| 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 worked in a record store back in the late 70s, and I remember Palmer's work with the members of Little Feat on his early Island albums was pretty neat ("Sneakin' Sally" being the most well-known, I guess). Never got into the "Addicted" incarnation.
But I think the last album of that first lot was titled One Last Look and the title track was a poignant little number that stuck with me. Can't find it on the networks though. I'm sure most know him from his 80s work, solo and with Power Station.
Sarah Seabury Ward, of Newbury, Massachusetts, and her husband use their computer to e-mail with children and grandchildren, said Electronic Frontier Foundation attorney Cindy Cohn, who has worked with the family. They use a Macintosh, which cannot even run the Kazaa file-sharing service they are accused of using illegally.
Nonetheless, Ward was one of 261 defendants sued by the recording industry this month for illegal Internet file sharing. Ward was accused of illegally sharing more than 2,000 songs, including rapper Trick Daddy's "I'm a Thug."
An attorney for the Recording Industry Association of America withdrew the case Friday, calling the move a "gesture of good faith" but writing in a letter to Ward's attorney that the organization would continue to look into the matter and reserved the right to re-file.
Hitler was so impressed with American "eugenics" (a contrived term made up of the Greek words for well and born) that he sought to duplicate it in Germany. What began here as an organized campaign at the start of the 20th century was financed by Andrew Carnegie, and later by the Rockefellers and Harrimans, and based on Long Island, New York, at the Station for Experimental Evolution of the Carnegie Institution. The movement leader: a terrifying (my word) and sad (Black's word) zoologist named Charles Davenport, who intended to build a Nordic master race ... the SAT test was created by a "radical raceologist" committed to white superiority.
The ALTA report - Daily is a reduced version of the comprehensive ALTA report prepared for our subscriber base. This report is prepared using linguistic analysis tools for the expressed purpose of predicting Universal Events over the short term.
Craig Thompson's graphic novel Blankets is not a book to waste on conversion attempts. It's a treasure trove of image and word, to be savored by those in the know and neglected by those who won't appreciate its brilliance and beauty. Its length -- nearly 600 pages -- may seem daunting, but the pages whip effortlessly past: I read it in one night, virtually in one sitting, from about midnight to 3 a.m. It's a fast read, but Blankets is worth revisiting, if only to luxuriate in its astonishing imagery and pick up all the details you missed the first time when you were too eager to find out what happens next. Thompson's layouts are intricate and organic; instead of the rigid six- or eight-panel pages of standard comics, he varies the shape, size, even the borders of his panels, frequently achieving a collage-like effect that would simply be impossible in any other medium. Like the best comix stories, Blankets emphasizes the medium's exclusive strengths. Thompson's illustrations pack more beauty and power than much prose or poetry, and the frozen images allow the reader's gaze to linger, to examine, to climb inside the picture in ways that film cannot.
Kyle Gann's PostClassic blog (also at AJ) engages the debate on the "end of classical music"
From his critique of Reich Remixed:
...maybe they're right. Maybe the austerity of postclassical music is neurotic in some way. Maybe it's due to some mental or personal deficiency that we can listen to Lucier's voice slowly become indistinguishable over 45 minutes, or Ashley's calming voice mutter nonsequiturs for three hours, or for god's sake La Monte Young doodling on a bizarrely out-of-tune piano for six hours. But some of us feel a deep need to go out into a vast musical desert where we can commune with a sound or a process or a tuning and really get into it, and we don't want the route cluttered up with convenience stores and shopping malls. For many of us, the large-scale course of the piece is precisely the point, even (or especially) if it goes nowhere. We don't need distraction: we need focus. We don't need backbeats and chord progressions and the familiar accoutrements of everyday music to keep us from feeling like we've left home. With varying intentions and success, those Reich Remixed DJs did to Reich's music what the planners of Staples business supply stores do, make every store have exactly the same process and layout so that you never have to face the anxiety of being somewhere unfamiliar.
I read Gann's criticism in the Village Voice back when he replaced Tom Johnson (I think) in the 80s. Nice to see him active in cyberspace.
Myself, I like the trash as well as the treasures. And perhaps especially artists who blur the line.
And from another entry, a subjective yet informed take from a reader on CD-R brands. I definitely agree from my own experience that CD-Rs never quite sound as good as CDs (even with cheap headphones I can figure that out), but the faster you record CD-Rs the worse they are.
