Sunday, November 30, 2008

Catching up on movies

I've seen a bunch of movies over the holiday break.

Quantum of Solace
Zach and Miri Make a Porno
The Rocker
Sex and the City

I think I liked Quantum of Solace the best. Daniel Craig is pretty good as Bond. He has the world-weariness of a Steve McQueen. He's less interested in parties and the good life and seems bound more to an inner moral code than other Bonds, even if he kills with more impunity.

Bolt, the new Pixar vehicle, was oddly the most intense to watch. My oldest sobbed deeply through most of the second half. Bolt, the super hero dog who doesn't at first realize that his powers are faked for a TV show, must ultimately find the power to save his "person." From my son's viewpoint, all the wrenching setbacks along the way are not for the faint of heart.

Pink Mountaintops

It's a poor quality video, but the best YouTube has to offer. Another shoegazy sound. Swoon.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Bad Sex in Fiction award

Bad sex may be better than no sex at all, but the same cannot be said for writing about sex.
The Literary Review's annual award was presented to Johnson for her novel Shire Hell at a ceremony at London's In and Out club.

Johnson was singled out for her novel's slew of animal metaphors, including comparing her male protagonist's "light fingers" to "a moth caught inside a lampshade", and his tongue to "a cat lapping up a dish of cream so as not to miss a single drop". Literary Review deputy editor Tom Fleming was also disturbed by the heroine's "grab, to put him, now angrily slapping against both our bellies, inside".

"You sort of think it might be a typo, but she is actually referring to his penis as him. It's a mixture of clich̩ and euphemism, but it's also very spirited РA plus for effort," he said. "All the entries were equally awful this year, but Rachel Johnson had the worst metaphors, and the worst animal metaphors." Link

John Updike won an unprecedented lifetime achievement award for The Widows of Eastwick.
"She had gagged, and moved him outside her lips, rubbing his spurting glans across her cheeks and chin," he writes. "God, she was antique, but here they were. Her face gleamed with his jism in the spotty light of the motel room, there on the far end of East Beach, within sound of the sea."


Wednesday, November 26, 2008

More Cake

"Sheep go to heaven / Goats to hell"

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Jim White

"If Jesus Drove a Motor Home"

Monday, November 24, 2008

Tom Waits

"Brother, Can You Spare a Dime"

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Friday, November 21, 2008

Sylvia Pankhurst

One more from the Life archive.

Trafalgar Square, 1912

Fuck Capitalism

I've long been leery of the house of cards we like to call the free market. The blogger Eschaton (Duncan Black), who has a PhD in economics, has taken to calling it the "dog track." It's inherently unstable and has been since capital markets were first established. The only way it can work without causing intense human suffering is if we have a really solid safety net. Of course, some of our safety net (medicare, social security) was put in place following the Great Depression. And those nations who have embraced weak forms of socialism have learned this lesson even better. But maybe this is our opportunity to create real nationalized health care, to make unemployment benefits truely viable, and once again invest heavily in infrastructure. Capital markets will always be unstable, with ups always followed by downs (and those fantasists who believe otherwise - just about everyone involved in "business" - are fools). If another depression is occurring, we may all become poor but at least we could have health care and the basic needs of survival available to us.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Life Magazine on Google

Google has begun to make the Life Magazine photo archive available. Wow, I remember pouring through old issues (in the stacks of a college library) when I was a kid. It will suck you in.

Donn Teal, 1971, author of "The Gay Militants." Check out the Dickens poster.

Oregon, 1969. My family was doing something similar in mid 70s Idaho when an uncomfortable game warden came by to make sure we weren't poaching spawning fish. "No, officer, we're frolicking in our hippie freedom."

Crashing markets

From Daily Kos

- The Dow, as Bush takes office: 10,587.59

- The Dow, eight years later: 7,997.28

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Sad and unpredictable

A friend of a friend, and a well-known academic, was just diagnosed with ovarian cancer. This is what AO's mom died from in 2001. It's very sad news. She'll have to deal with so much in the coming years, including really awful versions of chemo.

