Monday, December 29, 2014
Saturday, December 27, 2014
In his biography, The Authentic Life of Billy the Kid, Pat Garrett gave the Kid a bad temper to make him seem more dangerous, so readers would think Garrett more heroic for going after such a dangerous outlaw. Of course, dime novelists ran with this idea, and therefore created the myth.
Not sure I entirely believe the Kid being easygoing all the time. His friends may have been biased. But always look out for people puffing the truth up to be bigshots.
1. Ladytron - Re: Agents
2. Patsy Cline - Crazy
3. Elvis Costello & the Attractions - Little Triggers
4. Gogol Bordello - Underdog World Strike
5. Imperial Teen - Hanging About
6. Camper Van Beethoven - Northern California Girls
7. Tito Puente - Lush Life
8. The Beautiful South - Girlfriend
9. David Bowie - Up the Hill Backwards
10. Diana Krall - Do It Again
Friday, December 26, 2014
Had a decently productive night. At a coffee shop I deleted a few paragraphs that weren't working, wrote another paragraph, and got kicked out. The coffee shop was supposed to be open another hour and a half and change, though I was only going to be there for fifteen minutes or so. It was a slow night, though, and the barista got antsy. The perils of writing in public places. Well, some public places. But anyway, I got some more stuff done after I got home. Hope to have it in shape to show my writing group in the near future.
Thursday, December 25, 2014
This is, of course, a very tuneful Yuletide carol. For whatever reason you usually hear it with different lyrics. Has something to do with rights issues, or being driven to madness or something.
On anohter note... Well, on a lot of other notes, really. All of them awesome. (Thanks to Roy at alicublog.blogspot.com for letting me know about this one.)
Monday, December 22, 2014
You know what's just plain depressing without any compensating virtues? When at the end of a landmark nightmare year for race relations and police accountability in America, you hear noises emanating from behind Rudy Giuliani's joke shop teeth. The man became mayor of the nation's biggest city on the back of David Dinkins being punished for being black during a time when black New Yorkers were rioting. That pretty much set the tone, as Rudy petulantly hid from civil rights groups and shamed citizens for getting shot by police. Towards the end of his reign he became America's Mayor for guiding the city through the 9/11 attacks without saying anything stupid (at least by the standards used while Dubya was president.) Then a few years later he was a figurehead for the semi-official bullying of Sufi Muslims' Park51 project. In short, just about every stage of his political career has been a clumsy exercise in racial divide-and-conquer. So when heyaks about what causes police killings after minimizing when it goes the other way, believe me, I listen with bated breath.
Saturday, December 20, 2014
In other news, I learned that talking to people sometimes leads somewhere good. Although other times it just makes me want to remove my own head.
1. David Bowie - Fashion
2. Nancy Wilson & Cannonball Adderley - The Masquerade Is Over
3. Heidi Bruhl - Geh Nicht Fort
4. Tom Waits - Christmas Card from a Hooker in Minneapolis
5. Gogol Bordello - Mishto
6. Alice Cooper - Black Juju
7. Imperial Teen - Out from Inside
8. Fleetwood Mac - That's All for Everyone
9. Dave Van Ronk - Come Back Baby
10. Nat King Cole - (I Love You) For Sentimental Reasons
Thursday, December 18, 2014
Tuesday, December 16, 2014
Assume respondents heard the question or misunderstood it. They had to think it meant something else, right?
A second, somewhat better way to deal with it:
Reflect on the possibility that Joe Strummer saw something like this in his day.
We've been told, to keep the strangers out
We don't like them, starting to hang around
We don't like them all over town
Across the wrold we're gonna blow them down.
Mistrust a group enough and you can buy cruelty toward them as heroic.
Sunday, December 14, 2014
The Invention from Eloise White on Vimeo.
Friday, December 12, 2014
1. Fleetwood Mac - Angel
2. Gogol Bordello - Underdog World Strike
3. Camper Van Beethoven - La Costa Perdida
4. Elton John - Burn Down the Mission
5. Elvis Costello & the Attractions - Pump It Up
6. Sly & the Family Stone - Spaced Cowboy
7. Ladytron - Flicking Your Switch
8. Alice Cooper - Sun Arise
9. Imperial Teen - Over His Head
10. Mose Allison - Just Like Livin'
Thursday, December 11, 2014
I'm sure there's some gentlemen's club sexism in this. Damaris Tighe, the chief female character, seems created to prove that female intellectuals are more susceptible to arrogance and tunnel vision. This despite Williams being in the same social circle as Dorothy Sayers. (He was also in the Inklings with Tolkien and CS Lewis.)
But you know what? That's all front loaded. You quickly find out about it, then you either go on reading or you don't. I find the book pretty interesting.
Tuesday, December 9, 2014
Sunday, December 7, 2014
Artworks and art-like works have been found at Neanderthal sites, but when in doubt paleoanthropologists have tended to credit the work to modern homo sapiens regardless. A painting found on Gibraltar may help to make the case for symbolic thinking in Neanderthals, but this homo erectus artifact could change the whole ground of the argument. If the roots of art, or at least the thinking that can lead to it, were present in our common ancestor, then it almost certainly found expression in both races, and probably others besides.
Also homo erectus won't just be known anymore as targets for boner jokes.
Friday, December 5, 2014
1. Diana Krall - Let's Fall In Love
2. Camper Van Beethoven - Summer Days
3. Metric - The Void
4. Dave Van Ronk - Sprig of Thyme
5. Tito Puente - Mambo Diablo
6. Gogol Bordello - 60 Revolutions
7. Ladytron - Beauty 2
8. Alice Cooper - I'm Eighteen
9. Aly & the Family Stone - Runnin' Away
10. New Pornographers - Fantasy Fools
Tuesday, December 2, 2014
Thing to love about Wall of Voodoo: Timbales, baby! Not really in much use outside of Latin, jazz, and Latin jazz, but you kind of need them for a song called "Mexican Radio".
Thing to love about this video: Stan Ridgway's suit. It sort of fits. Has a definite "most affordable suit at the Salvation Army" quality. Keep it real, Stan.
