Monday, January 10, 2011

A weekend of Secrets

Last week, a customer dropped this book off explaining that she had read it, and wanted someone to discuss it with. I was chosen! Having read The DaVinci Code, I basically knew what to expect, although I did cross my fingers that it would not be as violent as Angels and Demons...which I was not able to finish. So far, so good...that is after the severed arm bearing tattooed symbology was found in the rotunda in Washington DC. After that, the book is essentially a cat and mouse game with Brown's favorite character, Robert Langdon, assisting in interpreting and unraveling ancient secrets supposedly held by the Masons. I'm not finding it as rich as The DaVinci Code when it comes to history and lore, but it is nontheless fascinating as it raises questions about what secrets might exist in our society, our communities, and our neighborhoods that could potentially affect social order.

Oddly enough, the movie I had cued up for the weekend was a sleeper indie film called "Little Secrets." Emily is a fourteen-year old violin prodigy who runs a secret keeping business in her spare time. Neighborhood kids line up to confess, and bring her tea cups, chess pieces, and other assorted valuables they have broken. Emily stores them each in a neatly labeled brown bag, tucked safely into a locked trunk. The innocence of this film is refreshing, and eventually, Emily learns that guarding secrets quickly becomes an overwhelming burden.
I also watched a fun Danish film called "Italian for Beginners." Six people, all with personal secrets that have caused great loneliness, find one another and navigate through some hard feelings and bitterness together. I loved this movie. Sure, it's predictable; everyone finds a partner to eat pasta with, but that's not the point. Watch it if you can...but beware, the subtitles are fast and tiny.
I haven't ranted about anything for a while, but today is the day., is an online shop where artists can open small stores and sell their work. Several Manitowoc artists have Etsy shops and have been successful in making national connections. One of the greeting card shops currently on is called Youstupidbit#& (you can figure out the rest of the word, right?) This shop sells repulsive cards congratulating women on being raped, getting breast cancer and having a child with Downs syndrome. has been challenged, and they are hiding behind their first amendment rights, rather than standing up for decency and sensitivity, and closing the offensive card shop. Some people are calling for a boycott of but that seems extrme right now. Why penalize hundreds of ethical artists because won't do the right thing? I would simply ask you to contact and tell them how you feel about these cards.
In light of the apparent tolerance is showing, and the weekend's incident in Arizona, it seems time for our nation to do some soul searching. I am not saying that the actions of a single, disturbed individual represent the feelings of the majority of people, but we do need to consider how desensitized we have become to violence, and how numb we are to others' feelings. Grand Theft Auto, one of the fastest selling video games, is based on violence and crime. Sarah Palin has parts of our county in the cross hairs on her website. Kids are being driven to suicide as a result of verbal and cyber bullying....the examples are endless. I don't know what the answer is, but I do know there seems to be a powerful amount of anger in the world. Are we moving too fast? Are we driven by competition, and the need to be bigger, better, richer, faster?
On a day to day basis, I am happy to say that I don't feel these things, but the Tuscon incident got me thinking, and feeling helpless...but not hopeless. Luckily, my life is filled with good people doing good things. We're not all doing BIG things, but still, most everyone I know, work with and come in contact with on a daily basis in on a positive path, helping to make our little corner of the world a great place to be. Now we have to figure out how to get lots and lots of others on that same path. End of rant. I promise there won't be another one for a while.
Heart-A-Rama gets going in ernest this week with our start-up committee chair meeting. That means posts will soon be turning from books to theatre tales.
Thanks for stopping by. We have a review from Steve ready to go for next Monday. Come back and check it out.

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