Saturday, July 31, 2010

4 photos by Harriet

Three from recent trip to Florence, one from the aftermath. Click for larger image.

In the email

From a local actor ...
I did a scene with Mary Mac recently for Leverage. Working with you had me all ready for their hurry-up no-standing-around style of working. 
I like this.

An amazing apartment

Possible effect for chamber opera

Playing around with set and effects for chamber opera on video. Like the basement theater feel of this ... and using camera movement during a song. (No audio here.) Working toward a stark effective theatrical style for video.

Los Angeles Pushing To Become Nation's Mass Transit Leader

Los Angeles Pushing To Become Nation's Mass Transit Leader

When I was growing up there in the 40s and 50s, public transportation was pathetic. Quite a turn-around if they pull it off.

What is possible today

Dan Yost (see link to interview in earlier entry) shot a feature in 3 and a half days, largely improvised with the lead actors, Robert Blanche and Sarah Rosenberg, who are outstanding,  The edited result is an engaging film with strengths and a few weaknesses. I love the first fifteen or twenty minutes, the set up of the story, and I mean big time, but to my tastes the story loses momentum and focus through the middle, not fulfilling the promise of the beginning, and the resolution suffers as a result -- a good film instead of a great one. All the same, this is an example of what present technology, in the hands of skilled people, can do. A feature shot it less than a week! It's also well edited. I recommend this. An amazing accomplishment, really. Makes me want to try something similar. Check it out.

Shooting Nick

Ah, Portland

Gray and chilly at the end of July. Portland weather sucks. The city is cool if you like small San Francisco clones, which has its appeal. But it no  longer has the individual personality it had 30 years ago (at which time old-timers said the same thing about decades before that!).

I just wish I could live somewhere warm.

New at Oregon Literary Review

To Hollywood and Back: Daniel Yost

Friday, July 30, 2010

Michael Anthony Green Of Texas, Exonerated Of Rape By DNA Evidence, Free After 27 Years In Prison

Michael Anthony Green Of Texas, Exonerated Of Rape By DNA Evidence, Free After 27 Years In Prison

Unfortunately, this is not a rare case. We have locked up a lot of innocent people.

There appear to be two persuasions here: those who believe it is worse to let a guilty man free than to jail an innocent man; and those who believe it is worse to jail an innocent man than to let a guilty man free. Now the presumption of innocence would appear to favor the latter persuasion but in practice, by my observation and experience on juries, there is no presumption of innocence. There is a complex weave of prejudices, biases, and profiling that shape each individual juror. In the jury room, it's a real mess to begin with but, again in my experience, often rational progress can be made through discussion.

But how do you repay a man like this?

EMMYS: Writers For Variety/Comedy Series Invited Back To Primetime Emmys …Sort Of –

EMMYS: Writers For Variety/Comedy Series Invited Back To Primetime Emmys …Sort Of –

Home sweet home

Took a break and saw Winter's Bone this afternoon. It's a very good and moving film. However, I'd read so much damn hype about it, a part of me was disappointed to discover it's not the best film ever produced. That's the trouble with hype. And man, we live in the Age of Hype.

I have good rough cuts of the Yost interview in two parts. If I worked more tonight, I likely could get it online but I think I'll let it rest and come back with fresh eyes tomorrow.

I have to play a lot of banjo tomorrow. Already I'm falling into the same pattern after classes end as last time, playing far less than when class was going on.

I'm getting the itch to make a new film. But it doesn't have to be a film with actors. I just want something to edit ha ha.

Op-Ed Columnist - Curbing Your Enthusiasm -

Op-Ed Columnist - Curbing Your Enthusiasm -

"Just to be clear, progressives would be foolish to sit out this election: Mr. Obama may not be the politician of their dreams, but his enemies are definitely the stuff of their nightmares. But Mr. Obama has a responsibility, too. He can’t expect strong support from people his administration keeps ignoring and insulting."

Sonnet #15

Another good interview

And a start on putting the pieces together. More clips to deal with than with the previous interview.

To bed early but up now, and back to bed soon. Ah the active mind ...

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Scientists Find Evidence That Oil And Dispersant Mix Is Making Its Way Into The Foodchain

Scientists Find Evidence That Oil And Dispersant Mix Is Making Its Way Into The Foodchain

Controlling Soot Might Quickly Reverse a Century of Global Warming | Wired Science |

Controlling Soot Might Quickly Reverse a Century of Global Warming | Wired Science |

"A massive simulation of soot’s climate effects finds that basic pollution controls could put a brake on global warming, erasing in a decade most of the last century’s temperature change.

Compared to the larger, longer term task of getting greenhouse-gas pollution under control, limiting soot wouldn’t be hard. Unlike new energy technology and profound changes in lifestyle, the tools — exhaust filters, clean-burning stoves — already exist."

Jeremiah Masoli talks to as Ole Miss looks increasingly like quarterback's likely destination |

Jeremiah Masoli talks to as Ole Miss looks increasingly like quarterback's likely destination |

These damn punk criminal jocks get away with murder. No wonder they're so arrogant. We kiss their asses.

Nothing is ever simple

Well, well, well. Audio plays on the Chrome browser on my office computer. Maybe it's the wireless connection of the netbook with Chrome?

I recite a sonnet of my own composition

Testing audio

Not easy to embed audio here. I watched instructional video, no luck. Then a brainstorm: change browsers! I regularly use Chrome, switched to Firefox and the audio works. It doesn't play in Chrome. Works in MS too. Ah, me. But this isn't too hard to do, though you have to use a third party. And it doesn't play in Chrome.


I just remembered this netbook has a built-in mic, i.e. I can record. Banjo tunes, for example. I knew I had a webcam but forgot about the mic, which actually I have much more use for. Duh.

Attack of the Giant Shrimp Monsters

Most of the oil damage in the Gulf is happening out of sight, under water, say the experts. We don't know what will happen. How about this? Oil feeds a mutant kind of shrimp that grows as large as a city building, populates endlessly, and leaves the ocean to attack humans on land. There's a 50s SciFi flick for you! A young scientist finally discovers what stops them: a certain brand of shrimp sauce. (There's placement money for your production!)

Young screenwriters, be my guest. I relinquish all rights to the story.

Online gambling

Following Britain's lead, European countries are rushing to legalize online gambling and benefit from taxing it. Hard to imagine such a thing happening here, where our Puritan roots are deep. But governments do pass up extraordinary revenue by pushing "sin" into the alley. Legalized gambling, drugs and prostitution not only could increase revenue but decrease the criminal activities associated with them. I am for legalizing sin. You'll never get rid of it. Why not take advantage of it?

