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Saturday, July 31, 2004

Tonight is about Alan A. Here’s to you Mr. Arkin!

One of those unsung heroes who has a familiar face but whose name nobody remembers. I saw Gattaca again and Alan Arkin always makes such an impression on me. It’s a shame I’ve seen so little of his films (maybe 5?) and he did about 76 of em according to

Plus the guy has a natural talent for wearing hats:

Friday, July 30, 2004

Le vent

Special notice for Mr. Elefanten: I've discovered a french song I absolutely love!! :)

Bertrand Cantat and Noir Désir made this great song "Le vent nous portera" on their 2001 album "Des Visages Des Figures".

Extra sad detail however is that Monsieur Cantat isn't really a lovable chap, to say the least. He's in jail at the moment after killing his girlfriend, the french actress Marie Trintignant. She died after a violent fight with Cantat in a hotel room in Vilnius, Lithuania.

No more blowing in the wind for him I suppose.

Le vent nous portera

Je n'ai pas peur de la route
Faudrait voir, faut qu'on y goûte
Des méandres au creux des reins
Et tout ira bien

Le vent l'emportera

Ton message à la grande ourse
Et la trajectoire de la course
A l'instantané de velours
Même s'il ne sert à rien

Le vent l'emportera
Tout disparaîtra
Le vent nous portera

La caresse et la mitraille
Cette plaie qui nous tiraille
Le palais des autres jours
D'hier et demain

Le vent les portera

Génétique en bandoulière
Des chromosomes dans l'atmosphère
Des taxis pour les galaxies
Et mon tapis volant lui

Le vent l'emportera
Tout disparaîtra
Le vent nous portera

Ce parfum de nos années mortes
Ceux qui peuvent frapper à ta porte
Infinité de destin
On en pose un, qu'est-ce qu'on en retient?

Le vent l'emportera

Pendant que la marée monte
Et que chacun refait ses comptes
J'emmène au creux de mon ombre
Des poussières de toi

Le vent les portera
Tout disparaîtra
Le vent nous portera

They told me that there was nothing out there

The trailer for Batman Begins is live on the Warner Brothers site. The film is directed by the Memento/Insomnia wonderboy Christopher Nolan who also co-wrote the script (along with the Dark City/Blade screenwriter David S. Goyer).

The teaser looks really promising. The whole tone seems much more realistic and I like the voice-over. The shots on that mountain (and when Bale enters that cave) somehow reminded me of Coppola's Bram Stoker's Dracula when they arrive at Dracula's castle. Probably the voice-over adds alot to this feeling: "and there was something out there in the darkness, something terrifying."

Christian Bale may actually prove to be a good batman (yeah billy bob! :)

Why do people blog?

Five major motivations for blogging (these motivations are by no means exclusively, and can come into play simultaneously):

1) Life-documentation
2) Commentary (on environment, news, media, internet, etc)
3) Catharsis (or the purging of negative feelings)
4) Thinking by writing (using a weblog as a thinking tool)
5) Construction of community (many weblogs allow the sharing of help, support, and friendship from known and unknown readers)

Pedagogical Letters on a Register of the Moral Life

Since Socrates and his circle first tried to frame the Just City in words, discussion of a perfect communal life--a life of justice, reflection, and mutual respect--has had to come to terms with the distance between that idea and reality. Measuring this distance step by practical step is the philosophical project that Stanley Cavell has pursued on his exploratory path. Situated at the intersection of two of his longstanding interests--Emersonian philosophy and the Hollywood comedy of remarriage--Cavell's new work marks a significant advance in this project. The book--which presents a course of lectures Cavell presented several times toward the end of his teaching career at Harvard--links masterpieces of moral philosophy and classic Hollywood comedies to fashion a new way of looking at our lives and learning to live with ourselves.

This book offers philosophy in the key of life. Beginning with a rereading of Emerson's "Self-Reliance," Cavell traces the idea of perfectionism through works by Plato, Aristotle, Locke, Kant, Mill, Nietzsche, and Rawls, and by such artists as Henry James, George Bernard Shaw, and Shakespeare. Cities of Words shows that this ever-evolving idea, brought to dramatic life in movies such as It Happened One Night, The Awful Truth, The Philadelphia Story, and The Lady Eve, has the power to reorient the perception of Western philosophy.

