The Paws Report: Florence Foster Jenkins

Wow!  This is a difficult movie for me to tell you about.  I can for sure say that it was bitter sweet.  It was funny, but also quite poignant.  Hugh Grant and Meryl Streep were both excellent.  I really enjoyed Hugh Grant’s portrayal of Florence Foster Jenkins husband. It was quite brilliant – alternately moving between cad and loving husband.  In fact, it was difficult to really figure out what his relationship was with his wife.

Meryl Streep’s portrayal was amazing.  Here is a woman, fairly wealthy who loves music, refuses abandon her love of music – even if it means that she will be disinherited.  Of course her father proves what we all know – blood is stronger than our opinions.  I don’t really want to reveal what happens in this movie except that you know if you have seen the trailer that her is a woman who wants to sing – who cannot sing.  I can’t say that hilarity ensues because it doesn’t.  At the same time there are some hilarious moments – all I can say is – 4 paws – you really need to see this – you won’t regret it.  I am sure that Ms. Streep will be nominated for another oscar, and she might even win.

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The Paws Report – Captain America – Civil War

I was in need of a movie fix so I went to see the newest “blockbuster”

Oops – I messed up here.  I put a trailer for Dr. Strange up instead of Civil War.  Oh well, does it really matter?

I have to say, I’m probably just old, and dumb, but honest to goodness (see what I mean about being old?)  – this was one of the most confusing films I’ve seen in a very very long time.  I have no idea what it was about  – except that for some reason, some people think that Super heros are dogs because they destroy stuff, and kill people without a trial.  So the answer to that is to get a bunch of “other” superheros together and have a big fight.  So big it takes 2 1/2 hrs and at the end nobody has actually won because, well, these guys and gals are SUPERHEROS!!! They can’t be hurt, or injured, so they get smashed, and shake it off and go on hitting each other.  Sort of like real life – right?  Like the NFL.

I’m told (by the main-stream media) that we like this stuff – hence the term “Blockbuster”.  And reviews that proclaim “EPIC”.

Again, I’m old and probably just don’t get it, but I kept thinking – this is awful.   1 paw (sprained)

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Jamie Lee’s remarkable challenge

Many of us began each year with a renewed vengeance to make a change in our lives – or do something that we have said we would do FOR YEARS!!  And then a week or two later, we take a day off from our resolve, and then before you know it, you are planning for another year’s resolution.  But there is the rare person who makes a commitment and  actually does it.  One of these is Jamie Lee.

ONE DRUM front cover

Her first book in the series is One Drum.  It’s a wonderful tale about a mysterious woman who shows up in the Badlands of South Dakota, and is befriended by two young boys, who need her as much as she needs them.  I loved it.  This is an excerpt from One Drum.

Here’s what Jamie said about her year long adventure:

Dear Friends,

Some of you may know that in January of this year I decided to publish one book a month for the entire year as a way to “cleanse” myself of 40 years of writing.  It has been harder than I thought, but the background work of editing and proofreading and planning are proving easy compared to what I have to do now—ask my friends and supporters to buy the books.

I’m not sure why (my good girl Northern MN programming) but this is difficult for me to do. I decided to reach out to what I consider my “first circle” of support and ask you to help me. I would not even ask you except that I love these stories, and I think that you will, too.  And when you order here, your copies will be hot of the press and signed personally with much gratitude.

These first new books are from “the Earth Songs Series” so named because they all have deep story lines that are aligned with the energy of earth and sun and moon. I think we are entering a time in the world where returning to deep listening to our hearts, each other and to our beautiful earth are as important as anything else we could do. These themes are central to my stories. I also realized right away that the reason these books have not seen the light of day is because they are special to me. They come from the deepest part of me.

Will you help?

If you will purchase the first two books of fiction, One Drum and Silver, I will include my first novel, Washaka—The Bear Dreamer for free.  These three books together make a sweet trio of reading.  I’ll also include a link to how to order using Paypal or to print out a form to mail at the end of my note.  I’ve included some other options as well.

But here is the deal.  Money is not the most important thing that I am asking you to do.  What I most need is to build that oh-so-important “buzz” or word of mouth that a new book needs in order to find its feet.  I’m asking you not to just buy the books and stick them on your shelf but to read them and, if you like one or both, tell others.  There are several ways you can help me.

  •        ~~Tell your friends and family,
  •       ~~ Recommend a book to your library or book club,
  •       ~~ Leave a review on for that title.

These seem like small steps but for a writer trying to find her readers, they are critical.  And naturally, if you don’t like the stories, I understand and thank you for that first jump start of support.  I also greatly appreciate any or all comments and critique.

