Wednesday, February 28, 2007

P is for...

...and persimmons...

and Psychic Envelopes!

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

O is for...

Oscar — my apologies to the Other Ed, whose Oscar blog I failed to contribute to on Sunday, as I attempted to climb out of the endless jetlaggery...(actually, I did manage one post: “The lofty beauty and the freckled schoolboy are distractingly reminiscent of Galadriel and Frodo in The Lord of the Rings, and almost as asexual.” —Caroline McGinn, review of Notes on a Scandal, TLS, 2/16/07)

And word of Oscar brings us to the New-York Ghost's movie issue, available now for free (as always!)...It's unlike any year-end wrap-up you've ever read. Here's a tidbit by David Cairns:

SO QUIET ON THE CANINE FRONT (a Dogville short) is like all the bad dreams you thought you'd forgotten. WWI enacted by dogs! They attached piano wires to the hapless mutts to help them fight erect, and smeared peanut butter on their gums to make them ‘emote.’

(and it's also for: Oops!)

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N is for...

Night markets...

...and New Year's markets:

Monday, February 26, 2007

M is for...



(she is?!)

...and for...Must-Read: Denis Dutton's "Shoot the Piano Player," in today's Times op-ed section: In which iTunes becomes—detective!

Sunday, February 25, 2007

L is for...

...Lindy Ruff.

The NHL fined Sabres' head coach Ruff $10,000 for his role in Thursday night's slugfest in Bufffalo between the Sabres and Ottawa Senators. Ruff is charged with sending his more physical players onto the ice with the intention of roughing up the Sens in return for the cheap elbow/shoulder hit on Sabres' Chris Drury that sent him to the sidelines indefinitely with concussive symptoms, 20 stitches, and a swollen right eye.

The faceoff following the Drury hit erupted into the most bizarre battle I can recall watching. Sabre rookie Pat Kaleta, a Western NY native playing in his first NHL game ever, was among the enforcers. The mess eventually involved every player on the ice for both teams, with the highlight being the sight of the two goalies skating away from their creases and toward each other, knocking off their own masks and gloves before throwing punches. Ray Emery, the Sens' goaltender who formerly had Mike Tyson painted on his helmet and is a noted boxing buff, clearly enjoyed his first game back from a three-game suspension for another fight; the ear-to-ear grin on his face never vanished as he easily fought wiry-framed Sabres' goalie Martin Biron to the ice. Emery's smile remained as he was attacked by Sabre Andrew Peters in a move that violated that unwritten rule of hockey: never fight the goalie. Lindy Ruff proceeded to climb over to the box that separates the two team benches and start a yelling and finger-pointing match with Senators' coach Bryan Murray, a former colleague. By the end of the madness, over 100 penalty minutes were divided between the teams and three players were handed game misconducts, including the two goalies. The game ended with an exciting 6-5 shootout victory for the Sabres; it nearly brought tears to my eyes.

Thursday's game created mad anticipation for the final season matchup for the two teams yesterday in Ottawa. The Sens won this time, 6-5, though the Sabres fought back from a 3-goal deficit to tie the game 5-5 in the third period. Watching the game yesterday, one can't help but agree with this comment. The injury to Drury, Sabre co-captain and team-leading scorer, will undoubtedly be the one with the strongest impact; Drury is arguably the most valuable player to the Sabres and, perhaps, to the league. The Sabres are still playing like the league-leading team that they are, although the current roster contains just a fraction of the players that started out the season. Now with eight players out of the lineup, Ruff is truly working some magic with these rookies, many of whom are playing in their first NHL games. Ruff was NHL coach of the year last season when he brought a team full of rookies to the Eastern conference finals; let's see if he can repeat that honor while leading them to the Stanley cup finals.

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K is for...

