Friday, June 25, 2010

Obama's original sin on Afghanistan
But, just like all the Democrats who buckled in 2002, he wasn't interested in being the antiwar candidate. Instead of challenging misguided popular sentiments about the wisdom of the U.S. mission in Afghanistan, Obama chose to cater to them. This right war/wrong war distinction made for great politics in 2008. But as policy in 2010, it just doesn't work. The question is whether it will be too late before he admits it...

Thursday, June 24, 2010


my favorite director Anthony Mann's Men
in War
on TCM today
There is no cross-section of American culture on display here, no roll call of familiar G.I. types, no patriotic speeches or political justifications for the war. The dialogue is stripped down yet evocative and the characters simply but effectively sketched without resorting to sentimental stories of life back home or dreams of the future after the war is over. As Ryan explains to his men: "Regiment doesn't exist. Battalion doesn't exist. The U.S.A. doesn't exist. We're the only ones left to fight this war." He might as well have said that past and future don't exist. They are focused on surviving now...

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

the film of JR Ackerley's My Dog Tulip looks promising...

farewell to the great Canadian contralto Maureen Forrester

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Robert Creeley at Isola di Rifiuti

"A bird that gets to be a champion is a show bird; it’s a very
careful vocabulary. But then you have what are called stock birds
and stock birds are the birds that are used, frankly, in breeding show
birds. Stock birds may have overemphasized characteristics. Then you do
get into genetics. But a stock bird is a very distinct bird in that it
is used in breeding the qualification, the qualities you want to have in
breeding a bird that will then be used for show. But a show bird is
oftentimes of no use as a breeder at all. I mean, he’s just a moment in
time. I remember one instance of pigeons I was given as a kid—I had an
interest early—a pair of fantails, a very common bird around New
England. Once you got past icehouse pigeons, the pigeons you could get
by climbing up into icehouses or whatever they nest in, and taking the
young two or three week old birds out of the nests, getting young squeakers
as they call them—once you get past that you then went to homing
pigeons, homers we used to call them, or fantails—these were
very common varieties. Well, this one pair of fantails I was given
suddenly bred a fantastically good fantail. But I was a kid; I didn’t
know anything about banding, and you can’t show birds without having
them banded; that’s part of the etiquette in the show scene. This bird
was what we call a sport; he was suddenly a lucky strike in the genetic
situation. But I mean that taught me to pay attention to a lot of
things. I’m surprised now; I haven’t been engaged with pigeons for
almost fifteen or more years—almost twenty years now—and yet the habits
of that attention as we’re now talking is so precise, that they give me
the vocabulary immediately. I mean, I couldn’t tell you the same kind of
detail about the method of scanning a line of poetry or various systems
of metric that are involved with descriptions of poetry. Now I found
that one information was useful and felt right in my environment; not
that I wanted to be only a pigeon man but I mean that kind of
information taught me a lot. It taught me how to pay attention to an
awful lot of things..."

Monday, June 21, 2010

Michail Bulgakov. The heart of a dog
Why bother to learn to read when you can smell meat a mile away? If you live in Moscow, though, and if you've got an ounce of brain in your head you can't help learning to read -and without going to night-school either. There are forty-thousand dogs in Moscow and I'll bet there's not one of them so stupid he can't spell out the word 'sausage'...

local trees & c.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Ben Friedlander: Animals in the Maximus Poems A-E
Dog, dog, dogs, dog's: 89, 107, 151, 179, 188, 206, 223, 257, 293, 347, 348, 402, 403, 405, 414, 416, 420, 427, 429, 489, 507, 583, 602, 618 [see also "Dogtown, Dogtown's"]
Dog Bar, dogbar: 492, 624
dog days, Dog-day: 346, 618
dog-rocks: 420
dog-licenses: 258
Dogtown, Dogtown's: 25, 34, 172, 173, 174, 175, 179, 180, 181, 186, 187, 188, 195, 212, 213, 226, 296, 315, 317, 318, 319, 320, 322, 330, 331, 332, 370, 383, 384, 391, 425, 463, 465, 480, 508, 518, 551, 591...