American Sniper

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I like to pat myself on the back, because I was really of the belief that Clint Eastwood was a great artist way before everyone else realized it. It didn’t appear to be common knowledge until after Unforgiven, his amazing meditation on violence and the toil it takes on a manly killer that won Eastwood a Best Director Oscar. Eastwood’s entire career has been obsessed with notions of violence, justice, heroism and manhood. In so doing he has been an astute commentator on our love of violent movie justice, which historically American’s just can’t get enough of.

Eastwood started out in the Western genre and then moved on to crime thriller, and in both there is this need not to want teamwork. Americans for some reason like nothing more than sharing the supposed cowboy ethic of Die Hard’s John McClain, one man taking down an opposing army all by himself. A decade’s worth of soldiers died in Vietnam, but seemingly Americans are so egotistical they love nothing more than to see that John Rambo could have won that war all by himself. The absurdly entertaining Rambo II made the country feel way better about the disastrous Vietnam War.
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Send Your Ideas in Quick

America could really use an Ice Bucket challenge type gimmick to increase education funding to the inner cities. If you are lucky enough not to live in a bad area then you shouldn’t be so against helping change the ones that you think are.

Too bad that Robin Thicke didn’t plagiarize Marvin Gaye’s empathetic sense of social vision.

Why I can’t watch the NFL anymore

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Jim Brown editorial 2002

I actually believe that over the course of his life that Jim Brown has been a legendary figure and mostly for good, but he’s always seemed to have domestic abuse problems and trouble with women, and it’s mostly been overlooked by the NFL and the world.

The above article is over ten years old and yet it seems like some people are shocked by the league’s current problems with this issue. Here’s a recent quote from ESPN:

“Former Chicago Bears general manager Jerry Angelo said NFL teams didn’t discipline players in “hundreds and hundreds” of domestic violence incidents during his 30-year career, USA Today reported Thursday.”

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The Killing Revenge of the Ipod

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I used to think what a marvel the Ipod and other new technology was. Here I could have all my music, my books, my TV shows, my movies and all my writing all in this tiny device where I could access it instantly.

But now I realize the other edge of the sword.

Whereas once you left behind books and records and cd’s and letters — parts of you behind. Now it all can be deleted and forgotten in the blink of an eye forever.

There may be a trace of you left behind in the back recesses of some social media server, but that too is made infinitely small by the morass of everything else. All the infinity that you radiate still overwhelmed by how small how infinitely small we are in the big picture.

Big Sky – The Kinks

“Someday, we’ll be free/ We won’t care just you wait and see.”

Ray Davies takes on our insignificance and God and nails it in just under three minutes. There’s a great scene in The Third Man between Joseph Cotton and Orson Welles. Welles has faked his own death to avoid being arrested after selling watered down black market morphine that has been leaving patients deformed if not dead. Welles and Cotton are on a Ferris wheel and there is the danger that the desperate Welles might toss Cotton to his death. As the wheel gets to the top, Welles points out all the suddenly ant sized people walking about below. Welles compares them to dots.

“Victims? Don’t be melodramatic. Tell me. Would you really feel any pity if one of those dots stopped moving forever? If I offered you twenty thousand pounds for every dot that stopped, would you really, old man, tell me to keep my money, or would you calculate how many dots you could afford to spare? Free of income tax, old man. Free of income tax – the only way you can save money nowadays.”

I saw a quote from Ray that addressed the same issue; how we were all so small in the grand scheme of things, but how he saw the vast hugeness of humanity within each and every one of those dots. Ray should have been on the wheel with Orson, he might have felt some humanity.

By the way, here’s one of the coolest self rationalizations for evil straight from Welles after he gets off the Ferris wheel.

“Don’t be so gloomy. After all it’s not that awful. Like the fella says, in Italy for 30 years under the Borgias they had warfare, terror, murder, and bloodshed, but they produced Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, and the Renaissance. In Switzerland they had brotherly love – they had 500 years of democracy and peace, and what did that produce? The cuckoo clock. So long Holly.”

If you’re gonna be a villain you might as well have a cool rap.

This is how I learn – Jerry Lewis, Cassius Clay, and who is that guy?

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The above is my favorite photograph of all time. It’s also the only framed photograph that I still own.

I bought it over 20 years ago at a fancy art shop in San Francisco. Mine is cropped differently, is sepia toned and like this one has a fake Muhammad Ali autograph on it. The above was probably colorized too, but it’s the best version of what I have that I could find on the internet.

The photograph was taken by Donald L. Robinson. He is not credited on my photo.

Hilariously, someone penciled in on the canvas part of my print “Float like a Butterfly Sting like a Bee – Ali Liston circa 1964″

That circa 1964 thing always makes me laugh, because “Hello” this was a famous event and it’s date is incredibly easy to ascertain. The photo was taken May 25 1965. About six months before my birth.

There is also a great story about how Donald L. Robinson got this shot.

Can you see the photographer between Ali’s legs?

That guy was the preeminent boxing photographer of his day and always got his first choice of where to set up his rig during a big fight. So not only did Robinson historically scoop this guy – he also got his rival’s image right smack at the exact moment he is missing the opportunity to take one of the greatest photographs of all time too!

By the way I only know the above from some magazine article I read years ago – I couldn’t find a thing about it on the internet, which shocked me because it’s a very famous image.

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