Saturday, February 16, 2013

Celestial Reasonings?

We drink a fair amount of tea here in the monkey cage, and quite a bit of it is herbal. We usually have several boxes of Celestial Seasonings teas in the house. Are you familiar with that brand? It's pretty tasty tea. Honey Vanilla Chamomile is one of my favorites, along with Sleepytime and Sleepytime Vanilla.

Now, Celestial claims, on every box of tea bags mind you, that they save 3.5 million pounds of waste every year by not having a string, tag, staple and wrapper on their tea bags.

But they also make their tea available in K-cups, which are NOT easily recyclable, and therefore must be contributing to waste. (Only two-thirds of each K-cup is recyclable.)
So... is it just me, or does it seem kind of hypocritical for them to brag about not having strings, tags, staples and wrappers on their tea bags when they also provide their tea in non-recyclable K-cups?  How can they have it both ways?

Mr. Remarkable Monkey says they're still saving waste, but I think if they're now creating more waste with K-cups, they should stop making statements about how much waste they're saving on the tea bag boxes. But maybe it's just me.

Don't get me wrong... I'll still drink their tea. Just not in K-cups. (We don't have a Keurig anyway.)

Friday, February 8, 2013

Monkey at the Theater: Billy Elliot The Musical

Our stereo looked something like this, except my mom
painted it green at some point. I don't know where it ended up,
but I'm sure today's hipsters would probably drool over it.
My mom is a big Broadway musical fan. I can't tell you the number of times she'd play a soundtrack record on the turntable of our big green console stereo cabinet when I was a kid. She'd also sing the songs or play the cassettes in the car on long trips. I grew up on the songs from Camelot, Oklahoma, The Music Man, Man of LaMancha... my brother and I even snuck a listen to Hair when she wasn't home once. She rarely played that one when we were little because of the "adult" content. Later, when we kids had left home, she and a friend or two would get the Broadway season ticket packages at her city's performing arts center. 

Now that she lives in a small coastal NC town, she has to travel all the way to Raleigh to see a broadway show... or she comes to visit me in big city Florida, where we have a couple of great places to see Broadway shows when the touring companies come around. She's come down to see a few shows here, including Legally Blonde, Wicked and A Chorus Line. Mr. Remarkable Monkey and I also try to catch a Broadway show on our own now and then. (Cuz we’re classy like that, y'all.)

This year, she decided to skip a trip down since she and her wonderful husband just went on a nice long cruise. But she wanted to make sure Mr. Remarkable Monkey and I went to see a show this year, and so for Christmas she gifted us with tickets to see Billy Elliot the Musical, in part because she knows the original movie is one of our most favorites. (Do check it out if you haven't seen it.) So went to see the musical version when it was in town last week.

My opinion? It was good, but I didn't like it as much as the movie. I felt like you didn't really get to know Billy as well. Another difference: in the Broadway version, they spent a lot more time on the miners' strike situation, which they probably needed to do to provide more drama and background for the story. But it also made the story a little more political, which some could argue drew focus away from Billy's conflict and struggles with entering the world of dance. Some of the musical numbers also seemed a little... disjointed and unconnected. Like Grandma's only song... it was funny and interesting, and I guess it was meant to explain her love of dancing, but her involvement in the story kind of dead-ended there. Mr. Braithwaite is also pretty much a background character for the whole show, except for one number that he pretty much steals! But then he's relegated back to the background again.

The boy who played Billy for the performance we saw was pretty good, but the boy who played Michael seemed to be a student of the James Brolin School of Acting Junior Academy... really bad over the top overacting. The girl who played Debbie was a little better, but also apparently a fellow JBSA-JA alumna. The other ballet girls, as a group, were hys
terical! Scene stealers, they were.

I also thought the staging was pretty cool. The way the sets were designed and used was simple but efficient and visually effective. And the closing number was a ton of fun. So overall, not the best show I've
seen, but pretty good. Unless you're a big fan of Broadway musicals, you might want to stick to the movie. (Which has a fabulous T-Rex-heavy soundtrack, by the way!)