Sunday, August 16, 2009

A Boy and a Book



This is my youngest on a hot August afternoon in 2000, taking a break from the heat to course through the fourth Harry Potter. He is me, only finer.

Today he moves into a dormitory at the University of Kansas to begin his freshman year of college.

So fast! Too soon.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Life West of Philadelphia


You know you're in podunk when the opening of a new supermarket brings out cheerleaders and the pep band from the local Big 12 university.
This sight on my morning ride brought back a memory from childhood in Hicksville, New York, sometime in the early 1950's. I don't remember how old I was--single digits seems likely. My father swept me up one day after lunch (after supper?), loaded me into the gray '49 Plymouth, and drove to the opening of a new supermarket, an A&P, I think. This isn't your normal activity with a child, is it. I mean, what little kid cares about a grocery store, unless there's a real chance that Dad will buy you that new box of cereal containing a plastic submarine that--with the addition of a little baking soda--will sail the bathtub ocean blue under its own flatulent power. The attraction this night was a little different: the celebrity opening this new market was none other than that intrepid space traveler (and TV pioneer), Captain Video, Captain Kirk's predecessor and probably the first television actor that I was familiar with aside from Buffalo Bob and Howdy Doody.
I am going to change directions here slightly to go on to make the point that podunk also existed on Long Island--a pep band here, a minor celebrity there; however, this is also a memory of over fifty years ago, and Hicksville was a commuter podunk at the time, connected in my mind to New York City only by the Long Island Railroad.
I wanted to wrap that last thought quickly and loosely because in the meantime, I've seen a movie that I want to say a few words about--and just a few. (Pretty sneaky way to avoid ending a sentence with a preposition, no?)
Besides, in future, I should probably be reminded to avoid what shall hereinafter be known as a pointless OFA, old fart anecdote. I'll post warnings if I sense I might be headed toward one.
*****
My schedule lately has been very open, and I have spent my free time wallowing in cinema. Here's the list since the last bloggish update:
"August Evening" (very engaging)
"BenX" (difficult and worth every second)
"Syriana" (a repeat for me, ever susceptible as I am to a conspiracy plotline)
"Mickey Blue Eyes" (short meh)
"Friday Night Lights" (a repeat for me and a favorite)
"Forty Shades of Blue" (drawn out meh with shrug)
"Choking Man" (well done)
"Slumdog Millionaire" (wow!)
"Music Within" (I'd like to like it, but in a week I won't remember it.)
And finally, this evening at the public library there was a showing of "Food, Inc." sponsored by a local organization comprised of people with high-minded principles, advanced degrees, and Birkenstocks with socks--my pipples. If the books "Fast Food Nation" or "The Omnivore's Dilemma" caught your attention, you might enjoy this. I thought it was very well done--deserving, perhaps, of some fact checking, but when the folks in the corporate headquarters of various multinationals all decline opportunities to be interviewed, refuse to represent their positions outside a courtroom, well...
There is a companion book to "Food, Inc.", and I'm going to add that to my someday-maybe reading list.
So here we started the day with a supermarket opening and ended the day wary of our food supply. Meh.