Nearing High Noon Again

You have to visit places to make them real. You have to see them with your own eyes. Only then do they solidify, and become distinct from imaginings.

The Barra da Tijuca in Brazil is a very real place for me, because I’ve been there many times. There are lots of places in Brazil that I’ve been, and which are very real to me. And on the last day that I left Brazil, as the 707 rose higher and higher above Rio de Janeiro on a beautiful, clear, sunny day, I saw nearly all of them again, including the Barra da Tijuca, just beyond the big flat-topped Pedra da Gavea, and the twin peaks of my favourite mountain, the guardian mountain of the Dois Irmãos under whose protection we lived. That day I saw the whole of Guanabara bay, and the Saco de São Francisco where my father sailed his little yacht. And as the plane flew up the coast I even saw the little town of Cabo Frio, and the Praia do Forte beside it. That day in 1965, and that day only, I saw them all together for the first time, and also for the last time.

On another remarkable and equally sunny November day, I flew the entire length of Russia, spending hour after hour gazing down on it, knowing at one point that I was looking down on Siberian rivers with ice floes upon them. I’ve never actually landed anywhere in Russia, but I’ve seen the whole length of it. I’ve seen it with my own eyes. And later that day I also saw Mount Fuji in Japan, rising above a sheet of clouds.

But I’ve never been to America. I’ve never visited the USA. And that means that for me it’s an imaginary country. When Emily came to visit me earlier this year, she came from an imaginary city in America called Boston, and I had to prod her with a finger to make sure she was real. For me America is a fictional New World, and it will remain fictional as long as I never visit it, which I never will, because I’d prefer to keep it fictional.

It’s also a fictional country because it’s the home of Hollywood. And everything that comes out of Hollywood is a fiction. And I only know America through its numerous Hollywood movies. Like Steve McQueen in Bullitt, which is not only a car chase but also a high speed tour of San Francisco. So if I were to ever walk into a saloon in America, I’d expect to find Humphrey Bogart at one end the bar, and Marilyn Monroe at the other end, and Clint Eastwood lounging by a table in a corner. Because everyone knows that’s what saloons in America are like. And, as a newcomer, I’d walk up to the bar and ask for “Ham on rye and Tutti Frutti,” because that’s the sort of thing that you ordered in 1950s America. Of course I wouldn’t know what I’d been given when the bartender slapped it brusquely down in front of me, and I’d poke it with a fork until Humphrey Bogart leaned over and said, “Hey look kid, you don’t eat it that way. You pick it up with one hand, like this, and you take a big bite out of it, like this,” and put it back on my plate. And Marilyn would burst into peals of laughter. And Clint would get slowly out of his chair and come up behind me, and breathe in my ear, “Do you feel lucky now, punk? Well, do you?”

Everything in America is some movie or other. TV is a movie. Video is a movie. YouTube is a movie. It’s non-stop movies. The Zapruder film of the Kennedy assassination was another movie. And so was 9/11. It was a movie that I watched spellbound on the day it was released. It was an epic movie that ran for 90 minutes from the time the first plane hit to the time the second tower collapsed – the same length of time as a regular feature film (which may be one reason why so many people can’t believe it).

And the current US midterm election is another unfolding drama. It’s got everything. Mass murder in a synagogue. Pipe bombs being sent to more or less everyone. A migrant caravan marching towards the southern border, and the US army being deployed to meet it.

In the latest bizarre twist, Special Counsel Robert Mueller, who is forever investigating election tampering, has been accused of rape:

Mueller Accused Of Sexual Assault; Says Women Were “Offered Money” To Make “False Claims”

According to documents published by the Gateway Pundit purporting to be from an accuser, Mueller is accused of “aggresively” raping the woman in 2010 after reportedly buying her a drink at the St. Regis Hotel bar.

Whatever next? The whole thing has gone completely batshit crazy. Yesterday I read somewhere that some Dem politician (Maxine Waters?) had just said:”Go high! Go low! We must win!” And that seemed to capture the air of desperation of the Democrats, as according to Dick Morris, current opinion polls say the Republicans look set to retain control of the Senate, and maybe even manage to hang onto the House.

My guess, sat open-mouthed in the stalls, praying for this movie to end, it that the Dems aren’t going to win, because Middle America – flyover country – is going head for the voting booths en masse and do what they did two years ago, when they elected Donald Trump. For he’s out there campaigning again, and getting as big crowds as he got back then.

And the Dems really must win, if they’re not going to face extinction.

And with less than a week to go, there’s plenty of time for another half dozen bizarre plot twists. Absolutely anything could happen, as it builds towards its frenzied climax next Tuesday, with all the tinkling Ennio Morricone musical pocket watches nearing High Noon, when either the bad guys spin off the road into the gas station and explode, or Steve McQueen does.


About Frank Davis

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24 Responses to Nearing High Noon Again

  1. slugbop007 says:

    October 31, 2018 Astronomy Cast Ep 503: Gravity Mapping At minute 23 Fraser and Pamela mention the effect of earthquakes on the Earth’s rotation and inertia patterns. This is a 10 minute health message on the epidemic of age-related memory loss in the USA from the CDC. And dirty politicians to boot. What a joke. Stay away from popcorn and the other four brain killers. The Deadly Five: msg aspertame sucrose diacetyl aluminium


  2. slugbop007 says:

    Smoking Lamp says: October 30, 2018 at 10:03 pm A true smoker’s rebellion would be nice. The smoking bans were imposed on a foundation of extremist lies. They need to be reversed. It’s amazing that smokers don’t assert their political rights!

