Posts Tagged ‘documentary’

May 8, 2012

All Things Taurus – Part 3


Several weeks  ago I attended a  riveting   lecture by   several  scientists  from the Monell Institute  titled I SMELL YOU SMELL  as part of the Philadelphia Science Festival. The Monell Institute is the world’s  only independent non profit scientific institute dedicated to basic research on taste and smell.   As a  five planets  in Taurus woman, smell ( and taste) are crucial to me.   When I was  little girl, I  wished I  could be the fairy of good smells.  I’d wave  my magic wand and make  everything  seem wonderful like  fresh flowers.   The lecture  took  place in a darken cabaret  room  at the Society Hill Playhouse.  Three  scientists  talked about  the power of  smell and how it relates to  relationships, attraction and  illness.   I ‘ve always  been fascinated  by the  subject of pheromones.   I learned that  everyone’s  scent is different.  No  two people smell alike.   Our  personal scent is like a  fingerprint.   It  doesn’t  change  due to  diet or  hygiene.   The scientists  debunked the myth that  a certain perfume  or oil with attract a man ( or woman) to you.    Maybe that’s  true  but I  have been in some  situations  where the lack of hygiene  has definitely   a repellant.    Smelling  good has always  been important to me.   My  favorite  soap is  Santa Maria Novella’s Melograno  soap.  Melograno is  Italian  for pomegranate.  This  soap is   triple milled and is so gentle.  You  can   use it on your face too and it last much  longer than regular  soap.  Made by   Florentine Monks for   600 hundred years, Santa Maria Novella products are  a personal  favorite.   Heavenly!

From smells to  tastes.  The last  few months I ‘ve  become   obsessed with the Korean  dish- Bibimbap dolsot ( also  spelled bibimbop).   Bibimbap dolsot is  basically  a hot rice dish with  meat and veggies.    My obsession  with Bibimbap  began when I first  had it at Giwa  in Center City  ( Philly).    I  had an OBE  ( out of body experience)  after  eating it for the first time.   I’m not joking !  I literarily  got high and was floating  out of my body for several hours  after  I  finished eating.   I   tried  the  dish  at several  other restaurants in Philly after   Giwa.    There  are   many more  restaurants  I need to  try bibimbap from , but so far Giwa  is the  best.    The dish is  served in a  cast iron  deep bowl which  arrives  all steamy and popping.   The popping sound is  from the  bottom layer of rice  cooking and getting brown and  crunchy.    A sauce  made with red pepper paste   ( called gochujang)  is  mixed in the  dish as you eat it.     As  most of my  readers know,  when I  get  a idea into my head, especially when it comes to making a  certain  dish, I must make it and make it  right.    For  several weeks I  just  thought about  bibimbap.   I  looked online and  at H-Mart  for the same  cast iron  bowls I was served Bibimbap in at the various  restautants. H-Mart  does sell these outrageously  heavy stone bowl  for around $30 a piece  to  make bibimbap.  But I ‘m  a cast  iron  woman.  I  finally  found a  food blog  that mentioned  cooking bibimbap in a cast iron skillet.  Hallelujah!    I  combined  several bibimbap  recipes and then  altered them  further.    I have  made this  dish  3 times so far.  Once with  rib eye steak ( traditional).  One with Chicken and once with pork.    The first attempt  with rib eye steak  remains  my most  successful attempt.    I was able to get the  rice on the bottom crunchy.  One of the ways  in which  my bibimbap  differs  vastly  from the  bibimbaps I have eaten in the restaurants &  the  recipes I  found on line is  my  compulsion  to  season  each component separately.    Sadly, this  need to  have  more flavor resulted in severe rice failure on  my second and third attempts at  making the  dish ( the  goal  being  a crispy crunchy layer of rice at the bottom of the  pan).    I put  butter and  Swanson  flavor packets (  chicken and vegetable) in the  rice water right before cooking the rice.  The  rice was  bursting with  flavor but I realized the butter made  the  cooked  grains  too  moist to  cook  effectively .    Egg was  served on  top of the Bibimbap  when I  ate it Tampopo ( raw  which  cooked as the  veggies,rice and  meat steamed)  and Koreana  (  cooked over easy) but not at Giwa.   I  decided to  top my bibimbap with organic  duck  eggs I  bought  at the  farmer’s market.  By using  duck eggs instead of  regular  eggs, a deeper  depth of  flavor  was  achieved.   I also  altered the   sauce  made with the  gochujang  by adding  fresh  grated  ginger, more sesame oil and more  sugar than the internet  recipes listed.   And  while I  have written previously about  my attempts to  become  vegetarian, I have fallen off the wagon.  I  decided  last  year that  my  body  functions  better on a little meat.   I only buy organic  meat.  Maybe  someday I will become a vegetarian but not now.


