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Monthly Archives: July 2014

obsessive avengers, sweet innocents, noble warriors, tragic victims

July 30, 2014, 1:01 am

For the third time, I’m preparing to teach a class on minority representation in the cinema. For the first time, I’m requiring the students to use the textbook America on Film by Harry M. Benshoff and Sean Griffin. Mostly, it’s about racial groups, with some extended consideration of class and gender in the second half. Then – almost, but not quite, as an after-thought – Chapter 16 is called “Cinematic Images of (Dis)Ability.” Though they don’t discuss autism per se
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Weird Al Wins the World

July 28, 2014, 11:14 am

Weird Al Yankovic has the Number One album in America with Mandatory Fun. It’s the first comedy album to go to number one since My Son, The Nut by Allan Sherman in 1963. For someone to hit a career peak 35 years in, with their 14th album, is about as common an occurrence as someone cleaning all the bathrooms in Grand Central Station with their tongue. In case you missed it, Weird Al is all over the media lately, with
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Why strange beds should, but won’t, lead to strange bedfellows

July 25, 2014, 10:21 am

Perhaps you’ve heard that since October, at least 44,000 Central American children have been apprehended at our border with Mexico. This represents a fourfold increase from a comparable period in 2012-13, and it’s not crazy to call the situation a “humanitarian crisis,” as Speaker John Boehner regularly does. These days, if you google “border crisis,” this is the first image that comes up. Strange beds, eh? But let’s think three moves ahead. At some point, all these kids are going
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One Good Teacher

July 23, 2014, 11:50 am

Today, let’s talk about something positive in Dar’s life. Because Dar was diagnosed with autism at age 2, we knew he would begin at his local school district at age 3. When he started, there were two classes, two options: one that was half-and-half kids with IEPs and kids without, and one that was all kids with IEPs, i.e. all special needs. As an outsider, the schism reminded me a little of the division between the group meeting people and
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One day, 5 movies, 13 hours of cinema: 8/7/04

July 21, 2014, 8:15 am

Just cleaning out my closet, happened to come upon the day of my life that I spent the most time in movie theaters. Talk about a misspent youth…go ahead and talk, but this journal entry was from a well-spent time when I wasn’t all that young, almost exactly ten years ago. If you’re wondering what it would be like if I wrote capsule film reviews…you might finish this still wondering, because this was after 13 hours of cinema-used braindwidth. From
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42 year waves

July 18, 2014, 11:55 am

1000 years from now, when they talk about the American Century, what will they say? If a textbook from the year 3000 only has about a paragraph to devote to the 20th century – and let’s face it, how long did your history books linger on the 10th century? – what will be left in, what will be left out? I can think of a few persons that might come up, or not. But there’s two words I can’t imagine
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Faithfully

July 16, 2014, 12:10 pm

Last week I wrote about our adventures in Yellowstone National Park. Before Wyoming becomes too distant in my mind’s rearview mirror, I want to shine a light on one little hour we spent there. At one point, I sent wifey to go see the picturesque springs and geysers near Old Faithful. I’d seen them seven years ago, she hadn’t. Dar can sometimes handle the walk, but he often drags his feet, and I wanted wifey to be able to cover a
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How the USA Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the World Cup

July 14, 2014, 11:15 am

The most-watched TV program of the year happened yesterday – not the Olympics, not the Oscars, but the final of La Copa Mundial. We do Media Mondays around here, so who are we not to notice? Beyond the record ratings in the United States, it just feels different this time – like the Cup is finally a work-stopping, water-cooler-charging event, in a way that it wasn’t, quite, four years ago in South Africa, though the American squad didn’t go any
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June 28, 1914 versus June 6, 1944

July 11, 2014, 11:40 am

Last month, World War I fought World War II. The winner was the war to end all wars. No, the other one. June 6, 2014, marked the 70th anniversary of the D-Day invasion; June 28, 2014, marked the 100th anniversary of the assassination that started the First World War. Which one do you think the American news media spent more time on? You can’t answer that just by cross-googling the events with news sources; everyone covered both. Nor can you
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On Holidar

July 9, 2014, 11:33 am

Last week wifey and I drove Dar and his 2-year-old brother, who I’ll call R, to Wyoming, for vacay in Yellowstone National Park. How’d that go? When wifey and I were planning our summer, we liked the idea of visiting national parks for Dar. Not because of camping – the boys are a little young for that. It’s more because we can drive and not fly to parks; we are haunted by on-airplane meltdowns of the past. We hate to
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