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August 22, 2010

A man may die, nations may rise and fall, but an idea lives on
John F. Kennedy

Autumnal by Christine Theis
Click images for desktop size: "Autumnal" by Christine Theiss
I saw "Ong Bak 3" the latest and possibly last Tony Jaa movie.
I saw it in Thai, without subtitles. Since I've only been to Thailand twice, make that once, the otherHeadless Ghost time I only went to Bangkok. Bangkok isn't Thailand any more than Tijuana and Juarez are Mexico. So I've really only been to Thailand once and that time with a native translator so there was never any need or urge to learn any Thai at all.
But I watched "Ong Bak 3" and I may not have gotten some subtle nuances but I sure followed the story, followed it well enough to gasp and holler at all the right spots too.
You might remember I was vaguely dissatisfied with Ong Bak 2. Number 3 makes it apparent why. These are not two films but one epic film. A three hour story that got chopped in half, chopped into mouth sized bits. Taken together its a film that just falls short of magnificent. They don't jell as two separate stories but as one tale of a man's transformation from prince, to slave to pirate to saint it's ambitious beyond the talent of Jaa as director. Don't mistake that I do not think that Jaa is seriously talented as a director. He made a comprehensible, enthralling story in a language that might have been gibberish for all I knew. The story he tells is big and has thwarted numerous directors and writers before him. The closest to his theme is, shockingly, Alejandro Jodowrosky's obnoxious "El Topo".
"Ong Bak" attempts much and delivers much. It's a solid noble film that is easy to believe in. It should be seen. This isn't some tired little story about a guy and girl who do something that doesn't mean a damn thing while it tries to be funny. This is a movie. It entertains and tries to lead us someplace different in our lives and tries to show us a new corner of the world our time and confusion has forced us to ignore. Its a big plan.

I;m a Jim Thompson fan. Only problem is that Thompson, due to money mostly, seldom put The Black Phantom by Syd
Click images for desktop size: "The Black Phantom" by Syd
together great books. There are great starts, great sections and sometimes great endings but it wasn't often he put together a masterpiece. His most solid book was probably "The Getaway" and his masterpiece is probably, "The Killer Inside Me".
"The Killer Inside Me" is about Lou, an affable, good looking, innocuous appearing dummy. Except Lou is nothing like the adaptive persona he's adopted. He's a sociopath, bright, cunning and evil. He's still likable and part of the books tension comes from wanting Lou to succeed in all the vicious things he does.
Lou probably would have lived out his life rejoicing in his small cruelties, concealing his insanity but a hooker moves to town. Lou discovers she's a submissive and loves to play sex scenes with his dom reality.
They concoct a scheme to escape the small town and to be able to go someplace where they can go live together and be happy. Except the girl forgets Lou is happy and he allows her to plan and works Hondo her plan into his plan of violent revenge and homicidal ecstasy.
Lou becomes a calm and calculating serial killer. He delights in watching others attempt to discover his evil. He enjoys planning around it and succeeding. He appears he deserves to keep murdering people.
Now there's a new movie based on the book. It;s really poor. The problems start with the casting. Casey Affleck is just the wrong type. It needed someone bright and buoyant. Even Ashton Krutcher Lara Croft
Click images for desktop size: "Lara Croft"
would have been a better choice. Affleck does fine with the broody stuff but is worthless at the good ol' boy end of things. The result is a thin performance devoid of any emotional patois.
But Affleck seems like a genius compared to the befuddled performance of Jessica Alba. How can I say this - playing the little sub whore Alba generates absolutely no heat. I remember having to see a high school play of "Death of a Salesman" where the kid stuck playing Willie Loman thought the way to show weariness was to read his lines as fast and monotonously as possible. Alba is horrible. She's playing a hooker, a fetishist. She has at least 3 sex scenes and she is just nothing but dull and boring.
The rest of the cast is good but with the two leads so abysmal and wrong headed they have no Love
Click images for desktop size: "Love" by Unknown
current to swim with or against.
The movie follows the book near exactly but it has, seemingly, no comprehension of what the book was about. They are just bits and skits. There's no emotion, no heat, no stink of the dust of West Texas. It's like a Disney version of the Kama Sutra or something. What a failure and these jerks will probably blame Jim Thompson's source material instead of their own bumbling incompetence.

