Another Good Movie: WONDER

WONDER, in theaters now.

Here’s another good movie of this holiday season.  WONDER stars Jacob Tremblay as Auggie, a smart-as-a-whip little boy with a condition involving a facial deformity.  Auggie gets around the stares and derision of people by usually keeping a space helmet over his head when he leaves the house.  Just knowing that a child would do such a thing as a coping strategy is enough to break your heart.

Auggie has been home-schooled, but now he’s about to enter the fifth grade.  His parents, beautifully played by Julia Roberts and Owen Wilson, decide to send him to a Middle School.

It’s a bit of an ordeal to watch this gutsy little boy as he walks into the school and has to face so many inter-personal problems during his first year, but it’s well worth it.  Naturally it’s a great movie for kids to see, and could especially give pause to the ones who may think they’re being “funny” when mocking other children.

Jacob Tremblay deserves an Oscar nomination for this one!

 

 

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Darkest Hour, Murder on the Orient Express & Coco

Finest movie of the year so far: DARKEST HOUR!

I love November and December in New York City.  We get all of the movies first and the best ones of the year are always released as close to the end of the year as possible.

The finest one I’ve seen in 2017 is DARKEST HOUR.  Gary Oldman stars as Winston Churchill in the early days of World War II in England.  Incredibly, there are those in the Parliament who are hoping to negotiate a peace treaty with none other than Adolf Hitler.  They might have succeeded.  Thank God for Winston Churchill!

MURDER ON THE ORIENT EXPRESS.

Another movie that recently premiered is the re-make of MURDER ON THE ORIENT EXPRESS.  I was looking forward to this one, but it was a disappointment.  Oh, the photography is great.  The cast is a stellar assemblage.  But the way it’s written and presented is a confusing muddle.

I saw the original movie back in 1974 at the age of 12 and it was done in such a way that it made a lot more sense than this one does.  I already knew whodunit, but the movie buddy I went to see it with didn’t know the story and was having a very hard time trying to follow the narrative.

If it’s worth it for anything, it’s to see Johnny Depp in a deliciously chilling turn as a villain.

As for the make-up job on Sir Kenneth Brannagh, playing Agatha Christie’s legendary detective Hercule Poirot, I can’t help but wonder if somebody’s actual intention here was to create a spoof of a movie called MUSTACHE ON THE ORIENT EXPRESS.  The one he sports is so wild it’s a terrifying distraction.

COCO. Fabulous!

And finally there’s COCO.  I can never resist a Disney animated film, no matter how old I get.  They’re works of art, every last one, and this one is no exception.  COCO is adorable.  An adorable little boy from Mexico who wants to be a singer – and comes from a family with a reason for banning music – visits The Land of the Dead on the Mexican Day of the Dead.  His ancestors have the answers to a lot of his family’s current problems and he seeks to solve the mysteries.

Only Disney and Pixar could work a modern concept like facial recognition software computers into a story of the Day of the Dead.  Watch it to see how incredibly drawn the scenes are, in particular all those in The Land of the Dead, where you’ll see tramways, skyscrapers and theaters.  A few villains are on the loose there, too.

It’s a feast for the eyes.  BRAVO AGAIN, Disney!

 

A Quick Observation About Sexual Predators

 

Innocent nosiness – or a red flag of something more?

Bravo to all of the people who have been “outing” so many sexual predators lately!  It’s about time they got their comeuppance.  My heart goes out to their victims and I hope they get the justice they seek.

I have one little point that I wanted to add to the discussion.  Twice in my life I have known people who, I came to find out many, many years later, were alleged to be sexual predators.

I say “alleged predators” only in the interest of my own honesty because I did not see anything overt myself.  Strange as the two individuals were, and both were off-the-charts creepy, I have no direct personal story to tell.  Neither one tried to take any liberties with me.  I also did not see anything untoward happening to anyone else.  To put it bluntly, if they were assaulting people, and I’m inclined to  that they probably were, it was neither done to me or in front of me.  If it had been, I’d have called the cops.

I knew one of them in the 1970s and the other in the 1990s.  One was a female, the other a male.  One allegedly targeted girls and young women, the other boys and young men.  They did not know each other.  Yet in one way their sick behavior was 100% identical.

