Hard g or soft g? June has passed
The weather in Madison is still annoyingly warm and humid, even with occasional rain showers. Last night I went for ice cream; the line was long enough that I had to spend the first few minutes waiting outside before there was room enough inside. All that waiting for sugar and milk? As I walked home it began to sprinkle, just a few drops here and there, but the signs were clear, for later there would be a rain and thunder storm.
Random news and links, as well as videos watched.
Peeping Tom Pulled From Outhouse Tank: Stinky. “We treated him as if he were hazardous material.”
Chicken Hawk: Men Who Love Boys: See the last comment on the page ... it is scarylycious.
A nice scarecrow with rich, deep colors, if nothing else. I guess it is called “Doll of the Fear.”
Mencken wrote that “For every problem, there is a solution that is simple, neat, and wrong.”
As evidence of this sort of thinking in the extreme I present The Master Cleanser, a page and set of texts on said diet. The perspective is a holistic one, entirely unscientific. Not only does it operate from the premise that all disease is caused by chemical imbalances in the body and a build up of toxins, it goes so far as to claim that germs (bacteria and viruses) are really no problem at all (“Germs and viruses do not and cannot cause any of our diseases, so we have no need for finding various kinds of poisons to destroy them [...] These germs are our friends, there are no bad ones, and if given a chance will break up and consume these large amounts of waste matter and assist us in eliminating them from the body”). It reminds one, in a way, of Tom Cruise’s recent and idiotic (though fully in compliance with the teaching[s] of Scientology) exclamations that there is no such thing as a chemical imbalances in the brain. While I happen to agree that our culture has grown drug-happy (we like to prescribe some chemical for every perceived aberation from the norm), the over-use of drugs does not imply that drugs are of no medical use. Holism and a platonic obsession with absolutes ... the marks of pseudo-science.
For your pervert-of-the-day I recommend Perverted-Justice.com: “Exposing wannabe perverts on the ’net.” Plenty of disturbing people.
- Studio Antithesis: right here in Madison, run by Kim and Maciek, with whom I had brunch last Saturday. A nice couple—I got to see some works in one of Kim’s portfolios.
- Cult Comics: “This is an open ended online art collaboration site specifically focused on sequential art. The idea is that talented people of all walks of life can collaborate with one another and create comic books, graphic novels, or web comics and share them on the internet.”
- Z-Cult FM: currently boring.
- Sequart.com: “for the sophisticated study of comic books and graphic novels”—news, reviews, columns ... an icky page design, but lots of information.
More random art from deviantART ... not always good, but always amusing.
Since I am having a few folks over tomorrow evening for a movie, I figured I should clean up a bit. Furthermore I had quite a bit of food in my freezer, and I wanted to use it in a few recipes. I pulled out the chicken and was about to toss a breast in the frying pan, but it smelled a bit off. A corner of the bag, either at the back or the front, had not remained properly frozen; it furthermore leaked what I will call chicken-juice all over. The bags of peaches and stir-fry veggies remained sealed and would be fine, but I tossed the bag of chicken and had questions about the turkey roasts, which I had purchased on sale. A little chicken-juice had penetrated the cardboard boxes; I tossed them. Then I thought about it, explored a bit more, and realized that the turkey itself was untouched, so decided to bake both roasts. I opened up the peaches for a peach cobbler, but somehow the peaches had gone sort of brown and mushy ... so I tossed them, too.
Food and ice cubes were out of the freezer compartment, so I decided to de-ice it and clean it out ... chicken-juice drenched ice layered the bottom. Today there is still some there, but most of it is gone. This evening I can probably put a tray or two of cubes in to freeze.
The turkey roasts turned out fine. Dinner last night (with rice and veggies, for example) and lunch today. I still have a lot of canned food and such in the cupboards. I will head to the grocery store tomorrow for a few perishables and for some baking goods, so that I can make cookies for tomorrow evening.
