"Spellbound:" S-e-e i-t.

Gosh, I'm glad I'm not a kid anymore.I didn't really like being a kid. Not because of any tragedy or anything -- I had loving parents who kept me clothed and fed -- but because being a kid kind of stinks.Maybe this was just my experience. I was a kid who enjoyed reading, who enjoyed writing and had little interest in watching any sports game on TV until my family moved to a very small town -- whereupon knowing things like the starting running back for the Chiefs became a matter of social survival. A matter that, frankly, I wasn't very adept at.Mostly, though, I was the male child in my grade who enjoyed reading and writing and didn't obsess about baseball cards. I felt like an outsider; possibly, so did everybody else.(Ultimately, I grew up, went to college and fell in with other people who enjoy reading and writing. Adulthood -- especially in Lawrence, where there's plenty of such folks -- has proved far more interesting and enjoyable as a result.)I mention all this because I went and saw "Spellbound" at Liberty Hall the other night. It's the documentary about the 1999 National Spelling Bee, following eight children and their families during the preparations and competition.It's one of the most human movies I've ever seen.Human, because "Spellbound" conveys, simply and directly, the loneliness of childhood, of early adolescence, especially for those kids who are skilled and talented in a field that most other kids would find geeky. Who can't identify with Harry, the uberdork in the movie (I mean that as a compliment; I'm afraid I was very similar to this kid), or with Angela, the unrelenting pessimist who keeps expecting to lose but makes it into the top three?And, as a friend pointed out to me, the movie is really American. The kids who are profiled are from all sorts of backgrounds: rural, urban, rich, poor, varying ethnicities. Something kind of thrilling about that.Anyway, I give "Spellbound" two thumbs up. Go see it.Other things * Happy Bastille Day, Reynaud! Happy first birthday this weekend to my nephew, Jack David Lillard. Having said what I said earlier about a minimal interest in sports, I still can't help but feel slightly happy that it's mid-July and the Royals are in first place. * I'm not much for watching baseball games, however. I do enjoy reading about baseball, occasionally. And I enjoy listening on the radio.* Reynaud's influence is running deep throughout the community. At the video store the other day, I asked a familiar face: "Whatcha know?""I know that you are a unitard stretching across the crotch of life," she said.Ah, Reynaud.Finally... You may have noticed some changes around the blogs on Lawrence.com the last couple of days, mainly a new requirement that you should register to post responses to blogs.You may have also noticed that requirement does NOT, so far, apply to this blog.I say "so far," because non-registration here is not guaranteed in perpetuity -- and in fact, I have very little control over whether it will happen or not. But I have been granted special dispensation (after a little begging) for now.The most enjoyable aspect of blogging, for me, has been the interaction that comes about from people who post (and from people who don't post, but whom I've met in the community because they knew me from the blog). I don't want there to be obstacles to that interaction.What that means, though, is that everybody should continue to play nice when posting to the blog -- and with the exception of the guy who told me to go shoot myself for liking the Justin Timberlake song, everybody HAS played nice. Just keep up the good work, and we should be OK.And thanks for reading. Really.Update at 5 p.m. Holy crap, it's HOT! Have you been outside? My cooling bill is going to be high this month!


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