Monday, July 30, 2012

Monday Grab Bag, Now With More Addenda!

Another slow Monday to kick off what promises (I hope) to be another slow week at work. Other than the fact that we're about to flip the calendar to August (which means seeing my wife's scheduled workdays at her new instructor's gig has inspired me to wander around the house summarizing the month in a chant that goes "teach, teach, teach, BEACH!") there's nothing particularly profound to comment on from the clockpunching side of things.

So, since I also didn't quite manage to get my Saturday Grab Bag up this weekend, despite having started one ahead of time, I'll just go ahead and belatedly post it now. Enjoy these nuggets of workweek kickoff distraction!


Another observation I wanted to make about Once Upon a Time in the West, along the lines of its slippery relationship with reality: it is set very much in a world that has certain intrinsic rules, and those kind of worlds only ever exist in works of fiction. Even Frank, every inch the archetypal villain, plays by the rules (which, in a weird meta-oriented way, makes Henry Fonda an even more perfect choice for the role). Frank has his chances to take what he wants by force, but he only kills when (a) he’s attacked first or (b) he can plausibly cast suspicion on someone else. There’s no good in-story reason for why Frank would behave this way, other than that being How Westerns Work. It’s a classic example of “this whole story could have been a lot shorter if …” and the movie it reminded me of the most was Casablanca, another story where some early overt violence and/or abuses of power by the antagonists could have shortened the protagonist’s stories considerably. But Casablanca is one of my favorite movies of all time, so I’m not going to hold similarities to it against any other flick.


After I wrote my longish post last week about Wolves of the Calla, I logged into my GoodReads account to link my review of the book there to my post here. I had added the entire Dark Tower series, along with tons of other books, to my shelf of books I’d read when I first joined that site, complete with star ratings. I was somewhat surprised, going back to my own micro-review for the first time in years that back then, pre-re-read, I had only given Wolves two stars out of five. I bumped that up to three when I added the blog link. I also cross-filed the book under metafiction, because of course I did.


Over the weekend, the little guy spent some time playing in his room and set up a little scene with various toys on the floor. The backdrop was his Fisher-Price farmhouse, with the fence segments from multiple farm sets all connected to form a large perimeter, with various animals lined up to look out over the split rails. These animal toys included several Fisher-Price horses and cows, a Lego elephant and Lego polar bear, and a massive Imaginext triceratops. I came into the little guy's room, looked at the scene, and said "Nice farm." My son rolled his eyes and corrected me: "It's a zoo." Which, you know, fair point.

Also, speaking of dinosaurs, I mentioned last week how the little girl runs around like crazy now, but I failed to work in a reference to the fact that the faster she goes, the more she tends to draw her hands and arms up very tight against her body. This has led to my wife describing the little girl's top speed as "T-rexing" because of the combo of her heavy-footed toddler gait and the foreshortening of her upper appendages. Which, again, fair point.


Just in case I wasn't clear on Friday, I'm not an Olympics hater, myself. I think they're great, I certainly watched a fair amount of Olympics coverage over the weekend, and all of my irritation was reserved for and directed at people who hold sports in general in low regard and expect a pat on the head for overcoming their aversion two or three times a decade to make room in their hearts for the Olympiad.

That said, I do find it off-putting that there's no baseball and no softball in the Olympics this year. That is kind of weird, right?

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