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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]
I haven't seen his latest films, though I really liked Women on the Verge... (hard to imagine an unknown Banderas playing a bookish lad in this now) and Tie Me Up, Tie Me Down. Have to catch up at some point. All About My Mother has gotten excellent reviews too.
I'm not even a big poetry fan, but any support for the arts in America is cause for celebration.
For the last 15 years, the magazine has enjoyed free rent of two rooms and what the staff calls a "walk-in closet" in the annex of Chicago's Newberry Library - a nondescript place where bleak earth tones are broken only by brightly colored spines of books and a single window looking out onto stone buildings, sky, and a strip of grass.
The arrangement has kept the operation afloat during times when Poetry had "just a hundred dollars in the till," according to senior editor Stephen Young. But every inch of shelf space is filled with poetry collections or past issues of the magazine, and the four-member staff is awash in books and paper.
[Editor Joseph] Parisi understands this is big news. Poetry has long been the art world's poor cousin, and $10,000,000 - the first installment - would keep the magazine afloat for 20 years. The bequest, which could swell to $150 million depending upon the value of Eli Lilly stock, could buy the Minnesota Twins. In the poetry world, a gift of this size is as unlikely as the US Army delivering all orders in iambic pentameter.
What Poetry will do, however, is continue its tradition of nurturing poetry and poets. Each year, Parisi sends personal letters to hundreds of writers whose work is good, but not quite up to the magazine's standards. Such attention from a poetry editor is rare, but it's an important reason why Ruth Lilly - who endowed an annual Poetry prize in 1986 and sponsors two fellowships - became such a fan. She never received an acceptance when she submitted to Poetry more than 20 years ago. But Parisi's generosity - and his uncompromising standards - have obviously paid off.
Yeah, it could have been divvied up better, between all the poetry pubs, but . . . I get the sense this fellow knows what he has and will manage it appropriately.
Subject: Martha Stewart will not be dining with us this Thanksgiving
Our sidewalk will not be lined with homemade, paper bag luminaries that resemble turkeys. After a trial run, it was decided that no matter how cleverly done, rows of flaming lunch sacks do not have the desired welcoming effect.
Once inside, our guests will note that the entry hall is not decorated with the swags of Indian corn and fall foliage I had planned to make. Instead, I've gotten the kids involved in the decorating by having them track in colorful autumn leaves from the front yard. The mud was their idea.
The dining table will not be covered with expensive linens, fancy china, or crystal goblets. If possible, we will use dishes that match and everyone will get a fork. Since this IS Thanksgiving, we will refrain from using the plastic Peter Rabbit plate and the Santa napkins from last Christmas.
Our centerpiece will not be the tower of fresh fruit and flowers that I promised. Instead we will be displaying a hedgehog-like decoration hand- crafted from the finest construction paper. My seven-year-old artist assures me it is a turkey.
We will be dining fashionably late. The children will entertain you while you wait. I'm sure they will be happy to share every choice comment I have made regarding Thanksgiving, pilgrims and the turkey hotline. Please remember that most of these comments were made at 5:00 a.m. upon discovering that the turkey was still hard enough to cut diamonds.
As accompaniment to the children's recital, I will play a recording of tribal drumming. If the children should mention that I don't own a recording of tribal drumming, or that tribal drumming sounds suspiciously like a frozen turkey in a clothes dryer, ignore them. They are lying.
We toyed with the idea of ringing a dainty silver bell to announce the start of our feast. In the end, we chose to keep our traditional method. When the smoke alarm sounds, please gather around the table and sit where you like.
In lieu of a formal sitting arrangement, and in the spirit of harmony, we will ask the children to sit at a separate table. In a separate room. In a separate house. Next door.
Now, I know you have all seen pictures of one person carving a turkey in front of a crowd of appreciative onlookers. This will not be happening at our dinner. For safety reasons, the turkey will be carved in a private ceremony. I stress "private", meaning: do not, under any circumstances, enter the kitchen to take photos, sample the bird, or laugh at me. Do not send small, unsuspecting children to check on my progress. I have an electric knife. The turkey is unarmed. It stands to reason that I will eventually win. When I do, we will eat.