My long term goal is to be self-supporting not just from my workshops and consulting but from my writing and my books.  It has been a great journey.  Thanks for taking the time to read my special request.  Below is a link to an order form that gives you several options for helping me get these books flying out around the world. I so appreciate your help.

You can either print the form and send a check or use PayPal.  The next two books are done and going into print.  Four in four months–wow.

Jamie Lee

Link to ordering information:  click here

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The Paws Report: Where to Invade next.

Wow.  The ads say it’s the funnniest movie Michael Moore has ever made.  But honestly I’ve never seen a Michael Moore movie that I ever thought was very funny.  That’s not why I go see his movies.   I go to Michael Moore movies –  starting with Roger and Me – because – unlike Tom Cruise, I can handle the truth.

Actually this movie made me sad – very sad.  Sad because he shows all the amazing things that are being done all around the world (mostly in Europe) that IF we were to do those things here in the good old US of A, we really could say “We’re #1”

He goes to France, where they get 8 weeks of paid vacation every year.  And kids in school have the most amazing school lunches you’ve ever – ever seen.  OMG – I got hungry just looking at them.

They went to Finland and went to the schools – where they talk about how important it is to have fun, and talk to your friends and NOT take standardized tests.  Oh and then end up with the #1 educational system in the world.  You have to see this.

And there’s more.  In Iceland, there were 4 big banks, 3 of which were being run by men.  Guess which ones destroyed their economy?  You know it.  And then  when these men  were caught doing all of this illegal stuff (just like the bankers in America did) – they put them in Jail.  About 80 of them!  In America, one guy went to jail – the one who had a Arabic name.

And so much more – 4 really big fuzzy paws.



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The Paws Report: Whiskey Tango Foxtrot

I enjoyed this movie a lot.  Not over the top – but still I liked it. What I didn’t like was the way I was foxed into going to see it.  Watch the trailer, and then we’ll talk:


OK – so now that you’ve seen the trailer – what do you think this movie is going to be?

A.  Uproarious comedy  ala Mash

B.  Mildly funny film that spoofs the military  and the press

C. A totally unfunny movie about a woman reporter having a mid-life crisis, so she decides to go to Afghanistan, and stays for 3 yrs.

You guessed it – C!!  And it’s so clear from the trailer that this is exactly what you are going to get. AAAGGGGHHHH!

What the hell is wrong with these folks?  Why do they think that we are going to be really happy to go to a TINA FEY movie – fully expecting another comedy – since that’s all she’s ever ever done – and find out that we’ve been tricked into seeing a fairly good exploration of  what it’s like to be a female reporter in a country that really doesn’t like females  (especially western females).WHY DO THEY THINK THAT???

Oh and then give it a title that has several levels of meaning – WTF (Whiskey Tango Foxtrot is part of the NATO Phonetic Alphabet) – to show how hip you are, and again – really funny!  But it’s not funny.  People are getting shot – not in the cartoon’y way that action movies shoot people – but it the way that you see them like real people or children who have been shot or blown up.  There are women who have no place in this world – except to be chattel for their owners, men.  You see Tina Fey descending into a certain madness that comes from being way too close to a war – for many years.  In fact more years than most of the soldiers that she is covering serve in country.  It’s a very disturbing film and that’s probably why I was so upset with the trailer, and the general publicity for the film  Anyway – 3 paws and a wagging tail.



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The Paws Report: 999

It’s been a while since I posted a paws report.  It’s not that I haven’t been going to the movies – I have.  But being on the road it’s not that easy to find a place to just sit down and relax into a little writing.  Anyway – no excuses.

Saw 999 the other night.  It was a mix of very intense violence with a sub plot of good cops and crooked cops and sadistic bad guys.  I don’t know.  I guess I thought the action part was done pretty well, and Casey Affleck is a pretty good actor.  But the subplot about the nasty crooks and what they were trying to do was so undefined and so poorly written that you didn’t have a sense of what the hell was going on.  I’m thinking 2 paws.

But it brings to mind a whole ‘nother thing – are TV shows getting to be better than movies for their writing and such?  I’ve been watching the new J-Lo series – Shades of Blue.  I didn’t really realize that it is a network series since I watch it on Hulu (very few ads which is nice).  It also deals with the question of crooked cops, and lots of action, but it delves deeply into these questions – doesn’t just float over them.  Yep – it’s an interesting turn of events.

