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Friday, October 24, 2008

Another Delon Loser

Warning, danger, warning, danger! This DVD (1972, dir. Jean Pierre Melville) is so bad it's almost frightening. "Un flic" is a cop, Alain Delon. He chases gangsters. Awful awful awful. Tedious to an unbearable degree. Draggy, dull, bogus in every way.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

CIA Interrogation

London-based Pakistani P.I. Tommy Akhtar is the protag of Patrick Neate's novel City of Tiny Lights (titled after the Zappa tune) and he's being interrogated by CIA agent Chip Paradowski in an interrogation room in a UK police station and Chip keeps annoying Tommy by calling him "son."

"This wasn't the English version of the word as in 'my son' as in 'mate' as in 'like-minded individual,' this was the patronizing American version as in 'Just you remember who you're talking to, son.' 'Son?' I doubted the geezer was even as old as me and I knew he hadn't seen anything like the reality of yours truly . . . . Paradowski sighed. He adjusted his position and crossed his legs. 'Look, son, can I be straight with you?' 'Sure, Dad.' "

New York: Penguin, 2005, p. 203.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Paul Newman

Caught The Sting on TV yesterday and was annoyed by the goofy music and the editing--the wipes may be corny but at least they're intrusive--but I was charmed by the premise of non-violence and God wasn't Paul Newman a great actor, you look at him and listen to him and he makes you feel so secure. Reading Joan Didion's Slouching Toward Bethlehem this evening; found it abandoned in a box with some other books on Upton Street a few weeks ago, a paperback with one name written inside the front cover, along the top edge, in fountain pen, and another in ballpoint on the fore-edge; can't tell if I'm enjoying it or not, just reading along, it's a collection of magazine pieces, the last I read mentioning Newman. I had seen a photo of him on the cover of a tabloid some weeks ago, looking thin, so his passing didn't shock me. God what a wonderful actor. He could be so intense. And yet that smile; it made you feel everything was, unquestionably, going to be all right.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Existence Pain to Decrease?

McCain has no chance. The battle cry, the ideological core, the mantra, the cri de coeur of the Republicans year after year has been deregulation of industry and it is deregulation that has caused the present financial crisis. The top headline in today's NYTimes: "U.S. MAY TAKE OWNERSHIP STAKE IN BANKS TO EASE CREDIT CRISIS." Excellent. This could be the first step in a shift from capitalism to socialism in this country. Under socialism, industries are nationalized by the federal government and operated to serve the public interest rather than the bank accounts of ownership elites. Commodities are produced not for profit but for use. Social justice becomes a reality, not a dream, and the existence pain of the general population decreases. So if this financial crisis compels the U.S. to turn to socialism in order to survive, it is a crisis with a magnificent satin lining.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

More Health Care Idiocy

In Monday's NY Times (p. A25) Paul Krugman writes: "Several recent nonpartisan studies estimate that under the McCain [health care] plan [which would eliminate the tax break for employer-provided health insurance] around 20 million Americans currently covered by their employers would lose their health insurance."

Okay, PBS says there are currently some 40 million people in the US with no health care insurance. McCain would add another 20 million to the total.

Only the rectal-cranially inverted can support public policy this misguided. Oh when will an operation be invented to cure this stubborn and vexing condition?