Sunday, July 31, 2011

"Torchwood"

In truth, I was never too fond of Torchwood when I was in the UK. Nearly every episode disappointed, though there were several dazzling moments.

The miniseries Torchwood: Children of Earth, however, was terrific and raised my estimation of the show substantially.

With Torchwood: Miracle Day the show has again lost status in my televerse, So far, I am forcing myself to watch it. I am very close to walking away.

Quote of the Day (7/31/11) (Karl Kraus Week II)

My language is the common prostitute that I turn into a virgin.
--Karl Kraus

Saturday, July 30, 2011

"Quick Robin! To the Batshit mobile!"

Jon Stewart's take on the Republicans' telling use of a clip from The Town as a motivational clip.

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Quote of the Day (7/30/11) (Karl Kraus Week II)

My readers think that I write for the day because my writings are based on the day. So I shall have to wait until my writings are obsolete. Then they may acquire timeliness.
--Karl Kraus

Friday, July 29, 2011

EGSO Keynote

I was invited today to be the keynote speaker at the 4th annual MTSU English Graduate Student Organization (EGSO) Conference, September 24th, 2011.

The theme: "Fairy Tales, Myths, and Legends."

I said yes, of course. Honored to do so.

Kindling

Since my discovery of Kindle publishing, I have already created The Ventriloquist (now available for $2.95).



Next up, a collection of essays, long in development, on Owen Barfield.

The Russians on the American Political Right

Dmitry Rogozin, Russia's ambassador to NATO, met with Kyl and Kirk yesterday in Washington -- but they probably won't be meeting again anytime soon. After the meeting, Rogozin let loose on the senators..."Today in the Senate, I met with Senators Jon Kyl and Mark Kirk. The meeting is very useful because it shows that the alternative to Barack Obama is a collapse of all the programs of cooperation with Russia," he said. "Today, I had the impression that I was transported in a time machine back several decades, and in front of me sat two monsters of the Cold War, who looked at me not through pupils, but targeting sights.
--From Foreign Policy

Quote of the Day (7/29/11) (Karl Kraus Week II)

I'd like to apply for a permit to run a hand-operated guillotine. But oh, that income tax!
--Karl Kraus

Thursday, July 28, 2011

"Doin' It" with Canada

On a recent show, Stephen Colbert suggested that, with doomsday looming, America might as well go ahead and "do it" with Canada, putting an end to years of flirtation.

Watch it below:
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Rep. Joe Walsh not very hawkish on debt he owes to ex-wife

Rep. Joe Walsh not very hawkish on debt he owes to ex-wife

This gave me a happy. I hate this guy.

Quote of the Day (7/28/11) (Karl Kraus Week II)

When I want to go to sleep, I must first a whole menagerie of voices to shut up. You wouldn't believe what a racket they make in my room.
--Karl Kraus

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Colbert Report: Norwegian Muslish Gunman's Islam-Esque Atrocity

Proof that there is no topic beyond the reach of humor.

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Separated at Birth


Uncanny similarity: James Carville and Captain America's Red Skull.

Tip of the hat to The Daily Show.

"Man and the Movies"


I once owned and reacquired yesterday a crisp, used copy of the book that put my mentor Bill Robinson on the map as a film scholar.

Welcome home old friend.

Perhaps Robinson's most important essay, "The Movies, Too, Will Make You Free," is found therein.

Quote of the Day (7/26/11) (Karl Kraus Week II)

Many share my views with me. But I don't share them with them.
--Karl Kraus

Monday, July 25, 2011

"Rango"


Finally saw this (on Netflix) and loved it. Great western and specimen of the grotesque.

What's the Matter with St. Cloud?

I used to live in St. Cloud, Minnesota (I earned my M.A. at St. Cloud State) when it leaned to the left in a state known for producing nationally known liberals (Humphrey, Mondale, McCarthy).

Michele Bachmann, now the distict's congresswoman and, incredibly, a leading Republican candidate for President, has dismissed concerns about bullying, and now comes this report in Mother Jones on teen suicide in St. Cloud.

How doe this happen?

The True Believer

Andrew Sullivan quoted this today without comment.

Isn't what Hoffer says as true of the Norwegian monster as the craziest of Republicans?

Though there are obvious differences between the fanatical Christian, the fanatical Mohammedan, the fanatical nationalists, the fanatical Communist and the fanatical Nazi, it is yet true that the fanaticism which animates them may be viewed and treated as one… However different the holy causes people die for, they perhaps die basically for the same thing," - Eric Hoffer, "The True Believer: Thoughts on the Nature of Mass Movements."

Worst Bathroom Fails

HuffPo has the slide show.

