Friday, January 22, 2010

scary-looking 1971 UK horror film on TCM tonight, The Blood on Satan's Claw


Dig & tug
where it's soft
& not drained off.

South from Alaska
a Rockford smog bomb
digs its own tomb.

Fill's chewed up & gone over
Fill's gone off
Fill's gone fishy.

A vacant lot's
a mountainside
to which you're tied.

Parked at an angle
parked with struts
the runoff runs through the ruts.

A softball meteor
redly sat when it
couldn't be brought back.

Magnetism's a tip off
the iron fillings
of the rent-a-cop.

Why did U.S. aid focus on securing Haiti rather than helping Haitians?
So what happened? Why the mad rush to command and control, with all its ultimately murderous consequences? Why the paranoid focus on security above saving lives? Clearly, President Obama failed to learn one of the basic lessons taught by Hurricane Katrina: You can't solve a humanitarian problem by throwing guns at it. Before the president had finished insisting that "my national security team understands that I will not put up with any excuses," Haiti's fate was sealed. National security teams prioritize national security, an amorphous and expensive notion that has little to do with keeping Haitian citizens alive...

The Secret History of Typography in the Oxford English Dictionary


Citing usage from 1949, the OED calls this mark the dog’s bollocks, which it defines as, “typogr. a colon followed by a dash, regarded as forming a shape resembling the male sexual organs.” This is why I love scrounging around the linguistic scrap heap that is the OED. I always come across a little gold. And by “gold,” I mean, “vulgar, 60-year-old emoticons...”

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

John Huston's underrated 1970 espionage film
The Kremlin Letter on TCM tonight...(watch for Vancouver's Barbara Parkins as a woman who can open safes with her feet...)

The new gentrification package for Vancouver's Downtown Eastside
To be certain, residents do not need to guess at what the effects will be, since a gentrification prototype already exists in the form of Woodward's. A recent year-end study by the Carnegie Community Action Project has shown that rents have spiked in the low-end hotels surrounding Woodward's, in addition to increases in double-bunking and homelessness. Once Woodward's opens, the neighbourhood will experience all of the customary facts of condo presence: widespread NIMBYist opposition to new social housing projects, increased property values and rents, increased non-rent costs of living (upscale chain stores and bankrupt local businesses), poor-bashing, and self-segregated gentrifier areas that add heightened police presence and increased private security and surveillance in the community...

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

a small Flickr album devoted to Pyrex, restaurant ware, ashtrays & other interesting objects...

double bill with the beyond cool Jean Gabin at the manse last night:

Pépé le Moko

Touchez pas au grisbi

Monday, January 18, 2010

YouTube - Céleste Boursier-Mougenot

Finches play electric guitar!

Letter from a Birmingham Jail
There comes a time when the cup of endurance runs over, and men are no longer willing to be plunged into the abyss of despair. I hope, sirs, you can understand our legitimate and unavoidable impatience. You express a great deal of anxiety over our willingness to break laws. This is certainly a legitimate concern. Since we so diligently urge people to obey the Supreme Court's decision of 1954 outlawing segregation in the public schools, at first glance it may seem rather paradoxical for us consciously to break laws. One may well ask: "How can you advocate breaking some laws and obeying others?" The answer lies in the fact that there are two types of laws: just and unjust. I would be the first to advocate obeying just laws. One has not only a legal but a moral responsibility to obey just laws. Conversely, one has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws. I would agree with St. Augustine that "an unjust law is no law at all..."

The Guantánamo “Suicides”: A Camp Delta sergeant blows the whistle
Nearly 200 men remain imprisoned at Guantánamo. In June 2009, six months after Barack Obama took office, one of them, a thirty-one-year-old Yemeni named Muhammed Abdallah Salih, was found dead in his cell. The exact circumstances of his death, like those of the deaths of the three men from Alpha Block, remain uncertain. Those charged with accounting for what happened—the prison command, the civilian and military investigative agencies, the Justice Department, and ultimately the attorney general himself—all face a choice between the rule of law and the expedience of political silence. Thus far, their choice has been unanimous...

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Brian Eno has a point here, I think--
...Pop was all about the results and the feedback. The experimental side was interested in process more than the actual result – the results just happened and there was often very little control over them, and very little feedback. Take Steve Reich. He was an important composer for me with his early tape pieces and his way of having musicians play a piece each at different speeds so that they slipped out of synch.

But then when he comes to record a piece of his like, say, Drumming, he uses orchestral drums stiffly played and badly recorded. He's learnt nothing from the history of recorded music. Why not look at what the pop world is doing with recording, which is making incredible sounds with great musicians who really feel what they play. It's because in Reich's world there was no real feedback. What was interesting to them in that world was merely the diagram of the piece, the music merely existed as an indicator of a type of process. I can see the point of it in one way, that you just want to show the skeleton, you don't want a lot of fluff around it, you just want to show how you did what you did.As a listener who grew up listening to pop music I am interested in results...

The Dogs of Moscow
“There are dogs living in the city that are not socialised to people. They know people, but view them as dangerous. Their range is extremely broad, and they are ­predators. They catch mice, rats and the occasional cat. They live in the city, but as a rule near industrial complexes, or in wooded parks. They are nocturnal and walk about when there are fewer people on the streets...”