Left Behind. Celebrate Sinister Triskaidekaphilia

As Rose Eveleth explains in a brief piece titled Two-Thirds of the World Still Hates Lefties: “Even the word left comes from ‘lyft’ which meant broken. The German words ‘linkisch’ also means awkward. The Russian word ‘levja’ is associated with being untrustworthy. Synonyms for left in Mandarin are things like weird, incorrect and wrong.” Meanwhile, “right” has mostly positive associations (e.g. “correct”). The history here is long, and not just linguistic — in the Middle Ages, witchcraft was sometimes associated with left-handedness as well.

99percentinvisible.org

The 13th of August is international left-handers day. I find the selection of that day to represent all the people who share my digital disfigurement to be strangely apropos. Thirteen is supposedly a bad number because the twelve disciples plus Jesus equals thirteen people at an event. There are many buildings that do not have a thirteenth floor. Friday the thirteenth is supposedly an unlucky day. Today is Lefthanders Day, an unlucky day on the most ominous day of the week. How fortuitous for those of us who celebrate this kind of oddity.

The thirteenth is my lucky day. I was born on the thirteenth. I got married on the thirteenth because the wife insists I remember things that fall on the thirteenth day of the month. She also scheduled the births of our children (C-sections are like that) for the thirteenth of the month. It isn’t her fault the children didn’t actually emerge on those days (birth is like that) So when Friday the thirteenth rolls around I enjoy the double-whammy of good luck; my favorite day of the week and my favorite day of the month combined into one great day to celebrate. Celebrate your weirdness. Instead of triskaidekaphobia embrace triskaidekaphilia in the presence of that sinister friend of yours:

While much of the world has at least accepted left-handedness in modern times, there were long periods in many countries in which left-handed children would have their tied hands behind backs in to “retrain” them. Intentions were good, in theory — kids were supposed to be prepared for a right-handed world, or so went the thinking. Paul Broca’s breakthroughs regarding the lateralization of the brain in the 1800s were a first step in recognizing the scientific reality of left-handedness, but research was slow to expand well into the 1900s.

99percentinvisible.org

None of us are normal. None of us are average:

99% Invisible – 226 On Average

Today, we take for granted that equipment should fit a wide range of body sizes rather than being standardized around the “average person.” From this understanding has come the science of ergonomics: the study of how to match people’s physical capacity to the needs of the job.

99percentinvisible.org

I can’t write with either hand, so it makes little difference to me that I am lefthanded. Still, there is no denying that scissors conspire against me, that pliers and other hand-specific tools attempt to maim me and all of the projects I embark upon. There is little surprise that power tools terrify me. The guards are always on the wrong side of the blade. The handles on the wrong side of the cutting surface. Left-handers are maimed at a much higher rate than right-handed people because the tools are not designed for them to be held in the left hand. The amazing part of all of this is that we manage to thrive in spite of the barriers put in our way. Celebrate being in your right minds. Southpaws unite!

facebook.com/Stonekettle

The Eagle. The Dove. The Turkey

Don’t forget that most men with nothing would rather protect the possibility of becoming rich than face the reality of being poor.

John Dickinson, 1776

Today I discovered to my horror that I have never written a proper review for my favorite Independence Day movie. Facebook reminded me that I sat down on July 4, 2013 and watched the Blu-ray version of:

1776 (1972)

But on that day eight years ago, I wrote a single line of text as a review for Facebook. I also quoted the movie twice, the quotes I include here, but all in all, not much of a review for a movie that I have seen no less than a score of times now. I searched the blog for a review; and while I have mentioned the movie many times here, I have never written an article just for the movie itself. I will rectify this lack of a proper review here and now.

1776 started life as a musical written by Peter Stone and the movie was written by Stone and directed by Peter H. Hunt. I have watched a variant of this film on the fourth of July every year since the Wife convinced me that musicals could be interesting by forcing me to sit down and watch A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum back at the beginning of our relationship. After that movie it was time to watch My Fair Lady and Victor/Victoria to name just two of my favorite musicals. On and on this introduction to the genre went, until I actually wanted to watch The Sound of Music for myself, and then I had to admit that there were some musicals that were okay. Somewhere in the middle of this educational series we sat down and watched a friend’s laserdisc copy of 1776.

