Friday, January 30, 2009

Hasta la Vista

This is probably my final view from a motel landing of Morro Rock and the startling stacks of the P G & E. Julie and I have been regular and frequent visitors to Morro Bay for over thirty years. For about the first fifteen of those years we seriously considered relocating to this charming and comforting fishing village overlooking this great stone outcropping and funky embarcadero. The weather was great, the food was good and the local Morro Bay oysters were fabulous.

But then, sometime in the late 1980s, the success bug bit the Bay. Way too many new motels were built and the older ones significantly upgraded as coastal tourists increased their weekend descents. Second hand shops became Antique stores. Bakeries, cleaners, clothiers and shoe repair shops were replaced by such as boutiques, spas and upscale restaurants as local services gave way to the itinerant consumer. These visiting customers, however, never turned turned out in numbers great enough to sustain the new build-up and, as time has passed, the burden of the new developments has led to a decline in the services and experiences that we expected to enjoy on our visits. We still enjoyed the crisp and cool, coastal sunshine, and the sight of the Rock and the countryside drives on Highway 1, but we suddenly felt, for the first time, that there was no good reason to stay overnight, or hang for three or four days as we used to. If we ever see the Rock again, it will probably be from our car window during a leisurely drive on Highway 1.

Saturday, January 24, 2009


On the Inaugural podium, Obama mentioned that his father would likely not have been served in a D.C. diner some sixty years ago, yet here his son stands at the Capitol steps as the President of the United States of America.

But even more recently than sixty years ago there was no African American manager in Major League Baseball, no African American coach in the NFL or NBA, and no African American starting quarterback in the NFL.

And look who now has to manage, coach and quarterback Team America. I just hope he ain't one of those John 3:16 freaks.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Pick Yourself Up. Dust Yourself Off and.......

Cute reference in Obama's Inauguration speech: a depression era movie Astaire Rogers routine. Metaphors are where you find them.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Nix on Frost

The only real issue put forth in Frost/Nixon is whether David Frost will make lots of money or go broke in the engineering of his Nixon post-Watergate, post resignation TV interview. In this regard, the suspense was easily bearable. Otherwise, the script is presumptuous and so theatrically fatuous that I felt little, maybe no credibility in the behind-the-scenes machinations of the Frost and Nixon camps. Likewise, the acting and direction are almost uniformly self-reflective and smugly self-congratulatory. Kevin Bacon, alone, as Nixon's primary adjutant, presents a character who seems to be about his business and not about displaying his artitudes and versatility to the camera.

I have put the recording of the original Frost Nixon Watergate interviews on my NetFlix queue so I'll let you know my further thoughts after that screening.

Friday, January 09, 2009

The Ho Hum Bowl

It took a total effort, but the BCS Bowl did, ultimately, outlast me. It fought long and hard against my boredom but finally finished with a winner, if not a real champion. Both teams and their coaches did everything they could to lose but John 3:16 was not to be denied and earned his postgame victory interview. All is right in heaven and the SEC.

Thursday, January 08, 2009

A Passing

Book Soup, was my local book store for many years. I never left my nearby office on foot without a browse in the Soup. Glenn Goldman was an entrepreneur as bookseller. If I asked about a book or author not in stock, he would order one for me and two or three more for his shelves. As his store and shelf space grew I would come to see many fresh titles by authors that had been requested or recommended by customers like myself and Robert Towne. Glenn respected the tastes and interests of his patrons and used them to great advantage to his store and to the authors and artists whose works he offered for sale.

Glenn died last week. He was a truly nice guy and a valuable contributor to the cultural and economic development of West Hollywood. I have not mourned the many closings of independent book stores these past years. The ones I was familiar with usually seemed solipsistically fussy, arteriosclerotic and unable to respond to special requests. But I can only hope that Glenn has left a stronger legacy with his Book Soup and that it is not the end of an era.

Monday, January 05, 2009

When in DOUBT...

Hurry from the theater. Save yourself the anguish of the sit-through I suffered for your benefit. Did Jesse on the cross do more? I doubt it.

This film could have been better titled "Suspicion". Or "Assassin" because it is a mono-maniacal assassination story. Having been originally a stage play, one might think it would be a character driven drama, but one would be quite mistaken. The characters are typical stick figures in a straight ahead plot driven melodrama.

It begins when our villain, a heavily-habited nun played as a vicious martinet Catholic school principal by Meryl Streep, suddenly develops a consuming presentiment that a pleasant and popular young priest, a la Philip Seymour Hoffman, has more than "Fatherly" feelings toward a black high school student in the parish school. Without proof or corobination of any sort, Sister Streep persists in not only a character assassination attempt on the priest, but is willing to settle for nothing less than the total professional and personal annilhation of her target. She is the Terminator redux. And thus the melodrama unfolds as plot-counterplot. Aristotelian sequences of Surprise, Revelation, Reversal, Surprise, Revelation, Reversal, Surprise, Surprise Revelation, Denouement, Reversal. It is all too schematic and mechanical. And tewwibly tewibbly arbitrary.

On a rewarding note, Viola Davis is given excellent dialogue in defense of her offish son and the accused priest, and is sure to win a Supporting Female Actress nomination and probable Oscar. For whatever that's worth.

Otherwise, bosh humbug!

Saturday, January 03, 2009

अन्य्थिंग बुत अ बेस्ट पिसतुरे नॉमिनी.

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button is indeed a curious case of feature film making. Typically Fincheresque, it is way too long, monotonous, underlit and freighted with strained pseudo-significance. The CCofBB is just another of the many films of recent years that puzzle me as to "What," in the famous words of Jay Leno, "were you thinking?" Movies are a melding of art, industry and commerce. A lot of industry, and money was spent on this product, but it won't make a nickel in profit and though art is in the eye of the beholder, there won't be very many an eye open throughout these 2hourszzzzzzzzzzzandzzzzzzzzzz47zzzzzzzzzzminutes.

BTW, my blogger is playing games with me. The Title of this blog was typed: NOT ANOTHER BEST PICTURE NOMINEE. And each word promptly translated itself to Arabic (?) when I hit he Space key. I don't know if I could fix it, but it amuses me to leave it as is. And who knows, it may help my blog to reach some new viewership.

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