I like to walk the blue highways

Click images for desktop size: “Elevation” by Unknown
My great-grandmother came to this country from Ireland.
Her brother was in the IRA. He killed a British soldier so the family scraped and borrowed to get him a boat ticket to escape to America.
They were too late. The British Army captured him. They tied him to a tree and stuck dynamite down his pants and blew him to hell.
The Green Slime Since the family already had a boat ticket they decided my great grandmother should use it. When she landed in Boston she was 14 years old.
She was married within the month and her new husband moved her to Chicago. They had six kids, one of them was my grandmother.
She got married and my grandfather and she moved to Oklahoma. They became tenant farmers.
When the great depression hit they were 21 and 18 years old and had two kids. One of them was my mother. Sometime in there my grandfather decided to go back to Chicago. He became a cop, like his father before him.
My grandmother was salty stuff. She and her cousin decided to take the kids and try their luck in California. The Irish don’t believe in divorce and I guess being 2,700 miles apart and still married was legal, or moral, or whatever it was that mattered to them. I did always wonder if they couldn’t afford a divorce but my grandfather sent my grandmother a decent sized check every month. And when the big corruption scandal broke and it looked like my grandfather would be implicated they ended 30 years of separation and she moved back to Chicago to stand by him. She didn’t leave again until he died.
In California my mother met a guy in the army. I’ve only my birth certificate to study so I guess they were married shortly after she got pregnant. When I was born she was 15 and he was 25.
She traveled with him from army base to army base until he joined the Air Force to settle in Southern California. There they divorced. I nearly had a brother or sister Evolution Babe By Envy
Click images for desktop size: “Evolution Babe” by Envy
but he decided it wasn’t his and punched her in the stomach, causing her to miscarry.
I was four when my mother and I started our life together.
Every weekend from the time I was four, every long holiday my mother and I would take car trips. It was important to her that we see as much of the world as we could. Most of the time we slept in the car.
They were always old junker cars. I remember a Salmon Plymouth Belvedere the most clearly. It was always breaking down. Somehow we always got home.
We went to the Painted Desert, the Petrified Forest, the Grand Canyon, Yosemite, San Francisco, Seattle, Portland. We travelled old Route 66 I don’t know how many times. We ate at the road side stands and stopped for every ten cent attraction. High Sierra I saw two headed calves, two headed snakes, a three headed lamb, a goat the farmer was trying to pass off as a unicorn, a house made out of garbage and decorated with bottle caps and baseball cards.
I saw minor league baseball games, church choir shows and brass bands. Anything that the small towns we passed through offered.
I liked being a traveler. It gave me cachet with the other kids I’d meet. All us kids agreed that being on the move and seeing all there was to see was the most beautiful way to live.
On one drive my mother had a breakdown and asked if I minded her driving me all over creation. She cried because she was sad that we lived in a house with cracks in the walls and doors that didn’t seal out the night air.
I had no idea what she was talking about.
When my mother married my step father the trips didn’t completely stop but they weren’t fun any more. My step father drank too much and slapped me around. Weekends had more things to do then to roam around aimlessly, for me and for them.
I still like to travel.
I like feeling like the tourist, even though I own every place I stand.
I don’t like goodbyes, but I like the feelings that come that makes saying goodbye so hard to take.
Maybe its some kind of Freudian junk about trying to recapture that time with my mother. Maybe it was bred into me. My family sure seemed to move all over the place all the time.
There aren’t many places I haven’t been: The two poles, Mainland China, the Azores. That’s all I can think of. There are probably others.
Sometimes I was working, sometimes I was surfing, sometimes it was rock climbing, most of the time it was just to see what made the world different even though I soon saw it was really just the same.
The most spectacular places I’ve seen: Yosemite Valley, Maui, Nepal, The High Desert.
The ugliest: India and Egypt.
The places I’ve seen destroyed and cry over: Bali and Kenya.
Bali was destroyed by the people with live there, so that’s cooler. Surfers discovered the rock reef pipes and started to flock there and suddenly Bali went from cool spot to a border town, as ugly as Tijuana or Jaurez.
Kenya was destroyed by outsiders and developers.
When I first went there I was 19 and we did a motorcycle trip from Casablanca to Johannesburg.
We seldom saw people until we’d hit a town.
Story Of The Long Knife
Click images for desktop size: “The Story Of The Long Knife” by Unknown
When we entered an animal preserve the dirt roads were lined with human skulls and the warning sign that poachers would be shot on sight. The signs were hand painted and in every language they could write or misspell in. The skulls clarified everything anyway.
We took an 8 day detour to see the silver back gorillas.
It was an arduous slow trek. It was worth it. The animals were terrifying, cool and interested in us only as a possible threat. When they decided we were harmless they lost interest in us.
When I went back to Kenya at the end of the 90’s the animal preserves were scarred with criss crossing bus and jitney tracks. The preserve of the silver back gorillas was reduced to the size of a city black. It was surrounded with a parking lot and souvenir booths.
The gorilla were the same but now they were totally disinterested. I don’t know enough about gorillas to know what their state of mind was.
House On Telegraph Hill I’m pretty much finished with traveling now.
Not by choice but by necessity I guess. Its a good thing I’m happy with where I am.

I’m feeling better today. Still a alot of annoying pain. My back is crippling me but we’re going to go out to dinner tonight – A Chinese Buffet!
I’m cleaning my jacket with the big inside pockets, so I can line the pockets with plastic bags. The dogs are placing their orders for treats.
It will be fun. It always is.
The a Chinese movie for desert! Protege, the new Derek Lee – Andy Lau movie. I’m psyched.
Life is good.

