§ We subscribe to both Netflix and Prime (and, this month, Apple as well), but it still takes forever for us to find a movie. Apparently, Quentin Tarentino and the Coen Brothers can’t make films fast enough to keep up with the pace of our watching them. C’mon guys.
§ Speaking of Films, Part I. Wouldn’t you think that any gang of killers sent to murder the martial-arts hero would have watched enough movies to know YOU CAN’T ATTACK THE HERO ONE-PERSON-AT-A-TIME! But as my sister-in-law says, if these guys were smart, they wouldn’t need to be criminals. Same goes for script-writers.
§ Speaking of Films, Part II. When the vengeful psychotic gunman corners his target and his gun is poised against the victim’s sweaty head, the gunman always begins a monologue that blames the victim and helps him “understand” why he deserves to be killed. Then the gunman kills him (with exceptions, see below). Which makes no sense. Would it not be more cruel (if that were the gunman’s intent) to let the victim live an extended time with the guilt and shame of knowing how he turned the gunman into a psychopath? I mean, the victim usually only gets a few seconds to appreciate the gunman’s inner turmoil, and then blam. Well, like my sister-in-law said…
§ Speaking of Films, Part III. The psychotic gunman, before he kills his victim, is either: (a) shot by the cop who also happens to be his childhood friend and who just now arrived on the scene, and is conflicted about saving or shooting him; (b) shot by the “sensitive” guy in the gang who has a wife and kids and decided this was the best way to save his family; (c) shot by his rival in the gang, who is also simultaneously shot, and both die; or (d) shot by his girlfriend who just can’t even; or (e) trampled by a herd of elephants. OK, I sort of made that up. I haven’t seen the bad guy trampled by elephants since, oh, Bomba and the Elephant Stampede (1951). Tarentino never used elephants.
§ I don’t know what it’s like these days, but when I was in grade school, I remember how it was a big deal when one of our classmates was out sick, leaving an empty desk in the room. It just felt really odd and a little ominous. “Where’s Janet today?”
§ If I were the 21st-century Marquis de Sade, I would want a job working for the airlines. I would engineer a pressure-sensitive airplane seat that tallies the minutes your butt is in the seat and charges you extra for every seat-contact-minute. Passengers who are able to crouch so that their tushie doesn’t touch the seat can save a buck! If you have to sit, well, that privilege will cost you. Tell me this isn’t in our future.
§ I find it uplifting if there is even one economic transaction a week in which I am treated like a human instead of a credit card swipe. And it works the other way too: at the grocery, I generally try to read the cashier’s ID badge and either greet them by name or bid them well as I leave. I get a smile in return about half the time and walk out happier in any case.
§ It’s not the same when I dare use the self-check line. I’m still trying to figure out where on the scanning station I can strangle that dictatorial voice-bot, but it will be so satisfying the day I do. “Please Place Your Item in the BA-A-GGH GAKH UKKH… “
§ When I was growing up, my mother always cut bacon-lettuce-and-tomato sandwiches on the diagonal. No other item ever was, not that there were a lot of opportunities for creative slicing. Today, eating any diagonally-cut sandwich still feels like a treat to me.
§ The past tense of bear is bore. But how does it make sense to say, “A baby bore climbed our kousa dogwood tree looking for berries yesterday.” It makes no sense at all, because plenty of berries had already fallen on the driveway.
§ My spouse often encourages me to look out our living room window as the evening light is fading and appreciate the beauty of the subtle blues and grays spreading across our sky. I thought of this when I recently read the following passage from Karl Ove Knausgaard’s 2009 autobiographical novel, My Struggle: Book 1:
I set off with a sigh. Above me the entire sky had opened. What a few hours earlier had been plain, dense cloud cover now took on landscapelike formations, a chasm with long flat stretches, steep walls, and sudden pinnacles, in some places white and substantial like snow, in others gray and as hard as rock, while the huge surfaces illuminated by the sunset did not shine or gleam or have a reddish glow, as they could, rather they seemed as if they had been dipped in some liquid. …
Sights like this were not exceptional, on the contrary, hardly a day passed without the sky being filled with fantastic cloud formations, each and every one illuminated in unique, never-to-be-repeated ways, and since what you see every day is what you never see, we lived our lives under the constantly changing sky without sparing it a glance or a thought.
And with that we close for now.