Friday, November 30, 2007

New Book: Mission: Cook!

Our family gets a kick out of Food Network's DINNER: IMPOSSIBLE, in which Chef Robert Irvine is challenged to cook gourmet meals under difficult circumstances. While the show has a bit of a game show element to it, the fun comes in seeing Chef Robert and his sous chefs' creativity under fire. They have an impressive ability to put together elegant meals in just a few hours, utilizing whatever ingredients and cooking methods are on hand.

On the show Chef Robert has done everything from cooking at Colonial Williamsburg to preparing a chuck wagon meal to cooking in a hotel made of ice (which sure presented difficulties insofar as cooking heat melts ice). I think our favorite episode was when they couldn't even start cooking in a pigsty of a frat house at the University of Pennsylvania until the kitchen was hosed down...and I do mean hosed down! What a mess. The episode where he had to round up food from tailgaters at a football game and turn it into a gourmet meal was another favorite.

Chef Robert's intelligence, ability, sense of humor, and British accent -- he was trained as a chef in the Royal Navy -- add up to a fun program.

Robert Irvine has a new book out which is a combination autobiography and cookbook. Should be a fun read.

Tonight's Movie: Waitress (2007)

Tonight we watched WAITRESS, which was just released on DVD.

I thoroughly enjoyed this character study of Jenna (Keri Russell), a waitress who bakes extraordinary pies at a Southern diner. Jenna is trapped in a marriage with an abusive husband (Jeremy Sisto), and her life is further complicated when she learns she's expecting a baby. Jenna dreams of saving enough money to leave her husband...and she also dreams of pies...amazing pies.

The film is a wonderfully drawn slice of life -- no pie puns intended -- depicting Jenna and her coworkers at the diner: waitresses Becky and Dawn (Cheryl Hines, Adrienne Shelly), manager Cal (Lew Temple), and owner Joe (Andy Griffith). The characters are distinctive and feel very true-to-life. Despite the thread of melancholy running through the film as Jenna's life becomes ever more complicated, it's a funny, touching movie which ultimately affirms both life and making the right choices. The humor, the brightly colored pie-making sequences, and Jenna's supportive relationships with her friends at the diner leaven -- there go the baking puns again -- what could otherwise be a somber film.

A couple years ago I very much enjoyed Keri Russell in Hallmark's THE MAGIC OF ORDINARY DAYS, and in WAITRESS she's also superb in the film's title role. The two films are somewhat similar insofar as they are about women dealing with the consequences of unexpected pregnancy who choose to keep their babies and ultimately build a happy existence, appreciating family, friends, and the "small" things in life. The great unanswered question in WAITRESS is how someone with Jenna's talent and beauty ended up married to such a mean, controlling loser. Russell movingly depicts Jenna's gradual evolution from her initially miserable existence.

Andy Griffith steals every scene he's in as the quirky Joe, who is crochety, perhaps the slightest bit senile, yet all-knowing and wise. I wouldn't be surprised if Griffith is recognized with an Oscar nomination as Best Supporting Actor.

The cast also includes Nathan Fillion and Eddie Jemison. The late Adrienne Shelly, who plays Dawn, also wrote and directed the film. It's very sad Shelly did not have the opportunity to create more films, as she was a triple-threat talent. She was murdered in New York City before the film's release.

Parental advisory: The film is rated PG-13 and is definitely not for the younger set due to its adult themes.

WAITRESS runs 108 minutes. The trailer is here. DVD extras include a commentary track and featurettes.

I'd looked forward to seeing WAITRESS for several months and found it worth the wait. A very enjoyable evening.

How Many Episodes Left?

If you're wondering how many episodes are left before your favorite TV show goes off the air due to the writers' strike, TV Guide has prepared an informative chart.

Fans of FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS are in luck as the show has eight episodes left. Many programs are down to their last two to five episodes.

Keep in mind that some shows may delay showing all their new episodes for a few weeks, due to preemptions for Christmas specials in December.

Republicans Enjoy "Much Better" Mental Health

This news according to four Gallup polls.

The first bar chart alone, comparing Republicans to Democrats, is quite interesting.

Also of note is a chart on Page 2 which shows that the more frequently Republicans attend church, the better their mental health.

As it happened, today Rush Limbaugh had a phone call from a very angry liberal. Rush counseled her "I really wish you'd open your eyes. I really wish you happy, try to anyway. Try to realize the joys and the benefits, and just express some gratitude for the fact that you live in this country from wherever you came, instead of being so angry and upset all the time! It's got to be devastating to you. It's got to make your life ruinous, miserable, and unhappy..."

When I saw this news story, I immediately thought of the woman on that phone call.

The report is fun to peruse, for whatever it's worth...

Saturday Update: Thoughts from John Hinderaker at Power Line.

Justice Thomas on His Silence From the Bench

DRJ at Patterico's site has posted a very interesting piece about Justice Clarence Thomas's thoughts on the usefulness -- or not -- of asking questions from the bench during oral arguments.

From my perspective, Thomas's views on the issue make a lot of sense.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Battle for the L.A. Coliseum Escalates

The battle for control of the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum has escalated. It seems to be the talk of the Southern California, as the prospect of the Trojans moving to the Rose Bowl provokes strong emotions.

L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa says he has given up on an NFL team in the Coliseum, and he and Governor Schwarzenegger are said to be working on helping break the impasse between the Coliseum Commission and USC.

The ineffectual Coliseum Commission is paralyzed by dreams of an NFL team that will never happen. The Commission members seem willing to give up the only steady tenant the Coliseum has ever had and let the Coliseum become a little-used relic. They refuse to either put up the money to improve the stadium -- because they figure the mythical NFL team they long for will raze it anyway -- or to give USC control over the venue in return for USC investing a staggering $100 million in improvements over the next decade.

The Commission's other "big idea" has been to sell off the naming rights to the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum -- which I believe is inappropriate for such an historic venue -- and as part of that deal wanted USC to hand over to the company buying the naming rights the "use of the University's name and marks for promotional use." Again, that would be very inappropriate -- and potentially damaging -- for USC to cede control of its name and trademarks for the buyer to use as it saw fit. Here again, the Commission has attempted to avoid taking action itself for the good of the Coliseum. It wants all of the power and none of the cost.

The Coliseum Commissioners come off like whiny children. Exhibit A: Bill Chadwick, who gloats "I think it would be great if they played at the Rose Bowl for two years. At the end of that two years, the leverage we would have in negotiations would be spectacular." Now that's a really helpful negotiating attitude. And so respectful toward a tenant of eight decades.

