Friday, July 29, 2005
sad ads

We recently made some purchases at Old Navy. They have changed their shopping bag. The bags now say: FIT IN STAND OUT all over them. Is this not one of the saddest campaigns? Can you really have it both ways? I mean, I guess it's honest. Maybe most people are just trying to fit in and stand out in a way that they still fit in. But gosh.

I once saw an ad that said forget all those crunches and time at the gym - instead, just buy our car. Who cares if you are out of shape if your car is smokin'? It's like a guy on a motorcycle who somehow thinks he isn't fat, just strong or "stocky".

I heard an ad for Ethan Allen furniture the other day where they set this dream scenario: Prince Charming buys you a truckload of Ethan Allen furniture to update every room in your house. But wait, the dream is threatened because Prince Charming thinks he can't afford it. All-New-Credit-Financing saves the day! Prince Charming and Lady Love are now blissfully happy with their new divans, armoires, ottomans, chaises and an infinity of monthly payments. When I told David about that one, his response, "That is pure evil." Yes. Yes, it is. (Not that a house full of Ethan Allen furniture is evil. The folks who work at Ethan Allen need jobs, too. But, encouraging massive debt is wrong.)

I think the worst - and funniest - ad I've heard on the radio went like this:

Are you 100% totally completely happy? Come listen to [Schmuck-Motivational-Speaker] this Saturday!
[Schmuck-Motivational-Speaker:] "If your finances, love life, and health feel out of your control I can put you back in control. All of these things are a direct result of your attention and in-tention. Everything I am talking about is the result of leading edge thought and leading edge science. This is quantum physics."


These guys are thinking, with an ad campaign like this, how can we lose? No one is 100% totally completely happy, right? People will be all over this. Yes, all the sheeple will be eating it up like a delicious snack.

Have you seen the new "NO LATE FEES" ads by Blockbuster? How many people actually think there are no late fees? At the bottom of the screen, in teeny tiny print it says that after 7 days the rental is converted to a sale. So, you have to BUY the movie. Which to me, is much, much worse. It goes on to say that if you return the movie the sale will be reversed, but you will be charged a re-stocking fee. Uh, don't you mean a late fee?

posted by lochan | link
4 comments and fresh takes

When I Heard the Learn'd Astronomer

When I Heard the Learn'd Astronomer
by Walt Whitman

When I heard the learn'd astronomer,
When the proofs, the figures, were ranged in columns before me,
When I was shown the charts and diagrams, to add, divide, and measure them,
When I sitting heard the astronomer where he lectured with much applause in the lecture-room,
How soon unaccountable I became tired and sick,
Till rising and gliding out I wander'd off by myself,
In the mystical moist night-air, and from time to time,
Look'd up in perfect silence at the stars.
posted by lochan | link
0 comments and fresh takes

Thursday, July 28, 2005
blah blah blahg blog


Everybody wants to make a big deal about blogs these days. Personal websites have been around since the beginning of the internet, but now we have a snappy, single-syllable word for it. The format of blogs where regular updates are expected plus comments from readers (if you're lucky) is something new and better, and it allows for more interactive fun.

That said, I don't really get all the hate out there for blogs. You have folks like Moby and David Byrne (and other regular joe schmoes) who refuse to use the word blog. Fine. If you prefer "online journal", that's fine. Without comments, maybe it is less of a blog. I don't know or care much. I read one blog that went off on how much they hate blogs and all words related to blogs and the links in blogs. Oh-kay. Why all the fuss, though?

I've heard mention of blogs on the news and radio like it's the latest, greatest thing that is going to change the world. And, I hear other people talking about what a waste of time they are (specifically, Glenn Beck and Michael Savage - tell me they aren't just insecure about their jobs and tell me if they didn't have some run-of-the-mill job like janitor or accountant, that they wouldn't have a political blog).

A month or so ago I saw a Business Week cover that said "How Blogs will Change your Business." I read the article and it was a whole lot of nothing. Because part of what makes most blogs great is that they have nothing to do with business. Unlike 90% of the internet, they aren't trying to talk you out of your money in some way.

Business Week's big advice is to start a blog. But, just because you have a blog doesn't mean people will check it out. If the purpose of your blog is to promote your business, I know I definitely won't be checking it out.

I like blogging, I love the whole blog thing, but there are what? 60 million blogs or so out there. And each are only as good as the people who write the blog. I can't tell you how many blogs I've stumbled onto that don't even make sense. Or, that were really poorly written (The Huffington Post has shown that most celebrities should not blog - I love Ellen DeGeneres and John Cusack, but they had to come up with one post that was interesting and they could. not.).

Now, I'm tired of the word blog.
posted by lochan | link
3 comments and fresh takes

the internet equivalent to...

Smell this1, it smells really bad.

Taste this2, I think it's gone rancid.

You may not actually want to click on these links (I normally decline when my husband asks to me to smell or drink something because it's really bad):

1 Facial corsets that distort the person's face
2 Corset piercing/multiple body piercings
posted by lochan | link
3 comments and fresh takes

Wednesday, July 27, 2005
Mr. & Mrs. Smith

I'm not talking about Angelina and Brad. I really don't care about them or their movie. I'm talking about what kids call adults these days. When I was a kid, I called adults Mr. and Mrs. (or at church, Brother ____ or Sister____). There was no question. I had one friend who called my parents by their first names and it seemed like the height of disrespect.

In one generation, that's gone. Most kids don't do it. It's not because of the kids, it's because the adults aren't comfortable being adults.

Why are we so afraid of being the grown up? You look at a 50s yearbook and the high school kids are all trying look grown up. Now, you go to a 20 year high school reunion and everyone is trying to look they are still in high school.