I would like to take this opportunity to remind my sports-minded diners that "passing the rolls" is not a football play. Nor is it a request to bean your sister in the head with warm tasty bread. Oh, and one reminder for the adults: For the duration of the meal, and especially while in the presence of young diners, we will refer to the giblet gravy by its lesser-known name: Cheese Sauce. If a young diner questions you regarding the origins or type of Cheese Sauce, plead ignorance.
Before I forget, there is one last change. Instead of offering a choice between five different, scrumptious, homemade desserts; we will be serving the traditional pumpkin pie, garnished with Cool Whip and small fingerprints. You will still have a choice - take it or leave it.
Martha Stewart will not be dining with us this Thanksgiving. She probably won't come next year either. (Who knows where she will be next year!) I am thankful.
Who'll Stop The Rain? has probably my favorite Nolte performance, and even Robert Stone thought it was a pretty good film -- though it's not as good as the Stone novel it's based on, Dog Soldiers. One of the best films about 70s America, post-Vietnam etc., anyway. Stone is too intense for Hollywood and we're lucky it's as faithful to the tone of the novel as it is.
I'd like to see his Saturday Night and Sunday Morning, which the article says launched Albert Finney's career and apparently was one of the films that first shook up British cinema in the late 50s/early 60s.
Undernews turned me on to a neat graphics blog called portage, which led me to an extensive site celebrating Canada's Expo 67 ("the last great World's Fair"), which I attended with my extended Canadian family when I was 11
More like the last World's Fair worth seeing. We went to the 1980 (I think) Fair in Knoxville and what a washout that was. Except for the neat sculptures from ancient Egypt in that country's pavilion.
Virginia Heffernan wonders why everybody does love Everybody Loves Raymond when it's so creepy
Raymond's Long Island kin -- nestled in clutter, tight-knit -- are intractably messed up. Let's spell it out: Ray (Ray Romano) and Debra Barone (Patricia Heaton) don't have sex, find one another boring, and have nothing to talk about but their three children, whom they keep locked away. The Barones' lives are invaded, and stymied, by Ray's rancorous parents, Frank (Peter Boyle) and Marie (Doris Roberts), who live across the street. And they must from time to time entertain the morose bozo Robert (Brad Garrett), whom, though he's openly scorned by his parents, they insist on kicking around, too.
In these cramped quarters, Robert, the gloomy cop, cycles through obsessive rituals -- chin-tapping, most obviously -- to placate himself. Marie and Frank openly wish for each other's deaths. Debra periodically makes efforts to get a job, but she's foiled by Ray, who once botched her effort to write a children's book and more recently voted against her in an election for school board president. When asked to list his own goals, the sportswriter Ray can't come up with any. As he puts it, "I got nothing; I got no dreams." No problem, says Debra -- that means you're happy.
Never had the urge to watch it myself. Then again, the only show I watch regularly anymore is 24 -- I keep missing King of the Hill, I'm tired of Frasier (though it's still very good), and now that X Files is off the air, all I do is check TCM for film noir I haven't seen. Just the fact that I might skim past a "news" channel makes even channel-surfing too dispiriting to bother with, much of the time.
And of course, spend some time away from TV, as I did a few months ago, and the pesky fact that it's basically mind control becomes too obvious too ignore.
Kathryn Hughes reviews William Naphy's Sex Crimes: From Renaissance to Enlightenment
The situation became far more complex when property was involved. For all that the elders liked to give the impression that it was the intrinsic sinfulness of the sexual act that upset them, what really got them worried was the idea that someone's bank balance was in jeopardy. Adultery was dangerous because it might result in a false heir being smuggled into the woman's family, so skewing the rightful patterns of inheritance. For that reason both parties were mostly likely to be executed (drowning was the preferred option). Likewise, if an unmarried male servant committed adultery with his mistress, he could expect to end up dead on the grounds that he had "robbed" his master of a valuable asset. If, however, the man was not a servant, but a social and economic equal of the cuckolded husband, then he got away comparatively lightly with a flogging and banishment. (It took a long time before the authorities tumbled to the complicated truth that some people found flogging sexually exciting, in which case they were effectively rewarding bad behaviour.)
