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Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Bridges_WEP post






I look about at the world.  It seems this Age's Day has slipped into Night.

And that Night is dark with more than the drowning of the sun into the horizon, 

the fires long out, and the reason why is the only doubt. 

I try to remember the boy I once was.  

Would he approve of the man I've become, 

the choices I made, what little I learned from the past? 

The past … where the road behind is clear but the bridge is closed … 

where you learned to dance, but now the music slows.


The road ahead is unclear, 

and the toll to the nearing bridge, born of our choices, some wise, most utterly unwise, 

may be more than we will be able to pay.

We are in blistering summer, but Autumn lies ahead for all of us ... and the world.

Yet, Autumn is my favorite time of year.

Still,  this may well be the last Autumn for so many of us.



Autumn's very air fills our noses and lungs with the tang and wrinkling of leaf bonfires, 

of ripened apples making the heavy branches hang their heads as if in mourning for ice storms to come. 

Can you hear the leathery flutter of pheasant wings, the still happy liquid singing of a meandering stream, and the sad lament of a sparrow facing hunger?  

The red and gold of Autumn murmurs of happier times as I tramped lonely hills and haunted forests.   

And a peace fills me.  

The peace which is the reward of completing the long gauntlet of summer.  

 The quiet dark that precedes the winter of the soul which lurks just around the next bend towards the next bridge.   

A time for binding recent wounds and old -- and forgetting them, along with the misfortunes that brought them. 

May the bridge that lies before each of you 
have a tolerable toll and 
lead to a future that blesses 
more than damns. 

 Tropical Storm Cindy flooded my car on the way home
yesterday evening.

No car.  No job.

So I guess you could say my bridge 
has washed out.


l

Monday, June 19, 2017

DOES THE MEDIA KNOW NO SHAME?



From VARIETY to the BOSTON GLOBE to CNN

media outlets scrambled over one another yesterday, 

blaring the results of Carrie Fisher's autopsy report months after the actress' death ...

even though the family wanted some semblance of respect and courtesy paid to Carrie.

Did the world need to know this?

The poor woman is dead.  Let her rest in peace.

There is a game show host in the White House,

the senate is trying to kick 24 million people off healthcare 

and this is what makes the news? 





Then, there is Megyn Kelly giving air time to Alex Jones, a “conspiracy-spewing” radio host, 

whose claim that no children were killed at Sandy Hook Elementary

is especially troubling since she hosts the Promise Champions Gala

an annual event for the Sandy Hook Promise Foundation,

 a nonprofit gun violence prevention group founded 

by family members of some of the Sandy Hook shooting victims.

Giving air time to such a borderline personality only gives him legitimacy.

What was Megyn Kelly thinking?  

Of ratings, of course.



What recent media headlines have troubled you?


Saturday, June 17, 2017

How To Be A FATHER


 
Hobbes is still trying to come to grips 
with finding out 
about his furry brothers
 and fatherhood


1) LIONS

You may already know that a male lion that recently became head of his pride 

will usually kill all the cubs sired by the previous leader.

My own step-father tried to kill me twice jealous of the love my mother had for me so I can emphasize.

 Once the mama brings home her kill, the male lion is always the first one to eat.

 If it’s a rough hunting season, an alpha lion will let his wives and children starve first.




2) GRIZZLY BEARS 

Hibbs is not much happier finding out about Grizzly fathers!

It’s rare for any animal-kingdom father to eat his own young when he isn’t desperate for food, 

but the male grizzly bear will do just that. 

That means mama bears have to be extra good parents, 

not only making sure to feed their cubs and teach them how to survive on their own, 

but also ensuring their youngsters never happen to stray into their daddy’s bachelor pad.

My own mother tried her best with my biological father, 

but even so he tricked my babysitter into trusting me to him ...

And he abandoned me on the roughest street in Detroit.


STILL ...

It is not like they train boys how to be good fathers in high school.

And with so many absentee and abusing fathers in our culture, 

it is no wonder that young boys have a fragmented idea of what it means to be a father. 



SANDRA IS MY WIREMAN --


 Sandra's mantra to young girls is:

"Once you become a parent, the days of thinking just for yourself are over."


In Stephen King's DUMA KEY, the hero continually wrote:

Wireman always says ...   

Wireman's motto is ...   

Wireman laughs that ...

