Friday Five (Vol. 8)

We had our own mini-milestone here yesterday. My little blog passed 25,000 page views at some point during the night. Thank you to all of you who come here to visit. I hope I make it worth your while. “And now,” as Casey Kasem used to say, “on with the countdown.”

— 1 —

Next Friday marks the end of a mini-era for me as the final Harry Potter movie will be released on DVD/Blu-Ray. I plan to write more later on Harry and me. While I’m very satisfied with the ending to both the book and the movie I’m also sorry to see Harry, Ron, Hermoine, et al come to an end. J.K. Rowling’s creations formed one bridge of connection for me and my oldest son. He started reading Harry when he was around eight years old and tore through them, insisting that I read them too. After watching the first movie on DVD we attended the theater showing of each subsequent movie together. This summer we went to the final film, he at the age of 15 and me at 43. You couldn’t miss us. We were the two big kids sitting in the middle of the center row with our tubs of buttered popcorn. Thank you Harry.

— 2 —

For Potter fans: a few linkies. First, Rowling revealed this week that she almost killed off one of Harry’s best friends when writing the books. Second, buy your Harry Potter DVDs now if you still can. For what I’m sure are monetary reasons Warner Brothers will stop selling the individual movies after December 29. And third, this past Halloween marked the fictional 30th anniversary of the deaths of James and Lilly Potter at the hands (or wand) of Lord Voldemort and started us all on the wild ride that would end after seven books and eight movies. It apparently went viral on Twitter on Monday. I don’t Tweet so I remained blissfully unawares of the uproar. I love the books, but it is fiction people.

— 3 —

Ann Wroe wrote a beautiful elegy to handwriting this week that I think is worth the time for anyone who still gets nostalgic for the days when we wrote instead of typed. It’s a long piece, but artfully done. I found myself back in my desk in 1st grade at Howard Elementary with my red Big Chief tablet in front of me and a large #2 pencil in my left hand. Then just as suddenly I was in Mrs. Zimmerman’s 2nd grade class with paper that had more narrow lines, learning cursive. I remember the hours spent filling a blue test booklet with my attempted essay answers to the typically three questions Ned (Dr. McPartland to you non poli-sci majors at Doane in those years) had typed out on a half-sheet of paper for us during exams, pausing to shake my hand out of its cramps after a paragraph or two.

I can remember in grade school knowing the handwriting style of almost every student in our class. Through notes, proofing homework, or watching each other write on the chalk boards our penmanship was yet another personal identifier. From the sloppy to the prissy, from the wild to the elegant, our handwriting was a part of who we are. I can still open my high school yearbooks and without looking at the name at the end of the scribbled odes to our childhoods in school, tell you who wrote it. I wonder what we’ve lost today with the advent of “keyboarding”?

It brought to mind some things I’d long forgotten. Read it all and see where it takes you.

— 4 —

Like a lot of you I’ve been keeping an eye on the Occupy Wall Streeters across the country. We have our own mini-tent city here in Lincoln at Centennial Mall in front of our state capitol building. I walked by them the other day after attending All Saints Day Mass at St. Mary’s. I can only really say this about them at this time…on second thought I won’t say anything. I started out writing what I’d meant to be a pithy sentence and found myself on a roll a hundred words later. So I backspaced and will just leave you with this excerpt from Yeats that came to mind.

Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.

~ W.B. Yeats (The Second Coming)

— 5 —

I’ll end this week with a song by Josh Garrels. Both the song and video are ethereal and soothing. By the way, you can download his entire new album, Love & War & The Sea In Between, right here, for free. It’s on my to-do list today as I’m home with a sick child. The lyrics to “White Owl” are here. My thanks to Marc at Bad Catholic for bringing Josh to my attention.

Child the time has come for you to go
You will never be alone
Every dream that you have been shown
Will be like living stone
Building you into a home
A shelter from the storm


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