Bad News Bruin of Hockey

I’m sick of the bad behavior in hockey these days, especially from Boston Bruiin Milan Lucic. imagesNot only did he threaten Canadiens players in the handshake after the game last night – apparently he’s going “to fucking get them next year” – but far worse, he deliberately tried to injure Danny Dekeyser in the previous series by stabbing his stick into his groin. Lucic-DeKeyser-crotch-shot-jpgAs amusing as some might find all of this – to say nothing of water bottles being sprayed to insult and mock – it is terrible for the game of hockey.

Lundqvist sprays Crosby

Lundqvist mocks Crosby

Indeed this garbage is reminiscent of the dark days of the 1970s, the Philadelphia Flyers – the self-proclaimed bullies of the league – and Bobby Clarke, infamous for breaking Russian Valery Kharlamov’s ankle in the 1972 Summit Series. 1348214211_5None of this is a matter of “boys being boys” – as some are chuckling – but rather is a terrible embarrassment for the sport and must be eradicated. It’s not a difficult task. Suspensions of 5-10 games would work for the first infraction,  20-40 games for the second incident and a lifetime ban for the third. cropped_lucicThere are other leagues in the world, and perhaps Lucic would be a better fit somewhere else.

The Bad Side of Sagittarius

Horoscopes are stupid. Honestly, how could it possibly matter which day you were born? All of these planets that are supposed to be in and out of line are millions of miles away. They cannot have any affect on who were are as individuals.bad sagitariusDamn right, I’m Sagittarius. I say it how it is. You’re born, and it’s all suffering and death after that.

Although, to be completely honest, I’m not a full-blooded Sagittarian. I was born on the cusp with Capricorn.

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Which this is a good thing for me. After allI, as mean as I am, I am always right.
20140426_124036Maybe there’s something to these horoscopes after all.

The Dark Knight of the Hunter

The Dark Knight Rises (2012) and The Night of the Hunter (1955), films produced over 50 years apart, are similar in that they are tedious with predicable plot devices, populated with dull characters and saddled with stilted dialogue; in short, they are bereft of any effective story structure.dark-knight-rises-wall-streetThese films should instead be celebrated for the artistry of the cinematographers.

Stanley Cortez’s work on The Night of the Hunter, clearly inspired by the German Expressionists of the 1920s, is haunting in the framing and lighting. night-of-the-hunter-1Time and again, whether the underwater shot of a drowned woman still at the wheel of her car or the preacher looming over a bed, Cortez constructs shots that unsettle, reminding the viewer of the uneven landscape in our own heads. 039-the-night-of-the-hunter-theredlistWally Pfister’s cinematography for The Dark Knight Rises, although burdened with obsessive special effects, also resonates with this dark subterranean subconscious. darkknight460Inspired by a Wagnerian grandiosoty and the final macabre days of the French Revolution, Pfister does not allow the Batman, hence all of us, to escape this morass of humanity. dark-knight-prisonMore a collection of brooding images, these films are better in pieces, isolated fragments, allowing us the freedom to drift through our thoughts.968full-the-night-of-the-hunter-screenshot.jpg

Aeschylus & Robert Kennedy

I stumbled onto the work of Aeschylus through Robert Kennedy’s most famous speech delivered in Indianapolis on his 1968 election tour. RFK_speech_on_MLKIt is a remarkable speech not only for its profoundly personal nature, but also in that it helped turn an angry crowd away from violence only moments after they had learned of Martin Luther King Jr.’s assassination. imagesKennedy’s words are also remarkable in that he painstakingly cites Aeschylus as a guide to understanding:

My favorite poet is Aeschylus. And he once wrote. Even in our sleep, pain which cannot forget falls drop by drop upon the heart until, in our own despair, against our will, comes wisdom through the awful grace of God. aeschylusWhile rioting broke out in many other cities across the country that night, Indianapolis remained calm, in part due to words of wisdom written some 2500 years before. 

Godzilla in Repose

I understand that Godzilla has her bad days. I understand that she has this destructive streak and needs to get that out. UnknownBut what about her other side, beyond the fury? What about this giant reptile in repose? I would like to see her after the destruction, with all of that pent-up frustration out, what she does in repose. The sadness of the monster in her underwater cavern, alone and misunderstood, the beauty of her regretful eye looking over her rocky lair. cave,underwater-8ee37aef8ede67dbd8e27e587b745208_hTo understand Godzilla as all anger and violence is silly and human-centric; there is so much more to her than that.imagesThe question is when a film-maker will take on this far more interesting story, this existential examination of how we might seek a way out beyond all the noise and annihilation.

Afraid of the Sliminess Inside

I remember being afraid of the dark. IMAG1986I was afraid of being alone. I was afraid of the water, the sharks, the depth and sliminess. I remember lying in my bed, scared of my dreams, scared of what was to come, scared of things on my little body, scared I would die of something too young. Cape Breton 007I checked for early signs of a heart attack. I ran from wasps. I hid in tiny places I was afraid of. I didn’t want to be alone. I’m still afraid of that. And all of the other things too.