Busy Thursday

Interview this afternoon, which I really look forward to, which means more editing tonight, tomorrow ... until I get it online.

Interviewing all these filmmakers has my juices craving a new film project myself. Hmm. But I must say, it also was great to work in Alice again and especially to reach some decisions about new ways to approach it. A very filmlike strategy of camera angles and restrict character movement, which is weak in the program. In other words, like the camera move more than the characters. And work to create a start, simple style. If I can develop a consistent look and style, this can work and not feel amateurish. Cartoonists do this all the time. It's the unique look that drives it. A real challenge.

Venice Announces Competition Line-Up –

Venice Announces Competition Line-Up –

"New movies from Sofia Coppola, Darren Aronofsky, Vincent Gallo and Julian Schnabel will be slugging it out on the Lido. This year’s Venice Film Festival will take place September 1-11."

UK Film Council Closure Polarizes Industry –

UK Film Council Closure Polarizes Industry –

Literary Agent's E-Book Publishing Arrangement Sparks Strong Industry Reaction | Bookselling This Week

Literary Agent's E-Book Publishing Arrangement Sparks Strong Industry Reaction | Bookselling This Week:

"Noting that a basic tenet of publishing is books should be as widely available as possible, Sargent said that the exclusive agreement with “further empowers the dominant player in the market to the detriment of their competitors and creates an unbalanced retail marketplace.”"

Liberal Arts Colleges Worth Your Money (PHOTOS)

Liberal Arts Colleges Worth Your Money (PHOTOS)

None in Pacific NW.

World's 15 Best Places To Die: Quality Of Death Index (PHOTOS)

World's 15 Best Places To Die: Quality Of Death Index (PHOTOS)

USA is #10, just ahead of Hungary.

Amish Population Growth: Numbers Increasing, Heading West

Amish Population Growth: Numbers Increasing, Heading West

Small but interesting voting bloc.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

raindance tv

Amer Booksellers Assoc Talks E-Book Drama –

Amer Booksellers Assoc Talks E-Book Drama –

"The Wylie Agency's e-book exclusivity dispute with the publishing industry continues to dominate. (Random House vs Agents On E-Books) Everyone's got a different opinion about Andrew Wylie's decision to start his own imprint and broker an exclusive e-book deal with Amazon."

Photoshop of Horrors: Wired Readers Show BP How It’s Done | Wired Science |

Photoshop of Horrors: Wired Readers Show BP How It’s Done | Wired Science |

"We asked you last week to help us show BP that when hiring unethical photographers (or photo editors) in the future, they should look for Photoshop proficiency on their resumes.

In response, you put the company’s pathetic photo-doctoring of oil-cleanup press photos to shame. Your work was not only more skilled, it was far more imaginative."

Is the EPA Playing Dumb on Dispersants? | Mother Jones

Is the EPA Playing Dumb on Dispersants? | Mother Jones:

"An Environmental Protection Agency staff member is accusing his employer of being coy when it comes to dispersant use in the Gulf. Career whistleblower Hugh Kaufman says EPA officials know that the chemicals present a threat to public health and the Gulf ecosystem and should be banned; they just don't want to say so."

Sarah Stalin has a Shakespearean moment

TV Ageism: 40-Yr-Olds Now Declared ‘Old’ –

TV Ageism: 40-Yr-Olds Now Declared ‘Old’ –



Been working in Alice animation all morning. Been a while so, alas, I forgot a lot, but it's coming back quickly. Working on a new Sarah Stalin animation, she has a Shakespeare Moment. Rethinking how I do all this, especially the opera, too, as I begin to understand the weaknesses and the strengths of the program, and therefore designing action to take advantage of the latter. A very busy morning! Slow progress but progress it is.

Preparing for Palin

I sweat to the gods, I think Sarah Palin has a shot at being our next President. I hate to have so little faith in the intelligence of my fellow citizens but events may stack the cards in her favor, so that her mindless rhetoric actually wins votes. All I can say is, if I'm still around then, at least I'll be two years older and therefore closer to checking out, so I won't have to witness the consequences for long.

In the meantime, I'll continue to distract myself with Work as much as possible.

A depressing pattern

  • With idealism and fanfare, we commit troops to some distant battlefield. We are defending our freedom.
  • The task at hand is more difficult than imagined.
  • In response, we add troops to the mix.
  • We give optimistic reports that we are making progress.
  • Yet body counts rise.
  • Secret documents are leaked suggesting the situation has been much worse than reported all along.
  • Etc, etc, etc.

Gen Y: No jobs, lots of loans, grim future - Business - Economy at a Crossroads -

"They are perhaps the best-educated generation ever, but they can’t find jobs. Many face staggering college loans and have moved back in with their parents. Even worse, their difficulty in getting careers launched could set them back financially for years."

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Two Is the Magic Quantum Number | Wired Science |

Two Is the Magic Quantum Number | Wired Science |

Baseball news of the day

After losing 11-0 today ...
The Mariners have lost 18 of their last 24 games and are 6-18 in July. They were shut out for the seventh time and are last in the majors in several offensive categories.
Not easy being a Mariners fan.

I am totally blown away by ... ... this LIVE concert in Paris now is terrific. Great video, great sound even on the netbook. I will be coming to this site often. This is the best thing since the Met live in HD at theaters.

Ah, technology!

Intermission at a live concert in Paris, streamed at Think I'll catch the second half. What a world.

9 Of The Most Amazing Bookstores In The World (PHOTOS)

9 Of The Most Amazing Bookstores In The World (PHOTOS)

No Powell's. The Strand in NYC is #7.

Lauri Lyons: Brazilian Filmmakers Show Us the Future

Lauri Lyons: Brazilian Filmmakers Show Us the Future:

"This year's Premiere Brazil film festival hosted by the Museum of Modern Art and the Rio Film Festival produced a line up of films that can best be described as the art of social activism.
Beyond the sensuality that the country is famous for, Brazil produces a culture that inherently uses art as a platform for social change and justice."

Local News | Wash. state not a finalist for Race to Top school money | Seattle Times Newspaper

Local News | Wash. state not a finalist for Race to Top school money | Seattle Times Newspaper:

"The states are: Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and South Carolina.

Two states, Tennessee and Delaware, were awarded a total of $600 million in the first round of the competition."

At least Washington got farther than Oregon did, which was nowhere. Our educational system has sucked for decades. It's amazing, actually. We have the same problems as 30+ years ago when I moved here. No progress whatever. Probably worse.

Good Connection Really Does Lead to Mind Meld | Wired Science |

Good Connection Really Does Lead to Mind Meld | Wired Science |

"When two people experience a deep connection, they’re informally described as being on the same wavelength. There may be neurological truth to that."

