Showing posts with label Princess Diana. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Princess Diana. Show all posts

Friday, August 26, 2022

If You Like Documentaries...

[I review some new documentaries: "The Princess," "Trainwreck: Woodstock '99," "The Most Hated Man on the Internet," and "The Tinder Swindler."]


The Princess (2022)

Marking the 25th anniversary of her death, a look back on the life of Princess Diana.

There have been many books, movies, TV shows and documentaries about Princess Diana in life, and, also, since her untimely death at the age of 36, but what sets this latest documentary apart is the fact that it contains no talking heads, no dramatizations and no narration, just the chronological telling of her story since her engagement to Prince Charles, using nothing but reportage, news coverage and various comments from the public and media.  After Princess Diana's and Charles' wedding, one commentator said that this is what fairy tales are made of and fairy tales end with "And they lived happily ever after."  Well, not this time.  In fact, right after the wedding as Prince Charles helps Diana out of the carriage, he already does not look happy. No need for narration.  The footage speaks for itself.

Of course, now we all know this was a marriage of convenience for him.  He was in love with another woman.  I

Despite a bad marriage, Diana was able to mature into an accomplished woman, a spokesperson for AIDS and leprosy patients, children, the disabled, the homeless and she also helped in the call for an international eradication of land mines, something her son Prince Harry has also taken on now.

This is Diana's story through the media coverage that hounded her, and some say, contributed to her death.  She began as a shy young girl whom everyone loved. During the 80's, when England was in a recession with cultural unrest, support for the monarchy was at 50-50.  When Diana entered the picture, it became 80-20. But then as Diana matured, she upstaged Charles and created upheaval in what was a constrained and strait-laced monarchy. She became a problem for the monarchy, and thus began her love-hate relationship with the press. As much as the press loved her and needed her, they also villified her.  One commentator actually said she was a monster. 

Did this documentary reveal anything about Diana that we didn't already know?

Not really, not for me anyway, but I am one of those devotees who stayed up all night watching the hearse take her casket to Althorp, crying all the while.  But the documentary did include news coverage I had never seen.  I knew that people in the UK and the U.S. took Diana's death hard but didn't realize people were crying all over the world. And the lack of talking heads and narration creates an eerie foreshadowing. Without anyone saying anything, it is easy to see the cracks in the marriage just from the news reporting.  An example?  Just one hour after bringing baby Harry home from the hospital, Charles hops in his car and heads out to play polo.  And who was in the audience?  Camilla.

Written and directed by Ed Perkins, this documentary shows that now, 25 years after her death, Diana still casts a huge shadow.  So amazing that one woman could have such an impact on so many, that so many who had never met her would feel an emotional connection to her. I certainly felt that connection.  I wrote a tribute to her early in my blogging career ("Remembering Princess Diana").  For some strange reason, I found it comforting to know she was in this world that I, too, inhabited, even though we didn't know each other and existed thousands of miles apart.  I still think of her and feel sad we no longer share this world together. From this documentary, I see I was not alone in that.

Rosy the Reviewer was sad to relive Diana's story knowing how it would all end.  I cried once again, but I was also happy to be reminded of how, despite the odds against her, Diana went from a naive 19-year-old to a force for good in the world.  She deserves to be remembered. (HBO)

Trainwreck: Woodstock 99 (2022)

The sequel to Woodstock 69.  Don't I always say that sequels suck?

Well, I might not say it exactly like that, but I don't like sequels.  This time it's not a movie sequel but a sequel to a success, an almost once-in-a-lifetime event, and what happens when you get dollar signs in your eyes and try to recreate it.

Remember Woodstock?  Even if you don't remember it, you have probably heard of it.  Michael Lang was the man behind that 1969 music festival, where almost 500,000 people showed up and they all got along, they embodied peace and love.  Well, Lang tried to recreate Woodstock in 1994, which was supposed to be a 25th anniversary of the first one, and it was a failure because it rained every day.  So, that didn't work?  Let's try it again, but this time let's call it the 30th anniversary.  Well, that one didn't work, either. It was a riot - literally.

For Woodstock '99, a three day weekend music festival, Friday started out okay with 250,000 kids attending the festival which was set up at a decommissioned military base (no bucolic farm setting this time), and it was hot, hot, hot with no shade provided.  The concession stands were all privatized, and no one was allowed to bring in food or water and the concessionaires were charging huge amounts of money for food and water ($4.00 for a bottle of water which would be the equivalent of $7.00 in today's dollars). Korn was the headliner on Friday night. Needless to say, they riled up the crowd. 

By Saturday, it all starting falling apart. 

The toilets were overflowing (again, sanitation had been privatized and they just weren't up to it) and trash was everywhere.  One of the volunteers, a woman who had attended the original Woodstock, took it upon herself to go around handing out garbage bags and asking the kids to clean up.  The reply?  "I paid $150 to come here, you clean it up."  The infrastructure in place just could not support the people.  The attitude of the concertgoers was that if the venue didn't care, why should they care?

