Friday, August 31, 2007

Grease is the Word

We watched Grease with our children last night. This morning Henry was quoting random lines from the film. He had a particular affinity for Jan. I recall that as a kid I wasn't into Danny or Sandy as much as I was into Sonny and Kenickie.
I haven't seen the movie for a long time, but I remembered it almost frame for frame. I really loved 50s stuff as a kid as well as anything teen gang related like SE Hinton novels. The films based on Rumble Fish and The Outsiders didn't come out until I was older. I would act out scenes from the books in my back yard. Even when I've watched those two films, my own images come back to me.
There are a lot of films and books that I really loved as a kid, but for some reason these three really stuck with me. One of my aunts bought me a novelization of the movie Grease. They don't really do that anymore since the advent of home video. It was great. Sonny was the narrator. Maybe that was why I focused on him in the film. In the book based on the movie, there were a lot of chapters devoted to going out and stealing parts for Greased Lightning and some gang fights with the Scorpions. Danny's absence earning his track letter was more pronounced. I read it when I was ten, so I'm not recommending trying to track it down, but it did leave quite an impression on me.

Shoo-by doo-wop she-bop,
Signore Direttore

Thursday, August 30, 2007

The Master Says 221

The goal is to study something over and over again until it speaks for itself.

Sigmund Freud

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Un poem 004

The 51st (dream) state [excerpt]

What if we were Life
Or Liberty
Or the Pursuit of something new?
Between the rocks below
and the stars above
What if we were composed by Love?

And what if we could show
that what we dream
is deeper than what we know?
Suppose if something does not live
in the world
that we long to see
then we make it ourselves
as we want it to be

What if we are Life
Or Liberty
and the Pursuit of something new?

And suppose the beautiful answer
asks the more beautiful question,

Why don't we get our hopes up too high?
What don't we get our hopes up to high?

- Sekou Sundiata

Monday, August 27, 2007

The Master Says 220

I just imagine that there is such an idiot as Osgood Fairchild. That there is such an old fool. Then I proceed.

Billy Wilder

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Resolution Check In

Way back at the New Year I made some resolutions. I thought I might check in on them.

+ Make lots of mistakes

Check. Especially in relationships. Nothing catastrophic, but kindness, tolerance, patience and love require mucho practice for me.

+ Write, Shoot and Edit 1 short film each month

Check. January through April yielded four shorts. May to July we made a feature. Nothing so far this month. Camera has been out on rental. And I've been trying to concentrate on finishing some projects before starting any new ones. However, I think a short short of an interesting landscape or some such simple thing might be in order. Not everything has to be grand and spectacular.

+ Acknowledge, accept and embrace fear and resistance directly

Check on the acknowledgment bit. Acceptance and embrace are slower to come. I've discovered I need more time and I'm learning how to take it without calling myself lazy. Well, I'm still calling myself lazy, I'm just not shouting it. Baby steps.

+ Read more fiction

Check on reading more non-film related stuff, but much of my reading remains non-fiction. I'm open to suggestions of contemporary literary fiction.

+ Daily Exercise - Not if, but what

This has taken some real effort. As of the past seven weeks I've come around to almost daily exercise. I expected more dramatic results physically, which just goes to show that it's a long process and there are no quick fixes. The mental, emotional and spiritual results have been profound.

+ Daily Meditation

I'm probably managing to meditate twice a week on average. The hikes, bike rides and walks are definitely supplemental. It's yet another thing that I avoid because I forget it's the cumulative effect rather than the immediate results.

+ Look at more paintings

Check. Mostly in books so far. I am going to the Rembrant/Rijksmuseum show at the Portland Art Museum soon.

+ Listen

I think I am listening better. Listen really means staying in the moment. And overall I'm feeling more capable of that. I have not perfected it and likely won't any time soon. However, like many other things on this list, I'm learning to do things without the expectation that I should do them perfectly. Perfectionism is a lie that helps us resist following our bliss.

