TODAY FROM AMERICA:
A. POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN CALIFORNIA:
Autumn has snuck into El Dorado Hills. Summer left the Sierra foothills like a politician blowing town after losing an election.
I have begun preparations for my departure Sunday. Why it takes so long to pack, I have no idea. It is certainly not the amount of stuff I have. My clothing does not even fill up a single suitcase. Each item I pick up I stare at and contemplate like an artist studying a block of marble before striking it with his chisel. What is this? Where did I get it? Do I need it? Is it part of something else? How do I fold it? Where should it go? Will I ever see it again? Will I ever use it? What is it really for? ….and so on.
Yesterday I watched on television the movies Patton, Midway and Apocalypse Now. A television network was having a festival of war movies. While watching for about 8 hours, I began to notice something about the commercials that struck me as strange. Of the over 200 commercials presented during that time, only one was for an American produced manufactured item. All the rest were either ads for financial products, food products, stores that stocked mostly foreign manufactured goods, various entertainment efforts, a few communication companies and four ads for foreign produced automobiles.
War movies are mostly guy things. They are made for men and concerned with men doing men things. Killing each other in great numbers is a man thing. Crying in anguish over the death of a comrade killed by one of the survivors of those he and his comrade have attempted to slaughter is another guy thing.
Women in war movies are rare. They appear only in an attempt to prove that in war movies the men are not, as most sensible people suspect, sleeping with each other.
At least one or two men in the war movies sleep with something that looks, if not acts, like a woman. These are generally portrayed as creatures whose minds are much smaller than their vaginas. Although we are often exposed to the limits of their minds we never actually see their vaginas. The men in the movies pretend their vaginas do not exist. One can surmise however that they must be robust for the men to be so interested in these insipid creatures during their inevitably brief appearances. it is either that or their shoes are too tight.
Apocalypse Now is the ultimate man’s movie. The plot is about a love affair between two men — a psychopathic, depressed, serial murderer and substance abuser goes in search of another psychopathic, depressed serial killer (but alas not a substance abuser) and kills him; a war movie‘s version of orgasm.
Another notable feature of the movie is its emphasis on the males speech patterns, or man talk. Speech to a man is not an invitation to a dialog as it is with women but the declaration in a simple laconic statement their world view of the moment as uncontested fact — even if no one else either agrees or has any idea what he is talking about.
For example, The Dennis Hopper character, a war photographer (probably into SM) and to whom Captain Willard had just warned “You take my picture again I am going to kill you.” asks Willard who is tied up in a cage (SM alert) :
“Why would a nice guy like you want to kill a genius?”
Later he announces:
“The man is clear in his mind but his soul is mad.”
Robert Duvall portraying the surfing obsessed battlefield commander who loves waking up with the smell of napalm tickling his nostrils and observes archly that “Charlie don’t surf” comments:
“This war is run by four star clowns who are giving away the whole circus.”
Upon coming upon a platoon guarding a bridge at night during a particularly psychedelic fire fight Willard asks a one of the stoned platoon members, “Soldier who is in charge here? “ The soldier responds, “Aint you?”
“The horror. The horror.”
MOPEY JOE’S MEMORIES:
Old man’s memories, Don Lundy (Cont.):
Most of us, born into the Southern Italian tradition had nicknames. In addition to “Sir Rinse,” our gang included, Frank “Soupy,” Supa, Louis “Louie,” DeLago, Charles “Chazz,” DeVito, Peter “Whitey,” White (Whitey, was non ethnic originally from Saugerties NY and considered a “hick.” He was the groups best all around sports athlete. (He had a sister who was not 100% and who the older boys had their way with.)), and Edward “Neddy,” Callaghan, a small Irish kid who was my rival in non-sport athletics such as climbing trees and buildings.
I used to like to climb into the tallest of the trees that dotted the neighborhood. I would climb until I reached the topmost and thinnest branch. There I would cling to that branch as it swayed back and forth and bent under my weight. I liked the view from the top and the rush I would get as the breeze swung my perch about. One time, the branch I clung to broke under my weight. I tumbled through the lower branches grabbing at them in desperation and felt them break under my weight as I plunged by. Each branch, however, slowed my descent somewhat until by the time I reached the lowest of them I had slowed myself enough to enable me swing gently and safely on to the ground. My experience so exhilarated me that I took to climbing up other trees and leaping off the top in order to experience the thrill and danger, just like some people take to bungee jumping today.
The local public school building, at that time was made of red brick with marble cornices about 1/2 inch thick marking the separate floors. Ned and I used to like to climb up the brick facing by squeezing our fingers and toes into the slight indentations made by the mortar between the bricks until we reached the cornice. We would inch along the cornice until we had encircled the building and then climb to the next floor and repeat the circumnavigation.
Every now and then someone in the group would call me “Mopey Joe.” I hated that name and so, often a fight would ensue. I was given that name by one of the Blount brothers, (the Blounts were older and not members of our group). They called me that because I usually walked slowly, at a steady pace with my head down. The reason I did so was that I suffered constant pain from flat feet. The pain forced me to generally walk gingerly back on my heels, compelling me to tip my upper body forward for balance. Anyway, the Blounts were African-American, part of the vast migration north of rural southern blacks that began during World War II. The African-American community in town was split between those immigrants and the free blacks who could trace their residence in the village back almost to the Civil War and before. They, this latter group, actually made up most of the village’s two or three person middle class.
