Monday, October 22, 2007

Food for Thought

Makela Chicken Mojakka
Source of recipe: Grandmother Makela

Chicken tenders or chicken breasts
Can of chicken broth
two stalks celery
1/4 bag "baby" carrots
6-8 small potatoes
bay leaves
salt, pepper
dill weed
Lightly brown chicken in olive oil in stock pot.

Cut chicken into chunks.

Pour can of chicken broth and one can water over chicken, add diced vegetables, bay leaves, 1/2 teaspoon of salt & one of pepper. 1/8 tsp of dill weed. Bring to boil, simmer on low/medium heat for 1 hour or until carrots and potatoes are tender.

Serve in soup dish with fresh biscuits! Yum,yum.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Classical Movie Nostalgia - Your Inside Entertainment Guide

So what really is considered a classical movie? Can we simply associate as a black and white film noir thing? Containing some of those cheesy classical music? How about big powdered wigs? Do you think of the formal nature of both the characters as well as the period get-up and attire? Is a classic movie one which garnered 10 Oscars? Or do you think a classic movie simply one which down to the perception of the viewers and individuals?

The classical movie IS truly one of the great inventions since we discovered hamburgers. The classical movie is also the one show that we had the benefit of watching when we were kids, cause at the time only three television channels were available. It was during those good old Saturday afternoons and Sundays, when my dear father wasn’t consumed by the sports programmes on show, when those classic movies from the past, movies featuring the glamour girls and the guys that inspired us boys to want to be cowboys, were made available for us to enjoy in all their splendour.

Though there is obviously a distinct difference between classical movies and classical movies with only classical period elements (music, costumes, storylines, etc.), I would like to address the delight of the classical movie of yesterday and today that does involve only a particular period of history and does, then feature only classical period elements.

I tend to associate the black and white flicks with the beauties and the beaus, the comedies with the curmudgeons, the histories with the insights into who people were back then, like us but with an added je ne sais quoi that we must find out, learn about, and finally to appreciate in as great a depth and as wide a breadth as we can, in order to do them the justice they deserve.

Say for example, my favorite classical movie of all time, Impromptu. This film basically enacts a couple of years in the lives of the characters George Sand, Franz Liszt, Freiderich Chopin, and the regal and wealthy folks who took artists in, allowing them to paint, create, compose, write, in exchange for wonderful company and fine entertainment. The film concentrates on Sand, who is bent on partnering with Chopin, her aggression equal in magnitude, as was his weakness. The costumes, the soundtrack, the dialogue, and the setting are all as breathtaking as the direction, technique, and the delivery of words and emotion. There is even a theme or two that humans from the beginning of time until today can identify with or appreciate—the love and hate, good and evil, as well as longing and belonging motifs that are as timeless as the movie itself.

Other classical movie choices I have an affinity toward are those less mainstream & popular ones. I would consider Mrs. Parker and the Vicious Circle (though clearly POST-classical periods), Wilde, and Jefferson, for instance, as worthy of classical movie acclaim as say Amadeus, Emma, The Piano, and any number of Kenneth Branagh and Emma Thompson productions.

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God is God, A Stupid Beaches Production

God is God.....A Film

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

The endurance of film noir - continuing influence of dark, brooding film style on modern motion pictures

To these films I would like to add some films I have watched recently for the first time: The Good German, Call Northside 777, Panic in the Streets, Jack Palance's first film!

There was a time not too long ago when film noir (literally, "dark film") was an arcane term found in cinema studies textbooks. To use it in front of a lay audience meant risking a sneer. The expression was one of those snooty French ideas that intellectuals refused to translate into plain English. Today, MGM/UA, Warners, and other home video outlets release "film noir classics" to a public apparently not displeased anymore to be confronted with highbrow French terminology. More important, film noir more or less has entered the popular lexicon of the reasonably educated moviegoer. TV commercials make all sorts of noir allusions, and the term itself is a journalistic descriptive adjective. Film noir endures not only as a style and a genre (it is both) from yesteryear, but continues to influence contemporary moviemaking.

