Thursday, December 31, 2015

Free Writing - Take 99 - Au Revoir 2015

This blog has all but died. I still use it to keep track of movies, but that's about it. I've stopped the rants, stopped the open heart messages and stopped the insights, whether they were right or wrong. I'd like to start a new one, with a theme I stick to and maybe make some money doing it, but there is so little out there that isn't covered ad nauseam.

2015 was a horrid year for me and I don't believe tomorrow is a great rebirth. While I will always remember this year as one of the worst in my life, I did get a cat, who is my best friend. Who senses my pain and my pleasure. I "met" a friend, who gets me too. Quite possibly, on a level not to many have. While my chance at anything romantic with her isn't in the cards, a little piece of me will hold out hope, maybe for a day, maybe forever. Who knows? She tells me we don't know about the future, but I know, based on my past, we'll fade, our friendship and I'll be left with memories of something special, which I will cherish. Just like the person in 1997, who lifted me up and changed my life, in exchange for a single hug. That time, she wanted more, but I wasn't in the right place. This year also revealed I will be an uncle. I can't offer anything, but my love right now, but when I can, I will spoil that kid rotten, that I know.

So I bid adieu to this year and like the last few, you won't be missed. I'll hold tightly to the three good memories and let the rest fade away. Tomorrow won't change anything, but the last number on the calendar, but maybe that's the point. Maybe we need to stop looking at life in terms of days, weeks, months and years and simply a handful of moments we treasure, endure, escape or embrace and hopefully, when it all ends, we'll still have our wits to look back and smile.

Happy New Year.

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Free Writing - Take 98

Had thought of writing about the two people in my life right now, but can't find any words that work. A narcissistic follower and a subservient leader, their ironic existence is the yin and yang to my own. One whose mundane routines fill me with anxiety and hate, while the other, whose schedule fluctuations, create pockets of unexpected happiness, that last just long enough to be ruined, by the cold kitchen floor; a shocking reminder, to never take for granted anything you have, because the tiniest things, seem so large, when they are gone.

Friday, December 4, 2015

Free Writing - Take 97

Feels like months since I've written here. A 3am run to the bathroom and the need to stay connected. Out from under warm sheets, tiptoe across the floor, turning back to see the tiniest bits of light reflecting in the cat's eyes. Come back, sip the now cold coffee and find out a singer is dead. Feels like I just shut off Amy and there's another tragedy. Thoughts rewind, fast forward and pause. Shooting, climate, war, babies, animals, life and death. Scroll the feed and traffic and work complaints. Hundreds of thousands, checking in dumpsters for meals, yet twenty minutes in a warm waiting room deserves our sympathy? I smile, not at the thought of poverty or anguish, but that tiny ray starts to shine. "Did you just call me an asshole?" I giggle now, like I did earlier. It'll never happen the way I imagine it, because I know my life...the hug, squeeze turning into something more, will never exist. Walking back from that cold bathroom floor, back into bed, wrapping my arms around her, just once, maybe more, maybe not dying alone, each and every night. It's 5am now, the cat yawns and turns from the light, like much of my hope. 5am, counting, wondering if it'll be three, four, five hours or more, until good morning, and asking of my evening. "Fine." Knowing neither is ever really fine. I turn over and imagine a different life. One I'll never have and all of me, every but if me, hopes I never do, because it would mean things didn't work out for someone else. 5:05 now. That much closer to my hello. This is what matters and I'm OK with that. Sleep? Today is Friday. The day that at times feels like the end of a summer romance. I'm already looking forward to Monday, just to smile, maybe dream about that squeeze.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

November Movies

With one month left, I finally surpassed the 300 movies mark (a few shorts, but also a few series and/or seasons of shows thrown in. The good outweighed the bad this month, but the real gem was Ordet. One could argue it's place as one of the greatest movies of all-time and when I say argue, whether it's number one or not.

  1. The Bicycle Thief - After all these years, I finally see it and I'm left baffled by its praise.
  2. Mommy - Xavier Dolan's unflinching look at so much more than just a mom and her son. 
  3. We Are Still Here - Silly horror film, with goofy ghost, ruins solid atmosphere.
  4. The Gift - A complete train wreck from start to finish, which is surprising with the stellar cast.
  5. Point Blank - Exciting, frenetic-paced French thriller that is rich as it is fun. 
  6. Le Havre - Kaurismaki's simple, nearly perfect tale of a lovable loser's altruism. 
  7. Ordet - Awe! The only word to describe my feeling. Emotions will run. Dreyer masterpiece.
  8. The Gallows - Possibly THE worst horror movie ever made. Possibly the worst movie, period.
  9. The House at the End of Time - Dull beginning, but then it turns into a truly magical film.
  10. Dead Man's Shoes - Considine is in this dark revenge tale, but I wanted a stronger message.
  11. A Story of Floating Weeds - Ozu's silent film didn't work for me, but preview of his brilliance.
  12. Day of Wrath - Dreyer's film looks wonderful and Movin is enchanting, but lacks fire.
  13. Fitzarraldo - Herzog's epic might strive to be too big, but it's impossible to ignore.
  14. Forks over Knives - Well done documentary on plant based diet, which sticks to it's claim only.
  15. The Stanford Prison Experiment - Gripping and intense, with not a single bad performance.
  16. Criminal Minds - Season 8 - The show has definitely jumped the shark, but like old characters.
  17. Ariel - Aki Kurismaki film about down and out drifter who dreams of a better life.
  18. Dead Within - What appears to be a metaphor for domestic abuse, turns out to be just silly.
  19. Shadows in Paradise - Kaurismaki's first of the proletariat trilogy is effective in its bareness.
  20. Chop Shop - Little indie, doesn't try to be anything more than it is. Queens locale is perfect.
  21. The Wolfpack - Disturbing exploitation film of kids who need real help and horribly done.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

What Is It?

It's rumored to be at first sight, but I've never believed in that. Some say it's who you think of before you sleep or is it when you wake? Sometimes it's unconditional and other times it is built over time. We say it too soon and too often and it has lost its meaning for many. So what is this feeling I'm having, when none of the signs are there? It's not physical, it's not instantaneous, it's not built over years or developed, because of anything other than care. It's a feeling that I can't explain, because there is no explanation and no reason. I just know that I want to say two words, not three, every single night and there's an emptiness that's filled and at the same time enlarged, each and every day. So I wonder, what is it?

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

October Movies

October was a slow month, being there were three shorts and a stand-up show inserted. That being said, it was lead by Ozu's simple tale, Julianne Moore's standout performance, Vigo's gem and an Estonian film that might find it into my year end top ten.
  1. While We're Young - After Frances Ha, I expect enormous things from Noah, this wasn't it.
  2. Life After Beth - Great Cast simply can't muster enough to make up for absolutely no script.
  3. Dark Was The Night - Acting, tension and likable characters make this a fun one.
  4. Cop Car - Possibly Bacon's worst role ever. The movie fails miserably. Thankfully short.
  5. 2046 - Kar Wai's follow up to In the Mood for Love. Doesn't work as well, but visual feast.
  6. The Only Son - Osu's story is devastating in its simplicity. 
  7. Going Clear - Scientology documentary seems to avoid all the real questions.
  8. Safe - Julianne Moore is great, the movie shows power, but DVD commentary is destructive.
  9. Dark Places - Gillian Flynn's novel comes to life and dies a slow, uneventful death. 
  10. A Propos De Nice - Vigo's silent impressive look at the good and bad of the beach community. 
  11. Tartis - Vigo's ten minute biopic on the swimmer. Genius and ground breaking.
  12. Zero for Conduct - Vigo's 40 minute kids behaving badly film. Good, not great.
  13. L'Atalante - Vigo's only feature is the classic tale of life and love. Perfect then and now.
  14. The Boy In The Striped Pajamas - Youthful innocence meets Holocaust. Very effective.
  15. Brave - Delightful Disney fluff, with an emotional finale.
  16. Insidious Chapter 3 - Awful and it may actually be the best of the trilogy.
  17. Tangerines - Estonian masterpiece. Simple, but amazing. One of 2015's Top 3 films.
  18. The Match Factory Girl - Strange, low key Finnish film with almost no dialogue. Well done. 
  19. Eyes Without A Face - Didn't do it for me, but I see how influential it was. Acting is awful.
  20. Anthony Jeselnik: Thoughts and Prayers - Easily one of the worst stand-up acts ever filmed.
  21. Pusher - Solid acting and frenetic pace make up for ho hum story. Plus, young Mads!
  22. White Dog - Cliche-filled, terribly acted 80's yarn about racism. Cute McNichol can't save it.
  23. Jug Face - Good story, solid lead and nice pace make up for lack of backstory and budget.
  24. Marjoe - Best doc Oscar is dated, but well done about child evangelist who comes clean.
  25. Pusher 2 - Solid Mads, but there is no real story until the final 20 minutes. 
  26. The Vatican Tapes - Awful, despite cute, convincing lead, but surprisingly strong ending.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Pretty Much Given Up On This Medium

It's dawned on me that the things I value, like and appreciate, are not the same things others do. My sense of humor, aside from when with people, isn't the same as others. My love for film is shared by two other people, one who I don't even know and while I do get into some conversations, it's always brief. My interest in politics, religion and social matters are more for debate, but people, even those I somewhat respect, have such problems with conversing without name calling, that even those I know, I avoid nowadays.

I used to enjoy signing on late at night or early in the morning and writing my thoughts. Even nicer when someone would send me a private message commenting on it. It's nice to know people want to know the real you. I've dated people who showed no interest in my blogs and even have those in my life, who rush to read other's awful writings, to comment, critique and praise, who don't care about any of my thoughts. There are even those who read it who only comment negatively, never once crediting me with being open or sharing insights into whatever topic it may be.

I do realize most blogs have a central theme and mine, like my life and my thoughts, is scattered so much, that it's hard to come back and even know what to expect. I do think it's therapeutic, but these days, I've really got my therapy from five friends, who is speak to daily. I do know I'm a burden at times, but I feel we all are, when the chips are down. I know it won't always be like this, well I hope, but the good isn't outweighing the bad. I do love hearing about kid's football games, pumpkin picking and the occasional quiet night, that they let me into the following day. It means a lot. I do worry about becoming attached to it, because it's not my life, but we can't stop caring, because of what might happen.

