A Meme of Firsts

Via SamuraiFrog:

1. Who was your FIRST date?
Difficult to say. I don’t recall dating Martha as much as hanging out with her with my friends, then with her more than my other friends. Eventually we kissed a lot.

2. Do you still talk to your FIRST love?
Yeah, but not often. I went to her wedding. I’m reasonably sure that her husband doesn’t know we dated. I used to think that was weird. Then there was this other woman I dated considerably later on; I was going to mention her in this blog actually, but she preferred that I didn’t. She’s comfortable with the fiction that her husband is the “only one”, despite the fact that she was married before. HER husband knows we dated, and in fact recognized me from a drawing of me as a duck that the late Raoul Vezina drew. So maintaining a fiction about the past I’ve learned to recognize as important to some people. I suppose that includes me.

3. What was your FIRST alcoholic drink?
I don’t remember what, but I remember where: it was in a bar on Clinton Street in Binghamton. I was 18, the legal age. My sister was singing there, if I recall correctly and I don’t think I had to pay for the drink. It was almost certainly a mixed drink; I want to say Tom Collins.

4. What was your FIRST job?
I’ve answered this before (newspaper deliverer or library page). The first job I had where I was making any real money was working at IBM in Endicott, near Binghamton. I had graduated from high school in January 1971, and I worked there from March through August. My job was to do these three processes. First was to put this coating over these circuit boards. The second (and the most difficult) was to bake them in these ovens, making sure not to bend the pins or have the coating get on the pins. The third task was to bake this plastic holder onto the circuit boards.

Irritatingly, the first shift did a lot of the first task, leaving the second task to me. And I really had to do it, because the coating would start riding up the pins if they weren’t baked within 10 or 12 hours. They didn’t like me because I would do the first task so fast that the company raised the rate for that job, something like from 60 to 80 boards per hour. That WAS a tactical error on my part.

I was on the second shift, which ostensibly was 5:12 p.m. to 2 a.m ., with a 48-minute lunch. But I hardly ever worked that shift. It was usually 5:12 p.m. to 4 a.m., and then from 12 noon to 6 p.m. on Saturday. Not only did I save lots of money for college because of the 16 hours of overtime per week – and because I was generally too tired to go out – I managed to lose 30 pounds because I was too tired to eat.

In the summer, there was a guy – I wish I remembered his name – who was a son of an IBM bigwig; he was quite intelligent and as bored as I was. So we would get into his Aston Martin and drive as far away as we could for 20 minutes, then reluctantly drive back.

First time I ever gave blood was while I worked there because I could get paid at work while taking of the hour to donate.

5. What was your FIRST car?
No idea. It was the S.O.’s and it was red and had push button transmission. I once knocked over a Dumpster while driving it; I wanted to go forward but went into reverse.

6. Where did you go on your FIRST ride on an airplane?
I had gotten chosen for this Governor’s Conference on Children and Youth when I was in high school, and there were seven of us from the Binghamton area who flew to Albany in a plane with perhaps a dozen seats. It was during a lightning and thunderstorm on the way up. Met Nelson Rockefeller for the first time.

7. Who was your FIRST best friend & do you still talk?
My first best friend was probably Ray Lia from second grade. We were in Cub Scouts together; his mom was our den mother. I didn’t see him much in high school; he went to North High instead of Central, because it offered some technical courses he wanted. I pretty much lost track of him until 1976, five years after high school, when he invited me to be in his wedding. I escorted his mom to her seat, which as nice. I caught the garter, which wasn’t. We exchange Christmas cards, though most of the writing is by his wife Pam. He is, as of about a month ago, one of my Facebook friends.

8. Whose wedding did you attend the FIRST time?
I have no idea. When I grew up in the church, most of the weddings were open to all the parishoners. So I went to a lot of weddings as a kid. I even sang at a few, notably I Love You Truly, a truly horrific piece of claptrap. I know I attended my sister’s godfather Elmer’s wedding to Barbara in that period.

As for which of my friends married first whose wedding I actually attended, I’m not at all sure. My sister got married on Halloween 1975; a definite contender.

