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Monday, September 26, 2011

The Circle of 3D!!!!

My sons and I went to see Hamlet this week-end. The one in 3D with the lions and the happy ending, where Hamlet, Ophelia and their new little Danish Prince,  Rosencrantz and Gildenstern and Polonious stand in a row on Pride Rock looking benevolently down on the Danish Savannah. Because, in case you hadn't noticed, "The Lion King" IS "Hamlet" except that the King is some sort of  heaven channeling Darth Vader and the Queen doesn't pour poison in his ear. Claudius is still a conniving, power mad little shit and still gets what he deserves. Everybody wins.

First off, we went the the first show so we could get the really cheap ticket prices which would enable us to see the limited run 3D and afford the myriad surcharges that come with this. We saw "Cars 2" in 3D and, quite frankly, the best thing about that movie was the trailer for "The Lion King" in 3D that came before it. Because they didn't put together a lot of clips, they ran "The Circle of Life." In 3D, 'cause we all had our glasses on by then. And, being "Cars 2" the theater was full of little kids so what better time to run another Disney trailer so another 300 kids could holler "DADDY! I want to SEE THAT!"

So there we were, and there was the baboon lifting the little cub up in the air and the phony African rhythms as interpreted by Sir Elton John came up and the little Simba hung there, looking EXACTLY like my cat looks when we pick him up under his front legs and let him dangle there except we sort of raise his legs up and down while someone sings or, occasionally, plays something through iTunes. The last time it was "Rock Lobster." Yes, we made the cat dance to the B-52s. And the cat has the same look on his face as the lion cub as he's being waved in the air by a baboon. Come to think of it, my cat probably thinks he's being waved in the air by a baboon.  Maybe it's not a baby thing as much as it's a cat thing, I never really thought about it.

Well, anyway, we saw the trailer and the "for two weeks only" which we didn't really believe but we all went "WOW. I want to SEE THAT!"

My younger son had an unexpected windfall and he and his girlfriend went to see it on Friday. They couldn't stop talking about it. Amazing. Of course, I realized that neither of them had really seen it when it came out. Neither of them had reached the age of 10 and, as "The Lion King" proudly carries on the grand Disney tradition of scaring the living crap out of young children and getting a "G" rating while doing it. Not only does Simba's father get trampled to death by a canyon full of stampeding wildebeests, we get to WATCH it. Then we get to see Mufasa'a carcass lying on the dusty canyon floor and, for good measure, Jeremy Irons tops the entire thing off by sending the kid out to die in the middle of the Serengeti. At least we didn't have to WATCH Bambi's mother get shot.

And he was dying to see it again and so to our Sunday morning cheapo matinee which, when added to the 3D upgrade brought the tickets in at 11 bucks a head which is still outrageous.

Breakfast consisted of a bucket of popcorn, a hot dog, a pretzel and three drinks which came to 30 dollars even. Seriously? Don't START me on that. But we were having fun and my son really wanted to give me and his brother a good time.

The movie started. Not a bad crowd considering. There we were in our funny glasses. And I come one lens looks dark and the other doesn't? Okay, one lens WAS dark and the other wasn't, I know that...but we were watching a 3D movie and I'm thinking..."this shouldn't look like this, I've seen this scene in 3D before." I raised my glasses. Raise, look. Lower...look. No difference. I was getting concerned, because most of the theater was sitting there watching the movie with their glasses on and I couldn't see any difference. I noticed my son was beginning to adjust HIS glasses too. He said "I'm going to go tell them." He left and came back, looking disgusted. "they said they'll look at it later." Well, I noticed three other adults get up, leave and return so it wasn't just us. My older son, btw, continued to view the film through his 3D glasses until I told him to stop before he got a headache.

About 10 minutes in the digital frame froze, the house lights came up and a very nice young woman from the theaters came in and explained that the 3D projector wasn't working and they were going to continue running the film in it's regular form (and, thankfully, told the rest of the idiots sitting there to take their 3D glasses off) and they would give us all passes to come back to any movie we wanted to see, any time, any location, 3D, IMAX, whatever.  It's the super duper pass. And, while I was glad to get it, I still want to see the damn Lion King in 3D. Except I don't want to have to go PAY the extra to see it in 3D, as I've already done that once. And I don't want to use my spiffy ticket to go back and see a movie I just saw on Sunday morning, seems like kind of a waste when I can use it to go see "Sherlock Holmes" come December. No, the movie isn't called "Come December," that's the kind of thing my grandmother would say instead of "when it's released in December." So there's my dilemma.

