Beginning Again

From another posting (mine):

I was really disheartened when Multiply shut down. I’d been on it a couple of years and it was a great discipline for me. I wrote at least one entry a week of no less than 400 words and some of the entries were really quite good. Now I’m doing one hundred words a day, which is more in terms of word count, but less in terms of focus on a topic.

“Generally, my whole writing focus has gone to hell after Multiply’s demise. As all of you who have been here a while know, I’ve not been doing much of anything- too scattered in thought and deed-. I used to be a regular, here, but even that has not been true for a long time now.”

Multiply’s demise is some time, now.  When I get disheartened, I get disheartened. 

I will speak a truth, I have no faith this spot will be here for any longer than it takes for someone to make a huge amount of money by selling it.  And the search for a spot will start again.

This time, I’m going to cheat a little and save backups on every important entry.

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Attention:

via “Fuck you, I like guns.”

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LaLa Land: Not Your Grandmother’s musical.

Referencing my title, pity!

 

I had heard only rumors of this film when a friend gave me a chance to watch it by lending me his DVD.  I’m glad I didn’t spend any money on it; it was so boring an experience, I turned it off three quarters of the way through it, at first sitting, and came back to watch the rest, one or two days later.

 

The first thing I need to comment upon is the chemistry between Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone ( I learned, later, that Emma Stone won an Oscar for the role; I haven’t checked, but 2016 must have been a dearth of female performances),  there’s more Chemistry  going on in a glass of standing water, than I evidenced between these two.  Add to that, the fact they aren’t singers!  It’s not that they have bad voices, but they have around the piano , not performer voices.  Maybe that’s not such a bad thing, considering what they were given to sing.  There wasn’t a grab your attention song in the whole score!

 

The choreography was sparse, and excepting for the opening number, there wasn’t a production number worth mentioning.

 

Film musicals, even the darkest, have an oil paint color, depth, to them; this film was a water-color, and a pastel one, at that.

 

What I did like about the film, was the story line, I just wish it had been better realized.   The ending was particularly unexpected and appreciated.

 

Before I sat down to write this, I checked out Roger Ebert’s review.  He’s a critic I have come to especially value over the years.  I was astonished to find he LIKED the film, praising it as a worthy experiment in film musicals.  I guess one place we differ is his considering the film a musical, whereas I consider the film a failure of a film with music.

 

 

 

 

 

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Students, Alumni Rally Round Fired Gay Teacher

Source: Students, Alumni Rally Round Fired Gay Teacher

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The Last Temple of the Celts

Feral Words

druids The Druids Bringing in the Mistletoe, by Edward Atkinson Hornel & George Henry

The west of Europe used to be full of Celtic temples. In every settlement, every holy grove, every mountain top and ring of stones that held any import for the peoples of old there would have been some structure marked out as holy, a place to connect the people to the spirits who lived alongside of them. There were statues of gold and idols of stone, rings of trees wreathed with cloth, wells encircled by the swirling patterns of the art called La Tene. A vivid, distinct and technically accomplished culture did as all such cultures have done; piled up in its holiest of holies the greatest achievements of its civilisation, to honour the gods that it worshipped.

The afterglow of their achievements still hangs on the horizon. The illuminated gospels of Ireland, the giant carved stones of the Picts…

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Snot

 

 

 

 

sneeze

 

Love and Work are the cornerstones of our humanness- Sigmund Freud

January 20, 2016

The only promise I’m making, today, is that this is going to be a piss poor entry. I’m in the fourth day of a cold, must have lost four pounds in snot alone, and am only doing whatever the hell this will turn out to be just to keep the daily thing, if not the daily by the hour thing, going. It’s too easy for me to make excuses and I’m not going to do that, today.

I didn’t make it to the Center, yesterday. I just couldn’t get myself together. Besides, I didn’t want to infect everybody there.

Supernatural is due back from hiatus, in a few minutes, so this entry may be interrupted, if not shorter, than I intend it to be. Hoping the entry makes at least one hundred words.

Weather is supposed to be warming up, tomorrow. Hope so. Below freezing, we are not allowed away from the building unless we are going with family, or, in my case, have transportation door to door. Luckily, I have a Pace Pass. It costs three dollars a ride, but it beats waiting in the cold for buses.

I’m done. Honest to god, I’m done.

 

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Scribbles About Ritual

The secret of joy in work is contained on one word- escellence. To know how to do something well is to enjoy it. Pearl S. Buck

Scribbles About Ritual

One of the differences between Man and the rest of the animal kingdom is mankind’s conscious use of ritual. I emphasize the word conscious; you only have to watch the family pet to notice the preciseness, and the continutity with which animals perform some regular action. My family had a dog who before lying down in a chosen spot, would ritually circle three times before allowing herself to settle. I have heard that all dogs do this. I remember reading an article, the gist of which I forget, explaining why dogs did this. I think I do remember the article stating it was an instictive act, like their rituals of attracting mates and parenting. I take instinctive to mean no one has to teach them these acts; I’m not sure I agree totally with that. At least the parenting techniques have an element of education about them.

