March 19, 2009


One Hundred Years From Now

Y'all know I loves me some Gram. One of the things I like most about him is the solid legacy (as opposed to the romantic, at times embellished one) he's left for musicians that paralleled and came after him. GP's "Cosmic American Music" reverberates through the Stones and the Dead, the Lemonheads, the Jayhawks and Beck just to name a few. His brilliance was certainly not in his guitar chops and perhaps barely in his voice, but moreover in his turn of a lyric.

That said, I present the masterful Wilco (Chitown represent!) to interpret a little Parsons ditty apropos for any time but so much now, a cautionary tune of paradoxical optimism:

Everybody's so wrong
That I know it's gonna work out right

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March 14, 2009


Deep down inside

Through the years I’ve held enough sweaty jobs and taken up enough interests to be considered a man’s man. From being paid for delivering mail and welding steel to acquiring basic knowledge of auto and home maintenance and taking four-night backpacking treks, you could say I’m comfortable in my masculinity. But I’m not averse to busting through the male “I am a rock” stereotype - there are at least a few things that can get me feeling a little fahrklempt.

The sure bets are probably quite common to most people, yea even the most grizzled boilermaker. Things for which I can regularly lose it include kids with cancer or a flag-draped casket, especially at the point when the honor guard hands the impeccably folded flag to the widow or mother. Lower on the emotional intensity list might be an animal in pain (dogs are a personal hook) or perhaps a homeless person walking into a howling January wind. The feeling of senselessness slams against the impulse to avoid tears, and whether I’ll end up drying an eye or not is a toss-up.

Being subject to these feelings that make for a welling up or a full sob does not usually trouble me, though I admit to suppressing it in public like most men do. This may not be so much to save face as it is to prevent embarrassing others. The poet Lawrence Ferlinghetti aptly described this in one of his poems, where bystanders viewed the victim of an auto accident with “throats as tight as tourniquets.”

These things put our emotional strength to the test, often transcending us from sorrow into anger when considerations about the possible circumstances are put in the mix. For those of spiritual inclination the question “why?” can crop up, with reactions and rationalizations as varied as the people who ask. A serious pursuit of any of those whys goes beyond the scope I’ve intended here.

So now consider the purpose of sorrow as a cleansing agent. I have to admit that a good cry really feels “good” in the sense that letting it all out is often a very necessary release to maintain sanity. I think of it along the lines of “I can see clearly now the rain is gone.”

Crying can also provide a preparation of sorts. In the loss of my sister to cancer the tears came but twice – at news of her diagnosis and again at her death. The six weeks from one to the other, while obviously not “enough,” still afforded a mental preparation that expedited me through the familiar seven stages of grief, ending with acceptance.

And while some may find it odd or inappropriate, the grief was even more intense at the passing of my dog of 17 years. I’m certain this was because I saw him frequently every single day leading up to the (long procrastinated) appointed time. Each of those days I would take time to lie next to him, and invariably I would sob.

With the likelihood that there are not many years left until my aging parents pass on, I wonder what the experience will bring. At this point I suppose if my folks pass peacefully I might feel emotionally unencumbered by sorrow, knowing they lived a full life. But there’s no guarantee of the absence of waterworks. And even in the simplicity of one’s final day, evoked by the words of one of my favorite blues songs, I can find reason to both smile and sob:

See here how everything lead up to this day
And it’s just like any other day that’s ever been
Sun going up and then
The sun it going down
Shine through my window
And my friends they come around

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March 13, 2009


Resistance is futile

Thanks to my immersion in Facebook, now even my blog reading has tapered off drastically. Although I see many of my fellow Blogovians milling about the walls of FB, at least one of them was skeptical of the process, citing a need to seek out and destroy all the pods he could find. Of course his resistance was futile and he has been assimilated, but not before he got one good swipe at me with the butcher knife (I'm fine - just a scratch, no blood, nothing a little epoxy can't fix). He now plays the part of Joe-anna in the upcoming intro video "Welcome to Stepford Facebook":

Oh Joe-anna! My new dress! How could you do a thing like that? Just when I was going to give you coffee! How could you do a thing like that? I thought we were friends! Just when I was going to... how could you do a thing like that... just when I was going to give you coffee! Oh Joe-anna... I thought we were friends... I thought we were friends... friends... coffee... how could you do a thing like that? Like that? Like that? Like that? Friends... friends...


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March 05, 2009


Best Pics, part two


1959 - 1928

1959 - “Ben-Hur” Not too shabby fora flick with a passion play wrapped up inside – worth watching every few years or so. Judah is just so sweaty and forceful!

1958 - “Gigi” – I’ve only seen one competing film from this year, the beloved if slightly over-the-top “Auntie Mame.”

1957 - “The Bridge On The River Kwai” A bit slow in spots, and William Holden is practically recycling his “Stalag 17” role, but a good film.

1956 - “Around the World In 80 Days” I may have seen this when I was very young

1955 - “Marty” I LOVE this movie! It’s so real in it’s presentation of emotions in life among the proletariat.

1954 - “On The Waterfront” Brando.

1953 - “From Here To Eternity” A great screenplay by Daniel Taradash, molding a complicated novel with tons of characters into something so gripping. I like the quasi-trashy Donna Reed, too.

1952 - “The Greatest Show On Earth”

1951 - “An American In Paris 1. Twice I’ve tried unsuccessfully to get through this and 2. How in the HELL did this beat “A Streetcar Named Desire”?

1950 - “All About Eve” A superb film that beat out some great competition in "Born Yesterday", "Father Of The Bride", "Solomon's Mines" and "Sunset Boulevard"

1949 - “All The Kings Men” Quite a dry spell I start here...

1948 - “Hamlet”

1947 - “Gentleman's Agreement”

1946 - “The Best Years Of Our Lives”

1945 - “The Lost Weekend”

1944 - “Going My Way” Must be pretty damn good to beat out “Gaslight” and “Double Indemnity”

1943 - “Casablanca” nuff said

1942 - “Mrs. Miniver”

1941 - “How Green Was My Valley” Such a bleak, northern, industrial story, and considering our planet today, it’s hardly dated. Plus it beat out “Citizen Kane,” “The Maltese Falcon” and “Sergeant York”

1940 - “Rebecca” Loverly film. The supporting cast in George Sanders and Judith Anderson makes it for me, BUT I would not put it above “Philadelphia Story” or “The Grapes Of Wrath”

1939 - “Gone with the Wind” Yeah, yeah, great epic of the South...

1938 - “You Can't Take It with You”

1937 - “The Life of Emile Zola”

1936 - “The Great Ziegfeld”

1935 - “Mutiny on the Bounty”

1934 - “It Happened One Night” – Shame on me for not having seen this yet

1932/1933 - “Cavalcade”

1931/1932 - “Grand Hotel”

1930/1931 - “Cimarron”

1929/1930 - “All Quiet on the Western Front” The first truly epic talkie- brought in a new respect for cinema among many skeptics/art snobs.

1928/1929 - “The Broadway Melody”

1927/1928 - “Wings”

Looks like I've got some Netflixin' to do in these decades.



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