Law and Order: Zorch Unit

I like the adage write what you know because I’m not the kind of writer who can make up fictional worlds on the planet Zorch. 

Though I might have fun introducing you to a few Zorchian characters and amuse you into believing there is life on other planets.  But that’s only because my Zorchians would seem like Earthlings, probably Americans and likely with an attitude since that is my worldview.

We all have attitudes.

Sing it, sister!

In other words, we are more alike than we are different, as I’ve written before and actually stole from a writing mentor, who in turn likely pilfered it from someone else.

That doesn’t make it any less true.

As we watch what looks like World War III beginning to unfold with the unprovoked, slow decimation of Ukraine and its 43 million people at the hands of crazed Russian dictator Vladimir Putin, it’s hard to not feel like we’re on the planet Zorch. 

Or Ukraine is the planet Zorch. 

OK.. I’m following…

Or planet Zorch is an evil place led by a crazed dictator bent on destroying Ukraine, or daring us and other NATO nations to stand up to it.

It depends on your worldview.

The constant is people are more alike than different. 

How does the image I saw this weekend on CNN of an 18-month old baby boy dying in a blood-soaked blanket in a Ukrainian hospital in the city of Mariupol after intense shelling by Russian bombers relate to all this?

It doesn’t.

All I could focus on were his very much still alive Earthling parents. 

We must.

How did his father, who carried him in, ever make it to the hospital amid the shelling? 

How was that hospital even open? 

What will the life of his hysterical mother – and that Dad’s wife – be like if she even manages to make it out of this unprovoked, needless war?

When I think of that little boy who will never grow up…  Well, I can’t think of that.  I mean, I do but then there comes a point where I walk away or somehow the subject gets changed in my head. 

As it does for so many of us.

Click the pic for links!

In my case it made me once again think of the structural engine behind the indestructible Law and Order franchise.

We earthlings need to believe that at the end of the day our laws will more time than not give us order.  As if real order was possible to ensure and laws were the one imperfect way we had to ensure them.

Well, that might work on Earth but not here (Note: Or there) on Zorch.

There is no Benson and Stabler on Zorch??

Zorchian reality, by contemporary definition, is an environment where the rules don’t apply and our meager laws don’t fix much of anything.

This is especially the case when we don’t have the courage to enforce them or the right logic to forestall impending cataclysmic catastrophe and thus ensure a truly moral order.

Not that we aren’t presently courageous or devoid of any logic whatsoever.

After all, we haven’t reached the end of this episode, or perhaps season arc, quite yet.

We’ll see. 

BUM BUM


Here’s a short, easy to read piece written by nuclear and foreign affairs expert Tom Nichols in The Atlantic that explains better than I can our mixed emotions on how to proceed in helping the people of Ukraine.

And this is a news report about two college roommates at the University of Delaware – one from Ukraine and the other from Russia – who led one of the many large protests to the war this week by college students all over the country.

Though truly, they’ve been taking place all over the world and are often led by the young.

If you want to know more about what college students, nee our future leaders, think click here and what you might find is the smallest glimmer of hope.  It’s a random series of thoughts and responses from them compiled by the NY Times.

Meanwhile, I’ll be the college professor in the corner trying to make some sense of Zorch so I can write about it in a more effective way.

Attitude only gets you so far these days.

Zorch – “Zut Alore”

A Creative Life

Every life is a creative life because how could it not be?  We are literally creating every moment we live based on what we do or don’t do.   

Each minor or major or in-between choice leads to another, and then another, until before you know it decades have gone by.  The very act of living means we are making something that has never existed before.

Us.

Whoa Chairy

That was not meant to reek of new ageism, even though it does.

And no, we are not in an episode of This Is Us, now in its final season in case you have somehow managed to not be assaulted by NBC/Universal’s currently relentless marketing blitz.

I will miss Milo and his denim jacket

It is merely to state, and own, that we humans are ALL creative beings.   That is to say every one of us, according to the latter’s dictionary definition, has an imagination and an original idea(s).

Which has nothing to do with what is commonly referred to as talent. 

I’m reminded of this with each hour I’ve spent watching Peter Jackson’s irresistible Get Back, an eight-hour documentary of the documentary that chronicled the 1969 Beatles’ creation of their iconic Let It Be album (Note:  Somehow now weirdly being streamed only on Disney Plus).

Does this make them Disney… princes?

It also tugs massively at the heart with the passing of international screen icon and humanitarian, Sidney Poitier this week.

Just as it nostalgically takes us back to any number of seminal artistic triumphs we’ve enjoyed that were created by people like film director Peter Bogdanovich and songwriter Marilyn Bergman.

