Monday, February 28, 2011

A Tribute to Sofia Coppola

In Honor of the Oscars I thought I’d discuss one of my favorite directors – that being the young (actually only a year younger than me) Sofia Coppola. Being the daughter of the famous Francis Ford certainly didn’t hurt her chances in Hollywood, as she got her start in front of the camera before making her directorial debut in 1999 with “The Virgin Suicides.”

Having now seen all four of her films, “The Virgin Suicides,” “Lost in Translation,” “Marie Antoinette,” and “Somewhere,” a few things about Coppola’s style can be concluded. Her films are dark, or at least have a tragic edge to them; she likes to cast rising actresses like Kirsten Dunst (2 out of the 4 films), Scarlett Johansen, and Elle Fanning; she picks fabulous soundtracks and certainly has an eye for detail.

Being a fan of all things Japanese, I’d have to say “Lost in Translation” is probably my favorite of the four, but “Marie Antoinette” had the best ‘eye candy’ where costumes and scenery are concerned.

“The Virgin Suicides” and “Somewhere” are both equally tragic, but in different ways. Both will leave you feeling somewhat bereft, but also fulfilled with excellent stories that everyone can relate to in some way.

With an average of three to four years between pictures, I look forward to her next effort, as they’re always worth the wait.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Drew Carey et al

W.L.I.I.A?, originally uploaded by ● KarenciTz★.

TV Programs Set in Ohio

After enjoying the latest episodes of “Hot in Cleveland” and “Harry’s Law” I got to thinking about how many television programs have been set in Ohio. According to Wikipedia, that number is 23, which dates back to the 1950’s. It seems most are set in either Cleveland or Cincinnati, but a few are in Northwest Ohio – like “Melissa and Joey” (Toledo) and “Glee” (Lima).

There are others set in fictional towns like “3rd Rock from the Sun” set in Rutherford; “Ed” set in Stuckeyville; “Fernwood2Night” set in Fernwood; and Normal, Ohio” set in Normal. Other than “3rd Rock,” I haven’t seen these other programs.

My husband thinks the reason so many shows are set in Ohio is because our state is a fairly accurate representation of the traditional Midwest. True or not, it is fun to watch some of these programs keeping an eye out for familiar backdrops. Unlike in Ohio where we have snow in the winter, not all these programs accurately depict that season. Drew Carey’s show did it better than most as they wore winter coats and were often pictured outside playing with Drew’s pool table in his backyard.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Ohio is an unhealthy state

News on today:

Top Ten List of States with the Deadliest Eating Habits

8. Ohio

Grocery Stores Per 1,000 Residents: 0.18 (45th)
Amount Spent on Fast Food Per Capita: $622 (20th least)
Gallons of Soft Drinks Purchased Per Capita: 70 (11th most)
Pounds of Sweet Snacks Purchased Per Capita: 122 (10th most)
Because a large part of Ohio's poor population is located in major urban centers like Cleveland and Cincinnati, the state ranks well in regards to access to grocery stores among the poor. However, the state ranks third-worst in store availability across all income classes at 0.18 locations per 1,000 people, compared to 0.6 in first place North Dakota. Ohio's population has the 11th-greatest consumption of soft drinks, and top-10 highest consumption of both sweet snacks and solid fats. As a result of these poor diets, Ohio has an adult diabetes occurrence of over 10%, which is the 11th-worst rate in the country.

I’m not surprised by this. Having previously read that Ohio is one of the unhealthiest states when it comes to the amount of overweight people, this wasn’t news to me. Maybe it has something to do with sports. Clevelanders could be forgiven for wanting to drown their sorrows in a bowl of Ben and Jerry’s after pounding back a few Budweisers. Down here in Columbus, fans eat to celebrate when tailgating, during a game and after a game. Of course there are also the occasional disappointments (in which case, we keep right on eating).

Speaking for myself, I definitely don’t have the healthiest eating habits, but I’m not exactly pounding back the burgers either. I have a sweet tooth and a weakness for a small amount of chocolate after meals (lunch and dinner). I try to watch my cholesterol since it’s usually borderline, and I just try to eat bad things in moderation.

I go to the gym on and off and I have my own stationary bike in the basement, which I do try to use on days I don’t go to the gym (that or use my Wii Fit). As a result, I am usually able to keep my weight in check (with a low of 113 to a high of 118).

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

The Lost Art of Letter Writing

In my on-going effort to declutter, I decided to start going through an old shoebox of letters. I thought it would be quick and easy. I’m not sure why I was that na├»ve. It’s proven to be anything but.

For starters, even though everyone appreciates a hand-written note over something typed, the older you get (or rather, the older your eyes get), the harder it is to decipher handwriting. The few typed letters I came across were so much quicker and easier to read, but I digress. The childhood letters written in pencil were probably the worst since they were written lightly to start off with and have just faded into oblivion.

I find myself wanting to discard so many of these once touching notes that I am starting to feel guilty. Am I no longer a sentimental old fool? Am I trying to bury a part of my past by getting rid of these? (honestly, yes!) Will I be sorry later for tossing these? (doubtful since I haven’t bothered to read any of these letters in probably 20 years). If the person who wrote me these letters passed away would I suddenly want to reread their letters? (probably not, but the possibility exists, so I am weighing that in my decision).

So many of the letters and miscellaneous ephemera I found in the box I am really surprised I saved (like notes from a creepy guy who once liked me in college of whom I never returned the affections).

It was kind of funny rereading letters I received as a young teenager when the most popular topic of conversation seemed to be “boys” (not surprisingly) followed by what classes we were taking and our grades.

Among other things, I came across a letter I received from a boy who had sent a balloon from his home in Michigan (I think). We wrote to him to let him know it ended up in our yard, and he sent back a short handwritten letter with a photo. That, apparently, was the end of our correspondence since I couldn’t find any further letters. I also found a letter from a one-off pen pal who must have either changed her mind or discovered we didn’t have much in common since I only found one letter from her. Incidentally, these are items that will go into the recycling pile since I don’t see any reason to save these singular items.

While reading these letters the thought occurred to me that the generations following mine will probably never have such things to look back on since the majority of their correspondence will have been in e-mails. Even I have a long past of e-mails too and shudder to think how many I’ve written in the last 20 years or so.

Douglas Coupland, author of such best sellers as Generation X, J-Pod, and Hey Nostradamus, had this to say about letter writing:

“I sent one a while back, just because I was in another country and wanted to, and the person I sent it to was like, ‘Why did you write that? You scared the shit out of me!’ Now a letter is like a telegram saying your kid’s dead. She opened it expecting melodrama. It’s amazing that well within a decade e-mail has so completely changed all of that.”

I just typed a letter and sent it to my friend with the same thought, but decided to go ahead and send it anyway figuring maybe she won’t be as shocked as I think (as she isn’t reachable by e-mail these days).

Although I like the instant gratification of e-mail, there’s still nothing like sitting down with a drink while enjoying a long letter from an old friend or significant other who is far away.