28 December 2015

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Grisu: Watchdog

This year, we celebrate the Feast of the Holy Innocents, the little patron saints of Shredded Cheddar, with the debut of a whole new blog series! I've picked a cartoon because little innocents can't see a cartoon without knowing it is for them--and since children should have good cartoons, I have selected what is arguably one of the greatest cartoons of all time.


When I first wrote about Grisu, I mentioned that the main motivation of his character is to be a pompiere or Feuerwehrmann. It's a simple enough dream, and if the supporting characters didn't keep trying to get him to do other things, the story could have been told in a streamlined two-hour animated feature instead of over twenty-eight ten-minute episodes. As it stands, we can think of Grisu as Dirty Jobs with a little dragon standing in for Mike Rowe (or Peter Schmeichel =P).

As I've already mentioned, this is an Italian cartoon with a fantastic German dub, so I'll be watching it in both languages. I like to think that Grisu is pretty much universal, though the changes from Italian to German can also be quite revealing of the differences between the two cultures.

27 December 2015

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"Two or Three" Book Club, Meeting 136


Merry Christmas! I wish I could say that all sorts of traditional Christmas things are the reasons I haven't been able to update my blog as often as I'd like . . . but let's not waste any more time! Today we meet our latest folk hero, Bella Fronte or Fair Brow, who, with a nickname like that, surprised me by turning out to be male rather than female.

20 December 2015

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Catching Up with the Children

As you may have noticed, I love books that fall into the Middle Grade and Young Adult categories--either because I'm wonderfully young at heart or just incapable of growing up. (Take your pick!) Most of the books on my (very) long TBR shelf are MG and YA titles, and most of those are old. That is, they are books that came out before I was too young to read, achieved enough classic status to stick around when I got literate, and still had to wait a few more years to get read after I bought them because I felt bad about not having read them earlier. (Sometimes I want to kick myself.) While childhood is the logical "right time" to fall in love with books that were written for children, there is no reason why an adult couldn't have a similar magical experience. (Right?) It was with this optimistic thought that I plunged into the following three novels . . .

3 Children's Books
It Was Fun to Read as an Adult


17 December 2015

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Theme Thursday 19


After today, there are only two more Thursdays left in 2015, but this old meme is something I'm happy to take my time CLEARING. It would be nice, though, to get through 2011 next year. We move one step closer to that goal today, with the theme from 28 April 2011.


This Week's Theme:
Atmosphere

14 December 2015

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"Two or Three" Book Club, Meeting 135


Giovannin senza paura, the story which opens Italo Calvino's wonderful collection of Italian folktales, was chosen for that honour because pretty much every child in Italy has grown up with it. What did differ from region to region was what "Dauntless Little John" would have had to face in the haunted palace where he spent the night. (Above is the cover of a retelling by another author who grew up with ghosts.) If you think about it, any dark creature would do without altering the main story much--but when Calvino chose, he sided with whimsy rather than horror. E mi piace tanto.

13 December 2015

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Rose Spotting

In case Leigh Greenwood's Rose wasn't rose enough for Theresian purists, I present another that recently came my way . . .


That's the box in which my brother put his birthday present for me. He chose it knowing nothing about my novena and having completely forgotten that St. Therese of the Child Jesus and I have anything to do with each other. I'm totally counting this as another heavenly reply.

And now you may be wondering what was inside the box . . .

09 December 2015

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Wishing Once More


See what other books people are wishing for this Wednesday
@ Pen to Paper

If you remember the big photo from my 2015 TBR Challenge, you'll understand why I haven't been wishing for books lately. The last thing I need is more stuff TO CLEAR!

But if you remember the last time I linked up to Wishlist Wednesday, nearly a year and a half ago, then you also know the original reason: I only wish for books that I've tried and failed to get on my own, and even then, I don't get them!

Yet you don't have to remember all the way back to when this meme was called "On My Wishlist" and hosted on another blog, which was when I wished for the first two books in Leigh Greenwood's Seven Brides series. That was five years ago . . . but I reminded you of it just last week when I finally got both books in one go.

Now that it seems my luck has changed, it is time to wish again--and this time, I am going to town!

08 December 2015

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"Two or Three" Book Club, Meeting 134

C'erano due gobbi, fratelli . . .

In case you were wondering about the "random" way I've been choosing the Fiabe Italiane selections . . . I start by looking over the list of all 200 and picking a title that suggests it will be different from the story we've just read. Then I check to see if Italo Calvino's retelling is available online. If it isn't, I choose another story; if it is, I move on to the next step. That next step is finding an English translation of the Calvino. If there isn't one, then it's back to square one; if there is one, then I get ready to announce the title in both Italian and English. And that is how we ended up with I due gobbi or The Two Hunchbacks this week.

05 December 2015

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Locus Focus: Take One Hundred Thirty!


Since today's setting is the one that got the Conspiratorial Corners challenge started, I wanted to save it until the end. My timing never works out these days, does it? Yet it's still good that I had a setting in reserve, or else I might have had to skip this week, too. Now I have another fortnight before I feel really desperate again. But perhaps by then I'll have read a certain relevant 2015 TBR Challenge book (Can you guess which one?) and be all caught up.

04 December 2015

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Owl Grub Post


Do you remember the Owl Post meme at Eleusinian Mysteries? Heck, do you remember Eleusinian Mysteries? =P Although I get books by post now and then, it has been so long since I've wanted to share my mail with others that the blog which runs my "haul" meme of choice has retired!

Owls may no longer be bringing me books, but grubs definitely are. And the first set that my personal grub dropped off for my library are books that I've wanted for a long, long while.

02 December 2015

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"Two or Three" Book Club, Meeting 133

- Che bel granchio, che bel granchio! -

If you've been reading the Italian texts, did you notice that they use dashes instead of quotation marks? =)

I'm sorry for being a bit behind schedule. It feels good to get this post up at last. This week's Italo Calvino retelling is Il principe granchio. In English: The Crab Prince.


26 November 2015

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Theme Thursday 18


What I have for you today, dear readers, is some filler. But high-quality filler! A theme from all the way back in 21 April 2011 lets me talk about a book from 1853, which I didn't get to until this month . . .

This Week's Theme:
Weather

24 November 2015

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"Two or Three" Book Club, Meeting 132


You might have noticed that last meeting ended with some confusion over whether or not we had a proper English translation of Italo Calvino's retelling of Naso d'Argento. Well, we did. What we didn't have was the original Italian text. (!!!) And so this meeting begins with an apology. To Bat and anyone else who read the story at the link, I'm sorry, but it wasn't another dip into Calvino, but another sort of language exercise. =( The elusive text itself is available online, but not for reading. If you like, you can listen to it on YouTube.

