Wednesday, April 26, 2006

O for a Muse of Fire?

Oh for a muse of toddlers,
That can ascend the brightest heaven of invention,
Princesses act,
Momarch's behold the swelling scene.

Then should the war-like Harry, like himself,
Assume the port of Mars
and at his heels, leashed in like hounds,
do Panda, Helen and Hope crouch for employment.

Oh, I could mangle the Swan of Avon for the entire soliloquy but I'll not. Instead the unexpurgated dialogue of the morning:

"Har, har! Arrgghhh," the Verbalist cried jumping into the room where his sisters are quietly eating cereal. "You've got pirate eye now. You see things my way and do as I say."

"NO!" bellows the Muralist jumping down from her chair. "ZAP! ZAP! My ray gun shoots and now everyone has," here she pauses for dramatic effect, "princess eyes." She finishes with a flutter of eyelashes and a syrupy sweet tone in her voice. Climbing back up to the table, calmly goes back to her cereal bowl.

Monday, April 24, 2006


I registered the Verbalist to begin his scholastic career today. He has been quite talkative about entering Kindegarten for about a year and a half now, jibber-jabber. He knew that one of our stops today was to register him and he went on a long winded tear about all the things he was going to do and all the things he was going to tell his teacher.

As we drove he kept up a steady stream of words, he spoke of coloring, reading, playing, drawing, building, computers, games and last but not least telling everyone else how to color, read, play, draw, build, and compute. his words came faster and higher as we pulled in and parked. He bounced in his seat and jumped out on to the sidewalk witha giant bound. As I got his sisters from ther carseats he ran in place. Holding hands we walked to the elementary school office and still the words flowed unceasing.

The words abruptly stopped when we passed through the school doors. Maybe it was the lon echoing hallway, perhaps it was the school office a clearly "grown-up" sort of place, I looked down and the Verbalist had assumed a solemn aspect to his face. His eyes were big and round as bowling balls. He pursed his lips and raised his eyebrows and looked around. I picked up the papers and the Verbalist said in a stage whisper: "When's recess?"

Yup, he's ready for school.

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Taming of the Shrew

Everybody and their gawking tourist brothers are here on island. It's sunny weekend approaching 70 and the classic cars are also on the road - lookin good and cruisin' at a smoking 35 miles per hour. However, I can roll down the windows and blast my music at the cars waiting at the town stoplight. Yes, I am playing Beethoven's Symphony number 6 or as it is also known, the Pastoral Symphony. It caused at least three young men pounding out foul mouthed lyrics to look at me funny then roll up their windows. Ha! Watch out or I might get all crazy and Wagner on you. Do you really want a little economy car full of small children bearing down on you with Wagner coming from the windows? I didn't think so (or worse Liszt, the unlistenable Hungarian).

I started watching perhaps the best Elizabeth Taylor movie last night, Taming of the Shrew (1967). This one of those perfect adaptations. Directed by Franco Zefferelli it is as exuberant as his Romeo and Juliet, just a year later, was poignant. Richard Burton plays Petruchio to Taylor's Kate and it is the perfect role for him - swaggering and lustful. The sparks fly and Taylor is at once sympathetic and bitchy. The hidden gem here is Natasha Pyne as Bianca, Kate's dutiful quiet sister. All through the performace she simpers, flutters and blushes and manages to convey Kate's temper just under better wraps. By the final scene, Petruchio's infamous wager to the other newly wedded husbands, it comes as no surprise that Bianca has co-opted the britches in that marriage and Lucentio (Michael York) has many years of haplessness before him.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Catch Up

Sorry, I know I have fallen down on the job these last couple of weeks. It isn't that I haven't anything to blog about, it's just that I have been swamped. When we are not at swim class, aikido or church, I am watching my neice, plus the Infant is teething and extra cranky.

