Stachka

I was sleepy as I turned on my computer and did some writing before I started a day of work.  I got to the building early.  I had talked with one of the women about the kite festival.  The mood around the building wasn’t good, as there were changes in store, particularly in the work schedule.  My mood wasn’t so good.  I got a lot done, and I was tired.  I’d been around for a long time, but I didn’t know what the cuts in budget and shifts would do to me.  I went home for lunch, a burrito and a salad.  I didn’t have much time to prepare for my class.  With final exam week upon us, students were approaching me from all sides with questions and requests.  I got through the lecture tired and ready to go home.  I didn’t want to buy anything to eat at such a late hour.  I ate some leftovers and sat down to watch Sergei Eisenstein’s “Strike,” not exactly your usual weeknight entertainment after a long day of work.  The incident that set off the strike in the film was a theft in a factory.  A worker named Yakov is accused, and he hangs himself.  I couldn’t understand why he would take such an extreme measure, unless the punishment was so harsh.  We see crowds of people moving about, showing social changes.  There is a feeling similar to what we saw in “Battleship Potemkin.”  The workers demand an eight-hour work day and a thirty percent increase in wages.  The shareholders are in a room smoking cigars.  The powers that be live far away from the realities of the people who do hard work.  Predictably, they don’t give the workers what they want.  We see images of pigs and geese and other animals through this film, as if we’re looking at Orwell’s Animal Farm.  There is a spy sequence in this film in which a man takes a photo using a camera hidden in a pocket watch.  I didn’t know that there was any need for that kind of device.  Late in the film, there are disturbing images of dead cats.  When firemen use hoses on the crowds, the people look like they’re losing the battle.  The forces against them can push them aside.  The images look like demonstrations we would see decades later.  This is all leading to a showdown of the military against the public, rather like the Odessa Steps in “Battleship Potemkin.”  Eisenstein goes back to the animal imagery, intercutting shots of cattle being slaughtered.  It was like an animal rights film.  It also made me think of the ending of “Apocalypse Now.”  There were a lot of strong images throughout the film.  You get the sense of a director throwing himself into his work.  For a silent film from 1925, I think the work stands above the level of films being released at the time.  When I look at a list of 1925 releases, I see “Ben-Hur,” “The Big Parade,” “The Freshman,” “Go West,” “The Gold Rush,” “Phantom of the Opera,” and “Seven Chances.”  I wish that I could have more chances to see silent films.  I kept thinking while watching “Despicable Me 2” how movies in recent years have a lot of shouting of dialogue.  Nobody speaks in a normal tone of voice.  Does this actually reflect reality, though?  Are we a nation of shouters, yelling into our phones?  I need some peace and quiet.  I kept thinking how I should have gone to the showing of “Being There” at the Paramount Theatre last Friday night.  I haven’t been inside that building for a while.  I was tired when I watched “Strike,” and I was getting sick of the propaganda, but I was still glad that I saw this film.  There were moments when the print showed its age, with scratches and other flaws, but overall it looked good on DVD.  It was more watchable than many new films I’ve seen this year.  I would say that of the films I’ve seen this summer, my favorite is “Frances Ha.”  I got sick of special effects and CGI and sequels.  It was supposed to be The Year of the Flop in movies, but so far I’ve stayed away from the disasters.  Perhaps someday I’ll get around to seeing “The Lone Ranger.”  I think I’d only see it if it’s available at the library.  I thumbed through the books I had borrowed from the library that were about the Kindle Fire.  There were some pages that were helpful.  I bought one of the damn things, so I might as well take advantage of what it can do.  There are a couple of movies that I can watch, and I will get more.  I looked through the Floyd Cramer albums and discovered one album of Monkees songs.  I’m not that much of a Monkees fan that I would have to buy it, however.  I was also looking for a Mojo Nixon album.  It seems that I can buy some digital copies of deluxe edition albums for less than the other copies.  That might be a good way to go for me, because my apartment is absolutely overloaded with all kinds of stuff.  I looked in on Night Gallery, which started with Vincent Price in “Class of ’99.”  The other episode was “Satisfaction Guaranteed” with Victor Buono.  These weren’t my favorite episodes.  I watched David Letterman talk about Anthony Weiner with his online identity of “Carlos Danger.”  Weiner is such a great target for comedians.  He is positively hilarious.  Letterman’s team of comedy writers could not have come up with anything better than Carlos Danger.  I went to bed not feeling so good about the ending of summer school.  One of my students apparently is a glutton for punishment, signing up for another accelerated class with me for the fall semester.  Some of the people who died on July 24 include Martin Van Buren (1862), Peter Sellers (1980), Isaac Bashevis Singer (1991), Virginia Christine (1996), Chad Everett (2012), and Sherman Hemsley (2012).  According to the Brandon Brooks Rewind radio segment for July 24, a riot occurred at a Rolling Stones concert in Blackpool, England.  In 1976, Elton John had his first UK Number One hit with “Don’t Go Breaking My Heart.”  Also in 1976, the Manhattans had the Number One hit in the U.S. with “Kiss and Say Goodbye.”  In 1978, the movie “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” was released.

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