The Commission members, who represent the state, city, and county -- and thus are representing California's citizens -- also didn't like USC giving out their contact info, and are complaining of death threats. Not surprisingly, the same Commissioner who is gloating over the prospect of forcing the Trojans to the Rose Bowl is screaming the loudest. (Rolling eyes...) Heaven forbid Commission members actually hear opinions from taxpayers.

USC students plan to boycott concessions at Saturday's big faceoff with UCLA. 100% of the concession sales go to the Coliseum.

We can only hope that this brouhaha A) is resolved promptly; and B) doesn't distract the Trojans from Saturday's game, when they'll be fighting for the right to play in the Rose Bowl on January 1st.

That's a game all Trojan fans would be happy to see played in Pasadena.

Friday Morning Update: Doug Krikorian of the Press-Telegram insists the Rose Bowl threat is only a ploy: "What would the Trojans be gaining by a move that isn't even lateral, considering it would reduce them to second-class status since the long-time Rose Bowl residents, the UCLA Bruins, would no doubt have the priority on future bookings?"

CNN Debate: "Something Between a Fiasco and a Disgrace"

That's Byron York's assessment at National Review's The Corner. To which I respond, how about both?

There isn't much to say that hasn't already been said about CNN's appalling lack of candor regarding the questioners they used for the Republican Debate. If you haven't yet caught up to speed on the big story of the last 24 hours, the Republican debate questioners included activists for Clinton, Obama, Edwards, and Richardson; people who have worked with Democrats Dick Durbin and Jane Harmon; and a CAIR intern.

Particular kudos go to Michelle Malkin for her tireless work digging and exposing the plants.

From a comment left after Howard Kurtz's report in the Washington Post: "So let me get this straight... in the Democrat YouTube debates, the 'undecided questioners' are Democratic activists and in the Republican YouTube debates, the 'undecided questioners' are Democratic activists."

That's it in a nutshell.

And as Fred Barnes points out, many of the questions were designed to make Republicans look bad, and weren't on substantive issues voters are likely to care about. Aren't voters a little more interested in the Iraq surge, for example, than gays in the military?

Rush Limbaugh was on a tear this morning, asserting that the entire style of the debate, starting with the opening song, demeaned the office of the Presidency.

A roundup of further stories worth your time: Wizbang, Power Line here, here, and here; Patterico; John Podhoretz; and Instapundit.

CNN has tried to defend the debate today, saying that what mattered were the questions, not the questioners. Surely even CNN doesn't really believe that. They know that credibility rests on full disclosure. You simply can't have "undecided voters" who are actually activists.

CNN either knew what they were doing, or they were completely incompetent. Or both.

"Everything is Caused by Global Warming"

Today Rush Limbaugh read part of this amazing list of over 600 links compiled by a British engineering professor, John Brignell. Each link is to an article which blames some problem or change on global warming.

This one page illustrates the sheer absurdity of the claims of the global warming alarmists. It's definitely worth a look.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Post Office Says DVD Returns Are Expensive

The U.S. Postal Service says DVD return envelopes, which are often nonmachinable, cost the Post Office as much as $20 million per year to sort by hand.

Personally, I think the Post Office should significantly raise rates to junk mailers -- I've never understood the breaks they get, which are subsidized by first class mail -- and keep the prices for things consumers actually want, like DVDs, affordable. :)

Working on Air Force One

An interesting read from the Wall Street Journal. The flight attendants on Air Force One and similar planes carrying "Distinguised Visitors" do all the cooking and luggage handling in addition to more typical flight attendant duties.

A few years ago we had the opportunity to watch Air Force One take off from Los Alamitos Naval Air Station. President Bush was aboard, although we didn't see him. It was an awe-inspiring sight.

(Hat tip: Holy Coast.)

Hillary Plants Republican Debate Question

Apparently it's not enough for her to plant questions at her own "town hall" forums...

More from Instapundit.

Meanwhile, is Bill prepared to campaign in the age of the Internet, when it's so easy to fact-check his statements? What a mess of a liar he is. The thought of him being back in the White House...ugh.

Of course, John Edwards is scary too, with his totalitarian approach to health care: "You will be signed up," "You don't get that choice."

Update: Michelle Malkin has info on questions which came from Edwards and Obama supporters. Why didn't CNN bother to read the questioners' profiles or Google the names? Bloggers came up with this info within hours of the debate, which CNN prepared for for weeks.

Do you think CNN would let Republicans ask questions in a Democratic debate? Hmmm.

On Fuzzy Math and Dumbed-Down Schools

I read Michelle Malkin's post on fuzzy math, then scrolled through the many interesting comments which followed. As I read most of the comments I was nodding my head in recognition and agreement. When our children were in our local elementary school we had many of the same types of experiences.

Our school had the incredibly dumbed-down "Mathland" program. We protested but were, in essence, patted on the head and told we just didn't understand how to effectively teach math. By the time our oldest left the school, the district jettisoned Mathland due to tanking test scores and got a curriculum which was more rigorous...only then they went the other direction and started pushing academic math concepts way before some of the kids were developmentally ready for them, such as multiplication in 2nd grade. No such thing as a happy medium!

The teachers also emphasized to parents at one point how important it was for our children to learn together as teams, because that was "the workplace of tomorrow." If one child let the team down, they all suffered the same poor grade. We asked "What about developing independent thinkers who will be the leaders of tomorrow?" and were met with blank stares.

I could go on and on, but if this topic interests you it suffices simply to read the comments at Michelle's site. They cover a wide variety of the goofy things that go on in our public schools.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Trojans Threaten to Relocate to Rose Bowl

The USC Trojans are threatening to play football in Pasadena's Rose Bowl beginning next fall if they can't reach an agreement with the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.

This strikes me as a terrible idea. It would put a real crimp in campus life if students can no longer walk to football games. USC has made great strides away from being a "commuter" university, working toward being a fully residential, campus-centered university, and now they're talking about "commuter" football? At UCLA's home stadium, no less?

Hopefully this is a negotiating tactic and all will be worked out. I think the Coliseum Commission needs to give up on their pipe dream of an NFL team in the Coliseum and let USC renovate and run the Coliseum. It's absurd that the Commission is preventing the facility from being upgraded by USC.

Wednesday Update: More from the Times' Bill Plaschke.

Wednesday Afternoon Update: "An Open Letter From Mike Garrett to the Trojan Family." Garrett is USC's Director of Athletics. Garrett confirms "As a precaution, USC has negotiated a lease with the Rose Bowl..." Garrett then explains what USC wants from the Coliseum Commission in return for USC investing $100 million in the facility over the next decade.

Monday, November 26, 2007

New on DVD: Waitress (2007)

WAITRESS, which was well received when it opened earlier this year, is coming out on DVD on Tuesday, November 27th.

Digitally Obsessed has a great review of both the movie and the DVD.