I've thought of starting another type of blog, but with a business side to it, but would it take off? Who knows. I've said I wanted to write a book, a screenplay or something else for years, but don't seem to be able to narrow anything down. I have ideas, but then I research and see I'd be a small fish in a very big sea.

Not even sure why I'm writing this now. To acknowledge those privately who keep me sane? To those who listen to me gush about the cat, while rant about the humans in my life? How often can I complain about the same meals, the same conversations, the same time schedules, etc without it becoming a bore. Me becoming a bore. Who knows? I know a lot. At least I tell myself I do, but I realize I don't know what makes this thing work. This machine that keeps breaking down every few years. Anyone else know? I guess not. That's why we went from ancient times with a handful of philosophers to an entire universe full of them. All saying very little in the end.

So maybe that's my calling. Now if I can only find that life event that brings it all into a clearer picture.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

September Movies

While I'm over 250, my movie watching has taken a hit. Various reasons for this, but actually sleeping for about five to six hours a night is one of them. Hooray! I will say that the quality in September was very high, with at least three top 100 movies of all-time. Two might sneak in the top 50.

  1. Metropolitan - Whit Stillman's lead choice, dooms a wonderful, quirky script.
  2. Child 44 - Terrific acting and attention to detail trump predictable plot. Hardy excels.
  3. Bonnie and Clyde - Arthur Penn's direction is top ten level. A masterpiece.
  4. Clouds of Sils Maria - Truth and fiction blur, but secondary characters tear down solid plot. 
  5. Obvious Child - Hilarious at times look at unwanted pregnancy, relationships and career.
  6. The Innocents - Atmospheric ghost story, hurt by too much bump in the night.
  7. The Monitor - A chilling thriller, with a bit of a ghost story to boot. Rapace is outstanding!
  8. Pulse - Acclaimed Japanese horror film, doesn't stand the test of time at all. Horribly boring.
  9. Criminal Minds - Season 8 - The show has definitely jumped the shark, but like old characters.
  10. Barry Lyndon - Finally! Beautiful. Epic. Long, but a feast like no other. I need a moment.
  11. Strangerland - Abysmal is the only word to describe. Joseph Fiennes is simply the worst!
  12. The Sacrament - Ti West has no feel for tension and this Jonestown take lacks any of it.
  13. Babette's Feast - Beautifully layered story, with about as good a final half as you'll find.
  14. Contempt - Godard's big budget mess. The epitome of convoluted. Awful in every way.
  15. Mad Max Fury Road - Easily one of the 25 worst movies and misogynistic films ever made.
  16. The Turin Horse - I'm speechless. I still haven't grasped the enormity of this film.

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Free Writing - Take 96

Lightning Round I'm giving myself two minutes on a timer

Barry Lyndon, a walk through an art gallery on film, but with no likable characters, it's difficult to assess as a whole. I keep wondering why I'm so good at something when no money is involved, but so bad when it is. I also laugh that someone has spent every waking moment worrying about something, ignoring me because of it and two little bits of advice, from someone who gets the world as it is now, could have simplified and amplified their work. I don't worry about it though. Glad to have friends to chat with, because they keep me sane and I hope I return....stop

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Ode To My Facebook Friends

Neighbors give you problems
People at coffee shop give you problems
People on the way to work give you problems
People on the subway give you problems
Co-workers give you problems
Clients give you problems
Telemarketers give you problems
Friends give you problems
Family give you problems
Lovers give you problems

 Guess what? It's probably not them

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Free Writing - Take 95

Day seven, maybe eight, I've lost count. Side dishes and scraps. Dinner? Not tonight or any night lately. Tonight bothered me, as I whipped something together, it failed, not because of my measly talents, but because of the product available. I ended up eating things intended to be added to others, as an entire meal, but still, this wasn't what bothered me. What bothered me most was, that before I even thought, even looked for my own sustenance, I glanced down and saw the cat, weeping at his empty bowl. I'd filled it four, maybe five hours before, but it was empty. How long, I wondered? I filled it and he ate ravenously, leading me to believe, it hadn't been filled again. How anyone could be so selfish, to call one a pet, but think of themselves before those who rely on them, is a common question. Memories of the past have swept back and reminded me that it's always been like this. Selfish, but not just regular selfishness, pride in it, as if entitled. Finally, I sat with my portion. My first and my last bite, handed away. The reward curled up, four or five hours, moving only to get closer. Let me know I am appreciated.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Internet Poetry: Part 1 - Water

I like my martini, stirred not shaken
It's why I travel, the road less taken.
My battery is dwindling, oh what a fright,
Rage, rage the dying of the light.

Good fucking lord. Everyone who can rhyme and has Instagram, thinks they're a poet these days. People tend to steal other's work, change a few words, add a few lines from someone else's work or a Beatles song and then call it their own. If I did this, I'd go by the name of Ogden Mash. By the way, your inability to understand punctuation rules, doesn't make you the next ee cummings either, it makes you an illiterate ass. 

So here's the new thing. Mention water in everything you do. Talking about life, make it a river. Talking about sorrow, mention rain (you get a gold star for mentioning clouds that rain tears). Talking about distance, you betcha Sarah Palin, that shit is an ocean that divides us, unlike Russia...that shit's a stream separating our backyards. The only real dilemma poets have these days is when to use ocean and when to use sea. Rhyme that shit baby? Rhyming sea is easy, but don't cheat us readers and use see, mix that shit up. Double bonus points if you use pea, because of spelling. Seriously, enough with life being like a fucking puddle that your childlike self stomps in, sending droplets scattering, like memories. Ooooh, I just got the tingles.

And poets, make sure that poem has a nice meme style background, with a sunset and a beach. Just crop yourself out of one the eight thousands selfies you took this summer and you're good to go. Just no footsteps on the beach, because Jesus ain't carrying you through this. Don't be an Emily Dick-inson.

Oh and one more rule....and the most important of all. Never, ever, ever, ever use the M-word.


Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Free Writing - Take 94

Sorry if you read this to start your day, it's been bothering me for weeks and just needed an outlet.

It's been a while since I've felt like sharing much. I've shared with a select few, but it seems there's so much anger and depression in the world, but when you point it out, or even the wonderful things, you're told you have problems, your conceited or even worse, you're depressed. A few months ago, it was spread a round, that I was suffering from depression. Anyone who knows me well, understands that I take mental instability very seriously. It's something that I think is overlooked and sometimes we miss the signs of those truly suffering.  What bothers me most, is the person who decided to tell people I am suffering from a real illness, battles alcohol each and every night. They don't believe they have a problem, but it has rendered them completely useless for about 15 hours a day. Sadly, I don't care about their problems anymore, because they've made their bed. Is that horrible? No it's not. You can only point out someone's problem and ask them to look in the mirror so many times. It's affected their routines, their relationships, their ability to function,  to remember the simplest details and most of all it's made them lose sight of their priorities. Alcohol isn't addictive, it's the personality of the drinker that is. Alcohol is the invisible crutch. People used to label me, but those that really know, understand that I never drank, not even once, to drown a problem, to ease the pain or to make life go away. I drank to have fun. When I drank, I laughed, smiled and talked. I didn't sit in the dark, moaning people's names, falling into walls or trying to forget some silly obsession. When I felt pain, I either faced it or turned to a quiet space, where I could be alone, in thought and with the clearest head possible. It's why when things are really bad for others, they turn to me and they don't only see my back or my head, face down in my own fears. Depression is real and I feel for those who suffer and I reach out when I think there is need. Alcoholism is real too, but you know when it goes away? When you stop drinking. When depression's cause is taken away, we lose a life. Don't ever use the term depression and lightly as you'd use alcoholic, whether you agree with my definitions or not. It is a dangerous mistake and one used all too often.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

August Movies

I'm up to 238 movies for the year. Slightly less than one per day, but I will add, I've seen a few series', so the number of hours, would probably be that of about 250 movies.

I will say, August started with a few duds, but I saw three movies, I'm considering throwing on my top 25 of all-time list, so this was a powerhouse month. Not to mention, I re-watched (yes, I re-watched three movies) two classics, one top ten all-time caliber and one which made me realize, I only liked it, because of the idea it was great.

  1. The Calling - Wonderful cast can't save it from it's own predictability. It ain't Fargo!
  2. Wet Hot American Summer - Great cast, spot on camp camp exaggeration and Molly Shannon!
  3. Cannibal Holocaust - Went in with extremely low expectations and they weren't met.
  4. Wyrmwood - Wonderful twist for the genre, but wasted by too much humor and lack of plot.
  5. The Lion In Winter - Re-watched this epic. Brilliant writing, acting and still a top 10 film.
  6. Ghostquake - Yes, it's as bad as it sounds, but it's so bad it's almost funny.
  7. 500 (Days of Summer) - Dreadful! Should have been titled Girls Are C***s!
  8. Kingsman: The Secret Service - Silly good fun, great action, ultra-violent and great cast.
  9. Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp - Funny, great finish, but movie tops it. 
  10. Blade Runner - Re-watched - Horrible in every sense, but aesthetics. Allure is built on myth.
  11. Bigfoot Reflections - 45 minute doc, which starts off silly, but ends with a real message. 
  12. What We Do In Shadows - Comedy Mockumentary about Vampires - Absolutely fantastic!
  13. Late Spring - A perfect film in every sense, but the punch is softer than Tokyo Story. Ozu!!!
  14. The Gunman - As bad and cliche filled as an action thriller can get. Awful in every way. 
  15. Dark Water (2002) - Great tension, but the payoff is so subtle and predictable, it felt flat. 
  16. Blue Ruin - Incredible, low-budget revenge film. Scant dialogue adds importance to action.
  17. Colin Quinn: Unconstitutional - Hilarious take on founding fathers and our favorite document.
  18. In The Mood For Love - Visually dazzling, but I dare you not to fall in love with the leads.
  19. How I Ended This Summer - Old v New Russia. Simple metaphor; more simple film. A bore.
  20. Kwaidan - Beautifully told ghost stories, hurt only by snail's pace and weak last chapter.
  21. Eugene Mirman: Vegan On His Way To The Complain Store - Uneven, but often hilarious.
  22. CitizenFour - Snowden doc is intense and powerful. Important as it is well done. 
  23. Early Summer - Osu's middle film from his Noriko trilogy. At times, whimsical, but solid.
  24. Children of Men - Typical, flawed dystopian tale, held together by constant movement.
  25. L'Avventura - Fellini v Antonioni, the battle for who can say less continues.
  26. A Nightmare on Elm Street - Re-watched - Thank You, Wes Craven. R.I.P. 