BLIMEY! British Government May Give $19M Lottery Cash To BBC Films And Film4 –

BLIMEY! British Government May Give $19M Lottery Cash To BBC Films And Film4 –

Never happen here.

Monday, July 26, 2010

No More War

In 1958 Linus Pauling published No More War. The previous year I was a freshman at Cal Tech, taking Chemistry from Pauling. I quickly became a "No More War" groupy. This comes to mind because I discovered my local library has the book, which I surely must read to see what I think of it over half a century after being its groupy. Might be interesting.

Matt Stewart: When Assholes Collide

Matt Stewart: When Assholes Collide:

"Two publishing industry titans smashed into each other last week, and it couldn't have come sooner."

Not 20 (yet)

The Mariners are nineteen and a half games out of first place.

Gamma-Ray Bursts Could Halt Photosynthesis | Wired Science |

Gamma-Ray Bursts Could Halt Photosynthesis | Wired Science |

"Cosmic explosions thousands of light-years away could shut down photosynthesis in the ocean at depths of up  to 260 feet, a new study suggests. The calculations add to a growing body of research linking these great blasts, called gamma-ray bursts, with biological damage and even mass extinctions on Earth."

Full Transcript: Gibson Interviews Sarah Palin

Full Transcript: Gibson Interviews Sarah Palin

She said it was edited to make her look bad. Wrong. The full truth makes her look worse.

New at Oregon Literary Review

A conversation with Mark Marchus about film

Songwriting cliche

This is wonderful.

Medici TV

Live streaming classical music from around the world. A great site! Check it out.

An amazing resource, actually. For example, on Sunday Aug 1 I can see the opera Salome streaming live from Europe! There's a subscription that gives you access to all the archives but also a considerable amount of things free, and the live streams are free. I think I'll be seeing a lot of European opera in  the months ahead!

Quotation of the day (the writer's faith)

'All great men have written proudly, nor cared to explain,' said Emerson. 'They knew that the intelligent reader would come at last, and would thank them.'
This is the writer's faith. This is writing inside-out, not outside-in; not kissing the ass of an audience but having faith "the intelligent reader," that is, one interested in what you have to say, eventually will find your work.

This, of course, reminds me of Sirc finding my 1967 essay (ref), "one which I have never been able to forget since the day I first read it in the dimly-lit stacks of my university's library" and being inspired by it to write a book on the subject. I love this image: "the dimly-lit stacks" ... but accessible, not lost in an office drawer, but published, which was how you became accessible in those days. Today you can become accessible by uploading to the web. Consequently there's more crap, much more, to wade through but there also are gems that otherwise would be lost to us. We have yet to figure out an efficient way to find the gems in the crap.

But Emerson's faith is the serious writer's faith, that the work has an audience and, most importantly, the work precedes the audience. The work is not shaped for an audience, as in commercial writing, but comes from inward, from the individual soul, and is put out there with the belief, the faith, that the right reader will find it and be excited to do so.

It's a satisfying experience for the writer when this happens. When it does, writers usually don't know it. I'm delighted I inspired Sirc to write his book, and  of course I'm delighted I found out about it. This is the great function of writing: to pass the baton to the reader, to keep the material alive.

This is not the way you sell anything. This is the way you try to tell the truth.

The JFK assassination

Rereading in this area. What strikes me about this event is this: no rational person can deny medical evidence that shows more than one shooter was involved; and this is enough to establish a government cover-up.

What does one do with this information? That's the interesting question.

One young medical corpsman who witnessed the autopsy and its subsequent cover-up now says this: "...all at once I understood that my country was not much better than a third world country. From that point on in time, I have had no trust, no respect for the government."

If you read only one book on the assassination, I recommend the recent (2008): JFK and the Unspeakable: Why He Died & Why It Matters by James W. Douglass. It establishes the case for conspiracy but puts this in a larger political and philosophical context. It's a disturbing book.

A busy week begins

And good weather is hanging on.

Of my various summer activities, two are behind schedule: downsizing and animation studies, so I am beginning with those today. Need to study intervals some more before tomorrow's music theory class, ear training mainly.

Have  the video interview to complete and a new one to shoot on Thursday.

The opera to move forward on. And so on.

Also brooding about several things brought up by MM: starting a film project with audio; and shooting a feature on the Flip. I might go with one of these in the fall, depending on where the brooding leads.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

A new season!

what hurts most (a poem)

what hurts most

about growing old are not the aches
as naggingly sharp as they are
or the loss of energy through the day
or the slipping memory of a moment
and the blunt nostalgia when
memory doesn't fail

what hurts most is the neglect
the existential clarity
of being irrelevant
like a man waiting for a bus
that never arrives
and would go nowhere if it did

--Charles Deemer

Inside the Fog of War - Reports From the Ground in Afghanistan -

Inside the Fog of War - Reports From the Ground in Afghanistan -

"A six-year archive of classified military documents made public on Sunday offers an unvarnished, ground-level picture of the war in Afghanistan that is in many respects more grim than the official portrayal."

Steak again?

Growing up in So Cal, I got used to BBQ as a common dinner event but here in gray damp Portland I usually only BBQ in the summer. Tonight I'm cranking the grill up for burgers for the first time. Better late than never and all that.

We BBQ'd so often in So Cal that a family joke was my brother's remark, "Steak again?"

A glorious day

Sunny, non-humid heat over 80 charges my battery big time. I gain energy. My sense of wonder explodes. And on such a glorious day, today, I also got necessary work done and now have the Gary Snyder videos, shot by Primus St. John, online. Who retires soon. I must get a video profile on him before he does.

Peter Watkins

One of the more under-appreciated directors on the film landscape is Peter Watkins. I met him in the 70s when he showed Punishment Park, perhaps the best film about the 60s, at Salisbury State College in Maryland. I later was blown away by the marathon Edvard Munch.

What's interesting about Watkins is his preference for common citizens over trained actors for the roles in his films. His style is the documentary, his films often fictional documentaries. Indeed, at the showing of Punishment Park a riot almost happened during the after-film discussion when a group of students believed the "documentary" was true, that the government indeed ran a "punishment park."

Watkins is no stranger to controversy. Commissioned to do a film on the aftermath of a nuclear war, he created such horrors that the BBC wouldn't show it for years. His films, if not commercially successful or widely known, are important achievements, and he deserves a wider audience than he's enjoyed over the years. Now and again I show Punishment Park to my students and they always are blown away.

Peter Watkins at Wikipedia

Intro to his films by Peter Watkins himself.

