Friday, 26 May 2017

Disturbed: The Sound Of Silence

Dear reader,

a new version of a classic. Thanks Lisa, for making me aware of it.

 The Sound Of Silence

Hello darkness, my old friend
I've come to talk with you again
Because a vision softly creeping
Left its seeds while I was sleeping
And the vision that was planted in my brain
Still remains
Within the sound of silence

In restless dreams I walked alone
Narrow streets of cobblestone
'Neath the halo of a street lamp
I turned my collar to the cold and damp
When my eyes were stabbed by the flash of a neon light
That split the night
And touched the sound of silence

And in the naked light I saw
Ten thousand people, maybe more
People talking without speaking
People hearing without listening
People writing songs that voices never share
And no one dared
Disturb the sound of silence

Fools, said I, you do not know
Silence like a cancer grows
Hear my words that I might teach you
Take my arms that I might reach you
But my words, like silent raindrops fell
And echoed in the wells of silence

And the people bowed and prayed
To the neon god they made
And the sign flashed out its warning
In the words that it was forming
And the sign said, the words of the prophets are written on the subway walls
And tenement halls
And whispered in the sounds of silence

Until next blog,

Sunday, 21 May 2017

A joke

Dear reader,

Rorschach in "Watchmen":
I heard joke once: Man goes to doctor. Says he's depressed. Life seems harsh, and cruel. Says he feels all alone in threatening world. Doctor says: "Treatment is simple. The great clown Pagliacci is in town. Go see him. That should pick you up." Man bursts into tears. "But doctor...", he says, "I am Pagliacci." Good joke. Everybody laugh. Roll on snare drum. Curtains.
Until next blog,

Saturday, 31 December 2016

The blackbird

Dear reader,

I just wanted to get some lettuce for the guinea pigs and walked the footpath, when I noticed a dark pile very close to the road. When I came closer, I saw that it was a dead blackbird. One wing was spread. Possibly hit by a car in flight. I knew right away that I had to pick it up and bring it to the park across the street. But I didn't want to touch it with my hands and it wasn't cold enough for me to have my gloves with me. So I first went shopping and at first I picked a small bag from the fruits and veggies section. I stuffed it in my jacket pocket and grabbed the lettuce and paid at the check-stand. I put the lettuce in my backpack.

On my way back I turned the bag inside out and put it back in my jacket pocket. A crossroad away from the blackbird I noticed someone walking behind me. I didn't want someone to see me, so I walked a tiny bit slower and the person passed me a few steps later.

When I was close to the blackbird, I looked around me quickly, if someone was close. That wasn't the case. I kneeled down and in turning the back again, I attempted to get the blackbird in the bag carefully. I held one hand under the blackbird and the other arm and hand around it on the side. I went back the street a bit like that to reach the crossroad and waited at the traffic to get to the other side of the street. I walked the big steps up to the park and noticed just how very untrained I am. Someone more sportive than I am, would have found it easier to walk the steps, even though I wasn't out of breath. At the top I kept to the right. I passed the playground. I wanted trees and something smoother than the path to lay the blackbird to rest. Only few people out and about. I would have expected more people taking their last opportunity for a walk in the old year. A couple walked far behind me. I didn't want them to see me putting down the blackbird. I wasn't sure what others would think about me placing a dead bird in a park. So I walked a bit faster to get more distance between me and the couple. Shortly after a bridge there were several trees close together. That seemed like a good place. But I needed to be quick. I kneeled down and carefully folded the sides of the bag down, so the bag was only under my hand now. That way I was able to place the blackbird on the ground. Farewell, blackbird. May your death be the last in this year. Get up fast now. The bag with me again. But I held it crumbled in my hand now. The couple was close. Have they seen what I had done? I walked fast a bit back and then the path to the right. Have they seen what I had done? Still no calls. Actually, it didn't matter anyway. The blackbird belonged in the park, not picked up by the garbage collection to be burned in an oven or whatever happens to dead animals.

Back to the park entrance. The bag ended in the next trash bin. I didn't feel like waiting at the traffic again, so I used the entrance down to the underground to get out on the other side of the road again. Back home again. Hopefully the blackbird would be the last death this year.

Until next blog,

Friday, 29 January 2016

M&M: Gridlock'd

Dear reader,

for the end of a year or a beginning of a year a movie like “Gridlock'd” from the year 1997 seems quite fitting. The movie is about two musicians, Spoon (Tupac Shakur) and Stretch (Tim Roth), who at New Year's Eve decide to quit taking drugs. The idea comes when the third member of the group, Cookie (Thandie Newton), has to be brought to a hospital after an overdose. They decide that life can't go on like that anymore. So off they go.

But the drug withdrawal turns out turns out more difficult than the two expected. They are sent from office to office and have to fill out different forms and meet requirements. Meanwhile they're also chased by gangsters and eventually the police is after them as well.

Howard Hesseman only plays a rather small supporting role as a blind man. However that man is repeatedly there in critical moments and able to help Spoon and Stretch. That's why there's even a topic on in the forum for this movie, where people discuss what role Howard Hesseman has. At the very least he seems to be a sort of guardian angel for the two.

Overall Gridlock'd is a nice, entertaining comedy for me. Especially Tim Roth and Tupac Shakur seemed to have good chemestry between them. I don't know how realistic the movie is in regards to drug withdrawal and the many problems the two in the movie have to overcome. But it's no secret that the American healthcare system is very bad. I think, regardless of truthfulness of the movie, this fact does come across in this movie. Contrary to movies like “John Q.”, where the drama of the American healthcare system is shown, here it's used for entertaining comedy.