Monday, August 31, 2015

Trash Day

This was a status on Facebook (yes, aren't you glad you're not friends with me?), but I haven't posted in a while, so I figured I'd throw this up here. I"m thinking of scrapping this blog and starting a new one, with a specific topic in mind. This, once again, seems to have run its course.

 Ahhh, a balmy Monday morning in Ithaca. Sunday's trash, which has been sitting on the sidewalk for 18 hours, still sits, rummaged through by nocturnal creatures that stand on both two and four legs. The sullen dog owner across the street must be done with his chore of owning, yes owning, his pet.

The forecast calls for heat and humidity, which should bring chants of a second summer. As poets and their prose counterparts write tales, with their thinly veiled allusions to a return to the womb. Mother replaces the youth they lust for, or vice versa, depending on their audience. The delusions of mass acceptance, more important than the words.

I sit, with hot food and cool coffee, wondering if I can use the microwave and the toaster at the same time. My friend staring at me, wondering why I slept at night. A trip to the central New York Mecca of middle eastern delights, returned only frozen falafel, but the mighty Wegman's apparently had a finer chick pea spread.

It's only Monday, or as they call it here in Ithaca, Trash Day. Still an outsider, I haven't let on, that every day is, this is just the day they make room for more of the same. I feel like this is groundhog's day, with the Indian couple fast walking, the short guy with the big dog, the tall guy with the little dog and the ever present sounds of crickets, reminding me of their existence, like a fluorescent bulb, buzzing and flickering, waiting to die, but hanging on, for what seems like forever.

Is it nighttime yet? I need a movie to take me away from here.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Random Acts Of Kindness, Self Love & Our Decaying Moral Fiber

Last summer, I battled the random acts of kindness hash tag with my much despised 100 Days of Hopper. Usually I chose something I found hypocritical to rant about and went from there. This year, I've either been blocked, I've unfollowed or I've simply managed to miss all of these. I was sent one about someone handing out some sandwiches and then attending a $150 per ticket Broadway show, but they're not my friends, so it doesn't bother me as much. Although it should be noted, they are friends with the queen of telling people when she does something "random."

Since we seem to have got away from the hash tag craze, I see we've entered into this new "self love" era. Now, there is nothing wrong with being comfortable and confident in yourself. That is one of the main components in Maslow's hierarchy of needs (my Bible), but here's the's not the highest level of achievement. Self actualization is and while you need to have self esteem and self love, it's not the end. There are also a higher and lower level of importance of self love and while I know many people who boast about the achievements and their status, this is actually the lower level, because in the end, materialistic vices, even if they are achieved, aren't nearly as important as true competence and confidence, because that gives on true freedom. Just having good looks, money and a good job, isn't enough, because many times, those things simply gloss over what you're deficient in.

Self actualization is the mastery or in my mind, complete confidence that at the end of the final day, you've done all you can. To do so, you must be comfortable not only in your skin, but comfortable in how everyone who matters views you. You have to have literally left everything on the table, never compromising what matters and have the ability to be proud, without being cocky. In essence, you must be humbled by your own achievements.

While this might sound impossible, I have always liked this to the unconditional love of a child. That child, might turn out to be a concert pianist or they might turn out to be a janitor, but when that parents looks back, they are proud of the person they brought into the world, they are proud with how they raised them and they are proud with what they have achieved, regardless if it was what they expected or wanted, because they did everything they could, without ever compromising their values.

So this sounds like a  lot of psychological and philosophical bullshit for something I'm about to share on social media, but it's social media that has me thinking about this. I've friends who have achieved thing through cheating, but praise their hard work, because they no longer cheat. I have friends who have compromised friendships to get ahead, but they have made up, so they view it as acceptable. I have friends who are going through horrible suffering, but take the time to apologize for "taking up my time," when it is I who am humbled that they trust me to talk. Then there are those who I've listen to grovel for months, some years, who finally feel they've reached the mountain top and have bragged and boasted about all they have. I look at them and their insecurities shine as bright as the sun. Sometimes you think, you're wrong about people and you try and convince yourself, but really, they just use you to step to the top, but they don't realize, that you had walked down from a much higher mountain, to help them up their hill.

Friday, August 21, 2015

Why I'm Turning Into A Crazy Cat Guy

He can spend hours, laying in bed with me, only moving to get closer.
Many nights, he sleeps in a chair, while I sit at a computer, only getting up, to jump onto a table, turn over, so his chin can be scratched, then batting my hand away, when he's content.
He will go from ferociously biting me, to licking my hand. His way of thanking me for allowing him to retain some of his animal instincts.
Whenever I go to make a meal, he jumps on the table and faces where he thinks I'll be sitting.
When there is thunder, he will watch the rain outside, while sitting on the windowsill, act strong, then nestle under blankets, resting his entire body against my legs or chest. Immediately jumping out, when he feels the loud booms have subsided.
He circles my feet when he hasn't seen me in a while, then drops to the ground for scratches. He sometimes does this while I'm walking down the stairs, so this might be my last blog.
He allows me to hold him like a baby at times.
He kneads my legs at times and I let him. Despite the fact that it tears my skin to pieces.
Despite only being about two months old, he knew one day I was saddened by something and didn't leave my side.
We share breakfast (and I mean share literally) ever morning. The two times we haven't recently, he's not been himself the rest of the day and I've felt terrible. Those evenings however, he made sure I knew it was OK.
He has the weakest meow ever. Which makes me worry, because it's hard to hear when he's upset by something (like being locked in or out of a room).
He gets these little black boogers and despite them drying and hurting at times, he allows me to clean them off. Sounds gross, but it's someone trusting us, even when it hurts, that we all need.
While I admit, this isn't the smartest thing, when he gets too rough biting and scratching, I put my face near his and he swats me in the face, but never once with his claws.
When he's just woken up, he's like a drunk. His balance isn't where it should be and his jumping ability is hindered....he will stand at the edge of my bed many times and wait for me to pick him up and place him on the ground.
He joins me in the toilet, every time.....every single time.
He does a lot of little things, each and every day, but honestly, he's the only living creature, I go to bed happy, just knowing I have seeing, hearing and spending time with him to look forward to the next day.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Free Writing - Take 93

When does it stop? When can I go a day without someone I like suffering a setback? When can I sign on to Facebook and not read some teacher complaining about how they only have two weeks left of vacation, when most people I know don't get two weeks paid vacation in an entire year? When can I not see ignorance, no matter what the topic, I would like on day where every comment makes sense, regardless of the stance. When will certain people wake up and realize their selfishness is destroying how I feel about them? When can I go outside and not be ashamed of my face? When can I relax with my cat and not worry, when I fall asleep if he's locked in our out of some room? When will I find some kind of employment that will make me happy and serve it's purpose. I feel like I'm looking for a needle in a haystack, but there really isn't a needle. When will I be able to breathe again (literally and figuratively)? When will I find someone to share those special and not so special moments? When will I go an hour without feeling like all hope is lost; not for me, but for us? When will people be nicer to each other and when will those who are selfish, narcissistic and sometimes cruel, just vanish?

- Muhammad Ali

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Free Writing - Take 92 (Social Media)

Social media has taught me that my estimation of my average friend having an IQ of about 100 (which is below the US average), was way too high. The number of professional educators I know, who don't understand how to write properly, is frightening. There are no rules saying, smart people can spell and dumb people can't, but when you're constantly writing lesson plans and letters, you'd think common words would be ingrained in you.

Social media has taught me that most, yes most, of my friends will believe something in a meme over anything written with a citation. I proved someone wrong the other day, beyond a shadow of a doubt, with photographic evidence, no less, and their reaction? "We'll just have to agree to disagree." How does one agree to disagree with a fact?

Social media has taught me that everyone who posts happiness, contentment and zen, 24/7 is desperately crying out. What amazes me is they all have the same hobbies in common and same diet. The people who simply post pictures of their food, aren't the ones I mean. It's the ones that push their way of life onto you. It's not a deep concern for ecology or a love of beets, but it's their mind telling them, if I can convince one person that they enjoy this, it'll mask my pain. It's simple psychology. Pack mentality works, even when it's built on a lie.

Social media has taught me that people that are promiscuous, especially those committing adultery, aren't nearly as clever as they think. People who are openly looking for this, but have yet to act, are even more obvious. The people who are content are also fairly obvious, because they never feel the need to make their significant other appear like anything more or less than they are and this varies by relationship. That one word is where it is all telling and easy to see.

Social media has taught me that I tend to say more to people than I ever would in person. Call it gossip, call it being catty, call it whatever name you wish, but the reality is, if you're going to live a life that is one way and try and fool others, you can't be upset when your secrets are revealed. I have almost no secrets, because anyone who wants to know can just ask.

Social media has taught me that the scariest bigotry is social media bigotry, because it's not even considered bigotry, but a first amendment right. This is not a right. It's hate. If you hide behind the word opinion, you're a coward, like most bigots. Don't think, because you've brought the Constitution into it, you've raised the level. You've actually lowered it, without your misinterpretation of the document.

Social media has taught me that the more technology we have, the less we use it; trusting that others have for us. Dangerous assumption, when everyone makes it.

Social media has taught me that happiness isn't an easy thing to come by and that a laugh or a patient ear, is all we can really ask some days. Health helps too.

