Monday, April 16, 2007

I've been sickly with a cold since late last week, meaning that I spent a good portion of the weekend vegging on the couch (as opposed to my usual large portion of the weekend). Anyway, I watched both The Departed and The Devil and Daniel Johnston.

I thought the former ok at best. It made about as much sense as Infernal Affairs, which will never win an award for making sense, but felt bloated and unsatisfying. In Infernal Affairs, part of the pleasure was the cat-and-mouse game between the two leads, but The Departed downplayed this to focus on Jack Fucking Nicholson playing the same guy he always plays, except in Boston (and here's a query: if you play the same person everytime a camera is rolling, whether or not you are appearing in a film or at an awards show or wherever, can you legitimately be called an actor or are you, in fact, just some guy?). Marty can do better, but, to be fair, he can certainly do worse.

Phil Nugent hated The Devil and Daniel Johnston, but I didn't. I seem to remember that Phil thought Daniel an annoying person who insisted that everyone cater to his eccentricities, but I think it's a little more accurate to call him an person indulged as a child whose mental illness requires that same indulgence in his adulthood. I'm a big fan of Johnston's songwriting, which maybe makes a difference (and I note that one detractor on Netflix was kind enough to point out that he wouldn't pass the first round on American Idol). I mean, yes, Johnston's approach to his songs is primitive at best, but like in that lovely moment where Kathy McCarty demonstrates the complexity of his melodies in a little a capella burst, his lyrics and the craft in his songs are quite sophisticated. As in Crumb, the tragedy of his life is on display, especially in a wrenching segment where his father bursts into tears while describing Daniel's attempt to crash their tiny plane during a nasty psychotic episode. Unlike Crumb, the filmmakers do not damn Johnston for his illness and eccentricities.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Warning: The following post is mostly content-free and full of boring minutiae! Buy a case and share with your friends!

I shaved off my moustache this morning, and now I have a clean-shaven upper lip for the first time in 13-14 years. I first grew a moustache two years earlier to that, and the last time I was 'stasheless lasted one week. It was odd to see my face in the mirror, all moony and sometimes reflecting back at me what appeared to be a bad photocopy of my teenage face. I'm thinking muttonchops are next.

In other news, my eMusic downloads of the month are:

  • Andrew Bird - Armchair Apocrypha (+ eMusic bonus track)
  • Danielson - Brother Is To Son
  • The For Carnation - s/t
  • Isaac Hayes - To Be Continued
  • Opeth - Blackwater Park
  • Panda Bear - Person Pitch
  • Red House Painters - Down Colorful Hill
  • Sonny Rollins - Freedom Suite
  • Marnie Stern - In Advance of the Broken Arm
  • Tortoise - TNT
  • David S. Ware - The Freedom Suite
  • Young People - Five Sunsets in Four Days

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Let me draw your attention to two of my favorite links over there on the right.

Over at Clown Central Station, Leonard Pierce (aka The Kong of Clowns) makes right-wing punditry look like the clown car that it is by (and get this, because it's brilliant) taking the blowhards at their word. He treats them like the words they write actually mean what they say, and instantly - poof! - they are revealed as petty half-wits. The man is in the same league as Colbert or the Daily Show, which I don't say lightly.

Meanwhile, over at Boy On A Stick And Slither, Steven L. Cloud has created the most thoughtful and funny comic strip since Calvin & Hobbes. OK, since I'm out on a limb, I think it's actually better than Calvin & Hobbes in some ways. Take some time and flip through the archives.

Li'l Sphere has written a song that goes:

(to the tune of "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star")

No-no no-no no-no NO!/No-no no-no no-no NO!

You can imagine the rest.

In other news, I emailed my editor at Continuum today to ask for yet another extension to my deadline for my 33 1/3 book. I've been rewriting it since February and really, really like my current direction. I described it for him and hope that he sees it as a valid way to go.

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Cary, NC, United States
reachable at firstname lastname (all run together) at gmail dot com

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From Here To Obscurity, founded ca. 2003, population 1. The management wishes to emphasize that no promises vis-a-vis your entertainment have been guaranteed and for all intents and purposes, intimations of enlightenment fall under the legal definition of entertainment. No refunds shall be given nor will requests be honored. Although some may ask, we have no intention of beginning again.

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