I’m older, not wiser, afraid as ever. I want to get out of that. I want to find myself, some truth, something that will make me the notion I hold inside or holds me. 20140419_195409It’s a funny thing, this interior battle, wanting to be another, wiser, braver me. I play that game. And then I pretend that I don’t. I’m better than that. I’m okay with who I am. That’s what I say to myself. That’s my little self con. 20140507_184134And I beat myself up and stay hiding, almost believing in my dreams, myself, but more  than that, stay that kid screaming inside. 

Chronicle of Wearing a Maple Leafs Hat in Boston

I admit that I went to Boston with an attitude. As a fan of Toronto Maple Leafs, I do not think kind thoughts of anything Bruin, and so donned my Leafs cap to represent the true blue and white. 20140505_205011I didn’t have to wait long for a reaction. “You guys have been losers since 1967.” The guy stared at me deadpan at the bus station.

My comeback wasn’t a classic. “At least I don’t live in Boston.”

It was going to be a long weekend, but I was up to it, and went straight into a bar called The Tam to watch the Bruins-Canadiens game, now in overtime. Montreal Canadiens v Boston BruinsI received a few glares and just one muttered comment – “I think this guy is messing up my karma” – but that was it. I almost felt bad when the Bruins lost the game.

The startling silence continued over the next day – perhaps because I was at a writer’s conference? 20140502_133530It wasn’t until I arrived in Cambridge that things picked up again. 0722_tstop_harvardsq_msA square-jawed, almost pleasant-looking man leaned out from an alley. “Leafs are the only Original Six team that didn’t make the playoffs. Did you know that?”

I wasn’t sure if he was right. It took me a couple of blocks to think it through and another few to think of my comeback. “Now I know I’m in fucking Harvard.”

I continued on to The Sinclair, preparing for the next attack.

“Love the hat, man.”

I wanted to detect a tone but couldn’t find one.

“Got to wear your colors,” said another. “I respect that.” 20140503_215803It wasn’t until I ran into an old friend at the show that the antagonism returned. “I looked up, saw the Leafs hat, and thought what an asshole. I knew it must be you.”

Gord Downie & The Sadies Play Harvard

Gord Downie and The Sadies played at The Sinclair in Cambridge on Saturday. 20140503_215803The opening song, Crater, is the kind of music that comes over you and drives hard, perfect for sitting back and imagining that life might not be that bad, that there is joy in the night. View concert clip here.20140503_230605The band offered a superabundance of terrain – rock, punk, surfer, country, folk – melding their new-found energy with sincerity, talent and screams. 20140503_220921And all of this, only the band’s third show together. Their cover of Guided By Voices, I Am A Scientist, makes one wonder what might be next, the hot summer nights ahead, when they will get deeper into their groove.

Just Writing Today at Grub Street Writing Conference

The weekend’s focus on social media platforms and the need to tweet burned me out this weekend, and so I focused on the good stuff today: writing. I tried to follow Mitali Perkins’ advice (Sense of Place in the Novel) in using specific nouns and verbs in a scene:

The patio was desolate – all of the building’s plush chaise lounges and teak tables still stacked away for the hurricane. My hands were sticky on the railing, the cedar trees huddled in the corner like scared kids. 20140401_153427The police sirens were more distant now, but the acrid smell of diesel fumes was still there. I dug the ball of my foot into the wood, squishing out the thick brown water and shredded brown leaves.

I was then inspired to write a character description in another class: Val is quick to smile, comically graphic, her whole face stretched out, eyes gone tiny, all teeth, stunning at first, her entire being revealed as a wonder-eyed girl, but arch and sad, needing to be loved and knowing how this was how to do it. 20140504_021420She wore little girl jeans, stone washed, and tucked her hands in her pockets, her thumbs out, leaning back, her pelvis girlishly out. She was adorable. And she knew it.

The weekend closed with the amusing and profound words of Walter Mosely: “Writers learn to be ignored and then envied. I turn on the computer in the morning. After that, everything is magic. Writing is my soul.” 20140504_130627Finally, in answer to a question about what it was like to grow up with a Jewish mother and black father, he responded, “White people have to learn to stop being white. None of us are the same.” As simple as that.

Meltdown/Epiphany at Grub Street Writing Conference

I slid into a bit of a self-publishing sinkhole today at Grub Street’s Muse and the Marketplace Writer’s Conference.

The morning started well enough.20140503_085533Dorie Clark (Reinventing You) spoke eloquently on the need to utilize social media, which she acknowledged as “an infinite void” where “you must prioritize your choices. Go where your audience congregates. Offer value and reason to engage.” dorie-clark-reinventing-you-HBRAll I had to do was find my niche. It seemed simple enough for my bad side.

I could build my community around a shared interest in exotic cats, firefighters, Newfoundland, orphans, uh, alcoholism and…performance sex? 20140321_223754I wasn’t so sure about that.

Jon Fine’s afternoon presentation was to the point: “Amazon is great if you want an audience. It’s free and you control all of your rights.” He reiterated Ms. Clark’s point that I just had to be willing to do all of the work, especially the marketing.

Literary Change Agent April Eberhardt‘s presentation also supported self (and partner) publishing, but she admitted that the cost would be $5,000-10,000 with no guarantees of earning a thing. 20140503_085800I wandered back outside and thought about all of this.20140503_085632Traditional publishing houses were becoming a thing of the past and so now this publishing thing was up to me, all of it, from beginning to end. Even then, I would probably not earn anything. 20140503_082824Yeah, I still have to think about that.