Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Desmond's Final Question

Desmond ended his interview this way:
Question five: What good books have you read in the last six months? (Feel free to go further back, if you like).
So there you have it. Please forgive me if any of the answers are obvious, and I just didn't pay attention when you answered them.
And, let me say that the general 'Joie de Vivre' tone of your blog is happily resonant for me. . .
Blessings. . .
PS - I'm also a big Larry Norman fan from way back. For one of my recent birthdays, my kids made me a 'Larry Norman Mix' CD. . .
And, Why Should the Devil Have All the Good Music?

My dear Desmond, I am a voracious reader. Before I decided to major in English, I took literature classes for fun. So I will limit myself to the last 10 books, many of them I have read since school let out. Now remember, this is summer reading – I was tempted to throw in some CS Lewis and documentary types of books to look brainy.

1. I am still reading Blue Like Jazz by Don Miller. I have liked his blunt challenge to live a faith-centered life in a very self-centered society.
2. I just finished The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri. I wanted to read the book before the movie comes out on DVD. (I have heard phenomenal things about the Bollywood actress who plays the mother.) Also, my favorite genre of stories is the interaction of immigrants and their children, their struggle to understand the class or mix of cultures and struggle for identity.
3. One Day More by Mitch Albom. This was a sweet read that makes you want to call your mother and say that you love her.
4. We Shouldn’t Even be Doing This by Bob Newhart. Hilarious! This isn’t so much an autobiography as it is a recollection of funny stories from his life, many of which made it into his stand-up acts. I laughed so much that I high tailed it to the library and borrowed “The Button Down Mind of Bob Newhart” album. Go out right now and get it!
5. Crochet Patterns in a Weekend- what can I say? Christmas is a mere 6 months away.
6. Luncheon of the Boating Party by Susan Vreeland. I went to hear her speak a while ago, and she was just a lovely lady – kind of the perfect library marm. For this book she did a lot of research into the lives of Renoir and the models he used for this painting, their relations with him and each other. I love that she shooed us like a goose to her display table that was filled with documents and “frippery” about the people in her book. However, my favorite book from this author is Girl in Hyacinth Blue, another book based on a famous painting. This one creates stories of the possible owners of the paining through the years.
7. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. The next one is coming out soon and it refreshes my memory. And yes, people will see me at the movie dressed in my Muggle outfit.
8. In a Sunburned Country by Bill Bryson. This is a fun account of his travels across Australia. My goodness this is a dangerous land. And the Aussies are very proud of this fact!
9. Homespun Tales from America’s Favorite Storytellers. I think folktales are a delightful fabric of our culture that gets lost.
10. Gardening for Dummies. We have tried growing peas and potatoes for the first time in our garden. I have also found a way to kill every lavender plant I own, and it is supposed to be unstoppable. Well, leave it to me to stop them from living.

Does anyone want me to interview him or her? If so then tell me in the comment section and I will post questions. You then answer them in your blog. Most people answer them in one post, but I tend to run on and on. You answer them in the style you like. Also, if you don't have a blog, you can answer them in the comments section and I may publish them in a post.

Joie de Vivre ~ A Hearty Joy of Living!

Friday, July 06, 2007

I Have Hope

Oh my goodness! There is a glimmer of hope for the media world! Tom Brokaw and Edward R Murry would be a little less embarrassed for their profession.

Joie de Vivre ~ A Hearty Joy of Living!

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Independence Day

Yesterday I spent some time with my niece and nephews doing something that has become a tradition for the 4th of July – watching a pre BBQ and pre pre-fireworks movie. I am not interested in great works of art. I want to get out of the heat and escape for a little while. Now there are a few requirements for a proper 4th movie. They need to have either the fate of America, if not the entire world, at stake. There must also be a clear enemy. And in the end we need to walk out thankful we are free.

So here are my top 5 Independence Day movies:

1) Independence Day – America saves the world from creepy aliens as Will Smith shows why America is great – we are bad ass with humor!

2) Any of the Terminators – An American saves the world from evil technology! And in Terminator 2 again we have a bad ass who throws out one-liners. Actually, if you compare Terminator 1 and 2, you will see how the American society changed from the 80’s to the 90’s. The first one is full of gratuitous gore. In the 80’s we wanted things gritty and “real”. The one in the 90’s was much less disgusting and full of jokes. We fed up with “gritty” and wanted to laugh hard and have lots of explosions.

3) Indiana Jones – Evil Nazi people trying to exploit God’s power to take over the free world. The sexy and brainy American foils their plot with humor and explosions, and a bit of melting going on.

4) Armageddon – Space rock threatens the world and only a rough and tough band of independent manly Americans can save us all. It has Michael Clarke Duncan, whose voice can turn me on just by reading the telephone book, and it was my introduction to the hilarious Owen Wilson.

5) Transformers – Turn off your analysis of the plot and dialogue. This is a fun movie where alien robots try to turn everything evil, and good, powerful, alien robots come to our aid. But it takes a couple of spunky American kids to save the Earth. But I have at least one issue – if you have the fate of the world in your hands, and both a giant robot and the army guy who really knows what he is doing tells you to run to the top of a roof, do not stop and take several minutes and tell the girl you love her. Run to the top of the frigging roof! And as my nephew said, “If you do stop to tell her, then kiss her for goodness sake!”

Honorable Mention:
Air Force One – Kick ass president who puts it all on the line to do the right thing.

Enemy of the State
– American on American action is not really right for the Fourth, but it is Will Smith’s first action film that did not include an alien.

Joie de Vivre ~ A Hearty Joy of Living!

Monday, July 02, 2007

Desmon's Fourth Question

Here is the next question in Desmond's interview.

Are there any unique challenges to having an inter-cultural, inter-racial marriage? Do you have any children?

None at all! That actually is the answer to your second question. My Sweet and I were married in February, and at our reception my mother came up to me and said, “Do you know what would make a great Christmas gift for me? A grandbaby!” Come on, the wedding cake wasn’t even cut yet!

Many of the challenges are ones that are typical for any two people – how to decorate the house, control of the remote control, should there be a computer or TV in the bedroom (I usually win the decorating except for the computer room, he gets the remote usually, and no – two things usually go on there and the electronic noise is conclusive to neither).

Probably the unique challenges come often from language barriers. Although My Sweet is quite fluent in English, it is still a second language. Sometimes I will say something all too clearly and he will not know the vocabulary/slang or be having a Bad English Day. And many times if he gets lost in a conversation, he will just tune out. This is one thing when it is a group conversation, but when he tunes out when it is just the two of us – ooh man does he get it when I finally figure it out!

One of the most irritating is stereotyping. “Americans are lazy”, “My country does such-and-such better,” “This country’s health insurance is nuts!” Now often he is right, but it is still irritating. And, he is just as likely to say something crazy about Japan (and one day I may do a post about this – including the weird things you can find in Japanese vending machines).

Anther difficulty, and some may say a blessing, is that my mother-in-law lives on the other side of the planet. This means I do not have to deal with the “You are not taking proper care of my boy” issues. But then again I do not really have much of a relationship with her and my sis-in-law. My Sweet and I are in a quandary about what to do when his mother gets too old to take care of herself. She will not move to America, nor would I want to displace an elderly woman to a place where she has no friends and can not speak the language. The oldest son is supposed to take care of his parents. But we cross this bridge when we get closer to it.

Well, the final question has to do with books, and I will have plenty to say about it in my next post.

Joie de Vivre ~ A Hearty Joy of Living!