SPOILER ALERT! 

It is not until the end of King's novel that you find out that Wireman died before the hero recounts the adventure.

But Wireman became such an integral part of the hero's new life that his friend always stays in the present of the hero's thoughts.

So Sandra stays in the present of my thinking of life.



WHY DO I MENTION THAT?

Fathers, both good and bad, are like that, too.

They never fade in the past.  

Their words, their actions are like mental Muzac continually playing in their children's minds.

Fathers may wash their hands of their children either physically or emotionally ...

but those children never stop feeling the touch or lack of touch from those fathers.



THE ME GENERATION

Every generation seems to become more and more focused on the self, doesn't it?

Is it any wonder that the grown children of those parents do not know how to be responsible in their own parenting?



PETER PAN Males

How many men in your world are boy-men --

unwilling to accept discipline or restraint, forever in search of pleasure?

They rationalize finding sexual pleasure while denying the consequences of that sex.



SITUATIONAL ETHICS

Perhaps that is why so many choose not to believe in God, for that would predicate living life according to concrete rules. 

Yet, our God is what we worship in our deeds ...

and seeking consequence-free pleasure seems to be the new God of today.


MINI-ESSAYS

It is said that the Age of the Essay is over.  Not so.

Our blog posts are truly mini-essays.

Michel de Montaigne's essays are both personal and urbane.

He neither wanted nor expected people beyond his circle of friends to be too interested.

In his preface, he echoes our thoughts when we write our own posts:

 Reader, you have here an honest book … 

in writing it, I have proposed to myself no other than a domestic and private end.

 I have had no consideration at all either to your service or to my glory … 

Thus, reader, I myself am the matter of my book: 

there’s no reason that you should employ your leisure upon so frivolous and vain a subject. 

 Therefore farewell.


WHY DO I MENTION MONTAIGNE?

In writing about fathers, I am not judging anyone or proclaiming my thoughts are the gold standard of life.  :-)

I am merely reflecting in prose on my own views, born from my own life experiences much like the father of the essay.

The great and glorious masterpiece of any life is to have lived with purpose and love.


WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS 
ON FATHERS?

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Wonder Woman's Most Deadly Foe_Warner Brothers



WONDER WOMAN 

stands head and shoulders above all the other DCEU superhero movies ...

and not just because Gal Gadot is six feet tall!





 Patty Jenkins had to fight hard for the one scene that is the heart and turning point of the movie.

Diana bends down beside a sobbing mother with her starving child in a trench in No Man's Land 

and is begged to help the woman's starving village 

which is kept from Allied Help by a stretch of 200 yards guarded by a long line of German machine guns.


Seeking hope in a hopeless situation, 

Diana stops dead in her tracks, ditches her disguise, and climbs onto the battlefield to meet the Germans head on ...

despite protests from Steve Trevor that she must not divert from their main mission.


The machine guns and cannons open up on her. 

Diana takes the fire and presses forward with grit and determination, 

but her action inspires action among those around her. 

Steve joins the fight, 

followed but the rest of the squad -- and then the American soldiers join in as well. 

Diana leads the way, gritting her teeth and powering through the pain with every step. 

What follows is a phenomenal action sequence that moves from the trenches to the town, 

and culminates in Diana killing a German sniper by destroying a church bell-tower just by hurling herself into it like an Amazonian missile. 

In a film packed to the brim with applause-worthy moments, 

the climax of this battle invariably induces the loudest cheers among audiences.

Diana is a warrior whose compassion for those who cannot fight for themselves 

inspires others around her to be better than they believe they can be.


Of course the Suits at WB wanted to cut the scene.  

Patty fought for it and the movie kept its heart.

But in true WB fashion, 

the studio did not sign Patty for the sequel or even make the financially sensible move to give her an option to do one ....

If the movie had bombed, the studio could have cheaply bought the option from Patty.

HOLLYWOOD LESSON:

Never offend the Suits. 


Have you seen WONDER WOMAN yet?

If so,
Did You Like It?

LETTER WRITING_ An Extinct Species?

 
Inger's comment on yesterday's post got me to think of the sad demise of letter writing.


During the long insomniac evenings after his wife had gone to bed,


Raymond Chandler (The Big Sleep) sat in his study of his home in Southern California and corresponded with people from all over the world. 