I'm not going to start wearing dresses like Mrs. Cleaver or Mrs. Brady (although wouldn't it be cool to have her hair?). I'm comfortable in my jeans and my T-shirts and my flip flops. I know it's not very grown up, but I don't care. I guess I'm just here to complain.
Tuesday, July 26, 2005
chicken paco
I added a new blog to my sidebar. I know I have 5,000 links on my sidebar, but this one you should check out.

Chicken Paco is a great new blog. There's some funny and interesting stuff, so go over there.
posted by lochan | link
4 comments and fresh takes

rogert ebert is the MAN

I wasn't going to bore you with the really bad movie we saw last weekend. But, I don't have anything else to bore you with right now, and I ran across Roger Ebert's review of Hilary Duff's latest movie.


"The Perfect Man" crawls hand over bloody hand up the stony face of this plot, while we in the audience do not laugh because it is not nice to laugh at those less fortunate than ourselves, and the people in this movie are less fortunate than the people in just about any other movie I can think of, simply because they are in it.

It really is that bad.

posted by lochan | link
6 comments and fresh takes

Monday, July 25, 2005
at KFC
Enjoying a delicious meal at KFC.

Dad/David: Would you like me to put some butter and honey on your biscuit?
Grace: No thanks, I prefer margarine spread and honey sauce made from corn syrup.

Lucky for us, that was all that was available.
posted by lochan | link
4 comments and fresh takes

panoramic photographs

Panorama of burned district from Jones & Bush Sts., S.F. ,1906

I found a cool site put out by the Library of Congress that has panoramic photographs of different subjects.

I browsed around the earthquake section, which was mainly photos of the 1906 San Francisco Earthquake. The disasters and cityscapes were neat, too. You can also search the collection for specific locations and events.
posted by lochan | link
0 comments and fresh takes

Friday, July 22, 2005
music and memory

Susan has started posting the songs that make up the soundtrack of her life. I had started a post about music I listened to growing up, but her post made me go back to it.

Some of my earliest memories are of my dad holding me on his knee and singing this song that went "Funny face I love you. Funny face I need you." He'd also sing that "Peanut sitting a on railway track" song. My dad was pretty busy and hands-off growing up, so these memories are precious to me.

When I was maybe five or six, my brother and sister and I went to a garage sale and bought a stack of record singles for pennies each. We came home and danced to The Byrds' Turn Turn Turn. Those records also had Billy Don't Be a Hero and Leaving on a Jet Plane. Great songs.

I loved The Carpenters and the Monkees. I listened to the Mary Poppins soundtrack over and over. My favorite song was The Perfect Nanny. I remember sitting in our basement on the striped carpeting and writing down all the lyrics to it. I loved the end: Jane and Michael Banks.

The music I listened to after this was mainly determined by my brothers. I loved The Cars and Styx and liked AC/DC and KISS. My sister and I would put Styx on and make up elaborate dances in the living room. As far as stuff I discovered without the help of my brothers, I loved the Grease soundtrack, ABBA, and Debbie Boone. Ah, You Light Up My Life. I remember singing Delta Dawn and Country Roads Take Me Home with great gusto with my friend in the back seat of her dad's yellow cadillac.

In 6th grade, I bought my first record. I remember standing in Target trying to choose between REO Speedwagon's Hi Infidelity and Pat Benatar's Crimes of Passion. I picked REO. I thought it was a good choice.

In junior high, I listened to Pink Floyd, The Rolling Stones, The Clash, Queen, and The Kinks a lot because that was my brother's music. Rock the Kasbah is going to a friend's house and dancing in the garage. My sister is wearing my jeans, but at 15 she shouldn't be able to fit into a girl's size 12.

I didn't own the music, but the Go-Go's and Prince make me think of going to school dances. Little Red Corvette brings me to my best friend's house, standing in the area outside of her kitchen, getting ready to go to a dance. Our Lips Are Sealed puts me in my driveway, but I don't know why.

In high school, I broke free from the 70s and started listening to music like U2, Simple Minds, Peter Gabriel, The Cure, Eurythmics, The Violent Femmes, Howard Jones, UB40, and Sting. I stopped listening to KQ92 (the rock station) and started listening to Cities 97.

Gone Daddy Gone is laying in bed with the green light of the clock shining in the dark. Thorn in My Side is sitting in the kitchen with my sister. No One is to Blame is sitting down on the dock. No radios there, so I'm not sure why. Up on the Catwalk is drawing on the sheetrock in our basement hallway before it was painted over. One Tree Hill is watercoloring in my bedroom. The Suburbs, a local band, would make me think of running around St. Cloud, but I can't remember any actual songs, just the feeling I had listening to them.

It's funny how a song can bring you back. Any time I hear a song from Dream of the Blue Turtles I think of the stake dance when I first started hanging out with my first real boyfriend and our first dates. 1985 comes right back to me.

There's a feeling I get when I think of growing up and still being surrounded by my brothers and sister. When they were in my life on a daily basis. Even when my older brothers left home, they still felt closer to me and a bigger part of my life than they do now. There's a distinct flavor that I can almost name when I remember walking down the road to our house or just flopping down on the couch. Walking home from school, or in summertime heading out to the lake with the canoe.

I wonder if my parents still lived in that house, or we all lived nearby and hadn't scattered, if those memories would make me less sad. They are mostly happy memories, and none of it is shattered or painful, it's just gone.
posted by lochan | link
8 comments and fresh takes

The only poem to make me cry


Walt Whitman wrote this poem after Abraham Lincoln's death. The Civil War ended on April 9, 1865. Abraham Lincoln was shot on April 14 and died on April 15, 1865.

