Thursday, October 21, 2010

Rerun Summer

Summer 2010 may be over, but I relived it in bits and pieces. Watching shows I taped this past summer gave me an odd sense of reliving the past. Not the shows, but the news clips and commercials.

The Series
I heard in June that In Plain Sight was returning for it's third (summer) season so I set the PVR to tape all 13 episodes. I don't watch much television, but I enjoyed the first two seasons and didn't want to miss this one. Slight problem: when would I find the time to watch 13 hours of TV?

I went on a marathon of sorts, two-three episodes per night, and zipped through them in a week. Good news--the show has been renewed for two more seasons.

Yes, I like this show, mainly because it's refreshingly different. Set in Albuquerque it's about the Federal Witness Protection program and how investigators handle people whose lives change forever. It's a people story with occasional action scenes, light on violence and gore--the human drama is the interesting element.

And I like the lead character, Investigator Mary Shannon. She's dedicated to her work, tough-talking, doesn't put up with attitude, yet compassionate and wise. Her personal life is as complicated as her work life. The other characters are well-written, well-portrayed. The dialogue is great; Mary has the best lines.

The Rerun Summer
This is when I relived summer two months after it ended, in news that flashed throughout the shows: terrible wildfires, not only here, but all over the world. Devastating mudslides and floods here and all over the world. Many lives lost, many people displaced. The continuing BP oil well fiasco. Mine cave-in in Chile. Locally: people gone missing, individuals and couples.The unexpected death of a beautiful racehorse.

Surely there had been good news during the summer? Yes, but the good does not warrant a newsflash. It was almost a relief to see back-to-school commercials, for they signaled the summer of disaster was coming to an end.

But it hasn't been forgotten.

My next TV marathon: BBC's Sherlock.


Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Life does not imitate art ...

Rather, it proves art. . .

Some years ago I wrote this little poem:

The Sage Speaks

There was a time not long ago,
when skies were clear and rivers clean,
when sun and air were friends, not foes,
the seas were blue, the lands were green,

I am convinced the world is doomed,
a final gasp and it will die,
plundered, depleted, abandoned to gloom,
a toxic wasteland, barren and dry.

Look back from space as you depart,
look back upon a sphere once proud.
It’s now devoid of blood and heart
forever veiled in poison clouds.

Not art, not even a good amateur work, a poem I abandoned and only remembered today because physicist Stephen Hawking has proved me right. (I smile when I say that. )

Stephen Hawking's Warning: Abandon Earth—Or Face Extinction

I don't see a mass exodus from earth happening within my lifetime. But if it did, I wouldn't get on the ship. I'd go down with it, in a manner of speaking. Not because I don't want to go to the stars -- what a thrill -- but because I love this old earth and someone has to lock the doors when everyone's gone.

Beautiful tribute to Carl Sagan and Stephen Hawking:


Sunday, August 08, 2010

Magic Minute

So . . . I was sitting here and happened to glance at the clock.

And I had a wow, that's interesting moment.

It was 8:08 on 8/8

Four 8s. When will that happen again?

I'll try to make note of an even rarer combo when it's 10:10 on 10/10/10

Just thought I'd share.


Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Internet Down

Desk before

A week ago Thursday morning I woke to a message on my answering machine from a robot at my Internet server. The Internet had been down for a few hours overnight as they upgraded their cable. The message ended with these portentous words: if you have a problem logging on, give us a call.

Naturally, I had a problem. I spoke to a very nice human -- even got through immediately without waiting the usual hour or two -- who tried hard to help me. She concluded I needed a service call from a technician. Earliest available time, Saturday around noon.

Ack. Two whole days without the Internet. What was I going to do?

I got caught up on my reading and did some writing. But I felt disconnected, not because I spend all my time or even a lot of time surfing the net, but because those cables are conduits to humanity, life beyond my own. Somehow reassuring to know theoretically I'm not alone, even when physically I am.

Saturday arrived, a technician came, the problem was obvious to her. My DSL modem had become obsolete and did not work with the new upgraded cable. She brought me a sleek new modem with a built-in router. Everything works much better than my old setup did. [The previous router had issues.]

Well, it's only been two weeks, but I feel confident.
And my golden link to the world has been restored.

Picture of less cluttered desk not yet available.


Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Eclectic post #2

André Rieu plays the beautiful Intermezzo from Cavalleria rusticana, an opera in one act by Pietro Mascagni

Bob Dylan wrote Things Have Changed for the quirky 2000 movie Wonder Boys.
In the music video Dylan is spliced into scenes played by Michael Douglas in the movie.

Great movie soundtrack!


Saturday, July 17, 2010

Summer Lazy

With the advent of hot sunny weather, I'm more inclined to listen to music than compose prose.

So, there will be more YouTube vids of some of my favorites.


