Ptarmigan

a grouse with completely feathered feet

12/27/2004

I've had the flu. Just recovering. So I'm going to be slow on communication for the next couple of days.

12/21/2004

The numinous is a temporary tattoo. On the morning when you're to wash it off, there's a blast from three blocks away, flash and heat, and the tattoo is suddenly permanent (this is not the same as a scar. I think). The questions then become: (1) what is it a tattoo of? (2) where is the tattoo located? and (3) what caused the explosion?

12/15/2004

Still, still trying to figure out the mass psychosis that is known as "critical adoration of Sideways". Any ideas? ps, if you haven't seen it...it's a miserable, thuggish movie, that only grows more in misery when you recollect it, and the individual funny bits fade from memory.

Someone on the IMDB boards posting something like "What am I missing with this movie?" and received this response, which speaks to the heart of the matter:

SIDEWAYS is the best film of 2004. It is the only film out there that has more soul than RAY (the movie, not the genius).

I wouldn't say you're a moron for not "getting it", especially if you are eleven or twelve years old. Perhaps you just haven't lived enough life to appreciate it? (And I'm not talking about age here, I'm talking about living a life that goes deeper than the surface.)

You thought the film was slow? Not every award should go to the Lord of the Rings. How is SIDEWAYS any slower than Lost in Translation?

You thought the characters were "unlikable"? Characters have to be likable to you for you to approve of a film? You like the babe in the movie, though, eh? You like the hottie? Now there was a character you could relate to?! But those middle aged losers? Acting like 40 year old teenagers?

Oh man. This film ought to be a litmus test for students deciding whether or not they want to be film critics. Nothing personal, but I'm not going to your website either. You kind of set yourself up as a moron.

Maybe you should see the film again?

Or...maybe you should rent 2 FAST 2 FURIOUS?

After all, neither LOST IN TRANSLATION nor 21 GRAMS are Art House films. I saw them both with stadium seating.

Also, Payne's ELECTION was a brilliant film. Have you seen it?

Cringe inducing jokes? "Has been" from Wings.

Just the fact that you use the phrase "Has been" explains a lot as to why you didn't "get" this "okay movie." It's a great film. Think before you speak.


Very Ari Fleischer-like closing there, champ.

Anyway, I think America is so culturally impoverished now that any film which makes half-assed stabs at "high" culture suddenly gets swept up as an anti-blockbuster in the critical consciousness (and critical wannabe consciousness). E.g., "It's about wine--it must be the antidote to Shark Tale!!!" Witness the main characters' lame "my novel redeems the fact that I stole money from my mother" moment at the end of the movie, oh, oops spoiler! The "brilliant, unpublished first novel that lets him get laid" is interchangeable for the Pinot-or-Whatever '64 ( as if I care)--it's like when they review poetry in the New Yorker or NYTBR. They're not actually talking about poetry--it's the engine of nostalgia that it represents, "living a life which goes deeper than the surface", the primrose promise that represents an absolution for being a complete asshole. In that way, the lazy morality of Sideways is quintessentially American.


12/13/2004

I'll start with a picture:


Remember, Victor is on the right.

Aristotle said:
"Now to remember the future is not possible, but this is an object of opinion or expectation (and indeed there might be actually a science of expectation, like that of divination, in which some believe); nor is there memory of the present, but only sense-perception."

I've been thinking lately how writing is a remembering and sense-perception of the future and a memory-system of the present. And how speculative writing of various sorts highlights this possibility (or predicament). At the same time, my mind isn't wrapping itself around this concept well. I wonder if I say things like this without really fathoming the consequences. Like a metal-detector for "deep" paradoxes. One of those guys on Civil War battlefields looking for shells. But (especially in poetry) how do philosophical systems integrate into the practicee of a work? Not gracefully at times. 90% of everything that I've read or listened to lately just deadens me to the quick. And not because it's crap. NPR is just un"bear"able to me now--the tonal argument that the entire network makes is concessionary. They really work on that tone, mince over it. I don't know if the problem is everyone or me, or whether it's a problem at all. Enjoyment. I don't do enough of it. When you're writing a 104 pg. (and counting) poem called Sever Decay, one needs to learn how to relax. I'm holding firm to the believe that this life of mine is pretty much uninteresting. And a great deal of my work--well, who knows whether it will be read or not. But even this isn't a consolation. Iif a writer fades...the only way that work is read is if another writer champions it. A champion in medieval times (or rpg parlance, at least), would fight the battles in an arena for another not willing to fight. So we are back to the slippery language of competition, battle. It is difficult to escape, and maybe at this point not even desirious to. So, fuck it. Doesn't matter either way.

In the skyway where I work, it's easy to snicker and call others broken: so and so who worked at Target corporate, or the construction worker. But they were not in an original state of grace that's now lost: every person is of supreme, incalculable value. And yet it's the most difficult thing to remember, much less enact. Writing gives me the memory of the present, to remember this.

12/10/2004

Insomnia: shake it, shake it like a paranoid picture.

12/01/2004

Nothing has never not already happened:

"IN 53 B.C., the same year that Julius Caesar invaded Britain, the Roman general Marcus Licinius Crassus invaded Persia. He was over sixty, and looked older than his age, a round-faced bullet-headed man who thirsted for wealth and fame, and seems never to have been satisfied with the wealth and fame he had acquired. He had already fought in many batdes and shown himself to be a capable commander. He was already the wealthiest man in Rome, with a huge fortune founded upon money-lending and the control of the unscrupulous Roman fire-brigade, whose officers were not above setting fires and rescuing for their own profit whatever they could lay their hands on in the burning buildings. He was one of the three triumtairi, who together ruled the Roman Empire. Power, money, women, enormous estates all these were at his command. If he had been asked why he troubled to invade Persia, he would have answered that though he was a millionaire many times over, he wanted above everything else to lay his hands on the great treasures of gold known to be in Persia and he wanted also to return to Rome as a triumphator, a man who had subdued the enemy in battle, secured vast treasure and many prisoners, and was therefore entitled to take his place in the great ceremonial procession known as a Triumph....

"He believed the war would be over in a few weeks. It would provide an easy victory and yield a great booty, and he was not overly troubled by the thought that the Roman Senate had refused to grant him permission to carry on the war, for had not his intelligence staff reported that the Persians were divided among themselves? Crassus saw himself as the new Alexander. He would dictate terms to the Persians, and for a while rule them as King....

"He was famous for his wealth, his elegance, his hot temper, his extraordinary energy. He was a master strategist in politics and a consummate organizer, but there is no evidence that he had ever studied oriental history. He knew little about the history of Persia. He did not realize that a Roman attack in force would put an end to all the tribal quarrels in the country....

"Twenty thousand Romans were killed in a single day, and ten thousand were made prisoner. Among the dead was Gassus [Crassus' son] himself. His head (so Plutarch says) was cut off and taken to Armenia, where the Parthian "King of Kings" Orodes was attending a conference concerning a marriage treaty. The Parthians had been deeply impressed by Greek culture, called themselves Philhellenes and regarded themselves in some way as the successors of Alexander the Great. Orodes was attending a performance of Euripides' Bacchae. The severed head was brought to him, and he held it up at the moment when the actor spoke of another severed head, which is mentioned in the play. The Romans, remembering Crassus' ill-gotten wealth, liked to tell an apocryphal story of how he was found alive and molten gold was poured into his mouth, before his head was cut off...."