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#3521 bods1000

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Posted 06 October 2019 - 11:11 PM

So it turns out that October 3 is National Poetry Day and October 4 is National Vodka Day.

 

Well, why not? lol

 

Here's a drink for thought for National Vodka Day - all vodka tastes the same, from the inebriatingly high prices of Ciroc and Grey Goose to the loose change Russian peasantry tipples Russian Standard or Smirnov. Basically it's just ethanol you're drinking. Now if vodka is not your cup of tea or drinking not your first choice for being wasted on a fine Sunday evening, I hope you had a penne alla vodka. Yes, that pasta really has vodka in it.

 

As for the National Poetry Day, The Independent published 28 of the most powerful lines of poetry ever written. Some of my favorites:

 

I love you as certain dark things are to be loved / in secret, between the shadow and the soul. Sonnet XVII, Pablo Neruda

 

I would like to be the air / that inhabits you for a moment / only. I would like to be that unnoticed / & that necessary. Variation on the Word Sleep, Margaret Atwood

 

She had blue skin, / and so did he./ He kept it hid /  and so did she./ They looked for blue / their whole life through./ Then passed right by../ and never knew. Masks, Shel Silverstein

 

Tree you are, / Moss you are, / You are violets with wind above them. / A child - so high - you are, / And all this is folly to the world. A Girl, Ezra Pound

 

But the dark pines of your mind dip deeper / And you are sinking, sinking, sleeper / In an elementary world; There is something down there and you want it told.

Dark Pines Under Water, Gwendolyn MacEwen



#3522 bods1000

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Posted 15 October 2019 - 11:21 PM

I hope they show the baseball games there. Completely forgot that I should not be going off somewhere during this particular time. 



#3523 bods1000

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Posted 08 November 2019 - 09:44 PM

Books that fly with you on a trip - experiencing the same air disturbances, cramped up in a side pocket, never eating and never going to the john, pages drying up due to thin air - these are hardy souls. They never talk, but they speak volumes, and no matter the time that comes when you won't recall a single thing from it, it stays memorable because it captured a moment, like a song. 

 

That Quammen on a European jaunt - talking about dodoes and such. That Didion last year in Tokyo, which transported me back to the 60s and its unrests - but beautiful portraits still. Even that silly travel book by a guy named Bastarde, about a British bloke who decided to live in France - with all its dismal accidents, all of them brought joy and happy memories.

 

Today it was some book by Brian Phillips - more a book of feature writing. He ruminates on royalty and the Queen. He goes to Alaska to chronicle that dog race through the snow. He tries to spot tigers in India, aliens in the Southwest, wrestlers in Tokyo. And a long story about the long and strange saga of an American heiress gone to seed. Amazing stories for the boy in me. 

 

As stated in the Brian Phillips book, that the most astonishing thing about a tiger is not its beauty, or its strength, or its size, but by its capacity to disappear, I should say the reverse about books on a trip. I am not surprised by their capacity to disappear from memory after so many years, but I continue to be enchanted by their strength and beauty and comfort.


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#3524 bods1000

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Posted 15 November 2019 - 10:29 PM

The moment I saw Caitriona Balfe's dreamy silhouette against Christian Bale's garage door, I knew this was going to be a great movie.

 

Caitriona Balfe. Christian Bale. C.B. C.B. What can be more natural. What's not immediately natural is how they made a fine movie about cars, dreams, visions, races, and endless shots of greasy men tinkering under the hoods of cars.

 

On to peripherals, but first the title. Ford v. Ferrari. You'd expect that with a braintrust that include the director James Mangold (Logan, Girl Interrupted, Cop Land) and the writers Butterworth (Black Mass, Spectre, Edge of Tomorrow), they would have thought up a less prosaic title. Maybe they should have imaginatively thought up a title that would rev you up and make blood rush to your head. Say, like, Batman v. Superman. See?

 

Marco Beltrami. The first name I look for in a movie - the soundtrack author. Beltrami - World War Z, Terminator 3, Red Eye, Snowpiercer, The Shallows..he of the rum-dum-dum school of film music. But the score works. It thuds. It evokes, It tears you up. It pulsates. Gotta look for that music.Good thing they did not get Hans Zimmer for this. His music thundered across another racing movie I love - Rush.