While Lang and his cohorts were being interviewed and cluelessly basking in what they deemed a successful festival, outside, 1000 people were being treated for heat stroke, dehydration and heat exhaustion, there was no shade, there was price gauging going on by the concessionaires, no one was dealing with sanitation and there was little security.  

By Saturday night, everyone was really pissed off and the concert goers started throwing things at the tower where the MTV coverage was taking place, and when people realized they could do whatever they wanted with no consequences, all hell broke loose. 

When Limp Bizkit came on Saturday evening, lead singer Fred Durst didn't help matters.  He really enjoyed ramping up the crowd and instigating them to go wild, so by the time Fatboy Slim came on chaos had taken over and he had to be lead off the stage.  By Sunday, women had been molested, the showers didn't work, the toilets were overflowing, mud was everywhere (and I won't elaborate on what was actually swirling around in that mud), and there was a riot going on. Now water was $12 a bottle. 

But the festival went on. Sunday night the Red Hot Chili Peppers came on to end the festival - Flea was naked, of course - and there was a rumor that someone really big would come on last as a surprise- the Stones? Michael Jackson?  So when it turned out the final act was handing out 100,000 candles for an anti-gun vigil and that was it, the festival was over...what?  No Rolling Stones? No Michael Jackson?  No surprise artist to end the festival? That's it?  After everything we have had to put up?  So with no way to protest, what to do?  Well, let's tear the place up. And look, we have lighted candles. Okay, let's start some fires.  And that's what the kids did. It didn't help that the last song the Red Hot Chili Peppers performed was the Jimi Hendrix song "Fire."

An animal mentality took over. That's what happens when people are treated like animals. It was "Lord of the Flies," except with 100,000 pissed off kids who had no way to protest their bad treatment. The vendors were vandalized, the sound towers were brought down, the trailers were set on fire and anyone associated with MTV was a target (they had to hide or get the hell out of there). Then the trailers exploded and the State Troopers arrived.

Mic drop. 

But not in a good way.

So what went wrong?  

Was it using a decommissioned military base with no shade, instead of a bucolic farm setting?  Was it not letting attendees bring in food or water and then selling the concessions to a private company that overcharged for food and water?  Or was it selling the event to Pay Per View where the cameras filming the event encouraged bad behavior?  Or was it Lang's lack of awareness about new bands like Korn and Limp Bizkit, angry bands that can really ramp up a crowd and not in a good way?  Was it good old-fashioned greed? It was probably all of those things together that sent this concert spiraling down with rape, rioting, fires and explosions. 

This is an engrossing tale of what can happen when people are treated like they don't matter.  It's also a tale of greed and incompetence. There are some dynamic musical performances, but it's the antithesis of the first Woodstock.

The first Woodstock was all about The Peace and Love Generation - 500,000 people who gathered together to smoke pot, make love not war and listen to music.  Nothing bad happened.  Woodstock '99 was the MTV and Pay Per View Generation, all about ecstacy and greed.  Never the twain shall meet.

Rosy the Reviewer know what they say about trainwrecks, right?  You can't look away and you won't be able to look away from this three-part Netflix series that reminds us that when you have an initial wonderful success, forget the sequel.  Sequels suck.  (Netflix)

The Most Hated Man on the Internet (2022)

The story of Hunter Moore, the self-proclaimed "Life ruiner."

This three-part docuseries is the story of Hunter Moore, the man who created the website, a site that encouraged people to post "revenge porn."  It's logo?  "Thank you for being evil."  And this guy really was. He not only hosted the pictures but linked them to the social media pages, the emails and sometimes the addresses of the subjects. He would also get people to do outrageous things on his site, a sort of porn meets "Jackass."  I won't even get into what he had a girl dubbed "Butt... Girl" do.

In January 2012, Moore published a topless photo of Charlotte Laws' daughter, 24-year-old Kayla.  Kayla had never sent the picture of herself to anyone, so it came to light that Moore was hacking peoples' accounts.  Law decided she had to go after this guy. Don't mess with a mother! And don't mess with a woman who wrote a book ("Meet the Stars" under the name Missy Laws) about how to crash the parties of the rich and famous. She had moxy.

Laws was able to get Moore to take the image of her daughter down, but she wasn't done with him.  Now she had a mission.  She wanted to help the other women whose images had been hacked or put up on the site by a jilted lover.  By February, she had spoken with 40 of Moore's victims. She tried to get reporters to tell this story but she was told there was no story (what)?  

Meanwhile, Moore was getting attention by appearing on talk shows, and when he appeared on the Anderson Cooper show confronted by a couple of his victims, he came off as an a**hole, but that didn't seem to matter. What is the expression about publicity? There is no such thing as bad publicity.  Moore became even more famous, especially with his followers, who called themselves "The Family."  Fitting, because Moore likened himself to Charles Manson, which should tell you something about this guy.

Many efforts from various people and groups were made to stop Moore but he just kept going.  He capitalized on the media attention and went on tour, hired for parties across the country.  What went on at these parties is not for the faint of heart. 

