On Friday I visited IMDb.com (one of my frequently visited sites). As those who frequent the site know, and for those of you who don't let me tell you, at the top of the page they always have 3 photos side by side, and clicking on them takes you to a trailer for the movie from which the picture was taken. Well, on Friday they had something that drew my attention - a trailer for a Disney movie called "The Odd Life of Timothy Green."
I don't know what drew me to the trailer, but something about it kept whispering to me "Konrad." Now, the premise of the movie has nothing to do with Konrad (I'll explain), but let me say that the movie did look interesting, uplifting, and basically Disney-ish. Translate that into, "McClure thinks I should go see The Odd Life of Timothy Green."
That said, I wanted to take this opportunity to talk about Konrad. I am willing to bet NO ONE reading this has any idea who Konrad is. Or was. Well, is, because, as a character in a book, he is immortal.
Give up? I bet even a google search won't help you here.
Konrad was a book I read in junior high. The main characters were, of course, 10 year old Konrad, and his "mother," Mrs. Bartolotti. Notice the quotes around "mother." Mrs. Bartolottoi is not Konrad's mother - nor anyone's at all. She is already past child bearing age and lives alone. She is quite an odd woman, and one day, when the door bell rings, she answers it to find a strange and unsolicited package.
Even stranger, inside the package is what my 12 year old brain stored in memory as a 'dehydrated' Konrad. I think of him like a raisin of a boy, because he pops out of the package, startling Mrs. Bartolotti, and demands she shower him with a special liquid that was delivered with him. Once showered, he rehydrates into what appears to be a normal 10 year old boy.
Except he's not normal - because he is normal to the point of boring, whereas Mrs. Bartolotti is odd, maybe even a bit batty. And then there's the fact that this package was delivered unsolicited - Mrs. Bartolotti had not ordered a 10 year old son, did not particularly feel she wanted one in her life, and worse, had no idea of how to take care of one. Of course, the contrast of his mother's eccentricities with his normalcy is what makes the book so interesting (at least to my then 12 year old mind). And, of course, eventually the factory from which Konrad was sent discovers the shipping error and wants Konrad returned. Unfortunately by that time Konrad and Mrs. Bartolotti have bonded. What's a factory boy and his reluctant middle aged eccentric mother to do?
So no, this is not an article about the lack of imagination in Hollywood. Timothy Green appears to be a very different story than Konrad. Similar enough to make my old brain remember a story from so many years before, and wonder if that book can even be obtained anymore. After a major search, I did find that Konrad was written by Christine Nöstlinger, and is available on Amazon.com.
And yes, I highly suggest reading it. :P
Wednesday, August 17, 2011
Sunday, August 14, 2011
I just saw Michele Bachmann interviewed after her Straw Poll win. I don't understand the obstinate nature of the Tea Party, insisting on a course of action economists inform us will only worsen our budget and credit rating crisis. In particular, she says two things I think everyone in the WORLD agrees with, and yet they are total lies meant to play on our sentiments. They are meant to stir up fear and anger, allowing unscrupulous politicians to use things such as "the default of America" as bargaining chips to further their own political careers, which Standard & Poor's flat out told us is the reason we've been downgraded.
The first thing she says that bothers me is that we (as a country) should not spend more than we make. That sounds so true, and yet it doesn't always work in reality (and NEVER works in a recession). She makes it sound like the US is going to hell in a hand basket because we've decided all our children should go to the most expensive private school, we have to have the most expensive package of not one, but EVERY cable and satellite TV provider in EVERY room of the house, and we're dining out nightly on caviar, veal, truffles, etc, after which we're so full we can't drive home so we need to stay in the MGM Grand's The Mansion.
But that's not the case. It's easy to say, "Hey, cut back on expenses," when the majority of your expenses are luxuries (actually, I've spoken to a lot of people who get into problems because they can't figure out how to spend less than $500 per month on their non-business phone and they can't imagine their kids in public school, but that just means their priorities are out of whack. A fat lot of good it will do to take your kids to private school in their new bedroom, the 1982 Mercedes you bought to replace the repo'd 2010 Landrover). The problem here is that the country has already put the metaphorical kids in public school, we're already watching TV via antenna, we're already dining on Mac N Cheese and Stone Soup every night, and we've already downsized from a queen to a double bed in our own apartments. So when little Justin turns up with Hodgkin's disease, do you just say, "Well, kid, you had a good run, but Mommy and Daddy don't have the money for your chemo, so it looks like this is it. Oh, and, uh, since you're not going to make it anyway, we've decided to reduce your food budget to zero. Jessica! You're our new #1 kid!" or do you go into debt, save Justin and take that second (or third) job to make ends meet?
On the other hand, I most certainly will tell a syphilitic patient, "Hey, you have a disease that will make your life uncomfortable for the next few weeks, but then it will go away, but then it will come back, and then it will go away, and finally it will attack your brain and kill you. Do you mind if I give you a shot today that will cure it 100%?"
Or, "Hey, I have some bad news. While your breasts are stunning, we've found Stage IA cancer in your left breast, plus you've turned up positive for the BRCA 1 gene mutation, which means it is highly likely your cancer will recur. We most definitely need to remove your current tumor and then we should discuss radical bilateral mastectomy with reconstruction in the future. This is the best option to save your life now and preserve your body image afterward."
Or, "I'm sorry sir, but you have testicular cancer. While there are a lot of unwanted effects of orchiectomy, your best chance of survival is surgical removal of the tumor. This means we will have to remove the testicle."
So, if you walk up to anyone and say, "Hey, do you think we should raise your taxes?" Of COURSE they'll say "NO!" But if you ask, "Are you willing to pay more taxes if that means saving your job, your neighbors and the country at large?" I think most people would begrudgingly say, "Yeah, ok."
And those advocating tax hikes are not even saying, "Let's raise the taxes of Joe the Plummer." They're saying, "Let's raise the taxes of anyone making more than $250,000 per year." What does that mean? The average American, making $25,000 per year, last year fell into the 15% tax bracket. They paid $3,750 in taxes and kept $21,250. This would not change after the tax hike. They pay the same, and keep the same. But someone making $250,000 last year fell into the 33% tax bracket. They paid $82,500 in taxes, and kept $167,500. If the old tax rates (prior to Bush's tax reductions) went back into effect for these people, they would pay 36%, or $90,000, and keep $160,000. Following my previous analogy, this would be the equivalent of telling the country to get a second job. Actually, it's more like telling the country, "Hey, management can't have Monday and Friday off anymore. We need to work the full week to get the full pay."
I think you will get a very different answer from this question. Do I want you to cut off my testicles? No. Do I want you to perform an orchiectomy to save my life? Yes, please.