We Don’t Know

When you think about it, it’s actually quite odd that we even have the concept of certainty. Nothing is certain in our world. No proof can withstand existential ridicule for, with it, the ‘real’ existence of everything can be questioned. The very fabric of the universe could be nothing but an chemical/electric signal in the brain.

Nothing is certain, yet we proceed as though many aspects of our lives are certain. We develop routines around these false certainties and live our entire lives believing them even though, somewhere deep down, we know that everything we know to certain could disappear overnight.

I suppose we much have the illusion of certainty in order to function . We must be able to put our higher thought to the back our minds and just go the grocery store because whether it’s real or not, we’re out of bread.

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Success (Let Us)

Let us succeed.

Let us beat the odds.

Let us kill the doubts we hold.

Let us forget the corporate drive.

Let us fight for our passions and win.

Let us sing a love song of joyous activity.

Let us ignore those who say it cannot be done.

Let us give our full effort and know we have done our best.

Let us hold only petty for those whose soul satisfaction is monetary wealth.

Let us work and sweat and bleed and smile for no pain can extinguish our passions.


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Film Review: The Muppet Christmas Carol

The Muppet Christmas Carol is a childhood favorite of mine. It was one of about five or so VHS tapes we owned when I was growing up and I still harbor fond memories of watching it.

First off, The Muppet Christmas Carol contains one of Michael Caine’s best performances in the role of Ebeneezer Scrooge. Few men are capable of a believable performance while surrounded by singing puppets and for it Caine deserves some props. Artfully, he navigates a world populated by talking and singing animals without a flinch. Well done, sir. Well done.

Secondly, this film (unlike many A Christmas Carol adapations) actaully follows the book rather closely albeit in a simplified manor (after all it’s a children’s movie lasting less than 90 minutes). The close attention to the text lends this film an oddly surreal “Dickens-y” feel despite the numerous musical numbers.

For me The Muppet Christmas Carol will always be among the few I watched when I was young. If you haven’t seen it yet (it’s only 22 years old), you should. It’s good.

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Left To One’s Own Devices

As some of my readers may know, I am a staunch proponent of the unschooling method of education. The basic thought process behind this method is that an individual — given enough free time, and resources — will acquire all the knowledge they need in order to have a successful, productive, and (most importantly) happy life.

The most common criticism to the unschooling method which I hear is “I would never have learned anything if left to my own devices. I would have just laid around all day.” The truth is, though, being lazy for long periods of time is boring.  Sure, it’s nice to veg on the couch for a few days, but eventually everyone gets bored with pure leisure. Look at retirees, for example. These are a group of people who, if they wanted to, could have absolutely nothing to do everyday until the end but they make themselves busy. There’s an elderly guy who spends two hours everyday picking up trash in the park across the street from my house for Christ sake! He doesn’t have to.  No one is making him do it but does it anyway because having a clean city park is important to him.

The human mind craves stimulation and will go to great lengths to seek it out. And frankly, we cannot know of what we are capable until we give it shot. Do not assume our desire to nap on a Saturday afternoon is our default state.

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The Secularization of Holidays

Easter is upon us. Eggs, chocolate, and ham are everywhere. However, there seems an odd absence of truly religious icons. Few crosses can be found in stores, no depictions of large stones being moved from gave/cave openings, in fact judging by the most celebrated Easter traditions, one would be hard pressed to consider the holiday of Easter a Christian holiday at all. Though, the same could be said for Christmas as well.  I think that’s a good thing.

As an atheist, I am somewhat conflicted  when it comes to religious holidays for I highly value the Easter celebration of the spring, and the coming together of family and friends near the winter solstice that Christmas brings. I have always celebrate both, not as religious holidays but instead as family traditions and thus do (though many don’t realize it) what most folks do.

Easter isn’t about a miraculous rebirth of a person who may or may not have existed two thousand years ago. Easter is about watching kids hunt for eggs, and eating so much chocolate you feel a bit sick; it’s about feeling the first hints of summer in the air, and being with people you love because in the end the magic is not in the dogma but in the joy.

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At last the web series I have been working on for the past few months (The House of Lerry) has wrapped! Now, all I have to do is some final edits for each episode, and I will have finished on one of my best projects thus far. I’m ecstatic about how well parts of it have turned out.

The first episode will be released next week and we will see if my, and all the other people working at Cheaply Intellectual Productions’, hard work has paid off. However the viewers take the second season of The House of Lerry, I have enjoyed the process thoroughly and  I look forward to our next project which is in the works.

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As an inward-looking person I spend a great deal of time exploring myself as a person. I endlessly examine my beliefs and convictions, and delve deep into understanding my core being. However, in doing so, I often end up ignoring the world outside of myself. Maybe this intellectual narcissism  is partially caused by the mind-blowing notion that other people are just as complex as I — the multitudes of complexity within each soul multiplied by four billion is too much for my mind to grasp in any real sense.

Despite the complexities, we must look outside ourselves for a whole beautiful place populated by beautiful (yet unpredictable) people exists outside our minds. In our ever-more individualistic society, I think we forget the real greatness beyond ourselves.

So let us explore others in the way we seem to so tirelessly explore ourselves. After all, greatness comes not with discovery but with sharing.

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The Port of Morrow – The Shins’ Best Yet

Lately, I’ve found myself listening to The Shins a lot. Their mournful, yet somehow peppy, tunes have seemed a proper soundtrack for my life. Specifically, I have been enjoying The Shins’ latest album The Port of Morrow.

Every so often there comes an album with no filler songs. On such albums, any song could be considered a single and with The Port of Morrow we have that very rarest of creatures. Every song on this album is not only listen-able, they are great.

If for some reason, anyone hasn’t already picked up copy of this album, which was released more than a year ago, go for it. You won’t be disappointed.

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Another Empty-Headed Day

I usually write about the art and craft of writing on Tuesdays. But today, I’ve got nothing. My mind is abuzz with thoughts on film making and creative control as my life in the past few days has been filled with joyful work and thoughtful debate on those subjects respectively and I’ve had not one bit of mindspace for musings on the noble pursuit of writing.

Sometimes getting what’s always on one’s mind out of it for a bit is good, though. We must cleanse our mental pallet from time to time in order to fully enjoy a good thought. So I will let myself have this empty-headed day.

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The Bicycle Thief

This film was made — and set — in Italy in the late 1940s. Italy had been one of the fascist powers defeated during WWII and the aftermath left the Italian economy in a shambles. Inflation was very high and steady work was scarce. Thus in this film a steady job is valuable. In contrast, during this time in the United States there was an economic boom. The G.I.’s were back from the war and they were settling down, getting married, and buying houses in the newly created suburbs. Everything in America was looking up.

I love this film because of the lean and artful way it creates a deep emotional impact and also because it shows a not often seen consequence of WWII. This was also one of the first films that when I watched the end, I had to just sit in silence for a moment repeatedly thinking “now that was a good movie.”

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