All of this publicity and activity finally caught the attention of the FBI and Charlotte was able to share all of her sleuthing with them.  But even when the FBI is involved, the wheels of justice move slowly.  Yes, it was discovered that Moore was indeed hacking accounts, but did he get what he deserved? You decide. 

But there is a sort of redemptive epilogue. The producers said that Moore initially said he would take part in the series and then declined, but they "decided to use his image anyway."  Touche!

However, one can't help but wonder how many other Hunter Moores are out there on the Internet.

This is a fascinating documentary about the underbelly of the Internet and a really bad guy who didn't seem to have any concern or empathy for others.  When asked if he felt bad for these women whose images were plastered all over his website, he said, no, he felt nothing. They were like emojis to him.

Oh, and by the way, if you want to know how your accounts can get hacked, this is a tutorial.

Rosy the Reviewer says...I don't even know this guy but after seeing this docuseries, I hate him too! (Netflix)

The Tinder Swindler (2022)

"One little swipe can change your life forever."  That's for sure.  Especially if you meet the wrong person on Tinder. 

Meet Simon Laviev, supposed billionaire's son.  Meet three Scandinavian women who made the mistake of swiping right on Simon, who ended up swindling them.  Simon was no catfish.  He existed and actually wined and dined these ladies in Paris, took them for rides on his private jet and literally charmed the pants off of them.  And then something happened to his credit cards and he, uh, needed a little help from them.

So how was Simon able to pull off the rich man scam?  

Why, the old Ponzi scheme, of course.  While wining and dining a new woman, he would be leeching off of earlier women. He would wow the new mark on the first few dates, and wouldn't ask for money until about a month of wooing. Then he would have some hard luck story about a temporary money squeeze, could she please lend him some money? Then, when he would get the money, he could continue his lavish lifestyle. 

But then Simon meets the wrong woman, a woman who discovers the scam and is really pissed. She partners with another of Simon's victims and they decide to take him down! The first half of the film is testimonials from the women he swindled.  The second half focuses on how Simon was tracked down. Turns out Simon had been writing bad checks and swindling people since he was 18 and he was wanted by the police in several countries.

It's shocking how gullible these women were. But as P.T. Barnum once said, "No one has ever gone broke underestimating the intelligence of the American public."  These women in the film weren't Americans but you can extrapolate that quote to entire populations who believe in the glitz and glam and overlook the lack of substance in a person. You can read into that what you want.

So does Simon get his just desserts?  Not exactly.  You will have to watch and find out.

Rosy the Reviewer says...written and directed by Felicity Morris, this is a fascinating true crime story that reminds us to beware of men who seem to be too good to be true, especially if they ask for money! (Netflix)

Thanks for reading!

See you again soon!

If you enjoyed this post, feel free to like it and share it on Facebook, Twitter, or other sites; email it to your friends and/or follow me on Facebook at 

And next time you are wondering whether or not to watch a particular film, check out my reviews on IMDB (The International Movie Database). Go to, find the movie you are interested in.  Scroll over to the right of the synopsis to where it says "Critic Reviews" - Click on that and if I have reviewed that film, you will find Rosy the Reviewer alphabetically on the list (NOTE:  IMDB keeps moving stuff around so if you don't find "Critics Reviews" where I am sending you, look around.  It's worth it)!

(NOTE:  If you are looking for a particular movie or series, check out this cool site: JustWatch.  It tells you where you can access all TV series and movies)

Saturday, December 18, 2021

Rosy the Reviewer reviews some movies you might not know about: "Spencer," "King Richard" and "CODA"

[I review the Princess Diana biopic "Spencer" as well as "King Richard" and "CODA,"  all new movies that have some Golden Globe nominations for either Best Picture or for acting kudos]

Spencer (2021)

A biopic about Princess Diana.

As a huge Princess Diana fan, I paid the $19.98 to Amazon Prime (also available On Demand) to have early access to this film.  It's in theatres, too, so I figured that's what it would cost for Hubby and me to see it if we went out.  I also thought the film would be worth the price of a ticket just to see Kristen Stewart smile.  Think about it.  When have you ever seen her smile?  Well, she didn't here, either.  Or maybe once.

But Stewart did a good job of portraying Diana over the course of a Christmas weekend at Sandringham.  I wish I could say the same about the film itself portraying Diana. 

This is not a flattering portrait of Diana.

It begins in 1991 with Diana driving her car to Sandringham, the royal estate in eastern England where the family likes to spend Christmas.  Fittingly, Diana actually grew up on the estate as a young girl before her father became Earl and moved to Althorp.  This is all hinted at in the film, but if you didn't know that about her, you would either miss those references or scratch your head and wonder what the heck was that all about - her going in the night to see her old house. In these early scenes, Diana comes off as a bit of a flibbertigibbet and, yes, this film depicts a time toward the end of her marriage to Prince Charles when things were coming off the rails, but I didn't appreciate this film making her look completely nuts, which she wasn't. 

