04 October 2009

More on My Cold, Childhood Reminiscences and Eventually Some Stuff About Movies

I don't know how I wrote the previous post. I was as sick as the proverbial dog and as weak as a kitten, to name two types of pets. (Hmm... did I molt like a parrot or was as as vulnerable as a goldfish?) Not only did I write it while in the throes of the bubonic plague -- that's the common cold to you non drama queens or kings -- but it was actually lucid -- at least for me.

I'm particularly amazed because I feel so much better today and yet its still a struggle to write. The great temptation every waking second, is still to slump on the sofa or bed. In moments of great strength I can lift the newspaper or a book high enough to read it. Otherwise I stare either at the TV or out a window. Unless there's a good movie or compelling sports event on the screen the window usually provides more entertainment. At least it doesn't distract the mind from the very important business of thinking. I'm a great fan of thinking and am sorry that it has been de-emphasized in modern culture. In lieu of letting our minds wander we occupy them with TVs, texting, iPhones, twitter, Internet games or blogs that are not as high toned as this one. What's especially grievous is that we've taken away idle time from our children. Bad enough they've got all manner of electronic devices to busy their minds, they tend to have their calendars filled filled faster than a CEO's. That they have calenders at all is a bad sign.

After school ballet lessons or soccer practice, piano lessons, or karate, math tutoring, school projects and the most heinous of all, play dates. I grew up in a different time (yes when dinosaurs roamed the earth, very funny, Kate G.). We used to do fine making our own "dates" and actually got together and organized our own baseball games or football games. We managed without adults "organizing" or "supervising" us. In elementary grades I had a lengthy walk to school. I went not to the neighborhood school but to the one a block from grandma's house so I could have lunch at her home everyday (most of which I fed to her golden retriever). No sane parent alive today would allow their child to walk such a distance, such is the state of paranoia that pervades our society. (For the record, I never let my daughters walk half that distance alone until they were in middle school.) Were our parents negligent? Did they not want to be bothered? Not at all. They just let us do a lot more of our growing up ourselves.

We grew up a lot more self reliant and with the benefit of years of idly thinking. I actually had time to quite regularly go into the backyard and "play." Without benefit of electronic gadgetry I was forced to rely on my imagination. Today children have imaginations provided for them by companies with huge profit margins. People don't much trust their own minds anymore which is why so many folks watch TV commentators and shows that merely re-enforce their already rigidly held beliefs. No use challenging yourself to think when some blowhard with a TV show will do it for you.

True I spent far too much time sitting in front of the TV ("yabba, dabba doo!" I've probably seen every episode of The Flintstones, God help me). But we only had five channels to choose from. If there was "nothing on" we were left to other devices.

Is this one of those blog posts in which he doesn't write anything about movies?

So am I saying that I grew up in the "good ole days?" No, it wasn't Camelot (anymore than today is Spamalot). We didn't know it at the time but for movie watching those were the dark ages.

Finally, he's mentioned movies!

You wanted to see a movie back then, you went to the theater. Or you could watch a movie being shown on the telly, riddled with commercials and if of recent make, edited so you were spared "adult situations." In other words your choices were limited. You might watch The Maltese Falcon (1941) at a revival house, otherwise you waited for it turn up on TV. You wanted to go to the ball yard that night it was on? Make a choice. No such thing as VCRs, DVRs, Tivo or DVD players. Oh and and if you did watch the movie, be prepared for a commercial to pop a long, usually when they got to a "good part."

Today if we I want to watch The Maltese Falcon I walk over to my shelf of DVDs and there it is, I own the damn thing. Let's say I wanna watch Bogie in Key Largo (1948). Well I don't own that but my local video rental establishment is a three minute walk from the house. Checked out? Gosh, I may actually have to wait a few days. All this of course gets back to my vicious cold, which, by the way, I'm beginning to suspect might actually be malaria.

Home bound by illness? Not a problem. I can settle on the sofa with The Marx Brothers, a Preston Sturges film, The Godfather (1972), maybe a Fred and Ginger film or a Busby Berkeley or one of my Bogie DVDs. Not in the mood for any one of them? The video rental store is a stone's throw away and of course TCM (the world's greatest TV station period exclamation point) might have aired something recently that I wisely recorded for later viewing.

All of this is to say that I have survived this recent illness with the help of Vitamin C, Tylenol, cough drops, Kleenex, a comforter and the magic of being able to watch feature length motion pictures right here in my own home. How cool is that?

Way cool, dude!

Hey italics guy, you're freaking me out. Stay the heck out of my posts.

Just trying to help, you're attitude totally --

Out, damn you!

I hope to resume regular film posts featuring my sharp wit, wry observations, insightful comments and hyperbolic adjective laden praise in the next day or so. And if you're wondering why the picture of Melanie Laurent atop this post my response is...you have to ask?


MovieNut14 said...

Hope you're feeling better!

Andrew: Encore Entertainment said...

Are you hallucinating? Although as an 18 year old I hate adults lamenting about those [not so] good old days I must say that the phrase play date makes me cringe. What ever happened to solitude. I quite enjoyed this post that wasn't exactly a post.

Kate Gabrielle said...

You're hilarious. I hope you're feeling better!!

My generation was probably the first one to need any help in staying occupied when we were kids (video games, cable television, etc.) but I actually went to my parent's workplace after school every day and was left to my own devices - lots of cardboard, markers, paper and hiding spots. I think I was really lucky! I got to have an imagination - a lot of kids don't have that opportunity anymore.

By the time my brother was two or three, my parents had the business moved to our house and so he ended up spending his childhood watching television, playing video games or going on the computer. Unfortunately, his upbringing seems to have been the norm for our generations.

Well anyway (yadda yadda yadda) I seem to leave comments as long as blog posts when I'm here!!

Hope you're feeling better.. the plague is a dreadful thing to have!

Millie said...

Hope you feel better soon!

This post made me laugh too!

And, I must say, you must have a pest infected house, what with catching the plague (from rats I assume) AND malaria (mosquitoes?)! You really should do something about that!

Richard Hourula said...

I think it's actually typhus, although it could be cholera and I probably shouldn't rule out yellow fever or for that matter amoebic dysentery. Maybe it's all of the above.

Millie said...

Tsk, tsk, tsk...didn't get your vaccinations did you? ;-D