Sunday, November 30, 2014
Saturday, November 29, 2014
1. Paul Simon - Everything About It Is a Love Song
2. Elvis Costello & the Attractions - (I Don't Want to Go to) Chelsea
3. Amy Winehouse - What Is It About Men
4. Tom Waits - Red Shoes by the Drugstore
5. Fleetwood Mac - That's Enough for Me
6. Imperial Teen - The Hibernates
7. Nancy Wilson & Cannonball Adderley - The Old Country
8. Dave Van Ronk - Cruel Ship's Captain
9. Metric - Dreams So Real
10. Nellie McKay - There You Are In Me
Friday, November 28, 2014
Tuesday, November 25, 2014
Sunday, November 23, 2014
Oh man, zero for three! None of those novels exist. Blade Runner, as you know, was based on Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep. Total Recall was based on the short story "We Can Remember It for You Wholesale". The source for Minority Report is indeed called "Minority Report", but again, it's a short story. Maybe this doesn't have much impact on the central subject of the article, but so much could have been avoided with just a little basic research.
And here's something about H. P. Lovecraft that's kind of interesting.It deals with Lovecraft's racism, which some secondary fans - those who mainly know his work through movie adaptations and themed board games - might be unaware of, but that's hard to ignore when you read him.
He wasn't a lower class bigot, and it wasn't a prolish kind of bigotry. Reading reference books from the early twentieth century you can see how the ruling class, to which the Lovecrafts belonged until they didn't, was trained to believe in their own innate superiority and wield it over lower orders. At some level Lovecraft came to realize that he didn't have the skill set to be one of the masters of the universe, and that even his chosen field would only yield a meager living. This might be part of the reason he clung so jealously to ideologies that were already being discredited.
Of course Anglo-Saxons aren't innately superior to anybody. And Lovecraft wasn't the failure he probably thought himself to be in darker moments. To believe either of these things, much less both, is tragically misguided. But the effects on his work were interesting.
Friday, November 21, 2014
Happy Birthday to the best mother a boy could ask for. somehow that led to the thought above.
1. Gogol Bordello - I Would Never Wanna Be Young Again
2. New Pornographers - Dancehall Domine
3. Diana Krall - Why Should I Care
4. Sly & the Family Stone - Time
5. St. Vincent - Huey Newton
6, Nat King Cole - Mona Lisa
7. Tom Waits - Christmas Card from a Hooker In Minneapolis
8. Metric - The Void
9. Camper Van Beethoven - Too High for the Love-In
10. Fleetwood Mac - Ledge
Thursday, November 20, 2014
Tuesday, November 18, 2014
With Detroit putting the hurt on its citizens and giving more leeway to tourist oriented businesses that could potentially be operating in a featureless void, you have to wonder. Does the city want to pull up roots and cease to be? Do they consider Robocop to be aspirational?
For some reason this video of Kate Beaton reading her Hark, a Vagrant! comics aloud feels apt.
Saturday, November 15, 2014
1. Elvis Costello & the Attractions - (I Don't Want to Go to) Chelsea
2. The New Pornographers - Spyder
3. Heidi Bruhl - Luna Lunalu, Lieber Mond
4. Amy Winehouse - What Is It About Men
5. Fleetwood Mac - That's All for Everyone
6. Fats Domino - My Girl Josephine
7. Imperial Teen - Out from Inside
8. Gogol Bordello - Not a Crime
9. Tom Waits - A Sweet Little Bullet From a Pretty Blue Gun
10. Nancy Wilson & Cannonball Adderley - Little Unhappy Boy
Friday, November 14, 2014
This will be a Saturday Random Ten week. I forgot about the FR10 last night and today, more or less. There was slightly more than usual to keep track of, albeit not really in a bad way.
In the meantime, here's something kind of cool. A commenter posted this over at Alicublog in a thread about great cover versions. I'd say it qualifies.
Thursday, November 13, 2014
I have no plans for that at the moment. I can be plenty fragmentaty here, but, well, that's just a style.
Tuesday, November 11, 2014
... to talk about Doctor Who.
As of recently I've seen all of series eight, made up of the following episodes.
"Into the Dalek"
"Robot of Sherwood"
"Kill the Moon"
"Mummy on the Orient Express"
"In the Forest of the Night"
"Death in Heaven"*
This is a very good slate, overall. Some of it is better than others, but none lack at least an identifiable good idea.
If there's a flaw to this series it might be trying too hard for the big statement. Both of Capaldi's immediate successors had an episode based on a deconstruction of their characters, an enemy from within rather than without: David Tennant in "Midnight" and Matt Smith in "The Girl Who Waited." Capaldi is faced with at least three of these just in his first season. "Listen", "The Caretaker" and "Kill the Moon" are all statement episodes along those lines, psychoanalyzing the new Doctor, Clara and her boyfriend/Doctor skeptic Danny. Maybe "In the Forest of the Night" too.
Since thsi could be a little overwhelming in the aggregate, "Mummy" (pictured above) kind of became my favorite. There's a little self criticism in this one too, which is healthy. But it takes place in the context of an entertainingly insane story set on a space train, with 20s period costuming and a mocking computer as well as the mummy. A full meal, in other words.
The two-part series finale - for those wondering, series means season in the UK - is a very close second. This is the story in which writer/producer Steven Moffat SPOILER brings back the Master SPOILER BONUS as a woman. Since this establishes the changing of sexes among Time Lords as a thing that actually happens as opposed to a mere theoretical possibility, it clearly sets up the Doctor himself to become a herself down the line. And while body changing has been a constant on the show since 1966, a huge number of Doctor Who fans regard a woman Doctor as the Great Hell No.
For this reason, Moffat had to up his game and tell the best story possible around this idea. He pretty much succeeds. Since the story begins with Danny dying and getting sent to an afterlife of a sort while the Doctor and a stricken Clara follow him, it puts the characters through the wringer and kind of leaves them there. On the way is some inventive action and spookiness. As "Missy", Michelle Gomez makes a frightening and charming villain.
Okay, so that was long but it was kind of fun to write.
Sunday, November 9, 2014
Owls are fascinating creatures. Those massive eyes of theirs and the ability to turn their heads all the way make them highly effective predators. Apparently they have a playful side too.
The second video shows this owl's response to the caw of a crow. A visitor from another bird culture, you might say.
When I looked these videos up on YouTube, both were preceded by a brief ad for the upcoming 50 Shades of Grey movie. I'm not sure what to make of that.
Friday, November 7, 2014
The author handles prose pretty well. She's got a vision too, I think, it's just that it wasn't fully realized this time around. So there's a good chance I'll check out what she does in the future.
