Showing posts from November, 2007

My Lucky 13 -- Who Say Who?

What we were calling Messerschmitts looked nothing like the famous German fighter planes, but we called them by that name all the same. I was engaged in teaching my brother Mark a trio of paper airplane designs I had learned in school earlier in the year, not least of which was a snub-nosed model with wide wings and flaps torn into the back edges. This is the one I called a Messerschmitt, and while I probably knew the names of roughly a dozen other planes at that young age (I had a poster which portrayed planes and jets from around the world), I had actually picked the term up from a World War II-obsessed school buddy. The chief reason we called this particular design a Messerschmitt was the way this model would swoop for a short burst, and then flip over and over and over again until the plane would slam, usually ungracefully, into the ground. This made them perfect as the unfortunate victims of the other paper airplanes, most often long, sleek and pointed in the traditional way that…

Recently Rated Movies #57: To Be Counted As A Marvel, Doesn't Something Need To Be Marvelous?

Somewhere in my giant pile of lost tapes is the original 1978 made-for-television version of Dr. Strange. I have not watched it in many a moon, but as I am recently reunited with it, I shall take it for another spin here in a matter of weeks (or days, if I locate it any time soon). Also back in my possession are a pile of Dr. Strange comic books, both in his '70s run as a solo book and numerous issues of Strange Tales from the '60s, which I paid about $3 apiece for a flea market in the 1980s. To say that I have always been a great collector of the Sorcerer Supreme would be an overstatement, as I never really found the energy to complete any runs or keep up with later incarnations beyond buying the first issue or so. But I have always admired the character and have spent considerable time pondering the reasons why he wasn't one of the top characters in the Marvel stable, or at least far more popular than he seemed to be.

Or has this changed? As you may be aware, Marvel Studi…

Crawling From the Wreckage: The Prologue

Think you can do a better job?

Really, I invite you to come over and sift through 40-odd years of assorted fooferaw and folderol, all jammed into a one-bedroom and offset-den apartment -- keeping in mind the limited monetary range when planning such an epic trek through one person's lifetime of nonsensical ratpacking -- and work out a more efficient means of gaining some sort of control over the avalanche. By the second day, the two thousand CDs were already stacked and alphabetized (and yet, with no shelving on which to place them); a month later, all 200 boxes had been at least opened in some manner, half of them unpacked and obliterated, the contents sorted and placed on what shelving I did have going into the project. Now, three new cheapie bookcases from Ikea will cut us a decent swath in which to place our annual Xmas fetishism altar; the bookcases are the sort of things we can easily excise or take down should we ever find the extra bucks to gain the sort of furniture that a…

Psychotronic Ketchup: Stakeout on Dope Street (1958)

Stakeout on Dope Street
Director: Irvin Kershner // Warner Bros., 1958
Cinema 4 Rating: 7

Given the opportunity in a very public forum to program an entire evening of classic movies, Vanity Fair editor Graydon Clark went with the obvious: The Awful Truth, The Philadelphia Story, Casablanca and North by Northwest. There was nothing wrong with his choosing any of these four films. They are all excellent, and not coincidentally, some of my favorite films as well. That three of them are Cary Grant films only speaks to Mr. Clark's good taste. But one problem is that these are films which appear on Turner Classic Movies with stunning regularity, and another is that all of them are readily available in the home market as well. The biggest problem is that these are exactly the sort of films that anybody would choose given this chance. Did Mr. Clark win first dibs? If there are people who haven't taken the time to view these particular films at this point, I would guess the majority of th…

I Tolerate Short Shorts: Once Over Lightly (1938)

Once Over Lightly
Director: Will Jason // MGM, 1938
Cinema 4 Rating: 6

Today is that day: the day when I will finally stroll over to the hairstylist and get my locks chopped. Well, not completely shorn off, but they will certainly be reduced in length and thickness to a large degree. This should make it a little cooler on my daily exercise sojourns; it will also serve to make me look slightly more professional at work. I've became a tad shaggy in recent days, and this look is exacerbated (much to the consternation of Jen, who hates facial hair) by the fact that I have decided to grow out my beard over the last week or so until the time came when I could hit the barber. Of course, having to make that time to get one's hair cut can be a hassle, especially if you have to get an appointment, or if you don't, you at least have to wait in line for far too long. (Pause for dramatic effect...) IF ONLY there were some sort of speed competition held between barber colleges, much like a…

The Shark Film Office: L'avventura (1960)

Director: Michelangelo Antonioni // Italian, 1960
Cinema 4 Rating: 9
Shark: unseen species of Mediterranean frequency
Appearance: dialogue only

In the traditional and monstrous fashion of most fictional sharks, the appearance of this "pescecane" (as it is referred to in the Italian of what is considered by many critics to be one of the greatest films of all time, L'avventura) comes out of nowhere to rupture the plot violently and infuse images of its "horrid" self into the thoughts of the film's idle rich. An idyllic summer voyage to the islands in the Aeolian Sea off Sicily, in which a boat full of the emotionally empty languish in their own ennui and the lies they tell themselves and others, all under the pretense of having a good time, turns tragic when the most conflicted of the lot, Anna, completely disappears, both from the island they are visiting, and from the movie altogether.

Before she disappears, however (and just before they decide to…

He's Crazy If He Thinks We're Coming Back Again (He's Crazy Anyway)

Ten days in Disney World. A small bout with possible food poisoning from a local fast food eatery. A flight to Idaho. A road trip back from there via Oregon, Nevada and half the length of California. The unpacking and sorting of an initial grouping of one hundred boxes in our cramped apartment. Numerous trips back and forth from a rented storage area containing the other hundred boxes, which are now also squirreled away in our even more cramped apartment. A small, furry death in the family. The non-stop frenzied pace of my job, not to mention extra weekends worked to make up for some of the time spent on my pair of vacations.

Any wonder why I have been such a bad blogger, Abbott?

The truth is I have been meaning for the last week or so to dive back into the Pylon. It's been nearly three weeks since I last posted, but that doesn't mean I have not written anything at all. A couple of goofy poems, three songs, reworked a chapter on my novel, and numerous false starts on blog entrie…