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Showing posts from July, 2007

the other 9/11

i've been making my way, with some lengthy breaks, through noam chomsky's latest, "failed states". it's by no means his strongest work, but it does touch on a number of interesting issues, including events surrounding 9/11.

by 9/11, i mean september 11, 1973, when an american-backed coup overthrew chile's salvador allende and replaced him with general augusto pinochet. because we've heard so much about that later 9/11, i thought it would be interesting to share a few facts on the original:

- approximately 3,200 people died according to official figures (which are widely viewed to be understated by as much as half).

- adjusted proportionally to population, that is roughly equivalent to between 50 and 100,000 americans being killed at once.

- there were 30,000 cases of torture in pinochet's chile, according to an official inquiry. (adjusted proportionally to population again, that would be the equivalent of 700,000 americans.)

augusto pinochet remai…

antiques

ok, i have to get this off my chest.

i have a birthday coming up. it's not actually coming up for another two months, but if you look at my profile (go ahead, look, i'll be here when you get back), you'll see that it's one of those round numbers, which is usually supposed to mean something.

the last one that had any effect on me was my twentieth, which i disliked because i felt it carried the expectation of adult behaviour. i shook that off reasonably quickly and, while i'm hoping this one will be the same, for now it's hanging before me like an execution date.

i don't really feel my age, either physically or mentally (a lot of people would probably say that i don't act my age, either). but the longer i'm around the more i'm reminded, as a good friend of mine frequently tells me, our society is built around the adoration of the young. although i hate to make these sorts of distinctions, i'd say that it's more true for women than it is fo…

you must remember this

as part of an extremely mellow (read: post-night out) saturday, i ended up watching the movie casablanca for the first time in years.

as classic movies go, it's a pretty peculiar piece. we've all seen "classic" movies that have aged less than gracefully (go watch ben hur). and we've all seen movies that originated cliches that have stuck in the public psyche well beyond the scope of the original audience (that mad shout of "it's alive!" from frankenstein, for example). but it's hard to find another movie where so much of the script has been etched into popular memory.

part of that is because the script is just so repetitive. you know the line "here's looking at you kid" is one you're supposed to remember, because it crops up about every ten minutes. alternately, there's a line like "we'll always have paris" which is so contrived that i can't believe audiences in the forties didn't find it just as cor…

ow, dammit... ow

somehow, i just managed to smash an almost full 1 litre bottle of worcestershire (oh i know i spelled it wrong, i don't care... no one can spell it without looking) sauce on my foot. (i was trying to rescue a bottle of balsamic vinegar that had tipped over and was threatening to spill...)

as i was cleaning up the brown, sticky, yet surprisingly nice smelling mess, i figured it would be a good idea to turn the heat down on the chili i was cooking. as i reached over to turn down the heat, some oil came spurting up out of the hot pan, nailing me directly in the eyes.

i'll just clarify this in case anyone was wondering: hot oil with lots of spices really hurts when it gets in your eyes, i don't care how tough you are.

so somehow, after staggering around blind for a few minutes, i have managed to recover.

i’m so excited to see what tomorrow brings!
i was never a particularly huge fan of tony blair's. i know a lot of people who were high on him early on, because he was shaking up the crusty old labour party in the united kingdom, but mostly because he was actually making it possible for them to get elected again. myself, i'm a little suspicious of any change that is based primarily on making yourself more palatable to the masses, but i guess that's why i'm writing this blog and not running a country.

but even blair's most die hard fans, and i'm assuming they still exist, would have to wince at his desperation to be named the new middle east envoy. myself, i can't even fathom why he would want the job, but it seems to me like someone might not want to stray to far from the spotlight (whether that's because he likes the attention or because he's plotting a comeback is anyone's guess).

now that his good (only?) friend george w. bush has strong-armed him into the position, the rest of the world…

two fer

turns out that this week is not merely notable for the 7/7/7 date that just passed (i missed it- did the world end?). there are two laudable events that deserve your attention:

1. it's the anniversary of the roswell ufo incident. probably the most (in)famous ufo sighting(?) ever, it has become a buzzword for conspiracy theorists and the governments who love to hate them. it's also apparently a continuing boon for the local economy, which raises some conspiratorial thoughts in and of itself.

2. because we tend to think of the 50s as the height of post-war, birth-of-suburbia, consumerist conservatism, it's a little shocking to look back at just what some people were able to get away with. it might have been hard to pitch the idea of a short film involving two gender-bending arch-rivals in a fight to the (tragic) death with children as its apparent target audience, but this week also marks the 50th anniversary of the release of what may be the greatest cartoon ever made (don&…

lives lived

i thought it might be worthwhile to post a little further information on the woman responsible for the "cat" video (see earlier post) that so enchanted me.

aside from her fondness for cats, maya deren lived a remarkable life, being a figurehead in the world of experimental film, as well as the observer and documenter of various ritual phenomena, from the world of dance, which fascinated her early on, to her later interest in haitian voudoun. she collaborated with some of the artistic luminaries of her day, such as marcel duchamp and anais nin.

in fact, the woman almost overshadows her work at times, leaving controversy in her wake, even through her untimely death.

enjoy her films at your leisure.