| contact: drbenway at priest dot com
| blogging since Oct '01
This is Gordon Osse's blog.
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"He who does not at some time, with definite determination consent to the terribleness of life, or even exalt in it, never takes possession of the inexpressible fullness of the power of our existence."
all faces followers of
All colors, beams of
-- Akhenaton, "Hymn to the Sun"
Opt your children out of Pentagon harassment
WHO I WORK FOR: Mount Hope Wholesale
Wholesale nuts, grains, fruits and spices (and more) shipped from Cottonwood AZ
(Tell them you heard about them on Gordon's blog!)
WHAT I'VE SEEN LATELY:
(r) = re-viewing
God Told Me To (1976, Cohen)
Whispering City (1947, Otsep)
Times and Winds (2006, Erdem)
Dirty Money (Un flic) (1972, Melville)
10th District Court (2004, Depardon)
RFK Must Die: The Assassination of Bobby Kennedy (2007, O'Sullivan)
The Furies (1950, Mann)
In a Lonely Place (1950, Ray)(r)
The Adjuster (1991, Egoyan)(r)
Mad Men The Buddha of Suburbia Intelligence (2006, Haddock) Family Guy
SUGGESTED VIEWING: The Power of Nightmares: The Rise of the Politics of Fear (2004, Curtis) [available for streaming/download here]
The New York Times' Web site is blocking British readers from a news article detailing the investigation into the recent airline terror plot, turning its Internet ad-targeting technology into a means of complying with U.K. laws.
"We had clear legal advice that publication in the U.K. might run afoul of their law," Times spokeswoman Diane McNulty said Tuesday. "It's a country that doesn't have the First Amendment, but it does have the free press. We felt we should respect their country's law."
Visitors who click on a link to the article, published Monday, instead got a notice explaining that British law "prohibits publication of prejudicial information about the defendants prior to trial." The blocked article reveals evidence authorities have in the alleged plot to use liquid explosives to down U.S. airliners over the Atlantic.
The Times site already targets ads based on a visitor's location, but McNulty said this was the first time the technology was used in an editorial capacity. The Times also blocked U.K. access to an audio summary of the top Times stories, which included the article in question.
More bad news for ocean swimmers, and the rest of us
Harmful algae blooms have occurred for ages. Yet, what was once a freak of nature has become commonplace. These outbreaks, often called "red tides," are occurring more often, showing up in new places, lasting longer and intensifying.
Scientists believe that partially treated human sewage and farm runoff are generally responsible for the worldwide spread of algae blooms.
In essence, they think human activity is force-feeding the oceans with the basic ingredients of fertilizer — nitrogen, phosphorous and iron — that make these microscopic aquatic plants flourish. But when they focus on individual blooms, scientists often have not been able to pinpoint the causes.
People who have spent many years on Little Gasparilla Island and in other Florida Gulf Coast communities said red tides used to show up once in a decade. Now, they occur almost every year.
The last red tide, which ended in mid-February, peppered Florida's western coast with its fiery breath for 13 months, stubbornly refusing to dissipate despite three hurricanes.
The culprit is a microorganism known as Karenia brevis. Each Karenia cell is a microscopic poison factory, pumping out toxins collectively known as brevetoxin. They are absorbed into the food chain by scallops, oysters or other popular seafood.
Brevetoxins also get into the air. They collect on the surface of bubbles and concentrate in sea foam and on dead fish.
When the bubbles burst, brevetoxins are flung into the air and carried by the wind. If inhaled, most particles lodge in the nose and throat, but some are drawn deep into the lungs. People don't have to set foot in the ocean or even on the beach to experience a red tide. It comes to them.
His industry was more than just a conservatory for dupes, it was a political statement. Every time that a political authority more or less exasperated by the social deterioration attempted to denounce the incompetent administration, they dispatched him a copy of his sex fantasies.
There exists, within the social hierarchy, a motorizing force. It is not noticed by governments or their subjects. The notion of scruples means nothing to it. It has no need to worry about what is forbidden.
