The Home of Steven Barnes
Author, Teacher, Screenwriter


Monday, January 05, 2009

"Valkyrie" (2009)

I'd give Tom Cruise's "Valkyrie" a solid "B." Director Brian Singer had the unenviable task of creating a suspense film where we already knew the ending. In addition, you have the problem of a film where the heroes are "good Nazis" and "good German officers"--who seemed to be mostly pissed at Hitler for losing the war. Would they have been as interested in his crimes against humanity if he'd been winning? The suspicion is: no. And why did they want Hitler killed? To take power and negotiate a settlement with the Allies that would prevent an occupation. One suspects that it would have been far more difficult to prosecute the perpetrators of the Holocaust under such a circumstance.

Of course, I think that the real thing that horrifies us about Germany and WWII is that they have the exact same range of human frailties and strengths that the rest of us have. Every nation seems to have the ability to compartmentalize fear, hate, and blame. It's not humanity, it's the Germans. It's not the Germans, it was the Nazis. It wasn't the Nazis, it was the SS...

Oh, screw it. It's us, the second we think that we're beyond that crap, we'll fall back into it. Anyway, it was an honorable film, not a classic.

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Speaking of movies, now that Jennifer Anniston has a hit movie that is doing better than Brad or Angelina's latest, do you think maybe her PR people will stop pushing her name in connection with them? Get a life, PLEASE, Jen. It's embarrassing.

And stop beating yourself up. You'll never be as hot as Angelina. Crazy chicks are hottest. Everybody knows that.

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Does anyone know a source of REALLY solid information about, say, blacksmithing or carpentry as craft and profession in the early 19th century? I'm doing research for an historical novel, and would appreciate being pointed in the right direction.

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DAY ONE:

I'm actually going to take some time every day to discuss the "101" program, which will probably be on-line in the next 48 hours (the beta test version.)

I've had a difficult time defining what I'm up to here. Partially because there isn't quite language for it. But let's say it has to do with the concept of a deeper level of balance than most people have ever experienced. Here's a question for you: "what is the part of your consciousness, personality, or true self which could simultaneously produce the three results of:

1) A strong, healthy, attractive body

2) A career you love that provides support for you and health to your community

3) Finding self-love, and your Soulmate."

THAT place is pretty close to the bedrock of the basic human character. It requires an awake, adult human being to have all three. THAT is the real goal of the program. We use several basic pieces

1) The Five Tibetans. The only physical movement system I know of that requires no equipment, little time, is available to almost anyone, and can be learned out of a book. In general, if you can already do 21 repetitions of each movement in 10 minutes, whatever you are doing physically is working great. But for the program, go ahead and just take the time to work through it, starting with 3 repetitions a day. This allows me to distance coach you. I know EXACTLY where you are in the process, and can offer productive suggestions.

2) Intermittent Fasting, or the Body/Mind diet. The reasons: we need to get you balanced, focused, increase your energy, and then keep you on-track during the inevitable "failures." I.F. is a great way to improve your health and simultaneously place your psyche under a little strain. You will definitely hear the "Drunken Monkey" chatter at you, and will experience a wide variety of phantom aches, pains, and hungers. Fascinating. You are touching some of the bare wiring of the human animal, bringing you into direct confrontation with your demons.

3) Triangle Goal Setting/ 5MM. The Five Minute Miracle uses the concept of Synaptic Facilitation: that is, a skill is best learned when performed multiple times over the course of the day. By stopping five times a day to breathe properly, calm yourself, and visualize your goals, you are making an incredibly powerful adjustment to the way most human beings operate, as well as beginning to forge a Pavlovian stimulus-response loop between stress and a re-integrative, powerful response. Every hour divisible by three, remember? Select a goal in each of the three major arenas, one that IF you could have perfect discipline, would move your life powerfully in a positive direction in 101 days. Push yourself a little. Don't worry about falling off the horse. EVERYONE falls off the horse, except those poor timid souls who never saddle up in the first place.

We'll go further tomorrow, but today: do three of each Tibetan (you can find them at:

http://www.mkprojects.com/pf_TibetanRites.htm) , and consider what goals you might want to push toward for 101 days.

20 comments:

Shady_Grady said...

