Good Movie


Great character study on the dangers of genius, family obligations, and the need for one's life to matter.

Mom and I watched it last night instead of going to the Sweet Jazz concert (bad, bad alumna!). So engaging. Originally for stage then adapted for screen, Gwyneth Paltrow played both roles. The stiffness of the stage is apparent, but the acting is really excellent. Anthony Hopkins is Paltrow's brilliant, but insane mathematician father. The emotional content is captivating and authentic.

I highly recommend it.


Book Review

Never Let Me Go
by Kazuo Ishiguro

I've been meaning to mention this book, so here I am before I forget. I finished reading it a couple of weeks ago, during my massive fiction kick while I was sick. Last Thursday, Rich Holdeman from the Bloomington RPC spoke on stem cell research and cloning at Veritas. I found it ironically timely with this book still fresh in my thoughts.

You don't know that the main characters are clones until about halfway through the book. The narrative is a bit slow and it's written in almost memoir style from the perspective of one character. I got through it and didn't like it at first. It's grown on me since I've understood it better in retrospect.

The thesis is subtle; you have to look under the surface for the point the author is making. Turns out, it's a very interesting secular view of the ethics of cloning. When Rich Holdeman spoke, he focused, of course, on the Christian ethical view. The morality of cloning, the problems of choosing life, etc... But what do non-Christians think of cloning?

In his book, Ishiguro questions the soul. Can clones feel the same way regular humans do? Are clones regular humans? The characters are students kept in a private boarding school, their questions unanswered and their artwork is taken away. The children don't understand this until much later when they're told that the teachers needed to know if they had souls. They needed the art to see if they really existed. The teachers encourage sexual activity among these teens. At first I was astounded, but then it made sense. If a non-Christian was a clone and in a situation where life's sole purpose was to be an organ donor, wouldn't hedonism play a role? Enjoy life while you've got it kind of mentality.

For the author, cloning creates a dystopia. Not because it's immoral so to speak but because it's unfair. It's stealing. It takes away the chance for these unwanted children to really live and experience life.



Two of my favorites

Student: Ethan, six years old. Glasses and the biggest dimples God ever made. Likes to greet me each week by telling me how I neglected to explain his song thoroughly as a reason for not practicing it. Today he burps and says, "Excuse me. Heartburn." And keeps on playing.

Professor: Dr. Brimmer. Mostly because he's crazy. The most emotional man God ever made. Because he claims to be in love with my "rich chocolate voice." And right now because he cancelled tomorrow's class during which I was scheduled to give a book report over a book I haven't finished reading. A procrastinator's dream come true.


Do I look like I play hip-hop?

I have a student that is driving me crazy and I have absolutely no idea what to do with her. She refuses to practice anything I assign and only heaven knows why. She claims to have forgotten but we all know she didn't. She does however manage to remember to practice her Alicia Keyes song. I'm not sure but I think she's a scholarship student from an IPS school. This semester, her mom decided she needed a 45 minute lesson. What in the world am I supposed to do with her for 45 very painful minutes?

"Jasmine, how can I make you happy? What piece can I give you that you will actually go home and practice?"

"I wanna play R&B."

"Sweetheart, you aren't understanding me. I don't do R&B."

Tonight we compromised with "Circle of Life" from The Lion King. It's like banging my head against a brick wall.


Do the Easter Twist

The new family twist on the old egg hunt tradition, that is.

Our cousin egg hunt has evolved over the years. First it was candy. Then it was candy plus $1 bills. Then one year, someone walked away with all the $1 bills and next year there were eggs with names so everyone got a bit of green. We got older. We graduated from high school, college, law school, married... and yes, still hunting eggs outdoors. By now though, it was the survival of the fittest as eggs contained varying amounts of $1 bills. There was the one year eggs contained cruise tickets, but we kids were pretty disappointed once we realized they were for the parents.

This year the egg hunt was spelled B-I-N-G-O. (Who plays bingo at Easter? We do apparently. So weird.) At first, I was super pumped because I thought this is a much more fair way to play. No bumping into the ground, no stealing eggs out of each other's baskets, no "little" cousins walking away with all the $20 simply because they play soccer and can outrun you. It was fun for a while, then the novelty wore off quickly when I stopped winning. Such a bummer.

Sorry, Grandma. I think I prefer the mad dash. It's tradition. But, now that there are little ones in the family again, I guess it's time for the new generation to discover the pains and joys of Easter egg hunts. They were good times.

Fire and brimstone

I love having seasons. Four of them. You can count them on one hand and they usually occur right on time. Indiana is obnoxiously humid but it has a fantastic sky. A sky that is volatile and dangerous. I love the sky.

But Friday I didn't love the gifts that the sky left us. Who was on campus at the very moment enormous hail was dumped by the buckets? Oh right. Me. Whose brand new car now has huge dents ALL over it, little reminders of the sky's goodness? Oh that's right. Mine!

Bah. But inspite, I still want to see a funnel cloud someday. Well, from far away that is. The closest I've ever gotten to one was a downburst near our house in Danville. It blew in a couple of windows and scattered our trampoline to smitherines all across the yard. Wait, that actually was a very scary moment in my life. Maybe no to the funnel cloud, but bring on spring.