Monday, December 31, 2012
As another year of US and Israeli wars and occupations comes to a close leaving tens of thousands dead and injured and many more living in terror from Gaza to Pakistan, we call on all people of conscience to remember the suffering caused in our name and to join the struggle for peace. Only mass outrage and action can change this deadly path of violence. Join us as we make our voices heard in the new year and make the following demands:
Sunday, December 30, 2012
PARIS IN THE TERROR, JUNE 1793-JULY 1794, STANLEY LOOMIS, J.B. LIPPINCOTT, NEW YORK, 1964
Stick It, starring Jeff Bridges, Missy Peregrym, Touchstone Films, 2006
Over the past few years or so, since he won the Academy Award for best actor for his role as broken down country singer/songwriter Bad Blake in Crazy Hearts I have been reviewing the cinematic work of Jeff Bridges as his films have come into my hands. Most of my reviews have been positive reflecting the very real talent and flare that Jeff Bridges brings to the movies. That said, I am at a lost for why he did the film under review, Stick It, that while marginally entertaining at times is an incredible waste of his time and talent.
Now I am not, and never have been, privy to the decisions that actors make about taking on scripts. Maybe they see something in the plot line, maybe they are looking for something a little edgy, or maybe just for the dough, not an unimportant consideration in fickle movie land. But now I can add Jeff Bridges to the vast number of very talented actors that have been in “turkeys”, for whatever reason.
Strangely, it is not the subject matter, the trials and tribulation of a troubled, ex- or maybe not so ex- gymnast (Haley Graham, played by Missy Peregrym) trying to find her place in the world, the non-monastic gymnastics training world that is off here but the subtext that the teenage rebellion of a gymnast attempting to dramatically change the way the sport is conducted has enough energy to fill an hour and one half film. It really doesn’t since an amazing amount of time is spent in various clips of gym activity. And Jeff Bridges as a washed-out (kind of) gym camp owner is in the thick of this thing as Haley’s substitute father/confessor.
There are plenty of issues (sexual, physical, psychological) that could have been raised by a close look at the cult-like elite gymnastics world (or any high-level sports training) but none, other than a silly attack on the scoring system, are addressed by a film which decided that it did not want to tackle them and played instead to a kind of campy teenage melodrama. And high talent (although poor gymnast, incredible poor, making me feel practically like a champ in comparison, a very hard task to do, and sage) Jeff Bridges got caught in the middle.
En solidaridad con Manning privada Copley Square Al celebrar el Año Nuevo, el Año de la Libertad de Bradley. (Este lugar es ahora el lugar tradicional First Night para todos aquellos que quieren estar en contra de las guerras, las guerras actuales que impiden, por la liberación nacional y las luchas por lo que será uno de almas gemelas como las personas se reúnen para ver el desfile primera noche que comienza en la zona tarde en la noche.)
The Private Bradley Manning caso se dirige hacia una tarde - juicio programado para el invierno ahora marzo de 2013. Las recientes noticias sobre su caso se ha centrado en los muchos (desde el pasado mes de abril) mociones previas al juicio audiencias, incluyendo peticiones de la defensa para desestimar por falta de juicio rápido (Private Manning prisión preventiva está ahora a 900 más días), el despido como una cuestión de la libertad de expresión y un efecto mínimo sobre presuntos problemas de seguridad nacionales (cuestiones para nosotros saber qué demonios está haciendo el gobierno, ya sea en frente de nosotros, o detrás de la espalda) y el despido basado en las graves denuncias de comportamiento tortuoso por las autoridades militares se extienden lejos de la cadena de mando mientras soldado Manning fue detenido en Kuwait y en el bergantín Quantico Marine alrededor de un año que terminó en abril de 2011. En diciembre del mismo Manning privado, así como de otras personas, incluyendo altos militares de los trabajadores de salud mental, subió al estrado al detalle esos abusos.
To get you up to speed after Angelica and I had been on the heartland hitchhike road (and places like Moline, Neola, and Omaha are nothing but the heartland, good or bad), she, well, she just got tired of it, tired of the lacks, tired of the uncertainties of the road. Hell hell-on-wheels, I was getting tired of it myself except I was a man on a mission. The nature of that mission is contained in the words“search for the blue-pink great American West night” thus the particulars of that mission need not detain us here. So in Neola, Iowa, Neola, Iowa of all places aided by “fairy grandmother” Aunt Betty, who ran the local diner where Angelica worked to help make us some dough to move on, and her own sense of dreams she called it quits back in September. Aunt Betty drove us to Omaha where Angelica took the bus back east, Indiana east from Nebraska, to hometown Muncie and I hit Interstate 80 West headed first to Denver before the snows, or so I hoped.
But see this is where you think you have something figured out just so and then it goes awry. Angelica called, left messages, sent letters, even a telegram, to Denver (to the commune where, Jack and Mattie, my traveling companions on the final leg west whom I had met earlier in the spring on a different trip down to D.C., were staying). She sent more communications in early December saying that she was still coming to Los Angeles as well where we three stayed with a few artistic friends of Jack and Mattie’s. Cinema-crazed artistic friends, including one budding film director who, moreover, had great dope connections right into the heart of Mexico. This is where they would stay while I planned to push the hitchhike road north heading to San Francisco.
Needless to say when I greeted her at LAX we both were all smiles, I was in more than all smiles mode, because I had been “stag” for a while and she was, well, fetching as always, or almost always. Here though is where I noticed that the road really is not for everyone. In Neola, and later getting on the bus back home in Omaha, poor Angelica looked pretty haggard but at the airport, well like I said, she was fetching.
