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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]
Suharto had ruled with a totalitarian dominance that saw soldiers stationed in every village, instilling a deep fear of authority across this Southeast Asian nation that stretches across more than 4,825 kilometers (3,000 miles).
Since being forced from power, he had been in and out of hospitals after strokes caused brain damage and impaired his speech.
But poor health — and continuing corruption, critics charge — kept him from court after he was chased from office by widespread unrest at the peak of the 1997-1998 Asian financial crisis.
The bulk of killings occurred in 1965-1966 when between 300,000 and 800,000 alleged communists were rounded up and slain during his rise to power. Over the next three decades, a further 300,000 people were killed, disappeared or starved in the independence-minded regions of East Timor, Aceh and Papua, human rights groups and the United Nations say.
Suharto's successors as head of state — B. J. Habibie, Abdurrahman Wahid, Megawati Sukarnoputri and Yudhoyono — vowed to end the graft that took root under Suharto, yet it remains endemic at all levels of Indonesian society.
With the court system paralyzed by corruption, the country has not confronted its bloody past. Rather than put on trial those accused of mass murder and multibillion-dollar (euro) theft, some members of the political elite consistently called for charges against Suharto to be dropped on humanitarian grounds.
if you've ever watched the year of living dangerously, suharto was the guy heading up the massacreing generals.
They began like conventional rebels, arming themselves and seizing six towns. They chose that first day of January because it was the date that the North American Free Trade Agreement went into effect, which meant utter devastation for small farmers in Mexico; but they had also been inspired by the 500th anniversary, 14 months before, of Columbus's arrival in the Americas and the way native groups had reframed that half-millenium as one of endurance and injustice for the indigenous peoples of this hemisphere.
Their rebellion was also meant to take the world at least a step beyond the false dichotomy between capitalism and the official state socialism of the Soviet Union which had collapsed in 1991. It was to be the first realization of what needed to come next: a rebellion, above all, against capitalism and neoliberalism. Fourteen years later, it is a qualified success: many landless campesino families in Zapatista-controlled Chiapas now have land; many who were subjugated now govern themselves; many who were crushed now have a sense of agency and power. Five areas in Chiapas have existed outside the reach of the Mexican government, under their own radically different rules, since that revolution.
Beyond that, the Zapatistas have given the world a model -- and, perhaps even more important, a language -- with which to re-imagine revolution, community, hope, and possibility. Even if, in the near future, they were to be definitively defeated on their own territory, their dreams, powerful as they have been, are not likely to die. And there are clouds on the horizon: the government of President Felipe Calder۠may turn what has, for the last 14 years, been a low-intensity conflict in Chiapas into a full-fledged war of extermination. A war on dreams, on hope, on rights, and on the old goals of the hero of the Mexican Revolution a century before, Emiliano Zapata: tierra y libertad, land and liberty.
Their vision represented the antithesis of the homogenous world envisioned both by the proponents of "globalism" and by the modernist revolutions of the twentieth century. They have gone a long way toward reinventing the language of politics. They have been a beacon for everyone who wants to make a world that is more inventive, more democratic, more decentralized, more grassroots, more playful.
for those of you who haven't seen much of michael redgrave on film, TCM is running 5 of his best tomorrow night: The Importance of Being Earnest, The Way to the Stars, The Lady Vanishes, The Quiet American & Thunder Rock
most people have seen Earnest & Lady Vanishes, but Way to the Stars & Thunder Rock have not been easy to find, outside of europe anyway.
he was one of the great actors of the 20th century, though he shone more on stage than onscreen.
if you can, definitely check out his segment of the Dead of Night trilogy of supernatural suspense tales (he plays the ventriloquist with the rebellious dummy) and The Browning Version, easily one of the best (and most english) movies of the 50s.
and i highly recommend alan strachan's biography, which is apparently not available in an american edition.
from pop matters: a list of the best foreign/indie films (which i forgot was not just the best films period) of 2007, and a diverting piece on david bowie's "midlife crisis pentalogy" which is not as offputting as it sounds
Reygadas (battle in heaven) takes a hundred bold chances with [stellet licht], particularly with the magical ending, and they all work without seeming self-conscious or trite. And he parts the curtain with one of the hands-down devastating opening shots of the year.
fully half of this list was appealing but unknown to me, and i follow this stuff pretty closely (for someone in central arizona, anyway).
