Thursday, October 30, 2008

Movies in Michigan

Recent exciting news in Michigan is the 42-percent tax break recently passed for those who make movies in Michigan. Already, a number of Hollywood writers and producers are lining up at the door to take advantage of the tax break.

Michigan already has had a plethora of famous names in movies, TV, and music. Madonna, Kid Rock, Jeff Daniels, Oliver Stone, Timothy Busfield, just to name a very few, and this year we even had a Survivor from Pinckney and have an upcoming Extreme Makeover: Home Edition showing in early November. A number of movies have already been filmed here over the years.

One notable movie was Somewhere in Time with Christopher Reeve, Jane Seymour, and Christopher Plummer filmed at the Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island in 1980. I had the privilege of staying on the island a year or so after filming was completed, and I toured the Grand Hotel. The remodeled areas of the hotel, due to the film, were still in evidence.

An article in yesterdays Lansing State Journal on Moviemakers of Michigan highlights much of the available talent this state provides.

Of special note: Postmark Paradise was written by Williamston's Dan Slider (My hometown). Also, in 2002 Jeff Daniels filmed Super Sucker in Jackson, MI where I was living at the time. Much excitement ensued! Several women I know played extras in that movie.

I actually got to meet Jeff and his wife at the Purple Rose Theatre when my daughter was an intern at the theatre. Very nice guy!

Not only will the movie crowd bring much needed dollars to this struggling state, but also an excitement destined to lift the spirits of Michiganders everywhere.

So, are you excited about this news? Are you willing to play a part in a movie? Which actor or actress would you most like to meet?

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Mid-MI Couple to the Rescue of Abused, Neglected Horses

An article in yesterday's Lansing State Journal caught my attention to the point that I must comment on this blog. There were several headlines and subheadlines with the article including "More Horses Go Hungry As Economy Sours." The gist of the article highlights a Dansville (MI) farm that takes in abused and neglected equines.

Larry and Marika Heuer own Rocky Meadows Farm where they provide care to horses who were rescued from abusive owners. The article noted the horses are now sleek and well-fed, "but they are recovering from abuse and neglect, even starvation in some cases, in the hands of previous owners."

The current six horses were confiscated by sheriff's departments and animal control officers in several counties.

The couple turned some of their property into the only U.S. affiliate of the British International League for the Protection of Horses (ILPH). The Heuer's business is nonprofit and since 2007 they have taken in 16 horses and helped 85 others.

The ILPH was founded in Great Britain in 1927. The current President is Princess Anne. The Michigan affiliate was accepted in 2005. You can find out more information by clicking ILPH-MI here.

You can go to the Michigan affiliate link above to find out how you can help this very worthy cause. Unfortunately, due to Michigan's falling economy and the rising cost of feeding horses, the Heuers expect to house more horses in the future.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Can't We Just All Get Along?

Late last week I ran across a surprising rudeness in a writing forum. Normally I don't hang out in forums anyway, too much on my plate, but I had the desire to connect with other writers on that website.

The attitude of some of the people and how they were treating others was so disturbing, I made the decision over the weekend to not participate or even read the posts from that site.

This morning when I woke up, the overall growing rudeness of society was on my mind. I revved up the computer, opened my email, and lo and behold, I had received Cheryl Richardson's weekly newsletter.

Her topic? "Speak Up: Are You Tolerating Bad Behavior?" Hmmm! God and the whole universe must have heard my concerns.

Here is an excerpt from her newsletter: "Use your voice. Speak up. Tell your truth. Stop tolerating less than what the wisest part of you knows you deserve. These are some of the messages woven into my next book, The Art of Extreme Self Care: Transform Your Life One Month at a Time."

Following a story of a young mother with two children, Cheryl further notes, "When we learn to speak up for ourselves, for example, we feel compelled to speak up for others who haven't yet found their voice. When we learn to stop tolerating bad behavior, we have a hard time allowing that same bad behavior to happen to others as well. When we start to accept a higher standard of living, we can't help but want that same standard for others, too. And, most important, when we learn these lessons that raise our level of consciousness, we begin to understand that we are all connected and that we have a responsibility to care for one another."

