Sunday, August 26, 2007

Friday, August 24, 2007

Speeches. Faulkner Nobel Prize speech

William Faulkner's speech at the Nobel Banquet at the City Hall in Stockholm, December 10, 1950

I feel that this award was not made to me as a man, but to my work - a life's work in the agony and sweat of the human spirit, not for glory and least of all for profit, but to create out of the materials of the human spirit something which did not exist before. So this award is only mine in trust. It will not be difficult to find a dedication for the money part of it commensurate with the purpose and significance of its origin. But I would like to do the same with the acclaim too, by using this moment as a pinnacle from which I might be listened to by the young men and women already dedicated to the same anguish and travail, among whom is already that one who will some day stand here where I am standing.

Our tragedy today is a general and universal physical fear so long sustained by now that we can even bear it. There are no longer problems of the spirit. There is only the question: When will I be blown up? Because of this, the young man or woman writing today has forgotten the problems of the human heart in conflict with itself which alone can make good writing because only that is worth writing about, worth the agony and the sweat.

He must learn them again. He must teach himself that the basest of all things is to be afraid; and, teaching himself that, forget it forever, leaving no room in his workshop for anything but the old verities and truths of the heart, the old universal truths lacking which any story is ephemeral and doomed - love and honor and pity and pride and compassion and sacrifice. Until he does so, he labors under a curse. He writes not of love but of lust, of defeats in which nobody loses anything of value, of victories without hope and, worst of all, without pity or compassion. His griefs grieve on no universal bones, leaving no scars. He writes not of the heart but of the glands.

Until he relearns these things, he will write as though he stood among and watched the end of man. I decline to accept the end of man. It is easy enough to say that man is immortal simply because he will endure: that when the last dingdong of doom has clanged and faded from the last worthless rock hanging tideless in the last red and dying evening, that even then there will still be one more sound: that of his puny inexhaustible voice, still talking. I refuse to accept this. I believe that man will not merely endure: he will prevail. He is immortal, not because he alone among creatures has an inexhaustible voice, but because he has a soul, a spirit capable of compassion and sacrifice and endurance. The poet's, the writer's, duty is to write about these things. It is his privilege to help man endure by lifting his heart, by reminding him of the courage and honor and hope and pride and compassion and pity and sacrifice which have been the glory of his past. The poet's voice need not merely be the record of man, it can be one of the props, the pillars to help him endure and prevail.
- [link]
listen to Faulkner read the speech [link]

Reading Log. As I Lay Dying

As I Lay Dying (William Faulkner) (1930)

-I could just remember how my father used to say that the reason for living was to get ready to stay dead a long time. And when I would have to look at them day after day, each with his and her secret and selfish thought, and blood strange to each other blood and strange to mine, and think that this seemed to be the only way I could get ready to stay dead, I would hate my father for having ever planted me. I would look forward to the times when they faulted, so I could whip them. When the switch fell I could feel it upon my flesh; when it welted and ridged it was my blood that ran, and I would think with each blow of the switch: Now you are aware of me! Now I am something in your secret and selfish life, who have marked your blood with my own for ever and ever.

Commentary at WF on the Web [link]
Faulkner Collection at Univ. of Virginia [link]
wikipedia [link]

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

The Faces of Radio. Tom & Ray Magliozzi

Tom & Ray Magliozzi AKA 'Click & Clack' AKA 'the Tappet Brothers' from NPR's Car Talk

Official Car Talk Site [link]
Biography on NPR [link]
Info about the animated PBS series (yes, animated series) of Car Talk premiering in 2008 [link]
Transcript of their 1999 MIT commencement address [link]
Car Talk @ wikipedia [link]

Great Albums. On the Beach with the Paragons (1967)

The Paragons - On the Beach with the Paragons (1967)

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Reading Log. The Rum Diary

The Rum Diary (Hunter S. Thompson) (1998)

Written in the early 60's, but left unpublished until 1998.

