|Rumilluminations July, 2015|
|By: Esther M. Powell|
Posted on: Wed, July 01 2015 - 8:55 am
July 31, 2015 Madison, IN
This morning when the news featured a group of one thousand people playing/singing the same popular three-note song, my mate grumbled once more about the "music's" current quality.
"I get it! It's a shortcut. You don't have to learn to sing or play anything!"
And thus endeth the month of July.
*The Blue Gardenia Oldie but goodie. Sentimental but engaging, though it did drag a little in the middle.
July 30, 2015 Madison, IN
*Frankie and Alice
A pretty fine and straightforward treatment of a dissociative personality. Halle Berry does a great job and it's not her fault that she is gorgeous and her character is a stripper!July 29, 2015
Today we went to T-Mobile in Clarksville to get my smartphone connected by a pro. We were approached immediately with offers of service from an okay-looking, well-groomed young man.
By the time we left we thought he was the sweetest, cutest kid in Clarksville.
This young man, named Leonardo, was extremely good-natured and patient with me in my decision making, and went beyond that by inferring some of my needs from comments I made and implementing them without being asked.
Thanks, Leo! You have revived our faith in the very young.
One surprising change since we were last in the same store was the presence of a security guard. I don't know if that is par for the cellphone business these days.
(Are older folks the only ones who say "these days?" Stands to reason.)
*The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo American version. We enjoyed this less than the Swedish version. The sound effects (music??) were painful at times and one aspect of the ending just comes off as cheap and lazy. You'll stay in ignorance romance of this, though, if you have'm read the book or seen the earlier foreign film.
*The Fifth Element Now seems kind of sweet and old-fashioned, as science fiction goes.
July 28, 2015
Ha, ha - we're watching CNN and my partner says of the interviewer, "she's leading the witness."
He was right! The interviewer was using reframing and rewording what the interviewee was saying.
We've also seen the media try to force a yes or no response from people, which seems very silly to us. Who hasn't seen a witness in a movie forced to say yes or no with the full consciousness that the response led the hearers away from the real truth?
Maybe our increased legal sophistication has led us to hold the media to a different standard than formerly - for both good and ill.
Ha, ha. My Kindle proves that the road to Help is paved with good intentions.
The joke is on me. I thought it would say the road to Hello was paved with good intentions.
Of course my original intention was to say that the word processor proved that the way to Hell was paved with good intentions.
Boy, humor sure is complicated.
Headstrong, wilful and depressed. Another coming of age story with an ending that's a lie. (She describes the other one in the film.)
July 27, 2015 Madison, IN
Saw two interesting boats today. One was a diminutive tow (tug? It was a little snubnosed) hanging near the Kentucky shore. It was so cute it might tempt someone to go aboard and take a nanosecond to look around if one were inclined to do such a thing. There was someone aboard who might have been taking pictures of the bridge.
The other boat was probably one of the largest I've seen on the river - the American Queen. Every time I see it I notice more inviting detail, like the fancy glass-paned doors leading inside from the bow and the two glamorous curved staircases leading to the next deck. I spoke with a Madison volunteer who was handing out pamphlets to disembarking passengers; she said she had ridden between Cincinnati and St. Louis and enjoyed it very much. "Very relaxing." Sounds good to me!
* The Giant Mechanical Man It's no surprise to see cinema about late struggles to find a place in the world these days. What is surprising is such a fresh innocence in dealing with them. We loved it. Too bad the solution for Janice is unlikely at best. Too bad, also, that the title is so misleading. It does a disservice to the film.
*Radio Feel-good movie taken from real life, with some acting good as life by Cuba Gooding, Jr. and Ed Harris.
*Footloose We enjoyed this okay, but I would have enjoyed it more if I were a teenager. Some great gymnastic and dance action, especially if you remember this was pre Dirty Dancing.
*Guardians of the Galaxy For a young young audience with some old character stereotypes with some new twists. Special effects and fireworks galore.
