Saturday, December 25, 2004

Purple Haze

Gotta love The Economist ...

From the 13 Nov issue, re: the Washington State gubernatorial election:

"Mr Rossi was the most electable Republican would-be governor in 20 years, because the party's right wing has previously pushed forward nutty candidates doomed to get clobbered on election day. The moderate Mr Rossi uttered hardly a peep on social issues, and was rosily simple about economic matters. Ms Gregoire, on the other hand, bent to the left to win her party's nomination. Since the outgoing Democratic governor, Gary Locke, was less than universally loved, she also tried to offer both continuity and a fresh face. No easy task."

How hilariously snide!

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

Holiday Magic

In an attempt to minimize public exposure due to a brow wax accident, I went to see The Polar Express Saturday night. Having read the book years ago (and after an enthusiastic refresher from my sister the preschool teacher), I was happy to see a holiday movie.

Overall, I liked the film. It had the typical "love thy brother at Christmas" message, complete with precocious children in a cynical society. And of course, the film added characters for multicultural and socioeconomic diversity. It was also a little obvious that half the adults were the voice of Tom Hanks (some even resembled him). There's something to be said about pure silence -- certain scenes in the film, particularly involving snowfall, capture that silence eloquently and accurately. Too bad members of the audience had to chomp on popcorn and ruin that magic of Quiet.

My all-time favorite holiday story, though, remains the New York Sun essay written in 1897 (and made into a cheesy Christmas special in 1991, starring JohnBoy from The Waltons!):
Yes, Virginia, There Is a Santa Claus.

We take pleasure in answering at once and thus prominently the communication below, expressing at the same time our great gratification that its faithful author is numbered among the friends of "The Sun":

Dear Editor:

I am 8 years old. Some of my little friends say there is no Santa Claus.
Papa says "If you see it in "The Sun" it's so."
Please tell me the truth, is there a Santa Claus?
Virginia O'Hanlon
115 West 95th Street

Virginia, your little friends are wrong. They have been affected by the skepticism of a skeptical age. They do not believe except what they see. They think that nothing can be which is not comprehensible by their little minds. All minds, Virginia, whether they be men's or children's are little. In this great universe of ours man is a mere insect, an ant, in his intellect, as compared with the boundless world about him, as measured by the intelligence capable of grasping the whole of truth and knowledge.

Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus. He exists as certainly as love and generosity and devotion exist, and you know that they abound and give to your life its highest beauty and joy. Alas! how dreary would be the world if there were no Santa Claus! It would be as dreary as if there were no Virginias. There would be no childlike faith then, no poetry, no romance to make tolerable this existence. We should have no enjoyment, except in sense and sight. The eternal light with which childhood fills the world would be extinguished.

Not believe in Santa Claus! You might get your papa to hire men to watch in all the chimneys on Christmas eve to catch Santa Claus, but even if they did not see Santa Claus coming down, what would that prove? Nobody sees Santa Claus, but that is no sign that there is no Santa Claus. The most real things in the world are those that neither children nor men can see. Did you ever see fairies dancing on the lawn? Of course not, but that's no proof that they are not there. Nobody can conceive or imagine all the wonders there are unseen and unseeable in the world.

You tear apart the baby's rattle and see what makes the noise inside, but there is a veil covering the unseen world which not the strongest man, nor even the united strength of all the strongest men that ever lived, could tear apart. Only faith, fancy, poetry, love, romance, can push aside that curtain and view and picture the supernal beauty and glory beyond. Is it all real? Ah, Virginia, in all this world there is nothing else real and abiding.

No Santa Claus! Thank God he lives, and he lives forever. A thousand years from now, Virginia, nay, ten times ten thousand years from now, he will continue to make glad the heart of childhood.

F.P. Church
New York Sun, September 21, 1897

Friday, December 10, 2004

Somewhere Only We Know

Attended the Deck the Hall Ball sponsored by The End last night. Great lineup of bands!

Went specifically to see Keane (making it twice in three months!). Was pleasantly surprised by Snow Patrol and The Killers. Not wowed by Franz Ferdinand at all. And as a proud Northwesterner, I'm almost embarrassed to admit I was completely UNIMPRESSED with The Shins and Modest Mouse. They were completely unintelligible and inarticulate onstage.

Luckily, no band played holiday songs.

Sunday, December 05, 2004

The Edge of Reason

Saw the new Bridget Jones movie. Hilarious!

I disagree with several friends' assertions that the BJ books and movies are sexist. Quite the contrary, I think BJ is the 21st century Anne of Green Gables: always getting in to scrapes, never "perfect" by the beauty standards of the day, always straightforward. Sometimes out of her element, but always able to come through with dignity.

The one issue I had with the story was the whole Thai prison sequence. Somehow, I don't think a Thai women's prison would be so amicable a place that a wronged British woman could have all the inmates singing Madonna's "Like a Virgin". I agree with the Weekly's review -- it makes too much light of the Thai sex trade and prison conditions. Ironically, the Colin Firth character is a human rights lawyer. Plus, Bridget would've lost a hell of a lot of weight in that prison!

Of course, I did have ulterior motives for going to see the film!

Must read the book sometime soon.