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Women: Six Films, Six Weeks October 1, 2014

Posted by nrhatch in Books & Movies, Bulletin Board, Special Events.
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43 comments

Over the next six weeks, PBS and Makers.com are presenting a series of 6 documentaries focused on women’s achievements in Comedy, Hollywood, Politics, Business, War, and Space:

1. MAKERS: Women in Comedy 

Produced and Directed by Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady

WOMEN IN COMEDY tracks the rise of women in the world of comedy, from the “dangerous” comedy of 70s sitcoms like Norman Lear’s Maude to the groundbreaking women of the 1980s American comedy club boom and building to today’s multifaceted landscape. Today, movies like Bridesmaids break box office records and the women of Saturday Night Live are often more famous than their male counterparts, but it didn’t start out that way. Contemporary comics, including Chelsea Handler, Margaret Cho, Mo’Nique, Sarah Silverman, Joan Rivers, Ellen DeGeneres, Jane Lynch and Kathy Griffin, talk about where women started in this competitive, male-dominated profession and where they are determined to go. Narrated by Leslie Mann.

Premiered September 30th, 9/8c on PBS

Special Screening TONIGHT October 1st, 8 PM EST on MAKERS.com

2. MAKERS: Women in Hollywood

Produced and Directed by Linda Goldstein Knowlton, Produced by Rory Kennedy

WOMEN IN HOLLYWOOD showcases the women of showbiz, from the earliest pioneers to present-day power players, as they influence the creation of one of the country’s biggest commodities: entertainment. Audiences hear from actress-producer-activist Jane Fonda, television powerhouse Shonda Rhimes, who created Grey’s Anatomy and Scandal; screenwriter Linda Woolverton, who re-imagined the traditional Disney princess by making Belle (Beauty and the Beast) a self-possessed, strong-willed young woman; writer-director-actress Lena Dunham, who mines comedy and drama gold by exploring what it’s really like to be a young woman today, and six-time Academy Award nominee Glenn Close. The film is narrated by Julia Roberts.

Airing October 7th, 9/8c on PBS

Special Screening October 8th, 8 PM EST on MAKERS.com

3. MAKERS: Women in Space

Produced by Michael Epstein and Sara Wolitzky, Directed by Michael Epstein

WOMEN IN SPACE traces the history of women pioneers in the U.S. space program. Some, like aviators Wally Funk and Jerrie Cobb, passed the same grueling tests as male astronauts, only to be dismissed by NASA, the military, and even Lyndon Johnson, as a distraction. It wasn’t until 1995 that Eileen Collins became the first woman to pilot a spacecraft. The program includes interviews with Collins, as well as Sally Ride’s classmates Shannon Lucid, Rhea Seddon andKathryn Sullivan, and features Mae Jemison, the first woman of color astronaut, and Peggy Whitson, the first female commander of the International Space Station. The hour ends with the next generation of women engineers, mathematicians and astronauts—the new group of pioneers, like Marleen Martinez, who continue to make small but significant steps forward. Narrated by Jodie Foster.

Airing October 14th, 9/8c on PBS

Special Screening October 15th, 8 PM EST on MAKERS.com

4. MAKERS: Women in War

Produced and Directed by Rachel Grady and Heidi Ewing

WOMEN IN WAR looks at American women’s increasing participation in war—from Vietnam to the present—as nurses, soldiers, journalists, diplomats and spies. Among those featured are Linda Bray, the first woman to lead troops into battle, and Valerie Plame Wilson, whose career was sabotaged after she was “outed” as a high-level spy. Viewers hear from war correspondents like Molly Moore about life on the battlefield. The film shares the stories of military leaders who have broken through gender barriers, like General Angela Salinas, at her retirement the highest ranking woman serving in the USMC, and Vice Admiral Michelle Howard, the highest-ranking woman in the history of the U.S. Navy. Produced and directed by Rachel Grady and Heidi Ewing. Narrated by Christiane Amanpour.

