Thursday, December 23, 2010

Belief Willingly Put Into Suspension

A heterogeneous mixture in which solute-like particles settle out of solvent-like phase some time after their introduction.

Yesterday morning, I opened my newspaper to find a dream nearly smashed.  Fortunately, the author insisted it had been so.  Thus, despite the valiant attempts of the fact checkers, the dream remains.  

Around here, Jean Shepherd's A Christmas Story has become legend.  Yes, TBS runs the marathon on Christmas.  It's part of the culture now, so I'm thinking most of you know what I'm talking about.  But Shepherd hailed from the base of the lake, that area in Indiana where smelters used to light the night sky in a way that could be seen for long, long distances.  In his myth, he cobbled together a place that took a department store from Cleveland (Higbee's) and a department store window experience from Chicago (Marshall Field's) and put them in Santa's lap in a small town in Indiana.  With a "Red Ryder carbine action two hundred range shot and [here is the key] a compass in the stock and a thing which tells time."

My paper (The Chicago Tribune, a real live something in my hand, though some would say is also now a myth) informs me there was no such thing.  That when the production staff called Daisy, asking for a few models to use on set, Daisy tried to inform them there was not and never had been such a model.  Though another company once offered one.  The author, Jean Shepherd, insisted YES, there had been such a thing.  Daisy consented to create one for purposes of the magic of movies.  

And because Jean Shepherd insisted it was so, a gazillion people now know that in the Ralphie era, one could put one's eye out with a BB gun that said "Red Ryder" and located you in space and time.

Or, to put it another way, an author and the cinema once again successfully adjusted space and time.

Except for my father, who when he first saw that movie laughed his way through, but when it was over, said "I'm pretty sure the gun he asked for was really a Buck Rogers."*

(*see, what I heard; the Trib story tells me that what he probably said was "Buck Jones.")

Without an intervening structure, all of wheel's vertical energy is transferred to the frame, which moves in the same direction. In such a situation, the wheels can lose contact with the road completely. Then, under the downward force of gravity, the wheels can slam back into the road surface. What you need is a system that will absorb the energy of the vertically accelerated wheel, allowing the frame and body to ride undisturbed while the wheels follow bumps in the road.

My mother hated going to movies with my Grandfather.  Because my mother would be feeling imperiled by, say, passengers on a ship being tossed about in a storm, and my grandfather would start chuckling.  Because he was seeing clearly how the model was being worked.  Soon enough, he didn't need to say anything; his process was understood.  And understanding what was going on with him completely took her out of the movie.

Take the suspension out of a Cadillac and you get tossed from a pillow on a cloud to a few tons of steel crashing down into every bump and fissure in the road, with some question whether or not you'll be able to keep your land yacht pointed straight ahead.

There is an art to putting the facts in the right way, so that those who need them don't get their suspensions shaken...while those who would be interrupted by them are not shaken, either.

The particles in suspensions are larger than those found in solutions.  Components of a suspension can be evenly distributed by a mechanical means, like by shaking the contents, but the components will settle out.

We are nearly to the apex of one of the most willingly suspended times of year when it comes to belief.  A fat men puts his finger alongside his nose and immediately ascends and descends a chimney, about a bajillion times in one night.  A child, conceived without the typical introductions that lead to a zygote, is born.  Though days have clearly been getting shorter, we trust things will turn around and they will start to lengthen once more.

One spritz of No. 19 will successfully lead you through battle in the boardroom.  One of No. 5 on your bare skin is all you need to wear at night.

Personally, I am all about the magic.  Which sometimes surprises people, because I know, I'm a skeptic.  I like to pull things apart.  Heck, I spent a number of years with editors and foley artists and thespians and gels creating the storms at sea.  I know what what goes into the sausage.

Facts.  Work.  Perspective.

And magic.

That willing suspension of disbelief for the moment, which constitutes poetic faith.

 - Samuel Taylor Coleridge

Night sky, Isle Royale
(possible tapestry of curse words hanging over the lake?)
Tall Boy Adventures


Rose said...

I believe in a little bit of magic too myself- or suspending belief enough- maybe the magic comes from the kind of people who want to believe, I don't know- but this time of year is certainly magical.

Have a very happy Christmas and I hope 2011 is magic all year long

ScentScelf said...

Wishing you the best of magic also, Rose.

Lucy said...

That photo is a stunner. All those points of light, or dots, have a thing for dots of all kinds. Beautiful post! You always surprise and delight. I look forward to much more in the coming year.

ScentScelf said...

They really are something, aren't they, hanging there right above/impossibly beyond? It's a sight like this that is the embodiment of "firmament" for me.

Thank you for the kind words. I look forward to you joining me in the new year!

Vanessa said...

What an interesting story! I've seen smelters in Toledo create that sort of illuminated sky effect, so I can picture the scene. When the IRA blew up a gasometer in Belfast in the 70s, we all rushed out into the street to see the night sky transformed into a false dawn. One or two people fell to their knees and started to pray, thinking it was the end of the world!

And I am glad to hear that you still believe in magic, despite knowing what goes in the sausage. I have a good idea, but have managed to avoid discovering the full horror. : - )

ScentScelf said...

Your Toledo scene would have been the same, as you know; smelting next to the lake. Another Great Lake, at that...but the one that died. And came back. But I digress....

Belfast? [pauses, considers Ireland {there's quite a pause}, comes back to Belfast, chuckles again at the drop to the knees in prayer, withholds religious quip...then readies to drop another...} Ah, the '70's. When Jameson and Bushmills were still separately Irish, and not united under France.

There is so much story in those images I am lost. But thank you for that; it's not as if it's not a trend, or not pleasant. ;)

As for the sausage...there is indeed an element of horror. But hey, once "on the inside," there is also a chance of influencing the recipe. A key, I suppose, would be to use your tripe for good and not evil.


Bloody Frida said...

The house where they filmed that movie is on display here in Cleveland though I haven't visited it yet. I love his short stories!

I really need some No. 19

ScentScelf said...

BF, I remember reading about some issues with the neighbors when the guy first tried to open the house to the public? His short stories are fun indeed; last week, I posted a link on my FB page to an interesting article by Don Fagen about growing up listening to Shepherd's radio program.

Yes, you DO need some No. 19. :)