Many critics talk about Calvino's imagination. Of course, as a science fiction writer I don't find this the most praiseworthy thing about him. The thing I like best about Calvino is his intellectual generosity. It is rare for a man of such intense intelligence to have such kindness toward his readers. He plays difficult games, but he doesn't make it unnecessarily difficult for us. It is just as difficult as it needs to be, and never any more.
As a 14 year old I was hardly likely to follow the literary doctrines of the OULIPO group. I had never heard of Raymond Queneau, Georges Perec or Roland Barthes. But as a 14 year old foreign boy I was reading Italo Calvino, with a sense of sympathetic joy and understanding, even in a language that was not his own. Now I am 48 and visiting his country to honor him and his vision, and I am still reading Italo Calvino. As Calvino wisely says of the classics, they are works you do not read but re-read. And yes, I do re-read Calvino.
Never got into much European SF myself, though Calvino sounds interesting.
Rick McCallum, producer of Star Wars, claimed recently that stopping file-sharing is as important as the war on terrorism [from the latest CNET "Mp3 Insider" report]
See, this is what happens. This is just plain astonishing and wrong on so many levels that I'm struck speechless by the very outrageousness that inspires me to rant on. I need to learn to write notes in my initially feverish state, muster my wits, and conserve the energy to compose when I can calm down.
If you know astrology, the fact that I have a Saturn/Mars conjunction in Scorpio in the 1st house should now come as no surprise.
It's pretty good anyway. This book seems to be a love-or-hate thing.
This was in a Powell's email from Oct 3, I'm way behind on these Review-A Day things.
Here's more that look good:
Ron Charles on Daniel Philippe Mason's apparent homage to Heart of DarknessThe Piano Tuner
A convoluted but fascinating reprint of an old Atlantic Monthly review of The Scarlet Letter. I loved this book and Hawthorne's stories when I was younger. It's odd how I feel an excitement just reading this review, the prose is so rich and tumultuous in a way I might not be able to stand in a present day writer, but invigorating all the same. Yet I read little "literature" now, life being quite full as it is these days. And being older and unable to absent myself from my life so completely, as when I was younger. Also a lot fussier about what I take the time to read, time being a factor now, and I'm not trying on styles of awareness to see if they fit like I used to.
Laura Miller's take on Jose Carlos Somoza's The Athenian Murders, a twisted, psychotropic stroll through Ancient Greece (that I imagine the character Henry from The Secret History devouring greedily as he sniffs at its inauthenticities -- not that there are any).
I might give Chuck Palahniuk's Lullaby a try, since according to Chris Bolton it delves into "the heretofore neglected realms of his characters' emotional lives." I couldn't get into the couple books of his I picked up at the library. Loved the movie of Fight Club, though.
And David Thomson is bewitching as usual reviewing Anthony Lane's Nobody's Perfect collection of reviews. He makes a convincing argument for Lane's writing being at least some raison d'etre for the wretched movies he must review, laments the effect that that automatic distancing and Lane's English superiority-complex has had on his writing, and smoothly shreds the state of movies since 1980.
There is something else to add. Lane takes Hitchcock for granted as a master. Everyone does so now -- but taking art for granted never helps much. There was a time, at Hitchcock's peak, when films such as Rear Window and Vertigo were passed over or condemned. It was in France and even in England that a few spectators saw those pictures and recognized that some strange beauty had occupied the screen. In our day a critic can note the same thing with, say, Mulholland Drive or Paul Schrader's forthcoming Auto Focus. Lane has not yet proved himself in that way, and he may ask himself how far his caution comes out of the habit of making such good fun of the movies. We have the reviewing strategies and styles of an age despairing of magic, wit, and feeling. Will something happen to restore the busy years that Kael enjoyed? I hope so, though Kael herself was very shrewd on the commercial practices that make such a restoration unlikely -- and those systems have set in with a vengeance since she retired. Is Lane meant to pass the next thirty years getting off with increasingly artificial jokes at the expense of movies that we love to hate? He is far too good for that. I hope that, very soon, he will pass on to novels, to plays, or to some large work on Anglo-America. God save him from the most likely and soul-destroying fate: screenplays. Though a season in that hell might make him wounded and angry, and at the moment he rather suffers from being unscarred.
That's what I like I guess: "Some strange beauty."
