Friday, January 20, 2006

Thinking for others...

All right, I'm ugly. I admit it; never really denied it. Someone got deleted from this site, not because they called me ugly, but because the adjectives used were not family-friendly. I know my looks will scare crows out of a cornfield; that doesn't include inappropriate language for kids who might wander in here. Salty language is my sole discretion at UPI, thank you.

Worse than being called ugly was having someone think for me recently. I can't do much about my looks, and my brain is pretty much ossified into whatever it's become, but I am still the master of my destiny. I think bad thoughts at times; my faith in God shakes at the occasional notion that I might be wrong. What if Ayn Rand is right, and there is nothing beyond the grave but oblivion?

I prefer to think otherwise. My entire faith is in God, and the certainty that there is something better beyond this life. I may be ugly, and the joining of my soul with God is beyond comprehension, but I do not believe that The Creator imbued me with consciousness just to snuff it out as a bad job. Even Ayn Rand, a self-avowed atheist, winked at an interviewer when asked if she believed in an afterlife. In her public proclamations, Rand always said that man is his own higher power. There is nothing more powerful than the human mind, according to her lights.

That wink, however, haunts me. She knew there was something more. I trust that there is, too. We will all solve the mystery, and find out. I refer those with cosmic questions to Blaise Pascal's "The Wager". Bet that God is real, you can't lose, even if the bet turns to oblivion. Bet against God, and lose, and you are on the wrong end of the stick.

All of that being said, let's get back to earth. There is a new link at the right: T-shirt Hell. I put the link up because someone chose to think for me the other day. I receive a sporadic newsletter from the site masters; I give their shirts as Christmas [can we still say that?] gifts. Because of the past experiences of my life, I find their irreverence and profane world view to be howlingly funny. I made the mistake of assumption: others would find that sarcastic, earthy view of life as funny as I think it to be. I forwarded the latest newsletter to a few people whom I thought might appreciate such material.

I was wrong. I was wrong to assume that others might find cute what may be personally offensive. I have offered my apologies privately on that account.

Contained in the verbatim newsletter that I sent out, there is an "unsubscribe" link. Someone did a "click trick", and unsubscribed me. Perhaps this was for the best of motives; to save me from bad influences. Perhaps it was a joke. I thank the person that did this; not because they "saved" me from anything, but because they inspired these mutterings.

While I worked in my kitchen today, I listened to Gary Cooper, Raymond Massey, and Patricia Neal in "The Fountainhead." It was one of the few scripts that Ayn Rand wrote under her own name during her tenure in Hollywood. Shortly thereafter, realizing the film community would never accept her ideas, she left to write her masterpiece, Atlas Shrugged. [You will never see this in movie form. The ideas are too intense.]

Mr. Cooper, speaking Rand's words, has a great monologue at the end of the movie. In the midst of the diatribe against collectivism and the communal mind, Cooper blurts that "no one has a claim upon my life."

To the unknown, and unsought person who clicked that "unsubscribe" link on my behalf: you have no claim upon my life. I have survived over a half-century, by accident or intelligent design. I know right from wrong, and intellectual genius from secular rubbish. If something rotting on the garbage pile of secular nonsense amuses me, that is for me to deal with, and God to adjudicate on the reaction. Thus should it be to all people. I cannot judge for others; I can scarcely judge for myself. God judges us all in the end. He has a better sense of humor than those who pretend to judge for us on this earth will admit.

Clicking an "unsubscribe" link was an insignificant act. The motivation behind it, whether annoyance factor or a moral certainty, goes deeper than that. I do not think for others, or pretend to tell them what to think. That is the territory of liberals. According to their gospel, they know what is right and wrong, good and bad, and healthy or not.

I think T-shirt Hell is funny. You may think I'm a sick puppy. I live in my mind; you don't. Please don't think for me. Check out the link if you dare; despite the ads to earn money by adding banners, I don't make a penny off the link.

Monday, January 09, 2006

Real Love Stories

I had a love of my life; one big passion. Things change; she passed on. She's an office manager for a lawyer; I'm a hermit. There are children from this bizarre union; one of them still speaks to me. I have mixed emotions about breaking up.

Charles Bronson and Jill Ireland are a Hollywood love story that could not have been made up by the best scriptwriter in town. He refused to make a movie without her. No greater love, and they got to act it out upon the screen. He buried her; there is no greater heartbreak. They made a dozen movies before. Spy films to Westerns; what matters was the love that shone between him and her. Today's offering was '"From Noon Till Three." She makes a worldwide sensation out of a three-hour relationship borne of strange circumstances.