Well, it seems I have more work to do. Mostly involving showing up. I think it comes down to simple self-worth -- if you value yourself, you show up. If you loathe yourself, you find ways not to. If you loathe yourself and show up anyway, maybe you won't loathe yourself as much after awhile. I'm hoping so.

Signore Direttore

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Folk Wisdom 033

The key to change... is to let go of fear.

Rosanne Cash

Friday, August 24, 2007

I'm all for peace ...

My friends and I used to say that a lot back in the day. Doesn't really work in print or as an adult for that matter. It doesn't work for me now that I've embraced hiking and the clothing that makes it more comfortable, either. It isn't really that I was ever pro-war or anti-nature, I just grew up wanting to be different than my fellow Oregonians. And I was obnoxiously urbane in a spoiled brat, punk rock sort of way. I was so eager to distance myself from all things hippie that I was all too happy to avoid the woods. I was also willing to appear indifferent to war so as not to besmirch my image with anything resembling a peace sign.
The Students for Social Justice at Portland's Wilson High School recently posted some signs at the school. One banner read, Let Peace Be Heard. Due to a parent's complaint the signs were removed lest it be interpreted the students at Wilson do not support our troops. I am pretty sure that aside from the violence hungry sociopaths in the military, that the troops are in favor of peace. Especially the ones that come home missing limbs and are otherwise incapacitated.
It's becoming ever so clear that America did not recover from Vietnam. Our nation needs some therapy.

Signore Direttore

Thursday, August 23, 2007


I'm forty years old today.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

The Master Says 219

I hope I never get so old I get religious.

Ingmar Bergman

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Pennant Race

These days I'm far more interested in the Mets winning the NL East and their third baseman David Wright, pictured above, getting thirty home runs and thirty stolen bases this season while maintaining his .312 batting average than I am in film. I also want the Yankees to cool off and miss the playoffs.
Other than that I want to be out in nature as much as possible -- hiking, cycling, strolling on the beach. I want to spend as much time as possible with my family. I want to read books about Iraq, painting, anthropology and mythology. I'm thinking about Mexico a lot, a place I once lived and have visited often. I'm struggling to let thoughts go during meditation. A sure sign that I need to continue meditating. Isn't it funny that the things we struggle with are often abandoned or pursued with zeal rather than quietly and steadfastly practiced?
There seem to be a lot of shoulds in my life at present. I should be getting a new roof on my garage. I should be painting the hallway, windows, downstairs apartment and several bathrooms. I should get a sealer on the fence. I should be looking for work. I should be editing. There are so many shoulds that I don't want to do any of it. I don't even want to get out into nature once I start thinking about all those damn to-do's. One of the thoughts creeping into my meditation yesterday was whether to re-stain the bannister in the hall or paint it.
To prevent falling into a deeper depression yesterday morning, I went to the gym with Nicola. I prefer going with my wife as it keeps the whole self-centered vibe of the place at a distance. I wish they would remove the televisions from in front of at least one end of the cardio machines. During the commercials there is an obnoxious strobing effect from all the rapid edits. Mid-morning there are a lot of magazine shows involving make-overs of sorts. One involved a garage make-over. Lots of shelving, including an entire wall of racks for some Middle-American schmuck's ten sets of golf clubs. How about asking the guy if he really needs all those sets of clubs?
I've been reading a lot about the incidental bombing of homes all over Iraq. Of displaced people wandering on foot in need of things like water and medical attention, having lost everything. When I see twelve flat screen televisions at the gym flashing images of wasteful bullshit, like rooms in homes devoted to the display of some geezer's high school hockey awards, I get antsy about being a member of this society.
Or how about people spending $60,000 to climb Mt. Everest? Something else I've been reading about. Now that's some ego-driven bullshit. When you get past the superlatives, there's nothing heroic about it. It's just another example of people buying experiences. Another push a button, pay a price quick fix. Sure they put their lives and the lives of others at risk, but that just serves to make it all the more solipsistic.
Like motorcycles. I've had so many friends die or get seriously injured in motorcycle accidents. I had a head-on collision with a car on a bike that sent me flying over the car into somebody's front lawn. I wasn't wearing a helmet. Luckily I was a teenager whose football player body was conditioned to take such a punishing blow. I walked away. Another time I dislocated a shoulder that I relocated myself. It was sore for a few years until I did a few months of yoga that must have set it right finally. Aside from a few other scrapes, blows to the skull and bone chips, I survived my many years on motorcycles. A lot of friends and acquaintances have not. The lead female character, Motorcycle Girl, in Original Glory is based on a girl that rode a Triumph. The character is based more on a situation that we found ourselves in with her than her personality. I just remembered the other day that I heard she was in a serious accident later on that took the use of her legs away. Please forgive the digression from my point into some sort of macho injury report. My point is that as a father I don't ride motorcycles. I don't want my kids to have to say their father died in a motorcycle crash. Or climbing a mountain. Sure I might die crossing the street or choking on Chinese food or cancer or any number of things besides bucolic old age. But those will be accidents if they come to pass. I will continue to look both ways, to chew my food, to eat blueberries and green vegetables in my best efforts to prevent an untimely death.
I'm going to quit this rant soon and go for a bike ride with my son. Let me say this in closing: I live a charmed life. I'm becoming salty about a few things as a I let go of them. I'm at a big transition stage in my life. I can say generally that I'm entering middle age chronologically. As for any specifics, it's too early to tell. I hope to follow my bliss, but it's hard to uncover sometimes. Much of my life has been quite ego-driven. So for now, I'm taking those walks and bike rides in nature or the neighborhood. I'm being mindful of what speaks to me heart.
And I'm paying close attention to my beloved Metropolitans. Not only to their progress this season, but to my attachment to them. Is it something I should allow myself to openly enjoy without apology or is it a part of our media-driven, consumer culture that is better ignored? Don't know the answer to that, so until then: I want you to go over to your window, I want you to throw it open, I want you to stick your head out and I want you to yell, Let's Go Mets!
How's that for co-opting a film about fighting the media establishment?

