Weekend Coffee Share is a time for us to take a break out of our lives and enjoy some time catching up with friends (old and new)!
Grab a cup of coffee and share with us! What’s been going on in your life? What are your weekend plans? Is there a topic you’ve just been ruminating on that you want to talk about?
If we were having coffee, I’d first say that I have reduced my Starbucks purchases. It’s pricey and my new job has a machine which provides free lattes and such. It’s not the greatest, but it saves money and I use my own mug so that helps the environment. (I often use my own mug at Starbucks to get that 10¢ discount and to help the environment.)
I’d tell you how I had my first time out on the library floor shadowing an ace librarian in the audio visual section. Boy does this library have an outstanding collection. Most libraries I’ve used have one or two of the latest hits on DVD, this one seems to have 5 or more. I learned about Common Sense Media, a website that offers parents detailed information about what’s in a film or TV show so they can decide if it’s appropriate for their children. It’s not perfect and parents will differ, but it’s so detailed as it describes the violence, sex, drug use or whatever very clearly. The site also has articles on social media and computer games.
I went to a Meet Up for playwrights on Thursday at the Skokie Public Library where I’m working. This month there were just three of us, the married couple that started the group and me. Both of the founders have acted as well as written plays. Since I was the only writer, they read my first act and offered some feedback. It was so helpful to hear other people reading my work to see how it sounds. I’ll return.
I’m moving along with the online course I’m designing. I’ve learned the fine points of Rise and like how everything’s shaping up. I’m designing a refresher course on how to use the downloadable apps for ebooks, films, and music. One cool thing I learned is that on Overdrive, you can set the font to one of two fonts that’s designed for people with dyslexia. The letters are thicker on the bottom and that’s believed to be easier for them to read. Check it out or share that information.
by William Shakespeare
The quality of mercy is not strained;
It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven
Upon the place beneath: it is twice blest,—
It blesseth him that gives and him that takes:
‘Tis mightiest in the mightiest; it becomes
The thronèd monarch better than his crown:
His sceptre shows the force of temporal power,
The attribute to awe and majesty,
Wherein doth sit the dread and fear of kings;
But mercy is above this sceptred sway,—
It is enthronèd in the hearts of kings,
It is an attribute to God himself;
And earthly power doth then show likest God’s,
When mercy seasons justice.
This week we’re prompted to post on farmers, agriculture or harvest. I descend from city folk, none with a green thumb that I know of so I’ll dig through the Library of Congress and Flickr Commons to find some images of Irish farmers since I’ve got a lot of Irish blood.
To see more Sepia Saturday posts, click here.
Here’s one from the U.K., since I’ve got some British blood and I’ve never seen an oyster farm:
I had imagined the premise of Kurosawa’s Red Beard (1965) incorrectly for years. I assumed it was some samurai film with lots of sword fights so I never bothered with it. Then when I listened to the commentary on The Lower Depths, I realized that it was a drama. I had to right this wrong so I picked up the DVD at the library.
Set in 19th century Japan, Red Beard isn’t just about the curmudgeon older doctor so nicknamed, it’s equally about young Dr. Yasumoto, who has just finished medical school and arrives Red Beard’s clinic. Yasumoto is not happy about working in a clinic that serves the poorest of the poor. He had his heart set on treating high status samurai. Surely, this is a mistake the arrogant, obstinate young doctor believes.
Yasumoto refuses to put on the clinic uniform or to abide by any of the clinic rules. He’s horrified by the outward appearance of the poor. He almost gets killed when he flouts a rule about avoiding the hut in the back where a deranged, wealthy woman is housed. All the while Red Beard is gruff, wise and patient. He sees so much more than Yasumoto can.
I loved Red Beard’s gruff ways. He was gentle with the patients who needed it, but tough with those who were foolish. He was wise in dealing with Yasumoto, allowing the young doctor to figure life out on his own and smiling when he finally donned his uniform and took on treating the poor of his own accord.
The plot twists and turns. Sometimes Red Beard is the focus, often Yasumoto, or a poor girl who’s rescued from a brothel. So many characters are given the spotlight and they all deserve it. The film has an emotional depth on par with The Human Condition, and one that few films bother to attempt. Kurosawa doesn’t beat you over the head with a message, but he does make you muse on how you should be kinder or more compassionate, how you should stretch beyond your comfort zone. It’s a film I could watch again and again. I’m so glad my misconception was dispelled. Red Beard is a treasure.