top ten life influence movies

A fellow Facebooker sent out a challenge to post images of the top ten films that have been an influence in our lives.

Images, but not words.

That's a good challenge for me, especially since I enjoy writing. But I was up for the challenge. Here are the top movies (in no particular order) that I've
found influencing my life...WITH words.

Continue reading "top ten life influence movies" »


AFI Lifetime Achievement Award for James Cagney, 1974.

Here's the reason why I just don't watch award shows. Mr. Cagney's comments are priceless. No political agenda. No hatred. No hijacking the moment to spout off some obscenity. Pure gratitude and pride for a job well done, and humility.

It's called "style". 

It's true. It's just not the same... Most award moments of today are full of useless moments displaying untalented people with titanic chips on their shoulders. It's no longer an honor to be awarded. Now it has to be couched in anger, and hatred, and unprotested whining and attitude.

I miss the days when gratitude and talent were good friends.


remembering Halloween

TBTA co-worker and I were remembering the Halloweens of our younger days the other day. It’s fun to look back and think of those times when things were new, and innocent, and strange. 

The first Halloween costume I remember was of a devil. I still remember the scratchy red material the costume was made out of and the smell of the plastic mask and how it used to get all wet from my breath. I think I may have worn it for at least two years, but I was becoming a chubby little boy and it was pretty obvious that the costume was not going to fit another year. I don’t remember costumes after that.

I do remember Halloween parties in the basement of a local Presbyterian church. It always seemed to be cold and windy, and the lights always seemed dim. I remember being scared one night when someone walked into the basement who was stuffed full of paper and whose face was covered. It’s funny how not seeing someone’s face can produce so much terror.

Continue reading "remembering Halloween" »

the rose

This was my mother's favorite movie. I'm not sure why. I never really asked her. I do remember how her face lit up when she spotted it among the cheap videos that were in the bins at KMart. I think it may have reminded her of home, of the time in her life when she experienced the war, and of those days when she was young.

I think of Mrs. Miniver - and I find myself thinking of her. Not that it reminds me of the life she lived. She never had such a fine life. No, I think of her because it was something she enjoyed.

And she did love roses...


tapping talent

Movie magic -- it just doesn't seem as magical today as it was when the art was all about making things entertaining. Especially the musicals. I love this routine of Fred Astaire and Eleanor Powell to the music of "Begin the Beguine". They make it look effortless, even though Astaire was famous for his constant rehearsals to make it as perfect as possible.


i kill giants

Giants1Sometimes we find ourselves battling things too large for us to understand. At the time they appear to us as “giants” – tall, ugly, unbeatable, and persistent.

I recently watched a film called ‘I Kill Giants” – about a strange young girl who believes she can vanquish the giants that no one else seems to see. She’s doesn’t appear to be play acting. She sets traps and develops weapons against these ugly foes. The encounters she has with the giants seem real enough, but when they don’t seem to involve anyone else, suspicions grow that what she’s battling can only be seen by her, and that her giant battle is with life itself and her place in the midst of pain and fear.

Continue reading "i kill giants" »

a million dreams (tuneful tuesday #11)

It was one of those musical gems that seemed to slip under the radar of pop culture except for those who actually watched the movie and enjoyed it's music and it's message.

Among The Greatest Showman's collection of toe-tapping songs is one that encourages the development of one's dreams regardless of how impossible they may seem. But here's a version of the song, created by Dixie State University and featuring Alex Boye' that puts a little different spin on the anthem. Enjoy!


this is me (tuneful tuesday #7)

It's an unconventional musical to say the least.

P.T. Barnum. Freaks. Circus. Rich. Poor. Prejudice. Dreams. Happiness. Commitment. The Greatest Showman seems to have a little bit of everything. But most of all it has music -- at times tender, at times powerful. It may not be historically accurate - after all it IS a musical - but it is a good story and it's a good time at the movies. Some hated the movie. I thought it was well done.

"This Is Me" is features Barnum's collection of special people. They attempt to enter a room full of high society snobs during the reception of Barnum's newest "show" - the European opera singer, Jenny Lind. But he prevents them from entering on the pretense they have a show they must get ready for, attempting to cover his embarrassment of their presence during his finest entertainment moment. So he sends away the ones who gained for him his new found success; you can almost taste the disappointment. Societal station trumps friendship - and the angry entertainers leave the theater and march back to their circus proclaiming loudly and proudly that they are not ashamed of who they are.


remember me that way (tuneful tuesday #5)

Casper, the Friendly Ghost. One of my favorite cartoons as a kid. I'd watch those cartoons and think, "It would be so wonderful having a friend like Casper."

When they produce a live-action film of Casper in 1995, it was a real treat to see him come to the big screen. And it had a beautiful song that captured Casper's desire to be a friend...and to be remembered.


the fault in our stars

I read the book, then I saw the movie. Both are good, but the movie seemed to deepen the emotions of the book. The movie was on TV today. I took the time to watch it again.

Young adults dealing with cancer, and death, and love... It's not an easy thing to read or to watch, but Green's book and the movie based on the movie help  -- and I admit to a lump in my throat, and fighting back a tear or twenty with both versions.

Here's a visual compilation of Hazel's eulogy of Augustus.


northmen ethics

I have long been intrigued by those who live off the land ("off the grid" as it's now called) - pioneers who for the most part were self-reliant.

I think it was the words of Henry David Thoreau which first set in my mind the challenge of such a life:

"I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.”

And then there was that day I went to see the movie "My Side of the Mountain" based on the book by Jean Craighead George.

There was something that appealed to me about living alone. There is a sense of life being lived differently, with greater awareness.

Some of that awareness seems to be echoed in the Northmen's Code of Ethics.  Lots to ponder here...

I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.
Read more at:


Whoo hooo! It's Friday

And it's the end of another week! Party with The Batman Lego Movie -- It's fun and awesome!

Update: I caught the movie at my favorite movie theater - The Alamo in Winchester.   I think it's every bit as good as "The Lego Movie" and the message about doing things as part of a team is well done. 

Even though the Alamo is my favorite theater, they have recently switched to all reserved seating - which now means that you can't just walk into the theater and sit down. No, now you could pick your seat and end up having someone siting next to you even though you might have selected one that was fairly free of other people at the time of ticket purchase. (Granted, it could end up like that anyway if the movie is popular and new and the theater gets sold out. But that happens after having purchased a ticket and you sit in a fairly unoccupied area of the theater. I know, I'm nuts, but I like my space.) So unless you're willing to purchase an extra seat to give you some space between yourself and whoever shows up beside you, you'll find yourself being invaded by whoever picks the seat beside you.  For me, that meant some guy in a long trench coat and a cowboy hat who was an open mouth eater. And beside him was a group of two men, two anklebiters, and a woman; the men were drinking Corona beers and ignoring their noisy children (one boy was constantly saying "Batman wouldn't do that...") and a mother who appeared as though she had checked out once the lights were lowered and the movie began.  So I'm guessing I'm going to have to look for another theater -- or just wait for the movie to appear on pay per view and watch it at home.