Posted in Monday Mayhem

We Are Here

Our waterways are a mess. Our infrastructure is crumbling. The idea of a society connected through a common medium has rendered us isolated. What’s more? We’re on the brink of total environmental collapse. How do I know? Let’s find out and file this Monday Mayhem post under pending doom. No fear mongering here. Just fiction. Or is it?

The Blob [Photo Credit: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration]
The Blob [Photo Credit: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration]
The other day I came upon an article in the news describing of place in the ocean where no life exists. Apparently, science has labeled the phenomenon a “blob” If you’re familiar with the 1950’s movie that goes by the same name, the condition is relatively dissimilar in concept but still scary. The blob has taken over a good chunk of ocean and is growing. No one knows where it came from, and no one knows when it will stop consuming vital marine life. Science can’t even say if it’s even evolving into anything.

Then there’s this thing that’s happening off the coast of Japan where jellyfish are depleting marine life and spawning an infestation. Fishermen can’t seem to get rid of the animals. When caught in the nets, the fishermen kill what they can and throw the remains back in the ocean. The problem? The jellyfish harbor millions of eggs that pour into the deep and continue the cycle of infestation. Science hasn’t figured out how to stop them. In the meantime, Japanese fishing has taken a hit, rendering the industry helpless to the unwanted beasts. How soon will it be before nothing in the ocean survives?

Antarctica's Melting Ice Caps
Antarctica’s Melting Ice Caps

And the hits just keep on comin’ with the melting of the ice caps. It was inevitable that one day it would happen. No one believed it could have happened so quickly, though. One of the news agencies has taken a time-lapse video of what is actually going on in the Arctic. The entire shelf is crumbling as I write this. Russia, the United States and Canada are in the midst of claiming ownership rights to the new waterways formed by the phenomenon. The entire planet could soon find itself in one of the most contentions international disputes this side of World War II. That is in addition to the coastal water levels rising around the globe.

Can it get any worse? It sure can. The population of the world is accelerating at a rapid pace. What was once a breadbasket, United States is having trouble keeping up with demand. To aid with the sudden surge in the food supply, prices have skyrocketed while packaging has shrunk. The droughts in the west haven’t helped either. Last summer’s devastating water shortage has placed a strain on everything from cooking to showering. Lawns have gone dry. Imagine what has taken place in farm country. The drought coupled with the population growth not only has left the economy in the lurch but also has purged the supply chain dry.

It will only take a miracle now to reverse what has happened with the earth. Do you believe in miracles?

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What do you think of what’s been happening to our environment? Is there something we can do to help?

Posted in Monday Mayhem

Monster Movies

Monster movies have always captured my imagination. When I was a kid, a Sunday afternoon wouldn’t be the same without watching Godzilla and all the other Japanese monsters wreaking havoc on Tokyo. Back then, it was the thing to do. We had those twenty-four-inch TVs with mono sound and low-res images that sparked our interest and carried us through the weekend.

Godzilla
Godzilla

For today’s Monday Mayhem, I would like to delve into my liking of monster movies, why I like certain ones and the impact they have made on my life.

Godzilla—As I stated in the intro, Godzilla was the movie series my friends and I loved and would gather after school to talk about. Yeah, you could have considered me a nerd. In the earlier movies, which were films filmed in Japanese, brought overseas and translated for the English-speaking audience, Godzilla was anything but pleasant. In the earlier incarnations, he was the bad guy. Born from a radioactive mess, he stomped his way through Tokyo causing authorities to use deadly force on the giant creature. In later films, he became the hero, also destroying cities, but taking down other monsters in the process. I loved the series because it had a ominous, end-of-the-world feel I couldn’t shake.

Cloverfield
Cloverfield

Cloverfield—No monster movie discussion would be complete without the addition of the film Cloverfield. Directed by J.J. Abrams, Manhattan once again becomes the playing ground to an alien invasion. Similar to other alien invasion movies, other than War of the Worlds, a creature sets foot in New York City and rips apart the downtown core. The premise is not a unique one, yet the story flow and action progressively escalates to hypertension as the shrieks and destruction the beast yields causes the masses to stampede from the scene. Filmed from a first-person perspective, the story merits attention due to its unyielding build throughout the story. I also love the fact that the plot encompasses older themes of the earlier Godzilla movies, complete with military intervention and wanton devastation.