9. Tell us about your FIRST roommate.
That would be Ron Fields. At New Paltz in 1971-72, there were only two black males in Scudder Hall, a grad student in biology (Ron) and a freshman poli sci major (me), and somehow we ended up as roommates. I’m pretty sure it was no accident. Ron was fine. He did have one great idiosyncrasy that amused me and others; he recorded every cent he spent in a notebook. “Soda, 50 cents,” etc. One day, he bought a used car. “Car, $1000.” It cracked both of us up.

One day in March 1972, the phone rang fairly early in the morning. It was my father, but Ron didn’t let on. He did prompt us to clean the room, then conspired with a friend of mine to get me out of my room so that my family and friends could surprise me that weekend for my 19th birthday. Kentucky Fried Chicken, as I recall.

10. If you had one wish, what would it be (other than more wishes)?
Either the ability to fly or to transport.

11. What is something you would learn if you had the chance?
If I had time, I’d become more computer savvy; I just muddle through.

12. Did you marry the FIRST person you were in love with?
No, and we tried to make it work more than once.

13. What were the first lessons you ever took and why?
Piano lessons when I was eight with Mrs. Hamlin. I was not at all good, but I still remember a lot of those intro lessons by heart. It was also useful in singing, so it wasn’t a total waste.

14. What is the first thing you do when you get home?
Take off my shoes. Keep the carpet clean.

ROG

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Problems, problems

What a pain in the neck. I mean this literally. Somehow during sleeping Friday night, I pulled something in my neck. It’s OK when I sit, but it hurts to lie down. I can sit in brief spurts. Heat and pain relievers are not helping.
**
My printer has a paper jam. It’s a Brother MFC-240C. I bought it at Staples last fall. The problem is that, apparently, whatever is jammed is too small to see, let alone reach. Staples told me to call Brother. After the Brother technician went through all the steps that I had already tried, she had me get the error code. #51 – ah, area 51 – no wonder it’s a problem. Then she referred me to a local repair shop, which DOESN’T ANSWER ITS PHONE. Meh.
***
I’ve been having trouble with Firefox. About once every other day, it freezes up and I have to CTRL/ALT/DEL my way out. Then I get this sheepish message:

Well, this is embarrassing.
Firefox is having trouble recovering your windows and tabs. This is usually caused by a recently opened web page.
You can try:
* Removing one or more tabs that you think may be causing the problem
* Starting an entirely new browsing session

Well, I think I will start a new browsing session. whether it will be in Firefox is another issue entirely.
***
Somehow, our household has two different CVS codes so the coupons earned on one card are not transferable to the other, I discovered yestersday. I swear I had addressed this question months ago.
***
Our intern-turned-temp-librarian Amy left my office’s employ Friday. She really helped keep our turnarounf=-d time down. And I like her personally as well.
***
The good thing about feeling lousy is that it gave me an opportunity to see some TV. Watched some of the EMK funeral.I was re-reading his 1972 book In Critical Condition. On pp. 74-75: “guarantee comprehensive health insurance to all Americans and to assure that health care is available at a cost any American can afford.” pp. 220-221: “We can no longer afford the health insurance industry in America…the insurance industry still could not bring about change in the health care system to control costs, improve quality, and offer health care services in a way most acceptable to y=the people. The industry would remain a moneychanger taking a percentage of our dollars for a dubious service.”
***
I also finally watched the last prime episode of Who Wants To Be a Millionaire that aired last Sunday. If you get a chance to watch it on abc.com, I recommend it. JEOPARDY! champion Pam Mueller was in the audience as her significant other, also a JEOPARDY! winner, played – don’t want to reveal name in case you watch. Whether or not you view it, find her S.O.’s J bio off her page, then read the blog post that explains the motivation.
***
I may have to work on this: ever since I learned that Amazing Grace can be sung to The House of the Rising Sun, I’ve been singing it around the house. (AG can also be sung to The Lion Sleeps Tonight, but it lacks the proper pathos.

