Saturday, August 30, 2014

Jingly Saturday Random Ten

Tonight I watched the first couple of episodes from season 2 of Mad Men.  I can see why some aren't into it but there's a strong appeal.  Part of it is the compelling figure of Don, who wants to do the right thing even as he frequently doesn't.  There's also a nostalgia for a time when you could tell your secretary "I've been wanting to see that Valentine heart" because she's got a nice ass.  For some reason that one doesn't appeal as much to women.

There's a deeper nostalgia, though.  In the houses and offices, you can see what was still a thriving middle class, with jobs in general being more secure.  Advertising and spin did very well as the cherry on top.  Now they're supposed to be the whole sundae, which doesn't work as well.

1. Benny Spellman - Fortune Teller
2. Reading Rainbow - Animals Take Control of Me
3. Beasties Boys - Crawlspace
4. Broadcast - Subject to the Ladder
5. The Band - I Shall be Released
6. Diana Krall - So Nice
7. New Order - Blue Monday
8. Lower Dens - Propagation
9. Dirty Projectors - The Bride
10. Heidi Bruhl - Sieh Mal An

Friday, August 29, 2014


Today I...

Had to do a couple of items of business at my local library branch.  They close a little ahead of six on Fridays.  Friday was the deadline because the branch will be closed on Saturday and Monday, due to the holiday, and is always closed Sunday.

So I had to be there earlier than I would have had the chance to normally.  Got around this by eating lucnh at my desk.Finally I did make that trip and picked up what I needed to pick up, as well as some other stuff.

And I solved today's crossword, despite being at the groggy state of the night.  So, happy Labor Day to all, where applicable

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Serenity prayer, breakfast edition

God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, pancakes, syrup, and coffee.

I'll be back on the blog with something more substantial Friday night, I think.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

A colorful, dangerous world

In my optical wanderings (not as unhealthy as it might sound) I've found a lot to like about Simone Haack, a German painter, and a fairly young one.

She's good at faces and figures.This is highly expressive, fever dream stuff.  She might bear a heavy heritage from the Dutch Baroque artists.  Frans Hals seems like he could recognize her as one of his own.

The color work in this collections bears a starkness that could almost be black and white.  If that makes any sense.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Samaritan Saturday Random Ten

A waitress asked me today if I was feeling better.  The last time I was in the restaurant I was definitely under the weather.  She noticed that time and remembered this time.  This would be worthy of praise even if - especially if? - I was still/again sick as a dog.

1. Lambert, Hendricks & Ross - Moanin'
2. Heidi Bruhl - Chico Chico Charlie
3. The Band - To Kingdom Come
4. Dave Van Ronk - Brian O'Lynne
5. Elton John - Love Song
6, Neko Case - The Needle Has Landed
7. New Order - 5 8 6
8. The Beastie Boys - All Lifestyles
9. Diana Krall - Walk On By
10. Brian Eno - Becalmed

interesting oater alert

Westerns, or at least new Westerns, have been out of favor for some time.  Occasionally they still happen to get made, though.  An unusual and fascinating recent example of the form is Kelly Reichardt's Meek's Cutoff

The film is set on the Oregon trail migration and follows a wagon train making its way through the mountains.  The first five minutes or so elapse with no dialogue and no music.  When people do start speaking it's presented naturalistically and it might take some time to tune in.  I can honestly tell you that there are some exchanges where I don't know what people said.  Partly because I was eating, but also partly because Reichardt and scriptwriter Jonathan Raymond care more about you understanding the characters than every word they say.

The wagon train is guided by Stephen Meek, played in a bird's nest beard and an impressively resonant growl by Bruce Greenwood.  Meek comes off as something of a braggart, a man given to embellishing his past deeds beyond recognition, but he's never exposed as a coward.  He is revealed, or at least suspected, as a poor guide.  His route takes the settlers off-track and into Cayuse territory.  Here they take a lone Cayuse aboard, one who speaks no English.

Meek distrusts the Cayuse, and immediately wants to kill him.  The others, including heroine Emily Tetherow (Michelle Williams) entrust the Cayuse with helping them find water.  It's a tentative trust, however.

Who's right?  It's a mild spoiler to tell you that we never find out.  Meek, in his loating of the Cayuse as a tribe, repeatedly bring up their purported slave trading.  Given that the movie is set around 1845, that doesn't give Meek and America much of a leg to stand on.  The Cayuse himself, played by veteran stuntman Rod Rondeau, does seem shifty at times.  Other times he looks to be as lost in his own way as anyone.

The film places us on one side of a cultural divide, the side that you'd expect, really.  But it acknowledges that divide, up close.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Clean bills of health

And we're back.

I've had a bit of a tech crisis here, whcih is the reason I've been out for a couple of days.  A surprisingly unsubtle malware took over my laptop, and I had to find a way to get rid of it.

This interrrupted the telling of my most recent visit to the dental hygienist.  Almost complete lack of pain, which potentially could be a bad thing but wasn't.  My teeth and gums look great , apparently.  And I have above average saliva production, which is good if weired.