Archive for January, 2011
Ok, a weird sort of thought process went into this past week’s chalkboard drawings. I left The Coneheads drawing up on Monday. The kids hadn’t seen it the week before due to our two snow days. I wasn’t exactly surprised at how many of them had no idea what I had drawn, but it did inspire me to draw some other characters they might also not have a clue about. To wit:
I was totally into Ed Grimley when I was a kid. There was the animated cartoon The Completely Mental Misadventures of Ed Grimley airing on NBC and Comedy Central was constantly airing the Dick Ebersol reruns of Saturday Night Live. Suffice to say, this one was lost on anyone born after 1996.
(Thrift Store Finds is a mostly-weekly “column” of sorts where I discuss some of the cool books I’ve happened upon in my neighborhood St. Vincent DePaul store. Please don’t mistake me for an expert on any of the books I am writing about… I’m just a fan of a bargain.)
I don’t have much more to say about The Family Circus. I talked a little bit about the Keane family here when I found I’ll Shovel The Cards… and I talked a little bit about one of Keane’s other gag strip, Channel Chuckles. The fact remains, though I’ve seemingly plumbed the depths of my interest and knowledge of Billy, Jeffy, Dolly, and PJ, I keep finding Family Circus books. They are legion at our St. Vincent DePaul. I have a baker’s dozen of these Fawcett Gold Medal collections I could talk about, but I choose Peace, Mommy, Peace! because of the oh-so hep cover.
This past week has been all about getting back into routines- after the abbreviated schedule last week due to snow and Martin Luther King Jr., having five days in a row of instruction seemed a little strange. I don’t know that it’s going to make a big difference in the strips, as I’m still posting about things that were going on back in December and I’ve decided not to acknowledge any of the holiday breaks in the strip for this year… but I thought it bore mentioning.
I should also give you all an update on something from last week’s O&E- I mentioned our classroom had been gifted an iPad and that while it was a very nicely designed and easy-to-use gadget, I hadn’t yet figured out a real use for the tablet computer.
Just for the record- the iPad has completely changed how I approach some of the day to day aspects of the classroom. It’s as million times easier to take attendance using the thing; all I have to do is pull their profile up on our school’s ProgressBook account and hand them the tablet. The iPad has also made it MUCH easier to share grades with kids. Again, it’s just a matter of walking up to them, handing them the tablet, and discussing the numbers and grades.
I will admit, very few (if any) of these uses are Earth-shattering… and none of them involve the kids in a meaningful way as far as instruction is concerned… but as a basic tool for running a classroom, I fully endorse the iPad.
Elliot and I took the past weekend to take in a movie- the two of us went to see Disney’s Tangled.
I will be honest with you and say I walked into this flick with extremely low expectations. All the advertisements for this movie made Tangled look like Shrek-lite, and I’m a little tired of that snarky, “oh we’re so clever” attitude that seems ingrained in most non-Pixar animated features these days.
Imagine my surprise to find Tangled to be… pretty darn good! I have NO idea why Disney tried to market the film as some kind of wacky adventure picture, focusing all its’ commercial and print ad energy on the “Flynn Rider” character rather than Rapunzel herself. I can guess they were going after young boys who find Disney Princess films the aural equivalent of broccoli and spinach. I think that everyone could smell a rat and they lost some ticket sales that way… which is a shame because Tangled was a very smart and amiable take on the standard “Disney Princess” story.
One thing I find interesting about most of the modern Disney Princess movies is how out of the way the scripts seem to go to imbue the female protagonist with some kind of special skill or talent. In recent memory, I can point to Tiana from The Princess and the Frog (cooking), Gizelle from Enchanted (fashion/dress making), and in Tangled, Rapunzel is a keen painter. I guess this goes back to Beauty and the Beast and Belle’s love of reading, although to me that aspect of Belle’s character felt far more organic to the story than the character beats in some of these other Disney films I’ve just mentioned.
The “special princess skill” (my name for it, not anyone else’s) also seems to, with only one exception I can think of, be chosen from a very specific set of traditionally feminine skills. I’d love to see a Disney Princess movie where the story bucked this trend.
Of course, that’s a minor quibble. Tangled was good fun, Elliot enjoyed it, and I think it will fit nicely in the pantheon of Disney animated features. I only wish someone had the balls to title it Rapunzel instead.
I wanted to write a little something about the death of Wizard Magazine. For the majority of my readers who may not know, Wizard was a comics-themed magazine/comic price guide published for the better part of the last twenty years.