Let's see, the Verbalist received a lightweight basketball hoop with suction cups and a nerf ball. Within about 5 seconds of putting it up, he and the Muralist assumed the aspect of the Trailblazers (forever and always my home team no matter where I move). They trash-talked (you'll never get it ha-ha). They jostled for position with flying elbows and shoving shoulders, and in one notable instance The Verbalist began to goal tend - ah, my delicate blooms.

Got the jungle beat back a bit. I mowed the first 6th of the property - weeny it sounds but we're on a pretty parcel of yard. I figure in front of the house is one, the side of the house where the fruit trees are is two. The back yard to the swingset is three while the barn yard is 4,5, and 6 on its sides.

Finally caught up on my news reading and finished writing some fiction and edited another. I just got my hands on a copy of Charles Murray's In Our Hands which looks intriguing. Just finished John Ringo's series beginning with There Will Be Dragons. It is typically Ringo, which is to say seasoned military lion mentors his young protege while everything goes to hell in a handbasket about them. The end was dissatisfying though. I go the feeling that he needed to end it in a hurry and slapped together the end. Maybe there is another book forthcoming but I doubt it.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

New post up at Etiquette

Etiquette on responding to Iranian intentions.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

A Twix is not a Sprinkle

Saturday morning we got up early. It had been raining for a couple of days and I anticipated standing in the pouring rain while the kids ran around finding chocolate filled eggs. But Lo! The sun came out and instead of rain I stood in weak April sunshine. The wind kicked up from Penn Cove and all the parents huddled with hands around coffee cups waiting for the Soroptomists to give the go sign.

I juggled coffee and camera, switching whenever the camera hand went numb to the radiant heat of the paper cup. At last they released the hounds, so to speak, and dozens of kids plunged into carefully cordoned areas. The Muralist confident that she could find "princess" eggs grabbed a couple, examined them and put them back.

"No, honey!" I cried, "Get as many as you can." That seemed to snap her out of it and she began to pounce on them.

The Verbalist ran around making whooshing sound effects. "Dum dum dum DA!" he cried everytime he grabbed one. When there were no more eggs to be found, we hustled out way out of the crowd and headed home. After a quick lunch the Muralsit and I headed off to a birthday party.

It was a sea of gigling girls dressed as princesses and brides, with wildly rocketing prams and one little boy desperate to hold his own against the tide of his sister's friends. As the birthday girl sat surrounded by her court opening gifts, the Muralist tried to boss. "Open this one, now this, now the one with the Big Ribbon."

They all oohed and aahed over Polly Pockets and Cinderellas and elbow length gloves. Cake was served and the Muralist started to take candies and push them into her frosting. Looking around at a close, if giggly, chum she said, "It needs sprinkles." Her solemn pronouncement recalled to mind and exchange between Homer Simpson and Apu:

"A Twix is not a sprinkle, a Twizzler is not a sprinkle, you can't put candy on there and call it a sprinkle..."

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Swimmin' Class II

Swimsuits? 30 dollers

Towels? on sale, 8 dollars

Tuition? two children, 80 dollars

The Verbalist learning it is difficult to talk underwater? Priceless.

Which is mean to laugh at but I did. The kids were learning about jumping in to the pool and being caught by the instructor. The Verbalist talked the whole time, and from where I was sitting in the bleachers I could see his mouth jabbering as he came up. I figure the reason he didn't choke coming up is becase he so rarely pauses for a breath when he talks.

I am waiting though, for when the rubber meets the road, that is when he tries to tell the swim instructors how to do their jobs. The Verbalist is a dictator given his head. Because he is smart, out going and likes to organize things, he thinks he knows how to do everything and everyone will benefit from his wisdom.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Swimming Class

So the Verbalist, Muralist and Niece went to their first swimming class today. They liked it -all except the showers. Niece had to be carried into the shower and cried that the tepid water "Burns! Burns!" Mine looked on like worried Precious Moments moppets but managed to brave the showers without too much demur.

