The Watering Hole Tuesday February 14th: 1900 – What we gave up.

I spent all of Saturday evening into Sunday night watching one of the great epic pictures of all times. Bernardo Bertolucci’s “Novecento” 1900. The whole movie takes about six hours to watch and it is 6 hours of cinematic bliss.

Some 45 minutes into the picture I realized that it would never be possible to make a movie like that today for several reasons which can yet be summarized into one. It is honest.

It is honest about Sex and Love.

It is honest about Rich and Poor

It is honest about Courage and Cowardice.

During the train station scene above, by far not the most important of the movie, it struck me. Workers and peasants have sent off their kids to learn, they have fought, suffered and died. They have organized and worked hard for our freedom and prosperity. For us.

We threw it away. We sacrificed it for empty promises. We’re no better off than before their struggles. And lest we realize it, we will not be shown a movie just like that. Not today. The padrone is still here.

This is our Open thread. Honestly.

149 thoughts on “The Watering Hole Tuesday February 14th: 1900 – What we gave up.

  1. I’ve spent many hours this winter watching movies, many of them epic tales of world history and human struggles; and have filled in some large gaps in my knowledge of such. I haven’t seen this one in my local rental shop, but it’s an independent run by a happy liberal who has a very good collection, and is likely to know of it.

  2. Happy Valentine’s Day.
    I sent Outstanding Jr. off to school today with his first ever important valentine. When he gave the same girl a card at Christmas she hugged him. In his words, when he presents his card today he’s hoping for ” a second taste of that”. He’s only 12, I’m doomed here. Seriously, I hope that if his declaration of “like” is not well received, that she will be kind to him.

    • Ah, yes. I am wondering if SammytheTurtle is a participant in today’s hormone fest at Junior High and I’m also wondering if I will ever know…

      • You may be better off not knowing. I’ve always had the kind of sons that do stuff like burst through the door yelling “Mom, I just had my first french kiss!”. Knowledge can be a burden.

  3. Happy Valentine’s day, critters!
    My eight year old not so Cerious daughter has a neighbor friend at school with ginormous crush on her. He got her a teddy bear, chocolates and card…His mom called and asked if that was OK, and I said yes….with reservations…She got him just a card and two dove pieces…
    He also has a crush on his next door neighbor and got her the same teddybear and chocolates, so I guess I can save the freaking out dad for later…. Still dislike the commercialization…But… Mrs RUC got two beautiful bouquets and a small box o’chocs, so I guess it’s hard not to get sucked into it..

  4. Happy Valentine’s Day. My wife and I tend to not recognize days like this so generally we don’t ‘get’ each other anything. We’ve had a tough go lately with our dogs – bad leg on one and now kennel cough for the other – and because of that she will have to stay home this weekend and I will go see my parents alone. She surprised me with a games magazine, some Nibs and some Mixed Nuts! She’s the bestest ever.

    • The last provision would depopulate Georgia. The state was settled by criminals. I always think of Georgia as the Gitmo of Britain. Australia falls into the same category.

      • An old friend of mine has maintained for decades that the earth itself has OBVIOUSLY been, since humans first appeared here, a penal colony for the intergalactic criminally insane. If I should ever begin to suspect that he’s wrong or even off by just a little, a quick look around is all it takes. Just this morning, for example, I saw a snippet of Mitch McConnell speaking and bingo, back into the fold I went.

  5. In keeping with the Zoo critters frequently demonstrated interest and delight in sharing the rare wonderful to help alleviate the more common terrible, I just stumbled upon this truly extraordinary 15 minute video called The Third and the Seventh.

    What it is supposed to impart I don’t know but it is amazing to me to watch and listen to, and well , ‘feel’.

    The fact that NONE of the images, motion and photography are real, that all of it is computer generated using an application that I happen to possess is perhaps equally but entirely separately, amazing.


    • Mesmerizing – simply mesmerizing!
      The depth and detail.
      There’s so much to absorb that one viewing certainly is not enough to take it all in!

