Thursday, October 31, 2013

Film review of "Secondhand Lion"

I am taking a course with Iversity. In the first week's lessons, the assignment was to state why you loved a particular story and a synopsis of the story.

Warning: there are commercial links to reviewed dot com which I have not put on the blog post. I don't know why they are there. I want to get rid of them. I'll introduce any link I have placed.

I chose the movie "Second Hand Lion"

What I liked about the story.

One of my favorite movies is “Second Hand Lion”. Robert Duvall (Hub) and Michael Caine (Garth) create a character that you can identify. In an interview I watched, Michael Caine said “talent was only a small portion of his acting ability. It was the years of training that made him a good actor”. Training and practice makes all of us good at what we do. Excellent work by the cast was evident.

The setting was interesting. The house, the Arabian love story, delivery of the lion, all added to the fascination of the story. The film seems to wander in its subplots and the hero's journey of the boy character, Walter Caldwell played by Haley Joel Osment. However, there are no scenes which do not build story. Each scene is written to portray vivid action. In classic film storytelling only one character is changed and that is Walter. The subplots add to the hook and hold of the film.

What I liked most about the film are the characters. There was the fantasy that was told in a way that it was possible. The movie was a celebration of living life to the fullest which is a fantasy to think we could always rise to that mindful of a life. The story was about love and the connection between humans.
Story Summary

Walter is abandoned by his selfish mother with two eccentric great uncles. He is not welcome. In essence the hero's journey has begun. Initially, Walter tries to keep in contact with his mom but he soon realizes she has been dishonest with him about his whereabouts.

In the process of living together, the boy and uncles bond. Through seemingly outrageous stories of valor and adventure of Hub and Garth and the uncles living life on their terms, Walter learns what it is to be a man, a man of character and the right to live life well.

Hub and Garth were “shanghaied” into the French Foreign Legion shortly after WWI. Hub had an intense love for a wife named Jasmine. Her death and the loss of Jasmine haunts Hub. He walks in his sleep ever searching for his youth and Jasmine. Garth is the narrator in that he tells of their exploits and makes sense of Hub's actions. One line I remember is that “a man may grow old but his spirit never does”. This tale in related in flashbacks by Garth to Walter.

Walter's mother returns with a stepfather. They want Walter to show them Hub and Garth's fortune. At first it is friendly and then it is abusive. Walter does not show where his uncle's fortune is. The stepfather gets his due after a series of events. Walter is forced to leave with his mother and stepfather who is in a serious body cast.

The hero's journey of change is evident. Close to the end, it looks like Walter will be returning to a miserable life with his mother and abusive stepfather. Walter pleads his case to be given a chance to have a good life. She relents and he returns to his uncles.

You get a warning that the superhuman antics of Hub in the story could be possible. Hub beats up several “toughs” at a restaurant. The “toughs” started the fight and Hub finished the fight. Then Hub takes them home and feeds them a big meal after nursing their wounds. He gives the “toughs” a talk about what it means to be a man. The “toughs” are changed by the incident.

The payoff in the end is accentuated where the boys story is moved to his adulthood. Hub and Garth have been killed in a biplane accident. An helicopter of an Arab man and his son arrive at the farm. Essentially, the man confirms the adventurous tales of Hub and Garth in their younger days. The payoff is cheered.

I am taking the course through Iversity. They offer many web based courses which are Free. It is about an hour long video class with optional supplemental materials and a weekly assignment. How much you want to participate is your choice.

This is a link to their course catalog.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Who ate the ice cream?

This is my trifecta entry. If you live with anyone in your house, I know you have hid ice cream. Don't even pretend you haven't. Anyway here goes my entry. I had to use the third definition of


1 (interjection)
used to express contempt or disapproval or to startle or frighten

2 (noun)
a sound that people make to show they do not like or approve of someone or something

3 (verb) to show dislike or disapproval of someone or something by shouting “Boo” slowly
Pink lips pursed like grandmother, blond tendrils curl down her neck, Angelica nudges grandmother who pauses from her crocheting and gives her a serious nod about the buttons Angelica sews on a piece of cloth.

