Poverty Is Not an Accident

Poverty Is Not an Accident
Nelson Mandela

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

MOVIE: "Together"

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One toy car, one record album and one game of soccer in the snow do not make up for the child abuse in this movie. Drugs, alcohol and cigarettes are lying around where kids can get them. An adult attempts to seduce a 13 year old. Children are ignored and neglected, forlorn and forgotten. Revolution is for angry men with weapons. TRANSFORMATION is when we put children first. If it is not good for children, it is not good. Period. It does not matter if you are working class, middle class or playing poverty tourist in some so called commune. If it is bad for children, it is bad. And nothing good will ever come of it. IF that is the point of the movie, it deserves four stars. I fear it is not.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

MOVIE: "The Village Barbershop"

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Well, Chris, that's a sweet lil flick you have there. I would have made the pimp, hookers white US citizens, to keep down suspicions of racial stereotyping. I would have left out the lisp, as Gay folks don't usually speak like that, and I've never heard a florist do it. I liked the sets, but how can she afford an Airstream? I was jealous! And your lead actress has a cosmetology license, so I would expect her to at least wash and comb her hair occasionally. I loved your sound track. I loved all the colors. The props were fun, especially the guys next door. Great love interest: not beef cake, a real guy. In fact, I liked that these are real people, not eye candy. Script was subtle, effective and poignant. I hope it's ok that I chuckled, more than laughed. I hesitate to startle my pets. The garden hose was a nice touch, and probably my favorite bit. Liked the details, like the neighbor on oxygen who smokes. I will post this review in my blog, livinginthehood dot blogspot dot com. I wish you a long and successful career. That was a lot of work and obviously a labor of love.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

MOVIE: "Matinee"

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Hey! Movie producers! Wanna get me off NotFlux and back in a theater? Hire Lawrence Woolsey to make it an interactive experience! Forget the boutique coffees and gourmet jelly beans! Market to the masses and zap their @$$es! That was AWESOME! It was REALLY SCARY when everything started to fall apart, too! What a spoof of B movies! I just finished watching THEM (which TERRIFIED me when I was a kid, during the same historical period as MANT). MANT is at least as cheesy! The Cuban Missile Crisis was another character in this film: ominous, foreboding, looming over childhood like a cracked balcony. I do not have memories of it; I think, out in California where I grew up, the adults decided to protect us from it. Poor Florida kids! I was terrified of my Czech neighbors, though, and had a nightmare that he would jump the fence with a dagger in his teeth and murder us all in our sleep! I remember duck and cover. I remember my Dad, who worked for Columbia Studios, who capitulated with HUAC and who thought there was a Communist under every park bench. We were all very scared then, worse than 9/11. More message movies that entertain the SNOT out of us, please, without preaching us into a coma! BRILLIANT! What a RIDE!

MOVIE: "Seducing Dr. Lewis"

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All across the world, tiny villages are dying. It is the tragedy of globalization and, more and more, climate change. People, whose ancestors founded their home towns hundreds and even thousands of years ago, can no longer survive and must evacuate to cities of low wages, indifference and exploitation. We are losing our cultures, heritage, foundation and future as a result. When the Solo Cup factory closed here, hundreds of people were reduced to shut ins, with no hope of other employment, watching television all day, eating cheap and nutritionally unhealthy foods produced on other factories, accepting food stamps and lining up at the food pantries. Because they have no money, the car dealer closed. So did the movie theater, the clothing shop, the hardware store, the green grocer and on and on. These people are not cartoons or stereotypes. The folks in this film are heroes for fighting as hard as they could to keep their lovely village, with its spectacular views of sea and sky, alive. Yes, it is in French, as clearly stated in the NF blurb. If one cannot read that, I suppose one could not read subtitles, either, even though none was over five or six simple words and none came too frequently to read, as there is not a great deal of dialogue. If people complain about having to QUOTE work END QUOTE at watching a movie, how in the name of Heaven could they possibly work to save our heritage? Me, I do not want to die of a heart attack from too many McGreaseys while aimlessly meandering imported factory junk at Wal*Fart. That is sound and fury, signifying nothing. I would rather die having fully lived, like the folks in this film.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

MOVIE: "I'm Not Rappaport"

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Heartbreakingly heart felt, this is a love letter to New York City, her denizens, her popular history.

