Been an interesting month, huh? Yes.
For those of you who have spent the last weeks in a state of sustained apoplexy, catatonia or spasmodic disbelief, don’t worry- you are not alone. It seems that a major portion of our nation has been stricken with (as a noted political pundit has described) a particular virulent strain of Stockholm Syndrome. (look it up!) Although it is difficult to become confused when inside a voting booth (it’s pretty small in there- so small that you usually have to step outside to change your mind—) and one would think that closed-in spaces would make one appreciate the need for freedom—(at least one would hope so) but alas, not for the majority of the voting populace. All this after several months of being continually polled, wonked and statisticated by teams of expert opinion generators and their minions of media- delinquents. Definitely a season of political cam-PAIN-ing.
Be honest. How many of us in the last weeks considered taking a hatchet to our television sets, shredding all the campaign literature that came in the mail and smashing the kitchen radio with a shoe? Of course the media loved it—they pulled in beaucoup swag- raking in every dollar raised and spent by all the candidates combined. (Except for the money spent on travelling agitators, mistresses and booze.) Our candidates- local, state and national calling for ‘civility’ while lobbing verbal hand- grenades. Billions spent by the spin-meisters’ desperately trying to redact your conscience enough to get you to vote for their fiends and felons. All in all, I would say that the last two weeks were as enjoyable as a canker sore- and just as pretty. Besides that, I live in Illinois, where our current state government is the political equivalent of Hurricane Sandy. Our new business development slogan: Illinois- it’s not the Eighth Circle of Hell, but you’d never know the difference. Have a nice day.
So, what do we do- now that we’ve been distressed, depressed, disemboweled and disgusted by the electoral process? Do we wring our hands in angst? Do we pound the table in frustration? Do we go out and yell at the neighbor kids for thinking about walking on our lawns? No, no,no! Do we go to the mall and spend ourselves into bankruptcy trying to jack our endorphin levels back up? Uh-uh. Do we plunk down serious coin in some ‘warehouse-o-plex’ to see the latest Hollywood trash? No-way.
We look for a freebie. And I’m going to tell you about one that will blow your mind. It is the single greatest repository of stuff that will intrigue, amaze and even stupefy you. Anything that is in the public domain is there for you to look at and download. Books, movies, radio programs, music- TV commercials from when you were a kid- recordings from rock concerts- historical speeches—the whole enchilada. Where is this magical place of wonderment? http://www.archive.org It’s called the Internet Archives, and you can find nearly anything there- from the historically imperative to the hilariously trivial. Fun stuff, dumb stuff, stuff that you never thought you would ever find. And it doesn’t cost you a nickel.
Have you ever wanted to see some of the old
educational movies that you saw back in grammar school?
Or find that old Avant-garde radio program you used to
listen to back in college? It’s there. How about an old
Charlie Chaplin or Buster Keaton silent movie? It’s
there, along with a selection of old black and white
film-noir movies from the 40’s and 50’s . You can see
way back into the past – when Angela Lansbury was a
femme fatale- way back then. All the movies can be
viewed online- or downloaded to your computer- where you
can burn them to DVD.
You can locate historical photographs- and some hysterical ones, too. Books? Tons of them- classics- plus some really boring old tomes. if you can’t sleep. Do you like recorded music? You’re in luck- there is some incredible stuff there. And I’ve barely begun to scratch the surface.
Lowell Thomas used to say that ‘we cannot escape our past, but we can escape into it – at least for a little while’. Sometimes that is what you need- and this is a place where you can find it. By the way, the Internet Archive project is volunteer organization and they are always looking for help- and donations. After all, it does take some wherewithal to manage a 10 petabyte storage archive (10 petabytes = 10,000,000,000,000,000 bytes of information). By the way, it is refreshing to see an integer followed by 16 zeros that doesn’t frighten or anger you. so if you get something out of it, like say, getting your sanity back, it might be a nice idea to drop some shekels in their direction. They accept PayPal.
So, in the interest of bringing rhyme and reason back
to the American landscape, I have decided to resurrect
an old Read & Delete tradition – our own magic carpet of
chaotic wonderment- The Stinkin’ Link. One click and
you’re on a journey that will carry you far, wide and
deep.- all at the same time. (Mr. Rogers had his
Neighborhood of Make Believe, I use Stinkin’ Links.)
We leave you with three new Stinkin’ Links:
Silent movie: One Week. http://archive.org/details/one_week_1920 19 minutes of insanity.
Intermission time: http://archive.org/details/DriveInIntermission16
Gotta eat your veggies! : http://archive.org/details/EatforHe1954 Ten minutes here could prolong your life.