A bigga pizza pie,
Signore Direttore

Sunday, August 19, 2007

The Master Says 218

There are no answers, only choices.

Steven Soderbergh

Saturday, August 18, 2007

The Master Says 217

I trust instinct more than I do study and memory and logical conclusions.

Robert Altman

The Master Says 216

We must not confuse mythology with ideology.

Joseph Campbell

Friday, August 17, 2007

The Master Says 215

The compromise ... is beginning to feel a lack of confidence in your innermost thoughts. And if you don't put these innermost thoughts on the screen then you are looking down not only on your audience but on the people you work with, and that's what makes so many people working out there unhappy. These innermost thoughts become less and less a part of you and once you lose them you don't have anything else.

John Cassavetes

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Folk Wisdom 032

Your work is to discover your work
And then with all your heart
To give yourself to it.


Wednesday, August 15, 2007

The Master Says 214

What you don't feel, you will not grasp by art,
Unless it wells out of your soul
And with sheer pleasure takes control,
Compelling every listener's heart.


The Master Says 213

Writing is turning one's worst moments into money.

J. P. Donleavy

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Folk Wisdom 031

It is an obstacle to clear thinking to believe that America's foreign policy serves God's plan to expand human freedom.

Michael Ignatieff

The Master Says 212

Because I sang his (Ingmar Bergman's) praises so enthusiastically over the decades, when he died many newspapers and magazines called me for comments or interviews. As if I had anything of real value to add to the grim news besides once again simply extolling his greatness. How had he influenced me, they asked? He couldn’t have influenced me, I said, he was a genius and I am not a genius and genius cannot be learned or its magic passed on. But I did manage to absorb one thing from him, a thing not dependent on genius or even talent but something that can actually be learned and developed. I am talking about what is often very loosely called a work ethic but is really plain discipline. I learned from his example to try to turn out the best work I’m capable of at that given moment, never giving in to the foolish world of hits and flops or succumbing to playing the glitzy role of the film director, but making a movie and moving on to the next one.

Woody Allen

Sunday, August 12, 2007

The Master Says 211

When I face the desolate impossibility of writing five hundred pages a sick sense of failure falls on me and I know I can never do it. This happens every time. Then gradually I write one page and then another. One day's work is all I can permit myself to contemplate and I eliminate the possibility of ever finishing.