      • Note this response posted many hours after the above comment:

        Are you effing KIDDING ME, Zooey?!

        (Of course you are!)

        I haven’t successfully modeled an ordinary dinner fork yet!

          • Honestly, no.

            I have created a couple of utterly craptacular 30-second animations under video-tutelage, and ‘designed’ a pretty-awesome looking space-cruiser/star-fighter carrier using primitive polygons, but ‘all’ that has basically been the computer equivalent of building with Lego.

            What Roman has done using 3ds Max amazed even the program creator and principal developer., Gary Yost, and the video created by Roman—IN HIS SPARE TIME—used the 2008 version of 3ds Max. The 2010 and 2012 versions provide even more detail and effects.

            Incredible technical and artistic synergy with the graphics, the vision, and the music, which is an important part for the overall effect.

  6. The 30 year anniversary of the Falklands War is coming around.. or the Guerra de las Malvinas or Guerra del Atlántico Sur depending on where you sit on the issue. Seems a bit like the Civil War and the War of Northern Aggression – each side has something to say in how they name it,

    Anyhow, Mr Sean Penn is now sticking his nose in. I suppose I have had some time for what Penn has had to say and do about New Orleans, Haiti and Iraq – if at times his commentary is passionately ill-informed.

    This time though, I think he strays away from his espoused position as champion of the powerless.

    The facts he fails to register are the 2,500 people who call the Falklands their home. At what point does he remember that perhaps they don’t want to be Argentines, that then fascist Argentina’s last serious attempt to resolve the dispute was to send their army and navy and take away by force the choice of those Islanders to live they way they please.

    All over the world the common people are denied the choice to live the way they please, Mr Penn, would you deny the Islanders that right too? What principles are you standing on here exactly?

  7. Corvus News Service: 2/14/2012
    “Gingeritch campaign staffer Kay Streat resigned this morning in the wake of her alleged mistake in sending the wrong Valentines Day gifts to Mrs. Gingeritch and an as yet unidentified campaign staffer. Mrs. Gingeritch was at first visibly surprised by the red teddy, but her countenance immediately froze into its usual fixed grimace upon reading the attached card.”
    “Ms. Streat, tasked on the candidates behalf with purchasing and sending out the gifts, and asked about her confusion between the two; gave a smirk and replied that there had been several other gifts and intended recipients in the mixup.” Asked about the nature of the gift intended for Mrs. Gingeritch, she said only that it was “In essence a document.”

    Breaking update:
    In a hastily called press conference, Sarah Palin announced that she had received the correct gift, and was hereby accepting Mr. Gingeritch’s invitation. She went on to lay blame for the dead batteries included on President Obama’s “failed energy policy.”

  8. Mittens feels strongly both ways…

    “This week, President Obama will release a budget that won’t take any meaningful steps toward solving our entitlement crisis,” Romney said in a statement e-mailed to reporters. “The president has failed to offer a single serious idea to save Social Security and is the only president in modern history to cut Medicare benefits for seniors.”

  9. Speaking of Valentine’s Day . . .

    Sixty-seven years ago yesterday and today, on February 13 and 14, 1945, the soon-to-be victorious allies attacked the city of Dresden, Germany, with some 700,000 phosphorous bombs . . . more than one bomb for every two residents. The temperature in the city was said to have reached 1600 degrees centigrade as some half-million people — women, children, elderly, and wounded soldiers were exterminated in the fire bombing.

    “Happy Valentine’s Day” was likely not the intended message.

