Tuesday, October 23, 2012


Out on DVD today, from Disney, is Tinker Bell: Secret of the Wings, the latest in a series of computer-animated adventures for junior-league pantheists and Wiccans, featuring Peter Pan’s fairy pal and her cronies. It’s set in Pixie Hollow, a magic land devoted to keeping the seasons running smoothly, and it concerns an illegal border crossing by Tink—a warm-weather fairy—into the realm of winter, where the fairies wear warmer clothes (though many of them still sport bare shoulders).

There Tink learns that she has a sister, Periwinkle, born of the same child’s laugh but separated at birth. The reunion, however, results in an upset of the natural balance, and the denizens of Pixie Hollow must struggle to stave off climate change.

It was screened for critics last weekend, and I can report that if you were cringing at the prospect of sitting through this one with your kids…don’t worry, it’s pretty good. While a little self-consciously girly and cutesy, these Tinker Bell flicks aren’t just direct-to-DVD junk; some true craft and heart has been expended on them. This one is colorful and exciting, and the superb, driving score by the underrated Joel McNeely kept me from nodding off.

Senator Arlen Specter, from my beloved home state of Pennsylvania, has passed on at 82. More than ten years ago I opened my front door one Saturday evening to see a hamster, apparently banished or escaped from some neighbor kid, on my front walk. I caught him, ran out and bought a cage and some food, and he was a part of our family for a couple of years, until he died, seemingly of a sudden attack of old age. His name was Arlen, because to me, his face resembled Arlen Specter’s.

(That isn’t actually a photo of Arlen the Hamster; I’m not sure any survive. But it’s pretty close.)

Plenty though there is for which to hold Specter in scorn, it must be admitted that he did something few people in America, regardless of their politics, have the courage to do—change his party affiliation when the party of which they’re a member goes, well, batshit crazy.

RIP, Senator. If you happen to see your little namesake over there, tell him I said hi.

RIP also to George McGovern, departed at 90. McGovern wasn’t the first candidate I can remember rooting for—that would have been Hubert Humphrey, in 1968—but he is the first I ever actively stumped for: I gave the speech for him to my (heavily pro-Nixon) 4th grade class.

RIP also to actor and activist Russell Means, passed on at 72.

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