Saturday, September 19, 2009

moggnificent collection of east van cats

even mentions my dog book!  Sadly there seem to be few ancestors of the great red-headed cat league that dominated the alleys around Salsbury & Victoria in the mid-80's.  I caught a glimpse of the patriarch once, snoozing on a garage roof--as red as a fox & as big as a cougar, yellow tusk-like incisors...

Ken Loach's great film "Kes" is on TCM tonight...

happy 300 to Samuel Johnson

He loved the poor as I never yet saw any one else do, with an earnest desire to make them happy.--What signifies, says some one, giving halfpence to common beggars? they only lay it out in gin or tobacco. "And why should they be denied such sweeteners of their existence?" says Johnson. "It is surely very savage to refuse them every possible avenue to pleasure, reckoned too coarse for our own acceptance. Life is a pill which none of us can bear to swallow without gilding; yet for the poor we delight in stripping it still barer, and are not ashamed to shew even visible displeasure, if ever the bitter taste is taken from their mouths..."

from Mrs. Piozzi's Anecdotes

Friday, September 18, 2009

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Murmur, pictures of flocking birds by Richard Barnes

Nanaimo's own!

Kim Cattrall speaks out against the cuts to arts funding in BC

Paul & Richard, The Podcast

On September 3, Paul McCarthy and Richard Jackson flew up from LA to give what turned out to be a hilarious and historic talk at Seattle Art Museum—but a few hours before that, they sat down in a brightly lit conference room upstairs at the museum for a private conversation with a tape recorder and me.

McCarthy starts right in with a story about his liquid bodily functions, which seems right enough...

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Keep Calm and Carry On
A series of posters appeared on bus shelters in 2002, with slogans such as ‘Secure Beneath the Watchful Eyes’ (with said eyes being CCTV cameras). They had distinct similarities in their typography with 1930s’ posters for London Transport by the Bauhaus designer László Moholy-Nagy. They quite deliberately played with the Orwellian associations of 1930s’ and 1940s’ design, the benign eyes watching over London’s bus commuters being explicitly delineated in mock-‘totalitarian’ terms. This is a rather queasy joke. London has some of the heaviest surveillance in the world, and more CCTV cameras than any other city. To treat this as something jollily benevolent is deeply dubious. It advertises the allegedly caring role of the Metropolitan Police in their surveillance of the bus or tube passenger; something which can only leave a foul taste in the mouth after the public execution of Jean Charles de Menezes. The great irony of all this is that the supposedly rather overbearing paternalistic public institutions of the 1940s were either unable or unwilling to set up the apparatus of surveillance that every Londoner now regards as normal. What Orwell did not realize was that the surveillance society would be accompanied by ironic jokes, not shrill exhortations...

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn's Half the Sky

What would we do if we believed women were equal human beings, with as much right to determine their life story as men? How would we view the world differently?

When Getting Beaten By Your Husband Is A Pre-Existing Condition
It turns out that in eight states, plus the District of Columbia, getting beaten up by your spouse is a pre-existing condition.

Under the cold logic of the insurance industry, it makes perfect sense: If you are in a marriage with someone who has beaten you in the past, you're more likely to get beaten again than the average person and are therefore more expensive to insure.

Monday, September 14, 2009

a poem by David Wheatley at
Isola di Rifiuti
Landscape with Satellite Dish

Nothing ever seemed to happen in Springfield;
there was never anything good on TV.
Then the newsflash came through about the bomb.
Lisa stopped trying to electrocute Bart
to watch. ‘Looks like we’re in deep doo-doo,’
said Homer, going to fix himself a snack.

The hairs stood up on the back of Grandpa’s neck—
all thirteen of them. Who would save Springfield?
There was nothing anyone could do
except sit and keep watching TV.
By the fourth ad-break Homer was bored.
Who cared anyway about some stupid bomb?

‘Didn’t Professor Frink make a bomb-
defusing robot?’ asked Bart. Yes, but there was a snag:
it kept blowing up. A tearful Marge bared
her soul to the cowering shoppers of Springfield—
‘We could lose everything, even TV’—
and hid the family savings in her hairdo.

Then Homer had an idea, chewing his do-
nut—let Mr Burns take care of the bomb.
That weirdo! He didn’t even have a TV.
Homer got on the phone to Burns, snug
in his fallout shelter, and hollered: ‘Save Springfield!’
Now he was thirsty, and headed off for a beer

at Moe’s. Jasper was crying into his beard
at the bar: soon he’d be as dead as a dodo
and nothing would remain of dear old Springfield
but roaches and fallout, all because of the bomb
some two-bit punk was using to cock a snook
at folk like him and get some time on TV.

Burns was on the job though. Of course he watched TV;
he’d staged the whole thing to help him sweep the board
at the Oscars with his new film Sneak
Attack, a Wellesian thriller. ‘Think of the dough
I’m going to make,’ he chortled to Smithers. The bomb
was a hoax—what a lucky escape for Springfield!

TV announced the news to the people of Springfield.
Bored again, Homer forgot all about the bomb
and sneaked to the fridge for a beer. It was empty. Doh!

(thanks DS)

Sunday, September 13, 2009

local trees @ c.
Max Ophuls The Earrings of Madame de…
on TCM tonight...

Evanescence is an integral part of cinema, and no other director captured it as lyrically and yet as savagely as Ophüls. His tracking, dollying, gliding camera was never more mellifluous, or his visualization of life's inexorable flow more tangible, than in
The Earrings of Madame de…: The dissolving ballroom twirls between the Countess and the Baron form possibly the most graceful invocation of the passage of time ever depicted on screen, while a transition from the fluttering pieces of a love letter to snow falling outside brilliantly conveys the slender line separating the incandescent from the sepulchral in a world marked by transience...