Thursday, March 22, 2018

The Light is Better



A young boy carrying a fishing rod walked past me as I was photographing a serene lake-shore not far from my campsite on Lake Lanier. He was looking for an open spot to fish. He stood among the weeds for a moment, looking at the deep, clear water. He turned and spotted a sandy beach area, free of weeds, at the far end of the cove where the edge of the lake narrowed and merged with the landscape.

He dutifully carried his rod and tackle box through the several hundred yards of underbrush to the clear spot. The water was so shallow there he could have waded out into the lake for twenty feet or so if he had just rolled up his pant legs. He carefully prepared his tackle and cast into the lake with all his might. The bobber splashed into the quiet surface only ten or so feet from where he was standing, his bait immediately sinking to the sandy bottom just below the red and white plastic bobber that rocked only twice, ever so slightly. He was fishing in mere inches of water. There was no room for any fish.

An old joke flashed through my memory:

A drunk, on his hands and knees, is looking for something under a city street light when a good Samaritan walks up and asks if he can help.
Yeah,” replied the drunk slowly,”I dropped my car keys and I can’t find them.”
The good Samaritan gets on his hands and knees and begins searching for the lost car keys. After a few minutes, the good Samaritan asks “We’ve looked everywhere, are you sure you lost your keys here? “
The drunk tries to focus his gaze on the good Samaritan. “Nah,” he says, “I dropped them over there somewhere...”
The good Samaritan sat up. “Then why are we looking for your keys over here?”
Because,”” said the drunk, “The light over here is better.”

The young fisherman had selected a spot that had no weeds to stand in, undeterred by the fact he could see it was far too shallow for any fish. I looked back at him as I turned to leave. He was still standing at the water’s edge, holding his fishing rod with both hands, intently watching his bobber that was magically suspended on the crystal clear surface, just inches over his bait. I couldn’t help but hope he never loses his keys.


Saturday, March 3, 2018

The Earth is Not Round


The world is not round. It isn’t flat, either, but it definitely isn’t round. To state it is round would mean there is a symmetry, a total balance of our beloved planet, peacefully and methodically plodding through time and space. There would be no tides, no ebb and flow, and certainly a lack of subtle contradictions. I know the world is out of balance because the film “The Shape of Water” has been nominated for 13 – let me spell that – thirteen – Academy Awards. There is definitely something wrong with our slowly spinning, normally predictable planet.

I understand that I may be the one who is out of balance here, but I just spent nine dollars and ninety-five cents – senior discount – to sit through what I consider to be the most ludicrous, offensive, and downright stupid films I have ever seen. Seriously, I put “Mars Attacks” on a pedestal compared to this film that has been elevated to God-like cult status. Mars Attacks was at least fun to watch. Even the dance scene with the creature from the black lagoon - seriously. I’m not joking - doing a Fred Astaire/Ginger Rogers Felliniesque dream sequence, failed to elevate the film above the murky, tannin-colored realm of despair. 

The standard Hollywood formula of oil company bad, government agent bad, everybody bad except the maligned hero/heroine and his/her mentor, was spiced with a dash of, believe it or not, a Soviet spy with a heart. The pathetic mentor, according to formula, has to be convinced the hero/heroine can save humanity and together, along with a co-worker – black, of course – and the good Soviet agent – he’s really a doctor – defeat the forces of evil wearing the red, white, and blue.

It wears thin in less time than it takes to get the lid off the popcorn bucket. The acting is well done, as if they know they won’t get paid if the audience laughs out loud during the scenes where the creature plays with the owner’s remaining cats just after it’s eaten the head off one of them. Funny stuff, but Mars Attacks did it better.

Like sex scenes? There are several solo episodes by the heroine to establish the fact she’s in dire need of fulfillment, and surprise, surprise, our finned creature rises to the occasion. I can imagine the excitement when they discovered they could wire the old lagoon creature’s costume with LEDs to glow with the enthusiasm required for such an event.

And healing powers? Wow! Another opportunity to fire up the power pack! For a primordial omnivore, even the convoluted Soviet agent bad guy/good guy could have used the “asset” if only his timing had been better. I have a problem with films that portray the old Soviets as the good guys and the Americans as mean-spirited evil doers, regardless of whose aquarium they’re trying to drain.

Time to dig out the old Slim Whitman soundtrack. Indian Love Song never sounded better.