Sunday, August 31, 2008

Sunday Psalm

Psalm 105


1 O give thanks unto the LORD; call upon his name: make known his deeds among the people.

2 Sing unto him, sing psalms unto him: talk ye of all his wondrous works.

3 Glory ye in his holy name: let the heart of them rejoice that seek the LORD.

4 Seek the LORD, and his strength: seek his face evermore.

5 Remember his marvellous works that he hath done; his wonders, and the judgments of his mouth;

6 O ye seed of Abraham his servant, ye children of Jacob his chosen.

7 He is the LORD our God: his judgments are in all the earth.

8 He hath remembered his covenant for ever, the word which he commanded to a thousand generations.

9 Which covenant he made with Abraham, and his oath unto Isaac;

10 And confirmed the same unto Jacob for a law, and to Israel for an everlasting covenant:

11 Saying, Unto thee will I give the land of Canaan, the lot of your inheritance:

12 When they were but a few men in number; yea, very few, and strangers in it.

13 When they went from one nation to another, from one kingdom to another people;

14 He suffered no man to do them wrong: yea, he reproved kings for their sakes;

15 Saying, Touch not mine anointed, and do my prophets no harm.

16 Moreover he called for a famine upon the land: he brake the whole staff of bread.

17 He sent a man before them, even Joseph, who was sold for a servant:

18 Whose feet they hurt with fetters: he was laid in iron:

19 Until the time that his word came: the word of the LORD tried him.

20 The king sent and loosed him; even the ruler of the people, and let him go free.

21 He made him lord of his house, and ruler of all his substance:

22 To bind his princes at his pleasure; and teach his senators wisdom.

23 Israel also came into Egypt; and Jacob sojourned in the land of Ham.

24 And he increased his people greatly; and made them stronger than their enemies.

25 He turned their heart to hate his people, to deal subtilly with his servants.

26 He sent Moses his servant; and Aaron whom he had chosen.

27 They shewed his signs among them, and wonders in the land of Ham.

28 He sent darkness, and made it dark; and they rebelled not against his word.

29 He turned their waters into blood, and slew their fish.

30 Their land brought forth frogs in abundance, in the chambers of their kings.

31 He spake, and there came divers sorts of flies, and lice in all their coasts.

32 He gave them hail for rain, and flaming fire in their land.

33 He smote their vines also and their fig trees; and brake the trees of their coasts.

34 He spake, and the locusts came, and caterpillers, and that without number,

35 And did eat up all the herbs in their land, and devoured the fruit of their ground.

36 He smote also all the firstborn in their land, the chief of all their strength.

37 He brought them forth also with silver and gold: and there was not one feeble person among their tribes.

38 Egypt was glad when they departed: for the fear of them fell upon them.

39 He spread a cloud for a covering; and fire to give light in the night.

40 The people asked, and he brought quails, and satisfied them with the bread of heaven.

41 He opened the rock, and the waters gushed out; they ran in the dry places like a river.

42 For he remembered his holy promise, and Abraham his servant.

43 And he brought forth his people with joy, and his chosen with gladness:

44 And gave them the lands of the heathen: and they inherited the labour of the people;

45 That they might observe his statutes, and keep his laws. Praise ye the LORD.
KJV

Saturday, August 30, 2008

The Matrix Reloaded

The Matrix Reloaded is part 2 in a film trilogy. Or maybe it'd be better to call it part 1 1/2, since the ending is a cliff-hanger providing no closure on any front. It almost just stops mid-scene, and if I had paid good money to see this in a theater I would not be a happy camper. Starring Keanu Reeves, Laurence Fishburne, Carrie-Ann Moss, and Hugo Weaving (Gina Torres is in one scene) and directed by the Wachowski Brothers, it is a direct sequel to the first movie.

Action scenes are interminable. I feeel that character development is awkward and scenes focusing on that, especially on the development of secondary or tertiary characters, feel artificially inserted. (Need a little relief from a long, intense action sequence? Insert character development.) Given all that it was a fun movie to watch.

Reviews:
Rolling Stone
BBC
Slant Magazine
The New Yorker
EW

Roger Ebert says,
The speeches provide not meaning, but the effect of meaning: It sure sounds like those guys are saying some profound things.


trailer:

River of Darkness

River of Darkness by Rennie Airth is a post-WW1 unconventional love story that takes place during a serial murder investigation. The narrative describes the point of view of the police at first but does shift in some chapters to describing the criminal's thoughts and actions. The book won the 2000 Grand Prix de Litterature Policiere International Prize. This is the first book of a trilogy. Chances are I won't read the others. The book is more focused on the detective's personal life than I prefer, the detective himself is too needy and clinging for me, and I avoid books about sex crimes if I know that's what the story involves.

from the back of the book:
As rural England slowly emerges from World War I, a particularly vicious attack on a household in a small village leaves five butchered bodies and no explanation for the killings. Scotland Yard sends Inspector John Madden, still recovering from his own harrowing war experience and from the deaths of his wife and child. The local police dismiss the slaughter as a botched robbery, but Madden detects the signs of a madman at work. With the help of Dr. Helen Blackwell, who introduces him to the latest developments in criminal psychology, Madden sets out to identify and capture the killer, even as the murderer sets his sights on his next innocent victims.


January Magazine reviews it here. The New York Times has a review and a link to the first chapter here.

Friday, August 29, 2008

The Matrix again

The Elder Son wanted to watch the 2nd Matrix movie tonight, but since The Daughter had never seen the first one, we watched it again so she'd have a clue. It's been a year since we watched it last. There is a trailer embedded at that link.

There is a fan site here. The BBC reviewed it here. The BFI has a review here. Roger Ebert's review is here, Salon.com's here, The New York Times reviews it here and RollingStone here. HollywoodJesus draws out the Christian parallels. EW gave it a C+ and a condescending review.

DecentFilms calls it "the most influential action movie since Star Wars" and "a cleverly made movie, but not a profound one".

We didn't end up watching the sequel.

Biden and Palin are both Christian

So why the heck did the MSNBC graphic I saw this morning list Biden's religion as "Catholic" and Palin's as "Christian"?

That's a bit inconsistent. If Biden is listed as Catholic then Palin ought to have her denomination listed. It's Assembly of God according to the information in the Alaska Assemblies of God Newsletter. If Palin is listed as Christian then Biden ought to be listed the same way. Sheesh!