Airing October 21st, 9/8c on PBS

Special Screening October 22nd, 8 PM EST on MAKERS.com

5. MAKERS: Women in Business

Directed by Jamila Wignot Produced by Leah Williams

WOMEN IN BUSINESS tells the story of the exceptional women—past and present—who have taken the world of business by storm. Told by female business leaders themselves, this is a candid exploration of what it takes to make it and a celebration of the extraordinary individuals who, over the course of 50 years, have proven—on Wall Street, in corporate America or business empires of their own—that a woman’s place is wherever she believes it to be. Some of the featured business leaders include Ursula Burns, the CEO of Xerox and the first African-American woman to head a Fortune 500 company; Sallie Krawcheck, Wall Street powerhouse and current owner of the global networking platform for women, Ellevate (formerly 85 Broads);  Indra Nooyi, CEO of Pepsi Co; and Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook, whose provocative book, Lean In, ignited a national conversation about women, feminism and equality in the workplace.

Airing October 28th, 9/8c on PBS

Special Screening October 29th, 8 PM EST on MAKERS.com

6. MAKERS: Women in Politics

Produced and Directed by Grace Lee, Produced by Rory Kennedy

WOMEN IN POLITICS profiles the long, slow fight for female political representation over the last century, from the first woman elected to Congress in 1916 to a young woman running for Detroit City Council in 2013. Trailblazing leaders like Hillary Clinton, Senator Barbara Mikulski, Olympia Snowe, the youngest Republican woman ever elected to the House of Representatives, and Shirley Chisholm, the first African-American woman to serve in Congress, provide a backdrop for younger women like Rashida Tlaib, the first Muslim-American woman elected to the Michigan House. Today’s leaders in Washington, including Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), the first female Senator from Massachusetts, Susan Collins (R-ME), who led the Senate in shaping a deal to end the government shutdown, and Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI), currently the youngest woman serving in Congress, are also represented. Narrated by Alfre Woodard.

Airing November 4th, 9/8c on PBS

Special Screening November 5th, 8 PM EST on MAKERS.com

The shows are broadcast at 9 PM Eastern Time  on PBS on Tuesday nights and at 8 PM Eastern Time on Makers.com on Wednesday nights.

Aah . . . that’s better!

Related posts:  Girl Power? Grrrrrrr! (L. Marie) * Gender Rules: Why Does Breaking Them Freak Us Out So Much? (Eric J. Baker) * Dear Young Men (Raptitude)

A Slytherin’ Successsssss September 29, 2014

Posted by nrhatch in Books & Movies, Writing & Writers.
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42 comments

Photo Credit: Wikipedia

Despite his eventual fame, Harry Potter did not find a publisher straight out of the gate.

Imagine if J.K. Rowling had given up on the idea when she received rejection after rejection:

* The world would never have met Dumbledore or Dobby the House Elf.

* Or wandered the corridors of Hogwarts or Diagon Alley.

* And none of us would know how to play Quidditch.

Rowling kept pitching her story until she found a publisher who saw in her stories what readers did ~ a spellbinding read.

Aah . . . that’s better!

Writing is the only profession where no one considers you ridiculous if you earn no money. ~ Jules Renard

The Benjamin Franklin Diet September 22, 2014

Posted by nrhatch in Books & Movies, Food & Drink, Vegetarian Recipes.
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36 comments

While scouting the library stacks for inspiration, I stumbled upon an interesting diet book . . .

I added it to the stack of books in my arms, ignoring the oft quoted adage and admonition . . . “neither a borrower nor a lender be.”

At home, I settled down to learn about Ben’s diet.

* At a young age, Ben swore off meat and quaffing pints of ale so as to have more money to spend on books.

* In so doing, he noted that he felt better and had greater mental clarity after meals consisting of whole grains, fruits, and vegetables.

* He also noticed that he felt better when he exercised for 15 minutes before each meal.  If the weather wasn’t being cooperative, he spent his 15 minutes leaping inside the house ~ forward and back or side to side.

In addition to the fascinating narrative of Ben’s life philosophy, the author, Kelly Wright, collected and shared a number of colonial recipes for grains, soups, stews, game, and sweet fare, including:  Hasty Pudding, Dauphiny Soup, Oatcakes, Classic Colonial Bread, Hoecakes, Tavern Bread, and Garlic and Herb Cream Cheese Spread.

Inspired, I whipped up a loaf of Mrs. Wright’s Beer Bread in minutes.

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Combine 3 cups whole wheat flour, 1/4 cup raw sugar, 1 Tbsp. baking powder, 1 tsp. salt.  Stir in a bottle (12 ounces) of beer or ale.

