I love Ramona. I always loved reading her books as a child, and the little scamp is still endearing today.
Reading the books now, though, made me laugI love Ramona. I always loved reading her books as a child, and the little scamp is still endearing today.
Reading the books now, though, made me laugh at how dated they're becoming. Kindergartners walking themselves to school? I've never known of a five-year-old allowed to walk to school without an adult or older sibling. Was it a simpler time in the 1960s, with less traffic and fewer scary people? Or was it because Ramona lived in a small, friendly town? And the purple-ink copies from a ditto machine? Can kids today even begin to imagine what that means or looks like?
But Ramona, herself, still holds up. She still gets into trouble that kids today would understand (like wanting to be the best sleeper in kindergarten, so she makes sleeping noises, like snoring, which makes the rest of the class laugh), and still has the same feelings kids today would understand (like having to make a noisy fuss so she, the little five-year-old, would be listened to among the adults and pre-teens in her life and neighborhood; or thinking her teacher no longer loves her, since she was scolded in class). Some of the details of Ramona's life may not continue to resonate with kids as the decades go on, but the stories and feelings still will....more
It was okay. Maybe I'd like it more if I'd grown up with it.
I do I like the onomatopoeia ("kuplink! kuplank! kuplunk!"). That seems like it would be sIt was okay. Maybe I'd like it more if I'd grown up with it.
I do I like the onomatopoeia ("kuplink! kuplank! kuplunk!"). That seems like it would be something a little kid "reading" along would like to do -- saying the sound words when they come up.
I also like the parallel between Sal and her mother and the bear cub and his mother. In the illustrations, the bear cub follows his mother up the hill just like Sal follows her mother up the hill, but going different directions. I could see how this would be a nice visual (possibly subliminal) for kids. There's also the parallel between the two mothers thinking about storing food for the winter, as well as what happens between Sal/the mama bear and the bear cub/Sal's mother. ...more
I have to admit: I'm reading this because of Clueless. It's on the 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die list, but not being a fan of Austen and herI have to admit: I'm reading this because of Clueless. It's on the 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die list, but not being a fan of Austen and her kind (and yet, when I read her books, I enjoy them...), I didn't add Emma to my to-read list. A Victorian girl who always wants to play matchmaker, but finds out she doesn't know as much as she thinks she does? Please, that sounds so stereotypical and blasé. I decided to pass.
But having read As If!: The Oral History of Clueless, my passing curiosity of how the two are related became a need to know. So now I'm reading Austen, thanks to Beverly Hills Cher. And as I read, I keep trying to find connections: "Oh, Emma's giving advice to Harriet like Cher gives to Tai, thinking she knows what's best. I wonder if "Mr. Elton" is Elton" (or as Tai calls him, "El'on"). I can't just sit and enjoy the book on its own!
So now I've finished it, and I enjoyed it. It wasn't as good as some other Austen I've read, but it was a good story. The whole naive-matchmaker aspect wasn't as bad as I thought it would be, and the various pairings and mis-pairings kept me guessing to some extent.
That said, here's where I found parallels between Cher's world and Emma's world (Feel free to chime in with ones I missed, or tell me if you think my assessment is wrong): (view spoiler)[ 1. Cher = Emma; Tai = Harriet (the plain new girl whom Cher/Emma takes under her wing, especially in finding love); Josh = Mr. (George) Knightley (the "brother" who's not actually a brother, who teases his not-sister while also trying to make her a better person, and who becomes a love interest for the not-sister); Elton = Mr. Elton (one, the name. But also because Tai/Harriet falls in love with him and keeps mementos in a box, one of which is related to an injury [Tai keeps the towel Elton put ice in when she's knocked out at the Val party, and Harriet keeps the court plaster Mr. Elton uses when he injures himself with scissors].) Christian = Frank Churchill (one, again, the name, but less so this time: now we have "Christian" paralleling the "Church" in "Churchill". Also, Christian and Frank Churchill are the dapper new young men who come in to town after the action of the story gets going. But Frank's not gay, so he's not *completely* the same as Christian, although his secret engagement *is* a bombshell, like when we/Cher find out Christian is gay.) 2. Tai/Harriet comes over to Cher's/Emma's house to destroy the box of mementos [in a fire for both of them, I think] once Elton/Mr. Elton has done her wrong. 3. Tai/Harriet falls for Josh/Mr. Knightley after he "rescues" her by dancing with her when no one else will. 4. Then the startling revelation that "I love Josh"/Mr. Knightley (*cue fountain in background*) (hide spoiler)]["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
I'll begin by saying that this might be an obscure book or reason for a book to people outside the University of Washington or the sundial community.I'll begin by saying that this might be an obscure book or reason for a book to people outside the University of Washington or the sundial community. Or maybe not; what do I know?
Woody Sullivan is ... well... he looks a bit like an eccentric scientist, with his scraggly beard, hiking shorts, and high socks. I took his History of Science, Physics, and Astronomy class at the UW my first official quarter at the school, and boy was I intimidated. He's hella smart, and I felt totally out of my element when I tried to follow all of his lectures about the history of science and about how this scientist led to that scientist, and this theory interwove with that theory. At some point, though, I learned that he makes sundials, which is pretty cool.
