Monday, November 30, 2009

Gore Vidal

I started reading Gore Vidal’s The American Presidency today, which rekindled my interest in the guy. Always best when writing non-fiction, he is really a national treasure. Just read this recent interview:

Or, even better, this one:

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Revisiting Tarantino: What the Fuck Were We Thinking?

Not very long ago I ranted about the move Inglorious Bastards to any and all willing to tread these waters. I disliked the film for many reasons, the biggest being that it was dull. Why was it dull? Because of the words words words. The movie never shut the fuck up long enough to be as interesting as everyone says it is. And it is not. Not at all. I never slept better than I did when sitting in the theater that night a few months back. Imagine a dog attending an opera. That was my interest level.

That being said, I wasn’t thrilled about watching Death Proof, the half of Grindhouse made by Tarantino. But watch it I did (not counting the bit that was fast forwarded by Cassandra, bless her heart). And yeah: hate it I did.

Again we have evidence of exactly how egotistical Tarantino is. Why, oh why, did anyone ever tell that smug fuck that he has a gift for dialogue? That tiny bit of praise mushroomed into some of the most lurchingly paced, hip to the point of nausea chatter ever stuffed into celluloid.

I cannot imagine watching Reservoir Dogs again, simply because I fear that doing so would destroy the fond memories I have of that film and a time when everything was possible.

Goin' Rogue

For all of you aspiring filmmakers with enough backbone and humor:

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Flogging Bolaño, or, Geek Like Me

The above comes from the last interview Bolaño ever gave, which I read in full last year. It made me laugh then and it makes me laugh now. Needless to say, I already ordered my copy of this collection of interviews. Are the yankee publishers flogging this very hot dead writer? Maybe a bit, but the writing stands for itself, so who cares (besides Volpi and Moya)? I don't care if the guy was a junkie vagabond or a suburban family man. He wrote 2666 and Distant Star and Amulet, so he's tops in my book, which means that a geek like me will buy all the publications bearing his name.

So there.

Monday, November 16, 2009

On Random

Right now, my office manager is singing along to “Lady” by Styx. Flashes of Freaks and Geeks.


My co-worker told me today that “Nothing Else Matters” by Metallica is quite popular in the black community. Now, he fully admits that this song is not the best example of what James, Lars & Co. are capable of. (Kudos to him for choosing a few of the Cliff Burton era songs as example.) Conversely, he is tired of white people who play either “I Feel Good” or “Sex Machine” and claim to be fans of James Brown. In his mind, we should all explore deeper facets of our respective cultures as a way of establishing some form of co-understanding and maybe, just maybe, healing some wounds and moving toward a better life full of unity and all the other idealist jive.

Then again, this is a guy who says that “I Can’t Go for That (No Can Do)” by Hall & Oats is a classic.


George Carlin was right: we have been bought off with gadgets.


In preparation for the final exam in my class, I have been reviewing some essays. I am not permitted to teach fiction, a prohibition I find objectionable, though I might guess that the reasoning has less to do with the depressing non-fiction snobbery some people have and maybe has to do with the students’ level and the goal of the class, which is not literary analysis.

My first thought is that one of my heroes, whose work I have been revisiting these days, G. Cabrera Infante, would object. According to him, and this is a paraphrase, everything that is written is fiction. Once it goes from outside the body to the mind to the paper, it is no longer “truth.” This idea upsets a lot of readers of history and biography and all the other ees so revered by the anti-fiction faction. But it shouldn’t. Truth and illusion… who can tell them apart?

Anyway… the essay I read that impressed me is “Dreams of a Bilingual Nation” by Ariel Dorfman. In it, Dorfman hints that most of the world is becoming bilingual (well, maybe not the lesser developed countries). Ironically, we, the big 50, are not as excited to become bilingual. I think it ought to raise some interesting questions, but then again, I am not a college freshman.


My brother recently went a week eating pizza, everyday from a different restaurant. The idea, I believe, was to burn out on pizza and go without it until Xmas. Pizza is my Achilles Heel—the fatal weakness that has all too often been my downfall. A small Fasano’s cheese pizza was once presented to me and, before I could think twice, I ate the whole greasy thing. I didn’t even realize I was doing it.

I went to Gino’s East for my graduation celebration. It was disappointing. I ordered a Giordano’s a month later. Mediocre. I went to Pizzeria Due when the old man and my step-mom were in town. That was pretty good. Still, my mind was not blown, as I had hoped it would be. Over the weekend, Cassandra and I picked up a large cheese deep-dish from Lou Malnati’s, which was pretty damn good. Still, I am on the lookout for a better pizza. As I grow older, this supreme junk food has lost some luster. Don’t get me wrong—I could eat pizza several times a week without complaint. I’d be as big as a house, have a terrible cholesterol level and trouble getting up a flight of stairs, but it could be done. That being said, I am not sure where to align myself in regard to the endless pizza debate in this my fair city: who makes the best pizza in town? I am eager to try Art of Pizza’s thin crust and maybe Bacino’s thick, as it has been many years since I ate either and memory tells me that both were top-notch. Then again, my memory said the same about Gino’s.

If you have a recommendation, call me. Better yet, email me, as I hate talking on the phone.

Friday, November 13, 2009

The Funny For Today

Thanks Carla for sending me this.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Now There’s Thinking

Thursday, November 05, 2009

From the Reader comes this chilling, bizarre hypothesis on one of Chicago’s most famous killings with connections that rival the Lincoln/Kennedy coincidences.