Thursday, January 31, 2008

Two More Lumps of Chigurh Please

In defense of No country For Old Men...yep...I kind of want it to win Best Picture Oscar. I haven't seen Atonement yet...probably this weekend...but I have a feeling I will still be rooting for the Coen Bros. after seeing it, the story of Atonement just doesn't sound like something that would interest me...I didn't really like The English Patient I was a little like Elaine on Seinfeld "That's not a love story. Give me something I can use!"

Asterisk wrote a good movie review of NCFOM a few days ago...and the discussion is really worth checking out. The movie seemed to generate a lot of questions and mixed feelings...and two dozen comments! I was pretty impressed. Although I loved There Will Be Blood (which is like Treasure of Sierra Madre meets Citizen Kane)...and I think it is a brilliant story and good movie...I don't think it has as many innovative and incredible aspects as NCFOM. Something...not much mind missing in TWBB.

I have been surprised to find, that many things I thought were amazing about the movie No Country For Old Men were not of interest or even noticed by many viewers. It seems many viewers see it as a genre film exclusively and therefore a cliche. Same old same old. I do not agree. I believe it's a movie where the audience takes from it what they choose...

So here is a quick list defending the storytelling of the film No Country For Old Men

1) Although it functions as an action film and crime genre it offers other layers and themes.
2) The Coen Bros have made another "anti-Hollywood" film. Trailers sell the movie as an action film when the moral of the story is to reject the action offered by our society...recreate your own action.
3) The off-screen death of James Brolin's character Moss has been a contentious weakness for many viewers. "Off-stage deaths" are a literary device of ancient tragedy. The purpose is to reveal a "false protagonist" (like Janet Leigh in Psycho was a false protagonist...even though Hitchcock wasn't using an off-stage death). Brolins character is a Vietnam Vet who feels he is entitled to a little "summin summin" seeing as he never got his as a war hero from his country. We care about him, especially American audiences understanding the context of Vietnam vets...and we want him to "get away with it".
4) There are two "false protagonists" in the movie. The other is that wicked and compelling bad guy "ant on sugar" played by Javier Bardem. Whoops! Nope he is not our hero of the story either folks!
5) Instead our "hero" is a stodgy conservative old man...who is always several steps behind the bad guys and action. We follow a slow dreamy anti-hero who is more and more disillusioned with life and "justice" each minute of the film. He seems to want to take a nap rather than be in the movie role. He is terribly sad, almost impossible to relate first...
6) The movie proposes that the game of it's played not at all "fun". When will people get it through their heads: the house always wins.
7) The idea that two former Special Ops guys (Harrelson and Bardem) not only knew each other from the past but also both work for some corporation that smuggles drugs is a really fun plot idea...and interesting when compared with the recent release of a Rambo sequel.
8) The movie offers an "anti-showdown" too. This one tense scene outside a hotel room might be the very reason this movie should get best picture...and it has stumped audiences. Here is a site that tries to understand what happens in the "show down" between Chigurh and Sheriff.
9) Maybe the biggest risk the Coens took with this movie was the ending. We heard people complain about the ending in the theatre, on web boards, in reviews on blogs. The final scene between Sheriff Bell and his wife reminded me of the scene in Fargo when Marge visits an old school chum Mike. You can read that scene right here. In amongst all the story of Marge in Fargo this oddball meeting occurs. It has nothing to do with the plot, action and seems so out-of-place. But it tells us a lot about Marge, about love and company and in my mind is linked to this final scene of Sheriff Bell and his wife. (and remember Fargo also ends with a cozy scene of husband and wife in bed talking about stamps and birds)

10) Loretta Bell: How'd you sleep?
Ed Tom Bell: I don't know. Had dreams.
Loretta Bell: Well you got time for 'em now. Anythin' interesting?
Ed Tom Bell: They always is to the party concerned.
Loretta Bell: Ed Tom, I'll be polite.
Ed Tom Bell: Alright then. Two of 'em. Both had my father in 'em . It's peculiar. I'm older now then he ever was by twenty years. So in a sense he's the younger man. Anyway, first one I don't remember to well but it was about meeting him in town somewhere, he's gonna give me some money. I think I lost it. The second one, it was like we was both back in older times and I was on horseback goin' through the mountains of a night. Goin' through this pass in the mountains. It was cold and there was snow on the ground and he rode past me and kept on goin'. Never said nothin' goin' by. He just rode on past... and he had his blanket wrapped around him and his head down and when he rode past I seen he was carryin' fire in a horn the way people used to do and I could see the horn from the light inside of it. 'Bout the color of the moon. And in the dream I knew that he was goin' on ahead and he was fixin' to make a fire somewhere out there in all that dark and all that cold, and I knew that whenever I got there he would be there. And then I woke up.

11) The pagan references to dream analysis, vision quests, a father figure and the horn relate to mythology and rebirth and Marge in Fargo with her husband, talking about the blue-winged teal, the future, new life a mallard duck disguised in prosaic talk of postage stamps! The father carrying the horn with fire "like we used to" is a reference to unicorns, to Father Helio, to Goddess Moon...the horn was associated with the moon's ring of light. Anton Chigurh may have had his own pagan games with his coin toss reminding his victims of the idea of fate and randomness of death...but Sheriff Bell's sleep of ancient mythology is the anecdote. The idea that we can play the game and win is beaten down: it is our vanity that thinks we can beat darkness with its own game and rules.

12) There are no clean get aways.

13) We can't beat evil or people like Chigurh by playing in the same game. We can't fight the challenges of society with it's own rules or laws. We can fight darkness by consulting our own inner wisdom represented by "the light inside the horn".

Thank you for stopping's been quiet around here for months...Please leave your URL address in the comments because blogger has changed it's format making it difficult to collect URLs. Thank you! all visitors will be linked here: 1) Tweetey 2) Fond of Snape 3) Suzanne Says 4) On A Limb With Claudia 5) A Blog About Nowt 6) Four dinners 7) Digital Media Tree 8) A Gentleman's Domain

A Keanu Moment

Sometimes, I feel a strange serendipity with Asterisk and Red-I've had a few dreams about them and sometimes we post about similar topics on the same day...not identically, with our own twist but enough to make me go "HUH?" funny. Last night Asterisk and I both wrote something involving Keanu Reeves. I had a friend who went to high school with Reeves in Toronto and I met him once or twice. This is a long time ago...and one time my girlfriend and I were watching tv and we saw the following...and we thought "Wow he is really doing well now!" There are many times I laugh about that and how we had no idea of what a huge movie star he would become. As many of you know I have a little "thing" for Keanu Reeves...and had planned on writing a TT list about Reeves...but changed my mind. Instead writing about No country For Old Men. On January 31, 2005 Reeves got a star on Hollywood "walk of fame" and even though i changed my mind about this post here is that commercial:

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

A Slipper?

