Three sentence movie reviews: The Tempest

Because Julie Taymor directed this, it is quite lovely and I must say the casting of Helen Mirren as Prosper(o/a) was interesting.  However, I did not enjoy this movie version as much as I enjoyed the bare-bones Shakespeare in the Park version I watched last summer.  That aside, it was not a bad way to spend two hours.

Four hours of Hamlet? Have I got a project!

I couldn’t really just sit through four hours of Hamlet with nothing to do.  So I assigned myself a project.  I went through five Rubbermaid storage containers and culled things.  It was a great success, I now only have three storage containers and the project lasted the entire length of the movie.

Requiem: Curtis Swimming & “wedding” dress

At Cottey College we lived in suites, a group of dorm rooms joined together by a living room, kitchen and bathroom.  At the end of the year, most suites would have Free boxes, which we wandered about taking advantage of, kind of like an early form of naked lady parties.  It was from a free box I got this sweatshirt.  I can still picture the woman who owned it previously, she was tall and blond in that reassuring Nordic way.  I wore the bajeesus out of this sweatshirt and then tried to make it last a bit longer by practicing some needlepoint on the frayed edges.  This was a great companion.

Interesting coincidence.  Cottey College is located in Missouri and when I was living in Somerville, Massachusetts, my downstairs neighbor saw me with this shirt and excitedly queried me as to where I got it. It turns out that he went to the very same Curtis High School as the original owner of this sweatshirt, though he didn’t know her.

I call this my wedding dress as it has made appearances at many weddings.  I bought it for Teresa’s wedding   in the late 90s, but that was just the first of many.  I love that it’s red, form-fitting and has an interesting pattern.
But what I really love is the back detail with the fabulous crisscross straps.  Many other people love this detail too and have told me so.  Goodbye beautiful wedding dress.

Found it!

In my essay about Mrs. Brown I reference a stir fry recipe.  I still have it, it was in one of my memory boxes.

Are you hungry for stir-fry, made in the style of 4-H circa 1985? Here’s the recipe:

You need:

  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger (if you have it)
  • 1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon soy sauce
  • 1/3 c. water
  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 2/3 cup carrots, sliced thin
  • 2/3 cup celery, sliced thin
  • 2 cups broccoli, separated into flowerets; cut the stems into think slices
  • 1/3 cup onions, sliced thin
  • 1 cup bean sprouts (or use canned green beans) [Here I must interject and say, no, do not use canned green beans as they are nasty]


  • large skillet with lid
  • knife
  • cutting board
  • measuring cups (nested and liquid)
  • measuring spoons
  • wooden spoons

Note: you can use frozen vegetables in this recipe too.  Be sure they are defrosted. Then dry them with a paper towel to prevent splattering.

1. Mix cornstarch, ginger, garlic powder, soy sauce and water in a glass measuring cup and set aside
2. Heat the oil in a large frying pan with a lid
3. When the oil is hot, add the dry carrots, onions and the celery
4. Cook for one minute, stirring occasionally
5. Then add the broccoli and cook for 2 minutes. Stir constantly.  The broccoli will turn bright green.
6. Add the liquid and continue cooking for 1 minute or until it’s bubbly.
7. Then add the bean sprouts, reduce the heat, cover the pan and cook for 2 more minutes
8. Don’t get your face over the pan when you take off the lid.  Steam will rise up and could burn you.
9. If you want, serve over rice.  Makes four servings.

Three sentence movie reviews: Captain America

I liked this last summer in the theater and I liked it when I watched it as part of the Avengers Assembly movie series.  I think Hugo Weaving playing the villain was the best of the Avengers villains and I think that Chris Evans manages to project a vulnerability left over from his scrawny days that suits his character.  However, the people we watched the movie with pointed out some inconsistencies in the ending which I hadn’t considered, which prompted Matt to show us a clip from How it Should Have Ended which was incredibly funny, given that the point had just come up.

Essay: On houses, homes, corporations and large armies

Women who make a house a home
make a far greater contribution to society than those who command large armies
or stand at the head of impressive corporations
. Gordon B. Hinckley. 
One of
my friends posted this quote on Facebook. 
I have several problems with this quote and Facebook was not the place
to dissect it.  But luckily, we have the
essay of the week.  And so:
a house a home is an important part of society. 
Let’s just get this out of the way right now.  People (right now primarily women) who “do
not work” outside the home are a valuable part of our society.  Families who can have one parent happily stay
home full time not only benefit their own children, but the availability for
volunteering, carpools, baking and the like has a ripple effect around
them.  At the school where I work, we
have parents who work outside the home who volunteer.  However, a lot of the heavy volunteer lifting
gets done by parents who do not have paid employment outside the home.  If you are a “stay at home” mom (or dad), I
greatly salute you.
only women?  I think the part of this
quote that irks me the most is that it takes one gender and assigns them a
role.  This closes the door for people of
the opposite gender to take that path and it relegates the assigned to that
role.  This is often done blatantly by
religious leaders, and subtly by a good portion of the society.  Once upon a time, a Muslim man came to talk
about Islam to the high school youth group I was advising and he stated that
women spend so much time raising the children, they don’t have time to be
involved in politics.  I wondered if
women who did not have children and thus were not busy raising them could trade
in their free time for politics instead, if that was what interested them.
I think
I would also like a better sample size before making Hinkley’s pronouncement
above.  Few women are the head of
corporations and fewer still command large armies.  If the few that do those things do those
tasks well, are they still not making a great contribution to society?  And is it because they are women and not
making a house a home?  That seems a
little unfair. Given that we don’t yet have a representative sample, I would
say that the data is not yet in.
quote also gives us a false choice of either “house/home” or
“armies/corporations” Can one not do both? 
Granted, in the United States today we lag far behind the rest of our
peers in the world in making jobs friendly to families, but say that a woman
works part-time outside the home and part-time inside the home?  Is she still making a great contribution to
society, or is she required to only be a full-time homemaker?
If a
person does not want to make a house a home, but does it under duress, that
person’s home probably isn’t much fun to be in. 
The fact is, if you are a woman who is not into making a house a
home—and there are many such women out there—but you do that because you are
“supposed to” your results might not be very good.  Better to outsource some of your homemaking
work to others who are more into it and put your energy where your interests
are.  As the needlepoint says, “When mama
ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy.”  If
full-time homemaking isn’t your thing, find something that is.
I must
take a moment to note the speaker. 
Gordon B. Hinckley was the President of the Mormon Church for nearly 13
years.  Why is it that powerful men make
statements such as this?  While it
supposedly lifts women up, it also cuts them off from roles other than
homemaker.  Currently, no woman can be
head of the Mormon Church, as Hinckley was. 
His job is not available to women. 
Thus his words seem to put women in their place, hand them a bit of
candy and pat them on the head, as he gets on with other business.  Business that no one will ever question the
value of.  Making a house a home is an
important part of our society and I think both men and women should be able to
do it, if that’s their calling.  But if
it isn’t their calling, society is best served if they go into the world and do
what they do well, even if that is heading an army or running a large corporation.  And even if they are a woman.

Three sentence movie reviews: Thor

Last year, I mostly did not like this film, finding the main actor cheese-o-riffic, though I liked the special effects. Upon re-watching it for our Avengers Assembly, I liked it quite a bit more.  I think it was because I was prepared for Thor’s he-man looks and funny facial/head hair, but somehow the whole movie seemed a bit deeper the second time around.

Three sentence movie reviews: City Island

This was one of those movies I want to just go and live in for a few days.  Great acting, funny, complex without being confusing, and full of warmth.  I enjoyed it so much I requested the director’s other movies from the library and I highly recommend you watch this one.