I am convinced we are now living in San Angeles, the setting of the 1993 science-fiction action film, Demolition Man. The movie, starring Sylvester Stallone and Wesley Snipes, detailed the culture shock suffered by a time-displaced cop (Stallone) forced to exist in a world where all physical contact—even the merest touch—is forbidden. In the film, a natural catastrophe spurred humanity to alter its rules of personal behavior and ban personal contact. Those aspects of the film somewhat correspond to our reality in that a virus, a thing as natural as the tragic event stated in Demolition Man, is responsible for changing the rules of our society for the worse. Continue reading “This Is The Demolition Man Future”
Though coronavirus is here in 2020, we can learn much from a crisis that happened in 1999. In that year, fear was everywhere for it, the great and unstoppable thing of doom, was coming. It was prophesized by seers and spoken of in ancient texts. It was bringing untold horror. It was bringing death. It was going to be the end of modern civilization. It, the dreaded thing on a march for destruction, was the year 2000, also known as “Y2K.”
Over time, various theories arose regarding the way humanity could meet its end, with divine wrath, rampant climate change, unchecked disease, celestial impacts, and nuclear armageddon standing as just some of the doomsday scenarios presented. However, in the year 1999, the fear was based on the predicted global failure of technology due to shortsighted computer programming practices of the past. Continue reading “The Pandemic Must Not Be Y2K Part Two!”
On my mind today are Harvey Weinstein and the women he offended. Found guilty of some (but not all) of the charges he faced, Mr. Weinstein is now the face of unbridled male supremacy and the suffering women are often forced to endure at their hands. His name alone now represents every obstacle women must often surmount in order to be competitive in today’s society, and as I looked upon him as he half-walked/half-waddled into court every day behind a walker, my thoughts were of the many women who accused him and of the little girl who represents women’s struggle for respect.
Hello, everyone. My last article, Transit Trouble, featured the story of a young woman on a subway train whose attempt to remove herself from personal contact with others went wrong in the worst possible way. Upon further reflection, I now realize that her behavior is not a deviation from today’s norm, but an embodiment of it. Our society is now one where all others are shunned, and that sad fact is blatantly obvious on New York City’s mass transit systems.
In the years before the popularization of wearable technology, buses and subways were often impromptu forums where commuters often braved speaking briefly with one other. However, it is clear the rule of today for transit riders is now one of going to great lengths to avoid and ignore others. That is truly a pity as the city’s often maddening mass transit systems are actually great equalizers in our society. Continue reading “Mass Retreat”
This article has descriptions some may find upsetting.
Reader discretion is advised.
Like many New York City residents who ride the city’s subway, I brave the filth, rats, noise, bed bugs, and numerous leaks of questionable origin within the system. If you live here, then there is no escaping the vast network of underground trains and the often-disgusting elements within it. However, despite my long-time experience and relative comfort with the many deficiencies of the subway, one strange trip made me fear for my life.
I boarded a train heading north from Brooklyn and took note of a homeless man sitting toward the back of the car. The derelict had matted brown hair and he gave off the stomach-turning odor of unwashed flesh, stale urine, and feces. His stinking presence caused many people near me to quietly thank God for the subway car’s robust ventilation system even as others gagged or held their noses in disgust before fleeing to another car at the earliest opportunity.
At first, the vagrant chose to inhabit a rearward-facing pair of seats of the kind that extends into the aisle and has another pair of seats directly behind. He had the last one-third of the subway car all to himself as everyone else wisely stayed away. However, as the train progressed and new passengers boarded, riders would rush to the empty seats near the reeking horror only for his foul smell to assault their noses and send them fleeing to the crowded front of the car. This happened repeatedly as the Culver Line train moved out of Brooklyn and into Manhattan, but then came the Second Avenue station and the young, blond man who lit the fuse. Continue reading “Transit Trouble”
The enduring nature of our creations is on my mind today. Here in New York City, there are innumerable monuments that silently testify to humanity’s ability to build things that last. There is the unyielding copper sculpture that is the Statue of Liberty. There are the city’s old, iconic, steel and stone bridges that carry millions daily without sway. There is the crown jewel of Manhattan, the majestic Empire State Building, standing tall despite suffering a direct hit from a B25 bomber in 1945. All are of such permanence and wondrous majesty, and all reflect the creativeness and indomitable nature of the human spirit. Inspired, I considered both my mortality and the list of my lasting contributions only to feel the ephemeral nature of my profession hit me like a runaway truck. Continue reading “When Life Becomes an Illusion”
Hate. That horrible word and all it entails are on my mind today. We hear about hate every damn day, and I’m sick of it. The ugly thing is everywhere and it’s seemingly inescapable! Hate has found an incubator like no other on the internet, and that’s in addition to the homes it maintains in print, on television and radio, and through direct communications ranging from public speeches to water cooler conversations.
Hate is jealousy, fear, bias, distrust, and much, much more. Hate is the need to diminish or destroy entire groups as a means of expressing dominance or elevating one’s own. It divides humanity into pockets of normality and abnormality, of “us” against “them” where “they” are always wrong and abnormal while “we” exemplify absolute correctness and undeniable normalcy. Accordingly, we live in a fractured world where boundaries are erected due to hate and we are willingly kept apart in what could only be described as mass expressions of sheer idiocy. Continue reading “Hate. Again.”
The year was 2013. I thought I was going to die. A lump the size of a golf ball appeared in my throat and worry immediately began to set in. Unfortunately, my doctors didn’t say anything to turn my concern into confidence. Instead, a biopsy revealed three nodules of mysterious origins on my thyroid gland, and all three were filled with blood. There was no recent injury to my neck, no infection, no overt stress or strain placed on it, yet three clear signs that something was very, very wrong appeared on every scan my doctors ordered. Continue reading “The Heart of Christmas”
Sinbad, my cat from long ago, is on my mind today. He was a big, heavy, jet-back Maine coon cat mix, lacking the ear tufts of a full coon cat but sporting a heavy coat all year long. The giant puffball was the most un-catlike feline of all time! He would practically humiliate himself by begging to be held every waking moment. “Sinbad Kitty,” as we often called the massive furball, was addicted to cuddling! Continue reading “Sinbad Kitty”
On this day, a large piece of my childhood became forever lost, for Stanley Martin Lieber, a man known to most as the great Stan Lee, is now dead. He was a man I never knew, a man who touched me as a child despite never meeting, a man whose words spoke of power and responsibility, and a man who fought against bias when the norm was to do otherwise.
We read his stories in print; we see his creations in theaters and on television; we wear clothes emblazoned with characters and scenes that, while drawn by others, were envisioned by him for others to illustrate. We do these things now and we shall do so for decades to come, for the universe he created–like the true reality we inhabit–is constantly expanding, changing, evolving. And yet, despite its change from that which he created and championed to that which we have today, that universe remains his creation, his vision made real, and our delight to behold.
He was not just “a” man. No, his mind, energy, and passion forged much of our current pop culture and fully transcended him from being “a” man to being that which he always proclaimed to be…
Rest well, Stan Lee.
The above was adapted from a post I made on Facebook (Nov. 12, 2018).