The story of the existence of this version of the film is a tale all on its own. Peter Stone wrote his narrative on the creation of the Declaration of Independence back in 1969, and it was performed on Broadway 1,217 times. It was an unlikely success given its subject matter and the fact that the play went nearly thirty minutes between songs in the first act. It is a who-dun-it of a story about events that we know transpired successfully, and yet you wonder how it ever happened as you watch the actors on the screen. After the play left Broadway it was picked up to be made into a movie, the screenplay for which Peter Stone also wrote. He and the director struck up a good working relationship, and both were pleased with the resulting film when they put it to bed in preparation for its scheduled wide release.

Unbeknownst to them, the producer of the film, Jack Warner, had gotten a personal phone call from Tricky Dick Nixon, requesting that the musical not be released without at least being modified from the stage play. Specifically, he wanted this song removed from the film:

1776 – “Cool, Considerate Men” (1972 Film Clip)

Jack Warner happily obliged, taking a handy pair of scissors to the film that he had told the director and the writer would not be altered from their approved cut. In the end he removed not only the offending song, but several other scenes and verses of songs so that the film flowed more to his personal liking.

Fribble!

1776 Brawl between John Adams and John Dickinson

After this radical revision it should have been no mystery why the movie went on to financial failure, being shoved into the historical waist bin along with the objectionable parts of the movie that Jack Warner removed. Except that the removed sections were not destroyed as Jack Warner directed. His secretary took the scenes out of the trash and preserved them so that they could be returned to the film’s director. This way he would know what had happened to the movie that he had so lovingly crafted over the preceding years, but had never been allowed to be seen by movie goers.

Decades went by, and interests came and went. There was talk of a revival of the Broadway musical, and along with it the question of what happened to the movie version that had tanked so horribly when it was released? Enough interest was generated that Pioneer contacted Warner Brothers and Peter Hunt about creating a laserdisc version of the movie for interested collectors.

Peter Hunt decided to reassemble the original film for Pioneer’s laserdisc version. The movie is complete with Jack Warner’s scribbles at the edit points, and the dust and scratch marks on several of the removed scenes. One removed scene was only available in black and white, a test-run, a connective shot that explains why some characters are outside the hall when the crucial independence declaration arrived from Virginia. There is a secondary audio on the laserdisc that goes into more depth about the story that I’ve related here as well. If you have a laserdisc player, you really should own a copy of this movie on laserdisc. It, like the making of The Abyss on its laserdisc release, is unique. There is no place else to find the exact content that is on that disc.

Watching that version of the film is to travel back in time to the years when it was made, an interesting juxtaposition between the times that were being celebrated with song, and the times when America was burning with internecine conflicts at the hands of the most ruthless man then living, the sitting President of the United states. It is nice to have that perspective as we nurse ourselves back from the brink of destruction, yet again. It’s hard to know how to feel this July fourth.

The United States has survived the presidency of the despot, Donald Trump, and the pandemic that he allowed to rage unchecked across the country and the world while he worried about what this meant for his re-election chances. The sun still rises and sets without him in the White House today, and it is quietly reassuring to not be told what it is that pisses Joe Biden off every single day that we wake up. What a nice change from the last four years of hell that we have all endured.

The Blu-ray version of 1776 is different from the raw attempt at destruction that is on display in the laserdisc copy of the film. Gone are the jarring ink-marks and color changes that announce Jack Warner’s and Tricky Dick’s violent raping of the movie before it was allowed to be seen by American audiences. The scenes flow smoothly in and out of song, just the way the director left it. Just the way he intended it to be seen. It was a nice contrast to experience the film the way it should have been seen back in 1972. A nice change from the conflict that has consumed us all for the last few decades.

I find this depth of hindsight inspiring. The hand of destruction escaped at the last moment, leaving the people to reflect on what it was that we almost allowed to happen. Again. And again. And again. Let us recommit ourselves to the experiment that started in 1776. It would be a shame to let all the sacrifice be for nothing if we don’t. Watch the reconstructed version of the movie, or see if you can find that secondary audio track that I mention on the laserdisc. Be inspired, yourself.

Commitment, Abby, commitment! There are only two creatures of value on the face of this earth: those with a commitment, and those who require the commitment of others.

John Adams, 1776

Proud Southpaw

International Left Handers Day is an international day observed annually on August 13 to celebrate the uniqueness and differences of the left handers. The day was first observed in 1976 by Dean R. Campbell, founder of the Lefthanders International, Inc.

