Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Thou Art My All

O never say that I was false of heart,
Though absence seemed my flame to qualify.
As easy might I from myself depart,
As from my soul, which in thy breast doth lie.
That is my home of love; if I have ranged
Like him that travels I return again,
Just to the time, not with the time exchanged,
So that myself bring water for my stain.
Never believe, though in my nature reigned
All frailties that besiege all kinds of blood,
That it could so preposterously be stained
To leave for nothing all thy sum of good —
For nothing this wide universe I call,
Save thou, my rose; in it thou art my all.

Sonnet 109, William Shakespeare

Monday, May 9, 2011

7 words

George Carlin’s 7 deadly words - transcript of his monologue. This is sort of wandering.

I tried to think of what they were, and could only come up with 3. I asked Mr.Gopher and he came up with the same 3. (definitely not allowed to hog the dictionary for Quiddler, honey!)
Fuck, Cunt, Shit, Piss, Motherfucker, Cocksucker and Tits.

The FCC stated that it would address the legality of broadcast language on a case-by-case basis. Depending on the context presented, use of the “F-Word” [fuck] or other words as highly offensive as the “F-Word” [fuck] may be both indecent and profane, if aired between 6 a.m. and 10 p.m.

and then there's: highly offensive vs. indecent vs. obscene vs. just-a-little-offensive??

FCC rule bout what is okay
#3. whether the material appears to pander or is used to titillate or shock. No single factor is determinative. The FCC weighs and balances these factors because each case presents its own mix of these, and possibly other, factors.

And they apparently think it’s okay for Fox-TV to have a bunch of sex fetishists running around dressed up in horse-bondage paraphernalia on a TV show at 7 p.m. ...??? What the hell else is that, if not intentional titillation (does that count as “tit”?) or shocking? I was pretty shocked. Admittedly, I was shocked because of the time of day and the fact it was on regular TV. After 10 p.m. would have surprised me that it was on regular TV, but it wouldn't have enraged me.

How many shows are there with a message “some content may be unacceptable to children” at 7 or 8 p.m. (because "local time" here = EST not CST) where there’s . Fine, if you need to put it there to make some righteous idiot turn off the TV to avoid seeing some woman’s cleavage = the one in front, ‘cause if you ever watch the beginning of CSI:Miami, you sure as hell have seen the one in the back with no warning notice. And that's not titillating? [well, I don't think it is, but I'm also not the target audience for them] Except, I've never seen that warning with sex, only with blood/guts/gore.

This came up with discussion about regulating cable more. Strange bedfellows, with some fearing any increase in the Fed's ability to regulate anything vaguely involving the 1st amendment on the same side as those arguing that "free market" forces means letting the customer pick which cable channels she wants, rather than be forced to buy bundled channels.

I would be very, very leery of any additional regulation given to the FCC over cable companies. They already bend & spread 'em to the wimpy wimpy wimpy whiners over those 7 words. Have you seen movies where the "offensive" language was cut/re-dubbed? It's like the Daily Show - any idiot with a 1/2 baked brain knows perfectly well what they're saying during those little bleeps. Watch Battlestar Galactica (the new one, obviously) - the F-word is 'frak'. I can't figure if it is to avoid some FCC/idiot problem [yes!] or if it is simply an effort to make something familiar yet different. Because it is patently obvious what the script writers mean.

Then Jr.Gopher#2 yesterday exclaimed "darn it!"
hmmm... I'm confronted by where to draw the line about what's acceptable abrupt language. Is Sheiße okay? 'Cause Mr.Gopher uses it, but doesn't like me to say shit. In our house, being in a foreign language doesn't excuse it from acceptability. However, what happens when a word isn't as offensive in German as it is in English?

Back to Carlin ... tits? That's banned?? Well, shit. What cocksucker thought that was obscene, but 'boobs' isn't? Does fucktard become a banned word? How about infixes? (As opposed to suffixes or prefixes, an infix is inserting the extra part into the middle of the word, e.g. holy fucking cow, whoopty-fucking-do, et fucking cetera).