Quotation of the day

"Doing nothing, if properly understood, is the supreme action." -- Norman O. Brown 

TS strikes again

A poem by Terry Simons

New at Oregon Literary Review

Gary Snyder at Fishtrap

Sean Penn & Woody Allen

While video renders, been channel surfing and stumbled across the last half of Woody Allen"s Sweet and Lowdown starring Sean Penn, a fictional doc of a legendary jazz guitarist. A riot! Both at the top of their forms. Penn is an amazing actor. There are movie stars and there are actors and Penn is the latter. His entire body language changes in this role -- and he's done so many versatile roles. An amazing actor. And when Allen keeps away from Jewish self-indulgence, as here, as in Bullets Over Broadway, he's as funny as they get.

OLR update

I should get the Gary Snyder video online today or tomorrow. I can get the Mark Marchus interview up as soon as I get sound files. And on Thursday I interview Dan Yost and might get this online next weekend. 3 quick updates of the review after some weeks of silence.

I show my short "The Heirs" at August's First Wednesday reading at Blackbird Wine Shop. Looking forward to it.

Much of this morning = rendering, rendering, the never-ending chore of getting video online. I need a hat that says I RENDER or RENDERING IN PROGRESS.

Art v. Commerce

I've wanted to shoot a feature with the Flip and came close a couple summers ago, an adaptation of my play Waitresses (optioned for several years in the 80s and, at one time, "a done deal" according to the producer -- yeah, right), which requires only 3 major roles. Lost my actress and it didn't happen. Now my friend MM, an older and more experienced filmmaker than I, has become a Flip enthusiast and wants to do the same. Might we then combine our interests and make a feature together, maybe even starring ourselves, two old men? Certainly intriguing and certainly possible.

However, we differ in our early discussion on one thing: he thinks we could make a movie we could sell, and I think No Way! His optimism fascinates me because he's had more dead-end experiences in the industry than I have. I think we could make a hell of an art film and put it online -- but sell to HBO or some cable company? Fat chance. So the discussion continues.

The art v. commerce conflict permeates the arts in our culture. Digital technology, which gives artists in all forms more power to do their thing than ever, is a double-edged sword. Writers, for example, now can self-publish early on rather than suffer through the "school of hard knocks." But there's a problem here. Ego. Not all young writers have honed their critical skills and they can over-value their work. The advantage of the old school was, is, that you have to satisfy strangers and face competition to get something published or produced. I spent a year of very hard work before I cracked the literary magazines and newspapers to begin publishing (in the former case) and selling (in  the latter) with some regularity. I think my work improved because of this work and challenge. If I had simply published myself on the net or with print on demand in the beginning, I would not have produced my best work. In other words, digital technology offers the opportunity of artistic laziness. So I have mixed feelings about how everything has changed.

At the same time, I think digital technology is a blessing for older artists, those who have already made whatever mark they've made in the traditional marketplace. Or even none at all. One of the more interesting literary blogs of late is by TS, Round Bend Press, an older writer with limited visibility until now. It's a blessing to have new and easy access to his work and political mind. An old fart like myself, or MM, now can do "art for art's sake," bringing all our experience to a project and not having to worry about "success" or "collaboration" in terms beyond what we accept. I love the new technology as a result. I love shooting on the Flip. I especially love editing.

I hope MM and I find common ground down the road and do something. I am very intrigued by his notion of music first, images second, in film development. But this is not a commercial concept. This is an art film concept. You don't make money this way.

R.I.P.: John Callahan

(by Mark Zusman, Willamette Week) John Callahan, the musician, cartoonist, artist, bon vivant, quadriplegic, enthusiast of the female form and blessed with a vivid mind and a piercing sense of humor, died today [Sat.]. He had been ill, suffering from the infections caused by surgery, for more than a year. More to come. Our tears shed as we write this.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Gulf Oil Spill: BP Tries To Block Release Of Oil Spill Research

Gulf Oil Spill: BP Tries To Block Release Of Oil Spill Research:

"HOUSTON -- Faced with hundreds of lawsuits and a deep need for experts, BP has been offering some Gulf Coast scientists lucrative consulting contracts that bar them from releasing their findings on the company's massive oil spill for three years.

Some scientists say the contracts constrain academic freedom. A few signed the agreements, then changed their minds."

Germany Considers Tax on the Obese

Germany Considers Tax on the Obese:

"A tax on fat?

Marco Wanderwitz, a conservative member of parliament for the German state of Saxony, said it is unfair and unsustainable for the taxpayer to carry the entire cost of treating obesity-related illnesses in the public health system.

'I think that it would be sensible if those who deliberately lead unhealthy lives would be held financially accountable for that,' Wanderwitz said, according to Reuters."


On MM interview, waiting for his sound now before final edit.

Uploaded material for Snyder vid, will work on it later today. Yard work today, too, and music, I did some work on the rollup keyboard last night, want to develop it on the real keyboard downstairs.

Throwing an idea to Mark re a feature on the Flip, 2 old men, and we play the parts. Could spin off KEROUAC'S SCROLL or be original new story. Story would have to be a killer.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Roll up piano keyboard

It actually works. It's no great shakes for performance but it is perfect for composing on the road, amazingly portable, and very functional for composing tunes. Still more added portability in my work routine. Which I regard as fantastic.

India unveils world's cheapest laptop | World news | The Guardian

India unveils world's cheapest laptop | World news | The Guardian

$35, looks like the iPad, made first for 110 million school children in India. Why we don't do things like this ... oh I remember, greed and the profit motive.

Random House Bullying Agents On E-Books – But Is It Legal? –

Random House Bullying Agents On E-Books – But Is It Legal? –

"Most summers, the biggest late-week concern among publishing honchos is Long Island Expressway traffic to the Hamptons. This week has proven different. Debate is raging about how vulnerable major publishing houses suddenly are after book agent Andrew Wylie formed an electronic publishing imprint for his authors and made an exclusive deal with Amazon."

Rough cut

Have a good rough cut of the MM interview, in 2 parts, about 16 mins each. Good stuff. Now on to the Gary Snyder material that Primus shot, and a new interview next week with Dan Yost of "Drugstore Cowboy" fame.

So, I spent about 4 hrs yesterday and about 8 today editing, let's say 12 hrs for 36 minutes in the rough. Some  of that time is sitting around during the magical Rendering. One thing I'll say about video projects, they sure keep you busy. In my case, that's good. Keeps me distracted from the mess all around me, over which I am powerless.

Daniel Schorr Dead: NPR, CBS Journalist Dies At 93

Daniel Schorr Dead: NPR, CBS Journalist Dies At 93

If you never heard him sing Brother, can you spare a dime?, check it out. The great ones are almost all gone now, and alas they are not being replaced because the standards have changed for the worse.

