Purchase anxiety

imagesCA5WQQR4March 29, 2013 – My good friend Dina is the first person I heard use the term purchase anxiety, the feeling that she gets when spending money on something she shouldn’t.

I’m not a sufferer, but sometimes wish I was. Instead, I   have buyer’s remorse, or post-purchase anxiety, which is worse because it makes me ask myself “why the hell did I buy that?” a little too often. I’m out the money and worry about my sanity at the same time. At least purchase anxiety stops you from making some insane purchases.

Case in point: here’s a list of five items I recently bought that I should have thought twice about. They may seem innocent, but they are not.

 5. “The Good Earth” – I bragged about Pearl S. Buck’s classic novel about a Chinese farming family on this blog not too long ago. My goal was to read it by the end of 2012 after being inspired while taking a writing class at Ms. Buck’s home in Perkasie, Pa. I didn’t accomplish my goal, though I tried. And I tried again and again before realizing I didn’t like it. Now it sits on my nightstand with the rest of the books I need to read taunting me. If I never purchased it in the first place, I’d be happier, I’m sure of it.

 4. The black leather purse with the feather fringe – When I saw this bag about six months ago on Macys.com, I had to have it. It was different and a little fresh, considering I hadn’t seen fringe like that since the early 1970s. And it was from rock legend Carlos Santana, new to the bag design business, but I have other bags of his that I adore. Yes, I do have a bit of a purse addiction. I love buying them and rarely suffer from regret even if I don’t carry it often, but after one use, I wondered what made me buy such an ugly bag. Sorry Carlos. Only good tasting bags get to stay in my closet.

3. The black nail polish – Not for my nails mind you, but to touch up the chips that were flaking off the dashboard/stereo of my Volkswagen Jetta. I thought it seemed like a brilliant idea because the paint that chipped off or bubbled revealed the white underneath, which drove me crazy. The polish turned out to be more shiny than expected. It’s also chipping now and driving me crazier. At least I didn’t try to get rid of spots on top of my car with a Brillo pad like someone else I know!

 2. A chrome storage shelf unit –I moved into a new home recently (packing all the weird stuff I own was inspiration for this blog post) and I thought I’d save some money by being a little creative. Instead of buying a baker’s rack or a kitchen cart, I decided to try one of those chrome metal storage units they sell at Target for $39.99. It looked ridiculous when I pulled it out of the box. Sure, it would be perfect for the garage to store baby jars filled with nuts and bolts, or behind the doors of a pantry to hold canned goods, but not in the middle of the kitchen. My savings idea cost me because I had to buy the actual piece I needed in the first place. The storage unit sits in the basement closet, since I’m not the nuts and bolts kind of girl, complete with the receipt and waiting to be returned. Problem is I also suffer from return anxiety.

 1. The timeshare – No, just kidding. I would never do that. And why I’m at it, I’ll include anything in the Skymall.com catalog or in the “As Seen on TV” category, which luckily I’ve stayed away from in the past year. Still, my last item, a pair of Clark’s patent leather shoes, (my most favorite shoe brand) is almost as crazy. These shoes carried a hefty price tag and come complete with a relatively high platform and even higher heel that still has me scratching my head and asking why. They’re super cute, but I’m just too smart to torture myself with them now. What was I thinking?

It’s risky business for companies looking to hire the right employees

hire-talentMarch 26, 2013 –You wowed them at the job interview, handled every question with ease, and received a call back for another interview, yet you still didn’t get the job.

It’s frustrating, but new information available indicates it might not be too late to land that job, after all. According to a recent survey conducted by CareerBuilder, nearly seven in 10 companies have new hires that don’t work out. It also means if you come across an interesting job that’s already been filled, send a resume anyway. It may pay off in the end because that company may be looking to fill that position again in the near future.

A whopping 69 percent of companies reported in the survey they are unhappy with a bad hire in the last year – and for good reason – it costs them up to $50,000 per hire.

What defines a bad hire? Employers reported several reasons including quality of work, failure to work well with other employees, a negative attitude, attendance problems, complaints from customers and failure to meet deadlines. Employers say they account for bad hires because they needed to fill the job quickly, had insufficient intelligence, had fewer recruiters to help review applications, they failed to check the applicant’s references, or they just made a mistake.

