What's In This Blog

I created this blog for my journal. I am a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. In this blog I keep many of the things I come across as a member of the church. I also share my experiences on the ACE Train and getting to work, my experiences in Manteca where we have lived for three years, and other things I think are noticeable.

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Movie Night: ***^ Cannery Row

The credits indicate this is based on the John Steinbeck books Cannery Row and Sweet Thursday.  It is 90 percent Sweet Thursday with a little Cannery Row, like the frog roundup thrown in for good luck.  The movie has a couple twists to the relationship of Doc (Nick Nolte) and Suzy, (Debra Winger) like Doc having been a baseball player.  Doc's place gets broken up like the first book, and he ticks off Suzy like in the second book.  I like the spunkiness of Suzy's character.  However I think she was too hookerized.  Part of the fun of the book is she just didn't fit with that life style.  There was no way for the movie to portray the different voices talking to the Doc.  They really make the book interesting, the drive and the futility of the drive.  The first book let us know that Suzy wasn't the first to live in the boiler.  A couple had preceded her.
Nolte does an adequate job as the Doc.  He does seem more like and ex-baseball player than the Doc from the book.  I miss the Doc's rich eccentric friend, who sponsors him in the end to get a high powered microscope.  The movie ends with Mac and the boys earning money they mistakenly get him a telescope.
This movie ends happy, but I miss the spunky lady learning to drive so she can drive Doc to La Joya.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Sheri Makes a Headboard for Miranda

Sheri has done it again.  This time she made Miranda a headboard for her birthday, and Miranda has finished decorating her room.

Not bad.  She just did the headboard this time.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Mormon Movie Review: Run Dick, Run Jane

This is a 20 minute movie produced by the church in 1972, and touts the benefits of running, are at least of having a fitness program.  This movie tells me I should be a runner, or at least do more aerobics than I am now.  Even though there is a lot of research since this movie, it provides enough evidence as to the import of a more active life.  Mailmen on the street live longer than those doing clerical jobs.  In England, bus employees who go up and down the stairs of the two-decker buses live longer than the driver who just sits and drives.  There are so many examples, and I am sure current research would be more alarming.  What is interesting is they were worried about obesity then, and the worry would even be more so now that almost half of the population is obese.
This movie takes away your excuses for not running.  It shows a runner over 100 years old.  It shows a runner with no feet.  This movie is old, but still it is a reminder of taking care of yourself.  My niece is a runner, and didn't start until after high school.  You can follow her blog here:
This is the New Era article about the movie

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Book Review: Dorothy and the Wizard in Oz (To mmboe)

This book continues the adventures of Oz.  This is the fourth installment and was published in 1908.  In this book we see the underworld magical Kingdoms.  This book starts in California, shortly after the San Francisco Quake.  Dorothy, the Wizard and his nine trick piglets, Zeb, the horse Jim and Dorothy’s cat Eureka all fall into the earth as the result of an earthquake. 
They come upon a glass city, populated by the Mangaboos, a vegetable people.  Being vegetables, they have no heart, and as a result are not very likeable and have difficulty showing mercy or kindness to anyone.  Our travelers are forced into a pit, which turns out to be a road to more adventures. 
The come upon an invisible people.  They are invisible because they eat form a fruit which makes them so.  The piglets eat of the fruit, and are invisible.  However the Wizard is able to get them back into his pocket.  The people all prefer to stay invisible all the time so as to avoid the bears.  The bears are also invisible.  The fruit is very good.  However our travelers prefer to stay visible.  They almost meet there fate at the hands of the bears, except for a local who tells them about a plant which makes them buoyant.  They use this, and all walk into the river.  The bears don’t know this secret.  They escape to a mountain, and begin the long climb up. 
The meet a braided man who makes flutters (wind to blow flags) and holes, donut holes, post holes etc.  He stacked several post holes on top of each other and fell into the earth and that is why he is there. 
They continue their trek up and come upon the world of the Gargoyles.  In this world everything is made of wood, even the people.  The Gargoyles are flying creatures.  They do not like noise.  However they overcome the travelers, and take them to a tower where they are locked up without wings.  Eureka, being a cat, explores and is able to climb (or go) down and discovers the wings of the Gargoyles are detachable.  The Wizard lowers Zeb, using the horses tackle, and Zeb comes back with enough stolen wings to attach them to the horse and the buggy.  Being a magical kingdom they work, and the travelers are off again.  They reach another tunnel, which comes to an end, as they can see the surface of the earth. 
In our last story, Dorothy had stolen the Gnomes magic belt.  Ozma uses this to bring all these friends, old and new to Oz.  Everything would have turned out happy, except a piglet comes up missing, and it is assumed Eureka ate the little thing.  This piglet had been a gift to Ozma from the Wizard.  A trial ensues, and the Wizard proposes using another piglet to confuse the jury, and get Eureka off, because destroying Eureka for murder would make everyone unhappy.  Eureka won’t have it, pointing out the differences between this piglet and the missing piglet.  Eureka then confides she had intended to eat the little piglet, but he fell into a vase and was saved.  The court is able to save the piglet, but still no one trusts or likes Eureka. 

A couple excerpts I liked: 
Speaking of the vegetable people:  “I don’t like these veg’table people,” said the little girl.  “They’re cold and flabby, like cabbages, in spite of their prettiness.”
“I agree with you.  It is because there is no warm blood in them,” remarked the Wizard.
“And they have no hears; so they can’t love anyone—not even themselves,” Declared the boy.

Before Eureka’s trial: They now separated to prepare for the sad ceremony; for whenever an appeal is made to law sorrow is almost certain to follow—even in a fairy-land like Oz. 

In prosecuting the case, the Woggle-Bug says he can see the Kitten in his “mind’s eye.”  This conversation follows: “What’s that?” asked the Scarecrow.
“I can see her in my mind’s eye—“
The mind has no eye,” declared the Scarecrow.  “It’s blind.”

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Book Review: Experiencing Grief (Journeying Through Grief)

I found this book at the library in the used book section.  20c for a book is my kind of book.  This is book two of a four part series: Journeying Through Grief.  (Buying used you don't always get the whole set.)  It is suggested for three months after a loss.  It is written by Kenneth C. Haugk of Stephen Ministries.
I think the most significant thing this book says is "you cannot not grieve."  By this the author is saying that we can put on a happy face, but grief is grief, and we cannot just whisk it away, it will have its day.  The book quotes Therese Rando, "There is no way around the pain that you naturally feel when someone you love dies."  You can't go over it, under it, or around it. ... Going through it is what will help heal you."  The Bible says, "Blessed are those that mourn, for they shall be comforted." Mathew 5:4
Another concept I found interesting was that of firsts.  After a loss, there are many firsts without are loved one.  Holidays and special events become a part of this.  Each in and of it self is a hard time and a reexperiencing of the loss. 
In Isaiah we read of how the Lord can help us through these times:
1...I have called thee by thy name; thou art mine.
 When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee.