"Are there SPIDERS in there?" rasps the Muralist in a stage whisper.

"No," I assure her. She has instituted Spider Watch ever since we found one in the bathtub before a bath 2 months ago. She was unsettled by the catch and release program, convinced that the spider lurks in any bathing chamber she might enter. It doesn't help that the "Itsy Bitsy Spider" walks up a water spout which she has translated to mean faucet.

The Verbalist thinks he knows how to swim already (Panda taught him) and flied through all the water acclimation exercizes no sweat. The Muralist, a bit disappointed that she could not bring her Ariel the mermaid doll with her in the pool, splashed and had alot of fun but refused to float on her back. She would dunk herself and blow bubbles, but did not like the floating sensation.

Niece was scared and Sis, prepared, went into the pool with her. My kids, always game for a fresh audience talked the whole time to the instructor.

"Can you put your face in the water and blow bubbles?" she asked.

Naturally both of my kids obliged by putting their faces in the water and talking - the byproduct seemed to be sufficient bubbles to please the instructor. They are eager to go back, actually so am I.

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Wedding Registry

A extended family member is getting married soon. This is a good thing, he's a real sweet guy, good looking and an over achiever. I asked my sources where they were registered and went and surfed around the gift registry. Now I don't think I am all that different than most folks, so I hope you are all nodding when I say, when I registered for wedding gifts I asked for things I never thought I'd get. What the hey, I'll only ever do it once, and who knows what people will shell out for? In my wildest imaginings, even I never thought people would be willing to spend 6 bucks for a measuring spoon, singular.

Does that mean I'm cheap? Yeah, probably. Somethings are worth spending over inflated sums on, measuring spoons are not it - especially when you can go to Stuff-mart and buy measuring spoons, measuring cups, and a mixing bowl for six bucks. Knives are a different story. A good knife can make a big difference in a meal, but a six dollar teaspoon? Nah.

Palm Sunday

Happy Palm Sunday! Easter-lite as I fondly think of it. A marked increase in church attendence, the Sunday School projects have a Resurrection theme, and the beginning of a sword and sandal movie fest lasting throughout the week, culminating in The Ten Commandments (1956) Easter night. They had the sense to balance Charleton Heston with Yul Breynner, although there is a sense that the overbundance of personality on set would have overwhelmed anything but a Cecil B. DeMille epic. Quick trivia links DeMille also produced 1927's King of King's which starred H.B. Warner as Jesus. Warner later starred as Amminidab in DeMille's second version of The Ten Commandments.

Anyway. I am starting out the viewings with the definative Jesus pic of my Kidhood, Jesus of Nazareth (1977) which I filched from my folks house in anticipation of this week's marathon. Starring Robert Powell as Jesus, Olivia Hussey as Mary, mother of Jesus, and a whole cornucopia of names (Stacey Keach as Barabbas!), Zefferelli's movie completely covered my mental imagery of scripture to the point where I picture Olivia Hussey when I read about Mary - or at least the young Mary. I have got to admit, Maia Morgenstern has wrenched away the older Mary in my mental landscape. Robert Powell was never my picture of Jesus, a blue eyed Savior always jarred me, but he did portray a slightly spooky, immeasurable calm that was a wonder. I could go on and on about the beauty of some of the scenes (Mary visiting Elizabeth comes to mind) but I won't.

Next up is Prince of Egypt the animated retelling of Moses and the Flight from Egypt. Aside from the comic disconnect of Steve Martin and Martin Short as Egyptian priests/magicians, this movie does a great job of portraying a brotherly relationship between Moses and Rameses. It also deserves a viewing if only for they opening song "Deliver Us".

Mid-week is Ben-Hur which I have blogged before and will not go into here.

Friday I'll watch The Passion of the Christ along with about 8 tissue boxes. Jim Caviezel was, and here I hesitate trying to find the right word, compelling as Jesus. Alot of to-do was made over the blood and brutality portrayed but really, to me the hardest parts of the movie were the flashes of his mother, Mary, remembering Jesus as a child or young man.

