Friday, January 29, 2016

Well, that was fun.

"It's been how long since I posted?", he thought to himself. (Take that rules of punctuation.) Uh, oh. He's feeling a little surly today. Ah, yes, it's 'talk about yourself in the third person day'. Actually, I've no idea if such a day exists, but why shouldn't it? After a quick Google search, it turns out it does exist - every Third of March. Should'da known. As I look up I see that it is snowing to beat the band, although why anyone, or for that matter the snow, wants to beat the band is beyond me. (ba-dum dumb)

You'll have to excuse me, I've been cooped up a bit too long. (Internal struggle - overcoming urge to add picture of Gary Cooper.) That freakin' cold I had since just before Thanksgiving to about Christmas either came back again, or I got another one. Only this time, I went down for the count. I'm not the kind of guy who can lay in bed when I'm not feeling well. Usually, I get up, clean myself, up, read, watch tv, listen to music, etc. and keep things fairly quiet. This time I ended up in bed for three and a half days. And it wasn't like I was just lyin' there staring at the uneven place on the textured plaster ceiling - nope, I slept. Last Saturday (Jan, 23rd) I didn't even do my radio show.

Speaking of my radio show, I've got a couple of them to catch up on posting here. So, let's get the first one out of the way right now with the show from Saturday January 9th, 2016. That program began with a tribute to Kitty Kallen, songbird with the bands of Jan Savitt, Jack Teagarden, Jimmy Dorsey, and Harry James. Ms. Kallen shuffled off the mortal coil on January the 7th. Then it was off to January 1945 as the Philco tuned in The Kraft Music Hall with Bing Crosby (and guests Spike Jones and His City Slickers!).

Between being constantly sick (all chest and up, thankfully), trying to keep the radio station going, trying to shop for food while in a muddle-daze, trying to find enough energy to cook a decent meal, you know - the usual suspects - I have to admit that I'm not getting a heck of a lot done. I have watched a couple of movies I had on the cable box DVR. The other night I watched the 1936 "Things to Come", with a script by H.G. Wells based on his own book. I last saw it in the early to mid 1970's. Made in England in 1936, the story starts with an all out world war in 1940, which more or less ends in the late 1960's with a new dark age and a plague; salvation arriving in the 1970's with the intervention of scientists and their "Wings Over the World" organization. By 2036, the populace begin to rebel against the more or less totalitarian technocracy that replaced the totalitarian society before it. It's the triumph of the luddites that gives rise to philosophical debate. That's a heck of a lot of oversimplification, but the subject is worth noting - let's face it, there just haven't been all that many movies that ruminate on the nature of war, good versus evil, the future of civilization, the nature of progress, and humankind's place in the universe. Besides, I find it wonderfully reassuring the cities of the future will be of art deco designs.

I have to make an admission here. It's been many years since I really gave myself anything much for Christmas. From my childhood years into my late 40's, I was an active film collector. I miss movies shown at a proper size. I like movies on tv well enough, but at the modern standard (?) of 32" or so they are still tv images. Certainly I watched many years of movies on a 19" screen growing up. But most movies are meant to be bigger than life, or at least bigger than a tv screen. So this past holiday, after scrimping and saving for quite awhile, I gave myself a cheap little video projector. It was one of those momentary "oh, hell, just do it" moments. And I'm very happy I did it. It's a tad awkward to use, as the method of projecting I prefer, down the length of my space, will give my own viewing a large and wonderful picture, but won't work very well for inviting guests over - due to the arraignment of the furniture they'll be far too close to the screen. My old motorized 5' screen is perfect for older movies with a more or less square shape (a ratio of 1.33:1). But it isn't big enough for the tv version of widescreen (16:9, which isn't the size of any widescreen process ever used). My 10 foot screen would be perfect for this, but at the moment it is in storage in a friend's barn. It will need a bit of sprucing up and possibly bleaching of the surface to make it useable, and even then that designation may be somewhat questionable. At the moment, I'm simply using a wall that is a light beige color, projected across the room so friends can sit and watch as well. Here's a pic of the widescreen image, shown in snowy day daylight (thin drapes closed, but still light enough to read a book or newspaper)(sorry about getting the fan blade in the picture). The image is roughly 6 feet long by 4 feet in height.

A scene from 'Jason and the Argonauts' in the tv version of widescreen.
Of course, this jump in technology will come with added costs. A standard DVD is of about the quality of older tv images. Over the last few years, I've grown quite accustomed to high def images. The projector isn't full high def (which would be 1080 pixels); that would have cost far more than I could afford. But it is the lower form of high def (720 pixels) and is pretty darn good, especially considering that it was priced quite a bit under $200.00. To be honest, I'm still surprised I spent that much money on myself. The problem is that movies recorded in 1080p high def via my cable box DVR are of excellent quality when projected - much better than DVD. Now I'm possessed of the idea that its time to go Blue Ray DVD, which is 1080p Hi Def. (I'm so old fashioned I prefer to own a copy of a favorite movie instead of paying per view.) That changeover is not likely to happen, and so far my DVDs look just fine. But the obsession has started.

Now that the images are of a decent size, I find I'm watching movies again. It's not like watching half heartedly on tv while I play solitaire on the computer, and etc. I mean fully engaged watching. This has happened just in time. The political commercials on the television are depressingly overwrought. My sanity needs to avoid them. The Republican party is out of control. All of their advertising (one can't forget these are infomericals selling a packaged product) is set in an alternate world America as they sell fear - where there are nasty terrorists among us plotting their daily bombings and destruction of our homes. Look - is that one? Report them now. An America where affordable healthcare has caused a majority of the populace to lose their jobs and live in dire poverty. An America in which the President of the United States has betrayed the country, and where those running for the nomination in the opposing party aren't fit for office. This isn't a distillation of what's behind their ideas - they say these things. Boldly. They talk about carpet bombing, they talk about rebuilding our military (which is still the largest and best trained in the world) and going after the terrorists of ISIS, capturing those they can, and carting them off to the Guantanamo Bay detention camp for the rest of time, where we -will- learn what they know. The implication of torture is pretty hard to miss. Oh, yeah, they are all for constant electronic monitoring of the populace. Give up that freedom in order to save it.

This political situation was going to be the focus of today's post, but I find it overwhelming to even think about today, as this is the first day I am really starting to feel better and I have a lot of other stuff to catch up on. The sad thing is these candidate 'contenders' don't even realize that they will not really be in control. They rail against Vladmir Putin, as though he has any real power left. When he was rattling the sabers, friends of mine were quite concerned that he was going to start a war. Russia, like China, is now part of the world economy. The interdependencies of trade and commerce have moved the actuality of power to the corporations just as predicted. At present, they can't afford war. There is too much to lose, and not enough to gain. When war comes in the future, it will be over economic spheres of influence, over who controls what products, what information, what data. Wars over who controls what geographic areas are passe, they are old school. That world is rapidly fading away.  It's part of what makes the immigration debate in this country so ridiculous. Forget building walls on our borders. Forget "figuring out who they are before we let them in" - that is already being done. If these people manage to get one of themselves elected, I've no doubt that the walls will go up. The real question is whether they are there to keep the infidels out, or the unwashed populace in.

There's a lot more that's been bouncing back and forth, but I need to get doing other things.

My radio show of Saturday January 16th took note of the birthdays of Sophie Tucker (the Last of the Red Hot Mamas), trumpeter and bandleader Billy Butterfield, drummer and bandleader Gene Krupa, and promoter, lyricist, and music publisher Irving Mills.

As always, I hope anyone who listens in enjoys the show(s).

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

So glad you are back among us.