More Sunday soliloquys

I hope your weekends are going fabulously. For our Australian, Filipino, New Zealand et al friends, I hope yours was grand. Here are a few mix and match comments, around a theme of needed history lessons.

Speaking of that part of the world, my wife and I have fallen for an older Australian show called “Packed to the Rafters.” It lasted for about six seasons and our PBS station is doing reruns. The premise is during the housing crisis back in 2007-09 timeframe, a family called the Rafters have various adult children and even a widowed father living with them. They are an abnormally normal family during stressful times, so it makes for good theater. The writers are quite clever in focusing on one or two family members a show to reveal how they arrived to their present predicaments.

It seems the housing crisis was so long ago with the various travails we have had since then. What is interesting today is inflation is creeping up again due to guess what – housing prices going up. Hopefully lessons have been learned about selling mortgages to people that cannot afford them and then packaging crappy mortgage deals into investment products that understate greatly the risk. But, we seem to be people who are good at erasing history.

Yet, not only are we forgetting history, we have a concerted effort going on in the US to whitewash history, even if recent history, as if it did not happen. It is bad enough that Americans, as a whole, would fail miserably on history and geography lessons, but to avoid teaching some parts because it makes us look bad is just a bridge too far. While masking bad things is not new – read summaries about the Pentagon Papers, the banning of the song Strange Fruit,, the Freedom Summer murders, the Lavender Scare, McCarthyism, Native American genocide, etc. – there are parts of our history that don’t show up as much as they should.

Since we began with the housing crisis, let me close with real history lessons that do not get enough airplay. Two of the poster children for the housing crisis are Beazer Homes and Bear Stearns.

Beazer was a developer that would clear land and sell houses in a community fashion. It is reported they did not tell the prospective buyers the realtor, the inspector and the mortgage lender were all related to the Beazer business. So, many prospective buyers were sold a home that was more than they could afford, based on mortgage numbers that were presented as a perfumed pig, with variable mortgages so interest rates could go up 200 basis points each year, and a house that had few inspection issues. When the housing prices dropped beneath the mortgage owed, that caused an upside down financial dilemma. Many lost their homes.

Bear Stearns is an investment banker that no longer exists. It is reported they packaged these bad mortgages together in a bundle and called them Collateralized Debt Obligations or CDOs. The law of large numbers works only when good risks negate bad risks in large bundles, but if the majority of the risk is bad, that means the whole product is risky. Bear Stearns was over-exposed with these bad risks and it took them down. What is interesting is a financial analyst got a meeting a year before Bear Stearns collapsed and told the CFO they were going under. The CFO kicked him out and the man said he would bet against them and made a killing for himself and is clients betting that these over-leveraged entities would fail as housing prices declined. This is the theme of the movie ‘The Big Short.”

If we don’t know our history, then we will repeat our mistakes. And, as we speak there is a rise in white nationalism in this and other countries, people are trying to tell you the truth is not factual, and the financial markets cannot crash again.

Four more movies worth a look

I decided to mention a couple of movies that are more mainstream. Some of these, you may have seen. So, here goes. I will not spoil the endings, but must caution you on reading the comments.

A Perfect Man – released in 2013, it stars Liev Schreiber and Jeanne Tripplehorn, with a co-starring role for Louise Fletcher. I have always liked Tripplehorn, as she brings a vulnerability to the role of the wife of a womanizing husband played by Schreiber. She continued to give multiple chances to her husband until she finally leaves him. After over-hearing him talk to a perfect stranger on the phone as he canceled airline tickets for them, she decided to call him as a wrong number and fake persona to hear him flirt and open up with her. She learns why he is the way he is and that he does, in fact, love her. The movie is directed by Kees van Oostrin and is written by Larry Brand and Peter Elkoff.