A couple of days before Angelica was to leave, and on a day when the sun seemed especially bright, especially bright for then smog-filled Los Angeles January, and warm, not resident warm but Boston and Muncie warm, sat like two seals sunning ourselves in the glow of mother ocean she nudged me and asked me if I had a joint. Now Angelica liked a little vino now and then but I can’t recall her ever doing a joint (grass, marijuana, herb, ganja, whatever you call it in your woods). So this is new. The problem, although not a big one in ocean-side state park 1970 Southern California, was that I was not “holding.” No problem though, a few spots down the beach was an old well-traveled, kind of beat-up Volkswagen van that I knew, knew just as sure as I was standing on that white sand beach, was “holding.” I went over, asked around, and “bingo” two nice big joints came traveling with me back to our campsite. Oh, daddy, daddy out in the be-bop blue-pink night thank you brother van man. For just a minute, just that 1970 California minute, the righteous did inherit the earth.
So when leaving came a couple of days later and we both knew, I think, as we packed up her things, including that well-used sleeping bag, we had come to a parting of the roads. As I put her stuff in the rental car she sweetly blurted out something I was also thinking, “I’ll always remember that night we made the earth under the cabin in Steubenville shake.” And I thought I bet she will, although she forgot the part about the making the roof of the cabin move too. And so there I was, waving as she drove off to her Angelica dreams. And I never saw her again.
But enough of ancient thoughts, of ancient sea thoughts, and ancient sea loves because just now he saw that previously distant figure on the beach was none other than a young boy, a young boy of maybe six or seven, not older he was sure. About fifty yards away he stopped, as boys and girls will when confronted with the endless treasures of the sea, and was intently looking at some sea object although the old geezer could not make it out from his distance. What he could make out, make out very plainly, was that he was wearing a mustard yellow rain slicker (French’s mustard color not Guiden’s) complete with a Gloucester fisherman’s floppy rain hat of the same color and knee-deep rubber boots, black, of course. As they approached each other the old geezer noticed that the lad had that same determined sea walk that he had carried with him since childhood. The old geezer looked at the lad intensely, the young lad looked at the old geezer intensely, and they nodded as they passed each other. No words, no remarks on the nature of the day, the nature of the ocean, and the joys of ocean-ness brought forth by old King Neptune need be spoken between them . The nod, the ocean swell, and the ocean sound as the waves crashed almost to the sand beneath their feet, spoke for them. The torch had been passed.
I have recently been taken to task by a young friend, a cosmic traveler if not a physical one in his own right, and not without some similar political, social, and cultural understandings, some dreams of his own, although to connect we must speak his dream words vocabulary or else stand naked and mute. This fellow sits on a committee that I have belonged to for the past several years (and that I have written about previously in other contexts, contexts not pertinent to this reply) who was miffed (I am being polite although the stronger language used was not done in anger, but rather bewilderment, or something close to that state ) at me for my constant use of the term, or variations of the term, “the great American night”, especially when dealing with the 1950s “beat” generation writers (Kerouac, Ginsberg, Burroughs and the usual suspects). Now this young friend is one of the fellow members, a younger one as I said, that I go back to the days of ancient memory Bush post-9/11 Afghan October war, bombing-them-back-them-to-the-stone-age, with, and who helped us, in all manner of ways, to get through those tough days when opposition to that war on the streets of Boston, and elsewhere in America, was an extremely dicey thing. So under normal circumstances I would be all ears when he had some comment or criticism to make. But here he is just “cannon fodder” for screed.
There is no question that over the past year or so I have been deep in remembrances of the influences, great and small, of the 1950s“beats” on my own sorry teen-aged alienation and teen-aged angst (sometimes they were separate anguishes, sometimes tied together like inseparable twins, mostly the later) and the struggle to find my place in the sun, to write in bright lights my own beat plainsong. Of course, that "beat" influence was blown over me second-hand as I was just a little too young, or a little too wide-world unconscious, to be there at the creation, on those first roads west, those first fitfully car-driven, gas-fuelled, thumb hanging-out, sore-footed, free exploration west roads, in body and mind that exploded in the immediate post-World War II walking daddy walk world. And of that first great rush of the adrenal in trying to discover, eternally discover as it has turned out, the search for the meaning of the great blue-pink American West night. Ah, pioneer-boys, thanks.
Or of two-bit road intersection stops, some rutted, pot-holed country road intersecting some mud-spattered, creviced backwater farm road, practically dirt roads barely removed from old time prairie pioneer day times, west-crazy pioneer times, ghost-crazy-pioneer days. Of fields, vast, slightly rolling, actually very slightly rolling, endless yellow, yellow–glazed, yellow-tinged, yellow until you get sick of the sight of yellow, sick of the word yellow even, acres under cultivation to feed hungry cities, as if corn, or soy, or wheat, or manna itself could fill that empty-bellied feeling that is ablaze in the land. But we will deal with one hunger at a time. And dotted every so often with silos and barns and grain elevators for all to know the crops are in and ready to serve that physical hunger. Of half-sleep, half hungry-eye, city boy hungry eyes, unused to the dark, dangerous, sullen, unknown shadows, bed roll-unrolled, knapsack-pillowed, sleep by the side of the wheat, soy, corn road ravine, and every once in a blue moon midnight car passings, snaggly blanket-covered, knap-sack head rested, cold-frozed, out in the great day corn yellow field beneath the blue black, beyond city sky black, starless Iowa night.