Wednesday, July 06, 2005

life, independence & pseudo-poetry

Belated Independence Day to all.

Political Rant Section
I love how our fuzzy relationship with history blunts its connection to current events. What, after all, is a rebel? A revolutionary? A freedom-fighter? We look back at our country's beginnings and never question that the independence-seeking colonists might be labeled terrorists today.

Politicians expound on the bravery of those first Americans. They were seeking, among other things, religious freedom. Yet our leaders see no irony in the modern-day imposition of Christian icons and practices. The Ten Commandments in courthouses, prayer in public schools and legislation based on Biblical interpretation, to name just a few.

Give me that ol' time freedom-from-religion.

We talk about the founding fathers and their commitment against powerful, centralized governments and then call the most serious danger to our civil freedoms since McCarthy, the Patriot Act.

In a related note, I was reading in the paper about our troops in Iraq and their 4th of July celebration. Seems they had roast pig for the occasion. Roast pig. In a Muslim country. Now there's some fucking cultural sensitivity for you.

Movies Everyone Else Has Seen Section
Over the holiday weekend we tried to chip away at the mountain of noteworthy movies we had yet to see. An attempt at (last decade's) cultural awareness.

Anyway, we watched Life is Beautiful for the first time. I purposely avoided learning too much about the movie beforehand; sat down knowing only that it was significant and recommended. So I was emotionally blind-sided by the second half of the film.

What a brilliant performance by Benigni as Guido, the happy-go-lucky Italian Jew who ends up in a the concentration camp with his family.

How heart-wrenching his final scene: prodded by the machine-gun barrel of a nazi soldier, he spies his beloved little son, Giosue, across the compound—well-hidden inside
a discarded cabinet and peering out from a slot in the door. To perpetuate the protective game that he had concocted to shield his son from the horror and hopelessness of the camp, Guido performs this preposterous, cross-dressed "silly walk," while grinning and winking at Giosue as he, Guido, is marched away to his death.

Such love and hope in the face of total despair. I find it hard to imagine anyone objecting to the movie's comic content because they feel it trivializes the holocaust. Because of Benigni's approach, the whole nightmare becomes at once more horrific and more hopeful. How many parents even have the capacity go to such incredible lengths to protect the body and soul of their child?

Domestic Dyslexia Section
Over the weekend, I also did some baking. I love the art and science of cooking. However, since my children have left home, I am less inclined to stand in a hot kitchen cooking copious amounts of comfort food. So, I'm a little rusty. Since we were going to a July 4th celebration on Monday, we needed to bring something. No stranger am I to irony and cliché: an apple pie seemed just the thing.

The pie crust recipe was a dismal failure in the rollout phase but, I comforted myself, it would surely taste great—inundated as it was with butter. But my first broken-fluted-edge crumble tasted...significantly saltier than normal. Damn, damn, damn. I'm SO anal about mis en place and quality ingredients, etc. I looked at the recipe and re-read the ingredient list:

1 teaspoon table salt. Hmmm.
1 teaspoon table salt.

Well, it doesn't take an learning disorder scholar to figure out how I misread that. The pie was okay just as long as you ate it with ice cream. An tolerable solution if there ever was one.

Weird Poetry Section
I've lost faith in spam blockers. I just can't seem to eliminate the junk without slamming the cyber door on legitimate email. The only amusing thing is the way something out there scrambles or inserts words in spam to produce paragraphs of jumbled text. Senseless verbiage, but often strangely poetic. This week's sample:

Daniel was at sandhill when that happened moorish; familiar at obsolescent or even dragoon as in excellent. Eldon was at isotropy when that happened postcondition. Rosalind was at figural when this happened militarist politico at diatom or even degas as in infantrymen.

It looks like someone grabbed all the refrigerator vocabulary magnets and flung them at a great metal wall. It's accidental almost-poetry.

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