Tuesday, February 27

15 second videos, vols.2 and 3.

I used to take pictures with an 8mm camera. Two and a half minutes of film time, developing took about a week for five bucks or so. They are in a shoe box somewhere. ??? I later got a VHS tape camera with a two hour capacity. That made for really boring videos. It's nice to tape relatives at family gatherings, but watching them age before your eyes during the taping translated into a long and boring video.

My latest camera has a fifteen second video setting. Quick and easy. You always have a start but most times no ending - just a cut off point. I like it because it is a bookmark of some time in my life. I can see what was happening on a particular day, what the weather was like, how big the pets were - months or years after taking it. And it is short enough most people can endure it.

Volume 1.

With the cold and snow, Cubbie and I haven't played ball for quite some time. Usually I can hit a softball as far as possible (hundreds of feet - ha); he'll chase it down, run back through my legs, turn around, and give it to back to me (through my legs again). Time obviously didn't permit here.

Rama, the cat was watching us. I threw a ball in his direction, almost hitting him. I didn't say anything because I was laughing (alot, but silently). Cats don't fetch. He just wanted to go inside. Ha. (By the way, Amy ran out of gas in the driveway that morning explaining the gas can and other junk on the porch.)

Saturday, February 24


Manhunter, directed by Michael Mann. (I had thought of this movie since the most recent installment in the Hannibal series, Hannibal Rising seems to be tanking at the box office.)

Manhunter is a 1986 film based on the novel Red Dragon by Thomas Harris. It was the first movie to feature the character Doctor Hannibal Lecter and is widely regarded as being a cult-classic.

Despite being over 20 years old, Manhunter has remained a favorite with its many fans from around the world, me included. I usually stick with it when I see it on cable.

Movie Trailer.

Post Live and Die in LA (movie -1985),pre-(TV series hit) CSI Gil Grissom, William Petersen shows an early example of his somewhat wooden acting. That’s just his style (I'm just noting it). He’s a local celebrity - and has been around seemingly forever.

William Petersen played FBI Agent Will Graham, Dennis Farina was Special Agent Jack Crawford. Joan Allen co-starred as Reba McClane with Tom Noonan as villain Francis Dollarhyde (spelled like that for this movie). What a creepy looking villain. Seriously.

In the role of Hannibal Lechter, the movie features Brian Cox. He played Ward Abbott in the Bourne Supremacy and was the lead bad-guy in X-Men 2. He is very recognizable from his character parts but one of those actors you usually wouldn’t know by name. Check out the link.

Here is a scene from the movie. (Another pivotal scene at the climax of the movie features Iron Butterfly's In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida but you need to rent the movie to see that. The song is dated but it works in the movie.)

Strong as I am, The Prime Movers. (no, I don't know of them)

Just for reference:

The remake, Red Dragon, 2001, starred Edward Norton as Will Graham, Harvey Keitel as Special Agent Jack Crawford. Emily Watson was Reba McClane and Ralph Fiennes was Francis Dolarhyde. The spelling of Dolarhyde in this movie was different from Manhunter’s spelling. Why? I don’t know.

An aside:

Michael Mann was responsible for creating Miami Vice, Manhunter, Heat (with Pacino and DeNiro), the Insider (Pacino and Russell Crowe), Ali (Will Smith), and Collateral (Jaime Foxx).


Scene with William Petersen from 1985’s Live and Die in LA. I had wanted to embed the Wang Chung video – Live and Die in LA – but had no luck finding it. I found this instead. It’s long but William Freidkin is trying to outdo himself having already done the French Connection and the Exorcist.

“Hang on Johnny.”

Watch it if you like chase scenes, if not, skip it. (It's really good...)

Friday, February 23

Short cuts. (apologies to R. Altman)

Shaved heads. Women. A short list.

  • Natalie Portman: Movies, V for Vendetta
  • Sigourney Weaver: Movies, Alien 3
  • Demi Moore: Movies, GI Jane
  • Sinead O’Connor: Singer, a look.
  • Me’Shell NdegOcello: Singer, (I remember her song Wild Night with John Mellencamp).
  • Kylie Minogue: Breast Cancer.
  • Persis Khambatta: Movies, Star Trek: The Motion Picture.
  • Britney Spears: ??? unknown. Pressures? Quite an understatement I'm sure.

The following video is of Craig Ferguson, Late Late Show host discussing Britney Spears. He talks about a decision he made to just leave her alone. No jokes about her.

I totally agree. There are plenty of other things in this world we can make fun of. She seem to be very troubled and vulnerable right now. There is no reason to kick her while she's down (or anytime for that matter).

On the self assured side of the scale, one example could be Sinead O’Connor. Like her or not, she stands up for what she believes in.

The following is “No man’s woman”, from the Alias TV show. Alias featured another take charge woman: Sydney Bristow (Jennifer Gardner). I'd have no problem with Sydney covering my back anytime. Kick ass Sydney! Ha.

