Residential Space A creative outlet during residency, turned ongoing virtual soap box

Munich – an awesome film  0

Posted on December 26th, 2005. About Entertainment.

Previously posted on December 26, 2005 at: http://spaces.msn.com/members/jodidodds/Blog/cns!1p1a54g1PSNkhyBLLbfi4i8A!147.entry

 Schindler’s List is my all-time favorite film. It is, by far, the most moving and haunting movie I have seen, and Schindler’s transition from miserly profiteer during the harsh atrocities of the Holocaust to compassionate hero is such an astonishing evolution to witness over a three hour period. Twelve years later, Spielberg gives us Munich, which features the aftermath of violence between Israelis and Palestinians resulting from the massacre against the Israeli Olympic team by Palestinian terrorists during the 1972 Olympic Games. Eric Bana superbly captures his role of Avner, a former bodyguard to Prime Minister Golda Meir who is sent to assassinate eleven Palestinian sympathizers implicated in the 1972 Munich murders. Avner and his counterparts are gradually transitioned from “normal” Israeli citizens into unofficial government-hired assassins, killing in hopes that it will bring peace to their country. What they come to see is that no amount of murder will ever result in peace. Both sides of the conflict are explored very well, and the dialogue remarkably conveys the emotions and rationale behind each argument without seeming overtly staged. I would definitely place this one on the Oscar list for 2005. I am appalled that A History of Violence made the Golden Globe list but Munich did not. I see that Munich is up for best director (Spielberg) and best screenplay, but that’s it. Hopefully the Academy will show a bit more good taste for excellent films.

Overly ambitious, perhaps?  0

Posted on December 26th, 2005. About Books.

Previously posted on December 26, 2005 at: http://spaces.msn.com/members/jodidodds/Blog/cns!1p1a54g1PSNkhyBLLbfi4i8A!146.entry

I have decided that I *am* going to attempt to read 50 books in 2006. Now, those who know me best probably find this hilarious given that I seldom make it through five books in a given year, but I am determined to read more. I believe the way Jenna’s goal went was 50 books or 15,000 pages, and not all 50 books had to be the length of Atlas Shrugged. I may even begin posting reviews on my website – http://www.jodidodds.com – which is actually a website documented my running experiences, but I can create a sub-directory and go for it. I actually know exactly where to start with my reading too – Mom, Evan, and I saw the new cinematic version of C.S. Lewis’ The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, and I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed it! This is the only book of the Chronicles of Narnia series I have read, and it was when I was in fourth grade – so I think it’s time to read the series (See? Seven books, right there…). I also received Doris Kearns Goodwin’s new Abraham Lincoln biography, Team of Rivals, for Christmas, so that will be on there as well (significantly longer than any of the Narnia books). I will put together my reading list and post it soon.

Smells like Schizophrenia  0

Posted on December 21st, 2005. About Entertainment.

Previously posted on December 21, 2005 at: http://spaces.msn.com/members/jodidodds/Blog/cns!1p1a54g1PSNkhyBLLbfi4i8A!144.entry

Poor David Letterman!
 
It is being reported that a woman is seeking a restraining order against him because he is sending her secret signals through gestures and “code words” while doing his late-night talk show. I understand that schizophrenia is a mental illness and I feel great empathy for this woman as well, but for Letterman to have to pay attorneys to defend his “behavior” and his reputation is disturbing.

“Head and Shoulders” by: F. Scott Fitzgerald  0

Posted on December 9th, 2005. About Books.

Previously posted on December 9, 2005 at: http://spaces.msn.com/members/jodidodds/Blog/cns!1p1a54g1PSNkhyBLLbfi4i8A!142.entry

Anyone who knows me is aware of the fact that I became an F. Scott Fitzgerald fan after taking a marvelous course on Fitzgerald and Hemingway during my college days. Not only was I enrolled in a fascinating course, but it was taught by Matthew Bruccoli, well-recognized as the world’s leading Fitzgerald scholar. He has amassed the most sizeable and important Fitzgerald collection in the world over his 50+ years of scholarship, and on the centennial of Fitzgerald’s birth (1996 was the 100th anniversary), Bruccoli donated his collection to the University of South Carolina’s Thomas Cooper Library. Throughout the course, we held first editions belonging to Fitzgerald, inscribed to him by greats such as Hemingway and Joyce. It was among the more remarkable academic experiences I can boast.
 
I would like to comment here on a Fitzgerald short story unfamiliar to me until this afternoon, Head and Shoulders, from The Short Stories of F. Scott Fitzgerald, edited by Bruccoli. Bruccoli notes that this was Fitzgerald’s first short story to appear in the Saturday Evening Post (1920), and indeed it does seem somewhat juvenile compared to the author’s later writings. However, it is very amusing and whimsical – typical Fitzgerald, admiring a woman and yet blaming her for a man’s poor decisions that have led him into a less-than-stellar existence. In brief, Horace Tarbox is a seventeen year old boy, full of scholastic promise as he pursues his Master of Arts degree at Yale, until the beautiful and interesting vaudeville actress, Marcia Meadow, appears at his doorway. From this point, he falls for her and sacrifices his entire future in academia to marry her. They call themselves “Head and Shoulders” – she earns money dancing (shoulders) until his intellectualism begins to gain recognition and earn money (head). (Warning: spoiler alert!) She becomes pregnant and is forced to stop dancing and acting. He, therefore, must use his skills in gymnastics to earn money for his new family; later, he finds that while he has been performing each night, she has been writing a book. Her book is published, she becomes a famous author while he performs, and a newspaper article at the end of the story paints her as the head and him as the shoulders in the relationship.
 