This might be be a good place to review/obtain info on 19th century blacksmiths.

http://www.abana.org/resources/forums/index.shtml

Dan Moran said...

I'm planning to blog about the 100 days -- I haven't posted to my blog in about 5 weeks because of various issues, but I've really been looking forward to this and wanted to write about my experience, whether Good, Less Good, or Massive Fail -- I'm hoping for Good. Before I did that, I did want to check w/you to make sure you had no objections.

Beyond that, a few days back Marty made a comment about thinking blacks would be assimilated into American society before Jews -- Marty, I respect you, I appreciate your honesty and good manners on this site, but I think you're way off on this one. As just a single metric, there are 12 or 13 Jewish members of the Senate -- there's 1 (maybe, if the Illinois mess gets straightened out) black Senator.

The population of the US is about 12% black -- about 2% Jewish. Simple math tells us that a Jewish person's chances of becoming an American Senator are ~70 times better than a black person's.

A Jewish friend of mine, 16 years ago, observed with satisfaction that he'd survived the holocaust and now got to see a California election in which all four candidates for the Senate -- Democrats Barbara Boxer and Dianne Feinstein and Republicans John Seymour and Bruce Herschensohn -- were Jews ... and he'd been waiting for the outrcy in the media, for snippy comments from people he knew, for the uprising of the goyim ... and there'd been nothing. As far as he could tell there was no general notice being taken. (Admittedly, before the web -- today he could find such comment. But then he didn't.)

Nothing like that has ever happened with black political candidates, and there's no way such a thing could happen, even today, without it being the subject of substantial comment.

I admit, that's just one metric. But there are dozens (thousands) of others, and the black-guy-got-elected-President is such a statistically difficult event to apply to the population at large I don't think it serves here.

Mike Ralls said...

I'm thinking about blogging the 100 days too. It takes about two minutes to create a "Mike's 100 Day Journey" Blog, and it seems like it could be a good exercise to keep one consistent and regularly doing the exercises.

>consider what goals you might want to push toward for 101 days

For me the biggest issue in my life is my career. I'd want to finish my thesis in the next 100 days (doable - I've already got 90 pages written and turned in, it's just editing at this point) as well as write and submit 10 short stories.

Anonymous said...

FUnny what you say about Jennifer Anniston. Hopefully with her success, they will stop attaching her to the Bermuda Triangle called Brad, Angelina and Jennifer.

Each are good in their own right.

Josh Jasper said...

Any info on what the "Body/Mind diet" is? I don't think I can do intermittent fasting.

Lynn Gazis-Sax said...

It's Jennifer Anniston's own publicity people who keep pushing the gossip stories connecting her to Brangelina? Eep! That's the last thing I'd want, if I were divorced. I've been assuming it's self-perpetuating voyeurism.

Crazy chicks are hottest. Everybody knows that.

And guys complain about us women liking "bad boys" :-).

I can't complain too much here, though, since I also find Angelina hotter for whatever reason.

A solid "B" is about where I'd put Valkyrie as well.

Ken G said...

I'll respond to your consciousness question:

"what is the part of your consciousness, personality, or true self which could simultaneously produce the three results"

The part that can do that fully understands that whatever is going on in my life is my responsibility. I don't mean responsible as in who's to blame, but as in who has to clean up the mess. The buck stops here.

Marty S said...

Dan: Yes, Jews are over represented in the political arena. Mostly from certain geographic areas. But, I still don't think its likely one could win a nationwide election for president. But that's not really where I'm coming from on this subject. There are bigots who hate Blacks, and there are bigots who hate Jews. I wouldn't be surprised if in many cases they are the same people. But, I feel that antisemitism has been around longer and goes deeper than anti Black hatred. At any rate I experienced enough of it that I don't think its a figment of my imagination.

Steve Perry said...

Not all Jews are Hasidim, so a lot of times somebody who is Jewish doesn't have a particular look. And there is a generation of younger folks out there for whom the notion that Jews are something to worry about just doesn't exist.

Yeah, yeah, the culture versus the racial things, but I grew up with guys named Benjamin, Louza and Steinberg and they didn't look any different the rest of us. And being an ignorant cracker, I didn't know Jews from jawbreakers, so I didn't develop that bias.

Kind of hard not to look *black,* unless you are pale enough to pass, and that is only a small percentage of folks in that group.

