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The Book Thief – A Review

The story was pretty much exactly as expected, based on the trailers we had seen for many weeks. Normally, I would say this is disappointing, but it was not. It was simply satisfactory. Which, on a report card, or any evaluation, sounds just like; “meets expectations.” That’s not a stellar review.

For my time, the most satisfying bit from this movie came from one quote, which I’m sure I don’t have exactly verbatim. But, it was something like; “All those blank pages, they’re for you to fill.” This is said to the main character by a Jewish boy (who is being hidden from the Nazis), as he hands her a book of pages made empty by painting over them with white paint. She, being someone who has recently learned to read and write, would, of course, treasure this simple gift.

Given that the plot was so incredibly predictable, there’s little to rave about when discussing this film. Like I said, it was merely satisfying. A good cast, plausible characters, and a nice story, narrated by Death. See it if you can spare the time and don’t mind a couple of hours with little excitement. Had I been just a bit more tired, I might have gotten in a nap.

On the other hand, we did see Sling Blade (for like the 12th time) – and that is nearly a perfect movie. It has almost nothing exciting in it, but the dialog and the characters are so compelling. This is all I need to make a movie memorable and worth multiple views.

If it were not so late, I might make a short list of movies I’ll see over and over again.
OK, here are a few:

  • Sling Blade
  • Pulp Fiction
  • Blade Runner
  • Safety Not Guaranteed
  • Source Code
  • Moonrise Kingdom


Why You Should Have A Blog

Spoiler alert: This post will seem to be completely self-serving, unless you’ve always wanted to communicate with a wider audience on any topic you deem important.

Rouzell Enterprises, D.B.A. Mousehelp, is available to help you create, host, and maintain your own weblog – commonly known as a blog. Your site will be up and running within an hour (assuming you can make decisions quickly) and you’ll have your first post live on the web after the first session.

Typical cost for the entire package – 10 hours of demonstration and hands-on instruction – is $900. For most people, sessions of one to two hours seem to work best, as the learning curve seems a bit steep during the first lesson. You take home new knowledge, complete with notes, and you work with what you’ve learned, then come back for more. It’s fun and easy, with personal instruction.

Why should you want a blog? The answers are as varied as personalities among writers.

Perhaps that is the first answer. You are a writer. That’s one of the very best reasons to have and maintain a blog. Some people just enjoy writing. For me, this is reason enough to write. And, of course, since I’ve been working with computer technology for about 30 years now, publishing my creations on the web is a natural fit for me. Are you a writer? If so, blogging is definitely for you.

You are a photographer. Sharing your beautiful images with the world is so easy, with a website or a blog. You may also use this kind of showcase to sell your creations, as one of my clients does, using smug mug.

Which leads perfectly into another reason to blog; you have something to sell. Or, maybe you just want to produce content relative to something else you are doing online, like your website, which is where you really sell your product or service.

This might open up the discussion of how blogging contributes to SEO, but that is a topic for a whole new article (to be posted later). SEO is something we do at – to help you get more attention on your website. Blog posts can be used by linking key phrases in your content to specific pages on your website. That’s all we’re going to say about this for now.

By the way, websites and blogs are technically the same thing, with a subtle difference. Websites are usually created with a much wider purpose and a weblog is intended to be a running stream of new content, produced periodically in a kind of sequential journal entry fashion. If a distinction must be made, a blog is a website, but a website is most often not a blog. Many websites include a link to a blog, in a kind of hybrid application.

In the interest of brevity, we’ll wrap up with this: Electronic Communications is the best way to get your message in front of the masses. Blogging is one of the easiest ways to get started with Electronic Communications.

One call or one email to Mousehelp at Rouzell dot com is all it takes to get started. Click any of the links on this page for more information.

Pursued by Bear

Watching CBS Sunday Morning almost always yields a few gems for me. The title of this post is the same as the name of wine produced by Kyle MacLachlan. That name (of the wine) comes from a bit of esoteric information, which is why I include it here. I’m a big fan of the little things.

The result is this: a wine he calls Pursued by Bear.  He took the name from a stage direction in Shakespeare’s “The Winter’s Tale”:  Exit, pursued by a bear. The 2013 vintage, basically still just grape juice, is already showing promise. 

