What My Dad Taught Me About Racism

June 14, 2014  |  parenting  |  1 Comment

My Dad and Me

Growing up I wasn’t exposed to issues of racism in any significant way, at least so I thought. If my dad ever mentioned the word, I don’t remember. He may have mentioned someone’s race in passing, as a way to identify the person (e.g., “the Chinese lady”), but that’s it.

As a child, I thought little about race. I’m sure it was brought up in school in lessons about the civil war, but that was a long time ago. At home, race was a non-issue. In fact, my first personal exposure to the issue of racism (that I remember in a significant way) occurred during junior high school.

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Movie: Dallas Buyers Club

June 4, 2014  |  movies etc.  |  No Comments

Dallas Buyers ClubAs a man-fights-the-system film, Dallas Buyers Club works wonderfully. Matthew McConauhey’s Oscar winning performance is worthy, as is supporting actor Jared Leto (who also won an Oscar). There is a lot to cheer for, and McConauhey’s performance as Ron Woodroof portraying an unlikable rodeo-riding, gambling, sex addicted homophobe turned hero, is convincing. We don’t actually start to root and care for him until he is in the fight for his life, obstructed by the FDA and other government agencies who want to prevent him from obtaining and distributing drugs that will help him in his fight against AIDS.

When first diagnosed with HIV and given 30 days to live, Woodroof is in denial and rejects his death sentence. Then, fueled by self-preservation, this loser turned hero does what it takes to live: he does his homework.

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Angry Fish, Happy Fish

June 4, 2014  |  parenting  |  2 comments

Angry FishRecently I overheard an interesting conversation at the fish tank in the children’s play area at our local mall. It was between a mother and daughter (I would guess approximately 2 years old) as follows:

Mother: See the fish?

Daughter: Angry fish.

Mother: No, happy fish.

Daughter: Angry fish.

Mother: Happy fish.

Daughter: Happy fish?

Mother: Happy fish.

Daughter: Happy fish.

The mother, satisfied, escorts her daughter away.

To many, this may seem like an innocuous conversation.

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Movie: Draft Day

May 4, 2014  |  movies etc.  |  No Comments

Draft DayDraft Day, starring Kevin Costner as a draft picker for an NFL football team, is an exciting sports drama that is sure to satisfy football lovers as well as those who know very little about the game (I fall the later category).

What makes the film work is its high stakes and time sensitive negotiations and deal making that transpire throughout the film. Each year in the NFL, teams draft new players and, somehow, some teams get to pick their favorite new players sooner than others (they are mostly players from college football, I gather). I’m sure sports fans know the details. I certainly don’t, but even a neophyte like me could follow along and know what values are at stake.

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Movie: Enough Said

March 4, 2014  |  movies etc.  |  No Comments

Enough SaidEnough Said, James Gandolfini’s final performance before his tragic death last year, is a delightful tale about two divorcees with teenage children who are seeking love and find solace in one another.

Writer/director Nicole Holofcener tells a simple and straightforward story, and it works because it is simple. Even the characters’ names are simple.

Julia Louis-Dreyfus plays Eva, a massage therapist who seems to have more of a connection with her teenager daughter’s best friend than her teenage daughter. Eva is the most complex character because she harbors self-doubt, which comes into full force when she discovers the man she is dating, Albert, is also the ex-husband of one of her new massage clients, Marianne.

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