    In Memory of

    they stood ’round shivering
    in worn and tattered coats
    with only blackened sky to reflect their mood
    and hopes
    warming coals commandeered by those more reckless
    for it was a time of sacrifice
    you see
    a time of war

    in spite of chill
    they knew inferno raged
    on distant sun
    even at night
    impossible to see
    impossible to sense
    except through journey of the mind
    which disallows consideration of darkness
    or of cold
    no darkness on the sun
    no chill

    even a child knows that

    in tattered coats
    the huddled ones leaned toward shelter
    away from iced and chilling wind
    to dream perhaps of summer’s warmth
    to forget fateful thoughts and imaginings
    of what might be their destiny
    brought upon them by circumstance
    of war
    and as they dreamed
    perhaps they prayed a better life for their children
    who also suffered the cold
    also suffered the fears

    tomorrow would be better
    they knew
    because the fires which rage the sun
    would rise again
    to warm the earth and bring forth life
    of yet another day
    to nurture sons and daughters of creation
    as inferno maintained itself
    safe away

    even the children knew that

    but late that night the bombers came
    to demonstrate to all creation
    no thing is safe or sure
    downward rained the firestorms
    inferno and incendiary sucked away the breath
    of five hundred-thousands
    non-combatants all
    just people in tattered coats
    huddled in harm’s way
    through heinous plan
    night became the day of fire
    flesh boiled or burned
    in tattered coats

    a man-made sun had come too close
    as if to offer proof
    that cold and dark
    inhere within the human soul
    though warmth and light do not
    as dead and dying learned
    too late

    and children burned to ash

    february 14, 1945

    (from Emeralds and Ashes, by PLNelson, 1995)

    • Why is the church (in its own mind) given so much weight in political matters?
      You’re correct in the matter of what’s truly frightening of church and state seemingly becoming one.
      It won’t happen, of course, yet the nutty ones seem to be gaining a toe hold just with the spewing/dictating of their ‘morals’..

      • I think that it has happened in many ways. Churches don’t need to win elections. They just need to browbeat and frighten politicians. If it were not for the churches we would, for instance, have free condom dispensers in every public bathroom, including those in schools, in the country. If not for churches gay people would be able to marry each other. If not for churches all students would receive comprehensive sex education. If not for churches we would see the occasional naked breast on TV. If not for churches we never would have suffered through two terms of Bushco. If not for churches it would be possible for someone to hold high office without having to claim a Faith. And, if not for churches, we wouldn’t be plagued by politicians who willfully deny any simple scientific fact that contradicts their mythology.

        • This absurd situation where a politician in this country needs to some sort of Judeo-Christo-faith-based-look-at-me-im-good-with-Jesus freak to get elected is to me dangerous and bass-ackwards. To me it says:

          “Sure you’ve got your Age of Reason, your Voltaire, your Paine, your Maxwell, Einstein, Darwin and so on – f*** all that – I’ve got fairies at the bottom of my garden and an imaginary friend who lives in the sky – I have no ability to recognise reality from a fantasy world – that makes me eminently qualified to make decisions about your life/uterus/children etc”

      • The wingnuts in Congress call it “freedom of religion” and tout it as “the Constitution says …”

        The First Amendment’s establishment clause reads:

        Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof . . .

        IOW, Congress hasn’t got a damn thing to say about it, period. Now granted, if the president was ordering ALL women, including those who don’t believe birth control is permitted by their God, to use contraception, then there would be a problem. But that’s obviously not the case. The same could be said about an authoritative government demand that all women have abortions, or that everyone has to indulge in same sex marriage, etc. — bullshit, in a word, about as far from reality as one can get. For Congress to ‘make a law’ that denies the non-religious among us the right to violate religious precepts would, indeed, be a violation of the first amendment, but insisting that insurance companies pay the full cost of contraception for their policy holders is a universe away from any sort of constitutional violation — no matter what McConnell, Boner, or Roy Blunt have to say about the matter.

    • Just in! Catholics arrested all over US for gunning down evil pharmacists dispensing, (gasp!) BIRTH CONTROL drugs!

      TAX the Catholic Church. It is no longer a religion, it is a political party.

  10. Happy Valentine’s Day, all!

    About 30 years ago on Valentine’s Day, after getting drunk/stoned at a party, my friend and I and a bunch of other people got to go “behind the scenes” at a circus that was being held at the County Center in White Plains – IOW, one of the guys at the party worked at the County Center and had a key. It was about 11pm on a Saturday night.) The night was most memorable for me because I got my hand washed by a tiger, and an elephant wrapped his trunk around my arm.

