And the Apocalyptic Horse Ride!
January 2009 archive
Jan 01 2009
Jan 01 2009
On Borrowed Time is a 1939 film about the role death plays in life, and how we cannot live without it. Set in a more innocent time in small-town America, the film stars Lionel Barrymore, Beulah Bondi and Cedric Hardwicke.
Lionel Barrymore plays Julian Northrup, a wheelchair-bound man, who with his wife Nellie, played by Beulah Bondi, are raising their orphaned grandson, Pud. Another central character is Gramps’s beloved old apple tree. By making a wish, Gramps has made the tree able to hold anyone who climbs.
One day the fedora-wearing Mr. Brink (the personification of death, played by Cedric Hardwicke), who has recently taken Pud’s parents in an auto wreck, comes for Gramps. Not knowing who he’s talking to, a crotchety old Gramps orders Death off the property. Later, Mr. Brink takes Nellie, and then returns again for Gramps. Now realizing who Mr. Brink is and determined not to die, Gramps tricks Death up into the old apple tree where he must remain until Gramps lets him down. While stuck in the tree, he can’t take Gramps or anyone else, for that matter.
Meanwhile, Pud’s aunt (his mother’s sister), has designs on Pud and especially the money left him by his parents, and Gramps spends much time fighting off her efforts. Gramps is also fighting efforts to have him committed to the insane asylum for claiming that Death is trapped in his apple tree. He proves that no one can die until he allows Death down from the tree by shooting the man who has come to take him to the asylum – the man lives, when he should have died.
Gramps’s doctor is now a believer, but he tries to convince Gramps to let Death down so people who are suffering can find release. Gramps refuses – he has to remain alive to take care of Pud and keep the wicked aunt away from him. But Mr. Brink manages to coax Pud to climb the fence Gramps had built around the tree to protect people from Death – any person or animal who touches the tree dies. Pud balances on the top of the fence and then falls, crippling himself for life. Distraught, Gramps takes the boy out to the tree and begs Death to take them both, which he does – and both Gramps and Pud find they can walk again.
The final scene has them joyfully walking together up a beautiful country lane, listening to Grandma calling to them from beyond a brilliant light.
As a child, I saw this movie on TV sometime during the late 50s; and I have never forgotten it.
Jan 01 2009
Steps the incoming president can take to build a peace-based economy.
The following is a memo to Barack Obama from Deepak Chopra.
You have been elected by the first anti-war constituency since 1952, when Dwight D. Eisenhower was elected after promising to end the Korean War. But ending a war isn’t the same as bringing peace. America has been on a war footing since the day after Pearl Harbor, 67 years ago. We spend more on our military than the next 16 countries combined. If you have a vision of change that goes to the heart of this country’s deep problems, ending our dependence on war is far more important than ending our dependency on foreign oil.
The most immediate changes are economic. Unless it can make as much money as war, peace doesn’t stand a chance. Since aerospace and military technologies remain the United States’ most destructive export, fostering wars around the world, what steps can we take to reverse that trend and build a peace-based economy?
1. Scale out arms dealing and make it illegal by the year 2020.
2. Write into every defense contract a requirement for a peacetime project.
3. Subsidize conversion of military companies to peaceful uses with tax incentives and direct funding.
4. Convert military bases to housing for the poor.
5. Phase out all foreign military bases.
6. Require military personnel to devote part of their time to rebuilding infrastructure.
7. Call a moratorium on future weapons technologies.
8. Reduce armaments like destroyers and submarines that have no use against terrorism and were intended to defend against a superpower enemy that no longer exists.
9. Fully fund social services and take the balance out of the defense and homeland security budgets.
These are just the beginning. We don’t lack creativity in coping with change. Without a conversion of our present war economy to a peace economy, the high profits of the military-industrial complex ensures that it will never end.
Do these nine steps seem unrealistic or fanciful? In various ways, other countries have adopted similar measures. The former Soviet army is occupied with farming and other peaceful work, for example. But comparisons are rather pointless, since only the United States is burdened with such a massive reliance on defense spending. Ultimately, empire follows the dollar. As a society, we want peace, and we want to be seen as a nation that promotes peace. For either ideal to come true, you as president must back up your vision of change with economic reality. So far, that hasn’t happened under any of your predecessors. All hopes are pinned on you.
Deepak Chopra is acknowledged as one of the world’s greatest leaders in the field of mind-body medicine. He is the author of over 50 books, including “Buddha: A Story of Enlightenment” and “Ageless Body, Timeless Mind.”
