Monday, June 20, 2016

2009 Fall Festivals in Sacramento, California

September marks the beginning of the fall season. Starting with Labor Day, Sacramento is abuzz with celebrations and festivals of all kinds. Every member of the family will find something they like. From food festivals to historic reenactments, our area’s activities are sure to please.

The California State Fair: Running from August 21 to September 7 (Labor Day), the State Fair has rides, contests and concerts. David Cook, American Idol winner, will appear in-concert on opening day. Tonic, Salvador, MC Hammer, Three Dog Night and Blake Shelton will also perform during the Fair’s run. Wednesday, August 26 is the Hullabaloo Music Festival, featuring Jay and the Americans, Cannibal and the Headhunters and Merrilee Rush. The fair is also the home of the California State Karaoke Championship and the 10th Annual Dachshund Derby. For more information on the fair, go to

Gold Rush Days: From September 4 to September 7, Old Sacramento will bring the California Gold Rush back to life. Experience what is what like when thousands of settlers came to California to strike it rich. Reenactments of gunfights and gold panning will be offered. Admission is free for this Labor Day celebration of our past. For more information, see

The Greek Food Festival: On September 4 – September 6, the Sacramento Convention Center will play host to the 46th Annual Greek Food Festival. Sponsored by the Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church of Sacramento, this celebration features food, song and dancing. Come and explore the culture of Greece. For more information, see

The California Capital Airshow: The weekend of September 12 -13, Mather Airport will host the California Capital Airshow. The feature performers will be the U.S.A.F. Thunderbirds. The show will cap off Air Force Week in Sacramento, September 5 – 13. There will also be an F-18 demo, CDF Fire Bomber water drop, and the AFA Jump Team. For more information, go to

St. Ignatius Family Fair and Car Show: St. Ignatius of Loyola Parish will host this festival on September 12. There will be carnival games, bingo, car show, bouncy house, and food. See for more information.

St. Anthony’s 16th Annual Parish Festival: Also on September 12, St. Anthony’s Catholic Church will celebrate with international cuisine. They will have carnival-style games, like ring toss and darts. For more information, see

California Brewers Festival: 60 brewers will offer samples of over 135 beers. Located in Discovery Park, this festival is sponsored by the Point West Rotary Club. On the stage will be Utz!and th Shuttlecocks and Velvet Tongue. See for more information.

12th Annual Sacramento Arts Festival: From October 2 – 4, see the works of 225 of America’s contemporary artists. At the the Sacramento Convention Center, you will be able to purchase on -of-a-kind gifts for friends, family or for yourself. The Main Stage will offer live music (jazz, blues and world music). Go to

Oktoberfest 2009: Sacramento Turn Verin Hall will host this event on October 2 and 3. Celebrating the marriage of Prince Ludwig I, come experience German – American culture. 3349 J Street, Sacramento, CA.

These are a sample of the many events in Sacramento this fall. Check out for more upcoming events. Our state’s capital city has much to offer. Go out and enjoy the many ways we celebrate the fall season.


2009 Fall Crafts

As winter approaches, fall turns colder and wetter. You may go outside and get chilled to the bone. Instead of going outside here are some indoor crafts to do with your children. You can sit inside and be warm away from the cold air and the germs of others.

String of leaves – For a string of leaves, you can either draw leaves or collect them from an outside walk. If you use real leaves make sure to dry them out first or watch them to see if your decoration is breaking. Collect leaves of all colors or cut “leaves” out on different colors of paper. Then, you tape the leaves to a string. Once all the leaves are taped you can hang your decorative leaf string across doorways or walls. This makes your house feel like fall without having to go outside.

Thankful Leaf Wreath – A thankful leaf wreath is nice to have around for Thanksgiving as well as just as a fall decoration craft. For a thankful leaf wreath you will need to cut out leaves for your wreath. You can take a paper plate and cut the inside of the plate out. When the inside is cut you will have a perfect opening in the middle of the circle. You will write what you are thankful for on the leaves. Once the leaves are written on, glue them to the thankful leaf wreath.

Leaf wreath – Whether you want a real leaf, leaf wreath or a paper leaf, leaf wreath this is a fun and easy fall craft. You can pick leaves up on any walk outside for a real leaf, leaf wreath. If you use paper leaves you will need different colors of construction paper to cut the leaves from.