I’m so weary, sick of trying, scared of living but afraid of dying Rogers And Hammerstein

Untitled By Equinox
Click images for desktop size: “Untitled” by Equinox
It looks like I fought the snow and the snow won . . .
Near crippling pain in my back today and yesterday. Still I managed to walk to the store. Either I’m tougher than I think or food and addictions are rougher to deal with then mere pain.
Giant Behemoth 1959 Part that irks me is that I’m starting to feel a bit better.
I’d give up feeling better and double the pain (or at least let it increase by 50%) if my little blind dog would continue to get well.
He seems to have reached his own plateau.
I understand plateaus. They’re hard to explain to other people.
You want to convey that you’re not feeling any better but your nerve synapses have calmed down and the pain that is there your brain and body have adapted to. You can function nearly as well as you do when you’re feeling 100% perfect.
That last part is probably the lie your brain tells you to fool you and encourage you to keep going. Who am I to argue with an evolutionary tactic like that.
Especially when it works.
My little blind dog kept me up past 4:30. He was having a bad time and just wanted comforting.
I wish I could give him something more. I wish he didn’t hate taking his medicine. Or hate me for making him take it.
He’s finally sleeping now. At my feet. I guess he’s forgiven me.

Still adoring the Apple TV.
I’m growing fonder of the H264 codec. Its definitely more efficient and sharper than DivX or Xvid. The only drawback is that the H264 is so damnably slow!
When you could rip a movie in about 90 minutes using Xvid, it takes H264 about 3 to 4 hours.
I’m ripping some DVD’s and such to H264, so they can be easily available for my friend, so she can watch the 3 Stooges every Sunday morning kind of thing.
I also like that H264 recognizes Chapters! Makes it easy to scan a movie and gives me some ideas for all the old time serials I like to drift off and think to.
I’m still enthralled with podcasts. Equate By Envy
Click images for desktop size: “Equate” by Envy
It reminds me of when I liked listening to the radio. When they played new music, when there was such a thing as local bands and it was a rush to hear the guys you saw Friday night get played on local radio.
It seems a shame that podcasts have become so popular that the major networks have rushed in to try and monopolize. I’d still rather listen to a guy with a squeaky voice play stuff I never heard before than be fed the latest payola scam artist.
For the record, my fave podcasts (at the moment) are “Coverville”, where the guy plays nothing but covers of big hits . . . I guess the title sort of explains that, and “Blues In The Night” where this down home voiced guy plays, well, blues. Both these guys are genuinely excited about what they’re playing, so even when you don’t like the track you can still enjoy trying to hear what’s fired them up!
Other than that, just holding on. Being happy.
Pain never trumps happy.

Nobody’s talking about Rollin’ Danny Gene Vincent

Rainbow Warrior

Click images for desktop size: “Rainbow Warrior” by Unknown
To explain my bouts of apparent insanity my mother used to explain to strangers, friends and family that I was just “trying to leave my footprints on the sands of time.”
I have no idea where she heard that one or why she constantly insisted on applying it to me.
Get Carter My mother had self esteem issues. She used to look at me after a game and say out loud, “How did a dumpy woman like me give birth to a beautiful boy like you.” I used to let thinks slide that bothered me.
One day I had to tell her, “Mom, I don’t know about sands of time or history all I know is that I want to rock the roof off the joint tonight.”
It didn’t stop her from saying the same thing . . . ever.
We’ve had snow here. Lots and lots of snow.
Set a record.
I was in a white out in Alaska once. That was scary cool. This was not that bad but the second worst snow I’d ever been in. Visibility about 100 yards.
I asked if this was a blizzard and I was told, in no uncertain terms, “No. Not enough wind to make it a blizzard.”
So my back is sore, my shoulder aches but I’ve successfully cleared about 12-18 inches of snow.
I look at it and feel like I’ve really accomplished something. The something being moving snow from one pile to another . . .
I do wonder if any of the neighbors look at me and my snow shoveling technique and shake their heads. I keep waiting for one of them to give me advice.
I could use it because I’m convinced I don’t have a clue as how to do this properly.

Belatedly I’m becoming a podcast fan.
Not on the iPod but playing out loud through the house.
It’s like cool radio. I like that it shafts the RAIA. (They’ve got their own issues with a counter suit that will force them to expose presumed illegal methods and presumed Snow by Pensadi

Click images for desktop size: “Snow” by Pensadi
illegal disbursement of the $400 million they’ve collected for artists that doesn’t seem to have reached any of them – way to go Metallica) And I like that its individual and playlists aren’t decided by a committee.
Its cool that bands can get there music out to be heard.
Its almost inspiring me to (you may shudder) to make my own podcast. I could call it “The Young Savages” or such and annoy people with the creepy thrashing drone white noise guitars I’ve always enjoyed.
What’s stopping me the most is that last night I heard a great version of one of my songs. I went to look up who it was and it was . . . me . . . This must be a sign of either senility or snow deafness.

Now we have real work to do

Orangy Art - Richard Mohler

Click images for desktop size: “Orangy Art” by Richard Mohler
I’ve almost always lived in houses.
Compared to apartments, I mean,
When I’ve had to stay in an apartment or a condominium it put me on edge.
I don’t like lying in bed and hearing my neighbor walk to the toilet and flush it. Escape From Planet Of The Apes It gets too close to poetry staring at your own walls and hearing the life of strangers surrounding you and pressing ever and ever closer.
Since I’ve spent most of my time in big cities and major metropolises, and that in my home in London I usually had a dozen or so people staying on it might seem odd, but that’s the way of it.
I like private houses that are full of people . . . or at least full of dogs and one person.