 Since thou wast precious in my sight, thou hast been honourable, and I have loved thee...  (Isaiah 43)
The Book of Mormon echos this:  17 And I said unto him: I know that he loveth his children; nevertheless, I do not know the meaning of all things.  (1 Nephi 11)
Another concept from the pamphlet is that of secondary looses.  We not only loss a love one, we loss what ever else that person may have been in our life, financial support, listening ear, etc etc.
This pamphlet suggests going through the emotions; it hurts.  A good cry, or many good cries are ok as we deal with this loss.  The pamphlet conclude with; Is it Christian to grieve?  One might also ask, knowing all we do as members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints; Is it Mormon to grieve?  I think the answe  r is a resounded yes.  We can have faith, and still feel pain and loss.  "Jesus wept."  (John 11:35)  Many times we too as mortals need to cry, need to grieve.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Book Review: The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus: L Frank Baum

I was looking for something not Oz but Baum at the used book store, and this is what I found.  This book was published in 1902, or shortly after the Wizard of Oz and before the second Oz book The Marvelous Land of Oz.  It tells Baum's version of where Santa Claus came from, and how he came to be Santa Claus with hints into different customs.  NeClaus is the name given him by the fairy princess after he is taken in by Wood Nymph Necile.  The name means Necile's Little One.  The Ak; Master Woodsman takes a liking to him, and allows him to stay.  It is also he who shows Claus his own kind as a young man after he had lived with the immortals his entire childhood.  Claus decides to live among his own kind, but stays close to the forest people in the Laughing Valley of Hohaho.   Claus takes it upon himself to make children happy, by making them toys.  They were not any toys at the time.  In doing so he makes himself an enemy of Awgwas who like children to be miserable.  They try to kill him, and each time he is rescued by the immortals.  Finally there is a great battle and the Awgwas and their hosts are destroyed, and Claus is free to deliver toys to the people of the world.  He notices that reindeer and deliver faster than he with a sleigh.  However the reindeer are controlled by Knooks who can be grouchy.  They finally agree Claus can use reindeer on day a year, Christmas Eve.  The reindeer have a special diet and favors from the other immortals so they can perform this task. Claus is given the name Santa by the children of the world.  Finally Claus grows old and death is sure to overtake him, putting a stop to annual toy delivery.  However Ak takes pity on him, and Claus is given the cloak of immortality, and thus has the energy of a youth but the appearance of an old man.
This little book has an explanation for many Christmas traditions including the Christmas Tree, the sleigh, bells, chimneys, toys, workshop, etc. etc.  This quotes I found insightful

The Ak: Yet suffering in moderation, is the natural lot of mortals, and it is not out place to interfere with the laws of nature.

narrator: But it is the law while Evil, unopposed, may accomplish terrible deeds, the power of Good can never be overthrown when opposed to Evil.

Narrator speaking of Claus: For a generous deed lives longer than a great battle or a king's decree or a scholar's essay, because it spreads and leaves its mark on all nature and endures through many generations.

"In all this world there is nothing so beautiful as a happy child," says good old Santa Claus; and if he had his way the children would all be beautiful, for all would be happy.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

ACE Train 34: Altamont Corridor Express???

Since the first of the year, the train workers have been calling themselves Altamont Corridor Express rather than Altamont Commuter Express.  I don't like the change.  In my mind it represents going from a people, consumer, commuter oriented business to one of focusing on the corridor, the train and the tracks rather than the riders.  For example, I hate to complain, but the arriving on time of the train is terrible since the first of the year.  More than half of the trains have been late.  The other complaint is the stupid gate at Diridon Station.  We are locked in, in the morning and locked out in the evening.  It doesn't make sense.  The train staff seem to be very slow at getting the gate open in the morning.  Monday we were all waiting at the gate, and there was know one there to open it.  We all started looking around, before the staff realized what was going on an came out of a car.  On days when the train is late, the extra minute or two waiting for the gate can mean missing a connection.  Don't get me wrong, the staff are pleasant and friendly, it just seems the issue with the gate should have been fixed long ago, and the performance of arriving on time should be much better.  There was some construction, and things have improved slightly since it ended, but still not good.  And I don't know why the change in name, but if it represents a change in focus; I don't like it.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Music Review: Pioneer Day Celebration 2006 (to mmboe)

I have been watching the Pioneer Day Celebration of 2006, sesquicentennial of the handcart pioneers.  This concert features the Tabernacle Choir and Orchestra.  It also features the Brett Family Singers.  I taped it on VCR when it was presented on BYUtv.  The choir sang four folk songs arranged by Mack Wahlberg.  The Brett Family Singers sang songs from musicals and other popular songs: "The Impossible Dream," "Where Is Love," "You Build Me Up" and "Let There Be Peace."  "The Impossible Dream" is one of my favorite, but I didn't care for their arrangements with an echo quality throughout.  However the other songs were well done.  "You Build Me Up" was dedicated to President Hinckley.
There was a violin solo as part of the choir song "Lead Thou Me On."  It was very moving.  The choir also sang to excerpts from the film "Sweetwater Rescue."  This portion concluded with the song "Dear Zion," which was commonly sung by the pioneers.  President Hinckley spoke briefly.  "We should never forget the pioneers and their sacrifice."  The performance then concluded with " Come, Come Ye Saints."  Very moving.  My only regret is I could not find it on the LDS Website or You Tube to share.

Mormon Movie Review: ****Johnny Lingo (LDS Church 1969) (to mmboe)

This is one of my favorites.  At home, Mahana is basically a servant, or worse than a servant.  We don't see Mahana's mother, but her father calls her, "Mahana, you ugly."  And that is who she is in her father's house, Mahana the ugly, who hugs the shadows of the hut.  However Johnny Lingo pays eight cows for her.  In the community a man can get a good wife for two or three cows, and excellent one for four or five, and never has there been an eight cow wife.  The local merchant assumes Johnny Lingo is just proud.  However he visits the home after they have been away for a year, and finds Mahana to be beautiful.  These are quotes from that meeting as Johhny Lingo explains the change.
Johnny Lingo: Think what it must mean to a woman, her future husband meeting with her father to discuss the lowest price for which she can be bought. And later, when the women of the village gather, they boast of what their husbands paid for them - three cows, or five. How does she feel, the woman who was sold for one, or two? This could not happen to my Mahana.
Trader Harris: Johnny, I've misjudged you. I thought you were thinking only of how important you would look to your friends, paying 8 cows for a wife. I didn't know you wanted to make Mahana happy.
Johnny Lingo: More than happy, Mr. Harris. I wanted her to be an eight-cow woman.
Trader Harris: I see. In her father's hut, Mahana believed she was worth nothing.
Johnny Lingo: Yes, and now she knows she is worth more than any other woman on the island.
 This is a lesson in self-worth, but also in how are actions are reflected in others.

The message is right on.  My only complaints have to do with the music and the acting.

Movie Night: *****Brave

Brave is a very popular Disney Pixar movie released in 2012.  I am seeing it through Netflix DVD.   This movie is set in the Scottish Highlands.  I love their accents.  The theme of this movie is mother daughter relationships, and overcoming pride. This movie has a very interesting plot.  Merida and her mother are at odds over her having to marry a young man from a different clan so as to strengthen relationships between clans.  Merida would like to fall in love, and choose her own husband.  In her conflict with her queen mother, she runs away.  While away she comes upon a witch, who gives her a potion to change her mother and thus her fate.  The potion turns her mother into a bear.  Her father hates bears, having lost his leg to a bear attack.  Merida has to get mother out of the house, and switch her back.  Meanwhile her triplet younger brothers also get turned into bear cubs.  Merida finds out the key to restoring mother is to mend her pride in terms of her relationship with her mother.  There are a couple stand out quotes, having to be responsible for our own futures:

Merida: [voice over] Some say our destiny is tied to the land, as much a part of us as we are of it. Others say fate is woven together like a cloth, so that one's destiny intertwines with many others. It's the one thing we search for, or fight to change. Some never find it. But there are some who are led.