Pour into a greased and floured 9 x 5 loaf pan.

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Bake at 375 degrees for 35 minutes.

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“Hunger never saw bad bread.” ~ Benjamin Franklin

Delighted with the result, I followed Ben’s lead and leaped and leapt about.

Aah . . . that’s better! 

To learn more:  The Benjamin Franklin Diet (Book) * The Benjamin Franklin Diet (Website)

Beyond A Reasonable Doubt September 3, 2014

Posted by nrhatch in Books & Movies, Fiction, People.
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18 comments

Beyond a doubt, Beyond A Reasonable Doubt is not reasonable . . .

Many facets of the contrived plot don’t make sense because people wouldn’t act that way in the real world.  The performances aren’t anything to get excited about.  And the timetable of the movie is way off.

That said, we enjoyed the film’s predictable twists, turns, and straight-aways.

The basic premise:  An investigative reporter sets himself up as the prime suspect in a murder by fabricating circumstantial evidence after the fact to boost his career and expose a corrupt district attorney who is fabricating D.N.A. evidence after the fact to boost his conviction rate.

Life is full of pot holes on the journey from Here to There.  This film emulates life.  Navigate around the plot holes and you’ll reach the beginning in the end.

Aah . . . that’s better!

 

You Don’t Know Jack August 27, 2014

Posted by nrhatch in Books & Movies, Health & Wellness, Life Balance, People.
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30 comments

Watched another thought-provoking film this week ~ You Don’t Know Jack.

The documentary addressed the efforts of Jack Kevorkian to assist terminally ill patients to end their lives with dignity.

He believed that we should have the freedom to choose to die when we’ve had enough . . . without having to shoot ourselves, dowse ourselves with gasoline, slash our wrists, strangle ourselves, wrestle crocodiles, or dive off buildings or bridges without a safety net.

Just breathe . . . relax . . . and check out in peace.

Aah . . . that’s better!

 

Heaven Is For Real August 24, 2014

Posted by nrhatch in Books & Movies, Spirituality & Faith.
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56 comments

We watched Heaven Is For Real this week and enjoyed Colton’s story:

Colton Burpo survived an emergency appendectomy.  After recovering, he told his parents he left his body during the surgery and detailed what they’d been doing in other parts of the hospital.  He talked of visiting heaven, meeting Jesus, and shared stories about people he met there ~ including a sister who had died in vitro and his great-grandfather whom he’d never met.

It’s an intriguing glimpse at what may lie beyond the veil:

I’ve requested the book of the same name from the Island Library:

Maybe the best is yet to come.

Aah . . . that’s better!

Related posts:  Is There REALLY Proof of Heaven or Life After Death? (SMART Living 365) * How Do You Live If Heaven Is Real? (SMART Living 365)

A Quick Hit of Inspiration August 14, 2014

Posted by nrhatch in Books & Movies, Happiness, Life Balance, Life Lessons.
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38 comments

Sometimes we stall in our tracks and need a quick hit of inspiration to get us going again:

Celebrate your progress.  Sometimes half of success is simply noticing it.

Aah . . . that’s better!

For more by Kathy Davis:  Simple Secrets ~ 7 Principles to Inspire Success

Sponge Bob Square Pants August 13, 2014

Posted by nrhatch in Books & Movies, Humor.
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51 comments

Snoopy5If I’m focused writing, I can tune out extraneous noises ~ screaming jets, barking dogs, even TV.

It’s all White Noise.

Except if Sponge Bob is talking.  Hearing Square Pants squawking in the background puts me on Red Alert.

“ACK!  Change the channel!  Change the channel!”

Aah . . . that’s better!

Are there any noises you find impossible to filter out or work around?

 

Inequality For All August 4, 2014

Posted by nrhatch in Books & Movies, Humor, Life Balance.
Tags: , , , ,
50 comments

Corporations do NOT create jobs.

Consumers create jobs by buying goods and services in the marketplace.

That’s why the erosion of the middle class is so problematic.

As the rich get richer, they don’t spend as large a percentage of their paychecks on consumer goods.

They save it . . . or invest it overseas.

As a result, businesses have to downsize and lay off workers, further eroding the economic base of the global economy.

To turn things around, we need to tax the wealthiest at historic rates, not at the ridiculously low rates of 11%  or 13.9% or 15%.

