January 28, 2012
Stories this photo appears in:
The big box in the living room with rabbit ears that had given me Howdy Doody, Walter Cronkite and Combat was suddenly showing naked Asian children with significant burns running from a village in Vietnam. A few years prior to that, my living room entertainer with aluminum foil “bling” adorning the rabbit ears had shown me police dogs chewing black people while being clubbed by policemen, state troopers or National Guardsmen and being bruised internally and externally by fire hoses at full pressure. One scene showed the black children in the background screaming as they watched their parents brutalized. My concept of war was John Wayne movies where soldiers died much in the same way that I died playing cowboys and Indians with my buddies. Bloodless.
I stopped making New Year’s Resolutions some years ago. I came to realize that I had not realized any changes at all. All my Old Year’s Resolutions never resolved a thing. No matter how resolutely I approached Jan. 1 with shoulders squared, jaw set, furrowed brow and a heroic and magnificent meeting of both frontal lobes converging upon that singular goal, I rarely saw a Jan. 31 that gave any evidence whatsoever of my promise to myself. In my Old Year’s Resolutions, I have committed to stop doing something, start doing something, go somewhere, learn something, lose something, gain something, build something, or … whatever.
Merry Christmas! There. That’s out of the way. Now, to the subject at hand. The three nouns in the headline describe a state of being. Very often, they are used to describe a state of being resulting from one’s own volition. If one is of average IQ and chooses not to read, he has chosen illiteracy.
Revisionist historians must be some of the filmmakers’ most rabid consumers. There are quite a few historical pieces with rather unsubstantiated but strongly nuanced narratives that tend to pronounce a culturally modern thought on an issue or person of old. There are some, believe it or don't, that have revisionist effort that is not a bad thing. Discoveries and documents heretofore unknown often paint a noble person or cause as being all the more admirable and bad guys worse than we may have suspected. As I discovered in books, newspapers, lectures and just about any form of communication — including casual conversation — the intent to persuade is a rather common human agenda. We feel better about ourselves when we can convince another we are right.
On Netflix there is a documentary entitled "Pulling John." A film that follows professional arm wrestler John Bryzenk, the undefeated, undisputed arm wrestling King. "This film chronicles the aging Bryzenk's legendary career as he travels the globe … " I kid you not. Somebody produced it. Somebody wrote the narrative. Camera men, sound techs, mixers, film editors, background musicians and a gob of other folks had to get paid. The travel expenses alone following John as he traveled the globe in search of another single skilled athlete had to be a chunk of change.
Beads of H2O coolant materialize across my forehead as ordered by my hypothalamus after receiving reports from thermal sensors in the skin that the fat boy is exerting himself. My hypothalamus could hibernate in the winter were it not for a little seven by nine wood shop where serenity and sanity dwell. They’re a nice couple. Serenity comes the moment I turn on the lights and pick up a tool standing over a nice piece of maple or oak in the bench vise. Sanity joins us when I plug my smart phone into my Bose and turn on my Pandora app.
I like SciFi as much as the next guy but I never was what some would call a “Trekky”. Trekkies are Star Trek fans whose passion for the space fantasy drama is so intense that they “beamed” themselves up without Scotty’s aid. Many haven’t beamed back. The original series starring the overacting actor William Shatner was fun for me as I was in Junior High, the perfect age for such things. Overacting bothered me not one whit.
“Be who you iz and be so who you iz, you can’t be any izzer.” The older I get, the wiser it sounds. I say it from time to time when I think I can give the right delivery at the perfect moment. I didn’t ask his permission to use it though. I don’t remember who he was. Is that plagiarism…… thought theft… …. putting his words in my mouth?
There are life lessons that are best taught to the imagination before settling in the frontal lobe for practical use. A story says it best. As all good stories with morals, you must wait until the end to learn, unless the lesson is already with you. The young man was on a journey to find his happiness. This was something he desired and something he felt should be rightfully his. Somewhere, he hoped, he would stumble upon something or someone that would have his happiness wrapped neatly as a gift and present it to him with fanfare. He would be happy.
Winning a verbal contest on a political issue was once as stimulating to me as was the salt spray of the sea in my face as I stood, statuesque, with jutted jaw and firm set brow, at the bowsprit of a swift and powerful clipper ship racing toward exotic ports in the Malay Archipelago. Ok, a bit of a stretch, a tad hyperbolic. I didn’t really do that. But were you to have a couple spare tickets for that experience, I would appreciate your generosity greatly. You get my point though.
A half truth is a whole lie. My third-grade Sunday school teacher taught me that. To put it another way, if only half the truth is stated, the intent is to deceive. To deceive is to tell a whole lie.
“Seventy-five and sunny,” the Accuweather app on my Android reported one day last June. A quick check through the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration verified the report. The gorgeous meteorologist on TV said the same the night before. But, I don’t believe weather girls actually have to have degrees to talk about degrees; the gorgeous part is usually enough for ratings.