Quote of the Day (7/25/11) (Karl Kraus Week II)

Am I to blame if hallucinations are alive and have names and permanent residences?
--Karl Kraus

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Borowitz Report - Obama, Boehner Come to Agreement That Cantor is Douche

Borowitz Report - Obama, Boehner Come to Agreement That Cantor is Douche

Coming Soon: "The Ventriloquist" for Kindle


I will soon be publishing, for Kindle, a collection of my "greatest hits." Stay tuned for further announcements.

Quote of the Day (7/24/11) (William Wordsworth Week)

Poetry is the first and last of all knowledge--it is as immortal as the heart of man. If the labours of men of Science should ever create any material revolution, direct or indirect, in our condition, and in the impressions which we habitually receive, the Poet will sleep then no more than at present, but he will be ready to follow the steps of the man of Science, not only in those general indirect effects, but he will be at his side, carrying sensation into the midst of the objects of the Science itself. The remotest discoveries of the Chemist, the Botanist, or Mineralogist, will be as proper objects of the Poet's art as any upon which it can be employed, if the time should ever come when these things shall be familiar to us, and the relations under which they are contemplated by the followers of these respective Sciences shall be manifestly and palpably material to us as enjoying and suffering beings. If the time should ever come when what is now called Science, thus familiarized to men, shall be ready to put on, as it were, a form of flesh and blood, the Poet will lend his divine spirit to aid the transfiguration, and will welcome the Being thus produced, as a dear and genuine inmate of the household of man. It is not, then, to be supposed that any one, who holds that sublime notion of Poetry which I have attempted to convey, will break in upon the sanctity and truth of his pictures by transitory and accidental ornaments, and endeavour to excite admiration of himself by arts, the necessity of which must manifestly depend upon the assumed meanness of his subject.
--William Wordsworth, "Preface to Lyrical Ballads"

Saturday, July 23, 2011

"Captain America"


Saw it yesterday and loved it.

The image is a new poster for next summer's Avengers, directed by Joss Whedon.

Dionne on The Tea Party

The Tea Party lives in an intellectual bubble where the answers to every problem lie in books by F.A. Hayek, Glenn Beck or Ayn Rand. Rand’s anti-government writings, regarded by her followers as modern-day scripture — Rand, an atheist, would have bridled at that comparison — are particularly instructive.

When the hero of Rand’s breakthrough novel, “The Fountainhead,” doesn’t get what he wants, he blows up a building. Rand’s followers see that as gallant. So perhaps it shouldn’t surprise us that blowing up our government doesn’t seem to be a big deal to some of the new radical individualists in our House of Representatives.
--E.J. Dionne in the Washington Post

Talented

Yesterday Joyce and I were remembering, fondly, the many "shticks" of our dear departed poodle Charlie (his tendency to curve his body and dance around when happy, his love of "scratchy watchy"--a deep body massage) when we looked up to find Elmo, our sole surviving poodle, standing, shakily, on his back legs, being "talented"--as we like to call his sole identifiable applause-seeking routine.

Elmo knew we were praising his old, late friend, and he wanted to remind us that he, too, the living, deserved acclaim.

Quote of the Day (7/23/11) (William Wordsworth Week)

These beauteous forms,
Through a long absence, have not been to me
As is a landscape to a blind man's eye:
But oft, in lonely rooms, and 'mid the din
Of towns and cities, I have owed to them
In hours of weariness, sensations sweet,
Felt in the blood, and felt along the heart;
And passing even into my purer mind,
With tranquil restoration:--feelings too
Of unremembered pleasure: such, perhaps,
As have no slight or trivial influence
On that best portion of a good man's life,
His little, nameless, unremembered, acts
Of kindness and of love. Nor less, I trust,
To them I may have owed another gift,
Of aspect more sublime; that blessed mood,
In which the burthen of the mystery,
In which the heavy and the weary weight
Of all this unintelligible world,
Is lightened:--that serene and blessed mood,
In which the affections gently lead us on,--
Until, the breath of this corporeal frame
And even the motion of our human blood
Almost suspended, we are laid asleep
In body, and become a living soul:
While with an eye made quiet by the power
Of harmony, and the deep power of joy,
We see into the life of things.
--William Wordsworth, "Lines Composed A Few Miles Above Tintern Abbey"

Friday, July 22, 2011

Quote of the Day (7/22/11) (William Wordsworth Week)

The Clouds that gather round the setting sun
Do take a sober colouring from an eye
That hath kept watch o'er man's mortality;
Another race hath been, and other palms are won.
Thanks to the human heart by which we live,
Thanks to its tenderness, its joys, and fears,
To me the meanest flower that blows can give
Thoughts that do often lie too deep for tears.
--William Wordsworth, "Ode on Intimations of Immortality"

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Heard on "Conan"

When Michelle Bachmann's migraines incapacitate her, "one of her staffers has to step in and hate gay people for her."

NBC suspended one of its commentators for calling President Obama a dick. Meanwhile, FOX suspended one of its commentators for not calling Obama a dick
.