SWEET! Now this is my kind of style...but are they soft and warm and quiet? Made in U.S.A. $29.95 Actually I never wear slippers almost always bare feet...if I get cold I put on socks but this past week I wished I had some kind of thick padded protection on the hardwood floors and something styling. We went out looking for slippers tonight and everything we saw..."Made in China". At one point a sales rep asked me, "Why can't it be made in China?". I was very happy to tell her exactly why. I think I left her all depressed and without a sale...So tonight I thought I'd see if anybody in Canada or U.S.A. was making slippers...saving on transportation-good for the environment...and avoiding giving money to a country with seriously compromised ethics. Here is what I found so far...

Made in Canada, $59.00.

Isn't there something that lies between these two extremes...warm sexy and soft? Apparently not. In order for slippers to be soft on the feet they seen to be ugly...

Made in Canada. What is the obsession with this brown colour for slippers? Can't they get dyed a vibrant colour? $82.00 Cdn.

Almost as ugly as "Uggs"...$52.00.

Baby caca coloured slippers...but kind of cute if you're an elf...$79.95.

Well this is not least the colour is getting there...Purple suede slippers lined with fleece. $33.95.

I actually think these are funny, even affectionate...I might go for these...sock monkeys for me, stags for Stagg? Only $24.95 but waiting to find out if they are Made in U.S.A. or not? What are the chances they are made out of organic cotton or wool?

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Finally. A Politician With A Pulse.

What a relief to hear someone speaking with the people for positive energy , memory of traditions and hope. He isn't offering a new program, he is rejecting the old programs.

Lest We Forget:

Hu has contradicted initial expectations that he was a closet liberal. He is currently seen as a hard-liner in regard to liberalising the Chinese media, as well as in regard to political reform.

Hu has been very cautious with regards to the Internet, choosing to censor politically sensitive material to a degree more strict than the Jiang era. In February 2007, Hu embarked on further domestic media controls that restricted primetime TV series to "morally correct" content—he objected to lowbrow stuff including some reality shows—on all Chinese TV stations, and listed "20 forbidden areas" of coverage on news reporting.

"The establishment came down with a constitutional package which they put to a national referendum. The package included distinct society status for Quebec and some other changes, including some that would just horrify you, putting universal Medicare in our constitution, and feminist rights, and a whole bunch of other things."
- Conservative leader Stephen Harper, then vice-president of the National Citizens Coalition, in a June 1997 Montreal meeting of the Council for National Policy, a right-wing American think tank.

Read about Harper's return to Session today...

Monday, January 28, 2008

Dead Presidents

It is 2016, and the Hillary Clinton or John McCain or Barack Obama administration is nearing the end of its second term. America has pulled out of Iraq but has about 20,000 troops in the independent state of Kurdistan, as well as warships anchored at Bahrain and an Air Force presence in Qatar. Afghanistan is stable; Iran is nuclear. China has absorbed Taiwan and is steadily increasing its naval presence around the Pacific Rim and, from the Pakistani port of Gwadar, on the Arabian Sea. The European Union has expanded to well over 30 members and has secure oil and gas flows from North Africa, Russia and the Caspian Sea, as well as substantial nuclear energy. America’s standing in the world remains in steady decline.

The more we appreciate the differences among the American, European and Chinese worldviews, the more we will see the planetary stakes of the new global game. Previous eras of balance of power have been among European powers sharing a common culture. The cold war, too, was not truly an “East-West” struggle; it remained essentially a contest over Europe. What we have today, for the first time in history, is a global, multicivilizational, multipolar battle.

In Europe’s capital, Brussels, technocrats, strategists and legislators increasingly see their role as being the global balancer between America and China. Jorgo Chatzimarkakis, a German member of the European Parliament, calls it “European patriotism.” The Europeans play both sides, and if they do it well, they profit handsomely. It’s a trend that will outlast both President Nicolas Sarkozy of France, the self-described “friend of America,” and Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany, regardless of her visiting the Crawford ranch. It may comfort American conservatives to point out that Europe still lacks a common army; the only problem is that it doesn’t really need one. Europeans use intelligence and the police to apprehend radical Islamists, social policy to try to integrate restive Muslim populations and economic strength to incorporate the former Soviet Union and gradually subdue Russia. Each year European investment in Turkey grows as well, binding it closer to the E.U. even if it never becomes a member. And each year a new pipeline route opens transporting oil and gas from Libya, Algeria or Azerbaijan to Europe. What other superpower grows by an average of one country per year, with others waiting in line and begging to join?

Gisele Bündchen demands to be paid in euros, while Jay-Z drowns in 500 euro notes in a recent video.

from New York Times (this is a long article but compelling)

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Solaris. Dream, Heaven or Mirror?

Based on Polish science fiction novel by Stanslaw Lem, Solaris is a parable with magnificent cinematography exploring metaphysics.

Solaris was a critical and popular success at it's release from Russia in 1972, nominated for PalmD'Or at Cannes. It's difficult to imagine that a movie like this would be made today but easy to imagine how it would lose in the box office and with critics. Not only is it a very long long movie, 3 hours, but what audience today cares about the origins of human thought, the nature of reality...with slow languid film making? I hadn't seen Tarkovsky's Solaris in a number of years so I was excited to find it on IFC and watch it with Stagg. We took a break during the did feel long. It also felt like an exotic departure from movies in general.

Could this same object made with actors, film, light and props be at all related to the same craft as American Gangster or There Will Be Blood?

The Hunters IN The Snow by Pieter Bruegel. I love art work in movies...and I love it when the rare event occurs that the art work becomes a character in a movie. The camera travels over this painting for a minute during the movie (oh I can hear audience groans right now ha ha). Actually life-size reproductions of the series Months were featured in the film.