Social media has taught me, that when social media becomes your main source of communication with those you call friends, your friends list gets shorter and those you confide in gets even smaller. I'm lucky for the few I have. I look forward to hearing from them every day. I really do.

Monday, August 10, 2015

Ithaca: The Truman Show (A Real Conversation)

The other night I "met" someone online and he said he had lived in the Finger Lakes region and I said I was currently in Ithaca. I explained that I had moved from lower Westchester and he laughed. He asked if I'd acclimated myself to the "cause-way" and I then realized he understood. I described Ithaca as The Truman Show, with the same people appearing at the same time, in the same place, doing the exact same thing. I explained, for a multitude of reasons, I didn't get out much and he assured me I was missing nothing.

He asked if the track teams still run down the streets together at the same time, the stampede for footsteps, the hollow looks and the lack of sweat.  He asked if I smiled at neighbors and witnessed their forced attempts and how hard their eyes dart away. He then asked if I'd heard any good poetry about hardships and loss, written by someone whose life we both could only dream of having. Then of some sub-par play, written by a "townie" who everyone secretly wishes would stop writing these insipid pieces, for nobody other than the local actors, who are all failed art majors. I laughed, because it's all I ever hear about, but refuse to go. The pretentious nature of Ithacans is second to none. They all feel as if they helped Christ lug his cross, but you know, not with all that religious stuff attached.

As I laughed at his knowledge of the area, I thought I'd throw a few and he concurred that nearly every Cornell writer, seemed to have mother issues and if they didn't, they made every poem about a girlfriend about their mother and vice versa. He said, oh yes and told me, how he always laughed how much these boys hated their mothers, but lusted after them too. I asked if everyone was so narrow minded, not in their politics, but in their actual ability to think. He asked me if there was some town meeting or "guest" speaker, which everyone moved their calendars for. I asked why the quotes around the word guest and he noted that the person was usually a well known local, yet throwing guest on a pamphlet somehow gave the event legitimacy.

We both laughed at the absurdity of this little place, which people take it oh so seriously, especially when it's ranked for its greenness and its way of life. Meanwhile the fireworks, gunshots and heavy drug use, much of it done and sold by the middle class white folks, is never reported and from the lack of sirens, even investigated. We both laughed at how easy a place is to read and then he admitted he'd not been here in over a decade. We laughed again and then he said "You should write about it. Everyone in Ithaca writes about Ithaca. It's the thing to do." I laughed, but he continued, "Why not, that area is the home of micro brews, minuscule wineries and the self publishing hub of the the US. He said, if you haven't paid to have something published, you haven't lived in Ithaca long enough." He had no idea the nerve he struck. I said my thanks and we said out goodbyes. His parting shot, "Don't fear, it's safe to set sail. I did."

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Pray for You

Do people who pray, or the ones that say they do, understand just how hard it is for us heathens to lend support. Here's the thing...we actually need to mean it. We can't use a generic "you're in my prayers." We need to formulate thoughts that are specific to the situation and then lend actual support, in the form of comfort, assistance and in rare cases, guidance. This is a stressful time for us, because we can possibly say the wrong thing or even worse, take the wrong tone. We might say something that comes off dismissive, such as "OK, thinking about you" or "Let me know if you need anything" and that just doesn't hold the weight of promised prayer.

I know what you're saying. You think I'm just being anti-religion and make no mistake, I think it's an evil beyond all others, but that isn't it. I'm saying, for all the wars it's caused, the confusion it brings and the conflict it causes in individual lives, it allows everyone who believes an out from responsibility and care. For once you say, "you're in my prayers," you're absolved of any further responsibility, unless asked. Then, you're deemed a savior of sorts, because when asked, you answered the call. Where as those of us who ask without hesitation are usually expected to give the person space and be on call. A call, which by the way, rarely comes, until all hope is lost and then, when it does, we're there for the horrors. Those God's chosen can't accept, so they hide and wait for groups meetings, to bow, look sorrowful and pray some more. This time for your peace.

Let's be real. When you say "I'll pray for you," what you really mean is you'll pray for yourself. You'll hope such horrors never beset your life and that if called upon, it's for nothing more than a car ride or to watch the young one. Your prayers are that you don't have to sit and listen for months, while those beckon calls to God go unanswered. You pray that the worst case scenario is that you might have to get your shirt dry cleaned for the sad day, so you can tell the bereaved, that someone is in a better place. Or you pray, that it's one of the millions of things, people make a big deal out of, with full knowledge it's nothing.

Tonight I worry about a friend and I'm helpless, they're helpless and there are no magical words in my world that make this easier for anyone. All I can say is"let me know,"  and let them finish the what is needed of me; and that isn't good enough.

Friday, August 7, 2015

The Morning After - The GOP Debate(s)

I admit it. I only watched one hour of the second one, but watched clips of the rest.

Let me first start by saying, that unlike others, I didn't care one bit what Donald Trump had to say, because anyone who follows politics understands he has zero chance of winning the nomination.

I'll also add this. Of all my friends, the people who support Donald Trump on Facebook are, in general the ones I'd put in the bottom 5-10% in terms of intelligence. I don't mean they aren't nice, kind people, but if it came to book smarts, these are the ones who never opened the book. Mean? Sorry, it's true. They are the wrong "their, there, they'res" of the world and no, not because of auto correct, they simply aren't intelligent human beings on any subject and their convictions don't add up to intelligence.

Megyn Kelly asked a question about God speaking to the candidates. Not only is it irrelevant, but to answer the question, in a public office seeking forum, is....wait for it, Unconstitutional. It's actually written into the Constitution as something that is never to be allowed. Well played Fox News.

Trump went all-in on anti-feminism and to make matters worse, he threatened the moderator. People will praise his balls, but the reality is, he just lost a huge section of the female vote he actually led in.

Ben Carson called conjoined twins, Siamese. He also said we need to get past talking about race. BTW, he's the black guy, who is a neurosurgeon.

Every one of the people standing before you is a multi-millionaire and while some did achieve their success on their own merits, it's important to remember who is now footing their bills.

In case you didn't get it, this was an attack on Donald Trump, because Rupert Murdoch and Roger Ailes can't stand the man. How did Trump do? 13% of this answer had a bit of truth to them and not a single one stood up to "mostly true" by Politifacts measurements. In simple terms, he got crushed.

Caryl Fiorina won the early debate by almost all accounts and she did so in stunning fashion. She didn't say a single thing that was true.

So who is out as of tomorrow? Mike Huckabee & Kasich
Who is holding on by a thread? Chris Christie, Rick Perry and Rand Paul
Who helped themselves? Fiorina, Rubio, Carson (please explain this) and Walker
Who would my guess be for next November? Jeb Bush or Cruz

One last interesting note. If this was an independent debate. John Kasich would have been the winner by a landslide, which proves, independents don't exist, because nobody is defending him.

So who was the real winner, if we're being honest? The Democratic Party.

Sunday, August 2, 2015

July Movies

Well, there have 213 days in 2015 and I've seen 213 movies. These are July's views and I must say, this month featured some of the best and worst movies I've ever seen. Sunrise will soon find a spot in my top 50 movies of all-time. Maybe even the top 25. True Detective: Season 1 was arguably one of the best things I've ever watched for a one season series. Only Top of the Lake was better. This month was also filled with some epic clunkers, including a well received movie which made an odd of the only films I've ever turned off before it was finished....Mr. Turner was so painfully dull, all the colors in the world couldn't save it.

  1. The Machine - Much better than anticipated look at AI v Humans, from multiple angles.
  2. Trouble Every Day - Poor attempt at artsy look at cannibalism. Gallo is painful to watch.
  3. Mr. Turner - For once, the word pretentious fits. Art film about artist made for artists.
  4. A Trip to the Moon - 1902 short, which plays almost like a cartoon. 
  5. Into The Woods - Blunt, Kendrick, Streep and Huttlestone are brilliant. A gem musical.
  6. The Search for General Tso - Witty, great music and sincere homage to Chinese Americans.
  7. True Detective (Season 1) - The finest acted cable series I've ever watched. Top Notch.
  8. Ju-on 2 - Awful sequel to now classic Japanese horror film. Solid start, but then repetitive.
  9. Sunrise - Murnau's 1927 silent was the end of an era, but might be the greatest of them all.
  10. Mad Ron's Prevues from Hell - A collection of 47 horror trailers, some classics. Dud!
  11. Maggie - Arnold in dull Zombie flick with Little Miss Sunshine, fails on every level.
  12. Ex Machina - Simple minded, refurbished AI movie model. save your time, see The Machine.
  13. The Salt of the Earth - Should have been titled, famous for trivializing other's plight.
  14. The Damned - No surprised, but solid little horror flick, with very attractive everything.
  15. It Follows - Overly hyped horror, that fails when the main plot point becomes irrelevant.
  16. Summer with Monika - Early Bergman is beautifully simple, sad, predictable. Not his best.
  17. Penguins of Madagscar - Great kids movie, but lacks deep meaning and enough adult humor.
  18. Lost River - Gosling's writing/directorial debut misses bar it set and plummets to the depths.
  19. Spirit of the Beehive - I'm withholding judgement. Beautiful, but I'm too distracted.
  20. The Passion of Joan of Arc - Brilliant, bold and powerful. Falconetti is mesmerizing. 
  21. Freaks - Browning circus tale is exploitative, but a wonderful tale with unforgettable finale.
  22. Au Hasard Balthazar - Didn't click for me, as the parable of Marie seems misguided.
  23. Evidence - Horrible found footage, "hi-tech" thriller/horror with 1/2 a twist ending.
  24. Night of the Living Dead - Rewatched the original. One of the best ever. Says so much!
  25. Jinn - Interesting idea ruined by pretty much every aspect of bad film making. 
  26. White God - A simple powerful message about life, nature and an answer staring us in the face.
  27. The Wicker Man (1973) - Hilarious and campy, then I found out it wasn't supposed to be. 

