Movie Tickets as Tacit Endorsements or How to Review a Movie You’ve Never Seen
Movie Tickets as Tacit Endorsements or How to Review a Movie You’ve Never Seen
What’s ‘rent-seeking’? It’s quietly creating unearned wealth and widening the economic gap in the USA. Nobel prize winner Joseph Stiglitz explains it to me here…
10. My Cat. Winning the lottery would be awful for Beats, my 15-year old mackerel tabby. Our old house is the only home he’s ever known Beats is Lord and Master of his Castle, adorned with human food servers and door attendants, an anti-dog fence, ceremonial outdoor crapping grounds, and–the reason our cellar door is always shut–a spare litter box crawlspace under the kitchen. I could never take him away from the only world he has ever known.
9. Security. I’m thinking armed guards. Imagine a lottery winner living in a diverse neighborhood–that’s what you call a city block where two people have been murdered, and a third was sent away for the deed in the last two decades.The vandals who regularly loot my 1996 minivan would have to upgrade to figuring out the gull-wing doors of a Lamborghini. And the construction noise from building all those gun turrets might send Bud next door over the edge. My neighbors would go from this pleasant state of indifference and suspicion to downright resentment and hatred.
7.Unearned Bucks are Bad for Babies. I don’t care that they are adults. Once Dad and I began to wiggle our hineys into comfortable excess, the whining would begin. I’m all for giving people a leg up, but putting both my kids’ feet up and hiring someone to mix margaritas and order NetJets: uh, no thanks.
6. Business Schemes. People with all kinds of ideas will want me to finance them. I will tell them they are crazy stupid. They will get mad. I will be lonely.
5. I want to be disliked for who I am. Or liked for the same reason. I am not sure I would even like ME for myself if I had millions and millions of dollars. From my internal dialogue, I can say with certainty that I am not incredibly fond of myself anyway.
4. The Parade of the Curious (or worse). Sometimes people slow down to look at our old house. It’s pretty big, it’s decorated with exceptional cats, and it’s got a funky paint job. It’s hard enough trying to talk my husband into wearing underwear and stop waving to gawkers from the upstairs guest room. I would not want pictures of my buck naked butt-scratching nouveau-riche husband in a tabloid.
3. The Total Loss of Anonymity. In Great Falls I can still go places where I don’t know everyone. Yep, someone I know usually stops by my table at a restaurant or waves at me when I’m walking around downtown. The baristas at Starbucks know my drink by heart. My iced half-caf soy cocoa cappuccino would curdle in my gut if people slowed down just to point at my Day-Glo orange Lamborghini. It would make me so sad to have to build my own personal Starbucks in the backyard.
2. Fear of Kidnapping. See #10, #9, #6, #5 and #1. If kidnapping involves #8 or #7, please note that you have already been written out of my will. If it involves #10, my precious Beats, I will hunt you down and scratch your eyes out, force you to defecate in a sandbox and declaw you: this is no small matter, since declawing is essentially surgical extraction of your digits down to the first joint.
1. The Curse. West Virginia Lottery winner Jack Whitaker’s ex-wife said, after his granddaughter was found dead and over $100 million in winnings was squandered, that she should have torn up the ticket. Jeffrey Dampier, a $25 million lottery winner, was kidnapped and murdered by his sister-in-law. Winners Ken and Connie Parker’s 16-year-old marriage disintegrated within months of cashing the jackpot. Right in Sun Prairie, a stone’s throw from Great Falls, back in 1995, a 77-year old man died only a week after cashing his first Lottery check.
Face it, fellow losers: sometimes it’s more fun to dream about winning than it is to deal with it.
The New York Times last week had a feature story on the value of souvenirs, those special mementos that that transport us to special places in our past. Here’s the link (you may have to copy and paste, I’m having a hyperlink issue):
I brought something special from my childhood travels with me to New York City. Here’s my memento, ’Flipper’.
I slept in closest to the wall, in a double bunk that had been stitched from unbleached canvas and strung between two six-foot lengths of half-inch lead pipe, just sixteen inches from the ceiling of our travel trailer.
On the outer half of the bunk was my little brother, Roger. Below us, where big sister Cheryl slept, the dining table of our travel trailer seated all seven Reicherts at mealtimes (someone usually pulled up a camp chair).
Mom and Dad had the couch that folded out into the best substitute for a real bed, and from what I remember, my brothers, Greg and Robert, were outside, sleeping in a tent, where, Dad was sure, boys belonged.
If anyone had to pee at night, everyone woke up.