ROG

Not So Fast QUESTION

There is an article in the Wall Street Journal online – it was in the paper last weekend – by John Freeman, adapted from his book “The Tyranny of E-Mail,” that really spoke to me. It was titled: “Not So Fast: Sending and receiving at breakneck speed can make life queasy; a manifesto for slow communication”.

Cogent points:
1. Speed matters…
The speed at which we do something—anything—changes our experience of it. Words and communication are not immune to this fundamental truth. The faster we talk and chat and type over tools such as email and text messages, the more our com­munication will resemble traveling at great speed. Bumped and jostled, queasy from the constant ocular and muscular adjust­ments our body must make to keep up, we will live in a constant state of digital jet lag.

This is a disastrous development on many levels…

2. The Physical World matters.
A large part of electronic commu­nication leads us away from the physical world. Our cafes, post offices, parks, cinemas, town centers, main streets and commu­nity meeting halls have suffered as a result of this development. They are beginning to resemble the tidy and lonely bedroom commuter towns created by the expansion of the American interstate system. Sitting in the modern coffee shop, you don’t hear the murmur or rise and fall of conversation but the con­tinuous, insect-like patter of typing. The disuse of real-world commons drives people back into the virtual world, causing a feedback cycle that leads to an ever-deepening isolation and neglect of the tangible commons.

This is a terrible loss…

3. Context matters

We need context in order to live, and if the environment of electronic communication has stopped providing it, we shouldn’t search online for a solution but turn back to the real world and slow down. To do this, we need to uncouple our idea of progress from speed, separate the idea of speed from effi­ciency, pause and step back enough to realize that efficiency may be good for business and governments but does not always lead to mindfulness and sustainable, rewarding relationships. We are here for a short time on this planet, and reacting to demands on our time by simply speeding up has canceled out many of the benefits of the Internet, which is one of the most fabulous technological inventions ever conceived…

This is no Luddite screed but a cautionary observation: “This is not a sustainable way to live. This lifestyle of being constantly on causes emotional and physical burnout, work­place meltdowns, and unhappiness.”

But what do YOU think? I think that *I* need to turn off the computer for a while and go for a walk.

ROG

Black or White

In high school and early in my college days, I made attempts to write songs. In retrospect, they probably were not that good, though I do have some affection for a couple of them. Among other things, I realized that I had, on more than one occasion, unintentionally swiped the tune from an existing song. Still, I wish I could find the notebook where I was keeping the lyrics over a number of years.

One of the songs was called “Black or White”. It started:
“My father was a singer of folk songs,
My mama used to hum along.”
I remember that part, because it was true.
In the chorus, there was this couplet:
“It doesn’t matter if it’s black or white.
Music is music if the feeling’s right.”

I do recall the specific inspiration for this song. My father had moved to Charlotte, NC. Whether it was true or his perception, he felt that the gumbo of folk music that he had performed in hometown Binghamton would not fare as well in the South of the 1970s, and for a number of years, he just stopped playing. I found this quite disheartening.

In the same vein, it was a song for Dionne Warwick, Charlie Pride and Jimi Hendrix, who were often put down, including by black people, because they weren’t singing the music they were “supposed” to be playing, jazz, soul or blues, but certainly NOT pop, country or rock. (I have an irrational affection for the song Then Came You by Dionne and the Spinners – “see, she can do soulful; now, SHUT UP, already!”)

When Michael Jackson’s song Black or White came out in 1991, complete with the lyrics “It Don’t Matter If You’re Black Or White,” it made me feel…wistful. If I ever DID find this book and recorded the song, people who think that I had ripped it off from MJ, when i had written it at least a decade and a half earlier. (And no, I don’t believe he ripped it off from me, either.)
***
So, I’m waiting and waiting for Fred Hembeck to post something about his daughter Julie’s birthday this week, but nothing. So I write to him, and he tells me I should have been checking out Facebook! I’m mediocre re Facebook at best, and not much better with Twitter. There’s something rather ephemeral about those social network platforms; it’s different with the blog, which is a web LOG. Anyway, belated happy birthday, Julie! Really, I didn’t forget.