Editing video

Hard at work.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Good shoot

Long interesting conversation with Mark Marchus. Now the challenge, the fun, of editing.

Off to university soon to get Gary Snyder shoot from Primus.

Stonehenge Discovery: Wooden Monument Found Near Stone Ciricle

Stonehenge Discovery: Wooden Monument Found Near Stone Ciricle

Countries With The MOST College Graduates (PHOTOS)

Countries With The MOST College Graduates (PHOTOS)

U.S. is sixth.


I'm still blown away by how much I can do today that I couldn't afford to do only a decade ago. Quite remarkable and, in its way, artistically liberating.

Here I'm shooting a scene in The Heirs, which I'll be showing at First Wednesday at Blackbird Wine Shop in August.

KOESTLER by Michael Scammell, reviewed by Jeremy Treglown - TLS

KOESTLER by Michael Scammell, reviewed by Jeremy Treglown - TLS:

"The near-extinction of the word intelligentsia in English has coincided with a creeping amnesia about one of the best examples of the phenomenon – the author, too, of a substantial essay on what it meant. Arthur Koestler’s name is still known and many of his books are in print; some have never been out of it. Two large biographies have appeared in the past dozen years: by David Cesarani and, now, the authoritative Michael Scammell. If you ask around, though, you’ll find relatively few people under, say, fifty who have actually read anything by Koestler, while among regular purveyors of biographico-literary opinion the usual verdict is along the lines of “Horrible man”."

Report: Opened safe-deposit boxes reveal unseen Kafka manuscripts - Haaretz Daily Newspaper | Israel News

Report: Opened safe-deposit boxes reveal unseen Kafka manuscripts - Haaretz Daily Newspaper | Israel News

New activity

A sudden flurry of activity for the review. An interview today, another next week, new stuff from Primus. Onward.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Gutierrez single rallies M's over White Sox in 11 - MLB - Yahoo! Sports

Gutierrez single rallies M's over White Sox in 11 - MLB - Yahoo! Sports

Something to cheer about for a change. Even after my screaming, once again, at the manager for taking Hernandez out in the 9th, pitching a two hit shutout with less than 100 pitches ... so naturally the White Sox immediately put men on base and later scored first before the Mariners came back to win. Lucky manager. He over-manages.

Last class

Hardest but maybe coolest song intro'd in our last class ... the challenge now to keep at it, better than I did after the first class.

Two interviews coming up with two filmmakers. And Primus has video on Gary Snyder for the review.

Why Money Makes You Unhappy | Wired Science�|

Why Money Makes You Unhappy | Wired Science�|

But some unhappiness is happier than others.

Food for thought

 From the International Herald Tribune:
STOCKHOLM — When the Swedish journalist Peter Letmark tried to track down a housewife for a series on 21st-century parents in the newspaper Dagens Nyheter recently, he failed.
‘‘Housewives,’’ he explained, ‘‘are a near-extinct species in Sweden. And the few who still do exist don’t really dare to go public with it.’’

Creativity. Faith. Impotence.

Writing is fucking. Words, music. You fuck the material and a novel is born. A short story. A play. A song. A chamber opera.

The process is focused and intense. Mind, body. Sometimes soul, sometimes not. Intensity does not guarantee engagement. You can fuck a whore. Wham, bam, thank you, ma'am. You write for money. You take the money and run. It's a living. But it is not engagement.

When engagement happens, you are actually there. All of you. Fucking becomes epistemology. I fuck, therefore I am. These children – the books, the plays, the stories, the music – are born from love. A different concept entirely. When you put these children into the world, it matters to you. You can't take the money and run. Maybe there's no money at all. Or little at best.

You put your children into the world and have faith that you are not murdering them in the process. You believe there's a world worth entering out there. You believe your children can have a good life. They will have friends. They will grow and perhaps have their own children. They play a part in a cosmic cycle. It's called Literature. Music.

There is no guarantee any of this will actually happen. You keep the faith that it will.

But sometimes something else happens.

Unsolicited calls

H is a much nicer person than I am. Despite our name on a no-call list, we get unsolicited calls from time to time, usually asking someone to take a survey. If H has time, she takes it. If not, she often suggests a time when the caller can call again. I do just the opposite. If I'm in a good mood, I simply mumble no and hang up. If not in a good mood, I may yell at them about the sanctity of a secret ballot and keeping one's opinions to oneself -- this, of course, before rushing to write my opinions down for all the world to see. But I hate phone calls in general and unsolicited ones can set me off.

This also is no doubt a reaction to my drinking days when I made many, many calls under the influence to friends hither and yon, waking them at strange hours to share some inconsequential piece of drunken nonsense. I already did my period of calls, enough phone experience for one lifetime. (In fact, a friend in LA was remembering one of our calls years and years ago that lasted several hours in the wee morning. She seemed to remember it fondly. I don't.)

Last banjo class

My last Banjo II class today. Then I wait to see if there will be a Banjo III class in the fall.

The challenge is to keep studying, playing, banjo with the same focus and intensity.

Meanwhile the Music Theory class gives me a headache. Difficult stuff. It goes until mid August.

The Siskiyou Bluegrass Show

The Siskiyou Bluegrass Show

Audio archives. Take a listen.


Imagine photos of Faulkner and Palin so close together at the same blog. What is the world coming to?

Faulkner at Virginia: Browse Transcriptions

Faulkner at Virginia: Browse Transcriptions

Plus audio tapes of Faulkner visiting various classes and conferences in 1957 and 1958. A major resource. Thanks JR for alerting me to it.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010



I continue to look for ways to downsize my existence, so I can do everything on the run. Travel light. The latest exploration is with piano ... at the moment, my keyboard is in my basement office, and I need to be there to compose. I'm looking into options that will let me compose in draft out of my office. There are many possibilities, from online keyboards, turning the computer keyboard into piano, child pianos, roll up keyboards ... I just want to have a very very small keyboard that fits in my netbook pack. I will try various options and am optimistic I'll find something that suits my needs.


I've told my Mose Allison story here before but it's worth repeating. He came to the Univ of Oregon when I was in grad school and I went to the first of two shows on campus with friends. We were all huge fans. For reasons we didn't learn until later that night, the concert was over an hour late in getting started. When it finally did, strange things happened. Allison's trio minus himself played for what seemed like ages before Mose came on stage -- and he entered carrying a six pack of beer, which he put on the piano. He started drinking heavily and now and again getting up to walk off stage, leaving the twosome to fend for themselves. We heard a lot of bass solos that night. Well, it wasn't a very good concert, and we chalked it up to Mose being drunk.

