“Fate gives all of us three teachers, three friends, three enemies, and three great loves in our lives. But these twelve are always disguised, and we can never know which one is which until we’ve loved them, left them, or fought them.”
― Gregory David Roberts, Shantaram

Chihuly Glass, The Dallas Arboretum

A long time ago, i stumbled across a crazy YouTube video that had a long scene from a Bollywood Movie. It showed an attack by a merciless, horrible army on the Good Guys©. There was a lot of emotional looks between characters that I had no idea who they were – but the most handsome of all the Good Guys© seemed in command of a third (or so) of the army. He had catapults and proceeded to throw giant, round stones connected to a huge, red cloth over the attacking enemy. Once it settled onto the evil swarm a flaming arrow was fired and the cloth turned out to be soaked in a flammable oil – burning the evil heathens to death.

It was amazing, cheesy, and so much ridiculous fun. It took a little searching until I found out the scene was from part one of a two part movie series called Baahabuli. I watched bits of it and it was as glorious as it could be. I never had time to sit down for the whole six hours it would take to grind through both installments – plus, viewing little bits here and there with no idea of the overall plot or who these people were was kind of exciting.

Now, however, I have more opportunities for allocating big chunks of time (though not as many as you would think – it is possible to be very busy doing nothing) and over a couple of days I have been able to sit down and watch part one of Baahubali. Now it (sort of) makes sense. I had watched some of the over-the-top action scenes… but being Bollywood it had some equally fantastic musical numbers – and romantic dancing. I really enjoyed these – probably more that the blood slaughter.

In particular, there is a scene in a bar where three sexy dancing girls emerge from a giant coil of rope to dance with the hero and distract the dastardly bad guys for a few minutes – very imaginative and unexpected.   

Some friends of mine once came up with the idea of Bollywood watching parties – I would love to try and pull this off – find a place with a big television (ours isn’t giant enough). Baahubali would be perfect – both parts one and two. Crazy action, melodrama, politically incorrect dancing and romance (there is actually a scene where the hero, while holding his breath underwater, tattoos his love’s arm while she sleeps trailing her arm into a lake –  that’s a me-too moment).

Now onto part 2 – there’s a lot of unanswered questions.

Ok, there is a YouTube movie reviewer named The Critical Drinker. He is apologetically nasty towards modern shit movies and the useless crap mendacity that has invaded what passes as entertainment – but every now and then he finds something that swims against the stream to recommend. 

Today he reviewed and liked a recent Bollywood extravaganza called RRR. He does a very good job of explaining how odd these movies look to Western eyes and why you should put your preconceptions aside and enjoy what dances across your eyeballs. A very interesting review (not too many spoilers).

RRR is streaming on Netflix. So its Baahubali Part 2 – and then it’s time for RRR. Sounds like a party. 

A Poem For Today: ‘To Those Who Follow in Our Wake by Bertolt Brecht

“Art is not a mirror held up to reality
but a hammer with which to shape it.”
― Bertolt Brecht

Sunset on the Caribbean, taken what feels like a long, long time ago

Let’s see… it started with me wanting to do some writing and not having any ideas… so I pulled a three card spread from my edition of Todd Alcott’s Pulp Tarot.

It came up King of Pentacles, The Hermit, and Justice.

Justice card from Todd Alcott’s Pulp Tarot.

Some research, some reading, and I ended up looking into Bertolt Brecht and, specifically, one poem.

I wish I spoke German – the various translations I looked at were very different – I think we are missing a lot in translation – but it is still something to read and think about.

Brecht ‘To Those Who Follow in Our Wake


Truly, I live in dark times! An artless word is foolish. A smooth forehead Points to insensitivity. He who laughs Has not yet received The terrible news.

What times are these, in which A conversation about trees is almost a crime For in doing so we maintain our silence about so much wrongdoing! And he who walks quietly across the street, Passes out of the reach of his friends Who are in danger?

It is true: I work for a living But, believe me, that is a coincidence. Nothing That I do gives me the right to eat my fill. By chance I have been spared. (If my luck does not hold, I am lost.)

They tell me: eat and drink. Be glad to be among the haves! But how can I eat and drink When I take what I eat from the starving And those who thirst do not have my glass of water? And yet I eat and drink.

I would happily be wise. The old books teach us what wisdom is: To retreat from the strife of the world To live out the brief time that is your lot Without fear To make your way without violence To repay evil with good – The wise do not seek to satisfy their desires, But to forget them. But I cannot heed this: Truly I live in dark times!


I came into the cities in a time of disorder As hunger reigned. I came among men in a time of turmoil And I rose up with them. And so passed The time given to me on earth.

I ate my food between slaughters. I laid down to sleep among murderers. I tended to love with abandon. I looked upon nature with impatience. And so passed The time given to me on earth.

In my time streets led into a swamp. My language betrayed me to the slaughterer. There was little I could do. But without me The rulers sat more securely, or so I hoped. And so passed The time given to me on earth.

The powers were so limited. The goal Lay far in the distance It could clearly be seen although even I Could hardly hope to reach it. And so passed The time given to me on earth.


You, who shall resurface following the flood In which we have perished, Contemplate – When you speak of our weaknesses, Also the dark time That you have escaped.

For we went forth, changing our country more frequently than our shoes Through the class warfare, despairing That there was only injustice and no outrage.

And yet we knew: Even the hatred of squalor Distorts one’s features. Even anger against injustice Makes the voice grow hoarse. We Who wished to lay the foundation for gentleness Could not ourselves be gentle.

But you, when at last the time comes That man can aid his fellow man, Should think upon us With leniency.

–Bertolt Brecht, An die Nachgeborenen first published in Svendborger Gedichte (1939) in: Gesammelte Werke, vol. 4, pp. 722-25 (1967)(S.H. transl.)