Tuesday, February 24, 2009

From Fear to Freedom

Frank's life from birth to age 19

Frank's life from age 19 to age 40 in New York

Frank's summary of his life as a high school teacher

That's what Frank McCourt tries to teach us in his trio of memoirs: the pathway from fear to freedom--of expression, or just of being. Of simply trying.

'Tis a pity if you haven't read his books. As I've told you before (so stop askin', already) my marriage cut me off from movies and literature for about 10 years so I have been doing a lot of catching up since 2006.

Last Friday I decided to read Angela's Ashes (1996). The next morning I fought my way to the Columbus Public Libraary through a raging snowstorm and checked out 'Tis (1999)and Teacher Man (2005) and read those, too. By Sunday night my eyes felt like two raisins in my head. Gettin' old's a bitch.

In Angela's Ashes, little Frankie is tormented everywhere he turns by two equally criminal forces, poverty and the Catholic Church. I laughed out loud when he received his first communion and the wafer got stuck on the roof of his mouth. If you're Catholic, you've been there. Frankie hadn't yet, and all he could think of was What kind of sin was this to have God stuck to the roof of your mouth?! He couldn't even receive communion right! Damned for all eternity, as far as he was concerned. And I thought I had Catholic guilt. Not even close.

Throughout all the books, he quotes his aunt's husband, whose favorite saying was "I don't give a fiddler's fart." I'm not sure that's the overall theme Mr. McCourt wanted me to leave his books with, but it has stuck to my brain like that wafer stuck to his palate, and there is nothing I can do about it.

I checked and, of course, they've made a movie of Angela's Ashes. It is on its way from Netflix. Clive Owen probably has better things to do than spend every night at my place, anyway. (Though I can't imagine what.)
Frank McCourt was raised in County Limerick, on the river Shannon.

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Friday, February 20, 2009

Closer to fine

Came out in 2004

What can you say about a hit-play-turned-movie that contains nothing but three lying philanderers and one annoying stripper?

You can say that Clive Owen is in it. And unfortunately, he does not play the stripper. (No offense, Natalie. You have a fine ass.)

Just the way Clive leers at her in this film he is clearly breaking some laws.

Later, Clive trys to convince Julia to do one more sinful act before signing her divorce papers.

Watch his expression change after she agrees...

Rounding out the cast are Julia Roberts playing a bad girl (nice to see her as something other saint or hooker-with-a-heart-of-gold) and Jude Law, apparently playing himself.

Clive's acting is spot-on throughout this piece, and he is thoroughly disarming as an egotistic, misogynist, foul-mouthed sex addict. Cleans up nice as a swanky dermatologist, but I'd rather the wardrobe department had saved some money on this film and just let him wear boxers--at most.

He is at his most charming when he is exchanging messages in an online chat room and when asked if he is "hung" types quickly 9L instead of 9". (I don't have a British Pound symbol--use your imagination.) This is one major flaw in the story as it is always better to "show" than to "tell." Again, it is Natalie who must do all the "showing" in this one.

How long am I going to keep up this Clive Owen obsession, you may be wondering? Well, some people are here to save the world. I have finally decided it is my job to savor it. And what better way than to start with all the known works of Mr. Clive Owen.
Clive's sensitive side
Quickly reverts to Clive's very-fucking-pissed-off side when he realizes he's been out-cheated by Julia.

Clive walked away with a Golden Globe, a BAFTA, and a very detailed memory of Natalie Portman's private parts. No wonder they look so uncomfortable in this picture.

He was much more excited as he threw me a bone in the audience during his acceptance speech.
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Thursday, February 19, 2009

The gift that keeps on giving

Robert Altman directed Gosford Park in 2001. I missed many things while submerged in my marriage, and this is one of them. Uncovering it recently was truly a delight. It was like opening the cupboard and finding a multi-layer cake, freshly and exquisitely-made just for me. Set in 1932, it combines the folly of the rich with the reality of the servants, with a little sex and murder thrown in for fun.

