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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]
Just for her work in support of less commercial, more adventurous directors like Chabrol, Godard, Haneke, David O Russell, Taviani, Pialat, Losey and Claude Goretta. I've only seen a fraction of her prodigious output, and will never forget her in Sauve qui peut & Coup de Torchon & Entre Nous.
I've also seen the forgettable Sincerely Charlotte, The Bedroom Window (her only American film besides Heaven's Gate, which I couldn't make it through) and The Ceremony, which I didn't care for, unlike many critics.
But no actress has been more fearless in taking on adventurous sexual material or disturbingly unpleasant characters.
Funny, I've been talking about this off and on for a while now, and apparently so has the federal govenrment's accountant: these dimpleheads in Washington are bankrupting the country for what will someday seem no good reason at all
David Walker sure talks like he's running for office. "This is about the future of our country, our kids and grandkids," the comptroller general of the United States warns a packed hall at Austin's historic Driskill Hotel. "We the people have to rise up to make sure things get changed."
But Walker doesn't want, or need, your vote this November. He already has a job as head of the Government Accountability Office, an investigative arm of Congress that audits and evaluates the performance of the federal government.
Basically, that makes Walker the nation's accountant-in-chief. And the accountant-in-chief's professional opinion is that the American public needs to tell Washington it's time to steer the nation off the path to financial ruin.
From the hustings and the airwaves this campaign season, America's political class can be heard debating Capitol Hill sex scandals, the wisdom of the war in Iraq and which party is tougher on terror. Democrats and Republicans talk of cutting taxes to make life easier for the American people.
What they don't talk about is a dirty little secret everyone in Washington knows, or at least should. The vast majority of economists and budget analysts agree: The ship of state is on a disastrous course, and will founder on the reefs of economic disaster if nothing is done to correct it.
And he's just talking about the national deficit, and our loans from other countries -- never mind the costs of global warming and whatever else we can't predict.
I don't think this means the end of the world, but it's a sign of the end of the hegemony of the feds domestically, which I see accelerating over the next 30 years.
In the long run this will be a good thing, but things may well be fairly uncomfortable in the short.
"An Appeal for Redress From the War in Iraq" is an Internet initiative to get active-duty military to send this message to political leaders:
As a patriotic American proud to serve the nation in uniform, I respectfully urge my political leaders in Congress to support the prompt withdrawal of all American military forces and bases from Iraq. Staying in Iraq will not work and is not worth the price. It is time for U.S. troops to come home.
It is a legal way for soldiers, Marines and sailors to protest the war.
Active-duty military cannot publicly express its personal views.
"We are not urging any form of civil disobedience or any thing that would be illegal," said Navy Seaman Jonathan Hutto, speaking on the phone, off duty and out of uniform. "We are saying to our active-duty family that you have a right to send an appeal to a Congress member without reprisal."
The "Redress" initiative does not require a membership, and comments are not made public.
"Anyone who has been in the military knows there are informal means for punitive actions," said one soldier, who was reluctant to give a name. "We do have a voice and we pay attention and we want people to listen to what we say."
One activist said that despite the restrictions, "anytime intelligence is mixed with bravery you'll have someone who is going to speak out."
The response to the movement has been "amazing," one organizer said. The group had 65 messages to political leaders a few days days ago. Now the group has more than 10 times that number.
It is unclear whether the seizure of the artwork on Friday and the attack on the gallery were related, coincidence or driven by news about the airport seizure on the radio and the Internet. Mr. Guelman has made a fair number of enemies this year because of his public criticism of neofascists and nationalists.
He is now on a list of “enemies of Russia” that is being circulated on the Internet by Russian neofascists.
Anna Politkovskaya, the journalist who was gunned down in her apartment building on Oct. 7, was also on the list, as are many prominent human rights advocates. Ms. Politkovskaya made her name as a searing critic of the Kremlin and its policies in Chechnya.
Mr. Guelman has also angered Russian Orthodox fundamentalists with his criticism of their influence on politics and for displaying artwork they consider antireligious. Although he has long cultivated connections with the Kremlin, he has been increasingly critical of Mr. Putin.
It was also unclear whether the attack on the gallery and the Georgian art was related to anti-Georgian sentiment that has surged this fall.