"Down with beauty," indeed. What about beauty in general? When was the last time something of human origin struck you as beautiful in all aspects? Why is there so much ugliness? Why is the Maginot Line fort the model for so much of American commercial architecture?
It's only available for broadband users (with at least 700MhZ PIIIs and 256 RAM) til next summer, when they promise any computer will have access.
It'll have 10,000 titles eventually.
A group of children played an important role in developing the Web site, telling researchers what designs and icons appealed to them most. When some of the youngsters said they wanted to search for books based on how the stories make them feel, the designers responded, creating special indexes for funny or scary stories.
The site has colorful icons that allow even the youngest children to navigate without knowing what all the words mean. With the click of a mouse, kids can see the thumbnail-sized pages of a book unwind in a spiral or unfold like the panels of a comic book.
Seven-year-old Ben Hammer of Silver Spring, Md., one of the children who demonstrated the site Wednesday at the Library of Congress, said he likes to look at the pictures of books even if he can't read all the text yet.
"It's more fun because you get to zoom through the books," he said. "And I like doing stuff on the computer."
Why are ideas like this the exception? Why isn't email (for instance) a public non-commercial right just like using the mail?
Atom Egoyan on his new filmArarat about the Ottoman/Turks massacre of 1.5 million Armenians in 1915
"I am concerned about the impact of denial," he says, "denial of the truth, whether it's history or your own personal story." Without the truth, he says, connections between people and nations become corrupt. History books don't tell the story of the Armenian genocide. More significantly for a film director, the events took place long before today's media age in which pictures have forced people to believe the unbelievable.
"If it isn't on film or tape, did it really happen?" says Egoyan, referring to an attitude that he says has allowed both private citizens and politicians to sweep difficult historical events aside. Adolf Hitler was said to have told his aides that his plans would succeed because history confirmed that events that are not documented are forgotten. "Who remembers the Armenians?" Hitler asked.
Ironic and sadly quaint, since now that you can't believe images either, history and fiction will be impossible to separate. Though at the same time, technology decentralizes information and anyone can throw something up on the Net.
The queston is what people believe -- and whether they have the strength to face the truth.
Bottom-up approach to total broadband connectivity succeeding in...North Carolina
The RIAA has until the end of 2003 to meet the state legislature's deadline of providing the entire state with access to broadband, Leutze said. Jane Smith Patterson, executive director, said RIAA wants to provide two-way connections of at least 384 kilobits per second, about seven times faster than Internet access over regular phone lines. Almost all of the agency's budget is covered by $30 million in funds from MCNC, a non-profit organization in Research Triangle Park, N.C., he said.
The key to achieving widespread connectivity, however, has been 2,800 volunteers and public-private projects statewide that inform the public and demonstrate broadband's possibilities, Leutze said. The agency's Web site, e-nc.org, helps state residents locate the nearest Internet providers, he said, as well as collect requests for high-speed service to help providers map rollout efforts.
Interestingly, the last word of the school slogan "Francha Leale Toge" is the last name of the main character in daddy Brian's old teacher Tom Phillips' "painted novel" A Humument, which is very cool. The cover of Another Green World is a detail of his "After Raphael" -- an artist Phillips relates to in a singular way.
Here's an appreciation of Phillips' work by patron Marvin Sackner.
The last name "Toge" was supposedly researched to be unused and unique, yet here it is in Eno's daughter's school's slogan. I smell a conspiracy. . .
The link is to the "Ain't It Cool, News" obit, the only one I found that didn't suck. It takes a while to load, but it's fan's notes, what matters.
My favorite Coburn role was in The President's Analyst too, one of my favorite satires in general, and 20 times as relevant in its depiction of how we all become spies in a world of total surveillance than it was in '68. Dated in some ways, it still works well. I only wish the uncut version was available somewhere -- I saw a more complete one on Philly TV (in the early 80s I think), but the VHS is the more common one without the scene where he meets Joan Delaney's character at a porno/art theatre, because they're the only ones who are laughing. There may have been other scenes in the longer version I saw that once that I don't remember.
He made a lot of films, many of which weren't great. But the recent Affliction (the Oscar winner for him) is essential, the early spy satire Our Man Flint has dated but it's still a defining role, and one I haven't seen, Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid is a cult favorite, some think it's one of Peckinpah's best too. I also remember getting a kick out of Duck, You Sucker back in '71, though I can't say whether I would now (great use of that killer grin).