ROG

Teddy/Ellie


I have had on my bookshelf for the longest time a book called “In Critical Condition: the Crisis in America’s Health Care” by Edward M. Kennedy.
Chapter I: Sickness and Bankruptcy – A Double Disaster
Chapter II: What Price Good Health?
Chapter III: No Money, No Medical Care
Chapter IV: Where Have All the Doctors Gone?
Chapter V: The Medical Maze
Chapter VI: Good Care, Poor Care.
Chapter VII: Businessmen or Healers?
Chapter VIII: The Health Insurance Trap
Chapter IX- Better Health Care at Lower Cost in Other Countries
Chapter X: Good Health Care: A Right for All Americans
The book was published in 1972. Does any of the discussion sound at all familiar?

There is little doubt in my mind that Ted Kennedy was one of the greatest United States Senators ever. Just this past weekend on ABC News, John McCain (R-AZ) reiterated that the current health care debate has been stymied in part because his friend, the “Lion of the Senate”, wasn’t able to participate in the debate fully. Kennedy was an “old-time” senator who really DID work “across the aisle”.

I believe his greatness in the Senate was fueled in no small part by the fact that he never became President. like his brother Jack did and his brother Bobby likely would have, had he not been assassinated in 1968. And I think it’s because of a tragedy of his own making, Chappaquiddick, in 1969.

I supported Ted Kennedy when he challenged Jimmy Carter for the Democratic nomination in 1980. Yet, at the same time, I was scared to death for him. Every President who was elected, or re-elected in a year ending in zero, going back to 1840, had died in office. Moreover, all of Ted’s brothers had died violent deaths, including his brother Joe in World War II.

(I always thought the 1980 primary season felt like a conversation among Carter, Kennedy and Jerry Brown to a Lovin’ Spoonful song, It’s Not Time Now.)

So Ted Kennedy’s sad but unsurprising death would, in the movies, stir both sides to open their hearts, work together for comprehensive health care reform, and we’d have a nice warm, fuzzy feeling in our bellies as the end credits rolled.

I’m not counting on that.

I do think it would be a fine legacy if the Congress could get together and pass some meaningful reform, and if EMK’d death becomes the prompt, then so be it.
***
The Brill Building composers and producers held sway over popular music in the late 1950s and early 1960s. Among them were Goffin and King, Mann and Weil, Greenfield and Sedaka, Pomus and Shuman, Leiber and Stoller, Barry and Greenwich. The latter were Jeff Barry and Ellie Greenwich, partners both musically and otherwise (they were married for a time).
Here are some songs written or co-written by Ellie Greenwich, who died this week:
AND THEN HE KISSED ME
BE MY BABY
CHAPEL OF LOVE
CHRISTMAS BABY (PLEASE COME HOME)
DA DOO RON RON
DO WAH DIDDY DIDDY
HANKY PANKY
LEADER OF THE PACK
RIVER DEEP. MOUNTAIN HIGH
and a whole bunch more.

She also produced a number of artists, notably early Neil Diamond. Somewhere in my vinyl I have the soundtrack for the Broadway musical Leader of the Pack, in which she starred in the 1980s.
ROG

The Lydster, Part 65: Stretching It Out


As I have mentioned, there were a couple weeks this summer when Carol was away at college and I got to play what is quaintly referred to Mr. Mom. (Did I see that film? I have vague recollections of it.)

It was not too bad during the week. I would drop her off at daycare in the morning. On Monday/Wednesday/Friday, my friend who has a daughter slightly older and a son slightly younger than Lydia would pick up the daughter and take her to their house and I would pi her up from there. On Tuesday/Thursday, I’d leave work early and pick up Lydia from daycare myself.

This meant truncated workdays. I don’t know about your work habits, but mine has a certain rhythm which involves getting through the e-mails, and doing some of the tasks therein before working on reference questions. It was not an optimal situation but it was doable.