John Steinbeck

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Feudal Allegiance

In the film world there's a lot of talk of homage. I've long held a personal theory that a filmmaker should not attempt an homage until he or she has successfully completed at least five films that are at least watchable. I mean come on, is it really paying respect to a great filmmaker by copying the way they shot a scene in a recognized masterpiece in your otherwise hackneyed and uninspired digital video short? Whenever someone tells me their film is going to be an homage to a great filmmaker I shut down. As I do when meeting someone that voted for W. or that's born again. I don't say anything because it would be like trying to sell ice to an Eskimo; sorry, Inuit.
Of course we're all inspired by other films. Portland filmmakers Grace Carter and Holly Andres made a short film called Nora this year that artfully copies the shower scene in Psycho frame by frame in order to discuss gender politics. Our film Dangerous Writing was inspired by Goodbye South Goodbye, the films of Antonioni and Children of Men. The film is about writing and the creative proess, so the visual poetry of a film like Hou Hsioa-Hsien's Goodbye South Goodbye was a huge inspiration. I've also long wanted to do something with long takes so as to minimize the arduous, time-consuming editing phase of the filmmaking process. Hou is a master of long takes where nothing seems to happen, yet as in a Jane Austen novel, one world ends and another begins with but the slightest of gesture. Jack Nicholson, who worked with Antonioni on The Passenger, says that, "For Antonioni actors aren't the most important thing, they're sort of moving space." I had a specific tone in mind for DW that I wanted the actors to be subject to rather than affect through their performances. I was concerned with the landscape of a well-to-do artist living in a liberal neighborhood in a liberal city. How does our environment contain us? Both Antonioni and Hou asked this question in their films. I wanted the camera to be far enough away that the actors forgot about performing and a distance such that would allow the audience to laugh at the vanity and folly of artistic process. If we were too close, the audience might thing they were to empathize with the characters. I wanted to allow them to respond truthfully, to forget the idea of a hero's journey. I also had a theme in mind that was martial, at least psychologically. Alfonso Cuaron wanted Children of Men, a war film whose tactics were political in a most personal sense, to seem like a documentary. One of the greatest war films shot in a documentary style is The Battle of Algiers. Cuaron didn't copy Battle of Algiers. He told Emmanuel Lubezki, the cinematographer, just as Pontecorvo used the documentary techniques of the time in making BofA, we must use the doc techniques of our time to shoot CofM. When the studio got the dailies, they were like, "Where's the closeups?" He didn't shoot closeups because closeups are about character and Cuaron wanted CoM to be about context. To my mind it is a much greater demonstration of respect to advance the dialogue of the cinema rather than to reiterate it.
Especially in a commercial entertainment such as The Bourne Ultimatum. Peter Greengrass claims to pay homage to The Battle of Algiers in The Bourne Ultimatum. Please. Peter, you're making a mega-million dollar product that is virtually without risk of losing money. You cannot hope to think that you are creating art or continuing the conversation of cinema. Is Nike paying homage to Michael Jordan by using his soaring silhouette on their Air Jordan products? Is Nike advancing the dialogue of sport in the tradition of the Greeks? No, his Airness is endorsing their brand and helping them sell sneakers. For a very tidy sum. Maybe Greengrass should pay Pontecorvo's estate a fee for helping sell popcorn. Greengrass says: "We're developing the story as we shoot and move. That means the end is in doubt right until late in the process." I really fucking doubt it. There's no doubt that he brings a stylish dynamic to the film. I'm not saying he's not talented. He clearly is. What I object to is this notion that a hundred million dollar movie is getting made without a blueprint.
It would be great if I'm wrong. Cuaron was able to push the boundaries of convention with Children of Men. I would love for Greengrass to open the doors to a more organic process in Hollywood. Not just because it might give a guy like me a greater chance at getting some work someday, but simply as a filmgoer.
I will probably enjoy The Bourne Ultimatum if I see it, but I sincerely doubt that I will be challenged by it as I was by Children of Men.
The hand-held verite look is a style that is in vogue: Babel, Casino Royale, even Borat and Knocked Up use it to comic effect. That's cool. Let's just not go crazy thinking it has a lot of substance. Or that it's paying sincere tribute and swearing allegiance to the cinema's great maestros.

