Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Way Back Wednesday - Mulan

Mulan is a 1998 Walt Disney animated film released in June 1998. It is the 36th animated feature in the Walt Disney Animated Classics - and a part of the Disney Renaissance - and is one of Christine's top 10 favorite Disney movies.

This movie is based on the Chinese legend of Hua Mulan, who was a heroine who joined an all-male army in the famous Chinese poem "The Ballad of Mulan." The movie is directed by Tony Bancroft and Barry Cook, with the story by Robert D. San Souci and Rita Hsiao.

The Fa family has only one child - Mulan. When this "tomboy" fails to fulfill a Chinese girl's traditional duty as desirable bride, Mulan feels she has disgraced her family. When the empire mobilizes a man from every family to fight the invading Huns, Mulan fears her father, an honorable veteran, is no longer up to fighting and joins in his place, disguising herself as the fictitious son, Fa Ping.

She prays to her family's ancestors for protection and luck before leaving as a man in her father's armor with her family's horse. The ancestors awake and decide to send Mushu, a little dishonored dragon to aid Mulan in her quest. Mulan is assigned to general Li, son captain Fa Li's training unit, and weeks later, she and the other troopers have survived the training camp and are on the way north to stop the huns. After being spotted and pursued by the enemies, an impass situation in the mountains forces Mulan to come up with an idea. But then, her real gender will no longer be a secret. She decides to risk everything in order to save China.

This is such a great movie, and Mulan is a wonderful female role model. Strong, independent, with a streak of defiance, she risks everything to make her family proud and to protect her treasured homeland.

Favorite quotes:

Mulan: My ancestors sent a little lizard to help me?
Mushu: Hey! Dragon. *Dragon*, not lizard. I don't do that tongue thing.

Fa Li: I should have prayed to the ancestors for luck.
Grandmother Fa: How lucky can they be? They're dead.

Mushu: Make a note of this. Dishonor on you, dishonor on your cow, dis...
[Mulan covers his mouth with her hand]
Mulan: Stop. I'm sorry. I'm sorry. I'm just nervous. I've never done this before.

Mushu: My little baby, off to destroy people.

Mushu: I'm doomed! And all 'cause Miss Man decides to take her little drag show on the road.

Mulan: Just because I look like a man doesn't mean I have to smell like one.

The Emperor of China: The flower that blooms in adversity is the most rare and beautiful of all.
Shang: Sir?
The Emperor of China: You don't meet a girl like that every dynasty.

Yao: I'm gonna hit you so hard, it'll make your ancestors dizzy.

Mushu: My little baby's all grown up and...
Mushu: [sniffle] ... and savin' China. You have a tissue?

Monday, February 22, 2010

Kentucky Weather

Kentucky weather - you’ve got to love it 'cause you can't change it! Everyone who lives in our beautiful state will understand when I talk about my love-hate relationship with our weather. On the one hand, over two-thirds of the time, the weather is perfect—just the way I like it. It is that last third of the time that I begin to wonder if waiting out the nasty weather in favor of those special times I enjoy is really worth it. You be the judge.

On Saturday, I went to the movies with my family. I had dressed in jeans and a long sleeve shirt and I felt overdressed as I rolled the car window down a crack. By the time the movie was over, I had rolled up the sleeves of my shirt and was still sweating.

On Sunday, I turned off the heat in the house and opened the windows in the living room and bathroom, trying to catch that first spring breeze. The birds were chirping, the sun was shining and it was just the most perfect day of this New Year.

Now today, the skies are grey and overcast, with periodic rain showers. These are the kinds of days when I enjoy reading or writing. I like to let my imagination roam free and not have to worry about the ordinary stresses of the day. I can let my mind follow down the path of another author’s imagination, or I can explore the depths of my own mind's eye and capture it in words.

The problem with our changing Kentucky weather is that the changes in temperature seem to correlate to the temperaments of family and friends. I’m usually more out-going and friendly on a bright sunny day, but on a dark overcast day, I’m usually lost in my own head and I don’t notice anyone or anything around me.

Of course, the weather is again calling for snow flurries tomorrow, so I know spring is not really here. But I have seen the glorious sights of spring and I do know Mother Nature will send it back to us again soon. Until then, I guess I’ll have to enjoy the weather we’ve been given today and try not to complain – at least not too loudly.
Backyard wildlife habitat - part #3 - bird shelters:

Friday, February 19, 2010

Olympic Late Nights

This middle-aged woman is suffering from a severe case of not-enough-sleep vs. chronic insomnia. While it is true I only get about 4 to 5 hours of "good" sleep each night, this week has been much worse - and I blame it all on the Olympics.

The entire family has been staying up until midnight the past few nights, trying to soak in all the snowboarding, down hilling and figure skating we can. Of course, the big event from last night was reigning world champion figure skater - Evan Lysacek - winning GOLD!! This is the United States' first Olympic men's figure skating title in 22 years! He was awesome! And as my daughter continually told me, he looks like Christian Bale, from The Dark Knight (Batman).

Another favorite of Christine's was Daisuke Takahashi from Japan - he gave his country their first ever Olympic men's podium finish taking BRONZE after the free skate final. Defending champion Yevgeny Plushenko of Russia had to settle for SILVER and although he is a "severe" looking competitor, you have to admit there is someone compelling about watching him on the ice.