Mind you, the quality of CDs also varies widely, and some CD-Rs actually sound better than older CDs that haven't been remastered or whatever.
Perhaps this is all pointless to listeners of comps of the latest hits, but with someone like Eliane Radigue, it makes a difference.
I'm still trying to get clear on what exactly is the best archival CD-R, and how you know whether the Mitsui discs you find cheaper are the good ones, etc. Haven't found anything more recent than this to guide me, but I belong to no usenet groups or whatever to keep up with the latest either.
Signed up with netflix yesterday and already a gaping hole looms: Kurosawa's Throne of Blood, which is on TCM next Friday
I was looking forward to seeing the Criterion DVD after reading this, but I guess I'll have to buy it if I want to or (more likely on my budget) wait til I live near a store that carries it.
I'm sure the TSM print will be excellent, but netflix has several other Kurosawa films (even Rhapsody in August!) so I'm flummoxed as to why they wouldn't have ToB.
Apparently it wasn't even nominated for a Foreign Film Oscar when it was released (Fellini's Nights of Cabiria won in '57), though it was later lauded as perhaps his masterpiece and was T S Eliot's favorite movie.
Evidence of a Pre-Colombian civilization that built razor-straight roads like the Anasazi in the Southwest discovered in Amazon
Researchers working in the Amazon River basin have discovered clusters of settlements linked by wide roads and surrounded by agricultural developments.
The researchers, including some descendants of pre-Columbia tribes that lived along the Amazon, have unearthed evidence of densely settled, well-organized communities with roads, moats and bridges in the Upper Xingu part of the vast tropical region.
King returned the money ($10k) to the NB people and was obviously very grateful. Bloom (a very smart man) needs to let some of the steam out of his head.
I've only read The Shining and am not really into King's work, but he's quite good at what he does, and he's personally pretty cool. He was one of the few writers who stood up publicly for Salman Rushdie when the fatah was issued.
His flat itself looks exactly like what you would expect: airily minimalist. But though he travels and lives light (like many musicians, he had about twenty albums in his entire collection, and very few of them were rock), somehow finally it's not the cybernetic oracle or professional rou? that you remember but the kind and in some way simple man of such exceptional hospitality, who got excited as a kid when told "Baby's On Fire" was a dancefloor favorite at a local club, who on another occasion went out of his way to buy medicine and take it to a woman who managed to alienate absolutely everyone on the local music scene just before contracting a serious illness. It would, of course, never occur to him to do otherwise.
"But," I said, "don't you think one of the things wrong with a lot of experimental music is this emphasis on ersatz 'spirituality?'"
"No. I think the trouble with almost all experimental composers is that they're all head, dead from the neck down. They don't trust their hearts, I think, and tend to take themselves with a solemnity so extreme as to be downright preposterous. I don't see the point, really. I've always abandoned pieces which succeeded theoretically but not sensually."
We walk on a bit, and he comments admiringly on another passing girl. "I've developed a technique recently that works rather well, I think." I expect him to start talking about musical techniques, but then he says: "I lean on a parking meter, and every time a beautiful girl walks by, I smile at her. If she smiles back, I invite her up to my flat for a cup of tea. I moved to New York City because there are so many beautiful girls here, more than anywhere else in the world."
Lots of interviews with other interesting folks on PSF, too.
As a new Vintage edition of Mary Renault's The Friendly Young Ladies is published, Charles Taylor reassesses an early and surprisingly sophisticated story which wryly and effectively gives the lie to notions of determined sexuality
Elsie's inability to see the pair's relationship for what it was, according to Lillian Faderman's afterword, was shared by critics of the day. "I could not quite make out what was up with Leonora," said the critic for the English newspaper the Spectator. Though had Elsie been shrewder, she might have been just as confused. Leo and Helen have been together for seven years during which both have taken male lovers (as did Renault and her lifelong partner, Julie Mullard, during the initial years of their relationship). Renault wrote the book partly in response to Radclyffe Hall's lesbian novel The Well of Loneliness, whose dreary title pretty much summed up what she found so detestable about the book. Neither Leo nor Helen is much affected by guilt nor by the sense that their sexual tastes should settle down on one side of the fence or the other.