Colbert at His Best

A superb Colbert Report last night (well, the interview was only so so).

First he took on the British Parliament's non-grilling of Rupert Murdoch:

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Then he skewered Republican attempts to limit voting:

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And then, with brilliant anger, he examined Rep. Allen West's contemptible shit-fit against Debbie Wasserman-Shultz.

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Quote of the Day (7/21/11) (William Wordsworth Week)

Our birth is but a sleep and a forgetting:
The Soul that rises with us, our life's Star,
Hath had elsewhere its setting,
And cometh from afar:
Not in entire forgetfulness,
And not in utter nakedness,
But trailing clouds of glory do we come
From God, who is our home:
Heaven lies about us in our infancy!
Shades of the prison-house begin to close
Upon the growing Boy,
But He beholds the light, and whence it flows,
He sees it in his joy;
The Youth, who daily farther from the east
Must travel, still is Nature's Priest,
And by the vision splendid
Is on his way attended;
At length the Man perceives it die away,
And fade into the light of common day.
--William Wordsworth, "Ode on Intimations of Immortality"

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Colbert, "Moby," Newt

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Heard on the "Colbert Report"

New Gingrich, Colbert explains, has apparently lost "the start-up disk to his wife."

Quote of the Day (7/20/11) (William Wordsworth Week)

There was a time when meadow, grove, and stream,
The earth, and every common sight,
To me did seem
Apparelled in celestial light,
The glory and the freshness of a dream.
It is not now as it hath been of yore;--
Turn wheresoe'er I may,
By night or day,
The things which I have seen I now can see no more.


II

The Rainbow comes and goes,
And lovely is the Rose,
The Moon doth with delight
Look round her when the heavens are bare;
Waters on a starry night
Are beautiful and fair;
The sunshine is a glorious birth;
But yet I know, where'er I go,
That there hath past away a glory from the earth.
--William Wordsworth, "Ode on Intimations of Immortality"

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Heard on "Real Time"

Marc Maron commented that as Americans we have gone from wishing our children will have better lives than we do to hoping they won't have to return to the water and grow gills.

Murdoch/Burns

Before he tried to pie Rupert, his attacker Tweeted that he had confirmed that Murdoch was indeed Montgomery Burns (from The Simpsons.

James Murdoch Goes Dude


Talking Points has the startling comparison.

Stephen Compares Sarah Palin and Harry Potter

Didn't know that Palin had shot and killed Harry's Patronus and mounted it on her wall. Watch the whole segment below.

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Quote of the Day (7/19/11) (William Wordsworth Week)

The world is too much with us; late and soon,
Getting and spending, we lay waste our powers:
Little we see in Nature that is ours . . .
--William Wordsworth, "The World Is Too Much with Us" 1806)

Monday, July 18, 2011

Marcus Bachmann

A poster on Gawker describes Michelle Bachmann's hubby as "so . . . deep in the closet he can see Narnia."

And we learn today that he helps pick her outfits and choose her shoes.

Quote of the Day (7/18/11) (William Wordsworth Week)

Great God! I'd rather be
A Pagan suckled in a creed outworn;
So might I, standing on this pleasant lea,
Have glimpses that would make me less forlorn;
Have sight of Proteus rising from the sea;
Or hear old Triton blow his wreathèd horn.
--William Wordsworth, "The World Is Too Much with Us" 1806)

Sunday, July 17, 2011

The Many Deaths of Sean Bean

"Community" Fetish


Read Onion AV Club's deconstruction.

"Rome" at the Movies

The Guardian picks the 10 best, including, of course, Fellini's Roma.

Golf Balls, Hail

This headline in HuffPo

Another 96 Flights Canceled Following 'Golf Ball-Sized Hail' In Denver


reminded me of the time, several years ago when a CNN Headline News reporter Spoonerized the cliché as "golf balls the size of hail."

Quote of the Day (7/17/11) (William Wordsworth Week)

My heart leaps up when I behold
A rainbow in the sky:
So was it when my life began;
So is it now I am a man;
So be it when I shall grow old,
Or let me die!
The Child is father of the Man;
I could wish my days to be
Bound each to each by natural piety.
--William Wordsworth, "My Heart Leaps Up When I Behold" (1802)

Saturday, July 16, 2011

"Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2"


Just saw Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2 with Rachel and Neel, Jason and Sarah.

When the lights came up, Sarah and I were crying. We began our Potter journey when she was a teen in Vanderbilt Children's Hospital for a month and I bought Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone and began reading it to her. Now she is a wonderful mother with an amazing, magical little girl.

How could I not cry?