As I figured, the two week engagement has been extended. The fact that "The Lion King" has been the #1 movie in the country for the last two weeks had something to do with that, I frankly, figured it would do pretty well but it never occurred to me it would beat out "Moneyball" AND "Contagion." And, while they're milking this limited run the fine folks at Disney are drawing up blueprints to turn yet another unvisited section of "Disney's California Adventure" (now known as Pixarland) into Simbaland. It shouldn't take all that long, the last time I was there it wasn't much cooler than the Serengeti...and had about as many trees. The exit corridor already resembles the canyon of the stampede at closing as every single "guest" in DCA makes a frenzied charge for the gates of Disneyland, otherwise known as the watering hole. And Lord knows, there are plenty of baboons there already.

The mere fact that, in the dog days of the movie year (which are now) when the summer blockbusters are fizzling out and the onslaught of "LOOK at US, Academy!" pictures that will glut the December movie screens in order to remain fresh in the minds of the parking lot attendants who will be accepting cash, checks and credit cards in payment for your Golden Globe nomination, a SEVENTEEN  year old animated film that's been hauled out of the vault and rejiggered for Blu Ray and 3D viewing is making money hand over fist says a lot about the sad state of movie making today. It also say a lot about the sad state of Disney Studios, where they are currently dancing in the streets of Burbank knowing that they finally came up with something to get the taste of "Mars Needs Moms" out of everyone's mouth.

Maybe if the people who MAKE movies actually LIKED what they were doing stuff like this wouldn't be an issue and people wouldn't bitch about how you can buy a car for what it costs to go out to a movie anymore. During the First Great Depression the movies flourished. They were fun, two hours in a dark room that you could actually TELL people about. People could scrape up the nickel. Now? Frankly, I RESENT having to fork over close to 100 bucks it costs for a family of 4 to go to a mediocre film after work and pay for parking and popcorn.

Which, in all honesty, I do NOT recommend for breakfast. Next time, I get coffee and that really cool looking iced cinnamon roll pretzel. Live and learn.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

"The language of Shakespeare"

I have been involved lately in a series of communications with someone who can't seem to put a coherent sentence together let alone spell it correctly.

Her thoughts just come tumbling out, which, in and of itself, is not necessarily a BAD thing. But when you find yourself reading along and suddenly coming to a screeching halt with the thought  "What the hell are you talking about?" well, maybe it's time to go back to the beginning and read it over to yourself.

There's always the possibility that she's been doing just that and it makes perfect sense to HER, which opens up a another subject which, if I follow my normal thought processes, usually ends up with me coming to the conclusion that she's psychotic, bi-polar and probably drunk. I just KNOW her fingers are shaking as she types because she has read the first two, maybe three words of something, decided it isn't complimentary towards her and then goes up like Mt. St. Helen, having NO CLUE what was actually said. "I'm upset because..." translates to "I hate you because you're fat and stupid and I was bored and decided to kill time be insulting you" instead of "I'm upset because Uncle Bob called my son a girl." Sometimes I think she has a guilty conscience and lives in fear someone will actually call her on some of the things she's done. Lord knows, I'd LIKE to...but that won't accomplish anything at the present time.

Somewhere, in one of these tirades, she made a derogatory comment about my grammar...and the fact that I actually USE it. I'd go back and find it but that means I would have to wade through five or six of these epistles and I don't think I'm quite up to that. I ignored it when I responded but managed to use the word sycophant which, if I'm perfectly honest about it, wasn't exactly ignoring it. For what it's worth, I didn't call HER a sycophant, not that she'll make that distinction. For some reason, she tends to reduce me to new levels of profanity and, for a natural born potty mouth like myself, that takes some doing. Also, phrases like "you arrogant, self-absorbed lunatic" seem to spring unbidden from my keyboard, sort of like Athena emerging fully formed from the forehead of Zeus...but not as esthetically pleasing.

I admit, I have a SERIOUS problem with people who misspell and ramble on incoherently and put words in the wrong place and then complain that the people who make comments are snotty asshats who just want to show them up when we all know fully well what they're saying.

