October 2008


My Lord of the Rings collection back in 2004

My Lord of the Rings collection back in 2004. It's somewhat larger now.

I own 24 copies of the book (it’s not a trilogy, it’s one book that the publishers decided to split into three).  I read it every year.  My wedding ring is inscribed in Elvish.  Is there any question what’s going to come in first?

But of course, the question becomes, what are the other 9?  Part of that answer depends on knowing what qualifies for the answer.  Field of Dreams and It’s a Wonderful Life do not, in spite of the AFI ballots.  Besides, how does Field of Dreams end up on their fantasy list but not their Sports list?  Also not on my list are Wizard of Oz and Mary Poppins because they already went on the Kids list.  Besides, it wouldn’t be fair if Wizard of Oz was at the top of every list.

Anyway, the other films that AFI considers a Fantasy that would make my list if I considered them Fantasy are Purple Rose of Cairo, Being John Malkovich, Who Framed Roger Rabbit (all Comedies), Brazil (Sci-Fi) and King Kong (Horror).  And I classify pretty much every Comic Book movie under Action.

When I make a list of Fantasy films, I include films in which the primary world is Fantasy, in which things happen that don’t happen in reality, but not in a futuristic or science based setting.  So no Science Fiction films on this list.  However, for those of you who like Sci-Fi, check back next week for my review of the book Multireal by David Louis Edelman.  It’s worth reading.

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We finally have a diagnosis we can treat! Thomas currently has an ear infection in both ears and probably a touch of a sinus infection. Those are actually treatable as opposed to the annoying “croup” diagnosis we’ve been getting the last couple of weeks. The hope is that taking care of the sinus issue will alleviate his runny nose which will in turn stop the post-nasal drip that is causing his throat irritation and the horrible, barking cough. Oddly, while he has been pulling on his ears a little bit, he hasn’t really been slowed down by the infection. But he did seem to sleep better last night and we are all glad for that.

a great moment, but the end of good times

a great moment, but the end of good times

“Life was such a wheel that no man could stand upon it for long.
And it always, at the end, came round to the same place again.”

Stephen King, being a fellow Red Sox fan, would probably not be thrilled that I quote the final lines of The Stand at the end of the Red Sox season with the hope that this is a good sign. But then again, I know his politics and maybe he would.

I hope this is the fucking end. The Red Sox have lost, the possibility of another amazing comeback has been squandered with leaving too many men on base tonight. And as much as I don’t believe in god, religion, or pretty much any higher power, I hope this means things have come full circle.

“We were riding the crest of a high and beautiful wave . . .”

Hunter wrote this words about San Francisco in the sixties, but Hunter bowed out of this game a few years ago, unable to take it any longer. I would never stoop to that because I don’t believe in suicide (unless you’re terminal), don’t believe in letting go the any chance you get to go around (not believing in an afterlife makes it easier to spurn suicide). But my high and beautiful wave was 2004.

In 2004, such amazing things were happening in my life. I owned a house. I got out of a job I was miserable at. My cultural hobbies were peaking (lead by Return of the King rightfully sweeping the Oscars). I was in grad school, enjoying it, and looking forward to the next step. I had my son. My wonderful, beautiful son. And it seemed he was a fantastic good luck charm, because my sports world had finally risen to the top.

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Sorry I’ve been falling behind on the family updates lately. Par for the course, Thomas is back in school and both he and I have gotten sick. We spent much of last winter under the weather as well, so I’m hoping we don’t have a repeat performance, but it’s not looking good so far. Thomas has already had croup and he’s had an intermittent cough and running nose for two weeks. I’ve been sick for the last two weeks as well, even missing two days of work last week. I thought I was finally over it, but I just can’t seem to shake it completely. My doctor thinks it’s viral, but she did give me a prescription for an antibiotic if I don’t get better soon. Sometimes the medicine can give you just enough boost to get over the illness, even if it is viral and not bacterial.

In other news, I turned in the first draft of the first chapter of my thesis today! That the intro and one chapter down-a second chapter and a conclusion to go. It’s going to need a lot of revision, but it still feels nice to have 26 pages total turned in (over half of the 50 page minimum!). My second chapter is due the first Monday of November and it’s going to take a bit more research to write. Plus I’m supposed to be writing a book review for the American Archivist journal, but I’ve got 400 pages more to read first. I can’t imagine why I’m tired and my immune system is worn down! I’ll be so glad in January when I’m done and can just pick up some silly pointless novel to read instead of historiography.

