Thursday, July 31, 2008

Poul Anderson

Today is the anniversary of the death in 2001 of science fiction/fantasy author Poul Anderson. I currently have the following books by this prolific author on my shelf:

The Broken Sword
Ensign Flandry
The Guardians of Time
The High Crusade

The High Crusade
is a special favorite of mine and great fun to read. There is a 1994 filmed version of this book starring John Rhys-Davies.

Locus has an interview from 1997. There is an overview of his career at The Templeton Gate.

As I have recently joined the Society for Creative Anachronism and have been tentatively attending some functions in the Barony of Grey Niche, it is of particular interest to me that Anderson was one of the founders of the SCA back in the 60's.


Literature Map
suggests A.E. Van Vogt for those who like Poul Anderson.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

10 Ways to Be a Better Film Critic

I'm not a film critic, but I do like to watch movies and read what the critics have to say. This 2-part article by Movie Zeal offers great suggestions on how to write about film. Part 1 is here. Part 2 is here. He takes the following basics, expands on them and gives illustrations from notable film critics.

His basic 10:

1. Expand Your Cinematic Vocabulary
2. Respect the Medium You Are Criticizing
3. Develop an Appreciation For All the Arts
4. Study Classic Film Criticism
5. Develop a Unique Voice
6. Don’t Be Dull
7. Invest Yourself in Other Pursuits
8. Become an Excellent Essayist
9. Avoid the Reviews of Others Before Writing…Study Them Afterwards
10. Develop a Philosophy of Trash


The article is exposing me to some critics I am not familiar with, and the comments lead to some bloggers that are new to me. I'd like to read some of the books he recommends. I think the suggestions are good for thinking critically about film for me and not just for critics who write "viewership".

I'm Roseanne Barr

Take the clutter test to find out who you are.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Vincent van Gogh



Today is the anniversary of the death in 1890 of Vincent van Gogh. I spent many of my young adult years fascinated by this artist, reading books about him and learning about his life and work. There is a Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam which has a virtual tour, videos at youtube and 2 groups at Flickr.

There are many websites that display his paintings and drawings, including the Van Gogh Gallery (which also includes biographical information, lesson plans and other resources), the WebMuseum, the Artcyclopedia, Olga's Gallery, Artchive, MetMuseum, . His letters are online here. The National Gallery of Art has a virtual tour of their 1998 exhibit.

If having a poster of your favorite of his paintings is not enough, you can buy your very own action figure of Van Gogh with 2 interchangeable heads -one with both ears and one with a bandage.

This Vincent Van Gogh Gallery is endorsed by the Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam, and says,
I'm proud to say that I have the privilege of displaying 100% of Vincent van Gogh's works and letters--a complete, online catalogue raisonné of Van Gogh's oeuvre. As you explore these pages, you'll see the culmination of thousands of hours of work. But that's just the beginning . . . .

On a regular basis I'll be adding more criticism and analysis, historical commentary as well as a vastly expanded web of cross-referential hyperlinks. This will allow the visitor an easy means of exploring the rich tapestry of Vincent van Gogh's life and art.


Don McClean's Vincent (1971):


The picture at the top of the post is of Van Gogh's View of Arles and is the picture on one of the post cards The Daughter brought back from her recent trip to Germany and Austria. She brought back one other Van Gogh post card: Vase with Sunflowers, pictured below:

Monday, July 28, 2008

Roger Tory Peterson

Today is the anniversary of the death of naturalist Roger Tory Peterson, who wrote Guide to the Birds and edited or wrote many of the Peterson Field Guides. He and James Fisher co-wrote Wild America, the description of their trip around America.

He was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1980. There is a short biography here. The National Wildlife Federation has a tribute article. The Harvard Museum of Natural History awards an annual medal named for him.

8/8/2008 is the centennial of Peterson's birth, and The Roger Tory Peterson Institute of Natural History is hosting a special exhibit and activities to celebrate. The Institute's mission
is to continue the legacy of Roger Tory Peterson by promoting the teaching and study of nature, and thereby to create knowledge of and appreciation and responsibility for the natural world.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Ed Emshwiller


Today is the anniversary of the death in 1990 of artist and film maker Ed Emshwiller. UBUWEB has a page on him.

His initial claim to fame was illustrating science fiction magazine covers. (The picture above, for example, is one of his and is copied from levar's Flickr page.) Those covers and book cover illustrations may be what he is best known for, but there were some films...

Thanatopsis (1962):


Sunstone (1979):

Sunday Psalm

Psalm 119

1 Blessed are the undefiled in the way, who walk in the law of the LORD.

2 Blessed are they that keep his testimonies, and that seek him with the whole heart.

3 They also do no iniquity: they walk in his ways.

4 Thou hast commanded us to keep thy precepts diligently.

5 O that my ways were directed to keep thy statutes!

6 Then shall I not be ashamed, when I have respect unto all thy commandments.

7 I will praise thee with uprightness of heart, when I shall have learned thy righteous judgments.

8 I will keep thy statutes: O forsake me not utterly.

9 Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? by taking heed thereto according to thy word.

10 With my whole heart have I sought thee: O let me not wander from thy commandments.

11 Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.

