28 February 2007
Hysterical and deeply disturbing (my favorite combo). Just the thought that there are people out there bursting into nursing homes with baggy nylon jumpsuits and hand puppets -not to mention the 'touching' -*shudder*. The above is part one, here's a link to part 2 if you're interested in learning more about treating the elderly like children.
Key quote: “One theory put forward by the researchers is that the females do it to attract males.” Interesting, I didn’t realize male koalas had so much in common with your average 20 year old frat boy.
25 February 2007
UPPERDATE: 12:20am Monday: O'Toole lost; the graceless churls. Especially since Whitaker won for a supporting performance only slightly larger than Alan Arkin's. Go figure. Pfft. Something should have blown up during a dance number-- or one of those annoying tableau-silhouettes.
Chances are, millions of people tonight will be wearing down their remotes, alternating between their preferred Sunday programming and catching bits of the Oscars during the commercials. It's seldom the other way around, else households everywhere would end up re-enacting Beckett, clodding and mugging about and saying, We're waiting for Best Actor! ("What do you expect, you always wait till the last moment.") I've already made my speculations about how things will turn out, and there's little I'd add to them, except these points I'd make to contradict some of the faux-buzz out there:
- Little Miss Sunshine and Babel are not going to win Best Picture. Babel won't win because it looks too much like Important-Oscar-Movie, and because of the Crash-backlash from last year. The Academy won't want to look entirely awash in liberal seriousness. Little Miss won't win for a completely different reason. It's an indie film (relatively) and indie films just don't win the top prize; they never have. Check the history and then modify whatever wagers you've made accordingly.
- Apparently Best Director will be presented by Steven Spielberg, George Lucas and Francis Ford Coppola. Translation: Scorcese has this sewn up tighter than William Shatner's girdle. The optic is crafted: to put the four most influential American directors of their generation on the same stage at once. It's going to be Scorcese's formal investiture into the ranks of the Great. Or, in Scorcesean terms, he's gonna get Made.
- 1941: How Green Was My Valley defeats both Citizen Kane and The Maltese Falcon. You tell me how that happens.
- 1951: A Streetcar Named Desire, with a Brando performance people are still aping fifty-plus years later, loses. To An American In Paris, no less.
- 1952: Cecil B. DeMille's dreadful circus epic The Greatest Show on Earth defeats High Noon.
- 1964: My Fair Lady inexplicably defeats Dr Strangelove --- and Mary Poppins.
- 1968: Oliver! begs a little more than Zeffirelli's Romeo and Juliet and The Lion In Winter. And 2001: A Space Odyssey doesn't even get nominated.
- 1976: Rocky defeats Taxi Driver, All The President's Men and Network.
- 1977: For all its flaws, its pure invention and scope seemed to have Star Wars as a lock. It lost to, of all things, Annie Hall. Marshall McLuhan might have said something interesting about that.
- 1979: Kramer vs Kramer defeats Apocalypse Now. And Dustin Hoffman wins Best Actor.
- 1988: Rain Man defeats Mississippi Burning and Dangerous Liaisons. And Dustin Hoffman wins Best Actor. Hmmm.
- 1990: Dances With Wolves defeats Goodfellas. You know the Academy still regrets that decision.
- 1994: Much as I loathe it personally, Pulp Fiction's loss to Forrest fucking Gump still pisses a lot of people off. Rightly.
- 1998: Shakespeare in Love denies Saving Private Ryan and The Thin Red Line.
- 2000: Gladiator slays Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon and Traffic.
- 2005: Crash wins.
24 February 2007
I do recommend looking Ms Jolley up in your next trip to the bookstore and/or library. She's largely unheard of and untaught here in Canada, which is all the bloody more reason to read her, methinks.
SEMI-RELATED HIGH-HORSE UPDATE: Seems poor Danny Radcliffe just can't catch a break, can he?
(BTW, if you don't know the origin of this entry's title, you haven't watched The Blues Brothers nearly enough times, and so should be endlessly ashamed of yourself. Correct this immediately, for your own sake.)