Not always. Ever tried to have any kind of logical debate with someone on the opposing team when they're writing arguments like "yesh, well, so yhou isn't just readidnz stuffs and itz not that." Say WHAT? In the first place, spell check, while not what it could be, WOULD have cleaned up most of that. I'm not sure I DO know what that means and I'm damn sure I have no idea what "THAT" is let alone why "itz" not that. I spent enough time with people who debate over the internet like that to know, believe me. Instead of allowing one to sort out the point that some conflicted gay Westboro Baptist is trying to make because maybe (not likely, but maybe) they have something to offer, one gets a warning from the dreaded "MODERATOR" who says, basically, "you're a jerk, we're a family friendly board and you aren't allowed to use good grammar here because your nose isn't far enough up out butts to tolerate something like that and, oh, by the way, we're closing your account because someone said you don't like me."

HOLY CRAP! It just dawned on me. The Mouse board is moderated by my sister-in-law! Damn, why didn't I see it before???   But again, I digress...

I try to be tolerant, I really do. I don't point out typos, unless they're funny. I've made more than one myself and we've all run spell check to discover, sometimes after the letter has been sent, that we typed "if" instead of "is" and no one caught it. THIS type of event I am perfectly willing to see as "I knew what you meant." without pointing it out.

In an effort to appear a rational, sentient human being when my sister-in-law wrote me an anguished "We're Orphan's now!" I refrained from commenting on her changing the word orphan to a proper noun and making it a possessive, because my first impulse was to ask: "you're an orphan's what?" but instead tried to address the issue.  The issue being that the Oliver Twist image is unbecoming to a woman in her 50s with married children.  Okay, I didn't phrase it quite that way, I asked her how old she was and made reference to "Food, Glorious Food" along with suggesting she expand her movie repertoire.

My parents sacrificed to send me to college. One of the things I learned there was that using a capital letter separates a common noun from a proper noun (and that words like "orphan" are not proper nouns unless one's name happens to be "Orphan"), putting an "s" at the end of a noun makes it a plural (as in more than one orphan), and putting an apostrophe before that same "s" turns it into a possessive (as in "Hey! That's Orphan's car!). No, wait, that was high school. No...sixth grade. Never mind. College was where I gained the confidence to use words of more than two syllables in everyday conversation. However, people like my sister-in-law and most of the idiots who attempt political debate on Disney boards seem to think that using proper spelling and grammar is an option exercised by the undesirables and meant only to show superiority and if people were really nice they would "dumb it down" for everyone.

Why would you want to go down if you're not on an escalator heading for the parking lot? Why not up?  Why didn't my SIL just look up the word schadenfreude instead of insulting me for using it? I'd didn't make it up and I'm hardly the first person to ever use it...I'm hardly the first person who didn't claim German as their native language to use it for God's sake! I look things up all the time...I'm almost 60 and I still can't remember whether or not there's an "e" at the end of Shakespeare. There is. I just looked it up.

Eliza Doolittle spoke better English sitting on the curb in Covent Garden than most Americans do today and, not only that, they're defensive about it. But that's another day.

Monday, September 12, 2011

A funny thing happened on the way to the cemetery...

My sister-in-law recently told me that their family "puts the D in dysfunctional." Truer words were never spoken and I offer into evidence, the very fact that she's proud of that statement and uses it ad nauseum. She thinks it's a hoot.

Earlier this week, she let fly with a publicly placed post about her father's interment in a local Veterans Cemetery. "Gee" I said "I wish someone had told us that you were BURYING the hubster's FATHER." This was cause for text messages about guilt (apparently I'm not feeling enough of it - or any at all for that matter) and how we're just a couple of selfish, egotistical asshats because anyone knows that people routinely bury their parents without telling their siblings and do we really expect HER to take any initiative and call US? 

Well, actually, yes. we do.

The relationship between the hubster and his step-mother was contentious at it's best and this was no secret. One might expect that, knowing this, his sister might send an e-mail, knowing full well that the wicked witch of the MILs didn't even speak to us at my FILs funeral but no...WE'RE out of line in being pissed off. Besides, Miss "crying my eyes out my daddy's gone and I'm only 52" thinks that wanting to know when one's father is being buried is overrated and the hubster is way out of line for thinking otherwise.

In an effort to be conciliatory, I attempted to explain to my SIL exactly WHY we were upset. I was fairly gentle, tried not to place the majority of the blame on her (because, I must admit, most of it didn't belong there) and recounted to her, sans profanity, how we felt to be treated with such public disdain at a parent's funeral. I did this in attempt to let her know just WHY the hubster was reacting with negativity to her story of the hilarious hi-jinks that took place in getting her father's ashes to the cemetery and the wonderful ceremony with "full military honors" when he finally got there, which was the first we knew that the guy had been interred.

