Mother

Mother’s Day is May 9th, 2021.

Making cookies is a hobby I most likely gained from my mother. She taught a great many things, and one of the best lessons is to enjoy life. You don’t know my Mom, though you could imagine her, if you think of a woman quick with a laugh and a hug, generous, charitable, happy, who almost always has cookies somewhere in the house. Why does she always have cookies? They make her happy. Even more because sharing them makes her happy.

This is how I start cookies, with lots of butter. I like to smash the butter with a fork. Never use a machine, if you’re capable. You might be surprised how much fun it is to grind up butter with only your forearms and an ordinary stainless steel utensil. Plus, if you have any frustrations, this is a good way to work through them. Better to take it out on a bowl full of butter than someone you love.

Add all the other ingredients, like flour, eggs, sugar, and for chocolate chip cookies, baking soda. Mash all that together with a fork as well. What’s that you say? Your forearms are burning? You’re awesome. If it helps, try to think of how many calories you’re burning mixing these cookies and how many you’ll intake when you eat those cookies. You’r burning more than you eat. Tomorrow, you can make some more. And the next day, and the next.

Share them with your mother.

Recently Viewed: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

This is a post about movies and movie ratings and cowboys and violence, and a renegade bum.

The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly, or as it was titled in Italian: “Il buono, il brutto, il cattivo” is a movie which will draw you in. It tells a story of three men on the trail of buried treasure. Each of them has qualities and skills. Each man has his own story, a life’s path which happens to collide with the others.

There’s the Good, played by the now legendary Clint Eastwood. His path takes him to the treasure because he tries to help a dying man. The dying man imparts some knowledge to the Good and he keeps the knowledge through the film, only giving hints to the other two men seeking the treasure at times he feels it prudent.

There’s the Bad, played by the equally legendary Lee Van Cleef, whose character kills men, women, and children indiscriminately. His character is known as “Angel Eyes” and his role is the one I think should have given the film it’s R rating. As soon as he’s introduced, we see him murder a family. It’s clear from the beginning, he has no interest in other humans. His is the Sociopathic Irony, since he wants the gold, the treasure, but he doesn’t want any other humans to stand in his way. If the world had no other humans, the gold could have only a subjective value. It would quickly become worthless without other humans around to give it that objective value. 

Last, but certainly not least or less legendary, is Eli Wallach as the Ugly. His character’s name is “Tuco”. In a different kind of irony, let’s call it Movie Rating Irony, his role is the one that gained this movie it’s R rating. He is wanted by the law as a petty criminal (very much like the Good—they have this quality in common), and he meets up with the Good early on and calls him “Blondie” for the duration of the film. In one of the greatest ideas for movie criminals, Blondie turns Tuco in to the authorities for the bounty money, then rescues him, and they both ride off into the sunset with the money.

Though I just now made it sound like they only steal the bounty money one time, they actually do it multiple times, enough times you’d think they didn’t need the buried gold, and that’s not the end of the movie. Tuco and Blondie get in lots of mischief together, not the least of which is coming across Angel Eyes several times and getting away from him almost as many. He catches up with them. He gets the upper hand enough to make you worried. Before I give you all the details, let me tell you how it ends. It ends like this: “Blondie! You know what you are? You’re a son of a—“ Ah-uh-ah-uh-aaaah, Wah-wa-Waaah (The unforgettable theme music picks up from there as the movie ends.) So there you go. You know how the movie ends, but if you’ve never seen it, understand the complexity of the plot is worth a view.

Now for the reasons you might not want to watch it. The R rating. Apparently, nudity of any kind, even the brief, non-sexual, non-suggestive, nudity of this film took a higher toll on movie ratings back in the 60s than killing did. According to legend, the R rating was given because of the renegade bum, less so because of the murders. Personally, I think that’s a bit backwards. Make your own jokes at this end of the conversation, but seriously, murder is worse than nudity. Granted, it’s a movie about war, the Civil War to be specific. A lot of death is involved in war, so to make a movie about war and not include death might be a bit fanciful, to say the least. In my personal opinion, you can’t just cover your eyes when Tuco gets out of the tub and say you didn’t watch a rated R movie. There’s still some sick and senseless killing portrayed throughout the film.

Whether you agree with the R rating of this film or not, it is fun to watch. It’s fun to watch Blondie get the upper hand over Tuco and Angel Eyes when it seems like they should have the advantage over him. It’s interesting to see these fictional characters stroll through historical events and fit themselves in seamlessly. There are explosions and horse races and sharpshooters and tender emotional moments and edge-of-your-seat moments. There’s enough going on to keep the audience interested from start to finish.

