Saturday, February 17, 2018
Thursday, February 15, 2018
Seventeen high school children killed in Florida; or should we say, just another school shooting.
Canadian children and U.S. children are homogenous. Some small percentage of Canadian children suffer ridicule, depression and bullying just like American kids. Yet, Canadian children do not attend school every day in fear of carnage.
The reason is obvious: Canada has strict gun control laws.
Any politician that talks publicly about background checks and mental health, to distract from the elephant in the room - guns, is complicit in the death of all the children that have died of gun violence over the past decade. They may as well have stood at the scenes of the shootings and pass the clips to the shooters.
Tuesday, February 13, 2018
This is the two hundredth anniversary of Mary Shell’s Frankenstein. This story has been interpreted in so many different ways, and portrayed differently in dozens of movies, that we often lose the thread that this was written strictly as a horror story.
Mary, her lover Percy Shelly and John Polidori, while visiting Lord Byron, decided to have a competition to see who could produce the best horror story. Mary produced Frankenstein while John Polidori produced The Vampyre – the basis for Bram Stoker’s Dracula.
In the book, ‘The monster’ is not some stumbling halfwit with a killer instinct, but an intelligent creature alone and out of place in a cruel and intolerant world.
Scholars continually dissect the story and try to attribute their own interpretation as the meaning that Mary Shelly intended (check out YouTube.)
Any story that has remained a popular icon for two hundred years has to be considered a classic. The word Frankenstein in now in our lexicon and the story firmly rooted in our culture.
The real depth to Mary’s story is that it illustrates so many human frailties, it can reach each of us on a personal level.
There are many analogies that can be made to the story: a creation of man - that loses control of his creation and takes on a life of its own.
My favorite representation of ‘the monster’ occurs in Penny Dreadful – available on Netflix.
You might want to make this one of the books on your bucket list.
My wife and I just saw the movie The Post: the story of the release of the Pentagon Papers by the Washington Post.
The Pentagon Papers proved that from the start of the Vietnam war the government knew we could not win. There was no strategy to win.
58,000 men died in Vietnam and hundreds of thousands came home wounded in body or mind. I saw young men dead and stacked like cord wood on pallets waiting for the C-130. Young men coming home with colostomy bags and arms and legs missing. A young girl yelled at me, ‘How many babies did you kill?’ when I got off the plane in California on my way home.
The reason we couldn’t win, in my opinion, was North Vietnam was being trained, supplied and supported by China. There were Chinese regular troops in the North and an attack on the North would have brought China into the war.
The whole reason we were there, I believe, was the U.S. saw China a future threat and wanted to have a nuclear capable airbase, within striking distance, on the southern border of China. No one in the government gave a rat’s ass about South Vietnam.
I have never understood why Vietnam vets celebrate the government. We should all be mad as hell and understand that the government uses the military as pawns on the chess board, while the players sit in Washington safe with their deferments.
Anyway, the movie was great – a must see. It is applicable to what is happening today between the government and the news media.
Monday, February 12, 2018
During my lifetime I have owned 24 automobiles, eight of them trucks. Of those eight trucks six of them were four-wheel drive. I now own a little Toyota RAV-4.
Those four-wheel drive trucks had bulk, high clearance, and powerful V-8 engines. But none of those trucks handled as well on icy slick roads as this little RAV-4 with all-wheel drive.
The wheels on this car drive independently. If one wheel loses traction the other three immediately adjust to compensate. I don’t have the bulk, the power or the clearance, and I only get 24 miles to the gallon; but this little car safely outperforms those four-wheel drives on our icy Maine roads.
My car is a 2012 I bought new in 2013, along with the 10-year extended warranty. We paid it off this year and I intend to keep it for at least another five years. This year I am going to have to replace the front brake shoes; but otherwise it has been maintenance free.
If you are thinking about buying a vehicle you might want to consider a Toyota Rav-4.
I sure like mine.