She responded with her usual letter B ( I think she keeps templates) which stated that I was out of line, she NEVER, EVER, EVER said she wanted to be friends (I admit, she was drunk when she made that call) it was ALL about HER and HER grief because she's going through the mostest worstest time ever (this since the LAST mostest, worstest time ever) and she's already had to suffer through her first golf game without "Daddy" and frankly, if I had the nerve to bitch that she and her step mother couldn't be bothered saving ONE effing seat in the family section for her brother I really need to get therapy as I apparently have fallen victim to a new psychological malady which is temporarily being called the "failed to kiss my ass" syndrome.

This from a woman who, every time I see her, tells me how her mother hated her because she was "daddy's girl." Every damn time! For the last TEN years. Her mother's been dead for the last EIGHT. She even recounted that again in yesterday's "Nothings my fault, how DARE you" email. Just in case I hadn't gotten it the first 420 times she told me because, well, yeah, I'm not too bright.

We paid a visit to the cemetery yesterday, it's an hour and a half away, most likely because my MIL made sure she found one as inconvenient as possible for us. Not to mention that, as my FIL was a veteran, it was free...this is a BIG decision maker for her. We ended up the day with a drop in visit to MY father, who was actually happy to see us. That alone was a 360 degree turn from the events of the last few weeks. We dined at a lakeside McDonalds and after returning to his home, adjourned to the kitchen table, where I was recounting the events of the last week.  The hubster joined us. At which point my father said to him: "This has got to be bothering you, we can talk about it later. I'm sure it's still be hard on you." The hubster was momentarily flummoxed until I explained that this is someone being considerate of another person, something he had never experienced in the presence of his sister or step-mother.

I just don't understand people who NEVER think of anyone else and don't see the problem with that. Not ONE of them would even, voluntarily, say something like my father did. Not ONE of them would ever say "we should call Bob and tell him to meet us under the second tree from the corner and be here early so we can all go in together." They say "WTF is YOUR problem? Was it MY responsibility to tell you what my plans are? Well, I was busy thinking about myself so shut up and get the hell away from me."

I'm mad at myself because, after over 30 years, I have ties to these people. They're the hubster's family and I admit, I STILL wish they would pick up the phone and say "I'm sorry, you were treated like crap and that shouldn't have happened" because, deep down, I'm a sap and I like people and I especially like family and I truly enjoy being together with the people that all threw into the gene pool that made my kids what they are today. I think sometimes people mistake my practicality for hardness because I'm WAY too soft on the outside to get involved in this kind of stuff, I lack the gene that allows one to walk it off. My grandmother was the same way. Didn't do her any good either.

I'm pushing 60 and, while my head tells me to walk away, my heart says "maybe she'll realize that we have a voice too." Because that's pretty much all any of us want in life...a voice.  I know it's not gonna happen but I keep hoping. Like Professor Harold Hill says in "The Music Man"..."I always think there's a band." Which, with any luck, is playing a Gershwin tune.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

"Imagine all the people..."

Vice President Joe Biden announced this morning that "We are the 9/11 generation." Now personally, I like Joe. I think I'd enjoy his company for dinner or a cup of coffee. His wife appears interesting, nice, intelligent, well-read and a damn fine example of what women can and should accomplish. I have GREAT respect for educators, more than I have for politicians but, well, who doesn't? Oh yeah, the government, I forgot. Well, okay, I think MOST of us have more respect for educators than politicians.

Anyway, back to the Pepsi 9/11 Generation. I don't mean to belittle anyone, or anything but I take issue with today and the excessive coverage. Bear with me, I'm not all THAT much of a hard-hearted bitch, in spite of what my in-laws have been telling people. And if we are the "9/11 Generation", God help us.

Yesterday afternoon my younger son, the one who's going for his teaching credential and gets no government aid because of that now thank you very much, asked me what I thought about the 9/11 anniversary hoop-la and yes, sorry, it's hoop-la. Well, it was a damn good question, and I had to tell him "Not much, I think it's ridiculous." A successful terrorist attack on New York and Washington D.C. certainly DOES merit attention, don't get me wrong. In many ways, I think it served as a wake-up for the fat, complacent cats in government who have continued chugging along all these years secure in our borders being safe from everything but poverty stricken Mexicans and the occasional rogue Canadian because of our geographical isolation...let's face it, there's a LOT of water between us and the rest of the world. There was a sense of arrogance, of entitlement, of "we're America, we're impervious" attitude which I personally find disquieting.

It's kind of like those Disneyland freaks I talk about every now and then, but I digress...