Keys rustle in the door, Angelica's mom, Sara enters.

“Angie, lets get it together. We got to stop at Newberry's before it closes.”

“Mom, we're watching a movie.”

Grandmother grabs the remote. “It's OK, I'll record the ending.”

“I want to watch it now.”

“Get in the car.”

Angelica sits with her little arms folded over her project staring straight ahead.

Mom stands in front of her. After a pause, Angelica slams her project in her backpack and stomps out.

“I can tell you one thing darling. If my little nugget ever gets in trouble, it will because she decided to.”

“Mom, why are you telling me that!”

Sara slips on the seatbelt. Angelica asks. “How do you spell boo?”

Ready for the atmosphere to lighten, mom spells boo.

Arriving at the department store, mom looks at daughter.

“I don't want to go in.”

“You are going in.”

“My note.”

“Write it while I cook supper.”

In silence, mom and daughter walk into the store.

Later at the kitchen table, Angelica has her special pack of crayons, she sharpens. The light falls with her small face in shadow. Sara cannot believe she made something as perfect as Angelica.

Older brother, Sammie comes home. He puts his basketball on the recycled paper box, book-bag on the hook, washes his hands, sets the table. Beautiful brown eyes twinkle when he says, “Spaghetti, my favorite.”

After dinner, Angelica gives Sara the note.
“This is so pretty. Run upstairs. I'll draw your bath.”
Boo, boo, boo is written inside.

Sara looks at her husband, “I've hid some ice cream for later.”

Sara carries dishes to the kitchen, Sammie smiles broadly as he eats ice cream.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Back to blogging.

I took a break. Actually, the computer I had hooked to the internet broke. I wasn't knowledgeable enough to know the password for the wifi of my router was on the side of the router. As usual I am swamped with other things to do. It was nice to take a break.

Like all things when you step back, you make observations and decisions. With my blog, I've decided less is more.

I enjoy the trifecta writing challenges. Twice a week I will make a post to enter their challenges. By Tuesday of each week, I will post a piece of flash fiction for trifecta. Then by Saturday, I will write a 33 word response to their weekend challenge. By Thursday, I will make a personal post. It might be a movie review, book review or what's up with me.

I love the friends I am making with the blog. Lots of generous, upbeat people which I need in my life. You would think tapping on a computer would be isolating but for me it gives me a chance to get out and meet folks.

I've hooked up with twitter. I will never tweet much. Clever one liners are not that common. I never volunteered in classes because I always liked hearing what someone else thought. My twitter handle is @annbennett12 or .  Note the 12.  One day, I think I will look up and follow the other Ann Bennetts, my twitter clones. Unless one is a drag queen, he would be an original.

I have promised myself that I would not make political statements. Not that I don't have convictions. Its just that 1. I am not a political know it a - I still change my mind; 2. There is no one way to skin a cat; 3. Like someone who disagrees is going to change their mind - We all got our own point of view.

I have two other blogs that I plan to contribute on a weekly basis.   is very active and I have only 40 posts and pages on it. It is designed for science teachers. My commitment is to post at least once a month if not weekly. Currently, I am putting together instructions for polyhedron activities. I don't get many comments but I do get a lot of "hits" and little spambots. I know teachers work hard.  is not very active and personal. I have fought the battle of the bulge for the past 30 years. I've made peace with the battle but it is an ongoing struggle. I sign up for three 5K's in the winter and early spring. Anyone who knows me, I hate the heat. Being a native Georgian, I appreciate the irony.

Anyway, this old butt is in training. Sign up for my races if you live nearby. I do recommend that you don't sign up for a 5k more than 50 miles away. A long journey starting at 3 or 4 am is not a way to go. I pack my breakfast, brew a pot of coffee, get dressed, feed my dogs and head out. I get up around 6 am for family duties so it is not as big a burden on the few 5K's I do.

