Alexander Film Works

Posts Tagged ‘thinking’

The Seventh Month…

In blogging, It Bugs Me, Just Because... on July 25, 2013 at 8:26 pm

Many people have a “least favorite month”. I can’t say I do, but the month of July is not my most favorite one.

July starts out with promise… the 4th of July is a glorious celebration of the birthday of our country – which we would much more happily celebrate if the temperature and heat index would be out of the triple digits.

The 14th of July, in addition to being Bastille Day, is the anniversary of the death of my namesake uncle in the Korean War. (This year marked the 60th anniversary of his death.) And Kim Jong Un, the “supreme leader” of North Korea, has allowed a few Western journalists in to witness North Korea’s celebration of what they call “Victory Day”, the 27th of July. (This also is the 60th anniversary of that day, the enactment of the Treaty of Panmunjom.)
My mother-in-law, who was more of a mother to me than my own mother, died in July three years ago. My Uncle George, who raised me, died in July back in 2001. (At least he didn’t live to see the World Trade Center towers fall, the wars in Iraq and
Afghanistan, and the assaults on our civil liberties and civil rights by the government.)
And, to top it off, the 28th of July this year is the 25th anniversary of the injury that changed my life, and, by extension, the lives of everyone I love, when I was working for the Post Awful.
I have lived with pain every day since then, from the nerve damage in my knee, from my back, from my neck, and from the other injuries I’ve sustained because my knee wouldn’t hold up the way I needed it to.
And yet, despite it all, I continue to continue… as was said in The Outlaw Josey Wales, I “endeavored to persevere”.
Such are the ways of things.

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Diversions, Distractions, and Detours… Oh, My!

In blogging, film, Film and Related, Just Because... on June 29, 2013 at 8:56 pm

It’s a bit of an understatement to say I’m not exactly timely with this post… especially since my last one was twenty-three days ago.
I could explain myself… but that may be as confusing as the actual events I’d be attempting to describe. So, then, let me say merely that I have had, over that twenty-three day span, more things to do than time to do them in.
Some short (and hopefully pithy) takes on various events…
With the amount of rain we’ve had here in the Detroit metropolitan area of late, it wouldn’t have surprised me to see Noah floating down my street with his ark.
Bill Cosby was more right than he knew in his old "Noah" routine… it wouldn’t take but forty days for the sewers to back up in Detroit.
Humidity and polyurethane adhesive for tub surrounds are not a good mix; when you can’t open windows because of air conditioning, the fumes make it hard to breathe.
Computers can be exceedingly subtle in how they screw with your data. And your programs. And your messages. And your lives.
Why is it that so-called "smartphones" make you feel less and less smart the newer they get?
And why does the Internet, in all its "glory", begin to look like a ragtag collection of one-sided political screeds, moronic human tricks, and cute cat videos? No intelligent discussion without the hate-slinging, no dispassionate analysis of current trends, no proposals for solving what problems can be solved without rancor, bitterness, or calumny…
If I didn’t have too much to do, still and always, I would probably be sinking into the gloomy muck of despair. As it is, my digestion (which is being helped by my almost-food-free diet – see that post for a bit more explanation) is sending signals of dislike, distrust, and "stay close to a bathroom" almost every day.
This much, at least, I can deal with.

Stringing It Together…

In arts, blogging, Just Because..., no excuses, writing on March 22, 2013 at 10:11 pm

Words, and the way they fit together to make visible our thoughts, have been a preoccupation of mine for most of my life, even before I knew how to do anything of the sort.

The visions that the proper combination of words can produce verges on the magical; in fact, as I’ve heard it defined, magic itself is produced or controlled by the proper combination of words, placed in the proper order.  Like computer programming and magic, writing is entirely dependent on the correct choice of terms, placed in the correct sequence.

“It was a dark and stormy night.”  How often has that phrase, the first in the novel Paul Clifford by Sir Edward Bulwer-Lytton, Baronet, been quoted, misquoted, and misattributed?  But it is remembered.

