Thursday, December 30, 2021

Thursday Movie Picks: TV Edition-Holiday


New Year’s is around the corner and WTF will it bring? I hate resolutions too, so I never make any but I do hope to reply to the comments all of you make. I love reading them and seeing which movies you choose. I want to see some movies I have been meaning to see for a long time and want to see more Linda Darnell films. I so appreciate all your kind, kind words this past year as well as your movie choices, I have marked down so many that I will be 159 yrs old before seeing them all. Joel alone gives me one every week. This one isn’t a since it is the last Thursday of the month and it’s about holidays. Wandering through the Shelves creates a great list every year and I hope to see one come up very soon. Here are my 3...

1.  BOB HOPE SPECIALS FROM 1950 to 1996

Bob Hope is an institution even if he has been gone since 2003 because he entertained the troops since WW2 all the way until 1990 during Desert Shield. He was away with the servicemen during Christmas than being home. I grew up watching his Christmas specials with many famous stars. The jokes could be a bit stale and the specials a bit camp but I love them and wish we had these types of variety shows back. 


This special, from 1977, came on after Bing Crosby died having been filmed in the late summer. This scene, with David Bowie, has now become a classic and rightly so. Bing didn't want Mr. Bowie to appear in his makeup so David is toned down and Bowie didn't think anything much about this but it is great to gave these 2 together. I enjoyed Bob Hope's specials a bit better but they are both timeless.


Perry Como was known as a very relaxed entertainer but also known for his Christmas specials where he travelled to a different country each year..Hawaii, England, the Holy Land, French- Canada and Austria. He did other Christmas shows but I always liked these ones. 

Which ones can you recall?

Thank you again for all you have done for me this past year. It will never be forgotten.


Wednesday, December 29, 2021

Happy New Year..Thank Goodness


I hope everyone had a lovely Christmas as I did. It was so very nice and I just felt so happy despite the earlier months. All I can say is I hope that this year will be better especially Covid wise. I thought I would showcase Kaspar the disaster this time. I hope you like these New Year songs.


I’m so glad I can fit ABBA in this with a perfect song to ring in the year. This comes from their album “Souper Trouper” and I think it’s just a nice one to choose. 


This song is from the film, Holiday Inn written for the film by Irving Berlin and it just works so well. There are many songs that are great from this film including the famous “White Christmas” but this song is a good one for this time.


This is an old folk Scots tune with lyrics written by Robert Burns and has been  SUNG in many films, theaters, parties etc. . I think it was mostly played by Guy Lombardo and his orchestra. My dad loved this Canadian.

Any songs you wish to share for the new year? I do wish you all a great new year and this Covid will pass.

Thursday, December 23, 2021

Thursday Movie Picks- Holiday Party


I’m sorry for not visiting many of you but it’s Christmas time and I have been wrapping and baking up a storm. I plan to visit you, Shady, Cathy and the rest of you. I am writing this really quite late so it will be short but sweet. The theme, from Wandering Through The Shelves, is about Holiday Parties and here it goes...


It’s my favourite film due to the beauty behind the basic plot about a ordinary man with great dreams but gives them up for love and to help the people of his small town. I have talked about this film every year and will continue this tradition. This was the first film after Jimmy Stewart came back from the war and he was suffering from battle fatigue, now known as PTSD,  as they called it back in the day. He was wondering about his acting and his role in life and Lionel Barrymore, who played ole' man Potter, talked with him and helped him see how important his career is and how much he has helped the average Joe. I'm glad Stewart opened up to Barrymore about his feelings. This film is played every year on TV and I am glad for that. The party, at the end, shows all the characters and makes me cry each time. Mind you, there is the grad party and the wedding gathering when his brother comes home with the wife which are Calvo good party moments.

2. MIRACLE ON 34TH ST.-1947

Another gem of a film with the best Santa, played by Edmund Gwenn, coming to NYC and being hired to play Santa in the Macy's Thanksgiving parade since the other Santa is drunk. The head of the Dept is played by the great Maureen O' Hara in a female role as one of the execs which is pretty cool to show this back then. She does not believe in anything and makes sure her daughter feels the same way. Santa is hired for Macy's and he tries to help the daughter believe while a good looking lawyer works on mommy. I love the party when a doctor gets his new x-ray machine and is overcome with emotion. 


