Monday, May 9, 2011

A Walk in the Neighborhood, Charitable Orgs, and a Little Bit of Bones

It makes me happy that mail carriers understand the importance of getting your Netflix to the mailbox in time for pickup, to expedite the delivery of your next movie. I left my house a little later than I meant to the other day and saw the mailman down the street, beside the blue mailbox, getting into his truck, about to drive away. When he saw me running toward him with my red envelope, he stopped his truck and waited for me. :o)

To the charitable organizations with a policy of stationing aggressive representatives in Harvard and Central Squares to target sympathetic-looking pedestrians for donations: I do research into nonprofits before donating to them, I seek the opinions of people outside the organization as to whether the organization is going to use my money wisely, and I do not make split decisions about such matters on the street. To the charitable organizations that instruct their representatives to yell questions along the lines of, "Hi! Do you have a minute for the environment?": I have lots of minutes for the environment. What I don't have a minute for is you. Your phrasing is manipulative and rude and it makes me determined to give my money to an environmental organization that is not you. Just sayin'. Chances are I like the work your organization does, but I surely don't like the way you're trying to get me to support you.

(Please note that my quarrel is with the organizations, not the representatives who are only doing their jobs. Also, BTW, here's a tiny handful of favorite nonprofits I've done my research on and would like to plug: Doctors Without Borders. Pathfinder. The American Indian College Fund. All great orgs to contribute to.)

So, randomness is good, right? Which is why I'm going to talk about Bones now. I sniffled my way through last week's episode, "The Signs in the Silence." I cannot NOT cry when Bones herself is near tears.

One of the things that makes Bones so dear to me is that she's stuck behind her own inability to express her feelings, especially when she senses they are irrational. And when she's feeling a lot of feelings, her struggle with her own inability to express them causes the feelings to get jammed up and burst out everywhere willy-nilly, in a way that's outside her control. She's a person who normally seems cold, except for when it couldn't be more obvious, from the feelings flying everywhere, that she has an enormous heart. From the writer's perspective, she's also an awesome narrative tool, because she can say sentimental things that, by virtue of them coming out of her mouth, do not sound sentimental.

Plus, in this last episode, there were no embarrassingly shameless plugs for Toyota! Though I expect that as usual, the science in the episode was crap. I don't watch Bones for the science or the mystery; I watch it for the relationships, the heart, and the humor. I jot down the verbal exchanges when they amuse me. A few exchanges between Bones (forensic anthropologist Dr. Temperance Brennan, played by Emily Deschanel) and her partner in murder-solving, FBI agent Seeley Booth (played by David Boreanaz):

BONES [looking skeptical]: Do you even know what superconductivity is?
BOOTH: I know it's better than regular conductivity.

BOOTH: These honesty people tell more lies than the average bear.
BONES [looking skeptical]: Upon what criteria are you determining that the bear is average?
BOOTH: ... How many lies it tells?

BONES [looking skeptical]: There's a rational explanation for his powers. It's not magic.
BOOTH: Maybe not, but it sure is magicky.

BOOTH: Bones, you think a potato gun and a beanbag gun could generate the same fig newtons per square inch?
BONES [looking exasperated]: It's just newtons, Booth.

Finally, a nice exchange between (atheist, pragmatist, and skeptic) Bones and (God-fearing, practicing Catholic) Booth. This takes place in a graveyard, at the end of possibly the funniest Bones episode ever, "The Double Death of the Dearly Departed" (link is to a promotional youtube vid for the episode):

BOOTH: Look, if I die, I want you to do me a favor --
BONES: Well, you will die, Booth. It's inevitable.
BOOTH: All right, whatever, Bones. When I inevitably drop dead before you, I'd like you to come out and, you know, spend some time and talk to me every once in a while.
BONES [looking skeptical]: Well, I'll feel foolish knowing that you can't hear me.
BOOTH: Promise me.
BONES [after a pause]: I promise.

(I think that sometimes she expresses her feelings better than she knows. ^_^)