But I didn't realize the grandness of his sundials until I was long out of the UW. I mean, Bill Nye! He's worked with Bill Nye the Science Guy (which, in the Seattle area, is WAY cooler than it is to the rest of the world. I mean, I understand that Bill Nye is impressive everywhere, but in Seattle, he's even more of an icon)! And put a sundial on Mars?!? His sundials are so spiffy that local media will do a story on him every now and then, which is a far cry from just the mad scientist teacher I thought he was (He made us shock ourselves with Leyden jars or some other contraption he showed us on a tour of the spooky basement of some crazy science building! I still don't know where we were that day or how we got there. But there it was: a spooky basement with crazy contraptions lining the hallways.)
Okay, so he makes sundials that are pretty cool and have gone to other planets. THAT is cool. But then I didn't know how even bigger he was in the science community, in general, until I was listening to a podcast (a local podcast, sure) earlier this year and he was mentioned in reference to the search for life in other parts of the universe, and his many books and articles were mentioned. What? He's written books? He's enough of an expert that he's referred to by other members of the science world? What? The crazy guy I had for that one class? Really?
So then I started looking up his work, and found this book: The New Astronomy: Opening the Electromagnetic Window and Expanding Our View of Planet Earth: A Meeting to Honor Woody Sullivan on His 60th Birthday. They had a conference in honor of his birthday! With scientists from around the world presenting papers! Holy crap! I was in the presence of greatness that quarter and never realized it!
So now the book: there are 18 articles about various topics in science and astronomy, including astrobiology, radio astronomy, and... sundials! Some of the articles are really good, some went over my head, some were brief overviews of a topic or a specific scientist, and some were just short and I wasn't sure why they were included. But my favorites, by far, were the two about sundials: sundials in history, making new sundials, making art out of sundials (The UW had an art/science class where the students learned about, and then made their own, sundials! I wish I'd been there!), and making other optics-related art.
So now everyone should look up Woody Sullivan and his sundials. They're pretty damn cool! And if you've ever thought about looking for life on other planets, think about Woody when you think about SETI....more
Another interesting book about the different aspects of life at Bletchley Park, from the jobs to the different personalities to their recreation to thAnother interesting book about the different aspects of life at Bletchley Park, from the jobs to the different personalities to their recreation to the legacy of the Park and restoring the Park as a museum to tell the story of the Park and its codebreakers....more
I love the movie Clueless, and I know it's a popular movie (otherwise, why would they show it on TV so often?), but I don't think I realized it was enI love the movie Clueless, and I know it's a popular movie (otherwise, why would they show it on TV so often?), but I don't think I realized it was enough of a cultural icon/phenomenon to warrant its own book. I guess I was wrong.
The book is an oral history (Duh!) about the making of the movie and the impact it's had on pop culture, the movie industry, girl power, etc. Chaney interviews pretty nearly everyone you could think of when talking about the movie: all of the stars (even some "Who?" characters), the writer/director, producers, makeup department, wardrobe department, music department, the studio, PR, bands that were on the soundtrack... If they had a major hand (and even some not-so-major hands) in the movie or its process, their words are in here, which makes for a pretty thorough take on the movie. Oh, right, also Jane Austen scholars, pop culture scholars, members of the fashion industry... I think the only people not interviewed were 1) me and 2) the friend who introduced me to the movie.
I'm not sure I completely agree with every conjecture Chaney and some of the scholars make, like that Clueless inspired X, Y, and Z teen movies or Austen revivals (Just because they came later doesn't mean they were inspired by. To refer to Pres. Bartlet, "Post hoc ergo propter hoc: After it therefore because of it. It means one thing follows the other, therefore it was caused by the other. But it's not always true. In fact, it's hardly ever true." *sigh* West Wing, how I love you.), but I will agree with them on some of their claims that it's perhaps the *best* inspired-by-Austen movie, or (one of) the best girls-aren't-stupid movie. And it definitely did inspire a new lexicon, and perhaps some fashion (Although, one of the interviewees said that *everyone* in her school the next year was dressed like Cher and her classmates. Dang, I knew I was from Hicksville [okay, not really], but *no one* I knew or saw dressed in any way like the movie. We all just kept to our jeans and t-shirts, or maybe some fancy blouse for the more fashion-minded. Not even a fuzzy-topped pen to be seen.).
Even if you don't agree with the bold and grand statements put forth by the interviewees and Chaney, this book is still a great trip down memory lane. After reading about the TV show, I decided it's been a few years (uh... decades?) since I saw the show, so I decided to Google it, and found a whole slew of episodes on YouTube (and I was quite amazed by how much of the episodes I still remember, and the fact that I immediately began singing along with the theme song, word for word!) And the Clueless (TV show) Barbies! I remember when those came out!
So yes, this is definitely a fabulous trip down memory lane, and has quite a bit of insight into the casting process, scriptwriting, shopping it to studios, logistics of filming and advertising a movie... on and on. ...more