Surely MSNBC doesn't mean to say they don't think Catholics are Christians, but that's the distinct impression given when you list religious affiliation of one candidate as Catholic and the other as Christian.

I just wish I could find a screen shot of the chart.

8/30/2008:
GetReligion has further info on Palin's denominational affiliation, and there is some confusion. Apparently, she attends an Assemblies of God church some but doesn't consider herself pentecostal and has her official membership at Church on the Rock, a non-denominational congregation founded in 2000. Their "doctrinal statement" is here. The sexist language hits me immediately. They appear to be Biblical literalists.

A more accurate description of her religion if Biden's specific denominational affiliation is listed would be "non-denominational Christian".

Thursday, August 28, 2008

John Huston

Today is the anniversary of the death in 1987 of John Huston. NPR did a story on him. AFI gave him their Life Achievement Award. FilmReference.com has a page on him.

I have blog posts on the following of his films:

The Maltese Falcon (1941)
Report from the Aleutians (1943) is embedded below.
The Battle of San Pietro (1945)
A link to view Let There Be Light (1946) online is below.
Key Largo (1948)
Beat the Devil (1953)
The Man Who Would Be King (1975)

His Report from the Aleutians is a 1943 war-time documentary that can be seen at the Internet Archive or from googlevideo:


Let There Be Light, an hour-long 1946 documentary which follows a group of shell-shocked soldiers through hospitalization/treatment/revovery, can be seen at googlevideo, but embedding has been disabled.

The Dick Cavett interview:

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

The Stress of Her Regard

I enjoyed Expiration Date and Last Call, both by Tim Powers. The Stress of Her Regard did not appeal to me. The concept was not the problem. I thought it just went on too long. Way too long. I finished it out of sheer hardheadedness, but it did get more tedious as I continued.

from the back of the book:
She is as beautiful as she is evil, an eons-old power that has sparked a hundred myths, and now threatens to ravage the lives of each of her lovers. Lord Byron, Shelley and Keats -the world's greatest poets- will find inspiration in her tender embrace... and life-draining terror in her kiss. For she is immortal, unworldly, unmerciful...

Like a vampire.


The book won the 1990 Mythopoeic Fantasy Award.

Washington Post Book World says,
ultimately it is all too much. Powers throws out great twisting coils of ideas, layer upon layer, until his tale buckles beneath the weight of his invention.


The Los Angeles Times Book Review liked it in general but did say that
Toward the end of the book, however, Powers' richness becomes a little too heavy and it seems to take far too long to get to the conclusion.


I try not to judge a book by its cover, but I really should have listened to my qualms when I saw this one:

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Women's Equality

Today is Women's Equality Day, a celebration of the anniversary of the 1920 passage of the 19th Amendment, which granted women the right to vote. That was a short 88 years ago. When my mother was born women were not allowed to vote. My maternal grandmother had 3 children before the 19th Amendment was passed.

Monday, August 25, 2008

World Religions Study: Judaism

Weeks 2-6, Hinduism

Weeks 7-11, Buddhism

Weeks 12-16, Confucianism

Weeks 17-21, Taoism

Weeks 22-26, Islam

Weeks 27-32, Judaism:

Smith, pages 254-300, 10 pages per week.

Novak, pages 175-226, 10 pages per week.

Read as desired from resources on Judaism.

Read as desired from general resources.

Continue response journal, making note of your reading

Judaism 101
Judaism at religioustolerance.org
Judaism at about.com
Judaism and Jewish Resources
Jewish Virtual Library
Judaism
Judaism's religious texts
aish.com




At the end of the 5-week Judaism study either

1. turn in a project that demonstrates your understanding of Judaism;

or

2. write and answer appropriate questions.

World Religions Study: Islam

Weeks 2-6, Hinduism

Weeks 7-11, Buddhism

Weeks 12-16, Confucianism

Weeks 17-21, Taoism


Weeks 22-26, Islam:

Smith, pages 217-253, 8 pages per week.

Novak, pages 145-174, 10 pages per week.

Eliade, chapter 4, 10 pages per week.

Read as desired from resources on Islam.

Read as desired from general resources.

Continue response journal, making note of your reading

WhyIslam.org
BBC Religion & Ethics -Islam
Sacred Texts
Islam
Middle East Studies -Islam
DiscoverIslam
EAWC -Early Islam
Internet Islamic History Sourcebook
Introduction to Islam
Islam at religioustolerance.org
Islam at about.com
Islam 101
A Brief Illustrated Guide to Understanding Islam

At the end of the 5-week Islam study either

1. turn in a project that demonstrates your understanding of Islam;

or

2. answer the following questions (these were selected from several sites):

Write a short biography of Mohammed.

What are the main beliefs of Islam?

What does the word "Islam" mean? In what different ways is it used?

What are the Five Pillars of the Muslim faith?

What is the significance of the Arabic language for Islam?

What is a mosque?

Why is Jesus not thought to be divine in the Muslim religion?

How many daily prayers are there? When are they prayed?

What is the purpose of the giving of alms?

Analyze at least two Surahs from the Qu'ran and explain what they mean.

Briefly tell the central story of Islam.

In what does Muslim communal worship on Fridays consist?

Discuss the fast of Ramadan. What is its basic purpose or meaning?

What is the Qur'an's view of its place in relation to other revelations? How do Muslims characteristically view other religions in relation to Islam?

How is Muhammad seen in Muslim eyes? What attitude or attitudes are characteristic?

How do Shi'a Islam and Sunni Islam differ. What caused the Shi'ites to separate from the Sunni Muslims?

What is an Ayatollah? An Imam?

From what event does the Muslim calendar date?

What do human happiness and fulfillment (falah, 'success') depend on in Islamic thinking?

What is seen as the root of all evil and wrongdoing in Islam?

What do Muslims see as the proper attitude toward other human beings, and how is it connected with their understanding of God?

What is a Sufi Muslim? What is the aim or goal of a Sufi path (or tariqa)? What is involved in this pursuit?

Explain the tradition of Muslim 'saints' and their veneration.

How does Islam view Judaism?

How do Muslims view Jesus?

