A&W is the taste of Northwestern Ontario. Not Thunder Bay, but rather highway 11/17, more specifically White River… the halfway stopping point between TBay and the Soo (Sault Ste. Marie) where A&W has had a major stranglehold on the fast food market for over two decades. Every time I eat at an A&W, which I admit isn’t very often… less than once ever three years I’d say… I’m reminded of family excursions from Northern to Southern Ontario.
The Onion Rings at A&W, with it’s heavily seasoned, crumbly coating, are almost as classic as their root beer, the latter of which is always best served in a frosted A&W mug, but rarely is served like that anymore.
Of course, eating and enjoying A&W meal leads to two things: excess calories and guilt.
Don’t buy cheap kites. If they cost less than $5 and have some sort of licensed character on them, beware. They’re cheap for a reason, they’re crappy quality, they don’t stay together, and they don’t fly. You might as well just throw your money in the garbage.
It’s about time I learned that quality, whether food, toys, electronics or virtually anything else, does not come cheap.
Probably the most famous film to come out of Italy, The Bicycle Thief is set post-WWII when destitution and desperation were at an all time high. People who were unemployed were desperate for work, pawning their possessions, bed sheets and linens even, just to survive, sending their children out for employ just to bring in something extra. Ricci finally gets a summons to be help put up posters, but he will need a bicycle to transport himself around the city, pasting up the Rita Hayworth portraits he’s been given. Scrounging together with his wife to pull his bicycle out of hock, he’s absolutely elated to start his new job, given a bucket of paste, and a ladder which he precariously balances on his arm while cycling. The film’s title gives away the catalyst for the film’s main story, and director Vittorio De Sica, along with his composer, build the intensity on when and where the bicycle will get stolen. And it is intense, heartbreakingly so. The times, so tragic and tough, Ricci’s desperation so palpable, that the film is nearly unbearable to watch as the man and his son race through Roma in search of the proverbial needle in a haystack. This is realist cinema to the extreme (”neorealist”) , not a trace of Hollywood sanctimony or patronization, there’s no happy ending here. I wasn’t expecting a pre-1950’s film to be this brutally honest, this so thoroughly realistic. I yearned for a feel-good resolution which never came, some sort of miraculous deus ex machina twist to make Ricci’s plight all better. Alas.
I’ve not been exposed to a lot of native Italian culture (only the cross-ocean Canadian and New York) but I see where the cliches and sterotypes get their origins, as well as the mannerisms and attitudes, the sense of family and community. This film is a fascinating time capsule outside of it’s morose story.
Like how watching a film taking place in the hot, dry heat of a desert makes you psychosomatically thirsty, this film will make you feel absolutely grateful to have a job, any job with which to support yourself.