Archive for April, 2008

Goodbye, Charlton Heston

April 6, 2008

Probably one of the funniest recollections I have about Charlton Heston is when he appeared in a Bud Lite commercial.  Mr. Heston was at a party with a girl on each arm and the conversation they were having was in reference to the movie “Ben Hur.”  The camera turns to this guy who appears saying, “Charlton Heston, I love you, man!”  Returning to Charlton Heston and his companions, (while everyone is holding the product) he replies wryly, “You’re not getting my Bud Lite!” 

I don’t know that Charlton Heston regarded that spot as the highlight of his career, but to me the fact that he could allow himself to be depicted in such a way and still come off having a sense of humor about it says a lot about the character of the man.

I recall when he was starring in the movie, “The Planet of the Apes “ how some critics thought his career would nose dive.  After all, science fiction in the early days wasn’t put on the same level as a good drama or even a comedy.  But the movie remains a classic 40 years later while some of the more notable films of the time have faded into obscurity.  Who could forget the scene where as a prisoner in a “world turned upside down” Charlton Heston is screaming, “IT”S A MAD HOUSE!” 

I always admired him in film.  One of my favorites was “The Big Country” in which he played an antagonzing heel to Gregory Peck’s good guy.  Without devulging too much of the plot, lets just say Charlton Heston plays the part to the hilt.  Another movie that I liked was “The Greatest Show on Earth” which had a steller cast.  I enjoyed some of his B films, too, but of course he’ll always be remembered for “The Ten Commandments” and “Ben Hur,”  a movie that he refused to have a stunt double on.

But you learn the measure of the man by what he did outside of the movies.  Remaining married to the same woman for 64 years has to be a tribute to the softer side of one of the screen’s most macho figures. He also marched for civil rights, which showed his sense of compassion and desire for equality amongst men.  Being involved as the NRA’s president wasn’t the flavor of the month that some celebrities might lend their names to but a controversial post that he took on  with authority and conviction.

With my new found sweetheart, one of our joys is the sharing of an afternoon curled up with a good movie (or two) and I look forward to watching a few of those old classics starring Charlton Heston.  With him you always knew what you were getting, on or off the screen. 

Now he is off to that great chariot race in the sky.  Rest in peace, Judah Ben Hur.

Straight forward, confident and boldly defiant as any man could be when he is faced with an injustice or a social need, Charlton Heston will always remain an American icon and a hero.



Why Are We Here?

April 1, 2008

Okay, well… I knew this was going to happen. Maybe you knew it, too. If you actually did see what was coming and you didn’t tell me it probably was for the best. In fact… it all worked out better than anyone could have hoped for, imagined or planned on. But first… let’s back up a bit.

Over the past six weeks or so I’ve been working on the posting of Indiana Jones and the Dance of Aldebaran and as I predicted (in my post, Free Indy) my readership plummeted… which is okay. I posted for prosperity and loved every minute of it, except for the part of feeling like a court stenographer. When you are entering information that you have all ready created years before like some biblical scribe/copyist for six weeks the creative juices get all dammed up inside. As that occurs you build such pressure you feel like you’re going to explode before the nasty task is finished. Mentally you save little tidbits of information promising yourself that “I’m gonna write/comment on that when this project is over.”

Well… the nasty task is finished. And now as I re-group I find it necessary to address some of the events that transpired while I was in the process of undertaking that mammoth project that went over like a lead balloon. (more on Led Zeppelin later) But now, of course… all those promised projects that I was to address when my mind was free elude me. Yikes! What was I thinking? My mind leaks like a sieve, it’s like pouring ten pounds of sugar in a five pound bag. Everything oozed out into nothingness.  My good ideas not acted upon and delayed are like Georgie W. and political hindsight… too late for anything good to come of it now.