But later that night, in a bar near campus, I saw Mose Allison sitting alone at the end of the bar. I couldn't resist: I introduced myself as a great fan, mentioned some fine concerts of his I'd seen in LA. Then he volunteered the horror of his day: the concert had started late because there was no piano on stage. "They thought I was a guitar player," he told me. And that's why he was pissed. I don't blame him.

Physicists Tame Time Travel by Forbidding You to Kill Your Grandfather | Wired Science |

Physicists Tame Time Travel by Forbidding You to Kill Your Grandfather | Wired Science |

"These days, deciding which theory of time travel is best is largely a matter of taste. Until someone discovers a closed timelike curve in the wild, or figures out how to build a time machine, no one will know the answer, says Brun. “I don’t expect these will be tested anytime soon. These are ideas. They’re fun to play with.”"

Brett Favre's Agent: Favre A 'Drama Queen'

Brett Favre's Agent: Favre A 'Drama Queen'

Hear, hear!

Literary history

In my occasional and passing moments of optimism, I believe that decades from now, when the literary history of our early digital era is written, critics will discover that the gems are found not from the shelves of traditional publishers but in print-on-demand titles, ebooks, blogs and other new packages of communication. On the list should be Michael Hollister, a retired English professor who authored a trilogy of novels about Hollywood (Holywood, Follywood, Hollyworld) that needs to be added to the list of "must reads" about the place. More recently, Hollister has turned his attention to politics and raising a little hell, first in a biting political epic Salishan and now with a new book, Interface Race, the publisher's summary of which suggests more fun with our era of political correctness:
Mark Olmstead is a young pest control exterminator whose company, Eco PC, becomes politically incorrect in the ultra green yet polluted city of Portland, where he is besieged by animal rights protesters, including the Militant Insect Alliance, who spank him with fly swatters. He moves back to rural eastern Oregon and commutes, only to find that his hometown Morehead Gap is now mostly owned by his new landlord, Wes Titus, a politically correct developer from Portland. The town church has decayed, is infested by vermin and occupied by Waldo Ralph, an old hippie who has reconsecrated the structure as the ecocentric Church of Highs, a refuge for wildlife where he grows medical marijuana in the basement. While trying to make enough money to buy a house, Mark courts a former classmate, Sally Chan, who is half Chinese, and takes a side job as an illegal marijuana distributor, involving him with violent hippies, a black drug gang, Islamic terrorists, political assassins, the FBI and a cabal of computer hackers playing God in real life through an Internet video game called Oz and the Flying Monkeys. Mark is targeted for deletion by the Monkeys when he turns informer and he suspects that one of the Monkeys is Yakov Tete, a radical professor visiting his neighbor Diana Hartfield, a book editor vacationing from New York.
Some one, some day, if the gods be just (a legitimate question), must document how much good work has been saved by the digital revolution. Of course, the other side of the coin is that at no time in history has more bad writing been available as well. I try to encourage my brighter students to do something about the digital chaos and create a respected (digital) journal that would be a champion of the best that is out there now. It can be hard to find. (But not with the links below.)

Monday, July 19, 2010

Amazon sells more Kindles than hardcover books - Jul. 19, 2010

Amazon sells more Kindles than hardcover books - Jul. 19, 2010

The Loris Lives! First Pictures of Primate Thought To Be Extinct | Wired Science |

The Loris Lives! First Pictures of Primate Thought To Be Extinct | Wired Science |

Sarah Palin Defends 'Refudiate', Compares Herself to Shakespeare for Making Up New Words - Towleroad |

Sarah Palin Defends 'Refudiate', Compares Herself to Shakespeare for Making Up New Words - Towleroad |

HA HA HA! By the gods, I hope she runs for President. It would be sooooooo absurd, entertaining, and depressing.

Sarah Palin and Shakespeare, Together at Last -- Daily Intel

Sarah Palin and Shakespeare, Together at Last -- Daily Intel:

"If you're a fan of Shakespeare and mocking language-challenged social-media user Sarah Palin, do we have a meme for you! After Palin used the word 'refudiate' (for the second time) yesterday, and then laughed it off by comparing herself to Shakespeare, Twitter users have been busy reinventing classic Shakespeare quotes in Palin's honor. Sample #shakespalin tweet: 'How's all that bein' and not bein' workin' out for ya?'"

The sun, the sun!

The sun burned off the cloud cover after noon and I finally came to life. Before then, I was in a gray funk. Now I have energy for the day. Just did the first part of a vigorous banjo workout.

In the gray funks, I watched two movies. Each was pretty good. The Last Hit Man. And something about Rachel's Wedding.

Sunday, July 18, 2010


Morning was overcast, I was chilly and cussing out Portland -- then cloud cover burned off, finally, and in the afternoon I got a lot of yard work done while listening to the Mariners, who were playing well for a change, and I felt like a character in Our Town, a real Americana kind of afternoon. Mariners won 2-1 in ten innings!

In my old age, I've come to some decisions.

The Great American Novel has been written. It's actually 3 novels. It's the USA trilogy by John Dos Passos.

The Great American Play has been written. It's The Skin Of Our Teeth by Thornton Wilder.

Each captures the soul of America. Optimism. Anti-intellectualism. More is better. Chosen.


WONDERFUL ONE TIMES ONE: "An Appreciation of E.E. Cummings

Compiled and directed by Charles Deemer
Musical direction by Mark Slegers
Cummings art exhibit arranged by Harriet Levi

4 Readers
Musical chorus

rain or hail
sam done
the best he kin
till they digged his hole

Click link above for more. (This was performed at the Unitarian church a decade or so ago.)


Went to Florence down the coast, a longer drive than home, when we zapped over to Eugene and up the interstate. In Eugene, visited my brother and sister-in-law. H is very social and sometimes on my case for not being social enough. Well, compared to my brother, I'm a social butterfly, so I always score points and get off the hook (for a while) after a visit with my brother. Who happens to be one of the funniest men alive.

Good to be home -- but I feel sudden pressure to start downsizing in earnest, since this front burner summer project is barely off the ground one month into my summer. So tomorrow I need to spend some hours on it.

Today, lots of banjo and yard work. Reading. That's about it.

Sketch is in his corner of the sofa, resting his head on a pillow. Didn't take him long to get back to normal. He's a great dog to travel with. Great dog all the way around. My buddy.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Home sweet home

Nice to get away for a few days but also nice to return home safe and sound, to home the way you left it. It was a perfect if short get away.

Florence in transition

We really like Florence, especially Old Town. But there are signs everywhere that this is a community in transition, growing fast. Condos for sale everywhere, for example. With no employment hub here, this likely will become a retirement community. Some things are already here: many very, very fine restaurants, for example, amazingly at about half price of similar meals in Portland. This is extraordinary -- at the moment. H last night paid $15 for a steak and oyster dish that would be been $25 or $30 in Portland. I had an incredible Portuguese fish stew for $12. The low prices really have gotten our attention. However, already there is a restaurant in town with twice these prices, and I suspect this will be the trend.