12 Blessed art thou, O LORD: teach me thy statutes.

13 With my lips have I declared all the judgments of thy mouth.

14 I have rejoiced in the way of thy testimonies, as much as in all riches.

15 I will meditate in thy precepts, and have respect unto thy ways.

16 I will delight myself in thy statutes: I will not forget thy word.

17 Deal bountifully with thy servant, that I may live, and keep thy word.

18 Open thou mine eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of thy law.

19 I am a stranger in the earth: hide not thy commandments from me.

20 My soul breaketh for the longing that it hath unto thy judgments at all times.

21 Thou hast rebuked the proud that are cursed, which do err from thy commandments.

22 Remove from me reproach and contempt; for I have kept thy testimonies.

23 Princes also did sit and speak against me: but thy servant did meditate in thy statutes.

24 Thy testimonies also are my delight and my counselors.

25 My soul cleaveth unto the dust: quicken thou me according to thy word.

26 I have declared my ways, and thou heardest me: teach me thy statutes.

27 Make me to understand the way of thy precepts: so shall I talk of thy wondrous works.

28 My soul melteth for heaviness: strengthen thou me according unto thy word.

29 Remove from me the way of lying: and grant me thy law graciously.

30 I have chosen the way of truth: thy judgments have I laid before me.

31 I have stuck unto thy testimonies: O LORD, put me not to shame.

32 I will run the way of thy commandments, when thou shalt enlarge my heart.

33 Teach me, O LORD, the way of thy statutes; and I shall keep it unto the end.

34 Give me understanding, and I shall keep thy law; yea, I shall observe it with my whole heart.

35 Make me to go in the path of thy commandments; for therein do I delight.

36 Incline my heart unto thy testimonies, and not to covetousness.

37 Turn away mine eyes from beholding vanity; and quicken thou me in thy way.

38 Stablish thy word unto thy servant, who is devoted to thy fear.

39 Turn away my reproach which I fear: for thy judgments are good.

40 Behold, I have longed after thy precepts: quicken me in thy righteousness.

41 Let thy mercies come also unto me, O LORD, even thy salvation, according to thy word.

42 So shall I have wherewith to answer him that reproacheth me: for I trust in thy word.

43 And take not the word of truth utterly out of my mouth; for I have hoped in thy judgments.

44 So shall I keep thy law continually for ever and ever.

45 And I will walk at liberty: for I seek thy precepts.

46 I will speak of thy testimonies also before kings, and will not be ashamed.

47 And I will delight myself in thy commandments, which I have loved.

48 My hands also will I lift up unto thy commandments, which I have loved; and I will meditate in thy statutes.

49 Remember the word unto thy servant, upon which thou hast caused me to hope.

50 This is my comfort in my affliction: for thy word hath quickened me.

51 The proud have had me greatly in derision: yet have I not declined from thy law.

52 I remembered thy judgments of old, O LORD; and have comforted myself.

53 Horror hath taken hold upon me because of the wicked that forsake thy law.

54 Thy statutes have been my songs in the house of my pilgrimage.

55 I have remembered thy name, O LORD, in the night, and have kept thy law.

56 This I had, because I kept thy precepts.

57 Thou art my portion, O LORD: I have said that I would keep thy words.

58 I intreated thy favour with my whole heart: be merciful unto me according to thy word.

59 I thought on my ways, and turned my feet unto thy testimonies.

60 I made haste, and delayed not to keep thy commandments.

61 The bands of the wicked have robbed me: but I have not forgotten thy law.

62 At midnight I will rise to give thanks unto thee because of thy righteous judgments.

63 I am a companion of all them that fear thee, and of them that keep thy precepts.

64 The earth, O LORD, is full of thy mercy: teach me thy statutes.

65 Thou hast dealt well with thy servant, O LORD, according unto thy word.

66 Teach me good judgment and knowledge: for I have believed thy commandments.

67 Before I was afflicted I went astray: but now have I kept thy word.

68 Thou art good, and doest good; teach me thy statutes.

69 The proud have forged a lie against me: but I will keep thy precepts with my whole heart.

70 Their heart is as fat as grease; but I delight in thy law.

71 It is good for me that I have been afflicted; that I might learn thy statutes.

72 The law of thy mouth is better unto me than thousands of gold and silver.

73 Thy hands have made me and fashioned me: give me understanding, that I may learn thy commandments.

74 They that fear thee will be glad when they see me; because I have hoped in thy word.

75 I know, O LORD, that thy judgments are right, and that thou in faithfulness hast afflicted me.

76 Let, I pray thee, thy merciful kindness be for my comfort, according to thy word unto thy servant.

77 Let thy tender mercies come unto me, that I may live: for thy law is my delight.

78 Let the proud be ashamed; for they dealt perversely with me without a cause: but I will meditate in thy precepts.

79 Let those that fear thee turn unto me, and those that have known thy testimonies.

80 Let my heart be sound in thy statutes; that I be not ashamed.

81 My soul fainteth for thy salvation: but I hope in thy word.

82 Mine eyes fail for thy word, saying, When wilt thou comfort me?

83 For I am become like a bottle in the smoke; yet do I not forget thy statutes.

84 How many are the days of thy servant? when wilt thou execute judgment on them that persecute me?

85 The proud have digged pits for me, which are not after thy law.

86 All thy commandments are faithful: they persecute me wrongfully; help thou me.

87 They had almost consumed me upon earth; but I forsook not thy precepts.

88 Quicken me after thy lovingkindness; so shall I keep the testimony of thy mouth.

89 For ever, O LORD, thy word is settled in heaven.

90 Thy faithfulness is unto all generations: thou hast established the earth, and it abideth.

91 They continue this day according to thine ordinances: for all are thy servants.

92 Unless thy law had been my delights, I should then have perished in mine affliction.

93 I will never forget thy precepts: for with them thou hast quickened me.

94 I am thine, save me: for I have sought thy precepts.

95 The wicked have waited for me to destroy me: but I will consider thy testimonies.

96 I have seen an end of all perfection: but thy commandment is exceeding broad.

97 O how love I thy law! it is my meditation all the day.

98 Thou through thy commandments hast made me wiser than mine enemies: for they are ever with me.

99 I have more understanding than all my teachers: for thy testimonies are my meditation.

100 I understand more than the ancients, because I keep thy precepts.

101 I have refrained my feet from every evil way, that I might keep thy word.

102 I have not departed from thy judgments: for thou hast taught me.

103 How sweet are thy words unto my taste! yea, sweeter than honey to my mouth!

104 Through thy precepts I get understanding: therefore I hate every false way.

105 Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.