1. Kingsley Amis:

—Get your hair cut...Get your hair cut.
This suggestion was being offered to the television set, more particularly to the actress Linda Hamilton every time she appeared on screen. We were watching a tape of The Terminator (again). An old science-fiction hand, Kingsley was a great fan of The Terminator, and seven years later he would make no secret of his admiration for Terminator 2 ('a flawless masterpiece'), which I took him to at the Odeon, Marble Arch.
—Martin Amis, Experience

2. ...and for "Keiko"—who has cut my hair (Get your hair cut...) for the past decade, nearly, at no less than three different establishments; and who is no longer, alas, at her salon, which (on Thursday) could give me no further information as to her whereabouts. I am of course bereft. Lately she has been limiting her haircuttery to one day a week, the rest of the week working in an office (non-hair-related), and I knew it was only a matter of time before she shifted into her new career completely...but still...
This happened once before—and the circumstances, or rather the aftermath, of that prior disappearance prompt me to memorialize her in this space. When Keiko first vanished (for that is what it felt like), I initially tried another haircutter at the same place, with disappointing results; six weeks or so went by, and I hoped against hope that she had returned, but she hadn't, so I tried a place on 32nd St., Koreatown—the translation of this salon's name is roughly "Let's cut and see?" Somehow I didn't enjoy this, either, and as I wandered outside, I felt overcome by vertigo, for the first time—I wrote down the sensations on a pink meat-counter ticket, which must exist somewhere amid my burgeoning dust-covered papers.
Get your hair cut...

3. And J is, once again, for jetlag, jetlag, jetlag.

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Saturday, February 24, 2007

Who am I?

Sounds like a job for Weekend Stubble:

"In the 1930s, a novel was published which told its story from the perspective of a Chippendale chair." —"By the Yard," TLS, Feb. 9, 2007 (review of Deborah Cohen's Household Gods)

Update: The Stubblemeister ups the ante!

I is for...


Here's Orson Welles (via Termite Art) intoning a bit of Moby Dick:

And here's the start of Jack Pendarvis's very funny "If Sammy Davis Jr. Had Written Moby Dick," in the current Believer:

Call me Ishmael, Charlie. Whenever I find myself growing grim about the mouth, as happens so often in this crazy business… and believe me, I say that with no undue grandiosity or pomposity, but with the true humility that comes from the wonderful, wonderful thing that I receive back from you lovely people, sincerely, the thing I call a vibe of love.

But dig, sometimes a cat grows grim about the mouth. The applause and the warmth, that’s a beautiful dream, it’s rocket ships and moonbeams, and I’m not putting it down. I’m not one of those cats who can’t wait to get offstage. This is where I live, kids. I thrive in that environment of give-and-take that we call performing for you generous people who have sacrificed from your daily routine to partake of our humble pageantry. But in this world that we call human, it happens that a cat of a certain frame of mind grows grim about the mouth. You’ve done it. Dig, your old lady’s done it. Baby, watch out when that special lady grows grim about the mouth. That’s a schlep to Tiffany’s and chateaubriand for two. Believe me, I know whereof I speak. And don’t skip the shrimp cocktail either, daddy.

So it’s a universal thing is what I’m saying. It happens to everybody, even those of us lucky enough to do this thing that we do, up here with the lights and the mishegaas and all the wild, wild foolery that you so kindly indulge us to present for your pleasure.

So when that time that my dear friend Peter Lawford calls “simply beastly,” when that real blue moment comes for yours truly, I account it high time to take to the sea as soon as I can. I know some of the fellas can relate. But sometimes when you go so far from home, you’re looking for something that’s right here all along, you dig? In the old breadbasket, where it counts. You get out to sea and you think, Uh-oh. This cat with the nutty tattooed face is giving me the eye like I’m the fabulous Britt Ekland. That, baby, that’s what I like to call time to turn the boat around.

(Read the whole thing in the print issue! Isn't it time to subscribe?)

* * *

And J? J is here:

Deafened with caffeine, I was just a hot robot, a ticking grid of jet-lag, time-jump, and hangover. —Martin Amis, Money

F is for...

...this amazing fruit:

It's apparently a recent hybrid—not sure what the name is. Could be something related to a "pineapple guava" or "sweetsop" or "custard apple"...unbelievably good! The inside is about the color of an apple, the flesh firm but not fibrous (nor crisp); the seeds are large, resembling three-dimensional watermelon seeds and having a pleasing tactile quality, sort of like marbles.

* * *

And G is for...