O Captain! My Captain!
by Walt Whitman

O CAPTAIN! my Captain! our fearful trip is done;
The ship has weather’d every rack, the prize we sought is won;
The port is near, the bells I hear, the people all exulting,
While follow eyes the steady keel, the vessel grim and daring:
But O heart! heart! heart!
O the bleeding drops of red,
Where on the deck my Captain lies,
Fallen cold and dead.

O Captain! my Captain! rise up and hear the bells;
Rise up—for you the flag is flung—for you the bugle trills;
For you bouquets and ribbon’d wreaths—for you the shores a-crowding;
For you they call, the swaying mass, their eager faces turning;
Here Captain! dear father!
This arm beneath your head;
It is some dream that on the deck,
You’ve fallen cold and dead.

My Captain does not answer, his lips are pale and still;
My father does not feel my arm, he has no pulse nor will;
The ship is anchor’d safe and sound, its voyage closed and done;
From fearful trip, the victor ship, comes in with object won;
Exult, O shores, and ring, O bells!
But I, with mournful tread,
Walk the deck my Captain lies,
Fallen cold and dead.
posted by lochan | link
5 comments and fresh takes

Thursday, July 21, 2005
zahara


Angelina Jolie's new baby is so beautiful.
posted by lochan | link
4 comments and fresh takes

Rock Star INXS


I've watched a little bit of the show Rock Star INXS. I think most of the contestants are really irritating and trying way too hard. The women, especially, seem to be doing that deep-throat rocker thing. I wish they'd just sing like women, instead of trying to sound like men.

I was never a huge INXS fan. I had one tape of theirs (I think Listen Like Thieves). I saw INXS once and I was blown away by how charismatic Hutchence was onstage. I was actually looking forward to seeing the opening band Steel Pulse more than INXS, but Hutchence was really amazing to watch and put on a great show.

Last night they performed three different INXS tunes, and I was surprised at how sick it made me feel. Really sick in the pit of my stomach that Michael Hutchence is dead. If I feel that way, how must the band feel?
posted by lochan | link
4 comments and fresh takes

Wednesday, July 20, 2005
new look
I've been thinking about redesigning my blog for awhile. The template was nice, but the font is kind of small and whenever I run into a blog with the same template it irritates me. I don't like it.

I thought if I tried to do it myself, I'd mess around it with forever. So, I found an inexpensive design team who donate part of their sales to charity at blog-togs.com. They were quick and did a nice job. This is what Cat came up with:



I like it, but decided it was a little too high energy for me. The price actually included two major changes, but I decided to just do it myself. So, I did. And, yeah, I spent too much time on it. But, it really didn't take that long (mainly because Cat had already made the major changes for me). The time was mainly spent looking at different fonts and staring at it deciding if I liked it or not. I'm pretty sure I do.

I've got Internet Explorer, so I don't know what this looks like in other formats (yes, I know all the cool kids have Firefox, but I really don't want to download one more thing on my computer, ever). If anything looks funky, let me know, m'kay?
posted by lochan | link
7 comments and fresh takes

dreams


A few weeks ago, I had a dream that I was back in high school and my friends and I were standing around outside a church at a stake dance. A group of guys walked up and started talking to us. This is something that happened quite a few times in real life. Hanging out in the parking lot or the hallway, and running into that one guy. That was a moment. Or, it could be.

Of course the dream is a little fuzzy now, but we were hanging out. And, that one guy smiles at me and starts talking to me. The feeling of this in high school was great. Maybe it's the beginning of something, there's a bit of an electricity in the air, with the nervousness and the excitement and the hoping and all.

Well, in my dream that one guy is Jon Heder. Of Napoleon Dynamite fame. And, we start laughing and talking and everything's going really great. When suddenly, he remembers, "I'm married!" And, that's when it dawns on me that I'm married, too. David is instantly back in the picture.

The weird thing is, Heder then says, "I'm 26." And I say, "I'm 29." I guess it was the realization that high school is gone that made it necessary to say how old we were. When I woke up, it took me a minute to realize I'm not actually 29.

This dream reminds me of many things. One, how in your head you have to remind yourself how old you are. For the longest time, I was 25 in my head. Or, sometimes I still actually think it's 1985 or something. I did this just a few days ago. David said something about somebody who was 20 in 1965 and I said, "But they'd only be 40 now!" And, then I realized. No, this isn't 1985. They'd be 60.

It also makes me think of how weird it is to dream about someone you don't even know or care very much about. I mean, I like the movie Napoleon Dynamite, and I'm sure Jon Heder is a very nice person, but I've never given him a thought as a real person. I don't have a thing for Heder. Or, at least I don't think I do. My subconscious seems to be telling me otherwise.

I haven't dreamt about very many celebrities, but the ones I have don't really make a lot of sense. I dreamt once that Brad Pitt called me (I never actually saw the man) and left a message on my answering machine asking me to come live with him. I'm not sure what that says about me, but I'm pretty sure it's pathetic. Brad Pitt? I mean, sure, he's pretty, but why should I care?


I dreamt once that Ralph Fiennes and I were hanging out at a playground and holding hands. That one I can understand a little better than Brad Pitt. Er, actually, a lot better.
posted by lochan | link
4 comments and fresh takes

Tuesday, July 19, 2005
overheard at the pool


13 year old kid with a schmo haircut: Dude, do you know what's awesome dude?
Another 13 year old kid with a schmo haircut: What dude?
13 year old kid with a schmo haircut: Girls totally dig surfer dudes.
Another 13 year old kid with a schmo haircut: Cool, dude.