 

Jon Bernthal, as Lee Iacocca, the baddie who nearly raped good old Emily Blunt in Sicario, who was the manic tank gunner in Brad Pitt's Fury, is now here the visionary who is rightly considered the guy who put the idea of Le Mans into poor Henry Ford's head. Strong and understated expressions as a pup would say, and now that I think of it, the pup may be correct. But he is the visionary through and through, and for once he appears decent and cleancut and gets to wear nice suits unlike his other characters. Did I hear Walking Dead, too? A pup just yapped.

 

Mangold. Too bad I missed Logan. But I did see 3:10 To Yuma, that mid-aughts Russell Crowe cowboy shoot-em-up. I remember being impressed there. And what was so long long ago a film that proved that Stallone was more than just muscle - yes, Mangold directed him in Cop Land and people sat up and took notice. I mean, people then can't figure out what he was in that movie, the film being several studios away from his blood and guts action fests. But they saw another dimension of the actor, which I think exonerated Sylvester and gave him due respect. Nobody could have casted Stallone in that kind of a slow, slow film.

 

Christian Bale. What else could be said. The pup would die if he stopped acting. Like Daniel Day-Lewis, see. He should get nominated here. And he should win. The way he received the news that he was not coming to France - that was something any actor would blow up, but with Christian - wordless, you can fathom his grief in his expression, and the way he coolly stepped aside his disappointment by talking car at once while slowly standing up and leaving the office. Like when he was not proclaimed the rightful winner of that classic LeMans race, he just uttered to Matt Damon:

 

"It's okay. You promised me to drive, not to win."

 

There are only two truths to Ford v Ferrari. First you will enjoy the movie. Second, you would want to drive fast upon leaving the theater, in a manual transmission, with your left and right foot on the pedals, doing their dance to the music and beauty of the film.

 

Oops did I forget Matt Damon, He was also actually in the film.


Edited by bods1000, 15 November 2019 - 10:32 PM.

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#3525 bods1000

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Posted 15 November 2019 - 10:52 PM

"But you are what you love.

And not what loves you back

And I'm in love with illusions

So saw me in half

I'm in love with tricks

So pull another rabbit out of your hat."

 

Jenny Lewis, You Are What You Love



#3526 bods1000

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Posted 21 November 2019 - 10:10 PM

"Is there no sign of light as we stand in the darkness?

Watching the sun arise

Is there no sign of life as we gaze at the waters?

Into the stranger's eyes

 

And who are we to criticize or scorn the things that they do?

For we shall seek and we shall find Ammonia Avenue..

 

If we call for the proof and we question the answers

Only the doubt will grow

Are we blind to the truth or a sign to believe in?

Only the wise will know.

 

And word by word they handed down the light that shines today.

And those who came at first to scoff, remained behind to pray

Yes those who came at first to scoff, remained behind to pray.

 

When you cant hear the rhyme and you cant see the reason

Why should the hope remain?

For a man will be tired and his soul will grow weary

Living his life in vain.

 

And who are we to justify the right in all we do?

Until we see until we find Ammonia Avenue.

 

Through all the doubt somehow they knew

And stone by stone they built it high

Until the sun broke through

A ray of hope, a shining light Ammonia Avenue."

 

Alan Parsons/Eric Woolfson



#3527 bods1000

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Posted 22 November 2019 - 04:02 AM

To attempt to summon from memory all the songs she said she liked, lumping them together into some playlist, to listen to on some walk (they say a walk along water is therapeutic), just makes one lachrymose at three in the morning. Just a handful, but that should be enough to bridge the gap between fullness and nothingness.

21 Bridges, yeah maybe I need 21 bridges.

#3528 bods1000

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Posted 09 December 2019 - 12:15 AM

John Waters said:

 

"You should never just read for 'enjoyment'. Read to make yourself smarter! Less judgmental. More apt to understand your friends' insane behavior, or better yet, your own. Pick 'hard books'. Ones you have to concentrate on while reading. And for God's sake, don't ever let me hear you say, 'I can't read ficiton. I only have time for the truth.' Fiction is the truth, fool! Ever hear of 'literature'? That means fiction, too, stupid."

 

So, despite now reading three books simultaneously - the John Waters book Role Models, where the quote was taken and which I started reading since last year and which for some reason got always sidelined in favor of other books, The Diary of a Bookseller, which I read on the loo, and that doorstopper Rise And k*ll First, I am now starting on Assymetry, with no assurance which book I will finish first or if I would finish any instead of another book which might eventually catch my fancy.

 

I never really finish anything.



#3529 dungeonbaby

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Posted 10 December 2019 - 01:39 PM

I said something here as a reply to criticism of non-fiction readers, but that post has disappeared, bludgeoned by other words, blown away in a tempest.
 