23 February 2007
So, I prolly won’t be posting for a little bit, as I’m now about three days behind on my email. (Oy vey.) My apologies. Will try to catch up with all due dispatch. Cheers and best from the cuckoo’s nest.
22 February 2007
21 February 2007
We are offering a free room for a woman who is willing to provide breast milk for consumption to the household. We are an otherwise vegan house but have recently read A.O. Wilson's study of the benefits of human breast milk to all human beings of any age. This is not sexual. Neither appearance nor sexual preference are of any concern to us.
We are willing to accept one child into the house as well. We do not want to take breast milk away from a nursing child however. We also don't need gallons of breast milk but whatever you can muster; it is a nutritional supplement for members of the house who want to partake.
The room is 10'x 15' in a sunny house in Berkeley. There are 7 other people in the house and we live largely communally - shared food and house supplies. You must still pay for food, only rent is free. Reply to this posting and we will set up a time. Contact Dana.
19 February 2007
It all seems so neat and tidy, and so damned-near incontrovertible, there’s very little chatter about upsets or surprises. I suspect the wisdom’s going to prove right, too. There is, however, one category in which things may not be as clear as they seem: Best Actor. If there’s a head-turner on Oscar night, it’ll be in that category. To win, Whitaker will have to fade one other contender: Peter O’Toole. The other nominees--- Leonardo DiCaprio, Will Smith (?!?) and Ryan ("My surname is not indicative!") Gosling--- haven't a chance between them, especially since they’re all young and their performances, while all good or better, aren’t especially prize-worthy. So it’s Whitaker versus O’Toole, and I for one would be willing to place a dark-horse bet on O’Toole, because Oscar voting is never just casual ballot-checking. There are complicities and considerations everywhere, and sometimes you have to be as wily as Shakespeare’s Lennox to figure everything out.
Whitaker has some compelling forces working against him, though none of them are of his making. The most obvious issue is that the Academy has long overlooked O’Toole, and he shares with the late Richard Burton the record for most nominations, a jaw-dropping seven excluding this one, without a win. (How he lost for Lawrence of Arabia, to the saintlier-than-thou Gregory Peck in To Kill A Mockingbird, still mystifies.) This is an oversight the Academy will be sorely tempted to correct, and his performance in Venus affords just that sort of opportunity. It’s also probably the Academy’s last chance to do so. At 74, O’Toole’s health is failing, and he has already reached that stage of being consigned, like most British acting deans, to the supporting ranks. The situation is perfect for such a sentimental appeal: it can honour a legitimate Acting Great for what very well could be his swan-song as a leading man, and correct one of its greatest regrets at the same time. This is exactly what happened with John Wayne’s award for True Grit, Paul Newman’s for The Color of Money, and Henry Fonda’s for On Golden Pond. (So too, frankly, Sean Penn’s for Mystic River.) Such awards are for careers rather than performances, and they always have the whiff of compensation about them.
The Academy ostensibly (and dutifully) reimbursed O'Toole with an Honourary Oscar a couple of years ago for "[providing] cinema history with some of its most memorable characters," probably assuming it'd never be able to redeem its error otherwise. But this fact changes his chances. There are only three other instances of post-Honourary nomination in the past thirty years, and twice the results were fortunate: Newman and Fonda both won real Oscars just after their honourary ones. (The third was Alec Guinness, as Best Supporting Actor for Little Dorrit; he lost to Kevin Kline, but Guinness was a different case, because he had, unlike Fonda, Newman and O’Toole, already won the lovely bugger outright-- and almost thirty years earlier, no less.) O’Toole, then, has precedent working in his favour, a not insignificant thing considering the Academy’s near-legal obedience to it.
It also doesn’t help Whitaker that the Academy has in recent years been doling out the top awards to actors playing historical figures: Jamie Foxx as Ray Charles, Philip Seymour Hoffman as Capote; add in Mirren’s mortal-lock on her award, and the Academy will likely think twice about sending the message, "Just play someone famous." (Or infamous, as the case may be.) Whitaker’s prize, I suspect, will be his nomination and the buzz about his win before the red carpet’s pulled out beneath him. There's bound to be one surprise: no year is complete without the suggestion that at least one person got robbed.
