Monday, March 28, 2011

English Movies You Can't Understand?

Growing up with a grandfather from Norwich, England, who would tell me stories in his native accent, I often find myself translating to others when watching movies with actors with thick British accents.

But, then there was also the time I got off the Chunnel Train in London, having just left Paris, and made a comment about how nice it was to be back to English again...and then couldn't understand anything the station attendant said.

That being said, this is one of the most hilarious videos I've seen from Saturday Night Live:

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

In Honor of Knut

Everyone that knows me knows what a huge dog lover I am. But, I'm really an animal lover in general...and is there anything cuter than a bear cub? Whether it's a grizzly or a polar bear, there's a reason that people started cuddling up with stuffed versions of the real thing many years ago (soon after the famous Teddy Roosevelt Story).

Then there was the more recently famous Knut. An adorable polar bear cub, the world warmed up to him and couldn't get enough of of the little bear. I remember all the videos and pictures of Knut. I watched the videos a few times - he was laying on his back while his owner brushed him or scratched his belly. He was so animated and charming. He may have grown into a giant polar bear, but he still had that lovable face, and the world was captivated by him.

On hearing of his death last Saturday, people mourned the bear in Berlin and beyond. We watched him grow up, heard of his owner's death, and followed the many stories about him. It is sad he had such a short number of years here on earth. According to the Associated Press:

(AP) — Hundreds of fans of Knut the polar bear flocked to his zoo enclosure Sunday to mourn the sudden death of the celebrity who burst into the limelight as a cuddly, fluffy cub hand-fed by his keeper.

The beloved four-year-old died Saturday afternoon in front of hundreds of visitors, taking keepers, animal experts and fans by surprise. The life expectancy of polar bear in the wild is between 15 and 20 years, but animals in captivity normally live even longer because they are not exposed to hunger, thirst or infections.

Knut was rejected by his mother at birth, along with his twin brother, who only survived a couple of days. He attracted attention when his main caregiver, Thomas Doerflein, camped out at the zoo to give the button-eyed cub his bottle every two hours, and went on to appear on magazine covers, in a film and on mountains of merchandise.

Even after packing on hundreds of pounds (kilograms) and trading in his soft fuzz for yellowish fur, fans remained loyal. News of Knut's death on Saturday afternoon around 3 p.m. spread instantly and internationally via Twitter, Facebook, and text messaging.

"We received condolences from all over the world: Australia, New Zealand, Honolulu," bear keeper Heiner Kloes told German news agency DAPD.

There are so many sad things happening in the world. As we deal with wars, the catastrophes in Japan, and all of the local, national, and international news that often saddens our hearts, this story really touched me. It really shows the deep connection that people have with animals and the joy that they can bring into our lives. I will miss Knut and all the stories we might have heard as he grew older. Although I never met him in person, I know he was a really special bear.

It's always understandable when a person mourns a pet. The unconditional love and attachment that's lost is so deep. But, when the world loses a famous bear, the loss is felt as well. We will miss you,
Knut. Because whether it's a soft cuddly pet that has been a companion for years or a giant bear thousands of miles away...they are always missed, and the connection is a strong one.

Knut as a Cub
Photograph by Markus Schrieber

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Donate to Japan

Watching as Japan deals with one crisis after another is beyond heartbreaking. Although they are far away from many of us, I encourage people to help in any way that they can. Here are just two ways to help:

1) Text "Redcross" to 90999 and $10 will be added to your telephone bill. Just think if everyone donated $10 how fast the number would grow.

2) Another way to help is through Renaissance Art, which makes some of my favorite journals and other leather accessories. They are offering two kids' journals for the Japan Earthquake Tsunami Children Emergency Fund. For every journal purchased, 20% will be sent for their aid. These journals are high quality, and beautifully made - and journaling is a healthy way for kids, and adults - to write out their feelings and thoughts. In addition to helping where it is so needed, they make wonderful, long lasting gifts.

Most importantly, please keep all the people of Japan, and the people helping them, in your prayers. Never forget that prayer is very powerful.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Thoughts and Prayers for Japan

My thoughts and prayers go out to everyone in Japan. May you find healing, peace, and comfort during this terrible tragedy.

C. trianaei
(Submitted by Nobuo Oishi)
Japan Grand Prix International Orchid Festival 2004