Film noir generally is recognized to be a certain style that influenced primarily the crime movies of the 1940s and 1950s. These black-and-white motion pictures--with their high-contrast shadows, lonely protagonists on empty and foreboding city streets, off-kilter camera angles, and often psychopathic personalities--were seen as characteristic of World War II and postwar anxieties. The examples are plentiful: "The Big Sleep," "In a Lonely Place," "The Big Heat," "White Heat," "Kiss of Death," "Double Indemnity," and "Kiss Me Deadly" are just a few of the more outstanding examples.

Many expatriate German artists such as Fritz Lang helped craft the film noir style. They brought with them the influence of the Expressionist school of art that flourished in post-World War I Weimar Germany before the Nazi takeover. This artistic style, like its noir heir, was characterized by odd camera angles, pervasive paranoia, shadowy nightmare landscapes, and hopelessly lost heroes. German silent movies like "The Student of Prague," "The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari," "Metropolis," and "The Testament of Dr. Mabuse" show the origins of the noir sensibility.

Many students of film noir argue that, just as the Weimar cinema evidenced a feeling of impending doom with its strange stylistics and forlorn protagonists, film noir reflected America's anxieties after the Depression and World War II. Although the U.S. was ascendant in the postwar years, the nuclear age, McCarthyism, and the Cold War gave rise, critics argue, to an anxious undercurrent in the body politic that made film noir popular. Although noir is associated chiefly with the crime film, its style soon saturated horror, sciencefiction, melodrama, and other genres.

Ridley Scott's 1982 science-fiction classic, "Blade Runner," owes as much to noir as to its sci-fi forebears. With its lonely cop Deckard (Harrison Ford in a Humphrey Bogart-like persona) walking dark, mean streets in a city of eternal night and perpetual rain, "Blade Runner" exemplified noir's postmodern incarnations. The film was one of many that proved noir was not a genre confined to a specific period, but, rather, a style that eventually saturated a good deal of the American cinema.

"Body Heat," the 1981 Kathleen Turner/William Hurt vehicle, was an uncredited remake of "Double Indemnity" that focused explicitly on the kinky sexuality that always was an implicit undercurrent of noir. The frequency of the reappearance of noir may be indicative not only of the nostalgia mode into which mass culture has entered, but a fascination with the paranoia and perversity that are hallmarks of the form which may indicate something of an unaddressed pathology in American life.

Last year's "L.A. Confidential," which did well at the box office, is but one of the more recent (and very mannered) re-creations of noir. This movie refashions noir rather literally. It is a crime film set in the early 1950s, with detailed period decor, smoky atmosphere, classic automobiles, and the requisite femme fatale (Academy Award-winner Kim Basinger doing a Veronica Lake mm). The picture deals with a totally corrupt Los Angeles Police Department in a world beset by conspiracies and collusions (big fixations of the 1990s). While earlier noir efforts, for the most part, would set things right by the end, "L.A. Confidential" concludes on some uneasy notes, suggesting that the old order of things might not be fully recuperable.

Above all, this film uses noir for a meditation on the American past. The heavily stylized noir approach tends to remind the audience that America in the postwar period is about images--about style and facades. The current versions of noir are too self-conscious to transmit the same anxieties of the original noir films. Instead, they trade on an even spookier notion: All emotions are a thing of the past, gone the way of the traditional virtues. The current cult film "Dark City" is a case in point.

"Dark City" is a convoluted synthesis of science-fiction and crime melodrama, with a hopelessly obscure plot about an alien race that creates a city-planet with the intention of generating, studying, and stealing human emotions. The images evoke "Metropolis" and the best Bogart films, but the narrative is highly elliptical, playing off of noir's sense of humanity lost and out of control of its destiny. A central image of "Dark City" is a whirlpool, and characters are seen literally spinning out of control through the vertiginous webwork of the film's malevolent cityscape. Yet, "Dark City" feels like a clinical study of a film style, a work that looks nostalgically to a time when we really could feel anxious, paranoid, and out of control, rather than apathetic, with a "loss of affect," as psychoanalysts would have it.