I almost went with Holiday Inn which is perfect this week since this musical goes through all the holidays but I have talked about this one often, so I went with this other Bing Crosby hit with the title based on the famous song made famous in Holiday Inn. Crosby and Danny Kaye are famous entertainers who help out a sister act get out of a messy situation and they all end up at an Inn owned by their former commanding officer. That officer is hard up since there has been no snow which means no patrons. The duo, with the gals' help, decide to put on a show to help out their former officer. The big gala at the end brings tears which is typical from me. It is a musical but it's also funny mainly due to Kaye. The "Sisters" take was done once and Bing is really laughing because of Danny Kaye's antics.

Which Holiday party movies would you pick?

Wednesday, December 22, 2021

My favourite Christmas music


I can’t believe Christmas Eve is this Friday but it is and it will be a wonderful time.. I am going to showcase a few songs I love...I love a lot of them but I wanted to show some I have not talked about before, or at least may have mentioned it only once.

1. O BAMBINO SUNG BY Harry Simone Chorale-1965

I have always loved this song especially this composition done by this  famous Chorale who even appeared on The Ed Sullivan show.. it’s an Italian song, written by Pietro Yon, in 1917. I just always loved listening to this since I was a little kid.


I could not find this particular song in this arrangement except from the full album. Yup, I grew up with this and I loved how this lady sings it but couldn’t find out who the singer is. If you can find out, I’d love it. You can listen to the whole album which is a treat but this song is about 33:47 minutes in.  It’s a Spanish Carol by Jose Ramon Gomis in 1904 that many Spanish people now play it as a folk song but I always think of it as a Christmas song.


By now you know I love this Mad German who thinks himself more Russian. He has an amazing 5 octave range not 4 which, I think, I mentioned last week. He has such control over his voice not like many, in North America, who scream it.  This carol is Austrian , near Salzburg, from 1865.


You know I had to pick something from my mom's she called him. This song is one of my hubby's favorites and mine too. It actually comes from an animated film from 1982 called " The Snowman" and was written by Howard Blake. I now want to see this special. 

Any favourites you have?

Thursday, December 16, 2021

Thursday Movie Picks-New To The City


Wandering Through The Stars has chosen a good one this week, always does, and this one is about being new to the city. I chose one that I love and 2 that are ok but not my favs. Let's get to it...

1. ON THE TOWN-1949

I love this comedic musical about 3 sailors on a 24 hour leave being let loose on New York City. Gene Kelly and Jules Munshin can't wait to meet a couple of dames whereas innocent(HA!) boy, Frank Sinatra, wants to see the sights of NYC. They head to the subway and Gene meets and instantly falls for Miss. Turnstiles, played by Vera-, please eat a sandwich, Ellen. The 3 dudes try to find her and meet up with a taxi driver, played by Betty Garrett, who has the hots for Frankie. The 4 end up at the Natural History Museum and meet up with an anthropologist who can tap dance like no tomorrow, played by the great Ann Miller. Now the 5 of them go looking for Vera and Gene finally finds her (yeah, in just one day), hi-jinks ensues with a cab gone AWOL, damage at the museum and Frankie scared to make out (really??) with the amourous cabbie. This is so much fun with an excellent plot plus the songs and dancing are superb. The scene stealer is Alice Pearce, who played the original Mrs. Kravitz on Bewitched, as the roommate to Betty Garrett. 


OK, I think we can all agree Kevin's mom will never win mother of the year award for losing her kid, not once, but twice. Never mind that she will try and get back to him but WTF? OK, Kevin's family plus his aunt and uncle and their brood(I think it is his Aunt and Uncle. I haven't seen this in a few years) decide to go to Miami for Christmas. After being humiliated by his asswipe brother during the school play, the family is disappointed in Kevin (I don't get it either). Nasty words are said and Badda-Bing, Badda-Boom, the next day everyone is rushing to get to the airport. Of course, Kevin ends up on the wrong plane and winds up in NYC. He is happy about it because he is in a cold place with plenty of Christmas and he has the credit cards! He sets himself up in a swanky hotel undermining the staff, with the head played by Tim Curry who is priceless in this movie. The family are stuck in a rainy, ugly motel room as mommie dearest is trying to find her way to her missing son. Now, back in the big city, Kevin is having fun going to a great Christmas store and meeting a scary pigeon lady but he runs into the 2 dumbnuts from the first movie. They are planning to knock off the toy store but also want to knock off Kevin. The film is predictable but it has its moments especially with Tim Curry and the bumbling crooks (Joe Pesci & Daniel Stern). It is a fun Christmas movie but hardly my favourite especially since I secretly wish they would catch up with Kevin and win. I know, I am bad.

