Escape from Elba
Exiles of the New York Times
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1861  Arts / Movies / Re: Movies on: November 04, 2007, 01:32:48 PM

This film was erroneously labeled sci-fi on at least a couple of websites -- there is the occasional use of a time travel metaphor to talk about remembered love affairs and emotional life, but the film is primarily a period piece set in the Hong Kong of the 1960s and concerns the loves and peccadillos of a heavy-drinking writer of erotic novels.  My description makes the film sound much more coherent, and interesting, than it really is.  Though the shots are visually lush, the characters are curiously opaque, drifting in and out various paths that somehow don't resolve into a graspable narrative.   It was hard not to hear a little voice whispering "Inland Empire" as I struggled grimly to find something to engage with.   This may be the least-compelling film I've watched this year.

1862  Arts / Movies / Re: Movies on: November 03, 2007, 05:39:56 PM
The Triumph of the Swill!

No, really, it sounds tasty.  And some Dorothy David Lynch dressing on the salad.

Preparing to put "2046" into the DVD player.  Wish me luck.
1863  Science and Technology / Science and Religion / Re: Science and Religion on: November 03, 2007, 05:36:30 PM
Ghosts are so uncreative -- in tv and film, they appear in the vicinity of people they knew and had tiresome issues with and hang around being all tied in knots about their past life instead of "going to the light" and "crossing over" or whatever they're supposed to do.  Never does a guy ghost say, "Hey, what am I doing here, when I could now easily look in on a girl's locker room or get into the VIP seats at a Patriots game or haunt Area 51 and see what really is going on out there or blow a cold draft on the neck of a celebrity and see what happens...."  Nor do they really get into the whole aspect of being weightless and able to travel at the speed of thought and move through solid matter -- you could fly to Mars, float down the Champs-Elysee, explore coral reefs, journey to the center of the earth, etc.  You could be, in short, the ultimate tourist!   
1864  Books / Creative Writing / Re: Creative Writing on: November 03, 2007, 11:56:09 AM
"How are you at making ropes out of bedsheets?" asked Wurzel.

Gordon grabbed Newt's hands.  "You've got city hands, mister.  The only thing they've handled is money!"

"I'm not a girly-man!" cried Newt.  "I can make quality rope from wet toilet paper!"

"That's good," said Gordon.  "When my specially bred rats gnaw through the window bars over there, we're going to need quality rope."

"What we really need," said Wurzel, "is a good pair of...."

1865  Science and Technology / Science and Religion / Re: Science and Religion on: November 03, 2007, 11:48:04 AM
Like that towering masterpiece, Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow!

I though The Abyss, in spite of its many metaphysical moments and the big water johnson, missed a real opportunity when they had to drown Mary Eliz. Mastrantonio so that she could be rescued and then revived -- no one bothers to ask her if she saw a tunnel or a white light or anything.

Flatliners, of course, really focuses the high beams on that whole temporary death thing.

1866  Arts / Movies / Re: Movies on: November 03, 2007, 11:26:11 AM
Trojan -- I'm mostly veg'n, a contraction I use for "vegetarian" NOT VEGAN (SORRY TO CONFUSE DESDEMONA!), but do occasionally stray, mostly insentient creatures with notochords, like shrimp and sardines.  I don't know if too many people can really do a cold climate on a pure vegan diet -- I get borderline ill and have to at least have some eggs and dairy, which seem to be a decent non-killing delivery system for protein, B12, calcium, and all that good stuff.  But if there's turkey or whatever put in front of me, it's already dead, nothing will bring it back to life, then I'm not going to let it go to waste.

Donot -- glad to know hens just naturally lay infertile eggs.  As for teat-sited cruelty, yeah, it's hard to contest that the machines are painful, I've heard they induce bloody cuts and lesions and mastitis is pretty common in factory farming.  I buy "happy cow" milk at the local coop, which claims the cows live outside, frolick in the meadows, listen to chamber music, whatever.

Jbot, vegetarian spaghetti sauce is tricky, you have to bolster it with something -- pinto or azuki beans are a good option, but they need to really simmer in the Italian spices a while and absorb the flavor.
Seeing Darjeeling Express this weekend.  You know, speaking of countries where veg'nism is big.

