• maggie •

You might not believe this, but I write only when I absolutely have to, when I am driven by a need, or a feeling, or a laugh so great that the joke comes bursting through – though this is no joke, and has no punch line, per se (and I have been putting this off, for another day), it’s time has come, and, for me, has come in more than one way, so as to coax me into talking to you, if it’s okay, a bit, about Maggie.
Maybe you’ve seen it.
Yes, it’s a dystopian social drama about yet another zombie apocalypse, or rather, post-zombie apocalypse, to be truthful: one might think that would be a bit like putting the coda before the horse, the denouement before the development, and it would be, except that, for me, this is not so much a zombie apocalypse flick, as it is a human story about a death in a family. Or rather, how a family deals with an unstoppable and terminal illness, only, your loved one might, just ‘turn’ on you, accidentally, and give you a bite, and hence, an incurable disease that turns you into a despicable nuisance, an undead EverReady bunny with no discernible sense of humor, rhythm, style, or social constraint (as if your kids weren’t eternally, and totally embarrassed enough, with you, as their parent, already, without any special ’emphasis’ on your overall, ‘weirdness’), oh, and with a bad habit of killing and eating everybody. Okay, no more jokes, and no more nastiness, I promise.
That said, now for the ‘tender bit’. (Oh, damn! I said I wouldn’t do that. Sorry!)
This movie has the unmistakable earmarkings of an ‘indie’ film: it’s got a character-driven plot, and heart, and features a cast of amazing actors, who give astonishing performances (like you’ve never seen), and, of course, the visual and musical and editorial sensibilities of a phenomenal director who knows precisely what he/she is doing. Maggie has it all, and is a hell of a good story. Kudos, Henry Hobson. (Dude.)**
As to the people, or characters, if you will, I won’t be saying much about that, though I could, and perhaps should, except in the interest of brevity, but suffice it to say that, if you don’t see this flick, dollars to donuts, I’ll bet that you’ll be wishing you had, someday. Fair enough? Okay.
Abigail Breslin is Maggie, a seventeen year old girl with the ‘zombie virus’, that takes days (or weeks?) to ‘change’ you into something, ‘other’ (as if being a teenager wasn’t hard enough), and to witness her conscientious courage, and vulnerability and valor, against diminishing odds, and a debilitating disease, and, to see her slow breakdown, in the form of physical and mental degeneration, as a ‘teen’ – to see her struggle to hold onto her identity, is beyond laudable, for such a young actor, and…and then, and I’m not joking, factor into the mix, if you can, the best damn work that Arnold Schwarzenegger has ever done, bar none (and these performances, though stunning, within themselves, are not limited to these: Joely Richardson, as the new stepmother, with her own small children to think of, is the epitome of laid-out, heart in her hand, disheveled, mommas making the best of a bad situation, everywhere, perfection, memorable and moving), have made this picture something very keen. Where was I, oh yes, Arnold!
To see this, well, icon (we are talking, Arnold Schwarzenegger, yes? I double checked: yes, it was he) – as a mere man, or rather, just a man (a farmer, in fact), with a terrible burden, whose heart is breaking, grizzled, careworn, dissipated by loss, with more losses looming, a dad with no good choices – is the ‘inspiration’, I mentioned at the outset, of this, to get me to writing again. Yes, I’ll say it again: Arnold Schwarzenegger blew me away.
(Talk about, ‘unexpected’, to be honest, I would have thought it impossible, to see from him, such honesty. It makes me hopeful. ‘Hell, he’s ‘over the hill”, I say to myself, and it’s as if he is a man newly born, artistically, ‘maybe there’s yet hope for me.’ But I digress.)
“Arnold, my boy, welcome to the fold, I like the new you, please stay,” I hear myself say.
Oh, man, I almost forgot (with, whatever that was, there – again, sorry) the writing! is the backbone of an exceptional horror/thriller, and a story with, how to say this, a ‘thinking heart’, so, well done, mister writer, sir. Congrats, John Scott 3.
Well, that’s about it, I guess…except to say, in this humble enthusiast’s opinion, with respect, friends, you simply must give Maggie, a ‘see’.
**(Maggie is a 2015 post-apocalyptic horror drama film directed by Henry Hobson, in his directorial debut, written by John Scott 3, and starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, Abigail Breslin and Joely Richardson.)
~ Tim Burchfield
2/23/17

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• baby owl •

What I learned today:
if you are going to feed a ‘rescued’ baby owl,
you must feed it, not only meat, but feathers, as well.
Food for (*acckk!*) thought…
The moral?
Feed me the truth, even if it seems less appealing:
it is more strange and encompassing than fiction,
and frequently more fulfilling.
~ Tim Burchfield
2/19/17

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• fannie farmer’s •

Made two kinds of quiche last night –
just used the Fannie Farmer’s as a rough outline,
and the only, ‘measuring’ I did
was with the eggs and milk.
(It said, ‘light cream’, oh, my, how droll…as if!)
Turned out a doubly yummy baconesque
provolone garlic broccoli nutmeg taste sensation,
a delectably decadent eggy extravaganza,
a double dose of hot and fluffy delight!
Happy V Day, my tummy loves me!
(Hot sauce optional, of course,
but for me, are you kiddin’, friend?
It’s a given.)
~ Tim Burchfield
2/14/17