How is Islam connected with Judaism and Christianity? How does Islam share a view of God with Judaism and Christianity?


Weeks 27-32, Judaism

World Religions Study: Taoism

Weeks 2-6, Hinduism

Weeks 7-11, Buddhism

Weeks 12-16, Confucianism


Weeks 17-21, Taoism:


Smith, pages 197-216, 4 pages per week.

Novak, pages 145-174, 6 pages per week.

Eliade, chapter 3, 9 pages per week.

Read as desired from resources on Taoism.

Read as desired from general resources.

Continue response journal, making note of your reading.

Links:

Beliefnet.com
BUBL Link
Chinese Philosophy -Taoism
WWW -Virtual Library
Taoism at religioustolerance.org
Taoism
Taoism at about.com
Introduction to Taoism
Taoism Information Page
Taoism: Basic Fundamentals
Taost Texts
Art of War Page

At the end of the 5-week Taoism study either

1. turn in a project that demonstrates your understanding of Taoism;

or

2. answer the following questions (from here):

1. Whom do the Chinese remember as The Old Master? In what sense is he a "shadowy" figure?

2. What are the Three Meanings of Tao?

3. Explain briefly the Three Approaches to Power and the Three Taoisms that correspond to them. Which one does Smith describe as "transportable"? Why? What are te and chi, and how do they relate to the three Taoisms?

4. How does Smith translate wu wei? How was Taoism's approach to improving human behavior different from that of Confucius? What nature phenomenon most resembled the Tao? How? What else did it resemble? How? What is Taoism's attitude toward nature generally?

5. Name at least five important ways that Taoism differs from Confucianism in attitude toward one thing or another.

6. The first paragraph of the Conclusion of this chapter is a gem.
Read it several times, until you understand its implications and can use it to explain the difference between Confucianism and Taoism.


Weeks 22-26, Islam

Weeks 27-32, Judaism

World Religions Study: Confucianism

Weeks 2-6, Hinduism

Weeks 7-11, Buddhism


Weeks 12-16, Confucianism:

Smith, pages 160-196, 8 pages per week.

Novak, pages 111-144, 7 pages per week.

Eliade, chapter 2, 10 pages per week.

Read as desired from resources on Confucianism.

Read as desired from general resources.

Continue response journal, making note of your reading.

Links:

Analects of Confucious
Confucian Documents
Confucian Tradition Web Sites
Confucianism at religioustolerance.org
Confucianism at Stockton.edu
Confucius, K'ung-fu-tzu
HistoryWiz
The Spiritual Sanctuary on Confucianism
The Texts of Confucianism

At the end of the 5-week Confucianism study either

1. turn in a project that demonstrates your understanding of Confucianism;

or

2. answer the following questions:

The following questions are primarily from here:

Why is Confucianism not always considered a religious tradition?

What did Confucius say about human nature and ethics?

What were his views on knowledge and value?

How would you describe the world in which Confucius lives? In what ways is his world relevant to yours? distant from yours? Does his way of viewing the world affect your outlook on the world? If so, how?

What is Confucius' attitude toward Heaven?

How does one's view of the cosmos affect one's view of ethical behavior?

Which passages were most helpful in understanding the concept of benevolence? of the rites? Is Confucius advocating a morality of mere rule following? If not, how does he avoid it? How does one best balance the demands of social rules with the demands of inner sense of benevolence? Is there a common ground of "Legalism" and "Confucianism"?

What strikes you as unique about the Confucian view of the self? How is the self cultivated? What defines the self, according to Confucius?

What is the Confucian conception of government?

Is Confucian philosophy a philosophy of conformity or creativity? How do the writings of his successors support your view?

Which Confucian virtues strike you as most relevant to contemporary culture?


Weeks 17-21, Taoism

Weeks 22-26, Islam

Weeks 27-32, Judaism

World Religions Study: Buddhism

Weeks 2-6, Hinduism

Weeks 7-11, Buddhism:

Smith, pages 90-159, 15 pages per week.

Novak, pages 49-109, 12 pages per week.

Eliade, chapter 2, 10 pages per week.

Read as desired from resources on Buddhism.

Read as desired from general resources.

Continue response journal, making note of your reading.

Links:

Access to Insight -Readings in Theravada Buddhism
An Introduction to Buddhism
Basics of Buddhism
BBC Religion & Ethics -Buddhism
BuddhaNet: Buddhist Education and Information
Buddhism at religioustolerance.org
Buddhism (about.com)
Friends of the Western Buddhist Order
Buddhist Studies -WWW Virtual Library
DharmaNet International -Gateways to Buddhism
Fundamental Buddhism Explained -Buddha's Teachings
Resources for the Study of Buddhism
Sacred Texts -Buddhism
Tibetan Buddhism
Tricycle.com -Buddhist Basics

At the end of the 5-week Buddhism study either

1. turn in a project that demonstrates your understanding of Buddhism;

or

2. answer the following questions:

Write a short biography of the Buddha;

What are the central tenets of Buddhism?

Contrast Mahayana and Theravada Buddhism;

the next 4 questions are from here:

Smith proposes that the Buddha avoided the six aspects of religion which he found in Hinduism and to which he objected. Describe these six aspects. Did the religion of the Buddha avoid them? If so, how? If not, why not?

The Buddha's religion was his solution to the problem of suffering. Restate the Four Noble Truths in one sentence each and comment on each of them.

Choose two themes from Smith's chapter on Buddhism (for instance, anicca, tanha, or the Four Noble Truths). Consider your own personal experience in light of these: does the Buddha's analysis seem to provide a good way of looking at the world?

In section 13 of Novak, the Buddha decides to postpone his own entry into nirvana preferring instead to help others gain their own enlightenment. Is the Buddha's decision consistent with his view of life (The Four Noble Truths)? Can you find other themes in the Buddhist tradition which would justify or require his taking this action?


Weeks 12-16, Confucianism

Weeks 17-21, Taoism

Weeks 22-26, Islam

Weeks 27-32, Judaism

World Religions Study: Hinduism

Weeks 2-6, Hinduism:

Smith, pages 14-89, 15 pages per week.

Novak, pages 1-48, 10 pages per week.

Eliade, chapter 1, 10 pages per week.

Read as desired from resources on Hinduism.

Read as desired from general resources.

Continue response journal, making note of your reading.

