Monday, December 31, 2018

DECEMBER - EPISODE XII: WINTER 2018

WISDOM OF THE SAGES
EPISODE XII: WINTER 2018
Hello People of the World;

Hey, you can now claim you celebrate the winter solstice without looking like a pretentious bore! It’s December! Yes, though there is very little snow on the ground these days (Thank Climate Change kids! KIDS: Thanks Climate Change!), we will still find it necessary to cry at or pretend to be in love with, the cold.

We are all a bunch of phonies.

So, here we are on the last day of 2018; and what's this, a completed episode?All right, let’s get going:


1:[ So, as we were waiting for our laundry to finish, my Bonnie and I took a small snack to pass the time. I had purchase some chicken strips for the grocery store and offered them up as a snack. But these were the SALE/leftover bins and they were very dried out. (Side note: nothing really goes bad in the refrigerator, they mostly just dry out.) Still, we were able to take our time and chew the strips. Then, it stuck me about the appeal of chewing cud.

We sat there, silently chewing the tough pieces of chicken, barely a word passing between us. Just the loud sounds of teeth grinding dried chicken meat into pulp enough to swallow, savoring what favor there was, but mostly clicking our jaws in meaty distraction trying to gain sustenance while the clothes tumbled about in their designated machinery. Our minds focused on the task of chewing rather than counting the minutes against the quarters we fed the dryers.

Maybe that’s why cows and bison do so, what else is there to being a bison or cow? You just stand around mostly, and, though I am very aware that it also has to do with the cow’s digestion system, it sort of make sense in an evolutionary way that they are able to chew cud to pass the time.

Anyways. It worked for my Bonnie and I that evening at the Laundromat – moo.


2:[ I am sometimes struck by the thought of the concept of seniority. I have been at my current workplace for over a year and a half and in the last six months we have had two new workers hired to replace some that left. Now, when I first arrived there, I knew nothing about the operations of the place and had to rely on the two workers that were there. Both were much younger than me.

Now, with the two new hires, I find myself in that position of knowing the operations and having to explain them to the new folks, giving me a tacit badge of seniority. But I know, this will not last long as they learn the ropes. Again, both are much younger that me. Then, I will hold this concept of seniority in my tenure only…


3:[ I am always feeling bad that I barely carry cash these days and there are so many on the street begging for change. I try to give despite many folks saying that giving change does not help. Yet, it always sticks in my head that if I do not help out then maybe something bad will happen to me. Karma. What a crock. It has taken me a long time to escape this mindset that I should be doing good deed to have it returned to me in some way later on. I mean, karma is a sucky ideology, isn’t it? So, why don’t we just do the right thing? Why can’t we just be kind and treat one another like human beings? To good deeds to gain reward is pretty shitty because you are simply doing a good deed out of selfishness rather than altruism. Man, karma really sucks. I just wished so many smart people I know didn’t believe in it. If you do some thing great for some one else, nothing’s going to happen to you, stop being a child and have to be bribed into being a decent person…


4:[ I was watching this commercial for some new program attached to a new gizmo or trinket that awarded points based on how many people you can get to sign up for a service that helps the trinket operate – a sort of pyramid scheme of force obsolescence. It struck me then at how much consumerism basically treats us like fucking dogs. Any sort of earned rewards system is positively Pavlovian in how it conditions your need for the service, trinket, or rewards and you will end up spending so much more money than you need to, to “get rewarded.”

Corporations practically put us on leashes with their paid plans for services. We become tethered to them, bound by contracts and user agreements we never read. Shit, you needs loans now to buy a frickin’ mattresses – you need to pay for a plan to replenish toothbrush heads! Come on! It is conditional behavior in a sense….

We are happy to wear the leash or salivate at the ringing bell so long as we get the points or the miles or the new something or other. We are the dogs that corporations feed table scraps and we wag our tails in support so long as the next coffee is free….


5:[ When Vigo Morttenson’s Tony Lip shouts at Mehershala Ali’s Dr Shirley that “my world is blacker than yours”, I knew I would never watch “Green Room”….


6:[ It’s GEEK BATTLE Time! Today: Batman v. Luke Skywalker – Both in their latest incarnations, basically represent a gross misunderstanding of the characters, yet only one is called out for being so, while the other deified – what is the difference? The Womens. Yeah, I said it.

BATFLECK was basically a bro-hammer who murdered and all the fanboys loved it because Zack Snyder is suddenly a great filmmaker. Give me a break.

Luke Skywalker of THE LAST JEDI was a tortured old man living with the guilt of letting his nephew fall to the dark side. But everyone hated it because Disney chose Daisy Ridley to be the new generation of Jedi and not them. So, Luke caught the brunt of the criticism – actually, it was Kathleen Kennedy who was blamed because: woman. I mean, it was Ryan Jonston’s script and direction and Mark Hamil’s acting choices that made the Luke of the LAST JEDI but  since Luke was not a murdering bro-hammer, the fans hated him.