It is a real killer- throughout the narrative, the contrast in the two people’s cognitive ablities is quite evident – Marcia cannot comprehend the basics of philosophy or economics (she even comments on her husband’s endless reading on the subject of “economy,” when she means “economics”), while Horace enters Princeton at 13 and debates whether he should wait until he is 17 to compose a series of essays, while he will title “The Pragmatic Bias of the New Realists.” The reader cannot help but cringe when the newspaper at the story’s conclusion refers to Marcia as the “head” in their marriage.
 
Dr. Bruccoli used to tell me that he believed Fitzgerald painted women in a positive way compared to his contemporaries of the time. It is true that he describes their beauty and their importance to men, but I find a pattern emerging in which the male protagonist blames a woman for his lack of success. Head and Shoulders fits perfectly within this description. In any case it is a fun and interesting read, especially after having read Fitzgerald’s darker, more complex writing from later in his life (Tender is the Night is the piece that springs to mind here).
 
Of note, it was Dr. Bruccoli who encouraged me to evolve into a rare book collector. My Iris Murdoch collection exists because of my experience with this remarkable English professor.

Inspiration!  0

Posted on December 8th, 2005. About Books.

Previously posted on December 8, 2005 at: http://spaces.msn.com/members/jodidodds/Blog/cns!1p1a54g1PSNkhyBLLbfi4i8A!141.entry

I have recently found the inspiration required in order to write a good, complete story. I would claim to be writing a book, but A) I don’t know how long it will be, and B) I may get sick of writing it at page 40 (which has happened twice before). I have a day off tomorrow and look forward to working on an outline and character summaries.
 
On that same note, my friend, Jenna, spent 2005 attempting to read 50 books and/or 15,000 pages within the year. I think she’s on ~ book 39, but knowing her, she will not sleep the final two weeks of December in order to achieve her goal. I seriously doubt I could read that many books in 2006, but I am playing with the idea. I have reached a point where I watch too much television and could use a good dose of intellectualism again, especially given how nostalgic I have grown recently over my college days. I will put together my ideal list of the 50 books I would like to finish – some will be new for me, and others re-reads of what I used to enjoy but have not touched in nearly a decade – and I’ll post it. Keep in mind that whenever the final Harry Potter book is published, whatever I am reading at that time will be dropped in order to learn whether Harry or Voldemort ultimately survives. The same goes with anything new that Jonathan Safran Foer may complete – all else gets tossed aside to indulge myself with his next novel/essay/anthology.

OK Computer  0

Posted on December 5th, 2005. About Ramblings.

Previously posted on December 5, 2005 at: http://spaces.msn.com/members/jodidodds/Blog/cns!1p1a54g1PSNkhyBLLbfi4i8A!140.entry

This is the most comfortable I have felt in a long time. To set the scene: I am sitting on the couch in my condo with my laptop where it belongs (on my lap). The only sources of light are a candle burning on the table next to me and a lamp that is on across the room. In the background I am savouring Radiohead’s OK Computer as I type, read, talk to my closest friend on the phone… The blinds are open, allowing the gorgeous light-speckled Seattle skyline into my living room. I could still be the girl in college, leisurely writing a term paper for my Ulysses course or chatting online with a fellow college disc jockey at 3AM, all the while Paranoid Android eminating from the stereo. How am I already 27 years old?
 
When I begin to feel nostalgic about my freshman year in college at the University of South Carolina, OK Computer is a reasonable listening choice. It was Adam Humphreys who introduced me to Radiohead during that pivotal year, 1997. He also introduced me to Samuel Beckett. That was the year I went to Atlanta at least four times for weekend academic team competitions and stayed with my friend James Sloan, at the time a freshman at Georgia Tech. Daniel Jones and I split the list of Nobel laureates in literature, and I memorized Ernest Hemingway (1954) through Dario Fo (1997). That was the year that I studied calculus with Brad Walters at the IHOP down the street, and it was the year that I began working towards becoming a physician (a goal that seemed so farfetched and futuristic at the time). That was the year I began reading about art and visiting galleries regularly. I remember the first time I saw Picasso’s The Three Musicians – at a special exhibition at The High Museum of Art –  and it seems like yesterday that James and I were trying to hail a taxi in the middle of the night after the MARTA had shut down. I remember my first alcoholic drink that year – with Evan and James, a Long Island Iced Tea, followed by a Kamikazi. I can recall the first time I saw Evan, in my chemistry recitation session, and then how excited I was that he was assigned the lab station across from mine. And I so easily recall that sense of independence I felt for the first time, living away from home, watching the sun rise as I discussed Atlas Shrugged with a group of suffering philosophy majors; of engaging in fierce debates at The Waffle House over whether The Smashing Pumpkins could be a good group despite their attempt to copy Nirvana’s style. For the first time in my life, I felt free, interesting, interested, attractive, and bold. I remember everything as though it were last week, and I cannot fathom how it was possibly so long ago. Am I going to be 40 before I know it?
 
Thanks, OK Computer.
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