It's sad that you can consider yourself a surfer dude based purely on fashion and the use of the word dude. Ever actually surfing has little to do with it, I guess.
posted by lochan | link
3 comments and fresh takes

a nice tall glass of luxury
Last night I got a glass down from the shelf, put some ice in the glass, and filled my glass with water from the fridge. I've done this a thousand times.

I picked up my book and headed upstairs. The ice in the glass clinked against the side. Ice clinking is a wonderfully delicate sound. It's soft, it's sweet, and it even sounds cold.

I was listening to the clink and thinking what a beautiful sound it was. And, then I realized. This is civilization. A glass of ice water is about as civilized as you can get. At least the kind of refreshing glass of ice water that I was about to enjoy.

I didn't pump or haul that water. I just pushed a button. I didn't sterilize or boil that water. I just trusted my filter. I didn't do anything to make the ice. I didn't even pour ice into a tray. And, the glass. That beautiful glass was simply a little money spent. And not much money. No hard work, no technique to learn, just a few dollars.

How many people in the history of the world have had such an amazing beverage?
posted by lochan | link
5 comments and fresh takes

Monday, July 18, 2005
i love you to death

Erin Johnson, I Love You to Death, 2005

A helium and plastic bag sculpture in downtown Chicago. I wonder how long it actually floated, and where it landed. Did she save the plastic bags?
posted by lochan | link
6 comments and fresh takes

Bauhaus necklace
And by Bauhaus, I don't mean the band (I like that band, it's a good band, but this is not that band).

The Small Object has a cool tutorial on how to make Anni Alber's ribbon-and-washers necklace.

The blog is really quaint. She made an incredibly cool child's notebook from one of her neice's drawings.

The Small Object also pointed the way to Rebecca Fox's sculpture. Her work is incredible. Check out her wall sculpture while you're there.

See more cool stuff by Anni Albers.
posted by lochan | link
1 comments and fresh takes

Saturday, July 16, 2005
values and judgment

BBC edits out the word terrorist

The BBC has re-edited some of its coverage of the London Underground and bus bombings to avoid labelling the perpetrators as "terrorists", it was disclosed yesterday.

Early reporting of the attacks on the BBC's website spoke of terrorists but the same coverage was changed to describe the attackers simply as "bombers".

The BBC's guidelines state that its credibility is undermined by the "careless use of words which carry emotional or value judgments".

Who are they afraid they are going to offend? And, if this wasn't a terrorist attack, what is?

It's impossible to totally avoid value judgments. I'm not sure that's even a worthy goal. In this case, it simply shows the BBC has crappy values and poor judgment.

posted by lochan | link
3 comments and fresh takes

Friday, July 15, 2005
Starlight


Starlight
Philip Levine

My father stands in the warm evening
on the porch of my first house.
I am four years old and growing tired.
I see his head among the stars,
the glow of his cigarette, redder
than the summer moon riding
low over the old neighborhood. We
are alone, and he asks me if I am happy.
"Are you happy?" I cannot answer
I do not really understand the word,
and the voice, my father's voice, is not
his voice, but somehow thick and choked,
a voice I have not heard before, but
heard often since. He bends and passes
a thumb beneath each of my eyes.
The cigarette is gone, but I can smell
the tiredness that hangs on his breath.
He has found nothing, and he smiles
and holds my head with both his hands.
Then he lifts me to his shoulder,
and now I too am there among the stars,
as tall as he. Are you happy? I say.
He nods in answer, Yes! oh yes! oh yes!
And in that new voice he says nothing,
holding my head tight against his head,
his eyes closed up against the starlight,
as though those tiny blinking eyes
of light might find a tall, gaunt child
holding his child against the promises
of autumn, until the boy slept
never to waken in that world again.
posted by lochan | link
0 comments and fresh takes

Divisionism

Giuseppe Pellizza da Volpedo. The Fourth Estate (Il Quarto Stato), 1901.
Click to view larger

None of our political writers... take notice of any more than three estates, namely, Kings, Lords, and Commons... passing by in silence that very large and powerful body which form the fourth estate in this community... The Mob.
-Henry Fielding, 1752


Giuseppe Pellizza da Volpedo was a member of the Divisionist movement that started in Italy in the late 19th century. Divisionism used a technique of putting pure unmixed color on the canvas in streaked brushstrokes. Inspired by the Impressionists and Neo-Impressionists, Divisionists were fascinated with capturing the effects of light. They combined their study of light and optical phenomena with social commentary, often depicting the working class and the poor.

What I love about this particular painting is the contrast between the brilliant light in the foreground and the black in the background. The shadows are crisp and short. There are few colors - mainly browns and tan - but the painting is luminous. I love the dignity of the people, and I especially love the baby. He has such health and weight to him. Despite being off to the side, he is the focus of the painting.
posted by lochan | link
0 comments and fresh takes

Thursday, July 14, 2005
meaningless complaint


Sometimes we watch Extreme Makeover: Home Edition. It's a nice show. Extreme (or variations like X-Treme) is totally overused these days, but this is actually extreme. And, it's nice. A nice family gets a new home with sweet stuff inside. Sears gets an extendo-ad. ABC gets paid for their ads. The home viewer gets a heartwarming story and a happy ending.

What's to complain about? Ty's "x-treme" energy and annoying use of the megaphone? No. Michael Moloney's blindingly white teeth? No. The attempt to make you run out to Sears and shop until your credit runs out? No. The kids' rooms? BINGO.

Jimmy likes monkeys? Let's give him a monkey room! Sally loves ballet? Let's give her a ballet room. Here's a room for a kid who has a thing for zoos:



And, I'm guessing Haley likes puzzles:



Now, I'm sure the kids like these rooms, but most of these families can't just re-decorate every time their kid gets a new interest or hobby. What happens when Jimmy and Sally turn 15?

