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Cinema Cindy Reviews ‘The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies’

on December 22, 2014 - 8:00am
Los Alamos

"The Battle of the Five Armies" is the third in a trilogy of Peter Jackson films based on “The Hobbit,” a children’s novel by J. R. R. Tolkien. In the edition I have on my shelf, “The Hobbit” is just 287 pages long. For fans of Tolkien, using three chapters to tell the tale has prolonged the pleasure. For other less fanatic moviegoers, this film will at least be found entertaining.

It takes 144 minutes to tell the last 50 pages of the novel with this film.

Smart Design With Suzette: Flooring

on December 21, 2014 - 12:23pm
Smart Design with Suzette

Let me count the ways ... tile, bamboo (technically a grass), cork, wood, linoleum (not vinyl), terrazzo, stained concrete and carpet to name a few.

I need new floors desperately! My husband and I moved into our house more than 12 years ago and the floors were worn then. There are six, yes I said SIX, different floors in my house. I know, I know, you are taken aback. Yet, I am just like you when it comes to deciding on flooring that will work for the entire family that everyone disagrees on.

I grew up with wood floors.

Cinema Cindy Reviews ‘Exodus: Gods and Kings’

on December 20, 2014 - 9:35am
Los Alamos

“Exodus: Gods and Kings,” Director Ridley Scott’s take on the epic Bible story of the Exodus, will not be replacing “The Ten Commandments” anytime soon. Or as my husband said, exiting the theater, “Cecil B. DeMille’s legacy is safe.”

Exodus: Gods and Kings is shot in dark tones and features a great many poorly lit scenes. The visuals are as ominous as the score. Some of the lines are mumbled. The finer details are lost in the murkiness on the screen. Perhaps that is all intentional. We never quite know what is going on in these shadows.

Fitness Column: Safe Snow Shoveling

on December 18, 2014 - 1:53pm
Safe Snow Shoveling

It happens every year at this time. People injure themselves while shoveling snow.

The most common injuries while shoveling snow are back and shoulder injuries. While these injuries are most often moderate injuries that can be resolved, the best way to treat the injury is to prevent it in the first place.

Shoveling snow places a large amount of stress on the lower back because of the forward flexion position most of us assume while shoveling. For your safety, avoid a forward lean when you shovel and maintain the natural curve in your spine.

This Week at the Reel Deal

on December 17, 2014 - 9:40am
Reel Deal Theater

Today, we are opening The Hobbit: The Battle of Five Armies. On Friday, we will open Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb.

 We will hold The Theory of Everything and Exodus until Christmas Eve and open Wild and The Interview on Christmas Day.

The buzz in Hollywood is whether or not Sony Pictures will actually open The Interview due to the fallout and Internet hacking with and by the North Koreans. The film plot follows two journalists played by Seth Rogen and James Franco whom the CIA recruits to assassinate Kim Jong-un.

Food on the Hill: Bourbon-Drenched Salmon

on December 16, 2014 - 8:59am
Food on the Hill

Salmon is delicious to a lot of hungry creatures: humans, bears, eagles, dogs, cats and raccoons. Other predators at different stages of a salmon’s life include large ducks like goosanders and red-breasted mergansers, cormorants, gulls, fish, otters, seals and sharks. 

Salmon filets poached or baked in a flavorful sauce make an excellent contribution to a meal for a crowd. The dish does not take extensive preparation, cooks fairly quickly and makes a nice counterpoint to holiday hams and other meats.

I’ve taken this salmon dish to a few large events recently,

How the Hen House Turns: Oscar the Cat

on December 16, 2014 - 8:01am
How the Hen House Turns:
Oscar the Cat
Column by Carolyn A. (Cary) Neeper, Ph. D.

A short time after we moved from San Leandro, California to Hayward, my brother Harold and friends found a litter of kittens under the Fairview schoolhouse. He brought one yellow and tan fluffball home and introduced him to our dog Boots. Somehow the calico cat grew into the handsome feline I knew as Oscar.

I wish I could remember him as a kitten, but I will never forget him as an adult. Though loving and friendly, as evidenced by rubbing against our jeans, he preferred not to be cuddled.

Cinema Cindy Reviews 'The Theory of Everything'

on December 15, 2014 - 8:30am
Los Alamos

“The Theory of Everything” tells the story of Steven Hawking and his first wife, Jane, who met while they were students at Cambridge. The movie is based on Jane Hawking’s memoir, Travelling to Infinity: My Life with Steven. With the help of the memoir, we gain insight into a more human and emotional side of the famous physicist.

