Posts Tagged ‘society’

Not so very long ago Americans knew who Charles Whitman was. On August 1, 1966, Charles Whitman shot 46 people from the 27th floor of the University of Texas Tower in Austin. Fifteen died. It shocked the country. The following week the cover of Life magazine was a sobering photograph of the UT Tower through a window with two bullet holes. The shooting was so horrifying and unique that the two major wire news organizations (more…)

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Are you familiar with the concept of “analysis paralysis?” It essentially means decisions and actions are delayed (or never made) because the situation is too complicated or over-analyzed and the choices seem infinite. The search for perfection is often a factor. We all know perfection, aside from ice cream on a warm summer night, never happens. Yet we still strive for it. But when we are bombarded with too much data, when it is relentless and unyielding, it is nearly impossible to (more…)

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Man, the nominating conventions have come a long way from the smoky backroom deal-making days. Those old timey gatherings were ugly, contentious, and vicious. Negotiations were fierce private battles among political bosses and, for those paying attention, intrigue was high. But most Americans – and by “most” I mean everyone not physically at the convention – paid no attention. Communication channels were (more…)

holdenWilliam Holden was an “A List” movie star in the mid-20th century. He appeared in 75 films, many of them good, a few even great. At his best his acting was engaging and affecting. His work in the classic Sunset Boulevard is sometimes shuttled aside because Gloria Swanson’s mesmerizing Norma Desmond character is impossible to ignore. Swanson may steal the scenes, but Holden holds the story together. During his career he was nominated for three Best Actor Oscars and won for Stalag 17. His movie legacy is secure. Yet whenever I think of Bill Holden the absolute first thought is how he died. He was drunk and alone when he slipped on a rug and smashed his forehead into a side table. It was a stupid way to go, but it had a certain memorable flair. If he survived (more…)

During a recent episode of Chopped, that sadistic show on The Food Network where accomplished chefs attempt to cook elegant meals out of disparate ingredients, one of the contestants was asked why he chose the restaurant business. He said he always (more…)

Deeds in court

I re-watched Mr. Deeds Goes to Town a few days ago, Frank Capra’s 1936 fanciful tale of Longfellow Deeds, an everyman from rural Vermont who inherits a vast fortune. It contains many hallmark Capra elements: a good person forced to confront a whirlwind of greed and/or corruption, a sentimental and idealized view of small town life, a smart, savvy female lead, and snappy, intelligent dialogue. It is by all accounts very Capraesque.

The first time viewer may think the movie horribly dated, one that shows every wrinkle and crease of its 77 years. We no longer tolerate plot advancement through (more…)

Everything new gets old fast. Is this a product of age or the age we live in? Perhaps the constant influx of new and amazing things has dulled our appreciation for their inherent awesomeness. Or maybe our attention spans are just stunted by the slow deterioration of brain cells. Whatever the reason the incessant phenomenon which starts with a bang and quickly ends with a shrug is (more…)

It is hard to write through tear stained eyes, but not impossible. What is impossible to comprehend, even fractionally, is the scope of the horror in Newtown, Connecticut yesterday. 26 people mowed down at the hand of a deranged killer, massacred like characters in a video game. 26 people, 20 of them children. Good lord. How does one wrap their head around that? 20 children. It is (more…)

We are constantly bombarded by people screaming we must “take back” the country, particularly during an election year. As if it has been stolen by rebel forces whose primary mission is to destroy it. Alternately we are told we must take back the country from the President, radical right-wingers, bleeding heart liberals, big government and corporations. We must fight and take it back from the Muslims, Jews, Catholics, gun nuts, constitution eroders, freedom inhibitors, women haters, and lobbyists. We must wretch these precious United States from the destructive grips of (more…)

So my sister, thinking she is the funny sort, posted a link on Zuckerface to a slideshow on the AARP website titled “16 Songs Everyone Over 50 Must Own.” Not sure why she sent it to me. Doesn’t she remember I figured out how to stop the aging process? You would think that kind of information would stick in a person’s mind, the proclamation, “I have discovered the secret which will allow people to stay their current age forever, never to grow old or infirmed.” But apparently (more…)