I think they should just give them a nice room they can grow into. Nobody needs a shrine to horses or trucks.

I know, the idea is to get Joe Couch Potato to get up, get to Sears and buy his precious pumpkin something for her room, but I just don't like it.
Wednesday, July 13, 2005
Bono on Grace and Jesus Christ


I lifted this from looking closer via Times & Seasons.

Excerpt from Bono: In Conversation with Michka Assayas.

Assayas: Appalling things seem to happen when people become religious at too early an age or when their experience of life is nonexistent. Don't you think?

Bono: Zealots often have no love for the world. They're just getting through it to the next one. It's a favorite topic. It's the old cliché: "Eat sh-- now, pie in the sky when you die." But I take Christ at his word: "On Earth as it is in Heaven." As to the first part of your question, in my experience, the older you get, the less chance you have to transform your life, the less open you are to love in a challenging way. You tend towards love that's more comforting and safe.

Assayas: As I told you, I think I am beginning to understand religion because I have started acting and thinking like a father. What do you make of that?

Bono: Yes, I think that's normal. It's a mind-blowing concept that the God who created the Universe might be looking for company, a real relationship with people, but the thing that keeps me on my knees is the difference between Grace and Karma.

Assayas: I haven't heard you talk about that.

Bono: I really believe we've moved out of the realm of Karma into one of Grace.

Assayas: Well, that doesn't make it clearer for me.

Bono: You see, at the center of all religions is the idea of Karma. You know, what you put out comes back to you: an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth, or in physics—in physical laws—every action is met by an equal or an opposite one. It’s clear to me that Karma is at the very heart of the Universe. I’m absolutely sure of it. And yet, along comes this idea called Grace to upend all that “as you reap, so will you sow” stuff. Grace defies reason and logic. Love interrupts, if you like, the consequences of your actions, which in my case is very good news indeed, because I’ve done a lot of stupid stuff.

Assayas: I’d be interested to hear that.

Bono: That’s between me and God. But I’d be in big trouble if Karma was going to finally be my judge. I’d be in deep sh--. It doesn’t excuse my mistakes, but I’m holding out for Grace. I’m holding out that Jesus took my sins onto the Cross, because I know who I am, and I hope I don’t have to depend on my own religiosity.

Assayas: The son of God who takes away the sins of the world. I wish I could believe in that.

Bono: But I love the idea of the Sacrificial Lamb. I love the idea that God says: Look, you cretins, there are certain results to the way we are, to selfishness, and there’s mortality as part of your very sinful nature, and let’s face it, you’re not living a very good life, are you? There are consequences to actions. The point of the death of Christ is that Christ took on the sins of the world, so that what we put out did not come back to us, and that our sinful nature does not reap the obvious death. That’s the point. It should keep us humbled… It’s not our own good works that get us through the gates of Heaven.

Assayas: That’s a great idea, no denying it. Such great hope is wonderful, even though it’s close to lunacy, in my view. Christ has his rank among the world’s great thinkers. But Son of God, isn’t that farfetched?

Bono: No, it’s not farfetched to me. Look, the secular response to the Christ story always goes like this: he was a great prophet, obviously a very interesting guy, had a lot to say along the lines of other great prophets, be they Elijah, Muhammad, Buddha, or Confucius. But actually Christ doesn’t allow you that. He doesn’t let you off that hook.

Christ says, No. I’m not saying I’m a teacher, don’t call me teacher. I’m not saying I’m a prophet. I’m saying: "I’m the Messiah." I’m saying: "I am God incarnate." And people say: No, no, please, just be a prophet. A prophet we can take. You’re a bit eccentric. We’ve had John the Baptist eating locusts and wild honey, we can handle that. But don’t mention the “M” word! Because, you know, we’re gonna have to crucify you. And he goes: No, no, I know you’re expecting me to come back with an army and set you free from these creeps, but actually I am the Messiah.

At this point, everyone starts staring at their shoes, and says: Oh, my God, he's gonna keep saying this. So what you’re left with is either Christ was who He said He was—the Messiah—or a complete nutcase. I mean, we’re talking nutcase on the level of Charles Manson. This man was like some of the people we’ve been talking about earlier. This man was strapping himself to a bomb, and had "King of the Jews" on his head, and they were putting him up on the Cross, was going: OK, martyrdom, here we go. Bring on the pain! I can take it. I’m not joking here.

The idea that the entire course of civilization for over half of the globe could have its fate changed and turned upside-down by a nutcase, for me that’s farfetched…
posted by lochan | link
5 comments and fresh takes

Tuesday, July 12, 2005
walking out of movies


We saw (part of) the world's worst movie this weekend. We didn't walk out because it was on DVD. From the very beginning it looked to be a sad, unoriginal, inept movie. Less than half-way through, we finally found the courage to turn it off.

First Daughter has taken over as the worst movie our family has ever seen. Before that, it was a toss up between Wedding Planner and Uptown Girls. Even though those movies were really, really awful, we actually managed to watch them all the way through. Although we probably shouldn't have.

We weren't expecting First Daughter to be original or really very good, but we expected something that was lighthearted and fun even though it was the 10th or so reincarnation of the same movie (think Sinbad in First Kid or Mandy Moore in Chasing Liberty). We were enjoying the jokes that it might possibly come up with, like, "Let me show how we have fun on my side of the tracks." Or, "You remind me of me 20 years ago, kid."

But, as bad as we expected it to be, it was much, much worse. Because it was so tepid and dull. And, the writing was truly awful. Embarassingly bad.

When I was a kid, I loved any movie I got to see. I had absolutely no concept of being critical of a movie. The first movie I walked out of was Spinal Tap. I was 14 and hanging out with my friends and my sister and her friends (who could drive). We just didn't get the humor of the movie.