The truth of the matter was that Diana was a 19-year-old virgin, chosen to marry the 30-something-year-old Prince Charles who needed to mend his bachelor ways and settle down.  She loved him, he didn't love her.  When they were first engaged and asked by reporters if they were in love, Diana replied "Of course."  Charles nodded and said something like "Whatever in love means."  Right there, I knew she was in trouble. Despite some years where they appeared to be happy as they raised their two sons, Charles was actually in love with someone else the whole time and Diana knew it.  So that would drive me crazy too, which being in her shoes myself, it kind of did (yes, that happened to me, but I wasn't married to a prince).

To make matters worse, over the course of this one weekend, I repeat one, that was depicted in the film, Diana runs the gamut of everything we heard she went through over the entire course of her 15-year marriage: bulimia, hanging out downstairs in the kitchen and stuffing herself with food, wandering around the estate at night, trying to throw herself down the stairs, her paranoia.  On and on. But then the filmmakers really lost me when she is depicted breaking her pearl necklace at dinner and trying to eat it, I said, "What the hell?" I also couldn't help but ask myself, "What was the point of making this film?" To make Diana look bad? And what was the point of the title?

I know, the film was going back and forth between fantasy and reality to show Diana unraveling in the stultifying atmosphere of the royal family. I get that, but it just went from one crazy act to another.  Fifteen years of marriage bundled into two hours.  It was just too much.

After the weekend ends and we have endured a tedious two hours of Diana-bashing, she drives off with her sons and there is some sort of rapproachment where it appears she is finally going to find herself and become independent, which I guess is where the title came in. When asked at a KFC drive through (though, god help me, why KFC?  One more insult to Diana), who the order was for, she answers "Spencer."  But too little too late. 

This is also one of those films that does everything in real time.  Diana is going to walk down the hall?  Well, she walks...down...the...hall. To make matters worse, the soundtrack was annoying, like fingernails on a chalkboard, and veteran actors Sally Hawkins and Timothy Spall were wasted here.  

When I first heard that Kristin Stewart was going to play Diana, I didn't see it at all, but if you are going to make a film about a very unhappy time in Princess Diana's life, then Stewart was a good choice because no one does scowling like she does.  And that iconic Diana hairstyle helped a lot. Stewart actually looked like her.  Her acting was fine (she is nominated for a Golden Globe for her performance)  and her accent was even okay, but let's just say, I am sure Diana smiled much more than Stewart did here, even when her life was in shambles.

So Kristen Stewart wasn't the problem I had with this movie.

Written by Steven Knight and directed by Pablo Larrain, if I didn't know better, I would think this film was backed by the royal family themselves to show what they had to put up with and to justify their actions.  Though beautifully produced and well-acted, there was just no context to what led up to how nutty Diana was acting in this film. Yes, there were some snippets of a lonely little child (Diana's mother ran off with another man) and Diana's need for love but all of that was so fleeting, if you didn't already know her story, it certainly wouldn't justify this characterization of her. The filmmakers probably thought they could get off the hook with all of the liberties they took with Diana's story by stating at the outset that this film is a "fable."  But I'm not letting them.  This was a horror story.

And what makes me the most mad is this: 

Remember, Diana died almost 25 years ago.  There is a whole generation of people who probably don't really know the details of Diana's life, what she went through, how she overcame it and the good that she did.   Princess Diana was a young woman who was fed to the royal lions at age 19, eventually found herself and became an advocate for those who couldn't speak for themselves. But this movie shows nothing of that and paints a very negative portrait of her and I can't stand to think of her remembered this way. So I didn't appreciate this very dark portrayal of a dead woman who can't now speak for herself.

Rosy the Reviewer says...can you tell that this movie made me really mad? It was a huge disappointment.  Save your money. 

King Richard (2021)

How Venus and Serena Williams rose to the highest echelons of the tennis world – because their dad Richard Williams, had a plan for them even before they were born.
This is a biopic done right, and it’s also Will Smith as you have never seen him. If you didn’t know it was Will Smith, I would bet you would not recognize him here playing Venus and Serena's Dad, Richard Williams, a man who had a plan for his daughters and who carried it out. He transforms himself and is just wonderful.
And speaking of Richard Williams, think about it, this guy was an African American with five daughters living in Compton, California in the 1990’s. His wife worked as a nurse by day, he worked security by night and spent all of his free time working with his daughters, keeping them focused, prepping them to win at tennis, up until then, predominantly a sport for white people who could afford the country club. He was a controversial figure who faced racism and barriers but, he had an unwavering plan. His motto: “If you fail to plan then you plan to fail” and he instilled that in his daughters.
With a screenplay by Zach Baylin and directed by Reinaldo Marcus Green, this is also a great sports movie with lots of tennis footage, but you don’t need to like tennis to love this movie, but if you are a tennis fan, you will love it even more. And the epilogue will make you cry.