Merida: [voice over] Some say fate is beyond our command, but I know better. Our destiny is within us. You just have to be brave enough to see it.

This is a feel good show.  It have a positive motivational theme.  Tony and I enjoyed it together.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Book Review: Ozma of Oz: L Frank Baum (to mmboe)

This is the third in the Oz series published 1907.  This book introduces us to Dorothy again, but she is not traveling with Toto, but on a ship.  She becomes shipwrecked and survives by floating away in a chicken coop.  The next morning she discovers a talking chicken in the coop, and wonder of wonders, the chicken is talking.  This lets you know that Dorothy is close to a magical kingdom, but no Oz but the Kingdom of Ev.  Dorothy discovers a wind-up man, Tik-tok.  He is not alive, but has motion, talking and thinking capabilities if he is wound up properly.  He was built by Smith and Tinker.   However in visiting the Kingdom of Ev they run into trouble.  The Ev family is captured by the Nome King.  Their aunt is in charge and she wants Dorothy's head as it is pretty and young.  She would trade one of her own for it.  Dorothy refuses and ends up in the tower, Tik Tok runs down and becomes a statue in the parlor.  Bellina the chicken ends up in the hen house.
Luckily, friends from Oz, who have traveled across the desert by way of a magic carpet, arrive they next day as they are hoping to free the royalty of Ev.  They put things right, and no one is hurt except for Bellina who has had a row with a forward rooster.  Ozma is leading the company, and we see her for the first time in the role of leader of the People of Oz.  They set off the next do for the Nome Kingdom, which is under a mountain.  The Cowardly Lion and the Hungry Tiger pull the chariot with Ozma and Dorothy and Bellina.  The Scarecrow rides the Saw Horse.  The Tin Man leads an army of 26 officers and one private. 
The Nome King has preserved the Family of Ev as bric a brac, ornaments throughout his kingdom.  He tricks the rescuers, and they all in turn join the Kings ornaments.  Dorothy makes a lucky guess, and escapes being changed.  However it is the smallest party member of all that saves the day.  She, as a chicken, was sleeping under the King's throne and woke up in time to hear the secrets which saved the company.  However she is unable to save the Tin Man, and they give him up for lost.  It is only by chance they find him, and all are happy.  Dorothy visits Oz for a few weeks, but her Uncle then is worried about her Uncle who has been ill.
A few witicisms.  When the hen can first talk she says, "If on is going to talk, it's best to talk correctly."  Talking of the army, "The generals commanded the colonels and the colonels commanded the majors and the majors commanded the captains and the captains commanded the private, who marched with an air of proud importance because it required so many officers to give him his orders.  (Reminds me of places with too many bosses and not enough workers.)  The hen requires the company to stop so she can lay her morning egg.  The Tin Man is impatient and says she must hurry.  However the Scarecrow responds, "No, no!" exclaimed the Scarecrow, "If she hurries she might lay scrambled eggs."  There is the same discussion as the past two books, heart vs. brains.  However this time Tik Tok is in the discussion, and he concedes he is inferior to his companions as he is not alive, and does not have emotions.
And this is a song the Saw Horse was singing:
"Would a wooden horse in a woodland go?
Aye, aye! I sigh, he would, although
Had he not a wooden head
He'd mount the mountain top instead."

I find L. Frank Baum to be an American treasure.  I know others have tried to write their own sequels to his stories, but nothing compares to the originals.

Movie Review: BYU Education Week: Michael Ballam: Recognizing Inspiration in the Arts

This is the third and last Michael Ballam presentation available through BYUtv.  He continues with his inspiring talks about music.  In this talk his them is that if we surround ourselves with the light Of Christ through inspirational literature and music, then we can avoid the influence of the Prince of Darkness.  He starts talking about how people are often appointed to there time and position in life.  He starts with Esther."  Esther 4:14...and who knoweth whether thou art come to the kingdom for such a time as this?  He then talks about other prophets, Moses, Joseph Smith who were also appointed to particular times and duties. 

His topic then focuses on how music can bring the light of Christ into our lives.  "We can be protected by the light of Christ....The peace of God."  He uses several examples of this, including Saul being comported by David's harp, and King George finding comfort in Handel's "Water Music."  He notes how different songs and composers have been inspired by God.  "I am a Child of God" is a song he mentions, as well as Bach, Brahms and Beethoven.

He draws the conclusion that if God inspires music, then also Satan.  We have the Light of Christ to help us discern.

Michael Ballam concludes with the thirteenth article of faith.  We are expected to do as Joseph Smith advised, as he quoted Paul.  "If there is anything virtuous, lovely, or of good report or praiseworthy, we seek after these things."  Seek is an action word. 

Ballam intersperses his discourse with music.  He is a fascinating speaker, and very uplifting.

Mormon Movie Review: ****The Phone Call

This is a BYU movie from 1979.  It is based on a Jack Weyland article published in the New Era.  I wanted to dislike this movie.  It is about a a theme I struggled with, calling girls and lack self confidence.  However it is pleasantly witty and enjoyable.  It is on the light side, but also has a message of gaining self confidence.  Scott has a hard time calling the girl he likes to ask her on a date.  (I had a struggle with the same.)  He calls and hangs up on her before he can say anything.  (I did that too.  Luckily there was no caller id in that day.)  However when he takes a job at a diner, he finds it easy to talk to his coworker, Becky.  Becky helps him work on his confidence, and he helps Becky realize that her boyfriend is no good for her.  He just puts her down.  Scott is still a nerd at the end of the movie, and often says the wrong thing, but he is gaining in self confidence through practice.
It is available on You Tube, but I have an old VCR version.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Now My Niece Is On the News


Shelly, my niece ran the Boston Marathon last year.  Her parents went with her to visit Boston.  Now she is in the news in light of the tragedy this week.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Movie Night: ****^ Young Mr. Lincoln

This is a 1939 black and white movie available through instant Netflix.  It is directed by John Ford and Henry Fonda plays M. Lincoln.  This is not the way you would expect a Lincoln movie to go.  Instead this movie touches Lincoln as a man, a fallible, sometimes humorous, melancholy man.  He is truly an enigma.  There are those scenes where he can control a crowd with his wit and humor an courage; then there are those times when he talks down about himself.  This movie is truly a masterpiece.  Henry Fonda does a superb job.  I learned things about Abraham Lincoln I didn't know.  He likely had a love when he was young, who succumbed to typhoid.  He was melancholy, and subject to bouts of depression.  This movie also presents Lincoln as a lawyer, and it was as spellbinding as Perry Mason.  I recommend this movie.  Here is a longer review of this comparing it to another Lincoln movie.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Is Anyone Else Watching Granite Flats?

I am just wondering if anyone else has caught the BYUTV Series "Granite Flats" and what you think.  I have watched the first couple episodes, and the characters are intriguing, and the plot mysterious enough to keep my interest.  This is the first foray by BYUTV into a scripted story this way.
I think I am going to continue watching.  There is some sinister plot going on and I haven't gotten to the bottom of it yet, but there are three young people, probably sixth graders, who are investigating.  The series is set in rural 1950s Colorado, where there is a military base for no good reason.

