These days, there seems to be an endless flow of contemporary action/sci-fi adventures featuring evil forces that are determined to destroy humankind. The latest of the lot is PACIFIC RIM, and it involves what happens when the world-- the entire world-- must unite to thwart some colossal, murderous monsters of the Godzilla variety.
A few years ago, it was unusual to come across a film made for the post-sixty-year-olds. Even among art house cinema films, the focus was pretty much on the thirty-somethings. Then, in 1999, Tea with Mussolini and its aging cast of Judi Dench, Joan Plowright and Maggie Smith received art house distribution and made some money. Five years later, Judi Dench and Maggie Smith reteamed for Ladies in Lavender which also made a profit.
A few months ago as we drove to an appointment, one of my daughters and I bonded around the British rock band, Led Zeppelin's 1971 classic, "Stairway To Heaven." With some uninterrupted time and the windows rolled up tightly in the car, we let loose. Every word, melody change, and voice inflection of lead singer Robert Plant's that we could remember, we imitated. We even tried to imitate those famous instrumentals that build the song up in a crescendo from a quiet renaissance style recorder solo to a battle of angsting, angry guitars and screaming lyrics. Finally, we put our voices together to echo Plant's heartrending acapella solo: "And she's buying a stairway...to heaven."
If 40 is the new 30, then American sprinter Tyson Gay has a long decade ahead of him. Because at 30, he’s suddenly looking quite old, especially compared to the emergent track stars Usain Bolt and Yohan Blake of Jamaica, who at 26 and 23 make Gay look like at parent at a Taylor Swift show. Gay has certainly aged years in the past several days, when it was revealed that he tested positive for a banned performance enhancing substance. That has forced him to withdraw from next month’s world championships in Moscow, where he would have but faint hopes of topping a field that has since passed him by.
President Obama recently noted that “This war, like all wars, must end.” In other words the president is outlining revisions in the legal and moral framework that have guided policies since 2001. Presumably this speech is guided by the president’s belief that we have “turned a corner” in the war with al Qaeda and other terrorist entities. Moreover, the president argued that the 2001 congressional Authorization for the Use of Military Force adopted after the 9/11 attack should be revised and eventually repealed to recognize the diminished capability of al Qaeda as a terror organization.
While coming to record last week's commentary, I was listening to Michelle Alexander on Alternative Radio. If you haven’t heard her or read her book, The New Jim Crow, I strongly recommend it. Some of us knew the basic facts but she fills in the details and makes the argument brilliantly.
Watching the manically depressed oscillation of an appreciable segment of this nation’s political leadership, during the past several days, hyper-ventilating between vociferous variables over implausible positions, on whether or not to consign poverty-plagued children to starvation-edged cutoffs in their already meager Food-Stamp allotments; and/or exposing their inherently stunted gender incongruity in a malicious maneuver against mysterious female body-parts, for which they secretly hunger, one explication came to mind: an aversion expressed by philosopher Blaise Pascal, nearly four-hundred years earlier, at the irritating repudiation exhibited by the male of the species: “…….what a contradiction, what a prodigy! Judge of all things, feeble sink of uncertainty and error, both the glory and the shame of the universe,” he wrote.
In a few short months, Americans who need health insurance will be able to obtain it. They will either get it from the government – through programs like Medicare or Medicaid, from their employers, or purchase it themselves from health marketplaces, known as health benefit exchanges.