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| 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]
don't have much time to read these days -- watching movies cuts into my reading time -- but here's what i read and finished in '07:
Andy Warhol - Wayne Koestenbaum The Conversations: Walter Murch and the Art of Editing Film - Michael Ondaatje The Heebie-Jeebies at CBGB's: A Secret Histrory of Jewish Punk - Steven Lee Beeber A Single Eye - Susan Dunlap The Unbinding - Walter Kirn Overworld: Confessions of a Reluctant Spy - Larry J Kolb Generation Loss - Elizabeth Hand All Those Moments - Rutger Hauer with Patrick Quinlan Crooked Little Vein - Warren Ellis What If Our World Is Their Heaven?: The Final Conversations of Philip K Dick - ed. Gwen Lee & Doris Elaine Sauter Life -- The Movie: How Entertainment Conquered Reality - Neal Gabler Things I Said But Probably Shouldn't Have: An Unrepentant Memoir - Bruce Dern with Christopher Fryer and Robert Crane The Gonzo Way: A Celebration of Hunter S. Thompson - Anita Thompson Who Is Conrad Hirst? - Kevin Wignall The Farther Shore - Matthew Eck Bad Monkeys - Matt Ruff
I first heard this on the classic Golden Throats album years ago, and I still remember it fondly. Sebastian Cabot, best known as the original Mr. French on TV's Family Affair, does a pure dirty old man version of Dylan's "It Ain't Me Babe" that's unbelievably insane.
The $22 billion dam, the world's biggest hydroelectric project, was supposed to end flooding along the Yangtze and provide a clean energy alternative to coal. Approved in 1992 and due to be completed in 2009, it will generate 84.7 billion kilowatts of electricity each year — the equivalent of what it takes to light the counties of Los Angeles, San Francisco and Sacramento.
Yet along the way more than 1.4 million people had to be moved. Though critics and experts warned the environment and people would pay too high a price, their criticisms were ignored and suppressed by a government in thrall to large engineering projects.
Even a few officials are breaking ranks to predict catastrophe. Toxic algae is blooming, feeding off industrial waste and sewage and tainting water supplies.
Experts have warned that the waters in the enormous reservoir are undermining hillsides. Water seeps into loosely packed soil and rocks, making them heavier and wetter, and can trigger landslides on steep slopes like those rising from the Yangtze.
Additionally, the huge weight of the water on the rock bed exerts a pressure that can lead to earthquakes.
Such tremors shook the area around the Hoover Dam after Lake Mead was filled up the 1930s, according to the book "Earthquakes in Human History." A magnitude-6.4 quake near India's Koyna Dam killed at least 180 people in 1967 and is thought to have been induced by the reservoir.
Chinese officials have denied it can happen here, but Dai Qing is unconvinced.
"Almost all my fears have come true," said the Chinese journalist, a persistent opponent of the project whose writings are mostly banned in China. "The landslides and cracks have made people migrants once again. The water in the rivers and reservoirs is no longer drinkable. No matter how much power the project generates, it cannot make up for the losses."
about the only good education news i've heard in . . a long time.
but it's a really good news.
MIT's free offerings focus mostly on well-organized texts like syllabuses and readings, along with an expanding video lecture collection. Others, like Stanford and Bowdoin College in Maine, provide more polish, editing and features.
Berkeley, meanwhile, is focused less on bells and whistles than on ramping up its ability to roll out content with a system that automatically records and posts lectures. Berkeley's eight YouTube courses drew 1.5 million downloads in the first month, said Ben Hubbard, co-manager of the webcast.berkeley program, and the school is being inundated with requests to post more.
"That's why we're so focused on automation," he said. "Our motto is 'Fiat Lux' — 'let there be light.' We feel like this is a great way to let the light of Berkeley shine out on the world."
A big obstacle is cost. Professors are reluctant to participate unless staff are provided to help with logistics. A major expense is video camera operators, unless schools can persuade lecturers to stand still at the lectern. MIT estimates OpenCourseWear costs a hefty $20,000 per course. Money from the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation started the project, but from now on it will rely mostly on contributions from MIT's budget and endowment, and from visitor donations.
But there are direct benefits. Small schools like Bowdoin can use iTunes to show prospective students the richness of their offerings. MIT reports half its incoming students have already checked out OpenCourseWare.
Meanwhile, half of MIT alumni use OpenCourseWare, too. And alumni who stay connected with the intellectual life at their alma maters are more likely to donate.