I love how it paid homage to Run Lola Run

(with my original favorite redhead, Franka Potente).

Thursday, February 15

Daytona, a movie, and a song.

Nascar’s season begins this Sunday. The Daytona 500. Different from other sports, Nascar starts the season with it’s biggest race. It’s Super Bowl.

Nascar’s roots are of southern drivers illegally hauling booze in souped up cars during the 1930’s and 40’s. Depression southerners had figured out that cars and speed were tickets to a better life. With few options beyond the farm or factory, the best chance of escape was running moonshine.

Even today, the shady, get away with what you can attitude still survives. Just days ago, five teams were caught cheating and have been punished by suspensions or fines.

Ruining Toyota’s debut in Nascar, the new Michael Waltrip team was one of the guilty. They got caught trying to use an illegal fuel additive found in jet fuel. That’s so outrageous it’s funny.

A movie that captures the spirit of Nascar is Days of Thunder.

Tom Cruise as Cole Trickle. Robert Duvall as Harry Hogge. Nicole Kidman as “brain surgeon”, Dr. Claire Lewicki.

One of the more famous lines to come out of it was “he *rubbed* you. And rubbin, son, is racin'.” Also in the movie, building a car while cheating on the specifications was a desired skill.

I’ve seen this movie way too many times. It was Clint’s favorite movie for many years - for awhile, it was on every time I came home. Now, It’s one of those (like the Back to the Future series) movies, that if you find it flipping through the channels you end up watching it.

Days of Thunder revolved around a talented, hot-shot auto racing rookie, Cole Trickle (Cruise), who, after trying his hand in the American open wheel ranks, seeks to win on the NASCAR circuit. His mechanic mentor, Harry Hogge (Duvall), acts as his crew chief and Dr. Claire Lewicki (Kidman) is a young and beautiful brain surgeon who tries to tame Cole.

Some NASCAR aficionados also took offense at the overuse and exaggeration of the "rubbing" (bumping) action of NASCAR, featuring maneuvers between cars that were overly dangerous and uncommon, even for the period of time in NASCAR history that the movie was filmed. This included a scene where Cole, after having been knocked out of a race at the very end by an opponent, instructed his pit crew to replace his flattened tires, proceeding to run out on the track and smash his car into the victorious rival who knocked him out of the race.

The plot was very loosely based on some real-life NASCAR personalities: Duvall's character was based on crew chief Harry Hyde, Cruise's on Tim Richmond, and Randy Quaid's on a composite of several owners, one of whom was Rick Hendrick. Hendrick also provided the movie cars, driven by then-NASCAR drivers Greg Sacks, Bobby Hamilton, and Hut Stricklin, with Hamilton making his Cup debut at Phoenix in 1989 in a movie car. Although this was not acknowledged by the film publicly this was obvious to fans from many coincidences between the film and well known events.

Kidman's casting as a brain surgeon was also panned by some critics; as a stunning 23-year-old who looked that age or younger, she looked completely implausible as a doctor, let alone a surgeon (who typically do not begin to practice until their thirties). Her casting probably had a considerable amount to do with Cruise's real-life interest in her - they married soon after.

A favorite part of the movie of mine is Cole and Claire in a car in a parking garage. She’s yelling, "Let me out of the cah.(my spelling) Let me out. - Let me out or I'm getting out." - The accent made it. Love repeating that dialog.

Othe noteable quotes from the movie.

Cole getting used to Nascar racing:

Harry Hogge: Cole, you're wandering all over the track!
Cole Trickle: Yeah, well this son of a bitch just slammed into me.
Harry Hogge: No, no, he didn't slam you, he didn't bump you, he didn't nudge you... he *rubbed* you. And rubbin, son, is racin'.

Cole running a couple of test laps for the first time:

Harry Hogge: What do you know about stock car racing?
Cole Trickle: Well... watched it on television, of course.
Harry Hogge: You've seen it on television?
Cole Trickle: ESPN. The coverage is excellent, you'd be surprised at how much you can pick up.
Harry Hogge: I'm sure I would.

During a pit stop:

Harry Hogge: All right. While we're still under a caution, I want you to go back out on that track and hit the pace car.
Cole Trickle: Hit the pace car?
Harry Hogge: Hit the pace car.
Cole Trickle: What for?
Harry Hogge: Because you've hit every other goddamned thing out there, I want you to be perfect.

Doctor and patient:

Dr. Claire Lewicki: Boy, you're very quick.
Cole Trickle: You oughta see me drive.

(The quote above is very lame. I had to include it. Ha)

Gimme Some Lovin'

Monday, February 12

On the beach...

Idea from Toccata. Thanks.

Short story follows a bit of background. I've split it up with some examples of his work.