*Conflict Humphrey Bogart in villain mode. A really succinct description of the nature of a murderer given by a psychologist in this film. A simple story here, without the twists of plot you might see nowadays. Still noir-gripping.
July 25, 2015 Madison, IN
Walking a ways off the Heritage Trail today along an old lane, we interrupted a young deer and four turkeys hanging out within a few feet of each other. We tried to tell them they didn't have to move, but they weren't listening.
Yesterday in conversation with a resident we learned that the Heritage Trail is going to be extended. Which direction will that take? We are looking forward to finding out.
Noir as noir can be.
*Secret Service Comedy or comic book or camp spoof of 007, this is one Colin Firth would have done well to pass over. I give it credit, though. I didn't fall asleep.
*It's a Wonderful World
Endearing silly comedy from the old days that makes you wonder if the reason they can't make them like they used to is that nowadays the characters are always so busy laughing at other people that they don't have time to laugh at themselves.
July 24, 2015
Whew! Today we probably took our Madison hike of the year, walking from home up the Heritage Trail past the penitentiary through the state hospital grounds with a side trip to the cemeteries small and large out to Green to the Clifty Falls Park office entrance to the drive, cutting through on trail 9 to Clifty Falls Inn where we had a late breakfast. From there we walked to the South gate, along highway 56 briefly back to the trail and home.
If you think those were runaway sentences you should have been on that walk!
The sky was blue the weather perfect.
We would like to humbly suggest that a walking/biking path be built so people can get safely from the South gate of Clifty Falls State Park to the lower east/west part of the Heritage Trail. That short distance was by far the most unpleasant (not to say dangerous) quarter mile of our eight-mile walk.
*Lord Jim If I remember the novel correctly this movie has taken liberties, but it hits the bases.
*Mr. Smith Goes to Washington Sentimental and sweet, I smiled fondly at Jimmy Stewart between snoozes. But it's a good old flick. Really!
*Against All Odds
Some good steamy sexy and/or passionate scenes and unusual music, but allover not engaging.
July 23, 2015
Ha, ha. You never hear about White-on-White crime. Could that possibly be because it is the most common?
You never hear about Christian-on-Christian crime. I wonder why.
You never hear about Muslim-on-Muslim crime, either.
Why do I get as much feeling of judgment from the freethinkers group as I ever got in Christian ones?
Could it possibly be a case of the "equal and opposite reaction"?
According to a recent survey, folks in the far western part of the U.S. are twice more likely to cheat on their spouses than people who live in the Midwest (whatever that is these days.)
Do you think that's true? Or are Midwesterners just more hypocritical about it.
If it is true, do Midwesterners sublimate all their repressed sexual longing into higher purposes and good deeds, or do they just focus with greater energy and enthusiasm on judging the sins of others?
The more one studies comparative religions the more one realizes that morality is relative. How does religious belief defy it? Is there a course entitled Comparative Religion with Complacency?
Ha, ha. We revere sacrifice. Maybe the Sacred Cows of India are allowed to wander the streets among starving people to provide alternative succulent fodder for beasts of prey.
July 22, 2015
The idea of the self-fulfilling prophecy has always intrigued me. If it had been spelled Self-fulfilling I might have understood it better.
With a small "s" the fulfillment of the prophecy sounds automatic, almost, as if the human agency involved is mere puppetry. It sounds as if the prophecy fulfills itself through those involved as God is imagined to wield power.
The prophecy is seen to have the power of reality outside any of our desires.
With an S, though, the Self-fulfillment of the "prophecy" can be seen for, in my view, what it really is: the acting-out of the deepest fears and desires of those with the power to make it happen.
Ally your Self-fulfilling prophecy with God or Allah and the combination becomes seemingly unbeatable, for better or worse.
Sometimes that is really too bad.
*The Jagged Edge Misconduct of all kinds abounds in this low-conscious 1980's movie. Started out strong but oh well.
