| 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]
I remember him mostly from watching I, Claudius and so forth on PBS. He was the best host they had I think. Started as a film critic in '34 and stopped his radio series Letters from America only last month.
I believe his Omnibus TV series sponsored the Hunter Thompson doc on the second disc of Fear and Loathing I just watched. Probably the best one I've seen on him.
Mark Kurlansky's 1968: The Year That Rocked the World sounds an essential read on the events & effects of the decade that exposed the cultural (or however you want to call it) divide America has been dealing with ever since: review
Another acclaimed Canadian novel that's belatedly making it to the American market -- this time a Western saga that someone on amazon compares to Lonesome Dove, the gold standard apparently -- The Last Crossing by Guy Vanderhaeghe: review
With points of view that rotate among half a dozen characters, settings that jump from England to America to Canada, and time periods that slip back and forth across the 19th century, it sounds like an arduous journey (of course Canadians would like it), but part of Vanderhaeghe's genius is melding all these elements into an irresistible story.
I've never even seen the TV miniseries of Dove, never mind read it, but I bet both of these are fun reads.
The "positive" rates are low - less than 5 percent - suggesting that most people aren't using drugs, let alone trying to cheat.
But the prevalence of screening and the reach of the Internet has fostered a thriving cottage industry of entrepreneurs who promise to help workers beat the tests.
The federal government hopes to crack down on cheating by broadening testing of its own employees over the next year to include scrutiny of workers' saliva, hair and sweat. Some private employers have already adopted the alternative testing methods, and new government standards could lead even more companies to make the switch.
"You want to create a new mechanism for cheating on drug tests, we're going to create a mechanism to catch it," said Robert Stephenson II, an official with the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, which sets standards for testing federal workers.
But tests using so-called alternative matrices are already fueling a new round of cat-and-mouse, as companies who specialize in test-beating scramble to market products they claim will foil hair and saliva screening.
"The government can go ahead and try to catch up and they will eventually, but they're going to have to do that through legislation. They're not going to do it through science," said Tony Wilson, a spokesman for Spectrum Labs, a Cincinnati company that markets an ever-changing lineup of products designed to beat drug tests.
Online label 8bit Recs bites the dust after the owner of their server takes action against their participation in the Grey Tuesday event
Thorsten Sideboard, who founded the 8bitrecs.com netlabel, got back to London after a recent trip to the U.S., only to find he'd lost his job. Why? Because 8bitrecs.com had participated in Grey Tuesday, the web activist event late last month, in which almost 200 websites around the world made DJ Danger Mouse's Grey Album available for free download. The Grey Album had become a flashpoint for various copyright issues, including sampling clearances and peer-to-peer filesharing. It melded Jay-Z's 2003 Black Album and the Beatles' self-titled 1968 record, ubiquitously known as The White Album, and was made available for free download. EMI, the Beatles' publisher, sent threatening cease and desist letters to everyone involved, including the numerous Grey Tuesday activists.
Highpoint Lowlife is Sideboard's proper record label (website at highpointlowlife.com), which just released its seventh album, titled, with unintentional irony, White Label (by Recon, aka Chris Coode, better known for his work as Motion). He's also on track for the next three Highpoint releases: Rashamon's Tomorrow, People, Marshall Watson's The Time Was Later Than He Expected and, for its 10th album, Some Paths Lead Back Again, a compilation of Scottish electronica, featuring tracks by Daigoro, Izu, Rose and Sandy, Accrual, Bovine Life, the Village Orchestra and others, organized by the Marcia Blaine School for Girls.
Given that the current U.S. population is in excess of 292 million, 40 that would mean a reduction of 92 million. To achieve a sustainable economy and avert disaster, the United States must reduce its population by at least one-third. The black plague during the 14th Century claimed approximately one-third of the European population (and more than half of the Asian and Indian populations), plunging the continent into a darkness from which it took them nearly two centuries to emerge.