And the frosting? Why, Clive Owen, of course.

The piece is written with amazing precision, which is hard to notice due to Clive's distractingly sexy shoe-polishing and trouser-ironing. Clive Owen and period films--there oughta be a law requiring sedatives before viewing. I swooned so many times I ran clean out of epsom salts.

Valet Mr. Parks and Lady's Maid, Mary. She sees right through those flashing green eyes.

Won an Oscar for Best Writing in 2002.
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Monday, February 16, 2009

My International Valentine

Exclusive picture of Clive's personalized Valentine's Day card to me. I can't publish the inside of the card, for obvious reasons.

Apparently, Clive obsessed for weeks over what to get me for the holiday. That is so like him.

And what does he decide on? A fantastic thriller in which he has lots of close-ups and no romantic entanglements with his all-too-tempting costar, Naomi Watts-her-face. How thoughtful was that?

So... Just a quick and personal thank you to Clive for making this weekend so very special. Though he wanted to spend the weekend exclusively with yours truly, he was also gracious enough to give me time to lavish a little extra attention on my girls, Soda and Ginger, as well as my boys, Julian and Jack. Clive knows no man stands between a woman and her horses, regardless the bottomless intensity of his eyes, or the perfect cut of his linen suit.

And that's just what makes him the perfect date.

That, and he's always packing a hot piece.

And for all those critics who say the man never smiles... Clive lightened up pretty damn quick when he saw me in the press corps last week.
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Friday, February 13, 2009

Every V.D. needs a little Sin

I take mine with Clive Owen, a warm chocolate cake, and a little sin. Sin City.

Gail: [to the Oldtown Girls] We'll fight the cops, the mob, and anybody else who tries to move in on us. We'll go to war.
Dwight: Don't be stupid, Gail. Get me a car.
Gail: Who do you think you are? You got what you wanted out of us.
[Gail puts the gun to his face]
Gail: You got what you wanted out of me.
Dwight: If I don't make it back, you can have your war.
[Dwight and Gail kiss]
Dwight: [To himself, while kissing Gail] She almost yanks my head clean off, shoving my mouth into hers so hard it hurts. An explosion that blasts away the dull, gray years between the now and that one fiery night when she was mine.
Dwight: [to Miho] Get me a hardtop with a decent engine and make sure it's got a big trunk.
Dwight: [To Gail] I'll always love ya, baby.
Gail: [To herself] Always and never.

Dwight: [To himself] It's time to prove to your friends that you're worth a damn. Sometimes that means dying, sometimes it means killing a whole lot of people.
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Wednesday, February 11, 2009

You cannot handle this cuteness

[I posted yesterday about the koala who reached out to a firefighter near Melbourne. Turns out the story just keeps getting better.]

A koala named Bob (top), rescued from last week's deadly bushfires, puts his paw around new friend and fellow fire survivor Sam as she recovers from her burns at Southern Ash Wildlife Centre near Melbourne February 11, 2009. A love story about two koalas rescued from Australia's deadliest bushfires has provided a glimmer of hope after days of devastation and the loss of more than 180 lives.REUTERS/Southern Ash Wildlife Centre/Colleen Wood (AUSTRALIA)

Koala love story wins hearts after deadly Aussie fires
By Belinda Goldsmith Belinda Goldsmith – Wed Feb 11, 4:17 am ET

CANBERRA (Reuters) – A love story between two badly burnt koalas rescued from Australia's deadliest bushfires has provided some heart-warming relief after days of devastation and the loss of over 180 lives.

The story of Sam and her new boyfriend Bob emerged after volunteer fire-fighter Dave Tree used a mobile phone to film the rescue of the bewildered female found cowering in a burnt out forest at Mirboo North, 150 km (90 miles) southeast of Melbourne.

Photos and a video of Tree, 44, approaching Sam while talking gently to her, and feeding her water from a plastic bottle as she put her burnt claw in his cold, wet hand quickly hit video sharing website YouTube (www.youtube.com/watch?v=-XSPx7S4jr4), making her an Internet sensation.