The Good Heart – released in 2009, it stars Paul Dano, Brian Cox and Isild Le Besco. Cox is a cantankerous bar owner who has a bad heart, which is not a surprise given how he lives. He befriends Dano in the hospital who is his roommate after Dano tried to commit suicide. Dano is a kind soul who is in need of a helping hand, so Cox’s character brings him into the bar to help him. They learn from each other, but their relationship is tested when Le Besco, a woman who has no place to go, is invited to stay with them over the bar owner’s objections. Cox plays irascible characters quite well and Dano has this innocent countenance about him. The movie is written and directed by Dagur Kari.

Tully – released in 2018, it stars Charlize Theron, Mackenzie Davis and Mark Duplass. Theron plays a mother who is suffering from post-partum depression while nursing her third child with her husband played by Duplass. Theron has never hesitated to play roles of women who are struggling. Davis plays Tully who is hired to be a night time nanny, so the mother can get some sleep and recover. Davis tells her she is only there to help her get over this period. The two women bond as Theron sees a lot of who she used to be in Davis. The movie is directed by Jason Reitman and written by Diablo Cody.

The Sixth Sense – released in 1999, it stars Bruce Willis, Hayley Joel Osment and Toni Collette. Osment and Collette were nominated for Oscars as was M. Night Shyamalan as director. and writer, and the movie itself. My wife was puzzled that I had not seen such an acclaimed movie. Willis plays a child psychologist who helps a tormented young boy who we know from many movie advertisements, “I see dead people.” Collette plays Osment mother and there is a reason she also gets an Oscar nomination. Olivia Williams plays Willis’ wife who we learn is suffering from depression. While the movie focuses on the boy and his doctor, the mother-son relationship is also key. And, Willis and his wife’s relationship is not unimportant as we see him struggle with his wife’s depression wanting him to do more to help her.

All four movies are good, but the latter two get more acclaim and rightfully so. Let me know what you think below. Also, I will repeat to those who have not seen the movies to be mindful of spoiler alerts below in the comments. Commenters, please edit your comments to not reveal too much of the plots. .

Entertainment from abroad

My wife and I watch several shows that originate out of Great Britain, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. What I find most interesting is the dialogue tends to be more extensive than American dramas, which is one reason actors from abroad are asked to play roles with a lot of dialogue in American made movies. “Loving” about the interracial marriage the US Supreme Court blessed in the 1960s, starred an Irish Black woman and a White Australian man, eg. as the Virginia couple.

I won’t mention them all, but here are a few to glean your thoughts. We are big fans of two shows, one from Australia and one from Canada, based on the same theme. “Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries” and “Frankie Drake” are two sides of the same coin about a female detective in the 1920s who is both smart, inventive and Avant Garde. Both star ensemble casts and have excellent theme songs to start and end the shows.

There are also two shows based on the same theme from Canada and Great Britain. “Coroner” from Canada and “The Coroner” from Great Britain are about female coroners working with a supportive detective. We like the Canadian version a little more as the coroner is dealing with some personal anxiety and depressive issues which involve her husband’s death and father’s worsening dementia.

From Great Britain, we have long been fans of shows where we have now watched every episode – “Call the Midwife” based in the late 1950s and early 1960s, “Father Brown,” and “Doc Martin.” The latter show is worth watching just to catch the beautiful coast. We also are big fans of “Midsomer Murder Mysteries,” “Endeavour” and “Grantchester” although we enjoy the first minister the best.

There is a Canadian show that just completed its series called “Burden of Truth” about law and personal partners dealing with a rigged system against the disenfranchised. We are sad to see this one go, as the leads were very human and humane. They were less than perfect, but were on the path to do the right thing.

From Australia and New Zealand, we enjoy ‘Doctor Blake” about a confident but caring medical examiner with a complex past as well as a show called “A Place to Call Home” about a Jewish woman and nurse who falls in love with the oldest son of matriach controlled wealthy family. We also enjoy a couple of comedies one called “800 Words” about a man who writes an 800 word column whose wife is killed in a car accident and moves his kids to a town on the coast of New Zealand. The columnist also starred in a show called “Packed to the Rafters” about the adult family and father moving in during the housing crisis.

