Thursday, December 31, 2015

Bill Cosby's dubious definition of sexual consent.

From the Associated Press article:
In his deposition, Cosby said he gave [Andrea] Constand three half-pills of Benadryl for stress without telling her what they were.  He said he groped Constand, taking her silence as a green light.

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Underachieving Films/TV of 2015.

In no specific order:
1. RICKI AND THE FLASH--the creative combination of director Jonathan Demme and writer Diablo Cody didn't find a satisfying middle ground, though some decent moments and performances exist.
2. TRUE DETECTIVE Season 2--didn't hate it like many people in the critics' corner, but it proved that Nic Pizzolato as sole auteur was less effective than Pizzolato sharing the creative heavy-lifting with director Cary Fukunaga.
3. RYAN MURPHY HORROR STORIES--SCREAM QUEENS and AMERICAN HORROR STORY: HOTEL suffered from the exquisite corpse method of writing where tight, cohesive, coherent storytelling was tossed overboard for immediate effects: wicked, sometimes funny dialogue in the former plus supercharged brutality and as much softcore content as FX censors would allow (and they allowed quite a lot) in the latter.
4. TRUMBO--Jay Roach's streamlined telling of blacklisted screenwriter Dalton Trumbo surviving the 1950s until rescue via Kirk Douglas and Otto Preminger.  A sad case of both runaway to Louisiana production and a tight budget dictating the telling of a story, omitting Trumbo's exile in Mexico because it's likely too hard to fake Mexican settings in New Orleans and/or Baton Rouge.
5. FAR FROM THE MADDING CROWD 2015: Apparently Carey Mulligan balks at playing even partially "unsympathetic" characters as originally written (see also her Daisy Buchanan in Baz Luhrmann's THE GREAT GATSBY).  Bathsheba, as played by Julie Christie in the 1967 original, was a complex person, with admirable and not-so-likable traits.  Much of this was ironed out of the remake in order to adhere to presumed 2015 notions  (Mulligan's, the creative team's, Fox Searchlight's) of representational appropriateness, alas--down to dropping the more ambiguous ending of the earlier film.

Thursday, December 24, 2015

My Christmas playlist.

1. Step Into Christmas: Elton John
2. Pretty Paper: Willie Nelson
3. There's No Place Like Home (For The Holidays): Perry Como
4. Someday It's Christmas: Stevie Wonder
5. Mele Kalikimaka: Bing Crosby and The Andrews Sisters
6. Christmas Time Is Here Again: The Beatles
7. Christmas (Baby Please Come Home): Darlene Love
8. Happy Xmas (War Is Over): John Lennon and Yoko Ono
9. The Little Drummer Boy: The Harry Simeon Chorale
10. Mistletoe And Holly: Frank Sinatra
11. Silent Night: Dean Martin
12. White Christmas: Bing Crosby

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

A list of books which, together, give a more complete picture of SoCal poetry.

In no specific order, these books can be found for sale online or in certain bookstores.

3. LUMMOX (issues 1-3)
9. Small press volumes including Red Hen Press, Punk Hostage, Lummox Press, Sacred Beverage and Sybaritic Press.
10. RATTLE--various issues

David Ulin, Suzanne Lummis, WIDE AWAKE and me.

Reposting this from Facebook, where, but for a handful of exceptions, it was not commented on:

Read David Ulin's remarks about WIDE AWAKE in his 10-Best [books] article in LA TIMES. Became enormously depressed, but nothing I can do about Ulin reducing the collective value of a large (and quite diverse at times) group of poets to one person's choices. And this isn't intended as a slight towards Suzanne and the work she did compiling it (I [bought] a copy)--just Ulin's insistence that the only poets worth remembering in perpetuity are the ones intersecting with [Suzanne] to varying degrees.

Friday, December 11, 2015

Memorable songs of 2015.

In no specific order:
1. Exes And Ohs--Elle King
2. Bad Blood--Ryan Adams
3. Hello--Adele
4. A Little Smile--Joe Jackson
5. Black Sun--Death Cab For Cutie
6. April 5th--Elvis Costello, Rosanne Cash, Kris Kristofferson
7. Coming Home--Leon Bridges
8. Random Number Generator--Wilco
9. Flesh And Bone--Buddy Guy, Van Morrison
10. Feeling Ok--Best Coast

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Author Mark Bowden explains Donald Trump for you.

As I’ve watched his improbable political rise, it is clear that he hasn’t changed. The very things that made him so unappealing apparently now translate into wide popular support. Apart from the comical ego, the errors, and the self-serving bluster, what you get from Trump are commonplace ideas pronounced as received wisdom. Begin registering all Muslims in America? Round up the families of suspected terrorists? Ban all Muslims from entering the country? Carpet-bomb ISIS-held territories in Iraq (killing the 98-plus percent of civilians who are, in effect, being held hostage there by the terror group and turning a war against a tiny fraction of the world’s Muslims into a global religious crusade)? Using nuclear weapons? The ideas that pop into his head are the same ones that occur to any teenager angry about terror attacks. They appeal to anyone who can’t be bothered to think them through—can’t be bothered to ask not just the moral questions but the all-important practical one: Will doing this makes things better or worse? When you believe in your own genius, you don’t question your own flashes of inspiration.

The above comes from a VANITY FAIR article by author Mark Bowden (BLACK HAWK DOWN) about Bowden interviewing Donald Trump for PLAYBOY in 1996.

Link here:

Monday, December 7, 2015

The Donald Trump Rorschach Test.

The campaign began with language advocating a "wall" to bar entry of illegal/undocumented Mexican immigrants.  Today, it got uglier: a raspy Donald Trump desiring to bar another race/religious group (containing many law-abiding, non-extremist Islamic citizens of this and other nations) from entry into the United States.

Here's the Rorschach Test question:
Do you consider Donald Trump's remarks:
A. Fascism
B. Hate speech
C. Bigotry
D. Reminiscent of Nazi Germany
E. Communicating in conservative "talk radio host" language
F. A passive-aggressive wish to be driven out of the 2016 Presidential race
that he may have--at first--entered just as a way of expanding the Trump Brand
G. Upping the "outrageous remarks" ante when he believes his poll numbers are slipping
H. A "tough" rebuttal to President Obama's measured Sunday night televised speech
I. An ominous forecast of a media focus-pulling third-party candidacy To Be Announced