Friday, January 18, 2008

Root Beer, the Muppets and Some Religious Heresy

Persuasion on PBSI do have some legitimate posts coming up--really I do! I've been writing posts left and right but I also have a few things that need to be mentioned . . . you know, clean off my desk and all that . . .

1. PBS is running a Jane Austen movie extravaganza on Sunday nights to showcase new movies of all six of Ms. Austen's novels done by Masterpiece Theater. I believe Persuasion (my personal favorite) started off the line-up last Sunday. Indeed! Get on the literary bandwagon and Tivo it pronto!

2. In unrelated events--I make my own homemade syrup on mornings when I'm productive enough to create pancakes for breakfast. A week ago the kids started mentioning that the syrup tasted--funny. I ignored them because since when do I ever listen to my children's food preferences? Until I reached for my maple flavoring to make up a new batch and realized I'd been using root beer extract in place of maple. Root beer syrup on pancakes. How gross is that? Hmmm . . . but Andrew says that he thinks I might be onto something. Add a scoop of vanilla ice cream and it could be the latest breakfast craze.

3. This may be the funniest video ever produced by the Dutch. Or the Flemish. Or whoever these people are (trust me, the language barrier makes it even funnier). I found it on Chili's blog, she's always got something funny going on, but I'll embed it here for convenience's sake (it's got subtitles, so get out your glasses):



4. I mentioned that I'm heading to SanFrancisco for Blogher this summer and I'm thrilled to be bunking with some terrific bloggers. Loralee and Amber I already know and love and Jill I'm looking forward to knowing better. Looks like Blogher's putting together the list of speakers for the conference and I'm a possible victim--I mean speaker. If you want to have my undying affection forever and ever drop an email to elisa[at]blogher.com and tell her why your life won't be complete unless I'm speaking at Blogher (yes, I'm shameless apparently). I just like teaching and blogging and talking. Call it a character flaw.

5. As for other flaws. Tell me, has anyone else out there come home to find their home as humid as a swamp, with water condensed and streaming down the windows? No? Well then maybe I'll send you my 11 year-old son because he's a genius at things like that. It took me a while to figure out what was going on, it was seriously weird with the moisture and funny linty smell in the air--kind of like being stuck in a sauna with the cast of The Muppet Show. I figured my dryer was broken (things are breaking on me lately) and I prepared to call the repairman when I did a little Sherlocking and figured out that the big silver tube on the back of the dryer had mysteriously come unattached and the silly thing was venting into the house. How did that happen you say? Let's just say it was a game of hide and seek gone bad. "Don't ever hide behind the dryer again, do you hear me? Do you??" Actually, he's lucky he didn't hit the gas valve and cause serious problems. There's just no way to avoid things like this in life because I can't begin to think of all the ways a boy can cause trouble. I just don' t think like they do and they're much more creative than I am.

Mwah Award6. I've been lax in passing on a few awards:

Mundane Matters in the Life of Lynn
Something to Say: About Life in the Netherlands
Book-a-rama
The Preacher's Wife
My Many Colored Days
Whitterer on Autism
Are We There Yet Mom?

All were kind enough to mention Scribbit and hand out an award or two. I wanted to list them and say "Thanks!" Nice people like them make blogging the best job in the world (next to my day job of course. And being a travel writer covering Tahiti--that would be pretty sweet).

A lot of these things get passed out but I'm going to go with five blogs that always make my day:

I'm a Drama Mama
Growing a Life
It's All for the Best
My Mommy's Place
Sandy and Kurt (happy birthday!)
Tales from Clark Street

Some old friends, some new--all deserve recognition. If any of you ladies hasn't received the Mwah Award, feel free to pluck it from me.

7. This is so "WOW!" I had to post it. Stare at the four dots in the middle of the picture for 30 seconds (don't fudge) then look at a blank, plain-colored wall. A circle of white light will form in front of your eyes and you'll see an image. I promise. Very weird . . . very Joan of Arc-ish.
Optical Illusion

8. Speaking of religion, last week Charlie Rose interviewed Philip Pullman, author of The Golden Compass from the His Dark Materials trilogy. These books have received more religious criticism than anything since Salman Rushdie's The Satanic Verses (I've been expecting Pullman to get a big ol' fatwah any day now) and have made me wonder why on earth everyone is so upset. If only the Catholic church would get as tense over things like child pornogrphy as they have over these books--but apparently that issue isn't as important as saving the masses from the metaphors in dangerous fantasy fiction.