There are many short series we watch as well. Usually these are four to six episode seasons. ‘Unforgotten” is a British show about a unit that solves old crimes that pop up with a discovered body and ‘The World at War” about the lead up and early part of WWII. But, there are many others.

Lately, we have been watching “Marple,” an old series about Agatha Christie’s less flamboyant sleuth, Jane Marple. The stars that appear in this show, either after their biggest fame or before their fame begins, is amazing. I wish this show came on at 8 pm rather 9 pm, as my wife and I are no longer night owls.

Let me know what you think. Please share your favorites, as I know we have missed many.

A few more movies worth a visit

We have seen a few more movies since I last gave an update. Some we rented from the local non-profit video store I have mentioned, others we saw on the television and one we just saw in the theater. Let me start with the more recent theater one and go back in time from there.

Dear Evan Hansen – This is a movie based on the highly successful musical play starring Ben Platt who played the first Evan Hansen on Broadway. The theme is complex and very sobering and the music is well done sung by a host of high school and parent singers. You will go through a range of emotions, so please bring some tissue. The story is advertised in the previews, so it won’t be telling too much to say Evan Hansen, a troubled teen, was asked by his therapist to write a letter to himself. Another troubled teen steals the letter from Evan and unfortunately commits suicide leading his parents to believe Evan was their son’s friend, when they thought he had none. The movie was directed by Stephen Chbosky and also stars Kaitlyn Dever, Amandla Stenberg, Nik Dodani and Julianne Moore.

16 Blocks – This one is surprisingly good, but I wondered why I did not remember it coming out a few years back. In essence, Bruce Willis plays a disgruntled, weather-beaten cop who was set up to fail in delivering Mos Def’s character in protective custody sixteen blocks to testify against a rogue cop. The relationship between the two men evolves especially when Willis’ character decided to do something unusual – the right thing. It is directed by Richard Donner and also stars David Morse, Jenna Stern, David Zayas.

Local Color – This movie is also surprisingly good. It is a coming age of movie based on a true story about an artistic (and observant) eighteen year-old who wants to learn from a renowned, but reclusive artist who lives near by. The teen is played by Trevor Morgan with Armin Mueller-Stahl playing the curmudgeonly artist who is far more complex. Samantha Mathis plays a nearby friend of the artist who reminds him of his long ago deceased wife. She is getting over the loss of her son due to a car accident, so she is also in need of some healing. Key small roles are played by Ray Liotta as Trevor’s father, Ron Perlman as a self-professed art expert and Charles Durning as an early mentor. The movie is directed by George Gallo.

Conflict – an old black and white film is an excellent movie as well. It stars Humphrey Bogart and Sidney Greenstreet, but this time in reversed roles. Bogart plays the antagonist in this one, with Greenstreet an observant doctor. The movie is advertised as Bogart’s character killing his wife because he is in love with her sister, which happens early on. From there I will leave it to your imagination. I was wondering why I had not heard of this movie before and it may be due to Bogart playing the heavy. The movie was directed by Curtis Bernhardt and also stars Rose Hobart as the fated wife and Alexis Smith as her sister.

A couple of other movies that are also good are “Trucker” with Michelle Monaghan and Nathan Fillion about a mother who has to take care of her son while being a trucker, as his father is dying and “Phone Booth” starring Colin Ferrell, Forrest Whitaker, Radha Mitchell, Katie Holmes and Kiefer Sutherland which is about a sniper forcing a selected man to stay in a phone booth until he gets satisfaction with the man confessing his sins to his wife and mistress. I would also give high marks to “Biutiful” with Javier Bardem, but this one is in Spanish with subtitles and “3:10 to Yuma” with Christian Bale and Russel Crowe.

Let me know what you think. If you have seen them, please share your feedback. Are there others you have seen that are worth letting others know?