I haven't yet seen it and am looking forward to checking it out. Like RATATOUILLE, it combines two of my interests -- movies and cooking!

Jan Crawford Greenburg on the 2nd Amendment

An interesting read on the upcoming 2nd Amendment case to be heard by the U.S. Supreme Court.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Cyber Monday

You've heard of Black Friday shopping, but did you know tomorrow is Cyber Monday?

One article even suggests worker productivity will be affected Monday, while another article says Cyber Monday is a myth.

Info about some of the online sales and companies offering free shipping is here.

We did a little shopping at the mall before Thanksgiving, but most of my shopping is done online. I've checked a number of people off my list this weekend!

"100 Movies, 100 Quotes, 100 Numbers"

A friend sent my husband a link for this YouTube video. We had a good time watching the "countdown" and naming the movies.


Friday, November 23, 2007

In the News: Bridgeport, California

Our favorite little town in the Eastern Sierras, Bridgeport, was the focus of an L.A. Times article today. Bridgeport has some of the highest gas prices in the state, if not the nation -- over $4 per gallon.

I don't find the price surprising, given the difficulty of trucking gas in to the town's remote location. Add on California taxes, and it's not a pretty picture. When we're there each summer we always fill up so we have enough to get to Bishop, 90 miles south, and then fill our tank to the brim in Bishop, where the gas price is lower.

The story includes a photo gallery. We like to eat at Casa Michaela -- the owner pictured in the story is very friendly. The last shot in the gallery, of Main Street at night, is very evocative. There's the General Store and Ken's Sporting Goods (the red building) on the right, and the Best Western Ruby Inn on the left.

Guess we should start thinking about our reservations for next summer...

New Book: The Martha Stewart Living Cookbook: The Original Classics

THE MARTHA STEWART LIVING COOKBOOK: THE ORIGINAL CLASSICS is an updated version of the original MARTHA STEWART LIVING COOKBOOK from 2000, containing over 1100 recipes.

The book has an appealing design, including a glossary, lists of menus for each season of the year, and a nice section of color photos.

I came across THE ORIGINAL CLASSICS and its companion cookbook, THE MARTHA STEWART LIVING COOKBOOK: THE NEW CLASSICS, while browsing tonight at Barnes & Noble. I never owned a copy of the original MARTHA STEWART LIVING COOKBOOK, but had been interested in it. Thanks to a B & N coupon and my membership card, I was able to buy the ORIGINAL CLASSICS for 45% off.

THE NEW CLASSICS is going on my Christmas wish list. :)

Tonight's Movie: Enchanted (2007)

From the opening minutes of Disney's ENCHANTED, it's clear this film is something extra-special for Disney fans, from the colorful storybook opening title card to the voice of Julie Andrews narrating the story of Giselle, the newest princess in the Disney pantheon.

And what a princess she is, a cartoon who is banished from the mythical land of Andalasia to New York City, where she takes human form in the person of Amy Adams. Adams nails the role, with her wide-eyed optimism and innocence, plus a princess-perfect singing voice. She really is as good as initial reviews indicated.

She's backed by a strong cast, including Patrick Dempsey as Robert, the very McDreamy hero who befriends Giselle; James Marsden as Prince Edward, who combines comical buffoonery (think Gaston in BEAUTY AND THE BEAST) with sincere devotion; Susan Sarandon as Edward's wicked stepmother, a modern-day Maleficent; and Idina Menzel of WICKED as Robert's girlfriend, who has an interesting future in store herself. (There was a moment near the end of the film where she really should have sung...)

The filmmakers walk a very careful line, gently spoofing but mostly paying tribute to Disney history. This could only be done, of course, with a studio which has such a rich history from which to draw its allusions and symbolism. One could rewatch the film simply looking for all the clever references to Disney films of the past. Disney fans will recognize bits of plot and familiar objects from many different films woven into ENCHANTED, along with sly tributes to Disney history. One of my favorite examples of the latter: the TV reporter, Mary Ilene Caselotti, is named for the actresses who voiced Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella, and Snow White, while the actresses who voiced Belle, Ariel, and Pocahontas have on-screen roles.

Robert and Giselle's dance at the ball is as lovely as Belle and the Beast waltzing in BEAUTY AND THE BEAST...or, for that matter, Princess Aurora and Prince Philip dancing at the conclusion of SLEEPING BEAUTY. The film was not only quite funny, it was very moving, with the emotions being pulled not only by the story itself but by the deep connections with Disney history.

After the movie ended we went next door to B&N to buy the soundtrack. The background singers include many fine voices from musical theater, including Norman Large, Christina Saffran Ashford, and Elizabeth Ward Land. Just one more indication of the quality of the production. The songs "True Love's Kiss," "That's How You Know," and "Happy Working Song" are very hummable; "Happy Working Song" channels Snow White, but with a modern twist -- one can't imagine Snow White singing about cleaning toilets.

ENCHANTED runs 107 fun-filled minutes. The film has an official website which includes trailers.

Saturday Update: Those who have seen the film will enjoy this article by National Review's Frederica Mathewes-Green: "I'm Enchanted: They Had Me at 'Hello.'" (Spoiler caution: This review is a little more detailed about certain scenes than other reviews I've read.)

September 2018 Update: Revisiting Enchanted (2007) at the El Capitan Theatre.

Tonight's Movie: Ratatouille (2007)

RATATOUILLE was actually last night's movie, enjoyed as part of our Thanksgiving entertainment along with the USC-Arizona State football game.

As I wrote last year, one of our family traditions is to watch a new DVD -- often from Disney -- on Thanksgiving. The rest of the family had seen RATATOUILLE when it first came out, but this was my first viewing, and I enjoyed it very much. It was a fun melding of two of my interests, Disney and cooking. The animation was most impressive.

The actors voicing the characters in RATATOUILLE include Brad Garrett, Brian Dennehy, Ian Holm, Janeane Garofalo, and, of course, Pixar regular John Ratzenberger. Peter O'Toole is perfect as a Very Scary Food Critic. Animator Lou Romano voices Linguini; Romano also portrayed characters in THE INCREDIBLES and CARS.

By coincidence, we just watched a DINNER: IMPOSSIBLE episode in which Chef Robert Irvine cooked a meal for 600 Pixar employees. One of Chef Robert's assistants that day was RATATOUILLE producer Brad Lewis. It was good fun. If you're a fan of the film, keep your eyes open for a rerun of this TV show.

RATATOUILLE runs 111 minutes. It's available on DVD. Like the CARS DVD last year, there are only a handful of extras -- why do I have the feeling Disney will be "double-dipping" with 2-Disc Platinum editions a few years from now?!