In high school my friend and I walked out of The Gods Must Be Crazy and in college I met many people who loved it. I just didn't get it when I saw it (although I did like it when the natives found the coke bottle).

When we were first married, we walked out of Last of the Mohicans. I know some people liked it, but we couldn't stand it. "No matter how far, I will find you!" Eck. It was ridiculous.

When we were in Japan, seeing movies was really expensive, so we only went to one. We stupidly picked Batman Returns, the one with the penguins. We didn't walk out, but if we had paid a normal price, we totally would have.

We walked out of Jurassic Park near the end. I wish we would've had the good sense to walk out before Jeff Goldblum's beefcake shot. What was that?

We walked out of The Garfield Movie, but that's no surprise. That's like thinking Baby Geniuses 2 is going to be good entertainment.
Monday, July 11, 2005
Dear Frankie


We saw the movie Dear Frankie over the weekend. It was fabulous. It's a sweet film set in Scotland about a single mother and her deaf son. I hate to even say much about it, because I think it's so much better to go in fresh and let the movie unfold the story. If you get a chance, rent this.

If you don't want to take my word for it, check out Roger Ebert's review.
posted by lochan | link
6 comments and fresh takes

Saturday, July 09, 2005
TomKat: why do I care?


Weird interview with Katie Holmes. Who talks like this?

"I've found the man of my dreams," says the 26-year-old actress, "From the moment I met him, it just felt like I'd known him forever. I was blown away. He's the most incredible man. He's so generous and kind, and he helps so many people, and, um, he makes me laugh like I've never laughed, and he's a great friend."

Do you worry that this might be a rebound romance for either of you?

"I've never met anyone like Tom," Holmes replies, her beautiful green eyes focused on nothing in particular.

Do you ever wonder whether this is just a honeymoon phase?

"Tom and I will always be in our honeymoon phase."

Do you feel that, with more relationship experience, you get better at resolving conflicts?

"Meeting Tom—I'm just exhilarated. He makes me laugh, we have fun, we understand each other, everything is so aligned. I feel so lucky and so—like I've been given such a gift, such a gift, you know?" She pauses. "And it's just really amazing."
Magic Carpet

Magic Carpet, 1964

"I had the landscape in my arms as I painted it. I had the landscape in my mind and shoulder and wrist. "
- Helen Frankenthaler
posted by lochan | link
0 comments and fresh takes

Friday, July 08, 2005
depressing poems
When you're away
Samuel Hoffenstein

When you're away, I'm restless, lonely,
Wretched, bored, dejected;
Only here's the rub, my darling dear;
I feel the same when you are here.


Mirror
Sylvia Plath

I am silver and exact. I have no preconceptions.
Whatever I see, I swallow immediately.
Just as it is, unmisted by love or dislike
I am not cruel, only truthful –
The eye of a little god, four-cornered.
Most of the time I meditate on the opposite wall.
It is pink, with speckles. I have looked at it so long
I think it is a part of my heart. But it flickers.
Faces and darkness separate us over and over.

Now I am a lake. A woman bends over me.
Searching my reaches for what she really is.
Then she turns to those liars, the candles or the moon.
I see her back, and reflect it faithfully
She rewards me with tears and an agitation of hands.
I am important to her. She comes and goes.
Each morning it is her face that replaces the darkness.
In me she has drowned a young girl, and in me an old woman
Rises toward her day after day, like a terrible fish.



Eating Poetry
Mark Strand

Ink runs from the corners of my mouth.
There is no happiness like mine.
I have been eating poetry.

The librarian does not believe what she sees.
Her eyes are sad
and she walks with her hands in her dress.

The poems are gone.
The light is dim.
The dogs are on the basement stairs and coming up.

Their eyeballs roll,
their blond legs burn like brush.
The poor librarian begins to stamp her feet and weep.

She does not understand.
When I get on my knees and lick her hand,
she screams.

I am a new man.
I snarl at her and bark.
I romp with joy in the bookish dark.
posted by lochan | link
2 comments and fresh takes

Thursday, July 07, 2005
There'll always be an England


Freedom remains. These are the chains
Nothing can break.

There'll always be an England,
And England shall be free
If England means as much to you
As England means to me.
-Ross Parker & Hugh Charles

England means more to me today. This makes me heartsick.
posted by lochan | link
2 comments and fresh takes

we're not lookin' fer charity, we're lookin' fer justice


Susan's post about giving money to strangers at Sisters-in-Blog made me think about the handouts I've given. The first guy I gave money to was asking a crowd of people for change as we came out of a concert (The Kinks, I think). He was tall and had shaggy dark hair and everybody just rolled past him. I felt guilty and turned around and gave him the money in my pockets, change and few bills. He may have just been out of it, but he gave me the most bewildered look. He seemed surprised and maybe even a little ashamed to have this scrawny 15 year old take pity on him.

When I was 17, I saw a guy by a beat up car holding up a sign that said, "Will work for food." There was a girl in the car not too much older than me and a boy in a diaper who looked to be about one. I hadn't cashed my payday check yet, so I turned around and headed to the bank. I came back and gave them $20. It was summer and it was hot and they looked desperate. The girl gushed, "God bless you." Then, a man in a truck came up and told the guy about a farm he could work at and I left. That was the only time I saw someone begging in my hometown. I wonder what happened to them.

Probably the same year my friends and I went to see Suicidal Tendencies at First Avenue. Some punk named Ratboy bummed $20 off of me, but I only gave it to him because he intimidated me and I didn't really know how to say no. That irritates me.

