SI Tennis Mailbag, Grammar Edition

I’m back in the Sports Illustrated Tennis Mailbag, this time with a grammatical gripe!

 

The text:

Dear Jon, I got a bone to pick with tennis players, especially American and British tennis players. My beef is simple: the pervasive misuse of the adjective “aggressive” in our beloved sport. You can be aggressive, but you do not play aggressive—you play aggressively! I understand if non-native speakers don’t realize the distinction (Rafa is especially fond of leaving off the -ly) but in your podcast with Jared Donaldson, he says, “play aggressive” (10:08 mark). He was talking about Rafa, so perhaps it’s contagious. Jared’s not alone—John Isner’s guilty as well.  And it doesn’t help that even journalists are making this errorQ. This match, Jelena played very aggressive.” Granted, these writers may be foreign, but still. We need to aggressively rescue this adverb from further grammatical degradation!
—Sung, Washington, N.J.

Read Jon Wertheim’s response!

Haiku and Review, Scifi Edition: Barbarella, Event Horizon, Alien: Covenant, Starship Troopers, The Thirteenth Floor

After listening to the latest season of the podcast You Must Remember This, which featured Jane Fonda, my wife and I thought it would be kind of neat to go through Fonda’s filmography.  We started with her first real movie role on Walk on the Wild Side and after a few more films, arrived at…

Barbarella
This is one strange film.
So strange that I had to stop.
And feel terrible…

After half an hour, I’d had enough.  A sexploitation film in every way, though I think what bothered me more than anything was that Fonda seemed 100% committed to the campy role with absolute seriousness.  There’s something eerie about the juxtaposition.  Not recommended.

Now for the rest — I’ve been meaning to see some of these movies for quite a while; we’re talking years for all but the newest (Alien: Covenant).  I had some time last week, so it was a great joy to finally catch up to them.

Event Horizon
What an engine room!
Gotta love the spike decor.
Hellraiser in space.

Not what I expected.  I mean I’d heard this was a horror movie set in space, in the vein of Alien, but I did not know how much Clive Barker influence it had (he was consulted, even, during pre-production).  Laurence Fishburne was so young and thin!  Recommended.

Alien: Covenant
I’ve seen this before
in Star Trek’s Data and Lore
with much less drooling.

I liked Prometheus better than this one.  Not a bad movie, and Michael Fassbender is wonderful as always, but sadly predictable in just about every way.  My favorite moment of the film was when Amy Seimetz, who plays Faris (and wife of Danny McBride’s Tennessee), in her dash to escape the alien, bangs her shoulder against a metal box in the hallway.  It seemed so utterly real, her panic.  Barely recommended.

Starship Troopers
Time to kill some bugs!
Wooden acting master class.
Hooray…fascism?

Wow, is the acting bad in this film.  Helmed by Paul Verhoeven, who also directed Total Recall and Basic Instinct, you’d think that he’d know how to get a half-decent performances out of his young actors, but no, the leads are uniformly terrible, even Neal Patrick Harris.  I couldn’t quite figure this movie out — it’s made to resemble a propaganda film, I guess to satirize the obvious fascism/Nazism imagery, but it almost seems like it’s celebrating it?  It’s weird.  And really bad, and not in a good way.  Not recommended.

The Thirteenth Floor
Plot is tricky, and
D’Onofrio’s amazing
as geek and barkeep.

Craig Bierko is the lead in this film, but Vincent D’Onofrio, as always, steals every scene he’s in.  I think everyone who knows movies knows about D’Onofrio, but he’s one of these actors that I wish was a household name.  Four actors play dual parts in this movie, but D’Onofrio is the only one who really seems like two completely different people.  There’s a twist in this movie that’s quite ingenious; I wish they went even farther with it, but I’ll take what I can get.  Recommended.

“Froggy,” in The Korean Quarterly

The kind folks at The Korean Quarterly have printed an essay of mine in their summer issue.  In case you aren’t familiar with the publication, here’s a primer:

Korean Quarterly is a non-profit quarterly newspaper, written by and about the Korean American community of the Twin Cities and upper Midwest. We define this community to include first and second generation Korean Americans and their families (including non-Korean family members), adopted Koreans and their families, and bi-racial/bi-cultural Korean American people.

The Korean Quarterly staff, contributors, and advisory board consist of first, 1.5 and second generation Korean Americans, adult adopted Koreans and adoptive parents of younger adopted Koreans.

Even though they have a presence on the internet, they publish their quarterly on newsprint only.  You know, newsprint — that thing that we wrapped fish in, crumpled to pack boxes, and also read occasionally.

But since we live in modern times and since you cannot actually read my essay unless you subscribe to The Korean Quarterly, here it is, from paper to smartphone to Dropbox to my website.  I suggest you click on the graphic in order to read it, since the type’s gonna be too tiny to read as is.

Froggy

A reflection on one woman and her love-hate relationship with a car

[FYI, it’s about my mom and her Volkswagen Beetle]

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My Long-Lost Sibling (LLS) Contribution to Sports Illustrated

One of my favorite sports writers out there is Jon Wertheim, the gifted tennis scribe who does it all — commentating for Tennis Channel, writing bestsellers, and posting a weekly column on SI.  This week, he picked my Long-Lost Sibling (LLS) suggestion for his mailbag!

 

They could totally be brothers.  I have a feeling Karen could also wield a hammer quite well…