Thanks for visiting my website! We're touring southern California's "Inland Empire" -- Palm Desert, Cathedral City, and Escondido. My husband and I send our best wishes to you, your family and friends for the holidays.
Back at you in 2009!
UPDATE: We've run into record rains for December in the California desert -- 2.25 inches of rain in two days, the largest amount recorded here since 1940. Meanwhile, at our home in the suburbs of Portland, Oregon area, our neighbors tell us there are ten inches of snow. This is only one of two Christmases that will be "white" since they began keeping records!
Two gorgeous women from different religious and ethnic backgrounds find each other in this sensitive and beautiful film. I think the cinematography, set design, and music are excellent, and the evolving relationship quite believable. Be aware there are discreet woman-to-woman love scenes which are all handled deftly and with great tact.
The double-meaning of this foreign film’s title came to me a little late. I’m acquainted with several same-sex women (and men) who are married to each other or living in long-term relationships. However, the focus of this movie is somewhat unusual for general audiences.
There are also added political themes about Middle Eastern ethnic and religious divisions. These positions are expressed usually through the musings of an older female character. As an active senior woman, who accepts her own two children who practice different religions from me, I do feel somewhat chagrined. This is stereotyping -- because older women do not necessarily fit into these circumscribed cubbyholes. Even the juxtapositioning of world problems within a very personal romantic film is a bit jarring, but ultimately, I accept it.
I’m giving this movie a “B” on Ellen’s Entertainment Report Card. The movie has received an MPAA rating of PG-13. The trailer and other information is here: http://www.icantthinkstraight-themovie.com/
The movie opens on Friday, December 12, 2008 at Portland’s Hollywood Theater (Oregon) and is scheduled to play through Tuesday, December 23, 2008. Check out the map for a street location, as well as the film schedule of this historic Oregon theater. There's more information at this website.
Distribution is limited nationwide. Kindly check your local independent theaters for other bookings of the film “I Can’t Think Straight.”
Tala, a London-based Jordanian of Palestinian origin, prepares for an elaborate wedding with her Jordanian fiancé, when she encounters a timid Leyla, a young British Indian woman who is dating her best friend Ali.
Tala comes from a spirited Christian family, but Leyla’s strong Muslim upbringing could not be more different from each other but the attraction is immediate between both girls. Tala’s feisty nature provokes Leyla out of her shell and soon both women reveal their feelings for each other.
However, Tala is not ready to accept the implications of the choice her heart has made and escapes back to Jordan where her chain-smoking, high-brow mother finishes preparations for her ostentatious wedding. As family members descend and the wedding day approaches, simmering family tensions come to boiling point and the pressure mounts for Tala to be true to herself and she breaks off the wedding.
Meanwhile a heartbroken Leyla relishes her newly found sense of identity and self-respect and moves on with her new life – much to the shock of her parents.
Single again, Tala flies back to London – but it will take more than just a date set up by Ali and Leyla’s sister Zina to win Leyla back.
The international cast headed by Canadian actress Lisa Ray (Deepa Mehta’s Water – which garnered a Best Foreign Picture Academy Award® nomination in 2007). Her performance in Water also earned her the Best Actress Award from the Vancouver Film Critics Circle.
Other cast includes: Sheetal Sheth (Looking for Comedy in the Muslim World), comedic actress Nina Wadia (Bend it Like Beckham, Eastenders, Goodness Gracious Me) and Antonia Frering and Rez Kempton (The Mystic Masseur).
"The Day the Earth Stood Still" (1951), directed by Robert Wise, with Michael Rennie and Patricia Neal, is still one of my favorite movies of the science fiction genre.
Like other great movies, TDTESS (2008) has been revamped. If you want to see the 2008 trailer or be part of the social networking conceived by the movie studio -- asking what's vital to you and what would you save? -- click on the title to the the address link.
Do you remember this film?
"KLAATU BARADA NIKTO..."
Update: We decided to skip the 2008 preview... Maybe we will see it later.
The original movie is screening on AMC. It will be repeated on Friday, Dec. 12, 2008 around 3 PM Pacific Time. Comcast carries AMC on Channel 71, but check your local listings. If you miss these screenings, please try to get a copy of the original film from 1951. It is an amazing movie!
Michael Rennie was so handsome. His son, Judge David Rennie, an English judge in Sussex, looks a little bit like him. Another son used his mother's name in Britain so he would not be accused of nepotism.
Regrettably, Michael Rennie died of a heart attack due to emphysema when he was only 62. He was a heavy smoker.
I never like to get in the middle of these discussions, but the original films always seem to outlast the re-makes.
Photo montage by davidskakk
Weekend Box Office: A December Lull as Openers Bust
by Eugene Novikov Dec 8th 2008 // 10:35AM
Holdovers ruled the box office as no one much cared about any of the movies that opened in wide release this weekend. Lexi Alexander's Punisher turned out to be a huge mistake, opening to a fraction of what the original Jonathan Hensleigh/Thomas Jane version did four and a half years ago. $4 million is painful, though not terribly surprising -- the film was marketed as a totally generic action movie, with no stars and no draw except the Punisher trademark. (The most recognizable name in the cast is probably Wayne Knight.)
Even worse off was the Alan Rickman-starring caper comedy Nobel Son. Tossed into 900 screens by indie Freestyle Releasing, the movie grossed all of $371,000, or $415 per screen -- a foregone conclusion. I'm not sure why Freestyle shelled out the money for such a relatively wide release, or what they were hoping for. Maybe a pre-Christmas miracle.
The "winner" among the weekend's new wide releases would have to be Cadillac Records, which managed a respectable $3.5 million on under 700 screens. That was enough for 9th place, just behind Punisher (on 2500 screens).
Leading the holdovers was Four Christmases, which took first place for a second straight weekend; it will have a tough time breaking $100 million, but should squeak to around $95. Twilight bummed around second place, and should be at $150 million by next week. Bolt finally took a hit after its excellent second weekend over Thanksgiving, and should top out around $95 million as well.
