Thursday, September 25, 2008

Divine Enervation

At one point in my life, I owned three houses. Now I own none. This used to depress me. Now I feel a great sense of relief.

See? Something good can come out of the housing crisis.

I have all the interest in politics, the economy and related matters of a flash-frozen frog, but when it comes down to a choice between a candidate who’s young, obviously capable of keeping more than one ball in the air, and who seems to seriously put the welfare of the country ahead of everything else, even his own desire to win -- and a candidate who’s about one Lawry’s Special away from apoplexy and whose second in command has next to no experience, and whose oversized glasses shine with the reflection of oncoming headlights when asked a question out of a grade-school primer (not to mention both of them espousing a political philosophy that would make Torquemada blink), even I can do the remedial math.

The Fundamentalists keep telling us that God’s on our side, and this is meant to be comforting. I find it flat-out terrifying. What with the economy, the climate, the wars (note plural, please) and a plethora of other crises, God’s track record so far hasn’t exactly been 100%. Bottom line is that we can’t afford any more of God’s help. And we sure as hell can’t afford leaders who put their trust and the welfare of the country in His hands.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Shake, Shake, Shake ...

It’s been over two weeks since I’ve posted anything, which is about par for me. It’s extremely hard for me to type most of the time, so I have to triage my time at the keyboard. Also, I decided that it would be better to wait until I had something to say, rather than just post for the sake of posting. Sorry about that.

I said in my last post that I would talk about the young-onset Parkinson’s retreat Debbie and I went to. I was pleasantly surprised to see most folks vibrant and active, rather than defeated. This is something I have to struggle with greatly, since one of PD’s most insidious (and, it’s tempting to say, invidious) aspects is the way it saps one’s will and induces passivity. It is a struggle to get out of bed every morning, both physically and mentally. I have to triumph over my recalcitrant body and its stiffness and refusal to do what I tell it to, as well as this powerful depression and ennui that produce a reluctance to do the everyday chores and tasks that an adult has to do -- pay bills, shop, etc. So it was quite interesting to meet other sufferers and learn the various techniques and tricks they play on themselves in order to do what needs to be done.

The most common one is one I’ve done myself for many years, with varying rates of success. Basically, if I start thinking about all the many things that I must accomplish during the day, I become (sometimes; not every day, thank God), so totally overwhelmed as to be virtually paralyzed. I simply can’t face doing all this. Forget it.

But I can get up and brush my teeth. After I’m up, I usually make the bed, because that makes it harder to just get back in it, for some reason. Then I get dressed. And so on through the day, one task at a time. It’s important to find the balance between not being overwhelmed by the enormity of the day and not being consumed by each picayune task.

This is how most PWP (and, I’m sure, most people in general), get through each day. I suspect it’s a little harder when your body has to be prodded into each individual movement that most people do automatically. But I’m certainly not claiming that PWP have a monopoly on this kind of existential life.

Some days you get the bear, some days the bear gets you, as they say. Some days the bear just sits on you, completely immobilizing you. Those days are the worst.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Out Among Them English

I am off tomorrow, together with my girlfriend, the marvelous Debbie, (whom I cannot say enough good things about and so, to date, have said none; a backhanded compliment if ever there was one), to an annual fete of young-onset Parkinson's People. Those who know me even a little bit know that for me to go to such a thing, especially with my voice still not working, is about as likely as a ... well, as an extremely clever metaphor for an extremely unlikely thing. And truth to tell, I wouldn't be going except for Debbie's insistence that I get out of the apartment and mingle with real people. I am still highly doubtful about this entire undertaking, and intend (at the moment, anyway), to hide in my room and snarl and snap at anyone foolish enough to stick his hand through the bars. I'll let you know the outcome of all this.

(The post's title, BTW, is a line from Witness which has become a catchphrase within my family. It is, I trust, self-explanatory.)

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Let Marion Go!

As I was saying ...

Every fanboy knows the origin of the T-shirt slogan, “Han Shot First!” George made for a lot of disgruntled would-be spice smugglers when he re-cut Star Wars: A New Hope so as to have Greedo shoot first in the bar scene. By doing so, as anybody with even a rudimentary storytelling ability knows, he cut Han’s story arc off at the knees. By shooting first, Han Solo is shown to be at best pragmatic and at worst downright ruthless; definitely a character who looks out for number one and sticks his neck out for nobody when first introduced. By the movie’s end he’s transformed into a moral person who realizes that there are causes greater than himself and is willing to put himself in jeopardy to see them through. A thoroughly satisfying character change, and, for my money, one of the most satisfying parts of the movie.

Indiana Jones, in Raiders Of the Lost Ark, shares a great many traits in common with Han Solo, not the least of which is that they’re both played by the same actor. In Raiders, Indy is shown early on to be a shallow douchebag, as evidenced by the way Marion says he seduced her when she was a teenager and then, one assumes, ditched her. Indy has a decision to make early on, when he stumbles across Marion, bound and gagged in a tent at the Nazi desert encampment. His first impulse is to release her, but then he realizes that if she’s discovered missing, his chance to recover the Ark will be compromised. So he leaves her there to face possible Nazi torture. Pretty high on the asshole meter, if you ask me.

So now let’s chapter-skip to the third act, in which Indy pulls a bazooka and threatens to blow up the Ark unless Marion is released. So far, so good. But when Belloq calls his bluff --- he folds, and whatever growth the character had is lost. (And don’t give me “But he had to give it up or they wouldn’t have opened it at the end” don’t give me that. I can think of a hundred ways to get the story back on track for the big Deus Ex Machina at the end, and so can you.)

It really puzzles me why there aren’t just as many T-shirts being worn at cons that say “Let Marion Go!” (or some similar sentiment) as there are “Han Shot First” ones. It’s just as egregious an error in storytelling, in my opinion.