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Archive for the ‘Twinkly at the movies’ Category

I have made miso soup 3 times in the last week.

I am sure it had been 7 or 8 years since I last made miso soup. My miso soup tonight wasn’t very good. Then again, it wasn’t very bad. I have forgotten how to make a more flavorful miso soup. I used to make miso soup more frequently when we lived in Ohio, before kids especially. It was never restaurant-quality or as good as a real Japanese cook (you can take that to mean a person from Japan OR a person trained in Japanese cooking) would make, but it was good enough.

The best miso soup I ever had was from a crazy Japanese-Chinese restaurant in Cuyahoga Falls (Ohio). It’s not always a good sign, a combo Japanese-Chinese restaurant. ESPECIALLY if you are in Paris (France), c’est vrai!

Anyway, I used to love the miso soup at that restaurant (which had very dirty walls with built-up dust and grease, by the way), but I found out I loved it because it was pork-based and then I didn’t trust it so much.

Today, I am grateful for miso soup. Tonight, I made my miso soup with dandelion greens, garlic, toasted sesame oil, carrots and lemon zest, not in that order. Oh, and a good barley miso which came from a local producer, right in here in the Pioneer Valley. YES!

You may recall that I love the movie Big Night. I love the whole movie. The movie is about food, especially Italian food. And it is a little about New York City in the 1950s. And Italian immigrants in New York City in the ’50s.

But really, the movie is about people. It is full of interesting and likeable and well-written characters and that is my favorite kind of movie. The script is outstanding. The cinematography is outstanding. The acting is outstanding.

While all of the acting is very, very good, Ian Holm and Tony Shalhoub are the standouts. I really love them both in this movie. But really don’t I love Tony Shalhoub as Monk, too? And couldn’t a student of theater learn a zillion ways to act well by watching either of them at any time in any role? I think so. Who dares to bet me a million bucks (or less if you prefer) that Ian Holm has studied the Alexander Technique? I know it’s not that much of a stretch since he’s British and likely classically trained. Oh, well, for all of my wealthy, betting readers, it was worth a try.

For your pleasure (as is so often the case, you’ll have to excuse the blurry visuals):

Go see that fucking movie, okay?

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Funny as hell. At least to me.

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Sitting at my friend’s house–beautiful, full of windows–looking out onto the snow-covered conservation land behind the house, the railroad tracks. We’re going into our 3rd evening without electricity, but they’ve got full power here (hence my ability to post). Some people have wood stoves, some have propane fireplaces, some have natural gas to cook on. We’ve got none of it, but Hubby pulled out the camping stove and we’ve got 3 small propane canisters. The stores are sold out for now. We’ve still got phone service because my land line is not cordless. No internet. We’ve got water, which is nice. Some friends haven’t got water. It could be until the end of the week until we have electricity. The temp went down to about 20 last night and the house is still chilly. There’s a line down under some huge pine branches at the edge of our property. Can’t communicate with my 78-year old mom who’s only 8 miles away because her phone lines are down and she doesn’t have a mobile. She wouldn’t be able to charge it eventually anyway.

It’s not terrifying to be without power, but annoying, depressing and this adult’s idea of scary enough on Halloween. The town has postponed trick-or-treating until next Sunday, thus dashing children’s hopes of candy, but also leaving parents more time to help out with costume details.

The first I’d ever heard Nina Simone was in the opening credits of the movie “Shallow Grave” (at least I think it’s in the opening credits. I have a vivid memory of it). I’d heard of her, but didn’t know a thing. I thought it was a man singing due to her deep voice. I mean, deep, people, not just her vocal range, but the quality of the emotion.

I’ve been falling in love with her ever since. Shallow Grave is not a horror flick, but it is a GREAT thriller and an extremely well-made movie. Highly recommended and could work well for Halloween night (not for kids). Directed by Danny Boyle, it predates Trainspotting, The Beach, and 28 Days Later (Slumdog, too, but let’s not go there).