IN ACCORDANCE WITH TITLE 17 U.S.C. SECTION 107, THIS MATERIAL IS DISTRIBUTED WITHOUT PROFIT TO THOSE WHO HAVE EXPRESSED A PRIOR INTEREST IN RECEIVING THE INCLUDED INFORMATION FOR RESEARCH AND EDUCATIONAL PURPOSES. TRUTHOUT HAS NO AFFILIATION WHATSOEVER WITH THE ORIGINATOR OF THIS ARTICLE NOR IS TRUTHOUT ENDORSED OR SPONSORED BY THE ORIGINATOR.
Jan 01 2009
Seriously, I cannot think of one think to be proud of in this year gone by on a National level, other than the fact we elected a Black American in our still deeply racist country.
Not that he is indicative of any Black person I know, and will do anything whatsofucking ever to help their plight.
The only remotely positive thing is “The End of an Error” and the fact that the ring may have been sliced, albeit briefly, from Gollums hand.
My son gave me the button he bought last year with his own money for Christmas in celebration. It was his favorite button.
But still, this year is a MONUMENT to monstrosity, man, with no end in sight….
Jan 01 2009
2008 will be remembered as the year of a global economic crash and a turning point in modern history. It will not be recalled as a great year in filmmaking, despite a few bright spots. How, when and through whose efforts the consequences of the unfolding economic calamity for masses of people worldwide will find artistic expression is still impossible to say.
Jan 01 2009
HAPPY NEW YEAR
Israel rejects ceasefire move as divisions emerge in leadership
• More troops mass on border
• Hamas rockets land 25 miles into Israel
Rory McCarthy in Jerusalem
The Guardian, Thursday 1 January 2009
Israel rejected any temporary halt to its five-day bombing campaign in Gaza yesterday and continued to hit targets in the Palestinian territory amid the first signs of disagreement over strategy among Israel’s leaders.
Israeli troops and tank crews gathered in larger numbers on the Gaza border ready for a new stage in the fighting. A possible invasion by Israeli forces could range from limited ground incursions to a much larger land invasion of Gaza, home to 1.5 million Palestinians. Another call-up of reservists has been approved, bringing the total to 9,000.
Israel widened its buffer zone under military authority around Gaza to a radius of 25 miles after the reach of Hamas rockets extended to the town of Be’er Sheva
Britain ready to take in Guantánamo prisoners
Deal will help Obama to close down terror jail
From The Times
January 1, 2009
Sam Coates, Tim Reid and Richard Ford
Britain is preparing to receive foreign terror suspects from Guantánamo Bay so that Barack Obama can shut it down, The Times has learnt.
Government sources say that Britain now supports moves to rehouse the detainees, despite previous refusals to help President Bush.
A Downing Street official said that a process to deal with the detainees was being put in place and that decisions “would be for the Home Secretary to decide on a case-by-case basis”.
The issue is the subject of intense negotiations within Whitehall. The Foreign Office appears much keener on the idea than other departments, which will have to deal with the suspects’ immigration status and whether they will need special housing and cash benefits. Having foreign terror suspects with no links to the UK housed here inevitably will provoke controversy.
New Sentencing Guidelines For Crack, New Challenges
By Del Quentin Wilber
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, January 1, 2009; Page A01
Michael D. Thompson, a former crack cocaine dealer, thought he deserved a break.
Sentenced in 2000 to 15 years and eight months in prison, Thompson asked a federal judge in the District to release him, arguing that he had received an unfair sentence and has turned his life around behind bars, earning a general equivalency diploma and completing a commercial driving course.
Federal prosecutors said that was a terrible idea. Citing Thompson’s criminal past and prison disciplinary record, which includes threatening a prison official with a knife, prosecutors argued in court papers that the 37-year-old poses a danger to the community and should complete his sentence.
Jan 01 2009
The Rose Bowl Parade is at 11 am on NBC, ABC, and HGTV (which does by far the best job).
Outback Bowl 11 am (supposedly on ESPN).
- South Carolina
Capital One Bowl 1 pm ABC
- Michigan State
Gator Bowl 1 pm CBS
Rose Bowl 5 pm ABC
- Penn St.
Orange Bowl 8:30 pm Faux
- Virginia Tech
I have to say this is a completely substandard performance. I should be able to hangover hazed glut myself on sex, violence, and consumption through a dimly remembered bacon and eggs benedict, pancake, bloody mary, mimosa binge for a solid 24 hours.
I am expecting you to provide substitute amusement.