One of my favorite events was the men's halfpipe. Snowboarding superstar and defending champion Shaun White won the Olympic men's halfpipe GOLD Wednesday, clenching the gold on his first run. Then for an encore presentation, he included his secret, gravity-defying Double McTwist 1260 in his victory run. You've got to admit, the boy's got style!!

I have the utmost respect and awe for Lindsay Vonn and her fantastic skiing skills, but I'm a little tired of hearing about her "injury." From listening to all the other competitors from throughout the different sports disciplines, everyone has injuries they have to work through. I can't help but think she keeps talking about her injury so that in case she doesn't live up to her hype, she has a readily available excuse. However, it was awesome when she won the women's downhill GOLD on Wednesday. I really hope her wipeout last night in the Alpine Skiing doesn't effect her performance in the upcoming Super G Combo. But if it does, the break away skier, in my opinion, is Julia Mancuso with her back-to-back SILVER medals.

And what about Shani Davis?? He became the first man to win back-to-back Olympic 1,000-metre speedskating GOLD!! He is one fast skater! I can't wait to see him in his next few races, especially the 5,000 meters.

Which brings up to Christine's favorite winter athlete, Apolo Ohno - after winning medal #6 in his first race here - SILVER - he is poised to pass fellow six-time medalist Bonnie Blair as the most decorated U.S. Winter Olympian. Ohno has three more chances to medal in Vancouver, starting with Saturday's 1,000 meters. The 500 meters and 5,000-meter relay — the U.S. men have qualified for the final — are next week.

With another full week of Winter Olympic Competitions, I'm afraid my increased lack of sleep is not going to end anytime soon, although, maybe I'll be able to catch some "power naps" over the weekend.

USA - USA - USA - USA - USA !!!!!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Speaking Out

Here is the cover for the newest book by Mercer County writers - SPEAKING OUT Volume 2 - edited by Roni Gilpin and Betty Dean.

I am happy to say I have several poems and one essay featured in this new collection. My poem - "See Me" - is the first poem in the book - I was told it sets the tone for the entire book.

SPEAKING OUT will be available within the next few weeks, so I'll keep everyone updated on when and where it can be purchased.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Way Back Wednesday - Dumbo

Dumbo is a 1941 animated film produced by Walt Disney and released in October 1941, by RKO Radio Pictures. This is the 4th film in the Walt Disney Animated Classics series. Dumbo was still the most financially successful Disney film of the 1940s.

Believe it or not, Dumbo was made to recoup the box office losses of Fantasia (which is one of my family's favorite films). Dumbo is considered to be one of Disney's finest films and is generally regarded as a classic of animation. At 64 minutes, it is also one of Disney's shortest animated features.

The main character is Jumbo Jr., a very small elephant with huge ears who is cruelly nicknamed Dumbo. He is ridiculed for his big ears, but in fact he is capable of flying by using his ears as wings. Throughout most of the film, his only true friend, aside from his mother, is the mouse, Timothy — a relationship parodying the stereotypical animosity between mice and elephants.

The film has been criticized as being racist. The crow characters in the film are seen as African-American stereotypes and although the leader crow was originally named "Jim Crow" for script purposes, and the name stuck. The other crows are all voiced by African-American actors, all members of the Hall Johnson Choir.

Favorite quotes:

[the elephants think that Dumbo with his big ears is the reason Mrs. Jumbo has been locked up]
Timothy Q. Mouse: What's the matter with his ears? I don't see nothin' wrong with 'em. I think they're cute.

Crow #1: Did you ever see an elephant fly?
Crow #2: Well, I've seen a horse fly.
Crow #3: Ah, I've seen a dragon fly.
Crow #4: Hee-hee. I've seen a house fly.

Clown: Hey, be careful. Don't hurt the little guy.
Skinny: Aw, c'mon. Elephants ain't got no feelings.
Clown #2: No, they're made of rubber.

Prissy: Girls, girls! Listen! Have I got a trunk full of dirt.

Elephant Matriarch: Take your foot out of my eye... clumsy ox!

"When I See An Elephant Fly"

I saw a peanut stand, heard a rubber band,
I saw a needle that winked its eye.
But I think I will have seen everything
When I see an elephant fly.

I saw a front porch swing, heard a diamond ring,
I saw a polka-dot railroad tie.
But I think I will have seen everything
when I see an elephant fly.

I seen a clothes horse, he r'ar up and buck
And they tell me that a man made a vegetable truck
I didn't see that, I only heard
But just to be sociable I'll take your word

I heard a fireside chat, I saw a baseball bat
And I just laughed till I thought I'd die
But I'd be done see'n about everything
when I see an elephant fly.

Monday, February 8, 2010

The WHO Rock the Superbowl

Photo copyright Rolling Stone

Many of you may know I am not a sports fan, so the only reason I record the Superbowl is to watch the commericals and the halftime show. This year THE WHO rocked the Superbowl to mixed reviews.

Here's what Rolling Stone had to say:
Pete Townshend got things started by furiously strumming an acoustic guitar as Roger Daltrey grabbed the mike and began “Pinball Wizard” while pyro erupted from the center of the field, which was covered in a giant circular display of lights rather than filled with fans, as per tradition.
This morning I've heard the complaints: they're too old to play live, they were lip syncing, too much of a light show, and so on and so on. Personally, I thought they were great, considering Pete and Roger are both 60+ years old. I enjoyed the light show because it reminds me of other rock concerts I've been to over the years. I thought Roger and Pete both looked great for their ages.

Photo copyright Rolling Stone