1867  Books / Creative Writing / Re: Creative Writing on: November 02, 2007, 01:21:03 PM
"Motivate walrus walnut weasel blind pinetar perspective in deference to captive emollient fiber-optic titmouse colloquium, siphoning bladder remnants in direct dirigible packets of ennui and simplified pencil effluvium," said Gordon.  Then, seeing the problem, added, "Sorry that went on for more than one line.  If I'd summarized, it would have been clarified immensely."

"No," said Wurzel, "you needed to stick with the rhythm.  Condensation would have rendered it lifeless and glutted with linear meaning."

"Whatever you say," said Gordon.  "I am not the owner of my words.  In fact, if I gave them all away without a fuss, they'd probably let me out of here."

"How would you order pizza," asked Wurzel.

"That's the point," said Gordon.  "I wouldn't order pizza. "

"How is that a point?" asked Wurzel.

"Forget it.  Everything you eat turns to shit anyway."

"You're a pessimist," said Wurzel.

"No, a realist," said Gordon.  "It's all part of the cycle of life."

1868  Arts / Movies / Re: Movies on: November 02, 2007, 01:10:29 PM
Trojan, are store eggs fertilized?  I know little about such matters, but don't they just give the hen some kind of drug that makes her lay eggs, sans rooster contribution.  I know this is a film thread digression, given it's only slender relevance to "Year of the Dog," but what the heck. 

I respect Oilcan being honest about being "hooked on" meat.  Refreshing, after hearing so many people hem and haw about being "semi vegitarians" or whatever.   It's much easier to be veg'n if you were a kid like me, who tended to view the meat portion as less interesting than the other stuff on the plate.   Seemed like there'd always be a piece of steak that was this gray and overly chewy lump, not very tasty.  And chicken I usually liked more for what was coating it or drizzled on it.  Chicken by itself seemed tasteless.  It's likely that my parents were not great cooks.

If I couldn't have dairy, though, I'd die.  And no teats have to be murdered to make milk.

1869  Arts / Movies / Re: Movies on: November 02, 2007, 11:24:06 AM
Yeah, Shannon's boss was brilliantly played.  I've worked in an office job, and he seemed completely real.  I think the movie, generally, had a good humorous take on the hypocrisy we all have, to some degree, about what we eat.  I think White has some clever camera work, as when Shannon and her niece visit the rescue-farm, and he lets the camera observe the chickens milling around in such a way that most viewers, I think, are going to find it hard not to say to themselves, "It's just a bunch of chickens."   He sort of does that with his people shots, too -- a kind of naked observation that lets their characters show, sometimes to great comic effect.

As for plants, I sort of doubt they feel pain, but that whole debate is moot, given that we have to eat something to survive.   The only diet you could eat that wouldn't be taking a life of some kind would be fruit, potatoes, and nuts, whose harvesting doesn't kill the plant.

1870  Science and Technology / Science and Religion / Re: Science and Religion on: November 02, 2007, 11:08:57 AM
And thus my sinister plan for bending every thread to a FILM CHAT proceeds apace!!  Ahahahaha!

Movies About Science and Religion (or science and spiritual experience):

2001: A Space Odyssey
Planet of the Apes
Close Encounters of the Third Kind
The Abyss
Flatliners name a few...

1871  Books / Meander Where You May / Re: Meander Where You May on: November 02, 2007, 10:59:28 AM
I wasn't much of a Phil Ochs fan, but his draft board song was unforgettable.  A classic.

1872  Arts / Movies / Re: Movies on: November 02, 2007, 10:52:00 AM
My YotD comments sank like a stone in all the Dahlia discourse.  Did anyone see YotD?  If so, do you now have a cow sponsored in your name?

1873  Science and Technology / Science and Religion / Re: Science and Religion on: November 01, 2007, 01:45:53 PM
Of course I meant a "numbskull in that particular situation and not generally."   Smiley
1874  Arts / Movies / Re: Movie Club on: November 01, 2007, 01:37:43 PM
The Urethra moniker would be funnier if Aretha Franklin weren't such an outstanding singer -- doesn't she get a little r-e-s-p-e-c-t?

I see you've returned, Detective Winslow.

1875  Science and Technology / Science and Religion / Re: Science and Religion on: November 01, 2007, 12:04:24 PM
Zilch, zip, nada.  The point of that anecdote is that the director was a numbskull.  He had Jack Nicholson on board for the lead, and he drove him away with some ridiculous concerns about hirsuteness.

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