Smith is joined by an outstanding ensemble cast highlighted by performances by Aunjanue Ellis in a small but pivotal role as Richard's wife and Saniyya Sidney and Demi Singleton as Venus and Serena respectively. It all adds up to a wonderful film experience not to be missed.
Rosy the Reviewer says…Just an extraordinary performance by Will who doesn't often get props for his acting. This time he has been rewarded with a Best Actor Golden Globe nomination. I expect that the Academy will also recognize him. This should be on your list of Must Sees!
(In theatres and on HBO Max)

CODA (2021)

A young hearing teen, whose family is deaf, is torn between caring for her family and striking out on her own.

Ruby Rossi (Emilia Jones) is a CODA, a Child of Deaf Adults. Her parents Frank (Troy Kotsur) and Jackie (Marlee Matlin) are both deaf as is her brother, Leo (Daniel Durant), and as the only hearing member of her family, interpreting their sign language for others is one of her main duties. The family lives in Gloucester, Massachusetts and Frank and Leo are both fisherman. It's a hardscrabble life as prices for their fish go lower and lower. But they are a close-knit, loving family. As for Ruby, she is a high school student and we learn that she was bullied as a child because "she talked like a deaf person," which makes sense if she didn't have speech role models who were hearing people. She has some insecurities and is still being bullied by the "mean girls," but Ruby is slowly starting to literally find. her voice. She joins the high school glee club where she is befriended by the music teacher (Eugenio Derbez), who though he employs tough love to his students and is not easily impressed, he thinks Ruby has talent and encourages her to apply to the Berklee School of Music in Boston.

So that's the plan until the family fishing business takes a hit.

When the family realizes that the fishermen are being taken advantage of by big business, they strike out on their own and form a fishing co-op, but then Ruby's father and brother are busted by the Coast Guard, because they are not supposed to be out on the boat without a hearing person - and they face losing the business unless Ruby stays home and continues to act as the ears of the family and ride with her father and brother on the boat. Ruby has a beautiful singing voice and wants to go to college and develop her talent. But her parents need her to be their voice. They don't want her to go. What to do, what to do, when you are a caring, loving, responsible girl?

Let's just say there is lots and lots of family guilt aimed at Ruby. But then her brother gives her a pep talk. Remember that scene in "Good Will Hunting," where Ben Affleck tells Matt Damon if he doesn't get out of the town and make something of himself, he's a pussy? Well, this is like that and, thus, there is another kind of coda at work here, the musical one and the figurative one that marks a conclusion...a happy Ruby's very moving college audition that will make you cry.

Based on the 2014 French comedy "La Famille Belier" and adapted and directed by Sian Heder, this is a fairly predictable coming-of-age tale. A kid has a dream but has to choose between the dream and (you fill in the blanks).


Despite the predictability of the plot, the film is saved by the charm of lead actress Jones and her co-stars who are all deaf actors in real life and the insight this film provides into a story you don't see or hear much about - a deaf family, a young hearing girl with lives in two different worlds - the deaf world and the hearing world - and the profound love and respect among the family members, despite their differences. It's all very real. The family may be deaf but they share the same concerns and issues as everyone else.

Rosy the Reviewer says...a satisfying film marked by a wonderful, real story and wonderful real performances. Recently nominated for a Golden Globe for Best Picture-Drama, this charming and heart-warming film already has 53 other nominations and 21 wins. It's a must!
(Now streaming on Apple+)


Thanks for reading!

See you again soon!

If you enjoyed this post, feel free to like it and share it on Facebook, Twitter, or other sites; email it to your friends and/or follow me on Facebook at 

And next time you are wondering whether or not to watch a particular film, check out my reviews on IMDB (The International Movie Database). Go to, find the movie you are interested in.  Scroll over to the right of the synopsis to where it says "Critic Reviews" - Click on that and if I have reviewed that film, you will find Rosy the Reviewer alphabetically on the list (NOTE:  IMDB keeps moving stuff around so if you don't find "Critics Reviews" where I am sending you, look around.  It's worth it)!

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Remembering Princess Diana

(First published in 2014)

Other than family members, there are three people whose deaths affected me so much I remember exactly where I was when I heard the news.

Many, many people can relate to that when it comes to the assassination of President Kennedy.  I remember I was sitting in class when the principal came on the PA system and said, "Our President has been shot."  I thought he meant our high school class president.  That's how far out of the realm of possibility I thought it could be that he was talking about the President of the United States.

Another death that affected me profoundly was the death of John Lennon.  I was lying in bed with my newborn son watching TV when the announcement was made.  It was shattering. The Beatles had a profound effect on my youth and our culture.  How could one of the Beatles possibly be dead?

And finally, I was in bed watching TV when I heard about Diana too.  I let out a scream.

Last Sunday, August 31st, marked the seventeenth anniversary of Princess Diana's death in a car accident.  She was killed in Paris in a speeding car driven by a drunken minion of Mohamed Al-Fayed, the owner of Harrod's and The Ritz Hotel in Paris and father of Dodi, who Diana was dating. She was only 36.  Supposedly the driver was speeding to avoid the paparazzi following them.

I still think of her.  She too had a profound effect on my life and her death was wrenching.

I have always been fascinated by the British Royal Family. I am a huge Anglophile.  I think I got it from my mother. 