Ironically, I’ve always retained some affection for the voice-over and ending of the 1982 version. But Scott has finally managed to tell the story more clearly, making all the small fixes he’s spent years fighting for, and the effort has been entirely worth it. Better late than never.
never saw his work til The Lives of Others, where he kicks serious ass. but then, it was personal:
It is a tragic irony that at the moment when one of Germany's most celebrated actors, Ulrich Muhe, had gained international fame for his performance in this year's Oscar-winning The Lives of Others he was to die of stomach cancer, aged 54. According to Florian Henckel von Donnesmarck, the director of the film, the original cause of the stomach problems that eventually led to cancer was the anxiety he suffered during the period when Muhe was a conscript in the East German military.
Assigned to patrol the Berlin Wall, he had - like all East German border guards - shoot-to-kill orders for fugitives trying to escape to the west, though, as far as is known, he never killed anyone.
Many years later, when Muhe had become a well-known stage, screen and television actor, he was an outspoken critic of the regime and helped to organise a major anti-government demonstration in East Berlin in November 1989, which led to the collapse of the wall.
Therefore, his role as the loyal Stasi officer in The Lives of Others was particularly meaningful. In fact, the part was written with Muhe in mind, which partly explains the extraordinary identification of the actor with the part. The way he gradually changes from a soulless, humourless party flunky, leading a cold, isolated existence, into a human being, is a remarkable piece of acting. The film won him seven prizes for best actor, including a European Film Award.
In 2007, I finally got around to reading what has already become my favorite utopian novel: William Morris' News from Nowhere. Best known during his life as a poet, Morris is, unfortunately, now mostly remembered for his wallpaper. He designed it as part of his lifelong endeavor to literally craft an alternative to the brutality and ugliness of the industrial revolution through the artisanal production of furniture, textiles, and books - all as models of what work and its fruits could be.
That attempt had its political and literary faces, which is to say that Morris was also a prolific writer and an ardent revolutionary. He was more anarchist than socialist, as well as an antiquarian, a translator of Icelandic sagas, and so much more. News from Nowhere, published in 1890, portrays his ideal London in the far-distant future of 2102, a century and a half after "the revolution of 1952".
It's a bioregional and anarchic paradise: The economy is localized, work is voluntary, money is nonexistent and so is hunger, deprivation, and prison. The industrial filth of London has vanished, and the river and city are beautiful again. (They were far filthier in Morris' time, when every home burned coal, while sewage and industrial effluents flowed unfiltered into the Thames.)
Most utopias, of course, aren't places you'd actually want to live. Admittedly, Morris' is a little bland and mild, as life on earth without evil and struggle must be. But his utopia is prophetic, not dated, close to many modern visions of decentralized, localized power, culture, and everyday life. It is, in short, an old map for a new world being born in experiments around the globe.
please let me know of other books you've found that gave you a lift.
it's about bloody time the voting machines got jacked
Colorado's top election official decertified electronic voting machines used in many of the state's largest counties Monday, calling into question equipment used in past elections in a move he said could have national implications.
Electronic voting machines used in Denver, Arapahoe, Pueblo, Mesa and Elbert counties cannot be used in the next election because of problems with accuracy or security, Secretary of State Mike Coffman said.
A number of electronic scanners used to count ballots were also decertified, including a type used by Boulder County as well as more than three dozen small to mid-size counties around the state.
i'm looking forward to reading carl wilson's book new 33 1/3 entry on celine dion, cultural history maven that i am
it's unlikely i'll expose myself to her art any time soon though. . .
Wilson presents Dion as the apotheosis of Quebec's variety-pop vedette system, a tradition fundamentally removed from the world of the politically attuned chansonnier. Conversely, he offers the salient reminder that Dion's first success came in France, and that before attaining her present position as the unchallenged face of popular Quebec culture, she was a focus for intense division along socio-economic lines, with the intellectual classes likely to decry her as an embarrassing throwback to the deferential pre-Quiet Revolution days even while criticizing her role as, in Wilson's words, "a stealth operative of globalization."
