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365 Challenge: Day 200 – South

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South: a part of the country where I am currently visiting (and think I’m from)

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Howdy. Today we spent a few hours driving around different neighborhoods in Charlotte to get a good feel for the city. It’s quite beautiful and has a definite southern appeal and nostalgia to it. I like to claim I am from the south, but W refuses to accept me being born and living in Florida for the first 2+ years of my life as qualifying me to ‘be from the south.’ I disagree, especially when the map above clearly shows I am from the south. I suppose him being from Louisiana means he would know better, but I refuse to accept this one! We also spent a few hours today touring the Levine Museum of the New South. It chronicled the shape of the south’s culture and identity after the American Civil War through current times, covering freedom from slavery, industrialization, Great Depression, New Deal Impacts, Civil Rights and re-building Charlotte into a financial center. Quite informative and amazing photos, videos and stories, but I couldn’t take any pictures. Sorry!

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As I finish up my trip in the south, since apparently Florida for the next 4+ days doesn’t count, I am more appreciative of this part of the country than I was in the past. I would enjoy living here, but I will say temperatures in the 90s in September was more than I could handle. I much prefer the 60s, but that’s not too common in the south as I had suspected. It’ll be interesting to see where we go next in this journey to check out options for the future. For now, you are probably reading this message as we are arriving at or are in flight to Orlando for a wedding and Disney weekend. I also get to see another good friend for lunch who moved here several years ago. Exciting! I’ll be back again tomorrow, but have no idea what the post will be about yet… hopefully it will contain pictures for you this time.

 

About Me & the “365 Daily Challenge”

I’m Jay and I live in NYC. By profession, I work in technology. By passion, I work in writing. I’ve always been a reader. And now I’m a daily blogger. I decided to start my own version of the “365 Daily Challenge” where since March 13, 2017, I’ve posted a characteristic either I currently embody or one I’d like to embody in the future. 365 days of reflection to discover who I am and what I want out of life.

The goal: Knowledge. Acceptance. Understanding. Optimization. Happiness. Help. For myself. For others. And if all else fails, humor. When I’m finished in one year, I hope to have more answers about the future and what I will do with the remainder of my life. All aspects to be considered. It’s not just about a career, hobbies, residence, activities, efforts, et al. It’s meant to be a comprehensive study and reflection from an ordinary man. Not a doctor. Not a therapist. Not a friend. Not an encyclopedia full of prior research. Just pure thought, a blogged journal with true honesty.

Join the fun and read a new post each day, or check out my book reviews, TV/Film reviews or favorite vacation spots. And feel free to like, rate, comment or take the poll for each post. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators.

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365 Challenge: Day 190 – Delayed

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Delayed: when your trip doesn’t start off as planned, some might be upset the flight takes off later than expected — not me, I just drink wine at nine in the morning

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It’s the first day of the trip to North Carolina. We arrived at the airport at 7 AM for our morning flight and were even asked to board the plane early in the hopes we could take off sooner than planned. It was a different kind of boarding experience than normal for a few reasons: (1) They had us form into lines to get to lines to get on the bus, (2) We boarded a bus that took us to another part of the airport, and (3) The pilot said we’d be delayed due to a ‘missing message’ on one of his systems. I just knew it was going to be a fun travel day! We sat on the plane for about 90 minutes when they had us de-board, sit on the bus for ten minutes and re-board another plane just a few feet away. What a fun experience!

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We finally took off, landing in Charlotte, North Carolina about 2 hours later than planned. Oh, well… it happens. We are staying at the Duke Mansion, an unbelievably gorgeous old mansion full of gardens and pathways to wander all about the grounds. Above is a shot of the sitting area in our bedroom.

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Above is a shot of the fountain in front of the mansion that welcomes you when you pull up to the front entrance.

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A small piece of the garden in the backyards. I took about 50 pictures for future posts. At least 15 different sitting areas with landscaped paths, benches and beautiful flowers.