If you want a better understanding of the current economic climate, I recommend that you watch Inequality For All.

Watching this entertaining, serious, and funny 90-minute film will give you an appreciation for what’s going on, how it happened, and what needs to change to get us back on track.

If you don’t have access to the full 90-minute documentary, this Bill Moyers interview with Robert Reich does a terrific job of highlighting the highlights:

Aah . . . that’s better!

For more information:  www.inequalityforall.com

“We make the rules of the economy – and we have the power to change those rules.” – Robert Reich

Awakening To The Sacred August 3, 2014

Posted by nrhatch in Books & Movies, Life Balance, Meditation, Mindfulness.
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32 comments

In Awakening to the Sacred: Creating a Spiritual Life, Lama Surya Das first examines Matters of the Spirit, touching upon common themes and questions at the heart of every spiritual path, including thoughts about faith, doubt, freedom, truth, love, compassion, and enlightenment.

In the remainder of the book, Surya Das offers a variety of spiritual practices for use by seekers of all backgrounds who wish to enhance their journey through life:  Meditation * Mindfulness * Spiritual Study * Yoga * Simplicity * Fasting * Prayer * Spiritual Readings * Journals * Chanting * Gardening * Breath * Haiku * Staying in the Moment.

At the outset, he reminds readers that awareness is the essential ingredient in a spiritual life:  the spiritual path is best walked step by step, very mindfully, with as much consciousness and commitment as one can summon.  He encourages seekers to incorporate daily practices to help get and keep them in touch with the essence of spirituality ~ peace, love, freedom and belonging.

As a Lama in the Tibetan Buddhist tradition, Surya Das explains the teachings of Buddha throughout the book.  For example:

The Buddha’s teachings were concerned with finding the nirvanic peace and freedom of enlightenment, the end to all forms of suffering and delusion.   He saw these goals as being determined by the cause and effect of individual behavior without divine intervention. (p.23)

As a result of his Western upbringing, he addresses theistic religions with equal clarity and ease:

In all truly sacred traditions there is an essential resolve to cherish life and treat others ethically and kindly.  All these traditions encourage us to be open to divine presence, both within and without, and tell us to practice what we preach without hypocrisy or sleight of hand.  (p. 29)

Surya Das encourages us all to cultivate clear vision, as well as personal authenticity.  In other words, to see things as they are, and to be more fully who we are:

We practice Dharma when we stop clinging to our preconceived notions about what we should do and achieve.  We find truth when we learn to let go, accept, see things as they are, and just be.  We find truth by discovering our inner light, our inner value and values, our authenticity and genuineness.  This is living truly. (p. 114)

First there is enlightenment, when we start to see things as they are, and then, if we work at it, there is transformation, when we learn to live, embody, and stabilize those truths in our daily lives.

To experience either, you must stay awake and aware.

Surya Das emphasizes the need of all seekers to open their hearts and learn how to love unconditionally, without lust,  fantasy, or neediness ~ to love for the radiant joy of simply loving, without expecting a thing in return.  To increase our capacity for unconditional love we focus on its components:

(1) practicing forgiveness to free the heart and mind from excessive burdens so that we can experience this moment anew;

(2) practicing acceptance and understanding and seeing all beings as part of the whole;

(3) cherishing life by doing no harm, alleviating suffering, appreciating and valuing what we have, and generously giving to others;

(4) practicing compassion and empathy in order to open our hearts to the suffering of others;

(5) practicing warmth and kindness by being kinder, gentler, and more loving to those around us; and

(6) practicing joy by recognizing that life is a miracle to be celebrated.

When we are joyful and happy, we spontaneously share love with others.  We exude joy, kindness and warmth.  When our heart is singing, we lift the hearts of those around us:

The path of joy is the path of open-heartedness ~ the path of a heart filled with love.   So smile.  Make somebody happy.  Make yourself happy.  Learn to love.  Spread love.  Be love.  You’ll love it. (p. 151)

Written for anyone who wants to connect with the sacred, this book offers practical advice for incorporating the spiritual into our everyday lives.

May all peace, blessings, good fortune, and delight be yours.

Aah . . . that’s better!

Our essential nature, like the wateriness of water, does not change.  What changes is our capacity to share that essential nature with the world.

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