The blog is more to motivate myself and hey if it helps someone else, wonderful, wonderful. The person I care the most about is someone young and beating themselves up about being overweight. I know they struggle with the problem and I hope they don't define themselves as overweight. People my age usually know there is much more to life than your appearance. Unfortunately time can be rough on all of us.

Well you know my plan. Take care, Ann

Friday, October 25, 2013

Dang that Purple Sneast

Trifecta Writing Challenge - 33 word tale describing a beast that resides in unlikely places.

This beast, the purple haired Sneast, is pretty sneaky. He comes around when your notepad or recorder isn't handy.

A thief of a beast,                        
That purple haired Sneast
Who steals my rhymes.                      

How do I forget that purple hair,
When random thoughts lurk.
As I do housework,
The beast, the Sneast, feasts,

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Phantom Pain

This story is in response to trifecta writing challenge 100.

This is as close to magical thinking as I like to get.

The itch would center into a pinprick, sometimes it would spin. Bobby Mann could never scratch the leg was long gone in Vietnam.

Alice was a perfect housekeeper. In the lost quiet time from her passing, Bobby kept the house an immaculate shrine to her good taste. Bobby was glad to meet someone who wanted to listen to what he said.

The doorbell startled Bobby from sleep. Laying the half read paper neatly on the end table, Bobby used his crutches to get to the door. Looking through the peephole, two clean cut men stood. He recognized Joshua James with a bottle of window cleaner.

Opening the door, the smaller one grabbed him by the shoulders, Bobby realized what was going to happen so he dropped to the concrete slab porch and pretended to faint.

“Geez, I thought the old man would put up a fight.”

“Lets grab the goods.”

His left arm shield his head from the worst of the impact of a kick.. He briefly entertained the idea of getting up to run. He couldn't get up off the floor much less start now.

“Damn, this house is 1950s. The television ain't worth anything.”

“What a waste of time.” the shorter one walks to the doorway empty handed.

Joshua knocks Alice's porcelain birds to the ground. Bobby stifles a cough from the ammonia of the window cleaner spilled on the floor.

“You fool. You said he could recognize you.”

The shorter man leaves.

Dishes and glasses crash. Bobby imagines his phantom leg lifting to trip Joshua.

“Identify me old coot and I'll be back.”

Joshua takes a leap to stomp Bobby and slips on the ammonia. His head hits the hard concrete first.

The face of Bobby's buddy killed by the land mine that took Bobby's leg flashed in Joshua's face.

Bobby could feel a hard hit on the leg that was a phantom.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Evening Song

Trifecta writing challenge

Write 33 words about a personal fear.  Each age has its own fear. I've been blessed to live as long as I have. My fear - not being able to take care of myself.

Leaves are brittle
Cooler winds blow
Tassels of sage grass glittering as they float in the sun
Wild daisy a fluff of seed.
 Gloriies and drama
Lost in the quiet darkness of winter.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

No bananas

This is my 99 word submission to celebrate Trifecta's 99th writing challenge. I chose the word "Back".

This is the link to Trifecta -

$256.73 was the deposit total. Alison slammed the register drawer and began to push the cart of return plants.  

A worn cigaret voice drifted from behind.

"You got ananner plants?"

"Not that I know".

Eloise Sasser's strong blue eye fixed on Alison. Alison stopped walking away.  The walleye seemed to know Allison wanted her to leave.

"How do you spell 'anander'?"

"You can't spell ananner."

“No anander plants.”

The manager’s voice sings from the back, “Just in time, Eloise, we close in five minutes and two banana trees are left.”

“I thought you said you hain’t got no ananners.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Sympathy for the Devil

"Sympathy for the Devil" by the Rolling Stones

Trifecta Writing Challenge - 33 words based on this song.

Loud and fast
On the media dial
Politicians cast
Spewing their bile
Enraging the Last
Man, woman, and child
Pausing to the chime
Of the donor’s dime

The Devil’s flag flies half-mast


Is it leisure or lazy?  I did well to have a few posts written early. Now, I am feeling the pressure. My response to pressure is the urge to...