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Me sitting on the screened-in veranda / porch attached to our hotel room. A swing hanging from the rafters. A bunch of comfy chairs and a ceiling fan. No delay in hopping on that one!

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And then there was the need for something to drink. Our lovely concierge mentioned there were no bottles for sale at the hotel (only glasses). She suggested a store called Harris Teeter, about a 5-minute walk from the hotel. We embarked on our little trip… and 20-minutes later, we found it. It was a grocery store that also sold wine. Quite a delay for a much-needed beverage to relax. Inside the grocery store was a wine bar. We almost sat down to have a glass, especially to avoid the 20-minute walk in the heat back to the hotel. I forgot to take a picture, sorry!

Took a brief siesta and then went to a great taco dinner. Back at the hotel now, writing tomorrow’s post which you will read in the morning. I’ll try to take better photos along the way. Hope you had a good weekend! No more delays – it’s bedtime. Sleepy! Zzzz…

 

About Me & the “365 Daily Challenge”

I’m Jay and I live in NYC. By profession, I work in technology. By passion, I work in writing. I’ve always been a reader. And now I’m a daily blogger. I decided to start my own version of the “365 Daily Challenge” where since March 13, 2017, I’ve posted a characteristic either I currently embody or one I’d like to embody in the future. 365 days of reflection to discover who I am and what I want out of life.

The goal: Knowledge. Acceptance. Understanding. Optimization. Happiness. Help. For myself. For others. And if all else fails, humor. When I’m finished in one year, I hope to have more answers about the future and what I will do with the remainder of my life. All aspects to be considered. It’s not just about a career, hobbies, residence, activities, efforts, et al. It’s meant to be a comprehensive study and reflection from an ordinary man. Not a doctor. Not a therapist. Not a friend. Not an encyclopedia full of prior research. Just pure thought, a blogged journal with true honesty.

Join the fun and read a new post each day, or check out my book reviews, TV/Film reviews or favorite vacation spots. And feel free to like, rate, comment or take the poll for each post. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators.

Film Review: Hush… Hush, Sweet Charlotte

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4 of 5 stars to Hush… Hush, Sweet Charlotte, a drama released in 1964 about the eccentricities of a southern woman who has lived in a house for over 50 years, afraid to ever leave the confines of home. Full of macabre, murder, intrigue, over-the-top drama and campy cult phenomena, this movie is a must see for anyone who loves older/classic movies with a bit of fun humor.

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Why This Movie?

I began watching “Feud,” the Ryan Murphy TV series depicting the famous rivalry between Bette Davis and Joan Crawford. In the second to last episode, Crawford and Davis agree to make a follow-up movie to “Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?,” but Crawford later drops out due to issues with other people on the set. Olivia de Havilland steps in, at Bette Davis’ request, thus fueling the feud of whether Joan quit or was pushed out due to her antics on the set while in Louisiana. I had to see the actual movie and watched it this last Saturday evening.

I’ve been to the plantation where it was filmed in Louisiana, and it’s a pip! There is a room dedicated to Bette Davis, as well as other famous things from the time period. Plus it’s a very dog-friendly place! Go check it out here.

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Overview

When the film begins, it’s the mid-1920s at a party in a southern plantation. The audience learns that Charlotte, a 20ish girl, has been having an affair with her neighbor, but he is married. Charlotte’s cousin, Miriam, tells Charlotte’s father about the affair, and he forces the neighbor to end it. As the party comes to an end, we see someone approach the neighbor with a hatchet. And then the neighbor’s hand and head are chopped off.  In the next scene, Charlotte enters the party, covered in blood, leaving the audience to assume she is the murderess.

