Now, Where Were We? (Or: Crazy Times, Indeed)

Hi there. So, where were we again? Oh, right. Some big things are cooking on the legal/financial front, so that’s been taking up a chunk of time (boo!). Nevertheless, I can’t say much after that other than I dislike having to do so much stuff nearly every day to get a relative what’s legally due because the process intentionally convoluted and some things needn’t be so damn irritating, but here we are.

Uh, subject change? Movies? Sure, okay.

(Thanks, Warner Bros Pictures!)

I saw JOKER a few times and the Birds of Prey flick twice last year. Both are quite interesting takes on characters with different complex mental challenges as unreliable narrators and yes, one comes off as far darker than the other with the latter film having a much higher body count while the former is pretty bleak on every front with initially a lower body count, but a longer damage reach. The main differences between the two being the direction and how the victims are treated. Birds of Prey has plenty of bad folks who get what’s coming to them and it’s presented as comically as possible though some energetically portrayed violence. But you also see a few innocents dispatched by villains who are somewhat worse than the main character. As the kids say, props to the main villains here for being so phenomenally twisted.

(Thanks, Warner Bros Pictures!)

On the other hand, JOKER is in a way, much like Harley’s loopy tale, but a lot less “fun” to watch. It also goes rather intentionally all over the map, but Arthur Fleck’s story along with its more realistic violent content reflects the reactions its main character has to his internal demons and not all of the victims here deserve what they get. The violence is more shocking and in a few cases, unexpected, especially a brutal scene later on where you get a sudden victim and a surprise survivor. In both films, the actors playing the leads do some fine work overall, although I have to give the edge to Joaquin Phoenix’s performance (I’m not into awards shows, but that Oscar win was well-deserved).

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Sports

SPORTS

Like it or not, we’re not quite ready…

When I was a kid, I was a sports fan of the moderate variety partly because it was background noise when I was growing up and almost every television one encountered on one’s daily travels was playing some sort of team or solo sport. I don’t recall being a huge fan of any particular team or teams, but I remember like/hating the Yankees because they seemed to win a lot whenever I saw a game on TV and most everyone I knew in the Bronx area not liking the Mets because they lost so much. Well, they did win big a few times, but I recall the old post-game show, Kiner’s Korner being renamed “Whiner’s Korner” by a school friend who did a spot-on impression of Ralph Kiner. One fine day in school, a teacher who was walking past us in a hallway as we headed to lunch overheard his impression, stopped dead in his tracks and asked him to do it again, laughing. He was a Mets fan, but he also found that impression pretty hilarious.

Other sports such as football, basketball, the occasional hockey match and many, many more were watched over time, we got a load of education on assorted sports around the world from ABC, and yes, I was a boxing fan for ages. A relative once met Muhammad Ali in an airport back in the early 70’s and got his autograph in a small slip of paper (which is still kept in a scrapbook here). Ali’s eventual decline from greatness was a sad thing to see as the 70’s turned into the 80’s, however. It’s one of the reasons I pretty much stopped watching the sport save for in the 2000’s when I assisted in a few game events for EA Sports where a few boxing video games were playable at a series of Golden Gloves matches here in NYC. Amusingly enough, sports games were a big thing here for a while, but as they got more visually impressive, I started to miss older games like Tecmo Bowl and a few titles up to the 32-bit era. As they became more monetized, now, I avoid most modern sports titles, although I’m a sucker for a good racing game, specifically a good rally game.

Anyway, with this pandemic and its forcing sports to more resemble older video games with elements like crowds that look like cardboard cutouts replacing fans or teams playing to nearly empty stadiums complete with piped-in cheers, I took a curious look at a few games and nope, they weren’t the same. Sure, the visceral thrill part was there, but the overall picture was a tad lacking in that one needed to overlook the sparse or fake audiences (or mixtures of both oversized crowd cutouts and real spectators) and the sad fact that maybe a player might take I’ll if even the tiniest precaution wasn’t taken. But, folks need their entertainment, their bread and circuses if you like. So, here we are. An online friend whose wife is a nurse said to me last year that she thought maybe watching hospital staff treating pandemic patients might make a good spectator sport. She noted that while it won’t be as thrilling as a hard body check or a miracle three-pointer, the whole life or death thing on a daily basis might be a thing one won’t get from those other team sports.

-GW

Voodoo, Child (Slight Return)

By either direct connection or extension, I know (knew?) quite a few recently deceased people, but I’d like to think some to too many of us do these days. That sort of balancing act is quite the bitch, by the way. One wanting to free up the mind space to be otherwise occupied by more lighter and vastly more entertaining fare gets into quite a tumble with actual reality when a message arrives that someone else has unexpectedly left the building.

Of course, the unmasked killer is still inside the house making collect worldwide phone calls and pretty much having its merry way with the rest of the planet’s tenants. As we’re discovering from assorted news outlets, during last year, response from the recently departed government had been awful, at best. Too many holes in rules state to state meant no national plan despite, as Roddy McDowell in a great Twilight Zone episode once noted, “People Are Alike All Over”.

Of course, it’s just past 4am and I hit publish too soon, but I’d guess you get the point here. Eh, I’m going to go back to bed now. I may re-edit this post later, but there’s a better chance I’ll post something else. We shall see.

This Is Only A Test…

Well, sort of. I’m currently popping up for air and feeling as if I’ve been trapped in the worst ever remake of Groundhog Day (or perhaps, the worst choose your own adventure novel where whichever page you turn to means a character meets a messy end). What day is it, anyway? Or week, month and year, for that matter?

There’s actually a post before this one, but I decided on not running it as it’s a bit long and well, somewhat grim and depressing. Still, some (much) shorter version of it will get posted – just not the novella-length monster that took a few too-long months to assemble. Anyway, no cool images or videos this time, as I’m typing this on a fancy new tablet and it’s a thing I’m trying to wrap my head around. Uh, Happy New Year and all that. Back in a bit, but maybe on a PC, as it feels more… comfortable working on one.

-GW