And then there’s the least punditocratic reason for O’Toole to win: He deserves it. O’Toole’s performance in Venus is simply the best one of the lot, a remarkable creation that’s as inspired as it is deft. It’s also astonishingly brave. By turns lecherous, wry, cantankerous and heartbreakingly sincere, there’s an emotional gamut he runs that very, very few actors would dare to try, much less accomplish. He manages to be both hale and feeble, both dignified and perverse, in the perfect paradox of towering frailty. It’s as if he combines King Lear with Humbert Humbert, or more accurately, The Dresser with Lolita, and he makes it look effortless. Whitaker as Amin is excellent, but O’Toole is better, and in the more difficult part, despite what the nattering fools will and do say about the proximity between the roué actor and the roué part. Let’s see if the Academy is judicious enough to realize the relevant distinctions.
If Helen Mirren’s performance as the Queen is Wedgewood, O’Toole’s is earthenware, ruddier and more plainly elemental, but no less striking or perfect for being what it is. But how’s this for your perverse irony: If both O’Toole and Mirren win on Oscar Night, the top acting awards would be going to the stars of one of the most derided spectacles in film history. In a year ripe for academic redemptions, that’d be the ripest one of all, as those golden statuettes prove to have Brass rings after all.
18 February 2007
Leo: I'd like a plain omelet. No potatoes, tomatoes instead. A cup of coffee and wheat toast.
Jack: No substitutions.
Leo: What do you mean? You don't have any tomatoes?
Jack: Only what's on the menu. You can have a number two - a plain omelet. It comes with cottage fries and rolls.
Leo: Yea, I know what it comes with, but it's not what I want.
Jack: I'll come back when you make up your mind.
Leo: Wait a minute, I have made up my mind. I'd like a plain omelet, no potatoes on the plate. A cup of coffee and a side order of wheat toast.
Jack: I'm sorry, we don't have any side orders of toast. I'll give you an English muffin or a coffee roll.
Leo: What do you mean "you don't make side orders of toast"? You make sandwiches, don't you?
Jack: Would you like to talk to the manager?
Leo: You've got bread. And a toaster of some kind?
Jack: I don't make the rules.
Leo: OK, I'll make it as easy for you as I can. I'd like an omelet, plain, and a chicken salad sandwich on wheat toast, no mayonnaise, no butter, no lettuce. And a cup of coffee.
Jack: A number two, chicken sal san. Hold the butter, the lettuce, the mayonnaise, and a cup of coffee. Anything else?
Leo: Yeah, now all you have to do is hold the chicken, bring me the toast, give me a check for the chicken salad sandwich, and you haven't broken any rules.
Jack: You want me to hold the chicken, huh?
Leo: I want you to hold it between your knees.
17 February 2007
(Or, alternately, "It all started with a badly-timed bald joke!")
Off to a small poker tournament tonight at one my locals. Let’s see if I can finally come in better than second.
Post-Script: Okay, apparently not all the relevant entries. It’s an improvement, though, and I don’t get to say that very often.
16 February 2007
1. One book that changed your life:But here’s an interesting thought: Name one book that most approximately resembles you and/or your life. There was a time the answer would have been Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray, but now? Hmmm. Probably Graham Greene’s A Burnt-Out Case. Would it were Tom Jones.
Leonard Cohen, Beautiful Losers. And in a lot of ways, most of them in fact, I wish it hadn’t.
2. One book that you’ve read more than once:
T.S. Eliot, Collected Poems. I’ve gone through more copies than I can even begin to count.
3. One book you’d want on a desert island:
A bit of a cop-out, I know, but The Riverside Shakespeare would have to be it. I could keep the masterpieces and use The Merry Wives of Windsor when I needed toilet paper.