Both of these monsters were intrusive to the infinite power.  I have never met two more intrusive or rude people in my life.  They gloried in sticking their noses into other people’s business.  This seemed as natural to them as breathing was to the rest of us.  They weren’t just prying; it was more like they each were downright interrogational.   Arrested suspects on television crime dramas are grilled more gently than I used to see each one of those two kooks go after their acquaintances.

What did they seemed to concentrate on most?  It was not just whatever was going on in everybody else’s business (though that too), but what constituted our values.  What made us tick.  The content of our characters, to paraphrase the great Dr. Martin Luther King.

I want to put this out there because I believe that kind of intrusiveness may very well be the red flag of a predator.  It makes perfect sense that such scumbags would consistently try to zero in on the values of whoever they happened to find nearby, at work, at school, and at whatever venue where they happened to be prowling for a victim.  Serial predators can’t function out in the open.  They can only get what they want if they can assure the silence of their specially-selected victims, not to mention any potential eyewitnesses.

The man was very hung up on the fact that I was, he said derisively, “very, very principled.”  He said it as if this was a bad thing, and for him, potentially it was.

I’m also a rather private person and was that way even as a teen.  I know who I am.  I know what I think and know how I feel.  I just don’t see the point of always shouting my most personal thoughts from the rooftops.

The woman did not like that one bit.  She kept insinuating that I wasn’t “forthcoming” enough, or words to that effect.  Oh, really?  Well, how much did she think was going on that a teenage girl should have had to be “forthcoming” about?  Think about it.  This was not someone to whom I owed any explanations.  She set off alarm bells in me, though, which caused me to go even quieter around her, specifically.  I figured, at age sixteen, that anybody who’s fishing that much for none-of-your-damned-business kinds of information is definitely after something, even though I wasn’t sure what was going on there.

Had I witnessed any direct untoward actions, for absolute certain, that either one of these flakes was committing, I’d have blown the whistle on them so fast they wouldn’t have known what hit them.  I would have “gone all Jersey” on the one from New Jersey.  I’d have called the police in a New York minute on the one in New York.  And that, I believe, is what was at the crux of the many “values” questions they had about every single person with whom they came in regular contact: they wanted to weed out those of us who aren’t afraid to stand up and call the PoPo.  To predators, the principled ones who aren’t afraid to dial 911 are quite dangerous.  We’re the ones who might just stop them in their tracks.

So if you ever see something, say something – don’t be afraid to be “dangerous” to a predator!   You might find yourself a hero to one of their victims.

 

 

CLASS by Lucinda Rosenfeld

 

Awesome satire: CLASS by Lucinda Rosenfeld.

Ever know one of those cluelessly insufferable people who run around talking about how “the poor need this” and “the poor need that,” yet can’t see how horribly arrogant they are in thinking that they’ve been appointed as “the one” who’s got “all the answers” to somebody else’s problems?

I’ve known plenty of those types.  Want to know a secret?  I’ve never liked them.  You will not like Karen Kipple, the main character, of this satirical book, CLASS by Lucinda Rosenfeld, either.  She’ll make your jaw drop at her own cluelessness.  Her prejudices are vast, yet for all her professed altruism towards “the poor,” she is too dim to see her own outrageous biases.  She starts off a horrible person and gets worse as the book rolls on, yet it’s hilarious.  You’ll wish she were a real person standing in front of you so that you could give her a good telling-off.  It’s a send-up, it’s laugh-out-loud funny, and when you’re done reading it, you’ll be able to breathe a sigh of relief and say how glad you are to be  you, not her.

Unless, of course, you’re a Karen Kipple-type yourself…

I highly recommend this book.

AMERICAN RADICAL: Inside the World of an Undercover Muslim FBI Agent Book

AMERICAN RADICAL by undercover FBI agent who uses the name “Tamer Elnoury” and Kevin Mauer.  This is a must-read!

