Monday, June 27, 2005

AARP and the Movies

There is a new editor at AARP magazine. In this months rag he took issue with the movie industry. (His page is titled EStreet, catchy, eh?). His rant was why the movie industry is not trying to attract the older movie fan. Well..duh, as my grandchildren are found of saying. This editor, Steven Slon, has a newspaper background and it shows up. His opinion in this particular editorial is: 'You get a kind of vicious syscle in which fewer movies are created for the over-50 viewer, so fewer older people go to the movies'. Well..duh, again.
Don't get me wrong, even though I'm a captive member of the magazine (it and the AARP Bulletin are inclusive with my dues) and I belong to the organization mainly because they still are the strongest voice we older folks have to protect us against the government and they continue to support no-change social security. But, to rant about movie makers? I think most older folks could care less...and most of us wouldn't go to a cineplex if the movie were free. We have the patience to wait because we know, whatever the theme, the movie will soon move out of the theatre and land on the boob tube wherein we don't have to stand in line (listening to the insane teenage babble going on around us as they yakity-yak on those infernal cell phones), we don't have to sit in elbow-to-elbow in uncomforable seats and eat day old popcorn.
The magazine itself was slicked up a few years back but still remains mostly a non-humourous rag now trying to be trendy...and sometimes I wonder if the editor even reads his own rag. For instance, after espousing the movie industries directing their attentions toward the 'youth' culture, further back in the magazine is an article about--guess what-- 'Sex 2005' with this accompanying blurb: 'Men say the new sex drugs make them feel young again...and their spouses are delighted too'. Whoopy-do! And further back is 'Saving Face' with the blurb: 'Lose wrinkles without going under the knife'. Doesn't this make his 'rant' kind of out-of-place?
I think the movies are as they always have been since the novelty of the talky wore out: a place for young people to hang out and spend their bucks... and with the affluency abounding nowdays they are the movie maker's market. Isn't that what capitalism is all about?
Even if the movie makers decided to try and create a marketable product for us oldsters, I seriously doubt if they could make it worth their while...and I, along with millions of my peers, I say again, could care less.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

The Race is On

Edward Klein's new book, 'The Truth about Hillary: ' What she knew, when she knew it, and how far she'd go to become President' is out; the first big effort by the conservatives in a campaign already on the way to trash and bash Hillary Clinton well before the 2008 elections. This is the first indicator of just how frightened the conservatives are about her chances of winning the Presidency.

Klein, the male Kitty Kelly of the trash for cash set, rehashes old ground and adds a splurge of supposedly 'new' information, mostly from anonymous sources.

The race is on and leading the pack around the first curve is a filly named Hillary and she ain't no 'dark' horse.

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Ain't no easy battle...

Yesterday I decided to take a break and go back over the eighty or so blogs I found interesting and literally fascinating to see what they've since posted. Two things happened: One, a lot of them wouldn't google up and, two, some had changed their slant so much their creativity had nearly dissappeared. One of the more literate ('literate' in this sense meaning 'easy to read', not 'grammatically' correct--much like good fiction) threw me for a loop. Most of the bloggers who had something to say on my first go-around, I commented on, usually encouraging them to write for the market. This particular blogger had decided to write a short story (fiction) and then publish it on his blog. It was better than good and I was wondered why he hadn't tried to market it.
I believe I said it before, but I'll say it again: as a former columnist I like to blog for warm up for the rest of the writing day (in my case, my second novel)...kind of like stretching before the race. A lot of this particular blogger's essays are rants, but they're interesting and easy reading. His 'short story' was the same and should have been submitted somewhere for publication, whether it be a magazine (a slim market for fiction, I realize) a contest or perhaps an anthology. Then again, I might be making an unfounded assumption that he really wants to be a marketable writer. This seems rather strange, considering he is almost an everyday blogger. Then maybe he just doesn't want to do battle with the publishing world...and that ain't no easy battle. But that leads me to wonder what his motivations are: his rants are about how he hates his job, hates his life, etc. (common blogging fodder). He seems to have all the makings, and talent, of a writing life. Why doesn't he want to market? It seems like such a waste of literary talent...but there seems to be an abundance of that in blogdom.

Saturday, June 11, 2005

On Guard

About a hundred miles south of my woods lies Mobile Bay. In a few hours tropical storm Arlene will move inland there but, unlike last falls hurricane Ivan, she'll give us a much gentler slap. It's going to be mostly rain. The biggest threat to my area will be occasional flooding and the chance of a tornado or two. About the only thing I'll be on guard for is a leaky roof but my abode lost nary a shingle during Ivan's onslaught of hundred mile an hour winds.