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Silly Sadness in Seattle Schools

According to the Seattle School District, the "myths" of Thanksgiving include the notion that "Thanksgiving is a happy time."

Instead, Thanksgiving is a time of "mourning" for native Americans, because those terrible white Europeans invaded the country and ruined everything.

What a bunch of divisive balderdash.

Dana has posted an excellent rebuttal at The Festering Swamp.

A Great Thanksgiving Read

L.A. Times sportswriter Bill Plaschke has written one of his trademark heartwarming stories, this time about Pete Carroll and the USC Trojan football team taking a developmentally disabled young man under their wing.

It's guaranteed to make you smile, and maybe bring a tear to your eye as well.

Love those Trojans!

The Trojans play Arizona State today, possibly fighting for a trip to the Rose Bowl on New Year's Day.

Fight on!

Update: Trojans win, 44-24!

Happy Thanksgiving

Happiest Thanksgiving Wishes to All!

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Disney's Enchanted Opens to Great Reviews

Disney's new live action-cartoon blend, ENCHANTED, has opened to great reviews.

The film, first mentioned here in July, is a romantic musical comedy in which cartoon characters come to life in New York City. It stars Amy Adams, Patrick Dempsey, and Susan Sarandon. The score is by Stephen Schwartz and Alan Menken, who wrote the music for POCAHONTAS. The supporting cast includes Jodi Benson and Paige O'Hara, the voices of Disney's Ariel and Belle.

Kenneth Turan of the L.A. Times writes: "ENCHANTED is as good as its name... [Amy] Adams, who was Oscar-nominated for her breakout role in JUNEBUG, is equally splendid here as the ultimate Disney is impossible to think of ENCHANTED without her."

Claudia Puig of USA Today says "Disney's ENCHANTED lives up to its name" and calls it "the very definition of charming" with "an entrancing performance by Amy Adams (JUNEBUG) and a strong ensemble cast...effortlessly entertaining."

Wesley Morris of The Boston Globe writes of Adams: "Just about the happiest time I've had watching an actor do anything all year." He writes that it's a "breathtaking" star-making performance. Mary Pols of the San Jose Mercury News agrees it's "one of those star-making turns on the level of Julia Roberts in PRETTY WOMAN or, looking further back, Judy Holliday in BORN YESTERDAY."

And there are many more such reviews.

We're looking forward to seeing it this weekend!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Tony Blankley: "Hillary's Faux Experience"

Tony Blankey is one of a number of conservative commentators -- Deroy Murdock is another -- to point out that Hillary is claiming to have "experience" without actually having any, other than her few years in the Senate.

Any experience she might have had, in an unelected role in the White House, is being deliberately covered up due to the suppression of her White House papers.

Will the mainstream media start asking Hillary directly to prove up her experience? I won't hold my breath waiting...

Dodgers Have First Rose Parade Float

The Los Angeles Dodgers are celebrating their 50th anniversary in Los Angeles with their first-ever Rose Parade float this New Year's Day.

A terrific who's who of Dodger greats will be riding on the float, including announcers Vin Scully and Jaime Jarrin, organist Nancy Bea Hefley, former manager Tommy Lasorda, "Peanut Man" Roger Owens, Ann Meyers Drysdale (widow of former pitcher and announcer Don Drysdale), Fernando Valenzuela, Wes Parker, Carl Erskine, Don Newcombe, and more.

Union 76 gas stations -- a Dodgers sponsor for the last half-century -- are having a promotion for fans to earn Rose Parade pins.

Fans who want to help decorate the float can visit FAWW Decoration.

My daughter worked on the Rotary Club float during her high school years, thanks to her participation in the Interact Club, and it was a wonderful experience. We're hopeful our son will have the same experience later this year.

New Website: Real Clear Sports

The folks at Real Clear Politics have a great-looking new website, Real Clear Sports.

It's set up much like Real Clear Politics, with a compendium of the day's interesting sports stories, and the sidebars have link lists for different sports, along with schedules and videos.

I've added the site to my blogroll under "Miscellany."


Monday, November 19, 2007

Vaccination Bullies

Michelle Malkin's post on "vaccination bullies" struck a chord with much as I appreciate most vaccinations and the good health they've made possible for so many of us, I'm also disturbed by "vaccination bullies," particularly those who are pushing "politically correct" vaccinations for diseases which aren't easily communicable, Gardasil being the latest example.

I've run into vaccination bullies myself, such as the hospital staff members who were aghast I refused to vaccinate my under-one-day-old baby for Hepatitis B. I calmly explained my baby was not going to go home and have unprotected sex or be stuck with drug needles, and that I didn't think a vaccination 18 hours after birth was a wise decision. Happily, our wonderful pediatrician -- unlike Michelle's -- thought the decision to delay the vaccination was quite reasonable.

I also ran into the vaccination bullies in a school setting, when our oldest was in elementary school. Prior to Open House, the school nurse put up posters in each 6th grade classroom with the names and vaccination records of all the children -- the big push was on to "snare" those children who hadn't yet had the Hep B vaccine -- in order to show which children had had all their vaccinations and were "ready for junior high." Those children with complete vaccination records were rewarded with candy.

I pointed out to the principal that it was wrong to reward or punish children based on decisions which were solely an adult responsibility, and also that she had allowed children's confidential medical records to be published to the entire school via the posters. Before that incident was all over, the school district's attorney was having nurses at four different elementary schools pull vaccination charts off classroom walls, as they were indeed in violation of the law.

Somehow I don't think that elementary principal was too broken up when my younger children were pulled out of her school for good a year or so later. :)

Mike Huckabee: I'm Not Impressed

Mike Huckabee was interviewed by Chris Wallace on Fox News Sunday yesterday. The transcript is here and video is here.

I was unimpressed with Huckabee's answers regarding tax increases while he was governor of Arkansas.

When asked about a tax on nursing homes, Huckabee said it wasn't a tax, it was a "quality assurance fee."

This is reminiscent of California's Governor Schwarzenegger wanting to pay for his universal health care proposal with new "fees" on doctors and hospitals.

In each case, I didn't care for the semantic evasion.

When it came to the video of then Governor Huckabee asking the state legislature to send him proposals for tax increases, Huckabee's defense was, in essence, that he had to put everything on the table, including taxes, in order to keep the all-Democrat state legislature from shutting down the government.

So what would a President Huckabee do with an all-Democratic Congress, give them whatever they want?

Some leadership.

In the past I've also been unimpressed with Huckabee's attitudes toward illegal immigration; he seems to equate Christian charity with needing to condone law-breaking. I saw him on HANNITY & COLMES a few days ago justifying giving illegal aliens educational financial breaks over American citizens from other states because the illegal alien children had "been educated in Arkansas" (thanks to their law-breaking parents). He was extremely dismissive of those who disagree with his point of view.