Anyway, here she is, singing the Halloween-appropriate I Put A Spell On You by Screamin’ Jay Hawkins (sung by the man himself in Jim Jarmusch’s “Stranger Than Paradise”):

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Today, the music is courtesy of Camille Saint-Saens from “The Carnival of Animals,” the piece called “The Aquarium.”

Since I went to see “Tree of Life” last night, I was thinking about other Malick flicks. The movie was sold out, so we ventured on to “Midnight in Paris.” Nothing sums up my feelings for that movie quite like this review.

“Days of Heaven” is one of my favorite movies, but that’s really an understatement. Hence, I insert a quickie review of mine from a few years ago:

This is in my top ten of all time. A masterpiece from the golden era of American cinema. Allegorically, the story of the clash of agriculture with the coming industrial revolution. None better than the ethereally beautiful narrator played by Linda Manz and the only Richard Gere movie that’s worth a damn. Haunting soundtrack and haunting images. Unmatched cinematography. A time passed that we’ll never see again, both in cinema and in America. This should be required viewing for all. I did have a friend who thought it was too slow and that, well, nothing happened. Go figure.

Now please witness one of the most striking opening sequences in movie-dom and a perfect marriage of music and image.

(Sadly (and ironically since this is Music Monday) both the first and last few notes of the piece are cut off in this clip).

When I watch this, I feel like I’m seeing something I’m not meant to see–it’s all mystery, a secret. The turn of the boy’s head as he lights a cigarette; the smiling but calm children looking up from play. They can see through me. I am unnecessary, superfluous. I am the passer-by; they are permanent. Voyeur.

I recognize a couple of the images–the one of the man with the socket wrench is Margaret Bourke-White. I am sure I’ve seen the man jumping across the 2 rocky cliffs outside of these opening credits, but not sure where. That ice palace stuck with me from first time I saw the film; again, haunting is the word that comes to mind. I looked all over the internet and while I can’t be sure, I think it’s the Ice Palace from the Montreal Winter Carnival, circa 1884. Frozen in time.

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I’ve already gushed about this on Facebook, but I’ll repeat:

This was a fantastic movie and it is where my gratitude goes today. I suppose I can be silly and say thanks to the bees. Thanks, bees. Thanks filmmakers, thanks women, thanks men, thanks beekeepers, thanks organic farmers, thanks to those who refuse to use pesticides on anything whatsoever, thanks to brave, stouthearted folks who are willing to defy the odds and understand complexity and interdependence.

Wow, Thankful Thursday just began to feel suspiciously like a rant in reverse. Sorry. I really did love the movie and it really made me happy. I am blessed, too, to live in Western, MA, the “Happy Valley,” next door to “Paradise City,” first state to legalize same-sex marriage, some of the most fertile soil in the US along the Connecticut River, and home to many small, organic farms, fruits, vegetables, and livestock included. Raw milk, local honey, local maple syrup, local eggs from my neighbor. HUZZAH!

Happy that my kids learn beekeeping at their school. A new calf was born 3 weeks ago to Heatherbell. He has a white heart on his forehead. It reminds me of the Cat Stevens’ song “Boy with the Moon and Star on his Head.” Remember that one, flower children?

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Ah, me. I hoped to post a music/video combo today. With all of the pain in the world right now, Japan and Libya, and even our own bubbling turmoils from Guantanamo to Wall Street to Wisconsin, I thought it would be nice to tip my hat to an admirable human trait–our ability to create Beauty.

Did you see the Tarsem movie “The Fall?” The opening sequence is an eight-and-a-half minute, black-and-white, slow-motion scene set to Beethoven’s 7th Symphony, 2nd movement. It ranks as one of the most stunning things I’ve seen on film and it literally took my breath away (unlike most Americans one encounters in interviews, I do know what literally means).

I saw the clip of the opening sequence of “The Fall” about 3 months ago on youtube, but is has since been pulled; therefore, dear ones, I cannot post it.

On another note, did anyone else feel sluggish yesterday? Were your children dragging ass on their way to school this morning? Tired in your marrow rather than filled with new sap running up and down the length of your limbs? I know for me it was the absurd time change (a not-so-admirable human creation).

Spring. Waking up. The Fall.

There is only one solution until I can make my coffee-blended.

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