==pla|\|ing lakes==

Rarely has reality needed so much to be imagined. --Chris Marker
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An idbath, like strawberries in ether...

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(r) = re-viewing

Criminal (2004)

Since Otar Left

Paradjanov: A Requiem

Pépé le Moko

The Newsroom - Season One


Birth (2004)

Le Amiche

Bad Education

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Also watch the DVDs of the Secret Agent series with some regularity

(r) = re-reading

The Pythons Autobiography - The Pythons

A Life in Movies: An Autobiography - Michael Powell


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Saturday, February 07, 2004

Cemetary in Key West one of 2 in the country that holds Africans not sold into slavery -- in this case, they were rescued from sale in Cuba by the US Navy in 1860

10:24 PM - [Link] - Comments ()

Friday, February 06, 2004

Powells reviewer Jill Owens extols the (relatively) recently reissued Icelandic novel Independent People by Nobel Prize-winner Halldor Laxness
Bjartur is a farmer and also a poet, in the style of the old Icelandic sagas with their internal rhymes and complicated syllabics. So, too, Laxness's use of the language -- though lucid and smooth, his development and depth of image can be as complex as Joyce's or Woolf's. His characters speak and see their lives in concentric circles; the reader acquires a new layer of intimacy with each turn.

Unusually enough for epics, especially one in which man's undoing waits in every change of weather, Independent People is also awfully funny...

4:05 AM - [Link] - Comments ()

Thursday, February 05, 2004

A couple cool sites from Undernews:

Bug Me Not lets people post their usernames and passwords for sites that require registrations for everyone else to use.

Rate My Teachers gives students a chance to turn the tables -- and some schools have already banned the site, natch.

3:31 AM - [Link] - Comments ()

Sam Smith isn't sad to see postmodern theory lose its campus prominence, as he figures it can lead to the Big Dog filling the power vacuum

Anyone who reads a book and "sees it only through the eyes of an oppressed people" is definitely missing most of the meaning and joy of art.

Anyone who ignores the political significance and cultural context of a piece is also missing much.

And anyone who thinks the decline of the deconstructionists' hegemony heralds the collapse of some academic "Berlin Wall" has not begun to grasp the decentralizing power of techonology like the Net -- and the effect of hypertext on the text.

The real revolution is happening now, beyond all these 20th century political categories.

3:00 AM - [Link] - Comments ()

Snooty but interesting discussion of corrective (or "religious") satire as opposed to the forgiving (or modern secular) variety in this James Wood review of the seminal medieval text Momus by Leon Battis Alberti
Religious comedy, however slippery it might get -- and few texts, technically speaking, are as slippery as [Erasmus'] The Praise of Folly -- is fundamentally stable. There is the stability of didacticism, for one thing; both Alberti's and Erasmus's works are edifying projects, conceived as lessons as well as entertainments. It is our task to extract what they preach. There is the stability of satire -- the fixedness of typology, the certainty of recognizing broad categories of human folly (hypocrisy, misanthropy, pomposity, foolishness, clerical dereliction of duty, and so on). There is, frequently, the stability of allegory or fable, whereby a decoding of the story is implicitly promised; Alberti may well have been influenced by Aesop's tale "Zeus, Prometheus, Athena, and Momus," and his satire constantly falls back into the allegorical. But modern comedy replaces the knowable with the unknowable, transparency with unreliability, and this is surely in direct proportion to the growth of characters' fictive inner lives. The novelistic idea that we have interiors which may only be partially disclosed to us must create a new form of comedy, based on the management of our incomprehension rather than on the victory of our knowing.
Some authors going back to Erasmus swing back and forth between the two. And both are needed, apart or together.

I'm not versed in most of the authors mentioned, so I can't comment on the review really.

There's something to be said about the whole "PC" thing and the necessity of cruelty in humor and sensitivity to others' pain -- as well as a healthy sense of humor -- being a barometer of civilization. But it's beyond me right now.

2:12 AM - [Link] - Comments ()

Wednesday, February 04, 2004

Why polar bears are cool
Scientists have long appreciated a number of the polar bear's adaptations, which allow it to survive two decades or more on the glacial ice of the Arctic Circle, where temperatures reach minus 50 degrees Fahrenheit, all the while defying standard bear omnivorousness to subsist almost exclusively on seal. The polar bear comes specially equipped with a double layer of fur, undergirded by four inches of blubber, that almost completely prevents heat loss; broad, fluffy paws that act as snowshoes, and short, solid claws that grip the ice; an elongated snout for poking into ice holes and pulling out seals; and the ability of that snout to smell prey from a distance of 20 miles.

"It's just incredible," said Dr. Scott L. Schliebe, head of the Polar Bear Project at the federal Fish and Wildlife Service in Anchorage. "If a carcass washes up on the beach, it's like a dinner bell was rung, and polar bears seem to materialize out of thin air."

Yet as a handful of hardy researchers continue to study the biology and behavior of the polar bear, they are unearthing ever more impressive and sometimes mystifying details about the great blanched beast. They have discovered that full-grown male bears play with each other for hours on end, an extremely rare behavior among adult animals. Moreover, they play at the most improbable time of year: after the long summer fast, when they are gaunt and famished and by any ordinary calculation should be conserving calories rather than frittering them away on sports.

3:07 AM - [Link] - Comments ()

Gunther von Hagens and the Chinese warehouse where he prepares his treated corpses for exhibit [drudge]
Von Hagens launched his Body Worlds exhibits in 1997 and has shown them to nearly 14 million people from Japan and Korea to Britain and Germany. Shows are running now in Frankfurt, Germany, and Singapore.

The displays feature healthy and diseased body parts as well as skinned, whole corpses in assorted poses - a rider atop a horse, a pregnant woman reclining - that show off the preservation technique von Hagens developed in 1977.

Dubbed "plastination," the process replaces bodily fluids and fat with epoxy and silicone, making the bodies durable for exhibition and study.


Critics, including the Lutheran and Roman Catholic churches, have denounced von Hagens' work as disrespectful to the dead. He says he simply helps people understand their bodies.

In Frankfurt, authorities have warned parents not to allow children younger than 14 to view the exhibit, which they said could "shock and frighten." At a London show, a visitor took a hammer to one of the bodies - a man holding a liver - while another threw a blanket over the corpse of a pregnant woman, saying he could not bear to look at the fetus.
Wikipedia entry for von Hagens, short article from The Independent.

12:23 AM - [Link] - Comments ()

Monday, February 02, 2004

Having sat through the Golden Globes this year -- easier than usual since fewer nominees were as downright deplorable -- I have to say it was more fun and a better gauge of the year's fare than the bloated and overblown Oscars, despite the apparently somewhat sleazy and amateurish tendencies of the "foreign Hollywood press" [Undernews]

At least they split up the drama and comedy movies, allowing comedy the credit it deserves. And while most of it is crap, there's always stuff on TV equal to or better than what's in the theaters.

The Oscar categories make the awards as antequated and unrepresentative as the US Senate.

10:43 PM - [Link] - Comments ()

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