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Tag Archives: Sequential art

Tip of the hat to Depeche Mode–whoops, make that Crowded House–of the late 80s.

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It had been bugging me that I hadn’t done a segment of my n.e.s. series for a long time, so here we are. Again we see Good Idea, Slapdash Execution, but I kind of like the primitivity this time.

The “Gare Bear Lines” emblazoned on the plane is an inside joke for those co-workers, starting with Katie Hoffman and most recently with LaShawna Douglas-Muhammad, who call me Gare Bear (or Gair Bear, as some would have it)–I am grateful for their easy-going affection. If I ever own an airplane something like this will be going on the fuselage.

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A long time ago I read “At the Core,” a story by science-fiction author Larry Niven. (Fate-of-the-galaxy spoiler alert.) His protagonist Beowulf Schaeffer was hired by an alien race to pilot a superfast spacecraft to the galactic core. As Schaeffer gets closer he sees a lot of radiation. And as he gets closer yet he discovers that the galaxy is exploding, and in about 25,000 years the deadly radiation chain reaction will reach what is called “known space,” where humans and all aliens that humans have encountered dwell. Soon after Schaeffer reports this to his alien employers, the entire alien race prepares to leave the Galaxy. Schaeffer at first shrugs–who cares about 25,000 years from now?–but then wonders if the aliens, who are considered cowardly, might not be more courageous than we are. At minimum they recognize without denial the danger that they must face, and the sooner the better. Niven ends the story by having Schaeffer think, “Maybe it is the humans who are the cowards–at the core.”

The phrase “train wreck” now seems to apply more to people and situations than trains. Early in my restaurant days a manager used it to describe the trail of maple syrup I’d negligently created that went all the way from the host stand to the dish pit. What a mess!!

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What this quasi-fable is really about is the way we magnify things. I plowed a little of this ground in one of my earliest blog posts, but another peek through the magnifying glass couldn’t hurt.

Did a fly affect the 2020 United States Presidential election? Is it really a good idea to put a marriage proposal on the Jumbotron? Is Bernie Sanders still the same guy he was before his seated mittened image got ubiquitized? What does all this say about us?

Once Laurence Olivier and Dustin Hoffman were having dinner, and Hoffman asked Sir Larry what lit him up as far as acting goes, and (if memory serves; I’ve been trying to find the Hoffman interview and so far no dice) Olivier said, “My dear boy, it’s like this…” and he gently grabs Hoffman by the back of the neck and pulls him till they’re eyeball to eyeball and continues, “Look at me, look at me, look at me.

Scrutiny has gotten screwier and screwier lately. I don’t envy people in the spotlight. Skilled editors would be able to take all the raw video footage of my life and make two intensely entertaining movies, one that would make me look like a Hero, the other like Hellspawn. Dear reader, how about you?