Heavy Logix.

Lateral Thoughts on Life.

Your Sweetest Mango.

One day, quite unexpectedly, an acquaintance of yours gives you a

Mango.

You love Mango and as you bite into it you realize how sweet it is

and your hunger is satisfied. More fulfilling than the mango is the

fact that someone cared about you, cared enough to share. Friendship is

sweet and your hunger dies. The pain of loneliness becomes a distant

memory.

The friendship blossoms and you visit this kind friend’s house.

Surprisingly you discover they live in a house surrounded by huge Mango

trees. The mangoes are every where even more than you could ever eat.

You suddenly realize that what you thought was an act of extreme

kindness involved no sacrifice at all.

The sweetness becomes sour. You’ve eaten a worm. It gnaws at your

stomach, it sickens you. Not immediately, slowly. Slowly but surely,

the Worm of loneliness grows. It grows till it fills you up.

But as the worm grows the friendship dies and you realise there was

never any friend there was never any friendship. There was really never

any Mango and there was surely never any worm.

All there ever was, and all there is now,is you.

Generosity comes not from the Gift, nor from the Giver, but from the

attitude of those who receive.

April 24, 2011 Posted by | fiction, Lateral Thinking, non fiction, philosophy, Psychology, Strategy, success, writing | Leave a comment

Blogging. My first year.

“What Bobby Fischer was to chess,what Bob Marley was to Reggae Music, thus was Bruce Lee to Martial Arts and Action Movies. This one not only packs a punch but becomes Immortal by virtue of it’s talented cast and coherent story, rare in the genre.” I said at 11:32pm on December 23rd, 2008.

I was posting a brief movie review to Flixster, (an application allowing you to rate various movies online), I was describing, one of my favorite shows, the movie “Enter the Dragon”.

A guy named Mad Bull commented at 4:34am on January 11th, 2009. He said, “You know what, Mark? I think you would make a good blogger. Check me if you are interested if you want info on how to get started.”

The rest,as they say,is history.

In just one year of Blogging I think I can safely say it has changed my life. I went on an amazing personal journey of self-expression just as my friend Dennis Hammond (creator of Hammondville.com) had predicted when I launched out with a shout of Geronimo !

It was an adventure along which I bared my soul, and risked embarrassment, at times, with intensely personal, and unfortunate memoirs, like “This is not a Suicide note” and “Sleepless on Sunday”.

Travels during which I soared to the moon and waxed philosophical in ramblings like “Shooting the Moon”. Although I confess that that post was not particularly interesting I think it helped me to learn a lot about my personal style of writing. I used a technique which has served me well since then called “Writing the Natural Way”.

Expressing some of my Philosophical ideas in pieces like “Tit for Tat” and “Life is but a Dream” was lots of fun.

From the start I was continually encouraged by my Mentor (the Blogfather) Mad Bull and he directly influenced me to learn of Charles Pick’s Advice which has guided all my best writing from early on.

Blogging is a perverse activity, kind of like internet webcams, I imagine, in that it is very personal and yet makes you feel connected to a wider community of like-minded individuals the world over.

This type of paradox and my gift for making ridiculous connections and synthesizing myriad experiences led to blog posts like “Marriage,Matchmaking and Masturbation” and my personal favorite “Doppelganger”.

“Doppelganger” was inspired by a post by Ruthibelle. I feel connected to bloggers like these who I began to read more and more regularly. My blog “Swamp Things cannot Read any Moore” inspired Ruthibelle to talk about comics in one of her later blogs also. Each one Teach one, One hand rubs the other, or insert other catchy cliche’ here.

The exceptional blogger and photographer Stunner also inspired me so I dedicated “Workman needs bigger Zoom”, about photography and critics thereof, to him.

These are not people I know personally, yet. Yet, I feel like I know them, like we’re a close-knit community. A family almost. Sometimes I even imagine heaven to be like a big Blog roll call in the sky. Annie Paul, Mad Bull, Stunner, Ruthibelle, Kingston state of mind, Pssst Browning !,the list goes on and on…yep that’s heaven to me. But we have no plans to check out just now and if we do, inadvertently, then I suspect the journey won’t be over but rather just moving on to greater heights.

During the year (2009) I realized a dream, after some hiccups and hurdles, by visiting Calabash Festival at Jakes. I described it as a Writer’s Hajj and was close enough to talk to one of my heroes, Colin Channer, (although I didn’t). Channer had nonetheless taught me “How to write a Rahtid book“. I wrote “Journey to Jakes” based on this pilgrimage also.

Pico Iyer, an author who was interviewed at the Festival, was supposed to be the main focus of one of my blogs. I never did get around to writing it.

For every blog idea I wrote the truth is I have ten others or so I didn’t get around to. They still swim around,these incomplete ideas,like malnourished fishes, in the Aquarium of my mind. They bounce into the glass occasionally asking me silently to feed them. When they ask loud enough I do feed them, with relish.I feed them to the hungry public.