State environmental officials say trees are resilient. With proper pruning when dormant, the odds of survival are good. But many are clearly beyond hope, split down the middle, uprooted or snapped at the trunk. A giant willow tree believed to have been planted in 1899 for the Pan-American Exposition, lay on a driveway in one Buffalo neighborhood.
With the snow now melted away, in every park and along most every residential street, rise mounds of leafy branches and limbs, dragged curbside in the cleanup to be hauled away.
In the 350-acre Delaware Park, the city's largest, huge limbs dangle precariously toward the ground and twigs form a carpet over the soggy earth. It and all the parks were closed this week because of the danger overhead. Sections of pine trees, some big enough to be Christmas trees, were strewn about. Many tree tops looked like they had been stepped on.
"It really was a shock," said Holifield, who is faced with the daunting task of overseeing the restoration. "These were full green trees. They were at their most robust and that also contributed to retaining greater weight from the snow."
Even if most trees survive, experts say it will be a generation, maybe more, before the landscape returns to what it was.
TCM is running 2 of the nastier -- and more psychologically astute --"major motion pictures" from the 40s and 50s (which qualify as noir-influenced at least) tomorrow afternoon (PT): Gilda & Anatomy of a Murder
And on Tuesday night: Sirk's Written on the Wind & Altman's Nashville!
At least here in Arizona (and 14 other states) we can now apparently get generic Prozac for $4 a prescription at Walmart and Target, to medicate those noir blues.
If you thought Americans were over-medicated before. . .
Plus Friday night a rare showing of the little-seen but well-thought of (in some quarters) George Romero film from the 70s, The Crazies.
Best Buy has exclusive rights to a box set of 5 vintage SF classics, 4 of them by director Jack Arnold, which are most likely not Criterion-quality transfers, but for the price a no-brainer for fans of the genre [twitch]
Region 1 disc release of A Scanner Darklyset for Dec 19, including commentary by Linklater, producer Tommy Pallotta, Keanu Reeves, Isa Hackett Dick (daughter of Philip K. Dick) and Philip K. Dick historian Jonathan Lethem
The title is too reminiscent of John Cale's track "Rosegarden Funeral of Sores" for it not to be some kind of homage. . .
Rosegarden Funeral Of Sores
Virgin Mary was tired So tired Tired of listening to gossip Gossip and complaints
They came from next door And a bewildered stream of chatter rom all sorts of All sorts of Untidy whores Came from next door Came from next door
But some men are chosen from the rest But their disappointment runs with their guests Never would be invited to the funeral rosegarden
But their choice don't seem to matter They got swollen breasts and lips that putter And their choice of matter and their scream of chatter Is just a little parasitic scream of whores Screaming whores In the rosegarden funeral of sores
Virgin Mary was tired So tired of listening to gossip Gossip and complaints
In the In the Rosegarden Rosegarden funeral of sores [link]
Kazemeini Boroujerdi first took a public stance against the ruling clerics in 1994. Until then he had kept his defiance private. But as he witnessed the loss of respect for religion - caused both by worsening economic and social conditions and the pervasive institutional and financial corruption that benefited senior officials and their relatives - he decided to act. It happened when - as he led the celebration prayers to mark the end of the holy month of Ramadan, and in the tradition of the eighth Shi'a imam, imam Reza - he dressed himself in a white shroud and carried a sword as a sign of protest against the injustice of the clerics in power.
The problems that he identified then have persisted. Despite hundreds of billions of dollars in oil revenue, the per-capita income of Iranians today is 30% less than in 1978 - the year preceding the revolution. Unemployment is high and inflation rampant. According to Jahangir Amuzegar, the distinguished Iranian economist and former member of the International Monetary Fund's executive board, the list of nationwide social ills is getting longer by the year; it reportedly encompasses twenty-five categories, including violent crime, drug addiction, abused children, runaway girls, dysfunctional families, increasing divorce rates, growing prostitution, rising suicides, and even slave-trading.
Kazemeini Boroujerdi insists: "the most afflicted victim of this theocracy has been God. Injustices perpetrated by the ruling clerics in the name of God have forced people to turn away from Him in droves."
"There's something . . . sinister in audio that is causing our listeners fatigue and even pain while trying to enjoy their favorite music. It has been propagated by A&R departments for the last eight years: The complete abuse of compression in mastering (forced on the mastering engineers against their will and better judgment)."
