Friday, December 25, 2009

Not a Creature - cat or dog - was Stirring

Sadie was the last to settle in as Spencer was already curled up like a little spotted snake. Merry Christmas!

Christmas Angels

Last night on Christmas Eve, Sadie and Spencer both curled up into a conjoining fur ball. Said was on look-out of course since there is always a chance one may drop a colorful or tasty holiday snack on the rug.

Monday, December 21, 2009

"Man Who Came to Dinner" Facts and Fun

Man Who Came to Dinner (1942) trailer.

Monty Woolley was the witty, fussy Nathan Lane of his day. He originated the role of Sheridan Whiteside on the stage before taking the role in the film. Nice when an excellent character actor is allowed to play the lead role. Two other Christmas/Family themed films that he is also excellent in are:

Since You Went Away (1944)
The Bishops Wife (1947)

Great quotes (too many to list) from Dinner:

Nurse Preen to Mr. Whiteside: "I am not only walking out on this case, Mr. Whiteside, I am leaving the nursing profession. I became a nurse because all my life, ever since I was a little girl, I was filled with the idea of serving a suffering humanity. After one month with you , Mr. Whiteside, I am going to work in a munitions factory. From now on , anything I can do to help exterminate the human race will fill me with the greatest of pleasure. If Florence Nightingale had ever nursed YOU, Mr. Whiteside, she would have married Jack the Ripper instead of founding the Red Cross!"

Sheridan Whiteside: "I simply will not sit down to dinner with midwestern barbarians, I think too highly of my digestive system."

Sheridan Whiteside: "Is there a man in the world who suffers as I do from the gross inadequacies of the human race?"

Glittered Bird Tree Top

The tree themed in golden ornaments is topped with a collection of glittered birds. They surround a nest of eggs. One is is covered in gold glass glitter - the golden egg. Velvety faux oak leaves and acorns encircle the nest.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Actress Jennifer Jones Dies at 90

Portrait of Jennie (1948) with Joseph Cotton.

From IMDB:
Unfortunately now in the 21st Century and in her 90th year, Jennifer Jones is relatively unknown in comparison to the other actresses of her time such as Ingrid Bergman, Katharine Hepburn, Greer Garson, Bette Davis etc. But for those that are aware of her and her extraordinary talent she is alluring to watch and her acting abilities extend far greater than most of her contemporaries

Movies, NY TIMES
Jennifer Jones, Postwar Actress, Dies at 90
Published: December 18, 2009
Ms. Jones, who was nominated for Oscars five times, won an Academy Award in 1943 for her performance in “The Song of Bernadette.”

The fact that the Times refers to her as a Postwar actress reaffirms her forgotten status as a Hollywood star.

The comedy-melodrama that got away.

In 1981 she purchased the rights to the novel, Terms of Endearment, as a vehicle for her. She wished to re-afirm her acting talents with the juicy role of Aurora Greenway . She was planning her comeback. However, through Hollywood politics she did not end in in the film nor did she ever find another suitable property. Shirley MacLaine would win an Oscar for the role of Aurora Greenway in James L. Brooks Best Picture winner.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Holiday Bulb Forcing Update

The paperwhites are racing ahead as we close in on Christmas day. The amaryllis bulbs are proceeding much slower than previous years. I planted them all on November 22, 2009.The terracotta - the nursery believes - isabsorbing too much moisture from the dirt and suggested increased watering. The red flowers could just be holding out for a patriotic holiday like President's Day in February. See progress so far.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Dachshund Glass Martha Stewart Ornament

The ornament collection by Martha Stewart available at Macy's is now in its third year. The collection has decreased in scale and size with each subsequent year. Many factors - most notably the crash and burn economy that hit months before last Xmas - have come in to play. Very few Macy's carried them in the North Atlantic region. This was also the first year that none of the collection was available through online purchase. One of the two tree's was themed in Santa and items from his toy bag. For obvious reasons, I was fond of the glass toy dachshund on wheels ornament with a springy tail. The design is a nice mixture of novelty and realism. The other themed tree from here collection I found in New England featured white, wintry woodland creatures and elements.

Friday, December 11, 2009

"The Mouse that Roared" Airs Saturday 8 PM EST on TCM

I hope to catch it!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

A Christmas Favorite: "Christmas in Connecticut"

I catch at least a glimpse of this Stanwyck gem around this time each year. After seeing Remember the Night for the first time, I now know this is not her only holiday classic. Stanwyck plays a Martha Stewart type living in New York writing for a ladies magazine all about domestic bliss. The catch is that she knows nothing about cooking, cleaning or marriage. Comedy ensues when she fakes her expertise for her boss and a homesick soldier on her borrowed farm.

Cranberry Mold: A Success Story / Blooms in Waiting

I blogged about the purchase of this mold back in November. I followed the instructions for un-molding and it jiggled out to freedom on the dinner table.

A selection of bulbs prepare to awake from a dormant slumber. The collection populates a rectangular drip tray to protect the wood top of the buffet.

The week before Thanksgiving I potted a selection of paper whites and amaryllis bulbs to - hopefully - bloom in time for the holidays. I will update their progress. I have had success with bulb forcing in the past. They do grow faster when you plant in a decorative glass vessel resting on a collection of stones or river pebbles. Water level should be just to the bottom to allow roots to sprout and not begin the process of rot. This year I planted most of them in a mixture of peat/potting soil and finished the pots with mood moss. Amaryllis bulbs can last 40 years with proper care and patience. The Guy Wolf pottery mossed over nicely this summer outside. The large center pot looks like it was procured from an old English garden.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Front Door Wreath 2009 / "Radio Days" 1987

A close up view of the this year's front door Christmas wreath, featuring a ring of pine cones and a simple ribbon. I purchased both the wreath and the spool of ribbon from Mahoney's. The bear door knocker is nicely framed by the round form.

Radio Days 1987

The Woody Allen brand does not always entice me to watch but Radio Days was worth the time investment. I also tend to enjoy the ones better that (a.) he is not in and only performs behind the camera (b.) he is not dating women several generations his junior ( in this case his absence solved (b.)). The era and tone go well with the warm nostalgia feelings the holidays raise from the ashes of cynicism. On that note, I will allow today's blog to conclude since I can offer nothing else as profound or moving. Susan may believe in Santa Clause but I don't necessarily believe in my ramblings. I think I may be a tad full of myself today.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Recently Watched on TCM

A Family Affair, the first (and the best) movie in the Andy Hardy series. It is easy to forget that Lionel Barrymore was an excellent "good guy" too and not just mean Mr. Potter from It's a Wonderful Life.

I put Random Harvest up there with Now Voyager which also has an implausible story that sweeps you away. This is Hollywood sentiment at its best.

TCM teamed up with Universal to dig Remember the Night, a mostly forgotten 1940 release from the vault. A nice Christmas movie written by Preston Sturges. Farmhand (Sterling Holloway)singing in this clip would latter be the Disney voice of Winnie the Pooh. TCM's Robert Osborne on Night, "Bless the moviemakers of that era, they weren't afraid to be sentimental on occasion."