I am told elephants will make long journeys, to the place of death, to mourn their dead companions. I have a sister who, ritually, goes to vist the graves of dead relatives. She will happily spend a whole holiday afternoon going from gravesite to gravesite. She always has trouble locating a particular aunt and uncle’s site, never fails to grouse about it. I have suggested that they move everytime she comes because she doesn’t call first. She didn’t crack even the beginning of a smile. She doesn’t understand that I don’t want to come with her on these excursions. My take on visiting grave sites is the dead are dead, let them be. It’s not like they are going to offer you a cup of tea. This is, of course, coming from a man whose dream is to visit Greece and walk in the supposed footsteps of Socrates and Plato. I excuse my desire as being a one time thing.

Not that I don’t have my own rituals; my New Year Eves’ celebrations being a case in point.

The when and the how I developed my New Year’s Eve ritual is so far back in the past as to be mythical. While I remember certain aspects of the ritual, such as writing a note to the old year listing my triumphs and/or disappointments in the year passing, coming from outside myself, portions of the ritual seem to have sprung full blown out of my head and have no recognizable history. Even as a child, I made it a point to take the old year out of the house a few minutes before midnight, say “thank you” and goodbye, and welcome the New Year and bring it into the house with almost a religious conviction that by meeting the New Year, half way, I would encourage it to be kind to me. I was the only one in the family that did this; they actually thought me strange because I insisted on it.

Men give meaning to their rituals, they explain them. A wafer on the tongue to a Catholic, in prescribed conditions is the real body and blood of Jesus Christ. They don’t mean this in a symbolic way. In fact, growing up, I was taught the Sacrifice of the Mass was the actual cycle of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, not a repeat, but a mystical connection with the actual event, itself. Over the years, the emphasis on Sacrifice, with the priest offering it up, seems to have evolved into an idea of the Mass as dinner, presided over by a host. Rituals change, over time, and this change in the Catholic Church of the meaning of Mass as less sacrifice, more celebration, is no small matter.

Every ritual has its birth in the practial. The Western Civilization ritual of a handshake grew out of warriors proving to each other they had no weapon in their weapon hand. The ritual is kept even when the need for it no longer exists.

The marriage ritual, perhaps, has changed the most, over the centuries. As established in the Bible, it was originally a ritual that symbolized the transfer of property (the bride) from the father to her new owner, the groom. The groom had to purchase the bride through some with labor, or property, or whatever medium of exchange deemed appropriate. Later that evolved into the idea of a dowry. In my lifetime, the dowry was replaced by the bride’s family paying for the wedding. A symbol of this exchange was the father, in front of witnesses, giving the bride to the groom. Today, the father no longer sells the bride, but he often still escorts her down the aisle . Now that same-sex marriage is in the offering, it will be interesting to watch what traditional rituals evolve and/or disappear.

I suppose we got the idea of ritual by watching the rituals of the heaven and the earth. We like our rituals; they give us a sense of comfort, of certainty, of the orderliness of life, presents on birthdays and winter holidays, boiled eggs and candy on Easter, masks and costumes on Halloween, etc., etc.

The dark side of ritual is obsessive compulsive behavior; ritual for the sake of ritual, with a touch of fear to its not being performed exactly.

While popular ritual probably began connected to religion, secular life has its rituals, too. At this moment, America is involved in the every fourth year pre-election of a President. This too can be a dark, dismal ritual.

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January 18, 2016

It’s where we go and what
we do, when we get there,
that tells us who we are.
Joyce Carol Oates

It’s 8 degrees farenheit in Chicago, right at this moment and I’m suffering from a bitch of a cold. Just to depress myself, I checked the temperature in the Los Angeles area. 59. Lord, I miss California winters, and as I type this the snot is running down my nose onto my hands.Well, got that cleaned up.

I’ve told this story before, so just the highlights: I hitch-hiked down Route 66, in the late summer of 1963, and hit L.A. on my twenty-first birthday. That trip, and my marching in the first Hollywood Gay Pride parade (1970) honoring The Stonewall Riots in New Yok, the year before, are my two shining accomplishments. I should note, here, that at the time the L.A. parade’s main focus was about ending police harrassment and entrapment. It was a very heady time, those early years of “gay liberation.”

Now, forty-six years later, America is seeing gay marriages, adoption of children by gay parents, receiving legal parity with heterosexual unions. Gay people have become a political force, with city, state and federal legislators open and active for gay causes. Less and less is it a an act of political and/or career suicide for law-makers, and actors, and athletes to declare their sexual preferences openly. Even the armed services has moved into the twenty-first century; homosexuality is no longer a bar against serving, and no longer a reason for expulsion for those already serving. Being gay is becoming very middle class. My fear is that by being absorbed into middle-class, Gay will surrender a certain outsider’s perspective, a group, and perhaps an individual creative tension, just to fit in.

Not to say that there are not still stides, and opinions to be changed, in the larger society. We, as a group are becoming, rather than accomplished, members of that middle. Strides we have made legally, are not yet matched by total social parity. In the private sector, there remains an antipathy, or more truly, and ignorance, largely fueled by fundamentalist religionists. Some places don’t want to offer gay people services they offer to the public, at large. Some companies will not promote, or even hire, open gay people. There are political forces at work to move the clock back regarding gay liberties. We still have some way to go for full middle-class inclusion.

Of course, fifty years ago, I supposed that eventually homosexuals would be considered with no particular sense of differnce than the idea of red-heads or blondes. Little did I know it would be in my lifetime.

America gays, of course, are not the only one fighting for full dignity. I read this morning that the Russian Duma refused to pass a bill that would make public coming out and offense punishable by fine and prison. Enlightenment is a slow process. Ask our brothers and sisters in Uganda, or any Muslim nation.

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