Even the most casual reader will detect the hand of the right-to-life and animal rights lobbies and maybe a patrolmen's benevolent association. A broader and more pervasive influence is the fundamentalist religious right. Test questions must "avoid any mention of fossils or dinosaurs." These topics -- one must say it again -- are forbidden, not just framed by a warning to handle with care. But how do you construct a social studies test without bringing up politics or religion? How to mention work, or employment, without trailing a fringe of a hint of its opposite, unemployment? The world in which the tests and textbooks are required to take place is not merely fictional. It is a world that has been methodically purged of reality.
This result is a calculated effect of an entente cordiale between censors of the left and of the right. The parties do not consult each other formally. They do not have to. Each works through the medium of the test and textbook publishers. Each is able to gauge the other's influence. And it must be supposed that each is pleased and comforted by the other's success.
Ray Bradbury, a non-pious writer, discovered in 1979 that in order to obtain class adoptions, his publisher "had quietly, and without his permission, removed 75 sections from Fahrenheit 451." Maybe it was the high Enlightenment message of that popular and affecting book that prompted the demand for so many cuts. The censors in the novel burn books. The censors who re-issue the novel only shred. They capitulate routinely because they begin by assenting to the premise that a work of fiction can be treated as pure content. If a woman in a drugged state watches reality television on a wall-sized screen, that is the author telling his readers that it is OK to take drugs. If a man acts courageously but fails to prosper, that is the author telling his readers that virtue is a hollow thing.
I hesitated posting about Chuck Palahniuk's new "travel guide" to Portland OR because I might move there and don't particularly want to publicize it; but anyone who reads it and still decides to move there, would be fine with me anyway, I suppose...
Unlike other books on the region, Palahniuk doesn't dwell on magnificent hiking trails or world-class wines. Instead, he points out that "to FBI experts who profile serial killers, the Pacific Northwest is 'America's Killing Fields,' because the people are so friendly and trusting. The wilderness is always nearby. It rains, and things rot fast." There's no mention -- thank God -- in Fugitives and Refugees of Portland's famous Rose Garden, though readers will learn how Rocky Horror virgins are deflowered at the Clinton Street Theater. And, he only brings up the city's famous bookstore (of course I mean Powell's) to tell readers about its resident ghost, and the human remains that were entombed in its pillar of books. If you aren't drawn to rotten apples and black sheep, this isn't the book for you. [review]
What these cases have in common is the type of childhood they assume. As I have shown in my earlier articles, the writers were born into a culture of common or joint families, known as zadrugas, as the basic family unit. These communal families, characteristic throughout all of former Yugoslavia, except Slovenia, differ significantly from the conjugal families which we are familiar with in most of Europe; they involved several biological families living and working together, with men never leaving their native homes and with the eldest man functioning as the leading authority. Predominant features of this type of family life were therefore enormous resistance to change and fear of innovation. With no private property and no emancipation as we know it - the original meaning of emancipare being the freeing from parental authority - that is a child's gaining maturity, adult status and independence through acquiring property, a home of his or her own, the choice of job and life style, all this was quite different from the state of things in Western nations. In the zadruga culture people could be extravagantly generous and kind, sharing everything with a perfect stranger, but, on the other hand, extremely harsh, brutal and aggressive. In short, as portrayed in the works of many foreign travelers, they offered the bewildering contrast of vast loneliness, of cruelty and indifference to human life, but of indifference to possessions, too, with gusts of personal warmth, generosity and outstanding dignity unlike anything one could experience In Western Europe.
The predominant tone of the images is of infants who are extremely afraid of being attacked and fighting back in every way they can. The interpretation is that the parents of these children (which can be read as all Yugoslav children) are unaware of what effect they have on their children, because of neurotic scotomata, [blind spot -ed] and consequently hurt them mercilessly while not being conscious of what they are doing; this infuriates the grandiose self of the child, who compromises by passivity and given-up, giving-up behavior, while they undertake to have revenge at some stage (usually the war which waits in the wings)... what all fills means is that the group in Yugoslavia is working through feelings that were worked through in Western Europe during the late Middle Ages, except that at this point they are forced to do so under a unified regime and with a minimum of the pressure outlets (such as crusades and all those jolly rape-and-warfare missions of the Knights) available at that time. Thus the feeling of a pressure cooker that is conveyed in the materials... Thus the images from the media reflect all the violent fantasies underlying true melancholia (of the Middle Ages).