For those who are more skilled at mining the Internet than I am and who would like to try finding a written copy anyway, the text you are looking for should begin this way:

21 November 2015

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Locus Focus: Take One Hundred Twenty-Nine!


It seems that I neglected to say last week that the Conspiratorial Corners mini-series would be a fortnightly rather than weekly thing. But that's only because I hadn't known myself! I had been right on schedule, reading a book that had promised at least one relevant setting, when it just got too awful to keep reading any longer.

Luckily, there was another recent read that, although unsatisfying in other ways, delivered where it counted. And it is thanks to it that I have a setting for this week.

19 November 2015

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"Two or Three" Book Club, Meeting 131

Giovanottino dalle labbra d'oro
dammi da bere, se non io mi moro!

Ciao e benvenuti a tutti! Today we begin our dip into Italo Calvino's Fiabe Italiane, starting with L'Amore delle tre melagrane or The Love of Three Pomegranates.

18 November 2015

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Early Edition: Faith Healing

"What if The Paper is wrong? Did you ever think about that?"

We already have one case of which it's plausible to say that The Paper deliberately gave someone incorrect information . . . but this episode doesn't make a worthy follow-up to it. It turns out that The Paper is terribly wrong about the hit-and-run accident at the beginning, but how it could have been wrong--and more importantly, why it would have been wrong--is left a mystery.

There must have been a better way to put Gary in hospital and throw him in the way of a little girl with a lot of faith. But I'm not paid to write for TV, so what do I know?

13 November 2015

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"Two or Three" Book Club, Meeting 130

We have a winner! November and December will be for faerie tales and folk tales that come to us via Italia!

Time permitting, I'd also like to take Brandon's suggestion and do a couple of Grimm vs. Calvino face-offs.

Let's begin with L'amore delle tre melagrane or The Love of Three Pomegranates. I know nothing about it except that Italo Calvino said there were dozens of versions of it all over Italy, each one with a different fruit or nut. (Somehow that seems more authentic than a single Italian standard, with an undisputed fruit, would be.) Perhaps Calvino's story will make it clear why he settled on pomegranates. If not, we can guess first and do some research later.

I've found George Martin's translation of Calvino's version on Live Journal, and the original Italian in a PDF.

I hope to get the first post up early next week. See you then! =)

Image Source: Fiabe Italiane

11 November 2015

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Are You Reading This on a Mobile Device?

Well, if you are, guess what?! I'm writing and formatting this on a mobile device! And no, I'm not using an app to help make things simpler. (Indeed, the last time I checked, the Blogger app wasn't available in my region yet.)I figured it was only fitting for me to give myself a hard time, considering the hard time I'm about to ask you to give yourself. You see, I'm curious about how many regular readers of Shredded Cheddar come here mostly through a "handy" device rather than through something with a proper keyboard. And the only way I can find out is if you kindly leave a comment under this post. It doesn't have to be fancy. A single letter will do as your *wave* or *wink* to me. I won't even mind if you leave it anonymously!

Thanks for participating in this informal survey. =)

07 November 2015

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Locus Focus: Take One Hundred Twenty-Eight!

Welcome to Conspiratorial Corners!

Our latest Locus Focus challenge is places where people go to plan, plot, and pledge secret allegiances, all in a whisper. And if you're a G.K. Chesterton fan (Shudder!), now that I have mentioned his name, you've already thought of a perfect example of such a setting from one of his novels. And while I totally agree with you about it and am thrilled that we are both such initiates that we don't even need to speak the title aloud (!!!), what I've decided to feature today is quite different. And I hope you will forgive me when I say it was literally the first fictional place I had in mind when I decided, back in 2010, to host a meme for fictional places. I can't believe it took me this long, either.


05 November 2015

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"Two or Three" Book Club, Meeting 129

Once more I invite you all to join my language learning journey! As I've been saying in other posts, my mission is to absorb the L2 and L3 media that native speakers would have incorporated into their identity just by growing up in their cultures. And what better media to start with than the inheritance they were ready to receive as children?

Fiabe Italiane vs. Grimms Maerchen

Vote after the jump!


31 October 2015

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BSC #17: Mary Anne's Bad Luck Mystery by Ann M. Martin

"This," said Kristy somberly, "is an emergency meeting of the Baby-sitters Club. You all know why you've been called here."

It was Sunday afternoon. The six main members of the club were in Claudia's room in our usual places. And yes, we all knew why we had been called there.

Because of me. Because I had tempted fate, thrown away a chain letter, then been sent a bad-luck charm, which I was forced to wear or else. Not knowing what "or else" meant was the only thing that kept me wearing the charm. Or else death? Death and destruction? Death, destruction and the end of civilisation as we know it? Claudia was afraid it could mean the end of junk food. Who knew? We weren't taking chances. We'd done enough of that already.

Happy Halloween! You'd never know it from the cover, but BSC #17 is totally the 1988 holiday special! And it's got everything you remember from a good old retro Halloween: homemade costumes, elaborate pranks, fruit mixed in with the junk food, and teenagers getting dressed up for a school dance but not trick or treating unless they're also baby-sitting. Ann M. Martin doesn't quite hit the 80s nostalgia bull's eye in this novel (the candy and other references are all "timeless") . . . but then again, how could she know that I'd be mining her series for pop culture references in the 2010s? =P There is one thing she got absolutely right, though, and boy does it take me back. Two words: chain letters.

This year, the BSC's Halloween, as individuals and as a club, is just that much creepier thanks to a mysterious letter that the club's Secretary Mary Anne Spier gets in the mail . . .

30 October 2015

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Thirteen Things about The Blob (Remake)

13. After almost two decades of Slasher domination, it's downright refreshing to find a Horror movie that offers really creative kills by a killer which has absolutely no malice in its body and no face to make it even slightly sympathetic. The mysterious blob from space is just doing what blobs from space are meant to do. And when we defend ourselves and our loved ones from it, we're just doing what we are supposed to do.

Ah, if only it were that simple . . .

12. As a fan of the cult classic original, which I've already featured here as a Friday Night Movie (Remember those days?) and in a Locus Focus, I was surprised to enjoy this remake as much as I did. Not only are most of its kills downright charming, it also simultaneously stays faithful to and puts a new spin on much of what it borrows from its predecessor. Take the "adults vs. teenagers" conflict: this time around, there is only one teenager who is always suspected of causing trouble. Everyone else gets to be a "good kid." That is, until the blob comes to change the town's social dynamics. (Few things in life are scarier than disrupted social dynamics.)