For those of you who want to get cards in the mail, don’t forget Erik’s birthday is next Friday. :-)

I could have just written the word out, but we write about Thomas a lot, and this is a family blog, and my mother occasionally reads it. So . . .

People I am so livid about I felt the need to make a list and give them a public cursing:

  • F%^& YOU Bud Selig – You get the initial lashing because everyone in the cities of Boston and Tampa live in the Eastern Time Zone. We all had to stay up after midnight to watch that amazing game last night. But your greed and need for more tv revenue from letting it be on in prime time is forcing an entire generation to miss games because they’re on too late.
  • F^%$ YOU Anyone who calls Barack Obama a Muslim – First of all, this is a lie. If you don’t know it’s a lie by now, you are either deliberately ignorant or unbelievably stupid. Second of all, there shouldn’t be a problem even if he was a Muslim. Most of you idiots who spout this lie probably claim to be Christians, but you wouldn’t understand the basic tenants of Christianity as espoused by Jesus in the New Testament if they smacked you upside the head with a shovel, which is very tempting at this point.
  • F*&^ YOU John McCain – I almost switched to a Republican registration to vote for you in the primaries in 2000, because you ran your campaign with such honor and dignity and because W was going to be such a nightmare. That you are now allowing the disgusting filth and lies to emanate from your campaign after claiming you would run an honorable campaign is pathetic. That you countered someone calling Obama an Arab by saying “no, he’s a good man,” as if an Arab can’t be a good man is disturbing. That you have to correct these idiots is what goes around coming back around.
  • F$%^ YOU Supporters of Ballot Measure 1 in Massachusetts – This is not about waste. That’s a lie. You know it’s a lie. It’s because you don’t want to pay any taxes. If you are so greedy that you can’t allow any of your money to be used for the good of other people, move to another state that doesn’t have income tax. You’re trying to take money away from my son’s education.
  • F#$% YOU People Who Say Measure 1 Will Save You $3700 – You idiot Measure 1 supporters get two lashings. That number is only true for people who make over $100,000. The people who make less, those who really need the services that would be drastically cut by passing this measure, they will have very little savings. Stop telling them this lie.
  • F@#$ YOU Nobel Prize Committee for Literature – Philip Roth is 75. Salman Rushdie is 61. Stop fooling around and give them the prize already before either one of them dies. You missed out on Joyce, Tolstoy, Proust and Nabokov. Don’t miss out on our two best living writers.
  • F*$% YOU People Who Throw Your Cigarettes Out the Window Of Your Car – Your car has an ashtray.  Stop littering the world.  In fact, stop polluting the air I have to breathe and giving yourself cancer.
  • F^%$ YOU Massachusetts Drivers – Learn how to yield, learn how to stop for pedestrians and learn how not park across 4 spots.

and finally, a big hearty

  • CONGRATULATIONS AND THANK YOU!!!!!! – Connecticut Supreme Court – While you made your finding yesterday based on the Connecticut State Constitution, it follows the basic tenant of Article 1 of the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution: “All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.” The recognition of marriage by the state is a form of liberty, and to allow certain people to marry and others not, is a violation of this amendment. Again, back to those people who claim to be Christians – “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”

In an act of complete self promotion, here is a link to the work blog I wrote today that highlights the project that Erik works on (and features a link to the work blog that he writes for!)

Memorial to 54th Mass Regiment on Beacon Hill - immortalized in Glory (1989)

Memorial to 54th Mass Regiment on Beacon Hill - immortalized in Glory (1989)

While it’s true that a lot of War films fell into the Epic ballot that AFI sent out, it really should have had its own list. In fact, all War films can be broken down into sub-genre, depending on which war they are depicting.

As the title say, I’m putting forth my list of the top 10 War films. The “Doubled” refers to the fact that so many great war films have been Foreign films and since AFI ignores Foreign films, I’m including a separate top 10 list of War films that are non-English language.

For my scope of what constitutes a War film, it means a film that deals mostly with the aspects of a war itself, mostly on the battlefield (so, no Schindler’s List or other films focusing mostly on the Holocaust, or films that focus on the home front).

The interesting thing is that even though over half the War films I have seen are World War II films, the English language list is much more representative of other wars.

The final note is that in spite of having seen over 140 War films, only two of them do I consider to be truly bad: The Patriot and Pearl Harbor. Utter dreck, both of them. But for the most part, War films are usually well made, and if not too harrowing, decent entertainment. (more…)

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