Signore Direttore

Friday, August 10, 2007

Finding My Voice Ten Years Later

One night in 1998 I was hanging out in the V-VIP room at Moomba. Which was the place to see and be seen in the late 90s. One of my friends was involved in a serious flirtation with Lara Flynn Boyle, which left me sitting across the table from her friend Nicholas Cage.
At the time I was trying to leave my life as a nightclub promoter behind me. I was starting to take writing and acting seriously again for the first time in a decade. I was in mourning and shock of my mother's sudden death. I was muddled, confused and terrified. I was frozen and speechless. Not just in the presence of Cage, whom I had met previously, but in general. The only time I had anything to say was when I was in Atlantic City, where I spent two or three days gambling every week of that year.
What was I supposed to say to Nick Cage that night? I'm only here because I'm a D-list personality in NYC? Back when I was young and skinny people used ot msitake me for you all the time? Do you remember the night you tried to seduce Lorna the cocktail waitress at the club I managed in San Francisco by inviting the entire staff to your house in Pacific Heights for an after hours party? Let me tell you about the awesome screenplay I'm writing that's seven pages long?
For a long time I felt a certain amount of shame and self-pity that I was in that world and eventually found myself with nothing to say. Believe me, for years I had plenty to say. It was mostly bullshit, but it provided more than a few perqs. In the end however, I was tired of the game and tired of having nothing but money and entry to exclusive parties to show for it.
I respected Nicholas Cage and myself just enough to keep my mouth shut that night. I had something to say, I just didn't trust it at the time. It was this -- When I saw Leaving Las Vegas I was fucking exhilarated by the truth of his performance. He got what being a hope to die drunk is all about. And he won an Oscar for telling the truth.