Harry vs. Buffy

We're used to the X-Men or Buffy the Vampire Slayer and the Scooby Gang, so much so that we don't see that Harry's trajectory is the inverse of Buffy's. Buffy is a former cheerleader whose magic powers actually make her a geek and an outcast. Harry is a nobody-special who finds out that he's special, and becomes not just the star athlete and hero of his school, but an actual celebrity. Sure, there's ups and downs, but his trajectory is away from being the outcast and towards being the homecoming king. Which may not be as emotionally satisfying as "my greatness makes me an outcast", but is probably more realistic. In his world, being a badass is appreciated and he's realistically rewarded in his society for it.
--Amanda Marcotter "Harry Potter: Amti-Geek"


Zach Beauchamp and E. D. Kain offer corrections:

She gets a few things wrong (Ron is not "stereotypically privileged" - his family's poverty is a big deal in the books) and omits a few things (like Harry being an orphan and an outcast before he gets to Hogwarts), but it's an interesting point. Extra points for the Buffy comparison. E.D. Kain complicates Marcotte's narrative:


Potter may not be an outcast himself but he attracts outcasts. Hagrid, Neville, Luna Lovegood, Dobby – these are all social outcasts attracted to Potter because he gladly welcomes social outcasts into his circle, and because he identifies with them in spite of his own celebrity (or perhaps because of it).

The Sambas stream toad (aka the Borneo rainbow toad)


How exactly does Darwinism explain this one?

Tip of the hat to The Daily Dish.

Quote of the Day (7/16/11) (Rainer Maria Rilke)

For beauty is nothing
but the beginning of terror, which we still are able to endure,
and we are so awed because it serenely disdains
to annihilate us.
--Rainer Maria Rilke, Duino Elegies

Friday, July 15, 2011

First Sentence


Our daughter Sarah reports: "Addy just said her first sentence! "this piggy ga home," while playing with her feet. That counts, right?"

"SI" on "FNL"

Sports Illustrated picks the 10 best moments of Friday Night Lights on it final night on TV.

"Breaking Bad": The 10 Best Moments

Salon has Matt Zoller Seitz's slideshow.

His choices are all good, but I could name thirty more.

Quote of the Day (7/15/11) (Rainer Maria Rilke)

As Nature gives the other creatures over
to the venture of their dim delight
and in soil and branchwork grants none special cover,
so too our being's pristine ground settles our plight;
we are no dearer to it; it ventures us.
Except that we, more eager than plant or beast,
go with this venture, will it, adventurous
more sometimes than Life itself is, more daring
by a breath (and not in the least
from selfishness) . . . . There, outside all caring,
this creates for us a safety just there,
where the pure forces' gravity rules; in the end,
it is our unshieldedness on which we depend,
and that, when we saw it threaten, we turned it
so into the Open that, in widest orbit somewhere,
where the Law touches us, we may affirm it.
--Rainer Maria Rilke, "Improvised Verses"

Thursday, July 14, 2011

What Choot-Spa!

Bachman accuses Obama of choot-spa. Brilliant.

The Emmy Nominations Are . . .

A lot to like. Recognition for FNL, Kyle Chandler and Connie Britton, Game of Thrones, Justified. Tons of nominations for Mad Men and The Good Wife.

Update: Did not notice that Community was ignored. And Fringe. Grr. [Thanks to Stephanie Graves.]

But . . . was Breaking Bad not eligible? And Mariska Hargitay and Kathy Bates? Seriously?

Best drama series: Boardwalk Empire, Friday Night Lights, Dexter, Game of Thrones, The Good Wife, Mad Men.

Best comedy series: Modern Family, 30 Rock, Glee, The Office, The Big Bang Theory, Parks and Recreation.

Drama actress: Julianna Margulies, The Good Wife; Elisabeth Moss, Mad Men; Mariska Hargitay, Law & Order: SVU; Kathy Bates, Harry’s Law; Connie Britton, Friday Night Lights and Mireille Enos, The Killing.

Comedy actor: Steve Carell, The Office; Alec Baldwin, 30 Rock; Jim Parsons, Big Bang Theory; Matt LeBlanc, Episodes, Louis C.K., Louie; Johnny Galecki, Big Bang Theory.

Drama actor: Jon Hamm, Mad Men; Steve Buscemi, Boardwalk Empire; Kyle Chandler, Friday Night Lights; Michael C. Hall, Dexter; Hugh Laurie, House; Timothy Olyphant, Justified.

Comedy actress: Tina Fey, 30 Rock; Edie Falco, Nurse Jackie; Amy Poehler, Parks and Recreation; Laura Linney, The Big C; Martha Plimpton, Raising Hope; Melissa McCarthy, Mike & Molly.

Supporting drama actor: Andre Braugher, Men of a Certain Age; John Slattery, Mad Men; Alan Cumming, The Good Wife; Peter Dinklage, Game of Thrones; Josh Charles, The Good Wife; Walton Goggins, Justified.