Incomplete Ideas. Perpetually Incubating. Floating Skeletons. I was still being hounded by my greatest enemy…Procrastination. My greatest enemy, my only formidable opponent, was in fact…myself.This was clearly shown by the unfinished serial that I began about Theo Adams and Storm and Hezekiah Scythe. Interesting Characters, I thought, but they will only live again if I can conquer my most fearsome foe…procrastination…myself.

I was somewhat saddened that my readership remains largely uninterested in the wisdom of Marcus Garvey or Jefferson, but I will continue to post poetry and prose and anything else that I find powerful.

Learning was what this blog, and Life, is all about, and that I did.I learned but I also have questions that remain unresolved. In my blog “Heavy Sex will drop from the sky” I explored the question all true artists must face. I spoke of the temptation to sell out,just to eat a food, versus staying true to their art and possibly starving to death. Post humous success versus instant gratification.

I succumbed to temptation and wrote popular posts like “Dora the Sexplorer”, “Think before you ink” about tattoos and “Sean Paul”. These posts are my most popular ever.

No longer was I the only one reading my blog. It was a tremendous thrill when when my blog was featured on Sean Paul’s official site. For me it was a great accomplishment but then again I realized that five minutes of fame, even riding on the coat tails of a great Artist that I always respected and admire was not the Summit.

I realized that even when I do cover popular and current events it should be with some degree of insight, some new twist, beyond the obvious. It should have a unique “Heavy Logix” stamp, my imprimatur so-to-speak. Instead of merely a crass or commercial angle I must deliver some substance that will stand the test of time. My “Inter-View” post about Vybz Kartel fit the bill exactly. It took on a current topic but tried to make points that would be over looked by the local mainstream media.

The passing of great men like Michael Jackson and Jim Rohn led me to post also. Jackson also inspired the Reggae cover versions post as i searched to try and find some of those songs to make a tribute album.

In the coming year I hope to do more comparisons like I did in the article Pepsi or Coke ? Comparing things like Charisma and Character and explaining the difference between Rappers and MCs perhaps. You can also expect more movie reviews or impressions like Emperor’s Club and lots more exploration of the confounding cybernetic possibilities of our Minds like I did in the story “Banshees”.

Blowing my own trumpet like this is quite tiring so here’s wishing you all the best for the New Year and remember that in whatever you do Be Happy !

Adios amigo.

mjbb.

January 9, 2010 Posted by | blog, current news, fiction, humor, Lateral Thinking, non fiction, Psychology, Strategy, success, writing | , , , , , , | 6 Comments

The Purloined Sherlock Holmes.

Sherlock Holmes is one of the world’s most loved fictional characters. He has launched several copy cats and spawned a million imitators. Everything from t-shirts, to movies, to comic books, to books (of all genres) and even museums, have used him as an inspiration.

In fact two of TVs most popular characters today, George House and Adrian Monk, both owe a debt of gratitude to the highly rational and eccentric detective. House actually lives at an address referencing the 221B of Baker Street.

The huge popularity of Holmes and ( his loyal “Boswell” ) Watson, has perhaps over shadowed a previous character that was just as important. Who did Holmes and his creator “borrow” from ?

I  speak of Dupin, a character created by Edgar Allan Poe, in fact Dupin’s adventures began the whole detective genre before the word “detective” even existed. Like Holmes, Dupin had a male friend who narrated all his tales and he relied on logical deduction to perform amazing feats like reading people’s minds and of course solving crimes that the ever bumbling police forces could barely comprehend.

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, inventor of Sherlock Holmes, realized his debt to Poe by making reference to Dupin in “The Study in Scarlet”, Holmes very first published adventure.

Watson mentions Dupin in passing and Holmes says that Dupin is a rather “inferior fellow” to himself. Doyle later said, “Each [of Poe’s detective stories] is a root from which a whole literature has developed… Where was the detective story until Poe breathed the breath of life into it?”

Detective C. Auguste Dupin first appears, in the first detective story ever,”The
Murders in the Rue Morgue” (1841). He reappears in “The Mystery of Marie Rogêt” (1842) and then in “The Purloined Letter” (1844).

“The Purloined Letter’ by Poe is definitely one of my favorite stories of all time. In this short story Dupin saves the day by being able to understand the mind of his opponent. His opponent is quite formidable, being that rare type of individual who has mastered both Art and Science,  or as Dupin puts it, he’s both “mathematician and poet”.

Also this fearsome opponent is without scruples and honor.

Sherlock Holmes had fearsome opponents also, none moreso than the Evil genius Moriarty.


In fact at one time Moriarty, whom Holmes termed “the Napoleon of Crime”, was feared to have killed Holmes by causing him to fall over the Reichenbach Falls.