  11. The Rude Pundit has a most delicious post about Newter and a Texas judge. I consider it a Must Read, especially for the atheists in the crowd. Unfortunately, the link in the final paragraph doesn’t appear to work, but the piece stands on its own.

    On page 4, Biery has an intentional misspelling that should be the death knell of the career of one politician: “While religious institutions bestow many blessings and try to alleviate suffering, those acts of Grace are newtralized by religious Homo sapiens who exhibit an historical and continuing pernicious and pervasive tendency to kill other humans and confiscate the property of those, sometimes even within the same religion, who do not believe as they do.”

    Cracked me up.

  12. QOTD:

    “This week, President Obama will release a budget that won’t take any meaningful steps toward solving our entitlement crisis … The president has failed to offer a single serious idea to save Social Security and is the only president in modern history to cut Medicare benefits for seniors,” – Mitt Romney. Krugman asks whether there has “ever been a candidacy this cynical?”

    • The old fellows opining about Faux being on the left – date themselves with such spewing that two of the new anchors or whatever they call them are from:

      the Jane Fonda’s Women’s Media Center

      • Actually, Jane and Gloria Steinem founded the Women’s Media Center in 2005 though neither of their names is included in it’s name.

        The point that really escapes them is that “libruls” on FAUX”News” are only there to be talked over, shouted down, disparaged, and denied. Their purpose is to demonstrate that “libruls” are always wrong for the worshipful audience. I think I dislike their “libruls” even more than the Reichwhiners. They have to know that everything they say will be painted in a negative light.

  13. More bad canine news. Just back from the vet and Jake, our lab, doesn’t have kennel cough. Rather worse, he has a gigantic heart that is pushing on his trachea and causing him to cough. Saw the x-ray and his heart is HUGE. Big decision time now. $650 for an ultrasound just to find out why his heart is so big and a good chance that there is nothing that can be done. He is a lab so I always knew he had a big heart.

      • Oh that’s rough, dycker..

        Just a wild guess and maybe a sort of hope (?) that his heart is swollen due to some kind of infection? Perhaps treatable with a dose of antibiotics?

        I’m just flailing in sympathy here, for you and your canine companion.,

            • It’s congestive heart failure so the result is an enlarged heart no matter the cause. He has been coughing like crazy, day or night. Thought it was kennel cough but…. An utra sound will tell the exact problem but it’s so far gone.

              We think it may be time to do the unthinkable.

    • I am so sorry, dycker. (((hugs)))

      I had a giant half black Lab/half collie back in the early 80s, named Bear. She was the dumbest dog I ever had, but she was such a sweetheart. It had to be the collie holding her back, because every time I walked with that dog on a country road, she’d go into a perfect natural point. But she never got the concept of retrieving. 😀

    • Read the read of this thread.

      So sad.
      Life, death, joy, pain, it’s all a grand equation in the end, except for the fact that there’s really no guarantee of reconciling the one with the other, just because human rational philosophy offers that possibility.
      Any man’s death diminishes me wrote John Donne and this is surely also true of a companion dog.

    • Speaking of Keystone XL, here’s a copy of an email letter I received today from the Center for Biodiversity:

      What an incredible 24 hours.

      With a massive outpouring of support from grassroots activists across the nation, we blew past our goal of 500,000 signatures.

      Since we sent our call to action yesterday to stop Congress from ramming through this disastrous tar- sands pipeline, more than 793,000 people spoke out with an unmistakable message: Say NO to the Keystone XL pipeline.

      40 conservation groups from around the country and mobilized their supporters and activists to speak out against Keystone during a frenzied, 24-hour push that started at noon yesterday.

      We’re proud to say that more than 24,500 Center for Biological Diversity activists added their voice to this massive effort. This quick action is what we’ve come to depend on. Thank you.