Supporting comedy actor: Ty Burrell, Modern Family; Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Modern Family; Ed O’Neill, Modern Family; Eric Stonestreet, Modern Family; Jon Cryer, Two and a Half Men; Chris Colfer, Glee.

Supporting comedy actress: Julie Bowen, Modern Family; Sofia Vergara, Modern Family; Jane Lynch, Glee; Betty White, Hot in Cleveland; Kristen Wiig, Saturday Night Live; Jane Krakowski, 30 Rock.

Supporting drama actress: Archie Panjabi, The Good Wife; Kelly Macdonald, Boardwalk Empire; Christine Baranski, The Good Wife; Michelle Forbes, The Killing; Margo Martindale, Justified; Christina Hendricks, Mad Men.

Movie or miniseries: Mildred Pierce, HBO; Downtown Abbey, PBS; The Kennedys, ReelzChannel; Cinema Verite, HBO; Too Big To Fail, HBO; Pillars of the Earth, Starz.

Reality competition: So You Think You Can Dance, Top Chef, The Amazing Race, American Idol, Dancing With the Stars, Project Runway.

Reality host: Jeff Probst, Survivor; Cat Deeley, So You Think You Can Dance; Phil Keoghan, Amazing Race; Tom Bergeron, Dancing With the Stars; Ryan Seacrest, American Idol.

Variety, music or comedy series: The Colbert Report, Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, Saturday Night Live, Conan, Real Time with Bill Maher, The Daily Show with Jon Stewart.

Colbert and Neftali Bendavid on the Debt Ceiling

One of the best discussion of the debt ceiling debate I have heard--Colbert style. Find out how the Republicans succeeded in tricking Obama into doing what he wanted to do all along.

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Quote of the Day (7/14/11) (Rainer Maria Rilke)

The terrible untruthfulness and uncertainty of our age has its roots in the refusal to acknowledge the happiness of sex, in this peculiarly mistaken guilt, which constantly increases, separating us from the rest of nature, even from the child, although his, the child's, innocence does not consist at all in the fact that he does not know sex, so to say, but that incomprehensible happiness, which awakens for us at one place deep within the pulp of a close embrace, is still present anonymously in every part of his body. In order to describe the peculiar situation of our sensual appetite we should have to say: Once we were children in every part, now we are that in one part only.
--Rainer Maria Rilke

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Lindelof on Voldemort

The Daily Beast has the LOST co-creator's piece.

Heard on "30 Rock"

Drew Baird: That was really good stew.
Liz Lemon: Thanks. It's my own recipe where I use cheddar cheese instead of water.

Quote of the Day (7/13/11) (Rainer Maria Rilke)

But, alongside the most rapid movements, there will always be slow ones, such, indeed, as are of so extreme a leisureliness that we shall not live to see the course they take. But that is what humanity is for, is it not, to await the realization of that which exceeds a single life-span? From its point of view the slowest process is often the quickest, that is to say, we find that we called it slow simply because it could not be measured.
--Rainer Maria Rilke, "The Young Workman's Letter"

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Quote of the Day (7/12/11) (Rainer Maria Rilke)

I believe that almost all our sadnesses are moments of tension that we find paralyzing because we no longer hear our surprised feelings living. Because we are alone with the alien thing that has entered into our self; because everything intimate and accustomed is for an instant taken away; because we stand in the middle of a transition where we cannot remain standing. For this reason the sadness too passes: the new thing in us, the added thing, has entered into our heart, has gone into its inmost chamber and is not even there any more, is already in our blood. And we do not learn what it was. We could easily be made to believe that nothing has happened, and yet we have changed, as a house changes into which a guest has entered. We cannot say who has come, perhaps we shall never know, but many signs indicate that the future enters into us in this way in order to transform itself in us long before it happens. And this is why it is so important to be lonely and attentive when one is sad: because the apparently uneventful and stark moment at which our future sets foot in us is so much closer to life than that other noisy and fortuitous point of time at which it happens to us as if from outside. The more still, more patient and more open we are when we are sad, so much the deeper and so much the more unswervingly does the new go into us, so much the better do we make it ours, so much the more will it be our destiny, and when on some later day it "happens" (that is, steps forth out of us to others), we shall feel in our inmost selves akin and near to it. And that is necessary. It is necessary and toward this our development will move gradually that nothing strange should befall us, but only that which has long belonged to us. We have already had to think so many of our concepts of motion, we will also gradually learn to realize that that which we call destiny goes forth from within people, not from without into them. Only because so many have not absorbed their destinies and transmuted them within themselves while they were living in them, have they not recognized what has gone forth out of them; it was so strange to them that, in their bewildered fright, they thought it must only just then have entered into them, for they swear never before to have found anything like it in themselves. As people were long mistaken about the motion of the sun, so they are even yet mistaken about the motion of that which is to come. The future stands firm . . . but we move in infinite space.
How should it not be difficult for us?
--Rainer Maria Rilke, Letters to a Young Poet

Monday, July 11, 2011

Harry in the Maize


The Daily Dish named this Face of the Day.

