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Books – Like TV In Your Head

 Reading books as an adult can certainly impact and change you, but in a different way than as a child. As a child you haven’t got a filter yet. You’re becoming who you will be.
For children that are lucky enough to have the time, the resources, and the lifestyle that allows them to read, books are a transport to multiple worlds, times, to anywhere the pages can take them.

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Reading through A Puffin Book: Stories That Last A Lifetime (Puffin Books), I was transported back to my childhood.
Full of excer1books12pts, facts, and cool activities to do with children, I thought, what an appealing and fun way to introduce children to some of these classic books, and remind us children-at-heart of some treasures from our youth.

I totally recall why I’d fallen head over heels in love with Charlotte’s Web, Trumpet of the Swan, and Stuart Little by E.B. White. The messages of friendship and overcoming hardships while being a good person, or pig, or mouse, or swan still ring true.1books2

As a teen reading Goodnight Mister Tom by Michelle Magorian, I began to think more about people, especially children, trapped in wars and conflicts.

Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH by Robert C. O’Brien (also loved the movie, The Secret of NIMH) helped me understand it’s important to do the right thing, even if it’s the hard thing.

I so wanted to have Gobbolino the Witch’s Cat by Ursula Moray Williams living with me…maybe still do.

Watership Down by Richard Adams made me think about truth and who knows what truth is the truth, or if it’s just your or my truth. Or maybe sometimes a rabbit is just a rabbit. http://yadadarcyyada.com/2014/01/10/watership-down/

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The Neverending Story by Michael Ende while a lovely story, is not 100% accurate, it ended.

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I can’t fully describe how much I loved The Borrowers series by Mary Norton. It endlessly entertained, and helped clarify what I was learning about differences and tolerance.

Anne of Green Gables,
James and the Giant Peach,
Annie, A Dog So Small,
The Worst Witch,
Stig of the Dump,
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
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Diary of a Wimpy Kid, Island of the Blue Dolphins,
Paddington http://yadadarcyyada.com/2014/06/25/happy-birthday-paddington-bear/
Robin Hood, Treasure Island, A Wrinkle in Time,
Percy Jackson, Pippi Longstocking,
Wind in the Willows, Black Beauty,
The Cay, Little Women, Meg & Mog,
Wizard of Oz http://yadadarcyyada.com/2014/04/04/happy-birthday-wizard-of-oz/
Little House on the Prairie,
Chronicles of Narnia, Matilda,
Ballet Shoes, Sherlock Holmes,
Dracula, Dr. Dolittle, The First Year,
Mary Poppins http://yadadarcyyada.com/2014/07/12/saving-mr-banks/
Alice in Wonderland,
The Very Hungry Caterpillar,
Anne Frank’s Diary of a Young Girl,
ok, just realized I’m including titles not even in this book.
I guess I just never realized how many Puffin books I’ve read in my lifetime, and how lucky to be able to share them with my son.
Wait, I can’t forget The Velveteen Rabbit – loving makes everything real.

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I hope these stories that made me laugh, cry, took me away, flew so high, made me think, want, wonder, worry, dream, hope, and care, are still being read by children of all ages.

I had two childhoods, the one I lived in the pages of books, and the other with my family and friends when I would crawl out of my books.

Any favourite books, from childhood or beyond?


Jump The Shark

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Another Shark Week has swam away from The Discovery Channel, but fear not, the shark thrills, chills, myths, and weird people swimming with sharks will linger.

Now if you like sharks and think they get a bad rap, some sharks shows may not be for you. Instead watch or rewatch Rob Stewart’s Sharkwater and Revolution.

Do not watch Sharknado or Sharknado 2  (SyFy) if you were looking for reality of any kind. I thoroughly enjoyed the carnage, and that was just the horrible overacting. The shark stuff was just silly.

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Where Sharknado was fresh and bizarre, Sharknado 2 could have been easily subtitled That Went South So Fast – that includes th1shark1e acting, CGI sharks and storyline.

