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Friday, December 28, 2007

Ratatouille Images

Ratatouille (pronounced /ˌrætəˈtuːiː/, /-ˈtwiː/; French: /ʁatatuj/) is a 2007 animated feature film produced by Pixar and distributed by Walt Disney Pictures. It tells the story of Rémy (voiced by Patton Oswalt), a rat living in Paris who wants to be a chef. The film was directed by Brad Bird, who took over from Jan Pinkava in 2005, and it was released on June 29, 2007 in the United States, to both critical acclaim and box office success.

Rémy lives in a rat colony in the attic of a French country home with his brother, Émile, and father, Django. Inspired by France's recently deceased top chef, Auguste Gusteau, Rémy does his best to live the life of a gourmet. Not appreciating his talents, his clan puts him to work sniffing for rat poison in their food.

The rats flee the house when the resident, an old woman, discovers the colony. Rémy is separated from the others and floats through the storm drains to Paris on a cookbook written by Gusteau, following the chef's image to his namesake restaurant, now run by former sous-chef Skinner. As Rémy looks into the kitchen from a skylight, a young man with no culinary talent, Alfredo Linguini, arrives with a letter of introduction from his recently deceased mother, and is hired to do janitorial duties. While cleaning, Linguini spills a pot of soup and attempts to cover up his mistake by adding nearby ingredients. Horrified, Rémy drops into the kitchen and attempts to fix the ruined soup rather than trying to escape. Linguini catches Rémy in the act, just as Skinner catches Linguini. In the confusion some of the soup has been served. To everyone's surprise, the soup is a success.

The kitchen's sole female cook, Colette, convinces Skinner not to fire Linguini, and Skinner agrees, provided Linguini can recreate the soup. Just as Skinner makes his decision, he sees Rémy trying to escape out the window and pandemonium breaks out in the kitchen. Linguini traps Rémy in a jar and Skinner orders Linguini to take Rémy away and dispose of him. Linguini cannot bring himself to kill Rémy, and begins to talk to him. As he tells Remy about his problems, he notices that Remy seems to understand him and responds with a series of nods and other gestures. The unlikely pair begin an alliance by which Rémy (now referred to by Linguini as "Little Chef") secretly controls Linguini's cooking in return for his protection. The two perfect a marionette-like arrangement by which Rémy tugs at Linguini's hair to direct his movements while hidden under Linguini's toque blanche.

Skinner, suspicious of Linguini's success in recreating the soup, plies Linguini with vintage Château Latour in an unsuccessful attempt to discover the secret of his unexpected talents and of his knowledge of rats. The next morning, hung over and disheveled, Linguini nearly confides his secret to Colette. Desperately trying to stop Linguini, Rémy pulls his hair, making him fall on Colette and leading the two to kiss. They begin dating, leaving Rémy to feel abandoned. Meanwhile, Skinner learns from the letter of introduction that, unknown to everyone but his mother, Linguini is in fact Gusteau's son and stands to inherit the restaurant and imperil Skinner's ambition to exploit Gusteau's image to market prepared frozen foods.

One night, Rémy and his colony are reunited. At the ensuing party, he surprises his father by saying that he is not going to stay with the colony, but instead continue to live near the humans. In response, Django shows Rémy the storefront of a rodent control business, which is filled with dead rats in traps. Rémy, horrified, does not believe that this is all the future can be, and leaves.

While scrounging food Rémy discovers Gusteau's will, which, after a chase by Skinner, he presents to Linguini. Linguini now owns the restaurant, fires Skinner, and becomes a rising star in the culinary world. Later, Rémy and Linguini have a falling out, with Linguini deciding he no longer needs Rémy's help. Rémy retaliates by leading a kitchen raid for his rat colony. Linguini attempts to apologize to Rémy, only to discover and expel his colony. Rémy feels guilty about hurting his friend, and refuses to join them in resuming the raid.