 
 
Speaking of tempests, one such as The Bard cannot be pooh-poohed away by even the staunchest, most exclusive reader of truth. The exhilarated language is one of the great appeals of fiction. Pitting fiction against non-fiction - is this not a little like comparing puppies to kittens, professing love for one to the exclusion of the other? Does the heart not have room for both? Perhaps in extolling the virtues of one over the other we are merely exposing events in our lives that have precipitated such unnecessary biases. 
 
Guilty of recently saying exactly what your author declares to be a stupid pronouncement, I remain unmoved in my desire to fill my hours and be better acquainted with non-fictitious men. As starchy as their writers may come, the stories they tell have inspired more dewy eyes than even say Steinbeck or Garcia Marquez. Here's the real question then. When Death peers into your window, what book will you be grasping to stay the cold fear stabbing at your chest? Shall you have the words of King David floating as a prayer before you or will you cling to the sentiments of a melancholy whore? Will you have in your head the murmur of steadfast men, whisper loud enough for your soul to hear, "Now he belongs to the ages." 
 
My bookshelves cough fictional fluff and fairy dust. I must soothe them soon with presidents, soldiers, at least one mathematician. And, if there is still time, maybe another wizard.      

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#3530 bods1000

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Posted 11 December 2019 - 12:25 AM

True to form, I chucked the novel I was reading. Ten pages into Assymetry found me nauseated. Do authors have a license to turn their life events into fiction? Tempestuous. The tempestuous scene that caused me to abort the book made my mind unruly because it could have set off some unwanted bells in my head.

 

That is my bias. Fiction or nonfiction? My heart can accomodate even a bear, but I will stop at pups, kitties, and bears and will balk at a whole Noah's ark of animal kingdomry, and I'm not even sure if kingdomry is a word, but half of what we're talking about here is fiction, so I think that slipping in a fictitious word is alright. Flirtatious words not yet welcome.

 

So the Bard's barbs have waterboarded Waters and made him waterlogged. Good for him, but if you read that quote in context with the whole book, you will forgive his biases. After all he is the resident lunatic of fringe cinema and he has been attempting to disfigure film as we know it with a cold stab to the heart.

 

Speaking of death, and since death is such serious business as it is, I would have King David buzzing in my head but I would have leavened it with a little levity. I will bring any book by Perelman and let intellectual hilarity rule my final laborious breathing and I would die laughing into the void. Unfortunately in those final moments, my head will spin with murmurs of one-liners, word revelry and slapstick as my heroes are social misfits, travellers, and bumblers and banging in my head are the words "Now they all belong 'under' a pedestal" as I spin into the unknown. 

 

My shelves too are undignified with books on trivia, science, history, sports - true fluff.  And whatever bios I have are those of musicians whom I suspect of harboring several addictions before plus the memoir of one surfer whom I'm not sure why he would be writing a memoir.

 

And oh yes, the book I replaced Assymetry with is a memoir by Sidney Lumet, director of beloved films Dog Day Afternoon and Serpico. Real magic.



#3531 bods1000

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Posted 14 December 2019 - 03:28 PM

In the best traditions of an Agatha Christie or a Rex Stout, Rian Johnson has crafted a masterful whodunit. Knives Out. All tropes are here - a gloomy mansion, a cast of characters all of whom has a motive to commit a crime so heinous, like say putting a knife to the throat of a family patriarch - but is it?  Always these films have an outstanding ensemble cast, and with the familiar final exposition of the crime's solution in front of every suspect.

 

But when Toni Collete's character begins sashaying to Roxy Music's More Than This, I knew something was afoot. This would be no ordinary murder mystery despite having all the ingredients of a murder mystery in the pot. In the first place it has a pudgy Daniel Craig in the lead spot as some mysterious detective done in the mold of a Nero Wolfe or Hercule Poirot. Even his name has an unknown provenance like those two - Benoit Blanc. Classic. And Daniel Craig gives a surprising performance that reminds you that he is more than a Bond. Daniel Craig has been appearing of late in small, albeit well-done films. In Logan Lucky he appears as some kind of villain whose silvery mane reminds me of that old Bond nemesis - Adolfo Celli. So Danile Craig is finally done with his nemesis - his own Bond films, but not until we see the final Bond film, in which he also appears with Ana de Armas, who here plays the most pivotal part as the patriarch's nurse. 