Once you have your leaves you will need to attach the leaves to the wreath. You can either use a paper plate base for your wreath or use a vine wreath. Once you have attached your leaves to your wreath, you can decide whether you want to add anything else. If you use real leaves, you can use acorns or small nuts and attach to your leaf wreath. You can also add pine cones or even berries.

Fall Centerpiece – If you are looking for a unique decoration and easy craft, you can make a nut centerpiece. You can use a large round or square candle and put it on a small plate. Make sure the plate is bigger than the candle so you can put nuts around it. Collect acorns and a couple of pine cones. If you like the smell of pine, use pine needles under the acorns and pine cones. After you add nuts and pine cones, you might want a few berries just for color.

Whichever, fall craft you choose, enjoy your crafting.


2009 College World Series Score for Game 2 Favors Texas

The 2009 College World Series score for Game 2 evened the 2009 College World Series for the entire finals. The 2009 College World Series score in Game 1 was close to favoring Texas over LSU, but the Tigers came back to get one win away from winning the 2009 College World Series. The Game 2 score for the 2009 College World Series, however, wasn’t as narrow. With Texas holding on to a win last night, the 2009 College World Series is now tied, 1-1, between Texas and LSU, with one final championship battle left.

The 2009 College World Series score for Game 2 was decided pretty quickly, as Texas jumped out to an early lead and didn’t need last minute heroics. The Longhorns just needed a complete game five-hitter from freshman Taylor Jungmann to easily outpace LSU, 5-1.

With an easy score for the 2009 College World Series Game 2, the Longhorns made it necessary to have a Game 3. The Longhorns and Tigers now have one game left to determine a winner in the 2009 College World Series, just like in the old days.

Back in the day, there was just one national championship game to end the College World Series. For the last several years, the format has been a best-of-three in the finals. With the Longhorns winning Game 2, the 2009 College World Series is down to one single national championship matchup.

Since Texas and LSU have dominated much of the regular season, the 2009 College World Series score for Game 2 was bound to favor Texas, and not have the Longhorns go down so easy. Coming back has been the Longhorns specialty in the post season – except for Game 1 against LSU. So winning two straight elimination games against the Tigers would be a fitting way for the Longhorns to win the 2009 College World Series.

For the decisive Game 3, LSU will bring out their ace, Anthony Ranaudo, who was held back from starting in Game 2 so he could be set for tonight. The Tigers have only lost back-to-back games once this season, and would rather not like to start doing it when it really counted. The Longhorns will bring out Cole Green to start.

The final score of the 2009 College World Series will be determined starting at 7 p.m. EST on ESPN.


American Chronicle- “Freshman Keeps Texas Alive”

FanHouse- “LSU Has Ace in the Hole for Game 3”


2009 Family Adds Natalee Holloway to Alabama Missing Children List

Despite some current Internet talk that the body of blonde Caucasian Natalee Holloway has been found, it’s not true- not as of this time. The talk refers to an old story that continues to circulate- in early 2009, an American Airlines flight attendant confirmed that a cadaver dog was being flown to Aruba because Aruba officials believed they knew where to find Natalee’s remains. The search occurred but no body was found.

Natalee Holloway was 18 when she went missing on May 30, 2005, the last day of an unofficial five-day graduation trip to Aruba- a Caribbean country within the Kingdom of the Netherlands. Natalee did not show up for the return flight she was scheduled to take with 123 other graduates of Mountain Brook High School (MBHS)- sited in wealthy suburb Mountain Brook in Birmingham, Alabama- and their seven chaperones. Natalee’s passport and packed luggage were found in her Holiday Inn room.

Natalee was last seen alive at 2:00 am according to statements made in 2005 by Dutch teenager Joran Van der Sloot, 17, and his friends the Kalpoe brothers, Deepak, 21, and Satish, 18, of the Republic of Suriname, in South America. Sex, drinking, and drugs were allegedly involved.

On November 4, 2009, Special Agent Judy Orihuela, a spokesperson with the Miami office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), stated that the Holloway family has asked that their daughter, whose present age is 23, be added to a list of missing children on the Alabama Department of Public Safety site. The motive for this request is yet unknown.

