Meanwhile, Back in Illinois …

Filed under:Movies,Priorities — posted by Anwyn on September 29, 2006 @ 9:19 pm

… at the theater where I was honored to organize viewing/costume parties for The Lord of the Rings, all three films, owner Greg Boardman shut down The Lorraine for two weeks rather than show Jackass 2 or Beerfest. From the article, it appears that some folks backed his decision and some folks whined that he took away entertainment from the children (“Won’t someone PLEASE think of the CHILDREN?!??”):

Hoopeston native P.J. Clingenpeel [hell no, I’m not making that up] said the projectors should never have been turned off in the first place. He said the two-week shutdown only hurt children in this town where Boardman’s movie houses and a skating rink are about all they have to do outside of school and sports.

“All he did was ruin a lot of kids’weekends. That’s why I think he’s a crybaby,”said Clingenpeel, a 30-year-old welder.

Excuse me? Who’s a crybaby? The theater owner so disgusted with the product he has to sell that he loses a little money rather than sell it, or the parents of children so bereft of something productive to do that their weekends are spoiled when they can’t watch Johnny Knoxville do … whatever the hell it is that he does? As the article points out, the movie was playing in Danville, which is 25 miles away. Quite a haul. Poor parents, having to listen to their kids whine all weekend because they couldn’t make the 50-mile round-trip to see either of two movies exalting the best of the human spirit.

What a crock. The Lorraine is a beautiful theater with a kick-ass sound system. Greg is a good guy who cheerfully hosted hordes of us breathless Lord of the Rings glassy-eyeds, provided us with a lovely historical venue for our celebration so that we didn’t have to deal with a gumshoed multiplex that was going to make its money either way and couldn’t have cared less that LotR was anything other than a run-of-the-mill set of popcorn flicks. Yes, it’s in a small town, and yes, this action affects the residents more than it would have at Greg’s other theater in Champaign. But I don’t pity the residents of a small town without many resources for entertainment. I pity residents anywhere who are so poor in resources of the mind that the loss of a couple of mindless movies sends them into a tailspin over The Lost Weekend. After all, as small as it is (and I’ve been there), Hoopeston does have a library.

Well done, Greg. Not because I know anything about either movie, though I’m quite willing to take your word for it that they’re garbage, but because you certainly are not required, for anybody’s sake, to take whatever the studios hand you and be nothing but an unthinking conduit. So far, I’m not really grooving too hard over Aaron Sorkin’s new TV offering, Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip, but something Amanda Peet’s character said on this week’s episode went down just fine with me. Asked how she would pick programming for the network, she answered that she’d ask herself three questions: 1) did she like it, 2) would her parents like it, and 3) would she let her kids watch it. If the answer to any of those three were yes, she’d air it. If the answer to all three was no, she wouldn’t.

Simple and fair enough for everybody. Or should be. Good judgment: It’s not just for studios any more.


Filed under:Blogging — posted by Anwyn @ 2:00 pm

Most of the day gone by, spam-free. A big thanks to Allen, who performed the migration of my database to the new host last week, showing me how to do so for possible future reference, and this morning made sure I activated Akismet to deal with the spam. Last night’s was a bumper crop, made all the more noticeable by the handy, but revealing, “recent comments” plugin. I should have activated Akismet two weeks ago! Apologies to anyone who got a shot in the eyeball from a pron spammer while I was still cleaning them out one by one.

Easing Back In

Filed under:Blogging,It's My Life,Miscellaneous,Mothering — posted by Anwyn on September 28, 2006 @ 10:20 pm

Lest anyone think that blogging is a walk in the park, it’s not. It would be even less so if I cared about my traffic. It’s a difficult matter to find things over the course of the day (if you blog at night as I do) that are 1) relevant, 2) interesting, 3) open to augmentation by comments of mine. Multiply these items by 1) the Blog-Saturation Factor (i.e. the number of blogs I read every day plus the number I comment on, which eats up no small amount of time and prevents me from wandering around for stories that I haven’t already seen blogged), and 2) the Toddler Factor. While it’s true that blogsurfing is relatively easy to do with a toddler about, easier than many things that can’t be dropped on a dime when The Little Bean needs Mommy for reading books, pretend-cooking plastic food, or taking her shot like a big girl when it’s time to play doctor, the Toddler Factor also doesn’t make for long stretches of coherent thought.