The weekends were trickier. It was daddy being “on” for 15 or 16 hours. Not only did I need to do her hair in the morning (and preferably at night), and give her all her allergy medicines at night, I needed to entertain – read more than the evening books, play various games inside and out. On a weekday evening, by the time I made supper, cleaned up after supper, did her evening routine (which involved her 30 minutes of television per day), then got ready for bed, there wasn’t all that much time. On weekends, it was a LONG period.

Fortunately, there were birthday parties for Lydia’s classmates each of the two Saturdays. The first party was in a suburb of Albany called Clifton Park. The father of the birthday girl picked us up. It was one of those combo bouncy bounce/video places; it seemed very LOUD. Of course, we had to wait to get a ride home until after the clean up, but this was not at all a bad thing as it ate up the time. If I were using a baseball analogy, it would be like a workmanlike pitcher eating up innings.

The second weekend, the party was in another suburb, Latham. This time, I was determined to find a way to get us there without help. Plan #1, taking the #29 Cohoes bus was out; it doesn’t run on Saturdays. What I discovered, though, is if I got to the uptown SUNY campus (via the #12 bus), there is a #90 bus that goes to all the malls in the area, including Latham Farms, near where we were heading. It meant leaving the house at 10:15 to get to the party at 11:30 (a half hour early) and staying a little longer to catch the right buses back. But since we were at Chuck E. Cheese, this was not a problem.

The biggest hassle, actually, was getting from the Latham Farms bus stop to the Chuck. To say it was not designed for pedestrians would be a gross understatement. There were trees by the side of the road that jutted out in a way that it was impossible to even walk on the lawn; of course, there was NO sidewalk to speak of.

Did I mention that I HATE the name Latham Farms? There are few to no agrarian features.

I hadn’t been to CEC since 1995 in an Atlanta suburb. It’s more tech oriented now, with our electronic hosts Justin and Kelly (really – but not the folks from American Idol) hosting the gig on a half dozen TV screens until the rat, er mouse, came out.

On the ride back to SUNY, there was a woman with her eight-year-old coming from Troy to SUNY. Her daughter was getting antsy, so it was mutually beneficial when she got to read to Lydia. We got home at about 3:15.

If we had gotten a car ride there and back, we would have been gone from 11:30 to 2, 2.5 hours. Since we took two buses each way, we were out a total of FIVE hours. This is a GOOD thing. It was an adventure. Lydia is good riding buses, and this was new to her.

I’ll admit that maybe she watched a little more television than is generally allowed on the two Sundays, but she survived. As important, *I* survived.

Photo by Ray Hendrickson
ROG

F is for Falling

Kilgore Falls, MD

My 81-year-old mother fell coming into her house last week. My sister who lives with her says she’s fine, and that’s good news, of course.

Even before hearing that news, I was thinking about the topic. On one hand, the fall is the lifeblood of physical comedy. Watch out for that banana peeeel! The role of the comedian, going back generations, perhaps millennia, was to take a tumble.

One of my all-time favorite TV shows was The Dick van Dyke Show. As you can see here, Dick would either trip over the ottoman, stumble over it, or neatly evade it.

And YouTube is chock full of people taking a tumble.

Conversely, One in three adults 65 and older falls each year in the United States. In 2005, 15,800 people 65 and older died from injuries related to unintentional falls; about 1.8 million people 65 and older were treated in emergency departments for nonfatal injuries from falls, and more than 433,000 of these patients were hospitalized, again in the U.S. And that doesn’t even touch on falls from elevation.

This brings me to LifeCall. From the Wikipedia: The motivation behind the systems is that subscribers, mostly senior citizens, would receive a pendant which, when activated, would put them in immediate contact with a dispatch service, without the need to use a phone or other household device…

So far so good.

In 1989, LifeCall began running commercials which contained a scene wherein an elderly woman, identified by a dispatcher as “Mrs. Fletcher” uses the medical alert pendant after having fallen in the bathroom. After falling Mrs Fletcher speaks the phrase “I’ve fallen and I can’t get up” after which the dispatcher informs her that he is sending help.

