Monthly Archives: January 2015

(Sneak Peek) Kingsman: The Secret Service


I was mildly curious when I saw clips from the upcoming Kingsman: The Secret Service (starring bookish girl heartthrob Colin Firth–only one of a number of interesting and spot-on casting choices).

But when I got the chance to preview it, I was actually pleasantly surprised. (This might be a function of my new decision to just project my low expectations for love and workout results onto the rest of my life, though. It’s hard to be disappointed that way.)

Not only does Firth bring a certain legitimacy to the role he plays (as super suave spy Harry Hart), relative unknown Taron Egerton dazzles as “Eggsy”, the wannabe that Harry takes under his wing, and grooms to become a “Kingsman”–one of the dapper, deadly agents that belong to a private intelligence service.

In addition to being an action hit (the effects, in my opinion, were rapid fire without being Michael Bay-level ridiculous), Kingsman drew me in with the sub-plot message of how manners–not social status or wealth–make the man, and held my attention with Samuel L. Jackson’s lisping billionaire baddy…one of the best movie villains I’ve seen in a long time.

This is a movie for you if don’t mind a little bit of grit. There’s no nudity (that I can remember), and no serious adult horizontal action on screen…but there is a very pointed reference to a particular act that you might not want to explain to your tween kids, so keep that in mind. Most of the fighting is very stylized, and comic book level, but there is one scene where the violence is particularly bloody and graphic.

The script isn’t Kant, but it is meant to make you think a little bit, and has just the right amount of examination of British class struggle and save-the-world heroics to appeal to someone who likes fast paced fight scenes and Jane Austen.

So…maybe only me…?

I guess we’ll see. Kingsman: The Secret Service opens February 13.


Looks Matter…Don’t They? (New issue of GORGO with Amber Elizabeth Dodzweit)


LOVED getting to interview Amber Elizabeth Dodzweit for this month’s issue of GORGO fitness magazine.

Fitness model, former LFL player, Clutch Bodyshop Vice President…this woman has done it all, and has a lot to share. Subscribe to GORGO and get her take on image vs. ability, as well as a wealth of information on other topics. (This issue includes tips for new moms, a mango matcha smoothie, and other goodies.)

I know what you’re thinking; it’s easy to say looks don’t matter when you look like…THAT.

I used to feel the same way, as a lifelong Plain Jane type, but I’ll tell you something; stunning aesthetic gifts don’t necessarily make life easier for the “Beautiful People”. It took me many years–and friendships with gorgeous people who would seem to have it “all”–to figure that out, but it’s true.

Yes, extreme physical attractiveness can open doors for folks. But time and time again, that beauty also muddies waters. Human beings are drawn to beauty, plain and simple. Physical beauty is easy to gravitate towards, and is one of the most primal instincts to follow; it’s easy to be fascinated with someone you think is gorgeous.

Winnowing out someone’s inner beauty takes time, and is harder to appreciate–think of listening to (and understanding) a Bach sonata vs. a line or two of “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star”. Not everyone has the patience or wherewithal (or desire) to do it.

Someone loving you, appreciating you, just for who YOU really are is like them hearing your inner sonata. We walk through this world bumping into each other, fumbling around, sending out little signals of ourselves, and sometimes, if we’re fortunate (and are surrounding ourselves with people of quality), we get a few who hear it, understand it, and go, “Wow!”

When someone is beautiful on the outside, and a large number of people are flocking to them, like moths to a flame, wanting to know them, wanting to be with them, they may get the feeling at first that all of those people are enthralled with their inner sonata, their true self, and it may be gratifying.

But many times, the people drawn to their looks are just wanting to look. (Well, let’s be honest…they’re wanting to do more than that, but…we’ll keep it PG13 today.) They may be able to convince the beautiful person that they’re hearing them, that they LOVE them, they value them–and they may even believe it, themselves–but eventually the truth comes out that when you have a crowd around you, it just might be preventing the people who really would hear that inner song and see the inner beauty from getting through.

That’s not a challenge that the more plain among us have to deal with; throngs of admirers clogging the path of true friendship and/or love. But it’s a real challenge, and the truth is that the loneliness someone feels in a crowd of admirers might be one of the most desperate feelings in the world.

I learned long ago that being rich doesn’t really solve all of an individual’s problems. (Yes, I used to think something very close to that.) I got to know a very well-known (in our area) wealthy family, and one of the first things I learned about them was that they had lost a young daughter years before. They had experienced a tragedy that shaped their family, an event that left them irrevocably altered. Something all the money in the world could not change.

It was a similar learning experience (although a slow moving, years-long one) to realize over time that the “Beautiful People” I knew weren’t any happier or better off because of their stunning attractiveness.

They struggle, too. It looks different, but it’s just as real, and it can be just as painful. Looks don’t solve your problems.

That’s a valuable lesson for all of us, the pretty and the plain; being better looking isn’t a cure-all.

A better butt won’t change your life. A fifty pound weight loss won’t make you a better person. Looking more attractive won’t bring you true love.


(As the Artist Formerly Known as Pee Wee used to say, “There’s always a big butt…”)

There’s nothing wrong with wanting to look different. With wanting to modify something that bugs you. There’s nothing wrong with seeing physical beauty in others (and especially yourself–and your kids), and telling them you see it. Your outer shell is still YOUR outer shell–it’s still part of you. Affirming it isn’t bad, it just shouldn’t be seen as the bulk of your worth.

In short, it’s not the end of the world to have your inner sonata playing through a plain jukebox.

It’s also necessary–especially if you’re a woman–to understand that the pretty jukeboxes don’t have it easy all the time. Their struggles are real, too, and if I can get all High School Musical for a minute, I’d like to remind you…We’re All in This Together. We’re here to understand each other, help each other, encourage each other. To do that, we have to see each other’s struggles, and realize that even those we don’t think have them, really do.

(Any youngsters who don’t know what a jukebox is can get a little history lesson here.)