11. There is one other teenager who sees the blob in action and lives--but when the police hear her out, they decide she is "hysterical," and her own parents aren't buying her story about a blobby pink "thing" that kills people without leaving a trace. (What? Would you?) And of course it is as this point that she decides to join forces with the town's official outsider. Because she is now an outsider, too. It's a great chicken-and-egg issue that The Blob subtly brings into play.

10. You know what The Blob isn't at all subtle about, though?

28 October 2015

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Life as a Language Learning Challenge, Step 4

If I remember correctly, it was Maria von Trapp who said that there are two things we always do in our first language: count and pray. So of course anyone who is serious about learning a second language should start counting and praying exclusively in L2. Two steps ago, we were all about the counting; now let's talk about the praying.

To be honest, I already do much of my praying in what I call my L∞ . . .

22 October 2015

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Character Connection 52


Created by The Introverted Reader

It has occurred to me that I should do Locus Focus the way I do Character Connection: that is, only when I read a book with an interesting setting and a post about it practically writes itself. That would definitely make my life easier! And it's such a good idea that of course I'm going to set it aside while I make my life harder with another themed challenge. How does Conspiratorial Corners sound to you? Let me know in November!

But first, a peek at the sort of reading I've been doing lately, to which I owe that latest complication to my reading and blogging life . . .


20 October 2015

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Early Edition: The Personals

Easy Level: Would you save this relationship?

Season 1 had a Christmas episode and this could have been its St. Valentine's Day episode. I've just checked, though, and it actually aired in April. Not that I can protest too much in October.

The last time The Paper brought Gary and a compatible woman together, things didn't end well. But that was mostly because the woman realised that she couldn't be in a relationship with someone who gets tomorrow's news without taking advantage of his gift. Fair enough, I guess. No wonder Gary doesn't want to tell his new flame about The Paper, though I think she would be a lot more understanding and supportive.

15 October 2015

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BSC #16: Jessi's Secret Language by Ann M. Martin

My family is black.

I know it sounds funny to announce it like that. If we were white, I wouldn't have to, because you would probably
assume we were white. But when you're a minority things are different.

. . . I don't think any of us expected the one bad thing we found in Stoneybrook: There are hardly any black families here. We are the only black family in our neighbourhood, and I am--get this--the only black kid in the whole entire sixth grade at Stoneybrook Middle School. Can you believe it? I can't.

Unfortunately, things have been a little rough for us. I can't tell if some people here really
don't like black people, or if they just haven't known many, so they're kind of wary of us . . .

Jessi, honey, I can't believe it, either. Until Ann M. Martin confessed it, I had also assumed Stoneybrook was a little more diverse than that. But then I'd have to admit that none of the BSC members, their relatives, or their clients have been black . . . which probably means Stoneybrook has been like a 1940s Warner Brothers picture to me, with token black people conspicuously inserted into group shots and sequences, but not really part of the dynamic, interesting world of the story. But hey, there's a Japanese main character!

It seems that I've hit the "right book at the right time" jackpot this week! With the next BSC book on my agenda just happening to be about a black family and hearing-impaired children, what should the YA/MG crowd on Twitter do but take aim at author Meg Rosoff for daring to question the sacred cow of "diversity" in children's literature. For Rosoff's full thoughtcrime, please study the following screengrab . . .

09 October 2015

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"Two or Three" Book Club, Meeting 128

Did you know it would be so hard to say goodbye to the little prince? I hadn't--and I had read the book before! (In English. Does it really make that much of a difference?) The narrator was dropping hints in early chapters, so even first-time readers could have sensed this ending coming. So really, the narrator is the only one whom it totally blindsides. No one expects to find a soulmate in the desert and then lose him after eight days.

Thanks to Bat, Brandon, and Itinerante for joining the discussion! And I hope you know, Mrs. Darwin, that you were missed! ;-P


05 October 2015

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McFly Montag

If you have an identical twin who has your L2 as his L1, then we can imagine that all your favourite L1 musicians have similar counterparts in your L2. And I have finally found the German McFly. So I may better make my case, let's begin with the original British McFly and my favourite of their songs . . .


In I Wanna Hold You, the desperation of a young man in love is expressed through the imagery of natural disasters. McFly had to clean the lyrics up a bit after a bombing coincided with the release of this 2008 single. So instead of "I would destroy the world for you," they had to sing "I would change the world for you"--and instead of comparing the beloved's devotion to "a neutron bomb explosion," they instead moaned that when she withheld it, she "[kept] polluting like the ocean." (No, I'm not a fan of the changes.)

Gehen wir jetzt nach Deutschland . . .

03 October 2015

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Locus Focus: Take One Hundred Twenty-Seven!


How are you so far, my fellow armchair travelers? Together, we have ticked Venus off our bucketlists, been underwhelmed by Grand Canyon, freaked the heck out in India when our prejudices were checked, and played Monks vs. Pilgrims in Medieval England. I understand if you're all traveled out now and just want to go home. But there is one last place to visit for Sightseeing in September, even if it's already October. Why don't you choose your next adventure . . .

If you want to go home, which G.K. Chesterton would argue is the greatest adventure of all anyway, click here!
If you want to have one last adventure abroad, click "Keep Reading!" below!


30 September 2015

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Early Edition: Ads and More

Let's add my series on Early Edition to the list of blog-related things TO CLEAR this year. With only four more episodes to go, it's a realistic goal!


Forget about "cat people" and "dog people" for a minute. I'm starting to wonder if, among Early Edition fans, there are "Cat people" and "Paper people." I mean, I can totally see cat lovers tuning in just because Gary has their favourite animal as a pet their favourite animal has Gary for a pet. Since I tune in for The Paper, I've always found The Cat rather superfluous. But I have to admit that the writers make a halfway good case for the latter here, where it seems to have even more agency than it did two episodes ago.

29 September 2015

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"Two or Three" Book Club, Meeting 127

When we last left the little prince, he was weeping piteously in the grass and I could hardly stand it. If I hadn't already known what was coming next, I would have read on and this readalong would be structured very differently.

"Bitte . . . zaehme mich"

I'd ask if there are three more beautiful words in the German language, but Der Kleine Prinz was originally written in French. And it's possible I'm reacting to the words in ways that native German speakers never would.