Things come to a head the night of a planned review by food critic Anton Ego, whose contemptuous earlier review of Gusteau's cooking reduced his five-star restaurant to four stars and eventually led to Gusteau's untimely death (which ended up dropping his restaurant's rating down to three stars). When asked what he would like for the evening, Ego challenges the staff to prepare whatever they dare serve him. Linguini, unable to cook without the rat's guidance, admits his ruse to the staff as Rémy has returned to help Linguini impress Ego, leading them all to walk out. Colette returns after thinking of Gusteau's motto, "Anyone can cook!" Django, inspired by his son's courage in continuing his dream to cook, returns with the entire rat colony to cook under Rémy's direction, while Linguini, discovering his true talent, waits tables at lightning speed on roller skates. Rémy decides to prepare ratatouille, a traditional dish that would not usually be considered haute cuisine, but does it so well that one bite of it leads Ego to relive childhood memories of his mother. Ego asks to meet the chef and after a frantic consultation with Colette, Linguini and Colette insist he must wait until the rest of the diners have left. At the end of the service, Rémy and the rats are revealed. A changed man, Ego writes a glowing review, declaring that the chef at Gusteau's is the greatest chef in all of France.

In the dénouement Gusteau's is closed by a health inspector, who finds the rats after being tipped off by Skinner. Ego loses his credibility and job when the public discovers he has praised a rat-infested restaurant. Everything is for the best, however; with Ego as investor and regular patron, Linguini, Colette, and Rémy open a successful new bistro called "La Ratatouille," which includes a kitchen and dining facilities for both rats and humans.

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Children's Cliparts

The World Through Three Senses

I am not a teacher or an educator, but I have always believed that infants should be taught as soon as possible before they speak, to notice objects pretty or delightful or unusual. I have noted the wholesome effect upon a baby of fixing his eyes upon a pleasing colour or a delicately carved shell, listening to music that soothes or enchants him, touching a face he loves or smelling a flower to which he smiles.

If the mother puts as much gentle art into this delicate fostering of all his physical powers as she does into the task of preserving his health, her reward will be past calculating. The child's five senses are the faithful fairies who, if cherished and heeded, will surrender to him their priceless tokens of royalty -- the splendor at the rainbow's end, the seven-league books of imagination, lovely dreams fulfilled. He will always be charged or comforted by sky, earth and sea. Not only will he reach a well-ordered stewardship of his senses, he will also have the best chance of spiritual maturity.

For there is, I am convinced, a correspondence between the powers of the body and those of the spirit, and when the five senses -- or whatever of them there are -- serve as entrances into an inner world, the individual attains his or her fullest capacity of pleasure as well as self-mastery. Every person, every group thus excellently equipped for living is the greatest possible contribution to humanity. That is why I like to celebrate the accomplishments of the handicapped whom necessity drives to us all the faculties that remains. They show that normal beings can and should do with a complete set of faculties.

Once parents and teachers realize the tremendous potencies of good folded up in sense-life and set about developing them in children, they will confer upon the coming generation a blessing that will carry through untold ages its multiplying harvests of alertness, strength and beauty of life.

By Helen Keller

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Thursday, December 27, 2007

Christian Cliparts

Our Lady Teaches Her Son

God became Man, to remake his world; he became a little child, and I suppose he used to play games; I don't think the Sacred Humanity would have been quite human if our Lord had never played games. And the best playmate he had, if so, was his Blessed Mother, such a short distance away from girlhood herself, who was so good at sympathizing, at seeing other people's points of view. At any rate, she was the Wisdom which accompanied him through all those steps of early childhood. Our Lord had, if he cared to use it, all the knowledge which is enjoyed by the blessed Saints in heaven. But, in order to be perfectly Man, he preferred to acquire knowledge by experience and by hearsay, just as you and I do. He went to school in the carpenter's shop; but his education had begun long before that. He had been learning all the time, "increasing in wisdom," the gospel tells us. And the person who taught him that wisdom was his mother -- who else should it be? ...

You have to think of a mother and her little son, who is just learning to talk in words of one syllable. They are looking out, from some point a bit west of Nazareth, at the great mass of Mount Carmel dominating the plain. And the boy asks,"Ma zeh?" (What's that?) And his mother answers,"That's ha-har (the mountain); say 'Har,' Jesus." Or they are a bit east of Nazareth, and suddenly through a gap in the hills they are looking down, across precipitous miles, at the Lake of Galilee where it forms a blue floor at the bottom of the plain. And this time she says,"Ha-yam(the sea); say 'Yam', Jesus." Or she takes him with her in the cool of the evening when she carries a jug to draw water at the spring called the Fountain of the Virgin, after her. And this time she says,"Ha-'em(the spring); say 'Em' Jesus." So the mind-pictures of the Incarnate were formed; and when he preached, years later, about a city set on a hill, or fishermen casting their nets into the sea, or a spring of water welling up to eternal life, he was utilizing the wisdom he had learned from that wise playmate of his, long ago.

