Friday, October 28, 2011


I haven't liked horror films ever since, as a very small child, I saw 'SHH, the OCTOPUS" (Click -- read what I wrote about this.)

I wondered how does Guillermo de Toro, the creator of 'Don't Be Afraid Of The Dark," a new hit, feels about his film?

( He's 47. His films are: "Cronos(1993) ; "Mimic," (1997), "The Devils Backbone, (2001). He also directed "Blade II," in 2002; and "Hellboy," (2004).)

Time Magazine's Gilbert Cruz, asks: "You grew up in Mexico, where a scary drug war is going on. Why not make a movie about that?"

Del Toro says: "I'm not a filmmaker who can speak directly about politics without addressing it through fable or parable. It's just not in my makeup, and the horror film is a very political genre. But I cannot go back to Mexico as a director because of the kidnapping of my father. A film is a highly visible venture, and I can't risk it."

(Cruz and Del Torro briefly discuss the fact that del Torro's father was kidnapped by bandits and held for ransom for 72 days in 1998. Though his father survived, it continues to haunt del Torro as a storyteller.)

Del Torro says: "Like fairy tales, there are two facets of horror. One is pro-institution, which is the most reprehensible type of fairy tale: '"Don't wander into the woods, and always obey your parents." The other type of fairy tale is completely anarchic and anti-establishment."

(Hmm ... this sounds ... well, very intellectual, but I'm not sure what he means.)

Cruz : "You have an interesting living situation, with a house, separate from your family, for just your books, your posters, your art and your work."

Del Toro explains that he dreamed of having a house with secret passages and a room "where it rained 24 hours a day ---that when you're over 40, you fulfill the desires you've been harboring since you were seven."

Cruz: "What did your wife have to say about that?"

Del Toro: "She was happy. When you're 7, your mother throws away your comic books. When you're 40, you should be able to prevent that."

(Hmm ... "dream house ... comic book collection ...?" I'm sensing artist del Toro doesn't trust the wife, that their tastes are not compatible.)

Cruz: "How do you deal with people who think of the fantastic as infantile?"

Del Toro: "I try to avoid long conversations with them. You cannot convince a Buddhist to become a Protestant any more than you can convince a person who embraces realism as the highest form of art that fantasy is an equally important manifestation. It's impossible."

(Mmm .., I wonder how Steve Jobs. or Microsoft's creator, Bill Gates would react to this big blanket remark?)

Cruz: "You speak as if your art is your religion."

Del Toro:: "It is. To me, art and storytelling serve primal, spiritual functions in my daily life. Whether I'm telling a bedtime story to my kids or trying to mount a movie or write a short story or a novel, I take it very seriously."

(Why can't this del Toro just say yes? Why does he layer everything with extra intellectuality?)

Cruz; "Why do you always wear black?"

Del Toro : "I have been told it's very slimming. [Laughs.] But let me tell you, no matter how I look in black, you don't want to imagine me in white."

(Reality -- black hides the dirt. When you wear black every day, your clothes don't need a lot of washing. Maybe you do, but nobody sees it.)

I can accept horror films, as art, but it isn't art that I seek out or enjoy. I think that horror flicks encourage the taste for violence, the lust for shock, ugliness in people who haven't grown up, are stuck in adolescence.

I feel, from what Guellirmo del Torro says, that he knows he can make money making horror films, and his "artistic" creativity is snagged in making money.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011


Many veterans who gave themselves to winning our wars are already back home.

Hurray. They're alive. That's a personal victory!

We're patting them on the back, thanking them. And many of us are glad -- not thrilled -- but most of us are relieved that President Obama is bringing our armed forces home from Iraq.

I am not sure we've supported the wars and what our fighting forces have been doing. I feel guilty about this. The wars they've been fighting, the rebuilding they've been doing seems -- not wrong -- but gee, unnecessary.

I understand that we've been fighting to stop terrorism, to subdue the Taliban, and Al Qaeda but I'm in vaguesville, when it comes to who the enemy is right now, and what we can win.

What's strong and important to me is my deep disapproval of the wars. I can't accept our recruiting men and women to KILL, or BE KILLED when words, talks, meetings, negotiations, NOT fighting, but talking might accomplish the same thing.