Saturday will consiste of egg hunts and a last minute birthday party, so I may have to forego Howard Keel (Adam Pontipee himself) as The Big Fisherman (1959), but I will try and fit it in earlier in the week. Sunday concludes with Heston and Breynner trying to outstrut each other.

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Hot Cross Buns

Growing up as an Evangelical I have a sneaking admiration for a lot of Catholic traditions that we never practiced. Formost among them all is the Catholic celebrations of Easter, Lent especially. I have practiced a Lentan fast for years now. OK, not a Real Lentan fast, a meal a day and a favored item not always food. Giving up something is good for you, makes you appreciate it. One thing I was never introduced to by my Catholic friends was hot crossed buns. How could they have kept them from me? I knew they existed. I knew from like, 4 years old, from the nursery rhyme.

I first experienced hot crossed buns as an adult working in a bakery. The owners, a Irish man from Boston and his thin, chain smoking, Spanish wife, were lapsed Catholics who were struggling to rediscover the church after family crises. I think they were a bit bemused by an Evangelical thrown into their eclectic crew. I worked part time in the evenings and weekends and later early, early in the morning. On Good Friday they started to churn out pans and pans of hot crossed buns. They sold them hot-from oven to bakery box and sold them as fast as they made them. I wondered that there were so many Catholics in that little town, but then I tasted one and realized there was more than Catholics turning out for these lovlies.

This is not their recipe, but I good one none the less.

Hot Cross Buns

  • 1¼ cups of warm water
  • ½ cup of soft brown sugar
  • 4 teaspoons of dry active yeast
  • 4 cups of flour
  • 2 tablespoons of milk powder
  • 1 teaspoon of cinnamon
  • A pinch of ground cloves
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • ½ cup of dried currants
  • ¼ cup of lemon zest
  • 2 oz of butter
  • 1 egg
In warm bowl combine water, sugar and yeast, stir gently then set aside until yeast activates and froths. Melt butter and set aside. In electric mixer (with dough hook) sift in flour, spices, milk, dried fruit and salt. Add yeast mixture then melted butter. Mix 8 minutes at a low speed until smooth and elastic. Cover and set aside until doubled in size. While rising, grease two cake pans. Cut 14 buns and place in pans then brush with egg wash. Let rise for another 40 minutes. Then bake at 400 for twenty minutes. While still warm cross with icing.

For the icing I am borrowing Alton Brown's.
Royal Icing
3 ounces pasteurized egg whites
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 cups confectioners' sugar
In large bowl of stand mixer combine the egg whites and vanilla and beat until frothy. Add confectioners' sugar gradually and mix on low speed until sugar is incorporated and mixture is shiny. Turn speed up to high and beat until mixture forms stiff, glossy peaks. This should take approximately 5 to 7 minutes. Add food coloring, if desired. For immediate use, transfer icing to pastry bag or heavy duty storage bag and pipe as desired. If using storage bag, clip corner. Store in airtight container in refrigerator for up to 3 days.

Thursday, April 06, 2006


Theodore Dalrymple has a wonderful little essay on manners in the American Conservative. (ht: Jeff Goldstien) In Minding Our Manners he first elicudates through anecdote two schools of thought about the instillation of manners.
My parents had conflicting views about the nature and origin of good manners. My father took the Romantic view that they were the expression of man’s natural goodness of heart and that they therefore emerged spontaneously—that is, if they emerged at all. If they didn’t, it was because of the social injustice that inhibited or destroyed natural goodness. My mother took the classical view that good manners were a matter of discipline, training, and habit and that goodness of heart would, at least to an extent, follow in their wake.