Can you recall art work being placed significantly in a movie?

The Space Odyssey Explained

Before The Matrix, Inland Empire and Terminator there was Kubrick. The website Kubrick2001: The Space Odyssey Explained is really cool...especially for anyone who has loved the movie but wondered...why? What does this mean....?

Toronto in SPIN magazine

Located geographically on the northwest shore of Lake Ontario and culturally somewherebetween London and New York, Toronto can come across as the clean-cut cousin to those stylish hot spots. But even if Canada's biggest city has some international self-esteem issues, how can you argue with it's inclusive music scene, peerless beer selection, and the fact that even the guy getting beat up in the pit has good health care?

Click on the images to read the rest of the text...

Mysterious scene in FARGO


Marge enters. She looks around the bar, a rather
characterless, lowlit meeting place for business people.


It is a bald, paunching man of about Marge's age, rising
from a booth halfway back. His features are broad,
friendly, Asian-American.


He approaches somewhat carefully, as if on his second drink.
They hug and head back toward the booth.

Geez! You look great!

Yah - easy there - you do too!
I'm expecting, ya know.

I see that! That's great!

A waitress meets them at the table.

... What can I get ya?

Just a Diet Coke.

Again she glances about.

... This is a nice place.

Yah, ya know it's the Radisson,
so it's pretty good.

You're livin' in Edina, then?

Oh, yah, couple years now. It's
actually Eden Prarie - that school
district. So Chief Gunderson, then!
So ya went and married Norm Son-of-

Oh, yah, a long time ago.

Great. What brings ya down - are
ya down here on that homicide -
if you're allowed, ya know, to
discuss that?

Oh, yah, but there's not a heckuva
lot to discuss. What about you,
Mike? Are you married - you have

Well, yah, I was married. I was
married to - You mind if I sit
over here?

He is sliding out of his side of the booth and easing in
next to Marge.

... I was married to Linda
Cooksey -

No, I - Mike - wyncha sit over
there, I'd prefer that.

Huh? Oh, okay, I'm sorry.

No, just so I can see ya, ya know.
Don't have to turn my neck.

Oh, sure, I unnerstand, I didn't
mean to -

No, no, that's fine.

Yah, sorry, so I was married to
Linda Cooksey - ya remember Linda?
She was a year behind us.

I think I remember Linda, yah.
She was - yah. So things didn't
work out, huh?

And then I, and then I been workin'
for Honeywell for a few years now.

Well, they're a good outfit.

Yah, if you're an engineer, yah,
you could do a lot worse. Of
course, it's not, uh, it's
nothin' like your achievement.

It sounds like you're doin' really

Yah, well, I, uh ... it's not that
it didn't work out - Linda passed
away. She, uh...

I'm sorry.

Yah, I, uh... She had leukemia,
you know...

No, I didn't...

It was a tough, uh ... it was a
long - She fought real hard,

I'm sorry, Mike.

Oh, ya know, that's, uh - what
can I say?...

He holds up his drink.

... Better times, huh?

Marge clinks it.

Better times.

I was so... I been so ... and
then I saw you on TV, and I
remembered, ya know... I always
liked you...

Well, I always liked you, Mike.

I always liked ya so much...

It's okay, Mike - Should we get
together another time, ya think?

No - I'm sorry! It's just - I
been so lonely - then I saw you,

He is weeping.

... I'm sorry... I shouldn't a
done this... I thought we'd have
a really terrific time, and now

It's okay...

You were such a super lady ...
and then I... I been so lonely...

It's okay, Mike...

Saturday, January 26, 2008

The Four Queens

A clip from Ricky jay and His 52 Assisants magic show directed by David Mamet at The Steppenwolf Theatre. Thanks to Deana for turning me on to this one...

Friday, January 25, 2008

Red Stripes On My Face

Erotica author Wylie Kinson gave me an award, I am so flattered and embarassed because I admire Wylie and I don't think I deserve it...but it makes me feel good that someone enjoys my ramblings. And here is what Wylie said...Candy Minx - a blogger, a writer, an artist, a film-maker -- a true Renaissance woman. I'll be honest... I mostly don't comment on her blog because she intimidates the hell out of me. People - she's really really smart. Savvy. In-the-know. Go there. You might learn something.

As part of the award, recipients are asked to cite three elements of powerful writing. Here are three things that make a book a keeper in my world:

1) Interspecies relationships in outdoor adventure settings. I like animals and humans in my fiction. I am a massive animal lover...grew up with many pets and reading about animals all my life. I believe that a story is much more interesting when it is including other animals...even if it's just the family John Irving often explores in his novels all the way to Jack London. when I was reading as a kid I loved Jack London and Robert Louis Stevenson and James Fennimore Cooper who wrote massive out-of-doors stories. I like adventure which expanded to novels like Moby Dick, Life of Pi (obviously the animal version was my fave), All The Pretty Horses, His Dark Materials, The Hotel New Hampshire, The Accidental Tourist...

2) Life and Death. I don't know how you can explore the human condition without some loss and some love. Or at least the fear of both! Maybe it's a little bit like what Chekov said, if there is a gun in the first act, it should go off by the end of the play.

3) Reality is over rated. Although I read all kinds of books and genres, fiction and non-fiction one thing I really when a book twists my head around. It could be a theory or science book or it could be a novel. I think imagination and transformative thinking processes are what makes a book really zing for me. If a book puts forth a way of thinking or a premise that makes me stop and go WHAT!?-I am hooked! It is more important to me than genre or writing expertise. I suppose what I mean is what is called a "paradigm shift". That a character or line of study or a theme shakes up my thinking. I am a little like those people who like parachuting, or extreme sports and look for the rush. I like that in my books and it is what makes a book outstanding for me.

Three writers I love reading and who I pass this award to are: Bulit To Be Destoyed writes about reverie and memories. I relax and think after reading his blog thoughts. Malcolm at Pop Culture dish because he writes about tv shows and pop culture with a lot of love. I feel happy after I take one of his quizes or read about Bootsy Collins and classic programs. Her Lofty Perch and this is cheating...I was trying to nominate people who I didn't really "know" and I consider Gardenia a new friend. But she writes about struggles and health and her family without bitterness or companing. So many blogs talk about the same things...but they whinge. Gardenia always has hope and will to carry on. Despite some tragic challenges she is one of the most graceful writers about emotions.