*Tangerines Fine exploration of interpersonal dynamics among men in a warfront in Georgia (formerly of USSR) with vastly different motivations and goals.
July 21, 2015
Whew! Early this morning I ran across an election year Rumillumination that was against John McCain, whose patronizing attitude during a debate bugged me.
My goodness, I was rabid! I embarrassed myself. Don't expect any such fireworks from me within the next sixteen months - at least not about politicians. It seems that my political fervor has spent itself.
Oh, I'll vote, but the sorts of high spirits that lead to fanatical rants have left me. Er, at least I hope they have!
(Don't tell me I'm going to develop some dignity in my old age, like some fuzzy little stag antlers!?)
Nah - I won't go so far as that!
The people in this movie are so stupid and unlikable that I couldn't like it. At least it isn't real, you think. It's only a movie. Except --
*The Magnificent Ambersons
It is understandable that Orson Wells was upset by the drastic cuts in his film, but it's still a greatly enjoyable one. Black and white.
July 20, 2015 Madison, IN
For three days in a row now we've extended our daily walks. Today we went over the river and around a track in the Milton City Park, a walk I have done four times now.
We just found out the other day that while we were out of town some low parts of Madison had the worst flooding they've experienced in 57 years. The farmland that our track went through evidently suffered the same fate from all the heavy rains. Some of the soybean crop the path circles has been killed by the flooding; some is still standing in water.
The asphalt path had a little silty mud on it, but the worst aspect of the walk was the stench from the pools of stagnant water outside the circle of the pedestrian path. This was the nastiest manure fertilizer laced with eau de mold cum rot that, possibly, I have ever experienced. We could still smell it halfway across the Milton/Madison bridge coming back. Not a recommended hike until it has a chance to dry out!
The walk we took yesterday, conversely, had added charm because of the recent heavy rains. Waterfalls gushing down cliffs and streams flanking the railroad were picturesque and temporary.
The railroad is easier to walk than it used to be because the boulders have been cleared out of the cut but if anything this makes the walk scarier because you don't have what's underfoot to distract you from what is overhead: overhanging cliffs of rock made dark by moisture, which makes them all the more likely to topple onto you.
Not being an adrenaline junkie, that hike up the old railroad is exciting enough for me.
*An Amish Murder Interesting mix of cultures and investigation plus beautiful scenery.
*The Perfect Host We were enthralled by this mind-twister. My favorite line from it is - but no, I don't want to ruin it for you!
July 19, 2015 Madison, IN
Our second time seeing this thriller, which just keeps moving. Chase scenes galore.
*Into the Woods
Looks like this movie lost its way, in spite of some wonderful magic performed by talented actors. Music quite frankly uninspiring.
July 18, 2015
Ironic is not the word for it. In a society in which millions of citizens demand the right to carry whatever firearm they want wherever they want, military recruiters are not allowed to carry fire-ready guns?
What decade is the army living in, the nineteen-fifties?
The word would be ludicrous - laughable! - if it weren't, sadly, tragic.
*Life of Crime
from Elmore Leonard's The Switch.
We loved it - quintessential all-bets-are-off Elmore Leonard.
*The Next Three Days
Kind of lame at first, but does get gripping if still wildly improbable.
July 17, 2015 Madison, IN
Yesterday someone told me great blue herons are nesting on the property next to hers - at least seventy of them!
It's good to hear there are so many of them around, even if for some reason there haven't been many along our stretch of the Ohio River. We look forward to seeing them, if it can be arranged.
*Flight from Destiny
An old black-and-white with (too?) many shades of gray.
*The Quiet American
Beautiful and horrible and wonderfully played.
*Last Days in Vietnam
Documentary with eyewitness accounts of evacuation efforts. This definitely deserved an Oscar.
July 16, 2015
But back to downtown Pittsburgh for just a minute. We loved PPG Place, which was being built while my partner was going to school in Pittsburgh. He said a lot of people disliked it, but he thought it was cool.
