Sunday, July 24, 2011

Friends With Benefits

Very light summer fare.

Justin Timberlake and Mila Kunis have great on-screen chemistry as Dylan and Jamie in this raunchy romantic comedy. The plot centers around these two principal characters who have decided that long-term relationships are problematic and a waste of time. Instead, they opt for sex without baggage. Complications arise as the film alternates between New York and Los Angeles.

Patricia Clarkson and Woody Harrelson provide comic effect with their supporting roles as Jamie's hippie mom and Dylan's unlikely mentor. Note: Harrelson plays the part of a gay sports editor.

Less than two hours in length, the film moves quickly.

Watch the trailer.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Inspired by Derek Foster

Last evening, I joined a large group of Guelphites who had gathered at the main branch of the Guelph Public Library. We all hoped to glean valuable knowledge and advice from Derek Foster, one of Canada's youngest millionaires.

This dynamic young man spent his twenties travelling around Europe, Australia, New Zealand and Asia. During that time he continually invested and, one day, he realized his investments had made him a millionaire. He retired at age 34 and wrote a number of national bestselling books about investing.

In the hour-long presentation, he shared many of his strategies with us.
  • Do not invest in any stocks dependent upon the economy. For example, airlines and RIM. 
  • Select simple, recession proof stocks. Look for products that are used daily and dominated by few players. For example, Crest and Colgate are two dominant players in the toothpaste industry. 
  • Buy stocks that pay dividends.
  • Use a discount broker.
  • In his latest book, The Idiot Millionaire, Derek recommends over 40 stocks. 

    Thursday, July 14, 2011

    The Art of Racing in the Rain

    I love the summer book clubs. We meet at different restaurants in Guelph and discuss the month's selections over drinks and wonderful meals.

    Earlier this evening, ten of us gathered at the Red Papaya restaurant in downtown Guelph. After ordering a variety of Thai dishes, we discussed Garth Stein's entertaining novel, The Art of Racing in the Rain.

    We all agreed that the book is a delightful and uplifting read. It is a story of family, love, loyalty and hope told from the perspective of Enzo, the philosopher dog.  On the eve of his death, Enzo takes stock of his life and recalls all the experiences of the Swift family.

    I was very impressed with how Stein incorporated symbolism into the novel. He related the art of race car driving to living life with its many ups and downs.

    A great summer read for dog lovers and wannabe dog lovers of all ages.

    Wednesday, July 6, 2011

    Dinner with Writers Ink

    Last night, our group was a very small one. We discussed our respective writing journeys and plans for the future.

    We were all glad to hear that Dennis Fitter has completed the first draft of his novel and will be polishing it up in Mexico this summer. We look forward to hearing more about the editing and publishing process.

    As usual, the food was wonderful and we left inspired to continue writing.

    Saturday, July 2, 2011

    Larry Crowne

    I chose to ignore the critics who lambasted this movie in the reviews. I shook my head when I read Peter Howell's review in yesterday's Toronto Star. I do not agree with the following description:  "It's a movie of unbelievable characters, fake emotions and unearned resolutions, cynically pitched as a summer feel-good flick about coping with unemployment."

    When summer rolls around, I enjoy watching light, funny and feel-good movies. Larry Crowne delivers on all counts. The movie touches on many timely themes--unemployment, foreclosure of homes, and new beginnings. Unlike recent movies dealing with similar issues, Larry Crowne provides an uplifting and optimistic message.

    Tom Hanks plays the part of Larry Crowne, a 50something store employee who deals with his downsizing by returning to school. His teacher is played by Julia Roberts. Although the storyline is a predictable one, there are many humorous asides along the way.

    Watch the trailer.