I have no idea how many films I watched from first grade through the twelfth, but I only remember one of them. Nearly fifty years ago my sixth grade teacher, Mr. Case, showed us a film that I've thought about many times since.

It's a 19 minute short called Ark, written and directed by Rolf Forsberg. The story revolves around one man's effort to build and create an oasis in a degraded world.

I've wondered about that film and tried to find it on the internet many times over the years, though I didn't even know its name. But earlier this week I finally found it.

I can't say much more about it without giving the whole thing away. It doesn't have the high technical standards of modern films, or even full budget films of its day. But I found it riveting the first time I saw and it's still powerful.

Follow the link to see for yourself: Ark

27 AUGUST 2021

College Football

Texas and Oklahoma are off to the Southeastern Conference, in a move that guts the so-called Big Twelve and simultaneously adds depth and strength to the conference that least needs it. My guess is that this is just the beginning of a massive money-driven re-alignment. Intrigue! Betrayal! Sorrow!

Of course, universities probably shouldn't be in the sports entertainment business and no one should be in the football business, given what we now know about brain injuries. But if there's going to be college football, I'd like to propose a modest eight-point plan.

Here goes:

1. Split the top division in half. There are 130 teams in that division this year, but about half of them have no realistic chance of participating in the national championship playoff. It's time to create a second division. Yes, feelings will be hurt. But football guys are supposed to be tough, right?

2. Set up four division 1 conferences with 16 teams apiece, so that there are 64 division 1 teams in total.

3. Division 1 teams play only Division 1 teams. No scheduling lower division teams for easy wins.

4. Every team plays an equal number of home and away games. No padding schedules with home games for extra revenue.

5. Conferences should be as geographically compact as possible, even if that means re-arranging current conferences. The result would be reduced expense, and pointing to reduced travel time can provide the illusion that someone cares about academics.

6. Division 2 should likewise consist of 4 conferences of 16 teams apiece, with geographical boundaries that mimic, as closely as possible, a Division 1 counterpart. I'm thinking West, Midwest, East, and South, like the basketball tournament.

7. Give the successful Division 2 teams somewhere to go, and put the Division 1 cellar dwellers on notice. Relegate the worst team in each conference to its Division 2 geographical counterpart, and promote the best Division 2 team into its Division 1 geographical counterpart.

8. Because the composition of each conference will change from year to year, stop scheduling games in advance. Wait until the conference composition is known before setting up games, instead of locking in commitments decades in advance. That was always loony anyway.

So there you have it. Or a start, anyway.

31 JULY 2021

Great Music, Free

I confess I'd never heard of the Frankfurt Radio Symphony until I stumbled across one of their performance videos on YouTube. Now I'm hooked. There are dozens of excellent performances, all ad-free.

Start anywhere, but if you're looking for a suggestion, how about the First Symphony of Brahms?

16 JULY 2021