But who can resist seeing Wil Wheaton get his head ripped off by a flying shark? Kelly Osbourne and Kelly Oxford eaten by sharks, on a plane?
Who doesn’t want to see Judd Hirsch driving a taxi again?
Robert Hays as a pilot with lots of not-so-subtle Airplane! jokes.
Kelly Ripa, Gelman, Matt Lauer, Al Roker as themselves, with sharks.
They slid in, there’s something on the wing of the plane (would have been ultra-classic if they’d managed to get William Shatner or John Lithgow to say the line, a full-on Twilight Zone moment & referenced again in 3rd Rock From The Sun).
Mark McGrath and Kari Wuhrer as Martin and Ellen Brody (think Jaws). Ian Ziering (90120 fame) as Fin. The cameos and quirks never stop and of course, Sharknado 3 can’t be far behind.

One of the best parts was the teaming up of director Anthony Ferrante and Robbie Rist as the band Quint (yes, the nails on the chalkboard character Robert Shaw made so famous in Jaws) doing a tribute to The Ramones with (The Ballad Of) Sharknado; which will have you humming along fairly quickly and possible giggling.

Caution: May contain extreme cheesiness. Will jump the shark so often the expression may have to stop being used.

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So when you’re watching all these shark movies and documentaries, just remember, be careful what you fish for.

Sharks are beautiful, elegant, precise creatures that will probably outlive us all, if they can outlast us as we slaughter them senselessly.
1shark9Instead of fearing them or cutting their fins off to make soup, etc., find out how cool they are.

Sharks are a brilliant example that you should always wear your critical thinking cap when watch TV or movies, listening to the news, or listening to anyone…you may not be getting the whole tooth.

Remember, we’re visiting their home when we go in the ocean.
Be nice, someday they may become Landsharks.


The Chocolate Garden

1choc18Imagine a chocolate garden, it’s like something out of Willy Wonka, but better.

While there’s no such thing as a garden of chocolate, there are plants that look or smell like chocolate: Berlandiera Lyrata (Chocolate-Scented Daisy), Heuchera (Chocolate Ruffles), Cosmos Atrosanguineus (Chocolate Cosmos), Dhalia (Karma Choc), etc. To me, it’s like scratch’n’sniff, nothing smells the same as real chocolate. I don’t think I want to eat any of these, but there is: chocolate corn, chocolate baby bell peppers, chocolate cherry tomatoes, but before you get too excited, none are actually chocolate.

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The Chocolate Garden by Ava Miles @ authoravamiles (Aspendawn Books) at first glance is a lovely romance about a woman getting over a bad relationship who finds love and more importantly finds herself; with chocolate in the title.

Charming, well-written, full of romance, love, family, second chances, and hope, it’s also about choices, change, and fear of change. I was pleased to borrow this from Netgalley.com 

I’d never read any books by Ava Miles, but after reading The Chocolate Garden I read more in the Dare River Series, well, almost all of her other books (I’m getting to them all). Delightful.

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Thinking of changes, when I heard the UK series, Sensitive Skin (starring Joanna Lumley from Ab Fab) was being remade by HBO, starring Kim Cattrall, I’d hoped they weren’t going to make a shallow North American rendering that focused on aging, boohoo, my skin is wrinkling.
They didn’t.
This is a pointed stick jabbing at the facades we wear as we dance around pretending the choices we’re making aren’t destroying the planet and ourselves.
It laughs at our attempts to justify our rampant consumerism, our disconnect, the lies we tell ourselves, and the people we blame when reality hovers, like an impossible hummingbird flitting in and out of our peripheral vision.

Don McKellar has a duel weird and wonderful performance, directing and playing Cattrall’s neurotic, Woody Allen-esque, clueless husband. We watc1choc12h the aftermath as the empty-nesters sell their house and move to downtown Toronto to a cyber-loft (as their son calls it); as they struggle to figure out how to begin this new phase in their lives. It’s funny and a little sad.

Isn’t that the struggle so many of us face at various times?

The phases of our lives are ever-changing: baby, toddler, child, tween, teen, new adult, adult, sometimes being a couple, then maybe a parent, sometimes going through break-ups, divorces, children leaving home, middle age, senior, sometimes the loss of a spouse or child or parent.
Changing jobs, homes, professions, partners, friends. What do they all have in common? Change. It’s really the only thing in life you 1choc11can count on.