4. One book that made you laugh:
Harold Bloom, The Western Canon. His assault on The School of Resentment had me chuckling (and all but shouting, "Go Harold, go Harold!") every time I read it.
5. One book that made you cry:
Cynics and stoics don’t cry, except in truly excruciating pain. So my answer would have to be Margaret Atwood, The Handmaid’s Tale. The cry, if I remember correctly, was "Aaaaargh!"
6. One book that you wish had been written:
My fucking dissertation. Alternate answers: The Second Book of Job, in which God finally explains himself properly; and Doctor Strangelove, or How I Learned To Stop Worrying and Love the J (by various authoresses, of course).
7. One book that you wish had never been written:
How can I name just one? I’ll shove aside Mein Kampf and Das Kapital and Renaissance Self-Fashionings and name perhaps the most infernal one of all: Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice. It features, in my estimation, the worst, the most slitheringly vile and pretentious, opening sentence ever written for a novel, and it just gets worse from there.
8. One book you’re currently reading:
On and off, Stephen Fry, The Ode Less Traveled.
9. One book you’ve been meaning to read:
Joseph Conrad, Nostromo. Keep starting it, keep putting it aside. Don’t know why.
15 February 2007
While the IT team has their difficulties, I do actually have to explain to people how to use real books on occasion!
“What do you mean it’s not online? How am I supposed to get it?”
“Well, you see we have these objects, called books or journals, that you can borrow and photocopy if need be…”
This is followed by a prolonged sigh, a look of disgust usually reserved for flashers on the subway and then finally “well, I guess I don’t need it that badly”. :)
14 February 2007
Dweck’s research on overpraised kids strongly suggests that image maintenance becomes their primary concern-they are more competitive and more interested in tearing others down.No kidding? Gee, I’d neeeeeh-ver have imagined that....
(BTW, that "thud" you just heard was the sound of Captain Obvious slamming the door forever on Professors Oblivious and Obsequious, the twin enablers our current clime. They're given to various individual and simultaneous incarnations, but always as a single body with two faces and no personality. Like--- No, no, no.... Discretion, Dr J, Discretion.... Better part of valour and all that jazz....)
Yes, it’s that day, when the thoughts of young women turn to romance, and the thoughts of young men turn (or are turned, by force) toward dulcification. It’s the international day of appeasement, prostration and fury-nullification, when men of a committed condition wish they weren’t and dutifully do all the voodoo they’re damned to do, simply because they’ll be even damneder if they don’t. So arrangements are made, frivolities are bought, and obeisances are declared, even if the man in question is the most churlish, miserly and otherwise taciturn bastard imaginable. There’s no creature quite so pallid as a man in a mall on Valentine’s afternoon; he makes the future-facing Scrooge seem positively sanguine by comparison. There's also no creature quite so uncomfortable: watch him in the music shops or the lingerie shops or the various boutiques of feminine disposition; not only lost, he'd rather run an errand to buy tampons than have to trudge through those vicinities most certainly beyond his normal domain.
Have you ever watched--- or much worse, been--- a man searching for a card twenty minutes before closing? It’s not a pretty sight. Rarely if ever again will you witness such a chiasmatic monologue of maybes and that’s-no-goods. You’d pity him if only you could stop yourself from giggling hysterically.
You also know, of course, how this scenario ends, with our utterly defeated flounderer grabbing a card with flowers on the cover and a half-dozen lines of vomitous verse on the recto, lines he wouldn’t recite if Torquemada himself came back from the grave to compel him. But he gives it anyway, usually with a gentle smile and maybe a quiet Yeah, yeah, praying with the solemnity of a dying man to please, oh please, let that card pass from him sans comment. Cynical, you say? Surely, but you do know this guy. Many of you have quite probably been him; some you may be him in just a few hours. I, for one, will be praying for him, whenever I can finally stop giggling.
So "Happy" Valentine’s Day to all. Now I’m off to do some more shoveling of my own.
And piles to throw before I sleep....
AFTERTHOUGHT: Check out the Wikipedia entry on the word "love." It tickles YT to no end to see the words "love (disambiguation)" coupled together. There’s a delightful Buddhist riddle in there somewhere....