Links:

Bhagavad-Gita
Mahabharata
Sacred Texts
A Tribute to Hinduism
An Introduction to Hinduism
BBC Religion & Ethics -Hinduism
Hindu Tradition Web Sites
Hinduism at religioustolerance.org
Hinduism (about.com)
Hinduism (part of the WWW Virtual Library)
Analects of Confucious

Project:

At the end of the 5-week Hinduism study either

1. turn in a project that demonstrates your understanding of Hinduism;

or

2. answer the following questions (adapted from here):

The Scriptures
Why are the Vedas regarded as authoritative? What is the significance of the Upanishads?

God
What is the significance of the Hindu teaching that God exists equally in all beings?
Is Hinduism pantheistic? Give reasons for your view. Why is AUM an appropriate name for God?

One God, Many Names and Forms
What is polytheism? Is Hinduism polythesistic? Give reasons for your answer.
How can we account for the variety of names and forms used for God in Hinduism?
Can the doctrine of the ishtadeva help us to understand religious pluralism in today's world?

The Purpose of Icons
What is a murti ?
What purposes do murtis serve in Hinduism? Are murti-like objects present in other religions? What purposes do these serve?

The Meaning of Worship
What is the significance of the murti in a puja ritual? Does the use of a murti in worship constitute idolatry? Give reasons. How is the puja ritual similar to or different from the worship practices of other religions?

The Law of Karma
What does the word karma mean? Why are all actions not considered karma? What is the relationship between a particular action and its result? Why are the results of actions not always immediate?

Reincarnation
Explain the details in the process of reincarnation. Describe the progress of the soul as it journeys through many lives. What is its goal? What is the relationship between samsara and karma ? Are all experiences in the present influenced by choices made in the past? What is the justification for compassion towards others?

Liberation
Is there an end to the cycle of birth, death and rebirth? How does the understanding of the atman result in liberation (moksha)? What does moksha free us from? What do we gain by attaining moksha? What is the nature of avidya?

Maya
Explain the meaning of maya. What is the purpose of our world?

The Cardinal Virtues
What is dharma?
What is ahimsa?
Why is good intention significant in truth-speaking?


Weeks 7-11, Buddhism

Weeks 12-16, Confucianism

Weeks 17-21, Taoism

Weeks 22-26, Islam

Weeks 27-32, Judaism

World Religions Study

This is the high school outline for the world religions study:

World Religions Study

Book List:

Texts:
Smith, Huston; The Religions of Man (or the more recent edition of this
work: The World's Religions)
Novak, Philip; The World's Wisdom: Sacred Texts of the World's Religions
Eliade, Mircea; The Sacred and the Profane: The Nature of Religion

Supplementary Books:
Boorstin, Daniel; The Creators: A History of Heroes of the Imagination
Campbell, Joseph; The Hero with a Thousand Faces
Campbell, Joseph (with Bill Moyers); The Power of Myth
Eliade, Mircea; Patterns in Comparative Religion
Jung, Carl G.; Man and his Symbols
National Geographic Society; Great Religions of the World
Sire, James W.; The Universe Next Door
Ward, Hiley H.; My Friends' Beliefs

Monotheistic Religions:
Armstrong, Karen; A History of God: The 4,000-Year Quest of Judaism, Christianity and Islam;
Peters, F.E.; Judaism, Christianity, and Islam

Primal Religions:
Neihardt, John G.; Black Elk Speaks

Islam:
The Koran

Zen Buddhism:
Fast, Howard; The Art of Zen Meditation
Suzuki, D.T.; Zen Buddhism
Watts, Alan W.; The Way of Zen

Taoism:
Hoff, Benjamin; The Tao of Pooh; The Te of Piglet
Lao Tsu; Tao Te Ching
Waltham, Clae; Chuang Tzu: Genius of the Absurd


Week 1:

Begin Eliade's The Sacred and the Profane. Read the introduction.

Begin Smith's Religions of Man. Read the introduction.

Look through the supplementary books, familiarizing yourself with their general subject matter.

Begin your response journal. Write a response entry after each reading.

Weeks 2-6, Hinduism

Weeks 7-11, Buddhism

Weeks 12-16, Confucianism

Weeks 17-21, Taoism

Weeks 22-26, Islam

Weeks 27-32, Judaism

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Kenji Mizoguchi

Today is the anniversary of the death in 1956 of Japanese film maker Kenji Mizoguchi.

I have blog posts on the following of his films:

Osaka Elegy (1936)
Sisters of the Gion (1936)
The Life of Oharu (1952)
Ugetsu (1953) at the bottom of this post

FilmRef.com has descriptions of his films. Bright Lights Film Journal has an article on him, describing him as:
with Ozu and Kurosawa one of the three undisputed masters from the golden age of Japanese cinema

Senses of Cinema (they have another article here) profiles him, saying
If he is, as I believe, the greatest of Japanese directors, then he has eluded general recognition as such only through unpropitious circumstances.

FilmReference.com opens their article saying,
By any standard Kenji Mizoguchi must be considered among the world's greatest directors. Known in the West for the final half-dozen films which crowned his career, Mizoguchi considered himself a popular as well as a serious artist. He made eighty-five films during his career, evidence of that popularity. Like John Ford, Mizoguchi is one of the few directorial geniuses to play a key role in a major film industry. In fact, Mizoguchi once headed the vast union governing all production personnel in Japan, and was awarded more than once the industry's most coveted citations. But it is as a meticulous, passionate artist that Mizoguchi will be remembered.
and closes by saying,
A passionate but contemplative artist, struggling with issues crucial to cinema and society, Mizoguchi will continue to reward anyone who looks closely at his films. His awesome talent, self-discipline, and productivity guarantee this.

Ugetsu can be watched online, complements of LikeTelevision (with commercials):

LikeTelevision Embed Movies and TV Shows


Ugetsu is one of Time's 100 Best Movies, #100 on the Arts and Faith list of 100 most spiritually significant films, one of the 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die and one of Roger Ebert's Great Movies. FilmReference.com has a page on this film. Senses of Cinema has a review of this film as do Slant Magazine, the New York Times and Cinematical.