"[He] was always a mixed-up guy, a childish fellow. But if you're fond of children, you're also fond of childish men. He was always very helpful to me. After he was famous and when I was still in trouble with the US embassy, he wrote a letter in support of me which was magnificent. But it is true that he was very cruel to his children. He was so hurt by the way children treat you when you're their father. I have been hurt by my children. But he was not in possession of a proper brain when it came to these things." -- Herbert Lom (born Herbert Charles Angelo Kuchacevich ze Schluderpacheru) on Peter Sellers [imdb]
just watched lom with james mason in Hotel Reserve, a charming little WWII thriller. at 87 he was still workng.
most people know him from the Pink Panther movies in the 60s. I remember him best as louis from The Ladykillers with alec guinness. what a great menacing presence he was.
"In English eyes, all foreigners are sinister," he once said.
Fish is now the most traded animal commodity on the planet, with about 100 million tons of wild and farmed fish sold each year. Europe has suddenly become the world’s largest market for fish, worth more than 14 billion euros, or about $22 billion a year. Europe’s appetite has grown as its native fish stocks have shrunk so that Europe now needs to import 60 percent of fish sold in the region, according to the European Union.
In Europe, the imbalance between supply and demand has led to a thriving illegal trade. Some 50 percent of the fish sold in the European Union originates in developing nations, and much of it is laundered like contraband, caught and shipped illegally beyond the limits of government quotas or treaties. The smuggling operation is well financed and sophisticated, carried out by large-scale mechanized fishing fleets able to sweep up more fish than ever, chasing threatened stocks from ocean to ocean.
this is exactly what i was afraid of when i picked up the book it's based on , and again when i saw the commercial for the movie
This is a fictionalised sentimental-comic tribute to the real-life congressman Charlie Wilson, an exuberant figure who in the 1980s, with considerable chutzpah, masterminded and funded the covert war against the Soviet Union in Afghanistan. He is played by Tom Hanks, and that casting is an instruction to love him: a ladies' man and a drinker, but with a heart of gold. "You're a very, very easy man to like, congressman," someone tells him - and us. The hard-nosed meanie side of the operation is handled by the tough CIA man Gust Avrakotos, played by Philip Seymour Hoffman, who is made up, and I am choosing my words carefully, to look less attractive than he really is.
The good guys win; the Soviets get their asses kicked, but for those of us watching the film in 2008, there is something important being missed out. Every schoolchild surely knows about the terrible irony, the blowback? The fact that the mujahideen, armed by the United States, morphed into the Islamist haters of American freedom? Well, this movie spends its time averting its eyes from that terrible fact, and fastidiously declines to spell it out, other than with some supercilious warnings from Gust, and a fatuous and redundant postscript before the credits about "having fucked up the endgame". Granted, the movie's historical span finishes with the 1980s, but it's quite uninterested in the Afghans' mental world. The point is to celebrate Charlie's cheerful, gutsy resourcefulness; he's a nice version of Col Oliver North.
the people who starred in and directed, and no doubt funded charlie wilson's war know better. but clearly they don't think american audiences can handle the truth, to quote a famous line from another film loaded with a similarly guilty smirk of admiration for the "rightness" of american militarism.
“I would not hesitate to allow that liquid explosives can pose a danger,” Greene added, recalling Ramzi Yousef’s 1994 detonation of a small nitroglycerine bomb aboard Philippine Airlines Flight 434. The explosion was a test run for the so-called “Project Bojinka,” an Al Qaeda scheme to simultaneously destroy a dozen widebody airliners over the Pacific Ocean. “But the idea that confiscating someone’s toothpaste is going to keep us safe is too ridiculous to entertain.”
Yet that’s exactly what we’ve been doing. The three-ounce container rule is silly enough — after all, what’s to stop somebody from carrying several small bottles each full of the same substance — but consider for a moment the hypocrisy of T.S.A.’s confiscation policy. At every concourse checkpoint you’ll see a bin or barrel brimming with contraband containers taken from passengers for having exceeded the volume limit. Now, the assumption has to be that the materials in those containers are potentially hazardous. If not, why were they seized in the first place? But if so, why are they dumped unceremoniously into the trash? They are not quarantined or handed over to the bomb squad; they are simply thrown away. The agency seems to be saying that it knows these things are harmless. But it’s going to steal them anyway, and either you accept it or you don’t fly.
And rather than rethink our policies, the best we’ve come up with is a way to skirt them — for a fee, naturally — via schemes like Registered Traveler. Americans can now pay to have their personal information put on file just to avoid the hassle of airport security. As cynical as George Orwell ever was, I doubt he imagined the idea of citizens offering up money for their own subjugation.