Saturday, August 1, 2015

When You Recommend A Movie To Someone It Is Lost On

Recommending a movie for me, isn't about whether or not I liked it. It never is. It is always about whether I not only think the other person will be entertained, but if they'll be able to speak about it and appreciate, not necessarily the way I did, but possibly from an alternate perspective. I crave that, so I'm always careful when saying "you should see this."

Lately, I've kept my movie recommendations to myself. I've found that there are really only two or three people I know who appreciate them and thankfully a "new friend" who shares my passion for certain types of movies (shh, good movies). I have my two muses as I call them privately, then there is one other person and this new addition to my movie nonsense. That being said, when I recommend something that really affected me, I expect the person to watch it with some faint interest and realize, it's not going to be a superficial two hours.

So what am I going on and on about? Obviously, I'm not talking about movie reviews and recommendations, so get on with it! Lately, I've painted myself into a bit of a conflicted state, but I'm not the one holding the brush. It seems that someone I used to recommend a movie to would watch it with open eyes, but now, unless his little boy toy or his painfully boring "date" recommends a film, he's not interested. He reads or listens to their reviews, checks the New Yorker and then spew the film class professor-speak nonsense that his two heroes put out. It's frustrating, because it's so painful to see someone suck down other people's opinions and pawning them off as their own, when both these two buffoons opinions can be found verbatim in a careful Google search.

So why does it bother me? Well, if I take the time to suggest something, but then add, but you probably won't, because I know they didn't recommend it, I don't want to hear your reasoning for disliking it, but then my detective instinct kicks in and I stupidly ask and when I hear "It was a sappy ending, but what can you expect, it was about dogs."  Yes of course and you, who google searches every last word of your obsession's grade school, oedipal-laced poetry, can't see the tie ins to immigration in Eastern Europe, the loss of innocence in the world today and the fact that there isn't one scene in the entire fucking movie that isn't a metaphor for something other than a little girl and a lost dog?

Sorry, did I vent a little too freely? Maybe I did, but of course, I keep these post cryptic and anonymous enough, so that if anyone ho watches movies such as these three, wouldn't be able to figure it out. Of course anyone who has asked how I've been and meant it, will know right away. The woods call. The shack, the cat, the fire, the stream and the WiFi, so I can watch movies and not wonder, "should I bother?" I know the answer and I'll abstain from this day forward and revel in what they have missed.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Review: White God

White God is a movie like no other I've seen. It's being compared to everything from Lassie to The Birds, but in my eyes, it's much more similar to Bresson's Au Hasard Balthazar, a movie I just saw for the first time recently. A young girl and her pet are separated and their lives take turns that cause them to grow, in ways that are and aren't expected. Where White God separates itself, is that it's brutality seems to reflect no on Eastern Europe, but humanity itself. The metaphors are obvious, yet after reviewing some articles and message boards, it's clear they were missed on most Americans and maybe that is the point. It's so obvious, so laid out, that to have some visceral reaction, would be to admit ones naivety. I think this is the only area the film fails and not something I would have known, had I not researched the reactions post-viewing.

One thing that I was so happy I noticed early on and something I will share with everyone who has not seen the film, was the tails of the dogs in the earlier scenes. They were upright, even in some of the more painful scenes. This, gave me relief, because I knew the dogs were happy. The extras on the DVD go into great detail of how the dogs were trained, that will give most reviewers great relief and here's why. The movie is terribly upsetting. It's frighteningly so for animal lovers. I happened to watch the same day the Internet was abuzz with the death of Cecil the Lion. To say it didn't tear me apart would be a lie. I cried at three, maybe four different scenes and the ending nearly destroyed me.

I hate telling what films are about, so I'll leave it at this. Children look at their parents with respect, admiration and maybe even awe and dogs look at humans that same way, but there comes a point, where when nature's creatures are taken for granted, even abused, where they fight back. This is true with animals, with children and with all minority groups who grow tired of being neglected. There's a quote at the beginning that we should keep in our minds throughout the film and better yet, after it's over. We'll all be better for it, as will those who let themselves be taken by this film.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015


The past two days, social media has really killed my opinion of people. People with good jobs, wonderful families, newborn babies or those soon on the way, are just tiny lonely people, looking for some sort of odd acceptance. How can people use the death of a lion to pander for likes. I'm not talking about those asking for justice or those commenting on how sad they are, but those who have twisted it to mean something essentially, make it about themselves and their warped values. Ten, twenty, fifty likes. The more Trumpesque the better. The more hate in their words, the greater the count, feeding the frenzy until the comments filled with rage come out, about a completely irrelevant topic. Words like extinguish, kill and purge are used. I imagine the grin on the writer, as his pride beams. He sits back in the comfort of his home, basking in the glow of the computer or phone, feeling good about himself. Little does he realize, he's just made himself even smaller. He doesn't care, because the like counter grows, as does his imagined power; much like the hunter, his kill list nearing 50.

I sit back and I write something from the heart. For me and me only. Friends of course, welcome to share in it, because for me, I want to know of their thoughts and (maybe foolishly) believe they care of mine. Someone else writes of their experience abroad and how they found something they'd been lacking. Two, three likes, a comment or emoji, to let them know we saw it. While others fawn over the dead daily, despite the death being years ago. Twenty, thirty likes within an hour. The "thinking of yous" pour in. "I'm here" they exclaim....and they are, right in your likes list. Mission accomplished, as their existence is giving some minuscule meaning.  The twisted ankles, the scraped knees, the ridiculous amounts of doctor's visits for the common cold, all like heavy, while a friend's heart pours out about something dear and goes unnoticed and she needs the likes. Not for her self worth, but because it's important that when people take the world into consideration, it's recognized. She benefits nothing from her post, but to let others know she shares in their struggle. Seven likes, while the post demeaning an entire race gets seventy. Maybe it's time I stop liking posts of other's happiness and start posting that I wish they could experience the hate they dole out. I wonder, how many likes that would get?

Monday, July 27, 2015

Three Years Ago

Three summers ago, my life was a lot different. I was in an awkward position financially and I'd really come to grips with the fact that a lot of the summer was going to be spent on my own. I got into a habit, almost every night of taking walks. Some short, some long, some with a destination in mind, some without, but almost every night, rain of shine, I walked. The cooler temperatures allowed me to enjoy it, although I can remember evenings, drenched in sweat or frozen solid, depending on the season. I was in pain, because of my knees, but these walks cleared my mind, my lungs and whatever else seemed to ail me. I don't know exactly when my hip issue started, but unlike my knees, the hip was a mystery. I woke up one morning, my hip was stiff and when I left the house, I was in agony. I assumed I slept wrong and it would right itself once I stretched it out. Three years later, that isn't the case. I've learned to live with not just pain, but agony. The limited range of motion is actually more of a hindrance than the pain and has affected more than just walking, but that's not really what I'm thinking about now. I'm thinking about those walks. So often, on rainy evenings, thinking about nothing at all, but the moon, the stars and all I had to enjoy in life. I'd then come home, be quickly reminded of my awful apartment, but I'd fight it. I'd let those walks carry me through until the next. I'd give anything for one of those walks right now, but I don't think I'd return.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

White Privilege

This was a post I wrote on Facebook after surprisingly not seeing any moaning about the Documentary by Jose Antonio Vargas, titled White People

Dayyum! I just scrolled my timeline and not a single white person got their feelings hurt by White People. I unfortunately haven't seen it, but the number of fake accounts that popped up on twitter, tells me it was a damn good show.

Here's the thing. If someone of color aka non-white says "White Privilege," are you offended? If you said yes, then you are exhibiting white privilege. It has nothing to do with how hard you work or study, how you stayed out of trouble, because here's the thing, that is entirely the point. Somewhere out there, there are 100 Black, Spanish, Native American, Arab, Asian, who worked and studied as hard as you and never got in trouble, but they don't have what you "earned" or achieved. Stop looking at the one person you know who isn't white that achieved as your benchmark. Look at every one you do know and how they fare compared to others. If all you know are successful people of different colors, then guess what "that's white privilege too."

Have you ever been followed by security, because you're white? Have you ever had someone cross the street, because of your skin color? Have you ever has someone assume, you can play a sport, cook something or excel at a certain subject, because of your appearance? That is white privilege.

Take a long hard look at the demographics of this country over the last 250 years. Now take a good hard look at the political leaders who "represent" them. That my friends, is White Privilege.

Think of your news and who brings it to you, regardless of political affiliation. How white is that? Do you know that whites commit almost 68% of all crimes in the US and 62% of all violent crimes? They also represent 62% of the population. Isn't it odd that despite the amount of crime being proportionate to the population, our news doesn't show this? That is white privilege. When you take into account that white, on average make 12x the amount of money that blacks make, doesn't it seem like that there is some privilege. Inheritance, social status and general family legacies also are examples of white privilege.

Like I said, I'm happy that I scrolled down my time line and didn't see a single complaint. I expected to see a ton of it, but maybe all my ranting and raving and that of a few others are making people realize, it's not about you and your specific situation. It's not about hard work or study. It's about playing the hand your dealt, but having all the cards at your disposal. I can't make it any more simple than this...

Would you trade places with a person of color, because of the benefits in achieving equality, in terms of wealth, opportunity and representation?

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

The Ebert Questionnaire

Before reading this, please understand, I do not consider myself to have ever written a serious review of a film. I title some quickie reviews or reviews, but I do not go into them telling much, if anything about the plot, the actors or any other major aspects that would qualify them as real reviews. I despise reviews to be honest, because they are so often wrong and, if read before viewing a film, will lean the viewer towards that line of thought. I see it every single week with someone who always agrees with what they read or were told about the movie. For me, I enjoy the blind exploration. As for this, I just found it interesting.

1. Where did you grow up, and what was it like? Brooklyn, New York from 1970-1985. It was a mixed bag of cultures and ethnicity and it taught me to look for the beauty in what was different about people, but also how much we're all the same, despite the appearance of being so very different. I think, later in life, when I delved into foreign films, this was a huge advantage, despite never having traveled outside of the country. 