I need to note the actress, Elina Löwensohn, whose small but powerful roll orator of the inspiring speech that sparked a union strike was magnified by her understated and sincere emotion. According to Wikipedia, she QUOTE was born in Bucharest, Romania. After the death of her father, a survivor of Nazi concentration camps, her mother emigrated to the United States with her, where her mother went on a hunger strike in order to get a visa for her. END QUOTE

As the camera pulls back during closing credits, from a close up of Mattheau and Davis to a helicopter shot of the entire park and the city beyond, I realized the millions of such stories that wait, lovingly carved as the stone work of Central Park bridges, for people to discover, to appreciate and to respect. In the distance, we see the Empire State Building and, farther on in faded focus, the World Trade Center. The poignancy of Walt Whitman cries out as the Internationale is sung. We come from sturdy stock, we Americans. And New York City is a nexus of our strength.

It took me quite a while before I realized this was an adaptation to a play, it was so seamlessly translated. For this, I tip my hat to the late Mr. Gardner, in addition to his intricately crafted dialogue and his artistic eye for directing. He truly loved New York.

I have always wanted to visit New York City, for her history, her landmarks, her culture, her FOOD, her people. I expect I never will, as I do not have income enough to pay five dollars a pound for any beef less than prime rib (and that was 1999 prices?!). This piece lets me see what I am missing. I am happy for those lucky enough to live there.

To Red Diaper babies everywhere: thank you for taking care of our human library of struggle, courage, humor and brutally hard work.

My one quibble: Mr. Davis is an equal to the character of Nat. I wish his character could have spoken more of his experiences in the context of New York City, rather than playing straight man to Nat. The late Mr. Davis and Ruby Dee are heroes of mine and could tell you stories that would curl Nat's hair.

MOVIE: "Starting Out in the Evening"

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Warning: with all its plugged-in tweeting and face book posturing, the modern pseudo-intelligentsia is too preoccupied with the superficiality of posturing to ever produce art while barraged by marketing, demographics and the corrosive corruption of academic prestige. Those who can do. Those who cannot criticize. And the clamor of those latter voices drown the quiet contemplation of what gives life value. For, when real life intrudes into the schemes of power, glory and recognition, they turn in their keys and walk away, hungry for an easier conquest. Writers cannot find paid work, unless they write advertising copy or slanderous opinion blogs. The one sliver of genuine hope in all this is that a young man who, up until now, has cloaked himself in self righteous impatience, helps a frail man to bathe. So, there is still reason to get up tomorrow morning.

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

MOVIE: "Dirty Filthy Love"

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Oh, it is, indeed, a comedy, and a drama. I thought about the reviews here that said this film was miscategorized and I think I know the problem. Everybody on the planet has behavioral health issues. Some of us just have them to such a degree that denial and hiding are no longer possible. The options then are: commit suicide, be a pathetic loser for the rest of your life or face that person in the mirror, learn to love her, forgive him for being human and imperfect and then take a deep breath and live life. All this somber talk about so-called mental illness, how tragic the film is and how damaged and limited these people are? That is just a smoke screen: pretending you are better than someone whose behavioral health challenges are more obvious -- often temporarily, I must add -- does not bely the fact that all of us have stuff, whether we pretend we do not or just admit it and go on. This is a FUNNY MOVIE! Ok, it over generalizes about clean freak behavior and other stuff. Heck, for all we know, everybody in that support group DID have compulsions about cleaning! It is possible. That is knit picking. Mark is not a pathetic bum who makes excuses not to participate in his own life. He has burned himself out, trying SO HARD to mask symptoms of a neurological disorder, feeling guilty and responsible for something that was never his fault, trying to deny there ever was a problem. Even when he loses everything: when everybody in his life hands him black, plastic trash bags with his stuff in them, he is STILL trying to cover up his challenges! That is a lot more exhausting than just embracing the degrees of madness we all possess, forgiving it, celebrating our creativity in living with it and learning to run along the seashore. It is a sweet and honest movie, with much attention to composition, musical score, props, costumes and atmosphere/mood. Fact is, we are ALL strange, under our masks. And is that not the funniest thing of all?

Friday, June 04, 2010

heat nearly got me today.