Gridlock'd is one of the last movies with Tupac Shakur. I can only agree with the opinion of others on the internet, that with his early death, the world has lost a talented actor.

Until next blog,

Sunday, 17 January 2016

What a way to start a year...

Dear reader,

the first couple of days of this year must have been what conspiracy theorists have been waiting for: Ian Fraser “Lemmy” Kilmister died of cancer on December, 28 aged 70. Followed by David Bowie on January, 10 and Alan Rickman on January, 21, both aged 69 died of cancer. Okay, Lemmy Kilmister was 70 years old, not 69 anymore, but close.

I didn't know who “Lemmy“ was, until I heard of his death and David Bowie never fascinated me as much as he did masses of other people, who are now more or less openly moaning him. For many young movie fans Alan Rickman on the other hand is probably mostly known for the role of Professor Severus Snape from the Harry Potter. Older fans probably deride that, because for them one of his great roles is more that of Hans Gruber in “Die Hard”.

The social media seems very much divided, especially about the moaning of David Bowie. For some a world fell apart. Others however insult those fans and demand, that they pull themselves together. They were “only” fans and regardless of their obvious grief, they don't feel as much a loss as the family and relatives of the deceased. I think that grief of fans truly is different than those of relatives. However I also think that there shouldn't be understatement of how much the artist meant for the fans. Especially when it comes to people like David Bowie, who were active and present for huge parts of their lives sort of accompanying them. Regardless of all the controversies whether or not fans should moan, I like it that there are some also writing about different ways of grieving and about death.

When my mother died a bit more than three years ago, there were increasing discussions about death, dying and related subjects around the time of the last Sunday before Advent commemorating the dead (in Germany celebrated as “Totensonntag” - Sunday of the Dead). I liked that these things were openly talked about. In earlier times it was natural for a dead person to be lied out in a coffin in the house. The person was openly moaned, often with black cloths. These days black cloths are most often worn by metal or gothic fans and there are hardly, if any talks, about death and dying. Most of all Hollywood, model casting shows and series or documentaries about cosmetic surgery want to make us belief that juvenility, beauty and looking thin are important and desirable even at old age. Especially at old age! Death reminds us that our time will pass.

I didn't choose the following quote deliberately, because it was something Alan Rickman said, but because I think it fits. It's from the movie “Mesmer”, where he plays the doctor Franz Anton Mesmer, who is present at a party in that scene. A woman approaches him mocking a man, who reportedly keeps people at two arms length when they have the faintest spot, for fear of a disease. Mesmer tells her, “We're the only animal who knows its going to die. And we're also the only species that has some faint sense of perfection.”

Until next blog,

Tuesday, 12 January 2016

From the child's mouth

Dear reader,

the other day I was sitting at the underground station waiting for the next one. A boy of maybe five years or so sat next to me and a man accompanying him kept standing a bit further from the bench.

Boy: “Stefan, I'm in favour for not going out anymore today.“
Stefan: “Why?”
Boy: “Because it's raining and if we go outside, we'll get wet.”

I agreed with the boy in my head and stayed at my place for the rest of the day.

Until next blog,

Friday, 25 December 2015

M&M: Home Alone

Dear reader,

most of you will already know Home Alone from the year 1990 with Macaulay Culkin, one of the child actors of all time. If now, go watch it. If you missed it yesterday, there's a repeat this afternoon, much like every Christmas. (At least this applies to the German television program.)

Kevin begins rather pitiful. He's the youngest of an extended family and is either ignored or gets riled up. The older siblings don't even grant him a piece of cheese pizza! When he gets attention, then it's in a bad way, at least for the others. While the mother is totally annoyed with Kevin, sending him to the attic, Kevin wishes some quiet time from the others before the Christmas days.

When he comes down from the attic the next day, he finds that his wish was granted. In the haste of the departure for the holidays in the early morning, the others totally forgot about him up in the attic and he's home alone. Naturally this is like an invitation to make just everything he was never allowed. Eating ice cream as much as he wants, also his beloved cheese pizza, without sharing it with anybody at all. But things like doing the laundry, and the washing machine is in the basement, together with the scary heating boiler and shopping has to be done as well. Kevin manages being brave and clever. Just like when Kevin meets an elderly neighbour, he has to pull himself together a bit so he doesn't ran away in panic. But since he's alone now, he can't afford avoiding everything and running away.

But his cheese pizza order already hints that Kevin is by far not a little angle. He scares away the deliverer away in such a way that he runs away and is actually scared for his life!

Cleverly wrapped as a comedy, the viewer hardly notices just how sadistic (yes, sadistic) Kevin already is with his 8 years. He shows absolutely no compassion, but is full of creativity and a high rate of malicious glee, when he protects his home from “wet bandits” Harry (Joe Pesci) and Marv (Daniel Stern) towards the end of the movie. The two burglars against Kevin are almost like a real-life Tom & Jerry. Like Tom & Jerry, Kevin's traps against the “wet bandits” are pure comedy and you better don't think at all about what such injuries would do in real life. An interesting article with assessment of the injuries by a doctor can be read at The Week.

“Home Alone” is a very strange movie. It shows the experiences of a boy, who days before Christmas, the celebration of family and love, is simply forgotten by his own family and has great fun, as he protects his home in the most brutal ways. If you look at it like this, that's basically a movie in all points a movie that can ever get you in the mood for celebration of love and yet... and yet it manages just that every time, at least for me. Who of you, at the time of screening, is not busy with your own family, should go and certainly treat yourself with this movie. Although made for children, it's also a nice entertainment for adults as well.

Until next blog,