The Writer's Life: Film & Book Reviews, Observations, and Stories
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Posts from — May 2010

Orchids Limited

Orchids Limited in Plymouth is a fun play to visit. The owners do mostly mail order, but their greenhouses are open to the public, and if you’re extra nice, you may get the complete tour. They have to trust you, though, because some visitors steal plants. Can you imagine?

May 30, 2010   Comments Off on Orchids Limited

Clint Scores!

It was fun listening to John Harkes say nice things about Clint Dempsey yesterday during the match with Turkey. He’d obviously been told he had to. John managed to keep his distaste for the Texan out of his voice until Clint scored, and then his first comment was that the ball had bounced off Dempsey’s back into his path. Harkes’ comment had me laughing out loud. The goal was scored through grit, determination, and perfect placement of the ball, not through a lucky bounce.

Dempsey was interviewed after the victory and in his Texas drawl said that Findley’s running on top stretched the defense and created pockets which he and others were only too happy to fill. Even though he’s been in London for a while, there was not one trace of Englishness in his accent. It was pure Texan. When Harkes was playing in England, he sounded like a Wakefield collier. I suppose he wanted to fit in. Happily, his New Jersey accent has returned.

The match had many positives for the U.S., particularly the team’s ability to shift gears and move the ball forward at pace. Of course, it left us vulnerable to Turkey’s swift counter, but that’s the price you pay for playing attacking football. I have to admit I was relieved. We are not going to embarrass on the world stage after all.

May 30, 2010   1 Comment

FC Swarm

Football is alive and well and thriving in San Francisco.

May 28, 2010   Comments Off on FC Swarm

Leaving the past in the past

Das schreckliche Mädchen is a 1991 German film about a young woman (Lena Stolze) who decides to write a student essay about how her city resisted the Nazis only to discover that almost everyone in the community actively collaborated with them. Of course, not wanting to dredge up the past, the civic officials go to extraordinary lengths to deny her access to anything incriminating. The film is a wonderful study of the resilience of youth poised against an unyielding bureaucracy. Of course, it is not as easy as they imagine to carry their sins to the grave.

I suppose now that another generation of Germans has passed, the film is less relevant than it was in 1991. There aren’t many former Nazis left, though the skinheads seem to be with us forever. The film reminded me of the plays of Friedrich Dürrenmatt, some of which I had to read in German for one course or another. It seems the powers that be almost always have something to hide.

May 28, 2010   2 Comments

Listen, Bob!

From the media it’s impossible to tell which U.S. defenders are restricted through injury. Can Gooch jump with his reconstructed knee? Will DeMerit play? Has Bocanegra’s fully recovered from his hernia operation?

Since I don’t know, I’m going to guess that they’ll all play. They have to. Defense is our weakest point.

Bob, I suggest you field the following team against England and drill them as Roy Hodgson might at Fulham (to keep their shape at all times and stay narrow at back)—Dempsey and Altidore up front; Donovan, Bradley, Edu, and Holden in midfield; Cherundolo, Onyewo, DeMerit, and Bocanegra across the back; and Howard in goal.

Listen, Bob, capitalize on your midfield strength. Your son can hack down players in the best European tradition. Let him patrol in front of the back four. Edu is strong, smart, and can score. Holden never gives up and delivers a mean cross. Donovan, on his day, makes incisive runs and delivers precision balls into the box. Midfield the only place where we might have an edge. Use it.

Then, maybe, just maybe, a miracle will occur and the players will develop that special cohesion Americans sometimes have when they play with heart, and not with their heads.

May 27, 2010   Comments Off on Listen, Bob!

Windows 7 and the Missing Memory Stick

Another issue I discovered after installing Windows 7 on my Sony laptop was that the drive for the memory stick disappeared. Luckily, there was a simple solution. I went to Sony’s eSupport website, keyed in the model number, and downloaded the Vista driver for the Texas Instruments card reader.

After that, the drive for the memory stick appeared, but not the icon. This required a second download, and all was well.

May 27, 2010   Comments Off on Windows 7 and the Missing Memory Stick


A snapping turtle
Laying its eggs in the dirt
Next to the highway.

May 27, 2010   Comments Off on 270


Lost in wonderment,
The silent old woman plucks
The fragile flower.

May 26, 2010   Comments Off on 269


In the woods today:
A white-haired couple with canes
And the year’s first faun.

May 25, 2010   Comments Off on 268

A Kind of Penance

It is a kind of penance
Though never recognized as such
Except by me,
An expiation without hair shirts, denials, or Hail Marys,
Which no wife’s curse caused
Or belief in god
Or change of heart or the desire to be better,
But a duality I created,
A gap I cannot close,
Establishing a second person within my skin
Who insists on indicating,
Whether I wish her to or not,
The endless forms of nothing I create,
Leaving me weightless, tethered, and alone,
Denying me the ability to believe
What I must believe in order to exist,
For it is illusion that I crave
The thing that drives me forward
The purpose and substance of my life.

May 24, 2010   Comments Off on A Kind of Penance