Donal's picture

    Bane for Dummies

    Have you heard, this new movie, the Batman movie -- what is it, the Dark Knight Lights Up or something? Whatever the name of it is. That's right, Dark Knight Rises, Lights Up, same thing. Do you know the name of the villain in this movie? Bane. The villain in the Dark Knight Rises is named Bane. B-A-N-E. What is the name of the venture capital firm that Romney ran, and around which there's now this make-believe controversy? Bain. The movie has been in the works for a long time, the release date's been known, summer 2012 for a long time. Do you think that it is accidental, that the name of the really vicious, fire-breathing, four-eyed, whatever-it-is villain in this movie is named Bane?" - Rush Limbaugh
    Doctor Cleveland's picture

    Ray Bradbury Is Dead, Alas

    Ray Bradbury has died, the newspapers all say. I am grateful that he lived so long, and sorry that he's gone.

    Donal's picture

    Torture is not Missing from TV

    Finale Spoiler! My wife insisted that I had to watch the ABC primetime show Missing, in which former spy Becca Winstone (Ashley Judd), married to supposedly dead spy, Paul Winstone (Sean Bean), is always searching for their kidnapped son Michael (Nick Eversman). She was sometimes hindered and sometimes assisted by Dax Miller (Cliff Curtis) at the CIA and Giancarlo Rossi (Adriano Giannini) at Interpol. There were lots of evil-looking Eastern European types wielding black semiautos, friendly but cutthroat double agent Martin Newman (Keith Carradine) and cute but deadly double agent Violet Heath (Laura Donnelly). And of course Paul was not really dead, or the walrus.

    Donal's picture

    The Future and Past of the American Empire

    I've written before about energy depletion guru John Michael Greer, one of the presenters I saw at ASPO's conference in DC last year. I ran across his dystopian blog novel, Star's Reach, well over a year ago, and have thought about reading it from time to time, but never quite got around to it. But I read the first chapter this morning:

    One wet day as we walked north toward Sisnaddi, old Plummer told me that all stories are scraps of one story, one great and nameless tale that winds from world’s beginning to world’s end and catches up everything worth telling on the way. Everybody touches that tale one way or another, or so he said, if only by watching smoke from a distant battle or lending an ear to some rumor in the night. Other folk stray into the one story and then right back out of it again, after carrying a message or a load of firewood on which the fate of kings and dreams will presently depend. Now and then, though, someone no different from these others stumbles into the deep places of the story, and gets swept up and spun around like a leaf in a flood until finally the waters drown him or toss him up gasping and alive on the bank.

    He said all this between one mouthful of cheap whiskey and the next, as we waited out a fall rainstorm under the crumbling gray overhang of an old ruin, and I rolled my eyes and thought he was drunk. Now, though, I am less sure. Yesterday, after I arrived at the one place on Earth I least expected ever to come, and nearly died in the process, the thought has occurred to me more than once that this journey of mine is part of something a good deal bigger than the travels of one stray ruinman from Shanuga, bigger than Shanuga or Meriga itself. That something bigger might be Plummer’s one story, for all I know, and if that is the way of it, I know to the day when it caught me up and set me on the road to Star’s Reach.
    Donal's picture

    Extinguishing Kinkade


    My wife is a sometime painter. She's done a striking reinterpretation of a Georgia O'Keeffe flower, several flowers she photographed herself, and even a portrait of me (that never gets older). She works long and patiently on each canvas. Around 2002, maybe, we walked by a gallery, and she pointed and said, "Those are by Thomas Kinkade." "Who?" "The Painter of Light." "Oh." As I recall, they were very bright paintings of yellow flowers with sunlight streaming across them—helped by a few downlights. "So ... is it that all his paintings are brightly lit?" "Yeah, pretty much." They were good paintings—I've seen a lot worse in gallery windows—but I wondered about the pretentious nickname.

    Kinkade was also known for his idyllic landscapes. Someone told me that there was some controversy because Kinkade didn't actually paint all the paintings he sold as "Kinkades." I love poster art—Mucha's Cigarette Paper Women, the Normandie, Klimt's Kiss, etc.—so reproductions don't bother me, but the Painter of Light seemed to be doing something else altogether:

    KRXA Hal's picture

    Elia Kazan Reconsidered

    I've been meaning to write about film for a while but haven't gotten around to it. For me, like most of us I guess, writing well requires both knowledge and passion about a topic and a sense that I have something unique to add. Lots of times, I have one or two but not all three. In late Spring 2011, I wrote a brief article entitled The San Francisco Giants have the Best Pitching Staff in Baseball.

