Andrea and I saw the latest remake of Charles Dickens A Christmas Carol over the weekend with our little brother (through BBBS), and I have to say it was really well done. As we were leaving the theater however, it occurred to me that the Oklahoma public school system's language arts department really stinks.
I say that because if you are like me then you were never required to read anything by Charles Dickens so your only impression of A Christmas Carol has come through the filter of cinema. Walt Disney in particular.
It has been at least 20 years since the first time I saw the film so I can't really remember my thoughts, but I think my main takeaway was "Scrooge McDuck sure was mean to Mickey Mouse" (what can I say I liked Mickey) and unfortunately I haven't really thought much about it since.
Thankfully, Dr. Beck over at Experimental Theology took the time recently to explore the deeper meaning of Dickens' classic. Something that is perhaps best exemplified early in the film when Scrooge is visited by Jacob Marley's ghost:
Scrooge: But why do spirits walk the earth, and why do they come to me?'
Marley: 'It is required of every man,' the Ghost returned, 'that the spirit within him should walk abroad among his fellow-men, and travel far and wide; and if that spirit goes not forth in life, it is condemned to do so after death. It is doomed to wander through the world-oh, woe is me!-and witness what it cannot share, but might have shared on earth, and turned to happiness...'
Scrooge: But you were always a good man of business, Jacob,' faltered Scrooge, who now began to apply this to himself.
Marley: 'Business!' cried the Ghost, wringing its hands again. 'Mankind was my business. The common welfare was my business; charity, mercy, forbearance, and benevolence, were, all, my business. The dealings of my trade were but a drop of water in the comprehensive ocean of my business.'
I should also note that this post is meant primarily to be a personal warning since the inspiration came towards the beginning of the film when you see Scrooge hunched over his desk balancing what appears to be a General Ledger. Upon seeing this, Andrea jokingly leaned over and said, "look familiar?"
I can't say I'm surprised to see Dallas represented somewhere on this list. Perhaps we'll see the new Woodall Rogers Park on a future list, but for now the strangest road in Dallas is still The High Five Interchange:
Background: This five-level marvel of engineering can be found on the outskirts of Dallas, where Interstate 635 connects with U.S. 75. Construction crews, despite the project's enormous scope, were able to complete the labyrinth of lanes in December 2005, a full year ahead of schedule.
How It's Unique: As Mahmassani points out, building wider roads is just not feasible in most cities. The solution for Dallas? Go vertical. Certain points of the High Five are as tall as a 12-story building, and about 500,000 commuters pass through it daily. The project required 37 permanent bridges and six temporary bridges to be built. Additionally, 300,000 square feet of retaining wall and 74,000 square feet of drainage pipe run along the interchange. In 2006, the American Public Works Association selected the interchange as one of its "Public Works Projects of the Year."
A note from Matt Chandler
The last seven days have been some of the most interesting of my life. I have felt anxiety, fear, sadness and a deep and unmovable joy simultaneously and in deeper ways than I have felt before. I am grateful for this heightened sense of things. Today at 10:45 a.m. CST I will have a good portion of my right frontal lobe removed. I head into that surgery with a heart that is filled with gratitude and hope.
Labels: Parenting Tip of the Day
Image by Kuzeytac via FlickrMark Kleiman recently explored the concept of crime reduction in a book entitled "When Brute Force Fails."
I haven't read the book yet, but as best as I can tell it sounds pretty intriguing. I say this because the guys over at The Economist's blog Democracy in America recently took the book's advice and implemented one of Mr. Kleiman's tactics (on reducing gang violence) on their kids.
Parents take note:
In my case, my kids were waking up early on school-day mornings and sneaking downstairs to watch TV. Under Mr Kleiman's influence, I tried a new tactic: I announced that if both were found watching TV, only my daughter, the oldest, would be punished, because she was responsible. If only my son broke the rule, he would be the only one punished. Both kids are far more afraid of being punished disproportionately than of being punished equally. The school-day morning TV-watching has stopped.
Disproportionate punishment - coming soon to the next generation of Ivey children.
(Also see Parenting Tip of The Day I)