I still love my nook. The Kindle is lighter, easier to hold and navigate. The nook touchscreen looks moderately cool but is a pain in the neck to work and a monstrous drain on the battery. Also the Kindle whispersync works while syncing the nook is a chore. But I love it. It lets me read.
With the Kindle 3 promised and B&N's future looking well, unpredictable, you can get nooks on ebay, brand new, for under $50!
The advantages of e-readers are pretty obvious. Still my favorite is carrying around the 3 books I'm High Sierra currently reading and changing the fonts and font sizes when appropriate.
Presently the most interesting thing I'm reading is "Through a Dog's Eyes" by Jennifer Arnold.
Arnold has cred because she founded and trains service dogs for Canine Assistance. Doesn't make her a good writer though. This book is a mess but no more so than 90% of the books I read about dogs.
She tries to be thorough but it comes across like a high school student trying to compose a Doctoral thesis. But the facts are interesting and her observations are valuable enough to make the slog worthwhile. I have to agree that my training and basis for my love of dogs is her old fashioned method that has been burnished and altered by my respect and general fondness for dogs. She has valid points that I discover I'm already incorporating in my doggie relationships.

With as much love as I have for lists I'm surprised to discover I've never written up a list of my top ten fave books!
  1. The Journal of Albion Moonlight by Kenneth Patchen - Sort of figures that this is one book that would not translate to an ebook reader as it uses typography to delineate some of its more astonishing images both on the page and in your head.
  2. The Long Goodbye by Raymond Chandler - This was a rough call as Chandler's "Farewell My Lovely" could fit here just as well. Moose Malloy and Phillip Marlowe are two of the greatest characters in fiction in a great story. "Goodbye" is the better more ambitious book though. Terry Lennox is no slouch as a character either.
  3. Hector Berlioz Autobiography - A life of music. Skillful and full of rhythms. Its a madman's descent into crushed dreams and genius.
  4. The Whole Earth Catalog edited by Stewart Brand - A catalog of tools, most of them books. A lot of toys and implements to take us into the future. And there was this grotty little novel onin the corner of each page. The future it was trying to build never happened. Shame really.
  5. The Complete Works of William Blake - You need the edition with plates and artwork. I even like to muddle through the prophetic poems and try and separate the poetry from the Swedenborganiasm.
  6. Alice in Wonderland - By Lewis Carroll - Another book that doesn't really work on an ereader. Its still brilliant.
  7. Ironweed by William Kennedy - Baseball, bums and music. A heart stopping examination of death and the thinness of life.
  8. Deus Irae by Philip K Dick and Roger Zelzaney - Perhaps the bleakest view of life after the apocalypse. It has no joy except the small joys that we find when we're not prepared to let despondency rule the day.
  9. Happy Birthday of Death by Gregory Corso - He used to read his poems to bongo music and thus created, single handed, a stereotype and a cliche. His stuff is solid.
  10. Naked Lunch by William Burroughs - Read this first in high school. For a while the entire football team and baseball team were doing impromptu skits quoting pages of the book. Crazy and cool.
A Desperate Stand by Charles Russell
Click images for desktop size: "A Desperate Stand" by Charles Russell

For me; I've been sick. Don't understand it. Wild stabbing pains, my joints all feel sprained, lots of chest pain. Don't get it. Cardiologist on Wednesday.