Visitors who shared what makes a book readable: 1) Mister Anchovy 2) Wylie Kinson 3) Malcolm


The Rules

*Link to the person who tagged you and leave a comment on their blog so that their readers can visit yours. (I was tagged by Betty The Geek)
*Post the rules on your blog.
*Share 7 random and/or weird facts about yourself on your blog.
*Tag 7 random people at the end of your post, linking to their blogs.
*Let each person know that they have been tagged by leaving a comment on their blog.

Seven Random Things about Me:

1) I wear size nine shoes.
2) You see the photo of the bird in this is taken by Rauf...a blog pal in India. I would like to go visit him. I hope YOU go to visit his blog and see his amazing pictures of animals, birds and people in India. I have had trouble getting his blog to download and I can not find his comments. I have been going to his blog for two years and I hope he finds this note.
3) I think I've done this tag before...but am trying to say 7 new random things about me. I felt a lot of anxiety about posting this tag and who would I tag...last time I did this tag I admitted to liking being tagged...but it's taken me three days to post this tag...
4) I love this blog called Manchester Marks. It is street art and always inspiring...all the stuff out there showing in public and some terrific talent! The person hasn't posted for a long time any new photos or anything. I always wonder...whatever happened to bloggers who stop job? New relationship? Are they ill? Are they okay?
5) I sleep naked. Doesn't matter how cold it is...
6) I used to keep scrapbooks. Not like the scrapbooking trend of the last few years. Rougher and messier. Photos of bands I loved, ticket stubs, postcards, inspiring quotes. I stopped eventually but I find blogging to fulfill that same feeling.
7) I have a thing about The Wizard of Oz. I don't really "act on it" though...I don't collect pictures of it or action figures...although I've thought about such...I just have it under the surface. i do of course, own the dvd. Oprah had the ruby slippers on her show the other day and I almost had a seizure. There is a wonderful series by the BFI of writers and their favourite movies...The Wizard of Oz, Rushdie contends, "is a film whose driving force is the inadequacy of adults, even of good adults, and how the weakness of grown-ups forces children to take control of their own destinies, and so, ironically, grow up themselves." Uncle Henry and Auntie Em can't protect Dorothy from Miss Gulch; the Wizard can't really bring her home; and in the end, it is Dorothy who rescues the Scarecrow and the others and destroys the Wicked Witch of the West. Finally, Dorothy is told that she has always had the power to go home -- to go anywhere -- but she had to learn to act for herself. She expresses her newfound independence by declaring that she wants to go home and never leave again.

Suzy Snow
Four Dinners
Rauf In India
And We Shall March
Timmer Readtree,
Ink Casualty

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Stagg Wanted Me To Post This Video...

Two nights ago I was getting ready to sleep and went tobrush my teeth. no water. It's very cold here...but I knew the water wasn't frozen because I could hear the rads filling up. I ran around and checked all the taps. No water. Uh oh. This immediately woke me up so I found a water pitcher in the fridge and made some tea. Do I phone the landlord? I needed to think about this. I watched some Law and Order and then checked the taps again. no water. Helicopters. I swear I could hear helicopters right over our apartment. I left notes for Stagg that water was out and fell asleep about
5a.m. A few minutes later Stagg woke up and water was restored...

This is what happened on our street:

By 10 a.m. we got an automated phone message explaining the street would be closed for at least a week. The helicopters were news teams. I was pretty impressed with the automated phone messages all morning...but it was amazing that under the circumstances the water was restored within four hours...

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

I Just Can't Quit You

A young beautiful hottie...R.I.P.

Heath Ledger...has does this keep happening to young talented artists...a sad icon for gays(Brokeback Mountain) and a heart throb for all kinds of gals. I loved A Knight's Tale and was really looking forward to Ledger's role in Batman movie playing a wild Joker...

Heath ledger looks so amazing in character as The Joker for upcoming Batman film The Dark Knight. Very sad news.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Martin Luther King's Birthday

One man come in the name of love
One man come and go
One man come, he to justify
One man to overthrow

The song above was written for MLK.

Since I am a preacher by calling, I suppose it is not surprising that I have seven major reasons for bringing Vietnam into the field of my moral vision. There is at the outset a very obvious and almost facile connection between the war in Vietnam and the struggle I and others have been waging in America. A few years ago there was a shining moment in that struggle. It seemed as if there was a real promise of hope for the poor, both black and white, through the poverty program. There were experiments, hopes, new beginnings. Then came the buildup in Vietnam, and I watched this program broken and eviscerated as if it were some idle political plaything of a society gone mad on war. And I knew that America would never invest the necessary funds or energies in rehabilitation of its poor so long as adventures like Vietnam continued to draw men and skills and money like some demonic, destructive suction tube. So I was increasingly compelled to see the war as an enemy of the poor and to attack it as such.

Perhaps a more tragic recognition of reality took place when it became clear to me that the war was doing far more than devastating the hopes of the poor at home. It was sending their sons and their brothers and their husbands to fight and to die in extraordinarily high proportions relative to the rest of the population. We were taking the black young men who had been crippled by our society and sending them eight thousand miles away to guarantee liberties in Southeast Asia which they had not found in southwest Georgia and East Harlem. So we have been repeatedly faced with the cruel irony of watching Negro and white boys on TV screens as they kill and die together for a nation that has been unable to seat them together in the same schools. So we watch them in brutal solidarity burning the huts of a poor village, but we realize that they would hardly live on the same block in Chicago. I could not be silent in the face of such cruel manipulation of the poor.
From MLK speech, Beyond Vietnam, April 1967

Early morning, April 4
Shot rings out in the Memphis sky
Free at last, they took your life
They could not take your pride

