My Strange Reaction to “The Book Thief” (Spoiler Alerts, People)

December 12, 2013 § 11 Comments

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Photo courtesy of IMDb

I went to see “The Book Thief” with a friend a few weeks ago. I knew nothing about it except it was set in Nazi Germany and involved a girl joining a new family.

My friend and I discussed how we really do enjoy seeing a movie knowing little about the plot, as we like to see it unfold before us with no preconceived notions, and our reactions are genuine – usually finding delight in letting the storyteller take us to places we don’t anticipate. It’s a little like having a trusted friend lead you around when you’re wearing a blind-fold.

As the movie progressed, I felt as I expected – loving the good story, wanting to know what happened next, in awe of the amazing acting of Geoffrey Rush and Emily Watson – not to mention those marvelous child actors, Sophie Nélisse and Nico Liersch. I was lost in John Williams’ magnificent musical score, and impressed with the director’s ability to convey horror without gore. « Read the rest of this entry »

Happy ANYTHING, Okay?

December 2, 2013 § 31 Comments

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I’m a little late with this post, as it’s already the sixth night of Chanukkah. You may have heard (if you don’t live under a rock) that it coincided with Thanksgiving this year, and travel, and blah, blah, blah – so apologies for tardiness. However, it is NOT too late to discuss the nuttiness that surrounds these winter holidays.  In particular, I’d love to address addressing. Not as in envelopes, but as in in greeting people.  Specifically, in greeting ME.

There always seems to be a well-meaning discussion about how to greet others.  Do we wish them happiness in the holiday THEY celebrate?  Or do we wish them well in the holiday WE celebrate?  What do we say if we’re not sure?  How do we avoid offending? « Read the rest of this entry »

Jew-ish

October 18, 2013 § 6 Comments

Author’s Note:  I wrote this a couple of years ago for my local Patch blog.  In light of “The View’s” recent “discussions” and comments about Jews – you can read about it here and here – I thought it was worth re-publishing.

Me with a tiny man outside tiny synagogue, outside Orthodox quarter of Jerusalem. June 1990.

Me with a tiny man outside tiny synagogue, outside Orthodox quarter of Jerusalem. June 1990.

Perfect!!!  I thought of this about a month or so ago as a way to describe my religious life/beliefs, such as they are.  Jew-ish.  “Ish!”  It’s right there in the name!  I’m a Jew.  Ish. Kinda in the middle – sorta…

That helped me crystallize some of the ways in which I am a full-fledged Jew, and ways in which I am kinda, sorta – you know, Jew-ish.  Hope you don’t mind my sharing. « Read the rest of this entry »

Why I’m Cheering for “Popular Science”

October 4, 2013 § 6 Comments

2012/04/12 Tracey

A little over a week ago, Popular Science published an article called “Why We’re Shutting Off Our Comments.”   In it, the magazine announced that, from now on, it would no longer allow comments on stories it publishes online.  An old friend from college posted the article on Facebook, tagging me and a few others asking our opinions on the decision.  My response was this:  “You had me at the title.  I don’t even need the ‘Why’ at the beginning of it.”

I can imagine the protests to come – calling the decision outrageous, violations of the First Amendment, cowardly, etc.  To those accusations I already had my pat reply: that what is really outrageous is the online culture of stupidity and meanness so pervasive in what is attempting to pass for internet discourse.  First Amendment rights do not entitle people to say whatever they please behind the anonymity of their computer screens about whatever they please and be heard by a particular organization’s audience.  Cowardly is more accurately descriptive of spambots, trolls, and first-generation-uprights who take every opportunity to sabotage any semblance of conversation begun by an author’s original piece. « Read the rest of this entry »

You Must Buy A Gun! Except, Not Really.

September 28, 2013 § 1 Comment

Gun target

I learned by watching Bill Maher, that not one, but two towns in Georgia have laws requiring – requiring – heads of households to own a gun.  Kennesaw, GA has had its law on the books since 1982.  In a city of almost 30,000 people, the following law states:

(a) In order to provide for the emergency management of the city, and further in order to provide for and protect the safety, security and general welfare of the city and its inhabitants, every head of household residing in the city limits is required to maintain a firearm, together with ammunition therefore.

(b) Exempt from the effect of this section are those heads of households who suffer a physical or mental disability which would prohibit them from using such a firearm. Further exempt from the effect of this section are those heads of households who are paupers or who conscientiously oppose maintaining firearms as a result of beliefs or religious doctrine, or persons convicted of a felony. « Read the rest of this entry »

Sympathy and Advice for the Now-Infamous “Mrs. Hall”

September 21, 2013 § 4 Comments

Girls at beach taking selfie

This was written in response to an open letter that circulated a few weeks ago, written by a mother of boys to their friends who are girls.  Please read that here first.

Dear Mrs. Hall,

I’m going to guess you’ve had a tough week.  Here you are, a small-time blogger (like I am) and one of your posts blows up in your face.  I’m not going to lie – I have very mixed feelings about you, the open letter you’ve written, and the support/backlash you’ve undoubtedly received as a result.  I’m not sure either the praise or the e-lynchings are entirely called for (although I tend to side with the critics on this one) but, hey – that is the risk we take when we write an open letter to the internet public and hit publish.

I’ve never met you, and my only impression of you is this one FYI letter you wrote to the girls in your sons’ lives – just like you have never met some of the girls whose photos you check out, and to whom you address your public letter. I can see from your blog you’ve received hundreds of comments in support, that you’ve got THOUSANDS awaiting moderation (just do yourself a favor, and close the comments) and that you will delete comments you consider rude. Since, however, you have become an internet phenomenon by doling out unsolicited advice, I can only assume you, yourself, would be open to unsolicited advice from a fellow mother, woman, and writer. « Read the rest of this entry »

Modern Race Relations 101: A Primer for White People

August 28, 2013 § 6 Comments

courtesy of samurai racer

courtesy of samurairacer.blogspot.com

Well before the Trayvon Martin verdict, I had seen, heard and read about white people dismissing the racial context of the case.  Some do this artfully and skillfully; others, not so much.  I’ve been wanting to explore some of these maneuvers more closely for a while now. « Read the rest of this entry »

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