Movie poster for 'The Theory of Everything.' Courtesy/Reel Deal Theater

Hawking was diagnosed with a form of ALS in 1963 while working on his doctorate. He and Jane had, by then, fallen in love.

Yang: Artist-Entrepreneur Nexus

on December 15, 2014 - 7:35am

Artist-Entrepreneur Nexus
Los Alamos

The knowing-doing gap infects the majority of us, at least occasionally if not frequently. Sometimes, it’s a matter of exercising our will to push ourselves into action, but more often than not, the stumbling block transcends willpower.

Recently, I came across a short article in a small town, advising artists to treat their artwork as a business enterprise. Self-promotion, learning different 21st century tools to market the art, attending to tax issues, hiring an accountant or bookkeeper, and so on.

Smart Design With Suzette: Interior Finishes – Paint & Wallcoverings

on December 14, 2014 - 9:37am
Smart Design with Suzette
Interior Finishes – Paint and Wallcoverings

In an eco-friendly world interior finishes should be earth-sensitive, meaning they should be safe for people and the environment.

We have come a long way in the last few years. There are many eco-friendly choices to make.

Wallcoverings – What to look for:

This photo demonstrates an inspiration piece (pillow) in choosing paint color and spreading accent colors around the room. Courtesy/

Today’s wallcoverings come in modern, eye-catching designs made from green materials that are perfect

Cinema Cindy Reviews ‘Birdman (Or The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)’

on December 12, 2014 - 9:15am
Los Alamos

“Birdman (or The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)” is a film exploring the self-absorption of actors, the nature of reality and the role of the theatrical arts in the lives of those who watch. Or it could be a movie about what is real and our own self-absorption. Either way, it is a film one must negotiate along with the characters.

Birdman is worthy of our attention. It was nominated for 7 Golden Globes, on Thursday, and garnered four nominations from the Screen Actors Guild Awards on Wednesday. Oscar nods are rumored, as you might expect.

But, be aware

Solo Traveler: Prehistoric Man Part II

on December 11, 2014 - 8:55am
The Visitors Center at Les Combarelles. Photo by Sherry Hardage
The displays of the new drawings recently discovered in Les Combarelles. Photo by Sherry Hardage
Solo Traveler: Prehistoric Man Part II

Our guide at Combarelles, the day after we visited L’Abri du Cap Blanc, was the same man from Cap Blanc! His English had improved slightly with all that practice with us the day before. He did a decent job explaining the inscribed drawings in the narrow snake-like cave.

Combarelles consists of two caves that open into a single entrance. One is closed off completely.

This Week at the Reel Deal

on December 10, 2014 - 11:14am
Reel Deal Theater  

This Friday we are opening The Theory of Everything and Exodus. Penguins of Madagascar, and Hunger Games: Mockingjay: Part 1 will hold for another week. Birdman and Horrible Bosses 2 will end this Thursday.

I saw Birdman last night and it probably is in my top three favorite films so far this year. This film is one you want to see on the big screen as it is set within the vestiges of the rambling old St. James Theater (est. 1927) in New York City which in its youth premiered the likes of Oklahoma, The King and I, and Hello Dolly. It really sets

Food on the Hill: Muhammara Sauce

on December 10, 2014 - 11:13am
Food on the Hill

The unmistakable influence of the Arab world in New Mexico came as a surprise to me when I was preparing a meal for a special Earth Day event a few years ago—a meal based on the fruits and vegetables in the gardens of “New Spain.” 

Ultimately, it was the fragrant and concentrated flavors of orange blossom essence, rosewater, rose petal syrup and pomegranate molasses in some of the Spanish recipes I found that revealed the depth of the Arabic contributions to that cuisine. 

A book published this fall by the late Juan Estevan Arellano, “Enduring

Yang: Versus, Either-Or: It’s A Lazy Way Of Thinking

on December 8, 2014 - 12:59pm

Versus, Either-Or: It’s A Lazy Way Of Thinking
Los Alamos

In management talks, one common framing is “leaders vs. managers,” or, “leadership vs. management.” Many managers like to think that they are leaders when they can’t even manage well. And most self-proclaimed leaders think that managing is beneath them. 

Clearly, in our minds we assign values to these two roles. Yet, true leaders, with humility, spend valuable time understanding the people around them, their work, and the context; wise managers value the knowledge of how work is done and think holistically.

Goldblatt: How To Handle The Holidays

on December 8, 2014 - 9:51am
Bereavement and Volunteer Coordinator
Los Alamos Visiting Nurses/
How To Handle The Holidays

With the Holidays fast approaching, you may feel the absence of your loved one even more than at other times of the year.  It may seem strange to you to celebrate, in light of your recent or past loss. You may even feel it would be somehow inappropriate to make preparations for festivities without the presence of your family member, or friend.