During the four-years-plus since Natalee disappeared, several males- including the three teenagers named above- have been arrested, released, re-arrested, and again released. Seeking to deflect blame from their individual selves, their finger-pointing stories have changed with the passing years.

Five of the many stories about Natalee and her disappearance are: 1. Joran Van der Sloot has stated that he and the Kalpoe brothers dropped her off at her hotel at 2:00 am. 2. He has also stated that they took her to the beach. The Kalpoe brothers left him and Natalee there. She wanted to have sex but he didn’t have a condom. So, they didn’t have sex. Satish Kalpoe returned to the beach and picked up Van der Sloot. 3. The aforementioned three males dropped Natalee off at the beach and left her alone by her request. As they were leaving, they saw a dark man approaching her. 4. Van der Sloot also once claimed he trafficked her as a white slave into Venezuela. 5. Police Commissioner Dompig, who led the investigation from mid-2005 to 2006, stated in an interview with CBS correspondent Troy Roberts (aired on March 25, 2006) that he now believed Natalee was not murdered. Instead, she consumed enough alcohol and drugs that led to her poisoning and ensuing death. Then, someone hid her body.

However, although evidence points to Natalee having possession of drugs, there is no evidence that she used drugs. Dompig said there was ‘wild partying, a lot of drinking, lots of room switching every night… Natalee, we know, she drank all day every day. We have statements she started every morning with cocktails- so much drinking that Natalee didn’t show up for breakfast two mornings’. Two of Natalee’s classmates supported the claim of her excessive drinking. According to Dompig, the Holiday Inn told the MBHS grads that due to their behavior, their school was not welcome back next year. Of the misbehaving grads, only Natalee went missing.

Natalee’s disappearance is surrounded by mystery, lies (including those by Dutch businessman and ex-con Patrick Van der Eem), reward-seekers, and attention-seekers. Exhaustive searches for her or her dead body have been made in Aruba. Aruban authorities and the FBI remain confounded as to what happened to the teenager. And now Natalee has just been added to the list of missing children on the Alabama Department of Public Safety. The convoluted mystery continues.

Even Dr. Phil was involved. He aired excerpts of a tape on his show that was manipulated. The taping, instigated by private investigator Jamie Skeeters, was of a hidden-camera interview with Van der Sloot friend Deepak Kalpoe. Aruban police and the FBI obtained the original of the tape and gave unadulterated copies to the news media. The manipulated version, in which key words were altered, supported Beth Holloway’s allegation of sexual assault against Van der Sloot and the Kalpoe brothers. The original version did not.

Natalee’s parents, who divorced in 1993, David Holloway and Beth Holloway (a.k.a. Beth Twitty when married to George “Jug” Twitty, divorced 2007), have each written a book about their daughter’s tragic disappearance. His is Aruba: The Tragic Untold Story of Natalee Holloway and Corruption in Paradise (pub. 2008). Hers is Loving Natalee: A Mother’s Testament of Hope and Faith (pub. 2006). Natalee’s younger brother is Matthew Holloway.


2009 Dodge Ram Preview

Move over Ford F-150, the time has come for Dodge Ram to boot Ford as the number one truck for large pick-up truck buyers. The 2009 Dodge Ram boasts the same domineering, road hogging style, with extra perks for their pick-up truck owners.

Despite soaring gas prices, you couldn’t pry some men from their Dodge Ram. If you’ve ever owned one, you wouldn’t want them to give up the best driving, power pick-up on the road.

Dodge came out swinging at The 2009 International Car Show in Detroit Michigan, in January. Dodge faced two objectives with the new 2009 Dodge Ram. They needed to offer enough perks and Dodge Ram reliability to keep loyal customers from moving to other manufacturers in search of better gas mileage, and they find it’s time knock the Ford F-150 from the best seller list.

Environmental and financial concerns over the rising cost of gas may cause a few Dodge Ram drivers to stray, but for loyal Dodge Ram enthusiasts size matters. Drivers of these power house pick-ups know their trucks are the boss of the pickup truck world.