So in the spirit of blogging whatever comes to the fore when I sit down to the “Write Post” page, here is the Easing Back In rundown.

1) Look what SeeDub found just for me! Bonus: in addition to the LotR fun, I’m always pleased to find other conservative-type Oregon bloggers about. Yes, Virginia, they do exist, and the proof shall be added to the blogroll. Also, according to Michael Medved, so does Bigfoot. Who, I’m quite sure, is also an Oregon resident.

2) Allah’s losing the South. I’m thinking a blog caucus: The Southerners of Hot Air. Bryan, SeeDub, Mary Katharine Ham, yours truly, and the commenters who gave AP the static. We could make a calendar. With pictures of country ham, grits, biscuits and gravy (cream OR redeye), fried apples, mashed potatoes, pinto beans, and cornbread, of course! What kind of calendar were you thinking about?

3) Speaking of food, Nina Planck says sausage and gravy are good for me. As well as butter, cream, cheese, red meat, eggs cooked in bacon grease, and basically anything the medical establishment has warned against in the last thirty years except refined sugar and flour. And trans fats. Those are definitely bad; ironically, they arose to replace the butter and lard that were supposedly so dangerous. I’m reading her book, Real Food: What to Eat and Why, right now. I’m hooked. She confirms things I’ve thought for a long time but haven’t had the research to back up: namely, that naturally produced fats like butter and lard have got to be better for you than manufactured cooking oils. Turns out they are. Hallelujah! She’s got more good stuff: the reason why I’m mildly lactose intolerant, enough that although I think I want a bowl of cereal, when I’m done eating, it turns out I really didn’t want it after all, might be because industrial processing breaks down the very enzyme in milk, lactase, that aids in the body’s processing of lactose! One problem for us Southern-heritage girls, though: Mom’s biscuits are made with vegetable shortening, which is loaded with hydrogenated whatchamacallit trans fat. Looks like I need to get a good recipe for lard biscuits.

4) The schooling turmoil continues, amid potty-training tactics, here at Chez Anwyn. Out of the seven (!) preschools I visited last spring, only one is a possibility, a small Montessori model run in my church. This article goes a long way towards convincing me The Little Bean would be well off there; it’s a constant argument in my head about preschool vs. homeschool. I think The Bean would be, by far, best off here at home with Mom, but I question my chops to do the job–my patience, specifically, not my brains. I admire Venomous Kate’s capacity for the vocation; she’s got some great remarks on the dishonesty of the “socialization” argument against homeschooling. One quote from the Montessori study article leaped out at me:

Dr Angeline Lillard, from the University of Virginia, who co-led the study, said: “We found significant advantages for the Montessori students in these tests for both age groups.

“Particularly remarkable are the positive social effects of Montessori education. Typically the home environment overwhelms all other influences in that area.”

At first I thought it meant the homeschool model outstrips the schools in producing positive social development and that Montessori was able to hang in. On further readings, I’m not so sure; does it mean the home environment overwhelms all other attempts at particular socialization–i.e. whatever the school tries to do with respect to socialization, the home influence can engulf? Either way it seems I win.

Tim P. commented at Kate’s that the important thing is, of course, parental involvement and guidance no matter what model of school is chosen. While that’s true, Kate’s point is still very well taken: that schools don’t automagically churn out socially well adjusted citizens and it’s a crock to assert otherwise, especially when the “argument” is being used as a club by people who just don’t like homeschooling. For whatever reason.