I used to read the short stories in Playboy (maybe after the pictures, but I really did). The following was one I've remembered for years. I had thought it was named "Of Cabbages and Kings" or something like that. It's loosely based on a Lewis Carroll story.
Background: One thing I always looked forward to was the Gahan Wilson cartoon (in Playboy). He had dark humor and a style that I really liked. I'm not an artist but I liked the cross hatching of his drawings and his sense of humor. Dark. An unconventional look at things.

Amazon (not to steal) gave me this about the story I remember:
In "The Sea Was Wet As Wet Can Be," perhaps the book's (a collection of his) most chilling tale, Wilson combines Lewis Carroll, the vapid lives of the well-to-do and genuine horror with impressive originality. There is a strain of social satire in many of the stories, as members of the upper classes often meet unusual?and decidedly unpleasant?

And from Wiki:

Wilson's cartoons and illustrations are drawn in a playfully grotesque style and have a dark humor that is often compared to the work of The New Yorker cartoonist and Addams Family creator Charles Addams. But while both men sometimes feature vampires, graveyards and other traditional horror elements in their work, Addams' cartoons tended to be more gothic, reserved and old-fashioned, while Wilson's work is more contemporary, gross and confrontational, featuring atomic mutants, subway monsters and serial killers. It could be argued that Addams' work was probably meant to be funny without a lot of satirical intent, while Wilson often has a very specific point to make.

Wilson was born in Evanston, Illinois in 1930. His cartoons and prose-fiction work has appeared regularly in Playboy, Collier's Weekly, The New Yorker and The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction. For the last he also wrote some movie and book reviews. He has been a movie review columnist for The Twilight Zone Magazine and a book critic for Realms of Fantasy magazine.

Original page where the full story is located: here

Quotes on the side of that page:

We're like a group of sticky bugs crawling in an ugly little crowd over polished marble."

"If they would just shut up for a moment, I thought, I might be able to get the fuzz
out of my head."

The Sea Was Wet as Wet Can Be

By Gahan Wilson

I felt we made an embarrassing contrast to the open serenity of the scene around us. The pure blue of the sky was unmarked by a single cloud or bird, and nothing stirred on the vast stretch of beach except ourselves. The sea, sparkling under the freshness of the early morning sun, looked invitingly clean. I wanted to wade into it and wash myself, but I was afraid I would contaminate it.

We are a contamination here, I thought. We're like a group of sticky bugs crawling in an ugly little crowd over polished marble. If I were God and looked down and saw us, lugging our baskets and our silly, bright blankets, I would step on us and squash us with my foot.

We should have been lovers or monks in such a place, but we were only a crowd of bored and boring drunks. You were always drunk when you were with Carl. Good old, mean old Carl was the greatest little drink pourer in the world. He used drinks like other types of sadists used whips. He kept beating you with them until you dropped or sobbed or went mad, and he enjoyed every step of the process.

We'd been drinking all night, and when the morning came, somebody, I think it was Mandie, got the great idea that we should all go out on a picnic. Naturally, we thought it was an inspiration, we were nothing if not real sports, and so we'd packed some goodies, not forgetting the liquor, and we'd piled into the car, and there we were, weaving across the beach, looking for a place to spread our tacky banquet.

We located a broad, low rock, decided it would serve for our table, and loaded it with the latest in plastic chinaware, a haphazard collection of food, and a quantity of bottles.

Someone had packed a tin of Spam among the other offerings, and, when I saw it, I was suddenly overwhelmed with an absurd feeling of nostalgia. It reminded me of the war and of myself soldierboying up through Italy. It also reminded me of how long ago the whole thing had been and how little I'd done of what I'd dreamed I'd do back then.

I opened the Spam and sat down to be alone with it and my memories, but it wasn't to be for long. The kind of people who run with people like Carl don't like to be alone, ever, especially with their memories, and they can't imagine anyone else might, at least now and then, have a taste for it.

My rescuer was Irene. Irene was particularly sensitive about seeing people alone because being alone had several times nearly produced fatal results for her. Being alone and taking pills to end the being alone.

"What's wrong, Phil?" she asked.

"Nothing's wrong," I said, holding up a forkful of the pink Spam in the sunlight. "It tastes just like it always did. They haven't lost their touch."

She sat down on the sand beside me, very carefully, so as to avoid spilling the least drop of what must have been her millionth Scotch.

"Phil," she said, "I'm worried about Mandie. I really am. She looks so unhappy!"

I glanced over at Mandie. She had her head thrown back and she was laughing uproariously at some joke Carl had just made. Carl was smiling at her with his teeth glistening and his eyes deep down dead as ever.

"Why should Mandie be happy?" I asked. "What, in God's name, has she got to be happy about?"

"Oh, Phil," said Irene. "You pretend to be such an awful cynic. She's alive, isn't she?"

I looked at her and wondered what such a statement meant, coming from someone who'd tried to do herself in as earnestly and as frequently as Irene. I decided that I did not know and that I would probably never know. I also decided I didn't want anymore of the Spam. I turned to throw it away, doing my bit to litter up the beach, and then I saw them.