August 7, 2010

The future has a way of arriving unannounced
George Will

Catronics
Click images for desktop size: "Catronics" by Unknown
So much time has passed and so much life has filled and so much has run out.
I don't want any of it to be lost.The Grapes of Wrath
Nothing earth shattering perhaps. All of it precious. The only way to try and retain it is to start from now and work back.
My wife left yesterday. It was 4 months since we last saw each other. The hellish attitudes of imaginary lines drawn in the sand. Only someone who has never travelled could not question the stupidity that are borders and immigrants. I understand about the stupidity when it benefits a few of the wealthy. For the most part borders help only a few and hurt the rest of us.
It was good her being here. It felt like my life had been in suspension. WIth her being here it seemed like life resumed. It was easy, natural and profound and permanent.
We didn't accomplish much. She brought my two dogs with me. Gentle dog bit me and continued his 4 year quest of trying to kill me.
The giant dog was a bit of a creep. He attacked, not viciously but still, a smaller dog and frightened a child. Giant dog does a lot of things that normally I find unforgivable, but he always seduces me back by being dumb and guileless.
My wife's trip was planned around getting things done. We sort of did that, just not very well. We looked at houses.
The previous favorite was a noxious looking home farmhouse looking thing that was on 2.24 acres. As falling apart and ratty as the house was all the land made it beautiful. I could see fencing off an acre for the trio and then using the final acre to build a kennel and dog runs for all the strays and lost puppies that would find their way to out welcoming door.
The second place was a tiny little thing. I'd discounted it before as thieves were stealing the aluminum siding off of houses in the neighborhood, stealing the siding while people still lived there. Edge of Heaven by TitusBoy
Click images for desktop size: "Edge of Heaven" by TitusBoy
This house already had the central conditioning unit stolen with plenty of beer cans scattered about so you'd have no doubt about the neighborhood's attractions..
The house looked cute, 10 foot ceilings, interesting floor plan but it was an unmitigated disaster created by the cynical greed only a "developer" could create in their lust. The guy bought the house for 28k and jacked up the fallen floors, ignored the termites, slapped on some paint and before he was finished put it on the market for 130k, expecting the old 1000% return on a little bit of work and investment.
Then the crash happened. When we got into the house the first thing I found was the notice from the sheriff about unpaid property taxes. Then noticed that the floor had bowed, badly. It seems the floor sagged. Instead of repairing it properly the developer just jacked up the sag. Settling in less than a year caused the floor to warp crazy house style.
The killer was the roof. A month ago the roof looked okay. Now it was warped badly too. Badly Hamlet enough to need not just replacing, but rebuilding, from the struts and joists up. In other words in a year the house would need about 70k in repairs. So that some right wing bastard could realize a 500% return on his investment and stick some dreamy eyed couple with a disaster that would leave them homeless.
We did find a house though. A big house with a big yard. One acre yard. We'll know if we can get a mortgage tomorrow; August 2.
Jim McMahon
Click images for desktop size: "Jim McMahon"
I saw a lawyer about bringing my wife down here from that great foreign estate up north. Borders are the stupidest thing man ever created. Property lines to create jobs and unrest. Homeland Security now handles immigration so it is, of course a total mess. But it has to be gone through. We're no longer a free country. We're held waiting for the pogrom by all the cowards and fearful whiners who want to go back to the Monroe Doctrine and rewrite history to suit their fantasy.
I'm getting redundant redundant.

My wife reads. Sometimes literature, most often cook books and more often than that gory thrillers. I worry about her feeding her insatiable appetite for books then there was a deal on woot.com for a Kindle 2 . . . . I got it. It arrived DOA. I was pretty disappointed. Then shocked that Amazon made the thing good sending me a replacement on overnight delivery! And trusting me to return the dead one! It almost made up for the 3 hours on the phone with various tech support people.
I was still pretty skeptical but the end result is that rather rapidly I fell in love with the Kindle. I remembered when things were bad it was communicating with books that kept me saneĀ®. I Untitled
Click images for desktop size: "Untitled" by Unknown
remember bad times when I'd pick up a book and let it take me away. The Kindle is not a replacement for books (like the iPod is replacement for a CD payer) but its an enjoyable way to read. In short order I read 4 books. One of my Destroyer series, a Johnny Bogg's western; "Northfield", Chandler's "The Big Sleep" and something I've forgotten.
Point is that it was transparent. It didn't feel like an electronic device. It felt like reading and all that reading entails. I was loathe to give it up when my wife arrived. She got stuck in it right away too reading and finishing that Dacre Stoker sequel to Dracula.
She likes it and that's what's important.
It's lighter than a book, easy to carry around (still buy all the cases like with an iPod) and it carries a library with it. Whispernet is simply cool.
Me, I'm waiting on another special to get either a Nook or a Kindle for myself. I'm leaning towardsA Hard Day's Night the new Kindle 3 but with lawyers and immigration fees its quite a ways off for now.