More at link: http://www.cinematical.com/
Are you hankering to see a good old fashioned western? Do you like a well-written story that has a strong historical basis? Have you always wanted to visit Australia? Do you have about three hours to spare?
If your answers are ‘yes’, ‘yes’, ‘yes’ and ‘yes’, I have a movie suggestion for you…and it’s called “Australia”. You say you’re not sure about the long screening time? Well, it’s a lot less time than flying there. Of course there is a catch…isn’t there always? Australia by plane is set in 2008. “Australia” the movie is set in the late 1930s, but that’s where the historical slant comes in.
Here are some details about this movie. At the outset, I’ll admit that I liked it. It stars Nicole Kidman as Lady Sarah Ashley, Hugh Jackman as Drover and young Brandon Walters as Nullah. Kidman (Sarah) leaves civilized England to travel into the wilds of Australia. She finds herself with an inherited ranch and 1600 head of cattle that need to be delivered to the city of Darwin. Jackman (Drover) reluctantly agrees to take on the job of bossing the drive to Darwin under difficult circumstances. Of course, there are villains -- King Carney, played by Bryan Brown and Neil Fletcher, played by David Wenham. They both have reasons to interfere with the drive. So there you have it. You'll see an old western plot, played out on the broad canvas of the Australian outback.
Brandon Walters is wonderful as Nullah. He brings us to the history of the Australian lost generation. A boy of an aboriginal mother and a Caucasian father, he must deal with the government’s continuous attempts to take him from his mother and his grandfather, to live with other "lost children" under the auspices of the Catholic Church. Sarah and Drover become important in his life but even they are powerless to openly contradict this process. Nullah can only avoid this fate by hiding as long as possible from the officers charged with the responsibility of apprehending these mixed-race children. The thread of Nullah’s story is deftly interwoven with the cattle drive and ranching plot.
Everything comes to a climax as the Japanese attack Pearl Harbor on December 7th 1941and proceed south to attack Darwin and anything along the way.
Now that I’ve seen “Australia” the movie, it seems as if our planned vacation to Australia next October will be something to experience. We will be in transit a total of 22 hours and our destination is Sydney. What’s a day spent in flying to such a remote location? It’ll be worth it.
“Australia” the movie is worth it also. I’m rating it a B+ on Ellen’s Entertainment Report Card.
Directed by: Baz Luhrmann
Screenplay by: Stuart Beattie and Baz Luhrmann
Cast: Nicole Kidman, Hugh Jackman, David Wenham, Bryan Brown, Jack Thompson
Rating: PG-13 for some violence, a scene of sensuality, and brief strong language.
Running Time: 165 minutes
This is my first annual Portland OREGON HOLIDAY Bloggers-in-Business web post. If you're local, please visit these blog sites and consider them for your holiday gifts! This is a service of Accessible Media Services featuring FREE hosting by Ellen Kimball. If you'd like your business to be considered, kindly contact me at radio_lady(AT)comcast.net. There is NO CHARGE for any listing.
Amanda's Wedding Shoppe -- Flowers Designed with YOU in Mind
Congratulations! You're getting married! At Amanda's Wedding Shoppe, we're very passionate about flowers. We love weddings and creating the perfect Flower Design for YOUR day!! Let us make your day beautiful! We're located in Oregon City, Oregon. Kindly visit our site at the link above.
Specializing in children, families, maternity, and special events. Please visit Annie's blog by linking above. For details about a photographic session or to book a session, please email: kevinandannie(AT)hotmail.com.
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For contact information, please email Radio_Lady(AT)comcast.net. Thanks!
Kellee Beaudry Pet Portraits and Wildlife Artist
Kellee says, "It's easy and affordable to have a one of a kind original of your one of a kind companion! I work with you to create a really personal and expressive portrait. We work together, looking over photos, talking about your preferences and discussing options and things you want included in your painting. I can even include you or your children!"
I will be adding other local listings. Please post a comment or email radio_lady(AT)comcast.net if you'd like your Oregon/southern Washington business added to this list. Thanks so much. Ellen Kimball
Hat tip to Stephen Fleischman for sending this link:
The Righteous Mothers threaten us with corporal disrobing in this video. It's nice to know they'll have to alter the lyrics about Dick Cheney soon, and a bunch of the people in this video are no longer in government:
Listen to other music samples of the Righteous Mothers here.
Happy Birthday, Larry King -- You changed my life! (I dated Larry when he was a young radio broadcaster in Miami...
Larry's family with his wife, Shawn, and two young sons, Chance and Cannon
Larry and I both started on-air in Miami in 1957. I got a job in January at WTVJ, Miami, Florida on a brand-new children's TV show, "Popeye Playhouse" (see photo above). Larry began his long career in May 1957 working at WAHR, a local AM radio station.
We were introduced by one of the WTVJ salesmen, perhaps Frank Boscia. We had at least one date in the late 1950s. I had finished high school and started at the University of Miami. Flash forward to 1971 -- I was divorced, with two tiny children. One night, I heard Larry on his 1:30 AM to 5:30 AM talk show, begging for doughnuts and coffee. I bought the snacks and brought them to WIOD on the North Bay Causeway. I asked Larry if he even remembered me. He didn't, but he encouraged me to stay and screen his calls and ask what people wanted to talk about.
I kept dropping by a couple of nights each week. I was lonely and Larry made me laugh. I provided him with "woman in the mall" cassette tapes of an hour in length. It was audio of me talking to people about local issues. One I recall in particular -- "Walt Disney is building a theme park called Disney World in Orlando. Do you think that will impact tourism in Miami?"
Steve Z., the radio engineer, would play the tapes so we could go home at 4:30 AM instead of 5:30 AM. Larry promised me he'd ask the program manager for some salary -- but he never did.