3. ELF-2003

What can I say, It's stupid in an elf outfit who creates major destruction, destroys the family Christmas tree, eats disgusting things, acts like a moron who still gets the girl and is beloved by all. I don't mind Will Farrell and this movie has some funny moments, but I can go a few years before watching it again. I have seen it more than once but, where I must watch It's A Wonderful Life, Going My Way, Miracle on 34th Street (the original), A Christmas Carol plus the classic cartoons every year, I can wait with this one. It's all about Will's elf finding out he is not an elf but a regular human (I guess he couldn't figure that one out when he was so much bigger than everyone else and couldn't fit through the doors and sit on the chairs up at Santa's village) and must go and live with his real dad. Kicking this guy out of Santa's village, making him walk thousands of miles to NYC and live in a place scary to him doesn't seem mean of Santa at all, does it? Elf finds dad, meets his half brother, meets a beautiful gal and saves the Christmas spirit that NYC lacks. I guess that is ok. 

Which films would you choose? My list is not a total Christmas theme but a New York one :)

Wednesday, December 15, 2021

Frohliche Weihnachten or just Merry Christmas


This is dedicated to my mom’s family since she brought Christmas, the true meaning, to us- family, love, hope and cherished traditions that only the Krauts..oops, Germans know how to celebrate. Sorry but, it’s true. When my mom was little,  her sister, and 2 brothers were always in the Christmas Nativity story. Tante Ilse was the oldest followed by Uncle Harry, Uncle Kurt and then my mom.  My mom and Tante Ilse were angels, Uncle Kurt was a shepherd and Uncle Harry was one of the 3 kings.  They all had to sing songs and they sang very well, unlike me who could never hold a note which is why I, probably, ended up as a fern in the school Christmas play..yes, a fern. So my mom et al ended up all having  a favourite song which I will showcase here today. I grew up with these songs so they are very familiar to me but probably new to  you.


My mom actually said Tante Ilse liked most and didn’t favour a song, but Tante Ilse mentioned this song the last time I saw her(2009). It means,"Ring, little Bell" based on a folk song from the 19th century. It may be written by Karl Enslin or Benedikt Widmann. I think it is pretty and this is from an album from 1957...I think. It was my mom's first Christmas album she bought when she came to Canada and I still have it. I should look and see if I can find the date. 


Uncle Harry loved this one and sang this song as he walked down to see the Nativity. He belted it out and was noticeable even though he was really a small fry. This song translates to " daughter of Zion, Rejoice". Lyrics were written around 1820. This piece is from 2015 an Advent Concert which is when this song is usually played.


I wish I could have met my Uncle Kurt, whom my mom was so close to, as he was quite fun loving. He sang this song as a shepherd and loved this gentle song. It means, " Softly, Falls the Snow." Freddy was a popular German singer and he sang this off his Christmas album from 1964. Uncle Harry loved this album because it was about a navy man away from home at Christmas. I couldn't find the Album cover through the blog youtube so I hope this is the same.


This song has always been my mom’s favorite especially when the church bells were played before and after. She loved Ivan Rebroff who thought of himself as a Russian but he was German. He had an amazing 4 octave vocal range and I love his album which is from 1970.

I hope you liked this and what were your parents' favourite Christmas song or your brother's or your sister's?

Thursday, December 9, 2021

Thursday Movie Picks: Rags to Riches


I’m gone to Toronto today and will make sure to take it easy but will be going to the Picasso exhibit and will do some Christmas shopping. So, today it’s all about Rags to Riches which we all wish would happen to us. My hubby buys the lotto hoping for even a million...cracks me up. Most people who win at Lotto, blow it in 5 years and that is the truth, sad but true. This week, over at Wandering  Through The Shelves, it’s about striking it rich in one form or another. I will wonder what everyone will choose, here are my 3...


Frank Capra is just great to showcase the every man who is loved, then vilified before being loved once again. Even though some critics, who get no sex, call it Capra-Corn, most recognize how great most of his films are and I love many of his films. This stars Gary Cooper as a Tuba playing Joe who gets 10 million as an inheritance from his Uncle. He moves to the city into a very large home and wonders what to do. Enter Jean Arthur as a jaded reporter tasked to see if this guy is for real . She plays him like a deck of cards and so do the lawyers etc.. who want the money. He just wants to help the people who are hanging on by a thread because of the Great Depression and the Dustbowl. It is such a nice film worth a few looks. I am a rare gal who is not a huge fan of Cooper but I like him in this. Jean Arthur is always a treat. The character actors often make Capra's films rise above the norm. 


