Sunday, August 22, 2010

Why a Duck?

Found Art.  I call this one, "Speak no evil, see no evil, duck."  Seems to me as good a dodge as not listening.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

ABC's Secrets of Your Mind Remain Secret

Here at the end of the summer of 2010, "ABC News" began a new "summer series" called "Secrets of Your Mind: Why We Do What We Do."  The promo that attracted me and several of my friends said, "Love is Like Cocaine!"  The show promised to unlock the mystery about "why some people choose lust over love," and what aspects of our brain function can cause confusion between the two. 

Tonight on ABC: Cynthia McFadden explores the brain in love. What does love look like in the brain? Can you be addicted to love?

That's not what it was about.

But I believed the promos, and so I watched, this distinction being so potentially fascinating to ascertain. 

Maybe they will unlock the mystery in their telling of the newlyweds who ride a motorcycle (man driving/ woman in side-car) on a 20,000 mile trip from Alaska to Tierra del Fuego, in efforts to create a working metaphor for fifty years of committment.  No. The ride was about the couple's ability to endure difficult circumstances and not break up.  Okay, maybe the show will unlock the mystery after we see brain scans of the couple pre- and post-trip to find out whether they're really in love. They're truly terrified when the second of three scans suggests the thrill is gone, and thrilled when the third confirms their enduring love.

Perhaps now, in the second segment, they will unlock the mystery!  No.  The next piece is about a man with so much repressed disdain for his wife he falls asleep if she so much as looks at him.  But nobody looks at the psychology of his malady or how tragically sad it is that she believes his ploy - I was editorializing in that last sentence.  The story simply reviews instances of the man dozing off in the face of kindness.  Poor fellow can't even go on a stroll through the rose garden at the park with his wife without having to sit down and contemplate his navel for ten minutes.  Imagine, a grown man not wanting to spend his day off taking a gentle stroll through a rose garden!  We don't get any analysis of his condition, but we see him fall asleep in lots of places.  Here he conks out on the couch.  Here he nods off during his dinner.  Here he makes it all the way up the stairs and into bed. 

And speaking of bed, the man can have sexual relations of purely carnal nature, but if any intimacy enters the room, he's out for the count.  The wife shows McFadden their new dog.  She can't pet her husband without him slipping into a paralytic mini-coma, so they got a dog so she can express her love.  Although when he does nod off within arm's reach of her, she reaches over and gives his beard a little caress and scratch as he goes under.  I'm not minimizing her suffering. It is bad.  It is sad:  but I'm watching the show to find out about why some people choose lust and others choose love.

We're departing segment two and heading into the commercial break before the third story.  Here's the promo again! The mystery is about to be unlocked!  This time it's real!  The neurologist leans in toward McFadden.  She says the chemical pull of lust - and love - is poweful!  McFadden says, "So Love is like cocaine?"  The neuroligist echoes, "Only it lasts longer!"  

Twenty minutes left in the show. I'd hoped they'd go into enough detail on the subject to fill an hour, but twenty minutes is better than nothing.  Now the mystery will be unlocked! 

Not quite. Now McFadden tells the story of a man who survives an absolutely horrific car accident and loses his memory.  At first she says the man can't remember anything about his life before the accident, including his wife. He struggles to recover the life she (and friends and family) confirm existed before the crash because he doesn't remember her, but he knows he trusts her.  Now there's something to explore, McFadden.  Ah but here is the man telling us he has no ability to remember.  Over pictures of his life before the crash, McFadden's voice over declares, "He can't remember anything!" [Why is McFadden using that whiney emphatic Diane Sawyer tone?]

Here he is relearning his life.  Here he is responding to his wife. Here he is playing catch with his children.  These are the children that were created in the years after the accident.  McFadden does not address the fact that he didn't forget how to toss a ball back and forth.

Now it's 10:54 and they're going to commercial again.  Maybe the answer to the mystery is so precise  McFadden only needs a minute to clarify why some people choose lust and others choose love. 

Back from break it's 10:58.  Show's over.

The stories took cursory looks at a few qualities: enduring committment, fear of failure, the desire to test the ties that bind, persistence of heart, and the tenacity of emotion.  All of these may or may not be components of love, but they are not what's at the heart of love.

This is what I think happened:  ABC bought this story because it had had a sexy pitch, "We'll look at the brain in love and lust!  We'll interview a neurologist and use brain scans!" The producer liked the title and the promise and sealed the deal before the research was even started.  Had McFadden dug into the question and showed the satisfaction of true love and the unhappiness of an unravelling lust, that would have been fascinating, truly a show to love.

That dang show made me stay up too late!  It teased my hopes that the mystery at the heart of romantic struggle would be unlocked, explored and made understandable!  That show did not deliver what it promised.

Odd, that's just what lust does. 

Well at least lust is exciting. 

This thing wasn't even interesting.

Curses.  Foiled again.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

George Harrison's Website

Yesterday I quietly thought about George Harrison. Today someone sends me this:

I remember once in an interview he explained the concept of time as a pizza instead of a line.  That is far more sensible to me.

I read in Eric Idle's book that he read the script for "Life of Brian" and financed it because he "wanted to see it."

He was a good friend to all of us when we were kids, teens, and now - even though we never met.

The End.

Monday, August 09, 2010

What's a Moment?

We have guest blogger today, Will Hoffman. This is "Moments", a project for RadioLab.

Thank you to Ze Frank for finding and sharing.

Here's what I have to say about it:

We gather them, we spend them, they define us as we make them; we have them and they have us:

Sunday, August 08, 2010

The Hairstylist and the Lady Who Went to Rome

A woman tells her hairstylist about her upcoming trip to Rome and meets with less than enthusiasm. Yet another classic piece of anonymous literature is immortalized on video. Yes, I made this one, too. The joke's origin is unknown (though I got it from Barbara H. Thanks Barbara!)