Yesterday my little blind puppy seemed to be on the rebound. The night before he dragged me tumbling down a hill. There was enough snow that neither of us were hurt. I was more irritated by it. He was excited. This falling down thing of mine is getting to be a drag. The puppy must have enjoyed it though, some small canine excitement. He tried to drag me back over the same hill last night. He was mad that I wouldn’t follow him again.
My big surprise came off.
Not the way I wanted it. UPS is too unreliable to ever make plans around.
Its embarrassing to say but I bought an Apple TV . . . I got it second hand via one of the auction sites. The fellow selling it lived relatively close and . . . I used a small portion of my IRS Tax Refund. It was a fraction of the cost of the new ones.
I’m sure I’ll regret spending the money in a week.
I was nervous it would be busted up, not work, twonky, what have you. It works like a dream, better than I’d imagined.
I got it mainly for music. H264 encoding with Dolby Pro Logic Sound doesn’t interest me much, other than novelty, at least for now.
What surprised me was how easy it was to set up, to start seeing Flickr pictures and then using them as a screen saver was like totally YOW!
Night Angel

Click images for desktop size: “Night Angel” by Unknown
And the streaming of music was perfect. We don’t have a proper sound system set up here. I spent today re-wiring the stuff I have and it now works okay. Its listenable for sure and so nifty to play thousands of songs one after the other.
What was also impressive was getting podcasts. I’d never used them much because they were usually poorly mastered and took up a huge chunk of real estate on my iPod, where they’d sound terrible.
Going through the Apple TV they sound cool and much more viable and varied than listening to the radio. Some of them are totally bitchin.
I’m not much into YouTube, but it accesses those pretty easily as well. I watched a couple of my puppy’s YouTube video and was annoyed with the poor quality of the encoding. Main reason I figured out how to host her video files ourselves.
Force Of Evil But that’s the stuff that interests me. The main purpose was for the music for my friend. She’s chuffed and thrilled to be able to surround herself with the sounds she loves.
That makes me happy.
Its simple and easy enough that she can start playing her stuff right away and without having to ask me how to do it.
We watched “Pillow Talk”, an 60’s Rock Hudson & Doris Day comedy. The humor was pretty arch and the characters repulsive in any clear vision, but we laughed and played with it, enjoyed it.
With my little blind puppy making noises like he’s going to be around a bit longer, my surprise being a success even with all the glitches, worries and stress, yesterday was a day to mark with a white stone.

You’re going to need an ocean of calamine lotion Leiber-Stoller

Music Shapes - GBR Graphics
Click images for desktop size: “Music Shapes” by GBR Graphics
I used to want to grow gray at the temples so that it would go straight down the side of my head, like racing stripes.
I thought that would look cool and make me look even faster!
I still do.
Damnation AlleySomeone should write a book. A how to book on training your hair to do that, to grow the way and the color you want.
It would be a best seller, right up there with my book on the Zen Mechanics Of Snow Shoveling!

I used to receive 4 or 5 emails a day from my friends and kids and from people I barely remember. I liked that. It gave me something to look forward to each day.
Now I seem to only get 4 or 5 a week.
I hope its not because people don’t want to bother me. That’s a pathetic thought.
Better would be that they’re too busy to think about me. Even better would be that they don’t like writing to me and either not hearing back or getting a terse and crabby response.
Best if everything in their life is going swimmingly and when they think of me at all its to think, “I’ll bet David is doing fine today!”
I did hear from my old land lady. Old as in EX land lady, not as in she’s as old as me or something like that.
I’ve always liked her. We got along. Even though I am about 600 things she normally hates and she’s about 40 things I’m indifferent to, we got along.
What we had between us that was stronger than any of that was that we loved dogs.
She spent all of her spare time saving dogs. I conservatively guess that she saves the lives of about 200 dogs a year.
I can’t help but love someone like that.
As for her, she loved my puppy. I used to leave the rent check on the front table for her and my land lady would come in and have a talk with my puppy. She said that my puppy always gave her kisses but would never let her go into our bedroom!
She was always impressed with my puppy Surf Fishing - S4W
Click images for desktop size: “Surf Fishing” by S4W
, that my puppy was so happy and full of love and life and the way she treated all of our crazy foster dogs.
Her friends father passed away early this year. Her friend’s not working and her friend’s father was not well provided for or heavily insured, so my land lady has been shouldering a lot of the financial responsibility. She’s that kind of person.
She has to sell the house my puppy and I lived in.
We loved that house. It was completely dog proof and had a great back yard with tall wooden fences, big enough to romp in and full of enough stuff to hide and play around.
My land lady offered to sell it to us for the price she paid for it because she was happy that we were there. She was like that too.
I couldn’t afford it. It was stupid. I should have hornswoggled the down payment somehow. Even though I still would have moved I could have rented it out for enough to cover the mortgage payment.
And my puppy and I would always have that place to remember her growing up.
Now it will be sold. My land lady will have to go through a real estate agent because Dr Who And The Daleks she’d only sell the place to a crazed dog owner like herself . . . or like me.
It bothers me a little to think of someone who doesn’t love dogs living in a home like that. It bothers me more that my land lady has to sell it to make ends meet.

My little blind dog is doing better. Last night I couldn’t sleep because of me! Not because of him.
I was amazed when my friend was able to calm him down. She held him and talked to him and he stopped coughing and just completely relaxed. Its no wonder I love her.
He’s not out of the woods yet but he slept reasonably well last night.

My surprise is coming to fruition!
I hope its not a flop . . .

