Archive for November 13, 2012

Some Random Kid’s Petition: “Support a Jigsaw Jones movie!”

There’s a kid somewhere in America named Daniel Van Ness. I don’t know him from a hole in the head. But on November 7th, Daniel started a very important petition:

Please have the 20th Century Fox company make a new movie called ‘The Case of Hermie the Missing Hamster: A Jigsaw Jones Mystery’ starring Bryan Suchey as Jigsaw Jones, Sierra Jade Gerban as Mila Yeh, Ethan Scheid as Ralphie Jordan, Yara Shahidi as Danika Starling, Charlene Geisler as Lucy Hiller, Michael May as Joey Pignattano, Alan Aisenberg as Charlie “Bigs” Maloney, Ingrid Rubio as Miss Gleason, Jeff Daniels as Mr. Copabianco, Noah Ryan Scott as Jaspar “Stringbean” Noonan, Rachael Harris as Mrs. Jones, Steve Zahn as Mr. Jones, Steve Martin as Principal Rogers, Devon Tucker as Billy, 1 of Jigsaw’s older brothers, Zachary Gordon as Daniel, another 1 of Jigsaw’s older brothers, Robert Capron as Nick, another 1 of Jigsaw’s older brothers, Oliver (puppy dog actor) as Rags, Jigsaw’s puppy dog, Parris Mosteller as Bobby Solofsky, Preston Bailey as Timothy “Wingnut” O’brien, Selena Gomez as Hillary, Jigsaw’s older sister, Dakota Fanning as Kimmy Lewis and Elle Fanning as Kayla Lewis.

Daniel Van Ness, if you are out there, I just want to say . . . THANK YOU FOR BEING THE COOLEST KID ON THE PLANET! Seriously, nice job. I appreciate it.

People, we must get behind this. Daniel’s expressed goal is a modest 18 signatures. I signed it the other day, so now Daniel has 5. So, um, top of my head, that means he only needs 13 more signatures. One of them should be YOURS!

Come on, folks, click the link, sign the petition, spread the word, and make this brilliant young man’s dream come true!

By the way, I love Daniel’s cast suggestions:

Bryan Suchey as JIGSAW:

Sierra Jade Gerban as MILA:

And Steve Martin as PRINCIPAL ROGERS:

Daniel did not suggest a director, but the choice is obvious:

No one else can be trusted. The job must go to Martin Scorsese!

UPDATE, 11/14, 8:27 AM: Currently at 19 signatures. Thanks, everybody. I’d type more but I think I should sit by the phone. I’m expecting a call from Hollywood!

Overheard: “Hey, Dad, when I’m 18, I want to get a tattoo of a cat on my stomach.” (Parenting a Middle Schooler, pt. 3)

I am sitting in the living room in early evening, reading Kafka on the Shore by Haruki Murakami. Maggie, my 6th-grader, is doing handstands not five feet away — because that is what Maggie does these days, continual handstands. Every day, all day.

Maggie: “When I’m 18, I want to get a tattoo of a cat on my stomach.”

Dad: “Oh?”

Maggie: “Yeah, except I want my belly button to be the cat’s butt.”

Dad: “Is that so?”

Maggie: “Wait, I’ll draw you a picture!”

And she does.

“The Swimmer” in BEFORE YOU GO

Burt Lancaster starred in a literate little 1968 film called “The Swimmer,” based on a short story by John Cheever. I’m certain that I watched the movie as a kid, probably on The 4:30 Movie during Burt Lancaster week. Growing up, I don’t have many memories of Mom ever telling me to turn off the TV, except when dinner was ready, so I saw pretty much everything. Unlike much of it that never left an imprint, “The Swimmer” always stuck with me (btw, it’s currently available on the cinematic wasteland known as Netflix Instant).

Here, check out the trailer.

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That inspired device — swimming home by pool-hopping across the neighborhood — initiates a journey into the past for Ned Merrill, a journey of self-realization and heartbreak. The movie did not make much of a splash at the box office, though some critics liked it and, from what I can gather, it still has it’s devotees. According to Variety: “A lot of people are not going to understand this film; many will loathe it; others will be moved deeply.”

I’m telling you this because I gave the movie a subtle nod in Before You Go. In this scene, Corey and Jude are hanging out on the roof of Jude’s house, which was something I used to do as a teenager, just get on that roof, look down on suburban Long Island, and dream of my escape.

“Check out that sweet swimming pool behind Ansari’s house, all lit up with floodlights.” Corey whistled. “Man, that water is calling my name. We should grab Vinnie and the guys, sneak out, and go pool-hopping some night. I wonder how many we could do. What do you think, Jude, if we swam our way across town? Hopping from pool to pool. That would be a trip.”

In the book, they don’t make that journey. The idea begins and dies right there on the roof. But I got it from the old 4:30 Movie, and can still hear that great theme song today, because it’s from the soundtrack of my life.

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In Praise of Farmers’ Markets

It’s that time of year when our local, weekly farmers’ market moves indoors and, obviously, the product changes. These markets really are a summertime thing. I’ll be sad to see the empty parking lot on Saturdays outside the middle school where the market used to be.

My wife, Lisa, who is often a few years ahead of me in all things Cool & Progressive, was an early adopter. She valued local foods, loved our farmers’ market, and loathed to miss it. And I was like, “Okay, sure, I’ll tag along.” All cynical and whatever. But I learned over time that I enjoyed being there, running into folks, seeing my neighbors, goofing around, buying things . . . or not.

In a passage from his devastating, essential, must-read book, Eaarth: Making a Life on a Tough New Planet, Bill McKibben helped clarify for me what it was that I was experiencing at these markets, and maybe why I liked going so much:

Often a farmers’ market is the catalyst — not just because people find that they like local produce, but because they actually meet each other again. This is not sentiment talking; this is data. A team of sociologists recently followed shoppers around supermarkets and then farmers’ markets. You know the drill at the Stop’n’Shop: you come in the automatic door, fall into a light fluorescent trance, visit the stations of the cross around the perimeter of the store, exit after a discussion of credit or debit, paper or plastic. But that’s not what happens at farmers’ markets. On average, the sociologists found, people were having ten times as many conversations per visit. They were starting to rebuild the withered network that we call a community. So it shouldn’t surprise us that farmers’ markets are the fastest-growing part of our food economy; they are simply the way that humans have always shopped, acquiring gossip and good cheer along with calories.

Of course, McKibben has bigger things on his mind, and rightfully so. He recognizes this local, strengthening network as a catalyst, a foundation for political expression & action, for coordinated effort, and, yes, justice. In short, when people get together, it’s a good thing. So I want to thank all those folks who have worked so hard to bring the market to my little ‘burb in Delmar, NY, and the thousands like them around the country. You done good.