Taken at its face value, the commercial portrays a dangerous situation for a senior, with perhaps dire consequences…

The “I’ve fallen and I can’t get up” ad had the double misfortune of being unintentionally campy and appearing often on cable and daytime television. The fact that the commercial was a dramatization (as clearly stated in the beginning of the commercial) using rather mediocre acting also contributed to the humor. The combination made “I’ve fallen… and I can’t get up!” a recognized, universal punchline that applied to many comedic situations. All of these factors made the ad memorable, ensuring the line’s place in pop culture history.

The commercial’s punchline has also been appropriated by members of faith communities.

My final falling reference (briefly) will be falling in love. One could discuss ad nauseum what that really means. But I’ve had stuck in my head a song by Lorenz Hart and Richard Rodgers called “Falling in Love with Love.”

“Falling in Love with Love is falling for make-believe!
Falling in Love with Love is playing the fool!” Here’s Julie Andrews singing Falling In Love With Love.
Falling Creek, GA

Note: I had a bunch of photos put aside for the post which I CANNOT FIND. Photos taken from government websites.
ROG

The Now Vs. Then Meme

One of those Sunday Stealing memes that would have been far more onerous had I compared now with 20 years ago, rather than 10

Then: August 1999

1. Age: 46

2. Romantic Status: newly married 3 months

3. Occupation: librarian, working downtown

4. Fun night out: usually go out to eat

5. My BFFs: Karen, Mark, Norman

6. I spent way too much time: watching sports on TV

7. I spent not enough time: reading books

8. I wanted to be when I grew up: a minister or a lawyer

9. Biggest concern: money

10. What my biggest concern should have been: time

11. Where did I live: in the house that Carol purchased in 1992

12. Dumbest thing I did that year: pretend that I was really cool with Carol going off to Scotland with her friend Jeanne a couple months after we were married. I missed her terribly AND I was still getting used to the house. She still might have gone, but my nonchalance gave her false info.

13. If I could go back now and talk to myself I would say: you’ll do OK.

Now: August 2009

1. Age: 56

2. Romantic Status: married

3. Occupation: librarian, working in soulless Corporate Woods

4. Fun night out: say what?

5. My BFFs: Karen, Mark, Norman

6. I spend way too much time: on the computer

7. I spend not enough time: reading books

8. I want to be when I grow up: I don’t want to grow up

9. Biggest concern: time for myself

10. What my biggest concern should be: how easily I sunburn now and taking more precautions re: that.

11. Where do I live: in a house Carol and I bought in 2000

12. Dumbest thing I have done this year: knocking down a small beehive in Lydia’s playhouse. Even though she was about 20 feet away, she ended up getting stung in the back of the neck by the bee/wasp/hornet. Then I got to listen to her ask, repeatedly, why it attacked her rather than me; the answer, of course, is that it would hurt me more if it stung her.

13. What I think I would say to myself in 10 years: you made it, more or less.

Summary:

1. What do I miss most from 1999: time

2. What do I miss least from 1999: uncertainty

3. What have I accomplished in 10 years that I am most proud of: staying married

4. What have I NOT accomplished in 10 years that I wish I had: that damn world peace; SO elusive.
***
One of the truly awful world events in my lifetime was the plane bombing over Lockerbie, Scotland. Over a dozen of the victims had ties with the Albany, NY area where I live. But as Demeur lays out, the one convicted participant might very well have got out on appeal. The release of Megrahi by Scotland may have been more pragmatic than compassionate.
***
From Steve Bissette:
If you are or ever have been a fan of the work of writer Steve Perry of Time Spirits, Thundercats and Silverhawks – not to be confused with either the prolific and popular sf writer or the rock star — and you can afford to help a man on his last legs, please, do so.

Despite the best efforts of myself and others, Steve is in dire straits at this very moment, suffering terminal cancer and lack of any support, and sorely in need of any help that can be sent his way.
***
Two journalists died this past week. Don Hewitt ran the Kennedy-Nixon debate, dubbed Walter Cronkite and created 60 Minutes. He wussed out over a tobacco story, but no one’s perfect.

My mom said if you have nothing good to say about someone, say nothing. Robert Novak: NOTHING.
***
Go here August 28 at 9:00AM ET and every Friday through September for a chance to get a Free Real Chocolate coupon for your favorite Mars product.


