Friday, December 31, 2010

Flammen & Citronen

To view a trailer of this movie click Flammen & Citronen

It is great to end a year on a high note. For me Flame and Citron has to be one of the BEST movies I have watched this year. It's rare when a film has it all; great story, great acting and great cinematography. The movie is a fictional representation of two actual resistance fighters during  the World War II Nazi era. If you want historical facts you will need to go elsewhere for the factual story of Bent Faurschou-Hviid (The Flame) and Jorgen Haagen Schmith (Citron)  but if you want to be entertained and find yourself sitting on the edge of your seat then by all means see this wonderfully directed film by Danish director Ole Christian Madsen which stars Thure Lindhardt as Flammen and Mads Mikkelsen as Citronen. Proving once again Hollywood has no magic hold on best actors or films.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

10,000 Page Views!!!!!

Just passed 10,000 page views and to you my loyal or occasional readers I say Thank You. Thanks for being there, I do notice you. Have a great year where ever in the world you are.

January 1, 2011 - A Clean Slate

New years are almost like having a clean slate. New beginnings, resolutions made and not yet broken, a fresh start, out with the old, in with the new. It's refreshing to think you can start off with a clean slate, take the little red magic writing pen and make your mark for 2011 without all the old baggage you have been carrying around with you for the past year.

Some things though you do carry forward with you, like maybe your mortgage that still has 28 years, 11 months and 12 days to go before being paid off. Or maybe you are one of the 15 MILLION unemployed, in which case you hope you can write, "Today I found a job!" on your clean slate.

Or maybe you are a family that has lost a loved one to an untimely death, due to war, a drunken driver, a drive by shooting, street violence, disease or just some stupid accident. A clean slate doesn't help much in these instances, maybe just gently lift and roll up the magic slate to just before the loss, that would be good enough.

Nevertheless we look upon the New Year as a fresh start, like taking down the 2010 calendar and tossing it in the trash as an act where we can toss out all the bad old stuff with it. When I lived in California I would often walk along the beach on December 31st and reflect on the year past and what changes I was going to try to make in the new year. Not so much the making of resolutions as it was a time for inward thinking. For some reason feeling the sand between my toes tended to ground me and I viewed the waves constant motion and change as a reflection of time itself.

As we embark upon this new year let's remember that there is lot's of work to be done. If you are young and nimble find a cause and put some of your free hours to work helping others. Seniors too have time to give, do what your body will allow, every little bit helps. Hunger never takes a holiday, and the next few months local area FOOD BANKS will begin to see a decline in donations and help. It's the usual seasonal slump after the holiday giving wears off. We are a very giving nation but we need to be reminded from time to time. Click here to locate a food bank in your area.

Matt Damon has WATER as a cause. Simply to bring accessible water to parts of this world where water is not a close as your kitchen faucet. A simple necessity - water - which we just take for granted. Most organizations are happy to accept your dollars, but many are delighted when you can give the gift of time to lend a hand.  Click here for Water.Org information, check out the possibilities.

These are just two of life's necessities -  Food and Water - where your help is needed year round. Get involved in something this new year. Remember 2011 A New Year, a clean slate waiting to be written upon. This is the year you can make your mark.

Monday, December 27, 2010

I'll Hold a Torch For You

Billy Vera - At This Moment

Edith Piaf - La Vie En Rose

Edith Piaf - Non, Je ne regrette rien

~ ~ ~

Simply the best!

Happy New Year Everyone.

May 2011 be a year of no regrets.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Time for Father Time to Pack Up His Bags

One hundred years ago saw the U.S. population soared to 94,000,000, the First Indy 500 was held in May, Crisco shortening was introduced, California passed amendment  to allow women the right to vote and Marie Curie won the Nobel prize for chemistry. That's just to name a few major events for 1911 - I wonder what will be in store for us one hundred years later in 2011?

Oh, yes and Irving Berlin wrote Alexander's Ragtime Band

Friday, December 24, 2010

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Merry Christmas

From all of us here at This and That with Artichoke Annie

May your Christmas be Merry and Bright.

~ ~ ~

And to all troops Thank You and Merry Christmas

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Feliz Navidad You All

Today I have been the little tamale maker, all in preparation for my annual Christmas Eve dinner - celebrating our neighbors to the south and because you can't beat Mexican food, muy delicioso. I've been filling corn husks with a masa and a beef mixture that has transported me away to a little village in far away Mexico as I filled and rolled and tied the corn husk bundles.

In a way it nice to be transported away from the daily goings on of American political life. To have a day devoted to no opinions, no cares, no worries. This I can do for a day or two but probably not longer than that.

Tomorrow the grand kids are coming over to decorate the last batch of Christmas cookies. Then Thursday I will finish off making the chicken enchiladas, and Mexican Christmas Salad, which is an elaborate fruit salad. Friday I make the Chile Rellenos, bake the enchiladas and warm up the tamales. After dinner the gifts will be opened and then we will enjoy some coffee and cookies and with that it's all done for another year.