Some Slinking Nobility

I reached McCarthy by phone in Texas and put it to him that perhaps the public found his tales a mite bleak. “Jolly tales,” he said, “are not what it is all about. My feeling is that all good literature is bleak. When a work gets a certain gloss on it with age, and the current reality of it is dulled, then we can say what has and what does not have the true tragic face. I’m guided by the sweep and grandeur of classical tragedy. Mine are the conditions common to people everywhere and finally the work has little to do with any personal aberration of the characters.”
I suggested that perhaps one reason his work has not secured its deserved audience was that his characters were indeed cast adrift in some “unanimous dark of the world,” within a “lethal environment” which offered neither relief nor instruction, pre-wheel times, time without mercy, time presided over by the implacable face of Nothingness, with a will to survive, fortitude, as the only and last testament. Whereas today’s reader wanted events explained, lamented, accounted for: Lester is the way he is because he comes from a broken home, his parents whipped him, he had no shoes until he was ten years old.
“I don’t doubt it,” McCarthy said. “Modern readers are a lot more familiar with Freud than with Sophocles.”
I asked him how difficult he finds it to write these amazing novels. “I work on each for several years,” he said, “and am brought to the brink of innumerable suicides. I want, even for the worst of the characters, grace under pressure, some slinking nobility.”
I asked him what he had been reading lately.
“I’ve just finished Shakespeare and the Common Understanding,” he said. “And one of your guys, Michael On—? How do you say it?”
“That’s right. Ondaatje. Wonderful stuff.”

From BRICK Magazine, Toronto, 1986.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Music and The Wire

Season 4 opening song sequence is performed by "DoMaJe", five Baltimore teens, Ivan Ashford, Markel Steele, Cameron Brown, Tariq Al-Sabir, and Avery Bargasse. Or "B-More" if you're a fan of The Wire. Omar is my favourite character in The Wire, that is him in the jail cell at this trailers opening...getting bound up for protection. I'm trying to find this seasons opening sequence done by Steve Earle, I did find a trailer below with him playing an NA sponsor for Bubbles, another favourite character.

Series co-writer Simon described the second season as "a meditation on the death of work and the betrayal of the American working class.…[I]t is a deliberate argument that unencumbered capitalism is not a substitute for social policy; that on its own, without a social comtract, raw capitalism is destined to serve the few at the expense of the many."[14] He added that season 3 "reflects on the nature of reform and reformers, and whether there is any possibility that political processes, long calcified, can mitigate against the forces currently arrayed against individuals." The third season is also an allegory that draws explicit parallels between the War in Iraq and the national drug prohibition,[14] which in Simon's view has failed in its aims[18] and become a war against America's underclass.

All of the music has to be ambient, meaning it has to be justified by a source within the scene, either a boom box or a stereo or a car radio or a band belting it out in a bar that doesn't even have a stage...

Until those final moments, all of the music must exist within the reality of the scenes. As reality often dictates — life being the stuff that happens while you're busy making other plans, according to John Lennon — nothing should perfectly match.

"If the lyrics are dead-on with what [the story] is trying to say, it's redundant," said Simon. "Instead, we try to speak to mood and tonality, but obliquely, particularly in regard to lyrics."
HBO, Behind The Scenes (diegetic sound in film)

Oh here is the opening sequence with Steve Earle singing the Tom Waits song Down In The Hole. Other musicians who have covered this song for the opening sequence montage have been The Blind Boys of Alabama, Tom Waits, and The Neville Brothers.

During season finales, a song is played before the closing scene in a montage showing the major characters' lives continuing in the aftermath of the narrative. The first season montage is played over "Step by Step" by Jesse Winchester, the second "Feel Alright" by Steve Earle, the third "Fast Train" written by Van Morrison and performed by Solomon Burke, and the fourth uses "I Walk on Gilded Splinters" written by Dr. John and performed by Paul Weller. While the songs reflect the mood of the sequence, their lyrics are usually only loosely tied to the visual shots. In the commentary track to episode 37, "Mission Accomplished", executive producer David Simon says: "I hate it when somebody purposely tries to have the lyrics match the visual. It brutalizes the visual in a way to have the lyrics dead on point. ... Yet at the same time it can’t be totally off point. It has to glance at what you're trying to say.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Snoop Dogg and Walk

13 Tv Shows Based On Movies

Since The Terminator has become a tv show version, I was curious about what shows have been based on movies...13 such tv series include...
Happy Days
La Femme Nikita
The Odd Couple
The Saint
Buffy The Vampire Slayer

Visitors and TTers will be linked here: 1) You're first!

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Terminator Junkie

I was pretty excited when I heard there would be a tv show based on one of my favourite movies. I was crazy for Terminator movies. I even played the terminator arcade game. (unfortunately i can't find a download for Mac).

I heard mixed reviews about the show but I really liked it so far. i figure if they don't hook me then they don't know what they are doing.

I liked a lot of things about the two episodes so far: the actors, one of whom looks like Faye Dunaway, the opportunity to play around with plot and time travel, and some of the action. Summer Grua plays a cyborg who looks like Faye Dunaway is very good...she is a dancer and is able to convey her body work into some awesome robotic movements. I love that the script has begun to play with aspects of the Terminators, for example trying to escape while the cyborg has been stunned (it takes the cyborgs 120 seconds to reboot) pressed for time single mother extraodinaire takes "good Terminator" puts her on an office chair and throws her out the window passed out while her son and her run down the fire escape.

I just like all the gaming and problem solving that might occur in such premise as Terminator story.

There is a lot of emotional exploration possible too. The teen future messiah misses his role model from the past, someone his mother was in love with...and he breaks into his house...adding one more character with a secret or the potential to risk their safety and lives.

Plus...the "bad Terminators" have a whole asswhoopong itinerary and their own inventive problem solving...very fun so far!

Some Search Words From The Past Week That Brought People Here

So many search words this past six days that I am not even listing them all...

miss stagg spanish
his thunder
stolen painting francesco guardini
erasing the service computer from cayenne when service
candy's stalker
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the hamburglars
indian farm houses designs
mit mathematician cites john nahs solves problem dream
big moe purple world blogspot
making marajuana candy
solitary sex videos
nature nurture literary example
milk nuts
dancing characters animated with wonder woman
christina aguilara feminist
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cormac mccarthy and fundamentalism
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goofy minivan dad
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urban myths wild animals
walter benjamin not the strength preserve but destroy
candy that came out in the 80's
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hunter gatherers integral change
minx prom queen

Dancing Hints

Square Dance Checkers. I don't know if these will help me or not...we'll see...but don't they look like something Tuffy P would buy?