I'll go back to science, and the Boltzmann distrifuckingbution.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

peace & quiet

I have a supremely enjoyable memory of sitting on the shore of Lake Michigan and watching the sun set. This was during the phase of "my life has just completely fallen apart". I was at a gathering of friends up north at some one's "summer cottage". [What a disingenuous euphemism: it was huge.] After a delightful dinner with so many of my closest friends, I simply wanted to be alone for a while. I took my weekend-sized glass of scotch and walked down to the end of the backyard, i.e., Lake Michigan. A pair of chaise lounges there sat far enough from the house to be encompassed with quiet. No one else was on the beach. Peace and quiet.

A while later, BirdMan came out, apparently with the same intention. We were both, actually, right in the middle of the exact same "my life has just fallen apart". He apologized for disrupting me, and asked if he could join me. Sure, I said.

He pulled the other chaise lounge over next to mine, and settled in with his own weekend-I'm-not-driving-anywhere glass of scotch. We sat for at least half an hour in the mutual quiet, holding hands.

It was so pleasant. The intimacy of simply being together with a dear friend. With no distractions: no traffic, no radio, no TV, no loud neighbors, no conversation, no children screaming, no expectations of good humor. A supremely peaceful moment.

I am looking for more opportunities to have this peace & quiet with Mr.Gopher. To simply be together. Maybe our next Date Night can be dinner and silence.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Parental Rejection

The Author posed the question about a person who was becoming more reclusive and socially/emotionally strange:

"...Where was the trusted person who could tell him it wasn’t a good idea, ..."

I would also ask:

Who benefited from his bad choices?
I wish I could recall which novel I read, but a central point was that a powerful figure is manipulated to the benefit of another via his bad choices.

Of course, if you don't trust anyone, it's hard to benefit from their loving/unloving advice.

Sometimes it's easier to not give advice. My older son is old enough to really resent some of my edicts (chocolate chex is the current issue). It would be soooo easy to just cave in & buy a box to get him off my case. He doesn't know enough about life to understand either my reasoning or understand the idea that he needs to trust someone else's reasoning. Many parents want to be loved by their children without realizing this is *not* synonymous with being liked by one's progeny. They cave in in order to be 'liked'.

I can easily see someone else with a weak personal security wanting to give Jackson good advice and fearing to do so, in fear of losing his good opinion. Which rejection, in an adult, easily transmits to losing personal contact.

Becoming a parent has drastically enlightened me into the idea of seeing God as a parental figure. Christianity (at least my flavor of it) teaches that God is all loving; that you cannot make God stop loving you; that Her love is always there. I struggle to recall this when I have to deal with my own children.

People find themselves in such a totally screwed up point in their lives that they cannot believe that God could still love them. They then refuse to ask for God's help, fearing an active rejection without realizing there won't be any. A real parent, admittedly, is far more likely to reject a child. Even if they weren't, the child could easily fear rejection so much that they never ask for help.

The same applies to adults. Perhaps Jackson realized how totally screwed up his life had become and feared the loss of public/friends approval, so he didn't change his path. It's better to screw up your life than to realize the decision you made to fix it actually resulted in losing your friends, even if your life is otherwise better for the change you made.

I can look at my parents (and spouse now), and realize that they may not always like my decisions or my choices. My parents probably care just as much about me loving them as they always did. Me being an adult doesn't change that (I hope). I will always desire my children's love. Consequently, I need to take the risk of them disliking me or even [esp. in adolescence] rejecting me.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

[review] Green Zone

eliminate subtitles

It's not often that I am struck in the first 20 minutes of a movie by "I would have done it differently". Subtitles are a nice feature to communicate information while concurrently trying to provide the viewer with the "feel" of foreign-ness. And face it, dubbed movies look stupid.

Subtitles are not the only tool at a director's disposal, though.