I, like the author, am most firmly in his mother's camp. I love my children and they have some wonderful qualities, but they are also stubborn and rude if not trained in the most basic of courtesies. Mr. Dalrymple continues:

My father, who was left-wing in everything except his life, believed that manners in my mother’s sense were but etiquette and that in turn etiquette was but a code by which the elite distinguished itself from hoi polloi in order to maintain its economic and cultural dominance. An elaborate code of conduct with arbitrary rules was a mask for sectional self-interest.

No doubt there is sometimes an element of truth in this. My mother taught me that when a gentleman accompanied a lady in the street—and he was to treat all women as ladies—he was always to walk on her outside, nearer the curb. There once was a time when this would have protected her from the splashes created by vehicles passing hurriedly by on muddy roads or perhaps even from the slops that householders emptied from their windows above. But this rationale had long since ceased to be the reason for a gentleman to walk on the outside of a lady.

To this day, I beg my (often exasperated) husband's pardon for eating in front of him if he is not eating. Even though I know he does not mind, that he would encourage me to eat, there is the undeniable force of training that reminds me it is rude to eat in front of someone else without offering a bite and asking their permission. Manners are not as Mr. Dalrymple's father suggests a means of "showing off", although they may certainly be used that way. Rather, a mannerly person is to use manners to make another comfortable, to show courtesy, and to keep discourse in the public square from decending into a barbaric free for all.

The argument goes something like this: formality is etiquette, and etiquette is a manifestation of an unjust, class-ridden, patriarchal society. The rejection of etiquette and the formality it entails is therefore a sign that one is on the side of the angels, that is to say, of the egalitarians. Modern egalitarians, at least in Britain, do not content themselves with the kind of abstract or formal equality before the law that allows any amount of difference in wealth, status, taste, and sensibility; they demand some progress towards equalization of everything, including manners.

...This excess of informality is very undignified and unattractive and results in a society constantly on edge, even in the smallest of interactions.
It is the want of manners that has brought societal discourse to it's present low. Not that manners produce goodness per se. You may be perfectly polite and harbor hatred, but if you are ingrained to think of others before yourself, you might bring about the fruits of charity (by charity I mean benevolent goodwill or love towards others) before the emotion.

This is the same type of habit pattern we are to develop in other areas as Christians. Will Vaus paraphrases CS Lewis' thought in Mere Christianity thus:
The Law (God's law) exists to be transcended, but it can not be transcended until I admit it's claims upon me. Until I reach perfection, the Law is there as a tutor to lead me to Christ. I must try to act as a Christian today whether I feel like it or not. One day, I will always feel like acting as a Christian should.
Christ is the one who helps us transcend the Law. We must in a sense pretend to love God and our neighbor. While we are pretending, Christ comes alongside of us and turns our pretense into a reality.

So the Law of God tells us to not lie, covet, murder or steal from our neighbors. Jesus tells us to love our neighbors as ourselves. Jesus tells us to transcend the Law. So we know what we should be doing, loving our neighbors. Love does not miraculously appear in my heart towards my neighbors, it is striven for and cultivated. One of the ways is to be mannerly. It is perhaps the least part of developing charity towards others, costing little but my own self importance. Manners may cost us little but make a disproportionate impact on who we are well mannered to.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006


Who said these? (MWebster daily puzzle):

Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe to assure the survival and success of liberty.

JFK, Ronald Reagan, Barry Goldwater, Thomas Jefferson, Bill Clinton, James Madison

I would remind you that extremeism in defense of liberty is no vice! And let me also remind you moderation in pursuit of justice is no virtue!

JFK, Ronald Reagan, Barry Goldwater, Thomas Jefferson, Bill Clinton, James Madison
I would rather be exposed to the inconveniences of attending too much liberty than those attending too small a degree of it.

JFK, Ronald Reagan, Barry Goldwater, Thomas Jefferson, Bill Clinton, James Madison
The Government is like a baby's ailementary canal, with a healthy appitite on one end and no reponsibility at the other.

