Uncle Bardie’s Spotlight Movie: A bull in a china shop

Once a week on Friday, Uncle Bardie celebrates the creativity in others by shining a Spotlight on a movie, a song or a creator. This week’s Spotlight Movie is “Ferdinand” (2017):

Beginning with movies like “Toy Story” and “Lion KIng”, animated films stepped into a new golden age. Great animation, great stories and movies that could be appreciated by both children and adults are some of the qualities found in these movies.

Even though Pixar and Disney led the way, other studios like Blue Sky Studios, Nikelodeon, Dream  Works and Laika have stepped in and given us “Ice Age”, “Rango”, “Shrek” and “Kubo and the Two Strings”. When there are so many studios producing so many great features, that is a healthy sign. It means we will continue to get great animated features.

And now “Ferdinand” joins these first rate animated films. It is based on the book, “The Story of Ferdinand” (1936), written by Munro Leaf and illustrated by Robert Lawson.

What happens when a bull is a bull but does not want to be a bull? And not just any bull. A Spanish fighting bull.

Ferdinand is a calf being raised on a bull training ranch, Casa del Toro. His dad is a Spanish fighting bull. His friends are fighting bulls. Who knows? Maybe his mother was a Spanish fighting bull. All they live for is to get into the bull ring and charge. But not Ferdinand. All he wants to do is smell flowers.

So what does a bull with this particular dilemma do? He escapes. And finds a home with a young girl and her father. They raise flowers. Ferdinand grows up to be giganenormous bull. Despite following the directions of the father and girl, he follows them to the local village flower festival. And unleashes pandemonium and chaos. He is caught and taken back to Casa del Toro.

“Ferdinand” may be a bull in a china shop. But he is also a bull with a destiny. Folllow “Ferdinand” and watch him on his journey to reach that destiny. It will put a smile on your face.

Home by Nick Jonas

My Black Thumb

 With Spring coming on, I thought this would be the perfect piece to welcome her.

In the long, long time ago, I thought it would be nice to grow some flowers. So I chucked down to the local nursery and asked what would be a good flower to plant. I was overwhelmed with suggestions from that crew. It was like going out to dinner with a bunch of friends. Eight to be exact and they’re all saying, “You gotta try this. And this. And this.”

I mean the staff at the nursery went on and on about annuals and perennials. They suggested hibiscus, azaleas, roses, zinneas, periwinkles, begonias, rain lilies, magnolias, camelias and  all the kinds of flowers. They just knew they’d spiff up my lawn.

Little did they know that my lawn eats cats and dogs for breakfast. I have seen the neighborhood cat running forty miles an hour just to get away from the darn thing. But I didn’t want to disappoint them. So I didn’t share anything about the villain.

I didn’t plan to plant the flowers anywhere near the lawn. I bought several earth boxes and took some of the flowers with interesting sounding names. Begonia sounded Irish, so I took the potential begonia along with a periwinkle and azaleas. The staff threw in an hibiscus for free and I was a happy camper.

The nursery gave me instructions on how to plant, nurse and grow these little cuties into big adult flowers. The instructions came in a roll as long as a roll of toilet paper. I also bought some accessories like a little shovel to dig a hole in the dirt.

It cost me a big chunk of change but it was worth it. I mean, when I left that place, I was a ready teddy. And I was feeling good about myself. I was ready to beat that global warming single-handed and with one hand tied behind my back.

I got home and set the earth box out on my porch. I put it in a spot my lawn couldn’t see just in case. I got out my tiny shovel and dug holes in the dirt and planted my flowers. I watered them nice-like. Then I went back in my house, got myself a beer and settled into my nice comfy chair. You wouldn’t believe the smile I had on my face. I had done a good day’s work and I couldn’t have been happier.

Well, over the next few weeks, I watered them flowers just like the instructions in Chapter 32 of my roll said. I did not feed them the cheap plant food. I gave them the Good Stuff. Day after day, I did this for about two weeks.

Then one night I woke up to the weirdest sounds. It sounded like the noise was coming from the earth box. I ran out to the flowers and all of them were choking. They were having trouble breathing. Several of them had gone to the Big Flower Box in the Sky. One of the periwinkles choked out, “Water, water, water.”

I ran and filled the watering can. I got to the box. The periwinkle said, “Not tap water. Bottled wa–” and he died. It was the end of my flower-planting career. I asked my neighbor what had happened. He said, “So you thought you had a Green Thumb. Well, guess what. You and I both have black thumbs. The best thing you can do is go down to that nursery. Start dating the first single woman you meet there. Then marry her. That way you’ll have a Green Thumb in the family.”

And that’s exactly what I did. She has a way with flowers. And my lawn loves her too. Her name is Petunia Tree.

Death, a poem

we treat death as a thief
and we name it so
death is not a thief

death is a gift
a field of flowers
where we shall dance
on feet in wonder

death is a magician
transforming us
into our better selves