"That's what they should call CNN -- 'You Know What I Heard?'"
Jon Stewart on the road to the Daily Show, fame and cable news as his personal "bank"
He has become successful, but says there was no single event that marked his arrival. "There is no 'making it,'" he said. He attributes his success to the "gradual process of the roller coaster," and says his feelings of accomplishment came from inside, rather than any external marker. "You learn to develop an internal barometer, and that was the turning point for me -- more than anything else, more than any show -- that deemed me to be a comedian or said I was worthy to be on the air. It was learning, intuitively, when I was good and when I was bad."
Stewart retains a grounded humility -- spiced, of course, with a matchless wit at once sardonic and sincere. The roller coaster, he says, "doesn't end because somebody outside deems you worthy.... You have to learn that, yeah, maybe you're not going to be Woody Allen; but at least you're not going to be as godawful as you were that one night in the Village when it was raining and they booed you off stage."
5MB email with no ads is tempting, though I haven't tried it. I'm trying out mail.com and 37.com which have 10MB and 7MB storage respectively. They both work pretty well but are ad-rich (as is yahoo, though it's got an easy, friendlier design). I'm testing ISPs because I want to switch from peoplepc.com and want alt-emails for the transition -- and ureach.com is running these dropdown ads you have to click on to read the page, like msnbc.com. I can't abide that shit.
Haynes works another transformation on the story, spotlighting two kinds of bigotry that still remain prevalent today.
Sirk himself explored racial prejudice during the '50s in "Imitation of Life," his finest film, but homosexuality was a subject that could only be hinted at in that heavily censored era.
Haynes takes on these still-relevant topics with enormous tact and sensitivity, making a forthright plea for compassion while avoiding any hint of sensationalism.
He also does a masterly job of re-creating Sirk's passionate visual style, using a delicious sense of aesthetic artifice to convey feelings as rich and profound as anything today's tricked-up filmmaking techniques are capable of generating.
Equal praise goes to the cast: Moore and Quaid give Oscar-worthy performances. Dennis Haysbert's portrayal of Raymond is a revelation.
Frederick Crews' new book Postmodern Pooh satirizes post-60s lit theory [u]
So what's wrong with contemporary literary criticism? A good clue in Postmodern Pooh can be found in the contribution by Carla Gulag - who has co-administered the 'ever popular Marxism and Society Program' and 'lectured and written widely on topics pertaining to Critical Sociology, Critical Anthropology, Critical Legal Studies, and Critical Criticism'. For Gulag, 'the truly essential tasks of criticism' are: 'cognitive mapping, reconciling emergent and residual forms, weighing symbolic against diachronic factors, detecting and disabling master narratives, retotalising the Real, and deciding what is hegemonic over what, and why'. [link]
But the urgent topicality of the plot contrasts sharply with the changes in Vietnam since Greene's tour there.
Given the intervening twenty years of war and twenty more of political isolation, it would come as no surprise to find that none of Greene's old haunts in Vietnam are still standing. But not only are they still there, many of them have been restored to better than mint condition. Indeed, Vietnam today is full of astonishing contrasts to the opium-soaked, decadent world of Greene's novel, and the irony of some of these contrasts can only be deliberate.
In any case, the movie looks like a must-see. Brendan Fraser -- a fine choice it would seem -- takes on Audie Murphy's role as the "American," and Michael Caine turns in what might be the role of his career as the jaded, complex British correspondent.
But not only is the climate a bit dicey for portrayals of the dark side of American foreign policy right now, the movie doesn't have a happy ending either. Which is why I haven't heard of it til now -- and on a British site.
Haynes' screenplay has Moore, Quaid and Haysbert delivering their lines in the stilted, declamatory style of the '50s -- you can't help but look beyond it and complete the thought with your own ideas and emotions. "The challenge for the actors is that the text demands they commit to the language in a very direct way," says Haynes. "It's all on the surface in a way that we're not accustomed to in our naturalistic codes of acting, where there's an attempt to distress the words and the surface of the composition, and that's what we think is real, those are the codes of reality." Melodrama's formalism, says Haynes, makes it so much richer and more telling than the current embodiment of the women's film -- the television movie, with its facile psychologizing and compulsory redemption.
