Lake Atitlan, Panajachel, Guatemala

Tuesday, February 13, 2024

A Sweet and Gentle Star is Born

Recently I read a post on BB's Creations about best movies of 1952. I thought about watching them, but it can be hard to find what you want on streaming services. 

Amazon makes you pay for nearly every film they offer, even if you have Prime. Netflix never has anything good anymore. HBO Max isn't too bad and offers a nice variety of classic films. They had Singin' In the Rain, one mentioned in Birgit's post. I was sorry they didn't have The Quiet Man because it sounded good. 

Singin' in the Rain has the dance numbers, the music, Gene Kelly dancing through puddles--these well-known clips that show up everywhere. Yet I had never seen it in its entirety and didn't know the story.

Well, I watched it and wasn't that impressed. Now, White Christmas is another movie with familiar music. The story holds up and decades later, it's still mesmerizing. Singin' in the Rain, on the other hand, has a thin plot and predictable characters. I couldn't see how it qualifies as one of the greatest films ever made, Academy Award-worthy, or deserving of all the praise heaped on it in its Wikipedia description.

What I did find interesting was Debbie Reynolds, who was only eighteen when she filmed it. This was her first real role and it made her a star. A beloved star who is 100% real and honest and as true to who she was at eighteen as at eighty. 

I then watched Bright Lights, also on HBO Max, a documentary about her and her daughter Carrie Fisher, and their close relationship. It's especially poignant knowing they died within a day of each other. Carrie died of heart issues at 60. The next day while discussing arrangements with her son Todd, Debbie said, "I just want to be with Carrie." She died shortly after that at age 84.

Debbie's beautiful spirit shines through her eyes in Bright Lights, filmed a year before they died, just as it did 70 years ago in Singin' in the Rain. Despite aging, she still had that special quality of goodness and honesty that made people love her in every movie she did. Singin' in the Rain is worth watching to see the emergence of this eighteen-year-old actress who doesn't look anything like a movie star. She just looks like a really nice and kind person.

And watch it for the dancing, of course, and all of the fun music that just makes you happy to hear it.

Tuesday, February 6, 2024

Good Morning from Veracruz

 Finishing my last book gave me the freedom to blog again. 

It was a tough book to write, taking ten years. Other things of higher priority came first. I thought maybe I should at least try blogging but decided not to. It's the only form of social media that can get addictive for me, and I have to guard against that. The book had to come first.

I am back at work on another book, but that's okay. I can still blog because I'm in a regular work routine and have been for a couple years now.

I do random other social media but don't find it as fun or interesting as blogging for some reason. Actually, I do know the reasons but they're boring so why go into them. Instead, I'll share a couple recent photos from an early morning walk. Veracruz is on the Eastern shore of Mexico and is lovely in the mornings. The second one may look like a sunset but no, it is the sunrise. 

Seeing the sunrise in the morning always feels special to me, because it's a rare opportunity to actually be awake and present at the right time and place for a significant event. 

To see it actually pop up from the horizon as it seems to do is remarkable.  (This picture does not do it justice.) You must wait patiently, eyes focused on the horizon where there's light with its play of colors but no sun yet. Turn away for a second and you miss the moment when it appears. 

First comes an even more glorious display of light as the top of the sun peeks out. Then the full circle follows, quickly it seems, and you can't stare any longer for the brightness. It is the sun after all, although after watching it wake up step by step, you feel like you're now friends and you should be able to look at it directly. 

Have you ever seen a full eclipse of the sun? To witness Emperor Sun completely covered by tiny, reclusive Queen Moon is more astounding than I ever supposed it would be. Unthinkable that our Sun can get blocked out like that, even for a brief moment. You see it but can hardly believe it. And then it passes, leaving you with the sense that something extremely meaningful just happened.

My next book is about the summer my son and I traveled to Chile for the full eclipse in June 2019. Afterward, we bussed north to Peru where we lingered for over two months. That was the year I wanted to walk the earth. Those plans were of course cut short by the pandemic six months later.  

There's a full eclipse crossing northern Mexico in April of this year. I haven't decided yet if I'll travel north to see it or not. That's how far I've come from wanting to walk the earth.