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11 to 20 of 29 columns
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11. 'tis the season!
a-wenching we will go
pop culture - lifestyle

No, not that season. The days are getting longer, the sun is shining, temperatures are rising. Which, in my world, means it’s time to dig sixteen pounds of brocade, velvet, muslin, whalebone and leather out of my closet and make sure it all still fits. My name is Juli, and I am a Rennie. Hi, Juli! Back when I was still in high school, I discovered the wonderful world that is the Renaissance Faire. An old cow pasture had been converted to a 16th century English village. Banners flew in the ...
12. pc? not me
a war of words
general - criticism

I was talking to a friend about an episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation. (Yes, I am a Trekker. Laugh and get it out of your system, then let's move on, OK?) My friend expressed disappointment that the episode ended with two characters dissolving their romance because one of them switched genders, and was now a female, as was her romantic interest. My friend was severely disappointed in this ending, calling it a cop-out. “Star Trek is usually so much more politically correct,” she opined. ...
13. gift-giving made easy
new music for everyone!
music - appreciation
12.10.04 : feature column!

News flash: the holidays are coming. In the last-minute dash on December 24, people will stagger into the malls, each and every one of them looking shocked and dismayed to find other people there with the same dazed looks on their faces. They'll grumble about long lines and crab about not being able to think of anything for Aunt Betsy or Uncle Dave. Come Christmas, Aunt Betsy will once again politely thank them for another dustcatcher and silently vow to set up an eBay account, and Uncle Dave wi...
14. head over heels
eddie izzard comes out -- again
film - criticism
11.12.04 : feature column!

He has been the darling of the European comedy circuit for years, routinely selling out venues as large as London's Wembley Arena, and traveling the world to perform in Iceland, France, Sweden and pretty much anywhere else that has a landing strip. But here in the States, British comedian Eddie Izzard is still more famous for his unconventional wardrobe than for his impressive body of work. He's a real walking contradiction: a former athlete in high heels; a committed Europhile in love with the...
15. traveling backwards
riding the trains
writing - sample

Traveling backwards looking through grit-encrusted windows. The destination was the ordered collection of images, of art arranged precisely in individual galleries. Classified, sorted, catalogued. Sterile. The journey proved more interesting. Piled tires and rubbish here stacked railway cars like Legos. The impact of nature on industry is still stronger than the reverse. Water pools in discards green in the grey. In grubby city yards disorder so profound it has the force of design. A mosaic of ...
16. radio ga-ga
no, siriusly
music - criticism

My husband is not the world’s most spontaneous person. John is thoughtful and deliberate, responsible and practical. He is completely immune to impulse buys. In other words, he’s my polar opposite. So when he mentioned he’d like to get a new radio for his car, I was prepared for what was to come. First he would investigate every make and model of car radio known to man. He would look them up in Consumer Reports. He would compare prices at Best Buy and Circuit City. He would spend hours on Inte...
17. revengers tragedy
a dish best eaten cold
film - criticism

Every now and then, I entertain the idea that I might be an intellectual. On those occasions, I seek out classic literature or foreign films, to test myself. British director Alex Cox’s newest DVD release, Revengers Tragedy, fits the bill in both categories. The film is based on an early 17th century play commonly accepted to be written by Thomas Middleton. Middleton was a young peer of William Shakespeare’s, and most likely wrote the two long witches’ poems in Macbeth. Cox, you may recall, ...
18. renaissance man
the wit and will of jeff mclane
pop culture - appreciation

He stands on a small wooden platform in a refurbished cow pasture. Black hair flying, eyes popping dramatically, his burly figure writhing and twisting as he shouts, “Rock on!” Twenty minutes later, he is dripping with sweat and taking his bows. “Thank you, lords and ladies. I am Master William Shakespeare! You may now put money in my pants.” Huh? Chicago actor Jeff McLane has been performing in the role of William Shakespeare at the Bristol Renaissance Faire in southern Wisconsin for the ...
19. the second-to-last chapter
a long ride to the end
general - lifestyle

“All right, Mr. McCarthy… before we start the procedure, we’re going to give you an injection to numb the area. You’ll feel a pinch, but that will only last a second or two.” “I’ve got a better idea,” he says. “Why don’t you give me a couple shots of gin, and I’ll pinch you? That way we’ll both have fun here today.” My father-in-law flirts shamelessly with nurses and talks golf with doctors. He introduces me to interns, and tells them to be respectful to me, because “my mother here is getting...
20. meeting or exceeding
educational advancement for all!
news - criticism

No Child Left Behind. Sounds good, doesn't it? Such a poetic turn of phrase. It conjures the image of a sad child -- in grainy black and white ignorance, of course -- and an adult hand, reaching back, lifting the child up and leading him into the Technicolor world of enlightenment. The music swells. "This law," said President Bush in 2001, "is the cornerstone of my administration." This was, of course, before he decided to concentrate on blowing up the Middle East. The goal of the No Chil...
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re: jewelry-making with jiminy cricket

Very enlightening.

re: vegging out

i liked the approach. not preachy or overly pretty.

re: life goes on

Juli, That is the best tribute you could give to your mother. Very touching and really moved me. Makes me want to call my mother..Thx

re: vegging out

It's always good to get reinforcement from (more or less) "normal" people!

re: let go

I find the last stanza just a touch confusing in the construction in the 2nd and 4th stanza you maintain a ABACAD format while in the last you goto an ABACAE...of course there is no set rule in poetry that says you cannot do this and the format is a bit reminicent of Shakespere. Overall well done love.

re: empty boy

I really like this one. You've captured a moment and yet something that goes beyond a moment as well. The only critisim I can give you is I think you could have physically structured the poem to give it a greater depth.

re: shuffling through time and space

This is beautiful. Insightful. Moving.

re: men are losers

We still only earn seventy-five cents for every dollar they earn.

re: men are losers

Huzzah for Juli, you are most certainly a "virtuoso of life"

re: men are losers

GREAT job, and not just because I was sympathetic to the content.

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