Many social conservatives see Huckabee as a charming guy who is a potential "white knight." I just don't see it...I see an edgy, tax-raising nanny-stater.

National Review (subject link) seems of the same mindset: "Several of the Republican presidential candidates share Huckabee’s views on abortion and same-sex marriage. On domestic-policy issues, however, he stands alone. Thankfully."

Tuesday Update: Jonah Goldberg of NRO writes that Mike Huckabee "represents compassionate conservatism on steroids," and describes Huckabee as a "statist" who is a "right-wing progressive."

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Around the Blogosphere This Week

Here are a handful of the interesting stories I've come across in the last few days, starting with "Barack Obama, Neocon" at the subject link above. This piece by John Hinderaker of Power Line points out that "What is weird about Obama and other Democrats who pay lip service, at least, to the value of democracy is that they seem willing to apply the principle to every country in the world except Iraq."

9th Circuit Supports Bush Administration On State Secrets Objection: Ed Morrissey at Captain's Quarters on the "most liberal appellate court in the federal judiciary" giving the Bush Administration a big victory in the ongoing litigation over surveillance of terrorists. More from WLS at Patterico.

Mi Casa, Sue Casa: John Fund at Opinion Journal: "House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has moved to kill an amendment that would protect employers from federal lawsuits for requiring their workers to speak English. Among the employers targeted by such lawsuits: the Salvation Army." The mind boggles...

Democrat Admits: S-CHIP is the Universal Health Care Trojan Horse: Michelle Malkin on former Iowa Governor Tom Vilsack's explanation of the plans to incrementally expand federal insurance, leading to universal health care.

Does Marrying Bill Clinton Qualify Someone to Be President?: Er, no. John Hawkins at TownHall.

Policy Fred: A National Review Online editorial on Fred Thompson: "...he is the first candidate in either party to come out with solid plans to reform Social Security and immigration. And while most candidates have called for increasing the size of the military, Thompson laid out a detailed plan to achieve that end in a Tuesday speech at the Citadel Military College. On these issues, Thompson has set a standard for specificity, conservatism, and soundness that we would like to see the other Republican candidates measure up to."

The Secret? It's Not the Potatoes: Pre-Thanksgiving advice from Julia Moskin at the New York Times on how to achieve perfect mashed potatoes.

Patriotism: Not Quite Dead in the Public Schools: Full circle back to Power Line, and a lovely rendition of "The Battle Hymn of the Republic" by students in Minnesota. John Hinderaker shot it with his digital camera and there isn't much of a picture, but the sound quality is excellent and the performance is superb; the students should be very proud. This is a classic arrangement of a great song; if memory serves, this is the same arrangement which was sung at the National Cathedral on September 14, 2001.

Coming to DVD: An Affair to Remember

January 15, 2008, is the release date for the new two-disc 50th Anniversary Edition of AN AFFAIR TO REMEMBER. As most film fans already know, the movie stars Cary Grant and Deborah Kerr.

This new two-disc edition expands on the fine 2003 Fox Studio Classics release. The extras on the 2003 release included an AMC BACKSTORY episode on the making of the film and a commentary track by film historian Joseph McBride and Deborah Kerr's singing double, Marni Nixon. All of the extras from the 2003 release appear to be included in the 50th Anniversary set.

DVD Times has a complete listing of extras. The 50th Anniversary edition contains several new featurettes as well as a new transfer of the film.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Tonight's Movie: Public Enemy's Wife (1936)

PUBLIC ENEMY'S WIFE is 69 minutes of great Warner Bros. fun, as G-man Pat O'Brien marries a mobster's ex-wife (Margaret Lindsay) in order to snare the mobster (Cesar Romero) when he escapes prison.

The movie isn't always plausible -- for instance, the mountainy Florida coastline looks suspiciously like Malibu, and I highly doubt the wedding in question was legal -- but this is one of those movies where viewers should just enjoy the ride and ask questions later. :) The cast is entertaining, there's nary a dull moment, and the film leaves you smiling at the conclusion.

The supporting cast includes Dick Foran and Robert Armstrong. The film was directed by Nick Grinde. David O. Selznick is one of those credited for the story, which was remade five years later as BULLETS FOR O'HARA.

PUBLIC ENEMY'S WIFE isn't available on video or DVD.

The trailer can be seen here.

CNN: Still the Clinton News Network?

NewsBusters has a most interesting report on CNN's handling of Thursday night's Democratic debate.

CNN appears to have stocked the audience of "undecided Democrats" with questioners who included the former political director of the Arkansas Democratic Party, a former Harry Reid intern (who was directed by CNN to ask Mrs. Clinton the "diamonds or pearls" softball), and a prominent Muslim leader.

CNN also controlled which questions were asked, and refused to intervene when the audience loudly cheered Senator Clinton and booed her opponents.

Add to that Wolf Blitzer refusing to ask the obvious follow-up on Senator Clinton's turnaround on driver's licenses for illegal aliens, and one has to wonder whether CNN was stacking the deck in Hillary's favor.

More on the CNN debate from Hot Air, Dan Riehl, and Dick Morris and Eileen McGann.

Update: DRJ at Patterico's site has more. It appears more of the "undecided voters" were not "ordinary people," but political activists and/or Democratic Party operatives...and the punch line is that the former Reid intern who asked the "diamonds vs. pearls" question is a non-citizen who isn't even eligible to vote.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Fascinating Lives

Two obituaries worth reading: Elizabeth Nel (subject link), who was the last surviving personal secretary who worked for Winston Churchill during World War II; and Monty Westmore, a member of Hollywood's legendary family of makeup artists.

Nel and Westmore were relatively little-known yet significant contributors to two very different areas of 20th Century history. What interesting lives they led.

Tonight's Movie: Too Many Husbands (1940)

Vicky (Jean Arthur) was widowed when her husband Bill (Fred MacMurray) was lost at sea. Six months after Bill's death, Vicky married Bill's best friend and business partner, Hank (Melvyn Douglas). Then Bill, who had been stranded on a desert island, returns from the dead and Vicky suddenly finds herself with TOO MANY HUSBANDS.

Jean Arthur is delightful, secretly enjoying the adoring attention of not one but two men, and she wears a spectacular wardrobe by Irene. (Those hats!) Arthur's acting style is perfect for the befuddled, uncertain wife. Beneath the humor, she also conveys the anguish of loving two men and not wanting to hurt either of them. MacMurray and Douglas have their moments, but they don't have the chance to develop their characters to any great extent, and it's Arthur's movie all the way.