That’s awful specific for destiny! Steve Pierre

Water Lilies - Claude Monet
Click images for desktop size: “Water Lilies” by Claude Monet
Don’t much feel like saying anything today.
Good things are I couldn’t feel much worse and still be alive. I’m still alive.
My little blind dog is still alive too. He kept me up all night. Or maybe I kept him up. I slept when he did. We’re both okay.
We both agree that sometimes it doesn’t feel right to be so miserable and so happy at the same time. We’ve decided to deal with that issue by stay restlessly crabby.
A Clockwork Orange - French His ailing gave me an excuse to ignore mine.
Even more snow today.
I’ve been in snow before. But it was usually snow at someplace where I could leave it when I wanted to.
In Europe I was staggered when they had a blizzard. They called it a blizzard anyway. It snowed almost 3 inches . . . then it all melted before nightfall.
Those are my kind of snow storms.
These 5 inches overnight things are the stuff of science fiction novels. People could not survive in this. Yet, here we are.
I walked to the store yesterday. My friend was home sick and I had a little cash. It seemed like a good idea.
By the time I managed to slog back home it felt like I’d accomplished something major.
I got frijoles and chips and some stuff for pad thai . . . health food, comfort food.
Good stuff.
Spent the rest of the time finishing up my monthly back-ups. Yeah, I’ve lost enough stuff over the years that I know computers can’t be trusted anymore.
I also contemplated all the site stats.
We used 140 gigs of bandwidth! Mainly because of all my puppies movies.
I’m happier than ever with the new host. No one complained about not being able to get on. I had just over 4,000 “unique” visitors. I like unique. Its a cool adjective. I don’t know what it really means when used in this way.
82.4% of the visitors came here via bookmarks or direct. 12% came via search engines. Probably looking for Captain America . . . and the rest via referrals from links I guess.
I thought those were pretty smug inducing numbers.
Double Monitor - by Azarakis
Click images for desktop size: “Double Monitor” by Azarakis
My puppy’s site had 27,341 “unique” visitors. For her site the term unique makes sense.
91% were bookmarks or direct. 8% were via search engine. Her search terms are cute: big black dog who don’t speak good, is my fave this month. I think she prefers Shelby the greatest dog in the world. She also thinks rich people should pay her.
I’m also startled that “The Long Goodbye” still gets over 2,000 hits a month. It hasn’t been updated in nearly 2 years.
Its the product of wanting to write something good and “unique” Crashout - Money Is Like Love about things and people I love in movies, art, you know all that pretentious stuff I try to pretend isn’t inside of me.
I was thinking of EXPANDING that wordy stuff I wrote about Argento and putting it up there.
That might just be another of my projects that never quite comes to pass. But it may and it will please me.
I’m also working on a little surprise that I hope turns out well. Mainly I hope it doesn’t come off as merely selfish. We can only try and see. Its hard to be too surprising when you have no money to speak of, but we try.
And that’s enough about nothing.
I have snow to shovel and inches to go before I sleep.
My little blind dog is sleeping in the chair next to me, while my puppy rests her head in my lap and suddenly it feels like everything really will be alright.

Went down to the crossroads Robert Johnson

Light Still Shines On The Fair - Alec Feld
Click images for desktop size: “Light Still Shines On The Fair” by Alec Feld
Movie wise it was a disappointing weekend. Not enough movies and then they were pretty sketchy.
I finally got to see Dario Argento’s “Mother Of Tears.” I was looking forward to it. Its the conclusion of a trilogy that started back in the 70’s with smash hit “Suspiria” (The first mother, Mother Of Pain) which was followed in the 80’s by the stunning “Inferno” (The second mother, Mother Of Sighs.)
Born To Kill I’m an Argento fan. His career is full of the sort of highlights that would be definers in an American filmmakers resume. He started out writing Spaghetti Westerns! That phase ended with his collaboration with Bernardo Bertolluci (“Last Tango In Paris,” “The Last Emperor”) on the magnificent Sergio Leone’s “Once Upon A Time In The West”.
Then he moved into gilago (Italian Grand Guignol) as a pathway to directing. (Horror is the usual path to starting a movie making career – even Speilberg started with “Night Gallery”). Argento’s films were marked with sophistication, he evoked an evolving Hitchcockinan mode creating suspense and real people. Like all gilago his films were marked with a savagery bordering on the ludicrous but in Argento’s stuff that extended not just to the villain and victims but to the world that housed them, our world. Every thing seemed probable in his movies (“Four Flies On Grey Velvet,” “The Bird With The Crystal Plumage”).
Argento developed his tools, extended them and himself and exploded with “Suspiria.” He combined all of his previous experience into a semi-classic horror film. He showed style was substance. Plot was secondary to the people and the mayhem and the beauty of it all. His casts’ costumes were always by the top Italian designers, Armani, Versace etc. His sets were designed by Memphis. His scores were by Philip Glass! He got Keith Emerson to go for his chirasco best and make a compelling soundtrack that went beyond songs. He used punk and heavy metal to create a link between the viewer and to establish a mood connecting the plastic and the flesh and blood. He innovated in every detail and made cool fun horror films come as close to art as can be comfortable.
Argento’s films played like persistent dreams. Beauty, sex, and oddness floated around your eyes, hinting at secrets you knew you possessed even when the secrets evaporated in jaundiced sunlight.
While he was making/distributing “Suspira” Argento was working with maverick George Romero. Their collaboration resulted in the classic Zombie horror flic “Dawn Of The Dead”.
There’s been plenty written about this wonderful movie, some even examining the music group Argento put to together, Goblin, to compose the music for this examination of our new world. Argento and Romero are artists. The colloboration was not an easy one. They both distributed edits of the movie.
Romero’s has humor and fear as well as horror. Argento’s cut focuses on the horror and the tragedy. Its also about 30 minutes shorter.