It is true that holidays can be a most difficult time for those who are recently bereaved.


Smart Design With Suzette: What Is Eco-Design?

on December 7, 2014 - 1:29pm
An updated wreath is now the perfect color for this salmon door. Photo by Suzette Fox
Put treasured decorations in a new spot every year. Photo by Suzette Fox
Smart Design with Suzette
What is Eco-Design?

Today launches the first of a series of columns on design. I’ve been in the design world since 1985 when I worked for an architectural firm in Florida known for their modern office buildings. A lot has changed since then. My love of interior design has blossomed into a passion for ‘green’ living.

I am an Eco-Designer.

Hannemann's Music Corner: Clean Your Instrument

on December 7, 2014 - 11:19am

Grant: Tis The Season To Take Care Of Yourself

on December 3, 2014 - 1:01pm
Los Alamos

Christmas is the time of year when music choruses of “Fa La La La La” chime through our ears. For some this may invoke joy, for others it can create dread, stress, depression and loneliness.  

I come from a large Irish-Catholic family and when we were growing up, we lived on a shoe string. But we still celebrated Christmas with a fresh tree and food on the table. I don’t remember a sense of deprivation because I had something extraordinary: seven brothers and sisters.


This Week at the Reel Deal

on December 3, 2014 - 6:37am
Reel Deal Theater  

This Friday our line-up will be Birdman, Penguins of Madagascar, Horrible Bosses 2 and Hunger Games: Mockingjay: Part 1. Interstellar will end this Thursday.

Birdman won Best Picture and Michael Keaton won Best Actor for his performance at the Gotham Independent Film Awards last evening. This film will open at the Reel Deal this Friday and probably run for one week only unless folks really come out for it in which case we could play it for two weeks. It has gotten rave reviews so we hope to see you at the theater.

Theory of Everything will open

How the Hen House Turns—Remembering Browny

on December 3, 2014 - 6:33am
How the Hen House Turns
Remembering Browny
Column by Carolyn A. (Cary) Neeper, Ph. D.

Back on the California farm, sometime in the early 1940s, the neighborhood dog, a huge chestnut German shepherd named Browny, came to a tragic end.

As I reflect on my early years with animals, I realize that I celebrate his life for several reasons. Knowing him, accepting his way of life, impressed my six-year-old mind with the fact that dogs have personality and self-directed consciousness. Browny knew no master, but responded to us kids with interest and friendly respect.

We decided the big German

Food on the Hill: Smoked Salmon On Cucumber Rounds

on December 2, 2014 - 9:28am
Food on the Hill
This Week's Recipe: Smoked Salmon on Cucumber Rounds

Are the holiday party invitations rolling in? Are many of them potluck? Are you looking for a flavorful, low-cal appetizer recipe that is gluten-free, dairy-free, can be made ahead of time and has the charm of being red and green? Here’s one! 

Lightly adapted from Eric Akis’ “Everyone Can Cook for Celebrations,” these treats tend to disappear quickly from the table.

Quantity - about 20 pieces

Photo by Felicia Orth
4 ounces smoked salmon, finely chopped
3 tablespoons finely chopped

Cinema Cindy Reviews Mockingjay, Part 1

on November 29, 2014 - 6:04am

TALES OF OUR TIMES: Value Variable Weather, Politics

on November 28, 2014 - 10:47am

New Mexico Citizens
for Clean Air & Water

Value Variable Weather, Politics

People wander among natural joys – sun, food, shelter, canyons, the night sky, ripples of ideas, sand dunes, and getting your way some of the time. Keeping your own list is part of the fun.      

A gem that gets overlooked is the variety of weather. The plum is not “weather,” but “variety.” Everyone likes sun. Everyone wants rain. Snow has fans and critics. Nature’s variability is its virtue.

Imagine a “weatherstat” that you set to your favorite weather.


Solo Traveler: Prehistoric Man, Part I

on November 28, 2014 - 10:24am
Prehistoric Venus Figurine. Photo by Sherry Hardage   
Reconstructed woman's face from skull found in the L'Abri du Cap Blanc burial. Photo by Sherry Hardage 
Solo Traveler: Prehistoric Man, Part I

In Paris there is a famous museum, dedicated to all that is human, called Museé du Quai Branly. It has a collection of art and useful objects from around the globe, created by humans since the dawn of our species.

On a recent trip to France, there was simply too much else to see. That museum will be one of many enticements to lure me back.