WARNING: No minced words here. İ rake the muck of the 'other', the so-called open-minded side who's preference is to whine and distort reality. If still suckling mom's tit or warped by delusions of polıtıcally correct equality you WİLL be offended by such materıal. Welcome to Reality.

No cushy vacations for professors

In lieu of uncertainty about future state funding---translation: the recession--- Kent State University (Ohio) has canceled about sixty faculty sabbaticals in the coming school year. The University estimates the rescinded paid leaves saves the campus $500,000 to $750,000.

Man, am I in the wrong racket!

With Phd's to their names I fancy the academics are smart enough to pay for a trip to Venice/Tunisia/Athens/Panama, etc like the rest of us or maybe they'll just reason there's no real need to "research" in those exotic, lush locales and buy, I mean, invest in a bottle of four hundred dollar wine, instead.

I'd like a tontine, please

After posting an entry about a bout of illness incurred in Mexico I read an op-ed piece in the New York Times by Tom Baker and Peter Siegelman (March 9, 2009) concerning youth's allergy to health insurance and it struck a chord.

"Many young Americans don't have health insurance," opens the article. "...Some just don't want to invest good money in health care that they may never need." The first paragraph concludes with the statistic thtat 19-29 year olds comprise a third of all un-insured adults below retirement age in America.

Pluck, pluck, twang went the chord!
coverage on par with saying prayers just in case Hell and its lake of fire does exist!

Referring to us as "young invincibles" for our "exaggerated optimism" about our health, the authors propose insurance companies reintroduce the tontine plan to attract young people. Under a tontine program the insured would receive a cash bonus for ultimately being right about not having needed insurance; and with bonuses framed within a five year span there is not that far off range---20, 30, 50 years---that convinces people to wait until they are old or settled down...like their parents. Now that's coverage on par with saying prayers just in case Hell and its lake of fire does exist!

Under a tontine program the insured would receive a cash bonus for ultimately being right about not having needed insurance

I don't go along with the belief that everyone should buy insurance anymore than everyone should safeguard their monies in a bank. I think the insurance business is a scam, like the engagement ring, which did not always exist, cooked up among money changers. Insurance companies loathe to pay out when *#$*%! hits the fan, leaving you to play the part of the chump arguing and wrangling for your own money. Tontine insurance, however, is something I would buy into as it suits my needs, "exaggerated optimism," and sounds like it would be more easily affordable (and less cumbersome) than regular old people's insurance.

If I don't get injured or seriously ill, then I gain bonus money; and if I am brought to confront mortality, then I am covered. It's a win-win situation. I'd like a tontine, please.

Stupid people always get hired

Here I relate in full an entry from the New York Times' "Metropolitan Diary" section (March 9, 2009):

Dear Diary:
Anybody who wants a simple economic explanation of why our major banks are in distress from holding sour loans may be interested in the following conversation.
I called the company in Florida holding my home equity loan with a routine question. Before answering, the prson on the other end dutifully took down my loan number, Social Security number, etc, and then asked me to verify my address. I did so.
She replied: "I see no such city as New York in our records, sir." To my amazed "What!" she said, "New York is the state listed for your loan, sir." I explained that New York City was in New York State. Again: "I see no such city, sir. I have you listed as living in Manhattan." I patiently explained that Manhattan was a borough of New York City.
"Thank you, sir; now what was your question about your loan?"
--Irwin Wall

Pastor killed during service

If Dirty Harry were a deranged, God-fearing man he might quip something to the effect, "Shoot first, say Amen later."

Earlier this month a stranger walked down the aisle of First Baptist Church in Maryville, Illinois and blessed the Rev Fred Winters with .45-caliber semiautomatic. It might not have given Rev Winters a closer walk with Thee but it, no doubt, increased the lead in the man's diet.

Violence and tragic mishaps in churches---barring terrorist fundamentalism---have a halo of dark comedy to them that arouses a smirk in me as I wonder on God's protective hand. Did you hear about the one about the old man who broke the fall of steeple? Classic!

Returning to Maryville, the preacher's initial reaction was to shield himself from bullets with, get this, a Bible. Had he lived that most certainly would have made for a barnstorm sermon from coast to coast. Reported one congregant, "We thought it was part of a drama skit. When he shot, what you saw was confetti. We just sat there waiting for what comes next."
Shoot first, say Amen later
What eventually followed was the preacher's funeral. The madman was, in turn, subdued by two other congregants but not before whipping out a knife to replace the jammed gun (guess they don't make 'em like they use to).

