Astaire vs. Kelly or, "The Essentials?"

April 30, 2005 at 7:47 PM (Musicals)

“And now for something completely different” as Monty Python used to say.

I love dancers and dancing…

All my life I’ve watched clips of Gene Kelly and Fred Astaire with amazement.

But…the difference is:

What Astaire does is difficult, and he makes it *look* difficult. Spinning, flying hoofing, curving, and impossibly elegant the viewer is blasted with the truth that This Is Not Easy.
I’m not saying he makes mistakes, far from it. He thrives on routines the more complex the better, but he shows off the complexity.

In “Swing Time” on TCM tonight, the viewer is told by Peter Bogdonovich that this movie is an *essential.*

The three main routines are top form, and beautifully executed by both Astaire and Rogers, but again, more complex than effortless.

The set design for the supper club is a star in itself, as are Ginger Rogers’ costumes. One figures that if it were in color, it would have been too gorgeous to touch, let alone shoot.

And, the score has amazing winners in it. “The Way you Look Tonight ” being my favorite.

But the movie itself is simple window dressing for these elements…so, it doesn’t feel ‘essential’ to me. If a film has great clips and no plot it will take fifteen minutes of DVD manipulation to be done with it.

Impossible for “Singin’ in the Rain.”

You actually take some time off from watching Kelly and O’connor dance the hell out of that show and care about the plot (if only to see the shrike of a leading lady get her comeuppance.)

And Gene Kelly does difficult things, amazing things, and makes them look…simple and easy. Donald O’connor does not have Astaire’s elegance or Kelly’s ability to float, but he’s so adept and clever you forgive him. (I’ve lost a column about the speakeasy scene in that film, but it is the highlight for me and all about Kelley’s reaction to Cyd Charisse’s leg[s.])

Is “Swing Time” fluffy? Yes. An uncomfortable captive of its’ time? yes, with a blackface routine done by Astaire that, if you believe Bogdonovich was actually meant respectfully. Essential? I think that’s open for debate.

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Over at Ghetto River Nymph regarding frozen folk

April 30, 2005 at 7:45 PM (Uncategorized)

Ghetto River Nymph

We are reminded that many thought for years that Walt Disney was waiting for reainmation and a warmer climate…

“When you wish upon a staaarrr…”

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Wolves and birds matter more.

April 30, 2005 at 2:40 PM (Judge Terrence Boyle)

There’s been a blizzard written about Judge Terrence Boyle…
http://www.blogsforbush.com/ is quick to point out that the percentage of Terrence Boyle’s decisions reversed on appeal is less than the twelve per cent cited by Senator Patrick Lahy of Vermont, and is actually closer to 7.5 per cent per the Administrative office of the Courts…Now first, I moseyed on over there, and found a great many numbers (with which one may infer anything one likes…) but I was unable to find a “percentage of cases overturned” table listed by individual judge. It’s probably there. I couldn’t find it.
Second: The point is not and should never be the percentage of cases reversed on appeal. That’s missing the point. Let’s look his associations and his words:
From http://www.usdoj.gov/olp/boylebio.htm

“Chief Judge Boyle began his career working in Congress, ….He later served as the Legislative Assistant for Senator Jesse Helms..”

According to the Charlotte Observer he’s a workhorse jurist, who loves the environment and fights for it. Other sources give his cases as 10,000.
From his decisions on gender, civil rights and disability it is clear that red wolves and migratory birds matter much more than the rights of the disabled and other minorities.
The title link is the source for the following quotations, a detailed summary of the available material on disability rights :

Judge Boyle wrote that Title II of the ADA “‘seeks to single out the disabled for special, advantageous treatment.'”
The Fourth Circut ruled that only the surcharges in the above case were something outside the scope of the Fourteenth Amendment, and not Title II as a whole, thus narrowing Boyle’s choice.
In another case, Judge Boyle wrote:

“‘Although Congress invoked the power to enforce the Fourteenth Amendment in passing the ADA, it is unclear what Fourteenth Amendment right, if any, is vindicated by the Act. The Fourteenth Amendment has traditionally been understood as protecting individuals from state action that would infringe upon individual liberties. The ADA, however, creates positive rights to entitlement against other individuals and state governments… Although framed in terms of addressing discrimination, the Act’s operative remedial provisions demand not equal treatment, but special treatment tailored to the claimed disability. In this respect, the ADA differs radically from traditional anti-discrimination laws, such as Title VII, which seek only a state of affairs where individuals are treated in a neutral manner without regard to race, sex, age, etc. Unlike traditional anti-discrimination laws, the ADA demands entitlement in order to achieve its goals. This the Fourteenth Amendment cannot authorize.'”
The Supreme court disagreed.
“…the Supreme Court has recognized that the ADA’s requirement of reasonable accommodations to neutral rules and policies is necessary in order to provide equal treatment to people with disabilities.”
In another case, he tilted the dimensions of reasonable accomodation away from the ADA law as the determing factor and towards the employer.

