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Yesterday, I finished a new paperback by Sharon Shinn, of whom I have written before. She is the author of Archangel among other books. Mystic and Rider is a more common tale than her Archangel tales. A band of folks, with some magic users and some fighters, are off on a mission for the king and deal with assorted obstacles including themselves on the mission.

Sounds pretty boring when put like that.

It was not. Interesting treatments and reactions, relationships, etc. I won't claim it is brilliant or unique. But I did find it was a good read.
joshwriting: (Default)
I just rewatched the movie Pump Up the Volume. It was a product of the early 90's that I brought my students at my school to see. In many ways, the messages it gives from then still or again resonate now.

The movie addresses, among other things, the tyrrany of standardized testing in terms o school performance and evaluation. The practice of pushing students out of a school to inrease the appearance o perormance results isold, not new. Compounmd that with keeping those self-same students on the rolls until you get the money for them, and you have the basis of an incredibly corrupt system.

Reading news excerpts over the last few years shows Superintendents, Principals, Guidance Counselors, and Teachers all caught cheating/lying to increase their students' scores on these high stakes tests. What lessons are we, are you taught by this behavior?

I wrote the linked essay not too long after I saw the movie for the first time: (I apologize to those who are offended by Yahoo/Geocities sites.)

(I like the Leonard Cohen version better than the Conrete Blonde version, but for some reason the CB version is the only one that made it onto the sound track! Grr...)


Oct. 29th, 2004 07:15 pm
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Twenty years ago, approximately, one of my favorite books came out: Emergence, by David Palmer. It is a post-apocolypse novel about a very smart (just ask her) girl trying to find her way in a world turned upside-down.

Among the reasons that I am so fond of the book is that it, mostly, seems to do a good job of capturing certain basic elements of life and thought for such a teen. The story is entertaining, in and of itself, but the execution of the tale is what wins for me.

Sad to me is that this author has only one other book, and that he will not write further, nor will this book come back into print anytime in the foreseeable future. He was an interesting man to talk with.

I recently tripped across an inexpensive used copy, which I was pleased about, as my copy was carved up for (legal) photocopying. It's a good read.

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Movies for Josh to Watch: Ghost World (at Vainglory's recommendation); Amelie (having just watched the star in another flick, "He loves me... He loves me not")

Movies for others to watch:
Topsy-Turvy (Gilbert and Sullivan)
Something Wicked This Way Comes (A brilliant adaptation of Ray Bradbury's work)
joshwriting: (Default)
Chocky (book by John Wyndham) seems to have aired as a British TV mini-series in the mid-80's, with two sequels. I have to see it.

What else do I have to see?
joshwriting: (Default)
...that I would love everybody I know to see or have seen.

Amazing Grace and Chuck (Gregory Peck, Alex English, Jamie Lee Curtis - 1987)
Buckaroo Banzai (Christopher Lloyd, Ellen Barkin, Jamie Lee Curtis, Jeff Goldblum, John Lithgow, Peter Weller - 1984)
Flap (Anthony Quinn, Claude Akins - 1970)
Harold and Maude (Bud Cort, Ruth Gordon, Vivian Pickles - 1971)
If... (Malcolm McDowell - 1968) (O Lucky Man and Britannia Hospital are sort of continuations, though not necessary to the first flick - and if you saw the second or third, you would not know the first existed)
Kind Hearts and Coronets (Dennis Price, Alec Guinness, Valerie Hobson - 1949)
The King of Hearts (Alan Bates, Genevieve Bujold - 1966)
The Man from Snowy River (Kirk Douglas , Jack Thompson , Tom Burlinson , Sigrid Thornton , Lorraine Bayly , Chris Haywood - 1982)
The Man in the White Suit (Alec Guiness - 1951)
Slither (James Caan , Peter Boyle , Sally Kellerman , Louise Lasser - 1973)

I am sure there are more.

Descriptions are available at MSN Entertainment as well as other places. I do not agree with all of their judgments, but the plots are pretty on target. Trailers for some of the films are out on the net somewhere - post 1980's have the best shot.


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