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Friday, June 21, 2002

"High court outlaws execution of the retarded." Well, duh. Why is this even an issue that has to go before the Supreme Court? In what other civilized country is this even debated? We are a bloodthirsty lot, we Americans. The only reason for this ruling is that the Court noticed a trend for the states that have the death penalty to ban the killing of people who don't understand what's going on. As I said, where does the controversy over this self-evident matter come from?

Of course there were the usual dissenters: Rehnquist, Scalia and Thomas. Scalia even wrote an opinion saying retardation could be easily faked. Well, I don't have anything to say about that, except this: What a moron.


I get so excited on days when I'm expecting something from Netflix. I met my postal carrier at the end of the driveway today and thanked her for the movies. I just mailed The Shipping News back, and I was ready for something a little less snowy and a little more animated. So between Dancer in the Dark and Buckaroo Banzai, you can probably guess which one I watched tonight.

In case you can't guess, it was The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the Eighth Dimension. The director claims he prefers it when people call it simply "Buckaroo Banzai." I'm pretty sure I read something in Kymm's journal that prompted me to put this one on my list. This is a movie unlike any other, and I'm not sure what that means except that you probably either love it or you don't get it at all. I didn't really get it, even with the director's commentary track added. He's weird, too.

I do like oddball futuristic movies, like the Mad Max series and Motorama. I like tongue-in-cheek science fiction like Explorers and Star Kid. In fact, I liked all of those a little more than Buckaroo Banzai.

The Shipping News has its own quirky little niche, the one and only (as far as I know) semi-supernatural character study set on the coast of Newfoundland. It's beautifully photographed and wonderfully acted. I was tempted to turn the sound off and just watch the faces of Kevin Spacey and Judi Dench as the lives of their characters unfolded. Amazing.

Amazing, but not meant for everyone. I wouldn't recommend it to lovers of action movies, because there isn't much. (Some, but not much.) It's subtle and quiet, and the little epiphanies that mark the characters' gradual awakenings are underplayed to great effect. But of course that implies that at first they're asleep, in some sense of the word. I know some people that will go to sleep themselves, just thinking about sitting through this kind of movie. I liked it, though.

workin' on it

A section of the yard I've almost fully cleared of the high, dry weeds.

Realizing I'd never read The Shipping News, I made a side trip this morning on my way home from the post office. Borders is the closest bookstore, and although it's not my favorite place, my favorite place went out of business and I'm stuck with lesser choices. I bought the one Newfoundland book by Annie Proulx, and three others, all by North Carolina writers.

Wendy introduced me to Clyde Edgerton some time ago, and today I picked up two books by him that I hadn't read yet. And while I was in the P section (for Proulx), I found A Short History of a Small Place, by T.R. Pearson. That pretty much wiped me out of both time and money, but I needed something to take on vacation with me in two weeks.

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Latest recommendation:

Scott, Medea Sin, entry for June 21 (I'll be watching Korea vs. Spain tonight, too.)

Recent recommendations can always be found on the links page.

One year ago: How do I get this thing out of reverse?
"That way lies the path to sin and degradation. Or at least sloth and indolence."

Two years ago: Answers With No Questions
"It's better to stir things up, even if it only makes it murkier."

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I feel so break up
I want to go home.