Friday, February 12, 2016

40 Days of Lent: Day Three

In addition to posting here every day during Lent, I'm also contributing a haiku each day to By and Large, a blog overseen by Harriet Hacker and my friend Andrea Collins.

Thursday, February 11, 2016

40 Days of Lent: Day Two

GOP candidate was so horrified by the movie 'Fargo' that he tried to get a local Blockbuster to take it off its shelves

In the name of internet etiquette, here is the link to the original article but in the interests of archiving, the story is copied below:

As the newest (and possibly last) major presidential candidate to declare his bid for the presidency, Ohio Gov. John Kasich (R) will share his views with the American public on a slew of topics in the coming weeks and months.

But one topic on which Kasich has already established a firm stance is the 1996 Oscar-winning Coen brothers film "Fargo."

He's not a fan.

In fact, the movie left such an impression on the Republican presidential candidate that he included it in his 2006 book, Stand for Something: The Battle for America's Soul.

Here's an excerpt, courtesy of Vox (spoiler alert for those who haven't seen Fargo):
"I was in my local video store looking for a movie to watch with my wife, Karen, during one of our few quiet evenings together at home. The clerk in the store recommended Fargo, a perversely dark crime story that had played to generally enthusiastic reviews. The movie even earned a Best Actress Oscar for Frances McDormand for her role as a pregnant Midwestern sheriff, and the guy behind the counter at Blockbuster assured me it was a great movie and that I should probably rent it."
"So I did. Walked right over to that shelf where they had their general titles, grabbed a copy and took it home, and when Karen and I got to the part where they chop up a guy in a grinder we looked at each other and thought, What the heck are we watching here? It was billed as a comedy, but it wasn’t funny. It was graphic, and brutal, and completely unnecessary, and it rubbed us in so many wrong ways we had to shut the thing off right there in the middle... Next morning, I got on the phone to Blockbuster and demanded that they take the movie off their shelves."
Blockbuster told the eventual Ohio governor that they would do a better job labeling movies with graphic content, but Kasich remained vigilant. Another excerpt of his book, via Vox:
"I couldn’t say firsthand whether the situation had gotten any better, because I had taken my business elsewhere, but from all accounts not much had changed, so I called the store again to remind them of our deal, and it got to where Karen had to tell me to back off because I was driving everyone crazy. I’d made my point, she said, and it was time to move on, so I did, but not before the columnist George Will picked up on the story."
In retrospect, Kasich admitted that he probably got a little carried away in his campaign against Blockbuster:
"Usually, I speak out against the status quo on behalf of the little guy, but sometimes I get a little crazy and go off about something like this Fargo business, with no real expectation but to let off some steam. I can’t imagine it’s all that much fun to be on the receiving end of one of my tirades, but I’m here to tell you it isn’t much fun to be making the delivery either."
Kasich officially entered the presidential race on Tuesday, becoming the fourth sitting GOP governor in the Republican field.


What I love in this brief article are the quotes ("so I called the store again to remind them of our deal, and it got to where Karen had to tell me to back off because I was driving everyone crazy") but the image of a politician so incensed by a movie that he is driven to distraction and has to take his frustration out on the local Blockbuster.  I'm sure the people who worked there just loved having to deal with the governor of their state (!) calling multiple times to make sure that a movie he didn't like remained unavailable to anyone else.

Since reading this story I can't seem to get it out of my mind.  I think it would make a great movie or perhaps a one man play.  The idea of a politician who should have more important things to worry about being unable to focus on anything but a movie that upset him, even to the point of his wife telling him to drop it, is just too entertaining.  It sounds like it would be ideal for the Coen Brothers.  I'm all curious to read Kasich's book now.  This can't be the only funny passage.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

40 Days of Lent: Day One

Some Things I Saw In New Orleans Last Month

Apparently I didn't see any people.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Friday, March 20, 2015

40 Days of Lent: Day Thirty One

I'll miss the snow when it is gone.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

40 Days of Lent: Day Twenty Nine

I was recently at a group show of artists and as seems to be the case with contemporary art, I saw very little I was impressed by or even interested in.  As contemporary art has shifted from a traditional sense of craft to high concepts with ideas expressed that have the depth and subtlety of a political cartoon, I found myself getting impatient.  One piece consisted of lots of prescription bottles lying on the floor.  To conceive and execute such a work, it must have take the artist...minutes. 

However, as is also often the case, I enjoyed two pieces that used projected light to create a moving, ever changing artwork.  One room was dark except for long strips of paper hung in a grid formation.  Projected on this grid would be lights that changed in colors, patterns and gave you the sense of sharing the room with a kinetic sculpture.

The second room has a similar idea.  But here the room was filled with a wire mesh against which light was projected, creating an illusion like fog as you made your way through an eerie maze shifting light.  

It almost makes up for the stupid pile of prescription bottles littering the floor.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

40 Days of Lent: Day Twenty Eight

One of the people I work with who commutes from New Jersey mentioned that he saw someone on the train this morning around 7:30 already drunk for St. Patty's Day.   I think that sentence contains everything I hate about the holiday.  Just the same, my co-worker told me the conversation went something like:

Him: I see you got started early.

Drunk: Yeah.  I'm not even Irish, but I love St. Patty's Day.  It's probably the closest the Irish get to Christmas.

Him: ?

I would just like to point out to this unnamed drunk that Christmas is the closest the Irish get to Christmas.  Crazy as it may seem, the Irish celebrate Christmas.  I know.  I 've seen it with my own eyes.  Both the Catholics and the Protestants celebrate the birth of Christ.  It was one of the few things they agree on.