As a palindrome, tenet leads to a giant “huh?”

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As a Christopher Nolan fan, I looked forward to his latest offering, Tenet, only to be thwarted by a global pandemic. It was billed as a big movie, a massive movie, the kind of scale that could only be done justice by watching it in a movie theater with a grand sound system. In fact, it’s perhaps best suited for a 70mm IMAX experience.

The Mad Prophet of the Airwaves saw it coming

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In 1976, a single movie prophesied our social media climate today.

Do you binge watch or do you tune in week to week?

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I grew up during the 1960s and 1970s, the golden age of television. I watched more than my share of television, between 8 and 12 hours per day. It didn’t matter what was on, sitcoms, dramas, variety shows, game shows, the news. If it was on, I watched it, though I wasn’t a fan of soap operas.

You decide: Does the actor make the role, or does the role make the actor?

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I have spent a lifetime watching television and movies. As a kid growing up 30 miles away from Hollywood, I was surrounded by the movie industry. In elementary school, I was in the 6th grade play, and a television star, Murray from The Mary Tyler Moore Show (Gavin McLeod, who later played Captain Stubing from The Love Boat), came to our little production because his daughter was the female lead opposite my male lead in our school’s Christmas play. He recited “’Twas the Night Before Christmas” to a delighted audience filled with parents and siblings of all the actors.

Cleaning swimming pools in Baker, California almost got me killed.

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Southern California is known for its abundance of swimming pools. Fly over the Los Angeles basin, and you’ll see blue dots every third house or so, chlorinated oases, a way to beat the summer heat. Someone has to clean all those pools.

Step out of the flow of traffic and take control of your life.

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Life comes at you fast. At times, life can feel like a storm surge, battering every window and door with pounding pressures and responsibilities.

The 1971 Sylmar Quake shattered my peace of mind

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In 1971 at 6:00 in the morning, a 6.5 earthquake rumbled through the north end of the San Fernando Valley, upturning our lives forever. It was the first modern earthquake in a place where the anticipated Big One is talked about with great regularity.

The student was removed from school by the FBI.

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As a college English teacher, I was often privileged to get an inside glimpse of students’ lives through their writing assignments. Class sizes were small, and I knew all of my students by name. But I wasn’t prepared when one of my students wrote that he wanted to take an AK-47 and kill his English teacher and firebomb the school.

Mr. Miyagi and Daniel-san — a friendship for all time

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The girlfriend and I have been reliving our movie memories while sheltering at home. On Sunday, we had a double-feature: Spy Kids and The Karate Kid.

Because it’s not that the story is true. It’s that truth is in the story.

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As a writer, I’m a fan of well-written and well-crafted movies and television and now streaming shows. Some names rise to the top of the quality heap for me, especially the Whedons, the Nolans, the Coen brothers. It’s funny that this trio includes brother writing acts. And now Aaron Sorkin. I admit that I’ve been remiss in watching Sorkin’s work (though I have seen some of his movies but didn’t realize he wrote them), but that will change now that I’ve watched The Social Network.

The Writing Prof

Ideas on the art and craft of writing

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