Friday, February 29, 2008
Monday, February 25, 2008
Maila Nurmi died January 10, and I missed it. The notices of her death are split in their estimation of her age: some say 85*; some say 86**. They all agree that she died in 2008, but some say she was born in 1922, others say 1923. So what do the reference books say?
Biography Index. A cumulative index to biographical material in books and magazines. Volume 12: September, 1979-August 1921
Film Index International 1921
Internet Movie Database 1921
* Chicago Tribune, 1/20; Grand Rapid Press, 1/20
** Variety, 1/21; Boston Globe Blog Report 1/23
Sunday, February 24, 2008
Recently I watched the 1943 film Ghost Ship. Those of you who know of my taste for camp will be surprised to hear that nothing supernatural happens in this film. “Ghost Ship” is a metaphor for the dried-up life of the Captain of the Altair, whose struggle to maintain absolute authority over his ship coincides with his mental breakdown. It’s not a sophisticated film, but it has fairy-tale-like charm. Val Lewton, the producer, was responsible for a number of creepy films: The Cat People, Curse of the Cat People, Isle of the Dead, The Leopard Man, and I Walked with a Zombie. Ghost Ship has the atmosphere of the Cat People films: lots of suggestive shadows and fog. The creepiest scenes have no background music to tell you exactly when the bad thing is going to happen. As much as I love color, I wonder if it can convey the same combination of smooth elegance and teasing threat that black & white can.
Well, that’s enough. If you need more, look at the IMDB.com page.
I tried to get them to sell this chandelier on eBay, but they couldn't wait to trash it.
I saw this metallic wallpaper in person, and I can tell you this photo doesn't do it justice. The 60s-style design was enough to cause hallucinations on the stairway.
Saturday, February 23, 2008
Tuesday, February 19, 2008
These knick-knacks appear to be enjoying themselves.
Obviously a garden party.
A day at the beach.
John Collins's cubicle. I put a link to my blog on his blog.
Saturday, February 16, 2008
Here's a picture of me with the fresco filter. I wish I would hurry up and learn how to do dithering and layers. But I seem to be taking forever.
My old college roomie Barb proposed that we take a trip this coming summer. In 1995 I went with her to Italy, so now it's my pick. I wanted to do one of these river cruises, perhaps down the Danube. We invited a third old roomie, Brenda, who persuaded us that Europe is just too expensive at present, so we've settled on the Canadian Rockies. As a matter of fact, my first choice would have been London; but a dollar only buys 50 cents worth of stuff there. (Will it be any better in summer 2009?) In The Remains of an Altar there is reference to a lot of Brits retiring at 50. I hope they all come to the U.S. and pump their wealth into our slumping economy. Recently I've run into groups of Russian tourists around Cambridge. I recognized the word horoshow (my transliteration), which means good. I'm glad they thought so. Do you think the English would find New England boring, too much like home? ( "I live in old England; why the bloody hell would I want to visit a derivitive England?") New Mexico's deserty alienish landscape ought to attract them. Any British subjects reading this are urged to book their holidays in Santa Fe or Taos and bring lots of money, because you need a lot of souvenirs. You need Indian pottery and jewelry and rugs! And the New York Times says these are the places to eat in Taos: Joseph's Table (108 A South
Well, I've done my bit for the economy. Time for a nap.
*Taking the Bite Out of a
Sunday, February 10, 2008
It was just about 10 years ago that I started seeking year-2000-predictions for a library display. I only wanted prophecies from scientists, academics, and think tanks--respected intellectuals. I remembered prophecies made when I was a teenager: 3-day work weeks, colonies on the moon, robot servants. Some economists in the 60s had worried that an excess of free time would plague the 21st century. Frankly, I was pretty pissed off at the way things turned out. In the name of truth, justice, and the American Way, I needed to hold these prophets up to ridicule.
Most of the predicting happened in the 60s and 70s, after which it tapered off. But I did dig up one daring futurist who, from the standpoint of 1982, predicted that we would be able to marry robots by the year 2000. OK, you may ask, why would I want to marry a robot? You can just buy a vibrator. Why should a more sophisticated masturbation aid require matrimony? Well, Arthur Harkins (University of Minnesota) expected we'd have real artificial intelligence by now that would make robots a lot more interesting. They might even be smart enough to have their own preferences about whom they wanted to marry. But even without AI, "The great bulk of human relationships are formulated on a ritualistic basis, which is to say that most humans, in their relationships with wives or lovers, expect a kind of metronomic precision of expected behavior and expected responses to occur over time," he explained.* Ick.
O.K. I was not bitter about the failure of the robot-marriage prediction. My first thought was that if this guy was married when he gave the interview, his wife would've killed him.
I googled Arthur Harkins. He is still alive and still at the University of Minnesota.
*Computerworld, May 17, 1982 p.19
Saturday, February 09, 2008
Wednesday, February 06, 2008
My best bookcase with knick-knacks, 19th C fashion plates, and books.
The amazing salt rock lamp freshens the air around the cat box.
The TV acts as hearth and home altar.
The galley kitchen with brand new (Kenmore) microwave.