A few days before Christmas 1971, Larry was arrested (but never indicted or convicted). At that time, I contacted Elliot "Biggie" Nevins and told him I had a communications degree from the U. of Miami, had had experience on television, and had also worked in production for the "Tonight" show unit in New York City. "Biggie" told me, "I've heard you on the station. Come over and we'll talk." I think I had $80.00 left in my bank account. Obviously, I didn't want to work the graveyard shift forever, but just for a while. I took over Larry's radio show while they looked for a male host. The pay was $50.00 per night.
Meanwhile, it was a time for affirmative action. One Boston station, WEEI, had a 10AM to 2PM time slot to fill. The station manager, Dan Griffin, invited me up to Boston for the day -- April 28, 1972. Boston was beautiful in the spring! A day or two later, Dan called and offered me my own talk show. The start date of "Boston Forum with Ellen Kimball" was -- May 15, 1972. The ads in the paper said: "HAVE WE GOT A GIRL FOR YOU!"
Here's the rest of the story:
Enjoy your 75th Birthday (11/19/08), with warm regards from Ellen Kimball a/k/a Ellen Rainbow!
La Boutique Fantasque
Thanksgiving Weekend 2010
Friday, November 25 at 7:30pm
Saturday, November 26 at 2:30pm and 7:30pm
Sunday, November 27, 2010 at 1:00pm and 4:00pm
All performances at the Newmark Theatre
1111 SW Broadway
Tickets -- Now on Sale!
A few years ago, I found out that the Portland Ballet, an Academy and Youth Company, was going to dance my favorite ballet, “La Boutique Fantasque” (translated as “The Enchanted Toyshop”). I have loved this work since I was a young girl and believe it is even better than Tchaikovsky’s “Nutcracker” or “Swan Lake.” What’s more, I had never seen it performed any place I have ever lived, including Miami, Florida, and New York City and Boston, Massachusetts. Now that we live in Portland, Oregon, I’m proud to say that our paths have intersected with this energetic, youthful, and talented dancing group. Kudos to Artistic Director Nancy Davis and TPB owner Jim Lane.
On a winter day, my husband and I made arrangements to take our two young grandchildren to see the production at a local college. The music was recorded, and the stage was small, but I absolutely loved the young dancers and it was quite a thrill to actually see it being performed. We're going to see it by ourselves this time – and since I’m already a big fan, I know I’ll love it!
If you have a chance to see this charming ballet either here in Oregon or elsewhere, please take my advice and GO!
If you have never heard of “La Boutique Fantasque,” or live somewhere out of our area, I would encourage you to purchase a CD of this music and enjoy it that way. I wore out the cassette tape I had years ago, but now have purchased the ballet music on CDs by two different orchestras. I love to listen to the mp3 recordings while flying to magic destinations.
When I was younger than springtime in Miami, Florida, I discovered ballet music. My parents loved classical music. Mother played the piano, and Dad tried very hard on the violin. I am their only child.
Mostly, I listened to WVCG-AM (“The Voice of Coral Gables”) the only all-classical AM station at that time. Hosted by Bert Graulich, the show was called “Burnt Toast and Coffee.” I always thought that "Buttered Toast" would have been a better choice, but I wasn’t in charge! While other kids were loving Elvis and rock 'n' roll, I chose the lilting melodies of the older musicians. The music wafted through my car from the classical music station in Miami as I drove to North Miami High School, and then throughout my college years at the University of Miami.
The first ballet movie I ever saw was “The Red Shoes” with Moira Shearer. Like so many other young girls, I was completely captivated by the film.
I remember Maria Tallchief and other prima ballerinas. I had tried tap dancing as a child and it didn’t work out, but I’m still a lover of ballroom dancing. My dreams of having a child or grandchild who wanted to dance have not been realized, but I happily join the extended family of these talented young people bring ballet to life for others.
Our family has a long history of supporting musicals. My husband and I continue to attend many revivals of older works while thoroughly enjoying what the younger crowd is producing these days.
Regrettably, I was very sick the week that "High School Musical 3" premiered here in Portland, and missed posting my timely review at a couple of websites. However, moviegoers have voted with their dollars on this one and HSM3 is now honored with the biggest opening for a musical ever.
This is a great movie for all -- grownups and youngsters alike. I'm giving it a B+ on Ellen's Entertainment Report Card.
I just learned that there is now a SINGALONG VERSION which has now been released in 125 digital movie theaters around the country. The film employs digital captioning technology which I haven't personally seen, but maybe some rainy day, I'll bop over to my local theater and check it out again.
“This is the first time Walt Disney Pictures has ever released a singalong version of a movie in theaters nationwide,” said Mark Zoradi, president, Walt Disney Motion Pictures Group. “'High School Musical 3' has already received a tremendous response from audiences everywhere and we felt that the movie’s huge base of enthusiastic fans would really embrace a singalong version.”
You can find the nearest singalong showing by logging onto:
Please enter your zip code or city/state into the available ticketing application. A listing of area theaters and show times, including singalong showings, will be provided.
About the Movie
Disney’s “High School Musical” phenomenon leaps onto the big screen in HIGH SCHOOL MUSICAL 3: SENIOR YEAR, in which America’s favorite high school students (ZAC EFRON, VANESSA HUDGENS, ASHLEY TISDALE, LUCAS GRABEEL, CORBIN BLEU and MONIQUE COLEMAN) hit senior year. Amidst a basketball championship, prom and a big spring musical featuring all of the Wildcats, Troy and Gabriella vow to make every moment last as their lifelong college dreams put the future of their relationship in question. A crew of sophomore Wildcats (MATT PROKOP, JUSTIN MARTIN, JEMMA MCKENZIE-BROWN) joins in the fun as the film’s incredible new music and exciting dance numbers take maximum advantage of the big screen. Directed by Kenny Ortega from a screenplay written by Peter Barsocchini, the film is now showing in theaters nationwide.
MeetInTheLobby.com has lots of shiny new photos here.
Just a note to let you know that I'll be posting to this blog only occasionally for the rest of the year. We're timeshare owners and we're off to travel in Nevada and California. When we're gone, we shut down our home computers. (Besides that, we can't think of a good reason to get a laptop since we are both retired.)