Jaws—By far, many wouldn’t consider Jaws a monster movie. If anything, Jaws is about a biological anomaly that should have never happened. But happen, it did. The story about a shark laying waste the shores of Amity Island became an instant success in the movie industry and introduced the world to the summer blockbuster flick. I would consider it a monster movie because the shark was beyond imagination. The great white spanned longer than the length of a fishing trolley and its jaws could swallow a person whole. The shark also had no redeeming qualities to catch the audience’s will to sympathize with the creature. It wanted to kill and nothing more. For this, the crew made up of a sheriff, an oceanographer and a fisherman needed to get rid of the beast before it hurt anyone else. It was, by all accounts and definition, a monster that had to die.

There you have it folks, my picks for admirable monster movies that would make a Sunday afternoon great again. By no means is the list complete, but I think you get the point of where I was going with it. I hope it spurs you to seek those often-neglected titles and admire the work involved with making such films.

Quite frankly, monster movies are awesome—but that’s my opinion.

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What monster movies do you like? What attracts you to the genre?

Posted in Women Who Wow Wednesday

Charlotte

In the early part of the year when I first began my Women Who Wow Wednesday feature, I concentrated my efforts on kick-ass women. If you ever wondered about Ellen Ripley, Hit-Girl, The Bride and Mathilda, they’re all there waiting for your craving eyes. As the months went on, however, I noticed a subtle change. Rather than focus only on women who physically can beat the willies out of their enemies, I’ve also chosen to write about women who are kick-ass in heart, style and grace. Take a look at my posts for Debra Barone, Adrian, Rose, and Scarlett O’Hara.

Scarlett Johansson as Charlotte
Scarlett Johansson as Charlotte

Enter Charlotte (Scarlett Johansson), who I’m sure doesn’t even have a last name in the movie Lost in Translation. At least I didn’t catch one, I’m sure of it. She’s stuck in a hotel room in the Park Hyatt in Shinjuku, Tokyo while her photographer husband is on assignment shooting who knows what. She passes the time staring blankly out her 56th floor window to the Japanese skyline. There’s a lot to see when you’re lonely.

Bob Harris (Bill Murray) makes his appearance soon after. A film entourage greets him in the lobby speaking nothing but Japanese. With certainty, something’s bound to get lost in translation. He’s twice Charlotte’s age, married, kids, and almost there as a favor for his agent who can’t get him a gig anywhere else. No one says he’s done, but the implication is there, given his stint working in a whiskey commercial in Japan.

They first notice each other in a cramped elevator filled with Japanese businessmen. They don’t say much. She smiles, yet continues with her day. It isn’t until they catch eyes once again in the hotel’s New York Bar located on 52nd floor that they wonder how weirdly coincidental life is. It’s late in the evening, he leaves, paying his tab, and she stays with her husband, laughing with friends.

Lost in Translation's Charlotte
Lost in Translation’s Charlotte

As the clock hits 4:20 AM, unable to sleep, Charlotte dives under the covers with her husband, but he grumbles something and tells her to go to sleep. In another room, four floors below, Bob lays awake sitting on his bed in a daze. A fax comes in from his wife in America asking him which shelves he wants in his study. Renovations, I suppose.

The next night, at 3:00 AM, again Charlotte can’t sleep. She finds herself at the bar as Bob remains seated, lost in his thoughts. He notices her. They strike up a conversation. He talks about his wife needing space. She talks about her husband’s work. They get to the marriage questions. She’s been married two years, and he says he’s got her beat at twenty-five years. In that brief moment she jokes about him experiencing a mid-life crisis and wonders if he had purchased a Porsche yet. He’s thinking about it, of course. He asks her what she plans to do with her life. She says philosophy—she doesn’t know what to do with it, but she can certainly think about it a lot. They click their glasses wishing they both could sleep.

So that’s how Charlotte meets Bob, in a bar, fifty-two floors above the Japanese skyline. It doesn’t end there, by any means. It’s only the beginning. You see, Charlotte represents a woman lost in life making a connection with someone who awakens her ambition to better herself. Someone who speaks to her soul. Not in an emotional or sexual sense. More on a deep, intellectual and spiritual level. Whatever she may have felt before meeting him hadn’t disappeared. It still lays there dormant, waiting. Yet he introduces something in her life, something of substance she craved.

He doesn’t ignore her.

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Have you seen Lost in Translation? What did you think of Charlotte’s friendship with Bob?