CareerBuilder’s survey confirms something we’ve known all along. Hiring a new employee is a difficult decision, and every decision is risky and unpredictable. With most people putting their best foot forward during the interview process, it comes down to intuition for those hiring.

For instance, I’ve heard recruiters and managers say they know within a few minutes if the person they are interviewing is right for the job. That’s gut instinct, and the survey results prove that isn’t always accurate.

It’s also difficult being on the other side of that equation. As a candidate, you wrack your brain trying to figure out what a hiring manager is looking for, and the survey results may indicate that those in charge can be just as clueless. It appears that hiring managers are now discovering what job seekers knew all along. Finding the right person for the right job cannot follow one specific formula.

That sort of levels the playing field, doesn’t it?

Movie review: The Incredible Burt Wonderstone

the-incredible-burt-wonderstoneMarch 24, 2013 – There are two kinds of people in the world, those who can appreciate the illusion of tricks and the magicians that offer them, and those who cannot.

I fall into the latter category. Magicians don’t entertain me because there isn’t any magic involved, and I don’t like to be fooled. Yet, I enjoyed “The Incredible Burt Wonderstone”.

The comedy directed by Don Scardino, who is better known for his work directing television programs such as “30 Rock” and “The West Wing”, tells the story of superstar magicians (Steve Carell and Steve Buscemi) working along the Las Vegas strip. The duo earned popularity and huge paychecks over the ten years they’ve headlined, until one day their magic begins to look stale because of a new street magician (Jim Carrey) willing to go to extremes to take their audience.

Alan Arkin co-stars as an old-time magician who inspired Burt as a child, along with James Gandolfini as the owner of the hotel where they perform, and Olivia Wilde as the magician’s assistant.

John Francis Daley and Jonathan Goldstein wrote the screenplay, which like magic is viewed best if you can suspend your belief in reality, a possibility because it is hilariously funny if you take it for what it is – a fun and crazy comedy about absurd people.

Carell and Buscemi are great, playing childhood friends who began with their magic act early on and end up performing in Vegas. As years go by their friendship is threatened and their act get old when they meet up with Carrey, who was made for this role.

Gandolfini and the always-charming Arkin were also perfectly cast. It is the role of Jane, the magician’s assistant and wannabe magician, played by Olivia Wilde, that didn’t make a huge impact. Wilde is fine, but any Hollywood actress could have filled her role, and that can’t be said for the other characters.

The story is almost fable like; someone with an ego as large as Burt Wonderstone must hit rock bottom before he succeeds. And his rise back is where the best parts of the movie come in. Carell is at his best when he’s shown adapting to life off the Vegas strip in small rooms with tiny beds, and when he finds work entertaining older folks in a retirement home, who are all former Vegas entertainers. I always appreciated when his egotistic characters are knocked down. He plays that well.

Whenever Carrey is on screen, there’s a plethora of gross humor for those who like that sort of thing. I typically don’t, but I found Carrey hilarious, anyway. This is a different role for him. I’ve grown accustomed to see him play the stupid, but loveable character, like in his earlier works, i.e. “Dumb and Dumber”, “Ace Ventura” and “The Cable Guy”, but he’s deliciously evil in this role.

Many critics and moviegoers alike didn’t care for this movie, especially the ending. It’s box office earnings are only a quarter of what “Oz the Great and Powerful” made over the last two weeks, and I’m not sure why people are staying away because it’s far more entertaining.

That said, you can’t think logically while viewing this story or it is ruined. Think humor along the lines of “The Forty Year Old Virgin”, “Anchorman” or “Stripes”, and don’t expect intelligent humor like you’d see in “M.A.S.H.” or “Frasier”. It’s laugh out loud funny, and the audience I enjoyed it with laughed out loud along with me. I adored the ending and found it clever and unique.

Suspending your belief in what is real is what most comedy is about. If you have no problem with that, you will have no problem enjoying “The Incredible Burt Wonderstone.”

Rating: 4

Rating System:
5. Great Movie, see it now
4. Good movie and worth the price of admission
3. It’s OK, but I’d wait for the DVD
2. Proceed with caution
1. Don’t bother

Celebrating the BIG 5 – 0

imagesCAY4IW70March 22, 2013 – Today is a significant date in Fab Four history.