    Donal's picture

    2011 Documentaries


    I took another quick look at Roger Ebert's site and ran across his top twenty list of documentaries released in 2011. Though I was vaguely aware that someone had done a documentary of Conan O'Brien, I hadn't heard a thing about the rest of them, including The Interrupters, above.
     

    Doctor Cleveland's picture

    Your New Year Public Domain Report: 2012

    Happy New Year, all. My spouse and I spent part of yesterday evening at our local revival house, watching a classic New Year's Eve double-feature of The Thin Man and After the Thin Man. Then we adjourned to a favorite bar for midnight; after all, that's what Nick and Nora would do.

    Donal's picture

    Flicks Watched Over Xmas Break


    The weekend before before Xmas I watched some classic films I had seen many times before - Holiday Inn in black and white, White Christmas in color - but one morning TCM showed All Mine To Give, based on the true story of a Scots couple settling in Wisconsin in the 1850s. Played by Glynis Johns and Cameron Mitchell, the couple worked hard, raised a cabin with help from their neighbors, prospered and brought five or six children into the new country - the American dream. But first the father, and then the mother took sick and died while the children were still quite young, and the oldest son, all of thirteen, followed his mother's wish that he find families to adopt each child. It was heart-rending to see the boy pulling an empty sleigh at the end of the film, on his way to work in a lumber camp, but at least they had neighbors with compassion.

    William K. Wolfrum's picture

    #OurXmas - A Twitter celebration for those alone on Christmas - and everybody else

    I should be in San Francisco right now.  The plans had been made, tickets bought, room and board at the ready. A family Christmas vacation awaited. But then, life got in the way.

    William K. Wolfrum's picture

    Alec Baldwin shows American Airlines by quitting Twitter account

    For those following the silly drama between Alec Baldwin and American Airlines, the 30 Rock actor has now quit his Twitter account, saying he would start a new one.

    "Let's play a game called Mass Unfollowing. I want to crash this acct and start again. But, tonight at 10 PM, NY time, unfollow me," wrote Baldwin.

    Doctor Cleveland's picture

    Shakespeare, Oxford, and the 1%

    Last weekend, Hollywood released Anonymous, a costume drama whose promotional materials ask "Was Shakespeare a Fraud?" They're not really asking the question; the movie clearly promotes the argument that it was "really" Edward de Vere, Earl of Oxford, who wrote the plays.

    Donal's picture

    America in Primetime

    America in Primetime is structured around the most compelling shows on television today, unfolding over four hours and weaving between past and present. Each episode focuses on one character archetype that has remained a staple of primetime through the generations – the Independent Woman, the Man of the House, the Misfit, and the Crusader – capturing both the continuity of the character, and the evolution. The finest television today has as its foundation the best television of yesterday.
    Donal's picture

    Can you write about the future?

     

    In Efficiency is the Solution, Tom Whipple predicts the future by describing what we are already seeing: 
     
    For the immediate future, however, much of what life in the future will be like will depend on the technologies that will enable civilization to continue while using only a fraction of the energy that is consumed today and to develop the technology to produce large quantities of cheaper renewable fuels. The manner in which our fossil fuels are being used is so wasteful of the energy contained in fossil fuels that major reductions can be made with little real impact on the activities that consume energy. The prime examples of this waste is the internal combustion engine which uses only 14 percent of its fuel to turn the wheels while wasting most of the rest. Huge central power plants waste most of the energy that devours coal and natural gas, and produce much waste heat that is dumped into the air or local water bodies or in line losses. Without the massive waste, the fossil fuel age could last a lot longer.
    Donal's picture

    Sayles Film Festival

    A few weekends ago, I watched Return of the Secaucus Seven (1980) again. I first watched it circa 1982, and enjoyed it so much that I brought a different girl to see it a week later. I rented it on VHS for one girlfriend, and then another, to see. Several years ago I bought the DVD to show my wife, and I probably watch it about once a year.

    Donal's picture

    Two Vimeos

    Vimeo is so different than YouTube. I found these two on Neatorama. The first one is a tribute to an easy to guess person, and rather dark. The second is strictly for laughs.

    Overtime from ouryatlan on Vimeo.

    Donal's picture

    Of Human Wandage

    Last weekend, my daughter thrust Somerset Maugham's great novel at me and said, "You should read this, Dad." She does that a lot and I therefore always have a small stack of books to get through, but I did start reading Of Human Bondage, and I love it. But with all the hoopla about the final Potter film being released NOW! it does occur to me that Harry Potter and Philip Carey have more than a little in common.

    Pages

    Latest Comments