Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Are Grocery Stores The Well Of Human Sadness? - The Awl

Is it truly possible that the general state of the species is to float through even the most banal of circumstances untroubled by minor annoyances? Let’s not go so far as to discuss whether you are able to get through a transaction at an automated teller machine without somehow secretly intuiting the sorrow and loneliness and lack of hope that hurts the hearts of everyone else around you—I realize that magic power of tragic transference is a special gift only few of us have been chosen to live with. All I want to know is if everyone else is really having a good time in our nation’s checkout lines. Because maybe that explains why none of you seem in any particular hurry to have your money or cards ready to go when your turn finally comes with the cashier. Sweet Christ, it’s like you’ve got the rest of your lives to bathe in that bad lighting next to the snack cake display and you’re pleased as punch to spend that time with the rest of us, regardless of what we’re trying desperately to rush off to. Or maybe you’re just so dispirited by the idea of going back your empty, loveless hole of heartbreak that you want to prolong the few seconds of contact you have with any other human being? God, I’m crying just thinking about it.

Alex Balk so gets me.

Jon Anderson, Rick Wakeman Remember Yes' Chris Squire | Rolling Stone

Anderson and Squire co-wrote many of Yes' greatest hits: "Yours Is No Disgrace," "Starship Trooper," "I've Seen All Good People" and "Owner of a Lonely Heart." "We travelled a road less travelled and I'm so thankful that he climbed the musical mountains with me," Anderson wrote. "Throughout everything, he was still my brother, and I'm so glad we were able to reconnect recently. I saw him in my meditation last night, and he was radiant. My heart goes out to his family and loved ones."

Probably THE most unique bass player ever in popular music, and one of the more innovative song writers. Tremendous talent.

Supertramp co-founder relishes role in 'service industry' - Yahoo News

"I wasn't the kind of songwriter who just sat down and said, 'What am I going to write about?'

"These songs came from a very pure place in me. They are me -- they express my questions, my joy, my longing for love, my longing to know God."

Before I Go to Sleep (2014) *

Quite unpleasant thriller directed without style, a waste of a good cast. Another "protagonist forgets everything each day" flick but nowhere near the artistry of Memento.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Inside Out (2015) ***

Smart, intelligent, original, cleverly designed and absolutely the topper-most in the animation game (particularly the depiction of "reality") yet when it's all over it seems like something is missing. Maybe that's to be expected when your movie is about the importance of sadness to being human.

Friday, June 19, 2015

Pastor of St. Louis' "New Cathedral" dies : Lifestyles

In a statement, Archbishop Robert J. Carlson praised Monsignor Pins and said, “His passing will leave a great pastoral void in the Archdiocese of St. Louis.”

Monsignor Pins attended the former St. Louis Preparatory South High School, Cardinal Glennon College and Kenrick Seminary. He was ordained a priest in 1970.

His first assignment was at St. Luke Parish in Richmond Heights.

What is life?
It is the flash of a firefly in the night.
It is the breath of a buffalo in the wintertime.
It is the little shadow which runs across the grass and loses itself in the sunset.
-- last words of Crowfoot (Blackfoot warrior and orator, 1890)

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Nightcrawler (2014) ***

Well made cross between Network and Taxi Driver doesn't quite come together as a complete film. Terrific Jake Gyllenhaal performance, nicely shot scenes of nighttime L.A.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Insidious: Chapter 3 (2015) **

Consisting mainly of a series of setups to jump scares, but done well for the genre.

Friday, June 12, 2015

Mirrormask (2005) **

Well made and all, but it boils down to whether you find the production design, based upon the artwork of director Dave McKean appealing or not. I did not and that made the rest of the film tiresome. Admirable, but tiresome.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Christopher Lee, 1922-2015 - Boing Boing

Lord Summerisle, Dracula, Saruman—all immortal. Alas, the legendary actor behind them, who created villains of imposing intelligence and dignity for generation after generation, is dead at 93.

Tuesday, June 09, 2015

The American Scholar: The Examined Lie - James McWilliams

If the prospect of humans routinely communicating through inaccurate, if innocent, recollections sounds like a sociobiological dystopia, it shouldn’t. In his book Why We Lie, the philosopher David Livingstone Smith contends that lying is not only normal but even necessary for maintaining psychological equilibrium and social stability. He hypothesizes that “far from being a sign of emotional disturbance,” self-deception exists “at the core of our humanity.” The evolutionary impulse to deceive, Smith contends, taps an ancient disposition—“the Machiavellian unconscious”—that enables us to mislead ourselves so that we can strategically mislead others. “The task of getting on in life,” he told me, “requires self-deception because too much honesty is antisocial,” not to mention detrimental to survival. In this respect, flawed memory isn’t an indication of flawed character. Instead, as Harvard psychologist Schacter puts it, it’s the “byproduct of otherwise desirable and adaptive features of the human mind,” the kind of adaptations that enable humans to communicate through implicitly agreed upon, if often factually inaccurate, narratives. The vices of memory, Schacter writes, “can also be its virtues.”

Monday, June 08, 2015

Undernews: Obama considering destruction of a New Deal gem: TVA

The TVA is a corporate agency of the United States, governed by a nine-person board appointed by the president and confirmed by the Senate. Its operations have been self-financed since 1999, requiring no taxpayer money. The TVA operates one of the nation’s largest utility systems, accounting for about 3 percent of U.S. electricity capacity. .

Even though electric power generation and transmission is the TVA’s dominant function, it remains integral to and integrated with the TVA’s nonpower responsibilities, including river and land management, environmental stewardship, and economic development.

Another solution to a non-existent problem.

Wednesday, June 03, 2015

Disney to Adapt Iconic 'Fantasia' Sequence Into Live-Action Movie (Exclusive) - The Hollywood Reporter

Disney has been diving head first into its animated classics to remake them as live action versions. Following Maleficent, Cinderella was released earlier in 2015, and has earned a stellar $531.8 million worldwide. A live-action version of Beauty and the Beast will star Emma Watson; Mia Wasikowska and Johnny Depp are set to star in sequel Alice Through the Looking Glass for 2016; and the studio's live-action The Jungle Book, directed by Jon Favreau, will also be released in 2016. Disney is also working on live-action versions of Mulan, Dumbo (Tim Burton will direct) and a Tinker Bell story starring Reese Witherspoon.

This is what the copyright laws have wrought. What a waste.

Monday, June 01, 2015

The November Man (2014) *

Pierce and Olga try valiantly to keep it watchable but this unrelentingly violent and repetitive actioner folds in on itself 6 times too often. A waste.

Annabelle (2014) **

Some nifty scares in this quickly paced and somewhat inventive entry from James Wan's DP.