Recommended diversions

Going to the movies

Every now a then a great batch of movies is released, calling me to the movie theater to spend too much on an overpriced ticket, popcorn and a soda. This month you can refer to your film selection not by name, but by the A-list actors and actresses from among whom you must choose — George Clooney (“Michael Clayton’), Morgan Freeman (“Gone Baby Gone”), Denzel Washington (“American Gangster”), Russell Crowe (“American Gangster”), Robert Redford (“Lions for Lambs”). The second string, of more niche films out now, offers Cate Blanchett (“Elizabeth: The Golden Age”), Owen Wilson and Adrien Brody (“The Darjeeling Limited”) and Tim Burton’s absolute classic “The Nightmare Before Christmas” re-released in 3-D. You’ll note that absent from this list are Steve Carrell’s “Dan in Real Life,” which unfortunately has been panned as overly sentimental, John Cusack’s “Martian Child,” which may fall prey to the same criticism, Brad Pitt’s “The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford,” which I’ve been told is as epic in length as its name and doesn’t hold one’s attention span, and Jerry Seinfeld’s “Bee Movie,” which has gotten great reviews, but I just won’t be seeing. With such a great selection out there though, it’s mandatory that you get out there and soak some of it in — perhaps at the matinee, when tickets are cheaper.



I love pie. There’s a great little scene in the film “Michael” during which Andie MacDowell sings a country tune she’s penned about loving pie while sitting with friends at a table covered with a piece of every kind of pie the restaurant has — I can only aspire. I’m well known for my Pumpkin Pie, which I have to say is pretty gosh darn good. Too many folks get shy about the spices or use that blasted “Pumpkin Pie Spice.” Just tried a new recipe for a fresh cranberry and dried cherry pie that I fiddled with a bit and wound up with a sweet-tart creation perfect for Thanskgiving. And then there’s the Coconut Cream Pie from the Thomas Family Cookbook that’s just fabulously sinful — though I do double the coconut used. Anyone out there with family recipes is welcomed and encouraged to share.


The Sarut Group

Alan Ceppos and Frederic Rambaud have assembled a fun and interesting collection of gifts that “inspire, educate and entertain.” Rambaud was born and raised in West Africa and educated in Europe, and Ceppos spent 10 years in France, giving the company a global influence. Everything from the French designed passport covers to the sleeping kitty tape dispenser is bent on being funky and colorful. Go explore at and get an early start on your holiday shopping.

— Sarah Kucharski

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