Fifty years ago, on March 22, 1963, a day that changed music forever, The Beatles released their debut album “Please Please Me”.

Music historians report the album cost about $500 to produce and less than 12 hours to record. It paid for itself in an instant, staying on top of the charts for 30 weeks, until their second released album knocked it from the number one spot. “Please Please Me” was voted 39th on Rolling Stone magazine’s list of the “500 Greatest Albums of all Time.”

The album turned Lennon and McCartney into song writing machines. They wrote eight of the 14 songs, an uncommon occurrence for the times, and went on to write 217 songs (that were recorded) on 13 studio albums over the next seven years.

That doesn’t include the gems written by my favorite Beatle, George Harrison, who is often overshadowed by Lennon and McCartney. Harrison wrote and recorded an additional 22 songs for The Beatles. His contribution to “Please Please Me”, aside from the instruments he played and background vocals, was the lead vocal on the song “Chains”. His first written contribution for “Don’t Bother Me” would have to wait until their next studio album, “With the Beatles”, released eight months later.

To commemorate the grand occasion, musicians including Joss Stone and The Stereophonics will gather at Apple Studios today to reinterpret the tracks originally laid in 1963. The live session will broadcast on Radio 2 in London, and will likely make it across the pond at some point. Stay tuned.


imagesCA9FOG7HMarch 20, 2013 – Today, in the northern hemisphere spring arrives.

For many of us spring signifies longer days, increasing as the season progresses and the temperatures begin to rise.

For the student, spring means break, whether it’s home to Mom and Dad for a week, or off to a tropical island to celebrate time off.

For the gardener, spring equals rebirth. Seeds are planted in nurturing soil and bloom into colors so vibrant they put rainbows to shame.

For the religious, spring often means the renewal of faith.

For the poet, “A little madness in the spring is wholesome even for the king.” – Emily Dickinson

For the romantic, “Always its spring, and everyone’s in love and flowers pick themselves.” – e.e. cummings

For the literary, “Spring drew on . . . and a greenness grew over those garden beds, which, freshening daily, suggested the thought that hope traversed them at night, and left each morning brighter traces of her steps.” ― Charlotte Brontë, Jane Eyre

For the music lover, spring is Vivaldi.

And for the sports fan, spring is the happiest season of all. Opening day is 11 days away…Go Phillies!

My weekend with Michelle

marilyn_storyMarch 18, 2013 – Now and then you need time to chill.

Staying home for most of the weekend allowed me to do that, yet it didn’t stop me from catching two new movies. I checked the cable channels and was pleasantly surprised at the selections available and new to me, and discovered two starring Michelle Williams, who charmed me in “Oz the Great and Powerful”.

I’m not sure why I haven’t noticed Williams before. After reviewing a list of her projects on IMDB, I realize I have seen a few of her movies, but she never made an impression on me until last week. With my DVR loaded with “Blue Valentine”, starring Williams and Ryan Gosling, and “My Week With Marilyn”, with Williams, Kenneth Branagh and Dame Judy Dench, I was set.

“Blue Valentine” tells the story of a young married couple, with flashbacks to their promising beginning, right up to the last two days of their relationship’s sad collapse. Well acted and praised by critics for its raw realism, I can’t say I found it entertaining. It felt too real, as if I were spying on someone I knew. If I wanted that much realism in my entertainment, I wouldn’t go to the movies, I would simply watch through the windows of my neighbors’ homes and hope I didn’t get arrested. Find me a middle ground between far-fetched and realism that let’s me escape for a while.

The film did earn an Oscar nomination for Best Actress for Williams, and Golden Globe acting nominations for both Gosling and Williams, but I couldn’t recommend it for anyone who doesn’t want to feel hopeless after the credits rolled.

“My Week with Marilyn” was the polar opposite. The film focuses on the true story of Colin Clark, a young English man who worked with Sr. Laurence Olivier’s film production company when Marilyn Monroe was in Great Britain filming “The Prince and the Show Girl.”

Despite dealing with depression and desperation like “Blue Valentine”, there was lightness about “My Week with Marilyn” that I craved. Charming and witty, Williams played the part to perfection. As Marilyn she was believable and intrigued all of the men and women she worked with while making the movie. Still, the darker themes weren’t glossed over – we saw Marilyn’s insecurity through Williams when it came to her self-esteem and her relationship with playwright Arthur Miller – but it didn’t consume the story.

