D's at work, it's snowing out, mindless shytt on TV, so WTF, lets rate some movies i recently watched ....
The Big Sleep ..... why did i wait so long to watch this? ..... great bogey and bacall .
bogey: everything's straightened out now with the body, the gun, the motive.
bacall: you forgot about me.
bogey: what's wrong with you?
bacall: nothin' you can't fix.
fade to black
Whatever Works .... only woody allen could get away with this, and it's very funny, sarcastic, twisted, unpredictable ..... and (sigh) patricia clarkson is in it
The Asphalt Jungle .... hardboiled murder film noir .... make that very hard boiled..... all detective movie junkies must see this.
Hero .... ancient China warlord intrique .... my second viewing .... heroism at its noblest ..... epic, stunning, enjoyable.
Merry Christmas ..... what a tragic movie, about WWI soldiers on the front lines at christmas eve .... got all choked up in spots ..... in the end, this is a killing indictment of wartime mentality.
Priceless .... one of those little and slick french movies (Audrey Tautou from "Amilie") that is fun to watch even though (once you know french movies) the end is predictable..... the joy is in the little scenes, body movements and facial expressions (in france they actually have actors in movies ! ).
The Thin Man .... william powell and myrna loy .... wicked wicked good and fun .... and Ms. Loy deserves better .... she deserves me !! (although he is a funny and handsome devil as much as i am.)
Mrs. Parker and the Vicious Circle .... about the incisive writer dorothy parker and her friends who gather regularly for dinner and shred each other. "I demand only 3 things of a man .... he must be ruthless, stupid and handsome."
Ed Wood .... jees .... what a weirdo !!! ... now i understand why his (?) movies were so bad.
Gran Torino ..... clint as "clinty" as ever .... funny dialog in spots and the plot seems better the next day.... i did not know how it ended so i was kind of taken back.
A Man Escaped .... this is a microscopic movie with very very little scenery and maybe 2 actors, but it moves forward and with lots of courage .... no bells or whistles, just a very tight intense plot and minimalist photography.
Elsa & Fred ..... somebody somewhere thinks this woman is wry and witty .... but that ain't me .... she is so in-your-face that i turned it off .... she reminded me of shirley maclain at her most obnoxious.
Ugetsu .... magical realism .... can't tell where reality ends and fantasy begins ..... very provocative movie.
movies i had to turn off and send back because of no subtitles .... Shaun of the Dead, Paris 36, Dogma.
yesterday was bad ....
we have 5 bird nesting houses out there..... tomorrow i build a winter shelter box.
and (days later) here's the shelter ...
zeke's been dead now, what? .... 5, 6 years? ... and somehow he just flashed into my mind.
someday i gotta ask God how it worked out that this perfect soul was given to a cat.
i am on an international camera forum and there are people from every ... every ... nook and cranny of the world .... places that aren't on my globe ! .... and i am learning an enormous amount about other people in the world because we discuss, debate, argue and fight over camera issues and you learn a lot about people when you argue with them.
i have learned that people from other places are incredibly passive compared to me .... me ! ? .... i am not the meanest hombre in town, but compared to most other people that i "run into out there" , i am a mean aggresive opinionated person .... i don't mean that i am just grumpy (which i am) i mean belligerent aggressive ! ..... me ! ?
i find that people from other places are very eager to be peaceful and "live and let live" .... even when they start out with a strong opinion they will always back off and happily allow everyone their own opinion..... strange behavior indeed.
like "nineteen ten" or "seventeen fifty six" ..... we are calling this year "twenty ten" ... could you imagine saying "i was born in one thousand nine hundred and sixty three" ? .... nope it was "nineteen sixty three" and this is "twenty ten". (at least that's what i am calling it.)
why don't jellybeans go bad?
these are from last easter and i just ate a few and i feel fine.
Blood and Thunder
i thought i'd read a western novel for once .... turns out this is a history book .... nicely written .... on the life of Kit Carson, based on letters and diaries .... interseting, but 200 pages too long, so i stopped 200 pages short of the end.
thanks to the cold cold weather, i am way ahead of the schedule for chapter 2 of Po's story .... finished the first draft, and named it "The Sign of Po" (there is a link at the bottom of my journal home page)...... talking to mike at dinner helps me understand where this is going.
it needs some "softening" (especially the front end) and the details need nicer edges .... too much of it is written to myself .... takes me forever to write stuff, but it is great fun.
This is a high definition 8X10 glass plate image taken in 1908 (112 years ago !!!). It shows the Manhattan Bridge under construction, the Brooklyn Bridge in the foreground and the Williamsburg Bridge in the background. Look at the full size image and move it around .... it is much larger than your screen ..... even view it at 150% and it still shows incredible details.
Here are a few others (look at the details ! ) for you old time city fans:
These were shamelessly stolen from the Shorpy webpage.