Cheryl's Take Action Challenge is, "This week, practice speaking up to insure that you have the skills to not only take good care of yourself, but also care for others as well. Look for at least one opportunity a day to use your voice. Offer your opinion during a meeting, tell your partner what you need to feel more supported, or set limits with a friend who drains your energy with her constant complaining. When you learn to speak up in little ways each day, you'll find that you can count on your voice to be there when you need it most."

In this particular forum, there were comments about the number of people no longer participating in the forum. Gosh, I wonder why!

It isn't just this one forum, I have seen this in a number of areas on the web and in society around us. It isn't just because of the economic crisis either, this has been going on for a while. I started noticing a rudeness somewhere around the mid-1990's in the workplace, and at church, of all places.

I was taught to live by the golden rule, do unto others... but, unfortunately, quite a number of people didn't seem to have that kind of "bringing up" causing them to miss an opportunity to be kind to one another, make a positive difference in someone else's life.

As sad as it is to walk away from a forum that actually had people with experience and knowledge they were willing to share, I know in my life I am not willing to pay the price of experiencing their negativity to gain that knowledge.

What do you think? Have you experienced a growing rudeness around you? How are you treating others? Are you willing to take Cheryl's challenge this week?

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Go Michigan State! Go Green and White!

The Michigan State Spartans beat long time rival University of Michigan for the first time since 2001. The final score? 35-21!

Both teams have struggled under new coaches. Second year MSU coach, Mark Dantonio is rebuilding the Spartans to former glory. The maize and blue have Rich Rodriguez in his first year.

Interestingly, the game was at Michigan, and the Spartans hadn't won in Ann Arbor since 1990. This was a badly needed win for State. Hopefully it will propel them into future greatness.

Great Quote: "This state is probably a little more green today than it was yesterday." - MSU senior quarterback Brian Hoyer.

How did your favorite team do this weekend? Are you a fan of college or pro ball?

High-end Lodging Now Less

Hoover Dam Photo by M Sue Monroe c. 2004

According to a USA Today article, now is a good time to visit high-end luxury lodges. All across the country, from California to Virginia and many states in between, top-tier hotels and spas are slashing prices.

For example, the Bellagio in Las Vegas, "which commands $300 and up nightly in busy times, just announced rooms for an amazing $149 this fall, even at Thanksgiving. The Fairmont chain has slashed rates, to $155 in pricey D.C. and Chicago — nearly $40 off the same time last year. Some luxe London hotels are price-cutting. (The May Fair's rooms now start at about $250, down from $290 last year.)"

Do you hear that MSM? My sister loves to travel and we joke about her high-end rooming needs vs my penchant for base accommodations. After all, who really needs a jacuzzi in their room?

Several years ago, over Thanksgiving break, MSM and I flew to Las Vegas, rented a cool car, visited Hoover Dam, and then drove south along the Colorado River, staying in Lake Havasu City, driving on over to Palm Springs, Oceanside (playing in the Pacific Ocean), overnight in Encinitas, then back to Vegas for a night before flying home. We compromised on the hotel arrangements, staying in moderately-priced but nice hotels.

Now living several states west of me, she is not that far from Vegas.

Hey Sis, I know a great place to spend Thanksgiving! Call the Bellagio!

Will you take advantage of this good news? Where will you go? Ideally, where would you like to stay? Check it out while the prices are great and let us know about your trip.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Blogging from iGoogle

Blogger has given us a way to blog directly from iGoogle. Therefore, this is basically a test blog. Looks like I can post on any of my blogs from one spot, instead of going to the dashboard. This is especially good for quick and easy posts.

Actually iGoogle is a cool page. It has all kinds of things in one spot - a great big clock with the time and date, a place to enter your zip code for the weather, YouTube videos, top stories, and this blogger tool.

Do you ever go to iGoogle? Or are you a Yahoo! fan like myself?

People Dressing Pets - Mean on Halloween?

© Gingergirl |

Over the years, a number of people have clothed their pets. Are there any statistics out there indicating the number of people who partake of such strange behavior?

Anyway, now that Halloween is quickly approaching, the number of clothed pets will increase as well. The question is, are people who clothe their pets mean, or are they just desiring to be seen?

