Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Philly poet Frank Sherlock is very ill sans insurance--find out how to help here.

some Poplars, Scotch Elms & a Heron from this wonderful Disappearing Surrey Gallery

(thanks CB)

Monday, February 05, 2007

nice Altman obit by "Player" screenwriter Michael Tolkin--

"Some sort of sincerity: Robert Altman was a misanthrope who loved having people around, to watch their behavior. This made him a great host. He should have adapted Poe, he never made a horror film and if I’ve ever been sorry that I didn’t know him better, it’s for this, thinking about it this morning, I would have loved to pitch “The Gold Bug” to him, a story about something meaning something to people, the meaning being more important than the thing. This formula is a bit like his movies or marijuana, and the element that divides those who like his movies from those who don’t, since his movies don’t have the sharp perspectives that always point out the one thing the film wants watched.

I had forgotten how pot works, the way it rearranges the significance of things, the way internal distractions become interesting or threatening paths. It’s not a happy drug at all, it’s not two flutes of nice champagne and a pretty face and perfume in the air. After smoking a little pot with him—and other than one morning in the office he didn’t smoke during the day—some of his methods made sense, and if it was pot sense, the sense is not invalid..."
A Broken Windows Theory Of Tyranny

"The obvious and oft repeated has some truth -- deeply empathic people get their hearts broken young, and learn to "toughen up". Some get toughened into monsters, and some find weird paths to walk between their hardened skin and still soft hearts. If you've read Alice Miller, or any of the people who write about how authoritarian societies "break" children, and encourage this as necessary and important, you've got some idea. Breaking children is the Republican factory, near as I can tell sitting here. You learn that truth is a function of power; and what you feel is a function of what daddy or mommy want you to feel; and then you get 60 more years to untangle it, if you don't turn into a war criminal or vote one into office along the way (or even if you do). But what interested me this morning, and inspired this rant, was not the deeper cause in child rearing, but the effect of a society so cruel and insane that you cannot turn on a TV, or read a paper, or talk to a friend, without some ready evidence of the boot descending on a human face, another fresh example of cruelty and gratuitous control..."

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Saturday, February 03, 2007

from an interesting gathering of legal & literary documents, a lawyerly take on Charles Reznikoff's "Testimony"--

"Every law library in America contains the identical mountain of raw material which Reznikoff taught himself to mine and refine. His work shows all of us who use those libraries something new about the significance of the relics we handle..."

Friday, February 02, 2007

new film on Albert Ayler--

"Ayler saw himself as a jazz missionary, revealing a new improvisational path that didn't depend on the chord-changes of The Great American Songbook, but was more like impulsively painting in sound. His playing often resembled the mixture of exultation and terror expressed by the possessed in religious rituals - and Ayler was definitely a man possessed. One of the most revealing episodes in Collin's documentary occurs in a church: the camera pans across transported faces, with Ayler's impassioned vibrato, banshee-long notes and spine-tingling barks as the soundtrack. Ayler grew up in those churches, and the juxtaposition fits perfectly..."

Thursday, February 01, 2007

the stuffed polar bear ("Peppy" his name, it turns out) from the Fox's Glacier Mint factory, sold in '73 & now in someone's house, from nanoq, a poignant survey of similar bears in British institutions...

remembering in the "Orient" cinema in Ayr '69-70(a bingo-hall but preserving some of its tatty chinoiserie in '92) the combination of disinfectant and the menthol cloud hovering over the pre-popcorn Scottish crowd ("Shalako", with Connery & Bardot) crunching & chain-sucking their "glassy'er munts" a real head-clearer, like stepping into a cool mountain stream...I used to think about that bear a lot...

South Wellington Trees