Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Is There Any Safer Place?

Almighty Creator is greater than you, little heart, and He loves you with a far more intense passion than any you will ever be able to know, however hard you try to manufacture it.  He knows how to sanctify--He's been doing it a long time...  

What have I ever done for You--truly?  When have I ever given out of a sincere desire to give to You, or blessed out of a sincere desire to bless You?  When have I sincerely sat at Your feet to drink You in, to hear what You are thinking and feeling?  When have I ever surrendered without holding back the hope--more, the expectation--that You won't really require the sacrifice, that a ram will be provided in place of my Isaac, too?

"Be rich in good deeds…"  In Real Terms, I won't even begin to scratch the smallest crumb from the outermost crust of ever approaching "deserving" or "repaying" my eternal debt.  But in human terms, I can do my best, my absolute and utter best, to try.  It will be less--infinitely, helplessly less--than the most infinitesimal micro-atom on the tiniest grain of sand, buried fathomless strata below all the oceans in the universe…but it will be my all.  The only thing which is mine--and even that is mine only because God relinquished to me His right to it--I can give to Him.  A pitiful offering, but the one He has requested:  my life, wound tightly around my secret-garden heart.  (A beautifully curious Deity, this Messiah.)

"Do you want it?"
     -- You know that I do.

"Will You take it?"
     -- I will.

"Will You keep it safe?"
     -- Not in the way you wish, probably, but it will be in My hands--is there any safer place?

Is there any safer place?  Drop it to safety, quickly, before the insanity of your attempts to reconcile yourself to letting loose the only thing over which you have a real and fearsome, fearsome "control" snatch it away to irreversible peril.  Don't think--trust.

I drop it, Lord--I drop the heart, because I know Whose nail-scarred hands are infallibly there to catch it…and if You have to rub off some dusty grime that I mistook for gold, that will be all right.  Surrender is only letting You safeguard something I hold very dear and precious, knowing that I may be mistaken in its worth, and knowing that You provide all I truly need--that You are all I truly need.

I drop the heavy, rusty heart, and as it falls it turns into shimmering glass.  

"Burst into songs of joy together, you ruins of Jerusalem, for the Lord has comforted His people, He has redeemed Jerusalem.  The Lord will lay bare His holy arm in the sight of all the nations, and all the ends of the earth will see the salvation of our God."
~ Isaiah 52:9-10 ~ 

Monday, July 18, 2016

"Hear ye, hear YE!" *dog barks* "Quiet!"

Sorry I've been rather scarce of late, peeps.  This past week, I worked five breakfast shifts at my part-time job, as well as several double shifts, and getting up at 5:30 a.m. five out of seven days will kind of take it out of a person.  (Unless you're a person who is just better at getting up early than I am, which is very likely.)

This has pretty much been me coming home in the afternoon/evening.

But anyway, first things first.  I have decided, after due deliberation, to extend my recent giveaway through July 25th, just to let any "stragglers" have a fair chance ;)  Because--and this may shock you; hold onto something--I myself know what it's like when life gets crazy and you can't spend as much time on the blogosphere and then find out you missed a giveaway.  Believe it or not, I have done it :P  If you "just missed" the deadline, fret not thyself!  You've still got plenty of time to enter for one of those lovely pictures or the book :)

So yes, hurrah and hooray, the My Fair Lady giveaway continues.  And now for the bigger news (in my opinion) of the post.  *clears throat and winks*

I'm preeeetttyyy sure you all know that I'm a Western fan, but just on the off chance that somebody brand-new is reading this post (and if a brand-new-somebody is doing just that, hello!  You're a kind soul and I want to be friends with you), I will restate it:  I am a Western gal.  (I mean, I'm a Western fan.  Real Western gals might scoff at me if I were to imply that I'm actually a Western gal.)  I enjoy Westerns rather passionately.  And if you don't, you have a problem that's totally fine, but you may have to endure an excessive amount of fangirling over them from yours truly in just a wee while, because…

Legends of Western Cinema Week is happening again!!!  *stars and confetti and balloons and joy*  If you missed this last year, it's a week created by none other than the amazing Emma, wherein she and I--and anyone else who wishes to participate--can bask in the glory of  dust and horses and old-fashioned valor for a few days.  And I, for one, am prodigiously excited about it.  