Anyhow, it's good that we've been hailing Veterans who are coming home now, and applauding them. Yes, with parades and pictures of them in local newspapers, perhaps, but very limited medical facilities. Is there any sort of GI bill -- can they go to college, are they getting real help with jobs, housing, and money to help them reestablish themselves in income producing careers in America, 2011, and 2012

I learned from my reading, recently, about a veteran who's using leadership skills he acquired in the service to mentor young people. Yay for him!

Another veteran is now devoting his time to "HIRING HEROES," an employment program for returning veterans facing a tough job market.

There's a first response group of veterans -- they're organized to mobilize quickly, and help with disaster relief, in the Us and abroad.

That's great, but it seems minimal when it comes to how many veterans are getting help. And what about all the men and women who will be returning from Iraq?

Here's an official list:
Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America: lava, org
Purple Hearts Home, build handicapped accessible homes for vets: phhnc. org.
Team Rubicon. Emergency disaster relief teams: rubiconusa. org.
The Mission; links wounded vets with public service:
Operation Medicine Institute; organizes teams throughout world: opmedinstitute. org.
Carolina for Kibera; health & sports programs for Kenya's slums:
Hire Heroes, emplyment for returning veterans: hireheroesusa,org

I am VERY glad that attention is being paid, though, in my opinion, it's paltry. To me, it's because the wars we are fighting with billions of dollars and powerful good minds doing the very best they can to WIN, are not being won.

I haven't found an answer to what we are winning that justifies what we've been spending, and what's happening to men and women who fought these wars.

Here's a film -- a "sell" that I'm NOT pushing you to watch. It's saying what I've already told you, like an advertisement, presenting what's happening to our veterans optimistically.

The film saddens me. Okay, let's do better, do more for our veterans, but loud, very loud in my mind, is stop the wars, stop the WAR IN AFGHANISTAN.

Monday, October 24, 2011


Those adopt-a-pet ads — sad-eyed pooches, needy cats ... on which, on what do I focus?

We had a dog named "Teechie," a cat named "Helpy" and a large, white pigeon named " Little Soup." They helped us teach our son JD the facts of life.

And of course, pets taught us other facts-of-life things.

The cat combed, and climbed and tore parts of our burlap walls. We found a new owner for Helpy. When our male pigeon laid an egg, we were stunned and thrilled. We let Little Soup fly around the house once a day, even though pigeon poop was a bit of problem. A friend, emigrating to Puerto Rico, was delighted to adopt Little Soup. Before we moved to Malibu, a New York neighbor who had "Daisy," a dachshund, was thrilled when Teechie became Daisy's live-in playmate.

Those pets in the ads touch me, but I find myself remembering our pets, and also -- golly -- I can't help thinking of the sad-eyed starving children in the pictures from all over the world.

And also thinking about what I've read about endangered species -- the 19, 265 living things -- 2,364 mammals and birds that the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) keeps track of in order to help governments identify species in need of protection.

Stop-stop – I tell myself.

My mind jumps to Al Gore -- climate, environment things -- stop-stop – too many things in every direction -- my energies have to focus on my own life and people whom my hands, my mind, can help.

It's a choo-choo train of thought -- polar bears, whales, and dolphins, then earthquake, tornado, hurricane victims, and then those damn ads -- the pets seem to be speaking to me.

Stop-stop – but I can't stop -- practically everyone I know has a pet or two or three pets, and every time I'm on the street I see dogs as the children of the people who have them on their leashes -- every time I visit a friend I see them cuddling. petting, taking care of their beloved pet children.

Gee, pet children? And there are so many, many real children that need help. My God, they're the life that goes on after we're gone! We must help the children, hands on, money, and thoughts -- even if we're just helping other helpers help a child.

No, I can't adopt a pet. And I can't take on a child. Our lives, mine and my husband's, are already over filled with tender responsibilities. I can't close my eyes and not see the sad-eyed pet creatures that need a parent, but I know you understand, because you, most of you, have the love of pets, and pets that you love in your family.

But golly, if I could, a child would be number one on my list.