Judge Judy

There's a new entry in The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy on Kant's Theory of Judgment, by Robert Hanna.

According to Kant, judgments are complex conscious cognitions that

(i) refer to objects either directly (via intuitions) or indirectly (via concepts),

(ii) include concepts that are predicated either of those objects or of other constituent concepts,

(iii) exemplify pure logical concepts and enter into inferences according to pure logical laws,

(iv) essentially involve both the following of rules and the application of rules to the objects picked out by intuitions,

(v) express true or false propositions,

(vi) mediate the formation of beliefs, and

(vii) are unified and self-conscious.
Theories of judgment bring together fundamental issues in semantics, logic, philosophical psychology, and epistemology: indeed, the notion of judgment is central to any theory of human rationality. But Kant's theory of judgment differs sharply from many other theories of judgment, both traditional and contemporary, in three ways: (1) by taking the capacity for judgment to be the central cognitive faculty of the human mind, (2) by insisting on the semantic, logical, psychological, and epistemic priority of the propositional content of a judgment, and (3) by systematically embedding judgment within the metaphysics of transcendental idealism. This article focuses exclusively on the first two parts of Kant's theory.

Thursday, July 29, 2004

Billy-Boy has mad links.

boy oh boy, what a page. If you're looking for any title screen, you might want to check out It's a unique catalog of screen captures of movie title screens!

And just when you thought eating garlic sauce at your local kebab restaurant was safe. Here's a dental shocker:
Claim dentist injected sperm into mouths of female patients.

Idd some people must be half-breeds:

COLLATE - Collaboratory for Annotation, Indexing and Retrieval of Digitized Historical Archive Material

The R&D project COLLATE (IST-1999-20882) was funded by the EU within the "Digital Heritage and Cultural Content" activities. It ran from September 2000 until the end of 2003.

Within COLLATE we designed, implemented and evaluated in real life a highly innovative Web-based collaboratory for archives, researchers and end-users working with digitized historic material. It is one of the first working collaboratories in the Humanities. COLLATE offers new ways of document-centered knowledge work to distributed user groups. European film heritage and censorship processes in the 1920s and 1930s were chosen as an example domain for the project. The developed COLLATE technologies, however, can easily be adapted to other application domains and usage contexts which are similarly information-intensive.

The current COLLATE collection of rare historic documents was provided by three major film and national archives from Germany, Austria and the Czech Republic. It consists of about 20000 digitized document pages describing film censorship procedures related to historic films and enriched context documentation including press material and digitized photos and film fragments. Members of these institutions - film historians and archivists - worked as pilot users, employing the COLLATE system for detailed cataloguing of the document collection and for in-depth content indexing and annotation of relevant sub-collections.

At the end of the project we established both an innovative Web-based collaboratory with a comfortable work environment for in-depth knowledge work with the material and a comprehensive, selected digitized collection of rare historic documents on European historic film that was interpreted and annotated by a multination team of film experts.
Very impressive work but not very user friendly yet. You have to adjust your screen resolution to 1280*1024, most texts right now are only in German or Polish and the whole Java application is very slow and takes up all your computer's memory (well at least mine).

The texts are really good scans and there's alot to be found there though. I retrieved a nice article about Fritz Lang's M. So keep an eye on the project.

Tuesday, July 27, 2004

Verna was a happy little person. She was almost fifty-seven but never failed to miss the bike rides on sunny Saturdays. She’d go down to the rail tracks and take this beautiful sunken road across the rough pasture. When she’d hear a train approach in the distance, the pedalling became irrelevant. Right then that big old smile of hers was at its best. She’d see a couple of unfamiliar faces in the train staring into the blank nothing and all of a sudden this urge would come over her. She’d feel an uncontrollable rush of waving and her hand would go high up in the air. Not more than a couple of times she’d take a good swing but always enough for the early traveller to remember Verna Ganey. “My riding and waving”, she’d call it and then add “to bring some shine into a stranger’s live and be a happy little person on a bike smiling and waving at you.”

