Monday, April 30, 2007

Interview Me

Having had a severe writers block for the past 10 days, I asked Gail at Rubicon3 to send me some of the Interview Meme questions... My writers block was partially a result of not wanting to follow the pack on the VA Tech massacre commentary. There is so much hurt and the victims were all so young. Unfortunately, we will continue to have these events in our lives. If we go to the mall, as happened in Kansas City over the weekend, we may be shot by a car pulling into the slot next to us... The usual pundits have all assumed the usual positions... I can add nothing new and only repeat what has been said by too many others.

War With No Name continues to be a political football with Surrender Boy and She Who Must Be Obeyed leading those who "Say What They Think and Do As They're Told." .... Again the usual Wise-And-Thoughtful-Persons have staked out the usual positions in a Congress of Crows, the loudest caw-caw-cawing for the most attention... This, too, is well trod ground and I can add little new.

Back to The Interview.... (Talking bout me-!)

1. If you were about to be executed and could make one statement to
be broadcast to the entire world, what would it be?

If I were simply dying of old age or accident I'd say "Good Bye. Thank You. It was fun. I must be going now. "

Being executed means that some evil person-gang-group has found my future threatening to theirs. Being broadcast to the entire world, I'd say "
Watch and Wait. The time is not now. Our people on the inside are not quite ready."... Then let the B*st**ds go nutz looking for the ones to whom I was speaking.

2. What are your three favorite books and three favorite movies?

Difficult Questions, Easy Answers by Robert Graves. Small book of essays that weave back and forth in my life... I've read it several times. Now that I am reminded,, I must go find it for another reading.

The Bible, King James Version.... I find the wording magnificent. As a work of literature it stands. The religious aspects of the work wrap it up in petty political squabbles and the beauty of the language and sense of the community gets lost. As the source of so much of our literature and common law it is an important piece of work.

I have a stack of books waiting to be read. Within the last year, books I have read that I recommend are Berlin Diary by William Shirer and Before the Dawn by Nicholas Wade. They have stayed with me. Shirer's books show the banality of evil. They show how step-by-step evil flourished and grew. Read as contemporaneous history they show how each step forward could have been stopped, if only... But after a while, how easy it was for everyone to "go along to get along" and became culpable for monstrous evil. Those reports seem almost a parallel with what we see in the daily blogs and news reports... Wade's book is a bit dry for the non-academic. Its a good review of what makes us uniquely human... I have also read several science fiction works by John Scalzi. He crafts a good yarn and doesn't resort to many clever plot devices to get out of a logical bind. Good Science Fiction has always been "speculative philosophy" to me. IOW, what would the world be like "IF ONLY..."

There is always Hemingway;... Everyone should do some Hemingway... at the beach, in Europe, in the winter... Islands in a Stream and Moveable Feast are magnificent indulgences... They are accessible and available at the library... The rest of the canon are also worthy of the investment in time.


I tend towards genre's vs specific films. I really enjoy the film noir, "B" movies of the 30's-40's-50's...especially those with "before-they-were-stars"... I like the Thin Man Series with William Powell and Myrna Loy... I like the dress, the faces and body styles (non pneumatic) of the stars back then. Films from the 20's and 30's have actors walking and moving in a natural manner. They did not grow up sitting before a TV and have a natural grace that comes from physical activity... They also look towards each other when they speak. They do not stare off and speak to the audience... Westerns from that time are also fun . They acually knew how to ride and sit on a horse.

Most modern movies leave me flat. They do not bring forth a character that can make me care about their dilemna. I simply don't enjoy most of the modern films bacause their characters are so thin, cardboard, stereotypes. They don't have a history that makes me want to know more. They don't have a value that makes me care whether they get away or are caught... i.e. in To Have and Have Not, Lauren Bacall tells of being bounced around South America before winding up stranded where she meets Bogart... I'd like to know more about where she had been and where they went afterwards... (Walter Brennan almost stole the movie with his character). The famous line abut "You do know how to whistle don't you?" has added interest when its being spoken by a 19-year-old woman. The film is filled with delightful quotable lines..."What are you trying to do? Guess her weight?...."Was you ever stung by a dead bee?"

What happened after Boggie and Claude Rains walked down the runway in
Casablanca? Did Ilsa stay married? What happened after the war? How did the post war liberation movements in Africa and S.E. Asia affect them-? How did the Cold War and Iron Curtain change everyone? Did Bogie ever make it back to New York City?

Modern movies like Pirates of the Caribbean come closest to making the audience care about the character... But only about Jack Sparrow/Johnny Depp... Do we really wonder what happened to anyone else? Aren't they all cardboard-predictable-pushover set pieces?

Blade Runner is fun... Harrison Ford plays the same character he always does. Sean Young looks wonderful. Rutger Hauer leads a cast of secondary characters that are just having fun being complex and evil and innocent all at the same time... The music is also wonderful... The Love Theme is one of my favorite pieces of music.

3. Would you consider the definition of evil to be subjective?

No. Evil exists in the world. Evil is that which destroys life. We find the many arguments and discussions to be just blather that delays, confuses and clouds our response to evil. In this time of political spin, contending religions, competing versions of history and facts du heure manufactured in support or opposition, it is best to just focus on the basics.

We mostly argue about good-better and best in our practices and policies.The term "evil" gets easily used to tarnish what we oppose. That is a cheapening of the language. It leads to the suggestion that evil is just a mine vs yours subjective debate. That view is harmful. Any compromise with evil is a victory for evil. Evil has no legitimate argument or position.

When we support those positions that expand, encourage, enrich life we see evil as that which diminishes, cripples, handicaps, enslaves, shackles and perverts humanity... Like the movie Star Wars where evil confounds, confuses and delays good.... The timeless themes in that bit of childhood lore get repeated throughout our history. Perhaps that is why it struck a chord such a broad audience.. Every society, every generation has the same lessons.

4. Describe your favorite meal.

Having dined well in some fantastic restaurants and grown to have fun with my own kitchen explorations.... I find that the best meals are determined by those you are with. The people make the meal. Hot dogs or haute cuisine are long remembered only by the people who were present. and the things discussed. When I first began my working career, a friend who was a commission salesman pointed out, "You only have so many days in your life. Have lunch with those you enjoy." I have tried to do so. Buying a lunch or dinner never brought me any business. Dining with interesting people has brought me new friends in far away places.

I have learned much about people and their world over a meal. I think that it is another of those common-to-all-humans traits. We all must eat and we do not dine with enemies. Dining is an act of friendship and an opening to a stranger of ones world. I have never taken an invitation to dine lightly.

I find the recipes of Caprial and John's Kitchen to be lots of fun.... I like their use of seasonal foods. I highly recommend their flavors... If get a chance to find their cooking show on PBS some weekend, indulge yourself. The half hour passes quickly and leaves a feeling like a fine wine or rich desert... any more would be too much.

5. What is the most beautiful sight you have ever seen?

Hard question. We live in an amazingly beautiful world. There are so many great views of mountains, oceans, forests, deserts, and cities... I love San Francisco and the Marin Headlands. This is one magical spot that I wish I could share with everyone. Perhaps I will post a day

My children were born, grew up, graduated... Those are magnificent sights at every occasion and many special moments in between. My wife has given birth and survived a couple of bouts with cancer... All of these are very special and beautiful sights, but mostly to me.

The world is always magical and delightful . There is no "best". There is the joy and magic of "here" and "now"....

The most beautiful sight? A smile when you least expect it and probably don't deserve it.

Like all good conversations; it's time to shut up and let you speak....