One of the reasons everything has to wait is that I've been legislated out of a job . . . Its not that bad a thing. My job is horrid and abusive in every way. I'm surrounded by gambling addicts. Personally I don't believe in making laws to protect people from themselves. The legislators used faulty data from the State Police who have just been busted for massive ethics violations to claim these places cause an increase in crime.
The voted, the governor signed the bill. December 1 I'm unemployed. Not that massive a deal. What is the creepiest is that my bosses who were NETTING upwards of 300K per week couldn't comprehend me, grossing about 72 a day didn't share their rabid hatred and concern . . . I kept pointing out that when they were making 300k a week I constantly suggested making $500 donations to youth clubs and local charities, high school sports etc not just because it was the right thing to do but because it would entrench the business in the community and give our neighbors a positive reason to see us survive and succeed.
A Woman
Click images for desktop size: "A Woman" by Unknown
They thought I was nuts. So when the fist came down they fought it but not in any kind of meaningful way. They got meetings with the Governor expecting her to veto the bill, not because they offered bribes or campaign contributions but because it was what they wanted.
Ah, the neaveau riche!
There final desperate ploy is filing a suit in fed court against the State claiming the law is discriminatory . . . They cling to this in there hope to keep extracting money from the poor.

Saw an immigration lawyer. It was worth the $250. We were going about it, not all wrong but with our energies misplaced. The lawyer should speed things up and save us money. He also clarified a lot of stuff that was not explicit in the instructions . . . not explicit means not even mentioned.
It seems we send in the printed forms along with proof we're eligible to be married, two passport pictures, the marriage license and the check for $355. And that's it.
Then you wait for that to be approved. When its approved - in like 90 days or so, they send you anHammer appointment for a personal interview - not together. It was a bit shocking to discover the interview would be standing at a window or a counter. The interview would last less than 15 minutes and maybe as little as 5 minutes . . . The other shocking thing was that my wife's interview would be in Montreal, which is oh guessing 500 miles away from her in Ontario . . . And of course the $500 fee was shocking too. The additional fees. Rah.
Nobody said coming to America would be easy.
I forgot to ask where my interview would be.
After that interview, which you figure would be no problem, she'd get a two year conditional permanent residency. Only a government can make something permanent conditional.
Then that's it. You can relax and be happy.

I've had to keep comments turned off. The spam is unreal. Some one even used my email address to spam!! When I complained this is the response i got from my hosting service:
Unfortunately, that is something spammers and hackers are doing more frequently. They do not need to hack into your account to do this. They do not even need to know your password or username to do this. All they need to do is send out spam email where they change the FROM email address to your email address. There is nothing we can do to stop them from doing this. You can either raise up your Spam protection to attempt to block their evil efforts, or you can stop using your email address that they are spoofing altogether. Those are the only two options that you have to combat the spammers.
YOW!!
This is one of the reasons I've turned my back on Obama. He recently had several websites shut down. These sites linked to unauthorized places to watch TV shows. I have views about that. But Drama Queen by Hoschie
Click images for desktop size: "Drama Queen" by Hoschie
now the point is that they spent thousands of man hours and millions of dollars protecting CBS, NBC, Fox and ABC etc, companies that have billions of their own dollars to pursue this sort of inanity and then these same FBI agents do nothing absolutely nothing to protect people from spammers. I guess because it's been shown that the RIAA and MPPA (the real bad guys) retain the services of several of the larger spammers for nefarious reasons they refuse to discuss.
The spammers hitting this site have figured out how to bypass the fact that I have turned comments off. I still get dozens of spam comments weekly. They don't get posted but they keep coming. What this does for the spammers I don't know. I guess they can show their client that they posted their adverts on 2 million sites even if they never appear. Incredibly annoying, harassing and unfair. The terrorists win with an able assist from our increasingly frustrating and misguided government. Far more unfair then kids Ground Hog Day watching TV shows on-line.

My puppy is a slim trim 67 pounds!! This has barely increased her already arrogant, if dignified pose.

And suddenly time has passed. We did not get the house. Partially our fault in trusting people. Partly ineptness on the part of people you're supposed to trust.
I got a nook off of craigslist for 25 bucks. The whole world is getting stoked over the kindle 3 so nooks are dwindling in value (with the announced sale of Barnes & Noble). I prefer the Kindle 2 to the nook but its okay. I can read on it and that's all that matters to me. In the brief time I've had it I read Paretsky's last VI Warshawski novel; "Hardball". It was okay and had some good scenes. Unfortunately the plot mechanisms are still creaky and woefully repetitive.
I'm almost finished with Larry Niven's sequel to "Inferno" which was his updating of Dante's Inferno. The sequel, "Escape From Hell" makes you glad Dante didn't feel compelled to write "Inferno II: The Devil Busts Loose".

Football season is starting. USC will look different/ Maybe better.
Looks like my puppy and I will need this season.