My media diet. What’s on the menu?

(Above) Bisa Butler makes large quilted portraits of Black Americans

Looking back at my posts lately, I’ve been publicly OCD regarding a whole myriad of political and social rants. I’ve pinched myself for stumbling on and off the internet losing the battle against Mr. Negativity and Anger. I caught myself and thought, “Hey, this isn’t the full picture of me.”

Over the past 20 years, I’ve taken “writers trips” or “writers breaks.” Where I purposefully devote time to my passion for writing. I feel like I’m on one now as we’re quarantining in North Carolina.

These last few weeks, I’ve been reading my ass off and watching some really interesting shows and some movies. Here’s a handful of this month’s media diet. I’ll rate each one to five – five being the best – in parentheses.

POETRY
On my mission to well round my hard edges, I have returned to my love for poetry that defined my college experience, but died with graduation. These are a few standouts from my meanderings back into that wonderful wilderness.

Mannahatta, Walt Whitman (4)
A delightful poem written at least 10 years before the civil war ended paying homage to Manhattan. In college, I learned Whitman was likely gay and had a crush on Abe Lincoln. Until I read this, and read further, I wasn’t aware Whitman went full tilt racist in his old age and died a sufferable fuckwit.

The World Keeps Ending, and the World Goes On | BY FRANNY CHOI (5)
Before the Biblical apocalypse, there were many apocalypses … it’s like saying, before there was a Lucifer, there were many devils, before there was Jesus, there were many Jesuses. Before there was God, there were many gods. Before that thing you hold dear as a truth, there were many dear truths.
The definition of what is constructed stands on the shoulders of constructions. My personal voyage through belief and faith is predicated on many factors, not limited to this very concept of the mystery of all faiths emerged from what came before, what (and who) perpetuated it and its current form molded by current events.

In the Morning Before Anything Bad Happens, by Molly Brodak (5)

The sky is open
all the way.

Workers upright on the line
like spokes.

I know there is a river somewhere,
lit, fragrant, golden mist, all that,

whose irrepressible birds
can’t believe their luck this morning
and every morning.

I let them riot
in my mind a few minutes more
before the news comes.

BOOKS
Yes, I’m on a Stephen King kick (again?)

The Institute, by Stephen King (3.5)
A group of children are institutionalized with a range of supernatural abilities. Stephen King loves to return to the themes of telekinesis. It’s a fun ride.

Carrie, by Stephen King (3)
Perhaps an initial foray into telekinesis for Mr. King. I wouldn’t say the book is masterful. It’s largely forgetful in terms of standout moments. But the idea that Carrie, an unpopular, unattractive oppressed daughter of a cultish evangelical mother with the ability to move objects with her mind exacting revenge on the popular kids … well, why the hell not?

Black Moon, by Kenneth Calhoun (3)
A pandemic breaks out causing Insomnia as a disease spread over 99% of the population. The unaffected must pretend to have the disease to avoid the ire of the infected. The disease causes debilitated and struggled incoherent sentences and for the infected to think a dream is reality. The struggles of paranoia, conspiracy theories, misinformation, and disbelief are all mirror images of the Covid19 pandemic of 2020, and this book was written in 2016.

1984, by George Orwell (4.5)
A reread after reading it in middle school and again in college. This 1948 prophecy is a scary reminder of all things possible, probable and executed by unchecked governments with no sense of remorse, decency, or responsibility. Totalitarianism, communism, doublethink, thoughtcrime, mass surveillance, and freedom of expression were on the line. Big Brother exists? Or he a mental fabrication seeped into minds to incubate, birth and grow? Certainly a classic.

Past Tense, Lee Child (2.5)
Everyone needs a mindless read, and Lee Child is my goto. Jack Reacher is a big strong not attractive but somehow gets the woman kinda man. He hitchhikes across the United States and fights crime. In this episode, he reveals a mob in New Hampshire and takes them all down. Guess who wins again?

On my docket: Elevation, The Shining and Insomnia by Stephen King. Becoming by Michelle Obama. On my wishlist: Too Much and Never Enough, my Mary Trump.

MOVIES and TV
Because movies and TV have essentially merged into one, shelter-in-place option, I’ll keep these together.

Hanna, the movie and TV series (4.5)
GREAT TV! Very good movie. Worth every minute. Sometimes feels slow but the action is great. Make no mistake, I LOVE strong women characters, assassins and revenge seekers.

The Boys, TV (unfinished, 4.5)
What happens when superheroes get corporatized? Greed. Lust. Thirst for power. Corruption. Who are the superheroes? Perhaps they’re the ones fighting to bring them to justice. Lots of nudity and good times.

What We Do In the Shadows, TV (4.5)
If Vampires had their own reality tv show in modern times. Hysterically funny.

Perry Mason, TV (3.5)
I’m a bit bored, but it’s beautiful to watch. The characters are good, but something is missing.

Enemy of the State, movie (4.5)
This Tony Scott film does not disappoint and it holds up as a dynamic ride. Editing is great. Performances are believable-ish. It’s like the Lee Child book of day that ends in Y afternoon time wasters.

On the horizon:

This movie looks like it’s going to be AWESOME.

As always, my favorite websites to spend some time are Kottke, TYWKIWDBI, Cynical C, Joe My God. I also frequent Drudge, Breitbart and Allsides. Select them and google them if you’re interested.

And if you don’t give a shit about any of this, here’s where the lot of you can go to pass a few minutes in a phone conversation.

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