Tag Archives: Fourth of July

High School Musical 2: All About the Shoes, Baby

18 Aug

I watched the premiere of High School Musical 2 last night, along with my son and two of my adorable nieces. There was, predictably, much support for the right side of the blatant class warfare, and much swooning over the clean-cut, sharply-pressed teen stars.

If you watched it, you don’t need me to summarize; if you didn’t watch it, I’m sure you don’t care to hear the basic plot details anyway. But here are the crucial stats and highlights, from the point of view of my living room television audience:

  • Ryan wore a total of 12 hats. One could be fairly certain of his emotional sea-change when he slipped on Chad’s baseball cap, and then actually wore one multi-color hat for an entire day. It would seem that his constantly-changing fabulous headgear was a side-effect of chasing rainbows with his drama-queen sister.
  • Chad’s t-shirts are the must-have fashion accessory of the summer. Everybody needs a t-shirt reading “Warning: Do Not Read This Shirt” or “He Did It.” Or, one viewer’s favorite, “I majored in vacation” (which, conveniently enough, is in fact available from DisneyShopping.com). But most elusive was the final t-shirt, which appeared to have text inside the silhouette of a television. Multiple, exhaustive attempts to freeze-frame at just the right moment were foiled; it would seem that the shirt never appeared close enough to the camera, and unobstructed enough, to read the text.
  • Based on the comments of various characters in the movie in talking to Troy, the entire movie can easily be boiled down into a parable of how well-made, expensive Italian shoes can disrupt one’s personal relationships and spiritual development.
  • Nobody should ever rhyme “beef” with “teeth,” even in a song about dental floss.

Having learned these important lessons, we now await patiently for the next installment: High School Musical 3: Gradu-Dancin’ (formerly titled Haunted High School Musical). My hope? That the under appreciated Kelsi will finally get some serious screen time and a little more emphasis in the plot. Ryan’s just had his well-deserved day in the sun . . . so c’mon people, let the geeky girl save the day next time!

Bittersweet US Naturalization Ceremony at Walt Disney World Resort

4 Jul

Once again, thank goodness for the interweb. Right now I’m watching the naturalization ceremony at Walt Disney World Resort, webcast live.

As I watch, it strikes me that there’s a certain irony to swearing in new citizens in front of Cinderella Castle, the architecture of which draws heavily on Germany’s Neuschwanstein Castle. And what sort of beautiful post-modernism is at work if our newest citizens hop on the monorail for Epcot’s World Showcase, and visit the pavilion of their country of origin?

I’ll confess, I’ve never been a big fan of the Fourth of July. I’ve seen some terrible things done in the name of our country, and I am not proud of how our forefathers obtained the land we now live on. And was it perhaps not a coincidence that the skies let loose with a brief, torrential rain after a recorded greeting was played by our current President George Bush? (Maybe the weather gods are as cranky as I am about ScooterGate.)

I almost reached my limit with Lee Greenwood came out to sing “God Bless the USA,” in jeans an a polo shirt no less. (Good Lord man, you couldn’t have put on a suit for such a solemn occasion? Jimmy Rogers would have.) But I’m glad I kept watching, because moments later Meg Crofton announced that our new citizens would participate in a special parade down the Magic Kingdom’s Main Street USA, a beloved icon perhaps because of its celebration of a place that has never truly existed. And much to my surprise, that’s when I welled up with tears.

Because, despite my anger with my country and its leaders, I still feel lucky to be a US citizen, with my dissent and freedom of expression protected by our First Amendment. And I do know how hard our new citizens have worked to come to our country, and the tremendous obstacles some of them have overcome. I have sat with friends and loved ones when they were afraid they wouldn’t be able to stay in our country, in the homes they had built and loved. I know there are many, many more who’d make great sacrifices to sit with them this morning, becoming new United States citizens. I know there are many who long even for safe haven within our borders, for political asylum. Our country is not perfect, but it is ours, it is my well-loved home, and I welcome our new citizens with my best wishes for a happy Independence Day.

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