The movie then jumps forward 50 years when Charlotte, now a recluse living in the same house, is being forced to move off the property when the government is trying to take her property to build a highway and a bridge. She asks Miriam, who’s moved away, to come home and help fight the town and sheriff. Charlotte is a bit off-her-rocker, shooting at the workers and cops to get them off her property. Dr. Drew, her friend from childhood, is trying to keep her calm until Miriam returns. Once Miriam does, a week passes by where the 3 of them, plus Velma, Charlotte’s friend and housekeeper, work together to try find a solution. But Charlotte begins to see her former lover’s dead body and head rolling around, thinking he might be alive sometimes, dead at others. She is eventually sedated by Drew, as she’s going quite loony. All the time, the audience questions whether her imagination is running wild or if someone is playing tricks on her. And if someone is, could it be Velma, Drew or Miriam…

Rather than spoil the ending, all I will say is: You find out who murdered the neighbor. You meet the neighbor’s wife, who is still alive. A newspaper man comes snooping around to see if he can figure out who the murderer is. And someone else is killed. It is really very clever and funny.

Notable Stars

  • MY FAVORITE
    • Bette Davis is absolutely the star with her over-the-top performance. You really can’t tell if she’s crazy or playing crazy most of the time. You feel bad for everyone taking advantage of her. You almost want her to shoot the sheriff or workers and get away with it. And when you see her in the ending, there is still a little bit of… “what’s going on here…” momentum. Though she plays a bit of a similar role to others she’s played before, it’s still a really good performance. Her eyes are magnificent.

  • OTHERS
    • Olivia de Havilland is a close runner up to my favorite. She is also adept at playing the fine line between caring cousin or possible snake in the grass. You can’t quite tell until about 2/3 of the way thru when you know who is really behind all the drama, but I don’t want to reveal any spoilers… Olivia was the second actress to play this role. Joan Crawford was originally cast and worked several weeks into the shooting before she left the set. I liked seeing the differences between Olivia in this role and in her role in Gone with the Wind, where she played another cousin, Melanie. And the actress is still alive (2017) living in France.
    • Joseph Cotton plays Dr. Drew. I’d never seen him before, but he did a fine job. He has an interesting speaking voice, and I couldn’t quite see a lot of range from him in this role. He seems to be most known for his role in Citizen Kane.
    • Agnes Moorehead plays Velma. She was a bit over-the-top, too, but quite amusing. I love her as Endora in Bewitched. She plays a little crazy in her role, but has a wonderful scene where she’s emotionally wrought and trying to get help for Charlotte.
    • Cecil Kellaway plays the interested reporter. I know I’ve seen him before, but I can’t be sure where it was. Looked it up, but nothing rings a specific bell. He’s most known for his role in “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner,” which I’ve also not seen.
    • Victor Buono plays Charlotte’s father. I saw him in “Baby Jane” and thought he was good. I was very amused at the actor portraying him in Feud. Buono’s role in this movie is relatively small, as he appears in the first 15 minutes in the early scenes before the film hops to what was then current times.
    • Mary Astor, of the famous Astor family, plays the neighbor’s wife. She was very good. I enjoyed her sarcasm, wit and portrayal of the disadvantaged wife. She has a great scene with Cecil Kellaway, when she asks him to deliver a letter to someone after her death. I knew there was more to that part of the story, and it comes back in the end when Cecil finally hands the letter to someone.

The Good or The Bad

  • Only Agnes Moorehead was nominated for an Oscar, but she didn’t win. No other awards, which is sad… but I haven’t see any of the films that were produced that year… so I can’t quite say if it was a good decision. Will get back to you!
  • Bette Davis calls someone a “bitch” in the movie. I didn’t think they said those things back in the ’60s in regular movies. Shocking! But great scene.
  • It borders on being campy, which was kinda fun. It was a little too silly with the rolling head, but I totally understand they had limits back then on what they could show and how good productions were. Today, it would be all gore… It was considered a “B” movie at the time.