Though I haven't read the books I've had a hard time believing they represent the literary anti-Christ so I was particularly interested in what the author had to say. After listening for twenty minutes I can say that I support organized religion with all my heart and I just don't get it. Pullman was intelligent, charming and had interesting things to say about Tolkien and Lewis--authors that he's often compared to--in fact there wasn't one thing he said about literature, writing or religion that I didn't agree with. After seeing this interview I think that once again the whole thing is a case of religious panic meets the internet to produce a book-burning fervor of megastar proportions. Here's a clip from the interview, I wish I had the whole thing.

Bottom line? If I really care, maybe I should read the book before I believe/pass along the emails I've received about it.

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42 comments:

Caffienated Cowgirl said...

Hmmm...root beer syrup...I guess you could use it solely as a dessert sauce :)

And as for the dryer incident...I hear ya on that. Nothing like walking into a normally dry room and have water drip off the ceiling...

Chris said...

That Cpt Wentworth was HOT! Anyway...

I'll plug you shamelessly to the Blogher people. I'm not above being bribed though ;)

That optical thing was freaky! And I agree with you on the Pulman thing. Things on the internet get crazy.

MommyTime said...

If only the Catholic church would get as tense over things like child pornogrphy as they have over these books--but apparently that issue isn't as important as saving the masses from the metaphors in dangerous fantasy fiction.

Ah, yes, those peskily dangerous metaphors.

Though I'm saddened that my optical trick just had a ring of light with nothing in the middle but a blob, otherwise, every bit of this post made me chuckle and think.

Lara said...

I so agree with you about the Golden Compass. I have neither read or seen the movie, but I just roll my eyes when I get "the email"...maybe I will read the series. Seems interesting enough.

Root beer syrup....that's actually hilarious.

Chilihead said...

I have read all three Pullman books in this series. They are well-written and the characters are phenomenal. I loved these books because of the characters, the plot, the discussions they provoked. These are thinking books, people.

Cecily R said...

I've wondered a lot about the whole Golden Compass thing. Jon took my kids (I stayed home with the baby) and he didn't feel like it was in any way anti-God or anti-religion. He can be pretty conservative about that stuff too. Those e-mails were painfully annoying.

Barbara H. said...

From the researchers extraodinaire at the Urban Legends Reference Pages at snopes.com comes this quote: "Pullman has left little doubt about his books intended thrust in discussions of his works, such as noting in a 2003 interview that 'My books are about killing God' and in a 2001 interview that he was 'trying to undermine the basis of Christian belief'" (http://www.snopes.com/politics/religion/compass.asp).

So it's not just some over-zealous interpretation of his work: he tells of the danger is in his own words, and it's on purpose.

Maddy said...

Well thanks for the heads up on PBS - TIVO here I come.

As for the drier debacle - why is it that we always think we've seen, done and experienced everything when it comes to kids and then......
BEst wishes

Jill - GlossyVeneer said...

To think that my roomie is a potential speaker! It's like blogging celebrity... ;-)

I'll totally encourage it though, you've got such great patterns and habits on your blog. Many people could learn from you!

Scribbit said...

Barbara H--thanks for your comment. I've seen the stuff on Snopes too and all the quotes that convinced me the guy was a monster but after hearing him speak for himself rather than have his words taken out of context I re-thought my judgment.

He spoke about the Narnia books--which I love--and why they may not be the best representation of real Christian values and I agreed with him. He made no indication that he was an atheist or an agnostic but instead compared his books to Paradise Lost.

I guess the point I'm trying to make it that I didn't hear anything from him to give me the concern that the stuff I've read would have me feel. I'm just suggesting that maybe the things being written and passed around shouldn't be accepted as infallible.