Prior to the events of 9.11.01, we wandered in and out of airports as if they were our own backyard pools. We're subject to the random groping of the TSA, yet another subject. The groping, not the TSA. Well, maybe both. The same people who were screaming about their personal space being invaded by a metal detector and a grammar school drop-out with an x-ray machine at his disposal are the SAME people who approved of the "Patriot Act." Now, we travel like the rest of the world has traveled for YEARS. I used to pop in and out of London back in the early 80s, you want to see airport security? Ever travel though Ben Gurion airport? Okay, neither have I but I do know people who have and none of this was initiated 10 years ago, What made people mad was the fact that now we had to live like the rest of the world.

But back to the conversation I had with the kidlet. He asked me why I didn't think much of all this. "Because," I told him, "I saw a President get his head shot off. I saw Martin Luther King, Jr get blown away. I saw Bobby Kennedy get blown away. I saw Medgar Evers and Malcolm X get blown away. Maybe it's an age thing, but this 9/11 thing just strikes me as excessive." "Has anything happened in your life, anything at ALL, that compares to living through the 60s, just in general?" he asked.

I thought about that for, oh, a heartbeat. "No."

Growing up in the 60s shaped my generation in the way that growing up under that idiot Reagan shaped a generation to come. These things affect us, they play as big a part in forming who we become as our parents do. And maybe, because I have seen far worse in my life than those two towers falling down, as horrifying as it was, is why I think we're going WAY overboard today. Black ribbons, three and four hour blocks of programming...if we felt so strongly about this we would do it every year. We don't. Remember Oklahoma City and Timothy McVey and the Federal Office Building that he blew up? And how relieved we were to find out that some nut job within our borders had done that? And we moved on. We always move on.

But today, we're mired in the past. I looked at my Facebook, briefly, this morning, and saw all the avatars changed, all the 'We will NEVER forget!" status lines and I can't help but wonder...WHY? I think I know.  This is fueled, not by regret, not by sorrow, but by fear, and hatred. We're making a big, big deal out of this 10 years later because we're thumping our national chests and screaming "Up yours, Middle East, look! We're STILL making you a front and center issue!" when we should be having a dignified memorial (which, btw, should have been finished EIGHT years ago) and showing the world that we survive and grow and live in as much peace with one another as we can muster.

We should be taking the money wasted on the New York Memorial and putting it into the pockets of the asbestos filled survivors and responders.

We should stop wallowing in past attacks and screaming we're the freaking 9/11 generation and start changing the way we live, play and do business. Instead of searching Google images to find a picture of a flag washed light coming up from the Manhattan sky go to your local 7/11, buy a Slurpee and SMILE at the guy in the turban who takes your two bucks because HE didn't do this to you.

We live in a violent world. It's always been a violent world. The cave men fought and killed woolly mammoths and each other in order to survive. Medieval society routinely disemboweled their enemies, the Aztecs sacrificed the living, Benedict Arnold was a spy, Nazis tortured Jews for fun, more men were killed during the American Civil War than in all the succeeding wars we were involved in (combined), and Salome asked for, and received the head of the Baptist. On a platter. All of these were senseless acts of aggression, cowardice, hatred and survival. Just like terrorist attacks. They're nothing new...we just thought it wouldn't happen HERE.

Well, it did. You want to send a message to terrorists? Don't stop the damn country to celebrate an act of terrorism. Acknowledge it, take a moment of silence, play "The Rising"...and finish your Sunday.

In Hiroshima, there stands the wreckage of a domed building, looking very much as if it was the remains of some building destroyed be fire - which, in essence, it was. It sits in what is called the "Peace Park."

Today, someone will stand there and fight back the tears(and lose) as they look at what man can achieve - and destroy. This will happen today, it happened yesterday, it happens on August 9th and April 20th and June 2nd and February 12th and any other date you can think of. The city of Hiroshima and the collective spirit and pride of the entire country of Japan was destroyed, at our hands. And yet, instead of declaring war on the U.S. (which, I suppose, they figured "been there, done that") they cleaned up the mess, they rose from their own ashes and spent the last 65 years kicking our technological butts.

While we still wallow in hatred they moved on, thus proving that moving on does not go hand in hand with forgetting but in taking history and holding it and adding to it to make for themselves, a life almost as capitalistic and filled with wretched excess as us. We are using the events of 9.11.2001 to inflame. This is a disservice to the victims who died. They died because of intolerance, nothing more and nothing less, and their memories now live to fuel even MORE hatred.

Shame on us. Have we learned NOTHING in the last million or so years? Doesn't look like it.