The Flowers of War – a movie that belies its criticism

I have written recently about the wonderful video store in my city that continues on as a non-profit with its 30,000 plus movies. Recently, a movie that caught my attention from previews is “The Flowers of War,” with Christian Bale, a Chinese actress named Ni Ni and a mostly Chinese and Japanese cast. The movie was written by Geling Yan and Heng Liu based on Geling’s fictional story the “Flowers of Nanjing,” which was based on the diary of a missionary named Minnie Vautrin during the 1937 Sino-Japanese War.

Per IMDb, “An American mortician, John Miller (Bale), arrives in Nanjing in order to bury the foreign head priest of a convent for Catholic girls, just after the city was bombed and invaded by the Japanese forces. A short time after his arrival at the convent, a group of flamboyant prostitutes from the local red-light district find their way to the compound looking for shelter, as foreigners and foreign institutions seem to be left alone by the marauding Japanese soldiers.

While the prostitutes hide out in the cellar, Miller struggles with and finally gives in to his feelings of responsibility to protect the teenage schoolgirls, and poses as the convent’s priest when the compound is repeatedly visited by Japanese soldiers looking for girls to rape. With the help of Chinese collaborator Mr. Meng (Kefan), who is the father of one of the girls, he starts to repair the convent’s truck in case there should be an opportunity to bring the girls out of Nanjing.”

The author and screenwriters pushed back on criticism the movie was anti-Japanese as that was not their intent. This may be a reason it did not get the foreign film accolades it otherwise deserved. The Japanese soldiers overran the city during a war and some of the soldiers took advantage of others. But, the movie is much more than that context. The movie offers a compelling story of disparate groups who learn their preconceived notions of one another can be melted away through mutual beneficial interaction. It offers a story of a western man who finds his better nature in the strangest of places. As I make these observations, I am doing my best not to give away the story.

The movie was directed by Zhang Yimou and also starred Tong Danei as a Chinese major who survived to help the convent early on and Atsuro Watabi as a Japanese colonel who loved music and apologized for the actions of some soldiers offering some temporary protections while he could. The story is narrated by Ling, one the girls in the convent played by Doudou Zhang. A young boy named George (played by Huang Tianyuan), who helped the priest and now Miller, plays the conscience of the movie.

The movie is in English for the interactions between Miller and George, the young students, and Yu Mo, the prostitute played by Ni Ni. Yu Mo had been a young school girl like these girls before she was raped and forced into being a prostitute. Her evolving relationship with Miller is a key part of the movie. The other parts of the movie are in Chinese and Japanese with good subtitles. The Japanese colonel also speaks English to Miller.

My wife and I enjoyed the movie. It is funny, of the four movies we rented, the ones with the highest critical ratings did not lend themselves to the highest enjoyment level.

All my life – a recent movie worth a view

If you want a movie about love, friendship and life, a compelling movie from 2020 is called “All my life.” Going in, you know you are watching a movie that will lose one of its stars. That is how it is advertised. But, oh how they lived, loved and cherished their friends is what this movie is all about. Family can be the friends you savor, as much as blood relatives.

Here is the movie summary from IMDb, “Jennifer Carter and Solomon Chau are a sweet, fun-loving, newly engaged couple whose whole life seems ahead of them. But when Sol is diagnosed with terminal liver cancer in December, their plans for a summer wedding become impossible. In a race against time, Jenn and Sol’s friends and family launch an online fundraiser to help the couple create their dream wedding in just two weeks. In the process, they unleash an outpouring of generosity and attention from people around the world who want to celebrate the power of love with them.”

The movie is based on a true story which we learn at the end, seeing the real people. The movie stars Jessica Rothe as Jenn and Harry Shum, Jr. as Sol. They make a cute and fun-loving couple who sweep us up in their journey. Seeing Jenn define the rules of the house when she invites Sol to live with her (and he is bartering in return) will make you smile. But, the best scene is the fun and inventive marriage proposal. It is like no other and is the best metaphor for the movie. An early important scene of their first date is cute as well, when they get momentarily lost from each other at a farmers’ market.

