March, 2012 Archives

London Thawing

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March 30th, 2012

NOTES FROM LONDON The first time we came to London in Spring, there was snow on the ground. Now, Marci can work on her tan in March.Sun, sand, beach weather and margaritas. That’s Spring Break; that’s what you think of (besides drunken college kids in Mexico). Generally though, London doesn’t rise to the top of […]

NOTES FROM LONDON

http://www.readthespirit.com/rodney-curtis/wp-content/uploads/sites/14/2013/03/wpid-rchotair.jpgThe first time we came to London in Spring, there was snow on the ground. Now, Marci can work on her tan in March.Sun, sand, beach weather and margaritas. That’s Spring Break; that’s what you think of (besides drunken college kids in Mexico). Generally though, London doesn’t rise to the top of the sunburn and sunscreen list. Enter Global Warming, however, and you have wonderful weather in one of the world’s greatest cities. Consequences be damned!

My lovely wife, catching some rays on the balcony of our 10th floor apartment, reports, “My cheeks are actually pink.”

My daughter Taylor was seemingly the only smart one in our group; she brought shorts.

The Daily Mail reports “It’s been the warmest spring since records began in 1659,” and that was LAST year! I had a conversation with a bobby this evening and he said we’re living in drought conditions, technically. When I said global climate change is doing us all in, he responded, “Well, it’s debatable — climate change, init?”

No it ‘init.’

A panel of Nobel Prize-winning scientists just issued a report saying no corner of the world is safe. In the immortal words of The Clash in London Calling, “The ice age is coming, the sun’s zooming in.”

It’s hard to believe there are still supposedly rational people out there who pretend humankind doesn’t have any effect on the weather. They think it’s just a lot of hot air.

At least in this case, they’re right about it being hot air.

Then a sigh escapes my wife as she sits next to me after a long day of traipsing about the city. Colder temperatures and rain are forecast for the rest of our stay here.

I guess it’s hypocritical getting upset about the heat, then complaining when you have to walk around in the rain and cold.

Init?

Prince Falafel

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March 29th, 2012

NOTES FROM LONDON King Falafel wanted his son to take over the family business, but Prince Falafel just wanted to dance. Many years ago, during the first uprisings, King Falafel was deposed from his tiny sheikdom. After a tearful farewell, he moved his young family and old mother to London’s Camden Town to begin a […]

NOTES FROM LONDON

http://www.readthespirit.com/rodney-curtis/wp-content/uploads/sites/14/2013/03/wpid-rcPrinceFalafel.jpgKing Falafel wanted his son to take over the family business, but Prince Falafel just wanted to dance.

Many years ago, during the first uprisings, King Falafel was deposed from his tiny sheikdom. After a tearful farewell, he moved his young family and old mother to London’s Camden Town to begin a new life.

He built a thriving sandwich business and dreamt of the day he would pass it down to his teenage son. But Prince Falafel only wanted to dance.

Late at night, instead of baking pocket bread and preparing the frying oil, Prince Falafel would slip out into the night. Usually he could be found in the King’s Cross tube tunnels, dancing the Garbanzo Grind with a smile as wide as a coriander corridor.

The prince would return home in the wee hours, exhausted but satisfied. This perplexed the King. Why didn’t his son want to succeed him in all matters falafel?

It was the Dowager Empress who explained it to the confounded king. Empress Chick-Pea (Her maiden name was Tahini Chick but after she married her most-loving husband, Pita Pea, she hyphenated her last name.)

“My grandson just wishes to express himself the best way he knows how,” she reasoned. “That’s why you yourself set up your shop. It’s only natural to follow your dreams. It’s only cumin.”

A Clockwork Orange meets Spartacus

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March 23rd, 2012

Don’t worry Mom, you can skip The Hunger Games. I’ve known your movie tastes for years now, and beginning with A Fish Called Wanda — which I recommended and you hated — I’ve had to ask myself the simple question, what would Mom like? You probably won’t like this. On the other hand, I really […]

Don’t worry Mom, you can skip The Hunger Games. I’ve known your movie tastes for years now, and beginning with A Fish Called Wanda — which I recommended and you hated — I’ve had to ask myself the simple question, what would Mom like?

You probably won’t like this.

On the other hand, I really did enjoy it. So did your daughter-in-law; she’s seen it twice in a little over 12 hours. So did your granddaughters. You didn’t read the books, Ma, so I think something may be lost on you. But that can be overcome. What can’t be looked over is the violent premise. Why subject yourself to two hours and 22 minutes of a film portraying a dystopic future where children have to kill each other in order to survive?

http://www.readthespirit.com/rodney-curtis/wp-content/uploads/sites/14/2013/03/wpid-rcBanksLawrence.jpgElizabeth Banks interviews Jennifer Lawrence before The Game begins.It’s grim. And even though the actual killings in The Game are largely symbolic, there’s still a horrifying plot line you’d have to endure. That’s not your speed. You loved The Artist and The Descendants. Imagine if only one or two of the characters from each of those films survived by the closing credits. Okay, you’d still get Clooney, but stay with me.

