Books 2013 – Beautiful Ruins

Books 2013 – Beautiful Ruins.


Edison’s Thanksgiving Project

Edison was asked recently to write a paragraph describing a famous person he would like to invite to Thanksgiving dinner. Here is his answer:

I will invite George Washington to Thanksgiving dinner. I want to know which laws he made. Did he make the law to wear seatbelts? I also wonder what the world was like when he was a child. How did he get to places far away? I want to know who else was famous. Were Mozart and ….? I really want to know what his life was like.


Environmental Impact

Clooney was telling me today about a film he saw at school around Earth Day. He gave me his usual almalgamated six-year-old’s perspective, “People in Paris drive a lot at night. France and China, they waste a lot of energy…and toilet paper…and, I think, stickers.”

You know, all the important stuff.


Being a full-time Mom

It’s enough to make you get a square job. Today my three-year-old is convinced that the rocking chair is “going to get” him. How do you effectively counter that argument? I have tried providing make-believe amulets, tried reasoning, but he is unconvinced. Is he just doing it for attention? And why won’t he stop?

Then there’s the whining. I think I would rather listen to a chorus of fingernails scraping a blackboard than listen to the constant whining.

My husband has finally caught on to LOST. We have watched six episodes from the first season over the last two nights, and I can tell he’s got the fever.

Marriage is strange. I’m living with this person, sharing a life, and every once it a while it dawns on me: he really loves me. Crazy.


Okay, I’m back…

Been busy with the new bambino, who is now more than seven weeks old. It’s been a challenge, but fun. She’s smiling and cooing now. She’s got hair like a Kewpie doll.

But, I felt the need to begin writing again with all the coverage of Hurricane Wilma. I was up this morning around 5, and there was a guy on the Weather Chanel doing a report who was actually wearing swim goggles. SWIM GOGGLES!! “How wet is this hurricane folks? I need swim goggles….”

It’s crazy!

MOVIE LINE OF THE DAY:

(from “Raising Arizona”)
GLEN: I don’t really want more kids, but Dot says these here are gettin’ too big to cuddle.


A House Divided

It’s a famous quote from Abraham Lincoln, “A house divided against itself cannot stand.” That’s what I feel like I am living in as a US citizen. “A house divided.” Our country has become do partisan and stubborn that neither side is willing to listen to the other. In many cases, one side or the other is not willing to compromise on any idea that isn’t completely in line with stated policy, no matter how much sense the rogue idea makes.

Take the front page of yesterday’s Wall Street Journal: there’s a compelling article about the billions of dollars that have gone unaccounted for (most likely embezzled, but in any case GONE) in the rebuilding of Iraq. Now, in any other circumstance, someone would have to answer for that kind of waste. After all, where is the money coming from? It’s coming from the American people. They are taking it out of our paychecks every week, and will continue to do so for generations.

Anyway, the guy who uncovered the accounting discrepancies is Stuart Bowen, who actually came up through the ranks of the Bush administration starting when W. was governor of Texas. You would think that coming from a Republican, other Republicans would listen, take note, want to get to the bottom of the scandal. But instead, fellow Republicans are trying to discredit Bowen, claiming that he knows nothing about “postwar chaos” and shouldn’t expect general accounting rules to apply in a postwar situation. These criticisms are coming from people like Newt Gingrich…an expert on postwar situations? NOT.

Why can’t they just say there’s something wrong with the situation? Why can’t they say that the awarding of no-bid contracts or the hiring of some companies to do work without so much as a contract is probably a bad idea? Why don’t they want to get to the bottom of the corruption rather than continue to feed a vicious animal?

The other thing about the house divided is — you know it didn’t happen all at once. The Civil War was coming for years. Lincoln made that speech in 1858, like three years before South Carolina seceded from the Union. I’m not saying that’s where we’re going, but my point is, you’ve got to look for the signs along the road, and if you are on the wrong one, you’ve got to find your bearings and the right one.

Ugh.

Anyway, right before bed last night, I watched this documentary called “Bush’s Brain” about Karl Rove. I swear to God, I don’t think any movie has given me nightmares like that since “The Exorcist”.

MOVIE LINE OF THE DAY
(From “Glenngarry Glennross”)

RICKY ROMA: You are here to help us…not to fuck us up.


War of the Worlds

I just realized that I haven’t posted my “War of the Worlds” review. It’s got spoilers, so don’t read it if you haven’t seen it:

Let me just say that I had quite a few problems with War of the Worlds. First of all — not scary. Not that I need any nightmares or anything, but to be taken aback at least once would have been nice.

Then, I had a lot of questions.  For example: there’s an earthquake type activity in Bayonne, and people are just standing around, balancing themselves around the cracks in the ground, waiting to see what will happen next.  Then, the tripod comes out of the hole, and they’re all just standing around like, “Hmm, that’s interesting.” It’s not until the thing starts vaporizing people that they start running? Found that hard to believe. To be fair, it was actually quite entertaining until after the scene where all the planes were on the ground in the mother’s neighborhood, and then it went downhill from there.

And what about the vaporizing? I mean — I didn’t get the purpose of the blood-sucking machines. Why blood-sucking machines? Why? If the blood-sucking served some purpose, then why would the aliens waste so many human bodies by vaporizing them?

Other questions: Tom Cruise goes into the basement room to kill Tim Robbins with no weapon. Robbins has a shovel, Cruise has nothing, and only Cruise emerges from the room? How’s that? In the end, the aliens are done in by bacteria….okay, but why were the shields compromised on the tripods? Why all of a sudden could the weapons of man penetrate?

But the thing that bothered me the most was the end. Cruise and his daughter somehow WALK from the Hudson River to Boston, in what? Like two days? (Suspend disbelief, okay…) Then, they get to the street where the mother was staying with her parents — the whole street is devastated, but SOMEHOW there’s a light on at the parents’ house. Then, the mother and the grandparents come out, seemingly unscathed, (I think the grandfather might even be wearing a sweater with elbow patches) like “Hey, we were just having brunch. Would you guys like some cantaloupe?” I mean, it was just too clean an ending — even the son lived? How’d he escape that big napalm-esque fireball on the hill?

As for the acting, I thought Cruise was completely unbuyable as the deadbeat dad. First of all, name the character whatever you want, he’s still Tom Cruise. Plus, the deadbeat dad thing was so underdeveloped, and yet at the same time they kind of beat us over the head with it for the first ten minutes. I just think it could have been said better — and besides, who cares? Why did it even have to be part of the equation? Couldn’t he have just been a divorced father with his kids for the weekend? Did the other element really add to the drama?

And what about Dakota Fanning’s character? She’s getting all these raves for screaming, but really, her character was kind of interesting and quirky at the beginning, with the hummus and the fact that she was a little girl on the verge of maturity, but then she’s nothing but a screaming little girl the rest of the movie.

I’ll give you th special effects. I’m sure lots of people like it, but too many questions for me. Basically, it’s one of those movies that the more I think about, the less I like.

MOVIE LINES OF THE DAY:
(From “The Blues Brothers”)

ELWOOD: I bet these cops got SCMODS.
JAKE: SCMODS?
ELWOOD: State County Municipal Offender Data System.