Consumers buy Rams for size, durability, horsepower, torque, and towing capacity. They need a workhorse of a truck, or at least want to be seen driving a workhorse of a truck. Die-hard RAM fans look upon smaller pick-up trucks as mere toys.

Dodge has added a few perks to the 2009 Ram and F-150, to help foster consumer loyalty.

Dodge’s 2009 Ram continues to play on their big-rig style grill. One thrill for Dodge owners is when other drivers look back and see the RAM’s grimacing grill snarling in the rearview mirror. The 2009 grill style is the same, but it is tilted forward, looking more domineering and aggressive than ever. The 2009 Dodge Ram truck may have the only grill on the road that equates with a crown. Dodge Ram owners like the sense that in their pickup they are the “King of the Road.”

Maintaining payload and capacity, the new Dodge Ram truck is built on a new boxed frame, with multi-link coil spring suspension, and steel supports. Three engine choices include a 210hp six cylinder, 310hp 4.7L V8, and the envy of all Dodge Ram drivers, a 5.7L HEMI V8. Dodge claims even the HEMI is now more fuel efficient. I’m not sure anyone who drives a HEMI cares.

The 2009 Dodge Ram is available as a six-speed manual, four, and five speed automatic transmissions. Buyers can choose a two or four-wheel drive. Though for the life of me, I can’t imagine a Dodge Ram without four-wheel drive. Two wheelbases and three box lengths are available.

The 2009 Dodge RAM truck addresses the big issue of safety concerns. Size and construction alone provide security of mind. Front and side-curtain airbags, four-wheel anti-lock disc brakes, and electronic stability control come standard.

The 2009 Dodge Ram is available as standard cab, Quad Cab, and, for the first time, as a crew cab. ST, SLT, TRX, Sport and Laramie trims are available to suit taste, style, and budget.

Dodge Ram is a working man’s truck, but don’t be surprised to see the 2009 Dodge Ram parked at the office. The Ram turns heads and offers perks for every man. Front and rear heated seats, heated steering wheel, and surround sound are available. DVD, TV, and hard drive options are available to upload music and photos.

When a 2009 Dodge Ram passes, pull your Ford F-150 truck to the side of the road in deference. When you get back on the road, head to the nearest Dodge dealer and let them put you in a real truck.


2009 Chicago Gay Pride Parade & Schedule of Events

Chicago’s Gay Pride Parade this year will take place on Sunday, June 28, beginning at noon. You can see the start of the parade at Halsted and Belmont, where it’ll go to Broadway, to Diversey, and end at the intersection of Diversey and Cannon Drive. More than 500,000 people are expected to show up for this event so make sure you get there early! The parade lineup won’t be available until June but be sure to check for updates. Although the Gay Pride Parade is the most publicized part of gay pride month, it’s not the only event that will take place in Chicago.

From June 12 to June 27 you can catch “Lilith, A Rock and Roll Music Spectacle” at the BOHO Theater. This production deals with the origins of homosexuality, lesbianism and homophobia. Tickets are $15 each and can be purchased at

Pride Day at Six Flags will be held again this year on June 1st. Tickets are only $33 and include free water park admission! For only $20 more you can get a bus ride to the park from Crew Bar & Grill, Halsted’s Bar & Grill, or Hydrate. Pride Day has been held for years and is a huge day-long event.

On June 6th the sixth annual “Ride for AIDS Chicago” is held. The event is produced by the Test Positive Aware Network and helps to raise funds for HIV and AIDS services in Chicago. This is a two-day long hike spanning 190 miles, traveling all the way to central Wisconsin and back. Each rider must raise at least $1,000 for the cause.

Sapphic Adventures, a lesbian social organization, is putting together a BBQ on June 7 at Kankakee River State Park in Bourbonnais. The day starts at 11:00 am for activities like biking and softball and the BBQ begins at 3:00 PM. Be sure to bring food and drinks.

On June 21st there will be a gathering called “Colors Across the River for Equality (CARE)” on the Centennial Bridge between Rock Island, Illinois and Davenport, Iowa. QC Pride purchased 1,000 rainbow flags and wants 1,000 people to display them at the bridge. This demonstration is designed to celebrate Iowa’s recent decision and help spread equal rights to every state. Bring $5 for the flag deposit.