The film is good fun, but Vicky's dithering about which husband to choose does go on a bit too long. The movie's unique feature is also its greatest flaw -- the viewer isn't given a reason to pull for one of the leading men over the other. In fact, at times their endless competition for Vicky makes them unsympathetic. Ultimately, Vicky's dilemma is resolved legally, but not emotionally. The final scene, of the unusual threesome dancing together, aims for whimsy but feels a bit heavy-handed instead, as the characters face what seems to be an uncertain future.

The "spouse returning from a desert island" theme was popular in 1940. Just a few weeks after the release of TOO MANY HUSBANDS, the better-known MY FAVORITE WIFE opened starring Cary Grant and Irene Dunne. In MY FAVORITE WIFE it's the wife who returns from the dead. Cary Grant's character was engaged, not remarried, and as the fiancee (Gail Patrick) was not a sympathetic character, the audience could easily root for Dunne and Grant to reunite...although there was the complication of another man, "Adam" (Randolph Scott), who had been marooned on the island with Dunne.

The supporting cast of TOO MANY HUSBANDS includes Harry Davenport as Arthur's perplexed father, Melville Cooper as the butler, and Edgar Buchanan and Tom Dugan as two suspicious police detectives. All four actors are very funny, with Cooper a standout for his dry reactions to the unusual goings-on in the household.

TOO MANY HUSBANDS runs 84 minutes and was directed by Wesley Ruggles. It was filmed in black and white. The screenplay was based on a play by Somerset Maugham titled HOME AND BEAUTY.

TOO MANY HUSBANDS was remade in 1955 as THREE FOR THE SHOW, starring Betty Grable, Jack Lemmon, and Marge and Gower Champion.

This film has not been released on video or DVD. Click here to indicate interest in a DVD release or to suggest that it be shown on Turner Classic Movies.

TOO MANY HUSBANDS isn't a perfect comedy, but it has some memorable moments and is worth seeing if you're a fan of Jean Arthur or romantic comedies of the '30s and '40s. August 2009 Update: TOO MANY HUSBANDS is now available on DVD in the Icons of Screwball Comedy Volume I.

2020 Update: This film is now also available in a three-film Jean Arthur DVD set.

Today at Disneyland: It's Christmas!

Christmastime has come to Disneyland...although I'm still waiting for the word "Christmas" to return to the park after many years of disuse...

Christmas is the most beautiful season of the year at's hard to blame them for starting this early, it's a massive decorating job and the extended season allows more visitors the opportunity to experience a bit of Disney Christmas magic.

Town Hall is decked out for the season:

Click on any of the photos to enlarge the size.

A detail from the huge Christmas tree at Town Square:

Seasonal flowers at Town Square:

More of the beautiful decorations on Main Street:

This year "Sleeping Beauty's Winter Castle" has a new snowy rooftop and lighting for the Christmas season:

There's a very special new event held three different times each evening, in which the castle is lit up while snow falls on Main Street. We happened on this by chance, and it was a beautiful moment, with many happy faces "oohing" and "aahing" as the snow fell and the castle took on a dazzling nighttime look.

The castle photo below is blurry due to the limitations of my digital camera, but the specks in the photo are "snow." If you click to enlarge the photo, you can make out the lighted "icicle" effect a bit better.

If you love Disneyland and Christmas, don't miss the castle lighting, it's really special. Kudos to Disneyland's Imagineers for another wonderful bit of "Disney magic."

Sunday Update: Welcome to readers of Holy Coast.

Monday Update: More photos of the castle transformation at MousePlanet.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Tonight's Movie: Hands Across the Table (1935)

In HANDS ACROSS THE TABLE, it's the heart of the Depression. Manicurist Regi Allen (Carole Lombard) and down-on-his-luck playboy Theodore Drew III (Fred MacMurray), whose family lost its fortune in the stockmarket crash, are each determined to marry for money.

Regi has a likely prospect in a sweet wheelchair-bound millionaire (Ralph Bellamy), while Ted is engaged to a pineapple heiress (Astrid Allwyn). However, when unlikely circumstances lead to Ted boarding at Regi's apartment for a few days, the couple become close and find themselves having to choose between love and money.

This was the first of Lombard and MacMurray's four films together. (THE PRINCESS COMES ACROSS, their second film, was reviewed here last year.) They have excellent chemistry together. It's been a pleasant surprise seeing some of MacMurray's earlier roles in recent months; like most people I associated him mainly with fatherly Disney and TV roles. He had more charisma as a leading man than I expected.

The movie has some interesting contrasts. There is high-spirited fun, such as Lombard impersonating a nasal-voiced long-distance telephone operator ("Bermuda calling!"), after which she and MacMurray collapse in peals of laughter. (According to one article, the director left the camera running after the scene had ended and caught the actors having some genuine laughs.) A late-night love scene between MacMurray and Lombard, before he's due to return to his fiancee, is filled with romantic longing and is superbly acted. Yet the film also has a bit of an edgy, dark tone to it, such as the scene where MacMurray and Lombard scare off one of her suitors by pretending MacMurray is beating her in the next room.

Ralph Bellamy has one of his more appealing "other man" roles in this film -- one really wishes the film had a happy ending for him as well. The supporting cast includes Ruth Donnelly and Marie Provost (who died of alcoholism just a couple years later). William Demarest, who three decades later co-starred with MacMurray in MY THREE SONS, has a small role.

HANDS ACROSS THE TABLE run 80 minutes and was directed by Mitchell Leisen, who made other memorable comedies including EASY LIVING and MIDNIGHT. Leisen's REMEMBER THE NIGHT, starring MacMurray and Barbara Stanwyck, was reviewed here last December.

I've always had a particular interest in Carole Lombard, who was born Jane Peters and related to the Kimberly family of Kimberly-Clark. When I was in college I had a history internship working on photo preservation at the Kimberly Crest estate in Redlands, California. I was able to identify childhood photos of Jane visiting the estate, and my identification was corroborated by a family diary. This "find" led to some local newspaper coverage and a segment in a public TV show called ON CAMPUS.

Carole & Co. is a nice site devoted to Lombard and classic movies.

HANDS ACROSS THE TABLE is available on video and DVD, as part of a 6-film Carole Lombard collection. (Update: This movie is now also available as a single-title DVD release in the Universal Vault Series.)

It can also be seen on cable as part of the library at Turner Classic Movies.

2021 Update: This film will be released on Blu-ray by Kino Lorber in April 2021 as part of the Carole Lombard Collection II. My review of the Blu-ray is here.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

"A Well-Planned Thanksgiving"

Williams-Sonoma has made a nice booklet titled "A Well-Planned Thanksgiving" available for download on their website.

The booklet includes a timeline and recipes. Enjoy!

