Saturday, May 30, 2020

Mysteries Throughout Mankind

In a previous blog I commented on unexplained phenomenon which I only approached in a perfunctory paragraph. As such, I thought I’d elaborate a little on that fascinating topic.

I’ve always been drawn to historical mysteries and incidents or subjects that lack official explanations. Some that naturally come to mind are the subject of UFOs, Bigfoot, ghost sightings and unsolved crimes like the case of D.B. Cooper, the mystery man in a business suit who hijacked a Boeing 727 flight to Seattle and apparently jumped off with $200,000 ransom money, never to be seen again.

As a kid, I was intrigued by these kinds of stories and I even created my own scrapbook of photos and news clippings devoted to Bigfoot, the Loch Ness Monster, the Bermuda Triangle and other subjects that spurred my imagination. My favorite was Bigfoot- he was always enduringly fascinating as a possible intermediate form between man and his simian ancestor that was still elusively roaming the dense wild.

One of my favorite shows back then was Leonard Nimoy’s ‘In Search Of...’ which sought to explore these phenomenal items through interviews and intensive research. The shows were brief and as a result only touched upon the topics with no real conclusive answers to the weekly mysteries but I still think the subtle and equivocal style they employed was far superior to those currently produced in similar-themed shows.

The contemporary versions on networks like Nat Geo, History and Investigation Discovery tend to overreach their analysis by exhausting dead-end hypotheses and showing off state-of-the-art technologies for sheer sensationalism. Sometimes it’s better and far more interesting from an entertainment aspect to simply let the subject matter speak for itself.

What fascinates you? What is it about the way it is presented in a book or show or movie that makes it even more fascinating?


Saturday, May 23, 2020

Autobiographies: Getting the Inside Story

Typically, I’m not an avid reader. I rarely read fiction these days and most of the biographies I’ve read have been on figures in media or music. I’ve actually read a good number of musical autobiographies. I find that the inside perspective into the genesis of a song or musical piece often broadens the dimension for its appreciation and understanding.

Some musical autobiographies that I have read are:

  • Riders on the Storm by John Densmore
  • I Used to Be an Animal But I’m Alright Now by Eric Burdon
  • Play On by Mick Fleetwood
  • I’m a Believer by Micky Dolenz
  • Chronicles Vol. 1 by Bob Dylan
  • Searching For the Sound by Phil Lesh
  • I Am Ozzy by Ozzy Osbourne
  • Clapton by Eric Clapton
  • Long Time Gone by David Crosby
  • Somebody to Love by Grace Slick
  • I Me Mine by George Harrison
  • Change of Seasons by John Oates

Some I have read when they were first published and others I only got around to after some twenty years or so.

Autobiographies are naturally subjective and generally divulge only select information(or misinformation) that the author wants the public to know, but they all tell fascinating stories and contain inspiring and memorable anecdotes that pass on into legend and lore.

What are some autobiographies you’ve read? More importantly - how do they inspire you?

Thursday, May 14, 2020

Rebels on Wheels

Recently I watched some old Hong Kong Kung Fu flicks and biker movies (Why has no one created a mash-up genre combining the two?). The biker flicks I just viewed were as follows: The Cycle Savages; Hell’s Belles; Run, Angel, Run!(all 1969) and Chrome and Hot Leather(1971).

The biker films of the Sixties were largely exploitative action dramas made on slim budgets and drawing on ‘straight’ America’s post-war fears and anxieties regarding the marginalized and outcast. They never sought to portray these subcultures accurately but rather as caricatures of their urban nightmares.

Usually the films pitted rival gangs against each other or saw them clash with townspeople, minorities, hippies or authority figures. Often protagonist and villain were interchangeable, the symbols of the hated and the vanquished emblazoned on leather vests and German helmets. During many of the other youth market-oriented features of the era, bikers were played as clowns or even buffoons. Ultimately the biker image became inextricably linked with that of Marlon Brando’s ‘Wild One’, an edgy and prickly but misunderstood rebel.

Rebellion is a frequent cinematic theme as well as a persistent cultural one. In reality, the ‘outlaws’ in most biker gangs express defiance in their rejection of motorcycle associations as opposed to governments and laws.

Today the concept of the rebel is also increasingly subjective and image-based.

Are you a rebel in some way? Do you think it might even be pretentious to think of yourself as such?

“Get your motor runnin’.”

Sunday, May 10, 2020

Milestones and Missed Opportunities

Friday marked the 75th anniversary of VE Day, when victory in Europe was declared by the Allied Forces in the war against Germany on May 8th 1945. The end of World War II signaled a new era and commenced history’s bloodiest chapter.

It’s safe to say that WW2 may be the single definitive event in our modern history, that being within the timeframe that living Americans can still recall. Arguably there have been three such momentous world/national events since Imperial Japanese Navy aircraft bombed Pearl Harbor on December 7th 1941, the current global pandemic being the latest. Relatively few of us have experienced the events leading up to VE Day, so it was particularly disappointing that its anniversary couldn’t be properly recognized due to current restrictions on public gatherings-one condition of history forestalling the remembrance of another one.

Many among us recall certain global or national events for various reasons depending on our ages and the degree of association we might have with the events themselves. Some are significantly connected to major points in history that others merely observed as bystanders. Many of those events nevertheless carry equal importance among individuals regardless of their participation.
Perhaps you have a ‘connection’ to one of those events-or another one that few others have claim to. The designation of any event’s importance can be subjective. What changed the world for you might not have even phased your friends, neighbors or peers. In a sense, we’re not always in these experiences together... or are we?

Friday, May 1, 2020

Incidents or Occurrences of the Unexplained

I don’t read as much as I should, but one particular topic of interest for me has always been 'Incidents or Occurrences of the Unexplained.'

Perhaps much of what is happening right now will remain unexplained.

  • What are you reading?
  • What sources do you read?
  • Have you experienced anything you can’t explain?
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