27 September 2015

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Locus Focus: Take One Hundred and Twenty-Six


This post is probably the most blatant abuse of the ability to backdate that I have ever done. May those who know what date it really is today join me in begging George Orwell's forgiveness. My crime is compounded by the fact that what follows isn't even the Sightseeing in September post that was genuinely stumping me for weeks, but something that I dashed off today, inspired by a book I finished last night.

I do hope to finish that other draft and to publish the rest that I've been working on while this blog was so "silent"--but I'd better hurry before too many more of 2015's posts have to be backdated to be considered CLEARED!


25 September 2015

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Zwulf Sachen mit Fack ju Goehte

12. Do you like "Teacher Movies"? I'm surprised that I still do! But now that I'm on the other end of my aborted teaching career, I find that I like different ones from before, for different reasons.

In the past, I was a sucker for movies like The Dead Poets Society (Der Club der toten Dichter!) and Mr. Holland's Opus, whose idealised teacher characters epitomised what I aspired to bring to the classroom. These days, I'm more into stuff like School of Rock, which suggests that any random Jack (or Jill!) might actually do a better job than the trained and dedicated professionals. Can you guess which group Fack ju Goehte belongs to?

11. What the second sort of "Teacher Movie" needs the most is a good reason for the random Jack to be posing as a teacher. I'd say that Kindergarten Cop wins this one (Remember when it was our Friday Night Movie?), but also that what the Fack ju Goehte comedy of errors lacks in plausibility, it makes up for in sheer charm. There's something about ex-con Zeki Mueller that makes us want him to turn the Goethe-Gesamtschule upside-down. Or maybe just something about our own high school experiences. =P

10. Actually, I took two seconds to think about it, and I conclude that it's mostly Zeki. We don't just want him to turn the school around; we also want him to turn his life around. Elyas M'Barek is so sympathetic in this role--even at the beginning when Zeki is still a really big jerk--that we just automatically root for him.

9. Or maybe we don't . . . I can think of people of a certain political stripe who might be very upset by the casting. And before you get defensive, I don't just mean Germans!

21 September 2015

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Talking to You about Duran Duran . . . at Last!

One of the things I'm definitely, finally CLEARING this year is my series on Rob Sheffield's memoir Talking to Girls about Duran Duran. After the first Reading Diary entry, we've joined him in listening to The Go-gos, Orchestral Maneouvres in the Dark, Haysi Fantayzee, Chaka Khan, Madonna, Psychedelic Furs, New Kids on the Block, and Big Daddy Kane--and maybe even singing along! His book references many more 80s recording artists than those; but because, unlike him, I don't have a special song for every milestone in my life, I didn't blog accordingly.

It took me over a year to get to the band that started it all, but given what I didn't get into until after the one-year anniversary of my first post in the series, everything has worked out perfectly. And I can say that the ending of Talking to Girls about Duran Duran got to be "the right chapter at the right time."

Let's not mince words: Duran Duran are famous because girls like them. If a few boys want to come along too, that's fine with Duran Duran, they like the colour of our money. But we are the fans they do not care about. They don't need us. They have the girls. They know who keeps them in business.

They've always known this, even in their earliest days. In my collection of DD memorabilia, I treasure their 1981 interview with
Melody Maker. Nick Rhodes announces, "I've just worked out why so many more blokes are coming to our gigs this time round." Why? "Because they've heard that so many girls come."

19 September 2015

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Locus Focus: Take One Hundred Twenty-Five


We started Sightseeing in September with a totally fictional tourist attraction and followed that up immediately with a very real place. Today's setting is halfway between its predecessors, being both totally fictional and very obviously based on a real place.

17 September 2015

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"Two or Three" Book Club, Meeting 126

Virtually the only editions of Der Kleine Prinz that use a cover image that wasn't drawn by Antoine de Saint Exupery are the graphic novel "adaptations." And if they are all like Joann Sfar's, they don't get very adventurous anyway. I wonder whether even more is lost (and found!) in these sorts of "translations" than in the usual ones involving only words.

Der siebente Planet war also die Erde.

Die Erde ist nicht irgendein Planet! Man zaehlt da hundertelf Koenige, wenn man, wohlgemerkt, die Negerkoenige nicht vergisst, siebentausend Geographen, neunhundertausent Geschaeftsleute, siebenneinhalb Millionen Sauefer, dreihundertelf Millionen Eitle, kurz--ungefaer zwei Milliarden erwaschene Leute.

Um euch einen Begriff von den Ausmassen der Erde zu geben, muss ich euch sagen, dass man vor der Enfindung der Elektrizitaet dorf auf allen sechs Kontinenten zusammen eine ganze Armee von vierhundertzweiundsechzigtausendfunfhundertelf Lanternenanzuendern in Dienst hatte.

Look at all those Zaehlen to make the grosse Leute happy! How could such a quantifiable planet fail to be real? =P (How did you handle all the numbers in another language, by the way? It was so tempting just to skim over those endless German ones, but I'm glad I didn't.)

I'm also getting a better sense of the German text as something different from the English. There's simply a whole other quality to the former, though I still struggle to articulate it.

15 September 2015

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Reading Diary: The Moon by Night by Madeleine L'Engle

"You're just like that little dope Anne Frank," Zachary said. "All innocent and trusting. Life is going to be hell for you when you when you stop being protected. Absolute hell . . . You still believe in God, don't you? . . . Look what he did to your precious Anne Frank. Maybe he'll do something like that to you someday. Look what he's done to me . . ."

"No!" I shouted. I didn't even try to to stop from crying, now. The tears streamed down my cheeks and I hardly noticed.

Zachary shouted back. "What's the point of believing in God when nothing makes any sense? Nothing makes
sense Vicky! Anne Frank doesn't make sense, but it makes about the best kind of sense there is. You're so darned good, Vicky, you dope. Don't you know it doesn't make any sense to be good?"

Every hard-nosed Catholic with a heart has one heretic whom he really loves, and mine seems to be semi-syncretist Episcopalian Madeleine L'Engle. I recently reread her "Austin Family Chronicles" novel The Moon by Night, and was reminded of two things: a) it is really well written; and b) it draws a lovely parallel between a family's cross-country road trip through 1950s America and a journey of faith and hope that the teenage narrator, Vicky Austin, must make on her own.

Of course, all the adults in her life are believers--not just believers in God, but also believers in the goodness of God, despite all appearances. And they give the usual answers when Vicky, scandalised by all the suffering in the world and filled with her new friend Zachary Grey's sense of despair, asks the usual questions. It made me wonder when the usual answers became so bland.