None of this research considers the impact of declining fossil fuel production. The authors of all of these studies believe that the mentioned agricultural crisis will only begin to impact us after 2020, and will not become critical until 2050. The current peaking of global oil production (and subsequent decline of production), along with the peak of North American natural gas production will very likely precipitate this agricultural crisis much sooner than expected. Quite possibly, a U.S. population reduction of one-third will not be effective for sustainability; the necessary reduction might be in excess of one-half. And, for sustainability, global population will have to be reduced from the current 6.32 billion people -- 42 to 2 billion -- a reduction of 68r over two-thirds. The end of this decade could see spiraling food prices without relief. And the coming decade could see massive starvation on a global level such as never experienced before by the human race.
The history of taxation is tied to war. As money is needed to wage a war, new systems of taxation appear. Customs duties financed most of the Civil War. Tobacco, alcohol and other excise taxes were added to help pay for the Continental Navy. With each subsequent war, military spending skyrocketed, seldom returning to its pre-war level. The enactment of the Sixteenth Amendment in 1913 established a permanent personal income tax for the first time. The employee withholding system was established in 1943, in the midst of World War II Military outlays during this war increased to almost 80 times the prewar level, and debt taken on to finance the war jumped to six and a half times its 1940 level.
Maureen, an Albuquerque peace activist in her 40s who just recently began resisting taxes, credits a situation that happened in the '80s for planting the seed that now inspires her resistance. Alexander Haig, secretary of state during the Reagan Administration, commenting on anti-nuclear weapon protesters gathered outside the White House said, "Let them protest, as long as they are paying taxes."
"For me," Maureen said, "I think this kind of lay dormant. You know how you get influenced by something but you don't act on it but it stays. [Haig's comment] was truly to me a revelation, like, 'you know you can stand there, you can go on a hunger strike, you can fast and you can march and have your signs, but we have your money and we're going to do what we want with it.' And that I think stuck with me in a big way, even though I didn't really start acting on it until recently."
The closest to my sense of the Gibson Christ movie appeared in this article where a French film distributor said that while he was refusing to pick up the film, he wasn't against its being shown "[b]ecause, behind this 'Passion' . . . you can glimpse a whole internationale of religious fundamentalism, a martyrology based on violence, contempt for the body and hatred for the human element."
I haven't seen it, and don't intend to. Any more than I intend to watch Kill Bill.
Poking around DVD review sites (keeping an eye out for contests mostly) I found the UK site DVD Outsider, which has thoughtful reviews of titles released in (ahem) ZONE 2 (this regional DVD thing is so stupid)
There were reviews of 2 Japanese films that aren't out here yet (A Snake of June by Shinyu Tsukamoto & Dark Water by Ringu director Hideo Nakata) which sparked my interest. Plus a piece on Thomas Riedelsheimer's Rivers and Tides, a documentary on British nature artist Andy Goldsworthy that won the Best Documentary award at the 2003 San Francisco International Film Festival, which is at least listed at Netflix, though no release date yet.
I guess this site would also be useful for fans with all-region players, who like to keep track of the different extras on regional versions.
Anyway, it's a site to check out for the discerning viewer.
Olafur Eliasson's spectacularly popular artificial sun exhibit at the Tate in London closes
The Tate Modern in London recently suggested extending the wildly successful six-month run of Olafur Eliasson's installation in the museum's vast Turbine Hall. An instant cult site of mood-altering atmospherics, both gloomy and eye-popping, "The Weather Project" consists of a fake sun (yellow lights behind a huge semicircular screen, below a mirrored ceiling) and pumped-in mist.
His work is in fact very much an expression of his background and character. It's serious. Landscape components partly reflect his Nordic roots. Like Ibsen and Strindberg, writers he admires, Mr. Eliasson is, he says, after a kind of fleeting experience that is theatrical but at the same time transparent about its artifice. He is adamant that the Tate display is not about creating a convincing illusion, in that he lets a visitor see the lights behind the screen and the seams between the mirrors -- gives them a peek backstage, as it were.
