More

[Author’s Note: this year marks my 27th anniversary] Until I saw the date, February 2, it hadn’t occurred to me that it was my “birthday” again. This birthday–which is more of an anniversary–marks for me the first day of uninterrupted sobriety 22 years ago. It hadn’t seemed like a very important day at the time; in fact, if anyone had asked then, I would have said it was the worst day of my life.  I was bloated and quaking. My eyes were yellow like a cat’s–from jaundice. And my store of courage was so low I had to be led around like a child. There’s no question that on that day, my second life began. It would help to note here that I am not

Read More
Movies

            SADLY, FOR THE LAST YEAR, my established ritual of “experiencing” films at the theatre was reduced to merely “watching” them on a laptop or waiting to view the next episode on the TV. Still, I managed to watch Fargo (4) and Snowpiercer (1) on TV, and then watched Midnight Sky and Mank on premium channels. Both Midnight Sky and Mank are worthy films. Mank has a shot at a Best Actor Oscar for Gary Oldman’s role as screenwriter Herman Mankiewicz. David Fincher’s black-and-white story behind the creation of Citizen Kane reveals how one of the greatest films ever made was the result of determination (Orson Welles) and perseverance (Mankiewicz) as it suggested the often unflattering experiences of a very

Read More
MarketsMore

  ONLY TWO WEEKS AGO, when I posted The Sun, the Moon, and the Truth (https://www.moviesmarketsandmore.com/1838-2/), it hadn’t occurred to me that the financial sector might slip in at the back of the alternate reality parade and march into make-believe with other swarms of society.  In hindsight, there was already a “mania for the ages” in progress (https://www.moviesmarketsandmore.com/a-mania-to-rule-them-all/), and what is a mania if not an alternate reality and a distortion of truth–in this case truth as value?  One source I trust cited a pandemic-induced surge in day-trading as a source of fuel for the markets (most day-traders play the “long” side only–they are buyers who follow an uptrend or  “momentum traders.”).  This surely helps to explain the near vertical rise in the S&P500 index

Read More
More

IN THE COLLEGES where I learned and taught, students were required to write papers and reports to demonstrate their understanding of topics or concepts. The emphasis was always to support a premise or an argument using credible sources: facts and authorities, proven theories or accepted logic, studies, and experiments. The strength of a paper or report relied upon the foundation of existing knowledge–of Truth.  Almost all we  can point to as human progress is a result of the process of establishing what is True and then building on it. The structure of human advancement is a citadel atop a mountain of Truth. Certainly the leaps in sciences could not have occurred with if we had designed our cars and boats and planes  based on how

Read More
More

IMPORTANT SPIRITS FROM OUR PAST summoned their experiences, perspectives, and talents to deliver blessings and admonitions—invaluable gifts–to posterity. Homer, Shakespeare, Dickens, Hugo, Sappho, Simone De Beauvoir, Ursula Le Guin are just a few that come to mind. They used books, plays, and poems to craft messages and warnings that would be relevant for millennia. After all, the human drama is nothing if not a series of remakes and sequels. Because human group behavior is so repetitive, many such messages and warnings have the clarity of a premonition or a revelation. I just finished reading the George Orwell (his real name was Eric Blair) classic 1984 for about the seventh time. I have read it every four or five years since I was in college and

Read More
More

  A Token of the Holly King By William Hecht Weekday afternoons at two o’clock, he began to look for her. Each time the little bell sounded to announce that the door to Ye Olde Coffee and Tea Shop had been opened, he would turn his head. As three o’clock grew near and brought with it the possibility that she wouldn’t arrive that day, he began to resent the other customers who instead appeared in the door at the sound of the bell. He imagined that she must have begun working at one of the neighborhood shops in mid-November, and that she probably arrived at work in late morning and took a break in the afternoons. Though it was nearly Christmas and she visited most

Read More

Movies

Movies are more than entertainment. While film is one of the most powerful mediums for storytelling, movies can inform and inspire. First of all, Movies—the good ones—are part of our culture. Once a movie is established as “good,” it conveys some valid message about the human experience. What people watch is important—just as it is important what they read and listen to.

Movies inspire, too. When I see  an impassioned performance or notice an exceptional display of cinematography, it makes me want to try and create art.  Great stories are there to ask us if we, like the hero and heroine, could rise to become our best selves when a lot was at stake, or when no one else would do the right thing.

So do I watch movies at home?  Yes, but the movie theatre, as Joseph Campbell noted, was like a temple. Moviegoing is a ritual. We go there to receive the potent “myths” of our time, and we hope to walk away slightly charged with purpose or reminded of what it means to be human—which is why we should be seeing movies at the theater, with strangers, humans.

read more button 200w 

Markets

The markets are probably more interesting than the movies. After all, every day billions are pilfered in elaborate schemes, the equivalent of warfare takes place in the currency and equity markets, and heroes and villains make the headlines.

Aside from the drama involved, the spectacle of crowds in action is something to behold. The average person sees little more than the change in the value of their stocks or funds at the end of the day. But imagine watching a few bankers at the Federal Reserve change a couple words in their statement, only to add or erase half a trillion dollars in global values of bonds and stock.

Macroeconomics is essential. And the history of markets is priceless—people repeat the same patterns for centuries.

Does it matter that we use computers or smartphones to buy stocks? No.

read more button 200w

…and More

I have taught for about fifteen years now. But I got lucky. I was offered the chance to teach classes in world religions, diversity, economics, finance and Africa—to name a few.  The value for me was to see how those subjects interrelate.

I do not see political parties, or terrorists, or despots or ideologies any more: I see power structures and patterns. History did not have much value for me in high school or college—oh, it was interesting, but I did not see the usefulness. I see it today.

People have not changed in ten thousand years. They were just as smart then as we are today. And when they get together in groups, they do the same things. Over. And over.  Africa, for example, is a study in power structures. First tribes, then empires, then colonial powers, then religious influences, then Cold-War rivalries.

The world is anarchy. In anarchy, power is king. Watch the power. It’s a little like “follow the money.”

read more button 200w

SHARE

Home