1. Gogol Bordello - Sally
2. Nellie McKay - Pink Chandelier
3. Imperial Teen - It's You
4. Fats Domino - Valley of Tears
5. Dave Van Ronk - I Buyed Me a Little Dog
6. Tito Puente - Take Five
7. New Pornographers - Wide Eyes
8. Elvis Costello & the Attractions - No Action
9. Broadcast - Corporeal
10. Fleetwood Mac - I Know I'm Not Wrong
Tuesday, November 4, 2014
Words too, This is a passage from Beverly Faye Hugo, a member of the Iñupiaq tribe.
We believe that a whale gives itself to a captain and crew who are worthy people, who have integrity - that is the gift of the whale. Caring for whales, even after you've caught them, is important. They love to be in clean ice cellars. Every January before the whaling season we haul out any leftover food stored there, such as walrus or seal, and we give it away. Then we reline the ice cellar with fresh powder snow. That's the kind of place a whale wants to rest and where it will feel welcome. Cleaning the cellar is one of the traditions.
After a whale is caught and divided up, everyone can glean meat from the bones. Each gets his share, even those who don't belong to a crew. During spring whaling, elderly women wait alongside the trail that leads across the ice back to the village. If they want some part of the whale, they ask for it and will receive it. Elderly people always receive foods like fresh fish, tuttu (caribou), ducks, geese, and even whale. No one is left out.
Certainly I wouldn't want to give a broad-based defense of whaling. There are good reasons why it's frowned on now. Still, the Inuit approach does have a kind of respect and beauty to it. These peoples have also taken jealous care of their resources.
Sunday, November 2, 2014
Leaving me to wonder what it felt like on the east coast of Canada.
Friday, October 31, 2014
1. Lou Rawls - Down Here On the Ground
2. New Order - Your Silent Face
3. Lambert, Hendricks & Ross - Bijou
4. Laurie Anderson - Walking and Falling
5. Metric - Youth Without Youth
6. Saint Vincent - I Prefer Your Love
7. Fleetwood Mac- Tusk
8. Fats Domino - Poor Me
9. The Band - The Weight
10. Diana Krall - Let's Fall In Love
Thursday, October 30, 2014
Wednesday, October 29, 2014
Anyway if you're out there, I hope that you're doing well, and that the blessings of the Halloween season are upon you.
Half The Moon Away from Sophie McPike on Vimeo.
Monday, October 27, 2014
No, I've looked this problem up and they suggest updating some drivers. This is worth a try, I just couldn't do it in the moment.
Saturday, October 25, 2014
Is it just plain easier to give the wrong impression than the right one?
1. Diana Krall - East of the Sun (and West of the Moon)
2. Paul Simon - Sure Don't Feel Like Love
3. Broadcast - America's Boy
4. Benny Spellman - Lipstick Traces (On a Cigarette)
5. Camper Van Beethoven - You Got to Roll
6. Ladytron - Sugar
7. Fleetwood Mac - Ledge
8. New Pornographers - Brill Bruisers
9. Brian Eno - Little Fishes
10. Elvis Costello & the Attractions - You Belong to Me
Thursday, October 23, 2014
Tuesday, October 21, 2014
"Starbucks, this Starbucks has the most fucked up people. I mean, they're all assholes."
Was this gentleman drunk? I kind of hope he had at least that excuse. He was right in front of the counter, and I was further away from him than that and could hear him loud and clear. If you don't have the balls to cuss people out to their face, make an effort to insure that they don't wind up hearing you.
Saturday, October 18, 2014
And just when I was maybe starting to feel sorry for myself, along comes the magic of Guy Debord's Muppets to show me... Well, "hope" seems like the wrong word.
1. Beastie Boys - All Lifestyles
2. Sarah Vaughan - You Hit the Spot
3. New Pornographers - Dancehall Domine
4. Dave Van Ronk - House Carpenter
5. Broadcast - I Found the F
6. R.E.M. - Good Advices
7. St. Vincent - Birth in Reverse
8. Heidi Bruhl - Mister Love
9. Camper Van Beethoven - Someday Our Love Will Sell Us Out
10. Lou Rawls - Love is a Hurtin' Thing
Wednesday, October 15, 2014
Monday, October 13, 2014
One of the reasons I was interested to see the movie was to compare it to the book. I read the book after seeing it on the Shirley Jackson Award shortlist, and found it pretty twisty.
As an adaptation, it's not obsessively close like Roman Polanski did with Rosemary's Baby. It is pretty close, though. I had sort of imagined that Nick Dunne would be played by someone like Ben Affleck, and wouldn't you know, he gets the starring role. Now in the original story Amy is seven years older than Nick. In Hollywood as it is, that's just not going to happen onscreen, sad to say. My educated guess is that Affleck is supposed to be playing younger than his 41-42 years, but not substantially younger than Rosamund Pike's character.
The story could be called feminist or misogynist, I guess. It's not my job to worry about labels like that. Men are largely ineffectual, though. The big villain in the film - not saying who - is a woman. But anything good that comes about also seems to happen because of female effort too. It's possible David Fincher just had an idea such a movie would be fun to watch.
Sunday, October 12, 2014
Fishbone - Sunless Saturday (Live 1991) by greiggy321
Been kind of a sneezy day. What are you gonna do? Keep blogging, I guess.This is Fishbone from Saturday Night Live in 1991. That's Jeremy Irons introducing them. It's the kind of performance that can make you sit up and pay attention, as it did with me. Both times I've seen them live they've kept up an energy level like this.
Friday, October 10, 2014
1. Heidi Bruhl - Sag Mir Leis "Je t'aime"
2. The New Pornographers - Backstairs
3. Laurie Anderson - O Superman (For Massenet)
4. Diana Krall - The Best Thing for You
5. Fleetwood Mac - Never Make Me Cry
6. Nancy Wilson & Cannonball Adderly - The Masquerade Is Over
7. Imperial Teen - Hanging About
8. Nellie McKay - I am Nothing
9. Lou Rawls - Trouble Down Here Below
10. Dave Van Ronk - Silver Dagger
Wednesday, October 8, 2014
This week a guy I work with is out. I have to cover for him, so he can't for me. So I had to wait until evening to do my wash.
Main difference is that the TV shows in the background are (even) more obnoxious. This definitely includes the nightly network news broadcast. Brian Williams may be a cool guy in regular life, I have no way of knowing that. IN the context of the news, he's a useless empty shirt.
Still, I like this laundromat. Hope they don't think I'm blaming them.