Nick-names were part of italian culture, mostly prosaic and based either on some rearrangement of ones name, something peculiar about the person (I knew a guy call “Beefsteak” because of his fondness for that food) or insulting like “Gimp.” African-Americans however tended to bestow nicknames whether from affection or insult more playfully and seemed to revel in the poetry. Mopey Joe had a certain poetic ring to it, don’t you think? At that time, I was ashamed of it and hated it. It was only almost 70 years later when I started using it in this section of “This and that…” that I got to like it. I now have several nicknames some of which would normally be considered a bit insulting; “Pookie” and “Mopey Joe,” being two of them. Pookie I have grown to love and refer to myself that way. It was given to me by a small child out of love and trust. How could one be ashamed of that? If I were to rank the various names that people referred to me by, Pookie would be first, then followed by Papa Joe, Mopey Joe, Joe, Joey, Asshole, Bastard and Motherfucker (I have grown somewhat fond of Asshole, however, and would consider moving it up the list somewhat).
There were a few other members of the gang. Alas, I have forgotten their names. Then there was Donald Lundy, “Don” or “Dondi.” My recollection of whom prompted this post.
Dondi was “colored” as people of that time, in private, referred to what we have today agreed to refer to as African-Americans. In my experience no-one I knew used the N word then not even blacks with blacks as became fashionable later. The only people that used the N word were Southerners (we were told this) or classless white guys and crazy angry and often drunk people. I assumed, since my African-American friends at the time informed me, they like many others privately referred to us, as Dagos, Wops or Guineas (the D,W and G words. For Jews there were the K, H and S words. For those interested in these type of things, Wikipedia has a fairly complete list of ethnic slurs.)
Typically the complexities of racial and ethnic profiling and insults escaped the understanding of most of the children in my peer group in that village. However, by the time we hit high school we very much were indoctrinated into the world of sexual, racial and ethnic epithets and stereotypes.
Anyway, Don’s family was of the older African-American settler group that had settled in the village before World War II. I wanted to be his friend and we spent a lot of time together apart from the gang, playing and talking about those things of interest to little boys. I never fought with Don as I often did with my other friends and gang members. Dondi was too good natured for that. At times we ate at each others homes. Dondi used to like to come over to my house because at that time Italian cuisine was still considered exotic and spicy. Dondi developed a taste for it. I also ate over at Don’s house. To be honest, at the time I thought what Don and his family ate was “American food.” I was sort of proud that I was eating food that “real” Americans ate. It was only later that I learned how wrong I was and how bland real “real American” food actually was. (To be continued.)
This is a map plotting supposedly racist twitter posts sent a couple of days after the recent election. I include it here not because I wish to add my support to those libs whose voices thrash with emotion at their perception of continuing racism buried in the heart of every Southerner (to be honest, it looks to me like the racism is pretty well distributed throughout the US), but to point out that modern communications technology now allows your personal messages and thoughts to be classified and displayed for all to see moments after your often probably regretted burst of emotion. This may be something accepted by those under 30, but for an alter like me, I believe one should have at least a week to think over whether what you said or wrote is what you ment or even still believe. Perhaps we can have a delay function built in to things like this where after about a week the sender receives a note that goes something like, “Dear….., a week ago you posted this. Please let us know if you still believe what you wrote before we blast it around for all the world to see and either laugh at you or despise you for.”
A. What “Occupy” is all about and what it really wants:
B. So said God:
“Yet she increased her prostitution, remembering the days of her youth when she engaged in prostitution in the land of Egypt. She lusted after their genitals – as large as those of donkeys, and their seminal emission was as strong as that of stallions.”
1. Ezekiel 23:19
C. Election post scripts:
Ben Howe writing in the conservative blog “Red State” had the following to say about the recent election:
“According to all the sources I spoke to, the breakdown of the campaign can be traced to the primaries. One source saying “they looked at the guy who could raise the most money in history as a ride” adding that “money no longer matters. That’s the problem,” also referring to the campaign overall as “the biggest political flim flam of all time.” The result of all of these false numbers and inaccurate ground reports is simple: Mitt Romney had no idea what was coming on election day and his false sense of confidence directly translated into how the campaign operated in the closing weeks. In the words of one source, it was a con job. As David Mamet famously said, “If you’re in the con game and you don’t know who the mark is … you’re the mark.” Mitt Romney had no idea what was coming.”
Have we come to this now? In order to explain the electoral defeat of a business man running for office claiming that a business man is better able to manage the government than anyone else, we must blame his defeat on him not being such a good business man in the first place.
“It is requisite for the relaxation of the mind that we make use, from time to time, of playful deeds and jokes.”
“If is the middle word in life.”
Dennis Hopper character in Apocalypse Now
Correlation is not necessarily causation, but this case may be an exception.
- Some War Movies (trenzpruca.wordpress.com)
- War Movies: The Reader and In The Land of Blood and Honey (katninetails.com)
- Storyboard Art for APOCALYPSE NOW (geektyrant.com)
- Day of War – the Movie (bigiufan29.wordpress.com)
- Remember Veterans Day: Classic War Movies Of Heroism And Sacrifice (wycd.cbslocal.com)
- War Movies (doubleplusundead.com)