106 I have sworn, and I will perform it, that I will keep thy righteous judgments.

107 I am afflicted very much: quicken me, O LORD, according unto thy word.

108 Accept, I beseech thee, the freewill offerings of my mouth, O LORD, and teach me thy judgments.

109 My soul is continually in my hand: yet do I not forget thy law.

110 The wicked have laid a snare for me: yet I erred not from thy precepts.

111 Thy testimonies have I taken as an heritage for ever: for they are the rejoicing of my heart.

112 I have inclined mine heart to perform thy statutes alway, even unto the end.

113 I hate vain thoughts: but thy law do I love.

114 Thou art my hiding place and my shield: I hope in thy word.

115 Depart from me, ye evildoers: for I will keep the commandments of my God.

116 Uphold me according unto thy word, that I may live: and let me not be ashamed of my hope.

117 Hold thou me up, and I shall be safe: and I will have respect unto thy statutes continually.

118 Thou hast trodden down all them that err from thy statutes: for their deceit is falsehood.

119 Thou puttest away all the wicked of the earth like dross: therefore I love thy testimonies.

120 My flesh trembleth for fear of thee; and I am afraid of thy judgments.

121 I have done judgment and justice: leave me not to mine oppressors.

122 Be surety for thy servant for good: let not the proud oppress me.

123 Mine eyes fail for thy salvation, and for the word of thy righteousness.

124 Deal with thy servant according unto thy mercy, and teach me thy statutes.

125 I am thy servant; give me understanding, that I may know thy testimonies.

126 It is time for thee, LORD, to work: for they have made void thy law.

127 Therefore I love thy commandments above gold; yea, above fine gold.

128 Therefore I esteem all thy precepts concerning all things to be right; and I hate every false way.

129 Thy testimonies are wonderful: therefore doth my soul keep them.

130 The entrance of thy words giveth light; it giveth understanding unto the simple.

131 I opened my mouth, and panted: for I longed for thy commandments.

132 Look thou upon me, and be merciful unto me, as thou usest to do unto those that love thy name.

133 Order my steps in thy word: and let not any iniquity have dominion over me.

134 Deliver me from the oppression of man: so will I keep thy precepts.

135 Make thy face to shine upon thy servant; and teach me thy statutes.

136 Rivers of waters run down mine eyes, because they keep not thy law.

137 Righteous art thou, O LORD, and upright are thy judgments.

138 Thy testimonies that thou hast commanded are righteous and very faithful.

139 My zeal hath consumed me, because mine enemies have forgotten thy words.

140 Thy word is very pure: therefore thy servant loveth it.

141 I am small and despised: yet do not I forget thy precepts.

142 Thy righteousness is an everlasting righteousness, and thy law is the truth.

143 Trouble and anguish have taken hold on me: yet thy commandments are my delights.

144 The righteousness of thy testimonies is everlasting: give me understanding, and I shall live.

145 I cried with my whole heart; hear me, O LORD: I will keep thy statutes.

146 I cried unto thee; save me, and I shall keep thy testimonies.

147 I prevented the dawning of the morning, and cried: I hoped in thy word.

148 Mine eyes prevent the night watches, that I might meditate in thy word.

149 Hear my voice according unto thy lovingkindness: O LORD, quicken me according to thy judgment.

150 They draw nigh that follow after mischief: they are far from thy law.

151 Thou art near, O LORD; and all thy commandments are truth.

152 Concerning thy testimonies, I have known of old that thou hast founded them for ever.

153 Consider mine affliction, and deliver me: for I do not forget thy law.

154 Plead my cause, and deliver me: quicken me according to thy word.

155 Salvation is far from the wicked: for they seek not thy statutes.

156 Great are thy tender mercies, O LORD: quicken me according to thy judgments.

157 Many are my persecutors and mine enemies; yet do I not decline from thy testimonies.

158 I beheld the transgressors, and was grieved; because they kept not thy word.

159 Consider how I love thy precepts: quicken me, O LORD, according to thy lovingkindness.

160 Thy word is true from the beginning: and every one of thy righteous judgments endureth for ever.

161 Princes have persecuted me without a cause: but my heart standeth in awe of thy word.

162 I rejoice at thy word, as one that findeth great spoil.

163 I hate and abhor lying: but thy law do I love.

164 Seven times a day do I praise thee because of thy righteous judgments.

165 Great peace have they which love thy law: and nothing shall offend them.

166 LORD, I have hoped for thy salvation, and done thy commandments.

167 My soul hath kept thy testimonies; and I love them exceedingly.

168 I have kept thy precepts and thy testimonies: for all my ways are before thee.

169 Let my cry come near before thee, O LORD: give me understanding according to thy word.

170 Let my supplication come before thee: deliver me according to thy word.

171 My lips shall utter praise, when thou hast taught me thy statutes.

172 My tongue shall speak of thy word: for all thy commandments are righteousness.

173 Let thine hand help me; for I have chosen thy precepts.

174 I have longed for thy salvation, O LORD; and thy law is my delight.

175 Let my soul live, and it shall praise thee; and let thy judgments help me.

176 I have gone astray like a lost sheep; seek thy servant; for I do not forget thy commandments.
KJV

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Winsor McCay


Today is the anniversary of the death in 1934 of pioneer American animator Winsor McCay. I wrote a post on him back in 12/2007 in which I embedded several videos of his marvelous short films. There is a short illustrated biography here and another here. FilmReference.com has a page here. The blog Meeting McCay says it is meant to be a
one-stop-spot for anyone seeking information on McCay - his life, his art, and they many ways he's been honored over the years. And it's intended to be place (for anyone who is interested) to keep up-to-date on the progress we're making in Spring Lake MI to create a permanent, physical, tribute to the man and his legacy.
McCay Day is a new festival held in McCay's home town. There is an annual Winsor McCay Award, first awarded in 1972, which
stands as one of the highest honors given to an individual in the animation industry in recognition for career contributions to the art of animation.


The photo at the top of the post is from the Winsor McCay Wikipedia article.

11/2/2009: wishing I could go to part of this celebration.

12/30/2009: Little Nemo has been selected for preservation by the National Film Registry.

R.I.P. Nancy Wallace

Home Education Magazine reports the death in June of Nancy Wallace, whose 1983 book Better Than School: One Family’s Declaration of Independence is probably still around here somewhere. It was inspirational to me during my early exploration of homeschooling.

Puffin Populations Declining



Reports from the last surveys have revealed sharply decreasing numbers of this delightful bird. The Telegraph quotes Professor Mike Harris, Emeritus Research Fellow at the Centre for Ecology & Hydrology, which monitors sea bird populations:
The dramatic decline on the Farnes along with that found earlier this year on the Isle of May leaves no doubt that the North Sea has lost a substantial proportion of its puffins.

The Guardian's story says,
One of Britain's best-known and most vivid birds has suffered an abrupt and unexplained decline in numbers on its island strongholds in the North Sea.

After uninterrupted population increases for 40 years, puffin colonies on the Farne Islands off Northumberland and the Isle of May in the Firth of Forth have fallen by a third in five years.


The BBC (who also has a 90-second video at youtube), the Daily Mail, the Chronicle Live and Times Online also reported the story.

The photo of the flying puffin is from piglicker's Flickr page. The swimming puffin is from Keith Marshall's Flickr page.

Hakuho Wins Nagoya Grand Sumo Tournament



The Daily Yomiuri reports the results of the Nagoya Grand Sumo Tournament:
Hakuho confirmed the inevitable on Friday, winning his seventh career Emperor's Cup with two days to spare


Hakuho is a Mongolian and holds the highest of the sumo ranks.

from the International Herald Tribune:
With Mongolian compatriot and grand champion Asashoryu absent after pulling out with injuries a week ago, Hakuho faced little resistance in the Nagoya meet.


AFP reports that
The tournament was a disappointment for Kotooshu, a Bulgarian who had hoped for a strong showing to elevate him to the top rank of "yokozuna" or grand champion.

Kotooshu, real name Kaloyan Mahlyanov, put on a mediocre performance, losing four times during the tournament.

The Bulgarian stormed through the last tournament in May, becoming the first European to claim a tournament trophy.

Only two wrestlers currently hold the title of yokozuna -- Hakuho and fellow Mongolian Asashoryu.


This is a match from Day 7:


The photo at the top of the post is from user Arcimboldo at Wikipedia.