However you celebrate this time of year I wish you peace, joy and good health.


Daddy tell me...

Tell me please, Daddy dear
Is the world really round
Tell me where is the
Bluebird of Happiness found

~~from Little Child, by Eddie Albert and Sondra Lee

Monday, December 20, 2010

Philly's Art and Colour

On the cab ride in to Philly this mural caught my eye. I later learned that Philly has over 3,000 murals throughout the city. For more information check out  Murals Painted with Brotherly Love. Definitely turning a negative into a positive. If I ever go to Philly again, top on my list will be a tour featuring these paintings.

Streets of Philadelphia - Words By Bruce Springsteen

The night has fallen, Im lyinawake
I can feel myself fading away
So receive me brother with your faithless kiss
Or will we leave each other alone like this
On the streets of philadelphia

I saw my reflection in a window I didn't know
My own face
Oh brother are you gonna leave me
On the streets of philadelphia 

Aint no angel gonna greet me
Its just you and I my friend

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Philly Reflections

A home on Antique Row - Pine Street Philideliphia, PA

On Friday before heading out to the airport for our flight back to St. Louis we took a whirlwind tour of Philly just to get a good overview of the city. It's a good thing to do when you first arrive or when you don't have a lot of time, then you can get an idea of what you would like to go back and see or spend more time with. So as we bumped along over cobblestone streets, and uneven pavement I took my little Kodak and shot scene after scene through the double-decker bus windows. Most of the time you don't really know what you are getting until you get home and download to the computer.

This photo took on an eeriness when I caught the face of this woman looking back at me through the green shuttered window. I think she is just a face on a painting but I'm not sure if the painting is covering the window or just propped up behind it. Or maybe, just maybe a ghostly aberration?

The Union League of Philadelphia

This is The Union League of Philadelphia building. What is funny here is the reflection of the yellow ladder in the window of the tour bus, which makes it look like the ladder was placed against the building to perhaps help hang the wreaths in the window.

We drove past this building on our arrival and the cab driver mentioned to us it was The Union League building. We gave it an eagle eye later as we walked by trying to figure out what went on there. It seemed like a gentleman's club as we only saw well dressed men going in and out. When I got home I gave it a Google.

We weren't far off, it was founded in 1862 as a Patriotic Society to support the policies of Abraham Lincoln. Very exclusive, very expensive and very conservative. And up until twenty-five years ago very male. Turns out we were there on a very historic occasion, Joan Carter became the first female president of this venerable club on December 15, 2010 though women only represent about 500 of its 3,200 members.

Ms. Carter is co-founder and president of UM Holdings Ltd. a private investment firm active in healthcare and pharmaceutical businesses. She also was a former chairman of the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia. Oh and in case you might be interested in a membership, it's $6,500 to join and the monthly fee is $345. I am sure there might be a few other requirements other than "patriotism", which Ms. Carter was quick to mention "if you don't share that, then you are probably not comfortable here". The club's motto is "Love of Country Leads."

Saturday, December 18, 2010

DADT Repeal is Passed!

Let Freedom Ring
Photo by A. Pick - December 16, 2010

The repeal of Don't Ask Don't Tell passes the Senate. Read Casey's blog, I couldn't say it any better so I'm not going to even try. The Liberty Bell has been used as a symbol for many causes over the years - Today it "rings" for the gay and lesbian members of the military who may now serve openly and without fear.

The Barnes Foundation

New site of the Barnes Foundation collection  - Photo by A. Pick 12/17/10

I watched the documentary, "The Art of the Steal", and I am not one that can ignore a controversy, good or bad. Quite frankly before seeing this film I had not heard of Dr. Albert C. Barnes or his art collection. They say his art collection is worth conservatively more than $6 billion. A book, Art Held Hostage by John Anderson details the battle that has ensued over the collection since Dr. Barnes death in 1951. The book says collection includes 69 Cezannes, 60 Matisses, 44 Picassos, 18 Rousseaus, 14 Modiglianis and 180 Renoirs and more.

All of this art is displayed on the walls of his unassuming limestone estate which is located in the Philadelphia suburb of Merion, PA. Dr. Barnes made his fortune in pharmaceuticals and in particular with the production and marketing of a substance called Argyrol, which most states used to prevent a form of blindness in newborn babies that can be caused by the disease gonorrhea. Just a couple of drops of Argyrol in the eyes of a newborn baby could prevent ophthalmia neonatorum which could lead to blindness.

As his wealth grew so did his desire for collecting impressionistic art. Dr. Barnes founded The Barnes Foundation in 1922  to promote the advancement and appreciation of fine arts. In 1940 he purchased the estate where the museum and botanical gardens are located and has added to it over time, not only art but fine furniture and artifacts as well. He wanted both the museum and gardens to be a living museum that would be used for educational purposes.

