Tuesday, September 15, 2009
Short Takes September 09
A few random quick observations:
Walking through Boston Commons yesterday and received an insight into why Hollywood movie productions cost in the millions. Several large party tents were set up for cast and crew to prep for scenes, and presumably for extras to hang out, etc. Each of these enormous white tents (the kind used for outdoor wedding receptions) was service by an enourmous portable air conditioning unit. Air conditioned tents. In Boston in September on a day that maybe topped out at 70 degrees. Not saying that's a bad thing, but..it may explain some things.
Reading a collection of Jack London's short stories. We've all read To Build a Fire -- it's in every high school American Lit anthology. I am struck by the muscularity of his prose. It is not spare and telegraphic like Hemingway's. It is extraordinarily rich, with almost painful attention to moment by moment detail. Highly descriptive, using the whole range of all the parts of speech. But it is not flowery or fluffy. It fairly pounds you over the head, but in the most fascinating and engaging way. Very american. He should get more attention than Hemingway. It's much better stuff. (with the possible exception of H's The Big Two Hearted River -- his only short that I really liked).
Took the kids up Mt. Major on Sunday. It's a nice 4 hour hike up and back if you take your time. About 1.5 miles up. About 3 miles going down the back way. Went up it barefoot. I tell you what, that gets people's attention. Some are impressed. Others decidedly not so much -- they seem to think it's a little loopy. It certainly changes one's gait and the way one walk. I spent much more attention and energy on where to place my feet. It was a good experiment which I will probably repeat. I need to toughen up my feet more, or get some moccasin-like shoes. I have my eyes on something call Vibram FiveFingers. Gotta save up my dough first.
My wife is involved in a "bible study" at the home school co-op with which we are involved. Something for the parents to do while the kids are in their classes. It's put out by Focus on the Family with backing of such luminaries as Os Guinness and RC Sproul. It is about TRUTH! I looked through the first chapter notes. I have no quarrel with it, but I mentioned that it really holds no interest for me for the simple reason that I have very little interest anymore in arguing with anyone. The conversation turned to time she recently spent with a neighbor who has led a tough life -- let's just say one that is fairly overflowing with humanity. As a result, her speech and conduct is broad and coarse. Even so we both know her and like her. As the Bride described their weekend to me and we talked we agreed that telling this woman where she was wrong would be useless at best, and more likely completely counterproductive. What she needs is not truth, but love. It is conceivable that love and grace would open the door to truth, but that love and grace would have to come first. Yeah. I'm pretty much done arguing with people.
Some other books I'm reading or have read recently:
Evangelical is not Enough by Thomas Howard
Tehanu by Ursula LeGuin
Small Strong Congregations by Kennon Callahan
The Shack by William Young
Band of Brothers by Stephen Ambrose