Thursday, March 12, 2009

Culture Report

-- I rented “Dirty Dancing” and watched it last weekend. Somehow I never saw this movie, cultural touchstone that it was in the 1980s. Now I can see why. It is 100 percent terrible. Jennifer Grey can’t act, and Patrick Swayze is too old for her.

-- While I was in India in January I thought often of a miniseries I watched on public television in the early 1980s called “The Jewel in the Crown.” (It was on Masterpiece Theater, hosted by Alistair Cooke, he of the stolen body parts.) Anyway, I discovered that Netflix has the whole series on DVD, so I’ve been rediscovering “The Jewel in the Crown,” which is about the final years of British rule in India in the 1940s. It’s been great so far.

-- I just finished Phoebe Damrosch's book "Service Included," about her year working as a waiter at New York's super-swank Per Se restaurant. It was a fun, fascinating look at what it's like to be a server in a high-end establishment, where waiters make six figures and their clients are the wealthy and famous.

-- I’m now reading John McPhee’s “Oranges,” a book from the mid-1960s about the Florida citrus industry. It’s considered a landmark in Florida journalism. I'm familiar with much of the information about citrus cultivation, having grown up around the kids of citrus farmers and pickers, with grapefruit, tangelo and orange trees in my yard. McPhee's history of citrus, though, is all new to me.

(Photo: Artificial blossom on the sidewalk, March 2009)


  1. I love John McPhee, especially his books about geology. I've read them all.

    Dirty Dancing sucked. I tried to see it in a theater when it was first out. Left after ten minutes.

  2. I remember Dirty Dancing as being bad, too. Mrs. Sneed loved it, but I'm pretty sure she love Swazy and not the movie.

  3. It's been years since I saw Dirty Dancing, but I remember sort of liking it, probably because it had music and a happy ending (didn't it?) I would probably hate it if I saw it now.

    You do have an interesting reading list. I might look for the book on Florida citrus, since it's such an important industry in my home state. It doesn't always have a happy ending, like when a freeze threatens the groves.

  4. Dirty Dancing is a total crap-fest. Now Point Break, on the other hand...THAT'S quality film making...

  5. After watching Drty Dancing for the first time, my 6 year old daughter asked her mom if Patrick Swazey was 'The King of the Boys"...her mom was so proud...
    I asked her now that she is 20, if it were wrong for us to let her watch Dirty Dancing at such a young age...
    "No, Daddy, but you might not shoulda let me watch "Roadhouse"!

    Hey Steve, you're back!

  6. Dirty Dancing??? I watched it at someone's home as a rental. We were so bored with it that we returned it and got something else...The ride taking it back was the best part!

    Love you reads...the one you mention by John McPhee is new to me though I've read other stuff by him.

    How did you like O'neill???