Thursday, November 23, 2017

Let's Hear It For Napkins on the Lap aka Sometimes you find solutions in the strangest places.

Where yesterday was a disaster as I struggled to find quiet places for us to hang out and he was increasingly getting agitated throughout making me frustrated while I had to hide that feeling and show peace and calm because he will feed off and increase his own agitation and frustration if he senses mine.
I had an idea last nite: I need a place that's quiet and I'd feel better knowing that everything is all set for me moving into an apartment in the middle of thanksgiving weekend. Electricity account ready to move, same with cable, mail, etc.
My new apartment complex has large spacious rooms in its offices, perfect for two people like, say my charge and I, to play uno, skip bo, backgammon, do some reading, etc.
So I got to do both things, find a quiet place for us today and ease some worries about me having forgotten anything.
So it was amid that I suggested we go find lunch and asked if he felt like doing something safe (going to a nearby whataburger or Mcdonalds) or was into exploring and seeing what he found.
He chose the latter and we came across Moonies Hamburgers. He agreed to try it and I'd been there once before and remembered they were famous for an amazing chili burger.
I asked if he'd ever had one and he said he'd had sloppy joes.
I said, this is like sloppy joes AND a hamburger. The shine in his eyes must be what it was like when prospectors saw gold.
When our food came he saw how messy it was.
And he did something ....
ok, sidebar:
(I've been trying for more than one year to get my charge to put napkins on his lap for proper table hygiene. And he wouldn't do it and I realized his family didn't put napkins on their laps either so this wasn't just a change in etiquette change for which i was fighting but changing potentially how his family does things. And he's not interested in being a change agent, at least not on that topic. So I haven't pushed that one lately and it fell off my radar.)
End of sidebar

And he did something that shocked and thrilled the hell out of me: He announced he was putting napkins on his lap. Now it'd be wonderful if he said he was doing that because it's the proper etiquette or he was going to do it from then on.
No, instead, he announced he was doing it so he wouldn't get chili on his clothes. And I told him that is one of MANY reasons people put napkins there.
But i didn't want to overdo or ruin so i just gave him a high five for doing what he did, perhaps a way to encourage more of the same in the future when eating foods that are not chili burgers.
Sometimes he doesn't want to try new things - today he was open to it and it went great.

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Classic Movie Review: Sunset Blvd

I had the great pleasure recently of seeing Sunset Blvd, one of the best crime noir movies, on a big screen in a theater with almost 200 other people.
It was all part of a local film festival. Last week's movie was Double Indemnity and next week's is Chinatown. Billy Wilder directed the first two and greatly influenced the third.
I first saw Sunset Blvd last year while doing a project I'd assigned myself. I wanted to become more knowledgeable about film so I bought a copy
of The A List: The National Society of Film Critics' 100 Essential Films.
With the exception of a few films no longer available, I watched each movie and read at least one essay explaining the movie's significance.
I was struck then and — even more amazed watching it again Friday — by the incredible acting performance of Gloria Swanson. She not only gave the performance of her lifetime, but played one of the best cinematic female tragic heroes of all time.
She was the original "drama queen." Next time you see someone acting so high and mighty about themselves, thinking nobody but them matters, have them watch this movie, which, incidentally, came out in 1950.
During the discussion I learned two interesting tidbits. First, since the movie was an indictment of sorts of the movie industry, it was made under a fake name — A Can of Beans.
Second, the movie was originally supposed to star the busty, beautiful Mae West. West later said if she had starred in the movie, William Holden's character would never have left her bed.
And yet Holden was given the gig only after Fred MacMurray and Montgomery Clift passed on the role.
The story itself is about an aging actress, a star of silent film, who seems unable to accept her time in the limelight is not only over, but that she is no longer the young beauty she once was.
But it's the acting, by Swanson, Holden, and others that really make this the wonderful movie that it is. Critic Roger Ebert calls this the best film ever made about the movie industry.
Movie trivia: The final line of the movie, "All right, Mr. DeMille, I'm ready for my close-up" was voted the #7 movie quote of all time by the American Film Institute. And the movie's line "I am big! It's the pictures that got small." was voted as #24.
If you have never seen this movie, you need to — there is so much in this film that influenced future stories, acting styles, and characters

Michael and Me: Reflecting On Michael Moore's Sicko

On Sunday I hosted a discussion of Michael Moore's latest movie, Sicko, at my church. Normally I watch a movie once or twice prior to a discussion but this time I found myself repeatedly rationalizing why I should not watch the movie ahead of time
About halfway through the movie I realized just why it was that I was viewing this movie with hesitation and trepidation – the problem was Michael Moore himself.
I have mixed feelings about Michael Moore as I wrote about in my review of his movie Bowling for Columbine. On the one hand he is a master at producing and presenting propaganda that is both thought provoking and entertaining. On the other hand he is his own worst enemy in that he has played fast and loose with some facts and done cheap stunts that make it hard to take his movies seriously, let alone accept as truth what he says in the movie.
Put simply I'm glad he is a propagandist for the liberals but I think he sometimes harms the cause more than he helps it. If only he could tone down his shtick and make a movie without all the hi-jinks. With this movie I had heard he had done, Michael Moore behaves himself and lets the story tell itself instead of his presence and actions becoming the story.
My attitude toward this movie was not unlike my hesitation at reading
Nick Hornby's A Long Way Down in that the only thing that could make the product bad was a major mistake by the actual artist. However, in that case I was worried Hornby would ruin his great track record of excellent books whereas in this case I was concerned Moore was going to, once again, disappoint me.
Well, guess what? Moore pulled it off. Sicko manages to tackle important issues about health care without letting himself get in the way of the story. This movie is more mature, more serious, than his earlier movies while still having needed moments of levity. For example, he wanders around a hospital in England looking for a cashier because surely someone is collecting money from the patients since there is no insurance to pay the bills. Ultimately he does find a cashier but that person is not taking people's money but rather giving money to those needing it for a ride home.
If you think the United States health care system is fine as it is you need to rent this movie. If you saw all the propaganda about national health care used to shut down Hillary's health care proposal as first lady, you need to see this movie. Incidentally he does not spare criticism of Hillary Clinton, pointing out how much money she and others of congress have received from the health care industry.
The most controversial part of the movie is the final 45 minutes. I'm still digesting the fact that people who responded to 9/11 who have been denied health care by the government of the United States were able to get better, and much less expensive health care, in Cuba than America and what a sad statement that is.
The movie reminded me of a movie I saw last year called 9/11: Dust and Deception, made by a friend .The movie is about the dust from 9/11 that hurt so many people, the same dust the EPA said was perfectly healthy to breathe.
I'm not sure what it's going to take to get national health care in America but after seeing Sicko I'm definitely much more supportive of the concept. I recommend seeing this movie