D just came down a blasted me for "being on the internet all day" .... shytt, i thought i spent most of today (and yesterday) working on the bathroom ...... after spending 2 hours writing Po Teeko's story ...... guess i better spend more time in front of the TV..... sports ! .... i'll watch sports games like everyone else and count the points each team makes and the scores each guy gets or goals or home runs or baskets or whatever they get.
that'll make me normal..... enough of this thinking shytt.
worked last night on chapter 3 of Po Teeko
the ramen girl
stupid advertising, stupid packaging
Back in Italia, mike caught one the worlds great photographers at work .... note the legendary Leica D2 customised in red leather, the baggy pants purchased at a Padua flea market and customized by a little old Italian seamstress ....
|i have no idea where i can hang more posters or pictures .... must take down some diplomas, licenses, certifications i guess (from my working life) .... but i am working on one or two new posters of our trip to Italy .... we took well over 1000 pictures and the poster needs 15 .... sorting through mike's stuff i see lots of great shots that i missed and he caught.|
today is one of the days i wish dad and mom were alive again and we could visit and tell the same old stories and jokes, and i could be a child again, having a second chance at listening to all the stuff i ignored the first time around .... everybody dies i guess ... it's unstoppable.
i am making an effort to be less cynical and sarcastic
and to see the beauty of commonplace things ...
here is today's "found treasure"
my father died of an infection caused by an undiagnosed blood clot in his leg that cutoff blood flow to his leg .... undiagnosed because for two years all his doctors cared to examine and treat him for were only the various medical conditions and treatments that were covered by Medicare and his health insurance policy .... they never went beyond those limits of diagnosis or treatment because he did not have the insurance coverage and the hospitals and doctors were not about to try and save this old man's life without getting paid for it.... for sure, dad received a trainload of medical treatments - unfortunately they were all the wrong ones ..... they simply do not think outside the "medicare / insurance box" for his tests, diagnosis and treatment.
on the other hand, my mom lived more than twelve years with a disease they said would kill her in 3 years .... why? .... because her medical insurance paid for the treatment that kept her alive, and the doctors readily prescribed it. so dad died much sooner than he should have or would have if he had the same complete medical insurance plan that every other major country in the world has.
why should anyone else, besides me, care about this? .... because of course the same thing is about to happen to the next wave of older people, then the wave after that and the wave after that..... it's happening every day to US citizens of all ages.
waiting its turn at the feeder.
finches are polite eaters ... they grab one seed out of the feeder then fly over to a bush and eat it, then fly back for the next seed. on the other hand, the sparrows sit at the feeder and gorge themselves. so if the flocks come in at the same time, i'll see finches sitting patiently in the bushes while the sparrows indulge themselves ..... sometimes the finches get impatient and fly off (they are very opportunistic feeders !) .... but this little one must have been too hungry to leave .... so it waits.
today i voted for someone i don't like for US Senator .... i did so because i want the health care bill passed (debug it as necessary in the coming years) and its passage may come down to one vote ..... do you imagine this ... one vote will carry or kill a monumental piece of legislation! ..... anyway, i voted for the (slightly) lesser of two morons.
but the real topic of the moment is that i needed no ID to vote ... in fact i made a joke that i was Louise Cosgrove (whoever the hell she may be) and the poll monitors got a laugh out of it because i am obviously not a "Louise" .... but they still did not ask me for any ID .... and i voted.
well .... it has been a long while since the last Alfred Award was handed out, so let me waste no more time on intro's .....
bandmaster, ready the trumpets please ......
The Alfred Award
massachusetts is incorrectly labelled as a "democrat" state. actually voters today are just about evenly 1/3 democrat, 1/3 republican and 1/3 independents, and the number of "indies" is growing .... so much so that they swung the senate election yesterday and dealt out a whole new set of cards to Washington by electing one single republican. (unfortunately Washington still has only space for 2 kinds of senators .... R or D).
bitch and moan as much as you desire about who "won" or "lost", but the truth is that the voters freely upset the apple cart and overthrew the government yesterday, in a small but stunning way.
I really really want the US to create some kind of minimal, basic universal health care system, and have been blindly supporting the Obama agenda on that topic, and criticizing people who have been criticizing the unfinished health care reform plan. Well, I spent a few hours last night reading several extensive comparisons of the two plans (House and Senate) ..... I did not read any opinions or "interpretations" of the plans, as I was simply collecting facts to formulate my own opinion. Which is ....
(Side note: Here is one excellent comparison of the two bills: New York Times. Look carefully at the bottom two bullets...."total cost" and "paying for it".)
I will categorically reject any health care plan that cuts back on the projected levels of Medicare or Medicaid payments for the future. This is robbing Peter to pay Paul (and in this case, my generation happens to be Peter, and I say "bullshytt, I paid my dues for 45 working years and you will not short change me now when I need it most"). Unfortunately, both bills (House and Senate) expect to fund ½ of their total cost to the people by "reducing the projected expenses for Medicare", and shifting those expenses (payouts to people) from me to someone else..... No you don't..... reducing the support for my health care to pay for someone else's is not "cutting waste and increasing productivity"
The current bills are attempting to be all things to all people and to fill in every possible loophole or complaint or nit-picking, scheming, hedging, two-stepping idea that anyone in Congress can dream up and bring to the floor. Both bills are horrendously complex and convoluted, and are getting more so every day, as the lawmakers think of this and that. The US Constituion is less than 100 pages, the proposed health care bills are now about 2000 pages and growing .... something is wrong with this.
