Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Irwin Corey Turns 100 Years Old

I'll let you look up the O. G. YouTube stuff yourself, the Real Comedy Gold, but here's the big clue:  Professor Irwin Corey, "the World's Foremost Authority," remains alive. 

Born in 1914, Guns of August! God, that was a long time ago. 

Looks like he's doing pretty well, all things considered.  I certainly wish him well.  Something on Facebook reminded me of him today, so I did the due diligence.  Amazing sometimes, what's out there to be found. 

Monday, July 28, 2014

Adrian Belew I Am What I Am

I'm not really all about the oldies, although this cut is from the 1990's and that's "Oldies" for a lot of people. 

Adrian is great, he just goes where he wants to go and makes it happen.  He's one of the rare ones that plays well in advance of anything that he's actually heard already.  Like only a few others, we listen and wonder:  how the fuck did he do that? 

I like the preacher too.  He's got some good advice for the rest of us, even if he seems to get confused sometimes.  Are we what we are, or what we think we are?  Sometimes I wonder myself.

"Let Me In"

I was just nosing around the 'Tube, you know, looking for trouble. 

There have been so many great songs by now, such variety and over such a long period of "recorded" history, that there are thousands of great cuts that you may be familiar with but which you have not thought about or heard for many, many years.  This was one such cut for me.  It's great though, isn't it?  How great to be reminded of a happy memory.  Thanks for that. 

Sunday, July 27, 2014

The Greatest Actor In America

Acting, in the movies or on stage, is harder than it looks.  The best actors and actresses make it look easy, they make the process invisible.  We are now entertained by many great actors.  Tim Robbins and Jeff Bridges come to mind; Leonardo Di Caprio has done outstanding work; Tom Cruise has gotten surprisingly good.  “Greatest,” though, is a singular title, there can only be one.  Rather than nominate anyone in particular, I’m here to suggest that regular people, in their daily lives, commonly exhibit great acting skills themselves. 

We are all acting, more or less, every day, in all situations.  I say “more or less” because there are doubtless many among us who are naturally the people that they appear to be.  Many of us though, perhaps most of us, greet the world every day wearing a mask, or various masks, as the situation requires.  We have discovered that it is necessary to disguise our real selves in order better to fit into society.  We hide our fears and our rage and we seek to create a more cheerful, cooperative character to display to those that we encounter. 

I’m not the best of actors, I know that.  My mask cracks too easily; my ready smile fades and gives way to a hang-dog expression if I’m not careful.  My friendly banter becomes contaminated with recriminations.  Sometimes, not often anymore, but still, sometimes, my entire effort goes out the window and I become what I call “the other Fred.”  You don’t want to meet him, I’ll tell you.  He can seem right on the verge of cutting you down in the gutter.  I’m a pretty good actor though.  The magnitude of what my effort must overcome has to be part of the grading process.

I wouldn’t give the title of “greatest” to any of the professional actors among us.  To me, the greatest actor in America is probably a guy out in Iowa or somewhere, a guy with a boring job, an annoying overweight wife, a couple of disappointing children, and very little to comfort himself with generally, but who is still a good neighbor and friend, a helpful co-worker and a reliable employee, a faithful husband and a devoted father, day after day, day after fucking horrible, unrewarding, exhausting day, year after year, without complaining, or dropping his mask even once, a guy who can leave behind a perfect record of polite cheerfulness, which no one will appreciate. 

Except me, I appreciate his efforts.  Those guys are my heroes.  I couldn’t do what they do.  They make me wish that there were a heaven waiting for them, a place where they could be happy.  Instead all they get is the peace of the grave, where all men are equal, and no masks are required.  

The Dying

I’ve written somewhere herein that we don’t die all at once.  The process starts around our fortieth birthday, picks up steam rapidly, and culminates in actual death later on.  I would now add that it is not a linear progression, a day by day process.  No, it proceeds by fits and starts. 

We go along with about the same body and health for matters of months or years, with no change at all, no apparent aging.  Then we suffer some kind of event, a stress event or a health event, and after the days or weeks of the event we discover that something has changed.  We have aged.  The event has shortened our lives by months or years. 

For example:  in my late thirties I suffered a burst appendix.  I had been rolling along for years, same diet, same sleep habits, same physical capabilities, same weight, same appearance.  Then I got sick.  For six months I had what was misdiagnosed as a series of stomach flu episodes and lower digestive tract problems, featuring lots of vomiting and diarrhea.  I never got a fever, and my stomach did not palpate as though my appendix were the problem.  I had no health insurance, so no sophisticated diagnostics were employed.   I dropped some weight, and I had only started out in the low one-forties.  I became alarmingly weak and exhausted, by the end I could not speak with a full voice.  Finally my poor inflamed appendix popped, an experience that will get your attention, I can tell you.   I signed a permission slip for exploratory abdominal surgery, because they still hadn’t figured out that it was my appendix, and there followed a week in the hospital, bowels frozen by the anesthesia and almost hourly anesthetics, successfully fighting off the peritonitis.  It was terrible. 

I came home weighing about 123 pounds (at five feet, nine inches tall) and looking like death warmed over.  I got better, but I realized that the experience had aged me.  The weight came back on differently, more around the middle.  I was no longer inclined to run up stairs willy-nilly.  I’ve noticed the phenomenon since then on a couple of occasions.  Something like that pushes you down the field suddenly after having lingered at the forty yard line for some time. 

It’s like a jump-cut in the movies.  It’s a wonderful technique, most famously visible in the movie “Breathless” by Jean-Luc Goddard.  There’ll be a scene, static for a while, and then suddenly some time has been cut out and the scene jumps to almost the same scene some time later, perhaps from a slightly different angle.  It can be disconcerting, and it is meant to be.  It is an intentional violation of the rules of continuity editing, which is sometimes called “Hollywood editing,” or “invisible editing.”  The jump cut draws attention to the mechanics of film making, much like the life event draws attention to the process of aging.  

Something like that long ago event is happening to me now, less dramatically perhaps, but maybe more dangerously at my age.  A push down the field is more serious at sixty-five than it was a thirty-nine.  I’m not complaining, it’s the human condition and we all suffer equally.  It seems that life is a lot like high school, or boot camp.  We enter the experience terribly confused and at a big disadvantage.  Then over time we figure it out, we learn how it all works.  And then, around the time when we have learned all that we need to know, we graduate.  Cruel irony, that.  

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Inhumanoids - Data File - Know Your Enemies

I was a little older than their target audience, I was a thirty-something at the time, but man, I loved this show. 

Politics was a mess in the Eighties, and the culture in general was going to hell in a hand basket, but there were bright spots. 

Billy Sunday Preaching In Boston (1929) - Rare Footage

As a blaspheming, whiskey soaked, Sabbath breaking infidel, I find these remarks highly offensive.

But interesting.  It's interesting to note that the script has not changed much since 1929.  Oh sure, the list of demonized groups has a few new names on it, but the idea is still the same.  "Thank God for the rich," says the reverend, "and here's a list of the people that we hate."

Religion could do so much better than this, and sometimes does.  Why, I wonder, do the real religionists put up with this kind of thing?  It just makes them all look bad.