-- from a detective story etched with the same acrid, wry disgust as Hammett's Red Harvest called Morituri by "Yasmina Khadra", the pen name of Mohammed Moulessehoul, a former Algerian officer
Similarly, a common Sanskrit word to denote elephant is GAJA. Here Gajanan means elephant faced - a name for Ganapati. But the word Gaja has a much deeper connotation. GA indicates gati, the final goal towards which the entire creation is moving, whether knowingly or unknowingly. JA stands for janma, birth or origin. Hence GAJA signifies GOD from whom worlds have come out and towards whom they are progressing, to be ultimately dissolved in Him. The elephant head is thus purely symbolical. . We observe creation in its two fold manifestation as the microcosm (sukshmanda) and the macrocosm (brahmanda). Each is a replica of the other. They are one in two and two in one. The elephant head stands for the macrocosm (representing vastness or bigness), and the human body for the microcosm. The two form one unit. Since the macrocosm is the goal of the microcosm, the elephant part has been given greater prominence by making it a head.
Suppose someone, a parent maybe, a teacher or some other guardian, drags you back out into the light and makes you stay there. It would still be blinding. You could not look directly at things. Maybe the guardian prints out some pics of your family or maybe a map of the neighborhood, to acclimatize you, before you can look at things. Gradually you see the people around you, and what it is that they do. Then perhaps you remember the immense, immersive games of The Cave™, and what passes for wisdom amongst those still stuck there. And so you return to The Cave™, to talk or text to the other gamers about this world outside.
From Steven Shaviro's post:
For Wark, all of social reality today is a vast "gamespace," dominated by the algorithmic codifications and unequal power relations that are displayed within computer games in their purest and clearest form. Social reality today is governed by the same "military-entertainment complex" that actually manufactures and distributes computer games. Wark uses actual computer games as lenses or prisms to examine the "gamespace" of our media-saturated, simulacral world, and to discover the structures of feeling, or forms of subjectivity, that we find ourselves exhibiting as inhabitants of that world.
Thousands have done so, on Keiser's blog and the blogs of scores of other mostly non-famous artists who make small original paintings nearly every day and sell them for as little as $100 each. It doesn't make them rich, but it allows them to make a living as an artist, and it could make some of them famous.
In the process, artist/bloggers such as Keiser are democratizing the art world, using the Internet to change the making and selling of art. Dealers and galleries, who command 50% commissions, no longer have exclusive control in defining who is emerging or successful.
Now artists can sell directly to consumers, using blogs or auction sites at prices more affordable to would-be collectors. The result: More people are making a living as artists, more people are buying art, and more art is selling at a wider spectrum of prices.
"I'll show you politics in America. Here it is, right here. 'I think the puppet on the right shares my beliefs.' 'I think the puppet on the left is more to my liking.' 'Hey, wait a minute, there's one guy holding out both puppets!'"
Most of us have heard of the American fashion for asking: "What would Jesus do?" You may be more surprised to learn that a book was recently published entitled What Would Bill Hicks Say?, featuring contributions from, among others, Rob Newman, AL Kennedy and Radiohead's Thom Yorke. Are we to infer that the late US stand-up, who died in 1994 aged 32, is comedy's Christ?
He has certainly risen again at this year's Edinburgh. The hit Fringe show Bill Hicks: Slight Return, in which Hicks is brought back to life in 2006 by writer and actor Chas Early, is back at the Pleasance. At the Dome, Hicks's childhood friend and one-time comedy partner Dwight Slade is staging three seminars, entitled Bill & Dwight, in which he reminisces about their relationship. And the runaway favourite for this year's if.comeddies award, the brilliant American stand-up Doug Stanhope, is forever being compared to Hicks.
It was the right thing to do, not just because I don't have the money to go somewhere. But the stress level in general in the US is getting pretty intense -- not sure where this is leading, but some changes are coming for sure.
I picked up The Ice Harvest at lackluster figuring it might be a passable comic heist B, and ended up with a better than average neo-noir which wasn't what I wanted and which Susan said was "a sorry excuse for a movie"
The box copy is totally misleading, and even the fact that it's a Harold Ramis project threw me off.
In retrospect, it's a nasty little noir, portraying a post-9/11 America exhausted, thoroughly corrupt, apathetic and numb -- and violent.
And it takes place on xmas eve. . .
Cusack is actually quite good -- it's well-done (not as good as Hoberman says, IMHO, but no doubt one of the best American noirs of late), but Robert Benton & Richard Russo's script is just so darkly humorous and despairing, you might sink under while you watch, just like one of the characters in the movie.
I can see why it disappeared quickly from theatres and was (judging by the number ratings on MRQE -- I didn't bother reading them) probably misunderstood by many critics who were expecting what I was.
Another night and prepared for what I was about to see, I would've enjoyed it more, I'm sure.