Mormon Movie Review: **^The Trophy Case (BYU 1979)

This is a movie I have seen many times, and watched a couple times over the last weeks, but not sure if I still understand it.  I saw a report talking about this movie.  It addresses the question, "To what extent should a parent direct the life of a teenage child?"  This movie shows a father and a son, who are at odds with each other.  We do not see the mother, but the movie implies she is too busy pursuing earthly things.  The movie starts with the son being arrested, and sent to juvenile court.  Father confronts him, but in the end chases him away.  He runs to his part time job (which his father disapproves of) watching horses.  He is given a place to stay and a job.  The movie presents his love of horses, and after some time, there is a chance for reconciliation, but it gets messed up.  The problem is Father just can't see things from his son's point of view.  He takes off on a horse, and father following on surface streets in a car.  They remain at odds. 
So I wonder, what is the point of the movie, if we don't see a successful resolution.

Movie Night: ^ Saturday Night Fever

I ordered this movie from Netflix.  I must have not looked well as it was rated R.  I wanted to watch the music and the dancing, but couldn't get through more than 10 minutes because of the excessive F' word usage.  I could tell it was only going to get worse.  I do not recommend this movie.  I understand there is a PG version which is toned down, but didn't see it available through Netflix.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Movie Review: ***Imagining Argentina

I do not usually venture into R rated fare, unless it is for a historical presentation that I feel it is important to see--"Killing Fields," "Schindler's List" etc.  This movie is rated R and I recommend it for me, but not necessarily for others.  I watched it because it deals with a bad time in the history of Argentina--The Dirty War.  It was a bad time, because it pitted the government against the people.
This movie shows some pretty bad stuff, but I think it was worse in real life.  It shows the use of rape, electricity, water and blunt force as means of torture.  It shows throwing someone from a helicopter over the River to drown as a means of death.  It also shows machine gunning people in a group.  I know these things happened.  The government claimed they were fighting terrorists.  In the movie it showed the net extending beyond terrorists.  Emma Thompson and Antonio Banderas play husband and wife, Cecilia and Carlos Rueda.  Cecilia is a journalist, and writes an article about some youth who disappeared.  She herself becomes part of the disappeared as a result.  Carlos looks for her.  He discovers an ability to psychically see what was happened to some of the disappeared.  His business, the theater becomes a target.  People are taken from a church, who are trying to bring to light the disappearances. 
In real life I was told about the people teaching the illiterate being a target as a group.  I met a doctor who had been taken, because he treated someone who had been shot.  Often those taken were young people.  I saw a government out of control, stopping people at random with no cause.  Spying on their own citizens.
I tried to see if people were actually taken from a church, but could not verify this.  However I have heard, through a documentary movie of people being tortured with rape, and thrown from airplanes.  The movie also shows people being tortured during soccer games.  I was there during the World Cup, and heard people were tortured while the torturers listened or watched the matches.
This movie comes to a resolution.  I would not say a happy ending, but a type of resolution.  Those were bad times in Argentina.  They have come out the other side.  Some of the military officers were trialed and sent to life in prison.  However as of 1989 Presidente Menem pardoned those on both sides saying it was time to move on.  As far as the movie goes, Bandera does a good job, Thompson does not have much to act about, she is kidnapped early, and always seen in a beaten down trodden state.  There are others from the theater, one of whom is killed, and their daughter.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Life in Manteca 66: Bird in the House; 19-Year-Old Sister Missionaries


Tony wanted to play out front yesterday, and I wanted to hear him so said leave the door open.  He did and a bird invited itself in, and then flew high to the upper windows where we could not get it out.  We could get it to fly with noises, or the broom up close, but it wouldn't  come down to the door.  Miranda read on the internet to close all the windows but one, but it wouldn't come down to the windows that open.  The second option was to throw a towel over it.  We could not  get up to it to to do this.  We decided to wait it out.  As it got dark we took the screen out of lower window and opened it, we also left the door open.  We turned on the porch light, so the open window and the door where lit, while the upper windows were now getting dark.  We then left it alone.  With twenty minutes, Tony announced that the bird had left, and it had.
While the bird was in the living room, we had the missionaries share a message outside.  They are both 19-year-old sisters.  Sister Smith three weeks ago was home with her family.  Sister Dees has been a missionary a couple months, and is now training another missionary.  It is so exciting to see these changes.  I hope I am up to the change and can help by inviting neighbors and friends to hear the missionaries.  They seem excited and willing to serve. 

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Senior Prom: Caleb and Sierra; Matt and Katie; Simon and Maddie

I have added a link to Caleb's prom proposal.  You have to see it.
Caleb is off to the Prom.  He is taking Sierra.  They doubled dated with Matthew Elliott and Katie Crockett.  They also met Maddie Banks and Simon McHenry.

Sierra High School Jazz Band 2013

I wash able to attend a couple concerts this week, and able to record a few songs.   The choir sang Tuesday, but I missed that and just caught Caleb playing drum for Jazz Combo.  This was evening of the arts, and included Jazz, Choir, Concert Band, Theater and visual arts.  Some of the visual art was very good.
Friday was Jazz fundraiser, with lots of Jazz music.  Caleb played in four groups.  He started with smaller groups, combo A and then Hot Spud on the drums.  The Jazz Band played, and I have a few videos.

This was the fundraiser night.  I had Tony put raffle tickets into the different raffles for me.  Something worked, because we won a basket of chocolate.

Movie Night: **^The Marvelous Land of Oz: You Tube

This is a dramatic production from Children's Musical Theater of Minnesota.  It was presented in 1981.  This musical follows pretty well the book, leaving out a few parts as would be expected.  It has all the characters important in the book, Tip, Scarecrow, Nick Chopper the Tin Woosdman, Jack Pumpkinhead, Woogle Bug, Glinda, Jinjur, Jellia, Mombi. I really disliked Mombi's character.  She was too witchy and had too large a part.  In reading the book she was more a mean sorceress, although she was ugly.  She dominated the show in an ugly way.  However the Tinman, Scareacrow and Tip were very good.  The music was forgettable.  I did find the song of Glinda talking to Tip enjoyable.  "Look to your own heart for there you will find the courage to face tomorrow.  There's no other heart that knows, look to your own heart."

Book Review: The Marvelous Land of Oz (to mmboe)

This is the second book in the series.  It was written in 1904.  This book is more about the characters, than the land, but is an enjoyable read.  We meet some new characters, Tip, Jack the Pumpkinhead, the Saw Horse, Jinjur, Mombi and the Wogglebug.  We also see the continuing adventures of the Scarecrow and the Tin Woodman.  The plot summary has Kip escaping from Mombi, a mean sorceress.  Jinjur, and the army of rebellion, young women with knitting needles, take over the Emerald City, putting the Scarecrow out as ruler.  Kip, who has come to meet the Scarecrow for advise, the Scarecrow, Jack and the Saw Horse all escape on the Saw Horse to seek assistance form the emperor, The Tin Man.  After failing to retake the kingdom, they seek help from Glinda the Good.  Glinda is reluctant to help, but informs them the Wizard, who took power to the thrown, he the previous king's daughter, Ozma of Oz.  The plot then revolves around discovering where Ozma has been hidden.  I love some of the wit of L. Frank Baum.  Here are some samples:
To Jack Pumpkin Head
“Nonsense!”  said the Emperor—but in a kindly sympathetic tone.  “Do not, I beg of you, dampen today’s sun with the showers of tomorrow.  For before you head has time to spoil you can have it canned, and in that way it may be preserved indefinitely.”