The mirrors have another purpose, too. "I put mirrors on the museum ceiling to change the history of the Turbine Hall, which previously had sculptures in it, and to create a different experience, a place that looked even larger than it is, emphasizing the megalomaniacal ambition of the architects and the institution," he explains. "The mirror, not the sun, is what people are really staring at: so the work is not so much the general spectacle of a fake sun, but a person's individual encounter with his own reflection."
"It's not about bubbles, it's about figuring out which products work, which ideas work, which relationships work for you," said Robbie Blinkoff, the principal anthropologist at Context-Based Research Group, a consulting firm in Baltimore. "It's partly because of all the stuff that's available out there, the amount of channels you can get it through. You had to create a survival strategy."
So never mind that as I completed a week of experimenting with life on filter, a colleague said to me, "You hate us!" I wasn't a snob or antisocial, but practicing what Mr. Blinkoff calls "critical consumption."
Modern filtering has been around since the most answering machines allowed people to screen calls. But the popularity of Tivo and noise-canceling headphones suggest that demand for filtering is growing - hardly surprising in an age when people's cellphone conversations and blogs are giving you more far more information than you really wanted. Now, at the supermarket, Mr. Blinkoff said, "the coupon dispensers pop out at you."
I know I much prefer email to phone calls -- really gotten to hate the phone.
Yet I get a comfort sometimes from the briefest dip into the social pool of the supermarket that I can't muster on my own.
Yet far more rampant than art forgeries and fake collectibles these days are fraudulent listings for expensive consumer goods. Plasma televisions and laptop computers, mountain bikes, fancy espresso machines, treadmills, telescopes, even vehicles are prime candidates to be phantom objects on eBay, sometimes promoted with photos and descriptions lifted straight off the manufacturer's Web site. Often, the seller uses auction software to post dozens of items at once, flooding a category with fake listings.
Last year, some $200 million lost to online fraud was reported to the Federal Trade Commission. And nearly half the 166,000 complaints the agency received last year were about online auctions, a 130 percent increase from 2001. While the F.T.C. does not break out figures by companies, the vast majority of online auctions are conducted on eBay.
"It's gone nuts just since November of last year," said Greg Schiller, a computer and network technician in Aztec, N.M., who says he reports hundreds of fraudulent listings every day to eBay.
On Feb 21 200 motorists in the Las Vegas area were suddenly locked out of their cars - EMF experiments from nearby military facilities?
New book on the Phoenix Lights incident in March 1997. This is interesting to me because my girlfriend and I saw similar lights on January 7 of the same year here in Cottonwood AZ, 100 miles north of Phoenix.
I've pretty much given up commenting on politics by shutting down my other blog, but this can't pass without note at least.
Nor do I think ETA or al Qaeda had anything to do with the tragic bombings in Spain. It's just too much like the bombings in the days before Putin's "election" and the suspicions many of us have about 9/11 and the neocons etc..
How the bookselling landscape has mutated in the last 10 years
When USA TODAY began its Best-Selling Books list 10 years ago, books weren't sold on the Internet, J.K. Rowling was a struggling, unknown writer, and Oprah Winfrey had yet to become publishing's darling.
Fiction accounts for 72f best sellers now, as opposed to 59n 1994.
Less a traditional commercial novel than philosophical fiction, it has value for its prophecies and for the light it sheds on Heinlein's other books. One reason he refused to publish the novel later in his career was that he used it as a source for ideas and events that appeared in his subsequent work, including "Stranger in a Strange Land," "Starship Troopers" and the story "If This Goes On . . . ."
Although the book has didactic elements it also allowed him to make predictions about everything from the invention of the "telautograph" (a way of leaving phone messages) to man walking on the Moon. He also foresaw a revolution in sexual freedom, publicly owned banks and a united Europe with a common currency. One prediction was particularly dire: in 2003 a surprise aerial attack destroys Manhattan and nearly 80 percent of the population.