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The Paws Report – Daddy’s Home, Hateful 8, and The Revenant

It’s been a busy movie time since getting back from Sioux Falls.  I started out with a fluff piece – Daddy’s Home.  Will Farrell has a very mixed bag of movies – mostly silly and uninteresting.  Unfortunately this falls into that category.  It was slow, uninspired and worst of all – unfunny!  Oh well – why did I go?  Well, it was about dads and step-dads and I’m a sucker for movies about family – especially fathers.  For that  reason – it gets 1 paw.  Might have gotten 2 but when you take an important topic and screw it up, what can I say?

Now, The Hateful Eight was a bit different – really??  Oh well, it was Quentin Tarantino’s eighth movie.  So of course that means it’s supposed to be great.  Well, not so much.  Is it just me, or does Mr. Tarantino have a blood fetish?  People don’t just get shot – they get shot and then explode in a shower of blood, and if you have a shower, then you need to have somebody get showered!  In this film the only woman around gets to be the “soakee”.  Stunning really – a bunch of folks get shot, and she just happened to be there to get covered with blood.

Now with all this blood you would expect that people were getting shot all the time.  WRONG!  Nope in reality most of the movie was just people talking – talking talking talking.  And then when they get bored – they shoot each other, and have their bodies/heads, hands, feet, tummys explode.  I don’t know – not much.  2 paws.

So I just got home from watching this, and I’m a bit conflicted.  It was pretty good, but it was so far from the reality of what happened, that I couldn’t stop thinking about what actually happened.  The event in which Hugh Glass got mauled by a grizzly bear happened around Lemon South Dakota.  Now if you haven’t been to Lemon you may not know exactly how flat it is, but I can attest to the fact that it’s flat – flat flat flat.  No mountains, no big rivers, no stands of very very tall pine trees, no river gorges, no earth lodges built in the middle of a forest.  NO beavers (at least not a whole pile of them)  So right from the start I was disturbed since this was pretty much what the film was.  Wyoming, the Big Horns, maybe the Rockies.  I don’t know – heck it might have been filmed in Idaho, but all in all – it just made me a bit nuts. The original and true story is that Hugh Glass got muched by a grizzly bear, left for dead, but recovers enough to CRAWL (broken leg) over 200 miles.  Crawled.  Over 200 miles.  Seems like a pretty good story to me.  Evidently not.  2 paws.

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The Paws Report: 99 Homes

Happy New Year!  I wanted to start with something upbeat since this movie was pretty tough. 99 Homes is basically the other end of the scale from The Big Short.  

Where as The Big Short was about how the people who had money made more money by betting on the housing crisis, this movie is about the actual people who were sucked into using their homes like a giant ATM machine.  The big boys played on the weakness of regular folks – folks who thought that prices would always go up, and that they were going to be fine.  But it didn’t work out that way.   3 paws.

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The Paws Report: The Big Short

OK you know I’m a bit wonky.  I read books like Debt: The First 5000 Years, and The Fine Print, and lots of other crazy books about finance and capitalism, and the American Way.  Plus numerous articles in the Atlantic, and Paul Krugman,  and are you getting it?  I glory in find out about archaic and arcane financial machinations.  So when I heard The Big Short was coming out as a film – I had to see it.  And I was not disappointed.  It was wonderful.  A great primer for those who didn’t really follow the financial melt-down of the American and world economy (loving known as the Great Recession).  And it was funny, and also so so sad.  It made me laugh, it made me cry,  it made me want to puke.  You need to see this, and then go vote for Bernie Sanders.

This is the story of the greatest FRAUD in the world’s history.  You must see it!  4 big gigantic paws.  One of the top 10 of 2015.

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The Paws Report: Star Wars, chapter 700

Oops, my mistake – it was actually only 7 – it just felt like 700.  After 2 hr, and heading into the 3rd hour, I realized that the whole movie was only 2 hrs long.  I couldn’t help but think about the fact that with all their travel around the universe, where the air is always breathable, and there’s always water to drink, and everybody speaks English, or some space language that only they can understand, with all that, they never eat anything.  They never sleep, and they certainly never change their clothes or take a shower.  Just wander around and kill everybody they see.  Never take in a movie, or read a poem, or go dancing.  No, these jokers just kill people and fly around (in vehicles that they know how to fly, even if they have never seen one before).


Now there is a new character in this version of Star Wars: A  Horse Opera.  A really nice looking girl, who kinda jumps off the screen.   I read a review that talked about the new feminism and this actress,  Daisy Ridley, definitely defines the new woman.  She was really really good.  And they brought Harrison Ford back, and he was just like Harrison Ford.  Old, craggy, fun.  And they had all kinds of special effects which look just like these things always do.  The planes are dirty, which I guess is George Lucas’s idea of making all his planes and such look like the just came out of WWII.

I give it 2 paws – one for Daisy, and one for Harrison.  If they had hired a writer, it could have gotten 3, but they forgot.

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