August 16, 2008

THROWING MONEY AWAY

About ten minutes into my trip towards Chicago yesterday, I was on the phone with CaliValleyGirl and winced as a rock hit my windshield. Thirty seconds later, a 10-inch crack made its way across the glass. Son of a. The last time we drove home, we hit a crow. This time I will need a new windshield when I get back. It's too expensive to travel.

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August 11, 2008

NEXT

The dog and I spent 15 hours in the car over the weekend, so we settled in with a book on tape. Michael Crichton's Next didn't get spectacular reviews, but I found it unabridged at the library and thought that it would be good for the car.

After about eight hours of listening, I was starting to get really uneasy.

What I love about Crichton is that he always takes something we can do scientifically and then extrapolates it into the future to the ethical concerns. And yes, I am seriously nervewracked by some of the issues he raised. How about a woman who tracks down her biological father, a man who donated sperm 30 years prior, and says she's suing him because he knew at the time he donated sperm that he was addicted to cocaine, so he passed on his genes for addiction to her? Or what about a scientist getting sued because the meds he gave a woman didn't work, because he couldn't provide documentation that he gave her a placebo?

I have no problem with the technology. I have no problem with people profiting from creating the technology. I do have a serious problem with out litigious society and the ethics dilemmas this stuff will create. We're already sue-happy; just wait until you can sue your parents for procreating and passing along "faulty" genes.

I still have a couple more hours of listening to do, but as usual, Crichton is making me queasy. He's good at that.

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August 06, 2008

KEROUAC SUCKS

I finally got around to watching this week's Army Wives. There's the obligatory TV scene where the daughter wants to date a boy, so she has to bring him home to get the third degree from her parents. My parents never behaved this way. Maybe it was because they already knew all my friends from sports and stuff at school, but we never had to have one of those TV dinners that sounds like an interview: "So, what are your plans after high school?" Did you? Is this really what normal families do, or just families on TV?

Oh, and the boyfriend starts talking about Jack Kerouac. Can I just tell you how overrated I think On the Road is? Gag me. Thus I loved the scene in Freaks and Geeks when Kim Kelly said, "I hated the book, alright? I have no idea what it's about, and the writer was clearly on drugs when he wrote it. I mean, it just went on and on and on like it was written in a total hurry. If I handed in something like this, there's no way I'd get a good grade on it, I mean, it's boring and it's unorganized, and I only read 30 pages of it anyway." (Found at 5:47 in this youtube.) Perfect summary of that crappy book.

I don't know how parents keep from rolling their eyes when high schoolers try to act mature. I don't think I'll be very good at it. I have told my mother recently that she was a good mom for not belittling me when I thought something was The Biggest Drama Ever. I'm afraid I'm gonna laugh at my kid someday.

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August 03, 2008

THE COWBOYS

When I was visiting my grandparents, my dad's brothers were going on and on about Bruce Dern. I think it's funny when my dad's brothers get a hair up their butts about something. So one uncle lent me The Cowboys to watch. Best John Wayne movie I've ever seen. And my uncles were right: Bruce Dern is the Ultimate Bad Guy. Heaven help the boy who encounters Bruce Dern.

I couldn't help but think about the responsibilities and rewards given to these boys. They were all 12-15 years old and were gone from home all summer to drive cattle 400 miles. How many parents let their sons go four miles from their house these days without knowing exactly where they are? Heck, the first thing John Wayne did to test their courage was to make them all ride an untamed bucking horse. Imagine sending your 13-year-old son off for summer work with your family's best horse and pistol.

I also couldn't help but imagine my uncles watching this movie. They all would've been a little younger than the boys on the cattle drive when the movie came out. I wonder how it shaped them. Goodness knows their family followed the John Wayne School of Parenting.

A long trailer to the movie can be found here. Highly recommended.

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