Movie Choice Has Been Reduced to

Netflix (very weak selection; no classics; no abundance of good to great movies to choose from) and CGI crap (Sonic the Hedgehog).

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A Very Funny Canadian Comedy

from the pen of Mordecai Richler: Barney’s Version, based on his novel of the same title. One of Richler’s best works, this satire is full of irony, ambiguity, and realistic flawed characters.

Barney, played delightfully by Paul Giamatti, is a tv producer whose love life makes up the core of the plot. His first hippie wife (Rachelle Lefevre) is a suicidal flake who’s slept with many others before she cons Barney into marrying her. Minnie Driver is the second Mrs. Panofsky, a superficial Jewish socialite, who protests too much and, after sleeping with Barney’s sleazy druggie best friend (Scott Speedman), divorces her husband. Barney has better luck with the love of his life (Rosamund Pike) whom he meets at his second wedding, though he ultimately screws up with her as well in his inimitable fashion.

This is very much a character comedy with each character proving charming, interesting, and flawed with the exception of Barney’s wife and kids, and Blair (played by Bruce Greenwood). Dustin Hoffman is hilarious as a profane Jew-retired cop/Barney’s father with his own unexpected redeeming qualities in Barney’s eyes. There are very many funny scenes and the script does not hold back on the honest Richler coarse humor.

There is a also a murder mystery subplot and references to the Montreal Canadiens games and players of the ’70s, reflecting Richler’s own fondness for his hometown team. What I found interesting the second time around was Barney’s forgetfulness/Alzheimer’s (something which is a standing joke in the novel) and how the script adaptation makes him more pathetic and sympathetic by the end of the movie. The viewer ends up sympathizing with him and his family on the home stretch, which is distinctly different and more believable than the original book ending.

There is a lot to enjoy and appreciate about how well done this Canadian movie is, directed by comedian Richard J. Lewis. The casting is perfect, the plot is unique, and the characters a pleasure to watch, even though they’re far from perfect for the most part, especially the protagonist. If I had to pick a favorite satirical Canadian novel and movie, Barney’s Version would be both. Two thumbs way up.

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The Importance of Actually Thinking and One’s Own Thoughts

(the Voyager Golden Record with the sounds and music of humanity’s/civilization’s best.)

“The quality of your happiness depends upon the quality of your thoughts.”

–Marcus Aurelius

(my italics)

Life, for me, is very much about living life on a higher plane of regard. This definitely affects mind, and lifts spirits and soul.

What else Aurelius said:

-Reason would let us choose that which was more in line with our higher nature and less in line with mere, ‘easy’ animal instincts. (Obviously people these daze prefer the latter, by and large, doncha think?).

-Virtue is the main good along with other ancient Greek excellences: wisdom, truth, justice, true courage, and common sense moderation. (Would you use any of these words to describe Trump, Trudeau, or Kenney? In short, we are living in largely spiritually and morally impoverished times, especially as signalled by leaders. We need far more of Marcus Aurelius models and less of those that William Faulkner called “glandular” in his famous “Nobel Peace Acceptance Prize Speech”.)

“Culture, the acquainting ourselves with the best that has been known and said in the world, and thus with the history of the human spirit.”–Matthew Arnold

(Unfortunately, today we are witnessing the nasty, mindless gutting of Western culture and civilization these days and those things that raise the human spirit and human aspiration, thanks to reckless tyrants, socially irresponsible ‘leaders’, and negligent losers like those mentioned above.)


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Trump’s “Justice” Atrocities Continue

Stone next and don’t be surprised if he eventually pardons Weinstein, a guy after his own dark self. We’re still in Feb. and there are many more crooks to be set free before November. T continues to f–k up the law and order of his country like he has everything else.

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I believe that:

“My religion is to live and die without regret.”

“Inner strength can overcome anything that occurs outside.”

“Company with the wise is pleasure, like meeting with kinfolk.”

“Learning proceeds until death and only then does it stop.”

“Nothing ever exists entirely alone; everything is in relation to everything else.”

“Friends are the siblings God never gave us.”

“Friends are flowers in life’s garden.”
–Okakura Kakuzo

(a 54 year-old school and musical friendship)

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Vanishing Culture: Darning

As in darning socks. Now the prevailing alternative seems to be wearing socks with holes (too cheap or lazy) or buying new/enough extra socks.

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Each Retirement Day

the whole waking day stretches long before you, even with appointments, chores, and other regular duties. No matter what, you should be able to get something concrete done within a few hours you reserve just for this purpose. Each day. No excuses.

And, if you are really organized, you get several things done, including those of commitments, necessity, and free and spontaneous personal choice. Pity the dullards who bemoan their retirements saying “There’s nothing to do” or “I don’t know what to do”, or “I can’t get started.”

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Waking Up Each Day After 50

1. Be thankful you woke up.
2. Be thankful there is enough time to do what you really need and want to do today.
3. Be thankful you are not limited, as are so many, by physical limits, mental problems, Third World circumstance, natural disasters, and poverty.
4. Wonder how much many days like this you’ve likely got left in your longevity ‘bank’.

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Jobs of the Future

from Conan; look up Guiding Hands spoof.

Well-done. An idea right for the obsessed e-times.

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End of an Era

Obit, A.E. Hotchner, 102.
Close friend of Hemingway and Paul Newman.
Co-inventor of Newman’s Own.
Author and biographer.

“We know about everything that happened in our lives. That doesn’t mean that we can dissect it emotionally, spiritually, entertainingly and as something that will move somebody who sees the words on a page.”

–A.E. H.

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