I was born in 1948, the same year as Prince Charles so I think that was the fascination for my mother. She probably thought her little daughter could grow up to marry a prince. She was a bit of an Anglophile and had some cups with baby Prince Charles on them and other Royal collectibles. And when Princess Elizabeth became Queen at only 26, her coronation in 1953 was the first ever televised.  The whole world was watching.

No matter what you think of the British Royal Family, Queen Elizabeth has taken her vows very seriously and reigned earnestly for over 60 years. Many heads of state have come and gone, but Queen Elizabeth endures.

While poking around in my parents' closet (I was a nosy kid), I found a book called "The Little Princesses," all about Elizabeth and her sister, Princess Margaret, which started me down that road of "Royal Watching."

So of course I was terribly interested in who Prince Charles would marry.  But when Diana came along, my interest peaked.

Diana Spencer was 19, pretty and virginal and more Royal than the Queen. Diana's lineage went back to the 14th century and English King Edward III.  She was British through and through, whereas Queen Elizabeth's roots are German. Diana was perfect. And you can tell from the start she was besotted with Charles. 

However, the red flags were there early.  When their engagement was announced, at the end of this interview, the interviewer asked, "And you are in love?" to which Diana emphatically replied, "Course!" and to which Charles added, "Whatever 'in love' means."  Oops.  Clouds ahead.

But the wedding was fabulous.  I stayed up all night to watch it as did most of the world.

Everyone was mad about Shy Di, and when she produced "an heir and a spare," we were over the moon.  None of us knew that Charles was really in love with someone else and Diana had "issues."  But as a 19-year-old virgin, Diana was a lamb to the slaughter.

The cracks in the marriage and subsequent affairs on both sides were hidden for a time, but finally came out in 1992 in the book "Diana, Her True Story," written by journalist Andrew Morton but supposedly fed to Morton by Diana herself.

And when she was interviewed in 1995 by Martin Bashir for BBC's Panorama TV show, that was the final straw and the Queen made it clear that Charles and Diana needed to divorce.

After the divorce, Diana was forced to give up her Royal title, meaning that she would no longer be addressed as HRH.  Little Prince William poignantly said to her, "Don't worry, Mummy, I will give it back to you one day when I am King."  (sniff).

But she thrived in her 30's, raising her sons, falling in love and giving her life to many causes such as AIDS research and the eradication of land mines in Angola.  She was truly "The People's Princess."  I loved watching her life unfold.  And I have to confess I loved her clothes.

When she died, I stayed up all night again, this time to bid farewell.  I cried all night long as I watched her funeral procession with her sons following the casket

with Harry's card that said "Mummy" on top of it,

and at the end the hearse carrying her coffin to its final resting place - her childhood home.  I am sad again remembering this.

It is difficult to explain what Diana meant to me. 

I suppose it sounds silly to many who can't comprehend having feelings for someone they never met.  But to me, she represented youth, beauty, fairy tales, Princesses, motherhood, compassion.  Her compassion validated people. She famously held the hands of AIDS and leprosy patients when others feared doing so. Her soul touched the souls of others.  The love for her sons was palpable.  It was easy to think that she would have been a good friend. Hers was a story that you wanted to have a happy ending.  You rooted for her. And when she died before she could fulfill her promise or even find lasting happiness, it was a huge sadness.  She would be 53 now had she lived. 

All I can say is that I loved being in a world that she was in and when she died in such a terrible way, a little piece of me died with her.

I am probably not explaining myself very well.  It's difficult to explain what goes on in one's heart, but I wanted to write this today because I want her to be remembered.  She had a special light.  Her soul spoke to my soul.

I think Prince William and Prince Harry have that light too, and I am enjoying watching their lives unfold.  They appear to have avoided the pomp and stuffiness of the Royals that so stifled Diana.  So she lives on through them.

I have stood over and looked down onto the Alma Tunnel in Paris, where Diana died, and paid tribute at the memorial to Diana that is there.

I have visited Kensington Palace where she lived and seen the memorial fountain in Hyde Park. I have countless collectibles featuring her, and naturally, I have the Princess Diana doll with all of her clothes, including the wedding dress.  Even though she died tragically, I enjoy remembering her.

Thanks for Reading!
See you Friday for
"The Life Story of Mildred Pierce (the dog, not the movie character)
The Week in Reviews

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Tuesday, October 8, 2013

25 Things You Don't Know About Me

You already know I am addicted to TV.  In addition to my addiction to TV, I also have an addiction to magazines. 

It's part of my morning ritual while drinking my tea.  I read everything from "Allure" to "US Weekly" to "Vanity Fair." 

(By the way, your local library may subscribe to Zinio, a great source for all of your favorite magazines to read online or download to your mobile device all for free!  So check out your local library's web page to see if they are providing this service.  That's my library plug for today).

Anyway, I digress. 

Speaking of "US Weekly," in addition to that all important celebrity gossip, it also has a feature called "25 Things You Don't Know About Me," where celebs list...guess?  Things we don't know about them.  It's a fun little diversion.  For example, it was enlightening to discover that Cher has an elephant collection  (and you know how I feel about Cher)!