Even if I was about to burst, I wouldn’t even open my eyes until four a.m., when I smelled coffee and Canadian bacon. To this day, the mingled scents of salted flesh and chocolate earth make me wistful. Mom cooked at home, but in the trailer, an hour before the morning rise of his favorite rainbow trout, Dad was chef.
My dad always wanted an Airstream. With five kids and a fireman’s salary, just four years before he died, my dad and Duke Tedford built the best he could afford, a white-paneled job, barely big enough for the whole Reichert clan.
Me? I always wanted my own penthouse apartment in New York City. You know, with a balcony overlooking Central Park, a personal trainer and a guest bedroom. Like Dad, I lowered my expectations. Like Dad, I’m happy with what I got. And it’s a little bigger than Dad’s travel trailer (but not much).
A decade ago, before the trailer bid its final goodbye to the concrete pad in my mom’s backyard, I sat on the hideous brown plaid couch and dug around in the kitchen, eight inches away. Inside a rickety drawer, I found this flipper. I saw it in my Dad’s big mitt; I could almost smell breakfast at four a.m..
I might have asked, but I didn’t. I took it.
It’s not “stuff”. It’s not a souvenir. That flipper is a goddamn icon.
The pace of walkers everywhere in Manhattan quickens, the throng of tourists in midtown thins–though it amazes me that in the middle of a harsh winter, international sightseers still abound. In the fall, Fattened tourists give way to fashionistas, college students reduce their radius and buckle down for some serious studying, studding and slugging down their share.
In the last half of August, giant leaves begin to litter the greenery of Bryant Park. One fell right into my lap yesterday, perfectly ochre, the size of a horse’s hoof. A few days ago I stood on the raised terrace and watched the race for space at the final outdoor movie of the season (Raiders of the Lost Ark), blankets waving behind spectators like superhero capes, flying full speed to stake out the best spot on Bryant Park’s famous lawn. Bryant Park is a great place all year, but it sings in the summer: concerts, outdoor reading, ping-pong, chess, the carousel, juggling. The final summer jazz concert by the fountain was so large that fans clogged the sidewalk, annoying and entertaining passers-by at the same time.
The days and evenings are as sultry as they were in late July but in the wee hours, walking back to my place in Chelsea from a late movie at the Angelica, the thermometer dropped into a temperature that would be exhilarating if it weren’t a harbinger of the cold to come.
The Green Market at Union Square overflows–people are in the mood to buy more than they need, in response to an instinct to stock up: lean pickins’ ahead.
Even the little street-side gardens, wrought iron squares around boulevard trees, are reverting to ivy and bolting coleus, as if they understood the heavy lifting of sprits is done and it’s time to act their age.
The people of Manhattan ready themselves this weekend for the American rite of passage, when some parents usher their children off to elementary school down the street with a tinge of bittersweet pride, others endure the ache and expense of education far from home, and every autumn since 1959, short plaid wool skirts decorate the window at Macy’s.
On Tuesday morning, it will feel as though we New Yorkers have the power: we practically will the weather to change. “Bring it on,” thinks the college kid from Topeka, in the auditorium for his first lecture down at NYU. “Bring it on,” writes the buyer for Holiday decor at Macy’s. “Bring it on,” says the mother of three, who, exhausted and relieved, will nevertheless, look forward to next summer.
Bring it on.
soggy with joy
hailed my return by halting everyone
Better than a ticker-tape parade
a two hour wash-and-wait on the tarmac
a hundred feet short of Gate 8
Then, I got
gussied up wet at sunset
The shiny grit of Manhattan
pierced, dark, covered
After all, she’s an island in a squall
Wet leather Gothic
New York in late summer
is a woman just the other side of full flower
the moist ache of passing rain
that used to pound and bounce.
the wet parts roll off
in the City
Why read a bad book? A story doesn’t have to win a Pulitzer to provide a lesson.
Here’s an excerpt from my ‘writer’s review’ of Matthew Reilly’s Seven Deadly Wonders:
…”And there’s a ‘yadda, yadda’ aura around quite a few of the roadblocks, blowholes, etc. There are four or five times in this book that I felt I was caught in a Chutes and Ladders marathon, or Rube Goldberg had a head injury and came out oozing sadism.
The lesson? Don’t write yourself into the same corner over and over again.
If adverbs were grout, the book would look like one of those brick buildings with the bulging pointing between each clinker.
I am not a big fan of exclamation points. Reilly loves them! His editor loves them! His agent loves them! Me, not so much!”
Read the entire review at http://baizblogger.hubpages.com/hub/What-a-Bad-Book-Can-Teach-an-Aspiring-Writer