      Every one of those signatures, which are being hand-delivered to Congress this afternoon, is a call to reject Big Oil’s relentless lobbying machine. Stopping Keystone XL will be a powerful blow against the oil industry’s corrupting influence.

      The Center and our allies were the first to file legal challenges against the Keystone XL project when we found out that crews in Nebraska were clearing the way for the tar- sands pipeline even before it had been approved.

      Since then, we’ve been fighting the project every step of the way. President Obama heeded our call last month in rejecting the pipeline, but Republicans in Congress are determined to push it through — no matter what the environmental cost may be. We can’t let that happen.

      Here’s hoping today’s incredible outpouring of opposition from every corner of America will finally take Keystone XL off the table for good.

      Thanks for your swift action.

      Kierán Suckling
      Executive Director
      Center for Biological Diversity

      • Thanks to pachy for posting the link to the petition yesterday, at that time the tally was 400,000+. Fun to know we can make a difference.

        • The above is a great example of why the SOPA legilslation was such an insidious initiative—it wasn’t even about controlling bandwidth as a commodity with scalable profit margins, it was ultimately about controlling information and thus the ability of the general populace to be informed and to petition, not so much in fact, but in a timely,informed and coherent manner.
          Had SOPA and its adjunct legislation–I forget the latter’s acronym at the moment –been passed we all would have soon faced the same situation as Arthur Dent in The Hitchiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, only without a friendly and better informed alien to buy us beer and peanuts and provide us with a very useful towel ( and save our assess in the process).

            • Well, we still stand on the edge of a knife (apologies for quoting Galadriel from the LOTR movie, but I’m sure the analogy predates Tolkien by a millennium or two).
              When a barely disguised direct assault fails, its proponents typically increase the camouflage and attempt a diversion, no matter how logically unrelated to the new initiative, to improve the chances of the subterfuge being accidentally ratified due due to negligence and/or ignorance. SOPA will surely take on some other, more subtle form.

    • 6. 25% of the crappy oil that is dug up in Alberta at huge risk to the environment and costing almost as much in energy as it gives back, 25% of that oil belongs to the Koch brothers, they own the terminal it would be stuck in at and at least one of the refineries at the other end

      7. That oil is not destined for US markets. It is destined to be put on the general international market after it has been refined in Houston and Corpus Christi.

      8. The number of jobs left over after the pipeline is run is minimal – the government will use your money and land access to get it built and the Koch brothers will rake it in – bend over America….

      • According to my research, Terry, you have liberally and conveniently chosen to ignore the inestimable environmental benefits the Keystone XL pipleline project, vis-a-vis,the effect on the libidos of moose, deer and caribou as the bask in the warmth generated by millions of gallons of oil rushing through 3,000 miles of inadequately inspected aluminum pipe.

        Not only that, but you also conveniently forget to consider the cost savings due to the proposed pipeline not being on the African continent, and thus not subject to local terrorism against privately-owned pipelines which require the expensive services of full -time private paramilitary contractors to secure, for freedom!

        Apart from that… yeah.. okay. 😀

  14. Is anybody else watching The Young Turks? Cenk has Breitbart on wasting my time about his coming unhinged at the protesters, which he will inevitably lie about, so why bother?

      • I didn’t listen. But I didn’t see any punches thrown. Sorry.

        Glen Greenwald is on next. He shouldn’t have to be on the same planet with Breitbart, much less same show. I’m sorry, we get damn little opportunity to have Progressives on any media, so why do shows like Rachel, Cenk etc. spend any time letting them lie? It’s not news.

        • I still can’t figure it out. Cenk never held back from calling liars “liars” before he got the TV gig. I had hoped that he would be the one to call out his guests but, apparently, Current wants to protect their access to Reichwhiners. I still hope for a day when someone, anyone, from the “librui media” will say; “You need us more than we need you. Get the Hell off my show and don’t come back until you learn to tell the truth!”