Whose idea was it, in the first place, to put clothes on animals? Is there any logical reason to do so? Emphasis on logical!

It's not that I hate pets - I just don't feel the need or desire to have them in my home. My daughters love their cats, and that's okay. But I never had the desire to keep animals in my house, especially because I was always on the go and decided I probably would not be a good "Mom" anyway.

Click on the title to read an article in today's USA Today about this very subject.

What do you think? Should people dress their pets? Is it mean or is it adorable?

Friday, October 24, 2008

Woman Arrested for Virtual Murder

In the you-got-to-be-kidding department, a 43-year-old Japanese woman whose sudden divorce in a virtual game world made her so angry that she killed her online husband's digital persona has been arrested on suspicion of hacking, police said Thursday.

So, a word to the wise - next time you consider doing-in someone's avatar, you better think twice. Could get you in a lot of trouble.

Click on the title of this missive for the rest of the story.

What mayhem have you gotten yourself into online? Anything you care to share with the rest of the world, well, at least with this elite readership?

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Slow Cooker Recipes You Do Not Want To Miss

© Picturefan1414 |

Wapiti Elk in the Wells Gray National Park B.C. Canada

During the fall and winter there seems to be a plethora of new slow cooker recipes available. At the fantastic All Recipes site there are several recipes you must try, whether having a football viewing party or for a tasty after work dinner.

In a former life, I did roast pheasants several times (not the same pheasant), so I think I might enjoy the Slow Cooker Pheasant with Mushrooms and Olives. That sounds pretty good.

If you or someone you know has recently bagged an elk, you may want to try one of these two recipes. For stroganoff lovers, there is the Onion Elk Roast Stroganoff. And then the sandwich lovers can try Mom's Shredded Elk Sandwich.

Then there is the BBQ sandwich you are sure to enjoy: Slow Cooker Barbecue Goose Sandwich.

These recipes beg the questions:

1. Should we forward these on to Sarah P.?
2. What in the world would we serve for dessert?

If you try any of these recipes, please let us know the results. We anxiously await your opinion.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Winter Fireplace Safety

Because most home fires occur during December, January, and February, it is imperative that people are aware of home fireplace safety.

The following article was recently published on Associated Content.

Winter Fireplace Safety

If you know anyone who uses a fireplace, please be sure they read this important article.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Winter Space Heater Safety

My article about space heater safety was recently published on Associated Content. If you use a space heater, or know someone who does, check out this very important article by clicking on this link.

Protect Your Family This Winter: Space Heater Safety

Don't let your family become just another statistic, when you can easily prevent losing everything.

If you have additional tips for home heating safety you would like to share, please leave them in the comments. Thank you and have a safe and happy winter season.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Michigan Initiative Draws Attention to Poverty

One of the hardest hit states in recent years due to the down-turn in the economy and the downsizing of the auto industry, Michigans poor just get poorer. In an effort to draw attention to poverty, the Michigan Food Stamp Challenge is taking place throughout the state this week.

Governor Jennifer Granholm, as well as locally elected officials and many others, is taking part.

People are encouraged to live off $5.87 a day - the average amount a person in Michigan receives in food stamps - during this weeks challenge.

According to recent statistics, about 1.3 million people in Michigan receive food stamps.

The Michigan Department of Human Services (MDHS) spearheaded the initiative to raise awareness about hunger and poverty.

"If they just have one accident, one layoff notice, a medical emergency - then a person can end up in poverty," said Ismael Ahmed, MDHS Director.

To do your part this week, try living on $5.87 a day for the next seven days. What did you find out about yourself? About your spending habits?

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Has Fall Arrived Yet?

Very strange fall season so far in Michigan. The leaves slowly began to change colors as early as August, yet we are in mid-October and quite a large number of trees are still green.

We have a large oak tree in the middle of the back yard that displays a beautiful array of red and orange and yellow every year - except this year. Right now it is mostly green with one or two branches hosting a combination of reds and yellows.

I don't know how the color tours are going this year, but in our neck of the woods, so to speak, we are seeing more green than other colors and the leaves are falling like rain.