Yet, the movie is about friendship as much as love between two people. They adore their friends and the feelings are definitely returned. The friends do not take no for an answer and step up to make the wedding happen. The teasing between friends is believable and fun. The friends are played by Jay Pharaoh, Chrissie Fit, Ever Carradine, Keala Settle, Michael Massini, Jon Rudnitsky, et al. Jenn’s mother is played by Molly Hagen and her role is as much friend as mother as if Jenn is sharing her friends with her mother. It is directed by Marc Myers and written by Todd Rosenberg.

This movie got so-so ratings, but it charms you. The actors playing Jenn and Sol make you believe they are falling in love and are both pained by his fight to stay alive. They laugh, love, tease, fight, but mainly lift each other up making each better as a result. And, the friends make you believe they have been such for a long while. It is worth the view in spite of the critics’ ratings.

Tea for Tuesday with a spoon of Dyerism

My youngest son has exposed us to cold brewed tea using both caffeinated tea and flavored teas with turmeric, hibiscus, ginger, lavendar, orange or lemon zest, etc. The tea brews with natural sunlight over the course of a morning. What I like about them is no sugar is needed as the flavors stand on their own. So, it is refreshing.

So, get yourself a soothing or refreshing drink in hand, sit down in the morning rays, and let me share a few miscellaneous thoughts.

My wife and I are not Royalty watchers, but we did catch the latest installment on Lifetime of the Harry and Meghan travails. Realizing these kinds of things have a little truth mixed together with hearsay and supposition, there are a couple of takeaways. If true, why does the Royal family and their staffs spend so much time reading trashy gossip magazines? I must confess the only time I pay attention to these things are when checking out at the grocery store, but primarily for my own bemusement. The other take away is no matter what one feels about Meghan, there is both a subtle and overt racist element to her press that goes unchecked. I realize fully that the Royal family does not like to comment on the magazines they read so much of, but it truly is opportunity lost to condemn in strong times that we are better than this as a country.

This search for perfection in the actions and statements of people, entities or institutions is a futile endeavor. Let me save everyone a lot of trouble. Just like with individual people, there are no perfect groups of people or organizations of people. This would include those who are calling foul. Past actions are important, but we must understand a couple of things. Severity is important. Context is important. On the latter, anyone can be made to look foolish taking his, her or their words out of context. But, severity (and repetition) matters. Not to condone any actions, but saying something sexually insensitive is not as severe as sexual assault. Saying something sexually or racially insensitive over time is worse than saying it once. Also, how long ago did the infraction occur matters as does what have they done lately? This does not give anyone a hall pass, just asks for better scrutiny.

As an example, the Reverend Billy Graham lamented that he was in the Nixon White House and did not push back on the president for his racist and ethnic slurs. Apparently, Nixon’s colorful language was not unusual. Graham was in a better position than anyone to counsel the president on his words and tone. My guess is he was looking for any door to escape, but that is beside the point. Graham was embarrassed when his silence was discovered on the released Nixon tapes of conversations. It goes without saying, Graham was a very fine person and spiritual leader nonetheless.

I pair these two stories together, as we need more of what Dr. Wayne Dyer used to call “defending the absent.” When his children would gossip about someone, he would defend the person not present. His point is it is not right to talk about someone behind their back. Graham missed an opportunity to say simply, “Mr. President, I must confess I do not appreciate your tone and comments about others. You can choose to feel that way, but it makes you look smaller when you do.”

In the Royal family movie, they debated on whether Charles, William or Harry could react. Harry did on one occasion, but wanted to do more. But, truthfully the Queen is the one who should have made an overarching statement. “We are better than this. It is one thing to disagree with someone, but to denigrate someone because the person is perceived to be different is uncalled for and inappropriate.” It should be noted that 80 members of Parliament signed a petition of reprimand for these racist attacks in the press, so I am not just talking out of turn.

I am imperfect. I have said, written and done some stupid things. I try to do the right things, but sometimes fall short. But, I am not alone. We must shine spotlights on behavior we do not like, but we should also recall we have our own blemishes. But, I would suggest we do so in the manner and style of Dr. Dyer. He is one who would criticize privately and praise publicly. He would defend the absent, a very noble endeavor.