One might suggest that the permanence of film noir's intrigue might indeed be part of one of the more worrisome aspects of the nostalgia mode of our modem world. Film noir may represent a time when we genuinely shared something, even if it was a profound fear about the future. The darkest aspect of the contemporary noir resurgence may be its suggestion that past emotions are sentimental trinkets to be memorialized on a pop culture video shelf.

Dr. Sherrett, Associate Mass Media Editor of USA Today, is associate professor of communication, Seton Hall University South Orange, N.J.

COPYRIGHT 1998 Society for the Advancement of Education
COPYRIGHT 2000 Gale Group

Monday, October 15, 2007

Books Literary Awards Day

Books Literary Awards Day
Posted by Chas Bowie on Thu, Oct 11 at 3:14 PM

The Nobel Prize in Literature was announced today; a lot of people are pissed that Philip Roth was passed over once again, which seems like a legitimate gripe. British author Doris Lessing won instead, which is alright with me, based solely on this interview blurb following her 1997 memoir, Walking in the Shade:

Were you surprised at the criticism you received after writing, in your first [memoir], about leaving the kids from your first marriage behind you?

Of course I wasn’t surprised. The thing was that this was a terrible thing to do, but I had to do it because I have no doubt whatsoever if I had not done it, I would have become an alcoholic or ended in the loony bin. I couldn’t stand that life. I just couldn’t bear it. It’s this business of giving all the time, day and night, trying to conform to something you hate. Nobody can do it without going crazy.

I hear you Doris. (On another Nobel-related note, last year’s winner, Orhan Pamuk, will be at the Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall next Tuesday, Oct 16.

The National Book Award shortlist was announced today, and after seeing Miranda July on nearly every other major lit award list this year, I was kind of shocked not to see her on the list.

Mischa Berlinski, Fieldwork
Lydia Davis, Varieties of Disturbance
Joshua Ferris, Then We Came to the End
Denis Johnson, Tree of Smoke
Jim Shepard, Like You’d Understand, Anyway

Edwidge Danticat, Brother, I’m Dying
Christopher Hitchens, God Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything
Woody Holton, Unruly Americans and the Origins of the Constitution
Arnold Rampersad, Ralph Ellison: A Biography
Tim Weiner, Legacy of Ashes: The History of the CIA

I started reading the Denis Johnson book on vacation last week, and it’s pretty incredible. (Jim Shepard is a great writer, too; he’ll be in town in January, I believe.) But if I had to place bets on this one, I’d have to predict Johnson and Danticat in the end. The lingering effects of violence is a hard theme to beat in ‘07, and both are seriously skilled crafts(wo)men.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

APA Format for Research Papers

As I mentioned a few posts back, APA was what I used in Graduate School at Colorado State University, Department of Education.

It is a growing trend these days that one needs to submit his/her thesis in the APA format for research papers. The APA or American Psychological Association format is not confined to only the areas related to psychology or even to social science but can be used in many other fields of study as well. This format basically sets up a standard of conventions which are used for manuscript formation. It has directives in detail about the indexing, in-page citation reference, margins, reference lists and subheadings etc.