 

So Knives Out, despite being of the classic whodunit type, still has many aces up its sleeve, enough to subvert the genre and give it something of a modern spin. It is done cheekily and never descends into serious caricature. At some point I expected it to devolve into something like the old delicious Neil Simon film, Murder By Death, but no. Knives Out stays agile and does not smell as stale as all those past whodunits. Good for Rian. Now I wonder what he'll do with a locked-room mystery next, and by God, he should. Since he is on a roll, he might as well ape those John Dickson Carrs next.

 

The cast is worthy and does not disappoint, although it comes as nothing close to the star wattage of previous Murders on The Orient Express, or the aforementioned Murder By Death, which had Alec Guiness as the blind butler, Peter Falk as the blowsy detective, Peter Sellers as some Oriental hoodoo, David Niven, Maggie Smith, and would you believe, Truman Capote. Truman Capote in a film? That should be reason enough for me to see the movie again.

 

Okay Toni Collette here looks so Hereditary here that I thought I was in the wrong film. Don Johnson still has the chops to be someone whom you wouldn't trust. The underrated Michael Shannon! Well every movie that has Michael Shannon in it is elevated some notches higher. He is that good. Need I say Jamie Lee Curtis, who still appears villanous but somehow comes off as sexy with that silver head of hair. Christopher Plummer's characters always have this tendency of dying ahead of him. Christopher Plummer is all of more than 90 years old and I think he can still outlive all the characters that he will play. Chris Evans, well, would anybody believe that this is the first time I've seen Chris Evans in a movie? If I hadn't been told by some kitty that Chris Evans was in the film I would have had no idea who that was. But he also comes off strong with a certain menace that you just can't place.

 

And so with our Cuban ingenue, Ana De Armas. She is so good in this movie, but I've decided that I prefer seeing her in hologram. She was such a stuff of fantasy in Blade Runner. 

 

But enough of that. Knives Out is so good that it deserves a second viewing. Money Out!



#3532 bods1000

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Posted 14 December 2019 - 03:53 PM

As the first harmonica strains of Sweet Virginia begins to play over the final credits of Knives Out, I am reminded of just how good Mick Jagger and Keith Richards are. Jagger-Richards remains in my estimation as one of the greatest songwriting duos of all time, right up there with Lennon-McCartney, Elton John-Bernie Taupin or Bacharach- Hal David, Fagen- Becker too. They have planted their collective feet as one of the staunchest music purveyors of the last fifty years. 

 

They have bad history behind them - Altamont, drugs, all those wild partying and even wilder girl groupies and mates, those notorious recording sessions, but their music is their redemption. Standing as some eminence grise of the rock firmament now, they have been redeemed just by staying alive. lol!

 

But for all their musical permutations - rock, disco, blues, ballads - I love them for when they go simple and rootsy. I so love their "hillbilly" songs. Sweet Virginia. Dead Flowers. The Spider and The Fly. Far Away Eyes. And saying hillbilly there makes me feel good as someone  whispering that she is really just a hillbilly at heart. And Sweet Virginia - does it refer to a woman, or is this that faraway place where some kitty paws have traversed? No matter. Just sit back, put your feet up, grab a beer,  and listen to these down-home songs


Edited by bods1000, 14 December 2019 - 03:56 PM.


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Posted 16 December 2019 - 04:02 PM

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#3534 bods1000

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Posted 20 December 2019 - 10:00 PM

    ^

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#3535 bods1000

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Posted 20 December 2019 - 10:53 PM

It's that time of the year, when poinsettias bloom and a thousand bright rays come forth. 

 

It's also the time for bests of - best films of the year, best songs, best albums, best soundtracks, best books, even the best sex lines (or worst sex lines) in novels.

Joining the fray and for whatever it's worth (yeah, I know, nobody's asking), here are the books that I liked this year, not necessarily new 2019 books, but books from here and there, old and new, fiction but mostly non-fiction (take that, John Waters, for offending the pup).

 

Dog Soldiers - Robert Stone

The only fiction I read, but a damn good one. A 70s novel, chronicling a Vietnam vet's descent into a world of chaos after a simple drug deal. Gritty, scary and full of nifty dialogue, a great read to wipe away the bad taste of a day gone wrong -  worse things can happen to a guy, and you can read it here.

 

The Din In The Head - Cynthia Ozick

The language is superb, languorous, and elegant. Why did I took so long to read this book of essays. Ozick writes about the young Tolstoy, Updike, Bellow, Sylvia Plath, the Jewish writer, a dissertation on Robert Alter's literary translation of the Pentateuch, and a delicious fictional interview with Henry James. Read it if you value good writing.