You know why, in WWII, they rounded up the Japanese on the west coast and not, say, the Germans or the Italians on the east coast?

Need a hint?

Kami said...

About the number of repetitions for the Tibetans--should I 'max' out the number of reps I can do with a particular movement and allow the ones that I find more difficult to lag? Or if I can only do, say, six of one, should I only do six in the others?

Lester Spence said...

I started the tibetans today and am looking forward to this. I've got professional goals (to finish the book I'm working on by the end of the semester, and to get two other book contracts by the summer). But it's more about attaining another level of discipline.

kukulkan said...

As far as blacksmithing and carpentry circa 1800, I suggest talking with someone who participates in a reenactment group. These reenactors frequently take the scholarship aspect quite seriously. Moreover, they want to share their knowledge. And if a blacksmith reenactor doesn't know the answer to your questions, s/he will probably know who to ask. I think the groups back East are more active, but that's because I'm more familiar with them than the groups out here in California. If you have trouble getting the information you need, please let me know and I'll ask my parents (reenactors themselves) if they know of someone who would be willing to do a telephone interview.

Frank said...

kukulkan

As far as blacksmithing and carpentry circa 1800, I suggest talking with someone who participates in a reenactment group.

Yeah that's what I was going to suggest. In this case, I think you want Civil War reenactors. And it would be best to attend an event where the blacksmiths, as well as other artisans, will be set up and displaying their crafts.

Anonymous said...

ALso considering doing a blog on the 101 experience and have startes doing most of the components already.

In response to Steve Perry "You know why, in WWII, they rounded up the Japanese on the west coast and not, say, the Germans or the Italians on the east coast?"

Actually German Americans WERE interned in large numbers as well. A quick googling shows that while Italian-AMERICANS may not have been so much they too were hosed if they weren't citizens. Now when we look at the numbers there were MORE Japanese internees then the other groups but its not absolute one group they did and one group they didn't.

Marty S said...

Steve Perry: The wonderful thing about being Jewish, but not obviously looking Jewish is you can have the pleasure of someone across the table from you launch a diatribe against Jews without him realizing that one of the people he's addressing is Jewish. As far as WWII goes, Jews who were being persecuted all over Europe fled to England where there was less persecution. But England really didn't want them either so they shipped them off to Palestine. Of course the end result was the state of Israel so it is "An ill wind that blows no good."

Steven Barnes said...

1) Please: anyone who wants to blog about the 101, please go right ahead. My pleasure.
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2) My sense is that Jews have been in conflict with Christians longer than whites have really been in conflict with blacks, yes. The roots go deeper, and nothing is nastier than a family argument. But the single data point of Obama means less to me than a statistical sweep of governorships, Senators, Congressmen, etc. I haven't done the research, but I don't think Jews are under-represented, compared to blacks.
3) The 101 diet is very simple: every other day, eat nothing but FRESH fruits and non-starchy vegetables. All you want!
4) Kami--if on week Two (for instance) you can do five of most Tibetans but only three of one of them, go ahead and increase the number on those you can. On the one you can't perform well, you might try doing one or two of them multiple times during the day, thinking of it as a technique you haven't mastered: if you can figure it out, you can probably do it. Chances are you can't communicate elegantly with some of the involved muscles.

Kami said...

I wouldn't be surprised if it was a muscle-communication issue. I injured my shoulder in judo many years ago now, and although I have full function in that shoulder, we don't get along well with each other. The shoulder whines and feels unfulfilled and demeaned, I feel like the shoulder isn't respecting my needs and isn't there for me--maybe we need counseling. ;-)

I've been practicing and the shoulder issue has improved hugely. I already feel more fluid, though I could do tons more reps on the four of the five Tibetans where the shoulder isn't an issue. And yes, I'm being careful and respecting my shoulder. I think the chance of reinjury are laughably small, but I would feel soooo dumb if I was wrong ...

Shady_Grady said...

Steve, I saw this and thought that the writer had been reading this blog.

Excuse Artisans Protect Ego

Anonymous said...

"Does anyone know a source of REALLY solid information about, say, blacksmithing or carpentry as craft and profession in the early 19th century?"

Every single time I read that I see 'blackmailing', not blacksmithing.

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