Written by Bob Martin (Slings and Arrows; some may know him as Cuddles from Puppets Who Kill), Cattrall and McKellar are surrounded by a gleaming supporting cast including: Colm Feore, Joanna Gleason, Nicholas Wright, Elliot Gould, Cle Bennet, Mary Walsh and more.

This show isn’t simply about not being able to hide your neck or the backs of your hands, it’s not about wrinkles, or sagging, it’s about fear, mostly fear of change.1choc20

Davina (Cattrall) was a model, wife, daughter, sister, mother, but none of those roles seem to fit in her new and sensitive skin. She wants more, but is afraid to find it.

I guess the key with change is to understand sometimes you have a choice, sometimes you don’t, so the only thing you can control is how you react.


It’s About Time

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Time. There never seems to be enough of it. Or is there?

Some films are hits, others misses. I think we can safely say About Time falls squarely into the misses category, but why?

Written and directed by Richard Curtis (Love Actually, Bridget Jones’s Diary, Mr. Bean, Blackadder, Notting Hill, Doctor Who, War Horse, The Vicar of Dibley, Four Weddings and a Funeral, etc.).

Romance, family, comedy, drama, love, time travel, hope, loss – what else did it need? Well, maybe about a half hour less.

Superb cast? Definitely.
Domhnall Gleeson (Bill Weasley in Harry Potter movies; also in: Sensation; When Harvey Met Bob, Anna Karenina; Frank; and cast in Star Wars Episode VII; and cool, Mad-Eye Moody, Brendan Gleeson is his dad),
Bill Nighy (from, well, anything he’s ever been in, he’s just a joy to watch),
Rachel McAdams (The Notebook; The Time Traveler’s Wife, yes, she’s done this before; Slings and Arrows; Mean Girls; Wedding Crashers, etc.),
Tom Hollander (Pride and Prejudice; American Dad!; Gosford Park; Pirates of the Caribbean; etc.),
and more.

About Time made me laugh, smile, nod understandingly, smirk, roll my eyes, and one scene even reduced me to quietly sobbing into a cushion.

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Maybe the 1about12timing was just perfect for me, because I’m waiting for my favourite Time Lord to return for the Doctor Who, Series 8 première (Deep Breath, written by Steven Moffat) – just a week away.
While I’m extremely eager, I’m also a little apprehensive, it’s a new doctor, another regeneration.
I’m barely over David Tennant leaving and was enjoying Matt Smith’s childlike exuberance.
Now Peter Capaldi will be The Doctor.
Like any other regeneration we’ll have to wait and see.

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But I digress…

Imagine if you could travel back to any given point in your timeline and have a do over. Think about it, a moment you made a terrible choice; something you said or did that hurt someone; poor judgment; or to a moment when you knew something horrible was going to happen to you or a loved one.
You could use this power to make your life the way you want it to be.

I can easily think of many times I would return to, wrongs I would right, problems I would avoid, choices I would change. Then I think, but at what cost? Even if it didn’t do anything catastrophic, would it change the way I live each moment, knowing that I can have a second, third, fourth, unlimited time to change it?

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There is no Take 2 in real life, so live each day as best you can and enjoy the time you have.

But by all means, if you get the chance to travel with say, a Time Lord…do it!

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Tick Tock.


Lauren Bacall: Classy and Sassy To The End

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Some people may not have even notice Lauren Bacall’s passing.

There’s certainly a lot going on in the world, various humanitarian crisis, in Syria, Iraq, Gaza; Ebola virus in Africa; the Trojan trucks drama; economic and environmental issues; war; Ferguson; climate change wrecking havoc with our weather; the loss of Robin Williams, and so much more. There are probably some that already thought Lauren Bacall had already died.

Old Hollywood had a glamor that has been difficult to replicate. Those days, those movies were anything but perfect yet they still stand out as fascinating and timeless.

Lauren Bacall (Betty Joan Perske) was iconic for many reasons. Was it “The Look”? The Look apparently came from nerves, she always said the only way she could stop from shaking was to put her head down and look up at Bogie, who knows if that’s true, but it’s a cool story. Her beauty? Her sultry voice? Her intrigue? Being married to Humphrey Bogart? Maybe a combination?