Speaking of on guard, there was nothing surprising about General Powell's appearance on the Daily show this week. Powell did a good job of staying on guard against John Stewarts somewhat lame questioning. In fact, Powell took the offense throughout most of the interview, especially when Stewart tried to corner him about the infamous 'Weapons of Mass Destruction'. Powell ducked and countered back with a nonapologetic speech about how the President had many 'good old boys' meetings and how he called upon the United Nations to join together to defeat the 'Forces of Evil' in Iraq. I don't remember it at all like that-- paramount in my memory is Dubya telling the UN to basically kiss his tooty. I remember thinking how totalitarian it struck me at the time-- still does, actually.

From my conversations with my Republican neighbors (me being about the only known Democrat around here) I glean a very disheartened view of the voters (serves them right) and I think the conservative party is now just a train wreck waiting to happen-- and it probably will in the 2008 election.

I listened to Henhouse Hennity on the way back from town yesterday ranting about Howard Dean--how Dean owes everyone in the world an apology for letting his mouth overload his ass (talk about the pot calling the kettle black!) but, jeez, hasn't Dubya been doing that all along? Although it's probably his speech writers who are really to blame as poor old Dubya is usually too busy concentrating on his next move to strengthen his Empire.

To me, Howard Dean plays political hardball and nothing shakes up the ultra-right like a politician who speaks his own mind...remember Harry Truman? Don't get me wrong--I don't think you can compare Dean to Truman but he does have the Trumanesque habit of overloading his potshot gun and this might just be the key to strengthening the Democratic party (someone with guts to stand up for his beliefs) and might even be enough to win the election in 2008, no matter who gets the nomination...and those who understimate Hillary Clinton's political acumen might just be making a big mistake. A woman President? Could very well happen as Americans are just tired of going to war and protectionism, especially with the terrorist threat, is eventually going to sway a lot of voters away from over-eager politicians intent on foisting our ideas of democracy on the world.

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

The Meaning of One

In the scheme of things we sometimes lose sight of the meaning of 'one'. For instance, we pride ourselves on being a nation with 'one' constitution and we elect 'one' man every four years to speak for us and, hopefully, to uphold and follow constitutional law.

You only have 'one' father and 'one' mother.

You only have 'one' brain to process the reality of your circumstances, form your values with and direct your life.

As far as we know right now, our universe has only 'one' planet that can sustain our form of life.

There is only 'one' species of animal life called man and you are 'one' of that species.

War is the 'one' thing the species of man always resorts to when one nation decides to interfere or direct the actions of another and it still only takes 'one' bullet to put an end to 'one' life.

Diplomacy is still the 'one' thing man fails to recognize as the viable alternative to war and negoitation the 'one' main tool of diplomacy.

The computer and the rapid expansion of technology will be the 'one' tool to lead us to a one world government, hopefully not of a totalitarian nature.

Their is only 'one' sun and when it burns out the 'one' small planet we live on will cease to exist.

There is only 'one' certainy about death and and if you fear it, it means--for whatever reason or reasons-- you have lived a life closed to discovery of self.

Whether you are a product of evolution or creatinism, you only have 'one' life-- live it by concentrating on possibilities; probabilities will leave you brain dead.

Friday, June 03, 2005

Restaurant Revolution

I haven't been in a New York City restaurant in forty years. Reading Waiter Rant's blog last night got me thinking about my first visit to a 'fancy' New York restaurant. I was in uniform and never got past the front door. We were between wars (Korea and Vietnam) at the time and servicement were looked upon as a lower form of life, especially by the elite of New York's rich and famous. A couple of years later I tried again, this time dressed appropriately (I thought) but the experience was not pleasant. The waiter immediately recognized me and my wife as out-of-towners and midwest yokels and treated us as such. We hardly recognized anything on the menu and the 'wine list' was far above our knowledge. He knew his tip (even in those days) was not going to be big enough to buy a pair of shoe laces.

As a kid who grew up in a large midwestern restaurant, I knew hamburger steak was always the lowest priced dinner on any menu and, when I asked him if he had it under some other name, I got my second reminder of how he felt about out-of-towners: a one eyebrow raised, down the nose disgusting look. So he got my taste of how I felt about his attitude as we got up and walked out...but it was not only him but I'd also calculated the menu prices and food costs (which I learned to do when I was about fourteen) and knew we were going to pay an outrageous and unwarrented price for nothing more than 'Atmosphere'.

Nowdays things in New York (if I read between the lines of Waiter Rant's essays which, by the way, are fine examples of interesting writing) have changed little. In the midwest, both north and south, however there has been a revolution in the general restaurant business. Americans of every class eat out often, even the poorest of poor, and middle-incomers hit the classiest (read 'atmosphere') often. Food costs have remained fairly relative so most folks are still paying outrageous prices for their 'atmosphere'.

I have no advice to give you about how you choose a particular style of restaurant except this: If you're a middle-income family man, I would suggest the 'buffet' style of restaurant where you can get the most bang for your hard earned buck. Because most of them are chains, the quality is good and the choices you can understand by looking, and tipping is still how you feel about the limited service and some even have 'no tipping signs' posted which I've never agreed with (and in fact have argued with some managers about).