Info at The Great Thompson Hunt [link]

Monday, August 20, 2007

Screening Log. 8/19

Superbad (Greg Mottola) (2007)

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Reading Log. A Confederacy of Dunces

A Confederacy of Dunces (John Kennedy Toole) (1980)

-Then you must begin a reading program immediately so that you may understand the crisis of our age. Begin with the late Romans, including Boethius, of course. Then you should dip rather extensively into early Medieval. You may skip the Renaissance and the Enlightenment. That was mostly dangerous propaganda, Now that I think of it, you had better skip the Romantics and the Victorians, too. For the contemporary period, you should study some selected comic books...I recommend Batman especially, for he tends to transcend the abysmal society in which he's found himself. His morality is rather rigid, also. I rather respect Batman.

Article about John Kennedy Toole & the 'model' for Ignatius [link]
Slate article about the ongoing developments of a film adaptation [link]
Google books [link]
wikipedia [link]

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Nouvelle musique. Level Live Wires

Odd Nosdam - Level Live Wires (2007)

A beautiful album that will be released in a few weeks (August 28). Like all of the best electronic/ambient -or whatever this is/can be considered- it took a while to grow on me…but once it hit me, it really hit. He often gets compared with Boards of Canada, but the aurora, dream-like, sounds remind me more of (a toned down) Dan Snaith (Manitoba/Caribou) than anyone else. Best album I've heard all year. Oh...and his previous album Burner is worth the $15 as well.

anticon. records

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Today's letter is 'G'. Ginsberg to Cassady. 1948.

[c. late June 1948
New York City]
Dear Neal,

I spent 30 hours at Jack’s – we talked, drank bottles of beer, showed each other the latest manuscripts, and mooned about you – The great even was your letter – we had assumed your were in jail or something – I of course had fantasized your dead, more or less, and even suspected suicide some months back. Myself, this spring has been one of madness, much like yours. Frenzy, frenzy, creation that is worthless, drinking, school, etc. I’ve been working part time and so I had about an even stint of money, and bought a lot of records. What finally pulled me out – to name an external cause since they are the signs by which we mark season – was Jack’s novel. It is very great, beyond my wildest expectations. I never knew.

But I will let him tell you himself, and then fill in another time; I want to talk to you myself.

Now, I suppose I should congratulate you on your marriage, So OK Pops, everything you do is great. The idea of you with a child and a settled center of affection – shit, I don’t like to write prose because you have to say something simple & direct. My mind isn’t made up into anything but compete amused enthusiasm for you latest building

I wish I had your letter here, but it is just as well. I have an image in my mind of the vast realistic vision you spoke of and am struck with a joy at the thought of your possibilities – moving toward realization toward expression.

When (by implication of ideas or directly) I criticize you, you know and I know I do it our of tension and self justification on obvious levels, obvious ways, and it is hatred showing; so take it as that and if I seem unaware, and you are offended, point it out to me, so there will be no mistake.

However I am slowly coming back or (going forward) to where I can accept you for yourself (whatever that is) without hassles & tension & competition for power; and would be done with my “wrath” toward you and I believe by next season in NY we will be closer than last and I less returning and arbitrary. Is this not great gentility? Sweet fate.


P.S. I seem to have thrown out Jim Holmes's letters.

Screening Log. 8/14

"Omnibus" - Fear and Loathing in Gonzovision (1978)

Screening Log. 8/13

Le Amiche AKA The Girlfriends (Michelangelo Antonioni) (1955)

Monday, August 13, 2007

Screening Log. 8/13

Il Deserto rosso AKA The Red Desert (Michelangelo Antonioni) (1964)

Screening Log. 8/12

Hets AKA Torment (Alf Sjöberg) (1944)

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Screening Log. 8/11

Play Time (Jacques Tati) (1967)

Friday, August 10, 2007

From the desk of Ignatius Reilly. #2

Another working day is ended, gentle reader. As I told you before, I have succeeded in laying a patina, as it were, over the turbulence and mania of our office. All non-essential activities in the office are slowly being curtailed. At the moment I am busily decorating our throbbing hive of white-collared bees (three). The analogy of the three bees brings to mind three b's which describe most aptly my actions as an office worker: banish, benefit, beautify.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

To Work & Die Here. Images of Sacramento

John Swanson's garden. Jim Olson standing in cabbage patch. Farm house in the background, unidentified child in the foreground. ca 1925.