Japanese Square Dance Checkers.

I thought it might help me learning to Square Dance if I looked up varieties of "calls". I found these helpful hints while at the University of Google. These could be helpful hints in the game of life too huh?

* Being a good dancer has nothing to do with level. It has more to do with being a good team member. Dance your part and allow the others to dance their part. A truly good dancer will wait until the last moment for another 'team member' in his or her square to act, before offering help if necessary. Please don't be the obnoxious dancer who must help every other dancer in the square whether or not they need it.

* Watch the dancers in your own square! 'Shadow dancing' off of counterparts in an adjacent square is not dancing, and should be discouraged. No matter who your counterpart may be, that dancer is human and is quite capable of making mistakes. Always attempt to dance your own part on your own brainpower. Only check your counterpart if it was a particularly difficult call or you otherwise got lost. If you find you are checking your counterpart more than you are dancing precisely on your own, then you are probably dancing above your level.

* Keep your formations compact, and stay precisely where you belong until the caller instructs you to move. Don't rush or dance ahead of the music. There are no points for 'getting there first.' It is essential that everyone see the formations and spots involved. If you move quickly because you know where you're going, someone else may not have seen where you came from, what the initial formation was, or where they need to go.

* Touch hands whenever possible, especially in distorted formations. Touching hands helps to keep formations compact and allows everyone to see the identified formation and who is working with whom. At times when it is not possible to touch hands, identify distorted formations by pointing to the dancers or positions within your formation. When identifying formations such as Distorted Waves, stay in your spot (without turning your body) and reach forward or backward as necessary to try to form a 'bumpy' Wave.

* Identify yourself as necessary by raising your hand. Even when you know that you are a Head or Side, Beau or Belle, etc., the other dancers in the square may also need this information. You may also need to identify yourself as a Girl or Boy if there are mixed sex partners in the square or if you inadvertently got switched with a member of the opposite sex.

* No yelling or arguing. It accomplishes nothing except to generate hurt feelings. Also, other dancers may not be able to hear the caller's cuing or the next call. Keep unnecessary comments and noises to a minimum, since any noise within the square can distract dancers, some of whom might have hearing impairments. When there is a live caller available, ask for his or her 'expert' opinion to settle any disputes. The caller is the final authority at the dance, even if you think he or she is wrong. Thou shalt obey thy caller. If you think the caller is wrong, it is usually better to talk to the caller in private after the tip, instead of yelling at him or her from the dance floor.

* Dance smoothly and to the beat of the music. No yanking, pulling, pushing, shoving, kicking, or otherwise jerky or distracting movements. Challenge Square Dancing is supposed to be a fun activity and not a wrestling match. Be considerate of other people's needs. There have been a number of dancers who have dropped out of the square dancing activity because of injuries inflicted upon them by rough dancers yanking on brittle wrists, shoulders, etc.

* If you do not know how to do the given call, resist the temptation to wander aimlessly. By not moving, the other dancers will get the clue that you don't know what to do, and will try to help you. If you start wandering off, they might not help you since you will seem to know where you are going. Also, it is easier for the helpers if they know where you were at the beginning of the call. On the other hand, moving slowly in flow direction is often the correct way to get near to where you need to be to interact with the next dancer.

* Resist the temptation to cheat or short cut. It is discourteous and annoying to the other dancers and the caller. You should be aware, however, that some dancers will cheat on certain calls. Cheats, unless executed 'cleanly' (i.e., not affecting the traffic pattern or the interaction with any dancers), may confuse dancers and thus cause the square to break down. Note also that many callers, myself included, do not appreciate hot-shot dancers short-cutting calls, since it disrupts the flow and timing of the sequence. I will sometimes try to 'catch' the cheating dancers (smear 'egg' in their face, as it were) by modifying the call in a way such that their cheating causes their square to break down. Please be considerate to the caller and other dancers and don't cheat!

* If you need to help other dancers in your square, do it in a gentle manner. Don't forcefully push or pull them. Often you can simply repeat the name of the call, verbally recite a portion of the definition, or point to where the other dancer(s) should go. Try to wait until the last possible moment just in case the other dancers didn't really need help at all. Perhaps they just needed a little extra 'think-time'.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Cooking and Dancing.

Had one of those unusual crazy days...I tend to be fairly active person but occassionally a day occurs which is even overwhelming by my standards ha! We had a cooking class in the was a gift grom Mister Anchovy and Tuffy P. Now we wake up very early on weekdays, about on holidays we are sleeping till noon. We landed up setting our alarms for 7 to get to class, I couldn't sleep in because I often get panic attacks at anticipating strange social I landed up waking way too early...landed up doing a bunch of housework before heading out for the day. The cooking class was a lot of fun. Our instructor reminded me of my sister who used to have a cooking school so it was fun to be feeling at home and nostalgic. It was a magnificent space with several ovens and the best cookware.

Although I am a person who lives very lightly...rarely shopping, and when I do I shop about 80% recycled materials. I am also a complete snob when it comes to tools and cookware and materials. I analyse where they are made and how. We bought some cooking tools, and it was a real treat. The cooking school offers a great deal off on materials used in the class and you all know I boycott China-made I was happy to find they retail some of my favourite cookware, Emile Henry. (unfortunately they did not have any Canadian-made Paderno stainless steel). So we bought some bowls, a small Swizz paring knife and a large Global Japanese-made cook's knife.

We were prety impressed that Tuffy P and Mister Anchovy found a cooking school right by our apartment...well done! One of the best parts of the class was the instructor offered some knife skill tips which both Stagg and I really looked forwardto learning. We will probably sign up for an exclusively knife skill class in the future at the same school.

And in some bizarre turn of first square dancing workshop was in the afternoon. So Stagg headed out with his friend Jim for the afternoon and I headed over to a local church for my first square dancing lessons. I have square danced in the past when I was a kid at farm weekend parties that my family would attend...but never learned some formal moves.

I've taken dance lessons all my life, but this was a different flavour, mainly because square dancing is a highly social activity based on manifesting the most partnerships and social rituals dance moves to encourage social bonding. Square dancing is also delightfully math-based! It's a bit like playing a game...