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• v day •

About two thousand years ago, a Roman king, Emperor Claudius Gothicus, a.k.a., “Claudius the Cruel”, issued an executive order, I mean, edict, outlawing marriage, juuuuust because, as the story goes, he had trouble getting to sleep, one night, and decided he needed an army.
(For what, he didn’t yet know, it just came into his head, one day, and that, as they say, was that. Isn’t that just the way? Not to worry, this story has a happy ending. Er, no, no, not really.)
“Don’t staaaaand, in m’way!” King Claudius could be heard to say (‘tweeting’ away, like a jaybird), at least three times a day, sometimes all night, and four times, at least, betimes, when he had had the insomnia.
Now, it seems, in those heady days of Empire only landowners could join the army. And yet, crazily, these, more often than not, married men, were somewhat reticent to go to war because – get this – it turns out that they had rather ‘stay ‘home’, safe and sound, with the wife and kiddos, than to risk dismemberment and/or death, for the king’s amusement, or whatever. Say, what?!! I know, right? (*Shrug*) Go figure.
So, new law: no marriages, period. No sanctified unions. No connubial bliss. Nope. None of it. (I mean, what’s the point of having total power, if you can’t be a total dick? Am I right?) So, from here on in, no one is getting married. No one, no way, no how! And no, ‘King’s X’!
So, needless to say, in very short order, every Roman man-jack of them is pissed off and horny, and ready to (I’ve waited a ‘lifetime’ to resurrect this line), “Crush! Kill! Destroy!!” A perfect state for a perfect union, ñ’es pas? Indubitably. In fact, ((*sniff!!*)) I’m getting all verklempt, just thinking about it.
As it happens (spoiler alert), there was a certain Roman priest, a dissenter, who, believing in the inviolability of the institution of marriage, was defying the king’s decree (drumroll, please) by performing illegal marriages. (God, ‘trumping’ the king’s wishes, so to speak, was his thinking, I guess, being God, and all, and all, like that.)
So, it followed, that on February 14 (sometime between 269 A.D. and 278 A.D.), on the orders of the king (oh, and for ‘breaking’ the ‘law of the land’), the recalcitrant priest was unceremoniously sentenced to death: a gruesome three part execution, of a beating, a stoning, and finally a decapitation (Yuck!), all because of his unwavering stand on marriage.
His name was Valentine. Yes, that one. That’s, ‘Saint V’, to you and me. Put that in your Whitman’s Sampler, and smoke it. I’ll support you, in that. Yep, that’s me, ever the traditionalist. You can even borrow my lighter.
Now, by all means, feel free to be romantic, that is, if you’ve still got the stomach for it. And why not, eh? It’s on St. V’s nickel. I say, go for it.
~ Tim Burchfield
2/13/17 (revised)

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• no, seriously •

People crack me up.
No matter how, ‘unfunny’, they are,
still, they amuse me.
Primarily, (I think)
it’s because
they take themselves…
so seriously.
There’s a, ‘disparity’, you see?
No? Well, in time, you will.
(And you will laugh, uproariously,
and, those present, will share,
meaningful glances,
and, ‘up’, your, ‘drip’.)
Not to worry, it’s all good.
No, seriously.
~ Tim Burchfield
2/8/17

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• in theory •

Self-aggrandizement, deflection of responsibility, blame shifting, obfuscation, and chronic obscurantism are classic symptoms of a narcissistic personality disorder. A man (in fairness, all things being equal, this could just as easily be a woman – no, really) with this condition is frequently hampered in situations involving – and, too often, to one degree or another, is found to be completely incapable of – compassion, empathy, emotional stability, consistency of thought or sustained and rational problem solving. Paranoia is almost always an accompanying presentation. Further, given sufficient power and authority, such a person is capable of any forced action, of rationalizing persecutions upon ‘outed’ groups, of deliberately undermining essential infrastructure, and/or any number of established policies, in addition to an unswerving willingness to commit any injustice or atrocity deemed ‘necessary’, all, without any self-doubt, or debilitating ‘pangs’ of conscience.
Now, if a people were to find themselves ‘ruled’, by such an individual, it might well be very worrying indeed. Of course, one could only hope, then, that the ‘checks and balances’ built into a form of governance by the wisdom of a thoughtful group of far-sighted ‘Founding Fathers’ would, be, in theory, at least, sufficient to save (said nation) from the clear and present danger afforded by such an appalling predicament. Would it not then be for these faithful to remain hopeful that the commitment, strengths, and courage of a competent, diligent, and united ,’We the People’, would sustain them through to a positive outcome? In such a case, I would, most definitely, unequivocally be, and, most of all, theoretically, thereafter, remain in their ‘corner’, to my dying day.
Whew! That was a close one.
Kinda scary, I’d say.
Good thing this is all, ‘theoretical’, eh?
~ Tim Burchfield
2/7/17

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• the bright side •

‘You know what’s fun, a relief,
and a delectable dearth of confusion?
Saying to yourself,
“I’m feeling wonderfully positive, today, that, in the end,
everything is gonna turn out okay!”
And knowing, without a shadow of a doubt,
unequivocally, irrevocably,
that it’s a complete and utter delusion.
~ Tim Burchfield
2/6/17

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