By Monsignor Ronald Knox

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Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Bible Cliparts

The Letters of Love

In India, children are not put to bed just because it is eight o'clock. When it is time for the child to go to bed, someone in the family goes to bed with the child. When the child falls asleep, the person leaves the bed. See the feedback given here. When that child grows up, how will he feel toward those parents who were so giving and supportive?

I am reminded of Kabir, who says,"There are many scholars in the world who are constantly studying scriptures, but none of them has become a really wise person. Only that person can become wise who learns two and one half letters...." In Hindi, when we write "prem", which means "love", we use two-and-a-half letters. Kabir is saying that a person only needs to learn the letters of Love to become wise. In English, we have four Letters, L-o-v-e. How much time do we give to that?

Many of you complain that you were not loved by your parents. There is no sense in complaining about parents. They might not have been given good feedback in their own childhood and were victims of whatever situations they were in. There is something wonderful in being a great parent. Wouldn't you like to be the type of parent about whom your children could feel proud? Then, when you are old and no longer needed, they would still feel that attraction in your presence, as though they were being charmed with Divine energy, love and joy.

If we could change the setting and be wonderful parents, it would be uplifting for us as well as for our younger generation. How much time do we spend with our children? We spend time with television, with girlfriends and boyfriends; we spend time making money. We already have enough abundance, my friends. Now it is time for us to work on our love and selflessness.

Many people love to meditate, to go to seminars and retreats. You are running to a cave and meditating not because you really care for God but because you are still not able to see God in day-to-day life in your puppy, in your spouse, in your child. God is everywhere. God is in me, God is in you. Can you experience God only when you close your eyes?

When you appreciate tenderly, lovingly and joyfully, you not only help others whom you are appreciating and flattering but you help yourself in the process. By making someone happy, you become happy. You may become lost in the beauty of that experience. Ultimately, there is no other mystical experience than being lost.

By Swami Shantanand Saraswati

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Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Christmas Cartoons

Little Women Plan Christmas

"Christmas won't be Christmas without any presents," grumbled Jo, lying on the rug.

"It's so dreadful to be poor," sighed Meg, looking down at her old dress.

"I don't think it's fair for some girls to have plenty of pretty things, and other girls nothing at all," added little Amy, with an injured sniff.

"We've got Father and Mother and each other," said Beth contentedly, from her corner.

The four young faces on which the firelight shone brightened at the cheerful words, but darkened again as Jo said sadly,"We have not got Father, and shall not have for a long time." She didn't say "perhaps never," but each silently added it, thinking of Father far away, where the fighting was.

Nobody spoke for a minute; then Meg said in an altered tone,"You know the reason Mother proposed not having any presents this Christmas because it is going to be a hard winter for everyone; and she thinks we ought not to spend money for pleasure, when our men are suffering so in the army. We cannot do much, but we can make our little sacrifices, and ought to do it gladly. But I am afraid I don't." And Meg shook her head, as she thought regretfully of all the pretty things she wanted.

"But I don't think the little we should spend would do any good. We've each got a dollar, and the army wouldn't be much helped by our giving that. I agree not to expect anything from Mother or you, but I do want to buy Undine and Sintram for myself; I've wanted it so long," said Jo, who was a bookworm.

"I planned to spend mine on new music," said Beth, with a little sigh, which no one heard but the hearth brush and kettle holder.

"I shall get a nice box of drawing pencils; I really need them," said Amy decidedly.

"Mother didn't say anything about our money, and she won't wish us to give up everything. Let's each buy what we want, and have a little fun; I'm sure we work hard enough to earn it," cried Jo, examining the heels of her shoes in a gentlemanly manner.

