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Archive for May, 2012

In a rare turn of events, no Pulitzer for fiction was awarded this year.  That got me to thinking about my own history with that award.  Here are my notes on the last quarter century of Pulitzer winners.

  1. 2011 A Visit from the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan.     Sounds interesting, but I’m not really that excited by it.  Probably won’t read it.
  2. 2010 Tinkers by Paul Harding.     Read it.  Really enjoyed it.  Gave it an 8/10.  Review here.
  3. 2009 Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout.     Read it.  Moderately enjoyed it.  Gave it a 7/10.  Review here.
  4. 2008 The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz.     Not familiar with it.  The title alone is enticing, but is it enough so that I’ll look into it?  Honestly, if it’s not already on the priority list, chances are it won’t claw its way in anytime soon.
  5. 2007 The Road by Cormac McCarthy.     Read it.  Loved it.  Gave it a 10/10.  No review necessary–what could I possibly add?
  6. (more…)
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Loved this movie!  What a sweet, beautiful celebration of a single time and place in the history of culture.  However, I wish Allen had squeezed James Joyce in with the rest of his pantheon.  Ewan McGregor played Joyce in a film once; would it have killed Allen to call him up to see if he could swing by the studio for an afternoon for a token cameo?

Also, what’s with the PG-13 rating?  Did I miss something?  It had zero nudity, violence, or swearing, that I noticed.  This could easily be shown in an English class.  The actors really do a superb job of capturing Hemingway and Fitzgerald.  There are some clever in jokes (Luke Wilson’s star-struck time traveler tells Hemingway that thought about Huck Finn being the root of all American literature that would later be attributed to Hemingway himself), and Adrien Brody camps it up in a scene as Salvador Dali.

Speaking of Luke Wilson, as Woody Allen is now too old to be the kind of befuddled everyman he made famous in so many films, I guess he was looking for a stand-in.  Wilson’s muted passive-aggressive schtick works surprisingly well in that mold.

And every shot of Paris in this movie is just a graceful love poem to that city.  Bliss.

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If you’ve only ever seen a newborn on TV, then you’ve never really seen a newborn.  Think about it–they usually can’t really plan filming around whatever pregnant lady may or may not be in the area and ready to pop.  Most TV “newborns” are usually weeks–or even months–old.

But if you never noticed that before, then you definitely didn’t know these:

1.  In movies, umbilical cords are quickly and cleanly clipped by cute little scissors that look like they were meant for fingernails.  In real life, umbilical cords are pretty tough.  One of my kids had one so rubbery, it was like an industrial-strength garden hose.  I had to saw away at that sucker for a minute.

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School Daze

As we approach the last several days before exams, I think one little episode best encapsulates this year for me:

Several weeks ago, I checked out the school credit card from our banker in my capacity as a student council advisor.  I left the office and then had one of those discombobulated moments: why had I requested this credit card?  What did I need it for?  Usually I would know, but this time I honestly couldn’t remember and had to look it up.

Was it for the Prom?  Or for Teacher Appreciation Week?  Or for Senior Awards Night?  Or for the Senior Picnic?  I was involved in preparing all four of those events at once, and it made me a little dizzy.

This has been the most fulfilling and satisfying year of my career, but I’m still looking forward to the end in a few weeks.  I’m pretty tired.

 

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Mean Mr. Huston

A student turned in a reading response journal a while back, supposedly picking apart an article I’d provided for that purpose.  He didn’t like it.  At one point, he wrote, “You made me read two pages of awful writing filled with weak arguments.”

I was tempted to write in the margin, “I know how you feel,” but I wimped out and just put, “Ironic.”  He got the point.  The next draft was much improved.

 

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I recently saw a TV ad for a product called Colon Flow, which says it does just what you think it would.

I love it when real life defies satire.

The ad reminded me of that great Phil Hartman parody on Saturday Night Live for a cereal called Colon Blow, which supposedly had the same effect.

This mix up is just like the hearing device Quietus, which shares its name with a reference to suicide.

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May

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