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The Lent Project: Day 2

Happy Valentine's Day!

Around our house, Cole and I sneakily made a card for The Mama yesterday afternoon...and adventure in itself. The day before, I'd introduced Cole to the watercolor paints that come with the little coloring book style drawing outline with paper paint tray attached. So he'd gotten in his highchair and we filled a bowl with water and he really enjoyed himself. Not so much in the painting of the picture. More like he'd dip the brush in the water and then paint and was more interested in process than actually getting color anywhere. 

So I figured we'd try our hand at craft time again. Apparently painting is his thing, not drawing. Because I got him sitting in the highchair with a blank sheet of paper and a special toddler marker...that he rejected. But there were enough marks that I felt I could cut out some hearts, put a sticker on it, and call it a Valentine. 

Then, the Sharpie came out. I'd intended to just grab a red one from one of Kelly's collection, write "Happy Valentine's Day" on it and call it a day. But Cole saw it. Go figure--the toddler doesn't want the toddler grip marker with the special paper designed to not let them mark anywhere else. No, he wants permanent ink! 

So I let him go wild with the Sharpie...within reason. I held it and let him guide it anywhere he wanted on the paper. Which, of course, he thought was awesome. Thank goodness he wore himself out because I had visions of a Sharpie-weaponized tantrum. Really the only thing that got Sharpied and shouldn't have was his foot. And, counter to usual Cole wet shirt logic, he didn't immediately pitch a fit about having marker on him. I tried to preemptively spin it as good fun, silly, and easily washable. (I prayed.)

Surprisingly, Sharpie comes off of toddler foot quite easily in a bubble bath. I anticipated more scrubbing. Now, once he wakes up--another middle of the night awake playing episode has him sleeping late--we'll be having cinnamon rolls I'm making, carryout coffee that Kelly is getting, and he can give his homemade surprise to his mom. She's off work today for an appointment so then we get the rest of the day afterwards to have fun. It was going to be the zoo though I'm not sure...Kelly has a pretty bad cold. But we have dolphin show passes we need to use before our membership expires! 

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I normally agree with Ebert. He's probably my favorite reviewer because I feel like we have similar tastes and analysis usually. But I'm not linking to his review of Zero Dark Thirty...which I saw last night. 

In short, I agree with him that it's a good-but-less-so film than Lincoln. That film stands up as cinema in addition to historical storytelling. It's artistic and has a beauty about it. 

Zero Dark Thirty, on the other hand, is definitely more in the vein of the director's equally good Hurt Locker. It's about raw storytelling with a less emphasis on developing the characters and more about methodical plot. I'm not as hard on it as I think Ebert is. It's an intense, edge-of-your-seat, thoughtful, suspense about the post-9/11 terrorist hunting years. 

My issue is actually less with the film--I have no problem with the portrayal of the CIA, military, violence, torture, politics--and more with the debate over the film. 

Just as some of the most violent, dark war films ever made--think Full Metal Jacket here--are actually antiwar pieces, I get the same feeling about Zero Dark Thirty despite the heroic special operations ending. It's actually more a tale about bureaucratic incompetency, the limits of national intelligence, the limits of spying, how useless torture is without the precision to back up any knowledge gained. 

Zero Dark Thirty can be read two's either the victorious story of a decade long attempt to defeat the enemies of the United States. Or, more cynically, it's the story of a decade long waste of resources attempting to kill one man with rather ridiculous meaning to a society unable to understand the chaos going on in other parts of the world. 

I see both. I understand both. But to say the movie glorifies torture in either reading is misreading both the film and history. The film bluntly and directly addresses that the torture program has to cease when political winds shift. And it also bluntly and directly addresses that most of eventual raid info comes from good old fashioned footwork and a rather obsessed and driven (in a bad way) CIA operative. 

I really enjoyed the movie and would suggest it if you're the type of moviegoer who can tolerate realistic violence. This isn't movie violence. This is out of nowhere explosions, gunfights, and intense drama. The one thing it has in common with the superior Lincoln is the telling of a history that needs to be known and appreciated. 

In that, both films are equal. 

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A nice recent history of the attempt at universal preschool in America...we're having a fairly bitter battle over funding Early Childhood Education in my own village:

The State of the 4 Year Olds