Sherlock was able to survive only because he knew a martial art, called Baritsu, in the books. Bartitsu was an actual martial art of the time, developed by Edward William Barton-Wright, and perhaps this was what Doyle was referring to. Bartitsu in fact was like Jeet Kune Do, an eclectic
fighting art which had practical techniques to win at any likely fighting range.

Wikipedia notes, “As detailed in a series of articles Barton-Wright produced for Pearson’s Magazine between 1899 and 1901, Bartitsu was largely drawn from the Shinden Fudo school of koryū (“classical”) jujutsu and from Kodokan judo, both of which he had studied while resident in Japan. As it became established in London, the art expanded to incorporate combat techniques from the Tenjin Shinyō, Fusen and Daito schools of jujutsu as well as British boxing, Swiss Schwingen, French savate, and a defensive la canne (stick fighting) style that had been developed by Pierre Vigny of Switzerland. Bartitsu also included a comprehensive physical culture training system.”

Such details, which Conan Doyle added constantly to the Holmes stories, made the character very life-like and he had many weaknesses too.

For instance although his mind was an efficient computer he was very messy in his personal habits and he is often characterized as Bohemian. Sherlock Holmes also had a Cocaine and possibly a Morphine addiction.

The recently released version of Holmes, starring Robert Downey Jnr. even speculates that Holmes may have had Bipolar disorder. Although many fans will not like this portrayal,  in Holmes first appearance in “Study in Scarlet”, his biographer Watson says ;

Nothing could exceed his energy when the working fit was upon him; but now and again a  reaction would seize him, and for days on end he would lie upon the sofa in the  sitting-room, hardly uttering a word or moving a muscle from morning to night.
This description gives some credence to the possibility.

Another source of inspiration for Sherlock Holmes and perhaps the reason that Watson is a Doctor of Medicine is Dr. Joseph Bell.Bell, who once employed Doyle as a clerk, emphasized the importance of close observation in making a diagnosis. To illustrate this, he would often pick a stranger and, by observing him, deduce his occupation and recent activities. These skills caused him to be considered a pioneer in forensic science (forensic pathology in particular) when science was not often used in the investigations of crimes.

This apparently “psychic” ability, in reality based on keen observation and logical reasoning and sometimes elements of Forensics, was also common in the adventures of both Sherlock and Dupin.

December 27, 2009 Posted by | blog, current news, fiction, Lateral Thinking, non fiction, Psychology, writing | , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

The Gift of the Magi, written by O. Henry.

THE GIFT OF THE MAGI

by O. Henry

One dollar and eighty-seven cents. That was all. And sixty cents of it was in pennies. Pennies saved one and two at a time by bulldozing the grocer and the vegetable man and the butcher until one’s cheeks burned with the silent imputation of parsimony  that such close dealing implied. Three times Della counted it. One dollar and eighty- seven cents. And the next day would be Christmas.

There was clearly nothing to do but flop down on the shabby little couch and howl. So Della did it. Which instigates the moral reflection that life is made up of sobs, sniffles, and smiles, with sniffles predominating.

While the mistress of the home is gradually subsiding from the first stage to the second, take a look at the home. A furnished flat at $8 per week. It did not exactly beggar description, but it certainly had that word on the lookout for the mendicancy squad.

In the vestibule below was a letter-box into which no letter would go, and an electric button from which no mortal finger could coax a ring. Also appertaining thereunto was a card bearing the name “Mr. James Dillingham Young.”

The “Dillingham” had been flung to the breeze during a former period of prosperity when its possessor was being paid $30 per week. Now, when the income was shrunk to $20, though, they were thinking seriously of contracting to a modest and unassuming D. But whenever Mr. James Dillingham Young came home and reached his flat above he was called “Jim” and greatly hugged by Mrs. James Dillingham Young, already introduced to you as Della. Which is all very good.

Della finished her cry and attended to her cheeks with the powder rag. She stood by the window and looked out dully at a gray cat walking a gray fence in a gray backyard. Tomorrow would be Christmas Day, and she had only $1.87 with which to buy Jim a present. She had been saving every penny she could for months, with this result. Twenty dollars a week doesn’t go far. Expenses had been greater than she had calculated. They always are. Only $1.87 to buy a present for Jim. Her Jim. Many a happy hour she had spent planning for something nice for him. Something fine and rare and sterling–something just a little bit near to being worthy of the honor of being owned by Jim.

There was a pier-glass between the windows of the room. Perhaps you have seen a pier-glass in an $8 flat. A very thin and very agile person may, by observing his reflection in a rapid sequence of longitudinal strips, obtain a fairly accurate conception of his looks. Della, being slender, had mastered the art.

Suddenly she whirled from the window and stood before the glass. her eyes were shining brilliantly, but her face had lost its color within twenty seconds. Rapidly she pulled down her hair and let it fall to its full length.