7/27/2008:
The International Herald Tribune has an update:
NAGOYA, Japan: A day after wrapping up his seventh title, grand champion Hakuho maintained his flawless record on Saturday with a win over Kotomitsuki at the Nagoya Grand Sumo Tournament.


7/28/2008:
update from AFP-
TOKYO (AFP) — Mongolian grand champion Hakuho said Monday he would return home with confidence to show sumo to his country after proving himself to be at the top of the Japanese national sport.

Hakuho, who swept the 15-day summer tournament that closed Sunday with a perfect record, will join other wrestlers in sumo's first-ever exhibition trip to Mongolia scheduled for late August.


The Daily Yomiuri:
James Hardy / Daily Yomiuri Sportswriter

Yokozuna Hakuho nailed ozeki Kotooshu with a huge left-hand overarm throw to close out the Nagoya Grand Sumo Tournament with a perfect 15-0 record on Sunday.

Moments later, the 23-year-old Mongolian received the Emperor's Cup from Japan Sumo Association chairman Kitanoumi, the seventh time he has done so but the first in Nagoya.

Friday, July 25, 2008

The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe

We had not seen the 2005 The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe until tonight. We are so satisfied with the BBC presentation that there seemed no need. Having seen the new one we like it fine but don't really see it as an improvement over all, and it left out what I consider some key elements.

trailer:

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

D.W. Griffith

Today is the anniversary of the death in 1948 of D.W. Griffith. We have seen Birth of a Nation, Intolerance (some of us have seen more of it than others), and I have seen Broken Blossoms (embedded at that link). I've seen Abraham Lincoln, but it was very long ago and I don't really remember it.

PBS has a section on Griffith in their American Masters programs. Senses of Cinema has an article and a few links. CinemaWeb has a chapter on him from a 1922 book by Peter Milne. FilmReference.com has a page here.

The Adventures of Dollie (1908):


A Corner in Wheat (1909):

Senses of Cinema has an article on this film.

The Musketeers of Pig Alley (1912):

The Wellington film society posted a review here.

Judith of Bethulia (1914):


Intolerance (1916):

FilmReference.com discusses this film here.

Orphans of the Storm, part 1:

part 2, part 3, part 4, part 5, part 6, part 7, part 8, part 9, part 10, part 11, part 12, part 13, part 14
Cinemaweb reviews this.

Abraham Lincoln (1930):


12/17/2008:
The Dancing Image has an article on Griffith and links to many reviews of his films.

The Road

The Road by Cormac McCarthy was on the top of my TBR stack, so I read it yesterday. I enjoyed it, but I still don't understand what all the fuss was about. It's not like this story has never been written before, but to read the mainstream reviews you'd think this was the first time. The New York Review of Books claims it isn't science fiction at all, while other reviewers seem to suggest that science fiction is an excusable venture for McCarthy or that the book is only "sort of" a work of science fiction. It just reminds me too much of certain other authors' disdain for genre fiction, as if there were some difference of real substance between all literary fiction and all speculative literature. These authors and reviewers must not have read widely in either.

That said, it is a compelling book, easily read. It's a keeper, and I'm sure I'll re-read it. I'm going to shelve it with the rest of my sff books.

from the back of the book:
The searing,
postapocalyptic novel
destined to become
Cormac McCarthy's
masterpiece.

A father and his son walk alone through burned America. Nothing moves in the ravaged landscape save the ash on the wind. It is cold enough to crack stones, and when the snow falls it is gray. The sky is dark. Their destination is the coast, although they don't know what, if anything, awaits them there. They have nothing; just a pistol to defend themselves against the lawless bands that stalk the road, the clothes they are wearing, a cart of scavenged food — and each other.

The Road is the profoundly moving story of a journey. It boldly imagines a future in which no hope remains, but in which the father and his son, "each the other's world entire," are sustained by love. Awesome in the totality of its vision, it is an unflinching meditation on the worst and the best that we are capable of: ultimate destructiveness, desperate tenacity, and the tenderness that keeps two people alive in the face of total devastation.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Apocalyptic Fiction Favorites

Locusts and Honey has listed 3 of his favorite apocalyptic novels:

Earth Abides (1949) by George R. Stewart.

The Last Ship (1988) by William Brinkley.

War Day (1984) by Whitley Streiber by James Kunetka


Commenters are adding their favorites, though I'd never have classified some of them as apocalyptic fiction. From a comment the original blogger has made:
World War Z is not apocalyptic -- or even a zombie apocalypse -- because most national governments continue to demonstrate control over substantial portions of their territory
I see that his definition of "apocalyptic" differs from what I am used to. This is yet another reminder to me of the need to define terms in any discussion of import. Since this is just a list of books I like, and has no import at all, I'm not worrying about it.

As his list is novels I won't name short stories in mine. Here's my list of good books or just fun reads that I think should go on a book shelf devoted to an apocalyptic/post-apocalyptic sub-genre:

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams
The Handmaid's Tale, by Margaret Atwood
Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood
The Postman by David Brin
The City and the Stars by Arthur C. Clarke
Songs of Distant Earth by Arthur C. Clarke
Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by Philip K. Dick
Alas, Babylon by Pat Frank
Make Room! Make Room! by Harry Harrison
Riddley Walker by Russell Hoban
The Night Land by William Hope Hodgson
Battlefield Earth by L. Ron Hubbard
The Stand by Stephen King
Mara and Dann by Doris Lessing
I Am Legend by Richard Matheson
A Canticle for Leibowitz by Walter M. Miller, Jr. (the sequel is dreadful)
On the Beach by Nevil Shute
Earth Abides by George Stewart
The Gate to Women's Country by Sheri S. Tepper
Cat's Cradle by Kurt Vonnegut
The Time Machine by H. G. Wells
When Worlds Collide/After Worlds Collide (a pair of novels) by Wylie and Balmer

I have McCarthy's The Road in my TBR stack, but I admit I resent the attention it got in light of the lack of attention given to genre books not written by "literary" authors.