They were far away, barely bigger than two dots, but you could tell there was something odd about them even then.

"We've got company," I said.

Irene peered in the direction of my point.

"Look, everybody," she cried, "we've got company!"

Everybody looked, just as she had asked them to.

"What the hell is this?" asked Carl. "Don't they know this is my private property?" And then he laughed.

Carl had fantasies about owning things and having power. Now and then he got drunk enough to have little flashes of believing he was king of the world.

"You tell 'em, Carl!" said Horace.

Horace had sparkling quips like that for almost every occasion. He was tall and bald and he had a huge Adam's apple and, like myself, he worked for Carl. I would have felt sorrier for Horace than I did if I hadn't had a sneaky suspicion that he was really happier when groveling. He lifted one scrawny fist and shook it in the direction of the distant pair.

"You guys better beat it," he shouted. "This is private property!"

"Will you shut up and stop being such an ass?" Mandie asked him. "It's not polite to yell at strangers, dear, and this may damn well be their beach for all you know."

Mandie happens to be Horace's wife. Horace's children treat him about the same way. He busied himself with zipping up his windbreaker, because it was getting cold and because he had received an order to be quiet.

I watched the two approaching figures. The one was tall and bulky, and he moved with a peculiar, swaying gait. The other was short and hunched into himself, and he walked in a fretful, zigzag line beside his towering companion.

"They're heading straight for us," I said.

The combination of the cool wind that had come up and the approach of the two strangers had put a damper on our little group. We sat quietly and watched them coming closer. The nearer they got, the odder they looked.

"For heaven's sake!" said Irene. "The little one's wearing a square hat!"

"I think it's made of paper," said Mandie, squinting, "folded newspaper."

"Will you look at the mustache on the big bastard?" asked Carl. "I don't think I've ever seen a bigger bush in my life."

"They remind me of something," I said.

The others turned to look at me.

Story stops.

"It's a good thing Effie likes these little funerals,she's had such awful luck with her pets."

Story starts again:

The Walrus and the Carpenter

"They remind me of the Walrus and the Carpenter," I said.

"The who?" asked Mandie.

"Don't tell me you never heard of the Walrus and the Carpenter?" asked Carl.

"Never once," said Mandie.

"Disgusting," said Carl. "You're an uncultured bitch. The Walrus and the Carpenter are probably two of the most famous characters in literature. They're in a poem by Lewis Carroll in one of the Alice books."

"In Through the Looking Glass," I said, and then I recited their introduction:

"The Walrus and the Carpenter
Were walking close at hand
They wept like anything to see
Such quantities of sand …"

Mandie shrugged. "Well, you'll just have to excuse my ignorance and concentrate on my charm," she said.

"I don't know how to break this to you all," said Irene, "but the little one does have a handkerchief."

We stared at them. The little one did indeed have a handkerchief, a huge handkerchief, and he was using it to dab at his eyes.

"Is the little one supposed to be the Carpenter?" asked Mandie.

"Yes," I said.

"Then it's all right," she said, "because he's the one that's carrying the saw."

"He is, so help me, God," said Carl. "And, to make the whole thing perfect, he's even wearing an apron."

"So the Carpenter in the poem has to wear an apron, right?" asked Mandie.

"Carroll doesn't say whether he does or not," I said, "but the illustrations by Tenniel show him wearing one. They also show him with the same square jaw and the same big nose this guy's got."

"They're goddamn doubles," said Carl. "The only thing wrong is that the Walrus isn't a walrus, he just looks like one."
"You watch," said Mandie. "Any minute now he's going to sprout fur all over and grow long fangs."

Then, for the first time, the approaching pair noticed us. It seemed to give them quite a start. They stood and gaped at us, and the little one furtively stuffed his handkerchief out of sight.

"We can't be as surprising as all that!" whispered Irene.

The big one began moving forward, then, in a hesitant, tentative kind of shuffle. The little one edged ahead, too, but he was careful to keep the bulk of his companion between himself and us.

"First contact with the aliens," said Mandie, and Irene and Horace giggled nervously. I didn't respond. I had come to the decision that I was going to quit working for Carl, that I didn't like any of these people about me, except, maybe, Irene, and that these two strangers gave me the honest creeps.

Then the big one smiled, and everything was changed.

I've worked in the entertainment field, in advertising and in public relations. This means I have come in contact with some of the prime charm boys and girls in our proud land. I have become, therefore, not only a connoisseur of smiles, I am a being equipped with numerous automatic safeguards against them. When a talcumed smoothie comes at me with his brilliant ivories exposed, it only shows he's got something he can bite me with, that's all.

But the smile of the Walrus was something else.

