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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
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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]
I was a voracious reader from an early age. I read everything. The backs of cereal boxes, lyrics, CD liner notes, and books by the thousands. I skipped school so I could go to the library and read. I read American Psycho when I was seventeen years old. There were portions of the book I had to take sips of water in between finishing. There were portions of the book that completely freaked me out. There were chapters I have memorized word for word. I absorbed this book, this creation that fifty years ago would have been burned and outlawed. It made me want to be a writer, this book. It made me realize how revolutionary fiction is, how much more vital and edgy it is than music has been for the last thirty years... How much cooler the process of creating a book is than recording some songs in a studio and going out and playing them on the road. Fiction, modern fiction, today, is punk rock. Maybe even cooler than punk rock ever was, because it's not about fashion. It's about expression. True expression. Without fear, without censorship.
8 bit Records is offering free downloads of the Dangermouse-produced Grey Album, which crosspollinates Jay-Z's Black Album and the Beatles' White Album, and is being censored by EMI's legal moves on record stores that stock it
Only today though, so jump to it.
I'm not much of a hiphopper, so it's not something I'll be spending hours downloading on my caveman dialup connection.
Wordspy, "devoted to lexpionage, the sleuthing of new words and phrases," e.g. stop-loss job, "n. A job taken only to pay one's expenses and therefore to prevent the continued depletion of one's savings."
The Renaissance was a backward-looking movement that hailed the distant past - ancient Greece and ancient Rome - as the only source of enlightenment. Petrarch, a Renaissance writer, wanted to put the clock back and to return to writing in Latin. And not just the Latin that was then current. He wanted to return to classical Latin. The Latin that was then current and still being spoken in the churches and monasteries was condemned as deficient. Rather than reviving Latin, the Renaissance killed it stone dead as a spoken language.
Chaucer, Boccaccio and Dante (although writing at the same time as Petrarch) wrote in the vernacular. They also celebrated the vitality, exuberance and individuality of ordinary men and women. They were the modernists and in that way they were truly medieval. Petrarch was the backwards-looking conservative. The proud despiser of the common people. The willing servant of a tyrant such as Bernabo Visconti. Petrarch provides a prototype for the Renaissance and for much of what follows.
Having just read and enjoyed David Goodis' Down There, I figured I'd try again to watch Truffaut's Shoot the Piano Player, which is based on it
Reading the glowing review on the IMDB page above, and it's intriguing Thomson quote, I feel utterly at odds with both.
Truffaut doesn't have a noir bone in his body, and the movie captures none of the depth and lyricism of the book. I figured people might plug into it as a deconstruction of the genre, which is fine. I just hope another director does the book justice at some point.
Charles Aznavour has no presence at all, and that makes sense in the context of Marcel Moussy's script because there's none of the dark, out-of-control violent side of his character in the book present at all. The relationship between "Charlie" and the prostitute makes them siblings instead of world-weary cast-offs. Aznavour's relationship with the waitress Lena has no charge, no gravity to it at all -- no resonance with his tragic and doomed liaison with Theresa.
Everything seems infused with champagne bubbles. The book's plot is completely buried under Gallic insouciance.
If I wasn't a fan of noir, and had seen this when it was released in '60, maybe I would've felt different. And I have to admit the only Truffaut movie I felt much of anything for was The Story of Adele H..
The Man in My Basement is an eerie book, the more so for making no obvious attempt to creep out its readers. It hovers between the prosaic world of the genre writer and the spooked parables of Kafka. Where Kafka's style is spare, Mosley's is plain, like something made of unfinished two-by-fours, serving its purpose without any pretense to artfulness. It is utterly believable as the voice of Blakey, a man whose anomie only deepens as the novel goes along and whose pitiful inability to understand himself finds a parallel in the way language turns into a stiff, clumsy instrument in his hands. He can never quite get at what he's feeling, what might really be going on, whether he's talking to a friend or trying to fathom just what Anniston Bennet is up to.
The second volume of R F Foster's definitive and exhaustive biography of Yeats is out
Taken together the 2 volumes are around 1500 pages, but Christopher Cahill's review underlines how endlessly fascinating his life was.
