Sunday, December 9, 2018

Christmas Movies with the Sniffles...


At this time of year several television stations schedule a steady stream of Holiday/Christmas movies. Viewers generally tune in to enjoy fresh, uplifting, whimsical, inspirational stories. Often the stories are humorous and generally cheerful.


While channel surfing during the Thanksgiving weekend, I stumbled upon two Holiday movies that I would describe as a bit more disheartening than what I’m used to seeing this time of year. These thought-provoking, heart-tugging movies had me reaching for the tissue box.

As expected each feature left viewers with a “happy” (and surprise!) ending, but the tale reminded us how often the road to "happy-ever-after" isn’t always “merry and bright.”



Noel


Christmas Eve in New York, and the lonely divorced publisher, Rose Collins, needs a miracle to improve the health of her mother, interned in a hospital with Alzheimers. She feels sorry for another patient and meets his visitor. Meanwhile, Nina Vasquez breaks her engagement with her beloved fiancé Mike due to his suffocating jealousy, but misses him. Mike is stalked by a stranger, bartender Artie Venzuela. The poor Jules arranges to spend Christmas Eve in the hospital, where he spent the best Christmas of his life when he was a teenager. The lives of some of these characters cross with others along the night

Amazon:


Barnes & Noble

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/dvd-noel-xmas-without-snow-megs-story-jos/25103891?



Heaven Sent


Echoing in the deepest depths of space, a humble prayer ascends: One from Maire Taylor, a smart, beautiful businesswoman who asks that her husband find the strength and wisdom to let go of their 9 year old marriage ... While a second prayer simultaneously comes from Billy Taylor, a hopelessly romantic artist who asks that his wife receive the strength and wisdom to hold on. From these humble pleas, comes an answer in the form of a little miracle (an 8 year old runaway from heaven) who takes it upon herself to rekindle the once intimate friendship and romance that has slowly, but surely slipped away from Billy and Maire due to a heart-wrenching loss. Using all of her skill and charm (as well as some well-intentioned mischief!) our little 8 year old runaway comically sets out to heal their broken hearts and save their marriage by helping them get back to the basics of love.


Amazon:



Barnes & Noble:



Is there a Holiday/Christmas movie on your list which found you reaching for the tissues?

As my grandmother would say, "Christmas is right around the corner." Have a good week, Everyone!



(plot summaries c/o imdb.com;
 house photo c/o facebook.com/elfrethsalleymuseum)

Sunday, December 2, 2018

"Happy Birthday, A Christmas Carol"

One of the most endearing and beloved Holiday tales, A Christmas Carol, celebrates its 175th birthday this year. Published in December of 1843, Charles Dickens’ tells the story of Ebenezer Scrooge.





On Christmas Eve, after visits from the ghost of his former business partner, Jacob Marley, and three other “spirits,” Scrooge is transformed from a selfish, bitter, greedy man into a kind, generous, compassionate human being.



Over the years several historians have suggested that Dickens based aspects of the Ebenezer Scrooge character on his own father, a man whose  passion for money landed him a stint in Debtor’s prison.  But, others have considered A Christmas Carol to be the author’s take on the British elite class and its views on poverty and those forced to live within it. By creating the character of Tiny Tim, who melted the ice surrounding Scrooge’s heart, Dickens sent a message of a need for kindness,  unselfishness, and assistance to those struggling to survive.

Ironically, as Dickens sat penning A Christmas Carol, I’m sure he had no idea the affect his story would have on the world throughout the years, the many reprints, plays, movies, and television shows resulting from his work.




Or that one day Donald Duck would appear as Ebenezer Scrooge in my favorite movie version, Mickey's Christmas Carol.

Buy Links:

Book, A Christmas Carol

Amazon:

https://www.amazon.com/Christmas-Carol-Charles-Dickens/dp/1503212831/

Barnes & Noble:

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/a-christmas-carol-charles-dickens/1116639901?


DVD, Mickey's Christmas Carol

Amazon:

https://www.amazon.com/Mickeys-Christmas-Carol-30th-Anniversary/dp/B00DGWZK0Y/

Barnes & Noble:

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/dvd-mickeys-christmas-carol-alan-young/3909823?


Considering how many movie versions have been made over the years, do you have a favorite? Or thoughts on how A Christmas Carol has remained a Holiday staple for so many years?

Have a great week, Everyone!



(holiday photo c/o facebook.com/elfrethsalleymuseum)

Sunday, November 25, 2018

The First "Grinch" is the Best "Grinch"

A new adaptation of Dr. Seuss's How the Grinch Stole Christmas was released earlier this month. Staring Benedict Cumberbatch, the film introduces "The Mean One, Mr. Grinch" to a fresh audience.



I'm sure Cumberbatch and his colleagues do a fine job in recreating the tale. But for me, the best "Grinch" flick is the 1966 animated feature highlighting the late actor Boris Karloff's storytelling skills. 



Boris Karloff (1887-1969), who was best known for his roles in the horror flicks Frankenstein and The Mummy, narrated the made-for-television animated special, and provided the voice for the Grinch. Karloff's expression while reading from the Seuss book embodies the perfect transition from grouchy to gentle.

NBC featured this animated version on Friday evening. Watching the special and hearing Mr. Karloff's voice put me in the mood for the Holiday season. 

If you haven't seen this "Grinch" version, or shared with the little ones in your life, the DVD is available for purchase. 