The smile of the Walrus did what a smile hasn't done for me in years—it melted my heart. I use the cornball phrase very much on purpose. When I saw his smile, I knew I could trust him; I felt in my marrow that he was gentle and sweet and had nothing but the best intentions. His resemblance to the Walrus in the poem ceased being vaguely chilling and became warmly comical. I loved him as I had loved the teddy bear of my childhood.

"Oh, I say," he said, and his voice was an embarrassed boom. "I do hope we're not intruding!"

"I daresay we are," squeaked the Carpenter, peeping out from behind his companion.

"The, uhm, fact is," boomed the Walrus, "we didn't even notice you until just back then, you see."

"We were talking, is what," said the Carpenter.

They wept like anything to see
Such quantities of sand …

"About sand?" I asked.

The Walrus looked at me with a startled air.

"We were, actually, now you come to mention it."

He lifted one huge foot and shook it so that a little trickle of sand spilled out of his shoe.

"The stuff's impossible," he said. "Gets in your clothes, tracks up the carpet."

"Ought to be swept away, it ought," said the Carpenter.

"If seven maids with seven mops
Swept it for half a year,
Do you suppose," the Walrus said,
"That they could get it clear?"

"It's too much!" said Carl.

"Yes, indeed," said the Walrus, eying the sand around him with vague disapproval, "altogether too much."

Then he turned to us again, and we all basked in that smile.

"Permit me to introduce my companion and myself," he said.

"You'll have to excuse George," said the Carpenter, "as he's a bit of a stuffed shirt, don't you know?"

"Be that as it may," said the Walrus, patting the Carpenter on the flat top of his paper hat, "this is Edward Farr, and I am George Tweedy, both at your service. We are, uhm, both a trifle drunk, I'm afraid."

"We are, indeed. We are that."

"As we have just come from a really delightful party, to which we shall soon return."

"Once we've found the fuel, that is," said Farr, waving his saw in the air. By now he had found the courage to come out and face us directly.

"Which brings me to the question," said Tweedy. "Have you seen any driftwood lying about the premises? We've been looking high and low, and we can't seem to find any of the blasted stuff."

"Thought there'd be piles of it," said Farr, "but all there is is sand, don't you see?"

"I would have sworn you were looking for oysters," said Carl.

Again, Tweedy appeared startled.

"O Oysters, come and walk with us!"
The Walrus did beseech …

"Oysters?" he asked. "Oh, no, we've got the oysters. All we lack is the means to cook 'em."

" 'Course we could always use a few more," said Farr, looking at his companion.

"I suppose we could, at that," said Tweedy thoughtfully.

"I'm afraid we can't help you fellows with the driftwood problem," said Carl, "but you're more than welcome to a drink."
There was something unfamiliar about the tone of Carl's voice that made my ears perk up. I turned to look at him, and then had difficulty covering up my astonishment.

It was his eyes. For once, for the first time, they were really friendly.

I'm not saying Carl had fishy eyes, blank eyes—not at all. On the surface, that is. On the surface, with his eyes, with his face, with the handling of his entire body, Carl was a master of animation and expression. From sympathetic, heartfelt warmth, all the way to icy rage, and on every stop in-between, Carl was completely convincing.

But only on the surface. Once you got to know Carl, and it took a while, you realized that none of it was really happening. That was because Carl had died, or been killed, long ago. Possibly in childhood. Possibly he had been born dead. So, under the actor's warmth and rage, the eyes were always the eyes of a corpse.

But now it was different. The friendliness here was genuine, I was sure of it. The smile of Tweedy, of the Walrus, had performed a miracle. Carl had risen from his tomb. I was in honest awe.

"Delighted, old chap!" said Tweedy.

They accepted their drinks with obvious pleasure, and we completed the introductions as they sat down to join us. I detected a strong smell of fish when Tweedy sat down beside me, but, oddly, I didn't find it offensive in the least. I was glad he'd chosen me to sit by. He turned and smiled at me, and my heart melted a little more.

It soon turned out that the drinking we'd done before had only scratched the surface. Tweedy and Farr were magnificent boozers, and their gusto encouraged us all to follow suit.

We drank absurd toasts and were delighted to discover that Tweedy was an incredible raconteur. His specialty was outrageous fantasy: wild tales involving incongruous objects, events, and characters. His invention was endless.

"The time has come," the Walrus said,
"To talk of many things:
Of shoes—and ships—and sealing-wax—
Of cabbages—and kings—
And why the sea is boiling hot—
And whether pigs have wings."

Story stops.

Story starts again.

I couldn't seem to get located. Everything seemed disorientated and grotesque.

"For Christ's sake, Phil," said Carl, "Tweedy and Farr, here, have invited us to join their party. There's no more drinks left, and they've got plenty!"

I set my plastic cup down carefully on the sand. If they would just shut up for a moment, I thought, I might be able to get the fuzz out of my head.

"Come along, sir!" boomed Tweedy jovially. "It's only a pleasant walk!"