Monday, June 28, 2010

If I am nothing else, I am eclectic . . .

Dvorak - Symphony No. 9 "From The New World" - II (part 1)

Many years ago as a kid, I learned to play a small portion (Largo) of this piece on the accordion. Taken in isolation, it was easy for a beginner to learn.
I must say this magnificent performance leaves my simple rendition groping in the dust left by a thousand stampeding elephants . . .

Loved it then, love it more now.

And now for something completely different - the incomparable Leon Russell, from 1971.


Monday, May 24, 2010

Hummingbird Season

Hummingbirds have returned.

All is right with the world.

Well, this corner of the world.

I could watch them all day!

This is about the making of a fantastic film by PBS about these beautiful little birds.


Monday, April 26, 2010

BAD words and bad words

I don't watch reality shows because I don't believe in their reality.
That said, while recently channel surfing I happened upon one, then another reality show that was disappointing in its, well, reality dialogue.

An abundance of beeps highlighted the dialogue of both shows. Often the beeps outnumbered the words, so the viewer must decipher/read lips/guess the conversation.

I know a beep could have masked the A-word, the B-word, the C-word, the D-word the E-word... (well, maybe not E). However, I get the sense that the F-word won the count.

I don't completely disapprove of the F-bomb, as it's often called when used in an "oops" moment by politicians and celebrities. It's an effective word that gets to the nitty-gritty of the matter. Psychologists at a British university did a study which found the use of expletives strengthens one's endurance to pain.

Yes indeed. Stub a toe and find out how true that is.

However, I find that overuse dilutes the effectiveness of any cuss word. To me less is more. I'd rather see a show with a few bombs used in strategic--shall we say explosive--moments instead of tossed away like fluff in every other sentence.

Ditto in books. If I read a book in which a character goes overboard with the reality dialogue, it becomes a big yawn. But a judiciously placed pained/frightened/horrified/grievous/excited detonation bursts off the page and gives an effective single-word stress moment to a most dire (or alternately, most loving) event.

Disclaimer: Some fictional characters are defined by the language they use, so it's necessary to salt their dialogue in an appropriate manner. Some real people, too, have a limited vocabulary and can best express themselves by fixing on the single descriptive word they know.

That's reality for you.


Bad words

My five year old grandson on a recent visit learned a new bad word.

It was unintentional.

I don't know what tv show he was watching, but he said, in true five-year-old righteous fashion, "That's dickless!'

Uncle, knowing the boy's mother would never abide her child using such language, kindly took him aside and told him dickless was a bad word that should never be repeated.

Grandson looked perplexed. Could it be that other members of his family used this vulgar term?

He agreed never to say it again.

Later, Uncle told the boy's mother about the event.

She laughed and laughed. Uncle was now puzzled.

It was the boy's way of saying ridiculous.

Uncle, no doubt slapping the side of his head and calling himself a dickless wonder, had to admit to the boy he'd been mistaken about the word, it wasn't bad at all, etc.

No doubt Grandson was even more puzzled by this revelation.

He probably doesn't know any true bad words.

Give him a few years.

Learning the language is like a rite of puberty. And reality tv.


Thursday, February 25, 2010

Congrats to all Olympians

Go Vancouver!

Go Canada!

Go World!


Afterthoughts March 2


The big game.

The most gold medals.

The most total medals we've ever won in the Winter Games.

A place on the world stage. A good place.

Goodwill and respect for our city, our province, our country.

Unity among the diverse peoples of this land.


I confess to being among the skeptics before the Games began. Too expensive by far, too difficult for the organizers, the weather would probably not cooperate, protesters would give our visitors a bad image, in other words a big dud!

My feelings changed during the torch run. People turned out in droves in big cities, in little towns throughout the country--east to west, north to south--and cheered in good weather and bad, enthusiastic, proud, pleased to be included. It was...inspiring.

Then bad stuff happened. A young luger from Georgia died during his practice run. Cypress Mountain, site of several events was green and wet. Snow had to be trucked in. A malfunction during the opening ceremonies. Gretzky looking worried in the pouring rain carrying the torch to the cauldron.

A dud.

But soon I found myself glued to the television watching events unfold. I hoped for the rain to stop so the visitors could see how beautiful Vancouver is. There were some delays, some problems, some grumbling, some asinine protests. The sun appeared. People by the hundreds, by the thousands, took part in the street festivities, watched events on giant screens, cheered together, groaned together. It was...inspiring.

As was watching young people from all over the world come together and compete in fast, beautiful, grueling sports for their country, for themselves.

The closing ceremonies remedied the opening "glitch" in a humorous way. The proceedings were so...Canadian.
I'm happy I was here to witness this once-in-a-lifetime event.
And proud to be Canadian.
As someone once said, A perfect ending leads to a good beginning.