We also got to see Monroe drive Sir Laurence to the breaking point – she didn’t possess his love of acting or use the same methods as one of the greatest actors of our time – and it was clear she didn’t want to be an actress at all. She just wanted to be loved. It was also strange to hear others on set call the great but testy Olivier, Larry.

Always a delight, Dench playing British actress Dame Sybil Thorndike, stands out in her role as the only one in the film who was kind to Marilyn and encouraged her along. Yet it was Branagh and Williams who were nominated for the Oscars, and both deservedly so.

The two movies couldn’t have been more different, and Williams did a good job convincing me that two different actresses played the lead roles, proving her range. If you haven’t seen either of these movies, skip “Blue Valentine” and treat yourself to the charming “My Week With Marilyn” instead.

More mid-March warnings

ides_of_marchMarch 15, 2013 – Sure, you’re familiar with the phrase “Beware the ides of March”, commemorating that day in 44 B.C. when Brutus, the ultimate backstabber, murdered Julius Caesar. Ides, referring to the Roman calendar, signifies the middle of the month.

But you may not know that March 15 is also “National Everything You Think is Wrong Day”.

Does that mean because I think Caesar was murdered on this day that he really wasn’t? Or can I safely assume that those events actually happened because history tells me so, and I should be confident that I know it instead?

I may sound like an astrologer who warns you about Mercury going into retrograde, but it’s probably best to avoid making any major decisions today. Lay low and wait for tomorrow. Then again, don’t listen to me because anything I think today is obviously wrong.

It will all work out in the end because tomorrow (March 16) is “National Everything You Do is Right Day“. And if you’re still confused, remember  March 17 is St. Patty’s day, so toss back a few cold ones and it won’t matter if you’re right and wrong.

The happiness solution

happy_success_and_happiness-300x270March 13, 2013 – I’m not a fan of the self help section of the bookstore, but here is some of the best advice I’ve ever read, courtesy of www.dumblittleman.com. The list is long, and they all may not apply to you, but I’ll bet you will relate to many of the items on it.

75 reasons you’re unhappy (and 75 solutions)

1. Desire – “When you are discontent, you always want more, more, more. Your desire can never be satisfied. But when you practice contentment, you can say to yourself – Oh yes, I already have everything that I really need.” – Dalai Lama

2. Loneliness – “Language has created the word loneliness to express the pain of being alone. And it has created the word solitude to express the glory of being alone.” – Paul Tillich

3. Materialism – “An attitude to life which seeks fulfillment in the single-minded pursuit of wealth – in short, materialism – does not fit into this world because it contains within itself no limiting principle, while the environment in which it is placed is strictly limited.” – E.F. Schumacher

4. You wish you were someone else – “The snow goose need not bathe to make itself white. Neither need you do anything but be yourself.” – Lao Tzu

5. You don’t make time – “Some people want it to happen, some wish it would happen, others make it happen.” Michael Jordan

6. You surround yourself with the wrong people (unhappy people) – “Surround yourself with good people. Whether they’re the best or not, people are capable of learning if they’ve got good hearts and good souls.” – Kid Rock

7. You haven’t found your purpose – “Achievement of your happiness is the only moral purpose of your life, and that happiness, not pain or mindless self-indulgence, is the proof of your moral integrity since it is the result of your loyalty to the achievement of your values.” – Ayn Rand

8. You compare yourself to others – “When you stop comparing what is right here and now with what you wish were, you can begin to enjoy what is.” – Cheri Huber

9. You’re being someone you’re not – “To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest achievement.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

10. You’re stuck in the past – “Do not dwell in the past, do not dream of the future, concentrate the mind on the present moment.” – Buddha

11. You’re stuck in the future – “The future starts today, not tomorrow.” Pope John Paul II

12. You’re unhealthy – “The way you think, the way you behave, the way you eat, can influence your life by 30 to 50 years.” – Deepak Chopra

13. You’re negative – “Quit thinking that you must halt before the barrier of your inner negativity. You need not. You can crash through… whenever we see a negative state that is where we can destroy it.” – Vernon Howard

