Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Now they call me Three Finger Joe

Get a load of this when you have the time. It's a little over twenty minutes.

I saw it earlier in the eventing at a live broadcast of Rifftrax, one where they brought back a lot of old MST3K people, including Joel a couple of times.

Anyway, this safety film is a rich target being the three G's: goofy, gory, and grim. But it's kind of artful as well. The shots are well centered. The guy playing the foreman, at least, is a natural. As it turns out the film was made by Herk Harvey, the director of the cult classic Carnival of Souls. Which makes you wonder about the metaphysics of this construction site.

Sunday, June 26, 2016

toothy 2: literary edition

I'm entering the homestretch now on Zadie Smith's White Teeth. No sense in me running down the plot, because it's not really that kind of book, although assuredly things do happen. Best way to sum it up is that it's a multi-decade, intergenerational story based around two families in London. One is Bangladeshi and Muslim. The other is the product of an old-fashioned Englishman and his much younger Jamaican wife.

While the book is set in the late twentieth century, it feels a lot like a nineteenth century novel in many ways. Smith's narrator has the tones of a wise pub storyteller, like those of Dickens and Thackeray, rather than the detached third person of modernist fiction.

One thing I like about it is that everyone is wrong, in their own way. The character you sympathize with the most will simply be the one whose wrongness you're best able to tolerate. For me it's probably the Bengal matriarch Alsana, but if you read it you could pick someone else.

Friday, June 24, 2016

Nun but the lonely heart

Well, I thought spoiler-filled movie trailers were a recent scourge, but apparently they've been around a few decades.

Kerr is sent to the Himalayas - possibly India,, as Calcutta seems to be the nearest postal site - to oversee a convent. There's inappropriate sexual tension between several of the nuns, including Kerr, and the local British handyman/translator. Somebody goes psycho, as you might guess from the above.

There are plenty of places you could take offense at this film. In fact it seems never to have met a cultural or gender stereotype it didn't like. But you'd be missing the point. This movie is batshit insane! Just giving into the sensual experience is the best way to appreciate it. It's a massive head trip.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

The great divorce

I don't have a vote in it, for obvious reasons, but I'd say that Eno and Harry Potter's mum are right and Basil Fawlty is wrong. In this case.

There are things to dislike about the EU, such as its one size fits all monetary policy. But the UK has been pretty lucky overall. It hasn't been through a harrowing audit like Greece. The Brits have even been able to keep their pre-EU currency. On the whole they'd probably take a serious economic hit if they left, a possibility most Brexit supporters don't really seem prepared for.

Beyond that, the pro-Leave coalition just makes me queasy. The man who killed Jo Cox wasn't representative, but that doesn't mean he isn't symptomatic. It seems to have been a fairly racist campaign. The most powerful advocates of this side are against immigration. They're also probably against a lot of other things that make British life better.

Monday, June 20, 2016


Flossing your teeth at the end of the day gives you time to relax and think. Granted, most of what you think will be, "Hey, look what gross thing I just found," but it's better than nothing.

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Queen Watch: "The Adventure of the Sunday Punch"

The world recently lost Muhammad Ali, a man much of the country feared when he was at the height of his powers and on his way to prison for refusal of the draft. This may have been the knockdown of his lifetime, but he rose again, and it's often forgotten that he wasn't universally beloved back then. He was, however, undeniably significant. A picture I've only seen once or twice, but which has stayed with me, shows my grandmother's younger brother, who did some sports reporting in England, speaking agog to the champ.

While survivors from this episode's time period - 1947 - undoubtedly think we've gotten softer since then, and are in many senses right, boxing and related bloodsports have remained big. And it's been a favorite background in crime fiction and film as well, often in the context of fixing. Marvel's noir superhero Daredevil - he of the unloved Ben Affleck movie and subsequent Netflix series - was created a half century ago with part of the premise being that Matt Murdock's father had been murdered for refusing to throw a fight.

Thursday, June 16, 2016


Rain Keeps Falling from Chris Smith on Vimeo.

Why did this catch my sustained attention? Maybe because, while the days aren't getting that hot, the nights aren't really cooling down anymore. So rain feels like it should happen too. And this clip feels nice and meditative.