First of all: without any special notation or fanfare whatsoever; this blog, Advantages of Mutual Respect and Fair Play, went over the 20,000 hits mark. I hate to be one that keeps account of my own popularity and that is one of the reasons I don’t keep a hit meter on my site. (the other reason is because I haven’t figured out how to do it yet, …sigh ) But I would be amiss if I did not make mention of the fact that the first 10,000 took all most three times as long as the second 10,000 and that is due largely in part to you, the readers… actually that is the only part, isn’t it?

So… from the bottom of my creative ink well, I thank you. It is a pleasure for me to be able to… in the immortal words of Led Zeppelin… (more on them later) Ramble On.

By an amazing coincidence, the social unrest in Tibet these past few weeks indirectly runs parallel to my screenplay, as the region known as “the Roof of the World” is mentioned therein and the area is depicted as one of majesty and inspiration. It is difficult to hear of a people that believes in a peaceful co-existence being strong armed by an oppressive government. Especially one that appeared to be making strides as a major consumer of goods outside of it’s borders and influencing the economy in a positive fashion. China will be the host of the Olympic games in August. But with it’s new social standing now comes world scrutiny and human rights issues will continue to dog this government up until 08:08:08. Interestingly, the number 8 is symbolic of economic progress to the Chinese people, too bad social progress seems to be reduced to a fire sale. Human rights should not be trampled underfoot.  (more on Led Zeppelin later)

Eliot Spitzer came crashing down, which shows that no one is above the law but one can’t help but wonder… why him? and why now? I mean… political hanky panky is nothing new. But Spitzer came across as a crusader, a man that was not going to allow the evil to go unpunished. A hero of the people, he rooted out corruption and set a standard of no nonsense and ethics. (even though personally I thought the giving of driver’s licenses to illegals was a slap across the face to law abiding people in the state of New York and elsewhere.) What a shock to have the Governor turn out to be involved with prostitutes when he proudly carried his moral integrity around for the world to see. Maybe it wouldn’t have been so bad if he didn’t pretend to be so good. The American people know they are not perfect, but somehow we expect our political leaders to be above such behaviour… especially when they profess to be moral. Now one has to feel like “if they can’t be moral, how can I expect to be?”

How refreshing for the new acting Governor of New York David Paterson to come out immediately and announce that both he and his wife has had extramarital affairs. Why the difference? He realized that he couldn’t hide from his actions or put on a “holier than thou” attitude just because he held political office. Kind of a “nip it in the bud” tactic, you’ll have to dig deeper to get the dirt on this guy. While I don’t condone the affairs he and Michelle Paterson had, you have to admire them for being candid, upfront and honest about them. Our political figures do not reside in Houses of the Holy (more on Led Zeppelin later) and should not be given that reverence… nor should they assume it.

Fidel Castro retired as Cuba’s leader. After 49 years of being a royal pain in the buttocks to 10 American presidents, the Cold War’s #1 “bad guy” finally succumbs to the frailties of old age, communism and pure orneriness. History will paint Castro as an anomaly; a respected political figure to his people (well… he did champion recycling amongst the island nation) and a renegade leader to the rest of Western Civilization. A hero to the likes of Hugo Chavez, I think we are partly to blame for the communication breakdown (more on Led Zeppelin later) between our nations. We let the disparities between our ideologies go on way too long just because we got embarrassed during the Bay of Pigs.

The U. S. Navy shot down a spy satellite because it’s orbit was deteriorating and could have spilled some harmful fluid if it crashed into the Earth.  It was an amazing feat that was reminiscent of a ’50’s B movie.  I think the real motive was to display to the world our capability of knocking down any target we choose but maybe it’s just the romantic in me.  Speaking of outer space and the Stairway to Heaven (more on Led Zeppelin later)  we also discovered one of Saturn’s moons, Rhea, has rings around it.  There is so much out there we don’t know about, even when we’ve been studying our own solar system for decades.