There are dozens of events scheduled throughout Chicago to celebrate Gay Pride month. For even more events and updates as they become available for the Parade, visit


2009 Christmas Gift Guide for the Thomas & Friends Kid

Thomas the Train has been a favorite of kids for a long time. Back in the day he use to be only in story, but now he’s everywhere. It doesn’t matter where you look you will see Thomas or one of his beloved friends. That’s probably why little ones like him so much. Thomas not only has make believe but he also teaches our children something great. Never give up, which is really the only way to get through life. Besides all that, he’s just cool and the kids think so as well. That’s why any child would love anything off this great gift guide this year.

Play hut Thomas the Tank Adventure Hut $30

Children love play huts and parents love the Twist ‘n Fold technology which is why this is the perfect gift. This play hut features: split flap door entrance, multiple tunnel ports for crawl through play and structure expansion, twist ‘n fold technology for instant set up and east storage and its lightweight.

Thomas & Friends Great Race Game $17

If you’re looking for something that’s a little on the cheaper side but still much wanted then this is it. This game is great for the little ones who love Thomas and the parents who are looking for an easy board game. Players get to answer trivia questions all about Thomas and his friends. They then earn coal blocks which they can use for their engine. It combines learning, fun and Thomas all in one.

Thomas Busy Day Train Set $15

A perfect little train set for your little one. If they have always wanted a train set then this is the perfect set to learn on. It comes with a motorized Thomas that chugs along the tracks and over the bridge. This will become their favorite little toy train set.

Thomas and Friends DVD Bingo $34

A perfect bingo game for your little ones. This DVD game will teach your children all about numbers, colors and matching skills. They will hear and see Thomas characters, voices and tons of different music to help them on their way. Game comes with 1 DVD, 6 double sided bingo cards and 150 bingo chips.

Thomas & Friends Take Along Airport Playset $22

This airport will become a favorite toy in no time at all. The Sodor Airport features: Lights, fold down landing strip and real airport sounds. All the pieces including the six track pieces all store inside the airport so your little ones can take this with them where every their go. The Thomas vehicles are made of durable die cast metal and they can connect to other vehicles with the Smart magnets. Also included in every package is a special collector’s card.


2009 Big East Tournament Championship Final Preview

The 2009 Big East Tournament was hyped up as one of the biggest shows in college basketball. Although it took a while, the 2009 Big East Tournament has finally lived up to the hype. The Syracuse-Connecticut six overtime game will forever define the 2009 Big East basketball tournament, but it is not over yet. In fact, the Big East Tournament final between Louisville and Syracuse could fill in the final piece at the top of the NCAA tournament puzzle.

For over a week, NCAA tournament pundits have predicted that the Big East could get three number 1 tournament seeds. Pittsburgh and Connecticut are all but locked in, despite early Big East tournament losses. Louisville could be the third top seed, but only if they win the Big East tournament.

Louisville hasn’t been completely impressive in the Big East tournament, winning an ugly quarterfinal game against Providence, and being down at the half to Villanova in the semifinal. But the Cardinals blew out the Wildcats in the second half, and may be back on track.

The Cardinals, for all the hype around Pitt and Connecticut, were the top team in the Big East. Winning the Big East tournament would all but ensure that final number 1 seed, most likely in the West region. But if they don’t, it leaves the door open for the likes of Memphis and Michigan State to claim it.

But for all that Louisville has on the line, the Cardinals are a mere subplot in the 2009 Big East tournament. Syracuse has been the biggest star, as they try to win the Big East tournament, with four wins in four nights, for the second time in four years. Of course, when the Orangemen won a stunning Big East tournament title in 2006, they were upset in the NCAA first round.

Nonetheless, Syracuse is moving on after playing seven overtime periods in two nights. A much easier overtime win over West Virginia put the sixth seeded Orangemen into the Big East final.

A Big East tournament title would probably move Syracuse up to a 4 seed at the most, after being put at a 6 or 7 seed projection before the Big East tournament. If that happens, the Orangemen would likely be everyone’s darling pick for a deep NCAA tournament run, despite their struggles in the regular season.

The Cardinals have never won a Big East championship in their handful of years in the conference. But although they are favored to do it tonight, it will likely feel like they are the visiting team, against the new Garden darlings in Syracuse.