12 September 2015

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Locus Focus: Take One Hundred and Twenty-Four


We're still doing Sightseeing in September and being armchair tourists. Last week, we took a relaxing trip to Venus (or did we???); but today, I think we're going to stick closer to home. Today I feature a place that I feel bad calling a tourist trap . . . though not as bad as anyone who made it a tourist trap should feel.

10 September 2015

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"Two or Three" Book Club, Meeting 125

Intergalactic travel begins in earnest! But I forget that today's chapters are flashbacks . . .

The narrator must have finally learned to communicate with the little prince on the latter's level, to have heard full accounts of the latter's visit to six different asteroids. =) And given what the little prince has had to say about the first six people he has met, I'd be fascinated to learn what he really thought of his companion during their first encounter. Did our three-dimensional narrator also initially come off as a caricature? And if so, does that mean there are depths to all the others that the little prince doesn't give them credit for?


05 September 2015

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Locus Focus: Take One Hundred Twenty-Three!


Welcome to Sightseeing in September!

As I type this, it is raining and thundering outside. Anyone trying to see the sights in my city this evening isn't having a very pleasant time, I'm afraid! But even Manila in the rain is superior to the setting I've selected for you today.

This isn't the most positive note with which to begin a new series, but it's the note of the only post that wanted to be written today. So I'm going with it.


02 September 2015

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Life as a Language Learning Challenge, Step 3

So what did my identical triplet sisters do in early childhood? If they were anything like me (and of course they were), they watched a lot of TV. And if they grew up in 80s Bundesrepublik Deutschland and 80s Italy, then they would have both sat through endless reruns with little Grisu.


It's probably not so strange that an Italian cartoon about a Scottish dragon * (?!?!) would prove to be a huge hit in Germany, but given the odd things I like bringing into alignment, an arrangement this perfect is practically a gift from Heaven. ** Deo Gratias!

I've been watching the Italian and German episodes back-to-back. Sometimes the German first; sometimes the Italian first. And it has been highly diverting to see how meanings are lost (and found!) in translation. While the Italian proverb Traduttori Traditori ("Translators [are] traitors") holds true, that Grisu has turned out to be as beloved in his adopted country as in his native land, for identical reasons, means that the adapted script hit the same notes in young German hearts as the original did in young Italian hearts. Let me share a bit of the fun I had comparing and contrasting certain lines . . .

29 August 2015

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"Two or Three" Book Club, Meeting 124




"Es ist eine Frage der Disziplin," sagte mir spaeter der Kleine Prinz. "Wenn man seine Morgentoilette beendet hat, muss man sich ebenso sorfaeltig an die Toilette des Planeten machen . . ."


This meeting, let's discuss the little prince's home again. I say "again" because the first time we visited was for Locus Focus #89. We didn't really take a good around back then, and I mostly asked everyone about their own "home planets," so I'll make up for that now.

But before we get to Chapters V to IX, I want to announce that Locus Focus will be back for September. The theme will be Sightseeing in September, because there's nothing like all summer vacations being over for the year (New Zealand in February; the Philippines in June; Germany and Italy in September) that makes me want to travel . . . even if only through books. =)

28 August 2015

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Life as a Language Learning Challenge, Step 2

As we've established, learning a new language involves the creation of a virtual alter-ego--or as I prefer to say, the discovery of a long-lost identical twin who was raised as a native speaker of your L2. And should you and this other actually meet, you will soon discover that language (as in words) is only one of the things separating the two of you. Another big difference is the way both of you use your hands.

Let's start with a country famous for its native speakers' use of their hands. Notice the way Veronica is counting with her fingers in this video:


Il contando comincia @5:24

Many years ago, a girl who had been raised in another country was tickled by the way I was using my fingers to count. On each hand, I start with my pinkies and work my way to the thumbs. That was how I learned in nursery school and how most Filipinos my age and older seem to do it. The other girl had learned a different method: she started with her pointer finger, went all the way to the pinkie, and then did the thumb last. And she said everyone from her country did the same.

Then there is the way people seem to count in Germany . . .

24 August 2015

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"Two or Three" Book Club, Meeting 123

"Warum sollen wir vor einem Hute Angst haben?"
("Why should we be afraid of a hat?")

In fairness to the grownups who have so greatly disappointed our narrator, his drawing really does look like a hat. Perhaps he should have added some scales to it? =P

Der Kleine Prinz is the first "Two or Three" Book Club reread in a very long time--not just for me, but for everyone who seems to be joining in. So I thought it would be good to compare old memories with new impressions. Today we're discussing Chapters I to IV.

23 August 2015

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Twelve Things about The Love Affair

12. When you live in a country where divorce does not legally exist but married couples often have differences that they perceive to be irreconcilable, "Adultery Movies" are going to be A Thing. I almost wish I had seen more of them, so that I could put The Love Affair in better context--but they're actually not my "thing," and this is the first of them that I've seen.

11. The movie wastes no time establishing that long-married couple Vince and Trisha are having problems. Vince suspects, with good reason, that his wife is having an affair with his best friend; and her tearful confession, during their drawn-out fight, that she decided not to tell him about the time his best friend made a move on her (because it wasn't as if she reciprocated) only seems to be more evidence of her guilt. We find out later that this is just the straw that broke the camel's back and not a deal-breaker in and of itself--but should she have told him about that stolen kiss?

10. In the meantime, in another part of the city, Adie is at a fitting for her wedding dress when she gets some real evidence of someone else's guilt: her fiance has made a sex tape with another woman. It is the weakest link in the whole movie, all but screaming "Macguffin!" I think Adie's family history, in which her father left her mother for another woman, should have been enough for the writers and the actress to build a three-dimensional character from.

9. On the other hand, I appreciated the way they blended family dynamics with some unusual symbols . . .

21 August 2015

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"Two or Three" Book Club, Meeting 122

The results from yesterday's spur-of-the-moment poll are in, and they are unanimous: the "Two or Three" Book Club has another classic to read! =D

I'm sure that many of us have read Le Petit Prince by Antoine de Saint Exupery before, so we won't really be covering new ground. But one thing we haven't done yet is discuss the book with each other. So this should still be interesting!

As I've said, I'm going to be reading in German (and bringing up the Filipino translation now and then), but blogging mostly in English. Mrs. Darwin and Brandon have said that they might tackle the original French. If you'd like to join us with a copy in another difficult language--like, you know, English =P--don't let the book club name put you off. There's always room for one more!