Please check the right column for the blogs I follow and perhaps one will interest you. If you care to check this link again in a couple of months, you'll probably find me ambling around.
My husband and I wish you a pleasant fall and winter season. Thanks.
See more of Louise August's work at: http://www.estrellafineart.com/louise_august2.htm
We've decided that whatever happens in this 2008 election, we will be rid of "The Emperor and his New Clothes."
That's the good thought.
Beyond that, we'll be in Las Vegas on Election Day. Hopefully, we will take part in a big victory party. We don't gamble or drink (beyond a beer or two, or a couple of glasses of wine) but will check the "spread" on Bush vs. Obama while we are there. Our son and grandchildren will keep us too busy to worry at all.
It's not a bad place to be.
PS -- Ellen's Afterthought:
Fie on you, Alan Greenspan. You will live in infamy!
"The Credit Tsunami = Irrational Exuberance"
In April 1957, I moved to Rochester, New York to work for Stromberg Carlson. I had driven my 1949 Chevrolet convertible with a hole in the floor behind the driver’s seat – all the way from Boston to Rochester, NY. The hole was big enough to see the street underneath! I had a small apartment in an area bordering the city, and in the evenings, I parked my car near my apartment. Months passed, and spring turned to a brief summer, then to winter.
One night, I parked the car, and snow began to fall in earnest. The next morning, it was still snowing even harder. I looked and looked for my car, but it was GONE. I called the police, and explained that somebody stole my eight-year-old car with a rust hole big enough to put two feet through. The cop chuckled, and said it was hardly likely that someone had stolen the car! It was probably parked on the wrong side of the street – perhaps ODD or EVEN numbers – nobody recalls now! He checked his records and -- sure enough -- he found the car was towed during the snow emergency.
I bundled myself up in a heavy coat, hat and gloves, and stood out on the corner of Alexander and East Avenue waiting for a bus to take me to the police station in downtown Rochester. I waited and waited with a bunch of other people. Finally, some Good Samaritan picked up some of us lucky folks, and I was driven to the police station, where I paid the fine and towing charges and received a receipt.
But the fun was just beginning! The car was NOT ACTUALLY THERE -- it was parked in a field outside of town. So, I had to get on another bus, and then a second one, to get to the tow lot. I finally made it, and I showed my receipt to the guard at the lot. But, the lot was not plowed! There was a narrow area between the cars where it was OK to drive and walk, but there was snow up to the car's hubcaps. Without a shovel, good luck! However, I remembered that the guard had something stashed behind his chair. I trudged back to the guard shack, and asked to borrow the shovel. After much cajoling the guard reluctantly parted with the shovel, and I was able to finally dig the car out and drive home.
As Northerners know, you HAVE to go, even in the snow. The blizzards in upstate New York – Albany – Syracuse - Buffalo - are spectacular. Asked about the summers in upstate New York, one friend of mine said, “When summer falls on a Sunday, we play golf.”
The Digital Couple: The Geezer and Ellen Kimball
It was Saturday afternoon just before 1 PM.
The Regal Cinema at Bridgeport Village, in Tualatin, Oregon, was not full for the 1:10 PM screening of Bill Maher's "Religulous." We missed the screening, so we paid matinee prices to see the flick.
We had just settled in our seats, hoping for a bit of a laugh from Maher and his cunning views on world religions. Oops.
Up came a trailer for the new movie "W" -- it's a film about George W. Bush that opens later this month. Josh Brolin plays GWB, with an uncanny look and voice. I don't know if I will see it, but my blood began to boil -- our investments had taken a whack on Friday -- and I was not in the mood to see ANYONE who reminded me of the Worst. President. Ever.
I watched the trailer quietly. But when the screen went dark, I blurted out at the top of my booming female radio voice:
"YOU WILL BE GONE NEXT MONTH, AND NOT A MOMENT TOO SOON, YOU CREEP!"
First, there was dead silence. Then, the crowd of about fifty people erupted with spontaneous "YEAHS" and generous applause...
I was quite pleased. I wish all of you had been there!
Barack Obama made us smile when he posed this well-worn question today on the campaign trail.
If you are old enough, you'll recognize that it's a riff on the original question posed in 1980. In the last Presidential debate, Ronald Reagan asked, "Are you better off than you were four years ago?"
Here's our answer...
Dear Senator Obama,
The last four weeks have been horrible. We just backed out of the stock market yesterday. We put the fleeing remainder of our nest egg into Fidelity Investments CASH RESERVES to stop from going completely broke in this financial collapse.
We don't expect you to repay us -- we didn't really ever own the money, anyway. You only get the money when you cash out. Thankfully, we won't have to pay taxes on it. Because we are elderly, we probably won't have to pay much in the way of taxes this year. That's a good thing. We have to do more belt tightening, but it will be worth it.
To help us keep clear mentally, here's how we figure it:
We donated this phantom money to YOUR ELECTION.
It seems as if it is taking this woeful financial crash, the worst since my father's generation, to lock in your candidacy.
We know it's a paltry sum to you -- that $125,000 we have hypothetically lost somewhere. We lost it to someone, but we don't know exactly who. However, you probably won't miss it when it doesn't show up in your coffers.
We're still talking up your candidacy as we have since you won the primaries. It's becoming more clear that many others are taking up your cause. As we said, as good citizens trying to stay up with our expenses, we had nothing to do with the increase. We thought we were just being prudent to try and keep up with inflation through our elder years.
We had nothing to do with the loss. But we will have something -- EVERYTHING -- to do with your election. We await our mail-in ballots in just a few days. Good luck in the upcoming election!
Ellen and Al in Oregon
Two of the Yuppie Elderly and, theoretically, a couple of the top donators to Barack Obama's campaign.
**Go here for a true analysis of the differences whether YOU are better off than you were in 2000: http://www.afterdowningstreet.org/print/36628
“Flash of Genius” – presumably an expression inventors use to explain the moment of genesis of an idea – is the true story of Detroit engineer and inventor Bob Kearns. On his wedding night, he had an unfortunate accident. He was removing the cork from a bottle of celebratory champagne. The cork flew up and hit him in his left eye. The resultant scene was bloody but somehow prophetic – Bob Kearns came out of that incident legally blind in one eye.