Now, there were two possessions of the James Dillingham Youngs in which they both took a mighty pride. One was Jim’s gold watch that had been his father’s and his grandfather’s. The other was Della’s hair. Had the queen of Sheba lived in the flat across the airshaft, Della would have let her hair hang out the window some day to dry just to depreciate Her Majesty’s jewels and gifts. Had King Solomon been the janitor, with all his treasures piled up in the basement, Jim would have pulled out his watch every time he passed, just to see him pluck at his beard from envy.

So now Della’s beautiful hair fell about her rippling and shining like a cascade of brown waters. It reached below her knee and made itself almost a garment for her. And then she did it up again nervously and quickly. Once she faltered for a minute and stood still while a tear or two splashed on the worn red carpet.

On went her old brown jacket; on went her old brown hat. With a whirl of skirts and with the brilliant sparkle still in her eyes, she fluttered out the door and down the stairs to the street.

Where she stopped the sign read: “Mne. Sofronie. Hair Goods of All Kinds.” One flight up Della ran, and collected herself, panting. Madame, large, too white, chilly, hardly looked the “Sofronie.”

“Will you buy my hair?” asked Della.

“I buy hair,” said Madame. “Take yer hat off and let’s have a sight at the looks of it.”

Down rippled the brown cascade.

“Twenty dollars,” said Madame, lifting the mass with a practised hand.

“Give it to me quick,” said Della.

Oh, and the next two hours tripped by on rosy wings. Forget the hashed metaphor. She was ransacking the stores for Jim’s present.

She found it at last. It surely had been made for Jim and no one else. There was no other like it in any of the stores, and she had turned all of them inside out. It was a platinum fob chain simple and chaste in design, properly proclaiming its value by substance alone and not by meretricious ornamentation–as all good things should do. It was even worthy of The Watch. As soon as she saw it she knew that it must be Jim’s. It was like him. Quietness and value–the description applied to both. Twenty-one dollars they took from her for it, and she hurried home with the 87 cents. With that chain on his watch Jim might be properly anxious about the time in any company. Grand as the watch was, he sometimes looked at it on the sly on account of the old leather strap that he used in place of a chain.

When Della reached home her intoxication gave way a little to prudence and reason. She got out her curling irons and lighted the gas and went to work repairing the ravages made by generosity added to love. Which is always a tremendous task, dear friends–a mammoth task.

Within forty minutes her head was covered with tiny, close-lying curls that made her look wonderfully like a truant schoolboy. She looked at her reflection in the mirror long, carefully, and critically.

“If Jim doesn’t kill me,” she said to herself, “before he takes a second look at me, he’ll say I look like a Coney Island chorus girl. But what could I do–oh! what could I do with a dollar and eighty- seven cents?”

At 7 o’clock the coffee was made and the frying-pan was on the back of the stove hot and ready to cook the chops.

Jim was never late. Della doubled the fob chain in her hand and sat on the corner of the table near the door that he always entered. Then she heard his step on the stair away down on the first flight, and she turned white for just a moment. She had a habit for saying little silent prayer about the simplest everyday things, and now she whispered: “Please God, make him think I am still pretty.”

The door opened and Jim stepped in and closed it. He looked thin and very serious. Poor fellow, he was only twenty-two–and to be burdened with a family! He needed a new overcoat and he was without gloves.

Jim stopped inside the door, as immovable as a setter at the scent of quail. His eyes were fixed upon Della, and there was an expression in them that she could not read, and it terrified her. It was not anger, nor surprise, nor disapproval, nor horror, nor any of the sentiments that she had been prepared for. He simply stared at her fixedly with that peculiar expression on his face.

Della wriggled off the table and went for him.

“Jim, darling,” she cried, “don’t look at me that way. I had my hair cut off and sold because I couldn’t have lived through Christmas without giving you a present. It’ll grow out again–you won’t mind, will you? I just had to do it. My hair grows awfully fast. Say `Merry Christmas!’ Jim, and let’s be happy. You don’t know what a nice– what a beautiful, nice gift I’ve got for you.”

“You’ve cut off your hair?” asked Jim, laboriously, as if he had not arrived at that patent fact yet even after the hardest mental labor.

“Cut it off and sold it,” said Della. “Don’t you like me just as well, anyhow? I’m me without my hair, ain’t I?”

Jim looked about the room curiously.

“You say your hair is gone?” he said, with an air almost of idiocy.

“You needn’t look for it,” said Della. “It’s sold, I tell you–sold and gone, too. It’s Christmas Eve, boy. Be good to me, for it went for you. Maybe the hairs of my head were numbered,” she went on with sudden serious sweetness, “but nobody could ever count my love for you. Shall I put the chops on, Jim?”