I was a fan going back to seeing Swimming to Cambodia (the movie) in Manhattan back in the mid 80s. Even got to see him perform The Terrors of Pleasure in Saugerties NY in '88 I think. His more recent stuff I wasn't so fond of, but he was always interesting, and I liked him a lot.
I knew from his novel Impossible Vacation and reading about him that his mom had committed suicide.
Sad to think of that lofi poster for Cambodia, with his head bobbing in "water", now.
Japan's nurses' unions successfully lobbied parliamentarians of the governing Liberal Democratic Party in late February to block the admittance of foreign doctors and nurses. Some congressmen said that foreign doctors and nurses should only be allowed to treat foreigners. Caught between Japan's high labor costs and anti-immigrant sentiment, some mainstream politicians have suggested exporting some of Japan's elderly to Thailand and the Philippines. But this has never won much popular support. So even though the human washing machine retails for almost $50,000, enough to pay a year's wages for two Filipina nurses, robotic home care may lie ahead for Japan's aging millions.
Blow was OK, glitzy Hollywood faux-sleaze, and Depp is better than the material, as usual.
Matchstick Men was like a fine indie script hijacked by, well, Ridley Scott. The whipsaw ending doesn't really take, maybe because you forgive Nic Cage's character his criminal life, Cage plays him so believably fractured and tender.
Gilliam's commentary on the Criterion edition of Fear and Loathing has the childlike enthusiasm and wealth of inside info that all directors' commentaries would have in a perfect world. The deleted scenes are must-sees too, and the BBC doc from '78 on HST is the best piece on him I've seen. Still have to get to the rest of the extras.
School of Rock was disappointing, mostly because of the accolades it's received. Still has some nice moments, and they did get the rights to "Immigrant Song" ...
I liked Decasia, but I put on Eliane Radigue's Trilogie de la Mort after a few minutes of Michael Gordon's dusted Reich score (though I liked it).
Last Year at Marienbad didn't work for me at all, after being bewitched by Hiroshima Mon Amour. Somehow I think Resnais could've done a great job with Phil Dick, maybe Time Out of Joint? More like Godard's sensibility I guess.
I liked Mothman Prophecies better the second time around, lower expectations partly, also that Low track sticks with you. But even though it's shot in distractingly crisp lighting and is edited like a horror movie, it's got some canny metaphysical Wisdom tucked inside.
Criterion also just released Barbet Schroeder's Maîtresse from '73, which has the most realistic BDSM scenes outside of the porno market, I'd imagine, even today. He claims in the disc interview that the participants were clients of a dominatrix friend of his, who was the inspiration for the film. Long way from his role here to Green Card and Cyrano for Gerard Depardieu (this was the first movie role he contracted for, though it ended up being the third film of his to be released). The plot is somewhat believable, but the realistic depiction of the BDSM boudoir is what'll keep you watching.
Sylvia is for diehard Plath fans only.
Have I mentioned that Thirteen blew me away? Evan Rachel Walker is amazing, and everyone else is quite good. Adolescence as a very fetching psychotic tailspin into self-abuse of every type. One of the best films I've seen.
Good Pitchfork review of the essential comp box No Thanks!: The 70s Punk Rebellion
But even if not absolutely perfect (and could any compilation really be?), compilations don't come more essential than this; it is required listening for anyone new to punk, and unquestionably the best primer on this music in existence. Rhino does away with any pretense of chronology to great effect; vital, fiery sermons spar with tense, calculated cool, and with one-hits back-to-back with the classics, virtually every track commands attention. Middleman-ing between Richard Hell's perversely jubilant "Love Comes in Spurts" and the primally willful, snot-nosed ignorance of The Dead Boys' classic "Sonic Reducer", even the (still living) Boys' "First Time" sounds like a hit. Each disc is an untouchable mix, varied enough that five consecutive hours of listening isn't out of reach, but Rhino have outdone themselves even here, in case you can't afford that time commitment. Subtle as it is, disc one flirts precariously with becoming a full-fledged classics compilation, between opening with "Blitzkrieg Bop" and "White Riot", followed in short order by The Damned's blistering "Neat Neat Neat", The Jam, Pere Ubu, and Jonathan Richman's hypnotic ode to midnight radio at a thousand miles an hour, "Roadrunner."