He was one of the finest letter writers American literature has produced in the last 200 years.






But letter writing has gone the way of in-depth communication and thought out prose.


Today's technologically-connected youth type quick messages on their cell phones, but may not have ever taken a pen to paper.



They might never do so. Could handwritten letters cease to exist in the near future?



 It's faster to type abbreviated messages on the keypad of a cell phone without thinking about grammar, spelling, or penmanship.



Children born in the 1990s and 2000s haven't known any other way to communicate with their friends.



I remember Mother taking out a letter from an old friend, long dead, reading it, thinking of old times, shared laughter, and shared tears. 



When was the last time you saw anyone do that? 


Have you done it lately?



There was a time (when traditional letter writing was the norm)


when people took the time to think about the message they wanted to convey, and the impact it would have on the recipient.



Sending and receiving written letters was special for a lot of people because by making an effort to craft such a wonderful letter, one person was telling another that he or she cared.

 
Soldiers in the U.S. Civil War wrote some of the most elegant and heartfelt letters one could ever hear.  So did the soldiers in World War II. 


Those letters many times were the last touch wives and mothers received from loved ones.



And today's culture? 


It's unfortunate that there may be nothing to look back on, and as a result the world will be poorer socially and culturally.



Ursula Nordstrom (1910-1988) headed Harper’s Department of Books for Boys and Girls from 1940 to 1973.



Nordstrom belongs to the last generation of devoted letter writers. She took immense pleasure in the act, often writing to authors when there was no obvious necessity of doing so.



 The Letters of Ernest Hemingway: Volume 1, 1907-1922, one of the 11 best biographies and memoirs of 2011,


exposes a young Hemingway different, richer, more tender than the machismo-encrusted persona we’ve come to know through his published works.



"[My father] was not a tragic figure. He had the misfortune to have mental troubles in old age. Up until that, he was a rather lighthearted and humorous person.”
~ Patrick Hemingway



Nobel laureate John Steinbeck (1902-1968) might be best-known as the author of East of Eden, The Grapes of Wrath, and Of Mice and Men,


but he was also a prolific letter-writer.



Steinbeck: A Life in Letters constructs an alternative biography of the iconic author


through some 850 of his most thoughtful, witty, honest, opinionated, vulnerable, and revealing letters to family, friends, his editor, and a circle of equally well-known and influential public figures.



Among his correspondence is this beautiful response to his eldest son Thom’s 1958 letter,



in which the teenage boy confesses to have fallen desperately in love with a girl named Susan while at boarding school.



Steinbeck’s words of wisdom — tender, optimistic, timeless, infinitely sagacious —


should be etched onto the heart and mind of every living, breathing human being.



New York
November 10, 1958




Dear Thom:



We had your letter this morning. I will answer it from my point of view and of course Elaine will from hers.



First — if you are in love — that’s a good thing — that’s about the best thing that can happen to anyone. Don’t let anyone make it small or light to you.



Second — There are several kinds of love. One is a selfish, mean, grasping, egotistical thing which uses love for self-importance. This is the ugly and crippling kind.



The other is an outpouring of everything good in you — of kindness and consideration and respect —


 not only the social respect of manners but the greater respect which is recognition of another person as unique and valuable.



The first kind can make you sick and small and weak


but the second can release in you strength, and courage and goodness and even wisdom you didn’t know you had.



You say this is not puppy love. If you feel so deeply — of course it isn’t puppy love.



But I don’t think you were asking me what you feel.


You know better than anyone. What you wanted me to help you with is what to do about it — and that I can tell you.



Glory in it for one thing and be very glad and grateful for it.



The object of love is the best and most beautiful. Try to live up to it.



If you love someone — there is no possible harm in saying so — only you must remember that some people are very shy and sometimes the saying must take that shyness into consideration.



Girls have a way of knowing or feeling what you feel, but they usually like to hear it also.



It sometimes happens that what you feel is not returned for one reason or another — but that does not make your feeling less valuable and good.



Lastly, I know your feeling because I have it and I’m glad you have it.



We will be glad to meet Susan. She will be very welcome.


But Elaine will make all such arrangements because that is her province and she will be very glad to.


She knows about love too and maybe she can give you more help than I can.



And don’t worry about losing. If it is right, it happens —


The main thing is not to hurry.



Nothing good gets away.



Love,
Fa