I had a riot. The workshop is every Saturday afternoon and the music is's actually what sold me on the classes. A friend of ours has been going to square dancing for years and he talked me into it once he told me we dance to mash-ups and techno music...all right!

I was completely knackered last night but it was a wonderful day!

Cool Movie

Written and directed by Michel Gondry (Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind) The Science of Sleep is about a man who confuses lucid dreaming with reality and he falls in love with an artist who lives down the hall. Super cool movie.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Happy Weekend...

This just had me laughing all morning...

Bride Series by Anthony Stagg

The following are from a series of collages for sale by Anthony
Stagg. If you would like to order one or a few please email

Bride #4

Each individual collage is 13x24 inches. Available separately each for $40.00 U.S. plus $6.00 shipping. Buy two Bride pictures for $30.00 plus $6.00 shipping or handling.

If you would like to read some commentary about these pieces of art please click here
Bride #5
Bride #6
Bride #7
Bride #8
Bride #9
Bride #10
Bride #11
Bride #12
Bride #13
Bride #14
Bride #15
Bride #16

No Country For Children

An epic film about the economy of farming.

When a group of humans treat food like a commodity, grow it, lock it up and sell it back to themselves...

...There will be blood.

Daniel Plainview and Eli Sunday are the Kings born of agriculture, who have extended the mindset of farming into oil prospecting and religion.

Daniel Day-Lewis plays Daniel Plainview an oil man who promises his band of greedy fellow prospectors money, schools and the greatest prize: bread.

And what does Plainview want? To win.

His evil twin, Eli Sunday, played by the wonderful Paul Dano (the despondent boy in Little Miss Sunshine) is a hypnotizing preacher who wants power and an audience.

These two characters play a game of wits in a stark frightening landscape and soundgarden where every tense minute of the movie feels like something more horrible than the last minute is about to occur. That the actor Paul Dano could ever come close to matching Day-Lewis's crafty, fiesty youthful oil man is a credit to his acting chops. There Will Be Blood's portrait begins with a strong lucky man, even attractive in spirit and will, but slowly becomes a muddy oily meaner twin to Citizen Kane. That the movie twins other movies and stories is it's strength...(and it's weakness)and twins have a significance within the movie that I don't fully understand yet...why does Paul Dano play twin brothers? Why does one of these twins disappear? What is the significance of this or is it a gimmick?

Day-Lewis's character has an adopted son...and if it weren't for this boy and his courage I don't think a lot of viewers would stay to the end of the movie.

Several people behind us hated the movie...they thought it was "non-sensical". I was laughing because this movie has stripped down anything confusing about it's metaphors or parables. I think a great many things could be written about this movie and Iraq, or greed, or sociopathology, or corporate greed and it's patsy: religious fundamentalism.

I can imagine some audiences rejecting the slow stunted pace of this movie...but I found it completely compelling. If you didn't like The Proposition you probably won't enjoy this movie. It begins at the epilogue to the novel Blood Meridian with a man "striking the fire out of the rock that god put there" and the pace does not usually pick up from's as if everything that follows has been forced and manipulated. The soundtrack is absolutely incredible. As it should be, it was written by a member of one of the greatest fucking bands...Radiohead's guitarist, Jonny Greenwood. I'm in trouble Stagg wants to get the soundtrack ha! and I don't think I could ever listen to it again it was so un-nerving especially combined with the beautful art direction of Jack Fisk. (he's done art direction on all of Terrence Mallicks films, and Mulholland Drive, Carrie) Although the movie credits a book by Sinclair called Oil I have no doubt that the director has read Cormac McCarthy...and I think an article could be written that the movie interprets the short epilogue of Blood Meridian.

Jonny, get ready for your Oscar soundtrack acceptance speech! You rocked this movie!

The mountains filmed and married to haunting screeching drones of music and tragic impending accidents are reason enough to see this movie. Perhaps an Oscar nomination should go to the oil in this movie. It is filmed with close-ups lovingly and becomes a character in this fascinating film.

Among evil is a tiny little starlight. A wee baby. As this baby grows we move farther away from the seduction of Daniel Day-Lewis into the spirit of Dillon Freasier who plays the nine year old son of Day-Lewis's malignant sociopath. No one can win against this monster...but like one of Cormac McCarthy's books, No Country For Old Men...the only way to win the game is to walk away.

If this no country for old men or children just who exactly can live here?

Slice of bread anyone?

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Pole Dancing: The Figure In Art

Girlie Show by Edward Hopper. 1941.

Big Blonde With Beaded Jacket by Lisa Yuskavage. 1997.

The other day Four Dinners asked a question on his blog "Why has pole dancing suddenly become popular?

Pole dancing entering the mainstream is part of the move we've seen of the body and the figure returning to art in a conscious tactile manner. Although artists like Madonna have always used the body in their work...for a couple of decades, outside of Hollywood, supermodels and pretty pop stars... in the visual arts, the body had been replaced by ideas and conceptual art...what I call "punchline art". The disdain for the figure in art reflected a general neurosis of separation of the spirit from the body which we see throughout contemporary families and culture.

The figure in painting and sculpture disappeared during the time of radical questioning of sexual identity, politics between genders and the idea of pornography denigrating people.

I've probably had about a dozen posts here about dancing...I love dancing! And...coincidently, I was wanting to post something about Carrie Ann Inaba a dancer and now judge of Dancing With The Stars a tv program I love. Carrie Ann is just starting another dance program called Dance Wars which has her competing to find, form and train a dance troupe that can not only dance but sing. The first episode began the other night and it was a lot of fun.

Bruno and Carrie Ann promo for their new show Dance Wars.

Pole dancing is a popular strippers format because the pole is a phallic symbol and in order to manuever the pole a dancer is emulating moves that occur during sex. It's a perfect format for erotica. The dancer must also be in incredible shape strength wise as it takes upper body strength and stong legs to work a pole. :)

I think the mainstream popularity that pole dancing has today which we can see by poles installed in nightclubs, the dance/workout was featured on Oprah and now there are gyms that offer pole dancing like aeorbics in the 80's offers a really literal exercise associated with sexual activity and confidence.. The trends of jogging, or areobics or yoga offer great benefits to our cardiovascular health, to stamina and anti-aging...but the real reason people work out is to stay viable sexually. Pole dance students say they feel really strong and sexy using the format as a routine. I think it's a healthy sign removing "exercise" and going straight to the purpose of activity: as a way of getting food, making a living and having regular sex!