Sunday Psalm

Psalm 138

1 I will praise thee with my whole heart: before the gods will I sing praise unto thee.

2 I will worship toward thy holy temple, and praise thy name for thy lovingkindness and for thy truth: for thou hast magnified thy word above all thy name.

3 In the day when I cried thou answeredst me, and strengthenedst me with strength in my soul.

4 All the kings of the earth shall praise thee, O LORD, when they hear the words of thy mouth.

5 Yea, they shall sing in the ways of the LORD: for great is the glory of the LORD.

6 Though the LORD be high, yet hath he respect unto the lowly: but the proud he knoweth afar off.

7 Though I walk in the midst of trouble, thou wilt revive me: thou shalt stretch forth thine hand against the wrath of mine enemies, and thy right hand shall save me.

8 The LORD will perfect that which concerneth me: thy mercy, O LORD, endureth for ever: forsake not the works of thine own hands.
KJV

Saturday, August 23, 2008

A Star is Born

When I found the 1937 A Star is Born viewable online I couldn't resist watching it in celebration of the Movies About Movies Blogathon. It stars Janet Gaynor and Fredric March and has Andy Devine. I've always meant to watch it but just never have. I had no idea there were so many movies about movies until this blogathon.

TCM has an article, as does The Oscar Site. The New York Times has a review which says,
here, at least, is good entertainment by any standards, including the artistic, and convincing proof that Hollywood need not travel to Ruritania for its plots; there is drama aplenty in its own backyard.


I've seen the 1976 Barbra Streisand/Kris Kristofferson remake of this film but not the 1954 Judy Garland movie.



I'm keeping a list of other movies about movies I've watched here.

45 Minutes From Hollywood

This is one of several films on the list linked from the Movies About Movies Blogathon announcement that can be viewed online. I love it when I find films online, especially if they can be embedded in my blog. 45 Minutes From Hollywood is produced and co-written by Hal Roach and has Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy in it, though not in scenes together.

The family from the hills goes to Hollywood to pay the mortgage. Hoping to see the stars they meet bank robbers instead. The bank robbers have disguised themselves as film makers -a trick that fails miserably with everyone but the tourists. The hillbilly son is taken in completely, asking one of the robbers for advice on getting into movies. He is quickly swept up in the action, but it is the wrong action, on the wrong side of the hotel detective and the cops.

part 1:


part 2:


I'm keeping a list of the films this blogathon has inspired me to watch here.

The Masquerader

Charlie Chaplin's 1914 short The Masquerader is another film from the list linked from Goat Dog's Movies About Movies Blogathon announcement. I'm keeping a list of the films this blogathon has inspired me to watch here.

The BFI site has a couple of old reviews here.

After Chaplin gets kicked off the set he returns dressed as a woman and gets brought back in.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Behind the Screen

Behind the Screen is a 1916 Chaplin short silent film I discovered as I looked at a list of movies linked from Goat Dog's Movies About Movies blogathon announcement post. There is a review at BFI, with part 1 here continued here.

When she doesn't make it as an actress the actress wanna-be dresses as a man to work in the movies as a stage hand. Chaplin, as a crew member, likes "him" -especially when Chaplin finds out he's a she. When the foreman sees them kissing he thinks they are gay and makes fun of them. There are pratfalls and slapstick and pie fights. You can also learn some helpful information by watching this little film, like not to just stand around on the trap doors.



Other movies I've seen from that list are linked here.

Shins

For various reasons I wasn't planning on walking in the park this morning, and I decided not to substitute the walk with an exercise video but to rest my shins instead.

Shin pain is a common ailment, which is some comfort and makes it easy to find solutions. My new shoes and the stretching I do will help, and about.com has a page on what to do.

Movies About Movies Blogathon



Goat Dog is hosting a Movies About Movies Blogathon. Blogathon posts are being archived here. What with vacation, the Olympics and the upcoming political circuses I hadn't planned much film-watching, but I'm going to try to watch something in observance of this blogathon. I have 8 1/2 (reviewed for the blogathon by Hugo Stiglitz Makes Movies here) sitting in the stack to be watched as we speak.

He links to a list of suggestions.

From that list these are the ones I've seen:

Behind the Screen (Silent, 1916)
Felix in Hollywood(1923)
45 Minutes from Hollywood (1926)
Man With The Movie Camera (Soviet Union, 1929)
The Masquerader(1914)
Sherlock Jr. (1924)
Singin' in the Rain (1952)
A Star Is Born (1937)
Sunset Boulevard (1950)

I've seen these and they seem appropriate for the blogathon, but they are not on the list:

King Kong

Ones I've not yet seen:

2LDK (Japan, 2003)
Abbott and Costello in Hollywood (1945)
Adaptation(2002)
And Starring Pancho Villa as Himself (2003)
The Auteur Theory (1999)
Auto Focus (2002)
The Aviator (2004)
Baadasssss!
The Bad and the Beautiful (1952)
Barton Fink (1991)
Benny's Video (1992)
Beware of a Holy Whore (Warnung vor Einer Heiligen Nutte) (West Germany, 1970)
The Big Picture (1989)
Bollywood Calling (India, 2002)
Bollywood Dreams (India, 1995)
Bollywood/Hollywood (Canada, 2002)
Bollywood Queen (UK, 2002)
Bombay Talkie (1970)
Bombshell(1933)
Boogie Nights (1998)
Bowfinger (1999)
The Brothers Skladanowsky (Die Gebruder Skladanowsky) (Germany, 2002)
Il caimano (Le caiman; The Cayman(Italy / France, 2006)
Camera (2000)
Camera Buff (Amator) (Poland, 1979)
The Camerman (Silent, 1928)
Celebrity (1998)
Cinema Paradiso (Nuovo Cinema Paradiso) (Italy / France, 1988)
Close-Up (Nema-ye Nazdik) (Iran, 1990)
Contempt (Le Mépris) (France / Italy, 1963)
Daffy Duck in Hollywood (1938)
David Holzman's Diary (1967)
Day for Night (La Nuit Américaine) (France / Italy, 1973)
Day of the Locust (1975)
Ed Wood (1994)
8 1/2 (Eight and a Half) (Italy, 1963)
Electric Shadows (Meng ying tong nian) (China, 2004)
Evidence of the Film (1913)
The Extra Girl (1923)
The Festival: Disaster Film Has a Whole New Meaning (TV series, 2005)
Ficció (Spain, 2006)
The Film Fan.(1939)
Film Geek (2005)
The Fluffer (2001)
For Your Consideration (2006)
Free and Easy (1930)
Get Shorty (1995)
The Girl of Your Dreams (La Niña de tus ojos) (Spain, 1998)
Gods and Monsters (1988)
Hijacking Hollywood (1996)
Hollywood Canteen (1944)
Hollywood Capers.(1935)
Hollywood Daffy(1946)
Hollywood Ending (2002)
Hollywood Steps Out.(1941)
Hollywood Shuffle (1987)
Hollywoodland (2006)
Hurlyburly (1998)
Illusions (1983)
Inland Empire (2006)
Intervista (Italy, 1987)
Irma Vep (France, 1996)
The Lady Killer.(1933)
Last Action Hero(1993)
The Last Tycoon (1977)
The Life and Death of 9413: A Hollywood Extra(1928)
Lisbon Story (Germany / Portugal, 1994)
Living in Oblivion (1995)
Lumiere et Compagnie(France / Denmark / Spain / Sweden, 1996)
Malibu Beach Party (1940)
Man Bites Dog (Belgium, 1992)
Millennium Actress (Sennen joyu) (Japan, 2003)
Mother Goose Goes Hollywood (1938)
Movie Crazy (1932)
Movie Star (1916)
My Big Fat Independent Movie (2005)
Newsfront (Australia, 1978)
Om Shanti Om (India, 2007)
Once Upon a Time Cinema (Ruzi Ruzagari, Cinema) (Iran, 1992)
Passion (1982)
Peeping Tom (UK, 1945)
Pittsburgh (1971)
The Player (1991)
Purple Rose of Cairo (1985)
La Ricotta(Italy, 1963)
RKO 281 (2000)
Safe Conduct (Laissez-passer) (2002)
Sex Is Comedy (2002)
Shadow Magic (China / Germany / Taiwan / USA, 2000)
Shadow of the Vampire (UK / USA / Luxembourg, 2000)
Sixteen Millimeter Shrine(TV 1959)
Slugs (Nacktschnecken) (Austria, 2004)
Soigne ta droite (Keep Your Right Up!) (France, 1982)
Speaking Parts (1982)
A Star Is Born (1954)
A Star is Hatched (1938)
Star Maps (1997)
Stardust Memories (1980)
State and Main
State of Things (Stand der Dinge) (West Germany / Portugal / USA, 1982)
The Stunt Man (1980)
Sullivan's Travels (1941)
Super 8 1/2: A Cautionary Bio-pic (1995)
Swimming With Sharks (1994)
Tango(Spain / Argentina, 1998)
Twilight (1997)
Ulysses' Gaze (To vlemma tou Odyssea) (1995)
Valley of the Dolls (1967)
What's Cookin Doc? (1944)
Who's Camus Anyway? (Kamyu nante shiranai) (Japan, 2005)
You Ought To Be In Pictures(1940)

Thursday, August 21, 2008

New Shoe Debut

Took the shoes on a walk of about 1 1/2 miles. That went well, so it's nice to have the problem solved. It does feel odd to put on sunblock every day, but the sun is not my friend -at least extended skin exposure to sun is not good for me.

There was a hawk at the park that tried for a squirrel twice and missed both times.

A. Merritt

Today is the anniversary of the death in 1943 of A. Merritt. He has a page at the Science Fiction Museum Hall of Fame.

I discovered him when I found The Moon Pool. Written in 1919, it can be read online at several sites and there is an audio book at the Internet Archive. There are reviews of the book at SFSite and Rebels of Mars.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

New New Balance Shoes

When I said I wanted cushioning this is what he gave me:



I wish I could get these shoes in just plain white, but it's much more important to have great cushioning than to have solid white shoes. I bought them and have been wearing them this afternoon in preparation for walking in them tomorrow morning.

This video looks at all the features:


"Tennis shoes" have sure come a long way since the days Keds and PF Flyers were the dream of every kid and technology didn't allow seventeen million options.

Fitness 2

We walked in the rain this morning, and I walked about 2 miles in all. My right foot and shins are feeling this, and I am resigned to needing new shoes. The daughter says I can lose 5 pounds in no time but won't last out the week on the walking program. LOL I'm thinking I'll never lose 5 pounds but, with better shoes, can make a walking program work.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Fitness

I used to exercise. Remember? Well, yesterday I started back, doing my Leslie Sansone 1-mile video. Today I met a walking buddy and her 2 dogs at the park at 8:30 this morning and walked about a mile and a half -one mile with her and about a half mile before and after. I'm going to find some way to track this and hope I keep it up long-term.

weight: 95 pds.

Groucho Marx

my post from last year (edited as videos disappear from the host sites):

Today is the anniversary of the death in 1977 of Groucho Marx. His death was overshadowed by the death only 3 days earlier of Elvis. Clips from his films give a glimpse of his genius in performance:

Lydia the Tattooed Lady:



It's War!:



Sanity Clause:

Marx Brothers - Sanity Clause

Add to My Profile | More Videos

Oh, and Grouch never made that crack about the cigar.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Got a minute?

How long could you survive in the vacuum of space?

The site says:
In the first 30 seconds any fluid on the surface of your body would begin to boil due to lack of ambient pressure, this includes the saliva on your tongue and the moisture in your eyes. Your eardrums would most likely burst due to the pressure in your body trying to equalize with the vacuum outside. Unlike what some science fiction films have suggested, your body would not explode.

After the first 15 seconds you would lose consciousness. If you held your breath you could potentially stay alive longer but you risk pulmonary trauma. If you didn't hold your breath you'd pass out sooner, but your lungs might have a better chance of avoiding permanent damage.

The pressure in your veins would rise until your heart no longer had the capacity to pump blood, at which point you'd die.


So I'd only be conscious during the first 15 seconds of my last 65 seconds of life. I think I'll stay on board the space ship, thank-you-very-much.


HT: Bad Astronomy Blog

Sir Penguin



HT: GreenDaily

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Happy Birthday to Animation


/film reports that the first animated film was released 100 years ago today. Emile Cohl was the creator.

The photo above is from vidiot's Flickr page.