Maybe that was a bad example. But I just don’t think you’ll be hip to a future where A Clockwork Orange meets Spartacus. Hey, I think I just coined a phrase. If you use that term with your friends, mother dearest, make sure you add my copyright at the end.

I know you don’t enjoy the thought of young folks fighting each other off in order to survive in a frightening, brutal show all for the delight of spectators. Just like Jersey Shore, you can skip this one too, Mom.

Having read the books, like seemingly billions of others, I was pleased with the movie and completely engaged all throughout. Even knowing what came next, I still refused to go out and pee, though my bladder felt like District 11 if you know what I mean.

You probably don’t know what I mean.

Arriving home all bleary-eyed at 3:00 a.m. this morning, all three of my ladies agreed it wouldn’t be on your must-see list.

So for the rest of you who didn’t give birth to me:

About the only thing that didn’t ring true for me (apart from an impossible camouflage scene) was the lack of actual hunger in The Hunger Games. The books explained the character’s starvation far better than the movie, which barely hinted at it. They filmed buff, well-fed actors — one even saying on the train ride, “I’m not that hungry.” Continuity, people!

http://www.readthespirit.com/rodney-curtis/wp-content/uploads/sites/14/2013/03/wpid-rchungergamesdiptych.jpgStanley Tucci plays a maniacal host and Amandla Stenberg is a perfect Rue.Elizabeth Banks was unrecognizable as the deliciously self-obsessed Effie Trinket. Stanley Tucci gives a Best Supporting Actor-worthy performance as a maniacal Caesar Flickerman. And look for young newcomer Amandla Stenberg (Rue) to take Hollywood by quiet tsunami.

In a very strange case of life and art imitating each other, Jennifer Lawrence’s character, Katniss, is so distracted on stage that she doesn’t hear the interviewer’s question. Earlier this week, on David Letterman, she uttered the same line, “wait … what” while being similarly distracted. My wife and I nudged each other in the theater and smiled.

I agree with my colleague Jane Wells’ assessment of one of the cooler parts of the movie, the games control room. I also like Ed McNulty’s discussion on moral and spiritual questions that arise out of the movie.

We’ll all get back to non-Hunger Games topics here at ReadTheSpirit. But it was a fun diversion for a little while.

Disturbing Dystopia

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March 17th, 2012

Jennifer Lawrence and Liam Hemsworth conspire in a scene from The Hunger Games. Of all the important, absorbing, world-changing events we could’ve banded together to write about here at the home offices of ReadTheSpirit, our crew chose the impending release of the Twilight movie, err, The Hunger Games. If you haven’t been living under a […]

http://www.readthespirit.com/rodney-curtis/wp-content/uploads/sites/14/2013/03/wpid-rchungergames.jpgJennifer Lawrence and Liam Hemsworth conspire in a scene from The Hunger Games.

Of all the important, absorbing, world-changing events we could’ve banded together to write about here at the home offices of ReadTheSpirit, our crew chose the impending release of the Twilight movie, err, The Hunger Games.

If you haven’t been living under a rock, you’ve heard about The Hunger Games, the Suzanne Collins trilogy which has been made into a movie and opens early Friday morning. Aimed squarely at the young adult audience, it has spilled over into the grown-up market. Parents have consumed the books, some of whom — like my wife — pulling all-nighters. I can’t really explain why something so brutal is so compelling. The series focuses on a future where kids are forced to fight to the death so rich people can be entertained. (I prefer the present-day version where rich people fight to the death for our entertainment, also known as the Republican Primaries).

So far, a few of our writers have weighed in on the subject. Jane Wells talks about the differences and similarities between Twilight and Hunger Games (note: there are no pouting vampires or shirtless werewolves that I’m aware of in this one). And Ed McNulty expounds on the dystopias Hollywood has explored including The Lorax and WALL-E.

Dystopia, by the way, is my new favorite word.

My daughters and their friends have purchased their tickets for the 12:01 a.m. Hunger Games showing already, and will be bleary-eyed come school time, mere hours afterward. Still, their mother and I think it’s just fine for them to attend classes on a pop and popcorn high.

Personally, I loved the first book and became less enchanted as the series wore on with Catching Fire, then Mockingjay. Perhaps Hollywood felt the same way since they supposedly delayed filming the two sequels until they could gauge audience reaction.

More of us at ReadTheSpirit will be chiming in as we see the movie, unless something more important comes up. If you haven’t already, you’ll see and read a lot about the film in the upcoming days. Hopefully we here will have amazing and life-altering comments to share with you once we actually know what we’re talking about.

Until then, go outside and enjoy this lovely weather and be thankful you don’t live in a dystopic future where global climate change has made winters mild and bearable.

Now THAT would be scary!