Thursday, April 17, 2008

Self portraits



The kids drew these a month or more ago, but I just got around to scanning them. (Austin says he helped on Mari's picture). Mari writes her name forward now.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Great audiobook: Yiddish Policemen's Union

My second audiobook was a novel, Michael Chabon's Yiddish Policemen's Union. It was great. The story follows a homicide detective in Sitka, the Jewish state in Alaska. Yes, it's an alternate present in which Israel remains Arab run and the Americans offered a chunk of Alaska to the Jews. Like Hong Kong in 1997, though, the area is scheduled to revert back to the States. The murder mystery takes the detective through a bunch of interesting traditions and odd characters. There is one coincidence in the middle that sort of annoyed me--coincidences need to come closer to the beginning, I think. But the noir tone of the novel is excellent and the dialogue is wonderful.

The audiobook is read by Peter Riegert and he is really great. Each character has a distinct voice, and the Yiddishisms and names roll off his tongue like poetry. I find myself just saying the name Berko Shemets every once in a while.

Apparently the Coen brothers have the option to make this film! Riegert should definitely be up for the part of Meyer Landsman, the detective.

Last point: the audiobook was on 10 cds (including an interview with Chabon at the end), but the paperback book is 464 pages long. I was trying to decide if I could have read the book faster than listening to it, and I probably would have. But I probably wouldn't have enjoyed it as much. There is pleasure in being read to, and it was nice to enjoy every word of this book.

Saturday, April 05, 2008

2006 video

I got a new cell phone so I was taking all the movies and photos I liked off the old one (pitifully few that I liked). Here's one:


video

Friday, April 04, 2008

This American Song

So I mentioned a while back that I really enjoyed the episode of This American Life where Starlee Kine writes a break-up song, inspired by true events and mentored by Phil Collins. She also got help from Joe McGinty and Julia Greenberg (they wrote the music to her lyrics).

Okay, so I'm way late to the party, but it turns out last year TAL put out a call to cover the song and they received lots of entries. Starlee, Joe and Julia, along with two professional music critics all picked their favorite versions, explained their choices and posted the MP3s on the web. Check it out!

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Funny wife

I brought home a painting and Julie said, "These are from the students you taught art history to?"

I teach art history surveys every year and sometimes the students buy their teachers gifts. They buy the literature teacher a book, and I've gotten a vase one year, and a painting the next.

Anyway, then Julie just looked at it and said, "You're not a very good teacher, are you?"