Archive for February 2013

Sorry, Woodstockers, The Sexual Revolution Actually Began Before You

The conventional story is the 1950s were happy but dull, whereas everything changed in the 1960s. We have constructed this elaborate cultural myth about youth rebellion, war protests and The Pill. The Sixties, we are told, is when young America rose up in a mighty roar of fast cars, furious rock and free sex. Economic... Read more »

Roger Ebert's Cinematic Conceits

Open Letter To America’s # 1 Film Critic! Roger, in your article in the current edition of “Chicago’ magazine you displayed some unusual conceits. In saluting our city’s decaying movie palaces of yore, you selected only the obvious big-site examples like the Uptown and the Avalon. Yes, these beauties — erected in the Roaring Twenties... Read more »

If "All The World's A Stage," Then How About Julian Fellowes Writing The Plot

American television viewers really get invested in their TV characters. Tens of millions faithfully followed ‘Bonanza,’ ‘Roots,’ ‘Friends,’ ‘Sienfeld,’ and now ‘Downton Abbey.’ Why? Millions of personal reasons, but overall it’s our way of living another life, one with all the appeal of set plots, dialog and outcomes. In the real world — well, “real”... Read more »

Too Loud Can Hurt...Too Green Can Heal

You and I move in a sound-and-sight-around world from the moment we peel off those bed sheets in the morning. Brush your teeth, wash your face, sip your coffee and into the maelstrom you plunge. Ever since the development of the decibel scale in the 1920a, some researchers want to know exactly how and why... Read more »

"The More Things Change The More They're The Same" Say The Old. "Oh Yeah" Say The Young

It’s one of the oldest adages in the generational handbook. You know, gray-beards uttering the words and young-ones not convinced. If Edgar Guest was right that “it takes a heap of living to make a house a home,” it probably takes a heap of attentive living to notice just what these words are saying. Currently... Read more »

You're Damn Right We're More Than Molecules And DNA

OK, so our brilliant neurobiologists are continuing to unlock the great cosmic secrets to our species. And this is good. Humanity was made to know. However, lately what the boys in the white lab coats are telling us is not especially good. Because there seems to be a pattern of reductionism. A persistent diminishment of... Read more »

Saving Frank Sinatra, Judy Garland, And You

Most everyone has a record collection [33s, cassettes, ipods] and most everyone assumes they are theirs to keep. However, time is the ultimate keeper, and eventually most or all will be lost. Which is why the Congress — in one of its rare moments of agreement and foresight — ordered the Library of Congress to... Read more »

Now For The Dirty Little Secret About Your Cat

Every pet owner understands the rules of the game. Dogs are an owner’s best friend; owners are a cat’s best friend. Puppies and dogs need us; cats need only other cats. I know what evolution teaches us about this, but I can’t help thinking maybe God is a dog owner, and he made cats as... Read more »

Surprise Choice For Downtown Abbey's Favorite Character

Most folks are catching ‘Downtown Abbey” on PBS. No, it’s no ‘American Idol,’ ‘Bachelor,’ or ‘Housewives of New Jersey.’ Theists and Atheists alike can thank god…! This BBC classic features great roles, great scripts, great dialog. And in recent polling a great surprise. Among the fan favorites is the downstairs headmaster Mr Carson. What? Chunky,... Read more »

Sorry, Tough Guys, But It's Really OK For Men To Cry

Show dogs and tough guys respond to their conditioning. Right on cue. Only the dogs may get a trophy whereas the tough guys mostly get applause from other tough guys. Still, there has been a long tradition in America of the tall-in-the-saddle hero who lets his gun do his talking. Cinematic examples abound from Tom... Read more »