          Sigh… I just don’t see it happening any time soon.

  15. Meanwhile… its Gaymageddon (or thereabouts ) as Washington State governor Chris Gregoire singed marriage equality into law.
    The Senate in my home state of New Jersey has passed a same-sex marriage which Govenror Chris “leave the muslims alooonne!” Christie plans to veto an/or maybe order a public referendum to decide the matter—in which case latest polling suggests that such a plebiscite would produce a “faahhbulous” result (not apparently overwhelmingly but I’ve not analyzed the poll’s geo-demographics).

    So… whatever happens in NJ, at least we can all be sure that…oh… I don’t know… maybe Michele Bachmann’s and RIck Santorum’s marriages are destined to collapse in the near future? Due to gay osmosis?

  16. Recession: Economics. a period of an economic contraction, sometimes limited in scope or duration.

    Recovery: restoration or return to any former and better state or condition.

    In light of the fact that our economy is growing,; why are the talking heads still claiming that we are in a recession? Is anyone in the “librul media” talking about our economic recovery?

    • Notice that much of the product and service advertized on MSM are things designed to make one feel better about things, or themselves.
      Ergo, the consumer culture depends on people who feel poorly about such things.
      People who feel content and satisfied aren’t going to buy as much stuff. Good news doesn’t sell product like bad news.

        • Exactly. One doesn’t see commercials about happy healthy people without having first explained that you are sick and need a drug to get happy.
          And one doesn’t need the latest cell phone if the one you have works just fine. But Marcia just got a fuschiaroon one with sparkly keys, so I’ve got to get a better one.

    • All recessions are local and recoveries are elsewhere…..

      …. has any of this ‘growth’ found its way to anyone else?

      • It’s not a comprehensive list but…

        The auto industry is hiring. Here in my beloved Minnesota they are hiring construction workers; which is exceedingly rare in February. Unemployment is creeping down. Manufacturing and exports are creeping up. January saw the lowest federal deficit in 6 years because more people are paying income taxes. And, while one can argue about it’s relative merit, the market is doing very well indeed.

        I think that history will one day say that we are in a depression but to say that we are in a recession, a shrinking economy, is simply untrue. We would all like to see a faster and more secure recovery but that doesn’t mean that we are not indeed seeing a recovery. Personally, I saw a small bump in my Social Security for the first time in three years. It’s not much, and some of it has gone to higher Medicare premiums, but for the first time in several years I have some disposable income which I am returning to the economy without fear of going hungry the last week of the month. I’ve even been able to return to my favorite local butcher instead of being forced to seek cheaper meat at the supermarket.

        So? Yes is the answer. I’m seeing and benefiting from the growth.

  17. I’ve been watching a show on NatGeo called “Doomsday Preppers”. One guy shot his thumb off in front of his kids, another family had their pastor over to bless their weapons stockpile.

    I’m so sorry about Jake dycker. i wish you courage and peace with your decision.

      • Oh bugger – clean up on post Turtle! Clean up on post Turtle….!

        That is a 49 min documentary about Zooey’s former neighbours…. check it out…. Theroux is awesome at getting these people to say all kinds of wacky stuff….

        • I recall hearing this on the radio (riveting for the complete idiocy of the ‘inhabitants’ Almost Heaven). Watching is chilling (not for the weather) as these people are not of this world. None seem to have logic or common sense. The conspiracy/paranoia is palpable.
          Theroux is so likable they open up to him. I like his style!

          • Toward the end of the story Louis asked the ‘patriot’ when he thought all this (new world order; government coming for the ‘survivalists’: would take place) “Maybe 2000.”
            Went looking and noted this video was released in 1997.

            Would love Theroux to revisit. Can only imagine their response to Obama having been voted into office (even though the ‘survivalists’ claim they hate all government).

      • Almost Heaven was where old Bo Gritz hung out for a while. He attempted suicide just outside our county fair one year. Dunno where he is these days.

        Buncha weirdos.

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