List of movies

Love them or hate them, here’s a list of movies. It’s not a good list, or a bad list, just a list.

Some have won awards and become classics. Others have been largely forgotten.

Some we watched on the recommendation of friends.  Others we had to see for class. Still others just happened to be playing at a one screen cinema.

Some we like and can recommend. Others we find boring and annoying.

However, our taste might not be the same as yours.

(Some related films and listed as a group. Consider seeing these as double or triple features, or with a festival pass.) Continue reading List of movies

The Ptara Christmas message

Every year, around the world, heads of state give Christmas messages.  The first time a British Monarch gave such a speech was 1932, when George V said the following.  (If you are patriotic, British, and love history, then this might bring tears to your eyes. Otherwise, it might help you sleep.)

So, what do we at Ptara have to say this Christmas?

Well, viewing the media of the past year, both left and right wing, both highbrow and tabloid, has taught me one thing. There’s more historical proof for the existence of Santa Claus than there is for most of the “events” the have moved history, and that includes the lies and rumours of our time. Continue reading The Ptara Christmas message

Consensus or Group Think?

Usually, when people talk about “group think” they are condemning bad decisions. Yet when they talk about “consensus” they are implying that the group or crowd must be right.

When good leaders make bad decisions because advisers not only fail to speak up, but fail to even consider that better options may be available, that’s Group Think. When two people share the same view, and everyone else is afraid to speak, that’s Group Think. Group Think is when people not only fail to challenge the consensus, but fail to consider that the consensus may be wrong.

Look at almost any war, and you’ll find that the consensus behind at least one side’s leadership was wrong, and went largely unchallenged. However, war is politics by other means, and I do not wish to discuss politics.

Before getting into heated political mud fights I may wish to forget, I’ll talk about a “non-political” area, one where I’ve wasted time in debates that have turned ugly: film theory. Continue reading Consensus or Group Think?

Hey Stupid!!

3d7271f

“Hi, I’m stupid.”

10500360_355672764595097_8650510747454532082_n
I’m with stupid.

We’ve seen it again and again. Workplace “scandals” that involve public spats, arguments over bad management that end in someone getting fired.

Some “gurus” claim this shows a lack of “emotional intelligence.”  I think it’s more to do with economic intelligence.  But, if you need a primer in emotional intelligence, here you go.

Emotional Intelligence primer

Continue reading Hey Stupid!!

What is a genre? (film, theatre, music)

Aristotle spoke of a certain number of arts, but it’s not like he invented the “muses.”  To him, theatre had two main “genres”, comedy and tragedy.  There were similar arts, such as “epics”, which also told stories.

To summarize, a tragedy had a great man falling from a great height, and a sad ending, and a comedy had someone come from nowhere and achieve a happy ending.  The other “rules” of genres were merely conventions or expectations.  (When I’ve used the words “rules” in the past, I usually meant conventions.)

The DK book of Shakespeare also includes histories, romances, and “problem comedies”.  Shakespeare himself spoke of Tragicomedies and other hybrids, but they were basically three genres of history, tragedy, and comedy. Continue reading What is a genre? (film, theatre, music)

Our favorite online film schools

There’s a lot of misinformation online.  And, a lot of false things have been said about the film industry, many of which were being said even before the Internet.

It seems like some of the worst advice has found its way to top of the search results.

But, among all the misinformation (some of which you have to pay to access), I found a few courses that would be useful to filmmakers.  Continue reading Our favorite online film schools

The papers were wrong! Clinton is the loser!

In a letter to the British press, an American Federalist was sure of victory over Madison’s “Democrats.”

“De Witt Clinton will be president; Mr Monroe will go out; his successor is not named.”

He continued that “our secretary of treasury is going down as fast as possible. His budget will, no doubt, be the laughing stock of all foreign nations, as well as this.”

Continue reading The papers were wrong! Clinton is the loser!

Happy 104th Father’s Day

“A mischievous youngster named Wood
Declared that he wouldn’t be good
Till his father one day
With a shingle they say[…]”

Fill in the last line.

Back in 1910, the Los Angeles Herald held a contest to finish that limerick.  Before you read the results, I’d challenge you to finish it yourself.

The winning boy’s last line was given by a young man in Inglewood [sic] Colorado named Milton Basham.

“Interviewed him since then has stood.”

Hmm.  They say taste is fickle.

The winners of the girls finished the limerick with the following line:

“Effected a change in his mood.”

At least the fits the rhythm.
Some of the funnier poems didn’t get any prizes, but had a few honorable mentions.  Ruby May Hill didn’t even get an honorable mention for hers.

“Spanked him as hard as he could.”

Sure, that’s not the ideal father, but it’s funny and it fits the rhythm.

Esther Audrey Irene Varley was thinking along the same lines as Miss Hill when she added:

“Whipped him as hard as he could.”

Oh dear, those girls really want poor Wood to be punished for being naughty.

Ester seemed to have another entry (unless there were two girls entering from that town at the same address with the same first and last name.)

“Whipped him into a different mood.”

And again, the same girl at the same address:

“Paddled him, until he promised he would.”

Blossom Ferris had this solution for the father of the mischievous youngster:

“Took away his hood.”

What do you know, they had hoodies 104 years ago!

I won’t go into all the solutions, most involved spanking of some sort or other.  Maude Edwards had this to say:

“Just thrashed him as all fathers should.”

No wonder, after reading all these violent solutions to bad behavior, the judges picked the following as an honorable mention:

“Impressed on his mind that he should.”(1)

Now, you may find the spanking poems funny, when there are one or two, but there were duplicate, even triplicate entries of the same last line.

