21 January 2020

Habit-forming 20s

There is an adage that it takes 21 days to develop a habit (or to break one). I have no idea if that's true, but I do feel a certain sense of accomplishment in completing 21 posts in 21 days...especially since I haven't written that many over the last few years. I am taking my inspiration from the daily list of historical tweets generated by On This Day and that is helpful in terms of both being reflective and developing something to share. My one complaint is that whatever time zone the bot is in, I get a mix of tweets tagged for the current and previous day. They all fall within a 24-hour period...but I am bummed that some of the ones I've most wanted to pick for a given day haven't shown up until the next day. I'm not sure what to do about that. Part of me wants to stick with ensuring tweets match a given day...part of me wants to just adjust and pick from whatever list is generated. There are two ways around this, of course. One would be to delay writing these for 24 hours. As it is now, I write them the evening before to post the morning of. Another would be to go into my settings and request my full Twitter archive...then just sort by date and find the tweet du jour.

We will also see how much I need to stick to these prompts. There may be some other things to share along the way as I teach my first university course (starting next week) and coordinate a large-scale project between now and the end of April.

But today, I am smiling while I remember this (including the autocarrot my phone made in terms of Buster Keaton's name):


I admit that I am not the biggest fan of silent movies. Maybe I just need to develop an appreciation for them, as I have done for films from the '30s forward. But I do have a few favourites from the silent era. The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (which will be 100 years old this year) is a story I can never look away from. Alfred Hitchcock's first film from 1927, The Lodger, is riveting. I will always stop what I'm doing to watch Lillian Gish's performance in The Wind (1928). And, of course, I can't resist Rudolph Valentino in The Sheik (1921).

But it is always Buster Keaton who I admire the most. The films are so very clever—stories well-told and the stunts are second-to-none. I enjoyed seeing Sherlock, Jr. (1924) for the first time last year. And The General (1926) is far and away the very best of his...in my opinion. But the tweet above references what might be his best known performance as Steamboat Bill, Jr. (1928). Fast-paced and full of the human experience, from familial bonds to forbidden love to home, I never cease to see new wonders. Getting to see it on the big screen with an audience and live accompaniment was a fantastic experience. I hope these films continue to be appreciated over the next 100 years.

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