Sheldn, always quite the cinephile, and Myrna, were walking along a local side street one cold frosty afternoon, when they espied quite a lovely plant, covered with frost.
“It’s just like Mr. Andrew Crocker-Harris”, he noted.
“What makes you say that, baby?” she wondered.
“In ‘The Browning Version'” Sheldn replied, “Crocker-Harris was all erudition and no simple common decency. The youngsters in his class compared him to Himmler. That’s what happens to a guy who just doesn’t get it.”
She understood his point and doted upon his ability to see it that way.
Yesterday my niece Bridget and I went to a movie theater in Merrick to see “Alexander and the Terrible Horrible No Good Very Bad Day”, starring Steve Carrell, Jennifer Garner, Megan Mullally and Bella Thorne. I can really identify with that movie because my twelfth birthday was quite a living nightmare too. Lately I’ve been trying to watch at least one movie each day, usually on Hulu. Yesterday’s venture, because I hardly ever bother to go to theaters anymore, was quite a nice time for me. I usually try to see all kinds of classic movies, usually from the Criterion Collection, by directors like Louis Malle, Ingmar Bergman, and Federico Fellini, among others. Two days ago I saw Malle’s “Au Revoir Les Enfants” and today I saw Gabriel Axel’s “Babette’s Feast”. I’m really happy now being able to say that I’ve gotten to know all these famous classics. It’s quite a good way to widen my horizons. The next time I get involved in a conversation about movies I can really have quite a chance to make a significant contribution, because I shall have seen such a well rounded variety of films. I keep track of them too, on the Letterboxd website so I can always refer back to them whenever my memory needs help.
If I could have my choice of three works of fiction in which I should be able to participate, I should most certainly have to pick the late 1960’s movie, “Hello Dolly”, with Walter Matthau, Barbra Streisand and Michael Crawford, as one of them. Ever since I was a kid in St. Gabriel’s, where the De La Salle Christian Brothers, in the glee club, kept us singing show tunes, I’ve always enjoyed this classic musical. It’s about the adventures of Dolly Levi, a middle aged matchmaking widow in turn of the twentieth century New York CIty. Besides Dolly’s romance with Horace Vandergelder, there are several other dalliances that transpire within the story. The last time I watched it I was quite especially favorably impressed with all the costumes and music. The distinctive suits, hats, dresses and parasols, were perfect. I’ve always really wanted to see what that kind of spectacle must be like in person. The clothing, speech and customs of that era, as depicted in the movie, are enough to catch anyone’s attention. Another story in which I should really like to partake is “Don Quijote (The Ingenious Gentleman Don Quijote of La Mancha)”, the picaresque novel by Miguel de Cervantes y Saavedra. It’s from Spain’s Golden Age in the early seventeenth century. In the book, a middle aged hidalgo, Alonso Quijano, after having read too many chivalric novels, thereby distorting his perception of reality, sets out to reinstate the era of chivalry. Throughout the story he and his sidekick Sancho Panza, a simple farmer, get into a series of misadventures stemming from the benighted Don’s inability to distinguish between fantasy and reality. Aldonza Lorenzo, a local homely farm girl, is his lady love. She’s somewhat reminiscent of Petrarch’s Laura and Dante’s Beatrice. The tale is filled with all sorts of insights into theology, philosophy, literature and history. I should really like to get involved in it because of all the offbeat adventures of the Don and Sancho and because of all the things I could learn about life during one of mankind’s most interesting historical epochs. I should get quite a kick out of watching our protagonist constantly confusing the most ordinary everyday people, places and occurrences with profoundly significant realities. The story is a major lesson about reality and mankind’s relationship to his world and surroundings. Another story I should like to visit would be Lewis Carroll’s “Alice’s Adventures In Wonderland” and “Through the Looking Glass”. I’ve always really enjoyed the tales of life in a distorted world where animals, plants and inanimate objects are personified, logic is incessantly convoluted and imagination reigns supreme at all times. I could have a chance to meet the Mad Hatter, the Walrus, Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum, the Cheshire Cat and all the other characters that make Wonderland such a distinctive environment. Life in Wonderland shares with Don Quijote the fact that nothing ever matches up to what anyone would normally expect based on an even somewhat legitimate standard of logical consistency.
I like always both to adhere to a strict code of conduct and to keep an interesting sense of humor about things. Beware the false dichotomy. The more I see of today’s leftist ‘who-am-I-to-judge’ mentality, with its permissive approach to abortion, euthanasia, homosexuality, reverse discrimination and all sorts of other horrors, the more I see that we simply can’t afford to allow it to go on. What they call diversity I call chaos. Genuine legitimate freedom is being begrudged us in favor of a need to demand that we feel a sense of supposed indebtedness to a bunch of self-pitying, self-aggrandizing special interest groups. Amazingly we are expected to trust the judgment of the likes of Al Sharpton, Barack Obama and television, movie and talk show personalities People are encouraged, now more than ever, to take advantage of each other for the sake of pleasure and profit. I like to mind my own business as much as possible but I’ve never been able to resist a good debate about these kinds of things. As everyone knows I’ve always been quite the staunch conservative. Liberalism, while claiming to reject censorship, presumes to censor each and every single move we make in order to affect a supposed Great Society. Lately there are movements afoot to ban the use of the words ‘retard’ and ‘bossy’. This is simply not permissible. Although I’ve always been determined to be as articulate as possible I have no intention of putting up with anyone else’s controlling my speech. Christianity (Catholicism) has always been so very important for me. Liberals, as well as other totalitarians, manipulators and control freaks, see fanaticism and hypocrisy in this claim because it begrudges them absolute control over people’s lives. They want a world devoid of formal or final causality because that would put them in charge. I like to be as strict an orthodox Catholic as possible. On an everyday basis I should really like to think that I do a reasonably good job of humoring people. I’ve always tried to be at least fairly good natured. Unfortunately I’ve always tended to be somewhat short tempered and I have a major problem with forgiveness. My ability to hold a grudge is quite legendary though I’m not very happy with it. At least I’ve learned over the years never deliberately to throw the first punch. Hep Larry understands that people are quite a mixed bag of nuts. Real Larry needs quite a few lessons in patience and understanding though. One lesson I have to keep track of is like the warning given by St. John of the Cross in his “The Living Flame of Love” about how each of us tends to see his own character traits, both good and bad, in other people. If I can have so hard a time dealing with a particular individual, I can just imagine how hysterical he must be over my character defects. As I said earlier keeping a very good sense of humor about life is exceptionally important. People can often be hard to take and I know they have the same problem with me too. Because each of us, in his life and worldview, has such a wide variety of distinct quirks and preferences, many of which deviate from those of other people, an inability to laugh at it all can be toxic. Because all the things I’ve been complaining about are forms of fanaticism, I really like to refrain from any sort of an extreme position about anything. In the end it’s all about text, context and subtext. Whenever someone pushes too hard he finds out in the end, the hard way, that things always backfire anyway.