Monday, January 29, 2007

Jane Eyre

Jane Eyre was the first legitimate novel I read, and it's been a favorite of mine ever since. It is creepy and romantic, and even today I aspire to Jane's honesty, wit, and independence. I still reread it often, from the original copy I had back then even though it is falling apart. This top image from is in fact the image on the cover of that copy. These past two weeks PBS has aired a mini series of Jane Eyre, and it is so good. I could watch it a million times. I want to keep it on the tivo forever. There's a great review of it in the New York Times as well.
I really appreciate this review; it acknowledges the feminist and postcolonial critiques of the novel while conceding that the novel is so good the miniseries did not need to improve upon it. And that's true. It doesn't get any better than Jane Eyre. See also, for some who love it as much as I do.

Sunday, January 28, 2007


This is my mom's 5th grade class at St. Agnes school in Cincinnati, OH. She's the second kid in the fourth row. I think this is around the time of Vatican II, which, among other things ruled that nuns no longer had to wear the full habit. Apparently transitioning to the amended habit meant a lot of unexposed skin suddenly met the world. My mom says that she spent most of the school year staring at her teacher's bizarrely smooth and pale forehead above her normal wrinkles.

Wario Ware

Stephan bought Wario Ware yesterday and it has some of the coolest animation ever. I wish there were more images online to post here, but I couldn't find many. And I only wanted to use ones I had actually seen. Alas. These are taken from and gamepro.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Bunny love

I couldn't leave Jonestown at the top of the blog. It's just too sad. The blog needed a bunny and fawn to cheer it up.

*I forget where this picture came from. :(


I saw a special on the History Channel about Jonestown the other day. Now I always knew OF Jonestown and approximately what happened, and I even knew that Jim Jones's first church was in a building vacated by my synagogue in Indianapolis. I knew he had a cult in South America, and that his followers eventually committed suicide via cyanide in Koolaid. I knew the drink the koolaid saying.

I did NOT know that he had one of the only interracial churches in Indiana in the 50s, and that he generally subscribed to a social justice doctrine. I had always assumed that the church embraced some sort of fanatical fringe set of religious millenarian thought; certainly not that the church element fell away in South America and the group actually became more socialist/ Marxist/Communist than religious. I basically thought everyone involved was a kook, not people who believed something *relatively* close to what I believe in. So that was eye-opening.

I also thought that there were only about 100 people in the church who then died. Apparently it was nearly 1000.

And I didn't know the series of events that prompted the final showdown in Jonestown. Again, I had kind of assumed that they all committed suicide as part of the aforementioned millenarian the-world-will-end-date-x. But actually what happened was that various family members approached a US Congressman about how Jim Jones was holding their relatives captive in Guyana. This Congressman went to Guyana to investigate personally, bringing along some of the relatives and a few journalists. Once he arrived in the settlement, a few members managed to approach a journalist, asking his help to get them out. The Congressman intervened, and by the next day 15 people defected. The Congressman planned to stay longer to help others get out, but changed his mind after a member of the Jonestown attacked him with a knife. Then Jim Jones, fucked up on prescription drugs and probably bat-crazy to begin with, ordered some of his followers to follow the defectors, Congressman, and journalists to the airport they planned to leave from. The followers shot and killed the Congressman AND two of the journalists and injured a lot of the defectors. Jim Jones then told his followers what he had ordered and explained that since the US government would come after them because of this, everyone had to commit suicide. So then parents forced 300 kids to literally drink the koolaid and then drank it themselves. Anyone who didn't want to was injected with the cyanide with a needle. Jim Jones himself died much less painfully from a gunshot wound to the head. A few people escaped by running into the jungle, hiding under a bed, etc, but most people were killed, killed themselves, or pressured into kililng themselves.

I guess I'm somewhat fascinated by this, mostly because both the core beliefs and the fact that many people were actually killed rather than committed suicide makes this all much more disturbing to me. It's intellectually easy to dismiss a few religious fanatics, but dealing with a lot of probably normal people who started down a bad path and then met a very tragic end is a lot harder. It's just so fucked and sad. I would definitely recommend the History Channel special--I thought it was really even-handed and enlightening.