Monday, October 6, 2014
Friday, October 3, 2014
1. Fleetwood Mac - Sara
2. Brian Eno - Becalmed
3. Tito Puente - Mambo Diablo
4. The Band - This Wheel's on Fire
5. Metric - Nothing But Time
6. Fats Domino - Jambalaya
7. The Velvet Underground - Lady Godiva's Operation
8. The New Pornographers - Hi-Rise
9. St. Vincent - Psychopath
10. Broadcast - I Found the End
Thursday, October 2, 2014
Tuesday, September 30, 2014
Anyone who knows me could tell you I'd rate The Hudsucker Proxy much, much, MUCH higher than Orr does. Then again the world doesn't seem to share my affection for films in which Tim Robbins plays an amiable goofball. See also the general coldness to Cadillac Man, pretty much my favorite Robin Williams movie.
I'd say he's pretty much right about The Ladykillers, but even that exercises the Coens' skill set. It's just that the original drew its power from making variations on a very basic theme: ruffians trying to get the better of a sweet old lady. So their skill at creating specificity and quirk, usually an asset, drags the premise down this time around.
Saturday, September 27, 2014
I was downtown for part of the night. Happened to be WaterFire night, the second-to-last full lighting of the year. There's some congestion as a result of this too, but it doesn't seem as bad. Or maybe I'm biased because it's colorful.
1. The Band - Chest Fever*
2. Imperial Teen - No Matter What You Say
3. Nellie McKay - Swept Away
4. R.E.M. - Can't Get There from Here
5. Brian Eno - In Dark Trees
6. Beastie Boys - 3 the Hard Way
7. Pink Martini featuring Rufus Wainwright - Kitty Come Home
8. Metric - Artificial Nocturne
9. Fleetwood Mac - Over & Over
10. Earl King - Come On (Pt 1)
* Hudson is God!
Friday, September 26, 2014
Nothing to do with that, but on balance I'm kind of relieved the No's won in the Scottish independence vote. It's been said credibly that it's England pulling the UK to the right at this point while Scotland is the opposite. I look at it from the perspective of Wales. Cambrians must have been saying to Scotland, "Oh no, you're not leaving us alone with them!"
Nothing to do with that, but the home-viewing movie for tonight was La Rupture, a title that's been translated as "The Breech" and "The Break-Up". It's about a young Belgian mother who leaves with her son when her husband attacks her and the boy. Her father-in-law wants to ruin her so that she'll get nothing in the divorce, so he hires the dissolute son of one of his old colleagues to find dirt on her. On no account is he to manufacture evidence, wink wink.
This is the first film I've ever seen directed by Claude Chabrol. A French New Wave figure, he's known to be influenced by Alfred Hitchcock, which I could see. His style is a little reminiscent of Roman Polanski too, but with a different focus. Villains in Polanski films tend to be highly effective. Noah Cross in Chinatown effectively rules the world, never mind his abused daughters. The Satanists in Rosemary's Baby have it all under control too. La Rupture, by contrast, is a tale of evil upper class twits. Operative Paul Thomas does bad shit, and he and his fanservice-gone-wild ladyfriend do some damage. Yet they have an eerie ability to hit everything except their intended target. All goes to the black comedy.
Wednesday, September 24, 2014
Experimotion from La Academia de Animación on Vimeo.
This film is from either Spain or Argentina, I think. La Academia de Animacion seems to have branches in both places.
A stop motion short about experimenting on a book about stop motion is what you could call meta, I guess. In this case it's also pretty great.
Monday, September 22, 2014
Saturday, September 20, 2014
So anyway, last night I watched Seven Psychopaths. It's Martin McDonagh's follow-up to In Bruges, and throughout his stand-in character expresses his ambivalence to making an American counterpart to that movie. So while McDonagh certainly swipes some tricks from both Tarantino and the Coen brothers, he does wind up with something that seems to represent him.
Cast is great, although as one of the characters points out there's not a lot going on for women. That character is played by Christopher Walken, in one of his more soulful parts. Tom Waits shows up for a couple of scenes, doing his delightfully eccentric thing. And Woody Harrelson drives it home as a legitimately scary LA gangster.
So, an appreciable movie.
1. Imperial Teen - Overtaken
2. The Beastie Boys - Hey Fuck You
3. Dirty Projectors - Stillness is the Move
4. St. Vincent - Psychopath
5. New Pornographers - Marching Orders
6. Paul Simon - Once Upon a Time There Was an Ocean
7. Velvet Underground - White Light/White Heat
8. Nancy Wilson & Cannonball Adderley - Little Unhappy Boy
9. Brian Eno - I'll Come Running
10. Diana Krall - Boy from Ipanema
Tuesday, September 16, 2014
It's odd to read a book whose immediate subject relates to art and architecture and see that it has no pictures. It's just something that I think an editor would flag today. My guess is that since Sitwell was writing about Northwestern Europe, and he was writing for Britons of a certain financial standing, he assumed that much of his audience had seen his subjects or soon would.
As a historian, if he meant to be a historian, he fails, staying away from fact almost entirely. And it's hard to ignore the fact that he's something of a snob. But Sitwell makes up for the lack of photographs and plates. He's a great descriptive writer, with a deep feel for the art and buildings he's writing about. Of course he puts so many words on the page, with very little structure, that it's kind of like readng a blog that's been printed in book form with little in the way of editing.
Monday, September 15, 2014
Why was I caught out? Because it hadn't looked at all like rain. There were clouds in the sky but they looked bright and non-threatening. Contrast this with Thursday night, which had dark and ominous clouds and when there was an oppressive moisutre in the air. That night I did take my umbrella when i went out, and we didn't get a drop.
I think the last pages of each chapter have gotten swapped around is what I'm saying.
* (sic)? Maybe a little.
PPS, Got a package in the mail recently, likely to be addressed later. Well, it had an address on it, but you know what I mean.
Friday, September 12, 2014
Should probably think of a better example.
1. St Vincent - Severed Crossed Fingers
2. Cannonball Adderley - I Can't Get Started
3. Brian Eno - Another Green World
4. Pink Martini - Omide Zendegani
5. R.E.M. - Can't Get There from Here
6. Laurie Anderson - Let X=X
7. Elton John - Where to Now St. Peter?
8. Fleetwood Mac - I Know I'm Not Wrong
9. New Pornographers - War on the East Coast
10. Ernie K-Doe - A Certain Girl
Thursday, September 11, 2014
Tuesday, September 9, 2014
Something I like to do every once in awhile is repost a random short film someone's made with a Kinks song as soundtrack. If nothing else it (kind of) rewards their good taste. Anyway, this one is nice. On YouTube it said "a snowy day in Athens" which I guess they mean Georgia? Not known for snow, but life is full of surprises.