The moral is, visit Florence now while it's unique and before it becomes another condo retirement spendy tourist town.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Dune buggy ride

On a dune buggy ride, H met a 75 y/o woman who lives in her Winnebago all year and does this on $600 a month. Fantastic! Hmm ...

Gene Makes Some Drink More When Other Boozers Are Around | Wired Science |

Gene Makes Some Drink More When Other Boozers Are Around | Wired Science |

China UFO


Florence II

It's really great to be able to edit video on the run with the netbook and flip. Talk about traveling light with significant media power.

New to me

I'm connected with a "very low" wifi signal ... I didn't know I could do this.

Ticket prices

One of the things I've never liked about live theater is its expense. Even when I was playwright in residence twenty years ago and prices were a lot lower than today, they still were too high for most of my "starving writer" friends. The folks I hung with couldn't afford to see my work.

This comes to mind today because I was looking at ticket prices for the much heralded Long Day's Journey Into Night with Wm Hurt, which opens here in August, and man, even seats in the second balcony start at fifty bucks. Now going to L.A. to see my favorite opera is one thing ... but I doubt if I'll spend my limited income on this play. I'd rather see the Jack Lemmon production from TV's past anyway. Maybe I'll do that instead. Or just reread the script, producing it in my head.

When Chateau de Mort opened almost 30 years ago at one hundred dollars a ticket, it was almost embarrassing. Nobody I knew could afford it. It sold out in a snap, so the market is there. But it doesn't include "my kind of folks." Here I was feeling like a spy at my own play.

30 Old PC Ads That Will Blow Your Processor | Information Technology Schools

30 Old PC Ads That Will Blow Your Processor | Information Technology Schools

I've put my old Kaypro to work. It's in my water garden. I bet it would work, too!

Thursday, July 15, 2010



Order a free DVD documentary on the current nuclear threat.

Yes, Amy Adams Confirmed For Janis Joplin –

Yes, Amy Adams Confirmed For Janis Joplin – "Many have tried and failed to get a Janis Joplin biopic off the ground."

Ban On Movie Futures Trading Passes Congress & Awaits Obama’s Signature –

Ban On Movie Futures Trading Passes Congress & Awaits Obama’s Signature –

Old town in Florence

I never paid attention to Florence when I lived in Eugene. When we came to the coast, we sped through Florence on our way to Yachats, the cool place to stay. What a surprise, then, to discover Florence now, with an "old town" that is too new to have become totally tacky for tourists. It should have a few more decent years left before that happens.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Most countries fail to deliver on Haiti aid pledges -

Most countries fail to deliver on Haiti aid pledges -

White House To Celebrate Broadway –

White House To Celebrate Broadway –

Happiness and Sadness Spread Just Like Disease | Wired Science |

Happiness and Sadness Spread Just Like Disease | Wired Science |

Local News | Ichiro depressed by another lost Mariners season | Seattle Times Newspaper

Local News | Ichiro depressed by another lost Mariners season | Seattle Times Newspaper:

"Seattle begins the second half on Thursday at the Los Angeles Angels 18 games under .500, and 15 games behind the Rangers. The team built on pitching and defense has failed so miserably on offense that nothing else has mattered much, or will matter much for final months of the season."

The U.S. NOT founded upon Christianity

The U.S. NOT founded upon Christianity:

"Many Religious Right activists have attempted to rewrite history by asserting that the United States government derived from Christian foundations, that our Founding Fathers originally aimed for a Christian nation. This idea simply does not hold to the historical evidence."

Our Eavesdropping-on-ET Strategy Not Likely to Work | Wired Science |

Our Eavesdropping-on-ET Strategy Not Likely to Work | Wired Science |

Heidi's story (hyperdrama)

Heidi is one of 7 characters in the hyperdrama Changing KeyMore character stories.

Folk music II

Joan Ginther Wins Texas Lottery 4 Times

Joan Ginther Wins Texas Lottery 4 Times

Folk music

Through the 60s and 70s, I seldom went anywhere without my guitar, which for most of that time was a 12-string guitar I bought from folklorist Barre Toelken at the Univ of Ore when I was a grad student and he was desperate to pay taxes. Wherever I went, I played music and some of the music were songs I had written.

Through most of the 80s I spent a lot of time touring my tribute to Woody Guthrie, mostly on grant support but sometimes passing the hat, which on occasion made me more than what the grants paid. A revival of the show with a second musician is available online.

But since then, I've performed little music. I'd play for myself at home now and again.

Now I'm taking banjo lessons and recently was invited, by someone learning of my past, to come perform at a weekly folk songwriters gathering in town. Indeed, string band and traditional music are very big here. And I'm tempted to learn one of my old songs on the banjo and sing it one night this summer, before I can use reading student work as an excuse. If I do, I'll probably sing this one I wrote in the summer of 1970.


We don't get our kicks on scotch and water
We don't take our trips on credit cards
We don't spend a fortune on our daughters
Or every year go out and buy a car

And I'm proud to be a Mississippi hippy
Smokin' grass and takin' LSD
Burnin' up my draft card at the courthouse
The inside of my head is my country

We don't buy ten suits for just one body
Or forty socks for just one pair of feet
We don't think a beard can become shaggy
Unshaven armpits are all right with me

You say Love it or leave it rather often
I'd never say the same thing back to you
Cause you're not even here but in your coffin

The world will change no matter what you do

I almost got lynched one night, singing this. A few of us went to a country music festival in Springfield, the blue collar town across the river from Eugene. A country band was playing at a beer garden. They invited folks in the audience to sing something, and I'd had enough beer to do something stupid. I went on stage, told them to play Okie from Muskogee, and then sang my lyrics. Well, until they stopped playing. Nobody liked it much -- except my cohorts, who managed to grab me and get out of there before the fight started.

It was always a crowd pleaser in grad school circles, of course. Should be easy enough to accompany myself on the banjo. Hmm. An interesting option. I'll think on it.

Meanwhile, off for coffee I found sunshine and a blue sky and a weather report claiming mid 80s for the day. If true, hooray! and I'll get some yard work done and get warm for a change.

Banjo class tonight. We'll learn a new double C song, I think. Looking forward to it.

The secret will be to do much better after the class ends at playing and learning new songs. I have all the tools. All I need is the discipline, the will.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

I'm freezing!

The middle of goddamn July and I'm freezing my ass off here! Portland.

