Broadening the (Jurassic) World

If nothing else, the latest (and final) trailer for Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom has definitely told a lot more story than that first trailer (which seemed to take place solely on the island from the first movie.  The question is: does this trailer show us too much?  It definitely moves the story into more of a “horror” story.  It also give the “world” part of the title a littler more meaning.  Check it out below.

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“Lookout Hill” and Perspective

Even though I’ve been thinking about it all school year, my current “temporary institutional stretch” has been on my mind quite a bit lately (mostly because the end of the school year means we should be entering a particular time of transition).  This past weekend I settled on the word “destabilizing” as a handle for the experience as I currently feel it.  And while the word is new for my vocabulary (like this), it’s not a new sensation.  I knew that adding something else would shake up priorities and practices.  But now, on this end, I have a better sense of how good or bad particular “foundations” in my life were (and have either crumbled or served me creatively).

To quote the kid and the tiger, “the days are packed.”  The first three days of this work week have been almost non-stop.  If it’s not classes, it assemblies or meetings or necessary conversation.  Last night I had the joy of celebrating the first birthday of a neighbor (whose parents are dear friends of mine).  It was a good, low-key time for me with little-to-no work talk.  Beyond that, there’s been lot of getting to bed early and not waking up as early as I should.

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Here’s this past Sunday’s “classic” Calvin and Hobbes cartoon from  The strip (in general) and this strip (in particular) get so many little things right about the human experience, particular as we engage life around us.

Lookout HillI’m grateful, of course, that calamity hasn’t been necessary for me to slow down and appreciate the daily, to live in the present.  Living in the present, of course, can be its own challenge.

Maybe we all just need our own little red wagon to ride down Lookout Hill sometimes.

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“Not the only or the easiest way . . .”

Yesterday’s post of Charles Wright reading “Jesuit Graves” got me in the mood for listening to other authors reading their works.  I mentioned Wendell Berry, whose essays and poetry I’ve enjoyed immensely over the last five years (and yet I can’t bring myself to read his fiction . . . perhaps my way of saving it for a later time).  Here’s one of his “Mad Farmer” poems.  It rings both cantankerous and true, I think.  You can read it here.  And you can watch and listen to him read the poem, “The Contrariness of the Mad Farmer,” below.

And if you want to read his best (in my opinion) “Mad Farmer” poem, you can check it out here.

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“For those who would rise . . .”

National Poetry Month is about half-over.  The English department at school has been making copies of their favorite poems available to students as they walk by particular classrooms, which is a great idea.  For me these days, I find myself reading the occasional line from Wendell Berry (whose “Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front” graces my desk) or thinking about the beautiful melancholy of Tolkien’s poetry in The Lord of the Rings.  But given a chance to read a favorite poem, I will almost always return to Charles Wright’s “Jesuit Graves,” a poem from Black Zodiac, his Pulitzer Prize-winning collection.  The poem is a reflection on one of my favorite poets, Gerard Manley Hopkins.  I think the poem finds a way here and there to do GMH justice, particularly in its hints towards the poet’s particular style.  You can read the poem for yourself here.  I recommend that you click the link but then read along silently as you listen to Wright reading the poem in the clip below (and with some authorial background, too).  Such a great reading of a well-rendered poem.

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Sunday’s Best: Chuck’s New Field

Today was a particularly good day for the Sunday funnies (which means you’ll see a couple of them dropped here throughout the week).  There’s just something about this classic Peanuts strip, though, that sets it a bit above the rest of the pack.

Chuck's New FieldMaybe it’s the quick turn on Lucy’s part that just feels real.  Or maybe it’s the weird existential moment when the work you do (even inadvertently) that moves you into another game altogether.  Charles Schulz was a genius.

(image from

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Settling Into a Quiet Place

The folks at Vanity Fair recently posted a great clip of John Krasinski “breaking down” of the earliest scenes of his recent movie, A Quiet Place.  The movie really is as good as reviews are saying.  I think I had a tense smile on the entire time I was watching it: smiling because I knew I was watching something special but tense because it sucks you in from the very first scene and doesn’t really let you relax until the end.

Not only that, it’s definitely one of the most naturally beautiful movies that I’ve seen in a long time.  The locations for the movie are as lush as they are terrifying.  And so while sound plays perhaps the most important “character” in the movie, the natural world deserves some real applause, too.

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Where All Roads Lead?

There’s this semi-interesting online debate about whether Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD is the best superhero show on network television or the worst.  I’m not quite sure how I feel about the conversation.  While the show hasn’t quite fit the niche I thought it would, it has definitely created its own space in the world of funny-books-turned-to-television.  And now that it’s heading to a season finale (potentially series finale) titled “The End” (which also got name dropped in tonight’s episode), the show is really bringing things together.  And by “really” I mean bringing back long-time characters and concepts and mixing them up into something fresh.  Here’s the trailer for next week’s episode:

We’ve got about a month left (and a couple of weeks to see if they do a direct/immediate tie-in to Avengers: Infinity War) before the finale.  Let’s see if they go for broke.

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