Fernand Leger


Today is the anniversary of the death in 1955 of artist and film maker Fernand Leger. MoMA had an exhibition of his work in 1998. AbstractModern.com has some information on him here.

Ballet Mechanique (1924) can be watched in one piece at ubuweb or in 2 parts at youtube.
part 1:

part 2:


FilmReference.com has a page on the film.

The picture at the top of the post is Leger's Railway Crossing (1919).

Sunday Psalm

Psalm 67

1 God be merciful unto us, and bless us; and cause his face to shine upon us;

2 That thy way may be known upon earth, thy saving health among all nations.

3 Let the people praise thee, O God; let all the people praise thee.

4 O let the nations be glad and sing for joy: for thou shalt judge the people righteously, and govern the nations upon earth.

5 Let the people praise thee, O God; let all the people praise thee.

6 Then shall the earth yield her increase; and God, even our own God, shall bless us.

7 God shall bless us; and all the ends of the earth shall fear him.
KJV

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Bela Lugosi

Today is the anniversary of the death of Elvis, and Elvis always gets all the attention, but today is also the anniversary of the death in 1956 of Bela Lugosi. Bela Lugosi, like Elvis, has his own tag here at my blog. I've seen many of Lugosi's movies, and some of them are available online and are embedded in the posts I wrote when I watched them:

Dracula (1931)
White Zombie (1932)
Bride of Frankenstein (1935)
Mark of the Vampire (1935)
The Phantom Ship (1935)
The Devil Bat (1940)
Invisible Ghost (1941)
Spooks Run Wild (1941)
The Wolf Man (1941)
The Corpse Vanishes (1942)
The Body Snatcher (1945)
Scared to Death (1947)
Bride of the Monster (1955)
Plan 9 from Outer Space (1959)

There is an official Lugosi web site. FilmReference.com has a page devoted to him. There are several fan groups at Facebook.

Tuvalu in the Olympics


This is the first time Tuvalu has fielded athletes in the games.

Okilani Tinilau finished 8th in his heat in the men's 100 m at the Olympics.

Asenate Manoa ran the 100 m and finished 8th in her heat, setting a national record.

Logona Esau competed in the weightlifting and results of that competition are here.

TuvaluIslands.com has a report here:
The Tuvaluan's did not arrive at the Olympics with the expectation of winning medals. Their goal was to participate among the world's greatest athletes, learn the Olympic spirit, and show the world that the people of one of the world's smallest nations can show the dedication to compete at such a high level.


There's a Facebook group for Tuvalu here and a Facebook application to root for Tuvaluan Olympic athletes here.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Feast of the Assumption


Father in heaven,
all creation rightly gives you praise
for all life and all holiness come from you.
In the plan of Your wisdom
she who bore the Christ in her womb
was raised body and soul in glory
to be with Him in heaven.
May we follow her example
in reflecting your holiness
and join in her hymn of endless life and praise.
We ask this through Christ our Lord.



More info:
saints.sqpn.com
wikipedia and a separate article here on the Dormition
Catholic Encyclopedia
Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America
Orthodox Family Life

The picture at the top of the post is of Bartolomeo Vivarini's The Death of the Virgin, (Padua, 1484).

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Spot the Penguin

Computers can identify individual penguins:


Learn why that's a good idea at the Penguin Recognition Project.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

H.G. Wells

Here is an edited repost of last year's H.G. Wells post:

Today is the anniversary of the death in 1946 of H.G. Wells. He was a historian of sorts (his Short History of the World is available online) and an active socialist, but he is best remembered now for his science fiction writings. A short biography and links to works online are here. There is an H.G Wells Society "Dedicated to promoting and encouraging an active interest in and appreciation of the life, work and thought of H.G. Wells.".

Perhaps his most-read book is The Time Machine. This book, which can be read online here, was adapted for film in 1960. This movie was my first introduction to the story.
Here's the trailer:


Another of Wells' better known works is The War of the Worlds, which can be read online here. A study guide is online here. The 1953 film version was my first exposure to the story.
the trailer:


Wells' story The Invisible Man always affected me more as horror than as strictly science fiction. I saw the 1933 Claude Rains film long before I read the book. It can be read online here.
Here's a clip from the film:


The Island of Dr. Moreau has also been made into movies, beginning with the 1933 movie starring Charles Laughton and Bela Lugosi. The book is available here.
Here's a clip from the end of the 1933 movie:

The Burt Lancaster remake:


Things to Come (1936):

Stuart Blackton

Today is the anniversary of the death in 1941 of pioneer animator J. Stuart Blackton. He directed some early live action films, too, including Oliver Twist, Sherlock Holmes, adaptations of Victor Hugo novels and Shakespeare plays including the first American film version of Romeo and Juliet. The Library of Congress has an article on him. BFI's ScreenOnline has a short biography.

The Enchanted Drawing (1900):


Humorous Phases of Funny Faces (1906):


The Thieving Hand (1908) can be viewed here.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

The Antelope Wife

I felt disoriented by Louise Erdrich's The Antelope Wife. There were points at which I felt a real connection to this book and points at which I just rolled my eyes.

It won the World Fantasy Award in 1999.

from the back of the book:
The Antelope Wife extends the branches of the families who populate Louise Erdrich's earlier novels, and once again, her unsentimental, unsparing writing captures the Native American sense of despair, magic, and humor. Rooted in myth and set in contemporary Minneapolis, this poetic and haunting story spans a century, at the center of which is a mysterious and graceful woman known as the Antelope Wife. Elusive, silent, and bearing a mystical link to nature, she embodies a complicated quest for love and survival that impacts lives in unpredictable ways. Her tale is an unpredictable ways. Her tale is an unforgettable tapestry of ancestry, fate, harrowing tragedy, and redemption, that seems at once modern and eternal.


I don't find her writing "unsentimental" at all, and I certainly wouldn't describe it as "unsparing". I think she loses clarity in the flourishes. I've read her Love Medicine and The Last Report on the Miracles at Little No Horse, and I like The Antelope Wife least of these 3.

There's a reading group guide here.

reviews:
Salon.com
The NY Times here and here

The Doctor Digs a Grave

The Doctor Digs a Grave by Robin Hathaway won the Agatha Award for best 1st novel in 1998 and the St. Martin's Press/Malice Domestic Competition for Best First Traditional Mystery Novel in 1997.

from the back of the book:
Available for house calls-- and homicide...

