| 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]
An article I noted when I couldn't post last summer: Alan Wolfe on bloggers as the new pamphleteers [NYT registration info in left column, down a bit]
Whether or not you can tell a book by its cover, you can generally tell a country by its books. If most political books are any indication, the way we argue now has been shaped by cable news and Weblogs; it's all "gotcha" commentary and attributions of bad faith. No emotion can be too angry and no exaggeration too incredible.
Yet if the technologies used by bloggers and hardballers are new, the form is older than the Republic. While they appear as books -- and are staples of the best-seller lists -- today's give-no-quarter attacks, as George Packer noted recently of bloggers, have their origins in the pamphlets of the colonial era. "Whatever the gravity of their themes or the spaciousness of their contents," Bernard Bailyn has written of these 18th-century op-ed articles, "they were always essentially polemical." Long before deconstruction, we were fond of a hermeneutics of suspicion. We had partisanship even before we had parties. Our framers warned against the dangers of faction because we so rarely stood together. If you prefer your invective unseasoned by decorum, check out what the anti-Federalists had to say about the Constitution or how the Whigs treated "King Andrew" Jackson.
Judge our contemporary culture warriors by the standards of books, and they disappoint: logic, evidence and reason are conspicuously absent. Judge them by the standards of pamphleteering, and they may be doing democracy a favor, reminding our apathetic public why politics matters. Let me, then, apply the pamphlet standard to a slew of recently published volumes in which liberals and conservatives have at each other. Pamphleteering flourishes because in both publishing and politics, established elites and institutions are no longer able to ensure consensus and insist on moderation.
It's three years since Jean-Pierre Jeunet overturned our idea of what a French film could - or should - be with Amélie. A Parisian fairy tale starring uber-waif Audrey Tautou, it took £40m in America. Only the French critics were unimpressed, declaring Amélie 'sugary' and 'unrealistic' (there were no black faces on the streets, for example).
Libération called it a 'commercial' for the far right. A little unfair, perhaps. In many ways Jeunet is the French Richard Curtis. Where Curtis sells us a fantasy England of red buses and comedy toffs, Jeunet offers us young women cracking crème brûlée and comic postmen. The success of The Chorus and Amélie represents a nostalgia for a vanished France of supposedly simpler values, according to Paul Ryan of London's Ciné Lumière: 'We're living in a world dominated by terror, fictitious and otherwise, and people want to cheer themselves up. They don't want too much reality in their cinema.' Ryan thinks we are seeing a revolt against the miserabilist tradition dubbed filles perdues, cheveux gras ('lost girls with greasy hair'): 'Over the past 15 years, France has been giving a platform to the minorities in its culture, the third-wave of immigration that came in from the former colonies, so you get Algerian, Tunisian and Moroccan cinema. A lot of the films are set on housing projects; some are downbeat because the life they're reflecting is downbeat; others are very optimistic and rich. So there's a renaissance of social realism in the mould of Ken Loach. And directors like Jeunet, who are of the imaginative, entertainment school, are turning away from this overly realistic strand.'
Although Jeunet's films are the antithesis of grungy arthouse, they embody 'Frenchness' in a very different way from the idyllic rural portraits of Jean de Florette and Manon des Sources. He combines fantastical storytelling with state-of-the-art CGI. 'Cinema since the New Wave always seems to be about a couple fighting in the kitchen,' he says. 'I prefer to write positive stories.' His new film, A Very Long Engagement, the second highest-grossing French film of 2004, nominated for two Oscars, is part First World War love story, part detective story, part quirky MTV video. It has opened to mostly glowing reviews, but Jeunet is facing accusations that he hasn't made a French film. Although it was filmed in French and on location in France, the bulk of its £32m budget was provided by Warners's French subsidiary. So it was ruled ineligible for state subsidy or French film festivals.