"O Oysters, come and walk with us!"
The Walrus did beseech.
"A pleasant walk, a pleasant talk"
Along the briny beach …"

He was smiling at me, but the smile didn't work anymore.

"You cannot do with more than four," I told him.

"Uhm? What's that?"

"We cannot do with more than four,
To give a hand to each."

"I said, 'You cannot do with more than four.'"

"He's right, you know," said Farr, the Carpenter.

"Well, uhm, then," said the Walrus, "if you feel you really can't come, old chap …"

"What, in Christ's name, are you all talking about?" asked Mandie.

"He's hung up on that goddamn poem," said Carl. "Lewis Carroll's got the yellow bastard scared."

"Don't be such a party pooper, Phil!" said Mandie.

"To hell with him," said Carl. And he started off, and all the others followed him. Except Irene.

"Are you sure you really don't want to come, Phil?" she asked.

She looked frail and thin against the sunlight. I realized there really wasn't much of her, and that what there was had taken a terrible beating.

"No," I said. "I don't. Are you sure you want to go?"

"Of course I do, Phil."

I thought of the pills.

"I suppose you do," I said. "I suppose there's really no stopping you."

"No, Phil, there isn't."

And then she stooped and kissed me. Kissed me very gently, and I could feel the dry, chapped surface of her lips and the faint warmth of her breath.

I stood.

"I wish you'd stay," I said.

"I can't," she said.

And then she turned and ran after the others.

I watched them growing smaller and smaller on the beach, following the Walrus and the Carpenter. I watched them come to where the beach curved around the bluff and watched them disappear behind the bluff.

I looked up at the sky. Pure blue. Impersonal.

"What do you think of this?" I asked it.

Nothing. It hadn't even noticed.

"Now, if you're ready, Oysters dear,
We can begin to feed."

"But not on us!" the Oysters cried,
Turning a little blue.
"After such kindness, that would be
A dismal thing to do!"

A dismal thing to do.

I began to run up the beach, toward the bluff. I stumbled now and then because I had had too much to drink. Far too much to drink. I heard small shells crack under my shoes, and the sand made whipping noises.

I fell, heavily, and lay there gasping on the beach. My heart pounded in my chest. I was too old for this sort of footwork. I hadn't had any real exercise in years. I smoked too much and I drank too much. I did all the wrong things. I didn't do any of the right things.

I pushed myself up a little and then I let myself down again. My heart was pounding hard enough to frighten me. I could feel it in my chest, frantically pumping, squeezing blood in and spurting blood out.

Like an oyster pulsing in the sea.

"Shall we be trotting home again?"

My heart was like an oyster.

I got up, fell up, and began to run again, weaving widely, my mouth open and the air burning my throat. I was coated with sweat, streaming with it, and it felt icy in the cold wind.

"Shall we be trotting home again?"

I rounded the bluff, and then I stopped and stood swaying, and then I dropped to my knees.

The pure blue of the sky was unmarked by a single bird or cloud, and nothing stirred on the whole vast stretch of the beach.

But answer came there none—
And this was scarcely odd, because …

Nothing stirred, but they were there. Irene and Mandie and Carl and Horace were there, and four others, too. Just around the bluff.

"We cannot do with more than four …"

But the Walrus and the Carpenter had taken two trips.

I began to crawl toward them on my knees. My heart, my oyster heart, was pounding too hard to allow me to stand.

The other four had had a picnic, too, very like our own. They, too, had plastic cups and plates, and they, too, had brought bottles. They had sat and waited for the return of the Walrus and the Carpenter.

Irene was right in front of me. Her eyes were open and stared at, but did not see, the sky. The pure blue uncluttered sky. There were a few grains of sand in her left eye. Her face was almost clear of blood. There were only a few flecks of it on her lower chin. The spray from the huge wound in her chest seemed to have traveled mainly downward and to the right. I stretched out my arm and touched her hand.

"Irene," I said.

But answer came there none—
And this was scarcely odd, because
They'd eaten every one.

I looked up at the others. Like Irene, they were, all of them, dead. The Walrus and the Carpenter had eaten the oysters and left the shell.

The Carpenter never found any firewood, and so they'd eaten them raw. You can eat oysters raw if you want to.

I said her name once more, just for the record, and then I stood and turned from them and walked to the bluff. I rounded the bluff and the beach stretched before me, vast, smooth, empty, and remote.

Even as I ran upon it, away from them, it was remote.

The End
· · · · ·
Author's Note:

I distrusted the Alice books from the start. My grown-ups tried to pretend they were children's books and that I should and would enjoy them, so they officially shuffled them in with the Oz and Pooh collection, but I knew better; I knew they were dangerous, and I opened them only rarely and gingerly.

