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
December 28, 2015 - 1:26 p.m.
My computer is acting up this morning. What did you do to it? Don’t sit there looking innocent. I know it was you.
I missed my psych disorder calling, I’d have made such a good paranoid. Too bad I’m sort of the opposite. I don’t do anything stupid but I need a reason to think someone is out to get me. At a place like Falcon Ridge I’ll just leave my stuff on my tarp.
I never got dressed yesterday, that is not a good thing for a blogger. You can spend all your time writing or you have nothing to write about. I used to be able to remember the fun things I thought of during the day now I find I’m forgetting them. The real problem is that I’m not writing them down. I’m still kicking myself as I can’t remember my insight into what makes Sean Altman funny. Maybe when I see Jewmongous next year.
I got something accomplished, I set up the Facebook event for On Your Radar at the Landmark with Caravan of Thieves, Roosevelt Dime and Matt Nakoa. That’s a special road trip OYR in Port Washington. It’s an all-star show, they are OYR alumni. I discovered something about the new create event interface Facebook introduced recently. There is a play you can add cohosts. The button that’s supposed to do that has been dead for a year. It’s still there and that’s now how you do it. It can only be done while creating or editing the event.
I have been on a movie watching binge. I watched two yesterday, A Midnight Clear and X-Men 2 aka X-2: X-Men United; two very different films. You probably know the X-Men film. Those are just great superhero films, more intellectual than most without skimping on the action. It’s well thought out enough that Mutant Issue is relevant to the way we treat Muslims. It shows how the effort to fight the terrorists can create terrorist.
You probably don’t know A Midnight Clear. Please comment on Facebook if you have. This is a classic film that people don’t know about. It takes place during WW II. It’s about geniuses assembled as an intelligence squad. “He figured with intelligent troop he’d get better intelligence.” They are in the Argonne forest December 1944. That’s right before the Battle of the Bulge, the great German counter-offensive. The 12 man squad is already down to six men. Their sent on a mission to investigate an area where a previous squad disappeared. They are stay in a house and observe the area. They encounter a squad of Germans, all of whom are too old or two young, old men and kids. The Germans don’t want to fight. They want to avoid the upcoming offensive. They make a temporary truce where they sing Christmas carols and exchange presents. The only one that can talk to the Germans is the Jewish soldier who speaks Germans. Even these good Germans aren’t very happy about that.
OK that’s the setup. I won’t give away more. That’s pretty much what I knew before I saw the film in the theater. The film is a philosophy treatise disguised as a war movie. The action is realistic and exciting. It portrays the soldiers just the way my father, who was in the Battle of the Bulge, described infantrymen. They are always on edge looking for danger. The jump at any unexpected sights or sounds because that’s what they have to do to stay alive. Half of them have already died. It’s also a much better depiction of geniuses than you normally get in film and TV. They don’t act like a bunch of freaks. But they do do things like invent a form of duplicate bridge played on paper because they lost their only deck of cards when the soldier carrying it was killed. The story is narrated by Sgt. William Knott. He says that he was called Will Knot since he was a kid but only in the genius squad was he called Won’t. The film shows the brutality and insanity of war. It also doesn’t portray people as idiots. You hate their commanding officer because he’s an SOB but he’s not stupid.
It's so rare to find a film that speaks to both the mind and heart to such great effect. It’s not coldly intellectual or idiotically emotional.
Is it a Christmas film? It certainly takes place near Christmas. It’s title comes from a Christmas Carol. It could have been written as a Christmas movie with an uplifting story. But it doesn’t because it takes place right before and during one the darkest cruelest events, WW II in general and specifically the Battle of the Bulge. It eschewed elements that would have been heart-warming. But I’m still calling it as Christmas movie but a marginal one. It’s a war movie for sure. I thought I remembered it being based on a true story and it is. It’s based on a book by someone who was there. I’m guessing the one William Knott was based on. The film feels like it was written by someone who was there. It reminds me of my father telling me about the war. I don’t think he ever saw it though I recommended it to him. I’m recommending it to you. If you’re a cinephile put it on your queue. You can watch it on YouTube like I did, A Midnight Clear, just follow that link. Give it your full attention, it warrants it.
I made my favorite dinner last night, sweet garlic chicken and shai-hulud potato. I am going to have to give up and go disposable. I have been making it in a pyrex baking dish but it’s just too hard to clean. The cheap foil pans are 20 cents and I throw them out when I’m done instead of washing them. I know that’s not environmentally friendly but I am using much less hot water so burning less fossil fuels. I am also saving myself 20 minutes of cleanup. I have to soak the pyrex for hours then scrub it with steel wool and abrasive cleaner.
Now to make a very late brunch. I don’t have therapy today because of the holidays so I can do that. I still want to go to Union Square for cheap bagels and I have to go to Trader Joe’s for a few things. Maybe Stop & Shop too.
Brother Brothers in Arms - October 01, 2017
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