I became insane with long intervals of horrible sanity.
Edgar Allen Poe
The trouble with fighting for human freedom is that one spends most of one's time defending scoundrels. For it is against scoundrels that oppressive laws are first aimed, and oppression must be stopped at the beginning if it is to be stopped at all.
- H. L. Mencken
Many people would sooner die than think; In fact, they do so
What I have been telling you, from alpha to omega, what is the one great thing the sigil taught me — that everything in life is miraculous. For the sigil taught me that it rests within the power of each of us to awaken at will from a dragging nightmare of life made up of unimportant tasks and tedious useless little habits, to see life as it really is, and to rejoice in its exquisite wonderfulness. If the sigil were proved to be the top of a tomato-can, it would not alter that big fact, nor my fixed faith. No Harrowby, the common names we call things by do not matter — except to show how very dull we are ...
-James Branch Cabell
March 07, 2016 - 11:21 a.m.
This is the third time I'm starting this. I like starting with something I'm thinking about at that moment but didn't like the way the first two came out. So now I'm thinking about how I had to start this three times. Hey I blog about what I think about and I think a lot about blogging.
When I have something to do at 2:00 only 20 minutes away I shouldn't feel time pressure in the morning. Yeah right. I had to rush things and rush out of the house at 1:25, I like to get there a little early and leave room for subway delays. I had a lovely breakfast of matzoh brei and sausage. Matzoh brei seems to be one of the things improved by adding MSG. Is it really? I don't know. I need to do a double blind experiments. But for now I'm enjoying the food and I'm going to go with that.
Oh I forgot the best thing, I made a Trader Joe's frozen chocolate croissant. They are the best thing in the world and I so rarely make them. It takes preparation the night before. Of course the prep is just buttering a cookie sheet and putting the frozen croissant on it. But it does take a while to make with preheating the oven, baking, and cooling. I have to start baking it at a lower temperature or less time than the box says, 20 – 25 minutes at 350°F. I took it out after 19 and it was too brown, that always happens.
I ate it on the run and raced out to the Brooklyn Public Library (Grand Army Plaza) to see 90-Second Newbery Film Festival. This is an annual even orchestrated by author James Kennedy. You might remember me writing about his YA novel, The Order of Odd-Fish. I know the book and James through Carey. The Newbery Awards go to the best American Children's book each year. The festival is movies about award winning or honored books made by children and teens. Guess what the time limit is. Not that it is strictly enforced. There is something inherently humorous about compressing a large work into a short period of time. There was the reduced Shakespeare Company productions every year in Central Park (till the man behind it died in a plane crash) and Tom Stoppard had a 1-minute version of Hamlet in Dogg's Hamlet That's a play you need to see, one of the funniest ever.
This was the sixth festival and the third I've been to. I still have not been able to find someone to go with me. Next year you should go. It comes to lots of cities, look at the website, catch it in one close to you.
I'm an outlier in the audience which in New York is a lot of kids and parents. I've heard in other places it's librarians. I invite people with kids to go with me so the kid will be my beard. Of course there's a third type of attendee, friends of James and now I count as one of those.
I don't go to this because it's Carey and now my friend. I go because it's a lot of fun. It's all so silly. James is very silly. He had a light saber fight with his co-host Tori. There's always some schtick thrown in. James encourages the kids to take liberties with the stories and that adds to the fun. I never read it but Ramona and Her Father must be incredibly treacly and or overly earnest. When kids make movies about it they add violence. Last year's film made her father James Bond with Bloefeld out to kill him. This year it was done "Fight Style." Every scene had a fight in it. My guess is that it's exactly the kind of children's book I never liked, one that teaches "valuable lessons" and the filmmakers react like I do.
They are filmmakers and tremendously creative. Some are live action making do with limited resources. Some are animated, stop motion is popular. The style in My Father's Dragon was reminiscent of Wallace and Gromit. These two little girls in the audience made a stop motion film with Legos. The kids find a way.
My favorite was Shiloh. The filmmaker was one of my people. The film was totally meta. It was not so much a film of the book but a film about making a film of the book on too low a budget. It's the story of a boy and a beagle but the conceit is that they couldn't afford a beagle so the kid used a bagel. There is one moment where I couldn't help but laugh out loud, so did everyone else. See for yourself. Watch if full screen and pay attention; remember it's short, 2:23 with the credits.
Did you laugh? If you didn't I'm not sure I can be your friend.
After dinner I went out with a bunch of James' friend. I just had coffee as you know I had eaten just before I left, but the conversation was great. I met lots of new people. We went to Franny's.
When we were done I headed back to Grand Army Plaza and took the subway to Trader Joe's. Their eggs are now just a bit more than half the price as other stores now. I didn't need a lot of food but I needed eggs so it was worth the side trip.
Is it bacon and eggs turn today? I think so.
Annoying People - September 03, 2016
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