1bacall12I’m a Humphrey Bogart fan. I’ve watched Casablanca too many times to be healthy.
Bogart and I had so much in common.
Our love of chess.
We were honest, to a fault.
Then I found out he was married.
Then I found out he’d been dead for years before I was even born.
These facts tend to put a bit of a damper on even an imaginary red-hot romance.

I’m not sure of Bogart was my first movie boyfriend, but he’s still in my top 10.

The much-lauded relationship between Bogie and Bacall (Maybe their celebrity couple name could be: Bocall or Bagie) always left me thinking, yes, I’m sure it was the romance of the century, a love that would endure through time and space, but he was married when he started their relationship. That’s a tad smarmy.

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Lauren Bacall w1bacall14as not only a unique beauty, she had brains, style, talent, and integrity (aside from being the other woman).

Her career, from model to leading lady to character actress spanned decades and though times had changed, she stayed classy and sassy.

I would be hard-pressed to name my favourite Lauren Bacall work, although Key Largo springs to mind.
Also liked: How To Marry A Millionaire (with Marilyn Monroe; although clearly I didn’t take the advice), Dark Passage, Sex and the Single Girl, Written on the Wind, The Walker, The Shootist, Misery, The Sopranos, Dogville, To Have and To Have Not, and she’s brilliant in The Mirror Has Two Faces.

This icon managed to stay relevant – my teenage son knows her from Howl’s Moving Castle and Family Guy (12th episode of 12th season; 222nd episode); not my favourite episode, not her fault, the story was choppy; the subplot with Stewie and Brian was amusing.

So from thrilling Hollywood goddess in the 40s all the way to Family Guy in 2014 and so much in between.

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I love classic movies. What they lack in political correctness they make up for in style, witty dialogue, cinematography, direction, and of course, the actors.

 

1bacall15“I think your whole life shows in your face
and you should be proud of that.”
~Lauren Bacall
1924-2014

 

 

 

 

 


Robin Williams: His Last Laugh

1arobin13Suicide isn’t a laughing matter. Neither is depression.

Have we lost the ability to see that line between genuinely mourning the loss of someone and using it to gain attention for ourselves?

Where to begin? The media are too obvious, they’re a well-oiled exploitation machine.

Social media is too often the Land of Shallow, where pictures, platitudes, Slacktivism, jokes, and memes are welcome, but anything of substance is frequently ignored or seen as annoying.

Yet it’s the memorials that confuse me the most.
What does wasting money on flowers, balloons, teddy bears and candles do?
Does it bring those lost back?
Does it stop the next accident, murder, or suicide?
No. It just mildews.
What a terrible waste.

Maybe it’s a form of pain behaviour. People need to show how much they care, show that they’re in pain.

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Take the money you would spend on items for a memorial and donate it to those in need.
Help someone who suffers from mental illness get help or support.
Help someone undergoing cancer treatments with extra expenses.
Help society’s most vulnerable get enough food, shelter, dental care, eye glasses, medicine.
Do something useful. Wouldn’t that show you care? Ease your pain?

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Robin Williams chose to leave this world. I expect this loss is felt deeply by his family and friends, and to a lesser degree, by his fans.
If you’re actually upset about this, help someone who is struggling with depression, anxiety, PTSD, addiction, and other forms of mental illness.

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Be kind. 1arobin21

Maybe we wouldn’t need Suicide Hotlines or Kids Helplines or so many other band-aids if people would stop making so many hurts.

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Be there to listen to someone (hint, turn off your cellphone while listening; seeing your head bent over your phone as you absently say uh-huh at maybe the right spots will probably just remind them of how messed up the world is).
Take the time to be in the moment.

I’ve been a fan of Robin Williams since I saw him as Mork (first on Happy Days then on Mork and Mindy).
I liked most of his work, funny or serious or seriously funny.

I was even one of the 10 (that number is an estimate, it might have been an even dozen) people watching The Crazy Ones, before it was cancelled.

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It’s a distressin1arobin8g incongruity that many comedians use humour as a mask, a shield, a façade…That while they are making us laugh, making us forget our worries, making us remember that life is worth living they are haunted by inner demons.

