Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Warm Feet

Today will be a random post day, very reminiscent of the posts that I used to write in my early days of blogging :-) I'm trying to revisit some of the things that I used to do, in order to share more of my day to day life and experiences. Therefore, today is just a random picture that I took of my feet a few days ago.

We're in the depths of winter now so warm feet are essential. This is how I'm keeping my feet warm this winter.

Even though this is just a random picture, it tells a story about my life right's cold and this is how my feet look when I'm at home. This quick post is just me sort of starting my reintroduction here at my blog. It's been a long time since I just posted something that shows a bit of myself.

Stay tuned for more posts from a more personal standpoint again :-)

Until next time...

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Review: Rocket Men

I was recently given the opportunity to view a documentary called Rocket Men which will be shown on PBS America on Thursday, January 23rd at 9pm. It's an interesting look at the men who were involved in the Apollo space missions. This documentary was right up my alley because I've always been fascinated by space exploration and have thought that astronauts have one of the coolest jobs on the planet  :-)  The idea of being able to travel upwards and out there into space has always captivated my imagination since I was a child. So I really enjoyed having a chance to view this documentary and listen to those involved recount what happened in their own words.

Even though I came along during the time of the space shuttle missions,  I've always been fascinated by the Apollo missions which really laid a blueprint for humankind to explore what's out there.

In the beginning of the documentary, the challenge set by President John F. Kennedy is highlighted. During the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union, President Kennedy gave a speech that boldly set out the plan to get a man on the moon within the decade and this was accomplished. On July 20, 1969, Neil Armstrong became the first man to step onto the moon's surface. Armstrong's step onto the moon was the result of a huge amount of planning, training, testing, and research by a collection of aeronautical engineers and test pilots who mostly made up the Apollo program. They were all very young, with an average age of 26, but it perhaps may have been that youthful exuberance that fired their imaginations and helped them dream big.

The documentary highlights the importance of commitment to a single cause and how the seemingly impossible can indeed be achieved. It's extraordinary when you think about this group of people making something happen that had never happened before. They landed on the moon, walked around, and came back home again. The actions of these scientists and astronauts inspired those who were alive at that time and still inspire the generations after.

This is a very intriguing documentary and well worth viewing. I enjoyed it so much. It instantly calls to mind the quote from President Kennedy's speech as he set out the challenge to put a man on the moon.

“We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things. Not because they are easy, but because they are hard.”

-John F. Kennedy

I love this quote because it set in motion the determination to reach for this goal to get to the moon. It's also a favorite quote because it reminds me that sometimes you just have to put yourself out there and attempt things even when you don't know how you will do them. That is when you really get to dig deep into your potential.

Rocket Men will be shown on PBS America on Sky channel 534 and Virgin Media channel 243 at 9pm on Thursday, January 23rd. It's an intriguing look at these fascinating missions.

*Disclaimer: I was sent a copy of this documentary for review purposes only. All opinions are my own.

Thursday, January 09, 2014

Review: The Italian Americans on PBS America

As I've mentioned here before, I love a good documentary. It always intrigues me to learn about something or someone in a way that I hadn't thought about before. I've also written here before about my love of the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS). I grew up watching it back home in the States and when they brought the channel over to the UK recently in the form of PBS America, I was so excited. Now I can watch many of the shows that I know and love.

Recently I was given the opportunity to view a series currently being shown on PBS America called The Italian Americans. It's a four part series that explores the story of Italian Americans and their journey from their ancestral homeland mostly in southern Italy.

The series begins with Part 1: "La Famiglia" which starts with a look at a town called Roseto, Pennsylvania. This town at one time in the first half of the twentieth century had a population that was totally Italian-American. The town was founded by Italian immigrants. The town was studied by researchers in the 1960s, because the residents didn't have the incidences of heart disease like others in the United States. It was found that the residents defied the norm because there was a great sense of family within the community. People felt emotionally safe and had a strong connections and knew that they would not have to do without because of the community spirit. They knew that they had a safety net. This phenomenon came to be known as the Roseto Effect.

During the rest of Part 1, the story of the experiences of the new arrivals to America is told. It's a fascinating look at the adjustments that they had to make in order to build a life in their new country. They endured some hard times and lots of stereotypes rose during this time. This part of the documentary was very in depth and set a great foundation for telling the story of Italian-Americans.

In Part 2: "Becoming American", this section covers the rise of Rudolph Valentino and his role in bringing Italian representation to the silver screen. The Ellis Island experience is also highlighted and tells of how the southern Italians were treated differently upon their arrival versus how northern Italians were treated. There is also coverage of the fight for better working conditions in the textile mills and the treatment of the immigrants by the church is shown. Prohibition is also touched upon in this section.

In Part 3: "Loyal Americans", the rise of baseball legend Joe DiMaggio and the WWII years are covered. This section highlights the fierce pride within the Italian-American community for their sons to go to fight for America. They became fully invested in the country.

Finally, in Part 4: "The American Dream", highlights the rise of mainstream artists such as Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, and Tony Bennett and how they dominated the music charts in the 1940s and 50s. Also the Italian influence in other areas of the media is examined. And then the town of Roseto, Pennsylvania is revisited and it's interesting to see the findings of researchers many years later.

There is so much covered in this four part documentary that it is hard to cover everything here, but I will say, I enjoyed it so much. It was intriguing to get this detailed overview of the Italian-American experience.

The four part series is currently being shown on PBS America, on Sky channel 534 and Virgin channel 243. The second installment is coming up on Sunday, 12 January at 8pm and the subsequent installments will air on the 19th and 26th of January at 8pm.  I hope that you will have a look. It's really fascinating and well worth watching.

*Disclaimer: I was sent a copy of this series for review. All opinions are mine.

Wednesday, January 01, 2014



Also, in the new year I'll be here to post more regularly. I have so much to share! I hope you'll come back to visit me! :-)