By 1916 Yeats was over fifty and wanted to be married and to produce an heir. He knew that Maud, for all the beauty he had once seen in her, or thought he'd seen in her (in photographs she looks like a towering, lantern-jawed man), had gone too far down the road of rabid revolutionary political activism, chloroform addiction, and increasingly Christian mysticism to be anything like a suitable wife. So when he made his request this time, it was really only because he thought he should, because her estranged husband, John MacBride ? a drunken gunman, the father of her son, and the molester of her daughter ? had recently been executed by the British for his role in the 1916 Easter Rising. Yeats made his proposal in a perfunctory fashion, with conditions attached, expecting and somewhat hoping to be turned down yet again, as he was. As R. F. Foster writes in this much anticipated second and final volume of his biography of the great Irish poet, occultist, and sucker for romantic punishment, "When he duly asked Maud to marry him, and was duly refused, his thoughts shifted with surprising speed to her daughter."
Foster apparently had unprecedented and unlimited access to Yeats' papers.
...it reads like what you'd get if Tom Wolfe clambered inside the head of Noam Chomsky -- it elegantly and angrily scorches a lot of earth...I wouldn't be surprised, in fact, if The Fountain at the Center of the World became the talismanic Catch-22 of the antiglobalization protest movement, the fictional complement to Naomi Klein's influential treatise No Logo
amazon.ca glitch that revealed authors reviewing their own books etc. shows the power of amazon, how the Net redefines the lines between the artist and the public, and the humanity of the writers -- as well as the small world booklovers live in
Researching David Thomson's novel Suspects I found a coupleinterviews from the end of '02 when his film reference book's new edition was published, and David Toop's review of Jon Hassell's Dressing for Pleasure
I haven't been into Hassell's 90's stuff, but I'm reading Toop's superb Ocean of Sound and the review gives a nice taste of the book.
It's not just the indies, and it's not just the smaller markets. On Thursday the parent company of Tower Records, which has stores in major cities nationwide, was on the verge of filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, according to news reports, having failed to find a suitable buyer. In September, the bankrupt Wherehouse Entertainment chain was acquired by a company that promptly said it would close 35 underperforming stores. Mall chains such as Sam Goody are hurting, too.
As pop's superstars strut down the red carpet in Los Angeles tonight for the Grammy Awards, there is something close to panic in the retail trenches of the music business. The record store is in serious trouble. Sales have been hammered by Internet piracy as well as competition from big-box retailers such as Best Buy and Wal-Mart, two of the nation's leading music vendors. Online CD stores such as Amazon.com are gaining momentum, too: 3 percent of the market in the most recent survey by the Recording Industry Association of America, up from zero eight years ago.
Now a new threat looms. The market for legally downloadable music is tiny today, but the success of Apple's iTunes online music store and the rush of rival services to the marketplace is expected to gobble up an ever-larger share of the pop music pie. A recent study by Forrester Research, which examines technology trends, predicts that in five years one-third of all music will be delivered through modems and the CD will be passe, if not obsolete, in the years after.
No extras apparently, though it seems a preliminary listing.
It's a challenging Bergmanesque meditation on identity that I liked a lot. You either find it fascinating or interminable. Like the comment on the IMDB page above says, the main problem for me is the music, which overdoes the mood. It's one of Altman's best either way, and Spacek and Duvall are great.
I'd like to see one of his lesser-known 70s films -- A Perfect Couple -- released too. Too bittersweet and "European" for its time, I think it would find a more receptive audience now. And Paul Dooley is the male lead!
Neither of these films were ever released on tape, as far as I know.
Another one from the 70s I hadn't seen until recently (which is on DVD) is Images, with Susannah York. It's worth a look too. A Wedding isn't out on disc yet either, and it's kind of a guilty pleasure, because it's not as good, but I like it anyway. It is out on tape, as is Thieves Like Us, which is the only one I haven't seen from his early period that looks worth seeking out.
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...
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.
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.
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.
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.