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The Life of Emile Zola

Welcome to the review of the Best Picture winner of 1938.

Wanna know a secret? We actually watched this one several months ago. We were supposed to watch it after the Great Ziegfeld, but I got them mixed up. Oops.

This film was the true story of a writer and activist in late 19th century France, where the military ruled with an iron fist and anyone who dared to stand up for what was right was considered in contempt of the law. The movie depicts young Zola writing furiously on “taboo” issues of the day and becoming an extremely successful voice of the people. He advocated for the workers by bringing to light working conditions and so forth. It reminded me of Upton Sinclair’s The Jungle. If you have never read it, please run to the store this minute and pick up a copy. Right now. Did you get it? Good, then we can continue. It may be considered pure propaganda by some, but I think it was truly enlightening and extremely bold writing for the day. It opened some eyes in Washington and effected change for factory workers in this country.

*stepping off my soap box. And now back to the film *

The Life of Emile Zola follows just that…his life. It chronicles how he wasn’t afraid to stand up for the common man, and for what was right, even if that meant he had to stand up against the most powerful force in the nation. Hats off to Emile Zola and his courageous life! The Life of Emile Zola is highly recommended. Watch it!

More Luge Please

I want to talk more about luging, is that ok? I just cant help it, I love it so much. Plus I have some more really great pictures to share. I love a lot of things, but if I were to make a list, luging would be in the top ten for sure!

Note to readers: this list does not include things that shouldn't be ranked, like God, family, friends, etc. This list mostly includes inanimate objects like my cast iron skillet and my plant Rhonda.

Dear Luge,

I love you. I will surely miss you when you melt.


Your biggest fan

And now, for your viewing pleasure...a smattering of luge pictures.

Luging in the dark!

We even turned off ALL the outside lights and went down in the complete darkness -backwards!

Isn't this one cool?

Ok, that's all. I promise I wont talk about the luge anymore for a long time. Well, I cant promise, but I'll try really hard.

Play-Doh Sculpture Contest at Work.

This is my best work yet, so I thought I would share it with.......THE WORLD. Don't even think about using this. I totally copyrighted it. Sorry. It's under the title "happy snake, drinking juice out of the Cat egg with a straw"

"Higher, higher, I need more steps!"

Recently we had the privilege of watching yet another movie on our journey through all the best picture winners....The Great Ziegfeld.

The movie was about a man that had humble beginnings working on a circus like side-show and slowly became a "rich" producer of great stage shows. I say "rich" because it focuses mainly on his ability to show stage shows with great success, only to be begging for more money to produce his next great idea.

Much like the other best pictures we have seen so far, this movie was created on an epic scale. I'll be the first to admit it was kind of lengthy. It clocks in at almost 3 hours, but they go really watch the movie in two segments like we did. The intermission serves as a perfect pause point. My one complaint was that it shows long elaborate dance numbers. Yes they were grand, yes they were amazing, but 20 minutes for one show gets a bit long.

Overall, the 3 of us really enjoyed the movie. It comes highly recommended.

The Facts

Ladies and Gentlemen: the story you are about to hear is true. The names may have been changed to protect the innocent.

The facts are these:

It was cold. Very cold.

A group was gathered at the cabin.

There was luging.

And it was all Justin's fault.

You see, while spending time at said cabin someone received a voice mail from Justin. We'll call him....Dave. The message said something along the lines of, "I bet you are luging right now in just your boxers. Take pictures. Thanks in advance."

The man we are calling "Dave" took this message as a challenge, a challenge he was determined to meet and conquer. He had an accomplice. We'll call him...Nick.

Dun dun dunnnnnnnn (please pause for dramatic effect. Thanks)

The task before them was no small feat, but they were determined. These two men met the challenge with bravery and resolve. They stripped down to their boxers, boots and scarves. Witnesses had gathered outside, cameras at the ready.

If you are questioning whether or not these men actually accomplished what I'm explaining, I have evidence. What I'm about to show you is not for the faint of heart and may frighten some young audiences.

I now present Exhibit A:

So, you can see that this is more than enough evidence to place both men at the scene of the crime, and to explain the tomfoolery that was displayed in the picture posted yesterday (you can find it below.) As stated above, the fault lies with a man named Justin, and you can rest assure that he will be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.

Though the names may have been changed to protect the innocent, the details of the story were true. These were the facts. "Just the facts, ma'am."

(almost) Wordless Wednesday

What is all this tomfoolery you ask?

Stay tuned...

Coldest day of the year!

This is me waiting for the bus this morning. It's -23F with a windchill of -41F. I looked up -41 for Celsius, and it was almost exactly the same it's -40.55555 C. It's freakin' cold out there people. Be safe. Unless you live in Australia (Caleb&Amanda), enjoy the 80F weather....or if you live in California (Justin&Autumn)go to Disneyland for us.

Movie Monday

My brother is a rock star. He is. There's just no other way to say it.

We braved the cold and the "1 hour parking only" and the slippery sidewalks and the dumpy club to see Shaun's band play at Triple Rock on the West Bank last night. Seriously, this place was a hole. While we were standing there listening to the first band (whom by the way was really quite awful) Dave leaned over to me and said the place reminded him of a line from the movie Joe Vs. the Volcano which goes, "Not a nice place you got here..." But the David Yellen Band was awesome as usual. Putting all bias aside (I'm extremely proud of my little brother's talent) they really are a fantastic band with a fresh and inviting sound. Here's a little clip of the band. Well, it's mostly Shaun. Sorry, I cant put my bias aside all the time.

I originally took this video for my parents who were unable to attend the show last night, but then the world contacted me and wanted to see it and who am I to deny the world?

If you totally loved the tiny bit you heard in the video, you can check them out further here.

say hello to my little friend

This is Rhonda.

She's an amaryllis.

She was given to me by one of my co-workers for Christmas.

Isn't she pretty?

Ok, so she's not much to look at yet, but soon she will be big and beautiful and will bring a bit of spring into our cold, wintery world, and for that I'm grateful.

She has grown since this photo and I'll be sure to post updates as she matures and beautifies.

We don't have pets or kids ok? Is it so wrong to take pictures of our plants? Plant. There's only one. And her name is Rhonda.

Books, Books, Books

This Christmas happened to be the year of books for me. I received non-fiction, fiction, comics, and a set of Oceanography books by Jacques Cousteau (thank you Jessica).

I'm trying to read through them, and I have already made a smallish dent. I recently finished Les Miserables which has now become my favorite book of all time. It blew my mind. The book was filled with every human emotion in the book. (literally!)I had never read a book and really felt for the characters like I did in Les Mis. Victor Hugo was an amazing writer. Two years ago I had the pleasure of reading Hunchback of Notre Dame, and that book blew me away also. I'm going to have to see what other books Victor has up his sleeve.

Since finishing Les Miserables I decided to take a little break from the super serious, old time, long books, and to cleanse my palet with a lighter selection of books. I recently just finished Steve Martin's autobiography Born Standing Up. I really enjoyed reading about Steve Martin's beginnings and his ascent to comedic fame. The book made me want to create a time machine, go back to 1978, and watch his "Wild and Crazy Guy" stand up bit. Luckily for me I was able to buy the album at Barnes and Noble for 7.99, but it's just not the same. My parents had the chance to go see him when he was still selling out stadiums and making the world laugh with an arrow through his head, and I'm glad I have them to fill in the blanks for me. If anyone wants an interesting glimpse into the mind and beginnings of Steve Martin (or stand up comedians in general), this is the book to read. Let me know if you want to borrow it!