2. Was anyone else in your family into movies? Yes, my parents and both sets of grandparents were very fond and the bulk of the movies I saw growing up were black and white; many considered classics. If so, what effect did they have on your moviegoing tastes? I think it made me comfortable with black and white, silent and subtitles, which is something most of my friends, who grew up in Westchester, don't seem to have much patience for.

3. What's the first movie you remember seeing, and what impression did it make on you? The King Kong remake in 1976, was the first I saw in the theatre. I was only six years old, but I remember being amazed at the enormity of the beast. I also couldn't understand why he kept trying to take Jessica Lange's blouse off. I definitely understand now.

4. What's the first movie that made you think, "Hey, some people made this. It didn't just exist. There's a human personality behind it." The African Queen. I remember thinking the actors were suffering, all to entertain us. I remember loving the movie, but thinking that it was such a hard job. Years later, after reading of the woes that went on while filming, it really occurred to me how much work goes into the acting alone. Then of course, the other aspects that makes movies, such as that one, incredible. 

5. What's the first movie you ever walked out of? I've never walked out of a movie in my life. It's too expensive to do such a thing. I very rarely even turn a movie off, no matter how horrible it might be. Recently, I turned off Mr. Turner, then read it was ranked almost a perfect score by Rotten Tomatoes. I stand by my gut, it's a horrible movie, that one more hour, couldn't possibly have turned around.

6. What's the funniest film you've ever seen? Mel Brook's Young Frankenstein is still, to this day, the funniest movie I've ever seen. Although, the hardest I've ever laughed inside of a theatre, was There's Something About Mary. 

7. What's the saddest film you've ever seen? Dear Zachary was the only movie, I've ever had to pause and compose myself, because I couldn't hear. That being said, it's a documentary, so I'm going to go with Terms of Endearment. That one all know what I'm talking about, is the most gut wrenching scene in movie history. Even though, most guys would say Brian's Song.

8. What's the scariest film you've ever seen? The only movie to ever give me a nightmare was Hitchcock's Spellbound, but the only movie that I can say scared me, was Invasion of the Body Snatchers. Probably because my lunatic parents let me see it, in the theatre, at age eight.

9. What's the most romantic film you've ever seen? Mine is a tie, between The Artist and Cinema Paradiso. The reason it's a tie, is because both are romantic in completely different ways than people would think. If it was simply, romance between a man and a woman, I'd be hard pressed to come up with one. Possibly one I just watched, Murnau's 1927 gem, Sunrise. Or possibly Amelie, but once again, is it true romance?

10. What's the first television show you ever saw that made you think television could be more than entertainment? All in the Family. Some may laugh, but I remember how much it used racism to mock racism. Showing that racism not only can be spawned from ignorance, but it is primarily spawned by ignorance. Sadly, the same tool I watched, was watched by nearly everyone I know and most of them didn't get it.

11. What book do you think about or revisit the most? Sendak's Where The Wild Things Are, will always be my favorite book, because it represents everything that is important to a child, that nearly every adults loses. That is the magic of it and why, even without reading it in nearly 25 years, it still remains my favorite book.

12. What album or recording artist have you listened to the most, and why? There is no band I've listened to more in my life than The Clash. They captured the angst of being 12-13 in the early 80's and their messages stand true today. The anti-establishment movement that punk music was, was important to that era's kids. They might not have been the first, but they were without a doubt the most influential band for everything that came after. 

13. Is there a movie that you think is great, or powerful, or perfect, but that you never especially want to see again, and why? Boogie Nights. I know this will sound odd, but I thought this was one of the best movies I'd ever seen when it came out, but with each subsequent viewing, I like it less and less. my critical eye starts wandering and I find entire scenes that should have been cut or shortened, but then there is the flow, which I find odd, because when I originally saw it, it seemed so short, but the last viewing, I was praying for it to end. I think it is brilliant, but I doubt I'll go back ever again.

14. What movie have you seen more times than any other? Without a doubt Jaws, but that is simply because it is on television the most. The movie I have gone out of my way to rewatch the most, is Lethal Weapon. While I somewhat shy away from straight action, I adore this movie and have seen it, start to finish, at least 20 times.

15. What was your first R-rated movie, and did you like it? Somehow I got into S.O.B. and was the first time I'd seen nudity on film. I'd seen Playboys before, but I think this was the first experience in the theatre and seeing Julie Andrews, of my beloved The Sound of Music, in her naked glory, was quite a shock.

16. What's the most visually beautiful film you've ever seen? Aronofsky's The Fountain is the first film that comes to mind, the second being anything by Terrence Malick, but the film that blew me away aesthetically was Hero. The use of colors, put even the likes of Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon to shame. 

17. Who are your favorite leading men, past and present? Just off the top of my head, I'll go with Pacino, Gosling, Oldman, Dean, Von Sydow, Burton, Cobb, Fassbender, Widmark and Hopkins.

18. Who are your favorite leading ladies, past and present? Katherine Hepburn, Streep, Foster, Joan Allen, Blanchett, Swinton, Mirren, Lawrence, Lindblom and Bejo.

19. Who's your favorite modern filmmaker? Paul Thomas Anderson, but this isn't a slam dunk

20. Who's your least favorite modern filmmaker? Christopher Nolan

21. What film do you love that most people seem to hate? Severance is one of my favorite horror/thrillers of all-time and I've yet to meet one person who liked it enough to praise or recommend it. I've seen it three times and I think it's clever, funny and has enough, wow moments to put it over the top. I also adore the Resident Evil series. 

22. What film do you hate that most people love? Shawshank Redemption & Citizen Kane. Yes, I know.

23. Tell me about a moviegoing experience you will never forget—not just because of the movie, but because of the circumstances in which you saw it.  Going to see The Seven Samurai at a revival house in NYC called The Thalia. It changed my view of films, because I realized language didn't always matter.

24. What aspect of modern theatrical moviegoing do you like least? I do not go to the movies anymore, because aside from people having no courtesy, I despise surround sound. 

25. What aspect of moviegoing during your childhood do you miss the most? There is nothing I loved more than going into the theatre when it was light out and coming out to darkness. It's as if you're transported and I'll always enjoy that. 

26. Have you ever damaged a friendship, or thought twice about a relationship, because you disagreed about whether a movie was good or bad? I'd never take it that far, but I am shocked by how angry people get when I say I thought Whiplash was one of the ten to fifteen worst films I've ever sat through. I've lost some Twitter followers over it. 

27. What movies have you dreamed about? Spellbound and Houseboat....falling on a spike and Sophia Loren. One was slightly better than the other.

28. What concession stand item can you not live without? If I'm at the theatre, I need popcorn. Anything else is just a distraction.

Monday, July 20, 2015

Free Writing - Take 91

Yell! Scream! Hit inanimate objects! This is what we do when we're mad. It's been years since it's gotten to this, but it does happen. It used to happen more and at the end of the day, it's more frustration than anger. Sadly, it seems that my life has been filled this frustration and this is generally my release. Did it feel good? Not particularly when it happened, but afterwards, when I calmed down, stopped sweating and someone made me laugh; yes it did. It didn't matter that the object of my frustration won't change and probably didn't hear one word, because why would anyone change after 45 years (the span of my life) of selfishness. When someone expends so much energy making stories about one person, to make themselves feel better about their own inadequacies, there is not changing that person. I've been told I think I'm always right, but I actually don't. I just need someone to explain what is wrong and believe it or not, I say sorry and you're right a lot more than people think. I've apologized to people out of the blue in the past year, for things they weren't even really angry about and it's not to toot my own horn, but to let people know it's OK to be wrong, but when you're so wrong, you've changed your life, in a very short period of time, and that change has caused others misery, it's time to take stock. The worst part of this anger and frustration is it was foretold by someone who had to deal with it as long as I did and right down to what it was over about. Picking someone relatively insignificant to fawn over. It was a pattern, that apparently has been going on since childhood and I was warned again more recently, another deathbed confession of sorts. So today, one might think I would apologize for my actions; hell, I always have, but no, today, I'm going to stand firm and there is not a single regret and there won't be. Ever!

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Quickie Review -The Salt of The Earth

I realize that we all view the world very differently and that art, in all of its many forms is subjective, but there is something about art that we own. We can view a film, a painting, a sculpture or music and writing in any way we see fit, and yes, we can own it. Not in the literal sense, but we can insert our own values, our own experiences and our own heart into it and make it mean anything we want. This, and only this, is why photography is different. We can relate a memory of a tree, a bridge or a cloud and possibly, just possibly we can own the same feeling as the person who stood on a hilltop and snapped that picture, but we can not, ever, own a portrait or a photograph of a person. Their entire life (or death) might be represented in that photograph and it is theirs. To believe that someone could take this, in their lowest moment, in their final breath, or even after and succeed, because of it, is disheartening. Don't you think?

In Wim Wenders' documentary on the life of Sebastio Selgado, we are introduced to one of the most famous living professional photographers. It is very important that we understand, that this man does not have a love of photography, this is never even roughly intimated in the film, he has a love for success. A burning desire to achieve, the perfect shot. He doesn't come about these pics by chance, but they are carefully constructed and framed, something we are shown in a ridiculous attempt to avert the attention of a polar bear. The movie starts with magnificent shots of gold mines in South America and we learn what these men have to endure...right after we hear what our brave subject had to endure. We learn of his not eating, because he was naive, with a pocket full of money. We learn his wife bought a camera and he took it and snapped photos all day. We learn his wife gave birth and he took off for months at a time, missing his child's youth. We learn about his second child's defect and how it affected he and his son. Then we learn about the camps in Rwanda and how these people fled their country....and then we learn "I went back." As if his business there were permanent. The entire movie is about the plight of humanity and not a single sentence starts with anything, but the word I.