That's all.
Signore Direttore


In the Winter of 2003, we were living primarily in our country house in Pennsylvania. Maisie was a newborn and Nicola was recovering from child birth. It felt good to get out of the city. I was holing up in one of the bedrooms and doing a lot of writing. I wrote a script called All For One that may get revisited some day. I had a good chunk of Original Glory finished. I think I wrote All For One in an attempt to stall finishing OG. While all this was going on, we were gearing up for the invasion of Iraq. I followed it intently, knowing that all the coverage of Hans Blix, the UN weapons inspector, was a cat and mouse game just like Blix accused Saddam of playing. It didn't matter if the inspections turned up any WMD, it was a predetermined fact that we were going to war with Iraq. It was imminent prior to 9/11 and even to W.'s election. I have always believed that sometime in the late 90s, George H.W. and George W. were playing golf or sitting on the porch in Maine having a father-son chat. Maybe Jeb was there, too. I see some cut crystal highball glasses in their hands. I hear a promise to daddy that W. will take Saddam down.
That scene played in my head over and over that winter. I was furious. We were going to invade Iraq no matter what. The tension generated by the media was a bunch of baloney. There was no tension about the reports on the efforts of Blix and his inspectors, nor by the lack of international support, nor of the discovery that Al Qaeda had few ties to Iraq. None of it mattered. What was giving me a lot of grief was the outpouring of ignorance dressed up as patriotism, especially in the little towns near our country house. I was pretty tense that we had a President that was intent on going to war in spite of any opposition, protocol, law or common sense. That we had no plan for Iraq after Saddam was eliminated. That the Iraq Republican Guard was being reported as an elite army capable of providing resistance to our armed forces. It was all a bunch of lies and so many people were believing them. Public discourse was reduced to Support Our Troops.
In the summer of '91 I was riding through Sonoma on my motorcycle. The girl that was with me and I decided to spend a couple of days up there before we went back to San Francisco. We needed some basics as we had originally intended to be back the same day, so went to one of those variety drug stores that used to be in every small town before the invasion of WalMart. There was an entire aisle of hats, shirts and other patriotic swag proclaiming the pride of the USA in support of The Gulf War. Everything was discounted at least fifty percent. We picked some stuff out and went to the counter. I mockingly expressed outrage to the checkout clerk that patriotism was on sale. She earnestly replied that her family supports America no matter if we're at war or not and that she too was sickened by the close-out pricing of all the "America: First Best Always" merchandise.
Many of you may not be aware that Signore Direttore is a war veteran. I served in The Gulf War and prior to that I was deployed in the longest war of the 20th century, The Cold War. In 1985, as my high school chums went off to Vassar, Stanford, Berkeley and other prestige places of higher learning, I enlisted in the Army. I qualified for a special two-year enlistment and an assignment to Germany. I wanted the Germany thing in writing but the recruiting sergeant assured me that few young soldiers want to see the world, most just want a steady job and to be stationed near their hometown. I couldn't think of anything more depressing. Anyway, the downside of the two-year gig was I had to do a combat or combat support job and I had to sign up for eight years of IRR, Independent Ready Reserve. Which is a fancy way of saying after serving on active duty for two years, they could call me up anytime for the next six years. So do the math -- 90 - 87 = 3. Yep, summer of '90, guys on IRR were getting called to go to Kuwait. Summer of '90, I was riding my motorcycle around the wide deserted streets of San Francisco in the middle of the night frying on acid looking up the pretty sky. Or I was on X, singing along to DeeLite's How Could You Dance With Another? trying to find a pay phone to call my other girlfriend. I was very far removed from being a soldier. Nevertheless, I went to the recruiting office to see what I could work out. Luckily there was an opening for a 31K (my Army MOS - Combat Signaler) at the 7th PsyOps group stationed at the Presidio right there in San Francisco. "They going to Iraq?" "Not likely." "I'm in." And that was that, I was assigned and nobody could call me off the IRR for assignment to an infantry unit. I reenlisted as an Active Reserve and went back to the chaos of my not so normal life of working in nightclubs and taking Peyote at seven in the morning. No one from the 7th PsyOps ever called me. A year or so later I called them to make sure I wasn't AWOL or something, but they just took me off the roster. Almost as good a war record as one of my great grandfathers. Richard Corl, a private in some regiment of the NY Infantry, served in the Civil War. I have copies of the muster reports of his unit -- AWOL, Deserted, Failed to Report. Oh, the proud military history of my clan. Which goes way back, as my father's side of the family came to the colonies in the mid-seventeenth century. One of my grandfathers fought in the Revolutionary War as a private. He wasn't decorated, but at least he showed up.
I'm reading a book called Generation Kill about the Marine's First Recon Battalion spearheading the invasion of Iraq. It's going to be a mini-series on HBO soon. I wonder how true to the book it's going to be, because these poor bastards were put in the position to commit one war crime after another. I'm outraged and appalled at the lack of discretion employed by the US military. Once they got to Baghdad, it got worse. They encountered people dying of dehydration and had no water to give them. They had to ignore women and children wounded by US bombs. The city of Baghdad is about the size of the greater Chicago area. From the start there was no plan in place to occupy it in an effective manner. I really like the book, but I'm so sick of reading it. It's just one tragedy after another that the Marines have to move on from only to encounter yet another.
This morning in the NY Times I read about the middle class leaving Iraq, only to lose all of their savings trying to survive in places like Jordan and Syria because they can't get work permits, medical treatment or schooling for their children. In some cases they are paying significant amounts of their savings as ransom to the Islamic fundamentalists that have kidnapped their husbands or children. Of the nine thousand plus Iraqis granted emigration to the US this year, less than two hundred have been able to make it out of the Middle East. We couldn't even take care of the people that have educations and could help rebuild the country if that was ever a possibility. So much for bringing democracy to Iraq.

Go Operation Iraqi Freedom!