Drawing power 1

Interest factor 1

Offensive factor 0

Range of emotion 1

Character factor 1

Style 1

Length 1

Total: 6 star film

OK is not okay.

Since man lived in a cave the arguments over words have been enduring. If you’ve ever had an argument about words, you know how ludicrous the battles can be. However, if you haven’t, then you might be surprised at how many ways people can argue about words.

The word okay, for example, has shown up on my radar lately. It can be the brunt of many debates. It could be argued that okay is not a word, but two mashed together. It could be said that it is a word, now that it’s been used long enough with an unchanged definition. It could even be said that okay is the least okay of all words ever.

Etymologists have tracked down one likely origin for the word okay. A news man, in a literary joke, that is still being played out on people today, spelled the words all correct as oll korrect. The initials stuck in the public mind as a way of giving an affirmative. The initials o. k. lasted for a while, went through multiple growth spurts, became capitalized, shrank back down and became a phonetic word sometimes spelled okey and other times spelled okay.

I bet you could guess why okay has changed so many times. . .that’s right, because everyone loves to argue about words. From wordsmiths to musicians, poets to plumbers, sign makers to marketing hacks, from writers to readers, the debates never end. A person sees a word, likes it that way, and that’s how they always want to see it. They’ll argue ‘til they’re ill, for the sake of a word.

One odd thing about the spelling of okay as OK, is when it’s capitalized. o.k. seems normal. Even ok is written how it would normally be pronounced. OK though, capitalized, suggests shouting, which could be confusing to the reader.

All capitalized words are to be pronounced as a shout. Three examples:

“HELLO,” came a voice from the well.

Sailor to shore: “AHOY, you land lovers.”

As soon as everyone was enjoying the movie, some joker came in with, “FIRE!”

Notice in only one of the examples above is there an exclamation point. If a word is capitalized, you don’t always need an exclamation point, because loudness is understood. Writers should take note how the words in the above examples show the reader what’s happening. Let’s do one more example:

The medic administered a sedative, asked how the patient was doing, and heard him become more calm. “Thanks for the painkiller doc. I wasn’t doing so well, but now I’m feeling OK.”

Did you feel how calm everything got at the end? How the sedative was making the patient settle? No? Me either. It’s a strange little writing hiccup, and it can easily be avoided. Here, though, I’m not even endorsing okay. The word at the end could be any number of words (fine, swell, superb, nothing), as long as they’re not capitalized.

The end of my argument is for correct usage. OK is not okay. The meaning may be the same, but the mood is not. OK would work beautifully if someone was at the bottom of a well.

Recently Read: Blade Runner 2049

The title above may seem inaccurate to some. They might be asking, “Did he mistype that title?” No. I read the screenplay for Blade Runner 2049, written by Michael Green and Hampton Fancher. I didn’t watch the movie.

Trailers and previews were all I’d seen of this movie prior to my reading. So I had an idea of what the script might be about, but I had no idea of the throughline, or the plot, if you like. Trailers and previews can be deceiving, sometimes even on purpose. The people who make the movie also make the previews. They don’t want you to get the whole movie from a preview, otherwise you wouldn’t pay to see the movie.

So, on reading the screenplay, of course I ran into the same characters you would watching the movie. There’s the main character K, who is a bounty hunter like Deckard of old. He hunts missing replicants for a bounty. He knows he’s a replicant. This is made clear. While the Deckard of old was unsure, K knows.

Deckard also makes an appearance, though his brief visits are mainly only an obstacle for K to overcome on his way to the more dominant plot.

There is Luv, a highly trained replicant who also knows. Luv says, at one point, “I’m the best.” Where have we heard that before?

Then there are a load of side characters like Sapper and Joshi and Ana and Joi and Wallace. Sapper, by the way, is my favorite side character in the screenplay. He seems to have the most interesting backstory that isn’t told. He was in some sort of war, and though from his description, you’d think he was a warrior, it turns out he was a medic. I’d like to hear more about that story.

The screenplay is written professionally well. It gives you the feeling or the mood of the world Philip K. Dick created and mingles it with the world Ridley Scott envisioned.

Some of it might not translate well to film. I can only imagine. Like I said, I haven’t seen the full movie, only clips. Reading the screenplay was immersive, so I give full credit for Drawing Power. I was drawn in like a fly to honey.