Amazon:

https://www.amazon.com/Seuss-Grinch-Stole-Christmas-Deluxe/dp/B002JUFPUE/


Barnes & Noble:

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/dvd-how-the-grinch-stole-christmas-boris-karloff/3619939?


Have a good week, Everyone!


(Grinch photos/quotes c/o facebook.com/Dr.Seuss)

Sunday, November 18, 2018

Happy Thanksgiving...and Pumpkin Pie...

On Thursday in the States, we'll celebrate the Thanksgiving Holiday. Despite the various meanings behind the celebration, for me Thanksgiving has always been a day to be thankful for my family, what we've been given, along with a day of parades and food. 



My grandmother used to say Thanksgiving was established to help the church with its food drive, and to give her the opportunity to make a pumpkin pie from scratch. Although my family continues to participate in our church's canned goods collection, the holiday hasn't been the same without my grandmother or her pumpkin pie. I miss them both.  

Is there any special dish you reserve for a holiday treat? A delight only prepared for a family celebration?

Best wishes to everyone -- relax and enjoy this time with family and friends!



(photo c/o morgueFile.com)

Sunday, November 11, 2018

Thank you, Veterans!

Although the official date for Veterans Day, a day set aside to honor the men and women who served in our U.S. military, is November 11th, we started early in Philadelphia by holding a Veterans Day Parade and Festival on Sunday, November 4th.


A good time was had by everyone who attended as we honored those who have served and protected our country.


But, let's not forget our military veterans who were not able to celebrate with us. They're the veterans who are struggling with trauma, addiction, illness, and homelessness. Their service is honorable, and they deserve our assistance and support.

Please offer a helping hand to those veterans. I've posted several websites for information.


Paralyzed Veterans of America

www.pva.org


Disabled American Veterans

www.dav.org



Wounded Warrior Project

www.woundedwarriorproject.org


Veterans Multi-Service Center

www.vmcenter.org


The Veterans Site

www.TheVeteransSite.com


To all of our Veterans, thank you for your service.


Have a good week, Everyone!



(photo c/o facebook.com/TheVeteransSite)

Sunday, November 4, 2018

Cozy, Winter Romance Reads!

Halloween 2018 has come and gone, those of us living on the East Coast did the "one hour back" thing with our clocks, Thanksgiving is on the horizon, and Winter isn't far behind. It's time to cuddle up with some fantastic romance reads.



My RWA chapter mate, Vicki Batman, has joined a fantastic group of authors in a limited-edition bundle of great romantic tales, Whispers of Winter. This collection promises to keep readers warm, comfy, and snug on a cold winter night.




Grab your Kindle or Nook, a cup of hot chocolate and enjoy stories from Nicole Morgan, Stephanie Morris, Caitlyn Lynch, Maya Bailey, Krista Ames, Vicki Batman, Sharon Coady, Donna R. Mercer, Jan Springer, Carma Haley Shoemaker, Livia Quinn, Amber Skyze, Rebecca Fairfax, Jane Blythe, Suzanne Jenkins, Stacy Eaton, Rene Webb, Marie Mason, Joann Baker & Patrica Mason, and Karen Cino. 

Release date for Whispers of Winter is November 13th, and preorder is available!

Blurb:

Winter may be rolling in, but that doesn’t mean your days and nights must be cold. 
Before you get snowed in, grab yourself a copy of this limited-edition collection. With heroes and heroines of all kinds, you’ll be sure to find some that you just can’t help but fall in love with. 
These romantic reads can be read as stand-alone stories. But, why would you want to do that? Read them all! Immerse yourself in this wintery ensemble from Romance Collections.

Buy Links:

Amazon:

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07GVNX2LZ/


Barnes & Noble:

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/whispers-of-winter-nicole-morgan/1129416841?ean=2940161939208/


Kobo:

https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/whispers-of-winter-2/


Happy reading, and have a great week!


(snowflake photo c/o morgueFile.com)




Sunday, October 28, 2018

National Wolf Awareness Week!

In honor of "National Wolf Awareness Week," October 28th through November 3rd, I've recycled/revised a post from three years ago. I adore these precious "fur-babies." For me, there's no such creature as "the big bad wolf." I hope you agree!



Yes, they're big, but no, not bad! I find that stereotype rather annoying. I refuse to read tales like Little Red Riding Hood, and The Three Little Pigs without offering a disclaimer. 



Wolves are highly social (with each other), protective, loving creatures, and the image portrayed over the years is a gross misinterpretation. As I once said to my little neighbor when he was a preschool fan of The Three Little Pigs, "wolves are more afraid of you than you should be of them."




The late author, Michael Blake, who was an outspoken advocate for numerous social issues, including literacy, is best known for writing the novel, Dances With Wolves. Published in 1988, I read Blake's novel long before seeing Kevin Costner's movie because of my love for the wolf. The film went on to win multiple Academy Awards including a Best Screenplay for Blake and Best Director for Costner.

There are many organizations offering protection to wolves in their natural environment, and refuge to those with circumstances preventing them from surviving in the wild. If you love and respect wolves, here are a few organizations you might want to check out.


Wolf Sanctuary of PA



Wolf Haven International



Defenders of Wildlife



You've seen the movie...now, read the novel. For those interested in reading the novel, Dances With Wolves, I've included the Amazon link for the 2002 reissue, 



Have a great week, Everyone!


(photos c/o facebook.com/WolfSanctuaryPA)