*This image is actually from neat-o-rama, not the History Channel documentary.

Monday, January 22, 2007

1 year blogging

Yes, one year blogging. It is weird that I'm still doing this, and it's weird it's still largely a secret. I don't know if I like that or not. Anyway, ONE YEAR. Doesn't this look like a blog-oversery hug? It's actually just a Canadian hug. Happy Canada!!!!!!
*EDIT* Ha, I was early! 1 day shy of 1 year.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Morally Bankrupt

Last year, the tv/film blog Magnetic Media Feed ran a post about how the finale to The Hills was morally bankrupt because its star chose staying in CA with her boyfriend over going to Paris for an intership with Vogue without the finale ever commenting to its young MTV audience on how ultimately that's a really stupid decision to make. Which, I think is a good point, even though I thought at the time that Lauren's friends all thought she had made a bad decision and just couldn't say it outright due to loyalty. All of this was a really insightful post, especially since at the time it seemed there wouldn't be a season 2 of the Hills.

Which only makes the fact that there IS a season 2 and its premiere all that much better. Because Lauren's boss just NAILS her for her decision. I mean she makes Lauren say out loud what her decision was in front of her coworker who got the internship instead and then made Lauren say herself that it was a bad decision. Now I don't think that's very professional--especially not in front of Lauren's coworker--but it is NOT morally bankrupt. Go the Hills. I love that schmaltzy awesome show.

I'm also intrigued to see how Heidi's pregnancy scare goes. Has this happened yet in reality tv? How has it not happened on at least one of the seasons of the Real World? I'm amazed they're dealing with it at all, though I guess we'll see what happens. I hope they don't edit it into something unsavory or politically bad or whatever.

**EDIT**Okay, Heidi is such a psycho. She found out she wasn't pregnant, but then went on to have the "I think I'm pregnant" talk with her shitty boyfriend as a TEST. WTF??????????

Friday, January 19, 2007



I teach the most engaged, prepared, privileged kids in the world. They're all at least 18 years old, and nearly all chose U of C because they wanted a rigorous intellectual experience. I teach for a couple hours a day a couple days a week. And it's still really hard and really exhausting.

You've got to hand it to the people who teach K-12 in public underfunded schools, who then get to hear about how they should work harder and are bad at their jobs. Priorities are at of wack in this country. NYT also had an article about what 1.2 trillion dollars would have bought instead of the Iraq war. Umm how about some resources for education rather than punitive No Child Left Behind. Argh.

Thursday, January 18, 2007


Monday, January 15, 2007

Movies I've Seen

Let’s Go to Prison
The Fountain
The Captain Is a Lady
Fast Times at Ridgemont High
The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes
The Breakup
Anne of Green Gables
Just One of the Guys
A Canterbury Tale
All the Real Girls
Susan Slept Here
Philadelphia Story
Lemony Snicket
Talledega Nights
The Prestige
Pan’s Labyrinth
Sound of Music
White Banners
Meet Miss Bobby Socks
Children of Men
Portrait of Jenny
Notes on a Scandal
Back to the Future

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Children of Men

I saw Children of Men on Thursday after a legitimate teaching binge. The setup for Children of Men is one of the best I've ever seen. You're plunged into that world so quickly: it opens with news reports of the death of Baby Diego in a bar fight--18 year old Baby Diego, the youngest man in the world--and people just stunned and weeping. Everyone mentions the bombing of the coffee shop, but the news report comes first. Then you get Britain as it is in 2027. The city prone to bombings, full of jingo-istic warnings to report illegal immigrants to the government and to comply with mandatory fertility tests, and spotted by cages of desperate grasping refugees. Inside the buildings, it's the standard cube work world but everyone's desk is dotted with images and figurines of infants and toddler toys as if they were relics and holy cards. Then there's the also much-mentioned rich enclave of London. Of course the fishes, led by Julianne Moore, who is so gorgeous in this part. And finally pregnant Kee herself, also gorgeous but not so ethereal, which is what makes her likable and believable. She's just as you would expect a too young woman accidentally pregnant--there's a brilliant joke about the Virgin Mary which works because Kee isn't virginal or saintly or staid at all. Just good. And Micheal Caine and Clive Owen also. Not saintly, just good, which is so nice.