Within the screenplay were many silly dialog points which I could see were thrown in for “grit” or “edge”. But if you have to manufacture the edginess with dialog it means you’re lacking in events or conflict. These were brief moments, little hiccups in the screenplay, so I don’t think the writers meant to create hiccups, it just happened. They deserve the benefit of the doubt. Likewise, there were some events, such as the “ghost sex” when Joi and Mariette “join” to please K, which seemed as if the writers ran out of ideas. Earlier, they mentioned K not needing bounty money, so of course at the gratuitous sex scene, you’re wondering what he would need with intercourse. A replicant wouldn’t need most of what humans need. The question is a theme that threads the story from every end. The question can’t be avoided.

When Philip K. Dick wrote his novel, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? he was full of questions, but the one question he claimed drove him to write the novel was this one: What constitutes the authentic human? It only follows that we might wonder: What constitutes the authentic replicant?

Do they need to smoke cigars? Would they even want to? Would they eat junk food? Or, if they ate at all, would they be programmed to eat the most efficient foods? Would they need to breathe? How often would they breathe? How many doctor’s visits would they need? Would they hate the seams on socks like humans do? How would they react in an earthquake? Or a hurricane? The questions are endless.

The screenplay of Blade Runner 2049 skims over the philosophical nature of Philip K. Dick’s original work, but, to be fair, how would a movie ever give decent play to philosophy anyway? This is the major flaw in the myriad attempts to capture Frankenstein on screen. Frankenstein, the novel, in a similar ilk to Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, was philosophical at its heart. It just doesn’t translate well to a visual medium.

Despite this obvious truncation of thoughts when translating words to screen, I did enjoy reading the screenplay.

And before I leave you without even summing up the plot, here it is in summary. A new Blade Runner is out finding renegade replicants when he discovers a secret from Rick Deckard’s era. He hunts down the mystery of a possible human/replicant birth and hunts down Deckard as well. The answers he gets are not what he expected.

Although I enjoyed reading the screenplay, the secondary twist at the end threw me off that horse. Or should I say unicorn? I was riding the dream and then the writers basically threw a gimmick in at the end. In my opinion, the first twist was enough. The secondary twist was unnecessary. Maybe they thought the first twist was too obvious, so they added another.

My rating of the screenplay:

  1. Drawing power. . .one star
  2. Interesting. . .one star (I did want to know how it ended)
  3. Offensive factor. . .half star (mildly offensive moments; remember, this is for the screenplay, not the movie)
  4. Range of emotions. . .half star (same mood throughout)
  5. Character factor. . .one star (interesting characters)
  6. Technic/style. . .half star (the secondary twist at the end brought this score down)
  7. Proper length. . .one star

Total score: 5 1/2 stars

Strangeness Anyone?

Generally speaking, they’re all strange. Everyone’s just a fine line of weird from a ball point world.

They’re human? They’re weird.

They have a face? They have “two faces”.

Don’t get caught up in arguing with them, they all think they’re right, even when their facts come from the schizophrenic center. A highball and a hurricane taught them everything they know.

Strange doesn’t cover the disconnect. Weird doesn’t sum up the disarmed reason. Tongues can be tied. Intellects can be knotted. Feelings rule over fallacies. In fact, the greater the feelings, the more fallacious the flow of argument.

Separation of church and state? Somewhat.

Separation of science and emotional state? Never.

Angels of the heart always countered by demons of the mind.

The only way they can “be themselves” is if they have a crowd who thinks like them, dresses like them, breaks the same laws they break.

All of them walk like they have somewhere to go. But who told them to go there? Someone they knew long ago. Weird. Was it not obvious from the start? It’s a clueless mystery. A misty mystification. Tragedy in a plastic party cup.

If everyone’s weirdness is so hard to see, then what’s the matter with you and me?

Nothing. Nothing, it’s really nothing. Keep doing all the things you do and pretend everything is fine. Humans? They don’t want to know about your eccentricities, they’re busy romancing their own. They don’t need new oddities to take the throne.

Everyone’s the king comedian in their own weekend after-school special. Everyone’s the queen bee action figure in their personal stop-motion film. And if that wasn’t confusing enough, they switch roles and at times play the fool, the debutante, the courtier.

If a court had no fool, they didn’t think to find one elsewhere, they tried to fill the position on their own. Before you realize, they split on you, leaving you paying the impound fee.

Here, though, is the greatest benefit of everyone having weirdness in them: everyone has the ability to accept it.

Find yourself stuck paying for someone else’s major mistakes? Pay in carrots. Pay in flamingos. Pay in Pokemon cards. BAM! You didn’t just find a way out, you found a new friend.