His marriage survived and the man went on to father six children. Meanwhile, Kearns was keenly sensitive to the workings of the human eye. Kearns observed the pattern of the blink and he had a fascinating revelation. Kearns postulated that our brains introduce a discontinuous pattern whenever the eyes blink – quickening and slowing as necessary.
While driving in the Michigan rain, he observed that the windshield wipers on vehicles of that era only had two positions: ON and OFF. Quite often, the wipers ran too swiftly for light rainfalls, and too slowly for downpours.
Their marriage was affected deeply by his tinkering and the aftermath of the invention process. It was a single-minded effort that eventually took over Kearns’ entire life. At one point, it brought him to the edge of madness. Kearns swept aside his involvement with his loving wife, Phyllis, and his six young children as he became more and more obsessed with designing and marketing a windshield wiper that paused during its sweeping motion, as the eye pauses during blinking. By rearranging the already-existing mechanical and electrical circuitry, Kearns invented and patented the “Blinking Eye” windshield wiper. His goal was to manufacture these wipers and sell them to the automotive companies.
At the time, the behemoth Ford Motor Company engineers had already begun their own investigations into concocting an intermittent wiper system. Kearns was invited to show off his invention and given a Ford car on which to install it. Initially, the game plan appeared to be that a Kearns family business would indeed be born and Kearns would realize his dream.
That, however, was not to be. This movie documents what followed when the Ford Motor Company suddenly quashed its deal with Kearns, and surreptitiously began installing its own version of the intermittent wiper. What follows is the courageous but truly demented tale of how Kearns’ was left with a single life purpose -- to get the Ford Motor Company to acknowledge they stole his idea – his greatest work. It may only have been a windshield wiper system to others, but to him, it was a work of art on par with the “Mona Lisa.”
First-time director and former producer Marc Abraham read the original story by John Seabrook in the New Yorker magazine and decided to make it into a movie. A script by Phillip Railsback followed. Eventually, actor Greg Kinnear received a copy with the unlikely working title of “Window Washer Man.” Kinnear quipped on TV last week that the property sat on his desk for months while he avoided reading it, thinking it would involve some kind of a caped superhero with a squeegee!
I thought the movie was profound but some moviegoers might also find it quite grim. Anyone who has had dealings with large corporations knows the scope of their unyielding grasp – you just have to look at modern companies and trace their history. Some have met their demise because of poor decisions. However, I don’t believe it is “bad karma” that finds the large automakers in difficult straits these days.
My impression is that Greg Kinnear has never had a better part and I honestly hope he will be noticed for it. He has already won the Best Actor Award at Boston's Film Festival. Actress Lauren Graham plays Kearns’ long-suffering wife Phyllis, and Dermot Mulroney (with a mane of dark hair over his forehead) is fine as a duplicitous and self-serving partner named Gil Privick. Alan Alda has a small but significant role as Kearns’ lawyer Gregory Lawson. The various young actors who play Kearns’ children at different ages were quite natural and believable.
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada stands in for Detroit, Michigan in this film. Visiting family members from the Detroit area told me there is a lot of recent film activity in Michigan. Unfortunately, this movie was apparently not part of a trend that is said to be bringing films back to US locations. As a reviewer, I support that completely.
I give this movie a “B+” on Ellen’s Entertainment Report Card.
Universal Pictures Official Website: http://www.flashofgenius.net/
MPAA: Rated PG-13 for brief strong language.
Runtime: USA:119 min
A quick aside: Somehow, I have a special soft spot for inventors. My father was a lawyer, but he was always tinkering with something or other. I don’t remember all of the things he invented, but he was quite a guy – variously a playwright, painter, sculptor and very amateur violinist! Dad actually holds a patent on a coin-operated microscope machine**, which provided a tiny income for him in his advanced years. The gadget was placed at a couple of locations in Miami, Florida, where they lived and where I grew up. Regrettably, my mother and father never shared details of their finances with me although I was their only child. Furthermore, finances were not something in which Dad showed much interest or ability. He ended up spending most of their cash in the waning days of his life. I don’t know the details but my mother was practically destitute and still trying to work as a legal secretary when she died at age 71 in March 1991.
**Google found the patent for me:
Patent number: 4405202
(Granted to Leonard L. Kimball)
Filing date: Mar 30, 1981
Issue date: Sep 20, 1983
Abstract: A protective microscope container for housing a microscope having a pair of focus control extension knobs extending therefrom and a pair of two dimensional slide holder control arms extending from the rear of the container. Two dimensional control members are used to drive a continuous slide...
Woo-hoo! Yes, folks, I'm taking a little break from my cooperative life with my husband. He's going to a local Residence Inn by Marriott hotel and I'm staying home for two whole days. (It's a reward, believe me!) He's taking our seven-year-old grandson with him and they're going to the Portland Pirate Festival! What fun!
In the meantime, my husband and I saw a preview of the new movie "Ghost Town" a couple nights ago -- and we loved it! It opens wide on Friday, September 19, 2008. I've put the text of Portland film reviewer Kimberly Gadette's review because I respect her and enjoy her writing style. (I don't know what she will say, and that's the fun of it!) Seems we both agree on this one! I'm giving it a B+ on Ellen's Entertainment Report Card.
Here is Kimberly's review at http://www.livepdx.com/Portland-Movies/
Some films open with a bang. This one starts off with a colonoscopy. An end to the means — in more ways than one.
An idea expounded by Ghost Town's filmmakers is that when you sneeze, you've just passed through a ghost. Another idea: Import a middle-aged, first-class funny man from England to play loner dentist Dr. Pincus (Golden Globe winner Ricky Gervais of the original The Office and HBO's comedy series Extras). With Greg Kinnear channeling a persona similar to the natty Cary Grant in Topper, acting as an other-worldly Cyrano of sorts, he persuades the dentist to romance his widow, the lovely Egyptologist Gwen (Téa Leoni). Even harder than turning an awkward, hair-challenged pudgy man into a charmer is the fact that Pincus openly admits to hating people: "Not so much the crowds, as the individuals in the crowds."