In keeping with this theme of  this blog of ALL THINGS TAURUS,  I highly recommend   F for Fake  (written, directed and starring Orson Welles).  Mr. Welles was  a quintessential Taurus ( May 6th).  The  real reason  for   viewing this “documentary”   is not  to learn about the  famous  art  forger Elmyr de Hory or  see  footage of Clifford  Irving the subject of the film The Hoax.  The REAL  reason to watch F for Fake  is  the fashions  that Orson Welles’s then girlfriend Oja Kodar  models as she is  portraying the fictitious muse of Picasso.  The two minute  “fashion show”  features  some very incredible  clothes.  A must  rent for any  fashionista.

The  other Taurus I  want to mention in this blog is  filmmaker/writer/actor Lena Dunham ( May 13th).   I really enjoyed Ms.Dunham’s first film Tiny Furniture   ( 2010) which was an instant  hit at the Sundance Film Festival when it premiered.  Her current HBO series GIRLS which  she  wrote,directed and stars in, features  some of the  same cast  from
Tiny Furniture .  I  find Ms. Dunham fascinating to watch.  I  thought about  why I like her and find her  so appealing.  The answer was  of course,  right in front  of me.  It is the Taurus  factor.  She is  real and unpretentious.  She  looks like a normal person, not a Hollywood-glammed up  movie star.  She is  a little bit  chubby and isn’t afraid to  show her body  on  camera in  various  stages of undress.    She   explores relationships and sexuality (  due to the  intense simulated sex  scene the  series airs on Sundays nights at 10:30 p.m. EST).  Ms. Dunham’s  take on relationships and men is honest,refreshing and  of course witty.  I  heard her interviewed by  Terry Gross on  NPR ‘s Fresh Air yesterday ( May 7th).     Although Ms. Dunham stated  clearly that the  character of Hannah isn’t  her, Hannah  does seem to possess many  Taurean tendencies ( like eating  cupcakes in the bathtub) and being kind of   slow to “get it” at times.  Now  I myself have never eaten cupcakes while taking a bath, but  both activities  top  my pleasure list.


More things related to my Taurus:

There are two films both available on dvd which deal with the subject of redemption and forgiveness. I love both these films. The first of these films is Flipped directed by Rob Reiner based on the popular book Flipped by Wendelin Van Draanen and the British independent film In a Day. Both these films deal with the relationship between a boy and a girl ( FLIPPED) and a man and a woman ( IN A DAY). Rob Reiner said of FLIPPED it is the best film he’s directed. I agree with him. The film although it is very Hollywood, is the kind of film that should be shown in school  to junior high students. The message of not assuming or making judgements based on appearances is important and crucial. How do these two films relate to Taurus? Well Taurus is a stubborn sign and I  have  been  guilty of assuming and making  judgements.      My  assumptions  about  Korean  food  kept me  from a world of sensual pleasure  for decades.   I  hope EVERYONE   will see  FLIPPED.   It is a  great film  for adults too.

Recently, I  saw  a powerful documentary  which  lingered in my  head for days.  Elephant in the Living Room directed by Michael Webber, follows Officer Tim Harrison as he struggles to deal with the exotic animal problem in Ohio. More and more people in the United States are opting to have wild and exotic animals as pets. This documentary examines this horrifying, sad , shocking and idiotic ( yes I said it) trend.  I  learned a  permit is not  required  to own an exotic/wild  animal in Ohio but   you  need of course  to have a  license for your  dog.  This is one of those documentaries that should be,in my opinion, required viewing to children in public schools every year they are in school( I would say starting with 4th grade children). In my opinion, it is a disgrace that hundreds of thousands of domestic animals are euthanized in shelters every year. Now there is this new problem of wild and exotic “pets”. I feel for Tim Harrison and his heroic efforts to save and place the abandoned and abused exotic wild life that he encounters on his job.   I hope this documentary can  change the  state laws  regarding  wild/exotic pet ownership.