“Whipped him as hard as he could” was far from original, and it’s sad to see young children thinking that was the normal way a father should behave.

It makes you wonder. Did they think Wood a bully who got away with everything, and was so spoilt that he hurt others with impunity?  Or, did they find a regular thrashing a normal thing for a father to do?  Probably it just followed a bunch of folk tales and other rhymes the kids heard.

This poetry contest came on the year that was supposedly the first father’s day.

The call for a Father’s Day apparently originated a little north of those spank-happy youngsters, in Washington State, Spokane to be exact.

Yup, that’s right, the same state that gave us Microsoft and Bezos Books and Grunge Music first advocated father’s day.  Well, perhaps someone somewhere might have said it first, but if they did they did, then it was before the 6th of June 1910.

Here’s the story in its original glory.

“Spokane People want a Father’s Day Now.”

“Father’s Day!”

Some time ago, there was a day set aside throughout the land to be known as Mother’s Day and to be celebrated the first Sabbath in May.  This holiday was given birth to in the East, but the West has gone them one better.  Mrs J.B. Dodd of Spokane heads the petition approved by the ministerial alliance of this city to set aside the first Sabbath in June to be known as Father’s Day.

 

She wishes the idea to take root and to sprout in the hearts of the people of our country.  The object of this day, she says, is to bring [together] father and child, and to give the head of the house and earner of daily bread for his brood all respect and honor due him.  It is also the aim of this day to instill the same love and reverence for the father as is the mother’s portion.  The petition has been signed thus far by the following men of Spokane:

Mark H. Wheeler, Y.M.C.A. [which stands for Young Men\’s Christian Association]; George H. Forbes, secretary Y.M.C.A.;  Mills E. Pettibone, secretary Ministerial Alliance.

The name of Mrs. J.B. Dodd heads the list. (2)

That was front page news back in the day.

So there you have it.  Californians thought the role of fathers was to spank their kids, while in Washington State the idea of a dad was a breadwinner and head of the household who was due respect without having to lash out at anybody.

The religious origins of Father’s Day are often forgotten.  It seems that “Sundays” were “Sabbaths” to the people who invented the day, and many of the first signatories to the day were pretty high up in well known Christian organizations.  Father’s Day could be called a Protestant holiday.

The next month, the State Governor
Marion E. Hay made Father’s Day a state holiday.  Being on a Sunday, no one really got an extra day off, it was just a nice sentiment to keep the protesters quiet and get the press off his back.  Did it work?  And would the ploy of Father’s Day work for other politicians?

Well, Marion E. Hay not only instituted Father’s Day, he also brought some measure towards women’s suffrage and Workman’s compensation.  So, he could be called a reformer of sorts.  But he was never elected.  He came in as lieutenant governor, and only took over when the acting governor died.  And, Hay lost re-election.  So, Father’s Day didn’t help his political career.

Well, eventually Father’s Day was brought into law by two “popular” Presidents, Lyndon Johnson and Richard Nixon.  Why isn’t it the first Sunday in June?  Perhaps the separation by a week or two has something to do with the separation of church and state.  Or, maybe the old Presidents were just a bit late in declaring the day.

Most countries don’t have an official Father’s Day.  Catholics have their own Father’s Day tradition, going back to the feast of Saint Joseph on March 19th.  Russians also have a kind of Father’s Day, going back to some communist patriotic thing.  And a country here or there has its own tradition, going back to monarchy or whatever else.

But most nations of the world, including Britain and even many Catholic countries, follow the American Father’s Day.  That’s when the greeting cards come out.

Anyway, in 1972 it was an official day in the USA, and that day is here to stay.  Sure, it didn’t seem to help anyone’s career, other than the makers of greeting cards and ties.  (That’s probably why other countries don’t declare it, just look at what it did for Johnson and Nixon.)  But, some tacky greeting cards are actually funny, occasionally.  So, just relax and enjoy.  Happy Father’s Day from Chinny McGringo and the Ptara.

(1)”Herald Juniors demonstrate skill in rhyming contest.”  Los Angeles Herald, junior section. (Los Angeles [Calif.]), 16 Oct. 1910. page 5.

(2)”Spokane People Want a “Father’s Day” Now.” The Spokane press. (Spokane, Wash.), 06 June 1910. page 1.

Interview of a job hunt: from Pizza Hut to the Ben Franklin of the 21st century

A waiter, labelled republicans, serves a tariff bill to Uncle Sam
“Some of the moments were surreal”

In the past Ptara interviewed documentarians and historians, those who have been published and won awards. We’ve had some interesting viewpoints from those who’ve studied history and used it for work.

This time, we published an entrepreneur, and the Employee for the 21st century, a man who’s career includes coding Javascript, sharing statistics, and serving pizza: Mr. Joseph Ohler Junior. Continue reading Interview of a job hunt: from Pizza Hut to the Ben Franklin of the 21st century

The creativity of writing a budget

A yellow flower, common in gardens in Aberystwyth, processed in photography so the colors stand out.
Simple solutions come when you look at things differently.

Creative accounting is wrong, but it’s not wrong to be creative when accounting.

We were putting together some numbers for a project, and the budget started looking, well, bloated.  We hoped to keep total costs down below a certain threshold.  But, the budget for our project was starting to balloon to one and a half times the maximum I hoped it would be, and I hadn’t even finished costing the marketing yet. Continue reading The creativity of writing a budget