Emperor (Tin Woodman)  “Experience does not always mean wisdom. “

“I suppose I must start my brains working,” replied his Majesty the Scarecrow; “for experience has taught me that I can do anything if I but take time to think it out.”

Scarecrow: Everything in life is unusual until you get accustomed to it.”

Sad-looking man to Scarecrow: …Since you went away the women have been running things to suit themselves.  I’m glad you have decided to come back and restore order, for doing housework and minding the children is wearing out the strength of every man in the Emerald City.”
“Hm!” said the Scarecrow, thoughtfully, “If it is such hard work as you say, how did the women manage it so easily?”
“I really do not know” replied the man, with a deep sigh.  “Perhaps the women are made of cast-iron.”

Nick the tin Woodman: “Why, when it comes to Law, I have nothing to say” answered that personage; “for laws were never meant to be understood, and it is foolish to make the attempt.”

“But I hope she cannot get at us,” exclaimed the Pumpkinhead, with a shiver of fear.  “She threatened to make tarts of me, you know.”
“Don’t worry,” said the Tin Woodman.  “It cannot matter greatly.  If you stay shut u up here you will spoil in time, anyway.  A good tart is far more admirable than a decayed intellect.”

Scarecrow to the Wogglebug: "Your mathematics seem to me very much like a bottle of mixed pickles--the more you fish for what you want the less chance you have of getting it."

"Suppose we try kindness," suggested the Tin Woodman.  "I've heard that anyone can be conquered with kindness, no matter how ugly they may be."

The book ends with the theme from the first: brains versus heart.  "You may have noticed that if one has money without brains, he cannot use it to advantage, but if one has brains without money, they will enable him to live comfortable to the end of his days."
   "At the same time," declared the Tin Woodman, "you must acknowledge that a good heart is a thing that brains can not create, and that money can not but.  Perhaps, after all, it is I who am the richest man in all the world."
   "You are both rich, my friends," said Ozma, gently; "and your riches are the only riches worth having--the riches of content!"

Movie Night: ***McLintock! (1963)

This is a classic John Wayne movie.  It also stars Maureen O'Hara.  It is a Western remaking of the "Taming of the Shrew."  It tells the story of a cattle ranching area accepting into the community homesteaders.  G.W.'s (McLintock) wife left him a couple years earlier, but has returned to petition for divorce, and to take their daughter with her to the territorial capital.  G.W. refuses.  He is still not sure why she left, but things are not right between them.
Things are also not right between the Native Americans and the area settlers, and the government.  They have released the chiefs of the Comanche, but want them to move to a different reservation.  There is a negotiation, which was decided before the hearing, that the move had to take place.  The Native Americans saw they will not go, and would rather die in battle.
Add to this is the courtship of their daughter, with a college educated dandy, versus a young man her father has hired.  This movie has lots of nice characters, but the two that sparkle ware G.W. and his wife.  In fact it boils over with a good beating in the end.  The chase scene, on foot no less, with G.W. in pursuit is a classic.
These events take place around the town of McLintock.  We see the Fourth of July celebration with races and games and dances.  There is the city fight in the mud.  McLintock helps the Indians to escape, with the hopes of forcing an investigation, and thereby exposes the poor treatment they have received from the governor and the agent.
Drawbacks to this movie are the caricature of an elderly Native American as a drunk always looking for a party with whiskey.  There are also portrayals of white individuals with drinking issues, including McLintock, but not as caricatured.  Also I do not condone spousal abuse. (It was a different era.)

Thursday, April 11, 2013

I saw Hue, a Walking Miracle, at Work Today; Post Kidney Transplant

I Saw Hue Danse at work today. He is much taller than I remember him, or maybe I am getting shorter.  Hue retired about five years ago.  He worked  at Gateway, a sister program to the Callcenter.  After retiring he moved to Florida, where he hoped to live the good retired life.    His pension allowed him a comfortable lifestyle in Florida.  He just had to live with alligators and humid heat and mosquitoes in the summer.  His plan was a good one, but liver cancer got in his way.  He said he was down to about 18 percent of his liver when he had transplant surgery.  He said he was on the wait list for about five months.  If he was on a wait list in California it would have been about five years.  He had the surgery at Mayo Clinic in Florida.  He is now pulling through OK.  He said he was down to 137 pounds.  He has to spend eight months here locally going through after transplant treatment.  The treatment effects his white and red blood cells, so he has a transfusion daily.  Through it all he is recovering, and looking healthy again. Hue said that through it all he has become a person of prayer.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Book Review: The Wizard of Oz (to mmboe)

There are certain books, and in some cases series of books, which deserve to be read multiple times.  "Harry Potter" series is one of these.  For some people the "Twilight" series and the "Hunger Games."  For me the best series, is an older one, but it has witches and wizards, just like Harry Potter.  L. Frank Baum created a universe with fantastic characters and adventures. in the "Oz" books.    This is why I have enjoyed this series of books.  I have determined to read them all again after seeing "Oz the Great and Powerful."  Many parts of that story are familiar, but I am not sure which book it would be.  More likely it is bits taken from many books.
I enjoyed "The Wonderful Wizard of Oz" which is the first in the series.  It was written in 1900.  We are introduced to the grey world of Kansas, as compared to the land of Oz.  The movie is not a reflection of the book, but takes stories from several different books.  However we do have Dorothy taking care of two wicked witches, with the help of two good witches.  Dorothy meets the Good Witch of the North in the book, but we don't get her name.  She then visits, Glinda The Good Witch of the South.  Baum does an excellent job of keeping his readers interested in his characters, and their adventures.  In the book, we find that the flying monkeys are really not that bad, but they are ruled by the Evil Witch.  She is overcome and melted by water as in the movie.  Each of the heroes gets there wish in a physical way, which helps them gain confidence in themselves and find what they already had.  Dorothy doesn't get hers but through her "silver slippers" she makes it home. 
I love Baum's wit.  As for this book, he talks about which is better brains or heart.  "'All the same," said the scarecrow, 'I shall ask for brains instead of a heart, for a fool would not know what to do with a heart if he had one.'  'I shall take the heart, returned the Tin Woodman; 'for brains do not make one happy, and happiness is the best thing in the world.'  Dorothy did not say anything, for she was puzzled to know which of her friends was right."

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Movie Night: ****^ High Road to China

This movie is Tom Selleck at his best.  This is a 1983 adventure  movie based in the 1920s.  It was put out by Golden Harvest/Warner Brothers.  This movie was made in the wake of "Raiders of the Lost Ark."  Tom Selleck plays Patrick O'Malley, a pilot who teaches lessons, drinks too much and womanizes too much.  He and his two planes are offered employment by Eve Tozer (Bess Armstrong) who needs to find her father (Wilford Brimley) and get him to a British court, or he will be proclaimed dead by her father's partner in business, Bentik.  His partner is with out morals, and will do anything to get his way, including murder.  Jack Weston portrays Struts, his mechanic and drinking buddy. 
The movie is filmed in Yugoslavia.  O'Malley and Tozer fly all over, having great adventures looking for her father.  They fall into the hands of Suleman Khan, who wants to use the plans to drop bombs on the English.  This does not work out and O'Malley drops bombs on the Khan's camp instead, allowing his friends to escape.  They go farther and farther into the back country, arriving in Nepal.  The elder who tells them where to go to find her father advises, "The oz is slow, but the earth is patient."  Bentik sends a fighter pilot to stop their travels.  He destroys one of the planes, but O'Malley meets him in a dog fight with the other, which he wins of course.
They then travel to China where her father is conducting a war against a Chinese emperor.  Father explains that the company is not where the wealth is, but in the patents which are still in his and daughter's name.