Damn I love this man

B+ brings the finest in photography. Find out more.

ps who's the old lady next to dj shadow?

Jill Solo

And this, my fellow writers, is how the real stuff is done:

“Six-Feet Under” Meets FFDA (Florida Funeral Directors Assocation)

“Six Feet Under” supervising producer Jill Soloway asked the tough question first. “How many of you think the show is an abomination? That’s how I’ve heard some of you describe it to me.” A couple of forceful hands shot up in the air – no question about it. Some of the show’s supporters in the audience of over 200 funeral directors and their families winced, others stayed silent. That’s how the two hour writers’ workshop at the Florida Funeral Directors Association Annual Convention began.

It was the first time anyone from the show had ever addressed a funeral directors convention; it was going to be interesting. However, by the close of the program everyone was on board – even one of the detractors was eagerly offering suggestions for story lines and relaying personal experiences.

On Tuesday morning, July 14 at Disney’s Boardwalk Inn each of those 200 audience members signed HBO’s “Workshop Release” and embarked on the unique experience of developing story ideas for the Emmy award winning series and getting an inside look on how episodes of the show come about. Using a dry-erase board to illustrate the process and selecting five audience members to come on stage to serve as focal points for various aspects of the show, the journey began.

Jill Soloway expertly guided the FFDA “writers” asking how many episodes during the year should Nate, for example, have a story line and what should happen in each episode. She asked for examples of interesting experiences from funeral directors in the audience, and hands shot up everywhere. She had script readings by participants on the stage each acting a Six Feet Under cast member’s actual dialogue from a show. She gave the background of how some of the specific ideas from the show were developed. She awarded “Six Feet Under” prizes for ideas and readings. She had the attention of everyone in the audience.

Everyone had a good time. What a great way to get those continuing education hours!

I really hope you have nothing better to do...

Here you are: all ears and ready to start listening to the commentary track of the the 12th episode of season 2 of the wonderful and definitely worth your time HBO series "Six Feet Under" (created by Alan 'American Beauty' Ball). You press the play button, the credits start to roll and suddenly you hear this female voice asking you a question:

"You don't have a life, do you? That's why you're listening to the dvd writer's track. Don't you have anything better to do than watch this episode again but with me talking all the way through it? I can't imagine that this is interesting to you... but if it is, I will narrate the entire thing. My name is Jill Soloway and I'm a writer on the show."

Oh Well......

Sunday, July 25, 2004

House of Leaves

Is this book worth it's praise?

Bret Easton Ellis at least is big on superlatives:
"A great novel. A phenomenal debut. Thrillingly alive, sublimely creepy, distressingly scary, breathtakingly intelligent — it renders most other fiction meaningless. One can imagine Thomas Pynchon, J. G. Ballard, Stephen King, and David Foster Wallace bowing at Danielewski's feet, choking with astonishment, surprise, laughter, awe."
There's a nice little interview with Danielewski here.

And Bookslut offers great advice for people who want to brag about this book but don't want to read it!

Darren A!!

Exciting news: there has been a new director announced for the film adaptation of "The Watchmen", the classic graphic novel by Alan Moore & Dave Gibbons and none other than Darren Aranofsky (Pi & Requiem For A Dream) will do the job!

Shoutout to Bill & Toto

Mirah looks beautiful in this picture and Glenfiddich is the best selling single malt scotch 'coz it's plain and simple a damn fine whisky!

Saturday, July 24, 2004

But is it any Good?

Thursday, July 22, 2004

Let's Do A David Boring Essay

(c) Daniel Clowes - David Boring

Wednesday, July 21, 2004

Ma!! Ma!!

I saw James Cagney play a Gangster for the first time in a nice little film theatre in Gothenburg. These Lynchesque curtains turned red and then opened up for the display of an absolute mind boggling picture "Public Enemy" from the nineteen thirties. Cagney and his mother stole the show, everyone could agree on that. The tough gangster had a soft spot and it was a short chubby Italian woman in her fifties.

