Saturday, September 27, 2003

And now George Plimpton is dead
Best know for editing Paris Review, one of the oldest and strongest literary journals (and there are now literally thousands of them), Plimpton also had fun being a Renaissance man, having been a conductor, sportsperson and actor for very short durations. He was also the evil spelling bee host in a recent Simpsons episode. Incidentally, a new Paris Review anthology with a sexy cover and grab-me title is featured in several bookstores, but don't forget there's an older anthology out there, too.

Friday, September 26, 2003

Love Thy Neighbor
While browsing my webstats, I discovered that someone did a search for sites in the geographic vicinity of So I visited rawbrick, fully expecting a kittie blog, but instead I found a strikingly intelligent blog, with a great book review sisterblog. ("Backward ran headlines till reeled the mind." -- Name the source or its DVD commentary use. Anyone?) This woman is a librarian so she's also interested in information science and has several posts on human-computer interaction.

Thursday, September 25, 2003

How to Get Ahead in Advertising dir. Bruce Robinson
One of the vampirish Richard E. Grant's early films, this surreal critique of the way advertisers bludgeon the common people is very effective. The advertising demon in Grant takes the form of a talking mole on his neck and is meant to be disgusting just as the crass commercializing and marketing of everything is disgusting. I won't ruin the end, but I will point out that there are some delightful dramatic treats along the way, accompanied by ironic excerpts from Holst's "Jupiter" and Saint-Saens's Symphony No. 3.

On a related note, see Brett Marston on what Habermas would call this the "colonizing of the lifeworld "

Sunday in the Park with George dir. Terry Hughes
I gave up on this after about 30 minutes. To begin with, it's a filming of a live off-Broadway production, so it's not particularly filmic, the sound engineering is off, and the makeup is garish. So it would have taken a superb plot to get me interested, and all I saw was ho-hum. If anyone thinks this is worth getting through, please e-mail me.

Practical Magic dir. Griffin Dunne based on the novel by Alice Hoffman
You don't often find a chick flick that transcends its genre. This one comes close, so it's worth watching for entertainment. The black comedy in the murder scene is especially juicy. But in the end, the sappy romantic end and the unforgivably silly song-and-dance (among other things) don't give this movie the depth that the dark arts deserve.

Edward Said (1935-2003)
Edward Said died today of leukemia. In the political world, he was best known for his advocacy of the Palestinian cause. In the literary world, he was known for Orientalism. What fewer people know is that he was also a musician and could have pursued a career as a concert pianist.

Obituaries: Guardian | NYT
Oddly, the NYT obituary does not mention Orientalism.