I’ve previously  mentioned I how much I love CBS SUNDAY MORNING ( airs Sundays  at 9 a.m. EST).  It is one of the few  art & culture  shows on  a major Network  Channel.   I  need to  mention  another  fabulous arts & culture  show called   EUROMAXX ( Highlights).   This  22 minute show airs on   Comcast  here in Philly on MINDTV on Saturday mornings at 7:30 a.m.  MINDTV is  the local independent  Philly cable station.  Euromaxx  is a German produced  show which features  what’s hot and  happening  in Europe.  Sadly, I’m either  on my way to the  gym or  farmer’s market or  thriftin ( yard  sales, flea markets etc.)   on Saturday mornings so I often  miss  this  wonderful  show.   It would  be great if   MIND TV  would air this  show on Sunday mornings  before CBS Sunday morning.


And lastly- Thank you Town & country Magazine  for printing my Letter to the Editor  (May 2012) regarding the  Ali MacGraw  cover ( February 2012).   Unfortunately, I  don’t buy the editor’s response  as to why they  chose to put a  photograph of Ms.MacGraw  from 1969 on their  cover while inside they have  recent photographs of her looking  fantastic at 72.   I can smell B.S. a  mile away.  This may  be a revelation to  some people who think I’m naive.  The truth is  most of the time I  keep my mouth  shut because  I  have never been able to   confront  a liar and get the truth at the  time I was confronting them ( I’m not  implying the editors of T & C  are liars).   These  days I  bide my  time and   know  that in time, the truth is ALWAYS revealed  in almost every situation.  That is the  epitome of  a Taurus  being patient!




April 7, 2012

Hi Everyone,
I felt it is time to write a Taurus theme related blog.  Jupiter the planet of luck and expansion is in Taurus.  I ‘m a Taurus with my Jupiter in Taurus. I ove anything to do with film,food, fashion,art, nature, beauty and the unusual. I think you will find this blog entry funny,insightful and interesting. Also due to the fact that I haven’t written  one of my long blogs in a year, I  will be writing and publishing several around the same time. This is part one of ALL THINGS TAURUS.

I just finished a wonderful memoir titled The Shocking Miss Pilgrim: A Writer in Early Hollywood by Frederica Sagor Maas.  Ms.Maas recently passed away last year at the age of 111 (this alone would make her note worthy). Ms. Maas was one of the few female screenwriter in Hollywood  during the silent era. THE SHOCKING MISS PILGRIM is Ms. Maas’s autobiography of her  life from birth  to age  fifty.  This wonderful book chronicles the harsh realities of Hollywood  and the film industry in general including  sex scandals,corruption and greed.  It makes one realize that while time goes on, people  are just people. The same things that are happening today happened back then too.  Ms. Maas struggled to keep her integrity in a place where  morals are not sacred. Ms. Maas’s journey has many layers.  On the one hand, it is about Hollywood and the way the studio system used to work.  On another level, it is about Ms. Maas’s personal life.  Ms. Maas penned this book when she was in her eighties ( third Saturn return). I mentioning astrological terms here because it is interesting to note she met her and married her husband Ernest Mass during her first Saturn return.  Changed careers during her second saturn return.  Then her late 80s was rediscovered  by film historians who encouraged her to write her story (third Saturn return) and it was published.  The title of the book refers to the most notable screenplay Ms. Mass wrote with her husband in the 1940s  starring Betty Grable. The Shocking Miss Pilgrim (1947)
 I have not seen the film but after reading this riveting autobiography, I’m compelled to seek out Ms. Maas’s work.  Her account of the depression f is horrifying and  heartbreaking.  This is a must read for any filmophile. Ms. Maas was not a Taurus but a Cancer ( the two signs are pretty similar).


On New Years Eve ( 2011- going to 2012), I stayed home and stayed in bed.   As I scanned the Comcast   Movies on Demand, I  noticed a  new documentary on Halston Ultrasuede: In Search Of Halston
  The cost was $6.99  and I was  a little hesistant to   download it.  I hesitated not due to the price but  because I  had  just seen a  very boring documentary on another  famous  designer ( I won’t mention who).   I was  reading Cheap Chic: Update simultaneously as I hit the “buy” button on my remote.  Sucking on my favorite Sees Candies Lollypops,  I began to watch the documentary by Whitney Sudler- Smith and for the first ten minutes I  thought I had made a huge mistake.  Mr. Sudler-Smith seemed to be an imbecile.  Here he was lunching with Leon Andre Talley  and asking him ignorant  questions about Halston which evoked harsh chiding  from Mr. Talley.  He  then was seen in Liza Minelli’s palatial apartment  questioning her about her close relationship with Halston.  She seemed to be frustrated  with Mr. Sudler- Smith’s  questions and  follow up  responses.  I was about to turn it off.  Thank God I  didn’t.  Suddenly, Mr. Sudler- Smith switched from clueless to hip and then to  fantastic.  The tone of the documentary transformed into a dynamic view of the 70s disco era,Studio 54,NYC and Halston’s role in the age of debauchery.