Milehimama said...

Just FYI - The Catholic League, which is the main opponent of Pullman, is NOT the Catholic Church. It is a group of laymen. Kind of like the HSLDA is to homeschooling - they have a loud soapbox and a tendency to jump on bandwagons, which may or may not be good.

Just so you don't think the Pope has been railing against it or anythign. Truthfully, he's got better things to do.

Scribbit said...

Milehimamma--

That gives me a lot of comfort--thanks for clarifying! Just goes to show how a little misinformation can be a bad thing :)

MommyK said...

Some religious leaders have praised Pulman's work, because religious oppression DOES happen. A perfect example is the way women in Saudi Arabia are treated. Women can't vote or leave their homes unaccompanied by a man or expose their ankles, and when a woman and her companion were gang raped, the female victim was given a jail sentence for being in the company of a man who was not a relative. The ruling was overturned, but it really makes you think about the role religion plays in our lives, and how it should not be abused in the name of God.

I'm Catholic and my faith is very important to me, but my first thought when I received the Golden Compass email was what fantastic free publicity it was for the movie company.

Magpie said...

That Dutch video is hysterical. Danke.

Jordan (MamaBlogga) said...

LOVE the video--so passing it on. One note: they're Norwegian. Now you know!

Chris said...

"the Golden Compass email was what fantastic free publicity it was for the movie company." I so agree with MommyK's statement. You can't buy that kind of publicity.

I can see why your post hit a nerve but I agree that you can't take what someone says at face value. It pays to check it out yourself.

Melissa Markham said...

Hmmm...root beer syrup. My son loves root beer, but has only recently starting eating syrup.

Penelope Anne said...

I don't know root beer syrup sounds tasty to me...I am weird though.
I wish our PBS came in better I would make the hubby watch Jane Austen movies...payback for all the James Bond.

Loralee Choate said...

You would be AWESOME at speaking at BlogHer.

It is going to be so much fun bunking with you!

P.S.
I'm in Austen HEAVEN!

Lisa said...

LOVE Jane A. Thanks for letting me know. (squee!)

As for the Golden Compass.

You would make an awesome speaker at BlogHer! COol.

Damselfly said...

You *make* your own syrup? I'm not worthy, I'm not worthy! I thought I was pretty hot making pancakes from scratch. I can't compete! ;)

Thank you so much for the Mwah! award. I'm blushing!

Daisy said...

Sometimes controversy can sell books. I've been trying to get the Golden Compass trilogy from my school's library, but it seems to always be checked out. :) Since I'm on our school's review committee in case of parent objection or complaint, I think I'd better get prepared.

Christine said...

Now there is a sundae you don't hear about everday, a rootbeer one!
The kids would love it.

I love Jane Austen movies, especially Sense and Sensibility!
Thank you for the info and the award.

imadramamama said...

O.K. I love pancakes and I love syrup...but I don't think I could stomach Root Beer syrup. LOL!

Thanks you so much for the award. You make me blush...

luvmy4sons said...

Loved the video. Loved the dots stare at it and make a picture deal...and the root beer syrup was hilarious! Thanks for the laughs!

Leslie said...

Thanks so much for the Mwah! award! I can't tell you how great that made me feel!

I cannot believe you make your own syrup. I rarely make my own pancakes!

The video was hilarious and the optical illusion thing was very cool.

As for Philip Pullman's books? I gave His Dark Materials to a twelve year old nephew for Christmas. It's the only thing since Harry Potter that has gotten that kid to step away from his video games and do, well, anything other than sleep and go to school. I considered those books well-written fiction. And if they stir up conversation about how that fiction compares to real life, well, what's wrong with that? Thinking is good. Questions are good. What is true and right will stand up against scrutiny.

Theresa said...

I saw Jesus!
There's nothing that gets me down to the bookstore and shelling out cash like an old fashioned fatwah. I've read the first two Pullman books and really enjoyed them. Been saving the third for a treat. I'm puzzled over the criticism so far. Seems like an old fashioned "people are both good and evil" tale to me.
PS I'm going to e-mail Blogher and tell them you speaking might be the reason I go!

