Monday, December 12, 2005

Duck, Or Else The Flying Junk Orbiting In My Head Will Hit You

We had playgroup at our house this morning, and the Rabbit was beside himself with joy at getting to race up and down the stairs playing "bad lions," whatever that is. He and the other kids were very clear on the game and how it was played, but despite continuous observation for two hours, we (the adults) never figured it out. Not that we were trying very hard. I mean, kids' imaginations are lovely and whimsical and I am all for them (I kind of have to be, what with the writing of fiction and all), but actually PLAYING imagination games with kids is boring as hell.

I saw Syriana last night and it is good, good, good. Go fork over however much one forks these days at multiplexes to see it if you get a chance. It's by the guy who wrote Traffic, but this time he's got oil companies in his sights: Texas oil barons, Pakistani immigrant workers in the Gulf, CIA operatives in Beirut, emirs lounging in Swiss hotel suites, Dept. of Justice's a web of such lethal reach and stickiness that Shelob would be proud to claim it. The settings are riveting, the acting terrific and understated, and the languages many and various. I was particularly struck by the Pakistani workers' Urdu, a lot of which--and this delighted me hugely--I could follow, because Hindi and Urdu sound the same, even though they're written differently. It was wild to realize I was understanding these guys, though of course I could only do it because there were subtitles and the characters were saying things like, "I like lamb stew." But I live in Iowa, so I'll take my linguistic thrills where I can get them.

I have a few Christmas presents left to buy and no idea what to get. Anybody have good book suggestions for guys who like nonfiction?

The Urplet can stand up on his own, and does so constantly. He works his way up either by clutching the nearest chair/toy/bookshelf/pantleg or by bending over and pushing himself off the ground with his hands, then stands, swaying and cackling and grinning, for minutes at a time. When he's particularly pleased, he turns his tongue sideways. He's even figures out how to let himself down to the ground by bending his knees slowly. Kid must have thigh muscles like iron, but you can't tell b/c his legs are of a most excellent and unparalleled squishiness.

The Rabbit loves to play with our creche, which The Tall Doctor and I bought in Ecuador and which has very few figures. The other day Rabbit named them for me: "That's Mary, that's Joseph, that's the baby Jesus lying in the straw, and that's Bob." "Bob?" I said. "Yes," Rabbit said firmly, pointing to the angel, "Bob."

Don't ask me, I have no idea.


Blogger SER said...

He can't be referring to my Bob. I feel certain of that. No one has ever called him an angel.

1:08 PM  
Anonymous Snowbound in WV said...

Of course, The Angel Bob, don't you remember him from religious instruction classes? (I *love* it!!)

Clearly NO problems with his imagination!!

xxx WV Mama

11:06 AM  
Anonymous Sarah said...

Guys who like non-fiction...that's a broad swathe, but interesting. Weird how many of my favorite, read-over-many-times books are non-fiction. Essays of E.B. White, for glimpses on the early New Yorker, old-time Maine, the tragedies of pig-farming, and a delicious piece about sailing. Malcolm Gladwell's The Tipping Point, which I find irresistible (his new one Blink much less so, but still intriguing). And I'm in the midst of "No Ordinary Time"--Doris Kearns Goodwin's lovely, chunky bio of the Roosevelts during WWII. All good. Don't I have manly taste in non-fiction?

3:56 PM  

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