I found this recording of America the Beautiful by Anthony McGill to be very moving.
I recommend this poem by James Parker in the July/August 2020 issue of the Atlantic Monthly. The use of language is terrific; I love this line: The sea of anxiety loves a horizontal human; it pours over your toes and surges up you like a tide.
Still socially isolated, still watching 😊 You can see the quality slipping a bit as we try to accommodate several generations of viewers.
Fauda (Netflix, 3 seasons)
Linda’s recommendation: Made for tv binge-watching
I loved the actors and their energy, who make this series compulsively watchable. This series portrays the endless violence, testosterone, and horror of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, along with a river of grief, sadness, and cigarette smoke. The background to the series and the “filming of” story are also very interesting (no film for that, just via interviews on YouTube). The voice over for English version cannot compare to the original actors’ voices in Hebrew and Arabic. Highly recommended that you watch in Hebrew, with sub-titles.
Linda’s recommendation: Enjoyable
Directed by Clint Eastwood, this film is slow but very engaging. Builds to a satisfying conclusion.
Cooked (Amazon Prime)
Linda’s recommendation: Yes
A film about what the real natural disaster was following the heat event in Chicago in 1996. Bears on our current situation in 2020.
Linda’s recommendation: watch with your grandmother
Cute who-done-it; nothing special.
Linda’s recommendation: I didn’t get it
This very slow moving film is shot in a car at night, while a man drives and talks on the phone. I thought it had potential, but it never really developed.
Linda’s recommendation: Just okay
Given the star power and topic of this film, it didn’t feel very dynamic. Hard to follow storyline, but some fine acting.
Paddington and Paddington II
Linda’s recommendation: Sweet, and reassuring in anxious times. For someone.
The second one has a perfect Rotten Tomatoes score, and a huge recommendation from the Slate Culture Gabfest crew. It was okay.
Ramy (Hulu, 2 seasons)
Linda’s recommendation: Interesting
I subscribed to Hulu specifically to watch this Bob Lefsetz recommendation, and while I’m glad to have learned some things about the modern Muslim experience in America, I was incredibly distracted by the immaturity, indecision, and generally lazy personality of the main character, Ramy.
The insects are amassing on the other side of the screen.
Their wings brush out a call to action, a low drum beat.
The song dogs still sing at night, but now they sing of war.
The trees sigh their reluctant assent, weary of the heat.
103° in the arctic and the planet, our only gift, suffers from knowing us.
Cyclical spirals, layers of awakening, understanding is slow.
All sentient beings fear us. And we fear each other.
Our contribution has been ideas and inventions, of no use at all,
No improvements are possible when they are all brain, no heart or soul.
Most humans live so far from nature they do not see a thing amiss.
Our alignment to nature is not just off, it is gone entirely.
The otter and beaver are clear on their intent to join.
The red fox and wolf will march together, and the black bear is ready for the call.
The sand hill cranes will trumpet the first cry; while the eagles look out from on high.
Those who run, and those that fly, and even those who crawl.
Heat rises, thunderbolts ensue. Human privilege really was a thing.
You only feel the coming battles out here. The cities are numb, and ever dumb.
Humans fight each other there, based on the color of skin and bits of colored ribbon.
When I listen closely, I feel the gentle beat of all those wings.
Written by Linda Gottschalk during the last week of May 2020, a sad dark time
I first learned of Charles Eisenstein this week when I read his essay The Coronation. Since then, I have been doing a deep dive into his recent work. He is a thoughtful and articulate speaker, and I was particularly taken with his comments in a Rebel Wisdom interview on April 11, 2020 titled An Epidemic of Control. I made some notes on this interview – each one is something to think about – and I share them below.
Change happens through crisis – the breakdown of normal gives us the opportunity to see what we had been unconsciously choosing before. “To interrupt a habit is to make it visible; it is to turn it from a compulsion to a choice.”
Our reactions to coronavirus are all intensifications of trends that were well under way before coronavirus, including:
– the migration of social interactions online
– online commerce
– a regime of hygiene and fear of germs
– the movement of life to indoors (especially for kids)
– restriction of political freedom and censorship of information
– destruction of small businesses
– increasing medicalization of life
Is this how we want to live? Or would now be a good time to opt out of the “regime of control” that sets to control every variable in an effort to minimize risk (and forestall death)?
Charles uses the metaphor of intervention for an addict, to illustrate how we are addicted to control (controlling our pain, emotion, other people) through eating, pill-taking, war-making, and ultimately, totalitarianism. When it doesn’t work, we do more of it, and pay a greater and greater price (half of all Americans have some serious psychological disturbance). Coronavirus is our intervention, the interruption of the whole addictive system. For just a moment, we can see clearly just how estranged we are from the lives we could be living.
Instead, we aren’t healthy, we don’t feel secure, our lifespan is declining, and we don’t trust anyone or any information. Corona virus is not going to save us, it is just going to make our choice starkly apparent.
It’s the governing stories of our civilization that prepare us to go along with the psychopaths in power – primarily the stories of separation and control. What is the story we want to tell ourselves? What are the values we want to actually live?
And importantly, are we ready for the death of the old system? Are we ready to let go of comfort and familiarity? Am I willing to do things differently? (Am I ready to let go of ordering supplements?)