Out of his trance Jim seemed quickly to wake. He enfolded his Della. For ten seconds let us regard with discreet scrutiny some inconsequential object in the other direction. Eight dollars a week or a million a year–what is the difference? A mathematician or a wit would give you the wrong answer. The magi brought valuable gifts, but that was not among them. This dark assertion will be illuminated later on.

Jim drew a package from his overcoat pocket and threw it upon the table.

“Don’t make any mistake, Dell,” he said, “about me. I don’t think there’s anything in the way of a haircut or a shave or a shampoo that could make me like my girl any less. But if you’ll unwrap that package you may see why you had me going a while at first.”

White fingers and nimble tore at the string and paper. And then an ecstatic scream of joy; and then, alas! a quick feminine change to hysterical tears and wails, necessitating the immediate employment of all the comforting powers of the lord of the flat.

For there lay The Combs–the set of combs, side and back, that Della had worshipped long in a Broadway window. Beautiful combs, pure tortoise shell, with jewelled rims–just the shade to wear in the beautiful vanished hair. They were expensive combs, she knew, and her heart had simply craved and yearned over them without the least hope of possession. And now, they were hers, but the tresses that should have adorned the coveted adornments were gone.

But she hugged them to her bosom, and at length she was able to look up with dim eyes and a smile and say: “My hair grows so fast, Jim!”

And them Della leaped up like a little singed cat and cried, “Oh, oh!”

Jim had not yet seen his beautiful present. She held it out to him eagerly upon her open palm. The dull precious metal seemed to flash with a reflection of her bright and ardent spirit.

“Isn’t it a dandy, Jim? I hunted all over town to find it. You’ll have to look at the time a hundred times a day now. Give me your watch. I want to see how it looks on it.”

Instead of obeying, Jim tumbled down on the couch and put his hands under the back of his head and smiled.

“Dell,” said he, “let’s put our Christmas presents away and keep ’em a while. They’re too nice to use just at present. I sold the watch to get the money to buy your combs. And now suppose you put the chops on.”

The magi, as you know, were wise men–wonderfully wise men–who brought gifts to the Babe in the manger. They invented the art of giving Christmas presents. Being wise, their gifts were no doubt wise ones, possibly bearing the privilege of exchange in case of duplication. And here I have lamely related to you the uneventful chronicle of two foolish children in a flat who most unwisely sacrificed for each other the greatest treasures of their house. But in a last word to the wise of these days let it be said that of all who give gifts these two were the wisest. O all who give and receive gifts, such as they are wisest. Everywhere they are wisest. They are the magi.

December 24, 2009 Posted by | fiction, humor, writing | , , , | Leave a comment

Splenderously Crumby World

This strange, hump-backed, looking fellow is Harvey Pekar and he’s actually one of my heroes.

Harvey Pekar
Harvey Pekar really loved collecting stuff. At one point he collected comic books and then later on he began to collect rare Jazz records.

This somewhat obscure hobby led him to meet Robert Crumb. Crumb had a love of rare Jazz music also. Crumb was also beginning to become well known as an underground comic book artist. Crumb’s adult-themed art work impressed the normally cynical Pekar.

robert_crumb
Through reading his friend’s material Pekar began to realize the immense untapped potential of the whole comic book medium. Sure the medium had it’s full range of masked superheroes but Pekar felt there was a huge range of stories still waiting to be told.

“Comics could do anything that film could do,” Pekar realized. “And I wanted in on it.” he said. However it took Pekar some time to decide just what he wanted to do. “I theorized for maybe ten years about doing comics,” he says.

Pekar laid out some stories with crude stick figures and showed them to Crumb. Crumb became the first artist to illustrate American Splendor.

American Splendor was a groundbreaking series of Comic Books. The comic documents daily life in the aging neighborhoods of Pekar’s native Cleveland, where Pekar worked throughout his life (even after gaining fame) as a file clerk in a large Veterans Administration hospital.

American Splendor basically chronicles all the everyday events of Harvey who is a kind of everyman character. Ordinary life is pretty complex stuff seems to be the basic theme.

It’s laced with a realism and subtle humor that reminds me of Woody Allen or Seinfeld at their best.

Pekar gets material from anything at all. For this reason I think bloggers (especially those that write about anything like my Blogfather Madbull) will really enjoy learning more about him and his work.

For example Pekar would write about things like “How do you pick the best line to join while waiting at the Supermarket ?” or he might ponder his own name and write about what happened when he looks up his own name in the directory (and who hasn’t done that ?).

He also wrote interesting pieces about movies, books, politicians or music
he liked.
For samples click here or visit

http://www.sparehed.com/2007/05/22/40-part-37-harvey-pekar/

More poignantly though he wrote about his personal battles with Cancer. Later on as he got famous and appeared extensively on popular shows like Letterman’s Late Night Show he wrote about that new found fame also.