This movie is fun.  It turns out to be romantic comedy in addition to adventure.  The two planes used are vintage, and not actually destroyed.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Mormon Movie Review: ****^The Drop Card

This is one of my favorite of the old BYU movies.  It tells the story of La Nina, freshman age from who is attending BYU.  Her family is very traditional and of Italian descent.  Going from rural Idaho to the campus is a struggle.  Her struggles becomes more intense, as her first assignment in communications class is to talk about something she does well.  She immediately asks the instructor to please sign her drop card.  He decides to not do this, but meet with her to see if he can help her.  Her struggle is the assignment, she does not think she does anything well.  They go through several meetings, and she is still determined to drop the class.  The professor comes upon her in the cafeteria, where she is after skipping an appointment.  She makes a comment on the poor pizza they serve, and the professor has proven his point.  She does have value, and has a skill at making pizza.  I find this movie motivational on two fronts.  The professor goes the extra mile  to work with LaNi.  Lani's struggle is also motivating, as she realizes she has worth, and is able to share this with others.

Book Review: John Steinbeck's Cannery Row: A Time to Remember

This is a photographic look at Cannery Row in Monterrey which was the background for two John Steinbeck books.  "Cannery Row" was set before WWII, and Sweet Thursday after WWII.  The sardines were fished out during the war, and never came back, and the cannery business was doomed.  The fishing boats had to seek other ways to make money, and slowly the cannery fell into decay.
This book is a photographic essay of this decay.  It is written by Tom Weber and published in 1983, meaning after almost 40 years of decay.  There have been thirty more years since these pictures were taken.  This book has few words, but the author wrote a poem.  These are a few lines:

I run to hold these images
before they left no trace at all.
But you can't grab much from running time....

...Here then, are these images
from the time of other men
who came and built and fished the waters
and thought their dream would be "forever".

Here is their "forever" now:
The rotting planks and doorless doors
and window sashes with glassless holes
that sucked in torrents of winter rain
and called each fog like a reckless lover.

And in the bay, the concrete piers
that once held up a stage of life,
now are marker shrines
where canneries stood.

This book makes one realize that change is part of our journey.  Part of that change is decay, but then part of it is rebuilding.  The Monterrey Aquarium is now in this area, and it is more a tourist region than anything else.

Gary Norman: A Friend Passed Away Last Week

I am not sure what a pulmonary embolism is, but my sister's brother-in-law passed away much too early last week as a result of one.  Gary lives close to my daughter, and he took time away from his Easter Saturday to help her move.  Gary seemed to be doing fine, so when Sheri called me Tuesday to say he had passed away, it was quite a shock.  Sheri said he stayed home Monday from work with the flu.  Then on Tuesday he started turning blue and they rushed to the doctor.  But the pulmonary embolism caused him to go into cardiac arrest, and even though they did CPR for 45 minutes, they could not bring him back.


At the Movies: *****Oz The Great and Powerful

Sheri and I took the family to Oz for Cesar Chavez Day as I was off.  I love L Frank Baum, and this movie seemed to capture his spirit.  It is his spirit and wit that made the Oz series so popular.
Instead of starting with a little girl from Kansas, this movie starts with a conning magician from Kansas.  He escapes an upset husband of a  woman he had been pursuing.  The pursuer happens to be the strong-man of the carnival.  He escapes in a balloon, which happens to go into a tornado, and he is whisked off to Oz.
The director, like in the ‘Wonderful Wizard of Oz”, has used black and white until this point, and then we enter a colorful world.  This world is  controlled by three governing witches, one good, one bad and one we are not so sure.  However it takes some time to determine which, witch, is which.  (I like that.)

The theme of the show is repeated several times by the wizard, “You can do anything if you believe.”  However the wizard doesn’t really believe this of himself.  It isn’t until faced with an impossible crisis that he actually begins to believe in himself.  When he releases his own skills, slight of hand, creativity, use of the moving camera, etc that he truly begins to become a wizard, although a humbug wizard at that.

This movie has fantastic characters.  James Franco portrays Oz, and Michelle Williams Glinda.  We also meet Theodora, who is not yet the evil which she eventually becomes. Evanora is already evil and deceitful.  Oz surrounds himself with the "China Girl" and Finley, a flying monkey.  We also meet the munchkins, who can't fight, but are very good singers.  The Tinkers, who can build anything. 

I recommend this movie highly.  I think it is fun.  Sheri and Caleb both had issues with special effects surrounding the China Girl.  I didn't have any problems.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Book Review: **^The Long Valley (to mmboe)

This is not my favorite John Stienbeck book.  It is a series of eleven  stories which center on Salinas Valley.  It was published in 1938.  It also includes the Red Pony series which I have reviewed elsewhere.  http://billywardlefamily.blogspot.com/2013/01/book-review-red-pony.html
It isn't Steinbeck's writing style which I dislike.  He is a master of this craft.  However, in his efforts for realism, with some of these stories he leaves a sour feeling.  It seems the stories are generally tragic, and sometimes too graphic.
The story which most left me with an eerie feeling was "Flight."  You have a premonition it is not going to turn out well.  Even the main character's yesterday early on says her brother is not dead yet.  It is just too graphic for me in the end.
"The White Quail" is also tragic.  However in this case, en ending is unexpected, and very sudden.  The wife in this story is very selfish in her pursuing a garden, above all else.  Above love for her husband, above having children, or letting her husband have a dog. 
Steinbeck introduces us to later themes.  A story deals with migrant workers ("Breakfast.")  Another about labor organizing, ("The Raid.")  He has a story about a man who at one time would had been considered an "idiot savant."  (I think that label is offensive, but it works in this case.)  "Johnny Bear" had no social skills, but had an ability to repeat conversations word-for-word.   He uses this skill to get people to buy him whiskey.  Going around as a human tape recorder, can only offend others and get you in trouble.  Such is the case here.
Another story which leaves a bad feeling it "Murder."  This story seems to indicate there is a place for spousal abuse.  I totally disagree with this premise.  There is never an excuse for hurting another of Heavenly Father's children.
Steinbeck also has a study of group think in "Vigilante."  There have been studies of this.  How people will sometimes do things they normally wouldn't, if they are going along with a group.  In this story, we see a young man after he has participated in a lynch mob.  There is no thought of their own guilt, but only justification and getting away with it.
This book does have the quality of writing of Steinbeck.  However, I am not sure if all of these stories needed to be told.

Music Review: ****^Spirit: Alex Boye (to MMBOE)

Alex Boye's songs in this album are a please to God, to help find his place, his status with God.  He lends his distinctive tone to these songs, and in doing so inspires us to seek God.  He  teaches repentance; starting over.