From August 1 to August 5, you'll be treated to scores of posts about all things Western--most likely reviews, lists, character studies, Deep Thoughts, maybe a challenge or a tag of some sort, and even a giveaway or two ;) I've made a few buttons to spread the word (as has Emma), and we'd appreciate it if y'all would be so kind as to take some and display them on your blogs, if you've a mind.  Stay tuned for further developments!  And hurry over to Emma's blog for more details and buttons--she is, after all, the founder of this wonderful week, and I am everlastingly grateful that she's invited me along for the ride!  She's a chum like that :)  So get thee over to meet her!  Meanwhile, here are the buttons I've made.

See you on August 1!  (Not that I won't be posting before then, of course.  I mean, I hope I will be…)

Sunday, July 10, 2016

My Fair Lady {1964} / / review + GIVEAWAY

"One day, I'll be famous…"

I am now going to attempt to review the one and only My Fair Lady--about time, no? ;)  And yes, you read the title correctly, I am hosting a giveaway as a part of this post!  But I want to write the review first, so you will simply have to live with the old pins and needles until I've finished, mwhahahaha.  (Or you could cheat and just skip to the end of the post.  That's an option, too.)

I'm assuming everybody already knows the plot, because I'm assuming (and hoping) most of you have already seen it, but on the off chance that that is not the case, here's this that I stole obtained from the Internet:  In this beloved musical, pompous phonetics professor Henry Higgins (Rex Harrison) is so sure of his abilities that he takes it upon himself to transform a Cockney working-class girl into someone who can pass for a cultured member of high society. His subject turns out to be the lovely Eliza Doolittle (Audrey Hepburn), who agrees to speech lessons to improve her job prospects. Higgins and Eliza clash, then form an unlikely bond -- one that is threatened by an aristocratic suitor (Jeremy Brett).  There you are.  That's more or less a good synopsis.  Let us take the proverbial jump in, shall we?  Spoilers will be given free rein!!!  

*sigh*  Oh, this darling, classic, vibrant, sweet, rambunctious, dramatic, hilarious thing of beauty.  I am rather fond of it, I must say.  

Now, you all know my rather strong opinions on the infamous Henry Higgins  *clears throat*  (And if you don't, you can read them here.)  Since I've already done my spiel on him and why I actually quite love his character--well, 'love' might be a strong word.  I Vastly Enjoy watching his character, let's put it that way.--I shall try to restrain myself from focusing too much on him in this review (I make no promises, but I'll try).  

If I am being perfectly honest, I've never delved all that deeply into Eliza Doolittle herself, so my two bits on her might be rather scanty.  I'll summarize by saying that I like Eliza:  she has spunk, and she is able to stand up for herself when enough is enough, but she's also sweet and malleable and willing to humble herself in order to better her situation in life.  She's strong, but she's kind and forgiving as well.  

The line I perhaps find more thought-provoking than any other in this musical--I know, I know, that's not saying a whole lot as it is primarily a comedy, but there are some Things To Think On as well--is what Eliza says to Mrs. Higgins near the close of the movie, as the two of them are endeavoring to not-so-subtly point out to a not-so-subtle Henry that his behavior is unacceptable:  "Apart from the things one can pick up, the difference between a lady and a flower-girl is not how she behaves, but how she is treated.  I shall always be a flower-girl to Professor Higgins because he always treats me as a flower-girl and always will.  But I know I shall always be a lady to Colonel Pickering because he always treats me as a lady and always will."  That old question of social rank and whether the depth of a certain societal level is dependent on its own inherent merit or merely on the fact that it is higher or lower than another societal level.  Interesting, no? ;)  Actually, that entire succession of scenes in Mrs. Higgins' house is great--it unearths the obstacle at the heart of Eliza and Henry's relationship:  his careless cruelty toward all feelings and viewpoints of anyone he deems intellectually inferior to himself, how he values his own erudition disproportionately more than any emotion that might be lurking under his crusty, boyish attitude.  One can argue that Henry learns his lesson by the end, and thus the end is justified romantically, or one can maintain that the two of them still have no business being even partially together and they remain unlikely frenemies.  The beauty of it is that the conclusion really is sufficiently open-ended to support either choice, with a little stretch of the imagination.  