These days, the format is widely appreciated in a multitude of fields and disciplines because it helps in a proper organization of a standard which can be followed worldwide by the readers. It also makes the understanding of a text easier for the students and allows a generalized system of learning to prevail. This results in a better scholastic spread of knowledge giving people across the globe a better understanding of the latest updates in their discipline. Moreover, parallel formats are not required for different fields making the editing work more simple and less time consuming.Another salient feature of APA format is that it is constantly upgraded to keep in tune with the changing times. The academic style manual is well documented and is organized in a way to reduce confusion. By employing this style a student can make his average work turn into a brilliant piece of research. It makes the indexing and sorting of texts so simple and easy to understand that there is no need to keenly look for any meanings. Everything is easy to grasp when this format is applied to the thesis. The sheer simplicity of this format and its easy availability across a number of bookstores make it a good bet for students. The most important work for a student is the collection of the necessary data regarding his/her research. But if this information is not properly incorporated well in the thesis, the entire hard work of the student goes waste hampering the growth of his/her future. Turning your work into a high quality masterpiece involves the employing of the APA format to the best possible way. One can even hire professionals for this purpose and they will help in creating a perfectly sculptured term paper for the student which follows all the APA guidelines minimizing the space for errors. While using the APA format for research papers, it must be kept in mind that the running head of the first page should be mention appropriately. Second page should contain abstract, and never forget to pen down the sources you have used as reference. When dealing with such type of works it is prudent to use already available or collected information rather than hunting for new facts and figures every time. Such an activity will make it cumbersome to complete the final draft in time and cause a lot of problems for the already tense student. One should use collected sources with utmost care, as a wrong statement will spell trouble for the researcher, even affecting his/her grade.
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Sharon White is a senior writer and writers consultant at research paper writing. Get some useful tips for format for research paper and economics research paper.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Review: "Longest Winter"

In his final work, Halberstam considers U.S. missteps in Korea

David Halberstam turned in the last corrections for The Coldest Winter, his study of the first eight months of the Korean War, just five days before he died in a traffic accident while en route to an interview for his next project, a book on professional football. A former New York Times reporter and one of the finest nonfiction writers of his generation, Halberstam could switch from serious issues to more light-hearted topics with apparent ease. Over the last two decades, he had alternated sports books with works on U.S. foreign policy, the civil rights movement and the firefighters of 9/11.

In his last completed book, Halberstam focuses on the beginnings of the Korean War, which became the confluence of a mass of political stirrings. Chief among these was America's growing fear of communism, an apprehension deepened by the recent communist takeover of China. Fueling this fear was the mighty "China Lobby," which believed that the Korean conflict might both dislodge the hated and distrusted Democrats from power (as it surely helped to do) and also serve as the vehicle for returning the defeated Nationalist forces of Chiang Kai-shek to mainland China. For Mao Zedong, the victor over Chiang, however, the war offered an opportunity to demonstrate that communist China had a world-class army and henceforth must be treated accordingly.

At the center of these conflicting movements stood the monstrously self-aggrandizing figure of Gen. Douglas MacArthur. Vain, racist and contemptuous of politicians—particularly his commanders-in-chief—MacArthur initially dismissed all the signs that the Korean conflict might escalate into a long and costly war. Not only did he keep honest intelligence to himself instead of sharing it with those who needed it most, he surrounded himself with toadies who tailored the intelligence they gathered to confirm his preconceptions. His one praiseworthy act during the war, says Halberstam, was planning and overseeing the successful landing of United Nation troops at Inchon. From there on, it was all downhill. He disparaged the possibility that China would send soldiers into Korea or that they could stand up to American firepower if they did come. He undercut his most effective commanders and promoted the least able ones. When his weaknesses became apparent, he blamed others. Finally—and at great political risk to himself and his party—President Harry Truman fired MacArthur.

As in his other historical works, Halberstam deftly sketches in the lives of all the major players. His most eloquent passages are about individual soldiers in combat. He follows the war in detail—complete with battle maps—from the North Korean invasion of South Korea on June 25, 1950, through the crucial battle for Chipyongni that ended February 15, 1951. It would be two more years before the war came to a mutually unsatisfactory draw.

Halberstam points to parallels between the defective information that needlessly doomed tens of thousands in Korea and that which precipitated later wars: "[I]t showed the extent to which the American government had begun to make fateful decisions based on the most limited of truths and the most deeply flawed intelligence in order to do what it wanted to do for political reasons, whether it would work or not. In 1965, the government of Lyndon Johnson manipulated the rationale for sending combat troops to Vietnam... Then in 2003, the administration of George W. Bush... manipulated the Congress, the media, the public, and most dangerously of all, itself, with seriously flawed and doctored intelligence, and sent troops into the heart of Iraqi cities with disastrous results."

Edward Morris reviews from Nashville.