Roy  Halston Frowlick was a Taurus  ( Born April  23, 1932).  He tragically died of AIDS in San Francisco in 1990.  His artistic vision  drastically  changed the fashion  world.   He was  a regular at Studio 54 and best friends with Liza.  He brought simplicity to  high fashion.  His over indulgent lifestyle  contributed  heavily  his downfall.  He was a man of excess.  I pretty  sure Halston  was Louis the  XIV in  another  lifetime.   I loved the  documentary so much that  I watched it two more times in the 24 hour rental period.   O.k. here’s the thing.  Watching  the documentary was like taking  drugs  for me.  I don’t do drugs  but I have a very rich fantasy life ( obviously!)   Unexpectedly it  took me  back to a place in my head that I hadn’t been to since the age of thirteen.   At that point in my life I was  obsessively playing the soundtrack to Saturday Night Fever
and dreaming of moving to NYC so I could become a disco queen at Studio 54 ( yes it is funny). Although Studio 54 is long gone, this documentary  makes you feel like you were there; even if you weren’t .  The dvd version isn’t coming out  until May 29, 2012 but you can watch it on demand.  Rest assured, I will have my own copy of this incredible documentary to watch over and over.


It is no secret that I have an addiction to refined sugar.   Most Taurus people have a sweet tooth.  It  is the one addiction I struggled with all my life. I love candy. This past winter, I ended upindulging in too many Sees Candies Lollipops.  My favorite  is See’s Candies Cinnamon Lollypops
I love anything containing cinnamon.  It is a good thing the company only produces this candy during the winter months.  I am working on weening myself slowly off refined sugar and  candy.  I recently purchased Newman`s Own Sour Cherry Licorice Twists and Newman`s Own Sour Strawberry Licorice Twists This licorice is fantastic. I wish it didn’t taste so  ood but it  does.  No red dye no. 40. If you feel guilty about eating this candy, just think about the fact the money you spend is helping others.


I recently went on a Dennis Potter binge.  Mr. Potter was a Taurus ( May 17th) and a highly regarded British playwright.  For decades I heard about his work but had never seen any of his work. I was anxious to iew his two most popular television mini series Pennies from Heaven
and  his most revered work The Singing Detective(Starring Michael Gambon).  I thought PENNIES FROM HEAVEN was incredible. Bob Hoskins is a great  actor and this mini series is definitely worth watching. The famous songs  featured  are all wonderful and from the 1930s. The songs provide the sharp contrast of light to the dark and heavy story line. Several soundtracks exist but this one is the original from the BBC miniseriesPennies From Heaven Soundtrack I found THE SINGNG DETECTIVE to be confusing and  disturbing. I watched the bonus dvd  which featured profiles on Mr. Potter and  interviews with him.  I  figured if I  understood the man, I would  totally ” get” THE SINGING DETECTIVE .  Mr. Potter was a man of many  contradictions.  Although he was married and a “family” man ( most Taurus people are loyal), he claimed  to one journalists to have been with  137  prostitutes.  Someone who  knew Mr. Potter dismissed this number as being ridiculously high. Mr. Potter  seemed  to have such a rich fantasy life that he  was able to freely explore in his writing. Sadly, Mr. Potter dealt with a horrible debilitating skin disease during most of his life and tragically died of lung cancer at the age of 59.

**********************************************************************************************Can $11 change your life? My life ( or I should say my personal grooming) became a whole lot better and easier when I realized I had been putting up with crappy toenail clippers all my life. I discovered Mehaz Professional Wide Jaw Slant Edge Toenail Clipper and the difference in clipping my toenails is night and day. These clippers cut through thick toenails and are easy to use. They are great for older folks. Think about how many times in your lifetime you have nought toenail clippers. Three,four or five times? You probably thought they didn’t even work well. This will be the last pair of toenail clippers you ever buy because they WORK and they have a lifetime guarantee. Now I know toes are not part of the body associated with Taurus ( the throat & neck are). But Taurus people continue to struggle and do things the hard way. I spent over four decades struggling to clip my toenails with an instrument that didn’t even work. I have found an easy and helpful product and want to help everybody. Check out my cool merchandise on Zazzle. It is the ultimate Taurus store.

Well this is it for All Things Taurus Part One. Happy Spring Everyone!