Saturday, April 12, 2003

Gone to Carolina Archive: They Didn't Like Each Other

My personal baseball reporting: Fair, Balanced, Unafraid
Twins 4-6 Braves 4-7
So, I'm reading the Lancaster News yesterday and there's a story about a guy who gets 26 years in prison for armed robbery. His accomplice has already pled guilty and been sentenced. But this guy says he didn't do it(surprise surprise). He's been trying to establish his innocence by saying he was out cold drunk at the time.
He apparently roomed with the other convicted guy. The other guy also says he doesn't know who helped him rob the convenience store. Apparently the prosecutor was trying to establish a relationship between the two guys. Points out they lived together. Says to the first convicted guy...well, you must be friends. After all, you lived together.
The convicted guy says "So, I lived with my Mother-in-Law and I don't like her."

Friday, April 11, 2003

Gone to Carolina Archive: "The Master Butcher's Singing Club"

My personal baseball reporting: Fair, Balanced, Unafraid
Twins 3-6 Braves 4-6 And, WHAT'S UP WITH KANSAS CITY? 7-0??? That's kind of unheard of!
Today I'll just do a book review and a couple of movie reviews. I considered writing about the discussion we had last night during our United Methodist Women's circle meeting, but I'm not sure I can condense it down. We had a great program, thanks to Joyce Mc. She talked about the 3 women who went to the tomb and discovered Jesus gone. And Cassie's niece, Allison Mc, talked about how their Sunday School Class, 4-6th grade (there are 4 students), saved up $27 to buy a brood of chicks and some hot meals from Samaritans Purse. Now they want to buy something else. So we took up a special offering to give to her class to send in.
But from there, during the refreshment time? What a hilarious discussion! It started with talk about stray dogs, then went to reincarnation and ex-husbands and somehow on to whether nice people get mean when they are old, and mean people get nice when they are old....a great time was had by all!
So yeah, the book review. As you know, if you've been reading my blog, I have been working on The Master Butchers Singing Club by Louise Erdrich. This is another one of those books where you wonder how the author chose the title. I mean, sure, one of the main characters, a master butcher who immigrated from Germany to North Dakota, is a great singer. And he does start up a club of other singers who meet in his home once a week to sing. But it's not the main story. In fact, the book barely mentions most of the other singers...just one other singer, the town drunk, is mentioned with any regularity. In fact, I wouldn't even go so far as to say the master butcher is even the central character of the book. I think the central character is a woman named Delphine, the town drunk's daughter, who comes home from her wanderings as a circus performer and goes to work for the butcher. Delphine gets to know the butcher's wife, and, after the wife dies, goes on to care for the butcher and his household.
But, even though I think the title could have been different, it's not really a problem for me. Just an oddity. Sort of like the title for the book An Accidental Woman by Barbara Delinsky, wherein there is a woman who moves to a small town and takes on a new identity to escape her previous life. There's nothing "accidental" about that woman. Well, one accident...but the woman isn't accidental, in my estimation. Incidentally, the story is suspiciously similar to the Kathleen Soliah/Sarah Jane Olson story, up to a point.
But I digress.
"Master Butcher" is a great book. It was a great story, well-written, and I'd highly recommend it. The characters are varied and complex, but not complicated. The story is plausible, and that means a lot to me.
Now, about plausibility and the lack thereof...a word about the movie Far From Heaven. I'm pretty much glad this one didn't get an Oscar. It was touted high and low as a great flick. But gimme a break! The story is about a husband and wife. The husband turns out to be gay and the wife is befriending a black guy. The movie takes place in the 50s, when both homosexuality and interracial relationships were very taboo and caused much uproar. It is incredible to think that both would come together in a "perfect storm" in this marriage. It smacks of some little pointy-headed studio head saying "hmmm 50s, married guy, discovers he's gay. Good story, but won't be long enough for a movie...let's throw something else into the movie to make it longer".
I'm also a bit concerned about Julianne Moore. She needs to branch out. She's good as the helpless victim (Far From Heaven, The Hours), but we need to see more..."strong woman" type stuff.
Okay, those are all of my opinions so far this morning. It's only 8 am, so I'm sure I'll have many more opinions as the day goes on. But I only update the blog once a day.
Lucky you.

Wednesday, April 09, 2003

Gone to Carolina Archive: Working to Hear the Twins

Twins 3-4 Braves 3-5
Well, now we have to pay to hear the Twins on radio. Last winter Mensa Boy listened to the Vikings on the internet and we thought we'd be able to do that with the Twins. But, Major League Baseball has a fee attached. It's only about $12 for the entire season, but it still seems so wrong. One consolation: we do get to hear WCCO. Of course, if we went over to The Dark Side, we'd be able to hear games by just turning on the radio, but I'm not ready to go there yet.
It's still raining. The grass will soon be as high as an elephant's eye. But it's definitely better than snow!