This is the time for righteous anger – the authorities have redirected our anger onto false targets and false solutions over and over. We could be living in a beautiful abundant world right now. There is enough for everyone. Instead we are living in a society of intensifying artificial scarcity.
Targeting our righteous anger won’t fix the problem; scapegoating is a diversion. People who look like the perpetrators are just functionaries, playing a necessary role. Compassion and forgiveness are demanded, and they are not the opposite of anger.
“You aren’t going to outgun the military-industrial complex. You have to rely on a change of heart.”
We aren’t going to survive life. A brush with death can resurrect the meaningful questions … why am I here?
I never expected to have this much time to watch stories on-screen, but it’s coronavirus social isolation time in Michigan, and time is mostly available!
Giri/ Haji (Duty/Shame)
Linda’s recommendation: Watch if you like the avant garde
I really enjoyed this series. Set in Tokyo and London, it follows a detective from Tokyo searching for his brother in London, and the assorted cast of characters he meets. I especially liked how the director was unafraid to frame shots, and even film long sequences, differently. The pace was slower which I appreciated in a story like this with lots of characters and tangled storylines. And the casting of Charlie Creed-Miles as Abbott, the impatient, tattooed hoodlum is just genius.
Linda’s recommendation: Not my style
This is the goofiest film I have seen in years, with moments of crass and touches of genius. With this movie, one of my many movie guidelines has fallen and one still stands. “Films with Bill Murray do not appeal to me.” That remains true. “I like any film with Woody Harrelson in it.” Cannot really say this with 100% certainty now. (Also the credits have Woody Harrelson’s name misspelled?!?!)
Three Identical Strangers
Linda’s recommendation: interesting and worth watching.
This 90 minute documentary is carefully constructed to not reveal all its secrets right at the beginning. Looks at the question of nature versus nurture in the raising of children.
Linda’s recommendation: interesting and worth watching
This 4-part series is about a woman breaking free from her orthodox Jewish community, and fleeing from Brooklyn to Berlin. The star, Shira Haas, is mesmerizing- it’s impossible to look away when she is on the screen. (The “Making of” video is also good.)
Bosch (Season 6)
Linda’s recommendation: Always
This series, on Amazon Prime, has been consistently enjoyable. I like the use of older actors in the show, and the collective experience of the ensemble really adds polish to the show. The 10 episodes of Season 6 went by very quickly.
Linda’s Recommendation: Yes
Robert Duvall is Felix Bush as well as the executive producer on this film that was satisfying on many levels. This film is not complex, all the questions posed are answered, and it’s not very sexy; it is just one of those small films that are a treasure.
The entire article is here.
“Whatever it is, coronavirus has made the mighty kneel and brought the world to a halt like nothing else could. Our minds are still racing back and forth, longing for a return to “normality,” trying to stitch our future to our past and refusing to acknowledge the rupture. But the rupture exists. And in the midst of this terrible despair, it offers us a chance to rethink the doomsday machine we have built for ourselves. Nothing could be worse than a return to normality.
“Historically, pandemics have forced humans to break with the past and imagine their world anew. This one is no different. It is a portal, a gateway between one world and the next.
“We can choose to walk through it, dragging the carcasses of our prejudice and hatred, our avarice, our data banks and dead ideas, our dead rivers and smoky skies behind us. Or we can walk through lightly, with little luggage, ready to imagine another world. And ready to fight for it.”
On 60 Minutes Sunday night there was a short clip of Wynton Marsalis talking about his dad Ellis who died last week from the coronavirus. In his comments, Wynton said that Ellis would have asked: “Let’s see if we are who we said we were before we had to deal with this.” In regular times it is “easy to be full of arrogance and commentary; now we have to be for real in our morality, our concepts, our integrity.”
This post summarizes the main take away points for me from a talk given by David Levitin, author of Successful Aging, given at the Commonwealth Club on February 5, 2020 (Link). Also sponsored by the Buck Institute on Aging in Novato, CA whose mission is to live better, longer.
- A key to successful aging is to identify those things that are important to you (at any age) and then make time for them.
- Curiosity is a big predictor of life satisfaction at any age. Curiosity is a personality trait. Your genetics give you a propensity for certain personality traits but you can change these at any age through religion, meditation, athletics, disease, etc. (See the example of Julia “Hurricane” Hawkins)
- Dopamine is part of the brains’ reward circuitry that rewards you for exploring your environment, and may fuel curiosity. You begin to lose your dopamine production every decade after 50. [This explains my lack of motivation at times, as Parkinson’s is a dopamine production problem.]
- We didn’t evolve to be 80 years old. Natural selection has not caught up with our living longer, so we don’t know what our limits are or what we can become.
- There are a lot of myths about aging that aren’t true. Many of these myths are the stories we tell ourselves. For example, when you’re 20 and you misplace your keys you tell yourself you have too many things on your plate. When you’re 80, you tell yourself that you’re losing your mind.
- The most important aging factor is this: moving around, outside.
- It’s important not to allow your insulin levels to spike too often. Remember also that eating should be fun. Dr. Levitin eats a spoonful of ice cream every week, but usually not more than one because of the law of diminishing returns.
What lies behind us and what lies before us are small matters compared to what lies within us. And when we bring what is within us out into the world, miracles happen. ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson