Friday, April 30, 2010

On Dehumanization, Tape And Isolation

According to news reports an employee of ResCare, one of the largests behavioral health centers in West Virginia, recently taped together the hands of a client for whom he was responsible and left her in his car while he spent an extended amount of time elsewhere. Brandon Watts, the ResCare employee, said he did it because she often became combative while riding in the car with him.

Ya think?

If it's true she was sometimes aggressive in the car, it may be that she knew pretty well what to expect when Watts said "let's go for a ride." I doubt one raises to this level of abuse without some stepping stones of neglect along the way. Riding in the car with Watts --or perhaps spending time with him in general--probably wasn't that much fun for the woman.

Too often in our society we're guilty of dehumanizing others. We walk past people who are homeless without notice, or dismiss individuals with disability. We tend to ignore, patronize, avoid or abuse folks who are different, and we do it for the most selfish of reasons. We see them as less than . . . Less than we are. Less than human.

I won't be surprised if Brandon Watts taped the woman and left her in his car so he could take a nap or play a video game.

Because to people like Watts, those things are more important than a person with a disability.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Things I Just Don't Understand: Couples Sitting Side-By-Side While Eating In Public

Once in a while at McDonald's, or even at more upscale dining like Long John Silver's, I see couples sitting side-by-side in a booth. Usually that alone gives me the creeps. Sitting across from one another promotes a face-to-face conversation.

When the couple doesn't talk, however--they just sit quietly, eating, side-by-side--I am perplexed by the behavior. It's too simple to say they're madly in love, and probably too big a stretch to say one of the couple is controlling.

Help me understand!

Sunday, April 25, 2010

The Blind Slide

I saw a couple of blockbuster flicks (like Alice In Wonderland) and several Academy Award nominated movies (like Crazy Heart) during my Bret Farve-like retirement from The Film Geek. Johnny Depp was fun as The Mad Hatter, and Jeff Bridges earned the Oscar he won for his turn as Bad Blake.

The Blind Side, which was nominated for an Academy Award and for which Sandra Bullock won an Oscar, doesn't belong in the same discussion.

Sure, I guess The Blind Side is an inspirational story. But there were several problems I had with the movie. The production value reminded me of a Lifetime movie, while the story-line smacked of exploitation. Leigh Ann Touhy wasn't likable, Tim McGraw (as her husband) was bland and Quinton Aaron, who played Big Mike, seemed to have no real range.

As usual, the real-life story is much better than the flick.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

There Is Superstition

I never grow tired of this conversation, which just happened to me again at a lunch counter.

Clerk:"You're total is, ahem, . . .uh, [clears throat] $6.66."

Me: "Thanks." [Hands her a ten dollar bill]

Clerk: "If you don't want anything else, I'll take the tax off. It will make it a different total."

Me: "Why?"

Clerk: "You know ... The Number."

Me: "Nah, thanks anyway. I'll pay the full amount."

Clerk: " What if I pay the tax myself?"

Me: "Thanks anyway. I'll pay the total."

Clerk: "Ohhh-kay . . ."

She said it as if she meant: "It's your funeral." I didn't stick around long enough to ask her about what she thought of health care reform.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Diary Of A Wimpy Kid

Dear Maddisen, Griffyn and Jaden:

What a great time I had watching Diary Of A Wimpy Kid with you three! While I've never kept a diary, I've sure felt wimpy during several stages of my life. I'm betting you have too, or that you will.


It's part of the human condition, and it happens to everyone. Trust me. And while you can't escape it, you can prepare for how you'll react to it. You can learn the skills now that will get you through those periods of insecurity.

Lesson #1: Although it's important to express your individuality, it's best that you never show your "secret freckle" to anyone. Just sayin'.

Although Greg Heffley is the lead character in Diary, he's not really the guy to serve as a role model for how best to get through the battlefield called Middle School. Nope, Greg is selfish, and uses people to further his own ambition. He's the guy you want to avoid in Middle School; the guy you don't want to become as an adult. He's always looking for the next back to step on, the next spotlight he can step into. Even when he figures it all out in the end, you sorta guess his epiphany will be short lived. He'll embrace the dark side of adolescence again, just you wait and see.

Rowley, on the other hand, is the guy to whom you wanna pay attention. Greg's second banana is genuine, sincerely interested in others and secure in how he sees the world. It doesn't matter to Rowley that he's a side-kick; he's more interested in the experience he's having, and the relationships he's forming. His ambitions are focused more on making each day fun and interesting, for himself and for those he loves.

Yep, Rowley understands the secret that most middle-school age kids don't: Life's about the moment, and the happiness that comes with knowing who you are in that moment.

I'm gonna buy this movie for ya, kids, because I want you to watch it over and over again. Enjoy it for the entertainment value, but appreciate it for the life lesson it gives, too. It's a powerful lesson.

By the way: Jaden has the Cheese Touch!!!!


Monday, April 19, 2010

Roger Ebert Scared My Kids With His Old-Man Rant About Kick-Ass!

Just walking by the poster to get to another flick frightened them nearly to death!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Ebert Hates On Kick-Ass

Roger Ebert loved Carrie (3 1/2 stars), expressed boredom with Children Of The Corn and says about Orphan: "You want a good horror film about a child from hell, you got one."

But he's suddenly pissy about the violence in Kick-Ass?

Calling the flick "morally reprehensible," Ebert takes issue with the all-too-real violence carried out in the film by a girl dressed as a super-hero. To fanboys who think the movie did the comic book justice, Ebert snorts: " You know what? You inhabit a world I am so very not interested in."

Somebody must have forgotten to add butter to Ebert's popcorn.

His reaction reminds me of my Dad's inability to understand my affection for Kurt Cobain, and my Big Band-era grandfather who thought Elvis was of the devil.

Ebert's review just made me want to see Kick-Ass even more!

Saturday, April 17, 2010

It's All About The Spandex

In the wake of Kick-Ass buzz, Moviefone has listed the Top Ten Nerdiest Superheroes in film.

Orgazmo didn't make the list. Looks like he got the shaft, again.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

That's Just Gross

OK, so it took another Larry King divorce to get my head out from under the covers.

This one's just gross, though. I can't get past what sorta person Shannon Engemann is. Not only is she selfish enough to [allegedly] hook up with her sister's husband, she's freaky enough to [allegedly] sleep with a guy who looks like a cadaver.

Sheesh . . .

For a guy who made a career outta interviewing others, King sure seems to have poor people skills.

Photo by: Reuters