Don't read Michelle Malkin's post on The War on Thanksgiving at the same time -- it's guaranteed to give readers heartburn.

Hillary Was For Licenses for Illegal Aliens Before She Was Against Them

Mrs. Clinton has completed a dizzying turnabout on the issue, now stating unequivocally that she won't support driver's licenses for illegal aliens. Democratic candidate Chris Dodd refers to Senator Clinton's position as "flip-flopping cubed."

MSNBC has a timeline of Senator Clinton's varied past statements on the issue.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Questiongate Keeps Growing

The controversy surrounding the Clinton campaign and Questiongate expands, as college student Muriel Gallo-Chasanoff has given an interview about the circumstances surrounding the Clinton campaign assigning her a question to ask Senator Clinton.

Ms. Gallo-Chasanoff says she was approached by a staffer who had a sheet of typewritten questions in a notebook, and the question given to her was specifically notated to be asked by a "college student."

Although Senator Clinton has said that planted questions were "news to me," Ms. Gallo-Chasanoff isn't so sure, given that she was only one of four people out of roughly 200 that Mrs. Clinton called on. She says, "It seemed like she knew to call on me."

Gallo-Chasanoff believes at least one other question at the event was planted.

Let's face it, if Clinton staffers have notebooks with typewritten questions at these townhall-style events, planting questions has probably been going on for a long time, although if that's the case the campaign seems to be taking a real risk denying it's been standard practice.

In fact, Mrs. Clinton has been answering planted questions dating back to her Senate campaign in 1999.

With the coverup often being worse than the crime, wouldn't the campaign be better off simply acknowledging that they believe such questions are an effective way to get out the candidate's message, rather than denying they took place?

Perhaps even more interesting is that the campaign waved the student off from asking the question she wanted to ask -- a fairly simple question asking Senator Clinton to contrast her energy policy with those of the other candidates. Gallo-Chasanoff quotes the staffer as saying, "I don't think that's a good idea, because I don't know how familiar she is with their plans."

Why isn't she familiar with their plans at this late date?

The incident serves to highlight the Clinton campaign's obsession with maintaining control over Mrs. Clinton's events to the greatest extent possible, protecting her from being confronted with questions she's unable to answer.

Meanwhile the Senator is warning Wolf Blitzer not to ask tough questions at the next debate.

As Jonah Goldberg writes: "...can someone please explain to me, how asking the junior Senator from New York state whether she agrees with the governor of the state (and a close political ally) on the question of drivers licenses for illegals is even remotely wrong, never mind some sort of vicious, Nazi-like, personal assault on truth, decency, and Hillary Clinton's integrity? I really, really, don't get it."

That makes two of us.

The question is, will the media and the rest of the nation buy into Senator Clinton's victim strategy and let the Senator skate by over the next year without close examination, or -- unlike when she ran for the Senate -- will she be expected to answer the tough questions with direct answers?

Monday, November 12, 2007

On That Smackdown to Hugo Chavez

Investors Business Daily has written a nice appreciation of "the repartee heard 'round the world" -- King Juan Carlos of Spain telling the Venezuelan dictator Hugo Chavez to "shut up."

This put-down had all the more impact as it came from a very well-mannered king -- a king who voluntarily gave up the dictatorship left to him by Franco in order to establish democracy in Spain.

The editorial suggests that perhaps in future other nations will be quicker to put Chavez in his place.

We can only hope.

Hillary Clinton Hiding More Documents

Extensive files maintained by Hillary's close friend and associate, the late Diane Blair, which were said in 2005 to 2006 to be nearing completion of archival processing at the University of Arkansas, are now going to be unavailable until 2009.

Funny how that happens.

Speaking of Mrs. Clinton, The New Republic published an interesting article on Hillary's "bunker mentality." Of course, anything in the New Republic is suspect these days -- the name Scott Thomas Beauchamp might ring a bell -- but for whatever it's worth, it's a good read.

Notable in the New Republic piece is Sally Bedell Smith's shock when Terry McAuliffe told her President Clinton had read her book on the Clintons far in advance of its publication. Smith says she was "thunderstruck" and "It was unnerving that he could have gotten a copy at that stage." McAuliffe now denies (of course!) having said that to Smith, but Smith stands by her story: "It is a vivid memory for me."

In "Questiongate," while Mrs. Clinton has denied knowing her staff planted questions in the audience, a couple reports say that Mrs. Clinton's staff pointed out the student to Mrs. Clinton so that she could call on her.

The Clinton campaign has also tried to dance around whether or not they tried to plant a question with a minister named Geoffrey Mitchell at another event. A Clinton staffer said, "I'm not going to comment on what he said. I'm going to discuss what our interpretation is."

"Interpretation," hmmm?

Mitchell stands by his story.

The above stories call to mind waitress Anita Esterday, who said "Why would I lie about not getting a tip?" when the Clinton campaign insisted she'd received one after she served Senator Clinton. Esterday's manager said, "Where Hillary was sitting, there was no tip left." Esterday said she worked alongside women who'd worked at the restaurant for 25 and 30 years, "And I can't imagine them pocketing it."

Neither can I.

There seem to be a lot of people standing by their stories in the face of Clinton lies recently.

It's not the crime, it's the someone who worked on Watergate, Hillary should know that better than anyone. But she's caught in a spin machine and she can't -- won't -- get out.

Travel of Days Gone By

The Chicago Sun-Times ran a very interesting article today on typical menus served on airlines and railroads in decades past.

Things sure were different back then: "Brunch for coach passengers on a 1969 United flight from San Francisco to Omaha featured a mushroom omelette, broiled ham and brandied hazelnut mousse. That same year, a Pan Am New York-to-Barbados flight treated economy flyers to stuffed Rock Cornish Hen with madeira sauce and a separate cheese course before dessert."

Northwestern University has a new website featuring its Transportation Menu Collection. Roughly 400 vintage menus from airlines, railroads, and cruise ships can be viewed online.

For more travel nostalgia, I highly recommend THE ART OF THE AIRWAYS and CLASSIC RAILROAD ADVERTISING.

New on DVD: The Princess Bride (1987)

THE PRINCESS BRIDE has been released on DVD on multiple occasions, but this week it's being released in a new 20th Anniversary Edition. It will be available on Tuesday, November 13th.

Extras include new featurettes.

Be sure to check out the cover art, as well -- the film's title can be read when you hold the box upside-down!

One of my children just read the book this year for the first time, and then saw the film via Netflix. The DVD is now on this year's Christmas list. :)

All together now: "My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die!"