Tuesday, April 08, 2003

Gone to Carolina Archive: It's All About Media

Twins 3-3 (Monday's game postponed due to snow) Braves 3-4
Good writing...good art... can elicit a sigh of satisfaction from me.
I'm still sighing with satisfaction over the movie Chicago. Every single thing about that movie is satisfying. There were wonderful surprises... "Richard Gere can sing?"
My brothers, Doug and Lis, say you can almost hear a collective sigh of satisfaction each Wednesday night after West Wing is over. Never mind that the show is a so bleeding-heart liberal, it's just such good writing. I like a show that is challenging to watch, and West Wing is. You have to hear every single sentence to keep on top of it. I tape it, even while watching it, so that I have back-up if I get lost in the dialogue.
Unfortunately I can get a fanatical about it.
To the point of being rude.
Last Wednesday I got home from choir with 3 minutes to spare before the show came on (just about the ONLY advantage to living in the Eastern Time Zone!). Had a note to call my friend Cassie. She wanted to confirm lunch for the next day. I dialed her number. She said "hello". I said "Yes. Gotta go, West Wing is starting". She said "okay". I hung up.
I'm glad Cassie is understanding!
Back to art and satisfaction....I'm reading Louise Erdrich's new book, The Master Butchers Singing Club What a wonderfully satisfying book. The kind you really don't want to put down. It's a fast read, but every once in a while, a sentence stands out that just evokes a response from the's just so good you want to share it. I read this sentence to my husband last night. As a writer I knew he would enjoy this, even without reading the book or knowing what it is about:
"...Delphine stepped out of the cool locker into the presence of a woman known in town as Step-and-a-half. She was a rangy stray dog of a woman who was probably still young--she looked between thirty and forty--and yet moved with an air of ancient bitterness."
There is some very satisfying writing to be read on the internet. I've been following two blogs for more than a month now, and each morning I find myself checking both of them to see what has transpired. It's become as addicting as the two measly cups of coffee I get each morning, and the rush really sets in when I can drink the coffee and read these blogs at the same time. Here are the links:
The Julie/Julia Project This is the journal of a New York woman who is cooking her way through Mastering the Art of French Cooking by Julia Child.
Fanatical Apathy This is Adam Felber's blog. He is a writer, comedian and regular on NPR's Wait Wait Don't Tell Me! Another addiction of mine.
That's it for now. Twins play their make-up game this afternoon at 4:05 Eastern. The snow day was no doubt a good thing for them. They had a tough weekend.

Monday, April 07, 2003

Gone to Carolina Archive: "Samaritan"

Rainy morning.
Last night I finished Richard Price's new novel Samaritan. It wasn't a fast read, but it was pretty good. I had heard Price on National Public Radio a few weeks ago and ordered his book from the library.
The book is about a guy who goes through a succession of jobs, the last of which was as a writer on a television series, and he goes back to his old neighborhood in New York and volunteers at his old High School. He is teaching kids creative writing.
But he gets beat up pretty badly in his home and almost loses his life. An old childhood friend of him tries to find out who assaulted him and he won't tell.
Good book.

Sunday, April 06, 2003

Gone to Carolina Archive: My First Pig Pickin'

Twins 3-3
Braves 2-4
Puckett acquitted.
What a busy weekend we've had! Yesterday was our "Day of Opportunity" at church. This was an opportunity to spent a long morning cleaning, painting, planting grass and just in general spiffing up the place.
But it culminated in a Pig Pickin'. Now THAT is truly a sight to behold. One of the members of our church as a trailer with 3 giant grills on it. He bought a whole pig, dressed to his specifications and cooked, for $175. Then he heated the meat a bit and de-fatted and "pulled" it...shredded it by just pulling at the meat, not cutting.
Then he laid the meat back in the skin and put that on his grill. He then dosed the meat with sauce and left it low for a few hours. Every once in a while he would douse it with more sauce. Now, this is a vinegar-based sauce that he makes. Not a tomato-based sauce.
At a real pig pickin', people will just go over to the grill, lift the hood, and pick meat off the mound on the pig skin with a tongs. But it was raining yesterday, and we really didn't have room for standing around out there, so he just brought it in to the fellowship hall in pans. MMMM doggie! What great stuff! We had slaw and fruit salad and beans and of course, copious amounts of sweet tea and desserts.
This morning we talked about Goodness in Sunday School. We pondered the question: Can anything good come out of a bad person, and can anything bad come out of a good person? We didn't really resolve that one.
This afternoon I worked on landscaping all afternoon. It was about 75 and sunny. It's clouding up now and will rain tonight. I sure do like the weather here!