The 2009 Big East tournament final airs at 9 p.m. on ESPN.


New York Daily News- “Syracuse lore keeps growing at Garden”

ESPN- “So is Louisville a 1-seed?”


2009 Cannes Film Festival: Top 5 Palme D'Or Winners

The Palme d’Or, which translated means “Golden Palm” is the highest honor bestowed upon a film in contention at the Festival de Cannes or as it has come to be known, The Cannes Film Festival. The Cannes Film Festival is widely thought of as the most important Film Festival in the world. Though others like Sundance and South by Southwest are gaining prominence, Cannes is still considered ‘Le Grande Spectacle’. The 2009 Cannes Film Festival will be the 62nd anniversary of the festival.

The Palme d’Or has been the brass ring to which filmmakers have aspired for 41 of those years. First given in 1955, the award was commissioned at the end of 1954. It was originally designed by jeweler Lucienne Lazon. Before the Palme d’Or was introduced, the highest award was the Grand Prix du Festival International du Film. Due to copyright issues surrounding the Palm, the festival returned to giving the Grand Prix du Festival in 1964. The Palme was reinstated in 1975.

The design of the award has changed several times over the years. Its current design is a 24-carat gold Palm frond cushioned on a solid block of cut crystal. The presentation is made in a case of blue Moroccan leather.

A number of the films that win the coveted Palm d’Or go on to win Academy Awards.

Having been charged with the task of choosing the 5 best of the over 60 something films that have won the Palme d’Or is a very subjective task. By its very nature film is a medium that speaks with one voice about the vagaries of the human condition. The undertaking is made all the harder because tastes vary widely. The 5 films that have made this list illustrate the universal themes of hope, degradation, rejection, isolation, reconciliation and perseverance. They are further evidence of our overwhelming commonalities rather than our abiding differences.

Marty – Palme d’Or 1955 (US)

Marty starred Ernest Borgnine in the role of Marty Piletti. Marty is a socially awkward butcher whose overbearing family almost wrecks his chances at finding love. Marty went on to win the Academy Award for Best Picture and Ernest Borgnine won for Best Actor. Below is one of Marty’s most favorite lines

“You don’t like her. My mother don’t like her. She’s a dog. And I’m a fat, ugly man. Well, all I know is I had a

good time last night. I’m gonna have a good time tonight. If we have enough good times together, I’m gonna get down on my knees. I’m gonna beg that girl to marry me. If we make a party on New Year’s, I got a date for that party. You don’t like her? That’s too bad.

La Dolce Vita – Palme d’Or 1960 (Italy)

La Dolce Vita which translates to the Sweet Life is widely regarded as Federico Fellini’s transitional film. La Dolce Vita stars Marcello Mastroianni as Marcello, a morally bereft reporter. The film beautifully chronicles Marcello’s path to the morass of debauchery and degradation. His constant quest for youth and beauty causes him to objectify all of the women he comes into contact with. His last tenuous hold on hope fails when his seemingly happy and successful friend Steiner shoots his children and then turns the gun on himself. Marcello is faced with the thought that if the love of a family and success can not save one, then what hope did he have.

The Piano – Palme d’Or 1993 (New Zealand)

The Piano was directed by Jane Campion, who is the only female director to ever be awarded a Palme d’Or. The Piano brilliantly renders the tale of Ada McGrath, a mute Scottish woman who enters into an arranged marriage with a landed Englishman, Alistair Stewart, portrayed by Sam Neill. Ada and her nine year old daughter, played brilliantly by Anna Pacquin, arrive on a, New Zealand, beach with all their belongings. The Englishman arrives a day later, accompanied by his neighbor, Baines, played by Harvey Keitel. Ada has brought her piano, but the Stewart decides it is too heavy and leaves it. Ada tries to make a life with her husband but she is drawn to the ilent and earthy Baines. Baines proves to be her rescuer. He retrieves her piano, which serves as Ada’s voice in the world. As Stewart becomes aware of Ada’s love for Baines he becomes increasingly frustrated. In one of the most harrowing and heartrending scenes of the film, Stewart chops off Ada’s index finger to stop her playing and render her completely voiceless. Even Stewart’s violent attempt to quell the passion between Ada and Baines fails. He relents and allows Ada to leave with Baines.

