Saturday, July 14, 2007

high comedy in the second person: in the cafeteria with Connie & Steyn

"If you’re in the courthouse cafeteria with Conrad and you ask him to survey the great sweep of the past four years, he usually opts for military metaphors and starts explaining how he needed to retreat strategically to a “defensible perimeter”: by this stage of the tale, he’s usually moving condiments around the table in battle formations..."

occured to me that Conrad Black has become simultaneously Charles Foster Kane AND George roundup here...most interesting aspect for me was the cringing obsequiousness of most Canadian journalism...& whatever you might want to say about the US, it is impossible to imagine such a figure ever coming to trial in Canada for anything, let alone fraud...we could use a couple of Patrick Fitzgeralds up here...

interesting (if arguable) Alex Cox take on the Death of the Western

"It's fun to speculate on the conversation Peckinpah, Leone and Hellman - the three great directors of anti-westerns - might have had (via an interpreter). But did they speak? Did they get along? In the photo, Peckinpah and Leone don't look at each other. Leone is gazing out, past the camera, his glasses reflecting movie lights. Peckinpah is looking at Hellman, his director. The significance of the second photograph, I think, is what Leone and Peckinpah are doing. Neither is directing. Leone is a visitor to the set. He has time on his hands. Peckinpah is an actor, in a battered coat and hat, playing a supporting cowpoke in a work-for-hire directed by a friend.

By 1978, neither had a western of his own to make. Each would direct one more feature, but the men who had killed off the western had pretty much written themselves out of a job..."

devotes of schadenfreude may get a degree of low pleasure from a retrospective read of neocon troll Mark Steyn's err somewhat partial blog account of his old boss Conrad Black's trial

Friday, July 13, 2007

Lady Bird Johnson--any enemy of billboards & litter is a friend of mine

account of Walter Benjamin's last hours--

"The gold probably tipped the scales in Birman’s favour, notwithstanding her all-round resourcefulness. If her story is true, it might have held out hope for Benjamin too. But Birman’s ‘professor’ was not a believer. Early in life he’d got out of gold – turning away from the path indicated by his family’s wealth – and into a pure, non-remunerative form of work, perhaps best thought of as the investigation of modernity: a cornucopia of social production and, as he envisaged it, a nearly miraculous condition of the kind you might come to understand after long study of an infant prodigy capable of grand engineering schemes, precocious feats of reasoning, high poetic utterance, generosity of spirit and a cruelty that knew no bounds. The European culture that Benjamin loved had the infernal vigour of the child genius, even though, in his reflections on the Second Empire, he could also discern the outlines of the ageing hag. Living on modest means, he did as much in his century for the discursive essay as Montaigne had done in his, though he was better placed, historically, not just to think about the world, but to try to say how the world thought back. Unlike his father, an auctioneer, rentier and speculator, Benjamin at 48 had a universe to offer but very little to transact, in life or on the point of dying, and so on his last journey he took the cash he could muster and the few articles he rightly considered essential: an obscure manuscript, a pocket watch and enough morphine ‘to kill a horse’, as Koestler had described it after their meeting in Marseille. Gold was not part of this crude survival kit, which provided for dispatch rather more than salvation. Benjamin may have been devoted to memory and posterity, but he had very little intellectual or moral interest in the road ahead – his or anybody else’s. ‘We know,’ he wrote in the last of his aphorisms on ‘Messianic time’ in the Theses, ‘that the Jews were prohibited from investigating the future. The Torah and the prayers instruct them in remembrance, however...’"

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Value Village Is Booby-Trapped!!

"how many times in harsh winters
have we discussed Zen Arcade
under our factory blankets..."

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Evil plotters?

"And it isn’t just the technical competence of alleged British terrorists that people are beginning to doubt: it’s the whole jihadist idea. What world are they aiming for? Most British Muslims, just like most British everyone-else, think it’s all pie in the sky: all rather silly.

Yes, silly. Not “evil” as the red tops would have it. Take care, neocon editors, prime-ministerial speechwriters and opposition spokesmen, with that word “evil”. Evil is cool. Evil is wicked. Evil sells DVDs and airport thrillers. Evil is a gang you might want to be in if you were a clever boy in a cultural mess with a chip on your shoulder. We’re not talking anything as clever as Evil here: we’re talking Weird, we’re talking Crackpot, we’re talking Sad. The idea of using a Jeep to make a terminal explode was, in the latest lingo, a bit gay. We’re talking Failure..."

Elizabeth David's summer cooking classic--

"'You are on holiday. You are in company of your own choosing. The air is clear. You can smell wild fennel and thyme, dry resinous pine needles, the sea. For my part, I ask no greater luxury. Indeed, I can think of none.'"

ps: article contains a Gnocchi recipe...

Monday, July 09, 2007

from Cathy two Montreal trees & my stepson Pete, in the white hat, on stage in Ottawa with that shirtless dude from "Trailer Park Boys" (I have no idea)

The Laugh-Out-Loud Cats