Mostly Martha (AKA Bella Martha) is an absolute gem of a movie. This movie is not a blockbuster, it’s a small, nuanced character study but, what characters to study!
Martha is an obsessive compulsive German master chef who cooks, lives, worries and tries desperately to control everything and eventually loses control and loves. Martha is played by the German actress Martina Gedeck and she is outstanding. I’ve never seen her in another movie, maybe never will, but no matter, she nailed this part. I would say her performance is one of the best I’ve seen in any movie, ever. If you see this movie, make note of how Martha puts on her apron. It’s incredible how Martina Gedeck gets physical nuance. Her face, her gestures, everything.
For me, a dyslexic, to call a German movie with subtitles one of my favorites means something, believe me.
There is an American version of this movie coming out soon with Katherine Zeta-Jones in the lead. I’m sure I’ll see it but I can’t believe I’ll like it better than this original version.
My good friend David Darling did the some of the soundtrack for the German version along with Keith Jarrett.
In Pursuit of Tea will give you everything you ever wanted to know about tea: growing, harvesting, buying, brewing and drinking, with a sprinkling of philosophy and politics tossed in the pot. Dang, tea is deep. I guess I knew that but now I really know it.
Roger Ebert, film critic, has cancer in his salivary glands and jaw and has had disfiguring surgeries to remove the cancer. He can’t talk. Yet, his spirit is still very much alive and he’ll attend his Ninth Annual Overlooked Film Festival in Chicago.
It’s also available through the iTunes Music Store as a podcast: Podcasts/NPR/Talk of the Nation.
This show both describes a broken mental health system and some of the good that’s come from advocacy groups helping psychotic patients learn how to live in a world that doesn’t understand them and is frightened of them.
I’ve been with people having serious psychotic episodes two times in my life and these were the scariest experiences I’ve ever had. I would guess that the reason we find these things so frightening is that we can easily project ourselves into the psychotic person’s place. Dealing with someone who is seriously mentally ill is maybe one of the hardest things any family member or friend will ever do. This show will give you a taste of it from all sides.
As a person with a learning disability (LD) I latched on to the psychiatric rights movement (The Madness Network in my day) because there was no LD adult advocacy movement in the early days. I think social, political, and educational support for LD adults is still way behind the general disabilities rights groups as well as the psychiatric rights groups.
The most heartening voice on the show, to me, was that of David Oaks who is “out” as a psychotic adult and leads a successful psychiatric advocacy group. He both told it like it was and is and offered hope outside of traditional mental health support services which these days are all about psychotropic drugs.
I’m trying it right now and I’m liking it very much. The Panic guys have always been true Mac developers who make solid, inexpensive products and support them well. I can’t wait to really dig into this one. Oh boy, new Mac software!
Steve Simon has an interesting post at Inside Aperture on Warming Up.
I think for any activity where we expect to be “on” we need to warm up before the “on” time. Dancers know this as do jugglers and actors and performers of all types. Thinking of photography as “performance” isn’t far off the mark, not to put extra pressure on ourselves, but to better understand one of the reasons why we can have a “bad hair day” with our cameras. Warming up is one more way to help us get closer to “on” when we want to be.
I really like this idea and I’m going to try the improvisation exercises Steve recommends.
The fact that Cisco, Microsoft, and others have complied already as a cost of doing business in China is no excuse. Yahoo seems to have gone out of their way to help the Chinese government prosecute this man.
If we’re going to frown on US companies doing business with Iran and North Korea, I would think that we ought not hold China to a different standard just because it’s such a lucrative market.
WIRED’s Michael Calore spent a month using Google’s Web-Based Apps and documented it.
This is a useful read for anyone considering moving some or all of their work online.
Bottom line: even if the entire process was bulletproof, until one can be connected all the time, anywhere on earth (I’m sure Google is working on it) this is a tough road to go down because when you lose the connection, you don’t have access to your work.
Warren, Connecticut. The most beautiful great blue heron I’ve ever seen landed on our pond today. He had a black pony tail and a "beard" of feathers in front the likes of which I’ve not seen in herons that land on our pond and he was big as herons go. He circled the pond on foot four times, catching a few fish and guzzling them down his skinny, long neck. It was raining so I moved camera and tripod from window to window trying to get the best shots of him. I wish I could talk to him and let him know that I’d never hurt him, touch him or do a thing to him and we could come to an agreement: he gets all the fish and frogs he can eat, I get all the pictures I want. Maybe in some other universe this is possible. One can hope.
In this image he’s just eaten a small fish and its in the back of his mouth, on the way down his long throat.
He continued looking for fish and found two more before he left.
Warren, Connecticut. As some of you who live on the East Coast of the US know, we’ve all had a few days of intense rain. This type of storm is called a "nor’easter" because the storm moves from south and west to north and east (diagonally up the coast) and as it reaches New England circles back counter clockwise pulling water off the ocean and dropping it on us as rain or snow.
Our meandering stream is a torrent and lapping at the bottom of the bridge I built and am standing on to take this. It’s not a bad thing to wash out the gully every now and then, get rid of winter debris and get ready for spring flowers. Even with all of the windows closed, we can hear this roar in the house and its constant and both soothing and menacing at the same time.
Of course, with the invention of The Weather Channel and to a lesser extent CNN, what used to be just another storm is now a huge event, hyped to the max and dramatized with it’s own logo and music, all to sell soap and get us worked up. There have been enough cries of "wolf" in the past few years so that if, god forbid, another Floyd (our mini Katrina) came through, we might not believe it until it was upon us.
Action Poetry is a collection of Billy Collins poems combined with spectacularly inventive animation that gives the poems another dimension making them accessible to folks like me who might have a rough time reading them on their own.
They are great poems, made even greater by animated illustration. I can’t stop watching these.