If you're game, let's start the discussion a bit early. Language learner that I am, the burning question I'd like to ask everyone is: What's the story behind your becoming competent enough in another language to be able to read a novel in it?

Image Source: Der Kleine Prinz

20 August 2015

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Theme Thursday 17


Long before I realised I'd have to take Shredded Cheddar in a different direction if I wanted it to survive, I was wishing I could do something about my header. When Parajunkee made it for me five years ago, she let it reflect my interests in Catholicism, Horror movies, the 1980s, my guitar, and of course, books. I still like all these things (though now you'd have to substitute "guitar-driven Pop music" for "my guitar"), but I've also come to like others; and to be accurate again, the header would need some knitting needles, a crochet hook, and a set of flags to represent all the languages in which I can competently conjugate verbs.

It is one of those languages that provides a snippet for the theme from 14 April 2011, which we finally tackle today.

UPDATE: What do you think of making the featured book a spur-of-the-moment "Two or Three" Book Club pick?

Today's Theme:
Emotion

19 August 2015

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Life as a Language Learning Challenge

What I've referred to as "the AJATT method" is really more of a lifestyle. You're not looking to acquire the target language, but to become a native speaker of that language. Or if you prefer, to become a person who uses it the way native speakers do--to access all the stuff you want to access. Like cool music--though I admit that Germany never comes to mind first when I think of music.


Welches ist aehnlich dieses Lieblingsliedes?
Oder welches gefaellt Sie besten?

I wish I could find the AJATT post in which Khatz says that no matter what kind of music you like, you will find someone making it in your target language. So go ahead and dump your L1 favourites and look for some new L2 ones. Find out who your long-lost identical twin would have been! Mine listens to Tim Bendzko in the car. But, I suspect, not just Tim Bendzko.

The goal to become a native speaker may seem impossible, but Khatz isn't the only language learner in the world who has become so fluent in his L2 that those who were born native speakers think that he is one of them. But the main reason I think he's on to something is that something like that has already happened to me. Twice.

14 August 2015

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Life as a Reading Challenge, Chapter 18

There's more than one way TO CLEAR a TBR Pile. I realised that recently, when I started getting serious about my language learning and decided to commit to the "AJATT method," which lets you simulate L2 immersion in an L1 environment. The first step to creating your own personal L2 bubble is TO CLEAR your room of all your L1 stuff. Yes, CLEAR it . . .

So where do you put the artifacts of your pre-immersion life? Where do you put your English-language stuff? In a closet somewhere? No. You get rid of it. Mp3s? Delete them. DVDs? Scratch, sell or slice them apart. Posters? Post them to someone else. Get rid of it. Delete, destroy, dispose. Suggestions: Sell that stuff on ebay and reinvest the funds in Japanese-language materials. Or, trade it with a kid from Japan who wants to learn English. I know it's hard to give it up. I know you were or are a huge "Self" fan, and you've been in love with their music ever since you heard "Stay Home" on the closing credits of the first Shrek, and you loved their music even more when you found out they'd made an album using only toy instruments. I know, okay? I know! But dang it, son! (and I mean "son" in the unisex sense). This is about learning Japanese. Japanese is your life now. Japanese is your future. And you're not about to give it up--you're not about to let it go--in a moment of nostalgic weakness that leads to an all-night marathon of playing Michael Jackson music going all the way to back to when he was black--not that I would know. This is too important for that. You want Japanese too much. So let go. Get rid of the "Self" albums. Put down the ranger, and become who you were born to be. Become Japanese.

-- from the "The Immersion Environment" by Khatzumoto

08 August 2015

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BSC #15: Little Miss Stoneybrook . . . and Dawn by Ann M. Martin

"Oh, hi, Dawn," [Mallory's mother] said. "I'm glad you picked up. I have a special job and I wanted to offer it to you."

. . . Remember when Mallory said that if her sisters heard about the pageant, they'd want to enter it? Well, sure enough, Claire and Margo (who are five and seven) had heard, and they did want to enter. There was just one problem. [Their mother] wasn't going to be able to help them prepare for it . . . She was asking me because I live close by and would never need a ride over. And she was
not asking Mallory, who, of course, would be the most convenient helper of all. She knew what Mallory thought about pageants . . .

"Well," [her mother] finished up, "what do you think? This job would be a little different from most. You'd have to help the girls choose outfits, rehearse for the talent competition, learn to greet the judges, that sort of thing . . . Are you interested in the job, Dawn?"

Now I come full circle: BSC #15 was the first Baby-sitters Club book I ever read--and until I started this reading project a few years ago, also the only one. I had thought I remembered it well, but it was nice to be surprised all over again by a few details. Such as how almost every member of the BSC ends up looking after her own pageant princess. If it had just been a case of one little girl in their circle entering and sparking the interest of all the others, that would have been plausible enough and the story would still have been funny. But Ann M. Martin goes above and beyond: in this novel, the real competition is not for the crown of Little Miss Stoneybrook, but for bragging rights to the title of Best Baby-sitter. Who do you think deserves to win???

Let's hear each senior BSC member make her pitch to the judges . . .

03 August 2015

+JMJ+

Twelve Things about The Descendants

12. High School Musical will always be the best Disney Channel movie of all time, but The Descendants can get the award for the Disneyest Disney Channel movie of all time, because no other studio could possibly remake it. Yeah, anyone else could still produce some sort of fish-out-of-water, rags-to-riches, high-school-set, coming-of-age, opposites-attract story with show-stopping numbers (Let me know if I've missed a hyphenated cliche!) . . . but they couldn't also pepper its world with beloved Disney characters you'd know if you met them on Mars. This is the sort of movie you make because you can.

11. But those beloved characters don't take center stage here. As we can tell by the title and the DVD cover, it is their children who get to grab the spotlight. Whose parents can you identify just by looking at them? Answers after the jump!

10. Or perhaps you'd prefer to to match our "bad" protagonists with the Four Cardinal Virtues? It may seem odd to pair villains with virtues, but we could say that each of them learns the virtue that he most needs when he becomes a student at Auradon Prep, the school for the heroes' children. If you haven't seen The Descendants, maybe something in my descriptions of the four will still give you ideas for combox discussion! (Hint, hint!)

31 July 2015

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Knitting Diary: La "Penso Solo a Te" Berretta

Not every book I read gets reviewed and not every knitting project I make gets blogged about. Which is why, unless we know each other on Twitter, I never got around to telling you what happened to the Popemobag.