A few movies we stumbled onto worth a viewing

We are blessed to still have a vintage movie rental store in my city. It was never a chain store, but one that has stocked up on a deep inventory, a veritable library, of old movies and new ones. It also has movies that are hard to find online for viewing. But, the best part of the selection process is the in person browsing looking through mazes of aisles on organized genres of drama, comedy, action, horror, science fiction, foreign films, series, etc.

The older movies can be rented for five days, so I usually will pick up four of them at a time. Often, I will read the summary or select one based on the actors in the film. Not all of them are great, but usually they are worth the effort. I think over the years, we have only stopped watching one or two.

On the last two visits, five of the eight movies I picked are excellent, in our opinion even though their critical ratings of each vary. And, the other three were good, so they were worth the investment. Here is a quick summary of the five to which we give a thumbs up.

  • Fathers and Daughters (2015) – starring Russel Crowe, Amanda Seyfried, Aaron Paul, Kylie Rogers, Jane Fonda, Octavia Spencer, and Diane Kruger. Crowe is a Pulitzer Prize author who loses his wife in an auto accident because they were arguing and he lost focus on the driving. Seyfried is his daughter as an older woman coming to grips with her own life, after losing her mother when she was so young. The movie flips back and forth to just following her mother’s death and to her young adult life. Rogers charms us as the younger version of his daughter.
  • Night Train to Lisbon (2013) – starring Jeremy Irons, Jack Huston, Charlotte Rampling, Melanie Laurent, Martina Gedeck, Lena Olin, and several others. Irons coaxes a woman off a bridge in Bern where she was about to jump. She follows him and when she eventually leaves, he finds her coat with two tickets to Lisbon and a book that fascinates him with its life lessons and story. He travels to Lisbon to meet the author after the book’s owner eludes his efforts to find her. The story involves him connecting many dots with people who knew the author as he is moved by the impactful story. For the viewer, we are allowed to see what happened in earlier events.
  • Lebanon, PA (2010) – starring Josh Hopkins, Samantha Mathis, Rachel Kitson and others. This story involves an ad executive returning to Lebanon, PA to bury his divorced father and settle the affairs. He meets a cousin, a single father, and his two children who live across the street and watched over his father. The son is successful, but adrift not sure if he is doing what he wants to do in life. He becomes a mentor to the young teen girl who is his second cousin and befriends an unhappily married woman who taught with his father and remembers his kindness. The story is tinged with a sense of melancholy.
  • Lovely, still (2008)- starring two favorite actors, Martin Landau and Ellen Burstyn, along with Adam Scott and Elizabeth Banks. Landau is a man living alone who works at a retail store, but early on you pick up he is in early stages of dementia. He comes home to find Burstyn in his house, as he left his door open that morning and she was seeing if he was alright. They begin a romance that is both touching and worrisome as you keep waiting for a shoe to drop. It is a lovely film.
  • Lies in Plain Sight (2010) – starring Martha Higareda, Chad Michael MurrayYul VazquezBenito Martinez, Rosie Perez and others. The story is a of an obviously smart blind woman returning from MIT for the funeral of her best friend and cousin who committed suicide, a shock to her and her friend’s family. She is close to the family as her mother had passed and she would often stay with them as her father worked. She learns of many small lies as she tries to figure out what happened and remembers things her cousin told her, as there was no suicide note to explain it all. Eventually she suspects things that come to a head with her discoveries.

I hope you enjoy these. If you have seen them, let me know what you think. Also, what are some other films you recommend?

Friday I got traveling on my mind

Fleetwood Mac fans will know this is the second line of the song whose title are the first two words of its opening sentence, “Monday morning you sure look fine.” It is about a fickle love interest, that by the end of the week has sown enough doubt, her partner is looking to leave. Yet, when he talks of leaving, she heightens her interest in him and he stays.

