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Aug 20th
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Call Down the Thunder.

blog_xrsy_thorsFor the last decade or so the summer movie season has come to be defined by it's crop of super hero flicks. And with the Green Lantern, Captain America, and an X-men prequel all waiting in the wings to administer their own brand of justice for movie-goers in the coming months, 2011 is no exception. This weekend is the official kickoff for nerds around the world as Marvel's Thor finally swings his mighty Mjolnir across movie screens everywhere.

Chris Hemsworth (Kirk's daddy in the Star Trek reboot) stars as the Asgardian legend, cast out from a world of Gods by his pops Odin (Anthony Hopkins) for being a snotty little pain in the you know what. His sentence? To exist on Earth amongst us mere mortals. I know, pretty harsh stuff. Along the way he befriends Natalie Portman and the inevitable hijinks ensue until it's time for our hero to learn a lesson in humility and check his ego in order to defend the world from yada, yada, yada. You've seen more than enough of these movies to know the drill. Still, Marvel deserves some serious credit for the inspired decision to hand directing reigns over to Kenneth Branagh, a guy primarily known for really liking Shakespeare a whole lot. Early reviews are indicating that the movie completely works as smart popcorn entertainment (oxymoron?), with heavy praise being placed upon Hemsworth's performance.

I have to admit that trailers for this movie haven't managed to elicit much more than an indifferent half sigh from me which I'm sure is due to the obvious fact that I've just never been a Marvel guy. What can I say? I grew up walking around face first in the pages of their distinguished competition. So unlike a lot of fanboys that I know out there, I won't be lining up outside any theater wearing a blonde wig while holding a plastic hammer and drenched in sweaty anticipation. Nope, I'll probably end up sitting this one out and catch it on video like I did with Iron Man 2 (which is a lot better than everyone made it out to be). Besides, if for some unfathomable reason I do end up really needing to see Thor onscreen, there's always my copy of Adventures in Babysitting*.

*Yep, that's Vincent D'onofrio!

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The Thought Form of Solution

It’s our last week of Leo before the sun enters Virgo (next Friday/Saturday). The planets this week make complex patterns and relationships (vibrational cadences and rhythms) with the outer planets, mainly Neptune—the planet that veils, obscures, protects and finally refines us. Neptune offers us entrance into a deeply spiritual sense of comfort and solace. Neptune is the personality ruler of Pisces (saviors of the world) and soul ruler of Cancer (world mother). “The fish goddesses who leapt from earth (Virgo) to water (Pisces) unitedly give birth to the Fish God (Christ, the Soul) who introduces the waters of life  (Neptune & Aquarius) into the ocean of substance (matter, mother bringing light to the world. Thus does Neptune work.” (Esoteric Astrology).

 

Final Cut

Cedar Street Video to close after 10 years at downtown location

 

Cultures Collide

No surprises, but lots to savor in foodie film ‘The Hundred-Foot Journey’

 

Say Uncle

Five types of kids, and how to be their best friend
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The 2013 Santa Cruz County Readers' Poll and Critics’ Picks It’s our biggest issue of the year, and in it, your votes—more than 6,500 of them—determined the winners of The Best of Santa Cruz County Readers’ Poll. New to the long list of local restaurants, shops and other notables that captured your interest: Best Beer Selection, Best Locally Owned Business, Best Customer Service and Best Marijuana Dispensary. In the meantime, many readers were ever so chatty online about potential new categories. Some of the suggestions that stood out: Best Teen Program and Best Web Design/Designer. But what about: Dog Park, Church, Hotel, Local Farm, Therapist (I second that!) or Sports Bar—not to be confused with Bra. Our favorite suggestion: Best Act of Kindness—one reader noted Café Gratitude and the free meals it offered to the Santa Cruz Police Department in the aftermath of recent crimes. Perhaps some of these can be woven into next year’s ballot, so stay tuned. In the meantime, enjoy the following pages and take note of our Critics’ Picks, too, beginning on page 91. A big thanks for voting—and for reading—and an even bigger congratulations to all of the winners. Enjoy.  -Greg Archer, EditorBest of Santa Cruz County Readers’ Poll INDEX

 

Have Mercy!

Looking for a frisky summer wine at a reasonable price? Look no further than Mercy Vineyards’ 2013 Sauvignon Blanc ($20). Richly textured “with an exotic flavor profile,” the wine reveals aromas of honeydew melon and honeysuckle, with anise appearing as a star attraction. Smidgeons of pineapple and honeycomb add a touch of sexiness to this well-balanced, easy-drinking wine, which pairs well with a variety of cuisine —especially ceviche, calamari and other not-too-heavy foods.