BOOK-A TRUE RENAISSANCE MAN: GEORGE STANBURY FLOOD
george stanbury flood book jacket
There are not many of us renaissance men still around. George Stanbury Flood, born in 1847, was one of them. I've just finished this really fascinating book sent to me by my good friend as she thought it was my kind of reading. It was. And, it is true: (think James Frey-the lying, conniving, fabricating author of A Million Little Pieces- Just kidding).

The Legacy of George Stanbury Flood, which I would have named Renaissance Man, is a fascinating read-one that I am grateful someone took the time to put into print.

My hero, Mr. Flood, immigrated from England to America. He wrote letters and kept a journal in which he recorded his experiences in an incredibly vivid way. He writes so well that his descriptive prose puts me right there.

There are so many gems in this book that it is almost impossible to latch on to just one or two, plus I don't want to spoil it. My favorite passage is one that describes his admiration and empathy for women. Talk about a renaissance man and someone ahead of his time. He talks about women, not in typical man speak, but with a sense of gentleness in which he observes them. At one point he writes this treatise on how badly women treat other women which is so right on and so modern.

When he arrived in America, he traveled and described the people and places and did it with such admiration. He became a citizen and was so incredibly proud. And, he was often very funny. In one passage he wrote something like he heard about a woman doctor who took off (surgerically removed) a person's legs. The doctor was so gentle, he wrote, that if a person needed to have his legs cut off, he should go to her. Quite amusing. It's hard to tell whether he wrote such passages intentionally or just wanted to use subtle humor. I think the latter.

This book is a wonderful tribute to a man, a family, and to generations. I wish I had it in my power to make sure that it gets wide distribution. I hope the authors will continue to have the passion about the book. It is not just for family members but for all of us who appreciate history with strong personal touches of how our country developed. The Legacy of George Stanbury Flood is a great read that I expect to revisit with great regularity.

The book is available through Graffolio, 1528 Mississippi St., LaCrosse, WI 54601 and is inexpensive at $15 a copy and well worth it. Order one today. JA
  MATCH POINT: LUCK TRUMPS TALENT ANY DAY OF THE WEEK
match point dvd cover
MATCH POINT, a Woody Allen film, was very interesting and different and had some unexpected twists. It did hold me, but not much of a middle as my daughter would say(middle meaning boring, slow parts that make you wonder where the movie is headed).

I've never been much of a Woody Allen fan. I mean, the guy married a young Korean girl who was his ward or adopted daughter or something-pretty shameful but let us not judge here.

The movie revolves around former tennis pro Chris Wilton played by Jonathan Rhys-Meyers and his struggle to maintain social status, but acquire mad impassioned love. Chris has an affair and marries Chloe Hewett, played by Emily Mortimer, the daughter of a wealthy businessman. Chole is very much in love with Chris, but Chris meets Nola Rice played by Scarlett Johansson with whom he immediately develops mad passionate feelings. Nola just so happens to be dating, Chloe's brother, but this does not stop Chris's pursuit. If Chris leaves Chole, he will loose his grand lifestyle; therefore, he considers extreme measures.

I can't tell much more without divulging too much of the movie. Let me just say as a former tennis nut, the premise that the movie was based on was very subtle and a stroke of Woody's genius, if he thought it up. Sometimes your tennis ball hits the net and for a split second you just don't know: it can fall on the other side and you win the point game or match, or it can fall on your side and you lose. Yes, life is very much this analogy.

Jonathan Rhys-Meyers(Velvet Goldmine, Elvis mini series) really was by far the best actor in the film. Much of the story was told through his eyes -the struggle to do what's right, the manipulation and then trying to figure things out. Meyers goes from being a very empathic character to one very, very stupid guy who lets the wrong head direct him.

Scarlett Johansson is good but I will have to admit that there's something about her that makes me think that she is in the Al Pacino or Robert De Niro school of acting. In other words, merely playing oneself regardless of what the story is. It just seems she plays the same character whether it is the movie Girl with a Pearl Earring, Lost in Translation with Bill Murray, or this one.

Wait for the video. No, I take it back, go see it now. Good flick. Two and a half parachutes. J. JOHNSON

Feb 11 2006
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