A few months ago Susan & I agreed on a bumper sticker for our used van, to cover an old "honor student" sticker I couldn't get off, which featured this phrase we found amusing and edgy and enigmatic; since then I've found out it's a line from a Simpsons episode, and that a surprising number of people young and old suffer from coulrophobia -- including someone I work with
The pilot project - Acoustic Space Lab symposium took place from August 4 - 12, 2001 in the forests of western Latvia in Irbene at the site of Soviet-era d=32 meter dish antenna. Formerly used to spy on satellite transmissions between Europe and North-America by the KGB, the antenna was abandoned and nearly destroyed when the Russian Army departed in 1994. The dish was successfully repaired by VIRAC (Ventspils International Radio Astronomy Center) radio astronomers.
Over the days of the symposium international team of 30 sound artists, net and community radio activists and radio amateurs in co-operation with VIRAC scientists were exploring the possibilities of antenna. The participants made recordings of the sounds and data from planets' observations, communication satellites and surrounding environment.
It was a great chance for artists to access and work with this big antenna. But most important was that this "old and heavy" technology - big dish - because of its' secret past, specific location in so far remote place, and its' never unexploited potential for civilian use, succeeded to facilitate new context for collaborative exploring, experimenting and data processing.
I heard about this through Douglas Benford's SPRAWL newsletter, which mentioned he had a track on a DVD/CD associated with the project. But I couldn't find any info on the site about it. I emailed one of the coordinators and will post what I hear.
If anyone reading this knows anything about it, please comment below or email me at the address at the top of this page.
So who ever thought the 2004 U.S. presidential election had the remotest chance of being honest and democratic?
Not, one might guess, the electronic voting security experts like Ken Thompson, Roy Saltman, Rebecca Mercuri, Bruce Schneier, Doug Jones, Victoria Collier, Aviel Rubin, Lynn Landes, and Bev Harris, who have for years been warning that the new voting technology coming into use in the United States offers unprecedented opportunities for electoral fraud...
And certainly not Republican Congressional Representative Peter King, who made [a] notable video statement on the afternoon of November 2nd, long before the polls closed, in the course of a White House function that seemed to have put him into a celebratory mood. "It's already over," he told the interviewer. "The election's over. We won." Asked how he knew at that early hour, King replied: "It's all over but the counting. And we'll take care of the counting."
For now at least, the forms of a democratic republic remain in place--as, in a parallel way, the residual forms of the Roman Republic remained in place well after its devolution into a militarized imperial autocracy.
One of the early emperors, Tiberius, got sadistic pleasure out of writing deferential letters to the Roman Senate, humbly requesting the terrorized senators' direction and advice. (It is not recorded, though others of his missives had a similarly noxious effect, that he ever went so far as to have the envelopes dusted--did the Romans use envelopes?--with weaponized anthrax.)
Tiberius's successor, known to history by the fond nickname, Caligula, given him by the Roman legionaries, likewise held the Senate in high esteem: he is said to have planned to have his horse--or was it his donkey?--elected to that august body.
If anyone out there has a copy (or mp3s) of this comp of covers of tracks from the Bowie/Eno album Low by folks like Tom Recchion and William Fowler Collins, I'd love to trade with or hear from you etc.
Old news blogwise, but I like this story of the Pentagon trying to develop a chemical weapons that would "make enemy troops sexually irresistible to each other" or just give them bad breath [Metafilter]
They could have just jammed the local TV station with reruns of Teletubbies and Spongebob...
Indeed, the absurdly gory, sometimes campy nature of the work is aggressively weird. But the three are earnest about their art and the ideas they are trying to highlight through taxidermy. All are animal lovers, with a number of pet dogs, cats, birds and fish among them; they use only roadkill, donations from veterinarians and unused animal remains from museums. A strict waste-not-want-not policy accounts for Ms. Brewer's mummified squirrel heads and pickled internal organs, what she calls "carcass art," which is not technically taxidermy.