18 women preparing fruit for packing. Six men appear in view, seem to be overseeing operation. ca 1905.

Sacramento Police Department posing in front of the police station with bicycles, includes one bicycle that appears motorized. 1911.

Novelty Wood Works, Burnett & Sons, 13th and B Streets. Shows five men and boy posed with two bicycles in front of the one-story corrugated sided building with taller false. ca 1903.

Huge pile of potatoes being cleaned, put into baskets and sacked. 5 workers are shown along with an unidentified woman. ca 1910.

Screening Log. 8/8

Zabriskie Point (Michelangelo Antonioni) (1970)

Great Albums. Qawwali (2006)

Pinch - Qawwali (2006)

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

From the desk of Ignatius Reilly.

I find, dear reader, that I have grown accustomed to the hectic pace of office life, an adjustment which I doubted I could make. Of course, it is true that in my brief career at Levy Pants, Limited, I have succeeded in initiating several work-saving methods. Those of you who are fellow office workers and find yourselves reading this incisive journal during a coffee break or such might take note of one or two of my innovations. I direct these observations to officers and tycoons, also.

I have taken to arriving at the office on hour later than I am expected. Therefore, I am far more rested and refreshed when I do arrive, and I avoid that bleak first hour of the working day during which my still sluggish senses and body make every chore a penance. I find that in arriving later, the work which I do perform is of a much higher quality.

My innovation in connection with the filing system must remain secret for the moment, for it is rather revolutionary, and I shall have to see how it works out. In theory the innovation is magnificent. However, I will say that the brittle and yellowing papers in the files constitute a fire hazard. A more special aspect that may not apply in all cases is that my files apparently are a tenement for assorted vermin. The bubonic plague is a valid Medieval fate; I do believe, though, that contracting the plague in this dreadful century would be ludicrous.

Screening Log. 8/7

Vargtimmen AKA Hour of the Wolf (Ingmar Bergman) (1968)

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Reading Log. No Country for Old Men

No Country for Old Men (Cormac McCarthy) (2005)

Monday, August 6, 2007

Screening Log. 8/6

Karin's ansikte AKA Karin's Face (Ingmar Bergman) (1984)

Great Albums. Django (1956)

The Modern Jazz Quartet - Django (1956)

Presidential Quotation. Coolidge.

Calvin Coolidge - "Silent Cal"
30th US President (1923 - 1929) - Republican

-Never go out to meet trouble. If you will just sit still, nine cases out of ten someone will intercept it before it reaches you.

-The president shouldn't do too much...And he shouldn't know too much. The president can't resign...So I constantly said to my cabinet: 'There are many things you gentlemen must not tell me. If you blunder, you can leave, or I can invite you to leave. But if you draw me into all our departmental decisions and something goes wrong, I must stay here, and by involving me, you have lowered the faith of the people in their government.'

-Well, they're going to elect that superman Hoover, and he's going to have some trouble. He's going to have to spend money. But he won't spend enough. Then the Democrats will come in and spend money like water. But they won't know anything about money. Then they will want me to come back and save money for them. But I won't do it.

-If a man can't finish his job in the daytime, he's not smart.

-I suppose I am the most powerful man in the world, but great power does not mean much except great limitations. I cannot have any freedom to go and come. I am only in the clutch of forces that are greater than I am.

Sunday, August 5, 2007

Screening Log. 8/5

Le Feu follet AKA The Fire Within (Louis Malle) (1963)

Great Albums. Delshodegan (1999)

M. R. Shajarian & Hossein Alizadeh - Delshodegan (1999)

Faulkner. Wet seed wild in the hot blind earth.

I reckon I'll be at the beck and call of folks with money all my life, but thank God I won't ever again have to be at the beck and call of every son of a bitch who's got two cents to buy a stamp.

Reading Log. If I Forget Thee Jerusalem

If I Forget Thee Jerusalem AKA The Wild Palms / The Old Man (William Faulkner) (1939)

-Because if memory exists outside of the flesh it won't be memory because it won't know what it remembers...
*please cite or link when reposting*