International Left Hander’s Day was created to celebrate sinistrality and raise awareness of the advantages and disadvantages of being left-handed in a predominantly right-handed world. It celebrates left-handed people’s uniqueness and differences, a subset of humanity comprising seven to ten percent of the world’s population. The day also spread awareness on issues faced by left-handers e.g. the importance of the special needs for left-handed children, and the likelihood for left-handers to develop schizophrenia. There are approximately 708 million left-handed people in the world. Men are more likely to be left handed than women.

Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

I don’t talk about this subject much. I don’t know too many of the southpaws who do. It is cross we bear, like the torture devices created by right-handed people for right handed people. Things like scissors and saws and clipboards. Equipment virtually designed to maim and handicap those people who dare to grab them with the other hand rather than the right one.

We don’t talk about it because there is little point in doing so. Most people don’t like to complain or to be known as complainers. But it bears mentioning, just this once, that someone says “Oh, you’re left-handed?” in a surprised voice every single time we pick up a writing implement or flip papers upside down on a clipboard. Someone asks that question of us repeatedly as if the fact of this isn’t apparent to us every time we try to use your specially crafted torture devices.

It is a right-handed world built for right-handed people. We left-handers just have to figure out how to live in it. Don’t blame us if we end up doing it better than you right-handers do. We are the only ones in our right minds. Science has demonstrated this fact.

lefthandersday.com (Yes! They put him in his infamous brown suit)

I’m more ambidextrous than most people are. The blame for this can probably be pinned down to an accident in my Dad’s shop next to the gas station he inherited from his father. Because clean, damp rags are essential for cleaning windshields, and cleaning windshields was part of being a full-service filling station, the shop had a constantly running washing machine with an attached wringer right up front near the doors in the shop. The attendants would throw soiled rags into the washer and then wring one out fresh before servicing the next vehicle that showed up.

I had discovered that the wringer was an amazing machine for flattening and precisely creasing candy wrappers and other paper that I put in it. I knew I shouldn’t be playing around in the garage like that, but I couldn’t resist the fascination of the constantly-moving rollers and the way they sucked up everything fed into them. Couldn’t even resist as the rollers sucked up the fingers of my left hand and tried to wring out my arm in the process. Luckily or unluckily the thumb on my left hand caught against the guard on the wringer and kept the wringer from going farther up than the palm of my hand.

Because I knew I shouldn’t have been playing with the machine (and not wanting to sound hysterical) I calmly said “can someone help me?” none of the guys noticed me, so I said a little louder “can someone please come help me get out of this?” when they looked up and noticed me attached to the washing machine, I was suddenly the center of attention. “Why didn’t you yell?” they asked me several times. “You could have been seriously injured!”

…and I could have. The wringer, like all mechanical devices, was set up at a particular angle specifically to reduce strain and injury for right-handed people. Left-handers were more vulnerable almost by design, making the ability to leverage yourself out of the machine a near-impossibility if your dominant arm is trapped and the closest one to the wringing device.

I got lucky. I had to use my right hand for about six weeks, and the muscle that attaches my thumb to the palm of my hand still pains me periodically. I learned to write right-handed because of this accident, and because I could do that kind of work right-handed I was more inclined to take up right-handed mousing when I started using the computer. But no matter which hand I’m using at the moment, my handwriting still sucks ass. That is the dysgraphia, not the injury or my sinister nature.

Being ambidextrous makes me more prone to accident, from my perspective. I’m more tentative about how to approach any kind of manual work. Would this hand or that hand be better? I thoughtlessly grab with both hands and miss most of the time. It should be no wonder that power tools rank as one of the most frequent subjects of my nightmares.

So Southpaws unite! Time for a Sinister convention. Today is our day. That it happens to be my favorite day of my favorite month is just a happy coincidence.

A hat/tip is owed to Unbelievable Facts.

July 4, 2020. American Carnage.

Twitter (I consider it a personal insult that these pieces of shit live in my house at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. I’ve endured this insult for almost four years. Patience is what is needed now. -ed.)

The post asked me to defend the words in the image when it appeared in the Facebook group. Defend the words in the image? Why? But then one of the Stormtrumpers asked the question.

What’s wrong with it?

What I see in the image is two guys standing at urinals talking trash. That’s what I see in that image. Oh, wait. There is a Spacex launch in the distance. Neither of them are Spacex employees. Not sure what they have to do with that. They have everything to do with the fact that there are 120,000+ Americans dead due to the Coronavirus pandemic rampaging unchecked across the American landscape, but they have very little to do with the success of private industry taking us back to the Moon.

