I was thinking about two divergent things as this evening's post subject, so let's split them and do a bite-size on both of them, shall we?
Behold: As A Wild Ass In The Desert
Anyone remember that line from David Lynch's version of "Dune?" The long one, that never got shown anywhere, ever. I was prompted to leave not one but two comments on SciFiDaily's blog today, in reference to turning books and stories into movies. I've spent a lot of years lamenting the fact that it takes a real genius storyteller, someone who understands both the written word AND the vagarities of the Silver Screen to turn an earth-shattering story into an equally earth-shattering movie. Witness the blood sweat and tears that Peter Jackson ("Blessed is the Jackson and His director's chair. Bless the filming and editing. May his passage cleanse the world. May He keep the script for His people) had to go through to film the Lord of The Rings Trilogy. An incredible feat of filmmaking, three wonderous movies, and he STILL had to go through agonising cuts, edits, and other adaptations of the stories.
I simply don't think it can be done well.
I was thinking of Ray Bradbury as one of those rare few who has, time and again, proved that he can make the move from story to film to radio adaptation to television and back again. There's been "Bradbury Thirteen" on the radio in the 50's, "Ray Bradbury Presents" on the tele, and at least two movies produced from his stories, one of which is abjectly poor, one is not, and no end in sight. At 85 he is one of the very few people alive who carries the title of Grand Master in Sci-Fi circles, and rightly so. His passing will cripple me.
But then, if I'm forced to watch a story-to-movie conversion as horribly done as "I, Robot" again I think it's going to cripple me bad enough that I will stop going to movies all together. There ought to be a law against it. At least there ought to be enough people out there to remind Hollowweird that we demand a higher level. Witness Ben Afflek's "Daredevil."
I rest my case.
On the other subject--
Go I Forth To My Work
I took the liberty this evening of preparing for work tomorrow. Tomorrow, you see, I return to the field to bushhog, and at some point this weekend the yard needs cutting again, in the places where the heat and drought hasn't killed it. And of course since the gas cans are empty up here I knew that the brother will also not have fuel, so I loaded the four cans into Rita, girded my loins at the upcoming fuel-cost rape, and drove into town.
For those of you attentive enough to remember, Rita has no A/C, and the WeatherBug is reporting it at a balmy 89 right now. It's still very hot down here in the Sauth. You wonder why we talk so slow down here? It's because when you talk fast it generates more heat. So digressions aside, I drove down the bayou road toward the nearest gas station, windows all rolled down, driving at that leisurely Grandpa Pace because Rita no longer likes to hurry, and all I could hear was the beautiful, raccuous sirening of the cicadas in the trees.
I wish I could have gotten a good recording of it for you, because if you haven't heard it before there's nothing like it in the world, and if you have, let me just say that the cicadas were in fine voice this evening. Every Single One Of Them. I can hear them inside the house, through brick walls and closed windows and the central air going. Sweet. I tried several times to get good recordings of it with my cellular phone's voice recorder, but I got more static than cicada.
There's something about an insect that spends 17/18ths of it's life underground that really pats my fanny. Always has. Have you ever SEEN a cicada up close? Granted that one's still fresh out of it's shell--they get dark green. Evolution decided that this creature needs to live underground for 17 years eating roots, and then at the very end of it's life instead of having it develop some sort of sonar or ESP to find a mate they have to dig their way out of the ground, find a tree or other handy vertical place, climb up, shed out of their shells like a butterfly (only not as pretty,) dry out, fly off, and sing for a mate.
They look like someone designed them by committee--eyes way out on the very end of triangular heads, bullet-thick bodies, a strange dark green camouflage pattern across their backs and tails, almost pure white on their bellies, and a pair of wings just barely big enough to life the whole package. They fly as gracefully as bricks, and whenever they hit things like branches and leaves and people they give a short shrill whistle to ward off that offending leaf or attacking pine cone, so their flights aren't anything to stay up to watch, much less listen to as they crash from place to place erratically.
But there they are. These inelegant, poorly-designed insects are up there singing their green hearts out, at decible levels that rival that of aircraft, crashing comically from branch to limb, and if they're lucky, mating with the (deaf) love of their short lives, and that's that. They die. The lovely serenade up there tonight will last the summer out, and slowly but surely they'll all be silenced by death, and the birds and ants will clean away the remains.
The females will have spent the very end of their lives perched on branches and limbs, and they will drop their eggs straight into the grass and dirt below, and the newborns will not look up but down. They'll dig straight into the earth where they will spend upwards of 17 years digging around blindly, eating roots and such, growing slowly, and then at some unspoken signal, a point 17 years more or less later, when I'm in my mid 50's if I'm still here, I'll see THEIR brown shells stuck to tree trunks and on flower stalks and sometimes even in my garage or on the porch columns, and I'll be walking through the evening, perhaps smoking my pipe, and they'll be up there singing, playing natural counterpoint to the melody of my thoughts.
Sometimes I wish I could bring myself to believe in some greater power, just so I could thank him or her or it for cicadas, and old trucks, and hot nights.