My favorite is "A Prayer Away."
When will you listen?
When will you hear?
A still small voice can be loud and so clear.
Just when you thought, you had it all
You find you have nothing
Then you stumble and fall.

So reach for the sunlight
Stop chasing the storms all over town
You can't keep on running
You got to start living, yeah

Nobody deserves to be lonely
God's love will give hope to each wondering soul
Whenever you feel you're the only hope in this world
is only a prayer away

There's time to let go
And time to move on
To even be moved by the words to this song
Come back to the alter
Back to yourself
Trade silver for gold
Leave your past on the shelf

Fall into forgiveness
Your life can never be the same
I'll help you through this
Just lift up your hands
And say His name

What good is a crown!
If you don't wear it
You're standing for nothing
You keep falling down, oh no
Hope in this world
Is only a prayer away

That last statement is true, hope in this world is only a prayer away.  The other messages in this song are also true.  It is possible to stop falling down, we can pick ourselves up, and see repentance, and make a change in our lives.   God's hand is always extended towards us.  It is our need to humble ourselves, and call to him for his loving forgiveness.

Other of his songs also are a plea for God's guidance. 

"Word of God Speak"
Word of God speak
Won't You pour down like rain
Washing my eyes to see Your majesty
To be still and know that You're in this place
Please let me stay and rest in Your holiness
Word of God speak

"Great Light of the World"
Oh great light of the world
Fill up my soul
I'm half a man here
So come make me whole
Oh great light of the world
Come to impart
The light of your grace
Fill up my heart

Boye concludes this album with a song common to Christians, "How Great Thou Art."  He makes this song unique, as he adds an African Chant which he does so well.  This song is much more moving than anything from "Lion King" where the same strategy was employed.

Mormon Movie Review: ****Star Child

 Star Child is a recording of a dramatic performance (1999). It  is the sequel to Saturday's Warrior.  Doug Stewart wrote the book and lyrics.  Gaye Beeson wrote the music.  There are things to not like with this movie, but also things to cherish.  As I watched several times I was moved to tears.  At times the lyrics are very moving.  (lyrics from my memory as I could not find them on internet.)

I promise, I promise, I promise to bring,
On the day that we marry, hands that are clean
That angels may help us achieve every dream
Of endless forever, with you are my queen.
I promise I promise, of this I am sure
I promise to bring you a heart that is pure
That angels may help us achieve every dream
Of endless forever with you as my king.

Oh if there's a person, who can give my life meaning
Then please reach out, take my hand

Follow the light that's in you
Don't be afraid it will guide you
Follow and you'll know
The safest way to go,
If you follow, follow the light.

For the most part it is well presented.  Elder Green however was painful to listen to.  He was off key too often.

I must admit, looking at the college dating scene was not fun, and caused me to have nightmares.  It was a hard time for me.  I don't think people are so focused on finding a mate, even if they are at BYU.  It was a shallow cliche for everyone's character.

This movie does not end all happy like Saturday's Warrior.  Chuck and Marie don't marry, as they promised each other in the preexistence.  But Chuck does find Larry, and he is converted to the gospel.

I saw a stage production in college.  My date didn't like the ending.  I was OK with it.  It is more important to remember we are Heavenly Father's children, than whose child we are on Earth. 

Book Review: The House at Pooh Corner (to mmboe)

This is the second Pooh book written me A.A. Milne.  It was published in 1928.  It was illustrated by Ernest H. Shepard.  This book presents the continuing adventures of Pooh and Christopher Robin.  It deals with many problems, one of which is Christopher Robin going away to school, and not being with his friends as often.  It also deals with Christopher also going away (perhaps to boarding school) and how the group of friends deals with this great loss. 

Pooh, or Milne, is a poet.  One of the stories is of Owl's tree fallng over, his house is destroyed.  Piglet saves the day, as he is small enough to get out the mail chute, as the door is not workable.  He brings help, and Owl and Pooh are saved.  Pooh promised to write him a poem, and when he does, this is how it comes out.

Sing Ho! For Piglet Here lies a tree which Owl (a bird)
Was fond of when it stood on end,
And Owl was talking to a friend
Called Me (in case you hadn't heard)
When something Oo occurred.
For lo! the wind was blusterous
And flattened out his favourite tree,
And things looks bad for him and we---
Looked bad, I mean, for he and us---
I've never known them wuss.
Then Piglet (PIGLET) thought a thing:
"Courage!" he said. "There's always hope.
I want a thinnish piece of rope.
Or, if there isn't any bring
A thickish piece of string.
So to the letter-box he rose,
While Pooh and Owl said "Oh!"
and "Hum!"
And where the letters always come
(Called "LETTERS ONLY") Piglet sqoze
His head and then his toes.
0 gallant Piglet (PIGLET)! Ho!
Did Piglet tremble? Did he blinch?
No, No, he struggled inch by inch
Through LETTERS ONLY, as I know
Because I saw him go.
He ran and ran, and then he stood
And shouted, "Help for Owl, a bird
And Pooh, a bear!" until he heard
The others coming through the wood
As quickly as they could.
"Help -help and Rescue!" Piglet cried
And showed the others where to go.
Sing ho!for Piglet (PIGLET) ho!
And soon the door was opened wide
And we were both outside!

Sing ho! for Piglet, ho!

This book tells many familiar stories from watching Pooh shows on Disney.  Many have been told, including Rabbit trying to get Tigger's bounces.  They take Tigger on a long hike, with the hopes of getting him lost in the forest.  However this trick backfires.  Tigger knows where he is and everyone else is lost.  In the end Tigger rescues rabbit.  

We are introduced to the game, Poohsticks.  I must admit  I have played this game with my boys many times.  It is throwing a stick into a river or creek from a bridge, an watching as it goes under the bridge.  I an the kids use to play with this over the Saratoga Creek using leaves.  

We are introduced to the character of Piglet. We not only see his bravery, but also his charity.  When Eeyore finds a new house for Owl, it is Piglet's old house.  Piglet is invited to stay with Pooh, and he accepts.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Movie Night: ***^Man in the Iron Mask

This movie is very enjoyable.  It stars Lenonardo DiCaprio in a dual role as King Louis and his twin brother, Prince Phillip.  The pretest of this movie, is that Prince Phillip has been hidden since birth, as there can only be on heir.  When King Louis is crowned  , he has his brother imprisoned, with an iron mask over his face, so no one can see his face and see that he looks like the king.  He is never told why he is imprisoned.  He does not know he is the king's brother.

And there enter the musketeers.  They have been given a much smaller role, and in fact are mostly on the outside looking in, except for D'artagnan who is captain of the guard.  He is also a secret lover of the queen.  King Louis betrays the son of Athos, (John Malkovich) sending him to the front lines where he will be sure to die in war.  He does this, so he can have his fiance, as he uses many women.  Porthos, who needs adventure, and Aramis, who leads the rebellion determine to bring down the king.  Aranis is privy to information about Prince  Phillip, and the steal him from jail.  They hope to replace the king  with the prince.  However, can they teach him to be regal in just a few weeks, the time they have before a masquerade ball, when they hope to make the switch.

This movie is suspenseful and intriguing.  Malkovich is always good, and as the father who loses his son does a good job.  There is some sexual inuendo, and the King seems to be often in bed with different women.  I would recommend this movie, and will probably view it again.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Life in Manteca 64: Reataurant Review, Strange Weather

Man was our weather strange this weekend.  Friday night we had long periods of thunder.  Miranda and Caleb spent time at the window looking at the lightening storm.  Saturday was pretty nice, but Sunday afternoon it let loose again.  Thunder, lightening, rain and hail.  Anthony brought some hail in and it was probably quarter inch size.   Our back year could not drain quickly enough and we had a big puddle.