Oh! and the 80th Academy Awards got in just after the writer’s strike ended… whew!  that was close.  Turns out it was the least watched Oscar night in history and that is not surprising.  People get tired of the multi-billion dollar industry haggling over nickels and dimes.  Most everyone involved in entertainment makes more money than the average American who goes to the movies and/or watches those programs.  Now I hear an Actor’s strike may be looming in the horizon?  I mean, shucks… everyone’s had good times bad times (more on Led Zeppelin later)  but why can’t we all just get along?  Perhaps what we need is a viewers strike… don’t the viewers dictate what does and doesn’t sell?  Isn’t it the fans that make or break the actor’s success?  Why not ask us what we think, after all… there may not be much left in the land of make believe if people keep throwing doses of reality in the mix. 

Do I believe in fair compensation for work performed?  Of course I do.  Is the average actor pulling in millions of dollars per episode/film?  Not even close.  But if a restaurant’s workers cause the place to shut down, it is very hard to regain customers once everything is set right again between owners/management and staff.  You can just about go anywhere for eggs.  Movies and television are not items of necessity… the public may just realize that if the pattern is disrupted again.  Then the industry may well be singing nobody’s fault but mine.  (more on Led Zeppelin later)

Brett Favre retired as quarterback of the Green Bay Packers.  I was never a big fan of Brett’s, sorry.  I think he was too full of himself for his own good.  I didn’t like the way Brett dissed on Kurt Warner when Kurt was just a fledgling player with the Pack.  Kurt did go on to greatness as a Super Bowl MVP and holds the record for passing yards in a Super Bowl.  Brett holds the record for pass interceptions for quarterbacks and it is ironic that the last play of his career with the NFC title on the line and the game in his hands, he throws?  …an interception.  ta daa!  way to go Brett Favre!  (more on Led Zeppelin later)

Of course, the economy is tanking, gas prices are at record highs and set to go higher, the war is still going on, crime is rampant, the dollar is devalued to shocking levels and the political arena has narrowed down to a three ring circus.  One might think that The Song Remains the Same (okay, here comes the Led Zeppelin connection)  but it doesn’t… at least not for me.

Six months ago I met someone because of this blog, well… actually because of her blog.  I commented on her’s then she visited mine and to make a long story short… we got married on the 20th of March, six months to the day of that first comment I had made!  Private little ceremony on the beach… sunset, waves rolling in, sea gulls…  She was beautiful, radiant and excited,  I am very fortunate to have her place her faith in me… and I love her more than anything.  She is brilliant, romantic, witty, charming and so appreciative of even the smallest gift or the slightest sentiment.  I adore her… she is my true companion. 

I’d like to write about our story and post it here sometime, but not too soon.  My prolonged stages of entry based on a re-occurring theme never seem to go over all that well and besides, I want to savor this for a while…

Oh!  and the Led Zeppelin references?  mmm… romantic evening, candle light, a little wine and music… I’m thinking,  mmmm….  All of My Love? 

                Should I fall out of love, my fire in the light

                To chase a feather in the wind

                Within the glow that weaves a cloak of delight

                There moves a thread that has no end.


                For many hours and days that pass ever soon

                The tides have caused the flame to dim

                At last the arm is straight, the hand to the loom

                Is this to end or just begin?


                Oh, all of my love, all of my love, all of my love to you.

                All of my love, all of my love, all of my love to you, child.


                The cup is raised, the toast is made yet again

                One voice is clear above the din

                Proud Aryan one word, my will to sustain

                For me, the cloth once more to spin.


                Oh, all of my love, all of my love, all of my love to you.

                All of my love, all of my love, all of my love to you, child.


               Yours is the cloth, mine is the hand that sews time

               His is the force that lies within

               Ours is the fire, all the warmth we can find

               He is a feather in the wind.


               Oh, all of my love, all of my love, all of my love to you.

               All of my love, all of my love, all of my love to you, child.



Why Led Zeppelin?

C’mon… you can’t be too  dazed and confused over that!