Manifest Destiny? We are the children of the enslavers, the inheritors of the fruits of genocide. That is who we are, that is what Manifest Destiny meant. To conquer the continent and claim it as our own at any cost. Going to the Moon? Spacex is going to the Moon. Corporations will slice the Moon up and fight each other over the spoils if we continue on the current course.

Americans are the collected rubbish and cast-offs of every other continent, fueled by their own aggrandized image of themselves. That’s what is wrong with Manifest Destiny. Our destiny is what we make of it, and it certainly isn’t manifest. Don’t get me wrong. Humanity should spread throughout the solar system and explore all the places we can get to in order to discover everything we can about the universe that makes us what we are. I’m just not comfortable with the first and last White president and his Christianist cohort declaring that it is our destiny to own the moon.

Youtube – New Book Shows Depravity Of Trump Admin Family Separation Policy – Rachel Maddow MSNBC – Jul 7, 2020
Separated: Inside an American Tragedy by Jacob Soboroff

We cannot continue as we are. We cannot look toward the future while standing on the bodies of this many innocent people. To do that is inhumane and cancels any hope you might have for a brighter future.

The US has to find a new way now. Better to fail than to spread these corrupted beliefs any further than our shores. We need to accept that not only are we the conquerors and the enslavers, but that we are the conquered, the oppressed and the descendants of slaves. We need to liberate ourselves from our own history, and we do that by rejecting the racist notion of Manifest Destiny right now. Today. We can do it if we try.

Facebook

Youtube NPR.org – Frederick Douglass Descendants Read His Fourth Of July Speech

Oh, you think I’m piling on now? You think this negative attitude isn’t warranted on Independence day? Listen to the voices of those children recite the words of their father from over a hundred years ago and realize that we haven’t done anything to deliver justice for these people. Don’t point to the Civil War as proof of doing something. We restored the nation and then turned our backs on the former slaves. A hundred years and we still have cops killing them in the street over a minor provocation. We trample on the poor and the homeless and leave the refugee starving on our doorstep.

ranthonyings.com

We don’t deserve to go the Moon. Maybe the next country to raise its head above the level of shit we’ve left floating in the common pool will be worthy of escaping this planet. But not us, and not now.

That is what is wrong with Manifest Destiny.

The Ezra Klein Show – Bryan Stevenson on how America can heal – July 20, 2020

I’m just so worried that my grandfather might have been one of the people that lynched that man.

Editor’s note. This was the first article written for ranthonyings.com.

Juneteenth

Today is Juneteenth. On June 19, 1865 enslaved people of African descent in Texas were told that slavery had ended, and we celebrate that message of emancipation every year on this day.

Morning Edition – Celebrating Juneteenth: A Reading Of The Emancipation Proclamation June 19, 2020

However, black people fought for freedom long before that time in history. From the underground railroad to protests in Ferguson to this revolution, the fight for freedom has never stopped.

Throughline – Strange Fruit – August 22, 2019

Throughline – On The Shoulders Of Giants – August 29, 2019

Take action with the Movement for Black Lives.

Planned Parenthood Action

Shadowlands

I asked for one gift for Christmas. I got it, thanks to my immediate family. Here is the trailer for it.

World of Warcraft: Shadowlands trailer

The point the Son made upon seeing it was “Oh, great. Now Ner’zhul is free on Azeroth. Here is a decent twenty minute video on the subject of Ner’Zhul. If you just want the short version of the lore, Ner’zhul’s soul was trapped in the helm of the Lich King. Was trapped, is trapped no longer.

So we have that question to ponder on, as well as what role Bolvar will play in the next expansion, if he plays any role at all. In any case, I’m looking forward to the day when the expansion goes live. It should be interesting, now that Sylvanas has shown what she thinks of the paltry power of the Lich King.

Real Christmas Music

Stop the presses! We have a new contender for Die Hard Christmas song this year.

Christmas in L​.​A. (Yippee Ki Yay) (explicit lyrics) from Yippee Ki Yay by Marian Call

…Well, it is new to me this year. We now return you to the regularly scheduled program.


GuyzNiteDie Hard Music Video NEW 4th Verse! – Apr 18, 2007

Makes you wish I had stuck with this song now, doesn’t it?


But wait! There is an actual Die Hard Christmas album!

Facebook.com – IFC – 2018

Not really. I just wanted an excuse to post this video advertisement for the 2018 Die Hard marathon hosted by Reginald VelJohnson. It’s almost enough to make me subscribe to cable again just to be able to watch that, if they staged it again this year.

Hat/tip to the Merbrat for the Marian Call link.