Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Crested Saguaro

For 22 years I have wanted to take a photo of this imperial cactus. On a tall hill with numerous
saguaros, it stands out as you drive south on I-19 just as you leave Tucson. It overlooks the Tohono Odham Indian reservation with not a great place to stop and take a picture. But today we did it.

Even when saguaro cacti grow in their normal form, they rarely grow symmetrically. Saguaros sometimes grow in odd or misshapen forms. The growing tip occasionally produces a fan-like form which is referred to as crested or cristate. Though these crested saguaros are somewhat rare, over 25 have been found within the boundaries of the park. Biologists disagree as to why some saguaros grow in this unusual form. Some speculate that it is a genetic mutation. Others say it is the result of a lightning strike or freeze damage. At this point we simply do not know what causes this rare, crested form. From the Saguaro National Park

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Mexican Hat

This is one wild flower that has an appropriate name. And one of the few whose name I can remember from spring to spring. They come in red and yellow and look just like the tall sombreros. And like the song and dance about the Mexican Hat, they dance in the wind.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

As time goes by

Today I changed the seasons with my flowers. Being a non gardener with a brown thumb I do it the easy Green Valley way: I plant pansys in the winter and vinca in the summer.
I often say to myself; "another_______gone by". Many events tick off time for me;
be it days or weeks or months or seasons.

My friend has this "day" clock, ticking off another week. One of the things that is a personal weekly tick of time for me is the laundry. If I do laundry at any time but Sat. morning I forget it in the washer or the dryer. I hate to admit it but I have one of those 2 week pill boxes. I fill it and "Yep, Another two weeks gone buy".

We used to have monthly periods.........But now we have monthly bills, monthly meetings and monthly appointments.

We have watches, clocks, appointment books and calenders. How I admire those people that don't wear a watch. In todays rushed world it would be nice to enjoy and let the time go by.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Movie Review - "Babies"

Who doesn't love babies.
Directed by Thomas Palmes, this film follows four babies from their birth until after they take their first steps. The four babies come from Japan, San Francisco, Mongolia and Namibia.
Although from different cultures, these babies go through the same development processes. From breast feeding to walking, they experience the similar events in entirely different environments. They take their first breath, their first burp and giggly smile. They learn to say "Mama", endure the persecution of older siblings, creeping, crawling and then standing. The African boy has no toys and uses only things around him for amusement. But he has his mother and the other women of the tribe with him at all times. The mongolian baby boy has few toys and has to amuse himself as his mother works with the herds of cattle. The Japanese and American baby girls have everything a baby could want. Yet they experience frustration and boredom surrounded by piles of toys and books. For Western audiences the peril that the 3rd world babies seem to be in draws gasps. But they thrive in spite of apparent danger.

4****- Almost 5. My 5*'s is "run and see it ASAP". Babies doesn't quite make this criteria but close.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Woody Allen -On Aging

One old saguaro - still has blossoms

Woody Allen on aging: "I find it a lousy deal. There's no advantage in getting older. I'm 74 now. You don't get smarter, you don't get wiser, you don't get more mellow, you don't get more kindly. Nothing good happens. Your back hurts more. You get more indigestion. Your eyesight isn't as good. You need a hearing aid. It's a bad business getting older, and I would advise you not to do it."

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Arizona Blue Skies

click on photo to enlarge.

We may have a totally dysfunctional legislature but we do have beautiful skies as back drop for color.

Monday, May 10, 2010

"The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo"

The Loft is Tucson's cine' arts theatre. This is where we go to see the new , the unusual and extreme. These are movies that will not come to the local or mainstream cinemas.The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is one such movie. Based on the first in the trilogy of novels by Swedish writer Stiegg Larsson, this movie is an engrossing but violent mystery.
Friends said "loved the book but wouldn't see the film. Hated the book and wouldn't see the movie:". I did not read the book, although it is on my bookshelf, but was brave enough to see the movie. It is, indeed, very violent. But is a good movie. Set in the cold of Sweden it tells the story of a mystery involving the disappearance of Harriet, a member of an influential business family of Sweden. The Swedish cast is excellent, as is the script and direction.
In Swedish with English subtitles. 3 and 1/2 stars. Caution would be the violence; necessary to the story but difficult to watch.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

The Birth Control Pill -Blessed/Cursed

This week is the 50 year anniversary of the BCP. This has made the cover of Time Magazine and the national media. IMO and that of the left it released women from the strain of unwanted pregnancies. Whether married or not, women could finally choose when they had children.
For the right and the Catholic, it was responsible for the sexual revolution, adultery and promiscuity. Because it came along at a time of great social change, this little pill gets more credit and blame than is due.