5) If people you know read your blog, it takes a hefty amount of chutzpah to do this. Here’s another, and one more. They’re fascinating to read even when you don’t know the person writing and can have no clue who she’s speaking to. When you spot one that’s either similar to something that you’d like to say to somebody in your life or that you imagine somebody could say to you, it’s a little clue to the universality of human experience. Well, that, and it’s a totally gossipy look into the lives of strangers. (Via Alarming News, where Karol recognized trouble when she saw it.)

Update: I keep thinking about that quote from the Montessori article. Somebody should clarify with Dr. Lillard what she meant. Does she mean that ordinarily the home influence overwhelms social patterns picked up at school, except in this case? I.E. that the behaviors picked up at Montessori withstand the way Mom and Dad are telling Junior to act? If that’s the case, I’d have to think again.

While I Was Away …

Filed under:It's My Life,Mothering — posted by Anwyn on September 27, 2006 @ 10:31 pm

… from blogging, at any rate, I became an aunt! Sister Joy gave birth to her first child, a daughter who is hereby christened in blogspeak “The Flower Girl.” She is gorgeous, with dark hair and eyes and pale skin and pink cheeks. Sister Joy did not have an easy time of it bringing her into the open air, but that is past and both are doing very well.

Blog Redux

Filed under:Blogging — posted by Anwyn @ 10:28 pm

I’m still here.

I’ve essentially been on hiatus for the past two weeks while changing web hosting. That process is almost complete. Next project: install various rabid antispam items to make the pron spammers cease and desist their continued barrage on my 9/11 entry. And the med spammers too.

In Memoriam: Frederick H. Kelley III

Filed under:9/11 — posted by Anwyn on September 11, 2006 @ 12:00 am

Frederick Hammond Kelley passed away on September 11, 2001. He was an employee of Cantor Fitzgerald, a financial firm headquartered in One World Trade Center. He is survived by his wife, Janet; their four children, Rob, Sean, Kristen, and Kate; and their two grandchildren, Kristen’s children: Kayla, 4, and Matthew, 2. The two young grandchildren never met their grandfather, but their grandmother says, “They know he went to heaven. They’re very cute about it all.”

Born July 16, 1944, on Long Island, Fred Kelley attended college at Saint Francis University in Loretto, Pennsylvania. Mrs. Janet Kelley, who was raised in Pittsburgh, attended a junior college in nearby Altoona, and they were married on September 3, 1966. Mrs. Kelley graciously agreed to speak to a stranger about her husband and about how her family has coped with the loss that befell them on 9/11.

The couple made their home on Long Island from the start of their marriage. Fred Kelley was a sailing enthusiast who loved Long Island Sound and the other waters around his home. Mrs. Kelley, who continues to live on Long Island, says that Fred could not imagine living anywhere else, though the commute into the city made it not the easiest life he could have chosen. He possessed a strong work ethic; he habitually got to work early to “get a jump on everybody and know what was going on.” Mr. Kelley had worked for Cantor earlier in his career, switched to a different company, and then returned to Cantor several months before 9/11/01.

Fred was a member of the Centerport Yacht Club and owned many boats over the years. He sailed and raced frequently, sometimes with his children, mostly in day races in the waters around Long Island. They often won; Mrs. Kelley has many of their trophies. His last boat was a Seidelmann 37, and it was sold to a family friend with whom Fred often raced and whose daughter will marry Sean Kelley in December, 2006. Kate Kelley is engaged to be married in July, 2007. Mrs. Kelley described their family excursions. “Every summer we’d take the boat for two weeks … Long Island Sound leads out to Block Island, Martha’s Vineyard … it was always fun. The kids loved it. And he loved it.” Mr. Kelley also golfed, but his pride and joy in life was his family.