- The Ladykillers: Some consider it a remake, others a re-interpretation. I prefer to treat it as separate from the 1955 movie of the same name and similar plot. All the characters are but types with no real development throughout the movie, unless one considers transformations from living to dead. Some, such as R. Ebert, whose reviews I often respect, think that it is too loud insofar as it is not subtle. Ebert prefers A.G. in the original, who disappears and fades into the woodwork. This, however, is a movie by the Coen brothers; what marks almost all of them are failed crimes and bumbling criminals in unexpected locations. The smart criminal would be nondescript; Hanks and company are not smart criminals. The pace is leisurely. The movie is a diversion—it is not the best work by the brothers, but it is definitely theirs. In the end the garbage gets taken out, and we are, in a sense, back where we began.
- Cursed: A better werewolf movie is Ginger Snaps. The latter takes itself seriously but not too seriously. Ernest but not stodgy. In Ginger Snaps and its sequels lycanthropy is tied metaphorically to other developments or problems: puberty and sexuality, addiction and mental illness, racism and disease. Cursed attempts the self-referential wit of many late-90s teen horror movies, sort of the Scream series and Scary Movie combined into one. Is it serious or a self-parody? The production history was troubled, though evidently not as tortured as that of the Exorcist prequel released last year, yet delays, reshoots, and bad edits scar the final product. The movie is too rushed early on but lingers too long at the end. The jokes are obvious and plot elements formulaic. Genre films must be judged according to their peers—Cursed does not measure up.
- When Will I Be Loved?: There is an amusing connection to Layer Cake here, for in that movie our protagonist is advised to be a middle man. Here much of the dynamics of the script, if not the the rather straight-forward plot, revolve around a meditation on being a mentor versus a middle man. Neve Campbell’s Vera is a rich girl dating a small-time hustler middle man named Ford Welles (Frank Weller). Early on Ford walks the streets setting up deals and conducting business, always going from one place to another and then stopping. At the same time Vera showers and then wanders, meets up with Professor Hassan Al-Ibrahim Ben Rabinowitz (played by the director, James Toback), who wishes to be her mentor (even after Vera informs him that she will not sleep with him), wanders some more, meets various folks along the way (picks up a few phone numbers and deals with cameos by Mike Tyson and Lori Singer), and ends up back at her new apartment, where she films an intimate encounter with a female friend of hers. Enter Count Tommaso Lupo (Dominic Chianese) and an Indecent Proposal setup—the middle man (Ford) has agreed to provide an encounter with Vera in exchange for $100,000; Tommaso even suggests that he only wants to be Vera’s companion or mentor. The movie is short (81 minutes, including credits), but there are other ways in which it is a small film, focused on a few stylistic devises or conceits rather than a more epic story. The first part is a juxtaposition of meandering walks through the city and chance encounters. Vera’s erotic interlude with her friend, Ford’s meeting with Tommaso, and Ford’s arrival at Vera’s place provide a middle part, one that rationalizes actions and solidifies matters by cementing locations. What follows in the third section is a sequence of scenes more focused on scripted and biting dialoque, a minor complication, and a fortuitous resolution. It is worth noting that Vera ends up where she began—showering.
- In the Realms of the Unreal: The Mysterious Art and Life of Henry Darger. Is it a soft or hard g in Darger? This is one of the first questions posed in this documentary, and the fact that even those who knew the man disagree about pronunciation sets the stage for what is a rather neutral, non-interpretative approach to Darger and his work(s). A few people have complained that the treatment is superficial and that a better product would have been constructed had a Darger-specialist been employed, someone who could or would focus on the aesthetic elements of the man’s paintings, for example. Then, however, the documentary would have been in service to said paintings; instead, here it is the documentary itself that is front and center, attempting a precarious balancing act. It succeeds at least for the duration of the film itself and it inspires, even if further reflection unsettles. It was a fascinating piece, especially since I knew little about Darger to start with.
Devon just called for the Professional Firefighters of Wisconsin. Sorry, not interested. I do not care if you represent a charity or other worthwhile cause. I am poor, and I do not appreciate phone solicitors and telemarketers. Fuck off.
—June 30 2005