I was disappointed but, in this case, not too surprised. The submission guidelines specified that the text of the story were to be embedded in the body of an email. Now there are outlets, I'm sure, that have reason to be paranoid about attachments: viruses and the like. _______ might probably have their reasons. But the truth is that manuscripts just look better in, well, manuscript format. And in the body of an email you lose a lot of that and everything gets squished together.
So, I'll be looking for an alternative in the next couple of days.
Saturday, September 6, 2014
Don't mind the yard signs, though. They're kind of quaint.
1. Diana Krall - Every Time We Say Goodbye
2. Elvis Costello & the Attractions - Watch Your Step
3. Dave Van Ronk - Talking Cancer Blues
4. Lower Dens - Alphabet Song
5. New Pornographers - Champions of Red Wine
6. Amy Winehouse - There Is No Greater Love
7. The Band - The Weight
8. Morphine - Thursday
9. Fats Domino - Poor Me
10. Heidi Bruhl - Wir Wollen Niemals Auseinandergehn
Friday, September 5, 2014
In less annoying news, a coworker of mine I like is getting married. It is, I believe, one of those unions that just became legal in the state. So you can imagine the excitement. Anyway, I'll have to get in touch with her Monday to congratulate her, which I didn't get a chance to do today.
Wednesday, September 3, 2014
Dripped from ChezEddy on Vimeo.
This short animated film is weird and fun. It also couldn't be more French if it were served on a baguette. Sure it's set in New York, but come on.
Not sure where it sits on the digital-analog spectrum. It almost certainly had to involve some programming, but there could have been some pencils involved too.
Monday, September 1, 2014
When I first went out I was wearing jeans. I felt like I should be wearing shorts, though. So I went home and changed. What I had sort of forgotten was that these were thrift shop shorts, and they're a little big for me. Really should have worn a belt with them. When I got home and was climbing the stairs, that was very apparent. Having your pants fall down goes to waste when you're not at a Friar's roast.
Saturday, August 30, 2014
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
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
Tuesday, August 26, 2014
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
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
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
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.
Monday, August 18, 2014
I had her omnibus collection The Story Until Now out from the library recently, and this was one of my favorite stories from it. It's got some very interesting story elements. A premise that operates in a grey area - a twilight zone, if you will - between science and mysticism. A not-too-sympathetic but understandable central figure with a tragic lack of understanding. The story unwinds in a strange, hard-to-predict way.
Sunday, August 17, 2014
Friday, August 15, 2014
1. Paul Simon - I Don't Believe
2. Amy winehouse - Know You Now
3. Lou Rawls - Show Business
4. Brian Eno - Spirits Drifting
5. Elvis Costello & the Attractions - Lovers' Walk
6. Pink Martini - Sway
7. Broadcast - I Found the F
8. Nancy Wilson & Cannonball Adderley - A Sleeping Bee
9. Neko Case - Maybe Sparrow
10. Dave Van Ronk - He Never Came Back
Tuesday, August 12, 2014
Sunday, August 10, 2014
1. Broadcast - Goodbye Girls
2. R.E.M. - Driver 8
3. Beck - Waking Light
4. Paul Simon - How Can You Live In the Northeast?
5. Elton John - My Father's Gun
6. Dave Van Ronk - Stackerlee
7. Tito Puente - Take Five
8. St. Vincent - Bring Me Your Loves
9. Fats Domino - Walking to New Orleans
10. Diana Krall - Quiet Nights
Saturday, August 9, 2014
Last night I watched The Americanization of Emily, which I'd ordered from the library. Actually it turns out that I could have watched the whole thing on YouTube, but hell, why not give my TV set something to do? It was getting bored.
It's an antiwar comedy released in 1964, so while it's sentiments were a little more acceptable to society than they had been, it wasn't really something most people had been thinking about. James Garner is a navy "dog-robber", which is to say the guy who makes sure the admiral is coddled and happy. He's a self-professed coward, and so of course falls into a love affair with Julie Andrews, a widow who buys into the myth of war being noble. It's well cast all around with Melvyn Douglas as the loony admiral and James Coburn as a propaganda officer. His character goes power-mad and has moments of pomposity that kind of play against his cool image.
I'm not sure the movie keeps all the balls in the air, but it is worth seeing.
Thursday, August 7, 2014
Looks like another Saturday Random Ten week. Not that there's anything wrong with that.
Tuesday, August 5, 2014
Self-advocacy doesn't come naturally to me. If I think I'm being overlooked or taken advantage of, I need time to draw up a case and learn the arguments that will bolster it. And no matter how reasonable or even minimal my request is, it always occurs to me that I might be met with a "How dare you?" or a "Fuck you" enforced with a hammer-blow to the head. Of course if that were to actually happen I know it's time to escalate. But the wait makes me nervous.
That said, the occasion that triggered these thoughts resulted tonight in my sending a politely worded email and receiving a polite email and mostly getting what I wanted. So my not being hot-blooded isn't totally a bad thing.
Monday, August 4, 2014
Saturday, August 2, 2014
1. Nellie McKay - The Big One
2. St. Vincent - Prince Johnny
3. Elvis Costello & the Attractions - Shot with His Own Gun
4. The Velvet Underground - Lady Godiva's Operation
5. Lower Dens - Lion in Winter Pt 1
6. Arcade Fire - Here Comes the Nighttime II
7. Mose Allison - Lucky So & So
8. Pink Martini - Sway
9. Fairport Convention - Mr. Lacey
10. Diana Krall - Boy from Ipanema
Friday, August 1, 2014
Guardians of the Galazy is basically two different series in the comics world: one based on the memory of the other and both pretty obscure. Much has been made of how third-string characters like these never being the subject of movies.
Except now the Guardians are? What to make of that? At the Big Two comic book companies, there's tended to be more freedom on titles about minor characters. But if this movie hits, that might be read as proof that there are no minor characters, so the corporate bigwigs might as well micromanage everything. So whether the movie is good, bad or indifferent, creators trying to break in or just maintain their independence within the system might want to root for Guardians of the Galaxy to fail. Or at least to be a perceptual failure like the Daredevil movie with Ben Affleck.