Words can weave a spell to transport the reader to Middle Earth… or to the cradle of the Foundation… or to the outer reaches of a red giant star… or in a General Products hull in a hyperbolic orbit around a neutron star.  Words can create vistas in your mind that a Super-70 mm Ultra Dolby 7.1 3D Imax extravaganza couldn’t match, even with a budget the size of the Gross Planetary Product.

And yet… Reading is becoming less and less popular, from what I hear.  Twitter limits posts to 140 characters, which I exceeded in my third line, if I’m not mistaken.  Attention spans fall dramatically year by year.

Few there are who would even try Nova or Dhalgren by Chip Delany; and I couldn’t think of anyone who would try reading Tolstoy’s War and Peace, or Dostoievski’s Crime and Punishment.  Dickens’s Bleak House, one of his more acclaimed works, is a doorstop in paperback, and even more recent works, like William L. Shirer’s The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich, approach it in sheer volume.  Reading tomes such as these is hardly considered as entertainment anymore, and even the shorter-form writers like Fitzgerald and Hemingway get shorter shrift.

It is a crime and a shame to ignore the writers of the past; the stylistic flourishes of a Dickens give way to the spare prose of Hemingway, which inspired writers of more recent times like Capote, Ken Kesey, Thomas Wolfe, Mailer, Gore Vidal, and some we see in magazines today.  Only by reading the words of others with your own “inner ear” can you find the “voice” that informs your writing.  It’s akin to learning to talk by listening to those around you.

I do not condemn others for their lack of breadth in reading, but invite them to widen it on their own.  Read J. R. R. Tolkien, C. S. Lewis, James Joyce, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Edgar Allan Poe, Herman Melville, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Sir Winston Churchill, Ernest Hemingway, Dashiell Hammett, Raymond Chandler, Mark Twain, Garrison Keillor, Dave Barry, Woodward and Bernstein, Nora Ephron, Erma Bombeck, Robert A. Heinlein, Isaac Asimov, or any number of other authors I could name.  Expand your horizons.  Question your thinking patterns.  Question your choices.

It could be an illuminating experience…

 

If We Don’t Think About It…

In It Bugs Me on August 2, 2011 at 8:34 pm

Just in time, it seems, the Congress [opposite of progress? – just asking] has come up with a “compromise” solution to stave off the credit default by the U. S. Government.  Nobody seems happy with it, which doesn’t much surprise me.

Things that actually matter – like helping preserve and protect the lives of ordinary Americans who have lost their jobs, who are being squeezed to death by increasing corporate demands on higher interest rates and higher payments, or who don’t make incomes to place them in the top five percent of America – are being ignored, or are in danger of being cut by the so-called “supercommittee of 12” mandated by this compromise bill.  And the “tea party” yammerheads (they know who they are, and so do we) are still barking about their opposition to taxes – ANY new taxes, or anything that LOOKS like a tax.

As an aside, I assume (and you know how that could backfire on me) that these congresscritters are applying their version of the “duck test” to these programs… you know, if it LOOKS like a duck, WALKS like a duck, QUACKS like a duck, then it’s a duck.

Having just finished taking a critical thinking competency exam earlier today, this grates particularly on my synapses… It appears to me that “logic” (in the sense the general public uses) and the thinking processes of these Members of Congress (I’ll not grant them the status of sapient thought processes… there’s been no demonstrable data to infer that from the record) are about three or four time zones apart.

As for this Committee of Twelve… who selects them?  Who oversees them?  And why does their recommendation need to be voted “up or down” without debate or amending?

It seems to me like a blatant circumvention of the legislative process as outlined in the Constitution of the United States.  (And, yes, I have read it… several dozen times.)

But that’s just my opinion, and because I don’t have billions of dollars, or because I don’t run a multinational corporation, or because I’m not a celebrity, my opinion doesn’t count.

Well, that’s the way things go, it seems… until they want my vote.

We’ll see…

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