Monday, May 30, 2011

Kids at the Reid Park Zoo

Reid Park in Tucson is a special place for kids. I first took my grandsons there about 20 years ago. Unlike the Desert Museum it is small enough for a child to absorb and not be tired out. Exhibits are smaller and available. And in the summer there is lots of shade. I enjoyed a revisit this week. Love seeing the kids have fun. I wondered how long it took mom to get these huge mohawks on these brothers. Feeding the giraffes was particularly fun for the kids. Even signs provided "poop" humor that kids like.

Friday, May 27, 2011

For the Birds

We have the most beautiful and perfect century plant in the neighborhood. A Western Tanager
enjoys a feast.

Mom and chick Great Horned Owl peep out over a precarious nesting place in a Palm tree.

A rare visitor from the south arrives in Madera Canyon. A Fan Tailed Warbler. photo
from Google images. Hope to get up there to take my own photo.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Lean on Me - lyrics

This song, written by Bill Withers has recently re-entered my music life.
These words are particularly true for those of
us in my community who are dependent on each other for support.
Whether human, canine, equine or feline, all of earths creatures are interdependent.

Sometimes in our lives
We all have pain
We all have sorrow
But if we are wise
We know there's
Always tomorrow

Lean on me
When you're not strong
And I'll be your friend
I'll help you carry on
For it won't be long
'till I'm gonna need
Somebody to lean on

Please swallow your pride
If I have things you need to borrow
For no one can fill
Those of your needs
That you won't let show

Just call on me brother/sister
When you need a hand
We all need somebody
I just may have a problem
That you understand
We all need somebody to lean on

If there is a load
You have to bear
That you can't carry
I/m right up the road
I/ll share your load
If you just call me

Call me
If you need me
Call me
When you want me
Call me

Monday, May 16, 2011

Movie - Cave of Forgotten Dreams

I have always been a fan of Herzog Werner, Germany's premier auteur of film both feature and documentary. In this movie Herzog chronicles the prehistoric paintings found in the Cave of Chauvet discovered in the south of France in 1994. This rock art that dates around 32,000 years ago has been well preserved, before it was discovered, by a rock slide that closed off the cave and since its discovery by French scientists that have severely limited access to the cave. IMO Werner give us the chance to experience this rare event. He declares that "art" through the paintings and musical instruments have been a part of human expression from early on. There is a great deal of discussion on IMDB on whether this a good film for 3-D. I loved "Avatar" and have to say that "Cave...." in 3-D worked for me. The cave and its paintings are 3 dimensional and Werner used this technique to an advantage, IMO.

Werner Herzog has his personal stamp on this movie. His humor and drama. A movie clip of Fred Astair dancing with his shadows, a scientist demonstrating a prehistoric flute by playing the "Star Spangled Banner", asking for 'quiet' to listen to the sound of the cave and the beat of your heart. The movie ends by showing France's largest nuclear energy plant 20 miles from the cave and the mutant albino crocodiles that swim in the warm water used in cooling off the rods.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Az Buddy's torn ACL

On April 19th poor Buddy tore the ACL
ligament of his back left knee. Yes that
is the same knee injury that many
football players get. Vet said he won't
be "playing in the next Superbowl.
Sudden limp after running out
to greet the neighbors dog.

Treatment is often surgery. After
extensive research (thank you, google)
it seems that many vets now agree that
conservative treatment with bed rest is the
preferred regimen. However this is not
making the Bud Miester very happy.

We can't say the work "walk" in the
house and he howls if he catches us trying
to sneak out for our walks.

Today he had his first mini-walk.
Very short and very slow. He
really pulled at the leash. Seems
to have forgotten how to
walk on leash.

It hurts to see your dog going about on 3 legs. But he remains
perky, following us around the house and doesn't seem in pain.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

The Ice Cream Social

The idea came in a dream. When the long planned Antique Car Show fundraiser fell though, I had a dream that involved ice cream and music. With the work of a committee from
Casa de Esperanza's senior lunch program, the event was more successful that
we had dreamed.

Thanks to CareMore
for their participation on the
committee and their contribution.

Thanks to Blue Bell for the
great ice cream.

Thanks to Safeway for distributing

Thanks to the musicians.

Most of all thanks to the many people of
all ages that attended and those that
contributed to the raffle of numerous items.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Gabe Zimmerman Memorial in GV

Gabe Zimmerman, 30, was the community outreach director for U.S. Representative Gabrielle Giffords, when he was killed in the January 8th 2011 attempted assassination of the congresswoman. Gabe was a familiar face around Green Valley during both of her campaigns for the U.S. legislature. He was handsome, friendly and receptive to all. The memorial was held in front of Posada Java on the corner of White house Canyon Rd and Continental. This was a corner that Gabe's father said was significant in that it was a turn in the road that father and son often took on their way to hiking in the Santa Ritas. I liked what Mr. Zimmerman said and I paraphrase; "We live in a country that has freedom to assemble and freedom to buy guns. What we need is for everyone to take personal responsibility for their actions". Please click on the photo of the plaque to read the inscription. A special Sonoran Desert Museum palo verde tree
was planted with park benches where people can sit and enjoy the setting and remember Gabe.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Southern Arizona Wildfires

"Tucson area faces 'perfect storm' for
huge fire season"
*high winds
*dead trees and leaves from the record
setting freeze
*followed by well-above-normal temps.