Mrs. Kelley remembers her husband as an emotional man with great empathy. What might he have said to friends grieving a loss such as the Kelleys’? “He would have been the type that was crying with them … there’s not much you can say.” And her family deals with their loss the way they know Mr. Kelley would have–privately. “I have never gone to any of these ceremonies that they’ve had. I don’t know if that’s good or bad, but my children and I don’t go. We know for sure that Fred wouldn’t go, and I guess we know that we don’t have to make ourselves go. And we’re pretty close as a family unit, so I think we feel that that’s the best–comfort each other.” Though their loss is profound, Mrs. Kelley says, “I think we’ve managed to move on. Maybe it’s made us stronger people. Maybe it tells you what’s more important in life than what you may have thought earlier, before this happened.”

Religion was important to Fred Kelley, a Catholic. “I can honestly say, I think, as he got older, it became more important to him. I guess that’s not unusual.” She says, regarding her children, “Hopefully he’s guiding them. He was a lot less intense than I … he was a more happy-go-lucky person, you know. The kids would go to him to talk about troubles more than me, because they knew I took it so seriously. So I’m sure they’re missing that a lot. And they’re stuck with me … I have wonderful children. They have been so supportive and wonderful; it’s been a great reward.” One ceremony that the family does attend is the mass held on Septemer 11 in their parish, Church of St. Patrick. “For many years, you don’t take it in. You just take it day by day. It’s a shock that I think your brain just can’t take in, and maybe still hasn’t, really.” Is the public’s response appropriate, given that most of us cannot know what the families went through? “I don’t think anybody who hasn’t gone through it would understand. You know, it’s just too unbelievable that it ever happened. And I think this is a very hard time of the year, of course. Very hard. But again, I get through it with my family. And I have very close friends that have been wonderful, truly wonderful, so I’m grateful for that too … that’s the only way I get through it, is family and friends.”

Mr. and Mrs. Kelley had just celebrated their 35th wedding anniversary on September 3, 2001. They went into the city, stayed at a hotel, saw a play. The photo above was taken at the wedding of his daughter Kristen. “It’s rare for him to be in a tuxedo. It’s the funniest thing that that’s the one they used.” What would Mrs. Kelley like people to know about her husband? “Nothing, other than that he was a wonderful husband and father, and we miss him.”


We have but faith: we cannot know,
For knowledge is of things we see;
And yet we trust it comes from thee,
A beam in darkness: let it grow.

–Alfred Lord Tennyson, 1850


The 2,996 Project. 9-18-06: Project 2,996 has moved.

There are two squares dedicated to the memory of Fred Kelley in the 9/11 memorial quilt project, United in Memory. These images are reproduced with the permission of the project.

Week in Review

Filed under:Miscellaneous,Politics,Priorities,Television — posted by Anwyn on September 9, 2006 @ 9:52 pm

Haven’t been in a very writey place this week, but here are some of the things that have occupied my thoughts:

1) Worst news I’ve read all week. I hope these guys don’t come to rue the day, but I believe America will. H/T and video: Allah. Naturally.

2) Funniest thing I’ve read all week. Thanks, See-Dubya.

3) Bonus See-Dubya: Best Word Use of the Week: Pulchritudinous. Note the first sentence in See-Dub’s post: He didn’t give a damn about ABC’s 9/11 miniseries until the stink began to rise off the party of free speech. Neither did Allah. Neither did I. But the brilliant Dems, instead of being content to set the facts straight themselves, ask that the facts be set straight in the mini, or any other such sensible course of action, have, by their despicable thuggery, ensured more viewers for this–if it airs–than ABC could ever have gotten on its own. Which they were trying assiduously to do, by–of course!–sending advance copies to obscure right-wing bloggers. Justin, Patterico! What are you doing angering the socks?!??

4) My friend the hurricane sent me this. That guy didn’t get any for a good long while after that.

5) There must be a middle ground between parental sacrifice and it’s all about me-me-me. Alas I don’t think I’ve yet reached it.

