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Monthly Archives: March 2015

Ten Excellent Films About Autism

March 30, 2015, 11:37 am

Happy Autism Awareness Week! One of my good, and college-degreed, friends recently told me that she learned almost everything she knew about autism from Rain Man, the film starring Dustin Hoffman and Tom Cruise. I wasn’t offended by this for two reasons. One, Rain Man, the odd-duck buddy-movie conflation of two generations of Hollywood mushy-liberal intentions that both won the Best Picture Oscar and became 1988’s highest-earning Hollywood film, holds up. Perhaps the most impressive thing about Rain Man is […]

What are the 10 most conservative countries in the world?

March 27, 2015, 12:22 pm

What are the ten most conservative countries in the world? Most liberal Americans probably assume that the United States is probably tops on that list, but recent events in Israel and Singapore had me wondering. As you may have heard, last week Benjamin Netanyahu and his Likud party won a resounding victory in Israeli elections, prompting several American commentators to point out that Israel is a “center-right” country. This week brought the death of the first Prime Minister of Singapore, […]

Dar and the iPad

March 25, 2015, 11:19 am

“Have you tried an iPad?” people used to ask me. “So-and-so did great with an iPad,” people used to tell me. With a heavy sigh, I’d explain that every time we presented an iPad to Dar, he would push it away with utter disinterest. This explanation was generally met by the same expression that my dog gives me when I’m eating and tell him there’s no food for him. Sort of a “b-b-but, are you sure?” About six months ago, […]

How much TV should you watch?

March 23, 2015, 12:51 pm

How much TV should you be watching? This little elephant of a question bestrides every room and site where people tweet, comment, update, and effuse about TV shows, but it’s rarely acknowledged. Emily Nussbaum, the New Yorker’s TV critic, Alessandra Stanley, the New York Times’ TV critic, and Tom Shales, National Review’s TV critic, don’t discuss it. Tim Goodman at The Hollywood Reporter conducts occasional “live chats” and that’s where he does acknowledge…that he can’t answer that question. These people […]

114’s First Report Card

March 20, 2015, 12:55 pm

“If Kentucky to-morrow unfurls the banner of resistance unjustly, I never will fight under that banner. I owe a permanent allegiance to the whole Union – a subordinate one to my own State. When my State is right – when it has a cause for resistance, when tyranny, and wrong, and oppression insufferable arise – I will then share her fortunes; but if she summons me to the battle-field or to support her in any cause which is unjust against […]

Special Guest Blog Post: Pocoloco

March 18, 2015, 9:51 am

And now for something unprecedented: a guest post on this blog. As you might imagine, then, this is something pretty special. My dear friend Daniel gave me a unique and cherished opportunity to guest-write on his blog, so here goes.   I think, among the reasons why he’s allowing me a spot, is that I begged him, and I’m not ashamed.  Another is because he knows I have a five-year-old child, Pocoloco (it’s a family name), who has ASD (Autism […]

The Real “Scandal”

March 16, 2015, 5:00 pm

Last year, upon my Thursday night arrival in Seattle at the annual Society of Cinema and Media Studies conference, I came upon a considerable contingent of colleagues (professors) watching television in the hotel’s bar-lounge. What, you might wonder, compelled the interest of the world’s foremost experts in cinematic and communications-related arts? A newly unearthed edit of Citizen Kane? A sneak preview of the iPhone 7? Secret home movies of a teenage Barack Obama? No. They were watching Scandal. Shonda Rhimes’ […]

Once in a lifetime, water flowing underground

March 13, 2015, 1:14 am

For Abraham Lincoln, it happened on February 12, 1813, during the Presidency of James Madison. The little 4-year-old boy was utterly unaware of the War of 1812 raging on distant frontiers. He lived on Knob Creek Farm, Kentucky, though his father’s title to this land was in a dispute that eventually sent the family over the Kentucky-Indiana border (the Ohio River). He probably fought often with his sister, who was two years and two days older than him. As Christopher […]

Dar’s IEP on March 9, 2015

March 11, 2015, 12:19 pm

Well, that escalated quickly. Here are some excerpts from the horse-choke-worthy stream of paperwork we were given this week: BIA (third-party ABA service provider) report: Dar has increased his time engaged in structured learning tasks steadily since beginning school in August 2014. For the first 3 months of school Dar would transition between 5 locations, spending 5 to 10 minutes at each location dong [sic] various engaging learning tasks then would walk to the next location. This rotation would happen […]

Counting Cards

March 9, 2015, 11:28 am

One could argue that House of Cards is a show about an emperor who has no clothes. One could also argue that House of Cards is an emperor with no clothes. If House of Cards isn’t the emperor of Netflix’s original content, it’s at least the co-ruler, along with Orange is the New Black. One of OITNB’s writers told me, with no false modesty, that Netflix will never cancel their show because Netflix can’t afford to mess with its nascent […]