'What do you do, Martin?"
'I'm a writer, Moby.'
'But that's really interesting,' she said sternly. 'You're a writer? What do you write?'
'Uh. Fiction. Stuff like that.'
'John roar mainstream?' she seemed to say.
'I mean are they mainstream novels and stories or thrillers or sci-fi or something like that?'
'What's mainstream?'
—Martin Amis, Money

* * *

Whilst H is simply for...

Friday, February 23, 2007

E is for...

...Earthquake. (I have no E-related Taiwan photos, except one of myself, but that might cause site traffic to explode. So here is Dizzyhead James's report on last night's OC finale.)

Everyone actually died in the earthquake and Berkeley is heaven.

I wanted the future stuff to include Seth's old quirky blonde girlfriend playing her part as Ari's assistant on Entourage.

I found it exhilarating because never again will I invest so much energy in a show that falls so far so fast.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Oscar night approaches...

...time for random movie notes:

1. Brentfave Kiyoshi Kurosawa (Cure) talks about Clint Eastwood and Letters From Iwo Jima.

2. In addition to hyperblogging at Termite Art and hosting IFC News, Team Dizzies member Matt is now podcasting over at IFC (with cohost Alison Willmore). Favorite recent Matt-ism: describing Bong Joon-ho's exhilarating monster movie, The Host, as "Little Miss Sunshine meets Godzilla...meets An Inconvenient Truth"!

3. Jane Dark has a refreshingly contrarian take on Dreamgirls—critics unfair to Beyoncé!

D is for...

...Din Tai Fung, one of the "best restaurants in the world," according to Dizzyhead Hua. I heartily concur. Their soup dumplings make you never want to darken the doorstep of Joe's Shanghai ever again! Here we see the women attending to the massive line outside. What's good is that you place your order while you wait, so that service is prompt upon seating.

D is also for Davidson:
If I were an astronaut I would want Tang, drinking what's essentially glorified sugar-water would seem wholly justifiable under the circumstances (when I was little I had a friend who had Tang at her house, it was the height of culinary excitement as far as I can remember, did we not when we were children in the 1970s actually want to eat Tang from the jar with a spoon?).

...and for..."darned funny"! Here's Mollie at Restricted View:
A woman in the office where I am working this week asked another person, "Is today some holiday where people get the thing on their foreheads?" Next year I think I'll carry around some informational literature.

C is for...

...not to mention...


T-pop tip: The group Sodagreen is deeply appealing.


And...L is for Landis Everson, a poet who stopped writing for 43 years. Read Dizzyhead Rachel's excellent profile up at the Poetry Foundation site.

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Wednesday, February 21, 2007

B is for...

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Taipei personality—Toni, Toni, Toni—Download now—While I was out

I. Chinese Whispers
I'm back! Here is the first of an interminable number of photos from Taiwan...let's call this featurette "Taiwan A to Z"—and hope I have enough photos to match with all the letters!

A is for..."Amiable Stylish Outlook":

II. Surreal Estate
Shelter-heads, rejoice! Toni Schlesinger has a new column in the New York Observer—great title (Interiors), and great quote: “My friend woke up one morning at the bottom with a ukulele and a sandwich on her head."

III. Musical Interlude
Song for JetBlue?: Psychic Envelopes, "Winter Losses."

Random great Modern Lovers song (via Moistworks)—and best "spelling" song ever?: "Girlfriend."

IV. Tipper Score
The new New-York Ghost is out!

V. I Come From Chino/So all your threats are empty
Dizzyhead Martin has a wonderful (and frighteningly encyclopedic) look back at the meta aspects of The O.C. (R.I.P.). Philosophical lede: "What makes us who we are?"