14. You’re irresponsible – “In the long run, we shape our lives, and we shape ourselves. The process never ends until we die. And the choices we make are ultimately our own responsibility.” – Eleanor Roosevelt

15. You’re a perfectionist – “I’m a perfectionist. I can’t help it, I get really upset with myself if I fail in the least.” – Justin Timberlake

16. You’re afraid of failure – “Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.” – Winston Churchill

17. You’re insecure – “The task we must set for ourselves is not to feel secure, but to be able to tolerate insecurity.” Erich Fromm

18. You’re in debt – “A man in debt is so far a slave.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

19. You seek validation – “Choose yourself.” – Seth Godin

20. You have a get mentality – “A few people, not many, but a few, take. They take the best education they can get, pushing teachers for more, finding things to do, exploring non-defined niches. They take more courses than the minimum, they invent new projects and they show up with questions. What have you taken today?” – Seth Godin

21. You don’t pick yourself – “You can steer yourself in any direction you choose. You’re on your own, and you know what to do. And you are the guy who’ll describe where to go.” – Dr. Seuss

22. You’re unskilled – I really believe that everyone has a talent, ability, or skill that he can mine to support himself and to succeed in life.” – Dean Koontz

23. You neglect personal relationships – “Trust is to human relationships what faith is to gospel living. It is the beginning place, the foundation upon which more can be built. Where trust is, love can flourish.” – Barbara Smith

24. You procrastinate – “Know the true value of time; snatch, seize, and enjoy every moment of it. No idleness, no laziness, no procrastination: never put off till tomorrow what you can do today.” – Lord Chesterfield

25. You don’t give enough – “Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it.” – William Arthur Ward

26. You don’t receive enough – “Asking is the beginning of receiving. Make sure you don’t go to the ocean with a teaspoon. At least take a bucket so the kids won’t laugh at you.” – Jim Rohn

27. You try to control everything – “As your faith is strengthened you will find that there is no longer the need to have a sense of control, that things will flow as they will, and that you will flow with them, to your great delight and benefit.” – Emmanuel Teney

28. You hold grudges – “I’ve had a few arguments with people, but I never carry a grudge. You know why? While you’re carrying a grudge, they’re out dancing.” – Buddy Hackett

29. You play by the rules – “If you obey all the rules you miss all the fun.” Katharine Hepburn

30. You’re unrealistic – “I always like to look on the optimistic side of life, but I am realistic enough to know that life is a complex matter.” – Walt Disney

31. Your professional expectations are out of line with reality – “Life is a series of natural and spontaneous changes. Don’t resist them – that only creates sorrow. Let reality be reality. Let things flow naturally forward in whatever way they like.” – Lao Tzu

32. You’re not learning – “Anyone who stops learning is old, whether at twenty or eighty. Anyone who keeps learning stays young. The greatest thing in life is to keep your mind young.” – Henry Ford

33. You have unrealized dreams – “Continuous effort – not strength or intelligence – is the key to unlocking our potential.” – Winston Churchill

34. You’re bored – “The life of the creative man is lead, directed and controlled by boredom. Avoiding boredom is one of our most important purposes.” – Susan Sontag

35.You’re too busy – “If work and leisure are soon to be subordinated to this one utopian principle – absolute busyness – then utopia and melancholy will come to coincide: an age without conflict will dawn, perpetually busy – and without consciousness.” Gunther Grass

36. You don’t sleep enough – “I love sleep. My life has the tendency to fall apart when I’m awake, you know?” – Ernest Hemingway

37. You don’t spend enough time alone – “Solitude is the place of purification.” – Martin Buber

38. You spend too much time alone – “What should young people do with their lives today? Many things, obviously. But the most daring thing is to create stable communities in which the terrible disease of loneliness can be cured.” – Kurt Vonnegut

39. You’re acting (you pretend to be happy when you aren’t) – “I write from my soul. This is the reason that critics don’t hurt me, because it is me. If it was not me, if I was pretending to be someone else, then this could unbalance my world, but I know who I am.” – Paulo Coelho

40. You’re jealous (of people who are happy) – “Don’t waste time on jealousy. Sometimes you’re ahead, sometimes you’re behind.” – Mary Schmitt

41. You don’t take the time to actually set goals – “Setting goals is the first step in turning the invisible into the visible.” – Tony Robbins