Inside The Barnes you find room upon room with art displayed as shown above. Of course we were not allowed to take our cameras in with us. My comment on this photo would be that either this was taken in the summer on a bright day or the photo has been altered a bit. The day I visited was a December overcast day leaving the unlit art a bit hard to see. It is interesting how the paintings are grouped and it was Dr. Barnes wish that the viewer of the collection would figure out the similarities on his own. At the bottom of each picture is a small brass notation with only the artist's last name. The manner in which these pictures hang are as they were on the day of Dr. Barnes death in 1951, no picture has been change.

The controversy is that it was Dr. Barnes wish and instructions in this last will and testament that no picture ever be sold or moved. Since his death there have been legal battle after legal battle to keep the museum as it is. It seems the battle is over as the new home for The Barnes Collection is now under construction on the Parkway in the City of Philadelphia with an opening date for sometime in 2012.

As we walked from the Barnes to the train station in Merion for our ride back to the city we would see these yard signs on display. I think it is a done deal though and a reminder that sometimes you don't get to have your dieing wish. I'm glad I got to see the collection in the environment that Dr. Barnes created and intended it to be always. On the other hand I am sure the art will find comfort in its new home, still on display for the world to see.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Fifty Years Ago Today

On December 16, 1960, Dick and Annie were married. The song played at their wedding was Always by Irving Berlin. While their marriage did not endure their love for one another lasted for... well Always. Dick died in 1994 at a young age, only 56. He was my best friend and I will remember him always and especially on this day December 16th.

We would always joke we weren't celebrating our anniversary rather Beethoven's birthday. It it suspected that Ludwig van Beethoven was born on December 16 as his baptism was recorded on December 17, 1770.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

The Lighter Side

Did you ever notice that all light-plugs are not alike.

Some are...


Others are....
And others take life a little more lightheartedly...


Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Wings of Hope - Chesterfield, Missouri

I wanted to tell you a bit more about the Wings of Hope organization where I do my volunteer work each week. Wings of Hope was founded by a helicopter pilot, Joseph Fabick, and three other men in 1962. They had learned about a nurse in Kenya that used an aircraft to fly to different camps in the region to provide medical care. She was in need of a new aircraft and this need prompted these four men into action. In less than two years they formed their group and delivered a refurbished aircraft to the nurse in Africa. Since that date Wings of Hope has grown and now has 154 bases of operation in the United States and world-wide in 44 countries. With 2,000+ volunteers world-wide the organization serves more than 1,000,000 people each year.

Wings of Hope's Mission: Implement Humanitarian programs for a Peaceful world.

In the United States the Medical Relief and Air Transport (MAT) Program focus is on locating advanced treatment for people with complex medical conditions and providing safe Air Ambulance with trained medical staff to and from facilities throughout the Midwest.

Andrea, age ten, required fourteen transports and is now fully cured

Baby Kathy, age three months, three transports and is still healing.

The international efforts of Wings of Hope focus on strategies that help make the world a better place: healthcare and educational systems, sustainable food programs, infrastructure, development of commerce, dialogs for Peace, communications systems and supporting positive and strong community growth.

Wings of Hope aircraft stand ready to go when needed.

You can become a part of hope by becoming a member today, your $29 annual fee will save a life. Ninety percent of every donated dollar goes directly to help those that are served. For more information or to make a donation: Wings of Hope

Monday, December 13, 2010

Lieutenant Governor's Senior Service Award - State of Missouri

Receiving Senior Service Award at Wings of Hope
from Lieutenant Governor Peter Kinder

About the Senior Service Award.

Mission Statement: The Lieutenant Governor’s Senior Service Award is intended to promote and highlight the positive accomplishments Missouri’s senior citizens provide their local communities. Individuals should be at least 60 years of age and volunteer a minimum of 40 hours per year.
“There are thousands of Missourians whose lives are touched by the unselfish work and caring hands of volunteering seniors. These acts of kindness go on unnoticed all around us every day. These seniors offer their time and labor back to the community, and I want to bring these stories to the public, so we can all thank them for their work.”
Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder

All morning I was a nervous wreck but now that it is all over I can honestly say it was a great honor to receive this award. Regular readers of my blog know how near and dear to my heart the Wings of Hope organization is and it is my pleasure to be a small part of it.

I would encourage all of you seniors especially, to take some of those retirement hours you have on your hands and get involved in volunteer work in your own hometown. The work itself is its own reward, but in the process you meet the neatest and kindest people along the way. Volunteer opportunities are just around your corner.