Oh, and I would be remissed for not mentioning the theme of Rev Winter's sermon: Finding happiness in the workplace.

You can't make this stuff up!

Give my regards to Hollywood

You might regard it odd to read a bibliophile's appreciation for literary works turned into motion pictures---Hollywood---but sometimes odd ain't so bad. A couple of nights past I watched Doubt, the Pulitzer-Prize winning play turned into a major motion picture by its author John Patrick Shanley. Mr Shanley also directed the movie which stars Meryl Streep and Phillip Seymour Hoffman and was nominated for five Academy Awards including Best Adapted Screenplay.

I had never heard of Doubt before the Oscar buzz and was still replaying scenes in my head long after I finished watching the film, attesting to the efficacy of its title (and players!) And whilst watching I could not help but wonder how engaging must be the drama and dialogue in more restrictive theatre settings as it was certainly engrossing on screen. Click here for movie trailer.

The 'good' isn't just the successful adaptation from one medium to another but the bigger reception garnered by one medium over the other

But I have not seen the play and that returns us to my point.

The movie introduced me to this work. Hollywood can do some good especially when it is working with good material---supplemented by fine acting and editing---which tends to be the case when plays are the wellspring from whence is produced a screenplay. The 'good' isn't just the successful adaptation from one medium to another but, rather, the bigger reception garnered by one medium over the other. Movies cast a larger net, hauling in bigger and newer audiences. Consequently the (probably) obscure playwright, writer, thespian, publishing house gains more attention, job offers, money and, if nothing else, graduates, for the time being, from starving artist existence.
One mustn't be snobbish towards transforming plays and books into movies. Not everyone lives in namby-pamby NYC or can afford the sophisticated ticket prices. Broadway isn't the center of fine art; and even if it were who is to say the center is such a hot place to be? Answer: real estate worms and theatre owners.

Adapting plays into movies introduces literary works to disparate demographics who either would never or could not see a theatre production, including musicals and opera. Ditto for the lot who, strange to my thinking, never read books---and, stranger still, are proud of it.

I think plays lend themselves better to the camera because they already involve acting and directions but, overall, adapting any writings into major motion pictures has the effect of encouraging movie goers to reinvest in the originals. Sometimes---probably more often than not---the book remains superior and more substantial than its mindless movie version but sentiments lost in translation seems to be the rule, not the exception. Still, the movie does not fail to present one to the magical word of its progenitor, literature.

As for the exceptions they are mightily exceptional. Among my favorites are Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, The Talented Mr Ripley, A Few Good Men, Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, Interview with the Vampire, whose author Anne Rice famously took out a full page apology to Tom Cruise; Sin City, The Collector, The Shining, Valley of the Dolls, Jurassic Park, Silence of the Lambs and its sequel (the prequel was a rushed job in reverse...the movie outshone the weak book!), and the James Bond franchise.

Plays lend themselves better...but, overall, adapting any writings into major motion pictures has the effect of encouraging movie goers to reinvest in the originals

Plays are harder for me to attend due to the scarcity of playhouses but books are another matter. Thankfully they are readily available through libraries, book exchanges, book shops and anonymously 'gifted' from travellers passing through stations, airports, hostels. A few of the ones on my To Do list include Mr Shanley's Doubt, Robert Ludlum's Jason Borne trilogy, Truman Capote's In Cold Blood, Running with Scissors by Augusten Burroughs and Rum Diaries by Dr Hunter S Thompson. Hope to get through these this summer. And, being a long time fan of C.S. Lewis, I plan to eventually complete J.R.R. Tolkein's The Lord of the Rings. Eventually.

Make no doubt about it.

The coming reality of Thought Police

As read in The Guide, New Scientist reports our Homeland Security Department is now working on pre-emptive scanning technology called Project Hostile to, get this, detect "hostile thoughts" in people crossing through designated posts such as border crossings and, of course, airports.

This high-technology is being sold as a measure towards thwarting would-be malefactors according to their suspicious breathing patterns and facial expressions. Such a device---or attitude---makes criminals out of people who've committed no crime. In short, these "pre-criminals" will be legally punished for thinking about doing something unlawful.
If such a scenario sounds familiar---"1984" or "Minority Report"---that's probably because it damn well is.
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