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Monthly Archives: January 2016

 

Lock And Key

January 31st, 2016

On January 9 of this year, my nephew was born. He came into this world under less than optimal circumstances, having been born prematurely. At 4 pounds, 7 ounces, he’s a tiny little thing, and he’s currently well-cared for in the NICU. He arrived a little early, but he’s a strong boy. I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that he’ll be raised right. Considering the caliber of people that his parents are, how could he not be? What I don’t know, but can only imagine, is how they felt during the first few days of his life. Watching him hooked up to all manner of medical... Read More

Benghazi Bayhem

January 24th, 2016

During the last couple of years, there’s been a weird trend in movies. From late December to January, we’ve been treated to a film that glorifies the heroism, cultural superiority, and all-around awesomeness of the military. These movies have a few things in common. They’re loosely based on true stories. They tend to emphasize the camaraderie between soldiers. They tend to be all about mythmaking and completely free of larger context. In 2013,  Lone Survivor was released. It was a fairly dumb and fairly racist movie about Real Men Who Fought For What Is Right. In 2014, American... Read More

Unplug the Drug

January 19th, 2016

Television is a valuable source of information. We can get the weather forecast, see documentaries about subjects that are important to us, or learn how to cook at any hour of the day or night.  While having access all the time may be valuable, like anything else, too much of a good thing is not good. The current 24-hour news cycle style of TV, creates a culture of fear that creates anxiety about the world in which we live. There is a perception in America that we live in a more dangerous time than ever.  The fact is, crime statistics show a decrease in crime since the 80s.  Now, however, we... Read More

Crawling For An Oscar

January 17th, 2016

A great film doesn’t have to be subtle. Sometimes it shouldn’t be, depending on what the story is about and how it is told. Oliver Stone is genetically incapable of subtlety, but JFK and Platoon are a couple of the greatest movies ever made. Along similar lines, one of the big myths in filmmaking is that a great film is birthed out of a difficult production. Francis Ford Coppola nearly went insane making Apocalypse Now. Werner Herzog almost murdered his leading man and forced laborers to drag a steamship through the jungle during the filming of Fitzcarraldo. Uncooperative puppets... Read More

Get In The Zone

January 13th, 2016

Blue Zones is a concept used to identify a demographic and/or geographic area of the world where people live measurably longer lives. The Blue Zones Project, in partnership with researchers from National Geographic, studied the places around the world that enjoy the greatest longevity. Sardinia, Italy Loma Linda, California Nicoya Peninsula, Costa Rica Icaria, Greece They found that these communities have environments and cultural attributes that foster community, family life, connectedness, and physical activity.  Common traits observed among the communities are: Family is put ahead of other... Read More

The Love That Dares Not Speak Its Name

January 10th, 2016

You want to know why I love film? It’s simple, really. As a straight, white guy living in the United States, there are a lot of aspects to life I can only understand from a distance. Lucky for me, to paraphrase Roger Ebert, film acts as an empathy machine. I’m allowed the opportunity to drop behind someone’s eyes and get a glimpse of how they view and are viewed by the world. Here’s an example. One of my closest friends is a gay man. He grew up in a small, highly conservative town. He had a father that used religion as a weapon to try to keep the rest of the family in line.... Read More

Food for Thought

January 5th, 2016

Researchers have found that people who stuck to a diet that included foods like berries, leafy greens, and fish had a decrease in their risk for the dementia and related brain diseases, which affects more than 5 million Americans over age 65. There is an eating plan associated with this research called the MIND diet, short for Mediterranean-DASH Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay. The diet combines elements of the Mediterranean diet, that features olive oil and vegetables, and the DASH diet, an eating plan developed specifically to help treat or prevent high blood pressure. The MIND diet... Read More

Nobody Gets Away Clean

January 3rd, 2016

If you’re an aspiring or practicing writer of fiction, there’s one rule you’ve most likely had drilled into your head. You’ll frequently hear this from creative writing instructors and hacky screenwriting books. Your protagonist, or hero, must be likable, in order for the audience to relate to them. This is wrong. The fact is, your protagonist needs to be interesting. That’s it. Robert De Niro’s Jake La Motta in Raging Bull is a roiling sea of violence and sexual confusion. Leonardo DiCaprio’s Jordan Belfort in The Wolf Of Wall Street is totally consumed by... Read More