The Layman’s Holiday

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Happy Fourth of July, Readers!

I hope you’re all enjoying hot dogs and lemonade in bright blue backyard pools, or maybe you’re hanging out on the beach with your families and friends, ready to watch the sky light up with red, white, and blue fireworks. I’ll be enjoying a long, glamorous night of work at my local frozen-yogurt shop, so please drink a beer or two for me! As I have nothing to do but sit and imagine all the fun I’m missing tonight, I find myself wondering why this once highly revered and meaningful holiday has been reduced to a reputation of pretty, colored fire in the sky, beer brat hangovers, and repetitive country music.

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A Walk through Sprawl

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My journey starts at an intersection. I stand in a place where the long and wide roads had sliced into the natural landscape, and where nature fights a losing war for supremacy in the world. Every blade of grass is like a young jarhead sent to the frontline to be cut down, or captured and conditioned to servitude. The road acts like a demilitarized zone and two opposing sides stare across the void. It’s not a depressing place, but the ambiance is of menace and despair. I stand in relative openness, but before me lies an enclosure of absolute concrete.

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The NY State of Mind Does Not Brake For Enlightenment

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George Carlin had this joke. Take a pad and paper with you every day. Count up to ten. That would be the number of assholes that you would encounter in a day, but sometimes, you would even get past ten. I personally lose count every time I’m behind the wheel going to work or coming home because drivers lately have the need for speed, and as another car cuts me off, missing me by an inch, I glance down at the book beside me. It’s ‘A Simple Path’ by the Dalai Lama.

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Education in America – The O’Reilly Factor

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Bill O’Reilly has discovered that Americans are ignorant “about their own country.” He told us so not too long ago, quoting Newsweek for the numbers, though he could just as easily have quoted some of Jay Leno’s man-in-the-street interviews (it turns out that 29% of Americans don’t know who the vice president is and 40% don’t know that Germany and Japan were the enemies in World War II). And Bill knows who to blame too: First, the public school system, which is “no longer teaching history, geography and civics in an effective way.” Next, the Internet, which allows people to detach themselves from reality. Television too, but that doesn’t apply to Fox viewers, who obviously take an interest in current events. There you have it, in a nutshell.

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Film and Ownership

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How long does an art experience or observation last? One painting, maybe can last a few minutes as you stand in its grace with contemplation before moving on to the next piece. A sculpture may last slightly more, as you circle for perspective to unlock its meaning and find interpretation. Modern art, depending on its form, can be an immersive encounter that moves through various mediums, yet its engagement still only lasts a short while. The observation of art is a fleeting experience, for connoisseurs and academics the impact can be longer, but for the average art lover and gallery goer, art can be a fading encounter. Film on the other hand, taken as an art form, can last from eighty minutes and beyond, as the film’s contents and narrative sink in, its impact after viewing can be immeasurable.

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The Trouble With Past Lives

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When I was a child, I was afraid of the closet. It didn’t help watching movies like the first Poltergeist or that American Ninja movie, where another girl gets sucked into the closet and then gets possessed by a ninja. The Horror movie, House scared the ever living crap out of me, but the one scene that I will never forget is when that thing erupts out of the closet. And I was done, but I still watched the rest of it. And the closet continued to haunt me even with Cat’s Eye when James Woods peered inside, realizing that someone was indeed in there, watching him. It would take years to get over this phobia. Thank you, Hollywood, but the stuff of nightmares had yet to come.

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Zero Opportunity

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In June 2013, I received the news that Zero Books would publish a collection of my film theory essays. The book U.ESS.AY: Politics and Humanity in American Film is a slim tone of critical dissections of modern cinema and pop culture, featuring the likes of Schwarzenegger, Lynch,Shatner, Swayze, Hopper, and even Kim Jong-Il, who turns up a couple of times actually. The book is a phantasmagorical adventure in celluloid and digital film, to be, or not to be taken seriously, whatever your preference. When Zero offered me the publishing contract, I was thrilled to say the least. Not only was this publisher my first choice, they were my only choice; it was publish with them or publish with no one.

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(TH)EverYing is a LI(V)E

(TH)EverYing is a LI(V)E

When one peels away the onion layers of “the conspiracy” one does end up back in the Garden of Eden (and “The Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil” has a lot more to with concepts like numerology and “Ancient” architecture than eating apples and oranges). It astounds me how many well known “conspiracy theorists” (some of whom I do read for information) miss this base concept. Some may be familiar with the names including Jim Marrs, Webster Tarpley, Alex Jones and Infowars, David Icke and more.

There are a few important concepts that must be emphasized to help the reader find ultimate truth, the convergence of current events with Biblical predictions of “the last hour”. First, there is no specific “anti-Christ” mentioned anywhere in the Book of Revelation. It’s mentioned in I John but nowhere else in the entire Bible.

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Changing Anthems

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I was trying not to panic. That is, I had no reason to panic. I had prepped days in advance. Well, weeks in advance. Well—really, years in advance. My first experience with American history had been in middle school and through an unfortunate set of circumstances which involved changing schools after my seventh grade year, I’d had a double dose of Revolutionary and Civil War battles back-to-back. I knew almost all the presidents. I knew more about America than I’d ever know about the country I came from.

But the real prep had started a couple weeks ago when I’d actually taken the initiative to start studying. Then it had officially hit its peak a couple of days ago when I’d suddenly awoken to find that I had forgotten everything. Who was Susan B. Anthony? How many Supreme Court justices were there? What the hell was a veto?

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The Old Road is Rapidly Ageing

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Fifty years ago a young man by the name of Robert Zimmerman took a song to Studio A in New York City and after seven takes perfected what would turn out to be an anthem for that time. The Times They Are Changing is one of Bob Dylan’s most famous protest songs written under an atmosphere drenched in revolutionary prospects. The song was recorded on October 23 1963 and first …continue…