It reminds me of the old line, we don’t know what we want until it is gone. Think of why Rhett Butler’s line at the end of “Gone with the Wind” is so impactful. Rhett has had enough of Scarlett and her being smitten with Ashley Wilkes. So, as she pleads for him not to go and asks what shall I do? his response of “Frankly, my dear I don’t give a damn” brought down the house using a curse word not usually heard in popular movies in 1939.

People play too many games with the hearts of others. Most often, it is due to the games player not being as in love with the partner as the partner is in return. So, the partner who is more smitten has to put up with a lot more. The games player wants to cover his, her or their options, so plays both ends against the middle, as Scarlett O’Hara did.

It is funny, my sweet mother was kind to every one, but the one character she did not care for was Ashley Wilkes. She did not like he was emotionally unfaithful to his wife and that he would not tell Scarlett “no.” On the flip side, Melanie Wilkes was a saint and there were many times you wanted her to confront her wishy-washy husband.

It is refreshing when people shoot straight with each other. Yet,it should not be so hard. Who should reveal love interest first? Does the partner love me as much as I do the partner? The hesitancy in these cases may relate to that “commitment” word that scares people, yet it is a variation of the games playing.

One of the scenes which speaks to this topic came in the movie “An American President” with Michael Douglas and Annette Bening. Paraphrasing, Bening’s character says I am going to fumble this around, so bear with me. I am in love you with, for that I am certain….I love this scene as she tells him I am going to not say this well, but please listen. It reminds me how nervous each of us are when we first utter those words.

So, if we shoot straight with people, fighting our nerves along the way, maybe, just maybe, we can avoid those fickle relationships. And, we should not be scared of the word “no.” Knowing that another does not and will not feel the same about you is both painful and liberating. My educated guess is we all have been on the wrong side of this conversation more than once. And, the sun did come up the next day.

That boy sure is a runnin’ fool

Those familiar with the movie “Forrest Gump” know the title is one of the many one-liners from the movie. We learn early on that Forrest could “run like the wind blows” after his legs got better from wearing braces. And, that was his primary means of transportation.

I used to be a runner, but after a lot of up and down running efforts, my joints told me I needed to walk more. It is much easier to start walking again after stopping a walking regimen, than it is is to start running.

Yet, I see many who run both along the streets and on trails that fail to heed a few lessons that might help. I learned from others, but still had challenges with the yo-yo running efforts. Here are few tidbits that I hope are more redundant than not.

  • Do not run on sidewalks made of concrete. The concrete does not flex, so your knees, feet and ankles (and other parts) take the brunt of the impact of each step.
  • Do not run with headphones on if you are next to car traffic or by yourself on a trail. Not being able to hear puts you in danger of turning cars or nefarious folks on trails. If you must have music, heighten your other senses to avoid getting run over.
  • Stretch before and after running. Sometimes the after part gets left off, but warming down is as important as warming up.
  • Start out slow (or even walking) and build up speed to the pace you want. Starting out to fast can cause pulled muscles and charley horses.
  • Wear shoes that have a good tread and are designed for running. A worn out tread can add impact shock to knees, feet and ankles.
  • Courtesy of the legendary basketball coach John Wooden, wear two pairs of socks, one reversed inside of one normal. The combined friction in the socks will cause less friction on your feet. Wooden would actually teach this the first day of practice.
  • Stay hydrated. This is a no-brainer, but never pass a water stop in a race and have a water bottle with you or in the car waiting for you.
  • If you do run on trails, have someone with you or run on popular trails designed for running. Some trails have way too many tree roots that are painful when stepped on or could trip you (I have done both).

I know much of the above may be well-known. But, as an old fart, let me just add I have read in my local newspapers of more than a few women being sexually assaulted on trails, I have read wear joggers were run over and killed not realizing a car was turning (one woman did not comprehend that a truck was pulling a trailer because of her headphones and stepped into traffic after she thought the truck had passed) and I am aware of many falls, bumps and bruises and arthritic or worn out knees.

Be safe. Be healthy. And, run like the wind blows.