Thursday, August 09, 2007

The Master Says 210

With an outline you get into a narrative. The narrative automatically becomes reductionary. You have to fight the internal editor, all this received knowledge of how stories work. You got to fight that off as long as you can. And by fighting it off, you can maybe stay out of the editorial brain. You can stay in the inspired brain. Because the inspired brain is where the gifts come from. It's where all the good stuff happens. You don't own it. It's doesn't belong to any one of us. It's a gift. It comes from some greater source. ... It's no accident that Robert McKee has become popular as corporations have taken over studios. It's a one-to-one relationship. (McKee) is a handy primer so accountants can talk about movies. And it's bullshit.

Steven Gaghan

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

What the hell do I have to say?

One of the things I like about getting older is not needing to talk so much. Some of you that know me may wonder if I've lost all perspective in asserting that I don't talk that much. Oh, if you knew me when. I crave silence more than fear it these days. Used to be a time when I was on the phone first thing in the day and out in the bars until long past closing time. Talk, talk, talk.
I had tea yesterday morning with the lovely and talented Grace Carter. We talked so much that I lost track of time. What a pleasure. I told her my self-effacing story about writing a scene for Dangerous Writing that gave the set-up and then said, this goes where it goes. So cavalier and trusting of the moment am I. Then Joey jumps off of a very expensive motorcycle and rips the baguette from the grocery sack. He breaks off a piece and starts gnawing it. The bike nearly goes over and the one bag of prop groceries that we have is ripped. We're trying to get this shot off before we need to break for dinner and we're in a busy underground parking lot on a dolly with no permission. So much for seeing where it goes. I yell cut, rip off my headphones and smash them to the ground, march over to Joey and yell at him for being such an impulsive and irresponsible fool. The boys taped up my expensive headphones and I got back on the dolly for more takes. So much for spontaneity.
I saw the Simpson's movie with my family. It was rated PG-13, so we did a little research before taking our children. What a joke. There's a three second shot of Bart's penis. Which from the message boards you would think it was some hentai, anatomically correct monstrosity instead of the simple line drawing that looked like an inverted flip of the bird on his groin. We don't protect each other from seeing our genitals in our family. No flaunting, but if my children come into our bedroom when we're dressing we don't shout them out the door and dash for cover. As for foul language, well my kids make more money from the quarters I hand out for saying bad words than they make in interest on their college funds. They're just words. There were some laughs for sure. My son saw a friend and went to go sit with his family. It was awesome to hear his laughter from afar, what a laugh that kid's got. I enjoyed the movie, but if you're looking for a good plot, stay home with a Russian novel.
There's a lot of hullaballoo about bridges these days. I heard on NPR that the Civil Engineers of America submit an annual list of bridges that need repair. Of the 100,000 bridges in the US, a very high percentage need repair. I'm listening to this as I drive the other day. The money just isn't there to bring all of the bridges up to snuff. I'm also thinking that people don't like bridges to be closed down as it interrupts their familiar routes of travel. Which brings up the whole issue of a lot of people driving around in cars by themselves. Another thought is coming to mind though -- we hate paying taxes in America. Yet I look around and I see a lot of people driving $50,000 dollar cars and putting additions on to 3,ooo square foot homes. Don't get me started on the $1,ooo/wheel rims that are on a lot of cars. Or the proliferation of cedar fences going up in Portland. There's a lot of money being spent on shit that we don't need. Our schools suck, our bridges are time bombs and health care is a joke. I'm not one to want to pay more taxes in order to buy Tomahawk missiles at 1.5 million per or to fund more weekends at Camp David for Dumbass, but our priorities are completely fucked.

Head back in the sand,
Signore Direttore

Sunday, August 05, 2007

The Master Says 209

The cinema is an explosion of my love for reality.

Pier Paolo Pasolini

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Folk Wisdom 030

The outcome is part of a larger plan, one that involves more than ourselves.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

The Master Says 208

The height of the pinnacle is determined by the breadth of the base.

Ralph Waldo Emerson

The Master Says 207

If you fear making anyone mad, then you ultimately probe for the lowest common denominator of human achievement.

Jimmy Carter

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

The Master Says 206

Antonioni is the abstract painter of time passing.

Bernardo Bertolucci