Greer Garson and Walter Pisgeon made many films together with their most famous being Mrs. Miniver, but I like this one better. Mrs. Miniver just seems too saintly. The pairing of these 2 stars was so popular that many thought they were together in real life. This movie starts off in a mining town with Greer's character as the daughter of an innkeeper, her mom, and she makes the beds etc... the owner of the mine, played by Pudgeon, stays at this Inn and likes the gal but he is facing the harsh reality that the people in the town don't like him. When there is a mining disaster and her mom is killed, he decides to marry the lass and brings her to his huge home. She must now get used to giving the orders instead of being on the receiving end. She meets a former flame of his who helps her by showing the ropes. This tale of marriage and heartbreak is told in flashback as she is dealing with her very self-obsessed kids and grandkids. It's a good movie made better by Agnes Moorehead as the former flame.


We all know the story of a novice nun, who doesn't follow the rules and is sent to the Baron Von Trapp household to govern his 7 kids. She is dirt poor and, when meeting them, does wear the worst outfit anyone can wear. She teaches the kids to sing and brings life and love back into his home. He is slow to come around and brings a Baroness back from Vienna to meet the kids and have a big party. This all happens before the Nazis take power. Now, aside from a song that mentions snow and Christmas, it is not a Christmas movie since it takes place in summer, has Nazis and no other reference to Christmas. It is a nice family film with brilliant singing by Julie Andrews and wonderful locals in and around Salzburg. 

So...which films would you choose?

Wednesday, December 8, 2021

Happy Anniversary


My parents, Ruth and Frank, were married on December 8, 1962. It was a small ceremony and, since my dad was Catholic, she was told by the priest that she could not wear white since she was married before so she chose a light blue dress. Against many obstacles, her idiot first husband not granting a divorce(until he met someone else), illness and my father's relatives who didn't like my mom and made it known by one giving $3.00 as a wedding gift, they started on their marital journey.

Like many marriages, there were arguments with my dad knowing how to get my mom's goat and she throwing her slipper at him (it had a hard sole) but their love shone through. When I was perusing the many photos I have, I was surprised at how many pictures I have of them having fun, smiling at each other and even a kissing shot! Their love for one another shone through.

The picture above is from their wedding and the one below. The last photo is one from the 1980s where they are just happy to be together. They were only together for 26 years before brain cancer got the better of my dad, but my mom was married only to him. She said, "Why do people think I need a man. I had the best, I don't need anyone else....besides I darned enough socks!"

Since it is Christmas and they both loved watching Bonanza (so do I), I have the Bonanza Christmas album here for you to enjoy. I hope you listen to the whole thing because it is part singing, part story telling, but full of family, friends and love. We would play this album (I still have it) only when it got closer to Christmas. The Cartwrights may not be the best of singers but that doesn't matter because it just adds to the family effect. I love the line that Ben Cartwright says after successfully avoiding an ardent woman looking for marriage.."That was a close one Little Joe, remind me to give your brother a medal."

Hope you liked it:)

Love you both and miss you always.

Thursday, December 2, 2021

Thursday Movie Picks: Oscar Edition-Best Foreign Film


December 1st and I am thinking Christmas is 4 months away not 3 weeks. I am decorating but taking it easy. If you read my previous post, you will know I got great news and I don't have cancer. I figured I didn't, but was glad to hear it none the less. Now, Wandering Through The Shelves has Best Foreign Film for the theme this week and I am wondering how many have seen some foreign films. we go.

1. 8 1/2-1963 (ITALY)

This is a true classic and worthy of its fame as a great film even if it is not one of my favourites. I get the reasons for its fame from the great acting to the cinematography but the Avant-Garde film needs several viewing from me to understand it. Frederico Fellini created this work based on his own life and he ended up loving this film he created.  I love Marcello Mastroianni and he is great here as a director having "director's block". He is making a film but can't seem to get it together and between the film people coming after him plus his wife and mistress, he can't seem to get it together. In between this, he sees his perfect female star in his head but then brought to life when he actually sees her. Anyway, I should see this film again and see if I like it better than the first time. 


Taiwan got the Oscar but it was an International co-production between Taiwan, China, The U.S. and  Hong Kong. It was filmed all over China and the locales are stunning, even the desert locale. This film takes on a mystical role but it is also a love story between the 2 young loves who are passionate and the older couple who share a deep love but they prevent themselves from taking the passionate route for reasons you find out in the film. The stunt work was done by the actors and there was no CGI except to get rid of the wires holding the actors up (for example, when they fight in the trees). A warrior wishes to retire and he asks the woman he loves, also a warrior to bring his sword to their benefactor. When back at the benefatcor's place, she meets the young Jen who is unhappy in her life. The sword is stolen and off goes the female warrior to reclaim it. There is a lot more to this poetic film directed by Ang Lee. I am not giving the film justice from my written words so please have a look at the film and see if you are not transfixed.