Quote of the Day (7/11/11) (Rainer Maria Rilke)

Why are we not set in the midst of what is most mysteriously ours? How we have to creep round about it and get into it in the end; like burglars and thieves we get into our own beautiful sex, in which we lose our way and knock ourselves and stumble and finally rush out of it again, like men caught transgressing, into the twilight of Christianity. Why, if guilt or sin had to be invented because of the inner tension of the spirit, why did they not attach it to some other part of our body, why did it fall on that part, waiting till it dissolved in our pure source and poisoned and muddied it? Why have they made our sex homeless, instead of making it the place for the festival of our competency . . . ?

The terrible untruthfulness and uncertainty of our age has its roots in the refusal to acknowledge the happiness of sex, in this peculiarly mistaken guilt, which constantly increases, separating us from the rest of nature, even from the child, although his, the child's, innocence does not consist at all in the fact that he does not know sex, so to say, but that incomprehensible happiness, which awakens for us at one place deep within the pulp of a close embrace, is still present anonymously in every part of his body. In order to describe the peculiar situation of our sensual appetite we should have to say: Once we were children in every part, now we are that in one part only.
--Rainer Maria Rilke, Letters to a Young Poet

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Bjork's Demands (according to "The Onion")

Quote of the Day (7/10/11) (Rainer Maria Rilke)

The animal is in the world; we stand before it by virtue of that peculiar turn and intensification which our consciousness has taken. By the "Open," therefore, I do not mean sky, air, and space; they, too, are "object" and thus "opaque" and closed to the man who observes and judges. The animal, the flower, presumably is all that, without accounting to itself, and therefore has before itself and above itself that indescribably open freedom which perhaps has its (extremely fleeting) equivalents among us only in those first moments of love when one human sees his own vastness in another, his beloved, and in man's elevation toward God.
--Rainer Maria Rilke

Saturday, July 09, 2011

New Rules: Bill Maher Compares Casey Anthony Verdict To Republican Thinking

MTSU English Department Books

Quote of the Day (7/9/11) (Rainer Maria Rilke)

Death is the side of life averted from us, unshone upon by us: we must try to achieve the greatest consciousness of our existence which is at home in both unbounded realms, inexhaustibly nourished from both . . . The true figure of life extends through both spheres, the blood of the mightiest circulation flowers through both: there is neither a here nor a beyond, but the great unity in which the beings that surpass us, the "angels," are at home. . . . We of the here and now are not for a moment hedged in the time-world, nor confined within it; we are incessantly flowing over and over to those who preceded us, to our origins and to those who seemingly come after us. In that greatest "open" world all are, one cannot say "simultaneous," for the very falling away of time determines that the all are. Transiency everywhere plunges into a deep being. And so all the configurations of the here and now are to be used not in a time-bound way only, but, as far as we are able, to be placed in those superior significances in which we have a share. But not in the Christian sense (from which I am more and more passionately moving away), but in a purely earthly, deeply earthly, blissfully earthy consciousness, we must introduce what is here seen and touched into the wider, into the widest orbit. Not into a beyond whose shadow darkens the earth, but into a whole, into the whole. Nature, the things of our intercourse and use, are provisional and perishable; but they are, as long as we are here, our property and our friendship, co-knowers of our distress and gladness, as they have already been the familiars of our forebears. So it is important not only not to run down and degrade all that is here, but just because of its provisionalness, which it shares with us, these phenomena and things should be understood and transformed by us in a most fervent sense. Transformed? Yes, for it is our task to imprint this provisional, perishable earth so deeply, so patiently and passionately in ourselves that its reality shall arise in us again "invisibly." We are the bees of the invisible. Nous butinons eperdument le miel du visible, pour l'accumuler dans la grande ruche d'or de l'Invisble. The Elegies show us at this work, at the work of these continual conversions of the beloved visible and tangible into the invisible vibrations and excitation of our own nature, which introduces new vibration-frequencies into the vibration-spheres of the universe. . . . The earth has no way out other than to become invisible: in us who with a part of our natures partake of the invisible, have (at least) stock in it, and can increase our holdings in the invisible during our sojourn here, in us alone can be consummated this intimate and lasting conversion.
--Rainer Maria Rilke, Letters to a Young Poet

Friday, July 08, 2011

WWDDD?



The Oatmeal has answers.

Nation Somehow Failed To Predict Attack By Michael Bay

"Curb"'s Best?

Matt Zoller Seitz picks his top ten prior to the start of Curb S8.

Not bad, but how in god's name can you leave off "The Grand Opening"?

The Pool, Done

Courses Taught

Not that anyone probably cares but me, but I have now taught sixty one different / distinct courses, 1971-2011. This makes me feel very tired.

