Sunday, February 1, 2015
Sunday Sundries, 35
1. I don't like to write the word asshole, but every now and then there's just no other word that will do. Take this past Wednesday evening. About 5:30, Joyce and I were driving off on our weekly visit with my old Harmon School colleague Andy Kmetz (now in an assisted living facility in Kent). We were southbound, sitting at the intersection of East Main St. and Streetsboro Road (Ohio 303) (see map). That portion of East Main is one-way, and at that corner it's difficult to look east on 303 to see if any cars are coming. The only car with any view at all is the first car in line (which was our car on this notable Wednesday). It was one of those times when traffic was not heavy, but it seemed as if each car were followed by another, just closely enough that it was not safe enough to pull out onto 303. Well, the asshole behind me (who couldn't see the 303 traffic until it was right in front of him) had other ideas, ideas he expressed with the horn of his car. Each time a car would pass, the asshole would honkety-honk-honk, urging me out onto 303, where, if I'd listened to the asshole, would have put us on the receiving end of a collision. I wanted to get out and go tell the asshole, "Look, Asshole, the intersection was not clear. I'm not about to risk my life and the life of my lover so that you can get to wherever you're going thirty seconds sooner than you're going to."
But I didn't do it. These days, you don't know who's packing, who's got road rage, etc. So I just muttered, "Asshole!" and waited till it was safe.
2. Last week we spent a few evenings (in bed) streaming The Interview, that film that caused the North Koreans some anguish. Actually, it caused us some anguish, too. I thought it was horrible. Sure, I laughed a few times (I'm very immature), but for the most part the humor was juvenile, unimaginative, predictable. James Franco was about the worst I've ever seen him, and Seth Rogen was right behind him. I think it's time for these guys to try adulthood ...
3. On Saturday night we saw Whiplash at the Cinemark in Macedonia--and we both loved the film. It's about a verbally abusive jazz teacher at a fictional music school (I think we're supposed to believe it's a place like Berklee College of Music--Boston), a teacher who sees some potential in a young drummer and who employs the most vicious language you can imagine with that young man--and with the other members of his student jazz band. That verbal abusiveness aside--both Joyce and I, career-long teachers, recognized in that teacher the highest standards he was using with his students. If you don't have high standards, if you don't challenge your students with difficult material, well, little progress ensues. No need to be a jerk about it, but expectations matter.
I didn't like everything about the film. There's a cliched family dinner scene that the director easily could have (should have) cut, and the film tread very carefully through the racial minefield. The teacher directed virtually all of his abuse at his white musicians.
4. Writing about my mother's education recently, I misstated her schooling. Her BA was from Vanderbilt, not her MA.