Monday, March 19, 2018

The Mindfulness Market

I admit it.
While standing in the supermarket checkout line the other day, I squandered five bucks on a small PreventionGuide booklet called “The Mindfulness Manual.” It’s full of tiny articles with titles like “Clear Your Mind,” “Boost Your Joy” and “Put Down Your Phone.”
Okay as far as it goes, but mostly the kind of simple-minded stuff you find in the cheaper women’s magazines — a lot of it about as mindful as a casserole recipe. Mallika Chopra wrote the “Find Your Purpose” squib, so I guess she’s gone into her family’s guru business.
The continuing ham-handed corporate attempts to monetize mindfulness interest me, because they show both how powerful the concept is and what a buzzword it’s become.

Friday, March 16, 2018

'Love, Simon,' And Why Not?

Just back from Love, Simon, a gay Little Shop Around the Corner that couldn’t be more Capra.
The film was touching and sweet without being cloying — or such was my opinion, clearly shared with the 30 high school girls in the audience who saw it with me.
The rest of the cinema was full of 80-year-olds watching some stupid caterwauling Jesus movie.
Highlights include Simon’s fantasy of a rainbow disco college and his high school’s dreadful production of Cabaret.  
Nick Robinson, the regular-guy heartthrob who plays Simon so effectively, is straight, but said the movie caused his brother to come out.

Thursday, March 8, 2018

Me and My Library

We just put these lighted shelves in last year. They hold 700 volumes, and require a ladder.

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Rings a Bell That Tolls for Thee

Art by Tamila Vdovina of the Czech Republic

- Authoritarian submission. Submissive, uncritical attitude toward idealized moral authorities of the in-group.
- Authoritarian aggression. Tendency to be on the lookout for, and to condemn, reject, and punish people who violate conventional values.
- Anti-intraception. Opposition to the subjective, the imaginative, the tender-minded.
- Superstition and stereotypying. The belief in mystical determinants of the individual’s fate; the disposition to think in rigid categories.
- Power and “toughness.” Preoccupation with the dominance-submission, strong-weak, leader-follower dimension, identification with power-figures; overemphasis on the domineering ego; exaggerated assertion of strength and toughness.
- Destructiveness and cynicism. Generalized hostility, vilification of the human.
- Projectivity. The disposition to believe that wild and dangerous things go on in the world; the projection outwards of unconscious emotional impulses.
- Sex. Exaggerated concern with sexual “goings-on.”
So you tell me. Who am I describing? A typical Trump supporter, or a textbook fascist?

Thursday, February 15, 2018

We Shall Never Surrender

Gary Oldman as the World War II prime minister.
Just returned from watching Winston Churchill’s first days as prime minister during Britain’s Darkest Hour. 
Star Gary Oldman and director Joe Wright make Churchill heroic, poignant and likable, building to a conclusion that’s surprisingly democratic and ringingly antifascist. The movie’s about as timid as Big Ben.
“Even though large tracts of Europe and many old and famous States have fallen or may fall into the grip of the Gestapo and all the odious apparatus of Nazi rule, we shall not flag or fail,” Churchill told the House of Commons on June 4, 1940, with invasion imminent. “We shall go on to the end. We shall fight in France, we shall fight on the seas and oceans, we shall fight with growing confidence and growing strength in the air, we shall defend our island, whatever the cost may be. We shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender, and if, which I do not for a moment believe, this island or a large part of it were subjugated and starving, then our Empire beyond the seas, armed and guarded by the British Fleet, would carry on the struggle, until, in God's good time, the New World, with all its power and might, steps forth to the rescue and the liberation of the old.”

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Thoughts on a Long Walk

Thoughts on a long walk: It occurs to me that a tree is aware without being conscious. Without thinking, it reaches for the light. Without uncertainty, it’s grounded and solid. As such, it’s a metaphor for mindfulness meditation.

Friday, February 9, 2018

Give Trump a Shave with Occam's Razor

"Occam's razor is a problem-solving principle suggesting that, when presented with competing hypothetical answers to a problem, we should select the one that makes the fewest assumptions."