When we lived in Salt Lake, a guy jumped out at me in the Smiths parking lot right after I opened my car door and asked for money. He freaked me out so I gave him a couple of bucks. But, if David had been there, I'd have totally shined him on.

I've given small change and a few dollars here and there, but usually I don't give handouts anymore. In high school and college I did because I wanted to help, but I don't think I really did. Now I prefer to give to an organization that will help out.

Once we had a girl come up to us in Albertson's parking lot and ask for money because she was hungry. We offered her some groceries, but she said she didn't have a way to cook anything. We looked in the bag and pulled out fruit and bread, but she didn't want it. She got angry and walked off. I don't think she was looking for justice.
posted by lochan | link
6 comments and fresh takes

Wednesday, July 06, 2005
imitation

Do you think Coldplay gets a little honked off whenever he hears Blue Merle ripping off his sound? Do you think Blue Merle gets tired of hearing he sounds just like Coldplay and wishes he'd come up with his own signature style?
posted by lochan | link
2 comments and fresh takes

Tuesday, July 05, 2005
June Reading
Life of Pi
Life of Pi by Yann Martel
It's not atheists who get stuck in my craw, but agnostics. Doubt is useful for a while. We must all pass through the garden of Gethsame. If Christ played with doubt, so must we. If Christ spent an anguished night in prayer, if He burst out from the Cross, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" then sure sure we are also permitted to doubt. But we must move on. To choose doubt as a philosophy of life is akin to choosing immobility as a means of transportation.

This was a great book. It has been recommended to me several times. I picked it up once a few years ago, and gave up on it after just a few pages. I don't know why. This time everything about it was fabulous from beginning to mysterious end.

The story is about Pi, a Hindu boy who converts to Christianity and Islam and practices all three religions. His family decides to move from India to Canada, but on the way their ship sinks. Pi finds himself alone in a lifeboat with a Bengal tiger.

Each page is gripping and lyrically beautiful. The story is incredible and leaves you with unanswered questions. It's the questions that make this book so brilliant.

All New People
All New People by Anne Lamott

I liked this book, but I didn't like it as much as the other books I've read by Lamott.

The novel begins with Nan Goodman coming back to her hometown after the death of her father and her painful divorce. She goes to see a hypnotist who has her think back through all of the painful and shameful moments of her life, back to her earliest memories. Then, he has her step into each scene as an adult and comfort herself as a child. This helps her to view the events of her life not just through a child's eyes, but her own adult eyes, and forgive herself and help herself.

The novel melts into telling Nan's story of growing up. It is hard, painful, and real. I appreciated Lamott's honesty, but the book seemed to maintain a quiet depression throughout the book that just never lifted. It had a nice premise, good writing, and a light touch, but the story stagnated.

My Name is Asher Lev
My Name is Asher Lev by Chaim Potok

This book is about Asher Lev, a boy who is a gifted artist and a Ladover Hasidic Jew. His father does not approve of his gift and tries to convince him to give up his art. Asher struggles with the conflicts between his art and his religion.

This is a good book. It is well written, but there's a certain hollow quality to it. Asher feels detached, even in his grief and struggle. And, I think the fact that he was such an artistic genius/prodigy gave the book an unbelievability. His struggle is purely with his religion and hardly at all with the art itself. In the end, I didn't really care about Asher or his family that much. I found them interesting, but not particularly likeable.

A Prayer for Owen Meany
A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving
When someone you love dies, and you’re not expecting it, you don’t lose her all at once; you lose her in pieces over a long time - the way the mail stops coming, and her scent fades from the pillows and even from the clothes and drawers. Gradually, you accumulate the parts of her that are gone.

This book started off fabulously, then it dragged in the middle and then I liked it again when it ended. It was well written, but it was long and he would go off on political arguments that were tired and not entirely logical. His indictment of American foreign policy falls quite short. I was expecting more about Vietnam, instead I got Gary Hart.

The main character, John, is writing about his childhood in the 50s and occasionally comes back to 1987 where he attempts to rip President Reagan a new one several times. It was actually funny when he was complaining about Reagan's attitudes toward the Soviet Union and how Americans just don't understand history, but history will judge Reagan. He talks about "Americans" with great disdain, but by "Americans" he simply means Republicans.

The book is about loss, friendship, miracles, growing up in the 50s, coming of age in the 60s, Vietnam, 80s politics, religion, and miracles. Despite disagreeing with many of his tired political "zingers", I think the main reason that I thought about giving up on this book was because it was just too long. I like a long book that sucks you in, but this one just dribbled mundane details.

posted by lochan | link
3 comments and fresh takes

Sunday, July 03, 2005
hold me closer, Tiny Danza


If you Google tiny danza, my blog comes up #3. That's cool.
posted by lochan | link
1 comments and fresh takes

Saturday, July 02, 2005
celebrity fan mail


Susan's comments about Donny and Marie reminded me of the celebrity fan mail I wrote as a kid. I only wrote to three celebrities:
  • Donny Osmond
  • Robert Blake
  • Lara Jill Miller
I wrote Donny and Baretta when I was probably in 2nd grade. I asked Donny if he really wore purple socks and I asked Baretta if he really used STP oil. Brilliant. Those letters were never sent.

I wrote Lara Jill Miller (of Gimme a Break fame) when I was in 8th or 9th grade. I actually sent the letter. I wrote her because everyone told me I looked like her. And, I did (except I had dark blonde hair and green eyes). This picture..



..looks a lot like my 8th grade school picture. She sent me an autographed picture of herself. It said, Laura, Gimme a Break! Lara Jill Miller. My sister thought that meant she didn't believe me. I was sure she hadn't even read the letter and it was just what she wrote on all of her photos (uh, you know, the name of the show).

