|. . . 2000-10-28 . . .||
A Ticket to Copenhagen
From Hans Christian Andersen's "The Millenium" (1853):
They will come on wings of steam, the young citizens of America will fly through the air, across the great ocean, to visit old Europe....
"There's so much to see in Europe," the young Americans will say. "And we have seen it all in a week, just as the famous guidebook promised we could. Then they will discuss the author of the book which they all will have read: Europe Seen in Seven Days.
|. . . 2000-10-29|
Our readers are outnumbered but determined, god bless 'em! Here's a new harvest of suggestions for our
|New Name||&||New Logo|
|Mush Love||Splattered mash potatoes on a mirror|
|The Bluebeard of Happiness||George Steiner's wedding album|
|On the Take||Misappropriated Monopoly artwork
(actually, I like that as a name...)
Dumbmonkey reminds us that "there also happens to be a Blue Moon Saloon [née Wanda's] now on San Pablo." And a suave reader-of-the-world exclaims "Hoity Toity a la croix a l'air vachement formidable! Felicitations!"
Oh, Mother, I simply cahn't choose -- cahn't we have them all?
|. . . 2000-10-30|
|. . . 2000-10-31|
Extreme Unction, What's Your Function?
Here's our seasonal link from Beth Rust (thanks, Beth!), and our seasonal scary story:
His arm craned over his head, the back of his hand resting on the street.
The posture might have been uncomfortable if he wasn't so tired; instead it was good not to have to move.
Without moving he watched the plashes, slow and steady, off the wrist.
... 21, 22, 23, 24, ...
-- no, wait, you're supposed to count backwards, aren't you? A wave of confusion and shame overwhelmed him.
|. . . 2000-11-01|
Brown coleen Juliet Clark relieves us of the responsibility of Illustrating one Famous Ballad ourselves by finding a rare photo of "The Rocky Road to Dublin," which, it turns out, was a scenic railway in Coney Island. And I didn't even know that the Clancy Brothers had been to Coney Island! For that matter, I didn't even know that Coney Island was scenic!
I loike (typo, but I'll leave it) much about our previous Famous Ballad, but probably most the way it uses "Since it falls" in one line and "I should rise" in the next and then, since it already used "fall," completes the parallelism with the unexpected unrhymed flatness of "not." Piquant! The syntax may be stilted, but where would humanity be without stilts?
In an attempt to wrap our recent unplanned series of extremely morbid entries up in shiny black ribbon, I confess that yesterday's Robert-Benchley-lies-bleeding vignette was drawn from one of the many nightmares in which I've passed on due to car crash, plane crash, interpersonal violence, or atomic warfare. And when I say "passed on," I mean on: at the end of the dream I'm resting in peace and remain resting in peace for an indeterminate time after. Most people apparently wake up at such climaxes, but the CTO of my dream factory decided long ago that death makes a dandy cover for the transition from REM to deep sleep.
One thing about dying a thousand deaths is that you start to get used to the idea, and, although total extinction leaves me with an unpleasantly disoriented hangover, for waking up screaming and morning-long malaise it doesn't begin to compare with nightmares in which lovers walk out, my family falls into some disaster, or friends tell me what they really think.
|. . . 2000-11-03|
Fulfilling an old pledge, Kokonino now hosts an illustrated edition of The Diary of a Nobody by George and Weedon Grossmith, formatted and corrected from the Project Gutenberg edition originally scanned and proofed by David Price; apply liberally as needed.
Le Mouton Sinistre writes:
The cluelessness of the Florida company marketing Bluebeard's Castle as a romantic wedding spot rang in my head today as I read a quote by Thomas Keller, whose Napa restaurant The French Laundry ["TAKE YOURSELF TO THE CLEANERS!"] recently raised its corkage prices to an apalling $50/bottle.(In case it's not clear, the stupid French Laundry joke is mine. Also, lots of mechanics don't mind customers bringing their own oil. Also, it's really hard to find a good meal in Napa or Sonoma. We tried the other day and failed expensively. Picnics are the way to go. And with a picnic at Hop Kiln you get ducks, chickens, and a kitty. Their wines are darned reasonable, too.)
"When you go to have the oil changed in your car, you don't bring your own cans of oil," says Keller, who appears to be unaware that a customer, blessed to be allowed entry to such a shrine of gastronomy, might not be pleased with the image (not to mention the bouquet) of a 1963 Castrol 10W-40 in his Reidel stemware.
|. . . 2000-11-04|
Neuraesthetics: Writerly FAQs
|. . . 2000-11-05|
What's a presidential election year without a Gore Vidal interview? Incomplete. With it, an abode of bliss.
I remember Jim Abaresque of South Dakota, a poor boy Senator, he told me, he was sitting in a boring committee meeting with John Heinz of the 57 Varieties, who had spent $7 million -- at that moment, it was the highest amount anybody had ever spent for a Senate seat -- he said, "Why on earth did you spend all that money to sit here, and we're bored to death, the two of us?" he said. "I'm poor, I had no place to go." And Heinz said, "Jim, you don't understand. It was just play money." (laughs) Monopoly.
|. . . 2000-11-08|
|. . . 2000-11-09|
Robert Glück seems miraculous to me: smart, honest, experimental, and exquisitely gracious, yet in the founding thick of a literary group which, left to its other devices, would be at least as noxious as every other literary group.
Here the miracle tries to explain itself. Inadequately. Which is where dogma and hierarchies come in, I guess.
Movie Comment: The Tall Target
As Americana indexer Juliet Clark points out, film noir lighting and camerawork are perfectly suited to handle a mostly-nocturnal 1861 train trip, and although The Tall Target may sound like an episode of The Wild, Wild West, it's actually more like The Narrow Margin with Marie Windsor replaced by Abraham Lincoln.
And with no love interest.
And with no police backup.
And with a civil war.
|And -- here's the real sad part -- with Dick Powell as the hero.
Director Anthony Mann always inclined to sullen stasis, and having to rely on Powell as his man of action takes all the spunk out of him: the stalemates are convincing, but oh, how those tired old joints creak in the plot transitions.
The period look and feel are gorgeous, though, and there's the anachronistic spice of seeing a character named John Kennedy try to stop a conspiracy of twenty well-hidden sharp-shooters with telescopic rifles from assassinating the president....
In a two-party system, no one goes out much
In 1864, after such unpopular innovations as a military draft and a federal income tax, it seemed clear that the Republican Party, with its wild-eyed radical reputation, wasn't going to win against the Democratic candidate, one of Lincoln's discarded generals. So former-Republican Abraham Lincoln ran instead on a "nonpartisan" "National Union" ticket with former-Democrat Andrew Johnson as running mate. (The wild-eyed radical Republicans were sweet enough to give their support to the new party.)
Still, 1864 is the start of our current two-party habit. In 1860, for example, there had been a four-way split in the presidential race. If the northern branch of the Democratic party and the southern branch of the Democratic party had managed to agree on a single Democratic candidate, they would've managed 47% of the popular vote against Lincoln's 40%. Luckily, we're long past dealing with that kind of nonsense!
|... an' anotha thing ...||... then again ...|