Robin Williams was a frenzied mastermind of comedy, or sometimes a serene, gentle man, or an alien, a genie, batty bat, toymaker, spinach-eating strongman, hologram, penguin, robot, a scientist, DJ, doctor, wax figure, dreamer, camper, dad, soldier, psychologist, or whatever he needed to be; he was an actor, an entertainer.

We watch people on screens and think we know them. We don’t.
We don’t know what is in their heart, in their minds.
We don’t know what haunts them, or drives them, sometimes they don’t even know themselves.

It is sad when talent is lost, but instead of fake monuments that will die, or mold, or rot, why not do something that will help people, not just give you a chance to be on TV, something to talk about or post on social media.
I know it’s not popular, but do something real and meaningful.


I Miss Saturday Morning Cartoons

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I loved Saturday morning cartoons and other programs as a child…yeah, that’s it, only as a child.
I even willingly (more or less) went to bed Friday nights so I could get up early to watch cartoons like:
Bugs Bunny/Roadrunner Hour,

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Scooby-Doo, Yogi Bear (hey Boo-Boo!), Space Ghost,
Jabberjaw, The Pink Panther Show, The Jetsons, The Flintstones,

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1bull8Josie and the Pussycats (ok, they went to outer space;
smart, getting a bigger audience share), Shazam!,
Superfriends, Batman, Superman, Grape Ape,
Fantastic Four,
various Captain Caveman,
Harlem Globetrotters, Schoolhouse Rock,  
The Addams Family (the ill-fated cartoon version),
Return of the Planet of the Apes, Land of the Lost,
The New Shmoo, The New Adventures of Gilligan,

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Godzilla (with Godzooky), Spiderman, Smurfs, Ewoks,
Star Trek (sigh, yes, boldly going into cartoons),
Cucumber Club (I was a member), Blackstar,
Inch High Private Eye, Fat Albert, Speed Racer,
Hilarious House of Frightenstein, Tom and Jerry,
The Banana Splits, Underdog, H.R. Puff’n’Stuff,
Rocky and Bullwinkle, Dudley Do-Right, Droopy Dog,

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Hong Kong Phooey (before political correctness),
and probably more that I can’t think of off the top of my head.

Just so you understand how sad this is, I can still sing all the words to all these theme songs.

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A graphic novel like Rocky and Bullwinkle takes me back to a simpler time. I know how old that makes me sound, but there it is.

Even as I read Rocky and Bullwinkle #1: The Psychic Sidekick by Roger Langridge (IDW Publishing/Diamond Book Distributors), I marvelled at the blatant anti-Soviet/Russian sentiment and thought, hmmm, I see why it’s making a comeback. Amuse children and adults, but wait, there’s more, also a propaganda tool! While not quite as funny as I remembered, but both R&B and Dudley Do-Right are still amusing in a cheesy way. Sometimes when they recycle these oldies but goodies they ruin them by modernizing or making them too politically correct, but no squirrel and moose are just as old school silly, yahoo!

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So when did Saturday morning cartoons die and why?
VCRs then other recording devices, cable, internet, video games, etc. were the beginning.

Animation changed, more as a business, with little art involved.

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Needing children to be ‘busy’ every minute of their day was a big factor. Pushing for more ‘quality’ family time that involved paid activities, traveling, etc. another.

1bull29When I was young, quality time with my parents came later in the day, after they had slept in – their reward for a long work week.
My brother and I foraged for food, cereal or toast, leftover soup or spaghetti, if you were lucky, cold pizza from the night before. There were simple rules to Saturday morning: try to be quiet (I’m sure my brother and I were awesome at this rule) and don’t make a mess (if you do, clean it up). I think it taught my brother and I independence, and we enjoyed the time together.

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There have been other changes in society. The divorce rate has increased significantly since then and now many children live between homes.
More recreational sports now. Anything else?

There are still many cartoons, but available anytime…

I kind of miss the days when you saw The Grinch and Charlie Brown’s Christmas once a year at Christmas, and cartoons only on Saturday morning.

Life should have seemed limited, but instead we just felt lucky to see them, not entitled.

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