Heavy rains for 3 days can be a bore. Add a sick kid and weekend plans get even less exciting. I solved it by renting an armload of movies. so here's a review of my favorite, and a book, and maybe some other stuff.
Once is one fabulous movie. Seriously, run, do not walk to your nearest video place or put it on top of your Netflix list. It's such a simple and unembellished story but that is half the charm. I kept thinking, "I am so glad Hollywood didn't make this movie. Some executive would have felt compelled to punch it up a few notches and then it would be ruined. They would have changed the ending to something syrupy and I'd have gagged."
It's the story of a relationship between a Dublin musician and a Czech immigrant and how they gently nudge each other into their respective dreams. The story and details of the characters' backgrounds unfolds very subtly without a bunch of condescending dialogue spelling it all out. It's filmed in a way that seems almost like a documentary but again it just highlights the sincerity of the characters. The ending was understated and not what we are conditioned to expect from a Hollywood flick (again, thanks be that this was not done in Hollywood) but it was satisfying. Calypso's comment was, "Oh! I like that! It was an HONEST ending, not made up." Right on, kiddo. Glad that point wasn't lost on her.
I think the back of the box called it a modern musical which really does it a disservice because I think that sort of billing could turn folks off who would be repelled by the notion of some huckster marching down Main St. with 76 trombones or a bunch of oddly happy Depression era orphans dancing around. The musical performances flow naturally rather than coming across like strange interjections. The music in the film is terrific and written primarily by the two lead actors. It's good enough that the girls and I immediately went out and bought the soundtrack. Yes, all three of us with our divergent tastes agreed on this one. So 5 twists of lime for Once. Watch it.
Moving on to books. While I was in Georgia with my MIL I finished 1491 by Charles Mann. Now, if you know me at all you know I am a nonfiction geek so understand that up front. This book explores the Pre-Columbian history of the New World and I have to say it was fascinating. The author admits he is not a historian but a journalist instead. He says he wrote the book after doing research to satisfy his own curiosities and finding how wrong a lot of what we were taught really is. He covers both North and South American cultures and makes the case for those societies having a great deal more technology and complexity than we've given them credit for. He counters the notion that they lived in a vast untouched wilderness by providing evidence for how they managed and manipulated natural resources as much as their counterparts in other parts of the world. Mann shares theories about how rapidly disease spread across the continents from even the briefest contacts prior to the major influxes of European population so that by the time the Pilgrims landed at Plymouth Rock the continent's population had already been devastated in worse ways than Europe had been by the plague. The author is not shy about stating his opinion on various controversies but he is clear as to what evidence he uses to come to his conclusions. He also seems fair in presenting evidence to the contrary in an even manner.
I found Mann's style to be very engaging and readable too. I've read three of Thomas Cahill's Hinges of History Series and wanted to tear my hair out because even in areas where I already have a fairly decent grasp of whatever Cahill was discussing he presented it in a chronology that was totally convoluted and confusing. He also seemed more interested in having the reader come away saying, "Oooooh, he's a smart guy!" rather than actually understanding the subject any better. Ignore Cahill. Go read Mann. Four twists of lime for 1491.
Diana got her learner's permit to drive a week and a half ago. Yesterday I rode as her passenger for the first time. I think I have a few more white hairs. I've noticed her father simply has fewer hairs over all. I've said all along that he needs to be the one to teach her because to be honest he has better driving habits than I do plus Diana and I butt heads so much. He taught me to drive stick way back when we got engaged too and he was a patient teacher. I thought they'd do well together. She tells me he makes her nervous though and I didn't because I was quieter about the whole thing. Maybe it was just because I was too busy praying to arrive safely to our destination. In any event I was pleased with how she did even if this process takes years off my life. Three twists of lime for this first experience.
Now for the Sour Lime Award for Gross Imbecility. And the award goes tooooooo.......my Pastor. Someone really needs to duct tape his mouth at times. Here's a guy in a profession where an above average understanding of how to relate to people is kind of important and yet he has a decidedly below average ability to keep demeaning and obnoxious comments to himself. To make things worse when people dare to let him know he has been offensive, and there are a few of us who do, he always makes it out as if we are too thin-skinned and can't take a joke. Now I am not a big fan of being politically correct but I think basic respect is important. Guess what? Misogynistic and bigoted comments veiled as jokes during a time of teaching don't fly. Ever. One time when I called him on some asinine thing he said I got the response, "Well, being a pastor is stressful and I blow off steam by saying stupid things." I told him he needed to find a less damaging way of dealing with his stress. See, there's this thing bit in the Bible about doing unto others the way you'd have them do unto you and letting only that which is good for edification come from your mouth... This week it was all I could do not to hurl a hymnal at the guy. Yes, pastors are human and therefore prone to all the weakness the rest of us are prone to, but this guy is straining my forbearance to the limit. Ok, so sorry about that. I figured last week I had the rare political rant so this week I will cover religion and all the taboos of conversation are evened out.
So as to not end on a sour Lime Award let me share a funny one minute song from the movie Once that I have been humming all weekend. Cracks me up every time...of course it might help to have the context of the movie...so go watch that later.