A recent movie about his life presents an easy way to learn about him. In the movie entitled “American Splendor”, Pekar finds love, family and a creative voice through the underground comic books he creates. Along the bumpy journey, he meets, marries and falls for Joyce, an admiring comic book seller.

american_splendor

The movie also shows the real life Harvey and his friends in some revealing snippets that enrich the heart-warming film. Be warned this film may even make you cry at a few points and will certainly make you laugh at many points.

It gets my highest recommendation, when you see the story of my hero Harvey you will be inspired too and you’ll realize it’s really a Splenderously Crumby World, full of Unexpected Possibilities.

September 21, 2009 Posted by | blog, Book Reviews, comics, fiction, humor, Lateral Thinking, Marketing, movies, non fiction, philosophy, Psychology, success, super power, writing | , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

The Emperor’s Club.

My wife finally got the movie she’d been talking about all week and was gleefully bragging about it. I was less than excited though because invariably her taste seemed diametrically opposed to mine.

Where I liked mythical and unrealistic, fantasy type shows, ( like Matrix or Star Wars ), she loved realistic people in realistic settings. Where I loved action and perhaps a dry comedy, she would go more for drama and the occasional slapstick.

The only consistent common ground was perhaps movies with Denzel Washington, but while I watched those for the interesting plots and great stories, I couldn’t help thinking, she was watching them because of Denzel’s smile.

We were beginning to at least understand each other’s tastes though and respectfully agreed to disagree while respecting each other’s choices.

“What’s the name of that movie you got again ?” I asked just to make conversation, not with any real interest in the answer.

“It’s called The Emperor’s Club. Have you heard of it ?” she asked, all smiles and bubbly.

Emperor’s Club. I immediately began to be more interested, Emperor’s Club, wasn’t that the name of some high class international prostitution ring that had caused a recent political scandal ? I wondered to myself.

women

“Nope never heard of it what’s it about ?”, I asked while trying to look bored. Maybe this was a test to see if I was interested in Prostitutes, or something, I didn’t want to seem too keen.

“It’s about a teacher at a boys school. I researched it on the net, just like you do. Based on the shows I like, the IMDB website recommended this one.”, she beamed, trying to show me she could beat me at my own game.

You see, I always use sites like Flixster, the same way avid book buyers use Amazon, to tell me movies I’d probably enjoy, based on the movies I already like. It generally works out very, very well and obviously my wife thought it was a great idea too.

200px-The_Emperor's_Club_Poster
There are hardly any women in this story, a marked departure from the usual Hollywood fare. It’s about a male teacher at an all boys school, there’s not a prostitute in sight. Yet I must confess I thoroughly enjoyed this movie. It has something that is rare yet always welcome. It has a thought provoking premise and a well scripted story that is excellently acted even by minor characters.

The basic theme of the story seems to be that to truly be considered great you must not just achieve for your own selfish aims but should contribute something to the greater good.

The movie conveys it’s theme by focusing on a troubled youth who doesn’t seem to care about fitting in although he is also obviously very brilliant. This youth, new to the strict school, causes immediate conflicts with his classmates and also the teacher (excellently portrayed by Kevin Kline)  Mr. Hunterd.

I think one of the strengths of this type of movie is that we can all relate to the school environment and through such stories we get to reflect more on our own learning experiences and favourite teachers and subjects of our past. We easily compare those we know to those of the movie even when they pale in comparison or excel those in the story.

Basically the teacher begins to realize that the troubled youth is similar to himself, in many ways, and Hunterd goes the extra mile trying to make the boy get motivated and improve in his school work.

The teacher even visits the boy’s father who lives many miles away in the city. The father is a powerful man, a politician, who tries to negotiate and bargain with everyone but absolutely resists the thought of anyone else molding his son’s ideas.

The boy eventually, like many of his classmates, achieves much in life. He flies Hunterd in to his mansion by helicopter to remember the past and in fact relive it somewhat. A school reunion including a contest.

It seems the men have not been able to shake off the past and their boyhood foibles remain.

Without dwelling on the dramatic points of the film (don’t want to spoil your viewing experience) I’ll simply say that the events at the close of the film leave an older wiser Hunterd, and the viewer, asking whether the students really learned the most important lesson of all.

As for me I was quick to realise that this film, based on a short story (entitled “The Palace Thief”, by Ethan Canin, was a true classic, worthy of deeper study.

I praised my wife for her excellent choice and she smiled proudly and offered to make me a little sandwhich and a drink.

As I sat watching the closing credits and sipping on the cold drink which  her loving hands had made for me I smiled, feeling like a King, in my Palace.

I was now a member of “The Real Emperor’s Club”. It feels so much better than “The Dead Poets Society”.

200px-Dead_poets_society

September 13, 2009 Posted by | Beautiful Women, blog, Book Reviews, fiction, humor, marraige, movies, non fiction, philosophy, success, writing | Leave a comment

Shake You Down.

shake you down
I know you think I’m just another album in an old record store but I’m not. After all how many albums talk to you like this ? Huh ? How many ?