If you like this for the aesthetics, I understand. If you're impressed and revere the man, I have as much respect for you, as I do for him. I get we admire what we view as greatness, but how great is asking someone who has slaved, and I do mean slaved, in the hot sun all day, to stand with a church, in the background, so you can post this picture in a book, then write a caption of the people's faith? Very rarely am I so disgusted by another human being, even those who commit atrocities, but this man's gloating, almost poetic recollections of other's plight and how he was there. How he with his camera, captured that moment, framed it just so, that the dying man's face, is perfectly placed, to show the disease he will die that night from, in comparison to his young widow-to-be's. I am still sickened and sadly, couldn't find anything through web searches that praise the man for either his philanthropy or his endeavors to help other than to say "some of the proceeds...."

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Review: Ex Machina - Stop Calling It A "Smart" Film

Did this movie follow the sci-fi blueprint a little too closely. Introduce some people who will speak in a foreign tongue about technology, then add the technology to the equation. Have a debate about whether or not the human is leading the computer or vice-versa. Then have the human show compassion and empathy when he/she is tricked into thinking the computer has shown those emotions. Show graphic nudity of women who fit society's view of perfect, then end with the computers turning on the humans and proving that we may just outsmart ourselves. This has been beaten to death, almost as much as zombie movies.

I think the biggest problem I had with this picture, other than Oscar Isaac's always mediocre acting abilities, is that a movie I saw two weeks ago, The Machine was much better. Not only that, but being that it was made two years ago, I can't believe aspects weren't ripped directly off. Down the robots name. I also have an immense gripe with all sci-fi movies and that is, they aren't nearly as complex as they think they are. If you ignore the code lingo, AI keywords and don't get hung up on the beautiful girl (you'll get it, if you've seen this), you'll see they're all very simplistic. This one, is not only simple, it's almost dumb. I don't know how carefully people watched, but there is a major plot hole from the very first moment and the red herrings are everywhere. This film has a fatal flaw, that is becoming all too common in movies. Any knowledge of name meanings, will tell you everything you need to know and what each character's result will be. Even worse, is when the movie's title is a reveal of the ending, in this case, literally and figuratively.

The only positive thing I can say about this (and yes, I know I'm beating this drum to death), but I know just the types of people who will like this. People who are easily persuaded by people they view as authoritative, people who read or hear positive reviews from people they admire, then see the movie in that exact same light and people who are told it's a smart movie and can't wait to tell people who already think they are bright, that it's a good movie. Aside from those types, I can't see an intelligent person coming out of this, not at least somewhat let down by the obvious course, the silly script, the all to obvious symbolism and the dulling pace.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Free Writing - Take 90

I just filled out a questionnaire that I plan to post as a blog. It's about movies and I'd love it if anyone else posted their version. I don't think people understand what it is like not to have anyone to discuss movies with. For me it's like not being able to tell someone how your kids recital went or how your new job is going. It's one of the few things that brings me such incredible joy, but I'm alone with it. I have friend on Twitter I can say a thing or two about a film here or there, but it's not the same. I have one friend I e-mail and one on Facebook, but it's not the same as being in the same room and having the conversation take all kinds of directions, but most likely ending at the beginning, many times, with no resolution and only more questions. I am approaching my 200th movie of the year and it's only mid July. How many will I end up seeing? I've actually slowed down considerably and at one point had seen more than days had past, but then a slow week in March and then another one last month. So now it's time to sleep. I wish I still had dreams, but since I debunked their value, I've not had a single memorable one. Maybe tonight.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015


Maybe it's because I always explore what people mean when they say or write things. Maybe it's my interest in where things come from, thoughts, moods, opinions. I've always been able to sift through the facade people put up and see their true words, sometimes finding that they aren't aware themselves. We love catching people in Freudian slips and oohing to embarrass them, but that isn't what I mean. I mean being aware. I'm painfully aware of my surroundings. I've been so for a long time and maybe it's that I like to cherish the things that might make me remember something, with senses other than just sight.

A few weeks back, I may even have written about it, I smelled a floral bouquet and it reminded me of a scent someone used. It was in a body wash or some other after bath gel, but it was something I became quite fond of, even if I never said. Then the other day I saw a shadow on the wall and it reminded me of a time when my insomnia started. The memory wasn't of a pleasant time, but it took me back to ones that eventually were. I think over the years my awareness has done more harm than good. I've suspected children who were beaten, some worse and I can't always say, because that uncertainty can be costly.  The one thing I have noticed with this acute sense, is how little it affects others. I am absolutely amazed at how unaware people are of what they say and do, even regarding the most seemingly insignificant things.

Maybe it's sheer pettiness or maybe it's an unconscious shout. A written page, masked in an ode to someone gone, but merely a cry for someone much different to return. The inability to check what is needed, even when it stares at you, possibly falling into your hands. Empty containers, not jiggled before a shop, then the incessant whine of how someone forgot. The question isn't how did you forget, but how do you never check? The purposeful waste, because it gets a rise, but is it my disdain for spoiled food or my incredible disdain for passive aggressive behavior that brings this on? Like I've written before, this irony in writing this, but when your words and your feelings are ignored, you're left with little choice.

But then, the real issue. How far are you willing to take it. Choosing the admiration of some sniveling twit over the love of your family is one thing, but to then bring others into it. To have them turn against someone, because you're too weak to admit your failures. That's what bothers me and makes me wonder; how the mere attention of a pet, who simply craves affection and food, can turn someone so cruel.  Or is it something else? Is it simply a lack of any understanding of what is happening? A breakdown of coherent thought? Is it possible, the door left open for the animal to wander off wasn't done on purpose and maybe it's something physiological? It's not the first time doors are left unlocked, lights on, TVs, screens left open with damning verse and romantic overtures that were denied months back. Those usually pair with the stench of some brandy and whatever else was guzzled down to make the distance shrink.

And I am stuck, hobbling around, viewing half of this by mistakes after mistake, but how many mistakes before I start to really wonder, if this is for real or all part of a plan. If turning me away is the desire, it's not only been effective, but it's set in stone. I'm aware now, after months of reflection of how selfish people I've trusted have been. I ended my life, as I knew it, to care for another, while others lead their lives as always. Never once seeing the struggle, consumed with how illness impeded their own comfort. I'd be lying to call it an epiphany, because self-centered behavior doesn't just appear. It's been there since my first memories, but I thought it normal, like so many I know respond to a wooden spoon or leather belt with nostalgia, my beatings were different, merely forsaking my own happiness for someone else's. I'm aware now and just waiting for that door to be left open for me, with no responsibility for another's comfort holding me back. It must be nice to live, never ever being aware of others. I need that, if even just for a bit, but then someone else will call and I won't be able to turn my back and the worst part is, they know it.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

June Movies

I slowed down quite a bit in June. Lots of reasons, but mostly my mind has been in a negative place and I don't enjoy watching movies when I'm in a bad mood. That being said a few gems this month snapped my out and despite watching three movies that are deemed to be in the top ten off all time (Tokyo Story, Man with a Movie Camera, The Rules of the Game), the best movie I watched all month was A Separation. I'll probably put it in the top 2 of the past five years and definitely in my top 50, maybe even 40, ever.

  1. Warrior - Hardy and Edgerton are sensational as brothers fighting for very different reasons.
  2. Oldboy (Original) - Re-watched. Still one of the greatest films ever made.
  3. John Wick - One of those movies which may be so bad that it's good. Hint: It's not.
  4. Afflicted - Found footage road trip turned vampire tale. If you don't mind the fatal flaw it's fun.
  5. Borgman - Danish psychological "horror" looks at class systems with a devilish twist.
  6. Tokyo Story- Ozu. Family. Simplicity. Brilliance in every facet of film making imaginable.
  7. Hot Girls Wanted - Disgusting, exploitative doc about amateur porn. Praised by Sundance???
  8. Army of Darkness - Campbell is great in over-the-top third part of silly horror trilogy
  9. Wadjda - First female directed Saudi film is beautiful, with incredible acting by young lead.
  10. Willow Creek - Easily one of the 2 or 3 worst movies I've ever watched.
  11. Man with a Movie Camera - Considered one of the greatest of all-time, but the music???
  12. American Sniper - If FOX was in charge of military recruitment videos, this would be it.
  13. The Past - Flawed, but superbly made drama of three lives, hindered from moving on.
  14. Leviathan - Brutally slow Russian tale,  ruined by its simplistic, monotone nature.
  15. Kill, Baby...Kill - Bava's masterpiece is atmospheric, but the acting takes away so much.
  16. The Sunset Limited - Cormac McCarthy's disheveled play, misses on every mark.
  17. Timbuktu - Weak subplots, subtitle alignment and flow, kills beautiful moments. 
  18. The Guest - Awful script, plot and acting equal an all-time worst nominee.
  19. Late Phases - Pulls no punches. Goes from start to finish with just a fun, well acted story.
  20. Deep Blue Sea - Re-watched - One of my ultimate guilty pleasures.
  21. Mother - Korean award winner didn't do it for me. All been done before and better. 
  22. A Separation - Iranian masterpiece. One of the most perfect films ever made. 
  23. The Rules of the Game - Renoir's acclaimed masterpiece inspired the craft, but not this viewer.

Monday, June 29, 2015

June - Lightning Round

Was that the fastest month ever? The NBA and NHL finals were over two weeks ago. Seems likes two days ago. Even the Charleston shooting was a dozen days ago. So many old TV and movie stars were still alive at the beginning of this month and while they're still in our minds, we all await the next loss. It's not morbid curiosity, but it's the world we live in. Social media makes tragedy seem like a daily meal, as we wash the dishes, we're already thinking of the next one and what to have with it.

A month ago, I didn't have a cat. A month ago, I was a lot less happy as I am now and that scares me. Without this cat, I have pretty much two things that make me happy. My private conversations with those who make me laugh and movies. They are the only two things I seem to have left that bring me any kind of joy and yet, I'm not complaining. Apparently, my problems are nothing to those who air all their dirty laundry on Facebook. Mothers and fathers, who by all rights, should probably have their children taken away. Anyone insane enough to post as much negativity about their lives, probably shouldn't be in charge of children. Narcissism is one thing, but when it starts to seep into patterns of the children being sick, it frightens me. These are the tell signs we always read about when some crazy parents drowns their kids in a tub or drives their car into a lake. It's terrifying to think of. I've held that phone many a time, but I know all too well how CPS will react. Facebook isn't enough proof.