I had a dream, which was not all a dream.
The bright sun was extinguish'd, and the stars
Did wander darkling in the eternal space,
Rayless, and pathless, and the icy earth
Swung blind and blackening in the moonless air;
Morn came and went--and came, and brought no day,
And men forgot their passions in the dread
Of this their desolation; and all hearts
Were chill'd into a selfish prayer for light:
And they did live by watchfires--and the thrones,
The palaces of crowned kings--the huts,
The habitations of all things which dwell,
Were burnt for beacons; cities were consumed,
And men were gathered round their blazing homes
To look once more into each other's face;
Happy were those who dwelt within the eye
Of the volcanos, and their mountain-torch:
A fearful hope was all the world contain'd;
Forests were set on fire--but hour by hour
They fell and faded--and the crackling trunks
Extinguish'd with a crash--and all was black.
The brows of men by the despairing light
Wore an unearthly aspect, as by fits
The flashes fell upon them; some lay down
And hid their eyes and wept; and some did rest
Their chins upon their clenched hands, and smiled;
And others hurried to and fro, and fed
Their funeral piles with fuel, and looked up
With mad disquietude on the dull sky,
The pall of a past world; and then again
With curses cast them down upon the dust,
And gnash'd their teeth and howl'd: the wild birds shriek'd,
And, terrified, did flutter on the ground,
And flap their useless wings; the wildest brutes
Came tame and tremulous; and vipers crawl'd
And twined themselves among the multitude,
Hissing, but stingless--they were slain for food.
And War, which for a moment was no more,
Did glut himself again;--a meal was bought
With blood, and each sate sullenly apart
Gorging himself in gloom: no love was left;
All earth was but one thought--and that was death,
Immediate and inglorious; and the pang
Of famine fed upon all entrails--men
Died, and their bones were tombless as their flesh;
The meagre by the meagre were devoured,
Even dogs assail'd their masters, all save one,
And he was faithful to a corse, and kept
The birds and beasts and famish'd men at bay,
Till hunger clung them, or the dropping dead
Lured their lank jaws; himself sought out no food,
But with a piteous and perpetual moan,
And a quick desolate cry, licking the hand
Which answered not with a caress--he died.
The crowd was famish'd by degrees; but two
Of an enormous city did survive,
And they were enemies: they met beside
The dying embers of an altar-place
Where had been heap'd a mass of holy things
For an unholy usage; they raked up,
And shivering scraped with their cold skeleton hands
The feeble ashes, and their feeble breath
Blew for a little life, and made a flame
Which was a mockery; then they lifted up
Their eyes as it grew lighter, and beheld
Each other's aspects--saw, and shriek'd, and died--
Even of their mutual hideousness they died,
Unknowing who he was upon whose brow
Famine had written Fiend. The world was void,
The populous and the powerful--was a lump,
Seasonless, herbless, treeless, manless, lifeless--
A lump of death--a chaos of hard clay.
The rivers, lakes, and ocean all stood still,
And nothing stirred within their silent depths;
Ships sailorless lay rotting on the sea,
And their masts fell down piecemeal: as they dropp'd
They slept on the abyss without a surge--
The waves were dead; the tides were in their grave,
The moon their mistress had expir'd before;
The winds were withered in the stagnant air,
And the clouds perish'd; Darkness had no need
Of aid from them--She was the Universe.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Excursion to Tindari

Excursion to Tindari by Andrea Camilleri is the 5th book in the Inspector Montalbano mystery series. I read The Shape of Water, which is the 1st in the series, some time ago and have one other in my TBR stack. I enjoyed this one and will pick up others as I come across them. It is a series worth being on the look-out for.

from the back of the book:
A young Don Juan is found murdered in front of his apartment building early one morning, and an elderly couple is reported missing after an excursion to the ancient site of Tindari - two seemingly unrelated cases for Inspector Montalbano to solve amid the daily complications of life at Vigata police headquarters. But when Montalbano discovers that the couple and the murdered young man lived in the same building, his investigation stumbles onto Sicily's brutal "New Mafia," which leads him down a path more evil and far-reaching than any he has been on before.


This book was short-listed for the Duncan Lawrie International Dagger award, an award I don't remember hearing of before. It is "given by the Crime Writers' Association for best translated crime novel of the year".

Giant Squid Dissection


You can watch the dissection here (HT: Pharyngula), where they explain that
The squid which was accidentally caught in a fishing trawl off western Victoria, weighs around 245 kg, making it the largest giant squid that Australian researchers have encountered. It is estimated that, intact, the animal would have been over 12 metres long.
.

There's more information on the Giant Squid at Wikipedia. There is an informative site here on the animals. National Geographic has a page. The Smithsonian has an exhibit. There is a video report of a sighting of a live giant squid at youtube.

first video of a live giant squid:

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Germaine Dulac

Today is the anniversary of the death in 1942 of Germaine Dulac. Senses of Cinema has an article, as do Art and Culture, FilmReference.com and ubuweb.

The Seashell and the Clergyman (1928) can be watched without breaks at ubuweb or in parts below:

part 1


part 2


part 3

Sunday Psalm

Psalm 139

1 O lord, thou hast searched me, and known me.

2 Thou knowest my downsitting and mine uprising, thou understandest my thought afar off.

3 Thou compassest my path and my lying down, and art acquainted with all my ways.

4 For there is not a word in my tongue, but, lo, O LORD, thou knowest it altogether.

5 Thou hast beset me behind and before, and laid thine hand upon me.

6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high, I cannot attain unto it.

7 Whither shall I go from thy spirit? or whither shall I flee from thy presence?

8 If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there: if I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there.

9 If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea;

10 Even there shall thy hand lead me, and thy right hand shall hold me.

11 If I say, Surely the darkness shall cover me; even the night shall be light about me.

12 Yea, the darkness hideth not from thee; but the night shineth as the day: the darkness and the light are both alike to thee.

13 For thou hast possessed my reins: thou hast covered me in my mother's womb.

14 I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well.

15 My substance was not hid from thee, when I was made in secret, and curiously wrought in the lowest parts of the earth.

16 Thine eyes did see my substance, yet being unperfect; and in thy book all my members were written, which in continuance were fashioned, when as yet there was none of them.

17 How precious also are thy thoughts unto me, O God! how great is the sum of them!

18 If I should count them, they are more in number than the sand: when I awake, I am still with thee.

19 Surely thou wilt slay the wicked, O God: depart from me therefore, ye bloody men.

20 For they speak against thee wickedly, and thine enemies take thy name in vain.

21 Do not I hate them, O LORD, that hate thee? and am not I grieved with those that rise up against thee?

22 I hate them with perfect hatred: I count them mine enemies.

23 Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts:

24 And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.
KJV

Saturday, July 19, 2008

20 Must-read British Novels

According to It Doesn't Have to Be Right, here they are:

Take Back Plenty, Colin Greenland
Use of Weapons, Iain M Banks
A Clockwork Orange, Anthony Burgess
Ash: A Secret History, Mary Gentle
Life, Gwyneth Jones
Light, M John Harrison
Absolution Gap, Alastair Reynolds
Behold the Man, Michael Moorcock
The Drowned World, JG Ballard
The Separation, Christopher Priest
Somewhere East of Life, Brian W Aldiss
The Time Machine, HG Wells
The Time Ships, Stephen Baxter
1984, George Orwell
Pavane, Keith Roberts
The Road to Corlay, Richard Cowper
Chronocules, DG Compton
Silver Screen, Justina Robson
Oracle, Ian Watson
The Star Fraction, Ken MacLeod

The list at his site is nicely annotated. I've got a long way to go to finish up this list and have never heard of many of them. The ones I've read are in bold print.