UK critics & filmmakers pick top films of last 25 years
1. Apocalypse Now (Francis Ford Coppola, 1979) 2. Raging Bull (Martin Scorsese, 1980) 3. Fanny and Alexander (Ingmar Bergman, 1982) 4. GoodFellas (Martin Scorsese, 1990) 5. Blue Velvet (David Lynch, 1986) 6. Do the Right Thing (Spike Lee, 1989) 7. Blade Runner (Ridley Scott, 1982) 8. Chungking Express (Wong Kar-Wai, 1994) 9. Distant Voices, Still Lives (Terence Davies, 1988) 10. Once Upon A Time in America (Sergio Leone, 1983) 10. Yi yi (A One and a Two) (Edward Yang, 1999)
I liked some of the scenes added in Apocalypse Now Redux, but the plantation sequence really slowed things down. This is one of my favorites for sure, along with Blue Velvet and Blade Runner (though Alien was the first "dark future" SF film and is arguably more important I think).
Other than that I didn't get through Fanny and Alexander or Yi Yi. I don't feel conversant enough in film technique anymore to be a "critic" -- just don't pay that much attention to the art form now.
There are definitely films I would substitute instead of something like Once Upon a Time in America or Chung King Express. Like The Sweet Hereafter, Memento, The Ballad of Narayama, Witness, JFK, Ran, Sex, Lies and Videotape, there are so many. Two film related to Murnau's Nosferatu: Herzog's remake and Shadow of the Vampire, a very interesting meditation the role of the artist in society -- in the guise of a dramatization/fantasy of the making of the original.
What about Dead Ringers, Existenz, Brazil, The Silence of the Lambs. . .
Now that they've had a couple of years to process its indignities, most people accept that "Star Wars: Episode I -- The Phantom Menace" stunk like a rotting Bantha carcass. So it's nice to report that "Episode II: Attack of the Clones" is a considerable improvement, even though it features several laughable courtship scenes and lots of wooden expository dialogue. Until he pulls an entertaining, highly unexpected move near the end of the picture, even Yoda seems vaguely uninterested.
Luckily, a lengthy, digital-rific finale all but guarantees that most viewers will exit the theater in a state of adrenalized forgetfulness.
There are, of course, several technologically dazzling set pieces, including an early one involving careering airborne traffic that's more of an amusement park ride than an actual scene. But much of the second act is spent on Anakin and Amidala coming to terms with their feelings for one another.
Unfortunately, given Lucas' proven knack for lousy dialogue, you can't help but snicker at the two lovebirds. Special mention has to go to Anakin's head-scratching segue between complaining about beach sand and marveling at Amidala's silky-smooth complexion. For a couple of terrifying seconds, it seems like he might start singing. [link]
...new research is finding that hoarding, a syndrome far more common than once believed, is most often the result of long-untreated mental illness that has nothing to do with the stock market crash of 1929. To deal with the [Seattle]'s toughest hoarding cases, a unique, multiagency task force has been created.
Often reclusive, hoarders spend years compulsively cramming their homes so full that stoves and toilets become unusable, and passage is limited to "trails" snaking through piles of newspapers, junk mail and fast food containers. It's usually not until rats take up residence and roofs begin to sag that city officials can gain access. And even then it can take years of legal maneuvers and up to $50,000 for a "dig-out" to remove tons of materials and make the homes safe again.
But because treatment for the syndrome is nearly non-existent here, the hoarding cycle often begins again once housing inspectors and public health workers leave. And neighbors are the ones who endure the eyesores and smells of homes that have become potential fire hazards.
"These people sink into this because they are isolated and without family, and they are often quietly dying without anyone on the outside caring," said Jordan Royer of the city's Department of Neighborhoods, who is heading the task force. "We are seeing it at every income level and every neighborhood."
And from A & L Daily, 2 pieces that explore the importance of the search for knowledge and truth, beyond the artificial separation of science, spirituality and art
A review of Jenny Uglow's new book on the dreamy 18th century scientific "amateurs" called The Lunar Men, for their habit of meeting at the full moon.