I saw Cagney again in The Sopranos when Tony was watching Public Enemy while the world around him was falling to pieces. The scenes were beautifully picked out: two major actors in one frame. Gandolfini's sagging body in front of the television, tears in his eyes watching Cagney giving his mother loving taps on the chin with his fist.

I saw James Cagney yesterday once more and he was on the top of the world. One minute later several loud explosions skyrocketed him into thin air. Sometimes you're watching a film and you instinctly know that when people will ask about your top 50 in the future, it'll include this one.

White Heat by Raoul Walsh was such a piece.

This film had me focused from the very beginning and it just kept on rolling. The writing was close to perfect. I was even totally shocked when I saw the A-B-C car chase. A film from 1949 and they're pulling a stunt I have never seen on celluloid before! Then there's also the old Freudian trick with Cagney and his ma but it won't bore you. Ma is so evil you won't believe it. And Cagney is a monster! Not only literally in the story but his performance is phenomenal. He truly is on top of his game. One of the numerous memorable scenes is when he's in prison and during lunch he hears the news about his ma. Walsh directs that scene with so much bravoure that I can't believe I have seen almost none of his films.

And then there's also Virginia Mayo (Verna). Where does she come from all of a sudden? I don't remember seeing her in another movie but she will be on my mind from now on. She's beautifully looking and does a shining performance despite her role being pretty small. How did Marilyn Monroe become so famous when you had Virginia Mayo walking around???

You know a film has you tied up when you're giggling with the very very small details. Maybe even just watching the smallest detail in one particular scene would have convinced you. At the end Virginia Mayo jumps on James Cagney's back and the two of them are off to bed. She's giggling with joy like a little kid and tells him to "Grab the brass ring..." - a bottle of champagne on the table. Only the expressions on their face and the way they perform it would have made my evening.

Industry Advice for Writing Games

1. Humor is a very important part of entertainment. So if you can make it amusing, that's the easiest way to go. Unique abilities are also good. Earthworm Jim's suit would use him to achieve its goals. Funny stuff like that adds spice to the characters you're creating.

2. Somebody once said that a great character has a unique silhouette—if you can identify a character just by its outline, you know you've made something that will stand out in a crowd.

3. Wish fulfillment is the main secret to character (and game) design. Never forget that you're providing players with the chance to do something they can't do in their daily lives. It should be something that they really want to do, if just for a little while.

4. Let the player experience the world through the eyes of the protagonist; if the protagonist's eyes are jaded or all-knowing, it's not particularly interesting. But if the extraordinary things that happen on her journey are as surprising to her as to the player, there's an instant link between the person playing and the character he or she is controlling. And that's a good thing.

5. Break the rules. Game design is full of devotion to stupid conventions that are slavishly copied in hopes of duplicating success. Innovation requires a leap of faith into the void. And that's the easy part.

6. To make great games, you have to know which rules to break.

7. New and interesting weapons are also important. Nothing is worse than playing a game with a leaky peashooter. So great firepower is a good way to pat a gamer on the head.

8. A big secret of superior interactive storytelling is the concept of multiple good outcomes, with varying degrees of "good."

9. Each choice has real consequences and real rewards far beyond issues of death and survival. They take the player along differing paths through the main story, and result in a range of consequences and endings depending on the preponderance of choices made throughout the game. This lets the player feel more in charge of his destiny.

10. It's also important that the player has a sense of why he gets the outcome he did. He doesn't need to understand the direct consequences of each choice, but should have some idea.

11. One of the best ways to offer multiple good options is to use the approach of short-term pain for long-term gain versus short-term gain for long-term pain. Tempt the player with expedient choices, but hint that there's a price to pay later. And offer a price to be paid now for hope of a return later. This is a diabolical bind, and makes for very textured choices for the player—neither of which is obviously objectively bad. When players are wracked with nervous apprehension while making choices, you have done your job.

(c) Marc Saltzman's Game Design: Secrets of the Sages, Third Edition.

Scandinavia: Evil House, Evil Day

Listening again to this wonderful 2002 album "Melke" by Kim Hiorthoy and being reminded how sexy nordic languages really are. Ting Som Virker: don't miss it and record some more nordic female speech!