Advanced Writing
American Literature Survey
English Literature Survey
World Literature Survey
American Quality Television
Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Chinese Literature
The Coen Brothers
Contemporary British Film (a course offered in London Summer 1992)
Contemporary Cinema (graduate course)
Cult Television (graduate module)
The Creative Process (Honors Seminar)
The Edge of History (honors seminar)
The Evolutionary Imagination (honors seminar)
Expository Writing
Film and Television Genres (graduate course)
Film History
Film History Online
Film Studies (Graduate Course)
Film Theory and Criticism (honors section)
The Films of Stanley Kubrick
Freshman Composition
The Gangster Film (graduate/undergraduate course)
The Grotesque (graduate course)
Intellectual Backgrounds of Modern Literature
Intercultural Communication (graduate course)
Introduction to English Studies
Introduction to Film
Introduction to Literature
Ireland and Scotland at the Movies (taught on location in the British Isles, Summer 1996)
Joss Whedon: Television Auteur (graduate course)
Literary Criticism
Literature and Film
Literature and Psychology
Major British Writers: C. S. Lewis and Owen Barfield (graduate seminar)
Major Themes in American Literature Online
Mass Communication and Society (graduate course)
Media and Reality (honors seminar)
Media Theory and Criticism (graduate course)
Modern Critical Theory (graduate course)
Modern Poetry
Native American Literature
Non-Western Literature
Oral Communication
Popular Culture Studies (graduate course)
Popular Literature of the 20th Century: Science Fiction (graduate course)
Popular Literature of the 20th Century: The Movies (graduate course)
Public Speaking
Science Fiction
Science Fiction Online
Science Fiction Film (graduate course)
The Space Age (honors seminar)
Studies in Narratology (graduate course)
Studies in Popular Culture: LOST (graduate course)
Studies in Popular Culture: Cult Television (graduate course)
Studies in Popular Culture: The Sopranos and Deadwood (graduate course)
Survey of Popular Culture
Television and Culture
Twin Peaks and The X-Files
Wallace Stevens (graduate seminar)
Wallace Stevens and Merleau-Ponty (team-taught undergraduate seminar)

Quote of the Day (7/8/11) (Rainer Maria Rilke)

I love in-seeing. Can you imagine with me how glorious it is to in-see a dog, for example, as you pass it? By in-see I don't mean to look through, which is only a kind of human gymnastic that lets you immediately come out again, on the other side of the dog, regarding it merely, so to speak, as a window upon the human world lying beyond it: not that; what I mean is to let yourself precisely into the dog's center, the point from which it begins to be a dog, the place in it God, as it were, would have sat down for a moment when the dog was finished, in order to watch it during its first embarrassments and inspirations and to nod that it was good, that nothing was lacking, that it couldn't have been better made. For a while you can endure being inside the dog; you just have to be alert and jump out in time, before its environment has completely enclosed you, since otherwise you would simply remain the dog in the dog and be lost for everything else. Though you may laugh, dear confidant, if I tell you where my very greatest feeling, my world-feeling, my earthly bliss was, I must confess to you: it was, again and again, here and there, in such in-seeing in the indescribably swift, deep, timeless moments of this godlike in-seeing.
--Rainer Maria Rilke

Thursday, July 07, 2011

Koontz blurbs "TV Goes to Hell"


With TV Goes to Hell, Lavery and Abbott have assembled a thought-provoking collection of critical essays that explore both the wide-open freeways and the unmarked back roads of Supernatural. Traveling a scholarly Route 66 of theories and approaches, the essays begin at different points on the analytical map, but all roads lead to the same destination; namely, that Supernatural is a show worthy of in-depth critical study. This collection is as indispensable to the serious Supernatural viewer as rock salt.
— K. Dale Koontz


Thanks Dale.

"Little Big Man"


I recently bought and watched for the first time since last century Arthur Penn's Little Big Man.

What a great film. Seeing it again made me feel like a human being again.

The Human Beings [the Cheyenne Indians] believe that everything is alive: not only men and animals but also water and earth and stones and also the dead things from them like this hair. . . . But white men believe that everything is dead: stones, earth, animals, and people, even their own people. And if, in spite of that, things persist in trying to live, white men will rub them out.
--Old Lodge Skins in Thomas Berger's Little Big Man

"The Cabin in the Woods"

New story about, poster, and still for/from Whedon/Goddard's The Cabin in the Woods. Still no release date.