What could the birth control pill and other birth control measures have accomplished along with other birth control measures and education.
*brought down poverty
*held down the birth rate in Western as well as third world countries
*slow the rate of AIDS transmission.
*increased maternal and child health welfare
*nearly eliminated the need for abortion
*decreased domestic abuse
*decrease homelessness

Little known fact: President Reagan made a deal with the Pope that if he would support Reagan as Presidential candidate, he would not support or contribute funds for BC in third world countries. In addition he withdrew many funds to planned parent centers is the US.


Monday, May 3, 2010

Malcolm Gladwell

One of my favorite nonfiction writers is the American journalist, Malcom Gladwell. Presently writing for The New Yorker, he started his career as a Conservative reporter and science writer writing for the Washington Post.

His early books, The Tipping Point and Blink became best sellers. His writing is as clever and witty as his appearance.

His latest book , What the Dog Saw is a collection of essays written for The New Yorker. Gladwell's curiosity makes him an entertaining investigator of the ordinary and the unusual.

Over the next several weeks I will be blogging some of my favorite essays about how he sees the world around us.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Movie Reviews

I need to catch up on my movie reviews.
Whatever you may think of Roman Polanski, he is one hell of a director. The Ghost Writer released while Polanski was under house arrest in Switzerland is the story of a ghost writer hired to complete the memoirs of a former British Prime Minister. Replacing the initial ghost writer, killed in a mysterious accident, Ewan McGregor as the ghost, encounters many mysteries on a secluded estate of Adam Lang played by Pierce Brosnan.
Based on the novel Robert Harris, it is not hard to imagine that the Prime Minister is based on Tony Blair and the American President is his friend is George W. Bush.
Other characters are Amelia Bly (Kim Catrall), Langs assistant and Olivia Williams as Ruth Lang. Tom Wilkinson, excellent as always is the pivotal bad guy.
Ghost Writer had an art house limited release but did come down to our local movie theater.
You will have to see it on DVD.
My recommendation is put it high on your list.
4**** Maybe a good idea for a book to film selection.

Two Movies I waited to see. Missed. But both came out in short time with Netflix.

First An Education:
Yeah, I know. It was an Oscar contender for Best Film, Best actress and Best writing.
BUT it didn't work for me.
If there had not been 10 movies up for the Oscar it would never have made it.
Only 3*** out of 5 for me and I am being generous. Writing- adapted from a memoir by Lynn Barber and adapted by Nick Hornby, always schmaltzy IMO, this is not a very unique story. It happened to me when I was sixteen and it was a just part of growing up. Details will not be revealed.
Acting - there was just no chemistry between Cary Mulligan, as Jenny and Peter Sarsgaad as David. The best performance is Alfred Molina as Jenny's father who is great in an unbelievable role; a father who would support his daughter in this sham of a romance.
In fact I am going to bring it down to 2**'s.

Last night I watched Pirate Radio: The Boat That Rocked.
I really enjoyed this movie. But I loved the early rock and roll of the 60's. If you didn't, read no further.
This is a great British comedy that centers around the music that rocked the world. Loosely based, it is a fictional account of the many pirate stations that were censored by those in control of programing in the late 1960's. Taking place in 1969, DJ's of Rock 'n Roll are forced to broadcast from an old freighter in the North Sea. There are many interesting characters as the DJ'd but the two most familiar faces are Philip Seymour Hoffman as DJ The Count and Kenneth Branaugh as the British official trying to put the Pirate Radio out of business.

4**** for those who like British comedies and Rock and Roll.
For the rest of you -forgetaboutit.