Dumb Movie Night

Opinions on movies can change on a second viewing, sometimes, and it was over 20 years ago that I first saw ‘The 5th Element,’ so, I decided to give it a second shot.
I’d pretty much completely forgotten the plot, but remembered that I thought it was a ridiculously bad movie, something about the really hokey alien costumes not really fitting. Things like that work in Guardians of the Galaxy, or similar sci-fi spoofs, but this film (as I remembered) tried to tread the line between comedy and action adventure and therefore, failed on both counts.
Anyway, my estimation of it went up a bit on second viewing. Not that I’d ever rate it as a sci-fi must see. Some stuff was cool, especially when they were creating Mila Jovovitch’s character, but for the most part they had flying taxis, and a very cool resort in outer space, and that was about it. New York still looked like a slum, drive-in windows at McDonald’s were still popular, and they still used land-line telephones, for goodness sake. (which, admittedly, didn’t bother me at the time it was made, because nobody saw that coming)
But the big difference is that this time, not only wasn’t I paying money to see it at a cinema, which causes me to expect more from a film and be more disappointed if it doesn’t deliver, but also I just went into it with lowered expectations, so I kind of enjoyed the outrageous costumes and pointlessly bizarre plot contortions.
Then I watched Allegiant, which I believe was part 3 of the Divergent series. The whole violent factions fighting over a post-apocalyptic hellscape thing has been a bit overdone, but it was still a fun movie.

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Rattle

On the poetry site where I most often post my poems, the comments are generally of two sorts. The supportive ones, which are generally short and bland, e.g. “I loved it!,” “Beautiful!,” “Thanks for sharing!” and the negative, which are generally along the lines of “That sucks!” or “Your poems are shit” or “You’re a fucking moron.”
There is very little middle ground.
I must admit, I take pleasure in the supportive comments. But they really don’t help me improve any more than the others do.
I recently posted a poem, not one of my best IMO, but it struck a chord, much more so than average, and got a lot of comments. The vast majority were of the positive variety, and one was a gif of projectile vomiting. Not too worried, I’ve read that guy’s stuff and it’s all really depressing poetry about death and shit.
It would be good if there were more nuance. Constructive criticism more than insults. A relevant comment, or a poem of one’s own, instead of shallow praise.
Maybe I’m expecting a bit much. But for people who consider themselves poets, which implies a deeper understanding of the universe and a greater sensitivity to all things human, we sure tend to think along narrow lines.
We could do a lot better.

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A Proposal for a Capitalist/Environmentalist Compromise

I’ve been reading in quite a few places, including a block quote from one of my favorite science fiction writers, Ursula LeGuin, that capitalism and environmentalism are completely irreconcilable.
This does not bode well for the human race because, on the one hand, getting people to give up capitalism is about as unrealistic as getting American rednecks to give up their guns, getting potheads to give up their pot, or getting Jews to give up their persecution complex. It’s just not going to happen any time in the near future.
On the other, it is true. Environmentalism depends on leaving the resources of the Earth intact, as far as possible, and capitalism depends on extracting as many of them as possible and converting them into something people will pay money for, even if it destroys the planet.
So, because I am a conciliatory guy, who doesn’t really care if people are rich, so long as nobody has to be poor, here are a couple of ways to square that circle, to make it possible for these two opposite forces to live in harmony.
1. Green Energy. Buckminster Fuller defined wealth as resources + state of the art technology + power, which includes both manpower and all the electrical energy generated by other sources. So, rich people could invest in solar and wind and kinetic and tidal energy and thus increase the amount of overall wealth available while reducing our overall carbon footprint.
2. 100% recycling. As long as its up to individuals to sort out their paper and plastic, we will be losing a lot of glass, metal, cloth, wire, organics, etc… Also, a lot of people won’t even separate their paper and plastic, because it involves a bit of extra work, that nobody’s paying them for. So, all garbage should go to recycling centers, where things are divided into 40 or 50 basic categories and, thus, get pumped back into the economy. Good for the environment, good for capitalism.
3. Space. Once we start mining the asteroid belt, the amount of resources available to us increases dramatically. Once we terraform Mars (or perhaps Titan, or Europa), we will have someplace even to ship off our surplus population, which would improve Earth’s environment no end.

So, those are three. If we can’t get those, then capitalism really does have to die.

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Upcoming Poems

I’ve been writing quite a few short poems lately, often just a sarcastic response to somebody on the internet, and only about half are interesting enough in their own right to post on my poetry page (I mean Rattle’s Anything Goes poetry page, not the gurukalehuru poetry page where all of my stuff winds up archived) and once they’re posted there, they often don’t get any response.
But, I’ve got a couple of long poems that I can feel forming in my head, and I’ve got this blog and no idea what to put in it, so these are just some ruminations on those poems to come.
One is sort of the idea that a life is a microcosm of history, although the background is always different, and each generation has a lot more modern conveniences than the last, there is birth, and death, and the full range of human interactions in between, but also that human history is progressing on a large number (an infinite number, almost) of parallel tracks, there is the history of art, the history of cuisine, the history of marijuana, etc…
The other is about the Power of the Universe and how even though we are a tiny little speck in the vastness of space, we nonetheless can harness that power, absorb and become one with that power, and that would empower us greatly.

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The Crown, Season Four

Now, do not get me wrong. In my considered opinion of history, Maggie Thatcher was a horrible person who caused great suffering to working class Brits, and serious long-term damage. She was the U.K.’s Ronald Reagan, an appellation which she would wear with pride but I see as a badge of shame.
But, we’re watching season 4 of The Crown, and I find myself rooting for her a bit, because she is the first Prime Minister who has ever stood up to the Queen and properly resented the old cow and her entire social class for being privileged and using all their protocol and sniggling little rules to cover up for what would be considered, in anyone else, an appalling lack of manners.
(I’m talking about the episode where they invited the Thatcher’s to Balmoral Castle, were not present when they showed up because they were all out trying to kill a wounded stag, left instructions that dinner was black tie, and then they all tromped in in hunting clothes and talked about nothing but the hunt at dinner, pretty much as if the Thatcher’s weren’t there)
I’m not an anti-royalist, not 100%, I can understand the arguments about it being tradition, and good for tourism and, besides, it’s not my country so there’s no real reason why I should care, but Britain could easily slash the royals allowance and confiscate like 90% of their properties, and it would be a great improvement.
As people, I don’t see much admirable in them at all.

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