“Lord of the Rings,” Expanded Version
The difference between “The Lord of the Rings” videos and the expanded version of the same film was astounding. Even my sons, who have frequently seen director’s cuts and other expanded versions of different films, were blown away by this difference. The expanded version tells us much more about each of the characters, gives us greater insight into the storyline, and deepens our appreciation for the films’ great music and cinematography, all without getting tedious or boring. Indeed, this expanded version seems nearly a new movie altogether. See these films when you have lots of time to enjoy them.
In many ways, the winter months provide some of the best hiking of the year, particularly on those days when the temperature rises into the 50s and the sun is shining. There are no insects, no snakes for those who fear snakes, only a few tourists, and no foliage to hide spectacular views. Even an in-town hike — here in Waynesville, the path through the recreation park is one I often use for walking or running — can provide an easy, quiet sense of solitude and peace.
A friend recently gave me a gallon of apple cider that she had sparked up with spices, a few tablespoons of sugar, and a dash of orange juice. On those cold winter evenings when you’re reading A Soldier of the Great War, watching Frodo and Sam battling the forces of darkness, or recovering from a day hike, a cup of this cider simply adds to the great pleasure of being alive in these mountains.
— Jeff Minick