Thursday, May 28, 2009

I should like to join you very much. Let's fetch our wraps.

The country round about Alpine
"Thank you, but we're to go for a long walk."
"I am fond of walking."
"It's a very long walk."
"Why's everybody always supposing I'm not a good walker?"
Probably because it's true . . . well at least somewhat. The fact is I'm a very good walker, even on long walks. What I seem to be finding myself doing lately, however, is hiking and that, my friends, is a horse of a different color. Mostly because hiking is much more vertical. I am all for walking through the woods--its very Robert Frost. In fact, I enjoy it rather a lot: scenery, plus exercise, plus time for thought comes out to a very good time.

The view down Corner canyon in Alpine, UT

The problem with hiking then is not its lack of virtues, because as we already discussed in many ways hiking is like walking. No the real problem is that whole breathing thing. I admit it, one of my strange quirks is that I find it difficult to breath when ascending mountains. It's silly I know. Alas, and yet I continue to willingly go on hikes. As the Bishop's wife put it, it's kind of like childbirth. While you're struggling to breath on the way up you wonder why you got yourself into it, but somehow after reaching the top (or maybe not until you're safely back to your vehicle) and that sense of satisfaction kicks in you suddenly can't quite remember how hard it actually was. Until you're doing it again that is.

The conqueror/good walker

PS Ten points for quote identification.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Done my time

As I alluded to a few posts back, I did in fact recently graduate from college.

Exhibit A
I know, I know you thought the day would never come. Of course it's not because you doubted my academic record, never that, but because you knew I wasn't quite quit with the Y until I had made good on a traditional part of the BYU experience: hiking the Y, which in fact I did last Saturday.

Exhibit B
My friend Ammon and I at the top

And now my career at BYU is:

Exhibit C

Friday, May 8, 2009

More blogging neuroses/confessions

I compulsively edit and re-post previously published posts (occasionally with extensive rewrites).

I am beginning to suspect that I am a serial blogger.
Let's look at the facts: 28 days, 0 posts; 1 day, 3 posts.

What does this mean? Only time will tell.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

I don't know what it is

But something about this picture just makes me smile. Oh those Brits.

Getting the ball rolling

I was quite shocked the other day to discover that it had been nearly a month since my last post. I had a busy middle of April and there will be posts to come on that topic, but for now I figured I'd best build up some momentum and what better way to do so than to begin with an inflammatory post that I've been meaning to post for some time now anyhow.

For what I am about to discuss, I beg some of your pardons and ask the others of you for your patience. Around a month ago, I found myself watching My Fair Lady in search of examples of cockney use for the England CultureGuide that I was working on at the time. Whilst I was doing so, I realized that I seriously dislike My Fair Lady. Now I am aware that to some such a statement is tantamount to sacrilege, but hear me out. Truth be told, I do like about three-fourths of it, but I have serious misgivings about the way it ends and it has nothing to do with Rex Harrison's talk singing, which I am utterly at peace with (in fact I think between Rex and Walter Matthau in Hello Dolly all fussing about Gerard Butler in Phantom of the Opera and Pierce Brosnan in Mamma Mia should be laid to rest, we have a long tradition of imperfect male singers in film musicals to uphold after all). Nor does it have anything to do with the Dr. Dolittle/Eliza Doolittle coincidence that in earlier days mystified me a fair bit. No, what bothers me is Rex Harrison's character's behavior. The entire film/story revolves around the idea of metamorphosis and bringing out inner beauty--we see Eliza progress from her rough Covent Garden persona to a refined, polished, and genteel beauty (both outside and inside) whereas he remains unrepentantly curmudgeonly, rude, and abrasive. And everyone is okay with this? Perhaps, and I do mean perhaps because I don't really believe this myself, it is understandable that when she is rough he treats her roughly, but I feel there should be reciprocal growth and metamorphosis. Why should he be allowed to treat her horribly for forever?

So this led me to ponder farther about the genesis of this story. I can't say I'm surprised with the sexism coming for Shaw's day and age, but I might have expected some rewriting when My Fair Lady was turned into a musical or at least when it was a film. Didn't this bother Audrey Hepburn? I know that they all lived "in a different time" but still we're talking about elemental good behavior here. Maybe from this time on I'll just have to turn the movie off at the end of the ball.

But this is not my only issue with a musical of this era, I also have serious issues with The Sound of Music. For one I think it really is abominably bad behavior of Christopher Plummer to continue to refer to it as "The Sound of Phlegm" unless he is only referring to his own performance, but I suppose that is an issue for another time altogether. For the most part I really do like The Sound of Music, I mean come on Julie Andrews, spades of memorable songs, and children and nuns who sing, what's not to like? Well for some years now I have been extremely uneasy about the song "Something Good." Everyone loves Sister Maria and I think we are all pretty familiar with her exuberance by this point. So in the rush of finding that the man she loves does in fact love her in return, I can go along with her line of thinking as she exudes that she must have done something good in her past to deserve having something so good now (particularly when I take into account that she is a Catholic Nun and that really does go along with much of their doctrine). What rankles me then is that Captain Von Trapp stands right there essentially singing that yes, you must have done something good to deserve me.

Let's look at the facts of the case there, Captain. From the very beginning Maria was a good person willing to sacrifice her entire life to the Lord, but she agrees to leave her dream--becoming a nun--to come help you and your family out. It's Maria who really talks to and bonds with your kids. It's Maria who discovers their talent and individual worth and helps them to see it as well. It's Maria who cultivates their gifts and teaches them to sing. It's Maria who introduces love to your home. And it's Maria who inspires real obedience and good behavior. In fact, it's Maria who the kids run away to see not their philandering father. Doesn't anyone else feel that their parts in the song should be switched? Or at the very least, Captain Von Trapp should sing that he too must have done something good.

The bottom line? I may have to take it upon myself to rewrite some musicals in order to preserve my own sense of right and wrong and simple good behavior.