Tuesday, March 24, 2015

ANOTHER RARE LIST

Had to use Google and other sources to come up with some of these, but the first list I've engaged in in a while and my post-op brain mostly cooperated although I know I could have come up with some better movies for some of these letters:

MOVIE TRINITIES

ANATOMY OF A MURDER
ANNIE HALL
THE AMERICANIZATION OF EMILY

THE BEST YEARS OF OUR LIVES
THE BIG SLEEP
BLADE RUNNER

CASABLANCA
THE COMMITMENTS
THE CRYING GAME

DOUBLE INDEMNITY
DEAD END
DINNER AT EIGHT

EAT DRINK MAN WOMAN
8 1/2
THE EARRINGS OF MADAME DE…

FOOTLIGHT PARADE
FUNNY FACE
THE FARMER’S DAUGHTER

THE GRAPES OF WRATH
THE GODFATHER
GROSSE POINTE BLANK

HIGH NOON
A HARD DAY’S NIGHT
HANNAH AND HER SISTERS

IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE
IT HAPPENED ONE NIGHT
THE INFORMER

JULES AND JIM
JAILHOUSE ROCK
JOHNNY GUITAR

THE KILLERS
THE KING OF HEARTS
KING KONG

L. A. CONFIDENTIAL
THE LADY EVE
LAURA

THE MALTESE FALCON
MIDNIGHT COWBOY
MARTY

NORTH BY NORTHWEST
NINOTCHKA
NATIONAL VELVET

ON THE WATERFRONT
OUT OF THE PAST
OKLAHOMA!

THE PHILADELPHIA STORY
THE PALM BEACH STORY
THE PUBLIC ENEMY

THE QUIET MAN
QUADROPHENIA
QUEEN CHRISTINA

RED RIVER
REAR WINDOW
RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK

THE SEARCHERS
SULLIVAN’S TRAVELS
SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK

TWELVE YEARS A SLAVE
12 ANGRY MEN
TOOTSIE

UNFORGIVEN
THE USUAL SUSPECTS
UMBERTO D.

VERITGO
VIVA ZAPATA!
VIRIDIANA

WEST SIDE STORY
WHIPLASH
THE WIZARD OF OZ

X-MEN
X-MEN ORIGINS: WOLVERINE
X-MEN FIRST CLASS

YOU ONLY LIVE ONCE
YANKEE DOODLE DANDY
YOU CAN’T TAKE IT WITH YOU

ZERO FOR CONDUCT
ZACK AND MIRI MAKE A PORNO
ZIEGFELD GIRL

Monday, March 23, 2015

LITTLE WHITE LIE

Compelling Frontline documentary [whoops, Independent Lens doc I should have written, not Frontline] worth watching, LITTLE WHITE LIE tells the story of a Jewish girl who grew up being told her Sicilian paternal grandfather was the reason her skin was darker than anyone else in the family.

I've known a lot of so-called mixed race people, including women who were raised by "white" mothers but had "black" fathers, usually not around. And several of them had Jewish mothers so were raised Jewish.

But Lacey Schwartz was raised to believe she was the offspring of her two "white" Jewish parents and whenever questions came up about her being darker, the explanation was the infamous Sicilian grandfather.

In this documentary film made by Schwartz she confronts the denial of her family and her past to explore the ramifications of being told and believing and living like you're "white" and then discovering only in college her "black" identity.

The film is personal and particular to one person's experience and exploration of the racial social construct but raises questions relevant, or that should be relevant, to all, at least in this race conscious society. Pretty fascinating.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

ANOTHER OLD FAVORITE QUOTE

"The trick is in what one emphasizes... We either make ourselves miserable, or we make ourselves strong. The amount of work is the same."  —Don Juan (from Journey to Ixtlan)

Saturday, March 21, 2015

A POEM (FOR INTERNATIONAL POETRY DAY)

This poem from around six years ago first appeared in the literary magazine COURT GREEN and is in my latest book, SWING THEORY, out any day from Hanging Loose Press:

DEAR BIRDS

Thank you for your example.

And for eating pesky insects,

and making incessant music

everywhere, like the crow

that woke me my first morning

in Tokyo, with a caw that

sounded strange, as though

in another language than

the ones I knew back home.

I mean the ducks of you, how

do you float on wet feathers?!

The genius of your oily ducts

and webbed feet! And geese,

despite the mess you make

especially now that flying South

is no longer necessary,

you still appear majestic

in your realm, and cranes

and egrets and swans in

dirty polluted pools of

Jersey wasteland. The miracle

of you, and pigeons, so

despised, I still admire

for your tenacity and survival

skills and unique beauty,

the ways you snap your heads

from side to side as if by

some other rhythm than the

ones I know, but most of all you

little ones, sparrows and

finches and wrens and the rest,

and those big among the

small, you Robin Red Breasts,

so proud and independent,

and astonishing Cardinals

and admonishing Blue Jays.

(I just learned from my fourth-

grade son’s science project

hummingbirds are actually

aggressive too, like you!)  You

constantly amaze and surprise

me with new facts, oh birds,

which never contradict the in-

spiration of your ability to float

on breezes and make the wind

your world. Ah birds, don’t

let us diminish your variety

with our greed and lack of

a united will. Keep using the

sky for your canvas, making

art that never ceases to

engage the child in us.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

ANOTHER LATE NIGHT MINI-RANT

Spent the day in court, traffic court, witnessed a trial and otherwise all plea bargains with big fines as the way the town brings in revenue obviously cause some of the original "violations" people were brought in for were pretty lame and even bogus, like a woman pulled over for driving in the 65-mile limit fast lane at 58, etc.

But the obvious taking advantage of people to make money on fines was compounded by the fact that over ninety percent of the cases involved marijuana, because after people were pulled over the officer, usually a state trooper because they were on a highway that runs through the town where the ticket was issued and the court was, smelled either "burnt marijuana" or "raw marijuana" (which I hadn't known before are the official legal terms and the troopers take a course to learn the smell of each!).

So that raised the possibility of jail time or bigger fines and was used to intimidate people into copping to a lesser plea and paying a less huge fine but still one that was a hardship to most, who, by the way, and no surprise—and despite the fact that the town this was all happening in is predominantly if not almost completely "white"—were almost all not "white," in fact the person I was with was the only "white" defendant who was also a native-born "American."

It isn't just the Fergusons that have this problem. It's an all-American problem. Either that or no "white" people ever smoke or have in their possession marijuana in their cars. Yeah sure.