Thanks 2022. 

And no, it doesn’t matter that the combined ages of the last three is 268.  Or that it we added in Betty White last week we’d be at 367. 

A tough week!

Not to mention where we’d be at if we included the two long-deceased Beatles.

Talent is a natural aptitude or skill in a certain area that, in its extreme form, gets developed far beyond an ability to just merely do something well. 

Cultivated in the right way and at the right time it can transform our way of thinking, entertain us beyond belief and, in rare circumstances, change the world. 

Often for the good and, sometimes, even for the bad.

… and whatever this is

Jeopardy’s current $1,000,000 champ Amy Schneider, a trans woman, has begun to change our perception of who becomes a champion, and not only on a game show.

Our most recent former president, leading a movement that’s huckster-ized fantasy into fact and earned him more than a billion dollars in donations, leads the most anti-Democratic movement in the history of the U.S.

Dark vs. light.  Light vs. Dark.  

And who said the Marvel Universe isn’t relevant?  (Note:  Okay, I have).

… and don’t ask this guy. #ImwithMarty

But let’s stay with the light for now.

Watching The Beatles in their messy creative space amid all that footage, as any aspiring artist should, the level and ease of their talent is their least surprising quality.  In fact, it’s a given.

What’s more fascinating is observing just how young, goofy and utterly, humanly flawed each one of them are.

– Paul’s smart, boundlessly creative and so up it’s annoying. 

– John broods, cuts through the bullshit, does weird voices and likes very much to do drugs. 

– George, the youngest and perhaps wisest, desperately wants to be heard but seldom is.

– Ringo, loyal and unfazed by everyone, is up for anything except for all the unnecessary drama.  When that happens he clandestinely exits the room.   

Ringo (and his shirt) is just here for a good time!

Watching them you think, is that… it???  They remind me of my high school or college friends but with more colorful clothing. (Note:  I’d buy a copy of any one of their shirts off the rack and wear them tomorrow if only someone had the brains or talent to reproduce them.  And so would you).

This, of course, is the point.

My experience with the uber talented is not only are they all quite human, both good and bad, but that in real life, they can be so down to earth, surprisingly normal (or expectedly, abnormally normal) that, frankly, it’s shocking.

Sometimes it works!

I was fortunate to meet Sidney Poitier some years ago at restaurant because a friend knew him and he invited us to sit down at a large table of his family and friends.

I figured to myself, Oh Steve, (Note: This was before my Chair days), don’t say anything stupid and DO NOT, under ANY circumstances, react to how handsome you think this 80 year-old man is.

Well, before I could process all that and several minutes into various smaller conversations around the table, Sidney suddenly puts a hand on my shoulder, looks me in the eye and says, So Steve, what do you do?

Me, trying to keep my cool.

I mean, it’s like he was interested.  Though, wouldn’t any stranger at a table be if he was seated next to you and there was a lull in the conversation?

Actually, not necessarily, which is part of what made him who he was.  He was just a guy with extraordinary talents.  He knew it, I knew.  That was a given.  But he also was a mensch, had a life and was a lot more than that.

As for Bogdanovich, I decades ago I worked on his movie, Mask.  To this day, he knew more about film than any one I’ve ever met and was not shy about proving it in every conversation.

Plus so many neckerchiefs (and only he could pull them off!)

That and his toweringly intellectual way of speaking could come off as high-fallutin’ and rarified.  Yet get him on the topic of his late, murdered girlfriend, Dorothy Stratten, whom he’d just written a book about, and he was no different than any grieving uncle who’d just lost the love of his life.

It wasn’t affectation.  It wasn’t a pose.  It was simply a truly messed up guy who had been through it and would never be the same.

None of which changed the effete public persona he liked to present to the world and came so naturally to him.  When I ran into him some years later in Westwood on my way to a movie he’d just seen, he greeted me with a huge hello and called from across the street:  I’m doing a picture at Metro!  Give me a call!

Um… what?

Metro, I thought?  Metro?  This was the late eighties. MGM hadn’t been Metro in, um….well…forever?  Nevertheless it was as real and as human and inviting as a guy like him could ever be.  That is, happily greeting a young man he had formerly employed by name and publicly inviting him to come see him at… Metro! 

What you learn about talent over the years is that it doesn’t replace anyone’s humanity or raise it to a different level.  It is only one more characteristic for a person to create a life that reflects who they are based on the choices they have made and will make.

Choosing wisely, or more to the point, authentically, is the key.

Lulu – “To Sir, with love”