The clock struck six, and having swept up the hearth, Beth put a pair of slippers down to warm. Somehow the sight of the old shoes had a good effect upon the girls, for Mother was coming, and everyone brightened to welcome her. Meg stopped lecturing, and lighted the lamp, Amy got out of the easy chair without being asked, and Jo forgot how tired she was as she sat up to hold the slippers nearer to the blaze.

"They are quite worn out; Marmee must have a new pair."

"I thought I'd get her some with my dollar," said Beth.

"No, I shall!" cried Amy.

"I'm the oldest," began Meg.

But Jo cut in with a decided,"I'm the man in the family now that Papa is away, and I shall provide the slippers, for he told me to take special care of Mother while he was gone."

"I'll tell you what we'll do," said Beth. "Let's each get her something for Christmas, and not get anything for ourselves."

"That's like you, dear! What will we get?" exclaimed Jo.

Everyone thought soberly for a minute. Then Meg announced, as if the idea was suggested by the sight of her own pretty hands, "I shall give her a nice pair of gloves."

"Army shoes, best to be had," cried Jo.

"Some handkerchiefs, all hemmed," said Beth.

"I'll get a bottle of cologne," said Amy.

"How will we give the things?" asked Meg.

"Put them on the table and bring her in and see her open the bundles," answered Jo. "Don't you remember how we used to do it on our birthdays?"

By Louisa May Alcott

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Sunday, December 23, 2007

Candles Graphics

A Good Friend

To have a child who is a good friend is of the highest delights of life; to be a good friend to a child is one of the noblest and most difficult undertakings.

Friendship depends not upon fancy, imagination or sentiment, but upon character. There is no one so poor that he is not rich if he had a friend; there is no one so rich that he is not poor without a friend. But the friendship of one's child is more than can be encompassed in words or covered in a relationship. Real friendship is abiding. Like charity, it suffereth long and is kind. Like love, it vaunteth not itself, but pursues the even tenor of its way, unaffrighted by ill-report, loyal in adversity, the solvent of infelicity, the shining jewel of happy days.

Being friends with one's child has not the iridescent joy of love, though it is closer than is often known to the highest, truest love. Its heights are ever serene, its valleys know few clouds.

To aspire to friendship with one's child, one must cultivate a capacity for faithful affection, a beautiful disinterestedness, a clear discernment. Friendship is a gift, but it is also an acquirement. It is like the rope with which climbers in the high mountains bind themselves for safety, and only a coward cuts the rope when a comrade is in danger.

From Cicero to Emerson, and long before Cicero, and forever after Emerson, the praises of friendship have been set forth. Even fragments of friendship with one's child are precious and to be treasured. But to have a whole, real friend in one's child is the greatest of earth's gifts save one. To be a whole, real friend with one's child is a worthy high endeavor, for faith, truth, courage and loyalty bring one close to the kingdom of heaven.
From The National Magazine Contest (1906)

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Sunday, December 16, 2007

Claude Monet Paintings

Palazzo da Mula, Venice

"Palazzo da Mula, Venice" was painted by Claude Monet in Oil on canvas during the Impressionism epoch in 1908. Original painting size was 31.9" x 24.4" (81.0cm x 62.0cm). The style of the painting is Impressionist and the theme represented is Landscape, Architecture. The painting is currently displayed at The National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC.

Claude Monet was Born on November 14th in Paris, France. French painter who was the initiator, leader, and unswerving advocate of the Impressionist style.

Monet's first success as an artist came when he was 15, with the sale of caricatures that were carefully observed and well drawn. In these early years he also executed pencil sketches of sailing ships, which were almost technical in their clear descriptiveness.

The concept of embracing spatiality, new to the history of painting and only implicit in the first water-lily paintings, unfolded during the years until the artist's death into a cycle of huge murals to be installed in Paris in two 80-foot oval rooms in the Orangerie of the Tuileries.

Water Lilies Pond

In 1893, in the garden at his home in Giverny, Monet created the water-lily pond that inspired his most famous works, the lyrical Nymphéas (water-lilies) paintings. Wildly popular retrospective exhibitions of his work toured the world during the last decades of the 20th century and established his unparalleled public appeal, sustaining his reputation as one of the most significant and popular figures in the modern Western painting tradition

Other Links

More Claude Monet Paintings
Claude Monet Biography
Claude Monet Calendar - sweet memories

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