Tonight's Movie: Kid Glove Killer (1942)

KID GLOVE KILLER is a zippy crime drama which packs a great deal of entertainment value into its 74 minutes. The film marked the feature-length directorial debut of Fred Zinnemann, who started out in short subjects and would go on to direct classics such as HIGH NOON and FROM HERE TO ETERNITY. Although ostensibly an MGM "B" picture, other than its short length and run-of-the-mill sets the movie feels more like an "A" film in terms of quality. In fact, THE NEW YORK TIMES noted in its review that "an unpretentious honesty is sometimes worth a million on the budget."

An early version of the CSI genre, KID GLOVE KILLER stars Van Heflin as a police criminologist working to solve the murder of the local mayor. Marsha Hunt is his assistant, a chemist.

There is never any doubt about "whodunit," as the murderer is seen in action; the fun is watching Heflin and Hunt solve the crime. Some of the technology they use looks a little silly from the modern perspective, but there's an interesting demonstration of a spectrograph and other equipment. Watching them comb through slides and notebooks for "matches" to their samples gives one a real appreciation for what it was like to work before computerized records made such searches simple.

One thing I couldn't help wondering: wasn't it dangerous to be smoking in a lab filled with potentially combustible chemicals?!

I also have my questions about whether the key sample Heflin obtained would have actually still been available when he found it, but it made good entertainment so why bother asking questions?

The film -- which THE NEW YORK TIMES called "a little crackerjack of a picture" -- has snappy dialogue and fast-paced editing by Ralph Winters. I once had the honor of meeting Mr. Winters briefly at an evening celebrating SEVEN BRIDES FOR SEVEN BROTHERS, which he also edited.

The cast includes Lee Bowman, Samuel S. Hinds, John Litel and Eddie Quillan. Don't blink, and you can glimpse Ava Gardner as a car hop who serves Lee Bowman and Marsha Hunt. Robert "Bobby" Blake can also be seen for a few seconds, listening to a car radio with his onscreen parents.

KID GLOVE KILLER isn't available on VHS or DVD, but it deserves to be. In the meantime it can be seen on cable on TCM. The trailer is at TCM's website.

April 2012 Update: I had another great experience watching this movie, with Marsha Hunt in attendance, at the Noir City Film Festival.

May 2015 Update: KID GLOVE KILLER is now available on DVD from the Warner Archive. My review of the DVD is here.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Laraine Day Passes Away

Laraine Day, whose long acting career included roughly a decade as a leading lady in many well-known films, has passed away.

Various references give at least three different years for her birth, which appears to have been somewhere between 1917 and 1920.

Day spent part of her childhood in nearby Long Beach, California, where she attended Polytechnic High School.

Day's husband of 47 years died earlier this year. Previous to that marriage, Day was famously wed for a number of years to Brooklyn Dodgers manager Leo Durocher.

Day was perhaps best known for her role as Mary Lamont in MGM's DR. KILDARE series. Turner Classic Movies is showing a KILDARE marathon on November 28, 2007.

Day's best films include FOREIGN CORRESPONDENT and JOURNEY FOR MARGARET. FOREIGN CORRESPONDENT makes my "Top 5 Hitchcock Films" list, and JOURNEY FOR MARGARET is a somewhat overlooked WWII classic in which Day starred opposite Robert Young and Margaret O'Brien. Her other best-known titles include MR. LUCKY, opposite Cary Grant, and she was one of the airplane passengers in THE HIGH AND THE MIGHTY.

Earlier this year I reviewed two fun Day films, BRIDE BY MISTAKE and THOSE ENDEARING YOUNG CHARMS. I've recorded several other Day films which I look forward to seeing, including KATHLEEN, THE LOCKET, KEEP YOUR POWDER DRY, and I MARRIED A COMMUNIST.

More information from the Canadian Press.

Miss Day was a lovely lady who helped provide film fans with many happy hours of viewing. My sincere condolences to her family.

Update: Laraine Day's gravestone at Forest Lawn Hollywood Hills indicates her birth year was 1920.

Fun Cookbook Finds

I love vintage cookbooks, and today I made a couple great finds at a used cookbook sale at our church: BETTER HOMES AND GARDENS COOKIES AND CANDIES and another BH&G volume, PIES AND CAKES.

The books date from 1966 -- perhaps I shouldn't call them "vintage" or I'll have to include myself in that category! They have wonderful retro photos and many appealing recipes. Molasses Pound Cake looks especially good....

My husband remembers PIES AND CAKES being used in his kitchen when he was growing up.

Our 12-year-old daughter has already mixed up a batch of the sugar cookie recipe and has it chilling in the fridge so she can roll them out right after dinner.

These were a bargain at a total of $1.50, considering how much we're likely to enjoy them in the years to come. :)

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Tonight's Movie: Petticoat Fever (1936)

PETTICOAT FEVER is a silly trifle which finds Robert Montgomery playing the lonely operator of a "wireless station" in Labrador. One fine day a plane carrying Myrna Loy and her fiance, Reginald Owen, crash lands near the station. Bob gets one look at Myrna, the first beautiful woman he's seen in years, and he falls head over heels in love.

That's pretty much all there is to the movie, as Montgomery tries to find a way to convince Loy to stay with him. The movie is passable entertainment, thanks to the two leads, but just barely. They are in wonderful form here, but unfortunately are working without much of a script.

The film runs 80 minutes and was directed by George Fitzmaurice.

PETTICOAT FEVER isn't available on DVD or VHS, but can be seen on TCM.

The trailer can be seen here.

Friday, November 09, 2007

New Book: Rescuing Sprite

Mark Levin is getting great word of mouth and sales -- currently No. 4 at Amazon -- for his new book, RESCUING SPRITE: A DOG LOVER'S STORY OF JOY AND ANGUISH.

The book, about the love and loss of a pet dog, sounds like kind of a tough read, but reviews I've read also say it's a beautiful story.

Kathryn Jean Lopez recently interviewed Mark Levin about his book. He also describes how the family's other dog, Pepsi, helped him recover from complications following heart bypass surgery. It's a lengthy, very interesting article which is worth the read in and of itself.

David Limbaugh, a close friend of Levin's, wrote a touching column about the book today.

Levin will guest on Rush Limbaugh's show on Friday, November 16th.

Noonan: "Mrs. Clinton is No Iron Lady"

Not only that, but Mrs. Clinton plants questions at her "town hall" forums, and her campaign doesn't seem to know how to tip.

Another bad week for Mrs. Clinton...

Thursday, November 08, 2007

It's Official: Newhart Coming to DVD

It's now official: Season 1 of NEWHART is coming to DVD on February 26, 2008.

There are many happy TV fans today!

Previously at LMM: Newhart May Be Coming To DVD.

Saturday Update: The box art is now available for a look at It could be that really supposed to be Jennifer Holmes as Leslie on the right side of the box?

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