Today was one of the most beautiful days imaginable in New York City, and easily seemed to be the prettiest Halloween I could ever remember.  It wasn’t too chilly, the autumn leaf show was just beginning, the sky was blue, and there were even some roses still blooming.  I was thinking was a great Halloween this was going to be for all the kids who were going Trick-or-Treating after school…

And then I heard that a coward perpetrated a terrorist attack on West Street in Lower Manhattan.  As of this writing, there’s 8 dead, 15 wounded, and the counts will probably rise.  Whenever something like this happens, the counts always seem to rise, don’t they?  Horrific.

By coincidence I’ve been reading AMERICAN RADICAL: INSIDE THE WORLD OF AN UNDERCOVER MUSLIM FBI AGENT this week.  It’s written by a man who used the “legend” (fake name for undercover purposes) “Tamer Elnoury.”  He was interviewed, while wearing a disguise, on “60 Minutes” about two weeks ago, and I was very impressed by him.  “Tamer” got involved with working undercover for the FBI because, as a Muslim, he did not like the way the extremist Islamic terrorists pervert his religion.

The book is a fascinating look at undercover work and is worth reading for that alone, but there’s so much more to it.  Did you know that, in Islam:

-People are supposed to adhere to the laws of the countries in which they live?

-It’s considered wrong to kill woman and children?

-It’s considered wrong to kill non-combatants?

And more.  Much more.

The more I read in this book about what Islam really stands for, the more astounded I am by the terrorists who don’t adhere to it.  Those who are running around killing people to make some kind of a statement are not just wrong in the eyes of the world, they’re wrong in terms of their own religion.  I have always considered the terrorists to be a pack of lowly cowards, but they’re even lower than any of us ever thought if they’re going against Islam’s teachings while simultaneously killing in the “name of” Islam.  These terrorists are just plain bonafide brainwashed freaks.

Criminal freaks.  I’m glad that “Tamer Elnoury” has the guts to call them out on it and to do something to stop them.  The book will give you a window into how the minds of these lunatics work as well as how many procedures are in place by the FBI to try and stop them.

Sometimes, though, on some days, like today, the FBI doesn’t manage to stop them all.  It’s so sad, and so pointless.

RIP to those who lost their lives.  God bless all the families affected.

 

 

Also Available Now: My GOVERNORS ISLAND: THE GEM OF NEW YORK 2018 Calendar

My second photography calendar for 2018, GOVERNORS ISLAND: THE GEM OF NEW YORK.

I said it before and I’ll say it again: you can’t beat the website http://www.lulu.com when it comes to ease of use for creating and publishing calendars.  This is the second photography calendar I’ve made on their site in two days…and that’s in addition to sending out resumes, going on a job interview and visiting and shopping for a sick friend.  Lulu.com RULES!

It’s called the GOVERNORS ISLAND: THE GEM OF NEW YORK 2018 Calendar, and it’s one of my favorite places to photograph.  Governors Island was once a military base, closed to the public.  Thank God that’s over with, because now it’s a park and it’s open to everybody.  It’s truly a beautiful, I’ll even say magical place.

Here’s the link.  Be sure to hit the Preview button to see all the images and you’ll understand why I say what I’m saying – and enjoy!

Governors-Island-The-Gem-of-New-York-2018 Calendar

Available Now: My EVERYTHING’S COMING UP ROSES CALENDAR for 2018!

Carolyn Quinn’s EVERYTHING’S COMING UP ROSES CALENDAR 2018 – available for order now! Woo-HOO!

Here it is, boys!

Here it is, WORLD!

Here’s my roses!

My latest calendar, the EVERYTHING’S COMING UP ROSES CALENDAR for 2018, featuring the best of my rose photos of the year, is online and available for order at Lulu.com.  It’s nice and colorful and will be sure to add a lot of pizzazz to whatever wall you hang it on.  As always, calendars make the best holiday gifts, too.

And fellow photography buffs, let me add this: Lulu.com is a great self-publishing site for creating calendars!  It’s easy and fun to use.  I can’t recommend them enough.

Here’s the link to EVERYTHING’S COMING UP ROSES, the calendar:

http://www.lulu.com/shop/carolyn-quinn/carolyn-quinns-everythings-coming-up-roses-calendar-2018/calendar/product-23349174.html