Saturday, July 05, 2014

Sunday Stealing

Sunday Stealing: The Patriotic Meme

1. Are you "proud to be an American?" Very. Especially after reading excerpts of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg's opposing opinion in the "Hobby Lobby" decision. I love it that we can voice our dissent so freely.

2. Favorite Founding Father? Thomas Jefferson. "Religion is a matter which lies solely between Man and his God, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship …" As a Christian and an American, I'm a big fan of the separation of Church and State, and it's clear Jefferson was, too. A man of amazing intellect and a wonderful writer, too.

3. Favorite president? Oh, I know I should say Lincoln because well, he's completely wonderful and I do love Illinois' favorite son. But it has to be JFK. He maintains such a hold on my heart and my imagination. This past week, when we observed the 50th anniversary of the landmark civil rights legislation he introduced, he's been on my mind a lot. His short life (he was 46 when he died and it sobers me to remember that I've now outlived him) has taught me so much.

I believe President Kennedy agreed with me about Jefferson, too. I recall his toast the evening he hosted every living Nobel Prize winner: "This is the most extraordinary collection of talent, of human knowledge, ever at the White House -- with the possible exception of when Thomas Jefferson dined alone."

4. Biggest "Patriotic Moment?" Every time I vote. I know that sounds corny, but it's true. It always feels very "big" to me.

5. Favorite patriotic song? "America, The Beautiful." Especially when we sign all the verses in church. There's one about the heroes who "more than self their country loved and mercy more than life." Gulp! That gets me every time.

6. Favorite American cuisine? Burgers

7. Happiest political moment of your life? Tuesday, November 4, 2008. Soldier Field. Standing with thousands of my fellow Chicagoans in Soldier Field watching our senator give his acceptance speech as the nation's first African American President. The crowd was so diverse, so peaceful, so proud. I remember Sen. McCain's succession speech was uncommonly gracious, too. A very important, very healing night. I wish everyone could have been there.

8. Best fireworks display you've ever seen? At Navy Pier, behind the ferris wheel, over Lake Michigan. Navy Pier is so crowded and touristy that sometimes I forget how splendid it can be.

9. America's gift to the world? Coca Cola. And I'm only being a little flippant. I do dearly love the stuff.

10. Favorite Bill of Rights right? I'm a big fan of the First Amendment. And again, even though I thought the Hobby Lobby ruling was dangerous, I think it completely rocks that the ladies of the court not only dissented but that Justice Ginsburg's opinion was published almost immediately. Dissent is a good, healthy thing in this country.

11. Favorite American Holiday? Thanksgiving, I suppose, because it's such a warm time with friends.

12. Favorite D.C. monument? The Lincoln Memorial. A breathtaking tribute to our greatest President.

13. Your dream for America's future? That we remember that we're supposed to love mercy and tolerance. So many of my fellow citizens are so quick to judge anyone who doesn't think exactly as they do, who doesn't worship exactly as they do, who doesn't love exactly as they do. It's OK, folks! Diversity is what makes us great!

Greetings from Padua!

I am watching The Taming of the Shrew on TCM and I'm having a wonderful time.

Here we have Richard Burton as Petrucchio, delivering the Bard's lines in that voice. Here we have Elizabeth Taylor, more athletic than I can ever recall her (except maybe for National Velvet) and charmingly game, performing alongside stage-trained Shakespearean actors and holding her own. And Mr. and Mrs. Burton generate real heat in their scenes together. Their passion is palpable, even after nearly 50 years.

I'm always surprised by what a fan I've become in middle age. For when I was a girl, "Liz and Dick" were everywhere and I thought they were ... well ... silly. Smoking, drinking and brawling, showing off their huge baubles and tiny dogs.

What was lost on me back then was how really good these two could be when they were doing their jobs. It's obvious now when I watch them at their best, separately and together, that they both enjoyed acting and took it seriously. I'm glad they're captured forever as Kate and Petrucchio, as George and Martha. I prefer their screen performances to their movie magazine incarnation.

Saturday 9

Saturday 9: I'm a Yankee Doodle Dandy (1942)

1) This week's song was performed by James Cagney in the famous movie of the same name. Do you plan on going to the movies this holiday weekend? Maybe tomorrow

2) Though known for his larger-than-life screen presence, Cagney was only 5'5". How tall are you? 5'2

3) During the Revolutionary War, General Washington celebrated the 4th of July by giving his troops a double ration of rum. Will you imbibe any spirits this holiday weekend? It's entirely possible. That reminds me that I need to pick up orange juice today.

4) American history was one of Crazy Sam's best subjects in school. In which class did you earn your best grades? History/English were best (math/science were worst)

5) The Fourth of July means we're in the middle of summer. Are you careful about applying sunscreen? Yes, indeed! It was last Memorial Day I had two "suspicious" moles removed. Thankfully they were benign. For more about skin cancer, click here.

6) Mosquito bites can be a major summer annoyance. Are you scratching any itches right now?I haven't had a single bite yet this year. (Knock wood.)

7) Emergency rooms report an increase in wrist injuries in summer, with people falling off bikes and skateboards and jamming their wrists catching hard-hit softballs. Have you ever had a sports-related injury? Nope.

8) New York is home to Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest every year on the 4th. Will hot dogs be consumed in your household this weekend? Perhaps tomorrow. After all, there is a package of Ballpark Franks in the refrigerator.

9) Atlanta hosts a 10K Peachtree Road Race every 4th of July. Are you a runner? Ha! No. It's something I'd like to try because it looks easy and fun. But right now? I can't even imagine it.

Day 5 -- Favorite Quote

“And then the dreams break into a million tiny pieces. The dream dies. Which leaves you with a choice: you can settle for reality, or you can go off, like a fool, and dream another dream.” 

Nora Ephron from Heartburn