On a very different cinematic front, I watched F for Fake tonight. This was Orson Welles' last film as director, and it's a "documentary" about fakery of different kinds, including a successful art forger and a journalist who seems to have manufactured an interview with Howard Highes. (The journalist, Clifford Irving, is an intimidatingly tall man who almost always has a monkey on his shoulder.) "Documentary" is in quotes because it's obvious that it's going to live up to its name to a large extent, and it's obvious this is supposed to be obvious. One of the first scenes is of men on the street all ogling the same woman, and it could not be more staged. (On the other hand, she was his real life girlfriend, so that counts for something.)
The movie doesn't entirely cohere, but Welles' voice and skill as a raconteur carry it through.
Wednesday, July 30, 2014
He was found guilty then of assaulting a female student by grabbing her while she tried to board a school bus. That same year, he faced charges for using false information to buy an “AK-47 type weapon,” according to a police report.Then:
Kibby later protested the bail conditions in a court filing, saying his firearms were “of immense equitable value” and that he was not a threat because he lived by an “objectivist libertarian moral code.”I wouldn't say that Kibby is representative of people who call themselves libertarians, but he is illustrative of the fact that the word "libertarian" need not mean much of anything. The most meaningful definition of freedom allows for it to be compatible with the same amount of freedom for all others. It obviously does not support depriving others - specifically women and young girls - of their most basic rights. And yet Kibby thinks he's for freedom. None so blind.
Tuesday, July 29, 2014
Near the dentist's office is a restaurant. Well, it's not a restaurant now. And that's the thing. This location has been on-and-off for years, with different names and different owners. I've had breakfast or lunch in it a few times. One of these times was long enough ago for there to be ashtrays on the table. The most recent guise for this place was Latin themed. Makes sense, as its a Latin neighborhood, in the main, with a lot of recent immigrants from Central America. But still it only lasted a few months.
The thing is, I've seen economically depressed neighborhoods. I've lived in them. I wouldn't really call this neighborhood depressed. A lot of places do seem to do good business. But whoever occupies this storefront always seems to draw the short straw.
Sunday, July 27, 2014
The Associate Professor Delivers an Exhortation to His Failing Students
Now when the frogs
that gave their lives for nothing
are washed from the brains and pans
we laid them in
I leave to you
who most excusably misunderstood
the margins of my talks
which because I am wise
and am a coward
were not appended to the syllabus
but I will fail to tell you
what I tell you
even before you fail to understand
so we might
in a manner of speaking
go down together.
I should have told you something of improtance
to give at least a meaning
to the letter:
how, after hope, it sometimes happens
a girl, anonymous as beer,
telling forgotten things in a cheap bar
how she could have taught here as well as I.
The day I talked about the conduction of currents
I meant to say
be careful about getting hung up in the brain's things
that send you screaming like madmen through the town
or make you
like the man in front of the Jungle
that preaches on Saturday afternoons
The day I lectured on adrenalin
I meant to tell you
as you were coming down
slowly out of the hills of certainty
empty your mind of the hopes that held you there.
Make a catechism of all your fears
and say it over:
this is the most of you ... who knows ... the best
where God was born
and heaven and confession
and half of love
From the fear of falling
and being flushed away
to the gulp of the suckhole and that rusting gut
from which no Jonah comes
that there is no Jesus and no hell
square root of something equal to all
will not feel the imbalance when you fall
that rotting you will lie unbelievably alone
to be sucked up by some insignificant oak
as a child draws milk through straws
to be his bone.
These are the gravity that holds us together
toward our common sun
every hope getting out of hand
slings us hopelessly outward one by one
till all that kept us common is undone.
The day you took the test
I would have told you this:
that you had no time to listen for questions
hunting out the answers in your files
is surely the kind of irony
poems are made of
that all the answers at best are less than half
and you would have remembered
who hung around with God or the devil for days
and nobody asked him
But if they do
If one Sunday morning they should ask you
the only thing that matters after all
tell them the only thing you know is true
tell them failing is an act of love
it is the commonality within
how failing together we shall finally pass
how to pomp and circumstance all of a class
nobel of eye, blind mares between our knees,
lances ready, we ride to Hercules.
The day I said this had I meant to hope
some impossible punk on a cold slope
would build himself a fire
to make of me an idiot
and a liar
Friday, July 25, 2014
Probably a good thing that it's the weekend.
Fairport Convention - Genesis Hall
Broadcast - Tears in the Typing Pool
Paul Simon - I Don't Believe
Dirty Projectors - No Intention
The Velvet Underground - I Heard her Call My Name
Laurie Anderson - Walking and Falling
Brian Eno - In Dark Trees
The Band - In a Station
Elvis Costello & the Attractions - You'll Never Be a Man
Tito Puente - Lush Life
Thursday, July 24, 2014
Kind of weird, yes. It would be pretty hard to tease a plot out of it. Of course most dreams are like that too.The description on Vimeo says it was all done on one piece of paper. Sure used the hell out of that scrap.
Tuesday, July 22, 2014
This morning, though, I left my backpack on a bus. It wasn't until the bus was gone and I was grabbing coffee that I realized that. The bag has an address book in it. Also toothbrush and toothpaste, because a lot of days I do dental hygiene at work rathter than at home (not counting brushing my teeth at night.) The real deciding factor was that my partials were in there. They'd be an expensive pain in the ass to replace. So I waited for the bus to come up the other way so I could grab my stuff again.
All of which is a bit embarrassing, but we're getting to the part of the year where I can blame the heat/humidity for breaking my concentration.
Saturday, July 19, 2014
Right now am working on another story. It's at the point where it's all down, basically, but a sprawling mess. So begins the work of hewing it down. Which is fun, once you get into it. Was sort of interrupted today, but expect to get back into it tomorrow.
1. Amy Winehouse - (There Is) No Greater Love
2. Arcade Fire - Supersymmetry
3. Brian Eno - Spirits Drifting
4. Fats Domino - The Fat Man
5. Dirty Projectors - The Bride
6. The Band - Tears of Rage
7. Fairport Convention - Fotheringay
8. The Velvet Underground - The Gift
9. R.E.M. - Can't Get There from Here
10. Diana Krall - You're My Thrill
Wednesday, July 16, 2014
Take a look at this for a moment.