HT: SFSignal

Friday, July 18, 2008

A Nice Derangement of Epitaphs

A Nice Derangement of Epitaphs is 4th in Ellis Peters' Inspector George Felse mystery series.

from the back of the book:
“Shed here no tears. No Saint could die
More Blessed and Comforted than I."

So read the epitaph composed by Morwenna Treverra centuries ago as she followed her beloved husband, Jan, into death. The couple have been together ever since, models of pious content, in the little seaside Saxon church near the village of Maymouth. But when curious scholars arrange to open Jan Treverra's tomb, it yields not one body but two... and neither of them is Jan Treverra.

Detective Inspector George Felse happens to be on holiday nearby; indeed, he helped to open the crypt and reveal its all too modern contents. Now from an ancient gave, a mystery unfolds; a trail of violence in Maymouth's history that casts shadows centuries long ...


Felse's son gets older in each book, and in this one he's 18.

I enjoy these books as quick interesting reads. Others I've read:
#1 Fallen Into the Pit
#2 Death and the Joyful Woman
#3 Flight of a Witch

Literature Map suggests Peter Tremayne for those who like Ellis Peters, but I've read nothing by Tremayne. I'll have to check him out.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

John Coltrane

Today is the anniversary of the death in 1967 of jazz legend John Coltrane.

Impressions (1961):

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Meeting of Grey Niche

Last Tuesday night I went to my first meeting. Tonight I went to my first business meeting. There were a lot more people at this meeting than at the class meeting last week. They have a long shared history, but I guess eventually I'll "get it" and know who people are and what the issues are. I can't even picture "Gulf Wars" in my mind, and it sounds like they've all been there every year for decades. They seem to have a lot of enthusiasm. It'll probably be at least a year before I know enough about things to really have an opinion, much less think of voting on anything.

After the meeting I got a chance to talk again with Mistress Alysia, who recommended a couple of online vendors for garb for me. I may well end up with these shoes from Revival Clothing and this gown and head gear from Historic Enterprises. That would get me started, I think.

The Awakeners: Northshore & Southshore

The Awakeners by Sheri S. Tepper is a one-volume compilation of Northshore and Southshore. There is a site here that includes information on Tepper and her books and has some links. The FeministSF Wiki has a page devoted to her. Locus has an interview. NPR has an audio of an interview.

For readers who like Tepper's work the Literature Map suggests Connie Willis as an author who might be appealing.

from the back of the book:
Come to the world of the River.

Come to a world distant in time and space, a world where the pace of life is counted by tides of the great River, but where, as in the river itself, there are swift dark currents flowing under a placid surface.

Meet Pamra Don - a young woman scarred by her mother's death, lured to a priesthood where the truth must be hidden from the faithful. And meet Thrasne, a young boatman who trades from town to town, free from the iron control of the towers of the Awakeners, and the priests of the world of the River - free, that is, as long as he never speaks his mind. These two, by design and accident both, are about to discover many truths.

And on the Northshore of the River, the truth can kill you.

I have read other books by Tepper. The first I read was Grass, and it is still my favorite.

Walter Ruttmann

Today is the anniversary of the death in 1941 of German film maker Walter Ruttmann. He is one of the writers credited for the notorious Nazi propaganda film Triumph of the Will. FilmReference.com has a page on him here where they say,
As Ruttmann did not exhibit a social conscience in his early work, it is perhaps not surprising that, by the end of his life, he had been co-opted as a propagandist. An artist whose work was initially apolitical, Ruttmann neither protested nor went into exile with the advent of National Socialism. Instead, he conformed. His last documentaries were odes to Nazism and Germany's military might.
.

Berlin: die sinfonie der grosstadt (silent, 1927):

(also available at the Internet Archive)

Opus 1 2 3 4:

(also available at ubuweb)

Monday, July 14, 2008

Hellboy 2: The Golden Army

The Husband, The Younger Son and I saw Hellboy 2: The Golden Army today, The Elder Son having seen it Friday night. The only part I didn't like about it was the young Hellboy. The 10-year-old just didn't look real -more like he had a foam face. The scene was good, but I didn't like the look. The rest of the movie was great fun. Who'd have thought it would include the Tooth Fairy and Barry Manilow?

trailer:


SFCrowsnest has a review that says,
Hellboy II: The Golden Army has my vote for this year's "What Dreams May Come" Award for the most spectacular visuals in service to the least worthy story.
...
Hellboy II's visual images are spectacular and the film is full of fights and action, but there is only a bit of plot and that involves an epic fantasy premise that would have taken multiple films to do well.


SFGospel has a link to indy.com's review, which brings religion into the picture:
Augustine spoke of a God-sized hole within each of us - essentially we are relational beings hard-wired with a need for intimacy. Hellboy and his friends are no different. They are a bunch of loners and misfits, alone in the world, searching for love and meaning. They are looking for acceptance or, realizing that they might be the last of their kind, striving to not be alone. In the process, they look out for each other. With each other, they have found people to be with one another on their journeys, to encourage, mentor, chastise, their own entourage of misfits. Writer Phyllis Tickle once said that "Misfits give texture to life. They also tend, on a routine basis, to challenge the preconceptions that masquerade among us every day as normative behaviors."

"Let this remind you of why you once feared the dark." -Prince Nuada

The movies del Toro crafts are myth for adults, with all of its attendant elements


The House Next Door has 2 reviews. The first one is here; the second is here.

Other reviews:
Cinematical
CSMonitor
NYTimes
Rolling Stone
Variety
EW
Christianity Today
Roger Ebert
Salon.com

7/27/2008:
Reverse Shot's review:
What’s crucial to recognize in all this is not that HB2 is an especially dreadful movie, but that there’s nothing special about it one way or another. Del Toro is no more and no less than any other big-budget Hollywood pro, whatever Time magazine has to say (“the wildest imagination and grandest ambitions of anybody in modern movies,” in case any were wondering). Correspondingly, all the faux-serious talk about HB2 is merely an amped-up version of the intensive scrutiny granted every big Hollywood movie, which then promptly falls away to clear the decks for next week’s offering. These movies, and the writing about them, are not built to last;

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Sunday Psalm

Psalm 65

1 Praise waiteth for thee, O God, in Sion: and unto thee shall the vow be performed.

2 O thou that hearest prayer, unto thee shall all flesh come.

3 Iniquities prevail against me: as for our transgressions, thou shalt purge them away.

4 Blessed is the man whom thou choosest, and causest to approach unto thee, that he may dwell in thy courts: we shall be satisfied with the goodness of thy house, even of thy holy temple.