Stunned uneasy Björk puff from salon, as the retrospective DVDs pile up
...Bj?rk remains curiously isolated, her music more loved than influential. Radiohead, probably her closest rival in the intersection of popularity and critical acclaim that makes up at least one definition of greatness, has spawned countless baby Radioheads. Bj?rk has no copycats, no one feeding so obviously off her achievements, because those achievements are so alien. Radiohead is very much of our time, the musical zeitgeist for the millennium, but Bj?rk and her music come from a different time and place. There are two options in placing Bj?rk: Either she is an anomaly, brilliant but finally irrelevant, or she is the most important and forward-looking musician of her generation. In either case, we will need to wait 50 years to really make sense of what she has done, and absorb her influence in any useful way.
Aside from her singing, it's the production on her albums that has garnered Bj?rk the most praise. She is viewed as a true sonic innovator, one who has extended the frontiers of music in general, and electronic music in particular, with each new release. There's no question that the sonic worlds that Bj?rk has created for her albums are entirely distinctive, but there are two qualifications that should be kept in mind. The first is that this element of her work has been deeply collaborative.
She has worked with some of the most innovative producers and programmers in electronic music, including Nellee Hooper, Marius de Vries, Graham Massey, Mark Bell, Tricky, Howie B and Matmos. The second is that, contrary to much of what has been written, her talent is less for creating new sounds than for recombining existing sounds in new ways. On "Homogenic," string octet and accordion are combined with volcanic electronic beats, to create a desolate, apocalyptic soundscape. On "Vespertine" she took the sterile clicks and crackles of Powerbook improvisers, and built them into a comforting cocoon of sound, embellished with music boxes and harps. She has consistently taken sounds from the far fringes of electronic and experimental music and used them in her own music. Rarely has a mainstream artist relied so heavily, and so successfully, on the avant-garde.
While Bj?rk has been, if anything, overappreciated as a sonic innovator, she has been underappreciated as a songwriter. She is the only major songwriter in recent memory for whom the apparently inescapable influence of Bob Dylan is irrelevant. Her lyrics stand out for a simple reason: They don't rhyme. Other songwriters have experimented with nonrhyming lyrics, of course, notably Lou Reed and Radiohead's Thom Yorke, but it remains an unusual technique.
According to the soldiers themselves, cross-dressing is a military mind game, a tactic that instills fear in their rivals. It also makes the soldiers feel more invincible. This belief is founded on a regional superstition which holds that soldiers can "confuse the enemy's bullets" by assuming two identities simultaneously. Though the accoutrements and garb look bizarre to Western eyes, they are, in a sense, variations on the camouflage uniforms and face paint American soldiers use to bolster their sense of invisibility (and, therefore, immunity) during combat. Since flak jackets or infrared goggles aren't available to the destitute Liberian fighters, they opt for evening gowns and frilly blouses.
The cross-dressing "dual identity" isn't just a source of battlefield bravado, though. Cross-dressing has deep historical roots in West African rites-of-passage rituals involving "medicine men" who would recommend wearing masks, talismans, and bush attire as a means of obtaining mystical powers. Rebels dressed in gowns and wigs and adorned with bones, leaves, and other "forest culture" trappings are practicing a modern variation on this technique of using symbolic "clothing" to access sources of power far stronger than their own. And in common Liberian initiation rituals -- which exist in memory throughout the country, if not always in practice -- a boy's passage to adulthood is symbolically represented by the donning of female garb. He must first pass through a dangerous indeterminate zone between male and female identity before finally becoming a man. A soldier dressed in women's clothes -- or Halloween masks, or shower caps, etc. -- on the battlefield is essentially asserting that he's in a volatile in-between state. The message it sends to other soldiers is, "Don't mess with me, I'm dangerous."
Just watched the Cronenberg volume of AFI's The Directors series, which was much better than the one on Altman. Put the idea that his film is anything to do with Burroughs' masterpiece, and it's one of his funniest films, and worth a second look.
La Strada I've never gotten all the way through, and this is the time to do it.
Aside: I can't believe Hill's film of Vonnegut's Slaughterhouse Five is unavailable new on DVD.