The end of an era

With Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 opening to a record-setting weekend last Friday, the Harry Potter franchise, which is now the highest-grossing movie franchise ever, has finished its run. From the time of the first book’s release in 1997, no children’s book or movie series has had more staying power than Harry Potter. Although there will be no more books and movies for the timebeing, Harry Potter has changed the world and defined a generation. I had the pleasure of seeing the movie on opening day, and walked away, if not floored, at least satisfied. Spoilers are ahead, so if you don’t know the plot to the movie yet, kudos to you, stop reading, and come back when you’ve seen the movie.

“It was just good business”

A Netflix envelope

Netflix’s recent announcement ignited a huge social media and traditional media reaction yesterday. But unlike many of Netflix’s past announcements, the overall response wasn’t positive. In fact, it was deeply negative. There’s no doubt that price hikes in general aren’t popular decisions, but as I read the details, most of what Netflix said made sense for them and wasn’t bad for me. It seemed like much of the Internet, however, took the price increase as nothing less than a vile betrayal along the lines of Peter Pettigrew towards Lily and James Potter (see what I did there? The final Harry Potter movie is out on Friday; the post is about movies).

O’er the land of the free, and the home of the brave

This picture doesn't do justice to just how hot it was that day. But Nationals Park, despite its climate in July, is a great place to watch a baseball game.

I can’t think of a better way to celebrate Independence Day weekend than visiting our nation’s capital and taking in a baseball game, and this past weekend, that’s exactly what my parents, a couple of our close family friends and I did. Nationals Park is the fourth newest park in baseball, and it’s the home of the newest team (albeit a renamed Montreal Expos team) in baseball. Washington’s been wanting baseball back in the capital for years; does the new team and the new stadium fill the void? In short, yes. Read on for my full review.

Thoughts on an undeserved acquittal

Casey Anthony

I only really started following the Casey Anthony case after the trial started earlier this year. I’m not a lawyer, I’m not a grandfather, I’m not a mother… heck, I’m not even a daughter, so I am in no way qualified to offer judgement on the verdict of “not guilty” that took place today. But being a blogger, I’ll try anyway.

As I reflected on the case this evening, I reflected on how our justice system, despite not being perfect, worked today. Most of us “felt like” Casey Anthony was guilty because she wasn’t “acting right” after the disappearance of her child, or because her father had no motive to cover it up, or even because her lawyer seemed like a sleazeball (I’ll concede that point; he is a sleazeball). Hunches and instincts aren’t and shouldn’t ever be enough to convict anyone of a crime, particularly a capital crime. As the saying goes, “better a hundred guilty men go free than one innocent man be killed”. The evidence simply wasn’t substantial or definitive enough to convict Anthony.

The other thing that came to mind was the penultimate scene of my favorite movie, Saving Private Ryan. In the scene, John Miller (Tom Hanks), dying, is being tended to by James Ryan (Matt Damon) after shooting at a tank with a .45. Ryan, the point of the mission, the point of the movie, a seemingly insignificant soldier given great significance as the majority of a squad of soldiers dies trying to save him, leans in to hear Miller’s last words: “Earn this. Earn it.” The movie skips ahead to the present day, where an aged Ryan asks his wife if he’s been a good man and tries to convince Miller’s grave he did the best he could.

Earn this.

Those are the words I’d say to Casey Anthony today, given the opportunity. By some sort of freak circumstance, the lack of just a minute piece of evidence that would have turned the case towards the prosecution, Casey Anthony will likely walk free within the next year, and will have to figure out how to live the rest of her life knowing that most of the nation thinks she killed her child.

She could retreat into isolation, and try to stay out of trouble for the rest of her life (like O.J. Simpson did, years ago, only he couldn’t figure out how to stay out of trouble). But she could also figure out a way to, at least partially, redeem herself. No one’s going to let her adopt a child, so that’s out. But there’s always ways to give back: thinking small, she could volunteer at a local hospital, or thinking big, she could go around the country speaking to underprivileged teens about her experiences. Michael Vick did this after his dogfighting conviction (became a spokesperson for PETA) and was able to reinvent himself both on and off the field. No one has forgotten what Vick has done, and no one will ever forget what Casey Anthony probably did. Admitting the full details of her crime (assuming she did it) is probably not a great idea, but some level of admission, confession and contrition would certainly help her win, if not affection, at least some sympathy (advice she should have taken during the trial). This doesn’t even mention Casey’s parents, who hurriedly left the courthouse after the verdict today because of the questions they now face. Now that Casey’s been acquitted, how about dispelling the accusations of sexual abuse and trying to repair those bridges?

The point is no longer that Casey Anthony has managed to evade justice. The point is that the least she can do, in memory of her daughter, is to try to earn the second chance most convicts never receive, the second life that her daughter never received.