Anonymous said...

Can anyone explain how our brain and eyes work to create the optical illusion? I looked at the dots much longer than 30 seconds. My image would move to the right and disapper. If I looked down, and then up to the blank wall again, I could see the image again. I was able to repeat this several times. How does this work?

Rani said...

do share the homemade syrup recipe if you have time...

Jane rocks...

Guess we should apply the 'don't believe everything you read' rule to the world wide web and emails, too...

Inkling said...

Shew...what a lot on which I could comment. Root beer syrup....now that's a good memory for your kiddos. May I just say that I'm still seeing Jesus floating on my wall?

As for the whole Compass book series thing....while I'm all about choosing literature that upholds the values of truth, beauty, and goodness, I'm also about giving something a fair chance and gleaning whatever I can from something. If the books are really awful and subversive, at least it would behoove me to know that firsthand before opening up my mouth. (In other words, did Jerry Falwell personally interview the Teletubbies?) I liked the way you stated your perspective. Thanks.

luckyzmom said...

I'm with inkling on all points, including the image on my wall. Strange.

Maria said...

Was that picture from the Persuassion movie? We recorded it and haven't finished it yet. I think we will tonight! Loved the video of the "book".

Carinne said...

Video cracked me up... Still chuckling....Ha!

And, I loved what Leslie said about the Pullman books. I've gotten on the bandwagon about wanting to boycott the movies/books from things I've read about him. Mostly something I heard that he said about how was hoping to turn kids to atheism. I didn't want to give him any incouragement. But, its not as if his little books are really going to do any damage. Maybe I'll read them and check them out for myself....if I ever have time to read....I have a list of books on my list of "things to read".

An Ordinary Mom said...

#4 - I can't believe I will be missing you speak?!?!?

#7 - That is a very cool image ... I can even still see it while typing this comment.

madamspud169 said...

I am so jealous!
Not only are you going to Blogher and in Frisco no less but you're also bunking with one of my favourite bloggers (Loralee).

Oh it's times like this I really wish I lived in America. That and when I try to cook biscuits and gravy (I can never get it right somehow and my biscuits are just inedible)

Mer said...

First of all, a big hurray for all things Jane Austen!

I loved the movie about the new technology called "book"!

Also, I think I may have stared at that optical illusion thing too long... because it was a few minutes ago that I tried it, and I can still see the image when I close my eyes. Crazy.

dawn224 said...

#7 is cool :)

J at www.jellyjules.com said...

Hey, I saw Jesus! Very cool. And amen about Pullman. There are SO MANY MORE IMPORTANT things to worry about. Amen.

Countess said...

I got interested in the movie Golden Compass, so went ahead and read the series on the remote chance I would be able to see the movie someday. Then I started hearing all the controversy. I thought I must have read a different book, because I got nothing out of it that the sensor-types were claiming was in there. They also claimed interviews with Pullman where he was an avowed atheist and wanted to discredit God and hated Lewis, etc., etc. The more recent interviews sound nothing like that.
I refer to myself as a fundamentalist school survivor. This is exactly the kind of thing they would get all het up over, but spare no thought at all if any of their students didn't get square meals at home. The Protestants and Catholics can all get bent out of shape over the completely wrong things.

Countess said...

I'm pretty sure I used the wrong sensor there. Censor? I used to know these things.

We (as in Scott) make our own syrup too, using blueberries, butter, and brown sugar. One of the few things the kids will eat.

Jenn in Holland said...

Gawrsh, I am saying thanks for the award (and thanks for passing it on) and so sorry that I didn't see this whole thing long before. Kinda feel like I am late to the scribbit party. But I do so like to be here, so thanks for letting me crash.

Melanie K said...

I love Jane Austen too and was so happy to see that PBS was doing the entire batch. I TiVo and watch while my husband goes off to his poker game. :) So in Northanger Abbey, WHAT was up with the casting for John Thorpe? He couldn't have been creepier--and it wasn't in a "I'm going to try to woo you and then let my evil side show," it was just "please don't ever let me meet this guy in the mews at night" creepy.