Archive for December 24, 2013

James Tissot

James Tissot (1836-1902) was a skilled French artist who was a friend of Whistler and Degas. He had an enormously important career in France and then decided to move to England in 1871 where he replicated his previous success as a skilled society painter. He met Kathleen Newton who became his model, mistress, muse and the great love of his life. She died tragically in 1882 and he immediately returned to France. He had a profound religious experience in a Parisian Church where he saw a vision of Christ as the Comforter, with His arms around the homeless people of Paris. Thereafter he devoted his life to painting religious subjects and visited the Holy Land twice. The Brooklyn Museum has a large collection of his series on the Life of Christ. One of his greatest Biblical paintings is Saint Joseph Seeks a Lodging in Bethlehem.

Spuyten Dyvil

The recent tragic derailment of a Metro-North train took place in the Spuyten Dyvil section of the Bronx. This is a section of New York City which many people are not familiar with. I am familiar with the name because when I was growing up my Mother used to talk about it because she had relatives who lived there and she used to go from Brooklyn to Spuyten Dyvil frequently. I was very impressed with the name but thought that it was German. However it is Dutch and basically means Spinning Devil in reference to the roughness of the waters nearby. It was also the site of the first recorded shark attack in the New World.

Have we got holiday movies for you!

Years ago Christmas television specials would come on once a season and if you missed it, well, you missed it.  There seemed to be something special about everyone getting together to watch “Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer” with homemade cookies and hot chocolate.  But in today’s busy world it isn’t always possible to get everyone together on the one night something is on TV.  Yes you can record it, but then there are all those commercials.

I was just looking in our catalog and found that we have 78 holiday movies.  There is definitely something for everyone in our collection.  As I reviewed the list I found several that I can watch every holiday season.  What would Christmas be without “it’s a Wonderful Life”?  Although I watch it year after year I always see something new.  What do you think people’s lives would be like if you were never born?  Just think of all the people you have touched or who have touched you; it’s an interesting thought.

“Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer” has been around since 1964.  It has been shown every year and is the longest running Christmas television special.  An elf who wants to be a dentist, why not, everyone has the chance to be who they want to be.  Then there’s the Isle of Misfit toys with a bird that swims instead of flying, a caboose with square wheels and a cowboy who rides an ostrich.  Every one of them is OK in Rudolph’s book and it’s a great lesson for kids.

We also have “Miracle on 34th St.”, “A Christmas Carol”, and “Babes in Toyland” which are all popular during the holiday season.  I’m sure most of you won’t get through the year without hearing someone say “you’ll shoot your eye out!” and although I’ve seen it year after year, I still laugh when the dogs take the turkey off the table or when the little brother bundled in his snow suit falls down and can’t move.  You can’t help but be amused when you watch “A Christmas Story” and learn that important lesson that you should never lick a frozen flag pole!

Our collection has lots of movies for the little ones, names like Elmo, Eloise, Caillou, Dora and Mickey all pop up with the Christmas search.  There’s also my personal favorite, “The Year Without a Santa Clause.”  Watch it once and I can’t stop singing about Heat Miser and Snow Miser for the rest of the season!

So don’t be a Grinch, check-out one of your favorites or watch a new Christmas special.  Make a date with your family for a fun holiday movie night.  The hot chocolate may be instant and the cookies may be cut and bake but take some time out and spend it with your family during the holidays.