This is a painting by Leonora Carrington, called La Dame Ovale ("the oval lady")
Carrington came from a somewhat upper crust English background, which she threw away when she ran away with Max Ernst. She's considered one of the surrealists. Over her long artistic career - started in the 1930s and continued until her dedath in the 2ooos - she went back and forth on that.
This painting could certainly be called surreal, being filled with inversions of the natural order. The chained dog has five human breasts. (An odd number, even!) Birds and bats nest underground. Many of the trees have bizarre shapes: fox heads, chess pieces.
What I noticed after looking at it for a few minutes was that nothing could quite be taken at face value. Most of the trees are, when you take the nature of painting into account, natural. So are most of the clouds. But you're forced to keep examining them because of their proximity to the other things. Meaning that art can show you not just new things, but train you in new ways to look.
Tuesday, July 15, 2014
Which brings us to the impossible unity of the Ramones. They all had the same last name. They all wore the same outfit and haircut. All the songs started with “1 2 3 4.” The monolithic, unified roar. And, most importantly, all the songs seem to come from a musical universe that they were the sole inhabitants of. Although their eagle logo and leather-clad image invited dopey imitation in the way all of rock music’s orthodox rebellion does, the Ramones’ original iconography not only illustrated they were tough, but that they were one. For an earlier music generation, the Beatles’ idea of the band as a gang, jumping over hilltops together, was part of their initial appeal. The Ramones were a gang as a band. A few years before his passing, Dee Dee Ramone complained about when he was starting with the band being forced to get a “Ramone” haircut. Having that small part of their image dismantled that way broke down more of the image of the band for me than I anticipated.
It is preposterous to call the Ramones performance art, but is there a more intentional, self-contained creative performance? The Ramones weren’t a band “about something.” While there were other high-concept bands that rival their singularity of statement—like Kraftwerk, the Residents, or Devo—those bands revolved around technology and enigma. The Ramones were self-reflexive: a rock band that was about the idea of a rock band. They took comic book violence and the deadest tropes of Beach Boys lyrics and placed them alongside tales of New York hustling as if it all was one piece. Authenticity wasn’t an issue. Authenticity was a joke.
From John Flansburgh's post-Tommy in memoriam on The Ramones. They Might Be Giants, Flansburgh's own band, occupies a different niche than the boyz from Queens, but he seems to get them.
After only a couple of years, Tommy decided that having been in the Ramones was great, but that he didn't want to keep doing it. Understandable, given the personalities involved. Still, he'll be remembered with them.
Sunday, July 13, 2014
There's been a disconnect in American movies in terms of class for some time. America has been wavering between recession and weak recovery for about six years. Our social safety net has been getting shredded for over thirty. That's led to a lot of people in desperate straits, and a lot more at least in the doldrums.
Movies and TV, in general, have wanted no part of this. This goes for both large studio films and the more high profile indie projects. Celebrated pictures like Ruby Sparks, Young Adult and Her may have their virtues, but they won't visit you where you live. They limn a kind of depressed affluenza that may reflect the makers' lives, but doesn't really resonate outside that circle.
Winter's Bone's grubbiness is a relief in that context. And it is grubby. Characters look unwashed, and brace themselves against the Missouri winter by seemingly wearing all their clothes at once. Jennifer Lawrence, who plays heroine Ree Dolly, might never have become a movie star if her subsequent Academy Award nomination hadn't given her an excuse to be seen in public with her nair done and a nice dress.
Beyond that there's the subject of living in a tiny house and being threatened with losing that house over a bail bond that would, to some, be trivial. It's a grim situation, but one many can identify with. It also has the virtue of raising stakes.
Friday, July 11, 2014
1. Neil Young - Welfare Mothers
2. Broadcast - Arc of a Journey
3. Nancy Wilson & Cannonball Adderley - The Masquerade is Over
4. Paul Simon - Outrageous
5. Ladytron - Destroy Everything You Touch
6. St. Vincent - Regret
7. Neko Case - The Needle Has Landed
8. The Velvet Underground - The Gift
9. The Beastie Boys - The Brouhaha
10. Pink Martini - Je Ne t'Aime Plus
Thursday, July 10, 2014
Mike, Kevin and Bill - the second Crow - are pros, and I perceive them as nice guys. There's a reason why MST3K is MST3K and its successors aren't, despite a higher initial profile. But they put together a pretty good show.
Sharknado. I'm sure I could put a video clip of Sharknado up here but... I won't. I get the feeling that the movie was explicitly made for this purpose, that they knew parody would be as much of an afterlife as the movie would get.
Monday, July 7, 2014
When I was a kid I was convinced that emus were called "ostriches." Because come on! "Australia" sounds like OSS-trail-ya, so how could they not have the birds whose name sounds the same. I guess ratite branding was a big thing to my younger self.
It's not clear how closely related ostriches, emus, rheas, cassowaries etc are, and whether they had a common ancestor on the superncontinent of Gondwana. As you can see here, ostrichese and emus don't look that much alike. Emu necks are much fluffier. They do dance/play together well, considering both birds are somewhat volatile to begin with
Saturday, July 5, 2014
The weather was expected to cancel or delay most of the Fourth of July celebrations, except for the fireworks up in Boston, which were pushed up to Thursday night. The rain put a damper on things, yes. There were still a few fireworks here last night, though, as well as more tonight.
Watched another movie last night. This time it was Bad Day at Black Rock, a modern day Western in which Spencer Tracy plays a one-armed war veteran who goes to a small town to give a medal to the Japanese father of a fallen fellow soldier, and winds up having to defend himself against the galoots who basically lynched the old man. It may be the patron saint of self-critical American popcorn movies.
1. Diana Krall - Este Seu Olhar
2. Mose Allison - Don't Forget to Smile
3. Lower Dens - In the End is the Beginning
4. The Beastie Boys - Rhyme the Rhyme Well
5. Fats Domino - Whole Lotta Loving
6. Paul Simon - Sure Don't Feel Like Love
7. The Dirty Projectors - Stillness Is the Move
8. Neko Case - That Teenage Feeling
9. Pink Martini - Sway
10. Elvis Costello & the Attractions - Watch Your Step*
* Wasn't intending to begin and end things with artists who are now married. Just one of those fun coincidences.
Thursday, July 3, 2014
What to say about it? First of all, the character of John McCartney is just so very rock n' roll, if not punk rock. He's one of the better candidates for "fifth Beatle", even if he is fictional.
