October 29, 2008

As An Atheist I Find This Slightly Funny

Never gave too much thought to the image of Jesus. Possibly because I don't believe in a historical Christ. And then the one and only time I even considered it was when I was 8 years old, watching a "Good Times" rerun with Michael fighting with Florida about having the image of a black Jesus in the living room. At the time I took it to be more about racial identity than tailor making the image of your faith to your own liking.

Maybe it is as a simple as being comfortable and feeling gooey inside. I'll never know. The concept of faith is foreign to me.

October 09, 2008

148 Days....

That's all that is left between today and the release of the film treatment of one of my favorite books.

"The Watchmen" has been in pre-production for nearly twenty years. Passed from one film company to the next. Directors signing on and falling off in rapid succession. Casting run amok. It's been worse than a comedy of errors. It's been torture for its legion of fans who have read and re-read well-worn and dog-eared copies until the spines fall apart and must be taped together.

But finally. Finally it's coming.

I was excited when Terry Gilliam was signed on a number of years ago. So when it went nowhere, I had pretty much resigned myself to the fact Hollywood would never get around to this book because it was too big, too deep and way too dark. Actors had to be chosen who got the nuances of the characters. Prop production and set design had to reflect the moodiness of the individual frames of the novel. We're not talking about a few plastic palm trees and a boombox ala Heidi and Spencer. We're talking about exacting shadows falling. Seizing the moment of a scene and recreating it's violence and suspense.

Look, I'm not a Comic Con dork. Shit, I hate Star Trek (although I do admit to actually watching a whole episode on one solitary occasion and it was during sex with this RA I dated in college). I'm not a comic book geek by any stretch of the imagination. I'm just someone who fell in love with one of the most complicated stories of our times.

It encompassed the whole range of philosophical studies. It touches on violence and perpetuating cycles through child abuse. And narcissism and cynicism.... It touches on the failures of middle age and old age and regrets and lies and secrets and past loves still so real one's heart aches for what seems eternity.

It's about parents and children, and cops and robbers and selling one's soul for materialistic and egotistical reasons. Hell, it talks about what a soul is. Is it the body? The mind? Or is it the heart and all it desires?

It talks about trust and government and free will and compromise. It touches on absolutes and though how noble they may be how they can cost you your life.

Anyhow, I doubt the director and actors and stage hands will get this one right, but god I hope they do. I hope it's better than "V for Vendetta" and truer to the spirit of the book.

There are few books that have that much heart and soul and it'd be a shame to see this one fucked up.

Here's the trailer. I think the music works...

October 01, 2008


It's not often I find myself just shaking my head in total disgust but now is one of those times.

I spent last evening chatting up an old friend and his wife on the night of their second anniversary. He and I share a birthday and so we've always had a quite amicable and conversational quality to our friendship. We share a few drinks, occasionally dinner, but mostly we share stories and voice our fears and talk about house repair.

The topic last night- his and the wife unit's plans for the future. Like myself and my hubby, they're trying to make a little bambino. The wife is a lovely woman who's from Columbia. She had a pretty cool life back home partying with politicians, and celebrities and sports stars while running her own small business. Had she not met my friend, she would have returned home from her US vacation and continued on her merry little way none the wiser about this great guy here. Fortunately for them both, they met, had a whirlwind romance and were married within a matter of a couple of months (she extended her tourist visa). Life has been good and it's clear they love each other and have a great time traveling and sailing when they can.

I asked the wife about what the differences between her home country and the US were- and her answer was pretty much what I expected. Money and quality of housing, cars, etc. is great here, but we're too busy keeping up with the lifestyle and all we do is work, work, work. Of course, this is all to the detriment of the things that are really important- family and friends. She misses her family most of all. When she visits, they laugh, they eat, they drink, they dance and they give themselves fully to one another. There- it's okay to be late to work. It's okay to enjoy a good conversation rather than make an important meeting.

It's understood.

Up until that conversation last evening, I had spent much of my day ruminating on what is going on with two couples with whom we are friends. Both couples are divorcing. One due to the husband's violence and secret drug use. The other- well let's say trading alcoholism and gambling for AA might save your life, but it won't save your marriage especially when you take all the fancy electronics, empty the accounts and disappear on your very scared husband without a single word.

Both marriages died within the last week. Our friends are divorcing. One with kids, the other sadly, without. Maybe if there had been children, they could have worked it out. And us, we just had seven years.

Seven years of constant fighting, bickering, threats and non-existent apologies. Most of our friends made bets on how long we'd last. No one won. All of them underestimated the tolerance for pain we each have and our mutual tendency of avoiding things. That and we laugh.

I mentioned to hubby we should move to this little island off the coast of South America. Of course he said "No." His excuse is his parents. They're in their 70's and have each had significant health problems in recent years. He won't leave them. But even if he didn't have to worry about them, he still wouldn't leave. His roots are too deep. And that's a problem for me.

I look at our country and see something absolutely flawed to its very core. I see a country in decline. Not that we don't love our country, but we live in a culture that debases intelligence and encourages mediocrity. Athletics are worth more points than the ability to comprehend something more difficult than Harry Potter. And because of that, the current crop of kids and future generations are doomed to fail.

Frankly, they're stupid. They're little cultists. Seeing this one college girl in Ohio talk about voting absentee this week for Barack Obama (imagine a light skinned black girl with a Valley Girl voice talking about how "Awesome!" it is to get to vote for Obama in Ohio) made my stomach sour. She couldn't spell the word Constitution, but she thought voting for him was "Awesome!" complete with the little head shake.

She didn't have enough brain cells to comprehend voting isn't about picking who should be prom king, but about hiring someone for an incredibly difficult job. Let me put it this way, would you hire a guy who has never lifted the hood of a car to give you a valve job? Or hire someone who has never turned on a computer to write software? Yeah. It's that kind of thing. But hell, I expect too much. That fucking kid has never held a job. Her parents paid her way through life and now she has no concept of what real life is. I expect too much from her. She doesn't get th concept of "To whom much is given, much is expected." She has no fucking clue.

Real life is taxes, and mortgages, and sending loved ones off to a war zone. These brats don't get there are repercussions for bad decisions. You don't get to buy more life credits or hit the reset button.

Their parents have been too busy working to pay for cellphones, Ipods, laptops, Burning Man trips, Summer Abroad programs to actually parent. They have no energy to tell little Susie that "No, it's not okay to fuck your boyfriend under our roof." Or tell little Johnnie that he's not allowed to throw a tantrum in Applebees. Parents feel so guilty about working all the time that they schedule their kids to death with soccer games and basketball tournaments because then they are giving their kids everything they didn't have and it makes them feel less guilty since kiddo is getting everything, but at the same time-get this: they no longer have to actually parent. Sure, they may be on the sidelines, but the person really supervising their kid is the one with a stopwatch and a whistle. Mom and dad are but mere chauffeurs and we all know deep down how we detest the help in our society. No wonder their kids don't respect them. They are the bill paying equivalent of the towel boy at the Bellagio.

Nice houses, and nice cars, and fancy flat screen TV's and X-Box 550's or whatever aren't worth the missed time around the dinner table, family picnics, dorky bike rides in matching track suits or just screaming at each other like most good red-blooded Americans do. Our society doesn't raise good citizens. It raises holy terrors who are self-absorbed little shits.

And society cannot sustain itself or our democracy with that kind of bullshit. I think it's time to call this little experiment here in North America a failure.