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Keep Your Friends Close,...And Your Enemies Closer
To be accurate, I haven't seen this film per se. What I saw was a videotape that Sheree brought to show friends right after Bob died. I'm assuming it was edited into a final version for sale. From the reviews I've read, it has all of what I remember except I don't remember seeing anything about Bob's mother.
I knew Bob and Sheree from 1983 until his death. As things developed in the underground sex community Bob and I were on opposite sides. (Everything has political factions. Some groups want to join together, some want to split up. We ended up "leading" opposite sides.) Which puts me in the rare position to tell about Bob's petty side. But that's not important. What's important is being willing to be radically different sexually in order to be mentally healthier and live a longer happier life.
That's a position I share with Bob. I had occasion to discuss the subject with him shortly before his death. His perspective was a bit different from mine. No one seems to mention the terrible wracking pain of CF. It's interesting the degree to which major illnesses turn out to conceal symptoms from the public. And if I was to discuss some of Bob's symptoms and coping methods this review wouldn't see the light of day. "Hammer of Love" is a trivial little entry point to give the public something it can deal with. (I'm suddenly hearing Tom Cruise shouting at Jack Nicholson in "A Few Good Men.")
Sorry about drifting into what weaklings you "healthy" people are. Back to Bob's viewpoint. He said that the "recreational" pain was, for him, a way of showing that he, not his illness was in control. (Bob, I hope I got that right.) I asked him if he was the oldest person with CF. He said there were maybe three or so older than him. But in considering that you need to know that CF can attack the lungs or the dozens of feet of the GI tract. Bob had it in both and as bad as you can have in both. And he still almost made it longer than any of the other people with CF.
My explanation goes deeper. It's that if you have to do something reviled by society to stay alive, e.g. be beaten every day of your life, you have two choices. One, take your beating from a health care professional hired for the job and endure the pain. Or, two, the smarter more heroic choice. Find another person to share the experience with and revel in the sensations. Frankly, if it's that intense it's going to be unavoidable that it takes on a sexual aspect. (Now you're really on society's s**t list.)
If you are as lucky as Bob and myself you may find someone who can be more than a partner of the moment. Someone brave enough to be your partner in this life and beyond. With that combination of luck...and a lot of hard work, what would be trauma to both the body and soul can be turned into a celebration of life. An act of love. So it not only keeps you alive another day, but serves to strengthen you..and your partner. And that's why some of the sexual underground is about people trying to survive. Some don't even know that what they think of as sexual urges, what society condemns as perversions, is actually their body and spirit trying to tell them what they need to live a longer happier life.
Hopefully that message, even though not how Bob described his own view, will come through the film. Some of you might wonder what's killing me. My personal research strongly indicates it's a gaseous neurotransmitter disorder. But they've only just been discovered in the last generation. So I'm hoping to interest a researcher, a top hematologist in taking my case. If I told you what it took for me to last as long as I have, you would suddenly consider Bob and Sheree Rose's film a Walt Disney production.
Just please remember, the next time you're thinking of condemning a pervert or stopping a kid from doing something sexual (maybe even your own kid), it is some part of them trying to survive. Even if it looks wrong to you. Try to not think about "social" wrong or "unhealthy," but strictly what is really healthy. And that mostly has to do with cleanliness. Fecal matter is always a bad idea. (Unless the person has been eating a lot of yogurt.)
Love to all you good people out there, and especially to Karen, the reason I'm still alive.
To any old timers that remember me (set Donnie up in the Violet Wand business, etc.). In the words of the Monty Python skit, "I'm not dead yet!" But I'm mostly bedridden and have been doing a distressing amount of screaming from the pain lately. I do have good medical care. I'm just maxing out what can be done. Luckily, one way or another, I won't have to keep doing this. But if a researcher does come up with counter to my neurotoxin, having all those "dead" nerves come back to "life" will be quite a ride.