Not as much as Rian Johnson's Brick though -- which was made for a fraction (half a mil) of TIH's approximately $16 million -- and whose richness of language, crisp chilly photography, tight performances and genuine emotional engagement make sure you're awake for a similarly bleak -- though far more complex -- noirscape.
Life imitates Ballard (and countless low budget 50s sci-fi films) yet again
Advanced forms of ocean life retreating, primitive forms thrive
The fireweed began each spring as tufts of hairy growth and spread across the seafloor fast enough to cover a football field in an hour.
When fishermen touched it, their skin broke out in searing welts. Their lips blistered and peeled. Their eyes burned and swelled shut. Water that splashed from their nets spread the inflammation to their legs and torsos.
As the weed blanketed the bay over the past decade, it stained fishing nets a dark purple and left them coated with a powdery residue. When fishermen tried to shake it off the webbing, their throats constricted, leaving them gasping for air.
After one man bit a fishing line in two, his mouth and tongue swelled so badly that he couldn't eat solid food for a week. Others made an even more painful mistake, neglecting to wash the residue from their hands before relieving themselves over the side of their boats.
For a time, embarrassment kept them from talking publicly about their condition. When they finally did speak up, authorities dismissed their complaints — until a bucket of the hairy weed made it to the University of Queensland's marine botany lab.
Samples placed in a drying oven gave off fumes so strong that professors and students ran out of the building and into the street, choking and coughing.
Scientist Judith O'Neil put a tiny sample under a microscope and peered at the long black filaments. Consulting a botanical reference, she identified the weed as a strain of cyanobacteria, an ancestor of modern-day bacteria and algae that flourished 2.7 billion years ago.
O'Neil, a biological oceanographer, was familiar with these ancient life forms, but had never seen this particular kind before. What was it doing in Moreton Bay? Why was it so toxic? Why was it growing so fast?
The venomous weed, known to scientists as "Lyngbya majuscula," has appeared in at least a dozen other places around the globe. It is one of many symptoms of a virulent pox on the world's oceans.
In many places — the atolls of the Pacific, the shrimp beds of the Eastern Seaboard, the fjords of Norway — some of the most advanced forms of ocean life are struggling to survive while the most primitive are thriving and spreading. Fish, corals and marine mammals are dying while algae, bacteria and jellyfish are growing unchecked.
Where this pattern is most pronounced, scientists evoke a scenario of evolution running in reverse, returning to the primeval seas of hundreds of millions of years ago.
Jeremy B.C. Jackson, a marine ecologist and paleontologist at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography in San Diego, says we are witnessing "the rise of slime."
I was thinking of The Drowned World, but Godzilla or Day of the Triffids work too.
visiones sonores (sep 20-28: mexico city, morelia) pauline oliveros, lukas ligeti, erdem helvacioglu, chih-hung weng, iris garrelfs, much more
New Forms Festival 06 (sep 19-24: vancouver) si-cut.db, jan jelinek, mitchell akiyama, keith fullerton whitman, tomas jirku, much more
Table of the Elements Festival No. 4 (aug 31-sep 4: atlanta) Rhys Chatham, Loren Connors, Tony Conrad, Leif Inge, Acid Mothers Temple SWR, Ruins Alone plus films including world premiere of new version of Ira Cohen's Invasion of the Thunderbolt Pagoda
orphaned gears, when used as directed, scan your fears quickly and thoroughly
A Scanner Darkly -- among other things -- is the film Richard Linklater was born to make
Just got back from Prescott (a 50 mile drive) where a couple friends and I caught ASD before it disappeared completely from northern AZ tomorrow. 4 other people in the small theatre at the rush hour show, the only one in this half of the state where the movie was shown, or will be, it looks like.
It's made a little over $5 million in its 5 week run in North America so far, and I'm sure the backers are counting on making the bulk of the $20 million nut back on DVD sales.
I have to think on it a bit before discussing it in depth, but it's surely one of the few essential American films of the year, and easily Linklater's best.
Also, as I had supposed, the only one that comes close to capturing Phil Dick's hemorrhaging ontologies and hilarious yet profoundly terrifying -- and ultimately heartbreaking -- portrait of life in 60s & 70s America.
