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Dark Endeavors

Reflections on Foreclosures, Obesity, and Mrs. Cratchett's Way in the Kitchen

Merry Christmas

This is Dark Cloud on Wednesday, December 23, 2009.

It’s a reflective day, enhanced by Christmas the day after next, and a beautiful snow storm that has graced us and made even my parking lot look lovely. It’s cold enough outside to send regenerative organs up to that area between heart and liver for holiday warmth, but that makes walking in crunching snow more enjoyable. So, feet up on the windowsill and a hot, giant mug of coffee, and a spate of free association. Correctly punctuated, it can be argued into shape as an essay or commentary, and that’s your responsibility. Today, anyway.

In the early 1980’s, before I joined KGNU and did my first commentary on the movie Gallipoli, which was Mel Gibson’s first, I think, I owned a house and 21 acres up in the mountains which I’d had for a decade. During the inevitable divorce and going broke the first time, I was forced to leave with two dogs and what I could carry, which was not much. It was in October, the same month I went to jail a little over a decade later for going broke, again, and the painful details and shocks never leave you. It isn’t fun to be homeless and, literally, out of sorts. Fortunately, I had no children, but by knowing how unhappy and confused the animals were and what a renewed aggravation they were under different circumstances, I can sort of multiply by a gabillion to get the sense of what it might be like for families to be ousted. I had to go on the road again with a reggae singer, and leave the dogs with a roommate for months at a time. Not children, but guilt there was.

So when I read this morning that foreclosures in Boulder are up near 40% for the year, this speaks to the likelihood that not a few of you have now shared this awful set of sensations with me. For what it’s worth, and I suspect little, I know what you went, or currently are, going through. There’s no way to pat it into good shape, but you will make it, and probably with more success and dignity than I did. Hang in there.

Oh, and Merry Christmas.

There’s an article in the paper about the late actress Brittany Murphy, who died a few days ago at age 32. There is suspicion she had an eating disorder, although as usual the facts are blurred. It occurs to me that the term “eating disorder” is misleading, and it would be more accurate to call it a dimensional self-perception disorder. So if the two dimensions of cinema add ten pounds to the perceived weight of an actress, and actresses endanger their lives by staying so thin in real life 3-D to look near normal in cinematic 2-D, if all movies were in 3-D of the technical quality of, say, Avatar, would that be an international health benefit?If actresses looked to be of actual weight in cinematic 3-D - and I don’t know if that’s true - would more of them be less stressed to keep all body fat off if what you see on screen and real life were the same? And wouldn’t that, in turn, be a national health benefit if young girls mimic their idols? Would that alone justify the annoying colored glasses?

But then, is bulimia as big a problem as obesity?I’d say that’s a slam dunk ‘no.’ The media has been on full sentimental mode for the holidays, with tearful tales of families having to eat in soup kitchens and cutting back everywhere, and complete with the three quarter shot of mothers, with impressive cosmetic applications, tearing up over their children - chubby children - not getting a big holiday meal or presents. I contend these are counterproductive, because most if not all of the people interviewed are fat, bordering on obese. Young women in their twenties with double chins complaining about the lack of food is not attracting the concern that, say, a Brittany Murphy would playing that part. The fact that fat people feel hungry does not mean they are food deprived.

But that’s an unattractive opinion to hold in the season of Bob Cratchett’s review of his wife’s cooking. So, I wish you a genuinely Merry Christmas, and may you celebrate with this atheist the notional birth of someone concerned with being a good Jew, and that we treat each other as we’d like to be treated ourselves, with all the behaviors that attend that decision as enthused remora in its wake. It’s a good time, or so it seems on this reflective morning in Boulder.