three minute speech/lecture at the end which, as Roger Ebert pointed out, is badly out of tune with the rest of the movie. It's also preachy, tiresome and badly unpredictive, coming as it did at the beginning of the most destructive war in human history.
Do I not believe in the possibility of the universal brotherhood of man Chaplin espouses? No, frankly, I do not - not in a world controlled by man. Even a casual reading of history indicates that human nature is such that evil men will always be with us... and they despise any form of brotherhood other than that of the cudgel. And as far as a world without national borders is concerned (Chaplin endorses this as well in his Jeremiad), that, too, is silly. (Eurozone, anyone?)
But one will never get awarded prizes for adopting my pragmatic viewpoint. There's much more money and fame to be made and admiration to be had in posturing as a world peace visionary. "You may say that I'm a dreamer/But I'm not the only one." No, you're not the only one, John Lennon. And I cringe whenever one of your ilk makes it in elective politics and attempts to give away the arsenal.
Interesting fact: Charlie Chaplin was also a hit songwriter. His "This is my Song" was a 1966 hit for Petula Clark. My mother used to swan around the house singing that. But she only knew the hooky song title ("Ahhhhh/This is my song/A serenade...") and, as was her wont, made up the rest of the lyrics, sometimes successfully but most of the time not.
Looks like, after much time and billions of dollars spent, scientists found the Higgs Boson, or they're hedging their bets and claiming they found a "Higgs-like" particle. I have blogged on this subject a number of times, guessing that they wouldn't. At least, I was hoping they wouldn't. As I have written before, the Standard Model of Physics with the Higgs boson is a mess. It just doesn't have the elegant simplicity that, say, E=mc squared, has. Or perhaps we just don't have enough information to arrive at the ultimate, beautiful, elegant, scientific Truth yet.
I think I mentioned that, despite my vows to avoid reading any more books about the Beatles I'm currently reading a biography about Paul McCartney. Odd thing: I'm at the part about the recording the White Album when, ding!, I get a text message from my son-in-law (a graduate in history), asking me about the Manson family years and the song "Helter Skelter." He wanted to know how widespread the social fear was in the aftermath of the 1969 Manson Family Murders, how old I was at the time and what my take on it was. I told him that I was thirteen and that, generally, people living in nice homes along Sunset Blvd. were the ones who became nervous. In the working class and middle class neighborhoods of the San Fernando Valley where I lived, the Manson stories were more a confirmation of just how out of kilter American society had become. People there understood that they were not Charlie Manson's primary targets.
I explained what a "helter skelter" is, a traditional and rather attractive British amusement park ride involving a long slide down a chute attached to the outside of what is essentially a large cone (see image above). I once saw a Britnoir with a scene where people slide down one - looks like fun. Charlie Manson claimed that the song was a prophetic warning of societal unrest and race wars. Paul McCartney, the songwriter, quickly disavowed this - and anything else having to do with Charles Manson - and pointed out the obvious: that it was essentially about the ups and downs of a relationship being compared to an amusement park ride. (Bruce Springsteen would explore the same notion in his 1987 song "Tunnel of Love.") He also pointed out that on that occasion, the Beatles just wanted to make some noise.
Here's a helter skelter ride video. See? When he gets to the bottom he goes back to the top of the slide, where he stops and he turns around and goes for a ride, 'till he gets to the bottom and he sees you again.
The book reports that the four Beatles were crammed together as closely as possible for that recording, screeching and wailing away at their instruments in an attempt to make the raunchiest, most out of control racket ever for a song. Musically chaotic it was, race riot depicting it was not.
By the way, that's Ringo uttering the song's last words, "I got blisters on my fingers!," not John as usually reported.
Baby Gibson: His first photographed smile! Awwww.... two more photographs follow, use the arrow icons to click to them. After all, you must see every photograph of my grandson.
Geez, what is it about grandchildren that turns middle-aged men into such ardent promotional agents? Have you ever seen one of those "Ask me about my grandchildren!" bumper stickers? I'd sooner jam toothpicks into my ears.
Weight: Gak! I gained back 2.8 pounds last week! I know why: power outage-related restaurant eating, Fourth of July overeating and a lack of my usual exercise. (It's been too hot to walk, and my treadmill belt needs a repair before I can resume using it.) So I'm yo-yoing. This is unsat. Back on the regimen!
The weather forecast for tomorrow in Springfield, Virginia, where I dwell, is 102. A nice, humid 102. I can't imagine anybody, knowing that, will decide, "Hey, let's move all the unwanted household crap onto the sunny front lawn or into the un-air conditioned garage and make a few bucks!" But I shall do a quick sweep of the neighborhoods anyway. Last year I attended a big church sale on one of the hottest days of the year. You never know.
Have a pleasant weekend!
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