1993's Heart and Souls had a similar premise, but rather than Robert Downey Jr.'s handsome yet cold businessman acting as the ghosts' go-to go-between, it's Ricky Gervais' goofy-looking yet even colder dentist who's forced to do the honors. But while Downey ultimately gave us heart, soul and charm, Gervais has us howling in the aisles.
If not for Dr. Pincus' botched colonoscopy, he wouldn't have died for seven minutes during the procedure. If not for that temporary death, he wouldn't have changed from dour man hating the intrusion of corporeal strangers to dour man hating the intrusion of all strangers, corporeal or not.
Post-op, he's chased all over town like a rock star, haunted by unhappy haunts begging him to do just one little thing for each of them. But Pincus won't be moved. Not until dead, smooth-talking Frank (Kinnear) comes along with a deal that the dentist can't refuse — if Pincus will intervene in the impending second marriage of Frank's widow Gwen, then Frank will get the other ghosties to permanently vanish.
Perhaps due to the fact that writer/director Koepp has worked primarily in drama, he allows each of the three leads to let their masks slip, giving us glimpses of their individual pain underneath the funny.
And speaking of funny, hats off to Gervais in his first leading role, a sly imp of a man who sidles up to his lines, a deft sidestep here, a quiet utterance there. He rises to the challenge of portraying a misanthrope who secretly longs for love. We see his struggle, cheering for him to unlock his imprisoned heart. Without a comic actor of Gervais' depth, Ghost Town would not have worked.
Kinnear turns in another smooth performance as the cad who finally connects with his soul long after it matters, and Leoni, a modern-day Carole Lombard, sparkles. When Pincus surprises her with his oddball brand of humor, she fills the screen with a merry, irresistible luminescence. What today's cinema needs is even more Leoni — she is a treasure, one of a select cluster of star actresses who handle screwball comedy as if she was to the manner born.
In support of the three leads, we're treated to delightful turns by the likes of Kristen Wiig as a barely competent doctor, The Daily Show's Aasif Mandvi as Pincus' colleague who gently schools him in a different kind of dental care, Dana Ivey's pushy poltergeist of a mother, and Billy Campbell (Once and Again), having great fun with his humorless human rights activist.
Also having great fun is cinematographer Fred Murphy, taking a vibrant autumn in New York and exploding it with fantastical hues. The fall foliage is bathed in color so sharp it almost hurts, a reminder of the mercurial beauty of life that cries out to every last one of us, begging us to take it all in while we can. Before it's too late.
Given Gervais' poor gag reflexes, member-of-the-mummy jokes and a 200-pound Great Dane puppy, this isn't your usual rom-com. Like Dr. Pincus, it stands alone.
From ghost to ghost: With wonderfully comic actors, a delightful plot and effervescent direction, this film is a boo-tifully spirited comedy.
Official movie site is at: www.ghosttownmovie.com
Here's the plot outline without spoilers:
In the romantic comedy "Ghost Town," Bertram Pincus (Ricky Gervais), is a man whose people skills leave much to be desired. When Pincus dies unexpectedly, but is miraculously revived after seven minutes, he wakes up to discover that he now has the annoying ability to see ghosts. Even worse, they all want something from him, particularly Frank Herlihy (Greg Kinnear) who pesters him into breaking up the impending marriage of his widow Gwen (Téa Leoni). That puts Pincus squarely in the middle of a triangle with spirited result.
Here's a great photo of Kimberly. She's scrumptious, svelte -- and married, you fiend.
Burn After Reading
“Burn After Reading” is the new comedy written and directed by the formidable brothers Joel and Ethan Coen. This is a very funny film rendered all the more amusing by zany comedic performances from several unexpected sources -- Brad Pitt, George Clooney, and Francis McDormand in particular.
The plot has footprints in several genres and there are some darker aspects to it – such as divorce, adultery, blackmail, murder, and such, but never mind. It’s all wrapped up with shiny and spot-on fun stuff. From what I have seen of other Coen brothers films, they actually like it mixed up that way. Most of the time, their double-entendre, genre-bending scripts work quite successfully. However, if you follow my reviews, the Coens’ last effort -- “No Country for Old Men” -- was too dark for me although it amassed a huge following. I bow to those of you who predicted it would be a hit. After the on-screen bloodletting and questionable ending, that movie soaked up a clutch of Oscars, much to my chagrin.
So, I went to the screening of “Burn After Reading” with some trepidation, but this one really tickled my funny bone. I predict you will be ‘guffawing while watching’ and still ‘chuckling after viewing.’ In the case of every comedy, the actors are at their best when they have straight foils as their adversaries. Credit John Malkovich (absolutely fabulous at chewing the scenery), Tilda Swinton (bright red hair and just gorgeous in this outing), and rest of an excellent supporting cast – all of whom provide this element in abundance.
The goofy plot – featuring many exteriors in New York, New Jersey, and Washington, DC – is actually a collection of intricate and interacting subplots. They revolve around a mixed-up Central Intelligence Agency, messed-up marriages, a couple of dumbed-down employees of an exercise facility, self-centered men, and a woman eager to go under the cosmetic surgery knife. These very odd individuals help spice up the cinematic brew. The script is fast moving and left me wanting a second showing so I could fully appreciate everything that is going on.
“Burn After Reading” starts out somewhat seriously but with an undercurrent of humor as CIA Agent Osborne Cox, played by John Malkovich, is confronted with a demotion for a rather spurious reason -- he drinks. (Gee, why doesn't he go into rehab like all the other government flacks do?) Osborne goes off the deep-end in anger…and effectively quits his job. Throughout the rest of the flick, he supplies a necessary comedic ingredient with his extreme, manic posturing as he is confronted with comic innocents that confuse and irritate him. One of these is Chad Feldheimer, (Brad Pitt), a sports-gym coworker of Linda Litzke (Frances McDormand). Pitt’s portrayal is an over-the-top gem, equaled by McDormand’s. She is obsessed with obtaining what she feels are expensive cosmetic surgeries -- which she cannot afford.