OK I finally get the retro-vinyl thing -- it's not just about the indefinable difference ("warmth") between vinyl and digital: sound compression used to make records sound loud, to punch through the background noise of life, is not just killing music, it's physically exhausting listeners --- you could only get away with this so much with a vinyl record before the needle skips [Magpie]
"The mistaken belief that a 'super loud' record will sound better and magically turn a song into a hit has caused most major label releases in the past eight years to be an aural assault on the listener," Montrone's letter continued. "Have you ever heard one of those test tones on TV when the station is off the air? Notice how it becomes painfully annoying in a very short time? That's essentially what you do to a song when you super compress it. You eliminate all dynamics."
For those already confused, Montrone was essentially saying that there are millions of copies of CDs being released that are physically exhausting listeners, most of whom probably don't know why their ears and brains are feeling worn out.
For the past 10 or so years, artists and record companies have been increasing the overall loudness of pop and rock albums, using ever increasing degrees of compression during mastering, altering the properties of the music being recorded. Quiet sounds and loud sounds are now squashed together, decreasing the recording's dynamic range, raising the average loudness as much as possible.
As Jerry Tubb at Austin's Terra Nova Mastering puts it, "Listening to something that's mastered too hot is like sitting in the front row at the movies. All the images are in your face."
This is why the reissued X album 'Los Angeles' sounds louder at the same volume as the old version, why you turn the 2005 X album down and still hear music, parts that are supposed to be quieter and louder, up front and buried in the mix, at the same time.
For some of you, this difference might be hard to notice at first. Consider yourselves lucky. For some of us, hearing this sort of mastering is like seeing the goblet between two faces in that classic optical illusion — once you perceive it, you can't unperceive it. Soon, it's all you can see — or hear.
"It's ear fatigue," Tubbs says, "After three songs you take it off. There's no play to give your ears even a few milliseconds of depth and rest."
Alan Bean is a recording/mastering engineer in Harrison, Maine. He's a former professional musician and a doctor of occupational medicine.
"It stinks that this has happened," he says. "Our brains just can't handle hearing high average levels of anything very long, whereas we can stand very loud passages, as long as it is not constant. It's the lack of soft that fatigues the human ear."
This is part of the reason that some people are really fanatical about vinyl. "It's not necessarily that vinyl sounds 'better,' " Bean says. "It's that it's impossible for vinyl to be fatiguing."
And yet, record companies wonder why consumers are buying less of them.
"I definitely think it's a contributing factor," Montrone says. "People have a lot of entertainment options. If listening to music is not a highly enjoyable experience, we're just giving people another reason not to purchase the stuff."
Of course, that's the weird part: Consumers may not know why they are buying fewer CDs or listening to them less or are perfectly happy with low-def MP3s from the Internet.
This is another reason why listening to the radio doesn't work for me, aside from the insipid programming and bad music -- yet another layer of compression has been added, making it even more tiring to the brain/ear. The same thing goes for seeing a movie in a theatre with a powerful sound system -- I feel like I'm being attacked sometimes. And why I've resisted the idea of "normalizing" (the ugly sound of the word should have been a clue) tracks for burning CDs or making playlists.
Most of us listen to music as background now, not in front of a good stereo in a quiet room.
And file compression is another layer too, which I'm loathe to admit, since for obvious reasons I'm forced to listen to most music this way. Though I now rarely listen to files compressed more than 192k, and little rock and roll.
Often during the last three years, the U.S. military has shifted troops to try to tamp down one of these conflicts, only to see another escalate. Now, many American officials worry that with the proliferation of armed actors in Iraq's multiple conflicts, the original U.S. counterinsurgency mission has become something else — an operation aimed at quelling civil war, which is a much more ambiguous and politically fraught objective.
American troops find themselves in the crossfire, caught among foreign militants, Sunni Muslim nationalist rebels, Shiite Muslim militiamen and other armed groups — all fighting each other.
It always comes back to oil. The continuing misguided interventions in the Middle East by the US and UK have their roots deep in the Arabian sand.
Ever since Winston Churchill led the conversion of Britain’s navy from coal to oil at the start of the last century, the western powers have meddled incessantly in the affairs of Middle Eastern countries to keep the oil flowing, toppling governments and taking sides in wars in the supposed “great game” of energy resources. But the game is almost over, because the old approaches are obviously failing.