So in the interest of enlightenment, I thought my readers who think they know me would like to know what they don't know about me and those of you who don't know me can get to know me by finding out what you already don't know.  Make sense?

So let's get started...

1.  I have never seen an episode of "Friends."
I must be the only person on the planet but it's true. That must be why I am not a big Jennifer Aniston fan.  I just don't get her appeal.

2.  I have never broken any bone in my body.
News alert...I just took a break, went downstairs and stubbed my toe.  I think it's broken.  If it doubles in size and turns black is it broken?

3.  I didn't learn to ride a two-wheel bicycle until I was 12.
Despite my Dad buying me a lovely two-wheeler, I just couldn't get the hang of riding it much to his consternation.  My friends were all riding around on their two wheelers while I was trying to keep up on my tricycle.  An 11-year-old on a tricycle is not a pretty sight.  Must have been why my sister called me a "motor moron."  It upset me so much that I would have dreams that somehow I would wake up and could magically ride.  But it wasn't until I was visiting my friend Barbie that I was able to master it.  She had a little mini two-wheeler and I got up on it and off I went.  Must have been because it was closer to the ground.  And I was 12, for god's sake.

4.  I have no idea what my real hair color is.
I think it was red once.

5.  I starred in a play directed by Karl Malden.
He came to my college my senior year, and since I was the reigning diva, I starred in his pastiche of Broadway memories.  He would reminisce about shows he was in or were on Broadway in his heyday, and then we would perform scenes from those shows. 

I starred in "Tea and Sympathy."  It involved an older woman seducing a young man in the interest of proving to him that he wasn't a sissy, something he was teased about because he didn't partake in more "masculine" pursuits. Not sure how this would hold up today, but I loved the last line of the play, where I got to say while unbuttoning my sweater, "Years from now, when you talk about this, and you will, be kind."  What a line!

I think I blew it with Mr. Malden when I asked him what Marlon Brando was really like.  I thought it was funny and charming.  He didn't.  He was rather a cranky sort and his nose...seeing it up close, it was a thing to behold.

6.  I have three tattoos.
I guess the most interesting part of this is that I got my first tattoo when I was in my 20's, which you might expect (it was the 70's after all), but the other two in my 60's (and I don't mean the 1960's), which is not so expected.  The tattoo parlor for the first one was the renowned Lyle Tuttle studio in San Francisco, and it was over the Greyhound station.  I loved that.  So seedy.  I used to brag I was probably the only person who wasn't drunk when I got my tattoo. That first one was a rose in my décolletage (not shown here) and my last and most recent one: two hearts with wings on my forearm.  This was a mother-daughter bonding experience as we both got tattoos together.  I recommend it!

Each heart has an "A" in it, one for each of my children, whose names begin with "A," and the wings symbolize my giving them the wings to fly successfully away. 

And boy did they! 

It was fun while it lasted!

The third is a depiction of "The  Little Rabbit Who Wanted Red Wings" on my back.  Sort of a family joke.  I guess I must say "I wish" a lot or "if only." My daughter calls me "Bun Bun." That tattoo was a family affair - hubby's first, daughter's (who knows)?  And my second, after 30+ years

7.  I can read music.
And play the piano, though not very well.  But that's on my get back into playing and improving my skills.  And I can type 80+ words per minute so I guess I must not be that much of a motor moron.

8.  I always wanted to play Sheila in "Hair," so I could sing "Easy to be Hard."
I guess I am too old now, though a geriatric version might be fun.  Just imagine the end of Act I when all of the Baby Boomers take off their clothes!

9.  I am not allergic to anything.
And I don't pretend to be allergic to things that I just don't like, as some people do, and they know who they are!

10.  I cured myself of panic attacks.
I really suffered from terrible panic attacks. 
I remember exactly where I was when I had the first one. 

And then, of course, when you have one, you are then encumbered with the fear that you will have another one.  I could barely stand in line at a supermarket without thinking I was going to die or do something to humiliate myself.  So I did some research and found this book and it was a miracle!  I am certainly not denigrating the severity of panic attacks and agoraphobia and people who suffer from them, but I think when you do some exercises that help you build up resistance to the physical sensations and are able to ask yourself, "What's the worse thing that could happen right now?" and realize it's not likely that you are going to die, it helps.

The book is "Stop Running Scared! Fear Control Training:  The New Way to Conquer Your Fears, Phobias and Anxieties" by Herbert Fensterheim.  (It is out of print but can be purchased via Amazon or ordered at your local library via interlibrary loan).

11.  I can do 10 full-on push-ups.
On my good days.

12.  I kiss my dogs on the lips.
And they kiss me back.  Maybe that's why I never get sick.  I have built up a resistance to germs!