I love it. If the glass were all emerald green, it would be Oz!
Good thing it's not though, because an enormous part of its charm is that when you get up close the straight lines and rectangles and clear glass break up into curves and reflections of the sky and colorful buildings around - at least when you're in the courtyard of the complex. It is a work of architecture beyond impressive.
Another pleasurable sight is the green wall which, when it was installed, was the largest in the country. Charming, utilitarian, and environmentally a plus.
Downtown Pittsburgh is no longer the soot-begrimed city of decades past.
*In the House For a little while in the middle this film lost me, but it came back strong.
*Clouds of Sils Film with an stunning natural phenomenon as backdrop for issues of art and aging.
July 15, 2015 Madison, IN
We saw our first heron in months on our walk along the river today. And what a sighting! It ate a big fish it took a few minutes to get down its gullet and flew along the shore close enough to enjoy its markings.
We also saw a bunch of black vultures working on an even bigger fish, but the vultures are not such an unusual sight for us here.
The river is pretty high, with lots of debris. With all this influx of cleansing rain we hope the heron will stick around.
Movies we've seen in the last few days:
*The Reluctant Fundamentalist Pay attention to the title. We loved this unusual film.
* Selma A really good movie that slowed in spots to zzzzz. Needed more pruning.
*The Skeleton Twins Not a bad film. It has some interest, but doesn't quite have the umph (or universality?) To arouse my avid enthusiasm.
*The Concert Buffoonery, but has some wonderful thoughts. Musically ridiculous, but its heart is in the right place.
*The Magnificent Ambersons A & E's version which is amazingly faithful to the novel's dialogue but leaves out some elements that might seem wildly bizarre to most of us moderns.
July 14, 2015
We were in Pittsburgh, PA for a couple of days and finally got to the point where the Monongahela and Allegheny Rivers join to form the Ohio. This confluence, I am sure, is why the city exists. Now it is ornamented by a fountain, but that doesn't entirely take away from its significance as a transportation center.
Standing in the gardens in the point park you can simultaneously view towboats pushing barges, trains running along the opposite shore, automobiles and trucks on roads and bridges, the incline taking paying riders almost vertically up the far hillside, and, closer than any others, the kayakers, bicyclists and recreational runners.
Although we didn't see any, we might easily have added airplanes to the picture. With so much competition for our attention, a plane could easily have passed overhead without our noticing.
If I had seen this exact scene in some art deco painting I would have thought it a bit of artistic license - an intensification and condensation of real life, but it was real and in motion.
Go early on a Sunday morning, as we did, and you'll find that the traffic isn't half bad!
July 13, 2015
Home. Yesterday we stopped by Athens, Ohio, where my parents went to school. Now that I think about it, I'm surprised they never took us there on any of our family visits to Ohio. I wish I had gone before they died so I could play the, "Was the pond there when you were there? Did you ever walk in the park? Was the Athens Diner there?" game with them.
I did take my family by Shimer College, my alma mater, but they were very very young. They probably don't remember. Now, unlike Ohio University, it has moved to another city.
An amusing thing happened on campus. I saw a deer in one of the garden beds between a sidewalk and the road and started to comment about how precisely true-to-life it had been formed and colored - when it moved. A real live doe in the veritable city of a campus. Incredible.
July 12, 2015 Athens, OH
Three days in Heart's Content Campground in the Allegheny National Forest, Warren County, Pennsylvania supplied ample hiking, ample green, and ample rain. My favorite sighting was a veritable conference of what used to be called Indian Peace Pipes, as I recall. I think they are saprophytes, but I'll check that and get back to you.
The great thing about wet weather is the wealth of fungi that magically appear.
Aha! MushroomExpert.com reports that botanists used to believe that Indian Pipe was a saprophyte but now know it is really a parasite on a fungus. Amazing! You'll love the more complete explanation at the above website, so go for it!