I see you come in here, looking at all of us, the old eighties music Albums and I know what you’re thinking. Rick Astley and the Purple Symbol, over there, couldn’t care less about you, but I’m different.

They want you to just forget but I need you to remember.

I’d like to rip some silly thoughts out of your head right now. Get Envy out of there. I’d like you to stop envying people, you see on tv and read about in magazines, and those you hear on the radio. I’d like you to realize that nothing ever comes easy and whatever a man  achieves in Life he’ll have to answer for on his own.

Who says he’s a success anyhow ? Suppose he never got to be the war hero he was destined to be. Do you even know the truth ? Suppose instead of fighting the war he’s addicted to drugs with names you can’t even pronounce. Suppose the singer with the movie star looks and all those top Billboard hits never got a chance to raise his own child.

Imagine if the Star had a son, who cried daily , just hoping to talk to his Dad.

Dad was busy, busy making music and well…just Imagine. His son told the other kid’s at school he was the son of a Star but they never believed because the son never even had the Star’s last name. Do you still envy him ? It’s sad man but it has to stop.

So, I’m gonna steal your brain. Too much envy in you, it needs to stop.

Like your friend from the old neighborhood who you were envying the other day and saying to yourself “He’s so lucky. He has the perfect marraige and a great business”. Would you still envy him if you knew he had AIDS or even just plain old Diabetes ?

Work with what you have to get what you want. Start right where you are. Right here and right now.

You little punk. You want the glory and can’t handle the pain. It’s a package deal, you all signed the contract before you were even born. You little weasel face, it’s too late now. I think you’re going to remember, most people forget conversations like this. Just don’t envy anyone for their contracts that’s what makes me angry.

Fulfill your purpose. No time for envy. Don’t make me angry.

You think you’re tough ? You think you can handle it ? I’m gonna rip out your brain.

You can’t walk a day in his shoes and you don’t even want to.

I want to rip your brain wide open. Yeah and first thing I’m gonna take out is that Envy.

Yeah that stupid envy , that stupid belief that you can claim another man’s glory without feeling that man’s pain.

If you want glory go get your own. Blood, Sweat and tears. Experience the Good, the Bad and the Ugly. Do it for yourself.

I want to Brainjack you. You can’t stop me. But I’ll see how you do with your contract first. Stop being a punk and be a Real Man or else I’ll be back and I’ll tear your Brain wide open. Live your own Life or I will Shake you Down.

August 29, 2009 Posted by | Beautiful Women, blog, fiction, Lateral Thinking, Psychology, song lyrics, Strategy, success, super power, writing | , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Cookie Thief – by Valerie Cox

(Thanks to Dr. Wayne Dyer for bringing my attention to this poem in one of his speeches.)

A woman was waiting at an airport one night
With several long hours before her flight
She hunted for a book in the airport shop
Bought a bag of cookies and found a place to drop
She was engrossed in her book but happened to see
That the man beside her as bold as could be
Grabbed a cookie or two from the bag between
Which she tried to ignore to avoid a scene
She munched cookies and watched the clock
As this gutsy cookie thief diminished her stock

CookieThief

She was getting more irritated as the minutes ticked by
Thinking “If I wasn’t so nice I’d blacken his eye”
With each cookie she took he took one too
And when only one was left she wondered what he’d do
With a smile on his face and a nervous laugh
He took the last cookie and broke it in half
He offered her half as he ate the other
She snatched it from him and thought “Oh brother
This guy has some nerve and he’s also rude
Why he didn’t even show any gratitude”
She had never known when she had been so galled
And sighed with relief when her flight was called
She gathered her belongings and headed for the gate
Refusing to look back at the thieving ingrate
She boarded the plane and sank in her seat
Then sought her book which was almost complete
As she reached in her baggage she gasped with surprise
There was her bag of cookies in front of her eyes
“If mine are here” she moaned with despair
“Then the others were his and he tried to share”
“Too late to apologize she realized with grief”
That she was the rude one, the ingrate, the thief

August 27, 2009 Posted by | blog, fiction, humor, non fiction, philosophy, Psychology, writing | 3 Comments

The Stonecutter.

There was once a stonecutter, who was dissatisfied with himself and with his position in life.

One day, he passed a wealthy merchant’s house, and through the open gateway, saw many fine possessions and important visitors. “How powerful that merchant must be!” thought the stonecutter. He became very envious, and wished that he could be like the merchant. Then he would no longer have to live the life of a mere stonecutter.

To his great surprise, he suddenly became the merchant, enjoying more luxuries and power than he had ever dreamed of, envied and detested by those less wealthy than himself. But soon a high official passed by, carried in a sedan chair, accompanied by attendants, and escorted by soldiers beating gongs. Everyone, no matter how wealthy, had to bow low before the procession. “How powerful that official is!” he thought. “I wish that I could be a high official!”

