Not too long ago my buddy and I happened to talk about how film maker David Lynch turned the book, Dune, into a movie. We’ve discussed it a number of times over the years; we both give it a low score (for reasons), but we also agree the book is a really tough film assignment. What makes me wonder is how, channel surfing that very evening, I stumble on the Lynch film just starting.
More recently, a chain of thought led to thinking about overly pragmatic people (of the sort many would consider ruthless). That sparked a memory of a Justice League of America story about how Batman completely alienates his teammates on the JLA when they find out he has files analyzing their weaknesses and describing ways to take them down. But what makes me wonder is how, channel surfing that very evening, I stumble on an animated movie based on that storyline.
And the thing is: coincidences like this happen to me a lot!
You sometimes hear the quote, “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.” It’s most frequently attributed to Albert Einstein although it is sometimes attributed to Benjamin Franklin or author Rita Mae Brown.
None of them said any such thing. And poor Albert, he gets more silly quotes (incorrectly) attributed to him than anyone else. I suppose the idea is that, if Einstein said it, it must be right. I’m not sure the actual author is known, but the quote is commonly found in Alcoholics (and others) Anonymous where it references the repeated addictive behavior.
I’ve always thought the insane thing was the quote itself.
Ever looping, ever spinning,
Passes a point.
Ever higher, ever warmer,
Melts all the snow.
Ever turning, ever changing,
Brings forth fresh life.
Winter’s silence fades.
Birds sing, life renews.
A new year begins.
Seven billion flames flicker in the night. Some burn bright and fierce, some soft and steady, some jump and dance. Every turn of the world, 350,000 tiny new flames begin to shine.
And 150,000 go out.
A flame that always lit my world, always warmed me, always guided me, no longer illuminates my dark.
My mom. 1924-2014.
“And flights of angels sing thee to thy rest.“
Death Watch. A vigil over a dying person. Waiting. Not knowing which tick of the clock brings change. Tick. This one? Tock. This one?
There are other watches. Surgery watch. That one often brings good news. One can be hopeful. The doctor approaches with a smile; tension releases in a flood of relief.
The only relief here is that someone else, someone you love, is finally free from pain. For the rest there is only loss.
The other side of a life. Birth watch. The watch that brings joy. And cigars and balloons.
Birth. Tick. Death. Tock.
Grains of sand passing through the hourglass of life. Each of us having that brief quick ride through the throat of reality.
And having gone from there to there, at last, coming to rest.
Computer programmers, and others who work with languages, sometimes use the related terms: semantics & syntax. They are concepts with a specific application to language, but language is communication and there are many forms of communication. For example, when music is viewed as a language one can apply the concepts of syntax and semantics.
This article (in my queue for years) was meant to introduce those two concepts, but my vision for this blog has evolved in ways that largely moot those original intentions. Why write about topics no one is casually interested in, and which are already covered in exhaustive detail elsewhere for those with a serious interest?
Besides,… this one… turned out different…
It’s poetry week here at con carne! To balance out the seriousness of Henley’s Invictus last time, here’s something a bit more whimsical. And much older; Andrew Marvell ‘s To His Coy Mistress pre-dates Henley by a good 200 years. Yet, both poems are about overcoming obstacles.
It must be said that the obstacles in question here are a bit different from the “bludgeonings of chance” that concern Henley. Marvell has something else entirely on his mind! And while Henley speaks of staying the course against all odds, Marvell’s advice is more carpe diem.
So for a little fun on Friday, I give you…
I was involved in a discussion not long ago that reminded me of the Henley poem, Invictus. Not that I needed a lot of reminding; the poem has been near and dear to my heart since high school.
I’m not very conversant with poetry, but I’ve run into a few “pomes” over the years that have really grabbed me. (In other words, this is one place where I don’t know art, but I know what I like.)
In the past I’ve published copies of favorite poems on my personal website, and I’ve always intended to write about them in a blog article. For this poem especially, no time like the present.
I find myself feeling “at loose ends.” If you search on that phrase, you find a big part of the definition involves the idea of “not knowing what to do,” although sources differ a bit on whether that’s due to having nothing to do or due to not being able to decide what to do. More to the point, most identify the main feeling: being restless and unsettled.
A key reason my ends are loose is obvious given my last post, but this river has other tributaries (I never met a metaphor I couldn’t mix). Certainly in my case, the problem isn’t having nothing to do; I have plenty of projects. The problem is the utter lack of fulfillment in doing most of them.
And, sadly, this blog is turning out to be high on that list.
The strange attractor that centers my universe for now is the growing certainty my parents won’t see another winter. Even the fullness of summer may outdistance them. The spectre came as slowly as time and a well life permits, but a thousand similes paint its implacable gait. Ages turn into years become months, then weeks, days, finally hours and minutes. All clocks stop eventually.
That they shall likely walk off into the Great Unknown almost simultaneously describes in the final act the entire arc of their life. In a word: together. Happily — no, joyfully — married for nearly seven decades. Never cursed with wealth, but ever blessed with love, they were rich beyond measure. They are why, even still, I believe in love.
To the extent I am a good person, look no further than my mother and my father.