Monthly Archives: November 2004

Hite on A National Treasure

I just love the smell of Kenneth Hite’s Bad Movie Reviews in the morning:

N.B.: If you, dear viewer, are planning any sort of operation, be it a quest to destroy a Ring of Power, the theft of a silvery briefcase, a 00 spy network, a quixotic treasure hunt, or whatever, just don’t hire Sean Bean. It won’t end well for you. Some day, they should make a movie that only has Sean Bean and Gene Hackman in it, and we could watch them betray each other recursively for 110 minutes.

Girlfriend

Girlfriend. It’s a funny old world when the same word is all you find on the shelf when you come to talk about both a woman you lived with for more than nine years, and a girl you kissed just two weeks ago. Need to go shopping for some new vocabulary, I suspect.

But girl – don’t want to say new girl, but yep, new thing in my life, is definitely Girlfriend. Funny, really. Like, one night we kiss, and part chastely each to a different home and bed, and that weekend we’re already parading together in front of the world. And it feels frighteningly right and good and proper.

Then I’m sick for the whole of last week, and she visits me when I’m a sick old man with insane bed hair, whiskers and stained pajamas, and makes my heart warm and happy and content.

I was going to talk about insinuations by the black-hearted that I am on a rebound, a topic which is suddenly at grave odds to my sappy and madcap mood. But pfah. Rebounds are for teens, or twenty-somethings. Adults dust off and get back in the ring, swinging for the nearest moving b… well, you know what I mean. If they have to get up and move, they might as well set their eye on a good reason to do so, a worthy goal, and make straight towards it with no nonsense or sentimental fluttering, no batting around the bush. Unvexed by teen doubts, adults aren’t afraid to reach out and grab at happiness.

Even if this happiness is in the form of sweet and sappy teen romance. Even if it takes me into the tangled heart of a social swamp that I have regarded with dispassionate eyes from a distant orbit for very, very long. Because it feels – and this is more of the scary stuff – like the most adult relationship I have had in my life.

I also wanted to talk about being sick. Sick people should not cook. No, especially not this “soup” stuff. Hearty meals are for the healthy. Sick people should eat light stuff like bread and chocolate and biscuits. I should make a note of that, believe me I’ll thank me later.

Odd things you learn from Charles Addams

Going through My Crowd, a delightful collection of Charles Addams’ cartoons, I stumble across one where Morticia and Granny Addams are sitting for tea on the porch, and Morticia is knitting something as she says … and if it’s a boy, we’re going to give him a biblical name, like Cain or Ananias..

Now, we all know who Cain was, but who was Ananias? The name is a latinized form of the jewish “Hananiah”, and the reference is to a particular figure in the New Testament, who lied to his fellows in an early Christian group and was struck dead as he talked. Apparently, the name is used in English to mean a habitual liar. It’s a term that would be familiar to Addams’ audience, whom I assume would belong mostly to the same American middle-class milieu that is the target of most of his humor.

Realizing this, I suddenly wish that each cartoon had a date attached, telling me when it was first drawn and printed. Because this book is a historical document. It images of computers – huge, room-filling boxes, of chinese labourers smoking Opium, of people playing golf and attending the Opera and gardening in the suburbs, of anthropologists interacting with head-shrinkers and natives armed with blowpipes… when was this taking place, exactly? Knowing that the New Yorker started publishing Addams’ cartoons in in 1935 and that he continued creating work for five decades (as the back cover explains) really doesn’t help pinpoint a reference…

sprinkles on top

The universe is drained of links. Cold and icy and empty.
Well, maybe it’s just the “Internet”.

Speaking of cold and icy and empty, if in the book you’re reading the hero get to kiss the heroine for the first time, and the day you read that, you find yourself kissing someone for the first time, should you be worried if the next thing that happens to the heroine is being kidnapped through a dimensional portal by Cthulhu-worshipping nazi occultists from a dead and demon-haunted universe?

One wonders about these things.

Linkage, linkage… Firefox 1.0 got released, umm, yesterday. It’s my browser, and everyone should use it, so that when I ever have to come over to use their computer I can have tabs and stuff, and no annoying pop-ups.

Didi notes that, and also points to the collection of StrongBad answering his email flash animations, of which the only one I saw was the one about Trogdor the dragon.

Sigh. If I was I would have a neat segue to posting a link to the song in my head, River Deep, Mountain High (it’s all Warren Ellis‘ fault for putting it there).

Updated 11/11/2004: Ellis elaborates about River Deep, Mountain High in his next column:

Spector’s Wall Of Sound. An immense presence of information. His early experiments failed because he was a few years ahead of his time — the primitive studios of the Fifties couldn’t handle the tidal wave of information he was throwing at the microphones. But when the technology developed, he was ready, even if the rest of the world wasn’t. Probably his greatest achievement, “River Deep Mountain High,” just dumbfounded people, and was a commercial failure. Its label said it was by Ike and Tina Turner, but Ike had nothing to do with it — Spector came to him wanting Tina to sing it, and the deal was that Ike could have his name on it but would actually have nothing to do with it. Ike, desperate for a hit, agreed — though he recanted this version in later years. Probably because he didn’t get the hit.

It’s an instructive listen. I mean, it’s a dumb little song, like almost everything Spector produced. Spector was all about the epic elevation of manipulative pap. But there’s no slack in it at all. It is, if you’ll forgive the phrase, “widescreen”. Every second of its four minutes contains sonic information. Starts with an earthquake and builds to a climax.