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Mixed Notes - Aug. 9

By Rich Heldenfels Published: August 9, 2012

I rejoined Netflix not long ago and have since then spent far too much time searching for various titles and piling up more than 100 in my Instant Queue. Some were movies I have not seen, some were movies I saw a very long time ago, some were just movies I love but never got around to buying a hard copy.

But with that big a list, I've been feeling more and more that I should winnow, and I have tried to do that lately. "The Choirboys"? It took less than 15 minutes for me to have the same feeling I had when I first saw it -- that it was an awful adaptation of a good Joseph Wambaugh novel. Off the queue it went. Some other title, which seemed interesting a month or so ago, was now one that I had to admit I would not be finding the time to watch.

Then there was "Hunger." Not "The Hunger." Just "Hunger." I am not sure why I put it in the queue; possibly because it had Michael Fassbender, with Steve McQueen (not that one), and I had been impressed by their collaboration on "Shame." Or just because I've been getting more interested in Fassbender. Or because the movie was about the famous '80s hunger strike by Northern Irish prisoners, most famously Bobby Sands, whom Fassbender plays in the movie.

Doesn't matter now. What does matter is that it is an extraordinary, brutal piece of moviemaking. Fassbender if the anchor but not only thing of merit in the film. McQueen's direction includes long stretches without dialogue, increasing the sense of isolation for the prisoners and the tension about what has happened or is about to. And there is a remarkable, central scene with Fassbender and Liam Cunningham as a sympathetic priest trying to reason with Sands about the hunger strike and its potential fatality. Yes, the movie is grim and painful (and particularly rough on Margaret Thatcher, who is unseen but heard -- cold, uncompromising and absolutely removed from what her policy has led to in terms of physical abuse). Still, I recommend it highly.

On another note, the whale that inspired Raffi's "Baby Beluga" has died. One story here. A meditation on songs our children learn, including "Baby Beluga," is here. (Update: Raffi is not pleased.) This has me thinking about the songs that my children listened to. I was skeptical of kids' songs per se, although Raffi got in there, and Sharon, Lois & Bram. But more common were songs made for adults but suitable for kids. A lot of Beatles, and pop oldies like "You Talk Too Much."  As part of a recent cleanup, I reconnected a cassette boom box at home and was listening to a mix tape I made for one of the boys, and I may put the playlist here later.

A link of amusement, "McKayla Is Not Amused" in viral variety. And various sites have provided texting codes for seniors, like this list:

HNY— Happy New Year

ATD: At The Doctor’s
BFF: Best Friend Fainted

BTW: Bring The Wheelchair
BYOT: Bring Your Own Teeth
CBM: Covered By Medicare
CUATSC: See You At The Senior Center
DWI: Driving While Incontinent

DWI FL- Driving while Incompetent- Florida)
FWB: Friend With Beta Blockers
FWIW: Forgot Where I Was
FYI: Found Your Insulin
GGPBL: Gotta Go, Pacemaker Battery Low!
GHA: Got Heartburn Again
IMHO: Is My Hearing-Aid On?
LMDO: Laughing My Dentures Out
LOL: Living On Lipitor
OMMR: On My Massage Recliner
OMSG: Oh My! Sorry, Gas.
ROFL… CGU: Rolling On The Floor Laughing… And Can’t Get Up

STA: Say That Again
TTYL: Talk To You Louder
WAITT: Who Am I Talking To?
WWNO: Walker Wheels Need Oil

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