If you’ve ever worked with some extremely talented people you know that often they can be insecure and possessive Untitled - Phareic
Click images for desktop size: “Untitled” by Phareic
of their vision and talent. They mark their territory and guard it. I think its because what they see is so far from the realm of what we see that they get nervous that their vision might be false. Nothing detroys the thin veil of “genius” than making a blunder. Nothing hurts a genius more than losing that tag.
So I was stunned when Argento asked Mario Bava, the pioneer and light of Italian cinema, to come in a direct and shoot a sequence for “Inferno”. It was a section of the film that he was having problems with.
The admission was incredible in itself, going to another to correct it has a type of eerie genius. It was a solid thing to do. The sequence involves a cute girl falling into a hole, the hole leads to a rich New York immigrant apartment that is perfectly preserved and brilliantly lit by diffused sunlight. The apartment is submerged in water!
Its an hypnotic scene, incredible and it only adds to the entire insane spectacle of the movie. Bava removes the fear of drowning and replaces that fear with a tiny sense of awe. As th girl swims through the museum like space, her clothes clinging and furling around her afraid to touch any of the artifacts it creates a unique prettiness, a prettiness that soon gives way to creepiness. When she finally explodes from the pool into the world the harsh light and more saturated blacks of the un-submerged world are oppressive and depressing.
“Inferno” also includes one of the most auteur like moments in Argento’s canon. A blind man is being devoured by rats! He screams for help. Somewhere away a dimly seen man who seems modeled after Duane Hanson’s sculpture “The Crying Butcher”, grabs up a meat cleaver and rushes off, seemingly to offer aid. When he arrives at the moonlit scene he stares at the carnage and wordlessly drives his cleaver into the blind man’s skull, over and over again.
The sense is that evil and hatred abound. There is no escape. The butcher has no place in the story at all and is never seen again. Its the random violence that makes the actualized plotted violence seem secure and safer than the world outside.
So I hope you can see why I was excited to see the closing chapter of the trilogy, a trilogy thats been 30 years in the telling.
And then to discover that the flic starred Argento’s daughter, Caged Virgins Asia, was like slicing my wrists open and finding I bled rivers of gold instead or common crimson blood.
Asia Argento is a massive talent, in my opinion. As an actress, she’s got an ease that can only come from having been raised on screen in horror films (she was like 8 when she debuted in Lamberto Bava’s “Demons”).
Its as a director that I think she’s got the potential to be something so serious as to change the world. Its only potential though. She keeps falling short. I don’t know why. With her movie, “Scarlet Diva” she showed an ability to look into people with the same unflinching gaze that her father used to get us to watch a silver knife plunge into a naked beating heart.
In her film “The Heart Is Deceitful In All Things” Asia bought her EuroTrash sensibilities to a Jake Lamotta like woman. She is evil and bad, abusive to a loving child but never a monster, always vulnerable and hating herself for being less than human.
I don’t know what has to change in her life for Asia to make the brilliant films that are always bubbling in and out of the center of her movies but I hope to be there when she finally figures it out.
So with all this history, all this talent hanging there why was “Mother Of Tears” so disappointing?
I mean, its bad and ridiculous, so bad that I’m wondering if I missed the joke somewhere. Once my kids were discussing “The Blair Witch Project.” They all hated it and thought it was boring but were afraid to say so. They thought maybe they weren’t smart enough to “get it.”
I thought that idea was stupid at the time, now I feel the same way. Maybe Argento was just talking to someplace over my head. All I know is that I was disappointed. There’s nothing worse to be.
Its a boring mess. I resisted fast scanning through it because I kept “knowing” it would suddenly get good, but it only got silly.
There are some good gags, the opening death where the woman is strangled with her own intestines is . . . interesting. Watching Torino fall apart to unseen evil, was semi cool if over the top, but smashing up an expensive car is not the ultimate evil act . . . honest. Asia pursued by her dead boyfriend whom she has set aflame has a coolness to it, and Argento forcing his daughter to constantly cry “Mommy! Mommy!” Machine Gun By Roebuck
Click images for desktop size: “Machine Gun” by Roebuck
has a cruel Freudian conceit to it. The same way you wonder why Argento likes to put his daughter into rivers of human excrement holds a quirky fascination. There are moments but the thing just looks like a rush job.
I could accept the ghosts materialized by the lesbian medium, not well, but I could cope. I couldn’t cope with the whack episodic story line that bounced me around from confusing place to place. Why was she on a dangerous train trip to go someplace that she walked back home from??
And the ending . . . A whole lot of set up so Asia could grab a spear and . . . catch a shirt on the spear tip, rip the shirt off an anonymous girls back (so we can see some silicone breasts? a spear to keep evil at a distance?) and burn the shirt . . . and that kills the bad guys . . . she burned the shirt . . . and that killed all the bad guys . . .
It wasn’t even a very nice shirt . . . the silicone breasts were okay, if you like silicone breasts, I guess.
When you compare this to Argento’s Student, Michael Soavi’s movie, “Cemetery Man” it looks like Argento has run out of things to say and forgotten how to say them. Soavi seems to be picking up the heritage and taking it to new places.
Chrome And Hot Leather In “Cemetery Man” Rupert Everett is the care taker of a grave yard in a small Italian town. He spends his time digging graves, tending the grass, watching TV and killing the zombies that sometimes come out.
There’s not a whole lot made of the zombies, other than they must be dealt with. Most of the time Everett spends worrying more about courting recently widowed Anna Falchi than fighting zombies.
Its a great movie! It delights and astonishes and terrifies. Monsters and people define greatness here. The student has surpassed the master and I just feel sad.
I also watched the Korean film D-Wars. There was a great section of it that was cooler than Transformers, when the ancient mythic creatures fight the US Army in Downtown LA! RAH!
From that section you could see how this flic could become the box office champ in Korea. But everything leading up to that point is pretty dull and too child like, especially too childish for the carnage to come. And the ending was just kind of mediocre in a “He Man vs Sheera” kind of way. In fact, the movie made me think of “Masters Of The Universe” an awful lot . . .
And finally I watched an old 1930’s omnibus film, “If I Had A Million.” I remembered seeing it on TV when I was a kid and it left an impression. As a semi-adult I was interested because of early work by WC Fields, Gary Cooper and the remarkable Ernest Lubitch.
The films conceit is that a self made multi millionaire hates his relatives so much that he decides to give away his money to absolute strangers picked out of the phone book. The 8 sections then show us some details of the eight lives and then how they use the money.
Some of the stories are funny, some poignant and painful, others sadly depressing and contrived.
Click images for desktop size: “Electra” by Marvel Comics
It was the best of the lot to boot. Its just hard to have a movie hang together with 8 different perspectives and styles. The bits I remembered as a kid were still great (the guy walking into his old boss with a rabbit on a leash) and I still love WC Fields (My little sweet potato!) I also enjoyed, as I always do, seeing LA in the 30’s and marvelling at what is still left to recognize.