“‘ The meaning of ‘reasonable’ within an ADA accommodation context, as evidenced by the decisions of the Fourth Circuit, is grounded in deference to an employer’s expert business decision flowing from the assumption that people behave in an economically rational manner, and an understanding that the requirement of reason is a requirement of economic rationality.’
While the Fourth Circuit ultimately affirmed the decision, the court observed that Boyle’s analysis of the law was misguided and wrong on a number of grounds, including his determination that reasonableness
is a subjective rather than an objective analysis, his refusal to consider types of accommodations that Congress “obviously” considered reasonable, and his suggestion that working is not a “major life activity.” “

In a related area of medical privacy, he felt:
“‘a plaintiff’s medical history is relevant in its entirety.’ He wrote that it would be impossible to answer basic questions about whether a plaintiff was foreclosed from similar employment due to a disability, whether a plaintiff was qualified, or what accommodations were required “without full and complete access to the plaintiff’s medical records.”… Boyle’s ruling is inconsistent with most courts’ efforts to limit access to medical records to those relevant and necessary to determine the questions at hand.”

Another question is Where’s the bulk of his record?, as asked by the organization below.
http://www.nationalpartnership.org/
If I were a judge up for nomination I would expect that my entire record would be fair game to question, and that *after I provided that entire record* I would be given time to place it in context. Perhaps if his entire record were out there it would be easier for this particular judge to get the down vote. Oh, wait, he wants an *up* vote….

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The "imfunny too" List and FAQ

April 30, 2005 at 2:05 AM (Meta) ()

In honor of this shamelessly disorganized place being mentioned in The Ragged Edge (link is on the list to the right) and my email box filling up, I figured it was time for a FAQ

1. Who are you anyway?

Now, that would be telling. I’m a 43 year old disabled woman who takes up a lot of space, that’s who.

2. Why do you do so much disability stuff on your blog? It’s depressing.

In Mr. Bunsey’s 9th grade creative writing class we were all admonished to “write what we know.” And actually there’s a great deal of boring disability drama that I’ve already written privately elswhere.

3. Who are you to talk about disability rights anyway?

Give this questioner a gold star. I am new to disability rights, and am just another disabled person with opinions.

4. Why do you put so much non disability stuff on your blog? The movement is important! You should just concentrate on that.

Well, even though I’ve had a disability for 43 years I’ve only recently met the criteria to become an Official Disabled Person and become aware of disability rights and disability activism. I’m ready and willing to learn from and work with people who have been at it much much longer. While I’m working at it though I reserve the right to post about the deliciousness of mangoes, or the cashmere sweaters in my closet, politics, or my favorite music.

5. Why isn’t there a link on your site to email you directly? I’m not the type to post public comments but I really feel the need to tell you how I feel.

I know there’s a way to do that, but I am at present ignorant of how to put an email link up here. Patience is a virtue.

6. Are you single?

Good Gods. Next question.

7. Are you married?

Was, now am not. (Widowed, not divorced) Next question?

8. What’s the rudest thing an able bodied person ever said to you?

When I was 18 and a merit scholar, the assistant principal once patted my head and asked me, “Did [insert my real name’s diminutive here] fall down and go boom?”
I was so appalled it actually interfered with my ability to rise, thus compounding the problem.

9. What’s the nicest thing an able bodied person’s ever said to you?

“You’re hired.”

10. What do you recommend to a young person with a disability?

Acquire and maintain physical, emotional and social support systems outside the family circle…get an education if at all possible, work if you can, and network and volunteer if regular work is not possible.

That’s it for now folks…up late with some pain and found I’d rather write than toss and turn…

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Is Just a Window the Answer

April 29, 2005 at 3:00 PM (Uncategorized) ()

The link above talks about the actions taken by a school district after a paraprofessional (that word makes me think of DannyDivito’s ‘paralawyer’ character in ‘The Rainmaker’), allegedly molested developmentaly disabled persons in their charge.

“Quite Problematic” are the words used by school officals in telling us why the students are unable to eat lunch with their able bodied classmates. I wonder: if the parents sue them will they still think a window is both less expensive and less problematic than watching the watchers?

Evidently this “paraprofessional” locked the separate room that the developmentally disabled students were lunching in so that no one could see them allegedly do what they allegedly did.

If ‘separate but equal’ situations are allowed under law, then that’s frightening. At the very least this incident should motivate the school, and any school to have two “paraprofessionals” monitor the children as watchdogs over each other as well as the kids…along with that much less costly window.

It makes me think of Gary. They had a peer tutoring thing going in the special school that I began my education in. When we were both in kindergarten we had about the same level of math skills. By the fourth grade I was multiplying and dividing while Gary was lost in the forest of additon. I took some time and tried to help Gary with his math…there was little success but he *tried* so hard.

I’d imagine school is a scary enough place for those with mental or developmental disabilities…adding predators makes it nightmarish…

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