VI. Credits
Thank you to Team Dizzies members for the postings last week!

Monday, February 19, 2007

Injury Report

Is it the 2006 Stanley Cup playoffs? No, it's about 1.5 months from the end of the regular NHL season. Looking at the Buffalo Sabres' depleted roster though, it's difficult to tell. There are a total of six major injuries (no simple groin pulls) plaguing the team at this crucial time of the season:
  • Paul Gaustad (Center) out for the season with a severed leg tendon (ouch! those skates are sharp)
  • Jaroslav Spacek (D) out for a month with a broken hand
  • Maxim Afinogenov (RW) out for at least 2 months with a broken wrist
  • Jiri Novotny (C) with an ankle injury; out indefinitely
  • Tim Connolly (C), gearing up for a return from his concussion last playoffs, now with a stress fracture
  • Ales Kotalik (RW) with a MCL injury; out indefinitely
Four of these injuries occurred in their last four games. And all of these are key players whose absence will certainly be felt. The team continues to dip into their pool of Amerks (farm team in Rochester) to bulk up their thinning roster. Soon, the Sabretooth Tiger will don a pair of skates to help out. After a trip to the Eastern Conference finals last playoffs, the Sabres started the current season with an enviable unbeaten streak. Now, they are still leading the Eastern Division with 83 points, though the New Jersey Devils are starting to narrow in. There is no doubt the Sabres will clinch a playoff spot. However, the glory of this season will mean nothing with a weak playoff performance.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Variations on a THEME

Tuesday, February 13, 2007


Dizzy Jones, "Come On and Love Me"

Monday, February 12, 2007


CAN, "Dizzy Dizzy"

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Don't Take Your Guns to Town

He runs this city.

J.P. has some nice guns. And his numbers look almost as good. After his 9-game starting gig in '05, his QB rating was a paltry 64.9, with 8 touchdowns and 8 interceptions. In '06, after Dick Jauron gave him a vote of confidence and started him all 16 games, his QB rating was 84.9, the 11th best in the league (out of 32). He 19 to 14 TD to INT ratio is still too high - he still finds occasion to panic in the pocket and force things downfield, but that became rarer and rarer as the season wore on. In short, don't believe this guy:

It was a tale of two seasons. After the week 7 loss to New England, the Bills looked lost with a 2-5 record. The offensive line was a sieve, especially Mike Gandy at left tackle, giving Losman no time to throw the ball, which in turn left the undersized defense on the field too long - and by the end of the game teams trampled all over them.

Jauron made a change during the week 8 bye, switching the team's best O-Lineman, Jason Peters, from right to left tackle (which protects Losman's blindside), moved Mike Gandy to right guard, and inserted green rookie Terrence Pennington at right tackle. This switch paid swift dividends, as they compiled a 5-2 record the next seven weeks, flipping their fortunes and shockingly putting them back in the playoff race. The run defense was still highly suspect, but played a surprisingly successful bend but don't break defense, as offenses racked up huge yardage numbers but not points.

It also helped that this was a relatively easy stretch of the schedule, with wins over Green Bay, Houston, Miami, and the overrated Jets. But they did beat the Jaguars, and played eventual Super Bowl champ Colts extremely tough, losing by one point 17-16, in a game that showed how far the team had come. Another hard fought loss (24-21) against a phenomenal Chargers team was a further sign of encouragement.

The only game I attended this year was against the Titans, and it proved how far the team still had to go - for while the offense looked very good, bouncing back every time the Titans took the lead, the defense collapsed. Vince Young had a 20+ yard TD run to end the half, and the second half was dominated by their run game - with ex-Bill Travis Henry decimating the defense's paltry front four. It was a heartbreaking 30-29 loss, and eliminated any scant playoff hopes they had.

This offseason the team has a lot of work to do. They're likely to lose starting middle linebacker London Fletcher and starting cornerback Nate Clements to free agency, while still needing a major upgrade at the defensive tackle position. Willis McGahee, the underachieving running back and stand-up guy, sounds like he's going to hold out at the beginning of the season unless he gets a lucrative contract extension. It's going to take a great draft, some smart signings, and a lot of luck, for the Bills to become an elite team next year. But with Losman and receiver Lee Evans getting more comfortable in the system, I expect the team to pull out 9 or 10 games next year and be on the edge of the playoff picture.

Oh, and aren't my cousins cute?

Friday, February 09, 2007

Cowboy traffic — (Don't) summarize Proust — A.O. Scott, Angry Asian Man? — 'Jujitsu for Christ'

Dept. of Self-referentiality: The Dizzies received an abnormally high number of hits yesterday—chump change for someone like Jenny or Maud or Other Ed, but rather alarming for us to see. Are people visiting because of our recent meditations on the title of the new Jonathan Lethem book and its relation to lost-'80s/'90s folk-rockers the Vulgar Boatmen? Our newfound obsession with poet Loren Goodman?