AFTERAFTERTHOUGHT: RK reminds us of the better conception of St. Valentine's Day here.
13 February 2007
Your Lurid Headline--- and Utterly Cringe-Worthy Suggestion--- Of The Day, courtesy Reuters. Somewhere, the South Park guys are saying, "We couldn’t make this shit up...."
Unrelated Aside: Today got all buggered up, so I’m very much behind on the daily routine, which means (among other things) I’m going to be slow in getting caught up on my email. Seems I have to say that a lot, doesn’t it? Oy.
12 February 2007
So I’ll start off at the opposite end of the spectrum, Things I learned at the Opera last night. I enjoy a night at the opera not only because it's perfectly acceptable to stare at strangers with binoculars but also because I receive valuable life lessons that may help me through some sticky situations in the future. Here are some of the pearls I gathered from Lady MacBeth of Mtsensk:
· "I tripped on a sack and then he tripped on the sack and fell on top of me" -This is a stunning excuse to give your brutish father-in-law when he finds you face down and moaning on your husband's factory floor with one of the help. Who hasn’t been in that situation at one time or another?
· When deciding to have an affair, resist the temptation to take up with a known womanizer who instigates an attempted gang rape the first time you see him. Make no mistake, down the road he’s only going to give your woolen stockings to his new Siberian hoochie.
· A couple of ideas regarding the best protocol for concealing one's hastily bludgeoned husband:
1) Don't just leave the corpse to rot on the cellar floor. It reeks of arrogance (among other things) and it's just plain lazy. Use a shovel -there's a reason it's been the digging tool of choice for thousands of years.
2) Do not randomly stop and stare at the door to your husband’s corpse, muttering to yourself like a big bag of crazy. It's bound to draw unwanted attention even if everyone around you is swilling vodka.
· And finally, stay away from the mushrooms in Russia. I thought it was a exaggeration when Katerina explains to the priest that “he just ate mushrooms, people often die like that.” Apparently not: 17 people died in Russia from ingesting poisonous mushrooms in 2005. A spicy polonium roll isn’t looking so bad anymore…
And with that, I’m going to sit back and savour the thought of finally becoming Johnny Carson and doing as little work as I absolutely have to do. Who knows, maybe it’ll energize this old crank. Okay, not bloody likely, but one can hope, non? Now it’s time for me to take the rest of the day off.
09 February 2007
08 February 2007
No wonder, then, that so much genuinely dreadful criticism has emerged around T.S. Eliot. It’s rare anymore that I find anything about Big Tom worth reading, much less mentioning to anyone else not professionally obligated to do so something that should be read. Herewith, however, an exception. (Just cancel the print option following the link.) Can’t say I agree with all of the assertions contained therein, but the piece at least is lucid and relatively measured in its provocations. Speculations about personality and passion normally suggest a mug’s game, which Mr Eliot famously described poetry as at least once; but there’s a strong sense (as in sensibility), to my estimation at least, that the piece is hovering near something quite profound, even if never quite alights. I’d also take issue with some of the more sweeping-- one might say glib-- statements posed within (c.f., "Bloom’s whole protesting body of criticism"), and I’d complain too that most of the relatively few allowances for Eliot’s words in edgewise are of the all-too-common stock.