Not only that, yesterday the thermometer reached over 80 degrees after a very cool weekend.

Windows up, windows down, get out the thermos - no wait, don't need them yet. Tis all very confusing.

The good thing is - at least there is no snow. The prediction is a long, cold winter. Let's hope that is wrong and we have a mild, sunny short winter. Oh well, one can wish, can't they?

What do you think? Has fall arrived in your area?

Monday, October 13, 2008

Happy Birthday Eldest Daughter!

Birthdays are great milestones along the pathway of life. Today is my eldest daughters birthday. She is a great gal with a love of life, great mind, and sense of humor. She is also a loving and caring daughter, granddaughter, sister, mother, nurse, and companion.

If you know her or see her today, please wish her a Happy Birthday!

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Good News From Williamston, MI

These two pictures were taken by Lloyd Rodriguez in January 2008. One is the water tower and other is one of the railroad outbuildings next to the tower. It was obviously a typical Michigan winter day.

In these times of economic hardship, today encouraging news came out of Williamston, MI, my hometown. Six new businesses officially opened their doors today, with plans for several more over the next few months.

Several of the business owners acknowledged times were tough, but they believed that the time was right to venture out as a business owner.

There are still a couple of storefronts that are boarded, but the Mayor assured everyone those buildings will house businesses by this time next year.

I sure hope so. Williamston is a great community and I am glad to see we are attracting new business. A business based a few towns away from us acknowledge the other day, that if everything works out they will move their entire business to our industrial park outside of town. What a wonderful thing to see another new business.

Click on the title above to see the Williamston, MI official website.

How is your town doing? Anything positive happening in these difficult times?

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Grandpa Charlie and His Harmonica

My Grandpa Charlie loved to play the harmonica. He especially enjoyed accompanying me when playing the piano.

In this photo, we are in the basement rec room of a cousin of mine.

Anytime he could talk me into playing a song or two, whether at the Odd Fellow Hall in Webberville, MI, at a relatives house, or at my home, he would pull out the harmonica he quite often carried with him.

Oh, for the good old days.

What memories do you have of the distant past? Do they include music?

Musicians Have Higher IQ's According to Study

According to a recent study at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, "professionally trained musicians have higher IQs and use their brain power more effectively than do their non-musical brethren."

Apparently, learning to use both hands independently while playing musical instruments developed the left and right side of the brain. Musical students scored higher on creative-thinking tests than did the same number of students taking a psychology course.

Wow! So that was what all those years of music lessons did for me. Hmmmmm! Thanks, Mom and Dad.

Did you study music as a child? What instrument did you play? Do you feel more creative because of those lessons?

Monday, October 6, 2008

The Bucket List Squidoo Lens

What a blast is Squidoo. This weekend I finished The Bucket List lens. Check it out and add your own Bucket List items. Squidoo is not just a great place to hangout, but you can also make money for yourself or your favorite charity.

I have a number of ideas for more lens's and am excited about the community. A number of writers I know from other sites are there and several of us have already connected.

Check out Squidoo and build a lens, or a couple, or a hundred. There are lensmasters who have created several hundred and are still building. It is a very friendly community of site builders who welcome newcomers with open arms.

Many sites seem territorial, but Squidoo gently nudges and encourages newcomers to try new things.

I love being a Squid and I hope you check it out for yourself. If you do, please let me know so we can connect.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Anatomy of a Murder Fifty Years Later

October marks the 50th anniversary of the publication of John D. Voelker's Anatomy of a Murder. The book was set in the Upper Peninsula (U.P.)of Michigan and based on events in Marquette County.

The book was about Voelker's tenure as an attorney when he defended an Army Lieutenant accused of murdering a local tavern owner.

To celebrate the milestone, the 1959 film version of the book was shown in the Marquette County Courthouse on September 19th according to the Lansing State Journal. The film starred Jimmy Stewart and was shot in the U.P.

Residents of the area still remember with fondness the making of the movie which included Duke Ellington and his music.

On a personal note, my mother was born and raised in the U.P. and we visited often over the years. We still have relatives on the eastern side of the peninsula.

What books were written or movies filmed in your state or city? Were you involved in any way?