In the final third of the 18th century, in Birmingham, England, of all places, in the middle of a region long known for its potteries, metal works and refineries, a handful of friends with lively, wide-ranging minds formed a philosophical and scientific association. While Samuel Johnson lounged in fashionable London cafe?s, trading quips and drinking tea with members of The Club, the Lunar Society's founders simply met once a month to discuss chemistry, geology and metallurgy, to carry on experiments, to exchange ideas and daydreams. Along the way, the group slowly "changed the world." They invented and promoted the steam engine, discovered oxygen and digitalis, soda water and laughing gas, speculated fearlessly about fossils and the earth's strata, categorized plants and identified minerals, built gigantic factories, dug canals, and wrote best-selling poems against slavery, as well as epics inspired by Linnaeus, tracts on education and a novel for children that went through 140 editions in 90 years.
And Emily Eakins' appreciation of Poe's poem "Eureka," which predicted the Big Bang theory of the universe's creation.
The language is vague and convoluted, and some details are wrong (Poe had no concept of relativity, and it makes no sense today to speak of the universe exploding into "previously vacant space"), but here, unmistakably, is a crude description of the Big Bang, a theory that didn't find mainstream approval until the 1960's.
This wasn't Poe's only uncanny display of prescience. He also came up with the idea that the universe was expanding (and might eventually collapse), a notion that the Russian mathematician Alexander Friedmann ferreted out of Einstein's equations in 1922. Einstein initially pooh-poohed the idea, and it wasn't widely accepted until the 1930's, after Edwin Hubble gleaned some hard data from the velocities of far-flung galaxies.
Black holes? Poe envisioned something like those, too. And he was the first person on record to solve the Olbers Paradox, which had dogged astronomers since Kepler: the mystery of why the sky is dark at night. If the universe was infinite, as 19th-century astronomers believed, there should be an infinite number of stars as well, plenty, in other words, to illuminate the sky at all times. Poe understood why this in fact was not the case: the universe is finite in time and space (and light from some stars has not yet reached the Milky Way).
I just hope Portland -- where he and home boy Gus van Sant have recently relocated to -- doesn't become hip now. I'm thinking of moving there sometime.
I liked Safe and Velvet Goldmine, and the Sirk feel he goes for in the new film could be appealing. I can see how he might end up in that mode after seeing VG. He wrote the main role for Julianne Moore.
This may be Dennis Haysbert's year too -- he plays the President on 24 and is Moore's confidante in Heaven when she discovers her husband's closeted homosexuality.
Although some of this book (completed by his widow, Christa Lang Fuller, and a friend, Jerome Henry Rudes) sounds politely homogenized, Fuller's trademark frankness generally gives his stories a no-nonsense kick. ("Instead of money, they wanted to be paid in Jaguar skins," he says about Brazilians who seemed to find him Hemingwayesque. "I told them to go to hell.") And the best legacy to be found here is his frequent, passionate, oracular advice about directing. "Mr. Fuller," an actor once said to him, "Sergeant Zack only has four or five pages of lines in a 90-page script, yet he's on camera most of the time. There's got to be other stuff to say, right?"
"No, my boy," Fuller says he replied. "The other stuff's called acting."
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An interview with Gary Cobain of Future Sounds of London from Disquiet, which sends out an irregular but useful email newsletter on new ambient/experimental electronic music
I'm interested in trying to make one of those records that I go round to my friends' houses and they're all really proud of, you know? And those records wouldn't be played on radio right now. Nobody would play [the Rolling Stones'] "2000 Light Years from Home" on the radio right now. but that's such a great song. [The Beatles'] "Tomorrow Never Knows" would not be a single, but it's so amazing, and generation after generation of people have found that track. And then you go deeper, Hariprasad Chaurasia -- a flute raga [player] from India -- that's a single, because it revolutionizes my soul, and that's what a single is to me. So, don't tell me how and when I can use an orchestra, because I'm just trying to make great music, and I've got no appreciation of people putting these rules on me, and I'm just trying to make music that celebrates the potential of the human consciousness, if you like. That's what I've always tried to do.