But today's project is totally blog fodder, being a nice intersection of several of my interests (which always typically include at least one interest of a friend's), and therefore the best time capsule for this time of my life. This time, that friend was the multi-talented guitarist Christopher.

28 July 2015

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Book Bingo

Having finished my annual Philippine Literature Challenge, which doubles as your Philippine Literature Giveaway (Congratulations again, Sheila!), I can get back to the 2015 TBR Challenge. Unlike my previous "Three-legged List," which featured titles I picked for myself and just put off reading, this one has three books that I never asked for, but that others thought I'd enjoy. So how did they fare?

Well, in general, none of them gave me that "right book at the right time" feeling--though a couple of them convinced me that "the right time" isn't always a recurring planetary aspect you can always run into again . . . even if it takes centuries . . . but sometimes a period of personal history that a window can slam shut on forever. In which case rewarding reading requires a time machine.

3 Books for My TBR Challenge
I Needed A Couple of Nudges to Read

24 July 2015

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Early Edition: Superhero

You'd think a psychic would see his own death coming . . .

In all fairness, assuming that "seers" in general exist, it's perfectly reasonable to say that they wouldn't see their deaths coming if they weren't in the habit of looking for them.

In our discussion of the previous episode, I suggested that Gary's receiving The Paper was a kind of psychic power. He's not anyone's idea of a clairvoyant, but you can't deny that he's got clear insight into the future. And I must have been picking up "vibes" from the Early Edition writers, because they totally go with that idea in this episode!

20 July 2015

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Nonsense and Some Sense Verse Smackdown, Final Winner!
(Revisit Round 1, Round 2, the Musical Intermission, Round 3A, Round 3B, and Round 4)

LEWIS CARROLL!!!

Our champion is a very busy man, so when we (you know, the editorial we) tried to reach him for a comment on his victory, we were told that he could make time to answer only one question. And that question was almost "Which Eurovision song do you think has the best lyrics?" because the editor-in-chief is a troll. Albeit a sincere one. But in the end, also a conscientious one. Which is why that question ended up being:

"Do you have any advice on writing poetry?"

And true to form, Carroll's answer rhymed and scanned like nobody's business . . .

19 July 2015

+JMJ+

A Eurovision Eurolanguage Blog

When people hear the list of languages I've studied, they tend to ask some version of the same question: "No Asian languages?"

And I find some tactful way to say: "I have no interest in modern languages that weren't formed under the Cross." Unless I have a really compelling reason to make an exception, Filipino will be my only Asian tongue.

So it's clear why some languages just won't make the cut. But this doesn't explain why some did. I've been recalling why I started learning those that I know, and the connection between each starting objective and what I ended up with when I decided to stop is telling.

16 July 2015

+JMJ+

Theme Thursday 16


This will be the last post for the Philippine Literature Giveaway until the winner is announced on Monday. Remember to claim all your Rafflecopter entries before then!

Today's theme is from 7 April 2011. And by lovely synchronicity, the excerpt I'm featuring to match it has one of those troublemaking expats.

This Week's Theme:
Beauty

13 July 2015

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Nonsense and Some Sense Verse Smackdown, Round 4
(Revisit Round 1, Round 2, the Musical Intermission, Round 3A, and Round 3B)

It's always a pleasure to get to the finals, aye? =D And for me, also a relief. =)

Before I wrote the posts for the Funny Four, keeping my mind as open as possible about who might move on to the next round, I tried to find two strong poems from each of them: one for the posts I was about to write and a second in case I picked them to move on. I did this because I didn't want to declare a writer a winner just because I knew his oeuvre better. And as I learned more and more about the Funny Four, I found myself setting aside more and more poems--because there were six possible pairings, and therefore, six potential posts. It was clear that Carroll/Nash face-off would be very different from a Belloc/Richards face-off, since the contenders must complement each other in a dance as well as slug it out in a fight. And though I think I've made the right decision for the end of this smackdown, I'm still a little sad about the Ogden Nash vs. Laura E. Richards draft that will now never see the light of day.

Leave it to me to start the most exciting part of the smackdown on a bittersweet note! I think all our writers had a good run; and if I could invite them all to dinner, I'm sure there would be no hard feelings. But before I start planning the menu, we have to know which writer will take the seat of honour . . .

12 July 2015

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Not a Eurovision Blog, But . . .
(. . . I've still got stuff to say!)


What were you doing back in 2006, when Greece gave us that semi-final opening? I was just about to start my first year of teaching high school English, with Greek mythology on the syllabus. And if I had cared at all about Eurovision then, you can bet my students would have got an earful.

The best thing about knowing Greek mythology is being able to divide the world up among the gods in the pantheon. I don't mean just the obvious stuff, like Hera ruling marriage and Athena ruling crafts. Twelve different things in a single category could "belong" to different deities. Give me a few minutes on my favourite crafters' Web site and I'll show you twelve kinds of knitting projects, one for each Olympian. And give Greece a few million Euros on credit (Forgive me . . .) and they'll show you which famous Eurovision song best represents each of them as well. So, how many can you identify?

Answer key after the jump!

10 July 2015

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Option 36: "The Summer Solstice" and Other Stories by Nick Joaquin
(See the Giveaways page for more details or scroll down for the Rafflecopter)

"But how can they believe such things?" demanded Dona Lupeng of her husband as they drove in the open carriage through the pastoral countryside that was the arrabal of Paco in the 1850s.

Don Paeng, drowsily stroking his moustaches, his eyes closed against the hot light, merely shrugged.

"And you should have seen that Entoy," continued his wife. "You know how the brute treats her: she cannot say a word but he thrashes her. But this morning he stood meek as a lamb while she screamed and screamed. He seemed actually in awe of her, do you know. Actually
afraid of her!"


-- from "The Summer Solstice"

It turns out that my rule that all books that make the Giveaway Pool should deserve to be there and not just be my little indulgences is secondary to my rule that Giveaway "Month" should always end with Nick Joaquin. If I were a better curator, I'd bundle this book with another collection of his short stories, which is Option #18. And perhaps I'll still do that! If you win the giveaway, do you want to bet that I will? ;-)

This book should really be entitled "The Summer Solstice", One Other Short Story, and a Novella. This trio come with no introduction, just a generic essay on the author's background. But having finally read the novella, I want to shake the hand of the editor who put it with the other two. For what they all have in common--which you can only really see when they are all together--is a sense of a lost past. And that's very, very Joaquin.