 

By The Sword - Robert Cohen

A magisterial history of swords and sword making and gladiators and duellists and musketeers and fencers and samurais and swashbucklers. Very learned and entertaining. (Cohen is an actual British Olympic fencer). Found this book secondhand in a dim upstairs store in Hong Kong a long time ago, and it has languished like an outdated samurai sword in my shelves since then. Glad to finally read this gem this year.

 

Reelin' In The Years - Mark Radcliffe

This British DJ's memoir reads like a chronicle and timeline of the entire rock era - from doowop to rock to punk to disco to new wave, etc. From Cliff Richards to Elvis to Chubby Checker, to Led Zep to The Ramones to Pulp to Radiohead and so forth. It is funny, serious, and authoritative. Each chapter is a year of the author's life, with a favorite song from that year. And it is sprinkled with tidbits that only a music insider knows, like, say, did you know that Axl Rose is not Axl Rose's real name but is an anagram of Oral Sex? Things like those.

 

Vitamania - Catherine Price

The Secret Life of Fat - Sylvia Tara

I'm a sucker for health books and anything related to nutrition and fads and diets and the science behind them. Vitamania is the history of how vitamins were discovered and how they revolutionized the food industry. The Secret Life is about the science of fat and why they stay and how. I learned many things here.

 

Days Of Rage - Bryan Burrough

There was a time, in the 70s, that America looked like Beirut or Baghdad, with almost daily bombings, demonstrations, race riots, scary cities - real turmoil unimaginable now. This is the history of that period, the history of all the radical groups that sprouted then in the wake of Vietnam and general political malaise. A very nice read - gripping and total. I was familiar with some of the events, and this book seemed like a tour that took me back to all those headlines of a long time ago. Nostalgic.

 

My Life With Bob - Pamela Paul

Bob is actually the Book of Books, and this is what Pamela Paul has done - compiled and written down in a journal every single book she has read since her teens - where she read it, when, any significant event during that reading, and so on. I should also have done that, but I did not have that solid vision she had. A quirky book that appeals only to booklovers, so I loved it.


Edited by bods1000, 20 December 2019 - 10:59 PM.


#3536 bods1000

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Posted 10 January 2020 - 11:28 PM

The Diary of A Bookseller made it to 2019 - finished it exactly on the 31st. So, I like the book because the author is a misanthrope and he turns out to be a lot grumpier than me.

 

Anyway, he has a bookshop in Scotland and some of the books that customers look for and/or buy are quite an eclectic mix. No kidding, these are actual books:

 

 

Two In The Bush: The Fine Art of Vaginal Fisting (would you be caught perusing this book???)

 

A History of Orgies (ehemm you gonna be seen buying this book?)

 

Vamping Made Easy (this is about piano scales)

 

Sexing Day-Old Chicks

 

Wankie (not what you're thinking of. This is about a nature reserve in Zimbabwe)

 

Talk Dirty Yiddish

 

Collectable Spoons of The Third Reich (a real head-scratcher. I mean, why????)

 

Gay Agony - by H.A. Manhood (no, really. This is actually a book on theology. Lol)

 

Why Is There Something Rather Than Nothing (I mean, who cares, right?)

 

The Dieter's Guide To Weight Loss During Sex

 

The Book of Successful Fireplaces (my Gd, why a book on this???)

 

Liquid Gold: The Lore and Logic of Using Urine to Grow Plants (now this is a title that started out promisingly but ended up badly)

 

The Reforming Of Dangerous and Useless Horses (oh my...)

 

Sewage Disposal From Isolated Buildings

 

Donald McLeod's Gloomy Memories (I mean, who cares, and to write a book about it. grrrr)

 

Cuckoo Problems (make a guess if this is an ornithological book or a psychiatric tome)

 

The Universal Singular  (Just what is this about???)



#3537 bods1000

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Posted 11 January 2020 - 10:42 PM

RIP Neil Peart

 

I can't believe that I was shocked by his death. Was not really that big a Rush fan but his drum solos earmarked him as one of the greatest rock drummers ever. He turned out just to be one of your regular chaps, eating lunch in ordinary diners in between gigs in their earlier days. A shy chap, bookish too, who lost his daughter and wife in a span of 10 months in the 90s and for which he tried to recover by learning how to cook. 

 

You always thought musicians would live long, but maybe his mastery of his kit and his contributions to the rock drum canon have been more than enough for all the lifetimes of all the collective rock fans out there. Long live your memory, Mr. Peart. 






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