The film earned a Best Actress Academy Award for Holly Hunter and a Best Supporting Actress Academy Award for Anna Pacquin. Pacquin, became the second youngest person to ever win an Oscar. Holly Hunter played her own piano pieces and served as Anna Pacquin’s sign language teacher on set.

Secrets & Lies – Palme d’Or 1996 (United Kingdom)

Secrets & Lies, the winner of the 1996 Palme d’Or introduced “Without a Trace” stalwart, Marianne Jean-Baptiste to American audiences. Jean-Baptiste plays, Hortense Cumberbatch, a successful black optometrist, who is adopted. When she sets out to find her birth mother, she finds a working class white woman, Cynthia Purley, portrayed by Brenda Blethyn. The film explores the ideas of class and status as well as nature versus nurture. Its prevalent themes are forgiveness and reconciliation.

It’s interesting to note, that though Mike Leigh gets a writing credit for Secrets & Lies; the vast majority of the film was improvised. The actors were given a basic idea about their characters and they came up with their own dialogue.

The Pianist – Palme d’Or 2002 (Poland)

The Pianist for which Adrien Brody went on the become the youngest man to win a Academy Award for Best Actor in a Lead Role, told the story of Wladyslaw Szpilman. Szpilman was a radio personality and a pianist in Poland at the start of World War II. His life was forever changed as the Nazi SS moves Polish Jews into Warsaw Ghettos before moving them on to The Treblinka Concentration camp. Szpilman is saved from being transported to the camps by a family friend who is a part of the SS. Szpilman eventually leaves the ghetto and hides in a farmhouse. He is discovered foraging for food by a member of the regular German army who keeps his secret and brings him food and supplies. Soon the Soviet Red Army arrives and the German soldier, Wilm Hosenfeld, is captured. Szpilman tries to save him from the prisoner-of-war camp but he is too late. Hosenfeld died in captivity.

Wladyslaw Szpilman resumed his role on Polish radio and went on the serve as Director of Polish radio. He composed and performed will into the 1980’s. Szpilman died on July 6, 2000, at the age of 88, in Warsaw, Poland.

Director Roman Polanski also won the Academy Award for Best Director for The Pianist. The project was extremely poignant for Polanski because he too had been confined to the Cracow ghetto. He was able to escape the ghetto and hid out until the war ended. Polanski lost his mother in the ghetto and thought his father was killed in the camps. Roman Polanski and his father were reunited after the war’s end.

Each of the movies listed is available for sale at, Borders, Barnes & Noble, Alibris or for check out from your local library.

Cannes Today

As the Cannes Film Festival enters its 62nd year, there is a renewed effort to keep it fresh and cutting edge. Thierry Fremaux, General Delegate of the Cannes Film Festival issued a lengthy statement outlining this new commitment. A portion of the statement follows. “The Festival will not simply coast along on the prestige of its name, however strong that may be. This prestige is above all due to the quality of the films, the creativity of the artists, the fighting spirit of the professionals and the enthusiasm of the press. Cannes is a collective good that each of us, wherever we are and in our own individual way, builds stone by stone, year after year It’s through never ceasing to question, through constantly evolving, and through inviting criticism, that we do it the most good. Although solidly rooted in its own history, Cannes is always open to newness. That which is dissimilar to it enriches it: and this is why this festival is our festival.”



2009 Christmas Gift Guide for Your Spider-Man

Do you have a little one at home who loves Spider-Man? It seems like a lot of little boys love Spider-Man nowadays. So if you have a little one at home that loves Spider-Man, you should get them something that reflects that interest. You will find out that you have gotten one of the very best presents for them.

Shakespeare Spider-Man Fishing Accessories Kit $14

If you have a little one who loves Spider-Man and they want to learn how to fish or they already know how and just want a cool rod, then this is the gift for them. This little kit will be the perfect gift for them. This kit includes: Telescopic rod and reel, sporty sunglasses, utility box and a clear backpack. The perfect set up for your little fisherman.