06 July 2015

+JMJ+

Nonsense and Some Sense Verse Smackdown, Round 3B
(Revisit Round 1, Round 2, the Musical Intermission, and Round 3A)

Thanks to a combination of sloppy planning and absolutely no sense of time (which may be the exact same thing), I've had to extend the giveaway for another two weeks. (Ha! I'll bet you thought I was going to say that I had to backdate the post two days! But yeah, that, too.) Remember that the announcement of the giveaway winner is traditionally made with the announcement of the smackdown champion! My hope is that if I'm amusing enough, like J.K. Rowling, who won last week's little face-off, that you'll all forgive me.

And even if you don't the last two W&Q 29 stragglers will! Right, ladies? ;-P

But back to the brackets: today, we're going to see which of our last two contenders gets to enter the finals on the back of a poem about a FAMOUS FIGURE.

Round 3A
The Funny Four

05 July 2015

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Meanwhile, behind the Blog

Last May was an uneasy month for me, for two reasons. First, I realised that two strategic life choices I had made a few years earlier were mistakes. One was grave enough for me to take it to confession; the other was crazy enough for me to take it to this blog today. You might recall that when I first seriously considered learning a foreign language, I implied that it would be Italian. I changed my mind and went with German because: a) Italian seemed too much like Latin (which I had already studied) and I didn't want to apply myself too narrowly; and b) I believed in the idea that the harder something is, the more satisfaction you get after you finally master it.

Well, that second bit may still be true, but I've discovered an unexpected corollary to it. For there is also great satisfaction to be had in making such quick strides with something easy that you can start to apply it almost immediately. And that was precisely my experience with Italian, when I finally caved in this month and bought an Italian grammar guide.

While it's hard to say that I should have gone with Italian all those years ago, it's as clear as day that if I had made a different choice, my experience of Eurovision 2015 would have been very different. You see, while Germany, Austria and Switzerland had English-language songs this year, Italy sent something that actually sounded as if it came from its country . . .

04 July 2015

+JMJ+

Option 35: A Taste of Home: Pinoy Expat and Food Memories, edited by Edgar B. Maranan and Len S. Maranan-Goldstein
(See the Giveaways page for more details or scroll down for the Rafflecopter)

And so we issued the call for submissions--to our friends in the overseas Filipino community . . .

"This book will be a collection of Filipino expats' reminiscences--especially during the writers' growing-up-into-adulthood years--primarily of home and hometown, but having Filipino cooking as the unifying thread: favourite dishes and native delicacies, family recipes and food rituals, favourite watering holes and memorable eating places . . . liberally sprinkled with anecdotes about and reflections on family histories, hometown tales and events, the social milieu during those times, etc., perhaps not directly related to food, but reflective of the 'mixed' Filipino culture.

"It will be about Filipinos abroad writing on what they miss most, how they cope with this absence . . . The contributed piece should also include: a) how that culinary past has survived in the expat's present life . . . b) the expat's first encounter with foreign cuisine, and what comparisons he/she could draw between that and native cuisine . . . c) reactions of foreign-born or -raised children to 'Pinoy food'; and d) as a side-dish, a culinary tip from the writer, such as a much-loved family recipe."

This book fits this year's Philippine Literature Giveaway theme so well that it should have been one of the first "shortlisted" books for the pool . . . but I was lucky to have found it just one week ago. Really lucky if you consider that I never visit the foodie section of bookstores: I don't enjoy normally enjoy reading about food, unless it is the warp to a more interesting woof--such as history, culture, politics, or humour. While the many essays in A Taste of Home achieve this sort of savoury mix of topics, I'm afraid I was a bit disappointed by the paucity of proper "fusion" offerings.

Or maybe I was just let down by the medium's not quite fitting the message. When many of the essays are basically glorified menus, it's awful not to be able to place an order! It also doesn't help that I've always been mostly indifferent to Philippine cuisine. My family's versions of adobo, sinigang, and tinola (dishes which I'd definitely put in a Top 5 list) are not the big stars of my childhood; and I can't really relate to the expats who missed them abroad. Heck, not only did not I not languish for lack of them during the two years I lived in a foreign country, but now that I'm back, I am also homesick for New Zealand kumara and fish and chips in a way I never was for Filipino food.

02 July 2015

+JMJ+

Movie Monster Meditations

To kick off the May at the Movies Locus Focus special, I wrote about the Colonial Theatre in The Blob and delighted at the quaintness of a cinema in a Horror movie that wasn't making some meta statement about the genre, the industry, or the audience. It really seems to me that Horror directors are the most genre-aware auteurs we've got.

There is something consoling in the idea that evil exists apart from us--a separation that is perfectly signified by the fourth wall that protects us from everything we see on the screen. Accordingly, the idea that we, too, may have to wrestle with the monsters we are watching is unnerving. We don't want them to be there when the lights go back on any more than we want our nightmares waiting for us when we wake up. But this sort of thinking is the reason we often believe we can bomb ourselves into peace: after all, if the problem is "those guys over there," then isn't a happy ending merely a matter of getting rid of them?

It is a rare Horror film that dares to suggest that one reason why evil never dies is that we aim at all the wrong targets and never realise that the on-screen monsters only point to the real-life monsters who are sitting in our seats.

Top 5 Meta Movie Houses in Horror

1. Scream 2

Horror movies don't create psychos, the first Scream movie argued, but they do make psychos more creative. Scream 2 continues the debate, asking whether Horror movies--or at least the people who make them--can be held responsible for the actions of some of those who watch them.

Its very first sequence perfectly illustrates both ideas: a psycho creatively uses a movie theatre full of hyped up patrons to cover up his crime . . . and those patrons literally let someone get killed right in front of them because they can no longer tell the difference between real life and a show.

"Ghostface" doesn't literally step out of the screen . . . but whenever a fan dresses up as him, he still kind of does. And when life imitates art, isn't that evidence of the power of art? It's not quite a supernatural power--but it has diabolical effects all the same.

It's life being completely in thrall to art that is frightening--and we see this in the Scream audiences. (I refer to those within the movies, but now I'm also starting to wonder about those on our side of the screen. =P) I can't think of another franchise that gets away with being so openly critical of its target audience, nearly to the point of contempt. Individual characters who are Horror fans seem to be okay, but get enough of them together in one room and they turn into pure possessed id. And it turns out that the one who wields the knife just may be less monstrous than the ones who cheer him on.

For more of my thoughts on all four Scream films, please click on the Screaming tab.