No in thunder!

People are searching of former Buffalo Bills coach (and soon-to-be next Cowboys coach) Wade Phillips, who was mentioned in this post (by Dizzyhead Sweeney)—but who has not, to our knowledge, ever been pictured on The Dizzies.

Wade Phillips vs. Wilson Phillips—who will win?

* * *

The sage Lindsay Waters—a champion of Dizzyheads Devin and Howard—mentioned he had an essay coming out in the Chronicle of Higher Education, and now Dizzyhead Hua has linked to it. "Time for Reading" begins:
I want to start a new movement, now.

From the 19th century on, more and more segments of our society — farmers, factory workers, doctors, professors — have been urged to speed things up in order to produce more eggs or automobiles, or to heal or educate more people. Charles Dickens gave expression to the pathos of life under such a regime in his novel Hard Times; so did Charlie Chaplin in Modern Times, a work of cinematic art that gets to the heart of what ails society. The Monty Python crew made fun of this imperative in its "All-England Summarize Proust Competition" for the best synopsis of Proust's seven-volume Remembrance of Things Past in 15 seconds. The fun poked at attempts to speed-read the classics was as painful as Chaplin's effort to survive industrialization. And it's no joke: Imagine radiologists forced to read 13 mammograms per hour, without interrupting their reading to speak to the women whose scans they are analyzing. I know of at least one such case.

Is it any surprise that there is now a reading crisis worldwide that affects people at all levels, from preschool to graduate school, the affluent and the poor alike? Don't assume you are immune, people of higher education. Is it reassuring or frightening to learn that problems that afflict one group actually afflict other groups considered to be as different as night and day? Maybe such a realization is both consoling and discommoding in equal measure. In any case, the reading crisis that is upon us is widespread.

* * *

A.O. Scott should guest-blog at Angry Asian Man—he blew the whistle on the comic-relief Asian masseuse jokeage in the new Diane Keaton movie, and now here he is on Eddie Murphy's Norbit:
There were some big-boned people in the audience at the screening I attended, and also some nerds with glasses (one, anyway), and none of them seemed too offended by Rasputia or her husband. Mr. Wong (also Mr. Murphy), the Chinese man whose restaurant doubles as an orphanage, may not go over so well, though there is some evidence to suggest that ethnic dialect humor is creeping back into respectability under the sign of “irony.” “You ugry brack baby!” Mr. Wong exclaims when he finds the infant Norbit in his driveway.
Will any other major critic bring this up? I doubt it.

(And what's up with Kelly Hu's character in that new ABC sitcom? An Asian lead in a prime-time show = great. She plays an erotic masseuse = maybe not so great.)

* * *

The Other Ed has thrown down the gauntlet—well, it's gentler than that:

Again, when I tell you that you must read Jack Butler’s Jujitsu for Christ, and when I point out that the Rake ain’t lying when he says “everyone should go out and buy a copy of Jack Butler’s Jujitsu for Christ,” this is a bona-fide hot reading tip for you — nay, an entreaty! [...] Butler’s work is criminally neglected by the cool kids. (I’m looking at you too, Good Man Park!)

(Wait, does that mean we are or aren't one of the cool kids?) OK, Other Ed: Yesterday we found a copy, and we're excited to start reading...But first we need to take a short break. Watch this space next week for exciting posts from the other, much younger and better-looking Dizzies team members.

The uses of boredom — Parlor game — "The Best Approach" to Shakespeare

"A Case of Boredom," Ghita Schwarz's excellent essay in the new Believer, is featured on the Wisconsin Public Radio show To the Best of Our Knowledge. Hear Ghita read from her piece, and learn what scientists are saying about boredom—it's not boring at all!

* * *

About a day after I listened to the segment, I came across another Ghita, or rather Ghitta, in something I was reading: a reference to the Hungarian photographer Ghitta Carell. I realized why the name was so fascinating—it's that abecedarian cluster of letters at the beginning.

A B C D E F G H I t-t-a...

This suggested a game of sorts—how many writers/artists can you think of whose names contain three letters in alphabetical order?

