Sunday, June 27, 2010

To Smack or not to Smack

Status: Insightful

What's playing on 101.9 RXP Stream? I WAS A TEENAGE ANARCHIST- by Against Me!

I love debates. I know there are many out there who feel the opposite, but a good debate gives me a rush. Of course there is an art to debate, and it boggles my mind at how many people are UNAWARE of this art, and it's not really that complicated. I got four rules that I think would help this world.

1. Ya gotta frickin' listen. We were born with two ears and one mouth so that should be a clue, and note the contrast between hearing and listening.

2. Give props. "Never thought of it that way," or "good point," are part of my verbal repertoire, granted they're warranted. Here's the should be reciprocated. A flag should go up when someone refuses to acknowledge common knowledge. That means they are a fugeize face.

3. Always treat your idealogical opponent with dignity and respect. There is nothing constructive about mudflinging and reveals more about the flinger then the...flingee?

4. Lastly, but real important-like...back your sh#% up. There is nothing more frustrating than somebody going on a tangent who is clearly ignorant about their facts but is clueless as to that ignorance. I will engage politely, usually with a question, but a mudflinging ranter is a hard thing to overcome. To them I just fold my hands together, smile politely, and do all in my power to depart.

There's more of course, but these are the Big Four. At least in my humble opinion.

So why am I sharing this? Well, since you asked, I got into a heated debate with this woman about smacking kids. The lady I debated with (whom I shall not reveal) had a different stance from me and it was this: Under no circumstances should a child ever be struck. Ever. There is always a better way.

I can respect that.

My personal opinion is similar but profoundly different, and it's this: Hitting a child should always be reserved for Plan DoubleZ. Last Resort. If there's a better, more illuminating or psychological way to address the problem, deal me in. I'm open. But I've noticed that there comes a time when a child, and not all of them for sure, but some of them, are 150% committed to defying their parents, to authority in general. Where I come from, that was not tolerated. I loved my parents but I feared them. "Wait till your father gets home" were words that could ruin my universe.

Where I come from, there were consequences to breaking rules; in fact I can think of many times when I was confronted with peer pressure. "Let's go vandalize West Hartford by dumping a carload of newspapers from the back of a hatchback," is a concrete instance I can recall from miscreant friends. I remember being called a wuss, a pussycat minus the cat, even a yeller bellied muskrat (alright, maybe not that one) but you get the gist. My reply?

A serene smile and a shake of my head. "I'll take a pass."

There wasn't any insult in any language in this whole cosmos that could get me to risk my father's wrath. No way. Sorry, come back again. And if I was going to do such a thing (which I did extremely rarely)...newspapers? Really?

Here's the most important part. My father tempered it with love. When my Paw (that's southern folks though I don't have a drop) unleashed, it was always followed by, mmmm, I'm gonna say an hour or two, of his coming to our room (my sister too) sitting us on his leg and asking us if we understood exactly what had happened, and why it had happened. He would then ask us if we believed that he loved us. It was a serious question, I can still remember. We'd then babble and leak tears, of course we did, he was our hero (my Maw too), and then he'd tell us how much he loved us. AND THEN, and I remember distinctly the look that would come in his eyes--molten steel-- when he'd tell us point blank that if we ever did whatever trespass we'd committed...we'd get it twice as bad. And it was the truth. And we believed him. And then he'd tell us to go play. Guess what? We didn't do it again.

Drat, I have so much more to say but once again I'm reaching novella status. Let me end by saying this. The heated debate with my...acquaintance, ended well, and though neither of us persuaded the other to their side, I did get a grudging acquiesence that I might have a point. Maybe. Her passion was that abuse of a child is an abomination, which I agree with. In that regard, she was preaching to the choir. I invested my energy with her because I value her opinion, and...I love to debate :)

And that's my angle. I would love to hear yours.

Steve out.

If I could wave a magic wand list item #3: Control my dreams

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Had to do it

Status: Content and then some.

What's playing on PANDORA? FALL DOWN by Toad the Wet Sprocket

Had to do it.

Had to see The Karate Kid, and as a Gen X'er, I feel quite qualified. I'm not gonna make it a habit to review movies, but I must have seen the first two originals a half bazillion times, visions of Peter Cetera clenching his fists and crooning into the camera dancing in my head, interspersed with flashes of Ralph Macchio bleeding. I mean come on, 'wax on; wax off' for crying out loud.

So for Father's Day I rattled off the list of movies playing to my Paw and when it settled over none other than the The Karate Kid, we both looked at each other. Hmmm. Eyebrows went up. "You hear anything?" I asked him, and he was like "Heard it was supposed to be good, Will Smith's kid." I had not known that, so daring to hope we went......DUN DUN DUUUUUNNNN.

First thing. The 'Karate' Kid. Karate is Japanese. They went to China, homeland of Kung Fu (of which, ahem, I studied for several years). Kung Fu is quite distinct so five demerits right off the back, HOWEVER, they address it rather quickly, and effectively so...I didn't hold it against it though I could have. I wanted to like this movie.

Just as in novel writing, the first page (first paragraph really), or for movies, the first two minutes, count highly for me and I must say...well done, and all without a word spoken. The villain, WAY better than the first (sorry Johnny), little Jaden, right on little bro, I thought he did a way good job! In fact, all the characters were awesome, frickin' awesome even, plus a couple others that weren't in the original, but enhanced it. Great writing too. movie I've seen this year, and I'd see it again. Call me sentimental but it was strangely nostalgic, and pleasant. Indeed.

Somebody told me that blogs shouldn't be novellas so....

Steve out.

P.S. It was cool to see inside China

If I could wave a Magic Wand List item #2: Learn how to use a bo staff! Soft Style and Hard Style.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

On Straddling Two Worlds

Status: The deep breath before the plunge.

What's playing on Pandora? BORN ON THE BAYOU by Creedence Clearwater Revival

Every once in a while I'll get a strange look questioning the wisdom of living in two places simultaneously. Not literally of course, I have yet to acquire the technology to get me a couple of clones working, but the first half of the week I live Elmwood, CT, the second half I live in Woodside, Queens, but that strange look usually evaporates when I give them my reason, and the reason is this:

When I'm eighty years old chilling in my favorite rocking chair and listening to some tunes, I want look back at that time I just dove in and lived in a magic city. And I'm a Red Sox fan.

Being a writer helps of course, and I find myself savoring the oddest things, like...oh, I don't know solace perhaps. Ironic to come to one of the world's most bustling cities to find some peace, but I'm just calling'em like I see'em. A sanctuary if you will.

Enough songs have been written and movies have been made so that i won't bore you with what I love most (though there is something comforting about hearing that 7 train rumbling down the night) but I am a convert...New York is New York for a reason, and I am a fan. Thanks Jester for dragging me down here and introducing me to Aubergine!

This is my first foray into the realm of blog writing, and though I am a novelist and love to talk shop, there are way too many subjects out there for me to avoid so...I'll be hitting them all, well a bunch of them at least, that is the plan.

For now I am honored that you have joined me; greetings and salutations. (humble bow)

If I Could Wave A Magic Wand List...item #1--Know how to play the blues on this here guitar.