Saturday, April 18, 2009

nice reading of Jim Bouton’s Ball Four though it doesn't mention his appearance in Altman's The Long Goodbye"...
Bouton chronicles a game in a profound state of flux. The times were changing outside the ballpark, but the major-league mindset seemed stuck somewhere in the mid-’50s. The old guard still ruled with crew cuts, knee-jerk patriotism, reactionary politics, and near-religious belief in the necessity of maintaining the status quo.

So you can only imagine how threatened they were by a guy who not only reads books, but writes them, loves Ralph Nader, and is passionate about unions and protesting apartheid. In Ball Four, which certainly skirts self-aggrandizement at times, Bouton seems intent on single-handedly dragging baseball kicking and screaming into the late ’60s...

Columbine questions we still haven't answered
Today, one in every three dollars the government spends goes to defense and security. The killing machine and adventurism that money manufactures has delivered 1 million Iraqi casualties, thousands of American casualties and an implicit promise of future wars -- indeed, of permanent war.

Perpetuating this expenditure, bloodshed and posture in a nation of dwindling resources, humanitarian self-images and anti-interventionist impulses requires a culture constantly selling violence as a necessity. It's not just video games -- it's the nightly news echoing Pentagon propaganda and "hawkish" politicians equating militarism with patriotism and "embedded" journalism cheering on wars and every other suit-and-tie-clad industry constantly forwarding the assumption that killing is a legitimate form of national ambition and self-expression. Is it any wonder that a few crazies apply that ethos to their individual lives, and begin seeing violence as a reasonable means to express their own emotions?

Sure, the assault weapons ban's expiration is an abomination. Absolutely, some video games are appalling. But we could ban all guns and video games and there would still be mass murders because neither the availability of firearms nor of Grand Theft Auto creates the original desire for violence...

Cornelius Cardew & Hardial Bains
In a bizarre episode at the end of 1979, he went with half a dozen composers from Britain on a tour of Canada, sponsored by the ineffable Bains. Their principal task was to set to music texts that Bains had written – texts ‘of an unsurpassable political and literary crassness’, Tilbury writes. One was called ‘Workers of Ontario’:

We are the workers of Ontario,
We work for the rich of the United States,
We work for the rich of Canada,
We work under the yoke of wage slavery
Hauling the riches out of the earth,
Manufacturing commodities for the rich to sell.
We are the workers of Ontario,
A mighty section of the Canadian working class...
The great learning. Paragraph 7

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

on TCM this Friday The World's Greatest Sinner...
Run, do not walk, to check out this movie! Timothy Carey, the character actor fave who appeared in everything from Kubrick's THE KILLING to The Monkees' HEAD, spent several years directing, writing and financing this below-low budget blast. One of the most bizarre movies ever made, and over three decades later, it's STILL ahead of its time! A grotesque parable that's as innovative and subversive as any film ever made. Carey sticks himself in the lead as Clarence Hilliard, a middle-aged insurance agent who goes nutzo and decides to become a rockabilly messiah. Abandoning his normal life, he changes his name to "God" and stands on street corners, handing out flyers, recruiting white-trash greasers to his fire 'n' brimstone "Life is Hell" doctrine. To raise money for his cause, he seduces old ladies for cash, and performs in an Elvis-like silver-lame suit. He even starts his own "Eternal Man" political party, which promises to make everyone a "superhuman being" (their motto: "There's only one God, and that's Man."). This is seriously whacked stuff, folks, and Carey pulls off one of the most intense, overwrought performances of all time (putting novice scenery-chewers like Dennis Hopper to shame)--ranting, crying, dancing, and looking wasted, his eyelids at half-mast throughout. Eventually, Clarence's followers begin rioting and vandalizing, but that type of social upheaval has to be expected when a new God emerges--especially one promising "No Death". When the political machines get wind of his rock'n'roll charisma, they run him as an independent candidate for president, but Clarence is corrupted when his dogma takes on fascist overtones and he starts seducing cute, 14-year-old volunteers. Though lacking in little things like coherency, Carey packs this volatile tale with venom toward modern politics, the media, dried-up religion, and the entire sorry state of the human race. It's even narrated by The Devil, represented by a snake! Carey is dead serious with all this craziness (even the heavily religious finale) and his outrageous direction is beyond belief! Most of the extras seem like they were simply pulled off the streets, and the score was provided by a young musician named Frank Zappa. Even its theme song is hilariously unforgettable: "As a sinner he's a winner/ Honey, he's no beginner/ He's rotten to the core/ Daddy, you can't say no more/ He's the world's greatest sinner." Complete with cinematography by Ray Dennis Steckler (RAT PHINK A BOO BOO), this is a work of warped genius...

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

farewell Mark Fidrych

He was selected AL rookie of the year and finished second to hall of
famer Jim Palmer for the Cy Young award. He started 28 games and
completed 24.

Yet Fidrych is better remembered for a lighter side
unusual among baseball players. He gave pep talks to the ball, kneeled
to arrange the dirt on the pitcher's mound, sprinted to shake the hand
of a fielder that had made a good play.

Opponents wondered whether he was putting on a show, then recognized the childlike joy was genuine.

guys that have fun when they play, they're rare," said Los Angeles
Dodgers coach Larry Bowa, who played against Fidrych in the 1976
all-star game. "We knew he wasn't trying to show anyone up. That was
just how he was..."

Monday, April 13, 2009

Local trees & c.

Value Village Is Booby-Trapped!! is back!!

If you say "one more word,"
I'm going to type "your mouth shut."

Sunday, April 12, 2009

does this blog no good, but NYC now has a Currywurst joint....

Around Cape Horn

"...a rare 1929 true adventure film about sailing a four-masted commercial
barque around the Cape Horn during a huge gale. It was shot with a
hand-cranked camera by Captain Irving Johnson who offers a spirited
narration. 36 minutes, B&W..."