Wilson also suggests some sound explanations for Dion's ongoing beyond-the-pale status among music critics. Her roots, he proposes, aren't in the accepted realms of folk/jazz/blues/rock, nor even in the Broadway showtune tradition, but rather in the critically neglected streams of 19th-century parlour music and light opera. He makes a convincing case that, far more so than Barbra Streisand or Vegas-era Elvis, Dion's closest musical and spiritual precursor is Mario Lanza.
which reminds me of the singer at the pivotal concert scene in the fifth element. this deepens her character, since it's a french film in a similarly romantic tradition, and what public figure is less likely to be involved in a profoundly political act (the smuggling of the four stones so coveted) than a chanteuse in the dion tradition?
see also how political/criminal events cluster around wilhelmenia fernandez in Diva.
by simon reynolds, who can't seem to write poorly about music.
Ayers and Wyatt belonged to a milieu of English mavericks who recorded for “progressive” labels like Harvest, Island, Charisma, and Virgin. Sharing a similar sensibility of gentle humour and genteel experimentalism, this was an incestuous scene, the musicians frequently collaborating or guesting on each other’s albums. The labels, similarly, exuded a longhaired, we’re-only-playing-at-being-a-record-company vibe. Virgin seemed more like an arts council for weirdos than the Industry. “It wasn’t really that idealistic,” says Wyatt. It’s just that “the Railway Enthusiast”--his nickname for Branson--“had noticed there was a market for bands who could sell albums without hit singles, based around the college gig circuit.” Ironically, Virgin would later maneuver Wyatt into recording a single--a cover of the Monkees’ “I’m A Believer”--which actually did become a hit and got the wheelchair-bound singer onto Top of the Pops.
A sublimely wrong-headed album of classically-toned, remarkably prolix "interpretations" of Paul Klee by the national gallery, flash-chilled for your listening satisfaction by Heino and Jerry in Uber Space [eye of the goof]
sample title: "A Negro Child Does Not Understand the Snow"
There was another reason for Brit bands' not making a serious bid to conquer the American market, though. In the high-turnover, hothouse atmosphere of the U.K. scene, being out of the country and out of sight means out of mind. British music fans and British music papers love the idea of the local: Fans want bands they can go and see regularly, groups they can root for and support almost like a soccer team. What the music press readership in the U.K. has always wanted is a band that resembles itself, which means it's got to be white, male, British. The band also needs to stick to the traditional format of songs plus electric guitars, and to lyrically offer a slightly heroicized version of the fan base's dreams and fears. If you look at what the readerships of NME and Melody Maker voted for as best band over the last 30 years, it's pretty much a straight line running from the Jam, Joy Division and Echo and the Bunnymen, through the Smiths, Oasis and Blur, right up to today's Franz Ferdinand and Arctic Monkeys. Not an American accent, black face or pair of ovaries in the lot of them. And apart from Oasis, not a full-blown American success story among them either.
Lee's curiously mutable face has been in all Tsai's feature films since 1992, including Rebels of the Neon God, Vive L'Amour (1994), The River (1997), The Hole, What Time Is It There? and Goodbye Dragon Inn (2003). His character has evolved from the rebellious youth of Rebels of the Neon God, where he's the incarnation of the Chinese god Nezha, a headstrong deity who defies his parents, into something sadder and more battered in recent films, including a porn actor in The Wayward Cloud.
Perhaps they might never have met; perhaps Tsai would have walked down another street or Lee wouldn't have been leaning against his motorcycle (motorcycles have a freighted presence in Tsai's films). Certainly it's hard to think of another director with such an intense artistic relationship with his leading man. Lee's own life informs Tsai's films quite as much as Tsai himself. The actor's neck injury on the set of Rebels of the Neon God became the central motif for his character in The River - to date Tsai's best-known film, with its celebrated scene where a closeted gay father accidentally has sex with his son in the mists of a sauna.
Tsai says he couldn't imagine making a film without Lee, but then again, as a solitary man who won't even go into a restaurant if it's crowded, he does tend to work with the same familiar people. He usually uses cinematographer Liao Pen-Jung and draws from a small group of actors that includes Chen Chao-Jung and Yang Kuei-Mei. "I don't talk to [Lee] every day, but most days, since we work in the same office," says Tsai. "However, I do talk on the phone every day to his nephew, who is seven years old."
A haunting, hallucinatory and touching film. It tells the story of a small boy who finds the daily noise of his town painful: the chickens, the church bells, the blacksmith’s banging. He steals a row boat and sets off to a near by island where he plays music on his homemade violin. He attracts the attention of a hermit living on the island. The man introduces the boy to an instrument called the Yanco.
if you click the link, the rest of the synopsis gives the film away.