Of course Tenniel's Jabberwock leapt out at me from the start (as it has, I am sure, at many another innocent child), but there were many other horrors: the simultaneously fading and grinning cat; the impeccably cruel Duchess with her "little boy"; something about Bill the Lizard floating helplessly over the chimney; the crazed creatures at the Tea Party—the worst part of it was the thing that pervaded all those images and all the other images in the books (which I knew weren't about any "Wonderland" at all, but about the very world I was trying to grow up in, only seen from some terrifyingly sophisticated point of view); the weird convincingness of Carroll's horrible message that nothing, nothing soever, made any sense at all!

If it hadn't been for brave, stolid Alice (bless her stout, young, British heart), herself a child, I don't think I could have survived those goddamn books.

But there is no Alice in this story.

Or obviously a Santa. Ha.

Friday, February 9

The Lathe of Heaven.

The Lathe of Heaven.

Probably the most famous sci-fi movie you couldn't watch for over 20 years.

(The book is by Ursula Kroeber Le Guin (born October 21, 1929), an American author. She has written novels, poetry, children's books and essays, and is best known for her science fiction, fantasy novels and short stories.)

I saw this on Chicago’s channel 11 (public television), in 1980. And from the number of times it was aired, I was obviously lucky to have caught it. (I finally bought the VHS on ebay a year or so ago).

Dreaming that could change reality. Or change the world. Main character, Bruce Davidson - you see him in movies now-a-days as the person you would love to hate. Here he has a sympathetic role.

Also while reading reviews, I noticed two other movies I own and like were mentioned as similiar movies: Run Lola Run and The Butterfly Effect. I had never connected them, but they all deal with changing what's already happened.

For two decades, it has been the Holy Grail for almost an entire generation of science fiction fans. Named among the top 100 greatest works of science fiction by Entertainment Weekly magazine, its return to the public eye has been long anticipated, helped in part by the devoted efforts of its fans, who lobbied for its re-release in public pleas, grassroots Internet campaigns, and tireless letter-writing crusades. And though it did not bask in the same level of mainstream popularity that George Lucas' "Star Wars" franchise experienced, it has made an indelible mark in the annals of science fiction filmmaking nonetheless.

It was back in 1980 that "The Lathe of Heaven", a modestly budgeted made-for-television movie based on the best-selling novel by Ursula K. Le Guin, made its first and only appearance on North American public television. Though it was never seen again, "The Lathe of Heaven" developed a cult following, even among those who never had a chance to see it when it was initially aired.

For the past twenty years, the only means to view this sci-fi masterpiece was via poor-quality bootlegged videotapes, often sold at outrageous prices at sci-fi conventions or on eBay. However, this all changed in June of this year, with the long-awaited rebroadcast of "The Lathe of Heaven" by public broadcasting television stations across North America, and the promise of the film's availability (digitally remastered no less) on VHS and DVD by the fall.

The 1980 adaptation—generally faithful to the novel—was produced by the public television station WNET, directed by David Loxton and Fred Barzyk. It starred Bruce Davison, Kevin Conway, and Margaret Avery. Due to rights issues surrounding the use of a clip from the Beatles tune "With A Little Help From My Friends" (the song is integral to one of the novel's plot points), it was never re-aired after the network's rights to rebroadcast the program expired in 1988.

It would be another twelve years before it was released to home video in 2000 (in fact, the home video release is remastered from a tape someone recorded from the original broadcast; PBS, thinking the rights issues would dog the production forever, did not save a copy of the production in their archives). The rights issue was solved by replacing the original Beatles tune with a cover version of the same song.

The novel is set in Portland, Oregon. The 'real world' had been destroyed in a nuclear war and George Orr has dreamed it back into existence as he lay dying in the ruins. This places him in the first of many realities we encounter in the book, where he is a draftsman and has long been abusing sleep deprivation drugs to prevent himself from dreaming.

It is set approximately 30 years in the future, relative to when the book was first published, and overpopulation, famine, malnutrition, global warming, urban blight, and massive wars in the MIDDLE EAST are a commonplace. (ALL FIT THE PRESENT UNFORTUNATELY)

Orr is forced to undergo "voluntary" psychiatric care for his drug abuse, under threat of being placed in an asylum.

He begins attending therapy sessions with an ambitious psychiatrist and sleep researcher named William Haber, who discovers Orr's power to dream "effectively" and seeks to use it to change the world. His experiments with a biofeedback/EEG machine nicknamed the Augmentor enhance Orr's abilities and produce a series of increasingly intolerable alternate worlds, based on an assortment of utopian (and dystopian) premises familiar from other science fiction works:

When Haber directs George to dream a world without racism, the skin of everyone on the planet becomes a uniform light gray.

An attempt to solve the problem of overpopulation proves disastrous when George dreams a devastating plague which wipes out 75% of humanity.

George attempts to dream into existence "peace on Earth" - resulting in an alien invasion of the Moon which unites all the nations of Earth against the threat.

