Here are the places I want to go: Paris, London, Czech Republic, and Iceland. But right now, I mostly need time and money to go. The Euro is pounding us, among other things. I thought we’ll go after Bush is out of office, the dollar will have to be stronger then, but now that the dude is almost out of there, the situation with the dollar is WORSE. You know when a good time to visit Europe? After World War II. After World War II, you know, after Europe was decimated by war, the places were cheap to stay at, tchotchkes were affordable, there are no lines. Must have been nice. *sigh*
Recently, I took the parents on a promised-weekend-getaway, and convinced my friend Becca to come too. (Sorry, B.) We went to visit the Husband at the Rennaissance Fair in Pennsylvania, followed by a quickie tour of Philly, including a stop at the Betsy Ross house.
All in all, I consider the weekend a success. Everyone got along, no one fought, no one cried, no one bit each other — that’is how I spell success. For me, the main challenge of the trip was the sweltering temperature and the high dose of people talking in character. Okay, to be fair, I understand when actors have an accent or a character, they need to do it consistently. It’s only when they start talking to me in character do I get the willies. Stuff like the Fair is called “interactive entertainment,” so it’s absolutely normal for someone to tell you to bow to the queen, etc., and truthfully, we didn’t get accosted much, if at all, and left the fair pretty interaction-free. It was only when I passed one patron ask an actor in a faux-English accent about her apron that I felt an urge to throw up.
But at Betsy Ross’ house in Philly, interactive entertainment caught up with us. There was a young woman paying Betsy Ross, whom Becca and I avoided eye contact with at all costs. When Mom was like “where are Betsy Ross’ flags,” I told her, “I don’t know. Why don’t you ask Betsy Ross?” And only b/c she heard our whispering did Betsy Ross start addressing us in character, but I managed to survive my skin crawling and went on to have a hearty lunch at my friend Kirsten’s house.
Someone recently told me (I think Nancy) that Spike Lee called Clint Eastwood out on the fact that his two major World War II features included no African-Americans, and Clint Eastwood’s response was “well the guys who raised the flag were all white.” And I have to say Clint Eastwood’s response is LAME, and that after seeing “Miracle at St. Anna,” I think Spike Lee rules. How bad is it that black men died fighting for the U.S. in World War II and yet never get shout-outs? (The other case of non-white folks fighting for the U.S. I’ve heard of was the Hmong people in Cambodia during/after Vietnam; they were promised veteran status including benefits in the U.S. Didn’t happen.)
And so I’m glad that Spike Lee made a movie where you see the 92nd Infantry Division, the only all African-American division who saw combat, dealing with racism on in U.S. restaurants and risking their butts in battle. Ugh, and I have to tell you, the opening battle is so incredibly moving that it’s profoundly anti-war (the whole film is). This sequence beats “Saving Private Ryan.” (I know, many men were touched by that massacre scene, but I just found it graphic and oddly clinical.)
But beyond fulfilling the need to tell the whole story, the story is surprisingly empathetic to all people, regardless of race or side of the war, and whatever, Spike Lee is an awesome filmmaker. I’m in awe of his talent. And this picture blew me away! I bawled through the whole thing.
Many years later, I still think about the opening sequence of “He Got Game,” which was a series of vignettes of boys and girls all around the country scoring a basket to Aaron Copland’s music. It was just so cool.
There was a point this summer where I thought I would go batty because all of a sudden, I really NEEDED to be in the water. Manhattan (I know, it’s an island) makes me feel mega-landlocked, and if I spend the entire summer here with a peak of nature, I go start to get twitchy and feel trapped. It’s like when I shop at Banana Republic and I see like corporate blouses with bows and corporate jewelry, like necklaces of brass-colored knots — this is the cr*p that I’m supposed to be wear to work, and I feel like I’m suffocating. (I know, a tad melodramatic, but brass-colored knots? Bleech. It’s like costumes for “Falcon Crest.”)
So once I was nearing Empty on my tolerance gauge, I went ga-ga with weekend trips. Went to Fire Island twice, walked on the beach, dove under waves, avoided the drunken naked volley ball games (I was at the Pines/Cherry Grove. They just looooove being naked, which is fine by me, but naked while playing a sport? Seems like you’re asking for trouble, no?)
But the most awesome water discovery this past summer was the Sunset Park Public Pool! I had no idea the city had public pools. I followed my friend Joslyn, who was like nine months pregnant at the time (child is out and about now) and always knows where she’s going (I went to Paris with her a few years ago and she just towed me around while I wondered what was happening. I’m direction-retarded.)
The pool was gorgeous! The size of a football field with like Art-Deco building details! There was no line! Robert Moses built the pools during the Great Depression, so all the unemployed people had an escapist, free option. Apparently, he’s a douche bag in other respects. (He was convinced the future of the city was the car, even though he didn’t drive, and built all these superhighways throughout the city that facilitated white flight and divided rich and poor. Mrs. Murphy said there’s a neighborhood in the Bronx that’s literally the haves on one side of the highway and the have-nots on the other. See? Douche-baggy move.)
But the pools are special. Kids and families come, adults get their lap lanes. It’s free and there’s NO LINE! When we went, there were like 20 free lanes for adults.
One note: When it came to closing time, they really hustle you out of there, and the women’s locker room is all green aluminum and open. The staff like is blowing whistles and screaming “closing time! closing time!” while all the water-soaked ladies try to get changed quickly and scoot out of there. That part made us feel like we were in a ladies prison. Tee hee.
is like nil. I write about ten minutes a day right now, because I’m so swamped with work that when I have free time, the last thing i want to do is write. It reminds me of a professor I had in college. He was African, as in from Africa, and a dissident of some sort. He got in trouble because he would write in African languages when only English was legal, so got sent to jail, where he wrote his next novel in that African language I can’t remember on toilet paper. On TOILET PAPER, people. How’s that for a drive to write? Every time I hear about a story of someone who’s life was put in jeopardy because fo their writing, and despite that threat, they keep on writing, it makes me feel…hungry for Nutella. I so don’t have that in me. Though I guess in my way, I keep pushing it forward, because ten minutes is not much, but I do it.
And randomly, even if you are jailed for being an intellectual dissident, it doesn’t necessarily make you a good teacher or interesting to be in the same room with. This dude looked totally defeated and didn’t say anything when we didn’t, so we had prolonged moments of silence. But I guess professor gigs don’t always go to folks who can and want to teach necessarily.
Last Friday night, I got to go to “Fuerza Bruta” with my friend Mike, the 10:30 p.m. show, which neither of us thought we’d stay awake long enough for. Long gone are the party days, dude. But we both ended up having a lot of fun in this just you know, artsy-fartsy, techno-music aerialist show. We danced our butt, we laughed. The actors interact with the audience, dance with them. There was one little girl in the audience they paid a lot of attention to, which was nice. And there were a lot of neat things about it, but my favorite part of the night. was running into the little girl in the bathroom. I said, “You’re a good dancer,” and she said “Thanks, so are you.” And I totally blushed. Rad.