What’s not disappointing is that my little blind dog is still hanging in. He keeps developing things wrong with him but then he spends more time being happy, playing and eating.
I’m selfish and don’t want him gone. He makes me laugh and smile. I worry that I’m letting him suffer needlessly.
I don’t get the idea he wants to go anywhere yet. He still follows me around like a . . . puppy dog. I know he’s happy. Even when he wakes me up at night because he wants me to hold him.
My puppy is kind to him too. She’ll still steal his food but she herds him when he’s lost and never runs over him (like the others do) but waits for him to either move or at least move aside.

Sha la la la lee Steve Marriott

Dog Jesus
Click images for desktop size: “Dog Jesus” by Unknown
The most interesting new music I’ve been listening to lately are Guitar Wolf’s “Dead Rock” (A Japanese rock band that everyone but me seems to hate, not everyone, they’re onto their 6th album). I love their versions of Springsteen’s “Fire” and the crazed cover of “Route 66”.
The Bellboy And The Playgirls The Moviees, “Action Man” from “Become One Of Them” is a light, bitter sound with buttery rhythm guitars and sharp drum attacks.
The Rooks “Encore Echoes” which somehow remind me of childhood dreams. They have a nice garage sound with modern sensibilities. They sometimes sound too ancient, as in the past, but not passe. “Better Start Right Now” is a cool introduction to their sound.
At least all these groups are from the 21st Century . . . I still have a fondness for the past.
But first a digression . . . I found out about these bands from my gal pal. Back in the 80’s this guy Michael Weldon started a flysheet called “The Psychotronic TV Guide”.
He’d note all the cool , the strange, and the hip movies on TV that week and write up little reviews and schedules. He xeroxed the sheet at work and then would pass them out to commuters and passersby. Much cooler than religious tracts.
Even in this internet age there’s something to be said for shoving a piece of paper into somebody’s hand. Wheldon got fired from his job. I gather for running about 3000 copies of his little sheet a week. But someone else got the idea of publishing his little reviews in a book. It sold well, still in print, “The Psychotronic Guide To Movies.” Its thick enough to be imposing and scholarly looking. It was fun and easy to read cover to cover – lots of pictures.
Someone else has taken up the task. I understand, the internet is cool but its not immediate. It can just hang around and it takes time and money to use. A sheet of paper to somebody bored riding the subway has a factor.
Lost Kids - Envy
Click images for desktop size: “Lost Kids” by Envy
Anyway this guy is doing a list of the top 500 Power Pop albums of all time. Which sounds weird to me but then, why not! My only issue with it is that one of my bands is on it!
I was never Power Pop. I like pop. As in Pop Art and Popular Music. Power Pop to me always meant guys in black shirts, white shirts and skinny ties. (John Woo stole the look for “A Better Tomorrow” and then Tarentino stole it from him for “Reservoir Dogs.”)
It meant The Knack and “My Sharona”, or Rick Springfield, rolled up sleeves on sports coats (?) and hundred buck haircuts. It didn’t seem to have a lot to do with playing all sweaty in a stuffy club while 400 people throbbed to your drive and beat, kids having fun and looking to you for hope and fun. Chuck Berry had it right, The little girls understand.
Power Pop seemed like an A&R man’s way of trying to create the next big thing.
Blonde BaitSometimes the kids need to make their own big thing. Which is why power pop is something you don’t hear about and rap and hip hop became the new dominant genre.
Anyway, like I was saying before I interrupted . . . I still listen to too much old music while I wait for a new Alkaline Trio CD. And one old guy I love is Chris Bailey.
He was one of the original Brit pinks with The Damned and then the Remarkable Saints. I like Bailey’s dead nasal voice that uses the music and notes to give his tunes their emotions instead of poor acting, over singing and genuflections.
I like that he used horns and dozens of grinding thrashing guitars. He knows how to dance.
So I was shocked to discover Bailey did a solo album in 1983, “What We Did On Our Holydays.” It stunning cause its all covers. Floats between two types, hard full R&B classics (mucho Sam Cooke whom he treats too reverentially). The rest is solo acoustic BLUES tunes! Like “Country Boy” his playing surprises and his voice reveals as much intensity and depth of feeling as when he was groaning over the Saints thrashing guitar lines.
I like music. I need more of it every single day.