    It’s not amazing, it’s appalling.


  3. Smoking Lamp says:

    And in America’s sister republic: “Readers’ views: Why it’s time to ban smoking on cafe terraces in France” The antismoker extremists are trying to use information operations (read relentless propaganda) to impose outdoor smoking bans.

      • waltc says:

        Why I will never go back to France. Or England for that matter. But the new Paris is the worst 180 (next to the new New York City) that I ever thought was possible. I pause to wonder what happened to people in general that suddenly made them feel so vulnerable and therefore so open to accepting this whole hate-fear campaign. Or maybe it’s just the same old shit that made them fall for all the past’s scapegoating isms.

        • Smoking Lamp says:

          It is surreal. A quick turn-a-round; just a few years ago everyone in NYC and Paris was smoking (actually the same in LA and believe it out not San Francisco). I think the bans help shape the perception. That’;s why the antismoking extremists are forcing them at every step. Recall New Orleans, the controllers imposing the bans and the press hid all the opposition from public view. A majority of people at public hearings opposed the ban but the media only showed the smaller number of antismoker activists.

        • Joe L. says:

          I pause to wonder what happened to people in general that suddenly made them feel so vulnerable and therefore so open to accepting this whole hate-fear campaign.

          I’ve said it here before: I personally believe the event which suddenly caused many people to accept without question what “experts” say is “good for them,” including a loss of freedoms and privacy, was 9/11.

          An irrational fear of the unknown was instilled into people around the world that fateful day, followed by the seemingly unanimous acceptance of the USA PATRIOT Act (government surveillance), smoking bans, political correctness, censorship, etc., etc.

        • Frank Davis says:

          Re 9/11 hypothesis. While it may certainly apply to Americans, would it also apply to non-Americans (e.g. us Brits)? As I say, I watched the whole thing live on TV that day, and was deeply shocked. But I didn’t see it as being something that was done to me: It was being done to Americans. Much like Pearl Harbor.

          I think also that irrational fear of smoking is something that’s been being instilled for a very long time.

        • Joe L. says:

          As I’ve only lived in America, I can’t say with certainty, but I can’t help but believe that 9/11 impacted people from all Western countries (some more than others, of course). I believe there was a collective feeling that, “if something like this can happen in New York City, it could easily happen here.”

          And while I agree that an irrational fear of smoking had been instilled in some for decades, the majority of nonsmokers weren’t “offended” by passive smoke. They allowed smokers the freedom to smoke, and simply made efforts to avoid smoking establishments if they disliked it enough. Overall, people were largely lassiez-faire when it came to smoking (and political incorrectness, etc.).

          It wasn’t until after 9/11 that people (including the majority smokers) acquiesced when laws were proposed to ostracize smokers “for the greater good.” People became more subservient to their governments and “experts,” convinced that these people had their best interests in mind and were protecting them.

          Once smoking bans started getting passed in the US, I thought it was a short-lived fad. I never imagined countries like France and Spain enacting smoking bans, but they did, and practically without any public uproar. Why? I think that after 9/11, people all over the world yearned for safety and protection, and if their government claimed to be protecting them from the supposed evils of tobacco smoke, they welcomed it with open arms. I don’t think any of this would have been possible pre-9/11.

  4. waltc says:

    On topic: “batshit crazy” says it, Frank. Nor are you wrong in seeing this as a movie though I’d say maybe more like one of those disaster movies where, without any plot logic, comets crash into Boston Harbor and then lead to volcanos exploding near Seattle, tsunamis in the Gulf, and cattle dying in droves in Oklahoma. But in this one, there are no Bogarts or McQueens, no identifiable heroes, only partly because heroes themselves are out of fashion as toxically masculine.

  5. Clicky says:

    • Joe L. says:

      LOL! This pack design is going to make kids who had no prior interest in smoking want to get their hands on that pack purely because it will be fun as hell to make that mouth “talk.” Once kids get ahold of a pack, do you really think they won’t be curious enough to try smoking a cigarette or two after emptying the pack? Especially because they will have saved their allowance for weeks in order to pay an adult to buy them that new toy–thanks to outrageous tobacco taxes–they’re not going to just throw the cigarettes away.

      These Antismoking fools have their heads so far up their narcissistic asses that their brilliant new “deterrent” will wind up causing more chiiiildren to try smoking than they claim Joe Camel ever did!

    • Frank Davis says:

      It’s a classic. I wish I had one. It would have pride of place in my growing collection.

      • Rose says:

        Compared to the vampires, witches, sundry monsters and even blood spattered zombie pandas that knocked on my door last night, that packet is positively mild.

  6. Smoking Lamp says:

    And from Rhode Island and Providence Plantations… “Providence may repeal downtown smoking ban” it’s nice to see opposition to the antismoker persecution for a change!

  7. waltc says:

    Joe L. You may indeed have a point. IIRC,
    Bloomberg imposed the first major sweeping ban on NYC almost immediately after 9/11.

    • Frank Davis says:

      Of relevance:

      In 2001, the incumbent mayor of New York City, Rudy Giuliani, was ineligible for re-election, as the city limited the mayoralty to two consecutive terms. Several well-known New York City politicians aspired to succeed him. Bloomberg, a lifelong member of the Democratic Party, decided to run for mayor as a member of the Republican Party ticket.

      Voting in the primary began on the morning of September 11, 2001. The primary was postponed later that day because of the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center.[4]

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