ROG

MOVIE REVIEW: 500 Days of Summer


I took off from work on Thursday, in part so I could complete the split movie date thing my wife and I do. She saw 500 Days of Summer a couple weeks back and thoroughly enjoyed it. I…well, three days in, I’m still running it through my head.

The movie has been described as a romantic comedy; this would be a stretch. Certainly the guy (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) is interested in romance. But the woman of his dreams (Zooey Deschanel) just doesn’t believe in that stuff.

500 Days (Variety and Roger Ebert aren’t using the parentheses around 500, so I’ll opt out too) evokes a lot of other movies. Evokes them pretty well too, though perhaps too much “on the nose.”

There”s a scene that uses a Hall and Oates song that is clearly inspired by a scene in a John Hughes movie. The song title from the Hughes film even appear in the lyrics of the H&O tune. On the other hand, I enjoyed it – a lot, actually – for what it was.

Likewise, there seems to be an homage to the movies of Woody Allen from the 1970s. But not only did the split screen work, it was quite reminiscent of my real life.

Finally, it is stated that the female in the movie totally misreads the ending of The Graduate, and it is actually that final scene on the bus, complete with the Bookends Theme by Simon & Garfunkel, that, in retrospect, 500 Days pivots on.

It just feels that all of these elements plus the cute-at-first-but-eventually-annoying time shift dynamic didn’t always feel like the same film, as though it were being made by a guy stitching a bunch of music videos together. Yet through it all, it did speak truthfully, it played fair, the characters were believable, even though the female lead was (intentionally) less than accessible. There was no deus ex machina.

Read Roger Ebert’s four-star review:
Some say they’re annoyed by the way it begins on Day 488 or whatever and then jumps around, providing utterly unhelpful data labels: “Day 1,” “Day 249.” Movies are supposed to reassure us that events unfold in an orderly procession. But Tom remembers his love, Summer, as a series of joys and bafflements. What kind of woman likes you perfectly sincerely and has no one else in her life but is not interested in ever getting married?

Then look at the less than favorable one from Joe Morgenstern of the Wall Street Journal:
Marc Webb’s bright bauble of a boy-meets-girl comedy is a rueful tribute to the wisdom of hindsight (if you want to be philosophical); an elaborate exercise in deconstruction (if you want to be trendy), a postmodern mishmash (if you want to be uncharitable), a cautionary tale about the perils of projection (if you want to be psychological) or, if you want to be as clinical as the film finally decides to be, an exhaustive and exhausting dissection of a relationship that was never all that promising in the first place.

Thing is, I totally agree. With BOTH of them. A blogger who seemed to like it called it “treacherously twee.” So go see the movie. If you’re like 88% of the critics, you’ll enjoy the film. But if you don’t, I’d understand that too.

ROG

Boycott QUESTIONS

Need someone to swipe from. Jaquandor posed a similar, and more expanded query. Mine is more reductivist:
Do you boycott an artist (musician, actor, writer) because you find that person’s politics abhorrent – racist, a birther, Holocaust denier? This assumes that the work itself is not abhorrent. Actually remember going to see The Green Berets, starring John Wayne and David Janssen in the day, even though I wasn’t a big Wayne fan. Additionally, I knew I’d hate the politics of the film, and I did, but I found it instructive to have seen it. But, no, I see movies by Gary Sinese. I listen to Wagner. I don’t buy Ted Nugent music, but then I NEVER bought Ted Nugent music.

Do you support an artist who is the subject of a boycott or other negative action? Heck, yeah. When Natalie Maines of the Dixie Chicks spoke the truth about George W. Bush in March 2003, just before the US invasion of Iraq, and took a lot of heat, immediately, I ran out to the local Rite Aid and bought the Dixie Chicks’ then-current album. Likewise, when Linda Ronstadt said something complimentary about Michael Moore and subsequently had some difficulties, I ended up buying her box set from Amazon. This is not that I might not have purchased them eventually anyway, but certainly the events specifically prompted the purchases.

ROG