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The Ewoks of my Youth

In preparation for the release of Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith, I've been revisiting the first five movies on DVD, not only to refresh my memory but also to see if the wisdom of my years brings any new perspective to them. After watching four of the five in the last week, I think I can safely say that they have not. To be honest, I'm not sure there's a whole lot more there with the Star Wars series. It's an interesting and fantastic world with some fairly easy moral lessons but I can't find any depth. Fortunately for me, I saw the first three under the influence of youth and therefore they will always be special to me. I make no apology for any of the movies that I loved as a child, bad as though they may be: Star Wars, The Karate Kid, Rocky IV, Teen Wolf, Goonies, and even up to Home Alone and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. I don't think it's possible to divorce your experience of some entertainment as a child from that which you would have as an adult. I turn on Star Wars and in some sense, I'm seven years old again, complete with C-3PO action figure carrying case and model Imperial speeder bike.

Lately the "favorite Star Wars" question has been floating around again and when asked I responded with The Empire Strikes Back. That seemed to be the popular answer but I hadn't seen them recently enough to really make an informed decision. After the latest re-watching, I think I actually have to go with Return of the Jedi. The dialogue and acting produces the fewest cringes, good triumphs over evil, and father and son are reunited--what more can you ask for? I also like the contrast of the heavily wooded Endor against the starkness of the space scenes. And finally, I love the Ewoks. There I said it. They may have been a concession to the kids but I was a kid, and besides, the Ewoks were no punks. They had spears and arrows, lived in cool forts in the woods, and they knew how to party.

Long live the Ewoks, Mr. Miyagi, and all the movies of youth.

May 16, 2005 | Comments (2)

The Fog of Sickness

It's amazing what a common cold can do to your outlook on life. You lose all ambition to accomplish something. Want to read a few pages of Kierkegaard? No way. How about writing something for Veronika's page? Too much work. What about taking in a little '60s Italian cinema? Not in the mood. Put in thirty minutes on the elliptical machine? You must be kidding. This was me for the last ten days. The only thing I was concerned with was making it through each day in the hopes that the next day I would feel better. All I wanted to do was be healthy.

It's bad enough to have to go through a work week or an uneventful weekend like this but it's even worse when you have to stick it out for an uncancelable prior commitment. I am speaking of last Friday, when I went into the city for the first half of my terrific birthday present from Dinka--a class at the Institute of Culinary Eductation. My gift certificate was for two courses and the first I chose was "Working with Whole Fish" to help me overcome my fear of dealing with fish on the bone. The course was great but I quickly realized how many basic kitchen skills I lack. The instructor was sympathetic and encouraging but I could tell that it was painful for her to watch me work without stepping in. When watching me struggle through some slicing and mincing, she said, "Oh, you poor dear." I think my next class will be "Knife Skills." Anyway, despite my enthusiasm it was a struggle to make it through the class. It had been a long and sick week and I was on my feet, frantically preparing several fish recipes for four hours. I could only imagine how much more fun the class would have been if I had had some energy and a proper appetite.

But today the fog finally lifted and I emerged from my cocoon like the very hungry caterpillar. I woke up feeling good, with a fresh perspective heading into the day. I even got to work out, which always helps to get the blood flowing and appetite back on track. On the way home, I was relaxin' with Miles Davis with the windows down on a warm May afternoon. As I passed the park indicating that I was a few minutes from seeing Veronika, I could actually smell the blossoming trees along the road. I took a deep breath, thought of my new home in the Northeast and realized that life is good.

P.S. Why didn't anyone tell me that having a child would mean a tenfold increase in illness? I used to never get sick (and I have the perfect attendance awards to prove it) but now it seems like this household is never more than a few weeks away from a fresh round of coughing and runny noses. I did not know I was signing up for that.

May 05, 2005