13.  I have more than 75 jackets.
I know, yet another addiction.  I think it stems from hanging out with kids who could afford the expensive clothes, the cute little suits and vests I would see in "Seventeen Magazine" when I was a teen.  When my son was young, it got so bad that I had to store some of them in his closet, which he was not happy about.  I remember him looking for sympathy by taking one of his friend's mother into his room to show her all of my jackets in his closet.  Poor kid.  I feel bad. Well, kinda.

14.  I do not wear a wedding ring, though I have been married enough times to qualify.
I definitely had feminist fever back in the 70's and do consider myself a feminist now.  It is not a dirty word.  But I got this idea that a wedding ring was a "slave band," which I am sure went over well with the hubbies who then didn't have to fork out for one. And then time went by.  But NOW, I certainly wouldn't mind a nice big rock to wave around.

15.  I almost failed the Existentialism philosophy class in college.
Now that I think of it, I did fail. How existential is that?

16.  I didn't get my ears pierced until I was 25.
I have always been a big scaredy cat so I put this fashion forward move off until I lost so many earrings, I couldn't stand it anymore.  I had a friend in library school who made beautiful dangly earrings and I just had to wear them.  So I bit the bullet, had my ears pierced and then, of course, in my excitement, started wearing the heavy, dangly earrings right away.  A blood fest ensued but I was wearing those damn earrings if it killed me.  Remember, in the famous words of Billy Crystal's Fernando Lamas character on SNL:  "It is better to look good than to feel good!" 

17. I have a Scarlet O'Hara doll with every costume from the movie.
Now I just need a granddaughter who will play with her with me.

18. Princess Diana's ghost visited me the night after she died.
I am sure I have talked often about what a big Princess Diana fan I was.  Her death was right up there with John Lennon's when it came to how devastating it felt. I liked being in a world with her in it, if you can understand that, and the world just didn't seem the same after she died.  That may seem irrational but I think that's what fuels our admiration for people we look up to.

Just as it was with John Lennon, I remember exactly where I was when I heard the news.  I stayed up all night to watch the funeral procession take her body to Althorp for burial.  The night after she died, I was lying awake and my robe that was hanging on the back of our bedroom door took on Diana's shape.  Now why Diana's ghost would be visiting me is a bit of a stretch, even if I was one of her biggest fans, but it was strangely comforting so I am sticking to my story. 

Did I mention I also have a Princess Diana doll?
Though I need to do something about her hair.

19.  I have been to Europe more than 10 times, but even though I have lived on the West Coast for over 40 years, I have never been to Hawaii.
I know.  It's on my list but when Europe calls to me, I can't resist.  Especially England.  I think I must have been British in a past life because I feel so at home there.  Love Paris but London is MY town!

20.  I am addicted to a British soap opera called "Eastenders," have been watching it for 28 years and never missed an episode.
Well, almost never missed one.

I would tape it (remember VHS?) when on vacation or at work and go to extraordinary lengths to watch it. I started watching it on PBS but when that stopped, BBCAmerica started showing it. But you should have seen the sturm und drang when BBCAmerica stopped showing it.  There we fans all were, innocently watching the Friday episode, right in the middle of a particularly juicy storyline and when it was over, there was an announcement that that was the last episode they would be showing.  NOOOOOOO!!!!  The Internet blew up as people tried to keep the addiction going.  Long story short, fans find a way and I made some new friends.  And you all know who you are!

21.  I have beautiful feet.
If Joy Behar can say that about her feet, I can give her a run for her money. I would show you a picture...

Oh, OK.

22.  When I was young, I thought everyone in other countries spoke a different language but translated everything into English in their minds.
What can I say?  I was young.

23.  I shook hands with Prince Charles.
We were in one of our favorite places, Victoria, BC, and heard on the news that Prince Charles and Camilla were in town. I'm a fan but never thought we would run into them. Well, we did!  We were on one of our walks about town when we saw a large crowd gathered across from a church.  We discovered that Charles and Camilla were attending church and would be out in about a half hour or so.  And so they were.  Camilla chose not to come over to the crowd (and that was fine with me as I have never forgiven her for Diana), but Charles came over and shook hands.  As he took my hand, I said, "Your tie is fabulous!" or some such brilliant comment.  I am always quick witted when it comes to my encounters with royalty.  But despite my outburst, he looked me in the eye and graciously thanked me.  A gentleman and a Prince!

24.  I didn't have a microwave for many years because I believed if God meant for a potato to cook in six minutes, he would have invented a potato that cooked in six minutes.
I have since been converted since I love six-minute potatoes.

25.  My first job was running a concession stand in a hockey arena for 85 cents per hour.
I was 15 and had never seen so many athletes with no teeth! This job started me on the road of hard work.  I had to work on Christmas Day and almost didn't get to go to the Prom because I was supposed to work. And being the good little worker bee that I already was, I probably would have bitten the bullet and worked. But when I cried, my boss relented. And I went to the prom. 

 I have never been to a hockey game since.   

And now that I am retired 50 years later, I don't have to worry about missing Prom or anything else, because I am now my own boss!

***What's something that people don't know about you?***
Check out my blog on Friday when I will be reviewing films and books  you might not know about and my first cooking class!
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