Thursday, May 06, 2004

All quiet

J-F is away for work for a few days, so it's just us girls here. Helena is better, but still not quite her usual self. I'm pretty confident this time in saying that it's teething. There has been much cuddling.

I was struck by this week's episode of Judging Amy. (We like that show.) In a case involving a girl accused of shoplifting, Amy orders the defense attorney to cut back her work to 40 hours a week, to allow the client’s mother — the attorney’s nanny — to spend more time with her daughter. There's hope too that the attorney's spoiled daughter will benefit from the arrangement. If only real life were more like television.

My order from Amazon arrived yesterday. I ordered late Sunday night. My account showed "items to ship soon" (or some similar wording). Yesterday morning my account still showed "items to ship soon," and I worried that maybe they wouldn't arrive in time for Mother's Day, but by 10 a.m. I had a parcel in my hands. My account showed "items to ship soon." Some 7 hours after taking delivery of the package, I received an email from Amazon stating my order was recently shipped. I'm glad their tracking feature lags behind their shipping process and not the other way round.

I ordered The Da Vinci Code in French for J-F's mom as a Mother's Day gift. She's going to love it. For the record, I state here loudly and proudly that I read The Da Vinci Code last summer and I ate it up. Who cares if the theories have been dismissed by academics? What's the harm in readers wondering if there might be any truth in it and finding more out? For the record, I read The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail about 9 years ago, and I loved that too. I hope no reader would buy the theories outright, but speculation is fun and healthy. So there.

For myself I purchased The World According to Mimi Smartypants, cuz she's so funny. I'm not sure I'll get anything out of it that I haven't already from reading her blog, but it struck me this could be the perfect "trashy" travel reading I was looking for. (And for all the entertainment value I don't begrudge contributing a few dollars to the worthy cause of her drinking.) To my surprise, and contrary to Amazon's book info, the book arrived in hardcover. Still, it's a slim volume; it might just do the travel trick.

Now I have another reason to hate Disney: blocking distribution of Michael Moore's latest film.

The reasons behind Disney's decision are not hard to fathom — they have to do with politics and money. In "Fahrenheit 911," Moore takes a critical look at President Bush's actions before and after 9/11 and examines the president's ties to prominent Saudis, including both the royal family and the bin Ladens. According to Moore's agent, Ari Emanuel, Disney fears that if it distributes the anti-Bush movie, Jeb Bush, the Florida governor and the president's brother, might withdraw tax breaks that Disney gets in Florida for its theme park and hotels. Disney CEO Michael Eisner "definitely indicated there were tax incentives he was getting for the Disney corporation," Emanuel told the New York Times. "He didn't want a Disney company involved."

The other day the Journal of the American Medical Association published a study finding that "Reading disabilities are clearly more frequent in boys than in girls."

Why is this so? The researchers don't know. They say it isn't intelligence. Even after accounting for IQ, boys' risk was still higher than girls'. Nor did they find it was the inability to pay attention or hyperactivity.

I bet it has something to do with the activities they choose to engage in. They don't enjoy reading because they find it difficult, or vice versa? My instinct tells me that boys are not encouraged to read to the extent girls are, that physical play early on takes time away from other activities: reading suffers.

(Is there a difference between "reading disability" and "reading difficulty"? The trend to medicalize conditions frees us from our responsibility for them.)

Scribbling Woman and others are exploring various ephemera. I find the information on bookmarks fascinating, as I have a small collection of those myself. (My favourite is an almost paper-thin strip of sandalwood into which is carved an elephant.)

From Bookslut I learn that Indy Magazine's new issue is devoted to the anniversary of Paul Auster's City of Glass, the graphic novel version. I have a copy; it didn't strike me as notable in the way the original did.

An analysis of its visual motifs and graphic strategies starts like this:

When David Mazzucchelli and Paul Karasik's adaptation of Paul Auster's City of Glass, the first novella in the New York Triology, was published in 1994 as part of the Neon Lit series by Avon Books, it received a review in Newsweek, a brief mention in The New York Times Book Review, and no scholarly attention at all. By contrast, there are dozens of articles on Paul Auster's prose original. The difference would appear to stem from an automatic prejudice on the part of American critics who regard comics as a form of "low" art, although this attitude is being challenged in some academic circles.

Graphic novel fans love to bemoan that the medium is generally slighted, but the lack of press on this example might be chalked up to the fact that the original had been reviewed to death and the graphic version simply didn't merit further discussion. Whatever.

I'll be watching the Friends finale this evening all alone. With a bottle of wine and a bag of potato chips. Just like when I saw the first episode. I'll miss it.

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