Spider-Man Folding Scooter $30

Even though I don’t see why, kids love scooters. It doesn’t seem to matter what age the kids are either. I have every age group here at my house and they all love scooters. So if you have a little one at home that loves Spider-Man and they have wanted a scooter then you have found the perfect gift for them. This scooter features: Spider-Man graphics, back brake, adjustable folding handle bars and a comfort foam grip. This scooter folds in half for easy storage and on the go fun.

Monopoly: Spider-Man $25

If you’re looking for a great way to play monopoly, then you have found it. What better way to play monopoly then to help Spider-Man save the world from Goblin 2. Venom and the Sandman. The villains plan on winning the game by buying up the entire city, so Spider-Man has to win. This Game comes with: Deed cards, chance and community cards, monopoly money with banker’s tray, 2 dice, 6 tokens, 32 apartments, 12 skyscrapers and instructions. This is something your older Spider-Man fans will love.

Spider-Man & Friends Fire Station Construction Toy Playset $56

If you’re looking for a great play set that your little ones will love then this one is it. It’s a little on the pricey side, but that doesn’t mean that it’s not worth it. This set has 45 pieces in all to provide hours of fun, so it’s worth the price. Some of the things you will find in here are: Spider-Man figure, Hulk figure, The Thing figure and all the gear they might need to jump on the fire truck and help save the world. The best part is everything stores inside the Playset making it easy for cleanup and on the go fun.


2009 College Football Week 8 Predictions and Picks

It’s time for my 2009 College Football Week 8 predictions and picks. Let’s start in South Bend where Notre Dame tries to rebound against Boston College. The Fighting Irish are an 8 to 10 point favorite to many oddsmakers. But much to the chagrin of Irish fans everywhere, Boston College will make a great game of it. Notre Dame seems to play to the level of their opponents. In week 8 of the college football season, my pick is Notre Dame edges Boston College 35-31.

Ohio State tries to rebound at home against Minnesota after being upset by Purdue. The Buckeyes are a huge favorite in this contest. But I’d take the points in a heartbeat while Ohio State tries to figure things out a bit. Ohio State still wins comfortably 31-17 in College Football Week 8.

Other 2009 College Football Week 8 predictions and picks? Tennessee travels to Alabama for an SEC showdown. The Tide is ranked 2nd in the nation and they are undefeated. Alabama is anywhere from a 14-17 point favorite according to those who set the odds. But Tennessee proved they can play a bit with a huge win over Georgia. Don’t look for the talented but young Volunteers squad to get routed on the road. Alabama wins but it’s closer than expected. Roll Tide 30-20.

UCLA is at Arizona out west. Arizona is an 8 point favorite in most predictions. But will UCLA pull off another crazy upset? Probably not. I’ll stick with Arizona to beat the 8 point margin and win 34-20.

More 2009 College Football Week 8 predictions and picks. Iowa is at Michigan State. There is no clear cut favorite in this one. Iowa won at Penn State and is, gulp, undefeated. I’ll take the team that won at Penn State and at Wisconsin in this one. Hawkeyes continue to roll with a 23-16 win over the Spartans.

Texas travels to Missouri after their big battle with Oklahoma. Are the Longhorns in for a letdown? This could be one of the few tests remaining and standing in the way of a national title appearance. Afterall, somebody will lose in the SEC title game and open the door for the Longhorns if they stay the course. The Longhorns are a big favorite. Mizzou still has some questions to answer and they won’t do it here with a 27-18 loss to Texas.

Florida is a 22 point favorite at Mississippi State. The Bulldogs have been respectable in losses to LSU and Georgia Tech. If I were a gambling points I would take the points and run. But Tim Tebow and the Gators definitely chomp on another victory 34-20.

Oregon State travels to USC for what could be an ugly game. The Trojans held on to beat Notre Dame last week. They have a freshman quarterback who is playing like a senior. USC runs all over the Beavers 42-10.

My other 2009 College Football Week 8 picks and predictions? Miami(FL) rolls over Clemson 34-17. Penn State wins at Michigan 27-21. Washington upsets Oregon 33-27. Nebraska crushes Iowa State 52-7. Cincinnati makes quick work of Louisville 38-13. Kansas edges Oklahoma 23-21 in a battle that go either way.


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