Tuesday, July 20, 2004

Good and evil

Franz Jägerstätter was an Austrian peasant who refused to fight for the nazi's. His objections were for the most part religiously inspired and are not of extreme importance imo (except maybe for all you martyrs out there who believe in the eternal Kingdom) but he raises a damn fine question, asking why we are able to make a distinction between good and evil in the first place. Off course this presumption is heavily debated but suppose we can, what purpose would be served?

For what purpose, then, did God endow all men with reason and free will if, in spite of this, we are obliged to render blind obedience?; or if, as so many also say, the individual is not qualified to judge whether this war started by Germany is just or unjust?

What purpose is served by the ability to distinguish between good and evil?

-- Franz Jägerstätter
A short biography

Franz Jägerstätter was an Austrian Christian executed for his refusal to serve in the armies of the Third Reich. After gaining a reputation as a rather wild young man, perhaps fathering an illegitimate child, Franz married and settled down to a typical peasant life. He became known for his opposition to the Nazi regime, casting the only local vote against the Anschluss (the annexation of Austria by Germany in March 1938), eschewing the local taverns and political argument, but typically responding "Pfui Hitler" when greeted by a "Heil."

When Jägerstätter was called to active duty in the military, he sought counsel from at least three priests and his bishop. Each tried to counter his conscience and assure him that this military service was compatible with his Christianity. His earlier experiences left him with a great horror of lies and double-dealing, and Jägerstätter reconciled his church's advice of subservience to the governing authorities with his conscience by reporting to the induction center but refusing to serve. Imprisoned in Linz and Berlin, he was convicted in a military trial and beheaded on August 9th, 1943. He was survived by his wife and three daughters, the eldest of whom was six. He also left behind a small and moving set of essays and letters from prison.

Monday, July 19, 2004

On the anticon tip, has conducted yet another excellent interview. This time we hear all about The Pedestrian. Also watch him perform live and check out what other anticon members thought of the interview:

here's two things I love to do:

1. make beats.
2. read pedestrian interviews.

everytime I read something dealing with him, I either laugh out loud with sheer excitement or get blown away by how on point he is with everything he says.

pedestrian for president.
dj Mayonnaise:
This interview made me cry. That's the 2nd time Ped has done that to me. :)

Saturday, July 17, 2004

I'm a stranger to the other end of the living room

Clockwise from top left: Seth, Chester Brown, Adrian Tomine, Speigelman and Joe Sacco.

There's a very nice article published in The New York Times about the "Graphic Novel". I've also put it in a word document since the article is very long.

The article is a really nice guide for people new to these kind of comic books (I'm kinda new too). Jimmy Corrigan and Blankets are probably my personal favorites but I loved The Watchmen and Ghost World too.

Jimmy Corrigan, The Smartest Kid on Earth by Chris Ware

Blankets by Craig Thompson

The article apparently has its flaws as you can read in this post by Kip Manley. My main surprise however was that the author didn't mention another favorite comic of mine: Dear Julia (but then again I'm afraid I'm biased after adapting this book to the screen):

Dear Julia by Brian Biggs

Finally there's one other part in the article that got my attention:

The graphic novel -- unlike the more traditional part of the comic-book universe now being celebrated by fiction writers like Michael Chabon and Jonathan Lethem -- is a place where superheroes have for the most part been banished or where, as in ''Jimmy Corrigan'' and ''David Boring,'' they exist only as wistful emblems of a lost childhood. There is also little of that in-your-face, cinematic drawing style developed by Stan Lee, Jack Kirby and other pioneers of the action comic. Most of the better graphic novelists consciously strive for a simple, pared-down style and avoid tricky angles and perspectives.
Unfortunately I haven't read David Boring yet but I don't agree with the author that the Superhero theme in Jimmy Corrigan is only about lost childhood. In fact I think the whole Superhero myth serves a much wider purpose in that book. A central issue in Ware's book is I believe the demystification of the whole Superhero genre while at the same time the Superhero themes keep being Jimmy's ultimate goals. The Superhero is his role model. It's this dream that's Jimmy been striving for since childhood but he didn't loose it when he became an adult. He still has that same dream. When he was just a little boy, he hoped his father would be a Superhero. Now as an adult, he still has that same desire when he visits his father. But my understanding is that Jimmy too hopes to be a Superhero one day. This is probably his ultimate fantasy (ie being a superhero dad himself one day). So in Jimmy's imagination the Superhero is not a lost child's dream. It's still a very much alive dream.

