Friday, February 23, 2018


Rope is a 1948 Hitchcock movie starring James Stewart, John Dall, Farley Granger, Joan Chandler, and Sir Cedric Hardwicke. Wikipedia says it's "notable for taking place in real time and being edited so as to appear as a single continuous shot through the use of long takes". This is a classic.


The Guardian says, "Hitchcock delights in toying with his audience, repelling and luring his viewers into the scene of a crime – and nowhere more audaciously than in Rope". The NYT has two reviews: one from the time of its release and another from 1984.

Slant Magazine gives it 3.5 out of 4 stars. Roger Ebert says, "“Rope” remains one of the most interesting experiments ever attempted by a major director working with big box-office names, and it’s worth seeing". Rotten Tomatoes has a critics score of 97%.

Thursday, February 22, 2018

The Dream Vessel

The Dream Vessel is the second book in the series of two by Jeff Bredenberg (1953-2010). It's different from most post-apocalyptic stories I've read -sailing ships? pirates?- and that alone makes it worth reading.

from the back of the book:

A glorious uprisingsmashed the power of the Monitor -the bloodthirsty dictator who enslaved the inhabitants of a continent already ravaged by nuclear devastation. Now rebel leader Rosenthal Webb must spread the message of freedom to what remains of the world. To do so, he needs a great sailing ship. And that means consorting with slavers, pirates and cutthroats -trusting them to serve his cause and transport his emissaries safely across a vast ocean of breathtaking possibility and horrific peril.

And somewhere beyond the horizon, Pec-Pec is waiting -Rasta God, thief and mystical trickster- to bend the noble mission to his incomprehensible will... and move the world into his own vision of an impossible future.

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

In the Loop

In the Loop is a 2009 political satire/black comedy starring Peter Capaldi. It spears the beginning of the Iraq war.

via Youtube:

The New York Times calls it "a sharply written, fast-talking, almost dementedly articulate satire on modern statecraft". The Guardian calls it "superb".

Slate Magazine says, "It's The War Room (the 1993 documentary about Bill Clinton's upstart campaign strategists), but shot in the war room of Dr. Strangelove" and praises Capaldi's performance as "the jewel in this movie's comic crown." Rotten Tomatoes has a critics score of 94%.

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

National Fill-In-The-Blank Month

February is the month set aside to give attention to some serious issues. It's Black History Month and American Heart Month, for example. But it's also Great American Pie Month and National Cherry Pie Month and National Hot Breakfast Month, so I'll be eating hot cherry pie for breakfast while I research some of the more serious issues. I enjoy following the bunny trails as I look up topics and follow links. Please join the weekly T Stands for Tuesday blogger gathering hosted by Bleubeard and Elizabeth.

To be honest, I think there are so many things each month is dedicated to that it defeats the purpose of having a month dedicated to something. lists these:

  • Free and Open Source Software Month
  • American Heart Month
  • An Affair to Remember Month
  • Black History Month
  • Canned Food Month
  • Creative Romance Month
  • Great American Pie Month
  • National Bake for Family Fun Month
  • National Bird Feeding Month
  • National Cherry Month
  • National Children’s Dental Health Month
  • National Grapefruit Month
  • National Heart Month
  • National Hot Breakfast Month
  • National Library Lover’s Month
  • National Macadamia Nut Month
  • National North American Inclusion Month
  • National Snack Food Month
  • National Weddings Month
  • National Embroidery Month
  • Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month has an even longer list:

  • Adopt A Rescued Rabbit Month
  • African-American History Month
  • AMD/Low Vision Awareness Month
  • American Heart Month
  • American History Month
  • Bake for Family Fun Month
  • Berry Fresh in the Sunshine State Month
  • Black History/Heritage Month (Canada)
  • Chocolate Lover's Month
  • Creative Romance Month
  • Deaf History Month
  • Fabulous Florida Strawberry Month
  • Festival of Camellias Month
  • From Africa to Virginia Month
  • Great American Pies Month
  • Greek-American Heritage Month
  • Human Relations Month
  • International Boost Self-Esteem Month
  • Irish-American Heritage Month
  • Library Lovers Month
  • Marfan Syndrome Awareness Month
  • Marijuana Awareness Month
  • Mental Retardation Awareness Month
  • National African American History Month (Black History)
  • National Bird Feeding Month
  • National Black History Month (African American)
  • National Boost-Your-Self-Esteem Month
  • National Canned Food Month
  • National Care About Your Indoor Air Month
  • National Cherry Pie Month
  • National Children's Dental Health Month
  • National Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Awareness Month
  • National Condom Month
  • National Craft Month
  • National Dental Month
  • National Get To Know and Independent Real Estate Broker Month
  • National Grapefruit Month
  • National Hot Breakfast Month
  • National Laugh-Friendly Month
  • National Mend A Broken Heart Month
  • National Multiple Sclerosis Education and Awareness Month
  • National Parent Leadership Month
  • National Pet Dental Health Month
  • National Senior Independence Month
  • National Snack Food Month
  • National Sweet Potato Month
  • National Time Management Month
  • National Weddings Month
  • National Women's History Month
  • North Carolina Sweet Potato Month
  • Plant the Seeds of Greatness Month
  • Relationship Wellness Month
  • Return Shopping Carts to the Supermarket Month
  • Spiritual Wellness Month
  • Spunky Old Broads Month
  • Sweet Potato Month
  • Wise Health Care Consumer Month
  • Worldwide Renaissance of the Heart Month
It begins to lose all meaning.