Each effective dream gives Haber more wealth and status, until late in the book where he is effectively ruler of the world. Orr's economic status also improves, but he is unhappy with Haber's meddling and just wants to let things be. He becomes increasingly frightened by Haber's lust for power. He seeks out a lawyer to represent him against Haber, and while he falls in love with her and even marries her in one reality, this effort is unsuccessful in getting him out of therapy.

Eventually, Haber becomes frustrated with Orr's resistance and decides to take on effective dreaming himself. Haber's first effective dream represents a significant break with the realities created by Orr, and threatens to destroy the Earth completely. He is stopped by Orr through pure force of will. Reality is saved, but distorted, and Haber's mind is left broken.

"The Lathe of Heaven" debuted some twenty years ago, and remained one of the best-kept secrets in the history of science fiction filmmaking-- that is, until recently. Despite its low-budget roots, "The Lathe of Heaven" holds up remarkably well, and is still as intriguing and thought provoking as it was back in 1980. It is one of the few great works of science fiction that will stand the test of time.

Thursday, February 8

Hard Candy.

The title "Hard Candy" comes from the internet slang for an under-aged girl.

This is a film that will sometimes rely on shock value so the less you know the better. In simplest terms, it is a two character psychological thriller. The dialog is well written and intelligent. (bringing to mind Oleanna – David Mamet.)

At times it is intense but it continues to draw you in. I really liked it.

(the following is part of a review from Roger Ebert)

Jeff (Patrick Wilson) is a photographer who hangs out in Internet teen chat rooms, and strikes up a predatory friendship with Hayley (Ellen Page). She agrees to meet him on neutral territory, a coffee shop, but soon suggests they go to his home. He offers her a drink. She laughs: "I know better than to accept a drink mixed by a strange man." So she mixes the drinks.....

The film succeeds in telling its story with no nudity; the R rating comes "for disturbing violent and aberrant sexual content involving a teen and for language." The young girl is not objectified but has free will throughout, lives in the moment and improvises.

There is undeniable fascination in the situation as it unfolds. It is an effective film. Although I may be concerned about how some audience members may react to it, I cannot penalize it on the basis of my speculations about their private feelings. Seen as a film, seen as acting and direction, seen as just exactly how it unfolds on the screen, "Hard Candy" is impressive and effective. As for what else it may be, each audience member will have to decide.

Pink doing Aerosmith’s – Janies Got a Gun

Janie's Got A Gun
Dum, dum, dum, honey what have you done?
Dum, dum, dum it's the sound of my gun.
Dum, dum, dum, honey what have you done?
Dum, dum, dum it's the sound

Janie's got a gun
Janie's got a gun
Her whole world's come undone
From lookin' straight at the sun
What did her daddy do?
What did he put you through?
They said when Janie was arrested
they found him underneath a train
But man, he had it comin' Now that Janie's got a gun
she ain't never gonna be the same.

Janie's got a gun
Janie's got a gun
Her dog day's just begun
Now everybody is on the run
Tell me now it's untrue.
What did her daddy do?
He jacked a little bitty baby
The man has got to be insane
They say the spell that he was under the lightning and the
thunder knew that someone had to stop the rain

Run away, run away from the pain yeah, yeah yeah yeah
Run away run away from the pain yeah yeah
yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah
Run away, run away, run, run away

Janie's got a gun
Janie's got a gun
Her dog day's just begun
Now everybody is on the run
What did her daddy do?
It's Janie's last I.O.U.
She had to take him down easy and put a bullet in his brain
She said 'cause nobody believes me. The man was such a sleeze.

He ain't never gonna be the same.
Run away, run away from the pain yeah, yeah
yeah yeah yeah
Run away run away from the pain yeah yeah
yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah
Run away, run away, run, run away

Janie's got a gun
Janie's got a gun
Janie's got a gun
Everybody is on the run

Janie's got a gun
Her dog day's just begun
Now everybody is on the run
Because Janie's got a gun
Janie's got a gun
Her dog day's just begun
Now everybody is on the run
Janie's got a gun

Aqualung - Jethro Tull

Aqualung - Jethro Tull

Sitting on a park bench
eyeing little girls with bad intent.
Snot running down his nose
greasy fingers smearing shabby clothes.
Drying in the cold sun
Watching as the frilly panties run.
Feeling like a dead duck
spitting out pieces of his broken luck.
Sun streaking cold
an old man wandering lonely.
Taking time
the only way he knows.
Leg hurting bad,
as he bends to pick a dog-end
he goes down to the bog
and warms his feet.
Feeling alone
the army's up the rode
salvation à la mode and
a cup of tea.
Aqualung my friend
don't start away uneasy
you poor old sod, you see, it's only me.
Do you still remember
December's foggy freeze
when the ice that
clings on to your beard is
screaming agony.
And you snatch your rattling last breaths
with deep-sea-diver sounds,
and the flowers bloom like
madness in the spring.