Archive for June, 2014

Precious mementoes

Red Leather box

A friend recently spoke about an ancestor of hers, who had helped Emperor Nicholas 11, the last Russian Tsar and his family for a period of time and in gratitude, they bestowed upon him, a beautiful chest covered with rich, red leather.

The leather has deteriorated over time and the only reason my friend can tell that it was once red, is due to the flow on matching interior leather that is fortunately in better condition. She is now the keeper of the chest and it is used as a receptacle for the family’s memorabilia over the decades.

There are numerous items in it, including simple but narrative type poems of daily life and life through wartime, written by one of her forebears.

A relative recently spoke about the disappearance of letters and artefacts belonging to a member of the family who had died in WW1. A tragic and irreplaceable loss!

Perhaps the precious items would never have vanished if a designated family chest had been set aside with a stipulation that it be passed down from generation to generation with a nominated next-generation family member. The member would be a ‘keeper of the flame,’ and would pass the torch on to the next family member.

Another brilliant idea that I myself have adopted, is a, ‘Me,’ file. Michael Josephson, renowned attorney and ethicist, writes about a time when he received an email from a teenager who expressed his thanks for many of Josephson’s sage comments as they continued to influence his life.

Michael JosephsonJosephson was surprised when a friend who trained home-care nurses, suggested he save the email and any other positive and encouraging memos, notes and letters and place them all in a file entitled, ‘Me.’ Her nursing trainees often worked on their own and rarely received any sort of feedback, and a file such as this, she told them, would help boost their morale whenever they felt discouraged, unacknowledged or ‘questioned the value of their work.’

Reading them privately would help them to recall times of minor or major accomplishments, special incidents, personal achievements and appreciative feedback and would also remind them of the reason they followed their calling. Noticing their initial reluctance, the trainer quickly assured the nurses that the collection was not an ego boosting or bragging exercise and the nurses soon found comfort and encouragement from their personal ‘Me’ files.

I bought a beautiful A4 size box with a magnetic clasp and have placed in it letters, notes, cards and even my own handwritten texts of unexpected but significant, verbal praise I’ve received from acquaintances, strangers and friends.  I have my box on my lap now and have just glanced at my file for the first time and have to admit, they are encouraging and do lift my spirit.

© Wendy Robinson 2014

Instruction does much, but encouragement everything.   ~Johann Wolfgang von Goethe


Review on Edge of Tomorrow

Tom Cruise may yet gain back his standing with fans he lost over the decade, with his latest role in Edge of Tomorrow. Cruise plays the part of Major William Cage, a public-relations promoter for the United States Army, but one who has never seen combat.


In Cruise’s past lead-character roles, he is often the alpha male who is in full control. In Edge of Tomorrow however, he plays the part of a snivelling, inept, full-of-funk wimp that is quite embarrassing to watch. In fact, director Doug Liman praises Cruise in awe, for playing, ‘an amazing coward,’ so credibly and also for doing all his own stunts.

Prior to the aforementioned part however, Cage’s character is suave, egotistical and condescending.  It is soon knocked out of him during a meeting with top brass, General Brigham. Summing Cruise up, the unimpressed General arranges a modern-day ‘shanghai,’ which finds Cage demoted and signed up to battle the Mimics or global-invading alien forces.

This is where Edge of Tomorrow is likened to Ground Hog Day, in that Cage finds himself repeating the day of the battle as soon as he is killed. Liman concedes that the time-loop repetition is a deliberate adaptation of the ‘spawning,’ or reset option of video gaming. ‘It’s the ultimate manifestation yet of video-game cinema,’ enthuses Nick Schager (Vulture) and ‘it’s because no film has ever so fully and enthusiastically embraced both the hallmark forms and content of games’. Fortunately, Cage is a fast learner and soon utilises what he has learnt from the previous experience to guide events and deal with them effectively.  In recognition of character growth or strengthening of character, Cage is honoured with the moniker, ‘Killer Cage,’ towards the end of the script.

EdgeofTomorrowCruiseBluntHe teams up with ‘Full Metal Bitch,’ aka Sergeant Rita Vrataski (Emily Blunt), who becomes the love-interest in the drama. The romance is dealt with lightly as the focus of the story centres around destroying the controller of the Mimics or central presence known as the Omega.

Humour is also lightly interspersed in scenes to bring relief but the comedic tone does not detract or override the drama. The story is based on Hiroshi Sakurazaka’s 2012 manga novel, ‘All you need is kill.’

Blunt did most of her stunts and also undertook Krav Maga martial arts or tactical defence training, AND gymnastics AND weight training to handle the role. The role is, ‘the hardest thing I’ve done,’ she acknowledges. The actor was reported to have cried (oh, man up Sgt!) at one stage after having to yet again don the heavy and cumbersome 85 pound (39 kg) exoskeleton suit, which increased to around 130 pounds (59 kg) when pseudo sniper rifle and rocket launcher were added. The actors needed four assistants each to help them put on their armour.

The sci-fi thriller has received criticism for the time-loop repetitive scenarios but each time Cage returns to the beginning, comedic interplay forestalls any angst and the viewer remains hooked on the drama. A salute to screen co-writer Chris McQuarrie for the proficiently structured account and to film editor James Herbert for a tight and skilfully edited film!

Some found the ending dissatisfying but for your reviewer, the ending held a promise of a new beginning minus the time-loop fantasy or the ‘reset’ component option and would no doubt rely on good old fashioned courting rituals to complete the story.

In the end, in spite of or despite the critics, the entertainment value is what the movie-goer is after, and producer Erwin Stoff sums up the film with, ‘They played the truth every day and the truth was unbelievable entertainment.’

(c) Wendy Robinson 2014

Never lose hope. You never know what tomorrow may bring. ~ Unknown

Have you seen the movie? If so please share your views. If not, I would still like to hear what you have to say.

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