Then he became the high official, carried everywhere in his embroidered sedan chair, feared and hated by the people all around, who had to bow down before him as he passed. It was a hot summer day, and the official felt very uncomfortable in the sticky sedan chair. He looked up at the sun. It shone proudly in the sky, unaffected by his presence. “How powerful the sun is!” he thought. “I wish that I could be the sun!”

Then he became the sun, shining fiercely down on everyone, scorching the fields, cursed by the farmers and laborers. But a huge black cloud moved between him and the earth, so that his light could no longer shine on everything below. “How powerful that storm cloud is!” he thought. “I wish that I could be a cloud!”

Then he became the cloud, flooding the fields and villages, shouted at by everyone. But soon he found that he was being pushed away by some great force, and realized that it was the wind. “How powerful it is!” he thought. “I wish that I could be the wind!”

Then he became the wind, blowing tiles off the roofs of houses, uprooting trees, hated and feared by all below him. But after a while, he ran up against something that would not move, no matter how forcefully he blew against it — a huge, towering stone. “How powerful that stone is!” he thought. “I wish that I could be a stone!” he thought. “I wish that I could be a stone!”

Then he became the stone, more powerful than anything else on earth. But as he stood there, he heard the sound of a hammer pounding a chisel into the solid rock, and felt himself being changed. “What could be more powerful than I, the stone?” he thought. He looked down and saw far below him the figure of a stonecutter.

This is an ancient chinese parable. This version of it is found  on pg.118 of a book entitled “The Tao of Pooh” by Benjamin Hoff. The book presents various ideas of Taoism using characters from the “Winnie the Pooh” stories.

August 26, 2009 Posted by | blog, Book Reviews, fiction, Lateral Thinking, philosophy, Strategy, success | , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Banshees.

A close friend, who knows that I like comics, asked me recently to remind him of the name of a particular character. The character, he said, used Sound to create powerful energy blasts that could knock out his opponents. He couldn’t tell me any more about the person but kept assuring me that I would remember the name, even though he couldn’t. I felt like Joseph being
asked by the Pharoah to remember the Pharoah’s dream.

I was drawing a complete blank and really wishing my friend could tell me some other details about the character for me to stir my memory. Anyway we continued to talk about other things and I pretty much forgot about this Unknown comic book character.

That night while idly surfing the net I suddenly felt like Archimedes in his bathtub. Eureka !I screamed as I remembered exactly who my friend was thinking of.

Banshee

Banshee

Banshee !! I screamed. An appropriate response.

Banshee was an Irish criminal who fought the X-Men, with his Sonic powers, originally, but later became an X-Man himself.

Banshee joins Prof X.

Banshee joins Prof X.

It made me reflect though on the powers of the mind. We have so much things stored in our brains and for so long just waiting for a chance to Scream at us. Our subconscious is working to ferret out information we need even while we’re focused on other tasks.

That same night, while reflecting on the power of comics, to entertain and teach, I thought of how comics really combined the best of both books and movies. I had a strange and strong desire to read this old Superman comic that had published a letter of mine, when I was a teenager. Amazingly I found a copy of the letter and then had a desire to read the comic I was writing about in my letter.

Superman #22 published my fan letter.

Superman #22 published my fan letter.

I did not consciously remember any of the story but on reading it again I realized that the villain being fought by Superman was named Silver Banshee. (This fight happened in issue#17).

Silver Banshee didn't brush her teeth.

Silver Banshee didn't brush her teeth.

Amazing, my mind had being trying to tell me that there was more than one Banshee character and reminded me of things I could not consciously remember anymore. My subconscious or  intuition was guiding me straight to the information like a homing pigeon flying back to its home.

Banshee. It seemed more than coincidental that there would be two different characters with such a name, one created by Marvel to fight the X-Men and the other to fight Superman in the DC Universe. Since both characters were from Ireland, in the various stories, I wasn’t that surprised to find out that Banshees are actually based on an Irish Legend.

In legend a Banshee is always a woman ( apparently the Marvel Comic writers forgot that).

Banshee in Marvel Universe.

Banshee in Marvel Universe.

Historically it’s believed that in 1437, King James I of Scotland was approached by an Irish seer or banshee who foretold his murder at the instigation of the Earl of Atholl.

A Banshee is a woman who appears to foretell someone’s impending death usually by singing, wailing (hence the sonic based comic villains) or even just by appearing and washing the blood stained clothes of the person soon to die.

In legend a Banshee is definitely a bad omen, when they open their mouth it’s worse than a bad case of Halitosis it means someone is going to Die.

X-Men versus Banshee.

X-Men versus Banshee.

Luckily in my case seeing the Banshees just meant that my memory was Subconsciously stronger than I even knew.

August 25, 2009 Posted by | blog, comics, fiction, Lateral Thinking, writing | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment