He don’t stand no chance

How it is, the way folks feel, he don’t stand no chance. They’ll hang them both. And, he added, fatigue and defeat glazing his eyes, “having your boy hang, knowing he will, nothing worse can happen to a man.”

Truman Capote, In Cold Blood.

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Blissful, delighted, sexually aroused

This Woody Allen’s film is worth very little; the following piece of dialogue, though, caught my attention. A student, Jack (John Cusack), a regular customer in the city’s whorehouse, is having a conversation with one of the girls (Jodie Foster):

Prostitute: The chief magistrate likes me to tie him up, hand and foot…

Jack: Exactly. You take away his freedom.

Prostitute: …and he becomes blissful, delighted, sexually aroused.

Jack: He’s frightened of his freedom.

This Escape from Freedom explains a lot about our current disregard for it.

Once Upon a Time in the West

by Sergio Leone. When Harmonica (played by Charles Bronson) in apparent treason catches his wanted friend Cheyenne (Jason Robards) and delivers him to the sheriff in exchange for the money, the dialogue goes:

Harmonica: The reward for this man is $5000, that right?

Cheyenne: Judas was content with $4970 less.

Harmonica: There were no dollars in them days.

Cheyenne: But sons of bitches, yeah.

The film is excellent, and Claudia Cardinale’s gaze of hate, impotence and rage

quite remarkable.

The good, the bad, and the ugly

I spot an inconsistency in the written material they gave us in this particular online course here at work —an article in the law had been updated by a more recent one and consequently superseded. I say so in the course billboard so that everyone is aware. I expect a reply by the teacher —Hey, thank you for pointing the class to that! I’ll update the material to incorporate the new phrasing to that article, and I’ll warn everybody about it so that they won’t get it wrong. What I get: the old material gets erased, the teacher begins saying things according to the new phrasing without even saying that what she’s saying now contradicts what she had said many times before, and my message in the forum gets unanswered, as it had never been, never should have.

Time for the second test on the same course, a few days later. I get 9 out of 10, and when I review the test I see that the answer assigned to the question I failed is probably wrong. I email both the teacher and the course coordinator telling them about it, attaching the corresponding screenshot, and asking them very politely if they can give the matter some consideration and tell me whether I’m wrong or right about its having the wrong answer. I’m not even asking for a re-scoring of my test. What I get: no reply. That’s how I know I’m right.

A colleague of mine came about three weeks ago to my workplace and told me he was going to do some very minor repairs there, in the coming days or weeks. I had forgotten all about it when today he calls me to say the repairs had been written off the list so he wasn’t doing them. The thing was perfectly unimportant, he could’ve spared himself the trouble to tell me, but he cared.

Who of them would you buy a second-hand car from?

What will I be?

Last summer my friend (or whatever he is) T. was kind enough to invite me to join him in a hike through some beautiful hills over the plains of our coastal hometown, which he is rather knowledgeable about. Over the eight hours or more that it took us to complete the trek we spoke clumsily and well. I reserve room here for further revelations about it, but I just want now to notice that he said something (and he even said it after some consideration) I liked to hear, that were he to be back in time to the moment of having to choose a career for life, he would choose likewise as he did.

That lies in sharp contrast with my own experience and with that of most of my close friends and relatives; I celebrate his intelligence at having rightly picked his profession at the time; not a trifling thing as it goes, not at all.

Are you?

Today I attended the first, presential class of a short online course for employees at my (kind of) company. While waiting for the class to start, I heard a female co-worker greeting a male acquaintance of hers, a policeman who intended to sign in on the same course, with a ‘Hey man, what are you here for, to watch us?’, to what the wronged guy just happened to reply with a pitiful ‘No, no, just attending… We policemen are people, too…’

Such an impertinent casual remark followed by such a pathetic response had to be reported here.

Esa pareja feliz

That Happy Couple, that’s the title of a Spanish film from the 50s that they showed on TV a couple of days ago. It reminded me of Woody Allen’s Radio Days, because of that gentle way of dealing with life when life doesn’t fulfill your expectations; a non-obvious soft, civil, comic approach to the hardenings of life.