GHIta Schwarz/GHItta Carell
Oscar HIJuelos
Seth MNOokin

* * *

Dizzyhead Mollie has a very funny take on the Times review of the Theater of the Blind production of A Midsummer Night's Dream ("Every single assertion is completely false!"). Her own response to the show is worth reading:
I knew I was in trouble as soon as I read the "Director's Note." Directors and academics are always claiming to have found The Best Approach to interpreting and/or performing Shakespeare, but it takes a special kind of pomposity to claim, as director Ike Schambelan does in his notes for the Theater by the Blind production of A Midsummer Night's Dream, that "this is a deeply revolutionary production, so entertaining and clear that you never want to see another Shakespeare that doesn't let him speak in his own form, his own voice."

Leaving the theatre two hours later, the boyfriend said to me, "He was right about one thing—I never want to see another production of Shakespeare."

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Thursday, February 08, 2007

Does that make me Krazy? — Blue note

I recently reread Ishmael Reed's Mumbo Jumbo—a delirious, chimerical book that packs its entire paranoid worldview in just over 200 pages. One of the book's dedicatees is "George Herriman, Afro-American, who created Krazy Kat."

Herriman himself, of course, was more guarded in matters of race. From Wikipedia:
In later life many of Herriman's newspaper colleagues were under the impression that Herriman's ancestry was Greek, and Herriman did nothing to dissuade them of this notion. According to close friends of Herriman, he wore a hat at all times in order to hide his "kinky" hair. He was also listed on his death certificate as "caucasian".
This biographical info comes from Jeet Heer's introduction to the 1935–1936 volume in Fantagraphics' invaluable Krazy & Ignatz reprint series.

Yesterday, I received the latest Krazy installment, devoted to Herriman's color strips. This focus makes Heer's latest introduction ("Kat of a Different Color") thick with some curious—and unintentional?—double meanings:
Depending on the resources of the local papers, [certain strips] could appear in four colors or two or in black and white. Therefore the color scheme itself couldn't be central to the story.

The many years doing black and white also left their mark. Black and white are never default choices for Herriman: he always uses them with intent. This can most clearly be seen in the famous page of November 5th, 1939 [page 56] when black ink spills down the page like a raging torrent. This page reminds us that for the artist black is not a lack of color but rather a force in its own right.

The use of color reinvigorated Herriman as an artist, giving him new challenges and opening the way for his best work.

The intro has some good insight into why color would seem to be problematic for Herriman: His hand-colored strips (given as personal gifts) are "almost translucent, a delicate, watery wash," but the coloring process used by the Hearst papers (for which he did KK) favored more in-your-face tints.

His fellow Hearst artist Cliff Sterrett "forge[d] a jazzy style that suited the Hearst colors perfectly." The introduction reproduces a Sterrett page ("Polly and Her Pals"), two-thirds of the panels of which are riven by a huge bolt of red lightning. It's exciting stuff. But then we get to the last panel. Here we see a carnival game in which a nickel buys you three balls—to be hurled at the immobilized, panicked head of "Rastus."

Alas, there's no acknowledgment of this ugly conclusion. One might—might—be willing to forgive the caricature, but the violence here feels obscene, and unfortunately distracts from the reliably delightful Herriman panels that follow. Short of joining Reed's crew of art-thieving revisionists, one wishes a different example had been chosen.

* * *

In other comics news, Dizzyhead Brent sent us this completely mystifying Beetle Bailey strip:

Why the blue face? What does the punchline mean? Is the humor race-based? If so, how? If not, then what? Brent asks: "Is this 'meta-humor'?" I ask: "Is this 'humor'?"

(Apparently the face is rendered normally in the paper—it's only blue online.)

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Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Raise the bar

Via Buffalo Rising: On eBay, an entire bar is being auctioned—bids start at $150,000. Only one day left...

Triple-jointed review

Our favorite Light Reader directs us to a Phil Nugent post about two topical films, The Situation and Screamers. Since Jenny's post also mentions my recent PKD-related postings, I assumed that Screamers was the low-budget (or low-budget-looking) film adaptation of Second Variety, which I actually saw in the theater (one of those situations where you and a friend can't quite agree on what to watch, and so...).