The further through the movie, and given the movie's major Theme, the movie really should have just left out the subtitles altogether. Several scenes later on were wonderfully done to avoid dialogue all together. The opening should have done the same thing - provide a visual story which didn't require dialogue and then add the foreign language in without subtitles.

Generally, though, I enjoyed it.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Book of Mercy [review]

Psalm 33
You who question souls, and you to whom souls must answer, do not cut off the soul of my son on my account. Let the strength of his childhood lead him to you, and the joy of his body stand him upright in your eyes. May he discern my prayer for him, and to whom it is uttered, and in what shame. I received the living waters and I held them in a stagnant pool. I was taught but I did not teach. I was loved but I did not love. I weakened the name that spoke me, and I chased the light with my own understanding. Whisper in his ear. Direct him to a place of learning. Illuminate his child's belief in mightiness. Rescue him from those who want him with no soul, who have their channels in the bedrooms of the rich and poor, to draw the children into death.
Let him see me coming back. Allow us to bring forth our souls together to make a place for your name. If I am too late, redeem my yearning in his heart, bless him with a soul that remembers you, that he may uncover it with careful husbandry. They who wish to devour him have grown powerful on my idleness. They have a number for him, and a chain. Let him see them withered in the light of your name. Let him see their dead kingdom from the mountain of your word. Stand him up upon his soul, bless him with the truth of manhood.

Book of Mercy
, Leonard Cohen, Villard Books, NY 1984.
yes, that Cohen.

Written without a pause, without a break, without artistic & artificial separations one sees in the visual presentation of poetry, this pushes, his words driving in passion, giving you no opportunity to emphasize one thing over another.

These psalms absolutely must be read slowly. Cohen's music and lyrics are powerful, often presented in an extremely blunt style in his recorded music. (you gave me head/on the made bed) These poems are straightforward, direct, but not blunt. From an extremely talented user of the English language, each sentence should be considered carefully.

As one would imagine from the title, the majority revolve around Mercy, seeking or seeing God's mercy in the various aspects of Life. I wish I could include some of the others** which were poignantly moving for me, except you'd likely get bored.

The psalms in the Old Testament are poetry. Some are exquisite in pain (Ps. 22) or overwhelming in joy (Ps. 118) comforting in their traditional use (Ps. 23) or just nice (Ps. 150). I have a psalter (book of psalms) which is translated from Hebrew into modern poetry.* Here, Cohen has simply written his own. These are not renditions of biblical passages from the King of the Israelites or some other dead Jewish guy 2100 years ago; they are cries from a man today, which might not be in print in another couple millenia. Although if they were, they would cry out, appealing to man's soul and God's Mercy.

Gopher rating:
2 - definitely buy a copy, you'll read it more than once.

*I'm not at home, so I can't cite it.

** Why not? Copyright allows me to present material for purposes of criticism. So, from my lips to God's ears:
Psalm 40
Let me not pretend you are with me, when you are not with me. Let me close down, let the puppet fall amoug the strings, until, by your mercy, he rises as a man. Let him dare to call on you from the dust, when there is nothing but dust, and the coils of his defeat. Enter me again into the judgment, I who refuse to be judged. Enter me into the mercy, I who have forgotten mercy. Let me raise your kingdom to the beauty of your name. Who do you welcome me? asks the bitter heart. Why do you comfort me? asks the heart that is not broken enough. Let him lie among the strings until there is no hope for his daily strategy, until he cries, I am yours, I am your creature. Then the surface of the world is restored, then he can walk and build a will. Blessed are you whose blessings are discerned by those who know your name. The evil are seen clearly, and the good are beyond safety, and in the panic the whole world prays. Let us not be tested. Blessed are you who creates and destroys, who sits in judgment on numberless worlds, who judges the present with mercy.


Monday, May 2, 2011


We will feast when the rich become road kill.

bumper sticker of the month

Unions: the folks who brought you the weekend