George Clooney triumphs also in the creation of the womanizing Harry Pharrer. The plot is too nutty for me even to begin to describe, but it will make you forget all those stupid "Oceans 11 - 13" movies, and maybe even "Syriana." Suffice it to say that “Burn After Reading” manages to hold together amid all of the crazy mayhem that takes place. I’m pleased to report that the result is classic.
Go see “Burn After Reading” and, if you don’t find it to be one of the best laugh riots ever, don’t blame me, you grouch!
For all normal people, I rate “Burn After Reading” a solid “B+” on Ellen’s Entertainment Report Card.
Rated: R for pervasive language, some sexual content and violence
Link here for KGW.com:
It was a day of madness and terror -- September 11, 2001.
My husband and I have always loved New York City. I lived there with my ex-husband from 1962 to 1969. He lived near W. 181 Street and Wadsworth Avenue, in Washington Heights. He won a scholarship to Stuyvesant High School - which required a long daily commute down to the area where the World Trade Towers were eventually built.
My current husband's mother was born in Brooklyn. Although the family was based in Boston, both his mother and father had family in New York City. Many of his memories are of visiting with his aunt, uncle and first cousin in New York.
Over the years, we drove from Boston to NYC and stayed there for many vacations. Our pleasant visits included theater performances, great restaurants, and other enjoyable activities.
When 9/11/01 took place, we had moved from Boston to Portland, Oregon. I remember stirring in the bed when our radio alarm went off very early -- and I thought I was dreaming -- something about buildings burnings. I fell back to sleep.
But I learned an hour later that it was no dream -- I turned on the television set and saw Katie Couric, Matt Lauer, Peter Jennings, and later, CNN's Aaron Brown, telling the horrific story hour after hour.
What we saw made our blood run cold. I remember cleaning the house all day in a daze (I do that when I am stressed out). I watched TV. I made a bunch of telephone calls. My stepson in Boston, whose birthday is 9/11/58, is said to have been reduced to tears of raw emotion, and threatened to drive to New York just to help out.
In November 2001, we had preexisting plans to go to NYC. We were welcomed in the city with open arms. Of course, my husband insisted on going to the site to see what we could see.
My husband posted a slideshow for all to see: http://travel.webshots.com/slideshow/553610782HyiLnR
This series of photographs above blends a previous visit from 1999 with some views of the Towers as we experienced them in previous visits. There are also our photos from 2001, and the second link was of another visit we made in 2006.
If you have time, you are invited to view the two slideshows (above and also here):
The controls are at the bottom -- your cursor activates the sequence and allows you to stop, pause, and choose a speed for viewing.
Teen Charity Carwashes
"Hey, mister, wanna buy a wash?"
For the past month at the intersection of Baseline and Cornelius in Hillsboro (OR), weekend days have been filled with the sights and sounds of scantily clad teenage girls calling out to motorists, holding hand-lettered signs reading "Car Wash Today!"
The young ladies are members of Century High School's dance team. Their assignment: to sing out, dance, jiggle, wave, dressed in a work uniform of sorts -- if you want to call string-tied halter tops and shorts cut-down-to-there-while-up-to-here the appropriate dress code of the day. The desired result: to raise funds for their club by enticing drivers, primarily male, to pull into a grocery store parking lot for a charity carwash. As the vehicles clean up, so does the dance team. Just like windshield wipers working both ways: Everyone wins.
This isn't just happening in Hillsboro -- fundraising carwashes are sanctioned by churches, schools and youth clubs from Portland, Ore., to Portland, Maine. If the carwash fundraiser is now as American as apple pie, and if Hillsboro represents a piece of that pie, perhaps we should rethink the dessert -- underage cheesecake, anyone?
These teen queens' acts of solicitation are more than merely tolerated. They're often fully sanctioned by the girls' teachers, ministers and parents. If this is the charity that begins at home, perhaps it's time to call in child services.
'Though I knew they wouldn't be able to hear me over their sing-song shouts, I wanted to say, "Careful, girls, watch all that jumping around -- the goal is to be 'arresting,' not 'arrested.' " Instead, I spoke to the mom in charge. It seems that though the Century dance team had placed third and fourth in previous state competitions, this year the girls are bent on capturing first place. To win, the mom explained, the team needs additional funds for better costumes, an outside choreographer and a rental bus.
Was the mom concerned about the girls dressed in sexy outfits, literally working this particular street for the almighty dollar? "It's a learning experience" -- she paused, struggling for the right word -- "in advertising. After all, they're always going to have to market themselves." She smiled broadly. "Besides, the girls are so pretty, people want to help the kids."
Pretty girls, yes, but it was the parents who washed the cars -- the teens were simply used as bait. "You should see how the guys' faces fall when they pull up and see it's us instead of the girls," the mom laughed.
I didn't know which was worse -- the girls expected to service strange men's cars, acting out sudsy fantasies that are the realm of porn/naughty YouTube videos, or the same girls emboldened with the knowledge that because they possessed the requisite desirable anatomy, they only had to parade themselves while others did the dirty work. Ignorant of the fact that it's the very act of parading, strutting, luring that is, in itself, the dirty work.
I wondered at the far-reaching effects of this particular school lesson. And what about the girls who were physically rejected, who didn't make the cut? Were they grateful, ashamed or a mix of both?
Not that there aren't objections raised about these do-it-yourself carwashes. But the concerns are primarily environmental, objecting to the problems of untreated water runoff discharging into the storm water system, eventually integrating into nearby rivers and lakes. If only there were a similar outcry as to a whole other pollution: that of the highly impressionable, adolescent brain.