(left to right) Acting-Mayor City of Chesterfield, Barry Flachsbart, Lt. Gov. Kinder,
Award Recipient Me, and State Representative Cole McNary

Annie Pick Day
In the City of Chesterfield

This was a surprise the Acting-Mayor of Chesterfield was at the ceremony today and proclaimed December 13, 2010 as Annie Pick Day In the City of Chesterfield. Oh, my I have never had my own day before, I'm not sure what to do with it.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

A Break from Writing - But Not Winter

Snowflakes as seen through a Screen

Winter Solitude
By Matsuo Basho

Winter solitude--
in a world of one color
the sound of wind. 


Saturday, December 11, 2010

Red and Yellow

Red on yellow, kill a fellow; red on black, friend of Jack.

Friend Casey of casey/artandcolour kicked off a color theme today with his Prince Albert in a Can blog post. It got me to thinking that I had some red and yellow in my life as well. Thank goodness it doesn't include that snake above, really I hate snakes and find it amazing I would let one on my blog!

I bought this pillow cover about ten years ago when I was in France, it was found in a little gift shop run by the nuns of the church we were visiting. As I recall it was a little south of Paris. I was looking for souvenirs that I could use and enjoy when I got back home, that also would not take up the whole suitcase to tote back home. Since this was a flat pillow cover it worked out perfectly. On earlier trips I learned the hard way that you don't buy coffee-table books as souvenirs, especially when you are just starting out your trip and will have lots of miles of train travel ahead of you.

Yesterday when I was leaving Wings of Hope I happened to have my camera with me which reminded me I wanted to capture this fire truck we have in our parking lot. I think it was donated to us and plans are probably to sell it, but everywhere you look there is a shape, slant or color to be captured. And most important it is Red.

I love old vehicles that are just waiting to be given that second life and restored to their original grandeur. I can remember when towns celebrated the day the new fire engine arrived and would  paraded it proudly down Main Street for all the community to see and admire. I was in Pine Mountain, Georgia once for the town's Christmas parade, Santa rode in on the back of the local fire truck and not a sleigh.

And a little yellow to close things out. This Carl's Jr. All-Star Bicycle Club card found in a box containing some of my daughter's childhood treasures.

Note: If you love cars, art and color stop by Casey's Blog you wont be disappointed.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Handiwork for Charity

Interesting artwork by my brother's neighbor Iris

My brother wrote to tell me they recently held a little craft show where he lives. It was for a charity that performs cleft-palate surgery for children. One of his neighbors made up these note cards. I guess you would call it a form of embroidery,  and I thought it was so pretty and so very clever as well. Nice job, Iris. I think this one will end up framed. Thanks for what you do.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

"It is an honor to accept this award..."

Volunteer Annie Pick honored Print E-mail
By Donna Korando, Features and commentary editor   
Posted 11:24 am, Wed., 12.8.10
pick100anniewithobamaWings of Hope volunteer Annie Pick will receive the Missouri Senior Service Award on Monday, Dec. 13. According to a press release from Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder's office, "This award is intended to promote and highlight the positive accomplishments Missouri's senior citizens provide their local communities." (Photo from the White House from April 2009 recognition of volunteers)

"To qualify, the candidate had to volunteer a minimum of 40 hours per year; Annie, like many of our dedicated volunteers, gives 10 times that to Wings of Hope," said Michele Rutledge, vice president of the organization. 

"Without volunteers, we couldn't function - it's volunteer pilots, doctors, nurses, mechanics and administrators like Annie that enable this charity to serve the poor in this state and beyond."

Wings of Hope was founded in 1962 and operates a medical relief and air transport programs.

Contact Beacon features and commentary editor Donna Korando.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Just in time for holiday giving...

Just spotted this on The Daily Dish blog, I know you will never take me serious again, but honestly folks, is this not going to be number one on your gift list? I think my son and son-in-law will be opening their gifts with great [in]trepidation this year. ; )

Into The Void

Marty Beckerman reviews an innovative new undergarment:
The sacfree press release promised:
"The world-wide first testicle-free men's underwear -- a fantastic, comfortable, free feeling and a new sexy look. ... And so it works: sacfree® protects and supports the penis in a bag-like pouch. Till here sacfree® feels like a classic slip. For the testicle Sacfree-medium sacfree® offers pure space. Through an opening the sac can hangs out completely free. ... With its open kind sacfree® makes for a fresh breeze. A comfortable and manly healthy characteristic... [A]bove all, people who works vocationally much in sitting will appreciate the new sacfree® freedom." ...
So back in our bedroom after dinner, I removed my shirt. "Oooooooh," she cooed. I unfastened my belt. "Mmmmmmm," she purred. I  dropped my drawers.

"Your ... your balls ...?" she gawked at my crotchless boxers with a combination of bafflement and horror.

"Yes," I nodded confidently. "My balls."

She reached for the TV remote instead of my (semi-concealed, semi-showcased) male anatomy. "Put your pants back on," she instructed. "Those look ridiculous."