In case you missed Nancy's comment on the last post (the counter still isn't working), she mentions her frustration getting her kids off recruitment lists and the Leave My Child Alone website, which I strongly recommend visiting, to sign the petition and to opt your child out of military harassment lists
The more Almodovar insisted on his new state of Shakespearean ripeness, the more I hoped he was wrong. One word that cropped up frequently in his monologues was 'Manichaean'; his translator omitted it from his edited summaries. It refers to the almost schizophrenic dualism of the Persian prophet Mani, who taught that there were two rival creations, one bright and good, the other gloomy and immitigably evil. Almodovar illustrated the point in Kika, where he plays a flouncing designer who paints a scar across Victoria Abril's face while preparing her for a catwalk show, the theme of which is 'Spain Divided'.
The duality slices through the country, dividing sunny Spain with its beaches and orange groves from the dark, mad realm of Goya and Lorca. It also bifurcates Almodovar, who sees an unbridgeable distance between what he calls 'the female universe', a place of healing and sympathy, cemented by the squelchy kisses the women exchange in Volver, and the hell of phallic violence inhabited by men. No wonder he so admires his transsexual characters, whose surgical sacrifice enables them to heal the breach.
His new film Volver will open in November here in the US.
The interviewer clearly prefers Almodovar's early more outrageous and confrontational films, though his latest work remains transgressive in the current North American social climate at least.
I've always liked his work, though I haven't seen that many when I review the list: only Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown (STILL not on disc here!), Tie Me Up! Tie Me Down! (each of which feature more about Antonio Banderas' range and subtlety than any of his later American films), Law of Desire (I remember carrying that in the video store I ran with my brother in the 80s: what a treat these films were in that dreary decade for film!), Talk to Her (perhaps my favorite so far, along with Women on the Verge) & Bad Education.
Ecologists warn that saltwater marshes from Maine to Connecticut are suddenly and inexplicably dying, leaving behind land resembling honeycombs, Swiss cheese or an eroded desert landscape.
Few scientists can explain it or recommend what to do. Even skeptics concede something unusual is happening.
"It's something that people who have spent their entire careers working in salt marshes have never seen before," said Stephen Smith, a plant ecologist who works in Cape Cod for the National Park Service. "There's no precedent for it."
Salt marshes are wetlands dominated by plant life sheltered from surf and capable of living where coastal waters fluctuate. Losing a marsh means eliminating a habitat for hundreds of fish, birds, shellfish and mammals and destroying a buffer capable of weakening a hurricane's destructive surge.
-- Assessed in broad but reasonable context, terrorism generally does not do much damage.
-- The costs of terrorism very often are the result of hasty, ill-considered, and overwrought reactions.
A sensible policy approach to the problem might be to stress that any damage terrorists are able to accomplish likely can be absorbed, however grimly. While judicious protective and policing measures are sensible, extensive fear and anxiety over what may at base prove to be a rather limited problem are misplaced, unjustified, and counterproductive.
This from the Cato Institute (a conservative think-tank), no less.
Meanwhile the worm is turning for the craven bushwipes who fell into line over shrubco's Iraq debacle.
Another tale of all american strangeness from WFMU's blog: the saga of Harvey Matusow -- child pickpocket, Eugene McCarthy's #1 snitch, 60s social activist, avant-garde music impresario, Mormon, TV clown and friend of Art Carney, Yoko Ono, Steve McQueen & Ladybird Johnson
The above is only a partial listing, BTW.
He's also the guy responsible for the myth that smoking banana peels will get you high. . .
The FMU post includes mp3s of his 1969 Jew's Harp Band album, War Between Fats and Thins.
The Claire Trevor tribute on TCM this Tuesday shows off her underrecognized talent in several excellent noirs (Raw Deal, Key Largo, Murder, My Sweet & Born to Kill) and other films (including Charles Vidor's The Desperadoes)
Later in the month, Ingrid Bergman day (the 29th) includes Rossellini's Stromboli & the precocious Europa '51.
Just finished watching the Director's Cut of Kingdom of Heaven, and it's easily Ridley Scott's best film since Blade Runner
Can't imagine it being any shorter -- I never watched the original theatrical release, which is less 45 minutes. I could well have watched it for another hour, and it seemed like it should have been a little longer.
Haven't checked out the commentaries or other extras (it covers 4 discs), but it was surely worth the $17.46 I paid as an amazon pre-order just for the movie itself.
DVD Talk review of Apocalypse Now: The Complete Dossier
Some hardcore fans are less than convinced this deserves the "Complete Dossier" rubric (mostly concerning the omission of the Hearts of Darkness doc and the aspect ratio issue), but I expect this is probably the final er legal word on AN.