6) And speaking of parenting, let’s not let our … analysis … of Brad Pitt’s moronic statement regarding gay marriage blind us to his sterling qualities as a parent:

“I try not to stifle them in any way,” he says. “If it’s not hurting anyone, I want them to be able to explore. Sometimes that means they’re quite rambunctious.”

Brave words, Brad. But sadly for Zahara, Maddox, and Shiloh, actually he’s reduced to simply warning the poor kids when they’re about to be stifled:

“And always give them a heads-up before you jerk them out of something. You need to tell them, like, ‘You have three more minutes.'”

Father on, Mr. Pitt. Father bravely on.

Is There Something You Want to Tell Us?

Filed under:Miscellaneous,Television — posted by Anwyn on September 6, 2006 @ 8:20 pm

Numb3rs actress Diane Farr has a rather unusual business venture. If you can make light of your bad or awkward news, these cards are for you … and some of them are damn funny. I particularly like the one Diane herself used when her first engagement went bad: (Outside) Single. (Inside) Picked the wrong guy. Gave the wrong finger. Thanks for your support.

RIP Steve Irwin, Crocodile Hunter

Filed under:Sad — posted by Anwyn on September 4, 2006 @ 7:32 pm

So sad, and so young: 44. Allah has a tribute, as does a poster at Ace’s, Jack M., whose personal life was affected by Irwin’s public one.

Thought I didn’t watch his show, I saw him in snippets and on other shows, and I enjoyed Steve’s antics and appreciated his tremendous enthusiasm for his work. It is heartbreaking to be so brutally reminded that the best, most energetic, most dedicated people can be taken by the work they love in one unforeseeable moment.

For those of us with small children, a fitting memory of Irwin is captured in this little snippet by The Wiggles, from the Wiggly Safari DVD they made with Irwin and his family, showcasing the Australia Zoo (follow this link and click on the top yellow button to hear):

Crocodile hunter! Big Steve Irwin–
Crocodile hunter! Action man!
Crocodile hunter! Terri too–
“Crikey, it’s a croc! I’ll save it if I can!”

Update: Irwin pulled the barb from his chest before he died. Gives a new example in the dictionary under “great heart.”

I waded into it at Hot Air with a couple of folks who thought it would’ve been a better idea for Irwin not to do what he considered his life’s work so that he’d still be alive. I took the emotional position first–“Do you have to point that out right after he dies,” etc. Nobody denies that the guy’s work was risky, but he took those risks knowingly and was free to do so.

But more than that, as Hot Air commenter Pablo reminded me, this swim that resulted in his death should have been–and on paper, was–a lesser risk than the things Irwin did every other day of his professional life. The human mind weighs risk on a relative scale; risks that would have been appropriate before I had a child vs. after; risks that are untried vs. risky things I’ve successfully accomplished before, etc. I used the word “unforeseeable” above, which may seem like a silly choice given Irwin’s profession. But as I commented at Doug TenNapel’s, even for habitual risk takers, an accidental death is avoidable only if you see it coming. The daily round of my life suggests that driving my car is a reasonable risk–I’ve done it without incident too many times to count. But freak accidents–like the stingray unexpectedly feeling threatened–can happen. Somebody could run a red light and broadside me. While that’s conceivably foreseeable, it’s so unlikely as to render the risk far less than the benefit of driving my car. So with Irwin–a sting almost anywhere else in his body would not have killed him. His death might conceivably have been foreseeable–his manager, in the MSNBC link above, commented that they were aware that the ocean was far less familiar territory for Irwin. But his risk when he got into the water seems to have been, in his estimation, a reasonable one, and to say that he should have seen it coming or that the odds just caught up with him, while conventional wisdom on its face, is cynical at best and wrong, not to say rude in the face of his death, at worst.

Solidarity with Israel

Filed under:Cool,Hot — posted by Anwyn on September 1, 2006 @ 7:56 am

Support the troops, ladies.

Via Alarming News.

image: detail of installation by Bronwyn Lace