Spring training has started. Its a good time. It hasn’t yet detracted from the Barry Bonds hoopla, or from the sad plight of Roger Clemens, (not sad for “The Rocket” but sad for me. Even the cynical and crabby ones like me need heroes, guys who can make the impossible conceivable. I don’t know or much care if Clemens did a half dozen shots of steroids. I think this Macnee guy is revolting slime who fits in well with Washington DC. But I do know that the Jeff Beck's Blow By Blow Gibson
Click images for desktop size: Jeff Beck’s Gibson Les Paul
way Clemens handled the whole affair has caused him the disgrace and humiliation he was trying to avoid. Maybe he was arrogant, or misled. I expect my heroes to stand proud on their own. To tell the truth and laconically let me know there is some place in the world for men like we always wanted to be.)
Even with the new modern world. I like baseball. I love it. Every time you take the field you could dream, even those short few years ago when I could still play you’d go to the plate and dream of that fat guy with a cigar in his mouth and loud clothes and flashy jewelry saying. “Kid, how’d you like to play for the Dodgers.”
In Spring Training you’ve got all those hundreds of kids under 21, dreaming and trying to see if they’re good enough to be Mickey Mantle or Sandy Koufax or Don Kessinger or Roger Clemens . . .
The college baseball season has started. USC is playing. Not doing too badly.
Baseball is supposed to be better than life and a microcosm of it. I want it back.
Just me being old.

You didn’t even count your bullets Eric Red

enD Of ParadisE by Envy
Click images for desktop size: “enD Of ParadisE” by Envy
Still feeling rough. No worries. I’m used to it.
Funny thing about pain. We’re human. We always get used to it.
A guy named Frankl did a study. Wrote a book about it. He was a concentration camp survivor. That kind of life gives your theories about pain and suffering a gravitas you can’t claim to in any other way. He survived Auschwitz. One of the few. His wife died in Belsen. He never got to see her again once the Nazi’s separated them. He didn’t even know she was dead until after the war.
The Last Woman On Earth 1950 His book, “Man’s Search For Meaning” was my introduction to Existentialism. Now I disagree a bit with his concept of “Existential Analysis” when I read the book I didn’t know what I was to learn.
The guy who gave me the book when I was eleven years old ran a health food stand by the beach. I used to really like his tuna salad sandwich with avocado, bean sprouts and muenster cheese.
When he served me I saw a tattoo of a number on his right wrist. Being a kid I had it in my head that he was a convict and that the tattoo was his prison number. (I watched a lot of science fiction movies and tattooing people, especially prisoners, was the great sign of Big Brother and totalitarianism. According to the movies these were bad things. I agreed then and now. I haven’t learned much since I was a kid I guess.)
One day I was really spent. It was a 5 foot day with the santana’s blowing hard. I was a total wiggle butt surfer and even then my body was screaming to relax. That’s my excuse anyway.
I asked the guy what he’d been in prison for.
He stiffened. “What do you ask me something like that for?” He had an accent but I didn’t understand that. I was a kid. Everybody sounded foreign to me.
“Your tattoo. That means you were in prison, right?”
He went and made another order while I ate my sandwich. When he came back he asked me if I knew about the Nazi’s. Of course I had. I had TV, I saw the movies. I watched “Hogan’s Heroes”. “They’re the bad guys”.
He agreed.
When he came back to clear my plate he gave me a dog eared paperback. It had a black cover. He said, “I was a prisoner but not how you mean. Maxfiel Parrish
Click images for desktop size: “Untitled” by Maxfield Parrish
Read this. It will tell you things.”
Comic books were the only reading I enjoyed. I stayed away from the stand for a month because I was afraid the tattooed owner would ask me if I’d read the book.
My craving for tuna salad sandwiches with avocado and muenster cheese started to overwhelm me, mainly because my mom refused to buy bean sprouts or muenster cheese. So I read the book.
“Man’s Search For Meaning” is not great reading for an eleven year old. The translation keeps it simple, easy enough to read so that the horrors that the concentration camp survivors endured become more memorable than the way they coped with and survived.
I had a lot of Jewish friends. Before reading the book the only thing I knew about them and their heritage was that they got extra days off from school.
The things in that book terrified me in a way I didn’t understand. This wasn’t like giant monsters and death rays. This was something clinical and debased and cruel. French Faster Pussycat Kil Kill I didn’t know how people could survive the concentration camps or why’d they’d want to.
Bored at study hall in the school library I looked up “Existentialism”. It lead me Albert Camus and Jean Paul Sartre. (I think a lot of Camus talent, much less of Sartre) It didn’t answer the questions. I don’t know what the questions were but I knew these guys didn’t have them or the answers.
In one of the books there was a quote from Raymond Chandler. It lead me to read “The Simple Art Of Murder”. I thought most of it, at the time, was twaddle about books I’d never read or care about, but then I got to that classic bit, “Down these mean streets a man must go . . . ” It didn’t answer anything but it came closest to explaining me to myself.
I still didn’t have a clue as to how people could inflict suffering like that on another but at least I knew that not grasping that insanity didn’t mean I was much different from anyone else. Some would call this attitude of mine “classical stoicism,” which is way too fancy for me. Call it what it is, just getting by.
The holocaust and genocide still leave me unsettled. A horror too big to grasp. I can imagine an infinite universe but I can’t imagine an infinite capacity for cruelty, evil or even good. Maybe that’s why I’ve never been famous, merely notorious.
I took the book back to the health food stand. All he said was, “I was wondering when you’d bring it back.”
I was afraid to look at him. I never asked him about his experiences in the camps. He told me he’d been at Triblinka that was all. I once got close to asking him why he didn’t have a skin graft and have the tattoo removed. I don’t know why I didn’t. Its the kind of stupid question Gilda's Flypaper by Philip Castle
Click images for desktop size: “Gilda Flypaper” by Philip Castle
only a kid could get away with asking, and even then only on a sunny day when the sun was making rainbows in the spindrift in the background.
When I am suffering I always remember eating tuna salad with avocado, bean sprouts and muenster cheese. Sometimes I can taste it. It doesn’t make the pain go away but it makes it endurable. Even when I know the pain is only at a plateau and will never really abate again it doesn’t destroy my outlook on life. The Holocaust was too severe for that little piece of knowledge.
The pain does make me crabby though. Not much I can do about that. Its what they’re talking about when they talk about “fighting against leukemia,” or “his struggles with diabetes.” Empty words to describe an empty experience.
I’m glad I don’t have to explain this kind of stuff too often especially Aelita 1924 to my little blind dog. He’s got a way of dealing with these things.
He has to wear clothes to protect his skin from his own wild chewing. They make him look cute. Sometimes he gets his clothes pulled up and around him goofy.
Recently he got his clothes pulled around him so that he could only walk on three legs.
I was working in the office and heard this funny clum clumpity splat cumpity clump splat noise, over and over. My little blind dog hobbled into the office and went straight to his usual space, at my feet. He never complained or whined. He’d woken up and realized he only had three legs. He digested this and went on with his life. He woke and thought, “this is just the way life is from now on.” He went looking for me cause he likes sleeping near me. Maybe he’s protecting me from the darkness. I don’t know. When I freed his leg he tested it and then went back to sleep.
Men are not dogs.
We should at least act as well as they do.
Too often we don’t.