The sets of this movie are awesome.  Covent Garden, the Ascot Races, the Embassy Ball, Mrs. Higgins parlor and conservatory, the whole interior of Higgins' house…HIGGINS' STUDY THOUGH.  I really, really want a study like that.  More than Belle's library, even.  

Then there are the costumes.  My, oh my, the costumes…

…Actually, to be brutally frank, I can never quiiiite decide where I stand on the costumes.  Typically there's an element I like, but also a corresponding element that I dislike, so I end up waffling over whether I truly love them or just observe them amusedly.  

Eliza's iconic black-and-white ensemble, for example.  Naturally, Audrey pulls it off gracefully and manages to make it look elegant, but let's be real.  Audrey could pull anything off and make it look elegant.  It's just a bit too…much, y'know?  But maybe I'm just missing something, and it's supposed to look ever-so-slightly silly, since it was Pickering and Higgins' first attempt at buying outfits for Eliza.  What think you?

I do, of course, like a lot of Eliza's other outfits.  My favorite would probably have to be the dark green jumper with the white blouse that she wears during the "breakthrough" scene, but I also love her peach outfit, her pink dress, and her Embassy Ball gown (though complaints have been lodged, and rightly so, about the styling of her hair in said scene--it could be criticized, let us say).

I shouldn't even get started on the songs, for a number of reasons:  1) because they're such classics that there's really no need, and 2) because I really, really need to finish this review and get on with the giveaway.  So I'll just say that the music in this one is lavish, orchestral, warm, witty, and charming.  And beautiful, and funny, and full of pathos by turns.  My favorites are probably…hmm…"Wouldn't It Be Loverly", "I Could Have Danced All Night", "Without You","I Shall Never Let a Woman in My Life", and "I've Grown Accustomed to Her Face".  Oh, "On the Street Where You Live" is also quite lovely, despite my views on Freddy Eynesford-Hill ;-P  (He's not a bad sport, really, just not overflowing with cranial activity, it appears.)

To close with some of my favorite comedic quotes (yes, they're mostly Higgins' or related to him; don't judge) as best as I can recall them:

~ "Stop this detestable boo-hooing or else seek the shelter of some other place of worship!" ~
~ "Very nicely put indeed, Henry--no woman could resist such an invitation." ~ 
~ "What, that thing?  Sacred, I assure you." ~ 
~ "Did you tell 'im I come in a taxi?" ~ 
~ "Somebody pinched it." ~
~ "If we listen to this man for another moment, we shall have no convictions left! … Tell him to get in touch with an Alfred P. Doolittle:  one of the most original moralists in England."~ 
~ "In 'Eartford, 'Ereford and 'Ampshire, 'urricanes 'ardly hever 'appen." ~
~ "Higgins, there's one thing I can't stand about you--that's your confounded complacency.  At a moment like this, with so much at stake?  It's utterly indecent that you don't need a glass of port." ~

And now, the moment you've been waiting for…the giveaway!  *stars and confetti*  Here's the deal with the deal.  I will be giving away a used copy of George Bernard Shaw's play, Pygmalion--which was the inspiration for the musical My Fair Lady--and four 8x10 Audrey Hepburn prints (photo paper quality).   It'd be grand if you would please limit your entries to one of the five items.  I'll leave the giveaway open from now--July 10, 2016--until 9:00 AM (EST), Saturday, July 16, 2016.  Lord willing, I'll draw the winners on Saturday and notify them on Sunday so they can get me mailing addresses.  To enter, please comment telling me which of the five giveaway items you would like if you win, and also include your email address so I can contact you in case you do win.  (If you wish, I can delete your comment after I receive it--that way your email won't be floating around cyberspace, but I'll still have the comment in my inbox.  Feel free to ask me to do this if you'd prefer!)  

Item #1

{Pygmalion by George Bernard Shaw.  Like I said, the copy is used, so it's a wee bit battered, but altogether in good condition as far as I know.  (I haven't thumbed through the whole thing.)  This one features some neat bonus content, including several pages of pictures (some from the movie) with historical notes, as well as a type of bio of Shaw, as I recall.}  

Item #2

Item #3

Item #4

Item #5

Have a wonderful Sunday, lovelies! :)