Sheri and I tried a new restaurant, ****Forum Dynasty at Union and Lathrup.  It is a Chinese oriented restaurant and was very enjoyable.  He had the menu for two that included sweet and sour pork, our favorite, also included fried rice, with lots of shrimp which I like but Sheri not so much, and hot and sour soup.  I could handle the hot, but not the sour, and mostly went uneaten.  But we were game to try something new.  Their sweet and sour was very good.  hey were not skimping on vegetables as is sometimes the case.  We also had almond chicken.  It was also very good, and a good contrast to the sweet.  It had zucchini which I pushed to the side.  A good experience, very friendly service.  This restaurant is worthy of a repeat.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Music Review: Neil Diamond: Hot August Night (to mmboe)

This is a two-album live recording of Neal Diamond 1972 concerts performed at the Greek Theater in Los Angeles.  He played ten sold-out concerts at the theater.  This album includes many Neal Diamond classics, as well as a few other fun songs.  I listened to it on You Tube. 

Some of the classics, "Son Sung Blue" which is a sing-along-song.  Others are "Shilo", "Sweet Caroline", "Holy, Holy", "Cracklin Rose", "And I am I Said."  However my favorite parts in listening were songs that never were very popular.  He had a set of almost children's humorous songs, "Porupine Pie" and "You're so Sweet".  He sang in Spanish with "Canta Libre" "Freedom's Song"; "I sing with my heart for your children and their children." 

He gets country, and funny in "Soggy Pretzels", "You were crying in your pretzels."  Someone is playing the steal country guitar.  He tells a country song story.  I think he may be making fun of country, but I'm not sure.

One thing is for sure, this double album shows Diamond's talents and versatility.  He is truly a performer, and is at his best here.

Easter 2013: A Few Pictures

I did not do a very good job of documenting our Easter weekend with pictures.  We started Saturday with going to help my daughter move.  They found a place, larger and cheaper a couple blocks away.  We all went to help, along with a few people from their ward in Turlock.  Charity and Anthony had barbeque after the moving, and they did an Easter egg hunt hunt for Tony.  They have a pretty large yard behind their four-plex.  Tony then hid everything and Miranda and Charity were the finders.

Tony brought the plastic eggs and did a couple Easter egg hunts in the back yard for the neighbors.  They then hid the eggs for him and they had a good time. 

Caleb and I finished our home teaching, and went Easter shopping.  I was tired and lazy and we didn't get Easter baskets out until Sunday morning. 

Sheri and Toni tried something new: tie/dye eggs.  I had to sacrifice some ties.

I sang with the choir for Easter.  We had rehearsal before church.  Chris Papworth is the choir director, Ruth Christensen played and Caleb is the president.  We sang one of my favorites from Handel's Messiah, "Surely."

4. Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows. . . . 5. . . He was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him,

This was the prelude, but in many respects the high light of my day. 

Mark and Dianna and family, including Nicole, came over for Easter Dinner.  Charity and Anthony came as well.  Sheri prepared ham dinner. 

Movie Night: ***The Face on the Milk Carton: A Bad Adoption Story

Made for t.v. movie (1995) based on the movie by Janie Johnson.  This movie is about how everything is done wrong in an adoption.  Two parents accept their daughter's story of her having a daughter and escaping a cult.  The grandparents take her in as their own, and move, fearing the cult might come after them.  They keep everything secret, and as far as the girl knows they are her parents.  Until she sees her face on a milk carton.  Her face as she was at age three, in a polka dot dress.  She slowly comes to realize that her initial hunches are true, something is not right about the story she has been told.  There are no pictures of her as a baby, there is no birth certificate, she finds Hannah's things in the attic.  She finally confronts her parents, and is told the story about the cult.

However she still cannot let the story go.  She secretly visits the family of the girl on the milk carton, and finds her birth family, not a cult.  She doesn't want to go back with them, but wants to relieve their worry, and writes them a letter, but decides not to mail it.  However she loses the letter, and in their worry, the contact the other family.

Through court proceeding she returns to live with strangers, her birth family.  This is a struggle.  She is homesick.  She misses her boyfriend; she misses her parents.  The true story comes out, Hannah kidnapped her.  Her parents, as far as we know, did not know; but accepted their daughter's story.

It is a struggle.  Jen's siblings, some of them, are slow to accept her.  She slowly makes adjustments, and bit by bit, the two families begin to tolerate each other.

This is how adoption should never be.  Something based on lies is like a house of cards.  It is sure to tumble.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Movie Night: ***Transformers: Dark Side of the Moon

Transformers have not been my favorite series. watched with Caleb through the Wii, I think through Amazon.  Transformer movies seem too loud and too violent for my taste.  However this movie is as good as any of the others.  It has another Decepticon who crashed into the moon many years ago, and thus the name of the movie.  However, the fighting again takes place on earth.  This time is just as desperate as the others.  Somehow they are going to transport their home planet, destroying earth.  This movie doesn't add much to the series, except we get to see Optimus Prime rip out the spinal columns of his enemies, in the end.  Up until then it is pretty touch and go.  Also, without the humans, and without the Autobots working together, all would have been lost.  At one point the humans send the Autobots away, thinking they are the problem.  I think this movie is as good as the first, and better than the second Transformers.

Movie Night: ****Grapes of Wrath

This is the John Steinbeck classic.  This 1940 movie is John Ford directed and stars Henry Fonda as Tom Joad.  He returns to the family after four hears in prison for killing a man in  fight.  He finds everything different.  The land in Oklahoma has been bought by speculators, and the people put out by the banks.  California is where everyone is going to start over.  So Tom joins the family, and they take along a preacher, Casy (John Carradine).   Casy stays with the family, until he takes the blame for a fight at a camp, and is run out of town.  The family finds work picking peaches.  They are in fact breaking a strike.  Tom goes to check things out.  He finds Casy there, leading the strikers.  When the goons come out to chase away the camp, they go for Casy, as he talks a lot.  The kill him, and Tom retaliates by killing a goon.  He gets a hit on the face in the scuffle.  They family has to move on, or loss Tom.
Ma Joad (Jane Darwell)  is the strength of the family.  It is she who keeps them together.  As they family is moving on yet again at the end of the movie, she observes that women are steady, while men go in jerks.  By this she means women find strength in whatever circumstance, while men are dependent on their environment.
I really liked the characters of Tom, Ma, and Casy as presented in this film.  My only complaint is the ending is different than the book.  In the book there is a show of strength, that we take from Ma's words, but which we don't see in action the same way as the book.

Movie Review: Michael Ballam: *****The Power of Music to Lift and Teach

byutv, you may have to log in

BYU Education Week 1998
I love Michael Ballam's talks on BYUtv.  They are recorded education week presentations, and he mixes music with his lecture.   His presentations motivate and uplift me.  He is also very insightful on the power of music, and has many tremendous experiences in sharing music with others.  He takes about the great composers, and how they often said they were inspired by God in their music.  He also tells of his teachers, and experiences in which music has helped people think more clearly and touch their imagination, like Albert Einstein.