You can’t cheat an honest man so never smarten up a sucker or wise up a chump WC Fields

Edmund DuLac
Click images for desktop size: “Untitled” by Edmund DuLac
I’ve seen an amazing increase in spam lately. Rough estimates are I’ve won about 1 billion in lotteries I never entered. I’ve had about 2 billion left to me by dead relatives I never knew I had. My puppy and I have had our bank accounts our paypal accounts and our other personal information compromised about 80 times, all at banks where we don’t have accounts. Hangmen Also Die And the usual suspects offering us great penny stock tips and the usual porn sites and sexual enhancements.
I resent the ones offering money the most.
There are too many people driven to desperation in our world today where cash is the only solution. It takes sociopathic guts to steal from people. It takes a sheer coward to steal from you and not be able to look you in the face.
Con men used to at least be entertaining. They used to give you a show as they fleeced you. The Flim Flam Men were always known and usually endured until they robbed the wrong person of too much.
They even made movies about them, Oscar winning movies where the con men were the heroes! (“The Sting” for only one of them.”
Now the cowardly ilk advertise in the papers or people who are multilingual. Its a lot more convincing to get emails from someone who can at least approximate the language, I guess. But they advertise in the newspapers and the newspapers take the ads . . .
Its like a legitimate business now. Why not. They’ve only prosecuted one spammer. The government must condone it or they’d do something to stop it. In a lot of ways the government condones it. I’ve gotten spam from political candidates . . .
Considering that the government allowed Comcast to hijack the investigative meeting to discuss the despicable acts committed by Comcast its not a great surprise. (Net neutrality and tiered pricing are ugly cruel things that need to be abolished and not encouraged. The government disagrees. They don’t care about the people anymore it seems.)
In China and Russia they are openly and actively recruiting hackers and programmers. I do wonder if anyone ever bought anything they saw advertised when their browser has been hijacked by a malicious script?
Do Us All A Favor
Click images for desktop size: “Do Us All A Favor”
Someone must or they wouldn’t invest so much money in getting it done. The self centered self righteous jerks we keep electing wouldn’t keep approving these tactics. They wouldn’t ignore the deplorable acts of Microsoft and the lesser companies who emulate them. (Microsoft gets fined over a billion in Europe but gets a nudge nudge and a wink in the USA).
Maybe they view all of this corruption of something as pretty as the computer and the internet as just another poor tax, like the insane profits of the oil companies (who will again set records for the low taxes they will pay.)
There used to a great operating system for computers: BeOS. It was elegant, refined, powerful and ran on machines that stuttered with Windows and Macs running 9.0.
BeOS had features 10 years ago that are just now The Big Store entering into Windows Vista and Mac OSX. (Indexed searches – integration of OpenGL etc)
Microsoft pointedly and fixedly destroyed the company. It did so illegally. Microsoft got prosecuted. Of course this was after they accomplished their goals and bankrupted the little BeOS company.
They had to pay the BeOS stockholders a lot of money and they got fined 100 million. Microsoft never paid of course. I’m sure it was quite legal on their side, the not paying I mean, but once again no one in power was watching out for us; the little guys who just wanted to have some fun on our computers or make a little web site about our hobby or the club we belong to. No one in power cares about the little guys like you and me communicating with each other.
I thought that was supposed to be their job, to look out for us and t understand things we didn’t grasp and to make sure we could live a free and a happy people. I thought they were meant to safeguard us, not to encourage the slugs to rape and pillage us.
I guess I was wrong. Again.
I’m just not feeling human. A long strident rant because I got some junk mail in my email folder. I’m not human today.
Still feeling sick. Still worried about my little blind dog who still is keeping me up all night. Still worried about money and desires unfulfilled.
I shouldn’t rant about things I can’t change just because I can’t reach out at them and give them a kick in the pants.