Archive for February, 2007

black and white

February 24, 2007

I think the old black and white movies have been getting a bad rap as of late, like they have no social value because of their lack of color.  I thought with the new millennium we would be beyond those barriers and look back on prejudice as so “20th century” but it seems that I’m wrong… especially when it comes to westerns.

 I don’t know why westerns aren’t as popular as they used to be, but then I guess you have a certain window of opportunity for any film based on the generations surrounding it.  Take one of my favorite westerns, Winchester ’73. 

Filmed in 1950, that era had only passed some 65-70 years prior, quite likely there were  survivors of that time still walking about.  Having the horse as a means of travel was  relatively fresh in peoples minds, as well as the use of the six shooter and domesticating wild Indians. Maybe we were more nostalgic for that back in the 50’s when westerns ruled the box office.  Now we get “Brokeback Mountain” which seems to diminish the real spirit of the West in my mind, though I have to admit I haven’t seen the movie.  The theme doesn’t lend itself to my way of thinking of how the west was won… not that there is anything wrong with that.

And maybe that is why we have the lack of interest or the variation of the theme.  There is no clear cut “good guy and bad guy” for us to engage our imaginations with.  No hero in the white hat, no villain wearing black.  James Stewart wasn’t a larger than life macho figure in Winchester ’73, he was an ordinary man trying to right a wrong.  Shelley Winters, (who actually doesn’t look too bad here) was the love interest and Stephan McNally was the bad seed.  Will Geer, (Grandpa from “The Waltons”) even does a believable turn as Wyatt Earp.  To me the movie doesn’t seem dated, it is the classic example of good verses evil set deep in 1880’s Americana.

I guess I like my world to be cut ‘n’ dry, right or wrong… black and white.  These days it is difficult to figure out where the “good guy” is that wants to “clean up the town”, who’ll face down evil one more time and then “hang up his guns” when the threat has past.  Just once I’d like to see his silhouette on horseback rising up with the setting sun, waving goodbye.  Then I’d know the world was safe again.

Call me a hopeless romantic, an idealist or simply naive… but I’d like to believe that good still triumphs over evil.  Old black and white westerns bring back the trusting, childlike manner in me… not that there is anything wrong with that.

peace.

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undercurrent with my big toe

February 19, 2007

undercurrent with my big toe                                                                                     

My big toe gets stubbed a lot…  not necessarily physically, but psychologically as well.  Now you might think that sounds a bit weird, but it is true.

There are people out there that claim to be smarter than you and me.  I don’t know about you but I’ve been feeling kinda smart today.  Most days that may be questionable but today I’d say I am borderline genius.  In fact, I’ve got more brains in my big toe than I had ever thought possible for me.  How is that, you say?  Quite simple… 

I think I have just figured out what life and happiness is all about…

Because there are so many unhappy people out there trying to get this or accomplish that,  I think the key is just to do the opposite of what the unhappy people are doing!  That’s it! 

You see them all the time, being depressed and miserable no matter what goes on around them so why not just say no? 

The real reason for this post is to introduce my new header.  I really like this photo ( undercurrent by Bill Evans and Jim Hall.  United Artists, 1962.  photo by Toni Frissell ) but I also inserted my big toe there as well for the avatar.  It will accompany my comments as I surf the hundreds of thousands of blogs out there in cyberspace. 

My big toe may become a celebrity someday but you will have the prestige of knowing you saw it on this blog first.

peace.

birthdays

February 17, 2007

na na na na na na…   na na,  you say it’s your birthday!

 I’ve written about birthdays before,  yesterday was mine.  Not really that big a deal when you think about it.  All you accomplish is getting another year older,  but it is like getting credit for something that you didn’t have that much to do with in the first place, I mean… all you have to do is survive, right?  

Yesterday morning I woke up at the usual time and got myself ready to go to work, then decided the world would have to get along with out me for a day.  I went to my usual spot for hot tea, but lingered for a while reading the newspaper.  By 7 a.m. I had my truck down at the dealer’s to be serviced, from there I made it to get a haircut at 9.  Breakfast and more newspaper reading arrived by 10:30 and I made it to the bank before noon.  All that activity and intermingling with people I see all the time and nobody figured out it was my birthday, which kinda made me feel insignificant.

You don’t control when or where you are born, your social status or what the circumstances were surrounding your inception… you just sorta burst on the scene, cry and gasp for air then take all the credit from here on out.  You don’t have a say in being born black or white, rich or poor, good looking or ugly.  Yet we move through this life like we are calling all the shots and owe it all to ourselves… weird. 

