Dec 30, 2004

Three short reviews

House of the Flying Daggers

All genre, no story.

What made the director's Hero so fantastic was it’s way of telling an interesting and uncommon story. The reviewers, at least, seem to be so distracted by the genre they’ve forgotten it’s a story telling technique.

A Very Long Engagement

A tragic toned love story upset by whimsy, leaving everything, in the end, off-kilter.

It was interesting, however, to see the Great War's French-mud trenches as a backdrop in a contemporary film. A lot of symbolism and imagery that we know, literarily, get used (or at least I saw the possibility of it getting used) cinematically.

Lemony Snciket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events

A deliciously gothicly dark children’s story, making fun of happy endings and still holding that “there’s always a way,” in the gloomful-imagination tradition of Where the Wild Things Are and Edward Gorey.

A great performance by Meryl Streep being spastic, phobic and quirky. Curiously, subtitles are used to translate the baby’s dialogue of humorous comments and they got great laughs from the children in the audience.

Dec 28, 2004


Blogger has stopped counting the number of posts on this blog at 1,444, a number I passed a few months ago.


The New York Times has an end of the year obit summary including India’s mustachioed Robin Hood, the kibitzing Socratic, and the Godmother of political columnists.

Dec 25, 2004

A light shone in the darkness


and dwelt among us.

Dec 16, 2004

Brando, Parker and Pollock
American art, improvisation and imitation

"Apocalypse Now describes, with hallucinatory precision, how the counterculture became the mainstream."

Dec 14, 2004



The analysis of Derrida, now that he's dead but before that too I suppose, seems to be that he was obscure and an obfuscationist.

I think this take is somewhere between stupid and dishonest. Or both. Probably both. I haven't decided how best to argue that though, so let this serve as a placeholder.
Sublation: From the Latin sublatio, meaning to take or carry away, the removal, elevation or detachment of a part. The traditional translation of Aufhebung, a term of Hegel's for "the simultaneous negation and retention of what is being surpassed by the progress of dialectical thought."

(Dissemination, by Jaques Derrida, trans. by Barbara Johnson, pg 4, footnote 2).
Coffee drinkin’ hat

      When I left home my dad said “If you fail you can always come home. And no joining the French Foreign Legion. Understood?” I knew a couple a guys who joined the French Foreign Legion though, and they said it was the most boring four years of their lives.

      Yeah they’re not a world power any more so there’s nowhere to go. You just like wear that cool hat around and drink coffee in Paris or something.
      Actually, that sounds pretty good.

Dec 8, 2004

So God and the devil walk into a bar...

God, they say, has a sense of humour.

No one ever says about the devil though.

Dec 6, 2004

Ambler Letters 3
Correspondance exerts from apt. c rear

I’m not in the mood to write a letter. I’m not, actually, in the mood to write at all.

Yeah but it was a different culture then. We expected different things.

I don't resent anything my parents did, and don't regret any part of the history I lived. They may not understand that, may want to fix it and make it right, but I'm actually thanking them for the convoluted path they took me on. I'm glad I saw the things I saw, went the places I went, got the bruises I got.

Hope this isn’t a depressing letter. I was cornered by a crazy man at church this morning. People are baffled by the simplest directions like “up the hill.” I had to pump gas for a Korean guy because he didn’t understand how to use a credit card or that you have to squeeze the handle. He kept saying “okay okay.” A black woman just yelled at me for making her prepay when I don’t have any power over that. I had to laugh like hell.
An ironic tombstone epitaph: But his imagination failed him.

This is a genuine throwing-the-piano-from-the-fifth-floor letter.

We’ve been talking a lot here about how Advent is the season of darkness waiting for light, how the incarnation of our Lord is the intervention in and interruption of the darkness of the world. I was brokenhearted last week to read that Holland has legalized and been practicing the euthanizing of terminally ill infants. It is dark indeed. We turn again to the hope of the impossible – that the lamb of God comes to take away the sin of the world, that God is made flesh, that time, space and nature are breached by the Eucharist, that a door will be opened.

Dec 3, 2004

Didn't Checkov say the bus goes off in the third act?

Luke Heyman, my shaggy-haired, motorcycle-riding mortician and Ohioan friend who always reminded me of Neal Cassady and has been reading too much Vonnegut has written a six part story about a genius who wanted to be normal and I think it's incredible.

1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6.