The Wonder of It All (2007)
Genuinely Awe Inspiring
First, honesty in advertising, I grew up in Melbourne, Florida from 1956 until 1968. So, my opinion about the Space Program would be similar to asking someone who grew up in Detroit during that period about the automobile. As may be obvious, my father worked at the Cape, which meant he only came home to sleep. Yes, the Space Program was where WW III was fought...and won. And I don't mean Apollo, my father didn't even work on it. All he could ever tell me was that he was in "foreign technology." But I did grow up in a town with a spaceport as well as an airport. And as intimate as my knowledge has been, I constantly heard things in this movie I had not only never heard before, but hadn't dreamed of. An astronaut has a member of their immediate family commit suicide rather than deal with the public notoriety! Yes, the media put family members through hell, that's well known. But suicide? So I agree with the first review.
Perhaps it could have been edited better. I don't know, I'm not a movie maker. The only thing I found distracting was because I don't recognize faces well. So I would have liked frequent, perhaps constant name labels. But if you want to know these people better than you ever have before, here you will hear, and see (I never really realized how important and lucky it was that we sent an artist to the Moon) things you won't hear or see anywhere else.
As for the two negative reviews. How can someone claim to have lived through Apollo and not know the number of men who walked on the Moon? XI to XVII minus XIII equals six landings. Can't multiply 2 X 6 = 12? Are you "Smarter Than a First Grader?" If you care enough to watch films on a topic, but can't do First Grade arithmetic, how can your thoughts on the subject of the films matter? But you deserve points for honesty about yourself.
As for the reviewer who seems to have missed their chance to throw eggs at the returning astronauts, we did it in a _hurry_ for political reasons. And killed three men through unbelievable stupidity because of hurrying. As the saying goes, "The dinosaurs didn't have a Space Program." For those that need an explanation, the most biologically successful species that has _ever_ existed on this planet had all of its eggs in one basket. So we have what's left of them for fried food. If we don't keep pushing to get off this planet, we won't even be as successful as the dinosaurs. Grow or die. Like Gravity, it's the Law!
I want to include a heartfelt thank you to those that made this movie. Both in front of, and behind the cameras.
If you have any interest in the men who walked on the Moon, as human beings, see this movie. Even if you think you already have seen everything there is to see on the subject. Hopefully, it is out on DVD by now. I just finished seeing it on Encore! Drama (EDRAM) on TV a few minutes ago. And stopped in the middle of emailing my father about it.
Unknown White Male (2005)
Very intense, if you've had a similar experience. Irritating music, etc.
Personally I'm a 55 year old white male with a degenerative neurological disorder. In 1993 the randomly occurring damage took out the equivalent of my FAT for those of you who are computer geeks. Presumably all my memories were "there." Just no organized way to find any. Think, of yourself as a library, hit by a flood. The pages of information may still be there. But not even adjacent to each other, much less in the right section of the library.
I'd walked down the hall and had the familiar experience of "what did I come in here for?" But I then realized I couldn't think of _anything_ that I had a "desire" for. I remember thinking, "Do I like blueberry pie?" I couldn't even tell if food in general was something I considered important. All the factual data was there, name, numbers, etc. But nothing about me as an individual. It took five long years to rebuild a replacement personality.
As such, this film was a very intense experience for me. (It did remind me of how much it's possible to love another person.) I would probably preferred to wait and rent it on video. But there were some yahoos (Look up Swift's Gulliver's Travels to understand the term.) who insisted the film was a fake. So I felt obliged to go see it, not just trust the opinion of reviewers like Roger Ebert. My wife and I both strongly disliked the music. As a movie, it's definitely so-so quality. But it's asking a lot to expect that an exceptional event would happen to an exceptional film maker. If Oliver Sacks wasn't a good writer there would be no "Awakenings."
I definitely would recommend that people see the movie if they care about what being an "individual" means. If you have it on DVD, watch the clips of Mr. Bruce before the "event." Get a good sense of that person. Then contrast it with who's there in that body at different times after the event. Note the purity of the love felt by the mother and daughter that first looked after him, while he was still a "child." I've had the experience of doing that with my best friend. The 9-12 months that I helped him put his life back together is the closest I'll ever come to being a parent. I wouldn't trade that joy for anything.
For further reading I would strongly suggest the very entertaining "Phantoms in the Brain" by V. S. Ramachandran and "The Man Who Mistook His Wife For a Hat" by Oliver Sacks. For exploring the limits of what consciousness is "Dancing Naked in the Mind Field" by Kary Mullis. These are both entertaining and informative, if you're not afraid to find out how little you know.