It occurs to me now that one of the least observed aspects about Eliot’s oeuvre is its prodigality, its initial rejection of and eventual reconciliation with so many of the literary, cultural, spiritual and intellectual forces that neared him, and of which the rejection and then acceptance of Milton is just the most obvious example. In a way, that’s part of what Four Quartets essays so carefully, the reconciliation of the many influences once chagrined and in those poems so sublimely included: Milton, the old man who died blind and quiet; the familiar compound ghost that Eliot claimed was both Yeats and Swift, but certainly seemed much, much, more like Yeats; even Shakespeare and Coleridge, included and responded to overtly yet gingerly, as if to negotiate less a peace than a detente with them and what they represent. The language of condition, of hypothesis and exploration, is as key to the Quartets as the language of negation is to King Lear. The possibility of resolution, of redeeming time and self, is pursued, or at least approached, forwardly yet tentatively, even parsimoniously, like the threading of a needle. Eliot as a critic never staked a position from which he could not retreat later. There’s something of this too in his poesis, of which every maneuver is less a step toward the block than the movement of a jar in a subtlety that minces subtlety; but it’s still a movement forward (or perhaps a still-move forward), which comprises, or seems to, the greater part of meaning. Criticism seldom has the patience for such progress, and so gets ahead of itself; no wonder, eventually, it typically qualifies or emends itself, often to the point of apparent contradiction. But apparent contradiction isn’t necessarily contradiction.
Yes, that’s the sort of thing nigglers and paradoxicists might say, often to cover their butts, and I’m sure that some would dismiss what I’ve postulated, tentatively and imperfectly, as kind of clerical obscurantism. (It may well be, though I don’t intend it.) But the quickenings of knowledge, much less realisation, are seldom if ever quick; and more, I’d suggest, they only manifest themselves, if they do, as small wisdoms from failure, from the exploration and discovery of inadequacy, and then humility. It’s only in and with humility that prodigality can come. The dystopic observations of The Waste Land (and the blitzed London in FQ) are thus just observations-- or figurations or characterizations, or whatever language suits you best. Traversion beyond requires the troubledness of self to know to go beyond the self and all its negative additions. The failure of this traversion is also the beginning of it, the servitude that becomes freedom, as humiliation and torment impend glory, a la the Christian example, and surrender inexplicably affirms. It’s so Heraclitean as to suggest an elementarity too causally neglected. Thus are the way up and the way down the same thing; thus are reconciliations born in the awkwardness of a return from the Garden of Gethsemane, and the genuine and cynical selves made new.
Or so I think right now, in what almost certainly qualifies as Intolerably Random Criticism. Were I smart, and I am very surely not, I’d prattle on about the misogyny against Celia Copplestone. But then, what was her fate, again? Hmmmmm....
This vague and surely failed approximation of depth is brought to you courtesy Dr J, in honour of a certain someone’s nearly-present birthday. We now return you to your regularly-scheduled prurience and vapidity. So, here ya go.
07 February 2007
Ah, so much for my critical acumen. I should have caught the similarity right away, but didn't, so distracted was I by all the Shakespearean suggestions. I must be getting rusty. Excuse me while I sneak into a corner and beat myself half to death with my cluelessness. In a word: D'Oh!
For the record, those of you that haven't seen The Lion In Winter should do so as soon as you can. Peter O'Toole and Katherine Hepburn are terrific as Henry Plantagenet and Eleanor of Aquitaine, and some of you will get a kick out seeing Anthony Hopkins and Timothy Dalton in their first film roles. The dialogue alone is worth the trip to the video store.
Complete smoking bans, legislation against trans-fats, and now this; watch and regard with appropriate awe the stunning redefinition of "the public interest" to "whatever a bunch of self-righteous nilly-nags decides annoys them."
06 February 2007
Science? Science! We don’t need no stinkin’ science....
(This blog is shocked, SHOCKED, to discover there’s dissembling going on in that establishment!)
Actually, those numbers are appalling. Then again, these are the same intellectual paramecia that haven’t caught up with Darwin yet.
FOLLOW-UP, of a sort: Seems Republican self-delusion really is endemic these days. I guess you can’t be scared straight, but you can damned-well be shamed straight.
Received notice today of what has to be the most shameless cash-grab in some time, this collection called Van Morrison At The Movies. You can practically imagine the music execs sitting in an office, concluding to one another: Gee, we’re not making quite enough money on our film royalties. Let’s repackage the stuff we’ve got and see if some dunderheads will throw even more money our way!