5 By terrible things in righteousness wilt thou answer us, O God of our salvation; who art the confidence of all the ends of the earth, and of them that are afar off upon the sea:

6 Which by his strength setteth fast the mountains; being girded with power:

7 Which stilleth the noise of the seas, the noise of their waves, and the tumult of the people.

8 They also that dwell in the uttermost parts are afraid at thy tokens: thou makest the outgoings of the morning and evening to rejoice.

9 Thou visitest the earth, and waterest it: thou greatly enrichest it with the river of God, which is full of water: thou preparest them corn, when thou hast so provided for it.

10 Thou waterest the ridges thereof abundantly: thou settlest the furrows thereof: thou makest it soft with showers: thou blessest the springing thereof.

11 Thou crownest the year with thy goodness; and thy paths drop fatness.

12 They drop upon the pastures of the wilderness: and the little hills rejoice on every side.

13 The pastures are clothed with flocks; the valleys also are covered over with corn; they shout for joy, they also sing.
KJV

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Lugh

The Younger Son and I went to Lugh today, a one-day event -our first SCA event- hosted by the Barony of Grey Niche. It was held out at the St. Columba Conference Center.

Nobody laughed at my pitiful attempt at "garb" -at least not where I could hear them- which was an even greater relief than I had realized it would be. We got to stay for the feast when someone at Troll said they had extra feast gear we could use. People could not have been more welcoming of us as newcomers and strangers. Baron and Baroness of Grey Niche Their Excellences Dagan al-Mahdi ibn Yusuf ib Hilal & Mahseed Leily (I got the names off the Grey Niche web site. It's still Greek to me.) were gracious and even commented to The Younger Son on how well they thought he had done. We were very impressed.

The Younger Son got qualified in rapier and won 3 of his fights. The rapier champion is a man who is regular at the weekly fighter practices and so is known to us. He and his Lady got to sit at the head table during the feast and were to be presented at the court to be held at 5:30 this afternoon. We were sorry to miss Court. The Younger Son got a chance to fight with 2 fighters from outside our Barony, one of whom was also a mat fencer, which was great fun. We saw the youth fighters' event. I attended the presentation on period shoes, which was fascinating.

If I could have changed anything about the event I'd have had everything announced loudly by the herald. I missed the talk on herbs, not realizing anything had started yet.

This was a great event, and it's interesting to me beyond just what it takes to support The Younger Son in his rapier involvement. I've always had a particular interest in medieval history, especially the pre-1400 part. There doesn't seem to be much local interest in music on its own, though I've heard some talk of dance events, and I haven't seen any mention of church history or pilgrimage topics, but there does seem to be some local interest in herbalism. There are weekly meetings alternating business meetings with Arts and Sciences topics. I went to their last meeting, which dealt with how to navigate all the issues around Troll-ing for an event. I'm planning to go to the meetings for a while.

7/15/2008:
Someone else who was there has written about it.

Minnie Ripperton

Today is the anniversary of the death in 1979 of Minnie Ripperton. She was only 31 when she died of breast cancer. She has a home page with lyrics and audio here.

Lovin' You:

Friday, July 11, 2008

How to Make a T-Tunic

I don't sew, don't have a sewing machine and had to buy thread 'cause I didn't have black, but I made a tunic that'll do (oh, I do hope it'll do!) for The Younger Son to wear tomorrow. I adapted this pattern, leaving out the keyhole at the neck and not sewing all the way down the sides. The shirt we ordered hasn't come yet, so this will hopefully get him through tomorrow. Lugh will be our first event to attend since he began fencing with the Society for Creative Anachronism about a year ago. He's hoping to get authorized to fight in rapier events, and Alyssia has offered to meet us early so she can observe and test him.

I'm thinking that since it's a Roman-themed event I'll wear a sheet and dare them to laugh. Well, I'll hope they don't laugh loud enough for me to hear.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Silence Day


On this date in 1925 Meher Baba began the silence that would last until his death in 1969. His followers observe this day as Silence Day and do not speak during this 24-hour period.

Meher Baba in the 1960's:

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Loren Eiseley


"We loved the earth but could not stay"

Today is the anniversary of the death in 1977 of ecologist and author Loren Eiseley. He has an official website here, where there are some high school-level curriculum guides, a few reviews of his work and copies of the society's newsletter. There are excerpts from his works here. One of Salon.com's bloggers has some of Eiseley's poems and the oft-quoted but seldom-cited starfish story. There is an article on his spirituality which says
Loren Eiseley is very much in the tradition of Henry David Thoreau. He takes the circumstances of whatever “business’’ he is about as the occasion for new questioning, new searching for some sign, some glimpse into the meaning of the unknown that confronts him at every center of existence. For many scientifically oriented individuals, the unknown is a “not-yet” at the outer edge of the known. For reflective thinkers like Eiseley, who understand their science as experience, the unknown is always encountered in the midst of the known. That is to say, the more one is aware of one’s own involvement in a scientific enterprise, the more one understands it as participation in a mystery, rather than as a conquest of exterior and objective territory.
There is an essay on Eiseley here. LiteratureMap.com suggests that people who enjoy reading Eiseley will also like John Muir.

The photo at the top of the page is from the U.S. EPA site.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Paul Sharits

Today is the anniversary of the death in 1993 of avant-garde film maker Paul Sharits. His web site has a short biography written by his son, who mentions the bi-polar disorder which runs in his family. A number of his films can be seen online at ubuweb. There are some still shots and discussion of Sharits' technique and philosophy here. CanyonCinema has an annotated list of his work.

Word Movie (1966, 3:49):


T.O.U.C.H.I.N.G (1969, 12:00):

Monday, July 07, 2008

In the Bleak Midwinter

In the Bleak Midwinter is Julia Spencer-Fleming's debut novel and the first in the Claire Fergusson/Russ Van Alstyne mysteries. First, I think it is so weird that on the cover of the book and on parts the author's website the character's name is spelled "Claire" but in the book itself and on others parts of the author's website it is spelled "Clare". Truly weird. I wonder what's with that.

This book was a real page-turner. It won several awards for best first novel: Anthony Award, Agatha Award, Dilys Award, Macavity Award and Barry Award. The first chapter can be read online here. There are five others in this series.

from the back of the book:
Claire Fergusson, St. Alban's new priest, fits like a square peg in the conservative Episcopal parish at Millers Kill, New York. She is not just a "lady"; she's a tough ex-Army chopper pilot, and nobody's fool. Then a newborn infant left at the church door brings her together with the town's police chief, Russ Van Alstyne, who's also ex-Army and a cynical good shepherd for the stray sheep of his hometown. Their search for the baby's mother quickly leads them into the secrets that shadow Millers Kill like the ever present Adirondacks. What they discover is a world of trouble, an attraction to each other -and murder...