Now as far as the demystification of the genre goes, I think Ware is trying to get this effect on his readers due to the discrepancy between "Jimmy's reality" and "Jimmy's dreams". For Jimmy himself superheroes are, as I said, very much alive but for us as readers they are not. This is due to the unusual tone of Ware's book and it's unlike the dc comics where we as readers are asked to believe that superheroes could have special powers. You could say that Ware asks us to believe superheroes don't exist. The reason he can pull this off is because the book's world is embedded in reality. Ware gives us an insight in the life of his characters as they really are. It's like a documentary of Jimmy's life and it's clear that this is a world without special powers. The characters are on the contrary human beings with a lot of imagination. This way we understand that the superhero is part of Jimmy's desires. The reader is in the same state of mind as the superhero that jumps off the roof. So I think it might be a simplification to talk about the superhero only being a lost childhood memory in Jimmy Corrigan. There's much more to it than that.

On the latter subject, I just found out about this very interesting post by John Holbo. Good points which I need to give a closer look.

Anyway let's hope a new perspective on Superheroes can be brought soon in an upcoming short film by Mr. Bill Borochovitz himself!!

No more Lubitsch.....

"I worshipped him. I admired his work enormously. He went head and shoulders beyond everyone in the field of sophisticated high comedy." -- Joseph Mankiewicz

I'm not what you would call a fan of the modern day comedies but boy (I'm still saying boy alot thanks to old JD) Ernst Lubitsch that's another story! Truffaut called him a prince, others like Joseph 'All about Eve' Mankiewicz or Alfred Hitchcock held him in the same high regard. Lubitsch' films have such a particular feeling to them that this feeling would soon be known as the Lubitsch Touch:

"The Lubitsch Touch" is a brief description that embraces a long list of virtues: sophistication, style, subtlety, wit, charm, elegance, suavity, polished nonchalance and audacious sexual nuance." -- Richard Christiansen (Chicago Tribune)

"The subtle humor and virtuoso visual wit in the films of Ernst Lubitsch. The style was characterized by a parsimonious compression of ideas and situations into single shots or brief scenes that provided an ironic key to the characters and to the meaning of the entire film." -- Ephraim Katz
The Prince Himself

If you're looking for a good laugh, you might wanna try one of these three films. It's truly amazing how all of these three don't really grow old. It really shows Lubitsch' talent and the universality of (his?) humor. The rhythm, the acting, the writing, the plot, it all feels very much alive. Even after more than 70 years in the case of Trouble Than Paradise.

Heaven Can Wait (1943)

To Be or Not To Be (1942)

Trouble in Paradise (1932)

PS: What is your favorite Lubitsch Touch?

Credo of the year

If somebody knows quite a lot about certain things, it takes you quite a while to find out whether they're stupid or not.

The Blue Notebooks - Max Richter

I cannot stop listening to this album. Every time I put it on the music and Kafka's words keep haunting me. This is your ultimate night soundtrack (no mr. Richter it's not about the nature of daylight!). I've mentioned Kafka's book before but I really have to buy "The Blue Octavo Notebooks" soon. Apparantly, from late 1917 until June 1919, Franz Kafka stopped writing entries in his diary, which he kept in quarto-sized notebooks, but continued to write in a series of smaller, octavo-sized notebooks. When Kafka’s literary executor, Max Brod, published the diaries in 1948, he omitted these notebooks--which include short stories, fragments of stories, and other literary writings--because, "Notations of a diary nature, dates, are found in them only as a rare exception." The Blue Octavo Notebooks have thus remained little known yet are among the most characteristic of Kafka’s work. In addition to otherwise unpublished material, the notebooks contain some of Kafka’s most famous aphorisms in their original context.