I still thought Nugent (not this guy) was going to discuss the PKD film until I hit this line:
I went to see Screamers partly just because I was so curious about what it was really like after reading the reviews, which tended to be favorable but also tended to describe it as "the System of a Down genocide documentary."
I started having some doubts. Had the film (in which, if I remember correctly, robots on a bleak planet have attained the capacity to build themselves) touched on more contemporary hot-button issues than I'd imagined? I knew I was barking up the wrong movie when I read:
It opens with an interview with the journalist Samantha Powers...
(My one other memory of the film: An android—or human?—with a blue tear tattooed underneath an eye. That's how low-budget it was: This very small tattoo will make him really menacing—you can apply it with a Bic!)

Metal machine movie

Ray Tintori's Death to the Tinman—a terrific short film from this year's Sundance slate—can be seen here.

Here's a quick YouTube preview, for the nonce:

I detect a touch of the Guy Maddin sensibility, stretched over the skeleton of L. Frank Baum's Tin Woodsman of Oz. I'm not a Baum fanatic—for some reason I did not read the books in childhood—but this is one LFB that I did read, for some reason, about 10 years ago. I'm still tickled/haunted by the reduction of the Tinman from "meat" (Baum's word) to metal; at what point is he still the person he was? (At what point do you stop calling a table a table, as you lop off legs?)

(Thanks to Dizzyhead Mairead for the link.)

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Tuesday, February 06, 2007

The New-York Ghost—

—available in a special 'Late-Night' edition, designed to be read tomorrow morning over coffee and a reduced fat muffin. Click to the primitive site to find out how to subscribe. (It's free!)


Loren Goodman—Genius Poet of the 21st Century?

Dizzyhead Thomas sends us Goodman's "greatest" poem, in its entirety. It's called "The Party."

Are you ready?

Here it is:


Invite Don Rickles.

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Monday, February 05, 2007

Chipster ahoy

Dizzyhead Ed (not me) writes:

I liked your PKD piece — have you ever read Bruce Sterling’s story “Dori Bangs”? It’s great and has a similar premise — a what-if story about Lester Bangs meeting a comic book artist Dori Seda, both of them avoiding their real-life young deaths, and growing old together. If I remember correctly, Bangs in later life writes about computer culture and coins the term “chipster” to describe geek chic. And then at the end, after Lester dies, Dori has a vision of the baby they never had together...a kind of what-if-what-if.

* * *

Who would win—Ed Halter or Ed Park???

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Sunday, February 04, 2007

Born in Dizziness

Update: Literary dizziness in the aforementioned L.A. Times. My PKD piece is in this latest installment, which I just discovered also has a piece by (LATBR editor) David Ulin on (Dizzyhead!) Howard Hampton's Born in Flames (considered along with the latest by Joan Acocella)...and BiF is a book that contains several pieces I edited...OK, I need to sit down.

Here's a bit from the Ulin:

With "Born in Flames," Hampton moves from "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" to Thomas Pynchon, from the Clash to Plastic People of the Universe to Tiananmen Square. In one essay, he compares the proto-punk band the Mekons with "Postmodernism, or, the Cultural Logic of Late Capitalism," Fredric Jameson's "ornate, pitiless mausoleum of a book." [...] When, in an essay on Los Angeles music, Hampton cites the fictional Lola Heatherton, "the greatest of [Catherine O'Hara's] SCTV characters, the second-tier alcoholic-pillhead singer-dancer-actress par excellence," to illuminate the kitschy power of singer-songwriter Dory Previn, we get a vivid glimpse of the critic's mind at play. This is writing that exposes an imagination's workings, overlapping, a floating stew of reference points that encompasses high culture, mass culture and everything in between.

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60,000 words or bust

My review of Voices From the Street, an early mainstream novel by Philip K. Dick, is now up at the L.A. Times site.

One of the fun parts of preparing this review was reading PKD ex-wife Anne's memoir, Search for Philip K. Dick, which I quote at the start of the piece. Here's another passage that I rather liked:
He said that the idea for a novel came to him in one intuitive flash, but he couldn’t tell me what the idea was “in under 60,000 words. The words come out of my hands, not my brain. I write with my hands. I type 160 words a minute, the rate of a really good legal secretary, and I’m very accurate.” One day he told me he typed sixty original manuscript pages without an error. He continued to tell me about this feat many times.

