeCaprio

Crazy Heart 2 and 1/2 **'s
Shutter Island 3***

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Birds in Puerto Vallarta


Black necked stilt





Streak backed oriole & yellow cheeked woodpecker

Trogon -Citreoline, front and back


Rufous backed robin

Yellow crowned night heron

White collared seedeater

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Real Mexican dogs - Perros

are some real Mexican dogs.

Mexicans seem to like their dogs BIG or small.

They often have dogs in the doors of their shops.

Canadian dogs in Mexico

Most of you know that one of my passions is dogs. I often find myself asking "Can I take a photo of your dog?".

This first one is one of my favorite. I call it "going with the dogs".
These young people are probably not Canadian.

There are many Canadians in Puerto Vallarta.
Many drive down so they can have their cars
and more importantly they can have their dogs.

How do I know they are Canadian? They say 'eh.

These next 3 dogs are from B.C., Toronto and Quebec.

The French Canadian with the blue eyes said 'eh with a French accent.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

A different kind of book club

For 3 years I have been part of a Books to Film discussion group. We select the book/film as a group. Everyone reads the book on their own and then we get together and watch the film.
Much discussion is generated in how the book differs from the film, how the film was interpreted by the screen play and the Director. One thing we try and avoid is making a judgement as to which is better.

Following is a list of some of our most intriguing books; ones where both the book and the film were said to be 4****
The Diving Bell and the Butterfly
The Reader
Of Mice ad Men
Cry the Beloved Country

If you want to add a variance to your book club I would suggest this format.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Horse Rescue

Gave a presentation at Olli today on Rescuing Horses from Slaughter. We particularly discussed the rescue of pregnant mares whose urine is collected for the production of the drug Premarin.
Please go to the blog archives to see an explanation of this cruel practice. In the archives go back to September '09 and there will be 4 blogs with photos explaining the need to rescue these horses from the pee lines and their foals from slaughter.

check out

Monday, February 15, 2010

Native Mexicans

Like Native Americans, Native Mexicans are at the bottom of the socioeconomic ladder.
There are two views on tourism and the indigenous people of Mexico. Some promote strict eco-tourism which takes tourists to see the adobe maker, the basket weaver and the native dancers. This group feels that the kind of tourism that exists in the coastal cities of western Mexico "exploits" the Mexican worker. Others, like myself see that although these are the working poor, at least they are working and not joining the many that endanger their lives crossing the border.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Los Ninos de Mexico

Although I have left Puerto Vallarta Mexico., I still have some photos to share with you.

Here are some of the children of Mexico

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Hasta Luego

Just as the cruise ships sail in in the mornings and sail out at night,
we say goodbye to Puerto Vallarta until we return in December. We leave the dancers be a symbol of Mexican hospitality to all who visit the Malecon.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

The Malecon

Our last day to walk the Malecon. The Malecon is the
central point of Puerto Vallarta. For both visitors and locals. The word can't be directly translated but means the sea side board walk or better yet the sea wall. The store fronts and restaurants face the sea.

Sergio Bustamante's sculpture "Search for Reason" rises above the tourists.

Los Arcos - The arches is the main symbol of Puerto Vallarta.

On the days that the cruise ships are in it is particularly
busy. But it is also the day that more things happen. Such as the Native Indian dancers that we came across.

One can sit on the sea wall and look across to the zona hotel.