Nothing these people did was too far-fetched. There was Taylor and Burton, and Jimmy and Gloria, but few are as bittersweet, and bring a tear to the eye like Charles and Jill. Movies have that magic of instilling immortality, and your love story lives for a long, long, time. My passions have been private, but if I could live them on the screen, I could not have asked more than to be Charles Bronson in love with Jill Ireland. We miss you both!

Here's the "after" shot. No girly-men glasses, and I won't desert my ten faithful readers and close down this modest blog. I also won't shave until spring.

I was in the mood to quit the other day. Does my voice matter, or am I screaming at the darkness?

Movies reflect small portions of our lives. They mean more than we acknowledge, and are examples of how we live. Life often imitates art. If I don't do anything else right, I'll continue the movie reviews.

No promises being made, but we'll try to keep having fun.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

The Spectacle of Spectacles!

I’m beginning to feel like a middle-aged Andy Rooney. Instead of doing incisive analysis of world events, or cutting-edge humor like the great Scott Ott at ScrappleFace, I’m always griping about something, or so it seems. Ah, well…when you’re not the brightest bulb in the marquee, you do what you can, and try to brighten the corner where you are.

I broke my glasses—the ones in the picture—just after Christmas. A couple of days ago, when everyone had recovered from their New Year’s hangovers, I went in for an eye exam and a new pair. No big chain-store optometrists in a strip mall for this little grey marsupial; I use a private-practice optometrist who knows his patients, and cares about them. The eye examination was comprehensive and easygoing at the same time, and while the franchise opticians boast “glasses in an hour”, I had mine in less than fifteen minutes from the moment the frames were chosen.

The frames are what have me going today. What’s with the latest “fashion” in men’s glasses? I’m specifically addressing these girly-men frames that keep showing up on guys’ faces. You know what I’m talking about: those narrow, 3/4-frame jobs that look like they belong on a schoolgirl, not an adult male. I admit to being old-fashioned and politically incorrect, but it’s jarring to see an otherwise intelligent man, especially those offering commentary on TV, looking like a sissy. The America-hating political cartoonist Ted Rall is one example. He looks like he stole his glasses from a 12-year-old girl. When he made an appearance on one of FOX News’s shout-shows, defending one of his appallingly offensive “cartoons”, he looked like a dork. To be fair and balanced, there is a FOX reporter, Roger Something-or-other-with-a-British-accent, who also wears similar glasses at times. During the commercial breaks between Ted and Roger, a nationwide optician’s chain store advertises handsome, smiling guys wearing these feminine-looking glasses. Thank God, my optometrist didn’t try to foist something like that on me.

I know…I know. We have a “spy scandal”, a bribery scandal connected to a political lobbying scandal, soaring energy prices, an out-of-control southern border, and I keep hearing rumors of a war somewhere that’s still ongoing. With all that, why the high dudgeon about the latest fad in men’s eyewear?

The answer is simple: if an otherwise qualified male individual is going to offer analysis, or propose solutions, for any of the serious subjects just mentioned, he should try to look intelligent and sincere. He should not look like a child molester who keeps souvenirs. These hip, girly-man glasses are an affront to masculinity, like movies that star Leonardo DiCaprio. I know that it’s the age of the Sensitive New Age Guy, but the last time I checked, most women like their men to be, well, manly. That doesn’t mean beating the wife, kicking the dog, or thrashing the kids. We can appreciate the fact that men are, in fact, from a different planet than women, however. There is something vaguely disquieting in this subtle denial of masculinity in today’s culture. Leonardo DiCaprio was born to play his role in “Titanic”, but when he tries to be convincing as an Old West gunfighter, a New York gang lord, or a man’s man like Howard Hughes, the results are laughable. My generation grew up with John Wayne and Clint Eastwood for role models; the most sensitive of that pantheon of actors was Jimmy Stewart, and he was a rugged guy, onscreen and off, when he had to be.

Dorothy Parker once said: “Men seldom make passes at girls who wear glasses.” I suppose the other side of that coin would’ve been the notion that “real men don’t wear glasses.” Both of these ideas are fallacies. I am attracted to women who wear glasses. Of course, being a Sensitive New Age Guy, I don’t make passes at them these days. Men have the same Mark I model eyeballs as women, and sometimes need a little outside assistance to bring the world into focus. But, c’mon, guys! Either get yourself some Clark Kent horn-rims, or some industrial-looking glasses like Michael Douglas wore in “Falling Down”, or some aviator-style wire-frames, as I did this week. Or go with the frameless look, like Denzel Washington in “The Manchurian Candidate”. Even the Ben Franklin or John Lennon style is acceptable. Looking like a girly-man who snatched his glasses from a pre-adolescent schoolgirl is not acceptable. Grow up!