Author: winter b

Midday Matinee – Privacy… Got any?

Midday Matinee is our people watching, people doing and people being feature. Join the Woodland Creatures for an afternoon break. How much does your privacy mean to you? Apparently it’s not worth much. We’ve all seen the “paranoid” movies like The Net or Enemy of the State and probably enjoyed the suspense and adventure. And then we went home and forgot about it. And I know I, for one, have taken comfort in the fact that no matter how big the computers get, there’s still too much data to be analyzed, even by a machine. Think of the embarrassment of the agents who showed up at a woman’s house after she’d made the mistake of e-mailing a friend that her child’s play had been a bomb. In fact, I make it a habit on the phone any time I use a word like that, or start getting hot under the collar about some political issue, to pause and say, “Hello, NSA. How are you guys today?” Just because it amuses me. My life is a pretty open book. I don’t have any secrets: print it all on the front of my local paper. I’ve committed no crimes, I am involved in no nefarious plots, and my underwear is all white cotton, a few with holes. I take prescription medications, I haven’t had a pain pill for anything in well over...

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Midday Matinee – Waffen SS?

Richard Iott, Republican candidate for Congress in Ohio, has gotten some flack for his weekend hobby of WWII reenactment. He said it was something his son was interested in and he did it as a “bonding experience.” Puh-leeze. (More) Civil War reenactors probably don’t understand all the hoopla, because, as one said, “you need two sides to reenact a battle.”  True. We’ll leave aside for the moment the glorification of war that comes from these things … although I’m fairly sure I’ll get back to it eventually. A lot of people are upset because Iott chose to be a Nazi. Others claim he was just playing a German soldier, and it was for the purposes of reenactment. I’ll be the first to say I have no beef with the ordinary German footsoldier. He was a man called to the service of his country, just as many others were from many other countries. But that brings me back to the whole problem of reenactment. (See, I said I’d get back to it.) Reenactment isn’t real. It doesn’t even approach real. It’s a bunch of people who put on uniforms and go out and play in the woods for a day or a week. They shoot blank rounds at each other, march around, pretend to get wounded, pretend to win. Pretend is the operative word here. There is not one single...

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Midday Matinee – Stranger in a strange land

Midday Matinee is our people watching, people doing and people being feature. Join the Woodland Creatures for an afternoon break. I’ve been getting tired lately, emotionally tired. It’s really vexing me, though, because I never wanted to turn into one of those crabby old ladies who remember the past nostalgically and condemn the present with the words, “In my day…” Sadly, I’m in danger of getting there. I look around me now and see a level of incivility, a level of ugliness in public discourse that was seldom tolerated when I was younger. I find myself wondering just where we went wrong, at what point it became okay for someone driving a Mercedes to roll down her car window and spew invective at a beggar holding a sign on a corner. When did it become okay for people to push and shove, criticize others’ appearance, yell at counter clerks, and just generally turn the atmosphere even more toxic than it is already? It’s been exhausting lately. I’m tired of it. I want to hunker down away from people and simply lick my wounds, or at best not risk another set simply by going out among humanity. Unfortunately, I”m making calls for GOTV, which kind of puts me on the hook. I have to make contact with my fellow earthlings. But what happened to a polite hang-up, rather than a cuss word and a slam? Guess that vanished...

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Midday Matinee – Sputnik and dreams

Midday Matinee is our people watching, people doing and people being feature. Join the Woodland Creatures for an afternoon break. Today is the anniversary of what may have been the most important day of my seventh year of life. Certainly it was one of the most formative of my life. This is the anniversary of the date that my dad took me out into the cold night of New Paltz, NY, to show me “something special.” Then he pointed out a tiny dot racing across the heavens against the backdrop of stars and told me that was a Russian satellite. For the first time in history men had launched something into space. I vividly remember it, but not because it was a moment of amazement for me. Rather, I remember it because it was a moment of shock. It was the first time I learned that Buck Rogers, which I watched on TV often, was not real. Men and women were not flying among the stars at all. I had assumed space travel was as real as driving around in a car. I had assumed that while the stories on the TV programs I watched were fictional, that the backgrounds against which they were painted were real. Shock made that memory vivid to me forever and I’m glad it did. My dad is gone now, but I can still remember what it was like to stand...

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Midday Matinee – Reincarnation…why?

Midday Matinee is our people watching, people doing and people being feature. Join the Woodland Creatures for an afternoon break. Crazy things pass through my mind from time to time, and for some reason reincarnation has been popping up here and there. Maybe because I’m writing a paranormal novel, that while it doesn’t involve reincarnation (at least not yet), certainly tangles the past and present a bit. But the question that’s been running through my head is: Why in the world would I want to do this again? Some cultures that believe in reincarnation don’t think it’s a choice. You get endless do-overs until you get it right. Given the nature of human beings, I guess that means most of us get Mulligans until the universe ends. We’ll never get it perfectly right. One branch of Buddhism takes an interesting tack though: We get to choose if we’ll be reincarnated, and into what kind of life. The theory is that most of us choose to come back in order to learn the lesson of compassion fully. We choose difficult lives because they will teach us, not because we come here to have a rip-roaring good time. Of course, in order to get to choose your next life there’s a small catch: you must pass a test; your positives in your last life must outweigh your negatives or you’ll be slammed back here...

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