A lot of A Hard Day's Night is a kitchen sink comedy about Paul and the others eldersitting his grandfather. About whom see above.
Some of the song numbers, like the one below, explode with the logic of old time Hollywood musicals. That is a song that feels right will be on everyone's lips, even if it's implausible in any real world terms. The train the Fab Four are traveling on is so claustrophobic that the cars become cramped if a couple of extra people pop in, and yet here they all are playing, Ringo's trap set and everything.
Except that it's different because what's around it is different. Because the Beatles appear to be a bunch of Northern ruffians who just happen to be famous, their bursting into song feels much different from when a tuxedoed Fred Astaire does it. It's a bright, low-key kind of surrealism.
Tuesday, July 1, 2014
One problem I've had recently is that one of my friends has apparently decided that he hates one of my other friends. This is a fairly recent development. And it's only a problem for me, really, because I have to hear about it. The hater doesn't have any true complaints against the hatee. It's mainly a matter of insecurity, I think. So I'm just going to stand my ground on this one. There was a time when I couldn't stand the thought of anyone being angry at me, but I think I've gone beyond that.
Another problem, of late, is that I've been stymied on a story and it's consumed inordinate amounts of writing time. Well, staring at the screen time. It's proven such a dead end that I've found myself forgetting how to do things I know how to do.
For context I've sent off a couple of pieces this year that I feel I can take some pride in. Will they be published? Don't know. But I think I've made the stories concise and driven enough to avoid the form letter response or the rejection that tells me I haven't gone anywhere with the story or that there's too much padding.
Problem here was that I had too many disparate parts that I couldn't make work together. And that's largely because I took the already crumbling bones of another project I had been working on and tried to adapt it to an anthology request for submissions. The anthology requirements just added another level of vomplexity to what was already kind of convoluted.
So what to do? Pivot into the next thing. Provided that thing isn't having an embarrassing tattoo etched across my face.
Saturday, June 28, 2014
I like that. Popular fiction is always throwing in little cheats that the author hopes no one will notice. But creating a murder mystery - an unusual one in itself - in the confines of a religious order almost 500 years gone? To invoke Martin Luther, that's sinning boldly
1. Elvis Costello & the Attractions - White Knuckles
2. Paul Simon - Outrageous
3. Broadcast - Michael A Grammar
4. The Velvet Underground - Here She Comes Now
5. Neko Case - Lion's Jaws
6. Fairport Convention - Crazy Man Michael
7. Nancy Wilson & Cannonball Adderley - Happy Talk
8. Reading Rainbow - Must Be Dreaming
9. New Order - Leave Me Alone
10. Lambert, Hendricks & Ross - Farmer's Market
Friday, June 27, 2014
The plot is simple, when you get down to basics. Bart Collins is a boy prone to fantasizing. In order to teach him discipline, his mother has signed him up for piano lessons with Dr. Terwiliger, a perfectionist who demands extensive hours of practice. (All children raised by tiger mothers are playing the world's smallest violin, and playing it more beautifully than you ever could.) He's more drawn to the kindly, commonsensical plumber, Mr. Zabladowski.
So he falls into another dream, one where he's kept prisoner in Dr. T's sprawling surreal academy. His mother is under hypnosis, forced to do Dr. T's bidding. Seuss and director Roy Rowland don't get too gross with it, but Dr. T does intend to marry pretty mommy, and she doesn't object to him locking her in a gilded cage. Zabladowski is in the dream too, installing sinks so the school can open on time. Bart wins the wary plumber to his side, becoming blood brothers with him and in nearly the same breath exacting a promise to become his new father. Together they set out to bring down Dr. T and his evil musical schemes.
What this movie gets right about dreams is that they're not a reflection of reality. They're a reflection of us, and elements of reality make a cameo here and there. In what we see of Dr. Terwiliger (played by Hans Conried, probably best known as the voice of Captain Hook in Peter Pan) in real life, he shows no sign of being anything more sinister than a humor-challenged martinet teacher. Since that's bad enough for boy like Bart, in dreams he becomes a Flash Gordon villain. Similarly his mother Heloise shows no attraction to this somewhat asexual piano geek in the real life scenes. The battle of good father vs. bad father is going on only in the boy's head.
But that's the thing. Children learn quickly that life isn't fair. They're slower to find out that they themselves aren't fair. But that unfairness is buried deep in the subconscious, of grownups too. In certain doses it can be therapeutic.
Wednesday, June 25, 2014
I've bitched before about how lots of songs have disappeared even from oldies radio, meaning that they gradually fade from cultural memory altogether. And honestly I'm not sure if this makes me sound like Proust or like Abe Simpson. (There's probably some hubris in even asking.) Still, enough barbarities from the past survive that you want to see the good, gentle things survive, if they can.
It's a little hard to believe that this group was produced by Kim Fowley, who later put together the Runaways, the jailbait hard rock group that introduced Joan Jett. Or maybe not unbelievable, just weird. The choruses are almost supernaturally sweet. The lead vocal is also sweet, but in a very human way. While the song may be kitschy, it's not impersonal.
Sunday, June 22, 2014
So why not take the opposite tack and force things to a head? I decided that the next time I'd at least want to have the knowledge on how to do so, and I don't like forcing things down my own throat. So there was this page on the World Wide Web, and one particular item.
7. Watch Someone Else Throw UpCan see the practical applications, but making it work seems awkward. I live alone. If I had a roommate, even a friendly one, I can't see being comfortable enough to ask him to yak in front of me. If I had a live-in girlfriend... well, same thing, really. There are almost certainly websites you can go to, but I'm not sure I want them in my browser history. So it's probably ipecac or one of the other options for me.
Seeing someone else throw up can often trigger the same response in your body. Though watching someone else throw up can be disgusting, that’s the point – you need to trigger that feeling in order to do it yourself. You can find videos of people throwing up online and use this if necessary. It might not work, but if it does, it will work very quickly.
Friday, June 20, 2014
1. Nancy Wilson & Cannonball Adderley - A Sleepin' Bee
2. The Cramps - Voodoo Idol
3. Neko Case - Dirty Knife
4. Fats Domino - My Girl Josephine
5. Fairport Convention - Percy's Song
6. Pink Martini - Pana Cand ne tu Iubeam
7. Beck - Don't Let It Go
8. Velvet Underground - Sister Ray
9. St. Vincent - Psychopath
10. Nat King Cole - Tenderly