The guys and gals with long careers, especially the dead guys, tend to get plundered in this way quite a lot, especially when execs discover they have ratty old recordings of Howlin’ Wolf doing a substandard set from an off night in 1956. How many more times will we have to endure the gormless stitching-together of "new" compilations from Elvis and The Beatles, so they can terrorize the countryside like little Shelleyean monstrousities? Such releases depend upon ignorance. Ignorance, of course, of what’s already out there, and more importantly the belief that something old can be fashionably remarketed as new, new, new. It’s pseudo-Orphic balderdash ("look! John Lennon is singing from beyond the grave!") and it’s despicably cynical. Besides, Lennon always sounded deathly.
So, to this album. It features only one unreleased track-- yet another of the seventeen billion versions of "Moondance" currently out there-- and several of the tracks are live recordings which were not used in the films with which they’re associated ("Domino," "Into the Mystic"). Of the nineteen tracks provided, eleven appeared on The Best of Van Morrison almost twenty years ago. And here’s the really cynical thing: most people likely to buy this album will do so for "Brown-Eyed Girl," nostalgic wonder-tune it now is, even though it has already been released on close to twenty different albums, half of which are soundtracks, and half of which are countless reissues of the sessions Morrison did for Bert Berns. (I’m not including bootleg concert versions.) I won’t even bother to wonder if it’s the censored or the uncensored version included here.
Stuff like this, rampant these days, puts the capitalise into capitalism. But at least, I guess, it’s not a Greatest Hits package for a tinny teeny-bopper with two whole albums beneath her increasingly low-riding belt. Now go brace yourselves. We’re going to be getting a "new" Tupac album every other year until our great-grandchildren slip gingerly into their graves. I hear the next one will feature him singing "Unforgettable" with Nat King Cole.
Once again, just trying out a new blog editor, this one Post2Blog courtesy Giveawayoftheday. Seems pretty handy so far, and infinitely less cumbersome than Windows Live Writer. Worth checking out, while you can, if you’re running your own blog, though I can’t say it’s a programme worth paying for. Like, though, how it has Imageshack and Flickr support built into it, as well as a thesaurus. Will this improve my writing? Not bloody likely. It’s a blog editor, not a miracle worker, damn it.
Not much worth reporting here, save for seeing The Last King of Scotland this weekend. Film’s pretty good, and Forrest Whittaker’s performance as Idi Amin deserves much of the buzz it’s receiving. Don’t think he’s quite the shoe-in for the Oscar that Helen Mirren is for The Queen, and it seems unlikely to me the Academy will give both top acting awards for (pseudo-)historical portrayals. Have also been enjoying old episodes of A Bit of Fry and Laurie, particularly Stephen Fry’s absurd, assing-good language-riffs.
Have also learned that one of my friends from my undergradling days just gave birth to a baby girl. This is wonderful news, of course, though I can’t help but feel a little old. Methinks I’m the only one from my coterie of friends still unmarried and unchilded. Let’s prefer to describe me as "mercifully unburdened." At the very least, it keeps Valentine’s Day remarkably affordable.
Oh, and one more thing (he writes, channeling Columbo): 24 officially jumped the shark last night with its last-minute revelation last night. I assume it was supposed to be a Big Surprise. It wasn’t. If you’ve seen L.A. Confidential, you should have seen the turn coming a mile away. I’m only surprised nasty revelation didn’t end with a taciturn uttering of "That’ll do, son." Oy vey.
02 February 2007
- It's comforting that for some people class still matters. This guy's namesake, Francis the Talking Mule, didn't bray so shamelessly.
- Seems that old whipper-snapper Harrison Ford has had to take a stand. Call it the Devo-lution of the Specious. Fakes, fakes, why do there always have to be fakes....
- Two words this ex-English teacher never wanted to see pressed together: Wiki Novel. Can't wait for Stephen Colbert's The Unbearable Truthiness of Being.
- Ladies and gents, herewith your Creepy Headline Of The Day. One has to wonder how one "probes" snow, though; strikes me as a technical impossibility.
- One also has to wonder why our various political
hacksleaders aren't making more hay out of this. Except, maybe, that nobody wants to talk about foreign policy, much less matters of illegal detainment, since the Arar settlement.