Quote of the Day (7/7/11) (Rainer Maria Rilke)

They (mankind) fall over themselves in their eagerness to make this world, which we should trust and delight in, evil and worthless and so they deliver the earth more and more into the hands of those who are prepared to wring at least a quick profit out of it. . . . The increasing exploitation of life today, is it not due to a continuous disparagement of this world, begun centuries ago? What madness to divert our thoughts to a beyond, when we are surrounded here by tasks and expectations and futures! What a swindle to steal pictures of earthly bliss in order to sell them to heaven behind our backs! Oh, it is high time that the impoverished earth got back all those loans from its happiness with which men have endowed the hereafter. . . . And, there being no such thing as a vacuum, is not the place of everything removed from here taken by a counterfeit is that why our cities are so full of ugly artificial light and noise, because we have surrendered the true brightness and song to a Jerusalem which we hope to move into presently?
--Rainer Maria Rilke

Wednesday, July 06, 2011

Nabokov and Emoticons

Quote of the Day (7/6/11) (Rainer Maria Rilke)

[The artist is like] a dancer whose movements are broken by the constraint of his cell. That which finds no expression in his steps and limited swing of his arms, comes in exhaustion from his lips, or else he has to scratch the unlived lines of his body into the walls with his wounded fingers.
--Rainer Maria Rilke

Tuesday, July 05, 2011

"The Essential 'Sopranos' Reader"


It's here! The third and final book in my Sopranos trilogy. Go here to learn more--and read and see an interview with Dominic Chianese.

Borowitz Report - CNN to Cover New Casey Anthony Murder Trial When Nancy Grace Kills Her

Borowitz Report - CNN to Cover New Casey Anthony Murder Trial When Nancy Grace Kills Her

Quote of the Day (7/5/11) (Rainer Maria Rilke)

Ah, poems amount to so little when you write them too early in your life. You ought to wait and gather sense and sweetness for a whole lifetime, and a long one if possible, and then, at the very end, you might perhaps be able to write ten good lines, For poems are not, as people think, simply emotions (one has emotions early enough)they are experiences. For the sake of a single poem, you must see many cities, many people and Things, you must understand animals, must feel how birds fly, and know the gesture which small flowers make when they open in the morning. You must be able to think back to streets in unknown neighborhoods, to unexpected encounters, and to partings you had long seen coming; to days of childhood whose mystery is still unexplained, to parents whom you had to hurt when they brought in a joy and you didn't pick it up (it was a joy meant for somebody else); to childhood illnesses that began so strangely with so many profound and difficult transformations, to days in quiet restrained rooms and to mornings by the sea, to the sea itself, to seas, to it is still not enough to be able to think of all that. You must have memories of many nights of love, each one different from all the others, memories of women screaming in labor, and of light, pale, sleeping girls who have just given birth and are closing again. But you must also have been beside the dying, must have sat beside the dead in the room with the open windows and the scattered noises. And it is not yet enough to have memories. You must be able to forget them when they are many, and you must have the immense patience to wait until they return. For the memories themselves are not important. Only when they have changed into our very blood, into glance and gesture, and are nameless, no longer to be distinguished from ourselves only then can it happen that in some very rare hour the first word of a poem arises in their midst and goes forth from them.
--Rainer Maria Rilke, The Notebooks of Malte Laurids Brigge

Monday, July 04, 2011

The LOST Mini-Conference


Hawaii didn't work. Nor did a full conference in N.O.

But now it's official: The LOST Mini-Conference.

Quote of the Day (7/4/11) (Rainer Maria Rilke)

Now, from America, empty indifferent things are pouring across, sham things, dummy life. . . . A house, in the American sense, an American apple or a grapevine over there, has nothing in common with the house, the fruit, the grape into which went the hopes and reflections of our forefathers. . . . Live things, things lived and conscient of us, are running out and can no longer be replaced. We are perhaps the last still to have known such things..
--Rainer Maria Rilke

Sunday, July 03, 2011

Rick Perry

I have been known to liken Sarah Palin to the Martin Sheen character in Dead Zone--the political candidate Christopher Walken foresees will bring about the end of the world.

Now I am thinking Rick Perry might be that guy. This Texas guv is way, way more frightening than "W."

Quote of the Day (7/3/11) (Dorothy Parker Week)

Razors pain you,
Rivers are damp,
Acids stain you,
And drugs cause cramp.
Guns aren't lawful,
Nooses give,
Gas smells awful.
You might as well live.
--Dorothy Parker, "Résumé"

Friday, July 01, 2011

The Most Interesting Man in the World (again)

If he were to pat you on the back, you would list it on your resume.

Both sides of his pillow are cool.

When in Rome, they do as he does.

He's the most interesting man in the world.

"Wait, Wait" in Nashville

Joyce and I enjoyed attending the recording of this week's Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me at TPAC last night.

It was a lot of fun. Vince Gill was the special guest for "Not My Job" and answered all three questions about another Vincent--Vincent Price--correctly. (Last week President Clinton was three for three on questions about My Little Pony!)

Quote of the Day (7/1/11) (Dorothy Parker Week)

Katharine Hepburn delivered a striking performance that ran the gamut of emotions, from A to B.
--Dorothy Parker