With Madison Avenue/Hollywood continually bombarding the confused adolescent, often the only voices that cut through the media morass belong to her personal authority figures: her teacher, her minister, her parents. But when they, too, send a mixed message as clouded as the runoff from the carwash, then it's time for them to rethink their priorities . . . and clean up their act.
Kimberly Gadette is a local and national freelance writer based in Hillsboro. Her weekly film reviews can be found on livepdx.com.
Later, Tara moved to New York City to attend college, and she graduated from Colunbia University. At the end of the book, Tara was still trying to find her mother, and spent much time flying between Honolulu and New York, but had been unsuccessful in her quest. Her mother might be dead, but Tara had to find her. Sensitively written by this very vulnerable young woman, "West of Then" stayed with me. I recommended it several times to other people. I had to know -- the rest of the story.
A perusal of her web site showed that she had written another book. But it also appeared she was living in Germany. I didn't know why -- and didn't pursue it. Yesterday, her New York telephone number popped up on one of my lists of guests. I dialed it apprehensively...Tara answered and we chatted as if no time had elapsed between our first conversation and this one.
Meanwhile, this beautiful young author has met and married a loving and accomplished older man -- whom she richly deserves. This is the link to their wedding story in the New York Times. I love romance and this article filled in the details. Her husband is an accomplished photographer. I'm pleased to see they were married in the Unitarian-Universalist faith -- I go to the fellowship here in Oregon and find it welcoming of all peoples, as I did when we lived in Massachusetts.
"Now, we know...the rest of the story..."
Ellen Kimball and husband Al in Oregon
My first TV job: Popeye Playhouse, January 1957 -- Skipper Chuck, First Mate Ellen, and Glumbo Despair
These pictures were taken during the winter of 1957, in Studio "B" and in front of Wometco's downtown Miami location at 316 North Miami Avenue, Miami, Florida.
"Skipper" Chuck Zink, our clown "Glumbo Despair" (Richard McMurry), and I were perched on a ladder, with our audience clustered around us on the sidewalk below.
After Chuck passed away at age 80 in January 2006, many people came forward with their photographs taken with him from 1957 to 1979, when WTVJ abandoned the local childrens' show format.
August 14, 2008
By ELLEN KIMBALL, Special to kgw.com
3:56 PM PDT on Monday, August 11, 2008
“Man on Wire” is a fascinating and in some ways disturbing documentary. It chronicles how a talented high-wire walker, Frenchman Philippe Petit, assembled a team of accomplices and how they helped him to carry out an astonishing feat.
On August 7, 1974, Phillipe stepped out on a wire (really a thick cable) suspended 1350 feet above the ground between the twin towers of the World Trade Center in New York City.
He performed with no safety net for almost an hour. He crossed between the towers eight times before he was arrested for what later became known as “the artistic crime of the century.”
Prior to that event, Petit had successfully managed other astonishing wire walks, but this one was the true bravura performance.
What Petit and his crew accomplished was not legal. They had to gain access to restricted areas of the World Trade Center where they were not supposed to be.
They also had to carefully plan the technical aspects of how it would all work. Critical to their success and Philippe’s safety was determining how to rig the wire. The movie shows in extreme detail how they prepared and it also explores the successes and failures they experienced.
The film includes extensive current day interviews of the team’s participants regarding their roles in this daring adventure. There is also original film footage shot in 1974 and even earlier.
There is some dramatized material interwoven with a seamless result. This reviewer acknowledges director James Marsh and editor Jinx Godfrey for their remarkable achievements.
I believe that the attack of September 11, 2001 is still so painful to most of us that we are not eager to watch a film about the World Trade Center. As a former New Yorker, I know that am still filled with grief over the losses experienced there.
However this is a story of a daring feat and, in this venue, I can tolerate it, albeit with a sense of great sadness. As I watched “Man on Wire” I felt the lingering undercurrent that these two magnificent twin towers are no longer there. That is what disturbs me. The events of 9/11 reside in a place of infamy still as haunting the 1941 bombing of Pearl Harbor.
The bottom line is that “Man on Wire” celebrates an outstanding achievement and does it well. Credit this film for immense success in accomplishing this in the face of our continuing grief over 9/11. Incidentally, the film never mentions the 2001 event.
The film won two awards at the 2008 Sundance Film Festival in February 2008. It is in limited release. Please check your local listings for theaters and showtimes.
I’m giving this a solid ‘A’ on Ellen’s Entertainment Report Card.
Directed by: James Marsh
Written By: James Marsh
Based on the book “To Reach The Clouds” by Philippe Petit
Cast: Philippe Petit
Opens: August 8, 2008 (limited run)
Ellen Kimball is a TV and radio pioneer. She was first selected as a co-host of a local, live television show at WTVJ-TV in Miami, Florida, during her freshman year in college. She has been working in broadcasting and outside sales for more than four decades. Ellen is also one of the first women in the U.S. to host her own daily radio call-in talk shows at AM stations in both Miami and Boston, and she was affiliated with Oregon Public Broadcasting for more than seven years. She and her husband moved to Oregon in 1998. Ellen contributes her reviews on films and theater to KGW.com, the website for Ch. 8, the NBC affiliate.
August 13, 2008
Hello People of the Blogosphere!
I'm a retired broadcaster in the Portland suburbs, still reviewing movies and entertainment at www.KGW.com. This photo was taken at Oregon Public Broadcasting where I used to volunteer.
Formerly, under the screen name Radio_Lady, I had a web journal at a Democratic political group (November 2004 - July 2008).
If you want to find about 6,000 posts, go to the Democratic Underground.com and search for Radio_Lady. (Don't forget the underscore, because there are many worldwide radio ladies!) You'll find out a lot about me -- too much information, maybe.
Today I decided to get on board with Blogger.com. I have much to learn technologically, but I'm sure my software-analyst-and-generally-great husband, that Digital Geezer, will help me if I ask! :-)
I hope this will serve me for many more delightful interactions with some kind of audience. Please comment, and even if you disagree pleasantly, have no fear. Comment moderation has been enabled -- thank you for your understanding
August 12, 2008