Neat piece on Bob Newhart, whose Twain Prize for American Humor gala will be broadcast on PBS on the 13th [Undernews]
He is probably the only stand-up comedian ever to launch a million-dollar comedy routine without first playing a nightclub, and he did so with a unique persona quintessentially of his time. His famous 1960 recording, "The Button-Down Mind of Bob Newhart," was a shrill but hilarious scream of despair from the white-collar Everyman suffocating in the gray-flannel conformity of the Eisenhower era. It was also a herald of cultural change.
Aging baby boomers have fostered the fiction that nothing much was happening in America in the 1950s, he says, "but I thought a lot was happening. In the late 1950s and early 1960s, comedy made an abrupt right turn. It wasn't just me. There was Shelley [Berman], Lenny [Bruce] and Mort [Sahl] and Mike Nichols and Elaine May . . . all pretty far out. And way out in the stratosphere there was Jonathan Winters."
There was a growing cerebral vein, in fact, in the entire mass culture. Dave Brubeck was wowing college campuses with jazz influenced by Bach fugues. Dave Garroway and Jack Paar turned the "Today" and "Tonight" shows into thoughtful and provocative television talk shows despite a healthy undercurrent of wackiness. The emerging campaign of John F. Kennedy was putting the sort of glamorous and sophisticated face on politics that Audrey Hepburn was putting on movies.
What the hell happened to sophistication and wit in American culture, I'd like to know. . .
Bruce was a comedic pioneer who only wanted to exercise the same freedom to communicate without compromise on stage that he had in his living room. What's shocking about "The Trials of Lenny Bruce" is not his utterances so much as the contrast between what he got arrested for and what is now taken for granted by the audiences of talented performers such as George Carlin, Margaret Cho and Chris Rock, and in the critical reception of such taboo-breaking cable-TV series as "Sex and the City" and "Six Feet Under." Today, Robin Williams freely pantomimes cunnilingus, and the cable-TV series "South Park" proudly presents a sponsored, highly scatological episode about priestly child abuse. Bruce realized that prosecutors and judges were more interested in the advancement of their own careers than in his free-speech rights. In fact, wrote Nat Hentoff in the Village Voice, "Three lawyers in Kuh's bureau, appalled at Bruce being set up ... begged Kuh to hear Bruce for himself, and then decide whether Bruce ought to be busted. Kuh ... refused, adding, 'Stay out of this unless you want to be switched to the rackets bureau.' " And, according to one attorney, "After the trial of Bruce was over, I had a call from Judge Creel, who ... said Judge Phipps also wanted to acquit Bruce but that [Chief] Judge Murtagh threatened to assign him to traffic court for the rest of his term if he did." In a documentary about Hogan, the New York district attorney, former Asst. Dist. Atty. Vincent Cuccia confessed: "[Bruce] was prosecuted because of his words. He didn't harm anybody, he didn't commit an assault, he didn't steal, he didn't engage in any conduct which directly harmed someone else. So therefore he was punished first and foremost because of the words that he used. It's wrong to prosecute anybody because of his ideas. It was the only thing I did in Hogan's office that I'm really ashamed of. We drove him into poverty and used the law to kill him."
I started yoga -- a very short and simple hatha version -- in '86 after an Ayurveda seminar, and stuck with it longer than any other exercise, though not lately -- too stiff and stressed, I need chiropractic right now just to be loose enough to do yoga. I know that makes no sense, but there you are.
Anyway, I heartily recommend the practice if you find a teacher you connect with, which as with all things, is essential. Even doing pranayama breaths every day will do you good. Syncing up breathing with exercise, whether yoga or t'ai ch'i or whatever, is very good for you.
No other links right now, but there's no shortage of info on the net.
OK, I couldn't help but see whether the fellow I learned from was on the net and he is, and doing well it seems. Gary's lives on Maui, so if you're considering a trip to Hawaii (which I also heartily recommend), this would be a great thing to do as part of the experience.
I'll post more often here soon. My main site takes up most of my time, and Blog Studio has been intermittent due to upgrades lately.
Also, Newcity stopped sending my newsletters, which I many times use as a starting point for culture posts. Because I'm in the process of changing ISPs, and I lost my Newcity username and pass (it's been so long), I'll have to troll on my own a bit.
Perhaps a bit of winter reclusiveness setting in too. And the limits of Arizona culture-wise. All my culture comes through my PC, whether it's used books from half.com, mp3s from wherever (ahem), or news in general.