After all this brilliant set-up, it can't help but disappoint a bit at the end. Not that it's bad; it's very good. There's even really great moments throughout the end. But it just doesn't quite match the rest of the movie. The only thing I can think of is 12 Monkeys, where the end transcends an already transcendent movie. Children of Men doesn't transcend in the end; it's just very good. But I really liked it, so much more than Pan's Labyrinth, which I had even higher hopes for.
One final note: everyone mentions its politics, and for the most part I agree that it's a stinging indictment of immigration policy and the human cost of fascism, but the characterization of the Fishes seems a little off to me. It seems that culturally every rebellion now constitutes terrorism, which makes me uneasy. Is there any room for violence against the government and not violence against its innocents? I don't know that I ultimately believe that turning the other cheek really does make sense in this world all the time. Maybe now it does, but never? What about slave rebellions? the French underground in WWII? anti-colonial rebellions? I don't know. I don't know what I think about this. Because the other half of me believes that death is so devastating to those who love you that all violence is abhorrent. I guess all this is good though; that a movie makes me think this much.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007


ANTM star Kim in a Ruehl ad. Go Kim!

Monday, January 08, 2007

Picture Book

This blog has been fairly naked lately, so I'm flooding it with pictures I love. They are from:

digg??, Shiny Squirrel, the Kim family auction, Globiblio, Notcot, and National Geographic.

Friday, January 05, 2007

TV moments

The House Next Door did a series that lists their favorite moments in movies through the past year. ( Here are mine for TV for the past few years:

America's Next Top Model
1) "I was in denial of my snout"--Kelle season 3
2) "Maybe I have set up a wall with nine letters that spell competition" according to Yaya and Norelle mentally adding it up and giggling. season 3
3) "Because an elephant is a member of the dinosaur family" Jade season 5??

The Office
Pam and the cameraman discovering Angela and Dwight's affair together. I've often read that the Office has the deepest ensemble cast on tv, and when I realized that that includes the fictional camera guys fictionally filming this office park, I knew it was true.

Pants Off Dance Off
Elderly Ronald pancing to The Cure's Friday I'm in Love.

There are two little digs at grad students the past few years: in one, Bart is making fun of a grad student, Marge yells at him to leave the poor grad student alone, since he had made a terrible life choice. In the other, Homer, I think is feeding the ducks, and grad students try to eat the bread on the ground. Tenured faculty shoo them away, telling them they're not allowed to eat until they grade 500 papers.

Project Runway
Santino's impersonations of Tim Gunn, particularly the Red Lobster bit. I know this is a layup. It's just that funny and great.

King of the Hill
Post-tornado Hank has to choose between a Texas flag and a cactus to cover his storm-induced nakedness.

Freaks and Geeks
Ken running to find his girlfriend in marching band. This is the culmination of one of my favorite episodes of TV of all time. Ken's girlfriend reveals that she was born with both female and male genitalia, Ken doesn't take it well for a while, finally resolves it in his own mind, and has to go get her back before a school convocation. She's playing the tuba in the convocation so Ken's running through the marching band, forcibly twisting various tuba people to face him before he finds her, and then there she is, nestled in her own tuba, still angry and kind of hopeful. It captures both what's really complicated about being a teenager at the same time showing how it's sometimes really simple too.

Home Movies
Melissa running away from the fairy girls sleepover in her fairy girl outfit.

There should be moments from Arrested Development, Firefly, Veronica Mars, and Deadwoo. See a later installment.

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