I kind of hate admitting that because now you'll have this picture of me as Lara Jill Miller and I no longer look like her. I'd prefer you to picture me as Nicole Kidman without the botox or Lisa Loeb.

In junior high I was told I looked like Pat Benatar, which is really funny. David's roommate in college told me I look like Meryl Streep (he meant it as a compliment, but David was offended), Caroline Bissett Kennedy (my fabulous but delusional mother-in-law), and Michelle Pfeiffer. I don't remember who said that, but they were a lying sack.
posted by lochan | link
5 comments and fresh takes

MIT Weblog Survey
Take the MIT Weblog Survey

You've seen these things. You've wondered what it's about. Well, it's a survey MIT is doing about blogs. If you want to be a statistic, be part of the bell curve, make some science, then click it.
posted by lochan | link
0 comments and fresh takes

Friday, July 01, 2005
Zombie Dogs?


Shut. up. Seriously? (click on photo for an article about Zombie Dogs)
posted by lochan | link
0 comments and fresh takes

TV

Growing up I watched a lot of TV. Besides the year my mom took it away, I logged in hours of quality time with my good friend TV.

Most of the shows I watched were just kids' shows and totally appropriate. But a few shows, I watched even though I was sure my parents wouldn't approve. Not that they ever told me not to, but I just had a feeling.

I furtively watched Love, American Style. I remember watching it with my hand on the dial in case my mom came in the room. I felt guilty watching Monty Python's Flying Circus and Saturday Night Live. I only watched Sonny and Cher a few times, but that seemed wrong, too.

This makes me laugh, but it kinda makes me wonder where I got the sense of what was right and wrong. When I was 11, my grandma bought me a halter top and I really felt like it was sinful. I was surprised that my mom was okay with it. It makes me wonder what my mom really thought about Monty Python.
posted by lochan | link
5 comments and fresh takes

Imperceptibly


As imperceptibly as grief
The summer lapsed away;
Too imperceptible, at last,
To seem like perfidy.

A quietness distilled,
As twilight long begun,
Or Nature, spending with herself
Sequestered afternoon.

The dusk drew earlier in,
The morning foreign shone;
A courteous, yet harrowing grace,
As guest who would be gone.

And thus, without a wing,
Or service of a keel,
Our summer made her light escape
Into the beautiful.

- Emily Dickinson
posted by lochan | link
2 comments and fresh takes

Name: Laura

I have five kids including triplets. I'm too busy to blog, but I do anyway (uh, sometimes).

Learn more about me



My Antonia
by Willa Cather

June

Sarah's Quilt
by Nancy Turner

May

Maus
by Art Spiegelman


Housekeeping
by Marilynne Robinson

April

These Is My Words
by Nancy Turner


The Myth of You and Me
by Leah Stewart

March

Inconceivable
by Ben Elton


Songbook
by Nick Hornby


Follies
by Ann Beattie


Hungry Planet

February

About a Boy
by Nick Hornby


High Fidelity
by Nick Hornby


Stargirl
by Jerry Spinelli

January

Revolutionary Road
by Richard Yates


Morality for Beautiful Girls
by Alexander McCall Smith


A Long Way Down
by Nick Hornby


How to be Good
by Nick Hornby


Mere Christianity
by C. S. Lewis

December
Click here for a free Book of Mormon
The Book of Mormon

Good Faith
The Know-It-All
by A. J. Jacobs

Good Faith
Endurance
by Alfred Lansing

November
Good Faith
The Secret Life of Bees
by Sue Monk Kidd

September

Kite Runner
by Khaled Hosseini


The Good Earth
by Pearl S. Buck

August

Freedom of Simplicity
by Richard Foster


Pride and Prejudice
by Jane Austen

July

Celebration of Discipline
by Richard J. Foster

Peace Like A River
Peace Like A River
by Leif Enger

Things Fall Apart
Things Fall Apart
by Chinua Achebe

Gap Creek
Gap Creek
by Robert Morgan

June
Life of Pi
Life of Pi
by Yann Martel

My Name is Asher Lev
My Name is Asher Lev
by Chaim Potok

A Prayer for Owen Meany
A Prayer for Owen Meany
by John Irving

All New People
All New People
by Anne Lamott

May
Patrimony
Patrimony: A True Story
by Philip Roth

Raise High the Roof Beam, Carpenters
Raise High the Roof Beam, Carpenters
by J. D. Salinger

Good Faith
Good Faith
by Jane Smiley

Cradle and Crucible
Cradle and Crucible History and Faith in the Middle East
by National Geographic Society

April
Saturday
Saturday
by Ian McEwan

Blue Shoe
Blue Shoe
by Anne LaMott

Emma
Emma
by Jane Austen

Operation Shylock
Operation Shylock
by Philip Roth

March
Jane Austen: A Life
Jane Austen: A Life
by Claire Tomalin

To See and See Again
To See and See Again
by Tara Bahrampour

Reading L0l1ta in Tehran
Reading L0l1ta in Tehran
by Azar Nafisi

February
A Thomas Jefferson Education
A Thomas Jefferson Education
by Oliver Van Demille

Still Alive
Still Alive
by Ruth Kluger

The Screwtape Letters
Not The Germans Alone
by Isaac Levendel

Still Alive
World War II: A Photographic History
by David Boyle

The Screwtape Letters
The Screwtape Letters
by C.S. Lewis

Persuasion
Persuasion
by Jane Austen

January
Climbing Parnassus
Climbing Parnassus
by Tracey Lee Simmons

With the Old Breed
With The Old Breed
by E. B. Sledge

All But My Life
All But My Life
by Gerda Weissmann Klein

We Die Alone
We Die Alone
by David Howarth