42. You never act on your dreams – All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them.” – Walt Disney

43. You’re dependent – “The greatest gifts you can give your children are the roots of responsibility and the wings of independence.” Denis Waitley

44. You can’t accept happiness (don’t think you deserve it) – “We all of us deserve happiness or none of us does.” – Mary Gordon

45. You’re always one step away (you think the next step will finally do it for you) – “Greed is a bottomless pit which exhausts the person in an endless effort to satisfy the need without ever reaching satisfaction.” – Erich Fromm

46. You ignore opportunities – “Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.” – Thomas Jefferson

47. You’re complacent – “Don’t let your special character and values, the secret that you know and no one else does the truth – don’t let that get swallowed up by the great chewing complacency.” – Aesop

48. You hate your job – “Whatever your life’s work is, do it well. A man should do his job so well that the living, the dead, and the unborn could do it no better.” – Martin Luther King Jr.

49. You’re with the wrong person – “People are not perfect… very often the relationships that are strongest are those where people have worked through big crises, but they’ve had to work through them. So the challenge to us is to work through that.” – Patricia Hewitt

50. You have no spiritual life – “Just as a candle cannot burn without fire, men cannot live without a spiritual life.” – Buddha

51. You do not provide any value (to others) – “Try not to become a man of success, but rather try to become a man of value.” – Albert Einstein

52. You’re lazy – “Aim at perfection in everything, though in most things it is unattainable. However, they who aim at it, and persevere, will come much nearer to it than those whose laziness and despondency make them give it up as unattainable.” – Lord Chesterfield

53. You have no excitement – “If I had my way, if I was lucky enough, if I could be on the brink my entire life – that great sense of expectation and excitement without the disappointment – that would be the perfect state.” – Cate Blanchett

54. You don’t belong – “By building relations we create a source of love and personal pride and belonging that makes living in a chaotic world easier.” – Susan Lieberman

55. You have no real friends – “Lots of people want to ride with you in the limo, but what you want is someone who will take the bus with you when the limo breaks down.” – Oprah Winfrey

56. You’re afraid of yourself – “I’m sure not afraid of success and I’ve learned not to be afraid of failure. The only thing I’m afraid of now is of being someone I don’t like much.” – Anna Quindlen

57.You mistake structure for control – “As your faith is strengthened you will find that there is no longer the need to have a sense of control, that things will flow as they will, and that you will flow with them, to your great delight and benefit.” – Emmanuel Teney

58. You don’t live where you are – “Learn from the past, set vivid, detailed goals for the future, and live in the only moment of time over which you have any control: now.” – Denis Waitley

59. You over-complicate life – “Truth is, I’ll never know all there is to know about you just as you will never know all there is to know about me. Humans are by nature too complicated to be understood fully. So, we can choose either to approach our fellow human beings with suspicion or to approach them with an open mind, a dash of optimism and a great deal of candor.” – Tom Hanks

60. You don’t focus – “One reason so few of us achieve what we truly want is that we never direct our focus; we never concentrate our power. Most people dabble their way through life, never deciding to master anything in particular.” – Tony Robbins

61. You care too much about what others think – “I think we all have blocks between us and the best version of ourselves, whether it’s shyness, insecurity, anxiety, whether it’s a physical block, and the story of a person overcoming that block to their best self. It’s truly inspiring because I think all of us are engaged in that every day.” – Tom Hooper

62. You lack gratitude – “Happiness cannot be traveled to, owned, earned, worn or consumed. Happiness is the spiritual experience of living every minute with love, grace, and gratitude.” – Denis Waitley

63. You don’t relax – “To have faith is to trust yourself to the water. When you swim you don’t grab hold of the water, because if you do you will sink and drown. Instead you relax, and float.” – Alan Watts

64. You don’t take risks – “Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go. – T.S. Elliot

65. You limit yourself – “The marvelous richness of human experience would lose something of rewarding joy if there were no limitations to overcome. The hilltop hour would not be half so wonderful if there were no dark valleys to traverse.” – Helen Keller

66. You limit others – “Every man takes the limits of his own field of vision for the limits of the world.” – Arthur Schopenhauer

67. You’re impatient – “Never cut a tree down in the wintertime. Never make a negative decision in the low time. Never make your most important decisions when you are in your worst moods. Wait. Be patient. The storm will pass. The spring will come.” Robert Schuller

