April 10th, 2007

Pink poodle

The two articles that made me think this weekend

First, because I have less to say about it, this article in the New York Times Magazine, about how they're trying to figure out how to reduce the number of animals left in animal shelters by better evaluating the animals and training the people, was really interesting for me as a dog lover. It made me thinka bout the work that dagmar_b does with the Seattle Animal Shelter dogs, and about vorona's comment about a dog being destroyed because it had just been behind bars too long. It's sad, though. Three pages long, and save the video for last.

Second, my brother recommended this article in the Washington Post, and he's right; it's well-worth the 20 minutes it takes to get through it. Reflections on modern life, art, and people's capability to enjoy beauty, with some lovely violin playing. I liked it enough that I finished it up when I woke up this morning. "Pearls before breakfast," the article is called ....

It was 7:51 a.m. on Friday, January 12, the middle of the morning rush hour. In the next 43 minutes, as the violinist performed six classical pieces, 1,097 people passed by. Almost all of them were on the way to work, which meant, for almost all of them, a government job. L'Enfant Plaza is at the nucleus of federal Washington, and these were mostly mid-level bureaucrats with those indeterminate, oddly fungible titles: policy analyst, project manager, budget officer, specialist, facilitator, consultant…

Each passerby had a quick choice to make, one familiar to commuters in any urban area where the occasional street performer is part of the cityscape: Do you stop and listen?...

On that Friday in January, those private questions would be answered in an unusually public way. No one knew it, but the fiddler standing against a bare wall outside the Metro in an indoor arcade at the top of the escalators was one of the finest classical musicians in the world, playing some of the most elegant music ever written on one of the most valuable violins ever made. His performance was arranged by The Washington Post as an experiment in context, perception and priorities -- as well as an unblinking assessment of public taste: In a banal setting at an inconvenient time, would beauty transcend?

Blades of Glory ripped me up

When I think Will Farrel, I do not think deep and moving. I do not think, "This will touch me and make me rethink how I see the world. Everything will be different in tiny, meaningful ways."

No, I think, "I am going to see this movie and laugh my pants off."

And really. They used the theme song for Flash Gordon in a non-ironic way. My God. (Well, I don't know, maybe it was irony.) And, like, you know, I love ice skating? And like I have been watching it since Dorothy Hammill in the 70s? And, like, there were about six GENUINE FAMOUS skaters in the movie (but not Tonya Harding, more's the shame)? And, like, I laughed so hard the entire theater could hear me?

Anyway, I'd say if you enjoyed The Wedding Crashers, you'll enjoy this - a bit crass, but really spectacularly over-the-top, and enough plot to get you through the non-comedy bits. I'm not going to tell you to see it if you don't think you're going to like it; I'm going to tell you that if you think you're going to like it, then you will love it.

In a word: fabulous (and good medicine for a down mood).