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Showing posts from November, 2007

The Darjeeling Limited

I can't believe I haven't seen an adult movie since waaay back in August. So over the holiday weekend I caught up with Wes Anderson's latest, The Darjeeling Limited. Anderson's understated comedies have always resonated with me, especially The Royal Tennenbaums of a few years back. Anderson's schtick (all right, let's call it ouevre)is all about family and community. What holds families together? What pulls them apart? Anderson seems fascinated by the quirky dynamics of family. Owen Wilson tricks his brothers into a faux spiritual quest in order to make contact with their mother who has become a nun in India. All of this takes place after the father's funeral, since then no one in the family has spoken to each other. At times Anderson's dialogue resembles that of a bad acting exercise but his direction and his actors manage to strip the wood from the words. Not as strong as the aforementioned Tennenbaums, but Darjeeling is worth a trip.

The Secret to Good Gravy

Happy Thanksgiving! I'm grateful for this little tip that I added to my gravy to make the BEST turkey gravy EVER--boil down some hard apple cider and mix it in. I guarantee it'll add a subtle but distinguishable enhancement to the gravy. Mangia!

Bored? Read this.

Who knew a book about boredom would be so refreshing. It's under a 150 pages, but Richard Winter's Still Bored in a Culture of Entertainment: Rediscovering Passion and Wonder is so pithy and wise. In it he disects the deadness of our souls and how we came to be so. He traces the idea of boredom from the early church fathers use of the term acedia (or indifference) to the Medieval's idea of sloth: "Some believed it [acedia] to be the most deadly sin of all because it represented intellectual and spiritual indifference and lethargy." To continue with this development Winter writes, " Between the eleventh and twelfth centuries the description of acedia and sloth shifted from emphasizing idleness or laziness to suggesting a state of 'spiritual slackness, weariness and boredom with religious exercises, lack of fervor, and a state of depression in the ups and downs of spiritual life.'"
Today with our focus on immediate gratification and about a mi…

$20 Apples!?

Today while making a small purchase at Westborn Market (an ersatz farmer's market) I was standing behind a couple who had purchased a bag of MICHIGAN honeycrisp apples (a 10 year old breed of apple that I have yet to find a superior taste to). The bags were listed as being $2.99 a pound. The total for the bag (at over six pounds) was over $20. Now, admittedly $20 does sound like a lot for apples and I don't know this couple's financial situation, but even the cashier was agreeing with them. After they left I told the cashier that Americans are too used to cheap food. Our current agricultural system diverts the true cost of food from the consumer and puts it on the farmer, specifically the small, independent, family farmer--you know, T. J.'s dream of citizen yeomanry. I informed her that farmers have to make money too.

Again, $20 for a bag of apples is probably stretching things for poor people, but the cheap shit is exactly that--shit. High calorie and car…

"Hands Off Our Water"

So says the headline of yesterday's Detroit Free Press. It seems some secret study at the federal level wants to know what our national water supply is like. Congressional reps Candice Miller and Vern Ehlers (Republicans no less) smell a river rat. Miller says to the Feds "Do not look to the Great Lakes to solve the nation's water problems." And Grand Rapids native Ehlers responded to the question of water-napping with, "I would suspect we'd call up the militia and take up arms."

There are a couple of issues here. One is the ever-creeping power and reach of the Federal branch of government caused by BOTH Democrats and Republicans. If you weren't aware the Constituion reserves powers and rights to the states that aren't explicitly outlined in the Constitution.

Federal control of the Great Lakes would probably represent such ursupation. The second issue is the idea of growth without limits. People should be free to settle where they w…

"A harsh, cruel world."

While Kazuo Ishiguro's Never Let Me Go is about clones, it isn't very science-fictiony. In fact, outside of a few instances of jargon and that the main characters are clones you'd never get that futuro-techno feel at all. The story takes place in the 1990s in England, but the whole story is character driven rather than by plot. The narrator, Kathy H., recalls her life growing up at a school (for clones) called Hailsham. The overall mood of melancholy and flatness informs her storytelling. You get the sense that much is missing from these people's lives. And it is, but then what would you expect from a slave class? I won't give away any more (not that there is some big shocking ending--there isn't) but if you're looking for a novelized form of Gattaca or The Island, this isn't it. Ishiguro is interested in how a clone would live out her life conscious of what she was. And he does it well. Not fast reading, not gripping, but quiet and deadly ser…