68. You don’t have a hobby – “Artists usually don’t make all that much money, and they often keep their artistic hobby despite the money rather than due to it.” – Linus Torvalds

69. You commute too far – “I’m very fortunate in that I don’t have money problems. I have lunch with my wife at home. I don’t have to commute, so I have much more time with my family.” Kazuo Ishiguro

70. You don’t like your town/city – “Happiness is having a large, loving, caring, close-knit family in another city.” – George Burns

71. You don’t have a dog – “Any dog under 50 lbs. is a cat, and cats are worthless.” – Ron Swanson, Parks and Recreation

72. You equate comfort with happiness – “Western culture has things a little backwards right now. We think that if we had every comfort available to us, we’d be happy. We equate comfort with happiness. And now we’re so comfortable we’re miserable. There’s no struggle in our lives. No sense of adventure. We get in a car, we get in an elevator, it all comes easy. What I’ve found is that I’m never more alive than when I’m pushing and I’m in pain, and I’m struggling for high achievement, and in that struggle I think there’s a magic.” – Dean Karnazes

73. You’re self-absorbed – “To attempt to advise conceited people is like whistling against the wind.” – Thomas Hood

74. You’re out of shape – “Physical fitness is not only one of the most important keys to a healthy body, it is the basis of dynamic and creative intellectual activity.” – John F. Kennedy

75. You don’t love yourself – “Love yourself first and everything else falls into line. You really have to love yourself to get anything done in this world.” – Lucille Ball

Movie review: Oz the Great and Powerful

Kunis--Franco--Williams-in-Oz-the-Great-and-Powerful-jpgMarch 11, 2013 – It’s not often you find the perfect story, match it with the perfect song and create the perfect movie.

“The Wizard of Oz” is that story, and “Over the Rainbow” is that song. Both express something we’ve all felt at one time or another, that we would be happier if only we could be somewhere else, that the grass is greener on the other side of the fence, or over the rainbow in this case.

I’ve loved “The Wizard of Oz” since my childhood, when I first saw it on television, in the days before DVD players and On Demand, and when you had to wait for it to come on once a year. I fought with my cousin when he burst my bubble and told me that it was all a dream, not wanting to believe that the magic didn’t happen to Dorothy, and as an adult, I still believe it did.

So, why mess with perfection?

The previews of “Oz the Great and Powerful” thrilled me like no other because as a writer and reader, I love back-story. A visit to my multiplex would answer a lot of my questions, since I haven’t seen or read “Wicked”, the story of the Wicked Witches of the East and West and why they turned evil. I also decided to fork up the extra bucks and see it in 3D since I never experienced it before, and this looked like the perfect movie to give it a try.

And it was a magnificent visual banquet. The colorful images danced before your eyes in 3D, and unfortunately they were the best part of the movie. The story itself was flat and predictable. A few tokens were thrown in to appease Oz fans, such as cowardly lions, scarecrows and the woman the wizard (or magician) loves from Kansas was supposed to marry someone named John Gale. Were we to believe they’d turn out to be Dorothy’s parents? Sadly, it lacked imagination, something the original, and the stories by Frank L. Baum had in large quantity.

In a small tribute to the original, the movie begins in Kansas in black and white, and isn’t seen in color until the characters are in Oz. I didn’t care for James Franco in this role, or his weak portrayal of the wizard. Weak script and character aside, the better acting (and roles) belonged to the women in this film. Mila Kunis and Rachel Weisz were believable and quite good as the sisters in this story, but it was Michelle Williams and her understated role as Glinda the Good Witch who stole each scene in which she appeared. Many other actresses might have turned in a hammy performance because that’s the type of role it is, but Williams was soft, serene and angelically bathed in light.

So, why mess with perfection indeed? Loving “The Wizard of Oz” as I do, I should have known better than to expect it anything else but disappointment. Aside from the “Godfather” when are prequels ever good? As far as the 3D experience, I can’t say it was worth the extra money to watch in that format. It was fun in the beginning, but it started wearing on me about a quarter way through the movie.

Rating: 3

Rating System:
5. Great Movie, see it now
4. Good movie and worth the price of admission
3. It’s OK, but I’d wait for the DVD
2. Proceed with caution
1. Don’t bother