Friday, January 31, 2014
Meanwhile, remember Joaquin inspired Rudolfo “Corky” Gonzales' poem that became the cornerstone of Chicano civilization:
This spaghetti western presents a pretty good version of the Joaquin Murrieta legend:
There have been some wild variations on Zorro over the years:
And recently, in the Philippines:
at 7:40 AM
Monday, January 27, 2014
Note: This is the view from my desk.
Being a writer and getting published give me a great deal of pleasure. Sure, it would great if it made me rich, but as I go about my non-writing business, so I can scratch out a living, I often have a smile on my face. There's this satisfaction that nobody can take away from me.
I can never explain this to people who don't have it.
How did I end up a writer? I'm not really sure.
Decades ago, in a creating writing class, the teacher said, “If we're lucky, one person in this room will get published.”
Guess what? It was me.
And I don't really know why it was me. I wasn't the best writer in that room. It might have been that I wanted to be a writer more than the others. I did dedicate my life to it. Made sacrifices. And I never gave up.
I've always lead a quixotic life, tilting with windmills, like a crazed explorer searching through the jungle for a fabled lost city. It's the way you make dreams come true.
It ain't easy. Not everybody can do it. Most people never have that smile I get when I think about what I've done. It's easier to give up and lead a normal life.
What's it like to live this way? I recommend the documentary House of the Tiger King, with Tahir Shah demonstrating what it's all about:
If you don't have time for that, here he is talking about the film:
Meanwhile, it may look like I'm sitting at my desk, doodling away at the computer, but I'm really tilting with windmills and searching through the jungle.
at 7:52 AM
Friday, January 17, 2014
Seems like there's all kinds of brain police out there these days:
Did anybody ever ask Godzilla for his papers before he colonized global pop culture?
When did kung fu arrive in your barrio?
And when it comes to cultural appropriation, spaghetti westerns do it best:
at 7:11 AM
Monday, January 13, 2014
Back in the Twentieth Century, when I was growing up, science fiction movies were a rare thing. You had to be on the look-out for them. I'd catch all I could – even the bad ones, which were most of them. There was a lot of talk that good science fiction movies may not even be possible.
Now science fiction movies are almost a dime a dozen. They're everywhere. It's hard to keep up with them. I must admit, I don't bother with a lot of them, even though they seem good. They're not a big deal – just another sci-fi movie.
So when I do run across one that I like – especially when I haven't seen much social media chatter about it, I gotta review it.
Europa Report is such a movie.
I remember seeing trailers a while back, thinking “that looks good.” But everybody does special effects these days. They all look good.
Then my wife and I caught it on Netflix, and were blown away.
Europa Report has a documentary look and feel that keeps making you think that it was actually shot on location, even though you know that's impossible. My brain was actually fooled into thinking it was real, while with most science fiction movies these days, in the back of my mind, I know it's all pixels dancing around. I was fooled, that is the true art.
It also has an ingenious script that cuts back and forth in time – editing, not time travel, as in the documentary structure. It builds suspense, and keeps you guessing. It was edge-of-the-seat excitement rather than, “how clever, I feel intelligent for sitting through this.”
And it's hard science fiction – a very rare thing in movies. Yeah, there are things that could be nitpicked about, but then, that's part of the fun, isn't it? Europa Report is the real thing, what people have been saying was impossible for decades.
It gives you a taste of the wonder of what really could be out there, dares to demonstrate that some things are not only worth risking your life, but dying for.
And somehow the world isn't going wild over this movie. I don't understand a lot of my fellow humans.
at 7:34 AM
Friday, January 3, 2014
Wednesday, January 1, 2014
Suddenly – BAM! – we're here. 2014. Another year.
What happened to 2013? Seems it was just getting started a while ago. Now it's gone.
And nobody is talking about the gross misreading of the Mayan calendar.
I've been staggering around in the cool air and the dazzling desert light in a bit of a daze. Things are crystal clear and surreal. But isn't that the way they usually are? For me at least . . .
Emily and I were on a desert hike. A Jewish family – men in yamakas and ties, women in long skirts and sneakers – came down the trail in the other direction. The patriarch rushed up to me and said, “You know everything, right?”
I don't think I know everything. Everyday I encounter things I didn't know. Why would he assume I knew everything?
Maybe it's the white beard. It makes me look like a wise man, even though I'm more of a wiseguy. I'd shave it off, but it makes a good disguise. And disguises come in handy in this crazy world.
Meanwhile, we've go this whole new year to deal with, and it's chock full of things to do, and explore.
Better get to it.
at 12:01 AM