To be sure, the Rogue Taxidermists do not claim to be the first to suspend animal remains in formaldehyde and call it art. But they hope that through their exhibitions they can inspire people to recognize the natural world around them and to reconsider their position in it - whether, as Mr. Marbury said, the reaction is "revulsion or love or distrust."
In Mr. Marbury's estimation, taxidermy has a unique capacity to evoke the mystery of death. "When you deal with a dead object and then you are imbuing it with life and giving it characteristics," he said, "people become uncomfortable."
This Tuesday, TCM is running a great line-up of noirs, if you haven't seen these classics: Murder, My Sweet (5AM), Born to Kill (11AM), Out of the Past (3PM), Double Indemnity (5PM), The Postman Always Rings Twice (7PM), The Lady from Shanghai (9PM), Detour (1030PM), The Maltese Falcon (12AM), and Act of Violence (145AM)(all PT)
I haven't seen Born to Kill yet, but it sounds great, and Maltese Falcon & Postman Always Rings Twice are overrated at this point, but if you haven't seen 'em, you should.
Finally got around to watching the first couple hours of the new season of 24, and it's well-done as usual (though it's less compelling each season); my main problem is the script could be written by Karl Rove
The series started before 9/11 and they did a passable job of not obviously capitalizing on or pandering to the New Fear Paradigm. But this season -- which supposedly takes place years from now, it looks like they've been fed plot points by Richard Perle et al.
"Secretary of Defense" William Devane even looks like a creepy cross between shrub and Ian Holm.
Here's a second parsing of my movie/TV program list, the ones I recommend seeing after the top 25
Dirty Pretty Things Shattered Glass Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy 32 Short Films About Glenn Gould The Source (1999, Chuck Workman doc on Beats) The Last of Sheila Calendar The Weather Underground Dollar (1938) Prime Suspect (series) For All Mankind Eye Like a Strange Balloon Stray Dog (1949) Let It Come Down: The Life of Paul Bowles In the Mirror of Maya Deren Goodbye, Lenin! Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind Rivers and Tides: Andy Goldsworthy - Working With Time The Scent of Green Papaya Secret Honor The Return (Vozvrashcheniye) California Split Croupier A Home at the End of the World How to Draw a Bunny (doc on artist Ray Johnson) Code 46
Films I enjoyed the most and are just very good films, if not classics:
Thirteen Quai des Orfevres The Return of the King A Story of Floating Weeds La jetée The Puppetmaster (1993) Waking Life Talk to Her La Dolce Vita Girl With a Pearl Earring Baran A Decade Under the Influence Tokyo Story Onibaba Early Summer Facing Windows Yi Yi Jandek on Corwood How to Draw a Bunny Black Narcissus Cure (1997) Capturing the Friedmans Hiroshima Mon Amour American Splendor Ordet (1955)
Obviously when the films were released has little to do with this list. I don't think any of them were released in theatres this year, though several were released on disc for the first time.
Also, this list excludes films I'd seen before which otherwise would have made the list:
Gosford Park Insomnia (1997) The River (1951) Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas Heart of Glass The Killing (1956) 3 Women Exotica Dead Ringers The Animal Kingdom Stalker The Parallax View The Asphalt Jungle Atlantic City The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie The Horse's Mouth A Mighty Wind After Hours (1985) Lone Star (1996) Fight Club Donnie Darko Arlington Road Wonder Boys L'Age D'Or The Shop Around the Corner Go
More lists to come, til you're sick to death of them.
In 2004, new records by many old favorites, like Squarepusher (Ultravisitor), Beastie Boys (To the 5 Boroughs), John Adams (On the Transmigration of Souls) and DJ Krush (Jaku), albeit very fine in their own right, didn't demand concerted, continued, curious listening. Admittedly, no single netlabel release seemed to hold its own against these, though two on the Stasisfield label, John Kannenberg's Four Painters and Raemus' Stream Studies, certainly came close; the gap is narrowing quickly. Still, there was a bounty of good work.
I can recommend the Stasisfield titles, and most of what Marc mentions is worth a listen at least.