The Wrong Lilies

The Wrong Lilies

Friday, February 24, 2012


 Do many of us stop to think about how we get to see a movie?  Personally we seldom give it much thought beyond watching for films that seem interesting and checking the local theaters and deciding where and when and if we shall go to the theater or simply wait for the DVD or decide a film just isn’t for us.

But for us, “My Week With Marilyn” was at the top of our to-see list when we first heard about it, and especially after we saw a trailer.  We often use a website called, for International Movie Data Base, to find out when a film is going to be released, and then start watching for it to appear on the website for one of our local theaters.  And one would think that a movie such as MWWM would be available everywhere.  But it was not.  And we live in a large metropolitan area.

We checked and checked and finally found it only at a mall theater about eleven miles away, but we shrugged and said to ourselves, “Well, this is a special occasion.  OK.”  Then when we got to the theater and after we bought the tickets, we found that the movie was available only in one of those so-called dinner theater setups, with a total seating capacity of 32, and no seats available for us to sit together.  Now we like to have meals out, and we like to go to movies, but we just don’t care to do both at the same time.  To us it is incongruous to watch a meaningful film with the smell of French fries and burgers or whatever, wafting over everything.  So we got a refund and went home very disgruntled.  And kept looking for the possibility of the movie showing up in wider distribution, as sometimes mysteriously happens.  Well, finally, we found it at a ‘normal’ movie theater, fifteen miles away, and now we were flat determined to go see that movie.  And oh, how glad we were that we did.  The story was beautifully written and directed, the actors were all superb, and we walked out of the movie and all we could say was, “Wow”.  And we passed the word along to all our friends, along with the less than encouraging difficulty it was to even find the movie being shown, much less in what we consider a suitable venue.

We’ve been following this film on that site and sure enough, the receipts on this film are remarkably low (because no one could find it), and yet the film has garnered all sorts of awards and nominations, including Academy nominations for two of the actors.  And we simply cannot figure out why on earth this jewel of a film was not as carefully marketed and displayed as it was carefully made.  Some of the films nominated for “Best Movie” made a lot of money.  At least two of them, in our opinions, weren’t worth the digital material it took to film them.   There’s no accounting for tastes.  But for all the folks out there who love good movies with good stories and good actors and wonderful settings, find this movie and see it if you can.  Or wait for the DVD to buy or rent.  Ours is already ordered.  We’ll want to see it again.  And again.

Sunday, February 19, 2012


Nowadays, perhaps very little attention is given, except in certain literature classes, to an American philosopher named Ralph Waldo Emerson.   And please understand that I am in no way truly familiar with Emerson, except for one thing he wrote, that I read many years ago and have never forgotten:  “To believe your own thought, to believe that what is true for you in your private heart is true for all men -- that is genius”.

Because when I read that, and thought about it, and truly accepted it, I realized how radical and how transformative the statement is.  And ever since, through decades of self-analysis and attempts at understanding myself and the world I inhabit, I have tried to apply that statement to the choices and beliefs and understandings I have acquired.  And even now, decades later, here I am, finding new applications for what I perceive as a great truth.

For instance, as a traditionalist, I have a hard time sometimes accepting the concept of gay marriage.  I have no problem of acceptance of gays, male or female, nor the concept of civil unions, for gays or anyone else.  It’s just the concept of the actual marriage ceremony that I struggle with, until I remind myself of what Emerson said.  Because if I wish to have the relationship I am blessed with, how can I then deny that to anyone else.

Now I am finding still another application of this truism.  There are those who are now becoming public figures, who have declared their opposition to contraception.  But they are declaring not only that they do not believe in the principle of contraception for themselves, they are declaring that no one, absolutely no one should practice contraception.  This is simply a mirror version of Emerson’s statement.  For to deny one’s self anything is a personal choice; to deny personal choice to everyone else is dictatorship.  It is the worst possible path to denying freedom of choice to others.  And in our country, denial of freedom to others is truly a terrible thing.  In our Declaration of Independence are these glorious words written:  We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty ….”

Thursday, February 2, 2012


Everyone who knows about the Peanuts comic strip, and Charlie Brown and Snoopy, or who has read a crackling pirate story, recalls the expletive of choice for the characters:  “Aargh!”  It is indeed a great expletive, since it is in general socially acceptable and yet wonderfully expressive.

Well, ‘aargh’ pretty well sums up my feelings about the political process for the last several years, and especially right now.

Putting aside one’s political preferences, and mine are safely aside and well-known, it is as shocking as can be expressed to observe the causes and effects of the GOP nomination process this time around.  Now debate and dissent can be very healthy processes to help define and understand positions on politics, the economy, personal values, etcetera.  Unless debate and dissent are simply used like hammers and tongs to damage opponents.  But none of that is new.  One only has to read David McCullough’s book, John Adams, or any other history of our country to know that political campaigns are as close to mud-wrestling as educated men get.

But here is what I simply cannot comprehend.  The polls are going back and forth like wind-shield wiper blades, back and forth constantly, depending on what the utterances du jour are.  That indicates, at least to some, that choices are going back and forth like … well, wiper blades.  And how is that possible?  In this day and time, when candidates’ biographies and histories and what they say out of their own mouths are easily obtained on television, on the Internet and in the newspapers, and in national magazines, what could any candidate possibly utter that would transform them one day into a hero and the next day into pond scum?

Mr. Obama is our candidate, has been our candidate since he won the nomination back in 2008.  There are a lot of things we admire him for:  his steadfast calm, at least in public; his sense of humor; his refusal to pull out a bull whip when certain members of Congress act like remorseless fools; his intelligence and determination to get the facts before decision, even in the face of horrific criticism because he doesn’t act as fast as and in the manner that even many of his own party think he should.  And not least of all, that grin he can flash, either when he’s having a really good time, or when someone has just done something really stupid and he is being politely silent.  But aside from all that, we personally have taken the time to examine, as much as we are able, what has been done for the country in this administration.  In other words, we pay attention to what has been said and done, and not what we are being told to hear and think by the folks who run the wiper blades.