There is a page at her website where she deals with the question of what type of mystery this is:
At a recent mystery conference, someone asked me if my books were cozies. "Um...um..." I said (in part because my mouth was full of a Krispy Kreme donut at the time) "I prefer to think of them as traditional mysteries."

...
So, are my books cozies? Well, they take place in a small, rural area, involve a priest as the crime-solver, and take time to explore what else, besides murder and mayhem, make up the Rev. Clare Fergusson's day--vestry meetings, counseling, her daily run, parish dinners. On the other hand, the books take an unsentimental look at the hardscrabble existence in an economically depressed Adirondack town, explore the life-altering effect of violence on people's lives, and include what I hope is
heart-pounding, adrenalin-inducing action. Publisher's Weekly called my latest novel a "cozy-cum-thriller," and I rather liked that. For me, ultimately, what's important
about the books I write and the books I read are that they create a recognizable, believable world with characters I want to spend time with.


I'm pleased she's dealing with the question rather deciding to abandon the series because the question keeps coming up. I enjoyed it under any literary umbrella and will look for the others.

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

died on this date in the year 1930.

Sunday, July 06, 2008

R.I.P. Thomas Disch

I'm just now learning (via BoingBoing) that author Thomas Disch killed himself on 7/4.

obits:
Locus Magazine:
SF author, critic, and poet Thomas M. Disch, born 1940, died July 4, 2008, of suicide in his New York City apartment. Ellen Datlow reports that Disch had been depressed for several years...

SFSignal
SFScope

7/7:
Newscoma made note of it.

7/8:
The Bat Segundo has a podcast of his last interview. (via SF Signal)
NYTimes:
Thomas M. Disch, an author, poet and critic who twisted the inherently twisted genre of science fiction in new, disturbing directions, including writing his last book in the voice of God, died on Friday in his Manhattan apartment. He was 68.

LATimes:
The strange new worlds he created were an odd mix: dark and horror-filled, humorous and playful. His work outfoxed readers' expectations, one critic said, and made labeling a chore for publishers.

But being outside the box was a Disch trademark.

EW

7/11/2008:
Salon.com has an article by Elizabeth Hand. (HT: LocusOnline)

9/23/2008:
Strange Horizons considers the reasons.

This is a good day to die?

Lots of people died on this date. Here's my post from last year:


Actors, authors, artists and saints who died on this date:

Cameron Mitchell, Buddy Ebsen, Roy Rogers, Kenneth Grahame, who has works online, including The Wind in the Willows illustrated, Guy de Maupassant, William Faulkner, Odilon Redon, Louis Armstrong, St. Maria Goretti, Sir Thomas More.

opening credits for The High Chaparral, starring Cameron Mitchell:

Cameron Mitchell had an established film career before his TV work on this western.


The picture at the top of the post is Redon's Flowers.

I Love Matt!

I remember "Where the Hell is Matt" in his first 2 videos. I find myself smiling through them every time I see them. Now there's a brand new one:

Why are these so captivating? Who knows. I know I find this one just as delightful as the first two. Check out 2:33 for my favorite part of this installment.

HT: Cinematical

7/31/2008:
Smart City Memphis interviews Matt.

Sunday Psalm

Psalm 45

1 My heart is inditing a good matter: I speak of the things which I have made touching the king: my tongue is the pen of a ready writer.

2 Thou art fairer than the children of men: grace is poured into thy lips: therefore God hath blessed thee for ever.

3 Gird thy sword upon thy thigh, O most mighty, with thy glory and thy majesty.

4 And in thy majesty ride prosperously because of truth and meekness and righteousness; and thy right hand shall teach thee terrible things.

5 Thine arrows are sharp in the heart of the king's enemies; whereby the people fall under thee.

6 Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: the sceptre of thy kingdom is a right sceptre.

7 Thou lovest righteousness, and hatest wickedness: therefore God, thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows.

8 All thy garments smell of myrrh, and aloes, and cassia, out of the ivory palaces, whereby they have made thee glad.

9 Kings' daughters were among thy honourable women: upon thy right hand did stand the queen in gold of Ophir.

10 Hearken, O daughter, and consider, and incline thine ear; forget also thine own people, and thy father's house;

11 So shall the king greatly desire thy beauty: for he is thy Lord; and worship thou him.

12 And the daughter of Tyre shall be there with a gift; even the rich among the people shall intreat thy favour.

13 The king's daughter is all glorious within: her clothing is of wrought gold.

14 She shall be brought unto the king in raiment of needlework: the virgins her companions that follow her shall be brought unto thee.

15 With gladness and rejoicing shall they be brought: they shall enter into the king's palace.

16 Instead of thy fathers shall be thy children, whom thou mayest make princes in all the earth.

17 I will make thy name to be remembered in all generations: therefore shall the people praise thee for ever and ever.
KJV

Saturday, July 05, 2008

The Great and Secret Show

The Great and Secret Show by Clive Barker was suggested to me by The Elder Son. I think he has the second of this trilogy, and I'll be borrowing it from him soon.

from the back of the book:
In the little town of Palomo Grove, two great armies are amassing; forces shaped from the hearts and souls of America. In this New York Times bestseller, Barker unveils one of the most ambitious imaginative landscapes in modern fiction, creating a new vocabulary for the age-old battle between good and evil. Carrying its readers from the first stirring of consciousness to a vision of the end of the world, The Great and Secret Show is a breathtaking journey in the company of a master storyteller.

In an interview Barker said,
My reality is open every minute to transformations, to transfigurations - a ghost haunted, vision haunted world in which magic and demonic doings can erupt at the slightest invitation... What preoccupies me in The Art is the idea of the dream show, what happens to us in the 25 years of our lives when we sleep. Our psychologies are so complex. We are telling stories to ourselves all the time. In the Great And Secret Show, the story is one which turns out to have a relevance beyond the realm of sleep. In other words, what we discover in the first book (albeit briefly, because there's a huge story yet to be told) is that sleep is a door, that dreams are more than casual fictions we whip up for our own delectation. Dreams are part of a matrix of mythologies where we are given clues for our survival and that intrigues me immensely. It's one of the reasons I love this kind of fiction. I value it because it's a manual for survival."

The New York Times review closes by saying,
From ''The Great and Secret Show,'' it is clear that Mr. Barker's intention is to force the horror genre to encompass a kind of dread, an existential despair, that it hasn't noticeably evinced until now. This is a tall order, one that this novel, which is skillful and funny but ultimately overwrought, doesn't quite accomplish. But, having announced the intention of writing a trilogy about the Art and its mysteries, he may yet achieve his goal.