I came across this film one evening and was transfixed by how intelligently written and directed it was. It takes place in the 1980s, when there was still an East Germany run by the Communist regime. At that time, everyone was watching everyone else and fear of being sent to the Gulag was very real. The "hero" of the film is a famous writer who holds opposing views to the Communist regime. The Staazi (secret police) can't take him away as it would cause an international incident. They decide to bug his place and see if they can't get something concrete on him. The hero is having a relationship with a well known actress and the secret police listen to everything. The head of this police starts listening more and more and develops a close bond with this couple even though they have never met. It gets to the point where this police man wants to help them and not have them disappear. I hope you get to see this well acted film that truly brings out what it was like in East Germany when the Communists were in power. Just so you know, my great Aunt still lived in Wittenberg (a mile south of Berlin) and she had to request the government for a fridge. She had to prove that a 70+ year old lady with bad legs needed a fridge. It took 7 years of bureaucratic crap for her to finally be approved to have one. 

So...know any foreign films? Let me know. 

Wednesday, December 1, 2021

First of Advent was this past Sunday so....


I have very good cancer! I saw my Dr. last Friday and I got that great news plus she said I am healing well. I am still happy it is out because, apparently, I had numerous cysts (small) on my ovaries and uterus as well as numerous fibroid tumours (also small) plus my uterus was a little inflamed..reason? Who knows, but this is all history now and I have reason to celebrate. I did put, what you see in the picture, up on Sunday but did it in stages and I could feel the pain, although not like it was, so I stopped. I make sure to stop for quite a while before continuing and I am not doing as much as I would do normally in a day.

I thank my mom for bringing Christmas to me, my brother and especially my dad, who said that many times. Her German traditions, carried through from her mom and her mom before her, etc.. just fills me with Gemutlichkeit (say that 10 times fast). I can't think of a good English word that fits because it would encompass more than just cosy, warm, family, heartfelt...all those words plus. In fact, many of my friends love coming to my home because they feel so Christmassy and that makes me happy. 

That being said, I am starting Christmas music, but slowly here and hope you enjoy it.


I first heard this just a few years ago on a rock station and immediately fell in love with it. I missed who did the song and heard it again making sure to mark it down. It is not so much a warm and fuzzy one because they were just upset by the commercialism that was taking hold during the holiday season (What about now!?). I just spoke to my friend V.J. who hates Christmas....I make sure to drag him into the Christmas store in Niagara On The Lake every time we go there. When I hear him talk, it is almost always about how commercial Christmas is and I can't argue with him how horrible it is. It used to be, here in Canada, that the Christmas ads and stuff would not show up until after Remembrance Day (Nov. 11th) but now Christmas competes with Halloween which is just disgusting. We even hear about this in the film "Miracle on 34th St" (the original and best version) and "Santa Claus is Coming To Town" (at the end of the show). Christmas is a state of mind and we have to avoid the malls and the negativity and enjoy what we can bring into our hearts. By the way, V.J. even loved my decorations and said I have done it very tastefully. He has bought a poinsettia too!


Yes, I do like some of Jethro Tull's songs and this is one of them. Once again, it is about what people's not about stuff or stuffing your faces but about helping people in need and remembering that it is not in what we get but in what we give. Gosh I sound so corny and just blecchy. Even I may want to throw up in my mouth a, I don't want to do that as it brings back memories of my fun days from the 80s and 90s (a little less in the 90s).


I love the Moody Blues and yet, I had no idea they came out with a Christmas album but I was going through a separation that year so I will blame it on that. I want to thank Cathy over at her blog, Curious as a Cathy to have the album on her playlist. If you want to check it out, just head on over to her blog. I really love the way the Moody Blues took Bach's famous piece and made it their own in this Christmas song. Too bad that Ray Thomas had to leave the group due to illness but they still sound great. 

Here is a bonus...


When I first heard this I fell over from laughing so hard. I found out it was done by Denny Baumlee who had to call this Seymour Swine and the Squeelers because of laws but we all know it is good ole Porky. It really does sound like it is done at some party. I hope you get a kick out of it. 

What Christmas songs come into your head, Rock N' Roll wise?