- And finally, it seems this blog will soon reach 50,000 unique hits, which (I'm told) is only six thousand less than Paris Hilton's had. Which sucks more, I'll leave you to decide, though I assure you the Not-So-Good Doctor was much better at 22, too.
01 February 2007
(Go ahead, carbon-date that pun, if you dare.)
Yes, another picture of the boys. Seems the only shots of them that ever turn out are the ones taken immediately after they've been dozing. As Mr Smart has put it, "For there is nothing sweeter than [their] peace at rest."
A few scraps:
- As You Hawk It: Some neat stuff here for you few, you precious few, Bardolators reading this. Link courtesy RK.
- Burnt Sienna: I remember when they tried telling this story about Sean Penn's State of Grace so many years ago; it didn't work then and I doubt it'll work now.
- Biden Time: Never before have I seen a presidential candidate shoot himself in the face fresh out of the gate, but Joe Biden has done it. His appearance tonight on The Daily Show, I think, did him ever further harm; his qualifications were staggeringly disingenuous, and Stewart (forgive the cliche) nailed him with them like so many German theses. Biden in one day has managed to make Pat Paulsen look like FDR. Fat lady has sung, fork's ready, nothin' left but the cryin'. Sorry, Joe. For what it's worth, PoliSci students will study your model for decades, in the same way they study McGovern's.
- A Cup O' Kindness Yet: Delightedly received a ring from a friend and former-student tonight, one of a few such blasts from the past in the last while. Reminds me, though, how much times have changed. Selah.
- His Courage To The Sticking Place: With everyone fussing about Daniel Radcliffe's pending nude scenes in the London revival of Equus, you'll forgive me for noticing the delicious irony that he's doing so at the Gielgud Theatre. Somehow, I suspect Sir John would have appreciated the lad's, er, Courage. (Yeah, his courage, that's the ticket.) Seriously, though, you have the give the guy credit: Equus is a dark, demanding play, and certainly not an easy one to essay at his age. He might be able to pull it off, no pun (shockingly) intended. His co-star is the wonderful Richard Griffiths, which augurs well for the production as a whole. The parents, though, that have got their knickers knotted up would do well to read the play before they prattle endlessly and ignorantly on about protests and boycotts. Until they do, they'll continue to demonstrate much less maturity than a seventeen year-old.
- The Art of the Kahn: I was recently discussing the issue of women in comedy with someone, and (as you can imagine) the typical litany of names came up: Lucille Ball, Kate Hepburn, Rosalind Russell, Roseanne, and so forth, and none of whom I've ever found especially funny. My movie selections of late, though, reminded me of one of the funniest women ever to grace the screen, and a woman too often forgotten when this subject comes up: Madeline Kahn. A marvel of comic timing, a tiny dynamo of pure presence, she could sing, dance, mimic and act, and she always made her work seem graceful. More importantly, she was funny. Genuinely and reliably funny. Lucy often mugged to the point of humiliation; Kate often mugged to the point of haughtiness; Madeline mugged with dignity and panache (not an easy thing to do in a Mel Brooks movie), and as much as I rack my brain to think of another comedienne quite like her, I can come up with no true peer for her. She was sui generis, a magnificently arch woman in what still largely remains a man's business. Check out (again, if necessary) her brilliant parodies of Marlene Dietrich and Elsa Lanchester in Blazing Saddles and Young Frankenstein, respectively, and you'll see exactly what I mean. If she has a peer in the making, ironically enough, it's Meryl Streep, whose recent forays into comedy suggest a deliberate, and largely successful, honing of what used to be the one weakness in her game. Cancer, cruelly, took Madeline too young, as it too often does. But she'd have my vote for the best overall comedienne. If anyone has any other nominees, I'd be glad to hear them, but I think the words sui generis would still hold true.
And once again, what seemed at the outset to be a short post has turned into a sprawl. Oy vey. Consider, digest, comment (or not). Stuff looms, and I'm going to have practice my own art of the con.
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