Even sadder was the suicide a few days ago of a friend's 20-year-old daughter. She'd had troubles, but no one saw this coming. We do our best, I guess. And sometimes it isn't enough.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Adventures in Parenting

We join the story while Dad is dropping something off at child's school:

The nice woman asks me the 9-Year-Old's name, which I provide as politely as I can, though I am grouchy. Then she asks me his teacher's name -- and this is a Problem.

See, his teacher is a wonderful person, very professional, very good with the kids. I have nothing but good things to say about her. Unfortunately, however -- and I am not remotely making this up -- her last name is a homonym for a very, very nasty Naughty Word indeed. When Molly first told me what it was, I genuinely could not believe it, but blinked at her in horror. "He's being taught by Mrs. WHAT?" No joke, her name cannot be repeated without a double-take.

As soon as this pleasant woman asked for the name of the boy's teacher, I could not remember her name at all. Nothing came to mind but a vile stream of foul obscenities. I blanked, I panicked. I knew she goes by Mrs. + a Dirty Word, but apart from that, nothing.

Ahem. Here, for posterity, is a record of my Thought Processes as I stood out in public in the middle of an elementary school lobby desperately racking my brains for the name of the wonderful person entrusted with the intellectual and social development of my beloved son six hours a day, five days a week:

"Oh, uh, wait... Mrs. Fukk? No, that's wrong... Mrs. Slutt! Oh, no, right, Mrs. Kumm... oh dear... Mrs. Kokk-Nobbler! Geez. Mrs. Bigtitz? Uh... Mrs. Sittshtayn? Mrs. B. J. S. Allnightz? Mrs. Farte? Mrs. Runnypoops? No? Hold on -- no need to call security -- it's Mrs. Dingleberry W. Nutt-Sack! Mrs. Greasypubes! Mrs. Dilldoe! Mrs. Cunnilingus Q. Asstomouth! Aieee!" (Exits school rapidly, pursued by security guard)

Read the full post here.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Prop. 8 protests

Andrew Sullivan is running a substantial series of posts entitled "The View from your Protest." It's pretty impressive to see the wave of dissent following California's vote. I think Sullivan is right, it's only a matter of time.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Fuck GM

Now General Motors wants a piece of the bailout pie. I realize that the democrats want to save the union workers and the economies of the rust belt. Where I live. And it's a resonable desire. But GM has been so mismanaged and short-sighted for so long that I'd really rather the government simply create a new industry to employ all those workers. I mean, what did GM do with all those profits from SUVs and Hummers? They certainly weren't put to use in research and development, or even phasing out those archiac push-rod engines they still use in some cars.

Dirty Driving

We watched an HBO documentary last night called "Dirty Driving." It's a film about the culture of short-track racing in Anderson, Indiana. Anderson is a dying GM town, and the racing is crude, rude, and exciting. The back story for us is that AO, when she was working for the cable company, had always heard about the Anderson "party girls." She assumed it was an upper-middle class suburb, and the party girls spoiled sales executives. Nope. Anderson is rust belt. I'm sure they were -- to borrow a term my parents used -- "hard girls."

AO turned to me at some point and asked if it looked fun to me. The driving looked really fun, but the play yard trash talk ("you're my bitch, you pussy") and celebration of the confederacy are kind of beyond what I'm capable of. What was really odd were some flashback photos to the 70's featuring an HBO-sponsored car.

Kings of Leon - Crawl

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Holy. Fucking. Shit.

This was the first Presidential candidate who I've supported in the primary who's actually won. This was the first campaign I've ever donated to. I even live in a red state that flipped to blue this election. What feels best about the Obama win, though, is that I'm not alone. A majority of Americans feels exactly like I do. Whatever happens and however disillusioned we become, this really was a democratic movement.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008