JFK, Ronald Reagan, Barry Goldwater, Thomas Jefferson, Bill Clinton, James Madison

As a man is said to have a right to his property, he may equally be said to have a property in his rights.

JFK, Ronald Reagan, Barry Goldwater, Thomas Jefferson, Bill Clinton, James Madison

Answer in comments.

Not Here Yet

I have a brand new lawn mower. It's so shiny and new I am scared to touch it. Oh I whipped out the owner's manual and read through it right away. I got it out of the box and assembled it. I even poured oil in the engine, but I didn't put on any of the attatchments. I may have mentioned before my phobia about engines springing to life and throwing out blades like a maniacal Ninja, not this year you say?, well now I've said it this year.

The day is a sunny 64 degrees Fahrenheit (ha! spelled right the first time, neener neener) and the children have been released from their sickbeds for the first time in days. Zoom, running around the yard that will soon be whipped into submission. Up the hill, down the hill. The Dog is herding them. The Muralist rediscovers the acoustical excellence of our front porch - loudly.

The Verbalist trots to the breezeway and grabs a shovel. He jauntily swings it up onto his shoulder (a dead ringer for the Dear Husband) and announces he is off on a hunt for buried treasure. I steer him to the garden plot which is over run with weeds and instruct him to dig there but he soon grows bored with it.

The Verbalist, Muralist and Infant get on bike, trike and scooty-scoot and ride around the driveway. Or, in the case of Infant, rock in place and let out shrill shrieks of impotent rage at the lack of velocity. The Muralist honks her horn everytime she rides by, infuriating the hornless Verbalist. Then they pounce off of bike and run in circles some more, cherry to pear to pine to hydrangea. The Infant is put down on a nap. I hear the water turn on and the dog resumes barking.

As if sensing a disturbance in the force the Muralist carols, "We're just giving the flowers a drink!" Sure they are. Stark Nekkid. Spring sunshine gleaming off blinding white winter skin. I walk, to the faucet. There is no need to run the damage is done, two soaking children and a soaking Dog, smiling her insane doggie smile. I herd children inside and run a hot bath and they are currently warming their bones in melon scented bubbles. The Dog laughing silently lays in the sunshine and soaks in the rays. Summer is not here yet but they are ready for it.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006


There have been alot of scathing rhetoric flying around about immigration with the new bills in Congress. I myself have been quite ambivalent on the issue, on one hand we need to secure our borders and enforce our nations laws, on the other immigration is a cornerstone of this country and it seems wrong to say you can't come here if you are willing to work hard.

The arguements against amnesty make an intellecutal sense -we should not reward illegal behavior and Mexican illegals should not get a free ride simply because they are our nearest neighbor-but they lack emotional sense. Some of the suggestions to stem illegal immigration, criminalizing aid to illegals, such as prenatal care, will be the death of any enforcement bill. I can not think of a single Christian I know who would not defy that law if an illegal with a genuine need were put in their orbit. Aid them then call INS, sure, but not deny aid.

So I read some more and thought some more and then ran across two pieces of information that made me come down against amnesty. First, was in John Hawkins FAQ about illegal immigrants
11) Is there a crime problem related to illegal immigrants? Absolutely, and in areas where illegals congregate heavily, crimewaves tend to follow. For example, illegals are responsible for much of the serious crime in Los Angeles. Here's Heather Mac Donald on that topic from back in mid-2004:

In Los Angeles, 95% of all outstanding warrants for homicide target illegal aliens, and over 60% of all outstanding felony warrants. Illegal aliens, and immigrants generally, are a major, and unacknowledged, driver of gang crime.

Moreover, according to Jim Kouri, the vice-president of the National Association of Chiefs of Police:
"It's widely been reported that illegal aliens comprise upwards of 27 percent of the US prison and jail population."

Make no mistake about it: illegal aliens are responsible for a very significant percentage of the rape, murder, robbery, and mayhem that occurs in the United States.