So I try and block out the negativity and I feast on the daily messages from my friends who make me happy. Many, who hide problems much greater than mine, but feel comfortable enough to share. Their secrets are safe. I hope they know. I value their friendships much more than they can imagine. I often wonder how people who were part of my life and I theirs, go on every day without me. I don't mean that in a conceited way, but I know the lack of seeing two friends, maybe once a week has given me worry. Worry, because we were close and each value close friends. I do love them, even if they don't know it and I fail miserably at showing it. This month has gone by so quickly, it never dawned on me it's been a month since I've spoken to anyone on the phone. It's been a month since my brother returned and yet we've spoken only once, for seconds, if that.

Life is not short. I've said before, it's an incredibly monotonous journey and sadly we spend more time doing things out of necessity than pleasure and that is where we fail as a species. We are so worried about the end game, we fail to play this one. Sure some think they do, but can you imagine their lives. Can you imagine waking at 5AM and the entire day being about making sure nothing comes between you and your defined abs? Can you imagine eating a meal made out of byproducts and food dried into a powder, because you believe it's natural? So many of these people kid themselves and believe that 30 years of living a normal, maybe even reckless life, can be turned around by going for a run and eating salad. Nobody I know who has endured has ever thought twice about what they did to their bodies and that might just be the secret. I don't mean any disrespect to those who might think I'm jealous of their "V" or their leg press, but I've known very few people who are obsessed with their appearance, who don't suffer from huge esteem issues and emotional problems that border on manic. I actually worry about these people, because they are an injury or simply age creeping up on them, away from battling depression. I speak from experience.

A 100 year old woman, swished a scotch in between her teeth and gums, she pretended to smoke a cigarette, as she had for 75 years of her life and she asked what was for dessert. She then nibbled her grilled cheese, dripping in butter and said "Life is really long and I've lived it." Maybe June wasn't so quick and for a change, I just lived it. We'll see. I'm not even at the halfway point of what she experienced and without sending out any false cries. I've had enough of this one, because I lived it. I don't want to keep repeating it for another 45 years, because if I have to, I'll be hoping for a lot more months like June.

Friday, June 26, 2015

A Couple Of Tips For My Facebook Friends (and Myself)

I won't lie. I'm a bit of a snob about things on Facebook. I know all of you (for the most part) and at one time or another, we've shared some time together. I've been away from every single person I know for almost a year now (6 days away) and I've actually learned more about people than ever before, because I'm forced, out of desperation to stay connected, to pay attention more than ever. Some of these "tips" might just be things I learned about myself, but most are actually kind thoughts for people who are truly making themselves look bad.

Filters and Photoshop - My dear female friends. What a picture looks like on your phone is one thing, but for many of us on computers, your selfie taken three feet from your face is hilarious. I realize we're not all perfect, but trust me when I tell you, your blemishes and bags look less ridiculous than your poorly airbrushed head shots.

Relationship Statuses - You're all in your 30's and 40's right now, so trust me and everyone who is both happy and miserable, you don't need to jump into the status section. I know people who have changed their relationship status and who they are dating, as many as six times in a five month period. It's a mean world out there and people talk. Relax, get to know your beau in the real world and when you're both ready to commit to each other exclusively, then you can update that status. No need to enter the info after that first date. Make sure you've at least met each others pets before you click that "in a relationship" button.

Spelling & Grammar - Teacher and self proclaimed "published" authors. Do you know how many people judge you when you make an error? Do you know how quickly your mistakes run through the direct message world and how much you've become the butt of jokes? I would never name names, but I have one friend who was so adamant about Common Core being taken down, she blamed the world for her being judged. The one problem with this is her attacks usually contained sentences like "I don't no who they think their." Also, if you're a "published" author, who can't put a cohesive sentence together and doesn't understand the meaning of 2nd grade words, please ask a friend to help, I'm not friends with one person, who thinks he's one of America's finest poets, but he's been posting hashtags about "Instragram" instead of Instagram for months now. It might also help if he knew how google worked and stopped being duped by poetry contests you pay to be a semi-finalist for. I don't mean this man any harm, I've heard he's a sweetheart, but I feel for the fact he doesn't have any true friends to point out these things. He's only going to get hurt.

Parents Complaining = Kids Sick - This is a no-brainer. People who complain incessantly, cause stress. They cause stress to themselves and to their families. If you're compounding this by complaining on Facebook, you're causing even more stress. Especially if your kids have access to Facebook. Listen, we all have stress, but you know what? The ones who have the most don't really use social media to voice it. There's an old saying about how when someone always has issues with everyone else in situations they're in, it's probably them. I do know one thing about this world and that's how kids think. If they see one sibling getting attention, even negative, they want it. So when you post nineteen times that you were up all night with little Joey, little Emily is going to want posts about her. So she's going to make herself sick. This then becomes a cycle and these parents, you all know who they are, spend their entire time complaining and the kids never get well. Funny how that week at grandma's or camp or even at the spouse who left always seems to rejuvenate them, but they're back to their illnesses a few days after their return. Kids are sponges and what ever they soak up, they'll carry for life. Remember that.

The Side Bar - If you have a phone you don't see it. If you have a computer, you do. So don't like my tribute to the nine dead in Charleston one second and then let me find out you just posted a racial rant on Conservative Tribune. I'm not threatening anyone, but wouldn't it be a shame if your boss or supervisor saw that?

Shoulders - I'm always here for any of my friends. I mean always. I think I've gone above and beyond for some and talked to them at wee hours of the night, when things seemed impossible. Some I've simply done what I can, not knowing if it is really any help and others have helped me. Their time and patience is cherished. One thing I don't like is those who only seek me out when they need something, then go months without so much as a hello, a like here or there or a comment. I'm not doing anything for likes or comments or hello, but if I'm the one you always come to in crisis, the least you could do is acknowledge me in some way when things you've dug yourself out of that crisis. Whether I've been of help or not.

Choices - I've mad some really stupid relationship choices and damn if Facebook doesn't remind me every day. The things I see, hear and I'm told by those who know I'm blocked by others, makes me wonder how the fuck nobody kicked me in the head. I've dated some people who really turned into horrible human beings, bad parents, selfish, desperate and I've also dated people who have become the greatest people in the world. Sadly, those people were the greatest and I was too busy chasing those on the first list. I've also learned that if I was better looking, better off and better mentally capable of having a relationship, I'd be hitting on a lot of my friends. I flirt, but damn, there are some real catches out there guys. Stop wasting your time on the girls ten years younger, who think Pontius Pilate is an aerobics instructor. Go for the brains and the mental stability, because that's what makes relationships last. Book smarts are fine, but when you see someone comment on the Broadway play and baseball game they went to and how excited they are by the Star Wars collectibles they want, but they also take great lengths to share their feeling on Charleston, you know they are someone you should be going after. The fact they're hot as can be also, well that's just a bonus. I know that old adage of "if I knew then," is cliche, but wow would my life be different. Then again, who knows, like I said before, if things are always going badly because of someone else, maybe it's time to look in the mirror.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Review and Analysis - Cormac McCarthy's The Sunset Limited

Cormac McCarthy is considered one of America's best novelists of this generation. Let's be clear; being one of America's best novelists of this generation, is like being the executive vice president of a company with eight people. It's a nice title, but it's not really worth much. McCarthy has been around for a while, but not until the Coen brothers came out with No Country For Old Men, did he become a household name to anyone not professing to be living in the literary world.  I've never sat down and read any of his novels, but I've read enough excerpts to know, he's Americana and if you're anything like me, you know this is a kind word for crapola. It's bubble gum and Coca-Cola, collecting license plates and going to tag sales. It's what rich white kids write poems about, thinking they've invented the wheel, but not realizing those wheels were once made of wood, maybe even stone. McCarthy has a way with words that impresses the easily impressed. The Coen brothers made him look like a genius.

So, the movie version of The Sunset Limited came across my eye and I rented, more for someone else than for me. Somewhat hoping they'd see what I saw, without ever knowing what I would see. But I did. When your consumed and impressed by mediocrity, because of the writer, you think everything they touch is powerful, rich and deep. It is none of this. What it is, quite simply, is a lot of repetitive gibberish. The play is 90 minutes long, where three things are told. God is good, there is no god and why are we alive (to serve god or to be a cog). Now this might sound like a profound battle between theology and mere existence, but it's not. It's not even close and this will eat at you for exactly three minutes after it is over. The time, it took me, to fill my cup and slice a piece of cheese.

Tommy Lee Jones and Samuel L Jackson star in this version and let's be honest. For most of us, this is a can't miss duo and I'll admit they are fun to watch. There are moments of levity, not so carefully rammed in between the supposed serious stuff. Now, some will say "you obviously didn't get it" and maybe I didn't, but more often than not, this isn't the case. This was bad, not because the subject matter, but because of how it plays out. The key problem is, if we're to believe what we see, Samuel Jackson is being played the entire play, because non-belief always wins, because it has no rules. There in lies the biggest problem and the biggest misunderstanding. Non-believers, who are devoted to their shunning of organized religion, have a much harder time quantifying their beliefs, because there is no scale of goodness for them to measure up to. Believers, simply go by whichever book they choose to believe in and when faced at the crossroads, go whichever way they believe is just, knowing confession and repenting is available, should they stumble. Non-believers, have regret, failure and must live with the consequences and they build.

Much like writing, which quite possibly this play could be a metaphor for, this looks at two paths. The one that can be corrected through faith and the one that needs black and white answers, The battle of course, is that those with intense faith, foolishly believe their choices are black and white, based on righteousness, when in fact, it is simply dumb luck whether or not their actions work out. Non-believer, realize it's about acquiring information and then making a decision and each wrong decision is time wasted. Sure we learn from it, but that isn't in this play.

The reality is, nothing is in this play. It's belief in a life saved and belief that life can't be saved, because it's all about what happens after. The problem is, and some might say this is the brilliance of the play, is that the one who wants the after, isn't the one it's supposed to be. Or is it?