How we got to this point is an interesting study in reactionary politics, fear-mongering and a disconcerting willingness of the American public to accept almost anything in the name of “security.” Conned and frightened, our nation demands not actual security, but security spectacle. And although a reasonable percentage of passengers, along with most security experts, would concur such theater serves no useful purpose, there has been surprisingly little outrage. In that regard, maybe we’ve gotten exactly the system we deserve.
the author is a commercial pilot, btw.
i flew recently and the situation is so completely idiotic i can't even think about it.
nice little interview with william friedkin, at the release of Cruising on dvd
Probably the thing that people will object to today is not so much the gay subtext, but rather the ambiguous ending.
There is more than one murderer, and that's what a lot of people couldn't wrap their minds around. We are conditioned by films, and mostly television, that if it's a murder mystery, by the end of the film, when the curtain comes down, the murderer is caught. On television, there's a murder that takes place at 9 o'clock, and by 10 o'clock, it's completely solved. Evil is put back in its box. And Cruising doesn't do that. Cruising says that the evil is still out there. It's not meant as a cautionary tale to gays because equally, what I learned form the research on this film, is that most of the murders go unsolved in almost every big city in the world. As typified by the Jack the Ripper  murders, which took place in 1888. There were five murders. They, to this day, are unsolved. They didn't have DNA or anything like that. They had suspects, many of them, but they never were able to pin down who Jack the Ripper was. But it's because of him that you now have all this interest in these serial murder cases. Jack the Ripper was the first that got people concerned about: are they safe?
another article on the digital death of music, this time from Rolling Stone
Too much compression can be heard as musical clutter; on the Arctic Monkeys' debut, the band never seems to pause to catch its breath. By maintaining constant intensity, the album flattens out the emotional peaks that usually stand out in a song. "You lose the power of the chorus, because it's not louder than the verses," Bendeth says. "You lose emotion."
The inner ear automatically compresses blasts of high volume to protect itself, so we associate compression with loudness, says Daniel Levitin, a professor of music and neuroscience at McGill University and author of This Is Your Brain on Music: The Science of a Human Obsession. Human brains have evolved to pay particular attention to loud noises, so compressed sounds initially seem more exciting. But the effect doesn't last. "The excitement in music comes from variation in rhythm, timbre, pitch and loudness," Levitin says. "If you hold one of those constant, it can seem monotonous." After a few minutes, research shows, constant loudness grows fatiguing to the brain. Though few listeners realize this consciously, many feel an urge to skip to another song.
"If you limit range, it's just an assault on the body," says Tom Coyne, a mastering engineer who has worked with Mary J. Blige and Nas. "When you're fifteen, it's the greatest thing — you're being hammered. But do you want that on a whole album?"
To an average listener, a wide dynamic range creates a sense of spaciousness and makes it easier to pick out individual instruments — as you can hear on recent albums such as Dylan's Modern Times and Norah Jones' Not Too Late. "When people have the courage and the vision to do a record that way, it sets them apart," says Joe Boyd, who produced albums by Richard Thompson and R.E.M.'s Fables of the Reconstruction. "It sounds warm, it sounds three-dimensional, it sounds different. Analog sound to me is more emotionally affecting."
i agree this is a problem, but i think over time the technology will be used to make music sound richer,m not flatter. meanwhile, so much music is more available and reaches so many more people without the tyranny of the album format that i'm still glad napster and compressed files have changed things.
cds were overpriced and being mastered to the same effect anyway.
i liked bertolucci's the last emperor when i saw it in the 80s, but never got through it afterward -- i'm not really a big fan of his work, for no reason offhand other than it just doesn't click with me
but i thought i'd mention this post from the criterion blog which confirms that the original theatrical version is the true "director's cut", not the longer one released on disc a while back.
i guess criterion's going to release their own version with both cuts included. which is nice, but there are so many other films that could really use the criterion push more than this one.
i've never seen robert wilson's work in person, nor may i ever (location and money being the reasons), but i've always been fascinated by what i have seen, and i'm looking forward to katharina otto's documentary, which netflix carries [TCM]
16 movies that jump off my list from last year (nothing to do with when they were released):
Dance With the Devil (Perdita durango) (1997, de la Iglesias) Deliver Us From Evil (2006, Berg) The Libertine (2004, Dunmore) The Young One (1960, Bunuel) The Lives of Others (2006, von Donnersmarck) Inland Empire (2006, Lynch) Away From Her (2006, Polley) The Namesake (2006, Nair) Tideland (2005, Gilliam) The Power of Nightmares: The Rise of the Politics of Fear (2004, Curtis) Ace in the Hole (1951, Wilder) Fur: An Imaginary Portrait of Diane Arbus (2006, Shainberg) The Fall of the House of Usher (1928, Epstein) Sweet Movie (1974, Makavejev) The Bridge (2006, Steel)