When cardiologist Dr. Andrew Fenimore isn't mending weak hearts, he's solving crimes in Philadelphia's wealthy Society Hill. But murder is the last thing the good doctor expects when he befriends a teenage boy trying to bury his dead cat. As the two dig a grave for the cat's final resting place in a vacant lot-which happens to be an ancient burial ground-they discover a fresh corpse, buried flexed, facing east, according to Lenape Indian tradition.

Fenimore's P.I. pastime starts to become a distinct health hazard as he and his young sidekick follow the trail of the deceased young woman straight to the son of a colleague, one of Philadelphia's most prominent surgeons. Surely the scion of a fine old Philadelphia family and his Indian fiancee ignited some powerful passions. But are they enough to risk trying for the perfect murder in a place where civility rules with an iron fist in a velvet glove?


It was a good, easy read with lots of information about heart conditions and Native American herbalism imparted without too heavy an info-dump feel. If I see more in the series I'll pick them up. I liked the characters, and I'd like to try another of the books.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Would Google Maps steer you wrong?

Click on image to enlarge.


from xkcd

Tourist Season

I started Tourist Season by Carl Hiaasen while I was on our recent vacation, but my Arkansas trip bore no resemblance to murderous goings-on in the Florida Everglades.

from the back of the book:
The only trace of the first victim was his Shriner's fez washed up on the Miami beach. The second victim, the head of the city's chamber of commerce, was found dead with a toy rubber alligator lodged in his throat. And that was just the beginning... Now Brian Keyes, reporter turned private eye, must move from muckraking to rooting out murder... in a caper that will mix football players, politicians, and police with a group of fanatics and a very hungry crocodile.


This is the 2nd Hiaasen book I've read, and the styles are similar. The descriptions I've seen of his writing emphasize the crime and suspense, but what stands out to me are the humor and the satire. These are fun reads.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

R.I.P. Isaac Hayes


Isaac Hayes has died. I saw the news on tv during a break in Olympics coverage.

obits/notices:
WMC TV
Memphis Commercial Appeal here, here, here, here, here
Mediaverse
CNN:
(CNN) -- Soul singer and arranger Isaac Hayes, who won Grammy awards and an Oscar for the theme from the 1971 action film "Shaft," has died, sheriff's officials in Memphis, Tennessee, reported Sunday. Relatives found Hayes, 65, unconscious in his home next to a still-running treadmill...

The Huffington Post
MSNBC:
In the early 1970s, Hayes laid the groundwork for disco, for what became known as urban-contemporary music and for romantic crooners like Barry White. And he was rapping before there was rap.

Thaddeus Matthews
Reuters
E!Online
BBC
EW.com
NYDailyNews
/film
Arbogast on Film
Cinematical
Pesky Fly
LeftWingCracker
Monkeyfister
Weeden Arts Watch
The Daily Docket
Newscoma
Joe Larkins
SFScope
GreenCineDaily
Religion News Blog reports on Hayes' involvement with Scientology and on his upcoming funeral.

Theme from Shaft:


Strangely, his Soul Men co-star Bernie Mac died yesterday.

Sunday Psalm

Psalm 85

1 Lord, thou hast been favourable unto thy land: thou hast brought back the captivity of Jacob.

2 Thou hast forgiven the iniquity of thy people, thou hast covered all their sin.

3 Thou hast taken away all thy wrath: thou hast turned thyself from the fierceness of thine anger.

4 Turn us, O God of our salvation, and cause thine anger toward us to cease.

5 Wilt thou be angry with us for ever? wilt thou draw out thine anger to all generations?

6 Wilt thou not revive us again: that thy people may rejoice in thee?

7 Shew us thy mercy, O LORD, and grant us thy salvation.

8 I will hear what God the LORD will speak: for he will speak peace unto his people, and to his saints: but let them not turn again to folly.

9 Surely his salvation is nigh them that fear him; that glory may dwell in our land.

10 Mercy and truth are met together; righteousness and peace have kissed each other.

11 Truth shall spring out of the earth; and righteousness shall look down from heaven.

12 Yea, the LORD shall give that which is good; and our land shall yield her increase.

13 Righteousness shall go before him; and shall set us in the way of his steps.
KJV

Saturday, August 09, 2008

Parkin Archaeological State Park


I have been meaning to take a day trip to Parkin Archaeological State Park in Parkin, Arkansas, for years and never have, so it was a delight to stop here on the way home. They have an orientation theater with a nice video and some displays. We were impressed with the chain mail, which was made by a local craftsman. There is a separate exhibit hall illustrating the history of the site. Artifacts from the site are displayed in glass cases. There is a photo tour here. There is a 3/4 mile circular path through the site, leading past remains of the moat and mound, St. Francis River overlook, an old cemetery from early 20th-century residents who built a town on the site, locations of previous excavations.... I was disappointed that no excavations are displayed and no layers of discovery can be seen. It's all mowed lawn and explanatory signs. But it was still well worth the price of admission and the time spent. There are a couple of similar sites not far from here, and seeing this one makes me think they might also be worth a trip.


The photo at the top of the post is from Heironymous Rowe at Wikipedia.

Daffy Jumps

but I'm no good at helping him hit the target. Poor Daffy. Click here to see if you can get Daffy down safely.

Friday, August 08, 2008

Ozark Folk Center


This morning we went to the Ozark Folk Center. Having planned to spend the whole day there we were done by lunch time. I was impressed by their herb gardens and am inspired to make a container herb garden on our patio next summer. The instrument maker, the herbalists, the broom maker and the spinners were particularly informative and were respectful of visitors, but some of the other crafters were not so much. We were running from a couple of them, tired of the bad jokes and condescension. They could learn a lot from the attitudes of the demonstration crafters at the local annual Pink Palace Crafts Fair. We had lunch in their Skillet Restaurant and headed back to Mountain View.

In Mountain View The Husband and I got something to drink and looked at the clock shop while The Younger Son showed The Daughter some of what we had done yesterday. We went back to the fudge shop, because who can resist more fudge?

We kicked back at the hotel later and watched the opening ceremonies of the Olympics, where Tuvalu is competing for the first time.

The photo at the top of the post is from JD Treat's Flickr page.