9.11.2008

Notes

Seven Years

How well I remember trembling in front of the television, seven years ago, watching a live broadcast as the North Tower fell. And I was one of the lucky ones. I didn't know a single person who could have been lost in the planes, the towers or the Pentagon. Today I can only offer up a prayer for the souls of those who died and the hearts of those who remain.

* * *
Excuses

I have a good excuse for not blogging for two months—three good excuses. I've celebrated three weddings in thirty days: mine, on the tenth of August; my husband's brother's on the day before ours, and my sister's four weeks to the hour after mine. Yes, I plan to post a good long account of my wedding, at least. It will not happen, however, until our photographer gives us the pictures, which got delayed when his computer died rather inconveniently about a week after our wedding.

The short version, though, is that all three weddings were incredibly beautiful and very happy and very different. Andy and Lindsey put everything that can be put into a giant Catholic wedding; it was splendid and sacred. Beth and Todd were married in my parents' living room, with only family and their closest friends around them; it was sweet, intimate, and worshipful. Lou and I fell somewhere in between; we had a simple service, held in our church with pipe organ and 350 people. It felt holy and pure and elegant and wonderful to me, and I remember it well, which I consider a gift. So many brides have told me they don't remember theirs.

Sharing the wedding season with my sister and Lou's brother and their new spouses was also a great gift. Andy stood up as best man to Lou and Lou as best man to Andy. Beth was my maid of honor and I was hers. I cried at all the toasts, including the ones I gave. Thank God, I did not cry while playing and singing Paul Stookey's "Wedding Song" as Beth walked down the stairs on Dad's arm. I did accidentally leave Todd's ring on the piano and had to walk across the room to get it in the middle of the ceremony.

Now, please God, we get to grow together as couples and friends for many years to come; hopefully have children about the same age (kids should have lots of cousins—I only have one), and celebrate the joy of extended family that so few in our culture know or cherish.

* * *
Si Dios Quiere

I don't remember which Bible readings our pastor drew his sermon from that week—James 4:14–17 must have been one—but his use of the concept of remembering God's will stuck with me. "Instead, you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and also do this or that." The Spanish, he said, intersperse their speech with "si Dios quiere", and the Irish with "please God" (as in "if it please God"). We less-ethnic Americans don't typically do this anymore, but I like it; it gives me a way of reminding myself, in speech or at least in thought, who I am and who God is. And which of us is the boss.

* * *
Many Blood-Sucking Creatures

Years ago, I learned to watch football, thinking that most guys probably want their wives to be able to sit through a football game without getting bored to death. But my husband doesn't care for football. Or baseball. Or basketball. He watches politics like a game.

I swore off politics, or rather the news media's version thereof, back in the Clinton presidency, because it made me feel sick to think about it. I'll even confess to procrastinating a bit when it comes to educating myself on the subject nowadays so my eyes don't go all glassy when Lou's been reading NRO and wants to talk about it. But I will also say that the nomination of Sarah Palin as vice president was the most interesting thing I've seen happen in government in years upon years.

Not that I think she's the designated savior of the American world. I do think, however, that she's different from the vast majority of what's running for office right now, and I like some of those ways in which she's different.

Of course, every Rita Skeeter—or worse—in the country had to get hold of her right away. I walked into the checkout line at the grocery and had to laugh, because most of the tabloids there had taken a break from Angelina Jolie to headline "Sarah Palin's Dark Secret!" They all seemed to say it; all but one, which highlighted a family shot for Barack Obama: "His Children—His Inspiration" or something like that.

Of course, nobody who hasn't wasted their brain on drugs expects fair reporting from the tabloids, but even the quasi-respectable media … well, all I know about the mainstream is that whenever I really know anything about a subject that comes up on the press, they've lied about it or twisted it. Whether it's intentional or not, I don't know, but it happens and I'm completely out of patience with it.

Want Palin information from someone who appears to have done their research? Try here.

Want to see just how much Sarah Palin has in common with Chuck Norris? Try here.

Thanks to John Granger for the links.

* * *
They Really Shouldn't Have …

So I hear (thanks, Chris) that in the sixth Harry Potter film there is no funeral for Dumbledore (maybe Gambon didn't make him lovable enough?), there IS an attack on the Burrow over Christmas (because fans demand regular action sequences?), and the Half-Blood Prince plotline trades levels of importance with Ron snogging Lavender Brown and the other teen-romance threads (to excite the fangirl demographic, naturally).

I wondered today if the Harry Potter movies have been done as absurdly as they have to make them feel less real to children. Certainly, some of the scenes in the books could make for a much more frightening set of movies; even a realistic Uncle Vernon swinging his fist and yelling would be more disturbing than the overacted, amusing bit we get from Richard Griffiths.

That would excuse the overacting to me, but not the skewing of characterization and plot. Of course, I'll most likely see HBP when it comes out, just to have the fun of getting fussed with everyone else about how dreadful it was.

But what I'd really like—and it seems like someone else has at least suggested something like this, though I don't remember who—is to see a skilled director who loves the books make a miniseries out of the story. Instead of cheapening the quality of the acting and filming, just be cautious about what gets shown. Leave some of the "scary" action to the imagination. Make it as long as it needs to be—A&E could do this without flinching. Be true to the themes, the lines (especially the important ones), the plot and characters. Utilize the colors, numbers and other symbols that support the surface of the text.

It wouldn't have to follow the books word-for-word, or beat Peter Jackson's LOTR cinematography. The six-hour A&E version of Pride and Prejudice, for instance, captured the spirit of the book far better than either the more text-accurate BBC version or the much-changed but better-filmed one starring Keira Knightley. Just keeping to the characters and stories we know, not changing the lines or symbols because they might seem either too Christian or not thrilling enough, would make a huge difference.

Not that the WB will release its monopoly on such a lucrative copyright anytime soon. But I can see it clearly in my mind's eye, and it's a beautiful thing.

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