"Two large wildfires now burning south of the city"
*on the border west of
Nogales -Bull fire
*East of Green Valley
and the Santa Ritas
the Greaterville fire

These are HUMAN Caused!
More fires expected when we start to get
lightening with the monsoons.

"Warnings issued over smoke from
two wildfires"

Day time smoke photos are from my patio this week.
Night time photos are from May 2009
Quotes from the Arizona Daily Star

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Movie review -Of Gods and Men

It has been a while since I have given 5*****'s to a movie. This means it is a very important film, should be for every one and "get thee to the movie ASAP". However it will be in Tucson at The Loft only till Friday. So if you are not able to go, put it at the top of your rental list.

This is a French film shown in 2010 that tells the true story of 8 Trappist monks that live in a monastery high in the mountains of Algeria. Filmed in Morocco, the country side is fabulous.
They serve the villagers who are poor farmers of strong Muslim faith that fit in well with the
Trappist's Christian faith. Both are threatened by the fundamentalist Muslim terrorists who kill and harass the villagers. They are also tormented by the Algerian soldiers constantly looking for the terrorists.

This is a movie of extreme faith as the monks decide whether they stay with their mission or leave for safety. The tone of the movie is quiet with much silence except for the singing, chanting and prayer of the monks. This contrasts with the violence from the extremists.

A truly exceptional and moving film. See it!

Monday, May 2, 2011

Movies - A remake or new adaptation?

Several "remakes", as the critics and the public call them have been in the theaters recently.
True Grit, Jane Erye and the made for HBO Mildred Pearce.
I tend to not to like the word "remake", preferring "new adaptation or interpretation". However unless one goes back to the original novel or short story it is really hard to tell if it is a true remake of an old movie or a new interpretation.

Why would someone want to do a remake of good film?
-The Producer/Director sees a fresh interpretation of the novel or short story on which the film is based.
-There is a new generation of film goers.
-New technology can add fresh cinematography to the movie.
-and probably a host of other reasons.

True Grit - based on the 1968 novel by Charles Portis.
-1969 starred John Wayne as Rooster Cogburn. He was the star and the main protagonist was Cogburn. Rest of the story and character supported Wayne.
-2010 Cohen Brothers adaptation centered on 14 year old Mattie Ross with an unknown young actress Halle Stienfield. The story was hers to tell. Cogburn supported her.
IMO the 2010 was the better film in many ways. Better story, better acting and better cinematography.

Jane Erye - Based on the familiar Charlotte Bronte novel
To my knowledge this is the most frequent of the "remakes". If anyone know about a novel that has been interpreted more times, please let me know at
1934 - first film adaptation of the novel.
1943 - Orson Wells & Joan Fontaine star
1949 - Charleton Heston
1973 - BBC production
1983 - BBC series
1996 - Franco Zefferille directs
1997 - Arts & Entertainment production
2006 - Masterpiece Theater
2011 - Director Cary Fukanago - Stared Mia Wasikowska and Michael Fassenbender
IMO the 2011 surpasses the previous. The acting was right on and cinematography dark and mysterious, like the novel. Since it had been a long time since I read the novel, I have to trust that it was genuine adaptation of Bronte's work.

Mildred Pearce - based the 1944 James Caine novel by the same name.
First made in 1945 as a black and white film noir. It stared Joan Crawford and Jack Carson with supporting roles by Eve Arden and Ann Blythe.
-Crawford won the Oscar for best actress and both Arden and Blythe were nominated for best supporting actress. The movie was also nominated for best film and for best screen play.

2011 HBO -5 episodes starring Kate Winslet and co-starring Melissa Leo, the best supporting actress at this years Oscars.

IMO - This is a no brainer. The 1944 film was a film noir and the 2011 one was a soap opera.
There were things I liked and disliked (read hated) with both of them.
The early film had a 'negro' maid that was a terrible stereotype probably a sign of that time.
The HBO series started on a high for the first two episodes then had a ridiculous and unbelievable ending.
Given an awful screen play I preferred Winslet to Crawfords acting.
I liked the color cinematography however the black and white was appropriate for a noir film.
The interpretation of the novel had to be better in the 1945 adaptation. Starting with a murder and building the story up until the end when we find out who the murderer is.
Contrast this to a sappy and unbelievable ending.

I have led a book discussion group of "Books to Film" where everyone read the book and then we watched the movie together. I also find it interesting when folks say to me "Why would they make a remake of a very good movie?" It is an interesting concept to discuss.