  • Some of the gas-lighting scenes were so silly, I couldn’t hold the laughs in. That’s why I felt it bordered on camp. But it wasn’t as prevalent back then as it is now, so it probably added to the suspense more than looking at it 50 years later.
  • The fall down the stairs for the second murder victim was good camera work. But always leaves me wondering… would someone really die immediately from that? It didn’t look like the victim had a neck injury. But drama is drama…
  • I tried to picture Joan Crawford in Olivia’s role. I could see it for part of the time, but I’m not sure Joan could have played the full-on subtlety that was needed.
  • As far as it being 50+ years old… it kept my attention the entire time. Never any slow parts. Never any unwatchable parts. That makes it top notch in my book.
  • The only reason I didn’t give it a 5 was due to the slight campy nature and the over-played scenes when it came to deaths or murders. It’s more of a comedy than a drama to me, but I know Hollywood wouldn’t have called it that in the 1960s.
  • If you love old Hollywood or fun intrigue, give it a chance. If you pick things apart too much, avoid it.

What’s Next?

  • Olivia de Havilland was a surprise for me. I liked her in Gone With the Wind, but now that I’ve seen a second movie with her, with different range, I’m curious… so I plan to look up her filmography and pick something. Any suggestions?
  • I hadn’t realized Agnes Moorehead was in films as well as TV Shows. I might take a look at her credits, too.

  • It reminded me of Hitchcock… and someone I follow on here published her monthly biography which was focused on Hitchcock. Will probably pick one of them.
  • I need to write up a review of Ryan Murphy’s “Feud,” probably later this week.

About Me

I’m Jay. I am 40 and live in NYC. By profession, I work in technology. By passion, I work in writing. Each week, I will post a summary of a trip I’ve taken somewhere in the world. I’ll cover the transportation, hotel, restaurants, activities, who, what, when, where and why… and let you decide for yourself if it’s a trip worth taking.

Once you hit my site “ThisIsMyTruthNow” at https://thisismytruthnow.com, you can join the fun and see my blog and various site content. You’ll find book reviews, published and in-progress fiction, TV/Film reviews, favorite vacation spots and my own version of the “365 Daily Challenge.” Since March 13, 2017, I’ve posted a characteristic either I currently embody or one I’d like to embody in the future. 365 days of reflection to discover who I am and what I want out of life… see how you compare!

Feel free to like, rate, comment or take the poll for each post. Tell me what you think. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators.

Review: Charlotte’s Web

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Charlotte's WebMy rating: 4 of 5 stars

If you’ve never read Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White, you are utterly missing out on a classic Newbery Honor award winner. Go to the library now and borrow this book first published in 1952. You shouldn’t buy it (unless you have children or are giving it as a present), but choose to embrace the entire experience of being a small child walking through your public library’s doors, searching for an amazing book and finding yourself bringing home a tale that will make you cry and fall in love all at the same time. And don’t spoil it by watching the cartoon or regular movies made based on the book until you’ve read it yourself! It’s important….

At a quick glance, a little pig arrives on a new farm and is basically going to be entered into a contest to win a prize for the farm owner. But the pig is scared and confused, turning to all sorts of other farm animals for love and guidance at his new home: chickens, mice, birds and of course, Charlotte, the friendly spider. To help save the pig, Charlotte spins webs overnight about the pig’s talents in the hopes that he’ll be saved from the… sniff sniff… chopping block even if he wins the contest for best pig. But there’s so much more going on in this book…

Charlotte is everyone’s mother. She’s everyone’s teacher. She’s everyone’s friend. As Pollyanna as it will sound, we should all have a Charlotte in our life to help us grow up and mature into terrific, radiant and humble human beings. (I’ll avoid calling us “some pig” as the other message she crafts). All the lessons children can learn from this book are important, even the ones about death. I won’t spoil it, but despite all the efforts across all the animals and the people in this treasure, someone doesn’t make it. It’s on the same level as “Bambi” in my opinion when it comes to a must-read for children, even if the harsh realities of life are exposed.

Please go read it. 🙂

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