As always, here is a link to information about that segment, from their website. 

If you would like to read my diatribe about full attribution, click here to jump to, where I discuss the importance of giving credit to the original source. I’m working on a compilation of material from a number of sources and am carefully requesting permission from each of them, prior to including their work in my production. It’s all about being positive and giving credit where credit is due.

Back to the bear and the pursuit – I just really admire the use of some little bit of seemingly insignificant information as the name of something truly meaningful to the new user. 

At the end of our last Toastmasters meeting, I quoted ZZ Top, from their “Degüello” album, released in 1979. The first line of the first song is this; “You didn’t have to love me like you did, but you did, but you did, and I thank you.” I said it and I meant it. 

30 Things to Start Doing

30 Things to Start Doing


This is the brighter side of an article entitled: “30 Things to Stop Doing to Yourself” – posted long ago and recently shared with me by my sister, Linda. As soon as I saw the title, I knew I would have to rewrite it from the positive perspective. Knowing what we do today about the subconscious and neuroplasticity, it makes more sense to think about what to do.

So, without further ado, let’s “do-be-do-be-do!” 

  1. Spend time with the right people. You know who brings quality improvement to your life. Go get more of that.
  2. Face your problems.  Plan for the outcome.  Make a list and then list your options.
  3. Be true to yourself. Work on what’s right with you. Flush the rest. Do what you know you should be doing to live a fulfilling life.
  4. Figure out what you need and find a way to get that.
  5. Be who you are, as you work on becoming the “best you” you can be.
  6. Look to the future. The past holds no promise.
  7. Do something without fear of failure.
  8. Forgive your past mistakes and move on. See number 6 – look forward.
  9. Focus on the free stuff that makes you happy. Love, friends, doggies, and the satisfaction that comes from helping others, along with writing and public speaking; all of these create joy in your life.
  10. Decide to be happy. Yes, number 9 says something else. But, you are allowed to be happy by yourself.
  11. Evaluate and take decisive action. Progress involves risk. Steal second base, if you want to score.
  12. Do something before you are ready. He who hesitates is lost. Go, do, observe, and adjust.
  13. Be alone rather than be in bad company.
  14. Take the risk of forging new relationships. Any one of them may bring out the best in you.
  15. Be better for yourself. Compare your results with past results and continue to improve.
  16. Want what you’ve got. You have good stuff. Enjoy it. See number 30.
  17. Find the growth you’ve achieved through past failures. Use that for future success.
  18. Forgive everyone for past transgressions – free yourself of the burden of grudges.
  19. Raise your standards and maintain them at a high level. Let others judge themselves.
  20. Do what you know is right and you’ll never have to explain.
  21. Step back and take a longer view of what you do. Make any changes you see as necessary.
  22. Stop and smell the roses. You know you enjoy the little pleasures in life. So, do more of that.
  23. Accept that it cannot be perfect – you’ll get more done. The right moment you are waiting for may never come, so start without it.
  24. Take on the task that presents resistance. Extraordinary achievements require a bit of effort.
  25. Cry, if you must. Maybe you’ll feel better after that.
  26. Take responsibility for your life. You created it and continue to create it.
  27. Be what you can be, one moment and one day at a time. Give and do what you can and move on.
  28. Plan, instead of worrying.  Write down the steps and adjust as needed.
  29. Focus on what you want to have happen.
  30. Be grateful.



One dollar and eighty-seven cents.

One dollar and eighty-seven cents.

One dollar and eighty-seven cents.

If you are O. Henry, you get away with it. The first line of The Gift of the Magi is a phrase. Any reasonable spelling and grammar checker, or proofreader, would certainly call out the error. But this is no ordinary work of literature. This is from the venerable O. Henry and a story well known and well told through the years. 
Sickening it was for to me to find this book; “Tales of O. Henry” – it has been sitting on a shelf above and to the left of where I have written thousands of words for my blogs. I did finally manage to take down the hefty tome and discover this story anew.
“They are the magi.” Those words end this story. And now I have to go off and do my research, to find when and where, and who; was this author. How many great stories have I not read, and what shall I learn by studying the techniques of one of the greats.
“… with sniffles predominating.” 
How do you come up with something like that?!?