I read the first few pages on my library's site, and the Publisher's Weekly review is right about the flat "ponderous" prose -- but also about the "crushing momentum through sheer accumulation of detail, unusual historical insight and generous character writing." You can feel the character described in few paragraphs like he's right in front of you.
I've always been morbidly fascinated by slavery and the treatment of blacks in the US, particularly in the 19th century, and for anyone like me, this looks essential.
The film [Cellphone] is filled with black humour, mostly focusing on his spectacularly incompetent efforts to cover his tracks.
He leaves his phone lying around so that his wife can intercept a call from his mistress, allows his lover to record their steamy chit-chat and take a photo of him fondling her breasts, and forgets to close the door after sneaking off to the toilet to write an SMS to his girlfriend.
Despite suffering personal disaster after personal disaster, he blames the technology rather than himself. Eventually, he develops an allergy to cellphones, which he compares to hand grenades.
One of the film's final scenes shows him throwing his mobile onto a funeral pyre.
The obsession with sex and technology makes Cellphone very much a film of the times. The number of mobile phones in China has risen tenfold over the past five years, and has now hit the 260 million mark.
A sharp contrast with the past is highlighted in the film's opening, a scene from the Cultural Revolution which, typically of that time, shows hundreds of people queueing up to use a telephone kept under lock and key.
Along with rising incomes and changing social attitudes, the increased freedom of communication has been blamed for an increase in sex before marriage, adultery and divorce.
The reform era began with concepts like "truth," "kindness" and "beauty" already devalued; in the Maoist period, people learned to scoff at such notions. For a few decades, Communist ideals like saving humanity from capitalist oppression had displaced Confucian teachings like respecting the elderly. That left a moral vacuum when Communism's grip loosened, and nothing has yet emerged to fill it.
"A lot of people simply don't believe that things like truth, selflessness and altruism exist," said a government researcher in Beijing. "We have a very cynical population."
Since I'm taking a hiatus at my other blog, some political stuff may show up here.
Rouge: an annotated filmography of renegade filmmaker Raúl Ruiz [alamut]
Ra?l Ruiz's City of Pirates is (de)composed under the sign of Surrealism, with its trust in ecstasy, scandal, the call of the wild, mystification, prophetic dreams, humour, the uncanny. Given the surprising swerves and disorientations evoking Bu?uel and Dal?, and the confidence in a poetic discourse recalling Eluard and P?ret, one wonders if Ruiz didn't elaborate his scenario using the Surrealist mode of automatic writing. Troubled, graceful Isidore -- Ducasse and Duncan? -- is a purely Surrealist heroine, part Ophelia, Salom?, B?r?nice, prone to trances, somnambulism, hysterical seizure, contact with the "other side". Her calm violence links her to the real life murderesses -- Germaine Berton, the Papin sisters -- exalted by Breton's circle, and by Jacques Lacan. Indeed, Lacan's notion of a psychoanalysis in which the analyst stays off his patient's wavelength, inspired by the idea of "surrealist dialogue" in which paired monologues at cross purposes strike sparks of meaning off each other, underpins the scatty trajectory of Ruiz's own graphomania, snared this time as the tale of a Pirate's City.
I'm not sure what half of that means, but I'd like a look at the film.
The only one Netflix has is Shattered Image. No, it's out of print, scratch that (*sigh*).