(Photo from the official Philip K. Dick site)


Saturday, February 03, 2007

Great Scott!

A tip of the Dizzies hat to A.O. Scott for keeping it real (from his review of Because I Said So, the new Diane Keaton movie):

The dialogue yields few memorable jokes, and so the filmmakers fall back on trivial sight gags and bits of physical comedy....A gaggle of masseuses chatter in subtitles, proving that when all else fails, Asian women can be used as cheap comic stereotypes. (See also the chest waxer in “The 40-Year-Old Virgin” and the restaurant owner in “Freaky Friday,” among many other examples.)

Back when Freaky Friday came out (the Lohan/JLC version), I feared I was a touch strident in my review (in the PTSNBN), but that scene really stuck in my craw, it's completely cheap and insulting and ruined an otherwise enjoyable movie for me. I don't know that anyone else cared, or at least not that I read...


Bunny modern — "Yeast"

I thought this Times Real Estate piece would be interesting, based on this perfect lede:

"Even rabbits should listen to their mothers."

Oh wait—make that rabbis...

* * *

Dizzyhead Thomas recently picked up a book for a buck at the Strand—Loren Goodman's (Yale Younger Poets–winning) collection Famous Americans. LG is clearly one of the best poets ever, as these choice excerpts illustrate:

From "Who Would Win?"

Ernie Shavers vs. Ernie Hemingway—who would win???

Norman Mailer vs. Norman Bates—who would win???

Betty vs. Veronica—who would win???

Jacques Cousteau vs. Jacques Strap—who would win???


William Shatner vs. Gil Gerard—who would win???

World War I vs. World War II—who would win???

Ironsides vs. Columbo—who would win???

Columbo (the private detective) vs. Colombo (Sri Lanka)—who would win???

Julius Erving vs. Irving Goodman—who would win???

Dialectical Hegemony vs. Axiological Heterogeneity—who would win???


Sugar Ray Leonard vs. Leonard Nimoy—who would win???

Ginger vs. Marianne—who would win???

Arnold Schwarzenegger vs. Zimbabwe—who would win???

Alfredo Evangelista vs. Linda Evangelista—who would win???

Gurkhas vs. Gherkins—who would win???

Those who are concerned with who would win
Those who are not concerned with who would win—who would win???

* * *

From "A Man of Letters":

I am a man of letters:
A, B, D, G, O, & P.

[...]Please excuse this mess of books—
Or take a look: I'm reading THE POEMS OF DO PO;
BAD POD, a sci-fi novel about
bean travel; and GO BOA GO!, an
inspirational tale about a snake.

* * *

And maybe my favorite:


I am Yeast, a great poet
I live in Ireland
Some say I am the greatest
Poet ever

My poetry makes bread grow
All over Ireland and the world
In glens and valleys, bread rising
In huts, clover paths, and fire wood

There will always be critics
Who deny Yeast
But you can see
The effect of my poetry
Through the potato fields
And the swell of the Liffey.
The amber coins and foaming black ale

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Friday, February 02, 2007

Didyes didnote subpeeve sentence

It's James Joyce's birthday today—as a tribute, I'm reproducing something from my spam folder (I haven't received one of these in a while):
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Thursday, February 01, 2007

Podium jitters — exquisite boredom — Sammy Davis Melville — new Believer sort of ROCKS

The new Believer is out, with some great stuff, including Dizzyhead Rachel's wonderful piece on public speaking and Dizzyhead Stubes's look at the "new" Philip K. Dick novel. (The rest of the stuff is by people who do not identify as Dizzyheads, but possibly wish they were Dizzyheads.) Don't miss Ghita Schwarz's boredom epic, John Freeman's personal take on Updike, Alec Michod's interview with Richard Powers...woah...lots of good stuff here. I tried reading Jack Pendarvis's take on Moby-Dick as written by Sammy Davis Jr. and had to stop three times because I kept laughing. Then I was able to control myself and finished it....also: Chris Bachelder, Steve Burt, David Byrne interviewing Olivia Judson (!), Carrie Brownstein (ex–Sleater-Kinney) interviewing Cheryl Hines (!!)...and more...Only a fraction of this stuff can be seen online, so you might as well subscribe!

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