That is a stunning figure. The second is an op-ed piece in the Richmond Times-Dispatch which quotes an email from La Raza the self styled, largest national Latino civil rights and advocacy organization in the United States.

The e-mail refers to congressional legislation that would, among other things, (a) provide grants to immigrants taking English classes, (b) permit those who gain English proficiency to apply for citizenship one year early, and (c) provide grants to groups offering instruction in U.S. civics and American history. These ideas hardly seem provocative; learning English and American civics used to be something immigrants did enthusiastically.

The e-mail about the bill, however, warns that "while it doesn't overtly mention assimilation, it is very strong on the patriotism and traditional American values language in a way which is potentially dangerous to our communities."

La Raza should explain why patriotism and American values might be dangerous to people coming to America presumably to partake of America's blessings. And protesters bearing the flags of other nations in demonstrations demanding their right to stay here should explain why -- if their former country is so wonderful -- they ever left.

This op-ed is also clever enough to make the distinction between Saint Paddy's day flag waving and the sort that went on at the rallies this last week.

This might be worth no more notice or con- cern than the kilts and bagpipes in St. Patrick's Day parades, were it not for the qualitative difference involved. Modern American St. Patrick's Day celebrations have as much to do with Irish nationalism as the Easter Bunny has to do with the resurrection. What's more, the participants are not -- unlike recent immigrant rallies hotly demanding special dispensation to break U.S. laws.
Now, I have been known to attend in the local Highland Games and I can tell you that nothing rouses the sentiment of the auld country than the authentic Scottish gyros sandwiches they sell there. One thing you also find is what Island Passage calls "full throated love of country".

Sunday, April 02, 2006

There Is No Butter In Hell

"You know what it's like when you burn your hand, taking a cake out of the oven, or lighting one of them godless cigarettes? And it stings with a fearful pain, aye? And you run to clap a bit of butter on it to take the pain away, aye? Well, I'll tell ye, there'll be no butter in hell," warns Amos Starkadder (Sir Ian McKellan) in Cold Comfort Farm (1995). Actually that's the end of a long and hilarious tirade about the evils of the world leading to damnation. How can that possibly be funny? Because by the time you reach the tirade you are so immersed in the over the top satire it is icing on the cake. Cold Comfort Farm is our movie of the week.

Kate Beckinsale stars as Flora Poste (Robert Poste's child as she is alternately addressed) an orphan from London who is left with an income of 100 pounds a year. Necessity drives Flora to live with distant relatives a la Dickens and Oh! what a morbid Dickensian house she falls into. From preacher Amos to demanding recluse (an family matriarch) Ada Doom to dimwitted eye-candy Seth (Rufus Sewell) Flora plows headlong into cliche. Flora is far from the wilting, accepting heroine that is so particularly irksome from the Brontes. Instead, Flora is the embodiment of Austen's practicality meeting PG Wodehouse's comic eccentrics.

Flora is very aware of her Austen like leanings and the Dickensian surroundings. She points at it all the while and is in fact an aspiring writer. Her horrible descriptions (
it was winter. The grimmest hour of the darkest day of the year. The Golden Orb had almost disappeared behind the interlacing fingers of the hawthorn.), a intentionally provacative of the worst Victorian lingual excesses. She is a charming snob who is invariably correct, in the end Flora is triumphant.

Saturday, April 01, 2006

Spring Colds

The Verbalist has been suffering from a combination allergy and spring cold onset. I have been suffering from the Verbalist. The Muralist brushed through it sniffles one day, 16 oz of apple juice spiked with cold medicine contributing to an 18 hour sleep and she was fine. The Verbalist is a morning kid. He awakes at 6 am and WILL NOT sleep longer. So he suffers and then I do.

In a stab of self preservation I abandoned him to his father today and went shopping with the Muralist. A cliche I know, but it worked. Well, that and Chinese food therapy. More tommorrow.