 But birthdays are good for reflection:  when you are younger…  say around 2, the big accomplishments are in the bag… you walk, talk and are pretty much potty trained.  By 5 you have probably aced day care and moved on to public school.  10 is a big deal because your age is no longer confined to single digits and at 13 you are no longer a “little” kid.  But it is rare that a person at 13 thinks back to the days of being 5 years old, though only eight years have passed.  Another 8 years and you’re 21,  and usually glad those years early on into adulthood have passed.  Eight more years and you are approaching the Big 3-0 and your life seems to be passing you by.  By the time you hit 40 you think you have it all figured out but by 50 you begin to question your very existence and your life’s accomplishments.  Gee, birthdays are kind of a bummer…

I guess one shouldn’t put such emphasis on birthdays unless they feel they need some support or acknowledgment for a job well done; something like, “Hey Joe!  it’s your birthday!  congratulations!”  But I wonder if as we plod along for another year of life that birthdays should really be viewed as milestones, maybe our successes and failures, our goals and achievements would be a better gage of a meaningful life.  After all, what is the big deal of reaching 99 if all you did was whittle away on the front porch rocking chair?

Baseball pitching great Satchel Page allegedly once said, “How old would you be if you didn’t know how old you were?” and I think that is a great philosophy.  Our age shouldn’t be a barrier or a means of gaging our self worth.  Birthdays are merely a means of marking time. 

Life is good… birthdays are so-so.

But thanks for the well wishes from those of you who knew, and as for the rest of the world?  glad to share this space with you a little while longer…

peace.

Hello Hillary

February 11, 2007

           Wow, it is hard to believe another week has flown by, how is the campaign coming?  It seems there are a lot of people interested in becoming president these days.  It must seem a bit intimidating having all these people think they can do a better job then you.

          I was in the check out line in Publix last week and I saw your face on the cover of Globe, you know… that scandal sheet?  Guess they are bringing up some dirt over your college days when you were allegedly involved with drugs and the lifestyle that goes along with them.  Sometimes I think the past is better left in the past, but I guess people have a right to know these things when selecting a leader of the free world.  

          I know Mr. Clinton claims he never inhaled when smoking pot but Barack Obama says that was the whole point during his experience, which was kinda self incriminating but also refreshingly honest.  I think we need that kind of person in office, one who is not afraid to say he has made mistakes (?) and has learned from them, don’t you?  I get tired of people always trying to minimize their involvement with past events that seem politically incorrect now.  Just fess up and move on… 

          So now my question to you would be…  how do you feel about drugs, and marijuana in particular,  now?  If pot is bad, would you increase funding for the war on drugs and push countries like Mexico to get tougher on their cartels or would you favor legislation to reduce, perhaps abolish federal laws opposing it?  Now we have found medicinal evidence that we didn’t have back in the sixties saying marijuana may have some health value in certain cases.  Who could have imagined back then that pot was really therapeutic after all?  But then Robin Williams says that “if you remember the sixties you weren’t really there” so it may be a mute point.

          With the situation the world is in these days I don’t know if a former stoner in office is necessarily a bad thing.  How those drugs effected his/her long term judgement might be.  Please let us know how it has effected yours.

          Sincerely,

                                  John Q. Citizen

72 degrees in January (global warming?)

February 10, 2007

Global warming?   Buffalo, New York.  72 degrees in January, record breaking warm temperatures in the winter of ’06… does this spell the end of the world as we know it?  Gosh,  if I knew all that would would I still be here?

I read a book by Michael Crichton (you know, the Jurassic Park guy) called ‘State of Fear’ which talked about the polluting of the earth, global warming and politics, among other things.  Of course it is just a work of fiction but had some very interesting scientific facts thrown in for good measure.  I won’t spoil the story but I’d recommend it for the casual reader if for no other reason than to get the flip side of the concerns over the “end of the world”.

Not to say that pollution is not real, or a concern or that we aren’t feeling the effects in our every day lives… because we are without a doubt.  A new report by the UN confirms it, the earth is experiencing global warming and will feel the effects for centuries.  There is nothing we can do about it, the damage is done.  Bummer.

On a lighter note, they say the ground hog didn’t see his shadow and so that means an early spring.  I don’t know why that is so interesting to some, but apparently we have been predicting warm and cold cycles for quite some time.  We have even been observing the animals to try and get a “leg up” on future weather conditions.  Are these predictions accurate?  Sometimes… but one thing I do know, predicted outcomes sometimes take a twist that we did not expect. 