Banjo workout

Good practice this morning, playing the 9 songs I know over and over again. Only 2 are close to speed at the moment, so lots of practice yet to do.

FCC’s Indecency Policy Struck Down –

FCC’s Indecency Policy Struck Down –

Arrogance of Power

Arrogance of Power:
"Today, I Weep for my Country...
by US Senator Robert Byrd
Speech delivered on the floor of the US Senate
March 19, 2003 3:45pm"

I believe in this beautiful country. I have studied its roots and gloried in the wisdom of its magnificent Constitution. I have marveled at the wisdom of its founders and framers. Generation after generation of Americans has understood the lofty ideals that underlie our great Republic. I have been inspired by the story of their sacrifice and their strength.

But, today I weep for my country. I have watched the events of recent months with a heavy, heavy heart. No more is the image of America one of strong, yet benevolent peacekeeper. The image of America has changed. Around the globe, our friends mistrust us, our word is disputed, our intentions are questioned.

Instead of reasoning with those with whom we disagree, we demand obedience or threaten recrimination. Instead of isolating Saddam Hussein, we seem to have isolated ourselves. We proclaim a new doctrine of preemption which is understood by few and feared by many. We say that the United States has the right to turn its firepower on any corner of the globe which might be suspect in the war on terrorism. We assert that right without the sanction of any international body. As a result, the world has become a much more dangerous place.

Link above for more.

Iraq War Vote in 2002: Honoring the 23 Senate and 133 House Members Who Voted NAY

Iraq War Vote in 2002: Honoring the 23 Senate and 133 House Members Who Voted NAY

Curzon Opening Cinemas in Bookstores –

Curzon Opening Cinemas in Bookstores –

Why o why o why? Bookstores have a hard enough time. Better to open bookstores in cinemas.

Death Star Off The Hook For Mass Extinctions | Wired Science |

Death Star Off The Hook For Mass Extinctions | Wired Science |


THE TEACHER: "From The Colorado Quarterly, Summer 1969"

   If I were a menial clerk, to whose gloom a Dostoevski or a Melville could give cosmic importance, then readily would I win your understanding. We are in an age the sensibilities of which are riveted to the absurd and what, after all, is more absurd than filling a ledger book with numerals, sorting out dead letters, filing away last year's purchase orders or pulling a lever in a factory? If I made my livelihood in so dreary a fashion, you would accept my gloom as being inevitable, deem it significant, and find in it an occasional metaphor for your own misgivings, whatever your employment; you would offer me understanding, empathy, sympathy, at least something more meaningful than what you now offer me, which is flattering but undue praise, or what usually is called "a good press." Were my life filled with physical danger and pain, were mine the life of a hunter, a mountain climber or a boxer, I then would be judged to be a kind of existential hero, for my temperament is naturally introspective. Would that I were a revolutionary, for Christ's sake! But in fact I am a high school teacher, a teacher of the physical sciences, and though compliments, even admiration, periodically come my way, they are presented not with understanding nor with respect but out of social necessity, in precisely the way one might admire the wife of an alcoholic: what she puts up with -- it's heroic!

Link above for rest of story.

The Thing at 34-03-15N, 118-15-23W

The Thing at 34-03-15N, 118-15-23W: "The Colorado Quarterly (Spring, 1969)"

Falling into the generation gap, I miss Willie Mays' home run

I CAN HEAR THEM out there. They are, to ignore the language's index of elasticity, dancing. And they are dancing with each other, I am asked to believe, although the fact of the matter is that when I left the patio they were exhibiting their individual spasms of ecstasy over a separation of six to twelve feet. Now I ask you: is that dancing together? I will admit that they are — for lack of a better word — involved. Yes, they are involved. They are so involved that they neglect to admire the new patio, the excuse for this party in the first place. I finished it last Wednesday, designing and building the whole thing myself, setting it into a three-colored form of a navigator's compass, at the center of which a brass plate marks the exact location of the patio: 34 degrees, 3 minutes, 15 seconds north, 118 degrees, 15 minutes, 23 seconds west. Having been a navigator in the Navy during the war, I made that measurement precisely. Myself.
I retreated thirty minutes ago. I did not leave for the specific purpose of watching the ballgame. This I would have sacrificed in order to be an attentive host, but frankly it is impossible to be any kind of host, attentive or indifferent, unless one has guests. Whatever these kids today may be, delinquents, revolutionaries, or spoiled nouveaux riches (Jim tends toward the latter), they certainly are not guests. They rather are like some of my bloodsucking relatives, who expect everything they ask for immediately and for nothing. No, they need no host out there. Whatever they need, they need no host.

Link above for rest of story.

NASA: First half of 2010 breaks the thermometer — despite “recent minimum of solar irradiance” Climate Progress

NASA: First half of 2010 breaks the thermometer — despite “recent minimum of solar irradiance” Climate Progress

BBC News - Tom Stoppard fears for the 'loss' of the printed page

BBC News - Tom Stoppard fears for the 'loss' of the printed page: "Playwright Sir Tom Stoppard has spoken of his fear that the 'printed page' is being lost in a 'world of technology'."

What happened to studying? - The Boston Globe

What happened to studying? - The Boston Globe: "You won’t hear this from the admissions office, but college students are cracking the books less and less"

LRB The Author in the Age of the Internet

LRB The Author in the Age of the Internet

Panel discussions on video.

Record Ratings For Final Game; World Cup Finishes As The Most Watched Ever –

Record Ratings For Final Game; World Cup Finishes As The Most Watched Ever –

Thomas J. Craughwell: 10 Presidential Decisions That Changed History (PHOTOS)

Thomas J. Craughwell: 10 Presidential Decisions That Changed History (PHOTOS)

Monday, July 12, 2010

Montana v. Elway

Caught the end of a 1994 game in Denver when Joe Montana was with Kansas City, each with a comeback TD drive, Montana getting the last and the victory. And nobody pounded a chest or acted like an asshole. The good old days, even then. Relatively speaking.

The Great American Play

Reread Thornton Wilder's The Skin of Our Teeth this afternoon. Hadn't read it in years. Surely this is "the great American play". It's contemporary, more "modern" artistically than 99.9% of the plays written by Americans today, funny and sad, relevant (big time!) ... just an amazing play. It's rarely done but I see in the spring there is a production in Palm Springs, maybe I can twist H's arm to go. Man, I admire and love this play! Wilder is something else. It's also less "optimistic", more indecisive about the future, than I remember. I like that. Reading this has raised my spirits today. What an accomplishment.

At left: Outstanding production on PBS some years ago. (Diana Bellamy did a number of outstanding performances here, as actress and director. I think she plays a dinosaur among other roles.)