Pole dancing has breached the is a literal workout...obviously embracing why humans exercise: to be more sexy!

Pole Dancing began in Canada, which has some of the most talented and beautiful strippers...or peelers as we often call them, to be found. I first saw pole dancing in a Vancouver strip club in Vancouver in the 80's.

Wrestlers and some yogi's have used ropes and poles for strengthening exercise for decades. The stripper pole may go back to pagan rituals like the May Dance, a European celebration on May 1st where women would dance with flowers around a pole for Spring celebrations. May Day Dancing is a polka style dance, moving around a pole which symbolizes a tree of life, the constellation Orion, maybe even intuitively the strands of dna, the spokes of a wheel, Plato's Spindle of Necessity and the earth's rotation itself and around the sun celebrating fertility and natures cycles.

For America to adopt the ritual ancient pole dance is an accomplishment likely reflecting the rejection of Puritan fundamentalist religions that founded parts of America, and still have a firm grip on politics. It took hundreds of years for America to return to the Pagan dance of the Pole. In Communist countries the first of May, May Day, is an opportunity not to celebrate fertitity or pagan sexuality, but rather the Pagan day was co-opted to celebrate militatry vitality and power.

In 1993, Madonna toured her Girlie Show concert.

The Girlie Show was named after the Edward Hopper painting, and the program opened with burlesque and polka style circus music inspiring the arena and audience to a Caberet feeling.

Then the opening sequence transitions to Carrie Ann Inaba doing a pole dance. I have this concert on dvd, but Stagg hadn't seen it yet...and like many people, he wondered what qualified Carrie Ann to be a judge on the popular dance program? Carrie Ann has an incredible career as she danced with Prince, Ricki Martin, and she was a pop singer in Japan, appeared in two Austin Powers movies, and has her own film company. So I showed the opening of Madonna's Girlie Show dvd last night to Stagg (as it is below)...and his jaw dropped heh heh...

an interview with Carrie Ann for US Asians:

US ASIANS: You've stated that your biggest break as creative person seeking a challenge was during this tour during your racy "Pole Routine." As a result could you describe the various obstacles and rewards that was experienced during the following:

* Responsibility of opening every tour performance by going down a 50 feet fire pole

CARRIE ANN INABA: This was huge to me. I took it very seriously. I rarely went out with everyone after the shows because I didn't have a SWING replacement that could really do what I did and I was hired to do my special routine and did not want to let any one down. I had negotiated pretty hard with them about the financial aspects and I felt that I needed to live up to what I said I would be. Before every show, my rigger, LETI ALCALA (who is a close friend of mine now) and I would check the pole and run the routine. You see, since it was a dangerous stunt, we had to be careful. I always ran the routine full out, and did a few checks and had to be at the stage much earlier than any of the other dancers for preparation. But it was worth it. I remember in Japan, I got really sick. I was in the hospital until it was time to go to the stage, and I had an IV in my arm right up until I walked on to stage to go up to the pole. They had given me steroids and I knew I had to do the performance. Not doing it just was not an option. Being chosen for that spot was an honor. Madonna gave me a minute and a half on stage alone to open her show.

*Performing topless and with a shaven head

CARRIE ANN INABA: My family still teases me about this. But I loved it! I thought it was so amazing to be given an opportunity to be a little different, to be edgy and not what a "TYPICAL, stereo typical Asian woman is represented as usually. I took it as a challenge. The original idea was for the show to be filled with androgyny. I loved the idea and wanted to find the beauty in that type of performance. It was risqué but it was so exciting to see how people reacted to it every night.

*How did you get Madonna to trust you with this important role?

CARRIE ANN INABA: I didn't have to get her to trust me, She asked me to do it right off the bat. There is a long story about how I got the job….I was managing my friend Alex Mango who they were considering for choreography. I was also his partner and one of his lead performers. He was out of town and I was submitting his package to Madonna and her assistants. I was talking to them and handling everything for him while he was away. I was also his featured dancer on his reel. So, to make a long story short, they called me and told me that they decided not to use Alex but that they wanted me as a dancer and could I fly to New York to meet them and audition. It was such an honor but I felt that I was supposed to be representing Alex and that I could not do such a thing. So I turned her down. It was so hard but then again, it was the right thing to do because I just didn't feel right about it.

Well, the next day, I spoke with Alex and told him what I did, and he told me I should have gone because knowing me, I'd get the tour, and then somehow, I'd get him in as well. But it was too late… A few days later, they called back and told me that they were having an audition here in Los Angeles and that I was to go and meet her brother Christopher for the call backs. So I went and I got the job. It was great.

And later, when they were having difficulties with the first choreographer they hired, Madonna called me to talk about Alex again. I told her that he would be great and that she should hire him. And if she didn't like him, she could fire me as well. I basically put my job on the line for him. I felt he was worth it. She was surprised by my confidence and hired him. What was hard for me was that I wasn't allowed to assist him in the creativity of anything which we usually always did. So it was a strange dynamic once we started working with Alex but it all turned out ok. And I always feel good about the decisions I made…

US ASIANS: How did this routine come to being created? Did Madonna have the initial idea and then flew out the stripper that inspired the concept?

CARRIE ANN INABA: YES..she saw the stripper and got the idea.

US ASIANS: How many months did it take you to choreograph the "Pole Routine and what did it involved (i.e. rehearsals, props, staging, lighting, attire, look, etc.)?"

CARRIE ANN INABA: We rehearsed the tour for 4 months and toured for 3 months. I loved the rehearsal process.

P.S. Hey speaking of androgyny and cross dressing...Malcolm has a tv poll...which was your favourite cross dressing movie? I love Malcolm's blog he posts about classic tv shows and really has a lot of fun energy and good posts...check him out: his is one of the coolest thumbnail portrait of Malcolm:

Tony Curtis and Jack Lemmon in Vanity Fair , 1995, in homage to their roles in the brilliant Some Like It Hot. Hollywood has been one of the art forms that never completely rejected the human figure.

Dancing At The Blue Iguana2000.
The Pole Dancing Diet CBS, 2003.
Accordion and Burlesque
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