In 2004 we had a rash of hurricane activity here in Florida and the Gulf Coast.  Interestingly enough, one web site I surfed through recently claims the  path those hurricanes took were primarily through Republican counties, leaving the minor Democrat counties untouched, like God was punishing Florida Republicans.  Or hurricanes are registered Democrats.  I haven’t quite absorbed that one yet.  2005 brought Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.  More trouble for the Republicans.  Predictions for 2006 said more devastation was on the way… but it never happened.  What are they saying about 2007?  More predictions of bad conditions.  But it has been called “hurricane season” for some time now, fairly easy to say there may be some activity…  how severe is another question.

But getting back to the global warming scenario, it is not hard to see the effects of man polluting the earth but you also have to wonder… just how much is really man made?  I remember in school we used to talk about the polar ice caps growing and receding, growing and receding…  I think they call it a paradigm shift.  Anyway,  back in the days when the glaciers ruled the earth there wasn’t any pollution causing this phenomenon, it was just the way things happened.  Couldn’t blame it on mankind because we hadn’t invented combustible engines yet, or the wheel… or the calendar, … or the embryo, for that matter. Hard to say exactly when those things happened or why, we can only speculate.

The earth is a living organism, we have to adapt to it…  not the other way around.  Like any living thing, if it is invaded, infected or polluted it will either absorb, reject or destroy the particle(s) that disrupted it.  Now we discover that we are the infectious disease,  the earth could get along fine without us and is attempting to overcome the human element that thinks he has control.

It was 72 degrees in Florida last January, but we didn’t complain about it much.  They say the winter here was warmer than usual but again, what can you do?  Learn to live with it.  It is kinda like the chip in a fine piece of china, it’ll still look nice and function just as well but we’ll always prefer the piece whole and perfect.   We’ll rub our lip and tongue over the spot or caress it lightly with our thumb and think, “What a shame, such a lovely piece… too bad it was treated so thoughtlessly.” 

Mother Earth must be viewed the same way.

peace.

Hello Hillary

February 4, 2007

          How has your week been?  Fine I hope.  We have all been good, except for the tornadoes that touched down in central Florida recently.  It seems as of late Florida’s weather has been pretty extreme and I wonder how many candidates will take this disaster as their next photo opp.

          Speaking of the weather, have you heard about the UN report on global warming?  According to what I have read, they say the damage is done and there is nothing that can be changed to reverse it for the next couple of hundred years, which seems bad to me.

          I remember the astronauts back in the sixties commenting on the pollution they could see from outer space, saying “We are fouling up our own nest.”  Guess they should have done something about it then but, hmmm… weren’t they talking about it back then, too?

           So now, as the next president… how would you react to this prediction of world calamity?  Granted there are measures in place to continue to reduce pollution and try to minimize the effects on future generations, but if the damage is real and irreversible we can no longer talk about what to do to change it.  Now we need to know how to live with it. 

          Any suggestions?

          Sincerely,

                                    John Q. Citizen       

The best dadgum country song, period! (The Honeymoon’s Over)

February 2, 2007

.

You won’t run and fetch my beer the way you used to,

them ol’ blue jeans seem mighty snug on you.

You say my hair is turnin’ grey,

there’s a bill I’ve forgotten to pay.

It’s a shame we have to change our point of view.

.

You never used to need a pill to fall asleep with,

those gentle sounds I make at night are a rare gift.

You may toss and turn a while,

but I still wake up with a smile.

The bright good mornin’ in your voice gives me a lift.

.

The honeymoon’s over

the fairy tale comes to an end,

the honeymoon’s over

now the real love begins.

.

The appeal of movie stars still makes your heart faint,

but there’s more therapy in watchin’ peelin’ paint.

Just give me the remote control,

channel surfin’ cheers a weary soul.

I know your Momma will enjoy the show;  baby, don’t be late.

.

The honeymoon’s over,

the fairy tale comes to an end.

The honeymoon’s over,

now the real love begins.

.

The honeymoon may be over here… we know that’s true,

but I’m still sayin’ it loud and clear…  honey, I love you.

So until death do we part,

you’ll hold the place dear to my heart.

Real lovin’s gonna be the change in our point of view.

.

The honeymoon’s over

the fairy tale comes to an end,

the honeymoon’s over

now the real love begins.

.

copyright 1995,  revised 2007

.

When I set out to write “the best dadgum country song, period!” I thought, ” What would be the worst possible thing that could happen between two newlyweds?”  and of course comes the line:

“you won’t run and fetch my beer the way you used to” 

which is tragic, and then what else but…

 “them ol’ blue jeans seem mighty snug on you”? 

which is the end of the world.

It was fun for me writing this “country” song.  It may not be “the best dadgum country song, period”  (?) but I hope you enjoyed it. 

peace… ya’ll