Monday, February 19, 2018

Road to the Stars

Road to the Stars is a 1959 Soviet film. The special effects of life in space were groundbreaking and the film is said to have been influential in Kubrick's making of 2001: A Space Odyssey. The first 24 minutes of this 48-minute film covers the history of space flight before human exploration, and the 2nd half of the film takes us into space to a space station and a landing on the moon.

via Youtube:

Sunday, February 18, 2018

In the Mood for Love

In the Mood for Love is a 2000 award-winning film directed by Wong Kar-wai. This makes it onto my Saddest Movies Ever list. Nobody is happy, nobody gets anything they want, no good comes of it, sadness prevails. This is a beautiful film, but be careful when you choose to watch it. It's deeply moving.

via Youtube:

This Guardian reviewer declares it his favorite film and says, "There are many reasons to adore the film, most obviously its almost unworldly, dream-like beauty." DVD Talk calls it "a phenomenal picture; a marvelously acted tale of longing that is moving and often stunning in appearance. It's definitely a must-see."

Senses of Cinema has a lengthy article that says,
Wong’s key elements –what older critics might call “atmosphere” and “characterizations”– are thus grounded in abstraction rather than plot, and it’s hard to think of a recent movie that offers just such abstract ingredients that are by themselves sufficient reasons to see the picture. But it is precisely this quality of aesthetic abstraction that makes up an ideal dreamtime of Hong Kong, which is Wong’s ode to the territory.
Roger Ebert calls it "a lush story of unrequited love that looks the way its songs sound." Rotten Tomatoes has a critics score of 90%.

There's a segment of an online film criticism course devoted to this film:

from this video: "It was released in 2000 and hailed an instant classic, winning awards all over the globe". I'm glad I'd seen the movie before I watched this; but this offers a helpful exploration of the movie, including technical elements and the social and political context.

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Naked Lunch 42

I can't see the entire number on the door, but it certainly looks like a 42. This is from the first scene of the film Naked Lunch.

Friday, February 16, 2018

Black Moon

image from Wikipedia

One of the definitions of Black Moon is a month without a full moon. This can only occur in a February and only occurs about every 20 years. This month will be the last time until 2037. So get out there and look at that -oh, wait, you can't actually see the absence of a full moon. But there'll be two full moons in March, the second half of a Double Blue Moon, so you can have twice the full moon joy next month to make up for it.

This short video demonstrates the moon phases:

I had never heard of this month-with-no-full-moon occurrence until this month when it's happened twice before during my lifetime. It truly is the case that I learn something new every day!

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Lost Hearts

Lost Hearts is a 1904 ghost story by M.R. James. It begins,
It was, as far as I can ascertain, in September of the year 1811 that a post-chaise drew up before the door of Aswarby Hall, in the heart of Lincolnshire. The little boy who was the only passenger in the chaise, and who jumped out as soon as it had stopped, looked about him with the keenest curiosity during the short interval that elapsed between the ringing of the bell and the opening of the hall door. He saw a tall, square, red-brick house, built in the reign of Anne; a stone-pillared porch had been added in the purer classical style of 1790; the windows of the house were many, tall and narrow, with small panes and thick white woodwork. A pediment, pierced with a round window, crowned the front. There were wings to right and left, connected by curious glazed galleries, supported by colonnades, with the central block. These wings plainly contained the stables and offices of the house. Each was surmounted by an ornamental cupola with a gilded vane.

An evening light shone on the building, making the window-panes glow like so many fires. Away from the Hall in front stretched a flat park studded with oaks and fringed with firs, which stood out against the sky. The clock in the church-tower, buried in trees on the edge of the park, only its golden weather-cock catching the light, was striking six, and the sound came gently beating down the wind. It was altogether a pleasant impression, though tinged with the sort of melancholy appropriate to an evening in early autumn, that was conveyed to the mind of the boy who was standing in the porch waiting for the door to open to him.

The post-chaise had brought him from Warwickshire, where, some six months before, he had been left an orphan. Now, owing to the generous offer of his elderly cousin, Mr Abney, he had come to live at Aswarby. The offer was unexpected, because all who knew anything of Mr Abney looked upon him as a somewhat austere recluse, into whose steady-going household the advent of a small boy would import a new and, it seemed, incongruous element. The truth is that very little was known of Mr Abney’s pursuits or temper.
It can be read online here. It was adapted for television in 1973:

Ghost stories have a long history in the English language, and I've found that the older ones can be much scarier than modern stories that depend on blood and gore.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Real Things Don't Change

Real Things Don't Change:

by Porcelan, a Memphis musician. Isn't this song beautiful?