Here is the Oct2009 version of the House of Rep's Health Care Reform Bill. It has gotten more complex and larger since then and they are still arguing about the details.
So .... as much as I want to reform our health care system, if I were a Senator today, I would vote "No" on either of the two bills on the floor. (And I am sorry I waited so long to do the homework on this topic.)
There is no getting around it .... you (we) must pay the price for your (our) health care benefits. We either will pay the insurance company in premiums or the federal government in taxes. "Free health care", like "free lunch", doesn't , can't exist.
There will be administrative overhead costs, waste, accounting hanky-panky and fraud scattered about, no matter who is handling the money, big government or big business ... 'twas ever thus and ever 'twill be. Actually, does it really matter who takes your money and screws you? I am sure the government won't be any better or worse in terms of "efficiency" than big businesses, when you finally get down to accounting executive bonuses, perks, etc etc.
The health care industry in the US cannot simply be turned over to the federal government. These companies have invested their received premiums throughout the world in stocks and bonds, etc. The federal government cannot take part in these investments. The money cannot be just "turned over" .... not to mention making all the employees now federal employees (and God then what do you do with their retirement plans??) . So that forces us into a very complex system of private & governmental health insurance mechanisms ..... that right there is the horrendous spiderweb that congress is caught in, and the little spiders of religious groups, state's rights advocates, women's rights advocates, free-market capitalists, liberal socialists etc etc are all waiting to take a bite.
Up until now, I have been categorically and simplistically saying "we need basic, universal health care in the US". But truth be told, I cannot think of a realistic way to put that in place and pay for it. I wish someone would tell me exactly how to do that, so I can get back on the bandwagon.
(this topic is not related to the health care reform issue)
My opinions often confuse people because they fall scattered all over the "conservative / liberal / right / left / republican / democrat / me / you / federal / state..." map that people need to look at. I supported LBJ, Nixon, Reagan, Obama. Then what happened?
But actually, my political self is a simple self. Fundamentally I will not tolerate three things:
Governments, religions and businesses that violate those three principles must be taken out of power. (As Granny Clampert would say..... "I has spoke".)
moving forward to a more serious topic....
(the orange post-processed)
I am looking into leather binding my set of The Sandman Mystery Theater. Thanks to Mike, who years ago found the most elusive Volume 37 , I have the complete set. There are places now that do this. Must research .... though the story lines were pretty gruesome, that set is a treasure to me. Wesley Dodds, the "golden age sandman" ..... not to be confused with Neil Gaiman's "The Sandman" (who's gothic sister was "Death") .... in fact, this week's New Yorker magazine has a nice article on the gifted and strange Mr. Gaiman.
(not from the new Yorker .....)
i recorded an entire football game .....
Steve and Debbie came over to dinner last night. He's a salesman, with stories stories stories, Debbie's a middle school teacher. I am bragging about Italy, citizenship, my cameras. He is bragging about his new i-pod in the bulletproof casing .... he demonstrates it .... I tell him, hey, can you see my web page? .... he types my name into Google ... he says ..."so I see you just got another patent?" .... I reply, in a tone of technical snobbery, "Huh? What are you talking about?" .... he shows me his Google results and there I am, my name on the team of the patent we applied for 6 years ago.
No trumpets, no drumroll, not even a f$5&ing e-mail from anyone to tell me..... such is the fate of retirement (you are truly out of the loop! ).
If you enjoy impaling yourself with legal documents, here's the PDF file.
after breakfast, M dragged me off to a flea market where i found yet another treasure (for only $5) .... an 8mm silent film projector.
saw the very small figures of people and animals and things, for HO scale train set .... this week i had seen some neat photos on the leica forum where people are shooting these close up .... very very interesting, so i may buy some of these and play with that idea.
also, one of my leica friends, Melissa from out west (Las Vegas ? ), has discovered my web page here .... so.... if you are out there today, "hello Melissa !!".
this week Osama bin Laden issued another video/ audio tape encouraging his people to continue attacking US civilians..... so i took a minute and worked up a little map of who is where ...
Boy .... I am so glad that we attacked Iraq..... could you imagine if we hadn't ??? ... and had wasted our time going after bin Laden ?
a lovely set of short stories ....
you get very close to the players .....
the details add a lot ....
different and very well worth reading.
(should it have won the Pulitzer ?
.... well .... ???)
the models, unveiled ....
He's a big step forward on the evolutionary chain (politically speaking),
I am staining a bookcase today and the fumes are burning my eyes, smelling awful, but strangely sweet, and making my throat sore but at the same time making me hungry. ...... makes you (or me) wonder "why"? and the answer came to me going up the basement stairs..... it smells like Dad at work on our house in Coney Island at the same time Mom was cooking stuff up in the kitchen.
That was just about 55 something years ago now.
At the moment, I would give half the f$%^ing world to go back for one day.
( 50% of the population has below average intelligence .....
and the other 50% are stupid.)
page written by Dave Leo