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Holy crap, we're having a heat wave. I THOUGHT I was hot yesterday, but today proved yesterday down right nippy. And it's supposed to be over a hundred degrees through Sunday.

That guy never fixed my swamp cooler, but at least he dropped off some pads.

Well, a young woman picked me up hitch hiking earlier this week. She cares for her mother who lives in Solomon Estates, where I live. I recently watched "Skins," filmed on the Pine Ridge Lakita reservation. Except for the fact that THEY have a lot more trees and grass, Pine Ridge sure looks a heck of a lot like Solomon Estates! Ancient single wides, rusted out cars & trucks, piles of trash & scrap lumber to burn for heat, scary dogs, cows in too-small pens, shanty shacks, piles of tires, weeds and litter along the roads.... A lot of social services types actually MOAN when I tell them I live here: Not middle class enough for their tastes, I suppose.

Anyway, the young woman dragged her fiance over tonight. They had tubing, pressure fittings and even stuff I don't really need, plus a tall ladder. He and I got the air conditioner working as she stood in the yard and hollered back and forth between us, giving instructions from one to the other.

They came back a few minutes later with this alien robot thing. It looks like a Japanese washing machine or something: large small appliance. But it comes with two weird, fat flexible hoses and a flange thing that goes in the window.... a portable air conditioner! I mean, real, REFRIGERATED AIR!

Hold on; Miss Thing's stealing my cheese. Just found out she loves cheese. Who knew?

So, my modem, computer and monitor are actually COOL TO THE TOUCH!

I have the swamp cooler on in the kitchen and the little air conditioner on 3 feet from the bed and computer stuff.

I am nude, under a fan. My skin is cool to the touch. Cats have reappeared from under the house and 2 are actually in bed with me & Weasel (dog).

I have the air's fan on low, with temp. set at 75 for the night. I'm sucking in as much cold air as I can while it's night time, to cool the walls and ceiling as much as I can. I won't run the swamp cooler tomorrow and will set this thing at eighty degrees.

It pulls juice. I flipped the breaker to the living room twice tonight, trying to set everything up. I finally ran a utility extension cord to a bedroom, to lower the drain on the circuit breaker that operates my computer.

I got really sick today from the heat. I drank tea ALL DAY, lay in bed with a spray bottle of water, under my fan, nude. Every time I came back to bed, the sheets and pillows were so warm, they felt like I'd just taken them out of a dryer! My metal bed frame was as warm as a meal. I kept shutting off modem and monitor, whenever I left the computer, but they never cooled completely.

Finally, I put my sprinkler into the end of a ten foot piece of pvc pipe, strapped it to a shelf on my front porch and sprinkled the roof and walls from 2 pm 'til about 5 pm, but things were still warm in the living room. BUt the bedrooms, where the water didn't go? EVERYTHING in them was HOT, even with windows open.

As the young woman and man worked on my swamp cooler, some guys pulled up with some ripped trampoline canvasses, two of them.

I'd made a shade cover for my stock pond/fountain from one I'd found in a dumpster. A local kid saw it and I guess he told his family, cuz he'd told me they had some, too. So, I can make more shade tomorrow for the new dogs and maybe even a cover for my front porch, which gets western sun in the afternoon and reaches temps of a hundred fifty at times, baking the wall behind my head as I lie here in bed, even with a piece of styrofoam insulation betwen my pillows and the wall!.

It finally feels good in here. My heart rate and respiration are back to normal. I feel less in danger of a nose bleed that threatened all day. I can see better and my eyes don't sting as much.

I have to remember to start eating salt. I don't like salt; grew up without it. But I'll be in bad trouble if I don't start sprinkling some on my food. Think I need some bananas and potatoes for potassium, too. I was getting chest pains today from the heat, for some weird reason.

This new air conditioner will be used to cool the living room, only. I'd put blankets up to block the hall on one side and the opening to the kitchen on the other, to try to keep it warmer in here last winter. They'll help me keep it cool in here now, without having to cool everything.

I was in BAD shape today from the heat. Now, I'm eating cheese, rye crackers and as much watermelon as I want (I've still got another uncut!). And drinking my wonderful iced tea with ginger, cardemom Earl Grey, green tea, stevia and just a dash of sugar. I could NOT hydrate enough today. It was scary.


Too Small to Fail!