Saturday, January 26, 2008


Another movie down. Last night I watched The Devil's Playground which sounds like one of those Rob Zombie post apocalyptic gross outs, but actually it was about Amish people. The premise is this: We (the Amish call us non-Amish the English) live in what is commonly called The Devil's Playground, and they - The Amish - obviously don't really agree or participate with our lifestyle except when a child turns 16 they are allowed to do whatever they want, i.e. freak out and smoke, drink, do drugs, have sex, watch TV, drive cars, wear English clothes etc. The Amish allow their kids to do this because they believe that people should choose to be Baptized and are not Baptized as children as in other religions, so if the kids go off and experience all this crazy stuff and then come back to join the church the theory is that they will be much happier because the choice is theirs and they know what they are missing. Oh, and there's no time limit - so you can leave when you are 16 and then come back whenever, most people do by their early 20's. Predictably the movie followed three kids, one who went back, one who didn't and one who was undecided. I was kind of excited to watch this movie but in the end wound up inventing yet another rating for movies -Meh....this is accompanied by a half-hearted shoulder shrug. It was mildly interesting yet mildly boring, and the production was terrible. I felt like I was watching a thesis project for film school. I had hoped it would be as interesting as the documentary about the professional scrabble players - Word Wars - which I loved even before I started my scrabble obsession. One interesting thing was that the Amish are now experiencing the highest retention rate of church members in the history of the Amish church - it's like 90%. That's huge, that means that 90% of the kids take off go out in "our world" and then say - this sucks, I want to be Amish. It might have something to do with the fact that Amish are not allowed to continue schooling past 8th grade so probably options are limited for employment out here in the Devil's Playground. Anyhow,The Devil's Playground gets a big Meh... not a complete waste of time, but it had such potential!

I paid a visit to my grandmother yesterday which is always fun because Maggie absolutely LOVES her (of course) and it's so cute to see them interacting. My GM is in the early stages of Alzheimer's which is totally bizarre because she seems all normal and then, like yesterday, needed me to explain to her how the library works. "Soooo you get all these books for free?" She asked. 'uh yeah, but I have to take them back." I replied. "Hmmmm" was the response. It should be noted we have this conversation every time I go to her house after I go to the library which is often since it's located across the street from her apartment. It's hard not to get thrown off guard and get confused myself when she busts out these nuggets of incomprehension because she seems fine about 80% of the time, and hopefully will stay that way.

While at the library I picked up The Yiddish Policeman's Union by Michael Chabon. Weird choice huh? I grabbed it because it was recommended by Uncle Stevie. Ok, not to me personally, but on his shortlist for Boarders which is here. I plan on reading all of them provided the library has them. Uncle Stevie also has a couple of lists he made for Entertainment Weekly in his semi-regular column "The King Of Pop". Now you may know of my love for Mr. King, as illustrated by my inane use of the name Uncle Stevie (which a lot of fans call him, it's not just me that's crazy.) I will read, watch, listen to pretty much anything he recommends, but maybe not for the reasons you think. As a writer, one of the most important things you can do is read, and consume other forms of intellectually stimulating materials -it's exercise for your brain helps it to come up with good new stuff. Anyhow if you find a writer you really like, not just for the stories but for the construction of them, the development of characters, style, the nuts and bolts and not just the obvious is a good story teller (lots of good storytellers are horrible writers.) you should not only read the materials they write, but the materials they read. How wonderful is it that in this modern age we are able to have a connection with writers, and find out what stimulates them! How cool would it be if I had a list of Hemminway's favorite books, or Shakespeare's top 10 list of must see plays! No I don't plan on writing horror novels or even suspenseful ones - though I won't rule it out - it's the style I love, the word smithing if you will.

That leads me to my next thought, one of the goals of this list is for me to experience new things, not just in the "new things" category, but also new movies, new books, new music etc. I would love it if you out there blogland would send me your favorite movies, books, musicians that you want me to check out. Either a comment or e-mail is cool. Oh, be forewarned, if I don't like it I will not hesitate to give it a poopsandwich. Nothing personal, I'm just honest, but please don't let that deter you, I just think you should be warned.

One more thing, I forgot to mention I obtained some "new" clothing. I use quotes because actually they are some jeans and a blazer I got at the thrift store during my giant sweater haul. That's it I'm out.

1 comment:

Dan B said...

The Politically Incorrect Guide To The Constitution

you will like it.

Oldies but Goodies: