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Rarely has reality needed so much to be imagined. --Chris Marker
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Archives of charging the canvas, my defunct political blog

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Criminal (2004)

Since Otar Left

Paradjanov: A Requiem

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Birth (2004)

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

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The Pythons Autobiography - The Pythons

A Life in Movies: An Autobiography - Michael Powell


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Saturday, May 24, 2003

Next Saturday's solar eclipse

Because of the moon's irregular orbit and it's unusual shadow path this time, the moon will (for those in the UK and nearby) appear a smaller disc outlined by the sun -- and the shadow's movement will be the reverse of its usual west-to-east direction

5:10 PM - [Link] - Comments ()

Happy News for once

Oakland Public Library has received half the books it requested on their amazon list

Some other libraries have been equally blessed with donations.

4:48 PM - [Link] - Comments ()

Joe Connelly's Crumbtown: review
When Don is sprung, he comes home to a seemingly healthier, higher-rent Crumbtown. New storefronts. Freshly painted barber poles. But this isn't a case of another Massachusetts Miracle. Instead, in Don's absence, Crumbtown's sheer seediness has made it the location of choice for television cop shows searching for that gritty edge. The entire town has been handed over to actors and producers, including desperate Hollywood director Rob Landetta. Rob's high concept is to adapt Don's criminal career to the small screen, altering small parts of his history (meaning everything) in order to transform Don into a modern-day Robin Hood. Rob's producer isn't quite on board. It's a crime show without cops, he complains. "Crumbtown is post law enforcement, post Bill of Rights," Rob pitches.
Pop Matters seems like a good culture zine.

11:06 AM - [Link] - Comments ()

Who needs Photoshop?

New 8.0 version of Paint Shop Pro sounds like a very good deal for less than $100

Consumer review: "If any program should be bundled with every digital camera sold this is the one."

11:02 AM - [Link] - Comments ()

Awe for the Tiger, Love for the Lamb: A Chronicle of Sensibility to Animals: review

A history of pieces on compassion toward animals, though "it is largely a history of obduracy, casual cruelty, and sadism."

Did you know Descartes performed experimnets on dogs, a la Bill Frist?

Apparently there was a revolution in attitudes towards animal cruelty in 19th century England.

10:51 AM - [Link] - Comments ()

CBC Radio One interview with Barbara Gowdy (The Romantic, in RealAudio, 21 mins., see February 14 entry)

There are a number of interviews with various people, apparently between 5 and 30 minutes long. Among them: William Gibson, Ian McKellan, Inuit throat singer Tanya Tagaq Gillis, and Leida Finlayson, who's been collecting stories of children of hippie parents and was recently diagnosed with terminal cancer and is looking for help from potential interviewees to finish the book.

10:39 AM - [Link] - Comments ()

Composer Kenneth Kirschner's field recordings etc. made during antiwar marches/demos in NYC this spring

2:19 AM - [Link] - Comments ()

Thursday, May 22, 2003

The massive November quake in Alaska was actually a complex of 3 quakes, and its focussed directionality caused the effects to be felt for thousands of miles
The Denali fault earthquake was very directional ? it took only about 100 seconds to tear 210 miles of faults from west to east. New seismographs that faithfully record large earthquakes, GPS surveys, and surface measurements of offset features, show that the earthquake produced tearing along different faults, and it did not evenly release energy. In effect, the event was a composite of three smaller earthquakes: a M 7.2 earthquake on the previously unknown Susitna Glacier fault, two major pulses of slip (magnitudes 7.3 and 7.8) on the Denali fault, and finally a smaller amount of slip on the Totschunda fault. The largest side-to-side offset was about 29 feet.


As a result, said USGS scientist Peter Haeussler, one of the lead authors on the report, the earthquake effects were most pronounced in one direction -- southeast of the fault trace toward western Canada and the lower 48 states. Consequently, the Denali fault earthquake was felt as far away as Louisiana. The earthquake also disturbed the level of water wells in Pennsylvania by up to 2 feet, damaged houseboats in Seattle from sloshing seismic sea waves, and triggered small earthquakes at many volcanic or geothermal areas in the direction of rupture. The most pronounced triggering occurred at Yellowstone, Wyoming, with 130 small earthquakes in the 4 hours following the 1,940-miles away Alaskan rupture. In the other direction by contrast, only one of the many active Alaskan volcanoes had triggered earthquakes.

1:21 AM - [Link] - Comments ()

Tuesday, May 20, 2003

Spammers hijack unprotected computers
As spam has proliferated and with it the attempts by big Internet providers to block messages sent from the addresses of known spammers many mass e-mailers have become more clever in avoiding the blockades by aggressively bouncing messages off the computers of unaware third parties.

In the last two years, more than 200,000 computers worldwide have been hijacked without the owners' knowledge and are currently being used to forward spam, according to AOL and other Internet service providers. And each day thousands of additional PC's are compromised at companies, institutions and most commonly of all homes with high-speed Internet connections shared by two or more computers.


...the rapid rise in the number of spammers trying to hijack innocent computers is a direct result of their desire to hide their own Internet protocol addresses from spam blockers. Most commonly, they are taking advantage of a backdoor in much of the software that office users or people with high-speed connections at home often install to share an Internet link among several computers or so-called proxy servers. Some other types of e-mail and Web surfing software, typically run by larger companies, can also be taken advantage of if security features are not properly set up.

10:31 AM - [Link] - Comments ()

Monday, May 19, 2003

Civilization dating back 2700 years discovered in Nicaragua
There are monuments, petroglyphs (rock paintings) and pottery, and most remarkably, an area where many huge columns were formed out of rock - columns which may have been used at burial sites.


Independent experts say this shows that the process that led to the founding of the Mayan cities, such as Tikal, Palenque, or Copan (in Guatemala, Mexico, and Honduras respectively) covered a much larger geographical region than archaeologists have supposed up to now.

10:59 AM - [Link] - Comments ()

"Every time Mr Bondarenko conceives a new painting, he faces the tough choice between a chance to express himself and an urge to buy a beer"

Ukrainian artist's chosen medium is money -- he paints on currency

1:29 AM - [Link] - Comments ()

Sunday, May 18, 2003

With young Spaniards living in close quarters with their families longer than they used to, a Green Party legilator in the small town of Grenada has proposed a (undoubtedly quixotic) 50otel discount for teens' sexual trysts, outraging their elders [Undernews]

3:32 PM - [Link] - Comments ()

Warm review of Peter Biskind's compulsively readable, informed and dish-y Easy Riders, Raging Bulls: How the Sex-Drugs-And-Rock-N-Roll Generation Saved Hollywood (which came out in 1999)
The documentation of bad behavior is thorough and tireless. Martin Scorsese was so coked out one night that he chased after his girlfriend, completely naked, down Mulholland Drive. Paul Schrader, screenwriter of Taxi Driver and director of Blue Collar, slept with a loaded Smith & Wesson .38 on his bedside table and had a tendency to wave it around when he spoke, "to make a point." Chinatown producer Robert Evans became so paranoid from drug abuse that he refused to leave his home and conducted production meetings for Paramount from his bed.

As the likes of Francis Coppola, Hal Ashby, and Robert Altman fashioned themselves after the auteur theory propogated by the French critics of Cahiers du Cinema, they came to believe their own press and take themselves too seriously. They weren't mere "movie directors," they were auteurs, generals, gods. Both Coppola and William Friedkin followed blockbuster hits (The Godfather and its sequel for Coppola, The French Connection and The Exorcist for Friedkin) with ambitious films whose productions resembled small-scale wars. Coppola's Apocalypse Now was moderately successful and received mixed reviews but has since become a classic. Friedkin's Sorcerer was a bomb in every respect and signaled the downfall of his career; he's now a for-hire director on action fare like The Hunted.

2:51 PM - [Link] - Comments ()

James McManus' Positively Fifth Street: Murderers, Cheetahs, and Binion's World Series of Poker: review
I found the author's writing about the tournament heart-stoppingly dramatic, as brilliant as anything ever written about poker. And while his coverage of the Binion trial feels less compelling, less fought-for, Positively Fifth Street, like Sin City itself, is an endlessly fascinating spectacle.

2:21 PM - [Link] - Comments ()

Wolfgang Wagener's Raphael Soriano: review
By the mid-1940s a number of the city's most distinguished architects -- including Soriano, Richard Neutra, Charles and Ray Eames, Eero Saarinen, and Soriano's protégés Pierre Koenig and Craig Ellwood -- recognized that the techniques and materials of the war industries, especially the aeronautical industry, could be used to design and build a new type of affordable and beautiful house for southern California's swelling population. They were enlisted in the Case Study House program (1945-1966), which aimed to build avant-garde Modernist family homes on a bourgeois budget. Marked by a fluidity of indoor and outdoor space (the Case Study architects, Soriano in particular, were adept at interweaving rooms and patios), and built largely of glass framed in lightweight steel, these clean-lined houses also managed (unlike Philip Johnson's and Mies van der Rohe's soulless domestic glass boxes back east) to be jaunty, relaxed, and remarkably livable. Soriano's work was the apotheosis of the Case Study House ideals. Like his mentors Rudolf Schindler and Neutra, Soriano molded the understated, pure Modernist aesthetic to the climate and good life of southern California. But he was equally attentive to cost and to the need for easy and fast construction, and was hence imaginative and innovative in his frequent use of prefabricated, industrial, and off-the-shelf materials. This book places Soriano's designs in the cultural, political, and economic context of postwar southern California, and it keenly assesses both his breezy, family-friendly houses and his contribution to the Case Study movement (his pioneering use of steel module frames eliminated the need for interior, load-bearing walls and resulted in the open floor plans that became a distinguishing feature of the program's houses).

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

Clever RIAA plan to threaten file sharers with suit-threatening letters backfires
On Monday, as first reported by CNET News.com , the RIAA withdrew a DMCA notice to Penn State University's astronomy and astrophysics department. Sent during Penn State's final exams, it prompted the central computing office at the campus to threaten the department with having its Internet connection severed unless the infringing material was removed.

The problem, however, was that no infringing file existed on the department's computer. The RIAA's automated program apparently confused two separate pieces of information--a legal MP3 and a directory named "usher"--and concluded there was an illegal copy of a song by the musician Usher.

In a second incident, Speakeasy, a national broadband provider, said Tuesday that the RIAA had apologized for sending it a cease-and-desist letter alleging illegal activity on a subscriber's FTP site devoted to the Commodore Amiga computer. The RIAA's form letter sent to Speakeasy last Thursday alleged the Amigascne.org site illegally "offers approximately 0 sound files for download. Many of these files contain recordings owned by our member companies, including songs by such artists as Creed."

1:05 PM - [Link] - Comments ()

Dutch architect Rem Koolhaas on the rise and fall of New York City [orlin grabbe]
New Yorkers surrender to empathy. The tragedy of 9/11 inspires a mood of collective tenderness that is almost exhilarating, almost a relief: Hype's spell has been broken and the city can recover its own reality principle, emerge with new thinking from the unthinkable. But politics interfere. In spite of Bloomberg's pragmatic sobriety, the transnational metropolis is enlisted in a national crusade. New York becomes a city (re)captured by Washington. Through the alchemy of 9/11, the authoritarian morphs imperceptibly into the totalitarian. A competition for rebuilding Ground Zero is held, not to restore the city's vitality or shift its center of gravity, but to create a monument at a scale that monuments have never existed (except under Stalin).

On March 17, at 9:30 am, the winning architect rings the bell of the New York Stock Exchange. At 8 pm, the president issues his ultimatum to Saddam, the "displaced" author of the WTC disappearance. At midnight on March 20, the war starts. At 8 am, at a breakfast meeting in lower Manhattan, the "Master Design Architect," an immigrant, movingly recounts his first encounter with liberty.

Instead of the two towers - the sublime - the city will live with five towers, wounded by a single scything movement of the architect, surrounding two black holes. New York will be marked by a massive representation of hurt that projects only the overbearing self-pity of the powerful. Instead of the confident beginning of the next chapter, it captures the stumped fundamentalism of the superpower. Call it closure.

3:59 AM - [Link] - Comments ()

"Saturday Morning cartoons" now history [Undernews]
Six key factors have led to children watching less Saturday morning cartoons: more recreational sports, the introduction of cable and satellite TV, the Internet and video games, a poorer quality of animation, and a greater emphasis on family time. These factors are rather self-explanatory with the exception of the latter: the divorce rate of Americans now stands at 49 percent, and time on the weekends has become more precious for children as many commute between parents' houses. For parents who only have limited access to their children due to either divorce or career advancement, plopping them down in front of the television for five hours on a Saturday morning is no longer a viable option.


A child who never knew the phenomenon of Saturday morning cartoons sees no reason to watch cartoons on Saturday mornings rather than on Wednesday nights or Sunday afternoons. Nevertheless, according to some studies, when a child sees the color orange, the first word the child associates with that color is "Nickelodeon." Today's children are being raised as brand loyal to Nickelodeon and Cartoon Network's signature checkerboard. These brand loyalties form as early as two years of age.

3:01 AM - [Link] - Comments ()

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