But it was after reaching a wildlife shelter that Sam met and befriended Bob, who was saved by wildlife workers on Friday, two days before Sam, in Boolarra, about 180 km from Melbourne.

Tree, who has been a volunteer fire-fighter for 26 years, said it was extremely rare to get so close to a koala so he asked his colleague Brayden Groen, 20, to film him.

"You can how she stops and moves forward and looks at me. It was like a look saying "I can't run, I'm weak and sore, put me out of my misery,"" Tree told Reuters.

"I yelled out for some water and I sat down with her and tipped the water up. It was in my hand and she reached for the bottle then put her right claw into my left hand which was cold so it must have given her some pain relief and she just left it there. It was just amazing."


A Koala nicknamed Sam, saved from the bushfires in Gippsland, is cared at the Mountain Ash Wildlife Center in Rawson, 100 miles (170 kilometers) east of Melbourne, Australia, where workers were scrambling to salve the wounds of possums, kangaroos and lizards Wednesday, Feb. 11, 2009. More than 180 people were killed in the weekend's fires, and on Wednesday, the scope of the devastation to Australia's wildlife began to emerge, with officials estimating that millions of animals also perished in the inferno.(AP Photo)

Sam was taken to the Southern Ash Wildlife Shelter in Rawson. Her story was reminiscent of a koala named Lucky who survived the 2003 bushfires that destroyed about 500 homes and killed four people in the capital of Canberra. Lucky became a symbol of hope.

Colleen Wood from the Southern Ash Wildlife Shelter that is caring for Sam and Bob said both koalas were doing well while other animals like possums, kangaroos, and wallabies were also starting to emerge from the debris.

She said Sam had suffered second degree burns to her paws and would take seven to eight months to recover while Bob had three burnt paws with third degree burns and should be well enough to return to the bush in about four months.

"They keep putting their arms around each other and giving each other hugs. They really have made friends and it is quite beautiful to see after all this. It's been horrific," said Wood.

"Sam is probably aged between two to four going by her teeth and Bob is about four so they have a muchness with each other."

Wood said about 20 koalas had been brought into her shelter in recent days, several of whom had bonded as koalas are known to clump together, but none had garnered the same attention as the new Internet star Sam.

Tree, a volunteer with the Country Fire Authority Victoria, has visited Sam since her rescue and was delighted to see she had found a boyfriend in Bob.
"They've really taken a shine to each other as they are both burnt and share the same burnt smell," he said.

"My heart goes out to the people in these fires and this was so innocent so people have used this to distract them from all the sad stuff that has gone on. It gives people a bit of hope."

Donations for bushfire support can be made to the Country Fire Authority Victoria via their website at http://www.cfa.vic.gov.au/about/supportingcfa.htm.

(Editing by Jeremy Laurence)
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Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Lending a Helping Paw

Local CFA firefighter David Tree shares his water with an injured Australian Koala at Mirboo North after wildfires swept through the region on Monday, Feb. 9, 2009. Suspicions that the worst wildfires ever to strike Australia were deliberately set led police to declare crime scenes Monday in towns incinerated by blazes, while investigators moving into the charred landscape discovered more bodies. The death toll stood at 181.
(AP Photo/Mark Pardew)

I decided not to add the picture of the dead horse they have posted on the Internet. You can thank me later.
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Monday, February 9, 2009

I am not a Madonna fan

But I always have a deep respect for those who surround themselves with good people.

Photo by Steven Klein for W magazine

I strongly encourage you to

And model Jesus Luz qualifies in my book as very, very good people...
Photo by Steven Klein for W magazine
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Tuesday, February 3, 2009

A Little Self-Esteem Boost

Some days I feel better about my burgeoning ass than others.

A Celebes Crested Macaque, left, looks back on Thursday Jan. 29, 2009 in Singapore where its national zoo is actively involved in the conservation and education of wildlife reserves.(AP Photo/Wong Maye-E)

And some days, I don't.
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