Here are the words Tilda Swinton reads aloud on the album (the lyrics so to speak). I wonder why Richter dropped the word Octavo though?

"The Blue Notebooks"

Everyone carries a room about inside them. This fact can be proved by means of the sense of hearing. If someone walks fast and one pricks up one's ears and listens - say at night, when everything round about is quiet - one hears, for instance, the rattling of a mirror not quite firmly fastened to the wall.

"Shadow Journal"
How enduring; how we need durability.
The sky before sunrise is soaked with light. Rosy colour tints buildings, bridges, and the Seine. I was here when she with whom I walk wasn't born yet, and the cities on a distant plain stood intact - before they rose in the air with the dust of sepulchral brick, and the people who lived there didn't know. Only this moment, at dawn, is real to me. The bygone lives are like my own past life: uncertain. I cast a spell on the city, asking it to last.

November the 6th. Like a path in autumn: scarcely has it been swept clear when it's once more covered with dry leaves.

"Old Song"
February the 10th. Sunday. Noise. Peace.

"The Trees"
When Thomas brought the news that the house I was born in no longer exists - neither the name, nor the park sloping to the river - nothing - I had a dream of return. Multicoloured. Joyous. I was able to fly. And the trees were even higher than in childhood, because they had been growing during all the years since they had been cut down.

Friday, July 16, 2004

I hate the movies like poison!

J.D. Salinger has been praised and blessed by people all over the world as one of the best writers around but I bet he would have made an equally great screenwriter. 'Catcher in The Rye' just has magnificent dialogues and shows amazing voice-over skills! Pity JD only gets a bang out of imitating the movies...

"I started imitating one of those guys in the movies. In one of those musicals. I hate the movies like poison, but I get a bang imitating them. Old Stradlater watched me in the mirror while he was shaving. All I need's an audience. I'm an exhibitionist. "I'm the Governor's son," I said. I was knocking myself out. Tap-dancing all over the place."

"I ran all the way to the main gate, and then I waited a second till I got my breath. I have no wind, if you want to know the truth. I'm quite a heavy smoker, for one thing - that is, I used to be. They made me cut it out. Another thing, I grew six and a half inches last year. That's also how I practically got t.b. and came out here for all those goddamn checkups and stuff. I'm pretty healthy, though."

"Some things are hard to remember. I'm thinking now of when Stradlater got back from his date with Jane. I mean I can't remember exactly what I was doing when I heard his goddamn footsteps coming down the corridor. I probably was still looking out the window, but I swear I can't remember. I was so damn worried, that's why. When I really worry about something, I don't just fool around. I even have to go to the bathroom when I worry about something. Only, I don't go. I'm too worried to go. I don't want to interrupt my worryings to go. If you knew Stradlater, you'd have been worried, too. I'd double-dated with that bastard a couple of times, and I know what I'm talking about. He was unscrupulous. He really was."

Lock em up boys

If you're looking for a neat establishment "in which persons of any description are to be kept under inspection" take a good look here at the Panopticon:

The Panopticon was proposed as a model prison by Jeremy Bentham (1748-1832), a Utilitarian philosopher and theorist of British legal reform.

The Panopticon ("all-seeing") functioned as a round-the-clock surveillance machine. Its design ensured that no prisoner could ever see the 'inspector' who conducted surveillance from the privileged central location within the radial configuration. The prisoner could never know when he was being surveilled -- mental uncertainty that in itself would prove to be a crucial instrument of discipline.

You can use this new principle of construction in particular to penitentiary-houses, prisons, houses of industry, work-houses, poor-houses, lazarettos, manufactories, hospitals, mad-houses and schools.

Thursday, July 15, 2004

What's with elephants these days?

Why is called elefanten? What's with the White Stripes album "Elephant"? And why did Gus Van Sant call his latest film "Elephant"?

An answer to the last question at least can be found here:

1. Van Sant based his title on another film: a much-admired 1989 BBC work by the late British filmmaker Alan Clarke. Clarke’s Elephant strips away narrative to depict Northern Ireland’s sectarian violence as a relentless, anonymous march of murders. Clarke titled his film after the mordant saying about a problem that is as easy to ignore as an elephant in the living room.