Man, when we steer into the skid of irrelevance, we really commit don’t we?


7:[ Widows & Mary Queen of Scots reviews:

“Widows” is a pretty good politi-caper film set in Chicago. Which is the main reason why it is getting smash-bang reviews here. To me, it was simply another crime drama with the added twist of having the widows of the robbers do the main heist. Filled with some plot twists and a great message of self-empowerment.

Colin Ferrell also stars wearing an atrocious “Chik Aga” accent. It also has a raving Robert Duvall who seems to have graduated to the Sudden Histrionic Yelling is DRAMA School, or Saint Al Pacino’s, as we call it in the Biz. Liam Neeson was in it, but the lead is Viola Davis playing another hard ass. Still the caper was cool and plot a little expected. So, just… RECOMMEND.

“Mary Queen of Scots” however, is a historical film with the same message of how women must work in the world of men. Here we follow the two queens as they maneuver against one another and their own courts. Very interesting and showed me that things barely change in how men view women in charge.

This film caught a bit of flak for casting people in color in historically non-POC roles. But to the director Josie Rourke’s credit, felt giving POC actors an opportunity to act was of more importance. This was written by Beau Willimon and based on John Guy's biography “Queen of Scots: The True Life of Mary Stuart”.

It is a good film and I do recommend it.


8:[ Lately, I have been noticing the self-centeredness of Philanthropy. I looked up and saw this sign about a 5k walk, calling the sign up process “HEROES REGISTRATION”. JEEsus. Its always makes me think: What if you had to trade places with the people you are doing the Ice Water Challenge for, or the Stair Climb, pretentiously called an ASCENT - you know, like Christ. How is it heroic to walk somewhere, practically doing nothing; when you could have easily mailed a check in to the organization?

Nope, that is when you know it is more about you than the sick child at the saint Jude’s. This “charity” you give, it costs you nothing….


:[9 I must admit that the best movie I have seen so far is Alfonso CurĂ¡n’s “Roma”, a quasi-autobiographical film about his childhood growing up in the middle class section of Mexico City called Roma. This tells the story of Cleo, a young maid from the rural countryside, possibly indigenous, played with grace by Yalitza Aparicio. It is clear that to the children, Cleo is more than the maid or nanny, they love her dearly and express thoughts to her and come to depend on her.

The splitting of the family happens in the shadow of the splitting of the county – as revolutions and student protest explode we find Cleo at the heart of it all. She is the heart of the film as well as the family. She does get into situations but faces them with more grace than the family she cares for does their own troubles.

It is stunningly film and looks beautiful. Also, this has to be the best sound designed movie I have heard. We held some press screenings at ICON using the Atmos sound system but I was not able to view or hear it. I remember really wanting to see it once I saw how beautiful it looked. While it was released on Netflix later, I still went to see it at the Landmark Cinema to get a theater sound system and for the limited 7.1 they had, it was still an amazing mix.

I am aware of the representational issues of the film – I noticed that while they all loved Cleo, in the end, she is still The Help. Also, there is the New Yorker Review about how Cleo needs a political voice because she appears to the non-POC reviewer to be just a stoic observer. But he missed the point that her presence was her political voice. You need to be a POC to understand why.

I really dislike how non-Natives overly-romanticize the politico-identity of Indigenous peoples. It is as if only they can recognize it and we have to be grateful to them for pointing it out as they teach it. But when we have the right to own our own voice, our own culture, even our own images, then the authorship of expertise will no longer trump indigenous experience.

I highly recommend it as the Best Film of 2018.


:[10 What is the relevancy of “South Park”? It feels like they have bought into their own hype. Because now they are espousing other peoples’ like-minded ideals instead of being the lone voice of reason…. They’ve become privileged white dudes that don’t want repercussions or responsibility for their words and deeds. In the last couple of episodes I saw about Jef Bazos and Amazon they were pretty pointed about that whole situation while taking their swipe at Twitter reactions. It seemed slap-hazard and just a prejudiced opinion disguised as commentary. I think they are finally slipping down the slop to irrelevance….


That is it for this month.

My apologies for not posting completed writings these last four months. I know you all waited with baited breath to read my ramblings on the news of the day. Also, worry not, I will be re-posting for August, September, October, and November, once I have those writings completed.

As always, I invite you to comment, correct, or contradict anything I write here. I am open to a critical debate. Thanks for taking the time to check out what I write here and I will see you in a month.

Happy New Year.

Until next time, remember “I try to show the schemers how pathetic their attempts to control everything really are.”


2018 Ernest M Whiteman III