This is the first time I've been able to see so much detail in the pipe's "bowl".
July 7, 2015
Okay, yesterday I wrote from here about Kelly's Island and lost it all because of weird wireless internet (WWI ha). Maybe most of the guests here only require tweet-sized tenure on memory.
So this time I will keep it brief: my best experience of the weekend was of an orchard oriole's nest about twenty feet off the ground. This hanging basket, constructed twenty feet from the ground in a dead tree supporting a wild grape vine, was bedecked with clusters of green growing grapes, with a woven lattice below. It had the artistry of an ancient sculptural detail.
The sight reinforces in me the belief that art originally attempted to reproduce the beautiful, charming effects of nature.
July 2, 2015
Oh, did I not tell you?
We're spending the Fourth of July weekend on Kelly's Island in Lake Erie. There is a state park there that requires reservations (!) but it looks as if we won't lose our money. It's not supposed to rain.
The same can't be said for Madison, IN, unfortunately, which is planning to host its annual regatta for superfast boats. The speeds have been known to hit 200 miles per hour.
The noise and fireworks attendant to the rebuttal inspire us to go somewhere quieter. We are looking forward to the fireworks this year, though, since we have seen very few in recent years.
Around noon today we asked our GPS almost jokingly to find us an Indian restaurant and it did! - on the very road we were traveling! The restaurant and bar is on State Road 3, Spiceland, IN. There are signs referring to a change in management but as of today the food was very good indeed. Dang! I just realized I forgot to ask for chai, so I can't report on that.
At any rate, here we are luxuriating in a Best Western in Fostoria, all hot-tubbed and clean and fed and ready for bed.
Tomorrow we brave the ferry to Kelly's Island, the elements, the bugs, and outdoor cooking!
Our idea of fun.
We saw these movies at home yesterday:
* While We're Young The same notices that attracted our attention to this film described it with so little accuracy that it took some time to shake off expectations. Though somewhat disjointed, it presented some generational and lifestyle issues with more honesty and understanding than usually found in cinema.
Spydom, romance, and bloody crime all wrapped up in one strange package. It crossed my mind during one scene that Isabella Rossellini looked like Ingrid Bergman. Ha! I had no idea!
July 1, 2015
I just had the perfect peach - the best peach I've had in years, actually, and its luscious scent is still hanging in the air. The experience has almost sweetened my view of the world enough to make me abandon my chosen topic of the day, but not quite.
Last night I saw a show about a man who murdered his wives. I was living near Chicago when his fourth wife went missing, and despise him so much I vowed not to name him again.
Yesterday I heard more of the story of these wives. That is, I heard more. That is, I heard better. Are you hearing me?
Nobody, surely, was listening to those poor women when they told the police that their policeman husband was threatening to kill them.
The police didn't hear, hear, more or better when one of their own was telling them a different story.
So do I believe blacks when they say they aren't listened to? Do I believe them when they say they are minimized and even demonized by the white male power system?
Absolutely. And the people who console themselves with the idea that each occurrence is a rare or isolated incident are kidding themselves.
Actions of violence and carelessness towards minorities and women are like cockroaches. For every one you see there are scores you don't. They come in all sizes and colors, too. Big ones, little ones, brown ones, white ones. (There are white cockroaches in caves.)
So, my fellow (ha, is there a feminine word comparable to that one?) women, do you feel unheard, disregarded, misunderstood, and grossly undervalued in life?
Chances are you are probably right.
If you really feel, though, that someone wants to KILL YOU, don't wait to be proven right. And don't stay for the children! You will be of no help to them dead.
P.S. The murderer who inspired this rant did not kill his first two wives, but at least one of them had some unsavory things to report about him. Nobody listened to them, either.
Reminds me of the city council aspirant in Santa Fe who said, "All seven of my wives were crazy." When I read that I snorted and exclaimed, "Who could possibly believe that?"
Now, thirty years later, I sorrowfully perceive the answer to that question: practically everyone.
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