2. Initially, Van Sant thought Clarke’s title referred to the ancient parable of the blind men and the elephant.

In the story, a version of which appears in Buddhist canons dated 2 B.C., several blind men examine different parts of an elephant – ear, leg, tail, trunk, tusk, etc. Each blind man is firmly convinced that he understands the true nature of the animal, based on that one part he felt – that the elephant is like a fan, or a tree, or a rope, or a snake or a spear. But none sees the whole.

For Van Sant the parable’s theme seemed apt in the context of school shootings. "I assumed Alan Clarke called his film Elephant because it was about a problem that was hard to identify, because of different ways of looking at it," he says. "That was what I thought for a long time, until I read a quote where Clarke said that it was the elephant in the living room. But for us, when were making our film, it was more about the blind men."

So far Van Sant's explanation. However there are other stories people came up with. Here are two great ones:

3. I like to think that the title is a reference to Hemingway's short story, "Hills Like White Elephants." In that story, Hemingway describes the actions of characters as they sit waiting for a train, and we hear their dialogue. But the narrator offers no analysis or insight into these lives--we are left to figure them out for ourselves. "Elephant" the film uses the exact same strategy--it shows us these lives, but it does so unobtrusively, and we must draw our own conclusions.

4. Because Elephants never forget.

PLUS: If you look real closely to the film: there is a slow pan around Alex his room during the scene where he's playing the piano. One of the last things you can see before the camera returns to him is a drawing of an elephant on his wall.

Pass the Soup!

The Asphalt Jungle by John Huston (1950)

On the right: Doc Riedenschneider (or "Herr Doktor" as he proposes himself in the beginning):
Everything is here, from the observed routine of the personnel to the alarm system, the types of locks on the doors, the aging condition of the main safe, and so forth and so forth. Take my word for it, Mr. Emmerich, this is a ripe plum ready to fall...Perhaps you know my reputation. I've engineered some very big things.

I can smell one [a cop] a block off.
Oh, don't worry about Ditrich. He's on my payroll, practically a partner. Me and him - we're like that. (He holds up two fingers.)
Experience has taught me never to trust a policeman. Just when you think one's all right, he turns legit.

Put in hours and hours of planning. Figure everything down to the last detail. Then what? Burglar alarms start going off all over the place for no sensible reason. A gun fires of its own accord and a man is shot. And a broken down old cop, no good for anything but chasing kids, has to trip over us. Blind accident. What can you do against blind accidents? One thing I ought to have figured and didn't was Emmerich. I know why I didn't. I'm not kidding myself. It was the extra dough he promised. I got hungry. Greed made me blind.

ps Sam Jaffe plays Doc and the film also features Marilyn Monroe in one of her first roles.

Buck 65 does some dirty dancing

Haha the Buckmeister can still play it raw. Check out his moves and put some "Centaur" or "Sleep Apnoea" on from his album Vertex.

Wednesday, July 14, 2004

Water = H2O???

A Water Molecule's Chemical Formula is Really Not H2O

A water molecule's chemical formula is really not H2O, at least from the perspective of neutrons and electrons interacting with the molecule for only attoseconds (1 attosecond=10-18 seconds). According to new and recent experiments, neutrons and electrons colliding with water for just attoseconds will see a ratio of hydrogen to oxygen of roughly 1.5 to 1, so a more accurate formula for water under these circumstances would be H1.5O.

According to the experimenters (Aris Chatzidimitriou-Dreismann, Technical University-Berlin,, 011-49-30-314-22692), this "opening of the attosecond time window" may be revealing dramatic quantum effects that were once too short-lived to catch. Nonetheless, such effects may revise conventional textbook notions of water and other everyday molecules. Moreover, these experiments can provide new insights on chemical reactions at the 100-500 attosecond scale: the neutron and electron probes break apart the chemical bonds in molecules, as compared to laser-based attosecond studies, which have just ejected electrons from atoms at this point.

More interesting details at

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I see the world,
the world next week

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