Saturday, January 27, 2018

ANOTHER MOVIE

We got so fired up when we took our guests to the movies, we went to another one last week!

We saw The Post, with Meryl Streep and Tom Hanks. The story is about the release of the Pentagon Papers, the secret report that detailed what went on behind the Viet Nam War.

The report, commissioned by then Secretary of Defense Robert Macnamara, was kept from the public. All the while Americans were being told the war was winnable and just, they never knew a report concluded just the opposite.

At the time, there was a great controversy about the unauthorized release amid the shock that the government had lied. I believe that Ellsberg, the man who stole the papers, went to trial but was not convicted.

The movie tells two--actually, three--stories. One shows how the New York Times printed some of the papers before it had to halt publication due to a court-ordered injunction. A second focuses on how the Washington Post took up the standard and defied the court order so that Americans could continue to learn the truth. The third shows Katharine Meyer Graham beginning to turn from a socialite housewife into the powerful businesswoman she later became.

Katherine's father had bought the Post but at his death, he left it to her husband Phillip. Back then, despite the women who were millworkers and nurses and teachers, women didn't own businesses. However when her husband committed suicide, Katherine inherited the company. She lacked confidence in her abilities and the movie shows her uncertainty as she meekly listens to the male advisers around her, worries about what she should do, and wonders how she can function in a milieu where she feels ineffectual and ignorant.

And when, against her lawyers' advice, she finally makes her decision to publish the Pentagon Papers despite the court order against the Times, she's uncertain and fearful but determined. It must have taken a great deal of courage to go against a lifetime of bowing to men's superior knowledge. It must have taken even more courage to know she could go to jail for standing up for what she believed: the freedom of the press.

But she did. And at the end of the movie, she leaves the courtroom where the NY Times has just been vindicated, to rows of young women lining the steps, watching her in silent admiration. And that was certainly a portent of what was to come, when women finally flexed their muscles.

Hanks is good; Streep is good; if you get a chance, see the movie.


Saturday, January 20, 2018

SQUIRRELS AND CATS AND OTHER THINGS

Our cat doesn't like us.

At the shelter, when we took her out of her cage, she was friendly, well-mannered, and calm. We petted her and she seemed glad of the attention.

We got her home and...

Once out of the carrier, she took off and it took several days for her to come around us. Now she looks down her nose at us, like she's saying, "Okay. I allowed you to break me out, but that doesn't mean I have to put up with you." She doesn't like being petted. She doesn't like the kind of food we feed her. She won't come sit with us. She won't play with us.

Oh, she doesn't scratch or claw when we pick her up. But at the first opportunity, she hops down and runs the other way. And the only time she approaches us is when it's time for food.

Otherwise...We're on our own. She hangs out in her room and we hang out in ours. If she decides to play with her toys, she plays with them by herself. She stops playing if we try to join in.

So we've taken to exclaiming over the birds and squirrels that seem to abound in our yard, hoping she'll get a little jealous. So far, no good. But the other critters are quite cute and fun to watch!

Like this squirrel. He gets on the big feeder and pitches food out on the ground while picking out the tastiest morsels for himself. Here he is in the bushes, eyeing the feeder:


And here, he's climbing up the feeder:


He strikes all kinds of cute poses as he eats:


The doves below like for him to eat, too, since they get what's on the ground.


There are also cardinals, a blue jay, and other birds that I have no names for. But they're all interesting.

Thank goodness, they'll entertain us since our house pet won't! Though she enjoys watching them, too.






Saturday, January 13, 2018

MOVIES

We had some company for several days and were able to go to the movies. We saw the latest Star Wars, Jumanji, and Darkest Hour.

They were all entertaining and it's hard to choose a favorite. Star Wars had a rousing plot that kept us on our toes. Seeing Carrie Fisher's last performance was sad but familiar. Continuing to learn the background of new leading characters kept us interested.

Darkest Hour took us into Churchill's life at the most important time of his life. I was delighted to see his cat show up as well as one of the King's corgis. And while Dunkirk played a tiny scene in the entire movie, it was better than any scene in the movie Dunkirk that came out last year. The camera caught the spirit of all the small boats that made the trips across the channel whereas Dunkirk showed only a few here and there so that the scope of the rescue operation was lost.

And Jumanji.

Jumanji made me laugh out loud.

Not only my guy and I howled; our guests laughed and so did about ten other couples in the theater. In fact, just as I began to giggle with the first joke, I heard explosive cackling from the rows behind us. I guess some people are quicker to catch on than me.

The movie kept us on the edge of our seats, but it wasn't as scary as the first Jumanji that we saw years. But it was definitely funnier.

Any of these are good movies to see, but I must admit to thinking about Jumanji more than the others. And smiling as I remember the look on some of the characters' faces when they realize they are different people in the game. The nerd becomes the hero, the smart girl turns into a athletic heroine, the dumb football star turns into a professor, and the campus queen turns into...

But I won't give it away.

Star Wars' fans will obviously go see (if they haven't already seen) the latest installment but the history-minded will be better off choosing Darkest Hour. And if you like ridiculous comedy, go to Jumanji.

Saturday, January 6, 2018

ICE SKATING

Our football team is going to the National Playoffs. We are happy and excited and a little bemused. This is only our coach's second season and while we had big hopes for the future, we thought it was just that: the future. We didn't think this year would see us go so far.

But it did. And while we're still shaking our heads in wonder, we're all geared up for the game. Go Dawgs! Win or lose, we're proud of you!

But you may be interested to know that, despite the South's fixation on football, our college has other sports. And one of them is....

Da dum!

Ice hockey!

Yep, that's right. We have a convention hall that hosts the team's rink during hockey season. And it's open to the public for a few weeks. So when we had visitors last week, we naturally took them over.

It is a spacious rink with hideous orange rental skates. (Although you can bring your own. In fact we saw someone who did, but I suspect he's from up north where ice skating is common.) There are also tables that visitors can sit at to enjoy the spectacle of people gliding or falling face-first.

Here's the rink. We got there early so it wasn't too crowded:


And here's the Zamboni that comes out between sessions:


We almost made it for the entire hour and half session. But the next day, after the unfamiliar exercise, we had lots of groans and slow moving people!