18 January 2011

What's This? Another Edition of Riku Writes Odds and Ends? Already?

I don't think of myself as old, I in fact feel pretty much as I did whilst in my early 20s, sans hangovers. But I remember pay phones, rotary phones and a world without mobile phones. I remember when watching a movie on TV meant watching what was being shown on TV and in real time and with commercial interruptions. I can even vaguely recall shorts and travelogues before movies in theaters and not a single commercial before the film.

Yesterday was a holiday in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. For the life of me I can't figure out why we pretend to honor the man's legacy. He's become nothing more than an icon for the Civil Rights movement. This one day off in January is a way of acknowledging  America's terrible legacy of slavery and de facto apartheid. But the United States in no way recognizes Dr. King's salient message of non violence. Since his death nearly 43 years ago the U.S. has continued to export warfare across the globe, inflicting death and destruction to such far flung places as Vietnam, Iraq and Somalia. The country's military budget swells like the belly of a gluttonous pig. Within the country, gun violence continues and efforts to stem the tide are fought tooth and nail by the NRA which places a higher value on gun ownership than human life.  The African American communities which Dr. King strove to better are particularly riddled by violence and it's brother, poverty. According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, the poverty level among Blacks is 35% nationwide, compared to 14% for whites. And according to the Brady Campaign to End Gun Violence African-American children and teens are almost five times as likely as their white peers to be killed by firearms (11.30 per 100,000 African-American youth vs. 2.31 per 100,000 white youth). Yes the U.S. has its first African American president. Some victory.

The wife and I watched the full five hour version of Ingmar Bergman's Fanny and Alexander (1982) this past weekend. It was like bathing in milk. Actually I don't know that I'd particularly care for bathing in milk. Let's just say that if you've enjoyed the theatrical release you'll love the whole shebang. If you loved the theatrical version, well you're in for an orgasmic experience. Five hours with this film practically flies by. It's so rich in its characters, colors, images and imagination. Add this to the growing list of films I need to devote a full post to.

Not without some justification many people think I'm three-quarters nuts. Particularly on days such as this when it is unseasonably warm, the sun is out and the sky is almost totally cloudless. While you normal people are veritably dancing in the streets I'm miserably awaiting the next cold snap or storm. I really should be living in Northern England. A good mate of mine (hello, Phil) lives there and complains of endless strings of cold, wet, cloudy days. I'd love it. My favorite activities are best or exclusively done indoors: reading, listening to music, watching films, working out, and one other that I shan't mention here as this is a family blog. Anyway I find sunny days boring. Give me clouds, give me sleet, give me high winds. My idea of hell would be living in Arizona year end. This leads to awkward social situations when everyone else is either celebrating the sun or bemoaning the overcast and I'm stubbornly stating the opposite view. Clearly a lot of people just wish I'd go with the flow and follow the weather comments script.

Anyone check out my top ten films for 2010? I presented it, as I've done in the past, without comment. Had I provided a preface or epilogue I'd have railed about what a sub par year it was in films. Usually I have six honorable mentions but this year could barely muster four. And it to have a decent top ten I included two movies that technically were not 2010 releases (The White Ribbon and A Prophet). A small part of the problem was that I wasn't gaga over some of the films that most of you lot loved. I thought The Social Network a fine film but nothing to set off fireworks over. The The King's Speech was, in my mind, flamingly mediocre. The Kids Are All Right was not at all right, in fact I thought it stunk. Almost as bad was Inception, a picture that captured the imaginations of seemingly every 18 year old male in the country. Still I'm not complaining about the off year. Hollywood has had a good run of late and was due for a bit of slump. I've got enough films from the past to catch up with or re-watch anyway.

Thought I should let everyone know that my latest business venture has gone belly up. It seems my idea for non alcoholic whiskey just didn't have a market. I'm now working on the prototype for a home colonoscopy kit. I tell ya, it can't miss!

Wanna get depressed? (Silly question, who doesn't want to feel that life is meaningless and horrid?) Just read the comments that attach themselves like so many barnacles to virtually any news story on the internet. For that matter to many sports or entertainment stories. It's bad enough that people spew such hateful and vile things, but they also carry on nasty arguments with one another. Never mind the total lack of civility, think of the wasted time and energy. It's clear that a lot of folks get in a real lather over what some anonymous bloke living who-knows-where has to say. That same bloke will later return to the article, see the comment on his comment and fire back. It's so bloody easy to be cruel, nasty or viciously sarcastic behind the cloak of anonymity. And such a damn waste of time.

Speaking of waste of times, I hope you enjoyed this latest version of Odds and Ends....

1 comment:

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