There’s a column in today’s Salt Lake Trib in which television columnist Vince Horiuchi comments upon the decline of the traditional TV “season.” If you’ll cast your mind back to the Good Ol’ Days™, you may recall that new programming used to run in one big consecutive block that lasted, roughly, from fall through spring, with re-runs airing during the summer. That’s no longer the case, which Horiuchi thinks is a good thing. I’m not so sure myself.
Best-selling writer Mort Rainey has problems. Six months ago, he found his wife in bed with another man. Since then, he’s been shuffling around their small-town vacation cabin in a ratty bathrobe, living on peanut butter and Doritos, sleeping away half the day, and trying desperately to get over the writer’s block that has him stuck on the first paragraph of his new story (sounds like the way I pass my time!). As if all that isn’t enough, now he’s got the scariest Southerner seen on film since Deliverance standing on his porch, insisting that Rainey stole his story and must make it right. So begins the latest film based on the writings of Stephen King…
For those who might be interested, I thought I’d note that Anne saw her doctor yesterday for a post-surgical follow-up. He said she’s doing great — the incisions have healed nicely and he still believes she has a good chance of an endo-free future. Although with this shit, you never can tell. Call it a case of life imitating art, in this case one of those cheesy old horror movies where the words “The End” come up on the screen, followed a moment later by a big, spooky question mark…
(See the original version of The Blob or the 1980 version of Flash Gordon if you don’t know what I’m talking about…)
After getting my shoes muddy in the swampland of politics, I was planning something lighter for my next post, a frothy counterpoint to all the doom ‘n’ gloom of the last couple of entries. Unfortunately, fate had plans of its own, and tonight I must report on the passing of a dearly loved member of the Bennion clan.
As I expected, the last post in which I revealed my feelings about President Bush sparked off a comments-section round of sparring between myself and my friend Cheno. That action continued on the phone this morning and was mostly good-natured, as political discussions go. We’ve known each other a long time and we both value our friendship enough not to take a difference of opinion too far. Nevertheless, there seemed to be a fair amount of tension between us, and I’m pretty sure it wasn’t just me feeling it. We defused it – or attempted to, anyway – by making jokes, largely at each other’s expense, and in the end we never really discussed why we feel the way we feel about the president or the issues that surround him. And that has me wondering: why is it so difficult to talk politics with even our close friends?
For several days now I’ve been wrestling with the question of whether I should mention the book I recently finished here on Simple Tricks. It’s a political book, you see, and my mother always told me that you should never discuss religion or politics in public. That’s good advice, particularly when you live in a place where conformity is valued more than diversity and your personal views tend to run against the grain. I learned early that it’s usually better to keep your mouth shut than to say what’s on your mind and risk alienating your friends. In sum, I’ve been hesitant to mention my latest reading because I haven’t wanted to pick a fight, especially with those friends who I’m certain probably don’t share my opinions on current events.
However, I truly believe that the times are grave enough to justify the risk of a confrontation, and with this election year already heating up and so much felgercarb about the candidates already flying, I’ve decided to go ahead and write about this subject and hope that no one reading this blog will take offense. Instead, I hope my readers (all three of you) will carefully consider the issues that may be raised by what I’m about to say. Hear me out, and if you disagree with me when I’m finished, then we’ll shake hands, thank whichever version of God we worship that we live in America, and remain friends.
I’ve been thinking that perhaps someone out there might want to read the essay I mentioned in the previous post. It’s no big deal, really, but I think it’s pretty good considering that I banged it out in about an hour yesterday afternoon. It’s a basic high school English type of thing, but that’s partly why I enjoyed writing it so much. It was exercise for a part of my brain that’s been slumped in a corner, staring at the wall and drooling for a long time now, and after a few preliminary stretches, I found that the workout felt very good.
Anyhow, for your reading pleasure and in the name of the on-going obsession with nostalgia that is Simple Tricks and Nonsense, here is:
Conformity vs. Individuality and Personal Responsibility in L’Engle’s A Wrinkle in Time
This morning I applied for a Marketing and Communications (MarCom) position with a private school, which I won’t name in order to protect the innocent — namely me. That’s neither here nor there as far as you folks in InternetLand are concerned, but here’s the interesting thing: instead of the usual request for samples of my previous work, I was asked to compose a short essay about a favorite childhood story and the values expressed by it. This assignment presented an interesting challenge. To be frank, I really don’t have a favorite childhood story, at least not one that immediately came to mind. So what the hell was I going to write about?
Lately I’ve been putting my library card to use and tracking down some older films for which I either don’t want to risk a blind purchase or can’t find anywhere else. Most of these are well-known titles that I’ve just never gotten around to seeing before – for instance, I recently watched Billy Wilder’s Double Indemnity, a nifty noir thriller with Fred MacMurray, Barbara Stanwyck, and more cigarettes than you’ve ever seen outside of a hijacked Winston truck. That was definitely a good choice. Unfortunately, however, I sometimes end up with something a bit more… regrettable.
Some of you folks out there in Internet-land may be aware that my girlfriend Anne underwent surgery last week. I’m happy to report that it appears to have been successful and she’s doing fine. I’ll provide more details in a moment, but first, for those who don’t know about Anne’s problems, let me explain.