05 June 2023

The Author Expounds on Various Topics Ranging from Guns to Music to Theaters...AND MORE!!!

Margot Robbie

Global warming. First of all, I’m against it. But seriously folks, there has been nothing as bad during my lifetime. I don’t believe that it threatens the planet, the planet will be fine, what it threatens is life on this planet — to date the only habitable one in the known universe. This includes animals and humans alike. Yet people are so damn dumb that many don’t believe in “it” as if climate change were some far out theory proposed by a single benighted scientist. Most troubling is that it’s already here. For so long it was a distant threat, now it’s with us and there are legitimate fears that not enough can be done to keep it from worsening. It’s hard to even read it about anymore so depressing is most of what’s written.

Music today. In the locker room of my gym members are provided with piped in music (not that we asked for it). It is all clearly new…Rock? Pop? What the hell do you even call it, anymore? By any other name it sounds as sour. It is all so bland, generic and uninteresting. I grew up with The Beatles, The Doors, The Who, Hendrix, Joplin, Neil Young, the Beach Boys, Marvin Gaye, Smokey Robinson, Buffalo Springfield etc. Talk about spoiled. But I wonder why there isn’t even a tenth as much good music today as there was in the Sixties and Seventies. There are no interesting voices. Male singers are high pitched and flat. Female singers have weak voices. The instrumentals are uninteresting. The angry dirge of rap is a sad comparison to the great days of the Motown Sound. Thankfully I have an extensive CD collection.

Gun nuts. From a CNN story on republican presidential candidate Nikki Haley’s recent town hall: “Haley for the first time on the trail came out against gun restrictions known as “red flag” laws, which allow officials to temporarily take away firearms from people determined by a judge to be a threat to themselves or others. The laws, which have become popular in Democratic-run states, have angered many Republicans and gun rights advocates. ‘I don’t trust the government to deal with red flag laws. I don’t trust that they won’t take them away from people who rightfully deserve to have them,’ Haley said. ‘Because you’ve got someone else judging whether someone else should have a gun or not.’” Maybe it’s simply a matter of playing to her base who evidently prioritize guns over human lives, but my goodness, coming out against red flag laws shows complete servitude to the gun lobby. These people have no conscience and don’t really care how many children are slaughtered by guns. Also we have the continuing theme of not trusting the government which was popularized by the odious Ronald Reagan. It’s a great way for public servants to abdicate responsibility and in many cases put power in the hands of their corporate overlords. So much for the notion of government by the people of the people and for the people.

What ever happened to going to the movies? As recently as three years ago there were three movie theaters in downtown Berkeley, all with multiple screens. There could be as many as a dozen different films playing at a time. Now there are zero downtown theaters with a combined total of zero screens that can show as many as zero films on any given day. There is only one theater within Berkeley’s city limits. Thirty years ago there were eight. There are two theaters that are not far, one in neighboring Albany the other in Oakland near the city limits. I recently noted that neither of these theaters are showing matinees — not even on weekends! In other words it used to be nothing to find and go to a movie any day of the week. Now it’s a miracle to be able to make it to a movie. Streaming is wonderful, convenient and provides endless choices, but I really miss the thrill of seeing a newly released film in a theater. (I believe they were referred to the good ole days.)

Anti-war films. Watched a film called Pork Chop Hill (1959) Millstone yesterday. It has rightly been called a powerful anti-war film. Here’s something I’ve noticed: virtually everywhere anti-war film I’ve ever seen can also be interpreted as pro-war and virtually every patriotic “pro-war” film I’ve ever seen can also be interpreted as anti-war. The mere depiction of battle at once shows its horrors and stupidity and also glorifies it. Every demanding non-compromising officer is an example of steely determination and dedication to the cause and an example of barbarity and callousness. Every dying soldier is an example of heroism and of the horrible cost of war. Pork Chop Hill made war look like a pretty stupid proposition to me but then again so did Saving Private Ryan and that’s as pro-war a film as you’ll ever see.

Phones. Haven’t gone on this tirade in awhile: try working out without your phone. It can be done, indeed I do it all the time. The benefits of not having your phone with you include not being distracted by it and thus better focusing on your purpose in being at the gym (one assumes you go to the gym for exercise) and not annoying people by talking into the damn thing. I noticed someone looking at their phone for at least five minutes before resuming exercise — two minutes worth — then resuming his romance with said phone. Not unusual.

Margot Robbie. This bit is just so I have an excuse to put a picture of the lovely actress atop this post. In truth I think she’s an excellent actress and has graced several excellent movies including Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, I, Tonya and Babylon. We’ll see how this whole Barbie thing works out.

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